This was an experiment in a Hawking backstory scene, written on August 24th for 31 Plays in 31 Days 2013. Back in the day, a young soldier by the name of Reginald Hawking tells his older brother Ambrose of a remarkable young woman he’s just made the acquaintance of. I used this as an exercise about getting the point across even though the characters do not have an accurate assessment of the situation. See for yourself how well I did.
I’m not sure this conversation could have ever actually taken place in the timeline– because Reginald would have to be stationed in the colonies, and his older brother would already have been married and settled by then and likely not living close enough to have a real-time conversation with. Justin and Nathaniel might have even been born by this point. It’s a shame it’s not canon, so to speak; it’s thus far the first and only thing I’ve ever written in Ambrose’s voice. But nothing is ever really wasted, even if it can’t be used in its original form. You may also notice that pieces of this scene were adapted for use in the “Like a Loss” ten-minute play.
Day #24 – “The Lieutenant’s Daughter”
(Enter REGINALD, with a giant black eye.)
AMBROSE: What the devil happened to you?
REGINALD: Do you know the Lieutenant Stanton? The territorial governor?
AMBROSE: The territorial governor blacked your eye? By Jove, Reggie, whatever did you do?
REGINALD: It was his daughter.
AMBROSE: He blacked your eye over his daughter!?
REGINALD: No, Ambrose–
AMBROSE: Reginald, what’s come over you!?
REGINALD: Ambrose! She did it! She blacked my eye!
AMBROSE: You’re joking! His daughter?
REGINALD: Hand to God, sir.
AMBROSE: Still– I must ask– what did you do to her?
REGINALD: I– well, I tried to rescue her. I thought she was about to fall from the tree she was in.
AMBROSE: She was up a tree?
REGINALD: Climbing it. I thought she was falling, so I raced over to her. But she landed like a cat, whirled out of my arms, and her fist shot out faster than I could blink.
AMBROSE: Why, the little minx!
REGINALD: Like a striking cobra, she was. Hardly saw her move.
AMBROSE: Had she taken leave of her senses?
REGINALD: Damn near knocked me bum over teakettle.
AMBROSE: Her father had a thing or two to say about it, I’m sure.
REGINALD: He didn’t know.
AMBROSE: How could he not know?
REGINALD: I didn’t tell him, at any rate.
AMBROSE: But such behavior–
REGINALD: Ambrose! Surely I’d frightened the girl when I came at her from nowhere!
AMBROSE: Well, naturally. But surely the lieutenant wondered at your blighted eye!
REGINALD: Told him I’d gotten it boxing with the lads. She has enough of a hook that you’d never know the difference, eh?
AMBROSE: That’s barking madness, Reg.
REGINALD: Jolly well may be.
AMBROSE: Did the girl seem off otherwise to yu?
REGINALD: That’s the trick, Amber. She wasn’t like anything I’d ever seen.
AMBROSE: How so?
REGINALD: I hadn’t done much more than see her before that. She spoke not a word but she had the sharpest eyes that ever mine had met. And for all the fight I must have given her dashing up like that, she took her shot as quick and cool as any man on the line. No dithering, no starting. Just one cold, dead-on strike.
AMBROSE: Surely you can’t have seen all that in the failing of a startled young girl.
REGINALD: There was something about her, Ambrose. Something… jolly well remarkable.
AMBROSE: She must have given you a right old drubbing. You’re acting odd enough.
REGINALD: Very funny.
AMBROSE: Well, at least now you know better than to bother with her any longer.
REGINALD: Bother with her? Far from it, brother.
(He gets up and exits.)
REGINALD: I think I’d like to marry her.