The Wider Family: the more notable, or notably eccentric, of the Duke's relations. The main character sheet is here.
The Wider Family
Right-hander to the Duke, cousin to Sher, uncle by marriage to Sher, distant cousin to Lord Mallerstang, Lady Crispin, Rupert, James, Hetty, and possibly Charles, OUCC Blue, MCC Member, and patriarch. "Nobby" if you were at Eton with him; "Tigger" if you were on the Eton or Oxford 1st XI with him. Ignore those who tell you his title is merely titular. Dual citizen.
The Family went to Pakistan with their adherents and the clothes on their backs. The nawabal treasury and privy purse had wisely gone off to Coutts Bank in London first. Except for some gemstones, which were stitched into the seams and linings of the clothes on their backs.
A great and good man, and a great prince. And knows it, a bit too well.
- Badass Boast: In his subtle way and can back it up."He'd been through His People like a dose of salts after Paris, and had been gratified to find that only one cousin of a cousin of a cousin by marriage was a gobby, if ineffective, idiot, and easily sorted. He'd told the little bugger that, if he'd a complaint, he was free to ring the wee sod's extended family back in Pakistan and speak politely to the ISI officer who'd be taking the call if he were fool enough to do so. The Nawab had then made certain a certain local imam, who was no radical but was too quick to extenuate and exculpate and explain and See Both Sides after the manner of a leader-writer in the bloody Grauniad, was sacked. HMG likely did not consider the man anything save a potential ally in soothing young fools out of radicalising, but the Nawab had his opinions, and the Nawab, who really might have been Charles Taunton's twin in many respects, considered that his opinion alone mattered."
- Big Fancy House: Has several, expressly to use as, in effect, prince's courts in which to settle His People's disputes and concerns, and leads what is specifically lampshaded as the peripatetic existence of a medieval monarch." their Northern base was, actually, to be Hordern Old Hall, near North Turton, in Blackburn with Darwen. [snip] As His People dwelt not in the North only, but also in the Midlands and the South few, conveniently, had gone to Scotland, Wales, or Norn the Nawab also possessed pieds-à-terre in handy spots: Boisbridge Court near Holme Pierrepont; Yardley Hall (that oasis amidst the Brummishness of Brum); and rather a nice house Osier House, on a 999-year peppercorn rent from the Taunton Estate in W4, Chiswick Mall."
- Blue Blood: Of the bluest. OUCC Blue.
- Brutal Honesty: Lies (and for that matter, tact and diplomacy) are for little people.
- Child of Two Worlds: Or more. He's a dual citizen of Pakistan and the UK with a Raj-era title from an estate now in India, born in Pakistan and raised in the UK, an Old Etonian and Oxford cricketing Blue who is called on to mediate between and aid in assimilation British Pakistanis of all backgrounds.... It's not always easy.
- The Clan: Is The Patriarch of one.
- Cool Uncle: To Sher.
- Deadpan Snarker: There's a reason he and the Duke are Heterosexual Life-Partners.
- Determinator: He will accomplish his ends. Come. What. May.
- Dispense with the Pleasantries: Unless more can be effected by silken menace, yes.
- The Dreaded / Horrifying the Horror: Radicals and terrorists fear him. ISI Pakistan's State Sec is wary of him." 'Pakistan are assured with reservations that I am their man in Britain; the FCO and Six, I suspect, regard me as Britain's charm offensive in Pakistan and amongst the British Pakistani community; and I regard them all as barking mad'; to which Charles had responded, with caustic aridity, 'Am I to pretend to any degree of surprise? Really, Nobby...'."
- Everyone Is Related (which is why the Mirzas are listed here): Played with and (with all these peers and princes) justified. Sher's mum is the descendant in a very long line of an illegitimate member of the family who are now the Marquesses of Breckland and Swaffham, which is fair enough. Not unreasonably, Lady Crispin's de Cliffordes have not infrequently married into the Duke's family and vice versa over the centuries; they are both certainly related through the (de) Clares, a great Norman house. The surprise is when Lord Mallerstang (Lady Crispin's elderly cousin, a de Clifforde) and the Nawab casually reveal that in the days of The Raj, a young ensign Clare made a runaway match with a daughter of the then Nawab, who converted to Anglicanism and married him, and ended up as Amelia, Lady Clare. (The young couple were hustled out of India and she was given out as having died
for everyone's safety). Sher is innocently shocked, and the Duke points out that everyone on earth has Mixed Ancestry, and both princes and peasants for ancestors.The Duke, to a shocked Sher: "'M' dear Sher. It's hardly the only instance of known historic descent in this family from Asia. Turks and Magyars and Armenians and Pechenegs and Cumans from the steppes.... Damn it all, Elizabeth the Cuman married the king of Hungary, didn't she and he was a Magyar with probable Hunnic descent, and his mother's parents were a Laskarid and a Comnena Angelina: bloody Greeks, probably defaulted on their loans like the current lot, you could never trust the Byzantines, least of all their jumped-up imperial dynasties, peasant Other Ranks seizin' the throne and their granddaughter Margaret married the first Valois was Philippa of Hainault's gran and thus great-grannie to all of Edward 3d's sons...."
- The Duke may in fact not actually be a descendant of hers, himself. As the Nawab privately tells Sher, "'Amelia Abida was a virtuous woman; but a grandson of hers, a Maitland, well: a rogue and worse.... Whether Charles' particular line of Clares crossed with that descended of Amelia Lady Clare is uncertain.'" And reminds him that Charles doesn't much care whose DNA he has; he's more interested in the ancestors who left lands and titles.
- Famed In-Story: Socially and as a matter of precedence; as a great cricketer; and, in whispers, for other and special reasons, as above.
- Good Is Not Dumb: He's a brilliant man. And a good one.
- Good Is Not Soft: Least of all in the head. He is a Reasonable Authority Figure. The emphasis being on authority.
- Guile Hero: Yes, and with very little compunction as to methods and Black and White Morality; occasionally at cross-purposes with the Duke, when they fail to coordinate."'I'm not a gentleman, Charles, I'm a Nawab! You're damned well not a gentlemen, you're a duke! We are as near to having, and acting on, reasons of state as damn it and don't give me any bollocks about peers and princes in a modern democracy, you've never let that stop you! What you seem to resent, Charles, is not being the only schemer engaged in scheming!'"
