THE ROCK & ROLL APOCALYPSE: Prologue – Scene 3


DRAMATIS PERSONAE

God

Ian Brown
Shaun Ryder

Archangel Gabriel
The Whore of Babylon

Jesus
Satan

The Soul Stars

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
War
Plague
Famine
Death

The Ghosts of Present, Past & Future

Elvis Presley

SONGS

BOLIVIA
TOMBSTONES
PSYCHEDELIA
JESUS COUNTRY HOME
TUMBLEWEED
BLUE STAR FIRE THUNDER
BABYLONIAN WAY
THE MAN & THE MUSIC
MOSES MOUNTAIN
MONKEY MESSIAH
WISDOM MINE
ATTITUDE
GROOVY SUPERNOVA
CLUB ARMAGEDDON
SHINY RIDERS
SOUL STARS

THE HEAVENLY UH-UH


PROLOGUE

Glastonbury, 1990 – Shaun Ryder & Kermit are hanging out taking drugs in the hold of the Happy Mondays tour bus

Kermit
What time you on?

Shaun Ryder
Dunno mate

Kermit
You don’t wanna have a look at the festival, then

Shaun Ryder
Fuck that – I aint going out there, Kermit, its mental

Kermit
It’s nice enough in here I suppose, a bit cramp’d like, but

Shaun Ryder
What’s that yer smoking

Kermit
Brother, this is the real deal, innit – proper Jamaican black

Shaun Ryder
Gizza draw

Kermit
Be careful with it, tho, its mixed with some really weird shit, man, its like having a nuclear war go off in yer head

Shaun Ryder
Sounds great
{takes the joint}
Cheers, nice one
{has a toot}
Wooah – what the fuck is that – Jesus Christ

Shaun Ryder passes out & begins to dream


SCENE 1

The world has been ripped apart by Nuclear War / Bolivia is the only country still untouched by the conflict / Enter God, flanked by the Archangel Gabriel & the Whore of Babylon / a chorus of angels

God
Hello
So, you wanna be a spaceman?
Blink once for yes, twice for no,
See, I told you so,
Friends feel the freedom, feel the flow
My one almighty funk-ass show
Ye painters, poets, know-it-alls
Club Armageddon Country Calls
From Casablanca to Ceylon
The cities fallen one-by-one
Plenty of worms & pachyderms
Were sinful, cutting short their terms
I’ve slain them by acidic rains
Now but one single place remains
Untouched by battles nuclear
The high lands of Bolivia

BOLIVIA

God
Heaven wonders who you are
Are you a bum or a superstar
Man can only go so far
Drop the bomb on Bolivia
Build a cave in a mountainside
Watch the planets slip & slide
Let the heavens be your guide
When they drop the bomb on Bolivia
Woe for Bolivia

Chorus
All the little people gonna take it away
Have faded away now, hear now, hear now
All the pretty people wanna take it away
Are faded away now, hear now, hear now

Chorus
Ooomcha, oomcha, oomcha, oomcha
Aaaaahh
Ooomcha, oomcha, oomcha, oomcha
Aayyyy
Jubiltah, Jubilate
Jubiltah, Jubilate

God
See the sunrise in your mind
Ultraviolet shines behind
Stare too long you might go blind
Drop the bomb on Bolivia
Take a walk thro’ a waterfall
Let the music heal your soul
Raise your glasses for them all
When they drop the bomb on Bolivia
Woeful oblivion

Chorus
All the little people gonna take it away
Have faded away now, hear now, hear now
All the crazy people wanna take it away
Are faded away now, hear now, hear now

Whore of Babylon
{ Ooomcha, oomcha, oomcha, oomcha…}
There’s a Jester’s Garden somewhere
In the wicked wizard wood
& in my lizard chamber
There’s a charlatan in danger
No-one knows where to run
From the big nuclear sun
Valhalla for vagrants
It’s taken us ages to find
The marvellous mellow one
Lo Dios en el Cielo
Marvellous mellow one

Whore of Babylon
No-one knows where she from

Archangel Gabriel
& the tasars set to stun

Whore of Babylon
They got a lazar

Whore of Babylon
A magic phase

Archangel Gabriel
It will amaze ya, blaze ya

Whore of Babylon & Archangel Gabriel
Fire blue
oo-oo-oo…

Archangel Gabriel
There’s a flame that burns for everyone
In the sun that shines so brightly
Lady Moon who I see nightly
Says it’s the Marvellous Mellow One
It’s gonna blow ya to kingdom come

Archangel Gabriel
It’s the Marvellous Mellow

Whore of Babylon
Oo! what a fellow

God
Lo Dios en el Cielo

Marvellous Mellow One

Whore of Babylon & Archangel Gabriel
The Marvellous Mellow one

Bolivia is destroyed by a nuclear explosion


SCENE 2

Ian Brown is wandering through the smoke, flames & wreckage of a post nuclear blast train disaster – the chorus are bodies

TOMBSTONES

Ian Brown
Well, I remember I was riding my train
When we sent flying by this hurricane
All those wicked winds they twisted the tracks
We had a sense of lying flat on our backs, but I say
No tombstones no, I’m alive…

There are so many tombstones, well who were you
Did people tell ya what to do
Were you the captain of your crew
Or just a hermit with a view
Speaking lies or seeking truth
So many people me & you

Chorus comes alive

Chorus
So many, so many, so many, so many people
So many people

Chorus returns to inanimate corpses

Ian Brown
Well, I was ridin’ on & rootin’ on my country,
They got a good hidin’ off, good shootin’ off the enemy
We must-a used sling shots, man, & they used guns
Cos they slaughter’d all of us, yeah,
But see I’m still around to sing
No tombstones, no, I’m alive…

There were so many people you & I’m
The only one who did not die
All the tears that I must cry
Don’t got time to reason why
These things happen as they do
So many people me & you

Chorus comes alive

Chorus
So many, so many, so many, so many people
So many people

Life’s so rich, life’s so rare
Then life’s a bitch & she doesn’t care
This life o’ mine,
She keeps on changing from time to time
Now I’m gonna leave all my past behind

Chorus returns to inanimate corpses


SCENE 3

Shaun Ryder is wandering the deserts of New Mexico – he is trying to tune his transistor radio in

PSYCHEDELIA

Shaun Ryder
I’m gonna have a little dabble with Nostradamus special powder
There’s nuthin but crackling battle rattlin’ on my radio
Gonna write a little poetry poppin’ peyote in the morning
Let the Ayahuasca magic master me

Enter the Ghosts of Present, Past & Future

I can see those super-hallucinations
Coming on down the line
I can see they’re the ghosts of many people
Stuck in the stones of time
Time, times’ no friend of mine
It’s about time that we did away with the old songs
Show me the shepherds’ sign

You can take it on your own psychedelia
But you might not make it home…. tonight

I’m gonna have a little dabble with Nostradamus Special Powder
Thro crystals clear the seer clears away the clouds
I’m gonna dabble with a piece just a nibble & release the maze of future
From past-lives flashes last true mystery

I reveal there’s a pre-fab new religion
Stuck in the standing stones
Stuck in the standing
Stones, stones rattle my bones
It’s about time that we did away with the old gods
Sat on their gun-running thrones

You can take it on your own psychedelia
But you might not make it home…. tonight

I’m gonna free my soul
I’m gonna free my soul
I said I’m gonna sell my soul
& play rock n roll ‘til I die

You can take it on your own psychedelia
But you might not make it home…. tonight

I’m gonna sell my soul
Cos it sure gonna make things better
Gonna play that rock n roll
I’m gonna bring it all together
Ai-ai-ai-iyi-ai-ai

Shaun Ryder finds a car & drives away


(R&RA): Scenes 4-6


SCENE 4

Jesus waits at a crossroads – enter Ian Brown

JESUS COUNTRY HOME

Ian Brown
I met this man by the side of the road
He said

Jesus
Ya goin nowhere of no fixed abode no no
Well see me mister, I’m the star of this show
& I know a funky little place where we can go,”

Enter sexy women

Ian Brown
He led me down thro forests of azure
Past crowds of women asking ‘what was my pleasure?’
We walk’d for miles, thro the sunshine & snow
On to that funky little place where we can go
{Exit sexy women}
I follow’d that man to Jesus Country Home…

Jesus
Son the time for you has grown
See the Devil left his throne,
& I need a saint to sing my song
In the Armageddon dome
Cos, ya one o’ Shivas own
Take a step into the unknown
You’ll never love your life so much
In the Jesus Country Home

They enter the Jesus Country Home / Gabriel is there

Ian Brown
I nearly died when I walk’d thro that door
Moon on the ceiling & a face on the floor
I met an angel, but she didn’t have no wings,
He said

Gabriel
I dont need ’em no more cos I’ve found everything

Ian Brown
She made the room beam thro’ the moon on the ceiling
Sang magic music, O lord what a feeling
He climbed a cross & he spoke from within
& said

Jesus
Welcome my son you’re forgiven of your sins

Ian Brown
I follow’d that man to Jesus Country Home…

Jesus
Son the time for you has grown
See the Devil left his throne,
& I need a saint to sing this song
In the Armageddon dome
Cos, ya one o’ Shivas own
Take a step into the unknown
You’ll never love your life so much
In the Jesus Country Home

Jesus & Gabriel
Home is where ya heart is, home is where ya soul lies
Singing with the soul-stars of the rainbow sun-tribe ….

Ian Brown
Hey man ye are no effigy
This is so whack & wild

Jesus
Please don’t turn your back on me
You are the chosen child
Who must step up now to the race
Seek bandmates of your own
& then I’ll save place for you
In my Jesus Country, Jesus Country Home


SCENE 5

Shaun Ryder is driving thro’ the deserts of New Mexico

TUMBLEWEED

Im a rogue, Im a rogue, on the road to nowhere,
Cruisin’ along as the wind blew thro’ my hair,
Head down the highway, south of the sunset,
Only got half of a tank left to get me to Mexico
Nuthin’ but crackle rattlin’ on my radio

When on the horizon’s a black silhouette,
Of a super stylish, fifty-five corvette,
As I drew nearer, this woman leapt out,
Wavin’ her arms & hysterically shoutin’, to stop for heaven’s sake,
So, I pressed the peddle to the metal and I slamm’d my foot down on the brake,

I screeeched to a halt & I wound down mi window
She leapt to the car like the star of a freak show
& spoke in a language that I didn’t understand
So, I slipped on my boots I stept out & crushed stones into sand
Just as this wild & psychedelic breeze blew right cross the land
& they blew out of my hands those rollin,’ rumblin’

Tumble weed, no we don`t tumble,
Watch the walls of wonder crumble
Devil chile, she make me humble

Well Im no believer, but it did me no good,
The dashboard was shatter’d & splatter’d with crimson
She made a strange sound like a witch out of bedlam
& dragged me down to a ditch by a dead mans eye
From a gun wound to the stomach it takes a man three days to die

The wide open tracts of the vasty desert seas
& the cacti flew in the pyschedelic breeze
I`m outta my mind ion the wildest peyote
The only sound was the cries of coyote a crying
As high up above me, those hungry vultures were flying
They roll’d into my soul those holy, hum-b-lin’

Tumble weed, no we don`t tumble,
Watch the walls of wonder crumble
Devil chile, she make me humble

Enter the Whore of Babylon, holding a pen & paper

Whore of Babylon
Shaun William Ryder is that you

Who the fuck are you

Whore of Babylon
I am the Whore of Babylon
& you are

Shaun Ryder
Shaun Ry-

Whore of Babylon
Dying, you are dying

I know, its fucking painful
If this is about the three grand I owe Fast Eddie

Whore of Babylon
It’s not … I’m here to save your life

Shaun Ryder
What?

Whore of Babylon
Your life, the one I work for bids it so

Go on then, save my life, I’m bleeding out here

Whore of Babylon
It will be saved, but first you will have to sign this contract

Yeah, right, whatever, I’ll sign anything – giz that pen… so what is it anyway

Whore of Babylon
The price

What

Whore of Babylon
Of saving your life… is your soul

Shaun Ryder
My soul

Whore of Babylon
Yes

Yeah, whatever, take it, I’m not ready to die just yet, especially in some fuckin’ ditch in New friggin’ Mexico – gimme that form
{signing his soul away}
It’s just like being on the dole this…
Woah – I feel better already

Whore of Babylon
Good – now if you read the small-print on your contract, you will see there are certain conditions to remaining alive

Like what

Whore of Babylon
You will need to be the singer in a band

Well, that’s easy, that’s what I do – well, what I used to do until all my bandmates died in that recent nuclear fuckin’ holocaust

Whore of Babylon
We are glad you that are happy to join us – so, dust yourself down & come with me, I am going to take you on a journey

Shaun Ryder
Where too

Whore of Babylon
Shaun William Ryder, we are going to the abysmal place, where shrieking sinners wail for second death

Shaun Ryder
What, Stockport

Whore of Babylon
No, Hell !

A gate suddenly appears beside them, over which a sign reads;

THRO’ ME THE WAY INTO THE WOEFUL CITY
THRO’ ME THE WAY TO THE ETERNAL PAIN
THRO’ ME THE WAY AMONG THE LOST PEOPLE
ABANDON ALL HOPE THOSE THAT ENTER HERE

Whore of Babylon
Let us descend into the blind world down there

Shaun Ryder & the Whore of Babylon enter Hell


SCENE 6

Ian Brown has climb’d to the top of a mountain with Gabriel & Jesus

Ian Brown
What is this place we come to shining

Gabriel
This is the highest point on planet Earth

Jesus
& so the closest to the stars
Where spools my Father’s workshop,
Where he makes his cool guitars

Gabriel
& look, young Ian, he leaves you yours

Ian Brown picks up guitar

Jesus
Now hurry to the promised land
& when you form your own love band
Go to the beach & take this pill
Then let your destiny fulfil

Ian Brown
My destiny, are you insane?

Jesus
Man’s fate is not mine to ordain

Gabriel
Now we must leave this mortal plane

Ian Brown
I deep beseech thee, please don’t go

Jesus
Your fate not yours or mine to know

Gabriel
God wills it all, on with the show

Ian Brown
A God, can there be such a thing
When I have seen such suffering
& billions have pass’d away
On nucleonic judgement day

Lightning strikes

God
Silence & hear, my troubadour
Omniscient divinity
Bare witness to this shock & awe
& tell me what thy soul doth see

BLUE STAR FIRE THUNDER

Ian Brown
I see the lightning in mine eyes, it’s time to shine electric blue,
There is a stormblast in my soul, the thunders roll & as they do
I sit & phantasize, the morning skies are fill’d with wonder
& as the lightning strikes mine eyes they shine like a

All
Blue Star Fire Thunder
Is gonna make me shine, shine a light on you until tomorrow…

Jesus
There’s a man on a mission, one in a millon,
He’s gonna sail the seas o’ loneliness,
Gonna follow a vision, make a decision,
gonna flower the frozen wilderness,
Like a prophet o’ David he’ll climb the starry mountain,
His eyes are fill’d with wonder,
& the Pegasi fly high above yer

All
Blue Star Fire Thunder
Is gonna make me shine, shine a light on you until tomorrow…

Jesus & Gabriel
Now as ya heart skips over a rainbow
& the panorama melts in your eyes
Because the Pegasi that we are riding
They all rise into Xanadu skies

Jesus
There’s the secret I’m keeping I promise ter tell yer,
I’ll tell yer the secret I’m keeping,

Ian Brown
There’s a secret he’s keepin’ he promised to tell me,
He told me the secret he’s keeping,

Jesus
Ya’d better believe it we’ll take the mystic waters of this fountain
& when yer believe me we’ll make a pilgrimage
As the

All
Azure Crystal Mountains
Of Xanadu shine electric blue
star fiya thunder is gonna make me shine shine a light on
Ya azure crystal mountains of Xanadu shine electric blue… all over you
Thro’ the misty morning blue

As you break along thro life

Ian Brown
My life’s prophecy
Is to walk thro the gardens of the promised land
Mother Mary immaculatum guiding me by my hand
Til we reach the beach and the gold & the silver & the stones and the starry shores at the end of tim

Gabriel
As yer break a long thro’ life yer gotta make things go & take it easy…

Jesus
As ya heart skips over a rainbow
& the panorama melts in your eyes
Because the Pegasi that we are riding
They all rise into Xanadu skies

(R&RA): Scene 7


SCENE 7

Shaun Ryder & the Whore of Babylon are travelling tho Hell; there are sounds of clapping hands, screams of anguish, haunted sighs, lamentations, loud wailing, strange tongues, moans of terror, groans of pain

BABYLONIAN WAY

Whore of Babylon
Way down deep in Babylonian way
There’s a man named Alister Crowley
All he was misunderstood
& Hitler was the geezer
A gateway to the underworld
He signed his soul away in Jewish blood

Have you heard the word
Of the madman’s bad intention
Have ya heard the absurd word
Of the men to bad to mention
Did they come in your dimension
Did I mention my dementia

Ghengiz Khan never meant no harm
He was a mongel man directed
By beings form the nether realm
His essence intercepted
& Torquemada was the leader
Of the Spanish inquisition
& in the name of God he burnt them all
Til the witches & the warlocks won his soul

Have you heard the word
Of the madman’s bad intention
Heard the absurd word
Of the men to bad to mention
Did they come in your dimension
Did I mention his pretensions

Enter Satan

Well, I went up to Northern Ireland,
Met the Captain of the IRA,
I said, “Look here son, yer better take this gun, better blow those Brits away.
Well, the Brits dropp’d the bomb on Belgrade,
But Slobodan he would not go,
So, the Yanks sent the tanks & the banks took the flanks,
Now they’re all as dead as a Dando,
When you go to war, you’d better find a cause worth fighting for.

