Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 485
Mr. Weston, a strange wine merchant who visits the village of Folly Down at seven o’clock on the evening of November 20, 1923. The clocks in the village stop when he arrives. He helps many people, among them the melancholy Mr. Grobe, the lonely Tamar, Jenny Bunce, and the virtuous Mr. Bird, to whom he reads from his own book, the Bible. He also makes Mr. Bird’s well run with wine. When he leaves Folly Down, the clocks start again and the villagers are surprised to see that it is only ten o’clock.
Michael, Mr. Weston’s assistant, who carries a large book with the names of all the inhabitants of the town inscribed. He is married to Tamar Grobe by Mr. Weston and gives her happiness under the village trysting tree.
Mr. Grunter, the sexton, allegedly quite a seducer. He thinks Mr. Weston is the Devil but finds that he is not. Grunter helps Mr. Weston in his affairs in the village and sees the souls of Tamar and another girl carried to Heaven.
Mr. Bunce, the innkeeper, who blames God for all the pregnancies among the girls of Folly Down. He scornfully says that his daughter may not marry simple-hearted Mr. Bird until the man’s well runs with wine.
Mr. Grobe, the rector at Folly Down. He no longer believes in God because he has lost his wife. He tries to find escape and pleasure in drink and is especially pleased with a bottle of Mr. Weston’s wine, a bottle that remains full while he drinks from it. Mr. Weston also gives him a small bottle, the contents of which enable Mr. Grobe to die peacefully.
Tamar Grobe, the rector’s daughter, who wants to marry an angel. She finds happiness with Michael, Mr. Weston’s assistant, to whom she is wedded by Mr. Weston. She dies shortly after her wedding, and two angels carry her to Heaven.
Jenny Bunce, the innkeeper’s daughter, in love with Mr. Bird. She is a simple, good-hearted girl who believes she will find happiness caring for the man she loves. Mr. Weston marries her to Mr. Bird.
Mr. Bird, a resident of Folly Down who recognizes Mr. Weston. Bird is an honest, virtuous man who preaches God’s word to man and beast. Mr. Weston causes Mr. Bird’s well to run with wine so that he can marry Jenny with her father’s permission.
The Mumby Boys
The Mumby Boys, two sons of the local squire, accomplished and villainous seducers who are chased by a wild beast controlled by Mr. Weston. Frightened, they run to the house of the bawd who caters to them and agree to marry two of their victims. As the beast circles her house, the evil old bawd dies of fright.
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