Charlie: Scenes 18-23

SCENE 18 – The Maclean’s Village

Morag is working – enter Angus & Eric

Morag! Morag!

Angus, thank God

The boy needs help

Dinnae worry Eric, ya safe home now

You should be proud of those wounds lad – as big as medals they are

Where’s David

Steady yerself lass – he’s doon amang the deid noo – he was brave – he burst through their lines like a stag, but never came out again – it was a slaughter – I found Eric on my way out a that madness – but this is no turn to grieve lass – your son needs your help

Come here lad, let me wash & dress you wounds – I’ve a little gibean left, that will help

Where’s Megan

She went looking for Fergus, have ya seen him

He was alive – but I dinnae fancy his chances much – I’ve never seen anything like it – there must have been, what, a thoosand dead clansman on that field – the Flower of the Highlands – & on the way to Inverness, at least three hundred more, cut down by those blasted dragoons doing the black work of the de’il himself – I saw some poor Macgregors herded into a bothy & burnt alive

Eric squeals in pain

Its good for you lad, if it hurts it means its working

I’ll leave the lad with you, I’m going back to war

What, back! To war! Are ya mad or something?

I’m nae mad, I’m maddened, I’ve got tae carry on fighting, what else – the army, what’s left of ’em, are meeting at Ruthven Barracks – we must keep the struggle up else all shall be lost – they’ll drive us off the land, you know, replace us with sheep and cattle, we must keep on fighting – there must be another 20,000 highland soldiers what wasnae at Culloden – we can still win, Morag

It disnae bode well Angus

Aye father – there was many a lowland Scot fighting for the English on the moor – & there’ll be plenty more where those turncoats came from

To think that the Stewarts are descended from The Bruce himself – what a mess the country’s got itself into, eh? – & that’s why I have tae carry on – Morag, look after the boy, & bide well my love

Exit Angus

Here laddie, how are you feeling

F++kin’ sore

Language, Eric – you’ll be well in no time – wait, what’s that – I hear voices… they’re English – aw – we’ve got ta hide ya lad – come here

Morage drags Eric to a hiding place / Enter Cumberland & soldiers A&B

Come here old hag – yes, you – if you tell me where any rebels are hiding your life will be spared

Their arent any Jacobites around here m’lord

Don’t take me a fool, we know Duncan was with the Prince – men, seach the village

Sir, look, a trail of blood

Follow it then, follow it

Soldier discovers Eric & drags him out

Well, well, what have we here – I warned you hag – kill them both

But I am a poor woman, & this laddie’s here wounded

That is of no consequence – he is a rebel & you are in league with him – in the name of justice King George you must both be put to death at once

No, dinnae!

Eric & Morag are shot in the heads

My boots – I have blood on my boots – next time take them into the woods or something

Soldier A
Sorry sir

No matter, good work, carry on the search then burn down the village

SCENE 19 – Ruthven Barracks

 – the surviving highlanders are gathering

O what a sight, oor brave unbroken clans
Three thousand claymores gathered ever proud
Far more than fought thro Killicrankie’s cloud
Or slaughter’d Johnnie cope at Prestonpans
Enough to battle through the coming days
Up in the hills where England fears to tread
Discovering all their unburied dead
By empty coats & bleached bones on the braes
For while we Highlanders together stand,
No conqueror these mountains can command!

Enter D’Eguiles

Attention! You brave soldiers of Scotland
I have a solemn message in my hand
Recently scrivven by the Prince of Wales –
“Alas! Our fate sea-shock’d by fortune’s gales
& I must sail to fight the war from France
& to en end has come this tragic dance
& to each man that here I leave behind
Pray do thy best by thee & thine own kind
God bless my brave, brave warriors, god bless,
Tho bravest bloom’d the heart our fate fared less! “

Och – let him go, he was no man of arms
His frilly shirt could not defend oor farms
His pampered breast no match for highland brawn
Men like Angus Maclean the better born
A man that I have kenn’d as my own son
With him alive the war can still be won
Tho’ sixty his claymore again survives
As it has done nigh twenty times before
So let us cry aboot our bonnie land
As one clan let we noble clansmen stand

