Act III, Scene 1
(In the kitchen. Early evening. TISH scrubs a counter. MARY and LEA enter stage right.
MARY: I’m glad Hector said you could stay. With this banquet coming up—well, I should have a score of helpers not just you and Tish.
(Motions to Tish) Tish, come meet our new baker. What was your name, dear? LeAnn? Linza?
LEA: Tis Lea, Ma’am.
MARY: Yes, yes, Lea.
TISH: She’s going to be the new baker? I think I’m a mite stronger, Ma’am—and I get awfully tired of scrubbing pots. My folks would be so proud if…
MARY: But, Tish, you are such a good scullery maid! We couldn’t hold the kitchen together without you. (Side glance to Lea.)
TISH: (Sigh) I guess you’re right, Ma’am. Being a scullery maid is pretty important work—and that one is hardly strong enough to lift a pot.
MARY: Call her Lea, Tish. And you may have her help you wash the vegetables before you show her around.
TISH: Yes, Ma’am.
(As MARY speaks and departs, LEA watches as TISH gets a bucket of water, pours water in basin, puts potatoes, carrots, turnips, etc. on the counter. LEA hands vegetables one by one to TISH; TISH scrubs.)
MARY: I just wish we’d get some word from Young Master—he’s never stayed away this long. Sir George is so nervous he’s driving me crazy. And the ball is just two days away. (Exits, stage right.)
TISH: (Indicates a counter to the right) That dough is done with first rising and ready to be put into the pans and placed on the warming shelves.
LEA: (Heaps all dough into one pan). Are you sure this is bread? It’s so heavy. Where do I take it?
TISH: Oh, no! The dough can’t all go into one pan! Split it between the four. (LEA stares. TISH divides dough.)
LEA: But the pans aren’t half full. What kind of bread will that be?
TISH: (Giggling) You’re joshing with me, aren’t you? I know I’m not too bright. Mother’s told me plenty of times—and Mary twice that. (Picks up all four pans.)
The warming shelf is on the back side of this oven..(Disappears behind barrior.
LEA: I pray Tish doesn’t get bright enough to see she’s doing my work.
TISH: (Reappears. Starts cutting vegetables.) Have you ever seen rich folk, Lea? Up close, I mean. We’re going to have a real ball! Folks’ll start arriving tomorrow. I know a place where we can peek down and not be seen. You’ll laugh at how those fancy folk act. And the jewels—you wouldn’t believe the jewels. Why…
LEA: I’ve seen fancy folk oft enough.
TISH: Really? Can you imagine how wonderful it would be to have just one dress like that? Such colors. And rings—one lady has a ring for every finger.
LEA: (Aside.) So Markus will be here tomorrow. And Ulrich…and Gunda. I would rather face winter snows than have them see me now.
And where’s Lanzo. Did he know about this? I vow he’s somewhere laughing at me. That, that….rotten excuse for a human being.