Robert Clayton, an engineer and the industrialist director of the Vienna branch of the British firm of Clayton & Powers, Ltd. At the age of twenty-eight, in 1877, he marries Harriet. They honeymoon in the southeastern part of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire, including the town of Slunj and the waterfalls of the Slunjcica River in this remote area of Croatia. After their return to England, Robert’s father informs them that he has arranged to open a branch factory of their agricultural machinery plant in Vienna to serve the southeastern provinces of the British empire. Robert, an efficient director, has a prosperous business established eighteen months later. Robert enjoys the social life of Vienna at the turn of the century after a respectful period of mourning following the death of his wife. He is an active, charming, and extroverted man who continues to bring success to his business and brings a host of people from various social circles into his home. Although he is thirty years older than his son, he is often mistakenly identified as a younger brother. Only a short while after he meets the vivacious Monica Bachler, then Donald’s lover, Robert decides to marry her.
Donald Clayton, Robert’s son, born in Vienna on May 10, 1878, exactly nine months after his parents visited the waterfalls of Slunj. He is sent to England when he is of school age to live with his grandfather, a typical Englishman who takes great interest in Donald’s education. Donald’s personality is the complete opposite of his father’s. He is incapable of responding to human emotions and actions and has a deathly fear of water in any form. When Monica Bachler tries to seduce him, he notices that it is raining outside and simply does not respond to her advances. At the age of thirty-two, while on an extended business trip, Donald decides that he should marry Monica, most likely because he thinks that a wife belongs in an orderly and well-appointed home. While in Slunj, a place his father has often praised for its beauty and vitality,...
(The entire section is 858 words.)