LORD EDWARD BLANCHFORD-CARTER:Age 37.Moustache, monacle, baggy plus-fours and minimal droll comment.Could quickly alter his usual bored expression to one of hail-fellow-well met when it suited his purpose.Was all for the quiet life and therefore happy for a time to remain a mere appendage of his dominant wife.

LADY CYNTHIA BLANCHFORD-CARTER:Age 30.Reddish unkempt hair loose about her head; green, alert eyes set too close together; walked with urgency in her stride and was over fond of long-flowing chiffons and all- embracing gestures.

HELEN SARSFIELD:Age 16.Jade-green eyes; hair of luminous gold; a comely,intelligent face with a determined slant to her jaw. Her youthful silhouette gave emphasis to the fact that her beauty burgeoning since childhood was finally beginning to blossom. Began her working life as a scullerymaid.

ELIZABETH WHITTAKER:Age 32.A slim, sinewy pinched-faced kitchen maid as ramrod stiff as her starched cap and apron, and perpetually smelling of strong carbolic. Assaulted at the age of 15,she had developed a thorough dislike of men, and much preferred the company of teenage girls.

JONATHAN ODDY:Age 19.Assistant groomsman.A tall, square jawed, curly haired youth with chestnut-coloured eyes and thick brows that met in the middle.Shy and awkward but polite in manner.

JAMES EDGAR HAWKINS:Age 40.House steward to Lord Edward.A gigantic gentleman's gentleman with a dour face and the blackest eyes in creation.Head of his profession and a hard taskmaster, other servants cringed from his path and scampered to hide in glory holes as he approached.

CHRISTOPHER SARSFIELD:Age 16.Helen's twin.Fair with close cropped hair-his one and only ambition to list as a soldier and not to have to wait years for the privelege.

DOLORES MERRIMAN:Age 16.A divine epicurean princess, in the worshipping eyes of Christopher, the most ravishing creature ever to have attended first, second or even third mass in the lovely old church of Athlone.

HERBERT HUME:Age 26.A handsome, thin-boned individual with a shock of red hair, the life and soul of the Sunday evening confraternity meetings.As a student of Shakespeare was once a real wizard at producing and putting on plays.A kingpin in James Connolly's Irish Socialist Republican Party is committed to a free Ireland.

AMY SARSFIELD:Age 15.Younger sister of Helen.Dark complexioned, her hair a mass of black curls.A reluctant schoolgirl, eager to leave home.

ARTHUR MORRISON:Age 34.Groomsman.Lover of horses and the great outdoors.A tall rugged individual of easy going manner and a pleasant disposition.Conscientious and well liked, he had shown no particular interest in the opposite sex until he met the much-younger Helen.

SENORA FELIZ:Age 76.A frail old lady languishing in the throes of feeble reminiscence, struggling to recall all that a time-worn memory would permit - her tired physiognomy intermittently allowing the ghost of a smile to linger over an amusing recollection.But was she really as fragile as she seemed or was it part of a very clever act ?

STEPHEN:Age 45, multi-millionaire on the Costa del Sol - his mysterious comings and goings a constant source of interest to the elderly senora.

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