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´╗┐Title: Duty, and other Irish Comedies
Author: O'Brien, Seumas
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Duty, and other Irish Comedies" ***

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DUTY AND OTHER IRISH COMEDIES

[Illustration: FROM THE DRY POINT STUDY BY P. GRASSBY]

DUTY AND OTHER IRISH COMEDIES

BY

SEUMAS O'BRIEN

1916



CONTENTS


DUTY
JURISPRUDENCE
MAGNANIMITY
MATCHMAKERS
RETRIBUTION



DUTY

A COMEDY IN ONE ACT



CHARACTERS


HEAD CONSTABLE MULLIGAN _A Member of the Royal Irish Constabulary_
SERGEANT DOOLEY _A Member of the R.I.C._
CONSTABLE HUGGINS _A Member of the R.I.C._
MICUS GOGGIN
PADNA SWEENEY
MRS. ELLEN COTTER _A public-house keeper_



DUTY was produced for the first time at the Abbey
Theatre, Dublin, December 17, 1913, with the following
cast:


Head Constable Mulligan, R.I.C.    ARTHUR SINCLAIR
Sergeant Dooley, R.I.C.            FRED O'DONOVAN
Constable Huggins, R.I.C.          SYDNEY J. MORGAN
Micus Goggin                       J.M. KERRIGAN
Padna Sweeney                      J.A. O'ROURKE
Mrs. Ellen Cotter                  UNA O'CONNOR



DUTY


_Back kitchen of a country public house. Micus and Padna seated at a
table drinking from pewter pints. Mrs. Cotter enters in response to a
call_.

PADNA (_pointing to pint measures_)
Fill 'em again, ma'am, please.

MRS. COTTER (_taking pints, and wiping table_)
Fill 'em again, is it? Indeed I won't do any such thing.

MICUS
Indeed you will, Mrs. Cotter.

MRS. COTTER
Don't you know that 'tis Sunday night, an' that the police
might call any minute?

MICUS (_disdainfully_)
The police!

PADNA
Bad luck to them!

MICUS Amen!

MRS. COTTER
This will be the last drink that any one will get in
this house to-night.
[_Exit_.

MICUS
'Tis a nice state of affairs to think that dacent men,
after a hard week's work, can't have a drink in pace
and quietness in the town they were born and reared
in, without bein' scared out o' their senses by the
police!

PADNA
'Tis the hell of a thing, entirely! I don't see what's
gained be closin' the pubs at all, unless it be to give
the police somethin' to do.

MICUS
The overfed and undertaught bla'gards!

PADNA
As far as I can see, there's as much drink sold as if
the pubs were never closed.

MICUS
There is, an' more; for if it wasn't forbidden to drink
porter, it might be thought as little about as water.

PADNA
I don't believe that, Micus. Did you ever hear of a
pint or even a gallon of water makin' any one feel
like Napoleon?

[_Mrs. Cotter enters and places drinks on table_.

PADNA (_handing money_)
There ye are, ma'am.

MRS. COTTER (_takes money_)
Hurry now like good boys, for forty shillin's is a lot
to pay for a pint o' porter, an' that's what 'twill cost
ye if the police comes in an' finds ye here. An' I'll
lose me license into the bargain.
[_Exit_.

MICUS
One would think be the way the police are talked
about that they had charge of the whole Universe!

PADNA
An' who else has charge of it but themselves an' the
magistrates, or justices o' the pace, as they're called?

MICUS
They're worse than the police.

PADNA
They're as bad anyway, an' that's bad enough.

MICUS (_scornfully_)
Justices o' the pace!

PADNA
Micus!

MICUS
What?

PADNA (_thoughtfully_)
There's no justice in the world.

MICUS
Damn the bit! Sure 'tisn't porter we should be drinkin'
a cold night like this!

PADNA (_as he sips from pint_)
'Tis well to have it these times.

MICUS
The world is goin' to the dogs, I'm afraid.

PADNA
'Tisn't goin' at all, but gone.

MICUS
An' nobody seems to care.

PADNA
Some pretend they do, like the preachers, but they're
paid for it. I do be often wonderin' after readin' the
newspapers if God has forgotten about the world
altogether.

MICUS
I wouldn't be surprised, for nothin' seems to be right.
There's the police, for instance. They can do what
they like, an' we must do what we're told, like childer.


PADNA
Isn't the world a star, Micus?

MICUS (_with pint to his mouth_)
Of course it is.

PADNA
Then it must be the way that it got lost among all
the other stars one sees on a frosty night.

MICUS
Are there min in the other stars too?

PADNA
So I believe.

MICUS
That's queer.

PADNA
Sure, everythin' is queer.

MICUS
If the min in the other stars are like the peelers, there
won't be much room in Hell after the good are taken
to Heaven on the last day.

PADNA
The last day! I don't like to think about the last day.

MICUS
Why so?

PADNA
Well, 'tis terrible to think that we might be taken to
Heaven, (_pauses_) an' our parents an' childer might
be sent (_points towards the floor_) with the Protestants.

MICUS
If the Protestants will be as well treated in the next
world as they are in this, I wouldn't mind goin' with
'em meself.

PADNA
I wouldn't like to be a Protestant after I'm dead, Micus.


MICUS (_knocks with his pint on the table and Mrs. Cotter
enters; he points to pints_)
The same again, Mrs. Cotter.

MRS. COTTER
Indeed, ye won't get another drop.

MICUS
This will be our last, ma'am. Don't be hard on us.
'Tis only a night of our lives, an' we'll be all dead
one day.

MRS. COTTER (_as she leaves the room with measures in
hand_)
Ye ought to be ashamed o' yerselves to be seen in
a public house a night like this.

MICUS
We're ashamed o' nothin,' ma'am. We're only ourselves
an' care for nobody.

MRS. COTTER (_turning round_)
Well, this is the very last drink ye'll get then.
[_Exit_.

PADNA
Women are all alike.

MICUS
They are, God forgive them.

PADNA
They must keep talkin'.

MICUS
An' 'tis only a fool that 'ud try to prevent 'em.

MRS. COTTER (_entering and placing measures on table_)
Hurry up, now, an' don't have me at the next Petty
Sessions.
[_Exit_.

MICUS (_after testing drink_)
Nothin' like a good pint o' "Dundon's."

PADNA
'Tis great stuff.

MICUS
May the Lord spare them long, an' they buildin'
houses for the poor an' churches for God!

PADNA
An' all out o' the beer money?

MICUS
Of course. What else could ye make money at in a
country like this?

PADNA
'Tis a thirsty climate!

MICUS
If all those who made money built houses for the poor
an' gave employment, there 'ud soon be no poor at all.

PADNA
You're talkin' what's called socialism now, an' that's
too delicate a plant, like Christianity, to thrive in a
planet like this. So I heard one o' them preacher
chaps sayin' the other evenin'.

MICUS
Well, be all accounts, we're no better off than those
who heard St. Peter himself preachin'. The poor still
only get the promise of Heaven from the clergy.

PADNA
That's all they'll ever get.

MICUS
The world must surely be lost, Padna.

PADNA
Nothin' surer!

MICUS
If God ever goes rummagin' among the stars an' finds
it again, there'll be bad work, I'm thinkin'.

PADNA
I wonder will it be a great fire or another flood?

MICUS
Tis hard to tell!

[_A loud knocking is heard at the door_.

MRS. COTTER (_from the shop_)
Who's there?

VOICE
Police.

PADNA
May ye freeze there!

MICUS
Or trip over the threshold and break ye'r neck!

MRS. COTTER (_rushing into kitchen_)
Quick! quick! quick! (_Points to a door_) This way,
boys!

[_Micus and Padna enter a small room off the kitchen.
Mrs. Cotter locks the door and opens the street door for
the policeman, the knocking getting louder meanwhile_.

MRS. COTTER
Wait a minit! Wait a minit! I'm comin', I'm comin'.

[_Opens door. Enter Head Constable Mulligan, R.I.C._

HEAD
You took a long time to open the door, ma'am.

MRS. COTTER
I know I did, but it wasn't me fault, Head. I had
the house locked up for the night, an' couldn't find
where I left the kay.

HEAD
'Tis all right, ma'am. I can lose things meself. (_Looks
carefully around_) 'Tis a lonesome thing to see the
house so empty.

MRS. COTTER
'Tis Sunday night, Head.

HEAD
Of course, of course! All the same I'd prefer to see it
full--of bona-fide travellers, I mean.

MRS. COTTER
Thank ye, Head.  How's Mrs. Mulligan an' the
childer?

HEAD
Wisha, purty fair. How's the world usin' yourself?

MRS. COTTER
Only for the rheumatics I'd have no cause to grumble.

HEAD
'Tis well to be alive at all these times. An' Ballyferris
isn't the best place to keep any one alive in
winter time.

MRS. COTTER
Or summer time ayther. Whin the weather is good
trade is bad.

HEAD
That's always the way in this world. We're no sooner,
out o' one trouble before another commences. I always
admire the way you bear your troubles, though,
Mrs. Cotter.

MRS. COTTER
I does me best, Head.

HEAD
Just like meself! Just like meself! The Government
makes laws an' I must see that they're not broken.
(_Rubbing his hands together_) 'Tis a cold night, an' no
doubt about it.

MRS. COTTER
Bad weather is due to us now.

HEAD
Everythin' bad is due to some of us. Only for that
shark of an Inspector 'tis little trouble I'd be givin'
a dacent woman like yourself a night like this.

MRS. COTTER
He's very strict, I hear.

HEAD
He's strict, disagreeable, a Protestant, a teetotaler,
an' a Cromwellian to boot!

MRS. COTTER
The Lord protect us! 'Tis a wonder you're alive at
all!

HEAD
Wisha, I'm only half alive. The cold never agrees
with me. (_Looking at fire_) That's not a very dangerous
fire, an' I'm as cold as a snowball.

MRS. COTTER (_with her back to the door behind which
Padna and Micus are hiding_) There's a fine fire up-stairs
in the sittin'-room.

HEAD (_draws a chair and sits down_)
Thank ye, ma'am, but 'tisn't worth me while goin'
up-stairs. As I said before, I wouldn't trouble you at
all only for the Inspector, an' like Nelson, he expects
every one to do their duty.

MRS. COTTER
'Tis a hard world.

HEAD
An' a cold world too. I often feels cold on a summer
day.

MRS. COTTER
That's too bad! Is there no cure for it?

HEAD
They say there's a cure for everything.

MRS. COTTER
I wonder if ye took a drop o' "Wise's" ten-year-old!
It might help to warm ye, if ye sat be the fire up-stairs.

HEAD (_brightening up_)
Now, 'pon me word, but that's strange! I was just
thinkin' o' the same thing meself. That's what's
called telepattery or thought transference.

MRS. COTTER
Tella--what, Head?

HEAD (_with confidence_)
Telepattery, ma'am. 'Tis like this: I might be in
America--

MRS. COTTER
I wish you were--

HEAD (_with a look of surprise_)
What's that, ma'am?

MRS. COTTER
I wish for your own sake that you were in a country
where you would get better paid for your work.

HEAD (_satisfied_)
Thank ye, ma'am. I suppose min like meself must
wait till we go to the other world to get our reward.

MRS. COTTER
Very likely!

HEAD
Well, as I was sayin', I might be in America, or New
York, Boston, Chicago, or any o' thim foreign places,
an' you might be in this very house, or up in your
sister's house, or takin' a walk down the town, an'
I'd think o' some thought, an' at that very second
you'd think o' the same thought, an' nayther of us
would know that we were both thinkin' o' the same
thing. That's tellepattery, ma'am.

MRS. COTTER
'Tis a surprisin' thing, surely! Is it hot or cold you'll
have the whiskey, Head?

HEAD
Cold, if ye please.

[_Exit Mrs. Cotter. While she is away, he walks up
and down whistling some popular air. Enter Mrs.
Cotter._

MRS. COTTER
Will I bring it up-stairs for you?

HEAD
Indeed, I'm givin' you too much trouble as it is. I'll
try an' take it where I am. (_Takes glass and tastes_)
That is good stuff.

MRS. COTTER
I'm glad you like it.

HEAD
Who wouldn't like it?

MRS. COTTER
I don't know the taste of it.

HEAD (_as he finishes contents of glass_)
May ye be always so, though there's nothin' like it
all the same. (_Handing coin_) I think I'll have a
little drop from meself this time.

MRS. COTTER (_as she takes the money_)
Will I bring it up-stairs?

HEAD
Erra, don't bother! I'm beginnin' to feel meself again.

[_Fills his pipe until she returns_.

MRS. COTTER (_entering and handing drink_)
Did you bring your overcoat with you, Head?

HEAD
Why so, ma'am?

MRS. COTTER
Because the cold o' the rain is there. I wouldn't
make any delay but go home immediately.  You
might get a wettin'.

HEAD (_feeling his tunic_)
This wouldn't leave in a drop o' rain in a hundred
years, ma'am.

[_Knock at door_.

MRS. COTTER
Who's there?

VOICE
Police!

HEAD
Police, did I hear?

MRS. COTTER
'Tis the Sergeant's voice.

HEAD
Glory to be God! I'm ruined! If he finds the smell o'
whiskey from me, he'll tell the Inspector, an' then
Head Constable Mulligan is no more!

MRS. COTTER
Is he as bad as that?

HEAD
He has no conscience at all. He's a friend o' the
Inspector's. (_Knocking continues at door_) Don't open
that door till I tell you--that's if you don't want to
find a corpse on the floor.

MRS. COTTER
Sure, I must open the door.

HEAD
Time enough. He's paid for waitin'. Have you such
a thing as an onion in the house?

MRS. COTTER
I didn't see an onion for the last three weeks.

HEAD (_scratching his head_)
What the blazes will I do? (_Looking towards coal hole_)
Whist! I'm saved. I'll go in here until he's gone.
(_Goes in and puts out his head_) You can open now,
but get rid of him as soon as you can.

[_Exit Mrs. Cotter. Enter the Sergeant_.

SERGEANT
So you opened at last. Well, better late than never!

MRS. COTTER
I'm sorry for keepin' you waitin', Sergeant. I don't
open the door for any one on Sunday nights, an' whin
you said "Police," I thought it was one o' the boys
tryin' to desaive me.

SERGEANT
I see! I see! There's a lot o' desaitful people in the
town, ma'am.

MRS. COTTER
There are, Sergeant.

SERGEANT
There are indeed. (_Coughs_) I'm sick an' tired o' the
place altogether.

MRS. COTTER
I thought it agreed with you. You're lookin' very
well, anyway.

SERGEANT
I'm not feelin' well at all thin. (_Coughs_) There's
nothin' more deceptive than looks at times. (_Coughs_)

MRS. COTTER
True.

SERGEANT
'Tis in me bed I should be instead of troublin' dacent
people like yourself a night like this. (_Coughs_) But
duty is duty, an' it must be done. If I didn't do
what I'm told, that bla'gard of a Head Constable
would soon have another an' maybe a worse man in
my place.

MRS. COTTER
The Lord save us!

SERGEANT
But as herself says: There's no use in the Government
makin' laws if the people don't keep them.

MRS. COTTER
That's so.

SERGEANT
Keepin' the world in order is no aisy business, ma'am.

MRS. COTTER
'Tis a great responsibility.

SERGEANT (_drawing a chair to the fire and sitting down_)
'Pon me word I'm tired an' cold too.

MRS. COTTER
Wouldn't ye go home and go to bed, Sergeant?

SERGEANT
If I went to bed at this hour, the Head would send a
report to his chum the Inspector, statin' that I was
drunk. (_Coughs_)

MRS. COTTER
That's a bad cough. How long is it troublin' ye?

SERGEANT
Only since supper time. I was eatin' a bit o' cold
meat, an' a bone or somethin' stuck there. (_Points at
his throat_)

MRS. COTTER
An' what did ye do for it?

SERGEANT
What could I do for it?

MRS. COTTER
Ye could take a drink o' somethin' an' wash it down.

SERGEANT
I tried some cold tea. (_Coughs_)

MRS. COTTER
I wonder would a bottle of stout do any good.

SERGEANT
'Twould be no harm to try.

MRS. COTTER
Will ye have a bottle?

SERGEANT
To tell ye the truth, I don't like bein' disobligin',
ma'am. (_Coughs_)

[_Exit Mrs. Cotter. While she is away, he walks up
and down, whistling the while_.

