This was written in the course of completing the 31 Plays in 31 Days challenge I undertook in 2012– to complete a play of at least one page in length for every day of the month of August. While not an independent play, it was written in fulfillment of the challenge although it was intended to be used within Mrs. Hawking. I counted scenes for larger plays as complete pieces for 31P31D as long as they have an arc. This scene is where Mary first begins convincing Mrs. Hawking can’t always go it alone– and that perhaps she can be that help.
Day #12 – “One Can Hide Anything” – from Mrs. Hawking
(MRS. HAWKING winces and tenses her left side.)
MARY: Mrs. Hawking, your arm.
MRS HAWKING: I’d quite forgotten.
MRS. FAIRMONT: Oh, my goodness, you’re still hurt! We should send for someone.
MRS. HAWKING: No doctors, Celeste.
MRS. FAIRMONT: But Victoria—
MRS. HAWKING: Certainly not!
MARY: Please— allow me.
(She moves close to MRS. HAWKING, who instinctively withdraws.)
MARY: I have some knowledge of this, madam.
(MRS. HAWKING regards her a moment, and then undresses to her shift. MARY pushes it down off her shoulders and she pulls out her bare arm to reveal a bleeding rawness.)
MARY: Oh, my. This requires some attention. Madam, if you’ll bring me the dipper.
(MRS. FAIRMONT brings over the basin of water. MARY draws a white cloth from her apron pocket.)
MARY: Mrs. Fairmont, have you any clean linen about? This will want wrapping.
MRS. FAIRMONT: Oh, yes, of course.
MARY: And some alcohol to clean it.
MRS. FAIRMONT: I’ll go and fetch it.
(MRS. FAIRMONT exits. MARY wets her cloth and begins dabbing at MRS. HAWKING’s wound.)
MARY: This is serious.
MRS. HAWKING: I have seen worse.
(MARY examines up her arm.)
MARY: You have… so many scars.
MRS. HAWKING: As I said.
MARY: Does this happen… often? In this work that you do?
MRS. HAWKING: On occasion. You may count how often.
(MARY works in silence a moment.)
MARY: And… what do you do?
MRS. HAWKING: Beg your pardon?
MARY: When this happens. If you will not see a doctor.
MRS. HAWKING: I manage well enough on my own.
MARY: I see. If I may ask… what if it were more serious than this? Something that you could not manage on your own?
MRS. HAWKING: Seeking medical attention is out of the question, Miss Stone. Any outside attention risks exposure of my… enterprise.
MARY: I understand. But… you’ve no other assistance? Is there no one trustworthy?
MRS. HAWKING: I cannot chance it. Discovery by the wrong person could mean the end of everything.
MARY: I think you make a great mistake in that.
MRS. HAWKING: I did not ask your opinion, Miss Stone.
MARY: Everyone has need of help sometime.
MRS. HAWKING: You are out of turn, Miss Stone.
MARY: Forgive me, madam… but if there is never anyone to help when you need it, it could mean the end of everything.
MRS. HAWKING: It is an easy thing to say when you need not live in fear of your well-meaning fool of a husband putting a stop to you for what he thinks is your own good.
MARY: He never knew?
MRS. HAWKING: I could not permit it.
MARY: In twenty years of marriage?
MRS. HAWKING: One can hide anything from anyone if one so chooses.
MARY: You couldn’t hide it from me.
(MRS. HAWKING’s eyes widen in surprise, and she turns her head to regard MARY very seriously. MRS. FAIRMONT returns with the linen and alcohol. She hands it over to MARY.)
MARY: Thank you.
(She soaks the linen in the alcohol.)
MARY: There will be pain, madam.
MRS. HAWKING: I have no fear of that.
(Her face is stern as MARY wraps her wounds in it.)