CAPTION: “THE ABBEY” - PART TWO:
FIAT LUX (Genesis 1:3; KJV)
"Let there be Light" (English)
"Que la lumiere soit" (French)
"Es werde Licht" (German)
"Dejemos que haya Luz" (Spanish)
12. INT. THE BANQUET-HALL OF THE ABBEY - SUPPER-TIME
THE YEAR OF OUR LORD, 3174.
MARCUS APOLLO politely picks his way through the small throng of GUESTS, his sharp eyes
searching for BROTHER CLARET, and trying to attract his glance. His tall figure, in severe
black cassock, with a small flash of color at his waist, stands out sharply in contrast to the
kaleidoscope-whirl of color worn by the others. He nods him toward the table of refreshments,
now reduced to a litter of scraps, greasy cups, and a few over-roasted squabs. APOLLO drags at
the dregs of the punch bowl with its ladle, observing a dead roach floating about its spices, and
thoughtfully handing the first cup to BROTHER CLARET, as the clerk approaches.
CLARET (not noticing the roach)
Thank you, Messer. Do you want to see me?
As soon as the reception is over, in my quarters. Sarkal came back alive.
Does that mean that the Agreement was a fraud upon the part of Hannegan,
and he intends to use it against...?
The eyes of APOLLO signal the approach of the AUDIENCE, and the clerk turns to refill his
cup from the punch bowl, not looking at the lean FIGURE in watered-silk, who is striding
toward them from the entrance. APOLLO formally smiles, bowing, and briefly handshaking.
APOLLO (lifting his brows in mock perplexity)
Well, Thon Taddeo! Your presence surprises me.
I thought that you shunned such festive gatherings.
What could be so special about this one,
to attract such a distinguished scholar?
TADDEO (matching his sarcasm)
Of course, you are the attraction, and my only reason for attending.
APOLLO (feigning surprise)
TADDEO (looking around the banquet hall, snorting irritably)
As a matter-of-fact, I was looking for you all day!
They told me that you would be here. Otherwise...
CLARET (bowing to the Thon)
Care for some punch, Thon Taddeo? (offering him a full cup)
TADDEO (accepting it with a nod, and draining it)
(to Marcus Apollo) I want to ask you a little more
about the Leibowitzian documents which we discussed.
I have a letter from a fellow named Kornhoer at the Abbey,
assuring me that they have writings dating back to
the last years of European-American civilization.
Yes, they are quite authentic...or so I am told.
If so, it strikes me very mysteriously that no one has heard, but never mind that.
Kornhoer listed a number of documents and texts which they claim to have;
and then described them. If they exist at all, I have to see them...
for if it is a hoax, it should be found out;
and if it is not a hoax, the data may be priceless.
APOLLO (stiffly; frowning)
I assure you that there is no hoax.
The letter contained an invitation to visit the Abbey,
and to study these documents. Evidently, they have heard of me.
Not necessarily. They are not particular about who reads their books,
as long as they wash their hands, and do not deface their property.
(affably) But there, then! You have no problem.
Accept their invitation, go to the Abbey, and study their relics.
They will make you welcome.
TADDEO (irritably huffing)
And travel through the Plains at a time when Mad Bear's clan is...?
You were saying?
Only that it is a long and dangerous trip,
and I cannot spare an absence of six months from the collegium.
I want to discuss the possibility of sending a well-armed party of
the Mayor's guardsmen to fetch the documents here for study.
APOLLO (politely; choking)
I am afraid that is quite impossible;
but in any case, the matter is outside of my sphere,
and I may not be able to help you.
Why not? Are you not the nuncio of the Vatican to the Court of Hannegan?
Precisely. I represent New Rome, not the monastic Order.
The government of an Abbey is in the hand of its Abbot.
But with a little pressure from New Rome...
APOLLO (curtly half-turns, looking back inquiringly)
We had better discuss it later...
this evening in my study, if you wish.
I will be there.
THON TADDEO marches away.
12A. INT. THE STUDY OF MARCUS APOLLO - EARLY THAT EVENING
THON TADDEO PFARDENTROTT manages a cordial smile,
with nervous eagerness in his voice. Both MEN seat themselves.
TADDEO (pausing with uncertainty)
There was a meeting of the faculty of the collegium this afternoon.
We talked about Brother Kornhoer's letter, and the list of documents.
Gray dusk light from the large arched window upon his left makes his face blanched and intense,
his wide gray eyes searching up-and-down the PRIEST, measuring and making estimates.
I take it then, that there was skepticism?
TADDEO (his gray eyes falling and lifting quickly)
Should I be polite?
Do not bother!
Yes, there was skepticism, but "incredulity" is more nearly the right word.
My own feeling is that if such papers do exist,
they are probably forgeries dating back several centuries ago.
I doubt that the present monks at the Abbey are trying to perpetrate a hoax;
naturally, they would believe the documents are valid.
The THON slides out of his chair, going to sit in the window, gazing at the fading yellow patches
of cloud in the West, and POUNDING softly upon the sill while he is SPEAKING.
The papers...no matter what we may believe of them,
the idea that such documents may still exist intact...
that there is even a slightest chance of existence...
is so arousing a thought that we must investigate...
APOLLO (a little amused)
Very well, they invited you; but please tell me:
why do you find documents arousing?
TADDEO (quick glance)
Are you acquainted with my work?
I must admit, I have not read a good deal of...
Never mind. Most of it is highly abstract, and tedious to the lay-person:
theories of electrical essence; planetary motion; attracting bodies;
and matters of this sort. Now, Kornhoer's list mentions such names as
La Place, Maxwell, and Einstein...do they mean anything to you?
Not much...does history mention them as natural philosophers?
From before the collapse of the last civilization?
And are they are named in one of the pagan hagiologies?
TADDEO (nodding in agreement)
That is all anyone know about them, or what they did.
Physicists, according to our not-so-reliable historians...
were responsible for the rapid rise of the European-American culture.
Kornhoer's descriptions of the old documents they say they have,
are descriptions of papers that might easily be taken from physical science texts
of some kind. It is just impossible, but we must be certain.
Who wrote your histories?
The monastic orders, of course.
During the time of the anti-Popes, how many schismatic Orders
were fabricating their own versions of things,
and passing off their versions as the work of earlier men?
Write to the Abbot of this place, assuring him that the documents will be returned
after we have completely examined them for authenticity,
and after we have studied their content.
Why do you insist that you must see them here,
instead of going to the Abbey...other than the bandits?
If they are brought here, they can be examined by everyone
in the collegium who is qualified to form an opinion,
and visiting Thons from other principalities may have a look at them also,
but we cannot move the collegium to the Southwest desert for six months!
I see your point. I will send your request to the Abbey.
THON TADDEO appears surprised.
But it will be your request, not mine...and it is only fair to tell you
that I do not think that the Abbot Dom Paulo will say: "YES!"
The THON appears satisfied, leaving. The NUNCIO SUMMONS his CLERK.
You will be leaving for New Rome...tomorrow!
By way of Leibowitz Abbey?
Please come back by way of it, for the report to New Rome is urgent.
At the Abbey, tell Dom Paulo that Sheba expects Solomon
to come to her bearing gifts; and then you had better cover your ears.
After he finishes exploding, hurry back so that I may tell Thon Taddeo:
13. INT. THE ABBEY - DUSK
TWO SEASONS LATER.
DOM PAULO, the Abbot, paces along the Abbey walls, his jaw thrust ahead, like a whiskery old
crag against possible breakers out of the sea-of-events; his thinning hair fluttering like white
pennants upon the desert wind; and the wind wrapping his habit bandage-tight around his
stooped body. He thrusts his gnarled hands into his sleeves, glowering occasionally across the
desert toward the village of "Sanly Bowitts" in the distance. The red sunlight throws his pacing
shadow across the courtyard, and the monks who encounter it crossing the grounds, glance up
PAULO (to a monk)
Please...read it to me, again.
MONK (his hood jogging slightly in his direction)
Which one, Domne?
You know which one.
Yes, my Lord.
