'Gold' An alchemical adventure.A play by Andrew Dallmeyer
Act II. Scene 2.
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SCENE 2 A room in the Palace (Enter the King and Seton. Alberto leads the King to a chair. The King sits.) KING (To Alberto) Thank you Alberto. Leave us! (Exit Alberto) As you have no doubt realisit by now my sight is somewhat impairit. The result of a furnace explosion while attempting transmutation. Pray be seatit! SETON I thank you sire. I will most gratefully accept. (He sits.) After the rigours of the open road this is luxury indeed! KING How long have you travellit upon the open road? SETON In all, four months, two weeks and four days. KING Then you must now be ready for a rest. Now that you have arrivit at your goal. By which route did you journey to Prague? SETON I sailit from Scotland to Amsterdam by boat, and from there I walkit across country to Bohemia. I have seen at least a hundred rivers, a thousand mountains, forests by the score, and enough vales and hills to last me a lifetime. KING Then you are deserving of the very best attentions and you shall have them too. Perchance you would wish to order a refreshment? I have many fine wines importit from the Duchy of Lorraine, light Tuscan reds and rich red ciliret straight from France? SETON Your Majesty I.... KING Or if your taste is for sornething simpler, I have spring water from the Swiss Confederation or minerals from Brunswick also. No? SETON Your Majesty is most generous. A glass of spring water would be warmly welcomit. KING Alberto! (Enter Alberto.) ALBERTO Sire. KING Bring me spring water! ALBERTO Yes sire. (Exit Alberto) KING Now then, remind me of your name? SETON Seton, sire. Alexander Seton. KING Seton, eh? Seton with an 'e'. Not to be confusit with Satan with an 'a', eh? Not to be confusit with Satan! with an 'a'! (The king roars with laughter at his own joke.) Forgive me! Do you mind if I refer to you in your Christian name? SETON No, sire. Not at all. KING Good. Then I will. Now, Alexandre, about this gold. SETON Gold? KING Aye, gold. How did you make it? Eh? You know that I am experiencit in alchemy. You may talk to me as one expert to another. How did you make it? SETON With the aid of a powder, sire. I call it the powder of projection. KING I see. And this powder, is it common in Scotland? SETON. To tell you exactly, I do not know sire, for alchemy is contrary to law in Scotland and I have not conferrit with any other alchemists, although I know that they exist. KING I see. (Enter Alberto with a glass of spring water.) Thank you Alberto. (Alberto gives the water to Seton.) I thank you. KING May much shame be visitit upon me for I have forgot to offer you something to eat. SETON Your Majesty I... KING Now, let me see, we have sweetmeats from Saxony, spicit sausage from Solesia and succulent black olives from Provence. Or perhaps you would prefer a simple Bohemian dish of potatoe, cabbage and rye bread? What say you Alexandre? SETON I thank you, sire, but I fear my stomach would revolt to such culinary riches. KING You may go Alberto. (Exit Alberto) KING This powder, Alexandre, how came you be it? SETON I manufacturit the powder at home sire. KING I see. As simple as that, eh? You will make gold for me tonight Alexandre! SETON Sire, I cannot. KING Cannot? How so? SETON The powder is finishit. KING Finishit? Finishit? But you had some but lately. It is all gone, sire. KING Do not lie to me Scotchman! SETON Sire it is the truth. KING (Very angry) I do not believe you! (Pause) I am sorry. Pray forgive me. I am rushing things forward in too great a haste. No doubt you are tired and would wish to relax. Perhaps I can help you. Listen to me Alexandre. I have exquisite concubines here in the palace skilled in the art and practice of love. They come in all shapes, all sizes, all colours. Dark skinned beauties with flashing eyes from Egypt and Persia or tall fair goddesses with golden limbs from Denmark and the Kingdom of Sweden. All these women have learnid their trade under priests and Cardinals in the Vatican's own bawdy house. What say you Alexandre, what think you? SETON I thank you sire and I am sorely temptit but I have already wife and children back in Scotland and one day I hope to return. KING A devotit man of the family, eh? Your resolve is admirable but you may yet be temptit. We shall see. We shall see. This powder of yours, Alexandre. If indeed as you say, it be finishit, is it possible that you make any more? SETON More? KING Aye. More powder. SETON I am not certain that I can sire. KING How so? SETON I have not the ingredients here in Bohemia. KING Ingredients? The ingredients are no problem whatever. I have everything you could wish for right here in the palace. I will put all my implements at your disposal. Tell me what you require! SETON I think I can remember the recipe. KING Good! Go ahead! SETON First purge mercury with salt and vinegar. KING Mercury, salt, vinegar. We have all three. SETON Sublime it with vitriol and saltpetre. KING There is plenty vitriol and saltpetre. SETON Dissolve the mixture in aqua fortis. KING Yes, yes. I can get aqua fortis. SETON Sublime it again, Calcine it and fix it. Dissolve sal ammoniac in spirit of mercury. KING Yes. SETON Distill in vinegar of the sages. Heat in harsh vinegar and allow to putrefy. KING All this we have. SETON Allow it to dry and the powder results! KING Good. No sulphur, eh? That surprises me. That must be where I have gone wrong in the past. When can you start? SETON Majesty I... KING Forgive my impatience. There is so much to do. So much to be achievit here in Bohemia. You and I, together Alexandre. Together we will take the world by storm. We will make gold plates and challices, golden goblets and golden bowls, gold swords and scabbards, golden bows and golden arrows, gold carriages, yea and even golden palaces. Then all the Kings and Queens of Europe who now laugh at me and pour scorn upon my dreams shall eat their words and be consumit with jealousy. And King Rudolph of Bohemia will then be king indeed! Nay, King of Kings. What do you say? SETON Sire, I am much impressit with your grand design, but I am not certain that it is the best use of my talents. KING What do you mean? You would I assure you be richly rewardit. A summer house in the palace grounds, a winter house in the Kingdom of Naples. Servants to attend on you. A pair of stallions from Arabia and naturally as much of the gold as it was your desire to possess. SETON I thank you sire, and I am much flatterit by your kindness, but.... KING But? But what? SETON But as I am sure you are aware, there is implicit in the art of alchemy certain terms and conditions behoven to the adept. KING Conditions! What conditions? SETON Certain moral obligations. KING Be more precise! SETON Your majesty must know. KING Pray tell me! SFTON The obligation that the art be usit for moral purposes and not squanderit in pursuit of idle luxuries. KING What moral purposes? SETON To put onself in the service of the poor, to benefit mankind, to act at all times with humility, to serve always the sick and needy, to shine the light in the darkest corners where it is most urgently requirit, to act with due consideration and without malice toward men. These are the true obligations of the adept. KING So, Mister Seton, what are you saying? SETON Sire, I... KING Do you refuse to make more powder? SETON Sire, I will do my best. I can do no more. KING Good. I am glad. I am glad for your own sake. How long will it take you? SETON Three days perhaps. Four maybe. KING Excellent, excellent! Then today I shall send messengers to the courts of Poland and Saxony to invite the Kings and Queens to a feast to witness the miracle of transmutation. Meanwhile, is there nothing you would desire? SETON There is one thing sire. KING And what is that? SETON I desire to sit immersit in a tub of warm water to cleanse my flesh. KING Say no more! It is done! Alberto! Alberto! (Enter Alberto) ALBERTO Sire. KING Prepare a tub for Mister Seton. ALBERTO Aye, sire. (To Seton) This way sir. (Exeunt.) KING Now at last true greatness is within my grasp.
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