Tag Archives: timeline

by

“True Gentleman” – a scene of Nathaniel and Clara in back story

No comments yet

Categories: scenes, Tags: , ,

I have a pretty good idea of the shape of the Hawking stories to come, most of which will be about exploring how our heroes grow and develop into the future of their team. Every now and then, though, I find myself imaging how things went in their back stories, moments that probably won’t feature in the plays but helped shaped the characters that we know them as today.

This scene written during my completion of 31 Plays in 31 Days 2016 deals with an idea I’m surprised I’ve never noodled with before. One little character bit in the Hawking stories that I enjoy is the fact that Clara and Nathaniel met through Nathaniel’s older brother Justin, because Clara dated Justin before she and Nathaniel got together. Their mild romantic history is alluded to in Base Instruments; it was Bernie’s idea and he pushed to include it. Basically, as they are the same age (three years older than Nathaniel) they came out in the same year, and so met while attending the same parties. They courted for a little while, until Clara got fed up with his interest in other girls and broke it off. She and Nathaniel got together gradually after that.

img_2830

This little scene is from five or so years before the first Mrs. Hawking play, and depicts how their relationship began to change into something that would lead to falling in love, getting married, and having a couple of babies.

“True Gentleman”
By Phoebe Roberts

NATHANIEL HAWKING, a young gentleman, early twenties
CLARA PARTRIDGE, a lady his brother courted, mid twenties

London, England, 1875
~~~
(A twenty-three-year-old CLARA PARTRIDGE dashes in and paces, fuming with the beginnings of tears in her eyes. After her comes a twenty-year-old NATHANIEL HAWKING. Both are in evening wear.)

NATHANIEL: I say, Clara! Are you— are you all right?

CLARA: Why, Nathaniel! What are you doing here?

NATHANIEL: Pardon me, but I saw you dash out of the ballroom, and worried something might wrong. When Justin didn’t go after you, I thought someone ought to.

CLARA: Well! That’s very kind of you. Justin shan’t be following after me, not if he knows what’s good for him.

NATHANIEL: Whatever do you mean?

CLARA: I mean I don’t think I shall be seeing so very much of Justin anymore.

NATHANIEL: You mean— oh!

CLARA: Yes, well.

NATHANIEL: I— I’m quite sorry. He hasn’t— done anything ungentlemanly, has he?

CLARA: He’s Justin, isn’t he?

NATHANIEL: That prat. What’s he done?

CLARA: Oh, never you mind.

NATHANIEL: If he’s hurt you, miss—

CLARA: Oh, you know him! It’s only that he has a wandering eye. One grows weary of feeling like the plainest girl in the room.

NATHANIEL: Goodness, Clara, you could never be that!

CLARA: Oh, my.

NATHANIEL: I mean— forgive me, but— as you said, that’s his way. It’s no fault of yours that he’s an absolute rake.

CLARA: Perhaps not. But I’ve no patience for it any more.

NATHANIEL: Nor should you.

CLARA: I only hope I haven’t made a perfect fool of myself. Losing my calm with him and dashing out of the ballroom for everyone to see. Certainly I’ve ruined the last dance.

NATHANIEL: Not at all. I’m sure no one paid it any mind.

CLARA: You did. You had to run out here after to me.

NATHANIEL: Well— I hated the thought that you might be alone in your distress.

CLARA: Thank you for that. It’s quite kind.

NATHANIEL: Think nothing of it, miss. And, please… never think that my blasted brother’s conduct means you’re not beautiful. If I may say so… I don’t know how any man courting you could look away from you.

CLARA: Why, Nathaniel…

NATHANIEL: Oh, that was dreadfully impertinent. Now you think I’m just as much a rake as he is.

CLARA: Not at all. Quite the contrary… you are a true gentleman, Nathaniel Hawking.

NATHANIEL: It means a great deal that you’d think so. Is there anything else I can do?

CLARA: You’ve been a great comfort to me tonight. Indeed, I think I shall be presentable to return. You ought to go out and enjoy the rest of the ball. You’re shipping out soon for your tour of service, aren’t you?

NATHANIEL: If you can call it that. They’re sending me to Newcastle, of all places.

CLARA: Sounds as though you’re in for an adventure.

NATHANIEL: Indeed, fighting off boredom as I keep the logbooks.

CLARA: They’ll make a soldier of you yet. Well, if you’ll excuse me, I had best find a place to freshen up. I’d like to make my return more dignified than my exit.

NATHANIEL: Certainly, miss.

(He bows and turns to go. Just before he exits, he turns back around.)

NATHANIEL: Miss, since it will be so dreadfully dull away in the armory, it would be very cheering to hear a word from home now and again. When I have a moment, might I write you? Some letters might be just the way to pass the time.

CLARA: I would like that, Nathaniel.

(He smiles, then bows again and exits. She watches him go with a new interest.)

Vivat Regina and Base Instruments by Phoebe Roberts will be performed January 13th-15th at the Boston Westin Waterfront Hotel as part of Arisia 2017.

Related Post

by

“The Cuff” – scribblings on the end of Mrs. Hawking’s mourning period

No comments yet

Categories: base instruments, development, scenes, Tags: , , , , ,

IMG_0694.JPG

So I’ve been working to figure out the Mrs. Hawking timeline to nail down when each story needs to happen. The main things to work around are that the first story takes place in 1880, to happen in proper proximity to the Indian Rebellion and the Battle of Kandahar, and I want the sixth story to have Mrs. Hawking taking on Jack the Ripper, which would happen in 1888. Six pieces need to be spread across that span, with an amount of time between them that is believable. I’ve decided that it makes more sense to place Base Instruments in 1883 rather than 1882, which is what I had originally been using for all other pieces of it written for this 31P31D, so that the second trilogy can be in 1885, 1886, and 1888, making no gap longer than two years.

If it’s happening in 1883, then, it occurred to me that means that Mrs. Hawking will be almost out of mourning for her late husband the Colonel. Mourning for widows was very regimented in Victorian England, so even if it didn’t match her own feelings or preferences, she would have to observe the etiquette so as not to attract unwanted attention and criticism. I don’t know if this is an especially useful scene to include in Base Instruments, but it’s an interesting thing to address.

The Cuff
by Phoebe Roberts

VICTORIA HAWKING, lady’s society avenger
MARY STONE, her housemaid and assistant

London, England, 1883
~~~

