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Title: One-Act Plays - By Modern Authors
Author: Various
Language: English
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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.

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  Chairman of the Department of English in the
  Washington Irving High School in the
  City of New York

  Author of "The Ballade"



  _All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced
  in any form, by mimeograph or any other
  means, without permission in writing from the publisher._


  M. S. S.


Had not both authors and publishers acted with the greatest
generosity, this collection could not have been made. Though the
editor cannot adequately express her sense of obligation, she wishes
at least to record explicitly her indebtedness to Mr. Harold
Brighouse, Lord Dunsany, Mr. John Galsworthy, Lady Gregory, Mr. Percy
MacKaye, Miss Jeannette Marks, Miss Josephine Preston Peabody,
Professor Robert Emmons Rogers, Mr. Booth Tarkington, and Professor
Stark Young. The editor also desires to thank Chatto & Windus,
Duffield & Company, Gowans & Gray, Ltd., Harper & Brothers, Little,
Brown & Company, John W. Luce & Company, G. P. Putnam's Sons, Charles
Scribner's Sons, and The Sunwise Turn, for permissions granted

Through the courtesy of Mr. T. M. Cleland, director of the Beechwood
Players, the pictures of the Beechwood Theatre appear. Miss Mary W.
Carter, chairman of the Department of English in the High School in
Montclair, New Jersey, contributed the photographs of the Garden
Theatre. Other illustrations appear through the kindness of _Theatre
Arts Magazine_, and of The Neighborhood Playhouse.

The editor is grateful to Mrs. John W. Alexander, Mr. B. Iden Payne,
and Mrs. T. Bernstein for the privilege of personal conferences on the
subject of the book. To Mr. Robert Edmond Jones, who has allowed three
of his designs to be reproduced and who has read and corrected that
part of the Introduction that deals with The New Art of the Theatre,
the editor takes this opportunity of expressing her warm appreciation.
Finally, the editor wishes to thank her friend, Helen Hopkins Crandell
for her indefatigable work on the proofs of this book.


Perhaps the student who is going to read the plays in this collection
may have felt at some time or other a gap between the "classics" that
he was working over in school and the contemporary literature that he
heard commonly discussed, but he does not know that until recently few
books were studied in the high school that were less than half a
century old. Consciousness of the gap often drove him to trashy
reading. He recognized Addison as respectable but remote, and yet he
had no guide to the good literature which the writers of his own day
were producing and which would be especially interesting to him,
because its ideas and language would be more nearly contemporary with
his own.

Even though the greatest literature has the quality of universality,
it has been almost invariably my experience that, only as one grows
older, is one quite ready to appreciate this quality. When one is
young, it is easier to enjoy literature written from a point of view
nearer to one's own life and times. Reading good contemporary
literature is likely also to pave the way for a deeper appreciation of
the great masterpieces of all time.

This is a collection of one-act plays, some of them less than five
years old, chosen both because their appeal seems not to be limited to
the adult audiences for which they were originally written, and
because they may well serve the purpose of introducing the student to
contemporary dramatists of standing. Some of them, it is true, make
use of old stories and traditions, but the treatment is in all cases
modern, if we except the literary fashion that we find in Josephine
Preston Peabody's _Fortune and Men's Eyes_. This, though it is a
one-act play, a modern development, is written more or less in the
Shakespearian convention; but whether we are bookish or not, we can
hardly help having a knowledge of Shakespeare's plays, because,
popular with all kinds of people, they are continually being revived
on the stage, and quoted in conversation.

The plays in this book, though intended for class-room study, may be
acted as well as read. The general introduction will be found helpful
to groups who produce plays, to those who live in cities and go to the
theatre often, and to those who like to experiment with dramatic
composition. For this book was planned to encourage an understanding
attitude towards the theatre, to deepen the love that is latent in the
majority of us for what is beautiful and uplifting in the drama, and
to make playgoing a less expensive, more regular, and more intelligent
diversion for the generation that is growing up.

                                                    H. L. C.

  Washington Irving High School,
  New York, 1 February, 1921.


  INTRODUCTION                                          Page

    The Workmanship of the One-Act Play                 xiii

    Theatres of To-day
      The Commercial Theatre and the Repertory Idea       xx
      The Little Theatre                               xxiii
      The Irish National Theatre                        xxvi

    The New Art of the Theatre                          xxix

    Playmaking                                         xxxiv

    The Theatre in the School                              l

    THE BOY WILL                                     xxxviii

    Introduction                                           3
    BEAUTY AND THE JACOBIN                                 5

    Introduction                                          53
    THE PIERROT OF THE MINUTE                             55

    Introduction                                          77
    THE MAKER OF DREAMS                                   79

    Introduction                                          97
    GETTYSBURG                                            99

    Introduction                                         113
    WURZEL-FLUMMERY                                      115

    Introduction                                         139
    MAID OF FRANCE                                       141

    Introduction                                         157
    SPREADING THE NEWS                                   159

    Introduction                                         179
    WELSH HONEYMOON                                      181

    Introduction                                         195
    RIDERS TO THE SEA                                    198

