Friday, April 30, 2010

Scene II. Peru, a Park, before a Platform.

[Enter Normalizovitch and Debrushka.]
Debrushka. Father, what chance does your scheme have?
Normalizovitch. Who can tell, dear Debrushka?
For our sake, I can only pray that our petition be heard.
Debrushka. But who else should be commissioned to supply the Duke’s
household with uniforms, robes of 5
silk and suits of golden thread?
No tailorship in this Duchy is superior
to yours, my father.
Who sews a finer garment? Who mends
a better tweed? Who repairs foot leather 10
with greater finesse? Surely the Duke will much
merit find in your system to clothe his staff.
Normalizovitch. I fear, child, your enthusiasm is uncurbed.
Many fine and fruitful tailors inhabit these parts.
I can only hope that the Duke has an appreciation 15
for my plan. May my ordered vision to
standardize the dress of each awarded rank
be married with an equally rewarding contract.
[Enter Divers Crowds and Attendants.]
Lo, Debrushka, a crowd approaches.
Let us stand close by the platform so as 20
to be well situated for an approach
to the Duke before another tailor brings suit.
Attendant. Way! Make way! The Duke appears this hour!
1st Peasant. Your Grace! Your Grace! A petition!
Attendant. The Duke hears no one, today. Stand aside! 25
[Flourish. Enter Horatio, Duke of Nemaha, and Eunomia, his wife.]
2nd Peasant. But your honor, the whole court is in need
of new wardrobes. I must present the Duke
a petition, an offer to construct
fine and well made garments.
Attendant. Enough! The Duke will see no petitioners now. 30
Horatio. [He mounts the platform.]
Goodness, the crowd grows large.
Eunomia. The rabble have come on rumor that you
have something of importance to say.
Horatio. The betrothal of our son is not of importance?
Eunomia. Not to these poor peasant and small town folk. 30
Though, they do love our son.
These crowds can neither plant nor hunt within
this preserve. They appear all with one hope,
that our son’s wedding will engage them in
some trade or service that will put meat or 35
bread on their plain family table. Take heed,
they will mob us as your address ends.
Crowd. Hush! Hush! The good Duke speaks!
Attendant. All hail Horatio, Twelfth Duke of Nemaha.
[The crowd kneels.]
Horatio. Arise, my children. I have traveled here 40
today to convey to you, my loyal
subjects in the City of Peru, pleasant
news of the engagement of my son to
a daughter of this fair village.
Her name is Praetoria. You know her, 45
of course, the daughter of Parkerson,
my Ranger for this park. He is
a man of good character as is
his daughter. Eduard and Praetoria
a fine couple will make. Much thanks 50
I extend to all who have heard this
announcement today. You are all invited
to attend the wedding.
1st Peasant. That was short.
3rd Peasant. This speech is a small formality. 55
He comes to the House of Parkerson to
seal the pledge ‘tween Eduard and fair Praetoria.
[Alarum and Smoke.]
[Enter Grutilda and Marcol.]
Marcol. What? The crowd pays no heed to our entrance.
Grutilda. They press upon the Duke and ignore my
dread smoke and alarum. 60
Stand aside, I say, big business have I
with the Duke.
Normalizovitch. Stand aside yourself. What business
is more important than mine?
A living must I make. 65
Grutilda. Bah, bumpkin. And I must make lives. Aside, I say.
Together. Your honor, a word!
Horatio. This is most confining. Attendants, please
disperse this crowd.
Grutilda. Horatio, dear, do you not dare to face your fate? 70
Horatio. Grutilda! Over many years I have
pondered the promised message of
your next return. Tonight at my palace,
I will receive you privately.
[Exeunt Horatio, Eunomia, and Attendants.]
[Exeunt Grutilda and Crowd, diversely.]
Normalizovitch. Alas, dear Debrushka, the Duke retires 75
and hears no petitions. I’m afraid that
his retinue shall remain in fashion
purgatory. At least no other tailor
could grab the good man’s ear. Perhaps we still
have chance to sell my portfolio. 80
Debrushka. Perhaps not. He returns to his palace.
Who will allow us to petition him there?
Marcol. Why linger about? The Duke has made his speech.
Or are you groundskeepers? Get on with it
and dispose of all this litter. 85
Normalizovitch. I wish it were my work. Such simple toil
would feed my daughter and myself.
Marcol. A fair lass. How old is she?
Normalizovitch. Too young for you, scoundrel. Must you trouble
a weary old man’s worry for his daughter? 90
Marcol. It’s not trouble I mean to bring. ‘Tis mirth,
not worry, I imply. A pleasant “good day”
to Peasant and his daughter is all I signify.
Normalizovitch. What are you, then? A clown?
Marcol. Aye, the Duke’s very own. 95
Debrushka. I could not tell. Your rank or degree at
court is hidden by this ill-fit costume.
In fact, the good Duke’s entire household is
bereft of any wit in fashion sense.
Marcol. I have myself observed these clownish clothes 100
and wondered what discount cataloguer
supplies my master and his court. But why
should this be of concern to you, pretty
little friend?
Debrushka. My father is the finest tailor in this duchy. 105
Marcol. Indeed.
Normalizovitch. My Debrushka is an over eager
child. However, her boast is not jest.
I posses the skill to fill the palace
with all that is modern and chic. 110
Marcol. Debrushka. A name as fair as the face.
And yours, sir?
Normalizovitch. Normalizovitch, at your service,
[He bows.]
Marcol. Marcol, sir. 115
[He bows.]
Russian, I surmise. A fine
breed for a foolish old tailor, he said
stereotypically. Let not the world
say that Marcol is not friend to all tribes.
I shall leave your name with Horatio. 120
Before the week is out, expect to be
called unto the Palace at Nemaha.
Normalizovitch. Oh, thank you, sir. You are a man worthy
of a splendid wardrobe. Thank you, a thousand times.
Debrushka. Oh, yes! The duke will not regret 125
the employment of my father. Thank you.
[Exeunt Normalizovitch and Debrushka.]
Marcol. That lass at court will be delight. A superior
accessory for any occasion,
no matter how her father sews.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Scene III. Peru, before the House of Parkerson.

[Enter Eduard and Praetoria.]
Praetoria. Eduard, darling, today your father
announced our future marriage to all.
My feet are cold. I can not warm them to
this most dreadful mistake. I have known you
since the playground. Good friends we shall always 5
be. But the Path of Life is not ours to
tread together.
Eduard. You speak the truth. I love you, Praetoria,
most dearly as a friend. You are to me
uniquely special, a friend indeed for 10
all my life. But you are not the friend to
share my bed, not to live with, not to have,
not to hold, nor to wed.
Praetoria. Our fathers long have agreed, in fatherly
misperception, that our lives must be bound. 15
My birth was not but three days gone when our
fathers concluded the contract of marriage
so recently announced. To break this bond
would now break their manly will. It surly
will take a good deal of patient 20
planning to untie this ancient knot.
Eduard. Wiser, which, would it seem? To let our two
fathers be at peace in their command, and
respect them in their dotage; or by faith
break this pledge and know that we are happy 25
within ourselves to be without each other?
Praetoria. Let us be happy within ourselves, Eduard.
Our fathers will grow over their disappointments.
But if we wed, they will have forty years
of our unhappy dissatisfaction. 30
Eduard. Let us find some means, then, to break this news
to our parents.
Praetoria. It is difficult to disobey one’s parents,
even in love. I do not wish to be
the one so charged. 35
Eduard. Nor I. Must be that we do this mutually.
The quicker, the better, so they say.
Spare not the sorrow, let the tears flow.
And soon all will be forgot by loving dads.
The first occasion presenting itself, 40
we shall step forward and end this proposal.
[Enter Constantine.]
Constantine. Eduard! Praetoria!
Eduard. A pleasant surprise. What brings you to these haunts?
Constantine. A short break from my studies. I return 45
home to have my laundry done. I was in
the Park when your father announced that you
two are getting married. I have always thought
in all the duchy there was not a better match.
Praetoria. As matched as Dill and Scout. Two friends are not 50
necessarily one flesh.
Constantine. What? Surely the Duke asked you before he
invited all to a wedding.
Praetoria. Our fathers had us wed from birth. It is
not their fault that we cannot consummate 55
their plan.
Eduard. Help us, Constantine. Make certain discreet
hints to my father that this marriage
is a matchmaker’s mistake.
Constantine. No way! Your father, the Duke, finds favor 60
in me. Spare me from causing him distress.
Eduard. Please! My father is a reasonable Duke.
The disappointment will not last more than
a year or two.
[Enter Horatio, Eunomia and Parkerson.]
Hush. Hush. Here they come. 65
Now, Constantine, be brave, be bold, but most
of all, our fathers must be told.
Eunomia. The children are already here. Methinks,
Parkerson, your daughter grows lovelier
every day. 70
Parkerson. Thank you, sweet lady. But a third is with
the pair. We may have a problem perhaps.
Horatio. No. ‘Tis only Constantine. Constantine!
How good it is to see you once again.
Your studies are done and your exams have 75
gone well? Eduard, of course you have asked
Constantine to be your best man!
Eunomia. Please, dear, I’m sure that must have been what they
were discussing before our arrival.
Praetoria. Indeed, sweet lady. We were discussing 80
the marriage. Tell them, Constantine.
Constantine. Umm, well, I, umm, umm.
Horatio. Out with it lad. Is this how you discourse
at University?
Constantine. Umm, your Grace, I, umm. I wish to speak 85
a confidence that we have been contemplating.
Horatio. Yes.
Constantine. I, umm, I would be honored to be your son’s
best man.
Eduard. [to Praetoria.]
He faints. The authority of my father 90
intimidates our friend.
Constantine. [to Eduard and Praetoria.]
I’m sorry. I cannot speak contrary
to the will of the Duke.
Horatio. Fine. Fine. All is in order now.
A wedding feast for the entire Duchy 95
must be properly planned.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Scene I. Nemaha, The Palace.

