The Three Musketeers by Tom Wood


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SCENE 1 - TAKING LEAVE

THE COURTYARD OF A MODEST COUNTRY ESTATE.

Early morning - April, 1625. Tarbes, Gascony, France

A young lad and a very fit older man are dueling viciously. They shout
and exclaim as they tumble and roll. Near decapitations and stabbings.

Eventually, the older man pins the younger with a sword to the throat.

PERE: Finite!
D'ART: The “pusatta”, now I remember!
PERE: You must not hesitate for an instant!
D'ART: (nods)
PERE: It is by courage- please observe- by courage alone, that a
gentleman can make his way nowadays.
D'ART: Yes, father…
PERE: He who hesitates for a second allows his destiny to escape
which, for just t hat instant, Fortune holds out to him.
D'Artagnan turns his back to his father, to drink from a bucket…
D'ART: If I am to reach Paris…
Old D'ART launches a surprise attack. Mere D'Artagnan enters with
a saddle bag.
PERE: Coupe Riposte. Encore. Froissemont. No. Montant. Good. Degage. A
bit too slo-OH! Good. Degage. Good! Trompement! Tierce not Thrust.
Good! Very Good!
D'Artagnan disarms his father.
PERE: Not bad. But you must be fearless; for two reasons: the
first…
D'ART: That I am a Gascon.
MERE: You are a Gascon!
PERE: And the second?
D'ART: That I am your son.
A beat. Pere grabs D'Artagnan and hugs him fiercely.
MERE: Must you really leave so soon?!
PERE: I have nothing to give you, my son, but these fifteen crowns
and my horse.
D'ART: You are too generous, father. You should keep Jonquille…
MERE: Avoid cold drafts, wet feet and loose women.
PERE: That horse was born in the house of your father which ought to
make you love it.
Mere produces items from her apron pocket.
MERE: Here, a poultice for the feet.
PERE: Never sell her…
MERE: This is for the hair. No! it cleans the bowels.
PERE: And allow her to die tranquilly and honorably of old age…
MERE: And this! (a small jar) This is a balm from a Bohemian recipe
which has the virtue of curing all wounds that do not reach the
heart.
D'ART: Thank you, mama…
PERE: At court, provided you have ever the honor to go there,
remember…
MERE: Oh, your breeches are torn. Give them.
D'ART: They're fine…
MERE: Give!
PERE: Remember, to sustain worthily your name of…
Taking off his breeches.
D'ART: Gentleman.
PERE: ... gentleman, which has been borne by your ancestors for…
D'ART: five hundred years.
Mere produces a needle and mends his pants.
MERE: There's three good meals in that bag.
D'ART: I will. Thank you, mama.
PERE: Endure insults from no man except…?
D'ART: The King.
PERE: And of course Monsieur de Treville which reminds me…
MERE: Your left pocket, Philip. (Then indicating to D'Artagnan) Hard
cheese and your favorite preserves.
PERE: Be wary of the Cardinal for he rules France through the King.
But you are to be a King's man.
MERE: And the Queen's.
PERE: Monsieur de Treville, was formerly my neighbor, now there he is,
Captain of the Musketeers…
As D'Artagnan takes the letter we hear-a far-off chord of music
D'ART: The King's Musketeers!
MERE: Done, you see. (handing back the breeches)
PERE: Go to Treville with this introduction, and make him your
model.
D'ART I swear I'll make you both proud. I will return a Musketeer
or… you have taught me Honor- Courage and I will employ them both…
I will think of you always You are…
Father and son are on the point of tears. They stand for a moment,
hands hanging at their sides. Almost embarrassed at their fierce love
and inability to express it. Then D'Artagnan the elder girds his own
sword around his son, kisses him tenderly on both cheeks, and gives
him his benediction. Mere pulls her apron up to her face and sobs
beneath it. D'Artagnan walks off to his horse, he turns once and
waves.
D'ART: I will return a Musketeer or die trying.
He exits as the lights fade on Mother and Father

SCENE 2 - THE JOLLY MILLER

THE COURTYARD OUTSIDE THE INN OF THE JOLLY MILLER near the town of Meung

A hot afternoon in a dusty, little village

The Inn is isolated and has seen better days

Three men- two: (Jussac- a rat and Mousseau- a thug) are dressed in the colors of the
Cardinal and a third haughty fellow (Le Conte de Rochefort) with a scarred face and
eye-patch SIT at a table drinking

They take turns tossing knives at a pumpkin held on the head of scruffy petrified little girl,
Betane Gallard

The impoverished, harried Inn Keeper, Madame Gallard, is afraid of Rochefort

A knife is thrown and misses the child completely.

