The Confidential Clerk Characters

T. S. Eliot

Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Sir Claude Mulhammer

Sir Claude Mulhammer, a successful middle-aged financier who lives in London with his wife, Lady Elizabeth, and illegitimate daughter Lucasta. He has just employed his illegitimate son Colby Simpkins as his new confidential clerk. His wife is not aware of the existence of this son; Sir Claude hopes to have her accept him as his clerk (and possibly grow fond of him) before divulging Colby’s real identity to her. Sir Claude trusts his former confidential clerk, Eggerson, explicitly and asks his help to sort out the delicate situation at home. Through his conversations with Eggerson and Colby, readers learn that Sir Claude had aspired in his youth to be a potter and was therefore a disappointed artist, though successful in the profession he took up to please his father. He is a sentimentalist and dreams of bringing Colby into the house in his true status as son. In a series of farcical situations and revelations, Sir Claude is both pleasantly surprised and then distressed. His wife welcomes Colby as the new clerk, and it is revealed that Colby is not his son after all. Sir Claude learns through these experiences and is both sad and happy at the end, sad to lose the son he longed for but happy to form a new family unit with Lacasta and Kaghan.


Eggerson, Sir Claude’s former confidential clerk, the soul of discretion and trustworthiness. Although he has retired from his position at the Mulhammers’, he remains their friend and consultant through family crises. Sir Claude depends on him to undertake the most delicate of operations to negotiate a peaceful existence with Lady Elizabeth. Eggerson is a quiet and intelligent man who is entrusted with the responsibility of conducting the investigation that will reveal the true identities of Colby and Kaghan. He has found an inner balance between reality and spirituality. Apart from helping...

(The entire section is 781 words.)