| LADY OAKHAM
| CHARACTER DETAILS
| Full Name:
|| Darlene Elizabeth Hamilton
| Estate Name:
|| 19 (dob 27/11/1658)
| Eye Colour:
| Hair Colour:
| Marital Status:
|| Arts, Fashion, Science
& Proper Society
|| No.3 St. James Square
| COAT OF ARMS
|| Sewing Circle
The Garden Society
Reputation: «... Lady Oakham is a daring lady forever on the lookout for happy mischief, never failing to smile or entertain. A marvellous organiser who knows how to engage others, she is the life of any party....»
Physical Description and Personality
Standing 5’4’, a restrained grin plays upon rosebud lips as she idly twirls a mahogany ringlet around a dainty finger. Her dark lashes flutter coquettishly as she deliberately sighs, the deep inhalation serving to swell her bosom, enhancing her already generous curves. Darlene has a strong thirst for excitement and adventure, while her tenancy towards melodrama brings her great highs and lows. Her curiosity will not allow her to restrain her interest in all that is about her, upon which she impulsively acts.
Story So far/Background
Darlene's parents died during the deep of winter '74/'75, leaving her in the guardianship of her brother James Chesterford, the New Earl. Reluctantly he left off his studies at Oxford, to take his place as the head of the family. Darlene in particular was a loose end he needed to settle, which he did by setting her up with his best friend from Oxford, Mr Jerome Digby. But Darlene took one look at this humble agricultural scientist, and knew it would never work. She struck a deal with her brother, that she'd fine a husband at court within a season. James conceded, while insisting that if not she would be marrying Jerome at seasons end.
Confidently she set off, securing two interested parties. One moved quicker than the other, and within a matter of a week she secured a proposal from Edmund Rowe, Viscount of Brigg. Yet fates had moved - and he was abducted by French conspirators. While the girl grieved her loss, she was most particularly concerned that she might now need to marry Jerome. Indeed, her brother soon arrived to court, and soon after arrived Mr Digby. There was a dreadful dinner. A selfish outburst and tears. Jerome, shocked and dismayed, returned to his room alone - some time later a gunshot was heard in the night. Fearing the worst Darlene ran up the hall, only to discover that the man had shot his foot. He said no more of it other than that - they have never spoken since.
Come the next season, naturally she turned back to Thomas Hamilton, a heroic man if ever there was one. Begging his help to save Edmund, Darlene spent a lot of time with Thomas. She could hardly help herself, oh how she admired him, and quite quickly she discovered herself entirely smitten with him. Thomas this, Thomas that, her mind was consumed of him. And he, though entirely proper at all times, was quit smitten with her too. Yet off he went, at the end of the season, to quest to France and save her fiancée...
Upon her third season, as the winter season blinked it's snow frosted lashes open upon the court scene at Windsor, Thomas made his return with determination. It was there he proposed, and soon they would marry. Darlene begun planning her wedding at the picturesque little chapel at Windsor village.
Yet again, fate moved it's hand. An adventure called Thomas away, and she went with him snatching a ship-board wedding in the middle of a new great adventure.
Newly married and far removed from all her friends, Darlene did not adjust well. Just what happened abroad is uncertain. But she returned to London alone in May of '76. Her friendship with the Duke of Cavendish rose eyebrows when she took up residence in a house he newly acquired. But then came October, and Lord Oakham returned. Seemingly all is well.
My Grand Career ~ Darlene Elizabeth Chesterford Darlene's journal when she first attended Court (now used as a safe place to put treasures)
Garden Society Pamphlets
Play: Memoires of a Desperate Man.
May 1675 ~ Season I
While the Viscount had not formally proposed, it was more that he had agreed to assist her from an unwanted match made by her brother, Darlene was all but certain that she was to become engaged. So when attending the auction she was pleased to make the acquaintance of the Duke of Ablemarle. She wanted to enter of circle of married folks, thinking that she too would count midst that number soon. However her plan ws tested when she approached the Ablemarles a few days later to meet his wife, when Lady Ablemarle thought that she was Christopher's new mistress. Yet Darlene managed to set the ladies fears to rest, while at the same time suggesting that they have a housewarming to dispel nasty rumours of it being haunted.
Meanwhile she had a boating outing to attend with Mr Hamilton and his friends, yet having just told Thomas of her upcoming engagement tensions were at play, the outing was a misery, she offended both ladies and could not wait to be away. Upset feelings she had, for Thomas had told her they could not see each other anymore.
