The Glass House
Louise early forties
Marie Louise’s sister, early thirties
Peter high school teacher, late thirties
Father Anthimus the parish priest
Inspector Christopher a police detective
Doctor Andrews the family doctor
Rose the school secretary
The story takes place in a small town in the backbone of Australia. The two sisters live in an average size cottage, away from the centre of the town.
Marie: Hurry up Louise! I brought the flowers in. Have a look! Aren’t they beautiful?
Louise: Well, yes! Put them in a vase…
Marie enters the dinning room and she looks for a vase. Finaly she finds one on the mantle.
Louise: No, not in that vase dear; put them in the one on the dinner table!
Marie puts the flowers where she was told to, while Louise follows her.
Louise: Oh, they are very beautiful, Marie! You are not only a talented gardener, but also an artist! I am so proud of you!
Marie: I’m glad you like them.
Louise: I’ve read somewhere that it is love that makes the flowers grow beautiful.
Marie: (Does not answer) what about the wine Louise?
Louise: I’ve taken care of this, dear. Don’t worry I’ve placed it in a cool place. A cabernet sauvignon does not need to be chilled!
Marie: That’s good. I will then take care of the candle sticks…
Louise: I’ve replaced the old candles with new ones; they’re on the mantle.
Marie: Good! All we have to do then is to wait for Peter’s arrival.
Someone is unlocking the external door. Soon Peter appears. Immediately the two sisters get up and while Louise walks towards him, with her arms open, Marie shies away and after the mutual greetings, excuses herself, and runs to the kitchen. Peter watches her running towards the kitchen.
Louise: Take a seat Peter! (She asks casually) How was your day, dear?
Peter: Pretty much the same as any other, I would say (He smiles shyly).
Louise: The dinner is almost ready dear. While you will be refreshing yourself, Marie and I, will set the table for dinner.
Peter: Then, I have arrived home at the right time. Although I had a relatively easy day at school, I was looking forward to this. It was very nice of you and Marie, to invite me to dinner. Fridays are special; they mark the end of the week; I get tired at the end of the week, no matter how well the kids behave. I need the weekend to recover. Fridays make me feel well and relaxed. It’ s certainly the best day of the week.
Louise laughs at Peter’s comments. She looks at him with a warm smile.
Louise: I understand… I bet, at the end of the week, your feelings and those of your students meet: ‘Thank God, it is the weekend!’
Peter nods his head smiling.
Peter: There is no doubt in my mind dear, about my students’ feelings and mine, regarding this matter!
Marie walks in the dinning-room. Having listened to Louise and Peter’s conversation, she asks Peter to Louise’s unbelief.
Marie: Do you have any plans for the weekend Peter?
Peter: No, I don’t really. I’ have checked my agenda at school and I am certain that I am completely free this weekend. Since you’ve mentioned it, I was planning to ask you both to join me to watch a movie, at the city. I would really like to take you there.
Louise: Do you have a particular movie in mind Peter?
Peter: There are a few good movies. We could check the paper together and select one of the new productions. What do you think?
Marie: I would prefer the movie: The next Day… I am not quite sure about its title right now, but I’ve had a quick look at a preview.
Louise: I would rather stay home and read… after all. I have some catching up to do with my reading. I bought a few new books recently; they are quite interesting.
Peter backs a little. He forgets Marie’s proposal.
Peter: Ladies I will let you decide whether to go or not to, since I too, can use my free time to study for the following week. I can also correct a paper that I have to see.
Louise: There is no doubt, that you are a very busy man, Peter.
Marie is very disappointed. She listens to the others talking.
Marie: But guys! Let us take the opportunity to relax a little! After all, it is a weekend! And you Louise…can’t you compromise for once?
Peter: You’re right Marie…
Louise: Well…I don’t know about this. Movies don’t always offer the quality you expect. Besides, it is not wise to ask Peter to neglect his extra school duties, Marie! Peter, may I tell you something? If I had have another chance in my life, I would like to become a teacher.
Peter stops and thinks for a moment.
Peter: If I may interrupt you Louise, I like to remind you that I’ve already proposed for the three of us to go to the movies, which means that I would very much like to do that. Secondly, I really don’t have a problem with the extra schoolwork. I’ve got plenty of time to do it during the weekend. As far as teaching goes, my job is an interesting one, but I don’t earn enough. Anyhow, if you really want to be one, what stops you? You are single; you wouldn’t have problems.
Louise: I should at least be, ten years younger!
Peter: Surely Louise; you look so young. You should be confident!
Marie tired of their conversation decides to intervene.
Marie: Peter, Louise is interested in many things. Louise: Marie is right. I have many interests. You know I love reading. It is my hobby. I don’t mind housekeeping and community work, but the two take up a lot of my time. The truth is recently I have not been able to participate in any of the community activities.
I feel it is late to change my ways (she smiles). Anyhow, I like it as it is.
Peter: You’re doing fine, Louise.
Marie: Should I start serving? I am getting hungry. You’re both so much preoccupied with your conversation, you forgot dinner. At least, let’s have some refreshments. When you have an intermission… we will have dinner!
Louise smiles ironically, as she looks at Peter. Peter listens quietly.
Louise: O.k. dear!
Peter: Please excuse me; I’ll be back shortly.
While the two sisters are getting ready to bring the refreshments in, Peter hurries towards his room. He notices something and he stops.
Peter: My, my! Wouldn’t it be an injustice if I didn’t notice these beautiful flowers, on the dinner table! I bet they’re your creations Marie!
He looks at Marie with a warm glance. Her face becomes red.
Marie: Thank you, Peter!
Peter hurries to his bedroom.
Louise: Poor fellow! He probably feels uncomfortable between two women. Although his age is more agreeable to yours Marie, your hobbies differ.
Marie: What do you mean dear? Isn’t this quite natural?
Louise: He’s a teacher and you’re so involved with your gardening… I mean, with your plants in the glass house…
There is a dose of contentment in Louise’s voice.
Marie: I’m not going to marry the man, Louise. Why are you worrying about differences between him and me? The man rents in our place. Anyhow, he probably has a woman in his life. We don’t know that, do we?
Louise: I agree, but things could be the other way around; he might be attracted to you, because of… your differences.
Marie: Let’s get the table ready Louise. I don’t like guessing games. What’s the matter with you?
Louise: O.k., o.k.
Louise smiles mysteriously. Marie comes closer to Louise now and she talks to her quietly. She worries about something.
Marie: Louise… do you really think Peter might have a relationship with a woman?
Louise: From what we know until now, he’s a free man. Today for instance; It’s Friday, and as he said, the next two days is free. If he had someone in his life, would he be here, with us? Wouldn’t he stay out, until later? Would he ask us to go to the movies, if he had other obligations?
Marie nods her head in agreement with Louise.
Louise: And another thing: has ever any woman rung to ask for him? No! Then this is another proof that you can add on what I’ve just said.
Marie: You’ve forgotten he carries a mobile. Perhaps he receives calls we are not aware off.
Louise: Why on earth, we should be concerned with Peter’s affairs!
Louise looks at Marie.
Marie: You’re right. It is not appropriate to be so curious. I wanted to hear your opinion, that’s all.
The two sisters continue with the preparation of the dinner table. When everything is ready they sit and wait. Peter enters the room. Louise lights the candles.
Peter: Here I am! I’m sorry I wasn’t here to help you!
Louise: You can still make yourself useful… Peter; you can open the bottle of wine, later. Take a seat.
Peter sits across Marie. Louise first, serves herself from the main dish. The rest of the dishes pass around and everybody serves themselves. Peter opens the bottle of wine and pours it into the crystal goblets. He offers the first to Louise, who raises her glass and proposes.
Louise: Let us drink to good health and good evenings like this!
Marie and Peter raise their glasses too. Marie’s face becomes red as she wishes.
Marie: All the best to you, Peter!
Peter: All the best to you too, Marie!
Louise sniffs over her wine and then she tries it. Her eyes are set at Marie and Peter.
Peter: Louise, I brought you a book by G. Elliott.
Peter gives Louise a paper bag.
Louise: How nice of you, Peter!
Peter: It’s a little token of appreciation.
Louise: How did you guess I’m fond of Elliot’s works? What a girl! Wouldn’t you agree? I’ve read some of her critics as well.
Peter: I guessed, you may be fond of her.
Louise: Thank you very much Peter!
Peter: As I was saying before…
Peter looks at Marie apologetically.
Peter: Marie, I was thinking of getting a new plant for your Glass House. Unfortunately, I finished classes a little later than usual, and the Nursery next to our school, it was shut. Marie: Peter, please! This is rather embarrassing! You don’t have to do this! I might have already the plant you liked.
Peter: I don’t think I saw it in your Glass House. I like you to have it.
Marie: But you’ve never visited my Glass House Peter, you don’t know my plants.
Peter: This is true, but I had a look from the outside. Sometimes the glass is clear and allows one to see through.
Marie: I thank you for your thought. I’ll leave it to you.
Peter is thinking a moment then he asks.
Peter: May I visit your Glass House Marie?
Marie: Of course Peter, any time you wish. It’s next to the house (she smiles). I feel it belongs to everyone who lives in it.
Peter: Would I be able to visit it this weekend? I like to spend some time in there. Would you be able to help me acquaint myself?
Peter: It’s settled then for this weekend.
Louise: What would you say for a cup of tea?
Marie: I’ll prepare it, while you discuss Elliott’s book with Louise .
Peter: I just remembered! One of my students who recently returned from holidays in her country of birth Ceylon, offered me a tin of tea. I’ll get it for you.
Marie: How interesting! I’m a great fond of Ceylon tea, you know!
Peter goes to his bedroom and quickly returns with two packets. Walks towards Marie and hands them to her.
Peter: The larger of the two is a cake!
Marie: What a surprise! Is the cake from one of your students as well?
Peter: (smilling) Not really, I bought it from the cake shop around the corner, on my way home.
Louise: keep it for another occasion, Peter!
Marie: We’ve already made a cake, Peter.
Peter: That’s o.k. I like variety, I will try both. What cake did make Marie?
Marie: I won’t tell you; it’s a surprise.
Peter: Wouldn’t you at least, let me help you serve the tea?
Louise: No, no Peter; you’ll spoil the surprise!
Marie: Louise is right you know!
Suddenly Louise appears to worry about something.
Louise: Peter… I was going to ask you something, but…
Marie: (sadly) It’s all right Peter; I will prepare everything. It’s not difficult.
Peter: Are you certain you don’t mind?
Marie: Of course, not!
Marie goes to the kitchen. Peter watches her walking away. Louise watches him, ironically.
Louise: Peter, may I ask you something?
Peter: Of course Louise.
Louise: Do you like Sartre?
Peter: Sartre you asked? Sartre… is rather intriguing. He is an existentialist. In earlier years I‘ve read some of his theories and other works. I liked The Outsider the most.
Louise: Oh! Did you? I’ve read it too! Interesting, realistic, wouldn’t you agree?
Peter: I don’t remember the story that well but I recall, I was influenced by its pessimistic view and: if one dares to be different must be prepared to face the consequences. People are unable to understand their fellow man, especially in turbulent socio-political times. There is a good chance one of different views, can be gloomy and doomed.
Louise: I agree with you! What about Sartre’s theory on existentialism?
Peter: I am a teacher Louise; I care about healthy attitudes. I don’t espouse extreme views.
They are going silent for a minute or two. Louise realizes that Peter is not interested on the subject she has raised.
Peter: Louise… I realize, you like reading more than anything else perhaps. It’s your hobby. So given the opportunity, I’ll get you a catalogue of new books from the school library of the newly published books. Out of that catalogue choose one or two, and I‘ll be able to borrow them for you.
Louise: Thank you for your offer Peter.
Marie enters the dinning, carrying a tray with a teapot and cups. After she puts it on the table in frond of the sofa, returns to the kitchen, to fetch the cakes. Quietly puts them next to the tray with the teapot and the cups; then takes a few small dishes and table napkins out of a buffet and puts them on the table, next to the cakes. Next, Marie places the dishes and the napkins, while Peter and Louise watch her quietly.
Marie: The tea is ready.
Louise silently pours the tea, while Peter and Marie are watching. Louise offers the first cup to Peter. The second to Marie and finally serves herself. Marie cuts the cakes and places the pieces into three plates.
Marie: Peter, I like to thank you for being nice to Louise and me. We appreciate taking an interest to our favourites.
Peter: This is embarrassing; It’s only a little token of appreciation for you and Louise. My
contribution this evening to this tea ritual. It is a small gesture, in comparison to what you and Louise have done for me, since I’ve moved in.
Louise intervenes, abruptly.
Louise: Peter please! You should try both cakes the carrot and the orange-poppy seed, dear. Both of them are delicious.
Peter: Yes… I like cakes! I will try both with pleasure!
Louise and Marie laugh with Peter’s comments. Peter starts eating. He is very happy and he shows it.
Peter: Louise and Marie… I was thinking to ask you to visit together the Botanical gardens a day that suits you. I expect you will not refuse me, as you did the other day when I asked you out to the movies. Marie, as you are interested in plants, shrubs and trees, and Louise you are interested in books, there is no better place the three of us, to visit! We can see the gardens, as well as the books in the kiosk.
Louise: It’s a good idea, only that I would prefer to visit the library instead. I’ll be saving my legs!
Peter: How disappointing! I thought it would be an opportunity for a pick-nick.
Marie: I love the idea. Can we go Louise? You can visit the library another day. If your leg gives you any trouble, you can rest them.
Louise: If I’ll come, I’ll spoil the pick-nick. I don’t wish you leaving the Gardens earlier. Definitely I would rather visit the library.
Peter: Then I suggest, when you’ll visit the Library, look for the history book that I discovered on my last visit at the school Library. I am certain you will find the book most interesting. It’s all about the slaughter of the Australian soldiers in Gallipoli. Later, once you’ve read it, we can discuss any topics you will note.
Louise: I’ll take your advice Peter.
Peter: I’ll give you the details of the book –author… title…- later, as soon as I’d checked my diary.
