When Lord Cardross took pretty eighteen-year-old Lady Helen for his bride he also undertook to stave off financial disaster for her father, Lord Pevensey, and settle the more pressing gambling debts of her scape-grace brother Dysart. He even offered to buy Dysart a commission and send him to join Lord Wellington's army in the Peninsula. Nell maintained her family's reputation for improvidence adn Cardross found himself inundated with bills from her milliners and dressmakers. After a year of marriage it occurred to him that although he was in love with his wife, she might only have married him for his money. Nell, who in turn was in love with her husband, had so taken her Mama's warnings to heart that she hid her feelings from Cardross and was resolved not to show either knowledge or resentment should her husband have Another Connection outside the walls of their Grosvenor Square house.
In addition to his concern over the state of his wife's heart and pocket the Earl had the worry of keeping his impetuous young half-sister Letty from eloping with the correct but lovelorn Jeremy Allandale, who was aobut to leave for a diplomatic appointment in South America.
What with sorting out Nell's and Dysart's mad scrapes, recovering the vanished Cardross necklace, and being forced into bitter suspicion, the much-tried Earl might well have missed the opportunity of smoothing the course of true, thought dissimulated, love in his own marriage.