.          all rights belong to Tanis Harms, © 2015
.             refer
to www.church-skits.com

SAVED BY GRACE – written & adapted by Tanis Harms

(research and adaptions from John Newton’s personal
voyage log entries, and “SERVANT OF SLAVES”
by Grace Irwin [Wm.B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. 1961])

PREMISE:     John Newton spent most of his tumultuous
.            life trying to earn the favor of God,
.            until he came to understand those words
.            written in his song - "Amazing Grace."
STYLE:       drama (musical option)
.            NOTE:  You can select which songs you do,
.            but at least include a bit of piano music
.            from the first song, and definitely do the
.            last song.  You can have other characters
.            sing the recommended songs, or have a choir
.            or other soloists/groups sing them instead,
.            or find other applicable songs.
TOPIC:       God’s amazing grace
SCRIPTURE:   Eph.1:13-14, 2:8-9;  Gal.5:1

.            $30.00 USD to receive a DIRECTOR’S SCRIPT
.                                   (plus sheet music)
how you receive this & package description

SCRIPT:                  ACT 1

.                STAGE LEFT – PULPIT

(OLD JOHN NEWTON stands at the pulpit.)

O.J.N.       Amazing Grace – how sweet the sound...
.            It was many years before I could
.            understand those words, never mind
.            write down those words into a hymn.
.            Although, I had already heard this message
.            at a very early age.  Taught by my mother!
.            Elizabeth Newton.  I could recite scripture,
.            the catechism, and speak Latin – all before
.            the age of five.  My mother had hopes
.            of me becoming a minister of the church.
.            I remember that another enjoyable part
.            of my education included her playing
.            the spinet while teaching the principles
.            found in the hymns of Dr. Isaac Watts.

.               STAGE RIGHT – NEWTON HOUSE              2

(Soft spotlight shines onto 5 year old JOHN who
sits in a tiny sofa, intently listening to ELIZABETH
who [pretends] to play the spinet, and sings SONG 1:

ELIZABETH    (vs 1)“Begin, my tongue, some heav’nly theme
.            And speak some boundless thing.
.            The mighty works or mightier name
.            Of our eternal King

.            (vs 2) “Tell of His wondrous faithfulness
.            And sound His pow’r abroad
.            Sing the sweet promise of His grace,
.            The love and truth of God.”

.                STAGE LEFT – PULPIT

O.J.N.       These lessons ended when my mother passed
.            away.  I was not yet seven years old.
.            She was quickly replaced by another woman
.            who could barely tolerate me.  And soon,
.            after the birth of my stepbrother,
.            my father, Captain Newton, hired someone
.            to deliver me like an unwanted package to
.            the boarding school at Stratford, England.
.            The two years of being bullied and harassed
.            by the other students merely caused me
.            to lose my love for books and learning.
.            It also caused my father to look at me
.            with increasing disappointment.

SOUND:       kids playing in background


(11 year old JOHN sits rigidly in a chair,
hands clasped in front with fear.  HEADMASTER enters,
followed by NEWTON SR. with an air of determined anger.)

HEADMASTER   Captain Newton!  Although I am pleased
.            to finally meet you, sadly these are
.            under trying circumstances-

NEWTON SR.   I got here as soon as I could.
.            Now, what is this all about?

(NEWTON SR. looks from sullen JOHN back to HEADMASTER.)

HEADMASTER   Master Newton’s studies have suffered      3
.            immensely.  Which is shameful -
.            considering that upon his arrival,
.            he was far ahead of his class.

NEWTON SR.   Are you able to offer any valid reason?

JOHN         The other boys beat me up for knowing
.            the lessons.

HEADMASTER   We do not allow that sort of behavior.

JOHN         As I have tried to explain, it is always
.            on the sly, tripping me, and such.
.            But during rugby games, this is when
.            they get in their most brutal shots-

NEWTON SR.   You took me away from work and family
.            because you cannot hold your own in sports?

HEADMASTER   He has been caught sleeping in class
.            as well.

JOHN         Because I have to study at night
.            whilst the others are asleep, otherwise-
.            they will torment me-

NEWTON SR.   (to HEADMASTER)  And you tolerate
.            these excuses?

HEADMASTER   No sir. He has been whipped countless times
.            for his lack of discipline.  He now stays
.            awake but he does not complete his studies.

NEWTON SR.   And now you ask that I should whip him?-

(JOHN swallows back his tears.)

HEADMASTER   Captain Newton, we are at a crossroad.
.            You can whip him, if you wish, but take him
.            elsewhere.  As Master Newton does not
.            maintain the standards expected –
.            he cannot continue his education here.

NEWTON SR.   (to JOHN)  What am I to do with you?!

JOHN         What about my training for the ministry?

(HEADMASTER grimaces at this suggestion.)

NEWTON SR.   My late wife’s fancy.  She was one         4
.            of those so-called Christian dissenters.
.            Believed that one should reason things out-
.            No!  It is all about following the laws.
.            (to JOHN)  John, you will learn something
.            useful for a change.  Perhaps you will
.            become a man at sea!  You shall take
.            a few voyages with me and see that life
.            is not so easy!

JOHN         I am only but eleven-

NEWTON SR.   That will be the last time you question me.

.                STAGE LEFT – PULPIT

O.J.N.       My education continued at sea.  Although
.            I was DETERMINED to live by the theological
.            education and standards imparted by my dear
.            mother, while ALWAYS striving desperately to
.            earn the respect and love of Captain Newton,
.            the SAILORS did their best to educate me
.            in the finer arts of cursing and blasphemy.

.                  DOWN CENTER STAGE

(Sailors sing SONG 2: “

SAILORS      (vs.1) “We be three poor mariners
.            Newly come from the seas;
.            We spend our lives in jeopardy
.            While others live at ease.
.            Come let us dance the round,
.            A round, a round
.            Come let us dance the round,
.            A round, a round
.            And he that is a bully boy
.            Come pledge me on this ground,
.            A ground, a ground.
.            (vs.2) We care not for these martial men
.            That do our states disdain;
.            But we care for those merchant men
.            Who do our states maintain.
.            To them we dance this round,
.            A round, a round
.            To them we dance the round,
.            A round, a round
.            And he that is a bully boy
.            Come pledge me on this ground,
.            A ground, a ground.”
.                                                       5
.                STAGE LEFT – PULPIT

O.J.N.       By the time I was 17, I had taken 6 voyages
.            with my father before he retired, as well as
.            a voyage to Alicant, Spain, where my
.            education in the art of cursing, blasphemy
.            and other such matters, continued.
.            As a result, I constantly struggled with
.            guilt, and rode the fine line between
.            discipline and disobedience.  Events such as
.            the death of a close friend would bring me
.            back to God for a short time– but only
.            with a multitude of questions and regrets.

SOUND:       clock ticking

.               STAGE RIGHT – NEWTON HOUSE

(As JOHN, now approximately 17, enters, BILLY runs in
then shouts out.)

BILLY        Papa!  A strange man just walked in!

(NEWTON SR. enters. BILLY now runs back to fling his arms
around NEWTON SR. who gently pats him on the back.  
JOHN swallows his feelings of jealousy and sets
his duffle bag down.  MRS. NEWTON now enters.)

MRS.NEWTON   Who is there?- Oh, John?  Why,
.            you are all grown up.

JOHN         (nodding)  Ma’am.

MRS.NEWTON   I am not prepared to receive any guests,
.            as we were not expecting anyone-

NEWTON SR.   He will be leaving shortly.

MRS.NEWTON   Well, at the very least, I can have Elsa
.            fix a meal for you to take along.

(At NEWTON SR.’S glare, JOHN bows begrudgingly.)

JOHN         Thank you, ma’am.  Most kind.

MRS.NEWTON   Come along, Billy.  Let the men talk.

(MRS. NEWTON exits while motioning to BILLY.  
BILLY whines and reluctantly follows her out.)
.                                                       6
NEWTON SR.   John!  How do you think it looks for
.            a captain to have an undisciplined son
.            without a career of any status?
.            Not only have you disappointed me,
.            yet again, you have created tensions
.            between me and Mr. Manesty.
.            This merchant from Liverpool has gone
.            out of his way as a favor to me
.            to find a placement for you!

(NEWTON SR. picks up a letter to wave in JOHN’S face.
JOHN stands at attention as NEWTON SR. paces and rants,
clutching the letter in his hands.  BILLY sneaks in and
snickers in the background.)

NEWTON SR.   You had a comfortable position in Spain.
.            This was to secure your future.
.            And how do you repay these favors?
.            Do you have any idea how serious this is?
.            (stops inches from JOHN’s face)
.            You are tarnishing my name along with yours!
.            I have a good mind to thrash you.

JOHN         (stands tall, inhales, muttering intensely)
.            “O tempora, O mores.”

(NEWTON SR. backs down and continues his rant,
opening up the wrinkled letter and reading portions.)

NEWTON SR.   “Unsettled behavior and impatient
.            restraint!”  “Lack of self-discipline!”
.            “Gross and intemperate insensibility
.            of the benefits bestowed upon you.”  
.            (calming down)  I do not wish to wear out
.            my favor in the eyes of Mr. Manesty...
.            But, I was able to apologize to him
.            on your behalf.  He has made a concession
.            and has granted to you another chance.
.            Another opportunity.  A position- in the
.            management of a plantation in the Indies.
.            For 5 years!  Thus, your life is secured.
.            Your ship sails in three days.  I expect
.            you make the most of this time,
.            and make something of yourself.

(NEWTON SR. storms out and BILLY makes a face before
trotting off after his father.  JOHN sits down to think.  
ELSA rushes in with lunch package, leather satchel,
a letter, and a quick curtsy, then gushes carefully.)
.                                                       7
ELSA         Master John.  Nice to see you, sir.
.            You look so grown up.  Your – mother –
.            would have been so proud.  Aye, well,
.            here are - some of the dinner scraps-

(JOHN accepts the package with a sad smile and
is about to turn to go, but ELSA touches his arm.)

ELSA         Also- (in hushed tones)  This- this
.            was your mother’s.  I – I kept it aside
.            for you – to give to you one day.
.            When I noticed that – well... these were
.            your mother’s personal effects
.            I managed to retrieve from the rubbish.
.            (gives satchel to a cautious JOHN)
.            As well as this, which I believe has
.            your name on it.  A letter of some sort.
.            I do not know.  I cannot read.

