Love, thought Emily, is the one thing that can be the ruin of a young lady, as she knew herself.
The novel hints at a love affair that the young Emily Lutyens (nee Bulwer-Lytton) may have had. There is no name mentioned in the final version of the novel but in one earlier draft the affair was expanded. "Lady Emily Lutyens was the daughter of the 1st Earl of Lytton and Edith Villiers. She had been brought up in Lisbon, India and Paris. When she was seventeen her father, whom she adored, committed suicide. He was at that time the English ambassador in Paris. At the age of seventeen she returned to England and her home, Knebworth House. The following year Emily started a liaison with the married poet, Wilfrid Scawen Blunt. Blunt, who was thirty years her senior, was married and faced with a possible scandal, the relationship was ended by Emily’s family." However, dwelling on Lady Emily's affair appeared to add nothing to the novel and it was decided to delete the references to Blunt. Lady Emily herself wrote about Blunt:
"You would think that a man, inordinately vain, inconsiderate, and profligate, must be universally hated, and yet I suppose Blunt has numberless devoted slaves. Lady Anne is one, Judith another, and many, many others who suffer from his tyranny and yet kiss his feet."