Simon Dinard, Lord Farleigh
CW: Mention of fertility struggles of the duchess.
This lovely gentleman (as played by a younger Robbie Amell, in my head) is often at odds—with himself. Simon was born near where Clairvoir Castle stands today, at a hunting lodge owned by the family. When he came into the world, the first child born to the Duke and Duchess of Montfort, the castle itself was undergoing major renovations. Thus he spent his nursery years mostly at the family home in London, doted on by his paternal and maternal grandparents, with access to the best governesses and tutors available.
Simon was an only child for six years. His mother had two pregnancies, neither of which produced a living child. Because of this long period of time without siblings, and to soothe his mother’s heart, Simon was as often in her care as she could have him by her side. This created a very strong bond between them.
These years also proved formative in two other important ways. (1) Simon was also in his father’s company frequently, and soon held his father up as the very sort of man he wished to be. (2) Though young, Simon sensed his mother’s sorrow and took it upon himself to cheer her through his antics, smiles, and with his company. (Children can be very intuitive.) This matured him quickly, and by the time he was old enough for school, he left home with a head start in academics and understanding of the world.
Thankfully, he had younger siblings by then, too. His sister Josephine, six years younger than Simon, was his favorite person in the world. He doted on her at every opportunity. Five years later, when Isabelle came along, he took on more of a protective older brother role. Then came Rosalind, tiny and often ill until she was out of leading strings. During her early years, Simon anxiously awaited the post every time he learned she was unwell, with hopes of learning that she had overcome her baby-fevers.
When Simon’s brother, James, was born, Simon was seventeen and on his way to Cambridge. But every time he came home, once again, he was the very best of older brothers. James, as he grew, came to view Simon as his hero and wanted to be just like him.
Outside of his family, Simon formed friendships through his education. Early on in his boarding school days, he met Andrew Wycomb, whose father was friends with Simon’s father. That was reason enough to associate with one another, but when Andrew dragged Simon into his pranks and misadventures, the two soon found a mutual enjoyment of the ridiculous. And each other. They became inseparable, to the extend that Andrew lived with the ducal family when his father passed away. The boys were more like brothers than friends, and looked out for one another.
Andrew soon proved to be one of the few friends Simon could count on. Through painful experience, Simon learned that there were many who wanted near him for no reason other than his high position in society. Who wouldn’t want a future duke as an associate? What lady wouldn’t throw herself at a man soon to be one of the most powerful people in the country? This made him mistrustful of others’ motivations.
Simon’s 24th year, after his grand tour and a year of tutoring from his father, saw him sent to Ireland to manage the family’s Irish holdings near Dublin. It was there he briefly met Lord Dunmore, an Irish baron. Though they were no more than acquaintances until the summer of 1819.
During Simon’s time in Ireland, the weight of his future responsibilities became more evident than before. He found himself constantly wondering what his father would do in certain situations. How his father would act, what he would say, when confronted with difficulties regarding the land or people who lived upon it. The spring of 1819, Simon’s father entrusted him with the safety of the family (read all about it in Sir Andrew and the Authoress).
More and more often, Simon dreaded the day he would lose his father. Not only because he loved the duke with his whole heart, but because he saw all the wisdom and respect his father had cultivated throughout his time as duke. Could Simon ever measure up to such a man? How would he even begin to fill his father’s shoes? Thankfully, the duke’s good health continued, even as the weight on Simon’s shoulders increased.
Shortly after Simon’s 26th birthday, Dunmore’s family was invited by the Duke to visit Castle Clairvoir for Christmas. And this is where the story of Lord Farleigh and Miss Frost begins…
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