Edmund Buney?


circa 1559–circa 1571

a synoptic, alphabetical character list


Bamford is father to Bettrice and brother to Fenell. He agrees to take part in the plot Wilkin and Fenell have engineered to cheat the Messenger. Thus, he appears crying and lamenting the loss of his daughter before the Messenger, complaining about the fact that she should have been sold to the Merchant instead of Julian. He even threatens and insults Wilkin and Fenell, calling them cozeners. He plays his role convincingly, their plan succeeds and both girls (Julian and Bettrice) are finally freed. Later on, he is also going to take part, with his two accomplices, in another trick–this time to be played on Chremes: they decide to make him drunk for his son July to be able to get leave from him to marry the girl he wants and reward his faithful servants with his father's consent. In fact, that plot is also successful and even Bamford (who convinces the old man that there is a wealthy and worthy lady in his house–who is no one but Julian–who could be a good match for his son) gets his reward from tipsy Chremes: he is granted the house–where he had been dwelling–forever.


Bettrice is daughter to Bamford and niece to Fenell. She consents to take part in a plot Fenell and Wilkin devise in order to free Julian from slavery. Thus, she is offered to the Messenger to be sold to the Merchant instead of Julian. Once the transaction is effected, Bamford, her father, appears denouncing the unfairness of such transaction, and Bettrice is freed and safely restored to him, as they had planned.


Chremes is an old man, married to Maud and father to July, Nane and Dick. When his wife reveals that their elder son intends to marry her maid–Julian–he is not too happy with the thought that his son should marry a poor lady of inferior rank, he devises a plan to punish them. But he is soon misled by his own son into believing that Julian is a false lady and that he does not feel any affection for her. Therefore, in the belief that the girl is not trustworthy, when Chremes is offered to have his debts met by a Merchant if he sells Julian to him as a slave, the old man consents to the transaction. But he is going to regret it soon, when he realizes that July is desolately grieving for his beloved Julian. Later, as he is trying to find a solution to restore happiness to his son's heart, he is tricked and made drunk by Bamford, Wilkin and Fenell. These mislead the old man into believing that there is a wealthy and worthy girl (Julian) in Bamford's house who could indeed serve as a wife for his son. Overjoyed (partly due to his large ingestion of alcohol) at the news, he goes to his son and makes him a rash promise: he will grant July three wishes. Thus, in the end, he has to approve of his son's marriage to Julian, grant freedom to his servants -Wilkin and Fenell–and give a house to Bamford. Note: A character of the same name appears in Terence's Heauton Timorumenos (163 B. C.). That character had a neighbor called Menedemus. The latter also appears in July and Julian. He is actually Chremes's neighbor as well.


Dicke is the youngest son to Chremes and Maud, and brother to July and Nane. He is urged to go to school by his mother, but he complains, because he would rather go playing. Nevertheless, he is made to go to school, accompanied by Fenell. Then the boy opens his heart to his servant, denouncing the way he is being mistreated by his parents. He reveals that he has the impression that, no matter what he did, they would never approve of it. He explains how, each day, early in the morning, he is sent to Grammar School just to waste his time looking at a book–which is good for nothing–like a fool. He also complains about the fact that he is abused by his schoolmasters: both his Song-School Master and his Grammar- School Master beat him if he arrives late or if he makes mistakes. Then he states his intention to take revenge on them when he grows up. Actually, the boy was true because, when they finally arrive at school, his schoolmasters are there, ready to punish him for being late. When, later, he comes back home, he resolves not to go back to school any more, given that there he suffers ill treatment from his schoolmasters. Therefore, following Wilkin's advice, he decides to help his brother July to marry his beloved Julian, in hope that, when they leave the parental house to settle on their own, they should take him with them, far from the reach of his parents and schoolmasters. Thus, when he learns about his parent's plot to cheat July, by sending Misis instead of Julian to the date both lovers had arranged for that night, he runs to tell his brother all about it. In recompense, July speaks to Dick's schoolmasters, and he is dispensed from his scholarly duties for the rest of the day.


Fenell, also spelled ffenell, is a male servant. He works for Chremes and Maud. He explains that he was born in "bondage" and brought up in "beggary". In fact, he describes himself as "hungry," "skinny," and "coloryd lyk a coorse." He has always been an obedient servant, but now he wants to be free. He is ordered by his mistress, Maud, to take her son, Dick, to school. Obediently, he does as he is told, but when he is alone with the child, he actually tells him that his mother has been unkind to him, and that she should have let him play. He truly sympathizes with Dick, especially when the latter explains his daily routine to him–the servant will have the chance to confirm what the little boy tells him about his schoolmasters, when, on their arrival at school, he witnesses the way they abuse Dick. In an attempt to encourage him, Fenell reveals that he will have to bear it all until he becomes a man. When he goes back home, Fenell teases Nane, Maud's daughter, amused at her wish for escaping the stereotype of the Renaissance housewife, which she believes has been imposed on her. Later, he is asked to help Maud in her plan to ruin July and Julian's marriage perspectives and future happiness: he has to go and deliver a message to Misis, Menedemus's daughter, urging her to go to Maud's house immediately. Then he meets Wilkin, who invites Fenell to help him make July marry Julian, explaining that, if they achieve that goal, they will be granted freedom by grateful July. Wilkin suggests exchanging Fenells's niece, Bettrice, for Julian, before the Merchant notices it–making all the dealings with his Messenger–and than making her father appear claiming for her, so that she can be restored to him safe and sound. Fenell agrees to it, and to Wilkin's second plan, consisting in getting some extra money from the Merchant for themselves. In the end, Wilkin's plans succeed, and, therefore, both servants contribute to July and Julian's happiness, and gain their long-awaited freedom.


