Private Ellgee (L. G.) Williams
Private Ellgee (L. G.) Williams, a soldier at an army post in the South. He lives a clean life, never smoking, drinking, gambling, or fornicating. He has neither friends nor enemies. He is assigned to stable detail because of his skill with horses. Williams becomes enamored of Leonora Penderton after he accidentally sees her naked; she is the first naked woman he has ever seen, as he was reared by his father in an all-male household. His father, a Holiness preacher, had told him that women carried deadly diseases. He had not willingly interacted with a female person since he was eight years old. After seeing Mrs. Penderton, whom he thinks of as “The Lady,” naked, he begins squatting by her bedside at night to watch her sleep.
Captain Weldon Penderton
Captain Weldon Penderton, a cowardly sort of man who is torn between cruelty and tenderness and who falls in love with his wife’s lovers. He is thirty-five years old and about to be promoted to major. Reared by five unmarried aunts, he had never really been loved. He constantly fights the desire to steal. After Private Williams sees him beat a horse, Penderton reacts violently but ambivalently toward the young man. He begins to follow Williams. When he sees the soldier beside his wife’s bed, he shoots him dead.
Leonora Penderton, the thirty-one-year-old wife of Captain Penderton. She is not an...
(The entire section is 603 words.)