Good & Evil


A Play in Four Acts

by

Dolores Esteban






TABLE OF CONTENTS


THE PERSONS OF THE PLAY

Angel

Demon

Sir Paul Bradley

Lady Eleanor Bradley, spouse of Sir Bradley

Adam Bradley, son of Lady and Sir Bradley, nine years old

Sir Robert Mortimer, friend of Sir Bradley

Edward Langley, Adam’s tutor

Lady Appleton, a sophisticated and open-minded woman

Christine, a maid

A woman dealer

A man dealer

A fortune teller, female


TIME AND PLACE
In the beginning of May 1820; mansion near London, England


SYNOPSIS
Sir Bradley is a severe and rigid man. He made up a rigid teaching schedule for George and Adam, his nine and ten year old sons. Sir Mortimer, Sir Bradley’s friend, so far has tried in vain to convince Sir Bradley to give up his rigid attitude. The boys have little time for play and fun. Lady Bradley and Adam’s tutor Edward Langley take Adam to a fair. They keep their trip secret and lie to Sir Bradley. The question of Good and Evil arises. Adam is confronted with the good intentions of his mother and the evilness of a lie. Lady Appleton’s talk of Good and Evil disturbs him even more. Adam is obsessed with drawing the Garden of Eden and the Serpent tempting Adam and Eve. His mother and his tutor start to worry. Lady Bradley reveals the secret trip to her husband. To her surprise, her husband does not get angry and scold her. Sir Bradley is in a process of changing his mind due to a book he read. Sir Mortimer encourages Sir Bradley to open up his mind. In the end, Sir Bradley gives up his rigid attitude and decides to make up a more appropriate schedule for the boys. An angel and a demon comment on Good and Evil, God’s plan and the role of man from their point of view, respectively.








                                   PROLOGUE

                                  

                    Black walls. Stage faintly illuminated. Characters
                    on stage: an angel and a demon. Characters hidden.
                    Their voices can be heard. Angel's voice from the
                    left. Demon's voice from the right.

                   

          ANGEL
               And God created man.

          DEMON
               A bad idea. What has driven God mad?

          ANGEL
               What?

          DEMON
               Who has driven him mad?

          ANGEL
               Who?

          DEMON
               Do you mean God is actually mad?

          ANGEL
               This is an assumption of yours.

          DEMON
               What?

          ANGEL
               Two assumptions rather.

          DEMON
               Explain.

          ANGEL
               First: you assume that something or someone has driven
               God mad. Second: You assume God is mad.

          DEMON
               Well, isn't he? Just look at mankind. God's work is to
               blame. Only a mad god would create a weird work of
               creation.

          ANGEL
               Again you make an assumption. Can you verify this
               statement of yours?

          DEMON
               Man steals, cheats and betrays. Man is greedy. Man is
               envious. Man kills. Isn't this pure madness?

          ANGEL
               How can you say so? Can't you relate to mankind? Aren't
               those traits the traits of a demon as well?

          DEMON
                         (laughs)
               You actually make me think. Well, what is the
               difference between a man and a demon then?

          ANGEL
               Tell me.

          DEMON
               Let's see. A demon is well aware of his traits. Man is
               not. Man is unaware.

          ANGEL
               Not all of them.

          DEMON
               Most of them.

          ANGEL
               Very well. So...?

          DEMON
               You make me ponder. Is man guilty of his deeds?
               Ignorance is no excuse in law.

          ANGEL
               That's what you say.

          DEMON
               I'm fairly sure I'm right. Think of God's Ten
               Commandments. Just an attempt to fix his fault, I
               think, by the way. Nonetheless though, God's laws. The
               Ten Commandments are not to be broken. That's what he
               said.

          ANGEL
               Right. But I'm fairly sure it was not an attempt to fix
               what you think he did wrong.

          DEMON
               Why so?

          ANGEL
               What if he accurately planned every detail? I mean
               man's imperfection was a plan.

          DEMON
                         (laughs evilly)
               How wicked! I start to like this being called God. What
               a devilish plan.
                         (stops short)
               Ah...a though comes to my mind. What if God is not the
               good guy everybody thinks he is. I mean, his plan is
               diabolic.

          ANGEL
               You forget that God created not only man but also the
               angels and the demons. If he's all diabolic, why should
               he have created the choir of angels then?

          DEMON
                         (coughs slightly)
               Umm, my dear angel friend. Maybe this was his most
               mischievous plan? His most ingenious plan. I mean,
               consider. He created two groups of evil beings: the
               demons and man.

                    Demon steps forward. A dark figure appears on the
                    stage.

          DEMON
               I mean, the majority of beings are diabolic of nature.
               You are to pity, my friend.

                    Angel steps forward. A white clothed figure
                    appears on the stage.

          ANGEL
               You actually make me think.

          DEMON
                         (snickers)
               Ah!

          ANGEL
               But I think you miss a point.

          DEMON
               Do I?

          ANGEL
               I'm fairly sure.

          DEMON
               Explain.

          ANGEL
               All good virtues are connected with the angels always.
               Grace and beauty. Goodness, kindness and benevolence.
               Pity, compassion and mercy. Just to mention a few.

          DEMON
               Yes? Continue.

          ANGEL
               I am just wondering.

          DEMON
               Don't keep me in suspense. Put me out of my misery.
                         (laughs evilly)
               That's what you ought to do. You must not torture me.
                         (stops short)
              

                    Angel and Demon gaze at each other in astonishment
                    and almost disbelief. They make a few steps
                    towards each other.

          ANGEL
               Same thought, I guess.

          DEMON
               I'm fairly sure! How can an all good being torture me?

          ANGEL
               That's what I was going to explain.

          DEMON
               No need to explain at length. Save me your wise and
               refined speeches.
                         (scratches chin)
               I must almost admit that I was mistaken. I'm fairly
               sure now it is all God's wicked plan.

                    Smoke on the stage. Angel and demon disappear.

                                   END OF PROLOGUE

                   

                    The black walls are removed quickly. The smoke
                    disappears. A library. The walls are covered with
                    shelves filled with books. a desk and a chair on
                    the left. A couch, a plush chair and a small table
                    on the right. A door in the rear on the right.

                   

                                  
ACT I

                                   SCENE 1

                   

                    The door opens. Edward Langley enters the library.
                    He's dressed in an early 19th century suit. Edward
                    Langley walks along the shelves slowly, studying
                    the books.

                   

          EDWARD LANGLEY
               All alone in the house. What am I going to do? Reading
               a book?

                    A knock on the door. The door opens. The maid
                    Christine enters.

          CHRISTINE
               Mister Langley, Sir Mortimer has just arrived. Would
               you mind speaking to him?

          EDWARD LANGLEY
               Sir Mortimer? Did you tell him that Sir Bradley is
               absent?

          CHRISTINE
               I told him, Mister Langley. But he came all the way
               over to get a book Sir Bradley promised to give him.
               Perhaps you can help him.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
               Well...It is alright, Christine. Show him in, please.
               Maybe I can help him.

                    Christine leaves the room. A minute later she
                    opens the door again.

          CHRISTINE
               Mister Langley, Sir Mortimer.

                    Sir Mortimer enters. Christine leaves the rooms
                    and shuts the door. Sir Mortimer is dressed in an
                    elegant suit. He makes a few steps forward,
                    reaching out his hand.

          SIR ROBERT MORTIMER
                         (shaking Langley's hand)
               Good morning, Mister Langley. I didn't know Sir Bradley
               left for London yesterday.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
               Well, yes, he left yesterday in company of Lady Bradley
               and their two sons. They'll be back tomorrow evening.
               Can I help you, Sir Mortimer?

          SIR ROBERT MORTIMER
               I'm fairly sure you can. Sir Bradley promised to give
               me a book he had read. Angels and Demons. A
               philosophical approach to Good and Evil. He surely
               spoke to you about it.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
                         (pondering)
               I'm afraid he did not. I have no idea where to find
               this book. I do not want to search his private
               chambers. You certainly understand, Sir Mortimer.

          SIR ROBERT MORTIMER
                         (studying the shelves)
               Certainly, Mister Langley. Perhaps he left it in the
               library. We could have a look, perhaps. I came over all
               the way to fetch it.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
                         (approaching the shelves)
               Well, yes. We can have a look. But I doubt he left it
               in here. He would have told me. What is the book about?

          SIR ROBERT MORTIMER
               Sir Bradley told me it is a fascinating dialogue
               between an angel and a demon. They are discussing Good
               and Evil. I'm fairly interested in reading it.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
               Do you know the author's name? The books are sorted
               alphabetically.

          SIR ROBERT MORTIMER
                         (laughs)
               Sir Bradley likes to have things neat and in order. The
               author's name is Nacumbo, a pseudonym apparently.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
                         (crossing the room and walking to
                         another shelf)
               Apparently. A very strange name. Well, have a look
               yourself. The book is not there.

          SIR ROBERT MORTIMER
               What a pity. Well, I'll come some other day then.
                         (hesitating)
               You're all alone in the house, Mister Langley? How
               about we have brunch together. It's ten o'clock in the
               morning. I would not mind having a snack before
               I return home.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
                         (glancing at Sir Mortimer)
               Well, sure, if you wish so. Christine, the maid, and
               Mrs. Cooper, the cook, are around also. I'll Mrs. Cooper to
               prepare some coffee and a snack.

                    Edward Langley rings a bell. The door opens.
                    Christine enters.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
               Christine, please tell Mrs. Cooper to prepare some
               coffee and a snack. Sir Mortimer is hungry. We'll be
               having brunch in the library.

          CHRISTINE
               Yes, Mister Langley.

                    Christine leaves the room. Edward Langley turns to
                    Sir Mortimer.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
                         (pointing at the plush chair and couch)
               Please take a seat, Sir Mortimer.

                                   END OF SCENE 1

                   



                                   SCENE 2

                    Sir Mortimer is sitting in the plush chair. Edward
                    Langley is sitting on the couch. A tray and dishes
                    are placed on the table. They have finished their meal.

