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CONTEMPORARY ONE-ACT PLAYS

CONTEMPORARY ONE-ACT PLAYS


WITH OUTLINE STUDY OF THE ONE-ACT PLAY AND BIBLIOGRAPHIES

BY
B.
Professor and

ROLAND LEWIS
Department
of English in the University of
of the

Head

of the of "

Utah;

Author

The Technique

One-Act Play

"

CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS


NEW YORK
CHICAGO

BOSTON

COPTBIQHT, 1922, BT

CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS


Printed in the United States of America

The

plays in this book are fully protected by copyright and the professional and amateur stage rights are reserved by the authors. Applications for their use should be

made

to the respective authors or publishers, as designated

lOAN STACK

Z a^.'

TO
THE MEN AND WOMEN

WHO

SO KINDLY HAVE PERMITTED

ME TO

REPRINT THESE ONE-ACT PLAYS

PREFACE
This collection of one-act plays appears because of an
creasingly large
in-

demand

for such a volume.

The

plays have

been selected and the Introduction prepared to meet the need


of the student or teacher

who

desires to acquaint himself with

the one-act play as a specific dramatic form.

The

plays included have been selected with this need in mind.

Accordingly, emphasis has been placed upK)n the wholesome and


uplifting rather than

upon the sordid and the

ultra-realistic.

The unduly
avoided.

sentimental, the strikingly melodramatic, and the

play of questionable moral problems, has been consciously

Comedies, tragedies,

farces,

and melodramas have

been included; but the chief concern has been that each play
should be good dramatic art.

The Dramatic Analysis and


which appears
in this

Construction of the One-Act Play,

in the Introduction, also

has been prepared for

the student or teacher.

This outline-analysis and the plays


if

volume are

sufficient material,

carefully

studied, for

an understanding and appreciation of the one-act play.


B.

Roland Lewis.

CONTENTS
Introduction

LIST OF PLAYS

The Twelve-Pound Look


Tradition

Sir Javies

M.

Barrie

17

George Middleton

43
61

The Exchange
Sam Average
Hyacinth Halvey

AUhea Thurston
Perq^ Mackaye
.

85

Lady Augusta Gregory


Eugene
Pillot
.

103

The Gazing Globe


The Boor
The Last Straw
Manikin and Minikin

139
155 175

Anion Tchekov

Bosworth Crocker
Alfred Kreymborg

197

White Dresses
Moonshine

Paul Greene

215

Arthur Hopkins

239
.

Modesty

Paul Hervieu
Jeannette

^55

The Deacon's Hat

Marks
Wolff
.

273
.

Where but

in

America

.... .... ....


ix

Oscar

M.

301 321

A Dollar
The Diabolical Circle The Far-Away Princess The Stronger

David Pinski

Beulah Bornstead

343
365

Hermann Sudermann
August Strindberg
.

393

CONTENTS
BIBLIOGRAPHIES
PACK

Collections of One-Act Plats


Lists of One-Act Plays

405 406
.

Bibliography of Reference on the One-Act Play


BlBLIOGIL^PHY on

408 409

HoW

TO PRODUCE Pl.\YS

CONTEMPORARY ONE-ACT PLAYS

INTRODUCTION
THE ONE-ACT PLAY AS A SPECIFIC DRAMATIC TYPE
The one-act play
It
is
is

with us and

is

asking for consideration.

challenging our attention whether


it is

we

will or no.

In both

Europe and America


actors, plaj'wrights,

one of the conspicuous factors in pres-

ent-day dramatic activity.

Theatre managers, stage designers,


its

and

professors in universities recognize

presence as a

vital force.

Professional theatre folk

and ama-

teurs especially are devoting zestful energy both to the writing

and to the producing of

this shorter

form of drama.
has achieved that

The one-act play


type.
It

is

claiming recognition as a specific dramatic


it

may

be said that, as an art form,

was once an embryo and an experiment; but few nowadays would care to hold that it has not developed into a specific and worthy literary
distinction.

The

short story, as every one knows,

form.

This shorter form of prose

fiction
it

was once apologetic,


its

and that not so many years ago; but

has come into

now

is

recognized as a distinct type of prose narrative.

own and The


its

one-act play, like the short story, also has

come
its

into

own.
the

No

longer

is it

wholly an experiment.

Indeed,

it is

succeeding

in high places.

The

one-act play

is

taking

place

among

significant types of dramatic

and

literary expression.
is

Artistically

and technically considered, the one-act play


distinctive dramatic

quite as

much a

problem as the longer play.

In writing

either, the

playwright aims so to handle his material

that he will get his central intent to his audience and will pro-

voke

their interest

and emotional response


3

thereto.

Both aim

INTRODUCTION
and dramatic
is

at a singleness of impression

eflFect;

both aim to be

a high order of
densed,
diflPerent
it

art.

Yet

since the one

shorter

and more conis

follows that the

dramaturgy

of the

one

somewhat
statue.

from that of the other, just as the technic of the


different

cameo

is

from the technic of the


it

full-sized

The

one-act play must, as


it

were, be presented at a "single set-

ting":

must

start quickly at the beginning with certain defi-

nite dramatic elements


cial

and pass rapidly and


halt or digression.

effectively to

a cruof

movement without

A careful analysis

any one
this fact.

of the plays in this

volume,

like

Anton Tchekov's The


story, has

Boor, or like Oscar

M.

Wolff's Where But in America, will reveal

The shorter form of drama, like the short a technical method characteristically its own. It is a truth that the one-act play is well made or it
at
all.

is

nothing

careful analysis of Sir

James M. Barrie's The Twelve-

Pound Look, Paul Hervieu's Modesty, Althea Thurston's The


Exchange, will reveal that these representative one-act plays are
well

made and
is

are real bits of dramatic art.

good one-act

play

not a mere cheap mechanical tour deforce; mechanics and


it

artistry

has, of course,

but

it is
is

also a high order of art product.

delicately finished

cameo

quite as

much a work

of art as is

the larger statue; both have mechanics and design in their structure,

but those of the cameo are more deft and more highly spethan those of the statue, because the work of the former

cialized
is

done under far more restricted conditions.


its

The
is

one-act play

at

best

is

cunningly wrought.

Naturally, the material of the one-act play


It deals with but a single situation.

a bit episodical.
in this

A study of the plays

volume

will reveal that

no whole

life's

story can be treated ade-

quately in the short play, and that no complexity of plot can be

employed.

Unlike the longer play, the shorter form of drama

shows not the whole


nificant

man

except by passing hintbut a


moment may be
interpreted

sig-

moment

or experience,

a significant character-trait.

However

vividly this chosen

and

INTRODUCTION
the one-act play must be vivid
imagination.
It
is

5
be
left

much

will still

to the

the aim of the one-act form to trace the

causal relations of but one circumstance so that the circumstance

may
ingly

be intensified.

The

writer of the one-act play deliberately

isolates so that

he

may throw

the strong flashlight more searchele-

on some one significant event, on some fundamental


of character,

ment

on some moving emotion.

He

presents in a

vigorous, compressed,

and suggestive way a

simplification

and

idealization of a particular part or aspect of

life.

Often he opens

but a momentary
significant that a

little vista of life, but it is so clear-cut and so w hole life is often revealed thereby. The student must not think that because the one-act play
it

deals with but one crisis or but one simplified situation,

is

therefore

weak and

inconsequential.

On the contrary,
it

since only

one event or situation can be emphasized,


writer
is

follows that the

obliged to choose the one determining crisis which

makes

or mars the supreme struggle of a soul, the one great change or

turning-point or end of a

life

history.

Often such moments are

the really vital material for

drama; nothing affords so much op-

portunity for striking analysis, for emotional stress, for the suggestion of a whole character sketched in the act of meeting
test.
its

The one-act play


its

is

a vital literary product.

To

segregate a

bit of significant experience

and to present a

finished picture of

aspects

and

effects; to dissect

a motive so searchingly and

skilfully that its

very roots are laid bare; to detach a single figure


its

from a dramatic sequence and portray the essence of


ter; to bring

charac-

a series of actions into the clear light of day in a

sudden and

brief human crisis; to tell a significant story briefly and with suggestion; to portray the humor of a person or an

incident, or in a trice to reveal the touch of tragedy resting like

the finger of fate on an experience or on a character

these are

some

of the possibilities of the one-act play

when handled by a

master dramatist.

INTRODUCTION
THE PROPER APPROACH TO THE STUDY OF THE
ONE-ACT PLAY
To
read a one-act play merely to get
of
its

story

is

not

in itself

an exercise
to

any extraordinary value.

This sort of approach

any form

of literature does not require

much

appreciation of

literary art nor

much

intelligence.
its

Almost any normal-minded


little

person can read a play for


of

story with but

expenditure

mental

eflFort.

Proper appreciation of a one-act play requires


chief

more than a casual reading whose


getting the plot.
If the shorter

aim

is

no more than

form of drama
it

is

to be appreciated properly as a

must be approached from the point of view of its artistry and technic. This means that the student should understand its organic construction and technic, just as he should understand the organic construction and technic
real literary form,

of a short story, a ballad, or a perfect sonnet,


ciate

if

he

is

to appre-

them properly. The student should know what the dramatist intends to get across the footlights to his audience, and should be able to detect how he accomplishes the desired result. It must not be thought that the author urges a study of construction at the expense of the

human

values in a play.

contrary, such a study

is

but the means whereby the

On the human

values are

made

the more manifest.

Surely no one would argue

that the
able
is

less

one knows about the technic of music the better


Indeed,
it is

one to appreciate music.


limits,

not too

much

to

say that, within reasonable


one-act play
its
if

no one can

really appreciate a

one does not know at least the fundamentals of

dramatic organization.
fact,

In

students of the one-act play recognize in

its

construc-

tive regularity not a hindrance to its beauty

but a genuine power.

This but lends to

it

the charm of perfection.


if

The sonnet and the


their superior

cameo are admirable,

for

no other reason than

INTRODUCTION
workmanship.
its

The

one-act play does not lose by any reason of


is

technical requirements; indeed, this

one of

its

greatest

assets.

And

the student

who

will

take the pains to familiarize

himself with the organic construction of a typical one-act play


will

have gone a long way

in arriving at

a proper appreciation of

this shorter

form of drama.

DRA]VL\TIC ANALYSIS

AND CONSTRUCTION OF THE ONE-ACT PLAY


a work of literary art,

I.

The Theme of the One-Act Play


is

The

one-act play, like the short story,

and must be approached as such.


gleness of effect

Just like a painting or a

poem

or a fine public building, the one-act play aims at

making a 5m-

upon the reader or observer.


any other work
of art,

One does not judge


by the appearance
effect of the whole.
it

a statue, or a poem, or
of any

isolated part of

it,

but by the sum-total


is

The fundamental aim

of a one-act play

that

shall so present

a singleness of effect to the reader or to the assembled group

who

have gathered to witness a performance of


Thus, when a student reads a play
Tradition, he
is

it,

that the reader or

observer will be provoked to emotional response thereto.


like

George MiddIeton*s
life

made

to see

and

feel

that the

of a

daughter

has been handicapped and the longings of a mother smothered


because of the conventional narrowness of an otherwise loving
father.

This
This

is
is

the singleness of effect of the play; this


precisely

is its

theme.

reader or observer to

what the author of the play wished his see and feel. When one reads Bosworth
been

Crocker's The Last Straw, one feels that a reasonably good and

worthy man, because


neighbors.

of his sensitiveness to criticism, has

driven to despair and to a tragic end by the malicious gossip of

One's sense of pity at his misfortune


to do.

is

aroused.
effect is

This

is

what the author intended

This idea and

the theme of the play.

And when

the student reads Paul Her-

INTRODUCTION
woman, even though she may
This
is

vieu's Modesty, he feels that a

lead

herself into thinking she prefers brutal frankness, instinctively


likes affection

and even
is its

flattery.

the effect produced

by

the play; this

intent; this

is its

theme.
first

In approaching a one-act play, then, the very


tion should be to determine

considera-

what the purpose and intent of the play is to determine its theme. This demands that the play be read through complete at one sitting and that no premature conclusions be drawn. Once the play is read, it is well to sub-

ject the play to certain leading questions.

What

has the author

intended that his reader or hearer shall understand, think, or


feel ^

What
.-^

is

the play about ?

AVhat

is its

object and purpose


is it

Is

it

a precept or an observation found


Is
it artificially

in life, or

a bit of

fancy

didactic

and moralizing?
it

fundamental element
Patriotism
?
.?

in

human

nature does

have to do

With what Love ?


:

Fear ?

Egotism and self-centredness ?

Sacrifice ?

Faithfulness

Or what ?

word

of warning should be given.


is

The student should not


of the play.

get the idea that by theme

meant the moral

good play

may

be thoroughly moral without

its

descending to

commonplace moralizing.
of morals, theories,

Good

plays concern themselves wuth


life

the presentation of the fundamentals of

rather than a creed


itself

and propagandas.

Art concerns

with

larger things than didactic


II.

and argumentative moralizing.

The Technic of the One-Act Play


satisfies himself as to

Once the student


seeing just

the singleness of effect

or theme of the play, he will do well to set himself to the task of

how

the dramatist has achieved this


is

effect.

He

should keep in mind that the playwright

a skilled workman;

that he has predetermined for himself just what he wishes his

audience to think,

feel,

or understand,

and has marshalled

all his

materials to that end.

The way by which he accomplishes


is

that

end

is

his technic.

Technic

but the practical method by

INTRODUCTION
which an
public.
artist

can most effectively convey his message to his

In a play the materials that the dramatist uses to this


plot, dialogue,

end are character,


skilled
will

and stage
in

direction.

If

he

is

he

will use these

elements

such a

way

that the result

be an

artistic whole,

a singleness of

effect,

an organized unit

that will exemplify and express his theme.

A.

The Characters

speaking,

in the One- Act Play. Generally drama grows out of character. Farce, melodrama, and

extravaganza usually consist of situation rather than of character.

In any event, the student should avail himself of every


to understand the characters in the play under discussion.

means
His
his

real appreciation of the play will

be

in direct ratio

almost to
attention

understanding of the persons in the drama.

Any

given to this end will be energy well spent.


get into the very heart of the characters, as

The student should


it

were.
Circle,

Thus, Adonijah,
is

in

Beulah Bornstead's The Diabolical

a narrow, self-centred, Puritan egotist

who has

little

about his

personality to appeal to the romantic and vivacious Betty.

Lady

Sims, in Sir

James M.
is

Barrie's The Twelve-Pound Look,

woman who
independence

really

pathetic in her longing for

is a some human

in the presence of her self-centred

husband, "Sir'*

Harry
borg's

Sims.

And Manikin and Minikin,

in Alfred

Kreym-

Manikin and Minikin, are conventionalized puppets representing the light yet half-serious bickerings, jealousies, and
quarrellings of

human
will

nature.

The student
deliberately
for

do well to characterize the dramatis personcB

and

specifically.

He

should not
in

now value

himself

working

fast; for things

done

a hurry usually lack depth.

He must

not be content with vague and thin generalities.


it

In

analyzing a character

might be well to apply some


is

specific

questions similar to the following: Just what

the elemental
?

human
tic?

quality in the character

Loving ?

Trusting

Egotis-

Superstitious?
?

Revengeful? Treacherous? Selfish? Dis?

contented

Optimistic

Romantic ?

Or what ?

How does the

10

INTRODUCTION
and
dislikes
?

dramatist characterize them:


spirit of likes

By action? By dialogue? By By racial trait ? By religion ? By


?

peculiarity of manner, speech, appearance


really dramatic
:

Are the characters

are they impelled to strong emotional reaction

upon each other and upon situation? Do they provoke one's dramatic sympathy ? Do they make one feel their own point of
view and their own motives for conduct ?
B.

The Plot of the One- Act Play.


Plot
is

^Plot

and character
series of closely

are integrally interlinked.

not merely story taken from


in

every-day

life,

where seldom do events occur

following minor crucial

moments leading to a climax.


is

The dram-

atist so constructs his material that there

a sequential and

causal interplay of dramatic forces, ending in

or crucial moment.

Plot

may be
own

said to be the

some major crisis framework and

constructed story by which a dramatist exemplifies his theme.


It does not exist for its

end, but

is

one of the fundathe story

mental means whereby the playwright gets his singleness of


effect, or

theme, to his reader or hearer.

From

ma-

terial at his disposal

the playwright constructs his plot to this

very end.
Careful attention should be given to the plot.

The student
?

should question

it

carefully.
life ?

Do the plot materials seem to have


Or do they seem
to be invented

been taken from actual

Is the plot well suited to exemplifying the

theme ?
been

Reconstruct
Since the

the story out of which the plot


plot of a one-act play
is

may have

built.

highly simplified, determine whether

there are any complexities, any irrelevancies, any digressions.

Does the
1.

plot have a well-defined beginning, middle,

and end ?

The Beginning of the One- Act Play. ^Having but a relatively short time at its disposal, usually about thirty minutes and sel-

dom more
play
is

than forty-five minutes, the beginning of a one-act


It
is

very short.

characterized
is

by condensation, com-

pactness,

and brevity.

Seldom

the beginning more than a


is

half -page in length; often the play

got under

way

in

two or

INTRODUCTION
three speeches.

11

The student
been

will

do well to practise to the end

that he will recognize instantly


of a one-act play has
laid.

when the dramatic background


it

Whatever

else

may

characterize the beginning,

must be draof per-

matically effective.
ception by making

Instantly

it

must catch the powers


will develop.

them aware

of the initial situation out of

which the subsequent dramatic action

good be-

ginning makes one feel that suddenly he has come face to face

with a situation which cannot be solved without an interplay of

dramatic forces to a given

final result.
is

Thus, when one reads Althea Thurston's The Exchange, one

made suddenly to
their
feel

feel

that

human
if

beings are discontent w4th

shortcommgs and possessed

qualities,

and that they always


cases as

that they would be happier

they possessed something other

than what they have.


they come
in for
is

The Judge, who handles the


is

exchange,

disgusted with the vanities of

humankind, and

ready to clear his hands of the whole matter.


it is

Here

is

a situation;

the beginning of the play.


is

In the begin-

ning of Lady Gregory's Hyacinth Ilalvey one


to the realization that

brought suddenly

Hyacinth Halvey

instinctively rebels

against the highly colored and artificially created good

name
of

that has been unwittingly superimposed upon him.


tion,

This situa-

suddenly presented,

is

the beginning of the play.

Out

this initial situation the

subsequent dramatic action evolves.

Is the beginning too short?


initial
it

Too long?

Does

it

dramatic situation clear ?

How
is

has the playwright

make the made


?

clear

and

effective

Just where

the end of the beginning

Although the beginning and the subsequent plot development


are well blended together, so that there
is

no halting where the

beginning ends, usually one can detect where the one ends and
the other begins.
It
is

a good idea, for the purpose of develop-

ing a sense of the organic structure of the one-act play, to

draw

line across the

page of the play, just where the one ends and

the other begins.

12

INTRODUCTION
setting of the
?

The

play

is

a part of the beginning.


Fantastic or bizarre
?

Is the set-

ting realistic

Romantic ?
in

Are the deatmosphere


something

tails of stage design, properties,

and

especially the

and

color

scheme
it?

harmony with the tone


setting
is

of the play itself?


is it

Is the setting really

an organic part

of the play or

Note that the present tense, and person, third


apart from
2.

usually written in the

in italics.

The Middle of
is

the

One- Act Play.

The middle of a one-act


moment
or
of

play

concerned primarily with the main crucial

climax and the dramatic movement that from the beginning leads

up up

to

it.

A good play consists of a series


moment.
play exists
;

minor
is

crises leading

to a major crisis or crucial

It

for this crucial

moment that the


the crucial
is

it is

for this big scene precisely that


fails

the play has been written.

Indeed, the play succeeds or

as

moment

is

strongly dramatic or flabbily weak.


is

This

the part of the play that

strongest in dramatic tension,

strongest in emotional functioning.

study of Sir James

M.

Barrie's The Twelve-Pound

Look

shows that the crucial moment comes at the point where

"Sm"

Harry Sims in his self-centred egotism discovers that his wife's. Lady Sims's, heart-longing could easily be satisfied if she were
permitted no other freedom than merely operating a tj'pewriter.

In Althea Thurston's The Exchange the crucial moment comes

when
ill

the several characters,

who

unwittingly had exchanged one

for a worse one, find that they

can never re-exchange, and

that they must endure the torments and displeasure of the newly

acquired

ill

throughout
is
?

life.

Just where
consideration

the crucial

moment

or climax in the play under


crises that lead

Determine the several minor


Is the crucial

up

to the crucial
for

moment.

moment

delayed too long

good dramatic
is

efifect ?

Or

is it

reached too soon, so that the

play
it

too short and too sudden in reaching the climax ?

Does

make one feel plot movement ?

that some vital result has been attained in the


Is
it

characterized by strong situation and

by

INTRODUCTION
acter on situation
?

13

strong emotional reactions of character on character or of char-

For purposes
a one-act play,

of impressing a sense of the organic structure of


it is

a good plan to draw a horizontal line across

the page at the close of the crucial moment.

Keep

in

mind,
it

however, that the crucial

moment

is

not the

end

of the play as

appears on the printed page or as


3.
is

it is

acted on the stage.


of the one-act play

The End of
It

the

One-Act Play.

The end
often

an important consideration.
is

Too

it is

entirely lost sight

of.

the part that frequently

makes
is

or

mars a play.

When
The

the crucial
of the play

moment
is

or climax has been reached, the plot action

completed, but the play

not yet completed.

play needs yet to be rounded out into an artistic and dramatic


whole.

In

life

the actual

crisis in

human
in

affairs

is

not often our

chiefest interest,
after the crisis

but the reaction of characters immediately


Thus,
a play, the emotional re-

has occurred.

action of the characters on the crucial


less

moment and

the more or

sudden readjustment between characters after the crucial


presented.
is

moment must be
the one-act play

For

this

very purpose the end of


is

constructed.

The end

of

need very short

usually

even shorter than the beginning.

Usually the end

consists of but a speech or two, or

sometimes only of pantomime

that more effectively expresses the emotional reactions of the

characters on the crucial

moment than

dialogue.

Thus,

in Sir

end consists of

James M. Barrie's The Twelve-Pound Look, the but pantomime, in which "Sir" Harry expresses

his emotional reaction

upon

his wife's longing for the

human

liberty that even the operating of a typewriter


her.

would provide

The end

of

Bosworth Crocker's The Last Straw comes imis

mediately after the pistol-shot

heard in the adjoining room


Fritz!
Fritz
!

and Mrs. Bauer's voice

is

heard: "Fritz!
didn't do
it,

Speak to
I

me

Look
it

at me, Fritz
!

You

know you

didn't do
Is the

" etc.
of the play

end

under consideration

in

terms of dialogue ?

14
In pantomime ? dramatic
C.
?

INTRODUCTION
Or both ?
Is
it

too long

? ?

Too

short ?

Is it

Is

it

conclusive and satisfying

Dialogue of the One-Act Play. Dialogue, like plot is another means whereby the theme of the play is got to the reader or audience. Good dramatic dialogue is
and characterization,
constructed to this very end.
bling, uncertain,
life.

It

is

not the commonplace, ram-

and

realistic

question and answer of every-day


is

Usually good dramatic dialogue

crisp, direct,

condensed.

It

is

the substance but not the form of ordinary conversation.


is

Its chiefest characteristic

spontaneity.

The
ideas

highest type of dramatic dialogue is that which expresses the

and emotions

of characters at the points of highest emotional

functioning.
in a play
is

It will readily be seen, then, that not all dialogue

necessarily dramatic.

In truth, the best dramatic

dialogue occurs in conjunction with the series of minor crises

and the crucial moment that go to make up the dramatic movement of the play. Often there is much dialogue in a play that
essentially
is

not dramatic at

all. it is

In analyzing dramatic dialogue


the play
it

well to inquire whether in

serves (1) to express the ideas

and emotions
Is
it

of char-

acters at points of highest emotional functioning, (2) to

advance
Wit,

the plot,
direct,

(3) to

reveal character, or (4) what.

brief, clear,

spontaneous?

Or

is

it

careless,

loose,

insipid.'*

repartee.'*

Didactic, moralizing?

Satirical, cynical?

D.

Stage-Business and Stage-Direction in the One-Act

Play.

The stage-business and stage-direction, usually printed


an
essential part of a

in italics, of a play are

drama.

not be ignored

in either reading or staging

a play.

They must The novel or


and con-

short story generally uses narration and description to achieve


its

desired result; a play, on the contrary, uses dialogue

crete objective
eye.

pantomime that may be seen

readily with the

play

is

not a story narrated in chronological order of


a story so handled and so constructed that
It
is

events, but

it is

it

can

be acted on a stage by actors before an audience.

a series

INTRODUCTION
of

15

minor

crises leading to

a major

crisis,

presented to a reader or

to an audience

by

characters, dialogue,

and stage-business and


pantomimic action

pantomime.
direction.

For purposes

of indicating the

of the play, the dramatist resorts to stage-business

and stage-

Does the

stage-direction aid in

making
(4)
it

(1)

the dialogue, (2) the

plot, (3) the

dramatic action, or
?

the character more clear?

Does

it

shorten the play


effectively

Does

express idea, emotion, or situif it

ations

more

than could dialogue,

were used ?
is in,

And,
imtil

finally,

do not judge any play

until all the evidence

you have thoroughly mastered every

detail It
is

and have

fully

conceived the author's idea and purpose.

not a question

whether you would have selected such a theme or whether you

would have handled


but the point
to you.
is

it

in the

same way

in

which the author did;


his

does the author in his

way make

theme

clear

The author has conceived a dramatic problem in his The question is, oion mind and has set it forth in his own way. does he make you see his result and his method ? Do you like the play ? Or do you not like it ? State your reason in either case.
of the

Is
it

it

because of the author ?

Is it because

theme ?

Is

because of the technic


?

the way he gets his


own
likes
?

intent to his reader or audience

Is

it

because of your
Is
it

or dislikes; preconceived notions or prejudices

it

because of

the acting?
press
?

Of the staging or setting?


it

Does

uplift or de-

Does

provoke you to emotional functioning ?


old the thought

"Though

and
it

oft expressed,

'Tis his at last

who

says

best."

THE TWELVE-POUND LOOK


BY
SIR JAMES M. BARRIE

The Twelve-Poimd Look


ncr's Sons, the publisher in

is

reprinted

by permission
works of
Sir

of Charles Scrib-

America

of the

James M.

Barrie.

For permission to perform, address the publisher.

SIR JAMES M. BARRIE


tist of

James M. Barrie is rated as the foremost English dramathe day; and his plays, taken together, make the most significant contribution to EngHsh drama since Sheridan. Practically his entire life has been given to the writing of novels and
Sir

plays,

cially for

many of the latter having their heroines conceived espeMaude Adams, one of America's greatest actresses. He was born in Kirriemuir, Scotland, in 18G0. He received his
education at Dumfries and Edinburgh University. His first work in journalism and letters was done at Nottingham, but soon he took up his work in London, where he now resides. Sir James M. Barrie's literary labors have been very fruitful. His The Professor's Love Story, The Little Minister, Quality Street, The Admirable Crichton, Peter Pan, What Every Woman Knoics, and Alice Sit-hy-the-Fire are well known to every one. In 191-1 there appeared a volume of one-act plays. Half Hours, the most important of which is The Twelve-Pound Look. And in 1918 appeared a volume. Echoes of the War, the most important one-act play therein being The Old Lady Shoivs Her Medals. Barrie is a great playwright because he is so thoroughly human. All the little whimsicalities, sentiments, little loves, and heartlongings of human beings are ever present in his plays. He is no reformer, no propagandist. He appeals to the emotions rather than to the intellect. He continues the romantic tradition in English drama and gives us plays that are wholesome, tender, and human. And with all this, he has the added saving grace of a most absorbing humor. While Barrie is not a devotee of the well-made play, his The Twelve-Pound Look is one of the most nearly perfect one-act plays of contemporary drama. His interest in human personalities is not more manifest in any of his plays than in Lady

Sims and "Sir"

Harry Sims

in this play.

CHARACTERS
"Sir" Harry Sims

Lady Sims

Kate
TOMBES

THE TWELVE-POUND LOOK*


// quite convenient {as they say about checks) you are to conceive
that the scene is laid in
is

your own house, and that

Harry Sims
a
trifle

you.

Perhaps

the ornamentation of the hou^e is

ostentatious, but if
rate
:

you

cavil at that

we

are willing to redecoSevis

you dont

get out of being

Harry

on a mere matter
city

of plush and dados.

It pleases us to

make him a

man,
what

but {rather than lose you) he can be turned with a scrape of the

pen

into a K.C., fashionable doctor. Secretary of State, or


will.

you

We

conceive

him

of a pleasant rotundity with a

thick red neck, but ice shall waive that point if


to be thin.

you know him

It is that

day in your career when everything

icent lorong just

when

everything seemed to be superlatively right.

In Harry's case
to

it

was a woman who did and


told

the mischief.

She came

him in

his great hour

him

she did not admire him.

again, but

Of course he turned her out of the house and was soon himself it spoiled the morning for him. This is the subject and
quite enough too.
is to receive the

of the play,

Harry

honor of hiighthood in a few days, and we

discover

him in

the
it

Kensington

{or is

sumptuous ^'snuggery" of his home in Westminster?), rehearsing the ceremony


at
it all

with his wife.


occupation.

They have been

the

morning, a pleasing
for the last time,
is

Mrs. Sims
and
strictly as

{as

we may

call her

cw

it tcere,

a good-natured joke)

wearing her

presentation gown,
to

and personates
She

the august one

who

is

about

dub her

Harry knight.

is seated regally.

Her jewelled
She rmist

shoulders proclaim aloud her husband's generosity.


* Copyright, 1914,

by Charles Scribner's Sons.


21

All rights reserved.


22
be

SIR

JAMES BARRIE
yet she has

an extraordinarily proud and happy woman,


if there

drawn face and shrinking ways, as


her of
to

were some one near


the signal

whom

she is afraid.

She claps her hands, as

Harry.

He

the leg.

lie is

and with a graceful swerve of only partly in costume, the sword and the real
enters bowing,

stockings not having arrived yet.


is

With a gliding motion

that

only delayed while one leg makes

up on

the other, he reaches

his wife, and, going his lips.

on one knee,

raises her

hand superbly

to

She taps him on


:

the shoulder with

a paper-knife and
bows, and glides

says huskily

"Rise, Sir Harry."

He
to

rises,

about the room, going on his knees


ture,

various articles of furni-

and

scene,

rises from each a knight. It is a radiant domestic and Harry is as dignified as if he knew that royalty
it

was rehearsing
Sir Harry.

at the other end.

[Complacently.]

Did that seem

all right,

eh?

Lady
Lady

Sims.

Sir Harry.
Sevis.

[Much relieved.] I think But was it dignified ?


Oh, very.

perfect.

And

it will

be

still

more

so

when you

have the sword.


Sir Harry.
the five
dip

The sword will lend moments [suiting the action


kiss

it

an

air.

There are really

to the

word]

the

glide

the

the
it's

the tap and you back out a knight.


[Kindly.]

It's short,

but

a very beautiful ceremony.

Anything you

can suggest?

Lady

Sims.

No
to

oh, no.
You

[Nervously, seeing

him

paiise to kiss
till

the tassel of

a cushion.]

don't think you have practised

you know what


would

do almost too well ?


blissful temper, but

[He ha^ been in a


try

such niggling criticism

any man.

Sm

Harry.
is

do not.

Don't talk nonsense.


I'm sorry, Harry.
*
'

Wait

till

your

opinion

asked

for.

Lady

Sims.

[Abashed.]

[A perfect butler

appears and presents a card.]

The Flora Typewriting Agency."

THE TWELVE-POUND LOOK


Sir Harry.

23
one.

Ah,

yes.

I telephoned

them

to send

some

woman, I suppose, Tombes ? ToMBES. Yes, Sir Harry. Sir Harry. Show her in here.
And, Tombes,
till

[lie

has very lately become a

stickler for etiquette.]

strictly speaking,

you know,
us.

am

not Sir Harry

Thursday.
sir,

Tombes.
do they ?

Beg pardon,

but

it is

such a satisfaction to

Sir Harry.

[Good-naturedly.]

Ah, they

like it down-stairs,

Tombes.
hutler departs

[Unbending.]

Especially the females, Sir Harry.

Sir Harry.

Exactly.

on his
for,

You can show her in, Tombes. [The mighty task.] You can tell the woman what
while I change.

she

is

wanted

Emmy,
and
tell

[He

is too

modest

to

boast about himself,

prefers to keep a ivife in the house for that

purpose.]

You can

her the sort of things about

me

that will

come better from you. [Smiling happily.] You heard what Tombes said: "Especially the females." And he is right. Success! The women like it even better than the men. And rightly. For they share. You share, Lady Sims. Not a woman will see that gown without being sick with envy of it. I know them. Have all our lady friends in to see it. It will make them
ill

for a week.

[These sentiments carry

him

off light-heartedly,

and presently
a mere
typist^

the disturbing element is

shown

in.
taste,

She

is

dressed in

uncommonly good
and she
is

but at contemptibly

smxill expense,

carrying her typewriter in a

friendly way rather than as a badge of slavery, as of course it is. Her eye is clear ; and in odd contrast to Lady Sims,

she is self-reliant

and

serene.

Kate.
to.]

[Respectfully, but she should have waited to be

spoken

Good morning, madam. Lady Sims. [In her nervous way, and
little

scarcely noticing that ike

typist is a

too ready with her tongue.]

Good morning.

[As

first

impression she rather likes the woman, and the woman.


24
though
it is

SIR

JAMES BARRIE
Lady Sims

scarcely ivorth mentioning, rather likes her.

has a maid for buttoning and unbuttoning her, and probably another
for waiting on the maid, and she gazes with a
little

envy perhaps at

woman who
Kate.

does things for herself.]

Is that the typewriting

machine ?

[Who
it

is getting it to be.]

ready for
if

use.]

Yes.
to

[Not

*'

Yes,

madam,"' as
take this

ought

I suppose

am
it.

work here

may

off.

I get

on better without
[But the hat
I

[She is referring to her hat.

Lady
I

Sims.

Certainly.

is

already of.]

ought

to apologize for

my gown.
on.
is

am

to be presented this week,

and

was trying

it

[Her tone

not really apologetic.

She

is rather

clinging to

the glory of her


tain,

gown, wistfully, as
that
if

if not absolutely cer-

you know,
is

it is

a glory.
to say so.
best

Kate.

It

beautiful,

may presume

[She frankly admires

it.

She probably has a


that sort of thing.

and a

sec-

ond

best of her

own;
it

Lady

Sims.

[With a flush of pride in the gown.]


gives her courage.]

Yes,

it is

very

beautiful.

[The beauty of [The sort of


it is

Sit

down, please.

Kate.
case.]

woman who would


come

have sat

I suppose
I

some copying you want done ?


to this address,

particulars.

was

told to

down in any I got no but that was all.


Oh,
is

Lady

Sims.

[Almost with the humility of a servant.]


it is

it is

not work for me,


exactly copying.

for

my

husband, and what he needs

not

[Swelling, for she is

proud of Harey.]

He

wants a number of letters answered hundreds of them and telegrams of congratulation. Kate. [As if it were all in the day*s work.] Yes ?

letters

Lady

Sims.

[Remembering that

Harry

expats every wife to do

her duty.]

My

husband

is

a remarkable man.
does not fall to
[on reflection]

He
tJie

is

about to

be knighted.

[Pause, but

Kate

floor.]

He

is

to be knighted for his services to

for his services.

[She is conscious that she is not doing


plain
it

Harry justice.]

He

can ex-

so

much

better than I can.

THE TWELVE-POUND LOOK


Kate.
[In her businesslike way.]
?

25

And
a hard

am

to

answer the

congratulations

Lady
Kate.

Sims.

[Afraid that
It
is

it

will be

task.]

Yes.
of.

[Blithely.]

work

have had some experience

[She proceeds to type.

Lady
I

Sims.

But you

can't begin

till

you know what he wants


it

to say.

Kate.

Only a specimen
Sims.

letter.

Won't
a new

be the usual thing.?


Is there

Lady
thing?
K.\TE.

[To

whom

this is

idea.]

a usual

Oh,

yes.

[She continues to type, and


gazes at her nimble fingers.
the useful one,

Lady
The

Sims, half-mesmerized,
useless

woman
tell

watches

and she

sighs, she could not


it
!

why.
delightful

Lady
KLA.TE.

Sims.

How

quickly you do

It

must be

to be able to do something,
[Thankfully.]

and to do
it is

it

well.

Yes,

delightful.

Lady
wants

Sims.

[Again remembering the source of all her greatness.]

But, excuse me, I don't think that will be any use.

My husband
case.

me

to explain to

you that

his

is

an exceptional
It

He
sur-

did not try to get this honor in any way.


prise to

was a complete

K1\TE.

him [Who

is

a practical

Kate and

no dealer in sarcasm.]

That

is

w^hat I hav^e written.

Lady Sims. [In whom sarcasm would how could you know ?
Kate.
I only guessed.

meet a dead wall.]

But

Lady
Kate.

Sims.

Is that the usual thing?


yes.
.?

Oh,
Sims.
I

Lady
Kate.
letters.

They don't try to get it don't know. That is what we

are told to say in the

[To her at present the only important thing about the


is that

letters

they are ten shillings the hundred.

Lady

Sims.

[Returning to surer ground.]

I should explain

26
that

SIR
my
husband
is

JAMES BARRIE
man who
cares for honors.

not a

So long as

he does his duty

Kate.

Yes, I have been putting that

in.
it

Lady Sims. Have you? But he particularly wants known that he would have declined a title were it not
Ka.te.
I have got
it

to be

here.

Lady
Ka.te.

Sims.

What have you


it

got ?
al-

[Reading.]

"Indeed, I would have asked to be

lowed to

decline had

not been that I want to please

my wife."
was that ?
ask
qties-

Lady

Sims.
Is

[Heavily.]
it ?

But how could you know

it

Kate.

Lady
tions.]

Sims.

[WhOy
all
is

after all, is the


it

one with the right


?

to

Do

they

accept

for that reason

Kate.

That
Sims.

what we

are told to say in the letters.


It
is

Lady
Kate.

[Thoughtlessly.]

quite as

if

you knew

my

husband.
I assure you, I don't even

know

his

name.

Lady

Sims.

[Suddenly showing that she knows him.]

Oh, he

wouldn't

like that
it is

[And

here that

Harry

re-enters in his city garmentSy

looking so gay, feeling so jolly, that

we

bleed for him.

However, the annoying

Katherine

is to get

a shock

also.

Lady

Sims.

This

is

the lady, Harry.

Sir Harry.

[Shooting his cuffs.]

Yes, yes.

Good morning,

my

dear.

[Then they see each


wards.

other,

and

their

mouths open, but not for

After the first surprise


the situation, but

humor in
cloud.

Kate seems to find some Harry lowers like a thunderI

Lady

Sims.

[Who has

seen nothing.]

have been trying to

explain to her

Sir Harry.

Eh^what ?
attend to her.
goes, with

[He controls himself.]

Leave

it

to

me,

Emmy;

I'll

[Lady Sims

a dread fear thai somehow she has

vexed her lord, and then

Harry

attends to the intruder.

THE TWELVE-POUND LOOK


Sir Harry.
[With concentrated scorn.]
if

27

You
it's

Kate.

[As

agreeing u-ith him.]

Yes,
of

funny.

Sir Harry.

The shamelessness
it is

your daring to come here.

Kate.
you.
I

Believe me,

not

less

a surprise to

me

than

it is

to

was sent here

in the

ordinary

way
I

of business.

given only the number of the house.

was not

told

was the name.


I
!

Sir Harry.

[Withering

her.]

The ordinary way

of business

This

what you have fallen to a typist Kate. [Unicithered.] Think of it Sir Harry. After going through worse straits, I'll be bounds Kate. [With some grim memories.] Much worse straits, SiR Harry. [Alas, laughing coarsely.] My congratulations I
is

K.\TE.

her abject.]

as any man would he, not to find What was that you called me, madam ? K1\TE. Isn't it Harry ? On my soul, I almost forget. Sir Harry. It isn't Harry to you. My name is Sims, if you

Sir Harry.

Thank you, Harry. [Who is annoyed,

Eh ?

please.

Kate.
you
see.

Yes, I had not forgotten that.

It

was

my name,
till

too,

Sir Harry.

[In his best manner.]


it.

It

was your name

you

forfeited the right to bear

Kate.

Exactly.
[Gloatiiig.]
it

Sir Harry.

was

furious to find

you

here,

but

on second thoughts
nature.]

pleases me.

[From

the depths of his

moral

There

is

a grim justice in this.


Tell

Kate.
Kate.
knight,
lation.

[Sympathetically.]

me ?
You have been made a

Sir Harry.
I I

Do you know what you were brought here to do ?


to answer the messages of congratu-

have just been learning.

and

was summoned
That's

Sir Harry.

it,

that's

it.

You come on

this

day as

my

servant
I,

Kate.

Sir Harry.

who might have been Lady Sims. And you are her typist instead.

And

she has

28

SIR

JAMES BARRIE
am
glad you saw her in her presenta-

four men-servants.
tion gown.

Oh, I

Kate.

wonder

if

she would let

me do

her washing, Sir

Harry ? Sir Harry.

[Her want of taste disgusts him.

[With dignity .]

You can go.

The mere thought

that only a few flights of stairs separates such as you from

my

innocent children

[He will never know why a new

light
.?

has come into her face.

Kate.

[Slowly.]

You have

children

Sir Harry.

[Inflated.]

Two.
is so

[He wonders why she

long in answering.

Kate.
Kate.
Harry ?

[Resorting to impertinence.]

Such a nice number.

Sir Harry.

[With an extra turn of the screw.]

Both boys.
like

Successful in everything.

Are they

you. Sir

Sir Harry.

[Expanding.]

They

are very like me.

Kate.

That's nice.
[Even on such a subject as this she can be ribald.

Sir Harry.

Will you please to go.


!

Kate.
Kate.
will accept

Heigho

What
is

shall I say to
affair of

my

employer ?

Sir Harry.

That

no

mine.

^\liat will

you say to Lady Sims ?


whatever I say, Lady Sims

Sir Harry.

I flatter myself that

without comment.

[She smiles, heaven knows why, unless her next remark ex-

plains

it.

Kate.
Kate.

Still

the same Harry.

Sir Harry.

What do you mean ?


in

Only that you have the old confidence


sex.
to

your pro-

found knowledge of the


Sir Harry.
her morals.]

[Beginning

think as

little

of her intellect as of

I suppose I

know my

wife.

Kate.

[Hopelessly dense.]

I suppose so.

was only remem-

THE TWELVE-POUND LOOK


bering that you used to think you

29

knew her

in the

days when I

was

tlie

lady.

[He

is

merely wasting his time on her, and he indilady


to retire worsted.]

cates the door.

She

is not sufficiently the

Well, good-by, Sir Harry.

Won't you
?

ring,

and the four men[But he hesitates.


arc here, there
it

servants will show

me

out

Sir Harry.

[In spite of himself.]


to get out of you.

As you

is

something
eagerly.]

want

[Wishing he could ask

less

Tell me,

[The strange

who was woman

the
it

man ?
now
that she has

been strange to him,

smiles

is evident

always

tolerantly.

Kate.

You

never found out ?


I could never be sure.

Sir Harry.

Kate. [Reflectively.] I thought that would worry you. Sir Harry. [Sneering.] It's plain that he soon left you. Kate.
Very soon.
Sir Harry.

As

I could

have told you.


Lisa.

[But

still

she surveys

him u^h
treat.]

the smile of

Monna
It

The badgered

man

has

to

en-

Who

was

he.^

was fourteen years ago, and cannot


Kate,
tell

matter to any of us now.


[It is his first

me who

he was ^

youthful moment, and perhaps because of that

she does not wish to hurt him.

Kate. Kate.

[Shaking a motherly head.]


I

Better not ask.

Sir Harry.
It
is

do ask.

Tell me.
tell

kinder not to
[Violently.]
it

you.
it

Sir Harry.

Then, by James,
Roche.'*

was one

of

my
It

own

pals.

W'as

Bernard

[She shakes her head.]


to

may have
Kate.
found

been some one


I

who comes

my

house

still.

think

not.

[Reflecting.]

Fourteen

years!

You

my letter that night when


[Impatient.]
it

you went home ?

Sir Harry.

Yes.

would be sure to see

I thought you was a room not unlike this, and the furniture was arranged in the same attractive way. How it all comes back to me. Don't you see me, Harry, in hat and
I

Kate.

propped

against the decanters.


It

it

there.

30

SIR

JAMES BARRIE
and then
meet
no sound
in the

cloak, putting the letter there, taking a last look round,


stealing out into the night to

Sir Harry.

\Miom?
Hours
pass,

Kate.

Him.

room but the

tick-

tack of the clock, and then about midnight you return alone.

You

take
[Grnfflij.]

Sir Henry.

I wasn't alone.

Kate.
have
his face.]

[The picture spoiled.]

No? Oh.
it

[Plaintively.]

Here

I all these years I believe

been conceiving

wrongly.

[She studies

something interesting happened.

Sir Harry.

[Growling.]

Something confoundedly annoying.


me.

Kate.

[Coaxing.]

Do

tell

Sir Harry.

We

won't go into that.

AMio was the man.^


his wife bolted.

Surely a husband has a right to

know with whom


icith
it.

Kate.

[Who

is detestably

ready

her tongue.]

Surely the

wife has a right to

know how he took


her aid.]
tell

[The woman's love of

bargaining comes

to

fair

exchange.

You

tell

me

what happened, and I will Sir Harry. You will


[It is the first

you who he was.


well.

.^

Very

point on which they have agreed, and, forgetting

himself, he takes a place beside her on the fire-seat.

He

is

thinking only of what he


is

is to tell her,

but she, womanlike,

conscious of their proximity.


[Tastelessly.]

K.\te.

Quite like old times.

[He moves away

from her

indignantly.]

Go

on, Harry.

Sir H,\rry.
thing that

is to his

[Who has a manful shrinking from saying anydisadvantage.] Well, as you know, I was din-

ing at the club that night.

Kate.
was with

Yes.

Sir Harry.
us,

Jack

Lamb

drove

me home.
.^

Mabbett Green

them to come in Kate. Jack Lamb, Mabbett Green them. Jack was in Parliament.
and
I asked

for a few minutes. I think I

remember

THE TWELVE-POUND LOOK


Sir Harry.

31
into the

No, that was Mabbett.


[with

They came
it

house with
Ka-TE.

me and

sudden horror]
?

was

him ?

[Bewildered.]

\^^lo

Sir Harry.
KL\TE.

Mabbett.^

What ?
The man ?
man.?
[Understanding.]

Sir Harry.

Kate.
you

What

Oh, no.

thought

came into the house with you. Sir Harry. It might have been a blind. Kate. Well, it wasn't. Go on. Sir Harry. They came in to finish a talk we had been havsaid he

ing at the club.

KL\TE.

An
of

interesting talk, evidently.

Sir Harry.

elopement
her

The papers had been full that evening of the some countess woman w ith a fiddler. What was
it

name ?
Does
matter
.'*

IZate.

Sir Harry.

No.

[Thus ends the countess.]

We

had been

discussing the thing

and

[he pulls

a wry face]

and I had been

rather

w arm
[With horrid
relish.]

Kate.
saying
it

I begin to see.

served the husband right, that the

You had been man who could not


one of your
fa-

look after his wife deserved to lose her.


vorite subjects.

It w^as

Oh, Harry, say


[Sourly.]
all

it

w^as that

Sir Harry.

It

may have been something like that.


clock.

Kate.
none
tell

And

the time the letter w^as there, waiting; and

of

you knew except the


[His face
is

Harry,

it is

sweet of you to
has used the

me.

not sweet.

The

illiterate

woman
But
I

wrong

adjective.]

I forget

what

I said precisely in the letter.

Sir Harry.

[Pulverizing her.]

So do

I.
it

have

it still.

Kate.

[Not pulverized.]

Do

let

me
it

see

again.

[She has observed his eye wandering to the desk.

Sir Harry.

You

are

welcome to

as a

gift.

32

SIR
[The fateful

JAMES BARRIE
a poor
little

letter,

dead thing,

is

brought to light

from a

locked drawer.
it.]

Kate.
crumple

[Talcing
it!

Yes, this

is

it.

Harry, how you did

[She reads, not without curiosity.]


for the last

"Dear husband

call

you that

time

am off.

am what you

call

making a bolt of it. I won't try to excuse myself nor to explain, for you would not accept the excuses nor understand the explanation.

It will be a little shock to you, but only to


will

your pride;

what

astound you

is

that any
I

woman

could be such a fool as

to leave such a

man

as you.

am

taking nothing with

me
You

that

belongs to you.

May

you be very happy.


find out

Your
is.

ungrateful
will

Kate.
try,

P.S.

You need not try to


have
it

who he

but you won't succeed."


really for

[She folds the nasty

little

thing up.]

may

my

very

own ?
would
care
for

Sir Harry.

You

really

may.
If

Kate.
copy
?

[Impudently.]

you

typed

Sir Harry.
grandmother].

[In a voice with which he used to frighten his

None

of

your sauce!

[Wincing.]

had

to let

them

see

it

in the end.

KL^.TE.

I can picture Jack

Lamb

eating

it.

Sir Harry. Kate. That is all I was. Sir Harry. We searched for the two of you high and low. Kate. Private detectives ? Sir Harry. They couldn't get on the track of you. Kate. [Smiling.] No ? Sir Harry. But at last the courts let me serve the papers by advertisement on a man unknown, and I got my freedom. Kate. So I saw. It was the last I heard of you.
penniless parson's daughter.

Sir Harry.

[Each word a blow for

her.]

And

I married again

just as soon as ever I could.

ICate.
wife.

They say

that

is

always a compliment to the

first

THE TWELVE-POUND LOOK


Sir Harry.
KL\TE.
[Violently.]
let

33

showed them.
if

You soon

them

see that

one

woman was

fool,

you

still

had the pick

of the basket to choose from.

Sir Harry.
KLvTE.

By

James, I did.
to earth again.]

[Bringing him

But still, you wondered

who he
like

was.
I suspected their throats

Sir Harry.

everybody

even

my

jumping at

and crying: "It's you

pals. !"

I felt

Kate.

You had been

so admirable to me, an instinct told

you

that I was sure to choose another of the same.

Sir Harry.

I thought,

it

can't be money, so in perplexity.]

it

Some

dolly face.

[lie stares at her

must be looks. He must have


willing to give

had something wonderful about him to make you

up all that you had with me. Kate. [As if he was the stupid one.] Poor Harry. Sir Harry. And it couldn't have been going on for
I

long, for

would have noticed the change

in you.

Kate.

Sir Harry.

Would you ? I knew you

so well.

You amazing man. Sir Harry. So who was he ? Out with it. Kate. You are determined to know ? Sir Harry. Your promise. You gave your
Kate.
Kate.
If I

word.
it

must

[She is the villain of the piece, but

mu^t
I

he conceded that in this matter she is reluctant to pain him.]

am

sorry I promised.

[Looking at him steadily.]


all.

There was no one,

Harry; no one at

Sir Harry. [Rising.] If you think you can play with

me

Katb.

I told

you that you wouldn't

like

it.

Sir Harry. [Rasping.] It is unbelievable. Kate. I suppose it is; but it is true. Sir Harry. Your letter itself gives you the lie. Kate. That was intentional. I saw that if the truth were known you might have a difficulty in getting your freedom; and

34
as I
also.

SIR
was getting mine
So
I wrote
it

JAMES BARRIE
seemed
fair

that you should have yours

my

good-by

in

words that would be taken to


I

mean what you thought they meant, and


back you
in

knew

the law would

your opinion.
[Trying

For the law,

like

you, Harry, has a

profound understanding of women.


Sir Harry.
to straighten himself.]

I don't believe

you yet. Kate.


haps that
the truth.

[Looking not unkindly into the soul of this man.]


is

Per-

the best

way

to take

it.

It

is less

unflattering than
her
life.]

But you were the only

one.

[Summing up

You

suflSced.

Sir Harry.
ICate.
year.
It

Then what mad impulse was no impulse, Harry. I had thought

it

out for a

Sir Harry. A year? [Dazed.] One would think to hear you that I hadn't been a good husband to you. Kate. [With a sad smile.] You were a good husband according to your lights.

Sir Harry.

[Stoutly.]

I think

so.

Kate.
thropist.

And

a moral man, and chatty, and quite the philan-

Sir Harry.

[On sure ground.]

All

women

envied you.

Kate.
Kate.

How

you loved me to be envied.


I swaddled

Sir Harry. Sir Harry.

you

in luxury.

[Making her

great revelation.]

That was

it.

[Blankly.]

What.^^
it is all over.]

Kate. [Who can beamed at me when


fat jewelry,

be serene because

How
in

you

I sat at the

head of your fat dinners


so fat.

my

surrounded by our fat friends.


[Aggrieved.]
issue.]

Sir Harry.

They weren't

Kate.

[A side

All except those

Have you

ever noticed, Harry, that

many
?

jewels

who were so thin. make women


it

either incredibly fat or incredibly thin

Sir Harry.

[Shouting.]

have not.

[Is

worth while to

THE TWELVE-POUND LOOK


argue with her any longer?]
ciety of the day.

35

We

had

all

the most interesting so-

It wasn't only business

men.

There were
Oh, the
hit

poli-

ticians, painters, writers

Kate.
while

Only the glorious, dazzling successes.


ate too

fat talk

we

much

about who had made a

and who was

slipping back, and what the noo house cost and the noo motor and the gold soup-plates, and who was to be the noo knight. Sir Harry. [Whoit will he observed is unanswerable from first Was anybody getting on better than me, and conseto last.]

quently you ?

Kate.
religion.

Consequently

me

Oh, Harry, you and your sublime

Sir Harry.

[Honest heart.]

My religion ?

I never

was one

to talk about religion, but

Kate.

Pooh, Harry, you don't even know what your religion


will

was and is and [And here is the


whatever he
is

be

till

the day of your expensive funeral.

lesson that life has taught her.]


in,

One's religion
is

is

most interested
[Quoting

and yours

Success.

Sir Harry.
it is

from

his

morning paper.]

Ambition

the last infirmity of noble minds.

EIate.

Noble minds
[At last grasping what she is talking about.]

Sir Harry.

You

are not saying that you left

me

because of

my

success

Kate.

Yes, that was


it.

it.

[And now she stands

revealed to him.]

I couldn't endure

If

a failure had come

now and then

but

your success was suffocating me.

[She is rigid with emotion.]

The passionate craving I had to be done with it, to find myself among people who had not got on. Sir Harry. [With proper spirit.] There are plenty of them.
Kate.
There were none
[Clenching
in

our

set.

When
you I

they began to go

down-hill they rolled out of our sight.

Sir Harry.
of a million.

it.]

tell

am

worth a quarter

Kate.

[Unabashed.]

That

is

what you

are worth to yourself.

36
I'll tell

SIR

JAMES BARRIE

you what you are worth to me: exactly twelve pounds. my mind that I could launch myself on the world alone if I first proved my mettle by earning twelve pounds; and
For I made up
as soon as I

had earned
is

it

I left you.

Sir Harry.

[In the scales.]

Twelve pounds
If

Kate.

That

your value to a woman.

she can't

make

it

she has to stick to you.

Sir Harry.

[Remembering perhaps a rectory garden.]

You

valued

me

If only Kate. you had been a man, Harry. Sir Harry. A man ? What do you mean by a man ? Kate. [Leaving the garden.] Haven't you heard of them ? They are something fine; and every woman is loath to admit to

more than that when you married me. [Seeing it also.] Ah, I didn't know you then.
at

herself that her

husband

is

not one.

When

she marries, even

though she has been a very trivial person, there is in her some vague stirring toward a worthy life, as well as a fear of her capacity for evil.

She knows her chance


is

lies in

him.

If there is
it,

somejoin

thing good in him, w^hat

good

in her finds

and they

forces against the baser parts.

So I didn't give

you up

willingly,

Harry.

I invented

all sorts of

theories to explain you.

Your

hardness I said it was a fine want of mawkishness. Your coarseness I said it goes with strength. Your contempt for the weak Your want of ideals was clear-sightedness. I called it virility. Oh, I tried to think them funny. of w^omen Your ignoble views had only go; you to let I had But myself. save clung you to to I

the one quality, Harry, success; you had

it

so strong that

it

swal-

lowed

all

the others.

Sir Harry. [Not to he diverted from the main issue.] How did you earn that twelve pounds ? Kate. It took me nearly six montlis; but I earned it fairly.
[She presses her hand on the typewriter as lovingly as

many a woman

has
self.

'pressed

rose.]

I learned this.

I hired

it

and taught my-

I ^ot

some work through a

friend,

and with

my first twelve

THE TWELVE-POUND LOOK


pounds
I paid for

37
was

my

machine.

Then

I considered that I

free to go,

and

I went. All this going on in


!

Sir Harry.

my

house while you were

living in the lap of luxury

[She nods.]

By God, you

were de-

termined.
K.\TE.
[Briefly.]

By God,

I was.

Harry. [Staring.] How you must have hated me. Kate. [Smiling at the childish word.] Not a bit after I saw that there was a way out. From that hour you amused me, Harry; I was even sorry for you, for I saw that you couldn't help

Sm

yourself.

Success

is

just a fatal gift.

Sir Harry.

Oh, thank you.

Kate.
two
of

Thinking, dear friends in front, of you and

Yes, and some of your most successful friends

knew
if

me perhaps.] it. One or

them used

to look very sad at times, as


if

they thought

they might have come to something

they hadn't got on.

Sm

Harry.
live

crew you

among now
failed ?
it;

[Who has a horror of sacrilege.] The battered what are they but folk who have tried

to succeed

and

Kate.

That's

they

try,

but they

fail.

Sir Harry.

And

always

will fail.

Kate.
of them.

Always.

Poor souls

say of them.

Poor soul
I never tire

they say of me.


Sir Harry.

It keeps us

human.

That

is

why

[Comprehensively.]

Bah

Kate, I

tell

you

I'll

be worth half a million yet.

I'm sure you will. You're getting stout, Harry. Harry. No, I'm not. Kate. What was the name of that fat old fellow who used

Kate.

Sm

lo

fall

asleep at our dinner-parties


If

you mean Sir William Crackley Kate. That was the man. Sir William was to me a perfect picture of the grand success. He had got on so well that he was very, very stout, and when he sat on a chair it was thus [her hands

Sir Harry.

38

SIR

JAMES BARRIE
if

meeting in front of her]

as

he were holding his success together.

That is what you are working for, Harry. and the half million about the same time.
Sir Harry.
please to leave

You

will

have that
Will you

[Who has

surely been very patient.]

my house ?
But don't
in
let

Kate.

[Putting on her gloves, soiled things.]

us

part in anger.

How

do

j^ou think I

am

looking, Harry,

com-

pared to the

dull, inert thing

that used to

roll

round

your pad-

ded carriages ?
Sir Harry.
like.

[In masterly fashion.]

I forget

what you were

I'm very sure you never could have held a candle to the

present

Lady Sims.
That
is

Kate.
gown.

a picture of her,
his

is it

not ?

Sir Harry.

[Seizing

chance again.]

In her wedding-

Painted by an R.A.
[Wickedly.]

Kate. Kate.
part.]

knight.?

Sir Harry.

[Deceived.]
likes

Yes.

[Who
is

Lady Sims
face.

a piece of presumption on hel


Acknowledged ta

It

a very pretty

Sir Harry.

[With the pride of possession.]

be a beauty everywhere.

Kate.
chin.

There

is

a merry look

in

the eyes, and character in the

Sir Harry.

[Like
life

an

auctioneer.]

Noted

for her wit.

Kate.
first

All her

before her

when that was

painted.

It

is

spirituelle face too.

[Suddenly she turns on him with anger, for the


the play.]

and only time in

Oh, Harry, you brute


What.?

Sir Harry.

[Staggered.]

Eh.?

Kate. That dear creature, capable of becoming a noble wife and mother she is the spiritless woman of no account that I

saw here a few minutes ago. I forgive you for myself, caped, but that poor lost soul, oh, Harry, Harry.

for I es-

Sm

Harry.

[Waving her

to the door.]

I'll

thank you

If

THE TWELVE-POUND LOOK


ever there was a

39
in her

married

life,

that w

woman proud of her husband and happy oman is Lady Sims.

Kate.
Kate.
of

I wonder.

Sir Harry.

Then you needn't wonder.


If
it is

them

I was a husband my advice to I would often w atch my wife quietly to see whether the
[Slowli/.]

all

twelve-pound look was not coming into her eyes.

Two boys, did

you

say,

and both

like

you ?
is

Sir Harry.

What

that to you
eyes].

Kate.

[With glistening

where there are two


dear, pretty girls

little girls

was only thinking that somewho, when they grow up the


I

to

who

are

all

meant
little

for the

men

that don't get

on

Well, good-by. Sir Harry.

Sir Harry.
feared.]

[Showing a

human

weakness^

it

is

he

Say first that you're Kate. For what.^

sorry.

Sir Harry.

That you

left

me.

Say you regret

it

bitterly.

You know you do. [She smiles and shakes her head. He is pettish. He makes a terrible announcement.] You have spoiled the
day for me.. Kate. [To hearten
a pin-prick, Harry.
of your

him.]

am
it is

sorry for that; but

it is

only

I suppose

a
is

little

jarring in the

triumph to find that there

one old friend


soon forget
it.

moment who does

not think you a success; but you

will

Who cares

what a typist thinks ? Sir Harry. [Heartened.] Nobody. A typist at eighteen shillings a week Kate. [Proudly.] Not a bit of it, Harry. I double that. Sm Harry. [Neatly.] Magnificent!
[There
is

a timid knock

at the door.

Lady Sims. May I come in ? Sir Harry. [Rather appealingly


Kate.
I

.]

It

won't

tell.

She

is

afraid to

is Lady Sims. come into her husband's

room without knocking

40
SiK Harry.

SIR
She
is

JAMES BARRIE
not.

[Uxoriously.]

Come

in,

dearest.
the

[Dearest enters, carrying the sword.

She might have had

sense not to bring

it

in while this annoying person

is here.

Lady

Sims.

[Thinking she has brought her welcome with

her.]

Harry, the sword has come.

Sm
with

Harry.
Sims.

Lady
it.

[Who will dote on it presently.] Oh, But I thought you were so eager
at this.

all right.

to practise

{The person smiles


see if she

He
it

wishes he had not looked

to

was smiling.

Sib Harry.

[Sharply.]

Put

down.
as she lays the sword aside.
It
is

[Lady Sims flushes a

little

Kate.
sword,
if

[With her confounded courtesy.]


I

a beautiful

may

say

so.

Lady

Sims.

[Helped.]

Yes.

[The person thinks she can put him in the wrong, does she?
He'll

show

her.

Sir Harry.

[With one eye on Kate.]


is

Emmy,

the one thing

your neck needs

more

jewels.

Lady Sims. Sir Harry.


atelle to

[Faltering.]

More!
I'll

Some
[Kate

ropes of pearls.

see to

it.

It's

a bag-

me.

conceals her chagrin, so she had better be

shown

the door.

Kate.

He rings.] Thank you.


The person
I,

I won't detain

you any

longer, miss.

Lady Lady
Kate.

Sims.

Going already ?

You have been

very quick.

Sir Harry.

doesn't suit,

Emmy.
Good-by,

Sims. I'm sorry.

So

am

madam, but

it

can't be helped.

your ladyship

good-by,

Sir Harry.

[There is a suspicion of an impertinent courtesy, and she is


escorted off the premises by
is purified

Tombes.
Sir

The air of the room


notices
it

by her going.

Harry

at once.

Lady

Sims.

[Whose tendency

is to

say the ivrong thing.]

She

seemed such a capable woman.

THE TWELVE-POUND LOOK


Sir Harry.
[On his hearth.]
[Meekly.]
I don't like her style at
best.
all.

41

Lady

Sims.

Of course you know


[This

is the right

kind of woman.

Lord, how when I said I was to give you those ropes of pearls. Lady Sims. Did she.'' I didn't notice. I suppose so. Sir Harry. [Frotvning.] Suppose ? Surely I know enough about women to know that. Lady Sims. Yes, oh yes. Sir Harry. [Odd that so confident a man should ask this.] Emmy, I know you well, don't I I can read you like a book, Sir Harry.
[Rather anxious for corroboration.]

she winced

.^

eh?

Lady Sims. Sir Harry.

[Nervously.]

Yes, Harry.

[Jovially, but with


is

an inquiring

eye.]

What a

different existence yours

from that poor lonely wretch's.


All

Lady

Sims.

Yes, but she has a very contented face.

Sm

Harry.
Sims.

[With a stamp of his foot.]


[Timidly.]

put on.

'WTiat.'*

Lady
Lady
alive.

I didn't say anything.

Sir Harry.
Sims.
It

[Snapping.]

One

w^ould think

you envied

her.

Envied ?

Oh, no

but I thought she looked so

Sir Harry.
[Curtly.]

was while she was working the machine. Alive That's no life. It is you that are alive. I'm busy, Emmy. [He sits at his writing-table.
!

Lady

Sims.

[Dutifully.]

I'm sorry;

I'll

go, Harry.

[Incon-

sequentially.]

Are they very expensive ?


What.?^

Sir Harry.

Lady

Sims.

Those machines
him.

.''

[When

she has gone the possible

startles

The curtain hides him from

meaning of her question us, but we may

be sure that he

mil soon
you and

be bland again.
I, that there is

We

have a com-

fortable feeling,

nothing of

Harry

Sims in

us.

TRADITION
BY

GEORGE MIDDLETON

Tradition is reprinted by permission of the author and the publisher, Henry Holt & Company, New York City. All rights reserved. For

permission to perform, address the author, in care of the publisher. The author and publisher of this play have permitted this reprinting of copyrighted material on the understanding that the play will be used only in classroom work. No other use of the play is authorized, and permission for any other use must be secured from the holder of the acting rights.

GEORGE MIDDLETON
George Middleton, one of the

ume
1902.

of one-act plays in America,

Jersey, 1880.

He

to write and publish a volwas born in Paterson, New was graduated from Columbia University in
first

Since 1921 he has been literary editor of La Follettes Weekly, and, in addition, has been a frequent contributor to magazines and reviews on dramatic and literary subjects. During the last few years he has spent much of his time abroad. George Middleton's chiefest interest has been in the one-act play. He has been an ardent champion of the shorter form of drama. Among his three volumes of one-act plays are Embers
(including The Failures, The Gargoyle, In His House,

Madonna,

and The

Man

Masterful), Tradition (including

On

Bail, Their

Wife, Waiting, The Cheat of Pity, and Mothers), and Possession (including The Grove, A Good Woman, The Black Tie, Circles,

Reason.

Other one-act plays are Criminals and The His longer plays are Nowadays and The Road Together. IVIr. Middleton has lectured widely on the one-act play before colleges, in Little Theatres, and clubs. Perhaps his most notable article is The Neglected One- Act Play, which appeared in The New York Dramatic Mirror in 1912. Tradition is one of Mr. Middleton's best and most popular one-act plays; and it most nearly conforms to the organic technic of the one-act play.

and The Unborn).

FIRST PERFORMANCE AT THE BERKELEY THEATER, NEW YORK CITY, JANUARY 24, 1913.
(Produced under the personal direction of Mr.

Frank Reicher.)

THE PEOPLE
George Ollivant
Emily,
his wife

.....
. .
.

Mr. George W. Wilson


Miss Alice Leigh

Mary,

his daughter^

an

actress

Miss Fola La Follette

TRADITION*
SCENE
A
:

The sitting-room
It is

at the

Ollivants' in a small town up-

State,

an evening

late in the spring.

simple room

is disclosed,

bearing the traces of another generation.

Old-fashioned icindow-doors at the right, overlooking the garden, open on a porch


ivay.
;

another door in hack opening on the hallleft,

large fireplace at the

now

concealed by an em-

broidered screen; the horsehair furniture, several terra-cotta


statuettes,

and a woodcut

or two on the walls create the subtle

atmosphere of the past.

There

is

a lamp on the

table,

and

another on a bracket by the door in back.

Moonlight

filters

through the window-doors.

The Ollivants are discovered

together.

Mary, a

rather plain

woman

of about twenty-five, with a suggestion of quick sensi-

bilities, is

standing, lost in thought, looking out into the garden.


quiet

Her mother, Emily, nearing fifty,


ner, is seated at the table

and subdued in manOccasionally she

trimming a

hat.

looks at Majiy, stops her work, glances at her husband, closes

her eyes as though tired, and then resumes.

The

silence con-

tinues for some time, broken only by the rattle of the town paper

which
life,

George Ollivant is reading.


and deep feeling.
it

He

is well

on in middle

with a strong, determined face not entirely without elements

of kindness

When

he finishes, he folds the

paper, puts

on

the table,

knocks the ashes carefully from his

pipe into his hand, and throws them behind the screen; takes
* Copyright, 1913,

by George Middleton.
47

All rights reserved.

48

GEORGE MIDDLETON
off his spectacles

and wipes them as

he, too, looks over

toward

his daughter,
after

still

gazing absently into the garden.

Finallyy

slight hesitation, he goes to her


is startled

and puts

his

arm about

her; she

but smiles sweetly.

Ollivant.

[Affectionately.]

Glad to be home again, Mary ?


is

Mary.

[Evasively.]

The garden

so pretty.

Ollivant.

Hasn't changed much, eh ?

Mary.

It

seems different; perhaps


I guess
it

it's

the night.

Ollivant.

isn't

up

to

its

usual standard.

Haven't

seen your mother there so often this spring.

Emily.

[Quietly.]
It's

This dry spell

is

not good for flowers.

Ollivant.

only the cultivated flowers that need care;

can't help thinking that


fields

when
to

I see the wild ones so

hardy

in

my

on the

hill.

[Turning

Emily and

patting her.]
?

Is there

any

of that spray mixture left, Emily, dear

Emily.

I haven't looked lately.


I'll

Ollivant.
daughter,

order some to-morrow.

[Taking up his pipe

again and looking for the tobacco.]


if

Think

it

would be a good

idea,

you'd spray those rosebushes every couple of weeks.

The bugs
Emily.

are a pest this spring.

Where's

my
it

tobacco

On

the mantel.

Ollivant.

Wish you would always leave


have things changed.
to the

on the table; you

know how

I hate to

[Ollivant goes
back

mantel, filling his pipe, and while his

is turned,

Mary
who

makes a quick questioning gesture


INIary ponders a

to her

mother,

sighs helplessly.

moment.

Mary.
INIary.

How's Ben been doing these two


Only once

years, father

Ollivant.

Hasn't your brother written you ?

^when I

left

home; he disapproved,

too.

Ollivant.
care of you,

Had
Mary.

an older brother's feeling of wanting to take

TRADITION
Mary.
and money
JVIary.
he.'

49

Yes; I know.

How's he doing ?
feet.

Ollivaj^t.
for

He's commencing to get on his

Takes time
isn't

any one to get started these days.


he's
still

But

in partnership

with Bert Taylor,

Ollivant.
in

Yes.

He'd have been somewhere

if

he'd worked

with

me

as I did with

my

father.

Things should be handed

down.

Offered him the chance, tried to

make him

take

it,

as

your mother knows; but that college chum


I've heard

nice enough
all

fellow,

turned

his

head another way. [Lighting his pipe

and

puffing slowly.]

It's best to

humor a young
have had us

fellow's ideas

if

he sticks them out, but I'd

like to

here together

The place is big enough even if he should want to marry. Your mother and I came here, you know, when your grandfather
now.

was

still

alive.

Mary.
Emily.

Then Ben
[Quietly.]

isn't

making any money ?

Ollivant.

[Reluctantly.]

Not yet

to speak
pay

of.

But

he's promised to

his father back,

Mary.
^Iary.
I see.

[Thoughtfully.]

College and then

more help

to get started, because he's a

man.
He'll
in

Ollivant.

[Complacently.]

have to support a family


with him.
visit,

some

daj^; I've

had to keep that


have a

mind.

Mary.
Emily?
Emily.

I'd like to

real talk

Ollivant.

When

did his letter say he'd be coming for a

The fifteenth. Not till then ? That's too bad, Ollivant. Eh? Mary. [After exchanging a quick glance

Mary.

with her mother and

gaining courage.]

Father, I hope you didn't misunderstand

my

coming back ?
Ollivant.

Not

at

all.

We

all

make mistakes

especially
left

when

we're young.

Perhaps I was a bit hasty when you

50

GEORGE MIDDLETON
right.
if

home, but I knew you'd soon see I was

I didn't think

it

would take you two years


you'd have come sooner.

but perhaps
I told your

I'd written

you before

mother

I'd like to

make

it

easy for you to come home.

Mary.
ways
to
felt

Ollivant.

Mother suggested that you write me ? Well, I suppose you might put it that way, I alshe thought I was a bit hard on you, but I'm not one
easily.

back down

Mary.
daughter.

Don't blame

me

then, father,

if

showed I was your

Ollivant.
back.

Let's forget

my

feeling;

but naturally I was set


going seriously until I

Mary.

