Bassington house. London home of Francesca Bassington, whose house is hers only until Emmeline Chetrof marries. Thus, it is not truly a home, and its very impermanence drives Francesca’s actions and suggests the shallowness of the society in which she lives. Francesca’s only visitors seem to be her son and her brother—one more indication that the house will disappear. The furnishings that Francesca prizes she has acquired mostly by chance; her “delicious bronze Fremiet” she buys with winnings from horse racing; some Dresden figurines are given to her by an admirer; other Dresden figurines she acquires with bridge winnings. There are other things she values, in part because they come from marvelous, mysterious places, but above all because they are somehow connected with her own history. Her prize possession, the “Van der Meulen” painting, turns out to be a fake.
*London. Great Britain’s chief city, in which almost all the action in the novel takes place. The people inhabiting Saki’s London are strictly upper middle class, with an occasional member of the lower aristocracy. Francesca plays bridge with her female friends at various houses, especially Serena Golackly’s, all of which are clearly in the West End of London, where the upper classes live. Besides bridge, the main purpose of these parties is gossip, of a petty and nasty sort.
(The entire section is 529 words.)