Transcription

TOM STOPPARDArcadiaACT ONESCENE ONEA room on the garden front of a very large country house in Derbyshire in April1809. Nowadays, the house would be called a stately home. The upstage wall ismainly tall, shapely, uncurtained windows, one or more of which work as doors.Nothing much need be said or seen of the exterior beyond. We come to learn thatthe house stands in the typical English park of the time. Perhaps we see anindication of this, perhaps only light and air and sky.The room looks bare despite the large table which occupies the centre of it. Thetable, the straight-backed chairs and, the only other item of furniture, the architectsstand or reading stand, would all be collectable pieces now but here, on anuncarpeted wood floor, they have no more pretension than a schoolroom, whi ch isindeed the main use of this room at this time. What elegance there is, isarchitectural, and nothing is impressive but the scale. There is a door in each of theside walls. These are closed, but one of the french windows is open to a bright butsunless morning.There are two people, each busy with books and paper and pen and ink, separatelyoccupied. The pupil is Thomasina Coverley, aged 13. The tutor is Septimus Hodge,aged 22. Each has an open book. Hers is a slim mathematics primer. His is ahandsome thick quarto, brand new, a vanity production, with little tapes to tie whenthe book is closed. His loose papers, etc, are kept in a stiff-backed portfolio whichalso ties up with tapes.Septimus has a tortoise which is sleepy enough to serve as a paperweight.Elsewhere on the table there is an old-fashioned theodolite and also some otherbooks stacked up.Thomasina: Septimus, what is carnal embrace?Septimus: Carnal embrace is the practice of throwing one's arms around a side ofbeef.Thomasina: Is that all?Septimus: No . a shoulder of mutton, a haunch of venison well hugged, anembrace of grouse . . . caro, carnis; feminine; flesh.

1Thomasina: Is it a sin?Septimus: Not necessarily, my lady, but when carnal embrace is sinful it is a sin ofthe flesh, QED. We had caro in our Gallic Wars - 'The Britons live on milk andmeat' - 'lacte et carne vivunt. I am sorry that the seed fell on stony ground.Thomasina: That was the sin of Onan, wasn't it, Septimus?Septimus: Yes. He was giving his brother's wife a Latin lesson and she was hardlythe wiser after it than before. I thought you were finding a proof for Fermat's lasttheorem.Thomasina: It is very difficult, Septimus. You will have to show me how.Septimus: If I knew how, there would be no need to ask you. Fermat's last theoremhas kept people busy for a hundred and fifty years, and I hoped it would keep youbusy long enough for me to read Mr Chater's poem in praise of love with only thedistraction of its own absurdities.Thomasina: Our Mr Chater has written a poem?Septimus: He believes he has written a poem, yes. I can see that there might bemore carnality in your algebra than in Mr Chater's 'Couch of Eros'.Thomasina: Oh, it was not my algebra. I heard Jellaby telling the cook that MrsChater was discovered in carnal embrace in the gazebo.Septimus: (Pause) Really? With whom, did Jellaby happen to say?Thomasina considers this with a puzzled frown.) What do you mean, with whom?Septimus: With what? Exactly so. The idea is absurd. Where did this story comefrom?Thomasina: Mr Noakes.Septimus: Mr Noakes!Thomasina: Papa's landskip gardener. He was taking bearings in the garden whenhe saw - through his spyglass - Mrs Chater in the gazebo in carnal embrace.Septimus: And do you mean to tell me that Mr Noakes told the butler?

