Richard Feverel, the only son and sole heir of Sir Austin Feverel. Richard is the subject of his father’s plan to produce a young man reared according to a System in which women are to be excluded from the life of the boy until he is twenty-five. Richard becomes the obvious proof that the System will not work. He manages, simply by being human, to foil all plans to keep him from physical danger and from women.
Sir Austin Feverel
Sir Austin Feverel, master of Raynham Abbey and Richard’s woman-hating father, who devises the System for rearing his son. Although he is unrealistic in his approach, his belief in the basic soundness of his System is complete.
Adrian Harley, Sir Austin’s nephew, who is designated as Richard’s mentor. He is responsible for carrying out the System. Always dubious, Adrian finally is convinced, when Richard marries, that the System has failed utterly.
Lucy Desborough, the niece of a neighboring farmer. Richard falls in love with her and marries her. She bears him a child and finally dies of brain fever and shock when she learns that Richard has been wounded in a duel.
Ripton Thompson, the son of Sir Austin’s lawyer, brought to Raynham Abbey as Richard’s youthful playmate and companion.
Giles Blaize, Lucy’s uncle. He horsewhips Richard and Ripton when he finds that they have shot a pheasant on his property. Richard is responsible for setting fire to Blaize’s hayricks.
Clare Forey, Richard’s cousin, who falls in love with him. She marries a man much older than she. When she dies, a ring that Richard had lost is found on her finger.
Tom Bakewell, the man Richard bribes to set fire to Blaize’s hayricks. Richard insists that he is responsible for the fire and so confuses Blaize’s witness that Tom is released, although the witness saw Tom set the fire. He becomes Richard’s devoted servant.