A mermaid contrives to have herself «rescued from drowning» and adopted by a respectable family on the English coast. Her motive, which she conceals for quite a while, is to win the heart of a handsome but irresponsible young man whom she glimpsed when he went swimming in the Pacific. Introduced into polite society as an invalid, she proves to be intelligent and charming, but as an immortal she regards the concerns of the English gentry with critical detachment. The young man, who is already engaged, falls under her spell and begins to doubt the importance of the political career into which his fiancée has been directing him. There are, after all, «other dreams.» But does his new relationship offer him any real future? Summary by Thomas Copeland.