A Chaste Maid in Cheapside

(Great Characters in Literature)

Characters Discussed


Yellowhammer, a goldsmith. Eager to see his children rise in the world, he betroths his daughter to Sir Walter Whorehound, giving heed to the man’s title but not to his reputation, and arranges for his son to wed the nobleman’s supposed niece, who proves to be a Welsh prostitute and Sir Walter’s mistress. His harsh refusal to allow Moll to marry her sweetheart, Touchwood Junior, nearly brings tragedy on his family.


Maudlin, his loquacious wife. She scolds her daughter for her sluggishness, regaling the girl with tales of her own gay youth, and she embarrasses her university-trained son by fussing over him before his tutor and many of her friends. She is as distressed as her husband when she learns that her stern treatment of Moll apparently has caused her death.


Moll, their daughter, whose languid attitude is simply a cloak for her love for young Touchwood. She is never quite successful in her attempts to elude her parents long enough to marry, until her clever maid arranges for her feigned death and reunion with her lover.


Timothy, her learned, self-confident brother. He comes home from Cambridge with his tutor to impress his family and friends with his knowledge of Latin. Tricked by Sir Walter into marriage with a prostitute, he is consoled by her wit and physical attractions for the loss of the nineteen Welsh mountains he hoped to acquire as her dowry.

Sir Walter Whorehound

Sir Walter Whorehound, a loose-living gentleman who tries unsuccessfully to bring about at one time his own marriage with Moll, Timothy’s with his Welsh mistress, and the christening of his son by Allwit’s wife, without having...

(The entire section is 746 words.)