Sunday, April 24, 2011

"The Sea Beggar"

Hello everyone, the Historian here. Once again, my apologies for how late this post is; hopefully we haven't lost too many of you readers! Joining me back in early modern France last week were Ketina, Ronelyn, Schmallturm, MisterMother, Photobug, Cz and MiniSpoo. (Strangely, Spoo was not with us; just call us babysitters, I suppose...) As I may have mentioned before, this story is a bit of a bear to summarize, but hopefully I'll be able to give you at least some sense of the intrigue. So, let's get to the summary!

Episode summary: First aired 12 February 1966. In a room in Admiral de Coligny's house, Nicholas Muss and Vicomte Gaston de Leran are having a discussion. Gaston is infuriated that his master, the Protestant Prince Henri of Navarre, refuses to believe that the Catholics are plotting to kill him. Nicholas tries to calm his friend down, reminding him that Henri is married to a Catholic princess and must put on a show of faith, but Gaston is having none of it. Gaston asks if de Coligny has been told about what the girl (Anne) overheard. Nicholas says the Admiral refuses to pay attention to the story. Gaston, in desperation, says Nicholas must convince him. The two share their frustration. Suddenly, Gaston asks, "What happened to that Englishman, Steven?" Nicholas replies that he has returned to the tavern to find his friend.

And, indeed, Steven is outside the tavern, pounding on the locked door. The Landlord opens the door and lets Steven inside. He asks if his friend has left a message and the Landlord at first thinks he means Nicholas. "Not that friend," Steven says. "I'm looking for the old man, the was...the one who was here with me yesterday morning. Well, he should have met me here last night. Look, he was wearing a large travelling cloak and carrying a silver-topped cane." The Landlord angrily says, "No! I've got work to do! If you need help go and ask it from your Huguenot friends!"

Back at the Admiral's house, Gaston and Nicholas are still discussing. Nicholas wonders whether the girl might have reached the wrong conclusion. Gaston replies, "Look, the girl overheard the men talking about Vase, and it would happen again before the week was out!" Nicholas replies, "It's quite likely the name Vase had nothing to do with the massacre there. And the it was referring to something else entirely." Just then, Steven is shown into the room. Nicholas, concerned, asks if he was unable to find his friend. "Well, no," Steven says. "I even went to the TARD... the place where we were to leave from. There wasn't any sign of him." "Well if he's fallen foul of the Catholics who roam about the streets, heaven help him," Gaston says. "Many of our followers are just as bad," Nicholas protests, but Gaston says that is nonsense. Nicholas asks what he can do to help his new friend. "Well, my friend went to the Port St. Martin as you know," says Steven. "I must try to find him there, but I'm afraid I can't remember your directions." Nicholas offers to go with Steven. Gaston, who has crossed to the window, calls out that they have a visitor--"Roger Colbert! Recently appointed temporal secretary to the Abbot of Amboise during his stay in Paris. I'll wager he's come to fetch the girl." Roger is shown in, ignoring Gaston entirely and talking to Nicholas, "apologizing" for having been put to an "inconvenience" by a servant of the Abbot. Roger attempts to pass the servant off as having been simply confused. "She heard someone speak of Vase and I believe that she was there when that unfortunate business took place," he says. "She was frightened, I suspect, by her own memory, rather than by anything she heard." "And do they discuss the slaughter at Vase so glibly?" says Gaston. "People can talk of the town without referring to that..." says Roger. Just then, Anne walks into the room carrying wine. Surely that is the girl! says Roger. "Oh, no, no, no, no, no! You must be mistaken, that girl is called, erm, Genevieve," says Gaston. "And she's been working here ever since the Admiral came to Paris." Roger, though not at all convinced, takes his leave. Steven says that Roger is the same man who followed his friend from the tavern the day before! "But what could the Abbot of Amboise want with your friend?" asks Nicholas. Gaston is looking out the window again. "Well, well, well," he says. "The Abbot has come himself, and all for the sake of a servant." The other two join him and Steven is astounded to see who is talking with Roger. "But...but that's the Doctor!" he says. "That's the Doctor talking to Roger Colbert!" He thanks Nicholas and gets ready to walk out of the room when Gaston stops him. "You say that man is your friend?" he asks. Yes, says Steven. "And how long have you been working for the Abbot of Amboise?" Gaston asks. What?! says Steven. Nicholas angrily says, "The man talking to Colbert is the Abbot of Amboise. In what capacity do you serve him?" Steven is astounded. That man was the Doctor, he insists. "If you're certain, the certainty is that I don't like Catholic spies!" says Gaston. "I'm no spy," insists Steven. "Listen to me. I thought that man was the Doctor. If you say it was the Abbot of Amboise, then I must be mistaken." Nicholas is dubious, so Steven continues, "I can prove that the Doctor looks like the Abbot. Show me the way to the Port St. Martin, we'll go to the shop of Preslin the apothecary, you'll meet the Doctor!" "And walk straight into a Catholic trap!" says Gaston. "It's no trap! Nicholas, if I were a spy would I be such a fool as to betray myself like this?" says Steven, logically. Before Gaston can respond, Nicholas tries to defuse the situation. "I think he may be telling the truth. I'll come with you." Gaston tries to invite himself along, but Nicholas says that he should remain and warn the Admiral if Nicholas does not return. "Come, monsieur and for your sake, I hope we find your friend," he tells Steven.

