Robert Bennet – Between 55 and 60. The master of Longbourne, a comfortable estate entailed to the male line. Widowed early in life, he never really recovered. Robert is engaged in frequent battles of will with his son James, who has no interest in the estate. For moral support and companionship he confides in his sister Mary.
James Bennet, his son – 28 years old. Adept at play acting to avoid responsibilities that are forced on him. He uses sharp wit frequently, not merely to entertain, but to keep people at a distance. Mischievous, dismissive and highly intelligent, James resists any
Mary Ellingworth, his sister. Robert’s younger sister. A decent woman, wise and fair-minded, caring and considerate, but also burdened by having been widowed early in life and helping raise James in lieu of any children of her own.
Benedict Collins, his cousin. An infrequent visitor to Longbourne with a financial interest in the estate, having given birth recently to a son. Abrasive, over-familiar, self-important, greedy. Benedict carries a strong resentment for older brother Robert.
Mrs Graves, the house keeper, 50-70. Long standing service to family has earned her familiarity and respect. Clever, good-humoured, has a way with words.
George Gardiner – Attorney at law, 45-50. Married to pretty but rather silly wife, father of an outspoken daughter - frustrated by both of them. Highly intelligent, knows how to operate socially, ambitious for further status.
Sarah Gardiner, his wife – 40-45. Attractive, likable but somewhat silly and superficial woman. Married to George. Spoils her daughter Emily, easily excited by money, young men, status, fashion etc.
Emily Gardiner, his daughter – 17 years old. A striking beauty in a girlish way, with an irrepressible spirit coupled with a lack of modesty that make Emily very conspicuous in company. She is flirtatious and superficial in her judgments, seeking excitement and wealth over other qualities.
Mrs Bowman – In her 40s. A pleasant natured woman, excitable in company, eager to make a good match for her daughter, Clara.
Miss Clara Bowman – around 20. A serious and sensitive young woman, Clara is not particularly pretty but has a great deal of intelligence and dignity.