Captain Beaugard, a military officer. Returning from a campaign, he is approached, through the offices of Sir Jolly Jumble, by Lady Dunce, who claims to have been in love with him long before he went off to the wars. A meeting with the lady reveals her as his old love, Clarinda, now married to the elderly and distasteful Sir Davy Dunce. There follows a series of machinations designed to blackmail Sir Davy into acknowledging Captain Beaugard as his wife’s lover.
Lady Dunce (Clarinda), Captain Beaugard’s beloved. Despairing of her lover’s return from the wars, she marries the wealthy but unattractive and elderly Sir Davy Dunce. When the captain does return, she finds herself still in love with him. She and the captain engage in a series of ruses designed to fool her husband into being cuckolded and finally forced to acknowledge his wife as the captain’s mistress.
Sir Davy Dunce
Sir Davy Dunce, Lady Dunce’s cuckolded husband. Jealous and thick-witted, he is used by his wife in the furtherance of her affair with Captain Beaugard. Manipulated into becoming a party to a conspiracy to assassinate the captain, he is forced, to escape the extreme penalty for attempted murder, to acknowledge his wife as Beaugard’s mistress and free her from his unwanted attentions.
Courtine, Captain Beaugard’s companion-in-arms, who wins and marries Sylvia.
Sylvia, Sir Davy and Lady Dunce’s niece, who rejects the idea of matrimony because of her observations of her aunt and uncle. She is finally prevailed upon to marry Courtine.
Sir Jolly Jumble
Sir Jolly Jumble, an elderly rake and the ally of Lady Dunce in her amorous adventures.