The action takes place on a September evening in an English provincial house that resembles a ship in its shape, for its owner, the gray-haired old captain Shatover, spent his entire life swimming across the seas. In the house, except for the captain, live his daughter Hesiona, a very beautiful forty-five-year-old woman, and her husband Hector Hashabay. Hesiona Elli, a young attractive girl, her father Mazzini Dan and Mangan, an elderly industrialist, for whom Ellie is about to marry, also come to the place. Also comes Lady Etherward, the younger sister of Hesiona, who was away from her home for the last twenty-five years, since she lived with her husband in all the colonies of the British crown, where he was governor. Captain Shatoever at first does not recognize or pretends that he does
Hesiona invited Ellie, her father and Mangan to upset her marriage, because she does not want a girl to marry an unloved person because of the money and gratitude she feels for him for having helped her once Mengen father to avoid utter ruin. In conversation with Ellie Gesiona, she finds out that the girl is in love with a certain Mark Daril, whom she met recently and who told her about her extraordinary adventures, which she conquered. During their conversation, Hector, Hesiona’s husband, enters the room, a handsome, well-preserved fifty-year-old man. Elli suddenly stops, turns pale and staggers. This is the one who introduced herself to her as Mark Darnley. Hesiona expels her husband from the room to bring Ellie to life. Recovering, Ellie senses that in a flash all her girlish illusions have burst,
-At the request of Hesiona, Elli tells her everything about Mangene, about how he once gave her father a large sum to prevent the bankruptcy of his company. When the enterprise did go bankrupt, Mengen helped her father get out of this difficult situation, buying all the production and giving him the place of manager. Captain Shadowover and Mangan enter. The captain at the first glance understands the nature of the relationship between Ellie and Mangan.
Hector first meets Lady Everherd, whom he has never seen before. Both make a great impression on each other, and each tries to lure the other into their networks. In Lady Etherworth, as Hector confesses to his wife, there is the family devilish charm of the Shatover. However, to fall in love with her, as, indeed, in any other woman, he is not capable. According to Hesiona, the same can be said about her sister. The whole evening, Hector and Lady Etherward played each other in cat and mouse.
Mangen wants to discuss his relationship with Ellie. Ellie informs him that she agrees to marry him, referring in conversation to his kind heart. On Mangan finds an attack of frankness, and he tells the girl how ruined her father. Ellie now does not care. Mengen tries to back down. He no longer wants to take Ellie to be his wife. However, Ellie threatens that if he decides to terminate the engagement, it will only get worse. She is blackmailing him.
He falls into an armchair, exclaiming that his brains will not stand it. Ellie strokes him from the forehead to her ears and hypnotizes. During the next scene, Mangan, apparently asleep, actually hears everything, but he can not move, no matter how trying to disrupt the surrounding people.
Hesiona convinces Mazzini Dan not to give his daughter for Mangan. Mazzini expresses everything he thinks about him: that he does not understand anything in machines, he is afraid of workers, he can not control them. He is such a baby that he does not even know what to eat and drink. Ellie will create a regime for him. She will make him dance again. He is not sure what it is better to live with the person you love, but who has been running errands all his life. Ellie enters and swears to her father that she will never do anything she does not want and would not consider it necessary to do for her own good.
Mangan wakes up when Ellie takes him out of hypnosis. He is furious with everything he has heard about himself. Hesiona, who wanted to turn Mengen’s attention to Ellie all the evening, seeing his tears and reproaches, realizes that his heart has also broken in this house. And she did not even suspect that Mengen had any. She tries to comfort him. Suddenly a shot is heard in the house. Mazzini brings into the living room a thief, who just barely was not shot. The thief wants to be reported to the police and he could atone for his guilt, clear his conscience. However, no one wants to participate in the trial. The thief is informed that he can go, and give him money to enable him to acquire a new profession. When he is already in the doorway, Captain Shadowover enters and finds out in him Beal Dan, his former boatswain, who once robbed him.
When everyone diverge, Ellie talks to the captain, who advises her not to marry Mengen and not let the fear of poverty control her life. He tells her about his fate, about his cherished desire to reach the seventh degree of contemplation. Ellie feels very good with him.
All gather in the garden in front of the house. There is a beautiful silent moonless night. Everyone feels that Captain Shadowover’s house is a strange house. In it, people behave differently than is customary. Hesiona at all begins to ask her sister for her opinion on whether it is worth Ellie to marry Mangan only because of his money. Mangan in terrible confusion. He does not understand how you can say that. Then, becoming angry, he loses caution and says that he has no money of his own and has never had it, that he simply takes money from syndicates, shareholders and other useless capitalists and starts factories into circulation – for this they pay him a salary. Everyone starts discussing Mengen with him, why he completely loses his head and wants to strip naked, because, in his opinion, everything in this house is morally exposed already.
Ellie reports that she will not be able to marry Mangan anyway anyway, since half an hour ago in heaven his marriage to Captain Shatover was accomplished. She gave her broken heart and her healthy soul to the captain, her spiritual spouse and father. Hesione finds that Ellie acted extraordinarily cleverly. While they continue the conversation, a dull explosion is heard in the distance. Then they call the police and ask them to turn off the lights. The light goes out. However, Captain Shadowover lights it again and tears off the curtains from all the windows so that the house can be seen better. All excited. The thief and Mangan do not want to follow the shelter in the basement, but climb into the sand pit, where the captain keeps dynamite, although they do not know about it. The rest remain in the house, not wanting to hide. Ellie even asks Hector to light the house. However, there is no time for this anymore.
A terrible explosion shakes the earth. Broken glasses fly out of the windows. The bomb fell right into the sand pit. Mengen and the thief perish. The plane flies by. There are no more dangers. The house-ship remains unscathed. Ellie is desperate from this. Hector, who spent all his life in it as Hesiona’s husband or, more accurately, her pet dog, also regrets that the house is intact. Wrath is written on his face. Hesiona experienced a wonderful sensation. She hopes that maybe tomorrow the planes will fly again.