Well, I met old Vercingetorix as he took on
The mighty hordes of Ceaser,
But the battle was fixed ‘cos the Gaul’s rain-sticks
Didn’t work on the field of Alesia
Then, I had me a line o’ Charlie as we flew up to Inverness,
Where the Bonnie Prince & his men got minced
Now the moor is a bloody mess,
When you go to war, you’d better find a cause worth fighting for.
What are we fighting for
Were fighting for our future
The future of our planet
At the Armageddon dome

Shaun Ryder
I met the star of the morning
At his capital in Hades
He said

Satan
Look here son
I bet ya glad ya come
Here’s your coke, here’s ya bass here’s ya ladies

Jezebels
When yo go to war
You’d better find a cause
Worth fighting for

Satan
What are we fighting for
We’re fighting for our future
The future of the planet
At the Armageddon dome

& the time is now & I’ll tell you somehow
We can make this world a better place
Gui-tars, drumkit, vocals & bass
We’ll make this world a better place
if we try (rpt.)

Enter the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse


THE MAN & THE MUSIC

Four Riders
We’re the advertised, low-down motherfuckin’ band
We heard for the hoedown ya needin a hand
Got mountains of vinyl lyin’ at home
Band full of ravers stoned to the bone
Stoned to the bone

& I say
Hey pretty ladies don’t you look so fine
Gonna make ya mine
Gonna play a little pussy chord
When they say he’s got all the best tunes, it true
I know that ya like, it I’m liking it to
The man & the music coo-coo-cachoo

If ya can use it, just don’t refuse it
This wonderful music

Were gonna have a party & a party
Celebrate the union of woman & man
Gonna do it do it like a minstrel
Doing the best we possibly can
Cos its Babababagorath
{goin’ round in circles}
Bababagorath
{king of the serpents}
Do wop & do do ya best to serve us
Fine & regal style & splendour

Well we heard
Someone calling for the mother fuckin calvalry
So the midnight band are gonna play for free
We’ve been hit with the final license to roam
Dangerous daylight starting to dawn
When stoned to the bone

Hey pretty ladies don’t you look so fine
Gonna make ya mine
Gonna play a little pussy chord
When they say he’s got all the best tunes, it true
I know that ya like, it I’m liking it to
The man & the music coo-coo-cachoo

If ya gon choose it, just don’t abuse it
This wonderful music

Were gonna have a party & a party…

Were gonna have a party & a party
Celebrate the union of woman & man
Gonna do it do it like a minstrel
Doing the best we can
Cos its Babababagorath
{goin’ round in circles}
Bababagorath
{king of the serpents}
Do wop & do do ya best to serve us
Fine & regal style & splendour

We’re gonna have a party & a party
We’re gonna get it properly started
& we’ll invite the pieces to the party
& then we’ll get the company charterd
& we’ll invite the piss’d & the arty
& then we’ll get the company charterd

Shaun
Babababa fucking Gorath – what the fucks all that about

Satan
Just one of my names, boy – but you can call me… Bez

Shaun
Bez !

Satan
In Kentucky I’m the A-train
In Atlanta call me sugar cane
In Memphis I’m known as Slim
In West Texas I’m a mandhandler
& a cool panhandler
In Detroit they call me hip Kitty from New York city
& out of the States all my jivehoof mates
Call me the Beast
I’m mad & bad & you ought to be glad you aren’t trying to clip me because my thinkpad would tip me to the knockout play which might make me take it in the wrong way – dig

Shaun
Have you been on the DMT, you’re proper babbling, pal

Satan
Enough of the formal warm-ups
Welcome to my home, my pile of stone, bro
I’m mellow as a cello, fine as red wine
I dig your pegs, they make you look
Like Robin Hood in Harlem

Shaun
Eh

Satan
I heard yer gumbeat’s on the backbeat
& with my lushpad on a three pointer
I digs the play
So, are you home boy or a perfect square
Well, if you’re mellow, baby, understand
I’m the accelerator
Putting down a righteous shpiel

Shaun
What the fuck are you on about mate

Shaun
Pops I’m tops
I’m with it & I won’t quit it
I’m down with action to my own satisfaction
Do you dig

Shaun
No, I don’t fuckin’ dig

Whore of Babylon
What he’s trying to say is, this is your band

Shaun
My band ?

Satan
Indeeddiddlydo!
Cop a trot to the dommy of that solid little banter
Cos these other cats are swinging the bears, brother

Shaun
Alright lads, I’m Shaun Ryder, what are your names, &, ehm, whaddaya play

War
I am War, I am on drums

Plague
I am Plague, I play the bass

Famine
I am Famine, I play the gee-tah

Death
I am Death, I play… the tuba

Shaun
The fucking Tuba

Death
I can play the French Horn, too

Shaun Ryder
Yeah, whatever

Satan
Solid, ole man, solid
They don’t need no snitchin in the hype
& you’re as groovy as a ten cent movie
You’ll just be in time at a quarter past nine
& if you’re right your bright, so
Let’s flail & wail on Bez’s mighty mez
{getting out a massive reefer}
Let’s snip a paper dolly at the rolltop piano
& ad lib, all thro the crib, ya dig

Shaun
I dig

Whore of Babylon
Aha – you are beginning to understand the language of the Master

Shaun
Well, he’s speaking my language now, innee

Satan
{Passing the spliff to Shaun}
If I’s a-mugglin’, you’s a-mugglin’

Shaun
Woah – that’s the best stuff I’ve ever fucking had

Whore of Babylon
Well, this is Hell after all – everyone knows the Devil has the best tune, but that’s mainly down to the fact he’s got the best drugs toos

Satan
Hey reefer man
Spread the stick of tea
To the vipers in the toot-suits
Ya hogging the joy brother

Shaun
Sorry

Satan
Up there, above this house of many slammers
The way your jive was dropping,
Slicing chops, was hopping
That’s why ya gonna tweet my songs little birdie
You’ll be on the scene, wearin’ the green
& knock them out without a doubt
Let’s slay that skull, Jesus, & his Johns
All jacking the gong, lets get out west in our vest
& take them all to a cold meat party, ya dig

Shaun
I dig, bro

Satan
Good, well it’s time to flit from the pit
& spin this shit
Let’s hoochie coochie people

Exit all being led by Satan to some funky grooves

(R&RA): Scenes 8


SCENE 8

A few survivors are milling about a deserted village

MOSES MOUNTAIN

Soul Stars
Messiah rolled into town, a-rolling & a strolling
He held his head up high He held his head up high
& his eyes were filled with meaning & his eyes were filled with meaning
From the mystic light they shine

Ian Brown
Everybody needs a Moses Mountain High on a mountain side
Everybody needs a Moses Mountain High on a mountainside
There’s a place a happy place where I shall be your guide
Everybody needs a moses mountain High on a mountain side

Soul Stars
Messiah rolled into town, a rolling & a strolling
He says he’s come to lead us (Yes he says he’s come to lead us)
But his eyes are very devious (Yes, his eyes are very devious)
& he aint no light of mine

Ian Brown
Everybody needs ten stone tablets I have brung ‘em down
Everybody needs ten stone tablets I have brung ‘em down
There’s a song on every one See you gather round
Everybody needs ten stone tablets I have brung ‘em down

Soul Stars
Messiah rolled into town, a rolling & a strolling
With a songbook in his hands (There’s a songbook in his hands)
But the words they have no meaning (Yes, the words they have no meaning)
Gather round & stone him blind… So pretentious in the sacred light he shines

MONKEY MESSIAH

Soul Stars
Stone him, stone him, stone him blind

Ian Brown
Every time you throw those stones
God gave me a sign
Got the feelin’ in my bones
Wont ya walk with ya hand in mine

Soul Stars
Stone him, stone him, stone him blind

Ian Brown
In the early morning by the holy well of souls
I look at you & all your friends
& I dug a thousand holes
I’m gonna whizz some wisdom at ya
& I hope ya take due care
Contemplate the future son
I’m gonna help ya to prepare

[Stone Him, Stone Him, Stone Him Blind]
Because every time you throw those stones
God gave me a sign
Got the feelin in my bones
Wont ya walk with ya hand in mine

[Stone him, stone him, stone him blind]
Every time you throw those stones
God gave me a sign
Got the feelin’ in my bones
Wont ya walk with ya hand in mine

Soul Stars
Domino, domino effect, domino effect breaking on my soul
[Domino, domino effect, domino effect breaking on my soul]
Stone him, stone him, stone him blind
No love him, love him, I’ve seen the sign
Stone him, stone him, stone him blind
No love him, love him, the stars aline
Stone him, stone him, stone him blind
No love him, love him, he is divine
Stone him, stone him, stone him blind
No love him, love him, his hands in mine

Ian Brown
I’m on a pilgrimage to the New Jerusalem
My feet are blistered but I’m not broken
I’m on a pilgrimage to the new Jerusalem
Hey brothers & sisters, we’re the chosen children

Soul Stars
We’re on a pilgrimage to the New Jerusalem
His feet are blistered but he’s not broken
We’re’ on a pilgrimage to the new Jerusalem
Hey brothers & sisters, we’re the chosen children

Ian Brown & Soul Stars
IB: Feel me, heal me
SS: Yes, yes, I guess you’re a friend of ours
IB: Feed me, need me
SS: Yes, yes I guess you’re a friend of ours
IB: Believe me, receive me
SS: Yes, yes, I guess you’re a friend of ours

IB: Let’s honky tonk
Let’s set the soul on fire
Let’s do the funk
SS: We are the monkey messiahs
IB: Let’s romper stomp
Feel like Sri Lankan Lion
Pump up the pomp

Soul Stars
(g)
We are the monkeys from
(fsharp)
Weve come to take you home
(f)
We are the monkeys from
(e)
zion…….

(g)
We are the monkeys from
(fsharp)
Weve come to sing this song
(f)
We are the monkeys from
(e)
zion…….

Ian Brown
Vibe, vibe feel the vibe (rpt)
Let the love up fill inside
Shoot the arrows thro your pride
Jesus Christ is by your side
By your side
Come feel him by your side
Yes, yes, he’s by your side

Enter Jesus who receives everyone’s praise & adulation

WISDOM MINE

Let me tell you all the secrets that the prophet told
I’ll sell ’em for forty pieces of silver & a dusky handful of gold
I sat beneath the tree of knowledge all those cosmic days
A guiding light shone down on me & helped me on my ways

So, hear me now
I’m coming home now
To see you shine
I’m coming home now
Now the wisdom’s mine
There’s a girl who’s seen the light
smiling at the sun
tell me when your wisdom has begun

Gather round ye people while I sing about my travels
Take a soft seat on the stony beach whilst the future gets unravelled
Each pebble that we rest upon can teach us of its meaning
Our bodies all warp spasm & our minds are lost in dreaming

Hear me now
I’m coming home now
to see you shine
I’m coming home now
Now the wisdom’s mine
There’s a girl all starry eyed
shining like a sun
tell me when your freedom has begun
Cos I’m talking about your freedom

I’m coming home now
There’s a girl who’s seen the boy
standing like a sun
tell me when your freedom has begun
Cos I’m talking about your freedom
over morning forming o the shores of time
It’s the crowning glory of the wisdom mine
freedom

Enter Satan, Shaun Ryder, the Whore of Babylon & the Four Riders

ATTITUDE

So youre the shiny riders
Aint that a shame
We thought we’d get the guys
To give us a game
You got no lyrics
Ya sure can croon
Let’s call the medics
To funk up your tunes
Bring it on

So you’re the soul stars are ya
Well coo-coo-choo
Aint got no stardust
In your pirate crew
& all ya lyrics
They’re so tweedledum
& where the fuck d’ya get yer singer from
Bring it on

We’re gonna roll all over you
Is that the best that you can do
Whose got the better attitude

Attitude, attitude, cool, cool
[attitude] You dont need attitude
When ya got ya soul in the music
Come on

We’re gonna roll all over you
Is that the best that you can do
Whose got the better attitude

We are the soul stars & we
Feel heavenly
We got the music got the melody
(We’re gonna) Find the vibe & bring it
Rainbow tribe’ll sing it
Soon all the people gonna know our name
so come on

We are the shiny riders
We’re here to win
& the fire inside us
Bright burnin
(We’re gonna) Find a song & sing it
Ride the vibe & wing it
Soon all the people gonna feel our flame
So come on

We’re gonna roll all over you
Is that the best that you can do
Whose got the better attitude

We’ll throw you back from whence you came
Your style’s atrocious, hence you shame
You’ll never match us in the game

Attitude, attitude, cool, cool
[attitude] You dont need attitude
When ya put your pulse to the music
Come on

I’m taking poetry to the places where its never been before
I’m taking liberties like some pissed up conquistador
Lets call it symmetry with you & me banging heads for the war
I’ll take my music to the movies gonna win me the palme d’or
& yeah… Yeah yeah you know the score

The two bands begin hand-to-hand combat / God descends in a spaceship

GOD
Woah, woah, woah, woah, woah
Chill it cats… hey boys, yes you, you there, Ian Brown, Shaun Ryder
I’m God, & I’m the ho-chi minh city round here, ya dig
This is not the time nor the place for fighting
Gotta save those vibes for the battle tonight
In my Armageddon Dome, in the centre of the solar eye,
Where you’ll be competing for the soul of the Human Race
Good, or evil, the best band of banjobangers will decide
According to the word from the herd, ya dig
So, gentle cats & acrobats, thy chariot awaits
For you & all your home boys – & girls
So come on, come on, let’s do this thing

GROOVY SUPERNOVA

Come & take a ride in my funky little spaceship
Move on, groove on, you gotta keep on keeping on
The last man alive slam your foot on the hyperdrive
I’ve set controls for the centre of the sun
Move it on over,
Yeah move it on over,
My groovy supernovas gonna glow

Come on round you weary people
& close your eyes
Going down to the deep subconscious
To see the sunrise
& when we get there only god knows where we’ll be
Tripping home on the light fantastic
Skipping stone the sea

& it aint easy, being Him on High
When you let the new ones
Let the old ones die

Aphrodite, the goddess of love’ll
Use sex against yer nature
& Venus, she’s a no-go queen
Ya gonna have to take her
Thor’ll help us make good war
With the demons of our past
& the new man’ll find new land
To find himself at last

Move it all over
Yeah move it on over,
This groovy supernovas gonna grow

Well come on round you weary people
I prophesize
When we get to where we’re going to
You’ll find a surprise
There’ll be a self you’ll see
Quite deja vu familiar
& when you see its face you place as
Something similar to your own
I’m going home
On a funky little spaceship
To where the new ones left the old ones on their own

& it aint easy, saying I told you so
When you let the new ones
Let the old ones go

