Count Charmant Himalay
Count Charmant Himalay, or Szarm Himalaj in some texts, the thirty-five-year-old son of Prince Himalay and Princess Fernanda. A “jaded rake and fop,” he plots to make Albertine his 258th conquest. His goal, however, is not to undress the girl but to dress her expensively and fashionably. It is the artifice of fashion that he loves, not the actual woman. As his plan starts to go awry, he begins to feel constrained by his life of appearances and, without considering the consequences, unleashes the forces that result in his downfall. He returns after the revolution disguised as a lunatic, still in search of Albertine.
Alberta Kruzek, also called Albertine or Albertynka, a shopkeeper’s daughter. Charmant plots to meet Albertine by “saving” her from the pickpocket he himself has hired to steal her locket. The touch of the thief’s hand on the sleeping girl’s breast causes her to yearn for the freedom of complete nudity. As a result, she frequently falls out of the waking world of pretense and masquerade and into an opposing state of sleep, a state of the natural and the subconscious. She appears at the masked ball (act 2) weighed down by the clothing Charmant has given her; after her disappearance, she returns in act 3 to rise from the coffin in which the pickpockets have hidden her, hailed by all as the embodiment of the immortal ordinary and the eternally youthful.
Baron Firulet, Charmant’s ape and mirror image, also thirty-five years old. A “hunter of female prey,” he and the count engage in endless competition (a card game, a duel, a chase) involving women and social position.
Fior, a “dictator of style in Europe.” This self-proclaimed artist has been invited to the Castle Himalay to devise a new fashion. The work of the man others call “master” is, however, made difficult by...
(The entire section is 804 words.)