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Hornblower Meets Blackadder
by Jean Akins

SCENE ONE

Time and place: Late 18th century aboard His Majesty,s frigate the
Indefatigable. Captain Pellew is speaking with Lieutenant Horatio
Hornblower.

Pellew: Yes, I know that impressment is morally wrong, Hornblower, but we
have our orders. We are in the midst of war, and we need more recruits. So
go into town and bring back some seaworthy sailors. Use whatever means
necessary. And take some men with you to help get the new sailors on board.

Hornblower: Aye, aye, sir.

SCENE TWO

Time and place: Later that night in Mrs. Miggins, Pie Shoppe. We see Mrs.
Miggins, Mr. Edmund Blackadder and Baldrick. Blackadder and Baldrick are
dressed in sailor costumes.

Blackadder: Baldrick, I don,t know why I let you talk me into this.

Baldrick: Oh, come on, Mr. B. Didn,t you have fun here at Mrs. Miggins,
Nautical Night Theme Party? I know I did. Ahoy there, mates! Let,s hoist
anchor and search for some buried treasure!

Mrs. Miggins: Hello, Mr. Blackadder. I see you two are the last ones here.
Everyone else has gone home. Could it be you can,t bear to tear yourself
away from me? (She bats her eyes at him.)

Blackadder: No, Mrs. Miggins. Just waiting for my stomach to settle after
ingesting whatever it was you tried to pass off as food.

Mrs. Miggins: (laughing) Oh, Mr. Blackadder! If you hate my cooking so much,
then it must be me that attracts you here to my shoppe! You come here almost
every night. What else could it be? Why not admit you have feelings for me
so we can stop holding back on doing what we really want to do with each
other?

Blackadder: (grimacing) Oh, God!

The door opens. In walk Hornblower with his men Kennedy, Matthews and
Styles. They look around inside the shoppe and see Blackadder and Baldrick.
They smile and walk over.

Hornblower: Good evening.

Mrs. Miggins: Good evening. I,m afraid you gents are a bit late. The party
is just winding down and everyone else has gone home. But there might still
be refreshments left. Care for some tea, gentlemen?

Hornblower: Yes, that would be nice.

They pull up chairs and sit down near Blackadder and Baldrick while Mrs.
Miggins goes to fetch some tea.

Blackadder: (looking at Hornblower dressed in his uniform) Well, look at
you, young fellow, playing navy. Maybe one day when you,re all grown up, you
can run away to sea and join His Majesty,s Navy for real.

Hornblower: (raising one eyebrow) Sir?

Baldrick: Where are you gents from?

Matthews: Oh, around. Not far from here.

Mrs. Miggins brings the tea. She sets it on the table.

Hornblower: (pointing toward the window) Good Lord! Look at that!

Blackadder, Baldrick and Mrs. Miggins turn to look where Hornblower is
pointing. Hornblower puts knock-out drops in the tea.

Hornblower: Oh, I guess it was nothing. Thought I saw something there. My
mistake. So sorry.

Hornblower and his men pretend to drink the tea. Blackadder and Baldrick do
drink the tea. In a few minutes the butler and his dogsbody are asleep with
their heads down on the table. Mrs. Miggins is in the kitchen tidying up.

Hornblower and his men carry Blackadder and Baldrick out the door. Mrs.
Miggins turns around and sees them.

Mrs. Miggins: Leaving so soon, gents? There,s pie if you want some.

Hornblower: No, thank you. We,ll just help these tired gentlemen get home
safely.

Mrs. Miggins watches them leave. She has a puzzled look on her face.

SCENE THREE

Time and place: The following morning aboard the deck of the Indefatigable.
Blackadder and Baldrick are finally awakening. The knock-out drops are
wearing off.

Blackadder: (looking about) Good Lord!

Baldrick: (also looking about) Mr. Blackadder, when Mrs. Miggins throws a
Nautical Theme Party, she really goes all out! She even rented this huge
ship! And look at all these costumed sailors and officers!

Blackadder: Uh, Baldrick. I don,t think these men are wearing costumes. And
I don,t think Mrs. Miggins has anything to do with this.

Archie Kennedy: Ah, you,ve awakened. Good morning, gentlemen. Welcome aboard
His Majesty,s frigate the Indefatigable. Styles, would you please go inform
Lt. Hornblower that our two newest recruits are awake?

Styles nods. He goes to find Hornblower.

Blackadder: Excuse me, but did I hear you correctly? Did you refer to us as
your "two newest recruits?

Kennedy: You did hear correctly. You are now working for His Majesty,s
British Navy.

