The Shadow of the Tower (1972) s01e07 Episode Script

A Fly In The Ointment

(Faint chiming) Mm (Snoring) (Door opens ) Filth! That's what it is, filth! - Yes, Sir John.
- Good Lord, she looks just like a real woman.
It's an insult, Bernard, an insult.
These Italians, they've no sense of shame, no respect for womanhood, decency, purity.
I don't know what's happening, I really don't.
- Happening to whom, sir? - To the world, to the Church, to the Order.
A picture like this in the apartments of the Grand Prior of the Order of St.
John, it's not fit.
Erm, would you like me to have it moved to another room, sir? What? To corrupt my servants? Certainly not.
What to me is a hideous and lubricious representation of the most tender of all holy scenes, it's said to be well done.
And there's nothing so corrupting to ignorant minds as filth disguised as fine art.
Leave it where it is.
In Rome, they are not so strict in such matters as they are in England, sir.
The Church The Church, it's a sink, Bernard.
A sink of depravity and abomination.
Where is chivalry? Dead.
Honor, purity, truth.
Murdered in their beds, and on their bleeding corpses sprawled like a whore lies the body of Archdeacon Hussey, sir.
Ah, Hussey! I was just telling Bernard that what we need is a crusade.
Is that so? Welcome to Rome, Bernard.
Oh, thank you, sir.
Yes, a crusade.
The Church is corrupt, she needs a new sense of purpose, a mission.
She needs to let blood, to purify herself with war.
- Oh.
- People here talk about Greece and Rome as though they were the basis of our civilization.
Greece and Rome! Well, aren't they? I mean Jerusalem, Hussey! Are we Christians or pagans? - Ah! - I feel it my duty as Grand Prior of my Order to urge the Holy Father to summon the 10th Crusade.
No! I don't think that would be very opportune, Sir John.
His uncle called one, His Holiness Calixtus III called one, why shouldn't he? It's in the family, virtually a tradition.
An obligation! Yes, I don't think His Holiness Alexander VI quite sees it in that light.
I shall broach it with him tomorrow.
Whom do you want him to crusade against? The Turks of course, who else? that His Holiness has a most unusual relationship with the Grand Turk.
I mean the Sultan and the Pope are, well, remarkably good friends.
- (Stammers ) - What the Archdeacon means, sir, is that His Holiness keeps the Sultan's brother here in exchange for a certain number of ducats a year.
Thank you, Bernard.
Pope and the Grand Turk in alliance? Why wasn't I told? It's not an official alliance, sir, it's more of a convenient arrangement.
Prince Djem lives here as a guarantee for a peaceful situation in the east.
Thank you, sir.
Holy places desecrated for ducats.
What are we coming to, Hussey? What are we coming to? And where have you come from, may I ask? - Good morning, Uncle.
- Morning? It's nearly ten! Is it really? Good heavens, I must have overslept.
- Good morning.
- Good morning, Bernard.
Thank you.
- Did I hear you say "overslept"? - Yes, Uncle.
Then perhaps you'll be so good as to tell me where you so indulged yourself, because I understand from the servants that it was not here! - Oh, er, well - It's perfectly all right, Sir John.
There was a celebration in St.
Peter's last night and afterwards, His Holiness The Pope's.
- Nephew, sir.
- Thank you.
The Pope's nephew invited us all to supper.
Oh.
That young man? He's very good company, Uncle.
- That's not what I hear.
- Oh? I hear that the company of Cesare Borgia is so far from being good that wise men shun it like the plague.
Oh.
I am surprised an archdeacon should lower himself to attend such an affair.
It would have been impolite to refuse, Sir John.
And possibly impolitic.
Well, yes, that I can believe.
It's a sad state of things, a deplorable state of things, when the simonists hold sway in St.
Peter's and the nepotists own their own sons and daughters.
Oh, we live, gentlemen, I'm sorry to say it but it's true, we live at one of the lowest points in the whole moral history of mankind.
Yes, Uncle.
Sir John, now that everyone is here - What? - The business.
Oh, yes, yes.
I suppose there's nowhere more suitable to discuss this business than Rome.
- No, sir.
- Oh, very well.
Bernard brings most interesting news about, er, the merchant.
- Who, Uncle? - The Merchant of Ruby.
The Duke of York.
Shh! You will not refer to him as the Duke of York in my presence, de Noyon.
- I beg your pardon, Your Eminence.
- His name is Perkin Warbeck.
His father is a merchant in Flanders, we have all the evidence.
He has nothing to do with King Edward IV whatever.
It was only a slip of the tongue.
Warbeck is a fraud and an impostor.
I want to know the names of everyone who thinks otherwise.
