A gentle, meandering tale of the crumbling of the post-bellum South, which traces the disintegration and renaissance of an ""old family"" belle. Hired to come to the Prescott plantation at the behest of Miss Amy Prescott to teach Latin to her nearly grown children, Geoffrey, the narrator, is mysteriously present at all family crises, and hears the family tale from many sources. Seems that Miss Amy proud and beautiful, was spirited off, in an arranged marriage, to live on a distant plantation, which charming, weak Raleigh Prescott, Miss Amy's husband, succeeded in ruining. An extra-curricular love affair also ruined any love Miss Amy may have had for Raleigh, and when Geoffrey just becomes settled in, Mr. Raleigh had attempted suicide upon learning of the death of his mistress. There are more worries concerning marriage and children, but in an implausible ending, Miss Amy has a change of stance and swings over to the side of the lowly.... A slight, harmless compote.