Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

The Crossways

The Crossways. Redbrick country house in Sussex, England, that is home to the protagonist, Diana Antonia Merion. The Crossways, which she has inherited at her father’s recent death, is her only source of income, through rentals to tenants. The house takes its name from being near the crossroads to Brasted, London, Wickford, and Riddlehurst; it also symbolizes the transitional, or crossroads, period in Diana’s life.

Keeping the Crossways is an important part of Diana’s marriage agreement with her first husband, Augustus Warwick. When he loses money on the railroads, he attempts to pressure her to sell the house, but she instead arranges a government position for him because of her friendship with the influential Lord Dannisburgh. That relationship leads to accusations of adultery and Diana’s separation from Warwick. She escapes to the Crossways when the pressures of the divorce case become too great. In the end, her attempt to become a novelist fails, and she is forced to sell the Crossways. Until near the end of the novel, she is unaware that she will be able to keep the Crossways, after all, for the man she is about to marry, Thomas Redworth, is the secret purchaser of the house.

Copsley

Copsley. Country home of Lady Emma Dunstane, Diana’s surrogate mother figure, located in Sussex, near the Crossways. Diana socializes at Copsley, where she experiences the love and friendship of Lady Emma. Lady Emma’s feelings about nature are contrasted to Diana’s because she is an invalid and because she does not enjoy living in a secluded rural setting. Symbolically, she has no need for the sublime qualities of nature because she is already married and thereby, in Victorian terms, fulfilled. In contrast, Diana is still seeking marital happiness and fulfillment. Various characters, including Diana, walk the grounds and sail the property’s lake, which gives...

(The entire section is 790 words.)