"'What I resent, Nobby, is something I've had cause to resent when dealin', appallin'ly enough because you, my lad, are British, and dual me no dual citizenships , what I resent is the sort of thing I dealt with, with the soddin' ISI. I don't mind other people's havin' their own damned ends and objectives and agendas and ops, man, I object when ostensible allies don't tell me of 'em, and cock 'em up, and leave me holdin' the baby!'"
- To which the Duke retorts,
- Happily Married: Subverted. He and the Begum are fond of each other, when they see each other, and would not be married to anyone else, but they're not a romance for the ages. And never mind Babies Make Everything Better they're childless (his infertility, not hers), which sets off a Succession Crisis through most of Evensong." there was a great affection between them, and too much history for there not to be love; but what might well be called the exigencies of the service did tend rather to mean that they saw one another rather rarely: something of which neither too much repined. HH the Begum was in any case the sort of woman generally described as 'Mrs Thatcher in shalwar kameez', indefatigably doing rather overbearing good works, and likely at any moment to turn up in Adel or Abbotabad, Islamabad or Islington, to open a school she'd run the appeal for or plate up hot meals for the poor or barrack and browbeat a council into Doing The Right Thing."
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Having been at Eton together, and up at Oxford together, and captain and vice-captain, respectively, of the Eton, OUCC Authentics, and OUCC Blues 1st XIs in their day the Duke and the Nawab. And remain Vitriolic Best Buds: Like an Old Married Couple, in fact.
- Impoverished Patrician: By his standards only.
- Kissing Cousins: His Begum is his third cousin (and sister to Sher's father, also a Mirza). This is not for the reasons the bigoted would assume, but for the same reasons as any British peer might do the same: keeping the property together once cousins are sufficiently distant in blood.
- Nephewism: Subverted. Sher and he have a splendid and honest relationship.
- No Badass to His Valet / No Hero to His Valet: Averted. Mr. Viney respects him when he has the chance to valet him, and Yeates thinks him a Great Man.
- Non-Idle Rich / Royals Who Actually Do Something: He must be a prince to His People."HH the Nawab regarded his duty as being quite simple: protecting His People, chivvying them into cohesion and integration in Britain and the British Way of Life (which, considered His Highness, was effectively summed up as 'Fear God, Honour the Queen, Obey the Law, support Oxford over the Bloody Tabs, and follow scrupulously the Laws and Spirit of Cricket in all things'. The Nawab tended to regard the MCC with much more respect than he did the ulama even of his own mazhab), and putting the hems to any young hotheads."
- Omniglot: Naturally, given his background.
- Papa Wolf: To all "His People," but especially to Sher.
- The Patriarch: And few forget it. Although his wife is not always impressed by him."'Oh, Alam [will] do what's suitable,' said the Begum; 'and your boy. It is my husband I worry about. The exterior is wholly unimpeachable, but, my dear! What Lies Beneath!'"
- Playing Both Sides: He's been accused of it, as seen above, but it's subverted as being a false suspicion."In fact, the Nawab's loyalties were quite simple: to HM as the Queen and as the Head of the Commonwealth, to the Laws and their preamble, the Spirit of Cricket, to Eton and Oxford well, to Christ Church, certainly, one couldn't feel any loyalty to those ponging unwashed twunts of Balliol and Wadham , to the Nawabal Family and to His People, and to Charles: who was after all a decorated former Int Corps major, if Cheltenham and Islamabad were spending sleepless nights worrying over the nawabal connexions and allegiances."
- Retired Badass: Has never held an official position. This doesn't matter a damn.
- Secret Test: He and Sher's dad give Sher a supremely snarky though serious one regarding Sher's sister's marriage plans, to teach him what it will be like when Sher is The Patriarch. How snarky? It starts by them calling him in and looking all Serious Business, and then The Nawab: "Oh, do relax, Nephew. You look as panicky as a pretty Kashmiri boy lost in a Kandahar bazaar.
Sher's dad Alam Mirza: "During a Lollywood musical number
The Nawab: in which a chorus of avid Pashtun bazaar-wallahs are singing, "Zakhmi Dil". [Beat.] Although, if anyone could teach you to swim, and give you reason to learn, Noel...."note
- Simple, yet Opulent: Subverted. He considers he must walk a fine line between being princely in the old style for their older adherents, and, well, not, for their younger. And recognizes, and wishes Alam and Sher to recognize, that"We are in the position in some ways of the Ruling House in this country: to preserve the influence which is what we have left to us in place of power, we must be stars. Slebs. But of a very special and elevated and respectable sort and order."
- Smart People Know Latin: He reminds the Duke that he also did very well in their Latin divs lessons, classes at Eton.
- Succession Crisis: With no obvious heir, there's a struggle between some SketchySuccessors, or those who wish to be. (Naturally, the Nawab picks Sher's father and Sher after him, instead.)
- Too Clever by Half: Very occasionally comes a cropper: as when he tried to flush out the Succession Crisis plotters and found they'd taken to slagging Sher off publicly, which was not the rope he'd meant to give them to hang themselves with. And there's this:"After all, thought the Nawab with a carefully suppressed smile, he'd not done so badly. Alam's succession and Sher's, in turn was assured; and the contumacious revealed: and routed. For all that Charles surely knew it and had permitted it, he had harnessed Charles to his purposes. [snip]
"After all, damn it all, thought the duke: highish sort of cost, in many ways, but they'd won through, by God. Oh, Nobby thought he'd managed the duke at least to some extent; but let him think so if he liked. [snip]
"And most people bless had thought and went on thinkin' it'd been his late brother of whom one wanted to be wary. Half-wits. Spin's fault had been always bein' artful only on his own behalf; but craft and sleight were like dyin' for your country: it was when it was for a good cause that it became dulce et decorum, damn it all.
"The duke, with no small degree of self-satisfaction, smiled, and turned to the Begum on his left to make polite conversation."
Imperious sister to Sher's father Alam; imperious aunt to Sher and his sisters. Leeds-born; daughter of Sher Iqbal Mirza; third cousin to her husband the Nawab; indefatigable relentless doer of good.