JOHN         (taking the letter to study it)
.            From the Catletts?

ELSA         (remembering)  Aye, they were your mother’s
.            dear friends.  Who live in- Kent, I believe.
.            They must be curious about what’s
.            become of you.  I do not suppose you
.            remember the few visits of long ago.

JOHN         I do not.

ELSA         I remember- they have a son – your age.
.            Well, go on.  What does it say?

JOHN         (scans letter then folds it with a shrug)
.            They request that I visit them.

ELSA         Well?  Will you?... You should!

JOHN         I should?  Well then, instead of fretting my
.            soul – as the imperturbable calm of
.            the author of “Characteristics” says –
.            “The central powers which hold the lasting
.            orbs in just poise and movement must not be
.            controlled to save a fleeting form and
.            rescue from the precipice a puny animal.”

ELSA         You were always so good at quoting
.            things, Master John.  While I – scarcely
.            understood anything you just said.
.                                                       8
JOHN         (packing his new items while speaking)
.            It is quite simple, really, Miss Elsa.
.            Because I do not care, I will not put
.            too much thought into it.  As I approach
.            the fork in the road - I shall-
.            let my horse decide which road to take.

ELSA         You will let your horse make an important
.            decision for you?

(JOHN starts to exit sadly, with a shrug.  Overcome,
ELSA suddenly dashes over to hug a surprised JOHN.)

ELSA         Oh, Master John, take care of yourself.
.            All the best to you, dear.

(A concerned ELSA watches JOHN exit.)

.                  DOWN CENTER STAGE

(ELSA steps into SPOTLIGHT to sing SONG 3:

ELSA         (vs 3) “Round each habitation hovering,
.            See the cloud and fire appear
.            For a glory and a covering,
.            Showing that the Lord is near!
.            Thus deriving from their banner
.            Light by night and shade by day
.            Safe they feed upon the manna
.            Which He gives them when they pray.
.            (vs 2)  See the streams of living waters,
.            Springing from eternal Love,
.            Well supply thy sons and daughters,
.            And all fear of want remove.
.            Who can faint while such a river
.            Ever flows their thirst to assuage?
.            Grace which, like the Lord, the Giver,
.            Never fails from age to age!”

.                STAGE LEFT – PULPIT

O.J.N.       Amazing Grace, that saved a wretch like me.
.            I most certainly was a wretch.  And I was
.            not about to improve on that any time soon.
.            That day, my horse decided to veer
.            towards the Catletts’.  This course –
.            would greatly affect many choices I made
.            as my life continued to unfold and unravel.
.                                                       9
(OLD JOHN NEWTON shakes his head.)

O.J.N.       Why COULD I not stay the course?...
.            I supposed, if I was unable to please
.            my earthly father and live up to
.            his standards, it only stood to reason that
.            I could never live up to God’s standards.  

SOUND:       horse trotting


(CATLETT family lines up, including the SERVANTS:
and POLLY.  MRS. CATLETT rushes to usher JOHN inside
and give him a huge matronly hug.)

MRS.CATLETT  John Newton, how wonderful it is
.            to see you.  My- I must say– you look
.            so like your father.  Although I am
.            most sure your mother would have had
.            a strong influence upon your life.
.            She was the most dedicated Christian
.            and most loving Mother one could ever find.

MR.CATLETT   Darling, allow John to put down
.            his duffle bag, at least.

MRS.CATLETT  Yes!  Now these are Jane, Sue and Irene,
.            our maids, should you need anything.
.            (each curtsy to JOHN)  Although, we still
.            consider them part of our family.  Now,
.            Irene, please- take John’s duffle bag
.            to the guest room.

(IRENE rushes to the heavy duffle bag but struggles.)

MRS.CATLETT  And Jane shall help.

(JANE quickly rushes to help carry the duffle bag.)

JOHN         Really, I- I can take it-

MRS.CATLETT  Nonsense, you are a guest!  Well,
.            practically family, as I see it.  Now,
.            this is my darling husband, Mr. Catlett.

(JOHN begins to bow, but MR. CATLETT puts out his hand
for JOHN to shake, which he does with a bow of respect.)
.                                                      10
JOHN         Please to meet you, sir.

MR.CATLETT   Spoken as a true captain’s son.

MRS.CATLETT  Now really, John, as I just said,
.            I really think of you more as a nephew.
.            I should like you to call us Auntie and
.            Uncle.  I hope that is acceptable?

JOHN         That is quite a privilege.  Thank you,
.            ma’am-  (at MRS.C’s stern look)  Aun-tie.

(As MRS.CATLETT introduces everyone, she keeps moving
backwards to slowly reveal the entire family.  This way
JOHN only really sees those she is introducing.)

MRS.CATLETT  Very good.  Now, behind your uncle’s legs,
.            you may catch a glimpse of our little Sarah.

(SARAH giggles and waves shyly.  GEORGE salutes grandly.)

MRS.CATLETT  That would be our son George.
.            Fancies himself going to sea, one day.

JACK         One only wonders why.  Sorry, ol’ chap.

MRS.CATLETT  That smart-mouth is our son, John,
.            although, we call him Jack.
.            As you have probably found, there are
.            so many men named John in this world.
.            You two are also the same age, yes?
.            You were born in 1725.  And met as babies!
.            Although, I highly doubt you remember that.
.            (moving backwards to now fully expose MARY)
.            And this – is our daughter Mary –
.            but again, as so many girls are named Mary
.            we call her Polly.  I hope you are
.            not too confused by so many names.

(At the sight of POLLY, JOHN is stunned silent with
infatuation.  POLLY smiles and puts out her hand.)

POLLY        Quite pleased to meet you, John.
.            (JOHN timidly and gently shakes her hand)
.            Why, silly, I am not quite that fragile.
.            Have you never seen a girl before?

MRS.CATLETT  (clapping)  Please!  You children sit
.            and visit while I see to dinner.  Jane!
.                                                      11
(JANE does a little curtsy and rushes out ahead of
MRS. CATLETT.  MR. CATLETT sits in a chair,
and motions for JOHN to sit in the other chair,
while JACK and POLLY take either side of the sofa.  
SARAH cuddles in beside POLLY, while GEORGE sits on
the floor looking up at JOHN with wide-eyed admiration.
Every so often, JOHN steals peeks at POLLY.)

MR.CATLETT   We are quite pleased that you could finally
.            visit with us, John.  Ahem.  The news
.            of your mother’s passing – had been
.            extremely distressing, to say the least.  

POLLY        Mother still speaks quite at length
.            about her dear, sweet friend, Elizabeth.
.            I cannot imagine how I might feel
.            if it were my mother to pass away.

JACK         Why such a morbid discussion, little sis?

POLLY        Mother has felt very badly about
.            neglecting the son of her dearest friend
.            for this long, is all.  We have heard her go
.            on and on and on about reaching out to you.
.            Finally Father just insisted
.            she get a letter out to you.

JACK         So you are in the area on business?
.            It must be quite the life.  And just
.            how long have you been doing this?

GEORGE       They say you have been on ships.

JOHN         Going on – seven years – now.
.            Began when I was eleven.

JACK         THAT I cannot imagine.  I have yet
.            to travel anywhere on my own.

MR.CATLETT   Education comes first.

JOHN         (to POLLY)  W- what of your education?

POLLY        I had a bit of schooling from Mother.
.            Our mothers went to school together,
.            you realize.

MR.CATLETT   Formal education is so unusual for
.            any woman, even with leisure and money.
.                                                      12
POLLY        Mother also goes on and on about
.            her schooling.  It sounds like your mother
.            was very smart.

MR.CATLETT   I just wonder how such an education
.            actually benefits a young lady.

POLLY        So you see, Father does not push me in the
.            academics.  And as I am now thirteen years
.            old, I am learning all the valuable and
.            necessary details of running a household.

JOHN         You – you are but – thirteen?

MR.CATLETT   (protectively)  Correct!  Your cousin –
.            is only a very young girl of thirteen.

POLLY        Oh Daddy, I am not truly a cousin!
.            And I am hardly a child.

JACK         But you are a brat.

POLLY        You are the brat.  A pompous wordy brat
.            who thinks he is so knowledgeable.

JACK         About certain things, indeed.

POLLY        Likes to tease me in Greek and Latin,
.            which does not affect me one little bit,
.            as I cannot understand one word.

JACK         (to JOHN)  Do you know any Greek or Latin?

JOHN         Latin.  And- Spanish and French.
.            (to POLLY)  Si vous voulez,
.            je peux vous apprendre un peu de francais!

POLLY        Is that supposed to impress me?

JACK         I say, John here, must know a thing
.            or two after seeing the world.

GEORGE       You have been to Amsterdam?
.            (John nods)  Our town has a windmill!

JACK         I am sure that would not be such
.            a big deal to someone who has seen
.            the wonders of the Mediterranean.
.            I do so envy you.
.                                                      13
JOHN         It is not so much to envy.

MR.CATLETT   Indeed.  Education from those experiences
.            are enough to be the undoing of any man.
.            You shall glean your education back here
.            in England, Jack.  Where it is civilized.
.            John could certainly attest to the ways
.            of those foreigners.

JOHN         Most certainly... ah- most – un-civilized-

(JANE rushes in with a curtsey.  POLLY notices.)

POLLY        Saved by the bell.  Dinner is ready.

(ALL get up to exit.)

JACK         How long shall your visit be with us?

JOHN         I have less than three days before
.            I am to ship off.

SOUND:       (s.c.e. 1) scene change excerpt 1,
.            then birds singing in background

.                  DOWN CENTER STAGE

(Throughout this scene you could have people walking by.
JACK leads the way as POLLY walks beside JOHN.  Tripping,
POLLY gasps and grabs JOHN’S arm and does not let go.)

POLLY        Really, John, what can you possibly get
.            out of the church sermon if you spend
.            all of your time looking at me?

JOHN         You- I- um- well-ah-

(JACK turns around and stops to talk.)

JACK         The inability to choose your words
.            might explain how it was that you would
.            make an important life decision
.            with just a toss of a coin!

