Book Companion Logo  THE DOWNSTAIRS GIRL
Characters By Chapter
Jane Gupta
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1JoKuan1st person narrator. Protagonist. 17 yr. old Chinese-American girl, living in 1890s Atlanta, GA.
 RobbyWithersNoemi's husband. Jo's friend. Works for Mr. Buxbaum in his store.
 Old Gin Has been Jo's grandfatherly Chinese guardian since she was an infant. Assistant groom at the Payne Estate.
 Mr.BuxbaumOwns Buxbaum's Department Store.
 Mrs.EnglishOwner of English's Millinery. Fires Jo, her talented milliner's assistant, for racist reasons.
 LizzieCrumpJo's kind but clumsy fellow worker at millinery. Enamored of Nathan Bell.
 Mrs.BellLives with her husband and son above the abolitionist hideout where Jo and Old Gin reside.
2NathanBellMrs. Bell's only child. Reporter for the Focus newspaper.
 Miss MelissaSaltworthDaughter of a "merchant aristocrat" (wealthy via business rather than inheritance).
 Miss LinetteCulpepperDaughter of a "merchant aristocrat."
 Salt & Pepper The moniker Jo gives Misses Saltworth and Culpepper.
 Mr.QMr. Edward Quakenbach. Gold digger. Miss Saltworth's beau.
 Lucky Yip One of the "uncles" who lived with Jo and Old Gin years ago.
3NoemiWhithersCook at the Payne Estate. Robby's wife. Mother had been Caroline's mammy.
 Sweet Potato Jo's horse.
 JedCrycksHead groom at the Payne Estate.
 Mr.BellNathan's father. Publisher of the Focus newspaper.
 Bear The name (short for Forbearance) of the Bells' sheepdog. Recognizes Jo's scent.
 BillyRiggs"Knucks" for short. Blackmailer. General reprobate.
 Aunt Edna Pens the "agony aunt" advice column for the Trumpeter newspaper, rival of the Focus.
4Hammer Foot Another "uncle." Raised by monks in China. Remembered for his Confucius-style advice.
 Mrs. EmmaPayneMother of Caroline and Merritt. Organizes horse race benefit with ladies encouraged to invite the men.
6Miss Sweetie Pseudonym Jo assumes as writer of the Focus advice column.
 CarolinePaynePaynes' cruel daughter. Jo becomes her lady's maid after leaving the hat shop. Having affair with Mr. Q.
7SeamusSullivan"Sully" for short. Streetcar conductor.
 Mrs.WashingtonLucy's nanny.
 Lucy Attends Spelman Seminary, a fine school for "colored" girls.
 MerrittPayneCaroline's brother. Engaged to be married.
 Etta Rae The Paynes' housekeeper and head of staff.
8Solomon Mr. Payne's butler.
 Frederick Caroline's horse.
 Thief Mr. Q's piebald horse, white with black mane.
10Mrs.WordsworthProhibits her daughters from inviting dates to the horse race. Puts a damper on the "Sadie Hawkins" scheme.
11Mr. WinstonPayneWealthy paper manufacturer. Father to Merritt and Caroline. Grooming Merritt to take over his mills.
 Ameer Merritt's Arabian stallion.
 JohnnyFortuneExperienced jockey who will ride Ameer in the horse race.
 JaneBentleyMerritt's blue-blooded fiancĂ© from Boston.
12August Noemi's safety. Unlike the big wheel style bicycles of the time, which riders must jump off, it has brakes).
13e The signature of a note found in the pocket of a suit that a mystery uncle left behind.
 Shang Uncle who had owned the navy blue suit Jo finds. Owed money to Billy Riggs' father.
15Sunday Surprise Mr. Buxbaum's thoroughbred.
16Mr.CrumpProprietor of Crump's Paints.
17Mr.FoggsManager of the Payne Mills.
 Mrs. MaudGrayMilkmaid. Enjoys sitting near heater at front of streetcar to warm her aching hands.
21AdelleJonesArrested for not relinquishing her streetcar seat quickly enough.
 Savannah Joy Mrs. Payne's filly that she was forced to give up when she was a child.
24Madam Delilah Woman who opens the door to the brothel that Jo and Nathan go to in order to meet with Billy Riggs.
26Mrs.CrumpUnlike her daughter Lizzie, wife of the proprietor of Crump's Paints is imperious and unkind.
27LeoPorterMan mowing lawn at the Piedmont Park racetrack.
 Joseph Leo Porter's son.
29Mrs. Bread Loaf Jo's epithet for woman with bread loaf style bun who tries to prevent Jo from entering suffragists' meeting.
 Mrs.BullisReferred to as "Top Hat" by Jo. President of the Atlanta Suffragists.
 MaryHarperConsidered Atlanta's best seamstress. Works for Mrs. Bullis.
 RoseSt. PierreMary Harper's sister-in-law.
The Downstairs Girl suggested by Jane Gupta