Marie gets up and starts cleaning the table. Peter and Louise are absorbed in their conversation about books. Marie feels left out. She talks to herself:
Marie: “Suddenly, those two found common grounds. What about me though? If two is a company… then… the third is a ‘bother’. I would rather go… Thank God, I have my Glass House!”
Marie slips outside the kitchen and soon after finds herself in the Glass House. She walks towards her begonias.
Marie: Golden begonia, pretty, elegant begonia, beautifully discreet, lonely in your corner; and yet, I’m almost certain about your feelings, your appreciation for my admiration and love. You feel lucky you’ve grown healthy and strong. A little bit of love and care are enough to make anybody grow healthy and beautiful!
Oh, Peter! I know, I’m not at the centre of your attention. My God, I’m jealous of my sister; I might not fancy books like her, but I grow beautiful flowers. Am I special? Probably not, but I still wonder how many people are as talented as I am. Perhaps, very few.
Marie smiles mysteriously as she adds continuing her monologue.
Marie: All the books in the world cannot make an able gardener like me!
Marie is upset. She wipes her eyes while she walks slowly through the Glass House.
Peter enters the lounge. Louise is stitching a cloth. Peter tries smoothly to get her attention.
Peter: Louise, could I have a word with you?
Louise stops her stitching and looks straight into his eyes.
Louise: Certainly, dear! Is something wrong?
Behind Peter’s smile, one can detect a discomfort.
Peter: No, no, no!
Louise: What is it then?
Peter: I need your opinion about something.
Louise: O.K., I am listening.
Peter: I don’t know how to put in words. It is not very easy for me.
Louise shows Peter the sofa in the lounge.
Louise: Peter, please take a seat. Why are you standing up?
Peter: Thank you.
Louise is waiting.
Louise: Would you like a cup of tea? It might help you, you know. I made fresh tea just a few minutes ago.
Louise gets up and brings from the dinning table a tray with a teapot and two cups. She pours tea into the cups and offers one to Peter. The man looks at her in agony. Louise is much interested to hear.
Peter: Louise, I like to talk to you about…
He stops for a moment or two. Louise’s face suddenly becomes red, her eyes shine, as if she is about to cry. Peter does not notice. He keeps his eyes to the edges of his shoes. His words to follow bring her down to earth.
Peter: Louise, did you know I am in love with your sister Marie?
Louise starts coughing; she takes a sip of her freshly poured tea. Peter looks at her. Louise regains her calmness straight away.
Louise: Is Marie aware of it?
Peter: I have never spoken to Marie about my feelings for her. All I wish is that she would share the same feelings with me (he stops and looks at Louise). Louise could I count on your help?
Louise’s face is petrified. She tries to keep the tone of her voice as normal as possible.
Louise: How can I help you dear?
Peter: I’m not sure. You are sisters. Could you say something nice about me? You know! I dare to ask for your assistance. Would you tell Marie about this?
Louise: Peter… shouldn’t you do this by yourself?
Peter: I am afraid to face a possible rejection, from her.
Louise: Peter, I would think that Marie would take this a complement. I believe that, for any woman in a similar situation. Wouldn’t be wonderful for a woman to listen to something like this! After all, a proposal is a proposal, and brings pleasure, regardless any decisions. (she thinks for a moment). I would think that Marie been not different to any other woman, would be very exited… She is sensitive, emotional, you know! But who really knows Peter? Perhaps the winds are blowing your way. So don’t discount the possibility that her feelings could be mutual to yours.
Peter: Oh, Louise; do you really think that this might be possible?
Louise: I cannot be sure, but there is no doubt in my mind, that in the worst scenario, Marie will get emotional by the apocalypse of your tender feelings towards her.
Although Peter senses irony in Louise’s voice, turns towards her and holds her hands just to show her his appreciation.
Peter: I can’t thank you enough for your encouragement, Louise. I really appreciate your patience with me.
Marie who enters the lounge witnesses the scene and without word runs outside the room. Peter who had his back turned against the kitchen door does not see Marie. Louise cannot hide her satisfaction for Marie’s reaction. Marie locks herself in the Glass House and while she walks around in tears, talks to the flowers.
Marie: I witnessed enough about Louise and Peter at long last. I saw them with my own eyes. There is no doubt Peter loves Louise. Oh, my God, I was right! Tell me sweet pea, tell me why Louise? She knew I cared about Peter. Oh, I love him so much! What am I going to do now? How am I going to live with this?
Suddenly she smiles. She walks towards a small citrus full of white blossoms.
Marie: Did you know my petit that I always admired you for your ability to produce such a beautiful aroma? My lovely magnolia… what magnificent, candle like flowers, you’re able to create. My beautiful fuchsias; I will wait for your gorgeous “earrings”. Oh, I have to dot everything to my diary…
She runs to her little desk and pulls a diary from a little drawer. She starts writing in it. Her lips are moving as if she talks to her diary. Suddenly stops and listens. Louise is calling her. Her voice sounds closer and closer to the Glass House. As fast as she can, closes her diary and puts back to the little drawer of the eesk.
Louise: Marie, Marie, where are you dear?
Marie: In here, Louise in the Glass House!
Marie appears at the door of the Glass House.
Marie: Yes, Louise.
Louise: Peter and I wonder what happened to you dear!
Marie: Sorry Louise, I didn’t mean to be rude. I had forgotten to feed some of my plants. Anyway, Peter was with you. Since you have common interests with him, I‘m sure you enjoy each other’s company.
Louise: This is true. It is also true that Peter and you have common interests as well. Don’t forget that he has invited us to an excursion to the Botanic Gardens. What does that tell you?
Marie: Perhaps we have. Look, as I said I didn’t mean to be rude. O.k.? (She smiles sadly). I am sorry, if I gave you the impression that I’m avoiding you both.
Marie thinks of something. While she walks with Louise, speaks with an unknown tone of determination in her voice.
Marie: Louise, I’m thinking a lot about us two, lately; how isolated we live, away from the town’s community. We appear to be happy and contented, with ourselves; but it this is not right, you know!
Louise: Are you suggesting that we should change things in our lives?
Louise asks suspiciously.
Marie: In a way yes, we have to! It is a necessity. We need more people around us. Take Peter for instance. He makes us feel well. Do you agree? You draw pleasure from his presence. I admit that I too, like his company. However, the fact that we stay home most of the time does not help us grow with the rest of our town’s community.
Louise: You mean that we need more people around us… or perhaps the presence… of more men (She looks at Marie carefully) I thought that you were happily busy with your plants in your Glass House.
Marie: Louise, you know more than well, that my plants are my escape, but they cannot replace humans. I thought about all this for a very long time and I can say -with certainty- that I need to socialize and interact more, with other people. I like to learn more about the things I like: cinematography, theatre, dancing… things that escaped my attention earlier on in my life. Can you understand?
Louise: I had no idea you feel this way! Is this happening because of the presence of Peter? Could Peter mean more to you than what you think?
Louise looks at Marie as if it is the first time that he sees her. She sounds very disappointed now.
Louise: I am concerned about you dear! This is a surprise indeed! I had no idea about your feelings.
Marie: I should have said all this much earlier. I dare to admit that I feel trapped. I’ve been like this for a long time.
Louise: Did you say trapped?
Marie: My word, I did!
Louise: I would call your statement an exaggeration, simply because it is one!
Marie: I don’t know what you are insinuating, but I must find ways to keep busy outside this home. I really need this. First thing tomorrow morning, I will start looking for a job. This will enable me to concentrate to other than to be thinking either sense or nonsense.
Marie walks away from Louise, without any more words. She bends over a poinsettia. Louise appears offended by all this. She leaves the glass House, without another word.. She walks slowly towards the house. She is very unhappy. Peter who is standing at the door, calls at Louise.
Peter: Louise, what’s happening? I thought you were coming back with Marie.
Louise: Don’t worry Peter. Marie will join us shortly. She’s busy doing something right now.
Peter looks at her carefully. He grows suspicious.
Peter: Did you mention anything to Marie? You know… about the things I told you.
Louise: I’m sorry Peter. I didn’t have the chance to talk to her.
She is hurrying to add.
Louise: I‘ll do this as soon as possible… I mean, when I get the opportunity! Trust me dear (as Louise thinks to herself, nods her head). “Oh Peter! You shouldn’t worry about Marie. I’m certain that she is ‘dying for you’” Although –you must have noticed- Marie can be a very difficult woman, I believe she likes you.
Peter: She likes me, did you say? Oh, Louise, it’s dreadful… I’ve grown fearful about this you know. I should really do this myself. It does not feel right. Although I believe that you could assist me greatly, the more I think about this, the more I am convinced that I ought to do it myself.
Louise speaks as if she is in agony.
Louise: I can still help you Peter! I must find the right time to do it, as you can appreciate. Despite the fact that Marie is my sister, sometimes surprises me with her reactions. She can be unpredictable you know! Her moods change and she can be offensive in an unusual, uncharacteristic manner, I should say. Since I know about her personality, I would say that it is sensible to wait, as to allow me to prepare the grounds for you.
Peter looks at Louise with a dose of suspicion.
Peter: What are you saying sounds very strange! Personally, I haven’t noticed anything unusual regarding Marie’s behavior. I find her well balanced. He is a little shy perhaps, but definitely well balanced.
Marie appears suddenly and interrupts Louise’s conversation with Peter. Peter exhales relieved.
Peter: Oh Marie, there you are! I wanted to tell you how much I have enjoyed your cake. My word, you are a good cook.
Marie: (Rather surprised) I am glad you liked it, Peter, really am.
Louise intervenes rather abruptly.
Louise: I’m going inside, to do the dishes.
Marie: It’s O.k. Louise; don’t mind me, please. I didn’t mean to interrupt your conversation. I’ll do the dishes instead, and you can carry on your conversation with Peter.
Louise without taking notice of Marie’s statement goes inside the house.
Peter: Marie, please stay! We didn’t have the opportunity to exchange a few words you and I have the feeling that you’re avoiding me.
Marie: This is not true; I’m sorry if I’ve given you this impression. Louise and you were having a… discussion before, that’s why I left. I didn’t want to intrude.
Peter: Yes, we did, but I expected you as well to stay and converse with us, express your opinion… Do you know what I mean?
Peter: Marie, I like you to know how much I admire your artistic nature, your sensitivity, your nice manners and your discretion.
Marie: Thank you, Peter, you’re very kind.
Peter: This is not a mere compliment Marie. I’m not just saying this. (Peter thinks for a moment) Marie, do you mind me asking you this: don’t you ever get lonely in that Glass House?
Marie: Lonely? I don’t exactly spend 24 hrs in-there you know!
Peter: Even so… you’re very young Marie to do just that. I believe you should involve even more in social activities. You’re talented, and you can offer a lot to the community.
Marie: I don’t understand what you are getting at.
Marie looks at Peter. He is careful with his words.
Peter: Well, what I mean to say is that you should go out with people of your age, have more fun, meet people with interests similar to yours, involve with someone… Isn’t it this the norm, after all?
Marie: Is it? What exactly do you mean, Peter?
Peter: Without wanting to impose Marie, I believe what I am suggesting is a healthy attitude towards living.
Marie: I think I understand. (She is thinking for a moment) Since you have brought this up Peter, I am about to announce some of my decisions, although Louise was informed earlier on.
Marie stops as to take a big breath, while Peter watches her in agony.
Marie: Well… I‘ve decided to change some things in my life… the way I live, you know.
Suddenly Marie looks at Peter with suspicion, as if she has thought of something.
Marie: Wait… Wait a minute! Did Louise say something to you about this? Is that why you said all this to me earlier on?
Peter surprised at first, then offended.
Peter: No, of course not! She didn’t do such a thing!
Marie: Are you certain about this?
Peter: Would I change the story, if she had?
Marie looks at him seriously. She is very excited.
Marie: O.k., I believe you. As I was saying, I am planning to go back to the college, to increase my skills in computing. I thought a lot about it. I would like to be able to write a book about plants, and in doing so I must know the right terminology and its use, plus I must learn how to make the right comments. I have also decided to take photography and drawing up, in order to embellish my book with photos or drawings of plants. What do you think?
Peter: Marie, this is wonderful; it is the best news I‘ve heard for a very long time, honestly.
Marie: I‘m glad you approve Peter. However, your concern before, makes me wonder, I must admit.
Marie’s suspicion for Peter’s interest grows, when Peter looking at her eyes, says in a tender voice.
Peter: But I care for you Marie. Can’t you tell?
Marie: You care, did you say?
Peter: Yes, I do! (He thinks for a moment) Why do I have the feeling that you look down at me? Have I done something wrong?
Suddenly Marie becomes reserved, cold.
Marie: I’m sorry Peter. I’d better go insight; I don’t like continuing this conversation!
She gets a shock when without warning, Peter grabs her arm.
Peter: Why are you so hard towards me? Have I done something wrong?
Marie: Well, I cannot change suddenly, can I? It must be my DNA.
Marie smiles with bitterness as she walks away from Peter, who thinks, aloud.
Peter: “What on earth have I done, to deserve this? Is she another capricious female? Is she afraid of me? I tried to talk to her about my feelings. Even Louise knows about it (he thinks for a moment). Could be possible that she is jealous of Louise? No! How could this be? She probably did not notice that Louise is not my type. Then while Marie was always a little distant, Louise has been always caring; she’s nice but she’s a bit old for me. Did I appear to be interested to Louise? I am trying to think if I did something to make Marie jealous”.
Peter thinks again for a moment and he says aloud.
Peter: No, I didn’t.
Louise: Peter, what are you doing standing there all alone! Where is Marie?
Peter: Marie went inside the house. Didn’t you really see her?
Louise: No, I didn’t. I was in the kitchen. She must have gone to her bedroom.
Peter looks withdrawn and Louise suspects that something must have happened between him and Marie.
Louise: Is it something wrong dear? Did you talk to Marie about… you know what I mean!
Peter: Oh yes; I saw Marie… Everything is as usual… I was thinking of something else. It doesn’t really matter.