(MRS. HAWKING dresses to go out in public. She regards herself in the mirror. MARY neatens the vanity table.)

MRS. HAWKING: Two months now.

MARY: Two months of what?

MRS. HAWKING: Two months until I’m out of mourning.

MARY: Oh, my. I’d quite forgotten.

(She goes to the wardrobe and begins looking through the dresses.)

MARY: I haven’t looked at your old things since I came. I think it should all still fit.

MRS. HAWKING: I don’t much care.

MARY: Well, I should think it would be easier than having to shop.

MRS. HAWKING: I’ve no wish to return to colors. It isn’t as if I can dress how I like anyhow.

MARY: Well. If you kept to blacks, no one would think anything of it.

MRS. HAWKING: Mm.

(She holds up her right hand to look at her wedding ring.)

MRS. HAWKING: I wouldn’t mind dispensing with this, though.

MARY: Oh. I’m… not sure that’s done.

MRS. HAWKING: No. It is not. If you’re shackled to a man, you’re at least rid of him when he dies. But you remain in the cuff until you replace it with some living fellow’s.

(Pause.)

MRS. HAWKING: I had thought to bury the Colonel with his. But Nathaniel saved it, and gave it to me. He thought at the time I might like to have it.

MARY: Did you keep it?

MRS. HAWKING: It’s in a snuffbox in his dressing room. What else could I do? Like this, certain parties would object to anything less.

MARY: It’s a small thing, at least.

MRS. HAWKING: It keeps me beneath notice.

(MARY comes close to look at MRS. HAWKING’s ring.)

MARY: It’s beautiful.

MRS. HAWKING: India ruby. He was so proud.

8/21/14

Related Post

by

The Hawking timeline

No comments yet

Categories: supplemental, Tags: ,

When writing a story, particularly as far-reaching as with as many parts as I’d like this one to have, it’s very important to me that the various elements work out logistically. One of those ways is that it follows a workable timeline. I put a lot of work into making sure that the chronology in this story proceeds in a way that both makes sense and serves the story. It’s also a great way to procrastinate writing in a way that is maybe-kinda-sorta useful, and feels like writing. ;-)

This isn’t necessarily set in stone, if I find a reason to shift the chronology, or to nudge an event a year or two. But it’s interesting to have for reference, and to get a sense of cause and effect. I plan on adding to this as more significant events emerge in the plot, but here’s a good start to things that have already been established.

