IAMG: Scenes 20-23



Scene 20

The Hills over Hyres / Margaret & RLS are taking a walk

Cummy
Ooo – that certainly hurts the calves – its like hiking up three Leith Walks in a row – how are you feelin

RLS
I’m fine – I feel strong – we are like two soldiers, aren’t we, marching off to battle

Cummy
We are, indeed, fighting for the good honest Scottish kirk & its outstanding psalmody – this land is certainly not god-fearing

RLS
I’m afraid of God

Cummy
& so you should be – I mean, come & sit here a moment – just smell the wild thyme – & then look at this wonderful view – all created by the master’s hand – & all such a perfect blend, created on the second day, for as the good book says;


And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.

RLS
On which day did he make the animals

Cummy
That will be the fifth & the sixth days – on the fifth he made the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky, then on the next day he made all the animals who live on the land

RLS
Including the giraffe

Cummy
Yes, all the animals

RLS
It’s such a silly animal, his neck is so long

RLS
Well, that is because God wanted them to eat the tallest leaves in the tress – he has thought of everything

RLS
God is a very clever man

Cummy
Not a man, but a spirit, Lewey – & I hope very much when the time come in my lifetime when world will once again become like the garden of the lord

RLS
You really do love God, don’t you – I mean, I love him, but I don’t think I love him as much as you do

Cummy
That will come, I hope, but I’ve never enjoyed such nearness to god as I’m doing now – I feel as if I’m on the verge of the eternal world

RLS
Can I come with you, I want to go there

Cummy
Of course you can – do you know, young man, I am more in love with you than ever now we are together in a foreign land – the heather is not quite as that of our native country, neither so golden nor so beautiful, it is not the broom of the Cowdenknowes, but it is fine enough

RLS
It is very beautiful – I think I would like to come back here one day, when I’m all grown up


Enter the adult RLS watching the scene unfold

Cummy
Perhaps you shall, young man, the world is a very big place, & despite my… grumblings, I must be honest, this view is quite spectacular & it is a joy to see more of the Lord’s creation – but don’t tell your parents I’m softening to the trip

RLS
I promise

Cummy
Ah – you’re a good boy

They cuddle up & gaze on the view



Scene 21

The garden of La Solitude / it is evening / Fanny is working / enter RLS

Fanny
Ah, you’re back – how was your work

RLS
Inspiring – the mountains are wide awake today – so much life – I even revisited a spot I first attended many years ago, with Cummy, I could even see my younger self & her – like a married couple – but, of course, you are my true wife

Fanny
I do love you very much

RLS
I mean look – this garden, this house, this life, our love has made this happen – we are bless’d

Fanny
Seven years & counting darling

RLS
Seven years, is that right, well I love you better than ever – I cannot think what I have done to deserve such happiness – & you make a far better person of me – here, in Hyeres, this year, is the happiest I have felt in my entire life

Fanny
There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy. By being happy we sow anonymous benefits upon the world.

RLS
I believe our marriage has been the most successful in the world – you are everything – wife, brother, sister, daughter & the dearest of companions

Fanny
Well, we are all travellers in the wilderness of this world, my love, and the best we can find in our travels is an honest friend

RLS
I would not change you for a goddess or a saint

Fanny
Nor you, darling, & this charming spot has really work’d wonders for your health- you have gain’d flesh, strength, spirits, eat well, walk a good deal, work completely without fatigue

RLS
One cannot help but be inspir’d by this voraciously fascinating place – at night, when the moon is out the, these plumed blue trees that hang trembling, become the very breath of paradise

Fanny
& the stars, don’t forget the stars

RLS
Ah – the Kosmos – incommensurable suns & worlds in a vastness of its space, imponderable zones of abstract speculation, upon which I ponder only one truth – that is the love I have for my wife

Fanny
Aah

RLS
I have even written you a poem on my walk

Fanny
You have

RLS
Yes, I have memorized it, would you like to hear

Fanny
Please

MY WIFE

My Wife Trusty, dusky, vivid, true,
With eyes of gold and bramble-dew,
Steel-true and blade-straight,
The great artificer Made my mate.

Honour, anger, valour, fire;
A love that life could never tire,
Death quench or evil stir,
The mighty master Gave to her.

