Bartley Alexander, an engineer famous for the audacious structure of his North American bridges, is at the height of his reputation. He has a distinguished and beautiful wife and an enviable Boston home. Then, on a trip to London, he has a chance encounter with an Irish actress he once loved. When their affair re-ignites, Alexander finds himself caught in a tug of emotions–between his feelings for wife, who has supported his career with understanding and strength, and Hilda, whose impulsiveness and generosity restore to him the passion and energy of his youth. Coinciding with this personal dilemma are ominous signs of strain in his professional life. In this, her first novel, originally published in 1912, Willa Cather skillfully explores the struggle between opposing sides of the self, a facility that was to become a hallmark of her craft.