Portia is Julia’s favorite sister. She is independently wealthy from the estate of her deceased husband Lord Bettiscombe. She lived in London for many years with her companion and lover Jane Cavendish and her dog, Puggy. Portia is generally forthright and sharp-tongued and doesn’t care what society thinks of her. She usually dresses head to toe in one solid color.
Portia encouraged Julia to cut her hair, gain weight, and to change her manner of dress after she was widowed.
Portia is heartbroken when Jane decides to marry, have children and move to India with her husband. To forget Jane, Portia travels with Julia to Yorkshire to assist Nicholas Brisbane in what she thinks will be setting up an estate.
Portia comes to ask Julia’s help eight months after her marriage to Nicholas Brisbane. Jane’s husband is dead and Portia thinks it may be murder. She thinks that Jane and her unborn child may also be in danger.
When Jane dies in childbirth, Portia takes Jane’s daughter back to London to raise her.