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From "Caipho and Erasmus": Act II, Scene i.

by Susannah Mandel

[Enter CAIPHO, with GAMALFIEL [the cat].]

Gamalfiel, tell me, what shall I do?
Two days gone by, and I've not made reply
to that last message of Erasmus'.
I doubt not but he wonders why I stay,
and why my answer cometh not.

[She sets down GAMALFIEL upon the bed. GAMALFIEL goes to the pillow
and makes as if to sleep.]

Great good you are to me, you lazy thing!
Sleep then. And I'll kindle the terminal,
and see if there is fresh word from Camille,
some new report to help me understand
what I had best to do.
you don't know how I envy you your rest!
My nights have been broken with misery
since Wednesday. Oh, if only love
were not such agony! If only trust
could be made sure! If only I could know
that Erasmus is true. But no; I've lacked
all surety since Camille made report
that he was texting Andrea while I
was at Grandma's in Margate.
                      Well, let us see
if there's fresh news tonight. Come, come -- turn on!

[Divers noises and the COMPUTER grows light.]

Ah, here’s word from Camille. What does she say?

[She reads.]

Alas! More further proofs -- if I had need --
of his deceitfulness. Oh, who would be
a woman? Who would have a tender heart,
and see it broken by man's perfidy?
Especially a young girl, and a heart,
so tender, and so pretty, as mine is
and as I am. Gamalfiel, it's hard!

[The COMPUTER shaking, as if in a wind.]

What's this? Erasmus wants to chat with me?
Who would have thought that he would be online!
I will not speak with him, I'll tell him no,
I'll set him to "Ignore."

[LIGHTS as of a storm. ERASMUS appears standing on the floor rug, in
green light, as a HOLOGRAM. Gamalfiel, wakened, looks on.]

Erasmus! But how come you here? I tried --

I overrode your chat-room block. You know
I have your password.

'Tis true -- I forgot.

What's all this nonsense, Caipho? Am I blocked
from chatting with you? I, your boyfriend! Why?
And why no answer to my messages?

Hear him complain, as if ‘twere he’d been wronged!
And why not chat with Andrea, if you
need company?

Andrea? What mean you?

I mean only that I've heard from Camille
what you were up to while I was away.
I should have known before I gave my heart
to thee! Alas, poor Caipho!

This is naught.
You know Camille has never liked me.

I won't hear my friend slandered to my face
by a poor gormless craven who’ll deny
the truth he stands accused with!

Aye, I'll go!
I won't stay here and be abused by you;
I see I have no chance against Camille.
Answer my email if you like, Caipho,
but till you're reasonable, rave alone!

[He disappears. The green light vanishes.]

And he is gone.
Oh, who would be a girl? Gamalfiel,
my heart is breaking! Let me spend my tears
on your soft fuzzy chest!

[She throws herself upon the bed and embraces GAMALFIEL. GAMALFIEL meows.]

'Tis true, my friend, but that kind word you say
cannot ease my regret. Alack the day!
My heart governs my head: I love him still,
despite the wise persuasions of Camille.

[Exeunt ambo.]

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