Thomasina: No. Mr Noakes told Mr Chater .Jellaby was told by the groom, whooverheard Mr Noakes telling Mr Chater, in the stable yard.2Septimus: Mr Chater being engaged in closing the stable door.Thomasina: What do you mean, Septimus?Septimus: So, thus far, the only people who know about this are Mr Noakes thelandskip architect, the groom, the butler, the cook and, of course, Mrs Chater'shusband, the poet.Thomasina: And Arthur who was cleaning the silver, and the bootboy. And nowyou.Septimus: Of course. What else did he say?Thomasina: Mr Noakes?Septimus: No, not Mr Noakes. Jellaby. You heard Jellaby telling the cook.Thomasina: Cook hushed him almost as soon as he started. Jellaby did not see thatI was being allowed to finish yesterday's upstairs' rabbit pie before I came to mylesson. I think you have not been candid with me, Septimus. A gazebo is not, afterall,a meat larder.Septimus: I never said my definition was complete.Thomasina: Is carnal embrace kissing?Septimus: Yes.Thomasina: And throwing one's arms around Mrs Chater?Septimus: Yes. Now, Fermat's last theoremThomasina: I thought as much. I hope you are ashamed.Septimus: I, my lady?Thomasina: If you do not teach me the true meaning of things, who will?Septimus: Ah. Yes, I am ashamed. Carnal embrace is sexual congress, which is theinsertion of the male genital organ into the female genital organ for purposes ofprocreation and pleasure. Fermat's last theorem, by contrast, asserts that

when x,y and z are whole numbers each raised to power of n, the sum of the firsttwo can never equal the third when n is greater than 2. (Pause.)Thomasina: Eurghhh!Septimus: Nevertheless, that is the theorem.Thomasina: It is disGusting and incomprehensible. Now when I am grown topractise it myself I shall never do so without thinking of you.3Septimus: Thank you very much, my lady. Was Mrs Chater down this morning?Thomasina: No. Tell me more about sexual congress.Septimus: There is nothing more to be said about sexual congress.Thomasina: Is it the same as love?Septimus: Oh no, it is much nicer than that.(One of the side doors leads to the music room. It is the other side door which nowopens to admit Jellaby, the butler.)Septimus: I am teaching, Jellaby.Jellaby: Beg your pardon, Mr Hodge, Mr Chater said it was urgent you receive hisletter.Septimus: Oh, very well, (Septimus takes the letter.) Thank you. (And todismiss Jellaby.) Thank you.Jellaby: (Holding his ground) Mr Chater asked me to bring him your answer.Septimus: My answer? (He opens the letter. There is no envelope as such, but thereis a 'cover' which, folded and sealed, does the same service. Septimus tosses thecover negligently aside and reads.) Well, my answer is that as is my custom andmy duty to his lordship I am engaged until a quarter to twelve in the education ofhis daughter. When I am done, and if Mr Chater is still there, I will be happy towait upon him in - (he checks the letter) - in the gunroom.Jellaby: I will tell him so, thank you, sir.(Septimus folds the letter and places it between the pages of 'The Couch of Eros'.)

Thomasina: What is for dinner, Jellaby?Jellaby: Boiled ham and cabbages, my lady, and a rice pudding.Thomasina: Oh, goody. (Jellaby leaves.)Septimus: Well, so much for Mr Noakes. He puts himself forward as a gentleman, aphilosopher of the picturesque, a visionary who can move mountains and causelakes, but in the scheme of the garden he is as the serpent.Thomasina: When you stir your rice pudding, Septimus, the spoonful of jamspreads itself round making red trails like4the picture of a meteor in my astronomical atlas. But if you stir backward, the jamwill not come together again. Indeed, the pudding does not notice and continues toturn pink just as before. Do you think this is odd?Septimus: No.Thomasina: Well, I do. You cannot stir things apart.Septimus: No more you can, time must needs run backward, and since it will not,we must stir our way onward mixing as we go, disorder out of disorder intodisorder until pink is complete, unchanging and unchangeable, and we are donewith it for ever. This is known as free will or self-determination. (He picks up thetortoise and moves it a few inches as though it had strayed, on top of some loosepapers, and admonishes it.) Sit!Thomasina: Septimus, do you think God is a Newtonian?Septimus: An Etonian? Almost certainly, I'm afraid. We must ask your brother tomake it his first enquiry.Thomasina: No, Septimus, a Newtonian. Septimus! Am I the first person to havethought of this?Septimus: No.Thomasina: I have not said yet.Septimus: 'If everything from the furthest planet to the smallest atom of our brainacts according to Newton's law of motion, what becomes of free will?'Thomasina: No.

