Marion Chumley

Marion Chumley appears in both Close Quarters and Fire Down Below, the second and third parts of ‘The Sea Trilogy’. Chumley is a passenger on the Alcyone, which joins up with the main ship for part of their journey. After the death of her father, Marion becomes a protégée of Lady Somerset.

Edmund Talbot falls ‘desperately’ in love with Marion and they share a number of dances and conversations at the ball. Marion reveals that she favours art over nature and also that she believes that young people have little control over their lives: ‘Young people are like ships, Mr Talbot. They do not decide their fate nor their destination’ (CQ 125). Marion tries to remain ‘proper’ in response to Edmund’s declarations of love, although she does makes some promise to him before they part.

‘Then say you do not regard me as little as these other gentlemen–’

She turned to me and I saw how her eyes shone in the gloom; and the whisper reached me, as heartfelt as a whisper can be.

‘Oh–no indeed!’


After the ships separate, Marion appears only in Edmund’s thoughts until the very end of Fire Down Below. Marion and Edmund take a ride together, and they reach an understanding. When they are reunited for the second time, Marion ‘springs’ into his arms!