When Cartilia is 24, she starts a relationship with the sea captain, Marcus. Her and Marcus' relationship is heavily disliked by Flavia, who does all she can to remove the woman from her and her father's life. Though everyone else seems to disagree with Flavia's feelings towards Cartilia, the girl pays them no heed and attempts to ensure that Marcus cannot marry Cartilia by producing Cartilia's husband. The man - whom Cartilia had claimed was dead - had divorced Cartilia and another of his wives, as they were both incapable of bearing him children.
Flavia thinks that her father will be relieved to be rid of the ashamed woman, but he instead he is grief-stricken and begins to resent his daughter. By the time they reunite, Flavia has grown to like and accept Cartilia. Marcus is ready to marry the latter, but sadly she dies of a fever that is plaguing Ostia.
Cartilia is a caring, intelligent woman, with a deep passion and curiosity for life and its mysteries.