The Chaperon contains many of the elements that characterise James's other tales - society ladies jousting for social respectability, ambitious families wishing to marry their offspring for financial advantage, and various niceties of moral judgement being made amidst social infighting concealed beneath a cloak of respectability. The principal irony encapsulated in the title is that the young daughter Rose Tramore acts as a chaperone to her mother - not the other way round. Rose protects her mother from the dangers and humiliations offered by polite society to a woman who has defied its conventions. Rose's ambition is to rehabilitate her mother socially, and she refuses to accept invitations which are not offered in the formally correct manner: that is, made to the mother in the first instance, thereby acknowledging her status. It is there that the main problem with the story lies - for we are given no persuasive reason to account for Rose's motivation and behaviour. Rose's loyalty to her mother is the driving force of the narrative - but we are not provided with any explanation for her reasons in being so doggedly loyal. The other weakness in the story is that Bertram Jay is introduced (quite amusingly) as something of blockhead who a young woman with Rose's intelligence and spirit would not for one moment consider as a good prospect for marriage. Yet by the end of the tale he has become a charming suitor who Rose is quite happy to accept. No reason for any change in his character is given.