Author's Note: So, I was feeling sorry for Beadle Bamford, because he has no stories under his character filter. I don't think I should have to say this, but this is from the Beadle's point of view and contains opinions that are not mine. Warnings for animal cruelty, misogyny, and alcohol use. Don't they sound funny together?
Note: I'm not warning for Beadle Bamford's crush on Judge Turpin anymore. If you're offended by men being attracted to other men, I am not going to accommodate that.
Disclaimer: I don't own Sweeney Todd.
The Throat of a Bird
When Beadle Bamford returns from taking Miss Johanna to the asylum, he finds Judge Turpin slumped in an armchair in the library. He has a glass of brandy in his hand. Bamford can tell that this isn't his first glass of the evening.
"My lord," he says. Turpin looks at him with bloodshot eyes, and Bamford feels that odd ache in his chest that has bothered him since he met the judge twenty years ago. He thought so well of the man that he would've done anything for him. Not much has changed in twenty years, at least in that respect. "I delivered your ward to Fogg's Asylum, just as you asked. I believe a week or two there will make her realize the error of her ways."
"Very good," Turpin mutters, but he doesn't sound as though he means it. Bamford approaches him and takes the glass from his hand. Ordinarily, he wouldn't be so forward, but Turpin is very drunk. Anyway, he probably won't remember this in the morning. He gives up the glass without a fight, and Bamford sets it on the table.
"You know, my lord," he says carefully, "women are very fickle, especially at that age. You mustn't let her foolishness bother you. The sailor is just a passing fancy. Any woman in her senses would choose you over him."
Turpin picks up his glass again and downs its contents in one gulp. He looks so defeated that Bamford finds himself hating that prissy little baggage even more than usual. Miss Johanna reminds him of his wife's lapdog: useless and irritating but inexplicably beloved. He wishes that he hadn't shown such self-control in the carriage on the way to the asylum. He only used the amount of force necessary to restrain, but he should have broken her pretty little arm.
Finally, Turpin speaks.
"I don't want any woman. I want her."
"And you'll have her, my lord," Bamford assures him, although he has to suppress a groan. It's just like Turpin to pursue a woman who isn't worth the trouble. There's just something about the word "no" that drives him mad. "It's just a matter of time, and not that much time, either. Miss Johanna has been raised in luxury. She isn't used to hardship. I won't be surprised if she repents before the week is out."
Turpin doesn't seem to hear him. He just slams his glass on the table and buries his face in his hands. Bamford starts to approach him, but thinks better of it. A man in grief should be left to himself. So, for lack of something better to do, he selects a volume from the bookshelf and begins to leaf through it. Countless illustrations of exotic women in exotic poses pass before his eyes. All the same, he thinks. All women are the same, and girls always take after their mothers. If anything, they get worse. After all, Mrs. Barker could never match Miss Johanna for cruelty.
Before he leaves Turpin's mansion that night, he makes sure to slip into Miss Johanna's bedroom, where he finds her silent pet lark. With a quick twist of his fingers, he snaps its neck. Then he leaves it to rot in its cage. When she returns, defeated and broken, it will be the first thing she sees.
Author's Note: Obviously, I got the idea from that scene in the musical where Beadle Bamford snaps the neck of the bird that Anthony buys for Johanna. It's a good scene. I'm not sorry they replaced it with the "gandering" scene, though, because that was kind of hot, as ashamed as I am to admit it...