The Toilers of the Sea Characters

Victor Hugo

Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)


Gilliatt (zheel-YAHT), a young recluse living on the Isle of Guernsey and looked on with suspicion by most of his fellow parishioners. He saves his friend’s fortune with great difficulty and nobly gives up to another the promised reward of marriage to the girl he loves. Finally, sitting on the very rock from which he once rescued his now successful rival, he lets himself be drowned by the high tide.

Mess Lethierry

Mess Lethierry (leh-tyeh-REE), a shipowner and Gilliatt’s friend. His partner having run away with his money, Lethierry attempts to recoup his fortune by buying a steamboat. His treacherous captain sinks it, but Gilliatt succeeds in salvaging the valuable engine.


Deruchette (day-rew-SHEHT), Lethierry’s beautiful niece, whom Gilliatt loves.

Ebenezer Caudray

Ebenezer Caudray (EHB-eh-nee-zur), the new rector. His love for Deruchette is returned. After she is promised to Gilliatt by Lethierry, Deruchette and Caudray are frustrated in their attempt to marry secretly, but Gilliatt’s generosity unites them.


Rantaine (rahn-TEHN), Lethierry’s absconding former partner.

Sieur Clubin

Sieur Clubin (syewr klew-BA[N]), the captain of Lethierry’s steamboat, a man widely noted for honesty. Clubin takes Lethierry’s stolen money from Rantaine at gunpoint. Having arranged to be picked up by smugglers, he sinks Lethierry’s steamboat; his scheme is to escape with the money and leave a reputation for heroism as one who “stayed with the ship.” He grounds the ship in the wrong place and is, in fact, drowned. Later, his plotting is discovered. Gilliatt, in salvaging the steam engine, also retrieves the money from Clubin’s body.