Salvation, p.6

Salvation, page 6

 

Salvation
 


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nothing to be ashamed of.

  Deirdre goes to Aidan and puts an arm around him.

  PADDY. (Slapping his own face) Wake up Paddy! Wake up now! (Aidan stops him) Ye two think you can go skipping off into the sunset hand in hand? Ye think all will be well for the pair of ye? How foolish can ye be?

  DEIRDRE. How foolish is it to strap little pouches to your chest?

  Pause.

  PADDY. I have to say two things. The first, be very careful. I caught ye, what if I'd been Mary or Guardian Power? And second, get some clothes on. (They start to get dressed) If ye two are going to need a hiding place I might know of one, not too far away.

  AIDAN. Without risk?

  PADDY. There is a barn on the south side of the field over. Beyond the pit. It'll be cold but I'm sure ye’r unyieldin’ passion for each other (Gags) will keep ye warm.

  They are dressed.

  DEIRDRE. I have to get to work.

  She kisses Aidan on the cheek and exits.

  PADDY. (Tutting, sarcastically) Shame. Shame. Shame.

  AIDAN. What is this pouch she speaks of?

  PADDY. These women talk in riddles most of the time. She has ye riddled up anyhow.

  Aidan smiles.

  Mary enters, with bucket of water and rag.

  MARY. (Slapping the bucket into Aidan's hands) I found these in the chapel.

  Pause. The men look at Mary.

  MARY. Work!

  Paddy leaves, pulling a face at Mary.

  MARY. I have not seen the nurse this morning.

  AIDAN. She may be in the fever shed.

  MARY. I have looked. Nowhere to be found. You look a little red-faced today.

  AIDAN. My sleep was uneasy.

  MARY. Your duties are important and you must be strong to… (Mary notices the untidy slab) What's this? (Pause) This slab wasn’t like that when I left last night.

  AIDAN. I was going to wash…

  Mary gets to her knees and feels the slab.

  MARY. Has somebody slept here?

  AIDAN. No!

  MARY. (Feeling the slab, possibly finding a hair) They have! (Beat) Bet it was that little whore of a nurse. Lying among the dead for a night of wickedness with Guardian Power. (Pause) Let it be our little secret, Aidan. I've seen them together. Kisses on the cheek, touching hands. Oh, poor Mrs. Power. No wife deserves a husband like that.

  AIDAN. That isn’t true. Deirdre…

  MARY. Nurse Jacob…I've seen the way she prances around. Your comrade Paddy was telling me she wanted to see his chest. (Going to the body of Margaret Finney) I’m also hearing stories that she is at fault for the death of Margaret Finney. Her eyes on Guardian Power, not on her patients.

  AIDAN. The fever can take anyone, at anytime.

  MARY. Margaret Finney was dancing a merry jig of delight when she found out she would live. All she needed was a little water every hour and Nurse Jacob was nowhere to be found. (Pause) Something seems to be bothering you child, pray, tell me?

  AIDAN. Nothing troubles me.

  MARY. Perhaps we should go to the chapel and pray. To rid what vexes you.

  AIDAN. Nothing vexes me, woman.

  MARY. ‘Woman’? Why are you talking in this manner toward your own mother?

  AIDAN. You are not my mother!

  MARY. (Beat) You have changed. As has your manner. Not me. I continue to tell ye the truth and take care of you. Nurse Jacob and Guardian Power know each other. People have told me the reason she left the workhouses in England and the city. Was due to her ungodly friendships with her patients.

  AIDAN. Where's the proof?

  MARY. What good reason do you have to stop believing in me? After all I have taught you and all we have shared together you have made the decision to turn your back on me? So be it. But be warned, my eyes have seen many things. And one of those things is how young women believe they will get more for themselves if they become close to those in real power. (Clutching his chin) Mark my word, Nurse Jacob is a curse. I truly believe that once she has gone our good work will resume and the devil will leave.

  Mary lets go of his chin and leaves.

  Switch to:- Chapel.

  Deirdre is kneeling, praying.

  DEIRDRE. My Lord, I have sinned and You may not wish to listen to me now. I have acted on the feelings You gave me. I must thank You for the love You have given to me. I am forever in Your debt. I am filled with energy and I am filled with love. Aidan and I will spend our lives together under Your guidance and grace.

  Paddy enters, breathless.

  PADDY. Finally. Found you. Don’t fool around with me, woman.

  DEIRDRE. (Rising) Paddy?

  PADDY. You know about the pouch.

  DEIRDRE. Yes…

  PADDY. Ye have no business knowing the contents of that pouch.

  DEIRDRE. It's money…

  He grabs her throat.

  PADDY. Don't you be using that knowledge to blacken my name.

  DEIRDRE. Let…let go of me!

  She wriggles out of his grasp, breathless.

