Henry Horatio Hobson
Maggie, Alice and Vickey Hobson (his daughters)
Mrs. Hepworth (a wealthy customer of Hobson’s)
William Mossop (in love with Maggie)
Albert Prosser (a lawyer; in love with Alice)
Fred Beenstock (in love with Vickey)
Timothy “Tubby” Wadlow
A cobbler, Henry Hobson, has three daughters: Maggie, Alice and Vickey. The daughters work in the shop unpaid. Hobson spends his time drinking with the fellow members of the masons at the ‘Moonraker’s Arms’ pub.
One day, Mrs Hepworth, a rich customer of Hobson, demands to know who made her boots: it is Hobson’s underpaid bootmaker, Will Mossop. She insists that all her and her daughters’ boots must from now on be made by Will, and tells him to inform her if ever he should leave Hobson’s. Maggie, who is a talented businesswoman and considered too old and plain to marry, proposes marriage to Will. Will reluctantly agrees. When Hobson comes back, she tells him that she intends to marry Will, but he laughs at her, and threatens to beat Will for courting her. At this, Will leaves the shop, and Maggie goes with him. They borrow £100 from Mrs Hepworth, set up a shop on their own, and marry as soon as the banns of marriage have been called.
A month later, Hobson falls into the warehouse belonging to the father of Fred Beenstock, Vickey’s love. Maggie comes back to tell her sisters that she is going to marry them off herself. Hobson has refused to settle any money on them, without which they are unlikely to find decent husbands. With the help of lawyer Albert Prosser, Alice’s love, they issue a writ claiming damages from Hobson for trespass, damage to corn sacks and spying on trade secrets. Hobson eventually agrees to pay, the money is settled on the girls and they can now get married.
Thanks to Will’s skill as a bootmaker and Maggie’s business acumen, their shop is very successful and, within a year, they have taken nearly all of Hobson’s trade. Hobson is almost bankrupt and drinking himself to death. After an attack of delirium tremens, he asks each of his daughters to look after him. They all refuse, but eventually Maggie agrees to do so provided that Will takes over his business, with Hobson remaining as a ‘sleeping partner’ only