Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 301
Hycy (Hyacinth) Burke
Hycy (Hyacinth) Burke, a well-to-do, dissolute young man. Determined to seduce Kathleen Cavanagh, he is publicly snubbed; he resolves to have revenge on her and on Bryan M’Mahon, who loves her. A series of maneuvers designed to bring about Bryan’s financial ruin finally causes Hycy, himself, to be exposed as a robber, an accomplice of whiskey smugglers, a counterfeiter, and a plotter against Bryan and his family. He is given two hundred pounds by his father with orders to leave the country and stay away.
Bryan M’Mahon, an honest farmer. In love with Kathleen Cavanagh, he is the object of Hycy’s plan of revenge for Kathleen’s snub. When, as a result of Hycy’s plottings, Bryan is near financial ruin and dishonored in the sight of Kathleen and his neighbors, his friends manage to expose Hycy and restore Bryan to his rightful place in the community.
Kathleen Cavanagh, a young girl in love with Bryan. Scorning the blandishments of Hycy, she is, inadvertently, the cause of his attempts to ruin Bryan. When evidence against Bryan seems overwhelming, she reluctantly believes him guilty, but she regains her trust and affection when he is cleared.
Nanny Peety, a beggar girl who lives with the Burkes and who resents Hycy’s attempts to seduce her.
Kate Hogan, Nanny’s aunt. She is the wife of one of Hycy’s smuggling associates.
Patrick O’Finigan, master of a hedge-school. He, Nanny, and Kate are friends of Bryan and Kathleen. They bring in evidence against Hycy that clears Bryan of the charges against him.
Jemmy Burke, Hycy’s father. When he discovers his son’s true nature, he forces Hycy to leave the country.