Eveline's father did not like Frank, and had forbidden her to see him.
Eveline had been seeing Frank for awhile, and people in the neighborhood knew the two were courting. She had met him one day while visiting at a house on the main road; he had been a lodger at the house and had been standing at the gate, "his peaked cap pushed back on his head and his hair tumbled forward over a face of bronze". Frank began to meet Eveline everyday outside the Stores where she worked, and would see her home. He was a sailor, and would sing romantic songs to her and regale her with "tales of distant countries".
When Eveline's father found out about the courtship, he had forbidden his daughter to have anything to say to her beau, noting cruelly and insinuatingly, "I know these sailor chaps". One day, he actually had a quarrel with Frank, and after that, Eveline "had to meet her lover secretly". It is significant that the sheltered young girl had the courage to defy her father to continue to see the man she loved; she was raised to be so dutiful and obedient that to continue the affair as she did must have taken a great deal of fortitude. In the end, however, Eveline cannot find the strength to change her life and take control of her own destiny. She stands frozen and helpless on the dock as the boat which was to have taken her and Frank to a new land and a new life sails away, ultimately unable to take the steps to sever the ties that bind her.