Member No.: 226
Joined: 12-June 09
Your Name: Emily
Contact Info: ---
Where'd You Find Us: Followed Laura (Mary Conway.) Screamed and cursed at her until she coughed up a link (which was fairly quickly.)
Name: Stephen Nicholas Brydges
Nickname (if applicable): None.
Date of Birth: September 12, 1775
Title: Captain Brydges
Father: The Rev. Johnathan Brydges (b. 1738)
Mother: Frances "Fanny" Brydges (nee Simpkins.) (b. 1749)
Sophia (b. 1767)
John (b. 1769)
Anna (b. 1770)
Francis (b. 1772)
Sarah "Sally" (b. 1776)
Louisa (b. 1778)
Thomas (b. 1780 - d. 1806)
Born into the midst of an ever-increasing brood brought up in a country parsonage in Surrey, Stephen was the third son born to Johnathan and Fanny Brydges.
The large family was largely content and happy, though not without the trials faced by any family of such a size and the means to which we confine some of our more modest clergymen. Mrs. Brydges being a capable manager, and her husband being tolerably amenable to economy, the family thrived, though none would expect anything spectacular of their offspring by way of distinguished careers for their sons or notable marriages for their daughters. The sons of the family drew on tenuous connections in order to secure introductions into lines of work they might settle comfortably in.
The lot were educated wholly by their steadily sensible parents, the boys cast into what careers they could counter, the girls to the best matches within their grasp, variously an innkeeper, a solicitor, a schoolmaster, and a merchant who rose to a knighthood in his later years.
Stephen, at the age of twelve, was sent from home to attend the Royal Naval Academy of Portsmouth, going to sea at fourteen. Crossing the Atlantic a number of times, as a young midshipman slowly but steadily moving up through the ranks, Stephen was stationed for several years in the West Indies, attaching himself to his commanding officer, Captain Grewald, displaying fervent loyalty and an unflagging determination. Upon Grewald's eventual recommendation, the young man was given the poor sloop the HMS Adrasteia to command.
Despite this, Stephen distinguished himself at the Battle of Trafalgar, capturing two ships larger than his own with superb command and stratagems verging on the brilliant, amassing £15000 in prize-money.
His youngest brother, Tommy, followed in his brother's footsteps, rising to become a Lieutenant aboard the HMS Northumberland, upon which he was killed in the action at the Battle of San Domingo. Stephen felt the loss of his brother keenly and largely blamed himself for perhaps romanticizing a life upon the sea, though he had seen many men die in service and under his command, by disease, battle and sundry disasters.
The weary Adrasteia has more recently been decommissioned and her captain, recently made post-captain, now awaits his new orders and hopefully his eventual rise to the admiralty, in the meantime enjoying a well-deserved season in London, following the usual visits to his family.
Stephen is a little above average height at five feet, eight inches, with dark, curling hair cropped rather shorter than perhaps is fashionable among men these days, with more of a care for dealing with lice in cramped quarters than the vagaries of fashion in the ton]. His eyes are somewhere between gray and green, and he has somewhat tanned and weathered skin, though his active profession has kept him young and sound in most respects, and overall he is the picture of health and a great proponent for the benefits of a seafaring life. No dandy, he wears his uniform well within formal settings, and slightly sombre civilian attire for less ostentatious occasions.
As a child, Stephen was the clown of the family, quickest to jest at any opportunity, relishing any opportunity of home theatricals, often sending his sisters into such fits of laughter with his sallies and charades that they pained themselves rather greviously trying to draw breath too deeply, too quickly.
Bold without appearing arrogant or impertinent, Stephen fit in easilywith his shipmates, his open temper and easy manners suiting seamen and officers alike.
Stephen is almost surprisingly bookish, having a keen interest in science, biology in particular. He took it upon himself to record much of what he saw during his travels, carefully sketching various fauna and preserving flora in the pages of a handsome leather-bound book presented to him by his father upon his gaining his captaincy.
Having grown up with four sisters, he has also necessarily cultivated an appreciation for the singular entertainment of novels, though he eked out his literary diet of fantastical Gothic horrors with philosophical and political pamphlets, besides his scientific reading.
Whether it be age or experience or some combination of both which has, over the years, lent a certain aura of morbidity to Stephen's manner in unguarded moments, one may only speculate. Certainly, his brother's death contributed a great deal to his sober mein, though in gay enough company he is well able to shake off his gravity, and the Stephen of years past seems to rally as if he had never known grief or sorrow.
He has dedicated himself to his career thus far, to great effect, i.e. the gaining of such wealth he and his family certainly never might have imagined coming to one of their own. The Navy demands and exacts unfaltering loyalty from some of the most inconstant men in the Kingdom; and so from Stephen natural wellspring of fidelity has become a sheer torrent of patriotic fervour that has bound him to his profession as irrevocably as if he had taken the sea to wife. Nothing else will do but to serve the Empire in the company of some of the country's best men, aboard the tangible Freedom that laymen call a Ship.
The offices upon land have no appeal to Stephen--he would sooner go to the gibbet, he believes, than settle in some placid country manor to go quietly mad with the years of tedium; not to mention betraying the order which has given him so much, which has proven that men of merit, whatever their means, may by hard and diligent work attain comfort and security for themselves and their loved ones, and respectability amongst their peers for their active accomplishments and contributions to the glory of their nation. To deprive England of his service, so long as health and humour allow him to offer the best of his whole being to the betterment of the world? No, indeed!
The Stephen of today is certainly a kind of shadow of his former self, as only his family and childhood friends may have known him. Setting out for his first true voyage into the ton, (O treacherous waters!) none of the glittering elite may be at all aware of any difference in this man they know nothing of, and only see that he is charming enough, provided there is equal charm in someone's nature, be it artless or otherwise, to call to his and have it answer.
With his friend, the well-connected Admiral Blewitt seeing to his proper introductions during the Season and his own substantial fortune making the rounds of a room's gossip before he himself is five minutes beneath any roof, Stephen is finding to his surprise that very few doors in London are closed to him...
Not bad for the middle son of an obscure if respectable country clergyman.