The Beresfords, an Irish family, have taken a furnished house at Dinglefield Green. Norah Beresford is young and pretty and "wild" - full of fun, and a bit of a tomboy. Her droll mother Lady Louisa is in most respects easygoing, but has a strong will when it comes to a matchmaking scheme which she expects one of her daughters to fulfill.
Just at this time Everard Stoke returns home to his mother at Dinglefield Green. Some years before he had fled abroad after embezzling money from his employer; and he is now bent on using his charm to convince people that he has reformed. When he and Norah become attracted to each other, people try to warn Norah, but she brushes off their hints. Then one night things go badly wrong; and Norah's sister goes to their discreet neighbour Mrs Mulgrave for help - and to avert a scandal.
This story is part of the delightful series Neighbours on the Green, which takes place in the fictional village of Dinglefield Green. (See the link below for more information.)
Biographical and other notes
In 1868 Margaret Oliphant's brother Frank Wilson had embezzled money from his employer and fled abroad. (See the biographical notes to Madam.) He returned in 1870, and made his home with her until his death in 1875. In this story, referring to the fictional Everard, Mrs Oliphant says: "I have an antipathy beyond all expression for this kind of man - the being who has two or three fair starts, and always turns out a failure, and comes back upon the poor women 'who own him'. . . ."