The story begins when Rose returns home from a long trip to Europe. Everyone has changed. As a joke, Rose lines up her seven cousins to take a long look at them, just as they did with her when they first met. The youngest accidentally mentions that the aunts want Rose to marry one of her cousins to keep her fortune in the family. Rose is very indignant, for she has decided ideas about what her future holds. From the beginning, she declares that she can manage her property well on her own and that she will focus on philanthropic work. Charlie has already decided she is marked out for him, with the approval of his mother.