                   

          SIR ROBERT MORTIMER
                         (leaning back in his chair)
               So you're teaching Sir Bradley's sons, Mister Langley?
               I heard it was not an easy task. The previous tutor left
               a few weeks ago. He was around only three months.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
                         (hesitating)
               Well, yes, the boys are very agile and active. They are
               nine and ten years old and not much interested in
               focusing on difficult subject and matters.

          SIR ROBERT MORTIMER
                         (nodding pensively)
               Sir Bradley is a conservative man. He's strict and
               stern. He doesn't mean to do harm. On the contrary. He
               loves his sons and wants them to do well in life.
               That's why they have a strict schedule. But I agree with
               you, Mister Langley. They are far too young in order to
               study all the day long. I guess this has not changed?

          EDWARD LANGLEY
                         (shaking his head slightly)
               Classes start at nine in the morning and end at five in
               the afternoon, only interrupted for lunch. A strict
               schedule is not uncommon though, Sir Mortimer. I taught
               Latin, Greek and History previously. The boys usually
               study all day long.

          SIR ROBERT MORTIMER
               Those boys were older, I suppose. You prepared them for
               college, I think.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
                         (nodding)
               Well, yes. They were fifteen, sixteen years old.

          SIR ROBERT MORTIMER
               You see the difference, Mister Langley?

          EDWARD LANGLEY
               Sure, I do, Sir Mortimer. But Sir Bradley employed me
               to teach his young sons. I cannot oppose to his orders.
               This would result in my dismissal. He'll find another
               tutor then.

          SIR ROBERT MORTIMER
               Well, certainly, Mister Langley. I am just wondering.
               Although Sir Bradley means to do no harm to his sons,
               you apparently see the problems arising with the rigid
               schedule. The boys are suffering. Can you square that
               with your conscience?

          EDWARD LANGLEY
                         (leaning back, glancing uncomfortably at
                         Sir Mortimer)
               I'm not in a position to do anything about it, Sir
               Mortimer. Why don't you speak to Sir Bradley yourself?

          SIR ROBERT MORTIMER
               I spoke to him. But he won't listen to me. I pity the
               boys. But I cannot do anything about it. I just wish
               they are strong and see that their father is wishing
               them well.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
               Why are you so worried about it, Sir Mortimer?

          SIR ROBERT MORTIMER
                         (looking into the room for a while, then
                         turning his eyes to Edward Langley)
               Because I and my brother had a strict schedule as well.
               My father was just like Sir Bradley. We were forced to
               study all day long from a very young age on. I hated my
               father for that.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
                         (hesitating)
               But you are a sophisticated and well-educated man. Your
               father...

          SIR ROBERT MORTIMER
                         (interrupting Edward Langley)
               You mean I owe him my thanks? Well, I certainly do. But
               it was a long way to come to that point of view. And I
               still think I could have become who I am without his
               rigid style of education.
                         (giving a strange look at Edward
                         Langley)
               My brother Timothy was not that fortune, though. He
               committed suicide at the age of fourteen.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
                         (straightening with widened eyes, in a
                         low voice)
               I'm sorry to hear this, Sir Mortimer. I do understand
               your worries. Not everybody is strong enough to endure
               rigidness for long periods of times.

          SIR ROBERT MORTIMER
               I'd say nobody is strong enough, Mister Langley.
               Compulsion never ends up in any good. Even the
               strongest end up with a scar.
                         (leaning back, looking at Edward
                         Langley)
               In my thirties, I realized that my father's intentions
               were good. But the outcome was all bad and sad. My
               mother left him. My brother killed himself. And my
               heart was filled with hate for thirty years. I did not
               attend my father's funeral.
                         (looking into the room again)
               I was wondering if his intentions were truly good.
               Could he have not realized the evil that resulted from
               them? I was wondering if only the outcome was evil or
               if rather his goods intentions  were twisted in some
               way or other.
                         (with a severe look at Edward Langley)
               Were his intentions good or evil? That's why I am
               interested in Sir Bradley's book. He was not so much
               fascinated by the content. He was fascinated by the
               elaborate language it is written in. It is a pity we
               could not find it.

                                   END OF SCENE 2

                   


                                   SCENE 3

                    Three days later. Sunday morning. Lady Bradley
                    sitting in a chair in her private chamber,
                    comforting her sobbing son Adam.

                   

          ADAM
               It is just not fair. Why did Father take along George?
               I wanted to go to the fair as well.

          LADY BRADLEY
               Stop crying, Adam. George did his homework while you
               did not. Your father explained it to you.

          ADAM
               It's just not fair. I was trying hard. But I just could
               not figure out those stupid Latin words.

          LADY BRADLEY
               I know, Adam. I know Latin is hard. But you're doing
               fine. Mister Langley told me.

          ADAM
               So why was I not allowed to go with them? I wanted to
               see the white pony.

          LADY BRADLEY
               I know, Adam.
                         (stroking Adam's back, thinking)
               How about we ask Mister Langley to help you with your
               homework? I know your father would not approve of it.
               But we can keep it a secret.

          ADAM
                         (glancing fearfully at his mother)
               Mister Langley would tell it to Father. And then he'll
               dismiss him. I don't want Mister Langley to leave. He
               is much nicer than Mister Thompson was.

          LADY BRADLEY
               That's why I thought Mister Langley could help you,
               Adam. He won't tell your father, provided this is an
               exemption to the rule.

          ADAM
                         (gazing at his mother)
               But Father and George have already left. I won't see
               the white pony anyway.

          LADY BRADLEY
               I'm going to see Lady Appleton this afternoon. How
               about you come with me, Adam? Your father won't object.
               We could stop at the fair and have a look at the pony.
               We won't tell anybody.

          ADAM
                         (hesitating)
               What if Father finds out about it?

          LADY BRADLEY
               We need to keep it a secret.

          ADAM
                         (hesitating, then smiling)
               I won't tell anybody, Mom. Can we go and ask Mister
               Langley?

                                   END OF SCENE 3

                   


                                   SCENE 4

                    Adam and Edward Langley are in the study. Edward
                    Langley is closing a book. Adam is gazing at him.

                   

          EDWARD LANGLEY
               That's it, Adam. You're done with your homework. You
               did fairly well. I helped you only a little. You did
               most yourself.

          ADAM
                         (nodding, then glancing at Edward
                         Langley fearfully)
               You won't tell my father, will you?

          EDWARD LANGLEY
                         (shaking his head, yet with an
                         uncomfortable expression on his face)
               I won't, Adam. You can go to your room now.

                    Adam hesitates, then rises from his chair. With a
                    look back, he approaches the door, and then leaves
                    the room. Edward Langley is gazing uncomfortably
                    into the room. The door opens. Lady Bradley
                    enters. Edward Langley turns to her.

          LADY BRADLEY
               Thank you, Mister Langley. I know you're feeling
               uncomfortable. I am sorry for making you feel this way.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
               You asked me a favour, Lady Bradley, that I could not
               deny. I hope Sir Bradley will not find out since this
               would result in my dismissal.

          LADY BRADLEY
                         (nodding)
               I know you took a risk, Mister Langley. I owe you my
               thanks.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
                         (shrugging)
               You will not tell Sir Bradley. But I'm not so sure that
               Adam will be able to keep it a secret. He is a nine
               year old boy, now feeling forced to lie. Can any good
               come of this?

          LADY BRADLEY
               Why, Mister Langley, are you worrying about it? Can
               anybody be honest and sincere all through his life? We
               need to lie sometimes to achieve a little good.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
               What is the good in this, Lady Bradley? Adam won't go
               to the fair anyway.

          LADY BRADLEY
                         (with a little smile)
               He will. I will go and see Lady Appleton this
               afternoon. I'll take Adam with me. His father won't
               object. Lady Appleton is a sophisticated woman. Adam
               and I will stop at the fair and have a look at that
               pony.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
                         (gazing at Lady Bradley in shock)
               You cannot do that, Lady Bradley. Forgive my frank
               words. A fair is not a place for a lady and her son.
               For heaven's sake, Lady Bradley, give up this plan. Sir
               Bradley will for sure find out about it.

          LADY BRADLEY
                         (with a severe look)
               You cannot stop me, Mister Langley. I should not have
               told you. And I won't ask you to keep it a secret. I
               can only trust in your circumspection. But if you feel
               the need to tell my husband, then do so. But I will
               leave with Adam this afternoon. I am not a coward. And
               my husband is not a godlike being.

                    Lady Bradley and Edward Langley are staring at
                    each other. Lady Bradley compresses her lips.
                    Edward Langley's cheek blush.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
               So you're saying I am a coward, Lady Bradley?

          LADY BRADLEY
               Your words, Mister Langley, not mine.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
                         (reaches out his hand, seizes the rear
                         of a chair. His cheeks blush even more.
                         He hesitates, and then looks at Lady
                         Bradley insecurely)
               I have a day off on Sunday. I need not to be in on
               Sunday. I mean, I could go for a visit this afternoon,
               visiting whoever I want to visit. I could wait for you
               and Adam at the crossroad and accompany you to the
               fair. A fair is a rough and tough place, Lady Bradley.
               Some rascals could threaten you and Adam. They could
               attack you and rob your money.

          LADY BRADLEY
                         (giving Edward Langley an odd look)
               I'm fairly sure I can defend myself and Adam, Mister
               Langley. I have never heard that a fair is a den of
               thieves and potential murderers.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
                         (in a low voice)
               It's just not a place for a fine lady and her delicate
               son.

          LADY BRADLEY
                         (studying Edward Langley curiously)
               I do not want you to take a risk, Mister Langley, since
               you are afraid to be dismissed by my husband in case of
               any inconvenience.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
                         (gives Lady Bradley a painful look, then
                         straightens)
               When do you plan to leave, Lady Bradley? It's about
               fifteen minutes to the crossroad. You'll take the small
               carriage, I suppose.

          LADY BRADLEY
                         (nodding)
               The small carriage, yes. Andrew will drive the
               carriage. How shall I explain to him that we will pick
               you up at the crossroad, Mister Langley?

          EDWARD LANGLEY
                         (gazing at Lady Bradley)
               You won't drive yourself, Lady Bradley? How will you
               keep your visit to the fair secret then?.

