UnScripts:The Duke's Boots

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Proud and Haughty in a Magnificent Uniform, But the Duke was also Barefoot.

The Truth About The Duke of Wellington's Boots[edit]

The Proud and Haughty Duke. Historic Symbol of English Power. National Hero of Waterloo. Imperious Commander. Proud of His Famous Boots.

We gaze in admiration at his magnificent portrait. But recently discovered historic information has uncovered a secret that opens a door on an unknown episode in the life of the Duke and that portrait. We now know that the impeccably aristocratic, distinguished and strong-willed Iron Duke was, in fact, barefoot during the sitting for this iconic masterwork - and barefoot against his will.

And this has led to the discovery of another painting: a hidden masterwork that Wellington managed to keep hidden through persistent pleas during his lifetime, but has surfaced along with the diaries.

A commander famous for his boots? Who would stoop so low? Who would humiliate England's Noble Hero? Who would strip him of his shining boots? Who made the mighty Conqueror submit? The story that has been uncovered tells us of envy and power, status and image in the world of regency London.

The Duke of Wellington has left his name on boots that he designed, and that remains true to this day.

What is not generally known is that his unique and highly polished boots were the source of envy and admiration among his friends and enemies.

Portrait painter Thomas Lawrence, whose portraits of the Duke are famous, had a dramatic and little known conflict when preparing the Duke for his portrait.

This has come to light when hidden diaries were found giving a detailed account of his iconic portrait and a very difficult battle with the Duke - as we recreate the scene from the Lawrence diaries on that day in 1815:

The Duke's Boots: The Duke Enters the Trap[edit]

The setting is the studio of Thomas Lawrence, painter of the English aristocracy on the occasion of the portrait of the Duke of Wellington.

Lawrence is simply and soberly dressed. The Duke strides in to the room, towering over the painter.

The Duke of Wellington. Haughty and commanding and impeccably dressed. Magnificent scarlet uniform, white breeches and cravat and all the pomp of Office, from Sash to Medals and Epaulettes. Greatcoat and Plumed Cocked Hat. Famous boots gleaming. Sword gleaming. The Epitome of Pride and Hauteur.

Lawrence seems overwhelmed and nervous, but calms himself.

The Duke Was Allowed To Keep His Boots On This Time

Wellington: (condescending, icy, controlled) Lawrence, what are you doing man? You keep staring at my feet!
Lawrence: (servile) Magnificent boots you have on, Your Grace.
Wellington: (surprised but gives him a patronizing smile) Thank you. You are very gracious. Now shall we start the portrait...
Lawrence: Boots that are both refined and symbols of strength, stylish and yet dignified. An Imperial pair of Boots.
Wellington: I thank you for the profuse compliments. (uncomfortable) But I do wish you would take your eyes off my feet.
Lawrence: (nervous) You designed them yourself. That is what they say...Impeccably polished, too. Are you walking to your town house today?
Wellington: Yes, yes, I enjoy the exercise. I...You are STILL staring at my feet!
Lawrence: It is raining very hard, Your Grace.
Wellington: (with a smug smile) What of it? I have fought battles in mud and storms. What is rain to me?
Lawrence: Always so brave and commanding! But your feet will get wet.
Wellington: (dismissive) What are you talking about, Lawrence! I can stand wet boots! I am a Field Marshall - not a sensitive artist! And I enjoy the clink of my spurs and the sharp click of my boots as I walk. It is a fine sound.
Lawrence: (gaining confidence) Do you? Is it?
Wellington: (stands proud) Ah yes - a fine, commanding, purposeful sound! My boots announce my approach and arrival!
Lawrence: You won't be hearing that sound today, Your Grace.
Wellington: Of course I will.
Lawrence: No. You will not.
Wellington: You PERSIST in staring at my feet.
Lawrence: You will NOT hear those sounds. If you understand my meaning...
Wellington: (laughs contemptuously) I do NOT understand your meaning! You are being very mysterious today Lawrence! Why will I not hear my own boots and spurs?
Wellington: Because you won't be wearing them, Your Grace.
Wellington: (raises his raised eyebrows even higher) Really! And why not? Are you playing some sort of game?
Lawrence: I will tell you why. Because you are giving them to me.
Wellington: (laughs loudly) Am I? Indeed?
Lawrence: Do not laugh. I am taking them in exchange for your portrait. You DO want the painting finished?
Wellington: WHAT?
Lawrence: The Duke of Wellington's famous calfskin boots. Tassels and spurs. I want them.
Wellington: (laughing) You WANT my boots?! So that means of course you MUST HAVE them. Obviously this is a strange joke. But it has gone QUITE far enough. You have been working too hard, Lawrence.
Lawrence: It is no joke.
Wellington: Explain yourself man!

