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Finn, a young Irish MP, becomes the darling of London drawing-rooms and has several romantic encounters with society beauties, including Lady Laura Standish and Violet Effingham. Both marry other, more suitable, men. Phineas Finn loses his position in the government and ends by marrying his faithful sweetheart, Mary, who has been waiting for him back home in Ireland. As in most of Trollope's novels, there are many sub-plots and numerous characters including Plantagenet Palliser and his wife, Lady Glencora.