Pringle featured on the cover of Down the Rabbit Hole

All of the characters that appear in Down the Rabbit Hole by Susan Campbell Bartoletti.

Main character

Pringle Rose

Main article: Priscilla Rose

Priscilla Duncan Rose[1] (born c. 1857),[2] also known as Pringle, was the only daughter of Eliza and Franklin Rose. She had a younger brother named Gideon. Pringle attended a boarding school until her parents' death in a carriage crash. Her uncle and aunt moved into her family's home in Scranton, Pennsylvania with their daughter, Ellen. In September 1871, Pringle decided to run away to Chicago with her brother. She and Gideon began living the Pritchard family until the Great Chicago Fire.

Supporting characters

Adeline Rose

Adeline Rose was Ellen's mother and Edward's wife. She lost her son, Eddie, who drowned at the age of three. Her husband obtained custody of Pringle and Gideon after their parents' deaths. Adeline was very strict with her niece and nephew, while rather indulgent to her own daughter. She did not understand Gideon's condition and treated him "as if he were [not] even a person with feelings." A year after her husband died, Ellen ran away to join a vaudeville act. She never spoke to her daughter again. The same year, Pringle returned to claim her inheritance. Pringle promptly forced Adeline to leave the house.


Cager[3] "Rabbit" (born c. 1854)[4] was Gwen's younger brother. He worked in the coal mines owned by Franklin Rose. Cager was involved in the accident that killed Franklin and his wife, though he insisted that "no one was supposed to get hurt". Cager later met Pringle when he returned her copy of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. He and Pringle began meeting regularly by her parents' graves. Pringle did not learn his real name until he visited Gwen in Chicago. He revealed his hand in her parents' death, which led Pringle to call him a "murderer". Cager presumably died in the Chicago Fire.

Edward Rose

Edward Rose (died 1877)[5] was the husband of Adeline and father of Ellen. He was the only brother of Franklin, with whom he did not get along. Following the deaths of his brother and sister-in-law, he was appointed guardian of his niece Pringle and nephew Gideon. Edward moved his own family from Wilkes-Barre into his brother's house. He was kind to his niece and nephew, though he also overindulged his daughter. Edward would go to Philadelphia on business every few weeks. He died a year before Pringle turned twenty-one.

Eliza and Franklin Rose

Eliza (née Duncan)[6][7] and Franklin Rose[8] (died April 13, 1871)[9] were the parents of Pringle and Gideon. They were extremely proud of their two children. Eliza devoted a lot of her time teaching Gideon, which helped develop him into a kind and well-mannered child. Franklin was the wealthy owner of a mine and was against unions. Eliza's best friend was Beatrice Ringwald, whom she met at Merrywood School. Franklin and Eliza died tragically in a carriage accident in 1871. Their children were placed in the custody of Franklin's brother, Edward.

Gideon Rose

Gideon Rose (c. 1861[10] – 1880)[5] was Pringle's younger brother, who had Down syndrome.[11] Pringle described him as "a good boy and does [not] have a mean bone in his body." Gideon was taught to read and how to do simple math by his mother. He stopped speaking for several months after a carriage accident, in which his parents died. Gideon eventually spoke again and became friends with Adam Pritchard. In later life, Pringle hired him to work as a groundskeeper at Miss Rose's School for Girls. After catching pneumonia, Gideon passed away in his sleep at nineteen.

Gwen Pritchard

Gwyneth "Gwen" Pritchard[1] was the mother of Adam, Lucy, and Sallie, and wife of Peter. She had two younger brothers, Cager and Isaiah, who both worked in a coal mine. She met Pringle and Gideon while travelling on the same train to Chicago. Gwen later hired Pringle to work as a nursemaid in exchange for room and board for her and Gideon. In October 1871, Cager visited Chicago and his connection to Pringle and who her father was revealed. Gwen allowed Pringle to leave, saying "I don't ever want to see the likes of [her] again."

Peter Pritchard

Peter Pritchard was the husband of Gwen, and father of Adam, Lucy, and Sallie. In his youth, he went to Harvard University before joining the Union Army. Peter was an organizer for the National Labor Union and regularly published a small labor newspaper. Him and his wife hired Pringle to work as a nursemaid. Peter also gave Gideon a small job bundling newspapers. One day, several men were hired to hurt Peter, so he would stop publishing his newspaper. He, however, returned to work within a few days. After the Chicago Fire, Pringle never saw Peter or his family again.

