A Chancery judge once had the kindness to inform me, as one of a company of some hundred and fifty men and women not labouring under any suspicions of lunacy, that the Court of Chancery, though the shining subject of much popular prejudice (at which point I thought the judge's eye had a cast in my direction), was almost immaculate. There had been, he admitted, a trivial blemish or so in its rate of progress, but this was exaggerated and had been entirely owing to the "parsimony of the public," which guilty public, it appeared, had been until lately bent in the most determined manner on by no means enlarging the number of Chancery judges appointed—I believe by Richard the Second, but any other king will do as well.
This seemed to me too profound a joke to be inserted in the body of this book or I should have restored it to Conversation Kenge or to Mr. Vholes, with one or other of whom I think it must have originated. In such mouths I might have coupled it with an apt quotation from one of Shakespeare's sonnets:
"My nature is subdued
To what it works in, like the dyer's hand:
Pity me, then, and wish I were renewed!"
Kenge ( Bleak House ) Solicitor for John Jarndyce in the firm Kenge and Carboy. Known as 'Conversation Kenge'. (top)Vholes ( Bleak House ) Richard Carstone's solicitor in Symond's Inn, recommended by Skimpole, who lures Richard deeper into the Chancery case that will ultimately lead to Richard's despair and death.
Charles Dickens A to Z : The Essential Reference to His Life and Work
All of Dickens' characters and more
Alphabetical cross-linked list of more than 400 Dickens' characters:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Dickens' characters are some of the most memorable in fiction. Often these characters were based on people that he knew: Wilkins Micawber and William Dorrit (his father), Mrs. Nickleby (his mother). In a few instances Dickens based the character too closely on the original and got into trouble, as in the case of Harold Skimpole in Bleak House, based on Leigh Hunt, and Miss Mowcher in David Copperfield, based on his wife's dwarf chiropodist.
Characters such as Scrooge (miserly) and Pecksniff (hypocritically affecting benevolence) became defining terms in everyday vernacular.
Haggage, Dr ( Little Dorrit ) Doctor at the Marshalsea prison who delivers Amy Dorrit, described as 'amazingly shabby, in a torn and darned rough-weather sea-jacket, out at elbows and eminently short of buttons (he had been in his time the experienced surgeon carried by a passenger ship), the dirtiest white trousers conceivable by mortal man, carpet slippers, and no visible linen'. (top)
Handford, Julius ( Our Mutual Friend ) Alias taken by John Harmon in order to investigate his own supposed drowning. (top)
Haredale, Emma ( Barnaby Rudge ) Daughter of the murdered Reuben and niece of Geoffrey. She eventually marries Edward Chester (top)
Haredale, Geoffrey ( Barnaby Rudge ) Brother of the murdered Reuben and uncle of Emma. Suspected of being responsible for the murder of his brother, he spends his life in pursuit of the real killer. A Catholic, his house is burned in the Gordon Riots. He fights a duel with Sir John Chester, kills him, and leaves the country. (top)
Haredale, Reuben ( Barnaby Rudge ) Brother of Geoffrey, father of Emma. Murdered before the story begins. (top)
Harmon, John ( Our Mutual Friend ) Son of a wealthy dust contractor and heir to his fortune if he agrees to marry Bella Wilfer. He is away from England when his father dies and on the way home he is supposed drowned in a case of mistaken identity. With his supposed death the dust fortune goes to Boffin. John gets himself hired into the Boffin home as secretary John Rokesmith. Here he meets Bella and, with the help of the Boffins, wins her love as Rokesmith, and marries her. He later reveals his true identity and regains his fortune. (top)
Harris, Mrs ( Martin Chuzzlewit ) Imaginary friend of Sairey Gamp who uses Mrs Harris's invented quotes to establish Mrs Gamp's good reputation. (top)
Harthouse, James ( Hard Times ) A Parliamentary candidate visiting Coketown, he befriends Tom Gradgrind in an attempt to seduce his sister, Louisa, who is in an unhappy marriage to Bounderby. As a result of the attempted seduction Louisa runs home to her father and refuses to return to Bounderby and is later disowned by him. (top)
Havisham, Miss ( Great Expectations ) A very rich and grim old woman who lives in seclusion at Satis House. She is the guardian of Estella whom she teaches to break men's hearts to avenge her own being left at the altar by Compeyson years before. She continues to wear her wedding dress and her room contains the yellowing remnants of the wedding day including the mouldy wedding cake. Pip goes to Miss Havisham's to play and meets Estella. Pip believes Miss Havisham is his secret benefactor as he goes to London and becomes a gentleman, finding out later that the convict Magwitch has supplied his "Expectations". Miss Havisham dies when her house burns down and leaves her fortune to Estella. (top)
