Reverend Francis Ashby, a rather stuffy professor at St. Johns College Oxford, heads off for a walking holiday in Switzerland. High up on a rocky Swiss plateau, Ashby stumbles across two American women: Caroline Hartley and her beautiful eighteen-year-old ward, Elinor. He soon finds the company of the women a charming and refreshing change from his all male, well-ordered world at Oxford. Back in England, hes about to be elected president of his college, a post for a bachelor, when he realizes that his Switzerland experience hasaltered his views on life. The surprise arrival of his American friends adds to his dilemma, especially when it becomes apparent that both women are competing for his affections.