Ned Hickey - A Hero of Two Revolutions, p.1John O'Neill
A hero of two revolutions
A script-novel adapted by
THEY FIRST AROSE
by William Nolan
Copyright © John O’Neill 2012
Published December 2012 by:
Formatted by Peter Harris at the New Leaf Network bindery,
Kaiwaka, New Zealand. Cover design by Peter Harris.
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This story is written for readers who love to dream, to imagine - scenes, faces, settings and yet do need a story on which to hang their vision of how the earth moves for ordinary humans in extraordinary times or circumstances.
It is not a screenplay in the approved format required by the production units of the film industry, the minimalist offering on which is let loose the horde of specialists who turn out a film which may have little in common with the original.
Neither is it a novel in the conventional and perhaps outworn form in which the author defines every thought, action, scene to impress her visions on the acquiescent and passive reader.
Each format has its place but there is space between for those who would enjoy creating their personal special mental images on and between the story. It then becomes theirs in a way that is encouraged not barred. The flesh with which you, the reader, clothe the skeleton is uniquely you.
There will be as many Ned Hickeys, Betsy Mahers, Robert Proctors, Sir Philip Butlers, Thomas Jeffersons as there are readers. I look forward to hearing from all of them and you via my blog. Enjoy.
By John O'Neill
Adapted from the novel They First Arose
by William Nolan
INT.- SITTINGROOM, PHILADELPHIA, 1826 - DAY
FX. Sounds of horse traffic on cobbled streets. Distant fife band music. Holiday atmosphere.
Large period desk in window light. Candles, inkwells, quill-pens. Camera from POV (Point of View) of seated man, scans desk. Examines the newspaper - Philadelphia Courier, July 4, 1826. Notes headline - 50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE. Passes on to an opened letter. An old man's hand picks up the letter.
(off-screen (OS) as camera scans the letter)
Monticello, Virginia. June 29, 1826.
My dear Hickey,
On the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, I recall all the gallant and noble men who made that declaration a reality. Many have gone to their reward, as I will shortly, but you, I understand, remain in vigorous good health. May you long retain it for surely health is our greatest blessing with the possible exception of freedom. This scribbled message will convey to you my deepest appreciation of the service of which you and few others are aware and heartfelt thanks of
Postscript. I am told that you and your good wife will be feted on Independence Day at the City Hall of Philadelphia. May it be an occasion to rejoice in your life's achievements which deserve to be recorded as an inspiration to those who follow. Perhaps you can be persuaded to see to it?
Ned falls into reverie, remembering and reliving the course of the life which has brought him to this point.
I've spent the last twenty years trying to forget. Now he wants me to go over all the ancient history. Posterity won't give a damn, of course, but maybe it's time I rattled old bones if only for my own understanding. But, where to start?
He opens a drawer, takes out an old cross and holds it in the palm of his hand, idly and unconsciously stroking it with his thumb.
NARRATOR (VO) (VOICE OVER)(quietly)
1770, it must have been, almost 60 years ago, when I first left home....
EXT. - PROCTOR'S FARMYARD - DAY
NARRATOR (VO)(contd) ...
Thirteen years old and out into the world to work my way. There was little choice then and none at all for my father, the poor destroyed man. He had no hope left for himself but tried to give me the chance that had been denied him.
Proctor, an elderly but sprightly tenant-farmer, is busy amid a heap of rough-cut stones, building a wall for a new out-house. A man and a boy approach his gate and enter. The man is of middle age, tall, thin and melancholy. The boy is almost as tall but gangly and dressed in clothes long outgrown and with no shoes.
Well, if it isn't James Hickey. How are you, James, and who have you traveling with you?
I'm well indeed, Mr Proctor, and this is my son Ned I spoke to you about. Say hello to Mr Proctor, Ned.
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