Valeria tells Belvile and Florinda to get married quickly, before Pedro returns.
Florinda gasps and tries to flee, until Belvile reveals himself to her. The other men, unaware that the girl is Florinda, decide to let her out and have their way with her.
Nell Gwyn, a famous actress and notorious mistress of Charles II, starred in the play--the equivalent of having someone as famous as Angelina Jolie star in your small production.
Now she is advertising for a new lover, so she has placed three portraits of herself on the outside of her palatial home, along with the price. Among them, Willmore, a naval captain, meets and falls in love with Hellena, who herself is determined to experience love and passion before she must enter a convent, something her brother Pedro is forcing upon her.
She took her last name from her late Dutch husband, though some speculated that she made up this husband and faked his death to allow herself more social freedom widows in that era were not as bound by societal stricture as unmarried women.
At this point, Valeria enters, distracting Pedro by telling him that Florinda has escaped. Willmore falls in love with her beauty and takes one of the portraits, since he does not have the money to enjoy the original.
Behn had condensed his ten-act drama and turned it into a comedy, but as a woman writer, she was especially vulnerable to charges of plagiarism. Unfortunately, she falls hopelessly in love with one of the worst sort of men, Captain Willmore, who wants only physical satisfaction and not a love relationship.
They all go off to find him.