Coriander's Redemption

Act One- Scene One

Characters

Coriander Carmichael- daughter of a wealthy lord in Hampshire; she has two brothers [George and Lysander]

George Carmichael- He is Coriander's brother and has a twin—Lysander. Two months after the marriage of Coriander and the Duke, he elopes with Marguerite, the Duke's sister—and has an affair with her.

Lysander Carmichael- youngest twin of the sons—and a brother to Coriander; he supports Coriander through her tough marriage and is the one who discovers that George had an affair with Marguerite.

Aunt Norris- Lady Carmichael's sister; she is also Coriander's tutor and guides her through to get her secure with the Duke.

Lady Carmichael- She is the mother of Coriander, Lysander and George. She has been married to the Lord Carmichael for forty-eight years. She and Marguerite persuade Coriander into her marriage with the Duke.

Duke of Arlington- He has come to Hampshire in search of a wife. After meeting with Lord and Lady Carmichael, he agrees to marry Coriander. Within three months, the marriage of Coriander and His Grace, Duke of Arlington; have married.

Lord Carmichael- He is Coriander, Lysander and George's father. He also is a tradesman for the East Trading Company and is loyal to his companions.

Lady Marguerite of Arlington- She is the Duke's sister; and she becomes good friends with Coriander and a year into Coriander's marriage to the Duke, she has an affair with George Carmichael and elopes with him.

Andrew Kennellton- he is Coriander's long childhood friend. Andrew has always had some small feelings for Coriander but knows that he may never go near her—after all, he is a stable boy, or was. He had become a wealthy merchant in London.

[Others include the people of Arlington and Bath, menservants and maids of the Duke, Coriander's illegitimate daughter Mary]

[SCENE STARTS Lord and Lady Carmichael are discussing the marriage between Coriander and Duke Arlington in the large tea room on a lovely afternoon in Hampshire. Lady Carmichael sits next to her husband as he reads the newspaper. Duke of Arlington sips his tea—waiting for someone to say something as the grandfather clock strikes four in the afternoon. Lady Carmichael asks Duke Arlington when he wishes to marry her daughter and they began the talk of moving to Arlington and Derbyshire.]

LADY CARMICHAEL

You will not be disappointed with Coriander, my lord. She is a fine and most talented young lady of seven and ten. She is very well brought up and should be able to do the job quite wonderfully.

DUKE OF ARLINGTION stuttering briefly

Y-yes, I am aware of all that from your last letter, Lady Carmichael. Has she had any schooling or etiquette tutoring?

LADY CARMICHAEL

Oh, yes, to be sure! She has had numerous amount of studying and tutoring. Coriander—if I may add—is the most elegant dancer as well. We are holding a Yuletide Ball for this coming holiday. You are—you and your sister are welcomed to join us. You will find Coriander the most excellent partner. Smiling and then she sends a doorman to fetch Coriander from the drawing room on the second level.

[SCENE CHANGES to CORIANDER AND LYSANDER who are playing a game of cards by the large window that views out to the vast fields]

CORIANDER

I wonder what the Duke will think of me. Do you think he likes me, Lysander?

LYSANDER

How could anyone not possibly like you? You are absolutely charming! When do you suppose George will find himself a decent wife instead of running about all day with those London girls?

CORIANDER

God only knows. But, after all, he is a man and he can choose how he is to live his life.

[Manservant knocks on the door—ENTERs and turns to Coriander]

MANSERVANT

Your mother wishes to see you, Coriander.

[CORIANDER puts down her card game and leaves the upstairs drawing room to the tea room to visit her mother.]

LADY CARMICHAEL

There is something that I must say to you. The Duke of Arlington has asked for your hand in marriage.

CORIANDER

What?! No! Mama, I don't want to marry him! He's—such a dog!

LADY CARMICHAEL

Coriander Anne Carmichael! He is one of England's wealthiest Dukes! He is in charge of holding the rallies for men who want to be Prime Minister of England! He owns all of Derbyshire and Arlington! He seeks out for you because he is in love!

CORIANDER

But, mother, I could never marry such a disagreeable man! What about my happiness?!

LADY CARMICHAEL

My dear, Cora—you are young. I know that the Duke will make a wonderful husband.

CORIANDER

No, Mama! I will not accept his hand! You cannot make me!

[CORIANDER exit out of the room in a hurry; she runs outside to the gardens sobbing]

[ENTER Andrew Kennellton from LEFT]

CORIANDER

Andrew! Dear God, the Duke of Arlington has asked me to marry him! I don't want to!

ANDREW

Cora, what's this all about?

CORIANDER

Well, two days ago, the Duke from Arlington arrived. He had been seeking for a new wife. And so he talked with my parents if he should choose me as his wife and now he has! My mother hasn't even bothered about my own happiness! She doesn't even care what I want!

ANDREW

Well, whatever happens, I am always here for you. There's something that I've needed to tell you. Cora, I've been in love with you my whole life. I don't wish to be parted from you—ever.

