Act II, Scene 4
(A village harvest festival. Early afternoon. VILLAGERS sell trinkets, haggle over prices, arm wrestle, wager. Children stop to watch the men. MARY is at a booth stage right. LANZO and LEA enter stage left. LANZO strums his guitar; LEA stops to look over the trinkets. LANZO continues walking to center stage.)
LANZO: Why did I listen to Markus? She’s too spoiled, he said. Show her how tough life can be. That will silence her tongue. Ha. Anything but.
I wanted to bring song and laughter into her life. Well, that I did. She can now insult not only her noble friends but all husbands, wives, rich people, minstrels, priests, paupers, mothers, idlers, weavers , bakers, and others—and sing it out so the whole world can hear.
And the sharper her tongue gets, the more the villagers love her.
(Rubs head. Looks out.) Markus, will you ever forgive me?
(LEA finishes haggling and walks to LANZO.)
LEA: That ridiculous reptile! Ten pence for a shawl—and the weaving loose.
I put a curse on him. His beard will fall out in three days.
I’ve had enough of this town.
LANZO: Well, I think I’ll put up for the winter here.
LEA: (Looks around) Here? Let’s find someplace with friendlier villagers.
LANZO: Those villagers love you when the nights are warm and the food plentiful, but when the winds howl? Not even you will lure them outdoors.
I will find work as a stable hand and you—better we send you back to Ritter Hall.
LEA: Ritter Hall? (Laughs.) Yeah. So I can spend weeks watching Markus fawn over Karina. I would rather fare in a hollow log.
LANZO: (Thinks) Well, if you were good with words…
LEA: If I were good with words? Are your ears carved of wood, man?
LANZO: You have a talent at insults—but this would take adeptness of an entirely different sort.
LANZO: See that woman? (Points right toward MARY.)
LEA: The big-bellied beldam?
LANZO: (Shakes head) No, I knew you couldn’t do it.
LEA: Do what?
LANZO: Get that portly matron to add you to her kitchen crew.
LEA: (Looks Head Cook up ad down) The food is good?
LANZO: (Nods) And you’ll have straw mat all to yourself. But you could never do it.
LEA: You have little faith. Watch. (Runs to MARY) Oh, Ma’m, Ma’m, the most terrible thing has happened. I don’t know what to do. You must help me.
MARY: Oh, my dear, you have partied too much. Get along home.
LEA: Oh, Ma’m, if only I could. That horrid man—he tried to kill my husband (cries into hands)…heaven only knows what he woud do if he caught me.
MARY: (Sympathetic) You poor child. You must go to your folks.
LEA: They live far to the north…and I am tired…and so hungry.
MARY: Come with me. I will see you get a meal.
LEA: But I couldn’t accept a handout, Ma’am. Just give me directions to the nearest estate that could use services such as an humble maiden like myself might perform.
MARY: Well, perhaps. Do you bake?
LEA: I vow you’ve never tasted muffins like the ones I can make.
MARY: Well, follow me, I do need a good baker.
(MARY turns. LEA follows.)
LEA: (Turns to look at LANZO) And you doubted my skill with words.
(MARY AND LEA exit stage right. Lights dim. Spotlight on LANZO.)
LANZO: I think it’s safe to say that no one has ever tasted muffins Lea has made. Poor Mary. I swear her soft heart has gotten her more than she ever bargained for. Now to get a message to Markus—and admit I’m a failure at taming the shrew.
(Stares in direction that Lea has gone) Such a spirit that one has. A man could love her—tongue and all.
“Thou couldst desire no early thing
But I would bring it readily,
With music still to play and sing;
If though couldst only love me.
“Greensleeves was all my joy,
Greensleeves was my delight,
Greensleeves was my heart of gold,
And who but my lady Greensleeves.”
Tis over—and time to face my father.
(DEPARTS left. Spot dims.)