Our new season is now open: Spring 1677 !
Mirtel Christabel Hardwick
|Full Name:||Mirtel Christabel Hardwick|
|Title:||Sister of an Earl|
|Eye Colour:||Somewhere between grey and blue|
|Hair Colour:||Dark Brown|
|Circles:||Proper, Arts, Scientific, Fashion|
|London:||Saint Marks Hall|
Reputation: «...This seemingly sweetly oblivious paragon of court hides a stubborn, charming strength and a ruthless ambition. She is charming and delightful to those she likes but snobby to others. All laud not just her beauty but the beauty of her singing voice....»
Mirtel is slender and beautiful like her mother. She has dark-brown hair and her eyes are an undefined tone somewhere between grey and blue. The daily riding trips of this talented little rider have given her a healthy complexion, although robbing her from the pale skintone that's so fashionable at court. However when she walks, the most notable thing about her is the limp that makes her move with an uneven pace.
Initial Impression of Personality
A beautiful and slender young woman with a modest decorum. She conducts herself properly with a gentle smile gracing her lips as expected from a noble born lady, yet the first thing to catch your attention about her would be the limp she moves with. When she speaks, even the most uneducated ear would hear a charmingly musical lilt in her voice, giving testimony of years of singing classes.
Mirtel Christabel’s childhood was a happy time ever since she was born on the 8th of March. Her mother died of childbed fever after her birth, but her father showered her with gifts and attention. She was daddy’s little princess, whose every whim was fulfilled. Her father’s wealth also made sure that Mirtel was vigorously educated by the best tutors in all the things a young lady should know, including a thorough introduction to the Catholic religion. She also showed exceptional aptitude for singing and playing the piano and harp, causing her father to proclaim that one day she would be the world’s most famous singer. A dream Mirtel Christabel took a liking to and in connection with her sincere faith it became her fondest dream to one day sing before the Pope in the St. Peter’s Basilica.
The hours not spent in classes, studying the Bible, or riding outside were filled with spending time with her older brother. Mirtel started toddling after George as soon as she rose to her feet and her brother showed remarkable patience in dealing with the small child and gifting her with the most wondrous presents. The time Mirtel Christabel spent with his brother was always enjoyable and filled with laughter.
The one dark spot blemishing her childhood was a carriage accident when Mirtel was nine. One of the horses drawing the carriage she was riding in shied, broke the axle of the carriage as it reared and the carriage was overturned. The accident caused Mirtel to break her left ankle and trapped her into the carriage until her older brother arrived at the scene of the accident. Since then Mirtel has been left with a limp.
Having her brother save her made the young girl, who delights in stories about valiant knights, hero-worship her brother as someone who could never be wrong in anything. Soon afterward though George left to tour Europe for a number of years. Mirtel dutifully sent him long letters every two weeks detailing everything about her life and how father was doing and rejoiced every time George took the time to write back or send a present to her.
Her valiant brother came to his aid once more when Mirtel needed him most. Their father had taken to his death bed and George responded to Mirtel’s summons for him to return home. Mirtel mourned for her father, but her daily routine remained much the same as her beloved older brother became Mirtel’s guardian and allowed Mirtel to continue spending her time singing, reading and fantasizing and socialising as expected from the young sister of a wealthy earl.It was her brother who also took her to London, much to Mirtel’s delight. Surely she’d find more opportunities to develop her singing skills in London and possibly find a way to travel to Italy to fulfil her lifelong dream of singing before the pope. Her brother had also promised to take her shopping. She realises, of course, that she should also find a suitable husband for herself at court.
April-May 1676 ~ Season IV
3-5 May 1676
As a noble lady of quality, Mirtel Christabel’s days were filled with pleasurable pursuits. She attended mass Sunday morning and filled her days socialising with the other courtiers; strolling through the palace gardens, going out riding and taking afternoon tea with other lords and ladies. She also found time to keep up with her correspondence and, having already noticed the importance of keeping up with the times, also managed to fit a shopping tour into her days.