          LADY BRADLEY
                         (with an insecure look)
               I did not think of this. But I cannot drive myself,
               Mister Langley. It is just impossible. I must ask
               Andrew to remain silent.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
                         (shaking his head)
               Too many cooks spoil the broth, Lady Bradley. Too many
               confidants are dangerous, I mean. No, Lady Bradley,
               Andrew must not drive the carriage. I will drive it.

          LADY BRADLEY
               How to explain to my husband, Mister Langley? There is
               just no reason for you to drive a carriage. It is not
               your duty.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
               Unless Andrew were not around. Neither Christine nor
               Mrs. Cooper could drive the carriage. The others have a
               day off and will be returning only this evening.

          LADY BRADLEY
               But, Mister Langley, Andrew is around. You miss that
               point.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
               If you want Adam to see that white pony, and you want
               your trip to the fair remain a secret, then, Lady
               Bradley, I consider it inevitable that Andrew won't be
               around this afternoon and Sir Bradley feels forced to
               ask me to drive the carriage.

          LADY BRADLEY
               Sir Bradley might rather ask me to stay in the house.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
               I don't think so, Lady Bradley. Since Lady Appleton
               invited you to come to her house for tea - which I
               suspect she did -

          LADY BRADLEY
               Exactly.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
               - then you need to go there. Nobody would dare to
               decline an invitation by Lady Appleton. This is what I
               understood from what I heard.

          LADY BRADLEY
               In fact, Mister Langley. I realize you understand a
               lot. From what you see and hear, I mean. And I am
               fairly surprised of your twisted mind and wickedness. I
               would not have suspected those traits of yours.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
               You thought I was a simpleton and coward, apparently.

          LADY BRADLEY
               Your words, Mister Langley, not mine.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
               So, well, how do we get rid of Andrew?

          LADY BRADLEY
                         (smiles with a still surprised
                         expression on her face)
               Mrs. Cooper asked me to give her permission to leave
               this afternoon for a few hours. Her mother is sick. I
               had to decline her request. She would not be back in
               time to prepare dinner. My husband would fly into a
               rage. I'm not happy with my decision. And neither is
               Mrs. Cooper. She did not complain, though.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
                         (scratching his chin)
               She would not be back in time to prepare dinner, unless
               Andrew drove her to her mother's house and back.

          LADY BRADLEY
               Exactly.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
               How to explain to your husband, Lady Bradley?

          LADY BRADLEY
                         (with a soft laugh)
               He'll scold me for my lack of circumspection. And he'll
               be happy to see me feeling guilty. I just need to give
               him a certain look, you know, Mister Langley.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
                         (swallows)
               Why am I feeling that everything is getting out of
               control?

          LADY BRADLEY
               Just because you are not used to this sort of schemes
               and plans. I'm not very trained myself. But I am not an
               amateur.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
                         (gazing at Lady Bradley)
               Better send Mrs. Cooper and Andrew away before Sir
               Bradley comes back.

          LADY BRADLEY
                         (raising an eyebrow and smiling)

          EDWARD LANGLEY
               I apologize, Lady Bradley. My words were far too bold.

          LADY BRADLEY
               Never mind. My husband and George will be having lunch
               at the fair. I'll ask Mrs. Cooper to prepare a soup.
               I'll send her and Andrew away right after lunch.

                                   END OF SCENE 4

                   


                                   SCENE 5

                    Sunday afternoon. In the hallway: Sir Bradley,
                    Lady Bradley, Adam, and Edward Langley.

                   

          SIR BRADLEY
               I am not all comfortable with it.

          LADY BRADLEY
               Why, Paul. Mister Langley is a good driver.

          SIR BRADLEY
               I already told you, Lady Bradley. It was entirely
               thoughtless to send Andrew away.

          LADY BRADLEY
               I could not deny Mrs. Cooper's request. Her mother is
               ill. Her mother is an old woman. She and Andrew will be
               back in time.

          SIR BRADLEY
               I certainly would ask you to stay in the house, if it
               were not Lady Appleton who invited you for tea.

          LADY BRADLEY
                         (with an innocent smile and look)
               That's why I asked Mister Langley to do me the favour
               and drive me to Lady Appleton's house.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
               I gladly drive the carriage, Sir Bradley. It is just a
               thirty minutes trip. But I'd prefer that we leave
               early. I don't want to take a risk and rather drive
               slowly.

          SIR BRADLEY
               You better do, Mister Langley. I'm not comfortable with
               this. And also I do not see the need to take Adam with
               you.

          LADY BRADLEY
               Don't spoil this little joy and fun of his, Paul. He
               was not allowed to go to the fair. But he worked hard
               on his homework. He'll be happy to have tea with Lady
               Appleton and me.

          SIR BRADLEY
                         (shrugs)
               Well, leave then. And convey my greetings.

          LADY BRADLEY
               I certainly will.
                         (turning to Adam)
               Adam, are you ready?

          ADAM
                         (nods and glances at his father briefly.
                         His cheeks are blushed.)
               I am ready, Mother. I want to have tea.

          LADY BRADLEY
                         (with a soft laugh)
               Let's hurry then.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
                         (opens the door. Lady Bradley and Adam
                         leave the house. Sir Bradley turns to
                         Edward Langley)

          SIR BRADLEY
               It is not easy to read a woman's mind, Mister Langley.
               I do not quite understand why my spouse is so eager to
               see Lady Appleton. She usually complains.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
                         (shrugs and looks aside)
               I suspect your spouse feels a need to go out and have a
               nice time after you told her of your morning at the
               fair.

          SIR BRADLEY
                         (gives Edward Langley an odd look, and
                         then shrugs)
               Drive slowly, Mister Langley.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
               I certainly will, Sir Bradley.

                    Edward Langley leaves the house. Sir Bradley looks
                    after him, and then closes the door.

                                   END OF SCENE 5

                                   END OF ACT 1

                   




                                   ACT II

                                   SCENE 1

                   

                    Lady Bradley, Edward Langley and Adam arrive at
                    the fair. They stop at a makeshift stable.
                    Edward Langley opens the door of the carriage.
                    Adam climbs out. Edward Langley helps Lady Bradley
                    to climb out. A stable boy waits to lead the
                    horses away. Lady Bradley and Adam glance around.
                    Edward Langley turns to the stable boy. Booths
                    everywhere. Merchants, dealers and visitors of the
                    fair walk here and there.

                   

          ADAM
                         (excited)
               Where's the pony, Mom? Let's find the pony.

          LADY BRADLEY
                         (taking Adam's hand)
               We'll ask someone, Adam. Where's Mister Langley?

          EDWARD LANGLEY
                         (joining them)
               I gave the boy half of the price for an hour in
               advance. You see, Lady Bradley, the place is quite
               crowded. We better go and find that pony.

                    A ragged looking woman, a dealer, approaches them.

          WOMAN DEALER
               Good day, my lady. Have a look, please. Ribbons.
               Beautiful ribbons. All colours.
                         (reaches out her hand with a blue
                         ribbon, stepping closer)
               This one matches your hair. Your hair is beautiful.

                    The woman steps closer. Lady Bradley makes a step
                    back. Adam gazes at the woman. Edward Langley
                    makes a step forward.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
               Thank you, good woman. But Lady Bradley is not
               interested in buying ribbons.

          WOMAN DEALER
                         (ignores Edward Langley and reaches out
                         her hand again and almost touches Lady
                         Bradley)
               Only two pence. The ribbon matches your eyes and hair.
               Seize the ribbon. Have a look.

                    Lady Bradley waves her hand defensively. The woman
                    dealer keeps talking to her. A man with a vendor's
                    tray approaches Adam.

          MAN DEALER
               Young man, how about some sweets and candy? You like
               sugar plums, don't you? See. Cherry, strawberry...

                    Adam looks at the tray curiously. The man holds out
                    a candy to him. Lady Bradley pulls at Adam's hand
                    while making another step back from the woman
                    dealer.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
                         (stepping forward again)
               Good man, good woman. Thanks for your offers. We'll be
               having another look some time later.
                         (offers his arm to Lady Bradley)
               Lady Bradley, let's start our tour. Adam, come and take
               my hand, please.

                    Lady Bradley takes Edward Langley's arm. Adam
                    takes his hand. They start walking. The dealers
                    follow them for a while, praising their articles,
                    and then they turn to other visitors of the fair.

          LADY BRADLEY
               This woman smelled badly, Mister Langley. Her ribbons
               were dirty. She was all bothersome and intrusive.

          ADAM
               I liked the man with the candy. I'd like to have some
               Candy, Mom.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
               I told you a fair is a rough and tough place, Lady
               Bradley. The vendors want to sell their goods. Some are
               kind persons. But they are often bothersome. Some are
               not even polite. And you often feel forced to buy a
               thing, just to get rid of the them. You better don't,
               though. Else you would have spent all your money after only a
               couple of minutes.

          LADY BRADLEY
               You're probably right, Mister Langley. It seems they
               follow you wherever you go.

          ADAM
               But I really would like to have some candy, Mom.

          LADY BRADLEY
               Quiet, Adam. You'll get candy at Lady Appleton's. Candy
               and cake that is more delicate for sure than the sweets
               and candy they offer at the fair.

          ADAM
               I want to see the pony then.

          LADY BRADLEY
               Mister Langley, could you find out where we find the
               pony? My husband told the boys of the pony the other
               day. He and George had a look at it this morning.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
                         (nods, and then turns to a decent
                         looking young woman selling stockings. They
                         exchange a few words, and then Edward
                         Langley turns back to Lady Bradley)
               The woman says the man with the pony is just right to a
               purple tent which we find down there. Let's go and find
               it.

                    Edward Langley, Lady Bradley and Adam walk on and
                    finally leave the stage. The vendors and visitors
                    of the fair keep walking here and there, praising
                    their goods, chatting, laughing and shouting.

                                   END OF SCENE 1

                   


                                   SCENE 2

                   

                    A purple tent on the left of the stage. A man with
                    a white pony on the right. The man helps a young
                    boy to climb the pony. The boy's parents watch
                    them.

                   

          ADAM
                         (pulling on Edward Langley's hand)
               The pony, Mister Langley!

          LADY BRADLEY
               Look, Adam. We've found it. Isn't it cute?

