"But people? Their hopes, their aspirations...
There I am the expert."
- Emma (2009)
There I am the expert."
- Emma (2009)
This weekend my family and I were on a short road trip, and the drive afforded me an opportunity to gather some names. You see, I have a terrible time coming up with surnames for random characters. And I've found that it is necessary to be able to do so for books like The White Sail's Shaking, as extremely minor characters who may or may not need to be named often pop up in one scene or another. Thus, I have started a notebook in which to collect names as I come across them. I found six or seven during this trip, and I thought it would be fun to take them and try to form an idea of what sort of person would have each name.
A teacher or a doctor. Middle-aged and stocky with thick sandy hair (baldness is a long way off) and perhaps sideburns; he has pale blue eyes and his eyesight not being the best in consequence, he wears strong glasses. His suit is usually grey and he sometimes carries a cane with an engraved silver head. He likes to jog and his shoes do not always match his suit; his passion, however, is the study of medicine - its history, development, and practical use. Although of a decidedly no-nonsense turn of character, he is not a bad sort and quite knowledgeable in his field.
Winslow is a man of about thirty, dark-haired and -eyed, always with a black suit, an impeccable cravat (his manservant is especially good at cravats), and a silver watch that doesn't work but which looks like an antique (don't ask if it is, and don't ask him the time). He comes from a rich family, but their wealth is a new development; his grandfather began to amass it and then his father's successful speculation increased the family's standing still more. Winslow has a head for business, but I daresay the speculation will ruin him.
A rough fellow with a strong accent (and a strong smell). Hugely blond, he keeps some of his hair and his beard plaited and on special occasions will grease the braids with some manner of fat. Rhyne falls into the category of "brawn," not brains; his life revolves around being paid and sitting in his favourite tavern until the wee hours of the morning. He works on docks and has all his life. I wouldn't get on his bad side (which is most of him), especially after his first few pints at the aforementioned tavern.
Miss Genevieve Awtrey. Miss Awtrey is a small young lady - mouse-like, in fact - but her brunette hair has definite red highlights and so does her character, once you get to know her. Her features are pale (except for her mouth, which is too small and red) and distinctly pointed; she has light freckles and very grey eyes. She is not very pretty at first glance, particularly because of her habit of wearing a shade of grey that makes her look washed-out, but she does have character. She rides well and enjoys hawking with the other ladies, but she also likes reading poetry and Shakespeare aloud, paints landscapes well, and can embroider passably. The piano forte, however, is her Achilles' heel. (Actually, this young lady will probably make her way into one of my stories at some point.)
Moreland is one of those dark, brooding hero-types - the Count-of-Monte-Cristo-vampire kind. Of course he has black hair and eyes and shows no emotion (except maybe when his eggs are done improperly), but contrary to his staffs' belief, this is not owing to any childhood tragedy; he's always been like that. I think he never got over the annoyance of being born. However, he consoles himself passably by spending his days hunting with his three dogs, in making plans for improvement to his house (which he never puts into action), and in importing wine from the Continent. Tough life, isn't it?