[Enter Horatio and Raoul, his brother.]
Raoul. You say she saved your life and since that day
you have seen her but thrice?
Horatio. That is most right, brother. Before you were
yet born I was a toddler, dislodged from
a distracted governess, a happy 5
wanderer until the lure of muddy
paths wore old and left me lost and alone
in some forgotten corner of this
estate. Grutilda plucked me from the bog
and deposited me here in this Palace. 10
Mom and Dad in gratitude of her daring
broomsmanship guaranteed to interfere
not in her sorcery. A pledge I have
always kept.
Raoul. What message does she now bring? 15
Horatio. I know not. Many years ago, at our
last encounter, she declared that in the
full flower of my youth a revelation
she would summon. But I am now autumnal,
a sparse bouquet of chrysanthemum and 20
dusty miller.
[Enter Marcol.]
Who now enters here? Only Marcol.
Impertinent clown, be gone! I expect
strange company at any minute.
Be gone or be flogged! 25
Marcol. Good pardon, my Grace, Sire. I wish a word.
Horatio. Your words are gibberish. Prattle on, then
be gone.
Marcol. My occupation, Lord Horatio,
is to jibe the Irish and steal their blarney. 30
Now, since you speak of it, a riddle:
What is it that has two arms, two legs, one
neck but has no hands, no feet, and no head?
This is not a diamond, heart, club, or spade.
When losing at strip poker it may be 35
of more value than any flush.
Horatio. Go. I have no time for riddles. I will
make time for floggers if I find you not
Marcol. Think on it, Sire. It is more important 40
than you believe!
[Exit Marcol.]
Horatio. Stupid clown.
Raoul. [To himself.]
Two arms, but no hands, two legs, but no feet.
Horatio. Pay no attention to that fool. I will
dismiss him tomorrow. Fools are easy 45
to find. And cheap. It will be no problem.
[Enter Grutilda and Patience, Hope, and Virtue, three sisters.]
Grutilda! Finally. Dear old witch, I
have been waiting. What is of such great
mystery and importance?
Grutilda. Hear me and hear me plainly, but hear me 50
in private, please.
Horatio. Raoul?
Raoul. Not diamonds, hearts, clubs, or spades.
[Exit Raoul.]
Grutilda. A strange bit of prophecy, Sire, presented
in these sisters three. Patience, Hope, 55
and Virtue named. In them the Spirits spin the
wheel of fortune’s whim.
Horatio. I do not believe in Spirits.
Grutilda. No, but you will listen to me.
Horatio. That is true. 60
Grutilda. Then there is no difference on doubt to dwell.
Horatio. Continue. What is it you wish to tell me?
Grutilda. Not tell, but to foretell. An astounding
revelation regarding you and your
realm. In all respects I expect the 65
Duchy to be deeply disturbed by this
Horatio. On with it, good woman!
Grutilda. Patience, good Duke. Patience, come forward, dear.
Patience. Evening, your grace. I am Patience, but not 70
the kind that comes from self control, the kind
that comes under a doctor’s care.
Horatio. What? More riddles?
Grutilda. Now, let us hope the patient’s sickness shan’t
be serious, somber, or grave. Hope. 75
Hope. Evening, your grace. I am headless Hope. Draw
a blank and draw an R. Can you avoid
the hangman with a rope?
Grutilda. Are you hung for an answer, Duke?
Horatio. What ferocious punnery. Learned, no doubt, 80
from Marcol. Continue, dear lady, you
interest me.
Grutilda. Only virtue can vindicate the world
turned upside down in heaven’s vault.
Come forward, child. 85
Virtue. Evening, your grace. I am faultless Virtue.
I alone can save the Patient from the
Rope. I mean with Hope.
Horatio. Enough of this. Come, woman, what is the point
of all this foolishness? 90
Grutilda. I once did save your life.
Horatio. And I have saved your life ten thousand times
each day I do not condemn you for your
witchcraft. Yes, you once saved my life, but that
does not give license to annoy. Tell me. 95
Out with it plainly. What do you want?
Grutilda. To witness what shall come to pass.
Horatio. A vexed old age? Why would you want that?
Grutilda. Someone in this House, your wife, shall fall
ill from fatal poison, a flowering 100
herb maladministered. Your youthful son
will be accused. He will hang for his offense.
Horatio. You talk nonsense, witch.
Grutilda. I talk what I foresee as truth. Your son
will murder his mother. Unless 105
you listen well to me.
Horatio. I have quit listening.
Grutilda. Patience, Duke, is a virtue and a hope.
Horatio. Why?
Grutilda. Patient virtue will hope to make all whole. 110
Horatio. And what is virtue?
Grutilda. In this case, it could be cash.
Horatio. As I might think! Out, witch, out with all your
Patience, Hope, and Virtue. To think that you,
who saved my very life, should use this deed 115
to torture, haunt, and blackmail me upon
your return.
Grutilda. Do not say I did not warn you. Before
the week is out all this shall come too true.
Anxiety looms each afternoon at two. 120
Horatio. Out!
Grutilda. Sorrow seeks someone else’s tears. Mine are dry.
Horatio. OUT!
[Alarum and Smoke.]
[Exeunt Grutilda and the three sisters.]
It may be once a friend, but needs always
be witched. Nonsense! Riddles! Enough!
To bed and let the morning light
dispel this wicked shadow of night.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Scene II. Nemaha, the Palace, another room.

[Enter Raoul.]
Raoul. It is a puzzlement devoutly to
be solved. I never thought that I should be
so engaged by a riddle.
[Enter Eduard and Constantine.]
Constantine, dear boy, you are a scholar with
a good head on your shoulders. Answer me 5
this query, “What is it that has arms, legs,
and neck, yet has not hands, nor feet, nor head?
‘Tis not a diamond, heart, club, or spade,
yet more valuable than all of these when
playing strip poker. 10
Constantine. One of Marcol’s riddles, no doubt. On this
let me think. “Hands, feet, head - diamond, heart, and
spade.” I find no pattern there. It is not
a chair, nor table. They have no limbs, but are
somewhat useless at poker. I have no 15
present answer. I shall compute further.
Raoul. Fret not long, dear boy, it is but a small
diversion. A mindless riddle.
Constantine. Yet most perplexing. Can there be a
sensible answer to this rot? 20
Eduard. Not if it be one of Marcol’s riddles.
I would wager nonsense before any
return of sense.
Raoul. Your father was most distressed at its
first recitation. He even threatened 25
to dismiss the poor clown.
Eduard. A twice weekly unfulfillment.
Constantine. Still and all, this one was quite a row. I
heard the shouts from the Duke’s chambers out in
the kitchen. 30
Raoul. Oh, that was not with our Marcol. The row
occurred, for sure, but it was with that witch.
Eduard. Witch?
Constantine. Which?
Raoul. The very witch that once did save his life. 35
She came to him and did demand of him
a private audience. Believe did I
that she had some strange or incredulous
revelation for my brother. The clown
confessed he knew she had a pronouncement 40
as meant to shake this stationary earth.
On our departure from the Duke’s chambers
loud shouts and angry talk pierced my ears.
Horatio then cried aloud for a priest.
At that the witch conjured a disappearance. 45
What’s more strange, indeed, is that she with her
had three urchins, female, and withal they
appeared and disappeared as one,
no separate occurrence. Some evil is now
afoul in this place. 50
Constantine. Where now is my Duke? Should we not go
to him and most quick?
Raoul. My brother has just retired, gone to his
chambers and donned his sleeping garb. For good
reason he retires early. He is greatly 55
troubled by what has passed. However, I
perceive this hassle is between the Duke
and the Witch. Let them resolve such matters,
as they seem to be at the heart of their
universe – not mine. And so, we shall leave it there. 60
Eduard. I think I shall retire. It never grows early.
This has been a tedious day. Many
problems go unsolved into the night.
Though they are not, strictly speaking, my own,
I’m at ill ease over their irresolution. 65
Raoul. True, Eduard, too true. I, myself, am
both restless and tired. The demon of
sleep compels my jaws to yawn. Ahh….
And many a problem goes unsolved.
I wonder what has arms, legs, neck; but no 70
hands, feet, nor head. Perhaps a good night’s nap
will dream up an answer.
Eduard. I do not wish to sound selfish, but does
it not seem, Constantine, that this day has
been naught but disaster. As if all my 75
fortunes have been hung on the wrong peg.
Constantine. A dismal day, alright. Engaged to a
friend, but not a lover. And I unable
to forthrightly pronounce your soon-to-be
marriage a big mistake. And now this witch 80
appears before your dad. O dismal day!
Eduard. Do not fret, good Constantine, I blame you
no more than I blame my father. He is
quite preoccupied with this witchy business
and he would not, could not, digest the truth 85
of Praetoria’s preference, and, aye, my own,
no matter how eloquent or no, your
ineloquent summation. Let us retire.
To bed, and may the morrow dawn on some
happy news. 90