I believe we broke the back of any conspiracy last spring, my Lord.
Did we? Was Sir William Stanley the only gullible Yorkist left? - I have very little reason to think otherwise.
- But you have some? - It is only scraps.
- Pursue them.
As you know, the Holy Roman Emperor is a victim of Warbeck's plausibility.
He's given him substantial sums of money.
We do have a very good man in Vienna, my Lord.
- Only one? - He has his assistants.
It isn't only Vienna.
It's Rome, Paris, Madrid.
He has supporters all over Europe.
They're not all as loyal to him as they pretend, my Lord, if you will read my report.
I have read it.
I've read others also.
It's quite clear that Warbeck is planning an invasion.
He has the troops, he's gathering the ships.
But he won't risk it unless there's some chance, however slight, of a rising in his favor.
I don't believe there is such a chance, my Lord.
But he does, de Noyon.
Don't underestimate the seriousness of this business.
With the emperor behind him, Warbeck could be the biggest threat to this country since His Majesty came to the throne.
Indeed, I think he is that already.
Ah! What do you think of that? The merchant is in Vienna doing business with the Emperor.
Pray God he will soon be in England.
Ah, he will be.
The court is gathering strength.
The age may be corrupt but virtue is not quite extinguished.
- No, no, not quite.
- Let us give thanks to God.
Er, will you, Hussey, or shall I? I, er, I think you, Sir John.
Very well.
O Lord our General, mighty in battle and bloody in combat, look down upon thy faithful knights here gathered and straightened for the morrow that they may be valiant in Your name.
Let not the blows of the heathen fall upon them but let them smite him to Thy glory so that the blood gushes from him, that they may do Thy will as Thou wouldst have them do it, amen.
Now, where were we? You were going to give thanks, Uncle.
What? Oh.
We thank Thee, Lord, that thou hast numbered us among Thy halberdiers and sent us forth to battle, amen.
Er, I see it as a crusade, Hussey.
We are the Knights St.
John and they are the Saracens.
We must take back the holy places of England and restore them to the House of York.
Of course, blood will have to be let, it's no use pretending otherwise.
The King, the princes and all their near relations will have to die, certainly.
Surely not as many as that.
We must root out the Lancastrians once and for all, my boy, it's no use not doing the job properly.
As a matter of fact, Sir John Tong and I were discussing the ethical problem involved with some Catalans last night.
You spoke of this matter in public? No, no, it was purely a philosophical discussion on a frequently recurring moral issue.
The duty of a subject towards an usurper and so on.
I thought it was a most interesting discussion.
- Didn't you? - Oh, most, most.
And what were English gentlemen doing holding ethical discussions with Catalans? There was hardly anyone else there.
I mean, the Borgias are Catalans.
Didn't you know? I had heard they were Spanish, yes.
One of them came out with a very simple but very good idea.
- A close friend of His Holiness, too.
- Well? He suggested we poison him.
- Poison the Pope? Have you both gone mad? - No, no, the King.
Oh, the King.
No! No, certainly not.
What, behave like a Turk or a Jew? It's out of the question for a knight of a chivalrous order to stoop so low.
You surprise me, Hussey.
I thought you knew me better than that.
- Sir John - No, I won't hear of it! Good Lord! What have we sunk to that Christian English gentlemen should ever for one moment consider using poison to kill their king? Honor, gentlemen, honor! Even if the King has none.
But that is what I said myself, Sir John.
Besides, the practical difficulties are too great.
But there was another and better suggestion - Don't listen to him, Uncle.
- Why not? What are you talking about? He wants us to try astrology.
It's a very ancient and honorable science.
Archdeacon, how can you be so superstitious? Superstitious? You call belief in the most ancient wisdom on earth superstitious? - As a matter of fact, Sir John - Shh! What are you doing, sir? I'm warding off the devil.
In nomini domini, baraca baraca lalfec.
Ah.
That, to my nephew, is superstitious.
To me, to the Archdeacon, to men with some grounding in the mysteries, it was a very potent charm against the ignorance and inanity of youth.
Now, you were saying, Hussey? Well, it so happens, Sir John, that I am, at this very moment, lodging with a very interesting and learned Spanish doctor called Radigo.
- A quack! - He is very distinguished! And a good Christian, of course.
I was wondering whether we might approach him.
They can do extraordinary things, these fellows.
- Yes, quite.
- You will have no chivalrous objection? No, no, no, on the contrary.
Er, bring him to dinner, Hussey.
Uncle? I'm glad they've got your new picture.
It's beautiful, isn't it? I'm afraid my nephew's one of the new generation.
Prefers modern so-called art to ancient wisdom.
