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Character Sheet Player ProfileName: JennyEmail: firstname.lastname@example.orgAge: 33 this yearHow you found us: RPG directory way waaay in the past. Took me awhile to find the game again and was pleased it was still running. I eventually found the link on a very old advert on my current rp.What is your background and experience in roleplaying: I have a a few years of experience in rp but that was awhile ago, so I am rusty and am prepared to learn!. I have only ever written in historical rps - some with a small flair of fantasy but I prefer a 'real'-ish era with a bit of fudging for fun. What themes do you wish to explore in our game: I like to roll with any theme or topics that my character would encounter. I enjoy capers, mystery, court intrigue, banter, the human condition, exploring the gendered world, romance, comedy, even tragedy. What makes you excited to do in our game: I adore the era (although I'm not expert), the game system looks fair and fun, and this RPG must have some magic for going on as long as it has!What are you NOT looking for in our game: I don't have an answer for this question other than extreme violence. Character Profile Character Name: Victorine Folle Title: Victorine Folle, Baroness BallaterEstate Name: Ballater Nationality: Born in Calais France, English mother.Age: 25Gender: FemaleEye Colour: Gray, flecked with amberHair Colour: Apricot-blondeAvatar: Anne Brochet The First Impression & Physical Appearance While not a hag, Victorine was neither a beauty. Of middling height, Victorine was curvaceous; wide-breasted, deep-hipped and narrow in-between. Her face was one of character, rather than loveliness. When displeased, her wide forehead creased like a folded paper from the tip of her hairline to the bridge of her nose. Thick tawny brows were set above very pale eyes; her late husband had declared them rheumy blue, but she fancied they were more closely shaded to grey. Her nose was longer than was fashionable and straight, her lips full and nearly always smiling and a determined chin. There was - at least - one feature that would set her apart from the crowd: the colour of her hair. It was a bright, unfashionable and an unusual colour - a gift from her maternal line; close to the flesh of an apricot. It arranged itself into tight thick coils, and to her despair resisted even the most artful styling. So Victorine adopted a practical solution of small fastenings arranged to capture her mass of curls into some sort of shape at the back of her head. While small, these clasps were highly embellished - being of gold and studded with almondine, pearls or small sapphires but their style was so old-fashioned that they could surely only be a family heirloom and not a lover's gift. Victorine felt her dress was perhaps just as conspicuous as her hair. With such light colouring, she was rendered sallow by her favourite colours: honey yellows, light shades of rose, and every shade of green. From the darkest emerald to her most beloved eau-de-nil, she was rendered dowdy or even sick looking. Thankfully, along with Ballater she had inherited a few gowns from her grandmother: one was ivory-coloured with embellishments, another was a severe black and one dress of midnight blue. While beautiful, they were dated: their necklines were rounded, some worn with a high necked chemise and one even had the cartwheel ruff. At least, she knew to get rid of that. PersonalityA romantic at heart, an inveterate sensualist and good-natured; Victorine earned the pet name 'Douce' from an early age. Yet, underneath her easy nature was the capacity to feel large and vibrant feelings, and there was also a small germ of a cunning instinct. As a child, her mother and father were her idols. Her lady mother Mary Ballater was captivating, always perfumed, garbed in rich cloth, and expertly coiffed, and she saw how her Father la Folle sought out her approval and how his eyes lit up when she deigned him a smile. Her mother's French always sounded like she was singing, like many Anglais who pick up the French tongue. Her Breton was very poor, however. For her own part, she recalls that her Father was equally loving of her as a child, and his easy humour and bellowing gruff laugh was rendered touching by memory. However, like a river stone she had been refined and polished by the currents of her life, and not by the ministrations of a dedicated tutor. The biggest ripple being the day her mother sailed to England without her. Victorine was inconsolable for days. It was her first real heartache, and she could not find any understanding of her mother's departure other than it was her fault. Somewhere in her small inner reaches, Victorine believed her mother left without her because her grandparents did not believe her worthy. And perhaps it was an act of self-reproof to