Act II: Ladder of Love

Prologue

The artist is the creator of beautiful things.

To reveal art and conceal the artist is art’s aim. The critic is he who can translate into another manner or a new material his impression of beautiful things.

The highest as the lowest form of criticism is a mode of autobiography. Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault.

Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope. They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only beauty.

There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.

The nineteenth century dislike of realism is the rage of Caliban seeing his own face in a glass.

The nineteenth century dislike of romanticism is the rage of Caliban not seeing his own face in a glass.

The moral life of man forms part of the subject-matter of the artist, but the morality of art consists in the perfect use of an imperfect medium. No artist desires to prove anything.

Even things that are true can be proved. No artist has ethical sympathies. An ethical sympathy in an artist is an unpardonable mannerism of style.

No artist is ever morbid. The artist can express everything.

Thought and language are to the artist instruments of an art.

Vice and virtue are to the artist materials for an art.

From the point of view of form, the type of all the arts is the art of the musician. From the point of view of feeling, the actor’s craft is the type.

All art is at once surface and symbol. Those who go beneath the surface do so at their peril. Those who read the symbol do so at their peril.

It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors. Diversity of opinion about a work of art shows that the work is new, complex, and vital. When critics disagree, the artist is in accord with himself.

We can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long as he does not admire it.

The only excuse for making a useless thing is that one admires it intensely.

All art is quite useless.

~ OSCAR WILDE

~

Scene I: Good Advice but Ill Council

In despair and depression at Mona’s rejection, Lego turned to the great Artist, Salvador Darling.

Mr. Darling was also another wealthy man. He spent millions to make his house the most high tech, advanced and techno-gizmo house in the whole of Legonia. Needless to say, he was part of the 20 percent of the prosperous population and he was blood-related to both the Highbrows and Stouthearts (His father was a Highbrow and his mother a Stoutheart). Thus, he was shunned by both families.

Mr. Darling was more than an artist to Lego. He was Lego’s best friend and mentor. Darling taught Lego not only of art, but more importantly, of philosophy. Upon looking at Darling’s face, Lego quickly remembered his mentor teaching him some of the most memorable and influential quotes in the world,

“I think, therefore I am. I think.”;

“A philosopher – dreamed he was a butterfly, and from that moment he was never quite sure that he was not a butterfly dreaming it was a man.”;

“What is mind? No matter. What is matter? Never mind.”

Although Lego had never understood a word of what his mentor had uttered, he was nonetheless very amazed by Darling’s ability to confound him.

Seeing the sorrowful face of Lego, Darling put aside his paintbrush and invited Lego for a cup of tea. “Pray, tell me, Lego, why do you look so downcast?” So Lego retold the story of his advances on Mona and how he was promptly and firmly rebuffed.

“Why do you like, Mona, of all people?” asked Darling.

“Because,” stated Lego.

“She walks in beauty, like the night

Of cloudless climes and starry skies;

And all that’s best of dark and bright

Meet in her aspect and her eyes.”

“Oh,” continued Lego, “She has eyes that men adore so; and a torso even more so!”

“But beauty is only skin-deep!” stammered Darling.

“I’m tired of all this nonsense about beauty being only skin-deep,” replied Lego, “That’s deep enough. What do you want – an adorable pancreas?”

“After a degree of prettiness, one pretty girl is as pretty as another,” replied Darling snidely.

But seeing that Lego would not be moved by logic and reasoning, Darling agreed to help him. He asked Lego to take a nap and listen to some soothing music while he ponder for a plan on his Apple computer (Darling thinks that the statement ‘Microsoft Works’ is the most oxymoronic statement ever).


And so Lego slept and slept while Darling thought and thought.

Darling thought for so long that he even went to the washroom a few times to make some ‘deposits’.

Then after washing his hands, Darling finally had an idea!

Without tarrying, Darling rushed up the stairs to awaken Lego from his slumber.

“There would be a concert soon! The Highbrows would be organizing it!” stated Darling excitedly. And then he proposed that Lego snuck into the concert to meet Mona. “People tend to be more courteous in public than in private,” stated Darling, “if you would talk to her in a more public setting, she would be unable to rebuff you as rudely as before, less she would be deemed by the public eye as being rude and unsociable.”

Lego who was too sleepy to argue with Darling agreed readily to the plan.

Little did he know that Darling had a hidden agenda in the whole thing. With Lego going to a concert thought Darling, he would surely bump into other beautiful girls and that would turn his Mona from a swan into a crow.

