LACKLEATHER (darkly). ’Twill take less than a dance to lead us there! You know right well that the Puritans have sworn that if they catch us straying beyond the bounds of Merrymount ’twill be the stocks and the whipping-post, and that without mercy!
SCARLETT (with a laugh and a shrug). The stocks and the whipping-post! Come, drive such thoughts from your head! Look! Yonder comes Jock with a tankard of apple juice! Cups for us all! Quick, Lackleather! (Carved wooden cups are taken from the trunk of a hollow tree.) Come, where are we all?
TIB. All here, save Sarah Scarlett, who bides with Goody Gleason, and Bess, who hath been away since dawn. Robin and Kit have gone to search for her.
SCARLETT. Well, Bess or no Bess, the maypole is waiting! Play us another catch, goodfellow Faunch! My heels grow rusty!
[All start to dance.
ROBIN (bursting in from right, followed by Kit Carmel). Simon! Simon! You’ll not dance so gaily when you’ve heard the news! Put up your music, Faunch! Give over your capers, Lackleather! Bess hath been taken by the Puritans!
(as all stop dancing).
You’re jesting, lad!
ROBIN (as he catches breath). ’Tis no jest, Simon! ’Tis bitter truth. ’Tis towards the stocks they are leading her!
You let them capture her?
What were we two against so many!
SCARLETT (passionately). All Merrymount to the rescue! Zounds! Shall a pack o’ Puritans match their wits against ours? Who follows me?
All of us! All!
There’ll be a rescue!
(as he follows, fiddling gaily).
A rescue made to music!
[All disappear into the woods, right, just as Sarah Scarlett, with Goody Gleason leaning on her arm, comes out of the woods, left.
SARAH. Faunch! Faunch! (Looks after the vanishing Merrymount folk.) He does not hear me! Where are they going that they do not hear me? Nay, then, dear Gran’am, rest on me. Step slowly. They’ve left off dancing at the maypole, and gone I know not whither. Will you not rest you, while I blow this flicker o’ fire? (Leads Goody Gleason to bed of pine.) I’ll make thee broth, and season it right pleasantly when the lads come back from their traps; for, now that I think on it, it may be to their traps they have gone. (Sees Goody Gleason placed in comfortable fashion on the bed of pine.) Rest, then, if you can, dear Gran’am. ’Twill strengthen you against your chills and fever. (Seats herself at fire.) Rest, if you can, and I will watch close by.
[Goody Gleason dozes off: Sarah sits by her and sings.
“Fortune, my foe, why dost thou
frown on me,
And will thy favors never better be?
Wilt thou, I say, forever breed me pain?
And wilt thou not restore my joys again?”