Move it all over
Yeah move it on over, this groovy supernovas gonna blow

& it aint easy….
When the wind blows low &
This tripped-out Egg Man falls
& the shell doth break & the love you make
To yourself will damn your spirit after all
& it aint easy being Him on High when you’re all so small

(R&RA): Scene 9- Epilogue


SCENE 9

Club Armageddon is being held at the centre of the sun X-Factor style

CLUB ARMAGEDDON

God, Gabriel, Whore of Babylon
Ladies & gentlemen
have we got a show for you
Down at the Armageddon dome,
& this is what we do

Gabriel,
We got the pimp-ass Shiny Riders

Whore of Babylon
& the rinky-dinky Soul Stars

God
But don’t forget to buy a drink
From one of our slinky bars

From polyphonic prostitutes
To pastors in their plastic suits
Fellow hearts in mellow places
Come on in & celebrate us
To the hotline of our peers
Take a seat & lend your ears
Blow the fever of your fears away

God
It’s the Battle of the Millennium
The world’s most fearless show
There’s a cloud of lethal radium
& which way will it blow

Whore of Babylon
Will it linger on the planet

Gabriel
& make a demon race

God
Or will it blow right out o there
& vanish without a trace

Succulent as fresh tomatoes
Young rent boys & old castratos
Devil nuns & Benedictines
Come on in with all the piss’d teens
Take your seat among the crowd
Prepare for deep songs fast & loud
To blow the bullshit from your fears today

God,Gabriel, Whore of Babylon
Ladies & gentlemen
Have we got a show for you
Come down to the Armageddon dome,
& this is what we do

Gabriel
First up is the Shiny Riders

Whore of Babylon
Then the rinky-dinky Soul Stars

God
& dont forget to buy a drink
From one of our slinky bars

Gabriel, Whore of Babylon
No, dont forget to buy a drink
From one of our slinky bars

God
Ladies & gentlemen, the Shiny Riders

Enter the Shiny Riders

SHINY RIDER

Every man and woman is a shiny rider
Every man and woman psychejelly spider
Every man and woman is a star says black sun
Every man and woman little particle fractal
Every man and woman grab a piece of the action
Every man and woman is a chain reaction

Shiny Rider x4
Shiny Rider gonna slip inside yer mind
now you know you gotta go
Shine on yer lover x 3

Well blow my soul away
Every time I sit to see you shine

Every man and woman got the invitation
Every man and woman its a celebration
Every man and woman offer peace opinion
Every man and woman is a slinky ninja
Every man and woman got the rider in ya

Shiny Rider x4
Shiny Rider gonna slip inside yer mind
now you know you gotta go
Shine on yer lover x 3

Ya shit hot anyway
Every time I stop to see ya shine

Exit the Shiny Riders

God
A big round of caterwaulin’ applauding for the pimp-ass Shiny Rider boys, thank you very much, that performance was as pristeen as my mind – now we’ve got a real treat for ya’ll now – ladies & gentlemen – the Soul Stars

Enter the Soul Stars

SOUL STAR

Now’s the time to make a change, throw your souls into the air,
Way up there they shine like diamonds & they’re made up like the moon
& they sparkle thro’ the gloom with effervescent glory,
I’m gonna find out for myself, you’d better find out for yourself…

See the souls become the stars, Venus Mercury & Mars
Cannot stop this spatial streamin’ with the wizard ship in tow,
Kinda crazy geezer knows that the effervescent glory
Is gonna help me to believe, it better help ya to believe
That the Soul Stars are in season
& oops I beg yer pardon! I thought this was the Garden of Eden…

See the stars fall from the skies, rest so gently in thine eyes,
Hear the sighs of people sailin’ to the sands of Evermore,
They are bliss’d out by the shore with effervescent glory,
I’m gonna dance there on sea-shells, we’re in a trance where we’re ourselves …

Now’s the time to take the change, Soul Stars each & every one,
When the sun is at its summit, when is dancing life itself,
When is music more that health? When effervescent glory
& the rain & the flower & the sun & the love of ev’ryone
Will make the Soul Stars bloom this season,
& oops I beg yer pardon! I thought this was the Garden of Eden
& oops I beg yer pardon! Welcome to the Jester’s Garden…

‘Cos there’s a Soul Star shinin’ at just the right time,
I’m gonna catch me a Soul Star,
There’s a Soul Star fallin’ at just the right time,
I’m gonna catch me a Soul Star…

GOD
{spoken}
This is the end, my friends, the one
Reason to watch this show is done
So, press a button, clap your hands
& cheer your hearts out for these bands

Enter Shiny Riders & Soul Stars

If Shiny Riders are thy choice
Come celebrate them with wild voice
But if Soul Stars more your fancy
Come let your wild applause flow free

Be careful to deliberate
For in your vote lies all your fate

Enter Satan with a bazooka / the Shiny Riders all draw weapons & take the Soul Stars hostage

God
Jeez, jake, what a snake

Satan
Shut up Big Man ! You arre such a solid bringer-downer?” – I’ve had enough of your batshit bullshit – now I’ve got me one of those bad-ass nuclear bazookas, & with just an intsy wincy little flick from my trigger-finger, I’ll blow this whole sunshine provider to the backside of the universe, ya dig?

God
I dig

Satan
Daddy o I’m ready to go, all your hypes just a bunch of tripe – I came here looking for a little fun, so why don’t you cats dance to the tune of my gun, & give my boys the hard-earn’d victory – the soul of the Human Race will never be won by honest competition – that’s one nasty, fuck’d up species ya’’ll created,

Enter Jesus

Jesus
Hey man, relax, chill out, why ya being such a drag

Satan
You two can cool it while I rule it – the Human Race is your mistake, you made them bad then tried to make them good – no way, man – they’re just plain bad, & they’re gonna stay bad, ya dig – now, Big Man, before you freeze on the flying trapeze, shout out my sinners as the winners – before I do something we’re all gonna regret

Enter Elvis Presley

All this stud’s laying down is a deuce of demons, because he don’t spread nothing but thins on the line – put that gun down, boy, & listen up good – there ain’t nobody else but the King who’s the king? Hey, Shaun Ryder, you’ve got the right hammer but you use the wrong nail. And you, Ian Brown, you’re picking up nickels and laying down dimes but your bounce is beat and sour as limes. – I’m a hipper cat, understand – these days I’m utilised, digitalised, & immortalised; all the Hindoos thrive to my jive, all the Islams move on my groove, & the Buddhists, well, they just dig my lyrics – the Soul of the Human Race should not be decided by some astro-theological hunkum-punkum hocus pocus – Big Man in the sky ! Bad man in the ground, no way, jose, the Soul of the Human Race is music, & as the King of music, I say why don’t just let everybody dance… hit it

Elvis sings Hound Dog – everyone has a massive rave – after a while Satan stops the music & points the bazooka at Elvis

Satan
Well, Elvis Presley, if you’re the King, I’m holding the ace, now

God
Aw, just fuck off Satan

Jesus punches Satan – everyone cheers & the music continues

THE HEAVENLY UH-UH

In a

chorus –

c / g/ d/ em / c /d e major

I’m Elvis Aaron Presley
I’m better than Bez me
Electrical as Tesla
& who the fucks George Ezra

A ninja kid from Nashville
My destiny was ask’d to
Fill the planet’s magic
Like a NASA sadget

Now it’s all gone tits up at the Centre of the Sun
I am the only one
Who can save the day, uh-huh
uh-huh
uh-huh
uh-huh

I went from fresh apprentice
To the messiah from Memphis
No-one could never not groove
To my funky-punk moves

They thought me quite infernal
Cos Satan was my Colonel
So, beam me to the future
I’m screaming retribution

You should have let me play in Italy & Spain
But you lied & you cheated your way
Thro’ my given days, uh-huh
uh-huh
uh-huh
uh-huh

You got to keep on
Push down the pylons
Set off the fire alarms
Then keep the beat strong
& let your feet stomp
You’ve got to keep on keepin’ on
& when were one in revelry
That’s you & me in harmony
& when we’ve gone & harmoniz’d
We’ll get the feeling feeling really nice
You & me in harmony
mM & you

I’ve hunted like a hound dog
I’m fronting for a new god
You cannot hide, it’s too late
You’re going to the Pit, mate

With all of your freemasons
& idiotic racists
Hear my funky strumming
I’m the Second Coming

Giving all your bad advice is struck off for all time
Cos Satan & hatred rhyme
You must fade away, uh-huh
uh-huh…
You must fade away, uh-huh
uh-huh…
You must fade away, uh-huh
uh-huh…
{Satan fades away until he dissapears}

Elvis
{To the whore of Babylon}
But you, baby, you can stay – hit it

Elvis & the Whore of Babylon do a dance duet – the rest of the cast form a dance troupe

If you will feel us noise up your dealers
Knock back tequilas
& hit the dance floor
That’s what this songs for
It wont be long before we’re one
Cos when weve gone & harmonized
We’ll get the feeling feeling really nice
You & me that’s harmony

Me & you….

Everybody stand up
Theatres & night clubs
But if you’re stuck in prison
Turn up your television

Rock & Roll Apocalypse
Kickin’ in as it rips
Thro’ all your psyches
Princes, pimps & pikeys

Dancing has releas’d us
Flashy fashionistas
Heroin & High Kings
Valium & Vikings

Ecstasy Egyptian
DMT prescription
LSD Iraqi
Where’s the waccy-baccy

Gabriel’s got cocaine
God has got a crack grain
Jesus got his weed out
Everybody freak out

Yes, I’ve got my skunk out
Everybody funk now

This Rock & Roll Apocalypse is pretty near the end
& its time for Elvis to ascend
To the Heavenly, uh-uh

Finale to church bells


EPILOGUE

Bez is waking up Shaun

Bez
Shaun, wake up, for fuck’s sake, wake up!

Shaun
Bez – woah !

Bez
You’re on stage in half an hour mate, ya need to get up

Shaun
Fuckin hell, that was one mad trip

Bez
What was

Shaun
That dream I’ve just had, you were Satan, Rowetta was the Whore of Babylon & I was up front for the Four Horsemen of the fuckin’ Apocalypse

Bez
What the fuck have you been smoking

Shaun
It must have been that stuff what Kermit gave me

Bez
Kermit – they found him belly dancin’ naked in the hare krishna kitchen – he was off his head, anywhere, come on, get yer shit together, this gig’s gonna be fuckin’ bangin’

Shaun
I’m gonna need a hit of something first tho’

Bez
Ee’ya, bang a couple of these down yer neck & lets go

Shaun
I fucking love you Bez – you’re always there for me when I need ya

Bez
Come on yer dick!

Exit Bez & Shaun

IN A MAN’S GARDEN: Titles-Scene 3


Dramatis Personae

Robert Louis Stevenson – child
Robert Louis Stevenson – man
Tom Stevenson
Margaret Stevenson
Alison ‘Cummy’ Cunningham
Monsieur Bernard
Polly
Fanny Stevenson
Valentina
Samuel Lloyd Osbourne
Reverend Balfour
Anne Balfour
Willie Traquair
Henrietta Traquair
Charles
Minnie
Sarah (play’d by Polly)
Francis

Revellers in the pub (played by Francis, Rev. Balfour, Bernard)
Waiter & waitress & in the hotel (played by Sarah, Francis & Bernard)
Revellers at the Carnival (played by everyone)

Postman

Songs

Overture
When I was Young & Drouthy
My Shadow
Le Boudin
Block City
Picture Story Books
Windy Night
The Land of Counterpane
The Good Child
Garden March
The Little Boats
The Charge of the Light Brigade
My Wife
La Carnival
From Her Boy


Scene 1: The Prologue

Enter RLS holding a copy of ‘A Child’s Garden of Verses’

OVERTURE

{spoken}
As from the house your mother sees
You playing round the garden trees,
So you may see, if you will look
Through the windows of my book,

Another child, far, far away,
And in another garden, play.
But do not think you can at all,
By knocking on the window, call

That child to hear, he will not look,
Nor yet be lured out of this book.
For, long ago, the truth to say,
He has grown up and gone away,

{sung from here}
And it is but a child of air
That lingers in the garden there.

So, gather round ye children, here are songs for you;
Some are short and some are long, and all, all are new.
You must learn to sing them very small and clear,
Very true to time and tune and pleasing to the ear.
Mark the note that rises, mark the notes that fall,
Mark the time when broken, and the swing of it all.
So when night is come, and you have gone to bed,
All the songs you love to sing shall echo in your head.


Scene 2: An Edinburgh Pub

A drunken Polly is singing a song to the other drinkers – a baby RLS is wrapped up in a bundle & left in a basket on the bar

WHEN I WAS YOUNG & DROUTHY

When I was young and drouthy
I kent a public hoose
Whaut a’ was cosh an’ couthy,
It’s there that I cut loose
It’s there that me an’ Thamson
In days of drams & ales
Drank wullywuchts like Samson
An’ sang like nightingales

We cracked o’ serious matters
We quarrelt dug & cat,
Like kindly disputators
Our whustles weel we wat.
A farmer frae Langniddry,
Wha drank hissel asnooze,
Was great upoon sculdiddry
And bucketfulls of booze

For some are deid an’ buried
An’ dootless gane to grace;
And ither some are merried,
Or had to leave the place.
And some hae been convertit
An’ weirs the ribbon blue
And few, as it’s assertit,
Are gude for muckle noo!

Enter Margaret Stevenson

Margaret
{coughing to gain attention}
Polly, what are you doing

Polly
Mrs Stevenson!

Margaret
Where is my son?

Barman
I think you’ll find him sleeping on the bar, doll

Drinker 1
Aye, it’s a nice warm basket, there’s plenty of bedding in there

Margaret
Lewey – oh my darling, are you alright – you should be ashamed of yourselves – this is despicable behaviour – I have never seen or heard of anything quite as dreadful as placing a baby on a bar, while completely inebriating oneself – it is an absolute shambles

Drinker 2
Ah, dinna fash, lass, the bairn’s safe

Drinker 3
Aye, he was enjoying the music, sent him to sleep so it did

Margaret
Excuse me if I do not take advice from such word-stumbling, tumbler-fuddled specimens of stumbling humanity

Polly
Mrs Stevenson, I was only having a wee dram, or two while the wee snabbie had a snooze

Margaret
In Leith – no, I am sorry Polly, but, this is an absolute disgrace. Do not bother coming back for your things, we will have them sent on to the whatever work-place assents to such episodes of such gross negligence. Goodbye Polly

Polly
But what about my wages

Margaret
They shall be sent along with your things – I’ll pay you until the end of the week
{to RLS}
Come on my darling, let us flee this evil den of iniquity

Exit Margaret & RLS

Polly
I didnae want to work for her anyway, right uptight she is. Says she’s too ill for motherhood, needs a nanny to help out, but I think she’s just too damn lazy – give me another gin somebody, I’ve suddenly got a hell of a lot of time on my hands – might as well get drunk


Scene 3: A Room in the Grand Hotel, Nice

RLS is sat in his bed reading Pride & Prejudice – enter a fluster’d Fanny Stevenson

Fanny
Robert ! Robert ! My love, you’re alive

Robert
Of course I’m alive, why wouldn’t I be? Well, I do suppose I am very much clinging on to life at the moment

Fanny
I take it the Riveria climate has not enabl’d any improvement to your condition

Robert
Not as yet, but on seeing my beautiful wife, already I feel my health, spirits & limbs aflush with a new energy

Fanny
My darling, I have miss’d you so much, I have been out of my mind with worry

Robert
Whyever so

Fanny
Well, it’s a long story, but let us blow some air & light into this place first – there is no point traveling all this way to Nice & not be able to experience any of its sensory effects
{Fanny throws open the shutters & a living flood of sunshine pours in. She looks at the hustle & bustle of Nice for a moment}
It is a pretty city, yes, but it is not Paris

Robert
Of course not, nowhere is – you were there

Fanny
There, & many other places all thro this vast country, I’ve been searching for you for 3 weeks now, I thought you had collaps’d & died on the journey – I have stopp’d everywhere in France on your route talking to the police, visiting hotels, searching for your corpse

Robert
This is no corpse, my love, not yet anyway – but did you not get any of my letters

Fanny
No, not one

Robert
Damn French postal service, I must have sent a dozen – & a telegram or two

Fanny
Well I did not hear a single thing

Robert
In the spheres of love, my dear, these little absences are always a good influence, they keep things bright and delicate

Fanny
Well, this little absence was almost the ruin of my nerves – but enough of that – it is all in the past now, your moustache looks nice

Robert
There’s positively nothing else to do when you’re bed-ridden except eat, read & shave

Fanny
That reminds me, I’ve brought you these

Robert
My wood engraving tools – you are simply invaluable to me in every where, & I am sure more beautiful than ever – come here

They embrace

Fanny
So how are you finding things here, how is Nice

Robert
Nice is nice, I find I am slowly recovering my powers of self-possession – this complete change in the background of my life; the scenery, diet, conversation of strangers is helping to bring me somewhat out of myself, somewhat – however it is the season of the invalids here, & there are far too many English here swelling the city streets

Fanny
& the hotel

Robert
It is perfectly adequate, but I would rather not stay any longer than necessary – I’ve had my fill of hotels – I am oping to keep my death away at all costs, but not staring at a ceiling each night worrying about how much it is all costing – this place is a den of extortion – I want to somewhere cheaper, & more at harmony with nature, with a garden – &, this is the best part, I have actually seen such a place for rent

Fanny
You have

Robert
Yes – a house in a small town call’d Hyres, about ten miles east of Toulon & three from the sea – the rooms are small, but the gardens are wonderful – wild & winding paths through old grey olive trees where nightingales rest & sing. And the views! The verandah! We can dine outside in the twin bosom of the sky & sea, my love. You will love it!

