Characters Discussed

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Last Updated on May 8, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 295

Dr. Wayne Hudson

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Dr. Wayne Hudson, an eminent brain surgeon who dies from drowning when the inhalator that might have saved his life is used to resuscitate a wealthy playboy. Somewhat of a mystic, the doctor is a generous philanthropist, but he hides his good deeds; he thinks his great ability as a surgeon is a gift that comes from doing unknown good for other people.

Joyce Hudson

Joyce Hudson, the doctor’s daughter.

Helen Brent Hudson

Helen Brent Hudson, Joyce Hudson’s school friend who becomes Dr. Hudson’s second wife. After she is a widow, Robert Merrick makes her the recipient of some of his philanthropy and then falls in love with her. In Rome, her life is saved after a train wreck by Dr. Merrick, who keeps his identity a secret. She discovers at last that she loves Merrick, and the two are to be married.

Nancy Ashford

Nancy Ashford, superintendent of the Hudson Clinic. She has been in love with Dr. Hudson. She tells Robert Merrick he ought to try to take Dr. Hudson’s place.

Robert Merrick

Robert Merrick, a rich playboy who becomes a doctor in order to take the place of Dr. Hudson, a famous brain surgeon whose life is lost when an inhalator is used for young Merrick. Merrick tries the doctor’s theory of philanthropy, deriving power from hidden good deeds. He finds that it is indeed a secret to a successful life, and thus Merrick succeeds in becoming a famous brain surgeon himself. He marries Dr. Hudson’s widow.


Dawson, a fellow medical student aided financially by Merrick so that the young man can finish medical school. This philanthropic act inspires Merrick and convinces him that he can follow in Dr. Hudson’s footsteps.

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