The Chieftain
 
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ACT 1

Dialogue

RITA:
Ah, dear! (Takes out her diary and pencil.) My diary was very commonplace up to now. "An English lady in Spain." Among the Ladrones. The lady and the Ladrones. This may be worth something when I return to England. When? They don't treat me badly considering. Situation unequalled in Europe. Beautiful view. Air magnificent. Open house - rather too open; lodging not exactly what one has been accustomed to. Living en pension; wine - ugh! - water scarce. Soap not provided by the hotel. I wonder when my friends will send for me! And my poor Vasquez! he'll be wretched. (Music.)

The SENTINEL reappears at back, waving his hat. RITA starts up.

RITA:
Oh! - if this should be -

The SENTINEL seeing her movement points gun at her; she stops.

RITA:
Young man, don't you know it's very rude to point!

Enter over rocks JOSÉ and SANCHO, JOSÉ first with pistol, then PEDRILLO, whom he twists roughly round and throws on to stage, then follows VASQUEZ disguised as shepherd, and behind him come SANCHO and a brigand, ESCATERO. SANCHO above and JOSÉ below whistle. It is answered without, and enter immediately INEZ, JUANITA, ZITELLA, NINA, and all the Ladrones.

INEZ: (sharply)
What's this? Our prisoner (looking at RITA) safe? Good! then (savagely) what is all this great cry (eyeing the goatherd and boy) - and about a little wool?

SANCHO:
The ransom for our female prisoner not being forthcoming -

JOSÉ:
The shortest way is to send for it.

SANCHO:
This boy has a swift mountain pony - close at hand.

RITA: (joyfully)
He will take a message. (Writes in her diary.)

INEZ:
Tell your friends to send the ransom within a couple of hours, or we return their Rita to them, by installments on account, a finger at a time. (to VASQUEZ) I'm coming to you: as a hostage for the boy we will retain his ancient parent.

RITA: (offering the note she has written):
This is my letter.

INEZ:
Add "P.S. -- No police need apply." On the first appearance of a patrol or soldier, you will be shot off-hand.

INEZ takes letter from RITA, hands it to PEDRILLO, then signs to a Ladrone.

INEZ:
Escatero! Lose no time! Away!

The Ladrone goes up and disappears. PEDRILLO follows him and remains at back as if watching ESCATERO below.

INEZ: (to VASQUEZ)
Tell me, gentle shepherd, have ye seen a stranger pass this way?

RITA listening anxiously.

VASQUEZ: (in feigned voice)
Your Majesty, I have. (movement) An Englishman, as I judge from his attire.

INEZ:
This may be our expected leader. Sancho, Jose, Pedro, Escatero, take up your positions. (To girl who is with the SENTINEL.) Nina, come away from Blazzo! Hand of Fate direct his steps and ours!


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Page created 26 October 2003