Monday, April 26, 2010

Scene III. Peru, the Park.

[Enter Grutilda, Patience, Hope, and Virtue.]
Grutilda. Blank Darkness cast out and conjure up a
Black Demon. Come to me most powerful
portent. Enter with the witch’s knack to cast
a spell on Horatio, Duke of Nemaha.
The Sisters. Foot of frog and nose of newt, shopping bag 5
and toadstool soup. Powers of darkness come
to us. We brew withal what curse we must.
Toe of tadpole, dung of dragon, spot of
thistle, and little red wagon. Hearken
to our pleading call and give us means to 10
cast our pall.
Grutilda. ‘Tis done. Tomorrow at two the wife of
Nemaha shall fall ill. And it is I
only who is able to silence that
sickly shadow. But I shan’t. Unless the 15
Duke gratifies my graft, good Eduard
to the gallows goes accused of the
murder of his mother.
[Enter Parkerson and Praetoria.]
Dismiss, my dears. Mortals approach and may
perceive our diabolic deeds. 20
[Exeunt Grutilda and the Sisters.]
Parkerson. Our walk through this evening park shades more than
the hedge row and fence. Your sunny
face is now dark and sad. Your engagement
brings gloom? The Duke’s son is a fine young man.
Praetoria. Father, Eduard is the finest fellow 25
on the face of this fine earth. He is my
dearest friend and most noble acquaintance.
But our lives are not meant to be shared,
one for the other or the other for one.
Marriage between us is mutually unthinkable. 30
Parkerson. You and Eduard are thus agreed?
Praetoria. In unison our individual hearts
alike are quite decided that marriage
does not our friendship suit.
Parkerson. I do not, will not, believe any of 35
this talk. It is late, child. You are tired
and cannot think in a straight line. To bed
and dream upon it! In the morning you
will surely see the light of Duchess.
Praetoria. No, my father. Our minds are one, e’en if 40
our hearts are not. No light of fortunate
day will change them.
[Enter Normalizovitch and Debrushka.]
Parkerson. Hark! Someone approaches! Muggers!
Hasten home, Praetoria. We will discuss
this in the morning further. 45
[Exeunt Parkerson and Praetoria.]
Debrushka. The whole world rushes along as if demons
were about and among the populace.
Normalizovitch. When the moon is new and darkness fills the
sky, men are wary and do not venture
far from their homes. The lack of light has strange 50
affect on mortal souls.
Debrushka. Peasant eyes see only by day. I find
the night as pleasing as broad afternoon.
But yet no word from that Marcol character?
Does he not remember his pledge? 55
Normalizovitch. It has been just the one day, dear daughter.
These things demand patient time. Young Marcol
will keep his word.
[Enter Grutilda, Patience, Hope, and Virtue.]
Grutilda. Stupid mortals! Good grief, do men never
sleep? Strolling around at all hours. Hie home! 60
How can a good girl cast her charm with all
these tramps plodding around this park?
[Alarum and Smoke.]
The Sisters. The Spell is cast! The Spell is cast! Woe to
thee that cast not spell!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Scene I. Nemaha, the Palace, at Breakfast.

[Enter Horatio, Eunomia, Raoul, servants and attendants.]
Eunomia. You look haggard. Nagging backache, husband,
Duke? I have these little pills that cure all ills.
You should take one.
Horatio. No physical ill racks me, Eunomia.
‘Tis mental anguish that suffers my sleep. 5
Eunomia. Speaking of anguish, who was that woman
that came to audience last evening?
Horatio. How did you know I had night visitors?
Eunomia. My usual ways.
Horatio. An old beggar woman and her daughters three. 10
Eunomia. My ways tell me she stayed for some time.
Horatio. I had trouble convincing her to go.
[to Raoul.]
Trouble brews with that witch. She had things
to say about my wife that I do not
find apropos here. 15
Eunomia. What ever, dear.
Raoul. I had trouble in sleep, myself. The clown,
that idiot Marcol, kept me awake
thinking of answers to his hideous
riddle. My brains be racked yet no reasoned 20
logic ever comes to my aid.
Horatio. Ah, yes. Thanks for reminding me. I was
going to dismiss that fool first thing this morn.
Fetch the clown.
Servant. Aye, my lord. 25
[Exit Servant.]
Raoul. But, brother, sir, before you toss him out
I beg to know the answer to his riddle.
I am insane for it. I am dream-walking,
headless and stripped.
Horatio. There is no answer for that fool. 30
[Enter Marcol, and servant.]
Servant. He was awaiting without the door.
Horatio. Impatient to be dismissed, eh Marcol?
Marcol. No, my lord. Impatient to get on with
my work.
Horatio. You do no work. I ask for but one good 35
reason to suffer not your dismissal.
Marcol. And so dismissed would the answer be to
the riddle that so maddens your brother.
Poor Raoul will not be so easily
dismissed from life’s wandering, 40
babbling supposed answers ‘til the
pigs fly.
Horatio. Raoul, you look worried.
Raoul. Headless pigs now flying through my daylight
reveries! Stay and make them go away. 45
Horatio. Yow, contagion madness reigns. Alright, clown,
keep your foolish job. I give up.
What has two arms, two legs, a neck, but has
no hands, no feet, nor head? And ‘tis not a
diamond, heart, club, nor spade yet is of more 50
value than all when playing at strip poker?
Marcol. A dramatic pause. I have no drums to roll.
Horatio. Out with it. Or heads will roll.
Raoul. Pig heads?
Horatio. Quiet, or you will miss the riddler’s answer. 55
Raoul. A joker, then! It’s a joker! Am I correct?
Marcol. A suit of clothes.
Horatio. Ugh.
Marcol. Well worn and well served. Quick to th’ exit I close.
Eunomia. Wait. Marcol has a point. 60
Horatio. What?
Eunomia. The shirt off your back would be a worthless bet.
And all the court is in a sorry state
as well. Blind justice need not be deaf to
fashion. New robes for all the wards, I say. 65
Marcol. So well measured, my lady! And I now know
exactly who should measure each squire, knave,
footman, guardian, and lord chamberlain.
Horatio. I knew it. Clowns are related by marriage to tailors.
Eunomia. He’s not married, dear. The court shall have a 70
wardrobe change. I decree it.
Horatio. Okay, okay. Yes, I suppose that these
thinning threads can be discarded.
Marcol. I must present to you a tailor by
birth a Russian. His name is well enough 75
known in the precinct of Peru.
Normalizovitch. And he has a young
daughter. Ah, sir, you should see this daughter.
Softer than the moonlight glistened over
new and silent snow. Gentler than the 80
the breeze that moves the kitchen curtain on
each bright and halcyon morning of summer.
A splendor, my lord. A galaxy of
bright jewels. A subject worthy for study
at court. And, fine miracle, her father 85
is a fine tailor, too.
Eunomia. I have knowledge of Normalizovitch.
He is fine. But I have not heard
of his daughter. I am troubled.
Beauty corrupts. Clothes cover. 90
I prefer cover.
Marcol. She is a dear child, Duchess. Bluesy, not
brassy. Brilliant without polish. A heart
of compassion. A soulful spirit.
An inner splendor more beautiful than 95
the outer.
Eunomia. There are few such souls in the world,
Marcol. Go and fetch your Russian and his
daughter. We will see if you can discern
true gems from glass. 100
[Enter Eduard and Constantine.]
Marcol. ‘Twill be done, my lady.
Eduard. What will be done?
Marcol. Sunshine on my dark shoulder.
[Exit Marcol.]
Constantine. How he can ramble on about nothing.
What’s for breakfast? 105
Eunomia. Toast and bacon, coffee and herbal tea.
Tell, me Constantine, do you think the Duke,
all of his court, are in need of new duds?
Constantine. I have no opinion on the matter,
my lady. What does the Duke believe? 110
Horatio. I believe I am being taken.
Eunomia. You and the court are being taken for
a much needed makeover.
Horatio. Whatever. The clown and his tailor will
be here by noon. And then one. And then two. 115
Argh. Excuse me to reflect on things not
dreamed. I must have some air.
[Exit Horatio.]
Constantine. He seems still troubled.
Eduard. Sleep did not cure his curious encounter.
Raoul. No one slept well. I count to six or more 120
the numbers of those who sought refuge in
the kitchen refrigerator after midnight.
Eduard. I am one such.
Constantine. And I.
Raoul. And Horatio. Marcol, myself, and... 125
Eunomia. I found no trouble slumbering. Except
for an occasional footstep down the hall.
Raoul. A great and mighty wonder no one
collided in the hall.
Constantine. I think I must. I ran into somebody. 130
Eduard. I did the same. Methinks it was the suit
of armor in the November Hall.
Eunomia. That must be why the gauntlet was lying
upon the floor this morning. Ah, well, I
think that I shall go and dress for the day. 135
and shake off the bitterness of this chamomile.
[Exeunt Eunomia and attendants.]
Raoul. And I will leave you to your breakfast. The
garden must need some attention of ours.
[Exeunt Raoul and servants.]
Eduard. I must do it, Constantine. My mind is
firmly positioned. To my father 140
I will flatly say, “Sir, I do not wish
to marry Praetoria. We have talked
this over and decided that friends should
not partners be. It would not be fruitful
any other way.” This is what I will say. 145
Constantine. What a mess this week has been.
[Enter Cleonastra.]
Eduard. A royal bummer. Never would I think
that two days could be so annoying.
Cleonastra. Are you done, my lords? Madame Eunomia
wishes to have the table cleared. 150
Eduard. One minute, good woman, while I finish
my juice. Come, Constantine, to the garden
we will go. While Uncle Raoul trims his
hedge, we will trim my father from his
matrimonial delusion. 155
[Exeunt Eduard and Constantine.]
Cleonastra. Oh, dear, I forgot to tell young Eduard
that his Ravenna cousins are come to
visit this afternoon. A mirthful pair.
Perhaps Aufenkamp and Aulterbach
may dispel the gloom that surrounds this house. 160

