This light-hearted story takes place in the quiet village of Saint-Martin where the Count and Countess of Champfleuri live with their daughters Hélène and Mélanie and the girls' cousin Clotilde. Part I "Mariàge à la Mode" tells of the arranged marriage being planned for Hélène, and of what follows. The other girls, Mélanie and Clotilde, are resistant to the notion that they too are expected to have arranged marriages. Part II "Un Mariàge Romanesque" tells of Mélanie's dreams for a romantic courtship, and of what follows. Clotilde's own dreams will also be revealed.
Biographical and other notes
In December 1871 Mrs Oliphant was working on a biography of the late Count de Montalembert and spent several weeks with his family in their chateau, located deep in the cold, snowy French countryside. Memories of that experience form the backdrop to this story.
British publishing information
Periodical: Good Cheer (Xmas ed. of Good Words) Dec 1874