- They're not incompatible, you know? - No? You have a very good example there.
- What, have I? - Very good.
Beautiful.
May I ask, Sir John, how much you gave for it? Well, I'm, er, I'm really not sure.
The Order bought it, not me.
Oh, you are not a collector yourself, then? Good Lord, no.
I am.
I am not one of these who believes in separating the arts and sciences.
They are both ways of approaching the mystery of the universe.
I like to keep up with what's happening in other fields.
Ah, but do you believe that either of them ever get there? I mean, to the mystery of the universe.
It's the journey, not the arrival, of course.
But I know no better means of traveling.
What about love? What's that?! There, you make my point for me.
Love is both an art and a science.
- Did I hear right? - Yes.
Good Lord.
He's very advanced.
Convention means nothing to him.
He's passed beyond it, he says.
Has he indeed? Well, sir, I may be a conventional man, but to me the only love that's worthy of the name was the love of a knight for his lady.
Oh, Uncle, you do understand! Ha-ha! - Not your kind of lady.
- Oh.
I mean the pure princess who sent her devoted knight on arduous journeys to slaughter the Saracens for her sake.
That is true love, my boy.
Oh, dear.
That's not my idea of love.
You are both right, of course.
What? You, Sir John, in the prime of middle years, naturally think as you do, while your nephew here - young, lusty, full of sap Please, please, sir! I'd rather not have that kind of talk here if you don't mind.
I am the Grand Prior.
- I am extremely sorry.
- Not at all, not at all.
We have our little rules.
Must seem silly to you, I expect.
Oh, I quite understand.
- Uncle is only interested in astrology.
- And you aren't? Frankly, no.
I wonder why.
Don't you believe what is before your eyes? Well, of course.
Then you believe there are stars.
Yes.
And how do you think those stars move? With purpose or without? Oh, well, er, with.
I mean, there are laws, aren't there? There are indeed, and they were discovered as the result of long and arduous study.
But until they were discovered, how did the stars appear to move? - I don't understand.
- Nor do I.
No, listen, Sir John, this is very clever.
Sir John, if you did not know that the stars moved according to certain laws, then you, like an ignorant barbarian, would think they moved without aim or purpose.
Barbarian? I mean like one without culture or learning, Sir John.
Oh.
What I'm saying is that appearance and reality are very different things.
I think I'm beginning to see.
Behind the apparent chaos of the heavenly bodies lies the true structure of the universe.
And by analogy, beneath the surface of things lies the true shape of life.
It can be found.
It has been found.
Good Lord! Once we can understand the basic structure, all the secrets of the universe are revealed.
For the universe - forgive me, Sir John, I can think of no other way of putting it - the universe is a harmony in the ears of God and all things, if you can hear them, chime together.
Well.
Well, Signor Radigo, Archdeacon Hussey tells me you're an exceedingly clever man.
Yes, yes, I am.
There is no point in denying it.
There are so many quacks and charlatans in Rome that one owes it to oneself to make no bones about one's superiority.
Intellectual standards are going down and down, don't you think? Oh, indeed, indeed.
And moral ones with them.
We live in an age of decay.
We do, we do, that is why we wish to consult you.
About moral decay? Or intellectual? About the business we Hussey, didn't you tell him? Erm, no, not exactly, Sir John.
I thought it would be better if he were to meet you first.
The Archdeacon invited me here to look at the pictures, Sir John.
Pictures? Really, Hussey.
Well, I don't quite know to put this, but the fact is that Uncle wants to kill the King.
Oh, really? Which one? (Laughs ) Silence! The vile usurper in England.
I cannot bring myself to utter his name.
I see.
And how do you think I can help you? Well, I've heard you talk, Signor, of certain methods which have proved very efficacious in the past in ridding the earth of, um, troublesome encumbrances.
Oh, dear.
I'm afraid there has been a misunderstanding.
What? You mean it can't be done? Oh, I'm sure it can, of course.
Butnot by me.
Ah.
What a pity.
A pity? But His Eminence.
No one in Rome can be trusted today.
Can they? Oh, gentlemen, come.
Let's not have any further misunderstanding.
The point is, gentlemen, I am only a theoretical astrologer.
- Theoretical? - I'm a pure scientist.
I don't meddle in the practical side of the business, spirits and so on.
For that, you-you you would need a specialist.
Well, er, can you recommend someone? Oh, I think the best man in your field would be Master John.
Oh, he's not a gentleman of course, but these technical people are never very cultured, but he's a very able man, very able indeed.
I-I-I would stake my life on him.
It will be expensive and it will take some time.
Let me see Killing a kingkilling a king Mars or Saturn.
