Both girls in "Roman Fever," have the same father, so what do the daughters' personalities infer about the true nature of each mother?
It helps us to understand that Mrs. Slade's opinion of Mrs. Ansley is very off-center. Mrs. Slade is a very domineering woman who is used to getting her way because of her wealth, and she assumes, naturally, that her opinions are correct.
Mrs. Ansley's daughter, Barbara, is vivacious and lovely. She is also brilliant, and the life of the party. Other girls, including Jenny Slade, pale in comparison. Mrs. Slade is even a little jealous of Mrs. Ansley for having such a brilliant and charming daughter when her Jenny is less-than-stellar in comparison.
This negates Mrs. Slade's view of Mrs. Ansley as a tired, boring, and uninteresting widow. What's funny is that Mrs. Ansley is much more adventurous, intelligent, and interesting than Mrs. Slade has known up until the "secret" that Mrs. Ansley and Mr. Slade are the parents of the brilliant, lovely, and charming Barbara Ansley.
In a nutshell, Mrs. Slade= jealous, superior, wealthy, snooty, puts on an act of being interesting and important in the world, but she's not really.
Mrs. Ansley= unassuming, quiet, keeps her own counsel, intelligent, interesting, adventurous in her youth, has kept the secret of her daughter's parentage her entire life.
Barbara has the best of her parents and Jenny has suffered because of her mother's foibles.