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Last Updated on May 7, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 412

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Characters Discussed

Francis “Rogue” Herries

Francis “Rogue” Herries, so called because of his notorious escapades. In 1730, he takes his family and his mistress to live in the long-deserted family house of Herries; there he continues to earn his reputation as the family black sheep. After the death of his wife, whom he had married more for pity than for love, he becomes attracted to a gypsy-like girl whom he meets under strange circumstances. He pursues her and finally marries her. She runs away but later returns to him. His oldest child is fifty-five years old when Francis again becomes a father. He and his wife both die on the night of their daughter’s birth.

Margaret Herries

Margaret Herries, Francis’ first wife, who is never able to command her husband’s love. When she is dying, however, she feels that he will be at a loss without her and makes her son promise never to leave his father.

Mirabell Starr

Mirabell Starr, a woman living with thieves. They kidnap Francis to give him a cross and chain left to him by Mirabell’s mother, whom he had once befriended. Mirabell agrees to marry Francis, in return for food and protection, but he cannot succeed in making her love him. She leaves him for several years but eventually returns to him. She dies in childbirth.

David Herries

David Herries, the son of Francis and Margaret. His wife is hated by Mirabell. David and his wife move from Herries and become well established in their new community.

Sarah Denburn

Sarah Denburn, a friendly, handsome girl whom David meets and falls in love with on a business trip. Her uncle-guardian intends her for another man, but David kills his rival, carries her off, and marries her.

Deborah Herries

Deborah Herries, the daughter of Francis and Margaret. She marries a clergyman.

Alice Press

Alice Press, ostensibly the governess to Francis’ children but in fact his mistress. He tires of her and tries to get rid of her, but she refuses to leave. Encountering her at a fair, Francis creates a scene and makes a show of selling her to another man.


Osbaldistone, who in the course of a duel with Francis slashes him from temple to chin. The scar marks Francis for life.


Harry, Mirabell’s only true love, who is killed before her marriage to Francis by a jealous and ugly older man. Francis witnesses the attack, but his warning comes too late.