Lord Dawlish's fiancee Claire disapproves of his handing out shillings to the poor. Then, he is the second poorest peer in England. She is quite certain that if he bestirred himself he could get some money.
Lord Dawlish -- alias Bill -- gets an American friend of his to write him a letter of introduction under a false name, because he hopes to make some money in New York. And then he discovers that a capricious millionaire had left him his entire fortune -- minus twenty pounds for a nephew -- cutting off his own niece. His conscience won't let him. Bill takes sail for New York in hopes of giving the niece half the sum. The other half? Well, he couldn't disappoint Claire. He's even wary of telling her that how much he got, and certainly not that he intends to give half away.
Meanwhile, Claire has a letter from her dear friend Evelyn, a fellow chorus girl who had married Lord Weatherby -- the actual poorest peer in England, except that now he's in New York, where Evelyn is doing dances and making the most of her title for celebrity and the chance to earn some money. And Evelyn told her she made arrangements for Claire to visit New York at her own expense. So Claire sets sail.
And meanwhile, the niece aforementioned, Elizabeth, is keeping bees in the countryside, where her brother Nutty is also living. Except that Nutty gives her the slip, and Bill's letter of introduction happens to lead to their meeting.
More coincidences lie ahead, of course. This is a Wodehouse novel. It takes up a monkey, Bill's old history of having kept bees, an automobile manufacturer, two love triangles, Bill's inability to dance, Elizabeth's noble sacrifice, and the judicious use of a pin to tangle up and then adroitly resolve the plot