ACT TWO: SCENE SIX

 

 

The Wardenís study next morning. WHITE is praying before the altar. PHILLIPS enters carrying papers, sees WHITE at prayer and goes to look out the window. Presently WHITE stands up and turns to PHILLIPS.

 

PHILLIPS††††† I went back to the Golden Rose last night.The girl will testify.

 

WHITE†††††††††† She will?

 

PHILLIPS††††† I trust Master Cole has remembered heís going there with me this morning for statements?

 

WHITE†††††††††† Heíll be here shortly.

 

PHILLIPS††††† Eagerness personified.

 

There is a slightly awkward silence

 

WHITE†††††††††† How did you get the girl to change her mind?

 

PHILLIPS††††† I lied to her.I told her Jack Swaddon meant to throw her on the streets for bringing trouble on his head.Then I told her your sister would only give her protection if she made a statement.

 

WHITE†††††††††† So you lied twice?

 

PHILLIPS††††† Expediency.

 

WHITE†††††††††† Do you often lie from expediency, Master Phillips?

 

PHILLIPS††††† I try to avoid it.

 

Another silence

 

WHITE†††††††††† And after you returned from the tavern?

 

PHILLIPS††††† I was obliged to lie a third time.You obviously know about it.

 

WHITE†††††††††† At least the Hostiarius believed you.

 

PHILLIPS††††† Heís a fool.

 

WHITE†††††††††† Itís as well you delayed him.College is in your debt.

 

PHILLIPS††††† Thank you, but heís not yet stopped for good.And donít forget, he may try to hold the Kingsgate attack against us as well.

 

WHITE†††††††††† Kingsgate.Iíd forgotten.

 

PHILLIPS††††† It depends how far we can discredit him.Since his stories suit the Council, it may suit them to ignore proof of his debauchery.

 

WHITE†††††††††† How long can you hold him off with your promise of Lord Pagetís assistance?

 

PHILLIPS††††† Heíll grow suspicious after six days.

 

WHITE†††††††††† Six days.And this college has stood for a hundred and sixty-six years.

 

PHILLIPS††††† Warden, itís not your fault.

 

WHITE†††††††††† Itís my responsibility.Ten Wardens before me have kept it safe from harm.

 

PHILLIPS††††† None of them lived in times like these.

 

WHITE†††††††††† Is Jolyff keen to go to London with Master Forde?

 

PHILLIPS††††† Not at all.

 

They look at each other with the germ of an idea

 

WHITE†††††††††† If he needed forcing to contradict the Hostiarius, it wouldnít be worth the risk.It might rebound on usÖ

 

PHILLIPS††††† But if he were willing even to moderate Master Fordeís storyÖ

 

WHITE†††††††††† Do you think it would work?

 

PHILLIPS††††† Heís suffered a lot these past days.You might do much with kindness.

 

WHITE†††††††††† Then, after all, we have a chance.

 

PHILLIPS††††† A slim chance, which might backfire.

 

WHITE†††††††††† Iíll talk to Jolyff this morning, then he must be kept out of Fordeís reach.How long to take your statements at the tavern?

 

PHILLIPS††††† A morning, if Master Cole hurries up.

 

WHITE†††††††††† Iíll send a message.

 

Puts head outside door a few moments then shuts door again

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† So, God willing, we may dismiss Hostiarius Forde this afternoon.

 

PHILLIPS††††† Then await his next move.Suppose he tells the Council we forced Jolyff to contradict him?

 

WHITE†††††††††† Jolyff would have to appear before the Council.

 

PHILLIPS††††† And Collegeís fate would rest with one of its Scholars.

 

Silence, broken presently by COLE entering

 

COLE†††††††††††† I do apologise, Warden.Oh, I see Master Phillips is here already.

 

PHILLIPS††††† Naturally.

 

COLE†††††††††††† And what have you two been discussing?

 

WHITE†††††††††† Everythingís been made clear.

 

COLE†††††††††††† Clear?

 

PHILLIPS††††† Donít you trust me, Master Cole?

 

COLE†††††††††††† Since you ask, no.

 

WHITE†††††††††† Master Phillips will explain on the way to the Golden Rose.

 

COLE†††††††††††† I donít want his explanations!

 

PHILLIPS††††† Iíll see you later, Warden.

 

Exit PHILLIPS.

 

COLE†††††††††††† Heís hoodwinked you!

 

WHITE†††††††††† Just go with him to the tavern, Master Cole, now!

 

Exit COLE.WHITE sits at his desk and runs his hands through his hair.

Blackout.End of scene.

 

 

© Karen MacLeod 2002. All Rights Reserved.