Late late at night her suitor did arrive at her door, he voiced fears for her safety as his reason for arriving, he had come from a run with the Frenchâ€¦ she thought little of it at the time, thinking it had been but an excuse to see her in her night dress.
However Edmund Brigg then disappeared.
Her brother arrived several days later, claiming she had thrown herself at the Lord (which in fact was quite true). Off he whisked her, keeping her under his watchful eye, staying at the Red Lion Inn until he could rent a house.
So then she had to dine with the unwanted suitor. Outspokenly she interviewed him, and confirmed that he was no man she could respect. Telling him plainly how unsuited for each other they were, Jerome Digby promptly retired. Later that night there came a gunshot echoing through the halls of the Red Lion. Yet the man was too chicken livered to end his pitiful life, and had only shot his foot.
Still she heard naught of Lord Brigg her suitor, so she called upon Mr Hobbes, who deduced that the trouble with the French was at the root. Darlene found herself liking Mr Hobbes very much, seeing him as a grandfatherly figure, the elderly man agreed to making discreet inquiries on her behalf to find out what had happened to her suitor.
Darlene meanwhile had to do something! She visited the Dutch Embassy, thinking that the rivals of the French might assist her in finding her beau. She wanted a legion of their men, partly because she feared Thomas would also go missing, as he had vowed to seek Lord Brigg out. But this meeting did not bring what she had hoped for, yet further grew her hatred of the French and an empathy for the Dutch.
Attending a puppet show as a much needed diversion, she made enmity with Lieutenant Walker and Lord Basildon, who pressed for kisses to which she took offense.
As a curious aside, through the month Darlene was delighted to befriended a total of four widows. Yet all did disappear, she suspects some conspiracy, and fears now for her new friend with the widow Atherstone's safety.
Speaking of new friends, Lady Atherstone and Darlene came together to create a new ladies group. A Society of Women of Vice where they might dabble in the safety of a circle of ladies with those things that are socially frowned upon, yet fun! It was at their tea discussing such that Heather came up with an ingenious plan in which to manipulate events so that Thomas was Darlene's rescuer, to compel their dormant romance to bloom.
Ah, but What a failure it was in practice, for Darlene hopped into the wrong carriage and was carried away. Yes, Thomas did save her, yet such was the circumstances that he was not to bestow the much wanted kisses upon her lips, though before they parted ways he gave a present. That small redemption to a horrible evening.
Meanwhile two other gentlemen have shown a little interest in the dark haired girl, one the son of the Portugese Ambassador just come of age, the other the teenage son of King Charles and King and Catherine Pegge, Charles FitzCharles.
Darlene agreed to attend the Masquerade Party with Juan Calos, taken with his novel suggestion that they pretend to be husband and wife.
It had been a topsy turvy few weeks at court, Darlene was of mixed feelings as their possessions were packed into the carriage... a part of her felt she was just starting to find her feet. But the prospect of a few months at home was welcome, more so now that she felt a friendship growing with her brother.
In the ensuing months Darlene set with a quiet determination into learning of her families history, most particularly her grandmother. Fetching down her dust covered journals that had spent decades ignored in the family library, she pored over the entries of 40 years ago.
Though for all her reading she found no mention of her travelling through the moors in an unseasonably cold May. Ah, but that would have been too easy she supposed, though not without a little disappointment. With May's journal Darlene developed an attachment, and deposited it into her chest to return to London with.
She managed to spend marvellous amounts of time in daydreaming about Mr Hamilton, and many many letters she penned to him, though rather fewer she actually sent to Oakham. She imagined his family all recognised her rather inexpert handwriting by now, and wondered what Thomas told them about her?
James might have been secretly surprised at a newly studious bent to his sister - for she also developed an interest in learning Portuguese. It was no easy task for Darlene, who was so easily distracted, yet she was able to teach herself some basic phrases. Her intonations of the words were imperfect, she was hopeful that Juan would be able to help her next season, to add lilt and proper accent.
Now Darlene was not the least bit interested in horses or racing, and James expressed no interest in attending the races in Newmarket either. So it was that instead they made a month's visit to Oxford on the way back to London for the September season. James disappeared for days on end into the university, leaving Darlene to amuse herself, so she thought to visit the university library of afternoons, deciding to read Mr Hobbes works.