JOHN         It was probably unwise.  But if I leave
.            the important decision to chance, then -
.            I shall feel less accountable.

POLLY        And does that work?
.                                                      14
JOHN         (shakes head shyly, then more to JACK)
.            The three days went by rather quickly,
.            and well, I really wished to stay longer.

JACK         I wonder why.

JOHN         You cannot know how fortunate you are
.            to have such a close, nurturing family-

POLLY        Your family is not like that?

(JOHN gasps an awkward laugh.)

JACK         Now that you are staying longer,
.            what else shall we do this week?
.            The theater is running a drama by Centlivre.

JOHN         Brilliant.  Which one?

JACK         “A Wonder!  A Woman Keeps a Secret.”

POLLY        (gasps)  Is that to imply that a woman
.            cannot keep a secret?

JACK         One does not have to imply.

(Shrieking indignantly, POLLY chases JACK around JOHN
trying to swat at him.)

POLLY        What sort of insulting drama is that?

JACK         You will stay at home then, whilst
.            John and I go into the city.

POLLY        (with final gasp, she stops resolutely)
.            I think we should have an evening of
.            playing cards instead.  And then – oh -
.            John, will you be staying for Christmas?
.            Oh, please stay for Christmas!  Please?

JACK         I am sure John will be expected at home-

JOHN         I expect not.

POLLY        So you can stay?

JACK         Or will you decide with another
.            coin toss?

POLLY        No need.  Simply do as you wish!          15
.            It will be so much fun.  We sing carols
.            on Christmas Eve.  There is church
.            on Christmas morning.  Then endless eating,
.            drinking and merriment, and dancing-

JOHN         Dancing?  I – I only know a sailor’s jig.

POLLY        I shall just have to teach you a proper
.            dance, then.  And find you proper clothes.
.            John, really, you should try to keep up
.            with the London fashions.

(The THREE turn to walk again, but stop as JACK points
out at something.)

JACK         I say, look out there in the dockyard.
.            Any idea what that is?

JOHN         Looks like the construction of a 60-gun
.            man-of-war.  Fairly near completion, too.
.            If we do go to war, the French will be wise
.            to keep clear of a ship such as that.

POLLY        Please let us not talk about ships, or war.
.            Back to the discussion of dancing.
.            Lessons shall begin posthaste.

JOHN         Despite any well-intended dance lessons,
.            I doubt I shall dance.  I will still feel
.            very out of place.

(POLLY “aws” while JOHN looks away toward [unseen] ship.)

JACK         Perhaps you are more anxious about going
.            to sea on a man-of-war.

POLLY        Well, wherever you end up, you must promise
.            to write letters to us.  Promise?

SOUND:       s.c.e. 2, then clock ticking

.               STAGE RIGHT – NEWTON HOUSE

(ELSA dusts and fluffs the cushions on the sofa.
ELSA quickly stands at attention as NEWTON SR. steps
into the room to stare at her.  ELSA quickly shakes
her head in answer to the unspoken question.  
At his exit, ELSA slowly exhales and continues her task.)

(Sensing that someone has entered, ELSA stands         16
at attention again until she realizes it is now
JOHN entering the house.  ELSA rushes up to JOHN,
excited that he is there, but suddenly fearful
because she knows what he’s in for.)

JOHN         How bad will it be?
.            (reads ELSA’s concerned expression)
.            Ah, that bad.

(NEWTON SR. steps in and stands still.  ELSA rushes out.
JOHN remains at attention, waiting the usual berating
ritual.  NEWTON SR. is surprisingly but alarmingly calm.)

NEWTON SR.   Mr. Manesty sent word to me that you did not
.            show up.  So! you threw away the opportunity
.            on a whim?  These arrangements had been made
.            at considerable trouble and expense.  I can
.            no longer approach him on your behalf –
.            ever again.  I do not know what can be done
.            here... Now, I heard that Captain Yeats of
.            the Dolphin just lost three sailors from
.            small pox.  The rest have been quarantined.
.            So – I could – approach Captain Yeats.

JOHN         What position would you request?

NEWTON SR.   Before the mast.

JOHN         (repulsed)  As an ordinary seaman?
.            But I wish to someday marry Polly Catlett.

NEWTON SR.   That family may have taken you in out of
.            charity, but I know enough of Mr. Catlett!
.            He would never consider you worthy enough!
.            You do not have any formal education, or-

JOHN         I will obtain a job-

NEWTON SR.   Doing what?  You lack experience - and
.            given your propensity to being unreliable,
.            you could not obtain any sort
.            of position on any given ship. (thinking)
.            Captain Yeats, I’m sure, will, as a favor
.            to me, take you aboard.  It would pleasant
.            enough.  He runs a trading-voyage
.            for Englishmen on the Mediterranean.
.            But you will have to start from the bottom –
.            and man an oar.  Be prepared to live
.            in the foc’sle, and perform rough labor.
.                                                      17
.                  DOWN CENTER STAGE

(SAILORS sing SONG 4:  “
SAILORS      “Farewell and adieu to you, Spanish Ladies,
.            Farewell and adieu to you, ladies of Spain;
.            For we've received orders
.              for to sail for ole England,
.            But we hope in a short time
.              to see you again.
.            We will rant and we'll roar
.              like true British sailors,
.            We'll rant and we'll roar
.              all on the salt sea.
.            Until we strike soundings
.              in the channel of old England;
.            From Ushant to Scilly
.              is thirty five leagues.
.            (vs) “We hove our ship to with the wind
.              from sou'west, boys
.            We hove our ship to, deep soundings to take;
.            'Twas forty-five fathoms,
.              with a white sandy bottom,
.            So we squared our main yard
.              and up channel did make.
.            We will rant and we'll roar
.              like true British sailors,
.            We'll rant and we'll roar
.              all on the salt sea.
.            Until we strike soundings
.              in the channel of old England;
.            From Ushant to Scilly
.              is thirty five leagues.
.            (vs) “Then the signal was made
.              for the grand fleet to anchor,
.            And all in the Downs that night for to lie;
.            Let go your shank painter,
.              let go your cat stopper!
.            Haul up your clewgarnets,
.              let tacks and sheets fly!
.            We will rant and we'll roar
.              like true British sailors,
.            We'll rant and we'll roar
.              all on the salt sea.
.            Until we strike soundings
.              in the channel of old England;
.            From Ushant to Scilly
.              is thirty five leagues.”

.                        ACT 2                         18

(POLLY rushes up to JOHN enthusiastically, followed by
JACK and then MRS. CATLETT.)

POLLY        John!  It is so good - to see you again.

JACK         Sure great of your father to allow you
.            to come for another visit.

JOHN         Only under the condition that I was sure
.            of my welcome.

MRS.CATLETT  As I told you, dear, you are most welcome
.            whenever you have the opportunity.

JOHN         It was also under the condition that
.            I am back within a fortnight without fail.

MR.CATLETT   (entering)  Merry Christmas, young man.

JOHN         Merry Christmas, sir... uncle.

MRS.CATLETT  Irene –Jane – you may take Mr. Newton’s-

JOHN         Oh!  No!  Really - it is heavier
.            than last time.  I brought souvenirs –
.            presents- from the Mediterranean.

JACK         I’ll help you settle in – “mate.”

JOHN         I owe you a “congratulations”.
.            How goes it being a lawyer’s aide?

JACK         Indescribably busy.  I never imagined
.            any person would hold such grueling hours.
.            So I am still in complete shock that they
.            gave me the Christmas holidays off.

(JOHN hoists his duffle bag over a shoulder and follows
JACK to stage left.  POLLY’S adoring eyes follow JOHN as
he exits.  MR. CATLETT observes this, shaking his head.)

MR.CATLETT   Polly, please get your heart off that
.            young man.  He is not fit for you.

POLLY        What?!  Father!

MRS.CATLETT  (To MR.C)  Darling, how can you-
.                                                      19
MR.CATLETT   (to MRS.C)  I realize you feel obligated
.            to look after his welfare.

MRS.CATLETT  Captain Newton was always such a stern man-
.            and poor John must-

MR.CATLETT   That is fine.  But – these two matters
.            should have nothing to do with each other.
.            Now, once Polly is a little older, we shall
.            find her someone far more appropriate-

POLLY        Father, John is a-

MR.CATLETT   Trust me when I say, your girlish crush
.            will come to an end soon enough.

MRS.CATLETT  I can see your father’s reasoning.
.            Just imagine trying to raise a family
.            while your husband is off at sea
.            for years at a time.

MR.CATLETT   And not even close to being a captain.
.            He was before the mast!

POLLY        I do not know what that means.

MR.CATLETT   It means nothing.  A pittance.
.            He could have been working as a farmhand
.            shoveling dung- that is what it means.

MRS.CATLETT  Shhh, now, no more of this.
.            Polly, dear, please do not look so gloomy.
.            Come, help me organize the kitchen staff.

.               STAGE LEFT – GUEST ROOM

(Followed by JACK, JOHN enters guest room area and
sets down his duffle bag.  JACK stands by while
JOHN sits in a chair and begins to open the duffle bag.)

JACK         Very clever - writing to me all in Latin.

JOHN         I did not want those to fall into
.            the wrong hands.  Here – or there.

JACK         Was it really all that bad?

JOHN         Worse.

JACK         Venice must have been pleasant enough.    20

(JOHN jolts up to pace as he recollects his horrors.
JACK now sits down to listen.)

JOHN         As they found out that I am a captain’s son,
.            they made a point of showing me no favors.
.            Not only were the living conditions
.            horrendous, but I endured endless pranks
.            and bullying.

JACK         So you said.  But you failed to include
.            any details.

JOHN         You want details?  Where to begin?
.            Essential articles of my clothing would
.            go missing.  They put slop pails
.            in the areas where I had to step down
.            from my hammock.  At mealtimes, they would
.            upset my food platter so I would then
.            have to go through the day hungry.
.            I was mocked at every turn.  It was
.            only after coming out of a scuffle all
.            bruised and bleeding that things changed.

JACK         The finality of the initiation process!?

JOHN         More, due to the fact, that I spoke Spanish.

JACK         So you cursed at them using another
.            language...  That impressed them?

JOHN         They used this to their advantage
.            on the next shore leave whilst in Spain.

JACK         Ahhh, you helped them negotiate
.            and locate some ladies?

