Captain Barfoot, whose decorous evening calls on Mrs. Flanders over the years are marked by the local Scarborough gossips as proprietary.
Betty Flanders, Jacob’s mother, who helplessly tries to imagine and participate in the independent life of her son (mainly through letters) while remaining tied by economic necessity to Scarborough. At the end, she confronts Jacob’s room, to which he will never return.
Dick Bonamy, Jacob’s friend, a fellow inheritor of male privilege. Bonamy attends Mrs. Flanders as she faces her deceased son’s room and his effects at the end of the novel.
Timmy Durrant, a school friend of Jacob with whom he sails for a holiday around the Scilly Isles.
Clara Durrant, Timmy’s sister, who is in love with Jacob but must remain expectantly silent in deference to custom.
Sandra Wentworth Williams, a beautiful married woman whom Jacob meets while touring Greece. He falls in love with her, half-encouraged by her.
Florinda, a woman with whom Jacob has his first affair, which he breaks off when he sees her in the street on someone else’s arm.
Fanny Elmer, an artist’s model who reads Tom Jones for Jacob’s sake. Her heart is broken by Jacob’s indifference.