MRS. COTTER (_at door_)
Ye might as well come up-stairs, Sergeant. There's a
fine fire in the sitting-room.

SERGEANT
I'm first rate where I am. Thank you all the same.

[_Takes stout and finishes it without withdrawing it from
his mouth. Coughs_.

MRS. COTTER
How do you feel now?

SERGEANT (_wiping his mouth with a large old handkerchief_)
'Tis gone! I mean the bone. I feel meself
again.

MRS. COTTER
I'm glad of that. (_Looking at clock_) 'Tis gone half-past
ten, Sergeant.

SERGEANT
Plenty o' time. We'll be a long time dead, an' happy
I hope.

MRS. COTTER
Amen!

SERGEANT
'Tis my belief that we should all try to do good while
we're alive.

MRS. COTTER
There's a lot o' good people in the world, Sergeant.

SERGEANT
There is, ma'am, but nearly every one o' them thinks
that they're better than what they are. That's what
annoys me.

MRS. COTTER
Sure 'tis imagination that keeps the world movin'.

SERGEANT
Yes, an' ambition. All the same, 'tis a good job that
people can't see themselves as they really are.

MRS. COTTER
They wouldn't believe that they were themselves if
they could.

SERGEANT
I suppose not.

MRS. COTTER
Won't ye come up to the fire in the sittin'-room?

SERGEANT
Don't be worryin' about me. I'm all right. That was
good stout.

MRS. COTTER
The best!

SERGEANT
'Tis a cure for nearly everythin'. Only for takin' a
little now an' again, I'd never be able to stand all the
hardships o' me profession.

MRS. COTTER
Hard work isn't easy.

SERGEANT
True! But a good drop o' stout, or better still "spirits"
makes many things easy. 'Tis the seed o' pluck,
so to speak. I'm feelin' just a little queer about the
nerves. I think I'll have a drop o' "Wise's."

[_Exit Mrs. Cotter. While she is away he fills his pipe_.

MRS. COTTER (_entering with drink_)
That's like the noise of a row down the road.

SERGEANT
Erra, let 'em row away! The Head is prowlin' about.
Let him separate 'em. 'Tis about time he did somethin'
for his livin'. 'Tis a damn shame to have the
poor rate payers supportin' the likes of him.

MRS. COTTER
I wouldn't be talkin' like that, Sergeant.

SERGEANT
Why wouldn't I talk? There's as many Head Constables
as clergy in the country, an' only for the sergeants
an' an odd constable 'tis unknown what 'ud
happen!

MRS. COTTER
The Head is a dacent gentleman.

SERGEANT
You don't know anythin' about him. Grumblin' about
havin' to shave himself he does be now, an' only for
havin' a bald patch on one side of his face, he'd let
his whiskers grow altogether.

[_The Head sneezes in the coal hole_.

SERGEANT
What noise is that?

MRS. COTTER (_startled_)
That's only the cat in the coal hole.

SERGEANT (_leaving his chair and moves toward it_)
He must be suffocatin'. I'll open the door an' let
him out. Under the grate he should be a cold night
like this. (_Opens the door and sees the Head_) Heavens
be praised! 'Tis the Head himself!

[_The Head comes out, arranges his cap, and is not aware
that he has a black spot on his nose_.

HEAD
'Tis the Head an' every inch an' ounce of him too
that stands before ye.

SERGEANT
I thought 'twas y'er ghost I saw.

HEAD (_angrily_)
What the blazes would me ghost be doin' in a coal hole?

SERGEANT
What I'd like to know is what y'erself have been doin'
there.

HEAD
That won't take me long to tell. Waitin' and watchin'
to catch the likes o' you is what took me there.

SERGEANT
Now, Head, with all due respects, I'd try an' tell the
truth if I were you.

HEAD
Sergeant Dooley, sir, anythin' you'll say or be likely
to say 'll be used in evidence against you.

SERGEANT
An' anythin' that you say or don't say may be used
in evidence against you.

HEAD (_enraged_)
Sergeant Dooley!

SERGEANT (_coolly_)
Yes, Head.

HEAD
Do you know that y'er addressin' y'er superior officer?

SERGEANT
The less said about superiority the better.

HEAD
You can't deny that I found you drinkin' on these
licensed premises while on duty.

SERGEANT
I might as well tell you candidly that you have no
more chance o' frightenin' me or desaivin' me than
you have of catchin' whales in Casey's duck-pond.

HEAD (_passionately_)
I'll--I'll--I--

SERGEANT
You'll have a drink from me, an' we'll say no more
about the matter. I wouldn't blame any man for
takin' a drop a cold night like this. I suppose 'twill
be "Wise's" the same as the last? That's if me sense
o' smell isn't out of order.

HEAD (_crestfallen, blows his breath on the palm of his
hand and looks at the Sergeant_) Is it as bad as that?

SERGEANT
I smelt it the instant I came in, an' wondered where
'twas comin' from.

HEAD
I only took it to avoid catchin' cold.

SERGEANT
Just like meself. We must avoid catchin' cold at any
cost. (_To Mrs. Cotter_) Two glasses o' "Wise's,"
ma'am."

[_Exit Mrs. Cotter_.

SERGEANT (_to Head_)
Wait, an' I'll wipe that black spot off ye'r nose.

[_He does so. Enter Mrs. Cotter_.

MRS. COTTER (_handing drinks_)
The fire up-stairs is blazing away, an' there's no one
sittin' by it.

HEAD
We're all right. (_Holding glass_) Here's long life to us!

SERGEANT
Health an' prosperity!

HEAD (_after finishing drink_)
We must have another, for I'm not feelin' too well,
an' 'tis better be on the safe side. 'Twas through
neglect that some o' the best min died.

SERGEANT
We must not forget that!

HEAD (_to Mrs. Cotter_)
The same again, Mrs. Cotter.

[_Exit Mrs. Cotter with glasses_.

HEAD
I saw be the papers last night that the Royal Irish
Constabulary are the finest in the world.

SERGEANT
Sure every one knows that!

HEAD
I wonder what kind are all the others?

SERGEANT
That's what I'd like to know.

MRS. COTTER (_at door_)
Will I bring them up to the sittin'-room, gentlemen?

HEAD
We're first class as we are, ma'am.

[_Mrs. Cotter hands the glasses and a loud knock is
heard at the door_.

MRS. COTTER
Who's there?

VOICE
Police!

HEAD
'Tis the constable!

SERGEANT
The bla'gard surely!

HEAD
What'll we do?

SERGEANT
Take the drinks first, an' consider after.

[_They finish drinks and hand back the glasses to Mrs.
Cotter_.

HEAD
I suppose we had better hide in the coal hole. He has
a better nose than yourself, an' one word from him to
the Inspector would soon deprive us o' both stripes
an' pensions.

SERGEANT
I suppose the coal hole is the best place, though it
does offend me dignity to go there.

HEAD
Wisha, bad luck to you an' ye'r dignity. Come on
here!

[_The Head enters, and the Sergeant follows. Mrs. Cotter
opens the street door and the Constable enters._

CONSTABLE (_sarcastically_)
Thanks very much for openin' the door, ma'am.

MRS. COTTER
I'm sorry for keepin' you waitin', Constable. I was
sayin' me prayers up-stairs before goin' to bed.

CONSTABLE
If I had known that, I wouldn't have disturbed you.
I hope you said one for me.

MRS. COTTER
Of course I did. I always ses a prayer for the police.

CONSTABLE
An' right too, ma'am, for 'tis little time we have for
prayin'. There's no rest for a man once he joins the
Force. Whin y're not kept busy thinkin' o' one thing,
y're kept busy thinkin' o' somethin' else.

MRS. COTTER
Thinkin' is worse than workin'.

CONSTABLE
A hundred times. (_Looking at his watch_) 'Tis a long
time since first Mass this mornin'. Saturday! Sunday!
Monday! 'Tis all the same whin y're in the
Force. On y'er feet all day, an' kep' awake be the
childer all night. An' whin pay day comes, all y'er
hard earnin's goes to keep the wolf from the door.

MRS. COTTER
God help us!

CONSTABLE
Say what ye will, but life is an awful bother.

MRS. COTTER
We must go through it.

CONSTABLE
Well, 'tis a good job we don't live as long as the
alligators. We might have to support our grandchilder
if we did, an' I may tell you it gives me enough
to do to support me own.

MRS. COTTER
How many have you now, Constable?

CONSTABLE
Seven, an' the wife's mother.

MRS. COTTER
I thought she was dead.

CONSTABLE (_disgusted_)
Dead! There's five years more in her!

MRS. COTTER
You seem to be in a very bad humor to-night.

CONSTABLE
An' why not? When I have to put up with that
bla'gard of a Sergeant--not to mention the Head-constable!

MRS. COTTER
We all have our troubles.

CONSTABLE
Some of us get more than our share. An' 'tis far
from troublin' a dacent woman like you I'd be, only
for the Sergeant, ma'am.

MRS. COTTER
Excuse me, Constable. I can't keep me eyes open
with the sleep.

CONSTABLE
I'm sorry for troublin' you. But duty is duty, an' it
must be done whether we give offence to our best
friends or not. Sure, 'tis well I know that you have
no one on the premises.

MRS. COTTER
We can't please everybody.

CONSTABLE (_as he draws a chair to the fire and sits down_)
Who would try? I wonder is it snow we're goin' to
have?

MRS. COTTER
If you're cold, come up to the fire in the sittin'-room.
Or if I were you, I'd take a good walk.

CONSTABLE
I'm tired o' walkin', an' the cold gives me no trouble.
'Tis the pains I have here (_placing his hand on his
heart_) that affects me.

MRS. COTTER
What sort are they?

CONSTABLE
Cramps--of the worst kind.

MRS. COTTER
Gracious me! Have you taken anythin' for them?

CONSTABLE
What would be good for 'em?

MRS. COTTER
Hot milk an' pepper.

CONSTABLE
I tried that.

MRS. COTTER
Anythin' else?

CONSTABLE
Nothin' except a smoke.

MRS. COTTER
Maybe a little drop o' "Wise's" would do some good?

CONSTABLE
I'd try anythin' that 'ud lessen the pain, though I'd
rather not be troublin' ye.

MRS. COTTER
'Tis no trouble at all.

[_Exit. While she is away, something falls in the room
where Micus and Padna are. The Constable fails to
open the door, and returns to his chair before Mrs.
Cotter comes back with the drink_.

MRS. COTTER (_handing glass_)
Drink that up, go straight home, bathe ye'r feet in
mustard an' water, an' ye'll be as strong as a Protestant
in the mornin'!

CONSTABLE (_taking glass_)
Thank ye, ma'am.

[_Drinks it off. The Head in the coal hole sneezes, and
the Sergeant shouts_ "God bless us!"

CONSTABLE
What's that?

MRS. COTTER
Oh, that's nothin'.

[_Another sneeze and_ "God bless us!"

CONSTABLE
Well, if that nothin' isn't somethin', I'm dotin'.

[_Opens door and Head and Sergeant fall out on the
floor_.

SERGEANT
'Tis all your fault with your blasted sneezin'.

HEAD
Now, maybe you'll believe that I've a cold.

SERGEANT
Don't be botherin' me. I can't believe meself not to
mind a liar like you.

HEAD (_to the Constable, after he has got on his feet_)
Now, sir, what have you got to say for yourself?
'Twill be useless for you to deny that meself an' the
Sergeant here (_points to the Sergeant who is still on the
floor_) have caught you drinkin' on these licensed
premises durin' your hours o' duty.

CONSTABLE
An' what about me catchin' the pair o' ye hidin' in
the coal hole o' the same licensed premises, an' a
strong smell o' whiskey from ye?

HEAD
'Tis from yourself that, you smells the whiskey.

CONSTABLE (_takes an onion from his pocket, peels it, and
eats it slowly_)
I defy you or any one else to find the smell o' whiskey
from me.

HEAD (_to the Sergeant_)
Well, don't that beat Banagher?

SERGEANT
The Devil himself couldn't do better.

CONSTABLE
Well, gentlemen, I'm sorry for troublin' ye, but duty
is duty. I'll now place ye under arrest an' send for
the Inspector.

HEAD (_in a rage_)
No more o' this nonsense! You'll pay for this night's
work, believe me.

CONSTABLE (_smiling_)
I'll pay for a drink for both o' ye for the sake of old
times, an' the less said about this night's work the
better. (_All remain silent for a short time_) Well, are
ye goin' to have the drink?

SERGEANT (_to Head_)
We might as well take it, for 'tis the first time he
ever offered to stand, an' it may be the last.

HEAD (_after much consideration_)
Very well, then, I'll have a drop o' the best.

SERGEANT
An' I'll have the same.

CONSTABLE
Three glasses o' "Wise's," Mrs. Cotter.

MRS. COTTER _(from the bar)_
Certainly, Constable.

[_The Head and Sergeant remain silent, and the Constable
paces up and down with his hands in his pockets,
whistling some popular tune, until Mrs. Cotter brings
in the drinks_.

MRS. COTTER _(as she places the drinks on the table)_
I don't like to see ye in this cold kitchen, gentlemen.
Can't ye come up-stairs to the sitting-room?

CONSTABLE
'Tisn't worth our while, ma'am. We have our work
to do. (_Taking glass in hand_) Slainthe!

[_Drinks half the quantity of whiskey. The Head and
Sergeant do likewise. A noise like the falling of furniture
is heard from the room where Padna and Micus are._

HEAD _(startled)_
What's that?

_[There is silence for a while, then Micus is heard singing._

MICUS
"We are the boys of Wexford
  Who fought with heart an' hand
To burst in twain the galling chain,
  An' free our native land."

HEAD _(to Mrs. Cotter who has come from the bar)_
I'll have the kay of that door, ma'am.

MRS. COTTER
What kay, Head?

HEAD
The kay o' that door, ma'am.
[_Strikes door with his fist_.

MRS. COTTER
Erra, Head, what's the matter with ye? That door
is nailed up this seven years. That singin' comes from
the next house.

HEAD
Glory be to God! Do any one alive tell the truth?
_(Catches hold of chair by the back)_ If you don't give me
the kay, I'll burst open the door.

MRS. COTTER
I have no kay, Head.

HEAD (_holding chair over his head_)
Once more I demand the kay in the name of His
Majesty the King, before I puts the legs o' the chair
flyin' through the ledges.

MRS. COTTER (_crying, hands key_)
Oh, wisha, what'll I do at all?

HEAD (_taking key_)
You'll be told that later on, ma'am.

MRS. COTTER
They are only two neighbors like y'erselves. Can't
ye go away an' lave 'em alone?

HEAD (_placing key_)
Not a word now, ma'am, for anythin' that you will
say or won't say must be used in evidence ag'inst ye.

PADNA (_singing_)
"Who fears to speak of Ninety-eight?
  Who blushes at the name?
When cowards mock the patriots' fate,
  Who hangs his head for shame?
He's all a knave or half a slave,
  Who slights his country thus:
But true men, like you, men,
  Will drink your glass with us."

HEAD (to _Mrs. Cotter_)
That's a nice song to be singin' on a licensed premises,
ma'am. 'Twould cause a riot if there was enough
o' people about. No less than raidin' the police
barracks would satisfy the likes o' that songster if he
was left at large. (_Opens door. Padna and Micus
stagger on to the floor. They fall but get on their feet
again_) What are ye doin' here?

PADNA
What the devil is that to you?

MICUS
Or to any one else either?

HEAD
Do ye know that this is a licensed premises?

PADNA (_looking at Micus_)
Of course we do.

HEAD
An' do ye know that this is Sunday night an' that
I'm the Head Constable, an' that one o' these min
here is the Sergeant an' the other is the Constable?

PADNA (_buttons his coat and looks defiantly at them_)
An' do ye know that I'm Padna Sweeney from Clashbeg?

MICUS (_also buttons his coat and looks aggressively at
Head_)
An' that I'm his old pal Micus Goggin from Castleclover?

PADNA (_as he staggers_)
Don't mind him, Micus. He's drunk.

HEAD
What's that you're sayin'? Who's drunk?

PADNA
Be jaikus, ye're all drunk.

MICUS
Come on away home, Padna, an' don't mind _them._
They're a bad lot.

