It is a strange partnership which the two women, Lydia and Annice, share. ",Some people are born to live,", reflects Lydia bitterly, ",and others to make it possible for them to do so.", Lydia the conscientious, inhibited do-gooder, daughter of the saintly Methodist minister Charles Tolefree Mellor, belongs to the second class, Annice with her joyous, amoral love of life, to the first. Lydia brings Annice to the household as maid. The result is to renew old griefs between the Mellors and Lydia's uncle, the hard successful man of business Herbert Dyson. Of Dyson's two sons - the capable Wilfred, son of a woman he detested, and Eric the foolish lad on whom he dotes - Lydia loves Wilfred. But it is Annice's blatant appeal to Eric's sensuality which triumphs. This is a family story of few figures and limited background, but so admirably constructed, characterised and written that it achieves the status of a true work of art.
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