Penniless Lord Whitebait's plan to save his sinking fortunes is to open stately Whitebait Manor to the public. But the public ignores his gesture, and his fortunes fade even further, with a stream of debts threatening to run into a deluge when his daughter's fiancé demands a plush and costly wedding. Where is the cash to come from? Whitebait and his servant Spankforth's answer is a scam involving the theft of a valuable painting from the Manor. How could such a cunningly original ruse fail?