JUSSAC At that point we surrounded the unprepared swine and arrested
them

ROCHEF'T Musketeers, arrested?!
MOUSSEAU Five of them!
JUSSAC Mousseau killed one in the scuffle.
Rochefort salutes Mousseau limply.
ROCHEF'T The Cardinal will be pleased.
JUSSAC - and Treville mortified. The King will have the old mongrel on
the carpet. Stop snivelling you little snot!
BETANE Mama!
GALLARD Please, my lord, she's terrified.
Rochefort pins Gallard with a look that silences her.
ROCHEF'T Justifiably.
Another knife is thrown. It sticks near the girls bare feet. Betane
begins to snivell.
ROCHEF'T Quiet!
He looks out to the road and listens. Nothing.
MOUSSEAU It's hot as hell.
ROCHEF'T (listens) It's not like the lady to be late.
Rochefort throws his knife. It hits the pumpkin dead center.
ROCHEF'T Another round.
GALLARD (exiting) Monsieur.
Rochefort tosses him an apple from the table which he exchanges for
the pumpkin. The church bell begins to toll the hour.
ROCHEF'T Jussac, see if our travelling companion is still
breathing…
The sound of a horse approaching.
ROCHEF'T Wait, I hear her…. Mon Dieu! (beat) There's something you
don't often see: a hayseed riding a canary!
Mousseau and Jussac laugh.
JUSSAC Such a sad, yellow nag?!
ROCHEF'T Mousseau, discourage this bumpkin from approaching…
D'ART (off) Is there anyone there to take my horse!?
ROCHEF'T You couldn't pay anyone to take that jaundiced plug.
As the two laugh again, D'Artagnan enters slapping the road dust off
of his trousers.
MOUSSEAU (stopping him) The Inn is closed.
As Rochefort is about to toss his knife at the apple, D'Artagnan
cuffs away Mousseau's arm and snatches the blade from Rochefort's
hand. Mme. Gallard re-enters.
D'ART Monsieur - why do you submit a child to such peril?
ROCHEF'T Because, my dear fellow if the target were any taller I
should have to stand. Are you hard of hearing - The Inn is closed.
GALLARD (wanting D'Artagnan to stay) Betane, water the gentleman's
horse.
Rochefort shoots daggers at Gallard. Betane extis quickly.
ROCHEF'T My dear Gascon, your horse has been in it's youth a
buttercup. It's a color very well known in botany but till the present
time very rare among horses.
Mousseau and Jussac laugh.
D'ART There are people who laugh at the horse who wouldn't dare
laugh at the master!
ROCHEF'T As you may perceive by my expression, I do not often laugh;
nevertheless I retain the privilege of doing so whenever I please.
D'ART And I allow no man to laugh when it displeases me!
ROCHEF'T (pause) Turn boy and trot back to your pig-pens.
D'Artagnan doesn't budge, Rochefort turns on his heel- about to
exit.
D'ART (drawing his sword) Turn, Master Joker, or I'll strike you
from behind!
ROCHEF'T Strike me!? You Gascon's are all mad!
D'Artagnan makes a furious lunge at Rochefort who springs nimbly
backward. Rochefort draws his sword while signaling something to his
two friends. He salutes his adversary and places himself on guard.
Unseen by D'Artagnan, Jussac picks up a shovel then whacks
D'Artagnan across the back of the head. He falls to the ground.
ROCHEF'T Tie him to his sway-back cheese, and let him begone.
D'ART (groggily getting to his feet) Not before I have killed you,
poltroon!
ROCHEF'T The clod's incorrigible!
The fight with Rochefort's men is prolonged for a few more seconds as:

