Penelope Moreau is a Creole courtier in 18th century Versailles, France. She searches frantically for a paper containing a clue as to who actually committed the royal theft. Once this is proven, the evidence would refute her brother's, Armand's, alleged complicity in the crime. Pierre LeMercier is also an aristocrat of the king's court and is fascinated by Penelope's beauty and intrigued by her feigned lack of interest in him. Penelope and Pierre's courtship blossoms. Pierre vows, as well as Count Alexandre Montegeau a friend of Penelope and Armand's parents, to exonerate Armand, restore the House of Moreau's name. Pierre and Penelope hope to be wed when the matter is settled.
It was the horizon of the French Enlightenment in which Armand took great comfort in those articulate men who preceded him. Her brother's beliefs about man and prestige were congruent with the philosophy of François-Marie d'Arouet, one of the leading laureates of that period. He sought reassurance for his views from those poets he considered articulate, the great philosophers who found humility to admit when in error; and those insightful masters of knowledge who were so profound that the simplest explanation could conquer the most arduous minds. Armand stayed up later than usual, reading a book by candlelight. He sought comfort in those words of dead men, hoping that he would not be one of them soon. He considered his father, stoic and proud, yet sensible and practical. Armand was to implement these characteristics as an unpredictable strategy to defeat whoever sought to destroy him. Whoever was targeting him was also aiming their vitriol towards the Moreau patriarch and that, he could not tolerate. If only their words could thrash through the haze of lies that nourishes man's need to relish in another's folly whether conjured or actual.
The next morning Penelope readied her day. As much as she and her brother enjoyed presenting themselves as paddlers against the tide of French opulence, she did perform similar dressing rituals in the morning. The Moreaus were still wealthy and to ignore such a custom would be considered a social travesty. Her maiden prepared her elaborate Service de toilette and assisted her to powder her face, use of parfum, and the layers of dress she must undertake to present themselves beyond the chateau. However, Penelope refused to have a coiffure and decided the maiden was proper to fulfill this role for her. A couple of hours passed before she accepted any calling cards. However, her day was interrupted by the servant who rushed to her side, waving parchment from one side of her to the other.