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Character Summary


NELL TRENT: a beautiful 13 year old girl who lives with her grandfather

THE GRANDFATHER (OF NELL): an elderly man who owns a curiosity shop

CHRISTOPHER (KIT) NUBBLES: a lad with a comical expression and odd mannerisms who works for the grandfather

RICHARD (DICK) SWIVELLER: a friend of Fred Trent who lives above a tobacco shop

DANIEL QUILP: a shady associate of the grandfather’s who is involved in many occupations (sometimes referred to as the dwarf).

SAMPSON BRASS: an attorney of ill-repute that works for Quilp

BETSY QUILP: a pretty, mild woman who is the wife of Daniel Quilp

MRS. JINIWIN: Betsy Quilp’s shrewish mother, who disapproves of her son-in-law

TOM SCOTT: Boy who works for Mr. Quilp who has an odd affection for him
(also referred to as the tumbling boy or boy who stands on his head)

MRS. NUBBLES: Kit’s hard-working, good-humored mother.


MR. GARLAND: club-footed elderly gentleman

MRS. GARLAND: Mr. Garland’s fat wife

ABEL GARLAND: The Garland’s 28 year old only son, a quiet lad

MR. WITHERDEN: a Notary who handles paperwork for the Garlands (often referred to as the Notary)

MR. CHUCKSTER: works for Mr. Witherden

BARBARA: The Garlands’ servant girl.

MR. MARTON: Schoolmaster of a small village that takes in grandfather and Nell (usually referred to as the schoolmaster)

MRS. JARLEY: Owner of a wax work caravan.

MISS SARAH (SALLY) BRASS: The sister of Sampson Brass, who assists him in his practice

SMALL SERVANT GIRL: A little girl who is a servant to the Brasses (later referred to as Marchioness or Sophronia Sphynx)

BEVIS MARKS: A mysterious man who rents the room in the Brass house and is interested in finding Nell and her grandfather (often called the lodger, the single gentleman, Mr. Garland's friend, or the younger brother)


(*) indicates a character that is referred to rather than one that has an active part in the story

THE NARRATOR: an elderly gentleman relating a story about a little girl he encountered on one of his habitual walks

FREDERICK TRENT: Nell’s 21 year old brother

SOPHIA WACKLES: 20 year old girl Dick Swiveller is romancing that runs a school with her mother and sisters

MELISSA WACKLES: Sophia’s 35 year old sister, who doesn’t approve of Dick Swiveller

JANE WACKLES: Sophia’s 16 year old sister

MRS. WACKLES: Sophia’s shrewish mother, who disapproves of Dick Swiveller

REBECCA SWIVELLER (*): Dick Swiveller's spinster aunt

ALICK CHEGGS: a market-gardener who is in love with Sophia Wackles

MISS CHEGGS: Alick’s sister who advocates Alick’s courtship of Sophia and tries to help him

MR. HARRIS (NICKNAMED SHORT TOPPERS): Owner of a traveling Punch puppet show, nicknamed for his short legs

TOMMY CODLIN: The puppeteer’s disillusioned assistant

JERRY AND HIS DOGS: Jerry is an owner of dancing dogs

HARRY: The schoolmaster’s beloved student, who is top of his class—and who has fallen seriously ill (often referred to as the little scholar or little pupil).

GEORGE: works for Mrs. Jarley

MISS MONFLATHERS: head of the Boarding and Day Establishment, who takes some of her pupils to see Mrs. Jarley’s exhibit.

JAMES GROVES: landlord of the Valiant Soldier and professional gamester

MAT: One of the card players at the Valiant Soldier, a surly man.

ISAAC LIST: One of the card players at the Valiant Soldier, a sour fellow

MISS EDWARDS: a pupil at Miss Monflather’s establishment who was sympathetic to Nell.

SISTER OF MISS EDWARDS: Much younger than Nell, Miss Edwards saved her money so she could see her again.

BARBARA’S MOTHER: The mother of the Garland servant girl, who has a similar history to Mrs. Nubbles.

MR. JOE JOWL: a gypsy that is in with Isaac List and his friends

BOAT MEN: Three rough but kind gentleman who offer Nell and her grandfather a ride on their boat.

OLD FOXEY (*): The father of Sampson and Sally Brass, who encouraged his daughter’s interest in law and regretted that she could not become a lawyer.

FIRE WATCHER: The man who watches the fire at a factory

SEXTON: hires Nell to be the Church keeper (also referred to as the clergyman)

THE BACHELOR: a friend of the clergyman’s and brother to Mr. Garland

DAVID: a deaf gravedigger (referred to as the clergyman's assistant)

HIDE AND SEEK BOY: little boy playing with friends in graveyard whose brother is buried there (referred to as Nell's little friend or Her little mourner)


MRS. GEORGE: a stout woman who is the leader of a group of neighborhood ladies who visit Mrs. Quilp and try to persuade her to stand up to her husband’s tyranny.

HENRIETTA SIMMONS: another lady in the group that visits Betsy Quilp, who has told Mrs. George many of the tales about the Quilp marriage

THE WIDOW, UNMARRIED WOMAN, LADY FROM MINORIES, AND OTHERS: Other neighborhood women who visit Betsy Quilp

SERVANT GIRL OF SWIVELLER'S: Servant girl who works for the tobacco shop owner who Dick rents from

WAITER OF EATING HOUSE: delivers a meal to Dick Swiveller but only receives a promise of payment.

MR. TOMKINLEY (*): teacher at Abel Garland’s school that took him on an outing to Margate.

