|War and History Script posted June 14, 2015||Chapters:||...5 5 -6- 7...|
Anna is doing penance, but not Lady Loop
A chapter in the book The Kinsman
Anna and Pauline
Act One, Part Six
The Kinsman is an historical stage play of the American Revolution, set in 1779, in the village of Stillwater, New Jersey. We are in the Inn and home of a prosperous German miller, Casper Schaeffer. His young granddaughter has hidden a surprise for him in the storeroom.
This historical drama is based true events and actual people. The author has taken liberties with how events played out.
Casper Schaeffer has just returned from the Legislature, bearing the gift to his wife of an indentured servant girl he rescued. His spouse is not pleased and has gone across the meadow to her sisters. A wolf has been sighted in the area and young Anna thinks it was a dog she might keep as a pet. Isaac, her teenage uncle, is hunting it. They have just heard a gunshot.
Casper: What’s that? What’s going on?
Elizabeth: (Trying to comfort baby Alexander.) We forgot! It’s Isaac. . . . and the others. They’ve gone after a wolf. He’s taken your musket.
Casper: (Turns to look where the musket had hung.) Where did they go? When?
Anna: (Wails.) My dog!
Elizabeth: (Speaking to Casper.) Anna saw it across the river, and others had spotted it this morning . . . always near the village . . .
Casper: (Starting for the door.) Isaac should have waited for me. (He remembers his boots and hurriedly pulls them on. Isaac rushes up to the door, very excited.)
Isaac: I hit it! I hit it! I saw the blood.
Anna: (Crying loudly.) My dog! You let him kill my dog!
(Alexander continues to cry.)
Casper: (Hesitant to leave Elizabeth in the turmoil addresses Isaac, rather sternly)
You track him and I’ll follow. You did wrong to shoot if you could not kill. Go. Go.
(Isaac exits quickly.)
Anna: (Crying loudly now, she shouts at Elizabeth. She holds Alexander who is still crying.)
You told Uncle Isaac; you and Grandma told him where my dog was. You . . . you told Uncle Isaac to kill him . . .
Casper: (To Elizabeth, firmly.) Go with Alexander, I’ll take care of this.
(Elizabeth exits reluctantly, with Alexander in her arms. Casper grasps Anna firmly by the shoulders and speaks to her sternly.)
Anna, it is not your dog; do you understand?
(Still sobbing, she shakes her head “no.”)
It is a wolf, Anna. A Wolf. You have to understand. It is not a dog. (Pause.)
A wolf, Anna, when he stays in the forest, is a creature of God, just like all the other animals. But when he comes into our village, he is our enemy . . . and we must destroy him, if he doesn’t leave. And when he is hurt and cannot catch his food, he is doubly dangerous. Unfortunately, we must kill him, Anna. It is not what we want to do or even what we like to do, but something that we must do. It is our responsibility. Do you understand?
Anna: (Sniffing back the last of her tears) Y. . .y . . .yes. I think so, Grandpa.
Casper: (Releasing her shoulders.)Now, you were not very nice to your mother, were you?
Anna: Noooo, Grandpa.
Casper: And what would your father have done, if he had not been off fighting the war?
Anna: He’d . . . he’d . . . make me stand in the corner and be silent, Grandpa.
(Casper continues to stare at her, very sternly.)
Which corner, Grandpa?
Casper: (Pointing downstage, right.) Until your mother returns and you can tell her how sorry you are.
Anna: Yes, Grandpa.
(She moves to the corner edge of the stage, facing the audience, Lady Loop at her side. Casper exits. Anna stands alone on the stage for a few moments. Occasionally she sobs audibly.
At length Pauline enters, from offstage left. She is beautifully dressed in Catherine’s green silk dress. Her hair is up and well groomed, and looks every bit the beautiful lady.
Pauline moves with the grace of a lady as well. She enters the room, and not being able to see Anna in the shadows, begins to investigate her new surroundings, with the air of the lady of the house. She moves to each article in the room, the spinning wheel, the Bible, the fireplace, touching - looking.)
Pauline: (Talking aloud – pretending.) Isn’t our new home just lovely, John? Look at the view down the lane, and the apple orchard. Can’t you just picture the blossoms in the spring? I’m so glad we decided to come to America; it’s so beautiful here.
