Saving Mata Hari: ‘ The Eye Of Dawn’ : By Renee Dallow.

nude nouveau

A pile of letters and a bottle of toxin is found in Zelle’s hotel room by the police. It is invisible ink. The police deliver the ink and the letters to  Pierre Bouchardon’s office. Bouchardon is seated at his desk surveying a pile of letters also found in Zelle’s room. Three military officers sit opposite him. Lieutenant Hallure ( English ), Captain Merliani ( Italian ) and Captain Gerbaud ( French ).


Bouchardon: Gentlemen I have here in my posession certain letters which I am of the opinion could prove very damaging to your respective careers. The letters are from a woman of dubious reputation. A woman whose morals equal those of a sewar rat. A woman with whom each of you has had intimate relations. Oh don’t bother to deny it. I have it all right here. ( Waves the letters in front of them. ) In court tomorrow you will be cross examined by the woman’s lawyer Monsieur Clunet. Under no circumstances will any of you attempt to defend her honour. On the contrary gentlemen you must do everything you can to imply that she is guilty. It seems she actually thinks she can defend herself and will have her day in court when a date for the trial can be fixed. If at any time during the proceedings you find yourself becoming sentimental …. Just remember the letters. Do I make myself clear? ( Clunet, a very old lawyer, enters. ) Ah Monsieur Clunet. They are assembled as requested.


Clunet: I thank you gentlemen for your time. We are here to discuss the alleged crimes against France committed by my client Mata Hari. I say alleged because that is exactly what they are. My client is no more guilty than you or I. She is innocent and I am counting on you who …. have known her well to defend her.



Hallure : I am a married man monsieur. If my name is mentioned in court I will be ruined. I grant you that Mata Hari never asked anything of me or gave me any reason to suspect her of being a spy. But I cannot say this in a court. To do so would be to admit my association with the woman and quite frankly the details of our liasons are really quite rude.

erotic postcards

Meriani : When we made love she left nothing to chance. The fires burned within as we fused together like candle and wick. She is no spy. Of this I am sure. One who can bring such joy … such splendour … such heavenly satisfaction ….  No monsieur how could such an angel be guilty of something so serious as treason?  It is preposterous.

Clunet: Then you will defend her?

Meriani: No I cannot. I may lose my command. I cannot risk this as my mother back home she relies on my pay to put food on the table and if she ever found out …. Ooh Monsieur my mamma she is not one to mess with.  How could I hold up my head in my village?  My mamma she would throw me out on the street and all the village would laugh at me.


Clunet: Yes …. I see your point … but if … ( Looks pleadingly at Gerbaud.)

Gerbaud:  If you would accuse the moon and the stars there would be more romance in the world.  I know in my heart that this is a farce  but she is , after all, an international woman which means she is not entirely innocent. I cannot turn my back on my fellow country men. No … no no … I must stand by France in this.

Nouveau lovers

Bouchardon: ( To Clunet ) Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Take your stand in court if you must but none will stand with you. You mark my word.

Clunet:  I am not afraid of you. Upon my honour as a gentleman I shall stand for her in court. I shall do it alone if I have to.There is nothing you can do or say that will deter me from my purpose. Honour is a word that I do not expect you to understand for it is very clear to me that you have none. I thank you for your time and bid you adieu. ( Exits. )

Art Nouveau

Lights come up on the street outside and just as Clunet exits Bouchardon’s office he bumps into Jaques who is in a hurry to enter the bureau. Clunet’s documents fall to the ground and Clunet bends to pick them up.

Jaques: Pardon me monsieur I’m in such a hurry. I didn’t see you coming.  (Helps Clunet up. )

Clunet: It would seem my life is of very little consequence anyway.

Jaques: ( Offended. ) Monsieur I assure you I meant you no harm.

train station

Clunet: I do not believe you. You are one of them. You have come to smear her name with more lies, more excuses, more justifications. Well I don’t care. You hear me? She is innocent and I will prove it in spite of you all.

Jaques:  Steady old man I’m on your side. I know who you are. You’re old Clunet …the lawyer who won her case against the baron over the jewels.  Too bad they were later confiscated. She could have used them as a bargaining tool in this mess she is in now. I’m Jaques an old friend… I sell my paintings on the streets of Monmartre … you bought one of them…. Anyway I’ve come to put my name down as witness for the defence.

Clunet:  Yes …. well …. You are wasting your time. There will be no defence witnesses. They will not allow you to speak. Those who could have made a difference have been threatened with terrible consequences.


Jaques: What of Vadime? Surely he would not be afraid of their threats.

Clunet:  He knows nothing of what has happened. I havebeen forbidden by the court to make contact with him and they refuse to forward her letters.

sealed letter


Jaques: No-one has forbidden me. I shall see him in person and bring him back to Paris.

Clunet: You know that he is very badly wounded.

Jaques: It is only physical. It will heal. But a wound to the heart is another matter. He could not break her heart. Of that I am certain. Trust me I will find him.

Clunet : ( Smiles.) The life of the great Mata Hari in the hands of an artist. Perhaps it is fitting.

( They exit in opposite directions. )


From ‘ The Eye Of Dawn’ Written by Renee Dallow © 31/5/2013

white hibiscus

( Hybiscus Bloom. )


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