Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Peter Sherringham, who is in the early stages of a promising career in British diplomacy. He is stationed in Paris. He enjoys the theater and has developed a close relationship with the Parisian theatrical circle. He has no ambition to enter the profession himself, but he has a reputation as an excellent judge of the craft. He is asked to support the career of a young English woman of Jewish extraction, Miriam Rooth, who is determined to become an actress. Sherringham is not impressed by her audition performance but is open-minded about it. She works hard, and when she proves to be quite gifted, he puts money into a theatrical production for her in London. It is a great success. Sherringham keeps his distance, in part because of his work in Paris and in part because of his natural discretion and desire not to impose himself on the young girl in her early career. After she becomes established, however, he falls in love with her and wants her to marry him, as well as to give up her career. She refuses, not because she does not love him but because her career is important to her. He believes he can offer her an equally important role as his wife, because he is convinced that he will have a brilliant career as a diplomat. She suggests that he give up the diplomatic world and become her husband and her manager; that role would be important because she is destined to have a brilliant future. They cannot agree, and eventually, some time later, Peter marries his cousin, who has waited patiently for him.
Nicholas Dormer, Peter Sherringham’s cousin. He is a gifted politician whom the Liberal Party in England projects as having a brilliant career if he can win a seat in Parliament. He is modest about his political skills, in part because he has some talent as a painter and would, if he...
(The entire section is 760 words.)
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