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Sixteen Lines: Tenth Line

So, where was I? Oh, yes, Act One, scene seven. My character has been asked by the Governmental Authority to examine the Child to see if she is being Well Brought Up:

Pearl, comest thou hither. Child—Pearl, thou must take heed to instruction. Canst thou tell me, my child, who made thee?

There’s (obviously?) a lot of business here to go along with the words. A gesture for the Child to come closer, the child’s reluctant foot-dragging, an attempt at an avuncular pat on the head with attendant revulsed flinching, and then (this is the bit I particularly like), my character, who is sitting square and upright in a wooden chair, holds out his two hands in front of him for the poor Child to step in between, so I place her by the upper arms in an over-the-top imposition of authority. In this short moment, the Other Clergyman goes from an incompetent attempt at twinkliness to outraged authority and back more than once—it’s a hint (at least in my mind) that the character is not only unsympathetic but fundamentally untrustworthy, fully capable of convincing himself and other people that things are as they are not. Or at least himself, and I hope making it at least plausible for the audience that I will sweep others up in my delusion of myself as kindly, stern, loving, pious and ultimately concerned with the Divine Will for the community of faith.

Which, at least in my character’s mind, I am.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,
-Vardibidian.