In this fifth installment of the Palliser series, Plantagenet Palliser becomes Prime Minister in a fragile coalition government. Lady Glencora attempts to aid the success of her husband's tenure by hosting lavish events. Meanwhile a significant sub-plot concerns Ferninand Lopez, a city adventurer of undisclosed parentage who wins the favour of Emily Wharton. Emily marries Mr Lopez despite her father's objections and rapidly regrets her mistake. Lopez's high-risk gambles lead to financial ruin and, after failing to persuade Lizzie Eustace to go with him to Guatemala, takes his own life.
ory way to his dearest friend. He suffered no doubt;--but with Spartan consistency he so hid his trouble from the world that no one knew that he suffered. Those with whom he lived, and who speculated often and wondered much as to who he was never dreamed that the silent man's reticence was a burden to himself. At no special conjuncture of his life, at no period which could be marked with the finger of the observer, did he glaringly abstain from any statement which at the moment might be natural. He never hesitated, blushed, or palpably laboured at concealment; but the fact remained that though a great many men and not a few women knew Ferdinand Lopez very well, none of them knew whence he had come, or what was his family.
He was a man, however, naturally reticent, who never alluded to his own affairs unless in pursuit of some object the way to which was clear before his eyes. Silence therefore on a matter which is common in the mouths of most men was less difficult to him than to another, and the res