Ted Conover is Lily Casey Smiths first husband
. She gets to know him in Chicago, shortly after her friend, Minnie Hanagan died. Ted is a former boxer
, who is now working as a “vacuum-cleaner salesman”
(p. 74, l. 13).
“He had quick gray eyes and a lumpy nose – a souvenir from his boxing days” (p. 74, l. 18 f.)
Even though Lily knows from the beginning, that he lies sometimes, she falls in love with him:
“I knew from the start that Ted was a bit of a huckster. […] Maybe it was because I was missing Minnie and I needed someone in my life, but I fell hard for that fellow” (p. 74, ll. 17 - 29).
Ted Conover, however, is even more false76
than Lily would have thought: he marries her, although he already has a wife and three children. Lily likes being married to him and together, they save money in order to establish a life together.
When Lily finds out that Ted is bigamist
, she also discovers that he withdrew 190$ from 200$ without Lily knowing. When Lily tackles Ted about him being a bigamist, he reacts in a very calm and jaded77
way and continues lying:
“As Ted listened, his expression went from defiant to hangdog to downright mournful, and finally, his eyes welled up with tears. He’d taken the money because he’d run up some gambling debts and the dagos were after him, he said. He’d hoped he’d be able to pay it back before I even noticed. Margaret […] was the mother of his children, but he loved me” (p. 82, ll. 4 - 9).
Before Lily leaves Chicago, she writes a letter to Ted’s wife, Margaret, telling her about her husband being a bigamist.