'Gold' An alchemical adventure.A play by Andrew Dallmeyer
Act I. Scene 4.
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SCENE 4 In the dungeon Seton sits on the floor. His hands and feet are crudely bandaged. A guard stands outside the barred gate of the cell. SETON (With great difficulty). Talk! Talk to me! Will you not talk to me? (Pause) Perhaps you cannot speak. Perhaps you have been orderit not to communicate. Water! Have you water? (Pause.) I would not thank you for food but a drop of water would be greatly appreciatit. What say you? (Pause.) Nothing. So be it. Would you mind if I were to talk to you? It would help to take my mind of the pain. Are you a married man I wonder? Married or single? What a wonderful thing is a wife! What is become of my belovit Ann? It will be spring time now in Port Seton. Perhaps she will have employit some assistance for the sewing of seeds. What say you? I hope she will not have attemptit it all on her own. Perhaps it is one of those miraculous mornings where everything appears to be bursting at the seams. Sea buckthorn breaking, curlews calling, spring tides filling the rock pools to o'er flowing. All along I was living in Paradise had I but been able to see it and grasp it! And there, in the trees, stands my good, sturdy house. And inside my house there stands my belovit. Perhaps by the fireplace, her eyes downcast, attending to duties. Oh Ann! Oh Ann! How I wish now that I had told you more often how much I love you. Oh Ann! Perhaps all this is but wishful thinking. Perhaps she will have given me up for lost. Marriet again. Or been houndit from home by Meenister Wardlaw. But why should I torture myself with these thoughts? Have I not pain enough as it is? One thing is for certain. I rue for ever the unfortunate day when I startit to dabble in the alchemical arts. I must try to stand. If I do not, then I fear that I may never walk again. (He tries to rise.) Do you know what pain is? I thought that I did, but now I know that I did not. (Enter King, led by Alberto.) (The guard stands to attention and unlocks the door. The King enters the cell.) KING Leave us Alberto! ALBERTO Yes, sire. (Exit Alberto.) KING Tell me, Mister Seton, how are you to-day? (Pause) What? Not speaking? Come, come! It is surely not as bad as all that. SETON It is worse. KING What! Are you lying on the floor? Seton? Allow me to assist you to your feet. SETON I cannot stand. I have recently tryit. KING It is customary for commoners to stand when speaking to royalty. To stand or to kneel. Lying down is scarcely acceptable. However, in view of the unusual circumstance, it might be overlookit on this occasion. You know, of course, why you are punishit? You are punishit for deliberate failure. SETON But I did not fail deliberately. KING Did you follow the usual procedure? SETON I did. KING And the ingredients. What of the ingredients? SETON As far as I could tell they were identical. KING Then why did you fail? SETON I know not. KING Still obstinate! SETON Still in the dark! KING I see! Look you here. I have now at my disposal both your method and recipe and I therefore propose to try for rnyself. Is there anything else that I need to know before attempting my own transmutation! SETON Indeed there is! Your attitude of mind is all important. Success comes only with endless devotion. KING (Very angry) There you go again! I am warning you Seton! What are you implying? What are you saying? That I have not the mental capacity for this? You arrogant, stupid, vain creature! You think that you are the only one in the world with this sort of talent, this (kind of) power? What makes you so special? Answer me that! What make you so singular among men? Tell me! (Pause) Seton, why are you crying? Seton? SETON Because I feel your pain as well as my own. KING I will go now and try out the powder. If it does not work this time I will consider that you have failit me once again and that further treatment will unfortunately be necessitatit. I am told that our wrack is quite exceptional in its brutality. Alberto! (Enter Alberto) Good day to you Mister Seton. You will be hearing from me once again. (Alberto leads the King out. The guard locks the door.) SETON How can any man be so misguidit? (Enter Meg disguised as a guard) MEG (In a man's voice) My turn for duty. I have had orders to relieve you early. Have you the keys? (The guard gives Meg the keys and exits. MEG Alexander: SETON Mm? MEG Tis I! Meg! SETON Meg? MEG Aye. Can you hear me? SETON Meg? MEG Can you hear me? SETON I can. But I cannot believe it. Meg! How did you get in here? MEG I have no time to tell you. Quick! On your feet! SETON I cannot walk. MEG You can and you must! I will assist you. We must get you to the courtyard. There a horse awaits you. But three hours ride should take you to safety. You must head for Saxony. There you will be safe. SETON But... MEG Do not ask questions! Here. I will help you. SETON God bless you Meg! Bless you! Ah! My poor feet. MEG It is not too far. SETON It is almost unbearable. MEG Tis nothing to what awaits you tomorrow if you are still here. I have heard the guards talk of the wrack. I have hidden my skirts nearby in my sack and will soon be a woman once more. SETON Will not you come with me? MEG I am sure that I will not be. Besides I have decidit to stay here in Prague and open a stall in the Street of the Alchemists. Herbal remedies. I like it much here. There are mountains nearby. Come on man! That's it! Go steady! Go steady! I will soon have you out of this place. SETON Meg! Have you water? MEG Outside in my sack. SETON God bless you! MEG Go steady! SETON God bless you! (They stagger out.) (Galloping noise and sea sound to denote the passage of time.)
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