William Rowley
(and Thomas Middleton?)


a synoptic, alphabetical character list


Alexander is Bloodhound's prodigal son. He drinks, gambles and associates with the highwaymen. Alexander tricks Tim by pawning a fake diamond ring. He invades the Widow's house along with the other suitors, and she finds him attractive. He makes friends with Ancient Young, and reveals to him that Bloodhound has not sold the Ancient's mortgage; he also helps him to meet with Moll. Alexander persuades the Widow to marry him by threatening her reputation. He hides under her bed and surprises her late at night, and, with the aid of Jarvis, makes her believe that people are coming upstairs to search for a villain. He then starts taking off his clothes, refusing to stop unless she agree to marry. The Widow promises to surprise Bloodhound at their wedding by announcing her marriage to Alexander. But she instead disappoints him by announcing that she will never remarry. Alexander therefore resolves to marry himself to obedience, and become a dutiful son.


A young soldier, with whom Moll Bloodhound is in love. When he arrives at Bloodhound the usurer four days late to pay his mortgage, Bloodhound tricks him into thinking that he has sold it, due to his extreme poverty. The Ancient believes him, and joins the other suitors at the Widow's house in the hope of marrying her. The Widow shows no interest in him, but when he talks to Alexander, the Ancient learns that Bloodhound still has the mortgage in his house. He therefore decides to steal his mortgage back, and marry Moll. With Alexander's help, he pretends to be engaged to another woman in order to break Moll's affectation of disinterest. Moll steals the mortgage, but when she goes to Leadenhall to meet the Ancient, it is dark, and she gives it to Randall by mistake. The confusion is sorted out in the conclusion: Randall generously returns the mortgage, and the Ancient marries Moll.


A heartless usurer. He is fond of repeating 'politic saws'. Bloodhound has arranged to marry the rich Widow Wagge, and to marry his daughter Moll to the elderly Earlack. When Ancient Young arrives four days late for paying off his mortgage, Bloodhound falsely tells him that he has sold it. When he goes to meet the Widow on the Exchange at night, Bloodhound leaves his keys with Moll, who steals the mortgage to return to the Ancient. On the Exchange, Bloodhound is gulled by Jarvis into believing that Mistress Coote the Bawd is the Widow. Next morning, he is devastated to find that he has brought the wrong woman home, and that she has slept with Earlack; furthermore, he learns that Alexander now plans to marry the Widow. In the play's conclusion, Bloodhound therefore ends up with no wife, since the Widow resolves never to marry any man and Mistress Coote is sent to Bridewell.


A soldier turned highwayman. He works with Lieutenant Bottom. They try to rob Randall, but he escapes them and steals their stash of money. They are drinking partners of Alexander, and help him to gull Tim.


A night-constable. While drunk, he tells Randall that Moll would be an ideal wife. He frightens some of the characters during their midnight adventures, but does not arrest anyone. In the play's conclusion, it is Busy who reveals to Tim that Sue is a whore.


An elderly scrivener. He operates as Bloodhound's informer. Bloodhound wants him to marry Moll, but Moll has other ideas and meets her lover Ancient Young while Sim distracts Earlack by reading him Reynard the Fox. On the morning of the wedding, Bloodhound is infuriated to find Earlack in bed with Mistress Coote the Bawd.


A fictional fiancée invented by Ancient Young to persuade Moll to admit her love for him.


A blacksmith who tries to pawn his 'spare vice'. Bloodhound exploits his poverty.


A "ghost character." A fish-woman who has recently collected her pawned ring: a sign that business is not good for the usurers


Non-speaking role. One of the Widow's servants, who accompanies Mary the maid when she travels across London to get a ruff for her mistress.


Sir Janus Ambodexter is a guest at Bloodhound's 'wedding'. He is a Justice of the Peace, and escorts Mistress Coote and Sue to Bridewell.


The Widow's servant, skilled in subterfuge. He helps her to find better marriage partners than Bloodhound. Jarvis asks the Widow to consider taking him as her lover after she remarries, and puts on the clothes of a gentleman to demonstrate his good looks. He gulls Bloodhound into taking Mistress Coote the Bawd home, instead of the Widow. He helps to convey Alexander under the Widow's bed and blackmail her into agreeing to marriage. At the end of the play, he reveals that he is in fact her husband Wagge in disguise; his behavior can thus be understood as a test of her constancy.


One of the Widow's servants. He serves the suitors when they invade her house, and pretends to be 'Nicholas Nemo' when Jarvis gulls Bloodhound.


A soldier turned highwayman. He works with Captain Carvegut. They try to rob Randall, but he escapes them and steals their stash of money. They are drinking partners of Alexander, and help him to gull Tim.


The name Alexander gives to Sue Shortheels the whore when he gulls Tim into believing that she is a Greek princess.


Sir Marmaduke Manyminds is a guest at Bloodhound's 'wedding'. He is a Justice of the Peace, and escorts Mistress Coote and Sue to Bridewell.


The proper name of Moll, used only by Randall. She therefore confuses her with Mary the Widow's maid.


