Ashenden, a writer who is asked by Alroy Kear, another writer and a friend, to contribute his reminiscences of the younger days of still another writer, Edward Driffield, about whom Kear is planning to write a biography. Ashenden was a friend of Driffield and his first wife when they lived in the Kentish town where Ashenden lived, as a boy, with his uncle. Ashenden met the Driffields again in London when he was a medical student and became Driffield’s wife’s lover. Driffield’s wife, Rosie, ran off with another man, however, and Driffield divorced her. Ashenden was hurt that she would run away with someone else.
Alroy Kear, a novelist who is writing the official biography of an eminent Victorian author, Edward Driffield. He invites his friend Ashenden to lunch in order to get Ashenden’s impressions of Driffield in his younger days. Kear is not satisfied with Ashenden’s material, since it would tend to embarrass Driffield’s widow.
Rosie Driffield, Edward Driffield’s first wife, a former barmaid. She had a great love of life and could not deny love to anyone. Ashenden became her lover, and for a time she visited his rooms regularly, but her great love was George Kemp. When she ran away with him to New York, Driffield divorced her. Years later Ashenden saw her again, a wealthy widow in New York. She confided that of all her lovers Kemp had been her favorite because he was always the perfect gentleman.
Edward Driffield, a famous English writer of the Victorian era. When Rosie ran away, he divorced her and married his nurse.
George Kemp, a contractor with whom Rosie was unfaithful to Driffield and with whom she finally ran away. She went with him to New York, and they were married.
Amy Driffield, Driffield’s nurse during his convalescence from pneumonia. She became his second wife.