LAKE GEORGE & FORT WILLIAM HENRY ... Desertion & The Kiss
[EXTERIOR FORT, PARADE GROUND - BONFIRE - NIGHT
Sparks shower skyward. Impromptu music. Some Celtic proto-bluegrass played on fiddle & drums. It's stirring.
ANOTHER ANGLE: SOME WOMEN
laundresses, dance from soldier to soldier - English foot and American Rangers. A few people lit by the firelight are solemn. Most are stirred to lift their morale for a while.
underlit by the red firelight. They are a disposable people, a diverse plurality stuck in a postage stamp-size fort in an ocean of forest, locked into mortal deadly conflict because of the policies of cold and distant European monarchs.
A PLACE A LITTLE DISTANT FROM THE FIRE
We can barely make out the eyes and faces of a number of men behind logs, crates and new wreckage from the day's bombardment.]
HAWKEYE: [low] ... got no kin in the settlements. If I did, I'd be long gone.
IAN: You didn't think it right to be here in the first place.
HAWKEYE: By my light that's how I saw it then and I see it that way now ...
IAN: [low] But we are under English military authority.
JACK: [low] I believe if they set aside their law as and when they wish, their law no longer has rightful authority over us. All they have over us is tyranny, then. And I'll stay here no longer. No force on earth will keep me here ... Anyone caught leavin' the fort could be shot. So each man make your own decision ... Those who are goin', be back here in an hour.
HAWKEYE: Out the northern sally-port. Strike for the east side of the swamp until you clear the French picket line. Head north over the ridge, then come about southeast and fork left in Little Meadow and you're free of the outpost and skirmishers ...
A COLONIAL: [grumbles] Should've skinned outta this long ago.
COLONIAL #2: Got no families, Captain. Figured we'd stay and give 'em a hand even though ...
HAWKEYE: [to Colonial #2] I'll cover them from the top of the casement.
JACK: [in amazement] You're not coming with us?
[Hawkeye shakes his head.]
HAWKEYE: Got a reason to stay.
JACK: That reason wear a blue dress and work in the surgery?
HAWKEYE: [dry] It does and it is a better lookin' reason than you, Jack Winthrop. [more laughs] Push hard, 'cos you got to clear the French outpost by dawn. [sticks out his hand and grasps Winthrop's] Good luck, Jack.
[The men split up ...
CUT TO ...
FIRE - HAWKEYE
wanders among the dancers and musicians clustered in groups, lit by the firelight. Someone catches his eye and he moves in that direction ...
HAWKEYE'S POV: CORA
in the shadows, leaning against the wall, searching ... we sense she's been looking for him. He comes up to her. She turns in surprise.
Somehow she breathes easier because he's there. She's in a white shirt with the sleeves rolled up. Hawkeye leads her away from some of the people.
CORA & HAWKEYE
Hawkeye takes Cora's hand. Cora is awakening to a new spirit, a new wind blowing through a new land, a new self-determination ... She's drawn to this rough yet graceful man with his direct manner. Hawkeye settles against a wall. She leans next to him. Their shoulders touch.
To her everything about him seems to be somehow right. She's discovered that the passions and outrage that move him, move her ... And her readiness to give herself to what stirs the deepest resonances of her soul is the same as his.
looks at her. She's beautiful in the firelight. Cora's eyes find his and she folds into his arms. His lips find hers and tears stream down her face. She's suffused with an elation she can't explain. In the night before doomsday a romance is born in rebellion amid the huddled people in this small stockade ripped from the black earth of the forests of a wild continent.
CUT TO ...]