Havisham, Arthur ( Great Expectations ) Miss Havisham's drunken brother who plots with Compeyson to gain his sister's fortune. (top)
Hawk, Sir Mulberry ( Nicholas Nickleby ) Business associate of Ralph Nickleby. Makes advances to Kate Nickleby and is thrashed by Nicholas. When his revenge is opposed by Lord Verisopht they duel and Verisopht is killed. Hawk flees to France. (top)Headstone, Bradley ( Our Mutual Friend ) A school teacher and master of the boys department of a school on the borders of Kent and Surrey. Charlie Hexam becomes Headstone's pupil and Bradley becomes obsessed with Charley's sister Lizzie. Lizzie wants nothing to do with him and he becomes jealous of Eugene Wrayburn who also has eyes for Lizzie. He attempts to murder Wrayburn and believes he has been successful. Rogue Riderhood discovers the supposed murder and attempts to blackmail Headstone. In a later confrontation, Riderhood and Headstone are both drowned. (top)
Heathfield, Alfred ( The Battle of Life ) Ward of Dr. Jeddler who loves the doctor's youngest daughter, Marion. Marion runs away that her sister, Grace, may marry Alfred. Alfred becomes a doctor for the poor. (top)
Heep, Mrs. ( David Copperfield ) Widowed mother of Uriah Heep, "dead image of Uriah, only short". She is as "umble" as her son, whom she dotes on. (top)
Heep, Uriah ( David Copperfield ) A hypocritical clerk of Mr. Wickfield's who is continually citing his humbleness. He deviously plots to ruin Wickfield but is later undone by Mr. Micawber. On their first meeting, David describes him as "a red-haired person - a youth of fifteen, as I take it now, but looking much older - whose hair was cropped as close as the closest stubble; who had hardly any eyebrows, and no eyelashes, and eyes of a red-brown, so unsheltered and unshaded, that I remember wondering how he went to sleep. He was high-shouldered and bony; dressed in decent black, with a white wisp of a neckcloth; buttoned up to the throat; and had a long, lank, skeleton hand, which particularly attracted my attention, as he stood at the pony's head, rubbing his chin with it, and looking up at us in the chaise. He had a way of writhing when he wanted to express enthusiasm, which was very ugly" Uriah Heep, wonderfully hideous, is one of Dickens' greatest triumphs in character creation. His description of Heep's writhing and scheming, and his cold, clammy nature, makes one's skin crawl. (top)
Hexam, Charlie ( Our Mutual Friend ) Son of Gaffer and brother to Lizzie. Charlie is educated by Bradley Headstone and supports Headstone's advances toward his sister. When Lizzie refuses to marry Headstone Charlie rejects her. (top)
Hexam, Gaffer ( Our Mutual Friend ) Waterman, father of Lizzie and Charlie, who plies the Thames looking for dead bodies. He finds a body thought to be John Harmon, the central character in the story. (top)
Hexam, Lizzie ( Our Mutual Friend ) Daughter of waterman Gaffer Hexam and sister of Charlie. She is opposed to her father's business of combing the Thames looking for drowned bodies but is true to him. When her father drowns she goes to live with Jenny Wren. Lizzie rejects the advances of schoolmaster Bradley Headstone and opposes the attention of Eugene Wrayburn, although she loves him, because they come from different classes of society. She runs away from London to a mill up the river. Wrayburn succeeds in finding her and is followed by Headstone who attempts to murder Wrayburn. Lizzie rescues Wrayburn and later marries him. (top)
Higden, Betty ( Our Mutual Friend ) Old woman who operates a 'minding school', for orphans and other children. She is adamant about earning her keep and staying away from the workhouse. When an orphan in her keep dies she hits the road and earns a living doing needlework. She dies in the arms of Lizzie Hexam who promises not to take her to the workhouse. Dickens uses the character to illustrate the horror many of the truly needy had of the workhouse system. (top)
Hominy, Mrs ( Martin Chuzzlewit ) Conceited American literary lady Martin is forced to accompany on the first leg of the trip to Eden. (top)
Honeythunder, Luke ( The Mystery of Edwin Drood ) Loud, overbearing philanthropist and guardian of Neville and Helena Landless. (top)
Hortense ( Bleak House ) Lady Dedlock's French maid. She is dismissed in favor of Rosa and aids lawyer Tulkinghorn in discovering Lady Dedlock's secret. When Tulkinghorn spurns her she murders him. Hortense is based on Mrs Manning, a murderer whose execution Dickens witnessed in 1849. (top)
Hubbles, Mr and Mrs ( Great Expectations ) Friends of the Gargerys, Mr Hubble is the village wheelwright. (top)
Hugh ( Barnaby Rudge ) Hostler at the Maypole. Joins the rioters in London and is later hanged. Revealed to be the son of Sir John Chester. (top)