The speaker of this poem is a maid. She gives little of her backstory; her identity seems to be woven into her role, perhaps due to the obsession she has with her mistress.
The speaker's mistress
The speaker's mistress is apparently a wealthy lady, who has little to do other than wear expensive clothing and jewelry and attend parties. Whether the mistress realizes or returns her servant's feelings is unclear. They are certainly close; the maid speaks of her mistress's night routine with familiarity. The two interact with ease and comfort, but the poem does not clarify whether this comfort springs from a genuine closeness or from the maid's position.
The tall men
The tall men are the only other characters who appear in this poem. They enter the poem as a blurry collective; the speaker does not bother to distinguish between them. In fact, she only imagines them to imagine her own scent on her mistress bewildering them and driving them off. They come into the poem only for the speaker to prove to herself her closeness to her mistress. However, the appearance of the men undercuts this gesture, because the readers know it is likely that these men are the mistress's suitors, one of whom will marry her and take her forever from the speaker.
Warming Her Pearls Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Warming Her Pearls is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.