Even amid the genteel grandeur of Venice, the Marquis of Wynchcombe?s ennui is undiminished. His fiery mistress Francesca, a beautiful and flamboyant Venetian actress, bores him almost as much as the company of the Beau Monde with whom he associates. So when Lucia, an impoverished but delicately alluring young Englishwoman, accosts him at a café and beseeches him to peruse the painting of her dying father, he is intrigued, more so when he realises that Lucia?s father is a genius. But then her father dies.Lucia is distraught and destitute. The Marquis saves her from penury by buying her father?s every painting, and promising to take her home to England. Enraged by her beau?s apparent infatuation with the young ingénue, Francesca stabs him with a stiletto. But it?s Lucia who has truly pierced his heart.