The MONK fumbles in one of his sleeves, weighted down with his documents and
correspondence, but after a moment, finding the right one. Affixed to this scroll is the label:
"THIS IS PLACED UNDER THE PROTECTION OF THE APOSTOLIC
IMMUNITY. WHOEVER DARES TO MOLEST THIS MESSENGER
IS AUTOMATICALLY EX-COMMUNICATED.
DET: R'dissimo Domno Paulo de Pecos, AOL, Abbati
(Monastery of the Leibowitzian Brethren,
Environs of Sanly Bowitts Village
Southwest Desert, Empire of Denver)
TO WHOM IT SAYS, AT LEAST:
Papatiæ Apocrisarius Texarkanæ"
All right, this is the one.
So, read it!
The MONK crosses himself, MURMURING the Blessing of the Texts, holding the scroll high
against the sunset, so that it becomes transparent, with his voice a faint sing-song, and his eyes
plucking words out of a forest of superfluous pen-flourishing. The ABBOT leans against the
parapet to listen, while watching the buzzards circling over the mesa of the Last Resort.
(words aural and visual)
"Again it is necessary to set before you a cross to be borne,
old friend and shepherd of myopic bookworms,
but perhaps the bearing of the cross will smack of triumph.
It appears that Sheba is coming to Solomon after all,
though probably to denounce him as a charlatan.
This is to notify you that Thon Taddeo Pfardentrott,
D.N.Sc., Sage of Sages, Scholar of Scholars,
Fair-Haired Son-out-of-Wedlock of a certain Prince,
and God's Gift to an 'Awakening Generation',
has finally made up his mind to pay you a visit,
exhausting all hope of transporting your Memorabilia to this fair realm.
He will be arriving on or about August 15th, the Feast of the Assumption,
if he manages to evade 'bandit' groups along the way.
He will bring his own misgivings, and a small party of armed cavalry,
courtesy of Hannegan II, the corpulent person who is even now
hovering over me as I write, grunting and scowling at these lines,
which His Supremacy commanded me to write,
and in which His Supremacy expects me to acclaim His cousin, the Thon,
in the hope that you will honor him fittingly.
But since His Supremacy's secretary is in bed with the gout,
I will be no less than candid here:
So first, let me caution you about this person, Thon Taddeo.
Treat him with your customary charity, but do not trust him.
He is a brilliant scholar, but a secular scholar,
and a political captive of the State. Here, Hannegan is the State.
Futhermore, the Thon is rather anti-clerical, I think...
perhaps solely anti-monastic. After his embarrassing birth,
he was spirited away to a Benedictine monastery, and...
no, ask the courier about that..."
The MONK glances up from reading to see the ABBOT is watching the buzzards,
and not listening.
MONK (continuing to read)
"...seeds of controversy in the bed of the New Literacy...
so, take heed, and watch for the symptoms.
But on the other hand, not only His Supremacy,
but the dictates of charity and justice as well,
insist I recommend him to you as a well-meaning man,
or at least as an unmalicious child,
like most of these educated and gentlemanly pagans.
He will behave if you are firm...but be careful, my friend.
He has a mind like a loaded musket, which may go off in any direction.
However, I trust that coping with him for a while will not be
too taxing a problem for your ingenuity and your hospitality.
A certain chalice has been filled for me recently, Dom Paulo.
Therefore you may pray to make me stronger.
I fear that this will be lost.
I hope that you and your brothers will pray often
for the trembling Marcus Apollo.
Farewell, my friends.
Written at Texarkana on the eighth of Saints Peter and Paula,
in the year of our Lord, 3..."
Please, let me see that seal again.
The MONK hands him his scroll, who holds it close to his face in order to peer at the blurred
lettering impressed at the bottom of the parchment by a badly-inked wooden stamp:
"OKAYED BY HANNEGAN II, BY GRACE OF GOD MAYOR,
RULER OF TEXARKANA, DEFENDER OF THE FAITH,
AND VAQUERO SUPREME OF THE PLAINS,
HIS MARK: X"
I wonder if His Supremacy had someone read the letter to him, sometime later?
If so, my Lord, would the letter have been sent at all?
I suppose not, but frivolity under the nose of Hannegan
just to spite the illiteracy of the Mayor is not like Marcus Apollo,
unless he was trying to tell me something between the lines,
but he could not quite think of a safe way to put it...
the last part, about a certain chalice that he is afraid will not pass away...
it is clear that he is worried about something, but what?
It is not like Marcus Apollo at all.
FATHER GAULT (quiet voice at his elbow)
Do you suppose that the buzzards ate old Eleazar yet?
DOM PAULO glances around with a start in the twilight,
only to see FATHER GAULT fingering a rose, and looking embarrassed.
Eleazar? Do you mean Benjamin? Why?
Have you heard something about him lately?
GAULT (laughing uneasily)
Well, no, Father Abbot, but you seemed to be looking toward the mesa,
and I thought that you were wondering about the Old Jew.
There is a wisp of smoke up there, so I guess that he is still alive.
We should not have to guess. I am going to ride over there, and pay him a visit!
You sound like you are leaving tonight!
In a day or two...
You better be careful...they say that he throws rocks at climbers.
I have not seen him for five years, and I am ashamed that I have not.
He is lonely. I will go.
If he is lonely, why does he live like a hermit?
To escape loneliness...in the young World.
Domne, perhaps that makes his kind of sense; but I do not quite see it!
You will, when you are my age, or his...
I do not expect to be as old as that. He claims to be thousands of years old!
PAULO (smiling reminiscently)
I cannot dispute him, either.
I met him when I was a novice, fifty-odd years ago,
and I would swear that he looks just as old now,
as he did then. He must be well over one hundred...
"Three thousand, two hundred, and nine", so he says.
Sometimes even older. I think that he believes it too.
An interesting madness.
Father, I am not so sure that he is mad, just devious in his sanity.
What did you want to see me about?
Three small matters: first, how do we get the Poet out of the royal guest rooms...
before Thon Taddeo arrives? He is due here in a few days, and the Poet took root.
I will handle the Poet-sirrah. What else?
Second, vespers. Will you be in church?
Not until Compline. You take over. What else?
Third, controversy in the basement over the experiment of Brother Kornhoer.
Who, and how?
Well, the silly gist of it seems to be that Brother Armbruster has a
While Brother Kornhoer's is matins-of-the-Millennium.
Kornhoer moves something to make room for a piece of equipment;
Armbruster yells: "Perdition!", and Kornhoer yells: "Progress!";
and they go at it, coming fuming to me to settle it.
I scold them for losing their tempers; and six hours later,
the floor shivers from Brother Armbruster bellowing: "Perdition!"
down in the library. I may settle their blowups,
but there still seems to be a basic issue...
...a basic breach of conduct, I would say!
What would you like me to do about it?
Exclude them both from the table? Is that all?
Do you think that the contraption of Brother Kornhoer is going to work?
I sure hope not!
But then, why let him...
Because, I was curious at first.
His work has now caused so much commotion,
that I am sorry that I let him start it.
Then why not stop him?
Because I am hoping that he will reduce himself to absurdity,
without any help from me. If the thing fails,
it will be just in time for the arrival of Thon Taddeo,
which would be just the proper form of mortification for Brother Kornhoer...
to remind him of his vocation, before he begins thinking that he has been called
to religion mainly for the purpose of building a generator of electrical essence
in the basement of our Monastery.
Father Abbot, you will have to admit it is quite an achievement,
if he is successful.
I do not have to admit it.
The ABBOT leaves the wall, crossing the courtyard toward the guest house, moving by feel as
only a few windows glow with candlelight. The windows of the royal suite are dark.
13A. INT. THE GUEST-HOUSE - LATER THAT NIGHT
He gropes for the right door, finding it, then KNOCKING. There is only a FAINT BLEATING.
He opens the door. There is faint red light from a charcoal burner softening into the darkness.
