Sir Timothy Bellboys
Sir Timothy Bellboys, the eccentric bachelor landowner of a large estate on the Dorset coast in southern England. As Napoleon’s power grows in Europe, rumors of invasion circle England, and Timothy is obsessed by them. In fact, he is convinced that the French will land their forces on his property. He has therefore devised a plan to outwit the French, by disguising himself as Napoleon and then ordering the French troops to lay down their arms. He also believes that the local volunteer soldiers’ exercise is the real invasion, and he proceeds to put his plan into operation. In the process, he descends a well (twice), rides a balloon, is involved in an explosion, and actually convinces the volunteers that he is Napoleon. For all his bizarre behavior, he shows himself to be a courageous and resourceful gentleman.
Lamprett Bellboys, Timothy’s brother, who lives with him and is equally eccentric. Unlike Timothy, Lamprett is married, although the marriage was more or less forced on him to save his wife’s honor during his university days; he had been helping her make a protofeminist gesture to prove women intellectually capable of being Oxford students. Lamprett is in charge of the house’s fire engine and believes that his is the most important function of the whole community. He is as single-minded as his brother, so they conflict, especially over the function of William Humpage. Later, Lamprett puts out all the warning fires lit in the mistaken belief that Napoleon has landed.
Hester Bellboys, Lamprett’s wife. Although Hester may seem far more capable and organized than her husband, it is soon revealed that she has her own obsessions. She is part of an early feminist movement and has been invited to form part of a women’s army corps. She is prepared to leave her...
(The entire section is 778 words.)