~

Scene II: To the Concert!

The day of the concert soon came to dawn. And Lego was ever prepared to meet his beloved Mona. Lego was a sincere and passionate lover. He had lost many nights of sleep thinking of his Mona and longed more than anything else to meet her.

The concert however was filled with people. Everyone who was anyone was present. But his Mona was nowhere to be seen. The crowd was wild with rock and roll. Screams and cheers were heard everywhere. But no Mona.

Then without warning, Lego caught sight of a lady within the crowd. She was beautiful beyond belief. She seemed to him to teach the torches to burn bright, a beauty too dear for earth! Her presence in the concert was akin to a snowy dove trooping with crows.

The beauty that Lego saw was a beauty too rich for use. He tried to inch his way through the crowd to get a closer look.

Then when Lego was close enough, he took her hand in the gentlest manner. Calling her hand a shrine, Lego asked if he, a blushing pilgrim, may kiss it for atonement.

Liliete (the very beautiful and shocked lady), who was at that moment very alarmed, replied, “Good pilgrim, your devotion shows by far too mannerly and too courtly: saints have hands, which pilgrims may touch, but kiss not.”

“Have not saints lips and pilgrims too,” said Lego.

“Yes,” said Liliete flatly, “lips which they must use in prayer.”

“O then, my dear saint,” whispered Lego, “hear my prayer, and grant it, lest I despair.”

But Liliete who had quite enough of this romantic ridicule started to walk away, leaving poor Lego behind.

It was at this point that Lego had a stroke of genius. He broke into the Mayor’s house nearby and, with great effort and skill and dexterity, moved the Mayor’s piano into the courtyard near the concert.



As he lay the piano down on the ground, he started playing a famous tune entitled Eyes on Me.

Eyes on Me



At first, Lego started slowly and calmly, working his way up to the faster portions of the the melody.

The beauty of the melody was enchanting. And soon, Liliete began to wonder where the gentle and soothing music was coming from. Slowly but surely, she was drawn towards Lego’s music.

After Lego finished playing the tune, he leaped from the stool and took Liliete’s hand in his own. Bending gracefully, he kissed her hand before she could object.


And he held that kiss as though he was holding for dear life itself. Liliete, who realized that Lego had stolen her first kiss (the first one on her hand but not on her lips), turned to leave. She was frightened and confused.


Lego made a failed attempt to try and stop her from leaving and watched sadly as she walked back towards the direction of concert. Lego then went back to Darling’s house to enquire who the lady that he had fell in love and found out from Darling that the girl that he kissed was young Liliete, the daughter and heir to Lord Highbrow, the great enemy of the Stouthearts.

Realizing that he had given his heart and soul to his foe troubled young Lego but it could not dissuade him from loving Liliete.

Once he returned home, he fell into deep sleep. Before consciousness left him, he could remember the last words that Darling had spoken, “Beauty is the bane of all men.”

Liliete, on the contrary, had a sleepless night. When she found out that the gentleman that had kissed her was Lego and a Stoutheart, she nearly fainted with grief. For she too had been smitten by the same hasty and inconsiderate passion for Lego although she had tried to rebuff him. Ironic indeed that in the birth of love she must love her enemy.

~

Scene III: How Do I Love Thee, Let Me Count the Ways!

Lego awoke in the middle of the night with a throbbing head. So he took Panadol. He had dreamt of Liliete and he missed her so. Unable to stay away from the lady who have left with his heart, he left his home and walked to the house of Lord Highbrow. And there he saw Liliete, standing on the balcony of her house. To Lego, her beauty seemed to break the clouds like the light of the sun in the east; and the moon, which shone with a faint light, appeared as if sick and pale with grief at the superior luster of Liliete. Oh how he wish he was a glove upon her hand.

Then Liliete while thinking herself alone, signed deeply, and exclaimed, O Lego, Lego! Wherefore art thou Lego! Deny thy father, and refuse thy name, for my sake, or if thou wilt now, be but my sworn love, and I no longer will be a Highbrow.”

Lego having heard such encouraging letters of love would have spoken in response but desiring to hear more allowed Lady Liliete to have her passionate discourse with herself.

“Tis but thy name that is my enemy,” cried Liliete, “What does it take to be a Stoutheart? is it nor hand, nor foot, nor arm, nor face, nor any other part belonging to a man. O, be some other name! What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet!”

Unable to control himself any longer, Lego ran to a nearby Fire-brigade car and grabbed a ladder without awaking the sleeping fireman.