- Aloof Big Sister: To Alam. Subverted, multiply: she is in fact younger than her brother, but refuses to accept this in terms of who outranks whose sibling authority; and "aloof" in this case mostly consists of her being Far Too Grand. She means well and always has; she's overbearing all the same, and always was.
- Good Is Not Soft: In fact, when Doing Good, Goodness runs things like a commando operation.
- Grande Dame: Never mind the age qualifications, she's been one since the age of three. As her brother will tell you."Alam sighed. 'I assure you as her brother, she was masterful even when a pretty young girl.'
"'I believe you,' said the Nawab. He paused. 'And have forgiven you long since for not warning me.'"
- Iron Lady: Often described as "Mrs. T in shalwar qameez." By the Duke, who ought to know, as he worked for and adored Margaret Thatcher.
- Kissing Cousins: She and the Nawab are third cousins with a removal in there somewhere.
- MoralGuardian: Without really intending to be. It's fear of her (sometimes wrongly) presumed disapproval that at one point drives Sher, early on, to beg the Hon. Gwen to be his beard. (Turns out she's fine with Sher's sexuality.) And even now....Alam to Sher: "'If Noor and Sharmeen tell you they now go by "Nora" and "Charmian" or some damned thing with their friends, I don't wish to know, your mother'll know already, and your Aunt Begum must never know.'"
- Nephewism: Subverted. Ask Sher.
- Nobility Marries Money: Her cadet branch of the Mirzas, in Britain, had to go into commerce (not "trade"); and did so very successfully. Cue Arranged Marriage and some Altar Diplomacy.
- Non-Idle Rich / Royals Who Actually Do Something: Incessantly active.The Duke, refusing to speculate on whether she'll join them for a Friday to Monday at Wolfdown: "She could perfectly well be building, personally and trowel in hand, let alone opening, a school for the poor in Bradford or Batapur. Ferociously active woman, really, does good unsleepingly. And God knows she hardly bothers to inform Nobby of her plans."
- Oop North: Subverts every stereotype of Northerners as of British Pakistanis, let alone of Northern British Pakistanis: she is after all a Mirza. However
"Being possessed of a sardonic humour and a delicate sense of irony the equal of the duke's own, HH the Nawab had teasingly suggested to his Begum, upon their marriage, that they make their home in Blackamoor; and, after she had done with giving him a wigging (she was a lovely woman, but not much dowered with a sense of humour, sardonic or otherwise), had grinned and told her that their Northern base was, actually, to be Hordern Old Hall, near North Turton, in Blackburn with Darwen. (He maintained to this day that his Begum was if anything less amused at living in Lancashire at all, she being a Yorkshirewoman, than by his captious suggestion of Blackamoor.)"
Alam Mirza MBE:
Sher's father (and father to Ameena, Noor, and Charmian sorry, Sharmeen , of whom the first at least does go by "Amy"); Emily's husband; the Nawab's cousin, brother-in-law, and successor; and, poor sod, the Begum's brother. (There is a third sibling of whom we know only that he was at school at Leeds Grammar School. Alam went to BGS, Bradford Grammar School.) A Merchant Prince of a long line of them: but always a prince first, "Mirzas by rank as by name." Nowadays the CEO and COO of the social-housing trust the Duke created in the Woolfonts, and now living in Cliff Ambries, although sorry to leave Adel, Leeds (never mind the Grand Mosque, it was near to Headingley and the cricket), and initially dubious of a "hill-station life."
- The Clan: Surrounded by it. And has to be the junior patriarch, and indeed The Patriarch in waiting and patriarch of his own family. He is of the opinion he is just a figurehead, between his wife, his sister, and his brother-in-law:Emily: "'Dear, what are you doing?'"
Alam, having just told the Nawab and the Duke he was ''not'' moving to Wiltshire to help them out: "'Packing. I may as well begin now. Apparently, we are moving to Wiltshire. [snip] If the EDL could see me now, they would, I think, leave off speaking of what tyrants Muslim husbands and fathers are.'"
- Deadpan Snarker: With this family, it's a survival skill.
- Doting Parent: Even his kids know it, and they are the one group he wishes not to let on to.
- The Dutiful Son: Duty is his watchword, in all family and other relations and roles. The Nawab and the Duke are not above trading on that.
- Guile Hero: Will happily play the race card with ObstructiveBureaucrats to get the social housing built for retired Gurkhas.
- Happily Married: Played dead straight.
- Papa Wolf: Do not mess with his pack.
- The Patriarch: He certainly thinks otherwise. In fact, he suspects he's a Henpecked Husband. (He's not. Emily suspects he's just being dramatic. He is.)
- Poirot Speak: Subverted: he's thoroughly and natively British, and upper upper-middle class. All the same, when speaking with Sher or the Nawab, he occasionally uses Pakistani English, although, as they might be speaking in Urdu, that might be a Translation Convention.
- Unexpected Successor: Not the likeliest cousin to be chosen as the next Nawab.
- The Un-Favourite: Zigzagged. He, his brother, and Sher were all thought to be sufficiently UnexpectedSuccessors that they got good grammar schools and provincial universities, and the family Eton-and-Oxford bursary was saved up for the Nawab and then the son the Nawab never, in the event, had. In other regards, though, he doesn't fit the bill at all.
Mrs. Alam (Emily) Mirza:
Sher's mother. That in itself is enough for one lifetime. But there is of course more to her. Much more.
- Blue Blood / Famous Ancestor: Subverted, in that she didn't know it and now doesn't care. It turns out that the first Felton in Kirkstall had been sent off to there to become a wool merchant by his illegitimate father, Sir John Junius "Black Jack" Methwold, an Elizabethan courtier who reacted to his father's Calvinism by becoming a rake (and The Charmer: Elizabeth kept exiling and then recalling him). The Methwolds have since become the Marquesses of Breckland and Swaffham. Finding this out has not changed Emily's attitude a bit.
