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INT. GAMING ROOM - NIGHT

Roderick enters and approaches a table at which Sir William Cosgrove, who is drunk, is at play with several other jovial fellows.

RODERICK (V.O.)

Sir William Cosgrove, with his complication of ills, was dying before us by inches. He was continually tinkered up by doctors, and, what with my usual luck, he might be restored to health and live I don't know how many years. If Cosgrove would not die, where was the use of my pursing his lady? But my fears were to prove groundless, for on that very night, patient nature would claim her account.

SIR WILLIAM

Good evening, Mr. James, have you done with my lady?

RODERICK

I beg your pardon?

SIR WILLIAM

Come, come, sir. I am a man who would rather be known as a cuckold than a fool.

RODERICK

I think, Sir William Cosgrove, you have had too much drink. Your chaplin, Mr. Hunt, has introduced me into the company of your lady to advise me on a religious matter, of which she is a considerable expert.

Sir William Cosgrove greets this line with a yell of laughter. His laugh is not jovial or agreeable, but rather painful and sardonic, and ends in a violent fit of coughing.

SIR WILLIAM

Gentlemen, see this amiable youth! He has been troubled by religious scruples, and has flown for refuge to my chaplin, Mr. Hunt, who has asked for advise from my wife, Lady Cosgrove, and between them both, they are confirming my ingenious young friend in his faith. Did you ever hear of such doctors and such a disciple?

RODERICK

Faith, sir, if I want to learn good principles, it's surely better I should apply for them to your lady, and your chaplin than to you?

SIR WILLIAM

(laughing, but pretty red)

He wants to step into my shoes! He wants to step into my shoes!

Roderick stares at him coldly.

RODERICK

Well, if my intentions are what you think they are -- if I do wish to step into your shoes, what then? I have no other intentions than you had yourself. Lady Cosgrove's wealth may be great, but am I not of a generous nature enough to use it worthily? Her rank is lofty, but not so lofty as my ambition. I will be sworn to muster just as much regard for my Lady Cosgrove as you ever showed her; and if I win her, and wear her when you are dead and gone, corbleu, knight, do you think that it will be the fear of your ghost will deter me?

SIR WILLIAM

Is it not a pleasure, gentlemen, for me, as I am drawing near the goal, to find my home such a happy one; my wife so fond of me, that she is even now thinking of appointing a successor? Isn't it a comfort to see her; like a prudent housewife, getting everything ready for her husband's departure?

RODERICK

I hope that you are not thinking of leaving us soon, knight?

SIR WILLIAM

Not so soon, my dear, as you may fancy perhaps. Why, man, I have been given over many times these four years, and there was always a candidate or two waiting to apply for the situation. Who knows how long I may keep you waiting.

RODERICK

Sir, let those laugh that win.

SIR WILLIAM

I am sorry for you Mr. James. I'm grieved to keep you or any gentleman waiting. Had you not better to arrange with my doctor or get the cook to flavor my omelette with arsenic? What are the odds, gentlemen, that I don't live to see Mr. James hang yet?

There is laughter around the table, and Sir William starts dealing the cards.

VOICE

Dies at Spa, in the Kingdom of Belgium, the Right Honorable Sir William Cosgrove, Knight of the Bath, Member of Parliament for Cosgrove and Devonshire and many years His Majesty's representative at various European courts. He hath left behind him a name which is endeared to all his friends for his manifold virtues and talents, a reputation justly acquired in the service of His Majesty, and an inconsolable widow to deplore his loss.

Sir Williams keels over dead.


INT. RODERICKS APARTMENT - SPA - NIGHT | Barry Lindon | INT. CHURCH - DAY