Orphaned early, educated by a benevolent neighbor, Morwenna Tregarth is at the edge of adulthood with the usual dim prospects when the master's son returns home. Involved in her father's accidental death, Maxwell Thurlow is an obligatory antagonist until the inevitable recognition of mutual passion. But he's engaged to the fragile Isabel who has an incurable illness and a sinister Malay servant who frightens Morwenna with her cryptic prophecy: ""He will come to the house by the water."" She flees to Manchester, nearly marries, ultimately retires to the home of her long lost grandfather in Cornwall. . . by the sea. . . where she waits. Gold and vermilion on the horizon deepen the usual rosy tints.