Peregrine Pickle, called Perry in his younger days, a headstrong, rebellious young man. Bitterly disliked by his mother in his childhood, Peregrine is adopted by his godfather, a retired naval officer who lavishes money on his young ward, educates him, saves him from a love affair regarded as imprudent, and sends him traveling on the Continent. Although wealthy after his benefactor’s death, Peregrine suffers reverses caused by his extravagance, his delight in practical jokes, and his foolhardiness in writing satires on public officials after he has stood unsuccessfully for Parliament and has been reduced to near penury. Thrown into prison and without influential friends, he nevertheless refuses the hand and fortune of Emilia Gauntlet, with whom he is in love. He is saved by an inheritance from his father, marries Emilia, and settles down to the life of a country squire. Peregrine Pickle is developed beyond Smollett’s other title characters. On his travels, he is thrown with intellectuals, the associations leading to lengthy discussions on political, cultural, and philosophical matters. He is also given to foolhardy and sometimes licentious behavior.
Commodore Hawser Trunnion
Commodore Hawser Trunnion, Peregrine’s godfather and benefactor. An old sea dog, Trunnion keeps his house—called “the garrison”—like a ship; his speech is sharp and salty with naval jargon. His maintenance of a ship’s atmosphere makes for much of the comedy in the novel.
Thomas Pipes, Trunnion’s companion and servant, retired from the sea. He becomes a companion to Peregrine when he is sent to school and on his travels. Loyal to the young man, Pipes rescues his wayward master from many scrapes.
Lieutenant Jack Hatchway
Lieutenant Jack Hatchway, the commodore’s one-legged companion. Like Pipes, he often shows up when Peregrine needs help. Hatchway’s most opportune appearance comes when Peregrine is in Fleet Prison after his arrest for writing the political satires.
Emilia Gauntlet, called Emy by her family, Peregrine’s sweetheart, whom he meets while he is attending Winchester School. The recurrent meetings of these two, tempered by quarrels and avowals of devotion, are for much of the story secondary in importance to Peregrine’s pursuit of other women. Eventually, Peregrine offers her his hand, and Emilia accepts.
Godfrey Gauntlet, her brother. After a brief period of animosity, during which he worsts Peregrine in a duel, he becomes a devoted friend on learning that Peregrine is his secret benefactor. Peregrine, in his prosperous days, had anonymously provided funds for Godfrey and had used his influence to secure Godfrey’s...
(The entire section is 1167 words.)