Junior matron (nurse) Elizabeth Sorrill is the first crush of most of the boys at Foxton's, an English public school, and she unwittingly encourages the lustful fantasies of senior student Alexander Belmayne, son of the lord chancellor. Only a few years older than Alexander, Elizabeth cannot deny her own attraction, and the two have a brief affair that ends badly. Angry and hurt, Alexander goes off to Oxford and launches a career of debauchery at the same time he begins his law studies. Pregnant with Alexander's child, Elizabeth returns briefly to work at her father's carnival, but is rescued from this tawdry life by wealthy art dealer Edward Walters, whom she marries. The older man becomes obsessed with eradicating Elizabeth's memories of Alexander, while her former lover marries Jessica Poynter, upper-crust bohemian, as a kind of perverse penance for his previous womanizing.
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