Septimus: God's will.Thomasina: No.Septimus: Sin.Thomasina: (Derisively) No!Septimus: Very well.Thomasina: If you could stop every atom in its position and direction, and if yourmind could comprehend all the actions thus suspended, then if you werereally, really good at algebra you could write the formula for all the future; andalthough nobody can be so clever as to do it, the formula must exist just as if onecould.Septimus: (Pause) Yes. (Pause.) Yes, as far as I know, you are5the first person to have thought of this. (Pause. With an effort.) In the margin of hiscopy of Arithmetical Fermat wrote that he had discovered a wonderful proof of histheorem but, the margin being too narrow for his purpose, did not have room towrite it down. The note was found after his death, and from that day to this Thomasina: Oh! I see now! The answer is perfectly obvious.Septimus: This time you may have overreached yourself. (The door is opened,somewhat violently. Chater enters.) Mr Chater! Perhaps my message miscarried. Iwill be at liberty at a quarter to twelve, if that is convenient.Chater: It is not convenient, sir. My business will not wait.Septimus: Then I suppose you have Lord Croom's opinion that your business ismore important than his daughter's lesson.Chater: I do not, but, if you like, I will ask his lordship to settle the point.Septimus: (Pause) My lady, take Fermat into the music room. There will be anextra spoonful of jam if you find his proof.Thomasina: There is no proof, Septimus. The thing that is perfectly obvious is thatthe note in the margin was a joke to make you all mad. (Thomasina leaves.)Septimus: Now, sir, what is this business that cannot wait?

Chater: I think you know it, sir. You have insulted my wife.Septimus: Insulted her? That would deny my nature, my conduct, and theadmiration in which I hold Mrs Chater.Chater: I have heard of your admiration, sir! You insulted my wife in the gazeboyesterday evening!Septimus: You are mistaken. I made love to your wife in the gazebo. She asked meto meet her there, I have her note somewhere, I dare say I could find it for you, andif someone is putting it about that I did not turn up, by God, sir, it is a slander.Chater: You damned lecher! You would drag down a lady's reputation to make arefuge for your cowardice. It will not do! I am calling you out!Septimus: Chater! Chater, Chater, Chater! My dear friend!Chater: You dare to call me that. I demand satisfaction!6Septimus: Mrs Chater demanded satisfaction and now you are demandingsatisfaction. I cannot spend my time day and night satisfying the demands of theChater family. As for your wife's reputation, it stands where it ever stood.Chater: You blackguard!Septimus: I assure you. Mrs Chater is charming and spirited, with a pleasing voiceand a dainty step, she is the epitome of all the qualities society applauds in her sex and yet her chief renown is for a readiness that keeps her in a state of tropicalhumidity as would grow orchids in her drawers in January.Chater: Damn you, Hodge, I will not listen to this! Will you fight or not?Septimus: (Definitively) Not! There are no more than two or three poets of the firstrank now living, and I will not shoot one of them dead over a perpendicular poke ina gazebo with a woman whose reputation could not be adequately defended with aplatoon of musketry deployed by rota.Chater: Ha! You say so! Who are the others? In your opinion? -no-no -! - this goesvery ill, Hodge. I will not be flattered out of my course. You say so, do you?Septimus: I do. And I would say the same to Milton were he not already dead. Notthe part about his wife, of course Chater: But among the living? Mr Southey?

Septimus: Southey I would have shot on sight.Chater: (Shaking his head sadly) Yes, he has fallen off. I admiredThalaba' quite, but 'Madoc', (he chuckles) oh dear me! - but we are straying fromthe business here - you took advantage of Mrs Chater, and if that were not badenough, it appears every stableboy and scullery maid on the strength Septimus: Damn me! Have you not listened to a word I said?Chater: I have heard you, sir, and I will not deny I welcome your regard, Godknows one is little appreciated if one stands outside the coterie of hacks andplacemen who surround Jeffrey and the Edinburgh Septimus: My dear Chater, they judge a poet by the seating plan of Lord Holland'stable!Chater: By heaven, you are right! And I would very much like to know the name ofthe scoundrel who slandered my verse7drama 'The Maid of Turkey' in the Piccadilly Recreation, too!Septimus: The Maid of Turkey'! I have it by my bedside! When I cannot sleep Itake up The Maid of Turkey' like an old friend!Chater: (Gratified) There you are! And the scoundrel wrote he would not give it tohis dog for dinner were it covered in bread sauce and stuffed with chestnuts. WhenMrs Chater read that, she wept, sir, and would not give herself to me for a fortnight- which recalls me to my purpose Septimus: The new poem, however, will make your name perpetual Chater: Whether it do or not Septimus: It is not a question, sir. No coterie can oppose the acclamation of thereading public. The Couch of Eros' will take the town.Chater: Is that your estimation?Septimus: It is my intent.Chater: Is it, is it? Well, well! I do not understand you.