Arriving back in London, Darlene discovered a letter had been awaiting her. Within the envelope was a newspaper clipping; the death notice of Edmund Rowe, Viscount of Brigg, having been tried in France for murder of an officer he had been hung by the neck until dead. With the clipping a threat was enclosed: "Keep your nose out of matters that do not concern you lest a similar fate befall you".
September 1675 ~ Season II
Darlene made an effort to become Elizabeth Seymours's new best friend during the reunion party - secretly planning to gain some fame in the girls shadow.
Darlene enjoyed the opening of September seasons' ball, that is, while she was there - proposing another game of dares to the elderly Duke of Newcastle, as the dares at the party last season had been interrupted by ghosts.
However, then Thomas and Jaun arrived, the girl was confused as to what to do - Experience had taught her it is not so easy having two suitors in the same place. Leaving seemed, as often did to the girl, the best option - Juan offered to take her home. On the carriage ride he pressed her again... he desired to speak to her brother that very night. Happiness of the evening turned to tragedy, as, in a great upset she shouted that she would accept Juan's proposal, and rushed away in tears. What was she going to tell Thomas?
Endeavouring to distract herself in the coming days, Darlene decided she would push her brother into society. But when he refused to bid at the auction, she stormed off in a huff. In a stewing upset she came upon Mignonette, and surprisingly, they seemed to become friends. Darlene was intent upon helping her, and recommended (before thinking) that she solicit Thomas's advice.
The meeting arranged with Thomas was one she dreaded, she didn't want to tell him what she'd agreed too. Fortunately Thomas needed to rush off, citing the House of Lords as the reason. Mignonette and Darlene seemed flounder then... and have not spoken since.
Darlene could not face keeping the postponed meeting with Thomas. Blue, she retired to her secret escape, a small apartment in the East end, taking solace with her imaginary friend Mr Brightwick. Becoming liquored up, and with Mr Brightwick egging her on, she went to the Portuguese embassy to tell Juan NO!.
Unfortunately, the girl then carried on to arrive at Elizabeth's drunk. Any hopes of becoming a bridesmaid for her dashed.
Again she went to the Embassy, again trying to tell Juan No, yet instead she found herself accepting an invitation to tea.
Midst the typically tumultuous and emotionally frayed life of Darlene, a pleasant afternoon she spent fishing with James and Charles, Nell's sons. She also took shooting lessons with Adam, a most pleasant man though rather too tall.
At long last Darlene had a serious conversation with her brother. Plain words were spoken, and to James surprise his sister did endeavour to listen. It was a conversation she recollects often, and does endeavour to heed.
Thomas manages to catch Darlene at home. Stealing her away where he tells her he hopes to fulfil her brothers quest of him soon. Hope seems closer when he is near, she is not so very confused.
But still, when the day of the dare arrives, she attends. Having not yet heard word from Thomas, she is conflicted and not knowing what to do. As might be expected of the girl, she runs away back home.
Then at last, on her third attempt in visiting the Embassy, Darlene tells Juan her heart is another's. Feeling like a beast, she leaves him, wondering if she ought renounce her desires of marriage entirely.
Darlene and Sabrina, along with James, returned to Chesterford together. Despite her inquiries, Darlene refused to tell her more of the grand remedy she had in store before hand. Truth was, Darlene feared that Sabrina would think the idea was actually terribly dull, though the more she thought upon it herself the pleasanter and pleasanter the prospect of spending time quilting together seemed.
Chesterford, Sabrina discovered, was a pleasant sleepy village far removed from courtly intrigue. James made scarce of himself, while Darlene revealed to her new and hopefully best friend, the joys of spending hours sewing. It was to Darlene, an excuse to spend hours in chatter - many many questions she asked of Sabrina, as well as speaking at length upon herself, and the living legend (in her mind) Thomas Hamilton.
The dubious highlight of their time in Chesterford, came with the arrival of James beau, Priscilla Kimberly, a woman whom Sabrina had met previously, although briefly. The young lady's dislike of Darlene wsa quite plain, though Darlene did her best to make herself scarce hateful words were inevitably exchanged. Through her lashes and behind whispered fans, Sabrina whispered her own encounters with Priscilla to Darlene. While she did not know the true depths of the girl, she had not a good impression of her the first time and stated such.
What an awkward situation this left the Earl in, so that when Darlene suggested she visit Appledore with Sabrina he hastily agreed.
