Letter from M. David Samples to Inglis Fletcher

117 Pierce Street
Washington, N.C.

September 24, 1955

My dear Mrs. Fletcher:

Enclosed find a copy of your scene in the forthcoming pageant: QUEEN ANNE'S BELL. I understand Mr. Grayson Harding also of Edenton is to play your Lord Chamberlain enabling you to rehearse together. That should ameliorate our burden here. Notice a few suggestions of business. There is not much. Add as you wish within the framework of the scene.

A bit of the preceding and following scene has been included so you may know your place in the overall arrangement of scenes. If there are any further questions I will be happy to advise.

There is to be no amplification. But the amphitheatre is small and I expect you will have no trouble as long as you remain conscious of projecting.

I understand you have some costume pieces. Please contact Mrs. Wilton Wilson of Bath if you need any additional costume. She is chairman. You will not want anything in your hands but I do suggest a coronet or jeweled head piece. She would not, of course, wear a crown on this simple informal occasion. If you recall Queen Elizabeth's coronet from THE LOST COLONY that would do perfectly.

If at all possible I hope you and Mr. Harding will arrive prior to the production so that we might run over the scene a time or two before the evening. We expect it to be one of the highlights of the pageant and want it to be as fine as circumstances will allow. Please advise when you expect to arrive so I might arrange a schedule.

Looking forward to seeing you, I am,
M. David Samples, Director


(Lights up on the main stage. A log church and log library are there. Workers are putting on last minute touches.) Narrator The women who had stayed behind now had joined their husbands, all together with the children, white and black and red, almost a thousand folk lived and worked on the banks of the Pamticough in the town of Bath. Scene 6 ([Left] Side stage.) Narrator The Motherland was not deaf nor blind to the new beginnings in the Colonies. Queen Anne like every other intelligent monarch in Europe knew that the New World held the key to riches and power and future horizons. She wished to show her pleasure and approval. But what was the best way to do that? (Lights up showing the Queen on her throne. The Lord Chamberlain [Her Minister Robert Harley] stands at her right [left] hand. Jesters and fools perform for her. She appears preoccupied. Finally she indicates them to leave. They do. [The Lord Chamberlain chases them off DLI. He returns to her R.]) QUEEN [My Lord Harley] I am told a [new] town is made in Carolina. LORD It is true, your majesty. [It is called Bath after the Earl.] QUEEN They have made a church? [Do they have a church?] LORD The Lord Bishop has seen to it, Gracious Queen. QUEEN Of course. A Glebe House too? LORD And homes. They are a solid citizenry. QUEEN It pleases me, Lord Chamberlain, this expansion, this opening of new frontiers. I should like to encourage them in that wilderness. LORD Whatever you wish, your Majesty. QUEEN [(Thoughtfully)] A present from their Queen. Yes. They must have a present - a gift. What shall it be? LORD [(Brightly)] A scroll, perhaps, a declaration signed by your hand and telling them how... QUEEN No. No. No. It must be a thing of value, of use, a thing constant, to remind them of their Queen's blessing and protection. LORD [(Eager to please)] A font or a cross for their Church, perhaps. Fonts are always in fashion.... QUEEN More. More than that. [(Impatient)] (She thinks a moment.) [(Rises)] A Bell! Yes! A Bell! That's what I shall send, Lord Chamberlain, to announce their sorrow and their joys, whose every telling will speak their monarch's patronage.

LORD It shall be done. [(He bows)] QUEEN [(Painting at the bowing figure)] Cast it in my own foundry that its tone may be the finest and the best. LORD (Bowing.) Majesty. QUEEN Have it sent by ships bearing my flag to that newest part of all my realm. See to it at once. [(She indicates him out)] (He bows out as the scene fades.) SCENE 7 (Main stage.) NARRATOR The bell that Good Queen Anne had sent was hung hard by the church. The bell tower served as a lookout too. For there was a fear that the Indians might come back and try to claim their land. In its tower the bell was rung to let the people hear its sound and know of its arrival. (The bell rings.) Bath was now indeed a town of renown. Its people labored and prospered. A splendid harvest had been reaped. The barns were full for the winter's need. But in the woods the Indians watched and waited for their chance for revenge. On Indian Isle some thirty miles away the Hydes, The Cores, the Chawanckes, the mattemuskeets and ?atchap ungos met in council of war. They planned to kill the white men and burn their town. The day of the Equinox of 1711 was set for the attack. It was to be at day break. They came swiftly in their canoes. The knife, the tomahawk and fire were the weapons they used. The tom toms sounded. The cannon at the Church roared. The march of death began. And Queen Anne's bell rang out to tell all Bath the day of doom had come. (Here the massacre occurs.) End of Part 1 PART II (Main stage.) NARRATOR So it was out of their toil and their sorrow that Bath was built. In 1714 Charles Eden was the Governor and in his mansion at Bath he and his lovely wife, Penelope, entertained with lavish pride. (Lights up revealing Governor's Mansion, men and women chatting, laughing; music begins the Minuet in G and they dance.) With the passing of the Indian a new menace arose - piracy. Of all the pirates the colonists were afraid of Edward Teach who along with Tobias Knight, influential Secretary of the Colony, shared their gold and loot with the famous Blackbeard.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR FINAL REHEARSALS Because of the nature of our pageant and the fact that not all of the cast are available for rehearsals it will be imperative that a complete run through a dress rehearsal of the entire show be held on the afternoon of the 4th of October beginning promptly at 3:45. We will make every attempt to be through before 6:00. This will require some little effort but is absolutely necessary in order to present a smooth production in the evening. Everyone who is to be in the show is expected to be present at that time. Costumes should be worn. Makeup is not necessary. Report backstage to the dressing rooms promptly. Last minute instructions will be given there. Also mimeographed details for each separate scene will be distributed. Each scene will be rehearsed separately. They are all very brief. Then the entire production will be put together. This will be the first and only time this will be possible. Your complete attention and cooperation is asked. Once back stage remain quietly. Once you have appeared in your scene or scenes retire back into your dressing room until needed again or called for. Because of the crowds involved no one will be allowed near the wings during rehearsals or the performance. Do not let off stage noise spoil your show. Sit in place. Do not leave the backstage area until the entire rehearsal has ended. Your complete cooperation in this matter will assure a rapid and successful rehearsal and a more noteworthy show. You will be expected to provide your own transportation. Please do not bring your family unless it is unavoidable. Friends will not be admitted. No one except those directly concerned with the show will be allowed in the amphitheatre. We wish to avoid anything that might delay or hinder us. Sunday night. October 2, scenes 1, 2, 3 and 7 of Part I will [be] rehearsed promptly following the service at the theatre site. This includes the Indian dancers. Monday night October 3, promptly at 7:15 dress rehearsal for all Bath-Washington cast members. This will be a complete run through except for the out of town cast members. Please arrange your schedules to enable you to be present at these essential rehearsals. It will be presumed that those not present do not intend to appear in the final production. Thank you for your talents and cooperation M. D. Samples, Director

Letter from M. David Samples to Inglis Fletcher
Letter from M. David Samples to Inglis Fletcher. M. David Samples was brought in from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, to direct Queen Anne's Bell pageant for the 250th anniversary celebration in Bath N.C. Handwritten notes can be found on the pages of the script that Samples sent to Inglis Fletcher covering her role as Queen Anne. The darker ones are most likely Samples' directions. The notes in blue, however, may be Fletcher's suggested changes to the script mentioned in her reply to Samples.
September 24, 1955
Original Format
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Location of Original
East Carolina Manuscript Collection
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