Changing mood, says to Louise.
Peter: Can is something that I can help you with?
Louise: Yes dear! I was thinking about a particular work of Shakespeare: The Taming of the Shroud.
Peter: (smiling) I see (Thinks for a little). Louise dear, I just remembered something that I’ve got to do. I really must run. I hope you don’t mind!
Louise: That’s all right Peter, I understand! I will probably see you tomorrow morning then, at breakfast.
Peter: Yes, I suppose so. Bye for now Louise.
Louise: See you Peter.
While Peter walks into his bedroom, Louise watches him. An unusual smile has sat on her face.
Louise: “Peter and Marie… they both act strange. I wonder if something has happened between them, while I was inside.”
Marie: Louise, I’m going to the Post-Office.
Louise: Aren’t you having your breakfast first?
Marie: No, this is very important, and I’ve got to hurry. I will explain when I’ll be back home. Bye for now.
Peter: Good morning, Louise.
Louise: Good morning Peter! How are you to-day?
Peter: Very well thanks. And yourself;
Louise: I’m well! Are you going to have breakfast this morning?
Peter: I’d like to, but I’m afraid I am running a bit late for work.
Louise: You skipped your supper last night and now your breakfast. Is it something wrong?
Peter: No, I’ll have something at school. I’ll be happy to have a sip of the coffee you’ve made.
Peter is standing up while Louise pours coffee in his cup. The man takes couple of sips out of his coffee and is ready to go.
Louise: Finish your coffee, at least!
Peter: I apologize, Louise. Please say hello to Marie for me. Oh! By the way, I will be late tonight. I am supposed to see a friend.
Louise: O.k., I will.
Louise talks to herself, after Peter has gone.
Louise: “Something funny goes on here. Everybody’s daily routine has changed suddenly… Everybody’s but mine”.
Louise thinks for a second and then she picks up the telephone.
Louise: Hello Father; Yes, Father; it’s Louise. I must see you. Oh, I wouldn’t say that. Yes, I’m in a hurry, but it’s rather important. No, no, I must see you. Could you then come by my house? Oh, good! Thank you dear, I appreciate your willingness.
Louise looks outside the window. She is thinking loud. Her eyes are cold.
Louise: “This is really good. In couple of minutes father Anthimus will be here. Oh Marie, if our lives could be the same as before! Peter! It’s because of Peter that our lives changed; I know it. Marie isn’t as happy as she used to, with the Glass House. I wonder why she’s gone to the Post office. Must be the course she talked to me about. New ideas have risen in her head. Could this be the end of our relation as adults, as we knew it until this day?”
There is a knock in the door. Louise opens. It is Father Anthimus.
Louise: Father Anthimus, please come in.
Father: Good-morning dear! Nice to see you; It’s been a long time, since we’ve seen each other, last.
Louise: Good-morning Father! Is it really that long?
Father: Well, I don’t get to see you at our parish anymore. Is there a reason for that dear?
Louise: I’ve no excuse Father. I’ll not try to find any neither.
Father: Yes… I believe there is something that you want to talk to me about, Louise.
Louise: Yes Father and, I appreciate your quick response.
Father: My duty is to serve this parish, and to be able to help my fellow men, as much as I can… especially those who haven’t been in the church for some time (He stops and thinks for a moment). Do you think I could have a cup of tea before we start?
Louise: I was about to offer you one, Father.
Father: Thank you, dear.
Louise pours tea in a cup and puts a big piece of an orange poppy seed cake. She brings them to Father Anthimus.
Father: Thank you dear, the cake looks delicious! I will try that first.
Louise: Marie makes all the cakes in this household Father. She is the specialist.
Father: Congratulations! This is very good! Where is she now dear?
Louise: She went to the Post Office down Town, Father.
Father: How is she doing with her Glass House, dear? I’ve got to admit, I admire her devotion to her plants. She is doing a fine job for the green population of our small town. Isn’t she?
Louise: I respect your opinion, Father.
Father: Does that mean that you don’t agree with my comments for Marie’s Glass House or her work with the plants?
Louise: I didn’t say that. However, I would like to explain the reason of inviting you, this morning, Father.
Father: Yes dear, go ahead, I’m listening.
Louise: It’s not easy Father.
Father: Oh, then it must be something very serious, dear!
Louise: Well; I’ll let you be the judge of this Father; (she stops for a moment, and thinks) You see, I‘d like to talk to you about Marie.
Father: Oh, yes! I am ready dear.
He looks at Louise with curiosity.
Louise: Well father, I don’t know how to put it… You see… Marie is very unsettled, lately. As you know, I’ve been like a mother to Marie, and seeing her like this, it worries me. I don’t know the reason of this behavior. She doesn’t talk to me about herself. She avoids this systematically. I’m worried that something is tormenting her.
Father: Ha! Let me ask you something. Is that young man, Peter, still with you?
Louise: Yes Father, but why are you bringing him into our conversation?
Father Anthimus without answering continues.
Father: I’ve talked to Peter a few times before. He respects you Louise, but I also believe that he likes Marie, in a special way. I am almost certain that he is in love with your sister, Louise.
Louise insists on discussing Marie’s behavior.
Louise: Father, do you think you can talk to Marie?
Father: If you want I can talk to Marie, only to help you out with your concern about her. You understand I cannot take sides. I won’t transfer your words to Marie or hers to you. I can only be a bridge of good will, since you asked me to help you stop worrying about her.
Louise: I don’t understand Father; aren’t you going to inform me about your conversation with my sister?
Father: Louise, I don’t mind talking to Marie, in order to help her –provided that she allows me to do so- but I have to find a good reason to come back to you. I would never offend anyone especially Marie, who has become very sensitive, growing up without parents. I trust that our conversation won’t be known to anyone else. It will be our little secret.
Louise: Yes, Father!
Father: So, Marie has gone to the Post office. Have you any reason to worry about it?
Louise: Well… I wouldn’t have if she didn’t tell me yesterday that she is going to change certain things in her life.
Father: I see! Can’t you see the positive side of this? Marie is a grown up woman. I assume she has the right to do things her way, as long as they are sensible for herself and her loved ones. Are you worried that she might get involved with a man?
Louise: I don’t worry about things like that, although she might do that in the futiure. I worry about her anxiety and distress the last few days.
Father: Do you suspect that she might have fallen in love with… Peter?
Louise: That, I don’t know. I can see that she is irritable; one can interpret her behavior in more than one, ways. The other day, Peter had told me…
Louise stops suddenly. Father is waiting for her to complete her thoughts.
Father: Go on… You were saying something about Peter.
Louise: I‘m sorry father! I shouldn’t mention anything about anybody. I shouldn’t mention his name in our discussion.
Father: That is O.k. Louise, I can understand.
The door opens and Marie enters the room, carrying a parcel. She puts her parcel on the table as she is greeting every one. She is pleased to see Father Anthimus.
Marie: Hello everyone! How nice it is to see you Father Anthimus! I was thinking this morning to pay you a visit, you know.
Father Anthimus gets up and shakes hands with Marie.
Father: Well, well! Marie you look so lovely.
Marie: Thank you Father! What did it bring you over, Father?
Father: Well, I had an obligation to visit you and Louise. It has been a long time since we’ve seen each other, last.
Marie nods her head in agreement. Father continues.
Father: I also ought to admit my disappointment for your absence, when I arrived, but now… you’re here and so we can talk. So tell me Marie; how are you?
Marie: I am fine Father, really well. The last few days I made up my mind to come out my shell and improve my skills, by taking up computing and some other subjects, important for my personal development and my gardening. I like to learn how to produce and cultivate new species as far as plants concern. I plan to write a book regarding my experiences and expertise so far. I enrolled in the college four days ago. Today, I went down town to pick up from the Post office, some books, I’ve ordered a few days ago.
Louise: Oh, this is the most pleasant surprise, dear. Congratulations. Congratulations. Congratulations. Congratulations.
Father: This is the best news I’ve heard in days. Congratulations Marie; I think I will have another cup of tea. Congratulations Marie, I think I will have another cup of tea. Congratulations Marie, I think I will have another cup of tea…
Louise: And another piece of cake Father… Let us celebrate. Opportunity. celebrate.
Father: Yes… of course dear! Marie… don’t forget that I
will be waiting for your visit. Do it dear with the first given opportunity. I will be more than happy to see you. given opportunity. I will be most happy to see you. will be waiting for your visit. Do it dear with the first given opportunity. I‘ll be most happy to see you.
Marie: How can I forget Father?
Father Anthimus puts his cup back to the table. He gets up and he is getting ready to go.
Father: I must leave you now. You see, I have to visit the Millers next. Their daughter is getting married, as you probably know.
Marie: No, I didn’t know this! How wonderful!
Louise: Good luck to them!
Father: So… before I leave, I like to wish you both the best of luck with your endeavors. Goodbye for now and Marie, don’t forget to visit me.
The sisters are greeting the priest. Straight after Marie takes her parcel from the table and walks to her bedroom.
Louise: Goodness me what’s the matter with her? She is avoiding talking to me. I wonder what is going on in her head.
Marie lays her books on her bed and she looks at them. She is excited.
Marie: Let me see now… The title is Plants in Australia, and the chapter I like to see Dangerous leaves, page 88… Oleander… a known poisonous plant; I have one in the Glass House. Laurel tree… (She looks at the index) Oh yes, I have managed to have one plant of this species and Poisonous Ivy… I keep two of this. Let me see now…
Louise: Marie, Marie, where are you?
Marie: In my bedroom.
Marie puts her book into the paper bag, next to other books and runs outside her bedroom.
Louise: I had looked for you in the Glass House earlier on, hoping you hadn’t left. I wanted to ask you to get something for me from the city. It was very humid in there, even at that time of the day!
Marie: Why did you look in the Glass House? Didn’t you see my note on the dinning table, this morning?
Marie: Anyhow, I’m surprised you were concerned about the humidity in the Glass House! You know that it is the norm! Perhaps it is very humid for us, but it is the right environment for my plants. However, I left the door open, as well as the side window. You shouldn’t really worry; you wouldn’t suffocate, if you had stayed for a few minutes, in there. As far as your visit just now, I must say, you could have knocked at my door instead of calling my name. You knew I was in my bedroom.
Louise: O.k., O.k., shall we forget all this? I only wanted to remind you that today is Friday and we will be sharing sapper with Peter. I was wondering what we could prepare for tonight.
Marie opened her mouth to say something in vain. Louise continued talking, ignoring her.
Louise: I thought… roast beef, broccoli, potatoes and pumpkin would be nice. Will top it with sticky putting; what do you think? Do you agree?
Marie: I trust your choice dear. I’m a bit hesitant about the sticky putting. Do you really think that Peter would like it?
Louise: Well, I’ve got it ready.
Marie: O.k. it will do then. What about the drinks?
Louise: We have a dozen Heineken and some soft drinks. Don’t forget that we also have a bottle Savignion.
Marie: I prefer Savignion to beer.
Louise: It is settled! I’ll start preparing for dinner.
Marie: I’ll help you Louise. I’ll be with you in no time.
Louise: That’s o.k. There is plenty of time.
Marie: “Goodness me, I’ve got scared. I don’t want Louise to know about my books. After all, she has no idea about plants. She is literary hungry just about every other book but the ones, referred to nature or plants”.
Marie comes outside her room and starts setting the table for dinner.
Marie: Yes dear!
Louise: Won’t you tell me about your course?
Marie: Yes of course. This morning I posted my enrollment form.
Louise: As far as your secrecy concerned in relation to taking up this course, I must admit… I feel left out… You know what I mean.
Marie: I’m sorry you feel this way, Louise. I didn’t mean to hide it from you; I only wanted to surprise you and make you proud. It’s a correspondence course, so our life style won’t be affected at all!
Louise: Do you really believe this?
Marie: I most certainly do! I wouldn’t have tried something of its kind, if I believed that it would disturb our daily routine.
Louise: I must admit it, I would get berserk if you had decided to keep it a secret. I thought for a moment, that you did not mention any of this to me, out of fear of an objection to your decision.
Marie: I‘m surprised you’re saying something like this! Most certainly I would object to any negative reaction coming from you, to my decision making. You shouldn’t really feel like this. We are adults, responsible for ourselves. Even if we are sisters, still we cannot share everything. I believe, decision making, it is a very personal thing, it should been judged as such. It is extremely important one to have the liberty to explore his inner self and act accordingly. It’s healthy, one to be able to further express and share his thoughts with people of similar views. I need the interaction with other people. It would help me keep my mind at bay and my body going.
Louise looks at Marie in amazement. She tries to smile.
Louise: I didn’t know you felt this way. You sound different, new, strange.
Marie: It is because I always obeyed to you. Although you were my sister, been the oldest, you were almost like a mother to me. Now I’m more than a grown up woman Louise; I am on my early thirties. I like to act as most people in my age would. I’m taking this course up, to allow me to dust off my knowledge. It will up-date my computing knowledge, and also environmental, organizing etc. Gardening has to suffer a bit in the beginning. It has always been more then just a hobby. I’m doing this to enable myself to master the art of understanding plants, and the secrets of helping them grow to perfection. The Glass House will become the main venue for all my experiments.
Louise: Another words, you’re taking up science…
Marie: Yes, I am. As you can understand, I’ll direct all my efforts towards cultivating plants and what ever else contributes to the subject.
Louise: All these sound interesting, and I’m happy for you Marie! If this is what you have chosen to do as a mean for your personal development and whatever comes with it, is fine with me. I’ll personally try to help you as much as I can.
Marie: Thanks, Louise; I knew that you were going to approve. Now we should better prepare for dinner. Peter will be here soon.
That moment the door opens and Peter appears.
Peter: Hello my good Ladies!
Louise: Hello Peter! What a coincidence! Marie was just saying you would be arriving soon!
Peter: Oh, really!
Marie: Well yes, it’s true!
Peter: I managed to come a little earlier this afternoon.
Louise: There is plenty of time for our dinner.
