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Arcadia | Scene Summaries

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Timeline of Events

  • Night, April 9, 1809

    Mr. Noakes has seen Mrs. Chater in a carnal embrace in the gazebo with Septimus Hodge.

    Act 1, Scene 1
  • Morning, April 10, 1809

    Septimus tutors Thomasina, who comes up with entropy theory by noticing how jam is stirred.

    Act 1, Scene 1
  • During the lesson

    Septimus flatters Chater into withdrawing his challenge to a duel for sleeping with his wife.

    Act 1, Scene 1
  • Moments later

    Chater signs a copy of ''The Couch of Eros'' for Septimus.

    Act 1, Scene 1
  • During the lesson

    Lady Croom disapproves of Richard Noakes's changes to the classical gardens at Sidley Park.

    Act 1, Scene 1
  • Morning, April 11, 1809

    Ezra Chater challenges Septimus Hodge to a duel for insulting his poetry.

    Act 1, Scene 3
  • Moments later

    Lady Croom borrows Septimus's copy of ''The Couch of Eros'' for Lord Byron.

    Act 1, Scene 3
  • April 12, 1809

    Lady Croom ousts the Chaters and Lord Byron after Mrs. Chater is seen leaving Byron's room.

    Act 2, Scene 6
  • April 12, 1809

    Lady Croom finds Septimus's letters intended to be opened if he were killed in the duel.

    Act 2, Scene 6
  • June 1812

    Thomasina draws a picture of Septimus with Plautus, the tortoise.

    Act 2, Scene 7
  • That evening

    Septimus and Thomasina share a waltz and a kiss on the night she dies in a fire.

    Act 2, Scene 7
  • Morning, June, present day

    Bernard Nightingale arrives at Sidley Park where Hannah Jarvis is doing research.

    Act 1, Scene 2
  • Same day

    Bernard reveals his erroneous theory that Lord Byron killed Ezra Chater and fled the country.

    Act 1, Scene 2
  • Same day

    Bernard supports the theory with the fact that Byron and Septimus Hodge were at Cambridge together.

    Act 1, Scene 2
  • Later that day

    Bernard learns Lord Byron was at Sidley Park at the right time to fit his theory.

    Act 1, Scene 4
  • About a week later

    Practicing his lecture, Bernard is challenged by Hannah and Valentine about the theory's accuracy.

    Act 2, Scene 5
  • After practicing

    Bernard gives Hannah a book with information about the hermit, including a birthdate and pet.

    Act 2, Scene 5
  • After receiving book

    Hannah realizes the Sidley Park hermit is Septimus Hodge.

    Act 2, Scene 5
  • Evening of the party

    Hannah discovers Chater the poet and botanist are the same, disproving Bernard's theory.

    Act 2, Scene 7
  • Evening of the party

    Gus gives Hannah a drawing of Septimus and Plautus, proving her theory.

    Act 2, Scene 7

Scene Summaries Chart

Scene Summary
Act 1, Scene 1 Thomasina Coverly, age 13 in 1809, is studying at a large table in a room at Sidley Park, an English manor house. Thomas... Read More
Act 1, Scene 2 In the same room, in the present time, nothing has changed. Hannah Jarvis is wearing comfortable modern clothes as she f... Read More
Act 1, Scene 3 Once again it is 1809, and Septimus Hodge is tutoring Thomasina Coverly in Latin. Jellaby is waiting for a reply to a le... Read More
Act 1, Scene 4 Back in the present time, Hannah Jarvis is reading to Valentine Coverly from Thomasina Coverly's notes in which she echo... Read More
Act 2, Scene 5 Bernard Nightingale practices his upcoming lecture with the Coverlys as his audience. When Hannah Jarvis interrupts with... Read More
Act 2, Scene 6 The scene shifts to 1809. At 5:30 in the morning, Septimus Hodge enters after an apparent early morning rabbit hunt, sur... Read More
Act 2, Scene 7 The scene opens to the modern Coverlys in 19th-century costumes. Sitting at the table, Chloë and Valentine Coverly read ... Read More
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