Francesca Bassington, a heartless, scheming society matron of London who has an attractive home and a Van der Meulen painting. She wants her son Comus to marry Emmeline Chetrof, heiress to her house, and to go into politics. The news of his death in Africa and of the falsity of her painting reach her at the same time.
Comus Bassington, a young man with a casual attitude toward the world and indifference to his mother’s ambitions. Although he is attracted to Elaine de Frey, he ruins his chances by borrowing money from her and being boorish about a silver tray at her tea. He dies at an unwanted political post in Africa.
Emmeline Chetrof, the heiress to a considerable fortune, including Mrs. Bassington’s home.
Lancelot Chetrof, Emmeline’s brother and a schoolmate of Comus, whom he treats badly because of Mrs. Bassington’s matrimonial suggestion.
Elaine de Frey
Elaine de Frey, an heiress who invites both her suitors to a tea, to choose between them. She marries Courtney and discovers her mistake during their honeymoon.
Courtney Youghal, a young member of Parliament whose scurrilous attack on Governor Jull is signed by Comus to escape a political appointment.
Suzette, a cousin of Elaine and the first to hear of her engagement to Courtney.
George St. Michael
George St. Michael, a gossiping member of the fashionable world of Mayfair and Ascot.
Sir John Jull
Sir John Jull, the governor of a West Indian island. He needs a secretary.
Henry Greech, the brother of Francesca and a man of political influence.