The Duke's Boots: The Duke Falls into the Trap[edit]

Lawrence: It is very simple, Your Grace. I envy you. I want the Duke of Wellington's boots. You are the Duke. Those are your elegant boots. Designed for you alone. Until now. Take them off and give them to me.
Wellington: (shocked for a moment) So you are NOT joking!
Lawrence I am very serious.
Wellington: ( still unable to believe it) You cannot simply DEMAND another man's BOOTS! Are you quite well Lawrence?
Lawrence: QUITE well, Your Grace, thank you. And I am demanding them NOW. Those fine polished boots must be emptied of your feet during the painting of the portrait. And you will not be putting them on again.

Wellington: (icy and irritated) EMPTIED of my feet! This is sheer madness. You refuse to paint my portrait if I refuse to surrender the boots I am wearing as payment. Do I understand you correctly sir?
Lawrence: Yes, Your Grace. Now step out of them.
Wellington: (another stunned silence) You mean you want me - the Duke of Wellington - Commander - Peer of the Realm - to take off my boots HERE and just give them to YOU!
Lawrence: Exactly. Extricate your legs from those boots at once. And renounce ownership.
Wellington: EXTRICATE! RENOUNCE! (again laughing) I am trying very patiently to understand this. Now - tell me, why do you want MY boots?
Lawrence: You are humouring me, Your Grace. To you this is a mere joke. But I am very serious. BECAUSE they are YOURS. They are on the feet of the the great Duke of Wellington. Famous boots. That is why. Now take those splendid boots OFF, Your Grace!
Wellington: Because you envy me!
Lawrence: Yes.
Wellington: (very haughty and superior) And what if I simply walk out of here NOW! With my boots ON! I will never humiliate myself in such a manner! You must know that. I am walking out of here and not returning! I will pretend for your sake that this absurd discussion never took place and i forgive you. And I will INDEED listen to the click of my heels and my spurs as I go. (picks up his hat and sword and turns to leave)
Lawrence: I would not suggest that you do that....
Wellington: And why not?
Lawrence: I know everyone sir. I paint the portraits of the mighty and the powerful. You would not want me to say terrible things about you to people in the highest positions - questions about your honesty and your loyalty to the Crown and to the Army. A discreet word here and there. Your reputation, Your Grace! You will be ruined. And as for your position as Field Marshall...
Wellington: (stunned) There is NO slander about me! Nothing! I have NO secrets!
Lawrence: Yes - you are an upright man of good character.
Wellington: (standing taller, staring down at the schemer) I do not fear you! Speak as you like! My boots remain on my feet!
Lawrence: But you speak for your SELF! What about a few fabricated stories about your family, your financial dealings, your lack of loyalty to the King? Your plans for treason? - I will CREATE LIES. Now strip off those fancy boots.
Wellington: (whispers) You are a villain, sir. You would do that? To my family? My friends? To ENGLAND? That would destroy THEM as well as my career....
Lawrence: For THOSE boots? I will slander all you know until you and they will not be able to hold your head up in polite society.
Wellington: (imperious) You would ruin them. Lies about me I do not fear, but to lie about family and friends! To place our own nation in danger!...
Lawrence: Spoken like a hero.
Wellington: You are an evil man. Sick with envy.
Lawrence: Perhaps. But there is a problem we still must address here.
Wellington: Your envy is the problem sir!
Lawrence: No. The problem is that you are STILL wearing those BOOTS. We will solve that problem only when you are barefoot.
Wellington: BAREFOOT! Ye gods man! I am a commander of the British army! You are speaking to me as if I were a humble savage on a remote island!
