Jessica de Vrais was twenty-two, the only child of an elderly and irritable widower. Though they thought alike on almost all matters, they agreed on none; least of all did they see eye to eye on the subject of men. Jessica, pretty and popular, invited them to come and stay; Mr. de Vrais, irritable and suspicious, invited them to go away and stay away. Fortune-hunters all, he said furiously to his daughter. One and all, they were after her money—his money. One look, he shouted, and he could smell them a mile off. Hangers-on. Yahoos. Parasites. When Jessica, at the end of June, announced that she was engaged to one of them—a young Frenchman named Hubert Ramage, whom she had known for little more than two weeks—Mr. de Vrais granted to the suitor a short interview and at the end of it announced that any further communication between the couple would be made over his dead body.
On a cool, September morning she rose rose early, left a conclusive little note for her father, carried her suitcases down to the car and drove into St. Helier to catch the boat to St. Malo. When her father read the note, it said, she would be married to Hubert. Unfortunately she took the family jewels with her, in case her marriage didn’t work out…