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Written by Timothy Sexton
Berry is a butler whose long years of hard work and loyalty are called into question under a cloud of stealing money from Francis Oakley. For this crime, he is sentenced to ten years of hard labor.
The housekeeper at the Maurice Oakley estate and wife of Berry. Following her husband’s conviction, she takes her family to New York and unwisely marries a violent man who beats her. She finally manages to reunite with Berry upon his release from jail.
Berry and Fannie’s son who is responsible for Fannie’s decision to move to New York. There, Joe falls victim to the faster and wilder lifestyle, eventually becoming an alcoholic who murders his girlfriend and is sent to jail.
Kitty is pride made pretty. After the move to New York with her mother, she falls for a married man and winds up dancing in revue as one of “Martin’s Blackbirds.”
Col. Maurice Oakley
Col. Maurice Oakley is a former slaveowner and current employer of Berry and Fannie Hamilton. Maurice’s willingness to believe the lies of his half-brother Francis that Berry stole money not only ends with his butler in jail, it serves to transform the previous genteel gentlemen first into a more hardened soul and then, when the truth comes out, paranoid and secretive until he finally goes completely mad.
A pampered, spoiled aesthete whose false accusation of theft against Berry to his half-brother Maurice sets the entire narrative in motion.
A New York reporter who investigates Joe’s claims that his father was set up and false imprisoned. His expose results in Berry being pardoned and sends Maurice over the edge into madness.
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