FAINT BLEATING, but closer. He goes to the burner, raking up an incandescent coal, lighting
a splinter of kindling, glancing around, and SHUDDERING at the litter in the empty room. He
transfers the flame to an oil lamp, exploring the rest of the suite. In the second room, DON
PAULO pauses, looking around, as if someone is watching him. A single eyeball peers at him
from a vase of water upon the shelf. In the third room, he meets the goat standing up on top of a
tall cabinet, munching turnip greens. It looks like a small mountain goat, but it has a bald head
that appears bright blue by lamplight. He looks straight at the goat, touching his pectoral cross.
POET (sleepy voice, from the fourth room)
DOM PAULO SIGHS with relief. The goat continues munching greens. The POET lays
sprawled across his bed, with a bottle of wine, blinking irritably at the light with one good eye.
I was asleep.
He adjusts his black eye-patch, reaching for his bottle.
Then, wake up! You are moving out of here immediately.
Tonight. Dump your possessions in the hall to let the suite air out.
Sleep in the cell of the stable boy downstairs if you must.
Then come back in the morning, and scrub this place out!
The POET stares like a bruised lily, grabbing for something under his blankets,
bringing out his fist, and staring at it.
Who used these quarters last?
Monsignor Longi. Why?
I wondered who brought the bedbugs.
The POET opens his fist, pinching something in his palm, cracking it between his nails,
and flipping it away.
Thon Taddeo may have them; I do not want them.
I have been eaten up alive ever since I moved in.
I was planning on leaving, but now that you have offered
my old cell back to me, I will be only to happy...
I did not mean...
...to accept you kind hospitality a little longer.
Only until my book is finished, of course.
What book? But never mind. Just get your things out of here. NOW!
POET (rolling out of bed, pausing for a drink)
Good! I do not think that I can stand these bugs another night.
Give me your wine.
Sure. Have some. It is a good vintage.
Thank-you, since you stole it from our cellars.
It happens to be sacramental wine. Did that thought ever occur to you?
It has not been consecrated.
PAULO (taking his bottle)
I am surprised that you thought of that.
Anyway, I did not steal it.
Never mind the wine...where did you steal the goat?
It was a gift from my dear friend, Benjamin.
You stole it from old Benjamin?
He insisted that I take it as a gift, after I composed a sonnet in his honor.
The truth, please!
POET (swallowing sheepishly)
I won it from him at mumbly-peg.
The old wretch nearly cleaned me out, and then he refused to allow me credit.
I had to stake my glass eye against the goat, but I won everything back.
Get the goat out of the Abbey!
But it is a marvelous species of goat. Its milk is of an unearthly odor,
containing essences. In fact, it is responsible for the Old Jew's longevity...
all fifty four hundred and eight years of it!
I thought that he was only thirty-two hundred and...
(breaking off disdainfully)
What were you doing up on Last Resort?
Never mind, just get yourself moved out;
and tomorrow...give the goat back to Benjamin!
But I won it fairly.
We will not discuss it. Take the goat to the stable,
and then I will have it returned to him myself.
We have no use for a goat; and neither do you.
Ha, ha, ha; he, he, he; ho, ho, ho...Thon Taddeo is coming.
There will be need for a goat before it is finished, you may be sure of that.
The POET CHUCKLES SMUGLY to himself,
and the ABBOT turns away in irritation.
Just get out.
14. INT. VAULTED BASEMENT, THE ABBEY - DAY
DOM PAULO descends its underground stairs, toward the source of CLAMOR in its basement...
someone is HAMMERING steel pins into stone...a feverish bustle of unscholarly activity is
filling the library...NOVICES are hurrying past with tools...standing in groups studying floor
plans...shifting desks and tables, heaving makeshift machinery, and rocking it in
place...confusion by lamplight. BROTHER ARMBRUSTER, Memorabilia librarian and rector,
stands watching from a remote alcove in the shelves, his arms tightly folded and face grim.
DOM PAULO avoids his accusing gaze, while BROTHER KORNHOER approaches his ruler,
with a lingering grin of enthusiasm.
Well, Father Abbot. We will soon have a light no living man ever saw before!
Now let us see the wizardry of the engineer...
They both walk toward the makeshift machine. An axle, serving as the shaft, is connected by
pulleys and belts to a waist-high turnstile. Four wagon wheels are mounted upon its axle, a few
inches apart, their thick iron tires scored with grooves, which support countless bird-nests of
copper wire, and which do not touch any surface. Stationary blocks of iron face its tires, and like
brakes, they do not quite touch them, which are wound with innumerable turns of wire. DOM
PAULO shakes his head.
It will be the greatest physical improvement at the Abbey...
since we got the printing press one hundred years ago!
Will it work? Where does the light come out?
We have a special lamp for that. What you see here is only the "dynamo",
which produces the electrical essence which the lamp will burn.
Why do you suppose that none of our predecessors constructed it?
Actually, in the writings that survive, there is no direct information.
You might say that it is partially implicit in a collection of fragmentary writings.
It has to be derived by deduction, and you also need some theoretical information
which our predecessors did not have. Few philosophers concerned themselves
with new theories in physics...it was the work of Thon Taddeo that...
Where is the lamp itself? I hope that it is smaller than the dynamo!
KORNHOER picks up a small object from the table which seems to be only a bracket for
holding a pair of black rods, and a thumbscrew for adjusting their spacing.
This is it, Domne. These are carbons. The ancients called it an "arc lamp".
There was another kind, but we do not have the materials to make it.
Amazing! Where does the light come from?
KORNHOER (pointing to the gap between the carbons)
It must be a very tiny flame.
But ever so bright...brighter than one hundred candles!
Where are you going to hang that thing?
I suppose that it should go above the desk where Thon Taddeo will be working.
We had better ask Brother Armbruster about that.
What is the matter? Have you and Armbruster been...
KORNHOER (twisting, and apologetically)
I have not lost my temper with him once...
we have had words, but he does not want anything moved...
he keeps mumbling about witchcraft, and the like.
It is not easy to reason with him...
his eyes are now half-blind from reading by dim light...
and yet he says that we are doing the Devil's work.
I do not know what to say...
Now, where do we hang your wondrous lamp?
The MONKS glance toward the cubicle, one of fourteen identical stalls facing the central floor,
each alcove having its own archway; and from iron hooks imbedded in their keystone,
Well, it he is going to work in the alcove,
we will just have to take the crucifix down,
and hang it there, temporarily. There is no...
ARMBRUSTER (raising his trembling hands to Heaven)
Heathen! Pagan! Desecrator! God so help me,
I will tear him apart with these hands of mine!
Where will he stop? Take him away!
(turning his back with his hands still trembling aloft)
PAULO (sharply frowning)
Brother Armbruster, please turn around.
Now, drop your hands, and speak more calmly when you...
But Father Abbot, you heard what he...
You will get the shelf-ladder, and remove that crucifix.
This is not a church. The placement of images is optional.
For the moment, you will please take down the crucifix,
because it seems the only suitable place for the lamp.
Later, we may change it. I realize that this whole thing has disturbed your library,
and perhaps even your digestion, but we hope that it is in the interest of progress.
Would you make Our Lord move over, to make room for progress?
Why not just hang the witch-light around His neck?
I do not force your obedience, Brother.
Please see me in my study after Compline.
ARMBRUSTER (whispering, and shuffling unsteadily away)
Father Abbot, I will get the ladder...
14A. INT. THE STUDY OF THE ABBOT, THE ABBEY - DAY
PRIOR GAULT finds ABBOT PAULO slumped over his desk shortly before None, with blood
showing between his teeth. He quickly feels a pulse, waking him, who straightens in his chair.
PAULO (pontificating imperiously)
I tell you, it is all supremely ridiculous!
It is absolutely idiotic! Nothing is more absurd!
What is absurd, Domne?
PAULO (shaking his head; blinking)
I will get Brother Andrew, at once.
Oh, that is absurd. Come back here. What did you want?
Nothing, Father Abbot. I will be back as soon as I get Brother...
You did not come here for nothing. My door was closed.
Close it again, sit down, and say what you want.
The test was successful...I mean, Brother Kornhoer's lamp.
All right, let me hear about it...
sit down, start talking, and tell me all-lll about it.
PAULO straightens his habit, blotting his mouth with a bit of linen.
He is still dizzy, but the fist in his belly becomes unclenched...
