Balthazar B is the world's last shy, elegant young man. Born to riches and a blonde mother's breast in Paris, raised in lonely splendour, a soul bemused with the world's haphazard frailties, he hopes to find each new day just as he left it yesterday. Balthazar B's life spreads from Paris across the Channel to prep school in England. There he is befriended by the world's most beatific sinner, the noble little Beefy, kindly to small dogs and old ladies, fearless to masters and bullies. And in holidays spent in Paris, Balthazar B falls upon love and sorrow with his beautiful governess, Miss Hortense. He soon loses her to live out lonely London years, waking finally in the green sunshine of Ireland and Trinity College. Here, reunited with Beefy, he is swept away to the high and low life of Dublin. From the black-eyes little Breda, met in Irishtown, to the arms of the dark, strange and beautiful Miss Fitzdare. Until, caught between college authorities and a landlady's dentures, their university careers come an inglorious end. They return to the seasons of London, there to take their tricky steps into marriage, Beefy in search of riches, Balthazar in search of love. This touching story, as sad as it is hilarious, in Dublin in its heyday and London in its prime, between a Paris of all its pleasures.