Teacher, tender, comrade, wife,
A fellow-farer true through life,
Heart-whole and soul-free
The august father Gave to me.

Fanny
Ahh – absolutely divine, you speak with the dialect of your soul

RLS
As is my wife – I am truly the bondslave & the zealot of our love
{they embrace}
By the way, another thing of interest occur’d on the walk

Fanny
Yes

RLS
A new title – for my Penny Whistles – it cxame to me when I saw my younger self in the hills – how does A Child’s Garden of Verses sound?

Fanny
Perfect, yes

RLS
I hope to have Kate Greenaway or Randolph Caldecott illustrate it, & I will be dedicating the book to Cummy

Fanny
Cummy? Your mother might not be happy

RLS
Well – Cummy has had the most trouble & the least thanks – it will please her I’m sure, & lighten a little my burthen of ingratitude – in place of a great many things that I might have said & that I ought to have done to prove I am not altogether unconscious of the great debt of gratitude I owe her

Enter Sam & Valentina dress in carnival costumes

Sam
Well hello

RLS
Oh my word, what the devil

Sam
It is La Carnival, where are your costumes

Fanny
Oh – the carnival

Valentina

Oui, madame Stevenson – it is, eh, a big tradition in this country – there are many, eh, floats is the word, le défilé est spectaculaire

RLS
We will be coming – we shall meet you down in the square – you kids go & have fun – don’t get too drunk

Valentina
D’accord – see you soon

Exit Sam & Valentina

Fanny
Well let us betake ourselves in the spirit of the times & I guess we had better get changed – you’ll want a bath after your walk – freshen up beforehand

Slowly RLS & Fanny arm-in-arm

RLS
Yes – are you in the mood for a spot of dancing

Fanny

Always, darling, the Russians have a genius for novels, the Italians painting, the English poetry, the Germans opera, but for we Americans, our genius is the dance floor


Scene 22: Hyeres, the Place de la Republique

The carnival is in full swing – all the cast arrive on stage for the final number in various masques & disguises including a Harlequin, a Pulcinella, Colombine (Harlequin’s lover), the Captain (a soldier who’s boastful, yet cowardly) and Pierrot (a dreamer and a clown) – there is an effigy of Monsieur Carnival which is burnt

LA CARNIVAL

La Carnival
La Carnival
La Carnival
La Carnival

La Carnival
Bang on the cymbal
& give the signal
To open the ball

La Carnival
La Carnival
La Carnival
La Carnival

A Pulcinella
That isn’t dancing
Waits for his pretty one
To give him an arm.

Zim and boom and tara ta ta
Zim and boom, let’s dance the polka.
Zim and boom and tara ta ta tonight

La Carnival
La Carnival
La Carnival
La Carnival

& poor Colombine
Now has a happy heart
Her Harlequin
Is at the ball tonight

Zim and boom and tara ta ta
Zim and boom, let’s dance the polka.
Zim and boom and tara ta ta tonight

La vie est un carnaval
Et selon que tout va bien ou mal
Nous voici à chaque instant du jour
Différents aux bruits de nos amours

La Carnival
La Carnival
La Carnival
La Carnival

When the dancing is over
Let us love one another
For La Carnival
Yes, La Carnival
Oh la Carnival
Is the day we all adore



Scene 23

Edinburgh, an older Cummy is at home reading – there is a knock at the door / it is the postman

Postman
Good morning – a parcel for you, from France

France, oh, well thank you very much

Enjoy your day

Exit Postman / Cummy opens the parcel, it is the Child’s Garden of Verses / she opens it up / the older RLS comes on stage holding the younger RLS’s hand

FROM HER BOY

For the long nights you lay awake
And watched for my unworthy sake:
For your most comfortable hand
That led me through the uneven land:
For all the story-books you read:
For all the pains you comforted:

For all you pitied, all you bore,
In sad and happy days of yore:–
My second Mother, my first Wife,
The angel of my infant life—
From the sick child, now well and old,
Take, nurse, the little book you hold!

And grant it, Heaven, that all who read
May find as dear a nurse at need,
And every child who lists my rhyme,
In the bright, fireside, nursery clime,
May hear it in as kind a voice
As made my childish days rejoice!

Advertisement

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s