16. EXT. THE DESERT - DUSK
The OLD HERMIT stands upon the edge of the mesa, watching the approach of the speck of
dust from across the desert, munching, MUTTERING words, and SILENTLY CHUCKLING
into the wind. His withered hide is burned to the color of old leather by the Sun, and his brushy
beard is stained yellow about his chin. He wears his basket hat, and his loin-cloth of rough
homespun resembling burlap, which are his only clothing, except for his sandals and his goat-
skin water-bag. He watches the dust speck until it passes through the village of Sanly Bowitts,
departing again by the way of the road leading past the mesa.
His Empire shall be multiplied,
and there shall be no end of His peace:
He shall sit upon His Kingdom.
Suddenly he goes down the arroyo, like a cat with three legs, using his staff, bounding stone-to-
stone, and sliding most of the way. The dust from his rapid descent plumes high upon the wind,
wandering away. At the foot of the mesa, he vanishes into the mesquite, settling down to wait.
Soon he hears the RIDER approaching at a lazy trot, and he begins slinking toward the road, to
peer out through the brush. The pony appears from around the bend, wrapped in a thin shroud of
dust. The HERMIT darts into the trail, throwing his arms up.
As its RIDER halts, he darts forward, seizing its reins,
and anxiously frowning up at the MAN in its saddle, his eyes blazing.
PILGRIM (grunting irritably at the sky)
For a Child is born to us, and a Son is given to us... (Is. 9:6)
(his frown melts away into sadness) It is not Him!
The RIDER throws back his hood, LAUGHING.
PILGRIM (blinking angrily; grunting)
Oh, you! I thought that you would be dead by now.
What are you doing out here?
I brought back your prodigal, Benjamin...
and I thought that I would pay you a visit.
He tugs at a leash, and his blue-headed goat trots up from behind his pony,
BLEATING and straining its rope upon seeing the HERMIT.
This animal is the Poet's. He won it fairly...in a game of chance...
although he cheated...miserably. Please, take it back to him,
and let me counsel you against meddling in worldly swindles
which do not concern you. Good-day! (turning toward the arroyo)
Benjamin...wait. Take your goat, or I will give it to a peasant.
I will not have it wandering around the Abbey, and bleating into the Church.
PILGRIM (crossly, and starting away again)
It is not a goat...it is the beast your prophet saw, and was made for woman to ride.
I suggest that you curse it, and drive it back into the desert.
However, you will notice that it divides the hoof, and chews the cud.
PAULO (smile fading away)
Benjamin, are you really going back up that hill,
without even a "hello" for your old friend?
PILGRIM (marching on indignantly)
Hello. (looking over shoulder) You need not look so hurt...it has been five years
since you have troubled to come this way, my "old friend". Hah!
So that is it! (dismounting; hurrying after the Jew)
Benjamin, I would have come...I have not been free...
Well, Paulo, since you are here...
Suddenly, they embrace, LAUGHING.
It is good, you "old grump"!
I, a grump?
Well, I guess that I am getting a bit cranky too.
The last century has been a trying one.
I hear that you have been throwing rocks at the novices
who come hereabouts for their Lenten fast in the desert...
may this be true? (eyeing the hermit with reproof)
You miserable "old pretzel"!
Now, Paulo. Once, one of them mistook me for a distant relative of mine...
his name was Leibowitz...thinking that I had been sent to deliver him a message...
or so some of your other scalli-wags thought.
I do not want that to happen again, so I throw pebbles at them, sometimes. Hah!
I will not be mistaken for that kinsmen again,
for he stopped being any kin of mine...long ago.
They mistook you for...Saint Leibowitz?
Now, Benjamin! You are going to far.
Saint Leibowitz has been dead for one dozen centuries.
(peering warily) Now, Benjamin...let us not start that tale wagging again.
You have not lived twelve...
Nonsense! I did not say it happened twelve centuries ago.
It was only six centuries ago. Long after your Saint was dead;
that is why it was so preposterous.
Of course, your novices were more devout in those days, and more credulous.
I think that the name of one was Brother Francis.
The poor fellow, I buried him later, and told them in New Rome where to dig...
that is how You got his carcass back.
Of course, that was during my earlier career as a wanderer,
and perhaps such a mistake was understandable.
How do you expect me to believe any of this nonsense?
PILGRIM (chuckling wryly)
Hmm-hnn! The Poet believes me.
Undoubtedly! The Poet certainly would never believe
that the Venerable Francis met a Saint...that would be superstitious.
The Poet would rather believe that he met you...a purely natural explanation.
BENJAMIN lowers a leaky bark cup into the well, emptying it into his water-skin,
and lowering it for more...the water is cloudy.
PILGRIM (extending his cup)
The ABBOT suppresses a shudder, accepting the cup graciously, and draining the murky liquid,
in one gulp.
You are not very particular. I do not touch it myself.
The ABBOT gags, slightly.
You have changed. You have grown as pale as cheese.
I have been ill.
You look ill. Please come back to my shack, if the climb will not tire you out.
For me, it is rest, and I have been wanting to see you, Benjamin.
Are you still waiting, "Old Jew"?
The ABBOT finds the climb tiring. They stop to rest twice.
Reaching the tableland, he is dizzy, leaning upon the spindly HERMIT for support.
A flock of blue-headed goat-mutants at their approach into the straggly mesquite.
This way, Paulo...to my mansion.
16A. INT. THE HOVEL OF THE OLD JEW - LATER THE SAME DAY
A single room, windowless, and its stone-walled rocks are stacked as loosely as a fence, with
wide chinks, through which the wind blows. Its roof is a flimsy patchwork of poles, mostly
crooked, covered by a heap of brush, thatch, and goat-skins. Upon a large flat rock, sitting upon
a short pillar beside his door, is a sign (painted in Hebrew):
"TENTS MENDED HERE"
Does it attract much trade for you up here?
PILGRIM (snorting his disbelief)
You might not expect to believe what is written upon the other side of the sign!
The pillar is set close to the threshold, so that only a small clearance exists between the flat rock
and the wall of his hovel. PAULO stoops low, squinting into the narrow space. There, it is
written upon the back of the rock in smaller Hebrew letters:
"HEAR, O ISRAEL, THE LORD YOUR GOD, THE LORD IS ONE"
Do you ever turn the sign around?
Do you think I am crazy? In these times?
You cannot read it from the backside!
Only you would think of turning it face down.
Face inward. As long as there are tents to be mended in Israel...
but let us not begin teasing each other until you have rested.
I will get you some milk, and you tell me about the visitor that is worrying you.
PAULO (falling relieved into a mound of skins)
There is wine in my bag, if you would like some...
but I would rather not talk about Thon Taddeo.
Oh, that one.
You have heard of Thon Taddeo?
Please tell me, how is it that you always manage to know everything,
and everyone, without stirring from this hill of yours?
One hears...and one sees.
What do you think of him?
I have not seen him, but I suppose that he will be a pain, perhaps a birth-pain...
but a pain, nevertheless.
Birth-pain? Do you really believe that we are going to have
a new Renaissance, as some people talk about?
Stop smirking so mysteriously, Old Jew, and please tell me your opinion!
You are bound to have one; you always do.
Why is your confidence so hard to acquire?
We are still friends, are we not?
On some grounds...but you and I still have differences.
What have our differences got to do with Thon Taddeo
and a Renaissance scholar we would both like to see?
Thon Taddeo is a secular scholar,
and rather remote from our differences.
PILGRIM (shrugging eloquently)
Differences, secular scholars...
I have been called a "secular scholar"
at various times by certain people;
and I have been staked, stoned, and burned for it.
Benjamin...I am Paulo, born seventy-odd years ago, and pretty soon I will die.
Old man, I have loved you, and when you look at me,
I wish that you would see Paulo of Pecos...and no one else.
PILGRIM (wavering for one moment)
And sometimes you forget that Benjamin is only Benjamin...and not all of Israel!
PILGRIM (snapping; eyes blazing)
Never! For thirty-two centuries, I...
BENJAMIN suddenly stops, tightly closing his mouth.