appear to have little interest in improving her fashion. In her mother's absence, Victorine was required to play house. She learned to ape at being the great lady of their Calais residence, and it was not simply a titular title: la Folle entertained most evenings. Perhaps she thought that if she was to do well, her mother would return. And long after she had given up that foolish hope, it was her way to honour the memory of her mother. Her education - one expected of a young lady from wealth and good breeding - was cut short. Upending her life in such a manner drove her pleasures and embarrassments inwards. Her artistic flair with needlepoint was used to mend her Father's shirts, her palette for wine and food became a toast to her Father's refinement and her ease of foreign language became mere courtesy towards her father's guests. Had she had a tutor, her reading impediment would have been readily picked up. While Victorine enjoyed novels, she could only ever have them read to her. Words and numbers blurred and re-arranged themselves under her regards. As a result, Victorine reads very poorly and usually with a finger to capture her focus. Out of embarrassment, Victorine would seldom author a letter nor dare to read one in company. Fortunately, it did not affect her skill at cards, as she used the pictures to inform her. As the years passed as hostess of la Folle household, she found ways to bring beauty into her life: the richness and delicacies of food and wine, flowers, music, and flirtations. Wealth level: Above Average (taken as benefit) Housing: Red Lion Inn Challenges -1, Foreigner (French citizen, has accent - but also has an English mother, so have reduced to -1?) -1, Catholic & Secret (Jansenist in opinion) -1, Unfashionable -1, Disreputable family Benefits +2, Baroness suo jure +2, Above average wealth Origin/Background Victorine knew very little about her grandmother's title. She knew the first baron was French, and built the manor like a skeleton around its beating heart: the Ballater holy well. She also knew that the barony was created by writ in the 14th century, and that it was passed down heir to heir until it fell in the lap of her grandmother, Margaret Ballater. Margaret married John Tottle, who took up the name Ballater so it could be revived. The couple had three children; twin sons and a daughter: John, Charles and Mary. Though a love match, Victorine understood that John and Margaret were not quite as devoted to their children as they were to one another. Moreover, the little attention they had for their children went to John and Charles - leaving very little for her mother Mary. She was never quite sure how her parents met. But she knew they had eloped, and that she was born in Calais in the winter of 1653. From what Victorine knew of this venture, her mother had already been pregnant before she left England. Victorine supposed the normal considerations due to a gentleman's daughter could not be met: no dowry, no monies from her family and no guarantee she wouldn't be required to work to earn her living. Even worse, the divide in class was never bridged between the two parents and it was used by her mother to stand apart, distinct from her Husband's family, les Folles. But perhaps that was more a jab directed towards their dubious business dealings. Jean-Jacques Folle "Jack la Folle" was the eldest son of a merchant family hailing from Is in Bretagne. They were originally 'Kerfol' but changed their name when they settled in Calais, a little joke Victorine supposed. Their business as Victorine later understood was to bring Breton made goods such as linen, salt, wine, hemp etc, to Calais warehouses to avoid excise, and then later to avoid customs. And as the family tree richer the moved oranges and Spanish silver. Jack was charged with raising their family fortunes; and their hopes were not in vain as he became an excise man himself, a man on the inside if you will. But like many local officials, he had many alternative sources of coin. Victorine witnessed that her mother cared very little for the source of their money, and had an expectation of great comforts and luxuries. Perhaps that was the greatest divide between mother and daughter: Mary grew up expecting comforts whereas Victorine grew up counting them. Victorine remembers that her mother was often given numerous beautiful gifts from her Father: pendants from pearl, gold, diamonds, enamel, rubies.... The hippocampe was the Ballater charge, and Victorine recalled that her mother nearly always wore a gold seahorse pendant at her bosom. It had some sort of heady perfume at its head, a woody and spicy scent that became the one she associated with her mother along with bergamot orange. While her Father was the more tender towards her of her two parents, her Mother was kind. And while her heart was broken when her mother left, she