In the Louvre, Tavannes, the Marshal of France, is talking with Simon Duvall. Simon reports that the Abbot himself went to the Admiral's house. "The Abbot's a fool," says the Marshal. "The girl's not important. She must have told the Huguenots all that she knows. All that she overheard. If they'd made anything of it they'd have acted by now. All he's done is to arouse further suspicion." But, Simon responds, the Abbot did get them the help of "Monsieur Bondot!" "Bondot has yet to prove himself," says the Marshal. "Other assassins might do as well." "His Eminence the Cardinal trusts the Abbot," says Simon. "Yes, I'm not sure that I do," retorts the Marshal. "There's something odd about all this. Watch him closely, Simon, make a note of everything he says or does, and report it to me." Simon assents, then reports that Nicholas Muss is hosting an Englishman at the Admiral's house. "Mmm. Perhaps our fine Admiral is making secret overtures to the English?" wonders the Marshal. Simon protests he seems to be a stranger to France. "All the more reason why Elizabeth of England should send him," replies the Marshall, telling his servant to find out more about Steven and stay close to the Abbot. Just then, unnoticed, the Admiral de Coligny enters the room, just in time to hear the Marshal say, "...And, Simon, tell him I shall bring word later concerning the 'Sea Beggar'." "Interested in the Dutch at last, Marshal Tavannes?" says the Admiral, startling the Marshal. Simon leaves as the Admiral continues, "...The 'sea beggars' as you call them. Their fight with Spain is a just one." At the Marshal's lack of enthusiasm, the Admiral responds, "Your only quarrel with the Dutch is that they're Protestant and not Catholic." "That could also be the reason why you support them," retorts the Marshal. "But rest assured, Admiral, we are examining their claim for France's aid." That's something, I suppose, says the Admiral. Then the Marshal casually asks, "Tell me, have you any news from that other ally of yours, England?" No, replies the Admiral, why? You have an Englishman staying with you? asks the Marshal. "There was a lost stranger who lodged at my house last night," acknowledges the Admiral. "I believe he was English." "And he brought you no word?" asks the Marshal. "You are an extraordinary man, Tavannes," says the Admiral. "You see shadows where there is no sun." "Perhaps," says the Marshal. "Forgive me. I have an audience with the Queen Mother."

