Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 437
Horace Pendyce, a British landholder of the late nineteenth century whose conservative opinions represent promulgation of traditional social attitudes and actions. When his son seeks his fortune at race tracks and, furthermore, is named in a divorce action, Pendyce feels his world slipping away from him. His efficient but unobtrusive wife takes the situation in hand, however, and after extricating her son from his involvement with a married woman, she persuades the injured husband to drop his divorce suit naming young Pendyce. Aristocratic tradition is again secure, and life at the country estate of Worsted Skeynes becomes serene once more.
Margery Pendyce, Horace’s wife. She takes prompt action when her husband threatens to disinherit their son for not arranging his social affairs to his father’s liking. She leaves Horace, takes her son George in hand in London, and persuades a husband not to press proceedings in a divorce action in which the husband has named her son.
George Pendyce, the irresponsible heir to Worsted Skeynes, the Pendyce country estate. Unconventional, he refuses to conform to the sort of behavior society expects of him. Helen Bellew and his gambling indebtedness create problems that distress his conservative father.
Mrs. Helen Bellew
Mrs. Helen Bellew, a rash young woman, judged by the standards of late nineteenth century English country society. She falls in love with George Pendyce when she is not divorced from her husband, of whom she has grown tired. She tires of George, too, and tells his mother so. Her conduct, generally, is a portent, Galsworthy implies, of the role English women of the future will assume.
The Reverend Hussell Barter
The Reverend Hussell Barter, a typical parish rector of the era. His views are ultra-conservative, and his opinions appreciably influence the direction society takes. When he discovers George and Helen kissing at a social affair, he considers it his duty to inform the husband. He is a stanch defender of traditional morality.
Captain Jaspar Bellew
Captain Jaspar Bellew, Helen’s husband, who does not love her. He initiates divorce proceedings because his pride has been injured, but he is persuaded by Mrs. Pendyce to drop the action.
Gregory Vigil, Helen’s cousin and guardian, who himself is in love with her. Despite advice to the contrary, he attempts to start divorce action on behalf of his ward. Captain Bellew, at last aware of his wife’s flirtatious ways, begins proceedings before Vigil can act.
Edmund Paramor, Vigil’s lawyer, who advises him not to start the divorce action, primarily because it would cause social embarrassment.
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