Hugh Pelagius is the youngest child of the (late) owner of the Pelagius Line and his second wife. The Pelagius Line has been one of the premier magical shipping lines for at least a century, running regular magical and mixed trips across the Atlantic, to India and Africa, and other points around the world. The line has a reputation for luxury (for its passengers) and efficiency (for those needing items shipped.) At the beginning of Sailor's Jewel, his father has been dead for nearly two years, but Hugh is still trying to find his feet and his place in the business. He and his older half-brother, Ockham, are still figuring out the direction for the line.
During Sailor's Jewel, Hugh is still trying to find his feet in the business in the year and change since his father's death. He's been working in various positions on different ships, and this time he is responsible for keeping the first-class passengers happy. This trip, he is immediately intrigued by Rhoe Belisama, and is grateful when she's able and willing to help out with a few challenges as a Healer. Together - with Rhoe's brother Cyrus and Nerissa (one of Merope's Speakers), they navigate the social challenges of first-class travel, pacify one of the Ones Below, and get the jewel Cyrus is conveying safely to Boston. After the journey, Rhoe and Hugh begin to build their relationship, and marry in 1902, about a year after the end of the book.
(Click on the title above to learn more about Hugh's role in that book.)