A poem/novel; Aurora is the main character. Her cousin, Romney Leigh, proposes marriage to her. He is skeptical about her poetic ability, telling her that women do not have the passion, intellectual capacity, or redemptive qualities to be true artists. Because of this, and because she feels that he is too wrapped up in his social work and ideals to be a good husband, she angrily rejects him. Aurora's aunt chastises her for refusing him, telling her that because he is the male heir, he will inherit all of the estate and Aurora will be left with nothing. Shortly afterwards, her aunt dies. Romney attempts to give Aurora money, but she refuses it, deciding to go to London to make her living as a poet.