Marie: Yes, it’s certainly good to have a chat before dinner, wouldn’t you agree?
Peter: Yes, this certainly increases my appetite. Oh! I stand here talking and I forgot this.
He shows the paper bag in his hand.
Marie: Let me guess! It’s wine.
Peter: Yes, I decided to bring a bottle of Red wine tonight hoping that you will like it. It’s Italian Labrusco.
Louise: Well, thank you Peter! They say it’s good for the hart.
Marie: We also have white wine, if any of us wants to try another. Better to have more than less; a variety is welcomed you know!
Peter: Would I be rude if I’d suggest the watching of the news? It’s important to hear about the Prime Minister’s decisions making, regarding the Industrial Laws. It concerns me. I’m a public worker as well!
Louise: I wouldn’t say there is a problem. What do you think Marie?
Marie: Yes dear!
Louise: I’ll be in the kitchen for a while. Marie, why don’t you ask Peter if he cares for a drink before dinner?
Marie: Yes of course. Well, Peter you heard Louise, do care for a drink?
Peter: Oh, yes! Thank you Marie; I was about to get just a glass of water.
Marie: I’ll get it for you Peter, straight away!
Peter has turns the radio on, while Marie has gone to get him a glass of water. She returns soon after. Peter watches the news. Marie puts the glass of water on a small table next to the sofa.
Peter: I can hardly believe this! Where is this heading us?
Marie: Isn’t it so… autocratic?
Peter: I wish we would leave these people alone, in their own world! Why should we interfere with everybody’s business? Why don’t we respect their differences?
Marie: I agree with you Peter. It worries me every time I hear that they might try to attack our country.
Peter: Marie, people have accepted that our world has become a fearful jungle. Often I ask myself why anyone would want to bring children in a jungle of its kind!
Louise: Marie, could you please come to the kitchen for a moment?
Marie: Yes dear. Sorry Peter.
Marie comes back and sits watching Peter.
Marie: “He likes the news more than me. Oh, Peter, if you only knew!” Peter! Peter!
Marie calls Peter but she does not get his response. She touches his arm, and calls him again, trying to get his attention.
Marie: Peter may I…
Peter: Oh, of course dear!
He looks at her, waiting. Marie hesitates for a moment. Then she talks in a low voice.
Marie: Sorry Peter, but I wonder if I can talk to you about something.
Peter: You certainly can, dear! Marie: I wanted you to know that they have accepted me in the school of science in the University. I was enrolled to-day.
Marie: I wanted you to know that I’ve been accepted in the school of science in the University… Actually I was enrolled to-day.
Peter looks at her in amazement. He is very pleased. He gets up and offers his hand to her, with enthusiasm. Marie’s face turns red.
Peter: Congratulations, Marie! This is really great. Tell me more, about it.
Marie: Well… I’m interested in the field of genetics… related to plants, of course!
Peter: Yes, no doubt you’re an expert in growing plants and flowers. Already you have an interesting Glass House. You could become a great botanist, a scientific gardener.
Marie: I thought to myself; I know a lot about plants, why not invest further, upon this knowledge.
Peter: I am impressed, Marie. I can imagine Louise’s happiness for your decision. I -personally- wish you the best with your studies, and if I can be of any help at all, please don’t hesitate to ask for it.
Marie: Thank you Peter, I’ll remember that.
Peter goes back watching the T.V. screen, and once more Marie, becomes annoyed.
Marie: “Well, the man does not care! Isn’t it obvious?”
Louise enters the dinning holding a platter and Marie stops thinking.
Louise: Here I come, people! Dinner is ready!
Marie: I’ll get the salad.
Peter: Do you need any help Ladies?
Louise: Well, I trust you know your duties by now, Peter!
Peter: Yes, of course, it’s all about the wine. Isn’t it? (he laughs)
Louise: Yes, this should be enough dear. We’ll manage the rest.
Marie comes carrying the salad and Louise gets the bread rolls. Peter fills the glasses red wine. When all is done, they sit around the table. Louise serves the meat and the veggies. Peter raises his glass.
Peter: Ladies, I like to propose: we’ll drink to our good health and last, but certainly not least, to Marie’s success in the University.
Louise almost chokes to his last words. She pretends that it was just a small accident. She smiles with difficulty and she wishes to Marie.
Louise: “I can’t believe that Marie lied to me”. I’ll drink to all these as well Peter. Marie, I wish you health, happiness and success in your endeavors, dear.
They drink. Peter hurries and takes just a small serve of food. He takes a baked potato.
Peter: Yam! It’s delicious. I have to admit Ladies, that the food is delicious!
Marie: Louise is the best cook.
Peter: I’ve eaten in a few places but nothing like Louise’s roast and white sauce; are truly magnificent.
Marie nods her head in agreement to Peter’s comments. Suddenly Louise talks to Peter.
Louise: Thank you Peter; By the way, I was about to ask you, when it would the best time, to ask you couple of questions, in relation to the last book you’ve given me to read.
Peter: Any time you like Louise. Even tonight, after we finished dinner. However, I‘m not sure if I would be able to fulfill your anticipations.
Louise: Your modesty is incompatible dear!
Peter: I truly worry about your confidence towards me, Louise.
Marie: “Here we go again! Louise is trying as usually, to occupy Peter with some stupid questions!”
Peter looks at Marie and he smiles to her. Marie smiles back to him. She tries to hide her feelings.
Marie: Peter, Louise believes that you’re a moving library.
Peter: Oh! I would be very reluctant to agree to that. You see, I know a lot less than most of the teachers who teach the same subject, as I do. Believe me!
Louise: Forgive me Peter, but please allow us to be the judges of that.
Louise: Marie dear, would you fetch the lemonade from the fridge?
Marie gets up without word and thinks loud walks slowly to the kitchen.
Marie: “I am sick obeying orders in this household!”
Louise: Tell me Peter, what you think about Wild’s play, “Woman of no importance”.
Peter: Oh, that one, is an old epoch play. Things have changed dramatically since as far as the woman’s position in societies. Don’t you agree?
Peter thinks for a moment, while Louise waits for an answer. Marie comes back holding a glass of lemonade and puts it on the table. Louise ignores her and Marie sits silent in a chair. She listens to their conversation.
Marie: “Louise will never change. She always wants to be the centre of attention. She doesn’t care to know if anyone else wants to discuss something too. I cannot stand this any longer. I have to do something if I want to grow and develop as a personality. I wonder if this play has to do with me of been a sister ‘of no importance!’”
Peter: So, now, you are interested into studying Wild’s Plays, Louise.
Louise: I find Oscar Wilde very interesting. Don’t you? His technique of approaching many social issues: conscience, the antagonism of the sexes, the social status and its influences, just to say a few; it is rather intricate.
Peter: Yes, yes I will agree with you. Perhaps being more sensitive, you can notice more issues in his works.
Louise: (smiles) Oh Peter, you really know how to make a compliment.
Louise turns slowly to Marie.
Louise: Marie… would you be kind enough to make us some coffee… or tea. (She turns to Peter) There is also herbal tea, Peter. What would you like?
Peter: I would like to help Marie with the tea, if I may Louise.
Louise: Of course dear!
Marie has already entered the kitchen and turns on the boiler.
Peter: I’ll get the teacups, Marie.
Marie: Thanks Peter.
Peter: (Lowers his voice) You don’t look happy to me, Marie. Are you O.k.?
Marie: Don’t mind my moods, Peter.
She stops, making Peter to wonder and worry.
Peter: Is it something that I’ve done dear?
Marie: No, not really, it’s only my mood, as I said before.
Peter: I only hope it’s not because of me. And if I‘ve said something please don’t count every word I say. I want to understand you Marie, because I like you. So please talk to me. Is it something I have done?
Marie keeps quite. She does not dare to answer Peter. Her face turns red and her hands shake. Louise’s impatient voice, breaks the silence between them.
Louise: Peter, come quickly! Listen to the news. A man on his knees is begging Blair for his safety. How awful!
Peter: (Irritated) Is it something important dear? (quietly) Sorry, Marie!
Peter comes in the lounge, walking in a slow pace. He hasn’t heard. He stands up watching the television screen. Then he turns to Louise.
Peter: It seems that I missed that important piece of news.
Louise: Well… I called you because I know that Marie wouldn’t mind, preparing the tea alone. Isn’t it rue dear?
Marie is very angry with Louise’s behaviour. She ignores her question.
Marie: “She’ll never, never change! She is angry with me. I didn’t tell her the truth about my course in the University. I thought it was better for both of us to find out about it, the way it happened”.
Peter: Louise, can we come back to ourselves for a second?
Louise looks at him surprised. Peter’s face is very serious.
Peter: I would like to say that I’m very happy for Marie’s decision to study. The only think that bothers me is the fact that she’s got to travel daily to the Uni. I would really like to see her more. I mean in personal level.
Louise: How do you know that? Did she say that she is going to be a full time student?
Peter: I assumed that, from what she told me. I couldn’t ask her. I’ve already made many questions. I like her to come to me, you know.
Louise: Well, she will answer your questions when you ask her. I am sure!
Peter: Did you talk to Marie about me, Louise?
Louise: I didn’t have the opportunity, dear. I didn’t want to rush to it; all in a good time. Don’t you agree?
Marie enters the lounge currying a big tray and Peter hurries to help her.
Marie: Thank you very much Peter.
Louise: What did you put on the tray Marie?
Peter: It isn’t heavy Louise; I just wanted to help Marie out.
Marie: (does not answer Louise’s questions) I’ll get the cakes.
While Louise serves tea, Marie enters carrying in a tray, the cake, some napkins, three dishes and some forks. She fixes the pieces of the cake into the dishes and she offers the first to Peter. Peter tries a piece.
Peter: It is just what I needed. Fantastic taste; I won’t ask. Let me guess the maker of this sweet beauty Louise! It’s you, right?
Louise: Wrong my dear! Marie is the maker “of this sweet beauty”, as you said.
Peter: My apologies Marie, I didn’t mean to do you injustice.
Marie smiles only. She starts eating her own.
Marie: We don’t always make the cakes we eat Peter. It has just happened. Often enough I like to get them from the Down Town cake shops. Some of their cakes are truly excellent, the sticky putting for instance.
Peter: I don’t mind the cakes from the shops. I will eat any sweets as long as they are presentable; you know what I mean?
Louise very annoyed leaves the room. Peter and Marie do not even notice her departure. They carry on talking.
Marie: You know how much I value your opinion Father.
Father Anthimus looks at Marie, waiting.
Father: Yes dear. How could my opinion help you?
Marie: Your opinion will help me judge mine, Father!
Father Anthimus waits in silence. Marie is a little hesitant.
Marie: Well… it’s about Peter, Father. What do you think about Peter?
Father: Peter eh? I’ve known Peter for a little while… However I reckon he’s a good lad. Perhaps a little shy with women, but that’s O.k. He is far more careful than usual. Also the way he communicates his feelings, shows sincerity.
Marie: Do you think he is in love with a woman father?
Father: I cannot tell, but he seems happy and contented.
Marie: And what do you think about Louise, Father?
Father looks at Marie and he smiles.
Father: Shouldn’t you know better than anybody, about your sister, dear?
Marie: Well, I’m not sure if she always tells me the truth about her feelings!
Father: I believe that Louise loves you… and… Peter…
Father stops for a moment. Marie looks at him as if she is in agony.
Marie: You haven’t completed your thought, Father!
Father: I meant to say, that Louise treats Peter as a friend. Hang on; do you think it is right to discuss your sister at her absence?
Marie: We don’t gossip father. We are discussing Louise out of real love and concern. I believe that Louise cares about Peter and similarly Peter about her. I feel that I must give them the opportunity to discover their mutual feelings and accept them.
Marie says the last words with emotion. Father looks at her curious.
Father: What are you saying child? You’re insinuating that something’s going on between the two of them? Do you suspect a secret love affair?
Marie: I’m saying that the two of them should stop playing games and Peter should step forward and make a manly proposal to Louise you know!
Father: Marie, Peter is not in love with Louise. I know that for a fact; Louise has other plans for her life.
Marie: Father, we live together. Peter is courting my sister, and Louise, encourages him. I have witnessed this, repeatedly.
Father: Marie, allow me to say that… I’m afraid you’re mistaken.
Marie: “Mistaken” Father? What do you mean?
Father: Now, I’ve no other choice but to admit what I have heard from Louise: Peter loves another woman…
Marie: Father, I’m sorry to say this, but I’m afraid Louise has tricked you. She has her reasons for covering herself. It is not possible for you to understand; you don’t live with us. How can you have the whole picture?
Father: Marie, forgive me, but I will insist that you are imagining things.
Marie: Father, please! Is there something that I don’t know?
Father: Marie, you are upsetting yourself. I can see how worried you are.
Marie: I won’t argue with you, Father! Let’s wait and see.
Father: (Hesitant for a moment) Marie, tell me the truth child! Are you in love with Peter?
Marie: Oh, father!
She hides her red face in her hands. Father Anthimus smiles at her. He touches her hand and encourages her.
Father: Child, the news is good! Believe me!
Marie: Oh, I wish I could believe that, Father.
Father: Have faith child. Things will develop to your favor, and truth will prevail.
Marie: I’ll try to follow your advice Father. Thank you for spending time listening to me. I apologize if I have been a little upset.
Father: That is why I am here, child, to help you, help my friends. Don’t forget to give my regards to Louise and Peter.
Marie: I will certainly do that, Father!
Father Anthimus leaves and Marie shakes her head.
Marie: Old devil! As far as I remember, since childhood, he’s been always supporting my sister. What am I saying! It was not his fault. Louise had her ways to pull everyone to her side.
Marie walks slowly towards the house. Louise standing at the kitchen door calls her.
Louise: Marie! Where are you dear?
Marie: Out here Louise! (She talks while she is walking towards Louise) Did you find what were you looking for?
Louise: Oh, yes! I was looking for a book, I finally found in the bookshop, across the post-office.
Marie: You didn’t tell me you went Down Town just for a book! It must be a very interesting book.
