from The Essential Paradise, series sourcebook
Doc. 6.22.11. Edit
Personal information Edit
- Full name: Clarice Elizabeth Howe
- Nicknames: ‘Sweet Clarice’
- Birthdate: 28 February 1988 (Pisces)
- Birthplace: Mercy Hospital, Hurricane Hole.
- Parents: James and Augusta Howe
- Nationality: Paradisian citizen, belonger
- Residence: (Old) Somerset Township, Eden I.
- Height: 155 cm [5 ft 1 in]
- Weight: 43 kg [94 lb]
- Figure: petite, slight; skinny legs, small feet
- Hair: blonde, wavy-to-straight, typically worn down or off to one side (the side varies)
- Eyes: blue
- Complexion: fair; suntans moderately well
- Ethnic background: English
- Religion: Anglican
- School: North Eden High School, Eden I.; O-levels: 2004
Story arcs: Janine, of Paradise; 2001-2005
Family history Edit
Clarice was born into a prominent Paradisian family. Her grandfather, Sir Carleton Howe, served as royal governor-general from 1973 till 1988, when, with the influence of (now Sir) David Holloway and (now Lord Paradise) Jonathan Cavaliere, he was replaced by Wiley Poole. This ousting reduced the entire Howe family to almost outcasts, down to Clarice’s generation; and she can probably trace her constitutional depression and lack of self-confidence to her grandfather’s political failure, which he continues to feel keenly.
The eldest of Sir Carleton’s three sons, Clarice’s uncle James, is a teacher of mathematics at West Islands High School. His brother, the Rev William Howe, is rector at St Andrew’s Church, St Alice, the home parish of Gwendolyn Dahl. Fr Howe’s wife, Elizabeth, is a teacher of dance and theatre at North Eden High School, where Clarice attends.
Clarice’s father, David Howe, is the youngest of Sir Carleton’s three sons and Territorial Minister for Housing and Welfare. Her mother, Augusta Anne Howe, is an active socialite known for her sincere, gracious charm, her keen wit, and her exceptional beauty.
Family life Edit
With her parents and younger sister Lisa, Clarice lives in Oxmead Street, Lower ('Old') Somerset. Though modestly-sized, the three-storey house, built in the 1950s, is surrounded by lush, aromatic gardens, tall tropical trees and a small pond, tastefully appointed with period furniture, English antiques, and fine art. The family keep two live-in servants, a maid and a footman, and employ a chauffeur for David Howe.
Clarice occupies a cosy, cluttered square bedchamber on the second floor; the room is painted in a rich mauve with violet, gold and bright-blue fabrics and accents, numerous potted plants, and a high four-posted full-sized bed in dark mahogany. One wall is of dark-stained island-pine bookcases, somewhat overstuffed with literature, paperback novels and childhood mementos. Clarice keeps a tambour desk in one corner, usually clear and tidy.
Her sister Lisa is three years younger and tends to revere Clarice as a role model. The two are often together, especially about town and at the beach. Clarice attended Oxmead School for primary and Somerset Township Elementary School through 4th form, when she achieved her class’s highest marks on the E-level exam. At North Eden High School she is known as a very strong student and serves as a student representative for her class.
Though petite, slender, slight, and naturally very fair, Clarice is known as a stunningly beautiful girl, a trait clearly passed down from her mother. She has long, silky, wavy blonde hair, which she usually wears down all around with a ribbon or headband about her head. Her sun colour tends to be slightly lighter and just a little pinker than that of most girls her age, but it is very well-established so that she does not burn and is apparently very comprehensive.
Though small-breasted she prefers bikini swimsuits, modestly including the top if she is not amongst friends who go topless. She is fond of t-shirt dresses, close-fitting sleeveless or camisole tops and extraordinarily short skirts, an early exemplar of what comes to be known as the Fashie look). For school she favours thigh-high hose and well-tailored frocks or round-collared blouses with short skirts.
Her collection of shoes is extremely extensive; some have remarked that she does not wear the same pair twice in a month. In Janine, the Terrible Beauty she shows off a pair of bright-yellow pumps, which she has bought in Queensway, the high street a block from her home. Janine notes that the shoes have 35-mm heels, about the lowest Clarice ever wears, at least casually. Otherwise she is very often barefoot, even when in a frock or skirt for the street, and as a child ran all over Lower Somerset without shoes as a matter of course.
Outwardly Clarice is known for being pretty, charming, academically intelligent and respectful, earning much praise and appreciation from teachers. Her marks are consistently in the mid-90s of percentile. Her handwriting is extraordinarily tidy, aesthetically appealing, and free from misspellings and poor grammar. She speaks in exquisite Queen’s English, much more quickly when with friends than before teachers or other adults, and is noted for so delicately wetting her Ts, Ps and Ds that hearing her speak is a sensual delight.
Destined always to be slender and short, and despite having bloomed less markedly than many of her second-form peers, she is a favourite amongst boys. Apparently they recognise the magnetic pull of her personal allure and find her fascinating on a sensual level, which pleases her greatly.
Due to lifelong ballet training, her poise is exemplary and her movements smooth, simple, and aesthetically pleasing.