Fanny
Sound wonderful – & what’s the town like

Robert
It is everything we will need shop-wise – as for the town itself it is a resort popular with consumptives clustering in spa hotels – I wouldn’t want to join that company of crocks, of course, but by staying in the area we would be experiencing the same atmosphere, the same healing

Fanny
How large is the house

RLS
Well, it is not so big, I’ve heard, but we can squeeze him in somewhere for sure

Fanny
Is it expensive

Robert
A little – but mother is helping, at least for the first couple of months – but I do hate to ask her – every letter home begs for money & smack of defeat, & the prospect of being fit enough to work again in to be able to afford just about anything is rapidly receding to a pipe dream

Fanny
Money is like oil for the axles darling, without it we will grind to a halt

RLS
Such a terrible shame for the artists

Fanny
But only the artist have the nous to live like this, wintering abroad with pen, papers & paints – how good does it feel to be finally out of Scotland – I mean, look, its only January here, but even the best days of summer in Edinburgh would struggle to match such a sun-fill’d day of heat as this

Robert
Tis delightful, to tell you the truth

Fanny
& a lot less dangerous for your weak chest

Robert
Indeed – to none but those who have themselves suffered the thing in their own bodies can the gloomy draggle-tail’d depression of the vile Edinburgh winter be brought home. The bleak ugliness of those grey, sickly skies; the boisterous east wind whistling dirges thro the chimney tops; the harsh aspect of the unrefulgent sun going down among perturbed and pallid mists, completely depresses the spirits, &, I believe, actually contributes to people falling ill

Fanny
Well, you are not in Edinburgh anymore, my love, you are in the south of France, it’s a purely wonderful slice of heaven – I had been wondering, has the change in scenery help’d with your writing

Robert
I am full of all manner of literary schemes, but am quite unaffectedly incapable of carrying out the least of them – with sickness comes a sloth-like lethargy

Fanny
I was thinking maybe we could invite Cummy to France

Robert
Cummy ! Heavens forbid, no – she is 61 now, she deserves a tranquil & restful retirement – God knows she’s earn’d her repose – besides, she thinks I am apostate

Fanny
What

Robert
My moving on from the dogmatic chains of Pauline Christianity did not settle well with her at all, not one iota – let’s just say my conversations would be more than tense

Fanny
But, darling, she has always had a magic effect upon you & your health

Robert
I do love her dearly, but I’m not a child anymore, I think me & you are perfectly capable of nursing my health back to its full vigour – I simply refuse to become an invalid – indeed, there is actually a doctor of the most significant reputation in Hyres – his name is Vidal, I think – very clever by all accounts, hmm, he does this kind of thermal cautery with red hot needles – its been having some fantastic results apparently among the locals

Fanny
Of course – we shall get the house, we shall make it very homelike & we shall make you better

Robert
& what about our finances – they are in dire straits which thus renders everything else a darker shade of vague

Fanny
An impoverishment of life’s more material things, & even their diet, did not do the Spartans any harm whatsoever – we shall survive & we shall be happy

Robert
I am happy – your loving me the greatest feeling I have ever known – you complete me

Fanny
To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life
{they kiss}
I love you

Robert
I love you too

Fanny
I love you three

{Scene ends with a hug}

IAMG: Scenes 4-7


Scene 4: Edinburgh, Heriot Row

RLS is playing with his shadow

MY SHADOW

I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.
He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head;
And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.

The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow–
Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow;
For he sometimes shoots up taller like an india-rubber ball,
And he sometimes goes so little that there’s none of him at all.

He hasn’t got a notion of how children ought to play,
And can only make a fool of me in every sort of way.
He stays so close behind me, he’s a coward you can see;
I’d think shame to stick to mummy as that shadow sticks to me!

Margaret
{from upstairs}
She’s coming – Tom she’s here
{Margaret comes downstairs}
Lewey, what are you doing here, quickly, go to your playroom, I will call you to meet her if she seems suitable

RLS
But mummy

Margaret
No – go, we shouldn’t be long

Exit RLS, enter Tom

Tom
It is exactly one minute to two – she is punctual, I’ll give her that

Margaret
I do hope this one works out, I am close to despair with the whole saga

Tom
For heaven’s sake, Margaret, this is no time for melodrama, let’s just see, shall we

Margaret
But decent nannies are just so hard to find these days

Tom
You cannot quantify the quirks of fate. Let’s consider our search to have been like a bad run at cards. Our luck will turn for sure.

There is a knock on the door

Margaret
She’s here

Tom opens the door

Tom
Hello – are you Alison Cunningham?

Cummy
I am she sir

Tom
Do come in

Cummy
Thank-you

Tom
I am Thomas, Thomas Stevenson, & this is my wife Margaret

Cummy
Pleas’d to make your acquaintances… sir, ma’am

Tom
Please take a seat… would you like some tea

Cummy
O no, not for me sir, I don’t do tea, I’m just here about the position

Tom
Good, well, we are looking for a full-time nanny, live in of course, for our son, Robert

Margaret
Who is our only child, by the way – so, have you any experience in such employment

Cummy
Seven years ma’am, & I have plenty of excellent references

Tom
How old are you now

Cummy
Twenty-nine

Margaret
&, where are you from, if you don’t mind us asking

Cummy
Just across the water in Fife, a wee place call’d Torryborn

Tom
Been in Edinburgh long

Cummy
About three years now

Margaret
So, you mention’d references, do you have any from your employments in Edinburgh

Cummy
I do ma’am, one moment
{passing an envelope to Margaret}
Here you are
This is a fine house, may I say, & Heriot Row such an upstanding street

Tom
We do like the neighbourhood, yes… hmm… glowing reports, Alison

Cummy
Please, if it is not too impertinent, call me Cummy

Tom
Of course, so, Cummy, my lovely wife Margaret needs help raising our son, alas, she has certain persistent consumptive symptoms, & is prone to bouts of invalidity, rendering her incapable of rearing our boy

Cummy
Well, that is what you will hire me to do, sir

Tom
Unfortunately, Robert seems to have inherited from his mother a disposition to affections of the lungs

Margaret
He is quite a sickly child

Cummy
Well, this city is not the sweetest nursemaid to a weak chest – those cold & penetrating east winds burn me to my bones

Tom
Indeed

Cummy
May I ask a question myself

Margaret
Of course

Cummy
Is this a religious household

Margaret
I do hope so – my father is the minister at Colinton

Cummy
Colinton? Reverend Lewis Balfour is your father

Margaret
He is, yes

Cummy
Ahh – he is such a good preacher – well, for the Scottish kirk

Tom
You are Church of Scotland

Cummy
No, I am Calvinist, a member of the Free Church actually, but we are all God’s children Mrs Stevenson, except, perhaps, for the Catholics

Margaret
Quite !

Tom
Well, Cummy, would you like to meet the boy

Cummy
I would very much, yes

Tom
Lewey, Lewey, come & join us

Cummy
I thought you said his name was Robert

Margaret
It is… Robert Louis Stevenson is his name,

Cummy
Aahh, that has a fine ring to it

Margaret
We call him Lewey for short

Enter RLS

Tom
Lewey come here… this is Miss Cunninghame, but you can call her Cummy

Cummy
Hello young man

RLS
Cummy ! My Cummy Mummy!

Cummy
Then I shall call you little Lewey… why don’t you tell me something about yourself, little Lewey, like, what are you good at

RLS
I am the best player of hide-and-seek among all my cousins; & I can crawl thro leaves without making any noise at all

Cummy
Well, that is quite a feat, no noise whatsoever, very impressive

RLS
Do you want to see my toys

Cummy
I would love to, but its up to your mother & father of course

RLS
Mummy, Mummy, can I show Cummy my toys

Margaret
Would you like to see the nursery

Cummy
Of course

Margaret
It’s where you will be sleeping actually

Cummy
I will

Margaret
Well, if you obtain the position, that is

RLS takes hold of Cummy’s hand

RLS
This way Cummy

Tom
I’m thinking maybe Lewey has decided for us, darling… well, lead the way boy, let us show our guest where the playroom is

RLS
Do you like to play with building blocks, I’ve got so many, I have enough to make three castles

Cummy
Three whole castles – why, you really are a remarkable young man

Exit Tom, Cummy & RLS – Margaret looks happy & reliev’d



Scene 5: La Solitude, the edge of Hyeres

The house & its triangular grounds & gardens sit under a hill whose summit is crowned with the ruins of a Saracen castle. A carriage pulls up at the gate – RLS & Fanny exit the carriage – RLS pays the driver & is helped up the path by Fanny

Fanny
Gosh

RLS
C’est magnifique

Fanny
O, Lewey, its perfect

The owner – Monsieur Bernard – appears from the garden – he has been gardening.

Bernard
Bienvenue, bienvenue au Chalet de Solitude.

Fanny
Merci Monsieur Bernard. Permettez-moi de vous présenter mon mari, Robert Stevenson – Il est un auteur écossais

Bernard
Ah l’Ecosse, et vous êtes Américain, oui

Fanny
Oui

Bernard
Monsieur Stevenson, ce sera un bel endroit pour vous de penser et d’écrire, je suis sûr que vous serez tous les deux heureux ici

RLS
What did he say

Fanny
He said this is the perfect place in which you might write

RLS
It certainly feels that way, yes… eh, c’est une maison inhabituelle

Bernard
Oui, oui, c’est – c’est un chalet suisse miniature qui avait été logé dans l’exposition parisienne de dix-huit soixante-dix-huit – le bâtiment avait remporté le premier prix de sa catégorie, et chaque planche et brique ont été soigneusement démontées et remontées ici

Fanny
He says the house was originally in the Paris Expo, & he reconstructed it here

RLS
That explains the slightly ludicrous effect, but the situation is wonderful – those views of the sea, & the hills beyond Toulon – quite magnificent – & this garden, with its steep winding paths & trees of some maturity – we would make a fine home here, Fanny

Bernard
Voulez-vous voir la maison

Fanny
Nous serions ravis

Bernard
Eh bien, c’est le jardin – il est beau et frais en été – j’ai mis de nombreuses heures de travail dans sa création et son entretien – je suis sûr que vous continuerez mon bon travail si vous louez la maison

Fanny
Bien sûr que nous le ferons, Monsieur Bernard, nous aimons jardiner

Bernard
Vous pouvez aller à l’intérieur et explorer le chalet vous-mêmes

Fanny
Merci… he says we can go inside & have a look

RLS
Excellent… merci monsieur

RLS & Fanny set of for the house

Bernard
Quel est le problème

RLS
Je suis un peu malade, monsieur

Fanny
Il espère récupérer dans votre maison

Bernard acknowledges the situation / RLS & FAanny enter the house / Bernard resumes his gardening & begins to sing a song

LE BOUDIN

Tiens, voilà du boudin, voilà du boudin, voilà du boudin
Pour les Alsaciens, les Suisses et les Lorrains,
Pour les Belges, y en a plus, Pour les Belges, y en a plus,
Ce sont des tireurs au cul,
Pour les Belges, y en a plus, Pour les Belges, y en a plus,
Ce sont des tireurs au cul.

Nous sommes des dégourdis,
Nous sommes des lascars
Des types pas ordinaires.
Nous avons souvent notre cafard,
Nous sommes des légionnaires.

Au Tonkin, la Légion immortelle
À Tuyen-Quang illustra notre drapeau,
Héros de Camerone et frères modèles
Dormez en paix dans vos tombeaux.

Nos anciens ont su mourir.
Pour la gloire de la Légion.
Nous saurons bien tous périr
Suivant la tradition.

Au cours de nos campagnes lointaines,
Affrontant la fièvre et le feu,
Oublions avec nos peines,
La mort qui nous oublie si peu.
Nous la Légion.

Exit Bernard – RLS & Fanny return from the house

Fanny
What do you think.

RLS
It is the smallest doll’s house that ever was seen, the rooms are tiny & too few

Fanny
Ah – but I like everything about the place – the house is suitable enough & the garden is lovely & will be cool in summer & feels superbly healthy – it is just so amenable to what we really need – the improvement of our health

RLS
I suppose it does possess its little perfections – how much does he want, again?

Fanny
200 francs a month or 2000 for the whole year

RLS
{sharp intake of breath}
That is very dear. I will have to write to mother again…

Fanny
Then you will make your own money darling – this is a perfect place to write

RLS
Well, I am making some progress on that front – I’ve heard Treasure Island might be publish’d as a book soon, & I have also penn’d this story call’d the Black Arrow – I could send that to the Young Folks magazine

Fanny
Excellent prospects darling, & you don’t know what marvellous magma will erupt from your pen in such a conducive environment – so, shall we confirm with Mister Bernard

RLS
Yes, yes, of course, let’s go for it

Fanny
Where is he

RLS
I don’t know… elsewhere in the garden perhaps

Fanny
Wait he’s coming

Enter Bernard

Fanny
Monseiur Bernard, nous serions heureux de prendre la maison à titre d’essai pendant deux mois. 400 francs couvriraient le loyer?

Bernard
Oui bien sûr. Pouvez-vous payer maintenant.

RlS
Pas tout à fait maintenant, mais bientôt. Je devrai effectuer une ou deux transactions à Nice

Bernard looks at RLS suspiciously.

Bernard
Très bien, mais s’il vous plaît, donnez-moi l’argent dès que possible, je déteste avoir à courir après l’argent – en particulier les invalides britanniques et tous leurs médicaments coûteux.

Fanny
Monseiur Bernard – nous payons toujours notre chemin, nous sommes incroyablement honnêtes. Mais merci beaucoup – c’était agréable de vous rencontrer et nous pouvons emménager demain

Bernard
Pourquoi pas

RLS
Excellent – merci encore pour tout, et au revoir

Bernard
Au revoir

Fanny
Au revoir monsieur Bernard

Bernard
et au revoir à vous aussi, madame Stevenson

Exit Fanny & RLS – Bernard continues gardening



Scene 6: Heriot Row

RLS is playing with his blocks / Margaret is reading by the fire

BLOCK CITY

What are you able to build with your blocks?
Castles and palaces, temples and docks.
Rain may keep raining, and others go roam,
But I can be happy and building at home.

Let the sofa be mountains, the carpet be sea,
There I’ll establish a city for me:
A kirk and a mill and a palace beside,
And a harbour as well where my vessels may ride.

Great is the palace with pillar and wall,
A sort of a tower on the top of it all,
And steps coming down in an orderly way
To where my toy vessels lie safe in the bay.

This one is sailing and that one is moored:
Hark to the song of the sailors aboard!
And see, on the steps of my palace, the kings
Coming and going with presents and things!

Now I have done with it, down let it go!
All in a moment the town is laid low.
Block upon block lying scattered and free,
What is there left of my town by the sea?

Yet as I saw it, I see it again,
The kirk and the palace, the ships and the men,
And as long as I live and where’er I may be,
I’ll always remember my town by the sea.