It was quite a trip across the countryside of England, as Darlene's estate was in Essex, the eastern coast of England, while Sabrina's was in Devon, along the south-west coast. A quaint coastal town sited along the ocean, while Sabrina had not planned to bring Darlene to her estate, she came up with impromptu things for them to do, including picnics along the shoreline.
Together they continued to spend the days walking about the beach and visiting the more charming aspects of Appledore.
Novel, Darlene found it, when her new best friend annonucned she had a fencing lesson. It was certainly not something Darlene would have thought to do on her own. But they were far from society, who might ever find out? So it was that Darlene made small effort at wafting a rapier through the air, but as a dreadfully poor student, and wandered off to collect a posy of flowers as Sabrina made progress at her sport.
As the time for Xmas festivities arrived, Darlene returned to Chesterford to discover mixed news. James had broken off with Priscilla, and while this was good news to Darlene, she could not help but feel responsible for he single social aspect lost to James life.
December 1675 ~ Season III
As the winter season blinked it's snow frosted lashes open upon the court scene at Windsor, Thomas made his return with determination. It was there he proposed, and soon they would marry. The fiancee'd pair enjoyed an outing together to the snow topped tower, dreaming of their future. While the death of the queen brought court to wearing their black muslins, Darlene begun planning her wedding at the picturesque little chapel at Windsor village, while rallying the towns people to carol by candelight outside the castle to cheer the grief stricken king.
Yet again, fate moved it's hand. An adventure called Thomas away, and she went with him snatching a ship-board wedding in the middle of a new great adventure.
Jan-April 1676 Jamaica Bound
Married life had not been what Darlene had expected. They had taken a house in the English Colony Jamaica where Thomas based his ongoing search for the traitor Richards, while developing an export business in the abundant Jamaican commodity sugar. But did he involve Darlene in it? No. Thomas was a darling, but wouldn't let her have any fun. Thomas and Lieutenant Governor Morgan became on best of terms, and if Thomas was not upon business or adventure he was assisting with the remodelling of the island fortifications. (1)
Men are such distractable creatures. She was heard to lament as, once again, Thomas was late to supper.
It was not long before Darlene attracted other admirers to sate her vanity in the wake of Thomas' neglect; her own 'distractions' so to speak. In short order she won the affection of the upper class of Jamaica, where she weekly hosted parties with diversions ranging from a game she called 'Hummingbird', where party goers contested to drink the nectar from their glass, no hands allowed, to listening to the musical clockwork inventions of the innovative and gifted engineer Hector von Weiss. At these parties Darlene likewise came to note that Lieutenant Governor Morgan was an admirable man, and a clever gamesman to boot. She decided that next week the prizes at the party would be kisses, and covertly imagined awarding them to Henry Morgan.
Darlene became accustomed to Thomas being gone a week at a time, visiting plantations and nurturing business relationships late into the night, so that early in March when there was a thump at the door she was pleasantly surprised that Thomas had returned a day early. But her darkie maid Maisie then rushed up to her boudoir, the whites of her eyes round as saucers. "Captain Blood's here to see you mam!" Darlene scolded the maid, she hated hearing people use that name for the Governor, and walked nervously down the stairs wondering why the Governor was visiting her when he knew Thomas was out of town.
It seemed the admiration between them was mutual. She was unable to explain it to herself the next day, she was happily married after all, and yet her affair with the Governor added a new thrill to her life. Whenever Thomas was out of town they secreted in sumptuous adultery together, she housed no regrets, blaming her immorality upon her absent husband.
In such a small town it was only a matter of time until they were discovered. Thomas face was a storm cloud, he didn't utter a word over dinner, while an increasingly nervous Darlene talked of Von Weiss' latest invention. "He'd be hailed as a genius in London." She finally commented upon the irrelevant subject. Hoping. Aching. Wanting Thomas to say what was on his mind, she wanted the confrontation that might lead to her confession and then their reunion. But instead Thomas uttered, "Then perhaps you ought to return there with him."
Stunned silence followed. Didn't he care? "I believe I shall." She challenged with a petulant tip of her chin.
April-May 1676 ~ Season IV
In the early days back at court she rekindled her relationship with the Duke, while she also begun an affair with Louis, and secured a position as Mr Killigrews assistant.
