The story is set in India. The main character is Lispeth, a local girl who grows up in a Church of England Mission. As a matter of fact, her parents converted to Christianity because they needed help and baptized their daughter as Elizabeth. Lipeth lives at the Chaplain’s house; she reads a lot and attends the local school. She grow up more and more beautiful until she looks like a princess.
One day, when she’s a teenager, she goes out for a walk. She finds an injured man and brings him to the Chaplain’s house. There, she affirms that she wants to merry him. The Chaplain and his wife reproach Lispeth for her behavior and try to make her change her mind, but Lispeth has fallen in love at first sight. The man Lispeth as fallen in love with is from England and he has travelled to the East in order to hunt for butterflies and flowers. When he recovers, the Chaplain’s wife tells him about Lispeth’s feelings; the man replies he’s already engaged to an English young woman. However, to express his gratitude, he he spends a lot of time talking to Lispeth and joking with her, which means nothing at all to him but everything to Lispeth, whose feelings are very deep.