Caithleen (Kate) Brady
Caithleen (Kate) Brady, a young Irish country girl. At the age of fourteen, Kate finds romance in the person of Mr. Gentleman. That year, however, her mother dies, and Kate finds herself homeless. Kate spends three relatively happy years at a convent school after winning a scholarship to go there. When she is expelled, she loses her chance to attend college. Instead, with her friend Baba, she goes to Dublin, where she works in a grocery store. When Mr. Gentleman breaks off their love affair, Kate thinks her life is over.
Bridget “Baba” Brennan
Bridget “Baba” Brennan, a pretty, spoiled young woman. As a child, she uses Kate as a target for her cruelty; at the convent, she finds Kate to be a useful confidante and confederate. Selfishly, Baba decides to get Kate, as well as herself, expelled so that the two of them can move to Dublin. In Dublin, she enrolls in a business course, but she is really interested only in men and what she can get out of them. After contracting tuberculosis, Baba leaves for a sana-torium.
Mrs. Brady (Mama)
Mrs. Brady (Mama), Kate’s mother, a loving, devout woman. When she learns that her husband is about to lose the farm, she goes out to borrow money. On her way home, she is accidentally drowned.
Mr. Brady (Dada)
Mr. Brady (Dada), Kate’s father, an irresponsible, abusive drunkard. He sells his property to pay his debts.
Jacques de Maurier
Jacques de Maurier, called Mr. Gentleman, a wealthy, middle-aged French solicitor. After courting Kate for years, he breaks off with her without ever consummating their relationship.
Martha Brennan, Baba’s mother, an attractive woman who is bored with her husband. She amuses herself by drinking and flirting. Martha is kind to Kate, giving her a home after the death of her mother.
Mr. Brennan, Baba’s father, a veterinarian. He sometimes hints to Kate that he wishes Baba were more like her. When Kate’s father hits her, Mr. Brennan throws him out of the house.