Moscow Lodge on the Banks of the Thames
Terrace at back across stage. Steps down centre
Garden seats Right & Left. Hammock from trees Left.
Sand cloth and dead leaves. Shrubs etc.
Thomas discovered in hammock fanning himself with a palm leaf and humming a tune.
(Susan enters from left on terrace.)
Susan (Looking astonished.) Well I never did!
Thom Oh is that you, Susan?
Susan Yes, and it’s lucky for you it isn’t anybody else. That’s cool.
Thom It is delightful. (Fanning himself.)
Susan Wouldn’t you like one of the Count’s cigars to smoke?
Thom Not me – he smokes such big ones, but if you could just hand me one of Lord Ellerdale’s or Mr. Ravenhurst’s...
Susan Well, I daresay they’ll be here today, and then you can ask them to oblige you. Look out here’s master.
Thom (Alarmed.) Where?
Susan Ha, ha, ha.
Thom I wish you wouldn’t, Susan.
Susan Well come out of that hammock, it’s not intended for great fellows like you. That’s Miss Vera’s.
Thom Well I’m only a testing it for her, suppose it gave way. I have to look after her safety when she’s out a riding and why shouldn’t I when she’s at home?
Susan Well if master finds you in it… look out here he comes.
Thom (Rises quickly.) Where?
Susan Ha, ha, ha.
Thom Oh I wish you wouldn’t, Susan, you give me palpitation.
Susan Palpitation of what?
Thom Why the heart of course. (Susan laughs) Oh I’ve got one, Susan.
Susan A sheep’s heart?
Thom No, nor yet a lambs, but a man’s heart, Susan, or I shouldn’t be here now.
Susan Where, in that hammock?
Thom No, Susan, but at Moscow Lodge.
Susan Well what’s the matter with Moscow Lodge? Ain’t you satisfied with the place?
Thom Oh the place is right enough, wages pretty good and regularly paid. (Whisper.) But it’s what goes on in the place...
Susan Well what goes on in the place?
Thom I’ll tell you someday, Susan, but I’ll tell you this now, that if is wasn’t for the sake of Miss Vera and the love I have for you, I’d have left it long enough ago.
Susan Why what on earth is the man talking about? What harm is likely to come to Miss Vera?
Thom None if I can help it, nor to you either.
Susan Oh, I’m in no danger.
Thom I don’t know that, Susan – I don’t know that. It’s my firm belief that no one connected with this house is particularly safe.
Susan Well if I didn’t know you as well as I do, Thomas, I should say that you’d been drinking.
Thom Well never mind you’ll see soon enough.
Susan Well I ain’t seen much as yet.
Thom No. I tell you what it is, Susan, we’re living on a smouldering volcano.
Thom We’re on the very brink of an abyss.
Susan Oh, don’t frighten me, Thomas.
Thom Well look at Master…
Susan What’s wrong with him?
Thom The way he steals about the place you…
(Obanoff enters left on terrace.)
Thom think he’s in one place and you’ll find him in the other.
(He slowly descends steps.)
Susan Hush, Thomas, here he is.
Thom Don’t be stupid, Susan, I tell you it’s as plain as plain that he... (Sees Obanoff) Oh Lord! (Falls out of hammock)
Oban Well, Master Thomas, what is as plain as plain?
Thom Nothing, sir, nothing.
Oban What were you saying to Susan?
Thom I was telling her I did not think this hammock was very safe...
Oban For you, it is not. Do not enter it again.
Thom Very good, sir.
Oban And, Thomas, where is Miss Vera?
Thom In the grounds somewhere with Miss Delamere following the river.
Oban The river? Yes the river.
Oban I did not speak, tell the Count I wish to see him.
Thom The Count is coming, sir.
(Count enters on terrace from left.)
Oban You can leave us.
(Thomas bows and goes up on terrace and bows as the Count passes him.)
Oban That way, following the river. Curse the river that ever brought him here, and Mr. Thomas what did I hear? “A smouldering volcano.” What did he mean? What does he know? He cannot know of the smouldering fire of love which consumes me day and night. I must speak to the Count at once.
Count Good morning, Obanoff.
Oban Good morning, Count. (Hands on shoulders.) Your eyes look weary. Have you not slept?
Count I did not seek my couch till three.
Oban You were then at work?
Count Hard at work, Obanoff, hard at work.
Oban And how does it progress?
Count Progress? It is finished.
Oban My friend ’tis well and is the workman satisfied with the result?
Count You shall judge for yourself.
Oban Count, you are a genius. I am doubly glad. This will enable us to leave this hornet’s nest.
Count What can you mean, Obanoff? Someone suspects?
Oban More than one.