COTTAGER, HIS WIFE, AND THREE SONS: A family that is kind to Nell and her grandfather when they stop to rest.

CARRIAGE DRIVER: Gives Nell and grandfather a ride into the next town at the request of the cottager.

LANDLORD AND LANDLADY #1: Own a house that the puppeteer, his assistant, Nell, and her grandfather stay at

OLD WOMAN AT GRAVEYARD: an old woman Nell meets in a graveyard who reminisces about a lost love

MR. GRINDER AND COMPANY: Mr. Grinder beats on a drum while a young man and woman walk on stilts behind him

LANDLORD OF THE JOLLY SANDBOYS: landlord of an inn that puppeteer, his assistant, Nell, and grandfather stay at

MR. VUFFIN: Proprietor of a freak show

SWEET WILLIAM: An ugly, silent conjuror

LADY IN THE CARRIAGE: A sympathetic lady in the carriage who buys one of Nell’s nosegays and advises her to get away from the races.

MRS. GREEN (*): a reference for Kit, a lodger at the cheesemonger’s.

MR. BROWN (*): a reference for Kit, a corporal in the East Indies.

HARRY’S GRANDMOTHER: The grandmother of the schoolmaster’s star pupil

SCHOOLMASTER’S PUPILS: The other students, ranging from four to fourteen, who are idle

DISAPPROVING OLD LADY: An old lady that yells at the meek schoolmaster after he lets the boys out of school early

SUMMONING OLD WOMAN: The elderly woman who summons the schoolmaster to Harry’s deathbed.

CONSOLING WOMEN: Women who are consoling Harry’s grandmother.

BOY CARRYING TRUNK: A boy carrying Quilp’s trunk slower than Quilp likes

MAN IN VELVETEEN PANTS: An assistant who helps George unpack the waxworks.

MR. SLUM: a military man who sells something “very dear” to people like Mrs. Jarley.

LUKE WITHERS (*): A man who won thirteen times running, but who had lost more times

VALIANT SOLDIER SERVANT GIRL: A servant girl who is unhappy with her employer because she believes the place is a den of crooks.

THE BARONET’S DAUGHTER: Another student of Miss Monflather’s who comes from a prestigious family, but who is plain and stupid.

MARQUIS OF MIZZLER AND LORD BOBBY (*): Two men who got into a dispute over a bottle of champagne.


NEIGHBOR: One of the Nubbles neighbors

GOSSIP NEIGHBOR: A neighbor who is Mrs. Nubbles gossiping buddy that tells Kit the location of Little Bethel.

REVEREND: A shoemaker and the preacher of Little Bethel

PALLID MAN: A sympathetic man who directs Nell and her grandfather to a warm fire

UNEMPLOYED FATHER: a man who can’t feed his family and has lost all of his children

MAN IN BLACK: a man of the law who shows mercy in one case, but who is criticized for not being merciful enough

DEAF BOY: The one case Man in Black shows mercy in due to boy’s disabilities

DEAF BOY’S MOTHER: mother of boy Man in Black is merciful to

ANOTHER MOTHER: thinks it unfair her child didn’t get leniency just because he wasn’t disabled

LANDLORD AND LANDLADY AT SCHOOLMASTER’S INN: landlady a clever woman with remedies

RED-NOSED DOCTOR: a doctor who prescribes the remedies most women already know

BOY AT WHEELER: Mr. Marks driver for carriage on first trip.

WAITER AT INN: A waiter that works at an inn that both Mr. Marks and Mr. Quilp stay at.

TWO WATERSIDE MEN: Men who dragged wharf searching for Daniel Quilp’s body

SCHOOLBOY: a boy who runs errands for The Bachelor

JOHN OWEN (*): One of Mr. Marton’s new pupils, a reckless but honest boy

RICHARD EVANS (*): a good pupil and a good singer, but prophesied by The Bachelor to have a bad end

SWIMMER (*): a boy who saved a blind man’s dog from drowning

BECKY MORGAN (*): a woman from a neighboring hamlet who dies whose age is in dispute

WILLY (*): the dead brother of hide-and-seek boy

CONSTABLE: Arresting officer when Kit is accused of stealing

TURNKEY #1: officer that takes Kit in and out of his cell

TURNKEY #2 WITH NEWSPAPER : officer that observes the visitor’s area

TURNKEY #3: officer that takes Kit back from Visitor’s area

TURNKEY #4: officer that delivers drinks and messages

DEFENSE ATTORNEY: hired by Garlands and Notary to defend Kit.

PROSECUTOR: very clever at twisting things around in Kit’s trial

JUDGE, JURY, AND SPECTATORS: listen to the prosecution and defense at Kit’s trial

DICK’S LANDLADY: landlady who comes to Brasses to report that Dick is ill

PORTER: carries much needed clothes and food to Swiveller residence

NICE OLD LADY: prepares food for Swiveller and Marchioness

MESSENGER: a boy that delivers a letter to the Quilp residence

NEWSMONGER: person who is glad to see Kit go from prison now that it is apparent he doesn’t belong there

GENTLEMEN WHO PARDON KIT: officials who handle the pardoning of Kit

POSTBOY: driver for second trip to find Nell

SHIVERING FIGURE: a man at the last stop who changes horses and gives information to Kit

MRS. QUILP’S SECOND HUSBAND: a man Mrs. Quilp chooses by her own council


KIT’S SIX CHILDREN: five boys and one girl who like hearing about Miss Nell

Charles Dickens