It is shortly before Christmas in the year 1879, the forty-second year of Queen Victorias reign, when the curtain rises on the Garden family: on Mr Garden, a clergyman of many denominations, about to lose his faith for the umpteenth time, on his selfless, devoted wife - and on their six children, about to be launched on the adult world. There is Victoria, a Pre-Raphaelite beauty intent on marriage; Maurice, shaking his fist at the injustices of the world; Stanley, a follower of Ruskin and Morris, doing good as radical fashion dictates; Irving, a lusty young capitalist, and Una born for happy marriage and maternity. All are watched from the sidelines by their sister Rome. Detached, intelligent, urbane, she observes three generations of her family strut and fret their hour upon the stage. To her their sound and fury signify nothing- but to us the memory of Romes one brief love affair strikes the final note of truth, defiantly affirming that it is better to have loved and lost . . .