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Scene II. Nemaha, the Palace, a garden.

[Enter Servants and Raoul, severally.]
Raoul. How, there behind you, does that rose bush fare?
Servant. Quite fine, my lord.
Raoul. And the iris?
Servant. Also, well. It is late in their season.
The colors fade and petals droop 5
as is the misery of every aging flower.
Raoul. Have you seen the Duke?
Servant. Aye. He wandered through here and out into
the woods beyond.
Raoul. There are often ticks in the woods this time 10
of year. I will speak to my brother upon
his return and meanwhile attend to the
watering of the grass on that side of
of the cobbled path.
Servant. Yes, sir. 15
[Enter Eduard and Constantine.]
Raoul. Hello, again, young masters.
Eduard. Have you seen my father?
[Enter Cleonastra.]
Raoul. He is walking in the woods.
Eduard. I must have a word with him.
Raoul. I pray he returns with all his blood. 20
Constantine. What?
Raoul. Wood ticks, son. It is their season. They wait
patiently poised on the tip of every
twig and branch and leap out to feast on warmer blood.
Constantine. I have been told that the common tick has 25
uncommonly poor eye sight. He spends most
of his short life crawling back up trees.
Cleonastra. Excuse me, gentlemen.
Raoul. Yes, kind woman.
Cleonastra. My lady sends me to inform your lords 30
that her sister, now married to the Count
Ravenna, is sending her sons to spend
the summer here in Nemaha. They will
arrive this very afternoon.
Raoul. Thank you, good woman. 35
[Exit Cleonastra.]
Eduard. Aufenkamp and Aulterbach! I have not
seen them in ages.
Constantine. For the summer? Already?
Eduard. Their studies are at the bar. There are no
finals in trade school. 40
Constantine. But now for you, one more drain upon your
time and troubles, to entertain the idle
and indolent sons of a baron.
Eduard. Count. Ravenna is a county.
Constantine. Whatever. All I see is one more straw 45
on your already burdened camel’s back.
Eduard. No, no, no. You misperceive.
Aufenkamp and Aulterbach are not straws.
They are fuses. Witches and weddings may both
be dispelled by well-timed fireworks. 50
Raoul. Be careful! Many have regretted a
short fuse or the unintended target
of a misaimed salvo.
Eduard. And laugh all the louder as the tail is
told on down the line. 55
Raoul. For those that live to tell the tail. Just stay
out of my garden.
[Exit Raoul and Servants.]
Constantine. Is your uncle always so grumpy? Look,
your father approaches. I will leave you
to tell him the news of your non-marriage. 60
Eduard. No, stay. I need your support.
[Enter Horatio.]
Constantine. That you have, but my presence has brought naught
but bad luck as of yet. Courage, my friend,
and good luck.
[Exit Constantine.]
Eduard. Father, may I have a word with you. 65
Horatio. Huh, what?
Eduard. You are distracted, sir. What is wrong?
Horatio. Do you like your mother?
Eduard. [Aside.]
Mary, what a question. He is in need
of a long vacation. 70
Of course I do. Why do you ask?
Horatio. How is your chemistry?
Eduard. [Aside.]
Good grief!
Horatio. Do you believe in capital punishment?
Eduard. [Aside.]
How absurd! I shan’t risk telling him 75
about Praetoria.
Why do you ask me these things? What is wrong?
Horatio. Nothing. I was just wondering.
What time is it?
Eduard. Almost noon. 80
Horatio. Excuse me, son. I must go and tend to
[Exit Horatio.]
Eduard. Father has run amuck with worry! I must
follow him and prevent his madness from
turning down a more violent path. 85

Friday, April 23, 2010

Scene III. Nemaha, the Palace, a bedchamber.

[Enter Eunomia and Cleonastra.]
Eunomia. I have not seen my sister’s sons in years.
I imagine they have grown.
Cleonastra. Your own son was certainly glad to hear
this news.
Eunomia. Good. I sense that something troubles him which 5
Constantine cannot comfort. The Ravenna
boys will provide a suitable diversion.
What time is it?
Cleonastra. Almost noon.
[Church bells toll.]
Madam, ‘tis noon exact. 10
[Enter Horatio.]
Eunomia. The tailor ought to be here soon. I will
go and prepare…a light lunch.
Horatio. She falters! Two hours soon! Oh, inexact
witchedness! My dear!
Eunomia. Horatio! I am startled. I stare 15
blankly at my own absent mind.
Horatio. A mild dementia, then the long silence.
[Enter Eduard.]
Eunomia. Pastrami with a spear of dill? Or a
nice egg salad? My mind is a muddle.
Horatio, are you ill? Are you having 20
one of your spells?
Horatio. It has not yet come.
Eunomia. Then wash up, and you Eduard, and bring
it all to lunch.
[Exeunt Eunomia and Cleonastra.]
Eduard. What? 25
Horatio. It has not yet come.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Scene IV. Nemaha, the Palace, a throne room.

