Lady Carbury, a aspiring writer trying to arrange favorable reviews for her book Criminal Queens. Since the death of her abusive husband, she has sought literary fame and friends for herself, but she also anguishes over the wasted life of her son Felix, the one human being to whom she is devoted. She also is irritated by her daughter Hetta’s insistence on making her own marriage choice. Lady Carbury finally has to accept Felix’s failure and Hetta’s romantic marriage to Paul Montague, as well as her own inadequacies as an author, but she finds happiness in a second marriage to Mr. Broune, an editor.
Sir Felix Carbury
Sir Felix Carbury, a dissolute young gentleman who enjoys a run of luck at gambling but reluctantly acquiesces to his mother’s urging that he pursue marriage with Marie Melmotte. With little effort, he gets Marie to fall in love with him, but he is able neither to impress Marie’s father into acceptance of their engagement nor to follow through on Marie’s plan that they elope. His luck at cards changes, and he loses so badly that his friends will no longer play with him. He is beaten by the fiancé of a working-class girl he tries to seduce, and he is forced to leave England and live quietly in Germany.
Hetta Carbury, Lady Carbury’s daughter, who is wooed by Roger Carbury. Although she increasingly recognizes and admires his wisdom and probity and thinks she ought to be able to love him, she knows she prefers Paul Montague. Although their engagement is threatened when she learns about Paul’s relationship with Mrs. Hurtle, she forgives him and they marry.
Roger Carbury, a country gentleman who wants to marry his cousin Hetta but is unable to persuade her to accept him. Although Roger believes that Paul Montague’s relationship with Hetta is a betrayal of their friendship, he works to prevent Paul from a renewed entanglement with Mrs. Hurtle, whom Roger regards as a completely unsuitable match for an...
(The entire section is 854 words.)