The Marquis of Kingsbury and his second wife were highly indignant at the behavior of the Marquis' two older children, Lord Hampstead and Lady Frances Trafford, both of whom were determined to marry beneath their rank.
The Marchioness, jealous for the future of her own three small sons, intrigued with the unscrupulous family chaplain Mr. Greenwood to deepen the breach between the father and his older children, and even came to hope for the death of Lord Hampstead so that her oldest son would succeed to the title. Lord Hampstead had fallen in love with Marion Fay, only living daughter of an old Quaker who worked as a clerk in the City, whose wife and other children had all died of consumption. Although Marion loved Lord Hampstead she refused to marry him, foreseeing her early death, which soon occurred.
Lady Frances had engaged herself to George Roden, a postal clerk and a friend of her brother, a young man who claimed neither birth nor fortune. He knew that his mother had been unhappily married but she had never told him of her early life. However. when she was summoned to Italy, it became necessary for her to explain that his father had been the Duca di Crinola, who had abandoned them in George's infancy, that the father was now dead and the title was his. He refused the honor, but the knowledge that he was of noble birth served to change the attitude of Lady Frances' parents toward him, and when he was appointed to a responsible position in the Foreign Office all objection to their marriage was removed.