Annabel Chapman is the youngest of three children and the only daughter to a once wealthy merchant. Each year the villagers of Glynval must assist in the harvest. To forego this duty, Annabel’s father paid an annual censum. Losing his ships in a storm, then soon after, Mr. Chapman succumbs to the pestilence outbreak leaving his family penniless. Unwilling to partake of the harvest toil, Roberta Chapman bribes the village’s corrupt steward allowing her family to neglect their share of labor for three years. Lord le Wyse, the new lord of Glynval, demands repayment of the Chapman’s shirked duties. In exchange for paying the family’s fines and to avoid working in the fields, Annabel’s oldest brother Edward, promises her in marriage to Bailiff Tom, a friend of her father’s. Unbeknownst to Edward, Tom intends to cover only Annabel’s fees. “Her brother has arranged for her to marry me in exchange for paying her censum” (34).