31 Plays in 31 Days, #28 – “Loyal Servant of the Empire”

I hate how this turned out. It was written too fast and without the planning that it needs. It’s an important scene from Mrs. Hawking part four, but it messes all the important parts up.

In the flashback to Mrs. Hawking’s youth in the Asian colonies, I want there to be some injustice happening there for her to want to deal with. But I need to be careful about what it is, as I’m telling a colonial story and I don’t want my white protagonist to be some Mighty Whitey standing up for native people who are used as a faceless or token plot device. I haven’t done enough research to figure out how to deal with that yet. So there’s some vague “problem” in this scene alluded to, but I don’t know what it is yet so it’s non-specific and totally meaningless.

The second problem is, I want an element of this story to be how the young Reginald Hawking has just established a reputation as the hero of the Indian Rebellion. But anytime somebody brings it up, he tries to avoid having to talk about it– implying without coming out and saying it that he is uncomfortable with what he did there and would prefer not to dwell on how they treated him like a hero for doing something awful. In this, it makes it way too blatant, taking out the speculation as to what he’s feeling. I did it completely inelegantly, so it’ll have to be completely rewritten.

This will ALL have to be rewritten. Bah. But I’m almost done with 31P31D 2016, so I’ve just got to fill the quota.

Day #28 – “Loyal Servant of the Empire”
From Gilded Cages
By Phoebe Roberts

VICTORIA STANTON, daughter of the colonial lieutenant governor, late teens
REGINALD HAWKING, army captain stationed in the colonies, early thirties

British colonies, 1859

(VICTORIA storms in with REGINALD chasing after her.)

REGINALD: Miss, get a hold of yourself. This shan’t solve anything.

VICTORIA: Then what will, Captain? Keeping a stiff upper lip before the vagaries of the empire?

REGINALD: A great number of men have justified their own ends that way.

VICTORIA: Of course you defend it. The empire’s loyal servant.

REGINALD: And I do as the empire commands. Not as I choose.

VICTORIA: Then what good are you?

REGINALD: Do you think I don’t understand? How terrible the business of empire can be? You needn’t explain it to me, miss.

VICTORIA: Indeed? You made your name as the hero who quelled the Indian rebellion.

REGINALD: Yes. Just so. And do you know, then, just what that called upon me to do? Do you think I had no thought as I was putting down desperate peasants? It had to be done, in the end. We brought them a great deal, of course. Culture. Technology. It was all for the best. But it struck me that, to them… they were just striking out for their people and their home. Much as we might, in another case. But the rebellion had to be put down. And so we did.

VICTORIA: And so you did.

REGINALD: And they called me hero for it.


VICTORIA: I am not a soldier. I take no orders. And I won’t stand for this.

REGINALD: So what will you do?

VICTORIA: I don’t know yet! But you won’t see me stand by!

REGINALD: I’m not saying you ought to. But you won’t achieve anything without a plan.

VICTORIA: Then what?

REGINALD: Then let me help.

VICTORIA: Why would you do that?

REGINALD: Because it is wrong. And if you mean to take it on… I can’t allow you to do it alone.

VICTORIA: You owe me nothing.

REGINALD: It isn’t a matter of owing.

VICTORIA: Then you’d take this on out of the goodness of your heart?

REGINALD: I want to do the honorable thing. But… Miss Stanton… it isn’t only that.

VICTORIA: What is it?


VICTORIA: Why are you looking at me like that?

REGINALD: My God, Victoria. Don’t you know?

(VICTORIA stares at him, uncomprehending. REGINALD straightens and composes himself.)

REGINALD: Tell me what you need, miss. I’m at your service.

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