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In the novel Sad Cypress, Mrs Laura Welman (née Carlisle) was the paternal aunt of Elinor Carlisle. Through her deceased husband, she was the aunt-in-law of Roddy Welman.

Before she met her husband, Henry Welman, Laura was an heiress, and was left very wealthy. She later married Henry, and they bought Hunterbury. However, after five years of marriage, Henry died of double pneumonia. Laura was twenty-six at the time, and never married again.

Mrs Welman later told Mary Gerrard that she and Henry had been very happy, but somehow that happiness seemed unreal. She said that she had been an "odd, solemn, undeveloped girl", with a "head full of ideas and hero worship". She also mentioned that she had been terribly lonely after Henry died.

According to Roddy, Mrs Welman had said that she had always been lucky in her investments, and that practically nothing had slumped.

Mrs Welman had been generous with Elinor and Roddy, saying that they were her only family ties. She had treated Roddy as if he was her nephew by blood, and had helped him financially when he needed it.

At some point before the events of the novel, Mrs Welman suffered a stroke. She later told Mary that a stroke was the thing she had always dreaded, because of the indignity of being helpless, and being washed and tended to like a baby. She also said that she had told Dr Lord that in a decently civilized state, she would just need to intimate to him that she wished to end her life, and he would help her end her life painlessly with a drug.

Mrs Welman was glad to hear about Elinor and Roddy's engagement. When they were younger, she had thought Elinor was becoming too fond of Roddy. However, when Elinor came back from finishing school and seemed indifferent to Roddy, Mrs Welman felt sorry, because she had always hoped that they would end up together.

When Elinor asked Mrs Welman if she thought love was ever a happy thing, Mrrs Welman said that to care passionately for another person always brought more sorrow than joy, but that anyone who had never really loved had never really lived.

Mrs Welman later suffered a second stroke. She was badly paralysed, and her speech was almost unrecognizable. However, she managed to communicate to Elinor that she wanted to send for Mr Seddon, her lawyer, and to make provision for Mary in her will.

The following morning, Mrs Welman was found dead, and was thought to have died naturally in her sleep.

It was revealed that Mrs Welman had not made a will at all. Mr Seddon explained that he had frequently spoken to her about making a will, but she had always said that there was plenty of time, and that she had not made up her mind on how she wished to leave her money. He thought that she had hoped that she would recover absolutely, and so thought that making a will would be unlucky.

Mrs Welman's body was later exhumed, and an autopsy found that she was murdered with morphine.

It was revealed that Mrs Welman and Sir Lewis Rycroft had been very fond of each other, but could not marry because he already had a wife, who was in an asylum. Mrs Welman became pregnant by Sir Lewis, and went to Scotland with her maid, Eliza. The child was born in Scotland, and was later raised by Eliza and Bob Gerrard. It was revealed that this child was Mary Gerrard.