Mars is best.
Tuesdays.
Ah It will be some months, we are still in Mercury.
- How many months? - Oh, at least four.
We must have the maximum favorable celestial conditions for such an operation.
It is a major undertaking.
But how Roughly how will you set about it? I can't say.
To be honest I'm not sure I can do it at all.
Oh, that is honest! Because I am so busy! I've known nothing like it since this Pope was elected.
It's nothing but charms, charms, charms.
- Against what? - Everything! Arsenic, hemlock, henbane, everything! And the talismans! I've had to take a smith on part-time to keep up with all the work.
Nonetheless, Master John, I do hope you'll find time for us.
I'm told you're easily the best man for this sort of thing.
Then I am sorry to hear it.
That is a bad reputation to get.
Easily the best? There is nothing easy in this business, I can tell you.
And when the pressure is on like now, it's murder, sheer murder.
- Quite.
- It's all the mental energy, you see.
All the time giving out, out, out, and getting so little in return.
Do you know I spend ten minutes a day, hard mental labor, just keeping this place free from mice.
I am overworked.
My doctor says see an astrologer.
I am an astrologer, I tell him.
Then see another one, he says.
I can't afford to, I tell him.
Anyone who is better than me, nobody can afford.
- Which is why we have come to see you.
- I am very expensive.
We didn't imagine that so noble and difficult a task could be lightly or cheaply undertaken.
Bernard, arrange the terms.
Before we, er, commit ourselves, Uncle, don't you think that Master John should give us a demonstration? I mean, how do we know he can kill anyone at all, let along a king? Oh.
As you will understand, Sir John, I am reluctant to discuss my successes in this field - for obvious reasons.
- Yes, yes, quite.
Er, however, if you wish proof of my ability, I will oblige.
- I have but one definite reservation.
- Oh, what's that? I am, I hope, a good Christian.
I would not like to kill another just for demonstration purposes, - it would go against my conscience.
- Oh, but of course.
Then, er, how do you intend to do it? - What about a Turk? - A Turk.
Yes, you could demonstrate on one of Prince Djem's attendants for us.
It would be striking a blow for Christianity, too.
You can have no objections to that.
(Bell chiming) (Groans ) - Sir John Tong, sir.
- Hm? Oh, come in, Sir John.
Come in, I won't keep you a moment.
Come in, come in, come in.
I'm, er, just brewing up something for one of the Papal legates.
You never know what you pick up in foreign parts these days, do you? No, no.
Whatever is it? Etiquette forbids I should discuss another client's affairs with you.
- Oh, of course.
- We have our own Hippocratic oath, you know.
Laurel juice, salt, white resin Ah! Sulfur.
Agrippa, the sulfur, the sulfur.
Now Fold in Here, you can do this, I'll hold the bowl.
Yes, sir.
Fold it, man, don't beat it about like that, fold it, fold it! Sorry, sir.
I don't like leaving this kind of work to my scullions, but I have been mixing potions of one sort or another day and night for six months and I think finally I have sprained my wrist.
Oh, I am sorry.
I once sprained mine, you know, hawking.
Did you really? - The motion should be a little more rotary.
- Yes, sir.
That's better.
Now, whisk it.
And what can I do for you, Sir John? Oh, yes, well, er, Sir John Kendal asked me to tell you how extremely impressed he was with your, er demonstration this afternoon.
Ah, my, er demon-stration, eh? I hope you've brought the money.
I don't like killing on credit, not even Turks.
Oh, yes, yes, I have it here.
Thank you.
Don't stop, you fool, it's beginning to form a peak! - And? - And what? And what else did Sir John have to say? Er, oh, yes, well, the thing is, we have to get back to London in a couple of days I can't do anything in that time, I've already told you.
No, no, but things are beginning to happen in England and we have to get back, so, er what we were wondering was whether you could carry on working for us here.
I would be delighted.
Now you're getting the hang of it.
Take it over to the stove and let it simmer for a minute.
Don't let it boil over and don't take your eyes off it for a second.
Yes, sir.
I shall of course have to ask for payment in advance.
I have a pot of ointment in that cupboard, ordered by the Duchess of Burgundy 18 months ago and she still hasn't paid me for it.
It took me six hard weeks to make.
Er, howhow much will you want? - Five hundred ducats.
- Good heavens! - What are you doing, you fool?! - Poking the fire, sir.
Did I tell you to poke the fire? Watch the mixture and see it doesn't boil! Sir John.
You asked me to kill the King, the Queen, the Queen Mother, the Heir Apparent, half the Council and the good Lord knows who else.
I have my overheads.
Well, I know, Master John, but five hundred ducats seems I can't do it for any less.