Because you didn't take


leaving.
I couldn't get
girl
it

my my

was actually
Ollivant.

into

head then, and I can't


like this,

now, how any

would want to leave a home

where

you have everything. You don't know how lucky you are or maybe you have realized it. Look about you and see what other girls have. Is it like this ? Trees, flowers, and a lake view that's the best in the county. Why, one can breathe here and even Every time I come back from a business trip it taste the air. makes a new man of me. Ask your mother. Eh, Emily ? When I sit out there on the porch in the cool evenings it makes me feel at ease with the world to know that the place is viine and that Ben had to I've raised a family and can take care of them all.
go, I suppose
least,

it's

the

way with
all

sons; but I thought you, at

would stay

here, daughter, in this old house

where you were

born, where I was born, where

your early associations

Mary.

[Shuddering.]

I hate associations.

Ollivant.
get thai from.

[Eying

W^ell, I'd like to know where you Not from your mother and me. We like them,
her.]

don't we, Emily?

AVhy, your mother's hardly ever even

left

here

but you had to


Yes.

up and get

out.
to.

IVIary.

That's right, father; I had

TRADITION
Ollivant.
to
?

51
at her sharply. \

[He stops smoking and looks

Had

Who made

you

Mary.
IVIary.

[Reluctantly.]

It

was something

inside

me.

Ollivant. Ollivant.

[In spite of himself.]

Tush
it

that foolishness.

[Quicldy.]

Don't make
it

hard for us again.

made

hard,

Mary?
I

Because I objected to
"stage-struck"

your leaving your mother here alone ?


IVLuiY.
girl.

remember; you said

was a

foolish,

Ollivant.

Well, you're over that, aren't you

Mary. That's just where you are mistaken, father. [Slowly.] That's why I asked you if you hadn't misunderstood my coming
back.

Then why did you come at all.? [Suspiciously.] Mary. I'm human; I wanted to see you and mother, so I came when you generously wrote me. I'm not going to stay
Ollivant.

and spray the


Olliv.\nt.
effort.]

roses.

[He eyes her tensely and controls himself with an

So you are not going to stay with your mother and


[Affectionately.]
I'll

me ?

Mary.
and

come

see

you as often as

I can

Ollivant.
silent.]

and
?

make a

hotel of your home.^^


is

[IVIary is

Don't you see your mother


to be here

getting older

and needs

somebody
Emily.

[With a quiet assurance.]

have never been so well


Emily; can't I see

and contented.
Ollivant.
[Tenderly.]

know
?

better,

you're getting thinner and older

[Stopping her protests.]

Now,

me manage You know my


let

this, dear.

It's

girl's

place to stay at home.

feelings

about that.

Suppose anything should

happen to your mother, what would / do ?

Mary.

So

it's

not mother alone you are thinking of ?

Ollivant.

[Tersely.]

I'm thinking

of

your place at home

doing a woman's work.

I'm not proud of having

my

daugh-

52

GEORGE MIDDLETON
own
living as

ter off earning her


her.

though I couldn't support

Emily.

George
I thought
it

was only because I was on the stage. not the most heavenly place, is it ? A lot of narrow-minded fools here in town thought I was crazy to You let you go; I knew how they felt; I grinned and bore it.

Mary.

Ollivant.

Well,

it's

were

my

daughter and I loved you, and I didn't want them to

think any less of you by their finding out you were leaving against

my

wish.
[Slowly, with comprehension.]

Mary.

That's what hurt you.

Ollivant.

Well, I blamed myself a bit for taking you to

plays and liking


IVIary.

them

myself.

People here will soon forget about

me and
I've

merely be

sorry for you.

Ollivant.
for

[Persuasively.]

Why, Mary.

made

it

easy
for

you

to stay.

I told every one

you were coming home

good.

They'll think

Mary.
father; but

me a fool if You meant what was [Tenderly.]


you had no right to say
I did
it

dear and good,


sorry.

that.

I'm

Ollivant.
senses.

because I thought you had come to your

Mary.

[Firmly.]

I never

saw so

clearly as I

do now.

Ollivant.

[Bluntly.]
failure.

Then you're stubborn


?

not to admit
Mary.
to me.

plain stubborn
Ben
sent

[Startled.]

Failure

Ollivant.

know what

the newspapers said;

them

Mary.

W^hich ones ?

Ollivant.

Why,

all of

them, I guess.

Did he send you the good ones.'' Ollivant. Were there any ? Mary. Oh, I see. So Ben carefully picked out only those

Mary.

which would please you.


Ollivant.
[Sarcastically.]

Please

me ?

TRADITION
Mary.
you think
Yes; because you and he didn't want

53

because j'ou thought failure would bring


I'll

me to succeed; me home. But don't


me.
I'll

let

some cub reporter

settle things for

never come

home through failure Ollivant. [Kindly.] Ben and

never.
I only

want

to protect you,

Mary.
]VL\RY.

"Why do men always want


Yes; but you don't know
foolish, stage-struck girl,
in big letters.
"Well,

to protect

women ?
still

Ollivant.

Because we know the world.


ttzc.

Mary.
I'm only a

Father, you

think

and want flowers and men

and

my name

It isn't that.

Ollivant.

what

is it,

then ?
artist.
first.

Mary.
understand
didn't

Oh I want to
it;

be an

I don't suppose

I didn't, myself, at
it

you can was born with it, but

know what
So

was

till

that

first

time you took

me

to the

theatre.

Ollivant.

it

was

all

my

fault

Mary.

It isn't anybody's fault;

it's

just a fact.

knew from
create.
if

that day what I wanted to do.

wanted

to act

to

I I

don't care whether I play a leading lady or a scrub-woman,

can do

it

with truth and beauty.


Well, you haven't done

Ollivant.

much

of either,

have you

VThat have you got to show for our unhappiness?

What have

you got ahead

of

you ?

Mary.
Mary.

Nothing

definite.

Ollivant.

[Incredulously.]

Yet, you're going to keep at

it ?

Yes.

Ollivant.

Mary.
get there
?

What do you think of that, Emily ? am going to the city Monday.


[Persistently.]

Olliv.\nt.

But what
hunt a

will

you do when you


tramp the
streets,

Mary.
call at

What

I've done before:

job,

the oflSces, be snubbed and insulted


I get

by

office-boys

keep

at

it till

something to do.

54

GEORGE MIDDLETON

Ollfvant. Come, come, Mary; don't make me lose patience. Put your pride in your pocket. You've had your fling. You've Give it all up and stay home here where you tried and failed.
can be comfortable.

Mary. [With intense feeling.] Father, I can't give it up. It doesn't make any difference how they treat me, how many times I get my ''notice" and don't even make good according to their
standards.
ing inside
I can't give
it

up.
on.

I simply can't. It keeps


It's there

gnaw-

me and

driving

me

always

there,

and

know if I keep at work I will succeed. I know it; I know it. [Mary throws herself into the chair, much stirred. Emily's
eyes have eagerly followed her throughout this as though

responding sympathetically
silence,

but

Olliyant has
inside.

stood in

watching her apparently without comprehension.

Ollivant.

[Not without kindness.]

Something

Huh

Have you any clear idea what [Mary gives a short, hurt
Emily.
[Softly,

she's talking about,

Emily ?
window,

cry

and goes quickly

to the

looking out and controlling herself ivith an

effort.

as she looks at IVIary.]

I think I understand.

Ollivant.

I don't.

Something

inside.
it all

I never

had any-

thing like that bothering me.

What's

mean ?

Emily.

[Quietly.]

So many people use the same words, but

cannot understand each other.

Ollivant. Well, you seem to think it's mighty important Mary, whatever it is; but it's too much for me. If you had something to show for it I wouldn't mind. But you're just where you started and you might as well give up.
Emily.

George

OlLaVant.
but Ben does.

Now
He

I don't

says you're not

know much about the stage, Emily, made for an actress, Mary;

you haven't got a chance.


IVIary.

[Turning.]

Father!
failure isn't

Ollivant.
If

Can't you see your


like

your own fault?

you were a beauty

Helen Safford or some of those other

TRADITION
**

55

stars"

but you're not pretty, why, you're not even good-look-

ing

and

Mary. [With bitter vehemence]. Oh, don't go any further. I know all that. But I don't care how I look off the stage if only I can grow beautiful on it. I'll create with so much inner power and beauty that people will forget how I look and only see what I can do it; I have done it; I've made audiences I think and feel.
feel

and even got

my

''notice" because the stage-manager said I

was "too natural."

Helen Safford

what's she
Wait
till

A professional
You
think of

beauty with everything outside and nothing

in.

her eyes, her mouth, and her profile; but does she touch you so

you remember ?
good-looking
ten minutes
Safford
.'*

know

her work.

I get a chance to

play a scene with her

which they may give me because I'm not


forget she's on the stage the first
too,
if

I'll

make them

yes,
!

and you and Ben,

you'll

come.

Helen
she's

Huh

Why,

people will remember

me when

only a lithograph.

Ollivant.

Well, then,

why

haven't you had your chance ?

Mary. [QuicJdy.] Because most managers feel the way you and Ben do. And not having a lovely profile and a fashion-plate
figure stands

between

me and

a chance even to read a part,

let

alone play

it.

That's what eats the heart out of me, mother;

and makes me hate


grease paint.

my

face every time I sit

down

to put on the

Ollivant.

Well, don't blame


to

me
who

for that.

Mary.

[Going

her mother,

takes her hand.]

You can

laugh at me, father; you don't understand.

It's foolish to talk.

But, oh, mother,


Safford

why is such beauty given to women like Helen who have no inner need of it, and here am I, with a real
wrapped up
in

creative gift,

a nondescript package which stands


.'*

between

me and

everything I want to do
I will

[With determination.]

But I
artist.

will

ultimately

make

good, in spite of

my

looks;

others have.

And what

I've suffered will

make me a

greater

56
Ollivant.
isn't

GEORGE MIDDLETON
[In a matter-of-fact tone.]

Are you sure


It's

all this

overconfidence and vanity?


I don't care

Mary.
working.

what you

call

it.

what keeps me

Ollivant.

[Quickly.]
?

Working?

But how can you work


life;

without an engagement
JVIary.

That

w the hard

part of our

waiting, waiting for


still

a chance to work.

But don't think


I don't dare.

I stand

when

I haven't

an engagement.
Ollivant.

That's

why

keep at

my

voice

work and dancing and


[Suddenly interrupting.]

Dancing and voice work


telling

when you have no engagements. Would you mind who is paying the bills ? Mary. [Indignantly.] Father
Ollivant.
I think I

me

have the right to ask

that.

Mary.

Have you ?
I

Ollivant.

am

your father.

Mary. [With quiet dignity.] You thought you'd force me here at home to do as you wished because you paid for my food and clothes; when you took that from me you ceased to have that
right.

Don't forget since


or given

I left you've not helped

me

with

my

work

me

a penny.
. . .

No, Ollivant. [Suspiciously.] Mary. you went away from home ? Mary. No. Ollivant. Or you met some man there and Mary. No. Ollivant. There is some man.
.

that's not

why

Mary.

Ollivant.

Why a ma?i ? Damn them;


[Calm.ly\

know them.
. .
.

[Breaking \

Good

God, Mary, dear, you haven't

Answer me, daughter.


no need
of that.

Mary.

No,

there's been

\He has heen violently shaken


tently, believes her,

at the thought, looks at her in-

and then continues in a subdued man-

TRADITION
Ollivant.

57
?

Then who helped you ?


could he help

Ben

Mary.
help

How

me ?

Are men the only ones who


best now.

women ?
[Quietly.]

Emily.

Tell limi,

Mary;

it's

Olliv-ajnt.

[Turning slowly

to her

in surprise.]

You know and

have kept
Emily.
ming.]

it

from

me ?
down
old
the hat she has been trimskill,

[Calmly, as she puis

I found I hadn't lost

my

though

it's

been a

good
ried,

many
little

years since I held a brush


I

since before we were marsell:

George.

had an idea I thought would

paper dolls
anything

with

hand-painted dresses on separate sheets; they were so

much
soft.

softer than the printed kind,

and children

like

I wrote to IMr. Aylwin

you remember
work.

he was so kind
when you

to

me

years before.

He had

called here once before

were away and asked after


such promise.
specialty,

my

He

used to think I had

He found an opportunity to use the dolls as a and when I explained he induced some other firms to
They pay me very well.
she went behind.
I

use

all I

can paint, too.

made enough

each month to help

Mary when

Ollivant.

[Incredulously.]

You

After you heard

me

say

when

she

left I

wouldn't give her a

cent.^*

Emily.

[Looking fondly at Mary.]


?

You were

keeping Ben,

weren't you

Ollivant. Emily.
took

But

that'sthat's
why we

different.

I didn't see

shouldn't help both our children.

Ollivant.
it?

[Perplexed by this he turns to

Mary.]

And you

;\L\ry.

Yes.

Ollivant.

You knew how

she got the

money ?
and

Mary.
you took
Emily.

Yes.

Ollivant.
it ?

Your mother working

herself sick for you,

I told

you I've never been so happy.


I couldn't bargain with

Mary,
had

[tiimply.]

what
it

felt.

I I

to study.

I'd

have taken anything, gotten

anywhere.

58
had to
your
live.

GEORGE MIDDLETON
You
didn't help me.

Ben and

both went against


I

will,

but you helped him because he was your son.

was

only your daughter.

[Ollivant eyes her and seems

to he struggling

with himself.

He
Ollivant.
to

is silent

a long while as they both watch him.

Finally

after several efforts he speaks with emotion.

Mary,

I didn't realize how much you meant


what might have happened
to

me
if

till

till

I thought of

you

without
if

my help. Would would you have stayed on in the city


[Firmly.]

your mother hadn't helped you ?


Yes, father; I would have stayed on.
[After a pause.]
all

Mary.

Ollivant.
stronger than

Then

I guess

what you
. .

feel is
.

your mother and I tried to teach you.

Are

you too proud to take help from me

now

Mary.
you back
daughter?
that.

[Simply.]
like

No, father;

till

I succeed.

Then

I'll

pay

Ben promised.
[Hurt.]

Oluvant.
It

You

don't think

it

was the money,


here.

would have cost to keep you

It wasn't

Mary.
his father.

No;

it

was your father speaking and

his father

and

[Looking away wistfully.]

And

perhaps I was speakbe heard.

ing for those before

me who
feeling

were

silent or couldn't

Ollivant.

[With

sincerity.]

I don't exactly understand that


of driving

any more than the

you spoke

you from home.


sisters.

But

do see what you mean about brothers and


girls are

You

seem to think boys and

the same.

But

they're not.
it,

Men and women


mother had

are different.

You may

not

know

but your
her.

foolish ideas like

you have when

I first

knew
I

She was poor and didn't have a mother to support

her,

and she

had to work

for a living.

She'd about given up


in the

when

met her

trying to work at night to feed herself


happy
she's

day while studying. But she was sensible; when a good man came along who could support her she married him and settled down. Look how
been here with a home of her

own

that

is

home

TRADITION
with associations and children.
to-duy trying to paint pictures for a living?
of

59

Where would she be, struggling Why, there's lots


a family

men who can

paint pictures, and too few good wives for hard-

working, decent

men who want


will

which
you'll

is

God's law.

You'll find that out one of these days

she did.

Some day a man


?

and come and

you'll give yourself as

want

to

marry

him.

How could you if


[Quietly.]

you keep on with your work, going about


leave mother at times, don't you
.?

the country

Mary. Mary.

You

Ollivant.

I've got to.

may I. Ollivant. And the


So

children

Mary.

They'd have a share of

my
if

life.

Ollivant.
up.

mighty big share


if

Ask your mother

human, I tell you. you think they're easy coming and bringing
you're

Mary.
she to do
?

And now
Well,

they've

left her.

Dear mother, what has

if you ever get a husband with those ideas what a wife has to do. [He goes to her.] Mary, But your mother and I it isn't easy, all this you've been saying. are left alone, and perhaps we have got different views than you. But if ever you do see it our way, and give up or fail well, come

Ollivant.

of yours you'll see

back to
hard

us,

understand ?
[Going
for
to

Mary.
it

him and kissing


that.

him.]

I understand

was

you to say

And remember

how may come


it's

back a success.
Ollivant.
Yes.
I suppose they all think that;

keeps them going.

But some day, when you're


differently.
if

in love

what and
chil-

marry, you'll see

it all

Mary.
dren
?

Father, what

the

man

does not come

or the
answer

Ollivant.
Nonsense.

Why

[He halts as though unable

to

her.]

He'll come, never fear; they always do.

60

GEORGE MIDDLETON
I wonder.

Mart.

Ollivant.

[He goes affectionately


this.]

to

Emily, who has been

star-

ing before her during

Emily, dear.

No wonder the

flowers

have been neglected.


yourself.
derly.]
I'll

Well, you'll have time to spraj' those roses


[Kisses her ten!

get the spray mixture to-morrow.

Painting paper dolls with a change of clothes

When
feeling

might have been sending her the money without ever

it.

No more

of that, dear;

you don't have to now.

I shan't let
at.

you
[He

get tired and sick.

That's one thing I draw the line

pats her again, looks at his watch, and then goes slowly over to the

window-doors.]

Well,

it's
it

getting late.
will rain

I'll

lock up.

[Looking

up

at sky.]

Paper says

to-morrow.

Emily.

[Very quietly so only

Mary

can

hear.]

At the
father
is

art

school they said I had a lovely sense of color.

Your

so

kind; but he doesn't

know how much

I enjoyed painting again

even those paper

dolls.

Mary.
Emily.

[Comprehending in surprise.]
[Fearing
lest

Mother
hear.]

You,

too ?

Ollivant should
and eyes

[Ollivant Ollivant.
Good-night.

closes the doors

the

Sh women tJioughtfully.

Better fasten the other windows

when you come.


sit there together.

[He goes out slowly as mother and daughter

THE CURTAIN FALLS

THE EXCHANGE
BY

ALTHEA THURSTON

The Exchange is reprinted by permission of Althea Thurston. This play is one of the farces written in the Course in Dramatic Composition (English 109) in the University of Utah. For permission to perform, address B. Roland Lewis, Department of English, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah.

ALTHEA THURSTON
Althea Cooms-Thiirston, one of the promising writers of the younger set of American dramatists, was born in Iowa, but soon moved with her parents to Colorado, where she spent her girlhood. She was educated in the public schools of Colorado Springs and Denver. Her collegiate training was received in the University of Utah, Salt Lake City. In 1902 she married Walter R. Thurston, a well-known engineer. At present she resides in Dallas, Texas.

Mrs. Thurston has travelled widely and has resided for periods Mexico City and Havana, Cuba. She is an able linguist and has made a special study of her native English tongue and of Spanish and French, all of which she uses fluently. From childhood she has shown dramatic ability. Her dramatic composition has been more or less directly associated with the courses in pla;y'writing and the history of the drama which she completed in the University of Utah. Among her one-act plays are When a Man's Hungry^ And the Devil Laughs, and The
of time in

Exchange. Mrs. Thurston has an aptitude for delicate and satirical farce. The Exchange is an excellent example of farce-comedy in the contemporary one-act play.

CHARACTERS
Judge,
Imp,
the exchanger of miseries

office

hoy

to the

Judge

A A A

Poor
Vain

Man
Woman

Rich Citizen

THE EXCHANGE*
SCENE
The curtain and a
chair
rises

upon an

office scene.
it

Seemingly there

is

nothing

unusual about
hat-rack.

this office:

has

tables, chairs,
office is

a filing cabinet,

portion of the

railed off at the right.


sivivel-

Within
;

this enclosed space is

a commodious desk and

and

the filing cabinet stands against the icall.

This

railed-off portion of the office belongs, exclusively, to the

Here he
u>rite,

is

wont

to

spend

many

hours

sometimes
a
tall,

Judge.
read or
the

to

and again, perhaps, he

will just sit


is

and ponder upon


spare

vagaries of mankind.

The Judge

man

with

rather long gray hair, which shows'heneath the skull-cap that

he always icears.

When we first see

him, he

is

reading a

letter

and

evidently he is not pleased, for he is tapping with impatient

fingers

upon

his desk.

At

the left of the stage is a heavily curtained door ichich leads to

an

inner room.

At

centre rear is another door lohich evidently


it is

leads to the street, as


the

through this door that the

Poor

IVIan,

Vain Womax, and

the

Rich Citizen

will presently enter,


the

each upon his special quest.


street door,

The hat-rack stands near


soft black hat

and we glimpse a

and a long black


with papers and

overcoat hanging

upon

it.

Down

stage to the

left is

a fiat-topped desk,

littered

letters.

This desk has two large drawers, wherein a number of


It is at this

miscellaneous articles might be kept.


catch our first glimpse of Imp.
* Copyright, 1921.

desk that we

lie is busily writing in

a huge

All rights reserved.

65

66
ledger,

ALTHEA THURSTON
and he seems
to be

enjoying his work, for he


it

chiicJcles the

while.

Imp

is

little

rogue ; he looks

and

acts

it,

and we feel

that he has a Mephistophelian spirit.


tight-fitting

He

luears

a dark-green
little

uniform, trimmed with red braid.

His saucy
is ever

round cap

is

always cocked over one eye.

He

chuckling

impishly, and we feel that he is slyly gleeful over the weaknesses

of

mankind and

the difficulties that beset them.

Imp.

[Throws down his pen, chuckles, and half standing on the

rungs of his chair and balancing himself against his desk, surveys
the ledger.]

Your honor,

I've

all

the miseries listed to date and

fine lot there is to

choose from.

Everything from bunions to

old wives for exchange.

Judge.

[Scowls

and impatiently taps

the letter he is reading.^

Here

is

another one.

A woman

suspects her husband of a misis

alliance.

Wants

to catch him, but

so crippled with rheuma-

tism she can't get about.


for

Wants us

to exchange her rheumatism

something that won't interfere with either her walking or her

eyesight.

Imp.
lines.]

[Referring to the ledger

and running

his finger along the


liver that

We

have a defective heart or a lazy

we could

give her.

Judge.
not be

[Irritably tossing the letter over to Imp.]

She would
to
his

satisfied.

People never

are.

change their miseries, but never their

They always want vices. Each thinks


is

own

cross heavier than others

have to bear, but he

very will-

ing to

make

light of his

own weaknesses and

shortcomings.
I

He
tried

thinks they are not half so bad as his neighbor's.


for years to aid distressed

have

humanity, but I can't satisfy them.

am

growing tired of
it,

it all.

Imp.
I

People need a lesson and


going to

they're going to get

too.

am

[Knock

is

heard at the

street door.

desk and begins to write.

Judge sighs, turns to his Imp sweeps the litter of papers


and goes
to

on his desk into a drawer,


knock.

closes ledger,

answer

THE EXCHANGE
Imp.

67

Here comes another misery.


[Imp opens the door
shabbily dressed.
if

to

admit the

Poor Man, who


around
the

is

very

He

hesitates, looks

room as

he icere in the wrong place,

and then addresses Imp in


wiih a motion of his head.]

a loud whisper.

Poor
Is

IVIan.
?

[Indicating the

Judge
reply.]

that him

Imp.

[Whispering loudly his


[Still

Yes, that

is

his honor.

Poor Man.
ness.]

whispering and showing signs of nervous-

Do

I dare speak to

him ?
still

Imp.

[Enjoying the situation and

whispering.]

Yes, but

be careful what you say.

Poor Man.
ing,
throat.]

[Talxcs off his hat, approaches slowly to the rail-

and speaks humbly.]

Your honor,

Your honor,

I've a little favor

to ask

[Swalloivs hard, clears

of you.
?

Judge.
I've never

[Looking coldly at the

Poor Man.]

Well

Poor Man.

You see, your honor, I've been poor all my life. had much fun. I don't ask for a lot of money, but
eat, drink,

I would like enough so that I could have some swell clothes, and

so that I could
know, I
just

and be merry with the boys.

You

want

to

have a good time.

Do you think you could

fix it for

me. Judge ?
[Gazes at

So you just want away your poverty ? I suppose you have no moral weakness you want to change, no defects in your character that you want to better ? Poor Man. [Stammering and twirling his hat.] Why, w-hy.
Judge.
sternly for

him

a moment.]

to have a good time

Want me

to take

Judge, I

but then

I am not a bad man. Ofof course, I have my I've never committed any crimes. I guess I stack up
faults,

pretty fair as

men

go.

I'm just awful

tired of being poor

and

never having any fun.

Couldn't you help

me out
Bring

on that point.

Judge ?
Judge.
[Sighs wearily

and turns to Imp.]

me the ledger.

[Imp gives him the ledger in which he has been writing.

Judge opens it, and then speaks sharply to the Poor Man.

68
Judge.
take

ALTHEA THURSTON
You
understand, do you,
give

away your poverty and


will

my good man, that if I you enough money for your


?

good time, you

have to accept another misery

Poor Man.
I'm
willing.

[Eagerly.]

Yes, your honor, that's

all

right.

Judge.
paralysis.

[Scanning

ledger.]

Very

well.

Let us

see.

Here

is

Poor Man.
very good time,

[Hesitatingly.]
if

Well, I

couldn't have a

if

was paralyzed.
I suppose not.

Judge.
eye?

[Shortly.]

No.

How

about a glass

Poor IMan.
anything.

[Anxiotisly.]

Please, your honor,


eyes.
I don't

if

I'm going
to miss

to have a good time I need

two good

want

Judge.
left his

[Wearily turning over the leaves of the

ledger.]

A man

wife here for exchange, perhaps you would like her.


[Shifting

Poor Man.
twirling his hat.]

from one foot

to the other

and nervously
I don't

Oh, Judge, oh, no, please, no.

want

anybody's old

cast-off wife.

Judge.

[Becoming exasperated.]
it.

Well, choose something, and

be quick about

Here

is

lumbago, gout, fatness, old age,

and
Imp.
[Interrupting,

and walking

qiiicJdy over to the railing.]

Excuse me, Judge, but maybe the gentleman would


digestion that
fallen arches.

like the in-

Mr. Potter
[Eagerly.]

left

when he took

old

IVIrs.

Pratt's

Poor Man.
fine
!

Indigestion?

Sure!

That
if

will

be

I won't

mind a

litUe thing like indigestion

I can get rid

of

my

poverty.
[Sternly.]

Judge.
worse as

Very

well.

Raise your right hand.

Re-

peat after me: "I

swear to accept indigestion for better or for


miseries, so help

my portion of the world's


[Solemnly.]

me God."
for

Poor Man.

"I swear to accept indigestion

better or for worse as

my portion of the world's miseries,

so help

me God."

THE EXCHANGE
Judge.
room.
[To Imp.]

G9

Show

this

gentleman to the changing-

[Poor

IVLajnt

follows Imp,

who conducts him

to the heavily

curtained door.

The Poor
as a

Man throws out his chest and


ccmie

swaggers a

bit,

into a fortune.

man might who had suddenly Imp swaggers along ivith him.
time, though.
I'll

Imp.

Won't you have a grand

get you a

menu card, so that you can be picking out your dinner. Poor IVIan. [Joyfully slapping Imp on the back.] Good
and
I'll

idea,

pick out a regular banquet.

[Pausing a moment before he passes through the curtains, he


smiles

and smacks

his lips in anticipation.


to Imp.]

Exit.
!

Judge.

[Speaks disgustedly

There you are

He's

perfectly satisfied with his morals.


acter.

Has no

defects in his char-

Just wants to have a good time.


[Sighs heavily

and turns back

to his writing.

laip nods his

head in agreement and chuckles


[The
street

slyly.

door opens slowly and the

Vain

Woman

stands

upon

the threshold.

posing

presumably she
it.

She does not enter

at once, but stands

desires to attract attention,


figure,

and

she is worthy of
rich

She has a superb


it.

and her

gowning enhances

Her fair face

reveals a shallow

vrettiness, but the wrinkles of age are beginning to leave


telltale lines

upon

its

smoothness.

As Imp

hurries forward
to the centre

to usher her in, she siveeps

grandly past him

of

the stage.

Imp

stops near the door, with his hands

on his

hips, staring after her, then takes a few steps in imitation

of her.

She turns around slowly and, sauntering over

to

the railing, coughs affectedly, a?id as the

Judge

rises

and

bows

curtly, she

speaks in a coaxing manner.


are very kind,
their troubles,

Vain Woman. Judge, I have heard that you and I have been told that you help people out of
so I have a
little

favor to ask of you.

Judge.

[Coldly.]

Yes, I supposed so; go on.


Well, you

Vain Wosian.

[Archly.]

know

that I

am a famous

70
beauty; in
lovely.
fact,

ALTHEA THURSTON
both

my

face

and

my

form are considered very

[She turns around slowly that he

may

see for himself.]

Great and celebrated men have worshipped at


cannot
live

my feet.

I simply

without admiration.

It

is

my very life.

But, Judge

[plaintively], horrid

wrinkles are beginning to show in

my

face.

[Intensely.]

Oh, I would give anything, do anything, to have a


Please, oh, please, won't

smooth, youthful face once more.


take
give

away

these wrinkles [touching her face with her fingers]


in their stead.

you and

me

something

Judge.
satisfied
tiful as

[Looking directly at her and speaking coldly.]


Is

Are you

with yourself in other ways ?

your character as beau-

your face ?

Have you no
[Uncertainly.]

faults or weaknesses that

you

want exchanged ? Vain Woman.


mean.
I

Why,

don't know what you


woman and
lots better

am

just as

good as any other

than some I know.


ties,

I go to church,

and

I subscribe to the chari-

and I belong to the best


it's

clubs.

[Anxiously.]

Oh, please.

Judge,

these wrinkles that

make me so unhappy.

exchange them ?
Please take

You

don't want

me

to be unhappy, do

Won't you you ?


well, I'll

them away.
[Wearily looking over the
ledger.]

Judge.
see

Oh, very

what

I can

do

for you.

[To Imp.]

Fetch a chair for

this

lady.

[Imp gives her a chair and she


to his desk,

sits facing front.

Imp

returns

perches himself

upon

it

and watches

the

Vain

Woman
ledger.

interestedly.

Judge

turns over the leaves of the

Judge.
wrinkles.

have a goitre that I could exchange for your


[Protestingly, clasping her

Vain Woman.
Oh, heavens, no
!

hands

to her throat.]

That would ruin

my

beautiful throat.

See.

[Throwing back her fur and exposing her neck in a low-cut gown.]
I

have a lovely neck.


Judge.

[Imp makes an exaggerated attempt

to see.

[Glances coldly at her

and then scans

ledger again.]

Well,

how about hay-fever?

THE EXCHANGE
Vain Woman.
[Reproachfully.]
!

71
car-

Oh, Judge, how

you

suggest such a thing

Watery eyes and a red


is.

nose, the worst


it.

enemy

of

beauty there

simply couldn't think of

want

something that won't show.

Judge.

[Disgustedly turns to filing cabinet

and
to

looks through a

series of cards,

withdraws oney and turns hack


will

Vain Woman.]

Perhaps this

suit you.

[Refers to card.]

A woman

has

grown very

tired of her

husband and wants to exchange him for

some other burden. I accept a man that Vain Woman. [Indignantly.] What Certainly not I prefer one some other woman doesn't want that some other woman does want. Judge. [Irritated, puts the card back in its place, and turns
!

upon

the

Vain

Woman

crossly.]

I fear that I cannot please

you

and

do not have time to


[Interrupts

Imp.

and runs

over to the railing, speaking sooth-

ingly to the Judge.]

Excuse me, Judge, but maybe the lady


in

would

like deafness
it

exchange for her wrinkles.


won't show.

Deafness

wouldn't show, so

couldn't spoil her face or her elegant figure.

Judge.

[Wearily.]

No,

it

Deafness ought to

be a good thing for you.

Vain Woman. [Consideringly.] Why yes that might do. But well, it wouldn't show. I've a notion to take it. [Pau^e The Judge stares at her she seems to consider and meditate. coldly. Lmp grins impudently. She rises leisurely, sighs.] All

right.

I'll

accept

it.

Judge.
hand.]

[Sharply.]

Hold up your

right hand.

[She raises

Do you

swear to accept deafness for better or for worse,

as your portion of the world's miseries, so help

you God ?

Vain Woman.
Judge.
Imp.
ence.]

[Sweetly.]

Oh,

yes.

I do. Judge.

[To Imp.]

Show

the lady to the changing-room.

[Escorts her to the curtained door with rather

mock

deferall

No, deafness won't show at

all,

and

you'll

have 'em

crazy about you.

[Drav)s aside curtains for her to pass.]

Take

second booth to your right.

72
[Vain

ALTHEA THURSTON
Woman
stands posing a moment.
softly with her

She smiles radihands, then with

antly

and pats her cheeks

a long-drawn sigh of happiness, she

exits.

Imp bows low

and mockingly
heart.

after her vanishing

form, his hand on his

Judge.
trouble her

[Sarcastically.]
?

Do
!

her

faults

or

shortcomings

Not
sir;

at

all

Perfectly satisfied with herself, ex-

cept for a few wrinkles in her face.


Imp. Yes,

Vain

women

Bah

women have

queer notions.

[An imperative rap

at the street-door, immediately followed

by the rapper's abrupt entrance.

We

see

an important-

appearing personage.

His arrogant bearing and com-

manding pose
prompt
well groomed.

lead us to believe that he is accustomed to


It is the

attention.

Rich Citizen,

exceedingly

His manner

is lordly, but

he addresses the

Judge in a bored tone. When Imp scampers to meet him, Rich Citizen hands him his hat and cane and turns Imp examines the hat and cane at once to the Judge.
the
critically,

hangs them on

the hat-rack,

and returns

to his

desk, where he again perches to watch the

Rich Citizen.
addressing the

Rich Citizen.
Judge,

[Lighting a cigarette.]

am

am

I not ?
[Shortly.]

Judge.

You

are.

Rich Citizen.
Well, Judge,
life

[Languidly,

between puffs of his cigarette.]

has become rather boresome, so I thought I

would drop
Judge.

in

[Wearily.]

and ask you to do me a small favor. Yes? We W^hat is your grievance?

Rich Citizen.
ance exactly.
very rich and

[Nonchalantly.]
see,

Oh, I wouldn't say grievit is

You

my

dear Judge,

this

way.

am

influential citizen,

a prominent member of society,

and

am

very

much sought

after.

Judge.

[Frigidly.]

Oh, indeed
Yes.

Rich Citizen.

[In a very bored manner.]

Women

run

THE EXCHANGE
after

73

me day and
I

night.

Ambitious mothers tlirow their marhead.

riageable daughters at

my

Men

seek

my

advice on

all

matters.

am

compelled to head this and that committee.


[Smokes languidly.

Judge.
den.

[Sharply.]

Well, go on.

Rich Citizen. Really, Judge, my prestige has become a burI would like to become a I want to get away from it all. plain, ordinary man with an humble vocation, the humbler the
better, so that people will cease bothering

me.
all

Judge.

[Sarcastically.]

Is

your prestige

that troubles
Satisfied

you ?

Don't worry about your morals, I suppose.


[Coldly.]
request.'*

with your habits and character ?

Rich Citizen.
got to do with

What have my
[Scornfully.]

habits or morals

my

Certainly I
of

am

not

one of your saintly men.


live,

I live as a

man

my
I

station should
of

and

I think I

measure up very well with the best


like

them.
be

am simply a plain man


I

bored and I would

a change.

would

like to

with an humble
I'll

calling.

Judge.
[He looks

[Ironically.]

see

what we have

in

humble callings.

at the ledger, turning the leaves over slowly.]

We

have

several bartenders' vocations.

Rich Citizen.
about
all

[Wearily smoking.]

No.

Too manj^ people

the time, and too

much

noise.

Judge.

Well, here's a janitor's job open to you.


[Impatiently throwing

Rich Citizen.
ering at

away

his cigarette.l

No.
bick-

I don't like that, either.

Too
I

confining.

Too many people

you

all

the time.

want

to get out in the open,

away

from crowds.
Judge.
hopefully.]

[Sighing,

and turning

over the leaves of the ledger, then

Here's the very thing for you, then

postman
to get

in

rural district.

old

Rich Citizen. [Showing vexation.] No, women that want to gossip. I tell you,

no, no.
I

want

Too many away

74
from women.

ALTHEA THURSTON
Haven't you something peaceful and quiet; some-

thing that would take

me

out

in the quiet of the early

morning,

when the
Judge.

birds are singing?


[Closing ledger with a hang,

and

rising.]

Well, you're
I bid

too particular, and I have not time to bother with you.

you good
Imp.

after

[Slides from his desk,

runs

to railing,

and speaks

suavely.]
like the

Excuse me. Judge, but maybe the gentleman would


vocation of milkman.

That

is

early-morning work.
job here

And, you
old,

remember, a milkman

left his

when he took that

worn-out senator's position.

Judge. [Sharply, to Rich Citizen.] Well, how about it.^* Does a milkman's vocation suit you ? It's early-morning hours, fresh air, and no people about.

Rich Citizen.
quietness of
ders a
it is its

[Musingly.]

Well, the very simplicity and

charm.

It rather appeals to me.


I'll

[He pon-

moment]

Yes, by Jove,

take

it.

Judge.

[Sternly.]

Hold up your
in life, so help

right hand.

"Do you

sol-

emnly swear to accept,

for better or for worse, the vocation of

milkman as your lot Rich Citizen. I


Judge.
room.
Imp.

you God.?"
gentleman to the changingYes,

do.

[To Imp.]

Show

this

[While escorting him


life.

to the

curtained door.]
fresh milk,

sir,

you

will lead the simple

Fresh

air,

no people, just
Third

cows

and they can't


sir.

talk.

[Holding aside the curtains.]

booth,

Rich Citizen.
quietness.

[Musingly.]

The
no
use,

simple

life

peace
little

and
[Exit
to

Judge.

[In disgust]

It's

Imp.

They
some

all cling

their vices, but they are Very keen to change

cross or

condition that vexes

them

or think vexes them.


want something
differ-

Imp.

It's

strange that people always

ent from what they have.

THE EXCHANGE
[Imp ofens a drawer in his desk and takes out a hotth,
dently filled with tablets, which he holds up, shaking chuckling.
it

75
evi-

and

He

hunts in the drawer again, and this time

brings forth a huge ear-trumpet, which he chucklingly


places on his table beside the bottle of tablets.

Judge.
one to-day.
Imp.

Don't
I

let

any more

in,

Imp.

I can't stand another

am

going to write a letter and then go home.


sir.

All right,
I

Judge.
tion.
is

am

feeling very tired;

what

I really need

is

a vaca-

sea-trip

would put me

right.

By

the way, Imp, where

that transatlantic folder that I told you to get ?

[Imp picks up the folder from his desk and takes

it to

the

Judge, ivho studies

it

attentively.

Imp returns
over,

to his

own

desk, where he again looks in a drawer

and brings forth

a menu card, which he glances


vously.

grinning mischie-

[The former

Poor

Man
it

re-enters

from

the

changing -room,.

He

is well dressed,

and taking a
gloatingly.

well-filled wallet from his

pocket, he looks at

However, from time

to

time, a shade of annoyance passes over his face,

and he
to

puts his hand

to the pit of his

stomach.

Imp runs

meet

him, and hands him the


Imp.

menu

that he has been reading.

Here's a

menu from

the Gargoyle.

Say, you sure do

look swell

[Looking him over admiringly.

Former Poor Man.


now, eh
dinner.
!

[Grinning happily. ]

[Looking at menu.]
[Sits

Some class to me And you watch me pick out a real


First, I'll

down

at left front.]

have a

cocktail, then
[he

let's see

I'll

have

another cocktail.

Next, oysters, and

frowns and presses his hand

to the pit of his stamax^h,

keeping

up a massaging
breasts

motion]

green-turtle soup, sand dabschicken


re-enters from the changing -ro(mi.

[They become absorbed over the menu.


[The Vain

Woman

She
(?

now has a smooth face, and

she is looking at herself in

76

ALTHEA THURSTON
hand-glass, smiling

and touching her face and leans


so
questioningly.

delightedly.
it

She walks

over to the railing,

over

to the

Judge.

He

looks

up

Vain Woman.
not beautiful
?

[Smiling.]

Oh, I

am

happy

again.

Am I

Judge.

[Pityingly.]

You

are a vain, foolish

woman.
coyly.

[Since she is deaf, she does not hear his words, but thinks he
is

complimenting

her.

She smiles

at

him

Vain Woman.
charms.

Ah, Judge, you too are susceptible to

my

[The Judge, in great exasperation, puts away his papers,


thrusts the transatlantic folder in his pocket, hastily closes

his desk,

and hurries

to the hat-rack,

puts on his overcoat,


his soft

slips his skull-cap into his pocket

and puts on

black hat.

Then, with a shrug of his shoulders and a


slips quietly out.

wave of his hand indicative of disgust, he


{The Vain

Woman

saunters past the

Former Poor Man,


to

stops near him, posing,

and begins

put on her

gloves.

He
an

looks at her admiringly, then, getting to his feet,


elaborate but

makes

awkward bow.
Excuse me, lady, but I've had a big
I
join

Former Poor Man.


piece of luck to-day,

want to celebrate, so I am having a me and help me have a good time ? big dinner. Won't you him blankly, and trying to fathom [Looking at Vain Woman. ^why, what did you say ? Oh what he has said.]
and

Former Poor Man.


er

[Hesitating,

and a

bit surprised.]

Why
if if

I said that I had a big piece of luck to-day, and I am going dinner, and I just asked to celebrate. I am having a you wouldn't have dinner with me.
fine

Vain Woman.

[Still

looking blank

and a

little

confused, then

smiling archly and acting as though she had been hearing compliments, she speaks affectedly.]

Really, do

you think so ?

[Looking
tells

down and smoothing that I am.

her dress.]

But, then, every one

me

THE EXCHANGE
what

77
help.]

Former Poor Man. [Puzzled, is her trouble, Nut ?


[Secretly gleeful.]

turns to

Imp for

Just

Imp.
write
it.

She

is

stone-deaf.

You had

better

Former Poor

INIan.

Never

No

deaf ones for me.


again.

[Turns away and consults

menu

Vain

Woman

poses and frequently looks in hand-glass to reassure herself.

[Former Rich Citizen

re-enters

from

the

changing -room.

He He

is

dressed in shabby overalls, jumper,

and an

old hat.

has a pipe in his mouth.

He

walks arrogantly over

to the Former Poor Man and addresses him. Former Rich Citizen. Give me a light. Former Poor Man. [Trying to live up to his fine clothes and wallet full of money, looks the Former Rich Citizen over snubSay, who do you think you are ? You light out, see ? bingly.]

Former Rich

Citizen.

[Very

much

surprised, stands nonI

plussed a moment.]

Well, upon

my word,

I
to the

[He stops short in his speech, walks haughtily over


railing, where he stands glowering at the

Former Poor
the
street

Man.
Imp.
I'll sell

The Former Poor

Man

starts for

door, but

Imp runs

after

him, waving the


bits.

bottle of tablets.

you these

for

two
is

Former Poor Man.


Imp.
[Grinning.]

What

that ?

Indigestion tablets.

Former Poor Man. [Puts his hand to his stomach and laughs Keep 'em; I don't need 'em. little lamely.]
[Vain

Woman fastens
Imp

her fur

and
and

starts for the street-door,

giving the

Former Rich Citizen


stops her

a snubbing look as she

passes him.

offers the ear-trumpet.

Imp.

You might need


the ear-trumpet

this; I'll sell it for

a dollar.

[She does not hear what he says, but she looks her scorn at

and walks proudly

out.

78

ALTHEA THURSTON
Citizen.
is

Former Rich
a watch.]
Imp.

[Fumbling
it?

at his pocket, as if to find

Boy, what time

I haven't

my

watch.

[Grinning mischievously.]

Time
it,

to milk the cows.

[The

Former Rich Citizen

starts angrily

toward Imp, then

evidently thinking better of

shrugs his shoulders and

stalks majestically to the street-door.

He

pauses with

it

partly open, turns as if to speak to Imp, drawing himself

up

haughtily

ludicrous figure in his shabby outfit

then he goes abruptly out,

slamming

the door.

[Imp doubles himself


falls.

up

in a paroxysm of glee as the curtain

SCENE
A fortnight
setting.

II
rises

has passed.

The curtain
is

upon
see

the

same

stage-

The Judge

not about, but

we

Imp

asleep in a
the street-

chair.

All seems quiet and serene.

But suddenly

door opens noisily, and the


the room.
is

Former Poor

Man

bursts into

He

is

panting, as though he had been running.

He
the

haggard and seems in great pain, for occasionally he moans.


looks wildly about the room,

He

and seeing Imp asleep in


roughly.

chair, he rushes to

him and shakes him


his eyes.
[Frantically.]

Imp

ivakes

slowly,

yawning and rubbing

Former Poor Man.


I

The Judge, where

is

he

must
Imp.

see

him at

once.

[Yawning.]

You're too early.


[Settles

He

isn't
to

down

yet.

himself

go to sleep again.

Former Poor Man.


hands
crazy.
live
?

[Walking the

floor,

and holding

his

to

his stomach.]

Don't go to sleep again.

I'm nearly

What

time does the Judge get here?


?

Where does he

Can't we send for him


[Indifferently.]

Imp.

Oh, he
for

is

liable to

come any minute

and then he may not come

an hour or two.

Former Poor Man.

[Pacing the floor, moaning and rubbing

THE EXCHANGE
hia stomach,]

79
It's

Oh, I can't stand

it

much

longer.

driving

me

wild, I tell you.

I do wish the Judge would come.

Imp.

[Getting

up from

his chair

and keeping

step with the

Former Poor Man.]


wanted was to
drink,

What's the matter ?

I thought all

you
Eat,

eat, drink,

and be merry.
[Frantically
!

Former Poor Man.


and be merry be

waving his arms.]

Everything I eat gives

gestion something awful; everything I

me indidrink gives it to me worse.

How
I
tell

can I be merry when I

you

this pain

is

driving

am in this torment all the time? me mad. I want to get rid of it


come
.''

quick.

Oh,

why

doesn't the Judge

Imp.

What's the Judge got to do with


[Pathetically.]

it?

Former Poor Man.


was not
stomach.
so bad, after
all;

to take back this indigestion and give

am going to beg him me back my poverty. It


I

not nearly so bad as this pain in

my

[The street-door opens slowly, and a sorrowful

woman

enters.
is

She

is

weeping

softly.

It is the

Vain Woman.

Gone

her posing
the railing,

and her proud manner.

She walks humbly


to

to

and not

seeing the

Judge, she turns


she here for?''

Imp.

The Former Poor


frowningly muttering
sits

Man
:

looks at the

Vain Woman,
Then he

"Whafs
I

down

at the left

and rocks back and forth in misery.

Vain Woman.
away,
Imp.
please.

[Tearfully.]

must
yet.

see

the

Judge right

[Languidly.]

He

isn't

down

You're too earl

Vain Woman.
portant, that I
once.

[Interrupting.]

Tell

am

in great distress

him that it is very imand that he must see me at


yet.

Imp.

[Loudly.]

I said that he

was not down

[Seeing that she does not understand, he takes a writing-pad

from

his desk, scribbles a few words,


it

and standing in front

of her, holds

up for

her to read.

80

ALTHEA THURSTON
[After reading.]

Vain Woman.

Oh, when

will

he be here?
so

Can't you get hun to come right away ?


[The

Oh, I

am

unhappy.

[She walks the floor in agitation.

Former Poor

Man grunts

in irritation and turns his

back on her.

Vain Woman. I cannot hear a word that is said to me. No one seems to want me around, and I am not invited out any more. I have the feeling that people are making fun of me instead of praising
[Getting hysterical]

my
I

beauty.

Oh,

it

is

dreadful to be deaf.

want the Judge

to take

away

this deaf-

ness.

would rather have


bad, too bad.''

my

wrinkles.
*'

[Imp shakes his head in pretended sympathy y saying

Too

[She misunderstands and cries out.

Vain Woman. want them back.


are

Has the Judge given away my wrinkles? I want my very own wrinkles, too. Wrinkles [Beginning to sob.] I don't want to distinguished-looking.
I

be deaf any longer.


Imp.

[Running over
very bad.

to the

Former Poor Man.]


little ?

Say, this

lady

feels

Can't you cheer her up a

Former Poor Man.


his

own

misery, looks

up

[Who is still rocking back and forth vnth Cheer her up at Imp in disgust.]

Me?

What's the joke?


[The Vain
if

Woman

ivalks to the curtained door, looks in as

seeking something, then returns to a chair, where she

sits,

weeping

softly.
is

[A peculiar thumping

heard at the street-door.

The Forhoping

mer Poor
it is

Man jumps
Imp,

to his feet in expectancy,

the

Judge.

also,

stands waiting.
it

The door
did so with
in.

opens as though the person that opened


difficulty.

The Former Rich Citizen hobbles


is

He

is

ragged and dirty, and one foot

bandaged, which causes

him

to

use a crutch.

He

carries a large milk-can.

He

hobbles painfully to the centre of the stage.

The Former

THE EXCHANGE
Poor
sits

81
sits

Man

grunts with disappointment, and

down

again, rubbing

away

at his stomach.

The Vain

Woman
rather

with bowed head, silently weeping.


looks about, then addresses

The Former

Rich Citizen
husky
voice.

Imp in a

Former Rich
is

Citizen.

I wish to see the Judge at once.

It

most urgent.
Imp.

[With an ill-concealed smile.]

You

can't see the Judge

at once.

Former Rich
you
it

Citizen.

[Impatiently.]

Why

not?

told

was most urgent.


[Grinning openly.]

Imp.

Because he

isn't here.

He

hasn't

come

in yet.

What's your trouble ?


[Vehemently.] Trouble! Everything's

Former Rich Citizen.


the trouble! the cows have kicked me.
I can't stand
it.

I have been abused, insulted, overworked

even
proper
rest

[Looking down at his bandaged foot.]


it.

I won't stand

want back

my

place in the world, where I

and

sleep

and mingle with

am respected, and my kind.


to

where I can

[He hobbles

a chair and

sits

down

wearily.

Former Poor Man. [Getting up from his chair, walks over to the Former Rich Citizen, waggles his finger in his face and If you speaks fretfully.] What cause have you to squeal so
.?

had indigestion
raise a holler.

like I

have

all

the time, you might be entitled to

Why,

I can't eat a thing without having the

most

awful pain right here [puts his hand

to the pit of his stomach],

and

when I take a drink, oh, heavens, it Former Rich Citizen. [Interrupting


sized trouble, there

contemptuously.]
If

You
I,

big baby, howling about the stomachache.

you had a man-

might be some excuse

for you.

Now

who

have been used to wealth and respect, have been subjected to


the most gruelling ordeals; why, in that dairy there were a million cows,

and they kicked me, and horned me, and


[Walks over
to

Vain Woman.

them, interrupting their talk.

82
and speaks in a
[sniff]

ALTHEA THURSTON
voice punctuated ivith sniffling sohs.\

Have-^
[Sniffy

either of
It
is

you gentlemen

[sniff]

ever been deaf?

sniff.]

a terrible thing

[sniff] for

a beautiful

woman

like I

am

[s?iiff]

to

have such an

affliction.

[Sniff, sniff, sniff.

[Former Rich Citizen shrugs his shoulders indifferently and limps to the other side of the stage, where he sits.

Former Poor Man.


limply.]

[Stalks over to the railing, where he leans

Lord deliver

me from

sniffling

woman.

[Imp,

who

is

perched on his desk, chuckles wickedly at their

sufferings.

Vain

Woman

sinks dejectedly into the chair

vacated by the

Former Rich

Citizen.

{A knock

is

heard at the street-door.

The Former Poor

Man and the Former Rich Citizen start forward eagerly,


expecting the Judge.

Even

others rise, gets to her feet

from
to see

his desk and, pulling


little

Vain Woman, seeing the Imp hastily slides hopefully. down his tight little jacket and
the
little

cocking his round

cap a

more

over one eye, goes


letter

who knocks.

messenger hands him a

and

silently departs.

Imp.

[Importantly.]

Letter for

me from

the Judge.

Former Poor Man.


self.?

letter

Why

doesn't he

come him-

Former Rich
Imp.
[Grins at

Citizen.

Send

for him, boy.

Former Rich Citizen


is

in

an

insolent manner.]

Well, well, I wonder what the Judge

writing to

me

for.

It's

queer he would send

me

letter.
;

[He looks

the letter over carefully, both sides


it,

holds

it

up

to

the light, smells

shakes

it.

The two men and

the

woman

grow more and more nervous.

Former Poor Man.


sake,

[Extremely

irritated.]

For

goodness'

open

it

and read

it.

Former Rich
it.

Citizen.

Yes, yes, and don't be so long about

[Vain

Woman

simply stands pathetically and wails.

Imp

THE EXCHANGE
walks over
looks
letter

83

to his desk,

hunts for a knife, finally finds one;

over again, then slowly slits the envelope

and
They

draws out

letter,

which he reads

silently to himself.

are breathlessly waiting.

Imp

whistles softly to himself.

Imp.

Well,

what do you think

of that

Former Poor Man.


you
tell

[Excitedly.]

What

is

it

why

don't

us

Former Rich
floor.]

Citizen.

[Pounding with his crutch on the


like this.

Come, come, don't keep me waiting


[Reads
[Reads.]
letter

Imp.
it is.

again, silently, chuckling.]

All right.

Here

"My

dear Imp:
tried faithfully for years to aid distressed
lot of fools,

"I have
them.

humanity,

but they are an ungrateful

and I wash

my

hands of

and

When this letter am never coming

reaches you I will be on the high seas,

back.

So write 'Finis'
for the

in the big old


is

ledger of miseries,

and shut up shop,


Yours
in disgust.

Exchange

closed

forever.
The Judge."
The Vain
[They
all

stand dazed a moment.

Woman,

sens-

ing that something terrible has happened, rushes from one


to the other,

saying

" What is it ?

What has happened ?

"

Imp
gestion
all

gives her the letter to read.

Former Poor Man.


the rest of

[In a perfect frenzy.]

My God

Indi-

my

days.

Vain Woman.

[After reading letter collapses in a chair, hys-

terically sobbing out.]

Deaf, always deaf

Oh, what
This

shall I

do

Former Rich

Citizen.

[Leaning heavily on his crutch and


is

shaking his free hand, clenched in anger.]

an outrage.

am

rich

and have

influence,

and

I shall take steps to

to

[Imp laughs mockingly.

The

man

looks

down

at his milk-

spattered clothes, his bandaged foot, and, letting his crutch

84

ALTHEA THURSTON
jail to the floor, sinks dejectedly into

a chair, burying his

face in his hands.

[Imp dangles his keys and opens the street-door, as an invitation for
to start,

them

to go.

The Former Poor

Man is the first


Imp
offers

moving dazedly and breathing hard.


;

him

the bottle of indigestion tablets

the

man

grasps them

eagerly,

tipping Imp,

who

chuckles as he pockets the

money.
exits.

The Former Poor The Vain

Man

takes a tablet as he

Woman, bowed
Imp
it,

with sorrow, moves

slowly toward the door.


the ear-trumpet.

touches her

arm and

offers

She accepts

with a wild sob, tipping

Imp, who again chuckles a^ he pockets the money.


last

The

we

see of the

Vain Woman,

she is trying to hold the

ear-trumpet to her ear, and exits, sobbing.

The Former

Rich Citizen still sits Imp picks up hands.


at

in his chair, his head in his


the milk-can, and, tapping the

Tnan not too gently on the shoulder, thrusts the milk-can

him and makes a

significant gesture, indicative of

This
his

Way

Out.
takes

The
the

man

rises dejectedly, picks

up

crutch,

milk-can, and hobbles painfully

toward the door.

Imp doubles himself up in wild Meph-

istophelian glee as the

curtain falls

SAM AVERAGE
BY

PERCY MACKAYE

Sam Average is reprinted by special permission of Percy Mackaye. This play first appeared in Yankee Fantasies, Duffield & Company, New York.
Special Notice

and no public reading


City.

No public or private performance of this play professional or amateur of it for money may be given without the written

permission of the author and the payment of royalty. Persons who desire to obtain such permission should communicate direct with the author at his address. Harvard Club, 27 West 44th Street, New York

PERCY MACKAYE
Percy Mackaye, who was born in New York City in 1875, is one of the few Americans whose interest has been almost wholly in the theatre. As a lecturer, writer, and champion of real art in drama, he lias had few if any equals. He inherited his interest in drama from his father, Steele Mackaye, author of Hazel Kirke. He was educated at Harvard, where he studied under Professor George Pierce Baker, and at Leipzig. He has travelled extensively in Europe and at various times has resided in Rome, Switzerland, and London. In 1914 Dartmouth conferred upon him the honorary Master of Arts degree. At present he holds a fellowship in dramatic literature in Miami University,
Oxford, Ohio.

Mr. Mackaye's efforts in the dramatic field have been varied. Masques, pageants, operas, and plays are to his credit. The Canterbury Pilgrims, The Scarecrow, Jeanne D^Arc, Mater, AntiMatrimony, Sanctuary, Saint Louis Masque, and Caliban are among his better-known works. In 1912 appeared his Yankee Fantasies, of which Sam Average and Gettysburg are the more noteworthy. In all of Mr. Mackaye's work he possesses what many dramatists lack a definite ideal. He aims at an artistic and literary effect. His Sam Average is a real contribution to American patriotic drama.

CHARACTERS
Andrew
Joel

Ellen

Sam Average

SAM AVERAGE*
An intrenchment
On
in Canada, near Niagara Falls, in the year 1814.

Night, shortly before dawn.


the right, the dull glow of

a smouldering wood fire ruddies the

earthen embankment, the low-stretched outline of which forms,

with darkness, the scenic background.

Near

the centre,

left,

against the dark, a flag with stars floats from

Us standard.
Beside the
fire,

Andrew,
is

reclined, gazes at

a small frame in his


it.

hand ; near him

a knapsack, with contents emptied beside


forth,

On

the

embankment, Joel, with a gun, paces back and

blanket thrown about his shoulders.

Joel.

[With a singing

call.]

Four

o'clock

^All's

well
the

[Jumping down from


fire.

the

embankment, he approaches

Andrew.
Joel.

By God,
[Looks

Joel, it's bitter.


coals.]

[Rubbing his hands over the

A mite

sharpish.

Andrew.
Joel.

up

eagerly.]

What ?
Oh!
[A pause.]
I

Cuts sharp, for Thanksgivin'.


[Sinks back, gloomily.]

Andrew.
meant
Joel.

wonI

dered you should agree with me.

You meant
.?

the weather.

[A pause again,
Well, Andy, what'd
Life.

you mean

Andrew.
Joel.

Shucks
[To himself.]

Andrew.

Living
All rights reserved.

* Copyright, 1912, 1921,

by Percy Mackaye.
89

90
Joel.

PERCY MACKAYE
[Sauntering over
left, listens.]

Hear a
?

rooster crow

Andrew.
Joel.
signal.

No.

What

are you doing

Tiltin' the flag

over crooked in the

dirt.

That's our

Andrew.
buried
it

Nothing could be more apj^opriate, unless we


it

buried
for us.

in the dirt

Joel.

She's to find us where the flag's turned down.


all right.

I fixed
's

that with the sergeant

The

rooster crowin'

her

watchword

Andrew.
better.

An

eagle screaming, Joel: that

would have been


ain't

[Rising.]

Ah
Andy!
'em.

[He laughs painfully.

Joel.

Hush
You'll

up,

The
it

nearest
low.

men

two rods

away.
Joel.

wake

Pitch

Andrew.
nel this end,

Don't be alarmed.

I'm coward enough.

'Course, though, there ain't

much

danger.

I'm

senti-

and the sergeant has the


the reg'lar thing.

tip at t'other.

Besides,

you may

call it

There's been two thousand

deserters already in this tuppenny-ha'penny war,

and none on

'em the worse

off.

When

well,

he ups and takes

man don't get his pay for nine months his vacation. Why not ? When Nell
cross over to

joins us, we'll hike

up the Niagara,

Tonawanda, and

take our breakfast in Buffalo.

By

that time the boys here will

be marchin' away tow^ard Lundy's Lane.

Andrew.
Joel.

[Walks back and forth,


?

shivering.]

I'm

afraid.

'Fraid

Bosh

Andrew.
Joel.

I'm afraid to face

Face what ?

Andrew.
Joel.
get you.^

Your
!

sister

We won't get caught. my wife.


knows
.f^

Nell

\Miy, ain't she comin' here just a-purpose to


Ain't you

Ain't there reason enough. Lord

made up your mind to light out home anyhow ? Andrew. Yes. That's just what she'll never
In her heart
as well as I
she'll

forgive

me for.

never think of
I'll

me

the same.

For she knows

what pledge

be breaking

what sacred pledge.

SAM AVERAGE
Joel.

91

What you mean ?

Andrew.

No

matter, no matter; this


to the fire

is

gush.
the contents

[He returns

and begins

to

fumble over
idly.

of his knapsack.

Joel watches him

One of her curls ? Andrew. [Looking at a lock of hair in the Some day they'll baby's, Httle Andy's.
Joel.
father

firelight.]
tell

No; the him how his

[He winces, and puts the lock away.


[Going toward the embankment.]
[Ties

Joel.

Listen

Andrew.
Joel.

up

the package, muttering.]


It's

Son

of a traitor

[Tiptoeing back.]
to his feet,

crowed

that's

her.

[Leaping

Andrew

stares

toward the embankment


to
it,

where the flag


his eyes

is

dipped ; then turns his back


his hands.

closing

and gripping

[After a pause, silently the figure of

a young

woman

emerges

from

the

dark and stands on the embankment.


ill

She

is

bareheaded and

clad.

[Joel touches

Andrew, who
down
to

turns and looks toward her.

Silently she steals

him and

they embrace.

Andrew.
Ellen.

My Nell
Nearly a year

Andrew.
Ellen.

Now,

at last
close,

Hold me

Andy.

Andrew.
Ellen.

You're better ?
Let's forget

just for now.


see

Is he grown much ? Grown ? You should could I do You see Andrew. I know, I know.

Andrew.
Ellen.

him

But

so

ill

What

.?

Ellen.

The money was


I know, dear.

all

gone.

They turned me out

at

the old place, and then

Andrew.
Ellen.

I got sewing, but

when the smallpox

92

PERCY MACKAYE
I

Andrew.
pack.

have

all

your

letters, Nell.

Come, help me to

Ellen.
Joel.

What

You're really decided


Hello, Sis
Joel; that

[Approaching.]
[Absently.]
to the

Ellen.

Ah,

you.^

[Eagerly y following

Andrew
Ellen.
I've

knapsack.]

But,

my

dear
off.

Andrew.

Just these few things, and we're


[Agitated.]

Wait, wait!

You

don't

know yet why

come instead of writing. Andrew. I can guess. Ellen. But you can't; that's tell you something, and then

your own eyes, from yourself,


that you think
it is right.

I have to must know from that you wish to do this, Andrew;


!

what's so hard
[Sloivly.]

Andrew.
Ellen.
ness,
it's
it's
it's

[Gently.]

I guessed that. I

This

is

what

must

tell

you.

It's

not just the sick-

not only the baby, not the

money gone

and

all

that;

Andrew.
Ellen.
been insulted.

[Murmurs.]
It's

My

God

what

all

that brings

the

helplessness.

I've

Andy

[Her voice breaks.]

want a

protector.

Andrew.
dear

[Taking her in his arms, where she

sobs.]

There,

Ellen.

[With a low moan.]


I

You know.
we'll go.

Andrew.
Ellen.
right?

know.

Come, now;

[Her face lighting up.]

Oh

and you dare I

It's

Dare

Andrew. [Moving from her, I be damned by God and


Joel.

with a hoarse laugh.]


all his

angels?

Ha!

Dare? Come,

we're slow.

Time enough.
[Sinking upon Joel's knapsack 05 a seat, leans her
at

Ellen.

head on her hands, and looks strangely

Andrew.]

I'd better

have written, I'm

afraid.

SAM AVERAGE
Andrew.
way.
[Controlling his emotion.]
it all.

93
don't take
it

Now,

that

I've considered

Ellen.

[With deep

quiet.]

Blasphemously.''

Andrew.

Reasonably,
I

my

brave wife.

When

I enlisted, I

dreamed I was called to love and serve our country. But that dream is shattered. This sordid war, this political murder, has not one single principle of humanity to
did so in a dream.

excuse

its

bloody

sacrilege.

It doesn't deserve

my

loyalty

our

loyalty.

Ellen.

Are you saying

this

for

my

sake?

What

of

"God

and

his angels".?

Andrew.

[Not looking at

her.]

If

we had a
if

just cause

cause of liberty like that in Seventy-six;

to serve one's country

meant to serve God and his angels then, yes; a man might put away wife and child. He might say: "I will not be a husband, a father; I will be a patriot." But now like this tangled in a web of spiders caught in a grab-net of politicians and you, you and our baby-boy, like this hell let in on our home no,

Coimtry be cursed
Ellen.
[Slowly.]

So, then,

when

little

Andy grows up

Andrew.
Ellen.
I

[Groaning.]

I say that the only thing

am

to tell

him
Tell

Andrew.
try,
sionately.]

[Defiantly.]

him

his father deserted his coun-

and thanked God


Here
it
!

for the chance.

[Looking about him pasthe flag

[He tears a part of


her.]

from

its

standard^

and reaches

toward

You're cold; put this round you.


about her shoulders,

[As he

is putting the strip of colored silk

a sound of fifes and fiutes, playing the merry march-strains of " Yankee Doodle.'^
there rises, faint yet close by,

[At the same time there enters along the embankment, dimly,

enveloped in a great cloak, a

tall

Figure, which pauses

beside the standard of the torn flag, silhouetted against the


first pale streaks of the

dawn.

Ellen.

[Gazing at Andrew.]

What's the matter ?

94

PERCY MACKAYE
[Listening.]

Andrew.
Joel.

Who
He

are they

Where

is it ?

[Starts, alertly.]

hears something.

Andrew.
Ellen.
Joel.

Why
Andy

should they play before daybreak ?

[Whispers.]
to the

Ssh

Look out

We're spied on

[He points
back.

embankment.

Andrew and Ellen draw


and leaning on

The
it.]

Figxjre.
?

[Straightening the flag-standard,

Desartin'

Andrew.
watchword

[Puts

Ellen

behind him.]

Who's there

.^

The

The
Joel.
it*s

Figure.

God
!

save the smart folks

[To Andrew.]

He's on to us.
knife.]

Pickle

him

quiet, or

court martial

[Showing a long
it

Shall I give

him this ?

Andrew.
Ellen.

[Taking

from

him.]

No.

will.

[Seizing his arm.]

Andrew

Andrew.

Let

go.

[The Figure, descending into the intrenchment, approaches with face muffled. Joel draws Ellen away. Andrew
moves toward

The Figure slowly.

They meet and pause,

Andrew.

You're a spy

[With a quick flash,


pauses, staring.

Andrew raises the knife to strike, but The Figure, throwing up one arm to

ward

the blow, reveals

through

the parted cloak

glint

of stars in the firelight."^

told

The Figure. me to drop


Joel.

Steady, boys; I'm one of ye.

The

sergeant

round.
!

Oh, the sergeant


[Dropping the

That's
knife.]

all right,

then.

Andrew.

Who

are

you ?
.'

The Figure.
*

Who be /.^ My name, ye mean

My name's

face of the Figure are partly hidden by a beak-shaped Momentarily, however, when his head is turned toward the fire, enough of the face is discernible to reveal his narrow iron-gray beard, shaven upper lip, aquiline nose, and eyes that twinkle in the dimness.

The head and

cowl.

SAM AVERAGE
Average

95
o'

Sam Average.
me.

Univarsal Sam, some

my

prophetic

friends calls

Andrew.
Joel.

What are you doing here now ? The Figure. Oh, tendin' to business.
Tendin' to other
folks' business,

eh ?
Ye-es; reckon

The Figure.
that
is

[With a toiwh of weariness.]

my

business.

Some
to

other folks

is

me.

Joel.

[Grimacing

Ellen.]

Cracked
You're a mite back'ard in

The

Figure.

[To Andrew.]

wages, ain't ye ?

Andrew.

Nine months.

What
fit,

of that.?
for.

The Figure.
and calc'lates

That's what I dropped round


like

Seems
suthin'

like

when a man's endoored and


he'll quit,

you have,

for his country,

he ought to be takin' a

little

hom'

for Thanksgivin'.

So I fetched round your pay.


!

Andrew.
Ellen.

My pay

You ?
eagerly.]

The Figure. The Figure.

Yes; I'm the paymaster.

[Coming forward,

Andy!

The money,

is it

.''

[Bows with a grave, old-fashioned

staieliness.]

Your sarvent, ma'am Andrew. [Sfealcinglow.] Keep back, Nell.

[T^o

The Figure.]
down

You you were The Figure.

saying
I were about to say how gold bein' scarce

to the Treasury, I fetched ye


tional I. O. U.'s, as ye

some

s'curities instead;

some na-

might say.

[He takes out an old jpowder[Pouring from the

horn, and rattles

it

quietly.]

That's them.

horn into his palm some glistening, golden grains.]

Here they

be.

Ellen.
Joel.

[Peering, with Joel.]

Gold,

Andy
!

[With a snigger.]

Gold

nothin'
It's

That's corn

just

Injun corn.

Ha
[Bowing
gravely.]

The Figure.
what
Joel.

the quality, ma'am,

counts, as ye might say.

[Behind his hand.]

His top-loft leaks


give'

The

Figure.

These here karnels, now, were

me down

96

PERCY MACKAYE
in

Plymouth way,
like I

Massachusetts, the fust Thanksgivin' seems


'Twa'n't long after the famine

can remember.

we had
his

thar.

Me

bein'

some hungry, the

red-folks fetched a hull-lot o'

this round,

with the compliments of their capting

what were

name now ?
Joel.
out.

Massasoit.
like

This here's the last handful on't

left.

Thought ye might

some, bein' Thanksgivin'.

[In a low voice, to Ellen.]

His screws are droppin'

Come and The Figure.


still

pack.

We've got

to

mark time and

skip.

[Without looking at Joel.]

Eight or ten min-

The sergeant said wait till ye hear his jew's-harp playin' of that new war tune. The Star-Spangled Banner. Then ye' 11 know the coast's clear.
utes
to spare, boys.

Joel.

Gad, that's
pack,

right.

remember now.
knapsack, which they begin
to
tall

\He draws Ellen away

to the

Andrew
the cloak.

has never removed his eyes from the

form in
[Now, as

The Figure pours back


thmk I'd like some. Some o' what ?

the yellow grains from his

pahn

into the powder-horn, he speaks, hesitatingly,

Andrew. Andrew.
the horn.]

The Figure.

Those

my pay.
So.

The Figure.
Andrew.
of

[Cheerfully.]

Would ye?

[Handing him

Reckon

that's

enough ?
it.]

[Not taking

That's what I want to

make

sure

^first.

The Figure.
Andrew.
me,
sir.

Oh

So ye're

hesitatin'

Yes; but I want you to help

me

decide.

Pardon
ask your

You're a stranger, yet somehow I


in time.

feel I

may

help.

You've come just


S'posin'

The Figure.
wa'n't
it ?

Queer I should a-dropped round

jest

now,
knap-

we take a
the

turn.

[Together they walk toivard the embankment.

By

the

sack

Ellen ^nc?5
herself.]

little

frame.

Ellen.

[To

My picture

SAM AVERAGE
[She looks toioard

97
Joel,
lifting the

Andrew
to her.

affectionately.

knapsack, beckons

Joel.

There's more stuff over here.

[He goes

off,

right ;

Ellen follows him.


judgment
of

Andrew.
to be one

[To

The
sir.

Figure.]

I should like the

your experience,

I can't quite see your face, yet

you appear

who has had a great deal of experience. Why, consid'able some. Andrew. Did you happen to fight in the late war

The Figure.
pendence
.f*

for inde-

The Figure.
fight;

Happen

to.^^

[Laughing

quietly.]

N-no, not

was paymaster. Andrew. But you went through the war ? The Figure. Ye-es, oh, yes; I went through
ye see
^I

it.

I took out

my

fust reg'lar papers

down

to Philadelphie, in '76, seems like


I
it

'twas the fourth day

Andrew.
true ?

Tell

o' July. But me: I've heard

was paymaster afore


Washington.

that.

said there were deserters


Is
it

even in those days, even from the

roll-call of

The Figure.
fire rollin'

True, boy ?

Have ye

ever watched a prairie-

toward ye, billowin' with flame and smoke, and seed


.?*

all

the midget cowerin' prairie-dogs scoot in' for their holes

Wall, that's the

way

watched Howe's army sweepin' crosst the


little patriots,

Jarsey marshes, and seed the desartin'

with their

chins over their shoulders, skedaddlin' home'ards.

Andrew.

What

the Americans

The

Figure.

All but a handful

on 'em
set

them
and
it

as weren't

canines, ye might say, but men.

They

a back-fire goin' at
fingers off,

Valley Forge.

Most on 'em burnt


white
frost,

their toes

lightin' on't thar in the

but they stuck

through and
did they

saved

wall, the prairie-dogs.

Andrew. But they those others. What reason give to God and their own souls for deserting The Figure. To who
.?
.?

98

PERCY MACKAYE

Andrew. To their consciences. What was their reason ? It must have been a noble one in '76. Their reason then ; don't you I must know what reason real heroes gave see, I must have it.
for their acts.

You were

there.
eh.?