Lawrence: To use the military phrase: Surrender those boots. Abandon them. I want them emptied of your feet.
These aren't Wellington boots, at least not officially.
Wellington: What sort of conduct is this for a gentleman! My honour is challenged here as you well know.
Lawrence: Are you suggesting a duel? On what grounds Your Grace? On slander that has not happened?
Wellington: (silenced) I am in a trap, I see.
Lawrence: Indeed your Grace. An immaculately dressed and powerful quarry in large trap.
Wellington: (still insouciant, cool) But you can buy your OWN boots! You will be paid handsomely for this painting. There is no need..Let's be reasonable. If you INSIST on having a pair of the Duke of Wellington's boots...I will return to my home and bring you back another pair.
Lawrence: No. I want THOSE. Surrender them now.
Wellington: But why must you have these boots I am wearing? Why? WHY?
Lawrence: Because I enjoy the power. I WANT YOU BAREFOOT.
Wellington: (astonished) Power! Control! To bend me to your will...
Lawrence: Yes. To bend the unconquered General to my will.
Wellington: And YOU want ME BAREFOOT! Again - that word. This is an outrage!
Lawrence: Do not bother to strut and swagger. Your pompous arrogance will not keep those handsome boots on your feet. This is NOT the battlefield. I am in control - not you. I will say again - I WANT YOU BAREFOOT.
Wellington: You know that I would never plot and slander against you in the same manner. So you take advantage of that!
Lawrence: True, Your Grace. You are far too honourable. A true gentleman. I trust that you would never behave as I do.
Wellington: Scoundrel!
Lawrence: Perhaps. But to the business at hand. Your boots.....I want you...
Wellington: (interrupts) Yes, yes, I know - barefoot. You need not say it again. In all my days on this earth no one has ever said that to me before. (calmly) Let us suppose I agree to your demand. What am I supposed to wear for the walk to my home? It is over a mile, sir! The winds are cold! The streets are wet! I assume you will provide me with footwear suitable for my position.
Lawrence: I will not. You will walk the streets of London in your bare feet. What is rain and mud to YOU? You are not a sensitive artist! The haughty Duke of Wellington afraid of cold soles!
Wellington: (eyes flash with anger but maintains his composure) More madness! It is a winter day. I..I can't go out without my boots on! I will meet people. Everyone knows me! It's raining...I am supposed to ride before I return home! Everyone knows my BOOTS!
Lawrence: YES! Everyone knows the Duke of Wellington's famous boots. On a horse without boots? In your beautiful uniform? Will you place your naked heels in the stirrups for all London to see? That will be quite a sight. No, Your Grace - You will have to walk along the back alleys. Try not to be seen. NOW STRIP OFF THOSE BOOTS.
Wellington: (in disbelief) ME! The Duke of Wellington! Hiding my face in shame! Skulking through the streets!
Lawrence: Not your face. Just your feet. You must surrender to the inevitable, Your Grace. Not something you usually do! You may say goodbye to your high and mighty boots. TAKE THEM OFF. I am taking possession of them.
Wellington: So they are YOUR property now! So it is either slander and lies or the surrender of my boots. Boots that I designed myself. Boots that are made for my feet. Do I look like a man who would ever go barefoot in public? Do I?
Lawrence: You do not, I agree - until now. Because you will be very soon. VERY soon. You have talked enough. Relinquish them. NOW. Or I will destroy many lives! You know the power of slander and accusation!
Wellington: Yes, I do. But...
Wellington: I cannot believe that you would destroy innocent people just for that!
Lawrence: You do not know me Your Grace! I would! And I will!

