Mark Twain :: Mark Twain is the funniest man alive in 1909, the year our story takes place. He is the nation’s first social commentator of current events in the spirit of Lenny Bruce - the world’s first international “pop star.” Tom Sawyer is alive and well in the impish twinkle of his piercing eyes. With his crazy white hair and giant moustache, he is larger than life.
William Dean Howells :: William Dean Howells is one of America’s most respected literary minds, author of over 100 books and novels, and Mark Twain’s close friend and editor. Howells was editor of the Atlantic Monthly in the 1870s when he discovered Twain and began to publish his early work. Over the years, he has served as Twain’s constant advocate and keenest critic.
Jean Clemens :: Jean Clemens is the third and youngest of Twain’s three daughters and has suffered from epilepsy since she was fifteen. After losing his favorite daughter, Susie, to meningitis, Twain has spared no expense seeking a cure for Jean. She has spent many years in a private sanatorium and has only recently returned home in time for Christmas. We see in Jean the joy and madness of her father, but inside a frail female body.
Mary Baker Eddy :: Mary Baker Eddy is a spiritual genius. Fearless, stunning, tenacious, she has achieved fame and fortune as a best-selling author and sought-after healer. Her most outspoken critic and admirer is the sharp-tongued and irreverent Mark Twain who calls her “garrulous, ungrammatical and naively and everlastingly self-
contradictory” but concedes that she is “the most daring and masterful woman that ever lived, and the most extraordinary.”
Calvin A. Frye, 60, is Mrs. Eddy’s right-hand man who serves as her personal assistant, secretary, bookkeeper, coachman, aide, steward, spokesman, confidant, and metaphysical physician. He has been at her side for 25 years without a day’s vacation ever since her husband’s untimely death. A widower himself, Frye is a plain, plump, fastidious and fussy man who constantly disappoints Eddy with his limitations and lack of grace but who is unquestionably loyal.
Minnie Adelaide Still, (left) 34, is Eddy’s personal maid, who recently emigrated to the US from Somersetshire, England. She is a bright, slender, attractive girl who was forced to earn her way in the world when her education as a teenager was cut short as her family fell into sudden poverty. Eddy appreciates her pluck and is nourished by her quiet, down to earth faith. She and “Adda” share a sweet, girlish bond surrounding the small pleasures Eddy allows herself in a life of spiritual rigor and constant demands.
John G. Salchow, 52, is Mrs. Eddy’s groundskeeper and handyman, serving her with a childlike devotion that is comically sincere. Burly son of a German immigrant farming family, John literally left his plow in a Kansas field and boarded a train for Concord two hours after receiving the call to come to Pleasant View. He still runs from task to task and works around the clock, doubling as night watchman ever since the home was broken in to several years earlier.
Laura Sargent, 50, is Mrs. Eddy’s chief companion and personal aide. She is closest to being an actual peer of Eddy in terms of intellectual and spiritual depth. Laura is a lovely, quiet, accomplished woman who has left her home and a successful, lucrative practice as a Christian Science healer to serve at Pleasant View. Daughter of a New England sea captain, Laura is unflappable during the tempestuous mental storms that often rock Pleasant View.
George Kinter, 55, is Mrs. Eddy’s chief secretary and one of a select few metaphysical workers at Pleasant View whom Eddy relies on to “treat” – or pray specifically about – issues surrounding her life, home, church, and the world. Kinter himself was cured of chronic illness through Christian Science and became a successful healer and teacher of the Science. He made great sacrifices to come to Pleasant View, leaving behind a wife and a young niece who lived with them as a daughter.
Minnie Weygandt, 58, originally from Iowa, has served as Eddy’s cook and housekeeper for a decade. A farm girl at heart, she left her home in the dead of winter to travel to Pleasant View and has brought a strong, warm-hearted presence to the home. In addition to keeping everyone well-fed, she is an amateur photographer and, along with Calvin Frye, enjoys taking behind-the-scenes shots of Eddy and the staff.
Alfred Farlow, 48, is a handsome, well-mannered man who heads up the Church’s public relations work in Boston. He is well-known and generally well-liked by the newspapermen who haunt Eddy’s front gate. Farlow’s earnestness and tact enable him to successfully manage the constant rumors that swirl in the media regarding Eddy’s life, health, and metaphysical writings.
William McCrackan, 57, is a long-time New Yorker who has recently become a Christian Scientist and, as a successful writer and businessman, has many friends in the city’s literary circles. He met with Twain on several occasions and urged him to correct statements about Eddy that he felt were slanderous. Twain brushed him aside and joked that McCrackan was “the whitest man I ever met.”