CORIANDER

Andrew, I do not know what to say! I am so confused that I cannot decide! The Duke only wants sons from me. What do you want of me, my dear friend?

ANDREW

I want nothing but your love! Please!

CORIANDER

I haven't a clue! Laughs I want so many things that I feel like a selfish little rich girl without a care in the world but that's not true!

ANDREW laughing as well

You have quite an imagination, Cora. Takes hold of her hand But really, please think about it.

CORIANDER

I have. I love you.

ANDREW kisses her and lifts her off the ground and spins her around.

[SCENE finish]

Act One: Scene Two

The Secret Marriage of Andrew and Coriander

CLERGYMAN

We are gathered here today with Andrew Kennellton and Coriander Carmichael in holy matrimony. Will you face one another, please?

Do you Andrew Kennellton take Coriander Carmichael to be your lawfully wedded wife in sickness and in health till death do you part?

ANDREW

I do.

CLERGYMAN smiles

And do you, Coriander Carmichael, take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband in sickness and in health till death do you part?

CORIANDER

I do.

CLERGYMAN

I now pronounce you man—and wife.

[SCENE shifts to three days later when Coriander is at home with Lady Carmichael, Lord Carmichael, and Duke of Arlington, Marques of Arlington (Marguerite), Lysander and George: they are drinking afternoon tea in the parlour room. Coriander plays Haydn Sonatas for enlightening merriment. Lady Carmichael is lightly talking to Duke of Arlington.]

DUKE OF ARLINGTON

I had hoped to make the marriage soon. As you know, I cannot stay here for much longer. I have important business to attend to and delegates' meetings are much more frequent and long.

LADY CARMICHAEL

Yes, we shall make all the preparations. Tomorrow's fortnight is Coriander's coming out party. All of Hampshire's society will be here. She is enriched with gayness.

DUKE OF ARLINGTON stands and walks over to Coriander at the pianoforte.

May, I have a word with you, Coriander?

CORIANDER stops playing and looks up at the Duke

What do you possibly have to say to me?

DUKE OF ARLINGTON

I have come here to seek your hand in marriage.

CORIANDER

I know that. I have not any desire to marry.

DUKE OF ARLINGTON

Why ever not?

CORIANDER

Well, marriage is not in my category of thoughts at the moment. I do not have the heart to marry such a prestigious and wealthy duke.

DUKE OF ARLINGTON

You state it so plainly. Why not marry? It is a woman's job.

CORIANDER furious and she stands up

IT IS NOT A WOMAN'S JOB TO MARRY! WE HAVE OUR OWN LIVES TO GOVERN!

LADY CARMICHAEL

Coriander Anna Carmichael! How dare you raise your voice at the Duke! You will marry him at the end of this month and provide him with a son!

CORIANDER

I will see to it that I will not!

[END scene]

Act One: Scene Three

Coriander's coming-out Party

[SEVERAL guests are invited—Andrew Kennellton was Coriander's desire throughout the evening]

MARGUERITE

Hello, Coriander. It's wonderful to meet you at last! I cannot wait to be sisters-in law.

CORIANDER

Thank you very much. I am sure we will be good friends.

ANDREW walks up to Coriander and Marguerite

Hello, Coriander, may I speak with you?

CORIANDER

Yes, of course, do excuse me, Marguerite. I shall return soon.

MARGUERITE

Yes, all right. Be good!

[CORIANDER and ANDREW walk to the gardens and Andrew pulls Coriander into a kiss]

CORIANDER after the kiss

Oh, Andrew, you have not known how much I've been thinking about you. We must do something together!

ANDREW

And so we shall! Cora, do not fret over the Duke! If you marry him, do not let him put his hands on you—do not let him touch your skin; for if he does I shall murder him.

CORIANDER softly and takes hold of Andrew's hand

I know not of what is to come of this but I will keep that promise—or try my hardest to do so.

ANDREW

I—love you, Coriander Anna Carmichael. I am glad you are my wife.

CORIANDER

Andrew.

ANDREW

What is it?

CORIANDER

Mama!

LADY CARMICHAEL

Coriander, where are you? The Duke seeks you! Come inside this instant!

CORIANDER

Coming! Whispers to Andrew Come to me after everyone has gone!

[EXIT Coriander, lifting her skirts a little and running back to the party]

LADY CARMICHAEL

Where on earth have you been?

CORIANDER

I was out for fresh air. The air inside was too hot. Forgive me, Mama.

LADY CARMICHAEL

You look flustered! Good heavens, child.

DUKE OF ARLINGTON

Coriander, may I have this dance?

CORIANDER

Yes, milord. You may have this dance.

DUKE OF ARLINGTON

I know—when I asked for your hand in marriage that I seemed extremely bold. But, I just hoped you would accept my hand. I love you, Coriander. You'd be in good comfort and live without any debt.

CORIANDER

I understand the matter, milord. I still have not the heart to accept you, please you must understand this.

DUKE OF ARLINGTON

Then I will wait for you.

[END SCENE]