Blackadder: There must be some mistake! How did we get here? The last thing
I remember was being at Mrs. Miggins, Pie Shoppe, and you gents came in, and
we had some tea, and. . . oh, hang on! DID YOU DRUG THE TEA?!

Hornblower: (coming over) Yes, I,m afraid that was my doing. Lt. Hornblower,
at your service. I had my orders to do whatever was necessary to bring new
seaworthy sailors aboard.

Blackadder: Now wait a minute. If I understand correctly, press gangs have
no right to take non-mariners for service. You,re only supposed to focus
your attention on experienced seamen!

Hornblower: Yes? And your point being?

Baldrick: Well, the joke,s on you, Lieutenant! We aren,t experienced seamen!
We,re not sailors at all!

Hornblower: No? Is that why you,re dressed like that?

Blackadder: Look, this is all some terrible misunderstanding. It,s actually
quite funny, when you think about it. In fact, I,m sure I,ll be laughing
about this years from now, after I strangle Mrs. Miggins and you, too,
Baldrick for talking me into going to her stupid Nautical Night Theme Party!

Hornblower: What are you saying?

Blackadder: I,m saying that we,re NOT sailors! I am Edmund Blackadder,
butler to the Prince Regent. Yes, Prince George! And this is Baldrick, my
dogsbody of a servant. Prince George is going to be very upset when he hears
that you,ve impressed into service his valued employees! Oh, yes, very upset
indeed!

Hornblower: So you work for Prince George?

Blackadder: Isn,t what I just said?

Kennedy: What a coincidence. I used to work for the prince,s father, King
George himself.

Baldrick: Really?

Kennedy: NO! Goodness, the stories we hear from new recruits trying to get
out of working on board. We thought we,d heard them all. HA! Prince George,s
butler! How stupid do you think we are?

Hornblower: Hmmm. Let me speak to the captain about this.

Blackadder: You do that. We,ll wait right here.

Kennedy: Horatio? You don,t believe his story about being Prince George,s
butler, do you?

Hornblower: If he,s lying, then he,s lying. But if he,s telling the truth,
then we,d best rectify the situation, don,t you think? I,ll go speak to
Captain Pellew about this. Meanwhile, find them some work to do to keep them
busy.

Kennedy: Aye, aye, sir.

SCENE FOUR

Time and place: Later that day on the frigate the Indefatigable. Baldrick
has been put to work in the ship's galley to assist the cook. Blackadder has
come up with a plan to convince the captain that he is indeed the butler to
Prince George, in an effort to avoid being put to work doing what real
sailors do on board a frigate.

Captain Pellew: You're proposing that I what?

Blackadder: Allow me to work as your butler, your gentleman's gentleman, so
to speak, for a few days. Just until you receive confirmation from the
Prince Regent himself that his butler, yours truly, is indeed missing, and
that he needs me back. If after seeing how I work, you don't agree that I am
indeed a butler, you can do whatever you wish to me and I won't protest.

Captain Pellew: That's an interesting proposition. But I really don't have
any need for a butler. Never have and never will.

Blackadder: It's just for a few days, Captain. Please? I wouldn't be very
good at whatever else one would do here on a ship. Why not put me to work
doing what I do best? And aren't you the tiniest bit curious about what it
would be like to have a butler? Someone to wait on you hand and foot and
make life easier for you so you can focus your attention on being a captain?

Captain Pellew: Hmmm.

SCENE FIVE

Time and place: A week later on board the Indefatigable.

Hornblower: Sir, you're in good spirits these days.

Captain Pellew: Oh, you've noticed? It's that butler Blackadder. He's
amazing! Almost as if he can anticipate my every need. He's right there to
help. If I'd known having a butler would make my life so much easier, I'd
have gotten one years ago! He downright spoils me! Hornblower, I can't thank
you enough for bringing him aboard.

Hornblower: You're welcome, sir. I'm glad it's working out. I was afraid
you'd be upset about it. After all, if he is indeed the butler to the Prince
Regent, there could be repercussions about us having impressed him and his
dogsbody. Have you received word yet from the Prince?

Captain Pellew: Not yet, but it takes time for messages to travel, as you
know. Any day now, I expect we'll receive word.

SCENE SIX

Time and place: Two days later on deck of the Indefatigable.

Hornblower: Blackadder, so how are you doing these days working as the
captain's butler?

Blackadder: Very well, thank you, sir. Oh, look. There's Baldrick. I wonder
how he likes working in the galley.