Nicholas and Steven have reached the Port St. Martin and are looking for Preslin's shop. Steven spots a sign and nearly runs over an old lady running to it. He begins pounding on the door as Nicholas apologizes to the old woman. She tells them that Steven can stop pounding, no one lives there. "Nothing lives there except the rats," she tells them. Nicholas asks how long it's been since Preslin lived there and she tells them it has been around two years. "He was arrested for heresy." You mean he's in prison? asks Steven. "Burnt I expect," she replies. "And if he isn't, he should be." The woman leaves them. Nicholas turns to Steven. "Your story is thinner than before," he says. "You say the Doctor with Preslin, who by all accounts is dead." She only said he might be, protests Steven. Nicholas angrily comes out and says it: "Your friend is the Abbot of Amboise." But Steven is thinking. "It is just possible that the Doctor is pretending to be the Abbot," he muses. "For what reason?" asks Nicholas. Wait until I find him, says Steven. "So that you can get further instructions?" snaps Nicholas. "Nicholas! Please believe me!" says Steven desperately. "I know nothing about Vase or the Catholics or half of what you talk about. If the Doctor is pretending to be the Abbot then it's for a very good reason. Please let me go to him. Shall I find out there is a plot of some kind I'll come back and tell you." "No," says Nicholas. "You will come back with me now. There are others who shall decide before I do." He grabs Steven's arm and the two begin to walk away...until Steven sees his chance! He trips Nicholas and pushes him into a passerby and runs away...

At the Abbot's house, Simon is waiting and growing increasingly impatient. Roger suggests that the Abbot might be with "Monivere." "Will you never learn?" Simon snaps angrily. "Call the assassin Bondot. If the 'Sea Beggar' should find out Monivere is in Paris he'd be put on his guard at once. Why do you think we've chosen code names so very carefully?" Roger is contrite, but Simon tells him he's already been responsible for one mistake and there can be no others. "I parted with the Abbot at De Coligny's house," Roger says. "He did not tell me where he was going." Simon asks what Roger knows of the Abbot. How long has Roger known him? "I only met him yesterday," says Roger. "But he's worked for His Eminence the Cardinal of Lorraine for many years and has done him many services." Yesterday was the first time you'd seen him? asks Simon. "No," says Roger. "I met him for the first time. I saw him once at an encyclical meeting held by the Cardinal." He confirms that is the only other time he'd seen the Abbot. "Tell me, when you saw Nicholas Muss this morning, who else was there?" asks Simon. "The Vicomte De Leran, and the girl is certainly there, because I saw her," says Roger. The girl is not important, says Simon. Was there no one else? "A third man but I didn't know him," confirms Roger. Was he English? asks Simon, but Roger says the man didn't speak so he didn't know. "I want you to find out about him," says Simon. "If he is English, find out who he is and what his business is in France."

At the Admiral's house, Gaston is talking to Anne. He asks her whether she had ever seen Steven before and she says that she first met him when she was running into the tavern to escape the Abbot's men. She is sure Steven is not one of them, though. "Because he's kind, monsieur, and gentle." Just then, Nicholas enters. Before he can say anything, Gaston excitedly tells him that he has good news. "Henri of Navarre has decided to increase his guard." "And I have bad news," Nicholas replies. "Steven's escaped. He must've been sent here by the Catholics." No! says Anne. "Forgive me, monsieur, but... well I'm sure he's a stranger here. He knows nothing about anything or... or what's going on in Paris. Why, he don't even know about the royal wedding." Gaston tells her to get out...and she goes. "You're too kind to these nothings," he tells Nicholas. "Now, tell me what's been happening." "He didn't find the man who was supposed to look like the Abbot," says Nicholas, somewhat embarrassed. "I was bringing Steven back here when he got away." I knew I should have gone, says Gaston. But at least they know where to find Steven. Yes...with the Abbot of Amboise." says Nicholas.

In the twilight, Steven approaches the Abbot's house carefully, avoiding guards. He spots an open window with a light on and carefully looks and listens...

