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, 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, 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, the prostitute’s father, a retired army officer. Through Harley, he and his daughter are reconciled.
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, Harley’s maiden aunt. She rears Harley after the deaths of his parents and inculcates him with virtue.