Arnolphe is a rich man of 50 years who has delayed taking a wife for fear of being cuckolded, but now plans to wed the ward he has educated in convents and kept innocent of the ways of the world. But Agnes' innocence is his undoing. When a young man tips his hat to her on the street, she curtsies. One can meet a lot of swains that way. At length she and Horace fall in love, and Horace confides in Arnolphe how he is pulling the wool over the eyes of Agnes' guardian not knowing that Arnolphe is that man. With this information, Arnolphe should have been able to nip the romance in the bud, but Agnes' innocence and naivete always confound him. At length, Her father, thought dead, returns and announces his intention to wed her to the son of a friend and this happens to be Horace. Arnolphe is congratulated in the end for his pains in raising Agnes so well, and for his success in again avoiding matrimony.