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Brandreth Scene 6

SCENE 6.

Grouped figures take their place as in the opening scene, Brandreth is seated on a bench centre stage, He is manacled and illuminated by light from a barred window,
The recorded voice of the Trial Judge is heard, pronouncing the sentence of the court,

JUDGE. Whereas at a special Sessions of Oyer and Terminer and Jail Delivery holden at Derby, and in the County of Derby, Jeremiah Brandreth, otherwise called John Coke, otherwise called the Nottingham Captain, William Turner, and Isaac Ludlam, the elder, have been convicted of High Treason, and had sentence passed upon them to be drawn upon a hurdle to the place of execution, and there to be hanged by the necks until they be severally dead, and afterwards their heads severed from their bodies, and their bodies divided into four quarters, and to be disposed of as we should direct. And whereas we have thought fit to remit part of the sentence, that is, dividing the bodies severally into four parts, our will and pleasure is that the execution be done at the usual place of execution, on Friday next, the seventh day of this instant November, And for so doing this shall be your warrant. Given at our Court of Carlton House, the first day of November 1817, in the fiftyeighth year of our reign. By command of his Royal Highness the Prince Regent, in the name and on behalf of His Majesty.

(Brandreth sits head bowed in deep contemplation. Ann enters. He is suddenly aware of her and rises to embrace her.)

B. Ann! (After the embrace, he carefully sits her on the bench at his side. Their is little sign of emotion between them, but there Is an impression of suppressed feelings.)
ANN. How are you, my love?
B. Comfortable. And how is it with you?
A. Well enough. The people of Sutton raised a subscription to pay my fare, but I preferred to walk.
B. You've been staying with your father at Sutton?
A. Aye.
B. You shouldn't have walked that far in your condition.
A. I'm all right. I'll need the money.
B. Yes, I suppose so. The jailor's wife, the good Mrs Eaton has collected money and provisions for you. Together with my money you will have 51 shillings.
A. I will thank her for her thoughtful generosity.
B . (Taking a small embroidered bag from his pocket and handing It to her.) I've made this for you.
A (Taking It gladly, grateful for the relief It brought in the tension she could feel between them.) Oh Jerry! (Near to tears.) Its beautiful. (She clings it to her bosom.)
B. (A bit embarrassed.) I've packed a bundle for you with bits and pieces, the letter from my sister and a pound from a London well-wisher. The jailors have taken it, but I expect they'll find a way to get it to you.
(Ann places the bag in her clothing, then turns to Jerry.)
A. (Obviously concerned about a matter of some importance to her.
Jerry! They say that you shot an innocent man. Is this true?
B. (Rather defiantly.)
No one saw me do it, so how can they say I did it! (More subdued.) Please don't raise unnecessary controversy at this time, Ann. They've determined to have my head, no matter what.
A. Is there no hope?
B. None! (She silently draws herself closer to him. Their eyes meet for several moments.)
A. (Collecting herself and drawing away.) Your friends ask if they can have the map
B. (Somewhat angry.) They shall not. Its no use to them or anyone else. It can only serve to implicate others.
(Bitterly.) Our cause is dead. What need has anyone for a route to disaster?
A. What went wrong, Jerry?
B. (Fiercely.) It was that damned spy Oliver. He brought me to this. But for Oliver I should not have been here.
A. Why wasn't he called to testify?
B.. The authorities knew better than that! (Calmer.) They have us. There is no chance.
A. You seem at peace with yourself.
B. I have prayed many times. I'm not afraid of the scaffold. She gasps.) Prayer has
comforted me, Ann. (Taking her hand.)
A. I too have prayed.
B. (Much
calmer.) I find myself sustained beyond expectation. I feel no fear in passing through the shadow of death to eternal life. (He takes both her hands.) And you, my beloved. I hope you will make the promise of God, as I have, to your own soul, that we may meet in Heaven, where every sorrow will cease, and all will be Joy and peace.
A. I will pray most fervently. (He pulls away and stands looking down at her.)
B. I entreat you. Act the motherly part to our little babes and bring them up in the fear of God.
A. I pray that God gives me the strength. (He gently raises her to her feet.)
B. You must go now, my love. (He tenderly embraces her then pulls away.)
Adieu my love, Adieu.

(She stands for a moment looking at him, then rushes away. He sadly returns to the bench as figures are silhoetted and start to sing THE SONG OF THE OPPRESSED as at the opening of the play.

    THE END. © Les Emmans 1988.

     

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