Felix Kennaston, a successful, highly romantic author. He is writing a novel about Ettarre, an ageless woman, and his plot centers around a broken round medallion with mysterious symbols, which he calls the sigil of Scoteia. In his dreams, he talks with Ettarre and accompanies her to historical places and times; when he tries to touch her, however, the dream invariably ends. One day in his garden he finds a shiny broken disc which, giving full play to his romantic imagination, he chooses to believe is the real sigil of Scoteia. He finds the other half of the disc in his wife’s bathroom and wonders about her relation to Ettarre. After his wife dies, he shows his two magic pieces to his neighbor Harrowby, who readily identifies them as the broken top of a cosmetic jar. Disillusioned at last, Felix prepares to face the realities of middle age.
Kathleen Kennaston, his wife (née Eppes). She is thin and capable, and she treats her husband with polite boredom. Though she is a good wife, Kennaston finds her unexciting and a dull conversationalist. She dies in her sleep.
Richard Harrowby, Felix’s neighbor, who admits he cares little for Kennaston, whose story he tells. Harrowby manufactures toilet preparations and, for a hobby, studies the occult. He is both entertained and sometimes annoyed by Kennaston’s romanticism.
(The entire section is 455 words.)