Eugenia, Baroness Mnster, wife of a German princeling who wishes to be rid of her, crosses the ocean with her brother Felix to seek out their American relatives. Their voyage is prompted, apparently, by natural affection; but the Baroness has also come to seek her fortune. The advent of these visitors is viewed by the Wentworths, in the suburbs of Boston, with wonder and some apprehension. The brilliant Eugenia fascinates her impressionable cousins and their more worldly neighbour, but she is baffled by these people, 'to whom fibbing was not pleasing'. Meanwhile Felix, painter of trifling sketches, eases them all in and out of various amorous complications, with 'no fear of not being, in the end, agreeable'.