Piet Barol is an alluring and intelligent young man who has escaped his drab existence, living with his father in the university town of Leiden, and moved to Amsterdam to take up a job at a stunning mansion in the city's 'Gilded Curve'. He has been employed by the extremely wealthy Vermeulen-Sickerts family to tutor their son Egbert, a boy with prodigious musical talent who has not set foot outside for a year and a half. Piet soon attracts the attentions of Constance and Louisa, the boy's two sisters, and their mother Jacobina who has been living in a sexless marriage since her husband made a pledge to God. Piet is determined to find a way of gaining entry to high society, through the family, although he must also retain the good will of his fellow servants. Piet finds many ways to pursue his pleasure-seeking ways, but when he seduces - or is seduced by - Jacobina, the future he has been so carefully building could vanish...
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deeply enjoyable musing on the nature of pleasure