Gently, ingratiatingly conveyed portrait of a family and a vanishing caste-the American aristocracy of pride and privilege. There is Mrs. Cassatt, the matriarch, who in her old age resembles Whistler's Mother -- Mrs. Cassatt who had married a member of the Virginia elite, but who never loved her husband or her children, but ruled them inflexibly, self righteously, decorously. Indomitably domineering, she succeeded only in creating equal wilfulness in her four children, and in destroying their ability to love. Bradish, the oldest, becomes an ambassador at large, superficial, successful; Antonia retires to an ancestral estate with a husband who is under her thumb; Fleurney, the second girl, escapes into insanity; Gaw, a painter, marries the lovely Almeria as that he can paint her, but he destroys her and in so doing destroy's his own talent. And finally the granddaughter makes a money marriage, a scandal sheet divorce, and ends as dancer in a night club.