Minor characters

  • Adam, Lucy, (born c. 1867)[12] and Sallie Pritchard were the three children of Gwen and Peter Pritchard. Out of the three, Lucy was usually the one who misbehaved.
  • Annabella Duncan was Pringle's great-grandmother. She immigrated to America at fourteen. Annabella was talented with sewing, allowing her to "make her way in a new country".
  • Beatrice Ringwald was a close friend of Eliza Rose. They first met as schoolchildren at Merrywood School for Girls. She was an eccentric person, who lived in Chicago. Beatrice was a strong believer in animal rights. Her father later sent her to Bellevue Place, a sanitarium.
  • The two Mrs. Duggans were an old woman and her daughter-in-law. They were stuck-up, high class women who enjoyed bragging about their lifestyle. The two of them traveled on the same train as Pringle to Chicago. The older Mrs. Duggan had a son named Harold.
  • Eddie Rose was the only son of Adeline and Edward Rose. He drowned at the age of three, leaving his mother devastated. Pringle called him "a sweet, loving, adorable child."
  • Ellen Rose (born c. 1862)[13] was the spoiled daughter of Adeline and Edward. Pringle initially disliked her, because of her nosiness. Ellen eventually became closer to her cousins, though she still blamed Gideon for her mistake. She enjoyed singing and performing. Ellen ran away with a magician at the age of sixteen.
  • Mrs. Goodwin was a housekeeper who worked for the Rose family. She advised Pringle to not let Gideon be sent away, and allowed them to run away. Later in life, Pringle hired her to work at her school.
  • Harold Duggan was the son of the older Mrs. Duggan. He was a student at Harvard, which his mother often bragged about.
  • Isaiah (died 1869)[14] was the twin brother of Cager and younger brother of Gwen. He died during the Avondale Mine disaster.
  • Jenkins was a servant in the Rose family employ. He often drove Pringle to visit her parents' graves.
  • Mary Catherine[15] "Merricat" Fisher was Pringle's best friend at Merrywood. They often sent letters to each other, after Pringle's parents passed away. Merricat's mother discovered the letters. She was then forbidden to correspond with Pringle. Merricat and Pringle were reunited in 1892, when her daughter began attending Pringle's school. They shared a close friendship for the rest of their lives.
  • Mozart[16] "Mozie" was Pringle's and Gideon's cat. Gideon found him under a neighbor's porch when he was a kitten. Pringle and Gideon planned to bring Mozie to Chicago, but he was lost during a train wreck.
  • Robert Lincoln was the son of Abraham Lincoln. He was a classmate of Peter Pritchard at Harvard. Gwen was not fond of Robert because he thought his mother was insane.
  • Mrs. Robson was a Scottish cook, who worked for Adeline and Edward Rose. Pringle was evidently fond of her since she later tracked her down to work at her school.
  • Mr. Royce was Franklin Rose's lawyer. Pringle sent him a telegram in Chicago, asking him to inform Edward that she and Gideon would return for their inheritance.
  • Dr. van Lavender was a director of a school near Philadelphia. He was a friend of Adeline and Edward. Adeline asked him to talk to Pringle about Gideon. She was planning to send Gideon to his school.
  • Mr. Wallace, Peter's black assistant. He worried about Peter's safety, after receiving threatening letters due to the newspaper. Wallace often joked about hiding the bathroom key, so Peter could not fire him.
  • Miss Westcott was the headmistress of Merrywood School for Girls. She brought Pringle to her office, where Edward told her about her parents dying. Miss Westcott told her that "God has a plan".


  1. 1.0 1.1 Down the Rabbit Hole, Susan Campbell Bartoletti, page 24-26
  2. Down the Rabbit Hole, Susan Campbell Bartoletti, page 47
  3. Down the Rabbit Hole, Susan Campbell Bartoletti, page 192
  4. Down the Rabbit Hole, Susan Campbell Bartoletti, page 163
  5. 5.0 5.1 Down the Rabbit Hole, Susan Campbell Bartoletti, Epilogue, pages 212-215
  6. Down the Rabbit Hole, Susan Campbell Bartoletti, page 33
  7. Down the Rabbit Hole, Susan Campbell Bartoletti, page 139
  8. Down the Rabbit Hole, Susan Campbell Bartoletti, page 44
  9. Down the Rabbit Hole, Susan Campbell Bartoletti, pages 15, 21
  10. Down the Rabbit Hole, Susan Campbell Bartoletti, page 38
  11. Down the Rabbit Hole, Susan Campbell Bartoletti, Historical Note, page 226
  12. Down the Rabbit Hole, Susan Campbell Bartoletti, page 24-26
  13. Down the Rabbit Hole, Susan Campbell Bartoletti, page 31
  14. Down the Rabbit Hole, Susan Campbell Bartoletti, page 179
  15. Down the Rabbit Hole, Susan Campbell Bartoletti, page 3
  16. Down the Rabbit Hole, Susan Campbell Bartoletti, page 96
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