was not without women to sit in as surrogate friend or mother to her. Her grandmaman was her closest confidante; and one of her favourite memories was when they stole from their beds a few hours before dawn to pick bare the blackberry trees grown at a nearby farm. They plucked les mures fruits and stuffed themselves until their fingertips, mouths and the front of their aprons turned red. They came home laughing, and smelling of confiture. Her grandmaman had the vim of a much younger woman, and had a distinct love of wine. They would sample from the bottles and vats and boast to each other of the flavours they could taste until their heads hummed. Her mother's maid, seamstress and later an unlicensed tapestry maker, Bertrade, taught her everything she knee about needlework, including picking the best fibres and fabrics for a piece of work. And it was her Father's sister, her godmother and namesake Marie-Victorine who encouraged her in doctrinal matters and later her uncle by marriage Apolino, an Spanish merchant who encouraged her to address him correctly in his own language. Victorine distinctly remembers the day it happened. She was eleven, and was on her way to the kitchen as she did each morning when the old bread was being toasted, and the new bread cooked in their roaring oven. She walked past the drawing room, the door slightly ajar. Her mother and father embraced, fervently, him enfolding her to him and she pressing her lips against his. It was a happy day. Halcyon. The eye of the storm. When Victorine returned from licking the ladles used for confitures and other preserves, her mother had gone. All of her affairs, all of her wonderful jewellery and gowns, gone. There was nothing left behind, not even a keepsake. Victorine was sick the week after; and her fevers bought on terrible, troubling dreams. Victorine was aware that her face was being washed with warm cloths, and caudle ladled down her throat but she was the one who rallied herself. She decided she wanted to live. Within the year she crossed fully into the mantle of lady of the house, learned to perform the prowess of her mother and it was like this service Victorine undertook in her place was able to keep her mother's memory alive. However, her formal tutelage was totally abandoned, much more by necessity than choice. And her world began to change, or rather her understanding of the world began to change. Her father was not just an excise man; he was a smuggler, thief and usurer, who swindled coins from traders to feather his own nest. She began to believe her mother to be opportunistic and a coward. The following six years were difficult for a sensitive soul. Her Father used to joke to her that his demands of her was like a blacksmith forging a new blade to wield. It was surely meant as a compliment, perhaps only a compliment to himself. Victorine could not get from her head the image of a dull iron bar, put on the fire until it turned red and then beaten flat. This was, she supposed, his ideal of his role in her life. While Victorine loved her Father, much more beyond natural instinct and what a closeness could create but she knew herself to be so unlike him. The pace he was asking her to undertake so he could grease other officials and la petite noblesse fot his own success was too fast. She thought, at some points, she might break if she did not learn to bend. So bend she did. She became less bothered by her father's friends and their proclivities. It was not the gentle rearing perhaps that she was due but she learned to make peace the uglier nature of life. Life began to feel more pleasurable and their nights began to feel richer. Pragmatism taught her that she needed an avenue for her own passions. At first it was portraits, she sketched the faces of the men who frequented her Father's meetings or parties. She liked finding the edges and the swells of wrinkles, the pits of scars, the fleshy jowls and the wry curl of a smile. Then it was dancing, and while a local ball was rare she learned how to invite a small piece of attention so she could dance well into the small hours of the morning. Then, it was her most enduring passion: Georges Saisson. Saisson was the son of one of the local officials. He was 5 years her senior and one of the most handsome and cleverest men she had ever met. And so they began to court; sometimes in earnest, sometimes in jest. Mostly in jest at her. She understood that he even despised her at times: she was not his ideal and her family was certainly less than ideal. The final death blow on her chances was when one of the family's warehouses caught fire. It had not been empty: her grandmaman had imbibed and fallen asleep. From there, it had taken a matter of months for family the family to turn on each other, her father's friends arrested and her Father became a wanted man. And Victorine believed she would