He begins to rebuild something / enter Tom

RLS
Father

Tom
Ah, my little Smout, what are you building with your blocks

RLS
It’s the Tabernacle father

RLS
The what?

Tom
The Tabernacle – which the Jews built to house the Ark of Covenant in which Moses placed the ten commandments which had been written on stone of on the top of mount sinuses

Tom
Mount Sinai Lewey

RLS
Sorry father
{points to a block}… look this is the Holy of Holies

Tom
Ah, very good young man – I tell you this, I might have a sugary treat for you, but to win it from me your father would prefer it if you left the Old Testament for a while & came to the fireside with your parents & read a little with us – I have my evening paper, & you have your story books, yes

RLS
I have many father

Tom
Well then, let us read

PICTURE STORY BOOKS

At evening when the lamp is lit,
Around the fire my parents sit;
They sit at home & nobody
Will never, ever play with me

But all the pretty things put by,
Wait upon the children’s eye,
Sheep and shepherds, trees and crooks,
In the picture story-books.

So, with my little gun, I crawl
All in the dark along the wall,
And follow round the forest track
Away behind the sofa back.

Where I can see how all things are
Seas and cities, near and far,
And the flying fairies’ looks,
In the picture story-books.

Hidden from sight, where none can spy,
All in my hunter’s camp I lie,
And play at books that I have read
Till it is time to go to bed.

So when my nurse comes in for me,
Home I return across the sea,
& leave this land of nursery nooks,
Reading picture story-books?

Farewell, O mother, father, fire!
O pleasant party I admire
The songs you sing, the tales you tell,
Until to-morrow, fare you well!

But must we go to bed? Indeed!
Well, let us rise and go speed,
On up the stairs with backward looks
At all my picture Story-books.

RLS
Good night mother, goodnight father

Margaret
Good night darling, see you in the morning

Tom
Sleep well son

RLS
Will you tell me a story Cummy

Cummy
I certainly shall, my laddie

RLS
Can you tell me another good one about the Covenantors

Cummy
Of course I can… goodnight Mrs Stevenson, Mr Stevenson

Margaret
Goodnight

Exit Cummy & RLS

Margaret
Are you alright darling

Tom
Hmm I’m not sure I am – a constant diet of such religious utterances as those Cummy bombards our boy with are truly poisonous to a child – bedtime stories about religious martyrs, making the tabernacle in your play time – I am beginning to fear for our boy – some of the nightmares he has been having recently – he’s frighten’d half the night – thinks he’s going to hell – it is all Cummy’s doing

Margaret
But he loves her, perhaps more than myself, I sense sometimes, & her work is excellent, faultless even – I trust her implicitly with our child, & the house

Tom
Well, she is a kindly soul, but her piety is so obsessive, is this really the right influence we want on our only child – her convictions and consequent teachings, believing as she does in a literal hell along with the other tenets of her church, are rather strong meat for the mental digestion of an already imaginative & nervous child

Margaret
I don’t want to lose her Tom

Tom
Ach – then let us at least ask her to tone things down on the religious indoctrination of our child – if he is to be a Calvinist in the end, let him not be one by the age of seven, I’d rather such a heavy social burden be applied after a happy childhood

Margaret
I shall darling

They return to their reading



Scene 7: La Solitude

Fanny is in the kitchen with Valentina / she is surrounded by boxes / enter RLS

RLS
Aha ! the boxes from Davos, they have come

Fanny
They certainly have – we really are becoming civilized – we even have a maid these days – Valentina

Valentina
Monsieur Stevenson

RLS
Nice to meet you, Valentina, what are your qualifications

Fanny
Well, first things first, her English is impeccable, after which she is charming girl, aren’t you Valentina – she possesses a sparkling sense of humour, who reviews the whole neighbourhood & nightly brings its annals up to date

I am also a very good cook & a maid of all work

Well, welcome to the household young lady

Fanny
How on earth did we manage to acquire so many things

RLS
But everything in them is absolutely essential, & this is only a small portion. There are trunk boxes & cases bestrewn across Europe & a considerable portion of the United States… & somewhere within them is the leathery remnants of my soul,

Fanny
It rather feels like Christmas morning, all this – shall we open our parcels & see what Santa has brought us this year

RLS
Splendid idea

Fanny
Is there any money in any of them?

RLS
If I recall only a few coins here & there

Fanny
I do wish your mother would write to us soon

RLS
I haven’t heard a single scratch of a pen. I do so wish I did not have to pester her for money. I am in my thirties now, for goodness sake. It is all my damn publisher’s fault – curse their greed – call them philistines who leave a man of genius to starve

Fanny
& his wife

RLS
& his step-son I’m afraid – we’ll have to withdraw Sam from Mr Storrs – it’ll far be cheaper to bring him to France & feed him here. We need that forty pounds a year, Fanny – here, with us, not lining the pockets of some academic dinosaur

Fanny
I agree – I would love to have him here with us

RLS
Even so – it is still going to be tight. Are you sure we can afford Valentina right now – mother still hasnt forwarded me any money, I have hardly paid a debt either here or in Nice, & there are people springing fresh bills on me at all times of the day – its infernal – the chemist, the baker, the doctor, the gardener – everything has gone extremely vague

Fanny
She’s staying darling, I’m here to focus on my painting & the recuperation of my health – you could do the cleaning if you wanted, instead of Valentina

RLS
Very well, she stays – I have done the maths – for just I alone to live, to dress, to buy paper, pens & inks it comes to £51 per annum. But for a married man, who is sick, with a step-son…

Fanny
Well, if paper is so expensive, you could write in a smaller font – aha my Parisian beachwear…

RLS
I had never thought of that – I could easily turn my five hundred words a page to seven hundred and fifty – talking of paper, what – are – these? Oh…

Fanny
Darling

RLS
It’s the Braemar box. Look, there is the Hokusai.

Fanny
{taking the painting}
Ah excellent, I shall hang that over here – Valentina, this is a gift my husband gave me on our wedding day – l’aimez vous

Valentina
C’est tres joli, madame

RLS
Superb – a decent bottle of Scotch for once – unopen’d too – a most magnificent sight
{sharp intake of breath}

Fanny
What is it

RLS
Among these papers are something I’d quite forgotten about

Fanny
Yes

RLS
They contain those trifling poems about my childhood I had scribbled down in Braemar

Fanny
Oh my word, they were the most delightful creations, please, please read me one.

RLS
{skimming through papers}
If you insist – this one…. no, this one…. ah yes, perfect….

Young Night-Thought
All night long and every night,
When my dear nurse puts out the light,
I see the people marching by,
As plain as day before my eye.
Armies and emperor and kings,
All carrying different kinds of things,
And marching in so grand a way,
You never saw the like by day.
So fine a show was never seen
At the great circus on the green;
For every kind of beast and man
Is marching in that caravan.
As first they move a little slow,
But still the faster on they go,
And still beside me close I keep
Until we reach the town of Sleep.

Fanny
That was so charming, so evocative of childhood at its most adorable

RLS
I don’t think I have ever actually properly grown up you know – writing these poems, they just gushed out of some timeless sunny spot of my soul’s eternity, & you know, by Jove, I believe I could make a little book out of those things if I was to write a few more

Fanny
The china – excellent – take this box to the kitchen, Valentina, be a saint for me & wipe them all down, will you, please

Valentina
Yes Mrs Stevenson

Fanny
There’s a good deal been broken in the passage, but there is enough left for an afternoon tea – Valentina, dear, make us some tea while you’re in the kitchen please, & use whatever you can find in here

Exit Marie with box

RLS
Wonderful – my portable library –
My books, my reading, & my company
Absorbingly voluptuous they are
& if the books are eloquent, the words
Are in our ears like the noise of breakers
Rapt clean out of the fabric of myself
Mind rising from perusals fairly fill’d
Kaleidoscopic dance of images
Sleep incapable, thought continuous
A thousand colour’d pictures in my eye
& all of these carpacious treasures
Liken to literary intimates
& each of them to me are little homes
A place to dwell within however rare
My visits are these days, but when I do
They sing & charm with perfect brilliance,
Rediscover’d, momentary delights
Then fade after a magic hour or two
Like Virgil, Wordsworth, Herrick, Horace, Burns
A couple of Scott’s novels – studied, thumb’d –
The Pilgrim’s Progress & the Stratford bard
Of whom I’ve read all but Richard the Third
& Titus Andronicus & All’s Well
& might not ever read them now, the rest
With faithfulness, I shall read ‘till I die
& here he is, beloved Moliere
The next greatest playwright in Christendom
& here’s Montaigne’s superb ‘the Egoist’
I have read that four or five times, you know,
& here is the Vicomte de Bragelonne,
I’ve read that five or six, this edition
Was pirated in Paris, I love it
From the execution of d’Eymeric
To rough & tumble in the Place de Greve
It think it is the best one by Dumas
So many silent, solitary nights
Spent under lamplight in my youth did spend
With D’Artagnan & the Three Musketeers
But silent, no, not really, for I heard,
Thro’ a mind enliven’d, shattering sounds
Of clattering horses & musketry,
Then when I went to bed all thro my head
Swarm’d memorable faces of new friends
Who threaded thro my slumbers until dawn
When I leapt out of bed to eager plunge
At breakfast, back into this sacred book
Since then I’ve not discover’d any part
Of this wide world that has seem’d as charming
As these sweet pages, not even my friends
Have ever been as dear as D’Artagnan
& to this day I know that he delights
To have me read him, & tho Aramis
Knows I do not love him, still he plays
To me with his best graces

RLS passes out

Fanny
Oh my lord
Robert, what is wrong, Robert, speak to me

RLS
I feel queer

Fanny
I’ll get the doctor, Valentina !
Valentina, come here quickly… what’s the matter

RLS
I’m not quite sure, but my vision is blurring

Fanny
Oh my god!

Valentina
Yes, Mrs Stevenson

Fanny
Go, fetch the doctor at once

Valentina
The doctor

Fanny
Yes, the doctor, tell him my husband is sick
& needs immediate attention

Exit Valentina

Fanny
Let me get you to your bed darling

Fanny helps a groaning staggering RLS to his bed

Fanny
This way you can do it

RLS
I’m sorry

Fanny
It’s perfectly fine – you should really be resting, not moving house – luckily I’ve already made up the bed – you’ll be quite comfortable

IAMG: Scenes 8-11


Scene 8: The bedroom of RLS, Heriot Row

RLS is in bed, Cummy is ending her bedtime story with a flourish

Cummy
Then, after forty days of constant deluge the rain had finally stopped & the world was completely cover’d in water. The Ark & Noah, his family & all the animals then floated for six long months’ here, there & everywhere, but never siting land. Then, one day, God sent a mighty wind very much like the one blowing tonight, to dry up all the waters suck them all up like this
{she slurps, RLS laughs}
Then slowly & slowly but surely & surely the waters grew less & less & less & the very tippy-tops of the tallest mountains began to be seen. Next came the mountains & the hills & eventually the Ark settl’d upon the slopes of Mount Ararat

RLS
Where’s that, Cummy

Cummy
It is somewhere in the Ottoman Empire, but in those days there were no Ottomans or anybody, because all of the humans, except for Noah & his family of course, had been drown’d in the water for being naughty

RLS
I won’t be naughty I promise

Cummy
I know you won’t my laddie… anyway, we shall finish off this story tomorrow, & as for today, the last thing a good boy must do his say his prayers

RLS
I will – I want to live in Heaven when I’m all grown up

Cummy
No, you don’t live in heaven you go there after you… oh, never mind, as you say your prayers every night & always remember to be good, heaven will welcome you with open arms

RLS
& I will never go to Hell

Cummy
Not if you are good, no

RLS
Cummy Mummy

Cummy
Yes, dear

RLS
Why does God make Hell?

Cummy
It is to seperate the good hearts from the bad

RLS
So, what kind of hearts we got – mummy & daddy & me

Cummy
Well, what do you think

RLS
I think they are good

Cummy
& what kind of hearts have I

RLS
I think you have a nice one

MS
Well, laddie, if you are right, then there is a very good chance we will meet again in Heaven

RLS
I shall make a prayer now… dear God in Heaven & the baby Jesus I promise to be a good boy for my mummy & my daddy & I promise to love Cummy for ever & ever & I promise to all the angels that I will do all my schooling & never be naughty so me, mummy, daddy & cummy can all meet in Heaven, amen

Cummy
Amen – that was a most beautiful prayer, my boy – but, why you are crying

RLS
It is for what those beastly Sannhedrim & the naughty Romans did to Jesus – but, if he died to save us all then why do I still have to say my prayers

Cummy
Jesus showed us the way & we must follow

RLS
I will follow, I promise, I love you

Cummy
I love you too – now good night my darling boy

RLS
Goodnight my gentlest of mothers – if I’m spared I shall see you in the morning

Exit Cummy – RLS becomes frighten’d by the wind – he goes to the bedroom window

WINDY NIGHT

Whenever the moon and stars are set,
Whenever the wind is high,
All night long in the dark and wet,
A man goes riding by.
Late in the night when the fires are out,
Why does he gallop and gallop about?

Whenever the trees are crying aloud,
And ships are tossed at sea,
By, on the highway, low and loud,
By at the gallop goes he.
By at the gallop he goes, he screams in terror & and then
By he comes back at the gallop again.

RLS screams in terror & runs back to his covers & looks around in terror, jumping from time to time at sounds & shadows before covering his head with the covers



Scene 9: La Solitude

RLS in bed – his right hand is strapp’d tightly to his side – he is playing the melody to Windy Nights on his flagolet / enter Fanny

Fanny
Good you are awake

RLS
I am that

Fanny
How are you feeling today

RLS
A wee pinch better – I feel I can pretty much fight off any ailment these days

Fanny
Well, you’ve had a lot of practice

RLS
Indeed, by the age of nine I had recover’d from, wait a second… scarlatina, bronchitis, gastric fever, whooping cough, chicken pox, scarlet fever, croup & even the Bluidy Jack – I dare say this pincer attack of sciatica & opthalmia will be dispens’d of in the same way – but please don’t open the curtains – it hurts my eyes

Fanny
Ah well, you will need at least a little light to read & write by

RLS
True

Fanny
Here they are – the things you ask’d for

RLS
Ah! a writing board, where did you get it

Fanny
There is a stationers in town, it was a little expensive, but worth every franc if it helps you compose your poetry – if you rest it against your knees

RLS
What about chalk

Fanny
Yes, I got you some here

RLS
So, the plan is I will fill this board with stanzas & when it is fill’d you could transcribe them for me in fair copy, then wipe the slate clean & return the board to me

Fanny
Of course, a fine plan darling

RLS
I do hope you will be able to read my words – writing with my left hand will lead to a certain illegibility

Fanny
I will figure it out – I know my husband more than he knows himself sometimes

RLS
Well, I really wanted to be a soldier – but my health is too sketchy – thus writing it will have to be – I can do it all from my bed, however, but, how much longer must I be this, this amputee

Fanny
The doctor said you should bind your arm for a full week – it was a particularly chaotic haemorrhage

RLS
It certainly was – did he say he what he thought was wrong with me

Fanny
O god, he suspects it was your nerves

RLS
My nerves! but do nerves produce expectoration & blood in large quantities

Fanny
No, darling, they don’t – & how is the sciatica

RLS
A little better – but still flaring up like a damned demon – still, I will now be able to take my mind off the pain by composing many more songs of my childhood

Fanny
Most men would have succumbed to the force of circumstances, but undismayed, my love, you are as ever determined to circumvent the fate you refused to accept

RLS
However incapacitated – my work always comes first, the consuming, joyful passage of my life which animates all thoughts

Enter Valentina with a tray of coffee, croissants & flowers

Valentina
Your breakfast monsieur Stevenson

RLS
What is it today

Valentina
Coffee & croissants – I have also picked some flowers from the garden for you – something to amuse & distract the mind while you are doing your writing

RLS
Thank you – they are lovely

Valentina
I have also buttered the croissants for you

RLS
Perfect

Valentina
&, this letter came for you this morning

Fanny
Give it to here, Valentina, I will open it
{Valentina gives Fanny the letter & exits}
ah, it is from London

RLS
Cassel, perhaps

Fanny
Yes, it says Cassel & Company

RLS
What are they saying

Fanny
{sharp intake of breath}
Oh

RLS
What is it

Fanny
Treasure Island… Treasure Island! They have agreed to publish it as a book

RLS
For the hundred pounds

Fanny
The whole lot

RLS
Oh my – that is the best news – if my buccaneering jaunt does not fetch the kids, they have grown rotten since my day !