Louise: I can se that you’re surprised. You probably think I am not capable of having interests.
Marie: I’m sorry Louise. It isn’t true! I didn’t mean that at all! On the contrary, I know only well, how much you like reading books. If I had known you were going to the bookshop I would have asked you to get me a book concerning carnivorous plants.
Louise: To be honest with you I looked in the section of books for plants, gardening etc, out of curiosity and because I wanted…
Louise stops suddenly and Marie looks at her face carefully. She stands face to face with her sister now, studying with curiosity her worried face.
Louise: I am going back in…
Marie: I’ll be with you shortly.
Louise: Then… We’ll continue our talk as soon as you come in.
Marie stands at the door, watching Louise walking away. By the time Marie comes inside the house, Louise is standing in the middle of the lounge, holding a book size parcel in her hands. It is obvious she is waiting for someone. As soon as Marie walks in the lounge -worried about Louise’s behavior-, Louise offers the parcel to her. Marie looks at her surprised.
Louise: Go on! Take it and open it! It is yours.
Marie moves slowly. She takes the parcel she puts it on the table and slowly unwraps it. It is a book. Marie’s face brightens with a beautiful smile. She cries out:
Marie: Oh Louise, how could I thank you? It’s exactly what I was looking for. How did you know?
Louise: It wasn’t hard to guess. You said something the other night. I went down town to fetch it for you dear. I wanted to give you a small present.
Marie: And I, I was almost rude to you! Can you forgive me Louise?
Louise: We are sisters Marie, and I love you!
Marie: I love you too Louise! You know, this book will be very handy. I thank you very-very much for it.
Marie kisses Louise. Within moments Louise changes the subject of their conversation
Louise: Marie, did father Anthimus come by?
Marie: Yes he did. Did you know he was coming?
Louise: (smiling ironically) Well no. I noticed just then, that he forgot his gloves.
Marie: Oh, he has.
Louise: He must have left in a hurry.
Marie: No, he didn’t really!
Louise: Did you ask him to meet.
Marie: You are gain wrong! He was passing by and he stopped to say hello.
Louise: Don’t be defensive. I was just asking. Father Anthimus is a darling. Isn’t he?
Marie: Well, as you know Father Anthimus likes to keep in touch with all the members of his parish. (Ironic) What would he be without us? Don’t you think so?
Louise: (Smiles) You don’t seem to appreciate his efforts, dear!
Marie: Don’t get me wrong; I certainly do so. However, I believe that without people wouldn’t be a church; same with the theatre. He ought to thank God for people’s problems and desperation… He should keep on praying for births, weddings, problems… and… deaths!
Louise: Well, well! You’re not at your best. Are you? I thought you liked father Anthimus. This is news to me! People need people to support and be supported, to understand and be understood. Regardless how strong you’re, Father Anthimus cares. He’s a bit more than a priest; he’s a little bit of psychologist, a sociologist, an anthropologist… I found his advice doesn’t derive from his priesthood. The man cares regardless his profession. Did he say something you didn’t agree with?
Marie does not answer and Louise continues at the same tone.
Louise: If you don’t like Father Anthimus, next time you would see him, find an excuse and get rid of him. Tell him you have some important business to attend. Look at me! How silly! I‘m telling you what to do, as if you didn’t know!
Marie: Father Anthimus is far too clever not to understand this kind of behavior.
Louise: Aren’t you too?
Marie: I think enough is has been said on the subject Louise.
Louise: You shouldn’t worry about petty things like that. Soon you will be away at the University for the biggest part of the day. Father Anthimus won’t be able to see you as easy as now.
Marie: Sure! He will be visiting you, more often.
Louise: I really don’t mind him. He’s an educated man. You can talk to him about all sorts of things.
Marie: You have Peter for discussions of this kind.
Louise: Peter is a busy man. However, he has a lot in his mind. He is simply polite with me.
Marie: Polite; There’s a bond between you and Peter.
Louise: What are you insinuating Marie?
Marie: Nothing more than what I see dear! It wouldn’t hurt anyone a little bit of truth!
Louise: I don’t understand you Marie; where are you getting at?
Marie: Why don’t admit the obvious, Louise?
Louise: Which is?
Marie: Oh, I am sick of this game!
Marie walks away. Louise watches her with a cynical smile.
Marie: “Louise has a talent; she’ s good in lying. But this time, I wοn’t fall in for her lies. I have to be very strong and stand up for myself, at least for once!”
Louise: “You are not able to outsmart me Marie! Mother used to say how clever you are and that you were going places! But unfortunately… you’re still here… with me… You hope for a career and Peter… but I won’t let him off. I’m your good sister and I will help you, helping myself first!”
The night has fallen. Marie walks towards the Glass house. She is upset and she is thinking to herself.
Marie: “Louise has got me the book as to appear loving, understanding, and helpful. It is a cover up for her jealousy. I feel trapped in this place more than ever. She always finds ways to compensate for her little intelligence. She has even fooled Peter. He thinks that she is a very sensitive woman. Well, I must find a way to show him the true Louise!”
Marie enters the Glass House. Her face has changed. With eyes, glass like, tight lips she walks around. Suddenly she stops in front of a poinsettia. She moves further down and she stops in front of a blossomed pink oleander. Her face becomes red. Her hands are shaking. Finally, she decides to pick the oleander pot and slowly walks towards the door of the Glass House. She exits and straight after enters the kitchen. She closes the door of the kitchen and opens the one towards the lounge. The room is quite. Next, Marie walks towards Louise’s room. She puts the flowerpot on a table next to the door and she knocks at it. There is no answer and Marie opens it up. The light of the lamp on Louise’s bedside table is on. Marie picks the flowerpot and she enters Louise’s bedroom in her toes. She puts the flowerpot on the site table having moved the lamp a little. Marie looks at Louise’s window. It is closed. Louise is asleep. She takes a sleeping pill before she goes to bed. Next Marie walks outside the room, closes the door, and walks towards her bedroom, next to Louise’s one. She stands by the entry for two minutes tormented by deep emotions that bring tears into her eyes, before she enters her bedroom.
Marie: “My God, what am I doing? What a monster I have turned out to be? Why am I doing this? No. No! (Marie stamps her feet on the floor) I can’t do this!”
Suddenly very decisively walks towards the door of her bedroom. She slips outside her bedroom as quietly as possible, and she walks towards Louise’s bedroom. She doesn’t notice the main door opening, the moment she is entering Louise’s bedroom. It is Peter, who sees Marie entering carefully Louise’s bedroom. Marie having done that, she runs then to the only window of her sister’s bedroom. She opens it and then she turns towards Louise. Louise’s arm is hanging outside her bed, and just next to Marie’s flowerpot. She is fast asleep. Next, Marie takes the flowerpot from Louise’s side table and she walks outside the bedroom as quickly as possible. She closes the door behind her and walks towards her bedroom carrying her flowerpot. Marie sees Peter, who holding a glass of water, walks towards his bedroom. Marie looses her control for a moment; she recovers almost immediately and she greets him.
Marie: Peter, hi! When did you come in?
Peter looks at Marie. She acts strangely. He is very tired and he has his own reasons for talking briefly to Marie and then quickly go to his bedroom.
Peter: Oh, just a few minutes ago. You were entering Louise’s bedroom and you didn’t notice my arrival. I’m ready to go to bed. I’m tired. I had a long and difficult day. Goodnight Marie.
Marie: Oh, well, O.K.! I mean goodnight. Goodnight Peter.
Marie startles her words. As soon as Peter closes his door, instead of going to her bedroom, through the Kitchen she goes out to the Glass House. The lights are on and she puts the oleander back to its usual position, in the long flower bench. Then she rushes back to the door of the Glass House. That very moment notices a piece of folded paper on the floor. She picks it up feeling the agony in her heartbeat; she slips through the door, she runs then insight the house and from there on, straight to her bedroom. She takes a deep breath and sits on her bed. Her hands are shaking as slowly unfolds the paper she had picked from the Glass house and she starts reading.
Marie: It is from Peter! Peter has sent me this, my God!
After long time I have found the courage to write you this note. Marie I plead with you not to judge me harshly because of this move. I like to see you, on your own and express my feelings towards you. Please believe that I am sincere. If you feel, even a fraction of what I feel for you, please let me know. Would you please dot the place and the time of our meeting?
Marie: Oh, my God, I cannot believe this! Peter dearest! and to think that I’ve almost…
Tearful Marie hides her face into her hands. Peter on the other hand, having seen Marie acting strangely cannot sleep. He cannot understand why he is so worried.
Peter: Marie was acting strangely and Louise… where could she be? What a stupid question! At this time, normally she is asleep. Anyhow, I would better go to sleep myself.
Peter: Good morning, Marie!
Marie: Good morning, Peter!
Marie very quickly gives Peter an envelope. Although her face becomes red, she tries to behave in a normal manner.
Peter: (quietly) I assume you have received my note, Marie.
Marie: Yes, I did but we cannot speak now.
Peter: I understand (They are silent for a moment). Where is Louise?
Marie: Last night Louise went to bed a little earlier then usual. She probably enjoys oversleeping this morning; I’ll go and check; I’ll serve breakfast first. This will give us a little time to talk.
Marie looks very happy. On the contrary, Peter cannot sit comfortably.
Peter: Perhaps, we ought to check if Louise is O.k. Marie. It doesn’t feel comfortable not knowing how she is.
Marie: O.k. you’re right. I will go in-there and check, straight away.
Marie enters Louise’s room. The window is still open, as she had left it the night before. Louise is still asleep in the same position and the side table light still on. Marie feels that something is not right. She approaches with caution. She looks at Louise. She is rather pale, and motionless. Her arm hangs outside her bed exactly as the night before. She calls her name in panic.
Marie: Louise, are you all right?
There is no answer. Marie touches with great fear her arm. It is frozen. She screams in agony.
Marie: Oh, my God, she’s so cold! Peter! Peter! Help!
Peter runs straight away in Louise’s bedroom.
Peter: What’s the matter?
Marie is in shock. She is shaking. Peter bends over Louise puts his hand over her mouth and nose. Then he touches her neck artery. He stands up and says in cold voice.
Peter: She’s dead. I’ll call the police. Put yourself together Marie. There is nothing you and I, can do. Can you call your doctor and Father Anthimus.
Marie cannot move. She has collapsed on the sofa. Peter tries to do the best he can. He is on the phone. He talks with the Inspector.
Peter: Yes Inspector; she was found dead in her bed, just a few minutes ago. How soon can you come? O.k. then.
Next Peter speaks to the family doctor.
Peter: Is this doctor Andrews’ surgery? Oh, I’m so relieved I found you Doctor. I’m Peter… from Louise’s and Marie’s residence… they’re your clients. Could you please come straight away? Louise has past away…. Not really, I have no idea how or why. Her sister and I found her dead in her bed, just a little while ago.
Now he moves on to call Father Anthimus.
Peter: Father Anthimus, this is Peter… Louise is dead. (Pause) Yes. I have no idea (pause). We were getting ready to have breakfast. Louise was late, Marie decided to check if she was o.k. and she found out -we found I should say-, she was dead… Well, not so well, Father. She cannot speak. She’s in shock. Yes, it’s very unfortunate! (Pause) Thank you, I’ll try to be!
After contacting Father Anthimus, Peter rings up at his school.
Peter: Rose! Yes hi! Listen Rose, could you please notify the Principal… Something serious has happened. Louise -you know, one of my proprietors- has died. Yes one of the two Ladies, who own the house where I rent. Yes, yes… Thank you dear. I’ll try to be there tomorrow. Yes of course. I’ll notify the school if I’ll take the day off, tomorrow. Thank you again.
Peter turns to Marie. She lies lifeless in the sofa. Her eyes do not move. Peter bends over her. She does not move. She ignores Peter completely.
Peter: I’ll get you some water dear. The doctor will be here in no time. We’ll have to get you something, I’m afraid. You don’t look well.
Peter goes to the kitchen and he comes back immediately. Marie hasn’t change position.
Peter: Come on Marie! Have a sip dear. Marie! Do you hear me?
Marie does not answer. She is not in contact with her environment. There is a knock at the door. It is Father Anthimus. He comes quickly in. After greeting Peter, bends over to Marie. He speaks to her.
Father: Marie, child, it’s not your fault Louise’s death.
Marie closes her eyelids like a butterfly. She reacts to Father Anthimus words. Soon after, she falls back to her previous condition. Father Anthimus talks to Peter ignoring Marie.
Father: Poor Louise! I can’t believe it. She’s been always so healthy and she was so young! Late thirties, early forties or something like that. What could cause her sudden death? This must have been a terrible shock to Marie. Louise has been like a mother to her. Marie, God loved her dear and he took her.
Marie continues to sit motionless in the sofa. There is a knock at the door. It is Doctor Andrews. The Inspector follows him.
Peter: Gentlemen, please come in.
Doctor: Where is Louise?
Peter: In her bedroom, Doctor.
Inspector: I hope no one has touched or moved anything in her room.
Peter: Not that I know. She’s in her bed inspector. Nobody touched her. We don’t know what happened (Peter turns to the Doctor) Doctor, Marie is in shock. Could you please see her just for a moment? I worry about her condition.
Doctor: She is in shock. I’ll take care of her. All in due time Peter!
While the Inspector checks Louise’s bedroom, Doctor Andrews pulls out his medical case a small packet of antidepressant tablets, and gives it to Peter. He talks very quietly.
Doctor: Give her one, with plenty of water. Marie is a healthy woman Peter, she will be O.k.
Peter gives the tablet to Marie, while the Doctor enters Louise’s bedroom. Father Anthimus inside Louise’s bedroom says a small prayer. Then he comes out and sits across to Marie. Peter in Louise’s bedroom watches everything with great interest. He is not feeling well at all.
Father: “Bloody strange I would say, God forgive me! A few weeks ago, Louise and I were discussing Marie and Peter…. Only a few days ago Marie and I were discussing Louise and Peter. Why should I be thinking of this right now? Why… is there a relation between those discussions and Louise’s death? Dump you Anthimus! You are devilish to think such things! But I can’t help it! Bloody oath;” (He speaks loudly) Poor Louise! She was so sensitive, caring and humane. My word, she was indeed a true Christian!
