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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 706

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William Crimsworth

William Crimsworth, a young English orphan who, upon leaving Eton, is faced with a decision regarding his future. He receives from his mother’s aristocratic family an offer of a wife and a secure future as an Anglican clergyman. These he refuses, wanting neither his cousin for a wife nor a career as a poor churchman. He turns to his brother, a businessman, who takes him on as a junior clerk in his mill. Unhappy in his work under his brother, William travels to Brussels and becomes a teacher of English and Latin in a private school. After finding success, he marries Mlle Henri, who has been a pupil and who also becomes a teacher. Because of his hard work and his wife’s, Crimsworth is able to retire and return to England while still in middle age.

Mlle Frances Evans Henri

Mlle Frances Evans Henri (ah[n]-REE), a pretty young woman of Swiss and English parentage who teaches lace-mending at a school where William Crimsworth is employed. She takes lessons from Crimsworth, who falls in love with her. Under his encouragement, she also becomes a teacher, and with her husband’s help she opens a private school of her own. She has never seen her mother’s country and yearns to visit England. Her happiness is complete when she, her husband, and their young son, retiring on the proceeds of their thrift and the sale of her school, go to England to live.

Victor Crimsworth

Victor Crimsworth, the son of William Crimsworth and his wife.

Edward Crimsworth

Edward Crimsworth, a manufacturer. He hires his young brother as a junior clerk at a very low salary. A malicious tyrant, he treats William worse than he would a stranger. He eventually goes bankrupt but is able to secure sufficient credit to start another business.

Mrs. Crimsworth

Mrs. Crimsworth, Edward’s pretty but vacuous and worldly wife. She follows her husband’s lead in mistreating her brother-in-law.

Hunsden Yorke Hunsden

Hunsden Yorke Hunsden, a flippant, cynical mill owner who befriends William Crimsworth. He encourages William abroad, buys for him his mother’s portrait when Edward Crimsworth’s belongings are auctioned off, and later becomes William’s adviser on investments. He is a confirmed bachelor, unable to find a woman who pleases him sufficiently to marry.

Mr. Brown

Mr. Brown, an Englishman living in Brussels who, at Hunsden’s request, helps William Crimsworth find a teaching post.

M. Pelet

M. Pelet (peh-LAY ), the director of a private school where William is employed. Pelet is a kindly man who accepts William as an equal and becomes his friend. The friendship is strained, however, when Pelet finds that the younger man finds favor in...

(The entire section contains 706 words.)

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Critical Essays