A precocious child, Denry Machin determines as a boy to master his own fate as much as possible. With equal parts cheeck, charm and ambition, over the course of his life he finds many ways to enhance the quality of his life - a challenge he relishes, surmounting social and other barriers with shrewdness, luck and the invaluable gift of making himself liked by everyone from the landed gentry to the lowest washerwomen. With a large bank account and an amiably affectionate personality he soon became known as The Card, capping his achievements by becoming the youngest-ever Mayor of his hometown. But has Denry met his match when it comes to women? There are two in his life- Ruth Earp, an attractive and vivacious dancing teacher and quiet, placid little Nellie Cotterill. Which one will he choose?