Tilda — A Comedy in Six Acts — 6.4

Tachybaptus, Going Postal
Outside the State Treasury at Kamysyak. Enter TILDA, ETTY, and two MEN
of the Mongolians, one of them bearing a Horn.
FIRST MAN: This is the treasury of the Tartar State:
We’d best avoid it, for it is well guarded
And there be none but soldiers there, I trow.
TILDA: Yet I am loath to leave this tower untried.
I learned my lesson with the other Tartar:
If they accost me, I need but feign madness.
Ye others, hide i’ th’ shadows while I sing.
(Sings) In hydraulis quondam Pythagora
Admirante melos, phthongitates
Malleorum, secutus aequora
Per ponderum inaequilitates
Adinvenit musae qualitates.
Epitritum ac emioliam,
Epogdoi duplam perducunt.
Nam tessaron pente convenientiam
Nec non phthongum et pason adducunt,
Monocordi dum genus conducunt.
(The Voice of FELIX joins in from from above.)
Haec Okeghem, qui cunctis praecinis
Galliarum in regis aula,
Practicum tuae propaginis
Arma cernens quondam patria,
Burgundiae ducis in patria,
Pro me, Busnois, illustris comitis
De Chaulois indignum musicum,
Saluteris tuis pro meritis
Tamquam summum cephas tropidicum,
Vale, verum instar Orpheicum!
(FELIX appears above. They sing the last Line again, as)
Ave, verum instar Uraemicum!
TILDA: O Felix, O my love, O I have found thee!
FELIX: O Tilda, I thought ne’er to see thee more!
(Enter from within a SOLDIER.)
TILDA: I shall be back ere long, my dearest love.
(She begins to mop and mow.)
Now here’s a pretty berry, and another,
Why, it is fit for the great unicorn.
Hast thou spare change on thee, by any chance?
SOLDIER: Be off with thee, thou crazy beggar bitch!
(Exit TILDA, in Haste. The SOLDIER retreats within. When he is gone, re-
enter TILDA, who goes to the others.)
TILDA: He’s here! My own true love! Let’s get him out.
FIRST MAN: Let’s think awhile before we all rush in.
We dare not sing our Mongol song, to try
If Ginfiz be with Felix in the tower,
But we’ll assume he is. Kitiz, to horse,
And ride to a safe distance from this place
And sound thy horn to summon all our men.
TILDA: Think’st thou to take the treasury by storm?
FIRST MAN: What other way is there?
TILDA:        I have a plan;
But ’tis a perilous scheme for one of us.
The queen gave us a pair of magic charms:
Two peach stones which, if put into the mouth,
Confer invisibility. Howbeit,
They work but once, and we have only two,
And so we cannot simply swagger in
And come away with Felix and his comrade.
This is what we must do: I’ll call that soldier
And flirt with him as long as is required
Till he unbar the door and let me in.
Etty, thou put one o’ th’ stones in thy mouth,
Carry the other, and slip in behind me.
When we are safely in, I’ll tell the man
That Felix is a prince, and worth a fortune
In ransom money, and the man will go
To ask him if he be one, and thou follow.
ETTY: He thinks thee mad, he will not speak with thee.
Yet it is a fine plan in other ways;
I’ll go to him instead.
TILDA:        O Etty!
He’s foul! I could not ask thee to seduce him:
It is my duty, for dear Felix’s sake.
ETTY: Dear Felix might take quite a different view:
Men are like that. Nay, Tilda, let me do it:
I have known worse than Tartars in my time.
TILDA: Etty, thou art a friend like no one else!
I cannot speak my gratitude to thee.
ETTY: Then do not. What’s the next part of thy scheme?
Thou art invisible, but the other two
Are plain as pikestaffs, and there’s one stone left.
TILDA: I give the stone to Ginfiz, then …
ETTY:        What then?
TILDA: I kiss my Felix on his dearest mouth,
And he will disappear, while the kiss lasts;
Then, still entwined, we’ll slip out of the cell,
Follow the warder as he goes for aid,
And creep out of the front door whene’er we can.
Etty, thou’lt have to make thine own way out,
But I expect there will be much confusion.
ETTY: Aye, ’twill be possible, as I believe;
And thy kiss shall go down i’ th’ book of records:
Ye cannot stop! Why, it might last for hours.
TILDA: O that it would!
ETTY:        Why, Tilda, thou art shameless.
FIRST MAN: A perilous plan indeed, yet it might serve.
I’ve seen the mettle of you dauntless pair,
One with a horse, the other with a man.
The Mongols shall assemble in this alley;
We’ll have four horses for ye. If we hear
That things go pear-shaped in the treasury,
We shall come in mob-handed, by my troth.
TILDA: Yet stay thy hand until we call for thee:
Things might go ill for Ginfiz and my Felix
If there were fighting, with them still within.
FIRST MAN: And ill for ye. We’ll come if we are called.
Now, my bold girls, the best of luck to ye.
(TILDA puts a Peach Stone into her Mouth and vanishes.)
ETTY: It works! Thou art invisible as air.
Then let us go before our courage fails.
(ETTY goes over to the Door, followed by the invisible TILDA.)
ETTY: Ho, anyone within, a word with ye!
(Re-enter the SOLDIER.)
ETTY: I seek news of a mad girl, hast thou seen her?
SOLDIER: Indeed I have, my pretty little lass:
She passed this way less than an hour ago.
She asked for alms, and so I sent her packing.
Thou art a tasty piece, fancy a fuck?
ETTY: I might say yes, if thou did ask politely.
SOLDIER: Please.
ETTY:        That’s enough. Shall we go to your place?
SOLDIER: We’ll to the cells, a few of them are empty.
ETTY: Show me the way, thou hunk of steak tartare.
(ETTY and the SOLDIER go within, followed by TILDA.)
FIRST MAN: I wonder how the lass can bear that slob.
However drunk I get, the Tartar girls
Remain as unattractive as dead sheep.
(Enter, stealthily, SHOBIZ and the rest of his MEN.)
SHOBIZ: Why are we waiting before going in?
Let’s storm the place without further delay.
FIRST MAN: Nay, Tilda hath gone in, and Etty too:
They reckon they can get them out by stealth.
They have a magic charm that makes them vanish.
If they call out, we go; but not before.
SHOBIZ: If it were anyone but Tilda and Etty,
I’d say the plan was doomed; but those two lasses
Do have a way of coming out on top.
Back to the alley, and we’ll wait for them.
© Tachybaptus 2017