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The White Cockade

By George Waddell


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Three months after the final defeat of the Jacobites at Culloden, Lady Anne Desseray is in Edinburgh with her maid, Mairi, waiting for a ship to take them to safety in France. When Jennock, her landlady's daughter, steals a silver ring from her, it falls into the hands of Carrubbers, a government agent, who is determined to discover " the secret of the Dark Mile'' -- the hiding-place of 40,000 gold pieces, sent by Louis of France to Prince Charlie. From a captured letter Carrubbers believes that Lady Anne knows the secret. To protect her from questioning, Mairi assumes her identity and is threatened with death or transportation unless she gives him the information he wants. When Mairi discovers that Lady Anne's secret is a love secret and she knows nothing of the gold, Mairi accepts the inevitable. Before she goes, Mairi reveals to Lady Anne that she is not making this sacrifice for her: it is to protect the Desseray name, denied to Mairi until now, though she is, in fact, Anne's half-sister, having been born in France where their father was in exile after the 'Fifteen and brought back later as the daughter of his steward. Dramatic throughout, but lightened by flashes of humour, this neatly constructed play has a wealth of acting opportunities.