This is the volley of desperation
For the folly of a generation
Was at Culloden ever put to bed
What use a lethal asp without its head
What use a sword without an arm to draw
Without a cry of charge what use a roar
The catalyst of all oor unity
Returning to his distant Italy
Defending hame & family & clan
Now each must do the best that each man can

Gan, gan all of ye, gan back to your hames –
I kill’d at Killiecrankie for King James
At Sherrifmuir I slew a dozen men
At Prestonpans a dozen more ye ken
At Falkirk my count was upp’d to twenty
& at Culloden Moor I fell’d plenty
But what good has it done, I lost a son
& lucky here, for I lost only one
& tho I’ll always be a Jacobite,
Now only in my field-songs I shall fight

Exit the Highland army singing On the Sweet Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond

Alas that once impassion’d host
Left to the hanging tree
Now I must search the rocky coast
To join the prince’s ailing ghost
In pale solemnity


SCENE 20 – South Uist

Flora MacDonald is washing & singing with her Irish maid Betty


Life, life, O what could it mean
Youre born & you die & ya stuffd inbetween
Whether dancing in Sanqaur sailing in Nairn
I’ve been a proud Scots lass since I was a Bairn
But if this is Scotland, then where are the maidens
& the men so proud to be free
If this is Scotland Then where is the freedom Wallace promised too me

Life, life, O what could it mean
Youre born & you die & theres stuff inbetween
Whether doon in Ardrossan or up Ullapool
I’ve been a proud Scots lass since I was at school

But if this is Scotland, then show me Highlands
Not these crmbling city jungles in decline & if this is Scotland
Then where is the kingdom the Bruce told me was rightfully mine

Life, life, o what could it mean Youre born & you die & ya stuffd inbetween
Whether doon in wee Gretna or up Aberdeen
I’ll always be scottish & proud o the gene

Whether courting in Glasgie or married in Fife
I’ll be a proud Scots lass the whole of my
Life, life’s no rehearsal in dress Ya born & ya die & ya live more or less
Whether doon in Port Seton or up Inverness
I’ll be a proud Scots lass, good night & god bless

A knock on the door

Answer that Betty

Enter Lochiel & Charlie

I would like to see Mrs Macdonald

You’d better come in lads

Mrs MacDonald

Hello lads – & who might you be

My name is Lochiel

& your friend

My name is John

We have been travelling many days – we were told you may be… sympathetic… to a couple of weary travellers

Mrs Macdonald’s good nature is very famous through the Hebrides

Of course, gentlemen, we are all God’s children – take a seat – I have some porridge on the pot

That would be grand Mrs Macdonald

Please call me Flora – Betty, some porridge for the gentlemen

Here you go boys

Thank you

Your friend doesn’t say much

Thank you madame

Aha, a French man – if you don’t mind me saying we don’t get many foreigners up here at the edge of the universe  – in fact the only Foreigners round here in recent times, & they were French alright, were all caught up at Culloden – were you at Culloden young man

I was – but my name is not John – I am Charles Edward Stewart – son of James VIII, the rightful king of Scotland

My god! The prince! your highness

Bloody hell!

I am a proud Jacobite, sire – one day the Stuarts will return to the throne, mark my words

Long before that day we need to get the prince to Skye – a French ship is waiting for him there – can you help –

The Hebrides are crawling with redcoats – they patrol every inch of the coast

It’s going to be difficult – but hmmm… let me look at you your highness – quite tall – but I think with a spot of needlework we could make something fit – Betty, get me ome of your clothes – we are to dress the Prince up as you

You’ll have to stuff him up a little – but very well

The present situation makes me so angry – our rightful king forced to wear women’s clothing

Aye, theres full fifty folk & more have better claims & truer blood than that swine King George

You know there’s a £30 000 bounty on your head your highness – I’d never have to work again


I’m only jesting Mrs Macdonald

I appreciate a little humour – the past few months have been ones of constant nervous tension & & physical extremity

Betty gets a blouse & skirt

Here you are your highness

Thank you Betty

Thank you so much Flora – you are a wee angel in all this darkness

I’m only doing my duty sir – now your highness, lets take a look at ya – ah you don’t make a bad lass at all