(Anna is startled by her voice, not having been aware of her presence earlier. She cautiously tries to turn her head enough to see, without turning around.)
When we first decided to leave England, I was so, so sad. But to see all this, all this lovely land, the beautiful hills and farms . . . I just know we’ll be so, so happy. This is such a lovely stone house and mill. Come, John, look . . .
(She moves to the fireplace, hand in hand, and tastes the stew simmering.)
Doesn’t this stew taste just wonderful?
(She offers a taste to her invisible friend.)
Our hired girl is such a good cook . . .
(She looks down at her dress.)
Oh, you like it? It’s just one of a trunk full I have. And Jewels, too. I’d have worn those as well, but thought I’d save them for company. You’re right, we should have a party. But who should we invite? Perhaps General Washington, if he can get away. He must be so busy.
(She sniffs back a tear and wipes her eyes with a sleeve,)
If only if all this were so . . .
Anna: (Holding her doll in view, behind her back.) My name is Lady Loop and I’d like to come to your party.
Pauline: (Gasps and shrinks behind the table, about to bolt for the door.) I’m . . . I’m sorry . . .
Anna: My name is Lady Loop. Do you pretend often?
Pauline: (Still afraid.) Yes . . . sometimes. (She pauses.) Do you?
Anna: Almost never. But the little girl who owns me pretends, lots of times.
Pauline: (Looking around but becoming braver.) What’s the little girl’s name?
Anna: Anna. But she’s misbehaved.
Pauline: And she must stand in the corner?
Anna: Yes. And she shan’t speak to anyone until she apologizes to her mother.
Pauline: Oh, I see.
Anna: What’s your name?
(She still hasn’t turned around.)
Pauline: Why . . .I guess it’s Pauline, now.
Anna: It wasn’t always that, was it?
Pauline: No. I was named that just today. But I think I shall keep it.
Anna: I haven’t been Lady Loop very long, either. What happened to your other name?
Pauline: I guess I left it behind, on the ship.
Anna: Did you sail very far?
Pauline: All the way from a place called France.
Anna: I sail a lot, too. Anna sails me on little boats, on her grandfather’s mill pond. Are you French?
Pauline: No. I’m English, but I lived in France for a time, so I could sail to America.
Anna: You must have wanted to come here very badly.
Pauline: Yes, I did.
Anna: Is John your pretend friend?
Pauline: (Embarrassed.)Yes. Would you like to meet him? He’s very handsome.
Anna: (Bowing Lady Loop.) I’m very pleased to meet you, sir. You’re very handsome. He doesn’t talk very much, does he?
Pauline: He talks to me a lot.
Anna: I talk often to Anna too.
Pauline: Sometimes John is the only one I have to talk to.
Anna: Are you slave?
Pauline: (Laughing at her lack of tact.) I guess I am, sort of.
Anna: Why? You’re not black?
Pauline: (She moves to center.) It’s difficult to explain. A man on the ship stole the papers I had that said I had paid for my passage. That meant the captain could sell me, as soon as we reached America, to pay for my fare.
Anna: That man wasn’t very nice, was he?
Pauline: (Close to tears.) No, he wasn’t. And now I’m what they call a bound girl, an indentured servant. For three years, your grandfather owns me; he can . . .
Anna: He’s not my grandfather, he’s Anna’s. But he’s a very nice man. Sometimes he seems like a mean old bear, but he isn’t really. He’s Anna’s friend . . . when she’s good.
Pauline: Do you think Anna could be my friend, too?
Anna: I’ll speak to her about you . . . and, I’ll be your friend.
Pauline: Thank you, Lady Loop. I’d like that.
Anna: Even if I didn’t like you, I would still be nice to you. You’re a kinsman of Anna’s mother. You’re English.
Pauline: You know some big words for such a small doll, don’t you?
Anna: I know all about kinsmen. They’re very special to each other.
Pauline: Yes. I guess you’re right.
Anna: That’s why I’m . . . I mean Anna’s so happy about her surprise.
Can you keep a secret? A real cross-your-heart secret?
Pauline: Oh, yes.
Anna: Remember, a secret is like a little present from someone you love. You can’t just throw it away by telling. John, too must keep the secret.
Pauline: John is very good at secrets.