(JOHN becomes very still, and embarrassed.)

JACK         What?  Did you partake as well?  You did not
.            even allude to that part in your letters.
.            So?  Give me the details, man!
.            Out with it!

(JOHN slumps into chair, mortified, shaking his head.)

JACK         It could not be THAT bad...  Listen,
.            Polly nor anyone else shall ever hear of it.

JOHN         Let me just say that lots of alcohol-     21
.            well- and one’s inability to reason-
.            and well – things we would never think
.            of ever doing – very unimaginable-
.            how low one can sink – I had passed out –
.            they found me - surrounded by strangers -

JACK         It is fine.  No need for further details.

JOHN         Only the thought of Polly keeps me going.
.            She is my savior.

JACK         My little sister is your savior?  Listen,
.            I may as well warn you now, Father would
.            not be keen on that arrangement – at all.

JOHN         (stands up to fret about something deep)
.            Have I thrown away even my opportunity
.            for that?  Or did it never exist?
.            I THOUGHT my dream was prophetic somehow.
.            The ring seemed to have a symbolic meaning-

JACK         John, are we still on the same subject?

POLLY        (peeks in)  Dinner is ready in 15 minutes-
.            What are you two talking about? (steps in)

JOHN         Ahhh, oh, a dream!  I had a very upsetting
.            dream one night.  It seemed so very real.

JACK         (sits down, comments cautiously)  Is it
.            something you are able to share with us?

JOHN         It began with a person approaching me.
.            He showed me a ring which came with
.            a condition.  If I preserved the ring,
.            I would find happiness and success.
.            But if I lost the ring, I should expect
.            nothing but trouble and misery.
.            I accepted the ring happily under
.            those terms, not doubting my abilities
.            to care for it.  But then another person
.            came along and asked about the ring.
.            When I told him the story, he reasoned
.            with me that I was weak to believe in this,
.            and convinced me to throw it away.
.            But as I watched it sink into the deep
.            dark ocean waters, catastrophe struck.
.            I then realized my folly, but it was
.            too late.  My life was doomed.
.                                                      22
(POLLY and JACK look concerned, afraid to breathe.)

JOHN         And as I stood self-condemned without
.            plea or hope, the first person returned,
.            going down into the depths of the water,
.            to retrieve the ring.  My fears ended,
.            and with joy and gratitude I approached
.            my kind deliverer, but he refused
.            to return the ring to me, saying –
.            “If you should be entrusted with
.            this ring again, you would very soon
.            bring yourself into the same distress.
.            You are not able to keep it;
.            but I will preserve it for you.”
.            Needless to say, after that dream,
.            I was unable to eat or sleep for three days,
.            wondering what it all meant.

JACK         I am curious why, in your dream,
.            you did not dive down into the ocean
.            to get the ring back for yourself.

JOHN         (shrugs)  I cannot swim.

POLLY        Is that not odd for a sailor?

JOHN         Actually very few of us can swim.

JACK         Another story?

JOHN         I lost a close mate by his drowning.

POLLY        John, you simply must find stories
.            which are more cheerful.
.            Come, let us go now and start
.            the Christmas celebrations.

SOUND:       s.c.e. 3


(JACK and POLLY meet JOHN as he enters with duffle bag.  
POLLY strokes a silk scarf that is around her neck.)

POLLY        Thank you so much for this lovely scarf,
.            John.  What is it again?

JOHN         Ah, it – ah- M- Moorish silk.

POLLY        (giggles)  I wish you could stay longer.  23

(JOHN can only smile sheepishly.  JACK shakes his head.)

JACK         John already stayed much longer than
.            a fortnight!

JOHN         Yes, quite.  We-we- can we- let-
.            LET - us keep writing.

POLLY        Of course we shall keep writing.

JACK         Off you go now, Polly.
.            Before Father becomes concerned.

(POLLY waves reluctantly then exits.
JACK turns back to JOHN.)

JACK         I hope YOUR father is not too upset.

JOHN         Oh, he will be so, indeed.  I have missed
.            yet another opportunity because of the
.            convincing nature of the adorable Polly.

JACK         Why do you ascribe so much power to her?

JOHN         As I have truthfully stated before, Polly
.            is my salvation.  Although, I believe that
.            as I look to her for my strength,
.            she becomes the sole cause of my weakness.

JACK         John, do not mess up your career because of
.            Polly.  She likes you, yes- but young girls
.            can be so fickle.  You must know this.
.            You’re such a ladies man– except of course–
.            around my sister.  Then you become
.            but a jumbled twisted nervous wreck.
.            Now, you have my London address.  Allow me
.            to still be the dispatcher of letters.
.            Yes?  Take care of yourself, ol’ chap.

.                  DOWN CENTER STAGE

(MRS. CATLETT steps into the SPOTLIGHT to sing SONG 5:

MRS.CATLETT  (vs 1) “How sweet the name of Jesus sounds
.            In a believer’s ear!
.            It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds,
.            And drives away his fear.
.                                                      24
.            (vs 2) “It makes the wounded spirit whole
.            And calms the troubled breast;
.            ‘Tis manna to the hungry soul
.            And to the weary, rest.

.            (vs 3)“Dear name! the rock on which I build,
.            My shield and hiding place;
.            My never failing treasure, filled
.            With boundless stores of grace.”

SOUND:       waves crashing on the shore

.              CENTER STAGE – CLOW HOUSE

(CLOW waves JOHN inside, as they enter laughing.)

CLOW         Enter, John.  Welcome to my house.
.            Welcome to the heart of Africa.
.            (stops to face JOHN)
.            I do not invite many men here, but
.            as you have been helping me out, I can see
.            that I can trust you... and you amuse me.

JOHN         And here I was warned about you.

CLOW         Rightly so!  But as of now, you amuse me.
.            Ah, here is my beautiful mistress.

(JOHN balks when the beautiful MISTRESS glides in with
a regal arrogance.  JOHN looks at CLOW with question.
Immediately MISTRESS shows distain toward JOHN, but
she remains resentfully under control.)

CLOW         Yes, I am a slave-dealer who has
.            a black mistress – living as my wife.

MISTRESS     (unimpressed)  What is this?!

(MISTRESS stands firm and serious, observing all.)

CLOW         (to JOHN)  She is the daughter of a king.
.            Believes that I am actually in servitude
.            to her...  And in fact, I am to a point.
.            She saved my life from a tribe seeking
.            vengeance on another white man.
.            I was innocent, you see.

JOHN         Do they not look down on the – trade?

CLOW         As the king’s son-in-law, I have          25
.            certain trading privileges in this region.
.            They are not opposed to me buying up
.            their personal enemies and criminals.

JOHN         I understand.

(MISTRESS snorts with derision.)

CLOW         (to MISTRESS)  My dear, this is John Newton.
.            He has come to live here – in order to
.            manage my building project, and then later,
.            assist me with the slave-trade.

MISTRESS     But why is he in my house?

CLOW         It would be inappropriate for him to live
.            and eat with the slaves.  Would it not?
.            He will enjoy the comforts of our house,
.            as well as dine with us...
.            (MISTRESS stands silently aloof)
.            Now!  Please!  We need drinks!
.            (motions for JOHN to sit as MISTRESS exits)
.            So, where were you in your story?

JOHN         Oh yes, after the Christmas celebrations,
.            I returned home – to find my father –
.            seething with anger as usual.

CLOW         So you neglected your duties for a woman?

JOHN         She is still only fourteen.

(CLOW’s laughter suddenly turns to a stern warning.)

CLOW         But that will not be happening here!

JOHN         No sir, Polly Catlett is far away.

CLOW         There are women here.

JOHN         I am determined to remain committed.

CLOW         (starts laughing again)  So – wait –
.            there have been no other women?

JOHN         None of which I want to speak.

CLOW         Then you will speak!  I want stories!-

(MISTRESS enters with GIRL SLAVE, who carries          26
a tray with two drinks up to CLOW and JOHN.  
MISTRESS sits down stoically and gives CLOW a look
as if to dare him to dismiss her.  
GIRL stands in the back waiting dutifully.)

CLOW         Which you shall tell later.  Continue with
.            the other story.  What happened after
.            your father berated you?

JOHN         He was done with me.  Sent me away.
.            I was to look for a position, myself,
.            with only one warning.  As I was already
.            wearing a seaman’s shirt, I needed to be
.            careful around the docks that I should not
.            be spotted by the press-gangs.

CLOW         Let me take a guess, you were spotted,
.            and drafted on the spot.

JOHN         More like kidnapped.  With no discussion
.            I was thrown down into the hold of the
.            Harwich man-of-war.  Made to do grunt work,
.            and only served biscuits and gruel.

CLOW         And I am sure your arrogance did not help
.            make many friends.

JOHN         I was finally able to send a message out to
.            my father.  The captain then received a note
.            from him. Apparently Father had been working
.            hard to have me released from service.
.            Of course, with the invasion, the crown
.            required every able-bodied man to serve.
.            At least my hard work was noticed by
.            the officers and I was taken on the
.            quarter-deck as a midshipman.

CLOW         It must have helped that your father was
.            Captain Newton - late of the Hind
.            in the Mediterranean service.  

JOHN         Yes, the captain was most sympathetic
.            to my father’s prestige.

CLOW         Of course.  How would it look if his
.            first-born was forcibly impressed
.            into the lowliest service afloat.
.            And how was life for you then
.            in the junior officer’s quarters?
.                                                      27
JOHN         Educational.  These new mates
.            were not only learned, but intellectual.
.            Seeing me as Fortune’s new favorite,
.            even though fortune has been
.            most fickle toward me.
.            And – they challenged my theology-

CLOW         Please tell me you are NOT a man of God.

JOHN         I have chosen reason over faith.
.            For God has not seemed to be on my side,
.            either.  I now depend on what
.            I can actually see.  “Know then thyself,
.            presume not God to scan,
.            the proper study of mankind - is man.”
.            Even Shaftesbury encourages reasonable
.            speculation.

CLOW         Obviously a man who likes to read?

MISTRESS     And hear himself talk.

JOHN         Besides Milton, Addison, Bacon, Shakespeare-
.            I was introduced to such authors as
.            Voltaire, Locke, Bolingbroke, David Hume...
.            the freethinking of Lucian and Lucretius-

CLOW         And this is what guides you then?