This could well work

Well, we wont know til we try – Betty, go & tell Rabbie we’ll be taking his boat to Skye – but not a word about our guests

Right you are Mrs Macdonald

Exit Betty

Thank you once again Flora – my father will be sure to reward you very handsomely

Just seeing you face & hearing your pretty voice is all I need, your highness

SCENE 21 – South Uist, a quayside

Rabbie is readying his boat / two British soldiers are observing

Soldier A
How the hell did he we end up here Pete

Soldier B
Its beautiful tho, innit,

Soldier A
Beautiful – since when was freezing yer bollox off beautiful

Soldier B
But look at the mountains & the sea & all that – its much better than back home

Soldier A
At least there’s women in Bradford

Soldier B
Well, of a sort

Soldier A
There’s nothing up here but hags & sheep – wait a minute, I take that back, there’s a couple of fine beauties coming right now – well, actually I don’t like yours much

Enter Flora & Charlie

Soldier A
Alright girls, what you up to

I am Flora MacDonald & this is my maid Betty, we are travelling to Skye to see relations

Soldiers look them up & down

Your maid is one of the ugliest women I’ve ever seen

Do they not teach you dignity in England

Soldier A
I’m sorry miss – Pete apologise to the ladies

Soldier B
Sorry ma’am

Soldier A
Go on, on you go

This way girls

Flora & the Prince board Rabbie’s boat

Soldier A
We might as well go have a drink, eh – this one’s the only boat in the harbour – there’s nowt coming in

Soldier A
Good idea

Soldiers begin to leave

Soldier A
Wait a minute… ladies, we are on the lookout for the rebel & fugitive, Charles Edward Stewart – if you do so happen to see him we would be very much obliged if you could inform of us of ‘is whereabouts

Of course – you will be the first know

Soldier A
Good – right, happy sailing

Good god, that was close

Just keep calm

Right, that’s us

The boat slips from the harbour / Enter Betty singing


Speed bonnie boat like a bird on the wing
Onward the sailors cry.
Carry the lad that’s born to be king
Over the sea to Skye

Loud the wind howls
Loud the waves roar
Thunderclaps rend the air
Baffled our foes
Stand by the shore
Follow they will not dare

Speed bonnie boat like a bird on the wing
Onward the sailors cry.
Carry the lad that’s born to be king
Over the sea to Skye

Many’s the lad fought on that day
Well the claymore did wield
When the night came
Silently lain
Dead on Colloden field

Speed, bonnie boat, like a bird on the wing,
Onward! the sailors cry;
Carry the lad that’s born to be King
Over the sea to Skye.

Burned are their homes, exile and death
Scatter the loyal men;
Yet e’er the sword cool in the sheath
Charlie will come again.

Speed, bonnie boat, like a bird on the wing,
Onward! the sailors cry;
Carry the lad that’s born to be King
Over the sea to Skye.

SCENE 22 – Loch-nan-Uamh

20th September 1946 / The Bonnie Prince is ready to be picked up by a French ship / he waits by a loch with some locals & his followers – a boat comes into sight

Sir! look, a frigate – look, tis the L’Heureux
The flag o’ France there flapping mid the sail
By heaven’s grace the time has come tae go
Frae rock tae rock traversed the tangled trail
Ushering us to safety on these waves –
Nae more camping in the open weather
Nae more forest huts & nae more caves,
Nae more hiding in the purple heather,
Nae more eating cold oatmeal with sea-shell
Sir, did ye hear the splash, an anchor fell!

My friends, this is the end I do suppose
The end of all our dreams & this the end
Of those brave days, the end of all our woes
& all the glory that we did intend
I beg thee to be free from misery
Tho I more hardship willing to endure
If it would help you & my poor contree
I swear in Paris I shall find the cure
Forever in my heart are those that fell
Good luck my friends I bid thee all fare well…

Gid luck tae us! aye! that man has a nerve
The gaols are full of aw oor fighting men
They hae robbed us of aw oor native verve
Sae many butchers ride fae glen to glen
Scouring the contree wi’ bitter thunder
4Razing oor homes, raping oor ain lasses
& chorin cattle… laden wi’ plunder
They harry us frae peaks tae the passes
Oor pipes outlawed, weapons seized or hidden
& e’en the tartan whit’s bin forbidden!