Fanny
I’m sure they will love it, its got so much depth, its going to be amazing, I felt it, I knew this was going to happen

RLS
Let me read it please – hah! my map, my treasure, my mutiny, my derelict ship, and my fine old Squire Trelawney with a yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum – god bless you all – one hundred pounds – & they agreed to let me keep the copyright as well, !

Fanny
Well, now you are in fine spirits, enjoy your breakfast & I’m off into town, I’ll see you for lunch
{she gives him a kiss & begins to leave}

RLS
Fanny

Fanny
Yes dear

RLS
I love you

Fanny
Ahh… I love you too, darling – now get to work – that hundred pounds will not last forever

RLS laughs / exit Fanny / he begins to eat his breakfast whistling a tune then begins to compose a poem to the same tune

THE LAND OF COUNTERPANE

When I was sick and lay a-bed,
I had two pillows at my head,
And all my toys beside me lay,
To keep me happy all the day.

And sometimes for an hour or so
I watched my leaden soldiers go,
With different uniforms and drills,
Among the bed-clothes, through the hills;

And sometimes sent my ships in fleets
All up and down among the sheets;
Or brought my trees and houses out,
And planted cities all about.

I was the giant great and still
That sits upon the pillow-hill,
And sees before him, dale and plain,
The pleasant land of counterpane.



SCENE 10: Greyfriar’s Kirkyard, Edinburgh

Cummy & RLS approach the Covenantors monument

THE GOOD CHILD

Cummy
A child should always say what’s true
And speak when he is spoken to,
And behave mannerly at table;

RLS
At least as far as he is able.
When I am grown to man’s estate
I shall be very proud and great,
And tell the other girls and boys
Not to meddle with my toys.
Every night my prayers I say,
And get my dinner every day;
And every day that I’ve been good,

Cummy
You’ll get an orange after food
The child that is not clean and neat,
With lots of toys and things to eat,
He is a naughty child, I’m sure

RLS
Or else his dear papa is poor… Cummy

Cummy
Yes my boy

RLS
What is the use of a butterfly when they don’t even make butter

Cummy
It is just a name, it doent mean anything

RLS
Well, it is a very silly name, I think, & names should mean something… but Cummy Mummy

Cummy
Yes, my boy

RLS
Why are we in a graveyard

Cummy
Well, before we went to hear your grandfather preach at Colinton, as were passing thro town I thought we could visit the Covenantor’s monument… & here it is

RLS
Who were the cov, conk, conkernonkers, Cummy

Cummy
The Covenantors dear, they were good honest proud Presbyterians who suffer’d for their faith during many years of persecution – let me read you some of the inscription – ah yes, this…

Though here their dust
Lies mixt with murderers, and other crew
Whom justice justly did to death pursue.
But as for them, no cause was to be found
Worthy of death, but only they were found.
Constant and stedfast zealous as
For the Prerogative of CHRIST their KING

RLS
Were they kill’d by Catholics, Cummy

Cummy
No, by a treacherous & perfidious king who turn’d his back on a most solemn oath, young man, removing the livelihoods of thousands of Presbyterians – toss’d out of churches & manses – ripping the heart out of proud congregations – they had no choice but to fight for their cause – 18,000 glorious soldiers of Jesus Christ went on to lose their lives in the struggles, & this monument is a memorial to their sacrifice – the Reverend Richard Cameron, Mr James Renwick & the Marquis of Argyle – let their names sing as powerful to you, child, as those of Moses, Daniel & St Paul

RLS
Was the bad king Cummy

Cummy
King Charles the Second

RLS
Was he a Catholic king

Cummy
No, but his brother James was, & I do have my suspicions – I do really think that every king & queen is a secret Jesuit papist

RLS
The Catholics are not very nice people are they

Cummy
No, not for a long, long time – so let us say a prayer, before we go to your grandfather’s

RLS
Will Aunt Jane be there

Cummy
She will, yes

RLS
& my cousins – Willie & Henrietta

Cummy
Yes, & a few more of your tribe I expect – but come back to the moment, young man, let us prayer

Our father in Heaven
Please give us the strength of the Covenantors – who, covering themselves with the blood of Jesus, vow’d, by the power of God, to never serve our enemies; like our proud honest Christian brothers & sisters of those former times, let us pull down all the strongholds erected against our spiritual progress, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen

RLS
Amen

Cummy
Let us go & see your grandfather now

Exit Cummy & RLS


Scene 11: La Solitude

RLS is working at the Roses in the garden – enter Fanny

Fanny
What a positively delicious day

RLS
It is, yes, but no more than any other recently – I take it the treatment went well

Fanny
Doctor Vidal is an absolute sorcerer – a curious navy man, very clever indeed

RLS
What is so marvellous about him

Fanny
Well, he kind of experiments with these red hot needles- its call’d thermal cautery, he heats a sort of little hammer red hot & burns spots on me with it – the effects are sublime, I feel positively brand new

RLS
As do I my love, tho flower-frail I’m iron born, & yes, I’m back on my feet now with an absolute flourish – these roses are inspiring, & all of this glorious nature surrounding – as Bunyan says, ‘I dwell already the next door to heaven.’

Fanny
This view is certainly celestial

RLS
Those mountains are as graceful as ever serv’d Zeus – & underneath them all this tiny spot of heaven – such a fragrant garden, & so lovely to look at it

Fanny
It is a golden maxim to cultivate the garden for the nose, and the eyes will take care of themselves.

Fanny
There is one flaw, however

RLS
What is it

Fanny
At a word my dear, snails! Those pesky parasites are everywhere

RLS
Yes, but, I haven’t the heart to kill them

Sam
Mother, father!

RLS
Sam

Sam
Well hello

Fanny
You made it

Sam
What the devil is that contraption

Sam
This new-fangled instrument, Luly, made from 100 percent steel might I add, is call’d a velocipede

Fanny
Ah the boneshaker – they are all the rage in America right now

RLS
Well, whatever its call’d, it looks ridiculous – & dangerous

Fanny
I quite agree, it appears some kind of infernal death contraption – you don’t sit on that thing do you Sam

Sam
Yes – there’s the seat there, like a saddle on a horse

Fanny
Well, you are completely forbidden from mounting the thing while you are staying with us

Sam
Its fine mother, it is all about finding your balance, like walking a wall, its easy – anyway enough of that – is this where we’re living

Fanny
It certainly is

Sam
Aren’t you going to give me the tour

Fanny
Of course, you must be starving too – Valentina, Valentina !

Sam
Who?

Enter Valentina

Sam
My word

Fanny
Sam, this is the maid, Valentina

Valentina
Hello

Sam
Oh – hi – I’m Sam

Valentina
I know

Sam
Could you fix my son some food – as many delicacies you can find in the kitchen

Valentina
Yes, madame

Exit Valentina

Sam
She is absolutely exquisite

Fanny
& she is out of bounds – no fraternizing with the staff – so come indoors, tell me all about your trip – down – you’re looking really well

Sam
& you mother… Robert

RLS
I will join you inside in a wee while, I’ll just finish off this bush here

Fanny
Coffee

RLS
Well, I think wine now, to celebrate the return of the prodigal

Fanny
Red

RLS
Yes… a vin pays would be perfect

Sam
How is your writing coming on

RLS
I have many irons in the fire & some are coming out

Sam
Well, you’ll have to read me some this evening after dinner

RLS
Of course

Fanny
Come on, let’s go in

RLS continues gardening – we are able to hear him thinking

RLS
A man is a twofold being – for in his physical form there dwell other powers tributary, but independent. If I now behold one walking in a garden, curiously colour’d & illuminated by the sun, digesting his breakfast with elaborate chemistry, breathing, circulating blood, directing himself by the sight of his eyes, accommodating his body by a thousand delicate balancings to the wind & the uneven surface of the path, & all the time, perhaps, with his mind engag’d about France, or the Dog Star, or the attributes of God – what am I to say, or how am I to describe the thing I see? Is that truly a man, in the rigorous meaning of the world? or is it not a man & something else? It is a question to be much debated. He is he just a mass of nerves & blood & skin & organs, or is he an exiled piece of heaven blown upon & determin’d by the breath of God; & both schools of theorists will scream like scalded children at a word of doubt. Yet either of these views, however plausible, is beside the question; either may be right; & I care not; I ask a more particular answer, & to a more immediate point? What is a man?

What a monstrous spectre he is, irremediably condemn’d with the disease of the agglutinated dust, lifting alternate feet or lying drugged with slumber; killing, feeding, growing, bringing forth small copies of himself; grown upon with hair like grass, fitted with eyes that glitter on his face – poor soul, here for so little, disturb’d by so many hardships, fill’d with desires so incommensurate & so inconsistent, savagely surrounded, savagely descended – stalking the universe on our planet’s rotary island loaded with predatory life, & more drenched with blood, both animal & vegetable,m than ever mutinied ship, soaring through space with unimaginable speed, while turning its alternate cheeks to the reverberation of a blazing world, ninety million miles away

IAMG: Scenes 12-15



Scene 12: Colinton Kirk

The congregation are exiting from the Sunday service / Cummy is waiting with RLS / enter Reverend Lewis Balfour

Cummy
Reverend Balfour – may I say your service was sublime – I was sat in the front gallery & was on the verge of tears the entire time – you seem to shine from the pulpit with some form of solemn silver light – it was quite astonishing

Reverend Balfour
Thank you for your kind praise, miss…is…

Cummy
Cunningham, Miss Alison Cunningham

Reverend Balfour
Wait a moment, is that my grandson

Cummy
It is, yes

Reverend Balfour
My word, Robert

RLS
Gatty

RLS gives his grandfather a cuddle

RLS
Ah – Alison Cunningham, Cummy, yes, you’re the nurse, but more like his wife, I have heard, you are quite inseparable

Cummy
We are, but a week or so at a grandparent’s house during the summer holidays is every child’s privilege & treasure

Reverend Balfour
& he will not be alone – your cousins will be staying also Robert, talking of which, two of them are here

Enter Anne Balfour, Henrietta & William

Henrietta
Smoutie

The children dash together

William
Have you seen the tadpoles in the pond

RLS
No

Henrietta
Oh – there are so many of them – come see

William
We are going to the pond, Aunt Anne

Anne
Make sure you don’t fall in

RLS
We won’t – hello Auntie – goodbye Auntie

William
Come on Smoutie

Exit William, Henrietta & RLS

Reverend Balfour
Anne, this is Alison Cunningham, Robert’s nurse, & this is my daughter Anne, his aunt

Anne
Hello – how is my sister treating you, Alison

Cummy
Rather well indeed – I am delighted to be in the service of the Stevensons

Reverend Balfour
They could not make my service today

Cummy
Oh, no, she took a terrible turn this morning & Mr Stevenson is all the way up at Duncansby Head, attending one of his light-houses – but I am assured he will be back next Sunday to collect the boy

Reverend Balfour
Very well

Anne
Would you like to say goodbye to little Robert

Cummy
No – it will upset me too much – we are very rarely parted – & he looks like he’s having so much fun – eh, no, its fine, I will be on my way now – but Reverend Balfour, once again, what a joy it is to hear you preach – Corinthians Seven is a verse quite dear to my heart
{giving Reverend Balfour money}
This is for the kirk

Reverend Balfour
Thank you

Cummy
I often wonder, Reverend, when will the time arrive that this world will really become like the garden of the Lord, & bloom & blossom as the rose

Reverend Balfour
We are on the very verge, my girl, the very verge, there are a great many good people who share society in this age, & with the empire spreading the word of God to all corners of the Earth, it is surely only a matter of short time when we shall obtain the planetary paradise

Cummy
Comforting words, Reverend… well, I shall be going now
{Looking at RLS playing}
Ah – he is such a happy, playful child

Anne
No doubt down to your attentive care, Miss Cunningham

Cummy
Oh, do call me Cummy, it is a more comfortable fit

Anne
Well, it was wonderful to meet you Cummy

Cummy
& you both

Reverend Balfour
Well, we will take over from here – see you next Sunday

Cummy
{taking one last look at RLS}
Next week then

Exit Alison

Anne
Right, father, are you ready for this

Reverend Balfour
For what

Anne
A house full of screaming children

Reverend Balfour
Well, it won’t be for the first time – you are one of thirteen, remember, but in fact, I adore them all

Anne
Come on, I have prepared numerous delicacies for lunch

Reverend Balfour
I think I shall set the children a competition to keep them entertain’d, & challeng’d of course, to write a story

Anne
A splendid idea – their imaginations are something quite to behold – the results should be spectacular

Exit Anne & Reverend Balfour


Scene 13: Colinton Manse

Henrietta, William, RLS, Charles & Minnie enter the garden in playful military regalia– it is cut into provinces by a great hedge of beech, and over-looked by the church and the terrace of the churchyard; flower-plots lying warm in sunshine; laurels and the great yew making elsewhere a pleasing horror of shade; the sound of water everywhere, and the sound of mills – the wheel and the dam singing their alternate strain; the birds on every bush and from every corner of the overhanging woods pealing out their notes

GARDEN MARCH

Children
Bring the comb and play upon it!
Marching, here we come!
Willie cocks his highland bonnet,
& Charlie beats the drum.

Henrietta leads the party,
Minnie brings the rear;
Feet in time, alert and hearty,
& each a Grenadier!

Happy hearts and happy faces,
Happy play in grassy places–
That was how in ancient ages,
Children grew to kings and sages.

In a mighty martial manner
Marching double-quick;
While the napkin, like a banner,
Waves upon the stick!

Enter Jane

Jane
That’s enough of fame and pillage,

Children
Ye sir! commander Jane!

Jane
Now you’ve been around the village,
Please go home again.

Children
Happy hearts and happy faces,
Happy play in grassy places–
That was how in ancient ages,
Children grew to kings and sages.

Jane gathers the children around her

Jane
Children, you are very little,
And your bones are very brittle;
If you would grow great and stately,
You must try to walk sedately.

You must still be bright and quiet,
And content with simple diet;
And remain, through all bewild’ring,
Innocent and honest children.

But the unkind and the unruly,
And the sort who eat unduly,
They must never hope for glory–
Theirs is quite a different story!

Jane
So, children, I have some rather exciting news

Charles
Yes, what is Aunt Jane

Minnie
Have you got us each a treat

Jane
Better than that, your grandfather has chosen the winner

William
What, of the story competition

Jane
He certainly has, & he will be giving out the prizes in his study, in one half of an hour
{the children are happy}
So, let us all go back to the manse & make ourselves presentable, yes

All the Children
Yes, Aunt Jane

The children begin dashing off

Charles & Minnie takes Anne’s hand as they begin to exit

Jane
So, my fine soldiers, where were you marching off to

Minnie
We were going to Sevastapol

Charles
Yes, we are the British Army

Minnie
I thought we were the Russians

Charles
No, we were going to fight the Russians, stupid

Minnie
Don’t call me stupid

Jane
Yes, Charles, that is no way to speak to your cousin

Charles
{tutting}
Sorry

Jane
Well, why don’t you two remember you are actually fighting on the same side & go & storm the garden gate, I mean the breach in the walls of Sevastapol over there

Charles & Minnie cheer & dash off with a ‘charge’ / Jane smiles & follows them



Scene 14: Colinton Manse

Reverend Balfour is sat at his desk in his study, which has many gaudily colour’d Indian pictures hung up, alongside the bones of antelope, the wings of albatross, pictures of Sevastapol, plunging ships & bleating sheep, the pied and painted birds and beans, the junks and bangles, beads and screens, the gods and sacred bells & the loud-humming, twisted shells! There is a knock on the door

Reverend Balfour
Enter

Enter Jane with all the children

Jane
Father

Reverend Balfour
Ah Jane, & my grandchildren, well some of them, welcome to you all, & just how many of my grandchildren are here today

Charles
{being urged to Speak by Jane}
There are five of us grandfather

Reverend Balfour
& what are your names again, do remind me, there are so many of you, over forty at the last count

William
I am William, grandfather

Reverend Balfour
& you are

Henrietta
Henrietta

Charles
Charles

RLS
Robert

Minnie
My name is Minnie

Reverend Balfour
Ah yes – I remember now – you each have written a story for my competition – well, I have read them all, twice, & I must say I am extremely proud of my own bloodline – what a wonderful selection of marvellous merit, worthy of publication in any anthology – however, there can only be one winner, & have managed to choose what to my mind – & I am the judge of the competition, so that is the most important mind in this matter – is the best entry – saying that, this story only won by a hair’s breadth, & all the other stories were to my mind joint equal second in standard – & so each of these will win a prize, Jane if you could take these envelopes I will announce the joint second place winners one-by-one… now the first joint second-place winner is… Minnie… well done… the second joint second-place winner is… William, congratulations… the third joint second-place winner is… Henrietta… a splendid effort my girl, the section about riding a pony on the beach was especially commendable… & the final joint second-place winner… is… Charles… another ingenious tale, my boy

RLS
Gatty

Reverend Balfour
Yes Robert

RLS
Where is my envelope

Reverend Balfour
Well, my boy, do you not understand what this means?