JOHN         My guiding light is always the love
.            of a woman.

CLOW         Ah, back to your dear little Polly.

JOHN         She is what motivates and keeps me going.
.            She is my idol.  My one, and only.

CLOW         (smiling to placate MISTRESS)
.            Well, just like me – he is a smitten man.

JOHN         These junior officers also brought me
.            to see that there is power in the numbers.
.            For instance, my birthday is July 24.
.            Polly’s is January 22.  We met December 12.
.            All even numbers.  And what is more-
.            I have had narrow escapes from death-

CLOW         All on dates with even numbers?

JOHN         It is so.                                 28

MISTRESS     Any misfortunes on odd numbers?

JOHN         My mother’s death - July 11.  Hence,
.            I prefer to do things on even days.

CLOW         I hear you tried to escape and got caught.
.            Were you folly enough to attempt this
.            on an odd date?

JOHN         Unfortunately.  I did not choose the date
.            when I was to oversee the men who were
.            sent ashore for supplies.

CLOW         Huh!  But you did escape harsh punishment.

JOHN         Under section 16 of the Articles of War:  
.            as the Court Martial saw fit, they
.            recommended mercy... I received
.            eight dozen strokes of the cat.

CLOW         Still better than death.

JOHN         I would have welcomed death, had it not been
.            for the thought of Polly.  But entrenched
.            with anger towards the captain for thwarting
.            any opportunities of seeing her, I began
.            looking for opportunities to murder him.  
.            It was only the fear of losing Polly
.            forever that kept me from actually doing it.

MISTRESS     You seem to have some angel of light
.            protecting this dark soul of yours.

JOHN         I cannot seem to shake loose from it.

(JOHN and CLOW laugh at his clever joke.)

JOHN         The captain was most happy to get rid of me
.            when the commodore from the Guinea ship
.            ordered that they send him two men.

CLOW         I got the impression that Captain Penrose
.            was also not impressed with you.
.            He warned me that you were careless and
.            disobedient.  Had they not been
.            short-handed, you surely would
.            have been placed in irons.

JOHN         And that is how I found myself here –     29
.            in this new trade with you.
.            (looking around as a point of reference)
.            Here on the Plantain Islands of Africa.
.            Who would have thought?

(MISTRESS glares at CLOW angrily.)

MISTRESS     You hear all these things
.            about this man, and you still wish
.            that he work for you?

(JOHN studies MISTRESS, wondering what her issue is.)

CLOW         Darling mistress, John Newton’s gift
.            in languages will be of great use.
.            In no time at all, he will be speaking
.            every tribal tongue of this area
.            which will ease the process of purchasing
.            and selling slaves.

MISTRESS     I do not like the way he looks at me.

(CLOW glances at JOHN who quickly looks to CLOW.)

CLOW         John will mind himself.
.            He comes highly educated –
.            AND he entertains me.  He will
.            continue to regale me with stories,
.            as well as make us both richer.
.            Starting tomorrow!  Until
.            we make our first up-river trading trip,
.            John will oversee the building
.            of the shelters.

MISTRESS     And I will oversee him and keep my eye
.            on all that he does.

(CLOW smiles and leans over toward JOHN.)

CLOW         It is always best to humor her.

(Still not impressed, MISTRESS barks out her orders
while still glaring at JOHN.)

MISTRESS     Girl!  Show John Newton to his room.

(MISTRESS glares after them, as GIRL leads JOHN out.
CLOW helps MISTRESS up and escorts her out.)

.                  DOWN CENTER STAGE                   30

(SAILORS sing SONG 6: “

SAILORS      “Here's a health to the King,
.              and a lasting peace
.            May faction end and wealth increase.
.            Come, let us drink it while we have breath,
.            For there's no drinking after death.
.            And he who would this toast deny,
.            Down among the dead men,
.              down among the dead men,
.            Down, down, down, down;
.            Down among the dead men let him lie!

.            “Let charming beauty's health go round,
.            With whom celestial joys are found.
.            And may confusion yet pursue
.            That selfish woman-hating crew.
.            And he who'd woman's health deny,
.            Down among the dead men,
.              down among the dead men,
.            Down, down, down, down;
.            Down among the dead men let him lie!”

SOUND:       chains moving in background


(LIGHTS GO UP.  JOHN lies on the floor, shivering,
without any blanket.  MISTRESS enters and stands over
JOHN, gloating.)

JOHN         (very weakly)  W- water.

(MISTRESS smiles evilly, then exits.)

JOHN         P- pl – please.

(JOHN faints away as LIGHTS DIM.  LIGHTS GO UP.
JOHN is startled awake when slave GIRL enters
to put a log of wood under his head as a pillow.)

JOHN         P- please, w- w- water.

GIRL         Sh!  I get - to trouble.

(GIRL rushes out, trying not to be seen.  
JOHN falls asleep again.  LIGHTS DIM and GO UP again.
JOHN calls out.)
.                                                      31
JOHN         Who- who’s there?...
.            Is anyone there?

(Chains clank as a black arm pushes a bit of bread
over to JOHN.  JOHN weakly tries to wolf it down.
JOHN falls asleep again.  LIGHTS DIM and GO UP again.
JOHN slowly sits up.  GIRL passes by.)

JOHN         Help.  Please help.

GIRL         You feel better?

JOHN         Please, water... food.

(GIRL runs away.  LIGHTS DIM and GO UP again.
GIRL returns with cup and bowl and sets it on the floor
beside JOHN.  JOHN stirs awake.  Seeing the cup,
JOHN scrambles desperate to drink the water, then
picks up the bowl and studies the contents.)

JOHN         Only Rice and water?
.            I’ve not eaten in weeks.

GIRL         Mistress say – no work, no food.

JOHN         But, to work, I need food –

GIRL         But - no work – no food.

(GIRL leaves and JOHN hastily eats and drinks.
LIGHTS DIM and GO UP again.  GIRL enters with a plate.)

GIRL         Today, Mistress good – today food –
.            from her plate.

JOHN         She offers me leftover scraps
.            from her plate?

GIRL         You no want?

JOHN         Yes-yes- I want.  Thank – you.  Thank you.

(As JOHN reaches for the food, MISTRESS’ VOICE
is heard yelling and GIRL scrambles away quickly.)

MISTRESS     (yelling)  Girl!  Get away from him now!

(MISTRESS swoops in and grabs the plate away from JOHN.)

MISTRESS     Someone say you sneak out at night -      32
.            sometimes to steal raw vegetables from me.

JOHN         No.  What?

MISTRESS     You try eating food from my garden!
.            I should punish you for being a thief.

JOHN         Please, let me – eat something.

(MISTRESS bends down to hold out the plate to JOHN.
It is just out of reach.  JOHN strains to crawl nearer.
As soon as JOHN is within reach, with a smile,
MISTRESS slides the plate away from him toward
the black arms in chains to grab.)

MISTRESS     You do not deny your crime.
.            Stupid man.  Such a small, stupid man.
.            No mother would want you.  No woman
.            would want you.  You DESERVE to be taunted
.            and molested. I’ll see to it
.            that my servants attend to you AGAIN.

(JOHN curls up tight on the floor as MISTRESS arrogantly
marches away.  LIGHTS DIM and GO UP.  JOHN still lies
on the floor when CLOW enters.)

CLOW         There you are!

JOHN         Mister Clow.  What – happened?

CLOW         You do not remember?  Right before
.            our first up-river trip, you came down
.            with a fever.  We had to leave you behind
.            under the care of Mistress.

JOHN         There was no care.

CLOW         Mistress said you preferred
.            these quarters over the comforts of
.            the house in order to fully recover.
.            So, you survived the fever.

JOHN         Barely.

(CLOW motions for JOHN to stand up.)

CLOW         Come!  Come on!  Looks like you could use
.            a good meal, or more.

JOHN         She would not feed me.                    33

CLOW         She says she fed you.

JOHN         Barely.  I would be stronger now
.            if she had.

(CLOW sternly forces JOHN to look at him.)

CLOW         Listen to me, John, if she says
.            she fed you, then she did.
.            I am sure the natives usually recover
.            much faster from this sort of thing,
.            so she does not understand that us
.            non-natives need a longer recovery period.

JOHN         Clow, she clearly tortured me-

CLOW         John!  We do not want to make enemies
.            with our suppliers.  Yes?
.            There can be no more talk of this.
.            Now, let us feed you and strengthen you up
.            for the next trip.

(CLOW pushes JOHN to exit.)

.                  DOWN CENTER STAGE

(SAILORS enter to sing SONG 7:  “

SAILORS      “A ship was sailing from the east
.            And going to the west,
.            Loaded with silks and satins
.            And velvets of the best;
.            But meeting there with Captain Ward,
.            It was a bad meeting;
.            He robbed them of all their wealth,
.            And bid them tell their king.

.            “'Twas eight o'clock in the morning
.            When they began to fight,
.            And so they did continue there
.            Till nine o'clock at night;
.            Fight on, fight on, says Captain Ward
.            This sport well pleases me,
.            For if you fight this month or more,
.            Your master I will be.”

SOUND:       drums & jungle sounds

.                  DOWN CENTER STAGE                   34

(JOHN and ROGERS enter and sit on the floor.)

ROGERS       The first negotiations went rather smoothly,
.            do you not think so?  We usually do not
.            obtain this many slaves on one trip.
.            Not to mention so many fine looking ladies.

JOHN         Things are dangerous enough out here,
.            but the worst crime you could commit is that
.            of adultery, so keep your eyes to yourself.
.            UNLESS the chief provides someone
.            while staying here as a guest.

ROGERS       (fishing)  You and the chief were talking
.            for quite a while.  Mr. Williams told me
.            you were brilliant.  I didn’t know
.            you had such a knack for learning languages.

JOHN         The Purrow’s dialect is very simple.

ROGERS       Yeah, still.  How is it that you
.            happen to work for Mr. Williams now?
.            He said he found you on a remote beach
.            wearing nothing but rags.

