Follow the dots from Versailles of 1789 to the provincial estate of orphaned aristocrat Nicole, then to Scotland and back to France, thence to Rome and back again; along the way you'll find several manifestations of moody heroine Nicole as well as the icy phiz of handsome Duke William, her guardian--who recurs like heartburn. The Duke is a cold fish in Paris, especially when Nicole is about to be seduced by a dandy, but at the family estate, where it is rumored he once loved her mother, the Duke rises high enough on the Celsius scale to plunge Nicole into the counterpane. But hÃ‰las, next morning he is once again William the Cold--and Nicole soon learns (in Scotland) that he can never be hers (never mind why). So it's back to France for fleeing Nicole, who's apparently enough of a dodo not to have heard of the Revolution. She almost escapes prison because of Roger, an upwardly mobile peasant, but prison is heaven because who should turn up among the tumbrel-bound but the Duke. They love, they marry. But the Duke escapes only to be (presumably) killed. Nicole marries Roger, whom she learns to hate, but then who should turn up at a ball. . . aquiline and still glacÃ‰ed. . . . Fou-frous.