PADNA
The smell o' drink from 'em is awful.

MICUS
'Tis disgustin'. I wouldn't be seen in their company.
Padna. Come on away.

HEAD (_to Sergeant and Constable_)
Arrest these min!

PADNA
Do ye hear that, Micus?

MICUS (_opening his coat_)
I do, but I won't be insulted be the likes o' them.

PADNA (_opening his coat also_)
Nayther will I!

HEAD (_indignantly_)
Why don't ye arrest these min, I say?

PADNA and MICUS (_together_)
Arrest us, is it? (_They take off their coats, throw them
on the ground, and take their stand like pugilists_) Come
on, now, and arrest us!

PADNA
I'll take the best man.

MICUS
An' I'll take the lot.

[_The police try to arrest them, and a desperate struggle
ensues. The police lose their caps and belts, but eventually
succeed in overpowering them._

MRS. COTTER (_rushes to the rescue_)
O boys, for my sake, an' for the sake o' ye'r wives
an' families, have no crossness but lave the house
quietly.

PADNA (_as he struggles with the Sergeant_)
Don't fret, ma'am. We'll have no crossness. All we
want is to wipe the police from the face o' the earth
altogether.

MICUS
That's all. We'll have no crossness.

[_Handcuffs are placed on Micus and Padna._

HEAD (_shouts_)
Take these min to the Barrack.

[_They struggle violently, and sing as they leave the house._

PADNA and MICUS (_together_)
"When boyhood's fire was in my blood,
  I read of ancient freemen
For Grace and Rome who bravely stood,
  Three hundred men and three men.
And then I prayed I yet might see
  Our fetters rent in twain,
And Ireland, long a province, be
  A Nation once again."

[_Mrs. Cotter follows them to the door, and while the
Head is alone, he writes in his notebook, talking aloud
as he does so_.

HEAD
"Found drunk an' disorderly on the licensed premises
o' Mrs. Cotter, Ballyferris, during prohibited hours.
Using bad an' offensive language. Resistin' arrest,
assaultin' the police, an' doin' sayrious damage to their
garments. Singin' songs of a nature likely to cause rebellion
an' threatenin' to exterminate the whole Royal
Irish Constabulary." (_Places book back in pocket_)

[_There is a little whiskey in each of the three glasses
that were placed on the mantleshelf. The Head pours_

_the contents of each into one and drinks it before Mrs.
Cotter returns. Enter Mrs. Cotter._


MRS. COTTER
Oh, Head, you won't be hard on a lone widow, will
ye? Don't prosecute thim poor min. Sure, they
have done no more harm than y'erselves.

HEAD _(as he stands at door)_
Mrs. Cotter, ma'am! I'm surprised at you.

MRS. COTTER
For what, Head?

HEAD
To think that you'd dare attempt to interfere with
me in the discharge o' me duty!

MRS. COTTER
DUTY!


CURTAIN


       *       *       *       *       *



JURISPRUDENCE

A COMEDY IN ONE ACT



CHARACTERS

MARTIN O'FLYNN  _A Resident Magistrate_
CORNELIUS JOHN MICHAEL O'CROWLEY _A New Justice of the Peace_
PHELAN DUFFY _A Barrister-at-Law_
BRENNAN CASSIDY _A Solicitor_
PETER DWYER _Clerk of the Petty Sessions Court_
RICHARD FENNELL
MARGARET FENNELL _Wife of Richard Fennell_
SERGEANT HEALY _A Member of the Royal Irish Constabulary_
CONSTABLE O'RYAN _A Member of the R.I.C_.
CONSTABLE MCCARTHY _A Member of the R.I.C_.



JURISPRUDENCE

A COMEDY IN ONE ACT



_Scene: Room in courthouse at Ballybraggan. Magistrates
and clerk of court seated on the Bench. Barristers,
townspeople, and police in body of the court_.

MARTIN O'FLYNN _(rises and wipes his brow with a red
handkerchief_) Members of the Munster Bar, Members
of the Royal Irish Constabulary, and--gentlemen
(_pauses_), and ladies also, before the Court opens
for the dispensation of justice, I would like to say a
few short words about a matter that concerns not
only ourselves here present, and the town of Ballybraggan
in particular, but everybody alive to their
own interests and the whole world in general. We
have with us to-day one who is no stranger to the
people of this historic town, and it is with feelings of
the highest regard that I stand before you in my privileged
capacity as resident magistrate to perform what
seems to me to be the most pleasing and likewise the
most joyous of duties that could fall to the lot of any
man, whether he might come from where the waves of
the tumultuous Pacific wash the shores of the great
Western world or from the town of Mallow itself. And
that is to have the honor and glorification of introducing
to you our new and worthy magistrate, Mr. Cornelius
John Michael O'Crowley. (_Applause_) Far be
it from me indeed to flatter any man, but there are
times when we must tell the truth. (_Applause_) And
when I say that there is no one more humble for a
man of his achievements from here to Honolulu than
Mr. O'Crowley himself, I am only telling the truth
in a plain and unadorned form. Every effort put
forth by Mr. O'Crowley for the welfare of mankind
has been characterised by success, and what greater
proof of his ability could we have than the fact that
he is one of the largest wine merchants and hotel
proprietors in the length and breadth of Munster?
Indeed, if Mr. O'Crowley wasn't fully qualified for
upholding and sustaining the dignity of the coveted
title, Justice of the Peace, His Excellency the Lord
Lieutenant, who is both a scholar, a gentleman, and a
Scotchman to boot, would not be so pleased and
delighted to confer on him an honor only worthy of a
man of his attainments, sentiments, and quality of
character. _(Applause)_

PHELAN DUFFY
On behalf of the legal profession of which I have the
honor of being the oldest member, I am not only
desirous but extremely overjoyed to have the golden
opportunity of congratulating our worthy townsman
Mr. Cornelius John Michael O'Crowley on the great
distinction that has befallen him. We all have heard
of that Englishman who said one time, with all the
cleverness of an Irishman and a native of Ballybraggan
at that: "Some are born great, others acquire greatness,
and more have greatness thrust upon them."
Now to say that Mr. O'Crowley had greatness thrust
upon him would not be a fact, and whether or not
he was born great we don't know, but one thing is
certain, and that is, he has acquired greatness.
And when I say so, I wish it to be distinctly
understood that I am not talking idly or glibly,
but with all the sincerity of my heart. With the
same sincerity that has characterised all my actions
since I was first called to the Bar, and made of me
what I am to-day. With the same sincerity that
characterises every successful member of the legal
profession, be he Irish, Scotch, or American. Let
critics say what they will, but the fact remains that
success is the best answer to adverse criticism. A
man's true worth may not always be appreciated in a
cold and heartless world like ours, but there will ever
be found a few who can always sympathise with us in
our sorrows and rejoice with us in our triumphs. And
Mr. O'Crowley has the rare gift which enables him to
do both. (_Applause_) He is a man of large and noble
ideals, of sterling qualities and knows human nature
in all its many phases. He knows the wants of the
people and what's more, he knows how to satisfy them.
He would not allow any man's light to be hidden
under a bushel, so to speak, and why should we allow
the bushel to bide his? (_Applause_) Let credit be
given where credit is due, was ever his motto. And
only one month has elapsed since he said to me, after
defending his own brother on a breach of the Sunday
Closing Act in this very courthouse, "My heartiest
thanks and warmest congratulations for your splendid
victory. There isn't another man in the whole country,
not even Tim Healy himself, who could win that case."

SERGEANT HEALY
On behalf of the Royal Irish Constabulary, I wish to
be associated with the hearty and unanimous welcome
extended to Mr. O'Crowley, whom I have known
since the first night I came to the town. And my
only regret is that I did not know him before, because
men with his rare traits of character are not to be
met with every day. His genial and kindly disposition
has endeared him to us all. His doors are never closed
on either Saturday, Sunday, Christmas Day, or any
other day. Friend or foe, stranger or native of Ballybraggan,
are all the same to Mr. O'Crowley. Each
and every one is received with the same hearty welcome.
He is a man whom we think of in our hours
of suffering, whether it be on the scorching heat of a
summer's day or the blighting cold of a winter's
night. It is my earnest wish, and I am sure that I am
only expressing the sentiments of the whole of Munster,
that the success which has attended Mr. O'Crowley
in all the ventures of his useful life will be doubled
in his capacity as Justice of the Peace. (_Applause_)

PETER DWYER
In all the long years that I have acted as clerk of this
court, I never felt more pleased at the coming of a
new magistrate than when I heard of the discretion
of His Excellency in selecting Mr. O'Crowley for this
most exalted position. All that I might say in my
congratulations and welcome has already been said,
and I can only concur in the good wishes that have
been offered, and though a lot more might have been
said of one so praiseworthy, I know that Mr.
O'Crowley will understand, it is not that we like
him less but that we respect him more. Mr.
O'Crowley is a man who is above pride and does not
want the walls of Rome or the stones of the Munster
roads to know what he does for mankind. So I will
now conclude by wishing him all the success that he
deserves, in the future and hereafter.

MR. C. J. M. O'CROWLEY
Brother magistrates, members of the Bar, members of
the Royal Irish Constabulary, and gentlemen: From
the bottom of my heart I thank you for all the high
compliments you have paid me this day, and I only
hope that I will be long spared to be a source of comfort
and consolation to the men and women of Ballybraggan.
I know, of course, that I am not a pararagom
of perfection, but I have the wonderful satisfaction of
knowing that I have been appreciated in my own
time, and that's more than some of the world's best
poets, philosophers, and other servants of mankind
could have said. The superdalliance of some and the
pomposity and congential insufficiency of others have
always been a warning to me, and when opportunity
sallied forth from her hiding place I never failed to
recognise her queenly presence and extend a _cead-mile-failte,_
and make of her my own, so to speak.
Such was the way of Wellington and his contemporary
Hannibal, and such must be the way of every man
who must serve his country and himself. And believe
me, much as the people of Ballybraggan think
about me, I think every bit as much about them. It
is hardly necessary for me to say that we only get
what we deserve in this world, and sometimes a little
more or a little less as the case may be. The desirable
propensities of the people of the town have endeared
me to them with a spirit as strong as that which
makes the ivy cling to the oak, and as we see the ivy
fondly clinging to that monarch of trees, whether it
sprouts its green leaves in the glorious sunshine or
falls to the ground with decay, so will I cling to the
people of Ballybraggan. Once again, I thank you,
but in conclusion I must say that I will do all in my
power to prove worthy of the reliance and confidence
placed in me. (_Applause_)

PETER DWYER
The court is now open for the dispensation of justice.
The only case before us to-day is one of house-breaking,
drunkenness from excessive use of poteen, which
is an illegal drink, and resisting arrest by the police.
The charge is laid against one Richard Fennell, and
cross-summonses have been issued to Mr. and Mrs.
Fennell.

PHELAN DUFFY
On behalf of my client, Mrs. Fennell, I wish to impress
upon the Bench the gravity of the offence with
which the accused Richard Fennell is charged, namely,
drunkenness from excessive use of an illegal intoxicant
known as poteen, house-breaking, terrorizing and almost
paralyzing with fear his highly strung and sensitive
wife, and adding insult to injury in resisting
arrest by his Majesty's guardian of law and order,
Sergeant Healy. These are grave charges indeed, and
who will gainsay that a man gifted with the spirit of
destruction like Mr. Fennell is a menace to the peace-abiding
town of Ballybraggan? Not since the heartless
barbarians made their ruthless descent upon the
Roman Empire was there such havoc wrought in any
one house, or did any individual member of society
suffer so much from nervous prostration as Mrs.
Fennell.

MR. FENNELL (_interrupting_)
Can't a man dust his own furniture and chastise his
own wife if he feels like doing so?

MR. O'CROWLEY
Order! order! There must be no interruptions in this
court of justice.

PHELAN DUFFY _(continuing)_
You can well imagine how poor Mrs. Fennell thought
that the end of the world was coming when she saw
every bit of ware on the kitchen dresser smashed in
pieces no larger than threepenny bits on the floor.
And the alarm clock that woke Mr. Fennell every
morning and reminded him that it was time to get
up and make his wife's breakfast, which she always
got in bed, struck dumb for ever with its works battered
beyond recognition. Think of this poor woman's
feelings at such an awful moment.

MR. FENNELL (_interrupting_)
Feelings! She has no more feelings than a tombstone.

PHELAN DUFFY (_continuing_)
Think of this decent, self-respecting, loving wife and
mother, who has had no less than three husbands.

MRS. FENNELL (_interrupting_)
An' I'll have another too, please God!

PHELAN DUFFY
Think, I say, of three husbands, and ten children.
Six resting in the little churchyard at Ennisbeg, and
four resting in the Royal Irish Constabulary. That
Mr. Fennell was what we would call a model husband,
before he touched this poteen goes without saying.
Everything that his wife told him to do was done,
and done to her satisfaction, and done whether he
liked the doing of it or no.

MRS. FENNELL (_interrupting_)
I always made my husbands do what they were told.

PHELAN DUFFY
Mr. Fennell is no doubt guilty of a serious offence,
but whoever sold him the base liquor is far more
guilty in the eyes of the law, as well as the public.
Needless to state, this fact does not in any way lessen
the gravity of Mr. Fennell's offence, and I would ask
the Bench not to allow any feelings of sentiment to
interfere with the discharge of their duty. I would
ask that the severest penalty allowed be inflicted on
the accused for his unwarranted, unmanly, and blackguardly
conduct.

MRS. FENNELL (_to Phelan Duffy_)
Wisha, bad luck to your impudence to call my husband
a bla'gard. A dacent man that never went to
the likes of you or any one else for anything.

MR. O'CROWLEY
Order, order.

MRS. FENNELL
'Tis only the likes of lawyers that have the insolence
to insult dacent people. Sure when they aren't ignorant
they're consated, and their wives and daughters
are no better than themselves.

MR. O'CROWLEY
Order, order. Unless you behave yourself, you must
be placed under arrest.

MRS. FENNELL
Sure, you don't think I can stand here with a tongue
in me head and listen to me husband being insulted,
do you?

PETER DWYER
Order, order, Mrs. Fennell, please.

[_She attempts to speak again, and the sergeant places
his hand over her mouth. She resents this action, and
in a struggle which ensues the sergeant falls to the floor.
He is helped to his feet by Mrs. Fennell, and both look
at each other in a scornful way._

SERGEANT HEALY (_to Mrs. Fennell_)
'Tis a good job for you that you're not Mrs. Healy.

MRS. FENNELL
And 'tis a blessing for you that you're not Mr. Fennell.

MR. O'CROWLEY
Order, order. This conduct is scandalous, Mrs. Fennell,
and you must keep quiet.

MR. FENNELL
You might as well be asking a whale to whistle "The
Last Rose of Summer" or asking the Kaiser to become
a Trappist monk.

PETER DWYER
Order, order. Now please, Mrs. Fennell, come forward
and give your evidence.

MRS. FENNELL
All I have to say is that my husband got the delirium
tramens from drinking poteen and broke every bit
of furniture in the house, an' he might have killed
myself.

MR. FENNELL (_very disgusted_)
I wish I knew how.

MRS. FENNELL (_continuing_)
Only for having the good sense of rushing to the front
door and shouting for the police. I'm an orphan,
your Worship, and that's why I'm here to seek protection
from the court. All the same, I haven't a
word to say to my husband, the cowardly ruffian,
only for his love of poteen, bad temper, and contrary
ways.

MR. O'CROWLEY
That will do, Mrs. Fennell.

MRS. FENNELL
Thanks, your Worship.

SERGEANT HEALY (_takes out his notebook. A day pipe,
box of snuff, and handkerchief fall to the floor. The
snuff falls on the handkerchief. He replaces the snuff
box and the pipe in his pocket, and wipes his face with
the snuffy handkerchief. He then opens his notebook
for reference and begins_)
On the night of December third _sneezes and says:_
God bless us!) I was on me rounds doin' beat duty
in Market Square in the town of Ballybraggan
(_Sneezes_)--God bless us!--and all of a sudden without
a moment's notice, I was disturbed from me
reverie of pious thought, be a great disturbance like
the falling of porter barrels from the top floor of a
brewery, and without saying as much as the Lord
protect me, I swung to me left from whence the
noise came and beheld Mrs. Fennell (_Sneeze_)--God
bless us!--rushing out of her own house the way
you'd see a wild Injun rushing in the moving pictures
and shouting like a circus lion before his breakfast:
"Police! police! police!" An' as though it was the
will of Providence, I was in the very place where me
presence was required.

