This is the first time I’ve ever written about Justin Hawking, Nathaniel’s older brother, done on August 29th for 31 Plays in 31 Days 2013. I didn’t know too much about him then– where he lives, what he does, what kind of participation he can have in the larger story –but I knew I need to set him up to be able to contribute some sort of dramatic tension. This scene was kind of figuring out who Justin is, what he’s like. A major struggle of Nathaniel’s will be needing to move past his patriarchal upbringing, and the issues that come from being the youngest adult member of a family of old-fashioned and hypermasculine alpha males. I like the idea of setting up a conflict between him and his cool, charming-but-somewhat-jerkish older brother.
I’m not sure if this scene would actually happen the way it’s written here, but it’s interesting to think about.
Day #29 – “After the Funeral”
(NATHANIEL, dressed in funerary blacks, stands alone in the study. Enter JUSTIN, his older brother, similarly dressed.)
NATHANIEL: In here.
JUSTIN: Wondered where you’d gotten off to.
NATHANIEL: I wanted a bit of quiet.
JUSTIN: Certainly can understand that. Must say, the tide of mourners and well-wishers has started to wear on me as well.
NATHANIEL: Well, Uncle was a war hero. He had plenty of admirers.
JUSTIN: Are you all right? I know the two of you were quite close.
NATHANIEL: Afraid I’m not, Justin. I’m terribly blue over it. I am quite terribly blue.
JUSTIN: Well, buck up, little brother. We’re all going to miss the old fellow. It’s even put a crack in Father’s mien. I don’t think he ever expected he’d outlive his younger brother.
NATHANIEL: That’s not all of it, though.
NATHANIEL: It’s only that… well, it’s Aunt Victoria.
JUSTIN: What of her?
NATHANIEL: Didn’t you notice?
JUSTIN: Nothing particularly.
NATHANIEL: You didn’t happen to pay any notice to the widow at the man’s funeral?
JUSTIN: I stay well out of Aunt Victoria’s way if I can help it, you know that.
NATHANIEL: Well, if you hadn’t been hiding from her behind Mother’s hoop skirt, you might have noticed how she looked.
JUSTIN: Which was…?
NATHANIEL: Like a statue. Like a mask carved out of stone. All through the service, all through the receiving line after…
JUSTIN: In fairness, she is the strangest person I’ve ever met.
NATHANIEL: For Heaven’s sake, Justin!
JUSTIN: Well, she is.
NATHANIEL: She hardly said a word, she wouldn’t look a soul in the eye— that doesn’t strike you as the least bit troubling?
JUSTIN: She never says a word to me. Or looks at me, for that matter. Unless she’s upset with me. In which case this seemed a positive.
NATHANIEL: You’re an absolute ass.
JUSTIN: What have I done?
NATHANIEL: The woman just lost her husband of twenty years, you tit. She must be destroyed. And now she’s quite alone in the world.
JUSTIN: I suppose.
NATHANIEL: It doesn’t seem right to me.
JUSTIN: Perhaps not, but what’s to be done?
NATHANIEL: Someone ought to step in. See that she’s taken care of, that she has some proper company.
JUSTIN: Oh, heavens. How very dashing of you.
NATHANIEL: It’s a matter of responsibility.
JUSTIN: So now you’ve named yourself head of the family, eh?
NATHANIEL: Father lives too far off to do it, I’m the only one left in London. And it isn’t as if you would do it.
JUSTIN: That’s because I’m not a fool.
NATHANIEL: Very gentlemanly, Justin.
JUSTIN: Come now! It’s not as if she cares much for any of us.
NATHANIEL: That is most unkind, and not true besides.
JUSTIN: She has a strange way of showing it, then. Because I always got distinctly the opposite impression. Or else she’s just horrid.
NATHANIEL: You are horrid.
JUSTIN: Well, there’s one thing on which you and Auntie likely agree. All I mean is— your instincts are commendable, little brother, but I’m not entirely sure your effort shouldn’t go to waste.
NATHANIEL: Whatever else, the Colonel loved her. And he would want us to see that she was taken care of by his family. I mean to see that the decent thing is done.
JUSTIN: Suit yourself, Nathan. But she won’t thank you for it.
NATHANIEL: I don’t plan to do it for thanks.