Beautiful People - Spencer

Esca tossed the slender papyrus roll onto the cot, and set his own hands over Marcus's.  "I have not served the Centurion because I was his slave," he said, dropping unconsciously into the speech of his own people.  "I have served Marcus, and it was not slave-service...  My stomach will be glad when we start on this hunting trail."
The Eagle of the Ninth, Rosemary Sutcliff

I chose to do another back-bencher for this month's Beautiful People.  It's the background folk who aren't seen very clearly, and I like to see them.  Some of them are vitally important, like this handsome fellow.


1.  What does he look like?  What are his hair and eye colour?

Spencer is an even six feet tall and lean-looking, which gives you a false impression of how strong he is: he is one of those annoying types which doesn’t have to work too hard to be fit.  He has dark brown hair, and hazel-coloured eyes which are most often brown-looking rather than blue or green.  But you have to look really hard at Spencer to get a good impression of him: he is a deftly self-effacing individual and ten to one you would not take note of him at all.

2.  How old is he?

As of 1844 when the story takes place, Spencer would be twenty-six years old.

3.  What is his background?  Where did he come from?

Spencer is native to the Mares though his ancestors had a gypsy-life.  He does not come from money; his only relative who owned land had only a little tract and lost it (legitimately) in a legal battle.  He was a posthumous child, losing his father two months before his birth, and he lost his mother when he was six years old.  But his family was friends with a friend of the Marenov√© House and word of him got round to Richard de la Mare, who was then the master of Marenov√© House, and Richard de la Mare is generally counted a charitable man.

4.  What does he do?

Spencer is the manservant of and companion to Richard de la Mare’s eldest son.  They are nearly of an age with only ten months’ space between them, and in a very short while they became inseparable—more like blood-brothers than master and servant. 

5.  Is there something he is particularly good at?

Listening.  Spencer is a quiet, contemplative man by nature and his companion is by nature a great talker—never dully, but very fluidly—so Spencer has long since learned the art of listening well.  He is also a pretty good physic and one hell of an archer, though those two skills don’t tend to work expediently in tandem…

6.  Is there something he is afraid of?

No, not really, not for himself.  Spencer is that rare soul that isn’t disturbed by anything much.  He would be the first to quietly run his head knowingly into a trap just to get a job done.  The only thing he really fears—and he fears it acutely—is that something should happen to his friend.  Something like death.

7.  Is he more brawn or more brain?

A bit of both.  He is as strong as an ox but he also has good common sense.  He is not as sharp or witty as his friend, but he is logical and clear-sighted, and always has his feet on the ground, and that combination goes a long way.

8.  Is he married or does he have a sweetheart?

Spencer has never been married and he has never had a sweetheart.  Living in his friend’s shadow, I don’t know if a girl has ever noticed him anyway.  He has considered idly, from time to time, that he might like a wife one day, but for now he feels he cannot divide his attention between a wife and his friend and do them both justice.  For now, he is content.

9.  Does he have any enemies?

Only one, and very close to home.  Perhaps because they are so much alike and yet so fundamentally different, Spencer and Rupert de la Mare have never seen eye to eye.  They never had a physical fight when they were young, partly because, to Rupert, Spencer was an outsider and a good two years his senior; by the time they became men Spencer was well used to taking a passive role in things and backing up his friend, and Rupert, as I’ve said before, had long since taken to quietly nursing grudges with very few sparks to show how deep his hatred runs.

10.  If he had a song, what would it be?

If he had a song, it would be “Brother, Stand Beside Me” by Heather Dale. 

Brother, stand beside me - brother, lend your arm.
Brother, stand beside me - brother, lend your arm.
All it takes is one to say 
"We'll take back that ground." 
Let them sing, let them sing our praises 
When we've gone.

11 ripostes:

  1. Splendid, Jenny! I like him already. :)

  2. Again, Jenny, he sounds great... a perfect servant and blood-brother :). Who is his master?

  3. You like him? I like him too. At the end of this session, when I had really sat down to get to know him, and I knew him better, it broke on me that this was it and all I have left is little broken shards of memories that belong to someone else that I made up and will never know for real at all. It was a nasty realization, and a lonely one...

    That's the great let-down to writing. We may know our author, but they can never know theirs.

    His master was Dammerung.

  4. Spencer sounds a little like Lord Anthony Dewhurst from The Scarlet Pimpernel-- the quiet sidekick who's always there to get things done. I like him!

    This is going to sound like a rather ignorant question, but which book is he from? I'm a new follower and not yet acquainted with all your stories, though I'd like to start reading through the archives!

  5. Oh no, don't apologize, Miss Dashwood! One has to jump in somewhere when one decides to jump in at all. Spencer is from my work-in-progress Plenilune, of which you will hear a great deal if you start from today's date and poke backwards through the archives. :) I'm glad you like him, and welcome to The Penslayer!

    "But I don't want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.
    "Oh, you can't help that," said the Cat: "we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad."
    "How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice.
    "You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn't have come here."

  6. Now you've gone and made me fall in love with your Spencer, heartless Penslayer. I'm sure I'll end up hating you for that later, but for the moment his quiet sweetness has driven everything else out of my head. I just adore his sort of character. (Also the song you gave him is one of my favourites ever. :D)

  7. 'Tisn't that I'm heartless (not like Howl), it's that I run so hard ahead of my heart that I don't feel anything but an odd exhilaration, and then my heart catches up (bruised from misuse) and then my head follows hard on its heels (with all its logic and in-point-of-facts), and so my heart breaks and so does the heart of everyone else and I didn't mean to, I just forgot. When I bundle all of Plenilune-time up into a ball in my hand, everything looks like it happens all at once. I forget that people are left behind and are never seen again...


  8. Hay. I'm stopping over from the link-up. I really, really loved your interview. It's like I've officially met your character (shaken hands and everything). You've done this so well! :) Your character is so...alive!


  9. Welcome to The Penslayer, Cait! I've seen you roundabout and on your Notebook Sisters blog. It's good to have you here. I'm so glad you enjoyed this Beautiful People post. I enjoyed it greatly myself and, you never know, I may do another before the link-up closes. I have such a huge cast, I have so many more people I would like to delve into. Keep an eyeball out!

  10. Stopping by from the link-up. Lovely character! I have to agree with Cait...Spencer's so alive! Well done! :)


  11. Hello, Lia! Thanks for weighing in at The Penslayer. I hope you enjoy it here. :) And to you and all those who adore Spencer, I can only say, you're breaking my heart. But it happens in my line of business. Thank you!