- Converting for Love: She did. She doesn't repine. But she does remember."Dr Timothy Campion was indeed playing Emily knew perfectly well her son had been consulted Bach: the prelude and fugue in E flat, BWV 552: the 'S Anne'; and Emily knew, from her childhood, that this meant that they should find themselves singing, in due course, 'O God, our help in ages past'. She remembered with sudden vividness her grandmother, at her grandfather's funeral....
"And here it was, as the Introit. Our hope in years to come...."
- Happily Married: Blissfully. Alam is a dear, most of the time, and when he's not, he's at least hilarious in mitigation.
- Mama Bear: And with an expansive idea of just who count as family.
- Only Sane Man: Well, someone in the family has to be, and it's not going to be the men.
- Stacy's Mom: There are reasons other than diplomacy that the Duke, meeting the Mirzas, pulled this stunt, as The Lads would agree:"'I thought you were bringing your wife oh; I do apologise, I mistook you, my dear Mrs Mirza, for a daughter, never can keep count of how many sisters Sher's meant to have'."
- Proper Lady: Very. With a wicked sense of fun.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: As her children, with a sidelong look at Dad, will attest.
Some Other Mirzas:
Aunt Noor, a Grande Dame of Decided Views and a sufficiently Cool Old Lady to be able to use social media to drop the hammer on younger cousins quarreling with Sher; Sher's sisters Ameena (BA (Hons) Accounting, Finance, and Management, York), Noor, and Sharmeen; Cousin Tariq (BA (Hons) Architecture, Newcastle)....
- All Girls Like Ponies: Noor and Sharmeen are excited to be moving to the countryside."Fields, bhai, and meadows, and a tennis court, large rooms, a garden, and a paddock for ponies, and plenty of space for dogs!"
- Big Brother Instinct: Sher has this in spades as regards his sisters."Ameena, the eldest of his sisters, was for once in a way also the most mature. In a sense: for Sher did want, first, to sit, at once amused, incredulous, and vaguely nauseated, through a good deal of starry eyes and soppiness as she babbled of Tariq, before she began to speak sensibly. (Sher could not yet reconcile her Tariq, grown to young manhood, with his cousinly memories of a spotty and rather exasperating youth.)"
- Dating What Daddy Hates: Averted. Alam (and the Nawab) will settle for Tariq, a newly-minted architect (whom the Duke inevitably goes about hiring):
- Good with Numbers: Ameena. The world's only attractive accountant?
- I Am Very British: Played with, with a touch of Cultural Cringe, by some of the younger Mirzas. Tariq and Ameena are known by their friends as Terry-and-Amy:"'Honestly, their friends know them as "Terry-and-Amy", mostly, and not only their gora friends. It's as well there was no way in which Ameena could manage to pick up, as a nickname, "Julie".'
"The Nawab grinned. 'Yes: Charles'd find a way to persuade Ray Davies to play the wedding.'
"Sher blinked. It took a moment for him to twig to the "Waterloo Sunset" reference: a delay his uncle was not slow to note."
- Justified in that they are assimilating rather with their age group than anything else; are reacting mostly to a sense of being too posh for their friends; and are signaling that the Nawab's program, of Showing The Flag And That We Aren't Radicals, is working.
- Love Makes You Dumb: Played with: this is Sher's view of Ameena's "soppiness" about Tariq, but that's mostly Big Brother Instinct and My Sister Is Off-Limits! on his part, which makes him see even normally giddy love as a case of Sickeningly Sweethearts. (Which, given his starry-eyed devotion to Noel....)
- Man of a Thousand Voices: Tariq, a mimic to rival The Breener.
Hugo Mallerstang and Swarthfell:
Cousin and successor to Lady Crispin's late father the Rt Hon. Rodger Alban Percival Thomas de Clifforde, Baron Mallerstang and Swarthfell. An elderly Royal Artillery officer, WWII vintage, who survived the Fall of Singapore and Japanese prisons; widower; lost both sons in action (Malaya and Korea); proud, independent, and utterly impoverished (until...).
Baron Mallerstang (1295; 1433); Baron Swarthfell of the second creation (1682); by special remainder and re-grant (1713; 1746), Baron Mallerstang and Swarthfell in the Peerage of Great Britain
b 27 October 1919, s & only surviving child (born posthumously) of Maj. (Bt. Lt.-Col.) Alban Ivo Perceval Hugh de Clifforde VC DSO, late Royal Artillery, & the Hon. Elizabeth Joan Margaret Isobel (née Vypont-Clare), dau. of the baron Garsdale
m 30 August 1938, at Garrison Memorial Church of S Martin and S Oswald Catterick, Amelia Gwendoline Olivia (née Taylour-Lowther-Wharton) (d. 1960), dau. of Col. the Hon. James Thomas Anthony Taylour-Lowther-Wharton RA, yr s. of the viscount Russendale
s cousin, 1974
Imperial Service College; RMA Woolwich
20th A-T Regt RA: France; 85th A-T Regt RA on its formation: Singapore; PW, Chang-I; PW, Burma Railway; post-war, 12th A-T Regt RA: Libya (Tripoli); Trieste; T/Lecturer, RMA Sandhurst 1951 1957; T/Lecturer, Staff College, Camberley 1957 1958
er s, Geoffrey Ivo Thomas Henry dsp; yr s, Richard Philip Rodger Alban dsp
Capt RPRA de Clifforde RA (29 Commando Regt RA, attached UNC(K), attached HQ 2d Infantry Division US) DSO MiD, b 1940, k 1968 Korean DMZ
cousin, Rupert Charles Edward Donald Fitzjames-Holles-Clare-Malet, Master of Dilton, b 1996 (both of Ld Mallerstangs sons having been killed in action dsp whilst serving as RA officers, Malayan Emergency / Confrontation & Korea post-Armistice respectively)
Regimental history; Fell-walking (in years well past)
Mallerstang Morville cum Swarthfell Vypont, Westmorland (Cumbria)
- Altar the Speed: The "extenuating circumstances" for his marrying at nineteen were simple enough. Namely, the probable outbreak of World War II.
- Berserk Button: People who call Westmorland (and Cumberland, such as it is) by that new-fangled name of "Cumbria." (He's a profound and profoundly ''traditional'' localist.)
- Big Fancy House: Lost to taxes several barons ago. Until the Duke gets it back for him.
