Johann Veraguth (FEHR-ah-gewt), a successful artist with an international reputation. Despite assurances that he is known for exhibitions of his work all over Europe, Veraguth is clearly not involved in the world of fame. Two passions visibly affect him: the intellectual and aesthetic content of his paintings and love for his youngest son, Pierre. He is largely indifferent to his wife, who inhabits the main manor house of Rosshalde, leaving Veraguth to his own domain in his studio. The painter has another son, Albert, who returns to Rosshalde during school vacations. Veraguth shows few open feelings for him; those he shows are negative. Veraguth’s main concern seems to be to obtain legal custody of Pierre, even to the point of being willing to give up any other claims if Adele will agree to a discreet divorce. Gradually made conscious of the need to break with this world of constant tensions, Veraguth is about to agree to leave Rosshalde to sojourn abroad with his lifetime friend Burkhardt.
Adele Veraguth (ah-DEH-leh), the wife of the painter, a proper woman, strongly built and fit but missing any traces of her youth. She maintains all the outward signs of decency in dealing with her estranged husband but, without showing any outward emotion, harbors muted regrets that their relationship has failed. Adele is a protective mother; given the age difference between her two sons by Veraguth, however, this protectiveness is manifested in different ways. When Albert, the older son, loses patience with little Pierre’s fits of jealousy at the thought of his brother receiving...
(The entire section is 699 words.)