EXT. Ship Deck-Day
FLORENCE CHANDLER stands on the deck, her hands grip the rail as she squints against the sun as it glints against the abundant waves. The ship pitches and heaves and her stomach does the same. She is green and seasick yet still a vision to behold for the cunning and trolling eyes of James Maybrick. She is a young debutante and the picture of wealth and southern beauty.
James Maybrick slides up beside her unnoticed.
(whimpers and swallows hard)
Please no. Don’t.
JAMES MAYBRICK raises his hands and politely attempts to back away.
I’m terribly sorry Miss, I’ll be out of your way-
FLORIE CHANDLER starts and smiles bashfully and places a hand on her chest as she finally notices him.
Oh! You startled me…I wasn’t talking to you.
And who my dear were you talking to?
FLORIE CHANDLER blushes a touch of color against her pallor.
The waves the ocean…
Are you seasick?
Yes, and I can’t help but keep thinking that land is just beyond the horizon.
JAMES MAYBRICK chuckles in spite of himself.
I am genuinely sorry to hear that, Miss. We have only departed this morning.
I know that. It’s just- and you Sir, if you don’t me asking, where are you from?
Liverpool, England. I know for a fact this voyage lasts six days.
Dear me- Liverpool, what is that like?
My favorite time of the year is June when everything is in full bloom.
That sounds lovely, I would very much like to see it someday.
I am sure you will.
The ship pitches. Young Florie who is too busy staring at James, she looses her footing and falls into his arms.
FLORIE CHANDLER pulls away after a prolonged moment.
I am so sorry Mister-?
JAMES MAYBRICK gives her a proper introduction.
FLORIE CHANDLER reciprocates the greeting.
Florence Chandler. I prefer Florie.
Well Florie, it is a pleasure to make your acquaintance. I am sorry we couldn’t have met under more pleasant circumstances. I would very much like to see you again, and it is my selfish hope that time will go by as slow as you think it does now.
FLORIE CHANDLER blushes and blurts out
Will you please have dinner with us?
INT. GALLEY- Nightfall
James Maybrick joins Florie, her mother the Baroness Caroline Chandler Du Barry von Roques, her older brother Holbrook and the Ship’s Captain for dinner.
JAMES MAYBRICK is as guile as ever as he’s introduced to Florie’s Mother.
My Madam, that is a lot of surnames. I am so pleased to meet you.
The Baroness Caroline Chandler Du Barry von Roques blushes just like her daughter.
Florie’s older brother HOLBROOK is uptight and having none of it.
Mr. Maybrick, from what I hear of the cotton trade, if it is going so well for you, whatever would possess you to want to leave the country?
FLORIE CHANDLER chides her older brother.
Death. You see not too long ago, I was mere inches from dying. Stricken with severe case of malaria my own mortality was almost squashed by a singular mosquito.
James Maybrick swats the table for effect.
Both Florie and her mother jump.
JAMES MAYBRICK mainly addresses Florie at this point with the utmost sincerity.
I will never forget gasping for air, each new breath drawn was a battle. I couldn’t breathe, but I could think. Oh God, I could think. It all became frighteningly clear that this was the end and everything that I worked for was for nothing. I thought about my legacy for there was none. Unwed, no children to speak of and no one to carry out my name. It occurred to me that material wealth is not everything. There was family. But by then I thought it was too late for me. With luck, I have recovered and have been redeemed.
Florie Chandler practically swoons.
The Baroness Caroline Chandler Du Barry von Roques has her eyes on the Ship’s Captain.
INT. FLORIE’S ROOM- NIGHT
Young Florie is in her bedroom, getting ready for the evening. There is lightness about her- a radiance. She picks up her sleeping gown and dances with it daydreaming about a bright and brilliant future.
I’ll be the bell of the ball,
and make every social call.
I’ll have my fortune and my fame,
and cotillions in my name.
I’ll put on airs in all affairs.
Oh, how happy I will be in high society.
A stranger to strife never work in my life
if I could be your wife. Oh James.
EXT. SHIP DECK – night
JAMES MAYBRICK roams the deck alone at night unwilling to retire just yet.
Your beauty cannot compare
to such fruit that life can bear.
With your flowing golden hair
and your lovely dead-eyed stare
like you are neither here or there
With a figure so widely storied
you will be my crowning glory
and I’ll lithely slip inside Dear Florie.
James Maybrick doses.
EXT. DOCK- Day
The SS Baltic reaches land six days later. Two of the five Maybrick brothers show up the dock up to greet James, Michael and the younger brother Edwin.
James Maybrick grins like a cat that ate a canary.
Florie Chandler is linked at his elbow completely over the moon.
Behind them is Holbrook and the Baroness.
Holbrook sneers in their direction.
Michael Maybrick’s face changes in a look of growing concern as the happy couple approaches.
Edwin Maybrick leers at Florie.
Who is this?
JAMES MAYBRICK greets his siblings exuberantly.
My brothers, how good it is to see you again! I would like you to meet my fiancée Florence Chandler.
You’re engaged to be married?
FLORIE CHANDLER greets each of the Maybrick Brothers with a big squishy hug. She can no longer contain her excitement.
Isn’t it grand?
MICHAEL MAYBRICK is less than thrilled.
You met in Norfolk I take it.
Oh, no. We met on the ship.
(in shock and disbelief)
On the ship? It’s a six day voyage!
MICHAEL MAYBRICK leans in closer to James just to make sure he’s hearing him right.
How old is she?
Michael Maybrick clamps his mouth tightly shut unable to respond.
EDWIN MAYBRICK gives James a good nudge with his elbow.
Edwin then turns his attention to Holbrook who is still glowering even with all the excitement.
EDWIN MAYBRICK (cont)
What is going on with him?
James Maybrick shrugs.
MICHAEL MAYBRICK still glowers at his brother.
(under his breath)
My brother is an idiot.