Further in the formal, leisurely Anglo-Australian chronicle which began with The Cardboard Crown and The Difficult Young Man. Guy Langton is again the detached spectator-narrator who records a different segment of his family's history. It is a protected world- of drawing rooms and gardens and balls; bloodlines and barriers are still fairly unassailable; and on the eye of the first world war there are only a few intimations of the changes to come. This new novel is primarily concerned with Guy's aunt, Diana von Flugel, her German husband-Wolfie- a musician whose talent has never been recognized, their daughter- Jonie, and Wolfie's mistress- the fullblown Mrs. Montaubyn. After an offensively obtrusive scene on Mrs. Montaubyn's part, Diana breaks with Wolfie, and allows her friendship with Russell Lockwood who offers her a broader, cultural life in Europe to expand. But Jonie's prospective marriage postpones her decision to leave with Russell and the outbreak of the war returns her to her marriage. . . . A companion conversation piece, this does not depend on the earlier books for its interest but again defines its period and its characters with a sophistication of insight.