He was in the presence of stranger...some one hard and inflexible, who surely had not borne his lovely daughter. For years William and Kate have made a ritual of her birthday. Yet now that their children are adults, this gathering of the family offers Kate little comfort. Their son Walter is quietly dependable, but their daughters do not share their mother's perspective: Dora ridicules Herbert's devotion; the unmarried Janet seeks her liberty; Mary has made a virtue out of scrimping and saving, and Lydia gads in London with no thought for Oliver. Unlike Kate, William acknowledges that marital harmony can be a social illusion. When Lydia's behaviour confirms Kate's worst fears, it is William to whom Lydia turns. As disturbing as his daughter's unhappiness is the difference it reveals between himself and his wife, for William can love without judgement and Kate cannot.