The Marshal is inside talking with Simon and Roger. The Marshal is unhappy that the Abbot is not there and that Simon has no idea where he is. "After my instructions to you earlier today I would have hoped that I could put more faith in you," he says. Simon tells his master that he has looked everywhere. The Marshal, feeling a draft, orders the shutters closed. Steven draws back, but still listens. "Between you, you will find the Abbot and you will give him this message for me," says the Marshal. "Say the decision has been made." You mean, starts Simon... "Tell him the 'Sea Beggar' dies tomorrow," says the Marshal. When? Where? "He will attend an early council meeting at the Louvre," says the Marshal. "On his return, Bondot will be waiting for him." Bondot already has his orders, he continues. He leaves. Simon looks at Roger. "So, the royal command has been given." "What do you mean?" asks Roger. "That order didn't come from Marshal Tavannes," Simon explains. "It came from the Queen Mother."

Steven, aghast, runs off.

Back at the Admiral's house, a servant lets Steven into Nicholas' room. Seeing no one there, Steven moves to the desk to find something to write a note on. Suddenly, Gaston enters. He is shocked to see Steven there. "Where is Nicholas?"Steven asks. "I have some important news." Get out! Gaston shouts. "Look, you don't understand..." Steven begins. "What papers are you looking for, spy! Some more information for your Abbot?" yells Gaston, refusing to listen to Steven. He draws his sword and, without knowing what else to do, Steven draws as well. Gaston advances and Steven ineffectually defends himself. Finally, Gaston disarms Steven and yells at him to get out! Steven leaves just as Nicholas enters. "Oh, you're having a very bad effect on me, my friend," Gaston tells Nicholas. "I just spared that wretch's life." He explains that he caught Steven in the room, going through Nicholas' papers. "He must have had a message otherwise he'd never have come back," says Nicholas, to Gaston's amazement. "I tell you he was going through your papers!" Gaston yells. "Where did he go?" asks Nicholas. "How should I know?" snaps Gaston. "Probably back to that animal from Amboise." "Steven said he'd come back here if he found out something important," insists Nicholas. "Did he say anything?" "Nothing! Well don't tell me that you still trust him!" "For pity's sake go back to the Louvre," says Nicholas. "Go back and protect your Lord of Navarre. It's almost time for the curfew."

Outside, Steven is alone on the streets as night begins to fall. He knows that the curfew is coming, but realizes he has nowhere to go. Suddenly, he realizes someone is following him. He turns around to find...Anne! "What are you doing here?" he asks. "The curfew's ringing. Go back to the house." "No," she says. "I can't go back there now. They'll... they'll know where to find me. I want to come with you." Why? Steven asks. "You were kind to me," she explains. "You were the first one that ever was. Please, don't send me back there." Steven tells her that he doesn't even know where he's going. She tells him she knows Paris and can help him find somewhere. Steven agrees and then says, "Anne, do you know who the 'Sea Beggar' is?" She says she does not know and asks why. "He's going to be killed tomorrow," Steven explains. "All right then, if you insist on coming with me do you know where we can spend the night?" Anne thinks. "We can't go to my aunt's," she says. "They'll be looking for me there. There must be lots of places in Paris where no one would think of finding me." "Yes of course, Preslin's shop," says Steven. "Do you know how to get to the Port St. Martin?" Of course, says Anne. "Take me there," says Steven. "I've only been there once. I don't think I can find it on my own."

Back at the Admiral's house, Admiral de Coligny walks into the Nicholas' room, finding his young clerk working hard. "I thought you were asleep," says Nicholas surprised. No, says the Admiral. I have been with the king. "I think I've persuaded him." "You've got the King to agree to war with Spain?" says Nicholas, excitedly. "It's possible," says de Coligny. "If he doesn't change his mind by the morning...we are to join the Dutch. You know, Nicholas, after I'd explained the situation to him, he turned to me and he said 'If we do ally ourselves with the Dutch, you, de Coligny, will go down in history as the 'Sea Beggar'.' The Sea Beggar! It's a title I'd be proud of...!"