[Enter Marcol.]
Marcol. Hallo! Is no one about? Why, it is
empty. By Sid Caesar’s ghost this may be
the only time I shall ever see the throne
room deserted after lunch. Come in and
I will see where every one has gone to. 5
[Enter Normalizovitch and Debrushka.]
Be not bashful. Have a seat.
Normalizovitch. ‘Tis too lovely a room to be seated.
We shall stand.
Debrushka. What magnificence, father! Such stately
construction. Have you never seen so well 10
polished or graceful banister, this thick
and colorful carpet. Silvered mirrors
reflect the golden chandeliers. Deep
purple shadows are the draperies. No
doubt the Duke sits well upon his red throne. 15
Normalizovitch. It is the finest room I ever have entered.
Marcol. I am glad you like it. You shall often
be present here at court.
[Exit Marcol.]
Normalizovitch. If only that could be half fulfilled.
[Enter Aufenkamp and Aulterbach.]
Aufenkamp. Hello. 20
Normalizovitch. Hello.
Aulterbach. Your highness, we have come, your wife’s sister’s
sons, the two of us, to gaze upon the
fair and bounteous Nemaha.
Aufenkamp. And to drink in the fountain of your fortune. 25
Normalizovitch. My daughter, these fine men mistake me for
the Duke.
Debrushka. Have a seat, gentlemen.
Aulterbach. Your servant, your honor, is indeed lovely,
a compliment, no doubt, to the good and 30
steady stock of your countrymen.
Normalizovitch. I am fond of her.
Aufenkamp. Would there were a double shot of daughters.
[Enter Marcol.]
Marcol. Come, fair tailor, and you, fairer Debrushka.
The Duke is not in the kitchen, either. 35
He must be out in the garden. We will
search for him there. Who are these two beggars?
I shall send someone to throw them away.
[Exeunt Marcol, Normalizovitch, and Debrushka.]
Aulterbach. Astounding!
Aufenkamp. A confusion. So like as I had much 40
imagined our uncle to have aged since
last we visited.
[Enter Cleonastra.]
Cleonastra. Pastrami and dill or a nice egg salad,
a confusion of choices if you ask me. [Startled.]
Why, Aufenkamp, Aulterbach! I haven’t the two 45
of you seen in years.
Aulterbach. Tell us, kind lady, what passes at this place.
We have lately arrived from Ravenna
to be greeted only by confusion.
A man was just here, in this room, dressed in 50
all manner of fine and handsome clothing,
whom we did mistake for your own husband.
He was attended by a lass of fair
and generous beauty, who did ask that
we should take a seat. 55
Aufenkamp. As we obeyed the Dukedom’s wish, a clown
appeared and called him tailor and winked at
his most fair attendant. Whence he called my
brother “beggar” and bade us quit this palace.
Cleonastra. “My own husband?” Poor fellows, you are much 60
confused. Ah, dear Aufenkamp, sweet Aulterbach,
I am not your Aunt Eunomia. Once
again you are mistaken. I am your aunt’s
faithful servant, Cleonastra.
Aulterbach. Brother, do you not remember our dear 65
Cleonastra? Too long, sweet lady, since
last we played in your kitchen.
Cleonastra. To that, young men, we should attend. I think
there yet remains a little lunch to feed
your Ravennous appetites. Although, 70
I believe, the egg salad has all been et.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Scene V. Nemaha, the Palace, a bedchamber.
[Enter Eunomia and Cleonastra.]
[Church bells toll.]
Cleonastra. My lady, what is wrong? Oh dear!
Eunomia. At two chimes I am most sickened. As if
two hands unwound each intestine and stretched
my colon from here to eternity.
Cleonastra. I shall help you to bed. Here, lie down. 5
[Enter Horatio.]
Horatio. It is just now two o’clock. Where is my
Cleonastra. Good sir, she is pained. And faint.
[Enter Eduard and Raoul.]
Horatio. A mother murdered in her afternoon.
Foretold and forlorn. A son suspected. 10
Grab him, Raoul! Before he escapes me!
Raoul. What means you? Grab Eduard?
Horatio. He has come to watch his poison.
Eduard. Mother half faint and a father full mad.
I flee. 15
[Exit Eduard.]
Horatio. Quicken, Raoul! Down this hallway. And I
will take the stairs.
[Exit Horatio.]
Raoul. I am found dumb. I must separate son
from father until sense can be made from
nonsense. 20
[Exit Raoul.]
Eunomia. Will someone please attend me to the commode?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Scene VI. Nemaha, the Palace, a throne room.
[Enter Aufenkamp and Aulterbach.]
Aulterbach. A half day here and all we’ve seen is a
pastrami sandwich and a slice of dill.
Aufenkamp. The kitchen was as deserted as this
hall, once Cleonastra rushed out at the
call of her mistress, our aunt. 5
Aulterbach. A clash, a clatter, hurried footsteps
overhead, ghosts and goblins running about
and yet no sign of kith and kin.
[Enter Eduard.]
Here is one now, half flesh and all pale.
Aufenkamp. ‘Tis no zombie, but our cousin, a much 10
affrighted Eduard.
Eduard. My limbs grow wearisome evading that
mad man. He has chased me from my mother’s
chambers, through the upper hall and down the
narrow back stairs. I did not comprehend 15
that he should show so much stamina.
He comes racing now down the August Hall.
I should fly before he again should ring
my neck with his angered hands.
[Exit Eduard.]
Aufenkamp. A most ill-fated frenzy. 20
[Enter Horatio.]
Horatio. The pass! The pass! Cut him off at the pass!
Which way did he go?
[Enter Cleonastra.]
Cleonastra. My lord, hold up. I have new news.
Eunomia revives! She has emerged
from long confinement in the privy 25
chamber and sits now on the edge of her
bed and gaily converses.
Horatio. She does survive? But it had been foretold,
her murder. What is happening?
I am confused and call off the pursuit 30
of Eduard, who has not murdered
his mother. To Eunomia let us
now go, instead. Help me, Cleonastra,
to make amends to my wife and our son.
[Exeunt Horatio and Cleonastra.]
Aufenkamp. He’s confused? 35
Aulterbach. What strange and haphazard scene will
next we witness?
[Enter Parkerson and Praetoria.]
Aufenkamp. Let’s pull up a stool and see what else the
barkeep serves us.
Parkerson. Hallo! 40
Aufenkamp. Hallo, yourself.
Parkerson. Where is everyone?
Aufenkamp. Well, we are here and you are there. As for
the inhabitants of this confused
castle, I cannot tell you. 45
Aulterbach. Some have passed our way, but none as yet has
stopped to give us the time of day.
[Enter Constantine.]
Aufenkamp. Except for dear Cleonastra, who stopped
to give us lunch.
Constantine. Hello, Praetoria, and you sir. 50
Praetoria. Good greetings, dearest Constantine. I have
but lately managed to convey to my
father the false face of our predicament.
Constantine. Good. Good. One matter overcome, but two more
unresolved. 55
Parkerson. Unconvinced I remain, Constantine. This
marriage was well matched and could well be played.
Passion is overrated as a true measure
of success in one’s wedding portrait.
Praetoria. Marriage is not made from smoke and mirrors, 60
no matter how well framed, papa.
Parkerson. I cannot disown my daughter’s cold feet, sir.
So I shall do as I am bid and break
my own Duke’s heart in order that my own
daughter’s heart be freed. 65
Constantine. Commendable, sir, is a father’s heart
for out of love the dirty job it does
not now eschew. Thank you, sir, for I have
twice declined the honor of making
this unannouncement to Duke Horatio. 70
Parkerson. You are welcome, Constantine.
Constantine. But now, sir, I fear this may not be the
best of hours to speak the news.
Parkerson. You have alluded as much. Explain your
cryptic speech. This palace smells of turmoil. 75
Aufenkamp. And I thought it was pastrami.
Constantine. The Duke has gone berserk! Eunomia fell faint
after lunch. Duke Horatio did cry,
“Murderer!” and gave out to choke his son.
Even now he chases Eduard about the 80
Palace grounds.
[Enter Eduard.]
Aulterbach. He is a half cycle off.
Aufenkamp. Here enters one of the missing wheels.
Eduard. Praetoria, sorry that I should so
breathless seem, but I have just lately been 85
reprieved from vigorous agitation
at the hands of my dear father. He no
longer rages, Constantine, but sits at
the side of my mother and soothes her and
calls me son as if the last hour had ne’er 90
been struck.
Praetoria. An opportune time, then, to strike. Papa,
come, let us throw our unconsumed
marriage into this now becalmed sea of
madness. 95
[Exeunt Eduard, Constantine, Praetoria, and Parkerson.]
Aufenkamp. I could consume endless draughts of those two
dark eyes.
Aulterbach. Get in line. That Constantine grins broadly
at the certain dissolution of his
friends’ engagement. Wait. Another 100
[Enter Raoul and Servants, bearing arms and torches.]
personage appears.
Aufenkamp. They come, perhaps, to toast her nuptials.
1st Servant. No, sir. We hunt witches.
Aufenkamp. I have never been on a witch hunt.
1st Servant. Nor I, sir. 105
Aufenkamp. Are they as elusive in Nemaha
as is the snipe?
1st Servant. I cannot say, sir. As oft as I have
heeded that foggy evening call, I have
yet to snag a snipe. 110
Raoul. Fall in, men. We hunt the witch not here but
in nearest Peru. The Park is her dark realm.
Once she did save the Dukedom’s life but now
she plots to take the Dukedom’s wife. And, by
insinuation, his son, too. The schemer 115
shall be caught and brought to trial for her
dark misdeeds.
[Exeunt Raoul and servants.]
Aulterbach. No need to take a tour of this confused
country. Stand long enough in this throne room
and all the inhabitants of this place 120
pass our way.
Aufenkamp. All the characters are here, or
in the Park, exercising their demons.
Follow on, bro’. A-huntin’ we shall go!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Scene VII. Nemaha, the Palace, a kitchen.

