Thursday, May 22, 2014

Beautiful People ~ Calico Elizabeth Dickinson

Just use your imagination and pretend she's wearing late Georgian-era clothing, okay? Thanks.

   Calico Dickinson is the heroine of the story I am currently writing, which is, as yet, unnamed (working on that) and is set in Bristol, England, in 1791.  For a while I've seen these 'Beautiful People' posts on other writer's blogs, and I think it's a great way to introduce characters. So without further ado, I present Miss Calico Dickinson!

  (Okay, I lied, there is further ado: this post is basically a hodge-podge of questions that I took from my best friend's post and some old Beautiful People posts on Miss Dashwood's blog. I didn't make any of them up myself.)

~ What is her full name?

    Calico Elizabeth Dickinson.

~ Does her name have a special meaning?

    Ehhh....not really. It's just unique.

~What is Calico's personality?

   She's imaginative, impulsive, easily distracted, impatient sometimes, but she means well. She loves excitement, but sometimes she just likes to be left alone to her thoughts (she has a great many of them, let me tell you). She loves to laugh, talk, sing, and hum, and there is rarely a time when she's not doing one of those. Sometimes she's giddy, and other times she's quiet and thoughtful.

~ What would she choose, a dance or a book?

   As much as Calico loves dancing (and wearing ball gowns), she loves books more. There are few things she enjoys more than a good book.

~ Does she journal?

  Gracious no. She would say she doesn't have the time, which is actually not completely true because she has loads of time, she just doesn't like to take the time to do it. Plus she wouldn't know what to write, and then she would get distracted by something else and probably end up reading a book.
~ Who's her favorite sibling?

      Calico only has two siblings-- Francis, who is sixteen, and Peggy, who is fourteen. She is very close to both of them, but Francis often aggravates her and she is closer to Peggy, although she wouldn't say Peggy is her favorite because that wouldn't be fair.

~ Adventurous or a scaredy-cat?

   It depends. She's adventurous, but also cautious, the type of girl who would say, "No, you try it first," or "You ask." She loves excitement, but she doesn't realize how frightening, even dangerous, adventure can be until it actually happens to her.

~ Does Calico earn her living?

    What?! An English nobleman's daughter, earn her living? Unthinkable. But Calico would not be opposed to the idea. :-)

~ What is her biggest accomplishment?

  Travelling to America from England on a ship. Making a sweet potato pie, when she has never made anything herself before. Learning how to shoot a rifle and killing a wild cat. Calico doesn't really accomplish anything earth-shattering before she goes to America, but throughout her journey she learns a lot of things and accomplishes much more than she thought she was capable of.

~ Does she believe in love at first sight?

    Oh, please. Calico may be a dreamer, but she's also very practical. Two people simply cannot fall in love when first they see each other. What a silly thought.

The only picture I could find of her dressed in remotely the right era of clothing, and it's fuzzy. Go figure.

~ What does she like to wear?

    Lots and lots of fabric-- that is, long and full and glorious dresses. Oh, yes. She loves to twirl around in them and often has to restrain herself from doing so when she's standing alone at the edge of the assembly rooms, which happens often because it is not every young man who wants to dance with the illustrious Miss Dickinson. As cousin Henry puts it, "It certainly isn't for the faint of heart, I'll allow."

   Several couples lined up, the small ensemble of instruments began to play the introductory measures of a jaunty reel, and the dancing began. No one seemed to notice Calico, and Lord and Lady Dickinson had gone off to mingle with their many friends, leaving her standing alone near the wall. She was already getting bored. The tune they played was one she knew, so Calico hummed along, tapped her foot softly on the floor, thankful that her generous skirt concealed the unladylike act, and leaned back slightly against the wall, resisting the urge to drum her restless fingers on the patterned wallpaper.

   As much as she loves to wear fancy dresses, though, sometimes she gets frustrated with the inconvenience of it all and wishes she could just wear a plain homespun frock. Without stays. Calico hates stays with a burning passion. In fact, she has been known to take them off in the middle of the day. *gasp!*

~ Does she like to go outside?

