George, the narrator, who is called “Lavengro,” the Zingary gypsy word for “word master” or “philologist.” In this romance of circumstantial incidents and philosophical conversations, George is in search of something in which to believe. As a child, he moves about with his family. Apprenticed to a lawyer, he is convinced that authorship is his calling. Always mindful of his surroundings—nature, people, things—George goes through the strain of establishing himself in London, getting some of his writing accepted, and leaving the city to become a gypsy. His circumstantial relationships with various associates constitute the theme that no man is an island. George passes through the stages of scholar, writer, and tinker.
Lavengro’s Father, an army officer. His influence on his son is manifest in two ways. The father’s gift of books, including Robinson Crusoe, to his young son turns George’s interest to reading. George’s escapade in fighting can be traced to his early recollection of his father’s having fought for an hour with a swarthy individual, Big Ben Brain. Typical of the barrier between father and his sensitive child is the father’s lack of understanding of his second son’s interests and his preference for George’s older brother.
John, George’s older brother, an artist.
Jasper Petulengro, George’s gypsy friend. From childhood, George and Mr. Petulengro meet intermittently. Their first meeting is in a gypsy camp near George’s home, when he attracts the young Jasper with a de-fanged viper. At successive meetings, Mr. Petulengro offers George a home with the gypsies, avenges his mother-in-law’s death by fighting with George, and teaches George to make horseshoes so that he may sustain himself on the road.
Isopel Berners (Belle)
Isopel Berners (Belle), George’s companion in the gypsy camp when he turns tinker. The handsome young woman is the illegitimate child of a gypsy mother and a noble father. At their...
(The entire section is 876 words.)