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Lily Ramsay, age twenty-two, is the ward of her dour uncle, Sir Robert Ramsay. Sir Robert will leave her his fortune, but only if she is obedient in every way. When she falls in love with a poor barrister, Ronald Lumsden, Sir Robert not only disapproves of Ronald, but sends Lily away from Edinburgh to a lonely Highland moor where he has an old house, Dalrugas. Lily, who cares nothing for the money, at first has faith that Ronald will simply marry her and take her to live in a garret somewhere. But Ronald is far too prudent for that. With his eye on Sir Robert's fortune, he counsels patience.