Septimus: You see I have an early copy - sent to me for review. I say review, but Ispeak of an extensive appreciation of your gifts and your rightful place in Englishliterature.Chater: Well, I must say. That is certainly . . . You have written it?Septimus: (Crisply) Not yet.Chater: Ah. And how long does . . . ?Septimus: To be done right, it first requires a careful re-reading of your book, ofboth your books, several readings, together with outlying works for an exhibition ofdeference or disdain as the case merits. I make notes, of course, I order mythoughts, and finally, when all is ready and I am calm in my mind.Chater: (Shrewdly) Did Mrs Chater know of this before she -before you Septimus: I think she very likely did.Chater: (Triumphantly) There is nothing that woman would not do for me! Nowyou have an insight to her character. Yes, by God, she is a wife to me, sir!Septimus: For that alone, I would not make her a widow.8Chater: Captain Brice once made the same observation!Septimus: Captain Brice did?Chater: Mr Hodge, allow me to inscribe your copy in happy anticipation. LadyThomasina's pen will serve us.Septimus: Your connection with Lord and Lady Croom you owe to your fightingher ladyship's brother?Chater: No! It was all nonsense, sir - a canard! But a fortunate mistake, sir. Itbrought me the patronage of a Captain of His Majesty's Navy and the brother of acountess. I do not think Mr Walter Scott can say as much, and here I am, arespected guest at Sidley Park.Septimus: Well, sir, you can say you have received satisfaction. (Chater is alreadyinscribing the book, using the pen and ink-pot on the table. Noakes enters throughthe door used by Chater. He carries rolled-up plans, Chater, inscribing, ignoresNoakes. Noakes on seeing the occupants, panics.)

Noakes: Oh!Septimus: Ah, Mr Noakes! - my muddy-mettled rascal! Where's your spyglass?Noakes: I beg your leave -I thought her ladyship - excuse me -(He is beating anembarrassed retreat when he becomes rooted by Chater's voice. Chater reads hisinscription in ringing tones.)Chater: To my friend Septimus Hodge, who stood up and gave his best on behalf ofthe Author - Ezra Chater, at Sidley Park, Derbyshire, April ioth, 1809.' (Giving thebook to Septimus.) There, sir - something to show your grandchildren!Septimus: This is more than I deserve, this is handsome, what do you say, Noakes?(They are interrupted by the appearance, outside the windows, of Lady Croom andCaptain Edward Brice, rn. Her first words arrive through the open door.)Lady Croom: Oh, no! Not the gazebo!(She enters, followed by Brice, who carries a leatherbound sketch book.)Mr Noakes! What is this I hear?Brice: Not only the gazebo, but the boat-house, the Chinese bridge, the shrubbery 9Chater: By God, sir! Not possible!Brice: Mr Noakes will have it so.Septimus: Mr Noakes, this is monstrous!Lady Croom: I am glad to hear it from you, Mr Hodge.Thomasina: (Opening the door from the music room) May I return now?Septimus: (Attempting to close the door) Not just yet Lady Croom: Yes, let her stay. A lesson in folly is worth two in wisdom.(Brice takes the sketch book to the reading stand, where he lays it open. The sketchbook is the work of Mr. Noakes, who is obviously an admirer of Humphry Repton's'Red Books'. The pages, drawn in watercolours, show 'before' and 'after* views ofthe landscape, and the pages are cunningly cut to allow the latter to be

