Last Updated on November 15, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 671
Adrian Smith is a sociable, successful man of thirty-one, initially described as a minor celebrity. He is, in fact, a successful Broadway playwright, recognized by several people on board—including Betsy D'Amido, who first saw him at a rehearsal over a year ago. At the beginning of the voyage he talks enthusiastically of escaping from New York and spending the crossing to France with his wife, Eva, but as soon as he sees the other women on the boat, he is immediately distracted. He soon begins an affair with Betsy and starts to neglect his wife, who is seasick and disinclined to participate in the social life on board. However, in the midst of a storm at the end of the voyage, in which he is knocked out, he thinks only of saving Eva. The next time he sees Betsy, on the boat-train, he treats her with indifference and agrees with Eva to forget all about what happened during the crossing.
Eva Smith is Adrian's wife. She is twenty-six years old, attractive, charming, and talented. She wants to spend the voyage alone with her husband and is rather bored with all the new people attracted by his celebrity even before she is jealous. She becomes seasick and soon begins to resent Betsy and the "younger set" with whom Adrian is spending all his time while she is confined to their state room. When she is certain that Betsy and Adrian are having an affair, she decides to divorce her husband, but forgives him after he demonstrates his courage and concern for her during the storm.
Elizabeth "Betsy" D'Amido
Elizabeth D'Amido is about eighteen years old and is described as "a dark little beauty with the fine crystal gloss over her that, in brunettes, takes the place of a blonde’s bright glow." She is the cynosure of all male eyes on the boat, acknowledged as the prettiest girl on the crossing. Elizabeth, known as Betsy, is part of a group of young people who join the Smiths in the smoking room. She quickly manages to sit next to Adrian and tells him she is a great admirer of his work and has seen his latest play four times. She and Adrian arrange to be partners in the deck-tennis tournament, and later that day, she kisses him and tells him that she has been in love with him ever since she first saw him over a year ago at a rehearsal. She begins an affair with him, which she seems to have planned all along and to regard...
(The entire section contains 671 words.)
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