Ketina's Paraphrase Transcript...Thing.

H: Historian
K: Ketina
R: Ronelyn
Sc: Schmallturm
M: MisterMother
P: Photobug
C: Cz
MS: MiniSpoo

H: So, Ketina, did you stay awake this week?

K: You had to start with me, didn't you?

M: There was another almost fight.

K: Meh. I don't know what the hell just happened, and I don't think I care.

H: Still not into the cloak and dagger thing?

R: I do get slightly annoyed at the whole “You are my best friend! No, wait, that's just what I want you to think!” But I am impressed with the writing and all. I found the turn around a little bit overdone. [Ronelyn was referring to Steven going from a friend to a possible spy because he recognized the Abbot as--apparently--the Doctor. --H]

M: I found it to be the best part of the episode because it inserted Steven into the middle of the story.

R: I liked the idea, but I think they could have pulled it more subtly. Maybe have the Huguenots be more understanding.

M: But knowing the history of the situation, they have serious reason to be really paranoid. Huguenots tended to die in this period of history.

H: And most of these people are based on real historical figures.

P: From my perspective, this is teaching me something of the history of the time. This children's entertainment show is doing a great job of teaching.

H: It was supposed to both teach and entertain.

M: I do want to compliment the Marshal's “+3 nose of Frenchness.” When the Admiral tells him that he sees shadows where there's no sun, I wanted to shout “It because of his nose!”

P: His very large, French-like nose.

R: We're also back, this week, to characters being stalked by an orchestra.

H: A 1966 chase jazz scene orchestra. Definitely 1966, no question.

R: Du du don don tch tch

M: It turns out that Anne is actually Emma Peal.

R: “Mrs. Chaplet, we're needed!”

M: I am finding this to be very enjoyable as a recon. Can't say if it would be more enjoyable with a real episode, but the recon makes the cloak and dagger aspect even more mysterious.

H: And the fact that there's isn't a lot of action to be missing works for it as well.

K: Okay, if you say so. Sorry, I'm still finding this one boring.

M: It's a very historical, historical. It's a historical reenactment, almost.

H: And it's just very cloak and dagger paranoia. Even Steven isn't sure what to believe, at this point.

K: I don't know, for me it's more evidence that if Hartnell's not in it, it's not going to be good.

Sc: Is this yet another week where Hartnell was on vacation or something?

H: I'm not sure. There was the bit at the beginning, but those could have been pre-filmed.

Sc: Again, still only one female character.

H: There were two this week.

Sc: I'm not counting the old woman. Might have been a man.

M: Yet there were a lot of powerful women in history at the time. Queen Elizabeth and Catherine di Medici, just to name two.

R: And yet, still, the whole episode was a saucission (french sausage) fest.

P: I feel like have a small brain around you people.

R: I took French throughout all of high school and it's still in there.

H: So, MisterMother made a comment when we were watching about the “Scandalous” assertion that Catherine di Medici could have been responsible for the order to assassinate Admiral de Coligny. Scandalous, I tell you! [Historian and MisterMother laugh.]

Sc: Um.. that's only funny if you actually know who these people are.

M: Well, I'm interested in this part of French history.

H: What do you guys think is going on with the Doctor?

P: Unfortunately they gave it away, with the monk. That one hint gave it away for me.

M: Huh?

P: They showed a picture of the Doctor and they said the Monk. I thought they were talking about the Monk from an earlier episode.

R: The Meddling Monk?

P: Yeah, and I've been confused because of that this whole time because of the monk reference. [I have no idea where Photobug got this idea from. --H]

Sc: It's a total mystery of what's going on with the Doctor. Is this guy a look-a-like? Is the Doctor impersonating him?

H: Nicolas and Gaston recognized him.

P: Maybe the Doctor traveled in time earlier or later to disguise himself as the abbot?

R: Maybe he just really hates protestants?

