Hell. While he sleeps, Bradford dreams of the Valley of Tophet; the maypole has become a giant toadstool, and the pagan characters of the revels have become intermingled with figures from Christian demonology. The Cavaliers have become Princes, Warriours, and Courtesans of Hell; Lackland is Lucifer, while the Worthies have morphed into Dagon, Moloch, and Gog-Magog. Morton is Beelzebub, Scrooby the Antichrist. Mahomet and Anubis are present, as is Samoset, in the form of a medicine man. The beast of the Apocalypse, composed of the dancing bear and an eagle and lion, is also in attendance. Marigold is Astoreth; Prence carries Lucifer's train. Witches and a minotaur, his body painted like an Indian's, are in attendance. More monsters appear, including a large toad with a jewel in its forehead. Bradford remains invisible and inaudible to them all. Lucifer enters the plain, to the accompaniment of ancient instruments and heralds. Warriors with sinister banners and bizarre weapons arrive, accompanying nine princes and their acolytes, who swing censers filled with brimstone. Lucifer, pale and with a bloody bandage across his chest, stands on the ridge; his attendants help him down the rocks. Thrones appear from the ground, one each for him and for Astoreth, and for the nine princes. The monsters kneel as Lucifer passes among them; Bradford tries to stand, but cannot. As Lucifer stands before his throne the assembled company bow down; thunder and lightning accompany them as they greet their master. At a signal from him they stand and begin to dance, stopping when he signals again. Bradford is seized, brought forward, and ordered to reject his God. Courtesans dance to tempt him, but it is Marigold, in Babylonian costume with a crescent of jewels on her head, that persuades him to fall. He curses Puritan New England and signs the Devil's book, taking the Devil's mark on his brow. Lucifer leaves, laughing contemptuously, but Astoreth stays with Bradford, who, remembering the Song of Solomon, bids her rise up and come away. He leads her to the door of a tent; they embrace and then enter as the act ends.
Famous quotes containing the word scene:
“But whatever happens, wherever the scene is laid, somebody, somewhere, will quietly set outsomebody has already set out, somebody still rather far away is buying a ticket, is boarding a bus, a ship, a plane, has landed, is walking toward a million photographers, and presently he will ring at my doora bigger, more respectable, more competent Gradus.”
—Vladimir Nabokov (18991977)