John Frankford, a well-to-do gentleman. Generous and just to his whole household, he wins undying loyalty from his servants. He finds his trust betrayed by his beloved wife and his friend Wendoll, whom he had taken into his home. Although he is reluctant to accept his servant Nick’s revelation of their guilt, he forces himself to try to learn the truth. Too merciful to take the bloody revenge demanded by convention from an injured spouse, he satisfies himself by banishing his wife to his manor in the country, where she dies heartbroken.
Anne Frankford, his wife. She seems at the time of her marriage the epitome of gracious, chaste womanhood, but she cannot resist the persistent advances of Wendoll, whom her husband leaves alone with her. After the discovery of her infidelity, she is so overcome by her sense of guilt and by her husband’s generosity that she starves herself and dies, forgiven on her deathbed, in Frankford’s arms.
Wendoll, her lover, Frankford’s protégé. Although his conscience rebels at his base betrayal of Frankford’s hospitality, he gives in to passion and persuades Anne to return his love, shamelessly baiting her husband with double entendres as they play cards. Once discovered, he repents and sees that he must wander, like Cain, to escape the report of his ingratitude.
Charles Mountford, an impulsive country squire. In a heated quarrel...
(The entire section is 626 words.)