She was intent upon planning for the next ball when she canvassed along the artists district in Chelsea telling of auditions she would oversee, she invited a number of persons to join her to watch the audtions, and Kane arrived to support her nerves. The Auditions went well enough, and she secured a list of people with various tallents that she might use. The difficulty was that Mr Killigrew claimed practically no budjet and disagreed with most of her ideas. Discouraged of it all she resigned a few days later.
It was after the auditions that the Duke arrived and convinced her to accept his offer of residence house he had newly purchased, and in the end she agreed. She was rather fond of the gentlman, and he was a Duke afterall, a Cavandish no less. The Duke was a good man, although she quickly grew bored of him. In hindsight, she supposed he was trying to keep her interest when he suggested that her brother should marry Gracie.
She was not terribly happy with herself during that time. Her letters to Thomas, which at first had been angry, turned to pining sadness as she realised how much she wished for a respectable life.
Despite her bold words when coming back to London, her conscience continued to bother her too much to be able to enjoy a libertine lifestyle. She took to nesting in the little townhouse, and came to enjoy garden-planning. Meanwhile she managed to exclude herself too much from court at large, while she dreamed of having a baby.
There were those unusual messages and gifts, that she wondered over, which she had thought were something to do with John West. Though they mysteriously stopped as quickly as they had started. All in all it did leave her wondering... to Weroance and the promise she'd once made.
Darlene didnt know how to help the Indians though. Idly she'd mentioned to Doug that she ought raise an army, but then she and the corpal had fought and so she didnt want to think about armies anymore.
There had been a curious day that she met a man with a flying machine. Had it not been for Louis coming along at the right time, she might hav gotten caught up alonw with Sir Nathaniel, and once the machine was repaired, leapt from a three story building. It was perhaps just as well that Louis came along, although a part of Darlene was sad of the arrival of sanity. It might have been fun to have flown, if but for a fleet few seconds. What had happened to Nathaniel, and his sun who secretly stole his ideas? Darlene had figured that the mysterious rival, Mr Wilkinson, did not actually exist at all.
For a while she was inseperable from Master Kane, so that they adventured out together one night to steal a peacock from the Solicitor Generals back yard. It was quite fun, even when they got caught. Though in the days after that, Darlene reflected that it was also rather silly. It was antics like that which made people think her childish. If she ever wanted to be taken seriously, she needed to behave far better.
At long last she met Lady Isabeau, and thought she was quite fine, though wronged dreadfully by the Life guards. For a time she thought to perhaps cheer her with a parade, but then Darlene discovered that Lady Isabeau was quite adept and managing restore justice, and that the emergency was now over.
Her affair with Louis continued to hold her attention, now there was a man who enjoyed a good romp. Perhaps it had begun with mere physical attraction, yet Darlene quickly found herself wanting not just his body, but his very soul. When spending time with Louis, his excessive optimism rubbed off on her, although she found it difficult to maintain a bold outlook when they were apart. A highlight of their time together culminated in an evening at the Woolsack, she dressed in disguise as Mr Brightwick. It was rather less the introduction to learning more of politics however, towards which she had grown some interest of late, for despite herself she could not help but want to pounce him again. Louis was more than happy to comply. There was some oddity that happened in the hall moments after, and she saw Louis become rather paranoid of being discovered. Privately Darlene didn't feel so concerned herself, at the time, although she came to understand more deeply his love of his wife; that he did not want to risk that relationship.
She continued to fret over Mr Killigrew. Jealousy perhaps. He had everything that she wanted; a royal household title, and with it fame, a purse and free rein to arrange as many parties as he wanted, and too, the kings ear. Not that she actually wanted to talk to the king, but she would like to impress him somehow, and feel like she was a subject worthy of his notice. She wondered if the King had ever noticed the conversation piece she'd given Mr Killigrew.
There was one function which she simply had to give attention to. That was her brothers funeral, well, memorial service. The death of Henry had hit her hard. Henry was the one who had written James letters about his travels, of the interesting wildlife he'd found.Henry had looked at the world with curiosity, and shared his discoveries with his family. Now he was gone. She grieved, yet kne she was but one of hundreds of women who mourned family members. So she thought to raise a memoiral statue not just to Henry, but to all men lost at sea. Perhaps she could have found a faster sculpterer, but she wanted it to be of finest quality, and so went with the one that the Duke suggested. It would be ready in spring '76. For her family she planned a very small service at the spot that the sculpture would be erected. It would be a quiet affair, she thought to ask each member of her family to share a memory of him, and then together they would pray.