- Blue Blood: Twenty-fifth baron. And one of the old Norman house of Clifford.
- The Clan: A fighting one at that.
- Cool Old Guy: May adhere to the Good Old Ways, but he's sharp as a pin and exceedingly cool.
- Cool Uncle: To everyone.
- Deadpan Snarker: Very occasionally. He's the nice one.
- Everyone Is Related: He is, and is the linchpin. To the Duke, to the Nawab, to Lady Crispin, and so on.
- Good with Numbers: Artillerists do deadly math(s).
- Groin Attack: Took a Japanese bayonet to the balls at Singapore.
- Heroic Lineage: See quote, above.
- Humble Hero: Very. Think Nothing of It. All a Part of the Job.
- Impoverished Patrician: Literally, and too proud to accept help for himself. Once it became clear that Rupert would succeed him, though, he did ask the Duke's aid, got it, and has his property back.
- Mixed Ancestry: Well back, but he's the current senior link between Lady Crispin's (and possibly the Duke's) family and the Nawab's.
- Nerves of Steel / The Spock: Beneath the tweeds and the charm. It's something of a prerequisite for a Gunner, who does math(s) in his head to kill people downrange with. When they're firing back. It's certainly a prerequisite for a Gunner officer who picks up an MC, two DSOs, and a Mention in Despatches and survives being a Japanese POW on the Burma Railway.
- Oop North: The aristocratic version.
- Stiff Upper Lip: A Stoic after the manner of Seneca or Marcus Aurelius, with quiet style and always courteous, these being the pleasantries with which he will not dispense.
- Succession Crisis: Until the Hon. Arabella, Lady Crispin's cousin the wildlife biologist, died in Canada, the title was headed for abeyance or dormancy. Now, Rupert is his clear successor.
- Wartime Wedding: Type One.
Some Other Contemporary Ducal Connexions:
Including Rory Badenoch, Robin Maynooth, and Flora, Dowager of Freuchie.
"'Whiskey,' said the duke, crisply."
- Appeal to Tradition: You'll get Rory with that every time. He's a man who is "temperamentally Calvinist in the sternest manner," but remains a Scottish Episcopalian "as the descendant of firm Jacobites for political and sentimental reasons."
- The Brigadier: Robin Maynooth. Literally and figuratively.
- Cool Old Lady: Lady Agatha (see below). Still more, Flora Freuchie, with her long memory of days now dead.
- Deadpan Snarker: The Dowager Countess of Freuchie. She quite agreed with Lady Crispin that Rupert ought not to have called her out for her sulks on the eve of Crispin's funeral:"''He oughtn't to have done anything of the sort. What he ought to have done what I should have done was to have boxed your ears.'"
- Family Honor: Rory has a very Highland-aristocratic sense of it.
- Fiery Redhead / Redheads Are Uncool: Averted: Robin's very cool, in both senses. Which explains the Military Cross and the Mention in Despatches.
- Good Old Ways: The elder members of the Family are stuck in them. Rory brings his personal piper to Crispin's funeral. Lady Agatha
brings Welsh mutton for Cook and twenty menservants. Ones chosen for a specific talent.The Duke, to an appalled Lady Crispin: "'It's abundantly obvious what she's playing at, Connie. Good God, woman, think. Twenty menservants of hers from Plas Buallt? That's not a suite, that's her personal Welsh male voice choir for the funeral.'"
"The anthem was 'Cwm Rhondda', Cousin Agatha's men and the combined choirs, English verse answering Welsh: Guide me, O thou great Redeemer.... Death of death, and Hell's destruction Dwg fi drwy y tonnau geirwon...."
- And in fact, they do fill just that role at the funeral:
- In-Series Nickname: The Marquess of Badenoch is "Rory" to his intimates; Maynooth is "Robin," and indeed (using part of his Gatling-barreled surname) "Robin Adair."
- Man in a Kilt: Rory, naturally, turns out for Crispin's funeral in formal mourning attire. Formal Highland mourning attire."Rory Badenoch, of course, was in full Highland fig, with Charles noted with a suppressed rolling of eyes at once exasperated and admiring a marvellous set of braided epaulettes on his Braemar jacket (God knew who'd run it up for him: some antiquarian tailor in Inverness or Elgin, no doubt) actually braided in black and silver mourning lace."
- Rank Up: Inverted. Rory is the Marquess of Badenoch. The marquessate is what the dukedom reverted to a few generations back. He's still not reconciled to the fact. (It's not personal.)
- Red Is Heroic: Robin Maynooth is a vulpine, ginger, sardonic Anglo-Irish peer with an Irish title. He is also Brigadier the Earl of Maynooth KCB CVO OBE MC MiD, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe: NATO HQ.
- Simple, yet Opulent: The old gentlemen tend to the understated bespoke, and tweeds.
Lady Agatha Prothero-Fane ("Cousin Agatha"):
Short, stout, formidable daughter of an admiral; niece of a bishop. Elderly, tough, and indomitable. Lives, by choice, in "the wilds beyond Builth Wells," largely to keep an eye on the Royal Welsh Show; she intends before she dies to win in the same year, for once its Supreme Champion Bull, Welsh Cob Senior Stallion, and Poultry prizes. Irregularly emerges without invitation to Do Good by plaguing her numerous relations and Dispensing Wisdom. Resembles an animated, aristocratic jumble stall held together by diamond brooches; from long years in the hunting field, can be heard three counties away in full cry.
- Cool Old Lady: So she is. And as a Military Brat, had much opportunity when young to rack up the coolness points for later use, in all sorts of faraway post-imperial places.
- The Dreaded: Comedic version in Lady Agatha: her relatives mostly dread her visits and Good Advice (the Duke, Rupert, Jamie, and Hetty look forward to them), the servants snap to when she drops by, and the railwaymen on Aviva and First Great Western, hearing she's booked a ticket from her lair in "the wilds of Wye beyond Builth Wells," mutter about striking.
- Good Old Ways: As noted in preceding folder. Brought her own Welsh male voice choir with her to Crispin's funeral. In a motor-coach."'And as for the motor-coach,' said the irrepressible Robin, slyly, 'what's death to yourself is sport to Arriva and first Great Western. The railwaymen should have gone on strike at last, as they threaten whenever Agatha boards a train, and her bringing twenty singing-men.'"