The Duke's Boots: The Duke of Wellington Surrenders His Magnificent Boots[edit]

I Hereby Surrender, Relinquish and Renounce Ownership of These Boots, quoted from the Official Records of the Duke of Wellington, 1815
Wellington: (his hauteur crumbling) HOW CAN THIS BE HAPPENING!?! You will ruin me and all I know if I do not! (sits down angrily on an armchair) TAKE THEM! TAKE MY BOOTS!
Lawrence: At last - you have come to your senses. And you won't try to take them back? I thought you would NEVER humiliate yourself in this way. You the great General!
Wellington: I cannot allow you to destroy others! (silent as he drops his head into his hands) I am the only thing that stands between my closest friends and humiliation and perhaps prison for crimes they have not committed.
Lawrence: Yes it is all up to you.
Wellington: I am bound by honour to protect them! TAKE MY BOOTS! I will not take them back.
Lawrence: And you surrender all claim to these famous boots? You accept that I am the owner?
Wellington: YOU the owner? Boots I wore on the battle field as I triumphed over Napoleon! (grudgingly) Yes...very well...I surrender ownership of these boots.
Lawrence: Ah! That is what I needed to hear. You are certain?
Wellington: Yes. Yes...YES....TAKE THEM OFF MY FEET!
Lawrence: (arrogant) And you do this without resentment? Do you resent and resist this demand?
Wellington: (confused) I do not understand. Of course I resent it! I do this under duress! I am the Duke of Wellington! Field Marshall! Commander! The victor of...
Lawrence: That is NOT the correct attitude! You must WANT to give them up!
Wellington: (astonished That is impossible! I cannot change my attitude! They are MY boots. I am allowing you to have them because of your blackmail!
Lawrence: You STILL insist they are yours by rights!
Wellington: Of course! I do not understand...
Lawrence: If you do not change your attitude I will have to think about spreading rumours about your very good friend Charles Lennox!
Wellington: The Duke of Richmond! An outstanding man with the highest reputation!
Lawrence: Not when I have finished with him! And YOU will be to blame! Now tell me again how resentful you are. I would suggest a more obedient attitude.
Wellington: (utterly outraged) OBEDIENT! SUBMISSIVE! (stands up proudly) NEVER!
Lawrence: (cool) That is NOT the attitude that will keep your friends and family safe from scandal and destruction.
Wellington: (slumps into his seat. grinds his teeth in frustration. forces himself to change his tone of voice) You demand the impossible.
Lawrence: It is not enough to comply. You must have an obedient attitude. Think of your servants.
Wellington: My own SERVANTS!
Lawrence: And i will continue. Now we must work on your speech. I know you attended Eton and the French Royal Academy.
Wellington: (confused) Yes
Lawrence: Your speech is that of an elite gentleman.
Wellington: Of course!
Lawrence: We must change that. You must speak with the accent of a London chimney sweep. It will help you to learn humility.
Wellington: (stunned) A chimney sweep. This is like a terrible dream. You cannot strip me of my class identity and my education. You cannot.
Lawrence: Forget you went to Eton. Forget your training and education. I am STILL not convinced of your sincerity. Did you attend Eton? DID YOU?
Wellington: (angry and exhausted) No. No I did not.
Lawrence: Very good. Now repeat after me. I have learned a phrase that you must use. You must beg me to take those boots in the voice of the lowest men of our society. Now repeat: Blimey! take deese boots off me feet sir. They do not belong ter me. Nuff said. I'll walk wivaaaht boots. , innit.
Wellington: Please do not force me to speak that way. Please. Do not take my speech away from me - the speech of a gentleman.
Lawrence: You have to do it.
