THE SETTING is EASTON HOUSE. It is the morning after COUNT STRAUD and WEASLIE arrived on the morn after the Solstice.

The Eastons, father and daughter, have bid adieu to our heroes and they are walking to their horses in the late-morning heat.

BRONALD and the Easton’s Man, MAURICE, have tacked the horses in the early hours and the pair of dappled mares have uneasily awaited their charges as the morning sun waned. Their eyes are wide and full of fear.

WEASLIE attempts to secure a pack to the back of his saddle and he steps in horseshit. STRAUD notices but stifles comment. Soon they are on their way back to the town.

THE HORSES are energetic at first but try to settle down as the men regain their privacy away from EASTON HOUSE. It is slow in the strangeness.

BRONALD WEASLIE 

WELL, SIR, HIS... UH...

STRAUD remains silent. WEASLIE’S MARE walks to his 1:30.

BRONALD WEASLIE 

THE SKETCH WAS PROMISING.

A silence hangs between the two. It is a cold morning and the mist hangs heavy across the trees.

BRONALD WEASLIE 

SIR, A MAN LIKE THAT PROBABLY DOESN'T GET A LOT OF WORK.
STRAUD

EXCUSE ME?

WEASLIE stops, as if stunned.

BRONALD WEASLIE 

HE PROMISED TEN FOOT. MORE THAN YOU ASKED. 
STRAUD 

YES, I SENT FOR LIFE-SIZE.
BRONALD WEASLIE 

SO HE PROMISES MORE.

STRAUD grumbles, inaudible in the horse’s clatter.

BRONALD WEASLIE

IT WILL LOOK BEAUTIFUL ABOVE THE FIREPL--

STRAUD speaks with a sudden volume to startle the birds.

STRAUD 

WE'RE NOT BUYING.
BRONALD WEASLIE 

BUT WHY--
STRAUD 

WE'RE NOT BUYING.

BRONALD suffers silence for a moment but seems to burn, seethe, if quietly.

BRONALD WEASLIE 

SIR, I BEG --
STRAUD 

I DON'T WANT IT!
BRONALD WEASLIE 

SIR?
STRAUD 

THE MAN'S GOT NO TALENT -- THAT'S NOT THE FACE OF MY FATHER.

WEASLIE remains silent for a moment.

BRONALD WEASLIE

WELL, THAT, SIR, I MUST ADMIT I CAN BARELY CONTEST --- BUT -- 

STRAUD turns toward the man, after staring absently at the pines while talking.

BRONALD WEASLIE 

SIR I THINK THEY NEED THE MONEY.
STRAUD 

WEASLIE?

WEASLIE pauses, as if he has rehearsed the following.

BRONALD WEASLIE 

THE GIRL ISN'T A GIRL.
STRAUD 

(pause) EXCUSE ME?
BRONALD WEASLIE 

THE EASTON DAUGHTER. SHE'S A HE.

STRAUD is silent.

WEASLIE, nervous at the silence, fumbles insecurely.

BRONALD WEASLIE 

MY COUSIN FROM GALL'WAY WROT' OF A DOC' WHO~
STRAUD 

WEASLIE!!

WEASLIE stops talking in embarrasment but his horse keeps idling on.

STRAUD 

WEASLIE, QUITE HONESTLY YOU DISGUST ME. I KNOW NOT OF WHAT YOU SPEAK OF IN YOUR LETTERS TO YOUR KIN, NOR DO I WANT TO KNOW. 
BRONALD WEASLIE 

SIR, I--
STRAUD 

DISGUSTING, REALLY.

A silence hangs over the pair again, but as it lingers, they both feel secret confusion and regret.