Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 419
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Marse Chan, a young Virginia gentleman, loyal to his family and to his state in the Civil War, during which he becomes a captain. His love for Anne never ceases, even though she rejects him following the duel with her father. He is killed leading a regimental charge. When he dies, he has next to his heart the letter of penitence and love that Anne wrote after her father agreed not to stand any longer between the lovers.
Anne Chamberlin, his pretty sweetheart, sorrel-haired and dark-eyed. Proud and unforgiving after her father’s duel, she rejects Marse Chan’s attempt at reconciliation before he leaves for the war. Her heart and thoughts remain with him, and when she dies not long before the fall of Richmond, she is buried next to Marse Chan.
Sam, Marse Chan’s servant, a slave given to Mr. Channing’s baby son to be his lifetime body servant. He is Marse Chan’s boyhood playmate, his idolizing servant at college and during the war, and the driver who takes his body home for burial. Sam is the prototype of the loyal slave in romantic Southern fiction who regards his relationship to his master not as bondage but as loving service to a kindly and wholly admirable superior.
Mr. Channing, Marse Chan’s father, a plantation owner and, like his son, a model Southern gentleman.
Colonel Chamberlin, Anne’s father, the owner of a neighboring plantation. A Democrat, he is angered at being defeated in a Congressional election won by Mr. Channing, a Whig. The colonel’s hurt pride causes the feud that separates the two families.
Maria, a slave sold by Colonel Chamberlin and bought by Mr. Channing. The purchase of Maria and several other slaves leads to two lawsuits by the colonel, who loses both of them. Humiliated in a duel with Marse Chan over his insulting remarks about Mr. Channing, he holds a grudge until he hears of Marse Chan’s defense of the Chamberlin name in a fight with Ronny.
Mrs. Channing, Mr. Channing’s wife.
Mr. Ronny, a lieutenant under Marse Chan, who knocks him down for making improper remarks about Anne and her father.
Ham Fisher, a black carriage driver rescued from a burning barn by Mr. Channing, who is permanently blinded as a result.
Miss Lucy Chamberlin
Miss Lucy Chamberlin, Colonel Chamberlin’s sister and housekeeper.
Mr. Hall, a schoolmaster.