have been arraigned with the rest of the family but she had a rather unusual guest and proposition. It likey saved her from the work house. She did not believe him until he gave her the Ballater Hippocampe. His name, he said, was Charles Thorpe and he was hired by the Ballater family to bring her back to England, repatriate her by marriage and in time she would be able to make her claim on the Barony. She was the only surviving member of the Ballater line - a piece of information she was not expecting nor ready to receive. The design of the strategem was rather simple: she was to take as much coin as her Father had in the house, part of which would be used for a hasty marriage and the rest would be his fee - as it was for hersakes that he was here. Once married, they would leave that night. And she believed him, despite all common sense. Or perhaps his lie was just as useful to her as it was to him. Charles Thorpe was older, much older than he had at first appeared. She had paid him what there was from her Father's strongbox, but having very little sense of money herself, had no idea the actual amount. A very quick marriage was undertaken by a Priest, and as soon as their ship from Calais to England set off, Mister Thorpe began drinking. By all accounts, he remained that way until he died. When the couple finally returned to Ballater, it became clear to Victorine that very little of what Mister Thorpe had said to her was true. Whatever expectations her grandfather had of his so called agent, it was not marriage to his granddaughter. In fact, their marriage disgusted him. Thorpe would not leave without a guaranteed stipend and for his opportunism, Thorpe received yet another sum of money and was sent away from Ballater. And so John and Victorine became house fellows. Equally strangers as blood. Victorine reminded him of the late Lady Ballaters, but through his eyes he found her lacking: no charm, dis-ease rather than ease and she couldn't even at first converse coherently in English. Their life together started reclusively, in shame and embarrassment. Her grandfather was an acerbic man, and grew more so the more he was challenged and angered by his frailty and the tides of his life. She was a poor companion for such a man, she felt each angry ripple emanating from upon her body like he had struck her. But his distemper was her best teacher: her transgressions in her conduct were detailed to her in such an explicit nature, her mistakes in translation pilliaried and laughed at and his lack of courtly behaviour towards her at times fine tuned her understanding of good and poor behaviour. But then he was not always an ogre towards her. They would read a book together in the evenings, and he judged that she listened eagerly and perceptively to him. He hung her portrait of him in their gallery, despite it not being overly flattering - when he first caught sight of it, he laughed and laughed. Victorine was surprised to see Lord Ballater near cackle with glee at the shock at the truthfulness of the eye of the painter. But in her 22nd year, and his 64th he caught a low hacking cough, fever and cold sweats and he never fully recovered. She did the best she could for John Ballater. She spent three years of her young life nursing him as he became increasingly bedridden. Her hand as mistress was poor: she had only the servants goodwill due to her Mother and those who were prepared to look past her marriage to Charles Thorpe. When John finally passed away, Victorine washed his body and prepared him for burial in the family cemetery. In her hearts of hearts she believed someone would come get her: Thorpe, Saisson, even her Father. But no one came. She had her grandfather's lawyer send word to Thorpe of Lord Ballater's passing. She waited for a response from Thorpe for 6 months, but he never returned to Ballater and never sent her word. It took a further 6 months to find out what happened to Thorpe, and her inquiries were finally answered by a lawyer's letter from London. Thorpe, she was told, had died nigh on three years ago, his estate leaving a fair some of monies to his wife. They had been holding it on her behalf, they had said, hoping for her to contact them. She believed very little of what they reported to her about their magnanimous custody of her money and gathered it would be a large enough sum of money for her to travel to collect in person. So at twenty five she decided to claim Thorpe's money and her due. From there she had plans to try her luck at the English court as now she had been elevated - at least, somewhat. Goals Seek help to overcome (or improve) her unfashionable appearance. Spend money where appropriate to do this. Or unceremoniously fail at it! See if she can found out any information about what happened to her Father, or rest of family. Meet le duc de Chevreuse Show she desires to be an attentive courtier to the English court. Seek some position of note, somewhere, somehow! Develop her own set of nascent passions, and help them flourish into skills. Lots of RP work I realise! Carve out her own path and also become more autonomous in the progress of her life. (Although she might fail in that.) If her family's poor reputation carries over to England, she'd like to undo what she can if it. Could be in the making of Friends, Allies, pay offs.... Her ultimate goal is to have children, and love them. But she is in no hurry to marry just yet. (Although she may have to, to settle the barony) She would like to be involved in charity works.
