|On a cruise ship, Martin Boyne, a bachelor in his forties, befriends a group of children whose parents are estranged. The parents are on the cruise ship with the children in an attempt to reconcile. The children are weary of being shuttled from one parent to the other and hope that the reconciliation will be successful. Boyne is smitten by fifteen-year-old Judith, the eldest of the "children." In this story Wharton presents a picture of the manners, morals, and social behaviour of a group of Americans abroad.