The story begins with a narrative hook in the form of an epigram (a short poem expressing an idea in a clever or amusing way):
Look, you have cast out Love! What Gods are these
You bid me please?
The Three in One, the One in Three? Not so!
To my own Gods I go.
It may be they shall give me greater ease
Than your cold Christ and tangled Trinities. (p. 265, ll. 1-6)
This epigram hints that the story is going to be about missionaries trying to convert others to Christianity, and it introduces the idea that conversion may not be successful or desirable. At the beginning of the story, we do not know wh…
The middle of the story comprises the raising action and the climax.
The rising action is triggered by Lispeth finding a hurt Englishman on the road and bringing him home. Lispeth immediately falls in love with him and plans to marry him, despite the Chaplain and his wife’s shock. This creates a tension point: “…and the Chaplain and his wife lectured her severely on the impropriety of her conduct. […] It takes a great deal of Christianity to wipe out uncivilised Eastern instincts, such as falling in love at first sight.” (p. 267, ll. 4-7)
We see that tension is further created by contrast between two different views on love. Lispeth thinks declaring her love and intentions is something natural, while her caretakers believe the opposite.
In the falling action, the Chaplain’s wife is shocked by Lispeth’s decision to give up Christianity.
We also find out that Lispeth returns to her people and marries a man who beats her. Her beauty fades away: “She took to her own unclean people savagely, as if to make up the arrears of the life she had stepped out of; and, in a little time, she married a woodcutter who beat her” (p. 269, ll. 1-3)
The Chaplain’s wife describes Lispeth as “always at heart an infidel” (p. 269, ll. 6-7) which suggests her refusal to accept that she is partially respo…