Against an interesting rococo mise en scene of the late 19th century, here is the power of indirection as practiced by an obstinate, creative, involuntarily dangerous unattached woman, when popular English novelist, Blanche Peverence turns a commonplace French marriage into tragedy. One of her readers commits suicide in the manner of her latest heroine, and to escape the scandal that follows, Blanche quite England for France and becomes companion to wealthy, spoiled, untrained Oriana Desmarets. Disapproving of French marriages of convenience, of mistresses and their power, of family customs, Blanche, once winning Oriana's friendship, turns a group of ordinary people into a set of characters out of a melodrama; sends Oriana's husband into the arms of her enemy Mme. de Freysac; forces the husband's overseer -- Daalgard -- to declare his love for Oriana, and determinedly plans for their elopement. She is thwarted by Mme. de Freysac's vengeance, Oriana's father's manipulations, but redoubles her plotting until success is possible, only to have Daalgard killed in a duel with the husband, and Oriana a suicide. A double-framed, Gothic-turned romance of bizarre qualities.