Jacques Ménétrier (zhahk may-nay-tray-YAY), a carefree young scholar and lover who becomes a respectable citizen. Born of poor parents, he is educated by clerics and philosophers. Having lived a dissolute life, Jacques finally settles down as a bookseller who supports his kindly mother and father in their declining years.
Jael (zhay-EHL), an attractive young Jew who abandons her elderly lover, an uncle, to accept Jacques, only to abandon him to accept another who entices her with a gift of silver plate. Jael, however, is not peevish or vindictive. While she loves one, she likes the other man for whom she has once had the grand passion.
Catherine, a young lace-maker turned courtesan. She moves in and out of Jacques’ life with predictable consistency. Though she accepts the gifts of wealthy men, her love for Jacques is constant.
Maître Jérôme Coignard
Maître Jérôme Coignard (MAY-tr zhay-ROHM kwahn-YAHR), an abbé, a Greek and Latin scholar who is Jacques’ tutor and who appreciates the joys of the flesh. He is killed by Jael’s outraged lover, Mosaïde, who mistakenly believes that he has stolen Jael’s affections.
(The entire section is 460 words.)