You can
o'

tell

me.
ye, then.
is

The Figure.
market.

i^aZ heroes,

Look around
hero

To-

day's the heroic age, and the true brand

al'ays in the

Look around ye Andrew. What, here


of

in this

war

of jobsters, this petty

campaign

monstrous boodle 2

The Figure.
Andrew.

Thar we be
here are only a lot of cowardly half-men, like

Why,

me

Clovers of their

own

folks

their wives and babies at home.


But
real

They'll
in '76:

make
I

sacrifices for

them.

men

like

our fathers

they looked in the beautiful face of Liberty, and sacri-

ficed to her

as you be.

Our fathers, my boy, was jest as fond o' poetry They talked about the beautiful face o' Liberty same's you; but when the hom'made eyes and cheeks of their

The Figure.

sweethearts and young uns took to cry in', they desarted their
beautiful goddess

and skun out hom'.


there were some Thar was some as didn't Those be the folks on my

Andrew.

But

The

Figure.

yes; and thar's some

as don't to-day.

a-here: I calc'late I wouldn't fetch

My talk ain't rhyme stuff, nor the


schoolma'am.

pay-roll. Why, look much on the beauty counter. Muse o' Grammar wa'n't my

Th'
stand.

ain't painter nor clay-sculptor

would

pictur'

me jest like I
give'

For the axe has hewed me, and the plough

has furrered; and the arnin' of gold by

my own
I

elbow-grease has

me

the shrewd eye at a bargain.

manure

my

crops this

side o' Jordan,

and as
arn

for t'other shore, I'd ruther

swap jokes

with the Lord than listen to his sarmons.


o'

And

yet for the likes

me,

jest for to

my

wages

ha, the many, many boys and

gals that's

gone to their grave-beds, and when I a-closed their

eyes, the love-light

was

shinin' thar.

SAM AVERAGE
Andrew. [Who
are

99

has listened with awe.]

What are you ? What

you ?

The Figure.
Andrew. Andrew.
I

Me ?

I'm the paymaster.

want

to serve

you

like those others.

The Figure. The


Figure.

Slow, slow, boy


for

Nobody

sarves me.

But they died

you
for

the others.
for

No, 'twa'n't

me; 'twas

him

as pays

the wages; the one as works through

I'm only the paymaster; kind of


ent sarvant.

the one higher up. obedia needful makeshift


me
his
to
is

Andrew.

[With increasing curiosity, seeks

peer in

The
sarve

Figure's face.]

But the one up higher

who

he ?

The Figure.
him, think,
if

[Turning his head away.]

Would ye
his face

ye heerd his voice ?


[Ardently, drawing closer.]

Andrew.

And saw

[Drawing his cowl lower and taking Andrew's arm.

The

Figure
together.

leads

him up on the embankment, where they stand

The

Figure.

Hark a-yonder
Is
it

Andrew. Andrew.

[Listening.]

thunder ?
?

The Figure.
The
[With awe,

Have ye
voice
!

forgot I

remember now

Niagara
stands

Andrew
still,

looks toward

The Figure, who


From far

shrouded and

facing the dawn.

a sound as of falling waters, and with that a deep murmv;rous voice, which seems to issue from The Figure's
cowl.

off

comes

The
of

Voice.

am

the Voice that was heard of your fathers,

and your

fathers' fathers.

Mightier

^mightier, I shall

be heard

am the Million in whom the one is lost, and I am the One in whom the millions are saved. Their ears shall be shut to my thunders, their eyes to my blinding stars. In shallow
your sons.
I

streams they shall tap


coal

my

life-blood for gold.

With dregs

of

and

of copper they shall pollute

me.

In the mystery of

my

100
mountains
strike

PERCY MACKAYE
tliey shall assail

me;

in the

majesty of

my

forests,

me down;
One and

with engine and derrick and millstone, bind

me
me.

their slave.

Some

for a lust,

some
life;

for

a love, shall desert

one, for his own, shall

fall

away.

Yet one and


is

one and one

shall return to

me

for

the deserter and the de-

stroyer shall re-create me.

Primeval, their life-blood

mine.

My

pouring waters are passion,


I

my

lightnings are laughter of

man.

am

the

One

in

whom
^

the millions are saved, and I

am

the Million in

whom

the one
to

is lost.

Andrew.
him,

[Yearningly

Tue

Figxtri:.]

Your

face!
clings to

[The Figure turns

majestically away.

Andrew

Andrew.

Your

face

[In the shadow of the flag


stant.

The Figure

unmuffles for an in-

[Peering^ dazzled,

Andrew
the

staggers hack, with a low cry,

and, covering his eyes, falls upon the embankment.

[From away, [From

left,

thrumming

of a jew's-harp is heard,

playing " The Star-Spangled Banner."


the right enter

Joel and Ellen.

[Descending from the embankment.


apart.

The Figure

stands

Joel.

Well, Colonel Average, time's up.


[Seeing

Ellen.
!

Andrew's

prostrate form,

hastens to him.]

Andy What's happened ? Andrew. [Rising slowly.]


is

Come

here.

I'll

whisper

it.

[He leads her beside the embankment, beyond which the dawn
beginning
to redden.

Joel.
Nell.

Yonder's the sergeant's jew's-harp.


long, colonel.

That's our signal,

So

The Figure.
Andrew.
derstand ?

[Nodding.]

So long, sonny.

[Holding Ellen's hands, passionately.]

You un-

You

do ?
eyes.]

Ellen.

[Looking in his

I understand, dear.

SAM AVERAGE
[They kiss each Joel.
clear.
other.

101

[Calls low.]

Come, you married


Sneak.

turtles.

The

road's

Follow

me now.

[Carrying his knapsack, Joel climbs over the embankment

and disappears.
[The thrumming of the jew^s-harp continties.

[Ellen, taking the strip of


it to

silk flag from her shoulders, ties

the standard.
[Faintly.]

Andrew.
Ellen.

God

bless

[As they part hands.]

you Good-by
!

[The Figure has remounted the embankment, where the gray folds of his distincter glow of the red dawn

in the

cloak,

hanging from his shoulders, resemble the half-closed wings


of

an

eagle, the

beaked cowl falling, as a kind of


it.

visor,

before his face, concealing

The

Figure.

Come,
to

little gal.

[Ellen goes

him, and hides her face in the great cloak.


it

As

she does so, he draws from


it to

a paper, writes on

it,

and

hands

Andrew,
all

with the powder-horn.

The Figure.
here's

By
and

the by, Andy, here's that s'curity.

Them

my

initials;

they're

what's needful.

Jest

file

this in the

right pigeonhole,
lip,

you'll
later,

draw your pay.

Keep your upper

boy.

I'll

meet ye

mebbe, at Lundy's Lane.


housekeep for your uncle

Andrew.

[Wistfully.]

You'll take her home.'^


she'll

The
till

Figure.

Yes; reckon

you get back; won't

ye, Nellie.'^

Come, don't

cry, little gal.

We'll soon git 'quainted.


called

'Tain't the fust time sweethearts has

me

Uncle.
ii,

[Flinging back his great cloak, he throws one wing of


his arm, about her shoulders, thv^ with half
its

with

reverse side

draping her with shining stripes and


action
his

stars.

By

own

figure is

made

partly visible

the

same

the legs

clad in the tight, instep-strapped troupers {blue


of the Napoleonic era.

and

white)

Holding the

girl gently to

him

102

PERCY MACKAYE
while her face turns hack toward

Andrew

he leads

her,

silhouetted against the sunrise, along the

embankment, and

disappears.

[Meantime, the thrumming twang of the Jew's -harp grows


sweeter, mellower,

modulated with harmonies

that, filling

now

the air with elusive strains of the

American warforms; then,

hymn, mingle with

the faint dawn-tivitterings of birds.


after

[Andrew

stares

silently

the departed

slowly coming

ground his

down into the intrenchment, lifts from the gun and ramrod, leans on the gun, and read-

ing the paper in his hand by the growing light

mutters
makes a

"''"*

U.S.A.
fist,

[Smiling sternly, he crumples the paper in his

wad

of

it,

and rams

it

into his gun-ba/rrel.

HYACINTH HALVEY
BY

LADY AUGUSTA GREGORY

Hyacinth Ealvey
Sons,

is

reprinted

by

New York

City, publishers of

special permission of G. P. Putnam's Lady Gregory's work in America.

All rights reserved.

For permission to perform, address the publisher.

LADY AUGUSTA GREGORY


Lady Augusta Gregory, one
Irish dramatic

of the foremost figures in the

movement, was born at Roxborough, County Galway, Ireland, in 1859. "She was then a young woman," says one who has described her in her early married life, "very earnest, who divided her hair in the middle and wore it smooth on either side of a broad and handsome brow. Her eyes were
always
full of questions.

...

In her drawing-room were to be

met men of assured reputation in literature and politics, and there was always the best reading of the times upon her tables." Lady Gregory has devoted her entire life to the cause of Irish literature. In 1911 she visited the United States and at a dinner given to her by The Outlook in New York City she said:
"I will not cease from mental strife Or let the sword fall from my hand Till we have built Jerusalem In Ireland's fair and lovely land."

Lady Gregory, with William Butler Yeats and John Millington Synge, has been the very life of the Irish drama. The literary association of these three has been highly fruitful. She helped to found the Irish National Theatre Society, and for a number of years has been the managing force of the celebrated Abbey Theatre in Dublin. Lady Gregory's chief interest has been in peasant comedies and folk-plays. Her Spreading the News, Hyacinth Halvey, The Rising of the Moon, The Workhouse Ward, and The Travelling

Man
It

are w^ell-known contributions to contemporary drama.


is

a noteworthy fact that most of the plays of the Irish dramatic movement are one-act plays. Much of Irish life lends itself admirably to one-act treatment. Hyacinth Halvey is one of Lady Gregory's best productions. This play contains a universal idea: reputation is in great measure a matter of "a password or an emotion." Hyacinth, having a good reputation thrust upon him, may do as he likes ^his good name clings to him not-

withstanding.

PERSONS
Hyacinth Halvey
James Quirke, a
butcher
telegraph boy

Fardy Farrell, a
Sergeant Garden

Mrs. Delane,
Miss Joyce,

postmistress at Cloon

the priest's housekeeper

HYACINTH HALVEY
SCENE:
Outside the post-ofice at the
at post-office door.
little

town of Cloon.
sitting
it,

Mrs.

Delane

Mr. Quirke

on a chair

at butcher's door.

A dead sheep hanging beside


Fardy Farrell

and a thrush

in a cage above.

playing on a mouth-organ.

Train-whistle heard.

Mrs. Delane.

There
Is
it

is

the four-o'clock train, Mr. Quirke.

Mr. Quirke.
rising ?

now, Mrs. Delane, and I not long after

in the night-time.

stags of

makes a man drowsy to be doing the haK of his work Going about the country, looking for little sheep, striving to knock a few shillings together. That
It

contract for the soldiers gives

me

a great deal to attend


It's

to.

Mrs. Delane. to be down ready


in the half-dark.
letters

I suppose so.

hard enough on myself

for the mail-car in the morning, sorting letters


It's often I

haven't time to look

who

are the

from

or the cards.

Mr. Quirke. It would be a pity you not to know any little news might be knocking about. If you did not have information of what is going on, who should have it ? Was it you, ma'am,
was
telling

me
?

that the

new

sub-sanitary inspector would be

arriving to-day

Mrs. Delane.
was den
in that train.

To-day

it is

he

is

coming, and

it's

likely

he

There was a card about him to Sergeant Car-

this

morning.

Mr. Quirke.
he was.

young chap from Carrow they were saying


So he
one Hyacinth Halvey; and indeed
107

Mrs. Delane.

is,

if

108
all

LADY AUGUSTA GREGORY


is

that

said of

him

is

true, or

if

a quarter of

it is

true,

he will

be a credit to this town.

Mr. Quirke.
Mrs. Delane.
Gregan they were

Is that so

Testimonials he has by the score.


sent.

To Father

Registered they were coming and going.


telling

Would you
pounds ?

believe

me

you that they weighed up to three


in

Mr. Quirke.
Mrs. Delane.
there did.

There must be great bulk


It
is

them
job.

indeed.

no wonder he to get the

He must

have a great character, so

many

persons to write for him as what

Fardy.
that.

It

would be a great thing to have a character


Indeed, I
it,

like

Mrs. Delane.
you
Fardy.
If I

am

thinking

it

will

be long before
not here

will get the like of

Fardy

Farrell.

had the

like of that of
It's in

a character

it is

carrying messages I would be.


be, driving cars.

Noonan's Hotel I would

Mr. Quirke.
Mrs. Delane.
while after her.

Here

is

the priest's housekeeper coming.


is;

So she

and there

is

the sergeant a

little

[Enter Miss Joyce. Mrs. Delane. Good evening to you, Miss Joyce. What way Did he get any ease from the cough ? is his reverence to-day ? Miss Joyce. He did not, indeed, Mrs. Delane. He has it sticking to him yet. Smothering he is in the night-time. The most thing he comes short in is the voice. Mrs. Dela.ne. I am sorry, now, to hear that. He should mind himself well. Miss Joyce. It's easy to say let him mind himself. WTiat do you say to him going to the meeting to-night ?

[Sergeant comes

in.

Miss Joyce.
Mrs. Delane.

It's for his reverence's

"Freeman"

am

come,

HYACINTH HALVEY
Mrs. Delane. Here eye on it to see was there
Sergeant.
[Holding
it is

109
an

ready.

was
I

just throwing

anj^ news.

Good

evening. Sergeant.

up a

placard.]

brought this notice,

Mrs. Delane, the announcement of the meeting to be held tonight in the court-house.
to the window.
I

You might put

it

up here convenient
yourself ?
I

hope you are coming to

it

Mrs. Delane.
Sergeant.
meeting

I will come, and welcome.

would do more

than that for you. Sergeant.

And you, Mr. Quirke. Mr. Quirke. I'll come, to be sure.


is

I forget what's this the

about.

Sergeant.
classes.

The Department

of Agriculture

is

sending round

a lecturer in furtherance of the moral development of the rural


[Reads.]

"A lecture will be given this evening in Cloon


slides

Court-House, illustrated by magic-lantern


not be in
it;

"

Those

will

am
is

informed they were

all

broken

in the first jour-

ney, the railway


of the lecture

company taking them to be eggs. The subject "The Building of Character." Mrs. Delane. Very nice, indeed. I knew a girl lost her
and she washed her
feet in a blessed well after,

character,

and

it

dried up on the minute.

Sergeant.
things of the

archdeacon being away.

The arrangements have all been left to me, the He knows I have a good intellect for sort. But the loss of those slides puts a man out.
it is

The

thing people will not see


I

not likely
tableaux

it is

the thing they

will believe.

saw what they

call

standing pictures,
is

you know one time in Dundrum Mrs. Delane. Miss Joyce was saying Father Gregan
porting you.

sup-

Sergeant. I am accepting his assistance. No bigotry about me when there is a question of the welfare of any fellow creatures. Orange and green
chair.
will

stand together to-night.

I,

myself,

and

the station-master on the one side, your parish priest in the

110

LADY AUGUSTA GREGORY


If his reverence

Miss Joyce.

would mind
no more
fit

me

he would not

quit the house to-night.

He

is

to go speak at

meeting than [pointing


that sheep.

to the

one hanging outside Quirke's door]

Sergeant.

am

willing to take the responsibility.


all,

He

will

have no speaking to do at
the lecturer a hearing.

unless

it

might be to bid them give

The

loss of those slides

annoyance to

me

and no time

for anything.

now is a great The lecturer will

be coming by the next train.

Miss Joyce. Who is this coming up the street, Mrs. Delane ? Mrs. Delane. I wouldn't doubt it to be the new sub-sanitary inspector. Was I telling you of the weight of the testimonials he got. Miss Joyce ?

Miss Joyce.
reverence.

Sure, I heard the curate reading

them

to his

He must

be a wonder for principles.

Mrs. Delane. Indeed, it is what I was saying to myself, he must be a very saintly young man. [Enter Hyacinth Halvey. He carries a small bag and
a large brown-paper parcel.
fully.

He
I

stops

and nods bashto the

Hyacinth.
post-office

Good evening
I suppose

to you.

was bid to come


Halvey.'^

Sergeant.
letter

you are Hyacinth was


writing.

had a

about you from the resident magistrate.


I heard he It

Hyacinth.
Sergeant.

was

my mother got a

friend he deals with to ask him.

He
It

gives

you a very high character.


all

Hyacinth.
ing

is

very kind of him, indeed, and he not knowthe neighbors were very friendly.

me

at

all.

But, indeed,

Anything any one could do to help

me

they did

it.

Mrs. Delane.
your parcel
?

I'll

engage

it is

the testimonials you have in

know

the wrapping-paper, but they grew in bulk

since I handled them.

Hyacinth.

Indeed, I was getting them to the

last.

There

HYACINTH HALVEY
was not one refused me.
good character
is

111

It

is

what

my

mother was saying, a

no burden.

Fardy.

would believe that, indeed.


Let us have a look at the testimonials.
parcel,

Sergeant.

[Hyacinth Halvey opens


envelopes fall out.

and a

large

number of
possesses

Sergeant.
the
fire of

[Opening and reading one by one.]


"
of the

"He

the Gael, the strength of the


stolidity of the

Norman, the
Poor

vigor of the

Dane, the

Saxon

Hyacinth.
wrote that.

It

was the chairman

Law

Guardians
"

Sergeant.

"A

magnificent example to old and young


of the

Hyacinth.
Club

That was the secretary

De Wet

Hurling

Sergeant.

"A

shining example of the value conferred


"

by an

eminently careful and high-class education

Hyacinth.
Sergeant.
tary career

That was the national schoolmaster. "Devoted to the highest ideals of his motherland
is

to such an extent as "

compatible with a hitherto non-parliamen-

Hyacinth.
Sergeant.

That was the member

for

Carrow.

"A
The

splendid

exponent of the purity of the

Hyacinth.
Sergeant.
all

editor of the "

Carrow Champion."
for the efficient discharge of

"Admirably adapted

possible duties that

may

in future

be laid upon him

"

Hyacinth.
Sergeant.
benefit his

The new

station-master.

"A champion of every cause that can legitimately " Why, look here, my man, you fellow creatures
come
to our assistance to-night.
that.

are the very one to

Hyacinth.
doit?

would be glad to do

What way

can I

Sergeant.
weight

you

You are a newcomer your example would carry must stand up as a living proof of the beneficial

112
eflPect

LADY AUGUSTA GREGORY


of a high character,
it

moral
sure

fibre,

temperance
I

there
I

is

something about
**

here I

am

(Looks.)

am

sure I saw

unparalleled temperance" in

some place

Hyacinth.
Sergeant.

It

was

my

mother's cousin wrote that

am

no

drinker, but I haven't the pledge taken

You might take it for the purpose. Mr. Quirke. [Eagerly.] Here is an antitreating button. was made a present of it by one of my customers I'll give it

I to

you [sticks it in Hyacinth's coat] and welcome. Sergeant. That is it. You can wear the button on the
platform

ample

or a bit of blue ribbonhundreds I know the boys from the Workhouse


I

will follow

your ex-

will

Hyacinth.
Sergeant.

am

in

no way wishful to be an example


read
extracts

will

from
of

the

testimonials.

"There he

is," I will say,

"an example
and

one

in early life

who
do.

by
I'll

his

own unaided

efforts

his high character has obtained a

profitable situation."

[Slaps his side.]

know what

I'll

engage a few corner-boys from Noonan's bar, just as they are,

greasy and sodden, to stand in a group


trast

there will be the con-

the sight
to

will deter others

way

do a tableau

that's the I knew I could turn out a success.


from a similar fate
'pocket.]

Hyacinth.
Sergeant.

I wouldn't like to be a contrast

[Puts testimonials in his

I will go
it

now

and ergagi those lads sixpence each, and well worth ing like an example for the rural classes.
[Goes
off.

noth-

Hyacinth feebly

trying to detain him.

Mrs. Delane.
himself,

A very nice man, indeed. A little high up in


I'm not one that blames the
police.

maybe.

Sure they
indeed
it

have
is

their

own bread

to earn like every other one.

And
will,

often they will let a thing pass.

Mr. Quirke.
Miss Joyce.
Halvey ^

[Gloomily.]

Sometimes they
will

and more

times they will not.

And where

you be finding a

lodging,

Mr.

HYACINTH HALVEY
Hyacinth.
I

113
I don't

was going to ask that myself, ma*am.


I

know the town. Miss Joyce.


good

know

of a

good lodging, but


it.

it is

only a very

man would

be taken into

Mrs. Delane. Sure there could be no objection there to Mr. Halvey. There is no appearance on him but what is good,
and the sergeant after taking him up the way he is doing. Miss Joyce. You will be near to the sergeant in the lodging
I speak of.

The house

is

convenient to the barracks.

Hyacinth.

[Doubtfully.]

To
it,

the barracks

Miss Joyce.

Alongside of
all.

and the barrack-yard behind.

And

that's not

It

is

opposite to the priest's house.


is it ?

Hyacinth.

Opposite,

Miss Joyce. clean room you


into
it

very respectable place, indeed, and a very


I

will get.

know

it

well.

The curate can

see

from

his

window.

Hyacinth.
Fardy.

Can he now ?

There was a good many, I


left it after.

am

thinking,

went

into

that lodging and

Miss Joyce.
dance.

[Sharply.]

It
If

is

a lodging you will never be

let

into or let stop in, Fardy.

they did go they were a good rid-

John Hart, the plumber, left it Miss Joyce. If he did it was because he dared not pass the police coming in, as he used, with a rabbit he was after snaring
in his

Fardy.

hand.

The schoolmaster himself left it. Miss Joyce. He needn't have left it if he hadn't taken to card-playing. What way could you say your prayers, and shadows shuffling and dealing before you on the blind ? Hyacinth. I think maybe I'd best look around a bit before
Fardy.
I'll

settle in a lodging

Miss Joyce.
the blind.

Not at all.

Fow won't be wanting

to pull

down

114

LADY AUGUSTA GREGORY

Mrs. Delane. It is not likely you will be snaring rabbits. Miss Joyce. Or bringing in a bottle and taking an odd glass the way James Kelly did. Mrs. Delane. Or writing threatening notices, and the police

taking a view of you from the rear.

Miss Joyce.
Hyacinth.
think.

Or going
I give

to roadside dances, or running after

good-for-nothing young

girls

you

my

word I'm not

so harmless as

you

Mrs. Delane.
Halvey.''
will

[Touching testimonials.]

Would you be putting a lie on these, Mr. I know well the way you
letters to

be spending the evenings, writing

your relations

Miss Joyce. Learning O'Growney's exercises Mrs. Delane. Sticking post-cards in an album
vent bazaar.

for the con-

Miss Joyce. Reading the "Catholic Young Man" Mrs. Dei^^ne. Playing the melodies on a melodeon Miss Joyce. Looking at the pictures in the "Lives of the I'll hurry on and engage the room for you. Saints." Hyacinth. Wait. Wait a minute Miss Joyce. No trouble at all. I told you it was just opposite.
[Goes.

Mr. Quirke.
self for

I suppose I
If it

must go

up-stairs

and ready my-

the meeting.

wasn't for the contract I have for the

soldiers'

barracks and the sergeant's good word, I wouldn't go


[Goes into shop.

anear

it.

Mrs. Delane. I should be making myself ready, too. I must be in good time to see you being made an example of, IMr. Halvey. It is I, myself, was the jfirst to say it; you will be a
credit to the town.
[Goes.

Hyacinth.
Cloon.

[In a tone of agony.]

I wish I

had never seen

Fardy.

What

is

on you ?

Hyacinth.

I wish I

had never

left

Carrow.

I wish I

had

HYACINTH HALVEY
been drowned the
off.

115
I'd be better

first

day

thought of

it,

and

Fardy. What is it ails you ? Hyacinth. I wouldn't for the best pound ever I had be
this place to-day.

in

Fardy.
I

I don't

know what you


left

are talking about.


if it

Hyacinth.

To have

Carrow,

was a poor

place,

where

had

my comrades,

and an odd

spree,

and a game

of cards

and
I'll

a coursing-match coming on, and I promised a new greyhound

from the city


be too

of Cork.
in.

I'll

die in this place, the

way I am.

much

closed
it

Fardy.
it?

Sure

mightn't be as bad as what you think.


tell

Hyacinth.
Fardy.
character

Will you

me, I ask you, what way can I undo

What
?

is it

you are wanting to undo ?


tell

Hyacinth.
Fardy.

Will you

me what way

can I get rid of

my

To

get rid of

it, is it ?

Hyacinth.
Fardy.

That

is

what

I said.

Aren't you after hearing

the great character they are after putting on

me ?
the world.
If I

That is a good thing to have. Hyacinth. It is not. It's the worst hadn't it, I wouldn't be like a prize mangold
person praising me.

in

at a show, with every

Fardy.

If I

had
If I

it,

I wouldn't be like a head in a barrel, with

every person making hits at me.

Hyacinth.
with
all

hadn't

it,

I wouldn't be shoved into a

room

the clergy watching

me and

the police in the back yard.

Fardy. If I had it, I wouldn't be but a message-carrier now, and a clapper scaring birds in the summer-time. Hyacinth. If I hadn't it, I wouldn't be wearing this button and brought up for an example at the meeting. Fardy. [Whistles.] Maybe you're not so, what those papers

make you out

to be

116

LADY AUGUSTA GREGORY


How
it

Hyacinth.

Was

there ever

world, unless

would I be what they make me out to be ? any person of that sort since the world was a might be Saint Antony of Padua looking down
If it
is

from the chapel wall ?

like that I

was,

isn't it in

Mount

Melleray I would be, or with the


I be living in the world at
all,

friars at

Esker ?

^\hy would

or doing the world's

work ?
?

Fardy.

[Taking up parcel.]
lies in

Who

would think, now, there

would be so much

a small place like Carrow


it.

Hyacinth.
to

It

was

my mother's cousin did

He

said I

was

not reared for laboring

he gave me a new

suit

and bid me never

bors

come back again. I daren't go back to face him knew my mother had a long family bad luck

the neighto

them the

day they gave me these. [Tears letters and scatters them.] I'm done with testimonials. They won't be here to bear witness
against me.

Fardy.
but
will

The sergeant thought them


before morning that

to be great.

Sure he has

the samples of them in his pocket.

There's not one in the town

know

you are the next thing

to

an

earthly saint.

Hyacinth.

[Stamping.]

I'll

stop their mouths.


I'll

I'll

show
I'll

them I can be commit some crime.


If I

a terror for badness.

do some injury.
I'll

The
tell

first

thing
it

I'll

do
I'll

go and get drunk.

never did

it

before

I'll

do

now.

get drunk

then

I'll

make an assault of blowmg out a


Fardy.
If

you

I'd think as little of taking a

life

as

candle.
for.

you get drunk you are done


I will break the law.
will

Sure that will

be held up after as an excuse for any breaking of the law.

Hyacinth.
it.

Drunk

or sober,

I'll

break

I'll

do something that

have no excuse.

^Miat would

you say is the worst crime that any man can do.? Fardy. I don't know. I heard the sergeant saj-ing one time it was to obstruct the police in the discharge of their dutj' Hyacinth. That won't do. It's a patriot I would be then,
worse than before, with

my

picture in the weeklies.

It's

a red

HYACINTH HALVEY
crime I must commit that will

117

make

all

respectable people quit

minding me.

What can
what

do?

Search your mind now.

Fardy.

It's

I heard the old people saying there could

be no worse crime than to steal a sheep

Hyacinth.
will leave

I'll

steal a sheep

or a cowor a horse
leave you.
confess

if

that

me

the

Fardy.
I give

It's

way I was before. maybe in jail it will

Hyacinth.
you

I don't care

I'll

I'll tell

why

I did

it

my word I would as soon be picking oakum or breaking


same as that
chirrup
bird,

stones as to be perched in the daylight the


all

and

the town chirruping to

me

or bidding

me

Fardy. Fardy.
far to go.

There
Well,

is

reason in that, now.


will

Hyacinth.

Help me,
if it is

you

.^

to steal a sheep

you want, you haven't

Hyacinth.
sheep.

[Looking around wildly.]

Where

is it.^

I see

no

Fardy.
Fardy.

Look around you.


I see

Hyacinth.
Quirke's rack

no

living thing

but that thrush

Did
?

I say

it

was

living.?

What

is

that hanging on

Hyacinth.
Fardy.

It's [fingers

it]

a sheep, sure enough


it

Well,

what

ails

you that you can't bring

away ?

Hyacinth.
Fardy.

It's

a dead one
if it is ?

What matter
If it

Hyacinth.
Fardy.
drive
it ?

was

living I could drive


Is
it

it

before

me

You

could.

to your
it

own

lodging you would

Sure every one would take

to be a pet

you brought

from Carrow.

Hyacinth.
Fardy.
behind the bed.

I suppose they might.


in for

Miss Joyce sending

news

of

it

and

it

bleating

Hyacinth.

[Distracted.]

Stop

stop

118

LADY AUGUSTA GREGORY


[From
?

Mrs. Delane.
there,

upper

window.]

Fardy!

Are

you

Fardy
I

Farrell

Fardy,

am, ma'am.
[From window.]

Mrs. Delane.
Fardy.
undressed.

Look and
is,

tell

me

is

that

the telegraph I hear ticking ?


[Looking in at door.]
It

ma'am.
it,

Mrs. Delane.

Then botheration
I'm coming
! !

to

Wouldn't you say, now,


I'm coming
!

it's
!

to

and I not dressed or annoy me it is calling


[Disappears.

me down.
Fardy.
you.
alone.
If

She'll be coming out on Hurry Hurry on, now you are going to do it, do it, and if you are not, let it

Hyacinth.
Fardy.
with
it.

I'll

do

it

I'll

do

it I'll

[Lifting the sheep

on his back.]

give

you a hand

Hyacinth. [Goes a step or two and turns round.] You told me no place where I could hide it. Fardy. You needn't go far. There is the church beyond at
the side of the square.
there's nettles in
it.

Go round

to the ditch behind the wall

Hyacinth.
Fardy.

That'll do.

She's coming out

run
give

run

Hyacinth.
Fardy.

[Runs a step or
it

two.]
it

It's slipping

Hoist

up.

I'll

a hoist

[Halyey runs out. Mrs. Delane. [Calling out.] What are you doing, Fardy Is it idling you are ? Farrell ? Fardy. Waiting I am, ma'am, for the message Mrs. Del.\ne. Never mind the message yet. Who said it
was
ready.?

[Going

to door.]

Go

ask for the loan of

no,

but

ask news of

Here,

now go

bring that bag of 'Mi. Halvey's to

the lodging Miss Joyce has taken

Fardy.

I will,

ma'am.

[Takes bag and goes out.

Mrs. Delane.

[Cmning out with a telegram in her hand.]

No-

HYACINTH HALVEY
body here ? Mr. Quirke
IVIr.

119

[Looks round and calls cautiously.]


!

Mr. Quirke

James Quirke

Quirke.

[Looking out of his upper window, with soapis it,

suddy face.]

What

Mrs. Delane ^

Mrs. Delane.

[Beckoning.]
I cannot

Come down
I'm not
if

here

till

tell

you.

Mr. Quirke. Mrs. Delane. Mr. Quirke. Mrs. Delane.


place
?

do

that.

fully shaved.

You'd come
Tell
it

you knew the news

I have.

to

me now.

I'm not so supple as I was.


in

Whisper now, have you an enemy


It's likely I

any

Mr. Quirke.
Mrs. Delane.

may have.

A man in business
this

was thinking you had one.


would you think that at
time more

Mr. Quirke.
Mrs. Delane.
you would know Mr. Quirke.

Why
If

than any other time ^

you could know what

is

in this

envelope

that,

James Quirke.
?

Is that so

And

what, now,

is

there in

it ^

Mrs. Delane.

Mr. Quirke.
Mrs. Delane.

Who do you think now is it addressed to ? How would I know that, and I not seeing it
That
is

"^

true.

Well,

it

is

a message from

Dublin Castle to the sergeant of police

Mr. Quirke.
Mrs. Delane.

To
It

Sergeant Carden,
is.

is it ?

And
is it,^

it

concerns yourself.

Mr. Quirke.
bringing against

Myself,

What

accusation can they be

me?

I'm a peaceable man.


till

Mrs. Delane.

Wait

you hear.

Mr. Quirke.
case

Maybe

they think I was in that moonlighting

Mrs. Delane.

Mr. Quirke.
field

the neighboring cutting up a dead cow, that those never had a hand
I
in

That is not it was not in it I was but


it

in

Mrs. Delane.

You're out of

Mr. Quirke.

They had

their faces blackened.

There

is

no

man

can say I recognized them.

120

LADY AUGUSTA GREGORY


That's not what they're saying
I'll

Mrs. Delane.
IVIr.

Quirke.

swear I did not hear their voices or know


to do with that.

them if I did hear them. Mrs. Delane. I tell you it has nothing might be better for you if it had.

It

Mr. Quirke.
Mrs. Delane.
is

What
It
is

is it,

so ?

an order to the sergeant, bidding him


suspicious

immediately to seize

all

meat

in

your house.

There

an

officer

coming down.

There are complaints from the Shan-

non Fort Barracks. Mr. Quirke. I'll engage it was that pork. Mrs. Delane. What ailed it for them to find

fault ?

Mr. Quirke.

People are so hard to please nowadays, and I

recommended them to salt it. Mrs. Delane. They had a


vice.

right to

have minded your adbut that

Mr. Quirke.
it

There was nothing on that pig at

all

went mad on poor O' Grady that owned it. Mrs. Delane. So I heard, and went killing all before it. Mr. Quirke. Sure it's only in the brain madness can be.

heard the doctor saying that.

Mrs. Delane.

He
it,

should know.

Mr. Quirke.
went to the
loss of

I give

you

my
it

word

I cut the

head

off

it.

throwing

to the eels in the river.

If

they

had salted the meat, as I advised them, what harm would it have done to any person on earth ? Mrs. Delane. I hope no harm will come on poor Mrs.
Quirke and the family.

Mr. Quirke.
Mrs. Delane.
the sergeant.

Maybe it wasn't that but some other thing


Here
is

Fardy.

must send the message to

Well, Mr. Quirke, I'm glad I had the time to give

you a warning. Mr. Quirke.

I'm obliged to you, indeed.

You were always

very neighborly, Mrs. Delane.

Don't be too quick now sending

HYACINTH HALVEY
the message.

121
put away

There

is

just one article I

would

like to

out of the house before the sergeant will come.


[Enter

Fardy.

Mrs. Delane.
birds yet.

Here now, Fardy

that's not the way you're


think you were scaring

going to the barracks.

Any one would


office.

Put on your uniform.


goes into

[Fardy

Mrs. Delane.
geant of police.

You have

this

message to bring to the


;

ser-

Get your cap now


bring
it

it's

under the counter.


telegram.
It's

[Fardy reappears, and she


Fardy.
going.
I'll

gives

him

to

the station.

there

he

was

Mrs.

Delajste.

You
off.

will not,

but to the barracks.

It can

wait for him there.

[Fardy goes

Mr. Quirke

has appeared at door.

was indeed a very neighborly act, Mrs. Delane, and I'm obliged to you. There is just one article to put
It

Mr. Quirke.

out of the way.

The sergeant may look about him then and


the premises on yesterday.

welcome.

It's well I cleared

A con-

signment to Birmingham I sent.

The Lord be
consumes ?

praised, isn't

England a

terrible country,

with

all it

Mrs. Delane. Indeed, you always treat the neighbors very decent, Mr. Quirke, not asking them to buy from you. Mr. Quirke. Just one article. [Turns to rack.] That sheep I brought in last night. It was for a charity, indeed, I bought it from the widow woman at Kiltartan Cross. ^Vhere would the poor make a profit out of their dead meat without me Where now is it.'' Well, now, I could have swore that that sheep was hanging there on the rack when I went in Mrs. Delane. You must have put it in some other place.
"^

Mr. Quirke.
not; there
is

[Going in and searching and coming out.\


for

I did

no other place
it, it is ?

me

to put

it.

Is

it

gone blind I

am, or

is it

not in

Mrs. Delane.

It's

not there now, anyway.

122

LADY AUGUSTA GREGORY


Didn't you take notice of
it

Mr. Quirke.
this

there, yourself,

morning ?
I

Mrs. Delane.
there now.

have

it

in

my

mind that

I did;

but

it's

not

Mr. Quirke.
.?

There was no one here could bring

it

away

.''

Mrs. Delane. Is it me, myself, you suspect of taking it, James Quirke Mr. Quirke. Where is it at all ? It is certain it was not of It was dead, and very dead, the time I itself it walked away.
bought
cuses
it.

Mrs. Delane.

me

that I took his sheep.


!

have a pleasant neighbor, indeed, that acI wonder, indeed, you to say a

thing like that

I to steal your sheep or your rack or anything


!

that belongs to you or to your trade


I

Thank you, James Quirke.


quiet

am much

obliged to you, indeed.

Mr. Quirke.
Mrs. Delane.

Ah, be

quiet,
let

woman; be
tell

And

me

you, James Quirke, that I

would sooner starve and see every one belonging to me starve than to eat the size of a thimble of any joint that ever was on
your rack or that ever
will

be on

it,

whatever the

soldiers

may

eat that have no other thing to get, or the English, that devour
all sorts,

or the poor ravenous people that's

down by the

sea

[She turns to go into shop.

Mr. Quirke.

[Stopping

her.]

Don't be talking

foolishness,

me now. woman. Who said you must sergeant The have come. message There must some other message. have got some other Mrs. Delane. [Sulkily.] If there is any way for a message to come that is quicker than to come by the wires, tell me what
Give heed to
it is,

took my meat ^

and

I'll

be obliged to you.

Mr. Quirke.
he was
sticking

The

sergeant was
notice.

up

here,

making an excuse

up that

AMiat was he doing here, I ask

you? Mrs. Delane.

How

would

know what brought him ?

HYACINTH HALVEY
Mr. Quirke.
It
Is

123
if

what he

did; he

made

as

to go

away

he turned back again and I shaving

he brought away the sheep


me
so.

he

will

have

it

for evidence against


[Interested.]

Mrs. Delane.

That might be
it

Mr. Quirke.
Mrs. Delane.

I would sooner

to have been

any other beast

nearly ever I had upon the rack.


Is that so
?

Mr. Quirke.
ago

I bade the

Widow Early
it ?

to kill

it

a fortaight

but she would not, she was that covetous


"What was on

Mrs. Delane.

Mr. Quirke.
ever was on
it, it

How

would I know what was on


it

it ?

Whatit

was the will of God put was, and shivering and refusing its share.

upon

it

wasted
like

Mrs. Delane.

The poor
Gone
It
is

thing.

Mr. Quirke.
of thread.

all

to nothing

wore away

a flock

It did not

weigh as much as a lamb of two months.


likely the inspector will bring it to

Mrs. Delane.
lin.?

Dub-

Mr. Quirke.
medicines

The
I

ribs of

it

streaky with the dint of patent

Mrs. Delane.
brought or
is it

wonder

is it

to the Petty Sessions you'll be

to the Assizes ?
defense.

Mr. Quirke. I'll speak up to them. I'll make my What can the army expect at fippence a pound ?
Mrs. Delane.
It
is

likely there will

be no bail allowed ?

Mr. Quirke.
quality

Would they be wanting me to give them good meat out of my own pocket ? Is it to encourage them

to fight the poor Indians and Africans they would have


It's the Anti-Enlisting Societies

me?

should pay the fine for me.

Mrs. Delane.

It's

not a fine will be put on you, I'm afraid.


will

It's five years in jail

you

be apt to be getting.

Well,

I'll

try and be a good neighbor to poor Mrs. Quirke.

[Mr. Quirke, who has been stamping up and down,

sits

lU

LADY AUGUSTA GREGORY


down and weeps.
side.

Halvey

comes in and stands on one

Mr. Quirke.
to rear five

Hadn't I heart-scalding enough


will

before, striving

weak children ? Mrs. Delane. I suppose they

be sent to the Industrial

Schools ?

Mr. Quirke. My poor wife Mrs. Delane. I'm afraid the workhouse Mr. Quirke. And she out in an ass-car at
ing

this

minute, help-

me

to follow

my
I

trade.

Mrs. Delane.

hope they
give

will

not arrest her along with you.


I'll

Mr. Quirke.
guilty
!

I'll

myself up to justice.
!

plead

I'll

be recommended to mercy
It

Mrs. Delane.

might be best

for you.

Mr. Quirke.

Who

would think so great a misfortune could

come upon a family through the bringing away of one sheep Hyacinth. [Coming forward.] Let you make yourself easy. It's easy to say let you make yourself Mr. Quirke. Easy
!

easy.

Hyacinth.

I can

tell

you where

it is.

Mr. Quirke. Where what is? Hyacinth. The sheep you are fretting after. Mr. Quirke. Wliat do you know about it.? Hyacinth. I know everything about it. Mr. Quirke. I suppose the sergeant told you ?
Hyacinth. Hyacinth.

He

told

me

nothing.

Mr. Quirke.
Mr. Quirke.
Hyacinth.
Hyacinth.
the nettles
it is.

I suppose the whole

town knows
it ?

it,

so

No No

one knows

it,

as yet.

And

the sergeant didn't see


it

one saw

or brought
it

it

away but
all ?

myself.

Mr. Quirke.

Where
Look

did you put

at

In the ditch behind the church wall.


at the

In among

way they have me

stung.

[Holds Old hands.

HYACINTH HALVEY
Mr. Quirke.
town.

125

In the ditch

The

best hiding-place in the

Hyacinth. I never thought it would bring such great trouble upon you. You can't say, anyway, I did not tell you. Mr. Quirke. You, yourself, that brought it away and that I suppose it was coming in the train you got informahid it
!

tion about the message to the police.

Hyacinth.
said as

Mr. Quirke.
if

me ? am as glad to hear what you it was the Lord telling me I'd be in heaven this minute.
^Nhat now do you say to

Say!

I say I

Hyacinth.

What are you Mr. Quirke. Do, is it.^^


Hyacinth.
I suppose
Tell
!

going to do to

me ?
Any
earthly

[Grcisps his hand.]

thing you w^ould wish

me to do,
you
It's I

I will do

it.

will tell

Mr. Quirke.
It
is

that will

tell

when

all is quiet.

I will give you the good

name through

the town

Hyacinth.

I don't well understand.

Mr. Quirke. me!


Hyacinth.

[Embracing him.]

The man

that preserved

That preserved you ?

Mr. Quirke. That kept me from ruin Hyacinth. From ruin ? Mr. Quirke. That saved me from disgrace Hyacinth. [To Mrs. Delane.] What is he Mr. Quirke. From the inspector Hyacinth. What is he talking about ? Mr. Quirke. From the magistrates
Hyacinth.
Hyacinth.

saying at

all ?

He
Is

is

making some mistake.


the Winter Assizes
?

Mr. Quirke.

From

he out of his wits


Five years in
jail

Mr. Quirke.
Hyacinth.
Hyacinth.

Hasn't he the queer talk ?

Mr. Quirke.

The

loss of the contract

Are

my own

wits gone astray

126

LADY AUGUSTA GREGORY


What way can
I
tell

Mr. QumKE.
Hyacinth.

I repay you

[Slwuting.]

you

I took the sheep


!

Mr.
]VIr.

Quirkje.

You
The
it

did,

God reward you


it

Hyacinth.
Hyacinth.
Hyacinth.

I stole

away with

Quirke.

blessing of the poor

on you

I put

out of sight
blessing of

Mr. Quirke.
I

The

my

five children

may

as well say nothing

Mrs. Delane.

Let you be quiet now, Quirke.

Here's the

sergeant coming to search the shop)

[Sergeant comes
arranges his

in.

Querke

leaves go of

Halvey, who

hxit, etc.
!

Sergeant.

The dept. tment to blazes Delane. What is it is putting you out ? Mrs.

Sergeant.

To go

to the train to

meet the

to get a message through the guard that he

lecturer, and there was unavoidably de-

tained in the South, holding an inquest on the remains of a drake.

Mrs. Delane.
Sergeant.

The

lecturer,

is it ?

To be

sure.

What

else

would I be talkmg

of

.^^

The

lecturer has failed me,

and where

am

I to go looking for

person that I would think fitting to take his place ?

Mrs. Delane.
Sergeant.
Isn't
it

And

that's all?

And you

didn't get

any

message but the one ?


Is that all
?

am surprised

at you,

J\Irs.

Delane.

enough to upset a man, within three-quarters


?

of

an hour

of the time of the meeting


find a

Wliere, I would ask you,

am

I to

man

that has education enough and wit enough and char?

acter

enough to put up speaking on the platform on the minute


Quirke.

]VIr.

[Jumps

up.]

It

is I,

myself, will

tell

you

that.

You Mr. Quirke. [Slapping Halvey on


Sergeant.
Sergeant.

the back.]
all

Look

at here.

There

is

not one word was said in


before

those papers
there could

about

this j'oung

man

you but

it is

true.

And

be no good thing said of him that would be too good for him.

HYACINTH HALVEY
Sergeant.
It

127

might not be a bad

idea.

Mr. Quirke. Whatever the paper said about him, Sergeant, It has come to my knowledge by chance I can say more again. man has saved a young town that to this came since he that

whole family from destruction.

Sergeant.
classes

That

is

much

to his credit

helping

the rural

Mr. Quirke.
sods of turf

family and a long family, big and

little, like

and they depending on aon one that might be


to dark trouble at this minute
if it

on

his

way

was not

for his

assistance.
wittiest,

Believe me, he

is

the most sensible man, and the


of the poor that

and the kindest, and the best helper

ever stood before you in this square.

Is not that so,

Mrs.

Delane ?

Mrs. Delane.
might be that he
is

It

is

true, indeed.

Where he

gets his wisit

dom and his wit and


Sergeant.
question.

his information

from I don't know, unless

gifted

from above.

Well, Mrs. Delane, I think


will

we have

settled that

Mr. Halvey, you

be the speaker at the meeting.

The

lecturer sent these notes

you

can lengthen them into a

speech.

You can

call to

the people of Cloon to stand out, to


I

begin the building of their character.

saw a

lecturer

do

it

one

time at Dundrum.
Daniel," he said

"Come up

here," he said;

"Dare

to be a

Hyacinth.
Sergeant.
hand.]

I can't

I won't
I will conduct

[Looking at papers and thrusting them into his


will find it quite easy.

You

you to the

platform
settled.

these papers before you and a


[Turns
to go.]

glass of water

that's

Follow

me on
goes.]

to the court-house in
first
^I

half

an hour

a telegram
lane.

I must go to the barracks heard there was Mrs. De back as he Don't be


[Calls
late,

Mind, Quirke, you promised to come.


Well,
it's

Mrs. Delane.
tling myself

time for

me

to

make an end

of set-

and, indeed, Mr. Quirke, you'd best do the same.

128

LADY AUGUSTA GREGORY


[Rubbing his cheek.]
I suppose so. I

Mr. Quirke.

had best
Well,

keep on good terms with him for the present.

[Turns.]

now, I had a great escape


[Both go in as

this day.

Fardy

reappears, whistling.
w^orld
of
it

Hyacinth. [Sitting down.] I don't know in the has come upon the world that the half of the people
.'

what

should

be cracked

Fardy.

Weren't you found out yet ?

Hyacinth.

Found

out,

is it ?

I don't

know what you mean

by being found out. Fardy. Didn't he miss the sheep ? Hyacinth, He did, and I told him it was
at these
?

I took

it

and what

happened I declare to goodness I don't know


Fardy.
Papers

Will you look


[Holds out notes.

Are they more testimonials ?


are

Hyacinth.

They

what

is

worse.

[Gives

a hoarse laugh.]
in

Will you come and see me on the platform these and I speaking giving out advice. [Fardy
didn't
in this

my

hand

whistles.]

Why
that

you

tell

me, the time you advised

me to steal a sheep,

town

it

would qualify a
on
?

man

to go preaching,

and the

priest in the chair looking

Fardy. The time I took a few apples that had fallen oflf a They welted me stall, they did not ask me to hold a meeting.
well.

Hyacinth.
see them.

[Looking round.]

I wish I
!

I'd be better off

I would take apples if I could had broke my neck before I left Carrow, and I wish I had got six months the time I was

caught setting snares

I wish I had robbed a church.


it

Fardy.

Would a Protestant church do ?


I suppose

Hyacinth.
Fardy.
way,
if

wouldn't be so great a

sin.
it.

It's likely

the sergeant would think worse of


it's

Anyis

you want to rob one,


[Getting up.]

the Protestant church

the

handiest.

Hyacinth.

Show me what way

to

do

it.?

HYACINTH HALVEY
Fardy.
[Pointing.]

129

was going around

it

a few minutes ago,

to see might there be e'er a dog scenting the sheep,

and

I noticed

the window being out.

Hyacinth.
Fardy.
the
distiller

Out, out and out.?

It was,

where they are putting colored

glass in

it

for

Hyacinth.
Fardy.
to get in

Every good.

What good does that do me ? You could go in by that window


hoist.

if

you
is

had some person to give you a


it

Whatever

riches there

then, you'll get them.

if

Hyacinth. I don't want riches. I'll give you all I will find you will come and hoist me. Fardy. Here is Miss Joyce coming to bring you to your lodgSure I brought your bag to it, the time you were away ing.
Hyacinth.
[They go

with the sheep

Run
off.

Run
Enter Miss Joyce.
;

Miss Joyce. Are you here, Mrs. Delane ? Where, can you tell me, is Mr. Halvey ? Mrs. Delane. [Coming out dressed.] It's likely he is gone on to the court-house. Did you hear he is to be in the chair and to make an address to the meeting ? Miss Joyce. He is getting on fast. His reverence says he
will

be a good help in the parish.

Who would

think, now, there

would be such a godly young man


[Enter

in a little place like

Carrow

Sergeant

in a hurry, with telegram.

Sergeant.

W^hat time did this telegram arrive, Mrs. Delane ?

Mrs. Delane. I couldn't be rightly sure. Sergeant. But sure it's marked on it, unless the clock I have is gone wrong. Sergeant. It is marked on it. And I have the time I got it marked on my own watch. Mrs. Delane. Well, now, I wonder none of the police would
have followed you with
little
it

from the barracks

and they with so

to do

130

LADY AUGUSTA GREGORY


[Looking in at Quirke's shop.]
is

Sergeant.

Well, I

am

sorry

to do what I have to do, but duty

duty.
]Mr.

[He ransacks shop.

IVIrs.

Delajste looks on.

Quirke

puts his head out of window.

Mr. Quirke.
Is there

What

is

that going on inside?

[No answer.]

any one

inside, I

ask?

[No answer.]

It

must be that
Quirke.

dog

of

Tannian's

wait
It

till

I get at him.

Mrs. Delane.

is

Sergeant Garden, Mr.


for

He
out,

would seem to be looking


makes another

something

[Mr. Quirke appears in shop.


dive, taking

Sergeant
etc.

conies

up

sacks,

Mr. Quirke.
geant

I'm greatly afraid I

am

just out of meat, Ser-

and I'm sorry now to disoblige you, and you not being
me
I should think not, indeed.

in the habit of dealing with

Sergeant.

Mr. Quirke.
Sergeant.
I

Looking

for a tender little bit of lamb, I sup?

pose you are, for Mrs. Garden and the youngsters

am

not.

Mr. Quirke. If I had it now, I'd be proud to offer it to you, and make no charge. I'll be killing a good kid to-morrow.
Mrs. Garden might fancy a bit of
it

Sergeant.

I have

had orders

to search your establishment

for unwholesome meat, and I am come here to do it. Mr. Quirke. [Sitting doimi with a smile.] Is that so?
isn't it a

Well,

wonder the schemers does be


It
is

in the world.

Sergeant.
it will fall

not the first time there have been complaints.


Well,
it is

Mr. Quirke.
Sergeant.
could find, and
I

I suppose not.

on

their

own head

at the last

have found nothing so


not in it?

far.

Mr. Quirke.
it

I suppose not, indeed.

What

is

there

you

Sergeant. Have you no meat at all upon the premises ? Mr. Quirke. I have, iudeed, a nice barrel of bacon. Sergeant. What way did it die ?

HYACINTH HALVEY
Mr. Quirke.
can
it is.

131
Ameri-

It

would be hard

for

me

to say that.

How
?

would I know what way they do be


Machinery, I suppose, they have

killing the

pigs out there

steam-hamliving

mers

Sergeant.

Is there nothing else here at all

Mr. Quirke.
above
in the cage.

I give

you

my

word, there

is

no meat,

or dead, in this place, but yourself and myself and that bird

Sergeant.
ing.

Well, I

must

tell

the inspector I could find noth-

But mind

yom*self for the future.

Mr. Quirke.
Sergeant.

[Enter Fardy.

Thank you, Sergeant. He stops short.

I will

do that.

pose ?

It was you delayed that message to me, I supYou'd best mend your ways or I'll have something to say [Seizes and shakes him. to you. Fardy. That's the way every one does be faulting me.

[Whimpers.
[The Sergeant gives him another shake.
falls out of his pocket.

A
!

half-crown

Where, now, Miss Joyce. [Picking it up.] A half-a-crown did you get that much, Fardy ? Fardy. Where did I get it, is it ? Miss Joyce. I'll engage it was in no honest way you got it. Fardy. I picked it up in the street Miss Joyce. If you did, why didn't you bring it to the sergeant or to his reverence ?

Mrs. Delane.
loss of
it.

And some poor


I'd best bring
it

person, maybe, being at the

Miss Joyce.
me, Fardy,
till

to his reverence.
it.

Come
it

with

he

will question

you about
I

Fardy.

It

was not altogether


There, now!

in the street I

found
it

Miss Joyce.

knew you got


toss I

in

no good

way

Tell me, now.


It

Fardy.

was playing pitch and

won

it

132

LADY AUGUSTA GREGORY

like of you,

Miss Joyce. And who would play for half-crowns with the Fardy Farrell ? Who was it, now ? Fardy. It was a stranger Did you see Miss Joyce. Do you hear that ? A stranger

e'er

a stranger in this town, Mrs. Delane, or Sergeant Garden, or

Mr. Quirke?

Mr. Quirke.
SERGEAJ>fT.

Not a

one.

There was no stranger here.

Mrs. Delane.
knowing
it.

There could not be one here without

me

Fardy.
erence.

tell

you there was.

Miss Joyce.
Sergeant.

Come

on, then,

and

tell

who was he

to his rev-

[Taking other arm.]


it,

Or to the bench.

Fardy. Fardy.
Fardy.
Fardy.

I did get

tell

you, from a stranger.


?

Sergeant. Sergeant.

Where
Bring

is

he, so

He's in some place

not

far

away.

me

to him.
here.
it

He'll be

coming

Sergeant.
Sergeant.

Tell

me

the truth and

will

be better for you.

[Weeping.]

Let

me

[Letting go.]

Now^who

go and I

will.
it

did you get


to-day,

from.^

Fardy.
All.

From

that young chap

came

Mr. Halvey.

Mr. Halvey
[Indignantly.]
\\Tiat

Mr. Quirke.
young
ruffian,

are

you saying, you

you ?

Hyacinth Halvey to be playing pitch and

toss with the like of

you
did say

Fardy.

I didn't say that.

Miss Joyce.

You
!

it.

You

said

it

now.

Mr. Quirke.

Hyacinth Halvey!

The

best

man

that ever

came into this town Miss Joyce. Well, what

lies

he has

Mr. Quirke. It's my belief the half-crown is a bad one. Maybe it's to pass it ofiF it was given to him. There were tinkers

HYACINTH HALVEY
in the
it.]

133

No, indeed,

town at the tune of the fair. Give it here to me. [Bites it's sound enough. Here, Sergeant, it's best
it.

for

you take

[Gives

it to

Sergeant, who examines

it.

Can it be ? Can it be what I think it to be ? Quirke. What is it ? What do you take it to be ? Mr. Sergeant. It is, it is. I know it. I know this halfSergeant.
crown

Mr. Quirke.
Sergeant.
church for the
I

That

is

a queer thing, now.


well.

know

it

have been handling

it

in the

last

twelvemonth
?

Mr. Quirke.
Sergeant.
It

Is that so
is

we hand round in the Sunday morning. I know it by the dint on the Queen's temples and the crooked scratch imder her
the nest-egg half-crown
collection-plate every

nose.

Mr. Quirke.
Sergeant.
the church.

[Examining
is

it.]

So there

is,

too.

This

a bad business.

It has been stolen

from

All.

Oh!

Oh!

Oh!

Sergeant.

[Seizing Fardy.]

You have robbed


I never did
it.

the church

Fardy.

[Terrified.]

tell

you

Sergeant.

I have the proof of


!

Fardy.

Say what you like I never put a foot Sergeant. How did you get this, so ? Miss Joyce. I suppose from the stranger f
I suppose
it

in it

Mrs. Delane.
you,

was Hyacinth Halvey gave

it

to

now ?
It

Fardy.

was

so.
it

Sergeant.

I suppose

was he robbed the church ?

Fardy.

You will not believe me if I say it. Mr. Quirke. Oh the young vagabond Let me get at him Mrs. Delane. Here he is himself now [Hyacinth comes in. Fardy releases himself and creeps
[(S065.]
! !

behind him.

134

LADY AUGUSTA GREGORY

the

Mrs. Delane. It is time you to come, Mr. Halvey, and shut mouth of this young schemer.
of you,

Miss Joyce. I would like you to hear what he says Mr. Halvey. Pitch and toss, he says.

Mr. Quirke.
Mrs. Delane.
Sergeant.
Fardy.

Robbery, he says.

Robbery

of a church.

He

has had a bad

name

long enough.

Let him

go to a reformatory now.
[Clinging to Hyacinth.]

Save me, save


of living;
I'll

me

I'm a
if

poor boy trying to knock out a


I go to a reformatory.

way

be destroyed

[Kneels and clings to Hyacinth's knees.

Hyacinth. I'll save you easy enough. Fardy. Don't let me be jailed
Hyacinth. I am going to tell them. Fardy. I'm a poor orphan

Hyacinth.
Fardy. Fardy.
I'll

Will you let


get no

me

speak ?
in the

more chance

world

Hyacinth.

Sure I'm trying to free you

It will be tasked to

me

always.
?

Hyacinth.
Fardy. Fardy.
Fardy.

Be

quiet, can't

you

Don't you desert

me

Hyacinth.

Will you be silent ?


it

Take
Tell
I

on yourself.
if

Hyacinth.
Hyacinth.
Fardy.

I will

you'll let
it.

me.

them you did

am

going to do that.
it

Tell

them
!

was you got


I will

in at the

window.

Hyacinth.
Fardy.

I will
it
I'll

Say

was you robbed the box.


say
it
!

Hyacinth.
Fardy.

I'll
!

say

it

It being open

Hyacinth.
Fardy.
Of

Let
all

me

tell, let

me

tell.

that was in

it.

HYACINTH HALVEY
Hyacinth.
Fakdy.
I'll tell

135

them

that.

And gave

it

to me.

Hyacinth.
Sergeant.
me.

[Putting

hand on
speak ?

his

mouth and

drO>gging

him

wp.]

Will you stop and let

me

We

can't be wasting time.

Give him here to

Hyacinth.
Sergeant.

I can't do that.
[Seizing him.]

He must

be

let alone.

He'll be let alone in the lock-up.

Hyacinth.
Sergeant.

He must
I'll let

not be brought there.

no

man
him

get
off.

him

oflF.

Hyacinth.
Sergeant.

I will get

You

will

not

Hyacinth.
Sergeant.

I will.

Hyacinth.
Sergeant.

Hyacinth.
Sergeant.

Hyacinth.
Sergeant.

think to buy him off ? buy him off with my own confession. And what will that be ? It was I robbed the church. That is likely indeed Let him go, and take me. I tell you I did it. It would take witnesses to prove that.
I will

Do you

Hyacinth.
Fardy.

[Pointing to Fardy.]

He

will

be witness.

Oh, Mr. Halvey, I would not wish to do that.


will

Get

me

off

and I

say nothing.

Hyacinth.
court.

Sure you must.

You

will

be put on oath in the

Fardy.

I will not!

I will not!

All the world

knows
all

I don't

understand the nature of an oath

Mr. Quirke.
Mrs. Delane.

[Coming forward.]

Is it blind

ye
.?

are

"^

What
Is
it

are

you talking about


all

Mr. Quirke.
Miss Joyce.

fools

ye

are

Speak

for yourself.

Mr. Quirke. Is it idiots ye all are ? Sergeant. Mind who you're talking to. Mr. Quirke. [Seizing Hyacinth's hands.]

Can't you see?

136

LADY AUGUSTA GREGORY


Where
?

Can't you hear ?


seen in this town

are your wits

Was

ever such a thing

Mrs. Delane.

Say out what you have to

say.

Mr. Quirke.
Mrs. Delane.

walking saint he
so.

is

Maybe
The

Mr. Quirke.
martyrs
at
!

preserver of the poor

Talk
is
!

of the holy

They

are nothing at all to


is

what he
going
!

Will you look

him

To
!

save that poor boy he


is

To
!

take the blame

on himself he
is

going

To

say he, himself, did the robbery he


is

going
!

Before the magistrate he


the blame on his
!

going
!

To

jail

he

is

go-

ing
his

Takmg

own head

Putting the sin on


!

own shoulders

Letting on to have done a robbery

Telling
!

lie

that

it

may

be forgiven him

to
all.

his

own

injury

Doing

all that, I tell

you, to save the character of a miserable slack

lad, that rose in poverty.

[Murmur

of admiration from

Mr. Quirke.
Sergeant.
us
all

Now, what do you say ?


Mr. Halvey, you have given

[Pressing his hand.]

a lesson.

To

please you, I will

make no information
I will put

against the boy.

[Shakes him and helps him up.]

back

the half-crown in the poor-box next Sunday.

[To Fardt.]

What have you


Fardy.
against you

to say to your benefactor

I'm obliged to you, Mr. Halvey.


I'll

You behaved
let

very

decent to me, very decent indeed.


if

never

a word be said
I will

I live to be a

hundred years.
tell

Sergeant.
it

[Wiping eyes with a blue handkerchief.]


It will be a great
I'll tell it

at the meeting.

encouragement to them to
to the priest

build

up

their character.

and he taking

the chair

Hyacinth.
should be.

Oh, stop,

will

you
It's

Mr. Quirke.

The

chair.

in

the

chair

he,

himself,

It's in

a chair we

will

put him now.

It's to chair

him through the streets we will. Sure he'll be an example [Seizes Halvey and a blessing to the whole of the town.

HYACINTH HALVEY
and
seats

137
Here,

him in

chair.]

Now,

Sergeant, give a hand.

Fardy.
[They
all lift the

chair with

Mk. Quirke.

Come

along
!

cheers for Hyacinth Halvey

Halvey in it, wildly protesting. now to the court-house. Three Hip hip hoora
! !

[Cheers heard in the distance as the curtain drops.

THE GAZING GLOBE


BY

EUGENE PILLOT

by special permission ol Eugene Pillot. by the author. This play is protected by copyright and must not be used without the permission of and payment of royalty to Eugene Pillot, who may be reached through The 47 WorkThe Gazing Globe
is

reprinted

All rights are retained

shop, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

EUGENE PILLOT
Eugene
of one-act plays,

cated in University of Texas, at Cornell University, and at Harvard University. While at Harvard, he participated in the activities
of

one of the well-known contemporary writers was born in Houston, Texas. He was eduthe New York School of Fine and Applied Arts, at the
Pillot,

The 47 Workshop.
Mr.
Pillot's one-act plaj's are

always characterized by ex-

and well-sustained technic. Among his best-known one-act plays are The Gazing Globe, Two Crooks and a Lady, Telephone Number One (a prize play). Hunger, and My Lady Dreams. Mr. Pillot's plays have been produced frequently in schools and Little Theatres of America. The Gazing Globe originally appeared in The Stratford Journal, and was first produced by the Boston Community Players, February 26, 1920, with the following cast: Zama, Rosalie Manning; Ohano, Beulah Auerbach; and Nuo, Eugene Pillot. The Gazing Globe has unusually sustained tone and dramatic
cellent

suspense.

CHARACTERS
Zama

Ohano
Nijo

THE GAZING GLOBE*


SCENE A
:

soft cream-colored

room, bare walled and unfurnished

except for dull-blue grass mats

on

the floor

and

brilliant

cushions.

In

the centre of rear wall is


it,

great circular

window

with a dais before

so that

it

may

be used as

a doorway.

gathered shade of soft blue silk covers the opening of the win-

dow.

PLACE: An island TIME: Not so long

in a southern sea.
ago.

[The curtain rises on an empty


vant

stage.

Zama, an

old ser-

woman

dressed in dull purples

and

grays, hurries in

from
Zama.

the right.

She stops

at centre stage

and glances

about searchingly, then calls in a weazen voice.

Ohano

Ohano
it

Where do you
drawn shade
starts to raise

be, child

[Listens, looks about, sees

at the rear,

and sighs

as she goes to

and

it.

[As the shade

rolls

out of sight
cliff

we

see through the

open win-

dow a
green.

bit

of quaint

garden that overlooks a sea of


the
left,

The rocks are higher on

near the win-

dow, where a purple-pink vine in full blossom has started


to climb.

At

centre, stone steps lead

that holds

afternoon

down to the sea. up to a slender stone pedestal a gazing globe, now a brilliant gold in the late sunlight. Ohano, with hands clasped round
At
the right the rocks slope
it.

the globe, is gazing at


twenties, beautiful

She

is

woman

of the early

and gowned in a flowing kimono-like robe of green with embroideries of white and blue.
*

Copyright, 1919, by The Stratford Journal.

143

144

EUGENE PILLOT
[In a chiding, motherly way.]
!

Zama.

Ohano,

my

child,

you

How many times be I must not be so much at that evil ball not telling you it is an enchanted ball ? Ohano. Yes, Zama, I hope it is enchanted. I've tried every other means to gain the way to my heart's desire and they've

all failed

me.

The

story these islanders have

gazing globe

may

be but a

myth

but

if it

woven round this shows me the way to


shows

my

freedom, I shall not have looked at

it

in vain.

Zama.
only the

Be you forgetting, way to destruction


!

child, 'tis said that evil ball

Ohano.
any

Yes, these island people will create any myth, go

length, to keep one thinking, living in their

narrow way.

You own

are destined for evil

if

you try

to follow the urge of your

heart

oh, yes, I know.


But your
Nijo
heart, child, should only be wanting the love

Zama.
of Nijo.

Ohano.
help

am

hoping that he

wull

be big enough to

lover has been away so long But to-day he be coming back I came think I saw his boat Ohano. Nijo's boat ? Where ?

me but my

Zama.

to tell

you I

Zama.

It be near the edge of the island just

where

Ohano.
Zama.
I

Why
came

didn't
to

you

tell

me

before

but I be forgetting when I see you at that


Perhaps we can see him land
[They climb
!

evil ball again.

Ohano.

[All eagerness.]

from here on the rocks

come, Zama, I hear the sound of voices


to

down near

the sea

come!
is

the

highest rock.]

Look, Zama, the boat


against the shore

there

Already there

in the green

water

Zama.

It

do seem to be

so.
!

[Peers toward right.

Ohano. And there is Nijo Zama. Where, where, child ? Ohano. There see, he's just coming ashore

oh,

Nijo!

THE GAZING GLOBE


And
look,

145

have done

look

Zama, look what the people crowdmg round him


!

Zama.

What?

My

poor eyes be yet uncertain.

What do
Flame

they be doing to your lover?

greet

Ohano. They have put upon him the Robe him with the highest honor of the island.

of

to

So they be. The robe they say the gods themselves when time did first begin. Nijo must come back a great warrior now a great warrior Ohano. Oh, how wonderful to return from the wars like that Zama, I want to I must go out into the world and do
Zajvia.

did wear

great things too, like Nijo.

Zama.

Nijo be coming back, child.


is it

That do be enough.

Look, what

that glitters so in the sun ?


are giving something to

Ohano.

Why, they

my

red god
it

something that's long as a serpent


in admiration before him.

moon

see,

he holds

out

Just what can

it

be ?

Zama.
sword

In faith I do believe they have given your hero

Ohano.
Zama.
they do.

marvellous sword

look,

its

jewels flash with the

shifting lights,

warm

as the colored rifts of sunset


his greatness,

Such gems do be a tribute to

Ohano,

Ohano.
such tribute

How

gladly would I have the


!

way

I seek without

how willingly
this

Zama.

And now
Nijo,
See, he
!

the crowd do be parting

he leaves the boat


!

and he looks

way, Ohano

he looks

Ohano.
Zama.

my

red wonder of the world


his steed

mounts

he waves to you
It
is

Ohano. Nijo Nijo Zama. And now he rides oflF to come to you here. we be waiting inside for him when he brings back

better

his love to

his

promised bride.
[As they enter room.]

Ohano.

Ah, Zama, he must bring

me

146

EUGENE PILLOT

more than love this time much more. Yes, your little Ohano must have more in her life to-day than just love and Nijo must show her the way to that realm where she may stretch her soul

and

live!

The love of so great a man do be enough for any woman, child. Ohano. Oh, no oh, no Zama. But it do be; and evil will fall, I know, if you do be asking more than love Ohano. But I tell you, Nijo's love is not enough. I must
Zama.

have a bigger, greater thing


Zajvia.

The gods do know of none that be more than love. Ohano. But there must be, else why would I feel the rush
its

of

pulse within

my

veins

Why would my whole being cry out


I

for action

and the glory

of doing big things in the lands across

the sea?

Why,
?

tell

me why,

would

feel

those things

if

they

were not so

Zama.

It be not for

me to say, child;
It

but I do be thinking you


thing so well.

moon
red
!

at that evil ball too much.


It be not wise to
If that

do make your sight grow

know an enchanted

Ohano.

gazing globe in the garden would only show


heart's desire,

me

the

way
its

to

my

how

gladly would I be the vic-

tim of

enchantment
Nijo's kiss do be your enchantment, child.

Zama.
of his lips

One touch

and you do be forgetting


If Nijo's kiss

all else.

Ohano.
me, I want
this
life.

can make

me

forget this fever within


else in all of

his kiss as I shall

never want anything

want

it

[Approaching horse's hoofs are heard from

off right.
!

Zama.

Listen

the horse
to the

Ohano, your lover do be coming


Already
.''

Ohano.
Zama.

[Running

window.]
the

He must have
in

taken the short

way through

cliffs.

Ah,
?

child,

do you not be excited as a bird

a storm-

wind's blow

THE GAZING GLOBE


Ohano.
[Superbly, as she leans against window.]

147
Yes, I await

my

hero

Zama.

He's stopped, child

He do

be here

At

last

he

comes back to

my

little

Ohano
!

Ohano.

My
Oh

hope comes
!

[With outstretched arms

to right.]

MyNijo!!

[She had impulsively started to greet

Nuo,

but suddenly

shrinks back.

Zama.

^\Tiat

do be wrong

Ohano.

He's so different
the

[Nuo appears at He is a tall,

what? so changedoh, here he ssh window, where he pauses for a moment. a handsome, brunette man, scarcely
is

thirty

well-knit southern island type, wearing a flowing robe of

flame, with a flaring collar of old-gold brocade.


hat completes the costume.

peaked
hilt

curved sword, with a

thickly studded vnth large jewels


at his belt.

and incased in gold, hangs

He

seems worldly weary and sad as he ad-

vances into the room.

Ohano.

Nijo
[Unimpassioned.]
[Eagerly.]

Nuo.
Ohano.

Ohano.

You have come back

Nuo.
Ohano.

Yes

and the season of the heat has been gracious to

your health, I hope ?

Yes

and yours, Nijo


am
glad
here shares

Nuo.
Ohano.
spring.

The same.
Oh, I

glad as tree-blossoms
my
Ah, Zama.

for the kiss of

And Zama

welcome, don't you ?

Nuo.
Zama.

[Recognizing Zama.]
[Boiving before him.]
us.

The gods do be kind

to bring

back a hero to

Nuo.
Za]ma.

Thank

you.

Now
it

do be going

for refreshments for

your weari[Exits right.

ness; great

must be

after so long a voyage.

148

EUGENE PILLOT
Shall

Ohano.
Nijo.

we not

sit

here ?

As you will. [Ohano and Nuo


facing each other.

sit

upon mats near

the

window^

'partly

Ohano.

They

they gave you a sword at the boat.


Oh, yes.
here

Nuo.
Ohano.

[Wearily.]

Even from up
[Without

we could
it is

see

its

jewels flash.

Nuo.
Ohano.

interest.]
it

Yes,

cunningly conceived.

How

wonderful
If

must

be.

Perhaps

I may see

it.?

Nuo.

[Still wearily.]

you so

desire.
it
it

[Uiibuckles sword

and holds

before himself for her to

examine.

She leans over

admiringly, touching the

jeivels as she

speaks of them.
!

Ohano.

Magnificent

Rubies and emeralds and sapphires

And here are moonstones and diamonds. How you must prize it. Nuo. [Wearily.] Of course, one must. Ohano. And the very people who tried to stop you from
going across the sea to win your glory have given
it

to you.

way of the Ohano. Show me the way to Nuo. And why.'*


Nuo.
That
is

the

world.
glory, Nijo.

Ohano.

would travel

it

too.
?