Mirtel Christabel also made use of the expertease of the riding instructor at the King’s Mews and took some dressage classes from the man to keep both hers and her mare’s skills polished. However what really made Mirtel Christabel rejoice was being able to contact and meet up again with Christopher Gibbons. Master Gibbons, now a man acknowledged all over the kingdom for his musical talents, had been one of the music teachers Mirtel’s father had for a year housed in Chilchester for the delight of her daughter when she was younger. Mirtel Christabel was very pleased to once again meet the man for a lesson in the palace great hall, a room that had the space and acoustics necessary for Mirtel Christabel to do honour to the potential of her voice. Having discovered that Mirtel Christabel had by now fully grown into her God-given voice, Master Gibbons was happy to agree to future lessons so that he might offer further guidance to her when it came to singing.
15-19 May 1676
Early in the morning of the 15th Mirtel Christabel set off from London to go and visit Lady Arundel as she had vouched to do. She made good time on horseback, although it would still take a day and a half to reach Arundel castle. Thankfully though Chilchester wasn’t far from Arundel so Mirtel could spent the night in the comfort of her personal country house, Stedham, without having to make a big detour. This also gave her a chance to survey the lands surrounding Stedham.
She arrived at Arundel castle early in the afternoon of the next day, finally meeting Lady Arundel and Lillibet in person as well as making the acquaintance of Lady Diana Howard, who had also been invited to spend a few days visiting. After settling in at the castle the small group took a stroll in the surrounding lands before settling down to enjoy a picnic in the castle gardens, spending a couple of enjoyable hours singing popular folk songs, picking flowers and making a flower wreath they crowned Lillibet with, playing with Leo, flying a kite and rescuing a little frightened Bullfinch that had somehow got stuck in a bush.
The next morning the girls attended Sunday Mass with Lady Arundel and Lillibet, after which Lady Arundel presented both Mirtel Christabel and Diana with small presents as a sign of gratitude for their care for the wellbeing of Lillibet and their visit that had cheered the girl up. The gifts turned out to be a silver-gilt rosary with a Corpus Christi pendant, the rosary chain made of black freshwater pearls and terminating with a pierced silver medallion depicting the Virgin Mary aboce a single chain of beads with the corpus below. Thrilled and cheered to have the attention lavished on her for usually she was considered too young to attend ladies teas and gathering, Lillibet requested that Diana and Mirtel read and act out scenes from a play with her; which the girls were happy to do before their indulgent audience of Lady Arundel. In the evening all the ladies took peaceful tea and enjoyed a peaceful conversation, with the girls filling in Lady Arundel on the latest news, scandals and fashions of London and court.
After breakfast Monday morning the small party headed out to a nearby village that was currently hosting a fair. The girls helped judge a pie contest before looking around the fair, trying some local treats, helping Lillibet choose two new hairclips that didn’t look too girlish anymore and Mirtel also purchasing some locally made very delicate lace for herself. But with time having it’s all demands, after having light lunch with Lady Arundel and Lillibet, and promising the tearful latter to write and come visit again as Lady Arundel also expressed desire to keep up her acquaintance with them both, Diana and Mirtel Christabel set off towards Stedham, to where Mirtel had invited Diana to spend the night with her as the girls had became firm acquiantances at least over the last few days, on their way back to London.
On the 19th of May the ladies continued towards London, by chance meeting Charles Rex and the entourage of lifeguards and closest friends accompanying the monarch. A gallant cavalier who enjoyed lively conversation and the company of beautiful ladies to gaze upon, the king was quick to invite the ladies to join them for the remaining two hour ride to London, complimenting both ladies for riding skills as both Diana and Mirtel were talented enough horsewomen to easily keep up with the speed with which the royal entourage had been moving.
Recess IV, 1 June-7 October
As London emptied of courtiers, some travelling abroad while most travelled to their country estates, Mirtel Christabel remained in St. Marks, dedicating her time to the overseeing the successful completion of the tasks she had been trusted with. The offspring of a wealthy and proud bloodline of earls, Mirtel Christabel was accustomed to ordering and guiding servants to the necessary tasks to finish all the small details that would make up the one final grand picture of the Queen’s Suite. There was one more brief meeting with the Lord Chamberlain on the last day before Mirtel Christabel could proudly report to Princess Karoline that the work had been finished. Still she couldn’t help but have butterflies in her stomach as princess Karoline and Lady Mountjoy arrived to observe the reworked Queen’s suite and pass judgement over it while Mirtel Christabel presented the gift of a copper-worked musical clockwork, a carosello of two knights bearing the banners of England and Pfalz to the tune of a Germanic lullaby, in gratitude for having been trusted with the task. There was also a letter to be written for Don Juan of Austria, Mirtel Christabel apologizing to the prince for George and her brother not being able to accept his kind invitation to visit Rome due to George’s wound and Mirtel’s own duties.