superimposed over portions of the former, though Repton did it the other wayround.)Brice: Is Sidley Park to be an Englishman's garden or the haunt of Corsicanbrigands?Septimus: Let us not hyperbolize, sir.Brice: It is rape, sir!Noakes: (Defending himself) It is the modern style.Chater: (Under the same misapprehension as Septimus) Regrettable, of course, butso it is. (Thomasina has gone to examine the sketch book.)Lady Croom: Mr Chater, you show too much submission. Mr Hodge, I appeal toyou.Septimus: Madam, I regret the gazebo, I sincerely regret the gazebo - and the boathouse up to a point - but the Chinese bridge, fantasy! - and the shrubbery I rejectwith contempt! Mr Chater! - would you take the word of a jumped-up jobbinggardener who sees carnal embrace in every nook and cranny of the landskip!Thomasina: Septimus, they are not speaking of carnal embrace, are you, Mama?Lady Croom: Certainly not. What do you know of carnal embrace?Thomasina: Everything, thanks to Septimus. In my opinion, Mr Noakes's schemefor the garden is perfect. It is a Salvator!Lady Croom: What does she mean?10Noakes: (Answering the wrong question) Salvator Rosa, your ladyship, the painter.He is indeed the very exemplar of the picturesque style.Brice: Hodge, what is this?Septimus: She speaks from innocence not from experience.Brice: You call it innocence? Has he ruined you, child? (Pause.)Septimus: Answer your uncle!Thomasina: (To Septimus.) How is a ruined child different from a ruined castle?

Septimus: On such questions I defer to Mr Noakes.Noakes: (Out of his depth) A ruined castle is picturesque, certainly.Septimus: That is the main difference. (To Brice) I teach the classical authors. If Ido not elucidate their meaning, who will?Brice: As her tutor you have a duty to keep her in ignorance.Lady Croom: Do not dabble in paradox, Edward, it puts you in danger of fortuitouswit. Thomasina, wait in your bedroom.Thomasina: (Retiring) Yes, mama. I did not intend to get you into trouble,Septimus. I am very sorry for it. It is plain that there are some things a girl isallowed to understand, and these include the whole of algebra, but there are others,such as embracing a side of beef, that must be kept from her until she is old enoughto have a carcass of her own.Lady Croom: One moment.Brice: What is she talking about?Lady Croom: Meat.Brice: Meat?Lady Croom: Thomasina, you had better remain. Your knowledge of thepicturesque obviously exceeds anything the rest of us can offer. Mr Hodge,ignorance should be like an empty vessel waiting to be filled at the well of truth not a cabinet of vulgar curios. Mr Noakes - now at last it is your turnNoakes: Thank you, your ladyship 11Lady Croom: Your drawing is a very wonderful transformation. I would not haverecognized my own garden but for your ingenious book - is it not? - look! Here isthe Park as it appears to us now, and here as it might be when Mr Noakes has donewith it. Where there is the familiar pastoral refinement of an Englishman's garden,here is an eruption of gloomy forest and towering crag, of ruins where there wasnever a house, of water dashing against rocks where there was neither spring nor astone I could not throw the length of a cricket pitch. My hyacinth dell is become ahaunt for hobgoblins, my Chinese bridge, which I am assured is superior to the oneat Kew, and for all I know at Peking, is usurped by a fallen obelisk overgrown withbriars -

Noakes: (Bleating) Lord Little has one very similarLady Croom: I cannot relieve Lord Little's misfortunes by adding to my own. Pray,what is this rustic hovel that presumes to superpose itself on my gazebo?Noakes: That is the hermitage, madam.Lady Croom: I am bewildered.Brice: It is all irregular, Mr Noakes.Noakes: It is, sir. Irregularity is one of the chiefest principles of the picturesquestyle Lady Croom: But Sidley Park is already a picture, and a most amiable picture too.The slopes are green and gentle. The trees are companionably grouped at intervalsthat show them to advantage. The rill is a serpentine ribbon unwound from the lakepeaceably contained by meadows on which the right amount of sheep are tastefullyarranged - in short, it is nature as God intended, and I can say with the painter, 'Etin Arcadia ego 'Here I am in Arcadia,' Thomasina.Thomasina: Yes, mama, if you would have it so.Lady Croom: Is she correcting my taste or my translation?Thomasina: Neither are beyond correction, mama, but it was your geographycaused the doubt.Lady Croom: Something has occurred with the girl since I saw her last, and surelythat was yesterday. How old are you this morning?Thomasina: Thirteen years and ten months, mama.Lady Croom: Thirteen years and ten months. She is not due to be pert for sixmonths at the earliest, or to have notions of12taste for much longer. Mr Hodge, I hold you accountable. Mr Noakes, back to you Noakes: Thank you, my Lady Croom: You have been reading too many novels by Mrs Radcliffe, that is myopinion. This is a garden for The Castle of Otranto or The Mysteries of Udolpho Chater: The Castle of Otranto, my lady, is by Horace Walpole.

