John is so offended at the idea that his father has ‘bought’ him a wife along with leaving him a fortune that he decides to forsake his identity and live the life of a stranger, to ascertain Bella’s overall temperament. It offends him, the idea of an innocent girl being ‘bought and sold,’ so he wants to meet her on his own terms, discern whether she is a woman of high moral character or not, and perhaps let her fall in love with him not knowing his true identity. He is incredibly withdrawn and secretive, to the point where she accuses him of ‘lurking and watching her,’ but also deeply emotional. He decides that he wants nothing to do with his fortune, because the Boffins are ‘very good people who will do much good with the money.’ He would rather live as a penniless man under an assumed identity, a mere secretary, than take away riches from two people he considers to be generous and kind. He’s also highly opportunistic, sometimes to his own determent—John naively agrees to switch places with a common drifter, and is then set upon by thieves and robbed. The other man winds up dead in the Thames. John shows up to look at the body, and then skips out on the police, inadvertently making himself a murder suspect at the same time. He wastes no time in offering himself as a secretary to the Boffins for very little money, in order to get close to Bella and observe all of them, so he can judge whether they are good people or not. John leaps at the chance to let her prove her affections for him, and then marries her, keeping his assumed name because he fears the truth might make her unhappy. He bases his assumptions about Bella on her behavior, rather than looking for her hidden motivations. He physically assaults a man who intends to blackmail Mr. Boffin, and uses vicious language to describe his anger (“I wish I could twist your head off!”).

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John is all about doing the right thing, even if it causes him to lose out on a fortune. He does not want to marry a girl against her will, and instead gives her the chance to love him (or leave him) of her own accord. He feels quite ashamed of having confessed his feelings and earned her reproach for his ‘ungentlemanly’ behavior. He often represses his feelings, being stoic and intentionally withdrawing from people to be alone. Bella senses that he ‘holds back’ himself a lot, and does not express what he feels and thinks, which is true. John can lose his temper and be very aggressive and confrontational, but that often comes because he’s so offended by another person’s moral indecency or selfishness. He judges even the woman he loves harshly for not being a better person, and is overjoyed when she proves herself willing to love him, even if they will live in poverty (since he knows her mercenary, money-loving nature). His 2 wing craves love, is quite good at being warm and agreeable, and has no problem offering others his assistance without expecting much in return.