‘William Ince – part 2’ A monologue by Jess Boot-Cowie

The Rows in February 1645, towards the end of the siege of Chester

WILLIAM INCE, THE LORD MAYOR, ENTERS THE HALL OF A GREAT HOUSE ON THE ROWS, AND BOWS HIS HEAD DEFERENTIALLY.

M’lord.  

It is getting awful out there, M’lord.

The people just cannot take it anymore.  I cannot take it anymore.  There are children and families, starving, dying in the city, because food cannot get in. 

Of course I understand the seriousness of the fight against the Parliamentarians, those treasoners posing as our Government.  I understand that it is important.  But I fail to comprehend how you can sacrifice so many civilian lives for the cause. 

I know you have your orders, M’lord.  But my brother’s family, they had to eat their dog last week.  Their dog.  They have children, who had to eat their pet, just to survive.  How can that be right, M’lord?

The actor kneeling with hat in hat in hand, begging for help
William Wood as Lord Mayor William Ince

There are bodies in the street.  The graveyards just cannot take any more. 

People are dying from the lack of food.  The walls are so tightly barricaded.  It is terrifying myself, and my council, how this siege is destroying everyone, everything, our city. 

Had we known how long this siege would take, we could have prepared, but we did not know. The Parliamentarians are more vicious, more cruel than we ever could have imagined.  I cannot see how they will ever give up, and now we must face the consequences. 

And I cannot do that alone. 

I am not asking you to concede.  I am not asking for you to call for a ceasefire. Just to consider negotiating, M’lord.  Please.  For the sake of the children, if for no-one else.  

I am mayor of this city, and I cannot in good conscience let anyone else die.

So please. Please ask for negotiations to begin.  

PAUSE

I will get down on my knees and beg if I have to.

PAUSE.

You want me to?

PAUSE.

Alright then.

HE KNEELS.Please, M’lord.  Please.