Adrienne Mesurat (ah-DRYEHN meh-zew-RAH), a highly impressionable French girl of sixteen. She falls in love with Dr. Maurecourt when he tips his hat to her. Her peculiar actions, including stealing out of the house to watch Maurecourt’s house, arouse suspicions in her sister and even the neighbors. After her sister has left home for a hospital, Adrienne accidentally kills her father by knocking him down a flight of stairs. Alone in the world, robbed by Mme. Legras, Adrienne goes mad.
Germaine Mesurat (zhehr-MEHN), Adrienne’s older sister, an invalid. She suspects Adrienne of having a lover. When Germaine’s father refuses to acknowledge her illness, she leaves for a hospital after taking some of her sister’s dower money.
M. Antoine Mesurat
M. Antoine Mesurat (ahn-TWAHN), a retired teacher living with his two daughters in the placid little French town of La Tour l’Eveque, leading a quiet life. He never thinks that his two daughters may be unhappy sharing his tranquil existence. Thinking the girls superior to any proposals they have, he repulses their suitors. He is accidentally killed when Adrienne knocks him down a flight of stairs.
Dr. Denis Maurecourt
Dr. Denis Maurecourt (deh-NEE moh-reh-KOOR), a physician. He tips his hat to Adrienne, by that action unknowingly causing her to fall in love with him. When she tells him of her infatuation, he informs her that he is ill and has only a short time to live.
Mme Legras (leh-GRAH), a temporary neighbor to the Mesurats. She is a prying woman who tries to find out if Adrienne has a lover and if M. Mesurat’s death was truly accidental. She assumes the role of protectress to Adrienne in order to pry into the girl’s life. When she has a chance, she steals all of Adrienne’s valuables and disappears.