(Great Characters in Literature)

Characters Discussed

Sir Philip Luckless

Sir Philip Luckless, a gentleman who devotes his life to the satisfaction of his own wishes. He marries Mrs. Fitchow for her money, and he no sooner sees the prospect of both beauty and fortune in Constance’s love for him than he plans his divorce and elopement.

Mistress Fitchow

Mistress Fitchow, a well-to-do widow, his promised wife. Although she refuses to hear Tridewell’s slander about her bridegroom, she is immediately jealous of Constance and indicates her displeasure to Sir Philip by barring him from her room on their wedding night.


Tridewell, Sir Philip’s friend. Trying to save him from an unsuitable match, he finds himself in love with the widow who defends her groom with spirit, and he contrives to make his friend’s marriage illegal.


Widgene, Mrs. Fitchow’s opportunist brother, who is seeking a rich wife. He is rewarded for his schemes with the hand of Mrs. Holdup, a courtesan.


Anvile, his tutor, expert in all the vices of young gentlemen.


Constance, the “northern lass,” a Yorkshire girl who falls in love with Luckless at their first meeting and loses her senses at the news of his marriage. She is restored to health and sanity by her elopement with him.

Sir Paul Squelch

Sir Paul Squelch, her wealthy uncle, a blustering, lascivious old gentleman who makes his mistress masquerade as his niece.

Mistress Traynwell

Mistress Traynwell, a sharp-tongued lady of uncertain years, Constance’s governess. She resolutely pursues Sir Paul until she can blackmail him into marriage by threatening to reveal Constance Holdup’s identity.

Constance Holdup

Constance Holdup, a witty prostitute, Sir Paul’s mistress. She takes advantage of her feigned role as his niece to win herself a husband, Widgene.


Pace, Sir Philip’s clever servant, who disguises himself as a doctor and a minister.