Last Updated on May 7, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 560
Digby Grand, a spirited young Englishman, perfectly willing to follow his father’s wish that he be a man of fashion. Leaving Eton, he is commissioned as an ensign in a regiment of infantry. After being stationed first in Scotland and then in Canada, Digby finds that his father has purchased him a lieutenancy in the most social brigade in the service, the Life Guards, stationed in London. Digby is popular in the best society, but he goes heavily into debt. He falls in love with a penniless girl whom his father forbids him to marry. Prevented by creditors from leaving England to go to India as a general’s aide, he sells everything he owns, including his commission and, upon his father’s death, his estate. Left only his title, he is taken into business by a friend who has become a wine merchant. Business prospers, and Digby, settling down at last, makes plans to marry his old sweetheart.
Sir Peregrine Grand
Sir Peregrine Grand, of Haverley Hall, Digby’s father, who wants his son to be a man of great social position and to marry a wealthy heiress.
Tom Spencer, Digby’s boyhood chum. Studying for holy orders at Oxford, Tom co-signs moneylenders’ notes for Digby. As a result, he is later arrested and consequently cannot finish his degree at Oxford. He then becomes a successful wine merchant and takes Digby into the business with him.
Flora Belmont, the fortuneless daughter of a retired colonel. Digby falls in love with her, but his father opposes the marriage. Well off at last and ready to settle down, Digby finds her still single, and they make plans to marry.
Coralie de Rivolte
Coralie de Rivolte, a famous dancer with whom Digby has an affair.
Colonel Cartouch, Digby’s commanding officer, who likes him and who intervenes to prevent the teenaged ensign from marrying the young French-Canadian girl with whom he has an affair in Canada. Later, prosecuting a man forging checks in his name, Colonel Cartouch finds out that the forger is married to Coralie de Rivolte and that Coralie is his own daughter.
Shadrach, a moneylender who lends Digby money at high interest. To satisfy him and other creditors, Digby gives up everything he owns.
Captain Levanter, one of Digby’s fellow officers. He introduces Digby to Shadrach.
General Sir Benjamin Burgonet
General Sir Benjamin Burgonet, who likes Digby and makes it possible for him to secure his original commission. He later makes Digby his aide, but Digby is prevented from leaving for India by his creditors.
Lady Burgonet, a woman in her thirties who, while Digby is stationed in Scotland, almost succeeds in tricking him into marriage. Instead, she becomes the wife of the regimental drum major. When he is preparing to go with the general to India, Digby is aghast to find that the woman is now Lady Burgonet.
Dubbs, the regimental drum major, Lady Burgonet’s husband before her marriage to General Burgonet.
St. Heliers, a young peer with whom Digby is friendly in London.
Mrs. Mantrap, a woman who basks in the attentions of young men. She is one of Digby’s London friends.
Zoe, a French-Canadian girl with whom Digby has an affair in Canada.