Hornblower: Did you know I spent almost two years locked in a Spanish
prison, Blackadder? It was a dismal place and the cells had a terrible
stench. But I must say I've never smelled anything quite so powerful as
Baldrick's trousers. Has he always been like this?

Blackadder: Always. Guess I've grown used to it over the years.

Baldrick: (overhearing what they said about his trousers) They can get a bit
whiffy, can't they? Hello, Mr. B. Greetings, Lt. Hornblower.

Blackadder and Hornblower smile and nod hello.

Captain Pellew: Lt. Hornblower! A moment in my cabin, if you please!

Hornblower: Excuse me, gentlemen. (He follows the captain to his cabin.)

Baldrick: Do you think we'll ever get back home, Mr. B.?

Blackadder: I think so. Although, just between you and me, Baldrick, it's
very refreshing being a butler to someone who's actually intelligent. Don't
know if I could adjust to going back to working for Prince Thickie again.

SCENE SEVEN

Time and place:

Right after Captain Pellew has asked Hornblower to join him. They are in the
captain's cabin.

Captain Pellew: Well, here it is. The message from Prince George in response
to my inquiry as to the whereabouts of his butler and dogsbody.

Hornblower: Yes, sir. You haven't opened it yet, sir?

Captain Pellew: No. I'm almost afraid to do so. Oh, what am I saying? (He
steels himself and opens the sealed message and reads it silently to
himself. Then he sighs loudly.)

Hornblower: Good news, sir?

Captain Pellew: That depends on who the good news is for. Prince George
confirms that his butler Edmund Blackadder has been missing, as has his
dogsbody Baldrick. The two men had left word with him over a week ago that
they were attending a "Nautical Night Theme Party" at a Mrs. Miggins' Pie
Shoppe and never returned to the Prince's home. It was a costume party where
the guests dressed as sailors. Isn't that where you and your men impressed
him, Hornblower?

Hornblower: Y-yes, sir. We thought they were real sailors. Their costumes
were very convincing.

Captain Pellew: It's all right, Lieutenant. It's not your fault. Anyway, the
Prince would greatly appreciate it if we send his butler and dogsbody safely
back to him as soon as possible.

Hornblower: Very well, sir. I'll take care of that.

Captain Pellew: I'd like to have a word with them first, Hornblower. Please
send them in here.

Hornblower: Yes, sir.

A few minutes later:

Blackadder: So the Prince has confirmed what we've told you about who we
are? Good!

Captain Pellew: Yes. We'll send you back right away. Pity you can't stay.
Blackadder, if you ever decide to stop working for the Prince, let me know.
I'd welcome you back here as my butler.

Blackadder: Thank you, sir. I'll keep that in mind. Good-bye, Captain. Good-
bye, Lt. Hornblower.

Baldrick: Good-bye, Captain. Good-bye, Lt. Hornblower.

Pellew and Hornblower: Good-bye.

Hornblower: I'll escort you both to the boat that will take you ashore.

SCENE EIGHT

Time and place: A few days later at the home of the Prince. Blackadder and
Baldrick make it safely back from their adventure on the Indefatigable.

Prince George: Welcome back, Blackadder! And Baldrick! Good to see you both!

Blackadder: Yes, thank you. Well, the place hasn't changed much. Feels like
we've been gone for ages.

Baldrick: No place like home, right, Mr. B.?

There is a loud shrill squeal of excitement. It is Mrs. Miggins rushing over
to Blackadder with outstretched arms. He backs away with a look of fear in
his eyes, but she embraces him and tries to kiss him.

Mrs. Miggins: Oh, Mr. Blackadder! I was afraid I'd never see you again!

Blackadder: Oh, God! Let go of me, Mrs. Miggins!

Prince George: Blackadder, is that any way to treat her? She raced over here
and told me about that strange naval officer and his men who carried you out
of her shoppe. She thought something wasn't quite right, so she wisely told
me about it. Otherwise, I'd have never known what happened to you. And
receiving that message from Captain Pellew helped clear things up. So how
did you like your adventure at sea?

Blackadder: Fine, just fine. Mrs. Miggins, if it wasn't for your Nautical
Night Theme Party, I wouldn't have been pressed into service in the first
place! Let go of me, woman!

Mrs. Miggins: Oh, I won't give up on you, Mr. Blackadder. I know you'll be
back to see me, just like you often do when you come to my Pie Shoppe almost
every night. It's only a matter of time when you'll come to your senses and
you'll be begging me to take you, and together we can make our own family of
little Adders!

Blackadder: (stares at her for a second, then heads to the door): Come on,
Baldrick. If we hurry, we might be able to catch the boat heading back to
the Indefatigable!

THE END