Act III, Scene 3
(In the kitchen with background music from the ballroom LEA holds a great pot still while TISH scrubs at it.)
TISH: (Stands, stretches back.) I know a spot where we can see everything, Lea. You have to come—you can’t imagine how marvellously bodies can dress until you’ve seen ball! I swear, there is one old lady with more jewelry than most people have fleas.
LEA: I’m just too tired, Tish.
TISH: Oh, I shouldn’t have kept you helping me. I’ve been…
LEA: A great help, Tish. You know that. And you can tell me all about the ball tomorrow.
TISH: Oh, that will be fun! I will tell you every detail!
LEA: Even what the entertainers look like.
TISH: The entertainers? Yeah. I can do that. (Wipes hands. Brushes at skirt.)
LEA: You have fun now…and leave me to my rest.
(TISH waves and skips off stage left. LEA pours herself a glass of light ale.)
LEA: (Takes sip. Sighs) Yes, Tish, I can trust you to tell me all about it—tomorrow and all the tomorrows to come. Such prattling. And now silence feels ill on my ears. All that talk—and not an ill word about anyone. You’d think all my mistakes were her fault.
(Peers stage left.) I wonder where Lanzo is tonight. I guess I could go back to Ritter Hall—I doubt Markus is so devoted to Karina now that they are wed. Maybe I wouldn’t have to listen to Barbara Allen more than three or four times a night. (Drinks deeply.)
MARKUS: (Appears in doorway, stage left, carrying a carpetbag.) Again, the ball is starting and you’re not ready.
LEA: (Starts, then recovers) I’m not going to the ball.
MARKUS: (Laughs) We’ve had this argument before.
LEA: You want everyone to laugh at my homespun and my brown skin.
MARKUS: (Indicates bag) Oh, I’ve brought some gowns. And what I want is for you to tell everyone that you’ve had a wonderful time but I’ve begged you to come back to Ritter Hall.
LEA: Even Karina?
MARKUS: Karina worries about you just as I do.
LEA: I bet.
MARKUS: And Ulrich has asked about you.
LEA: He has?
MARKUS: As soon as he heard I was offering twenty-five cows..
LEA: He and Gunda aren’t married?
MARKUS: It’s very off again, on again.
LEA: But he was willing to throw me aside for one cow.
MARKUS: Well, you could let me introduce you to Stefan.
LEA: (Grins) I could dance with Stefan. Wouldn’t that show Lanzo? (MARKUS stares at her.) Well, he’s left me here to work in this kitchen. I don’t even know where he is.
MARKUS: (Laughs) Don’t even think of Lanzo. Just get ready for the ball.
LEA: You’ll allow me two songs to get dressed in?
MARKUS: Two songs.
(MARKUS exits. LEA pulls a gown from the bag and hugs it to her.)
LEA: (Patter song)
Oh, I’ll return to Ritter House
And laugh with my friends once more.
I’ll return to Ritter House
And leave Lanzo at the door.
Or I could be lady of Blackberry
With servants to do as I say.
I could be lady of Blackberry
And let Lanzo go his way.
Or I could become a duchess,
With a high and jeweled seat
An abundantly wealthy duchess
With minstrels at my feet.