Even then I won't make a florin profit, not a florin! Oh.
Very well, then.
Five hundred.
Good.
That's settled, then.
- Master John - Yes? I was wondering if I might ask you a little favor? Go on.
Well, er, the thing is, you see, I met a girl the other night.
- Oh, yes? - I don't seem to be able to Oh, impotence! That's very common nowadays.
I recommend fresh stinging nettles and lemon juice.
Oh, no, Nothing like that, not at all! On the contrary Oh, well, for the other thing, I recommend to rub in a handful of this.
Oh, no! Oh, no Not that either.
Then what? She doesn't like me any more.
(Laughs ) Ah, you want a love charm.
Why didn't you say so? - Oh, well, I - No, no, no.
You did not believe and now you do.
Yes, honestly.
Well, to show you I like you, and to seal our bargain, I give you one for nothing.
Oh What is your birth sign? Gemini.
Agrippa! - Gemini? - Yes.
I keep a stock of these.
Now, first we put in the sun Place the right foot on the parchment left knee on the ground.
(Clears throat) "By all the names of the s" (Chuckles ) ".
.
of the spirit princes living in you, "by the ineffable 'Mamom' which created all things, "by you, a resplendent Angel Gabriel, "with the planet Mercury, Michael and Melchideo "I conjure you that you send down the the power to obsess, "torment, and harass the body and the soul "of Lucrezia "so that she shall come to me and submit to my desires.
" Ha! And I thought you were a humanist.
Go away, Bernard.
Now I shall have to start all over again.
Well, if you're going to start casting spells, I am leaving! No! Don't go! I mean One never knows, there might be something in it.
- Oh, come.
- I do love her, Bernard.
Sir John, the sooner you get back to England, the better.
You have never been in love! You don't know what it's like.
Do you realize I I may never see her again.
Never! Couldn't you just have a word with Uncle and ask him to stay for another two or three weeks? No.
I am very glad we are leaving.
How can you say that? Because it is too dangerous.
No one would ever believe it.
No one believed Sir William Stanley would ever lose his head, he made King Henry king.
He would never lose his head but he did, Sir John, didn't he? - It'll be all right, nothing will happen.
- Oh? How do you know? Uncle will forget all about it as soon as he gets back.
Ah, but what about everyone else? - Everyone? - Yes.
You and me, your uncle, two astrologers, the assistants and friends, the Archdeacon.
It's a lot of people to know a secret.
You're as bad as Uncle.
He looks under the bed every night for Saracens.
Well, I'm very glad that no one else does, because they might find enough to hang us all.
Bernard.
Do not say that word.
Sir John, if only your uncle could find a crusade, you know? To take his mind off the whole business.
Yes.
Yes, it would help.
Quite.
Well, good night, Sir John.
Good night, Bernard.
Oh, Bernard, you won't You won't mention this to him, will you? Don't worry, you'll inherit all right.
Providing that you don't lose your head.
That is not funny.
(Kendal) Yes, we're very proud of Millborn.
Beautiful place.
One of the finest houses the Order possesses.
- Yes, quite.
- Yes, it has a special place in my affections.
If I may speak frankly, very special.
Oh? King Edward visited us here once, you see.
Oh, yes.
- I mean, King Edward IV.
- Yes.
- Of, er, blessed memory.
- Quite.
Mm.
Very bad business in the spring, didn't you think? Very bad.
Yes, I liked Stanley.
- Did you know him? - No.
- Oh, you'd have liked him.
- Oh, I'm sure.
Not my idea of a traitor.
- But, er, that's what they said.
- Yes.
And now he's dead, poor fellow.
Quite dead.
Yes, King Edward walked in these very cloisters.
I wish his son would.
If you follow me! I do, Tommy, I do indeed.
Here, do you see this? What would you say this was? - A coat? - Exactly.
I designed it myself.
Look.
Good Lord! Reversible.
I got them for all my men.
When are you going to wear it the right side out? As soon as, you know.
Yes, yes, they told me.
- On Monday.
- Yesterday? I heard today.
God save the Duke of York! And all his royal Bernard? What the devil do you think you're doing? - Keeping watch, sir.
- Watch? Who told you to keep watch? - You did, sir.
- Did I? - Uncle! - Ah! Here comes Sir John Tong.
Ah, my dear boy, my dear boy.
Well? Er Er, good news, Uncle.
Er, the pretender landed 600 men at Deal but the, er he was beaten off by the Mayor of Sandwich before he even had time to land.
Praise be to God.
Good news? You call that good news?! Yes, very good news, Uncle.
Everyone knows he isn't the Duke of York but Perkin Warbeck.
