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American Fay Houston marries an English society favorite, Viscount Ronald Kilkerry. Four months later, Fay discovers that Ronald is having an affair with Gemma, her sister-in-law. Her brother Terry is devoted to his wife and is known to have a violent temper. Fay's distress about the situation does not affect her husband, who remains completely nonchalant and disinterested. Fearing her brother's wrath, Fay decides not to reveal his wife's infidelity. Her disillusionment with her marriage prompts Fay to transform into a vamp, staying out all night drinking and flirting. Fay's new notorious reputation upsets Terry, who tells her she is "shameful and cheap," however, she does not reveal the reason for her behavior. On one of her forays into France with her friends, she meets Carl Heiden, an artist. He falls in love with her and paints a portrait of her. Carl recognizes that Fay's attempts to be happy mask serious unhappiness and realizes the reason after he accidentally finds one of Gemma's notes to Ronald, but the cryptic signature does not give him a clue who Gemma is. After Fay refuses to divorce Ronald to marry Carl, Carl accuses her of toying with him, and she tells him she never wants to see him again. Carl runs into Terry, who disbelieves his story about Ronald's infidelity. Carl finds another note when visiting Fay's house and informs her he will send it to Terry, hoping he will be able to recognize the handwriting and force his sister into divorce. Fay rushes to Carl's house and prevents him from sending the letter. That night, Ronald and Gemma crash their car and Ronald is killed. Gemma reaches Fay's house before the police find Ronald, but Fay has spent the night with Carl and does not return until morning. Fay is shocked by the news, but, to protect Terry's marriage, claims Ronald had sought out Gemma to help him get Fay back from Carl. The lie maintains society's finest opinion of Ronald and its worst opinion of Fay, but she does not care, because she is finally free to pursue her love with Carl.