Savage Keith Rickman
Savage Keith Rickman, a young unknown poet, a genius, who for all his warring personality traits is always honorable. Disillusioned over dishonorable dealings between his bookseller father and a financier, and kept from success by the indecisiveness of a literary editor, he spends years slaving and starving himself to redeem what he considers a debt of honor. At last his genius is acknowledged, and success enables him to go to the woman for whom he has loved and slaved.
Horace Jewdwine, the literary editor who believes he has discovered a genius but who fears to jeopardize his reputation by proclaiming it. He encourages Rickman privately, but fails him in every important matter and finally loses the credit for his “discovery.”
Lucia Harden, a baronet’s daughter, Jewdwine’s cousin and Rickman’s inspiration. Rickman’s aim in life is to redeem and to return to Lucia her father’s library, of which his own father cheated her and then lost to an unscrupulous financier. When she finally receives Rickman’s gift, Lucia is ill and unable to walk. However, realizing that her malady is only heartbreak, she recovers.
Mr. Pilkington, an unethical financier. He holds the Harden library mortgage and enjoys the spectacle of the young genius’ apparently doomed struggle to redeem it.
Flossie Walker, a conventional young woman and Rickman’s fellow boarder. Her goal is a house in the suburbs, and with this in mind she traps Rickman into a proposal of marriage. Yet she refuses to wait the years necessary for the paying off of his “debt of honor”; to his relief, she marries another.