In Dawn of the Dreadfuls there were many things that did not sit well with me. Some were minor irks that I could work past, but the one for which I absolutely was prepared to throw the book threw an open window into a rain puddle for was the character of Lord Lumpley. It is safe to say that of all the characters I’ve ever come across his is the one I detest with a loathing that defies analogy. From the moment he is introduced to the way in which he meets his end this rude, crude, lecherous man is a bane.
As a general rule I don’t engage in writing fan fiction, but every now and then I come across something that plagues my mind. It could be a plot hole or just something so completely out of character and unsatisfying as to require my resolving it just so I can rest. It’s the whole I reject your reality and substitute my own thing for the sake of catharsis. And Lord Lumpley’s death requires a cathartic rewrite.
Here are my two alternate Lumpley endings:
- At the moment he learns of Lord Lumpley’s role in what became of his daughter Emily, Mr. Ward launches himself at the bloated baron, cracking Lord Lumpley’s skull with the bludgeoning object he had mere moments before been using to fend off the dreadfuls breaking through the barricades. To allow the Mayerton citizens the time to cram themselves into the walls and secret passages of Netherfield, the field doctor makes chum of Lumpley’s remains and tosses them out over the brain hungry horde from the balcony.
- After Lord Lumpley is revealed for the treacherous cad he is, he and his murderously efficient butler take advantage of a sudden surge of cadaverous hands breaching one of the barricades, scurrying of to his secret wine cellar. It is smaller, and completely unknown to any save himself and the butler for this is where his best stash is hidden. As he allows his butler to attend to securing the door, Lord Lumpley helps himself to his best port. He thinks what a shame it is that he will not have his success with Jane Bennet, but contents himself with thoughts that none save him will survive this fiasco. He mentally composes the story he shall tell the Prince Regent of how he tried to save the town by gathering them at Netherfield and fortifying it with the garrison, but alas they were overrun in spite of such brave and selfless men. Smiling the baron closes his eyes to imagine the adoration of many of the courtier ladies as his tale will no doubt affect them. His imaginings are so vivid that he is sure he can feel a lady’s hand caressing his most English of parts. Suddenly he screams, eyes flying open as his most English parts are removed by a none too gentle hand. And though the hand did indeed belong to a female, she was no lady of the court. Lord Lumpley’s shrieks continue as other women from his past emerge from the packed dirt floor to devour him one last time, though oddly enough when it came to his brain it didn’t seem to hold the same fascination for the zombies as other brains did. Apparently, as he thought so little with the head upon his shoulders, the part most ravenously fought over was well below his shoulders. The zombies turn on the butler, but quickly lose interest in the gray man who’s flavor proved just as dull.
The first I believe to be more plausible, while the second is completely cathartic for me.
What do you think of my proposed alternate endings for the death of Lord Lumpley? Or were you pleased with how he ended?
*Photo: A wine cellar in Montepulciano, Tuscany by Lee Coursey, obtained through Flickr.