As the news of Elizabeth Elliot's broken engagement becomes known, the storm of social disapproval descends and Elizabeth is left to wonder how she, with every claim to birth and beauty, has made such a muddle of her life. Even worse, why has dear Mr Gill suddenly become so distant? Patrick Gill has dropped many a hint that he is not the lowly clerk he has pretended to be, but Elizabeth Elliot will have none of it. His playful jest has gone too far, for him as well as for her. But her father has fled from his creditors, leaving her in disgrace. Now "Mr Gill" must force a meeting between Elizabeth and the man he truly is--Admiral McGillvary, a man she claims to despise.