ALBANY ... part 1
[EXTERIOR BRITISH ENCAMPMENT, PARADE GROUND - SIX HUNDRED 62nd REGIMENT OF FOOT - DAY
in two rows. At each command the crack troops respond en masse. Their hands slap the stocks of their brown bess muskets in unison. These men are drilling in preparation for war. We witness a state-of-the-art, 18th century, precision killing machine.]
REGIMENTAL SGT. MAJOR: [shouts] Shoulder arms! [slam] Order arms! Handle cartridge! [men bite the paper] Prime! [powder dropped in pan] Load! Draw ramrods! Ram cartridge! Return ramrod! Make ready! [muskets at chest height] Pre-sent! [muskets shouldered] Make ready! [muskets returned to chests] Pre-sent! [muskets returned to shoulder] Fire!
[Like a single shot, two hundred fifty black powder muskets fire .65 caliber lead shot at chest height in a scythe of death.]
SERGEANT MAJOR: Prime! Load!
[The Dutch roof lines of Albany are in the distance. Nearer, a coach races past.
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EXTERIOR ROAD - HORSES GALLOP - DAY
Six horses, wide with dumb, mute strain. Foam, manes fly, their hooves pound the yellow road into dust. Military outriders are on the three left side horses.
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INTERIOR COACH - MAJOR DUNCAN HEYWARD - DAY
sits erectly in the brilliant scarlet coat of the First Royal Regiment of Foot with gold braid, blue-black facing and blue-black breeches, cavalry boots, spurs, a tricorn, white wig (?) and a gorget (large medallion) around his neck. He's 28-30 and tough. He is self-sure, principled reactionary. He believes human society is static & layered into hierarchies of class and they are absolutely impermeable. He opens a simple gold-clasped case & contemplates its contents ...
HEYWARD'S POV: CASE
enameled portrait of a dark-haired young woman.
as a soldier is militarily first-rate in his milieu: the open battlefields of Europe. Right now, however, he is about to enter the forests of North America. He closes his clasp and glances out the window as we enter Albany and as a facade of buildings & people pass.
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INTERIOR BRITISH HQ, ASSEMBLY ROOM - DOOR - DAY
Four Grenadiers come to attention as Heyward enters mid-scene.]
JACK [O.S.]: ... if they are not allowed leave to defend their families if the French or Hurons attack the settlements, no colonial militia is goin' to Fort William Henry.
HEYWARD: [low] You, there. Help my man outside with the baggage.
[GENERAL JEROME WEBB sees Heyward and nods. Three of Webb's Adjutants are on either side. Three remaining Grenadiers in bearskin-covered mitred caps are at the door. Facing Webb are a half dozen colonial representatives, including Captain Jack Winthrop. Heyward watches Jack ...]
LIEUTENANT: They will report or be pressed into service!
LARGE COLONIAL REP: Any of the boys worth havin' can disappear into forest ... time it takes you to blink. Where's that leave ya, then?
[Heyward, preparing to hand over dispatches, is interrupted by the insubordinate tone. Equally wound tightly is the Lieutenant.]
LIEUTENANT: They will be found! Arrested ...
WEBB: [cuts in] I cannot imagine his Majesty, in his benevolence, would ever object to his American subjects defending their hearth & home, their women & children, if threatened by the "scourge" of attack from savages, aroused to such excess by our enemy, the ever-perfidious French.
JACK: Does that mean they will be granted leave to defend their homes if the settlements are attacked?
WEBB: Of course.
[Heyward's more amazed by what he's just heard from Webb. These Americans, including Jack, are streaming past him on their way out.]
JACK: You got yourself a colonial militia, General.
HEYWARD: Major Duncan Heyward reporting, Sir!
[Webb's pouring gin.]
WEBB: Duncan. How was your journey?
[The door closes. Dispatches are passed. They are now alone except for the General's two Adjutants and a shadowy form waiting patiently in a corner. He's MAGUA. In the dim light, he's motionless. Webb slides a glass across to Heyward.]
HEYWARD: I didn't experience anything so surprising from Bristol to Albany as what I witnessed here today.
WEBB: And what is that?
HEYWARD: The Crown "negotiating" the terms of service?
WEBB: I know. [assuming a co-commiserator] One has to give Americans "reasons" and make agreements to get them to do anything at all. Tiring, isn't it? [throws up his hands] But that's the way of it here.
HEYWARD: [tight] I thought British policy is 'Make the World ... England', sir.
[A chill. Majors don't upbraid Generals.]
WEBB: You will take command of the 62nd Regiment of Foot. At Fort William Henry under Colonel Munro. I will march the 33rd to Fort Edward.
HEYWARD: Sir! ... Might I enquire if General Webb has heard from Colonel Munro's daughters? I was to rendezvous with them in Albany and escort them to the fort.
WEBB: Yes. You may. [to Magua, after a glance at Heyward] You there. What does Munro call you? [ to Heyward] The "Scotsman" has sent one of his Indian allies to guide you.
rises and slowly walks into the light. He is reserved and over six feet tall. His head is shaved into a mohawk. Rings, beads & feathers pierce his ears. A blanket is worn as a shawl over his left shoulder exposing his right arm and heavy tattooing. A long tomahawk is in the belt of his breechcloth.]
WEBB: The Scotsman's daughters are at the Poltroon's house. A company of the 33rd will accompany you and Magua will show you the way.
HEYWARD: By your leave, sir.
[Webb holds Heyward a moment:]
WEBB: [to Adjutants] Explain to the Major we care little about toying with colonial militia because we have little to fear from the French. They have not the nature for war. Their Latinate voluptuousness combines with their Gallic laziness and the result is: they would rather make love with their faces than fight.
[Webb's Adjutants laugh uproariously at his wit. Heyward's stiff, perfunctory smile. He's been made the butt of the joke. He does not share Webb's derisive view of the French. Webb doesn't like Heyward's manner. We don't like Webb. Then:]
WEBB: [continuing] Dismissed.
[Heyward stiffly salutes. Webb casually, perfunctorily salutes the younger man in return.]
HEYWARD: [to Magua] Dawn. At the encampment. Six a.m. sharp. See to it you're there.
[Beneath Magua's barely deferential manner we sense intelligence & menace. None of these Brits see it. We do.
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