Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Henry Earlforward

Henry Earlforward, a miserly bookstore owner. He marries a neighboring confectioner whom he believes as miserly as he. He refuses to spend money for electricity, a wedding ring, even for food and medical advice. When he becomes ill, he refuses to enter a hospital because of the expense. He dies the victim of his own parsimony.

Mrs. Violet Arb

Mrs. Violet Arb, thrifty owner of a confectionery shop. She discovers too late that her husband Henry is miserly. Although a doctor sees to it that she goes to the hospital for a needed operation, she has become so weakened by malnutrition that she dies.


Elsie, the Earlforwards’ maid. Because she is half-starved, she steals food from her employers. In order to have sixpence to send a messenger to inquire about her mistress, she has to steal the money from her miserly master. After the Earlforwards’ deaths, she goes to work, along with her sweetheart, for Dr. Raste.


Joe, Elsie’s sweetheart. He turns up at the bookstore shabbily dressed, sick, and just released from jail. Elsie nurses him back to health while concealing him in the Earlforwards’ quarters. He goes to work for Dr. Raste. He and Elsie plan to marry.

T. T. Riceyman

T. T. Riceyman, the dead uncle who left the bookstore to Henry.

Dr. Raste

Dr. Raste, the medical doctor who tries to save the life of Earlforward’s wife and befriends Elsie and Joe.

Mr. Belrose

Mr. Belrose and

Mrs. Belrose

Mrs. Belrose, the couple who buy Mrs. Arb’s shop when she marries Henry. They try to be helpful to the Earlforwards when the latter become ill.