Horace Holyoke, the narrator of this social chronicle of post-Revolutionary War New England. Born to poverty, he is ten when his schoolteacher father dies. Thanks to his abilities, his industry, and the benefaction of friends, he attends Harvard and at last becomes a successful lawyer.
Harry Percival, Horace’s closest friend. Harry’s mother, brought to America after an elopement and secret marriage, is deserted by her English officer husband and dies, leaving Harry and his sister. They are brought up with Horace, and the boys attend Harvard together. Harry’s legitimacy is established, and on the death of his father, he goes to England as Sir Harry.
Eglantine (Tina) Percival
Eglantine (Tina) Percival, Harry’s sister, who is loved by Horace. She marries another man, but he dies after ten years of unhappy marriage; two years later, she and Horace are married.
Ellery Davenport, handsome and clever and a grandson of Jonathan Edwards. He holds a succession of diplomatic posts abroad, and so is able to aid Harry with information about his father. Upon the death of his mad wife, he marries Tina; almost immediately, a girl he had seduced appears with their child, whom Tina generously takes. Unprincipled and ambitious, Ellery is close to madness when he is killed in a political duel.
Esther Avery, the daughter of a minister. She is a close friend of Tina, Harry, and Horace. She marries Harry and goes to England with him.
Mr. Lothrop, the minister and leading citizen of Oldtown, sedate and sensible.
Mrs. Lothrop, his wife and Ellery’s cousin. She is called “Lady Lothrop” by the people of Oldtown, a not disrespectful allusion to her aristocratic Boston background and her lingering adherence to...
(The entire section is 810 words.)