Character Sheet Player Profile Name: Louise Email: LouiseBeatty88@gmail.com Age: 33 How you found us: My husband used to RP on here, although he has since left he recommended here as a detailed historical site I might be interested in. What is your background and experience in roleplaying: History graduate (UK) but have since been RPing on sci-fi forums for roughly ten years, oddly haven’t really branched into history RPs yet – lots come and go and there aren’t many which last more than a year or so which is why finding here which has been running for a long time is a nice surprise! What themes do you wish to explore in our game: Enjoying RPing in a period of history I enjoy (fully open to themes) What makes you excited to do in our game: Live out my interests in the period with other writers. What are you NOT looking for in our game: I’m not a huge fan of graphic violence. Character Profile Character Name: Louise Marie von Linsberg (maiden name Masham) Title: Dowager Baroness Linsberg Estate Name: Masham Priory (in North Yorkshire, England); also retains the use of the Linserhof in Linsberg, Duchy of Hanover, Germany Nationality: English Age: 30 Gender: Female Eye Colour: Blue Hair Colour: Blonde Avatar: Jessica Clark The First Impression & Physical Appearance Louise is relatively tall for the period, standing just shy of 5 foot 8. This stature she enhances by the use of generously heeled shoes. She is a gregarious woman who enjoys the finer things (who doesn’t?). Through experience of loss and hardship in early life she has since become resolved to ensure she never ends up in similar circumstances again. She has a forceful personality but much of this is a mask to cover a deeper set fear of loss, inferiority and the effects of poverty. Although she married young and has given birth to several children, she maintains good looks. She is free from the scars of smallpox and has a good, if somewhat pale, complexion. She enjoys wearing the latest fashions and has a distinct preference for the colour blue, in all its shades but particularly icy tones, which she believes enhances her natural colourings. Personality Louise is – like many people – one in whom the outside appearance does not necessarily tally with the realities of what lies beneath. On first impression one would find her a gregarious bon viveur; someone who enjoys dancing, shopping, parties and excursions. She is open; confident in herself and tolerates no nonsense with an adopted Germanic attitude to promptness, order and tidiness. However, much of this is a front, adopted to disguise deep-seated insecurities over her place in the world. A child of hardship and disassociated from her homeland, she feels a lack of “place” and is determined to try and set some roots somewhere. Whilst she may on the outside adopt something of a spendthrift attitude with a lackadaisical nonchalance over money, she is in fact deeply money conscious to the point of avarice. Insecure of her position in society, she craves the acceptance of her social betters. This can make her quite needy as she tries to weedle her way into the cliques she seeks. Wealth Level : Average Housing: St Marks Benefits, Challenges Widow (+1) and Baroness, by marriage, (+1) = 2. Bisexual (-0.5, I’m assuming this is sort of covered by the homosexual challenge) and Naïve (about politics) (-0.5) and Accent (-1, although fluent in English the years of living in Germany have left her with a Germanic accent so one wouldn’t realise at first that she is actually a naturalised Englishwoman) = 2 Origin/Background Louise Marie Masham was born on 1 May 1648 in North Yorkshire to Sir Talbot Masham (banneret) and Marie Helene D’Estaing-Aubec. Her mother was the descendent of French Huguenot refugees who had fled France in the late 1500s to take residence in London. Originally skilled weavers and textile workers, in the successive generations they had managed to raise themselves in business to acquire a considerable body of wealth and, by the time of her mother’s birth, were minor landowners in Yorkshire. Her father, on the other hand, was from a line of long established Yorkshire gentry who claimed a lineage going back to the days of the Conqueror, although anything