The Grammar-School Master is a strict teacher. He punishes Dick for arriving late at school. Later, he will have to obey July, when he asks him to dispense his brother Dick from his scholarly duties for the rest of the day.


Only mentioned. Fenell mentions him almost at the end of the play, when he says "Jack shall have his Jill, and Julye Julian." Jack and Jill is a nursery rhyme. Jack is a generic name for man, husband, or master. Fenell is referring to a popular phrase which says: "Every Jack shall have his Jill", meaning that "every man may find a wife if he likes."


Only mentioned. Fenell mentions her almost at the end of the play, when he says "Jack shall have his Jill, and Julye Julian." Jack and Jill is a nursery rhyme. Gill or Jill is a generic name for a wife or female servant. Jill or Gill is also a contraction of Julienne (here Julian) or Gillian, a common Norman name. Fenell is referring to a popular phrase (see JACK).


Julian, also spelled Iulian, is an honest maid servant to Maud. Having agreed to meet her beloved July at night, the moment she learns that her mistress intends to marry her son to a worthy lady, she reveals their plans for a secret meeting to her–even a the cost of her own happiness. Then Maud's cruelty goes as far as to use her to play a part in a plan devised to ruin all her hopes of fulfilling her love: Julian is asked to tell Fenell to bring Misis, in order to make her go to the date in Julian's place. At the date, aware of the exchange, July insults the lady and accuses her of being false. Thus, when a Merchant offers Chremes to meet all his debts–plus a large sum of money–for Julian, he eagerly accepts to sell her as a slave. But then July begs his parents not to take her away from him. In the end, she is freed from the Messenger by a plan devised by Wilkin, and she finally marries July, and is accepted by his parents.


July, also spelled Iulye, is son to Chremes and Maud, and brother to Nane and Dick. He laments because his love for Julian seems to be impossible. He feels a burning passion for her, but his parents do not consent to their love, because she is just a servant. In fact, his father has even set spies on him. July, later, goes to Wilkin in distress, because he knows his mother has overheard him when he was arranging to meet Julian that night, and he fears that, in her rage, she should undo him and spoil it all. When he learns–from his brother Dick–her mother's plan to trick him, sending Misis to the date instead of his beloved Julian, he rewards his little brother by talking to his Grammar-School Master and his Song-School Master and making them dispense him from his scholarly duties for the rest of the day. Later, he learns from Wilkin that he–who was supposed to be waiting on him and his dear Julian that night–is also going to be replaced by another person, who works for his father. When the night comes, July goes to his date, but instead of initiating a warm love encounter–aware of the fact that the lady in front of him is not Julian, but Misis, the match that his parents have prepared for him–he actually starts abusing the lady, telling her she has insulted him, his father and his mother. Then he leaves her there, and enters the house again. With his unexpected behavior, he manages to mislead his parents into believing that he felt no affection whatsoever for Julian. He later learns from Wilkin that his wooed lady has been sold as a slave to a Merchant. Torn inside by despair, he wants to take revenge immediately. But Wilking calms him down, and offers to bring back the lady if July promises to grant him freedom. July agrees. Nevertheless, unable to just stay there waiting, he decides to act, and his next step is to beg his father not to take Julian away from him. However, he explains to the old man that he is not doing it because he loves her, but because he would not want her to think that his unkind works were responsible for her departure. To his despair, his attempt is not fruitful. Nevertheless, in the end, Wilkin's plan succeeds and, after his father makes a rash promise, he actually gains his permission to marry Julian, and gets freedom for both Wilkin and Fenell.


Maud, also spelled Mawd, is a city woman, wife to Chremes, and mother to July, Nane and Dick. She is a bossy woman, who wants her daughter to obey her, and she does not hesitate to box her on the ear when the occasion requires it. She overhears her elder son arranging to meet her maid, Julian, at night, to speak about marriage. Incensed at the thought that her son should marry a servant, as soon as she sees her husband, she reveals what she overheard to him, and they both plan to punish the lovers. Then she talks to Julian, and puts her to a test, explaining to her that she would like her son to marry a worthy lady. When, in reply, she hears, from her honest maid, the truth about the date she and July had arranged for that night, she praises her honesty, but devises a cruel and wicked plan: she asks Julian to tell Fenell to bring Misis, Menedemus's rich and worthy daughter, to go to the date instead of her. Actually things do not turn out as Maud had expected, and her son misleads her into believing that he felt no affection whasover for Julian, insulting the lady who attends the date, and, thus, putting a sharp end to his mother's hopes to marry him to their wealthy neighbor's daughter. When, later, she learns that her husband hesitates when he is offered to have his debts met, plus a large sum of money, by a Merchant who wants to buy Julian as a slave, she eagerly encourages him to sell her. Nevertheless, she will later regret having sold the young lady, when she realizes how much July is suffering for her love.