PAULO (whispering in awe)
Why do you take the burden of a people and its past upon yourself, alone?
The PILGRIM swallows a THROATY SOUND, lowering his face into his hands.
PILGRIM (eyes flaring a brief warning)
You fish in deep waters. The burden...was pressed upon me by others.
(looking up slowly) Should I refuse to take it?
God bless you for a brave fool...even a wise fool.
Hmm-hnn! Wise fool? But Paulo, did you specialize in paradox and mystery?
If something cannot be in contradiction to itself, then it does not even interest
you? You have to find threes in unity, life in death, and wisdom in folly;
otherwise it might make...common sense.
Benjamin, to sense the responsibility is wisdom;
to think that you can carry it alone is folly.
Do you want to know a secret? I have known all along that I cannot carry it.
He called me forth again, but are we talking about the same thing?
Stop cackling, you blasphemous old cactus reprobate!
I really wanted your opinion of Thon Taddeo.
Why seek the opinion of a poor old anchorite like me?
Because, Benjamin Eleazar bar Joshua, if all the years of waiting for
"one who is not coming" have not taught you wisdom,
at least they have made you shrewd.
The POET lifts his closed eyes ceiling-ward, smiling cunningly.
PILGRIM (mocking tones)
Insult me, rail at me, bait me, and persecute me...
but do you know what I will say?
You will say: "Hmm-hnn!"
No, I will say that He is already here!
I caught a glimpse of Him, once.
What? Who are you talking about? Thon Taddeo?
No, and I do not care to prophesize unless you tell me
what is really bothering you, Paulo.
It all started with Brother Kornhoer's lamp. I began wondering:
How close are we to the brink of something? Or how close to the shore?
Do you know how much things have changed in the past two centuries?
Since the end of the last civilization, the Memorabilia has been our
special province, and we have kept it, Benjamin;
but now I sense the predicament of the shoe-maker who tries to
sell shoes in a village of shoe-makers.
It could be done, if he manufactures a special, and a superior type of shoe.
I am afraid that the secular scholars are beginning to lay claim to such a method.
Then get out of the shoe-making business, before you are ruined.
It is an unpleasant possibility. For twelve centuries,
we have been on a little island in a very dark ocean.
We think keeping the Memorabilia is a thankless task,
but a hallowed one. It is only our Worldly job,
but we have always been book-leggers and memorizers,
and it is hard to think that the job is soon to be finished...
and unnecessary. I find it hard to believe.
So you try to beat the other "shoemakers",
by building strange contraptions in your basement?
I must admit that it certainly looks that way...
What will you do to keep ahead of the seculars?
Build a flying machine? Revive the machina analytica?
Perhaps step over their heads resorting to metaphysics?
Old Jew, you shame me. You know that we are the monks of Christ first,
and such things are for others to do.
I see nothing inconsistent in monks of Christ building a flying machine,
although it would more likely to be a praying machine!
The books you stored away may be hoary with age,
but they were written by the children of the World,
and they will also be taken from you by the children of the World,
as you had no business in meddling with them, in the first place.
They will soak up everything that you may offer, take your job away from you,
denounce you as a decrepit wreck, and then ignore you entirely.
It is your own fault for meddling.
Probing the womb of the future is bad for the child.
I will wait, and prophesize that it was born,
and that it was not what I am waiting for.
What are you looking for?
Someone who shouted at me once: "Come forth!"
To tell you the truth, I do not expect Him to come;
but I was told to wait...and I wait.
(twinkling eyes narrowing into slits; leaning forward suddenly eager)
Paulo, bring Thon Taddeo past the foot of this mesa.
You accoster of pilgrims! Molester of novices!
I will send you the Poet-sirrah...and may he descend upon you, resting forever.
Very well. Please forget that I asked it.
Let us hope that the Thon is on our side,
and not with the others.
They embrace, affectionately. The OLD JEW leads PAULO to the edge of the mesa,
in his prayer shawl and rough burlap loincloth.
PAULO (whispering down the trail)
Remember, Lord, all of Your servants;
and may he finally win the eyeball of the Poet playing mumbly-peg.
18. INT. THE STUDY OF THE ABBOT, THE ABBEY - ANOTHER DAY
And that is your only account of it?
There are several versions, differing in minor details.
No one is certain which nation attacked first, not that it matters anymore.
The author of the text wrote a few decades after the death of Saint Leibowitz,
one of the first accounts after it was safe to write,
and he got his information second-hand from the followers,
original memorizers, and book-leggers.
I doubt that a single completely accurate account of the Flame Deluge exists,
anywhere...apparently it was too immense for one person to see the whole picture.
I have heard similar legends. It is obvious that something hideous came to pass.
(abruptly) When may I begin to examine...what do you call it?
TADDEO (sighing; smiling absently at the Saint)
Would tomorrow be too soon?
You may begin immediately, if you prefer.
Please feel free to come and go, as you like.
18A. INT. THE VAULTS OF THE ABBEY - THE VERY NEXT MORNING
Dimly filled with candlelight; a few dark-robed SCHOLAR-MONKS moving about in the stalls.
BROTHER ARMBRUSTER gloomily reads his records in a puddle of lamplight in his
cubbyhole at the foot of the stone stairway, with one lamp burning in the moral theology alcove,
where a robed figure huddles over ancient manuscripts. THREE MONKS stand lounging in the
shadows behind the new machine, keeping their hands tucked up in their sleeves, and watching a
FOURTH MONK, who is standing at the foot of the stairs, patiently gazing up toward a FIFTH
MONK, who is standing upon the landing watching the entrance to the stairway! A LOW
HISSING from the stairway alerts the basement, and the SIXTH MONK watching from the head
of the stairs turns solemnly, bowing toward the FIFTH MONK upon the landing below.
MONK 1 (softly)
"In the beginning, God...
MONK 2 (turning and bowing back)
(murmuring) ...created the Heaven and the Earth. (Gen. 1:1; KJV)
MONK 3 (to the other monks)
And the Earth was without form, and void...
THREE MONKS (chorus)
...and darkness was upon the face of the deep.
And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." (Gen. 1:2)
BROTHER KORNHOER returns his book to its shelf, with a RATTLING OF CHAINS.
Thanks be to the Creator Spirit.
KORNHOER (tone of command)
"And God said Let there be light:
The vigil upon the stairs descend, taking their posts: FOUR MONKS man the treadmill; the
FIFTH MONK hovers over the dynamo; and the SIXTH MONK climbs the shelf-ladder, taking
his seat upon its top rung, with his head bumping the top of its archway. He pulls a mask of
smoke-blackened oily parchment over his face to protect his eyes, feeling for the lamp fixture
and its thumbscrew, while BROTHER KORNHOER nervously watches him from below.
...and there was light. (Gen. 1:3)
KORNHOER (to the fifth monk)
And God saw the light, that it was good:
...and God divided the light from the darkness. (Gen. 1:4)
The FIFTH MONK bends over the dynamo with his candle,
for one last look at the brush contacts.
And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night." (Gen. 1:5)
They set their shoulders to the turnstile beams: axles CREAKING and GROANING; the wagon-
wheel dynamo spins, its LOW WHIRRING turning into MOANING and WHINING, as the
MONKS strain and GRUNT upon the drive-mill. The SIXTH MONK anxiously watches the
spokes blur with speed, licking two fingers, and touching the contacts.
Evening having come...(spark snapping) Lucifer!
(leaping back)...and morning, the first day.
DOM PAULO, THON TADDEO, and his CLERK, descend the stairs. The MONK upon the
ladder strikes the arc: there is a sharp "SPFFFT", and a blinding light floods the vaults with a
brilliance not seen for twelve centuries. The GROUP starts on the stairs...THON TADDEO
GASPS an oath in his native tongue, retreating a step...the ABBOT blanches, and he is
SPEECHLESS in mid-sentence... the CLERK, momentarily freezing in panic, suddenly flees.
PAULO (making his sign of the cross)
(whispering) I did not know...!
Scholar THON TADDEO probes the basement with his gaze, noticing the drive-mill; monks
straining at its beams; wrapped wires; monk upon a ladder; wagon-wheel dynamo; and monk
standing waiting, with downcast eyes, at the head of the stairs.