Some spoilers contained ahead!

~~~

1813 – Gareth Stanton is born

1819 – Dawson Frost is born

1820 – Cornelia (Stanton) is born

1823 – Ambrose Marshall Hawking is born

1829 – Reginald Prescott Hawking is born

1831 – Margaret Spenser is born

1833 – Walter Granger is born in Yorkshire

1837 – Cedric Brockton is born

1838 – Elizabeth Danvers is born
– Queen Victoria is crowned

1839 – Gareth Stanton and Cornelia (Stanton) are married

1840 – Victoria Stanton is born to Gareth and Cornelia Stanton

1846 – Cornelia Stanton dies

1850 – Celeste Leighton is born

1851 – Ambrose Hawking and Margaret Spencer are married
– Justin Lionel Hawking is born to Ambrose and Margaret Hawking

1853 – Clara Partridge is born
– Nathaniel James Hawking is born to Ambrose and Margaret Hawking

1855 – George Bracknell is born
– Elena Zakharova is born

1857 – April 14th – Princess Beatrice is born to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert
May 10th – The Indian Rebellion begins

1858 – Catherine Stone II is born to Edward and Catherine Stone
June 20th – The Indian Rebellion ends
Arthur Swann is born

1859 – Victoria Stanton and Reginald Hawking first meet
– Elizabeth Danvers and Dawson Frost are married

1860 – Mary Frances Stone is born to Edward and Catherine Stone
– Reginald Hawking and Victoria Stanton are married

1865 – Gabriel Matthew Hawking is born dead to Reginald and Victoria Hawking

1869 – Gabriel Leighton is born to Celeste Leighton

1870 – Celeste Leighton and Jacob Fairmont are married

1874 – Nathaniel Hawking and Clara Partridge are married

1875 – Beatrice Hawking is born to Nathaniel and Clara Hawking

1877 – George Bracknell and Catherine Stone II are married
– Reginald Prescott Hawking II is born to Nathaniel and Clara Hawking

1879 – August – Reginald Hawking dies of a burst ventricle in London, England
– Violet Bracknell is born to Catherine and George Bracknell
– Catherine Stone dies of scarlet fever in India

1880 – Edward Stone dies of scarlet fever in India
– William Gladstone wins the general election for Prime Minister
– Battle of Kandahar is decisive victory for Britain in the Second Afghan War
– September – Victoria Hawking finishes her year and one month of mourning
– Gabriel Leighton is kidnapped by Cedric Brockton
– October – Mrs. Hawking
– Mary Stone comes to work for Victoria Hawking
– Gabriel Leighton is rescued and returned to Celeste Fairmont

1881 – April – Victoria Hawking finishes second mourning
– Hannah Mason is raped by Christoph Austerlitz
– June – Vivat Regina
– Mary Stone and Arthur Swann first meet

1882 – October – Victoria Hawking finishes ordinary mourning

1883 – February – Base Instruments
– April – Victoria Hawking finishes half-mourning

1885 – Miss Stanton
– Victoria Hawking and Elizabeth Frost encounter each other in London again

1886 – Mrs. Frost

1887 – Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee

1888 – July – Jack the Ripper murders
Ripper

Related Post

by

Across the universes

No comments yet

Categories: looking ahead, supplemental, Tags: , , ,

It was suggested to me once by Jami Brandli, one of my excellent writing mentors at Lesley, that these Mrs. Hawking stories should exist in the same universe as The Tailor at Loring’s End and Mrs. Loring, stories I told about Fairfield, a small town in Connecticut, in the 1930s. They are set in fairly distinct milieus, but they both take place in more or less the real world and deal with somewhat similar ideas– they tend to be mysteries, and deal with themes like societal injustice, classism, and feminism. So there’s certainly something appealing about the idea. Thinking about it, the one other story-world of mine that I think could integrate into those others is The Stand, my series of cowboy stories from the American westward expansion period. It’s another historical fiction that takes place in more or less the real world. I like the idea of connections, that these various characters and story that I’m interested in could relate to each other in some way– maybe even meet.

The timelines do overlap a bit, but they are offset enough to curtail character interactions between the three. Space also makes for a real divide. The Stand takes place in 1849 in California, Mrs. Hawking in 1880s London, and Tailor at Loring’s End in Connecticut of 1934. To illustrate the point, it turns out that Mary Stone and Reginald Loring, patriarch of one of the important family in the stories, are about the same age. Which means, for example, if I ever wanted the leads of Mrs. Hawking and of The Tailor of Loring’s End to meet, Mary would be an old woman, and Mrs. Hawking herself probably wouldn’t be alive anymore.

But I would like to figure out some way to make connections between them. Character appearances, family relationships, that sort of thing. Bernie suggested that maybe Alice Loring from Tailor would be a good candidate for Mary’s eventual recruitment, when she assembles a team of heroic women. I also like the idea of some cool American cowboy– or more likely, cowgirl –showing up in London and bringing an adventure to Mrs. Hawking. Those two stories are thirty years, a continent, and an ocean apart, but perhaps an aged version of someone in The Stand or even one of their descendants. I’m not sure what the best way to do it is, but I would like to figure it out.

Related Post