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Last Updated on May 7, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 402

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Characters Discussed

Francis Tyrrel

Francis Tyrrel, a young Englishman posing as an artist. He is a half brother of the earl of Etherington. He returns to St. Ronan’s in an effort to prove his legitimacy and the treachery of his illegitimate half brother. He succeeds, but too late for any happiness to come from the revelations.

The earl of Etherington

The earl of Etherington, the illegitimate half brother of Francis Tyrrel and the usurper of his title. As a young man, he had treacherously substituted himself for Tyrrel and had married Clara Mowbray for the fortune that went with her hand. Forced to leave before the consummation of the marriage, he had vowed never to see her again, but he returns later, again disguised, to attempt to force another marriage. His betrayal is finally revealed, and he is killed by John Mowbray.

Clara Mowbray

Clara Mowbray, the daughter of a Scottish laird. Because of a fortune that goes with her hand, she was coerced into a marriage with the earl of Etherington, who was forced to flee before the marriage was consummated. Later, he returns, disguised, hoping to force another marriage and acquire the fortune. His treachery is revealed too late for Clara, who, in an effort to escape, flees, wanders about distractedly, and finally dies.

John Mowbray

John Mowbray, Clara Mowbray’s brother, who attempts to force her marriage to the earl of Etherington, whom he later kills when he learns of the earl’s treachery.

Mr. Touchwood

Mr. Touchwood, an elderly gentleman, the son of the man who left the estate coveted by the earl of Etherington. He is in possession of and reveals the proof of Francis Tyrrel’s legitimacy.

Meg Dods

Meg Dods, the proprietress of the inn at old St. Ronan’s.

Lady Penelope Penfeather

Lady Penelope Penfeather, a leader of society at St. Ronan’s Well.

Captain Harry Jekyl

Captain Harry Jekyl, a friend and correspondent of the earl of Etherington.

The Reverend Josiah Cargill

The Reverend Josiah Cargill, a clergyman who knows the secret of Clara Mowbray’s forced marriage to the earl of Etherington.

Hannah Irwin

Hannah Irwin, Clara Mowbray’s former maid and the ally of the earl of Etherington.


Solmes, the earl of Etherington’s servant.

Sir Bingo Binks

Sir Bingo Binks, a boorish young man who challenges Tyrrel to a duel.

Captain MacTurk

Captain MacTurk, Sir Bingo’s second.