The Widow's maid is called Mary. This creates confusion when, traveling across London to collect a ruff for her mistress, Mary is met in the dark and seduced by Randall, who mistakes her for Mary Bloodhound. When the truth emerges at the end, Randall and Mary find that they are attracted to each other anyway, so they decide to marry.


Mistress Coote is a bawd who consorts with Alexander and the soldiers. Under the direction of Jarvis, she is sent to meet with Bloodhound at the Exchange, instead of the Widow. Bloodhound takes her home. In the morning he is astonished to find that she is not only a different woman to what he'd expected, but also that she is in bed with Earlack. In the play's conclusion, Mistress Coote is taken away to Bridewell.


A "ghost character." A woman with whom Moll stays overnight after her midnight meeting with Ancient Young.


The witty daughter of Bloodhound, sometimes referred to as Mary. Her father plans to marry her to the elderly Earlack. Moll, meanwhile, is in love with Ancient Young but whenever she meets him, she plays hard-to-get. In order to break this pretence of disinterest, Ancient Young pretends to be engaged to someone else: Moll then admits her love. She steals the Ancient's mortgage from Bloodhound's counting-room, and arranges to meet him at midnight in Leadenhall. But in the dark, she gives it to Randall by mistake. In the final scene, she agrees to marry the Ancient, and Randall returns the mortgage.


Sir Nicholas Nemo is a fictional suitor of the Widow, invented by Jarvis and impersonated by John in order to gull Bloodhound into taking home Mistress Coote instead of the Widow. John walks up and down in a sinister way to increase Bloodhound's urgent desire to keep the Widow under observation at his house.


Randall is a comic Welshman who sings a lot and speaks in an incomprehensible accent. Leaving London having failed to find employment, he hides under Kingston Bridge to avoid Captain Carvegut and Lieutenant Bottom, and overhears them discussing a stash of money they have hidden in a barn. Randall steals the money, and returns to London, where he invades the Widow's house with the other suitors. Rejected by the Widow, he sends love-letters to Moll, who is unimpressed. When Moll arranges to meet Ancient Young at Leadenhall, Sim decides to cause mayhem by telling Randall to go there too. In the dark, Moll mistakes Randall for the Ancient, and gives him his mortgage. Randall then encounters Mary the maid, whom he mistakes for Moll and agrees to marry. When these confusions are revealed in the conclusion, Randall decides to marry Mary anyway, and he returns the Ancient's mortgage because he is an honest Welshman.


The Widow's second maid finds Alexander under her mistress's bed.


A "ghost character." A fellow of Captain Carvegut and Lieutenant Bottom. Leader of a 'brave company'. Tim is gulled into buying drinks for the company.


Sim is the play's clown figure, and a servant to the Bloodhounds. Although he makes witty comments on the play's events, he contributes little to the plot. He does, however, distract Earlack when Moll meets Ancient Young, by reading to him. He also tricks Randall into waiting for Moll in Leandenhall, at the same time that she had arranged to meet Ancient Young: Sim does this in the hope that mayhem will ensue.


A prostitute who consorts with Alexander and the soldiers. Tim is tricked into believing that Sue is Lindabrides, a Greek princess. Tim wants to marry her, but at the end of the play her true identity is revealed, and she is taken away to Bridewell.


A "ghost character." One of Bloodhound's clients, to whom Tim is sent to collect a bond.


The obedient, but dim-witted Tim is being trained as his father's heir in the usury business. He is in charge of the 'petty pawns'. His brother Alexander furtively pawns a diamond ring, and Tim agrees to bring him the money while running an errand for his father. Tim meets Alexander in a tavern, where his brother's drinking companions get Tim drunk, and make him pay for all their drinks. They also gull him into proposing marriage to a whore, Sue Shortheels whom Tim thinks is a Greek princess. When he arrives at the wedding party in the final scene, Tim has to admit to his father that he has spent the money he was supposed to collect. The truth about Sue is revealed before any marriage can take place.


The Widow's "wild mad jealous husband" who has supposedly died at sea, but in fact is disguised as Jarvis.


A watchman who accompanies Busy in his patrol.


The Widow's husband, Wagge, is believed lost at sea. She is now the prospective second wife of Bloodhound. The Widow is unimpressed when Bloodhound shows her his house and family, and when her house is invaded by suitors - Alexander, Ancient Young and Randall - she is attracted to Alexander, whom she believes might be reformable. Bloodhound arranges to meet her at the Exchange at night, because he wants to keep her overnight at his house in order to prevent the other suitors from stealing her away. But the Widow decides to make him wait all night, as a joke. Alexander invades her bedroom, and blackmails her into agreeing to marry him to avoid a scandal. Next morning, she and Alexander arrive at Bloodhound's wedding feast, in order to disappoint him. But the Widow unexpectedly announces that she has resolved never to marry, in deference to her husband's memory. At this point, Jarvis the servant reveals himself to be Wagge in disguise: the 'Widow' has passed his test of her constancy.