* Chapter 1: Mary Panton is staying at a friend's sixteenth century Tuscan villa, where she can see the city of Florence in the distance.
* Mary has recently spent much time with lawyers after her husband's death; her husband had squandered all their money.
* Mary is at the villa to have some alone time to consider her situation and make decisions.
* Mary is at the villa awaiting the arrival of Edgar Swift, who is in the area to talk to Lord Seafair about a new position in India.
* Mary has known Edgar, who is several decades her senior, since she was a teen.
* At age nineteen, Mary's mother pointed out the fact that Edgar is in love with Mary.
* Mary believes Edgar now wishes to propose marriage to her.
* Once Edgar arrives, he tells Mary he has been offered the position as governor of Bengal and...
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