MRS. FENNELL
Accidents will happen, Sergeant.

SERGEANT
They will, and disasters too, if you don't hold your
tongue.

PETER DWYER
Order, order.

SERGEANT HEALY (_continuing_)
Well, in with me to the house without a moment's
delay, and what did I see but Richard Fennell sitting
in an easy chair and smoking a cigar and looking as
happy an' contented as a Protestant after a meal of
corn beef and cabbage on a Friday. An' the house,
the Lord save us!--one would think that 'twas struck
be a cyclone. The only thing that remained whole
was the chair that he sat in and the decanter that fed
the broken glass from which he drank the poteen.
"What brings you here?" ses he, to me. An' only I
had the presence of mind of clapping the handcuffs on
him before I had time to answer such an impertinent
question, there might be one more above in the old
churchyard and one less in this court of justice.
(_Sneezes_) God bless us! The story is nearly ended.
(_Sneezes_) God bless us! I--(_Sneezes_) God bless us!
I--(_Waits for an expected sneeze and when disappointed
he says_ "Thank God!") I brought the prisoner to
the barrack and have here the poteen that changed
him from a law-abiding townsman into a fiend incarnate.
(_The sergeant then places the bottle of poteen on
the counter, looks very hard at it, pretends to faint from
sudden weakness, and asks for a drink of water_) Can
I have a little water, if you please?
[_Several rush to assist him. There is no water in the
court, and the clerk gets the kind of inspiration that the
sergeant desires and fetches the poteen. He pours some
out in a glass and gives it to the sergeant_.

PETER DWYER (_to the sergeant_)
Try a little drop of the spirits, Sergeant, as there
isn't a drop of water to be had. The plumbers are
working at the pipes.

SERGEANT (_softly_)
Bad luck to them for plumbers. They are always a
nuisance. (_Before putting glass to his lips_) I suppose
I must take it, because I am dry as a bona-fide traveller.
(_He finishes it all in one drink_) It doesn't taste
too bad after all, and water at its best isn't much
good for one who must do a lot of talking. I'll have
a little more, if you please.

MR. O'CROWLEY
You can't have any more, Sergeant. That would be
abusing your privilege.

SERGEANT HEALY (_softly_)
Alright, your Worship. When a man's as full of the
law as meself, 'tis hard to remember when he's privileged.
[_The sergeant recovers and the case proceeds._

BRENNAN CASSIDY (_for Mr. Fennell_)
On behalf of my client, Mr. Fennell, I wish to point
out the absurdity of the charges brought against him.
For no reason whatever and without a moment's
warning, the sergeant rushed into his house without
an invitation or observing the laws of common propriety
by ringing the bell, and ruthlessly placed handcuffs
on Mr. Fennell and marched him off to prison
like a common felon. And not a shadow of evidence
as to misbehavior against him except the statements
of his wife about the breaking of some furniture.
Now, let us suppose that Mr. Fennell did break the
furniture. Was not that his own affair? The furniture
was his property, and he could do with it as he
pleased. Perhaps he did not like the manner in which
it was designed, and Mr. Fennell, mistaking his aversion
for things not in keeping with his artistic ideals,
came to the conclusion that he was only on a voyage
of destruction when he merely was proving how little
of the philistine there was in his nature by removing
from his home such articles as did not harmonize with
his conception of the beautiful. The fact that the
whole affair happened so hastily only goes to prove
that Mr. Fennell has the artistic temperament.

MRS. FENNELL
The artistic temperament, my dear! What next!

MR. CASSIDY
The idea of doing away with the furniture, which Mr.
Fennell emphatically states he disliked,--and what
greater proof of the fact could we have than his action
in destroying it?--came to him like an inspiration, and
being a true artist he seized the opportunity, and the
world was made all the lovelier by the riddance of ugly
things. I think, in fact, I know that I have proved
that the charge of house-breaking is absurd. (_Takes
out his watch, holds it in the palm of his left hand_)
This watch is mine, and if I should choose to smash it
into a thousand fragments, who is there to prevent
me? What power has the law over such matters?
None whatever. Well, it would be just as ridiculous
and absurd to punish my client for smashing his own
furniture, which he purchased with his own hard
earned money, as to punish me for smashing this
watch if I should feel like doing so. (_Applause, which
is suppressed_) To charge Mr. Fennell with drinking
poteen is equally absurd. He does not know what
poteen tastes like. The idea of taking a decanter and
a bottle of whiskey out of any gentleman's house
without his permission is tyranny of the very worst
kind. It is a grievous offence in the eyes of the law
as well as a breach of etiquette. What, might I ask,
would happen if any of us were to break into His
Worship's hotel and steal, or take if you will, some
choice samples of his wines? Would we not find ourselves
in a prison cell? Most assuredly we would,
and what's more, our good name would be gone forever.
The finger of scorn would be pointed at our
children and our children's children, and posterity
would never forget us.

MRS. FENNELL
'Tis only worse he's getting.

PETER DWYER
Order, order.

MR. CASSIDY
There is only one course for the Bench to adopt, and
that is to discharge Mr. Fennell. He has already
suffered enough and any one with such a ballyragging,
unreasonable, unladylike, and headstrong wife deserves
our sympathy.

MR. FENNELL (_with indignation_)
Mr. Cassidy, sir. How dare you stand up there in
my presence and insult my wife! You're no gentleman,
sir. Remember when you offend my wife, you
offend me. Do you hear that?

MR. O'CROWLEY
This conduct is obstreperonious, Mr. Fennell. Mr.
Cassidy is a gentleman, and he must not be either
insulted or interrupted, while he is judiciously discharging
the duties of his high office.

MRS. FENNELL (_sighs_)
Oh, God help us! The world must be turned upside
down when a lawyer can be a gentleman.

MR. O'CROWLEY
Hold your tongue, woman, or I'll order you to be
arrested for contempt of court.

MR. FENNELL
The next man who says a word to my wife must fight
me.

[_Buttons his coat_.

PHELAN DUFFY (_to the magistrates_)
The Bench must make due allowances for the excitement
of the moment.

MR. O'CROWLEY
Of course, of course, Mr. Duffy, but we must not
have a reoccurrence of such conduct.

MR. FENNELL
Meself and herself pulled together all these long years,
and I'll be damned if I'll allow any one to say a word
to her.

[_Mrs. Fennell places a handkerchief to her eyes and
commences to cry_.

MR. O'CROWLEY
Order, order, this is a court of justice, and the case
must proceed without further interruption or the
strictest measures of the law will be adhered to.
(_Pauses, speaks to the police_) Any one who interrupts
me while I'm speaking must be ejected from the
court.

SERGEANT HEALY
Your Worship's orders will be obeyed.

MR. O'CROWLEY
Now, it was with the greatest of interest that I have
listened to the speeches pro and con for the prisoner
and never before or since have I heard such logic
and eloquence as was used in this court of justice
to-day. I am nearly sure, in fact I'm certain, that
since the days when Marcus Anthony delivered his
matchless orations before the proud and haughty
Egyptians, did such wisdom flow from the lips of any
man. By the judicious application of words and logic
we have learnt what uses can be made of the law of
the land, and though our reason may convince us
and our conscience too, that right is right and wrong
is wrong, yet, the law's the law for all that, and we
are Justices of the Peace and must respect the law
and abide by it. Mr. Duffy has clearly proved to us
how drink, especially bad and illegal drink, like poteen,
can change a man from a law-abiding, self-respecting,
and obedient husband into a demon and a housebreaker.
And Mr. Cassidy has also clearly proven
on the other hand how that same drink can change a
man from the ordinary humdrum things of life and
turn his mind to noble ideals, and make of him an
artist and an inspired one at that. Now science has
proved to us that in every one man there are two
men,--the artist, if I might be permitted to use the
term, and the house-breaker. But as the two men are
only one man, and the artist is the better of the two,
then to the artist let us pay our respects, and dismiss
the charge of house-breaking.

MRS. FENNELL (_sadly_)
Ah, God help us! The town will be full of artists
when the militia comes home.

MR. O'CROWLEY
The charge of house-breaking then will be dismissed,
but I must impose a heavy fine and sentence for using
the illegal intoxicant, poteen.

MR. CASSIDY
Will your Worship be good enough before passing
sentence to make sure that the liquor is poteen?

MR. O'CROWLEY
We have it on the testimony of the sergeant that it is
poteen.

MR. CASSIDY
But with all due respect to the court, we cannot convict
any one on such evidence. What does the sergeant
know about poteen?

SERGEANT HEALY (_indignantly_)
What do I know about poteen, is it? How dare you,
sir? Was there a better maker of poteen in the
County Cork than my own father, rest his soul!

MR. O'CROWLEY
Now, isn't that evidence enough for you? Does the
sergeant look like a man who doesn't know the difference
between a good and a bad drop of whiskey?

MR. CASSIDY (_sarcastically_)
I beg your Worship's pardon. But my client states
that the evidence is insufficient, and if he should be
convicted, he will bring the case before the Four
Courts of Dublin.

SERGEANT HEALY
He can bring it to the four courts of--Jericho, if he
likes, but that stuff in the bottle is poteen all the
same.

MARTIN O'FLYNN
As Mr. Fennel is so dogmatic about this liquor not
being poteen, why does he not tell us where and from
whom he purchased it? (_To the sergeant_) Are you
sure, Sergeant Healy, that this liquor is poteen?

SERGEANT HEALY
As well as I remember the taste of it, your Worship,
it is. But perhaps 'twould be better to make sure
and try again.

MARTIN O'FLYNN
Try again, then.

SERGEANT HEALY
Very well.

[_Pours out a little and drinks it, smacks his lips, but
says nothing_.

MR. O'CROWLEY
Well, Sergeant, what is it?

MARTIN O'FLYNN
Is it or is it not poteen?

SERGEANT HEALY
I don't get the flavor of it yet.

[_Takes another drop_.

MR. O'CROWLEY
What is it, Sergeant, poteen or just bad whiskey?

SERGEANT HEALY
Bedad, 'tis hard to tell. Sometimes I think 'tis poteen,
and sometimes I think it isn't. But whatever it is, it
isn't so good as the stuff me poor father used to brew.
Maybe the constable could tell us. He comes from
Castletownballymacreedy, where they make the best
poteen in Ireland.

_[Hands a glassful to the constable._

CONSTABLE O'RYAN (_after drinking_)
There's not a shadow of a doubt about it being
poteen, your Worship, and as fine a drop as I have
tasted for many a long day.

MR. O'CROWLEY
Are you satisfied now, Mr. Cassidy?

MR. CASSIDY
I think it would be as well to have the opinion of some
one else.

MR. O'CROWLEY
Constable McCarthy, let you take a toothful out of
that decanter and tell us what it is.

CONSTABLE MCCARTHY
Though I am a League of the Cross man, I suppose as
a matter of duty I must break me pledge.

[_Pours out a glassful and drinks._

MR. O'CROWLEY
Well, what is it?

CONSTABLE MCCARTHY
Poteen, your Worship.

MR. O'CROWLEY
Now we have conclusive evidence that this liquor is
poteen, and no more serious charge could be brought
against any man than to be found guilty of using such
obnoxious stuff by a court of justice. As with the law
of nature, so with the law of the land. He who transgresses
any of nature's laws gets duly punished according
to the nature of his offence. And so also
with the law of the country. Mr. Fennell must be
punished, and his punishment must serve as an
example to others and--

MR. CASSIDY
I beg your Worship's pardon. We do not always get
punished for disobeying the laws of nature. Nature's
strongest force is self-assertion, and excessive self-assertion
is vanity, and vanity is sinful, and--

MARTIN O'FLYNN
You must excuse me interrupting you, Mr. Cassidy,
but that train of argument cannot be followed here.

We have proved that poteen was found in the prisoner's
house, and if he did not make it himself, where
then did he get it from?

MR. CASSIDY
Mr. Fennel emphatically denies having anything to
do with the making of the liquor found on his premises.
And so far it has not been proved to either his
or my satisfaction that the intoxicant is poteen.

MR. O'CROWLEY
Does your client mean for a moment to cast a reflection
on the police of this town, and insinuate that they
don't know what poteen is?

MR. CASSIDY
We are not satisfied with the decision of the police,
your Worship.

MR. O'CROWLEY
Very well then, we'll give it a further test.

[_Gives the decanter to the clerk, Peter Dwyer._

PETER DWYER (_after tasting it_)
If that's not poteen, may I never wet my lips with it
again.

MR. O'CROWLEY (to _Mr. Cassidy_)
Perhaps you are satisfied now.

MR. CASSIDY
No, I am not.

MARTIN O'FLYNN
Well, taste it yourself and tell us what it is.

MR. CASSIDY (_tastes it_)
Whatever it is, it is not poteen.

MARTIN O'FLYNN (_pours out some in a glass_)
I'll soon settle the question. (_Drinks_) That's poteen,
and good poteen too.

MR. CASSIDY
I beg to disagree with your Worship.

MARTIN O'FLYNN
How dare you disagree with me, sir, and I drinking
poteen every day of my life. I'd resign my seat on
the Bench rather than suffer to be insulted in such a
manner again.

MR. CASSIDY
I apologise. Nothing could be further from my
thought than offence.

MARTIN O'FLYNN
I'm glad to hear you say so, because when I said that
the liquor in the decanter was poteen, I knew what I
was talking about. Unless the prisoner tells us how
he procured this illegal drink, he will be imprisoned
for six months.

MR. FENNELL
For six months, is it?

MARTIN O'FLYNN
Yes, for six long months, and you must find bail for
your good behavior at the end of the term for a period
of twelve months.

MR. FENNELL
Well, as you are so anxious to know where I procured
the stuff that you have certified to be poteen, I have
great pleasure in telling you that it was purchased at
Mr. Cornelius John Michael O'Crowley's establishment
under the name of Scotch whiskey, and if there
is any doubt about the matter, I can show you some
of his own sealed bottles with the same stuff in them.

MR. O'CROWLEY
The saints protect us! What a vile fabrication!

MRS. FENNELL
Ah, you old hypocrite, 'tis about time that you were
found out.

MR. O'CROWLEY
Place that woman under arrest for contempt of court.
(_Mrs. Fennell is placed in the dock_) Now, Mrs. Fennell,
anything that you will say will be used in evidence
against you, so I warn you to hold your tongue and
keep quiet.

MRS. FENNELL
I'll try and keep quiet, your Worship.

MR. O'CROWLEY
Gentlemen, I regret to state that a mistake has occurred
somewhere, and there's nothing more plentiful
than mistakes. They commenced long ago in the
Garden of Eden, and they are as inevitable as the day
and night, as inevitable, I might say, as America itself.
Yes, some one has blundered, as Napoleon said
when he woke up and found himself a prisoner on St.
Helena. Mr. Fennell, alas! has erred, but to err is
human, and to forgive is divine. We are reasonable
people, and we must treat this matter in a reasonable
manner. The prisoner has stated that he purchased
poteen at my premises, but what reliance can we
place on the word of a man who is addicted to drinking
poteen? None whatever. We have only the prisoner's
word that the poteen was purchased at my
establishment, but the probability is that he was only
suffering from its ill effects when he imagined that I
was the one who supplied it. Though I'm very sorry
indeed to have anything to say against Mr. Fennell,
his word cannot be taken as evidence, and the case
will be dismissed. (_Applause, which is suppressed_)
The dignity of the court must be upheld, and the
next person who applauds will be ejected.

[_Mr. Fennett is dismissed and Mrs. Fennett placed in
the dock. She goes through the usual ordeal of swearing,
and Mr. O'Crowley tries her case._

MR. O'CROWLEY
For contempt of court, Mrs. Fennell, you will be
fined ten pounds, and you will be bound to the peace
for twelve months, and you must give two securities
of fifty pounds each, or go to jail for a term of six
months with hard labor. And anything that you
may say after the sentence of the court has been
passed, of a disparaging nature to the Bench, will be
considered as a necessity for further punishment. I
hope that I have made myself perfectly clear.