Lady Agatha: "I suppose this must be the first time a motor-coach has ever been at Wolfdown. I know Charles don't flog the place to trippers, as so many do. I do hope it didn't startle you, Connie.
Lady Crispin, coolly: "Oh, no. I knew it must be yours when I heard however tightly shut the windows twenty Welshmen singing "Gwahoddiad" as you arrived. [Beat.] Although it might, I suppose, have been a lost rugger side."
- The Grand Hunt: Never saw a fence Gone Away! sorry, where we? Ah: never saw a fence she couldn't face. Thinks more highly of horses, hounds, and, for that matter, foxes, than of most people she knows.
- In-Series Nickname: Lady Agatha "Cousin Agatha" to the Duke and "Aunt" to far too many is well aware that her father the Admiral was always known as "Pro-Fane" at the Admiralty, and her uncle the bishop was the subject of innumerable clerical puns based on the tag, procul este profani.note
- Maiden Aunt: Agatha. To everyone who can't get away in time."Robin Maynooth had of course been dead right that Rory should not avoid the good counsel and robust presence of Cousin Agatha, in the end: Lady Agatha Prothero-Fane was seated, as in the seat of judgement, in a thoroughly comfortable chair near the windows, and was clearly prepared with biscuits and a teapot on the table at her elbow, and her knitting bag at her feet (although Charles wished the best of British luck to her getting to her wool, as a Clumber was sleeping on the bag with an evident intention to move not at all for any consideration whatever) to stand a siege."
- No Indoor Voice: She tries to be good, but.... She's a huntin' woman, her voice carries across a crowded field.
- Secret Test of Character: The Chinese Room at Wolfdown House is one. It has Imperial yellow wallpaper and, yes, Canon Potecary has made the obvious joke , Chinese Chippendale furniture, and very lifelike and life-sized porcelain figurines of impassive robed Chinese all over the place. Some people can't sleep in it (Edmond for one); some can (Noel did, and all it did was to remind him to add a prayer for the Church in China to the next service). And then there's Lady Agatha:"Cousin Agatha actually thought it quaint and charming, and preferred it. (Her father the Admiral had, not unrelatedly, held several China Station commands before going on to commands in the North America and West Indies Station.)"
- Simple, yet Opulent: The old gentlemen tend to the understated bespoke, and tweeds. Short, stout, robust Lady Agatha, on the other hand, subverts this as much as she does Modest Royalty and the Ermine Cape Effect:" looking as much as ever like a walking jumble stall of aristocratic cast-offs."
Christopher, Duke of Trowbridge and Warminster ("Cousin Kit;" "Kitbag"):
That Most High, Noble, and Potent Prince, the Right Honourable His Grace Christopher Denzil Percival Claude Malet-Fitzcharles-Scudamore-Vaux, Duke of Trowbridge and Warminster. Cousin over and over again to Lady Crispin and to Charles, Duke of Taunton, both. Lives two parishes away, nearer to Salisbury. Widower of his late duchess (born Lady Arabella Pelham-Rivers); now in a same-sex civil partnership with the marquess of Breckland. Old Etonian; was up at the House; played cricket for Oxford UCC. Even-tempered, mild-mannered, blond, older than he looks, handsome, and somewhat ineffective. Hearty-but-thick. Has one son by his marriage, his heir Peregrine, Lord Corsham. Descendant of Charles II through one of his many bastard sons.
- Bi the Way: Having Experimented in College, he married (as expected) and begot an heir (as required). And after that heir came out, Kit being by then a widower, explored that side of himself anew.
- Good-Looking Privates: He looks damned good in a Deputy (Lord) Lieutenant's uniform.At Noel's installation as Rector: " Kit Trowbridge, that commonly-tweedy, vague, mild, amiable-seeming (seeming) double duke who was a (just) slightly taller and more ash-blond iteration of Charles Taunton, clean-shaven, all pink and white, and who was now resentfully immured with the other D Ls on parade, in another pew."
At Noel's installation as Rector: "The dukes of Taunton, of Trowbridge, and of Somerset, as Deputy Lieutenants, supported the Vice-Lieutenant admirably: Kit and Somerset in full fig with all their gongs up and Charles, who, in a classic instance of reverse snobbery, justified by his being the presenting patron, was in light summer tweeds and an OE tie (there were moments when Kit, feeling a complete wally as he stewed in uniform, could cheerfully have throttled his cousin)."
- Although not mad keen on it.
- Good Parents: He has a good relationship with his son, who turned out well.
- Happily Married: Twice.
- Introduction by Hookup: See Older Than They Look, below.
- Lovable Jock: Crickety-cricket version. Well, it is the original Game of Nerds....
- Nice Guy: He really is. Dim (at least in the shadow of his cousin the Duke of Taunton), but nice, in a superannuated-public-school-prefect sort of way.
- Nobody Over 50 Is Gay: Averts this. Although, subversively, he's older than he looks.
- Older Than They Look: One of his former hookups explicitly and bitterly lampshades this.
- The hookup was long prior to Kit's getting together with his civil partner, and the other party's entering into a Chastity Couple relationship. And the other party was imperceptibly to everyone else black-out drunk, having fallen off the wagon (for the last time). Yep. Sher and Kit pulled one another at Bristol Pride some years before the series begins.
- Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense: Averted. "Cricket and a little light estate management" are what James concedes Kit does do.
- Royal Bastard: By descent.
- Straight Gay: Well, straight bi.
- Upper-Class Twit: Accused of this, not altogether fairly, by some of the Family; subverted in that their measure of comparison is the exhaustingly busy and annoyingly clever Duke of Taunton.
Peregrine Valentine Charles Denzil Malet-Fitzcharles-Scudamore-Vaux, courtesy Marquess of Corsham ("Pez;" "Corsham"):
Annoyingly good-looking young man, son and heir to Kit Trowbridge, fair- and floppy-haired. Another Old Etonian, another product of the House, another cricketer. Wasted no time after university in contracting a civil partnership with Lord Dereham, before their fathers ever did the same. Can be surprisingly formidable.
