Mark Ashburn is a young teacher at St. Peter's Public School for boys, although he isn't particularly fond of boys. His dream is to make his name in the literary world, but mediocrity and rejection meet him at every turn. Dejected, he meets up with Vincent, an old friend, who is about to travel to his father's plantation in Ceylon and asks a favor of Mark.
Mark makes a rash promise to help, never suspecting anything would ever be required of him. Backed into a corner, he makes a decision that affects his and others' lives forever.