Victor Emmanuel Chandebise: The managing director of the Boston Life Insurance Company for all of Paris and the provinces, he is a no-nonsense sort of fellow with shrewd business savvy and little sense of humor. In every way he has lived the life of a successful bourgeois gentilhomme. He has a thriving business, a comfortable home, adequate servants, and, most importantly, a beautiful wife who absolutely adores him. At least, she used to adore him, until a dark cloud concerning his bedroom performance, or lack thereof, begins to loom.
Raymonde Chandebise: The presently unhappy wife of Victor Emmanuel, she is everything a turn-of-the-century bourgeoise French wife should be: elegant, charming, beautiful, scheming, jealous, and, at present, extremely insecure. She thinks Victor Emmanuel has, of late, lost all romantic interest in her, and she has come to mistrust his fidelity. Thus, with this “flea in her ear,” she decides to take matters into her own hands.
Camille Chandebise: The young nephew of Victor Emmanuel, he lives in his uncle’s house and works for him as a secretary. He has had a difficult time finding employment due to a rare speech impediment that will not allow him to pronounce consonants, only vowels–until Dr. Finache provides him with a silver palate. Still, he is good hearted and industrious; and, although he is certain not irreproachable, he is very adept at projecting an image of innocence and naivety.
Romain Tournel: An employee of the Boston Life Insurance Company, he has worked for Victor Emmanuel for some time. Although a trusted friend of the family, he is absolutely dedicated to having an affair with his employer’s wife, an idea which she coquettishly encourages but continually rebuffs. He fancies himself quite the ladies’ man, but obviously wears his brilliantine too thick and his charm too thin.
Carlos Homenides de Histangua: The Spanish husband of Lucienne and a potential client of the Boston Life Insurance Company, he gives added meaning to the image of the hot-blooded and jealous Latin lover.
Lucienne Homenides de Histangua: The wife of Carlos, she is coincidentally the oldest and dearest friend of Raymonde Chandebise. With her strong will and fiery temperament, she is a perfect confederate to help Raymonde “trap” Victor Emmanuel.
Dr. Finache: The chief medical officer of the Boston Life Insurance Company, he is an old friend of the Chandebise family and Victor Emmanuel’s closest confidant. He is also one of the most dedicated rogues and libertines in all of Paris.
Etienne Plucheux: The haughty and egocentric butler of the Chandebise household and the husband of Antoinette, he is a much better butler than he is husband.
Antoinette Plucheux: The wife of Etienne and cook in the Chandebise household, she is pert, saucy, sly, and every ounce a coquette—with everyone but her husband. At the moment the object of her flirtatious attentions is Camille, and she seems determined not to let her marriage to Etienne disrupt her social life.
Augustin Feraillon: The owner and manager of the Hotel Coq d’Or, he is a former sergeant-major with the 29th Infantry Regiment and believes that his hotel should be run with the same sort of military precision and discipline.
Olympe: The devoted and loving wife of Feraillon, she is a former courtesan of no little reputation. It was her reputation and savings that allowed Fermaillon to resign his commission in the army, and together they have created their dream hotel.
Poche: A former soldier in Feraillon’s regiment, he is now employed as a porter at the hotel. He is also a persistent drunk, which Feraillon tries to combat with frequent and violent beatings. As circumstances would have it, he is also an exact double of Victor Emmanuel.
Eugénie: The young upstairs maid at the hotel.
Baptistin: An ancient employee at the hotel, he is a rather unusual decoy to help ensure the privacy of the hotel patrons and confuse any ill-timed police raids.
Herr Schwarz: Frustrated and confused, he is a guest of the hotel who, unfortunately, does not speak the language.