- Academic Athlete: Quite clever and a noted cricketer.
- Deadpan Snarker: On occasion.Sir Ben Salmon: "Do you know, both dear Edmond, and that horrid woman in Beechbourne canon me no canons, my dear Noel , actually severally and without coordination asked young Peregrine and dear Jules why they had not converted their civil union to a marriage under the Act? [snip] They were both treated with the greatest politeness: poor things. Told in so many words that that was all very well for persons who were not persons of title, but it was right out for peers and the heirs of peers, and one must think of the property, after all, and not make a confusion in the muniments."
- Happily Married: Already.
- Nice Guy: A thoroughly decent chap.
- Manly Gay / Straight Gay: An avatar of the tropes.
- Royal Bastard: By descent. The Stuart monarchs really got around.
- Upper-Class Twit: Averted. Although James thinks him one, a bit.
James Junius Albert George Methwold, Marquess of Breckland and Swaffham ("Jaggers; "Jazz;" "Swaffles"):
Sleek, dark-haired, dishy, insinuating, snarky, and dangerously clever. Rather tired of being surrounded by the cricket-mad. Was married to Fenella Denver de Ros, by whom he had three children: his heir Lord Dereham, a second son, and a daughter. His heir apparent is in a civil partnership with Lord Corsham. Thoroughly decent chap; is now in a civil partnership with Kit Trowbridge. Cousin many times over to Charles, Duke of Taunton, to Lady Crispin, to Kit Trowbridge, and, for that matter, to Sher Mirza's English mother. Succeeded his appallingly long-lived grandfather, his father having died in the interim, although he never took on his father's courtesy title.
- Badass Gay: Go ahead. Try threatening him. See Gentleman Snarker, below.
- Bi the Way: A classic example.
- Gentleman Snarker: Can go several rounds with the Duke of Taunton. And The Men in Black, when they try indirect pressure on the Duke of Taunton:"'I wish to have this person, going by the name of Smythe, charged, for whatever we now call what used to be compounding a felony I believe it's now in the Criminal Law Act 1967, as amended? And, given the nature of this indirect attack on Charles at the behest of party politicians, under the Representation of the People Acts, one way or another: it's corrupt as buggery.'
"Not for nothing was Jazz a JP, and a DL in his County."
- In-Series Nickname: Has his share.
- Non-Action Guy: The Only Sane Man (well, with his son) amidst the cricket-mad, and more The Strategist than anything else.
- Royal Bastard: By descent."The Methwolds had been an East Anglian family time out of mind, whose rise had begun under the Tudors and particularly under the first Elizabeth; but they had prospered the more under the House of Hanover, and snapped up a few daughters and granddaughters of the Germans' by-blows (and what mun or influence these had) with obscene alacrity...."
- Tall, Dark, and Handsome: Very.
- Tall, Dark, and Snarky: Even more so.
John Julian Simon Methwold, courtesy Earl of Dereham ("Jules;" "Dereham;" "Fenton"):
Son and heir apparent to Lord Breckland; civil partner to Peregrine Corsham. Was known by courtesy as "Lord Fenton" (by Royal Warrant) after his grandfather died and he became heir to the heir; now that his father has succeeded, is Lord Dereham. Tall, Dark, and Snarky, though sparing of words. Not really as mad about cricket as the rest of the family, but patient with them all the same. His conventional, Nice But Dim brother George Augustus James is his heir presumptive and, let's face it, almost the heir apparent to Jules and their father, under the circumstances.
- In-Series Nickname: "Jules."
- Non-Action Guy: Languid and sleek and preferring the indirect approach. And, with his father, the Only Sane Man (well, with his son) amidst the cricket-mad.
- Pretty Boy: Dishy, dishy, dishy.
- Royal Bastard: By descent.
- Shout-Out: John Julian, Lord [East Anglian place-name title]? In a novel written by an historian? Sounds suspiciously like an affectionate allusion to the Real Life (straight, now elderly) historian John Julius (2d Viscount) Norwich, Duff Cooper's son and successor.
- Straight Gay: Yep. (Too much of a languid Non-Action Guy to quite be Manly Gay. He's not hearty and sporty in the way Peregrine is.)
- Tall, Dark, and Handsome: Like his dad.
- Tall, Dark, and Snarky: Like his dad on turbo.
The first Duke, James Edward Charles Henry:
Bastard son of James II & VII. A fairly mild man unless crossed.
- The Ditherer: Was an Emphatic Fence Sitter during the Glorious Revolution.
- Impoverished Patrician: Born during his father's and uncle's Cromwellian exile. After the Restoration, though, ceased to be impoverished; and was minted come his dad's succeeding to the Throne.
- Meaningful Name: His forenames are an instance of Stuart Family Theme Naming. His title had major political overtones, he being created a duke, and of Taunton, during Monmouth's Rebellion Monmouth declaring himself king at (wait for it) Taunton.
- Nepotism: Sort of the norm for Royal bastards. And literal in that the earldom was created for him by his uncle Charles II.
- Royal Bastard: Of the first water and the first generation.
The second Duke, Henry "The Trimmer":
Grandson of the first Duke, who turned his coat and betrayed every cause he ever took up, simply for the fun of it.
- ... evil old bastard, Henry, even in his senescence....
- Archnemesis Dad: To his heir. Out of sheer spite.
- Bastard Understudy: There's a persistent rumor In-Universe credible in that, in Real Life, James II tended to promise marriage to women to seduce them when single, which the narrative lampshades that there exist, somewhere, Protestant marriage lines between Frances Malet and the future King. The Trimmer was well aware of it, and pointedly hinted at it (with Plausible Deniability turned Up to Eleven) when it was worth doing so.
- The Hanoverians were always suspicious of later dukes, partly for this reason. The current Duke is on his own admission too good an historian to destroy the document if he ever found it, but would argue to the bitter end that it means nothing now.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: For fun and profit.
- Manipulative Bastard: A chronic Schemer, even to his own family.
- Man of Wealth and Taste: For all his faults, he did hire Wrennote and Archernote to do some work about the house.... He was Wicked Cultured.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Always referred to as "the Trimmer."