JOHN         Aye.  I had been working for Mr. Clow,
.            when I was falsely accused of pilfering.
.            As I had no clear defense, and he would not
.            give me the benefit of the doubt - I became
.            indebted to him.  A slave, if you will.
.            I thought I would remain a prisoner
.            on the island forever, until Mr. Williams
.            found me – he just happened to be out
.            stretching his legs and clearing his head-
.            and saw me drawing a polygonal
.            of the twentieth proposition in the sand.

ROGERS       A what?

JOHN         When I had been dragged off a previous ship,
.            I only had the chance to grab one book:
.            Barrow’s “Euclid”.  I’m glad of that,
.            as I needed something to pass the time away
.            or I would have gone mad.  And to keep track
.            of time, I spoke a different language,
.            one for each day of the week.

ROGERS       So you were talking to yourself.
.                                                      35
JOHN         Until Mr. Williams came along.
.            After talking a bit- he offered to pay
.            off my debt if I came to work for him.

ROGERS       Making you now indebted to Mr. Williams.

JOHN         At least I am now able to work off my debt.
.            Mr. Williams is a far more reasonable man,
.            and he realized I would be an asset
.            to his business, since I had already made
.            trips up the Sherbro River, and gained
.            respect amongst the Purrow tribe.  In fact,
.            several times, the chief has invited me
.            to participate in their ceremonial feasts.

ROGERS       And still you do not object to the
.            slave-trading business?

JOHN         I find the parasites, dangerous wild animals
.            and extreme heat unbearable.  But the work
.            itself is fine.  The tribal laws work
.            to our benefit, as well as their own.

ROGERS       So, do you think they will send us some –
.            female company tonight?

JOHN         Probably.  Since the chief also offered
.            to give me one of his daughters as a wife.

ROGERS       (laughs until seeing that JOHN is serious)
.            Well, what about this Polly woman you keep
.            mentioning?  You do not think she would
.            be opposed to such an arrangement?

JOHN         I have given up all hopes of marrying her.
.            I may as well just settle down right here.

ROGERS       But- you are indeed joking, yes?
.            Be serious!  You would not live
.            with these uncivilized people - here?

JOHN         They accept me for who I am.

ROGERS       And you would adopt their beliefs
.            and deny your God?

JOHN         I have no God.  And I only believe
.            what makes sense to me.

ROGERS       Would you even adopt their                36
.            absurd rituals and superstitions?

JOHN         They have witnessed me escaping death
.            so many times, they believe that Karfa-
.            protects and guards me.  And I do find that
.            while staying up during the full moon,
.            things tend to benefit me.

ROGERS       I would rather choose the woman, Polly.

JOHN         She is only a fantasy.  Meanwhile, marriage
.            here would be just around the corner.
.            I am told that I only have to wait until
.            the proper season, and then undergo
.            the ritual of blood-brotherhood.

ROGERS       This- this is not a safe place-

JOHN         Am I really safe anywhere?  In so-called
.            civilization, my anger has been getting
.            the better of me.  I was planning to kill
.            a man with pistols over a game of cards.
.            It is only a matter of time before I am
.            killed, or imprisoned for killing someone.

ROGERS       You say this so nonchalantly.

JOHN         Exactly so.  I may as well do as I wish.
.            I wish to stay here.
.            You can let Mr. Williams know-

ROGERS       You are still indebted to him-

JOHN         I simply do not care.  You may leave
.            in the morning.  My decision is to stay.

SOUND:       s.c.e.#4, then drums beating

(LIGHTS COME UP.  JOHN enters, now wearing
tribal beads around neck.  Chief’s DAUGHTER enters
from other side.  Meeting in the middle,
DAUGHTER holds a tiny piece of pottery in one hand
while putting marks on JOHN’s face with the other.  
ROGERS suddenly rushes in, panting.)

ROGERS       John, there you are.
.            I – I need- to-
.            to give- you a message.

(JOHN mutters something to DAUGHTER and she exits,     37
looking back at JOHN, angry and uncertain.)

JOHN         This better be important, Rogers.
.            You are interrupting our wedding ceremony.
.            She is not yet my wife, and you have
.            already caused her to be angry with me-

ROGERS       We met up with another ship.
.            I had sent up a smoke signal to say
.            that we had stock for trade-

JOHN         As you already know, I have retired from
.            that business-

ROGERS       No- not that.  The captain
.            on the other ship asked about you-
.            if I knew of your location.

JOHN         So?  Rogers, you better make your point
.            quickly.  The chief is waiting to commence
.            with the ceremony-

ROGERS       Well, ah, this captain had a message from
.            your father.  He apparently wants you home.

JOHN         I doubt that very much.

ROGERS       Something about an inheritance to collect-

JOHN         It will come up that I still owe
.            Mr. Williams.  How can I pay,
.            if I do not have the means yet-

ROGERS       This Captain Swanwick was given orders
.            by your father to redeem you, if necessary.
.            You do not wish to see your father?

JOHN         Why?  To face his disappointment in me?

ROGERS       I am trying to make you think clearly, man!
.            What- What about- Polly?  Do you not wish
.            to see Polly?!

(Polly’s name hits JOHN like a shock to the system.
JOHN now begins think.)

JOHN         We will have to slip away very quickly.

(JOHN and ROGERS sneaks out quickly.)
.                                                      38
.                  DOWN CENTER STAGE

(SAILORS enter to sing SONG 8: “

SAILORS      (vs.1) “Ye gentlemen of England
.              who live home at your ease,
.            It's little do you think
.              of the dangers of the seas;
.            When we receive our orders
.              we are obliged to go
.            On the main to proud Spain where
.              the stormy winds do blow.
.            (vs.2) “Kind heaven did protect her,
.              it was not quite so bad,
.            First we lost our foremast,
.              and then we lost our flag.
.            And then we lost our mainmast,
.              one of our guns also
.            And the men, we lost ten
.              on the Bay of Biscay, Oh.
.            (vs.3) “When the mainmast started,
.              it gave a dreadful stroke,
.            In our starboard quarter,
.              a large hole did it broke.
.            Then the seas came battering in,
.              our guns soon overflow
.            So boldly she plowed it
.              on the Bay of Biscay, Oh.
.            (vs.4) “The storm it being abated,
.              we rigged up jury mast
.            And steered for Gibraltar,
.              where we arrived at last
.            They said it was a dismal sight
.              as ever they did know
.            We forced to drink wine
.              and drowned all our woe.”

.                        ACT 3

(JACK and JOHN enter, tribal paint and beads removed.)

JACK         Cheers, everyone!  Come see who has
.            dropped by for a visit.

(POLLY’s voice is heard from offstage.)

POLLY        Jack, we know it is you.  How is London?

(POLLY enters with excitement, then stops with         39
shock at seeing JOHN, who puts down his duffle bag.)

JOHN         It has been a very long time.  And-
.            I apologize-

POLLY        For not writing in all that time?
.            It has been five years!

JOHN         Yes.  I have been through a lot.
.            I am only surprised that I am still alive.
.            (to POLLY)  And- ah- that you- ah-
.            you still- speak to me.

JACK         So, tell all the gory details, ol’ chap.

JOHN         The details shall begin with - when I made
.            the decision to no longer be an infidel.

POLLY        (confused)  I was not aware that you
.            were an infidel.

JOHN         I- I hid it- from you- ah, very well.
.            And well, I am not the most- consistent.

JACK         (eyeing POLLY protectively)  I am quite sure
.            we do not need to hear all the details.

POLLY        I want to hear the details.  I insist.
.            I believe you owe me that much.

JOHN         Oh, ah, well, ah, I had been in Africa-
.            when Captain Swanwick of the Greyhound
.            arrived to pay my debts.

JACK         You owed money?

POLLY        For what, exactly?

JOHN         I had been falsely accused of stealing.
.            Anyway, I was taken on as a passenger,
.            But it was a long journey home.
.            They first had to collect precious cargo,
.            then deliver that to Newfoundland.
.            This gave me plenty of time to amuse myself
.            with blaspheming and drinking, and trying
.            to dance.  This only resulted in me
.            falling overboard and nearly drowning.

POLLY        Was there nothing more constructive to do?
.                                                      40
JOHN         I was warned to keep away from the men
.            with my crazy games and superstitions.
.            So I turned to mathematics and reading.
.            I read anything and everything – except
.            for the Bible.  UNTIL I ran out of things
.            to memorize.  Then- the scriptures began to
.            haunt me, but more so when we ran into
.            a storm, which lasted four days.
.            We would have certainly capsized, had it
.            not been for our cargo of beeswax and wood.

JACK         Ah, because it is light in weight?

JOHN         It also made us more buoyant in the water.
.            But this did not stop the waves from
.            breaking away at the ship and causing leaks.
.            It was horrible.  Several men had been
.            washed overboard, never to be seen again.
.            So the captain put me to work at the pumps.
.            He believed me to be the Jonah.

JACK         Jonah?

POLLY        This refers to the Bible story of Jonah?

JOHN         Exactly!  As Jonah had disobeyed and was
.            trying to run from God by boarding a ship,
.            God caused a storm at sea.  The sea only
.            became calm once the sailors threw
.            Jonah overboard.

JACK         Ah yes, and then the great fish.

POLLY        Did they speak of throwing you overboard?

JOHN         No, but I prayed.  I asked God to forgive me
.            and help me.  But if my sins were too great,
.            if I did not deserve to be forgiven,
.            then I wanted God to spare the others,
.            and just take me.

POLLY        But then, it all turned out fine?

JOHN         The storm abated.  But, the ship was
.            so wrecked that we had to keep the wind
.            always on the broken side.  And the winds
.            did not always cooperate.  Provisions
.            were soon in short supply.

(JACK and POLLY listen skeptically.)                   41

JOHN         After reading the verse from Luke 13,
.            “If ye, being evil, know how to give
.            good gifts to your children how much more
.            shall your Heavenly Father give...?”
.            (laughs ironically, shaking head)
.            Knowing that my earthly father can barely
.            stand me, how could I expect the heavenly
.            Father’s favor?  But I still asked, PLEADED,
.            that He get us safely to shore.

JACK         And here you are.

JOHN         Only after we had just finished the last
.            of the food, and were all but ready to
.            give up hope.  Just reaching Ireland,
.            no sooner had we gone ashore, when a wind
.            picked up and within two hours,
.            the ship sank into the ocean.  There IS
.            a God who hears and answers prayer.
.            And thus - I escaped death, yet again.