Wellington: (desperately tries to speak like a man of the lowest class) Blimey! take deese boots off me feet sir. They do not belong ter me. Nuff said. (takes a breath) I'll walk wivaaaht boots. , innit.
Lawrence: (standing menacingly over the Duke) Do you promise? On your honour as a gentleman? You give them up completely? COMPLETELY? If not - I will have to spread treasonous rumours about your friend the Duke of Rutland! And attribute them to you! There is STILL a tone of resentment in your voice!
Wellington: (moves from pride to pleading) Not the Duke of Rutland! My dear friend! Egad man! What do you want? (slumps in the chair) I renounce them! On my honour as a gentleman! I forswear them! They are no longer my property!
Lawrence: (relentless) You are certain of that? I cannot take them unless you are sincere. You must convince me.
Wellington: (all composure gone. falls off the chair on to his knees) Yes! On my honour as a gentleman! I should not be wearing them! They are YOURS! They are YOUR boots - not mine!
Lawrence: They are MINE?
Wellington: (voice rising) YES! They are yours. YOURS. YOURS! (through gritted teeth, obediently) I willingly go barefoot and accept humiliation to protect my country and to save those you may destroy! These boots belong to you now!
Lawrence: (yelling as the kneeling Duke cowers) Then WHY did you wear them! Who gave you permission?! How DARE you wear boots that do not belong to you!
Wellington: (disoriented) They are part of my uniform! I do not understand...I must wear SOMETHING on my feet!
Lawrence: Why?
Wellington: I...I don't know...I have worn the finest boots since boyhood.
Lawrence: Indeed! Your arrogance goes back many years! I expect an apology. I think I will ruin the Duke of Rutland just to punish you!
Wellington: Not Rutland! (servile, cringing) I should NEVER have worn them. I apologize for wearing them!
Lawrence: Tell me! SHOULD you have worn them at all?
Wellington: NO! NO! I should not have put them on this morning! TAKE THEM! PLEASE TAKE THEM!
Lawrence: Quite true. If you are quite sure....Charles Arbuthnot can be ruined by scandal as well. I will tell everyone of his plans to sell government secrets! And YOU will be responsible! There must be NO reservations.
Wellington: (looking up, hands clasped) Charles! My friend and my confidant! You would slander HIM?!
Lawrence: (haughty, superior) Yes! And ruin him! You are QUITE sincere about surrendering those boots? In the depths of your soul?
Wellington: What must I say and do to convince you?! Tell me what I must do! (slides from his kneeling position on to to the floor, lying on his back, lifts his long legs high in the air while Lawrence towers over him) TAKE THEM! I BEG YOU! STRIP THEM OFF ME!
Keep 'em polished.
Lawrence: What sort of gentleman would wear boots that are not his own?! The wearing of boots is a PRIVILEGE! You have been haughty and arrogant!
Wellington: Yes. I was not thinking! Forgive me! I have been far too haughty!
Lawrence: Yes you have. You deserve to go barefoot as a sign of your humility.
Wellington: I do not deserve to wear boots at all. I deserve to go barefoot.
Lawrence: Then I am sure you will sign this....
Wellington: Sign? What on earth....
Lawrence: Read it, Your Grace. Read it!
Wellington: (still lying on his back, legs raised - reading) It is a contract for the transfer of property. I, Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington, Hereby Surrender, Relinquish and Renounce Ownership of These Boots and transfer them to the permanent ownership of Thomas Lawrence (The Duke drops the paper, speechless)
Lawrence: (handing him a pen) Sign!
Wellington: You prepared this before my arrival. An official document.
Lawrence: Of course. Every minute you have those boots on your pampered feet is an insult. SIGN!
Wellington: (obediently signs without a word)

