London 1899. Gertrude Melrose is preparing for a New Year party when her brother enters her room. She knows he wants money from her and refuses at once. She loves her brother but he is in with a disreputable crowd and losing heavily at the gaming tables. He has already gambled away his inheritance and she cannot allow him to do that with hers.
A few days later the Melrose family are devastated when demands are made on them to settle Edward's huge debts. It will mean the loss of their house and almost everything they own.
Edward is disowned by his father and banished from their lives.