Fenian O’Hara McCreary
Fenian O’Hara McCreary, called Fainy Mac, a young Irishman who learns the printing trade from an uncle. His uncle’s bankruptcy puts McCreary out of a job and makes a tramp of him. Because of his skill as a printer, McCreary is able to find jobs here and there, one with a shoddy outfit called the Truthseeker Literary Distributing Co., Inc., and he travels from place to place, usually riding on freight trains. During his travels, he falls in with members of the Industrial Workers of the World and becomes an earnest worker in that labor movement. He marries Maisie Spencer, but eventually they quarrel. He leaves his family in California to become a labor organizer in Mexico, where he lives a free and easy life.
Maisie Spencer, a shopgirl who marries Fainy McCreary. She is unable to share his radical views, and they part.
Janey Williams, a girl who wants a career in business. She becomes a stenographer and through her luck and skill is hired as secretary to J. Ward Moorehouse, a prominent man in public relations. She becomes an efficient, if sour, woman who makes a place for herself in business. Her great embarrassment is her brother Joe, a sailor who shows up periodically with presents for her.
Joe Williams, Janey Williams’ brother, a young man who cannot accept discipline. He loves life at sea and becomes a merchant seaman after deserting from the Navy. Although he is in and out of scrapes all the time, he manages to qualify as a second officer during World War I. His life ends when a Senegalese hits him over the head with a bottle in a brawl over a woman in the port of St. Nazaire.
Della Williams, Joe Williams’ wife. Although she is cold to her husband and claims that she is modest, she comes to believe during World War I that it is her patriotic duty to entertain men in uniform all that she can, much to her husband’s chagrin.
J. Ward Moorehouse
J. Ward Moorehouse, an opportunist who becomes a leading public relations and advertising executive. He is eager to succeed in life and to have a hand in many activities. His first wife is Annabelle Strang, a wealthy and promiscuous woman; his second is Gertrude Staple, who helps him in his career. Although he succeeds as a businessman, he is unhappy in his domestic life, to which he gives all too little time because he prefers a whole series of women to his wife. A heart attack finally convinces him that the life he leads is not a fruitful one.
Annabelle Strang, the wealthy, amoral woman who becomes J. Ward Moorehouse’s first wife....
(The entire section is 1140 words.)