[Enter two Servants.]
1st Servant. Perhaps it was the egg salad.
2nd Servant. If it were so, why not others suffer
from the phthisic?
1st Servant. Royal constitutions differ from yours
and mine. Take her sister, for example. 5
Six mattresses and yet she could still feel
the smallest pod unquieting her sleep.
[Enter Marcol, Normalizovitch, and Debrushka.]
2nd Servant. So chicken broth is a better potion
for the duchess stomach?
1st Servant. Feed the ill what their cravings demand, 10
is what I always say.
Marcol. Good! Food! Good cook. We have missed our lunch time
searching cranny and corridor for the Duke.
1st Servant. Nose out, clown. This is for our mistress.
Marcol. She, too, skipped lunch? 15
2nd Servant. Why, clown, haven’t you heard? Our lady, the
Duchess, fell faint. The Duke, so troubled and
aggrieved, shouted “Poison” and turned and choked
his son, our Horatio.
Debrushka. Oh, no! 20
2nd Servant. Fear not, young maiden who I have never
seen before. Good Eunomia revives.
The Duke is becalmed. The turmoil amended,
save for one strange decree.
1st Servant. Yes, he sent his brother, Raoul, out to 25
snare a witch.
[Exeunt servants.]
Marcol. Grutilda is strange. The decree is not.
Normalizovitch. Perhaps we should come again at a time more
Marcol. No, no, no. He sent me to fetch you and 30
fetch you I shall.
Debrushka. It would be utterly rude to now press
our suit.
Marcol. Nonsense. That is my job.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Scene I. Nemaha, the Palace, a terrace.
[Enter Horatio, Eunomia, and Cleonastra.]
Horatio. I am glad this tragedy’s end is near
at hand. My mind flows in calmer channels.
Now, dear wife, I shall explain to you the
madness of my reason, if you feel up
to the challenge of its telling. 5
Eunomia. The chicken soup has quite revived my distress.
Please do explain why you bound and gagged
our only son.
Horatio. A night ago, sweet Eunomia, I
was visited by a witch, Grutilda 10
her name, who once did save my life. Here at
the Palace she foretold of your illness,
saying that it was murder, and murder
by our son, Eduard. When you were fell
swoon, the miserable witch’s oath seemed 15
true. I did fear our son had poisoned you.
At this my sanity fled.
Eunomia. A momentary distress. Bowelled over,
so to speak. I do not think it witch’s
brew that sent me ill. 20
Cleonastra. Most certainly, the egg salad, my Lord.
Horatio. Or, the spell, perchance, was improper cast.
Eunomia. Whatever. I am refreshed by the terraced
Horatio. So let us return to this day’s business. 25
Down the April Hall lies the
antechamber of our duties.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Scene II. Nemaha, the Palace, an hallway.
[Enter Eduard, Constantine, Parkerson, and Praetoria.]
Constantine. As your father’s humor has been restored
so has my appetite. Perhaps we can stop
by the kitchen on the way to your good
mother’s terrace.
[Enter Marcol, Normalizovitch, and Debrushka.]
Debrushka. Dear father, what will you say to him? 5
Normalizovitch. I hesitate to know. I can only
trust my God to loosen my tongue. It has
inconveniently been swallowed by a
dry and parched throat.
Eduard. And what have we here, clown? 10
Marcol. The tailor Normalizovitch and his
daughter Debrushka.
Debrushka. Praetoria!
Praetoria. Debrushka!
Constantine. Eduard! 15
Eduard. Constantine!
[Enter Horatio, Eunomia, and Cleonastra.]
Parkerson. Kids.
Marcol. Why, good madam, you perambulate
most beautifully down this hall. You have
managed to full recover without my most 20
useful medicine.
Horatio. A pharmacist, too? What medicine might
you compound?
Marcol. Laughter, sir. It is the best.
Horatio. Good subjects all, this hall has drawn a crowd. 25
I pray you have not come to hear this clown’s
middling jokes.
Marcol. But, Sire, no joke. I have returned on the
errand you gave me this very morning.
Horatio. What errand is that? 30
Marcol. To find you a talented tailor.
Eunomia. Is this him? He is most splendidly dressed.
Normalizovitch. Normalizovitch, madam. And for you,
Sire, it would splendid be to dress your court.
Horatio. And you, Praetoria, here with you is a friend 35
I have not met. A bridesmaid, I may wager?
Eduard. No, sir. This is Debrushka, the tailor’s
Eunomia. They are well contrasted, Parkerson. I
can picture it. The brunette bride in white 40
encircled by a court of blondes all dressed in
pale blue.
Parkerson. Praetoria has, my lady, a thousand friends
but as yet, not one bridesmaid.
Eunomia. No fear, Praetoria, I do not mean
to interfere, merely daydream. 45
Horatio. This talk, it seems, has made Debrushka a
tad uncomfortable. We should wish her
welcome without any obligation
on Praetoria’s part.
Debrushka. Your cordiality, Duke, is unexpected. 50
I have never before been presented
to such noble honors and am at a
loss to comprehend my proper etiquette.
Eduard. You are doing fine, Debrushka. Perhaps
it would set you more at ease if you 55
became better acquainted with the grand
architectural features that combine within
one Palace our residence and our seat
of government.
Debrushka. Oh, please, I would love a tour. 60
Eduard. This is the April Hall. It is, of all
the Halls, my favorite. Tapestries of
gold and green. Sweet urns filled with garden
flowers. A carpet soft and polka dotted.
[Exeunt Eduard and Debrushka.]
Constantine. Praetoria, am I not mistaken 65
that you could use some refreshment. A nice
glass of lemonade? From the kitchen?
Praetoria. Oh, quite. I am fair parched.
Constantine. And perhaps I might score a slice of
pastrami. 70
[Exeunt Constantine and Praetoria.]
Horatio. What just happened here?
Marcol. Why, Duke, you have met your maker.
Cleonastra. Of fine suites, he means.
Marcol. And his daughter. And your son… and…
Normalizovitch. I have taken the liberty, Sire, to lay 75
out in the throne room a pattern for each
of the rank and privilege that I think would
best display the order and sensibility
of a well tailored court.
Eunomia. I am excited. To the throne room, or 80
should I say “dressing room,” let us go.
Horatio. But I hate trying on clothes.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Scene III. Nemaha, the Palace, a throne room.
[Enter Marcol, Cleonastra, Normalizovitch, and Parkerson.]
Normalizovitch. Now, I thought the Duke and his lady were
close behind us. Here are the regiments
of fashion laid out, but no customer
attends us in this room.
Cleonastra. Look, Marcol, how each station at court is 5
arrayed in elegant display of
good taste and gracious cut.
Normalizovitch. Worthy of your service, good woman, here
is the wardrobe for your office. The chief
attendant of any noble should have 10
a fine distinction to match or mirror
her mistress, as the Lady’s whim sees fit.
[Enter Constantine and Praetoria.]
I have here several sketches and one
mock-up of such a closet.
Marcol. You mock me, old man. There is no clownish 15
garb among these rags.
Normalizovitch. Now-a-days, our men of mirth wear double
breasted suites with silken scarves and over-
sized pocket handkerchiefs. Here, let me show you.
Praetoria. Did you inform him of our disengagement? 20
Parkerson. Alas, daughter, Eduard has had no
chance to prepare him for such a message.
It is hard to speak plainly when the hand
is upon your throat.
Praetoria. Surely this news would not engender so 25
mad a response.
Parkerson. And yet, it befeared me much to deliver
to him this news.
Constantine. Perhaps he can be appraised of the
message while hands are threaded through the arms 30
of a suit coat and unable to reach your neck.
Cleonastra. You give the Duke a vicious nature
that is not quite true. His intemperate
passion is purely protective of the
one he loves. 35
Constantine. I am only joking.
Marcol. My job. Union grievance a-coming.
Constantine. You are foursquare, Cleonastra, the Duke
is a just man. There is no injustice
in this news. It is blessing enough, disguised. 40
[Enter Eduard and Debrushka.]
Cleonastra. What is this sad news?
Praetoria. That I cannot marry Eduard.
Cleonastra. Oh. Good luck with that.
Debrushka. I hope the Duke finds pleasure in these clothes.
Eduard. Why should he not? No tweed, no worsted wool, 45
no double-knit could find displeasure if it
first passes your keen judgment.
Normalizovitch. Over here, young man, are the sketches of
my envision concerning your formal
wear at court. 50
Eduard. Lovely. I am more concerned of what to
wear as leisure suits me.
Normalizovitch. I do regret, young sir, that my plans with
respect to informal apparel are
incomplete pending the formal award 55
of a commission for my service.
Marcol. Wise. Most tailors would have seized the day wear.
Debrushka. May I have a word with you, Eduard.
Eduard. Of course.
Debrushka. I am chilled. Each time I enter a room 60
Mister Marcol spirals towards me.
He positively gravitates in my
direction. I wish desperately for
some repulsive force, but can offer no
polite rebuke. 65
Eduard. The clown was born with love-sick puppy eyes
and the heart of a dirty old man. Be
it fourteen or forty, he will fall for
any skirt in the room. The best advice
is to clear out and let his gaze fall on 70
some other fair figure. Have I shown you
the tire swing at the far end of the garden?
Debrushka. Why, no.
[Exeunt Eduard and Debrushka.]
Cleonastra. Is it fair to say, sir, that your daughter
and young Eduard both suffer a mild 75
but wholly natural rebellion to
their fathers’ whims? Such that they will look past
these days and rejoice in the good wisdom
of your natal wishes.
Marcol. What pretty gowns have you here for pretty 80
Normalizovitch. I have not yet considered fiancées
that may not be nor daughters of petty
Parkerson. It is true, Cleonastra, that young women 85
and young men seldom recognize or much
appreciate the wise reasoning of
their elders. In the moment only do
they exist. If today gathered rosebuds
are not their want they spend all tomorrow 90
plucking from imagined wounds the thorns hurled
as insult to yesterday’s abandoned passions.
Praetoria. If by this you perceive that Eduard
deliberately conducts some guerrilla
campaign against my affections, then you 95
are mistaken. He is free, as I am
free, to gather rosebuds in whatever
garden our passion swings.
Uncomprehending parents!
Mistaken Cleonastra! Love hurts 100
naught but those who first have loved.
The hurt here is an caustic chafe against
the fetters and manacles imposed by
an older generation on the hearts
of the next. But, Father, the hurt is not 105
yet hatred. It can be salved with loving
recognition that we are of age and
free to exercise our own mind and will.
Marcol. Dry your eyes on this oversized hankie,
my dear Praetoria. Silk may soothe where 110
parents chafe.
Constantine. Leave her be, most foolish clown. Can’t you see
how lonely is the task of growing
up and out from under the most excellent
shade of an adoring parent. 115
[Exeunt Constantine and Praetoria.]
Marcol. I don’t want to grow up.
Cleonastra. Then to the kitchen for milk and cookies
and I will put you down for a nap.
Mister Parkerson, I apologize
for my first mistaken impression, but 120
now realize instead that, if we teach
our children well, we raise adults who can
reason for themselves and we can
only watch them leave, in love and trust.
[Exeunt Cleonastra and Marcol.]
Parkerson. The generations may branch off and grow 125
under another sun, yet her mother’s
stubborn will lives on embedded as a
seedling from the past. And for that I will
not disrespect her decision, Chaos
though it brings. 130
Normalizovitch. In good time, good sir, Chaos dissolves
itself most naturally into good order.
Parkerson. Yes, Sir Tailor, in due course all wounds are
healed, I do believe. Even such as
those inflicted by ghastly parenting. 135
[Enter Horatio and Eunomia.]
Normalizovitch. Sewed up, so to speak, without scab or scar
of all former distress. Such is the mind
that when resolution comes these previous
discomforts are simply the remembrance
of things past. 140
Horatio. What a boat load of robes. Eunomia,
select for me what fashion pleases you
and give Sir Tailor his commission.
What do you mean, ‘all things must pass?’
Parkerson. Praetoria and Eduard have just 145
now broken off our long planned engagement.
Horatio. Oh?
Eunomia. Oh, no!
Normalizovitch. Yes!
Horatio. At least I won’t have to try on wedding 150