The Duke's Boots: The Duke Apologizes for Wearing Boots[edit]

Lawrence: Now it is official. Thank you Your Grace. Now I will claim my property. (grabs the Duke's legs and roughly yanks off the boots. he looks at them triumphantly.)
Wellington is stunned, in shock. But Lawrence is not yet finished.:
Wellington: (feebly attempts to pull his legs away) You are unbuckling my garters! Unhand them sir!
Lawrence: I am removing your silk stockings as well. You won't need them.
Wellington: Not my stockings. Please, sir! Surely you would not strip a man of his own stockings!
Lawrence: I want them! I said BAREFOOT! They accompany the boots!
Wellington: (shudders as his stockings are peeled off. he is in despair) Yes, you did. Of course. And so YOU MUST HAVE THEM! It does not matter that they belong to me. Take the stockings right off my feet.
Lawrence: Now I must sign the document as well! (The Duke remains on his back with his legs in the air. Lawrence grabs the duke's legs and places the paper on the Duke's upturned bare feet)
Wellington: Do you not have a table! Am I to be transformed into a piece of furniture?!
Lawrence: Remain still! I must sign.
Wellington: To think that my legs are serving as a table. ME!
Lawrence: (merely smiles and signs the paper with a flourish) You make a fine table!
Wellington: Have you no shame?(shudders with revulsion)
Lawrence: Very little. If Napoleon could see you at this moment! The high and mighty Duke!
Wellington: (lets out a strangled cry) You destroy me!
Lawrence: Or the King?! The dignified Duke who stood before him, proud and assured!
Wellington: (barefoot and stunned, still prostrate in the floor) A pair of boots means so much to you...So much...
Lawrence: It is far more than a pair of boots. It is a piece of the Duke.
Wellington: Of ME?
Boot tree.
Lawrence: I am not brave or a General. I am not loved or dashing or strong. I am mot a man of honour. You are all these things. I now have your boots. So I have a piece of the Duke of Wellington.
Wellington: (considers) You have a piece of the Duke of Wellington! (shakes his head)
Lawrence: So you will not enjoy the clink of your spurs or the sharp click of your boots as you walk! WILL YOU?!
Wellington: No....I won't....You have been proven a prophet...the boots have indeed been emptied of my feet...
Lawrence: (hands boot trees to Wellington) PUT THOSE TREES IN THOSE BOOTS!
Wellington: (disgusted) Ye gods man! I am not your SERVANT! And to put trees in my own boots! My man servant does that!
Lawrence: (raging) YOUR boots?!! You ares STILL too haughty. Too proud. You must be broken of this. NOW PUT THOSE TREES IN THOSE BOOTS!
Wellington: (drops his head - his confidence gone again) I am too haughty. Too proud. You have told me many times.
Lawrence: You are indeed. And you ARE a man servant now.
Wellington: (servile again) Your boots...(puts the trees clumsily in the boots)
Lawrence: (throws wax and a rag) Now clean them!
Wellington: (teeth gnashing with outrage and gasping for breath) You go too far...I am not a bootblack!
Lawrence: Do not forget my threats and your friends. CLEAN THEM!
Wellington: (on his knees, puts the rag in the wax and polishes the boots) You dare to do this to me...
Lawrence: Now get up. You look most unseemly on the floor with your legs flying in the air. You must bring all of your dignity and power and imperial will to this painting.
Wellington: Painting? (rising slowly) I feel that I have left my dignity and my power in those boots you have taken from me....And today I humbled myself for the first time...ever...
Lawrence: Then I shall possess the Duke of Wellington's dignity and will power! Try to forget that you are barefoot like any common pauper. But any time you see this portrait, you will know!
Wellington: For a half-length portrait?...But as long as I have my sword I am a commander.
Lawrence: Yes...your sword...Now fold your arms in the manner of a true Field Marshall. Lift your arrogant chin. Stare at me with your haughty gaze. Try not to look stunned. Forget your humiliation.
Wellington: I...I cannot. I shall never forget it.

The Duke's Boots - The Duke of Wellington: Transformed for the Lost Portrait[edit]

Two hours later
The Rediscovered Lost Original Portrait of the Duke
The Duke of Wellington. Revised Painting, with boots added