          ADAM
               I want to ride it. Please, Mom, I want to ride it.

          LADY BRADLEY
               I'm not sure, Adam.

          ADAM
               Please, Mom. The boy riding it is much younger than I
               am. He can ride it. So I can, too.

          LADY BRADLEY
                         (helplessly; she turns to Edward
                         Langley)
               Would you ask the price, Mister Langley? The man and
               the animal look fairly decent. I don't think a ride is
               dangerous.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
                         (steps to the man and talks to him, and
                         then he turns back to Lady Bradley)
               Five pence a ten minute ride. He'll walk the pony.

          ADAM
               Look! Look! They have finished. It's my turn now.

          LADY BRADLEY
                         (with a gracious nod)
               Alright, Adam. Be careful, please.

                    Edward Langley and Adam approach the pony. Edward
                    Langley helps Adam climb the animal. A colourful
                    dressed woman approaches Lady Bradley.

          FORTUNE TELLER
               Good day, madam. This is a very special day. Fate led
               you to the fair. It’s not the place where you ought to
               be. You came here anyway.

          LADY BRADLEY
                         (turns to the woman and gazes at her in
                         almost shock)
               Why? How do you know?

          FORTUNE TELLER
                         (smiling)
               I can see what is hidden. It is a gift I was given. I
               speak to the people who seek my advice.

                    The fortune teller points at her tent. Lady
                    Bradley looks between the tent and the woman. Adam
                    rides the pony. Edward Langley watches him. Edward
                    Langley and Adam don’t take notice of the fortune
                    teller.

          FORTUNE TELLER
               Why don't you come in, madam, and ask your questions. I
               will answer them all. I'll tell you what the cards
               reveal to me. Sometimes they speak in a direct way.
               Sometimes the answers are dark and mysterious, though.

          LADY BRADLEY
               Cards?

          FORTUNE TELLER
                         (smiling and pulling a card from a
                         pocket)
               Yes. See this one. A Tarot Card. It's called The Sun.
               See. It shows a young boy riding a white horse.
                         (she points at Adam riding the pony)
               Just like your son.

          LADY BRADLEY
                         (turns her head and looks at Adam on the
                         white pony)

          FORTUNE TELLER
               A coincidence that is very interesting.

          LADY BRADLEY
                         (looking back at the woman)
               Indeed.

          FORTUNE TELLER
               It won't take long, madam. Just a couple of minutes.
               And I won't ask you to give me a certain amount of
               money. You'll just give me what you feel inclined to give
               me.

          LADY BRADLEY
                         (hesitating)
               I need to tell Mister Langley.

          FORTUNE TELLER
               The boy’s father?

          LADY BRADLEY
                         (in an indignant voice)
               No! How can you say so? Mister Langley is Adam's tutor.
               My husband is busy. He stayed at home. So Mister
               Langley drove us here. Adam wanted to see the pony.

          FORTUNE TELLER
                         (smiling)
               I see. I see very clearly. Come, madam, ask me a
               question or two. Pick a card. It won't take long.

          LADY BRADLEY
               Well, alright. Just wait a minute.

                    Lady Bradley approaches Edward Langley. She speaks
                    to him. Edward Langley looks at the fortune teller
                    with a frown. He nods, though, when Lady Bradley
                    talks to him again. Lady Bradley joins the fortune
                    teller. The woman and Lady Bradley enter the tent.
                    Edward Langley gazes at the tent with a frown for
                    a moment, and then turns back to Adam.

                                   END OF SCENE 2

                   


                                   SCENE 3

                   

                    Adam climbs off the pony. Adam and Edward Langley
                    watch another boy riding the pony while waiting
                    for Lady Bradley to return.

                   

          EDWARD LANGLEY
               Well, Adam, did you enjoy your ride?

          ADAM
               Yes, Mister Langley. The pony is cute. Where is mom,
               Mister Langley?

          EDWARD LANGLEY
               Your mother entered the tent. She'll be back in a
               couple of minutes.

                    Adam gazes at the tent curiously. Lady Bradley
                    leaves the tent and walks up to them. She looks
                    angry.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
                         (worried)
               What happened, Lady Bradley? You look rather annoyed.

          LADY BRADLEY
                         (with a dismissive gesture of her hand)
               This woman talked nonsense. Her words were not worth
               the money I gave her.

                    The fortune teller leaves the tent and stands in
                    front of it. Lady Bradley ignores her. Edward
                    Langley looks at her with a frown. Adam gazes at
                    her curiously.

          ADAM
               Is the woman a witch, Mom?

          LADY BRADLEY
                         (in an angry voice)
               I almost think so, yes.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
               What happened, Lady Bradley?

          LADY BRADLEY
                         (with another dismissive gesture)
               She asked me to ask a question and then pick a card
               which would reveal the answer. The card was called The
               Devil and showed an awful beast. And then she told me
               some awful and obscure nonsense. She's a crook. She
               just wanted my money. I fell for her trick.

           EDWARD LANGLEY, giving her a little
                         smile)
               I told you Lady Bradley, a fair is a rough and tough
               place. Those vendors just are after your money.

          LADY BRADLEY
                         (straightens)
               You are certainly right, Mister Langley. Let's leave
               now and go to Lady Appleton's. I don't want to be late.
                         (Lady Bradley turns to Adam)
               Did you enjoy your ride, Adam?

          ADAM
                         (nodding)
               Yes, Mom, The pony is cute. I'm hungry, Mom.

          LADY BRADLEY
               Let's leave then, Adam, and have tea at Lady Appleton's.

                    Lady Bradley takes Edward Langley's arm. Adam
                    seizes Edward Langley's hand. They make a few
                    steps. Sir Mortimer enters the stage. He walks
                    slowly, looking here and there. Vendors and
                    visitors of the fair walk here and there. Sir
                    Mortimer spots Edward Langley, Lady Bradley and
                    Adam. He approaches them.

          SIR ROBERT MORTIMER
               Good afternoon, Lady Bradley, Mister Langley. What a
               surprise to meet you at the fair.
                         (He glances between them curiously)

          EDWARD LANGLEY
                         (embarrassed)
               Good afternoon, Sir Mortimer.

          LADY BRADLEY
                         (embarrassed)
               Good afternoon, Sir Mortimer. Adam wanted to see the
               white pony. Mister Langley was so kind to drive us
               here.

          SIR ROBERT MORTIMER
                         (looks at Edward Langley curiously, and
                         then turns back to Lady Bradley)
               Your husband is busy?

          LADY BRADLEY
               Yes, he is. We're about to leave the fair and go to
               Lady Appleton's.
                         (pausing and hesitating)
               May I ask you a favour, Sir Mortimer?

          SIR ROBERT MORTIMER
               Sure, Lady Bradley.

          LADY BRADLEY
               Would you please not mention to my husband that you saw
               me at the fair?

          SIR ROBERT MORTIMER
                         (looking curiously between them again)
               Sure, Lady Bradley.
                         (bows to Lady Bradley)

          ADAM
               It's a secret.

          SIR ROBERT MORTIMER
                         (looks between Lady Bradley and Adam
                         with a smile)
               A secret, Adam? I won't tell it. I promise.
                         (turning to Lady Bradley)
               I respect your wish, Lady Bradley Your wish is my
               command.

          LADY BRADLEY
                         (with an uncomfortable look)
               I thank you, Sir Mortimer. Please, excuse me now. I
               must leave the fair. Lady Appleton is awaiting me. I
               don't want to be late.

          SIR ROBERT MORTIMER
                         (bows again to Lady Bradley, and then
                         speaks to her with a broad smile)
               I'll see you tomorrow evening then. Sir Bradley invited
               me for dinner.

          LADY BRADLEY
                         (hiding her surprise)
               Sir Mortimer. Have a good day. I'll see you tomorrow.

                    Lady Bradley gives Edward Langley a meaningful
                    look. Edward Langley bows slightly to Sir
                    Mortimer. Sit Mortimer stands smiling. Edward
                    Langley, Lady Bradley and Adam walk to the left of
                    the stage slowly. Sir Mortimer stands watching
                    them.

          LADY BRADLEY
               Did you see his devilish smile, Mister Langley. I
               sometimes think Sir Mortimer is the devil in disguise.

                    Edward Langley glances at Lady Bradley in
                    confusion. Lady Bradley compresses her lips. They
                    walk on and leave the stage. Sir Mortimer leaves
                    the stage on the other side.

                                   END OF SCENE 3

                   


                                   SCENE 4

                   

                    Lady Appleton, Lady Bradley, Edward Langley and
                    Adam are seated in a parlour. They have tea, cake
                    and candy. Dishes are placed on a table in front
                    of them.

          LADY APPLETON
               So, Mister Langley, it's nice to meet you. Do you like
               teaching George and Adam? Lady Bradley told me the
               previous tutor left because he found it difficult
               teaching the boys. I can hardly imagine this. They are
               very kind boys.

                    Lady Appleton smiles at Adam. Adam returns an
                    awkward look.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
               I like my profession, Lady Appleton. The boys are
               doing fine. They prefer some subjects over the others,
               which I think is just natural.

          LADY APPLETON
               Certainly, Mister Langley. My father wanted me to learn
               Greek and Latin, which is not common for a woman to
               learn. My mother objected to it. And so did I, in the
               beginning. As a young girl, I thought it was not
               appropriate for me to learn ancient languages. I'm glad
               today, though. I'm able to read a multitude of
               interesting books, which I do to not neglect my
               skills.
                         (she turns to Adam)
               Which subject do you like best, Adam?

          ADAM
                         (gazing at Lady Appleton uncomfortably)
               I like Geography, Lady Appleton.

          LADY APPLETON
               An interesting subject. I travelled a lot. I found it
               important to have some knowledge of the countries.

          LADY BRADLEY
               It's certainly important to learn. But...

          LADY APPLETON
               Yes, Lady Bradley?

          LADY BRADLEY
               I'm feeling insecure about this. Sir Bradley made up
               the schedule for the boys himself. It's a very tight
               schedule. I mean some fun and play can do no harm.

                    Awkward silence. Everybody is looking at the
                    table.