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Scene IV. Peru, the Park.

[Enter Raoul, servants, Aufenkamp and Aulterbach in darkness, carrying torches.]
Raoul. Follow closely my great winding circle,
clockwise thus we shall pursue these creatures.
[Enter Grutilda, Patience, Hope, and Virtue.]
Grutilda. Attend me close, children. Circle now your
Conestogas thus, counterclockwise.
Raoul. Aha! Spiral and counterspiral. 5
We drive her to neutrality.
Aufenkamp. Have you noticed, brother, that Patience and
Virtue are well endowed in all their charms.
Aulterbach. Alas, all Hope is lost in her mother’s
haggard looks. 10
Aufenkamp. Rescue four; woo two, I always say.
Aulterbach. Two will do. As for the others,
there are many a Platte bottom bachelor
farmer who find such plain women have their
own rustic charms. 15
Raoul. She does not yet dissipate within these
revolutions. Pour on this scene a few
more old wives fables and favorite
folk lore. You and you, break off and tie a
yellow ribbon round that old oak tree. 20
By witches convention, the weird folk then
will dance in the moonlight. Then we shall pluck
a petal from the sweet Gypsy Rose while
these devils dance in their ruby red dress.
Take heed, you men, and when the delta dawns 25
leap forward, shouting “Spiders and Snakes”.
And as the accursed try to flee, knock
three times and light a candle in the wind,
whereby these fiends will jump into the fire
but they will never be free. And as they 30
are consumed they will be naught but smoke
on the water. Do you have the plan?
1st Servant. Aye, sir. ‘Tis clear. But for this task I should
be a miner for a heart of gold.
2nd Servant. I have heard, sir, that it takes a witch to 35
catch a witch. Thus we must say goodbye to
a yellow brick road, get into a fight
on Saturday night, and dance the
crocodile rock.
3rd Servant. Aye, sir. We should have brought a horse with no 40
name, observed a tequila sunrise, and
stood upon a corner in Winslow, Arizona.
Grutilda. Counter, sisters, with ever more potent folk song.
Put the lime in the coconut.
Patience. And drink them both up. 45
Grutilda. Put the lime in the coconut.
Virtue. And drink them both up.
Grutilda. Put the lime in the coconut.
Hope. Called the Doctor. Woke him up.
Aulterbach. I said. 50
Aufenkamp. Doctor! Ain’t there nothing I can take?
Grutilda. To relieve this belly ache?
Aulterbach. Now let me get this straight.
Patience. You put the lime in the coconut.
Aufenkamp. And drink them both up. 55
Virtue. You put the lime in the coconut.
Aufenkamp. And drink them both up.
Hope. You put the lime in the coconut.
Grutilda. And drink them both together.
Aufenkamp. And then you’ll feel better. 60
Aulterbach. Put the lime in the coconut.
Aufenkamp. And call me in the morning.
Aulterbach. Quickly, sisters of the Peruvian night.
Aufenkamp. Come with us, lets flat out light.
Aulterbach. To Ravenna flee! 65
[Exeunt Aufenkamp, Aulterbach, Grutilda, Patience, Hope, and Virtue.]
Raoul. Her evil deed did last but half an hour.
Now all eternity consumes her power.
Great Grutilda goes to witches hell
Where she and her kin can sit a spell.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Scene I. Nemaha, the Palace, a garden.

[Enter Marcol, reading.]
Marcol. “Noses are red and sneezes are blue
If spring is in bloom, then I love achoo.”
A fair poem. She will like it.
[Enter Cleonastra.]
Or maybe she would prefer,
“Happiness doth come to me 5
ever whence you, my eye doth see.”
Cleonastra. Observe, the clown quotes secret poetry
for my account.
Marcol. Pace now and gain courage, clown, before this
bright pearl, this most beautiful world, is too 10
soon discovered. Now for the hardest part.
A pretty verse is voiced with confidence,
but a promise sought is swallowed in a
cold sweat of apprehension. So, Marcol,
say it. “Beautiful girl, will you marry me?” 15
Louder, boy, she won’t hear that. “Will you
marry me?” Still too weak. Courage, Marcol.
Do not mumble. Open your eyes and say
it face to face. Will you marry me?
Cleonastra. Of course. I thought you’d never ask! 20
Marcol. Oh. But you’re not… I am had.
Cleonastra. And I am happy to have you after
many longing years from this dreaming heart.
Marcol. Good grief. Oh, well. A wife is a wife and
better than no life without any wife. 25
And anyway, Cleonastra, you are more
suited to my temper.
Cleonastra. And I to your fashion.
Marcol. Away, good wife!
Let’s engage a preacher. 30

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Scene II. Nemaha, the Palace, an hallway.

