Silvia, well born and high spirited, is concerned about an arranged marriage so she spends the day of her finace's first visitdisguised as her maid Lisette while Lisette she pretends to be Silvia. The intended husband, Dorante, takes the same precaution, arriving in the guise of his servant. And his servant, who duly comes dressed as Dorante, is the irrepressible and outrageous Harlequin, which means pandemonium ensues. The "servants"are drawn to each other but must overcome the pride and prejudice of their social class while Lisette and Harlequin savor a delicious taste of freedom and respectability. All are deeply perplexed as Marivaux uncompromisingly turns the screw. Silvia's father and brother, who know all but say nothing, preside over the sentimental education of these comedic desperadoes.