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Date of Birth: 7 July 1847.
The fifth child of eight, Topping often had to fight to be heard. With little attention to give to their middle child, the Toppings often left Robert to his own devices, to make his own fun. And though he was generally a content and charismatic child, Robert frequently found himself bored and alone, and regularly daydreamed that someday he might lead a more exciting existence.
One day, though he could never have predicted it, that longing became a reality. On a family outing to the market, little Robert wandered away from his siblings and was quickly lost in a maze of back alleys. Tired, confused, and unable to find his way back, he finally fell asleep in an empty crate. Upon awakening, he discovered that he his crate-cum-cradle had been relocated to the mobile stores of a travelling circus. An unlikely story, perhaps, but one Robert today insists is perfectly true.
The young stowaway (or runaway) found the nomadic lifestyle of the circus performers thrilling and elected to remain with them for several years, escaping the family home to amass all the knowledge that acrobats, harlequins, and ringmasters had to offer. When eventually the crew disbanded, Robert returned to the city full-time, though the Toppings found the stories of his supposed hijinks thoroughly unbelievable.
Ever resourceful, Robert later entered into the employment of his own uncle, whose illegitimate businesses promised another taste of a more exciting life. Today, the ambitious young Topping acts as a bookie for underground prize-fighting and street racing rings, but has greater hopes for the future. Though he may occasionally fall in with the wrong crowd, he is nothing if not a survivor and can generally talk (or trick) his way out of any tense situation.
Failing that, he can do some quick juggling.