Lawrence: The Portrait will be a great success. You appear powerful and arrogant at the same time.
Wellington: (angry and humbled) You charge a very high price Lawrence! Why did you have me change my posture? That is most unusual for a painting - is it not?
Lawrence: You will appreciate BOTH paintings!
Wellington: Both? I do not understand. Two portraits of my face!
Lawrence: No - one will be full length! I will provide a different backdrop - perhaps an outdoor scene.
Wellington: WHAT? You cannot display a full length painting of me like this! WITHOUT BOOTS! Promise you will NOT do this to me!
Lawrence: I promise nothing.
Wellington: I am weary. I feel that I have been dropped on my head. I cannot believe what has happened to me. I cannot argue about the painting. I trust you will be merciful...
Lawrence: We shall see. Yes, you will never be the same man. Now watch that you don't cut your feet on the street...Just keep your head down and walk quickly...
Wellington: Keep my head down! Me! I have never been ashamed!
Lawrence: You will certainly be noticed. It will do you good to be laughed at.
Wellington: I have been humiliated enough for one day. The rain is pouring down. You must help me disguise myself so I am able to return home without being recognized...I cannot be seen like this.
Lawrence: Certainly. Here is a sack. (Grabs the Duke and starts to pull off the Duke's orders and decorations and badges)
Wellington: Unhand me sir! What are you doing!
Lawrence: You cannot wear these! Take them off and put them in the sack. The sash too.
Wellington: I hoped you might have a cape you would allow me to...
Lawrence: NO! You do not want to be recognized! (He continues to remove the Duke's sash and then grabs his neck and unties his cravat)
Wellington: My cravat! Yes...yes...But what is THAT?
Lawrence: An old workman's shirt. And an even older pair of tattered trousers. I am well prepared.
Wellington: (confused, disoriented) Surely those are not for ME!
Lawrence: Take off your uniform and your breeches.
Wellington: Have pity sir! You are plundering me!
Lawrence: You must be disguised! STRIP!
Wellington: (confused, disoriented) MY UNIFORM! Even my breeches! That is going too far! I am to wear THOSE! My humiliation deepens. You are a wicked man. You are dismantling the great Duke of Wellington!
Lawrence: A scarlet uniform? Gold braid? White calfskin breeches? Look at you! All dressed up like a prize turkey. TAKE THEM OFF! Everyone will know you. You must be STRIPPED!
Wellington: (slowly unbuttons his scarlet coat) What a fool I look and feel.
Lawrence: You must walk with a lowered head! Be subservient!
Wellington: (gives his coat to Lawrence and unbuttons his breeches) I feel ridiculous. I am UNMANNED.
Lawrence: At least you will not be known!
Wellington: (pulls of his breeches) I have never before walked barefoot in London. A foolish spectacle.
Lawrence: Let me look at you.
The Duke attempts to recover a shred of his former dignity as he covers himself with his blue greatcoat and picks up his sword. He tries to stand tall but then looks with embarrassment at his feet.:
Wellington: At least my greatcoat will cover this.
Lawrence: (laughs) You cannot walk outside dressed in this manner! You will certainly be the only man in London carrying a sword, wearing a General's greatcoat and hat - over rags and bare feet.
Wellington: Yes, they will know the Duke of Wellington's coat and my sword and of course my cocked hat!
Lawrence: We must change that!
Wellington: Why are you staring at my sword?
Even the Duke's Uniform Sword was Stripped From him by the Envy of His Tormentor
Lawrence: I have decided to take your sword. As my property.
Wellington: (aghast. falls backward) You really are mad! NEVER!
Lawrence: I must have it. It is yours. Therefore it must be mine. You have many. And if you do not give it to me - remember the slander that I will create. I will destroy your reputation! Your family!
Wellington: (enraged) Do not repeat your threats again! Blackmail! AGAIN! - to take away my SWORD! You have my boots. You have my stockings. My uniform. My CLOTHES. Isn't that enough?
Lawrence: The sword. You cannot walk about London with a sword but no boots. The symbol of your command. I Want it.
Wellington: You cannot do this....
Lawrence: The sword and the scabbard.
Wellington: You would destroy me for this? And all I hold dear? Are the BOOTS not enough?!
Lawrence: The sword will allow me to participate in the victory of Wellington!
Wellington: (horrified) Your eyes glitter like those of a madman. I see you WILL carry out your threat...
Lawrence: Yes. I will.
Wellington: (silence) Then I have no choice. I surrender my sword to you.
Lawrence: The Duke of Wellington surrenders to me.
Wellington: That is why you are doing this. To force me to surrender...
Lawrence: Of course.
Wellington: (exhausted) I must go...I must go....I must disguise myself somehow. A walk of over a mile to Picadilly. Teeming rain and cold.
Lawrence: I WILL take your kid gloves. So do not put them on.
Wellington: My gloves too. You even take a man's gloves...(puts on his beautiful plumed black bicorne cocked hat with its plume)
Lawrence: You CANNOT wear that hat.
Wellington: And of course you strip me of my plumed hat as well...
Lawrence: And here is a tattered old coat....
Wellington: And so I say farewell to my General's greatcoat...
Lawrence: The Duke's sword and boots, stockings and gloves, hat and coat. A reasonable exchange for a portrait.
Wellington: I look like a ragman. A pathetic beggar.
Lawrence: A plucked goose. That is helpful. You do not want to bring attention to yourself.
Wellington: I arrived here proud and assured, in polished handmade boots and carrying my sword. Full uniform, sword, greatcoat and hat. I leave barefoot and swordless. No silk stockings on my feet or gloves on my hands, my plumed hat replaced by a workman's cap. No cravat at my neck. My uniform replaced by rags. My orders and medals hidden. My neck as naked as my feet and hands. I do not know who I am now. You have conquered the Duke of Wellington....

