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'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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