MRS. FENNELL
Yes, your Worship, you have made yourself perfectly
clear. (_Starts to cry_) Oh, what will I do at all? Is
there no one to go bail for me? (_Mr. Fennell looks
like one who is trying to come to a decision, and Mrs.
Fennell starts to cry again_) Is it the way that ye'll
be having me taken to the county jail for doing nothing
at all? Oh, wisha, who's going to go bail for me?
Maybe 'tis yourself, Mr. O'Crowley.

MR. FENNELL (_walking up to the dock_)
And I here, is it? Not for likely. I'll go bail for you,
of course.

CURTAIN


       *       *       *       *       *


MAGNANIMITY



A COMEDY IN ONE ACT



CHARACTERS

WILLIAM DRISCOLL _A public-house keeper_
DENNIS LOGAN
BERNARD FALVEY
GARRET DEVLIN
BARRY NAGLE
POLICE AND TOWNSPEOPLE


MAGNANIMITY

A COMEDY IN ONE ACT

_Scene: Back parlor of a country public house. The
proprietor, William Driscoll, a man of about fifty with a
very dour expression, sings as he sweeps the floor:_

"Oh, the days are gone, when Beauty bright
My heart's chain wove;
When the dream of life from morn till night
Was love, still love.
New hope may bloom,
And days may come
Of milder, calmer beam,
But there's nothing half so sweet in life
As love's young dream.
No, there's nothing half so sweet in life
As love's young dream."

[_Logan, a stranger, enters._

LOGAN
Good mornin'.

DRISCOLL
Good mornin' and good luck. What can I do for you?

LOGAN
I'll have a glass of the best whiskey.

DRISCOLL
All right, my good man. You shall get it.

[_Exit._

LOGAN (_takes up the morning paper, sits on the table, and
speaks aloud_)
Be the pipers that played the dead march for Moses,
but I'm twice as big a fool as I thought I was.
And knowledge of that sort is cold comfort for any
man. What's this I see here? "Daring burglary in
the town of Castlemorgan. During the early hours
of the morning, the house of Michael Cassily was
broken into, and five pound notes, a gentleman's
watch and a pair of silver candlesticks were stolen.
So far, no arrests have been made, but the police
have every hope of bringing those who committed
the offence to justice, because Mr. Cassily states
that he saw two men leaving by the back entrance,
and found a piece of a coat-tail hanging from a nail
on the porch."

[_He lifts up his coat, and discovers a piece missing from
the tail, and is about to take it off for a closer inspection
when the publican enters with the whiskey._

DRISCOLL (_as he places the whiskey upon the table_)
This is your drink, stranger, and believe me, you
couldn't get a better drop of whiskey in the whole
United Kingdom, not even if you went to the King's
palace itself for it.

LOGAN
'Tis good, you say.

DRISCOLL
None better, and wonderful stuff to put heart into a
man.

LOGAN (_drinks it off_)
'Tis the good flavor it has surely. (_Pauses awhile_)
I think I'll have another, for 'tis plenty of heart I'll
be wantin' before the day goes to its close.

DRISCOLL
'Tis easy to feel plucky in the mornin', but 'tis a
brave man who can feel happy at the heel of day,
especially if he has an uneasy conscience and an
empty stomach.

LOGAN
Hunger plays the devil with us all. A man with an
empty stomach, an empty purse, and an empty house,
except for a scoldin' wife, can never be happy.

DRISCOLL
That's so, but if that's all you have to contend with,
you haven't much to worry about. Sure I thought
by your looks and the way you spoke that you might
have killed a man and had the bloodhounds after
you.

LOGAN
A man's conscience is worse than having bloodhounds
after him, if he has to spend months in idleness through
no fault of his own, and no one to look for sympathy
from but a scoldin' wife.

DRISCOLL
The Lord protect us from scoldin' wives, anyway.
They're the scourge of Hell. But there are worse
things than being married to a wife with no control
over her temper. You might be like the thief who
broke into the house of Michael Cassily and stole his
grandfather's watch and chain and silver candlestick.

LOGAN
And when did all this happen?

DRISCOLL
During the small hours of the mornin'.

LOGAN
That was a damnable thing to do.

DRISCOLL
'Twas more foolish than anythin' else, because, if
Michael Cassily should ever lay hands upon the man
who stole his belongings, he'd shoot at him the way
you'd shoot at a rabbit in a ditch and kill him as dead
as one of Egypt's kings.

LOGAN
The Lord save us! You don't mean what you say.

DRISCOLL
I do, and every word of it. And a sure shot he is too.
Indeed 'tis said that nothing in the sky or on the land
could escape him when he has a gun in his hand.

LOGAN
I heard before comin' to this town that he was a very
quiet and inoffensive man.

DRISCOLL
And so he is a quiet man when he's left alone. But
when his temper is up, the devil himself is a gentleman
to him.

LOGAN
I'll have another glass of whiskey.
[_Exit the publican. While he is away, Logan looks at
the torn part of his coat, and a stranger enters._

BARNARD FALVEY (_saunters into the back kitchen, picks a
piece of wet paper off the floor, and tries to light it at the
fire for the purpose of lighting his pipe, and after several
unsuccessful attempts, he turns to Logan_)
Good mornin', and God bless you, stranger.

LOGAN
Good mornin', kindly.

FALVEY
It looks as though we were goin' to have a spell of
fine weather.

LOGAN
Judgin' by the way the wind is, it would seem so.

FALVEY
'Tis splendid weather for walkin' or tillin' the land.

LOGAN
'Tis good weather for anythin'.

FALVEY
All the same, 'tis a long stretch of a road from here
to Ballinore. How far is it, I wonder?

LOGAN
Twenty miles at least.

FALVEY
Every step of it, and a long road for a man with the
rheumatics and bronchitis too.

LOGAN
And what brought you from Ballinore?

FALVEY
And what would bring any poor man from his native
town but lookin' for work. And that's a hard thing
to be doin' when a man hasn't a friend to help him
towards a job.

LOGAN
A man can always make friends if he wants to.

FALVEY
'Tis no easy thing for a man who hasn't a sleutherin'
tongue and the takin' way with him to make friends,
stranger.

LOGAN
'Tis easy enough to make fine weather friends. But
I suppose a friend isn't worth a damn unless he can
help a man when he's in trouble.

FALVEY
To have a lot of money is the easiest way of makin'
friends. But when a man hasn't either money or the
sleutherin' tongue, he can't expect to have any more
of the world's goods than myself.

LOGAN
And have you no friends at all among all the millions
of people on the face of the earth?

FALVEY
The devil a one ever bothers their head about me but
myself. And what I can do for myself is hardly worth
doin' for any one.

LOGAN
After all, when a man has his health and enough to
eat, he should be contented.

FALVEY
But how could you expect the likes of me to be contented
when I didn't break my fast this blessed day
yet, and all I have in the world is the bit of tobacco
you see in my old pipe, and unless you're not as dacent
as you look, 'tis hungry maybe I'll be until I find a
turnip field before the fall of night.

LOGAN
Would you drink a pint of porter and eat a penny bun?

FALVEY
Indeed I would, and remember the one in my prayers
who'd give them to me.

LOGAN _(knocks and the publican enters)_
Bring this man a pint of porter and give him one of
the penny buns or two that you have on the porter
barrel in the shop.

DRISCOLL
Indeed I will and much good may they do him.

[_Places pint of porter and bread in front of Falvey who
begins to eat and drink_.

FALVEY
God bless your noble soul and may you be long spared
to do good in the world. (_As he eats_) There's no
sauce like hunger, and no friend like the friend in need.

LOGAN
That's true. Now tell me, do you expect to get work
in this town?

FALVEY
'Tis my intention to try.

LOGAN
You'd have as much chance of slippin' into heaven
with your soul as black as a skillet from mortal sins,
unknownst to St. Peter, as you'd have of gettin' a
job with an old coat like that.

FALVEY
And what can I do, God help me, when I have no
other?

LOGAN
I'll swap with you, and then you'll have some chance,
but otherwise you might as well walk back to where
you came from.

FALVEY
But I couldn't take a coat from a strange gentleman
like yourself and have an easy conscience. Sure, this
old coat of mine is only fit to be used for a scarecrow.

LOGAN
You're a fool to be talkin' like that, stranger. Don't
you know that you must take all you can get and give
away as little as you can if you want to be successful
in life?

FALVEY
And why, then, should you be givin' me your coat
when you want it yourself?

LOGAN
You had better say no more, lest I might change my
mind. Sure, 'tis sorry I may be to-night when I'm
facing the cold winds on the lonely roads that I exchanged
my fine warm coat for an old threadbare
garment that a rag man wouldn't give a child a lump
of candy for.

FALVEY
Sure, St. Francis himself couldn't do more, and he
that tore his coat in two and shared it with the beggars.

LOGAN
'Tis easy for a saint of God to be good, when he feels
that he'll be rewarded for his self-sacrifice, but have
no more old talk and give me that old coat of yours,
or if you don't I might change my mind, and then
you'll have plenty of time to regret your foolishness.

FALVEY
Very well, stranger, very well. (_They exchange coats_)
May the Lord spare you all the days you want to
live, and may you never want for anythin' but the
ill wishes of your enemies.

LOGAN
That coat makes you look like a gentleman, and if
you only had a better hat, and a good shave, you
might get some old widow with a small farm to marry
you, if you are a bachelor.

FALVEY
Of course I'm a bachelor. Who'd be bothered with
the likes of me for a husband. Sure, I wouldn't raise
my hand to a woman in a thousand years, and what
do women care about a man unless he can earn lots
of money and leather the devil out of them when they
don't behave themselves?

LOGAN
That's true. And when a man hasn't any money to
give his wife, the next best thing to do is to give her a
good beatin'.

FALVEY
That's what my father used to say. But 'tis the lucky
thing for me all the same that I'm not married, an'
that I strayed into a house like this to-day. Yet I
don't think 'tis a bit fair for me to be wearin' your
fine coat and you wearin' mine. You don't look a
bit comfortable in it.

LOGAN
I feel comfortable, and far more comfortable than you
can imagine; and after all that's what matters. Every
eye forms its own beauty, and when the heart is
young, it doesn't matter how old you are.

FALVEY
That's true! That's true! But 'tis the dacent man
you are, nevertheless, and 'tisn't the likes of you that
a poor man like myself meets every day.

LOGAN
No, and it may be a long time again before you will
meet another like me. But be that as it may, I must
be going now, so here's a shillin' for you and go to the
barber's next door and have a shave before startin'
to look for work. (_Hands shilling_) Good-by.

FALVEY
Good-by, God bless you and long life to you.

[_Exit Logan. Enter an old friend._

GARRET DEVLIN (_walks slowly and takes the newspaper
from the table, looks at the clock_)
Only half-past ten, and damn the bit to do. Ah,
me! ah, me! One bloody day like another!

[_Sits on the chair and yawns. Knocks for the publican.
Enter Driscoll._

DRISCOLL
Good mornin', Garret. Anythin' new to-day?

DEVLIN
Yes, I have good news this mornin'.

DRISCOLL
An' what is it?

DEVLIN
Oh, not much, only that a grand-uncle of mine is
after dyin' in America and leavin' me a fortune of a
hundred thousand pounds.

DRISCOLL (_sceptically_)
That's a terrible responsibility for a poor man to have
thrust upon him. What are you going to do with it at
all?

DEVLIN
Well, I was thinkin' of buyin' a new suit of clothes and
dividin' what's left between the poor of the town, the
Sisters of Charity, and the Salvation Army.

DRISCOLL
Wisha, I'm sick and tired of hearin' old yarns like
that. I suppose 'tis the way that you want a half
a glass of whiskey and haven't the price of it.

DEVLIN
How dare you insinuate such a thing. (_Places a sovereign
on the table_) Give me a half a whiskey and no
more old talk out of you.

DRISCOLL
And where did you get all that money?

DEVLIN
That's my business. I got it from the captain in the
Salvation Army when I told him how much money I
was goin' to give him by and by.

DRISCOLL
Well, that's the first and last donation you'll ever
get from the Salvation Army. Sure, if you got all
the money that was to be left to you since I knew you
first, you'd be buildin' libraries all over the world like
Carnegie to advertise your vanity.

DEVLIN
'Tis nothin' to you whether I will build libraries or
public houses for the poor when I'll get all the money
that's comin' to me.

DRISCOLL
Ah, wisha, I'm about sick and tired of hearin' all the
things you're going to do.

DEVLIN (_crossly_)
I don't give a damn whether you are or not. Go and
get me the whiskey, or I'll get it elsewhere.

DRISCOLL (_plausibly_)
Very well, very well! I'll get you the whiskey.

[_Exit._

DEVLIN (_to Falvey, who is still eating his loaf of bread_)
Good mornin', stranger.

FALVEY
Good mornin' and good luck, sir.

DEVLIN
'Tis a fine mornin'.

FALVEY
A glorious mornin', thank God.

DEVLIN
Is that your breakfast that you're eatin'?

FALVEY
Indeed it is, stranger, and maybe my dinner and
supper too.

DEVLIN
'Tis the hell of a thing to be poor.

FALVEY
Sure 'tis myself that knows it.

DEVLIN
And 'tis as bad to be rich and not to be able to get
any of your money like myself.

FALVEY
There's trouble in everythin', but no respect for the
poor.

DEVLIN
None whatever! none whatever! And no greater
misfortune could befall a man than to be poor and
honest at the same time. But all the same I'll be a
millionaire when my money comes from America.

FALVEY
America must be a great country. One man is as
good as another there, I believe.

DEVLIN
So they say, when both of them have nothin'. (_Looking
hard at the stranger_) Tell me, haven't I seen
you somewhere before? What's that your name is?

FALVEY
My name is Bernard Falvey, and I come from Ballinore.

DEVLIN
Well, well, to be sure, and I'm Garret Devlin, your
mother's first cousin! Who'd ever think of meetin'
you here. The world is a small place after all!

FALVEY
It must be fifteen or more years since last we met.

DEVLIN
Every day of it. And what have you been doing
since? I'd hardly know you at all, the way you have
changed.

FALVEY
Workin' when I wasn't idle and idle when I wasn't
workin', but in trouble all the time.

DEVLIN
You're like myself. I too only exchange one kind of
trouble for another. When I got married I had to
live with the wife's mother for two years, and when
she died, I had to support my widowed sister-in-law's
three children. And when they were rared and fit
to be earnin' for themselves and be a help to me, they
got drowned. Then my poor wife lost her senses, and I
haven't had peace or ease ever since. She thinks that
she is the Queen of England, and that I'm the King.

FAVLEY
An' have you no children?

DEVLIN
One boy.

FALVEY
An' what does he do for a livin'?

DEVLIN
He's a private in the militia, and his mother thinks
he's the Prince of Wales.

FALVEY
God help us all, but 'tis the queer things that happen
to the poor.

DEVLIN
An' what are you doin' in these parts?

FALVEY
Lookin' for work.

DEVLIN
An' that itself is the worst kind of hardship. I don't
think that there's much doin' these times for the
natives, not to mention the strangers, though 'tis
the strangers get the pickings wherever they go.
We'll have a look at the newspaper and see what's
doin' anyway. (_Reads from the advertisement columns_)
"Wanted a respectable man, to act as a coachman to
His Lordship the Bishop. He must have a good appearance,
have sober habits, and a knowledge of
horses and the ways of the clergy."
That won't do.

"Wanted, a young man of dashing appearance, with
a good vocabulary to act as travelling salesman, must
be well recommended, and have a thorough knowledge
of the dry goods business."
That won't do either.

"Wanted, a middle-aged man to act as companion to
an invalid. He must have a knowledge of French and
German, and be able to play the violin."
That won't do.

"Wanted a man to make himself generally useful at
an undertaker's establishment. Apply to Michael
Cassily. William O'Brien St."
Bedad, but that's the very job for you.

FALVEY
But how am I to get it?

DEVLIN
I'll give you a letter of introduction to Micky Cassily.
He's an old friend of mine.

FALVEY
Sure, that would be a great thing entirely.

DEVLIN
Wait now, and I'll make a man of you, and if you
should ever become Lord Mayor of Cork or Dublin,
you must not forget me.

FALVEY
Indeed, I'll never be able to forget this blessed day,
and the kindness of the people I have met in Castlemorgan.

[_Knocks for the publican, and walks up and down;
when the publican enters, he assumes an air of great
importance._

DRISCOLL
What's the matter?