The work was finished just in time for Mirtel Christabel to attend the marriage of Lady Rebecca, now Lady Hale, before undertaking the journey to Chilchester. It was pleasing to arrive at her childhood home again and for a couple of days Mirtel Christabel simply luxuriated in the feeling of being home. She loved her childhood home, always would, and she would always do her best to protect it, but Mirtel Christabel had been raised to be a sensible girl. She did wish to be appointed as a lady-in-waiting for the new queen and new she’d have to make herself stand out in the eyes of Karoline in order for that aspiration to come true. Besides it was the fate of daughters to have to leave behind their childhood home for that of their husband and while there currently wasn’t a proposal she would consider at her doorstep now, she could always gently encourage one however in order to do that she’d need to be present where society was. And with those two thoughts Mirtel said farewell to her brother once more after just two weeks at home and set off to London once more.
Even though court was in recess, Mirtel found plenty to do. Mornings and half of the afternoons were spent in service to the queen as Mirtel Christabel made herself useful to Karoline and Lady Mountjoy, whose pregnancy was ever-progressing, assisting in running small errands that could not all be left to servants or help respond to some invites of the more social nature the princess received. Naturally time was set aside to continue her singing lessons with Master Gibbons. There was also training for Leo to be sought out, in which the suggestions from the Master of Hounds became invaluable. Mirtel Christabel also made sure to polish her riding skills and dressage by going to practice regularly, managing to catch the approving eye of the Duke of Cavendish one afternoon and learning some valuable tips to assist her further in that regard.
The remaining afternoons and evenings were spent on gentle pursuits, for there were also other young nobles remaining in London. Mirtel Christabel kept up with the friends she had made during the season, but there were also new friends to be made, both lords and ladies. One of the friendships Mirtel Christabel carefully nurtured was that of Lord Ogle, whom she had met at the Memorial gardens. She rather suspected Henry Cavendish Sr was rooting for a marriage between her and his son, for Mirtel Christabel was a proper lady from a good family that could afford to give her a generous dowry, Mirtel’s beauty and talents and association with the Queen additional plus’ for her case, and Mirtel Christabel was careful to not discourage Lord Ogle or the notion. Hopefully the royal wedding and some gentle encouragement could help have the young lord think of proposing as well. And so the days passed with the young nobles enjoying afternoon gatherings with tea and poetry and music, picnics in the park, visits to the theatre, barge rides on the Thames and other small outings. Mirtel Christabel herself invited some of the young nobles whom she liked better for a two day outing to Dulwich as well, the lords able to enjoy a morning of duck shooting and the evenings spent with lighter pleasures.
September arrived quickly enough and Mirtel Christabel prepared to set off to Windsor at Princess Karoline’s permission to oversee the Queen’s rooms there as well. Already familiar with the task, Mirtel Christabel set to work swiftly to make sure the rooms would be welcoming and cozy for when the princess would arrive. And as she was already there before the press of the court, Mirtel Christabel took care to reserve a room that pleased her for herself for when the court would gather again at large for the royal wedding.
Carefully planning all the work so it would be finished in a timely manner, Mirtel set off from Windsor to Oakham to attend the rehearsals for the opera Lady Oakham was planning to put on. Meeting the rest of the performers there Mirtel was cheerful company, sharing news of what everyone had been doing as well as those of London, and attentively participating in the rehearsals. Talented in music with a god-given voice Mirtel Christabel learned her parts with ease and swiftness, allowing her to easily beg leave three days to depart from Oakham three days ahead of the rest as she raced back to Windsor to make sure that the Queen’s apartments would be well aired and cleaned and have vases full of autumn flowers from the greenhouses displayed in them for when the princess herself would arrive.
- George Hardwick II, Earl of Chilchester - deceased
- Mary Christabel Hardwick - deceased