The Limpenny Family

Rev. Saul Limpenny, deceased

Miss Priscilla Limpenny, daughter

Miss Lavinia Limpenny, daughter

Miss Priscilla Limpenny is poetical, a lover of nature and an individual who once met William Wordsworth. Her prudishness is satirised in Chapter XIV. As an exponent of ‘cumeelfo’, she plays a central role in integrating the Goodwyn-Sandys into Trojan society through inviting them to a social evening at 1 Alma Villas and accommodating their obvious decadence.

The family live at Alma Villas, Troy, Cornwall. Alma Villas adjoins Bower Slip, from where the ferry to Penpoodle (Polruan) runs. The blockhouse and the bay are to the left (south) of the house front, with the Slip and the town to the right (north). The rear gardens back onto the river, which is obscured from view by a terrace, through which a door opens to a ladder leading down to the water. Steps lead up to a walkway on the terrace, providing a full view of the harbour. The front windows of 1 Alma Villas look across the road to ‘The Bower’, a rentable property unoccupied in Chapter I but which becomes the temporary home of the Goodwyn-Sandys.

The Buzza Family

Admiral Hornaby Buzza, once of H.M.S. Calypso, Blue Squadron

Emily Buzza, formerly Emily Rogers, the ‘Bell of Portsmouth’

Sam Buzza, son, possibly 17 years old

Sophia Buzza, later Mrs. Sophia Moggridge, daughter

Jane Buzza, daughter

Calypso Buzza, the youngest daughter, named after her father’s boat

Admiral Buzza is satirised in Chapters II, VI, VIII, IX, XII. He so tyrannises his wife that under the influence of Geraldine Goodwyn-Sandys, Emily Buzza attempts to leave him (Chapter XX). He plays the double-bass in moments of distress.

Sam Buzza is a gauche young man of about 17 who is shortly about to go to college. He announces the imminent arrival of the Goodwyn-Sandys (Chapter I) and is the first to establish intimate contact. He comes completely under the influence of Geraldine Goodwyn-Sandys and only achieves self-knowledge in Chapter XXIII.

The family lives at 2 Alma Villas, Troy, Cornwall.

The Goodwyn-Sandys

Frederic Augustus Hythe Goodwyn-Sandys, b. 1842, brother to George St. Leonard Goodwyn-Sandys, 4th baron, Lord Sinkport

Geraldine Goodwyn-Sandys, daughter of Sheil O’Halloran of Kilmacuddy Court, County Kerry, Ireland. Married 1876. She is called Nellie by Frederic when alone and speaks in an Irish brogue but R.P. in public.

'Goodwyn-Sandys' is an assumed name. It is a pun on Goodwin Sands, a sandbank upon which ships are wrecked.

They live at The Bower. This is above Bower Slip, Troy and across the road from Alma Villas. The front windows command the river so as to catch a first sighting of the ‘Maryland’, a vessel carrying explosive, on its entry into Fowey harbour.

They arrive  in Troy in the afternoon of Friday, 1st of April, 1881, (April Fools’ Day).

They depart, by chaise, at 11 pm on Saturday, 21st June, 1881.

The Goodwyn-Sandys are Irish terrorists, working for ‘The Cause’, with ‘Brady’ as their controller, who assume the names of English aristocrats so as to ingratiate themselves locally. Geraldine’s cover is blown by Mr. Fogo who had previously courted the real Geraldine O’Halloran. But she and her husband manage to escape before arrest. Their only success is in having corrupted that level of society associated with ‘cumeelfo’.

Q uses the Goodwyn-Sandys to expose the shallowness and pomposity of the Troy establishment of 1851 to 1881. It is the level of society to which his mother-in-law belonged.

Philip Fogo 

Philip Fogo, one-time lover of Geraldine O’Halloran, arrives in Troy by train on 1st April, 1881, and is mistaken for Frederic Goodwyn-Sandys. Fogo quickly forms a friendship with dock worker and former seaman Caleb Trotter, and rents Kit’s House (Mixtow Pill) from the Dearloves of Cliff. Although a misogamist following a failed romance, he eventually marries Tamsin Dearlove. He is severely absent-minded.

Caleb Trotter

Caleb Trotter, about 50 years old, is a long-term resident of Troy and is employed by Fogo at Kit’s House.

He acts as a link character. He is not a member of the ‘cumeelfo’.

The Dearlove Family

Peter and Paul Dearlove are identical twins, owners of Kit’s House, farmers and church wardens.

Tamsin Dearlove, twenty years younger than her brothers, eventually marries Mr. Fogo.

The Dearloves are idealised and sentimentalised characters who contrast with the ‘cumeelfo’ and the Goodwyn-Sandys. They live at Henwood on Penpoll Creek.

Mr. Moggridge

Collector of Customs, poet, admirer and later husband of Sophia Buzza, but temporarily entranced by Geraldine Goodwyn-Sandys. He is fooled by her into allowing a cargo of dynamite to be landed without proper inspection, an oversight which costs him his job. Subsequently, he marries Sophia and becomes the editor of a Conservative paper in Wales. A member of the ‘cumeelfo’.

Other Characters

Susie Clemo, child

Susie Clemo, child

Mrs. Dymond, landlady of the ‘Man o’ War’ public house

Farmer Menear, non-conformist leader

Mrs. Snell, charwoman at ‘The Bower’

Lawyer Pellow

Mr. Stripp, harbour master

Squire Tresawna