The Chieftain
 
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ACT 1

Dialogue

GRIGG:
Gone. Very much gone. And they've taken my camera. Afraid of being taken alive! Cowards! (Looking about.) I hope nobody heard me. I've read of fugitives "seeking an asylum" in the mountains. Judging from these two lunatics, there must be an asylum close at hand. More where they came from. I had better be careful how I speak to them. I must be guarded. (Brigands appear suddenly with guns.) Oh! I am guarded. Evidently a shooting party out. Ugly-looking dogs -- (seeing them levelling their guns at him) -- all pointers. Hope they won't make game of me. I shouldn't have even a chance of a run for my money. I feel like a mere cipher in front of these very awkward-looking figures. Gentlemen! -- I'll make a touching appeal. Gentlemen! -- No -- these figures are not to be touched. What on earth shall I do!

Enter R. VASQUEZ, brought in guarded by two Ladrones.

VASQUEZ:
Gentlemen, I'm unarmed, I give you my word I won't attempt to escape.

GRIGG:
Count Vasquez!

VASQUEZ:
Ah, my friend Grigg!

GRIGG:
I won't ask what brought you here. I see.

VASQUEZ:
I am a prisoner - so is Rita.

GRIGG:
What! Miss Rita!

VASQUEZ (lightly):
It's only a matter of business with our friends here. I've sent for our ransom -- 2,000 pesetas.

GRIGG: (reviving)
Good. But it's a lot of money.

VASQUEZ:
Liberty is a luxury. Besides, as the ransom is for two -

GRIGG: (pleased)
Of course.

VASQUEZ:
Rita and myself.

GRIGG: (disappointed)
. Eh! (reviving) But abroad, enough for two is plenty for three - at a restaurant.

VASQUEZ:
Ah! you won't get off on those terms with our Spanish Ladrones.

GRIGG:
Oh, the deuce!

Enter L.H. INEZ, attended, then at the same time RITA, guarded. BLAZZO carrying Shepherd's disguise accompanies INEZ.

INEZ:
Count Vasquez, you are our prisoner. We shall proceed with your case in due order.

BLAZZO retires. INEZ turns towards GRIGG.

INEZ:
Produce the stranger destined to be our Captain.

JOSÉ, SANCHO, PEDRO, BLAZZO:
Here!

ALL:
Here!

GRIGG:
I! Your Captain!

INEZ:
You are unanimously elected.

GRIGG:
I unanimously decline.

INEZ:
Decline! One! - (they all raise their carbines) - Two -

RITA kneels to INEZ.

GRIGG: (in abject terror)
I accept! (Falls into the arms of VASQUEZ.)

INEZ:
At once don the uniform of the Captain.

GRIGG: (objecting)
No, I'd really rather - (at a sign from INEZ) - I agree.

INEZ:
Conduct him to the dressing cave. He will find there everything that is fitting, or misfitting.

GRIGG: (obsequiously)
Thank you. (to the Brigands) Show me to the ready-made department and the toilet club.

The two Brigands stand R. and L. of cavern with carbines sloped towards GRIGG as he enters. PEDRO GOMEZ precedes as master of ceremonies, then JOSÉ ushering him in politely with pistol, then GRIGG, then last SANCHO following with knife and pistol. Exeunt into cave.

INEZ:
Count, business is business.

VASQUEZ:
Madam, you make it a pleasure.

INEZ:
You flatter me!

RITA:
Impossible!

INEZ:
You're very good. It's an unpleasant affair to speak of; but some time ago you and your men were in pursuit of my husband -

VASQUEZ:
The Chieftain, Ferdinand de Roxas. We never caught him.

INEZ:
Indeed! You knew his name.

RITA:
Every one is Compostello know that.

INEZ:
Indeed!

RITA:
He is a very handsome man. He sat to the principal photographers, and his portrait, with his name beneath, is all over the place.

VASQUEZ:
Among the professional beauties.

INEZ:
So like him!

VASQUEZ:
Very like him, no doubt - as a portrait. If on my return I have any news of him, I promise I will let you know, And now - have we your permission to take our departure?

Going up, stopped by PEDRO GOMEZ with the document in his hand, who enters under arch.

INEZ:
Not yet. The law of the Ladrones is peculiar. Nothing can now be done without the new Captain's permission. He comes!

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Page created 26 October 2003