Stephen is handsome, charming, and wealthy—the son and heir to the Guest & Co shipping fortune. He is courting Lucy Deane, and it is generally understood that they will soon be engaged. Stephen feels genuine affection and love for Lucy, whom he considers the ideal wife for him. However, he also finds himself drawn to Maggie’s unconventionality and passion. At first, he tries to deny his feelings for her, but later begins trying to persuade her to marry him. On a boating expedition, he rows the boat to a nearby town with the intention of getting Maggie to elope with him. He is confident of success, so he is astonished when Maggie refuses and returns to St. Ogg’s—showing that his arrogance was misplaced in assuming that Maggie would want to marry him. He flees to Holland after the botched elopement but continues to write to Maggie and even asks again for her hand in marriage. After Maggie’s death, he marries Lucy.