BENTLEY FARNSWORTH "Bentley Farnsworth. Gentlemen's gentleman of Sydell Rowe for more then 20 years running." --Narrative.
Of the two main characters in The Continentals, I know much more about Fiona's background then I do Smythe's. I know about a fish cleaners daughter from a small fishing village in Swansea, South Wales who dreamed of a life of high adventure who ended up an agent in her majesties service. But Smythe? His past was much more vague. I knew he was the son of Randolph Smythe, the Queen's ambassador to the far east, but I knew nothing about his mother. I knew he spent a considerable time in Japan, but knew little detail about his childhood. I knew he was born and raised in Mansfordshire, but other then the name of his home (Sydell Rowe) I knew little about how he'd grown up there. The one thing that connected all the dots was Farnsworth.
Once I'd created Farnsworth things about Smythe's youth became clear simply because of the need for Farnsworth. I knew the young Smythe was a very studious boy who lost himself in books due to his father's constant absences (making Farnsworth an educated man) and his lack of a mother's care either through her death in childbirth or early in Smythe's childhood (making Farnsworth an excellent caretaker). I knew that Farnsworth became the young Smythe's "gentleman" when Smythe was 10 or 11 years old, charged at first with his supervision when left alone at Sydell Rowe or traveling abroad with his father the ambassador and then his care with the passing of Smythe's father some years later. So, Smythe is as much a product of Farnsworth's care of him as a young man as he is of his mother and father by birth.
I must admit that, of all the characters in The Continentals, Farnsworth was created as an after thought and added to The Continentals only after I started writing it. After I saw Michael Caine's performance as Alfred the butler in "Batman Begins". I was very much impressed with Caine's caretaker and confidante take on Alfred. I imagined Smythe and Fiona as 2 children constantly testing eachother at either fencing, or chess, etc, who were very desperately in need of adult supervision. So I created Farnsworth to given them a good "time out" when needed. And though Monique's take on him more closely resembles the Alfred from the old 60's Adam West "Batman" series (and rightfully so) tall, slender, studious, distinguished, and the very portrait of refinement, at his core Farnsworth is all Michael Caine's somewhat less then traditional take on the gentlemen's gentlemen. And exactly what Smythe and Fiona need.
In keeping with the twists and turns of The Continentals story, we take a slight U-turn back into the dangerous social circles of Mansfordshire's high society sect with the closest thing The Continentals will ever have to the Carrington's of "Dynasty"--The Poole's.