JACK         How do you do it?

JOHN         Stupidity, more or less.  But I figure,
.            God has not seen fit to get rid of me
.            just yet.  For now, I hope to find some
.            Christian wisdom and sound counsel-

POLLY        That is all fine and well, but what
.            are your future intentions?

JOHN         (more to JACK)  During my stay in Liverpool,
.            I finally earned favor with Mr. Manesty.
.            He offered me command of one of his ships.

JACK         Spectacular!  That is some position for
.            someone of just twenty-three years!

JOHN         For that reason, I could not accept.
.            I have found something, though.  In order
.            to gain experience in - that business.

POLLY        And what exactly is – THAT - business?

JOHN         Working on a slave ship.

POLLY        You mean, taking people against their will
.            and then selling them?
.                                                      42
JOHN         It- ah- is not like– well- they are not
.            free when we buy them. (a bit stronger now)
.            Life is harsh.  I- I myself have been
.            unfairly and cruelly mistreated.

JACK         I doubt a woman can fully understand.
.            But this is why us “cruel men” need
.            kindhearted women around us.

JOHN         Women do not realize their power-

POLLY        Power to influence men?  Perhaps we do not
.            really want so much power.  Or power
.            to influence government?  Perhaps we wish
.            to have more power in that regard.
.            (standing up abruptly to exit)
.            I will see if Mother needs my help.

JOHN         She is becoming more and more a woman.

JACK         Indeed.  Presuming to read our minds,
.            then speaking cryptically with expectations
.            of us reading their minds.

JOHN         We are slaves to many things.

JACK         Eheu fugaces Postume, Postume Labuntur anni-

JOHN         Yes-yes. (finishes quote) “nec pietas moram,
.            rugis et instanti senaectae, adferet
.            indomitaeque morti.”  If slavery is indeed
.            so atrocious, our civilized society
.            would abolish it.  But rather, it is
.            something that supports the economy-

JACK         You need not argue with me.
.            As a lawyer, I know that it is
.            not against man’s law... yet.

JOHN         Do you think Polly understands this?

JACK         If this is any way to ask whether or not
.            she is still interested – I believe
.            Polly maintains the former.

JOHN         I am most pleased to hear that.
.            I also, through many a written letter,
.            gained my father’s approval in pursuit
.            of this particular relationship.
.                                                      43
JACK         In regards to marrying Polly, you sought
.            after your own father’s approval?

JOHN         This- yes... (suddenly embarrassed)
.            I covet my father’s approval.

JACK         I suppose I cannot relate.  But -
.            the real question remains,
.            will you have MY father’s approval?

JOHN         I realize that before I can approach him,
.            I will need a sufficient income.
.            (seeing a bit of hope)
.            At least my moral standards have been
.            raised once again.

.                  DOWN CENTER STAGE

(POLLY steps into SPOTLIGHT to sing SONG 9:

POLLY        (vs 1) “May the grace of Christ, our Savior
.            And the Father’s boundless love,
.            With the Holy Spirit’s favor,
.            Rest upon us from above.
.            (vs 2) “Thus we may abide in union
.            With each other and the Lord,
.            And possess, in sweet communion,
.            Joys which earth cannot afford.”


(MR. CATLETT sits while JOHN nervously paces.)

MR.CATLETT   Why again should I give my blessing?

JOHN         I do try to remain steadfast.  While
.            aboard ship, my moral standards waver,
.            but whenever ashore, I always find a church
.            and recommit myself to godly obedience.

MR.CATLETT   I suppose I like to hear that you are at
.            least trying – with whatever you are saying.
.            What I am concerned about – is your ability
.            to support my daughter and keep her happy.

JOHN         Yes!  Yes, I can do that.  Although,
.            I am currently without money, I do have
.            the promise of commanding a ship.  
.                                                      44
MR.CATLETT   That sounds fine enough.
.            You have my blessing to ask Polly.

JOHN         Thank you, sir.  Thank you so much.

(POLLY enters.  MR.CATLETT turns to look at her
then stands up to leave.)

MR.CATLETT   I must – attend to something now.

JOHN         Polly!  I have – I want – ah – could you?-  

(JOHN gets on one knee, fumbling to find the ring,
as POLLY slowly sits down, almost exasperated with him.)

JOHN         Will you marry me?

POLLY        No!

(JOHN is stunned for a few moments, then dares to ask.)

JOHN         Is it because I am not handsome?

POLLY        That is not it.

JOHN         Please, do not expect me to read your
.            mind.  Please speak plainly.

POLLY        I do not think you WANT to marry me.

JOHN         That is all I have dreamed about since
.            meeting you.  It is what sustained me
.            when I was dying in Africa, and when–

POLLY        Exactly!  I fear that I will let you down.
.            I am not worthy of such devotion.

JOHN         I am the one who is unworthy.

POLLY        John, you hold me in such high esteem,
.            and expect me to save you.  I cannot
.            live up to such lofty expectations.
.            I am not perfect.  I will only let you down.
.            You have put me in the place of God.

JOHN         (thinking)  I have done that, haven’t I?
.            I understand what you are saying.
.            I sincerely apologize.  Efforts will be made
.            to put God in that proper place instead.
.                                                      45
POLLY        Well, all right then.

(POLLY smiles, relieved, and holds out her hand so
JOHN can place the ring on her finger,
then they hug.)

JOHN         Can we be married soon?
.            Before my ship must set sail?

POLLY        I believe we have waited
.            long enough!

.                  DOWN CENTER STAGE

(SAILORS sing SONG 10:  “

SAILORS      “Oh, my parents taught me well,
.              as I sailed, as I sailed
.            My parents taught me well, as I sailed
.            My parents taught me well
.              to shun the gates of Hell
.            But against them I rebelled,
.              as I sailed, as I sailed

.            “And being cruel still,
.              as I sailed, as I sailed
.            And being cruel still, as I sailed
.            And being cruel still my gunner I did kill
.            And his precious blood did spill,
.              as I sailed, as I sailed

.            “I was sick and nigh to death,
.              as I sailed, as I sailed
.            I was sick and nigh to death, as I sailed
.            I was sick and nigh to death
.              and I vowed with every breath
.            To walk in wisdom's ways
.              when I sailed, when I sailed

.            “My repentance lasted not,
.              as I sailed, as I sailed
.            My repentance lasted not, as I sailed
.            My repentance lasted not,
.              my vows I soon forgot
.            Damnation was my lot,
.              as I sailed, as I sailed”

SOUND:       clock ticking

.             STAGE RIGHT – JOHN & POLLY’S             46

(POLLY, older now, rushes to the door as JOHN,
also older, enters and they hug and/or kiss.)

POLLY        John, I did not expect to see you home-

JOHN         There are- things- well- I hope...
.            (starting over)  Polly – dearest-

POLLY        Should I be worried?  Did you have
.            another one of those attacks?

JOHN         I still continue to recover.  But-
.            Please, sit down.  I have – things –

POLLY        (sitting)  You worry me- as you are speaking
.            as you did before we were married.

JOHN         After my stroke, and after much prayer-
.            it has been decided that it would not
.            be wise for me to continue in the
.            shipping industry.  I was finding that
.            business more and more disagreeable anyway.

POLLY        But you are so respected as a captain.
.            Not making the men work more than 8 hours
.            a shift, and giving them a day of rest every
.            week.  You hold Bible studies with the crew.
.            Men are becoming believers.  Even some
.            slaves, as you have been telling me-

JOHN         Polly, I believe I have been called
.            into the ministry.  Just - as my mother
.            had always hoped.

POLLY        (unsure)  That is wonderful.

JOHN         But then I doubt whether I could be fit
.            enough for this ministry.  Especially after
.            seeing slaves live more righteously than I,
.            even while still in chains.

POLLY        As you explained, these people had debts-

JOHN         I had debts.  But people came to pay mine.
.            And with God- I had the greatest
.            debt of all.  And God’s Son paid that price.
.            He paid that price for everyone.  Everyone!
.            And we in turn must show love to everyone.
.                                                      47
POLLY        Can you not accomplish that while at sea?

JOHN         I know I am meant to do more. –
.            While in Africa recently, I got sick again.
.            My friend died, but I did not-

POLLY        You did not tell me?!

JOHN         I did not wish to worry you.  Now, I was
.            most relieved that I did not die, because
.            I feared that God would have overlooked me.

POLLY        I suppose we would all face that fear.

JOHN         But - then I found in the scriptures,
.            Galatians 2:20, which says, “I am crucified
.            with Christ: nevertheless I live;
.            yet not I, but Christ liveth in me!”
.            And THEN God put in my path the opportunity,
.            nay the privilege of meeting Captain Clunie,
.            member of the church in Stepney.
.            We have become friends.  And he has answered
.            many of my questions, about such things as
.            security in our salvation, and the covenant
.            of GRACE– which- is not by my own power
.            and holiness, but by the mighty power and
.            promise of God through faith in an
.            unchangeable Savior.

POLLY        I can see your passion, but can you please
.            say this more plainly?

JOHN         Once we are a child of God – nothing can
.            change that.  We are forever His-
.            even though we keep sinning.
.            Can you imagine such grace?

POLLY        I did not know this, exactly.

JOHN         I fear that your brother Jack does not
.            know this to any extent.  We must
.            pray that he becomes a true believer.

POLLY        A true heart for the lost?

JOHN         You see?  Captain Clunie encouraged me
.            to speak for God... as a minister.
.            How do you feel about that?

POLLY        I feel- that you would do God a great     48
.            service.  But, I suppose we would
.            be giving up financial security-

JOHN         Mr. Manesty was kind enough to obtain
.            for me a position as a tide-surveyor
.            at Liverpool.  It would pay the bills
.            as I pursued a position in a church.

POLLY        This sounds agreeable enough.

JOHN         We need to find a church which is not
.            just based on traditions.  Not merely
.            a social gathering to make an appearance.
.            But NOT a church that lives by legalism.
.            What is not important is the name of
.            the denomination, BUT the Word of God,
.            sound doctrine and application.
.            And if we cannot find such a church,
.            we need to establish one.

POLLY        You are throwing too many new terms at me.
.            But- I get the sense that I should
.            agree with you.