    Yes indeed. She loves to go for walks along the docks at the harbor and watch the ships come and go (although her parents require that she always have a chaperone with her, so she usually takes Peggy). One day, when she is especially bored and restless for activity, she goes for a walk by the harbor and meets a young lieutenant....

     Bristol was always busy, no matter the day or season. Since it was a prominent trading area, there were always ships coming in and out of the harbor, always throngs of people milling about the streets, constant activity afoot. There was always something happening. It would have been exciting if Calico had not been so bored of it all. She had lived in Bristol all her life and had grown up with its customary buzz of activity, and while the routine goings-on had seemed thrilling to a child, now at eighteen she was beginning to grow tired of it.
   But today she was just glad to be out in the fresh air and sunshine walking with Peggy along the cobbled street towards the busy harbor. She thought back to what Peggy had said-- maybe they would meet someone interesting after all.
   Maybe a dashing young captain of a trade ship would see her walking on the dock, the wind teasing her stray curls and ruffling her skirts, and be so struck by her beauty that he would ask to paint her picture. He would fall madly in love with her and ask her father's permission to call on her. They would learn from.... someone else....that he was the only son of an enormously wealthy tradesman and heir to a great fortune and a whole line of ships. Then, one stormy night--
  "Calico, look!"
   Calico was shaken back to the present, her reverie fading away with the wind.

~ Is she naturally curious?

   Um, duh. That is, yes, she is. Very curious. And very nosy too. That's one thing she and Francis have in common. He snoops in her things and she snoops in his.

   "What's that?" Francis asked.
    Calico's lip pressed into a firm line. Wasn't it obvious? "A letter."
   "Oh? Who from?"
    She turned around. "Must I tell you?"
    "Why not?"
     Calico wasn't sure what to say. Why didn't she want to tell him? Well, it was her business and not his, that was all there was to it. He didn't have to know. Francis just didn't understand privacy. He held no personal standard of it and freely told every aspect of his life to anyone who was willing to hear. If he received a letter he would proclaim the news all over the house and happily divulge its contents to anyone who cared to listen. This was, Calico reasoned, because Francis was still mostly a boy and didn't understand yet the importance of a private correspondence, especially when romance was involved. Romance meant about as much to Francis as a cup of tea or a new suit; something that was nice, he supposed, but nothing to get too excited about. There were far more important things in life.

~ Does she have any enemies?

 Napoleon? ;-D Not strictly speaking. There are some people she doesn't particularly like, of course, but she has no real enemies. She's not overly fond of her father's first cousin Henry Mallinger, but then, no one is.

~ What kinds of things get on her nerves?

    Francis, for one. Calico is often annoyed by his behavior, and often wishes he would grow up and act more like the young man that he is instead of a typical school boy. She also gets fed up with society in general sometimes. Actually, the world in general. Calico doesn't exactly have the patience of Job.

~ What kind of home does she live in?

   A big, grand house in the most fashionable part of Bristol. A noisy, close-knit, rather unconventional but nevertheless very proper home where everyone feels accepted and knows they can be honest with one another.

    That was the way of things in the Dickinson family-- they always told each other everything, always relayed every interesting detail, every humorous event, and laughed about it together. Calico had never known it to be otherwise. They had always been bound together by the things that make a family close: laughter, small trials, good times and bad. This is what it means to be kin, a word so powerful that nothing can ever diminish it. After all, blood is thicker than water.



  1. I was so excited to see this post appear on my dashboard- so excited I practically squeeped. I squeep a lot, as you know.

    *Naomi imagines she's wearing late Georgian-era clothing*
    You're welcome.

    Awww- you called me your best friend! That's so sweeeet of you. Thankie.

    Oh! Her second name is Elizabeth! How nighs! (my way of spelling 'nice' when I think something is nicer than just 'nice'- just so you, know- I DO know how to spell nice. Really.)

    Yessss- her name is very unique. Invented by you and very lovely. She's so preetie. I love her calm, small smile- so cute. I want to hug her.

    She loves to laugh, talk, sing, and hum, and there is rarely a time when she's not doing one of those....
    Have I heard that before? You know, about yourself? In your last email? *winky-wink*

    I knew you wouldn't make Calico a scardy-cap. After all, she goes on a voyage to America, and scardy-caps don't do that. Ohhh! *I blush* do you spell it 'scaredy-cat'!? Did I DO IT WRONG, Tell me.