DEVLIN
I want you to oblige me with a few sheets of note
paper, a bottle of ink, and a writin' pen.

DRISCOLL
And what do you want them for?

DEVLIN
To write a letter of introduction for this poor man
here. He's lookin' for work, and I want to help him
to get it.

DRISCOLL
Then I'll give them to you with pleasure.

[_Exit._

DEVLIN
You needn't worry any more. I'll get a job for you.
Micky and myself are old friends. He buried my
father and mother and all belongin' to me. And
although I do say it myself, there isn't a better undertaker
from here to Dublin. He's as good a judge of a
dead man as any one you ever met, and could measure
the size of a coffin without using the tape at all.
[_Enter Driscoll._

DRISCOLL (_as he places writing materials on the table_)
Here's the writing material, and may good luck attend
you.

DEVLIN
Thank you, very much. (_To Falvey_) Now to business.

[_They both sit at the table, and Devlin commences to
write._

                                    Deadwoman's Hill,
                                         Goulnaspurra.

Dear Mr. Cassily:

I have the hon--how's that you spell honour?--h-o-n-n-o-u-r,
of course. Yes, that's right. I have the
honour, and likewise the _(pauses)_ unprecedented--that's
not an easy word to spell--u-n-p-r-ee-s-c-ee-d-e-n-t-e-d--that
wasn't such a hard word after all,
and it looks fine in print _(repeats)_ unprecedented and
the great pleasure--that spells p-l-e-a-s-u-r--of introducing,
that's a stumbler of a word,--i-n-t-r-d--_(to
Falvey)_ Can you spell the rest of it?

FALVEY
i-n-t-e-r-w-e-i-n--

DEVLIN
No. That's not right. We had better call Bill
Driscoll. Are you there, Bill?
[_Enter Driscoll._

DRISCOLL
What's the matter?

DEVLIN
We want you to spell "introducing."

DRISCOLL (_wiping a pint measure_)
With pleasure. _(Confidently)_ i-n-t-u-r-d-e-w-c-i-n-g.

DEVLIN
Are you sure that is right?

DRISCOLL
Of course I am. What do you think I went to school
for?

DEVLIN
Very well, I'll take your word for it. But stay here
awhile, because we may want your assistance soon
again. This is an important matter, and we must
give all our attention to it. I have the honor and
likewise the unprecedented and the great pleasure of
introducing to you a cousin of my own on my mother's
side, one Barney Falvey. He is a man of many and
n-e-w-m-e-r-o-w-s. _(To Driscoll)_ Isn't that right?

DRISCOLL
That's all right. Proceed.

DEVLIN
--numerous a-c-o-m-p-l-i-s-h-m-e-n-t-s. That sounds
wrong, doesn't it?

DRISCOLL
It sounds wrong, but let it go. No one will ever notice
the mistake, when we can't find it out ourselves.

DEVLIN
He has an i-n-g-a-n-o-s turn of mind, and can do all
kinds of hard or easy work. He can p-l-o-w a field,
milk a cow, mind childer, and make nearly every
thing from a bird cage, a mousetrap, or a snuff box,
to a coffin. He is w-i-l-i-n, o-b-l-i-g-i-n, and can put
up with all kinds of abuse. He can look i-n-o-s-c-e-n-t
or guilty, as the occasion may require and will, I'm
sure, and certain, taking his accomplishments all
round, prove to be the very man you are lookin' for
to fill the v-a-k-a-n-c-y in your highly respected
e-s-t-a-b-1-i-shment. Anythin' you can do for him
will be considered a personal f-a-v-o-u-r by your old
and e-s-t-e-a-m-ed friend,

Garret Devlin.

_[He reads it over again aloud_.

"Deadwoman's Hill,
Goulnaspurra.

"Dear Mr. Cassily:

"I have the honour and likewise the unprecedented
and great pleasure of introducin' to you a cousin of
my own on my mother's side, one Barney Falvey. He
is a man of many parts and numerous accomplishments.
He has an ingenious turn of mind and can do
all kinds of hard and easy work. He can plow a field,
milk a cow, mind childer, and make nearly everythin'
from a bird cage, a mousetrap, or a snuff box, to
a coffin. He is willin' and obligin' and can put up
with all kinds of abuse. He can look innocent or
guilty as the occasion may require, and will, I am
certain and confident, taking his accomplishments all
round, prove to be the very man you are lookin' for
to fill the vacancy in your highly respected establishment.
Anythin' that you can do for him will be considered
a personal favour by your old and esteemed
friend,

"Garret Devlin."

That's a great letter. Be God, sure 'twould nearly
get the job for myself. But it would never do for one
of my social standin' to take such a position in this
town.

FALVEY
'Tis a great thing to be able to put so many words
together on paper. And 'tis the wonderful gift to
have surely. A man that could write like you should
be a secretary to the Lord Lieutenant himself, or
writin' sermons for the Pope of Rome.

DEVLIN
Now, no more old palaver, talk is cheap, but it takes
money to buy whiskey. Look as smart as you can
(_hands letter_), and deliver this letter before it's too
late. There's nothin' like doin' things with despatch
when you're in a hurry. Wait, your face is none too
clean. Where's your handkerchief? _(Hands him an
old dirty handkerchief. He drains the dregs of a pewter
pint on the handkerchief, and wipes his face with it.
Then he looks at Falvey's boots_) Glory be to God!
but you're a very careless man! When did you clean
these boots last?

FALVEY
Wisha, who could keep boots clean upon the dirty
roads.

[_Takes off his old hat and wipes his boots with it_

DEVLIN
That's better. Now take off that old tie, and I'll
give you mine. But you must return it to me when
you get the job. It belonged to my grandfather, and
it always brought luck to the family.

[_They exchange ties, and Devlin's toilet is completed by
brushing the legs of his old trousers with a sweeping
brush._

DEVLIN _(looking at him approvingly)_
If you always kept yourself as respectable lookin' as
that, you would never want for work, I'm thinkin'.

FALVEY _(looking at himself in an old mirror_)
There's somethin' in what you say. Sure my mother
always told me I was the best lookin' in the family.

DEVLIN
That may be, but your beauty isn't of the fatal kind.
(_Shaking hands with him_) Good luck now, and I'll
wait here until you'll return.

FALVEY
God bless you, God bless you, I'll be back as soon
as I can.

[_Exit._

DEVLIN (_knocks and orders another half of whiskey_)
Another half one. That letter took a lot out of me.

DRISCOLL
Literature, they say, is always a great strain on a
man's vitality. I was offered a job as proof reader on
a newspaper one time, but my friends advised me not
to take it.

DEVLIN
Your friends were wise. Stayin' up at night is bad
for any man. 'Tis hard enough to be up in the mornin'
without bein' up at night as well.

DRISCOLL _(places drink on table_)
That's true.

[_Exit. A man of about forty-five enters, with a pint of
porter in his hand. He sits near Devlin_.

BARRY NAGLE
Good mornin', stranger.

DEVLIN
Good mornin'.

NAGLE
'Tis a fine day for this time of year.

DEVLIN
This would be a fine day for any part of the year.

NAGLE
Fine weather is the least of the good things that the
poor is entitled to.

DEVLIN
The poor have their wants, of course, but the rich,
bad luck and misfortune to them one and all, have
their troubles also, because they don't know what
they want, the discontented, lazy, good-for-nothin'
varmints. May they all perish be their own folly
before the world or their money comes to an end.

NAGLE
'Tis only the poor who knows how bad the rich are.
And only the rich that can be hard on the poor. Have
you a match, if you please?

DEVLIN (_handing a box_)
You'll find plenty in that.

NAGLE
All the comfort some of us have in this world is a
smoke, that's when we have the tobacco, of course.

DEVLIN
There'll be smokin' enough in the next world, they
say, but that's cold comfort to a man without the
fillin's of a pipe or a match to light it.

NAGLE
'Tis a great misfortune to be born at all.

DEVLIN
That's what I've often been thinkin'. And many's
the time I've cursed the day that my father met my
mother. (_Sadly_) 'Twould be better for us all in spite
of what the clergy say that we were all Protestants,
or else died before we came to the use of reason.
But things might be worse.

NAGLE
Trouble comes to us all, and 'tis a consolation to
know that the King must die as well as the beggar.
Think of me, and I after losin' my return ticket to
Carlow, and I must be there to-night even if I have
to walk every step of the way.

DEVLIN
And haven't you the price of your ticket?

NAGLE
The devil a penny at all have I, and unless I can sell
my watch to buy my ticket with, I'll lose my job, and
then my wife and family must go to the workhouse.

DEVLIN
God himself seems to be no friend of the poor. That
was a terrible calamity to befall a stranger. How
much will your ticket cost?

NAGLE
Ten shillin's, and I'm willin' to part with my watch
for that triflin' sum, though 'twas my poor father's,
rest his soul. (_Holds watch in his hand_) Look at it,
'tis as fine a timepiece as eyes ever rested on. A solid
silver watch, and a chain of solid gold, and all for ten
shillin's. And history enough attached to it to write
a book.

DEVLIN
'Tis a bargain surely.

NAGLE
A man wearin' a watch and chain like that would get
credit anywhere he'd be known, though 'twould be
no use to a stranger.

DEVLIN
Leave me see how 'twould look on me. (_The stranger
hands him the watch, and Devlin adjusts it to his vest
front, walks up and down the room, and looks in the
glass_) Bedad, but you're right. It does make a man
feel good, and maybe better than he is.

NAGLE
A man walkin' into a friend's house with ornamentation
on him like that would get the lend of anythin'.

DEVLIN (_confidently_)
I believe he would.

NAGLE
Indeed you may say so.

DEVLIN
And you'll sell it for ten shillin's.

NAGLE
Yes, if you'll be quick about it, because I must catch
the train and get home as soon as I can.

DEVLIN
Does it keep good time?

NAGLE
'Tis the best timekeeper that ever was.

DEVLIN (_places watch to his ear_)
It has a good strong tick, anyway. I'll give you the
ten shillin's for it. Here you are.

NAGLE (_takes the money_)
Thank you kindly, though it nearly breaks my heart
to part with it.

DEVLIN
Life is made up of comin' and goin', and what we lose
to-day we may gain to-morrow, and lose again the
next day.

NAGLE
One man's loss is another man's profit, and that's how
the world keeps movin'.

DEVLIN
True. And there's no use in being alive unless we
can help each other. Sure 'tis for each other, and
not by each other, that we should live.

NAGLE
'Pon my word, but to know how to live is the greatest
problem of all.

DEVLIN
That's so. Sometimes 'tis foolish to be wise and other
times 'tis wise to be foolish, but the sensible man will
always look out for himself and let his friends look
after his enemies.

NAGLE
Every word you say is true, but I must be goin' or I'll
lose the train. So I'll bid you good-by and good luck.

DEVIN
Good day and good luck to you also. (_Exit Nagle_)
The stranger was right. A man with a watch and
chain like this, and able to tell every one the time of
day, could get as much on his word as he'd want.

[_Buttons his coat and takes up the newspaper, sits in
the chair and commences to read. He is soon disturbed
by the entrance of Bernard Falvey, Michael Cassily,
two policemen, and several of the townspeople_.

FIRST POLICEMAN (_pointing to Devlin_)
Is this the man who gave you the letter of introduction?

FALVEY
That's the man who has brought all this trouble on
me, but I'm as innocent as the babe unborn of the
charge of burglary.

FIRST POLICEMAN
Hold your tongue, I say. What greater proof could
we have than the torn coat which you're wearin'?

FALVEY
I tell you that I got this coat from a stranger I met
in this house, this mornin'.

FIRST POLICEMAN
And sure you're the one who can look innocent, believe
me. But this won't be much good to you when
you go before the magistrates. Now we'll deal with
your partner. (_Places his hand on Devlin's shoulder_)
I must arrest you on suspicion for being an accomplice
of this strange man here who broke into Mr. Michael
Cassily's establishment last night, and stole five pound
notes, two silver candlesticks and a silver watch and
golden chain.

DEVLIN
Is it madness that has come upon the crowd of you?
Me that never stole anythin' in my life, to be accused
of robbin' from a dacent man like Michael Cassily!

SECOND POLICEMAN
Search him, constable.

FIRST POLICEMAN
Of course, I will. (_He opens his coat, finds the watch
and chain, takes it off, hands it to Michael Cassily_)
Is that yours?

CASSILY
Yes, constable, that's the watch and chain that was
stolen from my house this mornin'.

FIRST POLICEMAN
What have you to say for yourself now?

DEVLIN
Nothin', only that I paid ten shillin's to a stranger
less than half an hour ago.

FIRST POLICEMAN
And where did you get the ten shillin's, you that
haven't had ten shillin's of your own altogether for
ten years, but always borrowin' money and tellin' the
people that you are goin' to inherit a fortune from
America?

DEVLIN
Tis the truth I'm tellin' you.

FIRST POLICEMAN
Nonsense, nonsense. What greater proof could we
have of your guilt? This man here who you gave the
letter of introduction is a stranger to the town and
the piece of cloth that Mr. Cassily found hangin' on
a nail in his back porch after the burglary was committed,
is the piece of cloth that is missin' from this
man's coat. (_Fits the piece of cloth_) And we have
found the identical watch and chain on your own
person.

SECOND POLICEMAN
'Twas a clever scheme of the pair of them and no
doubt about it.

CASSILY
I never thought that any one could add insult to
injury in such a manner. I was always a friend to
you, Garret Devlin, and you tried to get this man
who had already robbed me, a position in my establishment
so that he could rob me all the more.

FALVEY
As sure as my great-grandfather is dead and gone, I
tell you that I got this coat from a stranger in this
very house.

DEVLIN
And as sure as the devil has paid a visit this blessed
day to Castlemorgan, I tell you I bought that watch
and chain from a stranger also. William Driscoll
will prove that there were two such men in his
house.

FIRST POLICEMAN
If William Driscoll says a word in your defence, he'll
be arrested on suspicion also. (_To the publican_) What
have you to say?

DRISCOLL
Not a word, constable, not a word. I know nothin'
at all about the matter except readin' the account of
the dreadful affair in the mornin' paper.
[_First policeman places the handcuffs on both, and
walks them towards the door_.

DEVLIN
What's goin' to happen to us at all, at all?

FIRST POLICEMAN
The judge will tell you that at the next assizes.

CURTAIN


       *       *       *       *       *


MATCHMAKERS

A COMEDY IN ONE ACT



CHARACTERS

DONAL CORCORAN _A farmer_
MARY ELLEN CORCORAN _Wife of Donal Corcoran_
KITTY CORCORAN _Daughter of Ellen and Donal Corcoran_
DENIS DELAHUNTY _A farmer_
ANASTATIA DEALHUNTY _Wife of Denis Delahunty_
CONSTABLE DUNLEA _A member of the R. I. C._



MATCHMAKERS


A COMEDY IN ONE ACT


_Place: An island off the West coast of Ireland_.

_Scene: Interior of Donal Corcoran's house. Donal and
his wife seated in two comfortable armchairs by the parlour
fire. The parlour is well furnished, and Kitty is busy dusting,
as visitors are expected. Donal is a man of about
fifty-six years, and his wife is a little younger. Donal is
reading a copy of the Galway Examiner, and his wife is
knitting a stocking_.

DONAL (_as he stretches the paper in front of him. With a
look of surprise_)
Glory be to God!

MRS. CORCORAN (_who does not notice his attitude or expression_)
Amen!

DONAL (_holds the paper with one hand, and brushes the
hair from his forehead with the other_)
Is it the way that I'm dreamin', or losin' my senses?
Or is it the way I have no senses to lose?

MRS. CORCORAN _(looking up from her knitting_)
Wisha, what's the matter, at all? Did any one die and
leave you a fortune?

DONAL
Who the devil would die and leave me anything?
when I have no one belongin' to me but poor relations.
Bad luck to them, and they only waitin' for myself
to die, so that they could have what I worked and
slaved for all those long and weary years. But 'tisn't
much there will be for any one after Kitty gets her
dowry. What's left will be little enough for ourselves,
I'm thinkin'.

MRS. CORCORAN
But what have you seen in the newspaper?

