Mr. Dick is a "distant connexion" of Miss Betsey who now lives with her. Technically, he is one of David's guardians, but in practice he functions more as a friend than as a parent. Mr. Dick is friendly and good-natured, but he has an unspecified mental illness or disability, which among other things causes him to believe that he has assumed some of the "troubles" of King Charles I after the latter's execution in 1649. This preoccupation with Charles I is a source of distress to Mr. Dick, in part because it continuously intrudes into the "Memorial"—or memoir—that he is trying to write. As a result of his eccentricities, Mr. Dick has suffered at the hands of his family—particularly his brother, who attempted to place him in an asylum for life. Miss Betsey strongly implies that the trauma of this experience is at least partially responsible for Mr. Dick's current condition, though she also staunchly defends his underlying wisdom. Her trust in Mr. Dick is not misplaced, since he eventually repays the favor, working to help support Miss Betsey when her finances suffer and mending the rift between Doctor Strong and his wife, Annie.