MONK at the foot of the stairs bows, in acknowledgment and appreciation. The blue-white glare
casts knife-edged shadows in the room making candle-flames like blurred wisps in a tide of light.
Bright as one thousand torches!
It must be an ancient...no, unthinkable!
TADDEO moves down the stairs, like a man in a trance, stopping beside KORNHOER, gazing
at him curiously, and then stepping upon the floor of the basement. Touching and asking
nothing, he peers at everything, wandering about the machinery, inspecting the dynamo, the
wiring...and the lamp itself.
It just does not seem possible, but...
KORNHOER (brightening; walking down the stairs)
Do you like it, my Lord Abbot?
Ghastly...a shocking way to treat a guest!
It frightened Thon Taddeo's assistant out of his wits!
I am mortified!
Well, it is rather bright.
Go and talk to him, while I think of a way to apologize.
The SCHOLAR stalks swiftly towards them, his face strained, and his manner crisp.
An electric light.
How have you managed to keep it hidden for all of these centuries?
After all of these years of trying to arrive at a theory of...(slightly choking)
Why have you hidden it? Is there not some sort of religious significance?
PAULO (catching the arm of Kornhoer)
You misunderstood, Brother.
For the love of God, please...explain!
19. INT. THE ABBEY - DAY
For several days, the THON and his ASSISTANT study the library itself, and files and records of
the Monastery apart from the Memorabilia. BROTHER KORNHOER discovers the
ASSISTANT upon his knees in the entrance to the refectory, appearing to be performing some
special devotion before the image of Mary above the door, but a RATTLING of tools ends this
illusion. He lays a carpenter's level across its entranceway, measuring the concave depression
worn into the floor by centuries of monastic sandals.
We are looking for ways to determine dates.
This seemed like a good place to establish a standard for rate of wear,
since the traffic is easy to estimate. Three meals a day per man,
ever since the stones were first laid.
The architectural records of the Abbey are complete.
They may tell you exactly when each building, and each wing, was added.
Why not save time?
Everything must be cross-referenced to the objective.
A fascinating notion. Why, it is shaped like a normal distribution curve!
(bending down to examine the sketch of the cross-section of the floor concavity)
The probability of a footstep deviating from the center line
would tend to follow the normal error function.
PAULO and GAULT enter.
Why are they making drawings of our fortifications, Brother Gault?
I have not heard of this. Do you mean Thon Taddeo...?
No, the officers who came with him. They are going about it systematically.
How did you find this out?
The Poet told me the truth this time...he pick-pocketed one of their sketches.
Why do you suppose they are making their drawings?
PAULO (grim mouth)
Unless we find out otherwise, we will assume
that their interest is recondite, and professional.
As a walled citadel, the Abbey has been successful.
It has never been taken by siege or assault,
and perhaps their professional admiration is aroused.
Do you think that they were sent...as spies?
No, but here they are, they are officers,
and they cannot help but look around and getting ideas.
Very likely, Hannegan is now going to hear about us.
What are you intending to do?
I will try to think of a way to approach Thon Taddeo upon this matter.
We will first watch what is going on for a while though.
19A. INT. THE ABBEY - ANOTHER DAY
Quantities of facsimile copies are scrutinized; chains RATTLE and CLANK as more precious
books come down from off of their shelves. The actual manuscripts dating back to Leibowitzian
times, sealed in airtight caskets, locked in special storage vaults, are brought out. The
ASSISTANT of THON TADDEO assembles several pounds of notes.
TADDEO (vacillating between jubilation and amused incredulity)
Magnificent! Fragments from a twentieth-century physicist!
The equations are even consistent!
KORNHOER (peering over the shoulder of the Thon)
(breathlessly) I have already seen that.
I could never make heads or tails of it.
Is the subject matter important?
I am not sure yet. The mathematics are beautiful!
Look here...this expression...notice the extremely contracted form...
this thing under the radical sign...it looks like the product of two derivatives,
but it really represents a whole set of derivatives.
The indices permute into an expanded expression;
otherwise, it could not possibly represent an integral.
And here, this simple-looking expression is deceptive.
It obviously represents not a single equation,
but a whole set, in a very contracted form.
The author was thinking of the relationships,
not just of quantities to quantities,
but of whole systems to other systems.
I do not yet know all the physical quantities,
but the sophistication of the mathematics is superb!
If it is a hoax, it is inspired!
If it is authentic, we may be unbelievably lucky.
In either case, it is magnificent.
I must see the earliest possible copy of it.
19B. INT. THE ABBEY - SEVERAL DAYS LATER
Our community has been curious about your labors.
We would like to hear about it, if you do not mind discussing it.
Of course, we have all heard of your theoretical work at your own collegium,
but it is too technical for most of us to understand.
Would it be possible for you to tell us something about it in general terms,
that a non-specialist might understand?
TADDEO (smiling and shrugging, doubtfully)
You would like me to explain our work in the simplest possible language?
We now have a fairly clear idea of where we are going,
and what we have to work with here.
Of course, It will take considerable time to finish...
the pieces have to fit together, and they do not all belong to the same puzzle.
We cannot yet predict what we can glean from it;
but we are fairly sure of what we cannot.
I have no objection explaining the scope...only an uncertainty about my audience.
I do not wish to offend the religious beliefs of anyone. (blinking)
What is it?...
An old man...with a beard and a shawl. It looks like...no, he would not...
DOM PAULO rises and moves to the front to stare at the faintly-defined shape in the shadows.
The figure stirs, drawing its shawl tightly around its spindly shoulders, hobbling slowly into the
light, stopping again, muttering to itself, looking around the room, and finding with its eyes the
scholar. Leaning upon a crooked staff, the old apparition slowly hobbles toward the Thon, never
taking its eyes from the man, who is humorously perplexed at first. The face of the bearded
antiquity blazes with hopeful ferocity, who then comes closer, and pausing. His eyes twitch over
startled TADDEO, his mouth quivering; then he smiles, reaching out one of his trembling hands
toward the scholar. TADDEO draws back with a SNORT of revulsion. The hermit is agile,
vaulting over a dais, dodging a lectern, and seizing the arm of the scholar.
BENJAMIN kneads the arm, while he stares hopefully into the eyes of the scholar. His face
clouds, the glow dies, he drops the arm, and then a great keening SIGH comes from out of his
dry old lungs. The eternally-knowing smirk of the Old Jew of the Mountain returns to his face.
He turns, spreading his hands, and shrugging eloquently.
It is still not Him.
He hobbles away...
21. INT. THE ABBEY - DAY
THE TENTH WEEK OF THE VISIT OF THON TADDEO.
Hannegan II, by the Grace of God Mayor,
Viceroy of Texarkana, Defender of the Faith,
and Vaquero Supreme of the Plains,
found Monsignor Marcus Apollo guilty of "treason" and espionage,
causing the papal nuncio to be hung,
and while still alive, cut down, drawn, quartered, flayed,
and the pieces of the carcass of the priest thrown to the dogs,
as an example to anyone else who might try to undermine the state.
(pausing) The head of the ruling dynasty of Laredo demands that
Texarkanan troops be evacuated forthwith from the realm...
the King is dead from poison, and a state-of-war is proclaimed
between the states of Laredo and Texarkana.
TADDEO (apparent degree of sincerity)
A tragic affair! Because of my nationality, I offer to leave, immediately.
Why? Do you approve of the actions of Hannegan?
TADDEO (looking around to see if anyone may hear them)
Personally, I condemn them...but in public, there is the collegium to think of.
However, if it was only a question of saving my own neck...
someone should warn New Rome about making idle threats...
Hannegan is not above crucifying several dozen...Marcus Apollos!
I understand...then some new martyrs will attain Heaven;
for New Rome does not make idle threats.
I suppose you would look at it that way, but I renew my offer to leave.
Nonsense! Whatever your nationality,
your common humanity always makes you welcome.
21A. INT. THE ABBEY - DAY
Later, a CITIZEN'S COMMITTEE, headed by the MAYOR, is visiting to request sanctuary for
its townspeople in the case of an invasion.
