Household. London barracks of the 1st Life Guards, a British military unit that serves the government in a largely decorative capacity. Although the Life Guards are a military brigade, its members are mostly the pampered sons of royalty. Great camaraderie and fellowship exists within the ranks, but discipline is lax. The men spend most of their time indulging the vices of the privileged class: drinking, smoking, gambling, racing horses, and attending balls and parties. Life in the Household is characterized by dissipation and ennui.
Royallieu. Country estate of the Viscount Royallieu, and home of the Cecil family, to which the protagonist, Bertie Cecil, belongs. The estate is located in the Melton countryside of central England. The estate’s expansive grounds are well stocked with game for hunting, and its manor house is magnificently outfitted with servants, cooks, and grooms who cater to its distinguished visitors. Though its banquet halls, decorative paintings, and costly furnishings bespeak the luxury of wealth, in truth its luxury has been purchased at the cost of the future. Members of the Cecil family no longer have enough money to sustain the magnificence of their estate. Nevertheless the proud viscount refuses to change his spendthrift ways or sell part of the estate to subsidize his profligate sons. Royallieu embodies the unrealistic expectations of its idle-rich owner and represents the prodigality of the wealthy society the Cecil family keeps.
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