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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 261

Bert Gooderich

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Bert Gooderich, a stolid machinist who falls off a bridge and is drowned.


Mary, his wife, thankful to marry Bert after having been deserted by her lover, a baker’s boy, the father of Minnie.

Young Bert

Young Bert, their son, big, strong, and pugnacious, with an ambition to be a soldier. Shortly after his enlistment, he is killed at Pretoria.


Hannibal, another son, a big, inarticulate, bungling lout who becomes a factory worker, a ship’s mess boy, and finally a trimmer on the S.S.Cyaryatid. He dies of pneumonia caused partly by inhalation of coal dust and partly by the cough syrup for which Minnie had written advertisements.


Minnie, Mary’s daughter, a stubborn, difficult girl, thin and reserved, engaged for a time to a coal clerk. She becomes Captain Briscoe’s mistress, later his wife. She is jailed for engaging in a suffragette demonstration. She is also a writer of advertisements for cough syrup.

Captain Briscoe

Captain Briscoe, a ship’s captain, Minnie’s lover and later her husband.


Nellie, Hannibal’s wife, a plump, merry girl. She works in her uncle’s tavern and later manages it.

Mrs. Gaynor

Mrs. Gaynor, an American woman, next-door neighbor of the Gooderich family.


Hiram, her son, a sailor.

Mrs. Wilfley

Mrs. Wilfley, a greedy woman who organizes a benefit musicale for the Gooderich family and pockets most of the receipts.

Anthony Gilfillan

Anthony Gilfillan, a middle-aged man who befriends Minnie at a party and later takes her to the Continent with him.

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