Last Updated on May 8, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 417
Ivy Barton, the girl around whom the story revolves. She is a lower-class country girl who is transported to the city to serve as a model for an artist, Bianca Dallison. Through no fault of her own, she causes trouble because she is pursued by the husband of the Dallisons’ seamstress and befriended by Bianca’s husband. Ivy Barton is finally abandoned by Hilary Dallison, who throws a handful of money on her bed in a rented London room and leaves her forever.
Hilary Dallison, a prosperous writer who found Ivy and brought her to London to pose for a painting by his wife, Bianca. His emotions for Ivy are a mixture of pity and love, but at the end he chooses his own way by refusing to befriend Ivy and by deciding not to return to Bianca, a woman with whom he has not lived as a husband for several years.
Bianca Dallison, Hilary’s artist wife, who, though she refuses Hilary his marital prerogatives, still becomes extremely jealous when another woman attracts his attention, as Ivy does.
Mr. Hughs, a lecherous, suspicious ne’er-do-well who pursues Ivy, spies on her, and spreads gossip about her and Hilary. Finally, for beating his wife and wounding her with a bayonet, he is sent off to prison for a short time.
Mrs. Hughs, the Dallisons’ seamstress, who lives a hellish existence with her husband. Nevertheless, she is still jealous of him; when she sees that he is enamored of Ivy, she tells the story to Bianca’s sister, who makes the news known to the whole family. While her husband is in prison, Mrs. Hughs loses her baby because she is too nervous to nurse him.
Stephen Dallison, Hilary’s brother, who tries to make Hilary see what his attentions to Ivy are doing to his reputation.
Mr. Sylvanus Stone
Mr. Sylvanus Stone, Hilary’s father-in-law, who is writing a book on the brotherhood of man. His subject leads him to make philosophical remarks intended to instruct the reader on the subject of the classes in British society. Ivy works as a copyist for Mr. Stone.
Cecilia Dallison, Hilary’s rather bland sister-in-law, whose chief concern seems to be the Dallison reputation in the community.
Thyme Dallison, Stephen and Cecilia’s daughter, who helps the plot along by guessing that her uncle Hilary has bought the new clothes she sees Ivy wearing.