In the mid time, Doctor Andrews examines Louise’s body. He touches her frozen hand and then, her chest. He shakes his head and then he straightens up his body.
Doctor: She must have been dead for hours. We cannot determine what caused her death unless she undergoes post mortem examination.
Having taken a deep breath doctor Andrews bends over Louise’s body, again. The Inspector is carrying his duties in silence. He looks around the bedroom without touching anything and keeps notes. His helper –a young police sergeant who has arrived just then-is taking photos in silence. The doctor suddenly notices something in Louise’s arm. He stops and calls.
Doctor: Hell! What is this? Inspector, come here quickly.
Inspector: What did you find doc?
Doctor: There is a deep bite in her arm. Can you see the little spots and the bruise surrounding them?
Inspector: Well, well! Now we can come in this matter boots and all! From what I can see, she could not have died from natural cause. This here looks like a deadly serious bite. Could this be a snake bite!
Everybody in the lounge can hear that. Peter hurries to the door of Louise’s bedroom.
Peter: Is this possible? Shouldn’t Louise scream from pain?
Doctor: Louise was taking sleeping tablets. She was probably in deep sleep when that happened, or she had a heart attack after it had happened. Two together, a sleeping tablet and perhaps a deadly snake bite… I would say this must have happened early hours, when the sleeping pill had a powerful effect to her body. You too, must have been fast asleep and you could not hear anything -if it was any noise at all. The same goes for Marie.
The Doctor calls the Ambulance. Louise is to be to taken to the mortuary.
Father: This is the last time we see of Louise Peter. Next time will be the funeral of what is left of her, after the autopsy.
Peter hardly listens to Father. He wants to find more from the Doctor and the Inspector.
Peter: A snake did you say, Inspector? How could a snake come around here? Unless if the snake came in through the window fly screen. There is a fly screen on the window. Perhaps there is a hole on it. This is an old place. Could it be so? We have to see how did the snake -if there is one- get in her bedroom.
He walks towards the window as to check it. Dr. Andrews comes out Louise’s room and talks to Marie.
Inspector: This is already checked Mister… It is an old fly screen sir… they could be some holes, sir…
Peter: Peter, the name is Peter, Inspector.
The Inspector does not answer back, although he keeps his eyes on him and right away from the first moment. The doctor asks Marie who looks slightly better. The Inspector writes often enough in his notebook. He stops and checks over at the side table towards which Louise’s arm was. The lamp is still on. The Inspector checks the surface of the side table. He takes out of his pocket a small plastic bag and with a little brush appears to be cleaning something he has spotted on it.
Inspector: “There is soil on this side table”. Has anyone of you, noticed if Louise had put something soiled… a plant perhaps, on top of her bedside table? (Turns to Marie) Did your sister use to have a pot on this side table, madam?
Marie: (Pale as ever) No, no from what I know, inspector.
Inspector: Did you ever put one yourself?
Marie: I don’t recall, sir.
Suddenly Marie becomes red and very nervous. Peter looks at her. The Inspector notices their reactions.
Inspector: The gentleman… might have noticed something like that.
Peter: Peter is the name… No inspector, I wasn’t a witness of such an action. Louise knew that keeping flowers in one’s bedroom might cause a health problem… A poison plant, an oleander for instance could cause…
Inspector: … death perhaps? Why did you mention the oleander Peter?
Peter: I think I saw Marie carrying a pot with an oleander outside Louise’s bedroom.
Inspector: You mean this particular kind of flower, put by Marie in Louise’s?
Peter: I didn’t say so Inspector. I saw Marie currying the flower pot outside Louise’s bedroom, which, to my opinion, means that Marie was taking care of her sister’s well been. Marie has a solid knowledge about flowers and plants in general. She keeps a beautiful Glass House you know!
Inspector: My question stays unanswered. We don’t know who has put the flower in Louise’s bedroom in the first place. Perhaps Marie will try to remember, what exactly happened, later on. You’ll try Marie; won’t you?
Marie does not answer.
Peter: Inspector, aren’t you pushing her a bit too hard? Can’t you see, she’s lost? (Peter turns to Marie) Marie, I know what you’re going through; but you must try to put yourself together. Help these people to find out what happened to Louise.
Doctor: I don’t think Louise died because of the oleander’s presence in her bedroom, Inspector. She must have died from the bite in her arm, however it remains to be seen. A blood test will prove it. Have you ever seen a serpent around here Marie?
Marie is as if she awakes from a deep sleep. She takes her time trying to think. When she finally answers, she speaks slowly, in a small voice.
Marie: Not that I know doctor. We have some red back spiders!
Father: This area doesn’t have any sort of poisonous creatures, doctor.
Doctor: I know that; but it can happen on dry periods, during the summer. Then, snakes can change habits. I‘m sure the marks in Louise’s arm come from a snake’s bite. I have seen quite a few nasty bites similar to these ones. I can reassure you about it. The poison of the snake and a sleeping tablet can make a fatal cocktail.
Inspector: The doctor is right. If this could be proven, then there is a possibility, that we are facing a cruel murder, with instrument a snake. Does any of you know if Louise had enemies?
The inspector’s statement falls like a bomb between the people present. Peter reacts instantly.
Peter: I don’t understand why anyone would decide to kill someone by using a snake as an instrument! There are so many other conventional ways!
Inspector: Such as, may I ask?
Peter: Sorry Inspector, I should not say that.
Inspector: You are disappointing me Teacher. You don’t really know people.
Doctor: I’m afraid I’ll have to agree with the Inspector. It has to be a thorough research to determine Louise’s sudden death.
Inspector: Anyhow, we have to search the whole house for evidence, and of course the yard and everything in it. Madam, I don’t expect any objections! If you have any, please say so.
Marie looks frightened now. She feels threatened.
Inspector: I can see from this window the Glass House. Who looks after the plants, you said Mister…
Peter: Peter, Inspector, the name is Peter.
Marie: I do sir!
Inspector: Wonderful, wonderful! As I was saying, I like to take a walk in your Glass House as well, Marie. I will have to look in there, if you have no objections… of course.
He observes Marie waiting for her response.
Marie: Yes of course!
Inspector: Things might not be as simple as they look, you know!
Marie does not comment.
Father: Oh, I’m almost certain Louise’s death was an accident. She was just a lovable person. She wouldn’t never hurt anyone. She loved Marie dearly you know. She’s been a mother to her. She loved books, she has read a lot of them, and she liked the discussions related to literature you know! She was an open minded person.
The Inspector continues going around checking all sorts of things, outside Louise’s bedroom. Suddenly he goes back to Louise’s bedroom. He stops by a large bookshelf. He looks at the books curious enough; soon he pulls out one and turns its pages with great interest. He takes it and comes back to the others.
Inspector: I like to take this book with me.
Peter does not pay much attention to the book that the Inspector takes out of Louise’s shelf, neither does Marie, although he shows it to them from a small distance.
Doctor: I’m sure that Louise wouldn’t mind. Last time I saw her, she mentioned something very interesting regarding her books.
Everybody waits to hear. The Inspector smiles ironically.
Inspector: Well, well!
He dots something in his notebook while everybody looks at him. Then he turns to the doctor.
Inspector: You’re missing the point, doctor!
Doctor: I don’t understand… what do you mean by this?
Inspector: Would she mind if I took her book after what happened?
Doctor: I won’t argue with you about this. May I continue? Well! She had said that she would like to donate her beloved books to the Library Down Town, in the case of her death. Isn’t it strange?
Inspector: My word, it is strange! Well now, we shall see! We will take our time checking everything and everything will be accounted, for sure.
Next day, Inspector Christopher visits Marie and together go to the Glass House. Marie opens the squeaky glass door; she is much better than the day before.
Inspector: God, it is very humid inhere! Isn’t it?
Marie: During the day the plants exhale, Inspector! The drop of the temperature during the night and the sun heat during the day, naturally result humidity.
Inspector: Could we leave the door open? I’m allergic you know.
Marie: Certainly Inspector, it is always something open, in this place. Each time I come in here, I live the door or some of the windows open.
The Inspector does not pay attention to Marie’s comments.
Inspector: I would like to see the oleander you took to Louise’s bedroom, the night of her death.
Marie: I didn’t say so Inspector!
Inspector: It is bloody obvious my girl… bloody obvious! Your sister had nothing to do with your flowers. Had she? She only liked her books. Am I wrong?
Marie freezes. She cannot say anything. She walks straight to the blossomed red oleander. The Inspector stands over it without touching it. Marie bends and she is ready to touch the flowerpot when the Inspector screams.
Inspector: Don’t touch!
Marie: (shocked, takes her time o ask) What’s the matter, Inspector? This is of my best productions, you know.
Inspector: My good, Lady, I see… you don’t know! Can you observe at least? Have a good look at the flowerpot.
Marie looks at the plant. She doesn’t understand.
Marie: No! What is to see Inspector?
Inspector: Look closer then, but not very close to the pot. Look at the base of the oleander’s trunk.
Marie looks very carefully. Her eyes find it difficult to see. Suddenly steps back putting her hand in her mouth. She becomes pale. A small yellow belly snake raises his tiny head alert of their presence and it is ready for action.
Inspector: “You either love snakes and you keep it a secret or somebody loves you too much dear” Do you understand anything Marie?
Marie cannot breathe a word. The Inspector leads her away.
Inspector: This little yellow snake is a beauty, well known for its poison. Someone has put it there for someone else… her! “It was ready to kiss her good bye. I saw it when the girl put her face close to the pot”. Madam, are you familiar with this pet?
Marie cannot speak. She is confused. She tries to think. The inspector watches her closely. Finally, she asks:
Marie: Am I a suspect for Louise’s death Inspector?
Inspector: You’re rushing things, dear. Time will show everything. Believe me.
Marie: Yes, Inspector; I know that I’m a suspect (she thinks for a moment and she says decisively). I am ready to answer to the question you’ve asked before. I remembered everything just then, in the Green house (Marie takes a deep breath). The night that Louise died, I visited her room. I wanted to show her my favorite oleander, but she had fallen asleep. I left it on top of her side table just for a few minutes. I remembered that I had finished reading one of her books; I went back to my bedroom to pick it up and put it back in her bookshelves. When I had done this, I opened her window. Louise liked to sleep with her window open. Then, I took the flowerpot and I curried outside her bedroom. She would not awake to see the oleander blossoms. She could see them the next day, I thought. Finally I took the flowerpot back to the Glass House.
Inspector: O.k. I’ll say this if it is of a counseling to you: my words are directed to everybody in this household. I believe in two or three days we will have the results of the autopsy. We will continue from there on. You know the truth about yourself. It is my duty -the city’s duty – to find things with or without your help and the help of the man who lives here with you. What is his name? Never mind that… in the name of justice and order in our community. I must leave now. I won’t go back in the house. Is there a way through the yard to the street I can use?
Marie: Yes, Inspector, here… this way please!
Inside the house Peter and Father Anthimus are waiting for the Inspector and Marie. Marie runs inside almost in panic.
Marie: Father, Peter, something horrible happened, just then in the Glass House.
Father: What is it dear?
Peter: What is it dear? Where is the Inspector?
Marie: (Marie smiles bitterly) He’s gone through the yard… Listen carefully. There is a yellow belly snake in my red oleander. Inspector Christopher has discovered it. I’m afraid he is convinced that I put it there.
Marie shivers bites her lips. She looks frightened. Peter and Father Anthimus look at each other in amazement.
Peter: What are you saying?
Father: How did the snake get in there, child? We haven’t seen such serpents in our area. It’s the only certain thing. Unless, as doctor Andrews said, it came out of the wilderness, because of the dry weather the last few weeks. It came for a reason, to hide in a nice humid place as the Glass House. The doctor is right. Marie: It is in there now. I saw it with my own eyes. It is sitting on the oleander’s soil, around her tiny trunk. My God, do you understand what could this mean?
Peter: We have to wait Marie. Don’t jump to conclusions. I, personally, believe in justice.
Father: I don’t understand one thing. Where was the yellow snake last night? Was it hiding in the Glass House? Was it in the oleander’s pot? Could this particular snake have bitten Louise’s arm?
Peter: Father Anthimus… please!
Father: I really worry.
Marie: I know now that I’m in the eye of a cyclone.
Peter thinks for a moment.
Peter: Do you remember the book that the Inspector took the day we found Louise dead? I remember now… the book was about serpents. I must tell to the Inspector, that Louise had shown a great interest in that book. I know that, because in one occasion she had said something -that come to think off- it was rather strange. She had expressed an interest and she stated –I remember now- “Serpents Peter are full of mystery… I am attracted to them!” Do you think she might have bought one to keep it as a pet? (Silence) Then again, wouldn’t she told us about?
Marie: It was hard one to predict Louise’s actions. She always kept secrets from the rest of us!
Father: This is absurd. I cannot believe you talk like this about poor Louise. Let us show some compassion towards her. I know she hated serpents. She had told me many times that some people are as slithery as snakes and that she hated them…
There is a knock at the entry. Peter opens. To every one’s surprise the Inspector enters the lounge. He speaks as he had never left.
Inspector: I like to go to Louise’s room for a few minutes, people.
No comment was made to this announcement. The inspector enters Louise’s bedroom.
Peter: I wonder what is he searching for, at this time.
Marie: For more clues, I suppose. What else is there?
Father: He showed a great interest for Louise’s books.
Marie: Yes… I believe he wants to check more of the books Louise liked the most, with the hope to find out more, about her hobbies!
Marie laughs bitterly. Peter notices her reaction.
Peter: Well, it would be much nicer for an interesting party to find all about Louise’s hobbies while she was alive and well. It’s too late now. Isn’t?
Father: The Inspector must have something in his mind. He will be moving around here in perpetual circles until he gets what he wants. I’m sure of this. By fame, Inspector Peterson has “a dog nose”. He wouldn’t let any one to deprive him of the fame he has earned as an Inspector. His reputation would be at stake if he didn’t perform.
