Florez, also called Goswin, the rightful heir, through his mother, to the earldom of Flanders. When Wolfort took over the government of the country, Florez’s father entrusted his young son to the care of a wealthy merchant, and the boy grew up ignorant of his real identity. He is widely known as a talented, fortunate merchant and a generous benefactor to all who need help. He often bestows gifts on Clause, an old beggar to whom he feels drawn by a peculiar bond. Ever conscious of his honor, he is distressed at the prospect of falling prey to his debtors when his ships fail to appear. Even his love cannot withstand the strength of his sense of obligation to Clause, who has relieved him of his financial burdens, and he agrees to forsake his promised bride at the beggar’s request.
Gerrard, his father, who disguises himself as Clause, king of the beggars, to escape death at the hands of Wolfort. He is a leader in the tradition of Robin Hood, cozening rich fools and protecting honest men in difficulties, while he keeps a watchful eye on the affairs of his son. He reluctantly halts Florez’s proposed marriage, because he believes that the girl’s lineage is too humble to make her a suitable wife for a duke.
Hubert, a bold, honest young courtier who bravely accuses Wolfort of crime and treason before he flees the usurper to search for his lost sweetheart, Gerrard’s daughter Jacqueline. He joins the beggars’ band as a hunter and plans the elaborate trap, set for Wolfort and his men, to restore Florez to his earldom.
(The entire section is 685 words.)