Delphine d’Albemar (dehl-FEEN dahl-beh-MAHR), the tragic heroine of this sentimental epistolary novel. Intellectually and financially independent upon her widowhood at twenty, she gives away part of her fortune to enable Matilda de Vernon, the daughter of a friend, to marry an unseen Spanish nobleman. When Delphine herself falls in love with the young nobleman, she is maligned and deceived by Matilda’s mother in order that the proposed marriage may take place. Always virtuous but never an adherent to convention, Delphine constantly finds her reputation in jeopardy. Deceived into taking vows as a nun, she renounces them to marry her lover, now a widower. Yet because public opinion is against her, she refuses to marry him, not wishing to make his life miserable. Ultimately, she takes poison and dies on his execution ground. The lovers, kept apart in life, are buried side by side.
Madame de Vernon
Madame de Vernon (vehr-NOHN), her close friend, a treacherous woman. On her deathbed, she confesses that she lied about Delphine.
Matilda de Vernon
Matilda de Vernon (mah-TEEL-dah), Madame de Vernon’s daughter. Her marriage to the man who loves Delphine is doomed to unhappiness. When her death frees her husband, he and Delphine are still unable to find...
(The entire section is 453 words.)