DONAL (_reads_)
Baronetcy for the chairman of the Innismore Board
of Guardians. His Majesty the King has been
pleased to confer a Royal favour on the worthy and
exemplary Denis Delahunty, who in future will be
known as Sir Denis Delahunty, Bart., in recognition
of his services to the people of Innismore. It was
with a feelin' of pride and admiration that--

MRS. CORCORAN (_as she drops the stocking on the floor,
lifts the spectacles from her nose, and places them on
her brow_)
The Lord protect and save us all! Is it the truth,
I wonder?

DONAL (_handing paper_)
See for yourself, woman.

MRS. CORCORAN (_grabs the paper and scans it with interest_)
Sure enough, there it is, then, with five lines of large
black letters and two columns of small letters besides,
and his photograph as well. (_To Kitty_) Look Kitty,
darlin', look. There 'tis all. Sit down and read it
aloud for us. 'Twill sound better that way.

KITTY (_takes the paper and smiles. Falls on a chair nearly
overcome with laughter. The parents look on in amazement_)
Sir Denis Delahunty! (_Laughs heartily_)

DONAL
What are you laughin' at? You impudent hussy!

KITTY (_still laughing_)
Sir Denis Delahunty, Bart., my dear!

DONAL
Yes, yes, Sir Denis Delahunty. And what about it?

KITTY
Dinny Delahunty, the old caubogue, a baronet, and
no less! (_Laughs_)

DONAL
I'll have no more of this laughin', I say. What at all,
are you amused at, I'd like to know?

KITTY
Oh, father, sure 'tis a blessing that some one has a
sense of humour, like myself and the King. And
'twas the great laugh he must have had to himself,
when he made a baronet of Dinny Delahunty. Not
to mention all the other shoneens and huxters, from
here to Bantry.

DONAL
How dare you speak to me like that, miss, when 'tis
yourself that will be Lady Delahunty one of these
fine days. Dinny, I mean, Sir Denis himself, is
comin' here to-night to make a match with his son,
Finbarr.

KITTY
Wisha, indeed, now! And who told you I am going
to wed Finbarr Delahunty? And he a more miserable
shoneen than his old crawthumping humbug of a
father.

DONAL
If you'll speak as disrespectfully as that again about
any of my friends you'll be sorry for it. 'Tis I'm
tellin' you that you are to wed Finbarr Delahunty and
that's information enough for you, my damsel.

KITTY
I'll spare you the trouble of picking a man for me,
father.

MRS. CORCORAN
Don't be disobedient, Kitty. You must remember
that I never laid eyes on your father until the mornin'
I met him at the altar rails.

KITTY
You should be ashamed to acknowledge the like,
mother.

DONAL
Ashamed of me, is it? The father that rared and
schooled you!

KITTY
I have said nothing at all to offend you, father. But
I have already told you that I am going to pick a
husband for myself.

DONAL
You are goin' to pick a husband for yourself! Are
you, indeed? Ah, sure 'tis the stubbornness of your
mother's people that's in you.

MRS. CORCORAN (_as she keeps knitting_)
And her father's, too.

DONAL
What's that you're saying, woman?

MRS. CORCORAN
I said that 'twas from your side of the family that
she brought the stubbornness.

DONAL
How dare you say that, and in my presence, too?
The devil blast the one belongin' to me was ever
stubborn. She's her mother's daughter, I'm tellin'
you.

MRS. CORCORAN
Whatever is gentle in her comes from me, and what's
stubborn and contrary comes from you and yours.

DONAL (_in a rage_)
God be praised and glorified! What's gentle in her,
will you tell me? She that pleases herself in everythin'.
(_To Kitty_) I'll knock the stubbornness out of you,
my young lady, before we will have another full moon.

MRS. CORCORAN
Indeed and you won't, then, nor in ten full moons,
either.

DONAL (_as he walks up and down the kitchen_)
Woman! woman! woman! You are all alike! Every
damn one of you, from the Queen to the cockle picker.

KITTY
You have no right to marry me to any one against
my will.

DONAL
And is it the way I'd be leavin' you marry some good-for-nothing
idle jackeen, who couldn't buy a ha'porth
of bird seed for a linnet or a finch, let alone to
keep a wife? That's what a contrary, headstrong,
uncontrollable whipster like you would do, if you had
your own way. But, be God, you will have little of
your own way while I am here and above ground.

KITTY
If stubbornness was a virtue, you'd be a saint, father,
and they'd have your picture in all the stained glass
windows in every church in the country, like St.
Patrick or St. Columkille, himself.

MRS. CORCORAN (_laughs at Kitty's answer_)
Well, well, well, to be sure! You are your father's
daughter, Kitty.

DONAL
She's the devil's daughter, I'm thinkin'.

[_A loud knocking is heard at the door. Kitty opens it
and Denis Delahunty enters. He is dressed in a new
frock coat and top hat_.

MRS. CORCORAN AND DONAL (_as he enters_)
Welcome, Sir Denis, welcome. (_They both shake hands
with him_) Our heartiest congratulations, and warmest
respects.

DONAL (_pointing to his own chair_)
Take my own chair, the best in the house, that I
wouldn't offer to the Bishop or the Lord Lieutenant
himself, if either of them called to see me.
[_Sir Denis sits down, but forgets to remove his hat,
which is much too small, and tilted to one side. When
Kitty sees the strange figure he cuts, she laughs outright,
at which her father gets very angry_.

DONAL (_to Kitty_)
What are you laughin' at? You brazen creature!

KITTY (_laughing_)
Sir Denis has on some one else's tall hat.

SIR DENIS (_looks very bored, removes the hat and says
rather sadly_)
You are mistaken, my child. Badly mistaken! 'Tis
my own hat. 'Twas the only one in the town that I
could get that came near fittin' me, and herself, I mean
Lady Delahunty, wouldn't leave me out without it.

KITTY
I hope that you feel more comfortable than you
look, Sir Denis.

SIR DENIS
To tell the truth, Kitty, I don't know whether 'tis on
my head or my heels I'm standin'. The devil a one of
me was ever aware that His Majesty the King knew
or thought so much about me. If I was only made a
mere knight inself, it wouldn't be so bad; but think
of bein' made a whole baronet all of a sudden like
that, and not knowin' a bit about it beforehand.

DONAL
You are the lucky man, Sir Denis, but don't know it.

SIR DENIS
I suppose I am, Donal. At one stroke of his sword,
so to speak, the King of, well, we might say of half
the whole world, put an unbridgeable gulf between
herself, I mean Lady Delahunty, and myself, and
the common people forever and forever!

KITTY (_laughing_)
May the Lord forgive him.

DONAL
I suppose you must present yourself at Court and
have tea with the Queen herself?

MRS. CORCORAN
Sure, of course, he must be presented at Court, and
the Queen with a crown of glitterin' jewels on her
head will bow to him, the same as if he was the Rajah
of Ballyslattery, himself, and he with his ten thousand
wives and numerous attendants. And for all we know,
maybe 'tis the way he'll be invitin' the whole Royal
Family to spend the summer with himself and Lady
Delahunty at Innismore.

SIR DENIS
'Tis the great responsibility that has been thrust upon
herself, I mean Lady Delahunty, and myself surely.
But we have made no plans, so far, for the entertainment
of Royalty, and their conspicuous aide-de-camps.

KITTY
Aides-de-camp, you mean, I suppose, Sir Denis.

DONAL
How dare you correct Sir Denis?

SIR DENIS
However, I suppose in time we will get accustomed to
our new surroundin's and environment. The Prince
of Wales, they say, is hard to please, but I have no
doubt that he will be glad to meet Lady Delahunty
and myself.

DONAL
I have no doubt whatever but he will be delighted to
meet Lady Delahunty and yourself. But, of course,
every man's trouble appears greater to himself, than
to his neighbours. And as we all think more about
ourselves than any one else, and as you have now partially
recovered from the unexpected stroke of royal
generosity, we might as well get down to business and
fix up that match with Kitty and your son Finbarr.

SIR DENIS
With reference to the royal favour, Donal, I might as
well be candid and say, that it wasn't altogether unexpected,
because I knew somethin' was going to
happen. I felt it in my bones.

KITTY
Nonsense, Sir Denis; it must have been the rheumatics
you felt.

DONAL
That's all well and good, but what about the match?

KITTY
Spare yourself the trouble of trying to make a match
for me.

DONAL
If you don't hold your tongue, I'll be put to the bother
of lockin' you up in your own room, and feedin' you
on promises until your spirit is broken. That's the
only way to treat a contrary, impudent creature like
you.

SIR DENIS
Let there be no crossness on my account, Donal.

DONAL
Well, I have carefully considered what we were discussin'
last week, and I have decided to give three
hundred pounds, twenty acres of rich loamy soil,
without a rock, a furze bush, or a cobble stone in it,
five milch cows, six sheep, three clockin' hens and a
clutch of ducklin's. Provided, of course, that you
will give the same. That much should be enough to
give my daughter and your son a start in life. And
I may tell you that's much more than herself and
myself started out with. Well, Sir Denis, is it a
bargain or is it not?

SIR DENIS
No two people could get a better start, Donal. But it
isn't in my power to come to any settlement until herself,
I mean Lady Delahunty, arrives. She is up at the
dressmaker's, and should be here in a minute or two.
[_Knock at the door. Kitty opens and Lady Delahunty
enters. She is dressed in a new sealskin coat, black
dress, and white petticoat and a badly fitting bonnet.
Mrs. Corcoran is greatly impressed with her appearance
and offers her a chair_.

MRS. CORCORAN AND DONAL
Congratulations, Lady Delahunty, congratulations.
Be seated, be seated.

[_Mrs. Corcoran draws her chair near Lady Delahunty
and while Donal and Sir Denis are talking, in an
undertone, Mrs. Corcoran speaks_.

MRS. CORCORAN
That's a beautiful new coat, Lady Delahunty.

LADY DELAHUNTY (_proudly_)
Fifty-five guineas.

MRS. CORCORAN
'Tis worth more.

LADY DELAHUNTY
So Sir Denis says.

MRS. CORCORAN (_stoops and feels the edge of the lace petticoat,
which is well exposed_)
That's the nicest piece of lace I have seen for many
a long day.

LADY DELAHUNTY
Two pounds ten, and a bargain at that. And three
pounds five for my bonnet makes sixty pounds, fifteen
shillin's. Not to mention what I had to pay for
Dinny's, I mean Sir Denis's new suit and tall hat.

MRS. CORCORAN
You could build a house or buy two fine horses for
that much.

LADY DELAHUNTY
Indeed, and you could then.

DONAL
Now ladies, we must get our business finished, and
we can talk after. I am offerin' three hundred pounds,
twenty acres of land, five cows, six sheep, three clockin'
hens, and a clutch of ducklin's, and want to know
without any palaverin' or old gab, whether or not
yourself and Sir Denis are prepared to do likewise.

KITTY
One would think that I was a cow or a sheep, myself,
going to be sold to the highest bidder. But, thank
God, I'm neither one nor the other. I have a mind
and a will of my own, and I may as well tell you all
that I will only marry the man who I will choose for
myself.

DONAL
Every one of the women in ten generations of your
family, on both sides, said the same, but they all did
what they were told in the end, and you will do it,
too. You will marry the man that I will choose for
you, or go to the convent or America. And believe
me, 'tisn't much of your own way you will get in either
place.

KITTY
I will marry the man I want to marry and no one else.

SIR DENIS
Maybe 'tis the way she is only teasin' you.

DONAL
No, 'tis her mother's contrary spirit that's in her.

MRS. CORCORAN
Not her mother's, but her father's, contrary spirit.

DONAL
Enough now, I say. I'm boss here yet, and I'm not
goin' to let my daughter, whom I have rared, fed,
clad and educated, and all that cost me many a pound
of my hard earned money, have a privilege that the
kings, queens, royal princesses and grand duchesses
themselves haven't.

MRS. CORCORAN
Wisha, don't be losin' your temper, Donal.

DONAL
'Tis enough to make any one lose their temper. If
that sort of thing was permitted, every dacent father
and mother in the country would be supportin' some
useless son-in-law, and his children, maybe. The man
who marries my daughter must be able to support her
as I have supported you.

MRS. CORCORAN
Erra, hold your tongue. I never ate a loaf of idle
bread in my life, and always supported myself, and
earned enough to support you as well.

DONAL
I'll have no more of this tyranny in my own house, I
say.

KITTY
Well, well, for goodness sake! What is all this nonsense
about? I have already told you that I will
marry my own man and no one else.

SIR DENIS
Now, Donal, when we come to consider the matter,
perhaps, after all is said and done, maybe Kitty is
right. You know, of course, that we all like to have
our own way.

DONAL
Do we, indeed? Maybe 'tis the way you are tryin' to
back out of your bargain.

LADY DELAHUNTY
He isn't tryin' to back out of anythin', Donal. But
as we were sayin' to-day when we heard that His
Majesty, the King of Great Britain and Ireland,
Australia, Canada, and India, as well.--(_Looks at Sir
Denis who is trying to light a clay pipe_) Ahem! ahem!
Sir Denis, Sir Denis.

SIR DENIS (_bored_)
Alright, alright.

LADY DELAHUNTY
Didn't I tell you never to leave me see you with a clay
pipe in your gob again? Where are the cigars I bought
for you this morning?

SIR DENIS (_searches in his pocket and pulls out a cigar_)
Wisha the devil a taste can I get from one of them.
I might as well be tryin' to smoke a piece of furze
bush.

LADY DELAHUNTY
Taste or no taste, put that pipe back in your pocket.
What would the King and his daughters think if they
saw you suckin' an old dudeen like that?

KITTY
'Tis little bother any of us are to the King or his
daughters, either, I'm thinking.

DONAL
I'll put a padlock on that mouth of yours, if you don't
hold your tongue.

LADY DELAHUNTY
Well, as I was sayin', when His Majesty so graciously
honoured Sir Dinny and myself, we held a long and
lengthy consultation and came to the conclusion after
a good deal of consideration, that it might be as well
not to hurry Finbarr's marriage. We were thinkin'
of sendin' him across to England to finish his education:
so that he may be able to take his place with
the foreign aristocracy.

SIR DENIS
Of course, we all know that there is no better hurler
in the whole country, and no finer man ever cracked
a whip, and no better man ever stood behind a plough,
or turned cows out of a meadow, but the devil a bit
at all he knows about the higher accomplishments of
the nobility.

LADY DELAHUNTY
Such as playin' cricket and polo, and drinkin' afternoon
tea with a napkin on his knee, like one of the
gentry themselves. And between ourselves, he cares
no more about cigarettes than his father does about
cigars.

SIR DENIS
Notwithstanding all that, 'tis my belief that after
six months in England, he would be fit company for
the best people in the land.

DONAL
What the blazes does he want learnin' to play polo
for, when he must make his livin' as a farmer?

LADY DELAHUNTY
Listen now, Donal, and be reasonable. When--

DONAL
Is it the way you want to break off the match? The
truth now, and nothin' else.

LADY DELAHUNTY
Of course, we don't want the match to be broken off.
But now that Finbarr is heir to a title--well, we all
know that Kitty is a very nice and good girl; but as
Sir Denis says: "'Tis a pity that we should force
people to marry against their will, and--"

DONAL
The long and short of it is that my daughter isn't
good enough for your damn, flat-footed clodhopper of
a son. Though 'twas Dinny himself that forced the
match on me.


LADY DELAHUNTY (_indignantly_)
Sir Denis, if you please.

SIR DENIS
Donal, Donal, be reasonable and agreeable, man.
You should know that people are never the same after
royal favours have been conferred on them. And
though I am perfectly satisfied with myself and my
social standin', such as it is, yet, as you know, we
must look to the future of our children.

DONAL
Well, of all the old mollycoddlin' bladderskites that
ever I listened to, you beat them all.

SIR DENIS
Restrain yourself, Donal, and leave me finish. Well,
I was about to say, when you interrupted, that when
Finbarr has learnt how to behave like a real gentleman,
and can hold a cup of afternoon tea on his knee
without spillin' it all over himself, then he may aspire
to higher things, and want a wife who can play the
violin as well as the piano, and speak all the languages
in the world also.

DONAL
Wisha bad luck and misfortune to your blasted impudence,
to cast a reflection on my daughter, and
she that can play twenty-one tunes on the piano, all
by herself and from the music too. And she can play
the typewriter as well, and that's more than any one
belongin' to you can do. 'Tis well you know there's
no more music in the Delahunty family than there
would be in an old cow or a mangy jackass that you'd
find grazin' by the roadside.