Mini recess 3-6th May
It was early upon the Sunday morning that James arrived with good news and bad. Lady Grace had accepted his suit, with a wedding date set for the 12th of August this very year. But also her brothers Walter and Percival had arrived, and were settling in at the Red Lion. Following an assignation with Louis that evening, Darlene was emboldened to face up to the brother who frightened her so,.
So it was that she set out to the Red Lion Inn on Monday morning, where she and her eldest brother had also resided for a time. Percival, much to Darlene's surprise, seemed a different man when she found him in quiet conversation with Walter. There seemed some tension still, but it was not the horrible scene she had anticipated - instead the trio's reunion was spent in fond reminisce of beloved Henry. Henry's death, for the time being at least, had reunited the far flung family - so that Darlene came to impulsively insist that they come to stay with her at Newcastle's house.
Darlene hosted a family dinner on Monday evening, and was surprised when James arrived with Elizabeth. As with Percival, the tensions that existed between them was put aside, and to all appearances the family dined in good cheer in honor of the fallen family member. At the completion of the evening, Darlene could not resist but to make her announcement; that of being with child. "I have decided to name him Henry." she was certain it would be a boy, even if she was less certain if being actually pregnant. She had her monthly visit as usual, but that was probably normal for the first month or two of being in her condition.
Upon Tuesday, the Day of the Dukes visit, spent in the petite garden, each of her siblings planted something in her friendship garden... indeed, it had been a busy few days, and quite a relief to the young Vicountess. Still new to gardening, Darlene did not recognise the plant that Percival had planted was none other than Nightshade.
There was two weeks until the planned memorial service, and James revealed that they were all to be the guests of The Earl of Bolingbroke (Gracies Father) just a few miles south of London. Darlene managed to excuse herself from the invitation upon account of her being so busy writing her brochure. So it was that she stood at her gate with arm linked through Williams, waving farewell to the Chesterford horde, happy to return to quiet after having such a full house. "I think my children shall be quiet ones..." she murmured by way of a hope to William as they returned inside.
Her heart called her to another rendezvous with Louis upon Wednesday and Thursday evenings, where his understanding of cycles had him reveal that there was a great deal more work to be done before baby Henry might become a fact. "Next week then?" She made him promise, while they placated their hunger creatively.
Mini recess 13-19 May
Darlene's nerves of meeting Thomas's family proved to be unfounded, they were both gracious and welcoming despite the surprise of her visit upon such short notice. Upon the second night there was a celebratory formal dinner with every member of the Hamilton family at the table, speeches and well wishes were given - while Thomas's chair was left vacant at the head of the table.
She was able to share news of Thomas's adventures, from assisting the Governor General of Jamaica, to his new role in the Colonial forces. Naturally her voice was filled with both price and concern. Through it all, Darlene did have to admit to herself that he was the love of her life, despite her desires to love somebody who was within the same country as herself.
At the end of that evening, an evening that she came to think of as her belated wedding feast, she was presented with a lovely gift from the family: a wedding ring that had belonged to Thomas's Grandmother. While it's style was quite vintage for modern tastes, she was deeply moved and did feel it was the most special thing she'd ever been given. Here she came to feel embraced into the Oakham heritage, and discovered conviction to do her very best for the family.
Subsequent days were spent in some studious time learning more of the Estate. While one afternoon she accompanied the family as they provided her with a tour of the land. She did notice that Oakham was not without it's share of agricultural challenges, and came to wonder if her brothers friend Mr Digby might be able to assist?
It was a fine visit, so that she felt rather refreshed as the time came that she should return to London. "I have a memorial service for my brother on the 20th," she did explain of the necessity of her return. Her dear brother Henry, his death continued to touch her heart with sorrow whenever she thought of him. She did wonder of how he had died, had anyone been with him as he'd laid bleeding on the deck of the ship? Yet it was only in secret of the dead of the night she let the heavy wet tears silently flow.
Last weeks of season IV
Darlene found her feet once more, settled into Saint Marks she felt at peace, and begun setting her mind to growing a larger circle of lady friends; commencing with canvassing Saint Marks. It was the ladies that she met therein that grew with her an idea for an Opera, to be performed in he Wedding season. Darlene was very enthused, and invited everyone her her place during the recess that they might rehearse.