My final offer is this: we will take in all of the
women, children, invalids, and aged without question;
but as for men who are capable of bearing arms,
we will consider each case individually,
and we may turn some of them away.
That should be obvious, even to you!
We may become under attack ourselves,
but unless we are directly attacked,
we are going to stay out of it.
I will not let this place be used by anyone
as a garrison from which to launch a counterattack,
if the only attack is upon the village itself.
So, in the case of males able to bear arms,
we will have to insist upon a pledge to defend the Abbey under our orders,
and we will decide in individual cases whether a pledge is trustworthy.
It is unfair! You will discriminate...
Only against those who may not be trusted. What is the matter?
Were you hoping to hide a reserve force here? Well, it will not be allowed.
You are not going to plant any part of a town militia out here...and that is final!
21B. INT. THE ABBEY - ANOTHER DAY
Where is the Poet? He is absent from the guest-house!
PAULO (face wrinkling in surprise)
Are you certain that he has moved out?
He often spends a few days in the village,
or goes over to the mesa to argue with Benjamin.
His belongings are missing. Everything is gone from his room.
PAULO (wry mouth)
When the Poet leaves, it is a bad sign. By the way, if he is really missing,
then I would advise you to take an immediate inventory of your own belongings.
TADDEO (looking thoughtful)
So is that where my boots...?
I sent them out to be polished, and they were not returned...
it was the same day he tried to batter my door down.
Who, the Poet?
I am afraid that I have played a little game with him. I have his glass eye.
Do you remember the night that he left it upon the table in the refectory?
Well, I picked it up!
The THON opens his pouch, groping inside it for a moment,
then laying the eyeball of the POET upon the desk of the ABBOT.
He knew that I had it, but I kept denying it.
We have had sport with him ever since,
even creating rumors that it really was the long-lost eyeball of the Bayring idol,
and that it ought to be returned to the Museum.
He became quite frantic after a while.
Of course, I mean to return it before we go home.
Do you suppose that he will return, after we leave?
PAULO (shuddering slightly; glancing at the orb)
I doubt it, but I will keep it for him, if you like.
Although it is just as probable that he would turn up in Texarkana to look for it...
his potent talisman....He says that he may see much better when he wears it.
It is nonsense, unless filling his empty socket somehow
affects the muscles of both sockets. Is this his claim?
He just swears that he cannot see as well without it.
He claims he has to have it for the perception of "true meanings",
although it gives him blinding headaches when he wears it.
One never knows whether the Poet is speaking fact, fancy, or allegory.
If fancy is clever enough, I doubt that the Poet will admit
that there is a difference between fact...and fantasy.
TADDEO (smiling quizzically)
Outside my door the other day, he yelled that I needed it more than he did,
which suggests that he thinks it is a potent fetish...good enough for anyone!
The Poet used his eyeball as a running joke.
When he wanted to make decision by thinking something over,
or to debate a point, he would put his glass eye in his socket.
Then, he would take it out again when he saw something that did not please him,
when he was pretending to overlook something, or when he wanted to play stupid;
and when he wore it, his manner changed. Our brothers called it:
"the Poet's conscience", who went along with their joke.
He gave little lectures and demonstrations upon its advantages.
Wearing his eye, he would stroke his wine bottle, licking his lips,
panting and moaning, and then jerking his hand away.
Finally it would possess him again; he would grab the bottle,
pouring about one thimbleful into his cup,
and gloating over it for a second before throwing the cup across the room.
Soon, he would be leering at the wine bottle again,
starting to moan and slobber, but again fighting his compulsion.
(chuckling to himself) Hideous to watch.
Finally, when he became exhausted, he would pluck out his glass eye,
and suddenly relax...the compulsion was no longer a compulsion.
Now cool and arrogant, he would pick up his bottle, looking around, laughing.
"I am going to do it, anyway" he would say.
While everyone was expecting him to drink it, he would put on a beatific smile,
pouring the entire bottle over his own head!
So he thinks that I need it more than he does?
He is only the Poet-sirrah!
TADDEO (suddenly laughing)
I rather like that. I think that I know who needs it more than the Poet.
Perhaps I will keep it, after all!
TADDEO picks the eye up, tossing it, catching it, and glancing doubtfully at the ABBOT.
PAULO again merely shrugs, as TADDEO drops it back inside his pouch.
He may have, it if he ever comes back to claim it.
By the way, I meant to tell you my work is finished.
We will be leaving in a few days...
I do hope that your escort-group has not reversed
its political allegiance since you made arrangements.
I may not fight the Prince who makes my work possible,
no matter what I think of his policies or politics.
I appear to superficially support him for the sake of the collegium.
If he extends his lands, the collegium may incidentally profit;
and if it prospers, Mankind will profit from our work...
But twelve centuries ago, even the survivors did not profit.
Must we start down the same road again?
You promise to restore the control of Man over Nature,
but who will govern the use of the power to control natural forces?
Who will use it? And to what end? How will you hold them in check?
If you and your group do not make these decisions now,
others will soon make them for you. If Mankind profits, at whose suffering?
The suffering of a Prince who signs his letters: "X"?
Do you really believe that your collegium will stay aloof from his ambitions
when he discovers that you are valuable to him?
What you really suggest is that we wait a little while longer;
that we dissolve the collegium, or move it to the desert;
and somehow, with no gold and silver of our own, and telling no one,
revive an experimental and theoretical science in some slow and hard way;
instead saving it for the day when Man is good, pure, holy, and wise.
It will not work; you have been doing it here in this very Abbey for generations...
We have not withheld anything.
You did not withhold it, but you sat on it so quietly,
that no one knew it was here, and you did nothing with it.
(eyes briefly flaring anger)
I think that it is time that you met our founder.
(growling; pointing to the wood-carving) Like yourself,
he was a scientist before the World went mad, and he ran away for sanctuary.
He founded this Order to save what he could of the records of the last civilization.
But saved from what, and for what?
Look where he stands...see the kindling?...the books?
That is how little the World wanted your science then, and for centuries after.
He died for our sake, and when they drenched him with fuel oil,
legend has it that he asked them for a cup of it.
They mistook it for water, so they laughed, and gave him a cup,
who blessed it, some say he changed it into wine, and then drank it...
before they hung him, and set him upon fire!
If you try to save wisdom until the World is wise, the World will never have it.
I see that the misunderstanding is basic!
To serve God or Hannegan first...that is your only choice.
TADDEO (unmistakably scornfully)
I have little choice, then.
Would you have me work for the Church?
22. INT. THE BASEMENT OF THE ABBEY - DAY
THURSDAY IN OCTAVE OF ALL SAINTS (September or October).
THON TADDEO and his PARTY sort notes and records, preparing their departure, and
attracting a small monastic AUDIENCE with a spirit of friendliness. Overhead, the arc lamp
sputters and glares with a blue-white harshness, while the team of NOVICES wearily pump at its
Now, unless this hypothesis is meaningless,
it must be possible to confirm it by observation...
I set it up with the help of some new...or very old...
mathematical forms suggested by our study of your Memorabilia,
which seem to offer a more simple explanation of optical phenomena.
Brother Kornhoer proved to be helpful by thinking of a way to test it.
(smiling and nodding to the inventor; displaying his sketch)
What is it?
This is a pile of glass plates. A beam of sunlight striking the pile at this angle
will be partially reflected, and partially transmitted.
The reflected part will be polarized.
Now, if we adjust the pile to reflect the beam through this thing,
which is the idea of Brother Kornhoer, then let the light fall upon this second pile
of glass plates, which is set at just the right angle to reflect almost all of the
polarized beam, and to transmit nearly none of it, then looking through the glass,
we should scarcely see any of the light. If my hypothesis is correct, closing
this switch here on Brother Kornhoer's field coil will cause a sudden brightening
of the transmitted light. If it does not, we will throw our whole hypothesis out.
Instead, you might throw out the coil.
I am not sure it will produce a strong enough field.
But I am. You have an instinct for these things.
Myself, I find it much easier to develop an abstract theory,
than to construct a practical way to test it.
