Upon the Robin's Breast is a southern romance of old Charleston. The historical backdrop is the election of former confederate General Wade Hampton to the governorship of South Carolina.
Another war was nearly fought over the Hampton election. It was a tumultuous time in the state's history.
The central characters are Bravard Middleton Civil War veteran and scion of a long line of Charleston people. He falls in love with Ernestine Coleman, a belle of breeding and a girl of his class. She's more than 20 years his junior. One obstacle remains; he's a married man, unable to loose himself from a good and faithful wife. A secondary plot involves Pearl macLean, Bravard's long time mistress and confidant. After tiring of her, he pawns her off on a young unsuspecting union soldier, who marries her. He takes her back to New York to begin life as a respectable farmer's wife. The story begins in Charleston, moves up to Columbia where Bravard endeavors to help his old General maintain the peace during the election. In time the story moves back to Charleston, culminating in an outbreak of yellow fever. Eventually an improbable love is realized.