'Gold' An alchemical adventure.A play by Andrew Dallmeyer
Act I. Scene 5.
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SCENE 5 The Quayside. Amsterdam Various passers-by. Enter a gypsy woman Meg. She carries a sack. She mutters furiously to herself "I must at all costs leave this Godforsaken place" etc. We cannot discern her words but she is clearly unhappy. She exits. Various passers-by. Enter Seton. He walks unsteadily like a man who has been long at sea. Various passers- by. To Seton they appear as if from another planet. Enter two young women. SETON Pardon me ladies, but I was wondering if you could direct me to an hostelrie or inn? A place, perhaps where I may lay my head for a night or two? (They look at one another in amusement. They giggle) Somewhere to sleep. To lay my head. (They look at one another and giggle.) A place to lie. You (he points at them) tell me (he points to himself) a place to sleep (he mimes sleep, with a pillow gesture). (The girls giggle) You! Me! Sleep! (The girls are under the impression that they have been propositioned. One of them gives Seton a fearful clout across the face.) SETON Ah! Ladies, I fear that you do not understand my meaning. (The girls go out. Seton sits down, nursing his jaw. Enter Meg. She looks at him, he looks at her.) MEG (In Latin) You! You are a sailor sir? SETON Eh? MEG (In Latin) At what time does your boat depart? SETON I crave your pardon madam but I fear that I do not comprehend your meaning. MEG What! What is this? Did I hear awright? Did I hear 'comprehend' and 'meaning'? SETON You did indeed. MEG Then woe is me for I fear that I have met an Englishman! SETON An Englishman! Do not insult me, for I am a Scotchman through and through. MEG A Scotchman, eh? Then God be praisit! For it is truly wonderful to hear some talk that is in a tongue that I can understand but to tell the honest truth to you, sir, I cannot abide the English. No! God bless you, sir, God bless you! (She embraces him) Scotchman! SETON And pray tell me, madam, whence comes yourself? MEG To tell the truth, sir, that is some story. Some story indeed sir! For all my natural life I have been houndit from post to pillar and from dale to dell, sir. Three times I have been taken for a witch and burnit, twice have I escapit clean away and once have I been left for dead sir. I have travellit along all the ways and woodlands of a dozen lands, sir. I have pickit the orange fruit from the tree in the land of Granada and crossit the frozen lake in the Nordic land of the midnight sun. So now no place do I call home but every place is home, sir. Up until the age of ten, sir, I livit in the land of Gwent in the town of Monmouth. Do you know it? SETON No, I cannot say that I do. Until this time I never venturit forth from the Scottish lowlands. MEG Then what brings you, sir, to Amsterdam? SETON That is also some story. MEG You are I think a sailor sir? SETON No. To trade I am a farmer. MEG A farmer, eh? That is too bad. For I am sorely in need of a boat. SETON A boat to where? MEG To anywhere, sir. To anywhere. For truth be told I do not greatly like this land, sir. SETON No? MEG No indeed. The people are alright, sir, to be sure for they are friendly and well mannerit enough. SETON Oh? MEG But there is not a mountain to be seen and such a landscape is mighty queer, sir, and what is more it fits not well my peculiar condition of mind. I have walkit much inland from here and I have seen strange sights indeed sir. Tall towers with revolving arms to catch the breeze and great wooden doors across rivers which open up to let the water pass and close again for to keep it in. All this have I seen and more besides. But hills and mountains have they none and Meg without her mountains is like a fish without water or a dog without a bone. What ails you with your cheek, sir, that you do rub it so? SETON Oh, tis nothing. MEG A bruise, is it? Now stay you there, sir! I have a remedy for that. (She rummages in her sack) SETON Pray what have you in mind madam? MEG Hold still sir! SETON What is it? MEG Tis but the leaves of agrimony. SETON But madam - MEG Do not jig about! Hold still! (She holds him forcibly and presses the leaves onto his cheek) There, there. It will soon soothe. Soft awhile! Soft! SETON I can see that you have learnit much in your hard life. MEG Hard life? No, sir, not so hard. Sometimes I have been cold and hungry to be sure, but no more often than most I believe. Besides I have seen the deer leap the brook at the first light of dawn and felt the warm rays of the midday sun. I have smelt the sweet smell of the fresh pressit grape and heard the brown owl hoot in the deep, black night. So when all is said and done life has not treatit me so badly, although in recent times my life is not so very happy. I am well pleasit to meet you, sir. Mister? SETON Seton. Alexander Seton. MEG My name is Megwyn, but I am known as Meg or Nutmeg. Whither are you bound Mister Seton? SETON I am bound for Prague. MEG Prague, eh? In Bohemia? SETON The same. MEG I have heard many tales of Prague though I have never been there myself. SETON Tales. What kind of tales? MEG I have heard that they are kind to witches. You have some business in Prague? SETON I do. In a manner of speaking. MEG How far is it to Prague? SETON Four hundred miles. Five hundred perhaps. (Pause) MEG I will come with you. SETON You will? MEG I like you Mister Seton, sir. SETON But what about your sea voyage? MEG It makes no difference to me. Prague or Paris. It makes no difference. So long as it is not Amsterdam. Shall we go? SETON I.... MEG Why not? The sooner we set out, the sooner we arrive. SETON Well, I.... MEG Come on, Mister Seton, on your feet! Let us see what a Scotchman is made of. (Exeunt)
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