Salvation, p.3

Salvation, page 3

 

Salvation
 


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going to say, she has a lovely walk. (Paddy smiles at him) I see what's happening here, boy, ye are about to find yourself in all kinds of trouble. Mr. Kirwan now, is it? Been promoted to Guardian have ye?

  AIDAN. Ye’ve always had a filthy tongue, Paddy O'Doherty.

  PADDY. A nurse, eh? Eh! You'd never be sick.

  AIDAN. I'll be making you sick if you carry on with that talk.

  PADDY. I'm delighted for ya. She's a nurse, a good person. The wrong person, but…

  AIDAN. (Snapping) What's wrong with her?

  PADDY. Boy, you got it bad. Worse than the fever.

  AIDAN. If this is what fever feels like then, I'd like the fever ten fold.

  PADDY. She's wrapped you up boy. Look, and listen to me, listen… I'm your friend. Only friend you've ever had you told me the other night.

  AIDAN. Ye only got that out of me after half of Guardian Power’s rum.

  PADDY. (Draping an arm over him) Look, lad. You'll be feeling as tall as a ship right now. We never see the women. We are fenced off by the powers that be. We have our section and they have theirs and that's the way it is. 'Tis natural to be feelin’ what you’re feelin’. (Beat) It's unheard of that the top level, that’s them, come down to mingle with the bottom level, that’s us. We all get these ideas in our heads. Sure, think I might be the worst for it. She's out of bounds boy. Out of bounds.

  AIDAN. Never thought of such a…

  PADDY. Ah you can't kid me boyo, I know how many women you've had.

  AIDAN. Do you now?

  PADDY. Aye, none.

  AIDAN. I have! I've had ten women! More than you!

  PADDY. Ah lad, I've been at it since I was ten years old. Eight hundred women I've had. Never since I got here but me and me lad have been to many places: Belgium, Spain, Italy. He enjoyed Italy.

  AIDAN. Ye've had enough, so. Don't be taking this one away.

  PADDY. Some women can't be got and that fair nurse, is one of them. Ye wouldn’t know what to do anyway.

  AIDAN. Yes I would! I told ye! I've had ten women!

  PADDY. (Laughing) Your lad is fresh and ripe under there, boy. He’ll be aching for a feast. Ye can thank your mother for that.

  AIDAN. She isn't my…

  PADDY. (Taking a deck of cards from his coat) Here, let's stop talkin' 'bout the women.

  AIDAN. (Trying to grab the cards, Paddy holds them away) Ye got them back?

  PADDY. (Ignoring this) What have ye got?

  AIDAN. I've nothin’ to play with but me washcloth.

  PADDY. Your shoes.

  AIDAN. Ah, no Paddy. Took me months to get a pair that fit good.

  PADDY. Your shoes for my coat.

  AIDAN. Your coat? (Thinks) Get them dealt!

  PADDY. (Dealing the cards) Looking forward to me new pair of shoes.

  AIDAN. That coat will be keepin' me warm this winter.

  PADDY. Ye should be saving any luck ye have if ye want to get into the nurses drawers.

  AIDAN. G'way outta that with your talk.

  Mary enters.

  Paddy gathers the cards back and tries to hide them from Mary.

  MARY. (To Paddy) The trickster inside ye at work again? How'd ye get them back?

  PADDY. I have my ways, missus. God not tellin' ye everything?

  MARY. Ye are a revolting little creature. Such time could be spent finding the button thief, do you not think so Patrick?

  PADDY. Wasting me time finding a button thief when people are sick with the fever.

  MARY. 'Tis an order from Guardian Power. The shame of these young inmates running around in their nakedness.

  PADDY. Let them run free! 'Tis how God wanted it.

  MARY. What you think God wants has a lot to be desired. Back to work. Find the thief, bring back all the buttons for the seamstresses to sew.

  Paddy secretly pulls a face behind Mary and leaves.

  Mary takes a seat on a slab.

  MARY. Ye don't be listening to anything that man has to say, child. He spells bad news for this house.

  Aidan goes back to washing and whistling his tune.

  MARY. Cease that noise, boy! That new nurse is going to be the death of me. A whip of fire she has.

  AIDAN. She's tryin’ to beat the fever.

  MARY. I'll get the fever with this carry on. I’m sure to be headed for the idiot room. A curse has taken this house. The fever's worse since her arrival.

  AIDAN. I was after hearing Margaret Finney and Peter Doyle are getting better.

  MARY. Margaret Finney does nothing but complain. 'Twould be best for us all if she found her way out. Here, help my aching feet.

  Aidan goes to her, takes off her shoes and throws them with abandon.

  MARY. Careful with the shoes child!

  Aidan starts rubbing her feet.