          LADY APPLETON
               I understand your point of view, Lady Bradley. And I
               agree with it to a certain degree. I even talked to
               your husband about it one day.
                         (She leans back)
               This is a man's world, Lady Bradley. Sadly. We can't do
               much about it. That's why I never married, probably.

                    Awkward silence again.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
               Well, woman certainly has her part, Lady Appleton.

          LADY APPLETON
               Do you think so, Mister Langley? I can well imagine
               which part you think of. Just think of the tale of
               Eden. Personally, I think this part of the Bible was
               misread.

          ADAM
               I know this part of the Bible, Lady Appleton.

          LADY APPLETON
               You do, Adam?

          ADAM
               Yes, Lady Appleton. It's about Adam. My name is Adam
               also.

                    Everybody gives a soft laugh. Adam looks at them
                    puzzled.

          ADAM
               God created Adam. But Adam felt lonely. So God created
               Eve.

          LADY BRADLEY
                         (strokes Adam's hair)
               Yes, Adam. Would you like to have some more tea?

          ADAM
                         (frowning)
               No, Mom. Why don't you listen? I like the story. They
               lived in a garden. There was a serpent also. The
               serpent was evil and tempted Eve. Eve ate an apple.

          LADY APPLETON
               Personally, I don't understand what is wrong about
               eating an apple.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
               God forbade them to eat the apples.

          LADY APPLETON
               Very rigid, don't you think so? Would he have wanted
               Adam and Eve to die of starvation?

          LADY BRADLEY
               It was a test of obedience.

          LADY APPLETON
               Really? I thought the serpent tempted them.

          ADAM
                         (impudent)
               The serpent is the devil. That's what Vicar Thompson
               said.

          LADY APPLETON
               Vicar Thompson?

          EDWARD LANGLEY
               Vicar Thompson teaches religion on Friday morning.

          ADAM
               Adam and Eve gave in to the devil. That's why God
               banned them from paradise.

          LADY BRADLEY
               Very good, Adam. You learned your lesson well.

          LADY APPLETON
                         (shaking her head)
               God seems to be rather humourless, don't you think so?
               He banned Adam and Eve just because they did not obey
               and then kept the deed secret from him.

                    Edward Langley coughs slightly. Lady Bradley
                    laughs artificially. Adam stares at Lady Appleton
                    curiously.

          ADAM
               They had to keep it secret. Else Father would have
               spoiled their fun.

          LADY APPLETON
               Adam? What do you mean, Adam?

          ADAM
                         (turning to Lady Bradley with a fearful
                         look)
               Will Father ban me from the house because I had a look
               at the pony?

                    Lady Appleton looks from one to the other in
                    confusion. Lady Bradley leans in to Adam, places
                    her arm around him and whispers to him. Edward
                    Langley coughs slightly.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
               The butter-cream cake is delicious, Lady Appleton.

          LADY APPLETON
                         (hesitates, and then smiles)
               Just help yourself, Mister Langley. Get yourself
               another piece of cake. Perhaps you would like to taste
               the strawberry cake. It is delicious also.

                                   END OF SCENE 4
                  

                                   SCENE 5
                  

                    At Sir Bradley's house. Lady Bradley and Edward
                    Langley are in the hallway. Edward Langley helps
                    Lady Bradley take off her coat.

                   

          LADY BRADLEY
               Adam rushed up the stairs. He's upset and confused. I
               should not have taken him to fair.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
               It was rather Lady Appleton's unfortunate talk that
               disturbed him.

          LADY BRADLEY
               I need to talk to Adam and comfort him.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
               You did not mean to do him any harm, Lady Bradley.

          LADY BRADLEY
               No, I did not. I just wanted Adam to have some fun.
               However, I forced him to lie to his father. Nothing good
               can come from this.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
               Perhaps, you tell Sir Bradley the truth. I'm feeling
               uncomfortable as well.

          LADY BRADLEY
               You are right, Mister Langley. I'll talk to him. Don't
               worry, Mister Langley. I'll tell him it was all my idea
               and plan. I asked you to stop at the fair.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
               I will talk to him also and explain that the boys'
               schedule is too tight.

          LADY BRADLEY
               Don't rush things, Mister Langley. I'll talk to my
               husband. He'll be very angry. But now I need to go and
               comfort my son.

                                   END OF SCENE 5

                                   END OF ACT II





                           
                                  ENTR'ACTE

                                  

                    Black walls. Stage faintly illuminated. Characters
                    on stage: an angel and a demon. Characters hidden.
                    Their voices can be heard. Angel's voice from the
                    left. Demon's voice from the right.

                   

          ANGEL
               We have not yet discussed the role of the devil.

          DEMON
               In fact. What do you think it is?

          ANGEL
               The devil is the tempter of man.

          DEMON
               You belittle my master. Think harder, my friend.

          ANGEL
               His first deed was to tempt Adam and Eve and lead the
               couple astray.

          DEMON
               Which resulted in God banning Adam and Eve. Don't you
               think the punishment was far too rigid and severe?

          ANGEL
               They showed their lack of will and they showed their
               disobedience.

          DEMON
               God should have foreseen this since he created them
               with all their flaws and imperfections. So, why punish
               his creation when he himself was responsible for it?

          ANGEL
               That is a point, I have to admit.

          DEMON
               You missed another.

          ANGEL
               Why so? Tell me.

          DEMON
               Why did God not ban the serpent from the Garden of
               Eden? It almost seems he approved of the tempter being
               in it.

          ANGEL
               You make me think again, in fact.

          DEMON
               There was another act of betrayal in heaven.

          ANGEL
               The angels who did not bow to man when God asked them
               to do.

          DEMON
               Those were banned from heaven. This is what is said.

          ANGEL
               Lucifer and the others, the tempters of man.

          DEMON
               Banned from heaven. Yet, apparently, not banned from
               paradise.

          ANGEL
               I see your point. You defend your master. You mean to
               say that his wicked plans serve a heavenly goal.

          DEMON
               What's wrong with eating an apple?

          ANGEL
               Adam and Eve disobeyed God's order.

          DEMON
               What's wrong with it? They were not aware of Good and
               Evil.

          ANGEL
               So the serpent made them aware of it?

          DEMON
               This is man's burden. They’ll never know act
               act is good and which act is evil.

          ANGEL
               Unless they learn from the results of their deeds.

          DEMON
               It is far easier to be either an angel or be a demon.
               You are put in a place and you're aware of it.

          ANGEL
               I'm not so sure, my demon friend. Just listen to our
               talk and to our conversation. I'm not so sure anymore
               who is angel and who is demon.

          DEMON
               The main difference between man and the heavenly beings
               is that we are aware of our deeds and man is not.

          ANGEL
               But man can learn of his deeds over time.

          DEMON
               It offers a whole new dimension.

          ANGEL
               I'm fairly sure now it is all God's wicked plan.

                    Smoke on the stage. Angel and demon disappear.

                                   END OF ENTR'ACTE

                   




                                   ACT III

                                   SCENE 1

                   

                    Monday evening at Sir Bradley's house. Sir
                    Bradley, Lady Bradley and Sir Mortimer have just
                    finished dinner in the dining room. They are
                    sitting at a table covered with dishes.

                   

          SIR ROBERT MORTIMER
               The dinner is truly delicious. Once again I thank you
               for this invitation, Sir Bradley, Madam.

          SIR BRADLEY
               My thanks in return. I always enjoy our vivid
               conversations.

          SIR ROBERT MORTIMER
               May I ask you, Sir Mortimer, if you have finished the
               book that you praised so much for its elaborate
               language?

          SIR BRADLEY
               I forgot. Forgive me, Sir Mortimer. I enjoyed that
               discourse very much.

                    Sir Bradley rises to his feet.

          SIR BRADLEY
               Just a minute, Sir Mortimer. The book is in my private
               chamber. I'll get it for you.

          LADY BRADLEY
               Christine can get it, Paul.

          SIR BRADLEY
               I'll get it myself. It's not a bother.

                    Sir Bradley leaves the room. Lady Bradley and Sir
                    Mortimer look at each other. Lady Bradley starts
                    folding a napkin. Sir Mortimer smiles at her
                    broadly.

          SIR ROBERT MORTIMER
               Did you enjoy your trip to the fair, Lady Bradley.

          LADY BRADLEY
                         (compresses her lips, and then
                         straightens)
               I enjoyed it, indeed. And so did Adam. I decided to not
               keep it secret from my husband. I'll talk to him soon.

          SIR ROBERT MORTIMER
               So Sir Bradley still doesn't have a clue?

          LADY BRADLEY
               Why? I told you I'm going to tell him about the trip. I
               may ask you again to not mention it.

          SIR ROBERT MORTIMER
               I promised, madam. How is Adam doing?

          LADY BRADLEY
               Adam is doing fine. He felt a little disturbed by what
               Lady Appleton said. Unfortunately, she started to talk
               about Good and Evil. She likes those kinds of topics.

          SIR ROBERT MORTIMER
               So do I, Lady Bradley. Why did Adam feel disturbed?

          LADY BRADLEY
                         (hesitating)
               Well, yes, he was feeling insecure a little. I told him
               I would speak to his father.

          SIR ROBERT MORTIMER
                         (leaning back)
               Adam feels bad about the trip? He feels bad because he
               is forced to lie to his father?

          LADY BRADLEY
               It's not easy. You know, Sir Mortimer. My husband is
               very strict. Adam is afraid a little his father might
               punish him. But I comforted him. I...

                    The door opens. Sir Bradley steps in. He walks up
                    to Sir Mortimer and hands him the book.

          SIR ROBERT MORTIMER
               Enjoy, Sir Mortimer. It is a very good book.

          LADY BRADLEY
               What is the book about?

          SIR ROBERT MORTIMER
               It is a very sophisticated approach to discussing Good
               and Evil.

                    Lady Bradley puts down her napkin and rises to her
                    feet. Sir Bradley and Sir Mortimer give her a
                    surprised look, and then rise to their feet also.

          LADY BRADLEY
               Excuse me, please. I'll retire to my room. It's just a
               slight headache that makes me feel a little
               uncomfortable.

          SIR BRADLEY
                         (ringing a bell)
               Christine shall help you upstairs, my dear.

