It is a good story, the strong parts on which are the conflict between love and conscience on the part of a young Anglican priest. The charm of the book, however, lies in the briskness of the dialogue, which is as finely finished as any of Hope's novels.
Kate rose with dignity.
"We need not discuss that," she said. "I have letters to write, and am going indoors."
"Oh, I say, Kate, don't do that! I came out on purpose to read to you."
"Lady Claudia is quite ready to make an audience for you," was the chilling reply, as Kate vanished through the open door.
"There, you've done it now!" said Eugene. "You really ought not to insist on staying."
"I'm so sorry, Mr. Lane. But it's all your fault." And Claudia tried to make her face assume a look of gravity.
A pause ensued, and then they both smiled.
"What were you going to read?" asked Claudia.
"Oh, Tennyson--always read Tennyson. Kate likes it, because she thinks it's simple."
"You flatter yourself that you see the deeper meaning?"
Eugene smiled complacently.
"And you mean Kate doesn't? I'm glad I'm not engaged to you, Mr. Lane, if that's the kind of thing you say."
Eugene opened his mouth, shut it again, and then said bla
Eugene and Kate are engaged, but not getting along -- not least because he's in love with Claudia. Haddington is in love with Kate, and while she's attracted, she wants to keep her hooks in her wealthy fiance.
Meanwhile, the ascetic young Anglican priest, Father Stafford, falls for Claudia, despite his vow of celibacy. Claudia's feelings are unclear, at first.
All the ingredients of a Wodehousian farce, but told with gravity.