Published in 1907, this little novel by the author of „The Age of Innocence” was considered controversial for its frank treatment of labor and industrial conditions, drug addiction, mercy killing, divorce, and second marriages. Clever, idealistic and poor John Amherst, the assistant manager of the cotton mill, is fed up with the deplorable working and living conditions of the workers in his charge. While visiting a worker in hospital he encounters a young nurse, Justine, compassionate and principled, a woman who shares his dreams and aims. But Amherst is fatally distracted when he meets a wealthy and charming widow Bessy who is a new owner of the mill. The lives of all three become strangely interwoven as Amherst is forced to choose between sense and sentiment, between his care for the working classes and his infatuation with Bessy – a woman made for passion, but not for its aftermath.