          SIR ROBERT MORTIMER
                         (bows to Lady Bradley)
               How sad you quit. Get well soon, Lady Bradley. I look
               forward to seeing you again.

                    The door opens. Christine steps in. Lady Bradley
                    joins her. Together they leave the room.

                                   END OF SCENE 1



                   

                                   SCENE 2

                   

                    Sir Bradley and Sir Mortimer are seated in the
                    library. They are having a glass of wine. Sir
                    Bradley is sitting in the plush chair. Sir
                    Mortimer is sitting on the couch.

                   

          SIR ROBERT MORTIMER
               I thought your spouse looked very pale. I do hope she
               has not fallen seriously ill.

          SIR BRADLEY
                         (leaning back, shaking his head)
               Forgive my spouse, Sir Mortimer. She just wanted to be
               polite and leave us to our discussion. I'm sure she
               felt she would not be able to contribute. So she left
               us to ourselves.

          SIR ROBERT MORTIMER
                         (smiling)
               Do you think so, Sir Bradley? I heard Lady Bradley is a
               regular visitor to Lady Appleton's. Lady Appleton is
               not known for shallow talk.

          SIR BRADLEY
                         (shrugs with a laugh)
               Lady Appleton is not known for many things. She is known
               for others. My spouse visits her regularly. We can't
               decline the invitations. But my spouse usually
               complains. For instance, she went there yesterday. She
               was eager to go there, which truly surprised me. She
               took Adam with her. And she returned all in a fluster.
               She tried to hide it. But I was able to read her face.
               I'm fairly sure she was feeling uncomfortable because
               of Lady Appleton's talk.

          SIR ROBERT MORTIMER
               Why did you not ask her about it?

          SIR BRADLEY
                         (shrugs again)
               I’m not really interested in Lady Appleton's
               monologues.

          SIR ROBERT MORTIMER
                         (with a little smile)
               That's a bit ignorant, don’t you think so, Sir Bradley?

          SIR BRADLEY
               I beg your pardon, Sir Mortimer. But I rather spare me
               that women talk.

          SIR ROBERT MORTIMER
               And how about Adam? Did he feel disturbed as well?

          SIR BRADLEY
               I rather think he was greatly bored. He rushed to his
               room as soon as they were back. My spouse told me he
               occupied himself with drawing. He had finished his
               homework. So I did not mind.

          SIR ROBERT MORTIMER
                         (cautiously)
               Do the boys still have classes from morning to late
               afternoon?

          SIR BRADLEY
                         (raising an eyebrow)
               I made up their schedule myself. It is a tight
               schedule, yes. But it's a balanced schedule. Don't tell
               me again I ask too much of the boys, Sir Mortimer. They
               are both doing fine. Their new tutor confirmed that.

          SIR ROBERT MORTIMER
               Mister Edward Langley? I happened to meet him a few
               days ago when I came over to pick up the book.

          SIR BRADLEY
               Mister Langley has excellent references. He won't cheat
               like the previous tutor did. Just imagine, Mister
               Hammers, played games with the boys instead of teaching
               them Latin. I found out by accident. I dismissed him at
               once, of course. I now and then visit Mister Langley
               and the boys unannounced. They are always
               busy. I do trust Mister Langley.

          SIR ROBERT MORTIMER
                         (smiles broadly)
               Mister Langley certainly is interested in not doing the
               boys any harm. I thought he was a very pensive and
               thoughtful man.

          SIR BRADLEY
               Indeed.

          SIR ROBERT MORTIMER
               An independent-minded man.

          SIR BRADLEY
                         (giving a Sir Mortimer a slightly
                         confused look)
               Well...

          SIR ROBERT MORTIMER
               I mean talented, in a sense.

          SIR BRADLEY
               Yes, well...
                         (he coughs slightly)
               Do you know what I liked most about Nacumbo's book?

          SIR ROBERT MORTIMER
               Tell me, please, Sir Bradley.

          SIR BRADLEY
               Aside from the elaborate language...

          SIR ROBERT MORTIMER
               Yes?

          SIR BRADLEY
               I liked the author's thoughts. They are refreshing.

          SIR ROBERT MORTIMER
                         (leaning forward with surprise)
               Last time, you told me, the author was an
               independent-minded man. And your voice indicated you
               did not approve of it, Sir Bradley.

          SIR BRADLEY
                         (hesitating)
               I read the book again. I took it along on our trip.
               That's why it wasn't in the house when you came over to get
               it. I can't help, but the book makes me think a
               lot...about my life and so

                    Sir Bradley and Sir Mortimer lean back. Sir
                    Bradley looks at the table, and then seizes his
                    glass of wine and empties it. Sir Mortimer watches
                    him with surprise and in almost disbelief.

                                   END OF SCENE 2

                   



                                   SCENE 3

                   

                    In Lady Bradley's room. Lady Bradley is sitting at
                    her dressing table, a table with a mirror.
                    Christine removes Lady Bradley's hair grips.

                   

          CHRISTINE
               Can I help you, madam?

          LADY BRADLEY
               I'm fine, Christine, thank you.

          CHRISTINE
               You're looking pale, madam.

          LADY BRADLEY
               It's nothing. I'm just feeling a little tired. Are the
               boys asleep, Christine?

          CHRISTINE
               Yes, madam. Adam asked me to give you his drawings. He
               spent the whole evening at drawing again.

                    Christine picks up a few pieces of paper from a
                    table and hands them to Lady Bradley. Lady Bradley
                    looks at each piece of paper.

          CHRISTINE
               Adam's drawings are nice. He's talented.

          LADY BRADLEY
                         (still looking at the papers)
               Yes, he is.

          CHRISTINE
               He seems to be fascinated by the theme he chose.

          LADY BRADLEY
                         (looks up, she looks worried)
               Don't you think it's a little unnatural for a nine year
               old boy? I mean, these drawings show the Garden of
               Eden, apparently.

          CHRISTINE
               Yes, madam. I think the woman is Eve and the man is
               Adam. Look, he drew the serpent in a tree.

          LADY BRADLEY
               He drew the same motive again and again...

          CHRISTINE
               Yes. I asked him why he felt so fascinated by it.

          LADY BRADLEY
                         (with another worried look)
               What did he say?

          CHRISTINE
               First, he just shrugged. And then he told me he was not
               able to explain. He said he had not finished his work
               yet.

          LADY BRADLEY
               What does this mean?

          CHRISTINE
               He asked me if the serpent was good or evil?

          LADY BRADLEY
                         (concerned)
               What did you say, Christine?

          CHRISTINE
               I told him it was all God's plan. And that we should
               not judge our Lord.

          LADY BRADLEY
                         (nods slowly, and then puts aside the
                         papers)
               I'll better talk with Adam tomorrow. Lady Appleton's
               talk disturbed him. I'm feeling worried.

          CHRISTINE
               Anything else I can do for you, madam?

          LADY BRADLEY
               Thank you, Christine. I'm fine. I'm reading a book.
               Good night, Christine.

                    Christine makes a curtsey, and then leaves the
                    room. Lady Bradley gazes into the mirror
                    pensively.

                                   END OF SCENE 3

                   



                                   SCENE 4

                   

                    In the hallway, first floor. Lady Bradley is
                    closing the door to the boys' room. She turns
                    around and is about to walk down the hallway when
                    she hears a sudden noise. There are footsteps.
                    Someone's coming up the stairs. Edward Langley
                    appears in the hallway. Edward Langley stops
                    short.

                   

          EDWARD LANGLEY
               Good evening, Lady Bradley.

          LADY BRADLEY
                         (hesitating)
               Good evening, Mister Langley. I was having a look at
               the boys. They are already fast asleep.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
                         (in a rather loud voice)
               Are you worrying about something, Lady Bradley?

                    Lady Bradley makes a few steps towards Edward
                    Langley. She makes a gesture with her hand.

          LADY BRADLEY
               Quiet, Mister Langley. I don't want the boys to wake up.
               Did Adam show you his drawings?

          EDWARD LANGLEY
               Yes, he did. I wanted to talk to you, Lady Bradley. I
               hope you don't mind me coming to the first floor.

          LADY BRADLEY
                         (shakes her head)
               I cannot ask you to come to my room, of course. But
               let's speak here. My husband and Sir Mortimer are still
               downstairs in the library.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
               Adam was absent-minded in class today. I did not want
               to push him. So I worked mainly with George and left
               Adam to his drawings. He showed them to me in the
               afternoon. You saw them, too, Lady Bradley. Adam is
               almost obsessed with the scene.

          LADY BRADLEY
               The Garden of Eden...

          EDWARD LANGLEY
               The serpent in particular. He refused to talk about his
               drawings.

          LADY BRADLEY
               He asked Christine if she thought the serpent was good
               or evil.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
               Yes, Christine told me. Lady Appleton's talk apparently
               disturbed him a lot.

          LADY BRADLEY
                         (in a low voice)
               I rather think he feels guilty of having lied to his
               father.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
               Yes, I agree with you, Lady Bradley. Adam fears his
               father will find out about his trip, and then will
               punish him.

          LADY BRADLEY
               Did he speak to George?

          EDWARD LANGLEY
               No, he didn't. I don't think he has. And George was not
               particularly interested in Adam's drawings. He teased
               him a little, yet then turned to his studies. George
               likes arithmetic.

          LADY BRADLEY
               I need to talk to my husband. I'll talk to him as soon
               Sir Mortimer has left. He promised to not reveal our
               trip to my husband. But I'm not sure I can trust Sir
               Mortimer. He always tends to...I don't know how to
               say...

          EDWARD LANGLEY
               Provoke. He tends to provoke and touch upon problems. I
               don't think the latter is a bad trait. But...

          LADY BRADLEY
               It's just not Sir Mortimer's problem and affair.

                    They fall silent at a sudden noise. They hear
                    voices from downstairs. Sir Bradley shows Sir
                    Mortimer to the entrance door. Lady Bradley and
                    Edward Langley look at each other.

          LADY BRADLEY
               Take the back stairs, Mister Langley. I'll go down now
               and speak to my husband.

