"I am beginning to have real regards to our cousin Rachel."
"You were right to hate me. If he had not come..he would not have died"
Philip was an orphan who grew up on a large estate in Cornwall, raised by his older cousin Ambrose who he treasured deeply. Ambrose began traveling winters abroad for treatment on his rheumatism. When Philip was twenty-four, on one such winter Ambrose traveled to Florence, Italy. Soon Philip received a letter from Ambrose that stated he had fallen in love and has married an Ashley family member named Rachel.
"Money..is at the present time the only way to her heart."
Ambrose seems happy and content with Rachel, but within a few months the nature of his letters shift. Ambrose states that he had been dealing with extreme headaches and refered to rachel as his torment, "She has done me at last, Rachel my torment." Philip was alarmed and left for Italy straightaway. When Philip arrives, he learns Ambrose is dead and Rachel nowhere to be found.
Philip thinks Rachel had contributed to Ambrose's death and sought out vengeance. Philip returns to Cornwall and within a few weeks learns Rachel had arrived to Plymouth, England. Philip desperate and determined to question her about the death invites her to stay with him. After discussing Ambrose's last two letters, Rachel agrees with all Philip had been thinking about her, it surprised Philip because rather than challenging him she agreed.
Philip and Rachel begin to bond over their shared love for Ambrose even though he set out to hate her. He tells his legal guardian Nick Kendall to provide Rachel with an allowance. Rachel kisses Philip, he becomes infatuated with her. By December, Philip is in love with Rachel. He finds an old letter of Ambrose's one day that said Rachel was a cheater, extravagant spender, and impulsive stealer. He was pushes it to the back of his mind.
One day early spring, Philip is called to the home of a tenant He had gave one of Ambrose's jackets to. The tenant found a letter in the coat by Ambrose that bequeaths the estate to Rachel, but is left unsigned because of fears Rachel and her lover were trying to poison him, "One thought possesses me, leaving me no piece. Are they trying to poison me?" Philip decides to turn the estate over to Rachel under the condition she not remarry.
Philip finds poisonous seeds in Rachel's desk and realizes she might be trying to kill him. The next morning Philip receives warning that the bridge they built cannot bear weight. He does not warn Rachel, "There may have been an accident to Rachel," he says. He runs outside and finds Rachel lying on stones under the fallen bridge. He holds her up and she opens her eyes. Rachel looks Philip in the eyes and says "Ambrose," then dies.