Yes, I think we've heard the last of that little nuisance for quite some time.
Thank goodness.
- Good Lord! - Have you gone completely mad? Good news? I've never heard such dreadful news in my life! It's absolutely appalling! What? Good God, Sir Thomas is one of us, you fool! You don't have to put on a damn silly performance for him! Oh Oh, I'm most awfully sorry, Uncle.
Oh, well, anyway, that appears to be what's happened.
- Idiot! - Bad business, John, bad business.
- Was the Duke hurt? - Hurt? He didn't even land.
He just sent a few troops ashore to see what would happen, saw and sailed away again.
- Where to? - Nobody knows.
Ireland! I expect.
And Kent didn't riot as we hoped? Not a soul.
- Bad, very bad.
- Appalling.
Appalling! - Bernard.
- Sir? - Tell the men to stand down.
- Certainly, sir.
Tell them the emergency's over, they can go home.
- Yes, sir.
- Oh, and Bernard? Yes, sir? Have the linings removed from those coats.
Of course, sir.
I have very bad news.
Oh What? I said I have very bad news.
Oh.
I'm extremely sorry.
- Nothing in the family, I hope? - No, no, no.
- From Rome.
- Huh! Wouldn't expect anything but bad news from that sink of impiety.
Radigo is talking.
- Who? - Radigo.
The firstman we approached.
Oh, yes Oh, good Lord! Here, we can't have that! No, and there's something else.
Master John wants more money.
He says what we gave him was only a first payment.
- That's outrageous! - He's threatening to come here - and bring stuff with him.
- No! Yes! I suggest that you send Bernard, posthaste, to deal with both of them! Mm, but how? Well, Master John did for that Turk very successfully and we still want the stuff.
Yes, yes.
I'll send Bernard at once.
Any news of the merchant? Merchant? What merchant? The merchant! - The Merchant of Ruby.
- Shh! - The code has been betrayed.
- Well, what do we call him? - The Edinburgh burgess.
- Oh.
Why? He couldn't do any business in Ireland, so he's gone to Scotland to try his luck there.
I see.
Good, my Lord, good.
That will be safe enough.
Erm, who is that odd-looking man with the Archdeacon of Paul's? Sir John Kendal, Your Majesty, Grand Prior of the Knights of St.
John.
Oh Him.
Mm.
- Who? - Bernard de Vignolles, sir.
Never heard of him, send him away.
- He says it's about Sir John Kendal's business.
- What?! I thought we were rid of him! What am I supposed to be doing for him? - Killing the King, sir.
- Oh, yes, and half the population of England.
- All right, send him in! - Yes, sir.
- Oh, very pretty.
- What? I said no one was to enter! This is a most delicate piece of magic.
If something goes wrong, it could contaminate the whole city of Rome.
But the whole city of Rome is thoroughly contaminated already.
Tell me, how's your work for Sir John Kendal coming? Coming? It has come.
As soon as I have finished this little task, I am off to Spain.
Oh.
Not to England? Ah I'm going to Spain just for a short time.
Er, to Compostela, disguised as a friar on a pilgrimage to St.
James, it's just to put them off the scent.
- Put who off? - Them.
In Compostela, I shall join a band of English pilgrims and return with them to England.
Ingenious, no? And safe, very safe.
I am very sorry, you can't come to England.
Sir John Kendal fears your, er your foreignness may attract attention to you.
But it's too late, my mind is made up.
And there is my disguise.
I have had some teeth specially made, of ivory.
Cost a fortune, I can tell you.
I have I have had them stained to look like my own teeth, which was not easy because my teeth have a color all their own.
Yes, quite.
Well, I'm sure they'll come in useful some time.
But Sir John Kendal is quite definite, you can't come to England.
Then how does he expect me to kill his King? Does he think I work on an astral plain? (Laughs ) Well, yes! Don't you? Well, yes, of course I do! It's just I have constructed this particular murder so that my physical presence is required.
I can't alter everything because of some whim.
- It is not a whim.
It is an order.
- An order? But he understands it will cause you some extra difficulty, so he is prepared to pay you your rather unexpected demand for more money.
You realize I will have to alter the whole computation.
Oh, but of course.
How long will it take? A month, perhaps two.
We are in Venus which is not a propitious time for mathematics.
In fact I'm not sure I can do it at all.
Master John, you realize that if you refuse to complete the work after having received so much money already, some people will say it is because you can't? By the way, your colleague, Dr.
Radigo, forgot his Hippocratic oath.
- What? - Yes, he could have endangered many lives in England and here.
These so-called pure scientists! - "Could have"? - Oh Yes, I shall be writing to Sir John Kendal about him this evening.