  PADDY. Your word, woman, you're keeping that to yourself. (Pause) That pouch is more important to me than my friendship with Aidan. If word gets out I'll be straight to Guardian Power about the two of ye.

  DEIRDRE. Guardian Power can rot in…

  PADDY. Ye’ve been warned. Can ye be trusted?

  DEIRDRE. I can.

  Pause.

  PADDY. Too many people know about the pouch, I have to find a new place for it. You don’t go looking for it now, y'hear me?

  DEIRDRE. If you let go of that pouch someone else is bound to find it.

  She leaves.

  Paddy drinks from his bottle.

  Switch to:- Mortuary.

  Aidan is sitting on a slab.

  Deirdre rushes in.

  AIDAN. Is it true?

  DEIRDRE. (Sitting next to him) Oh, Aidan. It's been awful.

  AIDAN. (Snapping away from her) Is. It. True?

  DEIRDRE. Is what true?

  AIDAN. You and Guardian Power?

  DEIRDRE. How many more times must I…?

  AIDAN. Whore!

  DEIRDRE. What is happening to me today?

  AIDAN. We're meant to be in love.

  DEIRDRE. We are, we are! We must escape from here.

  AIDAN. Why did you leave the workhouse in the city? (She doesn’t respond) People have been talking.

  DEIRDRE. What people?

  AIDAN. The story is you were banished from the workhouse in the city.

  DEIRDRE. Banished?

  AIDAN. The same in England too, ye were gettin' close to all the inmates.

  Deirdre slaps him.

  Aidan coughs.

  DEIRDRE. You're coughing…

  AIDAN. The devil resides in you, woman. Why would ye want me? Ye have some mad adoration for those poorer than yourself?

  DEIRDRE. You are a deluded idiot.

  AIDAN. I am! I must be! For falling for a nurse. But what sort of a nurse? People are saying you are at fault for the death of Margaret Finney.

  DEIRDRE. Lots of people seem to be talking, tell me, Aidan, who is telling ye the truth?

  AIDAN. Ye were meant to give her water and ye didn’t. Now she’s dead. What sort of nurse are you? Coming in here and killing everyone? People are dying around us, (Grabbing her) get up and help them! (He coughs)

  DEIRDRE. You will calm yourself and then you will understand the truth.

  AIDAN. I cannot get you and Guardian Power out of here. (His head) We were a mistake.

  DEIRDRE. You cannot mean that.

  AIDAN. Get rid of this fever, then get out of my home!

  DEIRDRE. I am being so badly wronged.

  AIDAN. You betrayed me! I cannot tolerate the sight of ye!

  He coughs and storms out.

  Deirdre sits on a slab.

  Long Pause.

  Switch to:- Chapel.

  Paddy and Mary are here.

  Paddy unties the rope from his waist.


  He passes it to Mary when Aidan enters, they look at him.

  He approaches them and places a fist around the rope.

  All three are now holding the rope, looking at each other.

  Blackout.

  INTERVAL

 

  ACT TWO

  SCENE ONE

  Same image as at the end of the prologue.

  The body of Margaret Finney has been removed.

  Aidan is bent over the slab where Deirdre is lying. Mary is standing at the head of the slab.

  MARY. Our Lord works and moves in mysterious ways. You settle on this: nobody knows His plans but He has His reasons for all the ways of the earth. Keep your faith child, and love God.

  AIDAN. I am unable.

  MARY. This is unlike you, Aidan. A child I brought up to trust and believe in God.

  He coughs, violently.

  MARY. You are unwell!

  AIDAN. (Getting up) It's cold. It's winter.

  MARY. You are sick because you are turning your back on God.

  He coughs.

  MARY. If you pray for all the condemned souls in this house you will be well again and you will be saved.

  AIDAN. (In her face) You and your nonsense.

  MARY. (Backing away from him) My boy, you are forgetting yourself. Forgetting who it was that helped you get in here.

  AIDAN. I never asked for help.

  Mary goes to slap him, he grabs her hand and stops her.

  AIDAN. My parents. Where are they?

  Pause.

  AIDAN. Something happened to them.

  MARY. You know of this. You cried for them the first days you were here but after you learnt to give your life to the Lord you knew you would be saved without them.

  AIDAN. I have heard different.

  MARY. From who? Who keeps telling you these stories?

  Aidan looks at Deirdre.

  MARY. Lies, child. She was trying to be friendly with you as she was friendly with inmates in the city workhouse.

  AIDAN. Lies or not, what she knew could be very important to me.

  MARY. Why? Why are your parents suddenly so important to you?

  AIDAN. Because right now I'm feeling a way I've never felt before: trapped.

  MARY. This is your home!

  AIDAN. No. No it isn’t anymore. There is a world out there, Deirdre told me so.

  MARY. Nurse Jacob was a travelled woman. To England, to the city, where is she now? Tell me, Aidan, where is she?

  AIDAN. Heaven.

  MARY.
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