    Eeek, I still think it's so cool our heroines both have a younger sister called Peggy. We have so many coincidences.

    Mmm- I have a question for YOU, Calico. What would you do if you HAD to earn your living? You said you weren't opposed to the idea.

    Back to you, Em.

    Oh dear.
    Mary does believe in love first sight- that is to say, she does in the beginning of the story. At the end she's learn her lesson and becomes more sensible.

    Again, I love all those snippits- especially the ball one. I've read it already, but I luve it soo muchly.

    so she usually takes Peggy, hah. You shouldn't have said 'take' , you should have said 'asked'- Calico is supposed to be a lady, Emma. Really. (teasin...)

    Mary is really curious as well. So am I and so are you. Heehee. That's a truth universally acknowledged.

    What's the name of the actress who acts Calico- ahem- Bella Wilfur? Then I can look up her in other movies she acted in and see if I can find a picture for you where she's wearing the right clothes.

    I love Calico. She unique and sweet- I also love the description you wrote of her family.

    Oh! I wish they were real.


  2. Naomi dear,

    Thank you for your very long comment!

    Actually I didn't invent the name Calico-- I came up with it and I THOUGHT I had invented it, but then my mom told me she knew someone named Calico so I guess I didn't. :-P

    The actress who plays Bella Wilfer is Anna Friel. I don't really know much about her, but I don't think she's ever acted in anything set in this era-- that is, if she has, I can't find any pictures of it. Except that one with the red-coat soldier in the background, and I can't really tell what that's from.

    If Calico HAD to earn her living....that's a good question. ;-D She'd probably want to do something practical, but fun, something that wouldn't require much physical labor, but something that wouldn't be so boring that she would get tired of it. I'll have to think on that one. ;-P

    Yes, Calico often drags Peggy around with her, usually when she needs a chaperone and doesn't want to take Caddy. Peggy doesn't mind.

    Yes, I'm pretty sure you spell it 'scaredy-cat'. At least, that's the way I've always seen it spelled. Don't feel bad hon-- I misspell things too. But you knew that, of course.

    I'm glad you love Calico as much as I do. Thanks again for your delightful comment!


  3. Bother! I just wrote you a very nice reply and suddenly it just went away. Argh. Computers.

    But then mayyybe it didn't- but if it did, I shall try remembering what I wrote and write it again.

    Oh I wish I had saved it.


    Thank you for your reply, Emma-Anne-girl- I loved reading it, as usual.

    Yes I knew Calico was a real name (you told me, remember?) but as you THOUGHT it was real and decided and chose it, that counts.

    Thank you honey for telling me that I ACTUALLY misspelt that word (I'm not writing it again, for fear of misspelling it again).
    Oh- shame, shame.

    Okay-- Anne Friel. I might chop off her head and put it on Barbara Spooner's- that might work, heehee.
    I'm planning to do the same with Julie Andrew's head and put it on Diana Barry or someone like that.
    I'll show you when I finish.

    Thank you for answering Calico's question about her job. Well, you didn't really answer, haha.

    "My Peggy" would hate to be dragged around. She'd say it makes her feel like a cat- don't ask me why, but she would. Your Peggy is more well-behaved, obviously.

    I was wondering, do you have a villain in your story? (You really should give it a title, my dear- I have to keep on referring to it as "your story")
    Creating villains are so fun! They just are! You just want your readers to love to dislike them--
    My villain is the obnoxious Michael Mitchillini- have I told about him? He's horrible.

    As for the long-ness of my comment, I shall not even think of pretending to think that you thought it was too long, because I know you liked it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

    Tata for now and ciao for later,
    Naomi xxx


I'd love it if you'd drop me a line or two! I always enjoy receiving comments from readers and friends. I ask that you please keep your comments clean and God-honoring, and please don't write anything you wouldn't want your grandmother to read. Also, if you are commenting under anonymous, please do leave your name (or some sort of moniker so that you aren't totally nameless). Thank you so much and have a lovely day!

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