(Originally posted July 2009)
(Note: this image has not been photo-shopped by a 50 year old, financially strapped, unemployed spinster in Fall River).
In various interviews at the time of the murders, Lizzie Borden had been described as “odd” by some who knew her. During her younger years it has been said by Michael Martins, Curator of the Fall River Historical Society, she did not have the proper dresses to attend the elegant grand parties up on “the Hill”. But it is now known Lizzie did attend some parties – according to the private journal of an old school chum of Lizzie’s – owned by an elderly descendant who is still living in Fall River. However, there is nothing on record, as yet, of Lizzie ever having a boyfriend or romance during her teens and early twenties. I suspect her alleged moodiness and being “odd” was a put-off by the opposite gender.
A few years ago, a letter was among papers again donated to the Fall River Historical Society by a descendant of a prominent FR family. The letter is written by a gentleman who attended a reception at the Central Congregational Church welcoming back Lizzie and her travel companions from their 19 week Grand Tour of Europe. In the letter he writes that Lizzie was the last of ladies awaiting an escort home and that he did his duty. The reception was held November 11, 1890 – Lizzie was 30 years old.
Pure conjecture, but (taken from one of my scripts) it might have gone something like this: (Please excuse the formatting as the Final Draft script software is not wholly compatible with the cut and paste as Word feature here.)
INT. 1ST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH – ONE WEEK LATER – NIGHT
The Young People’s Society of Christian Endeavor is having a reception for the ladies return of The Grand Tour. The church vestry is decorated with fresh flowers and there is an orchestra and refreshments. Young men and women in fine clothes mix and talk with the ladies and others in attendance. Older men and women of the church are also gathered. It is all gay and laughter with lots of background conversations. Lizzie, along with her travel companions, have been getting much attention from those asking about their trip. Jerome Borden, a second cousin to her, stands talking with CHARLES HOLMES, banker.
What surprises me is that old Andrew paid for any of it.
Not too far-fetched, from what I’ve heard. I’ve noticed he seems to be much more at ease these past weeks, judging from his appearance at board meetings.
Mrs. Holmes walks over with Lizzie and Reverend Buck.
Charles, Reverend Buck has told me Reverend Jubb has been talking of returning to England in another year.
I hadn’t heard that.
Well, my dear, there is a great deal you have not heard. We must find the time to catch up.
Jerome and Charles give a knowing look of gossiping women.
Where is your father and Abby, Lizzie? Did they not come for the reception?
Lizzie looks at Jerome, then to Reverend Buck who recognizes the awkward moment.
I see Alice Russell waiving to us. Shall we join her?
Reverend Buck takes Lizzie’s arm and walks with her.
Yes, I’m surprised they are not here.
Well, if the truth be told, all is not right in that house.
I’ll say no more. I’ll say no more.
MRS. HOLMES spots someone in the crowd. She waives her arm in the air.
Yoohoo! Yoohoo, Mrs. Chase. Excuse me, gentlemen.
She gathers her skirts and scurries across the room.
INT. – CHURCH ENTRANCE
The evening has ended and the last of the people are leaving, saying goodbyes, getting into carriages. One by one they leave, the ladies being escorted by the young gentlemen for carriage rides home. Lizzie is the last of the ladies left, a few young gentlemen still stand around, talking among themselves. Mrs. Holmes and two other women are very much aware Lizzie needs an escort and no one has offered to take her home.
Excuse me Lizzie, I think I left my purse inside.
As she moves towards the few young men remaining, Mrs. Holmes taps one of the gentlemen motioning him inside. She whispers something in his ear and with a slight grimace, he looks over his shoulder towards Lizzie.
CLOSE ON LIZZIE who stands awkwardly staring blankly. The young man reappears at the entrance stepping towards Lizzie.
(tipping his hat)
Excuse me Miss Borden. May I escort you to your home?
Mrs. Holmes reappears at the entrance, with her purse in hand and cloak on.
We are leaving now, too, Lizzie. Such a short walk we have for such fine night air. I see you have an escort to take you home. Goodnight Lizzie. Goodnight.
Lizzie walks out of the church, the young man trailing after her, resolved to do his duty.