D'ART We shall see what Monsieur de Treville thinks of this insult
offered to his…
D'Artagnan's sword is broken in two pieces by the blow of the
shovel.
D'ART ...protege. I challenge you, you dog….
Another blow on his head brings him to the ground, covered with blood
and fainting. Madame Gallard rushes to D'Artagnan's side.
ROCHEF'T Who is this madman?
GALLARD Just a boy, your lordship…
ROCHEF'T (to Gallard) Some water.
GALLARD Monsieur. (she rushes off)
ROCHEF'T Search him, you muttonheads! It is not for nothing he
mentions Treville.
They have pulled off the bag from around D'Artagnan's shoulder.
JUSSAC A clean shirt, some stale bread, a pot of something vile,
eleven crowns.
The two begin to fight over the money. Mousseau pockets it.
ROCHEF'T And his pockets?!
MOUSSEAU Nothing but a letter.
ROCHEF'T To? From??!
JUSSAC "Monsieur de Treville, Captain of the Musketeers!"
ROCHEF'T The devil! Can Treville have set this Gascon upon me? He
is very young; but a sword thrust is a sword thrust.
Rochefort pockets the letter. A carriage is heard approaching. Madame
Gallard returns with water.
JUSSAC The carriage, Monsieur.
ROCHEF'T At last.
Gallard bends to give a drink to D'Artagnan but Rochefort takes the
cup and drinks.
ROCHEF'T (to Mousseau and Jussac) Bring down our guest. Quickly.
Rochefort grabs Gallard by the neck.
ROCHEF'T We were never here, you understand.
Gallard exits as the carriage is heard pulling closer and stopping.
Rochefort moves forward to meet the occupant as D'Artagnan rises,
limping and bloody.
D'ART (weakly) Where is he? Where is the coward?! Monsieur, I
challenge you….
D'Artagnan lifts his sword forgetting it's only half there. Mousseau
who has just returned from inside the inn puts his hand on
D'Artagnan's shoulder - turns him around and slugs him across the
jaw. D'Artganan revolves back and hovers for a second stunned -
he sees a vision:
D'ART An Angel!
He falls to the ground unconscious. Milady de Winter has entered. The
cool, disturbingly handsome - Soissons, follows.
MILADY My dear Rochefort, is it this mere boy that appears to have
upset you so?
Jussac enters from the Inn with a woman bound and gagged - Madame
Gaudet -she appears beaten and drugged.
MILADY (about the woman) Oh my, the company you keep. (lifting her
head) Madame Gaudet! I thought the Cardinal had exiled this
treacherous busy-body.
ROCHEF'T His Eminence believes that Gaudet returned to Paris to warn
the Queen about the trap we've set for Buckingham.
MILADY How could she have found out?
ROCHEF'T That is exactly what His Eminence wishes you to ascertain.
Bind her legs and dump her in the coach! You are to take her to
Chantilly and compel from her the reason she conspires again with her
majesty.
Jussac and Mousseau put a bag over Gaudet's head as:
MILADY A travelling companion, Soissons! She's drawing flies.
ROCHEF'T Get her out of sight!
MILADY Soissons, see that Madame Gaudet has everything she needs.
ROCHEF'T You have delivered the letter?
MILADY Dear Rochefort. To Buckingham himself.
ROCHEF'T And he believed it was from the Queen?
MILADY Buckingham wants nothing more than to believe he has been
summoned by his beloved. In any event the forgery was impeccable.
ROCHEF'T Then Buckingham is on his way; the trap is set.
Rochefort and Milady exchange a look.
ROCHEF'T When you have extracted more from your guest, return
instantly to Paris.
Unseen by them, D'Artagnan raises his head and looks around.
MILADY An order from his Eminence? Or is it you that cannot bear my
absence?
She laughs coquetishly. Rochefort looks at her, unmoved.
MILADY And what will you do my dear Rochefort?
ROCHEF'T Back to Paris.
Soissons returns.
MILADY What, without chastising this insolent boy?
D'ART This insolent boy chastises others, (getting to his feet) and
I hope that this time, he who ought to be chastised will not run
away.
Rochefort pushes D'Artagnan back causing him to fall into the dust
then tosses a bag of coins at his head.
ROCHEF'T Pay the bill, booby!
D'ART Base coward! False gentleman! Coward! Base coward!
D'Artagnan sees Milady. He attempts a bow, but his wounds render him
too weak. He falls to his knees, then forward onto his face.
SOISSONS (to Milady) He's very handsome.
MILADY Too young, Soissons. You must wait till his sabre grows
longer.
Milady and Soissons exit as Rochefort's horse is heard galloping
away.