- Opportunistic Bastard: Although he'll be a bastard for fun if nothing else.
- Playing Both Sides: His idea of fun. Particularly during Jacobite panics.
- Royal Bastard: By descent. Bastard Bastard by nature.
The Thirdnote Duke:
Floruit 1749 / 1750. A proud and bitter man who all the same did his duty and gave to charity, perhaps for the wrong reasons. Apparently not the most amiable of husbands.
- As for the duke of the day, he'd found himself a patron and a subscriber [to Captain Coram's London Foundling Hospital] from altogether other motives.
- Awful Wedded Life: He and the Duchess seem to have had problems."The then duchess of Taunton had subscribed out of simple warm-heartedness and a sense of Christian duty; yet it was possible to suspect it had been, perhaps unconsciously, a deliberate contrast, as warm-heartedness and Christian duty were a standing reproach, to the then duke's behaviour and attitudes."
- Not in This for Your Revolution / Pet the Dog: The Duke's motives for also supporting the Foundling Hospital were not fluffy, and he petted the dog subversively."As for the duke of the day, he'd found himself a patron and a subscriber from altogether other motives. A clergyman of the time had thundered not alone against the very concept of a foundling hospital, declaiming in the tones of Stentor that it was a reward to vice and sin. Indeed, he went further than some of his fellows, taking as his text that 'bastard slips shall not take root' and declaring that every bastard child was the incarnated emblem of wickedness, and destined, as the sign and symbol and punishment of vice, for damnation. His then Grace, being His Grace in merit of his descent from a Royal, Stuart bastard, had not been amused. [snip] And, in high dudgeon and from motives of pride and anger, he had become a patron and subscriber of a foundling hospital dedicated to the poorest outcasts of society's lowest classes."
The "last Georgian Duke" (either the fifth or sixth):
Advocate of Catholic Emancipation and justice for Ireland, given to Very Plain Speaking in the House of Lords. Which is why Calverstown House, in Ireland, is still standing (although now belonging to Robin Maynooth), and the Irish rather like him.
- '''My Lords, would you continue this denial? We embrace the Turk, for reasons of State; in the days of Elizabeth we struck hands with Morocco and the Barbary States to oppose the might of Spain; we have served our interests abroad and through the Company in India with no care for the Christian religion, and less for the Anglican Settlement; yet when it comes to the Roman communion, and indeed to Nonconformity, we act as if we be the Turks themselves! My Lords, I care not that a noble lord be in possession even of a bishopric, I advert him to the Gospel of John, the Thirteenth Chapter, the five-and-thirtieth verse. Here, then ' whereat His Grace had cast down some nails and thirty silver coins upon the floor of the Chamber 'take your wages of sin: crucify anew the Saviour and sell him as you list!'"
- Defector from Decadence: Subverted. He remained a champion of his causes as an Internal Reformist.
- Defiant Stone Throw: In the House of Lords, mind you. No one not a duke would have got by with that one.
- Famed In-Story: Certainly in Ireland.Of the quote above: "One could look it out in Hansard; but one needn't, as it was quoted in carven stone in the town's memorial and in letters of brass in the nearest RC church."
- Internal Reformist: He could do more as a Duke than as a demagogue. And did.
- Loser Friend Puzzles Outsiders: Subverted. He was kept out of government despite being liked and qualified, because he was politically outrageous, even in the view of his allies. Values Dissonance being what it is, the outrageousness was that he was Brutally Honest and, as we now know, right.
The seventh Duke, Denzil Frederick Gerald Thomas:
As Lord Templecombe, served briefly as Acting Governor of Malta.
The eighth Duke, Gilbert Edmund Charles Robert Alan:
A Victorian who despised Victorian mores and the cult of respectability.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: Averted. He's on the side of the poor, the working class, and the drinking class, respectable or not, at least as regards jumped-up Nouveau Riche sorts and meddling policemen and schoolmasters."'There's nothing to choose between the lot of you as to class, God damn you and Betty Rideout's quite as good as your daughter any day, and her father's a damned sight better than you, and more worth to the community, and his father was the best thatcher in the three parishes, by God, and more worth than twenty toadyin', crawlin' schoolmasters, and more use to his neighbours!'"
- Deadpan Snarker: His run-in (incognito) with the very Victorian, social-climbing village schoolmaster, John Nichols sorry, John Grimshaw Nichols has to be read
and relished."'My family, Nichols, and I have a family, as I doubt you have any ancestry filius nullius, filius terrae , my family have, I admit, known revolution and regicide, but not as the revolutionaries or the regicides."
and,As to Nichols' daughter, who was putting on airs and patronizing the village children: "''Then both as ushernote and as legally father to the creature, whoever got her in fact, you've failed to correct her, by God!"
- Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Damn your impertinent middle-class mores! I'm the Duke of Taunton, and these are m' tenants!"'You're sacked, you creepin', crawlin' toady. I shall make it my interest to warn any school to which you apply agin you; and if you ever set foot on any of my lands again, you'll be lucky to keep a whole hide, and count yourself blest I don't shoot you.'"
The ninth Duke, James Charles Valentine Donald Gerald:
Died young and unmarried, and newly succeeded to the dukedom, at the Somme. The titles went into abeyance until the tenth duke, descended of a second son who became a bishop, succeeded in the 1970s. The ninth duke might not, the present duke suspects, have left an heir anyway....
- "'... I suspect the ninth duke'd as well have been painted by Tuke. Gay as Peregrine at Christmas, I strongly suspect.'"
- Ambiguously Gay: Scots verdict: Not Proven, for all the current Duke suspects. If he was gay, he was Straight Gay.
- Bury Your Gays: Averted. His presumed or guessed at sexuality was wholly irrelevant to his dying, or the manner of it. The Great War being the Great War, and all.
- Cavalry Officer: Unfortunately for his longevity.
- Officer and a Gentleman: Of course.
- Pretty Boy: And always shall be, having died young at the Somme.
- Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Averted. Death in the Great War was indiscriminate and mass.
- War Memorial: Is on it. Deliberately by name only, without rank or title.
- Has a private memorial at Wolfdown in accordance with his wishes if he were (as he was) killed in action, so that his headstone could serve as one for his cavalry mount as well.