You have a remarkable gift for seeing everything in terms of
screws, wires, and lenses; while I still think in terms of abstract symbols.
How about a scholarship at the collegium for you? I was talking to your Abbot.
While we disagree on a few things, I may understand his point-of-view.
I think that an exchange of scholarship might improve relations.
Of course, there would be a stipend, which your Abbot could put to good use.
You do not seem to be pleased by this invitation.
KORNHOER (inclining his head)
Of course, I am flattered. Such matters are not for me to decide.
I understand that, but I will not even dream of asking your Abbot,
if the idea displeases you.
My vocation is to Religion...to a life of prayer.
We think of our work as a kind of prayer, too.
But that (gesturing to the dynamo) seems like play.
However, if Dom Paulo were to send for me...
...you would reluctantly go? I am sure that I may get the collegium to
send your Abbot at least one hundred gold hannegans per year
while you are with us, too. (looking at their expressions)
Pardon me, but did I say something wrong?
22A. INT. THE BASEMENT OF THE ABBEY - LATER THE SAME DAY
I did locate one source here, which should interest Thon Maho.
I am not a historian, but...
Thon Maho? Is he the one who is trying to correct...the Book of Genesis?
TADDEO (startled glance at Gault)
Yes, that is...
...that is alright; many of us here feel that Genesis is more or less...allegorical.
What have you found?
We located one pre-Diluvian fragment suggesting a very revolutionary concept.
If I am interpreting this fragment correctly,
Man was not created until shortly before the fall of the last civilization.
Then where did this civilization come from?
Not from humanity. A preceding race developed it,
which became extinct during the Fire Deluge.
Holy Scripture goes back thousands of years before!
Are you proposing that we are not the descendants of Adam?
And that we are not related to historical humanity?
Just one moment! I conjecture that the pre-Deluge race called Man
succeeded in creating life, and that shortly before the fall of their civilization,
they successfully created the ancestors of present humanity
"after their own image"...as a servant species.
Even if you reject Revelation, that is a completely unnecessary complication
under plain common sense!
TADDEO (coming down the stairs)
It might seem to be so, until you consider how many things it accounts for.
You know the legends of the Simplification, which become meaningful
if you look at the Simplification as a rebellion by a created servant species
against their creators, and as the fragmentary reference seems to suggest,
explaining why present-day humanity seems to be so inferior to the ancients,
and why our ancestors lapsed into barbarism, when their masters were extinct.
PAULO (striding toward the alcove)
God have mercy upon this house!
Spare us, Lord...for we do not know what we do.
So we are only creatures from other creatures?
We are made by lesser gods than God,
and are therefore understandably less than perfect...
though through no fault of our own, of course.
The rebellion of Man against his makers was merely
justifiable tyrannicide against the infinitely wicked sons of Adam?
Please show me your amazing reference!
TADDEO (shuffling through his notes)
Here it is!
TADDEO passes several notes to DOM PAULO, as the flickering light shows the NOVICES at
the drive-mill are straining to listen, and the MONKS are WHISPERING among themselves.
Someone LAUGHS as the ABBOT glares back at TADDEO, as he begins reading, SILENTLY.
You found this over in the "unclassified" section?
Yes. I suppose that I should finish packing.
TADDEO sorts his papers, the MONKS shift restlessly, and KORNHOER broods alone.
DOM PAULO abruptly hands the notes to his PRIOR.
GAULT moves aside with the notes; and PAULO turns toward the SCHOLAR again,
SPEAKING politely, informatively, and emphatically.
"So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God created he them;
male and female created he them." (Gen. 1:27; KJV)
My remarks were only conjecture.
Freedom to speculate is necessary...
"And the LORD God took the man,
and put him into the garden of Eden
to dress it and to keep it. And..." (Gen. 2:15)
...to the advancement of science.
If you would have us hampered by blind adherence,
and unreasoned dogma, then you would prefer...
"And the LORD God commanded the man, saying,
Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil,
thou shalt not... (Gen. 2:16-17)
...to leave the world in the same black ignorance
and superstition that you say your Order has struggled.
...eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof
thou shalt surely die." (Gen. 2:17)
...against. Nor could we ever overcome famine, disease, or misbirth,
or make the World one bit better than is has been for...
"For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof,
then your eyes shall be opened,
and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." (Gen. 3:5)
...twelve centuries, if every direction of speculation
is to be closed off and every new thought denounced...
It never was any better; it never will be any better.
It will only be richer or poorer, sadder but not wiser,
until the very last day...
TADDEO (shrugging helplessly)
Do you see? I knew that you would be offended,
but what is the use? You have your account of it.
The "account" that I quoted was not an account of the manner of Creation,
but an account of the manner of temptation that led to the Fall.
Did that escape you, Sir Philosopher?:
"And the serpent said unto the woman..." (Genesis 3:4)
Yes, but the freedom to speculate is essential...
No one has tried to deprive you of that, nor is anyone offended;
but to abuse the intellect for reasons of pride, vanity,
or to escape from responsibility, is the fruit of the same tree.
Do you question the honor of my motives?
At times, I question my own. I accuse you of nothing,
but ask yourself why you take delight in leaping to
such a conclusion from so fragile a premise?
Why do you wish to discredit the past,
even to dehumanizing the last civilization?
So that you do not need to learn from their mistakes;
or is it that you may not bear being only a "rediscoverer",
but that you must feel that you are a "creator" as well?
TADDEO (hissing angrily)
These records should be placed into the hands of competent people.
What an irony this is!
PAULO (with light sputtering out)
23. EXT. SUNNY TRAIL, WOODED HILLSIDE - DAY
The POET dizzily lifts his head from the ground, looking around. The buzzards glide down to
land; there is a dead horse, and a dying CALVARY OFFICER pinned under it, faintly
SCREAMING for "Mother", a "priest", or his " horse ", disquieting the buzzards, and further
disgruntling the POET.
23A. FLASH-BACK - EARLIER THE SAME DAY
The POET is minding his own business, bothering no one, when he notices a PARTY of
REFUGEES galloping toward the hill from the East, with their CALVARY TROOP in close
pursuit. He hides behind some scrub growing from the lip of the embankment flanking the trail.
A blind impulse sends him leaping from its embankment to tackle the CALVARY OFFICER in
his saddle, and stab him three times with his own belt-knife, before the two topple down to the
ground. The officer's MEN shoot him in the abdomen with a musket even before he climbs to
his feet, continuing their slaughter of refugees, riding away, and leaving the dead behind.
Oh, my God...
Next time, sharpen your cutlery! Ooof!
The POET, trying to digest his musket-ball, musters his strength, lifting his head again, blinking
the dirt from out of his eye, and studying the OFFICER for a few seconds, who has turned a
chalky shade of green. He drags himself slowly toward the CALVARY MAN, who sees him
coming, groping for his pistol. The POET pauses to roll for cover as the pistol wavers his
direction. The OFFICER pulls the trigger, and his shot goes wide by yards. When he tries to
reload, the POET takes his gun away from him, who seems to be delirious, and keeps trying to
Go ahead. (finding his knife)
Bless me, Father, for I have sinned...
I absolve you. (plunging his knife into his throat)
23B. FLASH-FORWARD TO SUNNY TRAIL, WOODED HILLSIDE - ANOTHER DAY
The POET finds the canteen of the OFFICER, drinking a little water, which is hot from the Sun.
He lies with his head pillowed upon the horse of the OFFICER, waiting for the shadow of the
hill to creep over the road.
POET (thinking to himself)
Jesus Christ, this hurts!
That last bit is not going to be easy to explain, and without my eyeball too.
If there is really anything to explain. (hoarsely whispering)
Hot as Hell down there, is it not...?
The CALVARY MAN is SILENT, and the POET takes another drink, as a very painful bowel
movement makes him unhappy for a moment. The buzzards strut, preen, and quarrel over dinner
cured in a few days. There is plenty for all, including the wolves. Finally, they eat the Poet.
“Then, after the generations of darkness,
came the generations of light;
they called it 3781 Year of the Lord,
a year of His peace, they prayed...”
END OF PART TWO.