Dorothy Wordsworth seems delighted to set up Dove Cottage, planting the garden, papering the rooms, and baking and cooking for her brother William. She is only unhappy when William goes away on trips. The two enjoy walking, reading, and writing, as well as visiting with their friends. Dorothy writes about her daily activities but is most descriptive of the local people she meets and the beauty of the Lake District, where her cottage is located. She is thoughtful and observant.
William Wordsworth devotes his time to reading and writing, as well as conversing with his sister, Dorothy, and their friend and coauthor Coleridge. An avid naturalist, William often depends upon his sister's imagination for inspiration for his poetry. He relies on her domestic support as well as assistance in revising and copying his poetry.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge is a poet who regrets his marriage and makes his friends unhappy with him by falling in love with a younger woman who is a friend of the Wordsworths, and by becoming addicted to opium. Faced with mounting pressures and lacking focus, Coleridge fails to contribute to the poetic partnership with William he previously enjoyed, although he manages to remain friends with the siblings for a time.
Mary Hutchinson is a childhood friend and constant support to Dorothy and William. She visits regularly and seems at home with the siblings. She eventually marries William and lives at Dove Cottage permanently. Mary is skilled at domestic chores, enjoys walking, and has a genuine interest in poetry.