KITTY
Tell him all I know about Irish, French, and German
too, father.

DONAL
The next thing I will tell him is to take himself and
his bloody tall hat out of my house and never show
his face here again.

LADY DELAHUNTY
I'm surprised at you to speak like that to Sir Denis.

DONAL
Sir Denis be damned, ma'am.

SIR DENIS (_as he rises to go and requests Lady Delahunty
to do likewise_)
Lady Delahunty, if you please.

[_A loud knocking is heard at the door. Kitty opens and
Constable Dunlea enters. As he stands by the door, he
takes a letter from his pocket._

CONSTABLE (_to Sir Denis_)
This is a message for you, sir, from the editor of the
_Examiner_. The postman couldn't find you at home
and asked me to deliver it, as he knew I was coming
here to-night.

[_Sir Denis excitedly opens the letter and Lady Delahunty
looks on with apparent satisfaction, as she thinks
it is a personal letter of congratulation for Sir Denis.
Sir Denis borrows Mrs. Corcoran's spectacles and reads
the letter hurriedly and looks very crestfallen._

LADY DELAHUNTY (_with a look of surprise_)
What's the matter, Sir Denis?

SIR DENIS
What isn't the matter would be a better question.
'Twas a mistake, Anastatia, a sad and sorry mistake!

LADY DELAHUNTY
What's a mistake?

SIR DENIS
Ourselves! I mean we weren't knighted at all. The
editor of the _Examiner_ sends his personal regrets and
apology for printin' an unofficial telegram that was
sent by some malicious person about myself being
created a baronet.

LADY DELAHUNTY (_grabs the letter and spectacles. Adjusts
the spectacles on her nose and reads. Swoons and
falls into Sir Denis's arms_)
The saints protect us all! 'Tis the truth, surely!

MRS. CORCORAN (_gets a glass of water and gives it to
Lady Delahunty_)
Here, now, take this, and you will be soon all right
again.

LADY DELAHUNTY (_as she recovers, turns to Kitty_)
I suppose 'twas at your instigation that all this happened.
You impudent, prevaricatin', philanderin'
galavanter. Now we will be the laughin' stock of
the whole country. If Sir Denis--

DONAL
Plain Denis, if you please, ma'am.

LADY DELAHUNTY (_to her husband_)
If you had only the good sense of refusin' the title
itself, but--

SIR DENIS
We'll never be able to live down the shame and disgrace
of it, Lady Delahunty.

DONAL
Plain Statia Delahunty, if you please.

LADY DELAHUNTY (_to Kitty_)
If you were worth the weight of yourself in gold and
could sing like a lark, I wouldn't give Finbarr to you
now.

KITTY
I never asked for him, ma'am. I told you all that I
would marry only my own man, and here he is.
(_Calls Constable Dunlea to her side and takes his arm_)
We are to be married next month, and then what
need I care about titles or the aristocracy when I will
have himself to support and protect me while he lives,
and his pension if he should die, and the law of the
land at my back all the time.

CURTAIN


       *        *       *       *       *



RETRIBUTION

A COMEDY IN ONE ACT


CHARACTERS

PATCHA CREMIN (_nicknamed_ NAPOLEON) _A carpenter_
NEDSERS BROPHY (_nicknamed_ BOULANGER) _A mason_
DANNUX TOUHY (_nicknamed_ THE DUKE OF WELLINGTON) _A mason_
MRS. FENNESSEY _A lodging-house keeper_



RETRIBUTION

A COMEDY IN ONE ACT



_Scene: Bedroom in a country lodging house. There is
one narrow bed and two chairs in the room, and a picture
of Robert Emmet hangs on the wall. Patcha Cremin is
lying in bed with his head covered. A loud knocking is
heard at the door_.

PATCHA (_startled, uncovers his head and looks about him.
The knocking continues_)
Who's there? (_Thinking for a moment that he is at
home and that his wife is calling_) Oh, is that you,
Ellie?

MRS. FENNESSEY (_from without_)
It is not Ellie, then.

PATCHA (_not yet properly awake_)
And who is it?

MRS. FENNESSEY
'Tis me.

PATCHA (_angrily_)
And who the blazes are you?

MRS. FENNESSEY
Mrs. Fennessey, your landlady.

PATCHA
Oh, yes! Of course, Mrs. Fennessey, excuse me,
ma'am. I thought I was at home and that my wife
was callin' me to get up to go to work.

MRS. FENNESSEY
Are you in bed yet?

PATCHA
I am, ma'am.

MRS. FENNESSEY
When are you going to get up?

PATCHA
Why?

MRS. FENNESSEY
I want to say a few words to you.

PATCHA
I'm not feelin' too well, at all, to-day, and don't
know when I'll be able to get up, ma'am.

MRS. FENNESSEY
Don't you, indeed?

PATCHA
No, I don't, ma'am.

MRS. FENNESSEY
Well then, if you're in bed and covered up, may I
come in?

PATCHA (_draws the clothes about him_)
You can, ma'am.

MRS. FENNESSEY (_enters, stands in front of the bed and
looks at Patcha_)
And might I ask what's the matter with you?

PATCHA
Oh, I don't exactly know, at all. I have a queer
shaky feelin' runnin' down the spine and all over
me. It must be the 'fluenza or maybe appendicitis,
I'm thinkin'.

MRS. FENNESSEY
Well, if that's the case, you'll get up this very instant
and clear out of my house, for I don't want a sick
man on my hands. And you that didn't pay me a
farthin' of rent for this last six weeks.

PATCHA
Didn't I promise to pay you a week over and above
when I'd get a job? And this is the gratitute you're
showin' me now for my kindness.

MRS. FENNESSEY
What a lot of good your promises would do for any
one. I want my rent, and you can keep your promises.

PATCHA
Is it the way you'd be after turnin' a sick man from
your door a cold freezin' day like this? And the snow
thirty inches thick on the Galtee Mountains, and the
air itself nearly frozen hard.

MRS. FENNESSEY
'Tis you're the nice sick man, indeed, with muscles
on you like a statue or a prize fighter, and an appetite
like an elephant. God knows then, you should
be ashamed of yourself for nearly eating me out of
house and home, and I a poor widow dependin' on
the likes of you for a livin.' 'Tis I that wouldn't like
to be the mother of a man such as yourself, God
forgive you!

PATCHA
I'm surprised at a dacent woman like you, Mrs. Fennessey,
to stand there abusin' me for my misfortune
instead of bringin' me up a good warm breakfast to
nourish my wastin' frame, and encourage the good
spirits to come back to my heart.

MRS. FENNESSEY
I'm sick and tired of listenin' to you and your excuses,
but I'm not goin' to listen to them any longer. So
pack up and get out, or if you don't I'll get my brother
Mike to fling you out, and believe me he won't take
long to do it, either.

PATCHA
You're losin' all your dacency, Mrs. Fennessey.

MRS. FENNESSEY
Thank God for it, if I am then! But I'm gettin' back
my good sense, and I won't talk or argue any more
with you.

PATCHA
You should feel ashamed of yourself, Mrs. Fennessey.

MRS. FENNESSEY
Indeed then, I should, for puttin' up with the likes of
you. You've got to be out of this house before twelve
o'clock to-morrow and remember I mean what I say.

[_She walks out and slams the door. Patcha sits up in
bed, rearranges the bedclothes, then places his hand under
his chin, and wrinkles his brow. Remains that way
until he is disturbed by a knock at the door_

MRS. FENNESSEY (_opens, and holds the door ajar_)
There's a gentleman wants to see you.

PATCHA
Who is he? What is he like, and where does he come
from?

MRS. FENNESSEY
How do I know where he comes from? He wanted to
know if Napoleon lived here and I told him there was
no one livin' here at present but one Patcha Cremin.
Sure, that's who I mean, says he. Are you Napoleon?

PATCHA
Yes, I'm Napoleon.

MRS. FENNESSEY
Glory be to the Lord! What a purty name they got
for you!

PATCHA
Did he say who he was?

MRS. FENNESSEY
He said he was an old friend of yours.

PATCHA
I wonder can it be the Duke of Wellington? Dannux
Touhy, I mean.

MRS. FENNESSEY
Touhy! Touhy! That's the name. Will I send him
up?

PATCHA
Do if you please, ma'am.

[_Mrs. Fennessey leaves the room, and in a short time
Dannux Touhy enters._

DANNUX (_as he shakes hands with Patcha_)
Well, well! 'Tis real glad that I am to see you. Sure
I didn't expect to find my old friend Napoleon in the
town of Ballinflask this blessed day. And I've heard
that Boulanger is here also. Is that so?

PATCHA
It is so, then. And he'll be as surprised as myself to
find the Duke of Wellington here before him when he
arrives.

DANNUX
What makes you be in bed at this hour of the day? Is
it the way that you're sick?

PATCHA
Not in the body, thank God, but in the mind and
heart.

DANNUX
And why don't you get up and dress yourself, and
go for a good long country walk?

PATCHA
I can't.

DANNUX
Why?

PATCHA
Sit down and I'll tell you. (_Dannux sits on a chair_)
Last night as I was goin' to sleep, a knock came to the
door, and when I said: "Who's there?" a voice
answered back and said: "Boulanger." "Come in,"
says I. And lo and behold, who should walk in the
door but Nedsers Brophy, himself. And of course,
he had the usual poor mouth. He couldn't get a job
in the town because he is such a poor mechanic no one
would be bothered with him.

DANNUX
I'm not surprised at it. Sure he was never more than
a botch at his best.

PATCHA
Well, he said, he hadn't a penny in his pocket, or the
price of a night's lodgin'; so I invited him to sleep
with me in this bit of a bed. And of course, he accepted.
The same man never refused anythin' he
could get for nothin' in his life.

DANNUX
I know him of old, the good-for-nothin' humbug.

PATCHA
The bed as you can see isn't very large, so when he
turned in the middle of the night, I fell out on the
floor, and when I turned he fell out. And there we
were, fallin' in and fallin' out like two drunken sailors
all night long. And when mornin' came, every bone
in my body was as sore as a carbuncle.

DANNUX
And sure 'tis myself that didn't close an eye or stretch
my limbs upon a bed at all last night, or eat a bit for
two long days, but kept walkin' the roads until I
struck this town at daybreak.

PATCHA
God help us all!

DANNUX
And where's Boulanger now, might I ask?

PATCHA
He's gone out on a little message for me. He should
be here any minute.

DANNUX
I suppose there's no use askin' you for that one pound
two and sixpence that you borrowed from my brother,
Lord Pebble, some time ago. I'm after gettin' a job
from the parish priest to set a range in his kitchen,
but I haven't either a trowel or a hammer, and unless
I can raise the price of them, I'll lose the contract.

PATCHA
And when will you get paid?

DANNUX
The instant the job is finished.

PATCHA
How much will the tools cost?

DANNUX
Three shillin's, at least.

PATCHA
I don't know if I could spare that amount, but I
might be able to give you a shillin' when Boulanger
comes back.

DANNUX
Was it to the pawnshop you sent him?

PATCHA
'Twas indeed, then. And with the only suit of clothes
I had too. We were both dead broke, and my landlady
stopped the grub yesterday mornin', And I
haven't broken my fast since. So here I am now without
a bit in the world but the shirt on my back.

DANNUX
The birds of the air or the fish in the sea couldn't be
worse off, themselves. Why didn't you make Boulanger
stay in bed and pawn his clothes instead of
your own, you fool?

PATCHA
That would be the devil's own strange way to entertain
your guest, wouldn't it?

DANNUX
That's the queerest story I ever heard.

PATCHA
Sure we must get a bit to eat somehow. 'Tis famished
I am with the hunger, as it is.

[_Brophy staggers into the room slightly intoxicated._

NEDSERS (_putting out his hand to Dannux_)
Well, well, well! How's my old pal Wellington?
Who'd ever think of finding you here! (_As they shake
hands_) There are no friends like the old ones. The
world is a small place after all. Twas in Cork we
met the last time and in Fermoy before that.

DANNUX
'Pon my word but I believe you're right.

PATCHA (_excitedly, to Nedsers_)
Where's the food I sent you for?

NEDSERS (_staggers to the side of the bed and sits down_)
Wait and I'll tell you what happened to me. All I
got on your old suit of clothes was five shillin's, and
if you don't believe me look at the ticket. (_Hands
ticket_) Well, I went into a pub to get a drop of grog,
and asked for a half shot of the best, put the five bob
on the counter, got my drink, put the change in my
pocket, and lo and behold, when I went to look for it
again, I couldn't find a trace of it high or low. Only
for that I'd have brought you somethin' to eat.
There's no use cryin' over spilt milk, is there, Dannux?
Wellington, I should have said. Well, how are you,
anyway? 'Tis a long time since we worked together.
Isn't it?

PATCHA (_catching him by the back of the neck_)
Glory be to the Lord! Is it the way you are takin'
leave of your senses? There's my only suit of clothes
in pawn, and the money you raised on them gone, and
you here with your belly full of dirty drink, and I with
my belly empty and my guts rattlin' in want of food.
'Tis you that should feel ashamed of yourself to have
me in such a condition and all on your account too.

NEDSERS
What should I feel ashamed about? Didn't I do my
best? Blame the bla'gard who stole the money out
of my pocket. What old talk you have. Didn't I
disgrace myself by goin' into a pawnshop for you?

PATCHA
What am I to do at all!

DANNUX
'Tis a bad way to be in, surely. But I think I can
see a way out of the difficulty.

NEDSERS
Good old Wellington! Good old Wellington! That's
what your namesake said before he put the comether
on Napoleon. What say, Patcha?

PATCHA
Don't be botherin' me. I'm more than disgusted with
you.

DANNUX
Now, there must be no quarrelin'. We are all friends
and we must stand by, and help each other, because
there is only the loan of ourselves in the world. I
have a job to go to, but I have no tools to work with.
And I haven't a bit on my person that would be taken
in the pawn, so I propose that Boulanger will give
me his boots and that I will pawn them, and buy the
tools I want. Then I will go to work, and when the
job, which will only take me a few hours, is finished,
I'll share the one pound one that his reverence said
he'd give me. And as he said himself, 'twas little
enough, but as times were bad he couldn't afford
any more.

PATCHA
'Twas the Lord Himself that sent you in the door to
us!

NEDSERS
Nothin' could be fairer. But look at my old boots, you
wouldn't get a lump of candy from a rag man for
them.

PATCHA
But why not give him your coat and vest? You'd
easily get eight or nine shillin's on them and that
much would buy the tools and get us all a bite to eat
as well.

NEDSERS (_taking off his coat and vest_)
Enough said! Enough said!

DANNUX (_as he wraps them up in an old newspaper_)
I wouldn't be surprised if I'd get ten shillin's on them.
And sure they can be released again as soon as I get
paid for the job.

NEDSERS
That's right, that's the way I like to hear a man
talkin'.

DANNUX (_as he takes the laces from Patcha's boots lying
near the bed, and ties up the parcel_)
What else are we here for, but to be a help and a comfort
to each other? Sure 'tis by each other we live.
(_Places the parcel under his arm, puts on his hat and
walks towards the door. Looks from one to the other_)
Good-by, Napoleon--Good-by, Boulanger. May God
bless you both.

PATCHA
What's that I hear? Aren't you comin' back with the
money and the bit to eat for us?

DANNUX
Of course I am. I only mean good-by for the time
I'll be away.

[_Exit Dannux. After he has gone Nedsers looks soberly
at Patcha_.

NEDSERS
Only for the time he'll be away!

PATCHA
What's the matter with you, at all?

NEDSERS
I think I did a foolish thing.

PATCHA
What's that you're sayin', I say?

NEDSERS
I did a foolish thing! I know I did. But that's just
like me. I brought my dacent impulses from my
mother. God forgive her!

PATCHA
Is it the way you are afraid he won't return?

NEDSERS
I'm sure of it. I know he'll never return. He's the
biggest bloody liar in the whole country and the
biggest rogue too.

PATCHA (_as he jumps out of bed with the blanket around
him_)
The saints and angels protect us all! Sure I forgot
that the parish priest is away in England on his vacation.
And we are to be flung out on the roadside
to-morrow, and in our shirts too!

CURTAIN





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