SCENE 3 - OUTSIDE THE COURTYARD OF M. DE TREVILLE

EARLY MORNING IN THE RUE DU VIEUX COLOMBIER

City sounds: horses and carts passing, carriages, dogs barking etc. It
may be that we can also hear, in the distance, a drum keeping time for
marching and intermittent volleys of musket practice. Planchet, an
impoverished, singular young man, paces. He holds a bridal, saddle and
a sword. He looks up and down the street.

PLANCHET (calling) Monsieur! Over here.
D'Artagnan enters. He is in a hurry. His head and hand are bandaged.

D'ART You were able to sell her?
PLANCHET Yes, Monsieur. Her color seemed to distract them from her
age. Her back. Her legs.
D'ART Thank you…
PLANCHET Her teeth.
D'ART My father's sword?
PLANCHET (presenting the sword) My brother in law.
D'ART Fine work. And lodgings?
PlANCHET A garret in 17 Rue des Fossoyeurs.
D'ART Um… (not knowing Paris)
PLANCHET Very near the Luxembourg. The old carp wanted an advance so I
gave it to him. His young wife will make you forget the peeling
walls.
Planchet presents the change. D'Artagnan takes it as:
D'ART And as promised. (he counts the coins back into the boys
hand)
A bell begins to toll the hour. D'Artagnan collects his things in
order to leave. Planchet takes them from him as:
PLANCHET Monsieur would you not like to commence a more permanent
relationship? As you see, I'm very reliable..
D'ART I'm sorry, my friend…
PLANCHET Planchet. From Picardy.
D'ART I can pay you nothing, Planchet.
PlANCHET That's twice what I'm making now.
D'Artagnan has been fixing himself up. Planchet assists. As they
walk off:
PlANCHET I'm smarter than I look. I'm brave. Strong as an ox,
loyal as a dog. I can doctor horses. I don't eat much. (They exit)

SCENE 4 - INSIDE THE COURTYARD OF M. DE TREVILLE

Chaos erupts. The courtyard, resembles a military camp: Musketeers,
parade constantly, armed to the teeth and ready for anything. Loose,
half-drunk, imposing - the King's Musketeers (4 of whom are: Lacour: a
jokster, Preval: a serious thinker, Valmont: dashing brave and vain,
Rombard: a ladies man) spread themselves about the yard - shouting,
quarreling, singing bawdy songs, playing instruments, twisting their
mustaches, clanking their swords, and taking great pleasure in playing
tricks and annoying each other. Musket practice. Men wrestling, people
wagering on them. Whores. Mistresses. Serving wenches. Straw, dung,
dust, chickens, horses, and dogs

On the staircase, Aramis, stationed on the top stair, sword in hand,
endeavors to prevent the three others from ascending. There is much
jostling and exclaiming

At the same time, Porthos, strikes a heroic pose, seated on a dummy
horse, He is having his portrait painted. He is dressed in a flowing
cloak, plumed hat, and a very gaudy gold baldric. A cabbage sails
through the air just missing Porthos who has to duck. He looses his
hat and may fall from his perch