- What shall I tell him about you? - Me? Your work.
Oh, you must tell Sir Johnny it is the incantation.
If I am not to be there If I am not to be there, it requires a completely different set of spirits.
Oh, you mean some spirits are more reliable than others? Of course.
I hope you're not a skeptic.
Er, oh, no, no.
Good.
I'm going to give you something for Sir John which could turn very nasty in the hands of a non-believer.
In fact, he could find himself with no hands at all.
What is it? - The ointment.
- The ointment.
The amalgam is the same whoever uses it.
Only the demons have to be changed.
Is that all? All? "Is that all?" he says.
That box contains years of research, months of extremely arduous preparation, weeks of hard labor, days of conjuring, hour upon hour of summoning spirits.
That box contains the finest achievement of my entire astrological career! Wonderful! But, erhow does it work? You must warn Sir John he is on no account to open this until he receives written instructions from me, naming the day and hour most favorable - or for those concerned, unfavorable - stars and planets.
I see.
How does it work? I can't tell you exactly what to do.
Surprise is one of the main elements of the scheme.
The idea is simple.
The manufacture, of course, was far from simple.
Yes, so you said.
But how does it work? In essence, you must smear the ointment round the doorway through which the King will shortly pass, repeat the incantation, and when he passes through all those who love him most loyally and dearly, will fall upon him and kill him.
Brilliant, is it not? Dazzling.
Hm.
(Sniffs ) Oh! Ohh! (Gasps ) (Splash) So perish all traitors.
He's got it.
I knew you'd be pleased.
Who has got what? Bernard, it.
- Who? - Bernard.
Bernard de Vignolles.
Uncle just had a letter from him, from Rome.
He'll be here any day, with it.
But what is "it"? The ointment.
Ointment? I never ordered any ointment.
The ointment for (Screeches ) - What's the matter? - Shh! I'm praying.
- What for? - Guidance.
Oh.
Uncle says Sir John.
I must tell you that I think your uncle is an exceedingly foolish man.
- Well, everybody knows that.
- Sending you here.
Doesn't he know it's extremely unlucky to discuss this sort of thing in a church? You can't trust anybody these days, not even your own acolytes.
The crypt is full of peculiar people pretending to be pilgrims.
And when two or three are gathered together, these days they're planning mischief.
Really? Uncle said to give you this letter.
Put it away! Where do you think you are? Whatever is the matter, Archdeacon? Do you want me to be caught red-handed with treasonable correspondence in my own lady chapel? - Do you think I'm mad? - Well, no, but Don't you hear anything out there at Millborn? - What do you mean? - From, er Who? There are grave doubts about the burgess's creditworthiness.
Whose? The burgess.
The Edinburgh burgess.
- Oh - There are rumors of false coin.
Oh, really? I wonder what on earth Uncle will say.
Tell your uncle to have no more dealings with Scottish merchants.
But But what about Bernard and it? I shall pray for all of you.
- Oh, well, you can't just do that! - Shh! Respect the holiness of this place! Now look here! Goodbye, Sir John.
(Laughter) You should have smelt it! I swear, the room wasn't habitable for two days.
- Still, you should have kept it.
- Not on your life.
Suppose it worked.
Oh It was evidence.
The King likes to have all the evidence.
Yes, well, I'm afraid this time he'll just have to take my word for it.
Besides, what does it matter? Everyone knows Sir John Kendal is mad.
And his nephew? Oh, he just follows his uncle around waiting for him to die.
He's the sole heir, you know.
All the other nephews have been disinherited for some ridiculous reason or another.
No, John is no danger.
And the archdeacon.
He is most strongly suspected of having had dealings with Sir William Stanley.
- Oh - No plot, however far-fetched, is entirely negligible, Bernard.
You should have kept the ointment.
Well, I didn't, and it's past retrieving now.
What are you going to tell Kendal when you see him? I was hoping not to see him.
I was hoping to be offered slightly more realistic work.
I see.
Well, I'm afraid I must disappoint you.
My instructions are that you are to continue with the valuable work you are doing until the business is satisfactorily concluded.
But it never will be! Sir John's reaction to the ointment when he gets it could be very instructive.
- But I have thrown it away.
- Then we'll have to make some more.
What do we need, do you think? (Scoffs ) Oh, Saturn in the favorable aspect of Mars, a rat's tail, two spoonfuls of a toad's brain, collected at night, at full moon, by a one-eyed black cat! And a great deal of ignorance, finely powdered with credulity.
What did it look like? Black and greasy and awful.
Hm.
Well, what about soot mixed with earth and water, a little mutton grease and mercury? Yes, that should do it.
But you will never get the smell.
