Okay, so the ABC recently showed a bunch of television adaptations of Jane Austen’s most popular novels.
Anyone who’s seen even a snippet of one of these programmes (or perhaps even read Jane Austen… blegh) will know there is a basic set formular to these stories. (Romantic entanglements, incestual crushes, comedies of error, etc.)
And I’m not saying I’m a literary genius or anything, but I tried my hand at one of these period-piece things in the loose form of a screenplay, and I have to say… it was a piece of piss.
Anyway, judge for yourself… there will be more installments to come, in the form of chapters. But for now, please enjoy the first installment of…
A tale of somewhat captivating romance, and stuff… I guess.
Chapter 1: Henrietta
We begin our story at the eponymous Stuffypants Manor. A large estate owned for generations by the Estrogen family. Well known members of English society for reasons lost to time, but they have a lot of money so no one seems to really care, as long as they throw wicked-cool parties every so often.
Sir George Estrogen, the tall, balding head of the Estrogen family, waits outside the servants quarters of the Stuffypants Manor, for any news.
Within the servants quarters, Sir George and Lady Estrogen‘s favourite servant, Miss Lovechild is giving birth. Doctor Pepper is presiding over the birth. Lady Estrogen and the other female servants are helping.
Doctor Pepper: (To Lady Estrogen) I’m afraid it doesn’t look good m’lady.
Lady Estrogen: What do you mean?
Doctor Pepper: Well, m’lady, Miss Lovechild is losing a lot of blood. She may not survive giving birth… but we may be able to save the child.
Lady Estrogen: Oh dear… how horrible. Now who will wash my petticoat before tonight’s ball?
Doctor Pepper: I don’t know if that’s imperative right now ma’am…
Lady Estrogen: Oh, you’re right I suppose… (To the rest of the servants) I say ladies, if Miss Lovechild dies, I should like one of you to take over her petticoat cleaning duties for today.
With one last great push, Miss Lovechild finally gives birth. Doctor Pepper gathers the crying child in his arms and shows her to Miss Lovechild.
Doctor Pepper: It’s a girl, dear. What shall you name her?
Miss Lovechild: I… shall call her… Lisa.
Miss Lovechild takes one final breath, and passes away.
Lady Estrogen: Poor thing… That name shall never do… I like Henrietta more, let’s call her Henrietta. It’s such a wonderfully fitting name for a recently-oprhaned bastard child!
Doctor Pepper: Good show, ma’am.
Sir George enters the room.
Sir George: Is it over? Can someone make me my sandwich now?
18 and a half years pass and it is now 1812. It’s a beautiful spring day, and Stuffypants Manor is as resplendant as ever. Lady Estrogen is relaxing in the garden with her sister Isabelle ‘Itchy’ Hymen and her pug dogs, Sir George is thrashing a gardener for stepping on his rose patch, and Henrietta Lovechild, now grown up into a beautful young lady, is in the sitting room with her best friend, the not nearly as beautiful, and quite chubby, Penny Arcade.
Penny Arcade: Oh Henrietta, Stuffypants Manor just looks so lovely today! You must feel so blessed that Sir George allowed you to be adopted into his wonderful, rich, somewhat turbulent and melodramatic family.
Henrietta: Yes Penny, I do. Although at times, I do so feel like just a servant’s daughter. Like when my dear step-sister Dianne throws her scolding hot soup in my face… or when my step-brother Peter pushed me down the stairs.
Penny Arcade: Or when we laugh behind your back about that mole on your neck.
Henrietta: You what?
Penny Arcade: Oh Henrietta, It’s such a gorgeous day today!
Henrietta: It certainly is, and even more gorgeous now, for I have just gotten news that Charles is back from sea, and coming to stay with us in a few days!
Penny Arcade: Charles Whitmans-Sampler? You’re totally dreamy step-cousin?
Henrietta: The very same!
Both girls giggle uncontrollably.
Penny Arcade: Why, you’ve had a mega-crush on him since you were small children…
Henrietta: I know!
Penny Arcade: …and he showed you his doodle behind the lemon tree.
Henrietta: God, I wish I didn’t tell you about that, Penny.
Later that evening, the family gathers for dinner. Present at the dining room table are Henrietta, Sir George and Lady Estrogen, their children Dianne and Peter Estrogen, Penny Arcade, Itchy, and her daughter Valerie Hymen.
Sir George: So, Itchy, I hear you are very swiftly climbing the social ladder in London?
Itchy: Why, yes George. It’s all very exciting. My dear husband The Admiral is quite the Man of the hour…
Sir George: Ah yes, how many Russian ships did his fleet sink again?
Itchy: Five whole man-of-wars! And for the loss of only twelve of our own I might say!
Everyone at the table mutters expressions of congratulations.
Henrietta: Oh, Aunty Itchy, do you think our dear cousin Charles Whitmans-Sampler will ever go through the ranks from midshipman to Admiral?
Lasy Estrogen: Oh dear Henrietta… dear, stupid Henrietta… Charles has a long way to go yet. He hasn’t even recieved his hazing initiation yet!
Everyone at the table finds this amusing except Henrietta, who feels embarassed.
Itchy: Oh yes, The Admiral still remembers his hazing well, he still cant look at a jib without his anus hurting!
Dianne: I personally can’t wait to see Charles… we used to get along so well when we were children.
Sir George: Ah yes, I seem to recall he showed you his doodle… behind the lemon tree wasn’t it?
Dianne: No. (Jealously looks at Henrietta) That was Henrietta.
Henrietta looks down at her feet.
Lady Estrogen: Peter dear, where were you all afternoon?
Peter: Uh, hunting with Toby Lefroy, mother.
Lady Estrogen: You certainly spend a lot of time with that Toby Lefroy, Peter. I swear, Itchy, those boys go out galavanting all day, and whenever Peter returns home his clothes are always in such disarray! Untucked and back-to-front!
Peter: Mother, please…
Lady Estrogen: And he’s always covered in sweat and is short of breath-
Peter: I, uh, I’m going to bed. Goodnight.
Everyone at the table looks awkwardly around.
Lady Estrogen: Ah, he’s such a gay boy… so happy and joyful!
Henrietta goes to bed later that night, though she can barely sleep, because she knows Charles will be visiting in a few days. She drifts off to sleep and dreams of the wonderful times she will have with her childhood crush, dancing and laughing and perhaps him showing her his doodle again, but little does she know that in the near future, Stuffypants Manor will experience some of the toughest hardships it has known.