Coriander's Redemption

Act Four: Scene One

[SCENE takes charge at Hampshire in a small cottage where Coriander and Andrew escaped to in the middle of the night at the ball last night. They have stayed there for three days now. Coriander discovers she is expecting and decides to surprise Andrew when he comes home from his trading.]

ANDREW walking in from the door

Hello, my darling, how was your day?

CORIANDER stiffly and smiles

It was decent. Very decent. And how was yours?

ANDREW

Exceptional—are you well? You are not behaving normal. You look different.

CORIANDER stops working in the kitchen and stares out the window

I'm with child.

ANDREW repeating

With child?

CORIANDER

Yes, I am. Andrew, I meant to tell you—

ANDREW lifts CORIANDER up into the air and spins her around

I can't believe we are having a child!

CORIANDER

It's wonderful! Marguerite wrote to me. She was asking if we were alright and how we were doing. I decided not to tell her that we are having our first child. If the Duke comes in search of me, promise me you will protect our child.

ANDREW

Always! I will protect you as well.

[SCENE shifts to Arlington to where Henrique and Marguerite are in the parlour having afternoon tea and a luncheon.]

DUKE OF ARLINGTON

Where is Coriander? She has been gone for three days.

MARGUERITE

She is still in Bath, Henrique. Coriander enjoys her holidays as much as possible.

DUKE OF ARLINGTON

As much as possible with this man named Andrew Kennellton. How dare she write to you and not to me! I am her husband for God's sake! Where is she in Hampshire?! I DEMAND TO KNOW NOW!

MARGUERITE

Henrique, must you yell? Can you not see that she is unhappy with you? You forced her into a marriage which she did not wish to be in!

No woman should have to marry under a man's order!

DUKE OF ARLINGTON

You should not even be saying anything! You have had a marriage annulled!

MARGUERITE

You selfish, heartless man! How can you say these things? What do you think our mother would feel?!

DUKE OF ARLINGTON

Marguerite, you have nothing further to say to me! Leave this house!

MARGUERITE

This is my home too, Henrique! You have no right to chase me out. I am the eldest daughter!

DUKE OF ARLINGTON

I have every right to! I am the Duke! Now leave!

[MARGUERITE storms out of the drawing room—slamming the doors behind her. She goes upstairs to her bedroom and slams her door there too as she begins to pack.]

[SCENE shifts to Coriander who is in the garden basking in the sun in a light summer dress.]

CORIANDER

The weather is so lovely today, Andrew! Come out! We never get wonderful days like these.

ANDREW

Coriander, I must go to the market and trade off some of these weapons that I made—after all, I am the blacksmith's apprentice. [Takes hold of Coriander's hand.] I will be back before the sun falls.

CORIANDER

Good luck, my husband.

[END scene]

Act Four: Scene Two

[SCENE begins nine months later when Coriander is in labor with her first child. ANDREW is just coming home from the village square.]

CORIANDER screaming

ANDREW! GET HELP NOW! The child is on its way!

ANDREW he runs into the bedroom to see Coriander lying on the bed in her nightgown and sweating profoundly

Who do I get? I have no idea about these things!

CORIANDER

Just get a nurse! HURRY!

[ANDREW runs out of the door and to the village where he goes to the nurses]

ANDREW

Is there a nurse available, my wife is in labour and we do not have a nurse! Please, anybody!

NURSE

I shall come with you, sir. No time for horses. We'll run!

ANDREW

Thank you!

[ANDREW and NURSE run back to the cottage where CORIANDER is just about to release her child]

NURSE

Ah, I am here! Now, when I tell you to push you do as I say—one, two three—PUSH!

CORIANDER

Oh god! (screams)

[Minutes later, a baby is heard crying. It is a girl]

NURSE

You have a beautiful daughter, milady. Nurse hands Coriander the baby girl who's wrapped in warm blankets.

CORIANDER

Thank you so much. Pray, what is your name?

NURSE

My name is Mary, miss.

CORIANDER

She will bear your name, for you helped us all. Thank you, Mary.

NURSE

It was my pleasure helping in any way.

[MARY begins crying because she is hungry]

[SCENE shifts to Marques of Arlington—she is visiting Lady Carmichael, George, and Lysander.]

LADY CARMICHAEL

It is so good to see you again, Marguerite.

MARGUERITE

Thank you, my lady. I am happy to come and visit.

LADY CARMICHAEL

But, why do you come alone?

MARGUERITE

My brother has banned me from my own home. Coriander remains in Bath for an extra holiday.

LADY CARMICHAEL

Yes, she will do things like that. Has she given the Duke a son yet?

MARGUERITE

No, not yet—but soon, she will.

LYSANDER

How is the lad doing? Is he already tired of my sister?

LADY CARMICHAEL

Hush, Lysander! He will not grow tired of her. I can feel it in my bones.

GEORGE

Well, now that that has been discussed, how about a round of sparring—you and I Lysander, let us leave these ladies to their talk!

LYSANDER

Aye, George! I could move my old, tired arm some.