Nuo.
Ohano.

You

a simple island maiden


I've
is

I'm not simple.

Nuo.
Ohano. work now

But there

glory in

grown beyond the people here. the work women must do at home.

And

I have done

my

share of

it.

want bigger

out
But
I

in the world.

Nuo.
Ohano.

the simple tasks must be done.

sick unto death of doing them But you can't go into the battles of the are an island woman. Ohano. This last war has made all women free.

am

Nuo.

world.

You

If the other

island

women

cling to the everlasting tradition that


let

woman
I shall

should not go beyond her native hearth,

them

cling.

THE GAZING GLOBE


reach the summit of things and
things in the world
!

149

know

the glory of doing big

NiJO.

But you
it?

sheltered, protected

all

your

life

how can
by

you do

Ohano.

That's what troubles me.

But you were

fettered

this island life

and you broke through the bars


Ohano,
I

of convention.

How
you.

did you do it?


[Sadly.]

NiJO.

would not

spoil

your

life

by

telling

Ohano. now? Oh,


in this

Spoil it?

What do you
island
life.

think

is

happening to

it

Nijo, can't you understand I'm stagnating

dying

commonplace

Nijo.

I thought that about myself, too,

when

I started

my

climb to glory; but scarcely a


the loneliness of great heights.

moon had

passed before I realized

Ohano.
wish
Nijo.

[Tigerishly.]
all

Are you trying to turn

me from my
of

to have

the island's glory for yourself ?

No, but only the valley people enjoy the sublimity


[Scornfully.]

a mountain.

Ohano.
Nijo.

Ha
lost their perspective.

Those who reach the top have


[Sublimely.]

All they see are the lonely tops of other mountains.

Ohano.
Nijo.

But they've had the joy

of the climb
sea.

And worth what no more

than the mist of the

Ohano.
for myself!
spirit

Do

you think that

satisfies

I only

want you

to tell

me ? I want to find out me the way to use this


!

that boils within

my blood,

thirsts for action

Nijo.

That

I never will.

Ohano. Oh, what shall I do ? I've even implored the sun and the moon [Looks toward sea.] Now I must listen to my
!

dreams
globe
!

my
Look

dreams that cry and cry: "Look


in the gazing globe
I'll
!

in the gazing

It will

show you the way


it

!"

And

if it

ever does,

take that path no matter where

leads.

Nijo.

My

journey only

made me want

to

come back

to the

150

EUGENE PILLOT

haven of your love, Ohano. The amber cup of glory left me athirst to be wrapped in the mantle of your boundless love and warmed with the glow of your heart.
OiiANO.
to
[Surprised.]

Your journey has

really led

you back

me ?
NiJO.
[Sadly.]

You're

my

only hope.

I've been as

mad

for

you as the sea

for the moonlight.

Ohano. [Disturbed.] But you had fire and impulse when you went away; and now well, you do still yearn for me? NiJO. [Quietly, without passion.] The hope for your love has

been the
earth

light of

my

brain, changing

from

life

to dream,

from

to star.

Ohano.
tells

My
is

thirst for glory has

been that way; but


If love

Zama

me

it

as nothing in the kiss of love.

has that

power, I
NiJO.

am
At

willing to forget all else.


last

Kiss me, Nijo


the sun flames to

my

lips will press yours, as


it

an immortal moment when


stantly gives

meets the sky.

[Kneeling opposite each other, their lips meet.

Ohano

in-

a piercing scream and

recoils

from him.
Oh, oh,

Nijo sinks into a heap. Ohano. [Rising and turning toward the sea,
oh!

weeping.]

Zama.

[Rushing in from

right.]

What

is

it.?

What

is

it,

Ohano ? Ohano.
Zama.

[Still

weeping.]
it

Oh

ooh.
Ohano ?
kiss

What do

be,

my

little

Ohano. [Turning.] His kiss Zama. Yes ? Ohano. Cold as white marble Zama. Cold as white marble ? Ohano. Oh, Nijo, why do you
Nijo.
all

Nijo's
cold
I

kiss

me

like

a thing of stone ?

[As he looks up,

pitifully.]

Into that kiss I tried to put


years.

the love I've thought these

many

Ohano.

The

love you've thought?

THE GAZING GLOBE


NiJO.
[Despondently.]

151
it

Yes, I've only thought


?
!

thought

it

Ohano.
NiJO.
thinks.

But your heart


[Rising.]

My
my

heart feels no more

Only

my

head

Zama.
NiJO.

You

love no

more ?
head,
it

Only with

seems.

I see things, knowfeel

things, understand things;

but I no longer
it all

anything.
love of
life

And
and

my

thirst for glory has

done

killed

my

turned

my

very kiss to stone.

Oh,

glory,

why do men

give the

essence of their lives to

you

you who

last

no longer than the

glow of gold above the place of sunset

Ohano.
everything
NiJO.

[Swperhly.]

Because glory gives you the world

It takes everything

away

strips

you

and leaves you


common
soldier
in position.

nothing to believe.
here,

Oh, I could have become a

marching shoulder to shoulder with the island men going

out to war

but noI must be a great warrior, a hero


what
I

Had

know now, how gladly would I have gone as one of the thousands who are known as just soldiers. They are the ones who know the tlu-ob of life and love Ohano. You bring back such a message to me? You who
I knov.-n then

have climbed and climbed to heights


gazing globe

till

have believed you to

be as constant in your quest as the light that shines upon the


.^

NiJO.

Ialight.?

disks of
follow.

Ohano. Whj'- not.^ I've always likened your feet unto the two luminaries, lighting the way for all the world to
[Looks at gazing globe, which
is noio
tell

a hall of gold against


I vras wrong.

the black sea

and

sky.]

And

nov,^

you

me

Perfol-

haps the
low.

light

upon the gazing globe


light
?

itself is

the only one to

NiJO.
ing globe

Why, Ohano,

if

I'm anything, I'm a gaz-

Ohano.

What do you mean

you a gazing globe

.?

152
NiJO.

EUGENE PILLOT
That without I'm
globe.
[Scornfully.]
all fair, all

wonderful

but within

I'm empty as a gazing

Ohano.
NiJO.

But a gazing globe shows men the way


see into
it.

to their heart's desire.


It reflects to

men what they


it

So does

glory.

Ohano.
NiJO.

I can't believe that

now.
me
!

Behold what
It filled

has done to

Already as a child I
it

gazed at that globe, longing to grasp the glory of which


symbol.

was a

me
!

with a red madness, surged with an un-

bearable music, giving


for the

me a riotous pain
I

Oh,

it

made ma drunk

wine of glory
I

Ohano.
NiJO.

know

know

Now

you

talk as the

man

thought you were.

I'm not a man.

I'm dead.

But you have known the glory of life. Shall I never know the way to it ? [Appealingly, to the globe.] The way the way is what I seek Zama. Look not so upon the evil ball, child. It do be enchanted for one thousand years [Ohano moves nearer the globe.]
Ohano.

Go

not so near, child

Evil will
I, if it

fall

and you
me
the

will

be enslaved

Ohano.
Zama.
her.

WTiat care

shows

way ?
to the globe.

[Hands outstretched
[Appealingly
to

Nuo.]

Sir, I

pray you do be stopping


ball ;

She do be always gazing at that golden


its

and slowly
it

it

do be drawing her within


enchanted
ball

enchanted grasp.

And

do be an

Nuo.
thought.
life's

Perhaps there's more to


It claimed

its

enchantment than I
it's

me

for a victim

and now

freezing her

warmth to the falseness of Orient pearl. Ohano. [Murmuring to the globe.] The way the way? I must have the way Nuo. [Swiftly drawing his sword.] I will not show you but

I'll

save you

[Starts

toward the gazing globe.

Zama.

[Barring his path.]

Nijo,

sir,

what do you be doing ?

THE GAZING GLOBE


NiJO. [With a flourish of his sword.]
freezes another heart

153

I kill the thing that

Zama.
NiJO.

That do mean ruin

It be

an enchanted

ball
!

[Brushing past Zama.]

It will enchant

no longer

Ohano.
NiJO.

No

No, Nijo
steps.]

[Running up pedestal

Yes

[With a might!/ blow he strikes the gazing globe with his


sword.
right,

Frightened,

Ohano

shrinks to one side, facing

as a thunder-like crash follows the blow, and pieces

of the globe tumble to the ground

all

but one piece that


off stage
to the bit

remains upon the pedestal.


right shines

Then from a moon

a straight golden path across the sea

of gazing globe on the pedestal.

Ohano.
the

[Triumphantly.]

The moon

way

From

the gazing globe

The way At the golden path to the moon


!

last

of glory.

Now

am

free

[Rushes wildly

down

the moonlight path to the sea.

Zama.
Nijo.

Stop her

No,

it is

better to let her go.


into the sea.
It
is

Zama.
her
!

But the path do lead


[Restraining Zama.]

death

Stop

[Starts forward.

Nijo.
the only

No

In death her soul has found

way
CURTAIN

THE BOOR
BY

ANTON TCHEKOV

is reprinted by special permission of Barrett H. Clark and Samuel French, publisher. New York City. All rights reserved. For permission to perform, address Samuel French, 28-30 West 38th Street,

The Boor

of

New York

City.

ANTON TCHEKOV
Anton Tchekov, considered the foremost of contemporary Russian dramatists, was born in 1860 at Taganrog, Russia. In 1880 he was graduated from the Medical School of the UniverIll health soon compelled him to abandon his sity of Moscow. In 1904, practice of medicine, and in 1887 he sought the south. the year of the successful appearance of his Cherry Orchard, he died in a village of the Black Forest in Germany. As a dramatist, Tchekov has with deliberate intent cast off much of the conventionalities of dramatic technic. In his longer plays especially, like The Sea Gull, Uncle Vanya, and Cherry Orchard, he somewhat avoids obvious struggles, timeworn commonplaces, well-prepared climaxes, and seeks rather His to spread out a panoramic canvas for our contemplation. It is his interest chief aim is to show us humanity as he sees it. in humanity that gives him so high rank as a dramatist. His one-act plays, a form of drama unusually apt for certain intimate aspects of Russian peasant life, are more regular in Among the five or six their technic than his longer plays. shorter plays that Tchekov wrote. The Boor and A Marriage Proposal are his best. In these plays he shows the lighter side of Russian country life, infusing some of the spirit of the great Gogol into his broad and somewhat farcical character portrayals. With rare good grace, in these plays he appears to be asking us to throw aside our restraint and laugh with him at the stupidity and naivete, as well as good-heartedness. of the Russian people he knew so well. The Boor is a remarkably well-constructed one-act play, and is probably the finest one-act play of the Russian school of drama.

PERSONS IN THE PLAY


Helena Ivanovna Popov,
estite

a young widow, mistress of a country

Grigoiji Stepanovitch Smirnov, proprietor of a country estate

LuKA.

servant of

Mrs. Popov

gardener.

coachman.

Several

workmen

THE BOOR
TIME:
The
:

'present

SCENE A

well-furnished reception-room in
is discovered

Mrs. Popov's home,


upon a

Mrs, Popov

in deep mourning, sitting

sofa, gazing steadfastly at

a photograph.

Luka is also present.

LuKA.

It isn't right,

ma'am.
life;

You're wearing yourself out

The

maid and the cook have gone looking for berries; everything
is

that breathes

enjoying

even the cat knows how to be

happy

slips about the courtyard and catches birds

but you
a cloister.

hide yourself here in the house as though

you were

in

Yes, truly, by actual reckoning you haven't

left this

house for a
should I?

whole year.

Mrs. Popov.

My life

is

over.

And I He lies

shall

never leave

it

why

in his grave,

and

have buried myself

within these four walls.

We

are both dead.


!

Luka.
it

There you are again

It's

too awful to listen to, so


it

is!

Nikolai Michailovitch

is

dead;

was the

will of the

Lord, and the Lord has given him eternal peace.


grieved over
stop.
it

You have
it's
!

and that ought to be enough.

Now

time to

My wife weep and wear mourning forever died a few years ago. I grieved for her. I wept a whole month and then it was over. Must one be forever singing lamentaThat would be more than your husband was worth tions ?
One
can't

[He

sighs.]

You have

forgotten

all

your neighbors.
live

You

don't

go out and you receive no one.


like the spiders,

We

you'll pardon me
see.

and the good

light of

day we never

All the

livery

is

eaten by the mice


!

as though there weren't any more


is full

nice people in the world

But the whole neighborhood


159

of

160
gentlefolk.

ANTON TCHEKOV
The regiment is stationed in Riblov officers simEvery Friday e One can't see enough of them and military music every day. Oh, my dear, dear ma'am,
! !

ply beautiful
ball,

young and pretty

as

you

are,

if

you'd only

let

your

spirits live

Beauty can't last forever. When ten short years are over, you'll be glad enough to go out a bit and meet the officers and then

it'll

be too

late.

Mrs.
lai

Popov.

[Resolutely.]

Please

don't

speak

of

these

things again.

You know
only seems

very well that since the death of Niko-

Michailovitch
it

I live, but

my life is absolutely nothing to me. You think Do you understand ? Oh, that his so.
see

departed soul
to you; he
faithful,

may

how

I love

him

I know,
cruel,

it's

no secret

was often unjust toward me,


shall

and

he wasn't
the

but I

be faithful to the grave and prove to him


he'll find

how I can
as I

love.

There, in the Beyond,

me

same

was LuKA.

until his death.

What

is

the use of

all

these words,

much

rather go walking in the garden or order


visit

when you'd so Tobby or Welikan


?

harnessed to the trap, and

the neighbors

Mrs. Popov. [Weeping.] LuKA. Madam, dear nadam, what

Oh

is

it?

In Heaven's

name! Mrs. Popov.

He

loved

Tobby

so!

to the Kortschagins or the Ylassovs.

He always drove him What a wonderful horse-

man
with

he was
all his

How
!

fine

he looked when he pulled at the reins

might

Tobby, Tobby

give him an extra measure

of oats to-day

LuKA.
[A

Yes, ma'am.
bell

rings loudly.
[Shiidders.]

Mrs. Popov.
no one.

What's

that.?

am

at

home

to

[He goes out, centre. LuKA. Yes, ma'am. Mrs. Popov. [Gazing at ike photograph.] You shall see, NikMy love will die only with me olai, how I can love and forgive
!

THE BOOR

161
[She smiles through her

when
tears.]

my
And

poor heart stops beating.


aren't

you ashamed?

I have been a good, true


shall

wife; I

have imprisoned myself and I

remain true until

death, and you

youyou're not ashamed of yourself, my dear


quarrelled with me, left

monster

You

me

alone for weeks

[LuKA
LuKA.
ing

enters in great excitement.


is

Oh, ma'am, some one

asking for you, insists on see-

you

Mrs. Popov.
I receive

You

told

him that

since

my

husband's death

no

one.''
it is

LuKA.
matter.

I said so, but he won't listen; he says

a pressing

Mrs. Popov.
LuKA.
I told

I receive

no one

him

that,

but he's a wild man; he swore and


he's in the dining-room

pushed himself into the room;

now.

Mrs. Popov.
pudent
!

[Excitedly.]

Good.

Show him

in.

The im-

[LuKA goes out, centre. Mrs. Popov. What a bore people are! What can they want with me ? Why do they disturb my peace [She sighs.] Yes, it is clear I must enter a convent. [Meditatively.] Yes, a
.'*

convent.

[Smirnov
Smirnov.
You're an ass

enters, followed

by Luka.

[To Luka.]
!

Fool,

[Discovering

you make too much noise! Mrs. Popov politely.] Madam, I

have the honor to introduce myself: Lieutenant


lery, retired,

in the Artil!

country gentleman, Grigori Stepanovitch Smirnov

I'm compelled to bother you about an exceedingly important


matter.

Mrs. Popov.
wish ?

[Without offering her hand.]

What

is

it

you

Your deceased husband, with whom I had the left me two notes amounting to about twelve hundred roubles. Inasmuch as I have to pay the interest
Smirnov.
honor to be acquainted,

162

ANTON TCHEKOV
like to

to-morrow on a loan from the Agrarian Bank, I should


request,

madam,

that you pay

me

the

money
for

to-day.

Mrs. Popov. Twelve hundred band indebted to you ?


Smirnov.

and

what was

my

hus-

He bought

oats from me.

Mrs. Popov. [With a sigh, to Luka.] Don't forget to give Tobby an extra measure of oats. [Luka goes out. Mrs. Popov. [To Smirnov.] If Nikolai Michailovitch is indebted to you, I shall, of course, pay you, but I am sorry, I havea't the money to-day. To-morrow my manager will return from the city and I shall notify him to pay you what is due you,
but
until then I
it is

cannot satisfy your request.

Furthermore, to-

day
I

just seven

months

since the death of

my

husband, and

am

not in a

Smirnov.

mood to discuss money matters. And I am in the mood to fly up


if

the chimney with

my

feet in the air

I can't lay

hands on that interest to-morreceive

row.

They'll seize

my

estate
after

Mrs. Popov.
money.
Smirnov.
need
it

Day

to-morrow you

will

the

I don't need the

money day

after

to-morrow; I

to-day.

Mrs. Popov.
Smirnov.

I'm sorry I can't pay you to-day.


I can't wait until

And

day
if

after to-morrow.
it.?

Mrs. Popov.
Smirnov.
Smirnov. Smirnov.

But what can I do So you can't pay ?


I cannot.
!

I haven't

Mrs. Popov.

Hm

Is that
last.
?

your

last

word ?

Mrs. Popov.

My

Absolutely

Mrs. Popov.
Smirnov.
expect

Absolutely.

Thank

you.
all

[He shrugs his shoulders.]


that.

me

to stand for

The

toll-gatherer just
I

And they now met

me

in the

road and asked

me why

was always worrying.

THE BOOR
Why,
feel

163
I need
left

in

Heaven's name, shouldn't I worry?

money, I

the knife at

my throat.
called
!

Yesterday morning I

my house
!

in the early

dawn and

on

all

my

debtors.

If

even one of

I worked the skin off my fingers The them had paid his debt devil knows in what sort of Jew-inn I slept; in a room with a And now at last I come here, seventy versts barrel of brandy from home, hope for a little money, and all you give me is moods
!

Why

shouldn't I worry
I

Mrs. Popov.
Smirnov.
you.

thought I made

it

plain to

you that

my manto see

ager will return from town, and then you will get your money.
I did not

come

to see the manager; I

came

What

the devil

pardon the languagedo I care for your


sir,

manager ? Mrs. Popov.


such manners.

Really,

am

not used to such language or


further.

I shan't listen to

you any
to

[She goes out,

left.

Smirnov.

What can one


husband died

say
!

that

Moods

Seven
interest

months
or not?

since her

Do

I have to

pay the

I repeat the question,

have I to pay the

interest or

not?

devil with

I to

The husband is dead and all that; the manager is the travelling somewhere. Now, tell me, what am him do ? Shall I run away from my creditors in a balloon ? Or
!

knock

my

head against a stone wall ?

If I call

on Grusdev he

chooses to be "not at home," Iroschevitch has simply hidden


himself, I

have quarrelled with Kurzin and came near throwing


window, Masutov
of
is ill
!

him out
fcioods
!

of the

and

this

woman
!

has

Not one

them

will

pay up

And
I allow

all

because I've

spoiled them, because

I'm an old whiner, dish-rag

I'm too
to play

tender-hearted with them.

But wait

nobody

tricks with me, the devil with 'em

all

I'll

stay here and not

budge

until she

pays

Brr

How
ill

angry I am, how terribly


[He calls

angry I

am

Every tendon
!

is

trembling with anger, and I can


!

hardly breathe

I'm even growing

out.]

Servant

[LuKA

enters.

164

ANTON TCHEKOV
What
is it

LuKA.

you wish?
or water
it
!

Smirnov.
that?

Bring

me Kvas

[Luka
?

goes out.]

Well,
is

what can we do ?

She hasn't

on hand

What

sort of logic

fellow stands with the knife at his throat, he needs


is

money, he
man's

on the point of hanging himself, and she won't pay


isn't in

because she
logic
!

the

That's
it

mood to discuss money why I never liked to talk


Brr
!

matters.
to

Wo-

why I dislike doing


affair

now.

women, and I would rather sit on a powder barrel

than talk with a woman.


has

I'm getting cold


yell for help
!

as ice; this

made me
!

so angry.

I need only to see such a romantic

creature from a distance to get so angry that I have cramps in

the calves

It's

enough to make one


water.]

[Enter

Luka.

Luka.
All right,

[Hands him

Madam is iU and is not receiving.


goes out.]
Ill

Smirnov.
it

March

[Luka

and

isn't receiving
I'll

isn't necessary.

I won't receive, either!


If you're
ill

sit

here and stay until you bring that money.


I'll sit

a week,

here a week.
is

If

you're

ill

a year,

I'll sit

here a year.

As

Heaven
with
dimples

my witness, I'll get the money. You don't disturb me your mourning or with your dimples. We know these
!

[lie calls out the

window.]
I

Simon, unharness

We
Tell

aren't going to leave right away.

am going to stay here.


some
It's

them

in the stable to give the horses

oats.

The
Stop
!

left
I'll

horse

has twisted the bridle again.

[Imitating him.]

show

you how.
heat,

Stop

[Leaves

window.]

awful.

Unbearable

no money, didn't sleep

last night

and now

mourning-

dresses with moods.

My

head aches; perhaps I ought to have


drinl^.

a drink.

Ye-s, I

must have a
wish ?

[Calling.]

Servant

Luka.
sits

What do you
and

Smirnov.
doicn

Something to drink
looks at his clothes.]

[Luka
Ugh, a

goes out.
fine figure
!

SaiiRNOV

No

use

denying that.

Dust, dirty boots, unwashed, uncombed, straw

on

my vestthe lady probably took me for a highwayman.


It

[He

yawns.]

was a

little

impolite to

come

into a receptioti-room

THE BOOR
with such clothes.
guest.

165
I'm not here as a
for

Oh,

well,

no harm done.
there
is

I'm a

creditor.

And

no special costume

creditors.

LuKA. [Entering with glass.] You take great Smirnov. [Angrily.] What ?

liberty, sir.

LuKA.

II just
Whom
are you talking to
?

Smirnov.

Keep

quiet.
!

LuKA.

[Angrily.]

Nice mess

This fellow won't leave [He goes

out.

SivnRNOV.

Lord,

how angry
!

am

Angry enough
ill
!

to throw

mud

at the whole world

I even feel

Servant
eyes.

[Mrs. Popov comes in with downcast

Mrs. Popov. Sir, in my solitude I have become unaccustomed to the human voice and I cannot stand the sound of loud
talking.

I beg you, please to cease disturbing

my

rest.

Smirnov.

Pay me

my money
you once,

and

I'll

leave.

Mrs. Popov.
morrow.
Smirnov.
but to-day.

I told

plainly, in

your native tongue,

that I haven't the

money

at hand; wait until

day

after to-

And
If

I also

had the honor

of informing

you

in

your

native tongue that I need the money, not day after to-morrow,

you don't pay me to-day

I shall

have to hang

myself to-morrow.

Mrs. Popov.
Smirnov.
not?
IVIrs.

But what can

do

if

I haven't the

money ?
You're

So you are not going to pay immediately ?


I cannot.
I'll sit

Popov.

Smirnov.
iown.]

Then

here until I get the money.


Excellent
!

[He

sits

You will pay day after to-morrow ?


[Jumps
not.^^

Here I
do I

stay until day after to-morrow.

up.]

I ask you,

have to pay that interest to-morrow or

Or do you think
This
is

I'm joking ?

Mrs. Popov.
a stable.

Sir,

I beg of you, don't scream

not

166
Smirnov.

ANTON TCHEKOV
I'm not talking about
stables,

I'm asking you

whether I have to pay that interest to-morrow or not?

Mrs. Popov.
Smirnov.
gar person

You have no

idea

how

to treat a lady.

Oh, yes, I have.

Mrs. Popov.
!

No, you have

not.

You

are an ill-bred, vul-

Respectable people don't speak so to ladies.

Smirnov.
to

How remarkable
!

How do you want one to speak


Madame,
je

you ?

In French, perhaps

vous prie

Pardon

me

for having disturbed you.


!

What

beautiful weather
!

we

are

having to-day

And how
Not
at

this

mourning becomes you


I think

[He makes a low bow with viock ceremony.

Mrs. Popov.
Smirnov.
don't understand

all

funny

it

vulgar

[Imitating

her.]

Not

at

all

funnj'

vulgar!

company of ladies. Mad-t am, in the course of my life I have seen more women than you have sparrows. Three times have I fought duels for women, twelve I jilted and nine jilted me. There was a time when I played the fool, used honeyed language, bowed and scraped. I
to behave in the
loved, suffered, sighed to the

how

moon, melted

in love's torments.

I loved passionately, I loved to madness, loved in every key,

chattered like a magpie on emancipation, sacrificed half

my

for-

tune in the tender passion, until now the devil knows I've had

enough

of

it.

around by the nose no more.


est sighs

Your obedient servant Enough


!

will let

you lead him

Black eyes, passionate

eyes, coral lips, dimples in cheeks, moonlight whispers, soft,

modI

for

all

that,

madam,

I wouldn't

pay a kopeck

am

not speaking of present company, but of

women

in general;

from the

tiniest to the greatest,

they are conceited, hypocritical,

chattering, odious, deceitful from top to toe; vain, petty, cruel

with a maddening logic and


please excuse

[he strikes his forehead] in this respect,


is

my

frankness, but one sparrow

worth ten of the


one sees one of
is

aforementioned petticoat-philosophers.

When

the romantic creatures before him he imagines he

looking at

some holy

being, so wonderful that

its

one breath could dissolve

THE BOOR
him
in

167
if

a sea of a thousand charms and delights; but

one looks
[He
seizes

into the soul

it's

nothing but a
it

common

crocodile.

the arm-chair

and breaks

in two.]

But the worst

of all

is

that

this crocodile imagines


it

it is

a masterpiece of creation, and that

has a monopoly on
if

all

the tender passions.


is

May

the devil

hang me upside down

there

anything to love about a

woman

knows is how to complain and shed If the man suffers and makes sacrifices she swings her tears. train about and tries to lead him by the nose. You have the misfortune to be a woman, and naturally you know woman's nature; tell me on your honor, have you ever in your life seen a woman who was really true and faithful ? Never Only the old and the deformed are true and faithful. It's easier to find a cat with horns or a white woodcock, than a faithful woman. Mrs. Popov. But allow me to ask, who is true and faithful in love ? The man, perhaps ?
she
is

When

in love, all she

Smirnov.

Yes, indeed

The man
!

Mrs. Popov.

The man

[She
!

laughs

sarcastically.]
is

The

man

true

and

faithful in love

Well, that

something new

[Bitterly.]

How can you make such a statement ? Men true and


So long as we have gone thus
the
far,

faithful

may

as well say
best; I

that of

all

men

have known,
all

my

husband was the

loved him passionately with

woman may
tune,

love; I gave

my soul, as only a young, sensible him my youth, my happiness, my forhim like a heathen.

my life.

I worshipped

And what hapway.

pened.?

This best of

men

betrayed

me

in every possible

After his death I found his desk

filled

with love-letters.

While

he was alive he
think about
ence,
it

left
^he

me

alone for months

made love to other women in my very preshe wasted my money and made fun of my feelings and in

it is

horrible even to

him and was true to him. And more than that: he is dead and I am still true to him. I have buried myself within these four walls and I shall wear this mourning to my grave.
spite of everything I trusted

168
Smirnov.

ANTON TCHEKOV
Mourning "\^Tiat on As if I didn't know why you wore black domino and why you buried yourself within these
[Laughing disrespectfully.]
!

earth do you take


this

me

for?

four walls.

Such a secret

So romantic

Some knight

will

pass the castle, gaze up at the windows, and think to himself:

"Here dwells the mysterious Tamara who,


band, has buried herself within four walls."
the art

for love of her hus-

Oh, I understand

Mrs. Popov. [Springing vp.] What.'^ \\Tiat do you mean by saying such things to me.^^ Smirnov. You have buried yourself alive, but meanwhile you
have not forgotten to powder your nose
!

Mrs. Popov.
Smirnov.
Allow

How

dare j^ou speak so

Don't scream at me, please; I'm not the manager.


I

me to call things by their right names.

am not a woman,
So please don't

and

am accustomed to speak out what I think.


I'm not screaming.
It
is

scream.

Mrs. Popov.
ing.

you who are scream-

Please leave me, I beg of you.

Smirnov.
IVIrs.

Pay me

my money and

I'll

leave.

Popov.

I won't give

you the money.


give
do.

Smirnov.
kopeck

You won't?
!

You won't

Mrs. Popov.
!

I don't care

what you

me my money? You won't get

Leave me

Smirnov.

As
it.

I haven't the pleasure of being either your hus-

band or your
I can't

fiance, please don't

make a

scene.

[He

sits

down.]

stand

Mrs. Popov.
Smirnov.
Smirnov.

[Breathing hard.]

You

are going to

sit

down ?

I already have.

Mrs. Popov.

Kindly leave the house

Give

me

the money.

Mrs. Popov.
Leave
i

I don't care to speak with

impudent men.

[PauM.]

You

aren't going

Smirnov.

No.

THE BOOR
Mrs. Popov.
Smirnov.

169

No?

No.

[She rings the bell, Mrs. Popov. Very well. [Enter Luka. Mrs. Popov. Luka, show the gentleman out. Luka. [Going to Smirnov.] Sir, why don't you leave when you are ordered ? What do you want ? Smirnov. [Jumping up.] Whom do you think you are talking to ? I'll grind you to powder. [He drops Luka. [Puts his hand to his heart.] Good Lord Oh, I'm ill; I can't breathe into a chair.] Mrs. Popov. Where is Dascha.^* [Calling.] Dascha! Pe[She rings. Dascha lageja I'm ill Water Luka. They're all gone Get out Mrs. Popov. [To Smirnov.] Leave Smirnov. Kindly be a little more polite Mrs. Popov. [Striking her fists and stamping her feet.] You
! !
!

are vulgar

You're a boor

A
?

monster

Smirnov.
Smirnov.
right

What

did you say

Mrs. Popov.

I said

you were a boor, a monster!


Permit

[Steps toward her quickly.]

me

to ask

what
.^^

you have to insult me ? Mrs. Popov. What of it


.^

Do you think I am afraid of you

Smirnov.
you!

And you

think that because you are a romantic

creature you can insult

me without being punished ?


!

I challenge

Luka.

Merciful Heaven

Water
fists

Smirnov.
neck I

We'll have a duel.

Mrs. Popov.
steer's

Do

you think because you have big

and a

am

afraid of

you ?
insult

Smirnov.
tion because

I allow

no one to
to cry

me, and I make no excep-

you are a woman, one


[Trying
is

of the

"weaker sex"

Mrs. Popov.
Smirnov.
It

him down.]

Boor, boor, boor


the old superstition

high time to do

away with

170
that
there
limit
JVIrs.
it is
is

ANTON TCHEKOV
only the

man who

is

forced to give satisfaction.


all things.

If

equity at

all let

there be equity in

There's a

Popov.

You

wish to fight a duel

Very

well.

Smirnov.
bring them.
it will

Immediately.

Mrs. Popov.

Immediately.

My

husband had

pistols.

I'll

[She hurries away, then turns.]

Oh, what a pleasure

be to put a bullet in your impudent head.


shoot her down!

The

devil take

you

[She goes out.


I'll

Smirnov.
mental
3'

I'm no
is

fiedgling,
!

no

senti-

oung puppy.
Oh,
sir.

For me there

no weaker sex

LuKA.
ready, and

[Falls to his knees.]

Have mercy on me, an

old man, and go away.

You have
attention.]

frightened

me

to death al-

now you

w^ant to fight a duel.

Smirnov.
emancipation.
her

[Paying no

duel.

That's equity,
equal.
I'll

That way the

sexes are

made

shoot

down

as a matter of principle.
[Imitating her.]

What

can a person say to

such a w^oman?

put a bullet

in

your impudent head."


the

"The devil take you. I'll What can one say to that ?

She was angry, her eyes blazed, she accepted the challenge.

On

my

honor,

it's

first

time in

my

life

that I ever saw such a

woman. LuKA. woman.


LuKA.

Oh,

sir.

Go away.
is

Go away
I can understand her.
fire,

Smirnov.

That

a woman.

A
!

real

No

shilly-shallying,

but

powder, and noise

It

would be a pity to shoot a


[Weeping.]

woman
sir,

like that.

Oh,

go away.

[Enter

Mrs. Popov.

Mrs. Popov. Here are the pistols. But before we have our show me how to shoot. I have never had a pistol in my hand before I'll go and LuKA. God be merciful and have pity upon us get the gardener and the coachman. Why lias this horror come
duel, please
!

to

ufi ?

[He goes

out.

THE BOOR
Smienov.
ent kinds.
[Looking at the
pistols.]

171
see, there are differ-

You

There are special duelling

pistols,

with cap and

ball.

But
tols
!

these are revolvers, Smith

&

Wesson, with ejectors;

fine pisis
!

pair like that cost at least ninety roubles.


[Aside.]

This

the

way
real

to hold a revolver.

Those

eyes, those eyes

woman
Like this ?
Yes, that way.

Mrs. Popov.
Smirnov.

Then you

pull the
little.

hammer back
Just stretch

so

then you aim

put your head back a

your arm out, please.


like that,

So

then press your finger on the thing


The
chief thing
is

and that

is all.

this: don't get ex-

cited, don't

hurry your aim, and take care that your hand


It isn't well to shoot inside; let's go into the

doesn't tremble.

Mrs. Popov.
garden.

Smirnov.
the
air.

Yes.

I'll tell

you now, I

am

going to shoot into

Mrs. Popov.
Smirnov.
dear

That

is

too

much

Because

because.
are afraid.

That's
Yes.

Why ? my

business.

Mrs. Popov.
sir,

You
!

A-h-h-h.

No, no,

my

no flinching

Please follow me.

I won't rest until I've

made a

hole in that head I hate so much.

Are you afraid ?

Smirnov.
Smirnov.

Yes, I'm afraid.

Mrs. Popov. Mrs. Popov.


Smirnov.
hat

You

are lying.

Why

won't you fight ?


you.

Because

becauseI
!

like

[With an angry laugh.]

You

like

me!

He

dares to say he likes

me

[She points to the door.]

Go.
table, takes his

[Laying the revolver silently on the

and

starts.

At

the door he stops

a moment, gazing
Listen
!

at her sistill

lently,

then he approaches her, hesitating.]

Are you

angry ?

I was

mad as the devil,


voice.]

but please understand

me

how

can I express myself ?


[He raises his

money ?

[Grasps the

The thing is like this such things are Now, is it my fault that you owe me back of the chair which breaks.] The devil
y

172

ANTON TCHEKOV
furniture

knows what breakable

you have
!

I like

you

Do

you understand ? I I'm almost in love I hate you. Mrs. Popov. Leave What a woman I never Smirnov. Lord
!
! !

in

my

life

one
in

like her.

I'm

lost,

ruined

I've been caught like a

met mouse

a trap.

Mrs. Popov.
Smirnov.

Go, or

I'll

shoot.

Shoot!

You have no
velvet
if

idea

what happiness
Consider
it

it

would be to die
revolver in this

in sight of those beautiful eyes, to die

from the

little

hand

I'm

mad

and

decide immediately, for


other again.

I go now,

we

shall

never see each

Decide

speakI am a noble, a respectable man,


.^

have an income of ten thousand, can shoot a coin thrown into the air. I own some fine horses. Will you be my wife

Mrs. Popov.
Smirxov.
vant

[Swings the revolver angrily.]

I'll

shoot
Ser-

My
!

mind

is

not clear

I can't understand.
any young man.
I love

water

I have fallen in love like


cries with pain.]

[He

takes her

hand and she

you

[He

kneels.]

you as I have never loved before. Twelve women I jilted, nine jilted me, but not one of them all have I loved as I love you. I am conquered, lost; I lie at your feet like a fool and beg for
I love

your hand.
in love; I

Shame and

disgrace
for

For

five years I

haven't been

thanked the Lord

it,

and now

am

caught, like a

carriage tongue in another carriage. or no


?

I beg for your

hand

Yes
door.

Will you

Good

[He

gels

up and

goes quickly

to the

Mrs. Popov.
Smirnov.
ment.
if

Wait a moment
Well
?

[Stopping.]

Mrs. Popov.

Nothing.

You may
I hate you.
!

go.

No, go on, go on.

Or

But no; don't

^wait

a mo-

go.

Oh,

[She throws the revolver you knew how angry I was, how angry [She anon to the chair.] My finger is swollen from this thing.
grily tears her handkerchief.]

\Miat are you standing there

for.'*

Get out

THE BOOR
Smirnov.
Farewell

173

Mrs. Popov. Yes, go. [Cries out.] Why are you going.? Don't come too near, Oh, how angry I am Wait no, go don't come too near er come no nearer.

Smirnov.
got a

[Approaching

her.]

Fall in lov^e like a schoolboy, throw myself


chill
!

How angry I am with myself on my knees. I've


This
is

[Strongly.]

I love you.

fine

all

I needed

To-morrow I have to pay my interest, the [He takes her in hay harvest has begun, and then you appear
was to
fall in love.
!

his arms.]

I can never forgive myself.

you

Mrs. Popov. you this

Go away
is

Take your hands

ofiF

me

I hate
kiss.

[A long

[Enter

Luka

with an axe, the gardener with a rake, the


pitchfork,

coachman with a

and workmen with

poles.

Luka.

[Staring at the pair.]

Merciful heavens

[A long pause.

Mrs. Popov. [Dropping her eyes.] that Tobby isn't to have any oats.
CURTAIN

Tell

them

in the stable

THE LAST STRAW


BY

BOSWORTH CROCKER

All rights reserved.

by special permission of Bosworth Crocker. For permission to perform, address the author, care Society of American Dramatists and Composers, 148 West 45th Street,
The Last Straw
Is

reprinted

New York

City.

BOSWORTH CROCKER
land.

Bosworth Crocker was born March 2, 1882, in Surrey, EngWhile still a child he was brought to the United States. He lives in New York City and may be reached in care of the Society of American Dramatists and Composers, 148 West 45th
Street.

In addition to Pawns of War and Stone Walls, he has written a number of one-act plays, The Dog, The First Time, The Cost of a Hat, The Hour Before, The Baby Carriage, and The Last Straw. The Last Straw, produced by the Washington Square Players in New York City, is an excellent one-act tragedy, based upon the psychological law of suggestion.

CAST
Friedrich Bauer, janitor of
the

Bryn Maior

MiENE,
Karl,

his vnfe

elder son, aged ten

Fritzi, younger son, aged seven

Jim Lane, a grocer boy

THE LAST STRAW*


TIME:
The present day.
:

SCENE

The basement of a

large apartment-house in

New

York

City.

SCENE:

Mawr.

The kitchen of the Bauer flat in the basement of the Bryn A window at the side gives on an area and shows the
the houses across the street.
to

walk above and

Opposite the
the outer door,

windows

is

a door

an inner room.

Through

in the centre of the back wall, a dumb-waiier and whistles to


tenants can be seen.

broken milk-bottle

lies

in a puddle of

milk on the cement floor in front of the dumb-waiter.


right of the outer door, a telephone ; gas-range

To

the

on which

there

are flat-irons heating


the outer door is
Schiller.

and

vegetables cooking.
it

To

the left of

an

old sideboard; over

hangs a picture of
little to
it.

Near

the centre of the room,

the right,

stands a kitchen table with four chairs around

Ironing-

board
of

is

placed between the kitchen table and the sink, a basket


clothes

dampened

under

it.

large calendar

on

the wall.

An
and

alarm-clock on the windoiv-sill.

Time : a

little

before

noon.

The telephone rings ; Mrs. Bauer


it.

leaves her ironing

goes to answer

Mrs. Bauer.
the transmitter.]
I'll tell

No, Mr. Bauer's out

yet.

[She listens through

Thank you, Mrs. Mohler.


comes
in

[Another pause.]

him

just so soon he

yes, ma'am.
Grocer boy rushes
his basket, goes

[Mrs.

Bauer

goes back to her ironing.

into basement, whistling; he puts

down

up to Mrs. Bauer's door and Lane. Say where's the boss ?

looks in.

* Copyright, 1914,

by Bosworth Crocker.
179

All rights reserved.

180

Mrs.

BOSWORTH CROCKER Bauer. He'll be home soon, I hope Jim.


Nothin'.
.

What

you want ?
[He stands looking at her with growing sympathy.

Lane.
wet.
. .

Got a rag 'round here

.?

Dumb-waiter's

all

Lot

of groceries for Sawyers.

Mrs. Bauer.
Lane.

[Without

lifting her eyes,

mechanically hands

him a mop which hangs

beside the door.]

Here.

What's the matter.?


[Dully.]

Mrs. Bauer.
Lane.
Lane.

Huh?
Oh, I know.

[Significantly.]

Mrs. Bauer. What you know ? About the boss. [Mrs. Bauer Heard your friends across the street talkin'. ;Mrs. Bauer. [Bitterly.] Friends!
Lane.
Rotten trick to play on the boss,
that old maid up to get him pinched.

looks

distressed.]

all

right, puttin*

Mrs. Bauer. [Absently.] Was she an old maid ? Lane. The cruel ty-to-animals woman over there [waves his hand] regular old crank. Nies* put her up to it all right. Mrs. Bauer. I guess it was his old woman. Nies ain't so bad. She's the one. Because my two boys dress up a little on

Sunday, she don't

like

it.

Lane.

Yes, she's sore because the boys told her the boss

kicks their dog.

Mrs. Bauer.

He

don't do nothin' of the sort

'way from the garbage-pails

that's
He
it'd

jus' drives it

all.

We

coulda had that

dog took up long ago


he's so easy

he

they ain't got no


it
;

license.

But

Fritz

jus'

takes

out chasin' the dog and hollerin'.

Lane.

That

ain't

no way.
then

ought to make the dog holler


keep out of here.

^good and hardonce

Mrs. Bauer. Don't you go to talkin' like that 'round my man. Look at all this trouble we're in on account of a stray cat. Lane. I better get busy. They'll be callin' up the store in
* Pronounced niece.

THE LAST STRAW


a minute.
like her

181

in that slop, she'd send

That woman's the limit. them down

Send up the groceries


High-toned people

again.

ought to keep maids.


the lower shelf of the dumb-waiter, then looks

[He mops out

at the broken bottle

and

the puddle of

milk inquiringly.
him.]
I'll

Mrs. Bauer.
that up.
I forgot

[Taking the

mop away from

clean

in all this trouble.

Lane.

WTiose

mUk ?

Mrs. Bauer. The Mohlers'. That's how it all happened. Somebody upset their milk on the dumb-waiter and the cat was on the shelf lickin' it up; my man, not noticin', starts the waiter up and the cat tries to jump out; the bottle rolls off and breaks. The cat was hurt awful caught in the shaft. I don't see how

it

coulda run after that, but

it

did

into that

woman

right into the


it fell

street, right

^Fritz after

it.

Then

over.

"You

did

that.?" she says to Fritz.

"Yes," he says, "I did that."

He

didn't say no more, jus'

went

off,

and then

after a while they

came for him and Lane. Brace up; they


[Comes into kitchen.
the cat

[She begins to cry softly.


ain't goin' to

do anything to him.
!

Hesitatingly.]

Say

He

didn't kick

did he

Mrs. Bauer.
Lane.

Who

said so?

Mrs. Nies

says she saw him from her window.


to herself.]

Mrs. Bauer.
Fritz
is

[As though

I dunno.

[Excitedly.]
to herself.]

Of course he didn't kick that

cat.

[Again, as though
it

so quick-tempered he mighta kicked

'fore

he knew
Fritz
is

what he was about.


except himself.

No

one'd ever

know how good

unless they lived with him.

He

never hurt no one and nothing

Lane.
dinner

Oh, I'm on to the boss.


If

I never

mind

his hollerin'.

Mrs. Bauer.

you get a chance, bring me some butter


I'll

for

^a

pound.
All right.

Lane.
utes,

run over with

it in

ten or fifteen minin the

soon as I get rid of these orders out here

wagon.

182

BOSWORTH CROCKER
That'll do.
[She moves about apathetically, lays the cloth on the kitchen
table

Mrs. Bauer.

and begins

to set

it.

Lane

goes to the dumb-waiter,

whistles

up

the tube, puts the basket of groceries

on the

shelf of the dumb-waiter, pulls rope

and sends waiter up.


Boys from
yell.

Mrs. Bauer
street

continues to set the table.

the

suddenly swoop into the basement and

Chorus of Boys' Voices.


the cat

Who

killed the cat

A\Tio killed

Lane. [Letting show you, you

the rope go

and making a

dive for the boys.]

I'll

[They rush out, Mrs.

Bauer

stands despairingly in the

doorway shaking her clasped hands.

Mrs. Bauer.
Lane.
if

Those are Nies's boys.


!

Regular toughs
it.

Call the cop

and have 'em pinched

they don't stop

Mrs. Bauer. If my man hears them you know be more trouble. Lane. The boss ought to make it hot for them. Mrs. Bauer. Such trouble
Lane.
[Starts to go.]

there'll

Well

luck to the boss.

Mrs. Bauer. There ain't no such thing as luck for us. Lane. Aw, come on. Mrs. Bauer. Everything's against us. First Fritz's mother Then we We named the baby after her ^Trude. dies. That finished Fritz. After that he began this hollost Trude. And now this here trouble just when things lerin' business. was goin' half-ways decent for the first time. [She pushes past him and goes to her ironing. Lane. [Shakes his head sympathetically and takes up his basket.] A pound, you said ? Mrs. Bauer. Yes. Lane. All right. [He starts off and then rushes back.] Here's
. .

the boss comin', Mrs. Bauer.

[Rushes off again.

THE LAST STRAW


Lane's Voice. [Cheerfully.] Hello, there Bauer's Voice. [Dull and strained.] Hello [Bauer comes in. His naturally bright blue

183

eyes are tired


lost all vigor

and
and
face.

lustreless; his strong frame

seems
utter

to

have

alertness ; there is

a look of

despondency on his

Mrs. Bauer. [Closing the door after him.] They let you off ? Bauer. [With a hard little laugh.] Yes, they let me off they

let

me

off

with a

fine all right.

Mrs. Bauer. [Aghast.] They think you did it then. Bauer. [Harshly.] The judge fined me, I tell you. Mrs. Bauer. [Unable to express her poignant sympathy.]
Fined you
! . . .

Oh, Fritz

[She lays her hand on his shoulder.

Bauer.

[Roughly, to keep himself from going

to pieces.]

That

slop out there ain't cleaned

up

yet.

Mrs. Bauer. I've been so worried. Bauer. [With sudden desperation.] I


you.

can't stand

it,

tell

Mrs. Bauer. Well, it's all over now, Fritz. Bauer. Yes, it's all over it's all up with me. Mrs. Bauer. Fritz Bauer. That's one sure thing. Mrs. Bauer. You oughtn't to give up like this. Bauer. [Pounding on the table.] I tell you I can't hold up
.

my

head again.

Mrs. Bauer. Whj^ Fritz ? Bauer. They've made me out guilty. The judge fined me. Fined me, Miene How is that ? Can a man stand for that ? The woman said I told her myself right out that I did it. Mrs. Bauer. The woman that had you [he winces as she
!

hesitates]

took

Bauer. Damned Mrs. Bauer. [Putting her hand over his mouth.]

Hush,

Fritz.

184
Bauer.
the job.
ferin'

BOSWORTH CROCKER
Why
will I

hush, Miene

She said

was proud

of

[Passionately raising his voice.]

The damned
your

inter-

Mrs. Bauer.

Don't

holler, Fritz.

It's

hollerin' that's

made
lerin'
!

all this

trouble.

Bauer.
.
.

[Penetrated hy her words more


.

and more.]

My

holit.

[The telephone rings ; she answers

Mrs. Bauer. Yes, Mrs. Mohler, he's come in now. Yes. Won't after dinner do ? All right. ^Thank you, Mrs. Mohler. [She hangs up the receiver.] Mrs. Mohler wants you to fix her

sink right after dinner.

Bauer. I'm not goin' to do smy more fixin' around here. Mrs. Bauer. You hold on to yourself, Fritz; that's no way to talk; Mrs. Mohler's a nice woman.

Bauer.
pause.]
eh.'*

I don't
!

want

to see

no more nice women.


hollerin'.

[After

Hollerin'

that's what's the matter with me


it all

hollerin',

Well, I've took

out in
j^ou

Mrs. Bauer.
feelings.

They hear

and they think you've got no

Bauer.

[In utter

amazement

at the irony of the situation.]


it.

And

I was goin' after the

damned

cat to take care of

Mrs. Bauer. W^hy didn't you tell the judge all about it ? Bauer. They got me rattled among them. The lady was so soft and pleasant "He must be made to understand, your

honor," she said to the judge, "that


too, just as well as

dumb

animals has

feelin's,

human beings"

Me, Miene

made
!

to under-

stand that
throat.

I couldn't say nothin'.

My voice just stuck in my


You oughta

Mrs. Bauer.
Bauer.

What's the matter with you


it all

spoke up and told the judge just how


I said to myself
:

happened.

I'll

go home and put a bullet through


Ach, Fritz, Fritz

my

head

that's the best thing for me now.


[With impatient unbelief.]
J

Mrs. Bauer.

[Clatter of feet.

THE LAST STRAW


Chorus of Voices.
[At the outer door.]

185
killed the cat

Who

Who

killed the cat

[Bauer jumps up, pale and shaken with strange pushes him gently back into his chair, opens
steps out for a

rage ; she
the door,

moment, then comes in and

leaves the door

open behind

her.
.
.

Bauer.
all

You

see.'^

Even the

kids

I'm disgraced

over the place.

Mrs. Bauer. So long as you didn't hurt the cat Bauer. What's the difference ? Everybody believes Mrs. Bauer. No, they don't, Fritz.

it.

Bauer. You can't fool me, Miene. I see it in their eyes. They looked away from me when I was comin' 'round the corner. Some of them kinder smiled like [passes his hand over his head]. Even the cop says to me on the way over, yesterday: "Don't you
put your foot
in it
it all

thought I did

right.

any more'u you have to." Everybody believes

You
it.

see.?

He

lieve

Mrs. Bauer. [Putting towels away.] Well, then it. The agent don't believe it.
.

let

them be-

Bauer.
Bauer.
.
. .

I dunno.

He'da paid

my

jBne

anyhow.

Mrs. Bauer.

He

gave you a good name.

[With indignant derision.]

He gave me a good name

Haven't I always kept

this place all right since

we been

here.'*

Afterward he said to me: "I'm surprised at

this busi-

ness, Bauer, very

I told

him

it

much surprised." That shows what he thinks. ain't true, I didn't mean to hurt it. I saw by his
W^ell,

eyes he didn't believe me.

Mrs. Bauer.
Bauer.

don't you worry any more now.


Hollerin'

[To himself.]

Mrs. Bauer.
it

[Shuts the door.]

Well, now, holler a

little if

does you good.

Bauer.

Nothin's goin' to do

me
it

good.

Mrs. Bauer.

You

just put

out of your mind.

[The

tele-

186
phone
rings.

BOSWORTH CROCKER
She answers
He'll be
it.]

Yes, but he can't

come now, Mrs.

McAllister.

up

this afternoon.

[She hangs up the receiver, Bauer. And I ain't goin' this afternoon nowhere. Mrs. Bauer. It's Mrs. McAllister. Somethin's wrong with

her refrigerator

the water won't run

off,

she says.

Bauer. They can clean out their own drain -pipes. Mrs. Bauer. You go to work and get your mind
here business.

off this

Bauer.

[Staring straight ahead of him.]

I ain't goin' 'round

among

the people in this house


.

...

to

have them lookin' at

me

disgraced like this.

IVIrs.

Bauer.

You want

to hold

up your head and act as

if

nothm's happened.

Bauer.
took
off

Nobody spoke

to

me

at the dumb-waiter

when

the garbage and paper this morning.

Mrs. Mohler

al-

ways says, something pleasant. Mrs. Bauer. You just think that because you're all upset. [The telephone rings ; she goes to it and listens.] Yes, ma'am, I'll Mrs. McAllister thinks she Fritz, have you any fine wire ? see. might try and fix the drain w ith it till you come up.

Bauer. I got no wire. Mrs. Bauer. ]VIr. Bauer'll


McAllister.
[Impatiently.]
his dinner.

fix it

right
. .

after dinner,

Mrs.

He

can't find the wire this minute

soon's he eats
hat.

Bauer. [Doggedly.] You'll see. Mrs. Bauer. [Soothingly.] Come now,


.

Fritz, give

me your

[She takes his hat from him.

Voices IN the Street.


killed the cat
!

[Receding from the front area.]

Who

Who

killed the cat

[Bauer rushes toward the windoio in a fury of excitement. Bauer. [Shouting at the top of his voice.] Verdammte loafers
Schweine

Mrs. Bauer.

[Goes

up

to

him.]

Fritz

Fritz

THE LAST STRAW

187

Bauer. [Collapses and drops into chair.] You hear 'em. Mrs. Bauer. Don't pay no attention, then they'll get tired. Bauer. Miene, we must go away. I can't stand it here no
longer.
IVIrs.

Bauer.

But
.
. .

there's not such another

good

place, Fritz

and the movin'

Bauer. I say I can't stand it. Mrs. Bauer. [Desperately.] It ... it would be same any other place. Bauer. Just the same ? Mrs. Bauer. Yes, something'd go wrong anyhow. Bauer. You think I'm a regular Jonah.
[He shakes his head repeatedly in the
wholly embracing her point of view.

just the

affirmative, as

though

Mrs. Bauer.
hollerin' 'round

Folks don't get to know you. They hear you and they think you beat the children and kick

the dogs and cats.

Bauer. Do I ever lick the children when they don't need it ? Mrs, Bauer. Not Fritzi. Bauer. You want to spoil Karl. I just touch him with the
strap once, a
little

like this [illustrates with


hell.

a gesture] to scare

him, and he howls like

Mrs. Bauer.
Bauer.

Yes, and then he don't

mind you no more beit

cause he knows you don't


[To himself.]
. .

mean

it.

That's the
.

way

goes

... a man's
Fritz,
if

own

wife and children

Mrs. Bauer.

[Attending

to the

dinner.

Irritably.]

you would clean that up out there and Mrs. Carroll wants her waste-basket. You musta forgot to send it up again. Bauer. All right.
[He goes out and
leaves the door open.

She stands her flat-

iron on the ledge of the range to cool

and puts her ironingmilk on the cemerd

hoard away, watching him at the dumb-waiter while he


picks

up

the glass arid cleans

up

the

188
floor.

BOSWORTH CROCKER
He
disappears for a moment, then he comes in
again, goes to a drawer
'polish.

and

takes out rags

and a

bottle

of

Mrs. Bauer.
Bauer.
That's
so.

[Pushing the clothes-basket out of the way.]

This ain't cleanin' day, Fritz.


[Dully,

putting

the

polish

back

into

the

drawer.]

Mrs. Bauer.

[Comforting him.]
fix

You've got to eat a good


that sink for Mrs. Mohler

dinner and then go up-stairs and

and the drain for Mrs. McAllister. Bauer. [In a tense voice.] I tell you I
I
tell

can't stand

it.

you, Miene.

Mrs. Bauer. What now, Fritz ? Bauer. People laugh in my face. [Nods in the direction of Frazer's boy standin' on the stoop calls his dog away the street.] when it runs up to me like it always does. Mrs. Bauer. Dogs know better'n men who's good to them. Bauer. He acted like he thought I'd kick it. Mrs. Bauer. You've got all kinds of foolishness in your You sent up Carroll's basket ? head now. Bauer. No. [She checks herself. Mrs. Bauer. Well [He gets up. Bauer. All right. settin' right beside the other dumb-waiter. Bauer. It's Mrs.
.

[He goes

out.]

Oh, Gott

! Oh, Gott !Oh, Gott


Fritzi
is crying.

[Enter K1\rl

and Fritzi.

Mrs. Bauer.
Karl.
Fritzi.

[Running

to them.]

What's the matter ?

[She hushes them

and

carefully closes the door.

The boys make fun of us; they mock us. They mock us "Miau! Miau!" they

cry,

and

then they go

like this

[Fritzi imitates kicking and breaks out crying afresh.

Mrs. Bauer.
hear.

Hush,

Fritzi,

you mustn't

let

your father

THE LAST STRAW


Fritzi.
EIajrl.

189

He'd make them shut up.


I don't

want

to go to school this afternoon.

[He doubles his fists.

Mrs. Bauer.
undertone.]

[Turning on him fiercely.]


talk that
?

Why

not?

[In

an

You

way

before your

little

brother.

Have you no
Fritzi.

sense

[Beginning

to

whimper.]

I d-d-d-on't

want

to go to

school this afternoon.

Mrs. Bauer. own business.

You

just go 'long to school

and mind your

Karl and

Fritzi.

[Together.]

But the
to

boys.

Mrs. Bauer.
attention.

They

ain't

a-goin'

keep

it

up

forever.

Don't you answer them.

Just go 'long together and pay no

Karl.
Fritzi.
fresher.

Then they

get fresher

and

fresher.

[Echoing Karl.]

Yes, then they get fresher and

[Mrs.

Bauer

begins to take

up

the dinner.

The sound of

footfalls just outside the door is heard.

Mrs. Bauer.
for

Go on now, hang up your


tell

caps and get ready

your dinners.

Fritzi.

I'm going to

my

papa.
Fritzi,
all

[Goes to inner door.

Mrs. Bauer.
tell

For God's sake,

shut up.

You mustn't

no one.

Papa'd be disgraced

over.

Karl. [Coming up to her.] Mrs. Bauer. Hush! Karl. Why disgraced ?

Disgraced ?

Mrs. Bauer.
in the world.

Because there's

liars,

low-down, snoopin'

liars

Who's lied, mama ? Mrs. Bauer. The janitress


Karl.
EIarl.
Fritzi.

across the street.

Mrs. Nies ?
[Calling out.]

Henny Nies

is

a tough.

Mrs. Bauer.

[Looking toward the outer door anxiously and

190

BOSWORTH CROCKER
I give you somethin',
hollerin'

shaking her head threateningly at Fritzi.]


if

you don't stop

out like that.

Who'd she lie to ? Mrs. Bauer. Never mind.


Karl.
begin to eat.

Go

'long

now.

It's

time you

What'd she lie about ? Mrs. Bauer. [Warningly.] S-s-sh! Papa'll be comin' in now in a minute. Karl. It was Henny Nies set the gang on to us. I coulda licked them all if I hadn't had to take care of Fritzi. Mrs. Bauer. You'll get a lickin' all right if you don't keep away from Henny Nies. Karl. Well if they call me names and say my father's
Karl.

been to the station-house for

killing

a cat

,?

Miau! Miau Miau! Mrs. Bauer. Hold your mouth.


Fritzl
!

Fritzi.

[Sioaggering.]

My father never was

in jail

was he,
Fritzi.

mama ?
Karl.
Course not.
[To Fritzi.]

Mrs. Bauer.

Go, wash your hands,


door of the inner room.
. .

[She steers

him

to the

He

exits.

Mrs. Bauer. [Distressed.] Karl Karl. [Turning to his mother.] Was he, mama? IVIrs. Bauer. Papa don't act like he used to. Sometimes I wonder what's come over him. Of course it's enough to ruin any man's temper, all the trouble we've had. Chorus of Voices. [From the area by the window.] Wlio
.

killed the cat

Who

killed the cat


clattering

[Sound of feet
Fritzi.

up

the area steps.

Fritzi rushes

in, flourishing

revolver.

I shoot them,

mama.
it

Mrs. Bauer.
Papa's pistol
again and
!

[Grabbing the revolver.]


[She examines
carefully.]

Mein Gott! Fritzi! You ever touch that


[She menaces him.

I'll

THE LAST STRAW


Fritzi.
IVIrs.

191

[Sulkily.]

I'll

save up

my money

and buy me one.


I see

Bauer.

[Smiling a

little to herself.]

you buyin'
at

one. Fritzi.
[In a loud voice
!

[Carries revolver into inner room.

and as though shooting

Karl.]

Bang

Bang Bang [Karl strikes at

Fritzi; Fritzi dodges.


re-enters.]

Karl.
is

[To his mother as she

Trouble with Fritzi


face this min-

he don't mind

me any more. Mrs. Bauer. You wash your dirty hands and

ute

d'you hear me,

Fritzi

Fritzi.

[Looking at his hands.]

That's ink-stains.

I got the

highest
N-i-e-s

mark in spelling to-day. Henny Nies, a bum.

Capital H-e-n-n-y, capital

[Mrs.

Bauer makes
down
?

a rush at him, and he runs back into

the inner room.

Karl.

[Sitting

beside the table.]

Do we

have to go to

school this afternoon

Mrs. Bauer. You have to do what you always do. Karl. Can't we stay home? Mrs. Bauer. [Fiercely.] Why.? Why.? Karl. [Sheepishly.] I ain't feelin' well. Mrs. Bauer. Karlchen schdm dich Karl. Till the boys forget. Mrs. Bauer. Papa'd know somethin' was wrong
.
. . ! . .

right

away.

That'd be the end.

You mustn't

act as

if

anything was

different

from always.

Karl. [Indignantly.] Sayin' my father's been to jail Mrs. Bauer. Karl. Karl. Papa'd make them stop. Mrs. Bauer. [Panic-stricken.] Karl, don't you tell papa
.
.

nothing.

Karl.

Not tell papa ? Mrs. Bauer. No. Karl. Why not tell papa ?

192

BOSWORTH CROCKER

Mrs. Bauer. Because Karl. Yes, mama? Mrs. Bauer. Because he was arrested yesterday. Karl. [Shocked.] What for, mama ? Why was he Mrs. Bauer. For nothing. ... It was all a lie. Karl. Well what was it, mama ? Mrs. Bauer. The cat got hurt in the dumb-waiter papa didn't mean to then they saw papa chasin' it then it died. Karl. Why did papa chase it ? Mrs. Bauer. To see how it hurt itself. Karl. Whose cat ? Mrs. Bauer. The stray cat. Is Blacky dead.? Karl. The little black cat Mrs. Bauer. Yes, he died on the sidewalk. Karl. Where was we ? Mrs. Bauer. You was at school. Karl. Papa didn't want us to keep Blacky. Mrs. Bauer. So many cats and dogs around.

.?

Fritzi.

[Wailing at the door.]


S-s-h
!

Blacky was
did papa

my

cat.

Mrs. Bauer.
Fritzi.

What do you know about Blacky ?

I was listening.

Why

kill

Blacky ?

Mrs. Bauer.
Fritzi.

Hush
was papa took
Fritzi
!

Why

to jail

.''

Mrs. Bauer.
Fritzi.

If

papa was

to hear

[Mrs.
[Sidling

up

to

Karl.]

Miau

Bauer Miau
tell

goes out.

Karl.
Fritzi.

You

shut up that.

Didn't

mama

you?
I'll

When I'm
Nies.

man I'm

going to get arrested.

shoot

Henny

Karl.
Karl.
Nies.
Fritzi.

[Contemptuously.]

Yes, you'll do a lot of shooting.

[Fritzi punches ICarl in back.


[Striking at Fritzi.]

You're as big a tough as

Henny

[Proud of

this alleged likeness.]

I'm going to be a

THE LAST STRAW


man just like my father;
Karl.
Karl.
Fritzi.
I'll

19S

holler

[With conviction.]

and make them stand around. What you need is a good licking.
goes to
it.

[Telephone rings ;

Karl

No, ma'am, we're


[Sits

just going to eat

now.

down
told

beside the table.]

Blacky was a nice cat;

she purred just like a steam-engine.

Karl.
Fritzi.

Mama
Papa

you not

to bring her in.

said I could.

[There

is the

sound of footfalls.

Bauer and

his wife

come

in and close the door behind them.

Mrs. Bauer.
dren.

[Putting the dinner on the table.]


Sit

Come,

chil-

[To Bauer.]

down,

Fritz.

[She serves the dinner.


chair

Karl pulls Fritzi out of his father*s


into his

and pushes him

own ;

then he takes his place

next to his mother.

Mrs. Bauer.
Bauer.

[To Bauer, who

sits

looking at his food.]

Eat

somethin', Friedrich.
I can't eat nothin'.

[She sits down,

I'm

full

up

to here.
throat.

[He touches his

Mrs. Bauer. If you haven't done you let it worry you so ?


[Children are absorbed in eating.

nothin' wrong,

why do

Fritzi.

[Suddenly.]

Gee, didn't Blacky like liver

Bauer and Karl look at him warningly. Mrs. Bauer. [Fiercely.] You eat your dinner.
[Mrs.

Bauer.
Fritzi.

[Affectionately,

laying his

hand on Fritzi's arm.]


I'm going to have a
There

Fritzi.

[Points toward the inner room.]

gun, too,

when I'm a man. [Bavbr follows Fritzi's gesture and falls to musing.
is

a look of brooding misery on his face.


warningly

Karl

nudges

Fritzi

and

watches

his

father furtively.

Bauer
Mrs. Bauer.

sits motionless, staring straight

ahead of him.
coflFee.

[To Bauer.]

Now

drink your

194

BOSWORTH CROCKER
Don't you
see,

Bauer.
makes
no one.
it

Miene, don't you see ?

Nothing

right

now; no one believes me

no one beheves me

Mrs. Bauer. What do you care, if you didn't do it ? Bauer. I care like hell. Mrs. Bauer. [With a searching look at her hushand.] Fritzi, when you go on like this, people won't believe you didn't do it. [She fixes him with a You ought to act like you don't care beseeching glance.] If you didn't do it. [Bauer looks at his wife as though a hidden meaning to her
. . .

words had suddenly

bitten into his

mind.
can't stand that.
. . .

Bauer.
I've

[As though
.

to himself.]
.

A man
. .

gone hungry

I've

been in the hospital


.

I've

worked when I couldn't stand up hardly.

Mrs. Bauer.
Fritz, while
it's

[Coaxingly.]

Drink your

coffee,

drink

it

now,

hot.
the cup.

swallow a little coffee and then puts down Bauer. I've never asked favors of no man. Mrs. Bauer. Well, an' if you did

[He

tries to

Bauer. I've always kept my good name Mrs. Bauer. If a man hasn't done no thin' wrong
. .

it

don't

matter.

Just go ahead like always


If

if

Bauer. [Muttering.] Mrs. Bauer. [To the


to go to school.

if

boys.]

Get your caps now,

it's

time

[Karl
Fritzi.

gets up, parses


to

behind his father and beckons

to

Fritzi

follow him.
seat.]

[Keeping his
[Suddenly

Do we
Why,

have to go to school ?

Bauer.
Fritzi.

alert.]

what's the matter ?

The boys Mrs. Bauer. [Breaking


[Looking

in.]

Fritzi

[The boys go into the inner room.

Bauer

collapses again.

Mrs. Bauer.
didn't

at

him

strangely.]

Fritzi

if

you

THE LAST STRAW


Bauer.
pause.
to speak.

195
[A

I can't prove nothing


is silent
sits

and no one believes me.


!

She

under his

gaze.]

She

vnth averted face.

No one [He waits for her He sinks into a dull misery.

The expression in his eyes changes from beseeching to despair as her


silence continue,

and he

cries out hoarsely.]

No
life

one

Even

if

you

kill

a cat-what's a cat against a man's

IVIrs.

Bauer,
it ?

[Tensely, her eyes fastened on his.]

But you

didn't kill

[A

pay^se.

Mrs. Bauer. Did you ?


[Bauer
his wife.

[In a low, appealing voice.]

Did you,
and

Fritz.'*

gets

up

slowly.

He

stands very

still

stares at

Karl's Voice.

Mama,

Fritzi's fooling

with papa's gun.

[Both children ru^h into the room.

Karl.
wants to

You
kill

oughtai lock

it

up.

Mrs. Bauer.

[To Fritzi.]

himself

that's what.
!

Bad boy Go on
!

[To Karl.]
to school.

Fritzi

[Boys run past area.

Voices.

Who

killed the cat

Who

killed the cat

[At the sound of the voices the boys start back.

Instinctively

Mrs. Bauer
around
at

lays a protecting

hand on

each.

She looks

her husband with a sudden anxiety which she

tries to conceal

from

the children,

who whisper

together.

Bauer
Mrs. Bauer.
out.]

rises heavily to his feet

and walks

staggeringly

toward the inner room.


[In a worried tone, as she pushes the children

Go on

to school.

[At the threshold of the inner room

Bauer

stops, half turns

back with distorted features, and then hurries in.


door slams behind him.

The

Mrs. Bauer

closes the outer

door, turns, takes a step as though to follow


tates,

Bauer,

hesi'

then crosses to the kitchen table

and

starts to clear

196

BOSWORTH CROCKER
up
the dishes.

The report of a
Terror-stricken,

revolver

sounds from the


rushes in.
!

inner room.

Mrs. Bauer
!

Mrs. Bauer's Voice.


at me, Fritz
!

Fritz
it,
.

Fritz
!

Speak to me

Look
it

You
bell.

didn't do

Fritz
.

know you

didn't do

[Sound of low sobbing.

After a

few seconds

the tele-

phone

...

It rings continuously while the

Curtain

slowly falls.

MANIKIN AND MINIKIN


(A Bisque-Play)

BY

ALFRED KREYMBORG

Manikin and Minikin is reprinted by special permission of Alfre<J Kreymborg. All rights reserved. For permission to perform, address Norman Lee Swartout, Summit, New Jersey.

ALFRED KREYMBORG
verse rhythmical drama, was born in He founded and edited The Globe while

Alfred Kreymborg, one of the foremost advocates of freeNew York City, 1883.
it

was

in existence;

and

under

anthology of imagist verse (Ezra Pound's Collection, 1914). In July. 1915, he founded Others, a Magazine of the New Verse, and The Other Players in March, 1918, an organization devoted exclusively to American
its

auspices issued the

first

plays in poetic form. At present Mr. Kreymborg is in Italy, launching a new international magazine, The Broom.
in both poetry and drama. has edited several anthologies of free verse, and has published his own free verse as Mushrooms and The Blood of Things. His volume of plays, all in free rhythmical verse, is Plays for Poem Mimes. The most popular plays in this volume are Lima Beans, and Manikin and Minikin. Manikin and Minikin aptly exemplifies Mr. Kreymborg's idea of rhythmical, pantomimic drama. It is a semi-puppet play in which there are dancing automatons to an accompaniment of rhythmic lines in place of music. Mr. Kreymborg is a skilled musician and he composes his lines with musical rhythm in mind. His lines should be read accordingly.

Mr. Kreymborg has been active

He

MANIKIN AND MINIKIN


(A

BISQUE-PLAY)
The
wall-

Seen through an oval frame, one of the walls of a parlor.


paper
is

a conventionalized pattern.

Only

the shelf of the

man-

telpiece shows.

At each end,

seated on pedestals turned slightly

away from one

another, two aristocratic bisque figures, a boy

in delicate cerise and a girl in cornflower blue. join in a grotesque silhouette.

Their shadows

In

the centre, the

an ancient
and

clock

whose
voices.

tick acts as the

metronome for

sound of

their high

Presently the mouths of the figures open

shut,

after the

mode of ordinary

conversation.

She.

Manikin
Minikin
?

He.
She.

That

fool of

a servant has done

it

again.

more than a fool. She. a meddlesome busybody He. a brittle-fingered noddy She. Which way are you looking ? What do you see ? He. The everlasting armchair,
He.
I should say, she's
!

the everlasting tiger-skin, the everlasting yellow, green, and purple books,
the everlasting portrait of milord

She.

Oh, these Yankees

And I see

the everlasting rattan rocker,


the everlasting samovar,

the everlasting noisy piano,


the everlasting portrait of milady

He.

Simpering spectacle
201

202
She.

ALFRED KREYMBORG
What
that
is,

does she want, always dusting ?

He.
She.

I should say

I'd consider the thought


lie

You'd consider a oh. Manikin

you're trying to defend her

He.
She.

I'm not defending her


You're trying to

He.
She.

I'm not trying to


Then, what are you trying to
Well, I'd venture to say,
if

He.
She.

she'd only stay

away some mornin g

That's what I say in

my

dreams

He.
She.

She and her broom

Her

everlasting

broom

He.
She.

She wouldn't be sweeping

Every

corner, every cranny, every crevice

He.
She.

And And

the dust wouldn't

move
rise,

Wouldn't crawl, wouldn't


cover us
all

wouldn't

fly-

He.
She.

over

Like a spider-web

ugh
life

He.
She.

Everlasting dust has been most of our

Everlasting years and years of dust

He.
She.

You on your lovely blue gown And you on j^our manly pink cloak.
If she didn't sweep,

He.
She.

we wouldn't need

dusting

Nor need taking down, I should say With her stupid, clumsy hands She. Her crooked, monkey paws He. And we wouldn't need putting back She. I with my back to you He. I with my back to you.
He.
She.
It's

been hours, days, weeks

MANIKIN AND MINIKIN


by the sound of that everlastmg clockand the coming of day and the going since I saw you last
He.
What's the use of the sun
with
its

203

of

day

butterfly wings of light

what's the use of a sun


if

made

to see

by

I can't see

you

She.

Manikin
Minikin ?

He.
She.

Say that again

He.
She.

