Frédéric Peloux (fray-day-REEK puh-LEW), called Chéri (shayr-EE), an idle and moody twenty-five-year-old man. He has inherited a fortune. He is an extremely handsome man of medium height, with blue-black hair; dark eyes framed by thick, lustrous lashes; a disdainful but pretty mouth; unblemished white skin; and a hard, darkish chest shaped like a shield. To remove him from his dissipated life in Paris, he has been taken, in late adolescence, to Normandy by a friend of his mother, Léa de Lonval, an aging but still beautiful courtesan. He and Léa become lovers. This idyllic life ends when his mother arranges a marriage for him to Edmée, a wealthy young woman of eighteen. Chéri accepts but has no enthusiasm for the marriage. After a brief period of domesticity, he longs for the old days with Léa, which, to his dismay, he discovers cannot be recaptured. He finally realizes that his only course is to return to his family.
Léonie Vallon (lay-oh-NEE vahl-LAHN), later Léa de Lonval (lay-AH deh lahn-VAL), nicknamed Nounoune (new-NEWN), a passionate, aging, and still beautiful courtesan who is in love with, and the mistress of, young Chéri. She is forty-nine years old, tall, and blonde, with ruddy cheeks, a beautiful face, a good body, thin-wristed arms, large pure-blue...
(The entire section is 649 words.)