A Pisces, Clarice is highly sensitive to her own feelings and those of others. She is frequently depressed or discouraged and has been known to leave a classroom, near tears, for having succumbed to some real or imagined slight. She is prone to night terrors, bad dreams, childish fears, and apparently random (and often transient) dislike of certain foods. Her closest friends, in particular Janine and the Devon Girls who have known her since starting secondary, alternatively shelter and challenge her, protective of her feelings even whilst they are aware that Clarice must grow out of such sensitivity in order to mature in a healthy way.
Clarice is also known for a striking sense of humour, which though able to amuse whole crowds of people is always tempered by the diplomacy she has obviously learnt from her parents. However poorly she may be feeling herself, she is never rude, disrespectful or cutting towards others; and she is universally regarded as a mannerly, cultivated, intelligent and respectable girl.
Teachers have often recommended that she pursue acting; but she does not join any scholastic theatre productions.
Nickname of ‘Sweet Clarice’ Edit
Some time during their 1st-form year, Janine and the Devon Girls begin referring to her as ‘Sweet Clarice’. Apparently, knowing her hypersensitive nature, they meant to focus on her many positive, admirable qualities, chief amongst which are her generosity and genuine affection towards friends. By the middle of their 2nd-form year none of them is afraid to refer to her as ‘Sweet Clarice’ even to her face, which at first they dreaded doing for fear of offending her. But to everyone’s relief, Clarice seems to have accepted the nickname as a kind of accolade or title, which, though potentially embarrassing, is only evidence of her friends’ love and respect for her. In the event, their conspicuous concern for her feelings does draw her a little further out of her shell, and she attends and hosts gay parties and cavorts with her peers at school, on the beach or on the street, proving herself as fun a friend as she is a wise and caring counsellor.
Hobbies and interests Edit
Clarice keeps a saltwater aquarium in the first-story den, one of only two or three hobbies she pursues. As her aunt Elizabeth teaches dance, Clarice was trained as a ballerina from an early age but discontinued lessons when she started NEHS, feeling awkward that her aunt was her teacher.
Her other hobby may be that of collecting clothes. Clarice has both a built-in wardrobe and an armoire cabinet in her bedroom and is noted for having filled them with a vast variety of frocks, gowns, skirts and tops, even trousers and coats. She tends to vent her frequent bouts of depression by going shopping and, as family finances provide her with ample spending money, has the freedom to spend lavishly on herself or, in company of friends, on them.
Clarice likes swimming, especially in the sea, and is an agile bodysurfer. She also enjoys sailing, though her family have no boat; she and Lisa have sailed most often on their uncle James’ 10-m [33-ft] ketch out of Ipping.
She is known as an avid board-games player and is exceptionally formidable at chess, at which she routinely confounds her father, uncles, and grandfather.
Sociopolitical views Edit
Whilst governor-general, Sir Carleton was noted for promoting many development schemes, especially in resort construction by off-island investors, which proved as detrimental to the islands’ environment as they were helpful to the economy. As his plans were replaced by the innovative and successful Development Codes, under Wiley Poole, Howean principles fell out of favour and their proponents, including Sir Carleton, relegated to a distant-minority view. Nevertheless the Howe family, with the exception of Fr William Howe, the rector, tend to be pro-Labour, supporters of Blair and advocates of limiting the House of Peers’ role to one of mere oversight, which places them at-odds with the more popular policies sponsored by Lord Paradise and territorial business- and landowners.
Clarice, though young, is politically astute and consistently defends the positive contributions of her grandfather and family, especially those of her father who as Minister of Housing and Welfare has worked well with the Peers in restricting development outside established urbanised areas and thus has earned popular respect in the territory. She often finds herself alone amongst friends from more Conservative-party families, which perhaps contributes to her sense of isolation and irrelevance.
Though she gravitates towards boys and confesses having had many romantic daydreams, Clarice has not dated anyone by the start of her 3rd-form year. Her own native shyness may be a factor; more likely is that, belonging to a noted family, having political connections but also the spectre of disfavour, many boys’ families will rule her out as an acceptable interest for their sons. However many boys have admitted attraction to her and, particularly at school, she is considered one of the more desirable girls, at least ideally.
She has declared no single best friend, besides her own sister, but counts Janine Hewlett, Stephanie Maber and Barbie French in particular as trusted friends. She is also close to Grace Stephenson, Patrice Dixon and Samantha Lowndes, with whom she attended Somerset schools and with whom she rides the bus to NEHS.
She has never been friendly with Christine Heywood, two years ahead of her, possibly because of the social rift between those of Upper Somerset and those of Lower ('Old') Somerset. A likelier reason is because of her loyalty to Janine, whose antipathy for Christine is both well-placed and well-known after the Janine’s Jealousy incident.
Appearance in the stories Edit
Clarice is mentioned in The Initiation of Janine as the Devon Girls attend her end-of-term party in January 2001. She makes her first actual appearance in Janine, the Terrible Beauty and thereafter appears infrequently, though substantively, throughout the series. She is ordinarily posed as a foil to Janine’s more trusting, more open and more optimistic manner, though, especially in Affair Of The Heart she is shown to be a wise, compassionate and much-appreciated personal counsellor to Janine during a stressful period.
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