Eustace Carádoc (yew-STAHS kah-RAH-dohk), Lord Miltoun, the idealistic eldest son of the Carádoc family. In the tradition of the aristocracy, he is making his bid for a seat in Parliament. In love with Mrs. Noel, he enters into an affair with her. Feeling that such a liaison is not commensurate with a parliamentary career, he plans to give up the seat he has won. When Mrs. Noel, realizing that he will never be happy outside Parliament, decides to leave, he goes on with his career.
Mrs. Audrey Lees Noel
Mrs. Audrey Lees Noel, the wife of the Reverend Stephen Noel. She is loved by Eustace Carádoc. Not realizing that he is ignorant of her married status, she does not discourage his attentions and inspires him to fall in love with her. Later, engaged in an active affair with him, she decides to leave rather than jeopardize his political career.
Lord Valleys, the head of the Carádoc family, and
Lady Valleys, Eustace Carádoc’s conservative, aristocratic parents.
Lady Casterley, Eustace Carádoc’s grandmother, who is instrumental in persuading Mrs. Noel to give up Eustace for the sake of his career.
Mr. Courtier (kewr-TYAY), a liberal and Eustace Carádoc’s political opponent.
Barbara Carádoc, Eustace’s sister. Feeling herself bound by the restraints of family and society, and attracted by Mr. Courtier and his views on personal freedom, she encourages the affair between her brother and Mrs. Noel. She finally marries a man of her own class.