  MARY. That's better. (Beat) Little madam that nurse is. I’ve a sense for these things. I've seen the way she's been looking at Guardian Power. All flirty eyes in her head and he a married man. One wouldn't question why she was sent here from the city workhouse.

  AIDAN. I don’t think Deirdre would…

  MARY. Nurse Jacob. Little whore, needs to be beat out of her.

  AIDAN. (Quietly) Can’t be true.

  MARY. There'll be no souls left by the time she's done with us.

  Beat.

  AIDAN. Do you think I will ever marry, Mary?

  MARY. (Laughing) Who would want ye? Ye do nothing but wash a floor and never wash yourself. I wouldn’t go thinking about it boy, 'twill turn your mind to filth. I love ye, and that's all ye need.

  AIDAN. (Stops rubbing her feet) I want to get married.

  MARY. (Stroking his face, sighing) My boy, no person will ever want you. Ye have nothing to give any woman. Only me. I’ve taken care of you for years and when I get older I want you to return that kindness.

  AIDAN. I want to make more of meself.

  MARY. Ye will be going nowhere with these intentions of starting a row.

  AIDAN. (Getting up) I have the intentions of leaving this house.

  MARY. The devil’s talk.

  AIDAN. Someone told me I should be working in the city.

  MARY. (Rising) Who?

  AIDAN. (He turns his back on her) Doesn’t need to be said.

  MARY. Deceitful little boy. God doesn’t allow secrets.

  AIDAN. There is a world out there for me.

  MARY. God created this world, for you.

  AIDAN. (Turning back to Mary) I think God wants me to…

  Mary slaps him, hard.

  MARY. (Angrily) Only I can tell you what God wants. These desires you have must be quenched with immediacy. I did not rear this child before me. (Beat, relaxes) The devil has gotten inside you. I must be a good mother and extract this demon.

  AIDAN. I…

  Mary raises her hand to strike a second time.

  Aidan cowers away.

  MARY. (Stroking his face) My dear boy. I love you. I always have. Do not betray me by loving another. This is the life chosen for you and you must not contest it.

  AIDAN. Yes, Mary.

  She clutches his chin, looking for a different response.

  AIDAN. Yes…mother…

  MARY. (She kisses his lips then shoves his face away) You are quite perfect. (Beat) This floor is unclean, get working.

  Mary picks up her shoes, sits on a slab and sniffs them before putting them on.

  She leaves.

  Aidan picks up the flower from the slab and twirls it in his fingers. He gradually begins to smile.

  Fade to black.

 

  ACT ONE

  SCENE TWO

  The chapel.

  Mary is kneeling before the altar, holding rosary beads.

  MARY. (Praying) Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil, Amen. Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven… (She stops) Dear Lord, I am feeling strange occurrences taking place under this roof. I do no
t ask much of You, Lord, but remember where I came from, remember what happened to me before I came into this house. Please remember Lord and allow some good to happen to this life You have given me. Perhaps I am asking too much and I will understand if my prayers go unanswered but listen to me, Lord, as I need You more than ever. My boy Aidan seems to be acting strangely. I must do Your bidding and make him well. I ask that You watch over him my Lord as he is a good boy. And You have made my life richer because of him. I pray that with Your blessing and with my teaching we can turn him into the man I always needed. Amen.

  She makes the sign of the cross and puts the rosary beads in her apron.

  Paddy enters, he is wearing the shoes Aidan was wearing in the previous scene.

  PADDY. Missus. I have entered the wrong room.

  He goes to leave.

  MARY. Patrick. (He stops) In the chapel and no sign of a mass going on. Strange things are happening here.

  PADDY. Ye are a twisted missus with your cryptic chatter.

  MARY. I am getting used to your wise-cracks and insults. Why are ye here?

  PADDY. I am missing something.

  MARY. Ye have misplaced a pouch.

  Beat.

  PADDY. What do ye know of pouches?

  MARY. I know I’ve seen one in a small hole on the second floor hallway.

  PADDY. Ye’ve seen it?

  MARY. I have. And nothing more. God didn’t bless me with small hands to reach into small holes.

  PADDY. (Making an escape) Good day to you missus.

  MARY. Ye normally keep it strapped to your chest?

  PADDY. (Stops) How do you know that, missus?

  MARY. There is very little I do not know about the goings on in this house. I think a little reward is in order?

  Paddy approaches Mary, reaches into his coat and takes out a bottle of rum. He reluctantly hands it to her.

  MARY. Myself and the Lord are so tightly woven even He does not mind if I take a drop of this upon His floor.

  PADDY. A small drop now.

  Mary takes a small sip but then glugs several times until Paddy snatches the bottle away.

  PADDY. Christ, missus.

  MARY. Vulgar to be taking the Lords name in vain. I’ve seen the way you tackle the
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