Why
I

should I say

it

again

don't you know?

know, but sometimes I doubt


do you, what do you doubt.?
it

He.
She.

Why

Please say

again

He.
She.

What's the use of a sun What's the use of a sun ? That was made to see by

He.
She.

That was made


If I can't see

to see

by ?

He.
She.

you

Oh, Manikin
Minikin ?
If

He.
She.

you hadn't said that again,


doubt would have
filled

my
He.
She.

a balloon.
?

Your doubt

which doubt, what doubt


move
unless

And

although I can't move,

although I can't

somebody shoves me,


isn't here,

one of these days when the sun

I would have slipped over the edge


of this everlasting shelf

He.
She.

Minikin

And

fallen to that everlasting floor

into so

many

fragments,
!

they'd never paste Minikin together again

He.

Minikin, Minikin

204
She.

ALFRED KREYMBORG
They'd have to
set another here
!

He.
She.

some Minikin, I'm assured Why do you chatter so, prattle


Because of
that I

so ?

my

doubt

because I'm as positive as I


sit

am

here with

my

knees in a knot

that that

human
her

creature

loves you.

He.
She.

Loves

me ?

And you
Minikin

He.
She.

When
I'm
I

she takes us

down

she holds you

much

longer.

He.
She.

Minikin
sufficiently feminine

and certainly old enough

and

my
see,

hundred and seventy years


I can feel

I can

by her manner of touching me and her flicking me with her mop


the creature hates

me
what she would
!

she'd like to drop me, that's

He.
She.

Minikin

Don't you venture defending her

Booby

you don't know


how

live

women

When I'm
I can note

in the right position

she fondles you,

pets you like a parrot with her finger-tip,

blows a pinch of dust from your eye with her softest breath,
holds you off at arm's length

and

fixes

you with her spider

look,

actually holds you against her cheek

her rose-tinted cheek


before she releases you
!

If she didn't turn us apart so often.

MANIKIN AND MINIKIN


I wouldn't charge her with insinuation;

205

but now I know she loves you


she's as jealous as I

am
power

and poor dead

me

in her live

Manikin ?

He.
She.

Minikin ?
If

you could

see

me

the

way you

see her

But I see you see you always see only you She. If you could see me the way you see her,
He.
you'd
still

love me,

you'd love

me

the

way you do her

Who made me what I am ? Who dreamed me in motionless clay ?


He.
She.

Minikin ?

Manikin ?
Will you listen to

He.
She.

me ?

No!
Will you listen to

He.
She.

me ?
me ?

No.
Will you listen to

He.
She.

Yes.
I love

He.
She.

you

No!
I've always loved

He.
She.

you

No.

He.
She.

You doubt
Yes

that.?

He.
She.

You doubt
Yes.

that ?

He.

You doubt

that?

206
She.

ALFRED KREYMBORG
No.

You've always loved

me

yes
but you don't love

me now

no
not since that rose-face encountered your glance
no.

He.
She.

Minikin
If I
if

could

move about

the

way

she can

had

feet

dainty white feet which could twinkle and twirl


I'd

dance you so prettily

you'd think
if

me

a sun butterfly

I could let dov/n


it's

my

hair

and prove you


if

longer than larch hair

I could raise

my

black brows

or shrug
like
if

my

narrow shoulders,

a queen or a countess

I could turn

my

head,

tilt

my

head,

this

way and

that, like a

swan

ogle
till

my

eyes, like a peacock,

you'd marvel,

they're green, nay, violet, nay, yellow, nay, gold


if

I could

move, only move


of

just the

moment
see
it's

an inch
I could be
!

you would
It's

what

a change,

a change,
!

you men ask

of

women

He.
She.

change ?

You're eye-sick, heart-sick


of seeing the

same

foolish porcelain thing,

a hundred years old,

a hundred and

fifty,

and

sixty,

and seventy

MANIKIN AND MINIKIN


I don't

207

know how

old I

am
!

He.

Not an

exhalation older than I

not an inhalation younger

Minikin
She.

Manikin ?
Will you listen to

He.
She.

me ?
me ?
me ?

No No

He.
She.

Will you listen to


!

He.
She.

Will you listen to

Yes.
I don't love that creature

He.
She.

You You
Yes
if
if

do.

He.
She.

I can't love that creature


can.

He.
She.

Will you listen to

me ?

you'll tell
you'll

prove

me me
dust

so

my

last particle of

the tiniest speck of a molecule


the merest electron

He.
She.

Are you

listening

Yes

He.

To
I

begin with

I dislike, suspect, deplore

had best

say, feel compassion called

for

what

is

humanity

or the animate, as opposed to the inanimate-

She.

You
say

say that so wisely

you're such a philosopher


it

again
is

He.

That which

able to

move

can never be steadfast, you understand ?

208

ALFRED KREYMBORG
Let us consider the creature at hand
to

whom you

have referred

with an undue excess of admiration


adulterated with an undue excess of envy

She.

Say that again

He.

To

begin with

I can only see part of her at once.

She moves into


she

she moves out of


is

my vision my vision;
wayward.

doomed

to be

She.

Yes, but that which you see of her


Is ugly,

He.

commonplace, unsightly.
?

Her
It's

face a rose-face

veined with blood and the skin of

it

wrinkles-

her eyes are ever so near to a hen's

her movements,
if

one would pay such a gait with regard


is

her gait her hair

unspeakably ungainly

She.

Her

hair

He.

Luckily I've never seen


I dare say
it

it

down
in the dark,
like tangled

comes down

when
She.

it

looks,

most assuredly,
beautiful,

weeds.

Again, Manikin, that dulcet phrase

He.
She.

Even were she

she were never so beautiful as thou

Now

you're a poet. Manikin

He.

Even were she


and the
like like

so beautiful as thou

lending her your eyes,


exquisite head which holds

them

a cup two last beads of wine, a stone two last drops of rain,

green, nay, violet, nay, yellow, nay, gold

She.

Faster,

Manikin

MANIKIN AND MINIKIN


He.
I can't, Minikin
!

209

Words were never given


to phrase such a one as

to

man

you are

inanimate symbols

can never embrace, embody, hold


the animate dream that you are
I

must

cease.

She.

Manikin

He.
She.

And even were


Stay beautiful

she so beautiful as thou,

she couldn't stay beautiful.


?

He.

Humans change
That
is

with each going moment.

a gray-haired platitude.

Just as I can see that creature

only when she touches

my

vision,

so I could only see her once, were she beautiful

at best, twice or thrice

you're

more precious than when you came


pathos penetrates
still

She.

And you

He.

Human

deeper
life,

when one determines

their inner

as we've pondered their outer.

Their inner changes far more desperately.

She.

How

so,

wise Manikin

He.

They have what philosophy terms moods, and moods are more pervious to modulation
than pools to
idle breezes.

These people
I love you.

may

say, to begin with

This

may

be true, I'm assured


I love you.

when we say, But they can only say,


as true as I love you,
so long as the

mood

breathes.

210

ALFRED KREYMBORG
so long as the breezes blow,

so long as water remains wet.

They
they

are honest

mean what they say

passionately, tenaciously, tragically

but when the mood languishes,


they have to say,
if it

be they are honest

I do not love you.

Or they have
I love you, to

to say,

somebody

else.

She.

To somebody
Now, you and

else ?

He.

we've said that to each other


we've had to say
for
it

a hundred and seventy years


we'll

and
She.

have to say

it

always.

He.
She.

Say always again The life of an animate


Say always again
Always

He.

The
is

life

of an animate

a procession of deaths

with but a secret sorrowing candle,


guttering lower and lower,

on the path to the grave


the
is

life

of

an inanimate
things are.

as serenely enduring
all still

as

She.

Still things.?

He.

Recall our childhood in the English


ere

museum-

we were moved,
Yankee salon

from place to place,


to this dreadful

MANIKIN AND MINIKIN


do you remember that little old Greek tanagra
of the girl with a head like a bud--

211

that

little

old

Roman

medallion

of the girl with a head like a

She.

Manikin, Manikin

were they so beautiful as I


did you love them, too

why do
He.

3^ou bring

them back ?

They were not so I spoke of them


well,

beautiful as thou

recalled, designated

them

because they were ages old

and
She.

He.

And and ? And we might

and

live as long as
!

they

as they did and do

I hinted their existence

because they're not so beautiful as thou,


so that

by contrast and deduction


say

She.

He.
She.

And deduction ? You know what I'd


But say
it

again

He.
She.

I love you.

Manikin ?
Mmikm.?^

He.
She.

Then even though that creature has turned us


apart,

can you see

me ?
seen

He.
She.

I can see you.

Even though you haven't


for hours, days,

me

weeks

with your dear blue eyes

you can

see

me

with your hidden ones ?

212
He.
She.

ALFRED KREYMBORG
I can see you.

Even though you

are

still,

and calm, and smooth,

and lovely outside you aren't


still

and calm
inside
?

and smooth and lovely

He.
She.

Lovely, yes

but not

still

and calm and smooth


are you looking ?

Which way
I see you.

What do you

see

He.
She.

I look at you.

And
oh,

if

that fool of a servant

Manikin

suppose she should break the future


our great, happy centuries ahead by dropping me, throwing me down ?

He.
She.

I should take an immediate step


off this everlasting shelf

He.
She.

But you cannot move The good wind would give me a blow
!

Now

you're a punster

And what would your


He.
She.

fragments do ?
did.

They would do what Manikin


did.

Say that again He. They'd do what Manikin She. Manikin ?

He.
She.

Minikin?
Shall I
Tell
tell

you something ?

He.
She.

me

something.
listening
?

Are you

He.
She.

With

my

inner ears.

I wasn't jealous of that

woman

He.
She.

You

weren't jealous ?

I wanted to hear you talk

He.

You wanted

to hear

me

talk

MANIKIN AND MINIKIN


She.

213

You

talk so wonderfully

He.
She.

Do

He.
She.

indeed ? What a booby I am And I wanted to hear you say You cheat, you idler, you
I,

Woman
Dissembler

He.
She.

Manikin ?
Minikin
?

He.
She.

Everlastingly
Everlastingly.

He.
She.

Say

it

again

He.
She.

I refuse

You
Well

refuse ?

He.
She.

Well.?

He.

You have
I'll

ears outside

your head

say that for you


they'll

but
She.

never hear
ears hear

what your other


Say
it

down one
outside

of the ears

my

head ?

He.
She.

I refuse.

You

refuse

He.
She.

Leave

me

alone.

Manikin ?
I can't say
it

He.
She.

Manikin
[The clock goes on ticking for a moment.
strike the hour. Its

mellow chimes

CURTAIN

WHITE DRESSES
(A Tragedy of Negro Life)

BY

PAUL GREENE

White Dresses is reprinted by special permission of Professor Frederick H. Koch. Copyrighted by the CaroUna Playmakers, Inc., Chapel Hill, North Carolina. For permission to produce, address Frederick H. Koch, director.

PAUL GREENE
Paul Greene, one of the most promising of the University of North Carolina Playmakers, was born in 1894 on a farm near Lillington, North Carolina. He has received his education at Buies Creek Academy and at the University of North Carolina, from which he received his bachelor's degree in 1921. He saw
service with the A. E. F. in France, with the 105th United States

Engineers. In addition to White Dresses, Mr. Greene has written a number of one-act plays: The Last of the Lowries (to be included in a forthcoming volume of Carolina Folk-Plays, published by Henry Holt & Company), The Miser, The Old Man of Edenton, The
Lord's Will, Wreck P'int, Granny Boling (in The Drama for August-September, 1921). The first three plays named above

were produced originally by the Carolina Playmakers at Chapel


HiU. White Dresses is an excellent example of folk-play of North Carolina. This play was written in English 31, the course in dramatic composition at the University of North Carolina conducted by Professor Frederick H. Koch. " The Aim of the Carolina Playmakers," says Professor Koch, "is to build up a genuinely native drama, a fresh expression of the folk-life in North Carolina, drawn from the rich background of local tradition and from the vigorous new life of the present day. In these simple plays we hope to contribute something of lasting value in the making of a new folk-theatre and a new folk-literature." Out of the many conflicts of American life, past and present, Mr. Greene sees possibilities for a great native drama. White Dresses presents a fundamental aspect of the race problem in America.

CHARACTERS
Candace McLean, an
old negro
girl,

woman. Mart's aunt


niece of

Mary McLean,
Henry Morgan,

a quadroon

Candace

Jim Matthews, Mary's

lover

the landlord,

a white

man

WHITE DRESSES
TIME:
The evening
:

before
is laid

ChriHmas, 1900.
in a negro cabin, the

SCENE
and
In

The scene

home

of

Candacb

Mary McLean,

in eastern North Carolina.

the right corner of the

room

i^

a rough bed covered with a ragged

counterpane.

In

the centre at the rear is

an old bureau with a


to the outside.

cracked mirror,

to the left

of

it

a door opening

In

the left wall is

a window with red curtains.

A
hang

large chest
the family

stands near the front on this side,


clothes, several

and above

it

ragged dresses, an old bonnet, and a cape.


is

At
sev-

the right,
is

toward the front,

a fireplace, in which a small fire

burning.

Above and at

the sides of the fireplace

hang

eral pots

and pans, neatly arranged. and a

Above

these is

a mxintel,

covered with a lambrequin of dingy red crape paper.


mxintel are bottles
clock.

On

the

picture of '"'Daniel in the

Lions Den'' hangs above


tcith

the mantel.

The walls are covered


illustratioTis

newspapers,

to

which are pinned several

clipped
centre

from popular magazines. A rough table is in the A lamp loithout a chimney is on it. Sevof the room.

eral chairs are about the room.

rocking-chair with a rag


is

pillow in

it

stands near the fire.


the whole room.

There

an

air of cleanliness

and poverty about


The rising of
burning dimly.

the curtain discloses the

empty room.

The

fire is

Aunt Candace

enters at the rear, carrying

several sticks of firewood


stick,

under one arm.

She walks with a


is

and

is

bent with rheumatism..


its

She

dressed in a slat

bonnet, which hides her face in

shadow, brogan shoes, a

19

220
maris ragged
She mumbles

PAUL GREENE
coat,

a checkered apron, a dark-colored


puts the wood on the

dress.
in.

to herself

and shakes her head as she comes


fire,

With great

difficulty she

and then

takes the poker

and examines some

potatoes that are cooking

in the ashes.
her lip.

She takes out her snuff-box and puts snuff in


she does this her bonnet
is

As

the firelight her features are discernible

sunken

pushed back, and in


eyes, high

cheek-bones,

and

big, fiat nose.

Upon

her forehead she wears

a pair of steel-rimmed spectacles. She sits down in a rocking-chair, now and then putting her hand
her head,

to

and groaning as

if in pain.

She turns and looks

expectantly toward the door.


the chest
tor.

After a

moment

she hobbles to

on the right and takes out an old red crocheted fascinait

Skivering she uyraps

around her neck and stands lookout a


little

ing
to

down

in the chest.
it,

She

lifts

black box

and starts

unfasten

when

the door suddenly opens

and

Mart

McLean

ccnnes in.
chest,

Aunt Candace

puts the box hastily

back into the

and

hurries to the fire.

Mary McLean

has a

''turn'''

of collards in one
the collards the bed.

arm and a paper


the fioor near the
is

bundle in the other.

She lays

on

window and puts her shawl on


fine dark hair, neatly done up.

She

a quadroon

girl about eighteen years old, with

an

oval face
is

and a mass of
dress is piti-

There

something in her

hearing tlmt suggests a sort of refinement.


fully shabby, her shoes ragged.
lines of

Her
this

But even

cannot hide the


is pretty.

an almost

perfect figure.

For a negro she

As

she comes

up

to the fire her

pinched lips and the tired ex-

pression on her face are plainly visible.

Only her eyes betray

any signs of

excitement.

Aunt Candace.
two hours.

Honey,

I's

been a-waitin' foh you de


off.

las'

My

haid's been

bad

Chile,

whah you been?


bill.

Miss Mawgin must a had a pow'ful washin' up at de big house.


[JVLvRY opens her

hand and shows her a five-dollar

WHITE DRESSES
Aunt Candace.
Mary.
spareribs,

221

De Lawd

help

my

life,

chile

An' look here what Mr. Henry sent you,

too.

[She

undoes the bundle, revealing several cooked sweet potatoes, sausages,

and some

boiled ham.]

He

said as 'twas Cliristmas

time he sent you this with the collards there.


[She points toward the collards at the window.

Aunt Canplaces
it

dace pays
face.

little

attention to the
to

food as

Mary

in her lap, but continues

look straight into

Mary's

The

girl starts to give her the

money, but she pushes

her away.

Aunt Candace.
Whah'd you
git
it.''

[Excitedly.]

Whah'd you
ain't never

git dat,

honey

.f*

Mr. Henry

been dat kind

befo'.

Dey ain't no past Christmas times he was so free wid 'is money. He ain't de kind o' man foh dat. An' he a-havin' 'is washin'
done on Christmas Eve.
[Her look
is direct

and
.''

troubled.]

Chile,

Mr. Hugh didn't give you dat money, did he

Mary. [Still looking in the fire.] Aunty, I ain't said Mr. Henry sent you this money. Yes'm, Mr. Hugh sent it to you. I done some washin' for him. I washed his socks and some
shirts

pure
me

silk

they was.

[She smiles at the remembrance.]

An'
he

he give

the

money

an' tole

me

to give

it

to

you

said
takes

wished he could give you somethin' more.


[She hands the
quickly.

money

to

Aunt Candace, who


!

it

Aunt Candace. Help my soul an' body De boy said dat 'is soul He ain't fo'got 'is ol' aunty, even if he ain't been to see 'er since he come back from school way out yander. De Lawd bless 'im Alius was a good boy, an' he ain't changed since he growed up nuther. When I useter nuss 'im he'd never whimper, no suh. Bring me de tin box, honey. An' don't noBless
!

tice

what

I's

been sayin'.

I spects

I's

too perticler 'bout you.

I dunno.

[Mary

goes to the bureau


it,

and

gets

a tin box. lamp.

She puts the

money in

returns

it,

and

lights the

Aunt Can-

2
DACB

PAUL GREENE
take* off her bonnet

and hangs

it

behind her on the

rocking-chair.

Then she begins

to eat greedily,

now and
and
beat-

then licking the grease off her fingers.


utters

Suddenly she
to

a low scream, putting her hands


to

her head

rocking

and fro.

She grasps her

stick

and begins

ing about her as if striking at something, crying out in a

loud

voice.

Aunt Candace.

Ah-hah,

I'll

git

you

I'll

git

you
rest easy,

[Mary goes to her and pats her on the cheek. Mary. It's your poor head, ain't it, aunty ? You
I'll

take care of you.

[She continues to rub her cheek

and forehead

until the spell passes.]


It's goin' to

Set

still till

I git in a turn of light-wood.


like

be a terrible cold night an* looks a moment

snow.
begins

[After

Aunt Candace

quiets

down and

eating again.

Mary

goes out

and brings in an armful


She takes a
'

of wood, which she throws into the box.


tle

bot-

and spoon from

the mantel,

and

starts to

pour out some

medicine.

Aunt Candace.
ain't
in dat.

I's better

now, honey.

Put
. . .

it

back up.

gwine take none now.

D'ain't no use

d'ain't

no use

I ain't long foh dis world, ain't long.

I's

done

my

las*

washin' an' choppin' an' weighed up


ain't

my

las'

cotton.

Medicine

no mo' good.
You're alius talkin'
like that,

Mary.

aunty.

You're goin'

to live to be a hundred.

An'

this

medicine
it,

Aunt Candace.
gwine be long.
suh, I don't
I's

I ain't gwine take

I say.

No, suh,

ain't

done

deef.

I's ol' an'

hipshot now.
I's

No,

want no medicine.
puts the
bottle

[Childishly.]

got a taste o'

dese heah spareribs an' sausages, an' I ain't gwine take no medicine.

[Mary

and spoon back on

the

mantel and

sits

down.

Aunt Candace
ain't said

stops eating

and

looks at
like

Mary's dream[Excitedly.]

ing face.]

Honey, what makes you look

dat?

Mr. Henry

... he

ain't said

no mo' 'bout us havin'

to leave, has he ?

WHITE DRESSES
. . .

223

no'm, he Mart. [Looking up confusedly.] No'm, he ... he said to-day that he'd 'bout decided to let us stay right on as long as we please. Aunt Candace. Huh, what's dat ? Mary. He said it might be so we could stay right on as long as we please. Aunt Candace. [Joyously.] Thank de Lawd Thank de Lawd I knowed he's gwine do it. I knowed. But I's been
said
! !

pow'ful feared, chile, he's gwine run us

off.

An* he

ain't

never

Mr. Hugh's Thank de Lawd,


liked

takin'
I's

up foh

us.

But now I
bones rat

c'n rest in peace.

gwine rest

my

stay

till

dey

calls

foh

me up

yander.

[Stopping.]

Mary.
[hesitating]

Yes'm, I et up at Mr. Henry's.


he said 'twas a shame for

whah I loves to Has you et ? Mr. Hugh


.

me

to

come

off

without

eatin' nothin' an' so I et.

[Aunt Candace becomes absorbed in her eating. Mart goes to the chest, opens it, and takes out a faded cloak and
puts
it

on.

Then she goes

to the

bureau, takes out a piece


hair.

of white ribbon,

and

ties it

on her

For a moment
She goes
to the

she looks at her reflection in the mirror.


chest

and stands looking down in


to close
it.

it.

She makes a move-

ment

The

lid falls with

a bang.

Aunt Can-

dace turns quickly around. Aunt Candace. What you want, de li'l box, is you
.?

gal

You

ain't botherin*

Mary.
little.

[Coming back

to the fire.]
it

Botherin' that box


.

Lord,

no, I don't worry about

no more

I'm just dressin* up a

Aunt Candace.
dere.

Ah-hah, but you better not be messin*


you.

'round de chist too much.


I done
tol'

You quit puttin' you' clothes in What you dressin' up foh? Is Jim
it

comin* round to-night?


[She wraps
the

up

the

remainder of her supper and puts

in

chimney corner.

224

PAUL GREENE
[Not noticing the question.]

Mary.

Aunty, don't I look a

little bit like

a white person ?
[Taking out her snuff-box.]

Aunt Candace.
dat?

Huh, what's

Mary.
You's
jes'

I don't look like a

common

nigger,

do I ?

Aunt Candace.

Lawd

bless you, chile, you's purty,


folks.

you

is,

as purty as

any white

You's lak yo'

mammy

what's dead an' gone.


'ceptin' you's whiter.

Yessuh, you's her very spit an' image,


[Lowering her
voice.]

Yes, suh, 'ceptin*

you's whiter.

[They both look in the fire.]


it ?

'Bout time foh Jim

to be comin', ain't

Mary. Yes'm, he'll be comin', I tin' away from him an' his guitar. Aunt Candace. What you got
better nigger'n Jim.

reckon.

They

ain't

no

git-

agin

Jim.^^

Dey

ain't
it's

no

He's gwine treat you white, an'


I's

time

you's gittin' married.

done nussin'

my fust chile
[Pausing.]

at yo' age,

my

li'l

Tom

'twas.

Useter sing to 'im.


jes'

Useter sing
jes'

to 'im de sweetest kin' o' chunes,

lak you, honey,

lak

you.

He's done daid an' gone

do'.

All

my babies is. DeMarslet

ter he call an' tuck 'em.

An' 'druther'n

'em labor an' sweat

below, he gi'n 'em a harp an' crown up dere.

Tuck

my

ol'

man

from

'is toil

an' trouble, too, an' I's left


do', ain't

heah alone now.


[Her voice

Ain't

gwine be long
silence.

gwine be long.

trails off into

All

is quiet save

for the ticking of the clock.

Aunt CanI told


I's o*

dace

brushes her hand across her facCy as if breaking the spell of

her revery.]

Yessuh, I wants you to git married, honey.

you, an' told you.


lak to nuss yo'
ol'
li'l

We's lived long enough by ourselves.


uns an' sing to 'em
fo'

I go.

Mind me

de

times.

Mary.
ever was.
clothes
!

[Lost in abstraction, apparently has not been listening.]

Aunty, you ought to see him now.

He's better to

me

than he
finest

He's as kind as he can be.

An' he wears the


ain't

[She stares in the fire.

Aunt Candace.

Dat he

do.

Dey

no

'sputin' of

it.

WHITE DRESSES
alius said he's
ain't

225
An' dey

de best-lookin' nigger

in

de country.

nobody kinder'n Jim.


like

No, suh.

Maey.
wash
nigger.

An' to-day he said 'twas a pity I had to work an'


a slave for a
acts like
livin'.

He

don' treat

me

like I

was a
.
.

He
I

I'm white

folks.

Aunty, you reckon

Aunt Candace.
ishment.]

[Gazing at her with a troubled look of astonit.

better nigger'n
waitin' an'
.

knows it, honey, I knows Jim an' I wants you


. .

Course dey ain't no

to

marry Jim.
'bout

He's a-

Mary.
Jim ?

[Vehemently.]

ain't

talkin'

Jim.

What's
her

He ain't nothin'. Aunt Candace. [Guessing at the truth, half rises from seat.] What you mean ? Huh What you talkin' 'bout ?
!

Mary. Mary.
Wish
I's

[Wearily sitting down.]


Jes' talkin' ?

Nothin', aunty,
Chile
. . .

jes' talkin'.
. .

Aunt Candace.
Aunt Candace.
I's

chile

Aunty, did you ever wish you was white ?


[Troubled.]

white

Lawdy, no
I's

What

Laws a mercy Huh White I want to be white foh ?


!

born a nigger, an'


o'

gwine die a nigger.

I ain't one to tear

up de work
change
it.

de Lawd.
in

He made me
yo' haid,

an' I ain't gwine try to


[Sadly.]

What's

chile.''

Po' thing,
. . .

don't do dat.

Yo' po'

mammy

useter talk lak dat


ain't

one
'er

reason she ain't


nuther.
shakes
Chile,

livin' to-day.

An' I
Oh,

done prayin' foh

you

git

such notions

ra't out'n yo' haid.

[She

her

head,

groaning.]

Lawdy

Lawdy

[Then^
stick

screaming, she puts her hands to her head.

She grasps her

and

begins striking about her, shrieking.]

Dey's after

me

Dey's
do'

after

me

[She continues beating around her.]

Open de

Open de do' [Mary

puts her arms around her and

tries to soothe her, but

she breaks

away from

her, fighting with her stick.

Then

Mary
Mary.

runs and opens the door, and

Aunt Candace

drives the

imaginary

devils out.

They're gone now, they're gone.

228

PAUL GREENE
[She closes the door

and

leads her back to her seat.

Aunt
spell

Candace

sits

down, mumbling and groaning.

The

passes and the toild look dies

from her face.


had another
spell, ain't

Aunt Candace.
I,

[Looking up.]

I's

honey?

Mart.

Yes'm, but you're

all

right now.

[She pours out some medicine

and

gives

it

to her.

Aunt Candace.
'em, chile; I's
ol'

Some dese days

I's

gwine be carried

off

by

an' po'ly, ol' an' po'ly now.

Dem

debbils

gwine

git

me

yit.

[She mumbles.
ain't,

Mary.

No, they
is

aunty.

I ain't goin' to let 'em.

[There

a knock at the door, and stamping of feet.

Aunt Candace.
Mary.
ming of
[Jim

What's dat ?

Nothin'.

Somebody

at the door.

[The low struma


in
!

guitar is heard.]

That's Jim.

Come

Matthews enters.
old,

He

is

a young negro about twenty-

two years

and as

blnck as his African ancestors.

He

carries a guitar slung over his shoulders, wears

an old

derby hat, tan shirt with a dark


the coat of

tie,

well-worn blue suit,


shoes, slashed

which comes

to his knees,

and tan

along the sides to


he pulls off his
teeth.

make room for his feet. As he comes in hat and smiles genially, showing his white
he might call himself a spo't.

With

better clothes

Jim.

Good
?

even', ladies.

[He lays his derby on the bed.


chair.]

Aunt Candace.
he say

[Turning around in her

What

does

Mary.
I's

He

says good evenin'.

Aunt Candace.
smiles complacently.]

Ah-hsih

Good

even', Jim.

Take a

seat.

sho glad you come.

Mary's been

talkin' 'bout you.

[He

We's sho glad you come.

[He takes a seat between


Jim.

Aunt Candace and Mary.


all.

Yes'm.

An'

I's

sho glad to be wid you

I's alius

glad to be wid de ladies.

Aunt Candace.

What's he say ?

WHITE DRESSES
Jim.
[Louder.]
I's

227

glad to be wid you

all.

Aunt C and ace.

Ah-hah!

[Jim pulU out a large checkered

handkerchit^ from his breast-pocket, wipes his forehead, and then


flips the dust from his shoes.

He folds
?

it

carefully

and puts

it

ha^k

in his pocket.]
Jim.

Any

news, Jim
'tall.

No'm, none
said

Any wid you


No,
. .
.

.''

Aunt Candace.
Henry done
Jim.
. .

Hah?
.

nothin'

'tall,

'ceptin*

Mr.

said

[Here she groans sharply and puts her hand

to

her head.

What's that
Still

she's sayin'

[As

ues groaning.]

havin'

them

spells,

Aunt Candace continis she, Miss Mary ?


Aunt Candace.
now.
She

Mary.

Yes, she has 'em about every night.


if to

[Making a movement as
stops

go

to

and

stares in the fire.

Aunt Candace.
chillun go

Ne' min' me.


cou'tin'.
I's

I's all right

An' you

on wid yo'

gwine peel

my

'taters.

[Raking the potatoes from the ashes, she begins peeling them.

Then she
corner.

takes a piece of sausage from the package in the

Jim smiles sheepishly and strums his guitar once

or twice.

He

moves his chair nearer


still

to

Mary.

She

moves mechanically from him,


Jim.

gazing in the fire.


'ceedin'

Er

Miss Mary, you's lookin'


I's

snatchin'

wid dat white ribbon an' new cloak.


I's

glad to see you thought

comin' 'round.

Yes'm, I

tells all

de gals you got 'em beat a


to him.]

mile.

[He

stops.

Mary
all,

pays no attention
ain't seed

From
ol'

here

slam to France an' back, I


dat's

no gals lak you.

Yes'm,
road
I

what

I tells 'em

an' I oughta know, kaze I's an

nigger.

I's

seen de world, I has.

But
. .

I's tired of 'tall, an'


. .
.

wants to
stops

settle

down

an'

you knows me

[He

and fidgets in

his chair, struma his guitar, feels of his necktie y

takes Old his handkerchief

and wipes

his forehead.]

Miss Mary,

Is...
Mary.
here.

Jim, I done

tol'

you, you needn't


I ain't goin'

I ain't lovin'

you.

come messin' 'round to marry ^nobody,

never

2!28

PAUL GREENE
[Taken aback.]
jas'

Jim.

Now, Miss Mary


It's
I's

er

honey,

knows

how you

feels.

kaze I been a rounder, but you'll


is.

hadder forgive me.

An'

gwine 'form, I

I's

quit

all

dem
it.

tother gals, near 'bout broke dey hearts, but I hadder do

Dey's only one foh me, you know.

To-day
.

I's talkin' to

dat

young

feller,

Mary.
Jim.

Hugh Mawgin, an' Hugh what! What you sayin', Jim Matthews
. .

Mr.

Hugh, you mean.


[Hurriedly.]

Yes'm, I said *'Mr. Hugh."

Didn't you

hear me, Miss

Mary ?
to

Mary.
Jim.
.
.
.

What'd you say

him }

I told 'im I's callin' 'round here *casionaIly, an' he said


. .

he

Mary.
Jim.
.
.
.

[Looking straight at Jim.]

He

said

what

.'*

He
er
. .

axed
.

me
.

if
.

I's a-courtin', an'

I told 'im I

mought
marry

be

Mary.
you.?

Go

on;

tell

me.

Did he say

I ought to

Jim.
zactly

[Eagerly.]

Yes'm

[Mary

gasps.]

No'm, not

ez-

...
o'

He

said as

how

it

was a pity you had nobody to


An' I tuck

take care

you, an' had to work so hard lak a slave every day.


it.

An' he said you's most too purty an' good to do


from
work.
'is

me, an'

meant he thought you's good enough foh wanted me to take care o' you, so's you wouldn't hadder
talk dat he

Mary.
Jim.

Oh!

Yes, I reckon

so.

[She is silent.

He's a eddicated boy, an' he knows.

Dey

teaches 'im

how
sees

to

know everything out yander


worf, he does.
. . .

at dat college place.

He
all

my

Co'se I ain't braggin', but de gals


says.

do say

oh,

you know what dey


oh, I'd

Mary.

[Jumping up from her


. . . . .

chair.]
.

Jim Matthews, you


sayin', gal ?

think I'd marry a

Aunt Candace.

[Turning around.]

What's you

WHITE DRESSES
Mart.
Xskin'
[Sittin'

229
.

down.]
piece.

Oh, aunty

was just For the

Jim to play a

[To Jiai in a lower


.
.
.

voice.]

Lord's sake play somethin'

[She hides her face in her apron.

Aunt Candace.
Jim.

Ah-hah.

Play us a piece on yo' box,

[Jim, at a loss as to the

meaning of Mary's

tears, but feeling

that they are

somehow a further proof of

his

power with

the ladies, smiles knowingly, tunes his guitar,

and begins

strumming a chord.

After playing a few bars, he starts

singing in a clear voice, with "Ohs'' and


in.

"Ahs" thrown

Jm.

Oh, whah you gwine,

my lover ?
lover ?

Gwine on down de road. Oh, whah you gwine, my Gwine on down de road. (Ba^s) Gwine on
.

gwine on down de road.

She th'owed her arms aroun' An' cast


Said,

me
lover.'*'*

me silver an' gold. "Whah you gwine, my


road.
!

Gwine on down de
(Bass)

Oh,

Lawd
.

Gwine

... Oh, Lawd on down


. . .

de

road.

[Mary
Jim.
ioii*t

still

leans forward, with her face in her hands.

Jim

stops playing

and speaks

softly.

Miss Mary, I's sho' sorry I made you want you to cry 'bout me lak dat
.
.

cry.

Honey, I

[She remains silent.


ters

He

smiles in self-gratulation, but utbenefit.

a mournful sigh for her

Pulling his guitar


it

further

up on
and

his lap, he takes out his pocket-knife, fits

between his fingers in imitation of the Hawaiians, clears


his throat
strikes another chord.

Aunt Candace.

[Noticing

the

silence,

looks

at

Mary.]

2S0

PAUL GREENE
What's de trouble, chile?
I'm tickled

What's de trouble wid you, gal?


Oh, Lawdy

me

[Passing her hand across her forehead.

Mary.
at Jim.

[Raising her head.]

Nothin', nothin'.

[To Jim.]

Go

on, play her piece about the hearse.

Play

it

Jim.

[Strums his guitar, tunes

it,

and

begins.]

Hearse done carried somebody to de graveyard.

Lawd, Lawd,

know my time know my time

ain't long.

Hearse done carried somebody to de graveyard.


I
ain't long.

[He sings louder, syncopating with his feet.]


Preacher keeps a-preachin' an' people keep a-dyin*.

Lawd,

know my time
begins

ain't long.

[Aunt Candace
ing.

swaying rhythmically with the

mv^ic, clapping her hands, and

now and

then exclaim-

Aunt Candace.
[She

Jesus

Lawdy,
While

my Lawd
and
on Mary, unob-

and Jim begin


the refrain.

to

sing alternately, she the first verse


this is going

Jim

served, goes to the

window, pulls open the curtain and

looks out, stretching her clenched hands above her head.

She turns

to the mirror,

smooths back her heavy hair,


it

shakes her head, snatches off the ribbon and throws


the floor.
bed.

on

Then she
the

pulls off her cloak


the ribbon

and lays
it

it

on the

She picks up

and puts

in the bureau.

Meanwhile

music has continued.


coflSn.

Hammer
Jim.

keep ringin' on somebody's

Lawd, I know

my

time ain't long.

[They repeat these

lines.
roll

Aunt Candace.
ment.
Jim.

Gwine

'em up lak leaves

in

de judg-

Lawd,

know my time
from

ain't long.

[After these lines have been repeated, Jim, noticing

Mary's

absence

his side, stops

and

looks around.

Aunt

Candace

keeps on singing a verse or two.

She stops and

WHITE DRESSES
looks around, sees
spair.

231

Mary

standing in an attitude of de-

Jim speaks.

Miss Mary Aunt Candace. What


Jim.

is it,

lionej^ ?

[There is a stamping of feet outside.

Mary raises
She runs
to

her head

with an expectant look on her face.

to the

door

and opens
a

it.

Her expression changes

one of disapenters.

pointment and fear as

Henry Morgan

He

is

man

of powerful build, about fifty years old, rough

and

overbearing.
his face.

week's growth of grizzled beard darkens

He

wears a felt hat, long black overcoat, ripped

at the pockets

and buttoned up
In
his

to his chin, big laced boots

and yarn

mittens.

hand he

carries a package,

which he throws contemptuously on the bed.


his hat on.

He

keeps

Mary

closes the door

and stands with her

back to

it,

clasping the latch-string.

Aunt C and ace and


one of
servile respect,

Jim

offer their seats.

Jim's look

is

that of

Aunt Candace one

of troubled expectancy.

Morgan.
a-courtin', eh

[In a booming voice.]


?

Dad burn

you, Jim.

Still

Set down, Candace.


[Querulously.]
to the centre

I ain't goin't to stay long.

Aunt Candace.
Mary.
[Coming
to set down.

What's he say ?

of the room.]

He
.
.

says for you

He

ain't goin' to stay long.


.

Aunt Candace. [Sitting down.] Ah-hah Lawdy Morgan. [Coming closer to Aunt Candace.]
tin' 'long

Oh, Lawdy!

How

you

get-

now, Candace ?
Po'ly, po'ly,

Aunt Candace.
longer

Mr. Mawgin.

Ain't got

much

down Morgan.

here, ain't

much

longer.

[Laughing.]
ain't half as

Aw
bad

come
off as

on, Candace, cut out your

foolin'.

You

you make

out.

[Jim moves
If

his chair to the corner

and

sits

down.]

I understand you.

you'd

git

up from there

Aunt Candace.

work you'd be well in a week. Oh, Lawd, Mr. Mawgin, I sho' is po'ly I
an' go to
!

hopes you'll never have to

suffer lak

me.

^2S2

PAUL GREENE
[Mumbling, she shakes her head, rocks
to

and fro

icithout

taking her feet from the floor, punctuating her movements

by tapping with her


at the package.

stick.

Morgax
I

sees ^NLiry looking

MoRG.o:.
an' caught
it.

That's for Mary.

was comin' down

this

way

up with John.

He

said he
it,

An' so I took an' brought


it,

was comin' here to bring though he acted sort of queer


[IVIaby starts
gal.

about

Hke he didn't want

me

even to save him a long walk.

Wonder what
toicard the bed.]

that nigger can be gi^nn' you.

Xo, you

ain't goin' to see


first.

it

now,

We

got

little
?

business to 'tend to

Did you
I
?

tell

Candace what I
do
not

said

Mart.
to-night.

Mr. Morgan, how could


L'h-huh
an*

I couldn't

it,

Morg-JlX.

come down here


ain't

... I knowed it. Knowed I'd make sure of it. Durn me, you been
What's the trouble,
I gal
?

better

cnnn',

you

[His voice softens.]

Maj^y.
Jni.

Xothin', nothin'.
?

...

I been tickled at Jim.

Tickled at Jim

Aunt Caxdace.
Morgan.
and begins
then
!^L\RY.]
nin',

What

does he say

[Turning

to her.]

Keep

quiet, can't you,

Candace;
silent

I got a little business with

Mary.

[Aunt Candace becomes


She half
starts

icatching the package.

from her

chair,
to

settles back,

staring hard at the bundle.

Morgan

speaks

You

ain't
?

been cryin' about what I told you this eve-

have you

M-AJiY.

Xo,
wan't.

sir.

was

tickled at Jim.

It

wan't nothin',

honest

it

MoRG-A^'.

Well, go on lyin'
I

if

you want
. .

to.

M.uiY.

Mr. Morgan,

was

jes'

Morgan.
to do about

Xo

matter.
said
?

[Brusquely.]

Well, what you goin'

what I

[He looks

at her squarely.

Jem watches

them both

tcith

open mouth.
7ioic

Aunt
and

C-a:nt>ace keeps staring at the


if

bundle on the bed, and

then glancing around to see

any

WHITE DRESSES
one
is vxitching her.

233

She

is oblivious

of the conversation.
it?
if

Mary
mind

stands with bowed head.]

Well,

what about
o'

I've done told

you you got to get out at the first [Jim straightens to marry Jim.

the year

you

ain't a

up.]

At

least

you've got to

marry somebody that can come here and work. I told you to Why didn't you tell her like I tell Candace to look out for it.
said
?

Mary. know it.

I couldn't

do

it.

It'd kill her to leave here.

You
it.

She's been good to

me

all

my

life.

Oh, I can't do

[Aunt Candace up
the

stealthily slips across the

room and picks

package from the bed, unseen by any one but Jim.

Morgan. Can't do it.'^ Well, what you want me to do.'^ You ain't earned Lose money on you till the end of time
!

enough to keep you


dace got down, an'

in clothes for the last three years since


. . .

Can-

[A

terrible cry rings out.

Aunt Candace
dress

stands by the

bed,

holding a

white

up

before her.

Morgan

looks perplexed.

Suddenly he

starts

back in astonish-

ment.

Mary.
mine

[Starting forward.]

It's

for

me

[Joyously.]

It's

Morgan.
,
.
.

[Catching
!

Mary

by the arm.]
!

Heigh

Don't you move, gal

What what Wait a minute


!

is

it.'^

[He pulls her back.

Aunt Candace
on
Oh,
it.

looks at

Morgan.
it

Gradually he lowers his head.

Aunt Candace.
knowed
it.

I's

a-feared

knowed
and

...
li'l

[She throws the dress back on the bed

hobbles to

the fire, groaning.]

Oh, Lawdy

Lawdy

My po'

gal

My po'

li'l

gal

[She rocks to
shoulder,

and fro.
to

Morgan's
!

hxind falls

from IVIary's
I

and she runs


it

to the bed.

IVLiRY.

He

sent

me

He

sent

it

to

me

knowed he

wouldn't forget.

[She hugs the dress to her.


to her.]

Morgan.

[Turning

Well, and

what

nigger's send-

234
ing

PAUL GREENE
you presents now
?

[With suspicion fully aroused.]

"WTio

give you that,

Mary

Mart. He did Morgan. [Sternly.] Who ? An' I don't care if you Mary. [Impetuously.] It was him do know it Morgan. Who ? You don't mean Mary. I do too an' Morgan. God a'mighty, my ... it can't be so. [Mary goes to the window and holds the dress in front of her. Mary. It is, too. Mr. Hugh sent it to me. [Morgan
! .

groans.]

He

told

me

to-day he's sorry for me.


it.

I loiowed he'd

remember me; I knowed

An', after

all,

I ain't been workin'


if
.

the whole year for nothin'.

He's got a heart


!

Morgan.

What in the devil I wonder [Aunt Candace still looks in the fire.

nobody else Lord


. . !

ain't.

For a moment

Morgan stands lost in abstraction, then he speaks fiercely.


Morgan.
I say.
to her.

Mary, put them damned things up.


her.

Put 'em up,


the dress

[He goes toward

She shrinks back, holding


it

He

snatches

it

from her and throws

on

the bed, then he


the tears

pushes her out in the middle of the floor.


her eyes with her apron.]
settle it right here

She wipes

from

You

listen here, gal.

We're goin' to
You're goin' to

and now, once and

for

all.

marry Jim ?
IVIary.

can't!
die.

I won't!

Mr. Morgan ... oh ... I can't marry him. I Let me stay. Don't drive her out; she'll
I'll

I'll
I'll

work,
. . .

hoe an' wash, day an' night.

I'll

do any-

thing,

Morgan.

[Fiercely.]

You've
I

tole

me

that a thousand times,

an' you've got to say one or the other right now.

Right now
be
all right.

Do

you hear!

Marry Jim,
he'll

tell

you, and
.
.

it'll

He's smart and

take care of you

I'd rather die. Mary. I can't do it, I tell you. I can't Look at him. He's black Look at me. Ain't I almost white
!

.^

WHITE DRESSES
and
do
I hate him. I can't

235

marry no

nigger.

Oh, don't make

me

it.

Morgan.
ryin*.!^

White

What's that got to do with your mar. .

Ain't you a

.?
tell

You

don't think you can marry a


to-night.

white man, do you.^


I've been after

you you've got to decide


two years and,
gal,

you now

for

you've got to

doit!

Mary.
Oh, Lord
!

Don't make
. . .

me do

it

I hate him.

I ain't black.

Morgan. [Desperately.] Candace Mary. [Clutching at his arm.] Don't


[Aunt Candace
still

tell

her.

I ain't goin'

to see her drove out in the cold from her home.


looks in the fire.

Don't
Jim
sits

tell her.

lost

in

amazement, idly strumming his guitar.

Morgan. Well ? Mary. [Looking wildly around, as if seeking help.] Oh! Morgan. [Wiping his face.] Gal, I don't want to be too hard on you. But use common sense. I've been good to you. They ain't another man in the county that would have kept you I'm for the last three years, an' losin' money on you every year. done of it, gal, I'm done. Marry Jim. Mary. He wouldn't let you do it if he was here. He
. .

wouldn't.

Morgan. 'Who ? Who you talkin' about ? Mary. Mr. Hugh, your boy. He's got feelin's, he
he was here
. .

has.

If

Morgan.
see
?

[Hoarsely.]

know

it.

know
.

it.
.

Don't you
Oh, Mary,

He's
tell

all

I got.

I can't run the risk of his

I can't

you.

For God's sake, marry Jim.


!

Can't you see?


a week, an' I'm
gets

You've got to marry him


goin' to settle
it

Hugh's gone

off for

before he ever gets back.

And when he
if

back, you and Candace will be clean out of this country,

you
take

don't marry Jim.

you

in,

They ain't nobody and keep you like I have.

else 'round here will

236
.

PAUL GREENE
.

where's he gone ? Mary. Where Morgan. He's gone to see his gal. The one he's going marry. And by God, you've got to marry Jim. Mary. [Half sobbing.] They ain't no use tryin' to change
.

to

it.

I've tried

and
I'll

tried,

but they ain't no use.


I'll

I jus' as well do

it.

Yes, yes,

marry him.

marry him.
I'll

They
raise

ain't

no way
I'll

to be white.

I got to be a nigger.
an' hoe an'

marry him,

yes.

marry him, an' work


to go through
it all

like

to be white an' can't.

more children me, maybe other children that'll want They ain't nobody can help me. But wash an'
He's a nigger an'
. . .

look at him.
.
.

[Pointing to Jim.]
too.

yes

I'm a nigger

[She throws her arms out, letting them fall at her side.

Morgan.
you and Jim
more.

[Almost gently.]

All right,

Mary

I'll

send for

the preacher and

the license in the

morning and have him marry

right here.

You

needn't think about leavin' any


live here as long as

And you and Jim can


Jim ?
[Uncertainly.]
'specially.

you

please.

Is that all right,

Jim.

Yes-suh, yes-suh, Mr.

Mawgin

An' I
are

thanks you

Morgan.
for 3"ou.

[Going

up

to

Aunt Candace,]

Mary and Jim


It'll

going to be married to-morrow, Candace.

be a lucky day

[She makes no answer, but continues her trancelike stare

in the

fire.

Morgan
it.]

comes

to

Mary

and

offers his

hand.

She

fails to see

Child,

what
.

I've
.

had to do to-night has hurt me


Good-night, Mary.
at the floor, then goes out

a whole lot worse'n you.

[He stands a moment looking


quietly.

Jim. [Coming
I's

up

to

Mary.]
.
.

Miss Mary, don't look lak dat.


in

gwine do better,

I's

her apron.]

Honey,

I's sho'

[Mary keeps her head muffled gwine make you a good man.
In
foot

[Mary pays no

attention to him.

his embarrassment he

strums his guitar, clears his throat, props his

up on

a chair rung, and begins singing in a low

voice.]

WHITE DRESSES
Jim.

237

Lyin' in the

jail

house,
. . .

A-peepin' th'ough de bars.

UNT Candace.
black box, gal.

[Waking from her

reverie.]

Bring

me

de

li'l

Bring

me

de box

[Mary
de box

drops her apron and


!

siares dully at the floor.]

Bring

me

[Half-screaming.]

Bring
up.

me

de box, I say!
goes to the chest

[Trembling and groaning, she stands

Mary

and brings her


it.]

the black box.


I's

Aunt
you de
de time

Candace

drops her stick and clutches


li'l

gwine

tell
if

secret o' dis

box.
it's

Yo'
come.

mammy

told

me

to tell

you

ever come, an'


befo' us.

She seed trouble an' our

mammy
and

[She takes a key^ tied by a string around her neck,

unlocks the box, pulling out a V)rinkled white dress, yellowed with
age, of the style of the last generation.

Jim

sits

down, overcome

with astonishment, staring at the old

woman

with open mouth.]

Look heah, chile. I's gwine tell you now. Nineteen yeahs ago come dis Christmas dey's a white man gi'n your mammy dis
heah, an' dat white
nuther.
holds
it

man

is kixi

to you, an' he don't live fur off

Gimme

dat dress dere on de bed.

[Mary

gets

it
it,

and
but

tightly to her breast.


it.]

Aunt Candace
dat dress

snatches at

Mary

clings to

Gimme

Mary. It's mine Aunt Candace. Gimme


Hobbling

[She jerks the dress

from Mary.

to the fireplace, she lays both

of them carefully on the

flames. Jim makes a movement as if to save them, but she waves him back with her stick.] Git back, nigger Git back Dis night I's gwine wipe out some o' de traces o' sin. [Mary sits in
!
!

her chair, sobbing. her

As

the dresses

burn
I

Aunt Candace
knows

comes

to

and

lays her

hand upon her

head.]

yo' feelin's, chile.


in.

But

yo's got to smother 'em in.

Yo's got to smother 'em

curtain

MOONSHINE
BY

ARTHUR HOPKINS

Moonshine is reprinted by special permission of Arthur Hopkins, Plymouth Theatre, New York City. All rights reserved. For permission to
perform, address the author.

ARTHUR HOPKINS
Arthur Hopkins, one of the well-known men of the practical was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1878. He completed his academic training at Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio. At present he is the manager of Plymouth
theatre of to-day,

Theatre, New York City. Mr. Hopkins's entire life has been given to the theatre, which In the midst of his various activities as a manis his hobby. ager he has found time to do some dramatic writing. Among his one-act plays are Thunder God, Broadway Love, and Moonshine, which appeared in the Theatre Acts Magazine for January,
1919.

Moonshine

is

of the reaction of character

an excellent play of situation that has grown out on character.

CHARACTERS
Luke Hazy, Moonshiner

Reventje Officer

MOONSHINE
SCENE: Hut
Carolina.
of a moonshiner in the mountain wilds of North

Door back

left.

Window back
left

right centre.

Old
table,

deal table right centre.

Kitchen chair at either side of


corner.
is

not close to

it.

Old cupboard in

Rude

stone fire-

-place left side.

On

back wall near door


tree.

a rough pencil

sketch of a

man

hanging from a
is

At

rise of curtain

a commotion

heard outside of hut.

Luke.
to

[Off stage.]
. .

It's all right,

boys

Jist leave

him

me

Git in there, Mister Revenue.


city attire, without hat, clothes

[Revenue, a Northerner in

dusty, is pushed through doorway.

Luke, a lanky,

ill-

dressed Southerner, following, closes door.

Revenue's

hands are

tied behind him.

Luke.

You must excuse

the boys for makin' a demonstration

over you. Mister Revenue, but you see they don't come across

you fellers very frequent, and they alius gits excited. Revenue. I appreciate that I'm welcome. Luke. 'Deed you is, and I'm just agoin' to untie your hands long nuff f er you to take a sociable drink. [Goes to stranger, feels in all pockets for weapons.] Reckon yer travellin' peaceable. {Unties hands.] Won't yer sit down ? Revenue. [Drawing over chair and sitting.] Thank you.
[Rubs wrists
to get

back circulation.]

Luke.

[Going over to cupboard and taking out jug.]


o'

Yessa,

Mister, the boys ain't seen one

you

fellers fer

near two years.

Began

to think

you wus

goin' to neglect us.

wus hopin' you

might be Jim Dunn.

Have a

drink ?
243

244

ARTHUR HOPKINS
[Starts slightly
at

Revenue.

mention of Jim Dunn.]

No,
com-

thank you, your make is too strong for me. Luke. It hain't no luck to drink alone when you
pany.
Better have some.

git

Revenue.
Luke.

Very

well,

my

friend, I suffer willingly.

[Drinks a

little

and

chokes.

[Draining cup.]

I reckon ye

all

don't like the flavor

of liquor that hain't been stamped.

Revenue. It's not so bad. Luke. The last Revenue that

sit in

that chair got drunk on

my

make.

Revenue. That wouldn't be diflScult. Luke. No, but it wuz awkward. Revenue. Why ? Luke. I had to wait till he sobered up before I give him his ticker. I didn't feel like sendin' him to heaven drunk. He'd a found it awkward climbin' that golden ladder. Revenue. Thoughtful executioner. Luke. So you see mebbe you kin delay things a little by
dallyin' with the licker.

Revenue.
puts
it

[Picking

up

cup, getting

it

as far as his lips, slowly

down.]

The

price

is

too great.
ain't

Luke.

I'm mighty sorry you

Jim Dunn.

But

I reckon

you ain't. You don't answer his likeness. Revenue. Who's Jim Dunn ? Luke. You ought to know who Jim Dunn
about the worst one of your revenue
parts.

is.

He's just

critters that ever hit these

He's got four of the boys in


See that ?

jail.

We

got a

little

recep-

tion all ready for him.

[Pointing to sketch on back wall.

Revenue. [Looking at sketch.] Luke. That's Jim Dunn. Revenue. [Rising, examining like any one.

Yes.

picture.]

Doesn't look

much

MOONSHINE
'im.

245
like

Luke. Well, that's what Jim Dunn 'II look I'm mighty sorry you hain't Jim Dunn. Revenue. I'm sorry to disappoint you.
[Turning
to

when we

git

Luke.
right.
all.

cupboard and

filling pipe.]

Oh,

it's

all

I reckon one Revenue's about as good as another, after

Revenue. Are you sure I'm a revenue officer ? Luke. [Rising.] Well, since we ketched ye climin' trees an' snoopin' round the stills, I reckon we won't take no chances that you hain't. Revenue. Oh. Luke. Say, mebbe you'd like a seggar. Here's one I been savin' fer quite a spell back, thinkin' mebbe I'd have company [Brings out dried-up cigar, hands it to him. some day. Revenue. No, thank you. Luke. It hain't no luck to smoke alone when ye got company. [Striking match and holding it to Revenue.] Ye better smoke. [Revenue bites off end and mouth is filled with dust, spits out dust.

Luke

holds match to cigar.

With

difficulty

Revenue

lights

it.]

That's as good a five-cent cigar as ye can git in Henderson.

Revenue.
table.]

[After two puffs,

makes wry

face, throws cigar on

You make death


Luke's

very easy. Mister.

Luke.
feel as

my name.

Yer kin

call

me Luke.

Make you

though you had a friend near you at the end

Luke Hazy.

Revenue. [Starting as though interested, rising.] Not the Luke Hazy that cleaned out the Crosby family ? Luke. [Startled.] How'd you hear about it ? Revenue. Hear about it ? Why, your name's been in every newspaper in the United States. Every time you killed another
Crosby the whole feud was told
your picture
in the
all

over again.

Why,

I've seen

papers twenty times.

Luke. Hain't never had one took. Revenue. That don't stop them from you ever read the newspapers ?

printing

it.

Don't

246

ARTHUR HOPKINS

Luke. Me read? I hain't read nothin' fer thirty years. Reckon I couldn't read two lines in a hour. Revenue. You've missed a lot of information about yourself.

Luke.

How many

Crosbys did they say I

killed

Revenue.
the twelfth.

I think the last report said you had just removed

Luke.

It's

lie

I only killed six

that's all they

growed up.

wuz

I'm

a-w^aitin' fer

one now that's only thirteen.


a-Iookin' fer me.

Revenue. When '11 he be ripe ? Luke. Jes as soon as he comes

Revenue. Will he come ? Luke. He'll come if he's a Crosby. Revenue. A brave family ? Luke. They don't make 'em any braver
rate folks
if

they'd

be

first-

they wuzn't Crosbys.

Revenue. If you feel that way why did you start fighting them ? Luke. I never started no fight. My granddad had some
misunderstandin' with their granddad.
it

I don't

know

jes

what
see

wuz about, but


through.

I reckon

my

granddad wuz

right,

and

I'll

it

Revenue. You must think a lot of your grandfather. Luke. Never seen 'im, but it ain't no luck goin' agin yer own kin. Won't ye have a drink ? Revenue. No no thank you. Luke. Well, Mr. Revenue, I reckon we might as well have

this over.

Revenue.
Luke.

What ?
and I can't be put
to the

Well, you won't get drunk,

trouble o' havin'

somebody guard you.


this eve-

Revenue.

That'll not be necessary.

Luke. Oh, I know yer like this yer place now, but nin' you might take it into yer head to walk out.

MOONSHINE
Revenue.
Luke,
if

U7
make me.

I'll

not walk out unless you


I'll let

Tain't like

yer,

but I wouldn't blame yer none

yu tried. Revexue. But I'll not. Luke. [Ruing.] Say, Mistah Revenue, know what 3^ou're up against ?

wonder

if

you

Revenue. What do you mean ? Luke. I mean I gotta kill you. Revenue. [Rising, pauses.] Well, that lets me out. Luke. W^hat do yu mean ? Revenue. I mean that I've been trying to commit suicide for the last two months, but I haven't had the nerve. Luke. [Startled.] Suicide ? Revenue. Yes. Now that you're willing to kill me, the
problem
is

solved.
fer.''

Luke. Why, what d'ye want to commit suicide Revenue. I just want to stop living, that's all. Luke. Well, yu must have a reason.

Revenue.
get out of
it.

No
?

special reason

I find

life

dull

and

I'd like to

Luke.

Dull

I hate to go to bedI hate to get up I can't drink liquorI find people either malicious or dull I see by the fate of my acquaintances, both
Revenue.
Yes
don't care for food

men and women,


erence

that love

is

a farce.

I have seen

fame and

pref-

come

to those

who

least deserved

them, while the whole

world kicked and cuffed the worthy ones.


gets the

The

craftier

schemer
is

most money and


committed;

glory, while the fair-minded dealer

humiliated in the bankruptcy court.

In the name of the law


of religion every vice
is

every crime

is

in the

name

is

indulged; in the
pant.

name

of education greatest ignorance

ram-

Luke.
out.

I don't git all of that, but I reckon you're

some put

248

ARTHUR HOPKINS
I am.

Revenue.
it's

The
it

world's a failure

what's more,

a farce.

I don't like

but I can't change


it.
.

it,

so I'm just ach-

ing for a chance to get out of

[Approaching Luke.]

And

you,

my

dear friend, are going to present

me

the oppor-

tunity.

Luke.
get killed.

Yes, I reckon you'll get your wish now.

Reveistue.

Good ...

if

you only knew how


you
kill yerself ?

I've tried to

Luke.

Well,

why

didn't

Revenue. I was afraid. Luke. Afreed o' what hurtin' yourself.? Revenue. No, afraid of the consequences. Luke. Whad d'ye mean ? Revenue. Do you believe in another life after this one ? Luke. I kan't say ez I ever give it much thought. Revenue. Well, don't because if you do you'll never

kill

another Crosby

not even a revenue

officer.

Luke. 'Tain't that bad, is it ? Revenue. Worse. Twenty times head crazy to die and then as my

I've

had a revolver to

my

finger pressed the trigger

I'd get a terrible dread


terrors

a dread that I was plunging into worse


If killing

than

this

world ever knew.


if it's

were the end

it

would be easy, but what


worse
?

only the beginning of something

Well, you gotta take some chances. Revenue. I'll not take that one. You know, Mr. Luke, life was given to us by some one who probably never intended that we should take it, and that some one has something ready for people who destroy his property. That's what frightens me. Luke. You do too much worryin' to be a regular suicide. Revenue. Yes, I do. That's why I changed my plan. Luke. What plan ?

Luke.

Revejtue.

My plan for dying.

Luke.

Oh, then you didn't give up the idea ?

MOONSHINE
going to

249
to die, but

Revenue. No, indeed I'm still determined make some one else responsible.
Luke.

I'm

Oh so you
sir.

hain't willing to

pay

fer yer

own

funeral

music ?

else

Revenue. No, must buy the


killed, I

I'll

furnish the passenger, but

some one

ticket.

You

see,

when

I finally decided I'd

be

immediately exposed myself to every danger I knew.

Luke.

How ?
In a thousand ways.
. .

Revenue.
Luke. No.

[Paiise.]

Did you

ever see an automobile ?

Revenue.
York?
Luke.
No.

don't stay on tracks.

They go faster than steam Did you ever hear of

engines,

and they

Fifth Avenue,

New

Revenue. Fifth Avenue is jammed with automobiles, eight deep all day long. People being killed every day. I crossed Fifth Avenue a thousand times a day, every day for weeks, never once trying to get out of the way, and always praying I'd be hit.
Luke.

And

couldn't

yu

git hit ?

Revenue.

[In disgiist.]

No.

Automobiles only hit people


[Pause.]

who

try to get out of the way.

When

that failed, I
roll

frequented the lowest dives on the Bowery, flashing a

of

money and wearing diamonds, hoping they'd kill me for them. They stole the money and diamonds, but never touched me.
Luke.
Couldn't you pick a
fight.?

Revenue.
believe that a

I'm coming to

that.

You know up North they


South for calling another

man

can be killed

in the

man

liar.

Luke.

That's right.
It
is,

Revenue.
Luke.

is

it?

Well, I've called


to tell

men

liars
it.

from

Washington to Atlanta, and I'm here

you about

They must a took

pity on ye.

250

ARTHUR HOPKINS

Revexue. Do you know Two Gun Jake that keeps the dive down in Henderson ? Luke. I should think I do. Jake's killed enough of
.

'em.

Revenue. He's a bad man, ain't he ? Luke. He's no trifler. Revenue. I wound up in Jake's place two nights
tending to be drunk.

ago, pre-

Jake was cursing niggers.

Luke.

He's alius doin' that.

Revenue.
nounced that
.
.

So I elbowed
I

my way

up

to the bar

and anblood

was an expert

in the discovery of nigger

could

tell

a nigger
?

who was

63-64ths white.

Luke.

Ye

kin

can't, but I made them believe it. I then them over and tell them if they had any nigger blood in them. A few of them sneaked away, but the rest stood for it. I passed them all until I got to Two Gun Jake. I examined his eyeballs, looked at his finger-nails, and said, "You're

Revenue.

No, I

offered to look

a nigger."

Luke. An' what did Jake do ? Revenue. He turned pale, took me into the back room. He said: "Honest to God, mister, can ye see nigger blood in me.'" I said: "Yes." "There's no mistake about it.^" "Not a bit," I answered. "Good God," he said, "I always suspected it.'* Then he pulled out his gun Luke. Eh ... eh? Revenue. And shot himself. Luke. Jake shot hisself Is he dead Revenue. I don't know I was too disgusted to wait. I
.' !

wandered around
scrambled around
sat

until
in the

thought of you moonshiners


until I

mountains

found your

still.

on it and waited until you boys showed up, and here I am, and j'ou're going to kill me. Luke. [Pause.] Ah, so ye want us to do yer killin' fer ye, do ye ?

MOONSHINE
Revenue.
as well give
it

251
time I

You're
up.

my

last

hope.

If I fail this

may

Luke.
cartridges

[Takes out revolver, turns sidewise and secretly removes

from chamber.

Rises.]

What wuz

that noise

[Lays revolver on table and steps outside of door.


looks at revolver, apparently without interest.

Revenue

[Luke

cautiously enters doorway

and

expresses surprise at
to secure revolver.

seeing

Revenue making no

attempt

Feigning excitement, goes

to table,

picks

up gun.

Luke.

I reckon I'm gettin' careless, leavin' a gun layin'

around here that-a-way.


Reventje.
Yes.

Didn't you see

it ?

Luke.

Well,

why

didn't ye grab

it ?

Revenue. What for ? Luke. To git the drop on me. Revenue. Can't you understand what
mister ?
I don't

I've been telling you,

want the drop on you.


if

truth.

Luke. Well, doggone Thought I'd just

I don't believe yer

tellin'

me

the

see

what ye'd

do.

Ye

see, I

emptied

it first.

[Opens up gun.

Revenue. That wasn't necessary. Luke. Well, I reckon ye better git along out o' Revenue. You don't mean you're weakening ?
Luke.
ferin'.

here, mister.

I ain't got

no

call to
it

do your

killin' fer

you.

If

ye

hain't sport

enough to do

yerself, I

reckon ye kin go on suf-

Revenue.

But

I told

murder more or

less

you why I don't want to do it. One means nothing to you. You don't care

anything about the hereafter.

Luke. Mebbe I don't, but there ain't no use my takin' any more chances than I have to. And what's more, mister, from what you been tellin' me I reckon there's a charm on you, and
I ain't goin' to take

no chances goin' agin charms.


to go

Revenue. So you're going Luke. Yes. siree.

back on

me ?

252

ARTHUR HOPKINS
Well,
till

Revenue.
ing.
I'll

maybe some

of the other boys will be will-

wait

they come.
ain't goin'

Luke.

The other boys

to see you.
!

You're a

leavin' this yer place right

now

now

It won't

do no good.

You may

as well go peaceable; ye ain't got no right to expect

us to bear yer burdens.

Revenue.
Luke.

Damn

it all

I've spoiled

it

again.
to go on livin'.

I reckon

you better make up yer mind

Revenue. That looks like the only way out. Luke. Come on, I'll let you ride my horse to town. It's the only one we got, so yu can leave it at Two Gun Jake's, and one o' the boys'll go git it, or I reckon I'll go over myself and see if Jake made a job of it. Revenue. I suppose it's no use arguing with you. Luke. Not a bit. Come on, you. Revenue. Well, I'd like to leave my address so if you ever come to New York you can look me up. Luke. 'Tain't likely I'll ever come to New York. Revenue. Well, I'll leave it, anyhow. Have you a piece
of paper
?

Luke. Paper what you write on ? Never had none, mister. Revenue. [Looking about room, sees Jim Dunn's picture on If you don't mind, I'll put it on wall, goes to it, takes it down.]
the back of Jim Dunn's picture.
to print.]
I'll

[Placing picture on table, begins


it'll

print
if

it

for you, so

be easy to read.

My ad-

dress

is

here, so

you change your mind you can send

Luke.

'Tain't likely

come on.
takes
it.]

[Both go to doorway

Luke
up

for

me.

extends hand.
. .
.

Revenue

Good-by, mister

cheer

there's the horse.

Revenue. Good-by. [Shaking Luke's hand. Luke. Don't be so glum, mister. Lemme hear you laff jist onct before yu go. [Revenue begins to laugh weakly.] Aw, come on, laff out with it hearty. [Revenue laughs louder.]
Heartier
yit.

MOONSHINE
[Revenue
is

253 and is heard laughdown in the distance,

now shouting

his laughter,

ing until hoof-beats of his horse die

[Luke watches for a moment, then returns to table takes a drink picks up picture turns it around several times

before getting

it

right

then begins
"J"
"/"

to study.

In attempt-

ing to

make

out the

name he

slowly traces in the air with then mutters "J-J-J,*


letter

his index finger a capital

then describes a

letter

mutters ''I-I-I,'' then a

''M''muttering ''M-M-M, J-I-MJ-I-MJIM." In the same way describes and mutters D-U-N-N. By God [He rushes to corner, grabs Luke. Jim Dunn shot-gun, runs to doorway, raises gun in direction stranger has gone looks intently then slowly lets gun fall to his side, and scans the
! !

puts gun in corner

distance with his

hand shadowing
seats himself
!

his eyes

steps inside
!

at table.]

Jim Dunn

slowly and he

begged

me

to kill 'im

MODESTY
BY

PAUL HERVIEU

Modesty

is

reprinted

by

special permission of Barrett

translator of the play from the French,

and

of

H. Clark, the Samuel French, publisher,

New York
dress

City.

All rights reserved.

For permission to perform, adStreet,

Samuel French, 28-30 West 38th

New York

City.

PAUL HERVIEU
Paul Hervieu, one of the foremost of contemporary French dramatists, was born in 1857 at Neuilly, near Paris. Although he prepared for the bar, having passed the examination at twenty,

and practised his profession for a few years, he soon set to writing short stories and novels which appeared in the early eighties. The Nippers, in 1890, established his reputation as a dramatist. The remainder of his life was given to writing for the stage. In
1900 he was elected to the French Academy.
15, 1915.

He

died October

In addition to The Nippers, Hervieu's best-known long plays


are The Passing of the Torch, The Labyrinth, and Knoio Thyself. Modesty is his well-known one-act play. In subtlety of technic and in delicacy of touch it is one of the finest examples of

French one-act plays.


noteworthy.

Its

humor and

light, graceful satire

are

PERSONS IN THE PLAY


Hexriette
Jacques

Albert

MODESTY
TIME: The SCENE: A
desk.
present.

drawing-room.

Entrance, C; sofa, chairs^ loriting-

JACQVBS and Henribtte enter C, from dinner.


ball costume,

HenThey

RiETTE in

Jacques

in evening dress.

come down C.

Henriette.
Jacques.

What is it ? You can easily

Is

it

so terribly embarrassing

guess.

Henriette.
Jacques.
are cousins.

You're so long-winded.

You make me weary

come to the point.


I'll

risk all at

a stroke

am
Oh,

unmarried, you

My dear Henriette, we a widow. Will you


And now
you're going to be

will

you be
of

my

wife ?

Henriette.
?

my

dear Jacques, what are you thinking


!

We

were such good friends

angry.

Jacques.

Why ?
Because I'm not going to give you the sort ot
don't
like.

Henriette.
answer you'd
Jacques.

You

you don't think I'd make a good husyou


?

band ? Henriette.
Jacques.

Frankly, no.

I don't please

Henriette.
Jacques.
the fault of

As a cousin you

are charming; as a husband

you

would be quite impossible.

What have you

against

me?
for.

Henriette.

Nothing that you're to blame


character; thai forces
259

It

is

merely

my

me

to refuse you.

260
Jacques.
change

PAUL HERVIEU
But
I can't see

why you

Henriette.
is

[With an air of great importance.]

great
re-

taking place in the hearts of us

women.

We

have

solved henceforward not to be treated as dolls, but as creatures


of reason.

As

for

me, I

am most

unfortunate, for nobody ever

did anything but flatter me.


isfied,

I have always been too self-sat-

too

Jacques.

You have always been


It's

the most charming of

women, the most Henriette. Stop!


that's

exactly that sort of exaggeration


I

begun to make

me

so unsure of myself.

want you

to

understand once for


thermore,
it is

all,

Jacques, I have a conscience, and, furI have taken some im-

beginning to develop.

portant resolutions.

Jacques.
moral and

What

do you

mean ?

Henriette.

I have resolved to better myself, to raise

my

intellectual standards,

and to do that I must be

guided, criticised

Jacques.

But you already


[Annoyed.]
sits

possess every imaginable quality

You

are charitable, cultured, refined

Henriette.

Please

[Turns away and

on

settee.

Jacques

addresses her

from behind
Jacques.

chair.

You

are discreet, witty

The same old compliments! Everybody tells me that. I want to be preached to, contradicted, scolded Jacques. You could never stand that. Henriette. Yes, I could. I should be happy to profit by
Henriette.
the criticism.
It

would

inspire

me.

Jacques.
criticise

I'd like to see the

man who
I trust

has the audacity to

you to your face

Henriette.
Jacques.
It

That

is

enough!

you are aware that

you are not the person

fit

to exercise this influence over

me ?

How

could I ?

Everything about you pleases me.

can never be otherwise.

MODESTY
Henriette.
shall

261

How

interesting

That's the very reason I reuntil I

jected your proposal.

I sha'n't

marry

am

certain that I

not be continually pestered with compliments and flattery

and submission.
mistakes.

The man who marries me

shall

make

it

his

business to remind

me

of

my

shortcomings, to correct

all

my

He must give me the assurance that I am continually


And this husband have you found him already ? What ? Oh, who knows ?
Perhaps
Really
it's

bettering myself.

Jacques. Jacques. Jacques.


Jacques.

Henriette.
Henriette.
Henriette.

Perhaps

it is

Albert what of
?

it ?

You want me to speak frankly ? Of course. Henriette. Then you wouldn't be annoyed

if

I said some-

thing nice about Albert ?

[Jacques brings down

c. chair

which

is

by desk, facing

Henriette.
Jacques.
Jacques.
Jacques.

Why,

he's
!

your friend
too,

Henriette.
Henriette.

Oh

So you,

have a good opinion of him ?


of

Certainly.

Well,

what would you say


to be fair.]

[Trying

I'd trust

him ? him with money

I've never heard he

Henriette.
Jacques.

was a thief. But in other ways ?