H: And there's the thing that he was talking to Preslin about in the last episode.

K: Science!

H: He went on some mission or something. Preslin says “good luck my friend,” to the Doctor.

M: It's very mysterious.

H: Yes.

Sc: So, Steven is from the far future. 2900 or something.

H: Something like that.

Sc: But, last episode in the bar they asked him, if he's an Englishman, is he a protestant? And he says “yes.” It's interesting that he's from the far future and yet still a protestant.

P: But wouldn't it have been controversial at the time this show aired if he'd said anything else?

Sc: But it's unusual to talk about religion like this in a science fiction context regarding someone from the future. It's interesting that he's from the future, yet he plays the part of the modern perspective in this story.

K: He might not really be protestant. He might have just been agreeing and pretending to be to get them to talk to him.

H: And he's playing the perspective of the viewer. He's our viewpoint character. And this is the second story in a row where he's playing that role. In the last story it took place in the far, far future and he was closer to us.

M: He's acting more Ian-y and less Steven-y in this episode.

Sc: So, is Anne going to be our new female companion?

K: If they're going to pick one from this story, she's the only one to choose.

R: For her sake, I hope not.

P: They haven't been lasting that long lately.

H: Mini-Spoo, do you have anything to say?

MS: No.

H: Cz?

C: It's scary. I don't want to talk about it.

H: Final thoughts?

P: Really liked the music. I thought at the time it was untraditional to have jazz music.

Sc: In the 60's?

P: To children, yes? There was some controversy about Jazz.

H: It was certainly unusual for a historical story.

P: As someone who enjoys jazz, it was pleasant to hear.

Sc: I think I've said everything I want to say. I liked it.

P: Nobody ate any scenery. The absence of the Doctor, in terms of the story, worked nicely.

H: It worked for the story.

P: Yeah.

R: I thought Steven was more effective in this one than he has been for a while. He muddled through, but muddled effectively. He's doing stuff. He's not “Steven the bonehead.” He's “Sir Steven, the effective.”

M: He's stabilized.

P: He's got two goals. He's trapped in Paris without the Doctor, looking for him. But now there's someone else out there who may be the Doctor and that's driving Steven's character efficiently forward.

M: I'm really enjoying this story. I think it's nicely done. I'm sure you can find things to nitpick. I still see Gaston as the one showing the arc of what's going on. In the previous episode he was like “Ah ha!” with discovery. And now he's frustrated and smashing the room.

K: Aborted fight scene might have been good, I couldn't tell.

R: Sissy sword fight!

K: Honestly, I had a hard time following the characters and who was who.

Sc: Yeah, the recon does make that hard.

M: But some of them have large noses and whatnot.

K: One of them was "fabulous", right?

Sc: Yes, Simon was fabulous. Both “The Admiral's House” and “The Sea Beggar” would probably work great as names for Gay bars. And the all male cast does lend itself to interpretation.

K: Okay, I like this episode better now.

H: So, this script, and this episode, it's very dense with stuff. Something is always going on. If you don't get into the cloak and dagger historical thing, I can understand why Ketina found it dull. I'm having a great time, but honestly it's going to be awful to summarize. A sign of a very bad or very good story, and in this case very good.

P: Would children have known this story?

H: No, it's a bit obscure. And that's why Steven's perspective is so useful to the story.

P: And I think they're pulling us along nicely.

M: Presumably they would know that “Catholics bad.”

H: They might have, maybe know of Henry of Navarre.

K: I think they'd know Queen Elizabeth, and that's about it.


A little more paraphrasey than usual, but hopefully you get the idea! As I alluded to above, this story has been difficult to summarize thus far, since so much comes down to the dialogue. If you feel anything needs clarifying or have any tips to make this easier on me (there's a reason I had to recover from my illness before even attempting this!), please definitely feel free to leave a comment. (And don't forget Loose Cannon Productions for your recon needs!) And we'll see you next week for the next episode! Until then, I remain



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