A "ghost character." Menedemus, also called Menedem, is an old wealthy man, father to Misis and neighbor to Chremes. Maud mentions him when she explains Julian her plan to send Fenell to Menedemus's house, in search of his daughter. Later, Julian also mentions him when she tells Fenell about Maud's orders.


A "ghost character." The Merchant intends to buy Julian, as a slave, meeting Chremes's debts and paying him an extra large sum of money. He sends a Messenger to make the corresponding dealings with Chremes.


The Messenger is a servant to the Merchant. The Merchant intends to buy Julian, as a slave, meeting Chremes's debts and paying him an extra large sum of money. The Messenger manages to make Chremes agree to sell the lady to his master. However, he is tricked by Wilkin into believing Julian is his own daughter. Then, the messenger agrees to marry Bettrice instead. But, later, Bamford, Bettrice's father, appears, claiming for his daughter, who had been sold without his permission. Finally, the Messenger realizes that he has been cheated, and he has to give the lady back to her father, and return to his master empty-handed.


Misis is Menedemus's daughter. She is asked, by Fenell, to go to Chremes's house immediately, because Maud is waiting for her. Later, urged by Maud, she will go to the date at night, in Julian's place, only to be shocked and insulted by July.


Nane, also spelled Nan and Nancye, is daughter to Chremes and Maud, and sister to July and Dick. She is tired of having to fit into the stereotypical role of women in the Renaissance. She is determined not to have a rest until she manages to break with that stereotype of the English Renaissance housewife that her mother is trying to cast upon her.


Pierpinte is brother to Maud, brother-in-law to Chremes, and uncle to July, Nane and Dick. He is a wealthy man who lives in the country, and has just come to pay a visit to his relatives.


A "ghost character." Robart Rose is mentioned by Chremes when he explains that he needs to sell Julian to the Merchant, because, that way, the latter will meet the debt he had contracted with Sir Robart Rose. Later he is mentioned again by Wilkin, under the identity of the Vndershreve.


The Song-School Master reprimands Dick for not hurrying to go to school. Later, the boy reveals that his school masters had beaten him. But soon the Song-School Master will have to obey July, when the latter asks him to dispense his brother Dick from his scholarly duties for the rest of the day.


Wilkin's disguise. It is the identity adopted by Wilkin when he is trying to mislead the Messenger into setting Julian free and taking Bettrice instead. He explains that Chremes had acquired a debt with Mr. Rose when he fought against the latter and a merchant of Braband the previous summer. He then reveals that he is the Vndershreve, and the Messenger pays him the money with pleasure–in the belief that he is in fact meeting the debt that Chremes had contracted with Mr. Rose). The Vndershreve then explains that another reason for his presence there is that he had come to take his daughter, Julian, with him, because he had heard that she was to be sold to a Merchant. When his 'daughter' is restored to him, he meets her with joy, and threatens to put the Messenger to jail. He pretends to have been so offended that he does not even want to hear about Chremes, the man whose loathsome behavior almost deprives him of the sight of his "daughter" forever. Later, the Vndershreve offers Bettrice to the Messenger in exchange for money.


Wilkin is a male servant to Chremes and Maud. He sympathizes with July when the latter opens his heart to him, explaining how he suffers having to conceal the passion he feels for Julian. Later, when Dick comes to him complaining, because he has been beaten at school, Wilkin also shows his sympathy for him, suggesting that he should ask his brother July for help, and, in his turn, do something for him as well. Wilkin's argument is that, if Dick helps his brother to marry Julian, then the boy will be able to go and live with them, far from the reach of his strict mother and his severe masters. When he listens to July's confidence revealing him that his mother had overheard his conversation with Julian, in which they had arranged to meet that night, Wilkin tries to offer him a solution. Thus, he advises him to tell his mother, openly, about his intentions, in order to gain her favor. Then Wilkin will invite Fenell to take part in his plan to help July marry Julian, because that way they may obtain their long-awaited freedom. He soon runs to tell July about the fact that his father is going to send another man–instead of him–to wait on him and his beloved one that night. Later, he will go back to him to break the sad news that Julian has been sold to a Merchant, but he advises his young master to wait before taking action, assuring him that, if he promises to grant him freedom, he will go and rescue the lady. Wilkin then suggests Fenell that they could replace Julian with Bettrice before the Merchant noticed. But he grows greedy, and decides that the Merchant should give them some money as well. Thus, he devises another plan, and asks Fenell to collaborate: he will pretend to be Julian's father, and he will tell the Messenger that he still has another daughter (Bettrice)–explaining that he cannot let Julian go, but that he could let him have the other, if he paid a sum of money for her. In the end, his plan succeeds, and, therefore, he contributes to July's happiness, and gains his long-sought freedom.