The amateur performance, set in the halls of the former medieval abbey and now the estate of Baron Sivud, changed the fate of its participants and many other people, contributed to the age-old struggle of socialist revolutionaries and conservative aristocrats, proved to be a very instructive episode in British history and, at the end he turned his life to the only organic state for her – ordinary happiness.
A lover of antiquity, young and thoughtful Olivia Ashley was the author of the play “Troubadour Blondel”. This historically known troubadour traveled, singing, throughout Europe in the hope that King Richard the Lionheart, captured in Austria on the way from the Holy Land, would hear his songs and respond. He found a king after some hesitation makes a firm decision to return to his homeland, so that under his hand, “the good old England” was preserved and flourished.
The problem of staging the performance is, first of all, the lack of performers. The insignificant role of the second troubadour is to invite John Braintree, a man whose views and actions of a convinced socialist produce in Sylwood society no less inappropriate impression than his revolutionary blood-red tie. And the role of the king, which is extremely important in the play, ultimately comes to the scholar, the Sivud librarian Michael Hern. This causes him to move away from the history of the ancient Hittites, that is, from what was before all the meaning of his life, and to plunge into the European history of the 12th-13th centuries. A new hobby covers him, like a swift and irresistible fire. The performance also includes red-haired Rosamund Severn, daughter of Lord Sivud, and several young people of their circle. Dreamy Olivia Ashley meanwhile, with the possible diligence working on the scenery. For perfection, she needs that clean scarlet paint that matches the colors on the old miniatures. At the time of her childhood, this paint was sold only in one shop, and now it is completely impossible to find it. Douglas Merrell, a representative of a noble family, who has a reputation as a person who is inclined to give himself up to whims and indulge in adventures, is able to help her, seriously treating such an order. The consequence of this is that he does not shun the “bad society”, standing for others by an irresistible obstacle on the way to covetous self-will and adventures. At the time of her childhood, this paint was sold only in one shop, and now it is completely impossible to find it. Douglas Merrell, a representative of a noble family, who has a reputation as a person who is inclined to give himself up to whims and indulge in adventures, is able to help her, seriously treating such an order. The consequence of this is that he does not shun the “bad society”, standing for others by an irresistible obstacle on the way to covetous self-will and adventures. At the time of her childhood, this paint was sold only in one shop, and now it is completely impossible to find it. Douglas Merrell, a representative of a noble family, who has a reputation as a person who is inclined to give himself up to whims and indulge in adventures, is able to help her, seriously treating such an order. The consequence of this is that he does not shun the “bad society”, standing for others by an irresistible obstacle on the way to covetous self-will and adventures.
Then follows the truly heroic comic story of the exploits of Douglas Merrell. He finds an old scientist who knows the secret of medieval scarlet paint. He gets acquainted with his theory of the death of European civilization due to the epidemic of blindness that has affected the Western world and makes to prefer boring modern dyes to inspiring paints of the Middle Ages. He saves this holy defender of brightness from a madhouse. He defeats the demonic psychiatrist, who as a result finds himself in the only worthy place – a cage for the mentally ill. He falls in love with the beautiful daughter of a learned old man. Finally, after ten weeks, Merrell returned to the Sivudian manor with a jar of magical scarlet paint he had extracted. His head is decorated with a coachman’s hat, and he himself runs an old cab – all this he once acquired as a means,
Meanwhile, something extraordinary happens on the huge green meadow of the estate of Siyvud. Above the motley heraldic crowd of nobles, dressed in medieval clothes and armed with medieval weapons, the throne is seated by the king, surrounded by a lush retinue. The extraordinary seriousness and solemnity of the king does not immediately allow him to recognize in him a scientist, a Sylvian librarian. Next to him is the red-haired Rosamund with a gorgeously sparkling award weapon in his hands. In a crowd that looks with astonishment and slight contempt at the strange sight of Douglas Merrell – an inappropriate representative of the Victorian era – he learns many of his secular acquaintances. “What is this? Is the performance dragged on for two and a half months?” “Do you not know?” They answered, “Did not you read the newspapers?” Merrell did not read them. He rolled in his cab on the country roads, bringing only...
Before the trial, the king listened to the story of Douglas Merrell. To the great indignation of his adherents, who firmly and unshakably stood for the idea of a medieval masquerade, the king presented Merrell with a premium weapon designed for a true knight who accomplished an unselfish and wonderful feat. And this despite all the obvious absurdity and comic of his adventures!
But the king’s next decision leads the brilliant crowd into such a determined outrage that inevitably puts an end to Hern’s power. First, the king recognized the noble and chivalrous enemy in the “anarchist” Braintree, and secondly, he decided that the factories and mines belong to the workers much more corresponds to the laws of the Middle Ages, than their belonging to former owners who are not even masters of professional shops. Thirdly, the king said that, according to the latest genealogical research, only an insignificant part of the aristocracy gathered here has a genuine right to be called it. Basically, these are the descendants of shopkeepers and millers.
“Enough!” – exclaimed the Lord Prime Minister, who first spoke so recently with the initiative of transferring power to the League of Leo. “Enough!” “Lord Sivud repeated resolutely. “Enough! Enough!” Flashed over the crowd of noble knights. “Take this acter! Take him! Lock him in the book depository!”
The King’s swift retinue disappeared. Only John Braintree, Olivia Ashley and Rosamund Severn were left behind. Douglas Merrell joined them. “Marrel, stop, remember who you really are!” they shouted at him. “I am the last liberal,” the man in the cap of the cabman answered firmly.
It was dawn. A lean horseman with a spear went out to the misty road, followed by a ridiculous rumbling cab. “Why are you following me, Douglas?” asked the knight sternly, an image of sadness. “Because I do not mind being called simply Sancho Panza,” the cabman said from a high place.
How they roamed the roads of England, trying to protect the destitute, discussing the destinies of civilization, helping the weak, reading lectures on history, preaching, fighting not with the mills but with the millers and performing many similar and absolutely unmatched exploits – all of this, perhaps someone else will tell. It is important for us now that in wanderings and adventures their convictions have finally cleared up. Here they are: stop the doctor if you see that he is insane to the patient; do it yourself, for only an honest struggle brings results. And then it followed that Don Quixote needed to return. In the end, they turned to the west, forbidden to them, toward Sivud.
Dreamy Olivia Ashley was convinced that the wonderful color of her childhood completely reproduces the color of the tie of John Braintree. Their noble hearts joined. Douglas Merrell for a long time did not dare to make an offer to the daughter of the old scientist rescued by him: he feared that the feeling of gratitude would not leave her the possibility of refusal. But simplicity won, now they are happy. The return of Michael Hearn, his meeting with Rosamund doomed to happiness and these two. Rosamund, having inherited Siyvud after the death of her father, returned it to a monastic order. There again arose the abbey. Legend has it that the sad knight Michael Herne almost joked for the first time in his life: “When celibacy returns, the true meaning of marriage returns.” And in this joke he was serious, as always.