beyond personal pride to substantiate this was not forthcoming. The Mashams, who took their family name from the Yorkshire town around which they held lands, were stolidly dependable rural gentry. They weathered the changes in religion well, moving from being simple Catholics to being simple Protestants as Parliament and the King required. When the Civil Wars gripped the realm, Sir Talbot (of course) rallied to the Royalist standard. Without the financial resources to raise troops of his own, he served personally with the cavalry of Prince Rupert. As with all things concerning the Mashams, his service was loyal, good but otherwise uneventful and at no stage did he make any particular mark save for as a dependable pair of hands but one unwilling to use much initiative or skill. He was wounded at the battle of Naseby with a musketball to the right leg. Although the wound healed, the surgeons were unable to remove the bullet and he carried it around in him, with great pain, for the rest of his days. By the time Louise was born, the course of the first Civil War had been run and the royalists had been defeated. Sir Talbot returned to his home where he had left his wife and two sons – Talbot and Clifford – his arrival coinciding with the conception of Louise. Within months of her birth, the family’s fortunes and wholly reversed. Sir Talbot’s unaltered and insistent support for the royalist cause led the new republican regime to target him for his activities. Heavily fined – far beyond the capacity he had to pay – he and the family were forced to flee abroad to escape creditors. At first they headed to Ireland where Sir Talbot assisted the royalist forces there before being forced to flee once again by the steadily expanding reach of Cromwell’s forces on the island. From here they moved first to France, hoping to take shelter with some of her mother’s distant relatives. However, Sir Talbot’s stodgy Protestantism revolted at residing in a militantly Catholic France and thus the family moved once again, following contacts from his days with Prince Rupert’s forces to take residence in the German states. By the time the family left France, Talbot Junior and Clifford were already suffering with fevers. Their mother begged for them to stay longer until they recovered by Sir Talbot would have none of it. By the time the family reached Heidelberg in the Electoral Palatinate, the two boys died. Their mother never forgave their father. What followed for the next ten years was a sorry odyssey of the three remaining members of the family as they tripped from minor German Court to minor German Court. Unable to find work as a soldier, Sir Talbot began a descent into depression and alcoholism, having to raise money by hiring himself out as an English tutor or basic fencing master. When the family was attempting to find work in Brandenburg in 1661, Sir Talbot died. The circumstances were murky. He was found floating in a river near their lodging house. Did he fall in whilst drunk or did he throw himself in? No one knew. This left the young Louise and her mother on their own. With what little funds they had left, her mother moved them both to Hanover, which was at the time enlarging its court life to make a cultural and political statement across Germany. Her mother was able to find a position as a part-time tutor in English and French whilst also, on the quiet, undertaking home work as a seamstress to make ends meet. Louise helped her with this, sharing the small garret room on the third storey of a tenement in the commercial district with her mother. As she worked with her she picked up the rudiments of English, French and German. She learned to read and write and the basics of arithmetic. She learned history and geography, albeit with the fact that this was all second hand from her mother and she received no formal education whatsoever. As she grew she developed into something of a beauty – possessing the colouring which one might call an “English rose.” Milky skin, blonde hair, blue eyes, not too slim and with an enviable bust. When old enough, she was able to take over her mother’s tutoring business, teaching the sons and daughters of several of the lower level court functionaries of Hanover. In the course of this, she came to the attention of the widowed 38 year old Baron Ulrich Christian von Linsberg, a vassal and courtier of the House of Hanover. A minor chamberlain in the Ducal court, Ulrich was much like the late Sir Talbot Masham – a smallish landowner, lowly but noble title, not particularly original but a plodding, methodical man. His first wife had died and the couple was childless. He first met the young Louise whilst he was paying a visit to one of her clients’ fathers. Becoming obsessed with her, he lay siege to her virtue, sending her gifts and tokens of his affection, asking that she receive him in private. Telling