Four of W. Somerset Maugham's short stories are brought to the screen with each introduced by the author. In "The Facts of Life", a young man with great potential on the tennis courts goes to Monte Carlo and ends up doing the exact opposite of what his father recommended. In "The Alien Corn", an aspiring pianist devotes himself to perfecting his artistic skills, but finds he lacks the talents to reach the heights he so desperately craves. In "The Kite", a young man who lives at home and loves kite flying goes against his overbearing mother's wishes and marries the girl he's been dating. He's soon back home, much to his mother's delight, but re-considers when his wife takes up a new hobby. In the final chapter "The Colonel's Lady", a middle-aged man is shocked to learn that his somewhat-dowdy wife has written a collection of racy poems and is now a best-selling author.