Lancelot Greysteel

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Lancelot Greysteel is a retired physician (he was apparently once doctor aboard a ship) and a widower. Happening to be making the continental tour with his sister and his daughter Flora he falls into an acquaintance with Jonathan Strange, who is staying at the same hotel in Genoa. Strange enjoys the company of this family so much he alters his plans to accompany them to Venice at the end of September 1816. Although his affection is strongest for Flora Greysteel Strange admires the "the manners, cleverness and kindness" of the entire family[50]. In them he sees all that is most charming in domestic life, where little irritations are gladly borne with by those whose attachments to one another are sincere and deep.

Lancelot Greysteel has a manly, direct and forthright character:"Doctor Greysteel stuck his head out and roared his apologies, like the good fellow he is[51]". He is also honest and brave, and though he is not Strange's equal for cleverness - and may on occasions bore his friend, as he does Lord Byron[56] - he is by no means negligible. His honesty ("he was, by principle and inclination, an honest man[56]") is demonstrated by the scorn he shows for the duplicities of Christopher Drawlight[59]; his courage by his readiness to enter the Eternal Night to discover what has happened to his friend[56].

Dr Greysteel unhappily enjoys smoking his pipe[68] - even in the house - and we have it on the authority of his sister that on occasion in the past he has been a little overtaken by drink [56]; but these are minor flaws compared with those qualities of decency, amiability and upright conduct which he constantly displays. Perhaps the best testament to the goodness of his nature is Strange's confidence in him. It is, after all, to the household of which Dr Greysteel is the head that Strange entrusts his rescued wife[68].