SOUND:       s.c.e.#5, then horses clopping

.                  DOWN CENTER STAGE

(POLLY walks with her arm linked into JOHN’S.)

POLLY        So this is Liverpool.  How has it been
.            without me?

JOHN         Unbearable.  But this has given me the
.            time to learn Greek, Hebrew and Syrian.

POLLY        With whom will you all be conversing?

JOHN         It is to study the scriptures in their
.            original form.

POLLY        You study so hard.  Is that all you
.            have been doing?

JOHN         As recommended, I sought out wise counsel
.            of men, such as Mr. Wesley.  I attended
.            lectures, wrote articles, and visited many
.            churches.  It is so exciting to witness
.            a new movement happening in some of them –
.                                                      49
(Excited, JOHN stops to talk.)

JOHN         People are being liberated through the
.            power of grace.  It is on this subject
.            that I spend a lot of time studying and
.            meditating.  Oh, and I found a lovely field
.            to walk through, in order to meditate...
.            It is important not to just hear God’s words
.            but figure out how to apply them.  (shrugs)
.            I could not have surmised all of that
.            had you been here with me – distracting me.

POLLY        Ohhh.  I did you a favor then?

JOHN         Naturally, I have missed you.  And I am so
.            pleased that your health has returned
.            so that you could finally join me here.

POLLY        I do not doubt that for one moment.
.            And how are you getting along with
.            the people of Liverpool?

JOHN         There is such a need here.  More than
.            40,000 people, all lacking knowledge
.            of our Savior.  Unfortunately, the churches
.            who do speak the truth, do not want to share
.            the good news with others.  Especially
.            NOT with the scourges of society.  

(SALLY has entered.  A HUSBAND and WIFE walk by.  
As SALLY smiles coyly and plays with her fan,
the HUSBAND dares to look, only to be swatted on
the shoulder by WIFE who then pulls him away.  
Other PEOPLE walk by and avoid getting close.  
If CHILDREN are with them, they shield their eyes.
POLLY sadly observes SALLY.)

POLLY        A scourge of society.  The poor dear.

JOHN         A true heart for the lost?

(POLLY and JOHN approach SALLY.)

SALLY        What’s this then?  It’ll cost you extra.

JOHN         We simply came to talk to you about
.            how much God loves you.  His one and only
.            Son paid the price for all your sins
.            by dying on the cross in your place.
.                                                      50
SALLY        All my sins, eh?  You do realize what I am?
.            I fear there are far too many sins to count.

JOHN         Alas, sadly, I understand that comment
.            far too well.  For I too thought I had
.            too many sins that were far too great.
.            But God’s love and grace – is GREATER-
.            and can forgive and cover anything.

SALLY        (to POLLY)  And what of you, dearie?

POLLY        Unbelief is the worst sin of all.
.            “For all have sinned and fall short
.            of the glory of God, being justified freely
.            by His grace through the redemption
.            that is in Christ Jesus.”

SALLY        That all sounds rather nice.  But you
.            do realize who you’re talking to, eh?
.            Townsfolk will surely be wondering
.            about you two.

POLLY        Let them wonder.  You are far more
.            important in the kingdom of God,
.            than what people will think about us
.            for sharing with you such a precious gift.

(JOHN is taken aback at POLLY’S boldness and smiles.
SALLY is also taken aback and touched.)

POLLY        Now, we are going home for supper.
.            I pray you feel compelled to join us.

SOUND:       s.c.e.#6, then clock ticking


(Now near 60, POLLY wears a shawl and moves slowly due
to pain as she enters to find JOHN, now around 65,
with his head down, resting on his desk.)

POLLY        John?  Are you all right?

JOHN         (looking up)  Huh?  Oh, I am fine.
.            Mr. Self was deep in some
.            anguished prayer.

POLLY        Mr. Self?

JOHN         I have started to call myself that        51
.            when I become selfish and arrogant.

POLLY        Oh?  Now what?

JOHN         I was recently speaking with Mr. Campbell
.            about my arrogance.  As usually, Mr. Self
.            was showing off all his language skills, and
.            Mr. Campbell says to me, “John, a man may be
.            able to call a broom by 20 names, in Latin,
.            Spanish, Dutch, Greek, etc.;  but my maid
.            who knows it only by one name, but knows
.            how to USE it, is not far behind him.”

POLLY        You wish to clean house?

JOHN         In a sense, yes.  Just when I thought I was
.            beginning to feel better about myself,
.            I realize that even the things I may brag
.            about- are nothing.  Are but filthy rags.

POLLY        You have led many people to the Lord.
.            Even my brother Jack became a believer
.            just before passing away.

JOHN         Remember my first attempts at preaching -
.            and how disastrous they were?

POLLY        Yes, but Mr. Edwards gave you constructive
.            feedback, and asked that you keep trying.  
.            And now people crowd into the church just
.            to hear you preach truth.  You established
.            prayer nights and Bible studies for adults,
.            study groups for children and youth.  Now
.            you have set up prison visits-  Oh! How goes
.            the efforts alongside Mr. Wilberforce?

JOHN         We hope to renew his motion in the
.            House of Commons for the abolition
.            of the slave trade.  But even with all this,
.            is it enough?  I still must confess
.            that my love for you verges on idolatry.

POLLY        John!  Self-centeredness is also a sin.
.            Is it not being self-centered when all you
.            do is think about yourself, even if it is
.            to think how horrible you have been?

JOHN         Indeed.  What would I do without you?  

POLLY        What would you do?  You know that I am    52
.            sickly, and it will not be too long before-

JOHN         I know I will carry on in God’s strength.
.            Perhaps dark times are brightest,
.            for they are usually seasons when the
.            Lord’s people are stirred up...  But see –
.            I sin again in the fear of losing you.

POLLY        (humorously impatient)  God has forgiven!

JOHN         We are told to daily confess – a sort of
.            apology, if you will, to maintain a close
.            relationship with our heavenly Father.

POLLY        Are there not verses about being free?

JOHN         Galatians 5:1 “Stand fast therefore
.            in the liberty by which Christ has
.            made us free, and do not be entangled again
.            with a yoke of bondage.”

POLLY        Should you not finally truly accept that
.            freedom – that grace?  To be released
.            and no longer a slave?  Or do you say that
.            Christ’s work on the cross was not enough?

JOHN         No!  It is everything.  

POLLY        So there is nothing we CAN do to earn
.            God’s favor?

JOHN         (quickly writing)  What rhymes with “fear”?

POLLY        Ahhh- “appear”?  But you are the one
.            gifted with words.

JOHN         (still writing)  Yes!  My gift of words!
.            In the past they worked tirelessly
.            to try to be the undoing of God’s kingdom.
.            But now I work tirelessly to use my gift
.            of words to bring glory to God’s kingdom.

POLLY        And just what are you doing now?

JOHN         Writing a hymn to accompany this week’s
.            sermon.  How does this sound, “‘Twas grace
.            that taught my heart to fear,  and grace
.            my fears relieved;  How precious did that
.            grace appear,  the hour I first believed!”
.                                                      53
POLLY        It has a beautiful ring to it.

JOHN         Ring.  Huh, remember that dream I had?
.            About the ring?

POLLY        Vaguely.  Yes.

JOHN         I had assumed the dream was about you.  But
.            that dream is an excellent analogy. The ring
.            that was shown to me, which came with a
.            condition, can represent salvation, which
.            I accepted. But only in my own strength, and
.            with the misguidance of the second person -
.            representing Satan – I lost my salvation
.            by throwing it away into the ocean.

POLLY        You have been preaching that one CANNOT
.            lose their salvation.

JOHN         Exactly!  That is why the first person went
.            down into the ocean to retrieve the ring.

POLLY        Representing Jesus and His work
.            on the cross.

JOHN         Yes!  Now, had I taken back the ring,
.            I would have surely lost it again.
.            But even though the ring was mine,
.            the first person kept the ring for me.
.            THAT – represents being saved by grace.
.            When we accept Christ as our Savior,
.            God keeps our salvation safe – even from
.            ourselves.  (makes fist)  Saved by grace!

POLLY        It is amazing, is it not.

JOHN         Overwhelmingly so.

POLLY        (puts a hand to her aching head, wincing)
.            Hm, ah- when- do you wish to eat supper?

JOHN         (rushes over to help POLLY stand and exit)
.            It can wait.  Let me help you to lie down
.            again.  I shall go, pray with you.

.                STAGE LEFT – PULPIT

(s.c.e.#7, until OLD JOHN NEWTON is at the pulpit.)

O.J.N.       “That we may present every man perfect    54
.            in Christ.”  This is not sinless perfect.
.            I was involved in the evilness of slave-
.            trading.  My eyes had been blinded, but now
.            I see- and feel greatly the disagreeableness
.            of the business, and shudder.  I was a poor
.            wretch – a perpetual torment to himself, and
.            mischievous to all about him.  For I am the
.            same person still.  Lord, be merciful to me-
.            a sinner.  And oh, what mercy and goodness
.            hast Thou shown me since.  I come before you
.            as a guilty man- REDEEMED.  Forgiven and set
.            free from my slavery to sin. Grace did that!
.            In my last days, I will remember two things:
.            that I am a great sinner, and that Christ is
.            a great Savior.  God’s amazing grace covers
.            everything – for anyone who goes to Him,
.            whether he be a sailor, commoner, black,
.            white, rich, or poor... “For all have sinned
.            and fall short of the glory of God,
.            being justified freely by His grace through
.            the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”

(SONG 11: “AMAZING GRACE” by John Newton can be started
by SALLY, then add characters, congregation, etc.)

.       (vs) “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound –
.            That saved a wretch like me!
.            I once was lost but now am found,
.            Was blind but now I see.
.       (vs) ‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
.            and grace my fears relieved;
.            How precious did that grace appear
.            The hour I first believed!
.       (vs) Through many dangers, toils and snares
.            I have already come;
.            ‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
.            and grace will lead me home.
.       (vs) The Lord has promised good to me,
.            His words my hope secures,
.            He will my Shield and Portion be,
.            As long as life endures.
.       (vs) Yeah, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
.            And mortal life shall cease,
.            I shall possess, within the veil
.            A life of joy and peace.
.       (vs) The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
.            The sun forbear to shine;
.            But God, who called me here below,
.            Shall be forever mine.”