Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 445
Judith Paris, who has returned with her illegitimate son to live with her nephew’s widow. She continues to resist the persecution of another nephew’s son.
Jennifer Herries, the widow of Judith’s nephew Francis. A principal in an old quarrel, she is now its victim. The strain of her nephew’s persecution is too much for her, and she dies.
Walter Herries, the son of Judith’s nephew William. Determined to drive Jennifer and Judith out of their home, he offers first to buy it. When they refuse, he does his best to drive them away by persecution. To this end, he builds a great mansion, called the Fortress, on a hill overlooking their house.
Elizabeth Herries, Walter’s beautiful and kind daughter. She loves Jennifer’s son John but agrees not to see him because of family hatred. She goes to live with London relatives until her father’s command that she marry a detested suitor drives her to take employment as a governess. There her employer’s pursuit causes her to marry John. They are happy until John is killed by Elizabeth’s brother. Learning that her father, who has resisted all her overtures, is seriously ill, Elizabeth storms the Fortress, nurses him back to health, and even succeeds in effecting a semblance of reconciliation between him and Judith on Judith’s hundredth birthday.
John Herries, the son of Jennifer. A parliamentary secretary, his future seems bright; but he is dogged by his wife’s brother, whose hatred makes John feel powerless. At last he confronts Uhland, who shoots him.
Uhland Herries, Walter’s lame, pampered, and rancorous son. After shooting John, he kills himself.
Adam Paris, Judith’s illegitimate son. Robust and rebellious, he leaves for London at twenty-two and becomes involved in the Chartist movement. He marries and returns to his mother’s house to live.
Caesar Kraft, Adam’s guide in London. He urges moderation on the Chartists, is blamed for the failure of a procession, and is killed in a riot.
Margaret Kraft, his daughter. She marries Adam and at first, with him and his mother, feels herself an outsider. Adam comes to understand her needs and gives her first place over Judith.
Benjie Herries, the son of Elizabeth and John.
Mr. Temple, a fat and rich lawyer who is Elizabeth’s suitor. He is favored by her father and brother.
Christabel Herries, Walter’s weak mother.
Reuben Sunwood, whose death is an addition to the trouble between Judith and Walter.