Mrs. Miles, the wealthy owner of Launay, confused her dominating will with a sense of duty. Her favorite son, Philip, had taken the family name of Launay and was to inherit the property. She planned to marry him to a distant cousin who owned another large family estate, and thus consolidate the two properties. Philip, however, wished to marry his mother's foster daughter Bessy Pryor, but Mrs. Miles angrily refused to have her plans disrupted, and banished Bessy to Normandy. Philip soon followed, and Mrs. Miles, deprived of the companionship of the two people she loved best, capitulated and called them home.