- What do I do, did you say? - Smear it round the framework of a door, sir.
Whereupon all the King's closest friends are filled with an uncontrollable desire to murder him.
As he has murdered in his madness and wickedness some of the finest flowers of English chivalry.
Precisely, sir.
Now, instructions as to the correct smearing technique and the exact moment at which smearing should commence will be forwarded from Master John when he has the correct celestial conditions.
Oh, what miracles are still done in the Lord's name.
But there are two conditions attached to the ointment itself, of which I should tell you, sir.
- Conditions? - Yes, first, it is extremely dangerous for anyone who has evil plans to touch it.
Unless he follows Master John's instructions to the letter, - he may be seriously contaminated.
- Contaminated? Yes, and the other condition is even more difficult.
There's a grave risk, amounting almost to certainty of death if the ointment is kept in the same house as anyone with evil plans for more than 22 hours.
But-But Bernard, you've had it all this time, and you're all right.
Ah! But I don't plan to use it for evil purposes, sir.
As a carrier, I am myself immune.
Oh, Uncle, it, er it does sound very unsafe.
Tommy could look after it for us, Sir Thomas Tyrrel.
Oh, no, we couldn't give it to him, he's part of it, isn't he? Besides, do we really need it now, Uncle? - I mean, the Edinburgh burgess - Who? Oh, yes.
What of him, Sir John? He's been disowned by the emperor, by everyone.
Except the King of Scotland.
- It seems there are genuine doubts as to his - Quite.
I've never seen the boy myself.
If I did, I'd know at once.
Well, sir, there's the ointment.
I think I have discharged my duty to the best of my ability.
(Sir John ) You certainly have, Bernard.
Now, sir, I must ask you if I can have your permission to return to France.
My father is ill, he wants me to help in his business.
- Oh - Also, I incurred rather greater expenses on my journey to Rome and back than I anticipated.
I hope Sir John won't mind if I ask him to reimburse me.
- Now look here, Bernard - I killed Radigo.
But you know, on a project of this sort, there is always one tongue more than you can silence unless you are prepared to silence it yourself and I don't think you would like that, Sir John.
No.
No, Bernard, I see.
Good, Sir John.
- Perhaps you'd better go and see your father.
- Yes, I think it would be better.
- (Kendal) Bernard! - Sir? It seems to me that Master John's been trying to make a fool of me.
This stuff's more dangerous to me than it is to the King.
I can't keep it myself and I can't give it to anyone to keep it for me.
- I think you can, sir.
- Oh, no, no.
There are spies everywhere.
They poke and pry.
My good Lord, suppose I came to you and said, "Be a good fellow, "look after something for me, just a pot of ointment," hm? What would you think? I'll tell you, you'd think there was something fishy.
The Grand Prior of the Knights of St.
John of Jerusalem hiding a pot of ointment with Bernard de Vignolles? Have to tell somebody about this.
No, no, can't be done.
Perhaps you'd better just throw it away, Uncle.
Seems a shame but yes, I think perhaps we had, Bernard.
- Very good, sir.
- Thank you, Bernard.
You're a good, loyal fellow.
I'm very grateful to you.
Give me your account and I'll settle it in full.
Benedictus benedicat.
(Splash) Thank you, de Vignolles.
You'll put it all in writing, please.
Everything, sir? Everything.
You will find a secretary in the next chamber.
- Shall I have them arrested, your Grace? - Oh, no, no, I don't think so.
We don't want the kingdom brought into ridicule.
Well, Kendal and Tong are ridiculous, but Hussey Hussey is aptly named.
A mischievous man in skirts.
He wears the same canonical garments as I do.
I meant no offence, it was a play on words.
Oh (Chuckles ) Very apt, your Grace.
I thought it was.
Hussey is the Archdeacon of St.
Paul's.
Whatever amusement you find in his clothes, he is highly placed.
He need go no higher.
Treason among the clergy is the worst treason of all.
Why? Because they're disloyal to you as well as to me? Because they're disloyal to God! Well, if you suspect heresy or blasphemy or anything of that kind, Morton, that's serious.
But if I were in your place I'd be more concerned about his stupidity.
The Church must be in a poor state if a man like that can rise so high.
The country is in a poor state while Warbeck remains in Scotland, and his followers His followers are no danger.
I wish all our enemies were such fools.
Will you let them go on playing treason? They may do it in earnest one day.
Mm The risk seems small.
- And it would mean another trial.
- Yes, but We've had too many trials.
Let them be.
Very well.
But keep them watched.
And let's make sure we have it all down on paper.
Yes, Your Majesty.
You never know, it might come in useful one day.
(Laughs ) (Both laughing)