Stump Family

Seeking Narcissa

All mothers have ambition for their sons, whether that be to maintain the family farm after pa has popped his clogs or the money is scraped together to provide an education that might see a poor farming family take the first rung on the ladder towards middle class.

Climatis Venera Stump was not one of those mothers. She wanted luxury and comfort now. She had been unfortunate to have been the last of a long line of daughters to cruel parents determined on a son and had been married off at the earliest opportunity to one Fastidious Stump – a farmer of low income and bad breath in Knutsford. A canny woman of some ambition, she knew quickly that being with Fastidious would never allow her to climb up even a single strata but a cruel, well-trained son had a better chance. And goodness knows how she tried; the infusions, the séances, the crying dear god to any deity listening, but sons were not a blessing unto her. Daughters arrived one after the other to a mixed childhood coddled and adored by their father and disdained and treated like unpaid domestics by their mother. They were happy to escape into bonded matrimony as soon as possible. However, Climatis persisted even after Fastidious had long since hung up his erotic boots, but nothing she could do would tempt him into having another baby and her charms, fleeting as they were, had no more power. So taking herself off to the local tavern The Bawdy Backdoor, she imbibed alongside the rough and ready locals who after several flagons of Scrumpy suddenly became aware that she was a woman. Seeing potential through her own drunken eyes, she led the magistrate Gerald Hungundhow to the privy where frank exchanges were passed back and forth. It was never spoken of again. However, some things cannot be kept hidden and six months later, Climatis was very much showing signs that the thirteenth child was going to wave hello very soon, and an enraged Fastidious threw her out into the street wanting no more to do with her. Through the rain, she wandered to Gerald’s bespoke family home where a horrified and regretful magistrate desperately attempted to pay her off to never speak of that night. Climatis was not going to be bought silent and bargained for a home and lifelong payments for her son or she would ensure the whole world knew where her baby came from. With no other choice, he arranged purchase of a townhouse in Manchester and regular payments as long as she never returned to Knutsford. Before leaving, she paid a visit to her current husband asking to be allowed to prepare him one last meal before departing forever. Agreeing out of sentiment, he seemed to really enjoy his beef broth laced with poison hemlock and he ended his days slumped in the armchair by the fire. Gerald had no choice but to declare the death as natural and the farm became hers to sell, which she did, leaving nothing to her army of poverty-stricken daughters. As she left the town for Manchester, more than one person noted that some malevolent spirit had finally been exorcised.

Settling into her new home, now able to afford servants, Climatis was overjoyed to finally give birth to a son whom she named Calamitous Stump, her pride and joy. Spoiled and with every whim catered to, he was the scourge of the staff and avoided by every child and teacher at school. He became famous for his searching stare which bore straight into your soul. He doted on his mother, however, and seemed her exact mirror image in appearance and personality. When he turned 18, she told him the truth about his heritage and that he should claim what is rightly his by blood. Together they travelled to Knutsford and arrived on the Hungundhow’s doorstep where a shocked and distraught Gerald confessed all to his wife. Wishing at any cost to avoid a scandal, she agreed to give up the house and land to them in return for never whispering another word. The combined sale of both houses allowed the Stumps to buy a large townhouse in London where they were welcomed as aristocracy and used their considerable resources to climb the social ladder, knocking anyone off who got in their way. Calamitous eventually coerced the young Lady Pulchritude Titty Bazooms into marriage and inherited her father’s tea shipping business upon his sudden and unexpected death, blossoming into the sole provider of tea to the British Empire within 20 years. Just before she breathed her last, Climatis saw her son knighted by the King and eight grandsons running around terrorising the cat.

She was pleased and the tentacles of the Stump began to spread far and wide.