Zelle is dressing in her hotel room when there is a knock at the door.
Zelle: Who is it?
Zelle opens the door and takes the telegram from the porter. Just as she is closing the door a young man enters with a bunch of flowers.
Zelle: ( Surprised.) Jaque is that you?
Jaque: (Seating himself on the setee by the window.) Yes I think so.
Zelle: But what are you doing here and how did you find me?
Jaque: I was on my way to visit a patron when I heard these two officers outside talking. I heard your name mentioned and would you believe it? Here you are. Oh these are for you. (Holds out the flowers.)
Zelle: ( Puts the flowers in a vase on her bedside table and puts down the telegram next to it.) I’ve not seen you in such a long time. (seats herself next to him.) Tell me all about yourself. I want to hear everything.
Jaque: ( Is in the process of admiring one of three pretty bottles sitting on the window ledge.) You are promoting new perfumes these days?
Zelle: A German officer gave them to me when I was In Holland just recently. Pretty aren’t they?
Jaque: You accepted these as gifts from a German?
Zelle: Oh don’t make so mch of it. They were filled with some sort of ink. Such a waste of such a beautiful bottle. When I was on the train and I threw the contents out of the window and kept the bottles. Tres economique non? ( Takes the bottle from him and clasps his hand.) Anyway it is of no consequence. I have exciting news. You are the first I have confided in. I am in love. Truly,madly,deeply passionately in love. His name is Captain Vladimere Di Masslov of the first Russian Imperial Regiment. What do you think of that?
Jaque: It is certainly a mouthful.
Zelle: He is at this very moment risking life and limb at the front. I am so afraid for him. Afraid for us. What if he never returns?
Jaque: How could he not? Knowing that you wait for him.
Zelle: Ah Jaque so good to have such a friend in you. Somehow you make me feel so calm so unafraid and yet … Oh but I have heard nothing of your adventures. Tell me of ….
Jaque: Another time perhaps … soon. My patron still waits. I must go. (Takes her hands in his) If only it were me who made your eyes bright as the heavens… Someday I will find you again …You know I adore you… Adieu for now.
( Kisses both her hands and exits.)
Zelle: ( Closes the door behind him and looks over at the flowers. Suddenly remembers the telegram. Moves to the table and opens it.) What is this? My Vadime wounded. I must go to him immediately. ( Begins pacing the room. ) Papers … I need papers. Oh this is too horrible ….He’s in a military hospital. That means it must be very serious. ( Reads on.) Vittel. Where is Vittel!…Zone Des Armees. But how will I get there … what if he should die before I get to him ….No… I will not imagine it…. I will be calm… I will find a way… I always do.
( Takes a suitcase from the wardrobe and begins to pack as lights fade to black.)Two things drove Mata Hari. Love and greed. Not very different from you and me.
© Renee Dallow ( Hybiscus Bloom ) 20/2/2013