Member No.: 15
Joined: 26-April 08
Your Name: Vikki
Where'd You Find Us: Already here!
Name: Imogen Rathbone
Nickname (if applicable): none
Date of Birth: 31 March 1789
Father: Benjamin Rathbone, Earl of Huntingdon b.1757
Mother: Lucinda Rathbone, née Worthing, Countess of Huntingdon b.1771
Sister: Lady Amelia Markham, née Rathbone. b.1791
Associated NPC - Margaret Nunn, ladies maid/nurse/companion
Imogen is the eldest daughter of the Rathbones, Earl and Countess of Huntingdon. Born into wealth, privilege and rank, her early life should have been happy and carefree, culminating in a successful marriage. Sadly, this was not to be. At age 6, she contracted bronchitis which, though she recovered, left her weakened. From that moment on, her parents became overprotective. The Rathbones were immensely grateful that their child had recovered, and did not want to take the risk of her falling prey to another illness. As a result, Imogen was cossetted and spoiled in some ways, but not allowed to do anything that might endanger her frail health. Her younger sister Amelia - completely unaffected by the illness that had struck Imogen - was raised with greater freedom. Despite times when she was jealous of any preferential treatment (as any child would be) or flaunted her freedom as an act of revenge over some disagreement, the sisters were reasonably close. Amelia, though younger, takes a protective role. Their closeness also means that Imogen is liable to use her sister for support when she particularly wants something - knowing that Amelia will usually take her part, she has an ally in tackling her parents.
Imogen was always considered too sickly to be able to withstand the rigours of the London season (not, I hasten to add, her own opinion) and so had to content herself with a quiet non-launch into more restrained society. Since turning 18, she has spent time at spa towns taking the waters (and indulging in what little entertainment can be had), at the coast for the air, and at her family home in the countryside. Her parents are not draconian - they were quite happy to invite friends to stay, and provide Imogen with company and fun in an environment which could be adapted to her needs. Of course this was not enough for Imogen, and it was with great envy that she saw her sister head for London two years ago. Experiencing the debut vicariously through her sister was not enough for Imogen, and even before Amelia's marriage, she had been determinedly working to persuade her parents to let her have a season in town.
Of late, Imogen's health has taken a down-turn. She is consumptive, and doctors are not optimistic. It is perhaps this fact more than any other that has enabled her to convince her parents - since there is little more they can do to protect her, she explained, they might as well allow her some fun before she dies. And so Imogen has arrived in London, accompanied by her parents and anyone else they feel necessary to make her life comfortable.
Imogen is not yet a complete invalid. She is still able to attend a variety of functions, particularly those which involve a lot of sitting. Dances are possible, though she will likely pay for them the next day, and would certainly have to rest between sets. Routs would be quite impossible. However, insofar as she is able to enjoy the delights of the city, she is determined to do so. She has promised her parents (a condition of their agreement) that should she become excessively exhausted by the season, she will retire to the country or for a spell at the coast.
Imogen errs on the tall side for a lady, but is extremely slight. Her eyes are grey, and on mornings when she is tired out, heavily shadowed. Her complexion is pale and unfreckled (as one would imagine from a lady who is always shaded and protected from the excesses of the weather). Exertion may bring colour to her cheeks, but it is of the kind which only serves to highlight her pallor. Her hair is light brown and straight; most days it is worn pinned up in a fashionable style, since she would never appear in public looking less than finished. When she is not expecting to see anyone all day, however, she dispenses with the trouble of fancy hairstyles and contents herself with a simple braid. Her features are quite strong (straight nose, high forehead, strong chin), not at all the delicate ones one might expect of a frail girl. Had she been healthy, and even now on good days, she may have been called handsome.
Having been ill as much of her life as she can remember, Imogen is impatient with the restrictions she has to deal with. Of course, when she feels particularly ill she is grateful to take to her bed, but for the most part she chafes at having to take things easy. This impatience has, if anything, increased as her illness has worsened. Imogen is well aware that she is dying, and though she is generally quite calm about her mortality, she is disturbed by the thought of dying with regrets about opportunities squandered. Some things, she has come to realise, are never going to happen, and there is nothing she can do to change this. She sees no point in regretting that she will never have children or her own household, for example. She would quite like to fall madly in love, but is realistic on this point, and if it does not happen she would at least be content with knowing she had lived her life as far as possible, rather than simply existing. This does mean that she is pragmatic enough to recognise when a reward is not worth the cost, but it doesn't stop her from wanting to grumble about that same cost.
Faced with a lifespan whose end is on the horizon, Imogen has found some comfort in religion. For her, church is not merely a formality to be sat through once a week; she is not preachy and does not expect a similar depth of faith in anyone she meets, but it is there nonetheless. It would be difficult to face her death with equanimity otherwise.
A further solace to her are books. Imogen is an avid reader, though not of scholarly works. A few classics, but mostly enjoys modern romances, tales of adventure, melodrama, or even travel journals; in short, anything that will allow her to escape from the realities of illness and enforced inactivity. The novels of Mr Adam Lane are a particular favourite. Unsurprisingly, the majority of her accomplishments are the quiet sort that are suited to indoor life - sketching, needlework, playing the piano, writing letters, playing cards, listening with well-disguised boredom to reports of the day's sport on hunting weekends... She did learn to dance, and can do so with some grace though little stamina. She is no horsewoman, though she enjoys carriage rides as much as anyone and loves to be out of doors.