Her efforts to arrange festivity did not finish there. She did her part for the Restoration day celebrations, by borrowing money from her brother to pay for the decorations of The Strand, and paid for a parade of talented performers to march the street on the 29th. The parade was a grand success, although the Mayor was the one to receive the acclaim. Never the less darling had much fun, and when an elderly slave begged her for money, set up a performance of her own, dancing as she called for donations.
Though a little distraction, or was that misdirected passion gone arwy then venting itself in siezing a token (while visiting Lord Mountjoy) she secured the key to his office he was abandoning in favour of another with a window. "Oh what I shall do now!" she was heard to exclaim as she settled into the Abandoned Office
As court adjourned, Darlene Hamilton too left London and went to visit Catriona, whose time was near due. She was a little nervous to see Cat in person, but their friendship, grown of correspondence, had her optimistic. The visit went swimmingly, the pair talking about babies a great deal, with Cat providing much advice for Darlene.
Mid April Darlene set upon her way again, taking it slowly that she provide her body with much rest. She was careful to not risk the life of her babe. Onwards to Rebecca's wedding she travelled, it was a most lovely ceremony, and Darlene wept as the pair exchanged their vows. Poignant for the fact that he own wedding had been so different to the ideal. She gave the brightest of well wishes to the newly married couple, before she took once again to travelling, this time homewards to Oakham, making a little detour along the way to rendezvous with the man that continued to hold her fascination and awe.
Reunions with the recently met family at Oakham were pleasant, though Darlene was still becoming accustomed to the structured way of life they lived. Naturally she still spent her morning in correspondence, which now included a number of letters to and from Lord Buchanan. She also contacted Chesterford theatre of her home town, and begged use of some theatre props for the opera at Windsor. While she continued to hope for a letter from Sir James, none yet arrived. Then upon word of Cats birth of a baby girl, she wrote with a give of Lavender bath oil for the mother, and a handworked bonnet for the baby itself.
Mid July saw her headed for London, there to meet up with Catriona to travel onwards to Scotland. It was understandable, she thought, under the circumstances that Cat brought the infant along with her. Naturally Darlene continued to take care of herself, never one for many late nights anyhow, she was often abed by nine o'clock.
Darlene was there with Cat for Adam's funeral. A sad time to be sure. Quietly she reminised with Cat of what a fine man he'd been, of his big heart, and playful spirit. "Keep him close to your heart, and he shall never truly have gone." She advised softly to her mourning friend.
With the girls installed to their homes, she travelled in their slow way that now felt quite the norm, onwards to Edinburgh. Cat wished to present her babe to the King. Darlene found other errands that day... by and large quite captivated by the softly lit beauty of Scotland. She was pleased to then give Cat an introduction to Lord Buchanan in following days, and the trio spent a pleasant day together which culminated with a visit to Arthur’s Seat for a grand view and picnic.
As August was torn from her Calendar, and September’s page gleamed freshly, Darlene returned with Cat to Oakham - soon her guests would be arriving for the opera practise that would fill Oakham's rooms with many a guest. Yet one arrival on the day before they were to leave for Windsor caught the young Vicountess by surprise: Thomas. Darlene's breath was caught away! Thomas... she moved towards him, only just catching herself short of embracing him right in full view of everyone. Does he still love me? She wondered in yearning secret, while being careful to display respectful decorum towards him as she welcomed him back to England.
As a returning hero, Colonel of Colonial troops and head of Oakham, a banquet was given in his honour that night. She could hardly believe who she saw at the head of the table, she was so happy, and yet nervous. Might they make amends, might their happily ever after begin now? Ah, but what about the baby? Too nervous to raise the subject with him, or to dare seek out his company in private, Darlene took to prayer most earnestly; begging that the Good Lord and Lord Oakham both might see it in their hearts to forgive her.
Thomas didn't attend her bedroom that night, but perhaps he was just exhausted after his protracted adventures and much travel. In the light of a new morning, as nobles were climbing into their carriages to caravan together towards Windsor, Darlene noticed he did look a bit different. Silently she moved to his side, and put her hand into his. Soon they would talk, but for now, for now it was enough for her that he was back in England.
October 1676, Season V
It was a very attentive Darlene who returned to Oakham with Thomas, fussing about his mending to a point that it quite amused Thomas. A month on, the wound was healing well, but Darlene continued to nurse him, insisting upon being the one to change his bandage daily, much enjoying the closeness she felt with him when doing so. When apart from her, Thomas acted perfectly fine - and took up sword practise once again. The injury did have some effect upon his ability, that he was determined to recoup. But then again that evening, he'd pretend he needed Darlene's care, and she pretended she didn't notice that he was all better.