her mother of this, her mother advised that she do nothing of the sort but told her not to return any of his gifts. It became her mother’s scheme to see whether the Baron would be prepared to offer formality to the culmination of his lusts or whether he was hoping for something cheap and tawdry. In what became a shameful episode Louise would later prefer to forget, the matter developed into more of a negotiation between the Baron and her mother for the terms of her release to him. The result? In 1664, when Louise was only just 16, she was married to the Baron in a small ceremony in the chapel of his family home, the Lindserhof. The Baron’s family, such as there were (three brothers and an elderly mother) refused to attend and shunned the new Baroness. Louise did not love the Baron. However, she was not revolted by him either. He was, in his way, handsome. He was not a brute. He did not hurt her. He took what he wanted, as was his right as a husband he said, but he never offered her violence. It was something which she didn’t quite understand herself but, whilst she had no great revulsion for men and, indeed, found many attractive, she also found herself drawn to women in the same way. She knew that such thoughts and feelings were wrong and, as she could not admit them openly or even discuss them, they remained a gnawing and nagging sense of “something” in her mind. After the initial honeymoon period had worn off for him he became an infrequent visitor, leaving her and her mother mostly alone in the Lindserhof whilst he returned to Hanover, only rarely returning to engage in hunting and marital rights. He was not stingy with his money. This allowed Louise for the first time in her life to be able to enjoy herself with some degree of abandon. She was able to read widely from the library. She engaged tutors to better her knowledge on subjects she had missed out on, particularly music – learning the harpsichord and guitar. The Baron had no issue with her enjoying rides in the country and even encouraged her to take part in the hunts. In 1668 she gave birth to her first son, Charles Ulrich; followed in 1670 by twins: Louise and Johann. The Baron, pleased to have children, was not however a hands on father. Little altered in the pace of their life, save for the passing away of Louise’s mother at Linsberg in 1672. The quietness and dependability of their life was shattered in 1676. The Baron, catching a chill whilst on one of his frequent hunts, succumbed to pneumonia. Dying in Hanover, the news was only brought to Louise by the Baron’s younger brother, together with a letter notifying her that he and his brothers were bringing a legal suit against her for recovery of the family house, seeking to question the correctness of her marriage with their brother. Thrown for the first time onto her own resources, Louise managed to broker a deal with the brothers. She and her children would leave and return to England, having signed over the rights to the von Linsberg lands to the brothers for the remainder of their lives, upon the death of the last of whom the lands would revert to her son, Charles. The blow to her was great. It temporarily disinherited her son but it was all she could salvage in her weakened position. In return, the von Linsbergs agreed to pay her and the children an annual pension. This, at least, was something. She and her children returned to England in 1677. She took them to Masham Priory, the family home which she had left as a babe in arms. The estate had been cared for by her father’s old steward and his family since the Mashams left. Despite this, the house and lands had fallen into decay. Neighbours had helped themselves to bits and pieces for building works. Moveable chattels had been taken by the family’s creditors in lieu of unpaid debts. Fields had been left untended; livestock had escaped; the roof was sagging; and rents had been left uncollected. She instantly threw herself into wrestling with as many of these issues as she could, using some of the money from Linsberg to remedy the lesser issues. A more proactive management style managed to see rents start coming in again, although she had to settle to agree to write off the historic arrears, lacking the funds to sue so many tenants for these. Compromise was something she had now learned well. However, country life was not for her. She had money, yes, but she did not want a humble rural life. She wanted good things, not just for herself but also for her children. With the degree of freedom which widowhood allowed, she wanted to actually enjoy her life, or at least to try to. To that end her sights were set on London and there she was resolved to make her mark. Goals To find a new husband To increase her personal/family wealth To find a position or good education for her son To become a notable person of the court or trend setter.