Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Henry (Harry) Clinton

Henry (Harry) Clinton, the second son of the earl of Moreland, put out to nurse when an infant. Educated to be perfect, he is liberal and friendly, impressing even the king and the court. At his father’s death, his older brother being already dead, he becomes the earl of Moreland and uses his fortune and position to help many people.

Mr. Fenton

Mr. Fenton, a wealthy elderly gentleman who becomes young Harry Clinton’s benefactor. He, too, is a Harry Clinton, the uncle of the hero. After he makes himself known to his brother the earl, he is known as Mr. Clinton.


Ned, a beggar lad who becomes Harry’s companion as a boy. He turns out to be of good family and is returned to his parents, from whom he had been stolen as a baby.

Lady Maitland (Fanny Goodall)

Lady Maitland (Fanny Goodall), Mr. Fenton’s cousin. Years before, they had been in love. She is married to Louisa d’Aubigny’s brother and is thus Mr. Fenton’s sister-in-law.

The Earl of Moreland

The Earl of Moreland, Harry’s father. He is remorseful for his treatment of his son and brother and is happy when they are restored to him.

Louisa d’Aubigny

Louisa d’Aubigny, Mr. Fenton’s second wife. She dies after a fall.


Eloisa, daughter of Mr. Fenton and Louisa d’Aubigny. Thought lost at sea, she is rescued and becomes the wife of the emperor of Morocco.


Abenaide, daughter of the emperor of Morocco and Eloisa Fenton. She appears in England disguised as a page. Later she appears in her true form and marries Harry, now the earl of Moreland.

The Fool of Quality Bibliography

(Great Characters in Literature)

Baker, Ernest A. The History of the English Novel. Vol. 5 in The Novel of Sentiment and Gothic Romance. 10 vols. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1924-1939. Classifies the novel as sentimental and devotes discussion to its literary allusions and inset stories. Praises the work as the first novel that presents a full and sympathetic account of a boy growing to maturity.

Foster, James R. History of the Pre-Romantic Novel in England. New York: Modern Language Association of America, 1949. Summarizes portions of the novel and points out incongruities in Brooke’s narrative. An unsympathetic analysis draws attention to the book’s exaggerations.

Probyn, Clive T. English Fiction of the Eighteenth Century, 1700-1789. London: Longman, 1987. Suggests that Brooke drew upon Henry Fielding’s Joseph Andrews (1742) and Tom Jones (1749). Argues that the excesses of sentimentalism and idealism mar Brooke’s didactic purpose.

Scurr, Helen Margaret. Henry Brooke. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1927. Represents the only comprehensive and detailed examination of Brooke’s life and career. The chapter on the novels centers on The Fool of Quality, treating it as a flawed narrative that exerted a measurable influence on subsequent fiction.

Shroff, Homai J. The Eighteenth Century Novel: The Idea of the Gentleman. London: Edward Arnold, 1983. Links Brooke with Henry Mackenzie, demonstrating how both differed from Rousseau’s ideas about the essentials of education for the gentleman. Points out that despite its seeming egalitarianism, the novel usually portrays worthy characters as members of the gentry.