RLS
No

Reverend Balfour
You are the winner of the competition

RLS
I am

Reverend Balfour
Yes

RLS
But I don’t deserve it

Reverend Balfour
You certainly do, young man, it is you who is the winner

Henrietta
Oh well done Lewey

William
Yes, good for you

Jane
Three cheers for your cousin Robert, hip-hip {hooray}, hip-hip {hooray}, hip-hip {hooray},

Reverend Balfour
& so, for our winner, I have a first prize of this book here… inside which is an envelope like the others, which you all may open now

William
It is a ticket – what is it for grandfather

Reverend Balfour
Well, after lunch, we shall all be going to the zoo

The children cheer

Minnie
Will we see the Eel-infault

Charles
It’s an elephant silly

Minnie
Don’t call me silly – Auntie Jane

Jane
Charles, what did I tell you about upsetting her cousin

Charles
You said not to call her stupid, you said nothing about silly

Reverend Balfour
CHILDREN, behave, or else none of us shall be going to the zoo at all – understand

Charles
Yes grandfather

Reverend Balfour
Good – so back to our winner – Robert’s tale about Moses was so good I would like us all to hear it – Robert, could you read it out for us please

RLS
Do I have to

Reverend Balfour
Well, if you want your prize & of course this envelope here which contains your own ticket to the zoo, then, like in all competitions, when the winner is at least requir’d to say a few words, & in the case of story competitions, read out his tale, then yes, you do have to

Henrietta
Ah please Robert

Reverend Balfour
It is so very good

Reverend Balfour slides the story across the desk

RLS
Alright

All the children cheer except for Charles who is acting quite jealous

Reverend Balfour
Good boy, you can read it here by my desk
{RLS is shy}
Go on

RLS
The History of Moses – there was a woman that had a child when all the babies were to be drowned and she was a good woman and she asked God how she could save her baby and God told her to make a baskets of rushes and put it in the water, hiding it in the rushes. Then Pharaoh’s daughter was going to bathe in a certain place & as she went pass’d she saw the cradle and asked her servants to go and bring it out and they did it. Then the Israelites were very hungry & they began to speak to Moses about it. Then Moses prayed to God and God told Moses that the Israelites were to get up very early in the morning & they would see small white things on the ground and they were to gather it but they were not to gather any for tomorrow because it would breed worms and stink and they could not eat it but on Saturdays they were to gather some for Sundays because on Sundays they would not see any little white things. So they rose up early in the morning & they went out & they did see little white things & they called it manna. Then God said to Moses that he would have to die & God sent Moses alone up to a high hill called Nebo where he could see the whole land of Canaan & God buried him in a valley in the land of Moab & nobody knows where Moses was buried to this day. And there was great weeping in all Israel for Moses.

Reverend Balfour leads a round of applause

Reverend Balfour
A worthy winner, I believe, so children, why don’t you scuttle off & have your lunch after which we shall be catching the trains into town & to the zoo

The children cheer

Jane
Follow me to the kitchen children

Reverend Balfour
Robert, stay behind a moment

Jane leads the children out with Charles saying ‘but Aunt Jane, my story was better than his’

Reverend Balfour
A remarkable story – you captur’d the spirit of the Old Testament almost as evocatively as one of the prophets themselves – a fine performance

RLS
I do love making stories, Gatty – sometimes I even dream of two scribbling pens that are writing things down in my mind

Reverend Balfour
It appears we might have a budding author in the family, so here is your prize

RLS
What sort of book is it

Reverend Balfour
These are the prints of a Dutch landscape artist call’d Marco Sadeler – within these pages, my boy, you can explore the whole of Europe without ever leaving Edinburgh – there are scenes containing the cities of Rome, Paris, Barcelona, alongside enchanting scenes full of wood & field – it is a vast new world in which your imagination can go travelling in

RLS opens a page

RLS
Where is this place

Reverend Balfour
Well, can you read what it says

RLS
Ehm Nice

Reverend Balfour
It is Niece, actually

RLS
Where is that

Reverend Balfour
It is a city in the South of France, by the sea

RLS
Like Edinburgh

Reverend Balfour
Yes, just like Edinburgh, but a lot warmer

RLS
It looks very pretty

Reverend Balfour
Perhaps you will go there yourself one day, my boy… now, run along & get your lunch, I shall make sure this book is deliver’d to your home

RLS
Thank-you Gatty, I love you

They embrace

Reverend Balfour
& I love you my boy, now off you go, & well done on your triumph, it really was a superb story

Exit RLS – Reverend Balfour looks at the story one more time with a smile



Scene 15: The Beach at Heyres

Sam & RLS are picnicking – a woman & four children pass & begin playing on the beach – some women are washing their clothes, the shore is cover’d with drying clothes, while fishermen are mending their nets

RLS
Charles Darwin was absolutely right, survival of the species & all that

Sam
I beg your pardon

RLS
That woman, with the four children in tow, over there, playing in the surf – they look exactly like my Aunt Jane & four cousins of mine from when I was a child in Edinburgh – completely identical

Sam
Luley, you are retrospecting to you own childhood a tad too much I’m afraid, your imagination is breaching reality

RLS
I would say it is more a case of fresh cuts in funding from the arts council – but no matter – here you are, bread, pate, & wine, a fine French luncheon

Sam
Indeed, France is so very elegant & also a wagon’s worth of fun – the land has the sacredness of ancient cultivation – but is it expensive to live here

RLS
It is much less than Great Britain, as in greatly expensive, we can live well here on a fixed sum & feel like people again

Sam
& your health

RLS
Well, there is no cough to speak of anymore, there’s been no blood in my spittle for over two months now, & best of all I have energy for walking – the true oil of a literary mind

Sam
It is a smashing climate

RLS
It is that – had my infancy been passed in the fresh air & sunshine of such a sweltrie place as this – rather than among those evil brumal mists of Auld Reekie – I believe my whole life might have been different

Sam
That, combin’’d with a medical profession whose methods are inconceivably harsh & ignorant

RLS
Medieval, you mean

Sam
Quite… yes, well it seems a miracle that you have survived their treatment & grown to actual manhood

RLS
Well, I did, & here I am attempting to infuse as much health as possible into my adulthood

Sam
So far, so good, the colour is flushingly returning to your face – you are looking strong, robust even

RLS
Thank you – I mean, it has been a complete change of everything – scene, diet, companionship – out of such changes must come our own transformation – I’m finding that all these strangers are bringing a new version of man out of me

Sam
A new version, yes, but based upon the earliest version of yourself – those poems you read me last night about your childhood were magical

RLS
They have a certain charm, yes

Sam
They seem to me the first piece of literature that seriously attempts to reproduce childish sensibilities & concerns –

RLS
Not the first, but there is a certain uniqueness to them yes – in general, an author’s talent generally depends solely upon their ability to quicken the pulse, or drag a tear from their limpid emotional well, but these are design’d only to make the heart smile

Sam
I find them short, direct, funny & brilliantly cadenced, I have the feeling that they will probably outlive all of your work – I can see them entering into the soul of a race – where have they come from

RLS
I’m not quite sure – its possibly all a congestion of the brain, & there is no more room for any new experiences, it seems – the old stuff just has to, well, pour out – I have been quite prolific also, twenty new poems have appear’d in the last few weeks, as if I were plucking blossoms from my memories here & there

Sam
These do seem the perfect conditions in which an artist shall flourish

RLS
I completely agree – life is the most monstrous, complex, infinite, illogical, abrupt & poignant entity, all impos’d by this unfathomable brute energy – a work of art, however, is neat, finite, self-contained, rational, flowing & emasculate & catches the inarticulate thunder of random life & transposes into the most various & surprising meteors – but one must be susceptible to hear the sounds of life, & a place such La Solitude, it is even in the name, awards one’s mind with a perfect peace

Sam
What does it feel like, being a young child all over again

RLS
Delightful – I mean, I do not think I have ever really grown up – never quite abandon’d the parade of childhood, the pageantry, the showmanship, the mists and the rainbows; children are so passionate about their dreams and infinitely unconcerned about realities; there is so little that the child actually sees, but what they do they are swift to weave into bewildering fiction; and cares no more for what you & I call truth, than for a gingerbread dragoon.

Sam
Do you have a title

RLS
I’m thinking something along the lines of Penny Whistles for Small Whistlers

Sam
Hmm, not bad, but perhaps there is a better name out there for them somewhere

RLS
You think so

Sam
Maybe

RLS
Anyway, enough of me & my verses, how are you Sam, how are you finding the French

Sam
Amusing … the way they classify their dogs… Chiens de pieds, Chiens de pousses, Chien de sangs, Chien courants, Chines a plumes

RLS
Oh dear

Sam
What

RLS
I rather fear our efforts to turn you into a conventional & commonplace young Englishman have been only too successful – you have brought an air of weighty philistinism with you – I blame your tutor –

Sam
Oh, come on – I’m not that bad

RLS
A little – travel is all about opening one’s mind – remember, while you are in France, it is we who are the foreigners after all – one must learn to respect the environment in which we find ourselves – anyway, to help you in these matters, & to continue your education, we shall have to get you a tutor

Sam
Oh – really

RLS
Of course we must, you are only sixteen, & it is still term-time in England, therefore your education shall be continuing

Sam
Oh – I might as well have stay’d in England then

RLS
What & miss out on this life of sea-bathing and sun-burning inbetween your studies

Sam
Surely the money would be better spent than on a tutor

RLS
It is all settl’d, Sam, you could take it up with your mother, but…

Sam
Very well, I’ll continue the dull destruction of my youthful spirit

RLS
You must learn to conquer your aversion to the dryness of a life of study, my boy – it is not forever – you should enjoy formal learning

Sam
But I live in a constant fear of chastisement

RLS
You are becoming a gentleman in the process

Sam
But a gentleman of a morose disposition – I cannot bear it

RLS
Look, while in Heyres, your lessons will be predominantly in the French language, which will of course be extremely useful for you – especially with the mademoiselles of the area

Sam
That might not be so important

RLS
What do you mean

Sam
Valentina speaks excellent English

RLS
Valentina

Sam
Yes – look here she comes now

RLS
What

Sam
Didn’t I tell you, she is going to give me a tennis lesson

RLS
Tennis !

Sam
Yes, turns out she is rather good at it

RLS
& you are terrible

Sam
Perhaps not after this afternoon

Enter Valentina

Valentina
Bonjour

RLS
Ah Valentina… I hear you are giving Sam a tennis lesson

Valentina
I am, oui

Sam
Well, I’m ready, shall we go

Valentina
Oui, oui

RLS
I shall see you both back at La Solitude, then

Sam
Enjoy the rest of your day, Luley, & just how will you fill it

RLS
Ah – well, I was once in the area as a child, I was thinking of revisiting one one of the walks I went on

Sam
Oh – sounds lovely – well until later – goodbye

Exit Valentina & Sam – the children play’d by Charles & William pass by

RLS
Charles, William, is that you

The two boys look confused

Boy 1
Pardon

RLS
Oh c’est ne rien

Exit boys / RLS pours himself a glass of wine, puts on his glasses, opens a book & begins to read

IAMG: Scenes 16-19



Scene 16: Heriot Row

The doorbell rings / Margaret rushes down to open it / her sister Sarah, her husband Francis & their son, Charles are standing there

Margaret
Sarah, sister, welcome – do come in, how was your journey

Sarah
Pleasant enough, Peebles is not so far away at all

Margaret
& Francis, I trust you are well

Francis
Couldn’t be better – this is a fine house you have here

Margaret
Thank-you – Tom is dying to show you his study – he has these Sumerian spearheads which he says you will find fascinating

Francis
Oh, jolly good

Margaret
& how is you dear adorable Charles

Francis
Speak up Charles, tell your Aunt Margaret how are you

Charles
I’m tired & I’m hungry

Margaret
Well, I’m sure we can fix you up something to eat, but in the meantime I have someone here who is simply dying with excitement to play with you – Lewey, Lewey, come down, your cousin is here – so, you two will have the spare room & we’ve made a little camp-bed up Charles in Lewey’s bedroom, is that satisfactory for you

Sarah
Absolutely smashing, thank you

Margaret
We shall be dining at seven, here, we’ll be having venison

Sarah
Oh, you are spoiling us

Margaret
Not at all, I don’t get a visit from my favourite sister very often

Enter RLS with trepidation

Margaret
Lewey, say hello to your cousin

RLS
Hello

Francis
Don’t be so rude boy, so hello to your cousin back

Charles
Hello to your cousin

Francis
Charles

Sarah
Let’s just leave the boys to it, we’ve got a lot of family gossip to catch up on & I could do with a drink & a chit-chat

Margaret
& I too, if you would care to follow me – boys, play nice

Exit Margaret, Sarah & Francis chit-chatting

Charles
I can’t believe I’ve come to your stupid house

RLS
Well, you’re here now – do you want to play

Charles
Play what

RLS
Well, just play

Charles
Can you be more… specific

RLS
Do you want to play pirates

Charles
Pirates, how

RLS
Well, first off, we will need — swords – here, look, we can use these – now {sharp intake of breath} who is this coming to attack us {moves two chairs from the table} – Oh no! they are two English redcoats coming to take back the treasure – quickly, we must defeat them in mortal combat {RLS attacks the chairs with ‘take that you English swine’} – help me Charles, I cannot do this on my own {Charles begrudgingly joins in} – now, we are going to have to make a getaway, quickly, let’s steal two horses {RLS straddles a chair} – quickly, get on your horse, we must get out of here

They pretend to gallop away

Charles
This is fun

RLS
Hah, we are being follow’d, shoot him down with your pistol

Charles
Yes sir

RLS
You got him, well done – & look, our ship is still in the harbour

They dismount

Charles
Where is the ship

RLS
There

Charles
Where

RLS
Wait a moment

RLS gets the other two chairs out

RLS
So, if we turn this chair upside down – help me won’t you – now if we put that broomstick over there into this gap here – go get it Charles – thank you – & then – yes, this sheet is perfect – now look, our very own galleon

Charles
Gosh – very good – so then, Captain, eh, what is your name

RLS
Bloodaxe, call me Captain Bloodaxe, & you can be First Mate Jones – so all aboard with a ho-ho-ho & an off we go

Charles
Where are we sailing to cap’n?

RLS
How about the island of… Grundingia

Charles
Grundingia… where on earth is that

RLS
It is an island off the coast off Nosingtonia

Charles
Nosingtonia!

RLS
Wait, I actually have a map – I drew it this morning before you came, just in case we wanted to go on a quest to find some treasure buried on an island – X marks the spot, we need to sail to that bay there, for on this island Captain Kidd left gold & silver & jewels

Charles
How much gold & silver & jewels

RLS
So much it would fill this room from its floor to the roof

Charles
Gosh

THE LITTLE BOAT

We built a boat below the stairs
All made of kitchen table chairs,
And filled it full of sofa pillows
To go a-sailing on the billows.

On goes the river
And out past the mill,
Away down the valley,
Away down the hill.

Captain Bloodaxe, “said lets take
An apple and a slice of cake;”—
Which was enough for Charles and me
To go a-sailing on, till tea.

Away down the river,
A hundred miles or more,
To where other little children
Shall bring their boats ashore.

