This story of James Grant, his family and the class they belong to is not of our time. That class still exists and its prosperity is unabated. But its position in the American national psyche is greatly diminished, its glitter dulled by the passage of time – and a change in the mores of society as a whole. But I have written it because I believe the foibles of the human heart and its redeeming strengths possess a universality which overcomes the angst of changing times. I have set the stage in an unfamiliar time to mine. Whether my characters that stride upon that cluttered stage would remain credible in a stark, modern setting, I cannot judge. I had no one in particular in mind in devising them. They are as the ghosts that populate our dreams – a compendium of hints and reflections of those who have crossed our consciousness in the ill-remembered past.