The widow Maud Blessingbourne is with her friend, Mrs. Dyott, and she seems anxious about the impending visit of Colonel Voyt. They then discuss the difference between French and AngloAmerican approaches to narrative, the relationship between art and life and the nature of romanticism. Colonel Voyt, supported by Mrs. Dyott, believes that there is no drama in virtue, but Maud, who claimed to have a good subject for a drama, wants to read or (write?) a novel about virtue.
After the departure of Colonel Voyt, Maud reveals her drama a 'secret' passion. Dyott understands that it is for Voyt and, when she meets him again, she tells him how she felt about Maud. He, however, argues that there is no ‘story’ in it.