Nottingham Castle. The Duke of Newcastle is at his desk. Oliver stands at its side.
NEWCASTLE. Well, Oliver! We seem to have settled this matter very well. It took Captain Philips and his Hussars a little time to round up those Pentrich varmints, but he's got them all safely tucked up in Derby Jail. What news of the other groups?
OLIVER. I understand that there was a riot in Wakefield, but this was easily put down. Most others had the stuffing taken out of them by arrests and harassment from the authorities.
0. I saw much of this during my recent visits to Bradford, Manchester, Liverpool, Stockport, Bolton and Leeds. (He takes his time over detailing the towns, hoping to impress the Duke.) In particular, Sir John Byng's interventions at Sheffield and Manchester had a very marked affect.
DUKE. Excellent! And what of your 'friends' here in Nottingham?
0. They formed up under George Crabtree, gathered arms and marched towards the Forest. They tried to force William Roper to give them his gun, but failed miserably. This seems to have discouraged them and nothing more happened.
N. Just as we suspected, they had no real heart for it. And now we must take our opportunity to set an example to the whole country. Harsh punishment of those Pentrich scoundrels will discourage any others who are thinking of following their example. The Judiciary must do their duty. The trial at Derby must be well publicised and not bungled.
0. Will all the captives be called?
N. No, not all. They must not allow Thomas Bacon to testify. He knows you too well, and you might be dangerously implicated. If the people get wind of the idea that spies were at work, you could be labelled an 'agent provocateur'. We can't have that! The Country has a strong distaste for spies, as Liverpool well knows. Your exposure could seriously damage our intentions.
0. But what if I'm called to testify?
N. There's little chance of that.
0. But the Defence might call me.
N. It would not be in their interest. To acknowledge contact with you is to acknowledge guilt.
0. How it that, your grace?
N. You can witness to their plotting. They only compound their guilt by calling it.
0. Then what am I to do?
N. I have arranged for you to travel to Derby with Raven. You will stay at the George Inn under the assumed name of Mule until after the trial is over. You must be available to the authorities, if required.
0. Then my assignment here is complete?
N. That is so. You have done your task satisfactorily and will, no doubt, be well paid for your enterprise. Now, be an your way. (Dismissing him with a flick of the fingers.)
0. Thank you your grace.
(Oliver departs. Newcastle moves front stage and sings Now the Deed Is Done.)
NOW THE DEED IS DONE.
Now the deed is done,
We can all rest easy in our beds at night.
No more rebels with a harebrained scheme,
No more Cobbett's with a hopeless dream,
Chorus: (words from the hymn 'All things bright and beautiful. C. Frances Alexander. 18181895.)
The rich man in his castle, The poor man at his gate.
God made them high or lowly, And ordered their estate.
With a king an his throne,
And their Noble Lordships in their rightful place.
No more rioting and no more fights,
No more stupid talk of Human Rights.
The rich man etc.
(Music for scene change.)
END OF SCENE.
Click here for scene 6