Marianne (mahr-YAHN), the countess of ———, a virtuous orphan. Orphaned as an infant, she is put in the care of a kind woman who dies when Marianne is fifteen years old. Her second benefactor, M. de Climal, offers to set her up in an apartment. She proudly rejects this proposal. She takes up residence in a nearby convent, where she is sought out by a young man who becomes attracted to her appearance when he sees her on the street. He turns out to be M. de Valville, with whom she falls in love and whom she plans to marry until he becomes infatuated with Mlle Varthon and jilts his fiancée.
M. de Valville
M. de Valville (deh vahl-VEEL), a young man attracted to Marianne when he sees her on the street. He seeks her out and becomes engaged to her, only to become infatuated with Mlle Varthon, for whom he jilts Marianne.
M. de Climal
M. de Climal (deh klee-MAHL), Marianne’s benefactor in Paris. He arranges for her lodging with Mme Dutour and later, with protestations of undying love, offers to set her up in an apartment. His offer sends Marianne off to a convent.
Mme de Valville
Mme de Valville, M. de Valville’s mother and Marianne’s loving benefactress at the convent until her death, which leaves the girl alone in the world.
Mlle Varthon (vahr-TOH[N]), a young woman who attracts M. de Valville away from Marianne.
Mlle de Tervire
Mlle de Tervire (deh tehr-VEER), a nun who tries to comfort Marianne by telling her the story of her own life.
Mme Dutour (dew-TEWR), a shopkeeper, Marianne’s landlady, provided by M. de Climal.