The Sterley's of Oakland Park

Chapter 1
Meeting the family

Oakland Park a regency Novel

The Sterley’s of Oakland Park

Chapter One

The Sterley’s of Oakland Park in the county of Surry had for a long time been genteel nobility the first Sir John having been in the service of Queen Elizabeth of blessed memory. Having served his country well he had been knighted and invested with lands, which made up the land of Oakland Park through out successive generations descendents of the original peer had added to these lands. thus at the turn of the 18th century Oakland Park had attached to it a number of farms which paid rents annually in arrears bringing a certain measure of security and a sense of wealth. The current sir Thomas was a man of quite disposition who after a lifetime of service to the crown had returned to contemplate the beauty of country life. Sir Thomas has always been fond of birds and thus he spent his days in quite contemplation of the birds of Southern England of which he was making a study, in the hopes of some time soon having a publication done at his expense. It was not that sir Thomas sought fame for he was already quite well known and had riches enough for the needs of his family and for the next generation when they arrived.

Sir Thomas had served the previous government well both in parliament and as a captain in that, service of which Nelson was a great example. Sir Thomas had only retired to the country once it became apparent that the King would not recover, thus Sir Thomas had taken the time to think it better to retire from politics, as he had no wish to serve in a government over which the prince Regent held sway.

In his younger day, he had been an officer in the Royal navy a part of the service for which he still held a great fondness in his heart. He read with keen interest the gazettes to see who had been mentioned and if perchance a son of a near by neighbor had received a distinction of merit in the gazette. Sir Thomas would take to writing a letter or two to the relatives and even some time to the gentleman in question wishing them a heart congratulations and an invitation to call upon him at Oakland Park when they should again be in the county.

Of the people that Sir Thomas loved most dearly were of course his wife of many years Ann who had been born Lady Moorcroft  (Her Father Lord Moorcroft now an ancient relic who had served in the government of George II had of late passed away thus the family was still in a time of mourning.) Then there daughters Lydia, Mary Sophia Elizabeth, and of course Mary, the youngest of his daughters his sons who brought him great pride were in order of age Thomas, John, William, and finally James who was but a babe in arms. Sir Thomas and Lady Ann had for more then a generation planed the arrival of there children in accordance with the dedication of an admiral of the service as he planed his Battle plan in the same spirit as the great sea Lord of Blessed memory Lord Horatio Nelson.. Thus over a period of two and twenty years Lady Ann had brought forth in due season a little bundle of joy

To say that Sir Thomas was a doting father would have been an understatement for of an evening he could be found on his hands and knees playing with the younger children. He even on occasion took a lively interest in the doings of his older children Thomas his son was a young man of the world who was of a melancholic disposition and prone to moodiness. In which state he would take up his pen ands retire to his room where he would compose sonnets and the like some of which he would on occasion read to the family for an evening’s entertainment.

The somberness of the younger Thomas did in no way have an effect on the younger sons of the house who would spend there days in Boxing Boating on the river and riding some times even enjoying a hearty game of cricket.

The daughters of the house where an altogether lively group who loved attending assemblies and dancing was always a favorite pastime. Indeed Lay Ann had mad sure that all her daughter could play the harpsichord and of late the urgency of Lady Ann to procure a piano Forte for the house had been made known to Sir Thomas.

“My dear is the harpsichord broken?” he had enquired of her when she made the wish for a pianoforte to him. “No Tom it is all the rage and is played in all the best houses in London we simple must have one” she replied growing impatient with his reluctance to produce the desired instrument.

“Indeed my love and how much do you suppose such an extravagance would cost?” he asked her with a pained expression “Oh I am not sure but what is the matter you have never been so obstinate before when it came to the purchase of an instrument” she replied

“Indeed we have recently had the man in to tune the harpsichord and what of the new fiddle I bought John but a twelve month ago?” he asked her

‘Sir you know that John plays well and he has never neglected the art of music think sir how the instrument would enhance your standing in the county should it be known that you have one of the newest instruments” Lady Ann said.

“That is a good point my dear he said with a smile let me consider it and when I have found the right conclusion I will let you know” Sir Thomas said.

“In the mean time pray tell me what are the young ladies up to this evening for I believe there is to be a assemble in the village and I have yet to shave and dress for I should very much like to wait upon some of our neighbors at the assembly” he concluded

“Why sir one would think that you of all people would dismiss out of hand any frivolity with assemblies for you have grown quite in your later years what now this sudden interest in assembles and balls Pray sir what bedbug have you in your hat” said Lady Ann


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