Evelina Anville, a pretty, unaffected seventeen-year-old girl whose letters, principally to the Reverend Arthur Villars, her guardian, make up the book. They tell of her party-going, her love affairs, and her many admirers in the London and Bristol social sets. Evelina’s mother was Caroline Evelyn, who died shortly after Evelina’s birth; her father, Sir John Belmont, a profligate young man, had deserted Caroline, his wife, when he was disappointed in the fortune he expected to receive from his marriage. After much maneuvering to avoid the advances of unwelcome suitors, and upon being legally identified as Miss Belmont, Evelina finally marries Lord Orville.
The Reverend Arthur Villars
The Reverend Arthur Villars, Evelina’s devoted guardian since her mother’s death. He guides and counsels her by letter, in answer to her voluminous messages to him at his Dorsetshire home. At first, Mr. Villars advises Evelina against being deceived by Lord Orville, only to give his blessing when he learns of his charge’s happiness.
Lord Orville, a young nobleman of good family. He is the quintessence of the well-bred young man and the ardent, jealous lover.
Sir Clement Willoughby
Sir Clement Willoughby, an obnoxious admirer of Evelina, always persisting in his effort to win her. He writes letters to Evelina and Lord Orville, signing their respective names, trying to alter their affections for each other.
Mme Duval (dew-VAHL), Evelina’s maternal grandmother. She instigates Evelina’s visit to London, where she has come after twenty years of residence in Paris. Given to double superlative, she attributes her double negative and speech habits to the French influence. Blunt, indelicate, and severe, she is a vulgar old woman. Annoyed by Evelina’s independence, she declares she will not leave Evelina an inheritance.
Macartney, a young, indolent poet whom Evelina meets early in her London visit. She befriends him, saving him from...
(The entire section is 887 words.)