[Enter Constantine.]
Constantine. So here I’ll stand, before this bright suit of
armor. And here I’ll wait until she passes
this way. Now that I have a free hand to
speak to her, I might by means tell
Praetoria what here in my heart lies. 5
[Enter Debrushka.]
Hello, Debrushka. Is the Duke fitted?
Debrushka. He is fitted fine. As are the Duchess,
her maidservant, and that stupid clown.
However, it will take several long
months to complete the order. 10
Constantine. Excellent. Then several long months will
you remain at court. But, with you here, the
months will seem by half too short. Have you
and Eduard spoken since your swing in
the garden? 15
Debrushka. The Duke’s son has shown great kindness to this
tailor’s daughter. But, no, why should have he?
Constantine. Debrushka, I speak frank when I say that
Eduard has fallen in love with you.
In his eyes I see and in his voice I hear, 20
that which is unmistakable.
Debrushka. Do not joke, Constantine. He is formally
engaged to my friend, Praetoria.
Constantine. And I am in love with my best friend’s
fiancée! 25
Debrushka. What sort of lop-sided triangle is
thus entangled when former pledges fail?
Constantine. A father’s pledge does not compel the
daughter’s heart. And soon the time will ripen
to inform the Duke that this pledge has been 30
disengaged. And that fair Praetoria
is fair game for this noble but
impoverished suitor.
Debrushka. What? Am I to be used as a wedge?
Am I a machine, a common cleaver, 35
a crude device to drive the sharp spike of
doubt through the heart of this engagement?
To be, Camilla-like, the whispered butt of
public and parental rebuke for the
unhappy ending to an unwanted 40
fairy tale? To be your cover to woo
what Eduard would otherwise wed?
Constantine. No, no, no, no. Ask Praetoria!
[Enter Eduard.]
Confirm from her that though they were playmates
at an early age, they will never be 45
soulmates at any stage.
Better, yet, ask Eduard himself.
Debrushka. I should not be so forward.
Eduard. Allow me then, fair Debrushka to make
a pass at it. 50
[Exit Constantine.]
Debrushka. Hello, my lord.
Eduard. Do not call me that. Call me Eduard.
When my father first did announce to all
Peru that her favorite daughter would
I marry, I also knew that all of 55
Praetoria’s friends would be thrilled, in full
vicarious fashion, for her good fortune.
But it is not enough to enthrall ones
friends, or please ones parents. “To thine
own self be true” goes the old song. 60
In truth, I like, admire, and adore your
Praetoria. But it is you, Debrushka,
I love. Praetoria and I agreed to part
before you and I met. And I am glad
for it, as I can hardly hold my heart 65
in quiet rhythm after pleasant words
you and I first exchanged.
Debrushka. How does that old song go?
Eduard. Hmmm. “Neither a borrower nor a
lender be. Do not forget, stay out of debt. 70
Think twice and take this good advice from me,
guard that old sovereign, see.
And just one other thing that you should do,
to thine own self be true!”

Monday, April 12, 2010

Scene III. the Same.

[Enter Praetoria.]
Praetoria. Here by this iron suit I’ll stand until
Constantine comes near at hand.
[Enter Constantine.]
Constantine. Where are Eduard and Debrushka?
I left them not but five minutes ago
standing guard over this gleaming hulk 5
of armor.
Praetoria. I may have seen them exit stage left, down
the August Hall and into the garden,
holding hands, with skipping hearts half
elevated above their rosy path. 10
Constantine. A fair way to occupy a sunny
spring afternoon.
Praetoria. No doubt.
Constantine. Nor doubly doubtful that also fair
it might be if you and I followed the 15
same path.
Praetoria. Is that a double negative or a
double entendre?
[Enter Raoul.]
Constantine. An addled brain, sweet lady.
Raoul. Hello, future niece-in-law, and you dear 20
Constantine. Here, young sir, may I have a
word with you? I hope that you have noticed
the tailor’s daughter, Debrushka? She is
indeed a rare and wonderful flower,
beauty and grace in both her face and her 25
wit. She will make someone a very fine
and worthy scholar’s wife.
Constantine. She will, indeed, sir. And so will Praetoria.
Raoul. I agree!
Praetoria. The garden, then, Constantine? 30
[Exeunt Constantine and Praetoria.]
Raoul. But wouldn’t it be better if Constantine
showed Debrushka my garden? And Eduard
showed Praetoria?
[Enter Horatio and Eunomia.]
Horatio. Good evening, brother. Have you much news
to report? By your puzzlement I fear 35
the quest went unfulfilled.
Raoul. No, no, no. The witch Grutilda is no
longer with us. In pall of smoke and fire’s
flame she has gone to other regions.
Horatio. Then why this frown, this furrowed face, this look 40
of failure haunting your eyes?
Raoul. I have moved on from witch-hunting
to match-making.
Eunomia. A ticklish business, dear.
Raoul. I fear that I have graft together buds 45
from the wrong trestle. Stand away
from the window until I can trim this
unwanted growth before it full flowers.
Horatio. Means you this vignette, that Constantine and
Praetoria sit close, and quietly, 50
beneath the willow tree.
Raoul. Well, that, yes. But farther down the lane.
Eunomia. ‘Tis only Eduard and Debrushka,
holding hands as they face each other with gaze
transfixed, as lovers are want to do. 55
Raoul. What a mess. I simply tried to acquaint
young Constantine with the tailor’s daughter,
but Cupid’s arrow has gone awry.
Or, as if Grutilda’s spell,
half cast and missing its mark, dear sister, 60
upon the witch’s departure ricocheted,
twisting off-kilter that pure beam of love
leaving half magic, a skewed image,
an upside down and mirrored reflection
of our intent. 65
Eunomia. Or perhaps, Raoul, this window reveals
an upright truth that heretofore had been
hidden by unrealistic desires.
Horatio. Praetoria’s father, our most faithful
Parkerson, earlier today let go 70
a hint to what we now observe.
Raoul. And so I see the match I struck reveals
young hearts already sparked and
secretly burning on their own.
Horatio. Hang up the match-making, brother. It’s not 75
for amateurs. Join we now these lovers
and express our happy pleasure that this
revelation came not too late.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Scene IV. Nemaha, the Palace, a garden.

[Enter Horatio and Eunomia.]
Eunomia. Raoul’s garden, good Duke, is a perfect
place, the natural habitat for those
who love a good romance. And so it is
that we do now announce in triplicate
these wedding plans. 5
[Enter Marcol and Cleonastra.]
Horatio. The clown and the maid.
[Enter Constantine and Praetoria.]
The scholar and the ranger’s young lady.
[Enter Eduard and Debrushka.]
Dukedom’s heir and tailor’s daughter.
What began as one is now at three.
How much more can we now happy be? 10
Good luck to all and so God bless
that which otherwise would have been a mess.
If elders had not been so disobeyed
would the love-light shining have never played
on these six souls today? Think it not cruel 15
that love reigns where parents cannot rule.
[Enter Raoul, Parkerson, Normalizovitch and Divers Servants.]
Enter now, friends and family, called to
witness what not man nor witch can ever
rend asunder. Profess now your ever
lawful pledge of love and fidelity. 20
Debrushka. I am at a loss but to love he who
loved me first.
Eduard. First, last, and forever, Debrushka,
I can love no other.
Praetoria. An oath, a vow, a promise, all to you, 25
my scholar and my gentleman.
Constantine. No poet laureate, no immortal
bard will ever match in words what
cries my heart in glad admittance of this
love supreme for you, Praetoria. 30
Cleonastra. I do. I do, Marcol, always, ever will, I do.
Marcol. Much I dos about nothing, good wife.
So come and smother me, sweet lady mine,
with your I dos until my lips fall off
and I can do no more. 35
Horatio. Done! Now take a bow, all here assembled.
Good night, good life, good love, to one and all.
[Exeunt all, save Eunomia.]
Eunomia. But, I wonder, what ever happened
to Aufenkamp and Aulterbach?