Placing the ladder firmly on the ground, Lego climbed up to Liliete’s balcony and he spoke, “Call me but love, or any name you please.” For he was no longer Lego is that name displeases her.


Liliete, alarmed at hearing a man’s voice so close to her balcony, became fearful that someone had stumbled upon her secret. But though her ears had not yet drunk a hundred words of that tongue’s uttering, knew immediately when Lego spoke again that it was her young lover.

She then chastised him for coming to her house. For should her father and kinsmen find Lego, they would do him harm.

But Lego responded, “there is more peril in your eye than in twenty swords. Better my life should be ended by their hate, than that hated life should be prolonged, to live without your love.”


“How came you into this place,” asked Liliete, “and by whose direction?”

“Love directed me,” answered Lego, ” I am no pilot, yet even if thou as far apart from me, as that vast shore which is washed with the farthest sea, I should venture for such merchandise.”

Blushing scarlet, Liliete told Lego that she would have recalled her words as it was customary to keep a lady’s lover at a distance and to give their lovers harsh denials at first so as to not let their lovers think of them too lightly or too easily won; for the difficulty of attainment increases the value of the object.

But there an be no customary acts of delay and protracted courtship. Lego had heard her words and whispers of love from her own tongue and she had confessed of her love.

And so she confirmed the truth that she indeed loved Lego, calling him fair Stoutheart (love can sweeten a sour name), but begged also that he do not consider her easy yielding or an unworthy mind. If he must lay fault, it must be upon the night that by chance of by fate, laid open her thoughts.

Lego was relentless. He asked that Liliete to exchange a vow of love with him on that very night, at that very balcony, even as he was standing on a ladder stolen from a fireman. Liliete replied that she had already given him hers before he requested it; but she would retract what she had given, for the pleasure of giving it again.

Then suddenly Lego said, “I must go now, my love.”

“But why?” asked Liliete, quite desperate to have a few more moments with Lego.

“Because the fireman that I stole the ladder which I am standing on now is calling me from below!”

And so Lego returned the ladder to the fireman and wished sweet Liliete good sleep and rest.

Little did young Lego know that behind the trees, Liliete’s evil cousin Valentine was watching the whole event and vowed revenge!


~

Scene IV: A Bond to Break All Bonds

Lego with his hopes soaring to high heavens, happily skipped his way to Darling’s house. Once inside, he told an astounded Darling of how he met Liliete, forgot Mona, went to Liliete’s house, overheard her confession, stole a ladder from the fireman, climbed to Liliete’s balcony and exchange his vows of love.

Darling was quite happy with the results and proposed that Lego propose to Liliete.

“Get married?!” cried Lego.

“Yes, of course,” replied Darling in his most casual tones, “that is what people do; suck milk from bottles, attend school, wear a four sided black hat, work, make a fool of themselves, fall in love, hug, kiss and make children! And then the cycle continues.”

Darling assured Lego that marriage was like the next step in human evolution. “We must populate the planet  to counter the problem of an aging population!” exclaimed Darling, “you wouldn’t want the world to be filled with just old men and women, right?!”

“Trust me,” said Darling encouragingly, “all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds.”

And so Lego, who was himself without opinion and a worldview that could content with Darling, relented and agreed to let Darling handle the marriage preparation.

And so Darling went the next day to his friend, a pastor, at the nearest church. At first, the pastor rejected the proposal to marry the two heirs of opposing families. “You must be crazy, Darling,” cried the pastor, “Lord Highbrow and Stoutheart would most definitely object to this union!”

Fortunately, Darling brought with him a healthy sum of money.

“Money is the root of all evil!” cried the pastor before Darling could pass him the sum of cold cash.

“Nonsense,” replied Darling, “the lack of money is the root of all evil! And besides, this sizable donation is for God and for the church. You cannot reject what I freely offer to God can you?”

“But you don’t believe in God!” said the Pastor.

“Ah, that is my personal disposition” stated Darling, “what matters is that the world believe in him and that is good enough for me.”

And so the pastor, a man of God, relented in the face of superior logic and reasoning.


He placed the cash into the donation chest, praised the Lord for such healthy a bounty, dragged the chest into the church, and split the total sum of donated money into half.

“Half for me, and half for God,” said the pastor. He thought this was fair as even a man of God cannot live on bread alone. 



A happy Darling then called both Lego and Liliete with a flick of his iPhone to meet him at the church later in the evening.


*Later in the evening*

Lego married Liliete with the blessing of the pastor and the Holy Ghost.

~

To be continued…..






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