Simon Eyre (ayr), the blustering, “madcap” shoemaker who becomes lord mayor of London. One of the kindliest of men, he watches over the welfare of his journeymen while he berates them vigorously; it is his intercession with the king that reconciles Sir Hugh and Sir Roger to the marriage of Rose with Eyre’s sometime Dutch assistant, Lacy. He is not overawed by his high-ranking position, and he rejoices more at feasting those who were once apprentices with him than at entertaining the king. Loyal to his trade, he asks for one royal boon, the privilege of selling shoes twice a week at Leadenhall Market.
Rowland Lacy (Hans), a gallant, spendthrift young nobleman who learned the shoemaker’s trade when he arrived penniless in Germany on his Grand Tour. Forbidden by his domineering uncle to marry his sweetheart, Rose Otley, he abandons his military command, disguises himself as a Dutch journeyman named Hans, and joins the workshop of Simon Eyre. He proves to be an excellent businessman and vastly increases his master’s wealth by introducing him to an old skipper with a ship full of spices to sell. With persistence and fidelity, he at last wins his bride, wooing her while he pretends to be fitting new shoes.
Sir Hugh Lacy
Sir Hugh Lacy, the earl of Lincoln, his overbearing uncle. Adamant in his opposition to his nephew’s proposed marriage, he tries to engineer Sir Roger’s disapproval. He is...
(The entire section is 614 words.)