19. Scene XIV
The Lay of Leithian Dramatic Script Project
TINUVIEL AT BAY: A CACCIA OF BELERIAND
--What would the melancholy heart, of peace,
of quiet, or songs whose sadness is their beauty,
will may yet forsake, for sake of duty--
[Luthien's apartments -- Finduilas enters, looking very exasperated, with Huan beside her holding her hand carefully in his mouth the way retrievers often like to do.]
Huan, what's wrong with you? Do you know how -- why do you want to follow me?
[he lets go, giving a penitent twitch of his tail; to Luthien]
I was coming to talk to you and he insisted on sticking to me like a burr -- he couldn't have been closer if he'd been sewn onto my skirts! And holding my hand -- ugh! I can't imagine why.
One moment, if you please, cousin -- I've got to wash my hands.
[Luthien looks mildly guilty but says nothing while Finduilas goes into the private part of the apartments. Huan wags his tail, grinning]
Thanks -- I didn't think she'd be so hard to find.
[He wags harder and flops down on the floor next to her. Finduilas returns, still shaking her hands reflexively]
Finduilas: [genteelly peevish]
I don't know what's gotten into him: he's never been clingy like this before. I know some dogs who are given to hand-holding, but it's rather different with a Hound that size.
Oh. You, um, were coming to find me?
[she gives Luthien a funny look, finally realizing she's not sitting on a bench or chair but perched on the wall, and sits down in a chair herself, smoothing her skirts nervously]
I'm so sorry, but with everything I'd forgotten to mention it to you earlier -- we're having a little get-together tonight, at Gwin's -- well, actually his father's hosting it, but I'm mostly in charge, and -- it occurred to me very belatedly that I hadn't remembered to invite you.
[her tone of voice throughout is distinctly dismissive of it, oh-you-wouldn't-like-it designed to discourage interest, and she doesn't look enthusiastic either.]
Luthien: [neutral voice]
--Just a small Gathering, some friends of ours and House Guilin. Perhaps some music, discussion of theories, nothing very elaborate -- nothing inappropriate, of course--
I've not had much heart for music, since my parents broke us up.
Well, I was pretty sure you wouldn't want to come, but I didn't want to make you think we were leaving you out--
[starting to rise]
--Who's going to be there? Your father? Anyone else I might know from Doriath?
Finduilas: [sitting down again, wringing the fabric of her dress nervously]
Well . . . I'm not sure that Father will be able to make it, but . . . there might be some people you'd recognize. Mostly friends of Gwin's, from the army, or mine, from here . . .
I'll come. It might do me good to get out and talk to people, take my mind off things.
[Finduilas looks stricken, though covers well]
Oh! Oh . . . er, of course . . .
What's the matter? Don't you want me to come? Isn't that why you asked me?
Well -- please don't take this the wrong way, but -- I can lend you a dress, without too much trouble, since you're tall for being Sindar, but we'll have to to start now to accomplish anything with your hair.
What's wrong with my hair?
Well . . . it looks like you cut it yourself in the dark. Or without a mirror.
That's exactly what I did. As you know.
Yes -- but -- it looks it.
Well, then, we'll match, won't we.
Please don't be so sensitive about everything. Nobody takes you seriously when you're so touchy and, well, messy. It's as if you're trying to attract attention and be unpleasant, and that just rubs everyone the wrong way.
[Luthien glares at her, and Finduilas looks away in discomfort]
No one takes me seriously like this, hm?
Very well. This is your City, I'll do as you would, then.
Oh . . . You're sure about this?
Once I make up my mind about something, I stick with it.
Er -- yes.
All right, then, we'd best go and find something for you now.
[she stands up, and Luthien jumps down from the ledge]
I've got one outfit that I think would suit you particularly well, and it wouldn't point up your haircut the way most of mine will. In fact--
[she walks towards the door, sounding a bit more enthusiastic]
I really think that will work well, because it's a style my aunt designed to wear her hair braided up with, and if we can just do something with the ends, then--
[Luthien, not listening, stops and bends down to scratch Huan's nose]
Luthien: [aside to Huan]
I don't expect you want to come to this. But thank you for finding her for me, and providing me moral support. I expect I'll see you later--
[aside, shaking head]
--The things one does...
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