The Daughters of the Late Colonel

by

Katherine Mansfield

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The Daughters of the Late Colonel Characters

Josephine Pinner

Also known as “Jug,” Josephine is the older sister in the Pinner family. Though initially tempestuous and disagreeable with Constantia, with whom she frequently quarrels, Josephine begins to feel nervous about their father’s… read analysis of Josephine Pinner

Constantia Pinner

Constantia or “Con” is Josephine Pinner’s younger sister. She is softer and less turbulent than her sister—she sympathizes with a mouse in their room who is searching for crumbs—but ultimately helps Josephine leave theirread analysis of Constantia Pinner

The Colonel

The Colonel is the patriarch of the Pinner family and father to Constantia, Josephine, and Benny. Tyrannical, imposing, and cruel, the colonel retired from work as a colonial administrator in Ceylon and… read analysis of The Colonel

Cyril Pinner

Cyril is the colonel’s grandson and Constantia and Josephine’s nephew. Polite but somewhat awkward, Cyril works in London and rarely visits his aunts: it is implied that he declined to attend his grandfather’s… read analysis of Cyril Pinner

Kate

Kate is Constantia and Josephine’s difficult, flighty maid, a fixture of the Pinner household who has been with the women and their father for many years. Though she is often rude and unhelpful—refusing to… read analysis of Kate
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Nurse Andrews

Nurse Andrews helped to take care of the colonel as he neared death, and Constantia and Josephine agree to let her stay on in the apartment after his funeral, though only reluctantly: she is a… read analysis of Nurse Andrews

Mr. Farolles

Mr. Farolles is a clergyman at the local church (St. John’s) and an old friend of the colonel who visits Constantia and Josephine to offer help for the funeral, including a “little Communion”—an offer the… read analysis of Mr. Farolles

Benny Pinner

Benny is Constantia and Josephine’s brother and Cyril’s father. He works in Ceylon, like his father, the colonel, and has the habit of shaking his right hand “up and down, as father’s… read analysis of Benny Pinner

Constantia, Josephine, and Benny’s Mother/The Colonel’s wife

The colonel’s wife died when Constantia and Josephine were very young, likely when the family lived in Ceylon for the colonel’s work. As a child, Josephine told Constantia that their mother was killed by… read analysis of Constantia, Josephine, and Benny’s Mother/The Colonel’s wife

The Porter

Constantia and Josephine debate gifting their father’s “top-hat” to the porter, a servant in their apartment, but ultimately decide not to, ostensibly because the image of a servant in a luxurious hat seems ridiculous… read analysis of The Porter

Aunt Florence

After their mother died, Constantia and Josephine lived with their Aunt Florence until they left school. It is unknown whether this aunt was related to their mother or father, but she does not seem to… read analysis of Aunt Florence

The Man at the Boarding-House

Although Constantia and Josephine have never had suitors, they were once pursued by a mysterious man at a boarding-house in Eastbourne who left a note outside of their bedroom door. They were unable to read… read analysis of The Man at the Boarding-House
Minor Characters
Hilda
Hilda is Benny’s wife, who appears in a flashback seated behind Benny in a colonial setting—a “cane rocker” on a “verandah”—reading the Tatler and seeming “not in the least interested.” She appears to have little relation to Constantia and Josephine, who describe her as the “unknown sister-in-law.”
Mr. Knight
Mr. Knight is the funeral director who, it is implied, will oversee the colonel’s funeral. He is also a friend of Mr. Farolles.