This is a character I created for a late Georgian/early regency era LARP with the Obsidian Court that never came to fruition. I put a great deal of time and research into Lavinia, so she will be appearing in an era appropriate story or as an ancestor to a modern character.
Name: Marchioness Lavinia Beaufort (nee Paganel)
Age: Adult (38)
Profession: Patroness of her former finishing school, Lockier Garden. Majority of the students are wealthy young ladies from obscure parts of the empire without the social standing to enter more prominent schools.
Group: Obsidian Court
Keywords: Friendly, graceful, charming, beautiful, and lively
Description: Marchioness Lavinia Beaufort (nee Paganel) was born a commoner on the island of Tobago in the late 1700s. Her family was one the first to colonize the island when the British established rule in 1672. As a result, her family built a vast fortune on the traditional New World crops of indigo, cotton, and sugar. The Paganels were a very influential family on Tobago known for lavish balls, beautiful homes, and impeccable manners. Her family fled the island when the French retook Tobago in 1781, but suffered no loss in income. This has led to vicious whispers that in addition to crops, the Paganels have interests in slave trading. The family insists their ongoing good fortune comes from shipping and, laughably, frugality.
Upon their arrival to England, the Paganels leveraged their connections with the former Governor of Tobago to enter proper London society. They built a gaudy house in London they pretentiously named Weathern Court and set Lavinia and her three siblings on the journey up to social ladder.
Her two older sisters’ inheritances enabled marriages into lesser, impoverished noble houses and her younger brother’s military exploits, swelling wealth, and good looks recently earned him an engagement to a Scottish heiress.
However, Lavinia’s mother longed to be the center of the social world as they had been in Tobago. She turned down several smart matches to send Lavinia to finishing school at rather a late age 20.
Lockier Garden once held a royal warrant and her graduates are still given invitations to Queen Charlotte’s Debutante ball. It was at this ball (1796) that Lavinia entered the upper echelons of English society and was formally presented to the King and Queen. Within six months she was engaged to the Marquess of Somerset, a widower who is also a touch too old to be in the marriage market 31, and they married a year to the day of her debut. They have been married 15 years, but have no children. This is not a problem because he has a son and heir from his first wife.
The Marchioness splits her time between Berry Pomeroy Castle in South Devon and their country estate Bradley House in the village of Maiden Bradley in Wiltshire. She is a frequent guest of her parents at Weathern Court and stays there during the London Season. The Marquess has spent most of his time on the continent since 1803 fighting the Napoleonic Wars.
Light: Lavinia is a fun and sociable individual. She moves freely and gracefully amidst royalty and wealthy commoners. She keeps abreast of the latest in fashion, art, literature, and music. She brings palatable common culture to the staid insular world of high nobility. Her parties are interesting and well attended affairs. She is very friendly and appears to have no ill will to anyone save Napoleon.
Dark:Lavinia laughs a bit too loudly and smiles a touch too widely. There is desperation in her gaiety and a hardness in her wide eyes. Once she has made your acquaintance, no insult can get rid of her. Her universal friendliness is seen by some as gossip mongering.
Current Character questions:
- What is the greatest influence on Lavinia’s life: Lavinia is old enough to remember the French invasion of Tobago and the way the colonists turned on each other for passage and favor with the french. She remembers dashing through the smokey fields as the her childhood home, Weathern, burnt against the night sky. She remembers absolute terror as her neighbors turned them over to the French to save their own plantation from burning. She knows her family’s high social standing is the only reason they were able to leave Tobago safely and with their wealth intact
- What is Lavinia’s current objective: The flight from Tobago has made her acutely aware of the fragility of the glittering world around them. Should Napoleon cross the channel or the rest of the colonies rebel, Lavinia knows wealthy commoners and lower nobility will be left to fend for themselves. She strives to enjoy as much of life as possible, but she knows she must secure her own cache of wealth and rise above her current station to be safe.
- What is Lavinia’s secret vice: Lavinia is high strung and still suffers nightmares about the fall of Tobago. To her own disgust, she often must drink wine to soothe her nerves. Her mother fears she will fall too far into drink and destroy her social standing.
- Who does Lavinia Admire: She greatly admires the queen and spends extravagant sums on exotic gifts to impress her. She also spends money modeling her clothing and herself after the queen. She takes up interest in the queen’s hobbies and donates generously to the queen’s charities.
- What is Lavinia’s biggest problem: Lavinia’s greatest problem is her stepson, James. The child himself was raised by governesses and spends most of the year at boarding school. When they encounter each other at Bradley house or Berry Pomeroy Castle , he is civil but aloof. The previous Marchioness was a pious bore who died in childbirth. Her family is ancient, but live in genteel poverty. They fear Lavinia is spending away James’ birthright. Their pleas to the Marquess go unacknowledged. While they are too noble to drag their names through the magistrate system, they are working to appeal directly to the queen to put Lavinia on an allowance.
List of 10 things for Lavinia to do:
- Regain Royal warrant for Lockier Garden
- Facilitate high noble matches from the Obsidian Court for Lockier graduates in the marriage market
- Entertaining everyone with funny stories from old Tobago
- Secure the queen’s attendance to her family’s annual ball and summer tea.
- Smoothing over any arguments between the ladies
- Occasionally bad mouthing Napoleón.
- Gathering secrets
- Flattering those around her
- Chatting about the latest popular art and fashion
- Avoiding questions about her stepson.
Relationships: No special relationships. Lavinia has seemingly shallow yet lively relationships with everyone.