[EXIT GEORGE and LYSANDER]

LADY CARMICHAEL

Where is she really?

MARGUERITE

She's in Bath!

LADY CARMICHAEL

I know my daughter better than you think, Marguerite dear.

MARGUERITE

She is with Andrew Kennellton in Hampshire—some small cottage.

LADY CARMICHAEL

I figured she would do something like that. She's so stubborn and strong-willed.

MARGUERITE

Yes, she is. Indeed.

LADY CARMICHAEL

Has she said anything that has happened to her?

MARGUERITE

No, she has not written. I have tried writing to her but I never received a letter in return, your ladyship.

LADY CARMICHAEL

I shall go and visit my daughter immediately. I know the cottage they are staying at. She needs to be scolded for this outrageous and utterly scandalous infatuation.

MARGUERITE

Shall I come with you?

LADY CARMICHAEL

No, thank you, Marguerite—I shall tend to this on my own.

[EXIT LADY CARMICHAEL and MARGUERITE FROM RIGHT]

[END SCENE]

Act Four: Scene Three

The Return of the Duchess

LADY CARMICHAEL

CORIANDER ANNA CARMICHAEL! COME OUTSIDE THIS INSTANT! YOU ARE NOW FORBIDDEN EVER TO SEE ANDREW KENNELLTON FROM THIS POINT ON!

CORIANDER as she steps outside with Mary in her arms

Mama! I married Andrew before I married the Duke of Arlington. Please understand! I cannot be with Henrique.

LADY CARMICHAEL

You shall return to Arlington straight away or I'll send your illegitimate daughter to a foster family!

CORIANDER

NO! I WON'T LET YOU TAKE HER AWAY FROM ME!

LADY CARMICHAEL

Give her to me!

CORIANDER

NEVER! She is a child that I bore!

LADY CARMICHAEL

She should have been a son to the Duke!

CORIANDER

Then I would not have called her my daughter, Mama.

LADY CARMICHAEL

You shall repent for this at mass next week, Coriander Anna Carmichael. Say good-bye to Andrew and your daughter.

CORIANDER

How dare you do this to me?!

LADY CARMICHAEL

I am your mother. I have a right. Now, I shall see to it that your daughter is given to the Duchess of Elysta of Romania until she is old enough to be on her own.

CORIANDER weeping

NO! NO! YOU CAN'T DO THAT TO ME!

LADY CARMICHAEL

I can, and I shall. Come with me.

[She drags Coriander to the carriage with Mary, who is crying.]

CORIANDER to herself

I shall miss you my dear husband. (Begins sobbing as she holds Mary close to her)

[SCENE goes to Hampshire—at the Arlington mansion where the Duke awaits his wife at the stairwell outside. He is furious beyond recall]

[CORIANDER is frightened of what is to happen to her and her daughter. She begins to beg her mama not to return to the Duke.]

CORIANDER

Please, don't let me go back to him! I despise him! Mama!

LADY CARMICHAEL

Cora, give Mary to me. The duke will be furious if he sees Mary. I shall keep her at home. I shall let you come and visit your daughter whenever you wish.

CORIANDER nods and begins sobbing again as she hands the crying Mary to Lady Carmichael to protect her from the Dukes wrath

Please, keep her safe, mama.

LADY CARMICHAEL

Go, my daughter. Do not fear.

CORIANDER

I shall try my hardest not to.

[CORIANDER walks out of the carriage—breathing heavy and expecting the worst from the Duke. As she approaches him, she begins to feel even more intimidated.]

DUKE OF ARLINGTON

How was your holiday?

CORIANDER

Splendid, very decent…

DUKE OF ARLINGTON

Was there anyone we knew there?

CORIANDER nervous

No, n-n-not really, why do you ask? Begins to walk away but the Duke grabs her arm and yanks her inside as he forces her up the stairs.

DUKE OF ARLINGTON

HOW DARE YOU ELOPE WITH ANDREW KENNELLTON AND MARRY THAT BASTARD?! YOU GIVE HIM ONE DAMN CHILD AND ARE AFRAID TO BE IN BED WITH ME!

CORIANDER

I—please, forgive me, milord.

DUKE OF ARLINGTON

I will show you no mercy until you repent for this evil sin that you have done and provide me a son.

CORIANDER

I will do no such thing.

DUKE OF ARLINGTON takes her by the arms and tears the back of her dress

You will give me a son—even if this is how it is going to be.

[END SCENE]

Epilogue

Coriander did give Henrique a son eventually. Even though they were two totally different people; their marriage turned well in the near end when Coriander died at age eighty-one. She had given the Duke six sons and still visited always her illegitimate daughter, Mary whom she adored greatly. Andrew Kennellton married another woman from London. Lysander had eloped with Marques of Arlington, Marguerite. George continued his way through life, and married two women who both died after child birth.

Lord and Lady Carmichael both died after Coriander gave the Duke a third son and Mary was sixteen then and married to a good sailor from Ireland. She still visited her mother and named her daughter Coriander. She also had a son and named him Andrew—after her father who she never saw.

END