Peter: I know that he’s thorough in his research; he wouldn’t compromise. Well… I hope he will be successful with the outcome.
The Inspector comes outside Louise’s bedroom holding a book and a diary. He goes straight to the main door. Peter follows him. He stops there and he bows.
Inspector: Good afternoon Madam, gentlemen…
Peter: Inspector, I remembered something that Louise had mentioned to me about serpents…
Inspector: Go on!
Peter: Well, she’d said that she was very interested about their behavior or something like this…
Inspector: How did you come and remember this now?
Peter: I saw the book you took yesterday, and… I remembered.
Inspector: O.k., I thank you for that.
While he walks, he bows as he is saying his last word.
Inspector: I found out a few things. But I have to go back before I am certain about everything. Well then -as I was saying- Louise went to the Zoo. It was Monday, the day of her death… There weren’t many visitors. While she was buying herself a ticket, she told the man in the office, that she was an artist, and she asked him too allow her to study the yellow belly snake, in order to sketch it. The man in the office, joking told her not to do anything silly, because the snake could attack her. Louise pretended to follow his advice, but in reality, she acted on her own initiative. She went on and ignoring the rules, she dared in the absence of other people, to put the snake to sleep and with a wired hunger to fish it outside the glass. She put it in a bottle with a cover where she had opened holes for the creature to breathe, and she left. Another words she had stolen public property.
Later, when the security man of the Zoo, was checking the serpents he noticed the absence of the particular snake and he called the police. He had nothing to give them, unfortunately, but a very poor description of the woman thief. Louise had thought of all these and she was wearing a pair of glasses and a hat -I found all these items, including the bottle where she had abducted the snake, in her bedroom the other day, hidden behind the door in a plastic bag. This had verified by the snake’s urine in the bottle, when was given to the lab to be checked out. An advertisement in the local newspaper was printed, but I suppose it had past without drawing much attention. I found it. It was just a day before Louise’s death.
Now then; I believe that Louise as soon as she had arrived -late in the afternoon- and in the absence of Marie, she went to the Glasshouse and she put the sleeping snake into the blossomed oleander. Remember, it was Monday, the day she died. I will check this particular point again… Then she came back into the house and as soon as you had arrived, she told you that she had gone down town the city just to buy some books. I found about that as well, when I visited the bookshop in the plaza down Town.
Marie: I know… She had bought a book for me too!
Inspector: Yes, I believe she bought you a book regarding carnivorous plants.
Marie: How do you know Inspector?
Inspector: Louise had written about it in her diary. Now then. When she had come home, she was alone for a while -Peter and you were away. Time and comfort became instruments at her disposal. She put her glasses and her hat back in the plastic bag, but she made a fatal mistake: she forgot to remove from that bag the bottle she had curried the snake from the tiny zoo. That certainly gave her away.
What I am not sure yet, is why would she’d do all that? I’m asking you to help me with any information, as to understand why the snake was curried here, and then in the Glass House. As far as I concern, Louise is a suspect of having planned to harm someone in this household, with that snake. Whom you may ask? The fact that she put it in the Glass House proves that Louise had skimmed an intelligent way to kill Marie, without anybody suspecting her for her murder. She was after her sister Marie, my friends. Why you may ask?
Marie: I cannot believe this.
Peter: Neither can I Inspector.
Father: What reasons would Louise have to commit a hideous crime like this? Why would have tried to kill Marie? She loved Marie. There isn’t any doubt about it. She would never do such a thing to Marie.
Inspector: How do you know that Father?
Father: Well, I’ve known the two sisters, for a very long time… A few weeks back I recall Louise had told me that Peter had confined to her, about his love for Marie and that she herself was very happy to hear that. She had said then, that she would help them to get together.
Peter: I thought so too. When I told her about my feelings towards Marie, she appeared willing to help me communicate this to her.
Marie becomes pale.
Marie: Louise never said a word to me about this. I had led to believe that she was courting Peter. At a stage, I was almost certain that Louise and Peter had something going between them selves. Later, much later, Peter himself sent me a note asking me to meet. That was the night that Louise died.
Inspector: Did Louise know about your feelings towards Peter, Marie?
Marie: I never said anything about my feelings to Louise. I was afraid to.
Inspector: Why were you?
Marie: Louise had always her ways to shut me out, since I was very young. She always patronized me, and her mania to control everybody and everything, got worse after our parents died. Later on -as grown up- she tried to hide her natural inclination to control people. I had become strong enough to stand on my feet and I believe she was careful not to push me to leave home. She needed me as an object to control. She would be worse off, not having anyone around. All the same I didn’t want to be my sister’s rival. I believe she wanted Peter to herself. That did not necessarily mean that she was in love with him.
Peter: Louise came across to me as a loving sister and a good friend. It’s very hard to believe what you just said.
Inspector: We’ll know more, soon Peter. Until then, I like to wish you all, a very good afternoon.
It is late afternoon, when the Inspector pays a visit to Marie. Peter and father Anthimus are also there keeping company to Marie.
Inspector: Hello every one! Since everybody is very busy, I will get straight to the point. Well then, I was reading Louise’s book -the one about serpents that I picked from her bedroom the day she had found dead- when I spotted under linings in some sections of the book. It is obvious that Louise was studying the book and she was keeping notes on certain points.
Father: I didn’t know Louise was interested in serpents. Must been a late interest of hers.
Inspector: There were two questions raised: 1. why did the yellow belly found in the oleander pot, and 2. how could Marie carry the flowerpot in Louise’s room, in safety?
Peter: I thought you had the answers to these questions, already!
Peter’s irony goes without comment.
Inspector: The first question; Louise had put the sleeping snake in the oleander’s pot; this means that Louise wanted to harm someone and that someone obviously it was Marie. Why did Louise put the snake in the oleander’s pot?
Peter: Why did she really?
Inspector: Because Marie loved the red oleander and Louise was fully aware of this. She even had doted this, down in her book. The second question; the snake must had been given a great amount of sleeping matter, for Marie to carry it in Louise’s bedroom in safety. This of course had proven by the analysis of the snake’s urine.
Peter: It is unbelievable!
Inspector: However, Louise did not anticipate Marie’s move. On the other hand, Marie’s explanation for taking the flower in Louise’s bedroom although is not 100% satisfying will not be counted, since she hurried back and took the plant outside Louise’s bedroom and back to the Glass House.
Peter: This is a relief, Inspector indeed!
Inspector: (annoyed by the continuous interruption by Peter) … Marie also had left the bedroom’s window, open. Whatever the motivation in Marie’s actions -I must underline this again- Marie is innocent because -as I have said before- her later actions showed her true remorse…
Marie starts crying. The Inspector stops for a moment and then he continues.
Inspector: The examination of the bottle -where Louise had carried the snake- found that the snake -I repeat- had received a strong sleeping matter. The snake had wakened up much later, inside Louise’s bedroom, when Louise’s extended her arm touched it, by accident. This is how she was beaten. After the incident, the disturbed snake left the pot and slipped outside the bedroom through the open window. While it was doing that, Marie entered Louise’s bedroom, took the flowerpot and put back in the Glass House. The snake found its way there a little later, to avoid the night cold. It went back to the familiar pot that incidentally –I would say- was right in the front of it. Besides Louise new, that Marie’s oleander was exactly what the yellow belly needed leafy, compact and not allowing the easy viewing or recognition of the specie.
Marie: It is a nightmare! I cannot understand… I don’t know how Louise could conceive such an idea. I know that the humidity can be a home to insects and small mammals. I normally check the Glasshouse for unwanted or dangerous pests or other. I didn’t see it in the pot. The sleeping matter saved me from the snake’s bite. It is obvious, as it is the how Louise was bitten by the yellow snake.
Inspector: Madam, why would you check the flower pot if you had no idea about your sister’s actions. There was no time to think about something like that.
Marie: “It is frightening! I don’t dare to think the result of an action as the one that was born into my mind out of anger. It could be me the killer of Louise instead the snake”.
Marie keeps her eyes closed while the inspector talks.
Inspector: I will go now and I‘ll be back, if any other questions will be risen… or… any findings are to be found. By the way, dear Madam, I’ve read your diary… I fount it most interesting, you know!
Marie looks at the Inspector petrified. After he leaves, Marie throws herself on a sit and she covers her face with her hands. She talks to herself in weak voice.
Marie: Oh, my God, I just remembered that I had left my diary in the drawer of my little desk, in the Glass House. I forgot all about it. My writings could ruin me!
Peter: Marie… I am so sorry about what has happened.
Marie lifts her face and looks at him.
Peter: I should have warned you; I knew that the Inspector found your diary, the day he was searching in the Glass House. You had left the key into the keyhole of your office and he was able to fetch it. He had said that he would notify you about this. In this mass of confusion, I forgot to mention it.
Marie: It’s not important anymore. He would ask me to open it, one way or another. I only wish for this nightmare to end sooner than later.
Although Marie is weak, and she can hardly talk, she tries to put a brave face. Peter is concerned about her health.
Peter: Marie, would you open your heart to me? You know how much I care for you. Let me help you.
Marie: I appreciate you trying to help me, Peter. I made mistakes too, and at this point, I feel that I should not think or say anymore about this. I feel as guilty as Louise. If I hadn’t taken the oleander in her room that night, she would be alive to day. Do you understand? I wanted to heart her too. It was an ongoing thing between ourselves, for one thing or another.
Peter: What about all these things the Inspector said a while ago?
Marie: (Continues as if she could not hear Peter) I always felt depressed by Louise’s behavior. She had her way to patronize me, to push me to do things for her. Probably she was acting unconsciously all these years, perhaps out of jealousy. I cannot tell. I could not rebel towards her despotism. Over the years, this resulted the bottling of my anger and suffering. As long as I can remember, I thought and thought, of ways to escape Louise’s imprisonment, her tyranny and finally I invented the Glass House.
Marie stops and takes a deep breath.
Peter: Now I start understand a few happenings here and there between you and Louise.
Marie: (she does not pay attention to Peter’s words) My plants became my friends. I had no close relative or a good friend that I could entrust and advise. Louise had made a crippled soul out of me. My plants became a substitute. I gave them names, I talked to them… I started keeping a diary dotting daily actions and reactions, related to Louise’s tyranny. My diary says it all! I had found the strength of repeating some of the ugly scenes between the two of us, in writing. Despite all these, I never wished Louise’s death. Later when you entered in our lives, I became desperate. I felt that I had left out. I thought I was the unwanted person of that triangle. If two is a company then the third -me- has left out! Yes, I took the oleander in her room; when I did that, I really wanted to heart her… she was so helpless in her sleep! I felt angry with myself… but I put the plant in her bedside table and I left. Within moments after having entered my bedroom the thought of Louise’s possible death made me panicky. I didn’t want to hurt my sister, whatever she might have been until that hour. I would never become a murderer. I returned almost immediately to Louise’s bedroom and I took the plant outside… However, despite my remorse, the guilt of my intention, is consuming me to death.
Peter: I can understand your feelings. If your diary proves that Louise has been a tyrant, her act of putting the snake in the oleander’s pot, it is also a proof of her feelings towards you. After listening to everything, I am convinced that her action derived out of jealousy. I have something in mind but I will talk to the Inspector for this. I cannot play the role of an Investigator.
Peter puts his arm around Marie’s shoulders. Marie looks withdrawn.
Peter: Marie, I understand your pain, caused by your feeling of guilt, but I must say that something good has derived from this bizarre story. You and I came much closer and although nobody wished Louise dead for the first time both of us, are actually free to express our feelings.
Marie: This time we must talk about Louise’s feelings. I am certain Louise, wanted you. She would never admit to it, but I can tell from her behavior towards you and me. I am almost certain that she had a plan to win you over, and get me out of the scene.
Peter: Before the Inspector’s research, I would find this very difficult to believe. I remember when I had found the courage to talk to her about my feelings for you she looked pleased, if not happy.
Marie: But she would never say something to me about it. If she really wanted us together, she would reveal your conversation to me and she would advise me positively. Louise would never do anything as important as this for my happiness or my welfare. Instead she would fight against it, she would burry the facts out of jealousy. She tried… she reacted out of compulsion. Exactly as it had happen repeatedly in the past, when she wanted something badly for herself.
Peter: Are you saying that Louise would not hesitate to kill me if I turned her down?
Marie: She would probably do it, given a vital reason. She had to win in the game of power, over me and then she would try to win you over on her terms.
Peter: Do you know what are you saying?
Marie: Yes indeed. Louise could become dangerous in order to win. This is why I always tried to be as silent as I could. This time I was ready to move away from her, by taking the course in the University. Even then, she felt cheated, that is why I told her that I had enrolled to a local College, and not to the University.
Peter: I find it very difficult to believe all that about Louise. It is bizarre. Do you think that the killer snake wasn’t stolen just for you?
Marie smiles with sadness.
Marie: I don’t know. If she had a plan that didn’t work she would probably retry the same method. I am certain that Louise was very confused.
Peter: If I only had known…
Marie: (ironically) Well, you don’t even have a proof for all that been said between ourselves. It could be a hypothesis… However if you had known, you would not have come so close to us dear! This is the only truth. Who wants problems of this magnitude?
Peter: Marie, it’s not true! We really had good times the three of us. I would be unthankful if I stated something else.
Marie: Yes, I understand. While I was praying for a miracle, I was praying to have given the opportunity to escape and become free… away from Louise. Now, I go back again all the way. I have to start fresh. Even if I had given the opportunity, even now, that she has gone, I still feel imprisoned to her. It would be a lot easier if this had not happen. Everything has changed for the worst. Even our relation cannot be a happy one. We cannot go on seeing one another having secret doubts about ourselves.
Peter: I realize how much you have suffered of this relation and this continues to with your Louise’s death. Let me help you Marie, let go of your insecurity as to enable yourself to hope for the future, our future dear.