PORTHOS Have a care, you apes! This hat cost more than you'll see in a
year! Classless, oafs!
Once we take this all in - D'Artagnan and Planchet ENTER.
PlANCHET ...good teeth. Relatively honest. I can count, fire a musket,
spell my own name….
D'Artaganan, mesmerized by this beautiful chaos - stops short.
Planchet walks into him. Many look and some snicker. Before
D'Artagnan can chastise the offenders, a young cadet (Treville's
valet) approaches.
VALET Your business?
D'ART I request a moment's audience with Monsieur de Treville.
VALET Are you expected?
D'ART I'm a compatriot of the Monsieur.
VALET Letters of Introduction?
D'ART Please tell the Captain that I am the son of Philip
D'Artagnan from Tarbes.
VALET Wait here.
PLANCHET That went well.
PORTHOS Aramis, what do you think? Gold! Solid gold. Woven by
Benedictine nuns!
LACOUR Surely, it's only gold at the front?
PORTHOS No, no. Honor. Purest gold. All the way round.
ARAMIS There's not enough gold in France to circumnavigate that
breadbasket.
PORTHOS How dare you! The Duchess thought it would become me. It's the
latest fashion….
ARAMIS Lacour, lift his cloak and see.
PORTHOS No no, I have a cold. It's extravagant, I admit, but what
can I do? One must please one's mistress.
ARAMIS I begin to doubt the very existence of this phantom Duchess.
PORTHOS What an idiotic notion!
ARAMIS We have never once glimpsed her.
PORTHOS But I have glimpsed your mistress, Aramis. In a chaise, hooded
and cloaked and still you deny she exists at all.
ARAMIS Gas bag!
VALET (calling) Monsieur Athos!... Athos! Monsieur Athos!... (to
Porthos) Monsieur de Treville would speak with Athos.
Porthos and Aramis exchange a look.
ARAMIS Have you checked the stables?
VALET Twice.
PORTHOS Try the artillery.
The Valet exits.
PREVAL But I thought Athos was….
Aramis and Porthos silence Preval. Then whispering:
PORTHOS Grievously wounded. (indicates the shoulder)
ARAMIS Athos would die rather than appear in such disgrace before the
Captain.
PREVAL Devil take the Cardinal's filth!
PORTHOS Poor Cadet Durand, murdered by that thug, Jussac.
PREVAL I assure you he would pass a very uncomfortable two minutes
with me, if I were to encounter him.
ARAMIS And then you would pass rather a sad quarter-hour with the Red
Duke.
PORTHOS (Clapping his hands and nodding his head) Oh, the “Red Duke”!
Bravo! Who says Aramis is not a wit! His crooked-back Eminence -“The
Red Duke”! Capital. What a misfortune you did not follow your first
vocation; you would have made a delicious priest!
ARAMIS Shut up, Porthos.
PORTHOS I've touched a nerve. He will be one, rest assured. His
holiness here awaits only one thing before donning the cassock.
PREVAL What's that?
LACOUR For the Queen to produce an heir to the throne.
PORTHOS Yes, but will that heir be French?
Some are scandalized. A relative hush falls.
ARAMIS MORBLEU!
PORTHOS Cursing's a sin, young curate.
ARAMIS No jesting upon that subject, gentlemen!
PORTHOS Your delicate ears! Is it not true that when Buckingham is in
France he's in the Queen's bed.
ARAMIS Gossip all you want about the King or the cursed Cardinal; but
when you speak of her majesty let it be respectfully.
PORTHOS Dear Saint Aramis, be a Musketeer or be a priest - but not
both.
ARAMIS I will be a priest if it suits me! In the meanwhile I am a
Musketeer; and so I say what I please, and at this moment it pleases
me to say that you're a gauche, boorish, horses ass!
PORTHOS Ah finally, Aramis, some “blood”. Some… (he grabs his own
crotch) PASSION!!!!!!
ARAMIS Porthos, you're a swine….!!!!!
VALET D'artagnan! Monsieur de Treville awaits. Monsieur
D'artagnan!
D'ART Here! That's me. I'm here.
D'artagnan in his excitement stumbles into the “horse” that Porthos
is on (or knocks someone else into it). Porthos falls to the dirt and
D'artagnan falls on him then gets caught up in his cloak. It ends up
over Porthos's head and exposes the old shoelaces and twine that
hold the baldric together at the back. Many of the men laugh and
point.
PORTHOS You there, clod! You must be mad to run against people in this
manner.
D'ART Excuse me, I didn't see you.
PORTHOS Do you always forget your eyes when you run?
D'ART No, I'm sorry.
PORTHOS Monsieur, you stand a chance of being chastised if you knock
Musketeers in this fashion!
D'ART Chastised, Monsieur! The expression is strong.
PORTHOS It is one that becomes a man accustomed to look his enemies in
the face.
D'ART Well, I can see why you don't dare turn your back.
Many laugh. Aramis walks away. D'artagnan turns to leave. Porthos,
in a rage, grabs D'artagnan.
VALET Come, sir, you must not keep Monsieur de Treville waiting.
PORTHOS Not so quick to run off.
Porthos slaps him with his glove.
D'ART Any other time, Monsieur.
PORTHOS One o'clock, then, behind the Carmelite Convent.
D'ART At one o'clock.

[end of extract]



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