I believe

[Still conscientious.]

him

to be

somewhat

somewhat
Henriette.
Jacques.
Wilful
?

Headstrong ?

Umuncultured, let us say.


As you
like

Henriette.
severe at times

but

for

my

part, I find that that

air of his inspires absolute confidence.

He knows how

to be

Jacques.
brute force.
rhinoceros,

You're mistaken about that; that's only simple

Go
all

to the

Zoo the
:

ostrich, the
effect

boa constrictor, the

produce the same

on you as your Albert

262
Henriette.
priate

PAUL HERVIEU
My
Albert
?

My

Albert ?

Oh, I don't appro-

him so quickly as
[Jacques

all that.

His qualifications as censor

are not yet entirely demonstrated.


rises

and approaches Henriette, who maintains


this nonsense

an
Jacques.

air of cold dignity.

For heaven's sake, Henriette, stop

Henbiette.
Jacques.

What nonsense? Tell me you are only

playing with me.


!

That you
jealous
!

only wanted to put

my

love to the test

To make me
Stop
it,

To

torture

me

You have

succeeded.

for heaven's

sake

Henriette.
scription of the

My dear friend, I'm very sorry for you.


husband I want, and I

I wish

I could help you, but I cannot.

I have given you a perfect de-

am

heart-broken that you

bear so remote a resemblance to him.

Jacques. Jacques.

Only promise you


It
is

will

think over your decision.

Henriette.
Henriette.
tell

better to stop right now.

Don't send
shall

me away
you

like this.

Don't
I have only to

I might give

false hopes.

you that I

never consent to be the wife of a

man who

cannot be the severest of censors.

Jacques.

[Kneeling.]

I beg

you

Henriette.
Jacques.

No, no, no, Jacques

Spare

me

that.

[A

tele-

phone rings in the next room.]

There's the 'phone

Don't go
rises hastily

[Henriette
Henriette.
if

and

goes to door.

Jacques

tries

for a movient
I

to stop her.

I find 3^ou here

must go. Go away, when I come back.

tell

you.

I'll

be furious

Jacques.

Henriette

Henriette.
Jacques.
[Exit.]

[Coming down L.

to table.]

Not now

Please,

Jacques.

I can't leave

it

that way.

am

the husband

who

MODESTY
will

63
is

make her happy.


[Enter

But how?

That

the question.

[Pause.]

Ah, Albert

Albebt.

He

shakes hands
?

icilh

Jacques.

Albert.
Jacques.

How

are you, rival

[Gravely.]

My friend,

we

are

no longer

rivals.

Albert.
Jacques.
to

How's that?
I hav^e just

had a talk with Henriette; she refuses

marry

either one of us.

Albert.
Jacques.
[Both

Did she mention me ?


Casually.
sit

down, Albert on
did she say ?

sofa,

Jacques on

chair near

it,

Albert.
Jacques.

What

Oh, I wouldn't repeat


I must know.
well,

it; it

wouldn't be friendly.

Albert.
Jacques.

then she said that you had not sucVery nor had to find the way to her heart. Between you I ceeded

pher who detests

and me, we've got a high-minded woman to deal with, a philosoIt seems you have been in the habit flattery.
of paying her compliments

Albert.
Jacques.

I never

pay compliments. Whatever you did, she didn't

like

It.

Moreover

since you want the whole truthyou seem to her a bitridiculous.

Albert.
Jacques.

Pardon ?
She wants a husband
Evidently, you haven't

The very word: ridiculous. who will act as a sort of conscience pilot.
appealed to her in that capacity.

Albert.
Jacques.
ity.
I'll

Sometimes I used to be rather sharp with her

You

did

it

too daintily, perhaps; you lacked severof scowled

wager you smiled, instead

that would have


to get her,

been

fatal

Albert.
Jacques.

I don't understand.

Henriette

is

a singular

woman;

you

264
have to
Tell her
tell

PAUL HERVIEU
her that you don't like her

her pride demands


I

it.

all

her bad qualities, straight from the shoulder.


[Feeling himself equal to the task.]
!

Albert.
about that
Jacques.
pose ?

Don't worry
love to

[Rises

and walks

about.]

know women

be told things straight out.

I'm not the

man

for that; nor are you, I sup-

Albert.
done

No?

Jacques, I'm awfully obliged to you; you've

me

a good turn

Jacques.

Don't mention

it

Albert.
Jacques.

You want to do
[Devotedly.]

me

one more favor ?


!

Anj^thing you like

Albert.

Promise
this ?

me

you'll never let Henriette

know

that

you

told

me

Jacques.

I promise; but why.?

Albert.
toward her
Jacques.

You know
is

she has to understand that

my

behavior

in character.

Natural, you
it

see.

Oh, you're going at


I am.

strenuously.

Albert.
Jacques.

Your

decision honors you.

Albert.

Let's not have Henriette find us together.

Would

you mind disappearing ? Jacques. With pleasure.


[Jacques
rises.

I'll

look in later and get the news,

Albert.
Jacques.

Thanks, Jacques.
Good-by, Albert.
[Exits after shaking

hands cordially with Albert.

Albert assumes a rather severe attitude.] How are you ? [Pau^e.] Have you seen Jacques ? Albert. [With a determined air.] No, Henriette. Thank God!
Henriette.
[Re-entering as

Henriette.
Albert.

Why ?
it

Because

pains

me

to see

men

in

your presence

whom you

care nothing for.

MODESTY
Henriette.
[Delighted.]

^65

You

don't like that ?


[Sitting

down on

sofa.

Albert. Albert. Albert.


heaps.

No, I

don't.

And

I'd like to

tell

you
?

Henriette. Hexriette.

About
Heaps

my

relations with Jacques

Oh, he's not the only one.


of others, I suppose
sofa.]
?

[Sits

on chair near

You

suppose correctly;

Henriette.
Albert.

Really ?

You are a coquette. Henriette. You think so ?


Albert.
Albert.
that!
I

am

positive.

Henriette. Henriette.
Albert.
imagine

I suppose I displease

you

in other

ways, too ?

In a great

many

other ways.

[Really delighted.]

How

confidently

you say

So much the worse

if

you don't

like it

Henriette.
fectly adorable.

Quite the contrary,


please

my

dear Albert; you can't


It's per-

how you
It

me when you
little

talk like that.

Albert.
haps

makes very

difference to

me

whether I

please you or not.


it is

I speak according to

my temperament. Pwthat.

a bit authoritative, but I can't help

Henriette.
Albert.

You
Oh,

are superb.

Oh, no.
if

I'm just myself.

Henriette.
Albert.
say, but
I'll

you were only the

I haven't the slightest idea

what you were about to

guarantee that there's not a more inflexible temper

than mine

in Paris.

Henriette.
in

I can easily believe

it.

[Pause.]

Now

tell

me

what way you think I'm


[Sitting

coquettish.
attitude.
it.

on edge of sofa in an interested

Albert

takes out cigarette, lights

and smokes

266
Albert.
tre, to

PAUL HERVIEU
That's easy; for instance, when you go to the thea-

a reception, to the races.


in dozens; those

As soon
don't

as

you arrive the men


to be

flock

about

who

know you come

introduced.

You're the talking-stock of society.


if

Now

I should

be greatly obliged
this notoriety
?

you would

tell

me

to

what you attribute


it

Henriette.
fact that I

[Modestly.]

Well, I should attribute

to the

amagreeable, and
There are

pleasant
less so.

Albert.
force

many women no
all her

Henriette.

[Summoning up
I

modesty

to reply.]

You
you

me

to recognize the fact

Albert.

And

know many women

fully as pleasant as

who
that

don't flaunt their favors in the face of everybody; they pre-

serve

some semblance

of dignity, a certain air of aloof distinction

it

would do you no harm to acquire.


[With a gratitude that
is

Henriette.
I

conscious of
to

its

hounds.]
sofa.]

Thanks, thanks so much.

[Drawing hack

a corner of the

am

deeply obliged to j'ou

Albert.
rously.

Not

at

all.

Henriette.
Albert.

In the future I shall try to behave more deco-

Another thing
[The
first signs of

Henriette.

impatience begin
.'^

to

appear.]

What ?

Another thing to

criticise

Albert.

thousand

[Setiling himself comfortably.

Henriette.
Albert.

Well, hurry up.


rid yourself of

You must
I

your excessive and ridicu-

lous school-girl sentimentality.

Henriette.

wonder just on what you base your statement.

Would you
Albert.

oblige

me

so far as to explain that

remember one day in the country you were in tears because a poor little mouse had fallen into the claws of a wretched cat; two minutes later you were sobbing beW^ith pleasure. I

cause the poor cat choked

in

swallowing the wretched

little

mouse.

MODESTY
Heneiette.
Is
it

267

That was only

my

kindness to

dumb

animals.

wrong

to be kind to

dumb
of

animals ?

[She is about to rise ivhen

Albert

stops her with a gesture.


if it

Albert.

That would be

no consequence,

weren't that
in the

you were

of so contradictory a nature that

you engage

emptiest, most frivolous conversations, the most

Henriette.

[Slightly disdainful.]

Ah, you are going too


I

far

You make me doubt your power


only in noble and high things

of analysis.

am

interested

Albert.
turn,
it's

And

yet as soon as the conversation takes a serious

appalling to see you; you

yawn and

look bored to ex-

tinction.

Henriette.
Albert.
unfortunate

There you are right


see

partly.
Yes, I have that

You

Henriette.

[Sharp and even antagonistic]

gift of

understaniiing things before people have fin-

ished explaining them.

While the others are waiting

for the

explanation, I can't wait, and I fly on miles ahead

Albert. Hm that sounds probable; I sha'n't say anything more about that just now. But while I'm on the subject, I have more than once noticed that you are guilty of the worst vice

woman

ever possessed

Henriette.
Albert. Albert.
fault,

And

what,

if

you please ?

Vanity.
I vain
?

Henriette.
you twist

Oh, you're going too far


!

[Unruffled.]
it

Every time I tell you a Not a word round to your own advantage. Whereas you
and gathering her
are rude
!

are really worse

Henriette.
fault with

[Rising

skirts about her with

virtuous indignation.]

You

I suppose

you would

find

me

if

I considered myself

more

polite than the person

whom

have the honor to address ?


I hope you don't intend that remark as personal.
I certainly do.

Albert.

Henriette.

268

PAUL HERVIEU
[She crosses to the other side of the stage

and

sits doion.

Albert
Albert. Albert.

rises

and goes up
!

to her.

Henriette

No

[Laughing.]

I see your trick.

Hexriette.

What do you mean ? You can't deceive me by

pretending to be angry.

You wanted to see whether I could withstand your temper. Let us now proceed to the next chapter: your manner of dressing.
Hexriette.

[Now

really outraged.]

My manner of dressing ?
her.

You

dare

[Henriette
Albert.
Albert.

crosses L. Fronts

Albert following

Yes, that will be enough for to-day

Henriette. Henriette.
to think

And

then you'll begin again to-morrow

Yes.

to you while you insult

And do you think for one minute that me to my face ? You are the
to that
!

I'll

listen

vain one,

you can come

You

are the frivolous one, you

are the

Albert.

[Slightly perturbed.]
I'll

Be

careful

what you say


tell

Henriette.

take care of that.

Let

me

you that you

are a detestable cynic.

You

are disgustingly personal; always

dwelling on details, on the least

much as calling me a fool ? You would be if you didn't read your morning paper regularly; so regularly that I know in adAlbert.

Which

is

as

Henriette.

Just about.

vance exactly what you are going to say to

me

during the day.

Albert.

Why not call me


That would

a parrot ?
you, for you don't speak as
gets clouded, a parrot

Henriette.
has at least the

flatter

well as a parrot; a parrot's

memory never

common

politeness to
teeth.]

Albert.
der

[Between his

I won't stand for this.

won-

how you
fool.

could have endured

me

so long

if

you thought

me

such a

Henriette.
Albert.

I believed

you harmless.

Are you aware that you have wounded

me

cruelly ?

MODESTY
Henriette.

269

we had

this discussion

You have wounded me. Thank heaven, though, Now I'll know how to conduct myself
!

toward you

in the future.

Albert.
time
!

Thank heaven

for tlie

same thing

It

was high

I grieve to think that only last night I

had

full}^

made
show

up my mind to ask you to be my wife Henriette. My dear friend, if you ever do

so, I shall

you the door immediately. [Enter Jacques hurriedly.


protection.

Henriette runs
?

to

him as for

Jacques.

What's

all this

noise

What's the matter ?


to our pleasant

Henriette.
Albert.
Jacques.
tle t#te-a-tete.

Oh, Jacques
!

I'm so glad you've come.


lit-

Just in time

You put an end

But what's happened ?


W^ell,
it

Henriette.
Albert.

monsieur here

No,

was mademoiselle who


take

[Henriette and Albert each


and bring him down-stage C.
shifting

an arm of Jacques
attention is constantly

His

from one

to

the

other, as they address

him in

turn.

Henriette.
Albert.
Jacques.
bert,

Just think, Jacques

Jacques, she had the audacity to

Henriette.

Stop

I'm going to

tell

him

first

You're both too excited to explain anything.

Al-

you take a little stroll and cool off. Albert. [Retreating toward the door.] Charmed.
Henriette.
Jacques.

Then
both.]

I can

draw a
I'll fix

free breath.

[To Albert.]
[To

up things while you're away.


in.

Albert.
Jacques.

I won't give
will I.

Henriette.
Albert.

Neither

Tut, tut

Good-day, mademoiselle.

Henriette.

Good-day.

270
Jacques.
[Exit

PAUL HERVIEU
Good-day, Albert.

Albert.

Henriette.
Jacques.

Thank
[Sits

goodness, we're rid of him


Tell

[Sympathetically.]

me

all

about

it.

Henriette.
to

down on

sofa, inviting

Jacques by a
to

gesture

do the same.

lie sits beside her.]

That man invented the most

abominable things about me;


Jacques.

criticised

me

my
me

face

He

did
It

Henriette.
about
it.

was so ridiculous

makes

sick to think

Jacques.

My

dear Henriette, don't think about

it.

Albert

must have behaved like a brute to make you so angry. Henriette. Yes, don't you think so? You think I'm
right
?

Jacques.

[Loyally.]

Of course I do.

Henriette.
Jacques.

[At her ease once more.]

You encourage me,

Jacques.

When
is

I saw you were angry I said to myself at


right."
?

once: "Henriette

Henriette.
Jacques.

Really
it

I said

because I knew you were by nature peace-

loving and considerate

Henriette.
Jacques.

[With profound conviction.]

Well, I think that's

the least that could be said of me.

In any event, you are always tactful, you

al-

ways Henriette.
Jacques.
be wrong.

You know me, Jacques

I flatter myself.

I felt instinctively

you couldn't

You have always been

so admirably poised, so un-

failingly considerate.

Henriette.
ever lose

[With perfect simplicity.]

Frankly now, do I
are always

my

temper with you ?


[In good faith.]

Jacques.

Never.

With me you

patient, gracious,

modest

MODESTY
Hbnriette.
suffer

271
while ago, I

But

remember, a

little

made you
storm

Jacques.

Yes, I was unhappy.

But

"if after every

comes such a calm"

Henriette.
Jacques.

It

was

all

my

fault.

You understand me; you

are truly a friend.

Nothing more ?
hut standing

[Rising,

near her.

Henriette

hliishingly

looks

down

at her shoe.

Henriette.
Jacques.
Jacques.

Oh
sincerely.

Prove that you mean that

Henriette.
Henriette,
it.

What

hav^e I to

do ?

[Same business.

Place your future in ray hands; marry me. [With downcast


eyes.]

was just thinking about

[Same business, but with repressed joy.


Jacques.
[About
to

embrace

her.]

Ah
is still present,

Henriette.

Wait

[Complete metamorphosis.

Her joy

but

it

has taken on a playful, serio-comic aspect.


putting her

Rising and

hand in

his.

Jacques.

W^hy do you hesitate ?


Jacques, do you

Henriette.
long ago
?

remember what I

told

you not

Jacques.

Yes.

Henriette.
Jacques.
I

In spite of that, are you quite sure that I

am

not vain or coquettish ?

am

certain.

Henriette.
Jacques.
Jacques.

You

are also firmly resolved to be

my

moral

guide, critic, helper.?


[Stolid as ever.]

am.

Henriette.

make one
it.

condition.

Name

Henriette.
Jacques.

On your word

of

honor ?
Tell me.

On my word

of honor.

272
Henriette.
time you find

PAUL HERVIEU
Will 3^ou swear to
tell

me, without pity, every

me

at fault

Swear.

Jacques. Jacques.

I swear.

Henriette.

Then you have

my

promise.

[As they embrace.]

Dearest

CURTAIN

THE DEACON'S HAT


BY

JEANNETTE MARKS

The Deacon s Eat is reprinted by special arrangement with Miss JeanMarks and with Little, Brown and Company, Boston, the publisher of Three Welsh Plays, from which this play is taken. All rights reserved. For permission to perform address the author in care of the pubUsher.
nette

JEANNETTE MARKS
Jeannette Marks, well-known essayist, poet, and playwright, in 1875 at Chattanooga, Tennessee, but spent her early life in Philadelphia, where her father, the late William Dennis Marks, was professor of dynamics in the University of Pennsylvania and president of the Edison Electric Light Company. She attended school in Dresden, and in 1900 was graduated from Wellesley College. She obtained her master's degree from Wellesley 1903. Her graduate studies were continued at the Bodleian Library and at the British Museum. Since 1901 she has been on the staff of the English Department at Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Massachusetts. Her chief courses are Nineteenth Century Poetry and Play-writing. Miss Marks's mterest in Welsh life is the result of her hiking several summers among the Welsh hills and valleys. She became intimately acquainted with Welsh peasant life. It is said that Edward Knobloch, well-known dramatist, on one of her homeward voyages from one of her summer outings W^ales, pointed out to Miss Marks the dramatic possibilities of the material she had thus acquired. Three Welsh Plays was the result. Two of these plays, without the author's knowledge, were entered in 1911 for the Welsh National Theatre prize contest. To her credit, the plays won the prize. The complete volume appeared

was born

1917.

The Deacon's Hat


of Wales.

is

fine

study of the

life

of the

common

folk

CHARACTERS
Deacon Roberts,
a
stout, oldish

Welshman

Hugh

Williams, an
Gegin

earnest,

visionary young

man who owns

Neli Williams, Mrs. Jones,


soap
the

his capable wife

Wash, a

stout,

kindly

woman who
latest

wishes to buy

Mrs. Jenkins,

the

Midwife,

after

pins for her


to

baby

Tom Morris,
to

the Sheep,

who comes

buy tobacco and remains

pray

THE DEACON'S HAT*


SCENE: A
:

little

shop called

Gegin {The Kitchen), in Bala^

North Wales.

TIME Monday morning at half-past


To
the right is the counter of

eleven.

Y Gegin,

set out

with a bountiful sup-

ply of groceries; behind the counter are grocery -stocked shelves.

Upon

the counter is a good-sized enamel-ware bowl filled with

herring pickled in brine

and

leek, also

a basket of fresh eggs,


a half dozen loaves

a jar of pickles, some packages of

codfish,

of bread, a big round cheese, several pounds of butter

wrapped

in print paper,

etc., etc.

To At

the left are

a cheerful glowing fire and

ingle.

the back center is

a door; between the door and the fire stands a

grandfather's clock with a shining brass face.


clock

Between the

and

the door, back centre, is

a small tridarn [Welsh

dresser]

and a

chair.

From

the rafters
etc.

hang flitches of bacon,


either side of the firestreet.
it

hams, bunches of onions, herbs,

On

place are latticed windows, showing a glimpse of the Before the fire
tall,

is

a small, round, three-legged table; beside

straight-backed chair.
the table

Between

and

left is

a door which

is the

entrance to

Y Gegin

and from which, on a metal

elbow, dangles a large

bell.

At

rise of curtain

Hugh Williams
vest,

enters at back centre, absorbed in

reading a volume of Welsh theological essays.


in a brightly striped

He

is

dressed

short,

heavy cloth coat, cut away in

front and with lapels trimmed unth brass buttons, swallowtails


* Copyright, 1917,

by

Little,

Brown & Co.


277

All rights reserved.

278

JEANNETTE MARKS
behind, also trimmed with brass buttons, stock
his neck,

wound around

and

tight trousers

down

to his boot-tops.

Neli Williams, his wife, a comehj, capable young woman, busy


with her knitting every instant she talks,
costume, a scarlet cloak, and a
her
tall is

clad in her market

black Welsh beaver.

Over

arm

is

an immense

basket.

Neli.

[Commandingly.]
[Still

Hughie, put down that book

is

Hugh. his own


Neli.

going on reading.]
!

Haven't

I just said a

man

master, whatever

Hughie, ye're to mind the shop while I'm gone


[Patiently.]

Hugh.
Neli.

Yiss, yiss.

I don't think ye hear a


Yiss, I hear every

word

am

sayin' whatever.

Hugh.
Neli.

word

ye're sayin'.

What

is it,

then

Hugh.
whatever
Neli.

[Weakly.]

'Tis all

about

aboutthethe weather

Ye've not heard a word, an' ye're plannin' to read


[A

that book from cover to cover, I can see.

Hugh.
Neli.

little

too quickly.]

Nay,

have no plans

[He tucks book away in back coat pocket

over-hastily.

Hugh
[Weakly.]

Hugh.
Neli.
sellin'

Nay,

I have

no plans whatever
ie !

[Reproachfully.]

Hugh
if

'Twould be the end of

anythin' to anybody
that book
!

I leave ye with a

book whatever

Give

me

Hugh.
Neli.

[Obstinately.]

Nay,
!

I'll

no read the book.


I say a

Give

me

that book
little.]

Hugh.
ter

[Rising a

Nay.

man

is

his

cwn masIs

whatever
[Finding the book hidden in his coat-tail pocket.]

Neli.
Well,
I'll

he

no leave ye with any masterful temptations


Ye've no cause to take
this

to be

read in'.

Hugh.

book away from me.

THE DEACON'S HAT


Neli.
erts's

79
Deacon Robof

[Opens book and starts with

delight.]

'Tis

new book on "The Flamin' Wickedness


her interest.]

Babylon."

Where did ye get it ? Hugh. [Reassured by


morning.

He
it

lent

it

to

me

this

Neli.

[Resolutely.]

Well, I will take


!

away from ye

this

noon

till

am home
[Sulkily.]

again whatever
Sellin'

Hugh.
Neli.

groceries

is

not salvation.
so.

They

sold groceries in Babylon;

Deacon Roberts says

as

[Looking at book with ill-disguised eagerness.] I dunno anybody ever found salvation by givin' away all he had for 'Tis certain Deacon Roberts has not followed that nothin'
!

way.

Hugh.
Neli.
indeed

[Still sulkily.]

A man

is

his

own

master, I say.
Is he
?

[Absent-mindedly, her nose in the book.]

Well,

Hugh.
Neli.

[Crossly.]

Aye, he

is.

[Pointedly.]

An' I was not

plannin' to give

away

the book whatever.


little

[Closing volume with a


hastily.]

sigh, as for stolen delights,

and speaking
groceries

An' I

am

not talkin' about acceptin*


all

books, but about butter an' eggs an' cheese an'

the other

Hugh.
NsLi.

Aje,

ye'll

get no blessin' from such worldliness.

[Absent-mindedly.]

Maybe

not, but ye will get a din-

ner from that unblessed worldliness an' find no fault, I'm


thinkin'.

[Her hand lingering on the book, which she opens.]


!

But

such wonderful theology


standin' of sin
!

An' such eloquence


of
ye, Neli, there's

Such an under!

Such glowin' pictures


!

Babylon

Hugh.
ish has

Aye, hot

tell

no man

in the par-

such a

gift of

eloquence as Deacon Roberts or such theye'll

ology.

In

all

Wales

not find stronger theology than


to
tell

his.

Neli.
in which

Ye have no need
to

me
?

that

[Looking for a place

hide the book until she returns.]

Have
I not

I not a deep

an' proper admiration for theology

Have

had one min-

280
ister an' five

JEANNETTE MARKS
deacons an' a revivalist
in

my family,

to say nothin'

at

all of

one composer of hymns ?


Yiss, yiss.

Hugh.
Neli.

Aye,

'tis

a celebrated family.

am

no

say in' any thin' against your family.

Then what ?
[Pleadingly.]
souls.
it

Hugh.

Deacon Roberts has great

fire

with

which to save
wickedness.

We're needin' that book on Babylon's


back to me, Neli
[Looks at husband.]

Give

Neli.

Oh, aye!

I'm not sayin' but


j^our kin.
it!

that ye are wicked, Hugh, an' needin' these essays, for ye have

no ministers and deacons and hymn composers among

Hugh.
smoke
talks.]

[Triumphantly.]

Aye,

aye,
till

that's

it!

That's

An' the more need have I to read


of

my

nostrils are full of the

of Babjdon.
[Absent-mindedly tucking book away on shelf as she

Neli.

Aye, but there has been some smoke about Deacon

Roberts's reputation which has

come from some

fire

less far

away than Babylon. Hugh. What smoke ?


Neli.
[Evasively.]

Well, I

am

thinkin' about

my eggs which
in that

vanished one week ago to-day.

There was no one

mornin*
for her

but Deacon Roberts.


soap an' gone before I

Mrs. Jones the


filled

Wash had come

that basket with eggs.


standing on tiptoe and craning
!

Hugh.
Neli.
ever ?

[Watching her

covertly,

his neck as she stows


[Slyly.]

away book.] Yiss, yiss Ask Deacon Roberts if cats


If cats steal eggs,
if

steal eggs

what-

Hugh.
Neli.

[Repeating.]

cats steal eggs.

Aye, not

if

eggs steal cats.


Yiss, yiss,
ye'Il
if

Hugh.
Neli.
'Tis
if

[Craning neck.]

eggs steal cats


it

Hugh

iel

Now

never get

correct again!

cats steal eggs.


[Sulkily.]

Hugh.
starin'

Well, I'm no carin' about cats with heaven

me

in the face.

THE DEACON'S HAT


[Neli turns about
szviftly

281

with the quick, sudden motions

characteristic of her,

and
at

Hugh

shrinks into himself.

She shakes her finger


Neli.

him and

goes over to kiss him.

Hughie, lad, ye're not to touch the book while I

am

gone to market.

Hugh.
Neli.

Nay, nay, certainly not

And

ye're to be

on the lookout

for

Mrs. Jones the

Wash,
an'

for

Mrs. Jenkins the Midwife

Jane Elin has a new baby,


Here
is

it'll

be needin' somethin'.

[Pointing to counter.]

everythin' plainly marked.


anythin'.

Ye're no to undersell or give

away

D'ye hear.
Aye, I hear

Hugh.
Neli.

An' remember where the tobacco


Morris the Sheep comes
in.

is,

for this

is

the

day

Tom

Hugh.
Neli.

Aye,

in the glass jar.

Good-by.

I will return soon.

Hugh.

[Indifferently.]

Good-by.
centre.

[Neli Neli.
readin'

leaves

by door at back

Immediaiely

Hugh
no

steals

toward the shelves where she hid the book.

[Thrusting

head back

in.]

Mind, Hughie
shelves

lad,

nay, not even any theology


[Stepping quickly

Hugh.
rotlike.]

away from

and repeating par-

Nay, nay, no

readin',

no sermons, not even any the-

ology

Neli.

An' no salvation

till

come back
and
is

[She smiles, withdraws head,

gone.

Hugh

starts

forward, collides clumsily with the counter in his eagerness, knocks the basket of eggs with his elbow, upsetting
it.

Several eggs break.

He

shakes his head ruefully at


the counter.

the

mess and as ruefully at


it

He finds

book

and hugs

greedily to him.

Hugh.

[Mournfully.]

Look at
sellin'

this!

What
!

did I say but

that there was no salvation


see those eggs
!

groceries

If

Neli could but

[He goes behind counter and

gets out

a box of

282
eggs,

JEANNETTE MARKS
from which he
a
refills the basket.

The broken eggs he

leaves

untouched upon the


seats himself by

floor.

He

opens his volume of sermons and

little

three-legged table near the fire.

He
and

sighs in

happy
quietly.

anticipation.

Hearing a

slight noise, he looks suspiciously

at door, gets up, tiptoes across floor to street door,

locks

it

An

expression of triumph overspreads his face.]


will

Da,

if

customers come, they


I can read on
!

think no one

is

at

home whatever,
to

an'

[He seats himself at


its

little

three-legged table, opens

volume, smooths over

pages lovingly, and begins

read slowly

and

halting over syllables.]

The smoke
filled

of Ba-by-lon

was hot

scorchin' hot.

An' 'twas

with Ba-ba-ba-baal stones, slimy

an' scorchin' hot also

[There

is the

sound of feet coming up


the door-knob.

the

shop

steps, followed

by a hand trying
his sermons,
face.

up from an expression of innocent triumph on his


looks
is tried

Hugh

The door-knob

again, the door rattled.

[Then some one rings the shop door -bell.

Mrs. Jones the Wash.


ha ve ye any soap ?

[Calling.]

Mrs. Williams,

mum,

[No answer.

Calling.]

Mrs. Williams

Mrs. Williams!

[Hugh nods approvingly and lifts his volume to read. Mrs. Jones the Wash. Where are they all whatever.^
will just look in at the
flattened against the

window.

[.4 large,

kindly face

is

anxiously

window.

At

that

Hugh

drops in consterna-

tion under the three-legged table.]

Uch, what's that shadow skipthe groceries.

pin'

under the table ?

No doubt a rat after


Williams
!

Mrs.

Williams,

mum, Mrs.

Well, indeed, they're out.


fist,

[She pounds once more on the door with a heavy

rings,

and then
Neli.

goes.

Suddenly
appears.

the door back centre opens,

and

Neli VfiLLiAMS

[She does not see

Hugh
?

and peers around for him.]


the table.

What

is all

that bell-ringing about

[Hugh crawls out from und^ Hugh. Hush, she's gone

THE DEACON'S HAT


Neli.
[Amazed, and tvhispering
[Rising and putting
to herself.]

83
table
!

Under the
to

Hugh.
keep
silent.]

up

his

hand as a sign for her

to

Nay, 'twas Mrs. Jones the Wash come


w^ell,

buy her

soap whatever

Neli.
HuGPi.

Aye,

why

didn't she

come

in

whatever

.?

[Whispering.]

I locked the door, Neli, so I could fin-

ish readin' those essays

whatever!

An' then she looked

in at

the window, an' I had to get under the table.

Neli.
an' after
liams,

[Indignantly.]
all

Locked the door against a customer,


!

I said

An' crawled under a table

Hugh

Wil-

your wits are goin' quite on the dov/nfall


[In a whisper.]

Hugh.
Neli.

Aye, but Neli, those essays

an'

thought ye had gone to market.


I had started, but I

came back

for

my

purse.

Put

down that book Hugh. Aye,


Neli.
earth
is

but, Neli

[Angrily.]

3,fuch less of heaven an'

what

I need in a

husband

tomer; very
where.

like

Mrs. Jones the

much more of Ye have sent away a cusWash after soap will go else!

Hugh.
Neli.

Aye, but Neli

[Steps are heard approaching.

Get up Some one is coming. [Hugh gets up very unwillingly. Hugh. [Whispering still.] Aye, but Neli Neli. [Angrily.] Put down that book, I say
!

[She crunches

over

some

eggshells.]

Eggs ?

Broken ?
Aye Neli,

Hugh.
Neli.
gether
eggs

[Putting
.

down
.

hook.]

my

elbow an* the

eggs in Babylon

[Sarcastically.]

Aye, I see beasts in Babylon here to-

doleful

creatures smearin' one an' sixpence worth of


floor.

all

over the
eggs.]

An' a half-dozen eggs gone

last

week.

[Wiping up

An' I'm to suppose Babylon had something

to do with that half-dozen eggs, too.?

They were put

in the

284

JEANNETTE MARKS
Wash had
left

basket after Mrs. Jones the

whatever, an' before

Deacon Roberts came. Hugh. Neh, I did not say


Neli.
[Still angrily.]

Well, indeed, unlock that door

Hugh.
Neli.

[Going to unlock door.]

But, Neli

Not a word Your mind has gone quite on the downfall lockin' doors against your own bread and butter an' soap. Hugh. [Unlocking door sullenly.] But, Neli, salvation an'
[Disappearing through door back
centre.]

soap

Neli.

[Snappily.]

Salvation an' soap are as thick as thieves.

Hugh.
Neli.

But, Neli, a
Yiss, I see he

man
is
!

is

his

own

master.

[Neli goes

out,

slamming door

noisily.

Hugh. Dear anwyl, she seems angry [Hugh opens street door left just as Neli
kitchen, by door back centre.
the door

goes out through

Hugh

has unlocked.

and goes
stout

over to counter in a

Deacon Roberts enters He looks at Hugh, smiles businesslike way. He is a


coat,

man, dressed in a black broadcloth cutaway


a drab
vest,

tight trousers,

high collar

and

stock, woollen

gloves,
tall

a muffler wound about his neck and face, and a


hat.

Welsh beaver

Under
counter,

his

arm

he carries a book.

Deacon Roberts.
gloves, putting

[Speaking affectionately, pulling off his

down book on

and beginning eagerly

to

touch the various groceries.]


lad.?

Essays on Bab^don to-day, Hughie

Hugh.

[Looking about for

Neli and speaking fretfidly


muffler.]

.]

Nay.
if

Deacon Roberts.
ye had been

[Unwinding his
I have.

Ye

look as

in spiritual struggle.

Hugh.

[Drearily.]

Deacon Roberts.

Well, indeed, Hughie,

'tis

neither the

angel nor the archfiend here now, nor for

me any
!

struggle except
well, I

the struggle to both live an' eat well

ho

ho an' eat
!

say

THE DEACON'S HAT

285

In Bala.

[Laughs
in

jovially.]

Ho

ho

not bad, Hughie lad

live

an eat

Bala

Hugh.

[Patiently.]

With that
[Umvinding
I

muffler around your head,

deacon, ye are enough to frighten the devil out of Babylon.

Deacon Roberts.
jdss,

last

lap of muffler.]

Yiss,
if

Hughie

lad.

But

dunno but

.ye will

understand better

I call mj'self, let us say the angel with the sickle

ho

ho

not

the angel of

fire,

Hughie, but the angel with the sharp sickle


[Sudden change

gatherin' the clusters of the vines of the earth.


of subject.]

Where

is

Neli ?
I

Hugh.
fine

[Vacantly.]

dunno
An'
lad,

yiss, yiss, at

market.

Deacon Roberts.
day
for

[Chuckling.]
!

Dear, dear, at market

marketing

my

essays on the Flamin' Wickedare


they.'^

ness of Babylon,

Hughie
yet.

how

Have ye

finished

them ? Hugh.

Nay, not

Deacon Roberts.
Pickles
yiss,

[Looking over counter, touching one article


it.]

Pickled herrin' grand but wet dear me, Neli'san' good Butter from Hafod-yPorth sweet as honey [He picks up a pat of and
after another as he mentions
! !

butter

sniffs

it,

drawing in his breath loudly.


the butter.

He

smiles with delight

and lays

down
it

He

takes off his hat

and dusts

it

out inside.

He

puts his hat back on his head, smiles, chuckles, picks


thoughtfully with two fingers, smells
it

up butter, taps and puts down the pat

lingeringly.

He

ing from

it to

on

to codfish.]

Neli Williajms's bread, glancthe butter.] Bread Dear me [His eyes glance American codfish [picks up package and smacks
lifts

up a

loaf of

his lips loudly], dear anwyl, with potatoes

[reads]

"Gloucester."

[Reaches out and touches eggs affectionately.]


fresh,

Eggs

are

they

Hugh.?
I dunno.

Hugh. [Dreamily.] They might be


!

But
fresh
.?

I broke

some

of them.

[Looks at floor.

Deacon Roberts.
Hugh.
I dunno.

Were they

286

JEANNETTE MARKS
[Sharply.]

Deacon Roberts.
Hugh.
'em
[Troubled.]

Dunno ?

About

eggs ?

[Picks
Neli's hens laid them.
I see, Neli's hens laid 'em, an'
!

up

egg.

Deacon Roberts.
!

you broke
and turn-

Admirable arrangement

[Putting

down

the egg

ing toward the cheesey speaks on impatiently.]

Well, indeed then,

were the hens fresh ?

Hugh.

[More

cheerful.]

Yiss, I think.

Last week the bas-

ket was grand an'

full of fresh eggs,

but they disappeared, aye,


did they go to

they did indeed.

Deacon Roberts.
Hugh.
have
proves
[Injured.]
if

[Starts.]

Where

How

can I say ?

I was here, an' I would

told her

had

seen,

but I did not whatever.

Neli re-

me

for too great attention to visions an' too little to the

groceries.

Deacon Roberts.
married
life
!

[Chuckling.]

Aye, Hughie

lad,

such

is

Let a
I

man marry

his thoughts or a wife, for

he

cannot have both.

have chosen

my

thoughts.

Hugh.
without

But the

cat
[Briskly.]

Deacon Roberts.
risk.

Aye, a

man

can keep a cac

Hugh. Nay, nay, I mean the cat took 'em. I dunno. That's [Hugh clutches his head, trying to recall something.] Uch, Neli told me to remember to ask ye if ye thought that's it
it

eggs could steal a cat whatever.

Deacon Roberts.
Hugh.
[Troubled.]

[Puzzled.]

Eggs

steal

a cat ?
.?

Deacon Roberts. Hugh.] Cats ? What


Hugh.
about cats with heaven

Nay, nay, cats steal an egg and looking suspiciously [Startled


cats
?

at

[With solemnity.]
starin'

Aye, but I told Neli I'm no carin'

me

in the face.

Deacon Roberts,
Hughie
lad, the-

those essays are grand an' wonderful.

Deacon Roberts.
ology
is

[Relieved.]

Yiss, yiss

a means to salvation an' sometimes to other ends, too.

But

there's

no money

in theology.

[Sighs.]

And

man must

THE DEACON'S HAT


live
!

287

[Points to corroded dish of pickled herring, sniffing greedily.]

Dear people, what

beautiful herrin'

[Wipes moisture away from


dish, holding
it,

comers of his mouth and picks up a fish from Pickled? ping, by tail.]

drip-

Hugh.

[Looking at corroded dish.]


[Shortly.]

Tuppence.
to-day.

Deacon Roberts.
Hugh.
sentence

Dear

[Eyeing dish dreamily.]

I duniio.

Neli

Deacon Roberts.
and pointing

[Eyes glittering, cutting straight through


to cheese.]

Cheese ?

Hugh.
lifts

shillin',

I'm

thinkin'.
shillin',

Deacon Roberts.
knife

Hugh.?

[Deacon Roberts
The
leaf
it

and drops

it

lightly

on edge of

cheese.

pares

off he picks

up and

thrusts into his mouth, greedily

pushing hi the

crumbs.

Then he pauses and


said,

looks slyly at

Hugh.]

Was

it six-

pence ye

Hugh ?
Yiss,

Hugh.

[Gazing toward the fire and the volume of essays.]

sixpence, I think.

Deacon Roberts.
Hugh.
animation.]
[Sighing.]

[Sarcastically.]

Still

too dear,

Hugh

I dunno,

it

might be dear.
fell

[With m/yre

Deacon, when Babylon

Deacon Roberts.
speaks decisively.]
hat,

[Wipes his mouth and, interrupting Hugh,


cheese.

No

[He removes his

tall

Welsh beaver
to the shelves,

mops

off his bald white head, and, pointing

up

begins to dust oui inside of hatband again, but with a deliberate air
of preparation.]

What
to

is

that up there, Hughie lad

Hugh.
forefinger.]

[Trying

follow the direction of the big red wavering

Nay, nay, Come, come, brush the smoke of In a minute I must be goin* burnin' Babylon from your eyes
[Giving his hat a final wipe.]
!

Ye mean Deacon Roberts.

that ?

ABC In-fants' Food, I think.


!

not for me, Hughie lad

back to

my

study, whatever.

An' I have need of food

[Hugh takes a chair and mounts it. The Deacon looks at Hugh's back, puts his hand down on the counter, and picks up an egg from the basket. He holds it to the light
and
squints through
it to

see whether

it is

fresh.

Then he

288
turns
it

JEANNETTE MARKS
lovingly over in his fat palm,
slides
it

makes a dexterous

backward motion and

into his coat-tail pocket.

This he follows with two more eggs for same coat-tail and
three for other

in all half a dozen.


to tin.]

Hugh.
egg.]

[Dreamily pointing

Is

it

Yankee corn ?
above
ox tongue ?

Deacon Roberts.
Nay, nay, not

[To Hugh's back, and slipping in second


that,

Hughie

lad, that tin


tin.]

Hugh.

[Absent-mindedly touching

Is

it

Deacon Roberts. Ox tongue, lad ? up.]


Hugh.
m-m-milk ?
milk,

[Slipping in third egg and not even looking

Nay, nothin' so

large as that.

[Dreamily reaching up higher.]


Yiss, that's

American condensed
egg.]

what

it is.

Deacon Roberts.
Hughie ?

[Slipping

in

fourth

Condensed

Back

to infants' food again.

Hugh.

[Stretching

up almost

to his full length

and holding down


?

tin with tips of long ivhite finger.]

Kippert herrin'

Is

it

that ?
little

Deacon Roberts.
further up,
if

[Slipping in fifth egg.]

Nay, nay, a
reading.]

you

please.
still

Hugh.

[Gasping, but

reaching
Is
it

up and

Uto

U-to-pi-an Tinned Sausage.

that ?

Deacon Roberts.
ity

[Slipping in sixth egg with an air of final-

and triumph, and


Ye've no

lifting his hat from the counter.]

Nay, nay,

not that, Hughie lad.


I want ?

Why
Did

do ye not begin by askin'


whatever.
I not ask ye

me what

gift for sellin' groceries


?

Hugh.

[Surprised.]

Deacon Roberts. Nay. Hugh. What would Neli


forgive me.

say whatever?

She would never

Deacon Roberts.
lad.

[Amiably.]

Well, I forgive ye,

Hughie
relishes

'Tis

a relish I'm needin'


[Relieved.]

Hugh.
on that
I must
tell

Well, indeed, a relish


[Reaches

We have

shelf above, I think.

up

but pauses helplessly.]

Neli that these shelves are not straight.

[Dizzy and clinging to the shelves y his back to the

Deacon.

THE DEACON'S HAT


Deacon Roberts.
print paper.]
Is
it

289
wrapped in

[Picking

up a pound

of butter

up there ?
fast whatever.

Hugh.
I

No, I think, an' the shelves are not


Neli.

must

tell

bottle ju^t

above

They go up hke wings. [Trying to him.] Was it Enghsh or American ?


[Putting the

reach to a

Deacon Roberts.
his hat on his head.]

pound

of butter in his hat

and

American, Hughie
is

lad.

[At that instant there

a noise from the inner kitchen^ and


the door.
cross.

Neli Williams opens


and
their glances meet

The Deacon

turns,

and

Each understands per-

fectly

what

the

other has

seen.

Neli Williams has


off her

thrown
hat.

off her red cloak


is

and taken

Welsh beaver

She

dressed in a short full skirt, white stockings,


tight bodice, fichu, short

clogs

on her feet, a striped apron,

sleeves,

and white cap on dark

hair.

Neli.

[Slowly.]

Uch!

The deacon has what he came


Nay, Neli arm flung

for

whatever

Hugh.

[Turning

to contradict his wife.]


off,

[Los-

ing his balance on chair, tumbles


.

and, with

out to

save himself, strikes dish of pickled herring.


fly

The herring and brine


the bowl

in every direction, spraying the

Deacon and Hughie;


floor.

spins madly, dipping and revolving on the

For a few seconds

nothing

is

audible except the bowl revolving on the flagstones

and

Hughie
Achoo
!

picking himself

up and
to

sneezing behind the counter.]


!

Achoo

Dear me, Neli

Achoo

Neli.

[Going quickly

husband and beginning

to

wipe brine

from husband's forehead and cheeks ; at the same time has her back to the Deacon and forming soundless letters with her lips, she jerks her head toward the Deacon.] B-U-T-T-E-R
!

Hugh.
hurt

[Drearily.]

Better.?

Aye, I'm better.

It did not

me

whatever.

Neli. [Jerking head backwards toward Deacon Roberts, and again forming letters with lips.] B-U-T-T-E-R Hugh. What, water ? Nay, I don't want any water.
!

290

JEANNETTE MARKS
[Coughing,
ill

Deacon Roberts.
jriciously at howl that

at ease

and glancing sus~

has come

to rest

near his

leg.]

Ahem
on.

'Tis

cold here, Mrs. Williams,

mum,

an' I

must be movin'

Neli.

[Savagely to

Deacon.]

Stay where ye are whatever


to

Deacon Roberts.
hy a woman.]
'tis

[Unaccustomed

being spoken to this

way

Well, indeed,
go.

mum,

I could stay, but

I'm thinkin'

cold an'

I'd better

Neli.

[Again savagely.]

Nay, stay

Stay for

for what ye
Then she goes

came

for

whatever
at the

[Neli looks challengingly


behind his ears.

Deacon.

on wiping brine carefully from husband's hair and from

The

Deacon

coughs and pushes howl

away with
then,

the toe of his boot.

Deacon Roberts. mum.


Neli.
[To Hugh.]
[Sneezing.]

[Smiling.]

'Tis unnecessary to

remain

What

did he get
!

.?

Hugh.

Achoo nothin'
interest, looking at the floor.]
is

Deacon Roberts.
Well, indeed

[With sudden

Neli.

[Suspiciously.]

What

it?

[He reaches down with

difficulty to

a small thick puddle on

the floor just beneath his left coat-tail.

He aims

a red

forefinger at

it,

lifts

himself,

and sucks fingertip.


on
the counter he

Deacon Roberts.
'tis

[Smiling.]
!

Ahem, Mrs. Williams, mum,


the basket

excellent herrin' brine

[From

picks

up an

egg,

which he

tosses lightly

and

replaces in basket.]

beautiful fresh egg, Mrs. Williams,

mum.

must be

steppin'

homewards.

Hugh.
wringing
tellin'
it

[Struggling to speak just as

Neli

reaches his nose,

vigorously as she wipes


fell
!

it.]

Aye, but Neli, I was just

ye when I
!

that I could not find the deacon's relish

och, achoo

achoo

Deacon Roberts,

[With finality,

tossing

the

egg

in

air,

THE DEACON'S HAT


catching
it

291

and putting

it

back in basket.]

Well, indeed,

mum,

must be

steppin'

homewards now.
on
fire

[Nei.i's glance rests

burning on other side of room.

She puts down wet

cloth.

She turns squarely on the


Please to go to

Deacon.
Neli.
the
fire

What
an' wait
!

is

your haste, Mr. Roberts.^


I can find the relish.
[Hastily.]

Deacon Roberts.
need any more
Neli.

Nay, nay, mum.

I have

no

[Coughs.]

Excellent herrin' brine.


[Goes toward door.

[To Hugh.]
!

Take him

to the

fire,

Hugh.

'Tis a cold

day whatever

[Insinuatingly to

Deacon.]

Have ye a

reason

Mr. Roberts ? Deacon Roberts. [Going.] Nay, nay, mum, none at all But, I must not trouble ye. 'Tis too much to ask, an' I have
for wantin' to go,

no time
Neli.
Roberts,

to spare an'

and not without acerbity.] Indeed, Mr. what we can is our profit. [To Hugh, who obediently takes Deacon by arm and pulls him toward fire.] Take him to the fire, lad. [To Deacon.] What kmd of a relish was it, did ye say, Mr. Roberts ? Deacon Roberts. [Having a tug of war with Hugh.] 'Tis an Indian relish, mum, but I cannot wait.
[Interrupting
sellin'

Hugh.
Telish,

[Pulling harder.]

American, ye

said.

Deacon Roberts.
that
is.

[Hastily.]

Yiss, yiss,

American Indian

Neli.

Tut,

'tis

our specialty, these American Indian relishes


Sit

We
ing.

have

several.

down by

the

fire

while I look

them up.

[Wickedly.]

As ye

said,

Mr. Roberts,

'tis

cold here this morn-

Deacon Roberts.
ye.

There, Hughie lad, I must not trouble


'Tis ten

[Looks at

clock.]

minutes before twelve, an'

my

dinner will be ready at twelve.

[Pulls harder.

Neli.

[To Hugh.]

Keep him hj

the

fire,

lad.

292

JEANNETTE MARKS
There, Hughie lad,
let

Deacon Roberts.
[But

me

go

Hugh

holds on,

and

the

Deacon's

coat begins to

come

off-

Neli.
I think

[Sarcastically.] will

The relish American Indian, ye make your dinner taste find and grand
!

said,

Deacon Roberts.
hind he
is

[Finding that without leaving his coat hehe glowers at

unable

to go,

Hugh and

speaks

siveethj to

Nell]

'Tis

a beautiful clock, Mrs. Williams,

mum.

But

haven't five minutes to spare.

Nell
hat.]

[Keeping a sharp lookout on the rim of the Deacon's

Well, indeed, I can find the relish in just one minute.


left.

An' ye'U have abundance of time

Deacon Roberts.
of indifference.]
'Tis

[Trapped, and gazing at clock ivithfine air

a clever, shinin' lookin' clock whatever,

Mrs. Williams,
Neli.
of the relish,

mum.
recollection of the

Have ye any

name

of the

maker

Mr. Roberts ? Deacon Roberts. [Putting


and one

his

hands behind him anxiously

and parting

his freighted coat-tails with care ; then, revolving, prelarge, well-set, bright-colored
it,

senting his hack


fire.]

patch to the

Naj^ I have forgotten

Mrs. Williams,
it.

mum.
upon
is

Neli.
chair.

Too bad, but I'm


this

sure to find

[She mounts

enters

moment the shop Mrs. Jones the Wash,


At
Welsh
flannel,

door-bell rings violently,

and there
She

very fat

and

very jolly.

dressed in short skirt, very full, clogs on her feet, a bodice


striped

a shabby kerchief, a cap on her


turns her head a
if

made of head, and

over this a shawl.

Neli

little.]

Aye, Mrs. Jones

the Wash, in a minute,

you

please.

Sit

down

until I find

Deacon Roberts's relish whatever. Mrs. Jones the Wash. [Sits down on
centre

chair by door back


Yiss, yiss,

and folds her hands


I've

over her stomach.]

mum,
no

thank you.
one was
in.

come

for soap.

came once

before, but

Nell

Too bad Mrs. Jones the Wash.

An' I looked

in at the

window

an*

THE DEACON'S HAT


saw nothin' but a skippin' shadow looked like a any rats, Mrs. Williams, mum, do ye think ?
Neli.
rat.

293

Have ye

Have

any

rats

Well, indeed,

'tis

that I'm wantin'

to know, Mrs. Jones the

Wash
Well, I

Mrs. Jones the Wash.


eatin' the

came back,

for the

water

is

soap to-day as
!

if

'twere sweets

aye,

'tis

a very meltin'
[Laughs.

day

for soap

Deacon Roberts.
Wash.

'Tis

sweet to be clean, Mrs. Jones the

Mrs. Jones the Wash.


Roberts, there has
an'

[Laughing.]

Yiss,

yiss.

Deacon

many

a chapel been built out of a washtub,

many a prayer risen up from the suds Deacon Roberts. [Solemnly.] Aye, Mrs.
holy work, washin'
is

Jones the Wash,

'tis

very holy work.

Mrs. Jones the Wash. [Touched.] Yiss, yiss, I thank ye. Deacon Roberts. Deacon Roberts. Well, I must be steppin' homeward now. Neli. [Firmly.] Nay, Mr. Roberts, I am searchin' on the Ye act as if shelf where I think that American Indian relish is. ye had some cause to hurry, Mr. Roberts. Wait a moment, if
you
please.

Deacon Roberts. Well, Jones the Wash waitin'


[To Mrs. Jones.] Mrs. Jones the Wash. Nay, mum, no haste at all.

indeed, but I

am
?

keepin' Mrs.

Neli.

Ye
I

are in no haste

[Thoroughly comfortable and happy.]

am

havin' a rest, an'

'tis

grand

an'

warm

here whatever.
[Maliciously
to

Neli.

Deacon.]

Does

it feel

hot by the

fire ?

Deacon Roberts.

[Experiencing

novel

sensations

on

the

crown of his bald head.] Mrs. Williams, mum, 'tis hot in Y Gegin, but as with Llanycil Churchyard, Y Gegin is only the portal to

a hotter an' a bigger place where scorchin' flames burn forever


an' forever.
full."

Proverbs

saith,

"Hell an' destruction are never

What, then,

shall

be the fate of

women who have no

wis-

dom, Mrs. Williams,

mum ?

294
Neli.

JEANNETTE MARKS
[Searching for
relish.]

Aye, what?

Well, indeed, the

men must know.


Mrs. Jones the Wash. [Nodding her head appreciatively ot Such eloquence, Mr. Williams Aye, who in chapel has such grand theology as Deacon Roberts
Hugh.]
!

[She sighs.
ris

The

hell

rings violently again,

THE Sheep
is

enters.
etc.

herd's cloak,

etc.,

and Tom MorHe is dressed in gaiters, a shej)He carries a crook in his hand.
half-foolish look.

He
Neli.
in an' sit

a grizzle-haired, rosy-faced old man, raw-boned,

strong,

and awkward, with a half-earnest,


Aye,

[Looking around.]

Tom

Morris the Sheep, come


relish for

down.

am

lookin' out

an American Indian

the deacon.

Tom Morris the


a
little

Sheep.

Yiss,

mum.

am wantin' to buy
hillsides

tobacco,

mum.

'Tis lonely

upon the

with the

sheep, whatever.

liams,

Deacon Roberts. [Hastily.] I must go now, Mrs. mum, an' ye can wait on Tom Morris. Tom Morris the Sheep. Nay, nay, Mr. Roberts, sir,
no
haste.

Wil-

there

is

Neli.
please.

[To

Tom Morris.]

Sit

down

there

by the door,

if

you

[Tom Morris
centre.

seats himself

on other side of door by back

Tom Morris the


lock to
JVirs.

Sheep.

Yiss,

mum.

[Touches his fore-

Mrs. Jones the Wash.]

grand day for the clothes,

Jones,

mum.
Yiss, yiss, an' as I
!

Mrs. Jones the Wash.


'tis

was

just sayin*

a meitin' day for the soap


[Significantly.]
!

Neli.

An' perhaps

'tis

a meitin' day for

somethin' besides soap

[She looks at

Deacon.

Hugh.

[Earnestly.]

Yiss, yiss, for souls, meitin' for souls, I


the book

am

hopin'.

[Picking
to

up

from

the

little

three-legged table,

and speaking
ground

the

Deacon.]

They

are enlargin' the burial


!

in Llanycil

Churchyard

achoo

achoo

THE DEACON'S HAT


Deacon Roberts.
They're only enlargin'
[Slyly
hell,
all.

295
fire.]

moving a step away from


lad, an' in that place

Hughie
[He

they

always make room for

casts

a stabbing look at Neli.


true,

for all

Mrs. Jones the Wash. [Nodding head.] True, [Chuckling.] But 'twould be a grand place
!

room

to dry the

clothes in

Deacon Roberts.
paved with words

[Severely.]

Mrs.

Jones,

mum,

hell

is

of lightness.

Hugh. [Looking up from book, his face expressing delight.] Deacon Roberts, I have searched for the place of hell, but one book sayeth one thing, an' another another. Where is hell ? Tom Morris the Sheep. Aye, where is hell ?
[The
bell

rings violently.

All start except Neli.


enters.

Mrs.

Jenkins the Midwife


white-haired,

She

is

an old woman,

and

iviih

a commanding, someivhat disagree-

able expression on her face.

She wears a cloak and black


stick.

Welsh beaver and walks with a


Neli.
Yiss, yiss,

Mrs. Jenkins the Midwife, I


Sit

am

just lookin'

out a relish for the Deacon.

down by

the

fire,

please.

of

Mrs. Jenkins the Midwife. Aye, mum, I've come fire.]


Neli.
Is it Jane Elin's baby ? Mrs. Jenkins the Midwife.

[Seating herself on other side


for pins;

I'm

in

no haste,

mum.
Aye, Jane
Elin's, an' 'tis

my

sixth

hundredth

birth.

Hugh. We're discussing the place of hell, Mrs. Jenkins, mum. Mrs. Jenkins the Midwife. Well, indeed, I have seen the
place of hell six hundred times then.

[Coughs and nods her head

up and down
with us here.

over stick.]

Heaven

an' hell

I'm thinkin' we have


Tell us

Hugh.
place of

hell.

Nay, nay, how could that be ? Deacon Roberts.


[Nodding.]

where

is

the

[All listen with the most intense interest.

Deacon Roberts.

Aye,

the

place

of

hell

[stopping suddenly, a terrified look on his face, as the butter slides

296

JEANNETTE MARKS
it off,

against the forward rim of his hat, almost knocking

then going

on with neck rigid and head


that place

straight up] to

me

their

way

is

dark an' slippery;


is

known where is they go down into


is

the depths, an' their soul

melted because of trouble.

Neli.

[Pausing

sceptically.]

Aye,

'tis

my

idea of hell what-

ever with souls meltin',

Mr. Roberts
Tell us

Hugh.
querulous.]
quickly.]

[Tense with expectation.]

where

is

that place

Deacon Roberts.
Yiss, jdss.

[Neck

rigid,

head unmoved,

and

voice

[Putting his
believe that
it

hand up and

letting it
?

down

Ahem

Ye

rains in Bala

Hugh. [Eyes on Deacon, in childlike faith.] I do. Mrs. Jenkins the Midwife. Yiss, yiss, before
every birth whatever

an' after

Mrs. Jones the Wash.


than I that
the
it

Yiss, yiss,
?

who would know


it

better

rains in Bala

Tom Morris the


hills

Sheep.

Aye, amen,

rains in

Bala upon

an' in the valleys.

Deacon Roberts.

Ye

believe that

it

can rain

in

Bala both

when the moon is full an' when 'tis new ? Hugh. [Earnestly.] I do. Mrs. Jones the Wash. [Wearily.] Yiss, any time. Tom Morris the Sheep. Aj^e, all the time. Mrs. Jenkins the Midwife. Yiss, yiss, it rains ever
forever

an'

Neli.

[Forgetting the relish search.]


all

Well, indeed,
times.
to Neli.]

'tis

true

it

can rain in Bala at any time an' at

Deacon Roberts.
that Tomen-y-Bala
is

[Paying no attention

Ye

believe

Ararat ?

Hugh.
whisper.]

[Clutching his book more tightly


Yiss.
'tis true.

and speaking in a

Mrs. Jones the Wash. Aye, Mrs. Jenkins the Midwife.


Ararat.

Yiss,

the

Hill

of

Bala

is

Tom Morris the


it

Sheep.

Yiss, I

have driven the

slieep

over

whatever more than a hundred times.

THE DEACON'S HAT


Neli.

297

[Both hands on counter, leaning forwardy listening to


words.]

Deacon's

Aye, Charles-y-Bala said

so.

Deacon Roberts. [Still ignoring Neli and lowsring his coatYe believe, good people, that the Druids called tails carefully.] Noah "Tegid," an' that those who were saved were cast up on
Tomen-y-Bala ?

Hugh.
IVIrs.
'tis

Amen,

I do

Jenkins the Midwife.

[Nodding her old head.]

Aye,

true.

Mrs. Jones the Wash. Tom Morris the Sheep.

Yiss, yiss.

Amen,

'tis so.

Deacon Roberts.

[Moving a few steps away from the


to heady

JtrCy

standing sidewise, and lifting hand

checking

it

in midair.]

An' ye know that Bala has been a


lake.?

lake, an'

Bala

will

become a

Hugh. Amen,
Neli.

I do
Yiss,
yiss
'tis

[Assenting for the first time.]

true

that

is.

Mrs. Jones the Wash.

Dear anwyl,

Deacon Roberts.
Hell
is

[With warning gesture toward window.]


all

out there

movin' beneath Bala Lake to meet


Baal stones.
ye
!

at their
will

comin'.
fall

[Raises his voice suddenly.]

Red-hot Baal stones


!

upon your heads

Howl ye

[Shouting loudly.]

Meltin' stones smellin' of the bullocks.


[Clasping his hands together desperately.]

Howl, ye sinners

Scorchin' hot

oHowl
jams
like
it

ye

howl

Oo

[The Deacon's hat sumysy and he

as if stirring
!

down more tightly on his head. Unclasping his hands and up the contents of a pudding-dish.] 'Round an' round this Howl, ye sinners, howl [All moan and sway to and fro except Neli.
[Sceptically.]

Neli.

What

is

there to

fear.?*

Mrs. Jenkins the Midwife.


there not to fear ?

[Groaning.]

Nay, but what

is

Mrs. Jones the Wash. Aye, outermost darkness, Och! Tom Morris the Sheep. Have mercy

Och!

298

JEANNETTE MARKS
[Shouting again.]
off

Deacon Roberts.
your eyes
twinkling.]
!

Get ready and

Lift

up

[Welsh beaver almost falls

is set straight

in a

Beg
is

for

mercy before the stones

of darkness

burn
is

thee, an' there fixed

no water to cool thy tongue, an' a great gulf

between thee an' those who might help thee


[Spellbound by the
Yiss, yiss,

Neli.
ous

Deacon's
true,
'tis

eloquence

and now
!

oblivi-

to hat, etc.]

'tis

very true

[She steps

down from

chair

and places hands on

counter.

Deacon Roberts.
her.]

[His face convulsed, shouting directly at


hell fire ?

Sister, hast

thou two eyes to be cast into

Neli.

[Terrified
?

and swept along by

his eloquejice.]

Two

eyes

to be burned

[All lower their heads, groaning

and rocking

to

and fro.

Deacon Roberts.
with sudden violence.]
in

[The butter trickling doion his face, yelling


Hell
!

is

here an' now.


!

Here

in Bala, here
!

Y Gegin,
[All

here with us
together.

Howl ye

Howl, ye sinners

moan

Hugh. [Whispering.] Uch, here Mrs. Jenkins the Midwife. Yiss, Mrs. Jones the Wash. Yiss. Tom Morris the Sheep. [Terrified.]
Neli.
[Whispering.]

here!

Aye.
!

Amen

Yiss

Here

in

Gegin

Deacon Roberts.
vapors
!

[Clapping his hands

to his face.]

Stones

of Baal, stones of darkness, slimy with ooze, red-hot ooze, thick

Howl

ye, howl,

ye sinners

[All

moan and

groan.

Takes a glance at
neck

clock, passes

hand

over face

and runs on madly,

rigid, eyes staring, fat red cheeks


is

turning to purple.]

not midnight,

the hour of hell;

its

sun never sets

Midday, But who

knows when comes that hour of hell ? Neli. [Taking hands from counter and crossing them as she whispers.] Who knows ? All. [Groaning.] Who knows ? Hugh. [Voice quavering and lifting his Wehh essays.] Who knows ? Deacon Roberts. [Big yellow drops pouring down his face.

THE DEACON'S HAT


his voice full of anguish.]

299
hell.

I will
Is

tell

ye when

is

the hour of
?

[He points

to the clock.]

one the hour of

hell

Nay.
Six.'

Two ?
Nay.
yet.
.'*

Nay.
Seven?
Eight ?

Three ?
but
'tis

No, not
not.

three.
Five.'*

Four ?

Four might be the hour


indeed.

of hell,

Nor

five,

Is seven the hour, the awful hour.? Is eight the


is

Nay, not

hour
[The

an hour bright as
Deacon

this bright

hour

Nay, eight
'points

not.

shouts in a mighty voice


'Tis comin'
!

and

with a red finger at the clock.]

'Tis comin', I
!

say

Howl
lift
!

ye,

howl

Only one minute more


!

Sinners, sin-

ners,

up your eyes

Cry

for

mercy

[All groan.]
'twill
!

Cry

for

mercy
hell
!

When

the clock strikes twelve,


!

be the hour of
!

Fix your eyes upon the clock


'Tis strikin'.
[All

ten

The

stroke

Watch Count The hour is here


!

Lis-

dropped on

their knees

and turned toward

the clock

their hacks to the street door, are awaiting the

awful stroke.

The hook has fallen from Hugh's hands.


are clenched.

Neli's hands

Mrs. Jenkins the Midwife is nodding her old head. Mrs. Jones the W^ash on her knees, her face upturned to the clock, is rubbing up and down her thighs, as if at the business of washing. Tom Morris THE Sheep is prostrate and making a strange buzzing
sound between his
piece whir
lips.

The

ivheels of the clever old time-

and

turn.
:

Then in

the silent

noonday

the

harsh striking begins

One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six,

Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, Eleven, Twelve.

Deacon Roberts.
voice.]

[Yelling suddenly in a loud


!

and

terrible
!

Hell

let

loose

Howl ye
rises

Howl, ye sinners
The

[All

cover their eyes.


the grate flutters,

All groan or moan.

clock ticks, the flame in


heavily.]

Neli's bosom

and falls

Lest worse

happen

to ye, sin

no more

[The

Deacon

looks at them all quietly.


blessing, smiles

Then he

lifts

his

hands in sign of

and vanishes

silently
terstill

through street door.


ror.

All remain stationary in their

Nothing happens.

But

at last

Neli fearfully,
lifts

spellbound by the

Dkacon's

eloquence,

her eyes to

300

JEANNETTE MARKS
the clock.
fire

Then cautiously she turns a

little

toward the

and
!

the place of

Deacon Roberts.
The Dea-

Neli.
con
is

Uch

[She stands on her feet and cries out.]

gone
[Raising his eyes.]

Hugh.
Neli.
he dead

Uch, what

is it ?

Babylon
Is

Babylon nothing

[She wrings her hands.


[Groaning.]

Mrs. Jenkins the Midwife.


?

he dead

Is

Neli.

[With sudden plunge toward the door.]


!

Uch, ye old

hypocrite, ye villain
an'

Uch,

my

butter an'

my

eggs,

my

butter

my

eggs

[Neli throws open the door and slams


pursues the

it to

after her as she

Deacon

out into the bright

midday sunshine.

Mrs. Jenkins the Midwife. Well, indeed, what is it.' Has she been taken ? Mrs. Jones the Wash. [Getting up heavily.] Such movin' eloquence A saintly man is Deacon Roberts Tom Morris the Sheep. Aye, a saintly man is Deacon
! !

Roberts

Hugh.

[Picking

up

his hook

and speaking
hell

slowly.]

Aye,
it

elo-

quence that knoweth the place of


eth Bala whatever

even better than

know-

a treat

Mrs. Jenkins the Midwife. [Very businesslike.] Aye, 'twas But where's my pins now ? a rare treat Mrs. Jones the Wash. [Very businesslike.] Yiss, yiss, 'twas a grand an' fine treat. But I'm wantin' my soap now. Tom Morris the Sheep. Have ye any tobacco, Hughie

lad?

curtain

WHERE BUT

IN AMERICA

BY

OSCAR M. WOLFF

Where But In America is reprinted by special permission of the author and of the Smart Set Magazine, in which this play was first printed. For permission to perform address the author at Room 1211, 105 Monroe
Street, Chicago, Illinois.

OSCAR M. WOLFF
Oscar M. Wolff was born July 13, 1876. After graduation from Cornell University he completed his law course in the UniIn addition to his interest in law, which he versity of Chicago. has practised and taught, he has done considerable writing and editing. He has published a legal text-book, and his articles on legal subjects have appeared both in law journals and in magaDuring the war he was connected with zines of general interest. the United States Food ^Administration at Washington. At present he lives in Chicago, Illinois. In addition to some stories, he has written several one-act plays: Where But in America^ The Claim for Exemption, and The

Money -Lenders.
Where But in America is an excellent play of situation, as well as a delicate satire on a certain aspect of American social life.

CAST
Mrs. Espenhatne
IVIr.

Espenhatne

Hilda

WHERE BUT
SCENE
:

IN AMERICA*

The Espenhayne dining-room.


rises

The curtain
ing

on

the

Espenhayne dining-room.
There
is

It is furnished

with modest taste and refinement.


to the living-room,

a door,
left,

centre, lead-

and a swinging

door,

leading to the

kitchen.

The

table is set,

and Robert and Mollie Espenhayne are

discov-

ered at their evening meal.

They are educated, well-bred young


a pleasing, energetic business

Americans.
of thirty ;

Robert Mollie an

is

man
The

attractive

woman

of twenty-five.

bouillon cups are before them as the curtain rises.

Bob.

Mollie, I heard from the

Kenilworth.

He wants
and
it

to

sell

the house.

man who owns that house He won't rent.


That house was too
in the

in

Mollie.
from the

I really don't care. Bob.

far

station,

had only one sleeping-porch, and you


bedrooms.
But,

know

want white-enamelled woodwork

Bob, I've been terribly stupid

Bob.

How

so,

Mollie ?
the Russells

Mollie.
Park
built.

You remember

moved

to Highland

last spring ?

Bob.

Yes;

Ed

Russell rented a house that had just been

Mollie.
sell

perfectly darling little house

And Fanny Rusput up a house


she says that

once told

me

that the
will

man who
M.
305

built

it will

for

any one who


*

take a five-year lease.


Wolff.

And

Copyright, 1917, by Oscar

All rights reserved.

303
the

OSCAR
man
is

M.

WOLFF

very competent and they are simply delighted with

their place.

Bob.

Why

don't

we
it

get in touch with the

man ?
It

MoLLiE.

Wasn't

stupid of
this

me

not to think about it?

just flashed into

my mind

morning, and I sat down at once

and sent a special-delivery


to
tell

me

Bob.
or

letter to Fanny Russell. I asked her name at once, and where we can find him. You ought to have an answer by to-morrow Good

his

Thursday and
MoLLiE.

we'll

go up north and have a talk with him on

Saturday.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if Fanny Russell says every detail what we want Even the garage; they use it of theu- house is perfect. Bob. [Interrupting.] Mollie, that's the one thing I'm afraid I've said repeatedly that I of about the North Shore plan. don't want to buy a car for another year or tv/o. But here you
[With enthusiasm.]
!

he'd build just

are, talking

about a garage already.

what I was saying. playroom for the If we had a garage we could do the same thing. children. Bob. Well, let's keep temptation behind us and not even If we move up north it must talk to the man about a garage.
Mollie.
didn't let
finish

But you

me

The

Russells have fitted

up

their garage as a

be on an economy basis for a few years; just a half-way step be-

tween the apartment and the house we used to plan.


mustn't get your heart set on a
car.

You

Mollie.

I haven't even thought of one, dear.

[Bob and

Mollie
at the

have

now

both finished the bouillon course


to

and lay down

their spoons.

Reaching out her hand

touch the table button,

and

same

time leaning across the table

and speaking
!

very im-

pressively.]

Bob, I'm about to ring for Hilda


of
it ?

Bob.

What
well,

and with a touch of impatience.] You what of it. I don't want Hilda to hear us say one word about moving away from the South Side
Mollie.
[Decidedly

know very

WHERE BUT
Bob.
[Proiesting.]

IN

AMERICA

307

But Mollie
and holding her finger
Shs
is

MoLLiE.

[Interrupting hurriedly

to her

lips in warning.]

Psst

[The next instant

Hilda

enters, left.

tall,

blonde
is

Swedish
pretty

girl,

about twenty-five years old.


herself well

She

very

and

carries

and

looks particularly

charming in a maid's

dress, with white collars

and

cuffs

and a dainty
is

waitress's apron.

Every detail of her dress

immacidate.

Mollie.

[Speaking the instant that

very rapidly all the time that

she speaks IMollie watches

pretends to be addressing.] partner.


It

Hilda appears and talking Hilda remains in the room. While Hilda rather than Robert, whom she In the last game Gert Jones was my
I'll

was frame apiece and I dealt and I bid one no trump.

I had a very

weak no trump.

admit

that,

but I didn't want

them

to win the rubber.

Mrs. Stone bid two spades and Gert Mrs. Stone played two spades, doubled,

Jones doubled her.

Mrs. Green passed and I simply couldn't

go to three of anything.

and she them the rubber.


no trump.
[As

made them.

Of

course, that put

them out and gave


foolish double of

I think that
it

was a very

Gert Jones, and then she said

was

my

fault,

because I bid one

Mollie

begins her flow of words

Bob first

looks at her

in open-mouthed astonishment.

Then as he gradually
her closely in

comprehends that Mollie


he too turns his eyes to
her

is

merely talking against time

Hilda and watches


table.

movements around the

Meamchile PIilda
to

moves quietly and quickly and pays no attention


thing except the work she has in hand.

any-

She

carries

small serving-tray, and, as


takes the bouillon cups

Mollie

speaks,

Hilda

first

carving-knife
before
exits

from the table, then brings the and fork from the sideboard and places them
then, with the

Robert, and

empty bouillon cups,

left.

Bob and Mollie

are both watching

Hilda as

308

OSCAR
she goes out.
her,

M.

WOLFF
the door swings shut behind

The instant

MoLLiE

relaxes with a sigh,

and Robert leans across

the table to speak.

Bob.

Mollie,

why

not be sensible about this thing


if

talk with Hilda

and

find out

she will

Mollie.
cious.

That's just like a

man

Have a move north with us. Then we might not find


!

a house to please us and Hilda would be

dissatisfied

and suspi-

She might even

leave.

[Thoughtfully.]

