Jack Hobbs may be in service at Darkwood’s side, but he is her most trusted confidant, ally and companion. It is a position earned through his unwavering loyalty when faced with the shadowy, frightening and dangerous otherworld Darkwood skirts in her determined pursuit of justice and truth. Short, and slight, what he lacks in physicality he makes up for with scrappiness and a well swung cosh, and his extensive knowledge of London’s warren of lanes and alleys and their seamy life. Yet it is his openness, his acceptance of what others might dismiss or reject in Darkwood’s strange encounters, the way he speaks his mind, and his mischievous humour which Darkwood values the most in his company. These things prevent Hobbs from ever being ‘just’ a servant and maintains him always as a cherished companion.
Born to the poverty of London’s East End, Hobbs’ mother died in his first year, and his father left him in the care of neighbours in their tenement while he travelled at sea as a merchant sailor. His father never returned. Hobbs’ upbringing and care passed again and again to those who had need of labour, and family was only had among other lost children. He would wonder at the fate of his father and why he had not returned for him, but, like so many others around him, he assumed he had been abandoned to the city, and family meant little in the day to day struggle to survive. He knew no other life, and never imagined it could change as it would when he encountered Emily Darkwood—an orphan herself.
Although Hobbs knew the risks of the street well enough to avoid the ends so many experienced, the dangers paled against the criminal and supernatural threats he experienced through Darkwood. The compensation was in knowing he was the first she had invited into her world, and they would share a secret life and tread a hidden path together through the city, and through their work together he would see good challenge evil. He had a purpose and life had meaning beyond mere survival. While Hobbs could only enter Darkwood’s circle by leaving the streets behind him as her servant, he found himself valued and treated as an equal at her side in her endeavours. Through Darkwood, he had a place he could consider home, an income, an education, a life where he could choose his future, and most valued by Hobbs—he had her care for him.
Despite his gratitude, his devotion can border on proprietorial in the company of other allies where his position and contributions might not be recognised—an insecurity fed by his comparative youth, his build, his consciousness of his station; and he is resigned to a depth of feeling for Darkwood which he knows will never be returned—and fears that if it were known would tarnish him in her eyes. Through his exposure to the dark side of the city in his fight to survive childhood he has an acceptance of rough justice by any means in defence of Darkwood, an approach which not only threatens his innocence, but the very position and relationship he covets and protects…
Join Darkwood and Hobbs for Victorian horror and adventure in ‘The Darkwood Mysteries‘. The collection is available for pre-order for release this Halloween.