Calm yersell man, we aw gave fer the cause
& ne’er pretty when men gan to the wars
A’ saw yer laughing back at Prestonpans
A’ saw yer dancing wi’ the other clans
Och! many chiefs have sacrificed their wealth
For yon young man, but still we toast his health
His white rose on oor hearts fore’er displayed
He jeopardis’d his life, through blood did wade,
To fight oor battles, aye! that man was brave!
I gan tae watch his boat frae Cluny’s cave…

Flora McDonald
Aye! there he goes, & well I hope he flies
His sleekit boat a lucky wind to win
Us common folk bless’d tae ha’ seen his eyes
Thir are few in this world that are akin
Altho he left the land worse than he found
& half oor lot be rotting on the Thames
The rest a petty word from bein’ bound
Only a bitter few his name condemns
For while the thistle grows upon the glen
He is a Bonnie Prince among all men

The Prince exchanges British life
For one of exiled royal
& tho’ his coming caused much strife
Both highland chief & farmer’s wife
Forever shall be loyal

SCENE 23 – A Highland Coastline

Enter Angus – he recites a poem

Mourn, hapless Caledonia, mourn
Thy banish’d peace, thy laurels torn!
Thy sons, for valour long renown’d,
Lie slaughter’d on their native ground;

Thy hospitable roofs no more
Invite the stranger to the door:—
In smoky ruins sunk they lie,
The monuments of cruelty.

Thy swains are famish’d on the rocks
Where once they fed their wanton flocks:
Thy ravish’d virgins shriek in vain;
Thy infants perish on the plain.

Thy towering spirit now is broke,
Thy neck is bended to the yoke:—
What foreign arms could never quell
By civil rage and rancour fell.

The rural pipe and merry lay
No more shall cheer the happy day;
No social scenes of gay delight
Beguile the dreary winter night;

No strains but those of sorrow flow,
And nought be heard but sounds of woe,—
While the pale phantoms of the slain
Glide nightly o’er the silent plain.

Yet, when the rage of battle ceased,
The victor’s soul was not appeased;—
The naked and forlorn must feel
Devouring flames and murdering steel!

The pious mother, doom’d to death,
Forsaken wanders o’er the heath:
The bleak wind whistles round her head,
Her helpless orphans cry for bread:

Bereft of shelter, food, and friend,
She views the shades of night descend;
And, stretch’d beneath the inclement skies,
Weeps o’er her tender babes, and dies.

And, spite of her insulting foe,
My sympathising verse shall flow.
Mourn, hapless Caledonia, mourn
Thy banish’d peace, thy laurels torn!

One by one the Highlanders, dead & alive, step out onto the stage


Come boat me over, come ferry me o’er
Come boat me over tae Charlie
Hear the call once but never again
To carry me over tae Charlie

We’ll over the water, We’ll over the sea,
We’ll over the water to Charlie!
Come weal, come woe, we’ll gather and go,
And live or die wi’ Charlie!

I swear by moon and stars sae bright
Sun that shines sae dearly
If I had twenty thousand lives
I’d lose them all for Charlie

We’ll over the water, We’ll over the sea,
We’ll over the water to Charlie!
Come weal, come woe, we’ll gather and go,
And live or die wi’ Charlie!

It’s well I lo’e me Charlie’s name
Tho some there be abhor him
But O tae see Auld Nick gaun hame
And Charlie’s face afore him

We’ll over the water, We’ll over the sea,
We’ll over the water to Charlie!
Come weal, come woe, we’ll gather and go,
And live or die wi’ Charlie!

We’ll over the water, We’ll over the sea,
We’ll over the water to Charlie!
Come weal, come woe, we’ll gather and go,
And live or die wi’ Charlie!



“Its worth a pop, right, to knock that Shakespeare
Off his feffin’ perch!”


Interview: Damian Beeson Bullen


Posted on January 27, 2020, in Charlie!, Conchordia. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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