Last of the line of the reduced noble house of Fox (or so his mum tells him) and raised by Lord ‘Lucky’ Leatherette as his own. It would seem that Lady ‘Lovely’ Leatherette, a famous beauty in her day, struck a deal with Lucky to preserve her reputation and give the child legitimacy.
Educated at Barchester Boys Academy for Correction of Culpable Characters, where he learnt the three F’s: Fencing (both types), Filching and Forgery.

He is half brother to Lady Lavinia to which he is very close so close in fact that he does most anything she asks. The dutiful sibling once became involved in a midnight foray to the neighboring Girl’s Academy on the insistence of his sister (resident at the time), to lift the confiscated spirits, tobacco and chocolates and er, literature, locked up in the Headmistress’s private cupboard. This unfortunate excursion went somewhat awry when Gabriel, somewhat overconfident after smoking his first Turkish oval, knocked a priceless alabaster statuette of Venus down three flights of stairs, and promptly burst out laughing. Lavinia, in desperation, hustled him into her wardrobe until the coast was clear. From this position Gabriel was able to witness, perfectly innocently naturally, the other young ladies in the dorm comparing corsetry. He remembered one particularly sullen brunette girl, but only had a glimpse of her commanding profile before being hustled away by Lavinia with the dire injunction never to show his clumsy carcass in the school again. At least not until he was sober and could learn to keep his mind on the job.

After the Barchester incident, Gabriel went on to Magdalen College, where he joined the Varsity fencing team, 'The Bloody Marys': so called for that memorable historical dust-up with the visiting Heidelberg team, when one of the Blues fell over after a single shot of schnapps and red, and pinked himself painfully in the posterior with a poniard. The snide Teutonic comment 'Vot ein bunch of bloody Mary's' from the visiting Prussians led to such a fracas that during the competition fencing masks were worn more to cover the black eyes and broken teeth more than for any other reason.

This was way before Gabriel's time, but the Varsity kept the moniker as a perverse badge of pride. Gabriel was well on his way to achieving his First in Fine Art when a jealous rival contrived to get him thrown out by planting badly forged postal orders and exam certificates in Gabriel's rooms and effectively ended Gabriel's academic career. Protestations of innocence notwithstanding, (the forgeries simply were not good enough to be his) and his previous behaviour at Barchester Boys' (and Girls') being known, even intervention by his father Lord 'Lucky' Leatherette failed to save him and Gabriel was thrown out on his ear, with nothing but a Banker's Draft for £1000, a boat-train ticket for the continent and a curt note from 'Lucky' that Gabriel had better be on it.

After a flying visit to say goodbye to his mother, an emotional whisk round to bid farewell to his beloved sister Lavinia (and a sadly thwarted hope of seeing that brunette again) Gabriel left for Europe with a straight back, lipstick on his cheek and a Gladstone bag full of the university fencing trophies for pawning, which in a fit of spite, he dropped overboard halfway across the channel.

Long having adopted the attitude of 'start as you mean to go on,' Gabriel fetched up in Paris, taking rooms off the Elysee, and dining at Voisins regularly, tipping handsomely and making himself generally popular with the establishment. However, having no legitimate employment, and £1000 not stretching too far, when the creditors began to give Gabriel meaningful looks and harrumphing (Gallically), Gabriel hightailed it for the Gare de l'Est with just enough cash to hop on the Orient Express for Vienna, where events were going to take an unexpected and decidedly interesting turn.....
Reform Club (standards are slipping)
Whites (blackballed for taking too much interest in the silver plate)
Boodles (extremely popular among the female members – for his skills as a raconteur, thank you - and finds it a convenient bolt hole from the law)
Smith’s Kitchen (has a key to Greek Street entrance)

Can be found at The Albany, occasionally.

Character Profiles

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