We sailed along for days and days,
And had the very best of plays;

{Charles falls off the chair, calls out in pain, Francis comes & carries him away}

But Charles fell out and hurt his knee,
So, there was no one left but me.



Scene 17

Heriot Row / Margaret, Tom, Sarah & Francis are drinking wine after dining & playing cards

Francis
Well, I am glad that damnable war in the Crimea is over – a putrefying away – the poor sioldiers, more of them died from disease than from the Russians

Margaret
I do love Tennyson’s poem, tho’, the one about the Charge of the Light Brigade, it rolls off the tongue so well

Sarah
Oh, do sing it for us then

Margaret
No, I cannot

Francis
Yes, you can, of course you can, here, have a drink of this delicious wine, & well, sing!

Tom
Yes, go on darling, you perform a stirring version

Margaret
Well, if you all insist

Sarah
We do

Margaret
Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
“Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns!” he said:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

“Forward, the Light Brigade!”
Was there a man dismay’d?
Not tho’ the soldier knew
Some one had blunder’d:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley’d and thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.

Flashing their sabre’s smile
Smashing thro rank & file
Slashing an army, while
Then shatter’d and sunder’d,
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
Brave horse and hero fell,
They that had fought so well
Came thro’ the jaws of Death,
Back from the mouth of Hell,
All that were live to tell of the six hundred.

When can their glory fade?
O what a charge they made!
All the world wonder’d.
Honor the charge they made!
Honor the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred!

Tom
Bravo

Francis
Yes, very good – madame, I salute you

Sarah
Well done, sister

Francis
The vigour in your voice transports us to the very spot, it is as if one is actually galloping towards those brutal Russian guns

Sarah
I head the entire, well, heroic debacle was perform’d in complete error – they had apparently charg’d the wrong guns

Tom
Those poor, poor soldiers

Sarah
& the horses, don’t forget the horses

Margaret
Yes, of course – & let us not forget the parents also, losing such find sons in their youthful prime – there are no winners in war, except perhaps, the Kings & governments who win, the rets of us must suffer

Tom
So, Francis, Sarah, you seem to appreciate poetry, but what about prose, we do like a good novel in this house

Francis
We read all the moderns

Sarah
I am rather fond of Jane Austen

Margaret
Oh, isn’t she marvellous – & what about Jane Eyre, have you read it

Tom
Ah, the Brontes – what a communal sorority of romance & acute insight into the human conditions are shar’d by those particular sisters

Francis
Yes, they are rather good, aren’t they – & what about the great debate itself, English literature’s very own Constable versus Turner tussle – is it to be Thackery or Dickens who claims the laurel wreath of our heavyweight division

Margaret
There is a simple solution fo that
{Margaret coughs a hacking cough}
Sorry about that… where was I – Oh yes, it will have to be Thackery for me… the problem with dickens is, despite all his watchfulness of men and manners, with all his fiery industry, he can never create a gentleman –– novel after novel, a whole menagerie of characters, the good the bad & the tragic, came at his beck & call like slaves about an oriental despot – but there is always one who stayed away – the gentleman

Tom
What about David Copperfield

Margaret
Ah – there is always one exception, but he soon return’d to type with Dombey & Dorrit – no, it will have to be Thackery

Sarah
Yes, his Rose & the Ring is quite charming – have you read it

Tom
Yes, we have, together by the fire last Christmas

Francis
We did rather much the same – it was a splendid pantomime

Margaret
To William Makepiece Thackery – the greatest living writer of the age

The company toasts Thackery’s health

Francis
But how would you even describe this gentleman who remained elusive to even Dickens’ precocious powers

Margaret
Well – it is nothing to do with the antique opinion that one is born into nobility – no it is more about the qualities that define him – he has virtues not vices, he has fortitude, not fragility, he has an ability o l;obe, to display affections, his decency, his generosity, his, well, numerous other qualities that have nothing to do with the kirk

Sarah
Well, I think we have done well, dear sister, we seem to have acquir’d two of the best specimen of gentlemen ourselves

Enter Cummy

Cummy
That is the children asleep

Francis
How is Charles’s knee

Cummy
Tightly wrapp’d – it will be fine – wait, what are those

Margaret
What

Cummy
Those, there, on the table

Tom
The newspapers?

Cummy
No – the cards, the playing cards

Tom
We were playing wist

Cummy
Wist! But cards are the devil’s books & to even touch them on the sabbath – I have never seen the like & hah! you are also drinking wine

Tom
Yes, Alison, we are drinking wine, the standard & long customary social procession which follows a fine dinner

Cummy
No – no – no – no – no – this is a house in which there are children residing, & being brought up, this place might as well be a brothel for the sins taking place under its roof

Tom
I beg your pardon

Margaret
Steady on Cummy, you are forgetting your station here

Cummy
My station here is it, well, if that is the case, it is clear that I cannot continue in such a den of iniquity – your souls might be damn’d, & I shall be saying a fervent prayer for them, but you will not be dragging me down with you to Hell, not if I can help it

Exit Cummy, upset

Sarah
Good heavens, Margaret, what was all that about

Margaret
I am not sure – I have never seen her like that before

Tom
She is more than forthright in her opinions

Sarah
How is she with your son, I mean, she seems a little strict

Margaret
Well, he insists on a most rigorous observance of her moral code – it does teach him a certain discipline, & we all need religion in our lives, so I rarely get involved, especially with her excelling in every other field – she really is a sparkle

Tom
At times, however, I think his constant reception of her Christian mantras somewhat subverts our authority

Margaret
I do hope she will be alright

Tom
I’m sure she will darling, let her calm down, you know what she’s like, especially on a Sunday

Margaret
Yes, of course

Margaret coughs a long, hacking & exhausting cough

Sarah
Are you alright?

Margaret
Och – its just this damnable cough – it’s exhausting, but, it will pass eventually, they always do

Sarah
You should try some oil of the eucalyptus tree pour’d into hot water, the fumes are wonderful for moving the mucus

Francis
Interesting news from Nepal, isn’t it

Tom
Nepal, what news

Francis
Well, the Great Trigonometrical Survey of India has discover’d the highest mountain on the entire planet

Tom
They have

Francis
Yes – it is call’d Peak Fifteen, but I’m sure it will be given a less formal name in the near future

Margaret
How high is the mountain

Francis
Over 29,000 feet, in Scottish terms, that’s about six Ben Nevis’s stack’d one on top of the other

Margaret
Gosh

Sarah
It is twice the size as any in the Alps – the sight must simply takes one’s breath away

Enter Cummy, pack’d & ready to leave

Cummy
Ehm – Mr Stevenson, Mrs Stevenson, I must thank you very much for letting me work in your home, but I must now tender my resignation – goodbye

Margaret
Wait – Alison, – where are you going

Cummy
I am leaving – the Devil has hour souls

Tom
Ms Cunninghame – the Devil does not have our souls in any way

Margaret
Please don’t leave us in such a fashion – & what about little Lewey – it would break his heart

Cummy pauses in her tracks

Tom
Why don’t we retire to the…. Library, I have recently acquir’d some fine, leather-bound editions of Miss Austen

Francis
Yes, yes, good idea Tom… coming, Sarah?

Sarah
Yes

Exit Tom, Francis & Sarah

Margaret
Cummy, darling, listen, I am sorry to upset you, but. but this is our house, & we can do what we like, when we like

Cummy
Well, I cannot stay under your roof any longer if you treat the holy word with such a slovenly disrespect

Margaret
Look, life is about compromise, Cummy, we accept you devotions, but you must accept where are you are – under our roof, under our rules – but we do so love having you here, & Lewey absolutely adores you

Cummy
It is he whom I am the most worried for, he is being brought up by the devil himself

Margaret
That is something of an exaggeration, is it not, & besides, Cummy, he is not your child, he is ours, & you are in our employ – perhaps the boundaries have blurr’d somewhat – but let me explain again, we love you, we love you being here, Tom thinks you are a little over-religious, & perhaps you are, but I accept your Christian perspective for the benefit of Lewey – I can see the effect on him you have had – you fill him with life & love & imagination & for that I thank-you – please stay

Cummy
There is no such thing as over religious, Mrs Stevenson, only under religious

Margaret
This is not your house, this is not a Calvinist household

Cummy
That is a shame – but despite it being too musical for my liking, I have no qualms about the Church of Scotland being the principle denomination of this place – there’s just too many hymns, not enough of the message of the Book

Margaret
So, I am a woman a very easy temper & good nature – but I cannot be challeng’d in my own home – do you accept, in the purest terms, that whatever your feelings are in the religious spheres, they can only be applied in a suggestative fashion in this household, our word is final, & if we wish to play cards on a Sunday, or any day for that matter, we shall without any question

Cummy
{pausing for a moment}
You do know that I have turn’d down many suitors to maintain myself in this position

Margaret
I do, yes, & we appreciate it so much, Cummy – please stay with us

Cummy
I am devoted to your son, Mrs Stevenson… perhaps I do get beyond myself sometimes, there is a zealousness within me I find difficult to control… I want to stay, I really do, I am completely fascinated by the boy’s company – he is a most intriguing child

Margaret
I have seen the way you are with him – your vivid playtime inventions make time simply fly on the wings – you have such a wonderful feeling for poetry & the music of words & those stories you tell…

Cummy
I do enjoy those moments, yes… well, there are no trips to the bar for me, I don’t even want to meet friends in the park, your son has become my world – how can I leave

Margaret
Ah I am so pleased, Cummy, I don’t think you realise how much you mean to us all – Tom included – may we embrace

Cummy
We may, Mrs Stevenson

They hug

Margaret
Now, Cummy, there is something else I’d like to talk about it

Cummy
Yes

Margaret
France

Cummy
What?

Margaret
France… we will be going there as a family next month

Cummy
France ! for what!

Margaret
My health, Cummy, I really need to get away from the Edinburgh winter – my chest will surely become compromised by its vicious cold and damp
{she starts coughing}
You see – with this cough, spending the next winter here could be fatal – instead, we shall be seeking convalescence at a health spa near Nice on the Riviera – Lewey shall be coming, & therefore so will you, we hope

Cummy
It seems such a long way

Margaret
Well, that is how far one must travel to find a warm & beneficial climate – I might be an incorrigible hypochondriac, but caution is the easiest defence

Cummy
O, Mrs Stevenson, of course, but France! I’ve never left Scotland before, never mind leaving the British Isles

Margaret
It is a fine thing to travel; the sights, the smells, the food, the culture, so much to enrich one’s intelligence & soul, even

Cummy
Well… the Lord truly moves in mysterious ways, & if it means we shall be all be heading abroad, then so be it – I suppose France is half-way to the Holy Land – I might need some new clothes for the trip

Margaret
& I also, we shall go shopping tomorrow – come, let’s go & talk to Tom – let him know he’s paying for our new outfits

Cummy
Och, Mrs Stevenson!

Exit Cummy & Margaret



Scene 18: A train

The Stevensons & Cummy are in a railway carriage travelling thro France

FROM A RAILWAY CARRIAGE

From a Railway Carriage – YouTube

Faster than fairies, faster than witches,
Bridges and houses, hedges and ditches;
And charging along like troops in a battle
All through the meadows the horses and cattle:
All of the sights of the hill and the plain
Fly as thick as driving rain;
And ever again, in the wink of an eye,
Painted stations whistle by.

Here is a child who clambers and scrambles,
All by himself and gathering brambles;
Here is a tramp who stands and gazes;
And here is the green for stringing the daisies!
Here is a cart run away in the road
Lumping along with man and load;
And here is a mill, and there is a river:
Each a glimpse and gone forever!


Scene 19

The Hotel Chauvain, Nice / the dining room / the Stevensons & Cummy are having their dinner with 40 other people / there are four waiters, two per side; one meat, one veg

Tom
That was absolutely delicious – the French – are quite delicate & refined in their cooking – did you like your dinner Lewey

Cummy
It was very good, father

Margaret
Cummy, you have hardly touch’d yours, is there anything the matter

Cummy
I am afraid to put among the meat – but the mash’d potatoes are the best I’ve ever tasted, actually

Tom
Afraid to put among the meat, whatever do you mean

Cummy
Its all a bit too foreign for my liking

Tom
There’s no such thing as foreign lands – it is only the traveller who is foreign.

Margaret
Cummy – it is just stewed chops with carrots & some exquisitely cook’d chicken

Cummy
Well, it tastes funny

Tom
Oh my word, our nanny is making her first sortie into enemy territory & has launch’d an early assault against the mighty chefs of France

Margaret
Well, eating with all these people I have never seen before – its just, well, strange, isn’t it – & far too grand for humble taste

Tom
Strange, & wonderful, it is the very spirit of travelling abroad

Cummy
To be honest I would rather not take anything that have to go through this again

Margaret
Look, you will get used to it, all things of novelty become normalcy in no time at all

Enter waiters

Waiter
You have finished

Tom
Yes we are done, thank you very much – eh – une louange spéciale à la cuisine, toujours délicate et raffiné

Waiter
Ah – merci monsieur

The waiters clear the plates

Waiter
We shall be serving dessert now – bon appetit

Margaret
More wine darling

Tom
Yes, please, this is a most adorable sauvignon blanc

Margaret
Cummy, you must admit, the wine is very tasty

Cummy
I normally drink beer at meal times

Margaret
But it is rather good

Cummy
It’s not bad at all, Mrs Stevenson

Tom
Is that blood from a stone I detect

Cummy’
It is the book of Christ – I will take a little more, thank-you

RLS
Look at my plate, mother, it is the Three Muskateers – & Artagnan – these are the adventures of the Vicomte of Bragelonne, I have read the book myself

Margaret
So they are – well observ’d young man – I’m rather taken with the napkins – the needlework in these flowers is superb

Enter waiters

Waiter
Monsieur, mesdames, et enfant – your dessert

Margaret
Ah excellent – what is it

Waiter
These are pears, in honey

Tom
They look lovely – Lewey, would you like some dessert

RLS
Yes please

Margaret
Cummy

Cummy
None for me thank-you

Margaret
Just the three of us, thak-you

Waiter
Would you like some coffee madame

Cummy
Oh no, no, not me – maybe some tea

Waiter
Certainly, madame, a few moments please

Waiter 2
So, young man, what do you like of Nice that you have seen so far

RLS
I like the oranges that grow on the trees in the street

Waiter 2
Ah – yes – you know you are allowed to pick them as you like – the are free for everybody

RLS
Alright

Waiter
Bien – profitez de votre dessert

Exit waiters

Tom
Hmm delicious

Margaret
Cummy, you do not seem to be enjoying this experience – at all – would you like to share your concerns?

Cummy
Where do I begin – well, the language, what I pick up of French I just as soon forget; except for one word, of course, the one for fish, poissins, which sounds like poison
{Margaret & Tom laugh}
I haven’t finish’d… the heat is insufferable; the promenade is full of fragrant vagrants, the shops are open on the sabbath, & the opera, while all the time dozens of priests going about letting all manners of wickedness go uncheck’d, in a so-call’d Christian country, the great adversary does triumph here, but they are papists, after all, it is no accident that the symbol of a bishop is a crook & the symbol of an archbishop is a double cross – no – being here in France has taught me one thing – that I value my own country & people more than ever & if it would please God I would go back with them today

Tom
Well, I’m afraid our stay in France is far from complete – in fact, tomorrow, we have decided to go to Monaco, but we will be attending a casino, or two, & Lewey won’t be able to join us – so instead, why don’t you take him for a walk in the hills near Hyeres – they are gentle enough for a child, but his health will benefit enormously

Cummy
How will we get there

Margaret
By carriage – we have two book’d for the morning, after breakfast

Cummy
Breakfast – I won’t be having any – the milk tastes strange

RLS
Maybe we could pick some oranges from the trees – the man says they are free

Margaret
Yes, I would prefer that

Tom
Well, that’s all settl’d then, tomorrow shall be a fine day all round – &, in the evening, it is the carnival – it should be a riot of sounds & colour

Cummy
The carnival

Tom
Oh yes, it is rather famous round these parts – Lewey will love it

Margaret
I’m looking forward to it – I’m feeling much better

Tom
Yes, your cough has all but dissapear’d completely

Margaret
It was a very good idea to come to France, my love, despite certain… protestations

Cummy grumbles