Darlene's days: she wrote to Gracie, encouraging her to tell her the details of the wedding plans. For the most part she focussed upon quiet things such as her embroidery, sewing embellishments upon an array of items as Christmas presents for friend and family.
On the 19th of November it was her birthday, it was a joint celebration, for William (Thomas' younger brother) took his long time sweetheart as his bride. Thomas gave her a letter from Mr Wren, within which the architect accepts a commission to pleasure garden for Oakham. Darlene is delighted, and with renewed interest begins composing a list of elements she wants included.
On boxing day she says farewell to Thomas, as she goes away a discreet distance in anticipation of the baby coming soon. It is a little fretful for her at this point, for she doesn't know if she will ever see him again, what with the high risk of dieing herself. She put on a brave face though, if nothing else she wishes him to remember her bravely not as a silly mess. In the coming weeks till the birth she writes to him often, and also to her friends; with diligence to remain optimistic.
It was on the fourteenth she read the news, the kindly old Duke of Newcastle had died. Though she told herself he'd lived a long and rich life, the news never the less caused a tear or two of sadness. Whether the distress was the cause or not, it was on the following day that her waters broke. Darlene was going into Labour.
They later told Darlene it had been a relatively easy delivery - it certainly had not felt like it at the time! Yet she survived to hear the baby's first cry of protest. Natures instinct was to look to the feeble sound; she then quickly turned her head and closed her eyes. No baby returned to Oakham with Darlene... rumour spread quickly that it had not survived.
Darlene was still in confinement in Leicestershire for the opening of the Sailors Memorial in London, though she read in the Gazette that it had gone well, if quietly.
Returning to Oakham, a reunion with her husband. Being a considerate man, Thomas heeded the restraint the doctor advised. Six weeks to the night, he entered his wife's bedroom. Though Darlene dreaded falling pregnant again, she had no heart to resist Thomas. She was weak for him. She blamed it on the darling curls at his temples, and the earnest sincerity in his eyes. Relenting, she admitted him to her bed. He was quite determined, she noticed, to begat an heir upon her... It felt different now, her lower parts just didn't' seem the same, it was, not as nice - although Thomas didn't seem to notice anything. It was the lovely embraces and kisses in the moments 'after' that she enjoyed most of all. It was a happy period in her life to see his love for her expressed so eagerly.
March saw days were spent busying with future plans, the Garden show that Isabeau had suggested, and completing the play she'd written of poor Lord Ravenna. She sent a copy to Chesterfield theatre, and asked them to do a read through to determine if there were kinks that needed to be worked out. In March she and Thomas attend the wedding of her Brother to Gracie. Darlene's gift to them is a set of table linens with the initials J&G entwined within the Chesterford crest. James was eager to depart upon a tour of the Continent with Gracie, with his itinerary including visits to all the elite universities (much to Gracies dismay).
She wondered when she might fall with child? Thomas would be elated she knew, but once he did, he might not lay with her any more. A idea formed, and Darlene decided not to tell Thomas immediately, when she suspected she was with child. She would save the good news to give him at a time when she might find an advantage in it.
Aligning herself to knowing she'd probably be pregnant for the best part of years to come, she decided to become more determined to attain the things she wanted out of life anyhow: admiration of her peers, leadership of her groups, and perhaps even an independent means of her own.
Thomas was away for a a week, making arrangements to lease a house on the St James, when Darlene received a guest. The Cavendish's solicitor. It took all her effort not to cry upon reading it. Glassy eye'd she thanked the man for his visit. The letter was placed amongst her treasures. She had no idea what she might do with the gift he left her... for now she kept it secret from Thomas. She needed to focus forwards, yet she packed the letter and seeds with her when she packed for London.
Darlene has four brothers;
- James Chesterford (28), the new Earl
- Walter Chesterford(26), in the navy serving on 'The Dauntless', in September of '75 he wrote home from having rounded the Cape of Good Hope.
- Henry Chesterford (24), d. 1676 in His Majesties service on board 'The Bristol'
- Percival Chesterford(19), in the Church
She has one sister;
- Elizabeth Linton married to Samuel Linton, the third son of Lord Brinkley. They have a new son, John George Nathaniel, born late Feb 1676 They reside at the Linton family estate not ten miles from Chesterford.
Lord Oakham has leased a fine house upon Saint James