The Flight of the White Eagles: Act 2, Scenes 5-6

SCENE 5: Woods

A French soldier, Corentin, is boiling potatoes – enter Bourgogne to one side – Corentin plunges a knife in the pot, pulls out a potato, pinches it to see if it is boiled, then places it back in the pot

Corentin
Another few minutes, my true beauties
Of dining with you all I’ve dreamt enough
Tonight I shall taste in celebration
Your famous flavors awaltz on warm tongue

Bourgogne begins to secretly circiut Corentin – all at once Bourgogne runs at Corentin – brushwood crackles alerting Corentin, who stands up

Bourgogne
Filial warrior, you must either sell
Or give me some potatoes, & if not
By sheer force I shall carry off the lot

Corentin
But, sir, this pot does not belong to me
It is my master’s, of general’s rank,
Who camps close by & orders me to hide
Inside these woods to secretly attend
The soft succilising of these earth-fruits
To feed us both tomorrow

Bourgogne
Take these coins

Bourgogne begins to take pototaes from the pot

Corentin
But sergeant, they are not yet boiled enough

Bourgogne
You try & fool me

Corentin
Sir, pinch one & see

Bourgogne
It is boiled enough
(devouring the potatoes – through chewing he says…}
You got any salt?

Corentin
No sir, the last of that went yesterday
Yet so, these lack all fitness for eating
If undercook’d beckon styptic sickness

Bourgogne
I have had far worse in the inns of Conde
I’m taking half, & if you dare object
I shall take the whole, do you understand

Corentin nods

Corentin
Take seven

Bourgogne
You already have ten francs
& here’s another five

Corentin
What is money
These fifteen francs in one week shall provide
For just one rotten potato, I’m sure,
But – one, two, three, four, five, six & seven

Bourgogne
The gratitude of all the saints on you
I’ll not be forgetting your charity
Or name…

Corentin
I am Corentin

Bourgogne
Adrien
Fair blessings with you on this eaglesflight

Corentin
& you sir

Bourgogne begins to leave

Corentin
Sergent, sergent, do come back

Bourgogne
What is it

Corentin
Take two more for your comrades

Bourgogne
Thank you & keep your musket free of ice

Exit Bourgogne

 


SCENE 6: The Guard’s camp

Bourgogne returns

Foucart
Sergent – how did you fare, well?

Legrand
Yes tell us,
If you are able to add anything
Other than horse meat to this brewing stew

Bourgogne
Alas, no

The soldiers turn their backs on him & bang their musket butts on the ground

Dubois
At least you tried, here’s you share

Bourgogne takes a bowl of stew & starts to wolf it down in one

Dubois
Another wolf

Bourgogne
What is wrong with Boquet

Dubois
From him fear flows this night, from others too
These are rare hours of tragedies combin’d

Graingier
With all hell’s powers issued loose it seems
Aslant the icy shelves of Cocytus
Wind’s razorblade slicing my marrow’d bones,
Sealing eyelids, sticking fingers to guns

Bourgogne
I’ll bless the Lord God for my coat & cape

Bourgogne hollows out a bed from the snow / enter soldiers wearing great white cloaks & the young Prince Emile of Hesse-Cassel / his adjutant addresses the Gaurds

Adjutant
Men, this is Prince Emile of Hesse-Cassel
He shall be sleeping near your fire tonight

There is indifference from the Gaurds – the soldiers of the prince surround him to form a human shelter – meanwhile Bourgogne gets a sneaky potatoe out & eats it quietly – the night comes on – occasionally Bourgogne wakes & checks his potatoes by counting them – in the predawn Bourgogne wakes up & sits on his napsack – he bayonets a hole in his bear skin so its head falls on his chest – he puts his own head through the hole & settles down – there is a scream from Stephanie

Stephanie
My baby, my son, as stiff as a board

The company wake up, but Boquet is dead

Stephanie
My son, my baby son

Dubois
Plesase stephanie
Give him to me

Stephanie
No

Dubois
Please, give him to me
It is sadness beyond all sadnessess
When mothers lose a child, but in this case
Its best for both the baby & yourself

Stephanie
It is best, to die

Dubois
Aye, and die today,
Before he dies the long death of hunger
Give him to me my girl

