One for the Money, Two for the Show

Act III, Scene 2

(Kitchen with outside area to the right.  Next morning.  LEA stirs a bowl of flour.  Then dumps spoonfuls of flour on a flat sheet.  Clouds of flour rise.  TISH enters kitchen and watches.  LEA sneezes and the flour spreads.)

LEA:  Oh, drats.  Just when the biscuits were looking good.  (Tries to shape flour back into piles.)

TISH: You have never made biscuits before.

LEA:  Of course, I have.  Haven’t you seen light biscuits before?  These are almost ready for the oven.

TISH:  No.  (Hesitates)  Maybe you forgot something?  Like the milk?

LEA:  Milk?

TISH:  A pitcher of milk.

LEA: That’s what I meant..the biscuits are ready…except for the milk.  Your chatter interrupted me; I usually get it right.

TISH:  Oh, let me get the milk and help you finish up.  (Grabs pitcher.  Pours a little.  Stirs.)  Maybe you can light the oven?

LEA:  The oven?

TISH:  Outside.  Against the pantry wall.

LEA:  I’ll do it. 

(LEA takes a candle and opens door near stage right front where LANZO sits on the ground.  He rises.)

LANZO:  Why this must be the new servant in the house.  The cocky, gypsy-like maiden whose beauty is surpassed only by the skill of her tongue?  A baker who wears flour in her hair to proclaim her trade?

(LEA gives him a hateful look.  Then weeps. Moves to wipe eyes.  LANZO grabs the candle.)

LANZO:  What’s this?  Tears?  Lea cries real tears?

LEA: Why are you so vile?  I’m a terrible baker.  I try but… 

LANZO: (Laughing) Isn’t that the game, Lea?  Catch another when his best isn’t good enough—and tell everyone.  (Lanzo wipes LEA’s face.)  Tell Karina she’s fat and Gunda, she’s old.

LEA:  If the biscuits aren’t right, I won’t get to be the baker, and I don’t get to be the baker I won’t be able to stay here this winter, and if I don’t here this winter, I….

LANZO: You will go back to Ritter House, apologize to Markus, have our marriage annulled, and look again at the dozen young men who would like your hand.  Is that such a bad fate?

LEA: (Stares sullenly) You have no idea. 

(TISH comes out, carrying two sheets of biscuits. Seeing her, LEA takes the candle and follows her off stage rear.)

LANZO:  Tears from Lea’s eyes.  Is it possible she’s learned something?

“Alas, my love it pains me so
To see you weep so pitifully,
But I do rejoice at the thought
That you do have a mortal heart.”

(LANZO moves off stage right while LEA and TISH reappear stage rear.)

TISH: Was that your husband? The man who was… (Looks around).

LEA: No….that was…my brother.  Yes, my brother.

(TISH holds door.  LEA enters kitchen.)

TISH:  He looked familiar.  Must be from around here.

LEA:  Sometimes.  He travels a lot. 

TISH: (Looks around) Well, a little wiping here and there and no one will know what a time we’ve had–you did look funny piling flour on the baking sheets.  I’m sorry, I talk too much.  I won’t mention it again.  (Begins wiping up flour.  Giggles).  My lord, girl, how did you grow up without ever making a biscuit?  (Serious.)  You must have been very hungry at times.

LEA: Tish, you’ve been….

(MARY enters carrying a basket of eggs.)

MARY:  I thought those butter-fingered imps would break every egg before I got them.  (Looks around.) Tish, this place is a mess?  What’s the matter with you?  You’re not here as a guest you know.

LEA:  Ma’am, Tish was….

TISH: I’m sorry, Ma’am  I got so busy talking to Lea while she worked, I plumb forgot.  She was showing me just the right amount of flour and salt and…

MARY: Well, Tish, I’m not worried about you learning to bake.  I’m worrying about you lollygagging around my kitchen. 

TISH: (Wipes at flour, then lifts mixing bowl) Did young master arrive?

MARY:  Yes, he did—not that it’s any concern of yours.   Would you believe, Lea, that this time last year this girl couldn’t tell young master from a common beggar?  That’s how much sense she has.

TISH:  Ma’am, he was all ragged and dusty…

MARY: (Laughing) So you had him drawing water and spltting wood—and then offered him the leavings from supper.

TISH:  Really, he looked like real people, all hot and dusty.

LEA:  It could happen to anyone.

MARY: (Laughing) To anyone without more brains than Tish, that is.  I, for one, can always recognize nobility.

LEA:  Really?

MARY:  (Wipes hands and takes a pitcher of milk)  You’ll be able to also once you’ve been around them as long as I have.

LEA: Yes, Ma’am. 

(LEA and TISH watch MARY depart stage right.)

LEA:  Tish,…

TISH:  I’ve taken so much teasing over that.  When Master Stefan heard, he waited by the well and told me that sometimes he walked months without anyone recognizing him.

LEA:  Young master’s name is Stefan?

TISH:  Oh, yes, you’ll see him tomorrow.  He is so nice.

LEA: I can’t do that, I just can’t.

TISH:  Oh, don’t you be scared Lea.  Noble folk can be awfully nice.  I think not having to work gives them more time to think of nice things to do and say, don’t you think?

LEA: One might think so, but…

TISH: Oh, the biscuits…. (Runs off stage right.)

(LEA follows.  Lights dim.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>