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Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 335

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The main character, and the man of feeling mentioned in the title, is Harley. The narrator describes Harley as a "bashful animal." His heart is open to everyone, friends and foes alike, and he is virtuous almost to a fault. Most interestingly, he doesn't possess the greed and will to succeed that the author claims the "world supposes every man to have."

Harley did not want for some monitors of this sort. He was frequently told of men, whose fortunes enabled them to command all the luxuries of life, whose fortunes were of their acquirement... Harley was apt to hear those friends with indifference.

It is a surprise, then, that his friends manage to persuade him to leave the elderly aunt who had instilled in him so many of his virtues and go to London to claim land from his "paternal estate."

It is just before he leaves that he meets again the love of his life, Miss Walton. Miss Walton is the daughter of Mr. Walton, a well-connected man who offers to write Harley an introductory letter. At this point, Miss Walton has no interest in Harley whatsoever, but Harley's "romantic imagination" always keeps him interested in her.

Blocked from seeing the Baronet for the first few weeks, he sets out into the city, where the harsh urban environment often exposes his good nature. His problem is that he wants to help everyone he sees and he can't turn anyone down. This results in people conning Harley over and over again. He does help a prostitute, Miss Atkins, return to her family, and in the end, he finds that one of the people he met, a procurer for rich people, has claimed his land before him.

On his way home, he meets Mr. Edwards, an old acquaintance who has lost land due to the enclosure acts. Harley offers him a farm on his estate, and Mr. Edwards soon becomes a good friend. He is one of the people at Harley's bedside when he dies.

Characters Discussed

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 303

Mr. Harley

Mr. Harley, the man of feeling. Being an extremely virtuous man, he believes that all human beings are like himself. He has many disappointments and some genuine trouble because he believes people are essentially good. He is unambitious for money, and he is unambitious in love. When he finds that the woman he loves is affiancéd to a wealthy man, he is heartbroken, although he has never declared his love. Because of his feelings on the matter, he becomes physically ill and dies.

Miss Walton

Miss Walton, a rich heiress of a higher station in life than Mr. Harley. It is for her that he pines away and dies. She belatedly comes to love him, tells him so on his deathbed, and breaks off her engagement to the man of her father’s choice. She remains single after Harley’s death.

Miss Atkins

Miss Atkins, a London prostitute who wishes to return to her family. With Harley’s help, she is reunited with her father. When Harley first meets her, he takes her to a brothel for food, since the poor girl has done so poorly in her profession as to be hungry and penniless.

Mr. Atkins

Mr. Atkins, the prostitute’s father, a retired army officer. Through Harley, he and his daughter are reconciled.

Mr. Edwards

Mr. Edwards, a farmer who loses his lands because of the Enclosure Acts and then, though an old man, enters the army to take his son’s place so that the son, who has been seized by a press gang, may remain at home to care for his wife and children. Harley promises the old man a farm on his estates.

Miss Harley

Miss Harley, Harley’s maiden aunt. She rears Harley after the deaths of his parents and inculcates him with virtue.