Young Meg has decided to reject marriage, change her name to Christina, and join the convent, where she will be content. She is one day away from achieving this, as she plans to return to the abbey with her uncle after Christmas Mass. Meg has been betrothed since infancy to Burthred, a man who insists she stick to the arrangement. Her father, in an effort to foil Meg's plans, sends Burthred up to her bedchamber to "persuade" her. Most of the action in this short story takes place in Meg's room, as each of the mismatched pair pleads their case to the other.
I found this story very enjoyable, first and foremost, because I haven't met a hero/heroine in one of Joyce's books that I haven't felt instant sympathy and affection for. These two both have their reasons for insisting on having their own way, and the discussion of their stalemate is at turns comical and heartbreaking. There is a lot of tender emotion packed into this short story, and the author is more than adept at giving the reader a complete and satisfying romance in a small package.