Epilogue: The Duke's Boots - The Duke Leaves and the Next Victim...Guest... Arrives[edit]

Wellington: (looks out at the rain and recoils) Is that Lord Charles Binny coming? He must not see me in this state!
Lawrence: Yes it is Binny! He has come for a sitting! Run now!
(Wellington glances back and forth and runs into the rain):
Lawrence: (greets Binny) Ah! Welcome my Lord!

Lord Charles Binny strides in with great dignity in impeccable black frock coat and breeches and white cravat; he towers over Lawrence.

Lawrence: Lord Charles Binny!
Lord Charles Binny: Who WAS that ragged beggar who ran out of your house? No shoes and rags! A disgrace! Why was someone like THAT in your house? A charity case, no doubt.
Lawrence: Yes, you might say that...
Lord Charles Binny: He looked quite ashamed of himself. I can understand why! I have very little time. I am dining with the Duke of Wellington.
Lawrence: The Duke! Well, we shall start working now!
Lord Charles Binny: (looks uncomfortable) You DO have the habit of staring at my FEET!
Lawrence: I have admired your patent leather pumps and silk stockings for many a month.
Sir Charles Binny Will Be More Comfortable Without His Clothes Whether He Likes It or Not
Lord Charles Binny: My pumps...Thank you...
Lawrence: Lord Charles, as you say we must rush. Your pumps must be emptied. There is no time to lose.
Lord Charles Binny: WHAT? Emptied? What on earth are you talking about? Emptied of WHAT?
Lawrence: Emptied of your size tens. Strip them off. NOW. SHOES AND STOCKINGS
Lord Charles Binny: (stunned) You are mad. Why? Take off my shoes and stockings? Barefoot! (angrily) Is this some sort of fashion in the arts? From ancient Greece as is popular in the salons?
Lawrence: Yes! Now quickly - step out of those shoes.
Lord Charles Binny: (sarcastic) This is an outrage. I have no intention of removing them. Would you have me replace my formal evening dress with a toga? And cut off my hair in the classical manner?
Lawrence: What an excellent idea...I have a large sheet for you.
Lord Charles Binny: (haughty) I did NOT come to your studio be humiliated! I am leaving now!
Lawrence: How important is your family's reputation, Lord Charles?
Lord Charles Binny: What do you mean sir? (the lights dim)
Two hours later. The lights come on. Lawrence is standing at his painting with brush in hand. Lord Charles is sitting, now wearing only a white 'toga' and nothing else. His hair has been cut off. His former clothes are strewn around the room, as if taken off quickly. His stockings are draped on the mantelpiece. His breeches, waistcoat, shirt and jacket are on the sofa. His cravat is on the table. His shoes are in a box labeled 'Property of Thomas Lawrence'.:
Lord Charles Binny: And now my shoes are your property! (his voice furious with humiliation) You would not dare to treat the Duke of Wellington in this manner!