Anna: Anna promised not to tell, so she can’t. I was there, too, but I didn’t have to promise. But you and John both have to.
Pauline: We promise . . . like a little present.
Anna: It happened this morning. Anna and I were playing in the woods, out in back of her uncle’s house. It was sunny and almost as warm as September. She was singing me a pretty song her grandma had taught her. It’s German and it’s for rocking babies to sleep and stuff. And then someone sang the song back to us, from down in a little hollow. Big squashy blueberries grow there in the summer time.
Pauline: Weren’t you frightened?
Anna: Anna was, a little bit. But I wasn’t. I talked her into finding out who was hiding in the birch trees.
Pauline: And who was it?
Anna: It was a soldier. A nice man. At first he spoke to us in German, but we couldn’t understand, so he spoke to us in English. His name is Peter, and he’s our friend, too.
Pauline: (Somewhat alarmed.) You didn’t know him? He wasn’t from the village?
Anna: Oh, no. And he dressed kind of funny. But he was very nice to Anna and me.
Pauline: And then he went away . . .?
Anna: Oh, no. He’s my surprise for Grandpa!
Anna: He wanted to know who taught me my song . . . I mean taught Anna, and we told him. He asked all kinds of questions about Grandpa. He wants to meet Grandfather . . . he said he was a kinsman!
Pauline: Oh, dear!
Anna: (Continuing.) But he wanted to surprise him. It was most important that he surprise him. He asked me where the most secret place was, where I hid, when I played games . . .
Pauline: (Becoming very serious, she moves closer.) Anna, there are some things you don’t understand . . .
Anna: (Frightened by Pauline’s change of voice.) Anna can’t talk . . .
(Pauline takes her shoulders, turning her around.)
Pauline: Not all kinsmen are . . . well, kinsmen. What I mean is, not all English are against the colonists.
Anna: I-I don’t understand.
Pauline: Like your mother and I, we’re English, but we’re not like the redcoats.
Anna: I-I know.
Pauline: I came here because I wanted some of the things you have, things I could never have in England. I had to give up my country . . . my kinsmen, just to come here, just to come to America.
Anna: But America made you a slave!
Pauline: America didn’t do that, Anna; just some very greedy men.
Anna: But now, some of your kinsmen may be your enemies?
Pauline: Yes, Anna. But it’s not just the English who are fighting America.
Anna: Are . . . are Germans fighting us?
Pauline: The British hired men to fight for them, men called Hessians. They are Germans, Anna.
Anna: And they’re our enemy?
Pauline: Yes, Anna.
Anna: (Sobbing.) Grandpa told me about enemies!
Pauline: (Still firmly.) Where did you hide him, Anna?
Anna: You promised! You promised not to tell!
Pauline: But you must tell me. We’re friends, remember Anna?
Anna: Promise you won’t tell Grandpa!
Pauline: Anna, there may be a danger, a very great danger.
Anna: Peter wouldn’t hurt anyone.
Pauline: Anna, you’ll have to trust me. I’ll try. I’ll really, really try to keep our secret.
(She pauses, but Anna is still uncertain.)
Where is he Anna, please?
Anna: In the root cellar. We went there, when no one else was about. It has a big heavy trap door and it’s dark and spooky and all full of turnips. But he said he didn’t mind.
Pauline: (More anxiously.) When was he to come out, Anna?
Anna: After Grandpa gets home. I was to tap three times, like a secret signal.
Pauline: And where is this root cellar? Is it in the barn?
Anna: No. It’s here.
(As she points to the storeroom door, it slowly begins to open, but not enough for the audience to be able to see inside.
Pauline, with her hands to her mouth, gasps a little scream as the lights dim, ending the first act.)
Anna Schaeffer, Age eight and a half, Granddaughter of Casper and Catherine Schaeffer.Pays one point and 2 member cents.
Catherine Schaeffer, Age fifty-six, wife of Casper Schaeffer.
Isaac Schaeffer, Age fifteen, Casper and Catherine's youngest son
Elizabeth Schaeffer, Age thirty-one, daughter-in-law of Casper and Catherine Schaeffer. She is the mother of Anna.
Pauline, About age twenty, an indentured servant girl.
Casper Schaeffer, Age sixty-six. He is a miller, farmer, legislator and patriarch of the family.
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