Of course, I

must speak to her before we sign a lease, because I really don't know what I'd do if Hilda refused to leave the South side. [More But there, we won't think about the disagreeable cheerfully.]
things until everything
is

settled.

Bob.
Psst!

That's good American doctrine.

Mollie.

[Wamingly and again touching her


enters,

finger to her lips.]

[Hilda

left,

carrying the meat plates, with a heavy

napkin under them.

Mollie.
last

[Immediately resuming

her monologue.]

I think
rained
all

my last year's
times.
it;

hat

will

do very

nicely.

You know it

summer and

I really only wore the hat a half a dozen


I can

Perhaps not that often.


ribbons,

make a few changes on


it will

put on some new

nicely for another year.

you know, and You remember that

do very

hat, don't you,

dear ?

[Bob starts to answer, but Mollie rushes right on. Of course you do, you remember you said it was so becoming. That's another reason why I want to wear it this summer.
[Hilda, meanwhile, puts the plates on the table in front of

Bob, and goes


Bob.

out, left.

Mollie

at once stops speaking.

[Holding his Jmnds over the plates as over a fire and rub-

bing them together in genial warmth.]

Ah, the good hot plates

She never forgets them.

She

is

a gem, Mollie.
If

Mollie.

[In great self-satisfaction.]

you are

finally conlittle

vinced of that, after three years, I wish you would be a

bit

AVHERE BUT IN AMERICA


more
room.
careful

309
in the

what you say the next time Hilda comes

Bob.

[In open-mouthed astonishment]

What
we
are

MoLLiE.
Bob.
It's

Well, I don't

want Hilda

to think

making

plans behind her back.


[Reflectively.]

"A man's home is his castle."


who
first

[Pauses.]

very evident that the Englishman

said that didn't

keep any servants.


[Telephone
bell

rings off stage.

Answer that, Bob. Bob. Won't Hilda answer it MoLLiE. [Standing up quickly and speaking impatiently.] Very well, I shall answer it myself. I can't ask Hilda to run to
MoLLiE.
.'^

the telephone while she

is

serving the meal.


All right
!

Bob.

[Sullenly, as he gets up.]


exits, centre.
left,

All right
at the

[Bob

As
to

he does so

Hilda appears
it,

door,

hurrying

answer the telephone.


will

MoLLiE.

Mr. Espenhayne

answer

Hilda.

[Hilda makes
draws
dishes
left,

the slightest possible

bow of acquiescence, withvegetable

and in a moment reappears with


She
is

and small

side dishes, which she puts before

Mrs.
re-

Espenhayne.
enters, centre.

arranging these when

Bob

Bob.
Hilda.
eet now.

Somebody

for you, Hilda.

[Surprised.]

For me.^

Oh!

But

I cannot answer

Please ask the party to call later.


excellent English, but with

[Hilda speaks
accent.

some Swedish
is the

The noticeable feature of her speech

pre-

cision

and

great care with which she enunciates every

syllable.

MoLLiE.
party you

Just take the


will call

number

yourself, Hilda,

and

tell

the

back after dinner.

Hilda.

Thank you. Messes Aispenhayne.


exits, centre.

[Hilda

Bob

stands watching Hilda, as she

310

OSCAR
leaves the room,

M.

WOLFF
looks at

and then turns and

Mollie

with

a bewildered expression.

Bob.

[Standing at his chair.]

But

thought Hilda couldn't

be running to the telephone while she serves the dinner ?

Mollie.
diflPerent,

But
see.

this call

is

for Hilda, herself.

That's quite

you

Bob.
[Sits

[Slowly

and

thoughtfully.]

Oh, yes

Of course; I see!

down

in his chair.]

That

is

I don't quite see


it is ?

Mollie.
[Bob

[Immediately leaning across the table and speaking

in a cautious whisper.]

Do

you know who

closes his lips very tightly

and nods yes in a

very

important manner.

Mollie.
Bob.
hiding,

[In the

same whisper and very

impatiently.]

Who.^
is

[Looking around the room as

if to see if

any one

in

and then putting

his

hand

to his

mouth and exaggerating

the whisper.]

The

Terrible Swede.

Mollie.
to

[In her ordinary tone

and

very

much

exasperated.]

Kobert, I've told you a hundred times that you shouldn't refer

tothe man
Bob.

in that

way.

And
If I
if

I've told
his

name.

knew

you a hundred times to ask Hilda his name I'd announce him with as much cereOh, don't try to be funny
of

mony

as

he were the Swedish Ambassador.


[Disgusted.]
!

Mollie.
Bob.
him.

Suppose

some day Hilda hears you speak

him

in that

manner ?
of

You know

that's mild

compared

to

what you think

Suppose some day Hilda learns what you think of him ?

Mollie.
for the

course, I dread the time

him and you know it. Of when she marries him, but I wouldn't world have her think that we speak disrespectfully of
I think very well of

her or her friends.

Bob.

"A

man's home

is

his castle."
is

[Mollie's only answer

a gesture of impaiience.
to

Mollie

and Bob
Both
sit

sit

back in their chairs

await Hilda's return.

with fingers interlaced, hands resting on the edge

WHERE BUT
A
long pause.

IN

AMERICA

Sll

oj the table in the attitude of school children at attention,

uneasily.
hastily

Mollie unclasps her hands and shifts Robert does the same. Mollie, seeing this,
His
rest-

resumes her former attitude of quiet waiting.


however, grows increasingly restless.

Robert,
lessness

makes Mollie nervous and she watches Robert,


is

and when he
glass.

not observing her she darts quick, anxious

glances at the door, centre.

Bob

drains and

refills

his

Mollie.
shifts or

[She has been watching

Robert and

every time he

moves she unconsciously does the same, and finally she


I don't understand this at
all
!

breaks out nervously.]

Isn't to-

day Tuesday ? Bob. What of it ? Mollie. He usually


see her on Saturdays.

calls

up on Wednesdays and comes

to

Bob.

And

takes her to the theatre on Thursdays and to


lie's

dances on Sundays.

{Another long pause

then Bob begins


still hot.

merely extending his


to

line of attack.
to

experiment

learn

whether the plates are

He

gijigerly touches the


It

edges of the upper plate in two or three places.


safe to handle.

seems
plates

He
a

takes hold of upper

and lower

boldly, muttering,

as he does so,
clatter

"Cold as

"

Drops
Shakes
is

the plates with

and a smothered

oath.

his fingers

and blows on them.

Meanwhile Mollie

sitting very rigid, regarding

Bob

with a fixed stare and

beating a vigorous tattoo on the tablecloth with her fingers.

Bob
and

catches her eye


refills

and cringes under her gaze.

He drains
the ceiling

his glass.

He

studies the walls


still

and

of the room, meanwhile


steals

nursing his fingers.

Bob

a sidelong glance

at

Mollie.

She

is still
it

staring

at him.

He

turns to his water goblet.

Picks

up and

holds

it to

the light.

He

rolls the

stem between his fingers,


Reciting slowly

squinting at the light through the water.

as he continues

to

gaze at the

light.

312
Bob.
night

OSCAR
Starlight!

M.

WOLFF
Will Hilda talk to

Starbright!

him

all

MoLLiE.

[In utter disgust]

Oh, stop that singing.

[Bob puts down


the glass.

his glass, thsn drinks the water

and

refills

lie then turns his attention to the silverware

and

cutlery before him.

He
it

examines

it criticalhj,

then
at-

lays a teaspoon carefully on the cloth before him,

and

tempts the trick of picking

up with

the first finger in the

howl and the thumb at the point of the handle.

After one

or two attempts the spoon shoots on the floor, far behind

him.

MoLLiE jumps
to

at the noise.

Bob

turns sloicly

and
back

looks at the spoon with

an injured

air, then

turns

MoLLiE

with a

silly,

vacuous smile.

He now lays

all the

remaining cutlery in a straight row before him.

Bob.

[Slowly counting the cutlery

and

silver,

back and forth.]

Eeny, meeny, miney, mo.


idea comes to him.

Catch a

[Stops suddenly as

an

Gazes thoughtfully at

then begins to count over again.]

MoLLiE/or a moment, Eeny, meeny, miney, mo;


holler, she

Hilda's talking to her beau.

If

we

may

go.

Eeny,

mee
MoLLiE.
Bob,
if

[Interrupting
all

and exasperated

to the verge of tears.]


!

you don't stop


[Puts her
!

that nonsense, I shall scream

[In

very tense tone.]

I believe

I'm going to have one of


to her forehead.]

my
it;

sick

headaches
feel it

hand

know

I can

coming on

Bob. [In a soothing tone.] Hunger, my dear, hunger When you have a good warm meal you'll feel better. MoLLiE. [In despair.] What do you suppose I ought to do ? Bob. Go out in the kitchen and fry a couple of eggs. Hilda MoLLiE. Oh be serious I'm at my wits' end
!
!

never did anything

like this before.

Bob.
a
living,

[Suddenly quite serious.]

What

does that fellow do for

anyhow ?

MoLLiE.

How

should I

know ?

WHERE BUT
Bob.

IN
?

AMERICA
me

313

Didn't you ever ask Hilda


Certainly not.

MoLLiE.
business;

Hilda doesn't ask


affairs.'

about your

why

should I pry into her

Bob.
States.

[Taking out his cigarette case and lighting a

cigarette.]

Mollie, I see you're strong for the Constitution of the United

Mollie.
Bob.
hand.]

[Suspiciously.]

What do you mean by


says:

that.?

The Constitution
all

"Whereas

it

is

a self-evident

truth that

men

are born equal"

[With a wave of the

Hilda and you, and the Terrible Swede and I and


[Interrupting.]

Mollie.

Bob, you're such a heathen I

That's

not in the Constitution.

That's in the Bible


is,

Bob. Well, wherever it what a personage Hilda is.

until this evening I never realized

Mollie.
what's right

You can make


!

fun of

me

all

you

please,

but I know

Your remarks don't


thoughtfully

influence

me

in the least

not

in the least

Bob.

[Murmurs
All I

and

feelingly.]
.'^

[Abruptly.]

Why don't they get married


know
is

How Do you know

true!

that

.^^

Mollie.
is

that they are waiting until his business

entirely successful, so that Hilda won't

have to work.

Bob.

Well, the Swedes are pretty careful of their money.


are Hilda has a neat
[Hesitating
little

The chances
Mollie.
worries
into the

nest-egg laid by.

and

doubtfully.]

That's one thing that

me

little.

I think Hilda puts


business.

money
tell

intointo
that this girl
find out

young man's

Bob.
gives her

[Indignantly.]

Do
he

you mean to
or

me

money

to that fellow

and you don't try to

thing about

him ?

Who

is

what he does ?

I suppose she

supports the loafer.

Mollie.

[With dignity.]

He's not a

loafer.

I've seen

him
I

and I've talked with him, and I know he's a gentleman. Bob. Mollie, I'm getting tired of all that kind of drivel.

314
believe nowadaj's

OSCAR
women

M.

WOLFF
more thought to

give a good deal

pleasing their maids than they do to pleasing their husbands.

MoLLiE.
leave you
fully]

[Demurely.]

Well, you know, Bob, your maid can

much

easier than she's

your husband can


harder to replace.

[pauses thought-

and I'm sure

much
up.]

Bob.
on

[Very angry, looking at his watch, throwing his napkin

the table

and standing
fifteen

Mollie, our dinner has been inter-

rupted for

minutes while Hilda entertains her [with sarIf

casm] gentleman friend.

you won't stop


to

it,

I will.

[Steps toward the door, centre.

Mollie.

[Sternly,

pointing

Bob's

chair.]

Robert,

sit

down
[Bob pauses, momentarily, and
centre,

at the instant

Hilda

entersy

meeting Bob, face

to face.

Both are

startled.

Bob,
iable.

a surly mamier, icalks hack

to his place at the

Hii^b a follows, excited and eager.

Bob

sits

down

and Hilda stands for a moment


one
to the other

at the table, smiling from

and

evidently anxious to say something.

Bob and Mollie


at

are severe

and unfriendly.

They gaze

Hilda

coldly.

Sloivly PIilda's enthusiasm cools,

and

she becomes again the impassive servant.

Hilda.

Aixcuse me, Meeses Aispenhayne, I


in.

am

very sorry.
left.

I bring the dinner right

[Hilda exits

Bob.

It's all

nonsense.

[Touches the plates again, but this

time even more cautiously than before.


entirely safe to handle.]

This time he finds they are

These plates are stone cold now.


meat
platter.

[Hilda

enters, left, ivith

Places

it

before

Bob.

He
Mollie.
not answer.

serves the

meat and Mollie

starts to serve the vege-

tables.

Hilda hands Mollie


?

her meat plate.

Vegetables

[Bob

is chetving

on his meat and does

Mollie
softly,

looks at

him

inquiringly.
[Still

But

his eyes are

on his

plate.

Repeating.]

Vegetables }
breath.]

no answer from

Bob.

Very

under her

H'mm.
and then
dishes out

[Mollie helps

herself to vegetables

WHERE BUT
dish beside

IN

AMERICA
who

315

portion which she hands to Hilda,

in turn places the

Bob.

Wheii both are served Hilda stands


of the table.

for a

moment back

She clasps and unclasps


to her she slouiy

her hands in a nervous manner, seems about to speak, but

as

Bob and Mollie pay


reluctantly turns,

no attention
exits
left.

and

and

Mollie

takes one

or two bites of the meat

and then

gives

a quick glance at

Bob.

He

is

busy chewing at his meat, and


knife

Mollie
to the

quietly lays
vegetables.

down her

and fork and turns

Bob.
lieve
?

[Chewing desperately on his meat.]

Tenderloin, I be-

Mollie.
Bob.

[Sweetly.]

Yes, dear.
back.]

[Imitating

Mollie a moment
bites.]

H'mm

[He takes

one or two more hard

Mollie, I have an idea.

Mollie.
Bob.

I'm

relieved.

we

when you hear it. When name from Fanny Russell, we'll tell him that instead of a garage, which we don't need, he can build a Then while Hilda special telephone booth off the kitchen.
[Savagely.]

Yes, you will be

get that builder's

serves the dinner

[Bob
Hilda.

stops short, as
to the table.

Hilda

bursts in abruptly,

left,

and

comes

Aixcuse me, Meeses Aispenhayne, I


[Anxiously.]
[Explosively.]

am

so excited,
?

Mollie.
Hilda.
quist he say

Is

anything wrong, Hilda

Meeses Aispenhayne, Meester Leendknives

move to Highland Park. [Bob and Mollie simultaneously drop their forks and look at Hilda in astonishment and
you want
to

and

wonder.

Mollie.
Bob.
Hilda.

What.?

Who?
[Repeats very rapidly.]

Meester Leendquist, he say


at

you look for house on North Shore Utterly overcome at Hilda's knowledge and Mollie.
[

loss

316
for

OSCAR
!

M.

WOLFF
Shore ?

words of denial.]

We move to the North

How ridic[Turns
to

ulous

Hilda, where did you get such an idea?

Robert.]

Robert, did you ever hear anything so laughable?

[She forces a strained laugh.]


looking at

Ha Ha Ha
!

[Robert has been


answer, gulps, swalafter waiting

Hilda

in

dumb

wonder.

At Mollie's question he
starts to

turns to her in startled surprise.

He

lows hard, and then coughs violently.

Very sharply,

a moment for

Bob

to

answer.]

Robert Espenhayne,

will

you

stop that coughing and answer

me
Egh
!
!

Bob.

[Between coughs, and drinking a glass of water.]

Egh

Excuse me

Something, eh
to

egh

stuck in

my

throat.

MoLLiE.

[Turning

Hilda.]

move

north, Hilda, but not

now

Some day we might want Oh, no, not now

to

Bob.
Hilda.

Who

told

you

that,

Hilda ?

Meester Leendquist.
[Puzzled.]

MoLLiE.
Hilda.
speak to
embarrassed.]

Who

is

Mr. Lindquist.?

[Surprised.]

Meester Leendquist

[Pauses, a

trifle

Meester Leendquist ees young


telephone.

man who

just

me on

He come

to see

me

every Saturday.

Bob.
Bob.]

Oh, Mr. Lindquist, thetheTer


[Interrupting frantically,

MoLLiE.

and waving her hands

at

Yes, yes, of course.

catches himself just in time


relief,

You know Mr. and Mollie settles

Lindquist
back
zvith

[Bob

a sigh of
did

then turns to

Hilda with a puzzled air.]

But where

Mr.

Lindquist get such an idea ?


tell heem so. [Now e?itirely beivildered.] What Mrs. Russell ? Hilda. Meeses Russell your friend. Mollie. [More and more at sea.] Mrs. Edwin Russell, who comes to see me every now and then ?

Hilda.

Mrs. Russell

Mollie.

Hilda.

Yes.

Mollie.
to the

and why should she

But how does Mrs. Russell know Mr. Lindquist tell Mr. Lindquist that we expected to move

North Shore ?

WHERE BUT
Hilda.

IN
lie

AMERICA

317

Meester Leendquist,

build Meeses Russell's house.

That
he

ees hees business.

He

build houses on

North Shore and


at

sell

them and rent them. [Bob and Mollie look at each der and astonishment as the
their brains.

other

and

Hilda

in won-

situation slowly filters into

long pause.]

Bob.
every

quist, the 3"oung

You mean that Mr. Lindman who comes to see you every every now and then is the same man who put up the Russell
[In awe

and astonishment.]

house ?

Hilda.

Yes, Meester Aispenhayne.


[Slowly.]

Bob.
lie]

And when Mrs. Espenhayne


[jerks his

[points to

Mol-

wrote to Mrs. Russell [jerks his thumb

to indicate the north],

Mrs. Russell told Mr. Lindquist


direction]

thumb in opposite
[Points to Hilda.

and Mr. Lindquist telephoned


Yes, Meester Aispenhayne.

to

you ?
[Nodding.

Hilda.

Bob.
at

[Very thoughtfully and slowly.]

H'mm

[Then slowly
jest

resuming his meal and speaking in mock seriousness, in subtle

Mollie, and imitating her

tone of a

moment

or two back.]

But
to the

of course,

you understand, Hilda, we don't want to move


!

North Shore now


Hilda.

Oh, no, not now


crestfallen.]

[Somewhat
[Reflectively.]

Yes, Meester Aispenhayne.


if

Bob.
houses,

But, of course,
Yes,

Mr. Lindquist builds


Yes, Meester

we might

look.

we might

look.

Hilda.

[In growing confidence

and enthusiasm.]

Aispenhayne, and he build such beautiful houses and so cheap.

He do

Hees father was carpenter and he so much heemself. work hees way through Uneeversity of Mennesota and study architecture and then he go to Uneeversity of Eelenois and study

now he been in business for heemself And oh, Meeses Aispenhayne, you must see hees own home You will love eet, eet ees so beautiful. A little house, far back from the road. You can hardly see eet for the
landscape gardening and
sex years.
!

318
trees

OSCAR

M.

WOLFF
roses

around

and the shrubs, and een the summer the Eet is just like the picture book eet.

grow

all

MoLLiE.
or

[In the most perfunctory tone, utterly without interest

enthusiasm.]
to

How

charming

[Pauses

thoughtfully,
if

then

turns

Hilda, anxiously.]

Then

I suppose, Hilda,

we should

decide to

move up

to the

Hilda.

[Hesitatingly.]

North Shore you would go with us ? Yes, Meeses Aispenhayne. [Pauses.]


you thees spring Meester Leendquist
Meester Leendquist's business
to the

But

I theenk I

must

tell

and I aixpect
ees very good.
other.]

to get married.

[With a quick smile and a glance from one


I

You know,

am

partner with heem.

I put

all

my

money een Meester

Leendquist's business too.


at each other in complete resignation

[MoLLiE and Bob gaze


and surrender. Bob.

[Quite seriously after a long pause.]


will

Hilda, I don't

know

whether we

move north

or not, but the next time


to introduce

Mr. LindI'd like


like that.

quist comes here I

want you

me

to him.

to

know him.
Hilda.

You ought

to be very

proud of a

man

[Radiant with pleasure.]

Thank you, Meester

Ais-

penhayne.

MoLLiE. Yes, indeed, Hilda, Mr. Espenhayne has often said what a fine .young man Mr. Lindquist seems to be. We want to meet him, and Mr. Espenhayne and I will talk about the house, and then we will speak to Mr. Lindquist. [Then weakly.] Of course, we didn't expect to move north for a long time, but, of course, if you expect to get married, and Mr. Lindquist builds
houses
[Her voice dies out.
Loiig pause.

Hilda.
quist.

Thank you, Meeses Aispenhayne,


at the table

tell

Mr. Leend-

[Hilda stands

a moment longer, then slowly turns

Bob and Mollie ivatch her left. and as she moves away from the table Bob turns to Mollis. At this moment Hilda stops, turns suddenly
and moves toward
door,

and

returns to the table.

WHERE BUT
Hilda.

IN

AMERICA

319

Oh, Meeses Aispenhayne, I forget one theeng

MoLLiE.
Hilda.

What now, Hilda ?


Meester Leendquist say eef you and Meester Aispento look at property

hayne want

on North Shore, I

shall let

heem

know and he meet you

at station weeth hees automobile.

CURTAIN

A DOLLAR
BY

DAVID PINSKI

A
B.

Dollar

is

reprinted

by

special permission of

W. Huebsch, New York

City, the publisher of

All Plays, from which this play is taken. mission to perform address the publisher.

David Pinski and of David Pinski's Ten For perrights reserved.

DAVID PINSKI
David Pinski, perhaps the most notable dramatist of the Yiddish Theatre, was born of Jewish parentage April 5, 1872, in Mohilev, on the Dnieper, White Russia. Because his parents had rabbinical aspirations for him he was well educated in Hebrew
studies (Bible

and Talmud) by

his fourteenth year,

when

he moved to Moscow, where he was further trained in classical and secular studies. In 1891 he planned to study medicine in Vienna, but soon returned to Warsaw, where he began his literary work as a short-story writer. In 189G he took up the study of philosophy and literature, and in 1899 wrote his first plays. In 1899 he came to New York City, where he is now editor of the Jewish daily. Die Zeit. In 1911 he revisited Germany to see a production of his well-known comedy, The Treas-

by Max Reinhart. Mr. Pinski is zealous in his interests in literature, drama, socialism, and Zionism. Drama is to him an interpretation of life, and a guide and leader, as were the words of the old poets and prophets. "The dramatic technique," says he, "changes
ure,

One

with each plot, as each plot brings with it its own technique. thing, however, must be common to all the different forms of the dramatic technique avoidance of tediousness." Mr. Pinski has written a goodly number of plays, most of which are on Yiddish themes. Forgotten Souls, The Stranger^ Sufferings, The Treasure, The PJionograph, and A Dollar may be mentioned. Most of his plays have been produced many times; The Stranger played the third season in IMoscow. "I wrote A Dollar," says he, "in the summer of 1913, when I was hard pressed financially. I relieved myself of my feelings by a hearty laugh at the almighty dollar and the race for it. Just as I did many summers before, m 1906, when I entertained myself by ridiculing the mad money joy in the bigger comedy.

The Treasure."

PERSONS
The Characters
are given in the order of their appearance.

The Comedian The Villain The Tragedian


Actor who
plays

"Old Man"

role

The Heroine The Ingenue


Actress who plays "Old

Woman"

role

The Stranger

A DOLLAR
A
cross-roads at the edge of a forest.

One road extends from


bordered with grass.
to

left

to right ; the other crosses the first diagonally,

disappearing

into the forest.

The roadside

is

On

the

right, at the crossing, stands

a sign-post,

which are nailed

two hoards, giving directions and distances.

The afternoon of a summer day. players enters from the left.

troupe of stranded strolling

They are ragged and weary.


valise in each hand, fol-

The Comedian walks first, holding a


ivrapped in bed-sheets.

lowed by the Villain carrying over his arms two huge bundles

Immediately behind these the Tragecarrying together a large, heavy

dian and
trunk.

the

"Old Man"

Comedian.
actors.]

[Stepping toward the sign-post, reading the direc-

tions on the boards,

and explaining
[pointing to right
is

to

the

approaching fellow-

That way

and
This

stvinging the valise to

indicate the direction]


is

thirty miles.

way

[pointing to

left]

forty-five

and
is

that

way

it

is

thirty-six.

Now

choose for

yourself the

town that

you'll never reach to-day.

The nearest

way

for us

back to where we came from, whence we were

escorted with the most splendid catcalls that ever crowned our
histrionic successes.

Villain.

[Exhausted.]
?

Who

will lend

me

a hand to wipe off

my

perspiration

It has a nasty

way

of streaming into

my

mouth.

Comedian.
tion water a

Stand on your head, then, and


fruitful soil.

let

your perspira-

more

Villain.

Oh
325

326

DAVID PINSKI
[He drops his arms,
the bundles fall

down.

He

then sinks

down
and

onto one of them

and wipes

off the perspiration,

moving his hand wearily over his face.


the

The Tragedian

"Old Man" approach

the post

and read

the

signs.

Tragedian.
hopeless
!

[In a deep, dramatic voice.]

It's hopeless

It's

[He
[Lets go his

lets

go his end of the trunk.

"Old Man."
stop.

end of

the trunk.]

Mm.

Another
a tragico-

[Tragedian

sits

himself

down on

the trunk in

heroic pose, knees wide apart, right elbow on right knee,


left

hand on

left leg,

head

slightly bent

toward the

right.

Comedian puts down the valises and rolls a cigarette. The "Old IVIan" also sits down upon the trunk, head
sunk upon his
Villain.
breast.
!

Thirty miles to the nearest town


It's

Thirty miles

Comedian.

an outrage how far people move their towns

away from
Villain.

us.

We

won't strike a town until the day after toThat's luck for you
There's yet a

morrow.

Comedian.
Villain.
ing
!

Kurrah

day-after-to-moiTow for us.

And

the old

women

are

still

far behind us.

Crawl-

"Old Man."
Comedian.
with votes for
Villain.
It

They want

the vote and they can't even walk.

We won't give them votes, that's settled. Down


women
seems the devil himself can't take you
tired.
!

Neither

your tongue nor your feet ever get


Sit

You get on my nerves.

moment. I'm going back there to the lady of my heart. I'll meet her and fetch her hither in my arms. [He spits on his hands, turns up his sleeves, and strides rapfor a

down and shut up

Comedian.

Me ? Haha

idly off toward the

left.

Villain.

Clown

DOLLAR

327

"Old Man.'* How can he laugh and play his pranks even now? We haven't a cent to our souls, our supply of food is
running low and our shoes are dilapidated.

Tragedian.

[With an outburst.]
is

Stop

it

No

reckoning

The number
is

of our sins

great

and the

tale of

our misfortunes

even greater.
is left

Holy Father!

Our

flasks are

empty; I'd give


a

what

of our soles [displaying his ragged shoes] for just

smell of whiskey.

[From

the left is

heard the laughter of a woman.

Enter the

Comedian

carrying in his arms the

Heroine, who has


satchel in both

her hands around his neck

and holds a

hands behind his back.

Comedian.
down,
feet,

[Letting his burden

down upon

the grass.]

Sit

my

love,

and
the

rest up.

We

go no further to-day.

your tender
!

little feet
first

must ache you.

How

Your unhappy that

makes me
mobile.

At

opportunity I shall buy you an auto-

Heroine.

Comedian.
[Enter

in the meantime you may carry me oftener. The beast of burden hears and obeys. the Ingenue and the "Old Woman," each carrying

And

a small

satchel.

Ingenue.
Villain.

[Weary and pouting.]

Ah!
us.

No

one carried m^.

[She sits on the grass to the right of the

Heroine.

We have only one ass with [Comedian stretches himself out at


and emits
the bray of

the feet of the

a donkey.

Heroine "Old Woman" sits

down on

the grass to the left of the

Heroine.

"Old Woman." And "Old Man." No, we


Comedian.
over toward the

are

we

to pass the night here.?

shall stop at
like

"Hotel Neverwas.**
[Turning

Don't you

our night's lodgings.?


See, the

"Old Woman."]
in.

bed

is

broad and wide,

and
a

certainly without vermin.

Just feel the high grass.

Such

soft

bed you never slept

And you
stars,

shall

have a cover em-

broidered with the

moon and

a cover such as no royal

bride ever possessed.

328

DAVID PINSKI
You're laughing, and I
feel like crying.

"Old Woman."
Comedian.
spired

Crying.^

You
its

should be ashamed of the sun

which favors you with


!

setting splendor.

Look, and be

in-

V1LL.A.1N.

Yes, look and expire.

Comedian.

Look, and shout with ecstasy Look, and burst


starts sobbing.

"Old Man."
[Ingenue

Tragedian
Ingenue.]

laughs

hoavili/.
!

Comedian.
crying
?

[Turning over

to the

What

You

are

Aren't you ashamed of yourself ?

Ingenue.

I'm sad.
[Sniffling.]
it
!

"Old Woman."
Heroine.
Stop

I can't stand

it

any

longer.

Or

I'll

start bawling, too.

[Comedian springs

to his

knees a7id looks quickly from one

woman
Villain.

to the other.
!

Haha

Cheer them up, clown

Comedian.
voice.]

[Jumps up abruptly without


it
!

the aid of his hands.]

Ladies and gentlemen, I have

[In a measured
it

and singing

Ladies and gentlemen, I have

Heroine.

What have you ?


Cheerfulness.

Comedian.
Villain.

Go bury
[As

yourself, clown.

Tragedian.

before.]

Ho-ho-ho
the louder.

"Old Man." P-o-o-h! [The women weep all


Comedian.
to the

have

a bottle of whiskey
The women stop crying and look up
in amazement; the

[General commotion.

Comedian

Tragedian

straight-

ens himself out and

casts a surprised look at the

Cometo his

dian; the
feet
;

"Old Man,"

rubbing his hands, jumps


at the

the

Villain looks suspiciously


bottle of whiskey
.'*

Comedian.

Tragedian.

"Old Man."
Villain.

He-he-he

Humwhiskey.

A bottle

of whiskey.

A
ConTEDiAN.
served for such
ion

DOLLAR
A
bottle of whiskey, hidden

829
and pre-

You

bet

moments
tears.

as this, a

moment

of masculine depres-

and feminine

[Taking the flask from his hip pocket.


the faces of all changes

The expression on
disappointment.
it

from hope

to

Villain.

You

call

that a bottle.

I call

flask.

Tragedian.

[Explosively.]

thimble

"Old Man." A dropper! "Old Woman." For seven


Comedian.
whiskey,

of us

Oh!
But
it's
it.]

[Letting the flash sparkle in the sun.]

my
!

children.

[Opening the flask

and smelling

U-u-u-m

That's whiskey for you.


it

The saloonkeeper from


from sheer despair.
rising as if un-

whom

hooked

will

become a
still

teetotaler

[Tragedian
the flask. willing.

rising heavily

and slowly proceeding toward


skeptical

Villain

and

The "Old ]Man" chuckling and rubbing his


The "Old

hands.

Woman"

getting

up

indifferently

and moving
ballet steps

apathetically toward the flask.


the

The Hero-

ine and Ingenue hold each other by


in waltz time.

hand and take

All approach the

Comedian

with necks eagerly stretched out and smell the flask, which

Tragedian.
Villain.

Comedian holds firmly in both hands. Ho-ho-ho Fine "Old Man." He-he Small quantity, but excellent
the

quality

Seems to be good whiskey.


[Dancing and singing.
is

Heroine.
dian.

My

comedian,

my

come-

Kis head

in the right place.

But why

didn't

you nab

a larger bottle ^

Comedian.

My

beloved one, I had to take in consideration


size of

both the quality of the whiskey and the

my pocket.
to go round.

"Old Woman."
Ingenue.

If

only there's enough of

it

Oh, I'm feeling sad again.

Comedian.
p.

Cheer up, there


it

will

be enough for us

all.

Cheer

Here, smell

again.

330

DAVID PINSKI
{They smell again and cheerfulness reappears.

They join

hands and dance and sing, forming a

circle, the

Come-

dian applauding.

Comedian.
of
it,

Good

If

you are so cheered


a drink.

after a

mere smell

what won't you

feel like after

Wait, 111 join you.


I'll

[He hides the whiskey flash in his pocket.]


roundel which
let,

show you a new

we

will

perform

in

our next presentation of

Hamnow
Vil-

to the great edification of our esteemed audience.

[Kicking
clear,

the

Villain's bundles out of

the icay.]

The

place
circle,

is

for

dance and play.

Join hands and form a


it.

but you.

lain,

stay on the outside of


let
!

You
in,

are to try to get in and

we

dance and are not to

you

without getting out of step.

Understand ?
{The

Now

then

circle is

formed in

the following order

Comedlan,

Heroine, Tragediajn, "Old Woman," "Old Man,'*


Ingenue.

Comedian.

[Singing.]

To be

or not to be, that


is

is

the question.
is

That

the question, that


enter
in,

the question.

He who would
If

Climb he must over


over he cannot.

us.

He must

get under us.

REFRAIN
Tra-la-la, tra-la-la.

Over

us,

under

us.

Tra-la-la, tra-la-la.

Under

us,

over us.

Now we
[The

are jolly, jolly are we.

Comedian
it

sings the refrain alone ai first

and

the others

repeat

together with him.

A
Comedian.

DOLLAR
is

331

To be
In
life

or not to be, that


is

the question.
is

That

the question, that

the question.

to

win

success.

Elbow your way through.


Jostle the next one.

Else you will be jostled.

REFRAIN
[Same as
[On
the last
before.]

word of

the refrain they stop as if

dumbfounded,

and stand

transfixed^ with eyes directed

on one spot inside

of the ring.

The Villain
the

lea7is

over the

Comedian and
closer
till

Heroine; gradually

the circle

arms of the draws


to free

their

heads almost touch.

They attempt

their

hands but each holds on

to the other

and

all

seven

whisper in great astonishment.

All.

a
[The

dollar
circle

opens up again, they look each at the other and

shout in wonder.

All.

dollar

[Once more they close in and the struggle to free their hands

grows wilder ; the Villain

tries to

climb over and then


stretches out his
is

under

the

hands into

the circle

and

hand

toward the dollar, but instinctively he


couple he tries to pass between, even but only
felt.

stopped by the
is

when he

not seen

Again

all

lean their heads over the dollar,


it,

quite lost in the contemplation of

and whispering,

enraptured.

All.

dollar

[Separating once again they look at each other with exultation

and

at the

same time
ecstasy.

try to free their hands, once

more exclaiming in All.

dollar

332

DAVID PINSKI
[Then the struggle
to get free

grows wilder and wilder.

Hit
hy

hand
the

that is perchance freed is quickly grasped again


it.

one who held


[In pain.]

Ingenue.
break them.

Oh,

my
!

hands,

my my
it.

hands

You'll

Let go of
If

my

hands

"Old Woman."

you don't

let

go of

hands

I'll bite.

[Attempting to bite the hands of the

TaAGEDLVN and

the

"Old Man,"

while they try to prevent

"Old ]Man." [Trying to free his hands from the Heroine and the "Old Woman."] Let go of me.
both his hands.]

hold of the
[Pulling at
frail,

These women's hands that

seem so
go

just

look at them now.

Heroine.

[To Comedian.]
I think
it's

But you

let

my
If

hands.

Comedian.
Heroine.

you who are holding


mine, you know.

fast to mine.

^ATiy should I be holding you.^


is

you pick up
up.

the dollar, what

yours
let

is

Comedian.
Heroine.

Then
No,

go of

my

I'd rather pick

it

hand and I'll pick up myself.

it

Comedian.
Heroine.

I expected something like that


[Angrily.]

from you.
all.

Let go of

my

hands, that's

Comedian.
jommand.]

Ha-ha-ha
quiet.

It's

a huge joke.
still.]

[In a tone of

Be

[They become

We

plate the dollar with religious reverence.


quiet, I say
!

[Commotion.]

must contemKeep
real dollar in

dollar

is

spread out before us.

the midst of our

circle,

and everything within us draws us

toward
fore

it,

draws us on

irresistibly.

Be

quiet

are before the Ruler, before the Almighty.

Remember you On your knees be!

him and pray. On your knees. [Sinks down on his knees and drags with him
and Ingenue.
dragging the

the

Heroine
and

"Old Man" dropping on "Old Woman" with him.

his knees

"Old Man."
Tragedl^n.

He-he-he! Ho-ho-ho, clown

Comedian.

[To Tragedian.]

You

are not worthy of the

A
serious
esty.

DOLLAR
don't appreciate true Divine

333
Maj-

mask you wear.

You

On

your knees, or you'll get no whiskey.

[Tragedian

sinks heavily on his knees.]

holy dollar,

almighty ruler of

the universe, before thee

we

kneel in the dust and send toward

thee our most tearful and heartfelt prayers.

Our hands

are

bound, but our hearts strive toward thee and our souls yearn
for thee.

great king of kings, thou

who

bringest together

those

who thou who

are separated,

and separatest those who are near,

[The Villain, who is standing aside, takes a full jump,


clears the

Ingenue and

grasps the dollar.

All

let

go of

one another and fall upon him, shouting, screaming, pushing,

and

fighting.

Finally the Villain manages


fist.

to

free

himself, holding the dollar in his right

The others

follow

him with clenched fists,

glaring eyes,

and foaming Return the

mouths, wildly shouting.

All.
dollar

The

dollar!

The

dollar!

The

dollar!

Villain.
mine.
It

[Retreating.]

You

can't take

it

away from me;


!

it's

was lying under

my
!

bundle.

All.

Give up the dollar


[Tn great rage.]

Give up the dollar

Villain.

No, no.

[A moment during which


Quietly but with

the opposing sides look at each other in hatred.

malice.]

Moreover,

whom

should I give

it

to

To you

you you Comedian.

you
is

Ha-ha-ha-ha
it is his.

He

is

right,

the dollar

his.

He

has

it,

therefore

Ha-ha-ha-ha, and I wanted to


it

crawl on
teeth.

my

knees toward the dollar and pick


of

up with

my

Ha-ha-ha-ha, but he got ahead


[Whispering in
rage.]

me. Ha-ha-ha-ha.

Heroine.
not
let

That's because you would

go of me.

Comedian.
Tragedian.

Ha-ha-ha-ha
[Shaking his
fist

in the face of the Villain.]

Heaven and

hell,

I feel like crushing you

334

DAVID PINSKI
[He steps aside toward
pose.
the trunk

Ingenue,

lying

Comedian.
ckink
is

Ha-ha-ha!
is

and sits down in his former down on the grass, starts to cry. Now we will drink, and the first

the Villain's.
accepted in gloom; the
the

[His proposition
ever,

Ingenue, howand
the

stops

crying;

"Old

IVIan"

"Old

Woman"
to snatch
it

have been standing by the Villain looking at

the dollar in his

hand as

from him.
latter, left

if waiting for the proper moment Finally the " Old Woman " makes

a contemptuous gesture and both turn aside from


lain.

the

Vil-

The

in peace, smooths out the dollar,

with a serious expression on his face.

The Comedian

hands him a small glass of whiskey.

Comedian.

Drink, lucky one.


fist,

[The Villain, shutting the dollar in his

takes the
re-

whiskey glass gravely and quickly drinks the contents,


turning the glass.
the dollar again.

He

then starts to smooth


still

and

caress

The Comedian, The whiskey

laughing, passes

the

whiskey glass from one


sullenly.

to the other of the

company,

who drink
Heroine,

fails to cheer them.

After drinking, the

Ingenue

begins to sob again.

The

icho is served last, throws the

empty whiskey

glass toward the

Comedian.

Comedian.
the bottle.

Good

shot.

Now

I'll

drink up

all

that's left in

[He puts
tries to

the flask to his lips

knock

it

and drinks. away from him, but he


to

The Heroine
skilfully evades

her.

The Villain continues

smooth and caress the

dollar.

Villain.

Ha-ha-ha

[Singing and dancing.

He who would enter in. Jump he must over us.


Ho-ho-ho!
World!
.

O Holy Dollar! O Almighty O King of Kings! Ha-ha-ha!

Ruler of
. .

the

Don't you

A
all

DOLLAR
it

335
not that I partake

think

if

have the dollar and you have

a bit of
majesty.

its

majesty?

That means that

am now

a part of

its

That means that I am the Almighty Dollar's plenipoOn tentiary, and therefore I am the Almighty Ruler himself. He-he-he your knees before me Comedian. [After throwing away the empty flask, lies down on Well roared, lion, but you forgot to hide your jackthe grass.]
! . .

ass's ears.

Villain.

It

is

one's consciousness of power.

He-he-he.

know and you know that if I have the money I have the say. Remember, none of you has a cent to his name. The whiskey is
gone.
[Picking
I did

Comedian.
Villain.

my

job well.

Yes, to the last

up the flask and examining it. Drank it to the last drop. drop. This evening you shall have
too, for

bread and sausage.


another day.

Very small portions,


shall

to-morrow

is

[Ingenue sobbing more

frequently.]

Not

till

the

day
he.

after

to-morrow

we reach town, and that

doesn't

mean

that you get anything to eat there, either, but I

IIhe-heHe who
Ha-ha-ha

does

O Holy Dollar, Almighty Dollar! my bidding shall not be without food.


[With wide-open
gets
eyes.]

[Gravely.]

Comedian.
bosom.

What ?
herself

[Ingenue
Ingenue.
Villain.

up and throws

on

the

Villain's

Oh,

Ha-ha,

my dear beloved one. my power already makes


Ingenue
away.]

itself felt.

Heroine.

[Pushing the

Let go of him, you.


he shall have
it.

He

sought

my love for a long time and now


What ?
You
[To Comedian.]

Comedian.
Heroine.
Villain.]
I

I hate you,

traitor.

[To the

have always loved


I adore you.

genius.

You

are

now
into

the

wisest of the wise.

Villain.
other arm.

[Holding

Ingenue

in one arm.]

Come

my

[Heroine, throwing
bracing him.

herself into his arms, kissing

and em-

8S6
Comedian.

DAVID PINSKI
[Half rising
the grass.]

on his

knees.]

Stop,

protest.

[Throwing himself on

"O frailty, thy name is woman."


/ro/n.

"Old Woman."
embracing him.]
play the "Old

[Approaching the Villain


little

behind and
for

Find a

spot on your

bosom

me.

Woman," but you know I'm


I have
all

not really old.

Villain.

Now

of

power and
Call
it

all of love.

Comedian.
Villain.

Don't

call it love.

servility.

[Freeing himself from the women.]

But now
vassals

I have

something more important to carry out.

My

I mean
We

you
will

all

I have decided we
How so ? We go forward
You have

will

not stay here over night.

proceed further.

Women.
Villain.

to-night.
?

Comedian.
Villain.

so decided

I have so decided,

and that

in itself

should be

enough

for you;

but due to an old habit I

shall explain to

you

why

I have so decided.

Comedian.
not disturb
Villain.

Keep your explanation


I'll

to yourself

and better

my contemplation

of the sunset.
blacklist.

put you down on the


go

It will go

ill

with you for your speeches against me.


explanation,
well, then, I

Now,

then, without an
stirs.]

we

will

and

at once.

[Nobody

Very

go alone.

Women.
Villain.

No, no.

What do you mean ?


I go with you.
I.

Ingenue.

Heroine.
Villain.

And "Old Woman."

And

I.

Your loyalty "Old ]Man." [Who is


the deuce
I
is

gratifies

me
?

very much.

sitting apathetically

upon

the trunk.]

What

urging you to go

Villain.

wanted to explain to you, but now no more.


I

owe you no
that
is

explanations.

have decided

wish to go, and

sufficient.

A
Comedian.
head

DOLLAR
comedy wonderfully.

337

He

plays his

Would you

ever have suspected that there was so


?

much

wit in his cabbage

Women.
gle glance.

[Making

love to

tlie

Villain.]

Oh, you darling.

Tragedian.
Villain.

[Majestically.]

I wouldn't give

him even a
tell

sin-

Still

another on the blacklist.

I'll

you

this

much

I have decided
Ha-ha-ha
!

Comedian.
Villain.

How

long will you keep this up


if

We

start at once,

but

am

to

pay

for

your food

I will not carry any baggage.

among you and


now. away.

of course those

the heaviest share.

You shall divide my bundles who are on the blacklist will get You heard me. Now move on. I'm going
town, which
is

We will proceed to the nearest


Now,
then, I

thirty miles

am

ofiP.

Comedian.
Villain.

Bon voyage. And with me fares His Majesty


are coming,
I'll

the Dollar and

your meals for to-morrow.

Women. We "Old Man."


Tragedian.

we

are coming.

go along.

[To the Villain.]

You're a scoundrel and a

mean
giver.

fellow.

Villain.

am

no fellow of yours.

am

master and bread-

Tragedian.
Villain.

I'll

crush you in a moment.

What ?
to right.

You

threaten

me

Let's go.
their satchels

[Turns
him.

The women take

and follow

"Old Man."
trunk.
is

[To the Tragedian.]

Get up and take the


It

We

will settle the score

with him some other time.

he

who has

the dollar now.


[Rising and shaking his
fist.]

Tragedian.
Villain.

I'll

get

him

yet.

[He takes his side of the trunk.


[To Tragedian.]
First put one of

my

bundles on

your back.

338
Tragedian.
Villain.

DAVID PINSKI
[In rage.]
all

One

of

your bundles on
it

my

back ?

Oh, for

I care

you can put

on your head, or

between your teeth.

"Old
you

JVIan."

We

will

put the bundle on the trunk.

Comedian.
in earnest.'^

[Sitting up.]

Look

here, are

you joking or are

Villain.

[Contemptuoushj.]

I never joke.

Comedian.
Villain.

Then you are in earnest ? I'll make no explanations.

Comedian.
dollar

Do

you

really think that because

you have the

Villain.
kings.

The holy

dollar, the

almighty dollar, the king of

Comedian.
ter

[Continuing.]

That

therefore

you are the mas-

Villain.

Bread-giver and provider.

Comedian.
Villain.

And

that

we must
in earnest ?

Do what

I bid you to.

Comedian.
Villain.

So you are

You must
[Rising.]

get up, take the baggage and follow

me.

Comedian.
Villain.

Then
if

I declare a revolution.
!

What

.'*

revolution

Comedian.
Tragedl\n.
with a
first

A bloody one,

need be.

[Dropping his end of the trunk and advancing


toward the Villain.]

bellicose attitude

And

I shall be the

to let 3'our blood,

you scoundrel.
have nothing to say to you.

Villain.

If that's the case I

Those who wish, come along.

Comedian.
Villain.

[Getting in his way.]


dollar.

No, you

shall

not go until

you give up the


Comedian.
Villain.

Ha-ha.

It

is

to laugh
'

The

dollar, please, or

He-he-he

Comedian.

Then

let there

be blood.

[Turns up his

sleeves.

A
Tragedian.
[Taking

DOLLAR
Ah
!

339
Blood, blood

off his coat.]

"Old Man."

[Dropping his end of the trunk.]

I'm not going

to keep out of a fight.

Women.
Villain.

[Dropping his
[Shouting.]
?

satchels.]

Nor we.
shall I give

Nor

we.

To whom

up the dollar?

You

youyou you

Comedian.
we'll get

This argument will not work any more.


all of us.
it
!

You

are to give the dollar up to

At the
it,

first

opportunity

change and divide

into equal parts.

Women.

Hurrah, hurrah
[To Villain.]

Divide

divide

it

Comedian.
Tragedian.

And

I will even be so good as to

give you a share.


I'd rather give

Comedian.

It shall be as I say.

Heroine.
comedian
!

[Throwing herself

him a sound thrashing. Give up the dollar. on the Comedian's breast.]


I'm
sick of you.

My

My comedian

Ingenue.
dollar.

[To the Villain.]

Give up the
better step

Comedian.
aside or else

[Pushing the

Heroine

aside.]

You

you may get the punch I aim at the master and bread-giver. [To the Villain.] Come up with the dollar Tragedian. Give up the dollar to him, do you hear ?
All.

The

dollar, the dollar


I'll

Villain.

tear

it

to pieces.

Comedian.
left

Then we shall tear out what little hair you have on your head. The dollar, quick [They surround the Villain; the women pull his hair; the Tragedian grabs him by the collar and shakes him; the "Old Man" strikes him on his bald pate ; the Comedian
!

struggles with

him and finally grasps


dollar.]

the dollar.
it

Comedian.
[The

[Holding up the

I have

women dance and


Bandits
!

sing.

Villain.

Thieves
I'll

Tragedian.

Silence, or

shut your mouth.

[Goes back to the trunk

and assumes

his heroic pose.

S40
Comedian.
fright

DAVID PINSKI
[Putting the dollar into hi* pocket.]

That's what
for a little

I call a successful

and a bloodless revolution, except

and heart palpitation on the part


Listen,

of the late master

and

bread-giver.

some one
puzzled

is

coming.

Perhaps

he'll

be able

to change the dollar and then

"Old Man."
parts.
[Starts to

am

we can divide it at once. how we can change it into equal


the

calculate

with

Ingenue and
the

the

"Old
are

Woman."
Heroine.
[Tenderly attentive
to

Comedian.]

You

angry with me, but I was only playing with him so as to wheedle
the dollar out of him.

Comedian.
of
it.

And now you want


It
is

to trick

me
it

out of

my

share

"Old Man."
It
is

impossible to divide
If it

into equal parts.

absolutely impossible.
five cents or

were ninety-eight cents or one


perceives the comto left.

hundred and
[The

Stranger
it,

enters

pany, greets
stops him.

from the right, and continues his way

Comedian

Comedian.

I beg your pardon,

sir;

perhaps you have change

of a dollar in dimes, nickels,

and pennies.
The "Old

[Showing the
forward.

dollar.

Man"

and women

step

Stranger.
the others

[Getting slightly nervous, starts somewhat,

makes a

quick movement for his pistol-pocket, looks at the

Comedian and
[Moving from

and says
left.]

sloicly.]

Change

of a dollar.^

the circle to

I believe I have.

Women.
Stranger.
revolver.]

Hurrah
[Turns so that no one
is

behind him and pulls his

Hands up
[In a gentle tone of voice.]

Comedian.
Stranger.

My

dear

sir,

we

are

altogether peaceful folk.

[Takes the dollar from the Comedian's hand and

A
walks backwards
to left

DOLLAR

341
Good-

with the pistol pointed at the group.]

night, everybody.

[He disappears, the actors remain dumb with fear, with


their

hands up, mouths wide open, and staring into space.


[Finally breaks out into thunderous laughter.]

Comedian.

Ha-

ha-ha-ha-ha-ha

CURTAIN

THE DIABOLICAL CIRCLE


BY

BEULAH BORNSTEAD

The Diabolical Circle is reprinted by special permission of Professor Franz Rickaby, in whose course in dramatic composition (English 36) For permisin the University of North Dakota this play was written. sion to perform, address Professor Franz Rickaby, University of North Dakota, University, North Dakota.

BEULAH BORNSTEAD
Beulah Bornstead, one of the promising young playwrights of the Northwest, was born in Grand Forks, North Dakota, May 5, 1896. She has had her academic training at the University of North Dakota, from which she received her B.A. in 1921. At present Miss Bornstead is principal of the Cavalier High School, North Dakota. Before attempting drama she tried her hand at journalism and at short-story writing. Miss Bornstead was introduced into playwriting by Professor Franz Rickaby, in whose course in dramatic composition at the University of North Dakota The Diabolical Circle was written. In speaking of this play Miss Bornstead writes: '^ The Diabolical Circle is the first play I have ever written. I never enjoyed doing anything so much in my life. The characters were so real to me that if I had bumped into one going round the corner I should not have been surprised in the least. Betty and Charles and Adonijah and even Cotton Mather himself worked that play out. All the humble author did was to set it down on paper." The Diabolical Circle was produced May 5, 1921, by the Dakota Play makers in their Little Theatre at the University of North Dakota. The Diabolical Circle is one of the best contemporary plays dealing with American historical material. Its characterization is one of its noteworthy elements.

CHARACTERS
Cotton Mather
Betty,
his daughter
suitor,

Adonijah Wigglesworth, a

and Cotton's

choice

Charles Manning,

likewise a suitor, but

Betty's choice

The Clock

THE DIABOLICAL CIRCLE


SCENE
TIME:
The
:

The living-room in

the

Mather home in Boston.

About 1700, an evening in early autumn.

stage represents the living-room of the colonial fireplace is seen down-stage

Mather home.
left,

large

within which stand

huge brass andirons.

To one

side hangs the bellows, with the

tongs near by, while above, underneath the mantelpiece, is sus-

pended an old flint-lock


brass candlesticks,

rifle.

On

both ends of the mantel are

and hanging

directly above is

an

old-fash-

ioned portrait of Betty's mother.


leading into the hall at centre
left,

There are two doors, one


the other,

communicating
straight high-

with the rest of the hou^e, up-stage right.

backed
towers
the

settee

is

down-stage right, while in the centre back

an

old grandfather's clock.

To

the left of the clock is


chintz.

window, cross-barred and draped with flowered

An

old-fashioned table occupies the corner between the

window

and

the hall door.

Here and

there are various straight-backed

chairs of

Dutch

origin.

Rag

rugs cover the floor.


is seated

As

the curtain rises

by the

fire,

with

Cotton Mather Betty on a stool


is

in a large armchair

at his feet, with her knitting.

CoTTOJNT, his hair already touched with the whitening frost of

many

a severe

New England winter,

grave

and

sedate.

Very much

exercised ivith the perils of this

life,

and

serenely contemplative

of the

life to

come, he takes himself and the world about

him

very seriously.

Not
*

so with

Mistress Betty.

Outwardly demure, yet inwardly

of the

Plans for this clock may be had by addressing Professor N. B. Knapp, Manual Training Department, University of North Dakota,

University, North Dakota.

Copyright, 1922, by the Dakota Playmakers.

347

348
rebellious

BEULAH BORNSTEAD
against the straitened

conventions

of the

times,

she dimples over with roguish merriment


provocation.

upon

the slightest

As we first
Cotton.
daughter,

see

them Cotton

is

giving

Bettt som

timely advice.

But you must understand that marriage,


in

my

is

a most reverend and serious matter which should

be approached
responsibility.

a manner

fittingly considerate of its

grave

Betty.
about

[Thoughtfully.]

Truly reverend and most


but I
like

serious,

father [looking
it.

up

roguishly],

not so

much

of the grave

Cotton.
too lightly.

[Continuing.] It
is

I fear thou lookest

upon the matter

not seemly to treat such a momentous occa-

sion thus flippanth^

Betty.
Marriage
thee.
is

[Protesting.]

Nay,

father,

yet a great

way

off.

why Mayhap

consider

it

at

all.?

I shall never leave

Cotton.
selves of
forth.

on to leave

Thou little thinkest that I may be suddenly called The Good AVord cautions us to boast not ourthe morrow, for we know not what a day may bring
thee.

Betty.
well.

[Dropping her

knitting.]

Father, thou art not feeling

Perhaps

Cotton.

Nay,

child,

be not alarmed.

'Tis

but a most necI will not

essary lesson to be learned

and

laid

up

in

the heart.

always be with thee and I would


of thy future welfare before I go.

like to

be comfortably assured

Betty.

[Picking her knitting up.]

Be comfortably

assured,

then, I prithee; I have

no

fears.

Cotton.
chair.]

[Bringing his
!

Aj^e

There
!

thou had'st some and virtuous mother only

arm doion forcibly on the arm of the Thou hast no fears. Would that [Looks up at the portrait.] Had thy prudent
it
is.

lived to point the

way, I might be

THE DIABOLICAL CIRCLE


spared this anxiety; but, beset by diverse
lishing the

349

difficulties in estab-

and sorely harassed by many hardships and by evil men, I fear me I have not propounded to thee much that I ought. Betty. In what then is mine education lacking? Have I
of
in this country,

kingdom

God

not

all

that

is

fitting

and proper
I

for

a maiden to know ?
not.

Cotton.

[Perplexed.]

know
estate.

I have done

my

best,

but thou hast not the proper attitude of mind befitting a maiden

about to enter the married

Betty.

[Protesting.]

Nay, but I

am

not about to enter the

married estate.

Cotton.
Betty.
whither

It

is

time.

[Mockingly pleading.]

Entreat

me

not to leave thee,


will go,

father, nor forsake thee; for whither

thou goest I

and
a
ir-

Cotton.
reverence.

[Interrupting sternly.]

Betty

It

ill

befitteth

daughter of mine to quote the Scriptures with such seeming

^I

would not be parted from

thee, yet I

would that

thou wert promised to some godly and upright soul that would
guide thee yet more surely in the paths of righteousness.

There

be

many
Betty.

such.

Yea, too many.

Cotton.
Betty.

What meanest thou ?


One were one too many when
[Shaking his head.]
I would have none.
!

Cotton.

Ah, Betty, Betty

When

wilt

thou be serious?
surrounding thee
of his godly

There

is

a goodly youth

among

the friends

whom

have often marked, both on account

demeanor and simple wisdom.


[Nodding.]

Betty.

Yea, simple.

Cotton.
ble

I speak of Adonijah Wigglesworth, a most estima-

young gentleman, an acquaintance


Yea, cultivate.

whom

thou would'st do

well to cultivate.

Betty.

Cotton.

What

thinkest thou

350
Betty.
break

BEULAH BORNSTEAD
A sod
His
too dense for any ploughshare.

My wit would

in the turning.
is

Cotton.
driven.

a strong nature, born to drive and not be

There

is

not such another, nay, not in the whole of

Boston.

Betty.

Nay, I have
[Testily.]

lately heard there be

many

such

Cotton.
Betty.
spread.]

Mayhap
up

thou couldst name a few.


her
left

[Musingly, holds

hand with fingers


little

out-

Aye, that I can.

[Checks off one on the

finger.]

There be Marcus Ainslee

Cotton.
Betty.

goodly youth that hath an eye for books.


eye, sayest thou.?

One

neither morocco

Nay, four; and since I am bound nor edged with gilt, let us consign him
of action, then, should appeal

to the shelf wherein he findeth fullest compensation.

Cotton.
worth ?

How now ? A man


What

to thy brash tastes.

sayest thou to Jeremiah

Wads-

Betty.

Too brash and rash


and
I'll

for

me

[checking off that candi-

date on the next finger],

have none of him.

There's Percy

Wayne. Cotton.
Betty.

Of the bluest blood in Boston. Yet that be not everything [checks and Jonas Appleby
Cotton.

off another finger]

He

hath an eye to worldly goods


Especially the larder.

Betty.

[Quickly.]

To marry him

would be an everlasting round between the tankard and the


kettle.

[Checks

him

off.]

Nay,

let

me

look yet farther

James

Endicott.

[Checking.]

Cotton.
Betty.

Aye, there might be a lad for thee; birth, breeding,


Yea, most agreeable

a well-favored countenance, and most agreeable.

unto
I

himself.

'Twere a pity

to disturb such unanimity.

Therefore, let us pass on.

Take

Charles Manning, an you please

Cotton.

It pleaseth

me

not

know

the

ilk; his

father be-

THE DIABOLICAL CIRCLE


fore

351

him a devoted servant


of

of the devil

and King Charles.

With

others of his kind he hath brought dissension

among

the young

men

Harvard,

many

of

whom

are dedicated to the service of

the Lord, with his wicked apparel and ungodly fashion of wear-

manner of Russians and barbarous Inhim brought up in such pride as doth in no ways become the service of the Lord. The devil himself hath laid hold on our young men, so that they do evaping long hair after the
dians.

Many

there be with

orate senseless, useless, noisy impertinency wherever they


be;

may

and now

it

has e'en got out in the pulpits of the land, to the

great grief and fear of

many

godly hearts.
starts to his feet

[He

and paces

the floor.

Betty.

[Standing upright.]
[Interrupting.]

Cotton.
hearing.

But Charles Mention not that scapegrace

in

my

Betty.
not

[Still persisting.]

But, father, truly thou knowest

Cotton.
tance.]

[Almost savagely, while


not.

Betty
have

retreats to
it.

a safe dis-

Name him
is

I will not

Compared with

Adonijah he

a reed shaken in the winds, whereas Adonijah

resemble th a tree planted by the river of waters.

Betty.
of the devil

[Who has been looking and thou wilt behold

out of the window.]


his horns.

Converse

Even now he ap-

proacheth the knocker.


[The knocker sounds.

Cotton.

[Sternly.]

Betake thyself to thine own chamber


ill

with thine unseemly tongue, which so

befitteth a maid.

[Betty

is

very demure, with head slightly bent

and downcast

eyes ; but the

moment Cotton

turns she glances roguishly


her glance revolves

after his retreating

form ; then while

about the room, she starts slightly as her gaze falls upon
the clock.

smile of mischievous delight

flits over

her

countenance as she tiptoes in Cotton's ivake until the


clock is reached.

Cotton, unsuspecting, meanichile pro-

352

BEULAH BORNSTEAD
ceeds to do his duty as host, ivith never a

backward glance.

While he

is

out in the hall

Betty, with a lingering smils

of triumph, climbs into the clock and cautiously peeks


forth as her father opens the door

and ushers in Adoni-

JAH, whereupon the door softly

closes.
sir.

Adonijah.

Good-morrow, reverend
I

Cotton.
Adonijah.
within.

Enter, and doubly welcome.

would inquire whether thy daughter Betty

is

Cotton.
Betty
ment.
will

We were but speaking of thee as thy knock sounded.


be here presently; she hath but retired for the mothyself in comfort.

Remove thy wraps and make


[Adonijah
crowned
is

a lean, lank, lantern-jawed individual, clad in


with high-

the conventional sober gray of the Puritan,


hat,

and a fur

tippet

to his ears.

He

removes the

wound about his neck up hat and tippet and hands


them upon the

them
table ;

to

Cotton, who
selects to

carefully places

meanwhile Adonijah looks appraisinghj about him


the

and judiciously
pauses a moment

armchair by the

fire.

He

rub his hands before the blaze, and

then gingerly relaxes into the depths of the armchair, as

though fearful his comfort would give


tained.

way

ere fully at-

Cotton
is

places a chair on the other side of

Adonijah and
Cotton.
last.?

is seated.
it

And how

with thee since I have seen thee

Adonijah.
finely as
it

My

business prospereth [mournfully], but not so

might well do.


is

[The clock strikes four, but

unnoticed by the two men.

Thou hast suffered some great loss ? Adonijah. But yes and no this matter of
Cotton.

lending

money
is

hath

many and

grievous complications, not the least of which


I but insist

the duplicity of the borrower.


to the

on the thirty pounds


it

hundred as

my

due recompense, and when I demand

THE DIABOLICAL CIRCLE


they respond not, but
ingratitude.
let

355

my

kindness

lie

under the clods of


conviction.]
is

[Straightening

up, and speaking with I will have

They
own.

shall

come

before the council.

what

mine

Cotton.
to
to.

[Righteottsly.]
it.

demand

I wist not

And it is not unbecoming of thee what the present generation is coming


of
in

Adonijah. They have no sense of the value They know not how to demean themselves properly

money.
due pro-

portion to their worldly goods, as the Lord hath prospered them.

There be many that have nothing and do hold


us that be worthy of our possessions.

their heads

above

The wicked stand in slippery places. It will not Judgment shall come upon them. Adonijah. Aye, let them fall. I for one have upheld them too far. They squander their means in riotous living, and walk not in the ways of their fathers.
Cotton.
always be thus.

Cotton.
lad,

There be many such

many suchbut
As

thou,

my

thou art not one of the multitude.

I have often ob-

served to

my

Betty, thou standest out as a most upright and

God-fearing young man.

Adonijah.

[Brimming

over with self-satisfaction.]

That have

I ever sought to be.

Cotton.
Adonijah.

An

example that others would do well to imitate.

[All puffed up.]

Nay, others value

it

not.

They

be envious of

Cotton.
Adonijah.

my good fortune. A most prudent young man


Thou'rt too modest.
[His face falling.]

Nay, be not so over-

blushingly timid.

But Betty

doth

she regard

me

thus

Cotton.
spair not.

The ways

of a

maid are past finding out; but de-

I think she hath thee

much

to heart, but, as the

perverse heart of
contrary.

woman

dictateth,

behaveth much to

the

354
Adonijah.
thinkest

BEULAH BORNSTEAD
[Brightening

up as one with new


Nay,
lad, I

hopes.]

Thou
Betty

Cotton.

[Interrupting.]

am

sure of

it.

was ever a

dutiful daughter.

[All unseen,

Betty

peeks out mischievously.

Adonijah.

Cotton.
Adonijah.

But Thou

I mistrust
referr'st to

me

her heart

is

elsewhere.

young Manning without doubt.


I

It can never be.

'Tis

but a passing fancy.


fear Charles thinketh not so.

Nay, but I

have

been told in secret [leaning forward confidentially] by one that

hath every opportunity to know, that he hath enjoined Good-

man Shrewsbury
Cotton.
Adonijah.

to send for

[impressively] a ring

[Angered.]

ring, sayest

thou ^

[Nodding.]

Aye, even

so.

Cotton.
Adonijah.
tion
?

But he hath not signified such intention here to me. Then there are no grounds for his rash presump-

Cotton. no

Humph

Grounds
[Rises.]

For a ring

Aye,
in.

there'll

be

diabolical circle here for the devil to

daunce

I will queswill

tion Betty thereon.

Do

thou remain here and I


offer

send her to thee.


ring

Oh, that he should

daughter of mine a

[Cotton
taken.
reverie.

leaves the room.

Adonijah

leans hack in his

chair in supreme contentment at the turn affairs have

The clamorous knocker arouses him from his

He

gazes stupidly around.

The continued im-

perious tattoo on the knocker finally brings

him

to his feet.

He
Adonijah.
host
is

goes into the hall

and opens

the door.

His

voice is

heard.
[Frostily.]

Good-afternoon,

Sir

Charles,

mine

absent.

Charles.
Adonijah.

[Stepping

in.]
?

My

mission has rather to do with

Mistress Betty.

Is she in

[Closing the hall door,

and turning

to

Charles,

THE DIABOLICAL CIRCLE


replies in grandiose haiUeur.]

355

Mistress Betty

is

otherwise en-

gaged, I would have thee know.

Chaeles.
trust,

Engaged?

[Bovxing.]

Your humble

servant,

hath the supreme pleasure of that engagement.


[He glances inquiringly aboiU the room, and places
the hat

on

the table beside that of

Adonijah.

The

tivo hats

are

as different as the two


severe ;

men : Adonijah 's prim.

Puritanic,

Charles's
is

three-cornered, with a flowing plume.

[Charles
more

a handsome chap of goodly proportions, with

a straightforward air and a pleasant smile.


after the

He

is

dressed

fashion of the cavaliers of Virginia, and


curls.

wears a long wig with flowing


each other up.

The two men

size

Adonijah.

[Meaningly.]

Her
see.

father will shortly arrive.

Charles.
'Tis

[Impatiently striding forth.]

Devil take her father.


is

Mistress Betty I would

Where

she

[Charles continues pacing the

floor.

Adonijah, shocked

beyond measure, turns his back on the offending Charles,

and with folded arms and bowed head stands aside in profound meditation. The clock door slowly opens and Betty cautiously peeks out. Charles stops short and
is

about to begin a decided demonstration, when Betty,

toith

a warning glance toward Adonijah, checks him with

upraised hand.

The

clock door closes

and Charles sub-

sides into the armchair with


delight.
irnth

a comprehending grin of

Adonijah

slowly turns

and faces Charles

a melancholy
Prithee,

air.

Charles.
Adonijah.
ment.

why

so sad

[The grin becomes a chuckle.


I do discern no cause for such unrighteous merri-

Charles.
find
it,

'Tis

none the

less for all of that.


all,

I take

life

as I
dif-

and

for that

matter so do they

even thou.

The

ference be in the finding.

[Whistles.

t^5Q

BEULAH BORNSTEAD
[Uneasily.]
It
is

Adonijah.

time her father did arrive.

Charles.
Adonijah.

Where then hath he been ?

He

but went in search of Betty.


we'll wait.

Charles.
[He

Ah, then

whistles,

while

room, glancing every

ment of

his

Adonijah moves uneasily about the now and then at this disturbing elepeace, a^ if he would send him to kingdom
Waiting

come, if he only could.

Adonijah.
thee naught.

[After considerable toleration.]

may avail
[Whistles.

Charles.
Adonijah.
terfeit sigh.]

And

thee.?

Nevertheless we'll wait.


tivo

[Takes another turn or

and fetches up a counfruitless.

Methinks, her father's quest be


[Starting up.]

Charles. Charles.
Adonijah.
here.

Ah, then,

let

us go.
chair opposite,
relaxes.]

[Adonijah,

visibly relieved, sits

[Amused.]

Nay.?

[Sits

down in the down and

Ah,

then, we'll wait.


[Troubled.]
'Tis certain Mistress

[Whistles.

Betty be not
neither here

Charles.
nor there.
vealed in time

Nay,

if

she be not here, then I

am

I would wager ten pounds to a farthing she be ro^


if

she but will

it.

Wilt take

me up ?

Adonijah.

It be not

seemly so to stake thy fortune on 4


Thou'rt right on
if

woman's whim.
Charles.
for
if

[LaugJis.]

it.

If she will, say I,


will.

she will she won't, and


False jargon
!

she won't she

Adonijah.
[Enter

A woman

has no will but e'en her

father's as a maid, her husband's later

still.

Cotton, who

stops short on seeing

Charles,

rallies

quickly,

and

proceeds.

Cotton. Charles. Cotton.

[Stifl^^^]

Good-day to you,
riseji.]

sir.

[Bowing ; he has
[To Adonijah.]
is

And

to you, sire.

am

deeply grieved to report

that Mistress Betty

not to be found.
a sly look of triumph at Charles.

[Adonijah

steals

THE DIABOLICAL CIRCLE


Charlbs. Cotton.
[In

357

mock

solemnity.]

I prithee present

my

deep

>egrets to Mistress Betty.

I will call again.


!

God

speed thee

[And as Charles

takes his leave

Cotton
afar
off.

places his

hand

affectionately

upon Adonijah's
son; Betty

shoulder,

saying reassuringly.]
I fain

Come

again,

my

may

not be

would have her soon persuaded of thy worth.

Improve thy
Adonijah.

time.

[Beaming.]

[As the door closes behind them


the
fire,

Good morrow, sir; I will. Cotton slowly walks toward


Still

where he stands in complete revery.

ab-

sorbed in thought he walks sloivly out the door at the right.

Betty

peeks cautiously out, but hearing footsteps quickly

withdraivs.

Cotton
she be

re-enters with hat on.

He

is talk-

ing to himself,

reflectively.
?

Cotton.

Where can

Mayhap at Neighbor Ainslee's.


The banging
more

[He goes hurriedly out through the hall door.


of the outside door is heard.

The

clock door once


listening.

slowly opens

and Betty peers forth,

The sound

of a door opening causes her to draw back.


is

As

the noise

further emphasized by approaching footsteps, she pulls

the clock door quickly to.

Charles
it

enters.

He

looks

inquiringly about, tosses his hat on the table,

and goes

for the clock.


steps forth

He
of

opens
the

with a gay laugh.


very

Betty
by

out

clock,

much

assisted

Charles.

Charles.
flesh

Blessed

relief!

Thou

art in

very truth, then,

and blood?

Betty.
fitombed.

And what

else

should I be, forsooth

Charles.
Betty.

[Laughing.]

I marked thee for a

mummy

there

[Disengaging her hand.]

What ?
!

Darest thou ?
to, whilst

Charles.
[sighs]

lively

mummy now

thou art come

I waited through the ages


[Laughingly.]

Betty.

A veritable monument of patient grief.

Charles.

And Adonijah

358
Betty.
[Mimics.]

BEULAH BORNSTEAD
Yea, verily, old Father Time but come to
life.

Thy
In

waiting

Charles.

may

be back at

may avail thee naught. truth, it may avail me naught; any time, while I have much to
Nay, sweet Betty
then, the dearest
call

thy father
say, sweet

Betty

Betty.

[Interrupting.]

call

me

not.

Charles.
Betty.
or

Dear Betty,
[Quickly.]

Yea,

me

dearest

mummy,

Hottentot,

what you will, just so it be not sweet, like Adonijah. It sickens me beyond expressing. Charles. Then, sweet Betty thou art not, say rather sour Betty, cross Betty, mean Betty, bad Betty, mad Betty, sad
Betty.

Betty.

[Suddenly dimpling.]

Nay, glad Betty


Wilt
tell

Charles.
I

Art then so glad

.^^

me why?
mad.

In sooth,

know not whither


Betty.
Wilt
tell

to be glad, or sad, or

Sometimes I

am

but one, sometimes I

am

all three.

me

why.?
left

Charles.

[Stepping closer and imprisoning her

haTid.]

Thou wilt not now escape it, for I will tell thee why, and mayhap this will aid me. [Slips ring, ivhich he has had conHath this no meaning for cealed in his pocket, on her finger.]
thee.?

Betty.

[Her eyes sparkling with mischief.]

Aye,

'tis

a dia-

bolical circle for the devil to

daunce

in
what.'*

Charles.
Betty.
in

[In astonishment.]
[Slowly.]
saith.

diabolical circle for the devil to

daunce

so father
Charles.
Betty.

Likewise Adonijah.
to

[Weakly endeavoring
!

comprehend.]

diabolical

circle

but what say

it

again, Betty.
it

[Repeats slowly, emphasizing

with pointed finger.]

diabolical circle for the devil to

daunce

in.

