Howat Penny, the dark-skinned, somber-eyed, and jut-chinned son of the owner of Myrtle Forge. A free-spirited and strong-willed man, he loves the Pennsylvania wilderness rather than his father’s iron works. Once he has fallen in love with Ludowika and possessed her, he has no scruples about taking her from her husband; the theft is unnecessary because Winscombe dies.
Ludowika Winscombe, the young Anglo-Polish wife of an elderly British envoy. She falls in love with Howat Penny and later becomes his wife. Having a background of social life in London, she finds Pennsylvania life interesting but somewhat crude. She submits to Howat’s forcefulness, however, and becomes Mrs. Penny.
Jasper Penny, Howat’s great-grandson, a widower. He is headstrong, rebellious, and independent like his ancestor, whom he resembles physically. Guilt leads him to rescue Eunice and provide for her. He is unable to persuade Susan to marry him until both have lost their vigor; their son, the second Howat’s father, is the weakened product of their diminished selves.
Susan Brundon, Jasper’s sweetheart, the mistress of a girls’ school and friend of Jasper’s cousins, the Jannans. Pale, blue-eyed, and high-cheeked, she is a very proper Victorian and rejects Jasper’s marriage proposal because she thinks herself...
(The entire section is 419 words.)