William, the narrator and faithful servant to rich widow, Mrs. Norcross, tells the story of his mistress' unhappy second marriage to James Smith. A detective lawyer's clerk, Mr. Dark, both confirms Smith's bigamous remarriage and, following his disappearance, proves Mrs. Norcross and William innocent of murder. Dark also recovers jewelry stolen by the maidservant and establishes her guilt. William's amiable relationship with the experienced detective foreshadows that between Betteredge and Cuff in The Moonstone.