                                   END OF SCENE 4




                   

                                   SCENE 5

                   

                    In the library, downstairs. Sir Bradley has just sat
                    down again in the plush chair when Lady Bradley
                    enters the room.

                   

          SIR BRADLEY
                         (rises to his feet, his face shows
                         surprise)
               You have not gone to bed, my dear? Sir Mortimer has
               just left. How are you feeling?

          LADY BRADLEY
                         (hesitating)
               Well...Did you enjoy your evening, Paul?

          SIR BRADLEY
               Well, yes, my dear.
                         (he pauses)
               You look pale. And very concerned. What happened, my
               dear?

          LADY BRADLEY
               I'm not feeling well, Paul. I need to talk to you at
               once.


          SIR BRADLEY
                         (pointing at the couch)
               Sure, my dear. Sit down, please. Is anything wrong?

                    Lady Bradley sits down on the couch. Sir Bradley
                    sits down in the plush chair. He gives Lady
                    Bradley a worried look. Lady Bradley straightens
                    and looks at Sir Bradley fearfully.

          LADY BRADLEY
                         (in a low voice)
               I lied to you, Paul?

          SIR BRADLEY
                         (straightens slightly. He looks at Lady
                         Bradley expectantly)
               You lied to me? Please explain, Eleanor.

          LADY BRADLEY
                         (leaning forward a little)
               I told you I asked Mister Langley to drive me and Adam
               to Lady Appleton's.

                    Sir Bradley looks puzzled. Lady Bradley swallows.

          LADY BRADLEY
               I asked him to stop at the fair. We had a look at the
               white pony that Adam wished to see.
                         (pauses, and then continues with a
                         stifled voice)
               It was all my plan, Paul. I did not want to do any harm. I
               just wanted Adam to have some fun. Please, don't be
               angry at Mister Langley. He could not decline my
               request.

                    Lady Bradley looks at Sir Bradley fearfully. Sir
                    Bradley studies Lady Bradley with a serious
                    expression on his face.

          SIR BRADLEY
                         (in a serious voice)
               I'm glad you told me now, Eleanor. Did you ask Adam to
               lie to me?

          LADY BRADLEY
               I told him we'd just keep it a secret. It was not a good
               idea, though. Mister Langley is not feeling comfortable
               either. Don't blame him for just doing me a favour,
               Paul.

          SIR BRADLEY
               No, I won't, Eleanor. But I'll speak to Mister
               Langley, of course.
                         (pauses)
               Why did you change your mind, Eleanor?

          LADY BRADLEY
               Because it's not just about cheating a little, Paul.
               Adam's somewhat disturbed.

          SIR BRADLEY
                         (straightens)
               What is wrong with Adam, Eleanor?

          LADY BRADLEY
               Mister Langley told me Adam was absent-minded in class.
               Adam resumed his drawings. He started drawing yesterday
               evening. He's kind of obsessed with it.

          SIR BRADLEY
                         (folding his hands)
               Yes? You mean Adam is drawing something particular.

          LADY BRADLEY
                         (nods)
               He draws the Garden of Eden, the serpent in particular.
               He asked Christine if the serpent was good or evil.

          SIR BRADLEY
                         (leaning back in his chair)
               Interesting.

          LADY BRADLEY
                         (looks at Sir Bradley confused)
               Paul?

          SIR BRADLEY
                         (gives Lady Bradley a look)
               We'll talk with Adam tomorrow morning, Eleanor. This
               certainly needs to be cleared up.

          LADY BRADLEY
                         (in a surprised voice)
               You don't scold, Paul? You're not even angry, aren't
               you?


          SIR BRADLEY
                         (thoughtfully)
               We need to talk with Adam, of course. But no, Eleanor,
               I'm not angry. The book I read made me think. I talked
               it over with Sir Mortimer. I fear Sir Mortimer was
               right and I was wrong.

          LADY BRADLEY
                         (with surprise and in almost disbelief)
               You were wrong, Paul?

          SIR BRADLEY
                         (gives a laugh)
               Well, my dear, I'm not Godfather.

                    Sir Bradley rises to his feet and sits down nets
                    to Lady Bradley on the couch. He places his arm
                    around her. Lady Bradley turns her head and looks
                    at Sir Bradley again with surprise.

          SIR BRADLEY
                         (in a low voice)
               It is never too late for a new start. Don't you think
               so, Eleanor?

                    Lady Bradley nods. Sir Bradley smiles.



                                   END OF SCENE 5


                                   END OF ACT III



         



                                   ENTR'ACTE

                                  

                    Black walls. Stage faintly illuminated. Characters
                    on stage: an angel and a demon. Characters hidden.
                    Their voices can be heard. Angel's voice from the
                    left. Demon's voice from the right.

          ANGEL
               We have not yet explicitly discussed the role of man.

          DEMON
               Haven't we? I mean it's obvious to see. Man is neither
               good nor evil.

          ANGEL
               So you mean man can decide which way to go?

          DEMON
               You missed the point, my angel friend. What is bad for
               you, might be good for me. What is good for you, might
               be bad for me. It all depends on the point of view.

          ANGEL
               So you can't say this thing is good and that one is bad?

          DEMON
               You can't, apparently. Man has to make up the rules all
               by himself.

          ANGEL
               The Ten Commandments are a guideline.

          DEMON
               First aid rather, I'd say. An instruction manual for
               those who are not able or not willing to think by
               themselves.

          ANGEL
               Better obey the rules.

          DEMON
               You just don't want to take a risk, do you? I mean I'm
               trying hard to make you see. I'm trying hard to make
               you think your own thoughts.

          ANGEL
               You are a tempter.

          DEMON
               That's what I am. That's the role God allotted to me.
               It was all his plan.

          ANGEL
               I do see your point, my demon friend. But is man aware
               of your thoughts? Is he able to judge on his acts and
               deeds, his intentions and plans? Has man learned a
               single thing since he was banned from the Garden of
               Eden?

          DEMON
               Man improves. Slowly, though. Don't be so negative. Man
               abolished serfdom, for instance. Man was not forced to
               do so. It was man's free will.

          ANGEL
               Man's free will. This is the gift God gave him.

          DEMON
               It is his curse also.

          ANGEL
               Man's tightrope walk.

          DEMON
               His walk on eggshells.

          ANGEL
               But I will be there to watch his steps.

          DEMON
               And I will forever tempt him to stray away from the
               straight and narrow.

          ANGEL
               So be it.

                    Smoke on the stage. Angel and demon disappear.

                                   END OF ENTR'ACTE


                                


                                  ACT IV

                   

                                   SCENE 1

                   

                    At Sir Bradley's house. Lady Bradley, Sir Bradley
                    and Adam are in the library. Ten o'clock in the
                    morning. Sir Bradley is sitting in his plush
                    chair. Lady Bradley and Adam are sitting on the
                    couch. Sir Bradley holds numerous pieces of paper,
                    Adam's drawings, in his hands.

                   

          SIR BRADLEY
                         (looking at Adam)
               Adam, your mother showed me your drawings. I am really
               surprised. You are very talented.

                    Adam gazes at Sir Bradley. Sir Bradley looks at
                    Adam's drawings, and then puts them down on the
                    table in front of him. Sir Bradley and Lady
                    Bradley exchange a look. Sir Bradley coughs
                    slightly.

          SIR BRADLEY
               Adam, your mother and I decided we need to talk with
               you, Adam. Adam, your mother told me you stopped at the
               fair on Sunday afternoon. I am not angry. Well, to be
               honest, I was angry a little. We'll talk about that.
               But, first, let's talk about your drawings.

                    Adam gazes at Sir Bradley for another while. His
                    face shows no expression. He then turns his head
                    to his mother and looks at her with widened eyes.
                    He's confused and a little frightened. Lady
                    Bradley places her arm around Adam.

          LADY BRADLEY
                         (in a soft voice)
               I thought I tell your father of our trip, Adam. I don't
               want to keep it a secret anymore. I don't think it was
               a good idea to keep it secret from your father.

                    Adam gazes at Lady Bradley, and then turns his
                    head and looks at his father.

          ADAM
               The pony was cute.

          SIR BRADLEY
                         (smiling)
               I saw it, too. Yes, it was cute. Did you take a ride,
               Adam?

          ADAM
                         (nodding, in a low voice)
               Yes. I liked it.

          SIR BRADLEY
               Well, let's talk about the drawings. It’s the same
               scene always. It's the Garden of Eden, isn't it?

          ADAM
                         (nodding)
               Yes, Dad.

          SIR BRADLEY
               Your mother and I were just wondering why you chose
               this scene from the Bible.

          ADAM
               Lady Appleton mentioned it.

                    Sir Bradley and Lady Bradley exchange a look.

          LADY BRADLEY
               Lady Appleton mentioned it, in fact. She raised the
               topic. She wanted to discuss Good and Evil. But neither
               I nor Mister Langley went into it much.

          SIR BRADLEY
                         (looking at Adam)
               You listened carefully, Adam, didn't you?

          ADAM
                         (nodding))
               Lady Appleton said the serpent tempted Adam and Eve.
               That's what Vicar Thompson said also. But Lady Appleton
               said it was a good idea. Else Adam and Eve would have
               died of starvation.

                    Sir Bradley looks at Lady Bradley in confusion.

          SIR BRADLEY
               That's what Lady Appleton said?

          LADY BRADLEY
                         (shrugs)
               She said sort of this, yes. It was a joke perhaps.
               I am not sure.

          ADAM
                         (shaking his head)
               No. God told them to not eat the apples. Why did he
               want them to be hungry? The serpent told them to eat an
               apple. The serpent helped them. So, why says Vicar Thompson
               the serpent is the devil? The devil is evil. But the serpent...
                         (Adams stops short. He looks between
                         Lady Bradley and Sir Bradley. His look
                         is almost desperate.)
               Dad, is the serpent good or evil?

                    Lady Bradley is about to speak up. Sir Bradley
                    makes a gesture with his hand. Lady Bradley leans
                    back. She keeps holding Adam and casts a helpless
                    look at Sir Bradley.


          SIR BRADLEY
               Well, what are your thoughts about it, Adam?

          ADAM
                         (gazing at his father and thinking)
               I think the serpent was evil because it tempted Adam
               and Eve. They disobeyed God and then lied to him.