Stephanie
No

Dubois
You must do it
Leboude, here, & Legrand, will bury him

Stephanie
Then let me gaze one last time on his face
& conjure all the birthdays of his youth
Of how he looked his first day at the schools
Goodbye my little prince
{she kisses the baby, then hands him sadly to Dubois}
Bury him deep
Beneath the scent of wolves

Dubois
Do as she says

Leboude & Legrand go to dig a grave / Leboude digs the earth while Legrand holds the baby – Dubois comfoirts stephanie / Prince Emile steps out from his human shelter, half of whom are dead

Adjutant
Your majesty, how are you, are you well

Prince Emile
I am, but these men, did they not survive

Adjutant
They gave their warmth to you so you might live

Prince Emile
Before we start I’d like to take coffee

Adjutant
Yes sir, look, we can use that nearby fire

Prince Emile
Let us go there at once

Adjutant
Yes sir, company
Follow your prince

Exit the Prince & his men, some half dead & stumbling – some remain to strip the clothes off the dead

Vachain
I thought we French had ended all of that
With the revolution, follow your prince
Where, to oblivion?

One of the Prince’s men approaches Boquet & starts to strip him

Foucart
Leave him alone

Soldier
But he is dead

Foucart
Dead!
{the Soldier continues to strip Boquet}
You will leave off him
Unless you wish to join my friend’s long sleep
From the vicinity of the Guards
All thieves like yours are served with expulsion

Exit the the rest of the Prince’s men

Foucart
Boquet is frozen hard
He does not speak, nor move, nor whisp of breath
Is seen or heard,

Vachain
Then bury his honour
Beside the child, let the warrior sleep,
Quartermaster,

Rossi
Sir

Vachain
Go & sprag Foucart
& I shall start the fire embers aglow,
A dragon’s blow will get the show started

Vachain blows on the fire & it starts / in secret Bourgogne tries to eat a potato but it is rock solid & his teeth slip

Graingier
Adrien, what hold you there… in your hand

Bourgogne
Oh… in the night hunger stabbed me awake
Predominating upon my patience
As soon as dawn made traces in the sky
I was compelled to search again the woods
& found potatoes I’m about to share

Graingier
Potatoes!

Bourgogne
Potatoes

Graingier
Real potatoes

There is a mad dash to Bourgogne – Legrand, Leboude & Graingier try & bite but the potatoes are too hard

Legrand
Let us soften these treasures in the flames

Rossi & Foucart arrive

Foucart
Are they potatoes

Leboude
Aye

Foucart
Where were they found

Leboude
Ask Bourgogne

Bourgogne
From the wood

Rossi
Which direction

Bourgogne
Follow my finger forwards through the pine

Exit Foucart & Rossi / The potatoes in the fire melt away

Legrand
Disastrous day, they melt away like ice

Graingier
Curse this land when even food is frozen
{puts a pan put on the fire}
But all’s not lost, remember yesterday
We bled a most unhappy horse & filled
This saucepan, when congealing in the flames
Wach one of us still breaks his fast this morn

Rossi & Foucart return

Rossi
The snow has covered every living thing
It is a futile prospect e’en to try

Graingier
Those potatoes were uselss anyway
Uneatable whether them hot or cold
At least we have the horse blood, it thaws well

A blare of trumpets

Bourgogne
What is that

Colonel Bodel
We must move, the emperor
Calls us

Graingier
Take a portion, lads, use your hands

All the gaurds dip hands in blood & take a bit – beards smeared with blood / exit all but Dubois & Stephanie at the grave / Boquet lies unburioed beside them

Dubois
We must go my child

Stephanie
I cannot leave mine

Dubois
What do you mean

Stephanie
I have not got the strength
Of soul, of mind, of body & of heart
To leave this place, you have been good to me
Now I shall be good to you, without me
You will will manage much easier, please go

Dubois
But you are delicate in daintihood
How could you survive cold & the Cossacks

Stephanie
I do not care, my mind cannot be moved
Those men are your family – he is mine

Stephanie turns her back & attends the grave – Dubois looks at her a moment then leaves

Posted on April 22, 2020, in Conchordia, White Eagles. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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