Charles.
devil

[Throws hack his head and laughs.]

May

I be the

THE DIABOLICAL CIRCLE


Betty.
[Shaking her finger at him.]

359
!

Then daunce

[They take position, as though for a minuet.


sounds.

The knocker
Into the

Betty runs

to the

window.

Betty.
clock

Aye, there's Adonijah at the knocker.

hie theequick, quick


[Reproachfully.]

Charles.

And

would'st thou incarcerate

me

through the ages?


!

[Turns

to the clock.]

timely sar-

cophagus

[Charles

is

smuggled into the


to

clock,

and Betty has barely and conceal


it

enough time

make a dash for


the door

the hat

he-

hind her before

opens and in stalks Adonijah.

He

looks about suspiciously.

Betty faces him

with the

hat held behind her.


lays them on the table.

He

removes his hat and tippet and

ADO]^aJAH.

Methought
[Dryly.]

I heard a

sound of many
have
I;

feet.
less.

Betty. Betty.

[Looking down.]

Two

feet

no more, no

Adonijapi.

Aye, two be quite

sufficient.

An

thou sayest the word, they yet can beat as loud

a retreat as an whole regiment.


Adonijah.

Thou

dost
it

my

meaning misconstrue.

Betty. Betty.
steps hack.]

Construe

then, I prithee.

Adonijah.

I came not here to vex Then get thee hence. [He But not behind me, Satan.

steps forward.

Betty
to
it.

Adonijah. Betty.
drive

[Coming

closer.]

And

yet thou driv'st

me

[Backing

off.]

Indeed, thou hast a nature born to

and not be driven.


[Highly complimented.]
notice.

Adonijah.

So be

it,

yet I scarce had

hoped that thou would'st


Betty.
[Retreating.]

[Advancing.]

Born

to drive,

thou sayest, not be driven.

Thou hast

said

it,

born to

drive.

But
father

what

to drive I have not said.

That knowledge hath


father, then,

my

yet concealed.

Adonijah.

[Eagerly.]

Thy

hath told thee

360
Betty.

BEULAH BORNSTEAD
[Who
is

retreating steadily across the room.\

Thou
seats

wert born to drive !


[Strikes settee

and
the

goes

down on

the hat.

Adoxijah

himself beside Betty.

remain

on

hat.

Betty is Adonijah

of necessity forced to
slides

arm along

the

hack of the
jerks his

settee.

The clock door

strikes erratically.

He

arm hack and


his

gazes in the direction of the clock.

The

clock

hands wigwag.

ADOisnjAH stares abstractedly

and passes
Betty. Adonijah.

hand

over his forehead in a dazed


aileth thee.'*
!

manner.

[Solicitously.]

What

[Still staring.]

The time
It doth
it

Betty. Betty. Betty. Betty.

[Stifles

a yawn.]

grow

late.

Adonijah.
Adonijah. Adonijah.

But not

consistently;

changeth.

'Twas ever so with time.


[Reminiscently .]
verily, 'tis

Of a certainty they moved.

Yea,

not uncommon.

But backwards

[Joyfully.]

Why,

then,

my

prayers are answered.

How

often I have prayed

them thus

to

move

Yet hath

it

never come to pass.

Adonijah.

Nay, had'st thou seen


Thou'rt
ill.

Betty.
moves over
face.]

Prithee calm thyself.


[Steals his

Adonijah.

arm along
!

the back of the settee

closer.]

Sweet Betty

[Betty

looks

and away with a wry


There was a

Thy

indifference in

no wise blinds me
sits

to thy conception

of

my

true value.

[Betty

up, round-eyed.]

time when I despaired

[The clock again strikes wildly.

The

hands drop and


clock.]

rise as before.

Adonijah
it ?
ill.

excitedly points at the


ail

Again

Did'st

mark

Something doth

the clock

Betty.

Yea, truly thou art

The

clock behaveth

much

more

to the point than thou.

Adonijah.
[another glance]

[Tearing his gaze from the clock.]


[glances at the clock]

As

was on

the point of saying

thy father hath given

me

to understand

[with eye

on

the clock he hitches

up

closer]

that thou art not averse to mine affections

THE DIABOLICAL CIRCLE


[As he attempts
strikes
to

361
the clock

put his arm around


startles

Betty

tattoo

and

him

excitedly to his feet, as

the

hands

travel all the

way round.
look
!

Adonijah.

[Pointing.]
enters.

Now

Mark

the time

[Cotton
Cotton.
vent thee.

Tarry yet awhile,


Tarry.?

my

son, the time doth not pre-

Adonijah.
est thou
finger,
!

Time doth not

prevent.?

Little

know-

[Gazes abstractedly about.

Sights the ring on

Betty's
It

who in excitement has


Aye, there
it

forgotten to keep her hands behind

her

back.]

is,

the

diabolical
all

circle.

is

charm.

It

harms her
she here.?

not,

while

about

me
is.

is

askew.

Whence came
form did
it

[Points at Betty.]

She neither came


she

nor went, and yet she was not there and


enter.

now

manly

Yet hath vanished

into thin air.

Yea, verily,

was none other than the

devil himself in one of his divers

forms, of which he hath aplenty.

The very

clock indulgeth in
I can-

unseemly pranks.
not

strange influence hangs over me.

now
go.

abide.

must depart from hence.


Hold

My conscience bids
!

me

Cotton.
Betty.

[Striving to detain him.]

Thou'rt

mad

Nay, father, he is ill. Adonijah. [Wildly.] Aye, if


blame.
things.

The

spell

did

I be mad, thy daughter be to come upon me. I have seen strange

Cotton.
Adonijah.

What meanest thou ?


[Pointing at Betty,
is

who regards him wonderingly.]

Thy

daughter

a witch
to

Betty.

[Runs

Cotton.]

Oh, father
thunders at Adonijah.]
?

Cotton.
Adonijah.
will.

[Consoles

Betty;

What.?

Darest thou to being forth such an accusation

Aye, while I yet have strength to order mine own

We

shall see

what we

shall see

when the

fires

leap round

the stake.

All the diabolical circles the devil


will

may

invent or his

helpmeets acquire

be of small avail when the leaping tongues

362

BEULAH BORNSTEAD
I can delay

of flame curl round you, false servant of the devil,

no

longer.

I will repair to the council at once,

and report what


paternal solici-

I have seen.

[Betty /am^5 away.


tude.

Cotton

is at

once

all

Adonijah gazes in stupefaction. All unobserved Charles slips out of the clock. Finalhj Adonijah, as Betty shows signs of reviving, turns himself away, only Adonijah to find himself face to face with Charles.
stops dead in his tracks, absolutely nonplussed.

Charles.
dence.

Thou

goest to the council.?


wilt.

Thou

lackest evi-

Behold the devil an' thou


[Adonijah 's jaw drops.

He stares unbelievingly. Cotton looks up in surprise as Charles continues. Charles. An' thou goest to the council with such a mesAnd match word of sage, the devil will dog thy very footsteps. thine with word of truth in such a light that thine own words
shall imprison thee in the stocks over Sunda}'.

[Adonijah

recovers

from

his temporary abstraction,

and

seiz-

ing his hat and tippet, tears out the door as if a whole
legion of

imps were in

fidl pursuit.

tuously turns on his heel

and

goes over to

Charles contempBetty, who is


for a witch
?

noio clinging to her father s arm.

Betty.

[Faintly.]

They

will

not burn

me

Charles.

[Savagely.]
[Hotly.]

Aye,

let

Cotton.
seemeth to

with a new thought.]

Aye let But how cam'st thou here ?


!

them try it an they will. them [Then starting suddenly


Yea, verily,
air.
it

me

thou did'st materialize out of thin


[Surveys

Charles

with piercing scrutiny.

Charles.
find

Nay,

see through

me an
air,

thou can'st.

Thou

wilt

me

a most material shadow, the

like of

which no eye hath

ever pierced.

'Twas not out of the

but out of yonder clock

that I materialized.

Betty.

Yea, father, I put him there.


[Going to the clock and opening
it.]

Cotton.

Of a

truth, the

THE DIABOLICAL CIRCLE


evidence,
all told, is here.

363

Thou wert

of a certainty in the clock.

{Takes out the detached pendulum.

Steps back and surveys the

timepiece, whose hands clearly indicate a time long passed or not


yet come.]

And

as far as

pendulums are concerned


warrant.

[looking rue-

fully at the one in his hand], thou certainly wert

no improve
I never

Charles.
be called to

Aye, that
fulfil

I'll

And may

more

such position; the requirements be far too ex-

acting for one of

Cotton.

my build and constitution. But what extremity hath induced thee


^

to take

up

thine abode in such a place

[Lays the pendulum aside and gives


attention.

Charles

his entire

Charles.
take
it.

Why,

that

came

all in

the course of events as I

upon mine came Adonijah; and, being loath either to leave the field or share it, I hid within the clock. Once there, the temptation to help time in covering its course grew strong upon me in the
I returned a short time ago, hard
heels

When

hope that Adonijah, misled by the lateness of the hour, would


soon depart.

Only I looked not


sire, for

for such a departure.

Judge
if

me
a

not too harshly,

I love thy daughter, and

thou

wilt give thy consent to our marriage I will

do

all

that becometh

man

to deserve such treasure.

Cotton.
is

I like not thy frivolous


it

manner

of wearing hair that

not thine own;

becomes thee not.

And

I strongly mistrust
life.

thine attitude toward the

more

serious things of

Charles.
desire,
tosses
its

If
I'll

my

wig standeth between


all.

me and my
it

heart's
off

ise

and up and smooths disarranged curls.] And as for mine outlook on life, I promthee that hath but matched the outer trappings, and can be
[He pulls the wig
it

why,

have no wig at

aside.

Betty, with a

little

cry, picks

doflFed as quickly.

as

I am as serious beneath all outward levity any sober-minded judge, and can act accordingly. Cotton. See to it that thou suit the action to those words.

My

heart

is

strangely

moved toward

thee, yet I

would ponder

364

BEULAH BORNSTEAD
[Turns
to

the matter more deeply.

Betty, who has been absent-

mindedly twirling

the curls

on the wig.]

And where
[as

is

thy voice,

my

daughter?

for the once.

Thou But it
for

art strangely silent


is

an

afterthought]

of small wonder, since thou hast

had

enough excitement
Charles,

one evening.

Me thinks

that scoundrel,

Adonijah, needetli following up.

Do

thou remain with Betty,

and

I will hasten after him.

Charles.
Adonijah.

He

Nay, thou need'st not trouble thyself regarding hath much too wholesome a regard for the duck-

ing-stool to cause further mischief.

Cotton.
sure.

Nevertheless, I will

away

to the council

and make

[He plants his hat on his head and departs.


[Turning
is

to Betty, who has dropped the wig on the now gazing demurely at the floor.] And now to finish up where we left off. The devil hath led us a merrier dance than we suspected. Thou hast not truly given answer to

Charles.

settee,

and who

the question I have asked of thee.

Betty.
Betty. Betty.

Charles.
Charles. Charles.
Betty.

What more of an answer would'st thou Why, I have yet had none at all. Must tell thee further ?
[Gravely.]

yet require ?

[Mischievously.]

Thou must. Then put the question once again.

Thou knowest

the question, an thou wilt.

An' thou knowest the answer.

[Charles
Betty.
Charles

takes her in his arms.

[Holding up her hand so thai the ring sparkles.]


circle
!

Look,

the diabolical

CURTAIN

THE FAR-AWAY PRINCESS


BY

HERMANN SUDERMANN

The Far- Away Princess is reprinted by special arrangement with Charles Scribner's Sons, the publishers of Roses, from which this play is taken. For permission to perform address the publishers.

HERMANN

SUDERIVIANN

Hermann Sudermann, one of the foremost of the Continental European dramatists, was born at Matziken, in East Prussia, Germany, September 30, 1857. He attended school at Elbing and Tilsit, and then at fourteen became a druggist's apprentice. He received his university training at Konigsberg and Berlin. Soon he devoted his energies to literary work. His greatest literary work is in the field of the drama, in which he became successful almost instantly. His strength is not in poetic beauty and in deep insight into human character, as in
the instance of a
essentially a

number

of other

German

dramatists.

He

is

by

instinct.

man of the theatre, a dramatist, and a He is a dramatic craftsman of the first

technician
order.

His chief one-act plays are in two volumes: Morituri, which contains Teja, Fritchen, and The Eternal Masculine; and Roses, which contains Streaks of Light, Margot, The Last Visit, and The
Far- Away Princess. The Far-Away Princess
delicate of
is

Sudermann 's

plays.

one of the most subtle and most Its technic is exemplary.

CHARACTERS
The Princess von Geldern Baroness von Brook, her maid
Frau von Halldorf
LiDDY

of honor

MiLLY

her daughters

Fritz Strubel, a student

Frau Lindemann
Rosa, a waitress

Lackey

THE FAR-AWAY PRINCESS*


THE PRESENT DAY:
The veranda of an inn.
randa.

The scene

is

laid at

an inn situated

above a watering-place in central Germany.

The

right side of the stage

and half of

the
ve-

background represent a framework of glass enclosing the

The

left

side

and

the other half of the

background rep-

resent the stone walls of the hou^e.

To

the left, in the foreleft.

ground, a door; another door in the background, at the

On
On

the

left,

back, a buffet

and

serving-table.

Neat

little

tables

and small iron

chairs for visitors are placed about the veranda.

the right, in the centre,

a large

telescope,

standing on a

tripod, is directed through

an open window.

Rosa, dressed

in the costume of the country, is arranging floivers on the small


tables.

Frau Lindemann,

a handsome, stoutish
left.

woman

in

the thirties, hurries in excitedly from the

Frau Lindemann.
bedding
this

There

Now

she can
!

everything fresh and clean as new unexpected honor Barons and counts
!

come curtains, No, this honor,


have been here

often enough.

Even
!

the Russian princes sometimes

come up

from the Springs.


just like

I don't bother

that
Perhaps

my head about themthey're

But a
it isn't

princess

real princess
all.

Rosa.

a real princess after

Frau Lindemann. mean by that


Rosa.
but
silks

[Indignantly.]

What.^

What do you
wouldn't be

was only thinking that a


like this.

real princess
lie

coming to an inn

Real princesses won't


just wait

on anything
!

and

velvets.

You

and

see; it's

a trick

* Copyright, 1909,

by Charles

Scribner's Sons.

All rights reserved.

370

HERMANN SUDERMANN
Are you going
is

Frau Lindemann.
isn't

to pretend that the letter

genuine; that the lett^

a forgery?
is

Rosa.

Maybe one
Lindemaitot.

of the regular customers

playing a joke.
[Giggles.

That student, Herr

Striibel, he's

always joking.
Striibel

Frau

When Herr

makes a joke he
Oh, of course one
as for writing a
it

makes a decent
forged letter
there!

joke, a real, genuine joke.

has to pretend to be angry sometimes

but

My

land

letter

with a gold crown on

[She takes a

letter from

her ivaist

and

reads.]

"This

after-

noon Her Highness, the Princess von Geldern,


the Springs.

will stop at

the

Fairview Inn, to rest an hour or so before making the descent to

You

are requested to have ready a quiet and com-

fortable room, to guard

Her Highness from any annoying adnot be repeated.

vances, and, above

all,

to maintain the strictest secrecy regarding

this event, as otherwise the royal visit will

Baroness von Brook, maid of honor to Her Highness."

Now,
honor
Dear,

what have you got


Rosa.

to say

Herr

Striibel lent

me

a book once. a trick

maid

of

came

into that, too.

I'm sure
Striibel

it's

Frau Lindemann.
dear, isn't that

[Looking out toward the back.]

Herr

now, coming up the

hill ?

To-day

of

all

days

What on
all

earth does he always want up here ?

Rosa.

[Pointedly.]

He's in such favor at the Inn.

He won't

be leaving here

day.

Frau Lindemann. That won't do at all. He's got to be I'll be disagreesent off. If I only knew how I could Oh, ho manage that's the only way to it him able to [Strubel enters. He is a handsome young fellow without

much
Strubel.
Strubel.

polishy hut cheerful, unaffected, entirely at his ease,

and invariably good-natured.

Good day, everybody. Frau Lindemann. [Sarcastically.]

[Surprised at her coolness.]

Charming day. I say What's up ?


!

Who's been rubbing you the wrong

way.'^

May

I have a glass

THE FAR-AWAY PRINCESS


of beer,

371

anyway ?
if

Glass of beer,
[Sits

if

you please

Several glasses

of beer,

you

please.

down.]

Pestiferously hot this after-

noon.

Frau Lindemann.
Strubel.

[After

a pause.]

H'm, H'm.

Landlady Linda, dear, why so quiet to-day ? Frau Lindemann. In the first place, Herr Strubel, I would
have you know that Strubel.
Just

my name

is

Frau Lindemann.

so.

Frau Lindemann.
familiarity

And, secondly,

if

you don't stop your

Strubel.
!"

[Singing, as

Rosa brings him a glass of beer.] "Beer


it is
!

beer Heavens and earth, how hot


Frau Lindemann. quietly down there at
Strubel.
Ah,
If

[Drinks.

you

find
?

it

so hot,

why

don't you stay

the Springs
soul

my

thirsts

for

the heights

my

soul

thirsts for the heights

every afternoon.

Just as soon as ever

my

sallow-faced pupil has thrown himself

down on

the couch to

give his red corpuscles a chance to grow, "I gayly grasp

my

Alpine

and mount to my beloved." Frau Lindemann. [Scornfully.] Bah!


staff

Strubel.

Oh, you're thinking that you are

my

beloved

.f*

No, dearest;

my

beloved stays

down

there.

But

to get nearer

to her, I have to

come up here

up to your
why

telescope.

With the

aid of your telescope I can look right into her

window

see

Rosa.
that?

[Laughing.]

Oh, so that's

Frau Lindemann.
Besides, I've no

Perhaps you think I'm interested

in all

more time

for you.

Moreover, I'm go-

ing to have this place cleaned right away.


Strubel.

Good-by, Herr
[Goes out.

Strubel.

[Laughing.]

I certainly caught

it

that time

See

here, Rosa, what's got into her

head ?
there are crowned heads
letters vnth

Rosa.

[Mysteriously.]

Ahem,

and
let-

other heads

and ahemthere are

crowns and

ters without crowns.

372

HERMANN SUDERMANN Are you Strubel. Letters Rosa. There are maids of honorand other maids
?

[Giggles.

Strubel.
finger.]

Permit me.
!

[Tapping her forehead

lightly with his

Ow

Ow
Why, your
head's on
fire.

Rosa.

What's the matter ?

Strubel.

Blow

Blow
just

And

while you are getting some salve for

my

burns,

I'll

[Goes to the telescope.

[Enter

Frau von Halldorf, Liddy, and Milly. Frau VON Halldorf is an aristocratic icoman, somewhat
and
affected.

supercilious

Liddy.
yourself.

Here's the telescope, mother.

Now

you can

see for

Frau

v.

Halldorf.

What

a pity that

it's in

use just now.

Strubel.

[Stepping hack.]
I can wait.

Oh, I beg of you, ladies

I have

plenty of time.

Frau v. Halldorf.
[She goes
place.]

[Condescendingly.]

Ah, thanks so much.


returns to his former

up

to the telescope, ivhile


!

Strubel

Waitress
[As
is

Bring us three glasses of milk.


languidly drops into a chair.]

Liddy.
the right

Milly

Beyond

to

the road, mother.

Frau
no
Liddy.

v.

Halldorf.
Let

Oh, I have found the road, but I see


sort.

carriage

neither a royal carriage nor any other


me
look.

Frau
Liddy.

v.

Halldorf. Halldorf.

Please do.

It has disappeared now.


v.

Frau
carriage

Are you quite sure that

it

was a royal

Liddy.
It

Oh, one has an instinct for that sort of thing, mother.


in the cradle.

comes to one

Frau

v.

Halldorf.

[As

Milly yawns and


I'm always
tired.

sighs

aloud.]

Are you sleepy, dear ^ Milly. No, only tired.

Frau

v.

Halldorf.

Well, that's just

why we

are at the

THE FAR-AWAY PRINCESS


Springs.

373

Do

as the princess does take the waters religiously.


:

MiLLY.
hill

The

princess oughtn't to be climbing


like this.

up such a steep

either

on a hot day

Frau
to

v.

Halldorf.

[More
If,

softly.]

Well, you
luck,

are taking

all this trouble.

by good

know why we we should happen


Oh,

meet the princess


LiDDY.

[Who has been


again
!

looking through the telescope.]

there

it is

Frau
LiDDY.

v.

Halldorf.
It's just

[Eagerly.]

Where?

Where?

[Takes Liddy's place,

Frau
inside

v.

coming around the turn at the top. Halldorf. Oh, now I see it Why, there's no one
!

LiDDY.

Well, then she's coming


v.

up on

foot.
is

Frau
ing

Halldorf.
If I

[To Milly.]
she
is

See, the princess

com-

up on

foot, too.

And

just as antemic as

you

are.
if

Milly.
have

were going to marry a grand-duke, and

I could

my own
v.

carriage driven along beside me, I wouldn't

com-

plain of having to walk either.

Frau
LiDDY.

Halldorf.

I can't see a thing now.

You have
v.

to turn the screw, mother. I

Frau
LiDDY.

Halldorf.
Let

have been turning

it

right along, but

the telescope won't move.

me

try.
little

Strubel.
LiDDY.
mother.
It

[Who has been throwing


seems to

loads of paper at

Rosa

during the preceding conversation.]

What

are they

up to?

me

that you've turned the screw too far,

Frau
I've

v.

Halldorf.
[Rising.]

W^ell,

what

shall

Strubel.

Permit

me

to

we do about it ? come to your aid, ladies.

Frau

had some experience with these old screws. Very kind indeed. v. Halldorf. [Strubel busies himself with the instrument.

LiDDY.

Listen, mother.

If the carriage

has almost reached

374

HERMANN SUDERMANN
off.

the top the princess can't be far


to watch for

Wouldn't

it

be best, then,

Frau

v.

them on the road ? Halldorf. Certainly,


This
is

if

you think that would be


a regular

best, dear Liddy.

Strubel.

not only an old screw, but

it's

perverted old screw.

Frau v. Halldorf. Ah, really? [Aside to her daughters.] And if she should actually speak to us at this accidental meeting and if we could present ourselves as the subjects of her noble fiance, and tell her that we live at her future home just imagine what an advantage that would give us over the other women of

the court

Strubel.

There, ladies

We

have now rescued the useful


is

instrument to which the far-sightedness of mankind

indebted.
sir,

Frau
going to

v.

Halldorf.

Thanks, so much.

Pardon me,

but
is

have you heard anything about the report that the princess

make the journey up here to-day.^ Strubel. The princess ? The princess of the Springs ? The princess of the lonely villa? The princess who is expected at the iron spring every morning, but who has never been seen by a living soul ? Why, I am enormously interested. You wouldn't believe how much interested I am
!

Liddy.
is!

[Who has
v.

looked out, back.]

There

therethere
is

it

Frau
Liddy.

PIalldorf.
It's

The

carriage

reached the top already.

It

stopping over

there at the edge of the woods.

Frau v. Halldorf. She wUl surely Come quickly, my dear children, so that
dental.

enter
it

it

there,

then.

will lock quite accito

Here

is

your money.

[She throws a coin


,

Rosa

a^id

unwraps a small package done up in tissue-paper which she has


brought with her.]
for you.

Here

is

a bouquet for you

and here's one


oh, yes
!

You

are to present these to the princess.


it

MiLLY.

So that

will look quite accidental

[All three go out.

THE FAR-AWAY PRINCESS


Strubel.
Surely she
!

375

sits

Good heavens Could I ? I don't believe it well, I'll make sure right away [Goes up to

the telescope

and

stops.]

Oh,

I'll

go along with them, anyhow.


[Exit after them.

Frau Lindemann.
them ?
Rosa.
All of them.

[Entering.]

Have they

all

gone

all

of

Frau Lindemann.

[Looking toward the

right.]

There

two
me
!

there

ladies

How

and a lackey are coming up the footpath. Mercy my heart is beating If I had only had the sofa re!

covered

last spring

What am I going to say to them Rosa,


!

don't you
princess
?

know a poem by
now
!

heart which you could speak to the

[Rosa shrugs her shoulders.]

They're coming through

Stop putting your arms under your apron that way, you stupid thing oh dear, oh dear
the court
!

[The door opens.

Lackey

in plain black livery enters,

and remains standing


pale, sickly,

at the door.

Princess and Frau von Brook.


unassuming young
girl,

He precedes The The Princess is a


wearing a very sim-

ple walking costume

and a medium-sized leghorn hat

trimmed with

roses.

Frau von Brook


woman, in

is

a handsome,

stately, stern-looking

the thirties.

She

is well-

dressed, but in accordance with the simple tastes of the

North German

nobility.

Frau v. is the proprietor of this place ? Frau Lindemann. At your command, your Highness. Frau v. Brook. [Reprovingly.] I am the maid of honor. Where is the room that has been ordered ? Frau Lindemann. [Opens the door, left.] Here at the head
Brook.
of the stairs

Who

my lady.
Would your Highness

Frau
for a

v.

Brook.

care to remain here

few moments ?
Brook.

The Princess. Very much, dear Frau von Frau v. Brook. Edward, order what is

needed
is

for

Her

Highness, and see that a room next to Her Highness

prepared

376
for

HERMANN SUDERMANN
me.
I

may assume

that these are

Your Highness's wishes?


Frau von Brook.
and
pilloics, goes

The

Princess.

Why
left.

certainly, dear

[The Lackey,
with Rosa,

icho is carrying shaiols

out

The

Princess.

pas sommeil.
abominable.

Mais puisque je te dis, Eugenie, que je n'ai M'envoyer coucher comme une enfant, c'est Mais
je t'implore, cherie, sois sage

Frau
sais,

v.

Brook.

Tu

que

c'est le

medecin, qui

The
Et
si

Princess.

Ah, ton medecin

Toujours cette corvee.

je te dis v.

Frau
best for

Brook.

Chut!
I

My

dear woman, wouldn't


"^

it

be

you

to superintend the preparations

Frau Lindemann.
Frau
v.

am

entirely at your service.

[Ahoid

to

go out,

left.

Brook.

One

thing more.

This veranda, leading


it

from the house to the grounds


to the public
.'*

would

be possible to close

it

Frau Lindemann.
not
sit

Oh, certainly.
trees.

The

guests as often as

out under the

Frau v. Brook. Very well, then do so, please. [Frau Lindemann locks the door.] We may be assured that no one will
enter this place
?

Frau Lindemann.
the house will

If

it is

desired,

none of us belonging to

come in here either. Frau v. Brook. We should like that. Frau Lindemann. Very well. Frau v. Brook. Really, you must be more careful, You must be If that woman had understood French

[Exit.

darling.

careful
it ?

The Princess. What would have been Frau v. Brook. Oh, my dear child
!

so dreadful

about

This

mood

of yours,

which

is

due to nothing but your

illness

haven't taken your peptonized milk yet

that reminds me, you a secret which


this
is

we must keep from every one, above the Grand Duke should discover

all

from your

fiance.

If

THE FAR-AWAY PRINCESS


The
Frau
Princess.
v.

377

[Shrugging her shoulders.]

Well,

Brook.

bride's

duty

is

to be a

what of it ? happy bride.

Otherwise

The Princess. Otherwise.^ Frau v. Brook. She will be a lonely and an unloved woman. The Princess. [With a little smile of resignation.] Ah Frau v. Brook. What is it, dear? [The Princess shakes And then think of the strain of those formal presenher head.] You must grow strong. tations awaiting you in the autumn Remember that you must be equal to the most exacting de!

mands

of

life.

The Princess. Of life ? "V^Tiose life ? Frau v. Brook. W^hat do you mean by that ? The Princess. Ah, what good does it do to talk about
Frau
v.

it.^

Brook. Yes, you are right. In my soul, too, there are unhappy and unholy thoughts that I would rather not utter.

From my own

experience I

know

that

it is

best to keep strictly

within the narrow path of duty.

The Princess. And to go to sleep. Frau v. Brook. Ah, it isn't only that. The Princess. Look out there See the woods
!

Ah, to

lie

down on

the moss, to cover oneself with leaves, to watch the

clouds pass by high above

Frau
time.

v.

Brook.

[Softening.]

We

can do that, too, some-

The
Frau

Princess.

[Laughing aloud.]

Sometime!

[The Lackey appears

at the door.

Is everything ready ? v. Brook. [The Lackey bows. The Princess. [Aside to Frau v. Brook.]

But I simply
Does Your

cannot

sleep.

Frau

v.

Brook.

Try

to, for

my sake.

[Aloud.]

Highness

command
[Smiling and sighing.]
left.

The

Princess.
[They go
out,

Yes, I

command.

378

HERMANN SUDERMANN
[The stage

remains empty for several moments.


is

Then

Strubel
all of

heard trying the latch of the hack door.

Strubel's Voice.
a sudden
!

Hullo
!

What's up
!

Why
well, I

is

this locked

Rosa
!

the telescope
help myself.
teranda.
right.]

Rosa
[He
is

Open up Won't you ?

I've got to look tlirough

Oh,

know how

to

seen walking outside of the glass-covered


his head through the

Then he puts

open tcindow
Well, here

at the

Not a

soul inside?

[Climbs

over.]

we

are.

What on
same

earth has happened to these people?


out.]

[Unlocks the
it's all

hack door and looks


to me.

Everything deserted.

Well,

the

[Locks the door again.]

But

let's find

out right

away what

the carriage has to do with the case.


to

[Prepares

look through the telescope.

The Princess
left,

en-

ters cautiously

through the door at the

her hat in her

hand.

Without noticing Strubel, icho

is

standing mo-

tionless hefore the telescope, she goes hurriedly to the door at the hack

and unlocks

it.

Strubel.

[Startled at the

Why, how do you do?

sound of the key, turns around.] [The Princess, not venturing to movey
AVouldn't

glances hack at the door through which she has entered.]

you like to look through the telescope a while? Please do. [The Princess, undecided as to whether or not she should answer
him, takes a few steps hack toward the door at the you going away ? I won't do anything to you.
left.]

Why

are

The

Princess.

[Reassured.]

Oh, I'm not going away.

Strubel.

That's right.

The door was locked. dow as I did ? The Princess. [Frightened.]


the window
?

But where have you come from? Surely you didn't climb through the win-

What?

You came

through

Strubel.

Of course I

did.

The

Princess.

[Frightened anew.]

Then

had rather
to

[Ahoid

go hack.

Strubel.

Oh,

my

dear young lady, you just stay right here.

THE FAR-AWAY PRINCESS


Why,
before I'd drive

379

you away

I'd pitch myself headlong over

a precipice

The

Princess.

[Smiling, reassured.]

I only

wanted

to go

out into the woods for half an hour.

Strubel.

Oh, then you're a regular guest here at the Inn


[Quickly.]

The

Princess.

Yes

yes, of course.

Strubel.

iVnd of course you drink the waters


[In a friendly way.]

down

below.'*

The
waters.

Princess.

Oh,

yes, I drink the

And I'm

taking the baths, too.

Strubel.
See here,
better for

Two hundred
on you
?

metres up and

Isn't that very hard

Heavens
there

down And you


it.

every time
look so pale
It
!

my

dear young lady, don't you do


to go

would be

you

down

that
is

Oh, forgive

me

I've been talking without thinking.

Of course, you have your


/ know how to
in all

own
life!

reasons

It's

decidedly cheaper up here.


I've never

value a thing of that sort.

had any money

my

The
comes
as

Princess.

[Trying

to

seem

practical.]

But when one


I look to

to a watering-place,

one must have money.


chest.]

Strubel.
if

[Slapping himself on the


?

Do

you
!

Thank Heaven, I can't afford such luxuries No; I'm only a poor fellow who earns his miserable pittance durI drank iron
ing vacation

by acting as a private tutor


noon I eat
five

that's to say, "miserlie

able"

is

only a figure of speech, for in the morning I

abed

until nine, at

for work, I really

and at night seven courses; and as haven't a thing to do My pupil is so anaemic


!

why, compared to him, you're


The
Princess.
[Laughing
rather glad I'm not one.

fit

for a circus rider

unrestrainedly.]

Oh,

well,

I'm

Strubel.

Dear me,

it's

a business

like

any

other.

The The

Princess.

Like any other ?


pray,

Really, I didn't think that.

Strubel.

And

what did you think then ?

Princess.

Oh, I thought that they were

an entirely

different sort of people.

380
Strubel.

HERMANN SUDERMANN
My
dear young lady,
all

people are "an entirely

different sort."

Of course we two

aren't.

We

get along real


!

well together, don't

we ?

As poor

as church mice, both of us

The

Princess.
true.

[Smiling

reflectively.]

Who knows?
If

Per-

haps that's

Strubel.
stay

[Kindly.]

Do

you know what?


He's here to

you want to
I

down

there

I'll tell

you how one can

live cheaply.

have

a friend, a student
are. at

like myself.

mend up

as you

I feed

him up at the house where I'm

staying.

[Frightened

a peculiar look of The Princess's.]

Oh, but you mustn't be

No, I shouldn't have said it. It wasn't decent of me. Only, let me tell you, I'm so glad to be able to help the poor fellow out of

my

unexpected earnings, that I'd


all

like to

be shouting

it

from the

housetops

the time

Of

course,

you understand
then ?

that, don't

you?

The

Princess.

You

like to help people,


?

Strubel.

Surel^^

don't you

The

Princess.
it,

[Reflecting.]

No.

There's always so

much
in the

talk about

and the whole thing immediately appears

newspapers.

Strubel.

What ?
in

If

you help some one, that appears


I only

?
if

The

Princess.

[Quickly correcting herself.]

mean

one takes part

entertainments for charity


yes, naturally.

Strubel.
get
sees to

Oh,

In those things they always


if

some woman
it,
it.

of

rank to act as patroness,


sure, that the

they can, and she

you may be

newspapers make a fuss

over

The

Princess.

[Demurely.]

Oh, not every

Strubel.
these titled

Just try to teach

me something I don't know about

women
in

Besides,

my

dear young lady, where


or
?

is

your home

one of the krge


Oh, no.

cities,

The

Princess.

In quite a small town

really more

like the country.

Strubel.

Then I'm going

to

show you something that you


your
life.

probably never saw before

in all

THE FAR-AWAY PRINCESS


The
Princess.

381

Oh do
!

What
H'ln

is it ?

Strubel.

a princess

not a make-believe, but a

real,

true-blue princess

The The

Princess.
Yes.

Oh, really ?

Strubel. Strubel.

Our

Princess of the Springs.

Princess.

And who may


Of Geldern ?

that be

Why,
Of

Princess Marie Louise.

The

Princess.

Strubel.

course.

The
The

Princess.

Do you know
certainly.

her ?

Strubel.
retirement.

Why,

Princess.

Really?

I thought that she lived in great

Strubel.
it.

Well, that doesn't do her

any good.

Not a

bit of

And
you

because you are such a jolly good fellow I'm going to


secret.

tell

my

I'm

in love

with this princess

The
is,

Princess.

Oh!
can't imagine

Strubel.

You

what a comfort

it is.

The

fact

every young poet has got to have a princess to love.

The The

Princess.

Are you a poet ^


tell

Strubel.
Strubel.

Can't you

that by looking at

me ?
!

Princess.

I never

saw a poet

before.

Never saw a poet


[Assenting.]

never saw a princess


H'mand

Why,

you're learning a heap of things to-day

The
poems
'em!

Princess.
to her
?

have you written


Quantities of

Strubel.

Why,

that goes without saying

The
you.?

Princess.

Oh, please

recite

some

little

thing

won't

Strubel.

No, not No,

yet.

Everything at the proper time.


going to
yes.

The
The

Princess.

Ah,
first

yes, first I should like to see the princess.

Strubel.

am

tell

you the whole

story.

Princess.

Oh, yes,

Please do.

[Sits

down.

Strubel.

Well, then

I had hardly heard that she was here

382

HERMANN SUDERMANN
It

before I was dead in love with her.


shot, I tell you.
in love

was
all

just as quick as

Just as

if

had waited

m}^

life

long to

fall

with her.

Besides, I also heard about her beauty


see,

and

her sorrow.

You

she had an early love

affair.

The
that?

Princess.

[Disconcerted.]

What?
officer

Are

they

saying

Strubel.

Yes.

It

was a young
there.

who went

to Africa

because of her

and died
And

know that, too ? know ? But that's a mere detail Even the fact that in six months she it doesn't concern me. will become the bride of a grand-duke even that can make no difference to me. For the present she is my princess. But you're
Princess.
they

The

Strubel.

What

don't they

not listening to

me

The

Princess.

Strubel.
not give

Oh, yes, I am Do you know what that means my princess up my princess not for anything in all the world

I'll

The
know

Princess.

But

if

you don't even know her


her ?

Strubel.
myself

I don't

know

Why,

know

her as well as I

The
And
she

Princess.

Strubel.

I don't

Have you ever met her, then ? know of any one who has ever met
what she looks
like.

her.

there's not a soul that can tell

It

is

said that there were pictures of her in the shop-windows


first

when

came, but they were removed immediately.

In the

morning a great many people are always lurking around the


Springs trying to catch a glimpse of her.
I,

myself, have gotten

up at six o'clock a couple of times on the same errand and if you knew me better, you'd realize what that meant. But not a
sign of her
!

Either she has the stuff brought to her house or

she has the power of making herself invisible.


turns aside
to

[The Princess

conceal a smile.]

After that, I used to hang around


Until one day the

her garden

every day,
whom

for hours at a time.

policeman,

the managers of the Springs have stationed at

THE FAR-AWAY PRINCESS


the gates,

383

came up

to

me and

asked

me what on

earth I was
of ap-

doing there.

proach

was the end of those methods Suddenly, however, a happy thought struck me.
Well, that

Now

I can see her and have her near to

me

as often as I wish.

The

Princess.

Why,

that's very interesting.

How ?
I risk
it ?

Strubel.

Yes, that's just the point.

H'm, should

Should I take you into

my confidence ?
that you

The

Princess.

You promised me some time ago


[Looks

would show her to me.


Strubel.

Wait a second.

through

the

telescope.]

There she

is.

Please look for yourself.

The
escope.]

Princess.

But

am
is

[She, too, looks through the telif

Actually, there

the garden as plain as

one were

in

it.

Strubel.

And

at the corner
that's she.

window on the

left

embroidery-frame

with the
is

The

Princess.
?

Are you absolutely certain that that


else

the

princess

Strubel.

Why, who

could

it

be ?
like that
is

The
woman,

Princess.

Oh, 'round about a princess

there

are such a lot of people.

For instance, there

her waiting-

there's the seamstress

and her

assistants, there's
if

Strubel.
the very

But,

my

dear young lady,

you only understood


else.

anything about these matters, you would have been certain at


first

glance that

it

was she

the nobility in every motion

and no one Observe the queenly grace with which she


it's

bends over the embroidery-frame

The
frame ?

Princess.

How

do you know that

an embroidery-

Strubel.
stockings

Why, what

should a princess be bending over

if

not an embroidery-frame.^
?

Do

you expect her to be darning

The

Princess.

It wouldn't hurt her at all that's just one of those petty, bourgeois no-

Strubel.

Now,

384
tions which

HERMANN SUDERMANN
we ought
far

to suppress.

It's

not enough that we

have

to stick in this misery,

but we'd Hke to drag her down, too

that being
The The
Strubel.

above

all

earthly care

Princess.

Oh, dear

me

What

are you sighing about so terribly


Tell me, wouldn't

Princess.

yon

like to

have a closer

acquaintance with your princess, some time ?

Strubel.
to me,

Closer ?

Why
?

should I }

Isn't she close


call

enough

my

far-away princess

for that's what I


to

her
?

when

talk to myself about her.

And
?

have her

still

closer

The

Princess.

Why,

so that

you could

talk to her

and

know what
Strubel.

she really was like


[Terrified.]
!

Talk to her!
poor

Heaven forbid
folks.

Good?

ness gracious, no

Just see here

how am I to face a princess


tailor.

I'm an ordinary

fellow, the son of

I haven't polished

manners

I haven't even

a decent

lady like that


I've
tutor.

why, she'd measure me from top to toe in one glance. my lessons in the fine houses where I've applied as
glance from boots to cravat

had

and you're dismissed


think that I

The

Princess.
girl is

And you

[correcting

herself]

that this

as superficial as that ?

Strubel.

"This girl"!

Dear me, how that sounds

But,

how
even

should I ever succeed in showing her


if

my

real self

.^^

And

I should,

you

so nice

what would she care ? Oh, yes, if she were like and simple and with such a kindhearted, roguish

little

twinkle in her eye

The

Princess.

Roguish

Why

so

Strubel.

Because you are laughing at

me

in

your

sleeve.

And really I deserve nothing better. The Princess. But your princess
ter than

deserves something bet-

your opinion of her.

Strubel.

How

do you know that ?

The

Princess.

You

really

ought to try to become acagain no

quainted with her some time.

Strubel.

No, no, no

and

As long

as she re-

THE FAR-AWAY PRINCESS


mains
to be

385

my

far-away princess she

is

everything that I want her

modest, gracious, loving.


when

She smiles upon

me dreamUy.

Yes, she even listens


can't be said of

I recite
!

my

poems

to her

and that
to the

many

people

And

as soon as I have finished


it

she sighs, takes a rose from her breast, and casts


poet.

down

I wrote a few verses yesterday about that rose,

that

flower which represents the pinnacle of

my

desires, as it were.

The

Princess.

[Eagerly.]

Oh, yes.

Oh, please, please

Strubel.

Well, then, here goes.

H'm
"

"Twenty

roses nestling close

The

Princess.

What ?

Are there twenty now ?


princess

Strubel.
rupted me.

[Severely.]

My

would not have

inter-

The

Princess.

Oh, please

forgive me.

Strubel.

I shall begin again.

"Twenty roses nestling close Gleam upon thy breast. Twenty years of rose-red love Upon thy fair cheeks rest.

"Twenty years would I gladly Out of life's brief reign.

give

Could I but ask a rose of thee

And

ask

it

not

in vain.

"Twenty roses thou dost not need Why, pearls and rubies are thine With nineteen thou'dst be just as fair. And one would then be mine

"And twenty
Would

years of rose- wreathed joy


life

spring to

for

me
suffice

Yet twenty years could ne'er To worship it and thee !"

386

HERMANN SUDERMANN
Princess.

The

How
b

nice

that

is!

I've never

had any

verses written to

me

Strubel.

Ah,

my

dear young lady, ordinary folks like us


!

own verse-making The Princess. And all for one And then what is left you fades
have to do
their
!

rose

Dear me, how soon

it

.'*

Strubel.
even as

No,

my

dear friend, a rose like that never fades

my

love for the gracious giver can never die.

The

Princess.

Strubel.

But you haven't even got it yet That makes no difference in the end. I'm

entirely

independent of such externals.


with the more advanced classes

When some day

I shall be ex-

plaining Ovid to the beginners, or perhaps even reading Horace

no,

it's

better for the present

not to think of reaching any such dizzy heights of greatness


well,

then I shall always be saying to myself with a smile of sat-

isfaction:

"You,

too,

were one of those confounded


that will

artist fellows

why, you once went so far as to love a princess !"


The
all.'*

Princess.

And

make you happy

.?

Strubel.

Enormously!
of
happiness.'*

For what makes us happy,


Great heavens, no!

after

bit

Happiness

wears out

like

an old glove.
Well, then,

The

Princess.

what does ?
!

Strubel.
a fancy

Ah, how should I know

Any

kind of a dream

a wish unfulfilled

sorrow that

we

coddle

some

nothing which suddenly becomes everything to us.

I shall al-

ways say
as long as

to

my

pupils:

"Young men,

if

you want to be happy

you

live,

create gods for yourselves in your

own image;

these gods will take care of your happiness."

The

Princess.

And what would


be ?
Is,

the god be like that you

would create ?
STRtJBEL.

Would

my

dear young lady,

is I

A man

of the world, a gentleman, well-bred, smiling, enjoying

life

who

upon mankind from under bushy eyebrows, who knows Nietzsche and Stendhal by heart, and [pointing to his shoes] who
looks out

THE FAR-AWAY PRINCESS


isn't

387

down at the heels a god, in short, worthy of my princess. know perfectly well that all my life long I shall never do any-

thing but crawl around on the ground like an industrious ant,

but I know, too, that the god of

my

fancy will always take


pull

by the

collar

when the proper moment comes and


Yes, up there I'm safe.

me me up
god,

again into the clouds.


or rather your goddess

And your
easy
to

what would she look


That's

like ?

The

Princess.

[Thoughtfully.]

not

say.

My goddess would bea quiet, peaceful woman who would treasure a secret
little

joy like the apple of her eye,

nothing of the world except what she wanted to know, and

would have the strength to make her


her.

who would know who own choice when it pleased


to

Strubel.
aspiration,

my

But that doesn't seem dear young lady.


princess

me

a particularly lofty

The The
girl.

Princess.

Lofty as the heavens,

my

friend.

Strubel. Strubel.

My
For

would be

of a different opinion.

Princess.

Do you

think so ?

that's merely the ideal of every little country

The

Princess.

Not
It
is

her

ideal

her

daily

life

which she
it.

counts as naught.

Strubel.
as that
!

Oh, I say,

my ideal because I my dear young girl


like
if

can never attain


It can't be as

bad

young

girl

you

so

charming and

don't

want

to be forward, but

I could only help you a bit

The
Before,

Princess.
it

Have you

got to be helping

all

the

time.'^

was only a cheap lunch, now it's actually Strubel. Yes, yes, I'm an awful donkey, I know, but The Princess. [Smiling.] Don't say any more about
!

it,

dear friend

I like

you that way.


Really,

Strubel.
that

[Feeling oppressed by her superiority.]


!

you

are an awfully strange person

There's something about you

that
Princess.
Well.?

The

388
Strubel.

HERMANN SUDERMANN
I can't exactly define
it.

Tell me, weren't


It's so

you
in

wanting to go into the woods before ?


here.

so oppressive
it

The

Princess.

Oppressive

I don't find

so at all

quite

the contrary.

Strubel.
events,

No, no

I'm

restless.

may

I not escort

you

I don't know what at all One can chat more freely, one
if

can express himself more openly

one
[Takes a deep breath.

The
away
She'll

Princess.

[Smiling.]

And you
?

are leaving your far-

princess with such a light heart


[Carelessly.]

Strubel.

Oh,

she

She

won't

run

away.

be sitting there to-morrow again


Princess.

and the day

after, too

The
path

And

so that

is

your great, imdying love ?

Strubel.

Yes, but

when a

girl like

you comes across one's

Frau

v.

Halldorf.

[Hurrying in and then drawing back in

feigned astonishment.]

Oh
[Similarly.]

LiDDY AND MiLLY.


StrtJbel.
find her
?

Oh
tell

Well, ladies, didn't I

you that you wouldn't


!

Princesses don't grow along the roadside like weeds

Frau
infinite

v.

Halldorf.

[Disregarding

him

ceremoniously.]
fills

The

happiness with which this glorious event

our hearts

must excuse in some measure the extraordinary breach of good manners which we are committing in daring to address Your Highness. But, as the fortunate subjects of Your Highness's
most noble
Strubel.
fiance,

we

could not refrain from


!

Well, well

What's

all this ?

Frau

v.

Halldorf.

from

offering to our eagerly awaited

sovereign a slight token of our future loyalty.

Liddy

Milly

[LiDDY and Milly come forward, and, with low court bows,
their bouquets.]

offer

My

daughters respectfully present these few

flowers to the illustrious princess

THE FAR-AWAY PRINCESS


Strubel.
here,

389

I beg your pardon, but


?

who

is

doing the joking

you or

[Frau

v.

Brook
left,

enters.

The

Princess, tahen unawares,

has retreated more and more helplessly toward the door


at the

undecided whether to take


v.

flight or

remain.

She greets the arrival of Frau


sigh of
relief.

Brook
me,

with a

happy

Frau

v.

Brook.

[Severely.]

Pardon

ladies.

Appar-

ently you have not taken the proper steps toward being pre-

sented to

Her Highness.
I

In matters of

this sort

one must

first

apply to me.
to twelve,

may

be addressed every morning from eleven

and

I shall be

happy

to consider your desires.

Frau

v.

Halldorf.

[With dignity.]

and

my children, mais

dame, were aware


rule.

of the fact that

we were

acting contrary to the

usual procedure; but the impulse of loyal hearts


I shall be glad to avail myself of your

guided by no

very kind invitaPrincess.

tion.

[All three go out with low curtsies to

The
!

Frau v. Brook. What forwardness come down without me.'' And what is
there doing
.^

But how could you that young man over


.^^

Does he belong

to those people

[The Princess shakes her head.


word, goes
to get his hat, is

Strubel, without a

which has been lying on a chair,


to leave.

bows abruptly, and

about

The

Princess.

Oh, no

That wouldn't be
What.^

nice.

Not that
Your

way Frau
Highness

v.

Brook.
!

[Amazed.]

What!

Why,

The

Princess.

Let

me

be, Eugenie.

This young

man and

I have become far too good friends to part in such an unfriendly,


yes, almost hostile fashion.

Frau

v.

Brook.

Your Highness,
[To Strubel.]

am

very

much

The

Princess.

You and

I will certainly re-

390

HERMANN SUDERMANN
this

member
with
all

hour with great pleasure, and I thank you for


heart.
If I only
!

it

my

had a rose with me, so as to

give you your dear wish

Eugenie, haven't

we any

roses with

us?

Fkau v. Brook. Your Highness, I am very much The Princess. [Examining herself and searching among Well, how are we going to manage it ? vases.]
Strubel.
I

the

most humbly thank

your

Highness

for the

kind intention.

The
have
don't
it

Princess.
is

No, no

wait

hat which she


!

holding in her hand

with a sudden
joking.

[Her glance falls upon the


thought.]

But don't think that I'm


scissors
!

And

we'll

have to
I

do without

[She tears one of the roses from the hat]

know whether

there are just twenty

[Holding out one

of the roses to him.]

Well ^

This rose has the merit of being just

as real as the sentiment of which


just as unfading.

we were speaking
.'*

before

and

Strubel.

Is this

to bemy punishment

smilingly shakes her head.]

[The Princess Or does your Highness mean by it

that only the Unreal never fades ?

The

Princess.

That's exactly what I

mean

because

the

Unreal must always dwell

in the imagination.

Strubel.
cesses

So

that's

it

Just as

it is

only the far-away prin-

who are always near to us. Frau V. Brook. Permit me


it is

to remark.

Your Highness
must hurry
fall.]

that

high time

The
away.

Princess.
[Offering
[Is

As you

see,

those

who
lets

are near

him

the rose again.]


it,

Well }
his

Strubel.

about to take

hut

hand

With

the far-away princess there


in

[pointing dovm]

it

would have been

harmony, but with the

vnth emotion.]

No, thanks

[Shakes his head, then softly and


I'd rather not.

[He hows and goes

out.
arti-

The

Princess.

[Smiling pensively,

throws

away

the

THE FAR-AWAY PRINCESS


jicial flower.]

391

I'm going to ask

my

fiance to let

me

send him a

rose.

Frau
prised!

v.

Brook.

Your Highness, I am

very

much

sur-

The

Princess.

Well, I told you that I wasn't sleepy.

CURTAIN

THE STRONGER
BY

AUGUST STRINDBERG

AUGUST STRINDBERG
August Strindberg, Sweden's foremost dramatist, was born at Stockholm in 1849. He attended the University of Upsala but did not graduate. In 1872 he wrote Master Olaf, which was for six years steadily refused by managers. When it did appear it inaugurated the Swedish dramatic renascence. By
turns Strindberg was schoolmaster, journalist, dramatist, writer of scientific and political treatises, and writer of short stories. In 1883 he left Sweden and travelled extensively in Denmark,

Germany, France, and Italy. He died in 1912. As a dramatist Strindberg's chief strength lies not so much in dramatic technique as it does in his trenchant and searching power of analysis of the human mind. His chief plays are very exact and narrow views of the feminine soul. Some of his own
domestic bitterness finds expression in the feminine studies in his plays. He is very fond of showing the power of one character over another. His important one-act plays are The Outlaw, Countess Julie, Creditors, Pariah, Facing Death, and The Stronger. The Stronger has a dramatic intensity that few plays possess. Though but one character speaks, the souls of three are skiKully laid bare.

PERSONS
Mrs. Miss
X., an actress, married
Y.,

an

actress ,

unmarried

THE STRONGER*
SCENE A
:

corner of a ladies' restaurant ; two small tables of cast-

iron,

a sofa covered with red plush, and a few chairs.


enters, dressed in hat

Mrs. X.

and vnnter

coat,

and carrying a

pretty

Japanese basket on her arm.


in front of her a partly emptied bottle of beer ; she is

Miss Y. has
changes

reading an illustrated weekly, and every


it

now and

then she ex-

for a new one.

Mrs. X.

Well,

how

do, Millie!

Here you are

sitting

on

Christmas Eve, as lonely as a poor bachelor.

Miss Y.

looks

up from

the

paper for a moment^ nods, and

resumes her reading.

Mrs. X.
makes me

Really, I feel sorry to find

you

like this

alone
It

alone in a restaurant, and on Christmas


as sad as

Eve

of all times.

saw a wedding party at Paris once in a restaurant the bride was reading a comic paper and the groom was playing billiards with the witnesses. Ugh, when it
I

when

begins that way, I thought,


ing billiards on his wedding

how
day
!

will it

end ?

Think

of

it,

play-

Yes, and you're going to say

that she was reading a comic paper


dear.

that's a different
it

case,

my

[A waitress brings a cup of chocolate, places


X-,

before

Mrs.

and disappears again.


[Sips a few spoonfuls ; opens the basket
presents.]

Mrs. X.

and displays

a number of Christmas
* Copyright, 1912,

See what I've bought for

my

by Charles

Scribner's Sons.

All rights reserved.

397

398
tots

AUGUST STRINDBERG
[Picks
it.

up a

doll.]

What do you

think of this?

Lisa

is

to have
see
?

She can
is it

roll

her eyes and twist her head, do you


here's a cork pistol for Carl.
it

Fine,

not ?

And

[Loads the pistol and pops


as if frightened.

at

Miss Y.

Miss Y.

starts

Mrs. X.

Did

I scare

you?
?

Why, you

didn't fear I

was

going to shoot you, did you


believe that of me.
surprise
If

Really, I didn't think

you could
wouldn't

you were to shoot me


I've got in your

it.

well, that

me

the least.
it

way

once, and I

know

you'll never forget

but I couldn't help

You

still

think I

intrigued

anything of the kind

you away from the Royal Theatre, and I didn't do although you think so. But it doesn't

matter what I say, of course


same.
for

you

believe

it

was I

just the

[Pulls out a pair of embroidered slippers.]

Well, these are

I hate

my hubbytulipsI've
tulips

embroidered them myself.

H'm

and he must have them on everything.


the

[Miss Y. looks up from

paper with an expression of

mingled sarcasm and curiosity.

Mrs. X. [Puts a hand in each slipper.] Just see what small Bob has. See? And you should see him walk elegant! Of course, you've never seen him in slippers.
feet

[Miss Y. laughs aloud.

Mrs. X.

Look here

here he comes.
walk across the
table.

[Makes

the slippers

Miss Y. laughs

again.

like this:

Mrs. X. Then he gets angry, and he stamps his foot just "Blame that cook who can't learn how to make coffee.'*

Or:

"The

idiot

now
Then

that
there

girl
is

has forgotten to

fix

my

study

lamp again."
idiots don't

a draught through the floor and


it's

his feet get cold.

"Gee, but

freezing,

and those blanked

even know enough to keep the house warm."

[She rubs the sole of one slipper against the instep of the
other.

Miss Y.

breaks into prolonged laughter.

Mrs. X.

And

then he comes

home and has

to

hunt

for his

THE STRONGER
slippei'S

Sflij?

Mary has pushed them under the bureau.


is

Well, per-

haps

it

not right to be making fun of one's


all

own husband.
hubby, that's

He's pretty good for

that

real dear little

what he
faithful.

is.

You

should have such a husband


tell.?

what are you


know he
as

laughing at?

Can't you

Then, you

see, I

Yes, I know, for he has told

me

himself

what

in the

like that.'' That nasty Betty tried to him away from me while I was on the road. Can you think [Pause.] But I'd have scratched of anything more infamous ? the eyes out of her face, that's what I'd have done, if I had been [Pause.] I'm glad Bob told me all at home when she tried it. about it, so I didn't have to hear it first from somebody else. [Pau^e.] And, just think of it, Betty was not the only one I don't know why it is, but all women seem to be crazy after my husband. It must be because they imagine his government position gives him something to say about the engagements.

world makes you giggle

get

Perhaps you've tried


for him, too
?

it

yourself

^you

may have

set

your traps

Yes, I don't trust you very far

never cared for you and then I have been thinking you rather had a grudge against him. [Pav^e. They look at each other in an embarrassed manner, Mrs. X. Amelia, spend the evening with us, won't you? Just to show that you are not angry not with me, at least. I

but I know he

cannot

tell

exactly why, but

it

seems so awfully unpleasant to


in

have you

way that time know at all


[Pause.

youfor an enemy. Perhaps because I got or don't know I


[rallentando]
^I

your
don't

really,

Miss Y.

gazes searchingly at
It

Mrs. X.
first

Mrs. X.
acquaintance

[Thoughtfully.]

was so

peculiar, the

why, I was afraid of you when I


you out
^and

way our met you;


It didn't

so afraid that I did not dare to let

of sight.

I always found myself near you. I didn't have the courage to be your enemy so I became your
matter where I tried to go
friend.

But

there

was always something discordant

in the air

400

AUGUST STRINDBERG
called at our
it

when you
like

home,

for I

saw that
it

my
does

husband didn't

you

and
least,

annoyed me

just as

when a

dress

won't
to

fit.

I've tried

my

very best to make him appear friendly

but I couldn't move him not until you were Then you two became such fast friends that it almost looked as if you had not dared to show your real feelings before, when it was not safe and later let me see, now I didn't get jealous strange, was it not.'' And I remember the baptism you were acting as godmother, and I made him kiss you and he did, but both of you looked terribly embarrassed that is, I

you at

engaged.

didn't think of
it

it

then

or afterwards, evenI never thought of


Why
don't you say some-

till

now!

[Rises impulsively.]

You have not uttered a single word all this time. You've just let me go on talking. You've been sitting there staring at me only, and your eyes have drawn out of me all these thoughts which were lying in me like silk in a cocoon thoughts bad thoughts maybe let me think. Why did you
thing?

break your engagement?


afterward ?

Why

have you never

called

on us

Why

don't you want to be with us to-night ?


if intending to speak,
all.

[Miss Y. makes a motion as

Mrs. X.
clear to

No, you don't need to say anything at


now.
So, that's the reason of
it all.
!

All

is

me

Yes, yes

I don't want to fits together now. Shame on you same table with you.[Moves her things to another table.] That's why I must put those hateful tulips on his slippers because you love them. [Throws the slippers on the floor.] That's

Everything
sit

at the

why we have to spend the summer in the mountains because you can't bear the salt smell of the ocean; that's why my boy had to be called Eskil because that was your father's name; that's why I had to wear your color, and read your books, and

eat your favorite dishes, and drink your drinks


for instance; that's

this chocolate,

why

of

it

great heavens
!

it's

terrible to think

it's

terrible

Everything was forced on


soul bored itself into

me by you

even

your passions.

Your

mine as a worm into

THE STRONGER

401
till

an apple, and it ate and ate and burrowed and burrowed, nothing was left but the outside shell and a little black dust.
wanted
to

You were always on hand like a snake, with your black eyes, to charm me I felt how my wings beat the air only to drag me down I was in the
run away from you, but I couldn't.

water with

my

feet tied together,

and the harder I worked with

my
me

arms, the further

down

went

down, down,
there
! !

till

I sank to

the bottom, where you lay in wait like a monster crab to catch

with your claws

and

now I'm
you

How
or

I hate you, hate you, hate

there, silent
full;

and calm and


it's

indifferent,

Shame on you But you, you just sit whether the moon is new
are incapable of hatred

whether

Christmas or mid-summer; whether other

people are happy or unhappy.

You

and you don't know how to love. As a cat in front of a mousehole, you are sitting there. You can't drag your prey out, and you can't pursue it, but you can outwait it. Here you sit in this corner do you know they've nicknamed it "the mousetrap" on your account.'^ Here you read the papers to see if anybody is in trouble, or if anybody is about to be discharged from the theatre. Here you watch your victims and calculate Do you your chances and take your tributes. Poor Amelia know, I pity you all the same, for I know you are unhappy unhappy as one who has been wounded, and malicious because you are wounded. I ought to be angry with you, but really I can't ^you are so small, after all and as to Bob, why, that

does not bother

me

in the least.
else

What
taught

does

it

matter to me,
drink chocolate

anyhow ?

If

you or somebody

me to

what
tiously.]

of that?

[Takes a spoonful of chocolate; then, senten-

They say chocolate is very wholesome. And if I have learned from you how to dress tant mieux it has only given

me
lost

a stronger hold on

my

husband

and you have

lost

where I

have gained.

Yes, judging by several signs, I think you have

him abeady. Of course, you meant me to break with him you did, and as you are now regretting but, you see, /

402

AUGUST STRINDBERG
It wouldn't

never would do that.

do to be narrow-minded,

you know.
wants ?

And why

should I take only what nobody else


all,

Perhaps, after

am

the stronger now.

You never
to

got anything from me; you merely gave

and thus happened


in
?

me what happened
you woke up.

to the thief

I had what you missed when


your hand,
never able

How explain in any other way that,

everything proved worthless and useless

You were

to keep a man's love, in spite of your tulips

and your passions

and I could; you could never learn the art of living from the books as I learned it; you bore no little Eskil, although that was your father's name. And why do you keep silent always

and everjrwhere silent, ever silent? I used to think it was because you were so strong; and maybe the simple truth was you never had anything to say because you were unable to [Rises and picks up the slippers.] I'm going home now think

I'll

take the tulips with

meyour

tulips.

You

couldn't learn
like
in-

anything from others; you couldn't bend

and so you broke


for all

a dry stem
structions.

and I

didn't.

Thank you, Amelia,

your

I thank you that you have taught

me how

to love
[Exit.

my

husband.

Now

I'm going home

to him

CURTAIN

BIBLIOGRAPHIES

COLLECTIONS OF ONE-ACT PLAYS


The Atlantic Book of
Press, Boston, 1921.

Modem

Plays.

The Atlantic Monthly

Baker, Geo. Pierce, Plays of the 47 Workship (two volumes) and Plays of the Harvard Dramatic Club (two volumes). Brentano's, New York City, 1918-20.
Clark, Barrett H., Representative One-Act Plays by British and
Irish Authors. Little, Brown and Company, Boston, 1921. Cohen, Helen Louise, One-Act Plays by Modern Authors. Harcourt, Brace and Company, New York, 1921. Eliot, Samuel A., Little Theatre Classics, one-act versions of standard plays from the modern and the classic plays. Four volumes now issued. Little, Brown and Company, Boston,

1918.

Mayorga, Margaret Gardner, Representative One- Act Plays by American Authors. Little, Brown and Company, Boston,
1919.

Moses, Montrose J., Representative One- Act Plays by Continental European Authors. Little, Brown and Company, Boston,
1922.

Shay, Frank, and Loving, Pierre, Fifty Contemporary One-Act Plays. Stewart and Kidd Company, Cincinnati, 1920. Wisconsin Plays, First and Second Series. B. W. Huebsch, New

York

City, 1914, 1918.

Smith, Alice M., Short Plays by Representative Authors.

The

A A
A

Macmillan Company, New York City, 1921. Volume of Plays from the Drama, 59 East Van Buren Street, Chicago, is announced for 1922. Volume of One-Act Plays from the work of Professor Franz Rickaby, of the University of North Dakota, is under way. Volume of One-Act Plays, from the work of Professor Frederick H. Koch, of the University of North Carolina, is under way.
405

406

BIBLIOGRAPHIES
LISTS OF

ONE-ACT PLAYS

Bibliography of Published Plays Available in English. World Drama Promoters, La Jolla, California. Cheney, Sheldon, The Art Theatre. (Appendix: Plays Produced at the Arts and Crafts Theatre, Detroit.) Alfred A. Knopf, New-

York, 1917. Clapp, John Mantel, Plays for Amateurs. Bulletin of The Drama League of America, Chicago, 1915. Clark, Barrett Harper, How to Produce Amateur Plays. Little, Brown and Company, Boston, 1917. Dickinson, Thomas H., The Insurgent Theatre. (Appendix: List of Plays Produced by Little Theatres.) B. W. Huebsch, New York, 1917.

Drummond, Drummond,

Alex. M., JFJfty.One-Act Plays.

Quarterly Journal

of Public Speaking, Vol. I, p. 234, 1915.

Alex. M., One-Act Plays for Schools and Colleges. Education, Vol. 4, p. 372, 1918.

Faxon, F. W., Dramatic Index.


Boston.

Published from year to year,


Catalogues, etc.

French, Samuel, Guide to Selecting Plays. Samuel French, publisher. New York.

Johnson, Gertrude, Choosing a Play. Lists of various types of one-act plays in the Appendix. The Century Company, New York, 1920.

Kaplan, Samuel, Actable One-Act Plays.


brary, Chicago, 1916.

Chicago Public Li-

Koch, Frederick H., Community Drama

Service.

select list of

one-act plays. Extension Series, Number 36, in University of North Carolina Record, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 1920.

Lewis, B. Roland, The Technique of the One- Act Play (Appendix: Contemporary One- Act Plays). John W. Luce and Company, Boston, 1918.

Lewis, B. Roland, The One-Act Play in Colleges and High Schools. A select list of fifty one-act plays. Bulletin of Extension Division of University of Utah, Series No. 2, Vol. 10, No. 16, Salt

Lake City, 1920.


Lewis, B. Roland, One Hundred Representative One- Act Plays, in The Drama, April, 1921, Vol. 11, No. 7, Chicago.

BIBLIOGRAPHIES
Lewis, B. Roland.

407

Bulletin on the One-Act Play, prepared for


of America.

The Drama League


one hmidred and

Contains a selected

list

of

one-act plays, with analyses, etc. The Drama League of America, Chicago, Illinois, 1921. McFadden, E. A., Selected List of Plays for Amateurs, 113 Lake
fifty

View Avenue, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1920. Mackay, Constance D'Arcy, The Little Theatre in
States

the United (Appendix: List of Plays Produced in Little Theatres). Henry Holt & Company, New York, 1917. Mayorga, Margaret Gardner, Representative One-Act Plays by American Authors (Appendix: Selective List of One- Act Plays by American Authors). Little, Brown & Company, Boston,

1919.

Merry, Glenn Newton, College Plays. University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, 1919. Three Riley, Alice C. D., The One-Act PlayStudy Course. issues (February, March, April) of The Drama League Bulletin, 1918, Washington, D. C. Riley, Ruth, Plays and Recitations, Extension Division Record, Vol. 2, No. 2, November, 1920. University of Florida,
Gainesville, Florida.
Selected List of Christmas Plays.

Drama League

Calendar, No-

York. Selected List of Patriotic Plays and Pageants Suitable for Amateurs. Drama League Calendar, October 1, 1918, New York. The Drama League, BosSelected List of Plays for Amateurs. ton. Also Doubleday, Page & Company, New York, 1917. Shay, Frank, Play List, Winter, 1921. Frank Shay, 4 Christopher Street, New York. Shay, Frank, and Loving, Pierre, Fifty Contemporary One-Act Plays (Appendix: The Plays of the Little Theatre). Stewart &
15, 1918,

vember

New

Kidd Company,
Stratton, Clarence,

Cincinnati, 1920.

Two Hundred Plays Suitable for Amateurs. One hundred of them are one-act plays. St. Louis, Missouri, 1920. The Drama Shop, 7 East 42d Street, New York.
tains a revised list of one-act plays)
.

Stratton, Clarence, Produxiing in Little Theatres (Appendix con-

Henry Holt

& Company,
Sum-

New York
Swartout,
mit,

City, 1921.

Norman Lee, One Hundred and One Good Plays.


Jersey, 1920.

New

408

BIBLIOGRAPHIES

BIBLIOGRAPHY OF REFERENCE ON THE ONE-ACT PLAY


Andrews, Charlton, The Technique of Play Writing, Chapter XVIII. Home Correspondence School, Springfield, Massachusetts.

Cannon, Fanny, Writing and Selling a Play, Chapter XXH. Henry Holt & Company, New York, 1915. Cohen, Helen Louise, One-Act Plays by Modern Authors, Introduction. Harcourt, Brace and Company, New York, 1921. Corbin, John, The One-Act Play, in the New York Times, May,
Vol. IV, p. 8, col. 1. 1918. Eaton, Walter P., Washington Square Plays, Introduction. Doubleday, Page & Company, Garden City, New York, 1917. Gibbs, Clayton E., The One-Ad Play, in The Theatre, Vol. XXIII, pp. 143-156, March, 1916. Goodman, Edward, Why the One- Act Play?, in The Theatre,

Vol.

XXV,

p. 327, June, 1917.

Irish Theatre. G. P. Putnam's York, 1913. Hamilton Clayton, The One-Act Play in America, in The Bookin Studies in man, April, 1913. Appears as Chapter Stagecraft, Henry Holt & Company, New York, 1914. Johnson, Gertrude, Choosing a Play, Chapter HI, Why the OneAct Play? The Century Company, New York, 1920. Lewis, B. Roland, The Technique of the One-Act Play. John W. Luce & Company, Boston, 1918. Lewis, B. Roland, The One-Act Play in Colleges and High Schools, Bulletin of the University of Utah, Extension Series No. 2, Extension Division, University of Vol. X, No. 16, 1920. Utah, Salt Lake City. Mackay, Constance D'Arcy, The Little Theatre in the United States, some interesting comments on various one-act plays. Henry Holt & Company, New York, 1917. Middleton, George, Tradition and Other One-Act Plays, Introduction, 1913; Embers, Etc., Introduction, 1911; Possession, Etc., Introduction, 1915. All published by Henry Holt & Company, New York. Middleton, George, The Neglected One- Act Play, in The Dramatic Mirror, January 31, 1913, pp. 13-14, New York.

Gregory,
Sons,

Lady Augusta, Our

New

XXH

BIBLIOGRAPHIES
Moses, Montrose

409

J., The American Dramatist, comment on the one-act play. Little, Brown & Company, Boston, 1917. Neal, Robert Wilson, Short Stories in the Making, Chapter I. Oxford University Press, New York, 1914. Page, Brett, Writing for Vaudeville. Home Correspondence School, Springfield, Massachusetts, 1915. Poole's Index, for articles on the one-act play in the magazines.

s Gttide to Periodical Literature for articles on the one-act play in the magazines. Schnitzler, Arthur, Comedies of Words, Introduction by Pierre Loving. Stewart & Kidd Company, Cincinnati, 1917.

The Reader

Underhill,

John Garrett, The One-Act Play in Spain,

in

The

Drama

Qvurterly Review, February, 1917.

Wilde, Percival, Confessional, and Other One-Act Plays, Preface.

Henry Holt & Company, New York, 1916. The several volumes dealing with the short story
Esenwein,
Notestein

are suggested

as collateral study: Pitkin, Neal, Williams, Grabo, Baker,

Cross, Barrett,

and Dunn, Canby, Albright, Smith, Mathews, Pain, Gerwig.

BIBLIOGRAPHY ON
Beegle,

HOW TO PRODUCE
in this

PLAYS

Mary

Porter, and Crawford, Jack,

and Pageantry.
duction.
It
is

The Appendices

Community Drama volume contain ex-

cellent bibliographies

on almost every aspect of dramatic proa most valuable work. Yale University Press,

New Haven, 1917. Chubb, Percival, Festivals and Plays. New


Clark,

Harper and Brothers,


Little,

York, 1912.
Barrett H.,

How

to

Produce Amateur Plays.


1917.

Brown & Company, Boston,


pany,

A. S. Barnes & ComYork, 1909. Hughes, Talbot, Dress Designs. The Macmillan Company, New York, 1913. Johnson, Gertrude, Choosing a Play. The Century Company, New York, 1920. Mackay, Constance D'Arcy, Costumes and Scenery for Amateurs. Henry Holt & Company, New York, 1915. Mackay, Constance D'Arcy, How to Produce Children's Plays, Henry Holt & Company, New York, 1915.

Crampton, C. Ward, Folk Dance Book.

New

410

BIBLIOGRAPHIES

Rath, Emil, Esthetic Dancing. A. S. Barnes & Company, New York, 1914. Rhead, G. N., Chats on Costutne, or Treatment of Draperies in Art. F. A. Stokes Company, New York, 1906. Stratton, Clarence, Producing in the Little Theatres. Henry Holt & Company, New York, 1921. Stratton, Clarence, Public Speaking, has a chapter on Dramatics. Henry Holt & Company, New York, 1920. Taylor, Emerson, Practical Stage Directing for Amateurs. E. P. Dutton & Company, New York, 1916. Waugh, Frank A., Outdoor Theatres. Richard G. Badger, Boston, 1917.

Young, James, Making Up.


37th Street,

M. Witmark &

Sons, 144

West

New

York.

U.C.BERKELEY LIBRARIES

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