          SIR BRADLEY
               And what do you think was good about it?

          ADAM
               I don't know. I don't understand why God forbade them
               to eat the apple. They were hungry. Didn't the serpent
               help them?

          LADY BRADLEY
               Well, I...

          SIR BRADLEY
                         (raising his hand)
               We could discuss this for hours. But we won't find the
               correct answer. Philosophers and theologians have
               discussed this for thousands of years. They still have
               not found the correct answer.

          ADAM
               But Vicar Thompson said the devil was evil.

          SIR BRADLEY
               Vicar Thompson just told you his point of view, Adam.

          LADY BRADLEY
               How can you say so, Paul? It almost sounds you think
               the devil is not entirely evil.

          SIR BRADLEY
               Well, my dear, think about it thoroughly. I read a
               book. It covered the topic of Good and Devil. I must
               agree with the author. It all depends on the point of
               view.

          LADY BRADLEY
                         (in a low voice)
               It almost sounds you want to teach Adam heresy.

          ADAM
               What's that?

          SIR BRADLEY
               Well, it means you go beyond poor belief and question
               it.

          LADY BRADLEY
               I'm fairly sure this is not an adequate topic for a
               nine year old boy, Paul.

          SIR BRADLEY
               Adam raised the topic himself, Eleanor. He went beyond
               poor belief. He questioned Vicar Thompson's statement.
               And I think Adam is quite right doing so.

          LADY BRADLEY
               Paul...

          SIR BRADLEY
               Eleanor, you and Adam went to the fair on Sunday. You
               decided to keep it secret from me. In fact, you lied to
               me, both of you. Now, is that good or evil?

                    Lady Bradley and Adam gaze at Sir Bradley.

          LADY BRADLEY
               Well, Paul, I told it was not good to lie to you. But I
               felt Adam had the right to have a little fun. I was
               afraid of telling you. You get angry easily.

          SIR BRADLEY
               Adam?

          ADAM
               I don't think Mom is evil, Dad.

          SIR BRADLEY
               I don't think so either, Adam. I think it was a good
               idea to help you have a little fun. But it was evil to
               lie to me.

          ADAM
                         (gazes at Sir Bradley, and then nods)
               Yes, Dad.

          LADY BRADLEY
               You mean, Paul, we need to look at our decisions more
               carefully and not just judge quickly?

          SIR BRADLEY
               Yes, Eleanor. We can look at things from different
               point of views. I did not myself. I thought I'd help
               George and Adam. Really, Eleanor, my intentions were
               good. I did not think their tight schedule would do
               them any harm. I now see that the boys need time to play
               and have fun. I already talked to Mister Langley. We’ll
               make up a new and more appropriate schedule
               this afternoon.

                    Lady Bradley and Adam gaze at Sir Bradley in
                    almost disbelief.

          ADAM
               May I drop arithmetic, Dad? I don't like it.

          SIR BRADLEY
                         (with a laugh)
               No, Adam, I fear we cannot drop this subject. It is an
               important one. I'll work with Mister Langley on the
               schedule this afternoon. George and you won't have
               classes this afternoon.

          ADAM
               So what am I going to do this afternoon, Dad?

          SIR BRADLEY
                         (turning to Lady Bradley)
               I thought you would like to spend the afternoon with
               the boys. Go for a walk, maybe. Or take the carriage
               and go for a trip. Would you, Eleanor?

          LADY BRADLEY
                         (with a little smile)
               Sure, Paul. I'll enjoy it. It's a sunny day.
                         (she turns to Adam)
               How about we go for a trip and have a picnic, Adam?
               Christine could come with us and Andrew could drive the
               carriage. Do you think George would like to go also?
               Shall we go and ask him?

                    Adam nods. Adam and Lady Bradley rise to their
                    feet. Lady Bradley smiles at Sir Bradley again.
                    Lady Bradley and Adam leave the room. Sir Bradley
                    leans back in his chair.


                                   END OF SCENE 1

                   



                                   SCENE 2

                   

                    Lady Bradley and Christine are sitting on a
                    blanket. A picnic hamper is placed on the blanket.

          LADY BRADLEY
               Look, Christine. What are the boys doing?

          CHRISTINE
               Collecting pebbles, I guess, madam.

          LADY BRADLEY
               I'm enjoying this afternoon.

          CHRISTINE
               So Sir Bradley changed his mind?

          LADY BRADLEY
               Yes. He's working on a new schedule with Mister Langley.
               I’m not entirely sure what made him change his mind. I have
               not read the book he mentioned. It's just odd...                   

          CHRISTINE
               What's odd, madam?

          LADY BRADLEY
                         (hesitating)
               At the fair, a fortune teller asked me to pick a card
               and ask a question. I picked a Tarot card called The
               Devil. It showed an awful beast. I asked the woman if
               my husband would ever change his mind regarding the
               boys.

          CHRISTINE
               What did she say?

          LADY BRADLEY
                         (looking into the distance)
               She told me the devil would put things straight some
               kind or other. I was shocked, Christine. I asked her
               to explain her words. She shrugged and then just said
               the devil was not all bad and evil. I left her tent
               immediately. I tried to shake her off her words. But I
               couldn't. When I spotted Sir Mortimer, I had a feeling he was
               the devil the woman had talked of. Sir Mortimer read the book
               also. Sir Mortimer talked it all over with my husband, luckily.

          CHRISTINE
               Odd, indeed, madam. And Adam was obsessed with drawing
               the serpent. The fortune teller was right, it seems.

          LADY BRADLEY
               I thought she was a crook. She was not, apparently.
               Anyway, I’m glad my husband gave up his rigid attitude.

                                   END OF SCENE 2

                   



                                   SCENE 3

                    Five o'clock in the afternoon. Sir Bradley and
                    Edward Langley are sitting in the library. Edward
                    Langley closes a folder.

                   

          EDWARD LANGLEY
               I think the new schedule is a good one, Sir Bradley.

          SIR BRADLEY
                         (nodding)
               I just didn't see that I asked too much of them.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
               They were doing fine, both of them. However, they were
               very serious young boys.

          SIR BRADLEY
               You mean they lacked fun and play. And they were afraid
               of me.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
               They would never have showed you disrespect, Sir
               Bradley.

          SIR BRADLEY
               But that exactly is the point, Mister Langley. I didn't
               understand myself until I read the book and talked it
               over with Sir Mortimer. Can you see, Mister Langley?
               I stifled their own thoughts and ideas and replaced them
               with my own. No, I did not wilfully want to harm my
               sons. But I expected them to submissively obey me.
               There's no excuse for that.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
               Your intentions were not evil, Sir Bradley.

          SIR BRADLEY
               No. But the outcome would have been. I want my sons be
               strong-minded and confident. But I did everything to
               hamper that.

          EDWARD LANGLEY
               Well, I really think the new schedule is a good
               schedule that will help the boys develop their
               strengths.

          SIR BRADLEY
                         (with a nod)
               Thank you, Mister Langley.

                    Edward Langley rises to his feet. He nods at Sir
                    Bradley and then leaves the room.

                                   END OF SCENE 3

         


                                   SCENE 4

                   

                    At Lady Appleton's. Lady Appleton and Sir Mortimer
                    are sitting on the couch. They are having tea.

                   

          LADY APPLETON
               So Sir Bradley actually changed his mind?

          SIR ROBERT MORTIMER
               Yes, he did. I was surprised myself. The book you gave
               him made him think. I read it myself meanwhile. It
               fascinated me also.

          LADY APPLETON
                         (smiling broadly)
               I asked Lady Bradley to give it to her husband. I hoped he                      would read it. But I did not believe he would.

          SIR ROBERT MORTIMER
               A very good book, Lady Appleton. Where did you find it?

          LADY APPLETON
                         (smiling again)
               I did not find it. It came to me.

          SIR ROBERT MORTIMER
                         (with a questioning look)
               What do you mean, Lady Appleton?

          LADY APPLETON
                         (still smiling)
               Well, Sir Mortimer, may I ask you to keep a secret?

          SIR ROBERT MORTIMER
                         (with another questioning look)
               Sure, Lady Appleton.

          LADY APPLETON
                         (leaning forward a little)
               I wrote this book under the name of Nacumbo. Nacumbo
               sounds somewhat mysterious. I figured the name would
               tempt people to read the book. No one would have read a
               book by Lady Appleton.

                    Lady Appleton giggles. Sir Mortimer gazes at Lady
                    Appleton in almost disbelief.

          SIR ROBERT MORTIMER
               You are the author of the book?

          LADY APPLETON
               Yes, I am. I liked the project. And I think it was a
               great success.

                    Sir Mortimer gazes at Lady Appleton. Lady Appleton
                    smiles gracefully and then points at the table.

                Another cup of tea, Sir Bradley?

                                   END OF SCENE 4

            
      

                                   SCENE 5

                    Black walls. Stage faintly illuminated. Characters
                    on stage: an angel and a demon. Characters hidden.
                    Their voices can be heard. Angel's voice from the
                    left. Demon's voice from the right.

          ANGEL
               I will forever watch man's steps.

          DEMON
               And I will forever tempt him to stray away from the
               straight and narrow.

          ANGEL
               This is the task I am assigned to.

          DEMON
               And this is mine.

          ANGEL
               Forever friend and foe.

          DEMON
               So be it. Forever entwined.

                    Smoke on the stage. Angel and demon disappear.

                                   END OF SCENE 5


                                   END OF ACT IV

                   



                                   EPILOGUE

                    Black walls. Stage faintly illuminated. The
                    fortune teller is sitting at a small table. She is
                    dealing cards. When done, she picks one card and
                    looks at it. Then she looks at the audience.

                   

          FORTUNE TELLER
               Just a game, just a play
               Listen carefully what I say
               You can alter your path; can change your point of view
               It's your decision; it's all up to you
                         (she places the card on the table and
                         then looks at the audience again)
               You can change your life, it won't be the same
                         (brief pause)
               But, after all, it's just a heavenly game.

                                   END OF EPILOGUE

                   

CURTAIN




© 2010 Dolores Esteban

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First published at GA Gay Authors - Gay Quality Fiction