Monday, June 6, 2011

Evelina Character Guide

There are many characters we come across in Evelina, some of which disappear and reappear. Some may find it a bit helpful to have a bit of a guide in telling everyone apart.

Miss Evelina Anville is the daughter of Lady Caroline Belmont (nee Evelyn) and Sir John Belmont whom she has been estranged from. She has been raised by her guardian, Reverend Villars, who is like a father to her. She is pretty, with a good heart, but considered naïve due to living a safe and sheltered childhood.
Reverend Arthur Villars is Evelina’s father-figure. He is very protective of his adoptive daughter and has shielded her from many of the world’s evils. It is the Reverend Villars whom Evelina address most of her letters.
Lady Howard is the good friend of Reverend Villars and mother of Mrs. Mirvan. She lives at Howard Grove.
Mrs. Mirvan is like a mother to Evelina. She invites Evelina to stay with her in London and introduce her to society.
Miss Maria Mirvan is Evelina’s best friend.
Captain Mirvan is a retired captain in the navy who is the father of Evelina’s friend Maria. He is the comedic representation of John Bull, the average French-hating, humor-loving Englishman.
Sir Clement Willoughby is an egotistical baronet who represents the personality of many aristocrats of the time. He makes it his personal mission to seduce the naïve young country girl, Evelina who finds his personality repugnant.
Lord Orville is an earl who stands out to Evelina due his good morals and non-foppish or hedonistic ways. He is handsome and noble and Evelina finds herself flustering her words every time she is in his presence.
Mr. Lovel is the definition of a fop. He makes Evelina’s life miserable after she declines a dance invitation from him, not knowing it is social suicide.
Madame Duval is Evelina’s estranged maternal grandmother from France. She disapproves of Evelina’s raising and wants to take over her care.
M. Dubois is the male companion of Madam Duval.
The Branghtons are a low-bred family who Madame Duval introduces to Evelina as more estranged relations. They own a silversmith's shop in High Holborn. Despite Evelina’s naivety to society she is embarrassed by their lack of class.
Mr. Macartney is poor Scottish poet, who boards with the Branghtons. Evelina takes pity on him and befriends him.
Lord Merton is another rakish peer who remains a bit of a mystery until Evelina finally learns his name. Based on her past experiences with aristocrats of the same personality Evelina is untrusting of him.
Mrs. Selwyn A neighbor to Berry Hill, Mrs Selwyn is very opinionated but lady of society who means well
Mrs. Beaumont an elderly lady of the upper class and friend to Mrs. Selwyn

Berry Hill Home of Evelina and Rev Villars
Howard Grove Home of Lady Howard and occasionally the Mirvan family
Clifton Hill Home of Mrs. Beaumont


  1. Thank you very much!

    I cannot stop looking at the painting. It is so exquisitely beautiful. Sigh...

  2. Katherine LouiseJune 6, 2011 at 4:36 PM

    I know the other characters comment on Evelina's naivete, but I think they mistake her lack of social graces (or rather, of London graces) for a lack of understanding. She's actually quite bright and good, isn't she? She quickly recognizes the lord's excellent qualities; laughs at the fop (not the polite thing to do, but how absurd he is!); tries her best with her bumpkin-ish cousins (their behavior makes me squirm!) and dreadful grandmother. What do others think?

  3. Is there by any chance a Mrs. Branghton or does the Mr. raise the kids alone?

  4. @KL, I don't think anyone can dispute Evelina's manners. I think she is naive (who wouldn't be?) but certainly not ill-mannered.

    @Anon, No Mrs. B in the book. One must wonder if there would be any improvement in the family if there were...or would she be the worst of them all?

  5. why is Mdm Duval cool with the Branghtons? How can one who has led such a life in her status be blind to low breeding and poor behavior?

  6. I've been wondering that, I bet it's the kind of thing she expects from the English, that it feels fitting to her foe English people to be like that.