Marie: (Shakes her head) Oh, if each of us could measure certain feelings would be able to arrange things for the best! My life is crippled. Co-existence with Louise has made me half of what I would have been as a woman. I regret been weak and indecisive, in moments that another person would revolt and leave. If I did, this horrible death wouldn’t happened. Your presence pushed for everything to develop faster. A hideous triangle was born, which had its toll on the three of us.
Peter: I am deeply involved in this. I regret that my ignorance became the trigger of this saga.
Marie: You are wrong Peter. If it was not you something else would occur to finalize this deadly game between Louise and me. Can’t you see that bitchiness was dictating inhere? You are unfortunate because you saw an ugly side of the woman. Thank God, it isn’t the rule.
Marie looks very tired.
Peter: It might sound strange, but I am happy to stand by you all the way and see this terrible situation resolved. I realized the last few hours how much you’ve suffered. I believe that this tragedy has worked on you and Louise as a catharsis.
Peter sits closer to Marie who does not move at all. He tries to embrace her.
Peter: Darling, let met help you. Oh, I long to hold you and comfort you. I don’t like seen you suffering like this.
Marie pulls herself away from Peter.
Marie: No, Peter. Louise’s death has marked our relation. We are still a triangle… I feel the guilt creeping deeper in my sole, flowing inside my veins, like poison. It will be worst if I let myself agree with you. This horrible death took me back to the past and I cannot help accusing myself for been a coward. I would have saved Louise and myself, if I had left her early enough. None of these would have happened. I cannot follow my feelings Peter. I will have to let you free!
Peter: I believe that you are making a new mistake Marie. My love towards you it is not capricious.
Marie: Now… it is perhaps out of pity…
Peter: It isn’t true. I have the right to love you. You love me… too. I know. We have rights. Louise’s death should strengthen our relation. I believe in you. I get very upset when I think that a hideous snake could have killed you, instead.
Marie: Louise will be always between us Peter. Can’t you see? A hardship lies ahead of us. Oh Louise, why it had to be like this?
Marie gets up and she walks slowly around the room, fists tight.
Peter: Father Anthimus will be able to help us Marie. He always had the best opinion for you.
Marie: I’m not sure about this. His duty is to support justice and not our relation. This means…
Peter: What does it go through your head?
Marie: Father Anthimus has a flock to support. He cannot accuse a dead woman, neither to support two lovers, of who one is, as much as Louise, a suspect of murder, in everybody’s mind.
Peter: I didn’t know you feel this way for Father Anthimus! Then it should be very interesting for one, to find out what he really thinks.
There is a nock at the door. It’s Father Anthimus.
Father: Good afternoon Peter!
Peter: Father, please come in.
Father: I thought I would pay you a visit to see how things are.
Marie: Good afternoon, Father. Please be sited. Can I get you something?
Father: Thank you child. Please take a sit too. I like to talk to you (Takes a deep breath). I am very concerned for you Marie. What happened hurts. It was not long ago that I had talked to Louise. She talked to me about Peter and his feelings towards you. She looked supportive, happy for you. What I never understood is that she never told you about this. If she had really approved of Peter’s feelings towards you, why she never mentioned anything to either of you?
Marie looks at him silent. She has no words.
Father: Inspector Christopher’s view is very disturbing. I found very hard to accept his findings. Everything in his report seems based on facts. Poor Louise, how could she come to this? A well organized crime… so hard to believe!
Marie: Father… can you explain?
Father: Well I don’t know of any details but I had told that Louise had planned to kill you and instead… she was killed!
Marie gets up.
Marie: I will make tea.
Father: (Asks Peter in small voice) Peter… How is she really?
Peter: She can hardly manage Father. She is on antidepressants you know! There are things in her relation with Louise that one can hardly understand.
Father: God works in different ways. People have so many vises. It is impossible to deal with everyone’s problems and try to sort them out. That is why there are general rules for us, to help ourselves to follow the right path and stay close to God.
Peter: Yes father.
Marie enters carrying a tray. There is a nock at the door. It is Inspector Christopher. Greetings are following and tea being served.
Inspector: Well, well, everyone is here! This is good. Because I want you to hear some new information after studying and comparing, more notes etc.
Inspector: Well I found more details to add to the ones I told you couple of days ago. That was easy. Because of the size of our city, it is easy to get the information you’re after. As you can appreciate, I could find much more related to the subject from the zoo people. Now I’ve put every piece of the puzzle into position. It is rather the conclusion of this story.
I found that Louise was studying for weeks about serpents. She was keeping notes from her visits to the local zoo. So, her visit in the Zoo on that Monday, it was not her first; in fact it was her last. She had visited the Zoo very comfortably. The Zookeepers were aware of her interest to the serpents. She had talked to them, she had told them about it and she stated to them that she was planning to buy a yellow belly snake as a pet if she allowed. She was convincing. She asked them if they could fix a suitable glass box to house a little snake and the people sold her one that was not in use, for her to keep in case she could finally find the pet snake she was after. They told me that the strange woman had never picked it up from the cashier… Why should she? She only needed a jar for her snake.
In the Zoo Louise was told that she wouldn’t be allowed to have a pet snake, taken from the Zoo. It was unheard, and forbidden by the law… However, someone who lives away from a city, somewhere in a remote place, who knows about snakes and likes them as pets, it was possible to obtain permission to keep a snake if he found one. Louise had learned a lot about the species.
Eventually Louise had tricked them and had stolen a snake, one day –that very Monday-, after she had walked in, wearing large dark glasses and a large hat. When they had found out about the absence of the snake, they informed the police. They also put an advertisement in the local newspaper, but truly, they didn’t know what had happened to it… except that it had gone. The civilians had warned about the dangerous little snake.
He takes a deep breath.
Father: Well… Tell us inspector.
Marie: What a torture!
Inspector: Madam you must face the facts, as this concerns you the most. What I am trying to say finally, it is this: Louise took the heavily sedated yellow belly snake and put it in your Glass House Madam, and in the oleander’s pot. Leafy as it is, gave the snake a good cover. The tree bark in the pots top and around the flower’s trunk, gave the snake the dryness and the protection it needed. I noticed you keep the most of your other pots wet. So the snake would stay in the humid environment of the Glass House, until you madam… would receive its fatal kiss.
Marie closes her eyes and says something.
Inspector: Please remain calm! Where was I? Oh, yes… as I was saying… As many times, as I visited the Glass House, as I said before, I’ve noticed the difference between the other pots and the oleander’s one. I was amazed with Louise’s intelligence. She was hoping that the snake would bite Marie, since the oleander was her favorite showpiece. However, what happened really is that the snake woke up in her bedroom. When the little snake got disturbed by Louise’s arm, had bitten her and then went around the room. Marie unaware of this went in-there and took the flowerpot out and back to the Glasshouse. The snake after had bitten Louise, had gone for a nice round in her bedroom, and when finally climbed up the window and slipped through it outside the house, went by instinct into the Glass House and settled in the same flower pot the first one that it found on its way. I, myself, found the snake there the next day when I had looked in the Glasshouse for the first time. Marie saw it too. I have to admit that the results of my research come from collected information, pinpointed and underlined, from Louise’s book, as well as from Marie’s diary…
Peter: But Inspector… still how can you be certain of all these?
Inspector: I have Louise’s diary as well.
Marie: Oh, you did not tell us, Inspector.
Inspector: Under the circumstances, anything that belongs to the dead woman it’s only right to be checked by the police.
Father: Is it permissive to read the dead woman’s diary?
Inspector: Perhaps it isn’t. It would be wise not to, and I’m afraid it would be dangerous, for Marie especially, I suppose. Under the circumstances, it is permissive to look at everything related to Louise and her death.
Father: God forgive me. Can you tell me one or two things from her diary?
The Inspector pulls from a paper bag a small diary. He opens it and reads
Inspector: “Peter came at 6.30 p.m. as usual. Marie is here too doing her outmost to help set the dinner table. I know she loves Peter. I can see it in her eyes and her body language. Peter has admitted that he likes her and he dared to ask me to support him on this. I cannot understand what it that he likes on Marie. Is it her timidity or her stupidity? Marie cannot be anything else, but that. As for Peter, I pity his judgment. Is he blind? Cannot he see that I adore him? He deserves a woman of his standard, as to be able to understand him, and to be in a position to discuss culture and books… Oh Peter, why can’t you see? They are both out of order! I have to act quickly. I have to stop them! I have to stop them!”
Peter: Oh, my god, everything Marie has told me it’s true.
Marie: Are you implying that Louise had plans for Peter as well, Inspector?
Inspector: In the scenario of a rejection, I am afraid the answer is yes!
Marie: Louise never loved me. She has never loved anyone. She wanted Peter because she knew that he loved me.
Peter: At least we can now say with a degree of certainty that we Louise had a serious psychological problem. She was very sick.
Father: God forgive her because humans won’t.
Inspector: Marie, I like to repeat what I said on my last visit. Whatever you meant to do by taking the oleander in your sister’s bedroom was forgiven the moment you had decided to take it outside her bedroom again. It was not your fault if the snake was in the pot. Crimes are paid off you know. Louise tried to kill you. Mark my words no crime goes without its punishment. Peter could be Louise’s, next victim.
Marie does not react to all these. She looks distant. Her eyes seem blared from the shade of an unknown fear. She walks around talking to herself. Everyone looks in amazement.
“Marie: Please mommy! Can you ask Louise to stop teasing me!
Mommy: Louise! What is it this time?
Louise: She’s lying to you mommy.
Mommy: Come, come now Louise… I know that Marie does not lie. What is the matter this time?
Louise: O.k., I’ tell you. She took my book and she wrote inside something awful.
Mommy: Oh! What was that?
Louise: She says that she knows that I hate her and she is not happy with me, and that she’ll tell you….
Μommy: Tell me what? What have you done this time dear?
Louise: Nothing mommy; I’ve done nothing wrong!
Mommy: It doesn’t really matter. Marie will tell me. By the way girls, has any of you seen my pearl necklace? I forgot it somewhere last night, and I cannot find it.
Louise: I know where it is!
Mommy: Good I‘m listening.
Louise: Marie has your necklace. I saw her taking it.
Marie: No, I have not!
Mommy: Come on girls. Stop this game.
Marie: Honestly mother I didn’t take it. I don’t know where it is.
Louise: Oh, yes! Mommy, don’t believe her.
Mommy: O.K., Marie, come along then.
Louise sits on the sofa. When they had left the room, she smiles.
Louise: Well, we shall see what Marie has to say when mother will have a look in her bedside table…
Mommy: Marie, I’ll ask you one more time: did you take my necklace.
Marie: No mother, I didn’t.
Mother stands in the middle of Marie’s bedroom and she’s having a look around. She comes to Marie’s bedside table. She opens the drawer. She cannot see anything until she notices the clip of her necklace standing out into the bottom of the drawer.
Mommy: You’re sure now that you haven’t seen my necklace dear.
Marie: Would I lie to you mother? I would never like to hurt your feelings mommy. I love you.
Mommy: Come here Marie.
Marie goes near her. Her mother shows her the edge of her necklace. Marie cries in astonishment.
Marie: Your necklace!
She is frozen. She does not understand. Her mother notices the obvious. Marie had no idea about this.
Mommy: Marie I believe you. However, I don’t want you to say anything to Louise, O.K.?
Marie: Mommy, please don’t punish Louise… she would hate me if you did.
Mommy: Leave that to me dear.
Marie is pale and her eyes are wet. Later on…
Louise: It’s all your fault. If it wasn’t for you I would never get into trouble. Marie! I’ll fix you up one day Marie. I won’t let you come between mom and I. You will pay for my punishments! I will hang you from the ceiling one day… I will! Remember it!”
Marie: Louise, please don’t hate me!”
Marie keeps on crying while she’s begging Louise. Drifted away from the present reality she continues mumbling…
Father: What are you saying child?
Marie does not answer. Her eyes wonder on the ceiling. She’s pale. She gets up and walks in circles with her eyes fixed to the ceiling. Peter watches her terrified, and the Inspector approaches her. She is not in touch with reality and she keeps on walking in circles with her eyes always nailed to the ceiling.
Inspector: Is something wrong Miss?
He turns his eyes to the ceiling as well. Marie says something else now.
“Marie: Mommy, I didn’t do it. I promise!
Mommy: If you didn’t, then Louise did it; right?
Marie: It was an accident mother, I swear. She had the tennis ball thrown by accident to the light and broke it! I swear! Please mommy, believe me! Mommy… Mommy!”
Suddenly Marie hides her face in her hands and she starts crying. Peter runs to her, while the priest shakes his head.
Father A.: Oh, dear, she is in delirium!
Inspector: Is something wrong with her?
Father: Obviously… she is having delusions.
Peter tries to talk to Marie. He takes her from her hand, and walks her to the sofa. He sits next to her.
Peter: Marie dear… can I offer you something?
Marie: I want my mommy! Louise has been bad to me. I want to explain to my mommy… Louise lied to her… she always lies!..
Peter: Marie, look at me please! I’m Peter don’t you remember me?
Marie: Peter, Peter, I want my mommy! Please find my mommy!
Marie stirs around. Gets up and runs towards the kitchen calling her mother while Father Anthimus follows Marie up to a point trying to speak sense to her. The three men look at her sadly. The Inspector looks at Peter.
Inspector: Should I call the doctor for you, or you’d rather wait for a little?
Peter: I’ll do it Inspector, right away.
Peter walks slowly to the phone and starts dialing. In mid time Father Anthimus attempts to bring Marie back to the sofa. He sits next to her, and tries to comfort her.
Marie: Mommy, Mommy!.. I want my mommy!
Father Anthimus: Yes child, your mommy will be here soon. Hush now… Close your eyes. Your mommy will be here in no time… “Poor thing she’s going through hell. What a tragedy!..”
Marie closes her eyes, while Peter talks to the doctor.
Peter: Yes, Doctor. It is Peter. Yes, Peter! Please come as quickly as you can. Marie is acting in a peculiar manner! Yes, yes… thank you doctor!
The drawing of the curtain follows.