Chapter 2: A Visit from her Ladyship
Westminster Lodgings 1599
John struggles to balance the figures, Jane
tends her baby
Scene 1: John tries to balance the books
Jane is rocking a baby in a cradle at her feet. Margaret, the maid-servant, clears the remnants of a meal.
John grumpily lifts a ledger he is studying from the table.
These were trying times for my husband and the debtors
prison was never far from our thoughts. John had spent a deal of money
serving the realm in Ireland but Lord Essex was now charged with treason
and John's main hope of gaining preferment at court seemed blocked.
John is working intently, struggling to balance figures. The results are not to his liking. He swigs from a goblet of wine - not his first drink of the day - then he pushes the book angrily away.
John damns Lord Essex to Jane
Scene 2: John Damns Essex
John: "Damn Tyrone - damn Essex and all them that support him."
Jane: "..the servants"
John doesn't care who hears. "I'm done with him. Years of loyal service to her majesty and I'm poorer now than when I started"
"Don't lose your humour John - I'll speak to Lady Essex and plead her to be helpful"
"Helpful! Lady Essex! - Then ask
her where the dowry is she promised for our wedding. There's a cold
day in hell when she opens her purse!"
John is desperate
Scene 3: The casket
And there the casket stayed for three months in my
house until her ladyship requested its return.
The casket is returned to Lady Essex
Scene 4: The casket is returned to Lord and Lady
Jane's servant, Margaret, hands over the casket to The
Secretary in the presence of Lord and Lady Essex, who seem pleased
at its return, but not at what it contains.
Jane – in her nightclothes - greets Lady
Scene 5: A visit from Lady Essex
The very next day we were graced by a visit from
her Ladyship - at dawn.
Jane - in her nightclothes - greets Lady Essex as she sweeps into the room. Her ladyship is struggling to compose herself.
"My Lady. What an honour - if you'd sent word -"
"Jane - the casket has been opened and some letters taken."
"Letters? Oh, my Lady! You cannot think..."
"Go. Call your husband."
"John - John!"
John and Lady Essex are in the midst of a heated
Scene 6: Heated Discussion
John and Lady Essex are in the midst of a heated discussion.
Jane anxiously waits outside the room. The door is ajar and she peers through, catching fragments of the ensuing argument.
"And you know naught of this?"
"No your Ladyship. Perchance one of the servants -"
"Very well then, make enquiry."
"You have my word."
"Today - Daniell - if you please."
Lady Essex sweeps past Jane with a curt goodbye.
Jane is left anxious and perplexed by the turn
Scene 7: Jane is anxious
"John -These letters cannot simply - vanish. Who
could have taken them?"
"I'll wake the servants."
Jane is left anxious and perplexed by the turn of events.