Noakes: (Thrilled) Mr Walpole the gardener?!Lady Croom: Mr Chater, you are a welcome guest at Sidley Park but while you areone, The Castle of Otranto was written by whomsoever I say it was, otherwise whatis the point of being a guest or having one? (The distant popping of gunsheard.) Well, the guns have reached the brow - I will speak to his lordship on thesubject, and we will see by and by - (She stands looking out.) Ah! - your friend hasgot down a pigeon, Mr Hodge. (Calls out.) Bravo, sir!Septimus: The pigeon, I am sure, fell to your husband or to your son, your ladyship- my schoolfriend was never a sportsman.Brice: (Looking out) Yes, to Augustus! - bravo, lad!Lady Croom: (Outside) Well, come along! Where are my troops? (Brice, Noakesand Chater obediently follow her, Chater making a detour to shake Septimus'shand fervently.)Chater: My dear Mr Hodge!(Chater leaves also. The guns are heard again, a little closer.)Thomasina: Pop, pop, pop . I have grown up in the sound of guns like the child ofa siege. Pigeons and rooks in the close season, grouse on the heights from AuGust,and the pheasants to follow - partridge, snipe, woodcock, and teal -pop - pop - pop,and the culling of the herd. Papa has no need of the recording angel, his life iswritten in the game book.Septimus: A calendar of slaughter. 'Even in Arcadia, there am I!'Thomasina: Oh, phooey to Death! (She dips a pen and takes it to the readingstand.) I will put in a hermit, for what is a hermitage without a hermit? Are you inlove with my mother, Septimus?13Septimus: You must not be cleverer than your elders. It is not polite.Thomasina: Am I cleverer?Septimus: Yes. Much.Thomasina: Well, I am sorry, Septimus. (She pauses in her drawing and producesa small envelope from her pocket.) Mrs Chater came to the music room with a notefor you. She said it was of scant importance, and that therefore I should carry it to

you with the utmost safety, urgency and discretion. Does carnal embrace addle thebrain?Septimus: (Taking the letter) Invariably. Thank you. That is enough education fortoday.Thomasina: There. I have made him like the Baptist in the wilderness.Septimus: How picturesque.(Lady Croom is heard calling distantly for Thomasina who runs off into the garden,cheerfully, an uncomplicated girl. Septimus opens Mrs Chater's note. He crumplesthe envelope and throws it away. He reads the note, folds it and inserts it into thepages of'The Couch of Eros.14SCENE TWOThe lights come up on the same room, on the same sort of morning, in the presentday, as is instantly clear from the appearance of Hannah Jarvis; and from nothingelse.Something needs to be said about this. The action of the play shuttles back andforth between the early nineteenth century and the present day, always in this sameroom. Both periods must share the state of the room, without the additions andsubtractions which would normally be expected. The general appearance of theroom should offend neither period. In the case of props - books, paper, flowers,etc., there is no absolute need to remove the evidence of one period to make wayfor another. However, books, etc., used in both periods should exist in both old andnew versions. The landscape outside, we are told, has undergone changes. Again,what we see should neither change nor contradict.On the above principle, the ink and pens etc., of the first scene can remain. Booksand papers associated with Hannah's research, in Scene Two, can have been on thetable from the beginning of the play. And so on. During the course of the play thetable collects this and that, and where an object from one scene would be ananachronism in another (say a coffee mug) it is simply deemed to have becomeinvisible. By the end of the play the table has collected an inventory of objects.Hannah is leafing through the pages of Mr Noakes's sketch book. Also to hand,opened and closed, are a number of small volumes like diaries (these turn out to beLady Groom's 'garden books'). After a few moments, Hannah takes the sketch bookto the windows, comparing the view with what has been drawn, and then shereplaces the sketch book on the reading stand.

She wears nothing frivolous. Her shoes are suitable for the garden, which is whereshe goes now after picking up the theodolite from the table. The room is empty for afew moments.One of the other doors opens to admit Chloe and Bernard. She is the daughter ofthe house and is dressed casually. Bernard, the visitor, wears a suit and a tie. Histendency is to dress flamboyantly,15but he has damped it down for the occasion, slightly. A peacock-coloured displayhandkerchief boils over in his breastpocket. He carries a capacious leather bagwhich serves as a briefcase.Chloe: Oh! Well, she was here .Bernard: Ah. . . the french window . .Chloe: Yes. Hang on.Chloesteps out through the garden door and disappears from view. Bernard hangson. The second door opens and Valentine looks in.)Valentine: Sod.(Valentine goes out again, closing the door. Chloe returns, carrying a pair ofrubber boots. She comes in and sits down and starts exchanging her shoes for theboots, while she talks.)Chloe: The best thing is, you wait here, save you tramping around. She spends agood deal of time in the garden, as you may imagine.Bernard: Yes. Why?Chloe: Well, she's writing a history of the garden, didn't you know?Bernard: No, I knew she was working on the Croom papers, but.Chloe: Well, it's not exactly a history of the garden either. I'll let Hannah explain it.The trench you nearly drove into is all to do with it. I was going to say makeyourself comfortable but that's hardly possible, everything's been cleared out, it's enroute to the nearest lavatory.Bernard: Everything is?Chloe: No, this room is. They drew the line at chemical 'Ladies'.

Bernard: Yes, I see. Did you say Hannah?Chloe: Hannah, yes. Will you be all right? (She stands up wearing the boots.) Iwon't be. . . (But she has lost him.) Mr Nightingale?Bernard: (Waking up) Yes. Thank you. Miss Jarvis is Hannah Jarvis the author?Chloe: Yes. Have you read her book?Bernard: Oh, yes. Yes.Chloe: I bet she's in the hermitage, can't see from here with the marquee. . .16Bernard: Are you having a garden party?Chloe: A dance for the district, our annual dressing up and general drunkenness.The wrinklies won't have it in the house, there was a teapot we once had to bagback from Christie's in the nick of time, so anything that can be destroyed, stolen orvomited on has been tactfully removed; tactlessly, I should say -(She is about toleave.)Bernard: Um - look - would you tell her - would you mind not mentioning myname just yet?Chloe: Oh. All right.Bernard: (Smiling) More fun to surprise her. Would you mind?Chloe: No. But she's bound to ask . . Should I give you another name, just for themoment?Bernard: Yes, why not?Chloe: Perhaps another bird, you're not really a Nightingale.(She leaves again. Bernard glances over the books on the table. He puts hisbriefcase down. There is the distant pop-pop of a shotgun. It takes Bernard vaguelyto the window. He looks out. The door he entered by now opens and Gus looks intothe room. Bernard turns and sees him.)Bernard: Hello.(Gus doesn't speak. He never speaks. Perhaps he cannot speak. He has nocomposure, and faced with a stranger, he caves in and leaves again. A moment

later the other door opens again and Valentine crosses the room, not exactlyignoring Bernard and yet ignoring him.)Valentine: Sod, sod, sod, sod, sod, sod . . . (As many times as it takes him to leaveby the opposite door, which he closes behind him. Beyond it, he can be heardshouting. Chloe! Chloe! Bernard's discomfort increases. The same door opens andValentine returns. He looks at Bernard.)Bernard: She's in the garden looking for Miss Jarvis.Valentine: Where is everything?Bernard: It's been re

TOM STOPPARD Arcadia ACT ONE SCENE ONE A room on the garden front of a very large country house in Derbyshire in April 1809. Nowadays, the house would be called a stately home. The upstage wall is mainly tall, shapely, uncurtained windows, one or more of which work as doors. Nothing much need be said or seen of the exterior beyond.