    Introduction                                         211
    A NIGHT AT AN INN                                    213

    Introduction                                         226
    THE TWILIGHT SAINT                                   227

    Introduction                                         241
    THE MASQUE OF THE TWO STRANGERS                      244

    Introduction                                         265
    THE INTRUDER                                         268

    Introduction                                         287
    FORTUNE AND MEN'S EYES                               289

    Introduction                                         323
    THE LITTLE MAN                                       325


  _Twelfth Night_ on the stage of the Théâtre du Vieux
     Colombier in New York                                        xxiv

  Design for _The Merchant of Venice_ by Robert Edmond Jones       xxx

  Design for _Good Gracious Annabelle_ by Robert Edmond Jones    xxxii

  Design for _The Seven Princesses_ by Robert Edmond Jones       xxxiv

  The Beechwood Theatre. Exterior and Interior                   lviii

  The Garden Theatre. The original site, and the theatre as it
    looks to-day                                                    lx

  Setting for _The Maker of Dreams_ at The Neighborhood Playhouse
    designed by Aline Bernstein                                     79

  Costumes for _The Masque of the Two Strangers_ designed at the
    Washington Irving High School.
      Plate 1                                                      240
      Plate 2                                                      253

  Setting for _The Intruder_ designed by Sam Hume                  268



The one-act play is a new form of the drama and more emphatically a
new form of literature. Its possibilities began to attract the
attention of European and American writers in the last decade of the
nineteenth century, those years when so many dramatic traditions
lapsed and so many precedents were established. It is significant that
the oldest play in the present collection is Maeterlinck's _The
Intruder_, published in 1890.

The history of this new form is of necessity brief. Before its vogue
became general, one-act plays were being presented in vaudeville
houses in this country and were being used as curtain raisers in
London theatres for the purpose of marking time until the late-dining
audiences should arrive. With the exception of the famous Grand
Guignol Theatre in Paris, where the entertainment for an evening might
consist of several one-act plays, all of the hair-raising,
blood-curdling variety, programs composed entirely of one-act plays
were rare. Sir James Matthew Barrie is usually credited with being the
first in England to write one-act plays intended to be grouped in a
single production. A program of this character has been uncommon in
the commercial theatre in America, but three of Barrie's one-act
plays, constituting a single program, have met with enthusiastic
response from American audiences.

There are two new developments in the history of the theatre that have
encouraged and promoted the writing of one-act plays: the one is the
Repertory Theatre abroad and the other is the Little Theatre movement
on both sides of the Atlantic. The repertory of the Irish Players, for
example, is composed largely of one-act plays, and American Little
Theatres are given over almost exclusively to the one-act play.

The one-act play is in reality so new a phenomenon, in spite of the
use that has been made of the form by playwrights like Pinero,
Hauptmann, Chekov, Shaw, and others of the first rank, that it is
still generally ignored in books on dramatic workmanship.[1] None the
less, the status of the one-act play is established and a study of the
plays of this length, which are rapidly increasing in number,
discloses certain tendencies and laws which are exemplified in the
form itself. Clayton Hamilton sums up the matter well when he says:
"The one-act play is admirable in itself, as a medium of art. It shows
the same relation to the full-length play as the short-story shows to
the novel. It makes a virtue of economy of means. It aims to produce a
single dramatic effect with the greatest economy of means that is
consistent with the utmost emphasis. The method of the one-act play at
its best is similar to the method employed by Browning in his dramatic
monologues. The author must suggest the entire history of a soul by
seizing it at some crisis of its career and forcing the spectator to
look upon it from an unexpected and suggestive point of view. A
one-act play in exhibiting the present should imply the past and
intimate the future. The author has no leisure for laborious
exposition; but his mere projection of a single situation should sum
up in itself the accumulated results of many antecedent causes.... The
form is complete, concise and self-sustaining; it requires an
extraordinary force of imagination."[2]

         [Footnote 1: See, however, Clayton Hamilton, _Studies in
         Stagecraft_, New York, 1914, and B. Roland Lewis, _The
         Technique of the One-Act Play_, Boston, 1918.]

         [Footnote 2: Clayton Hamilton, _Studies in Stagecraft_, New
         York, 1914, pp. 254-255.]

To follow for a moment a train of thought suggested by Mr. Hamilton's
timely and appreciative comment on the technique of the one-act play:
All writers on the short-story agree that, to use Poe's phrase, "the
vastly important artistic element, totality, or unity of effect" is
indispensable to the successful short-story. This singleness of effect
is an equally important consideration in the structure of the one-act
play. A short-story is not a condensed novel any more than a one-act
play is a condensed full-length play. There is no fixed length for the
one-act play any more than there is for the short-story. The one-act
play must have its "dominant incident" and "dominant character" like
the short-story. The effect of the one-act play, as of the
short-story, is measured by the way it makes its readers and
spectators feel. Neither the short-story nor the one-act play need
necessarily "be founded on one of the passionate _cruces_ of life,
where duty and inclination come nobly to the grapple." One has but to
consider the short-stories of Henry James or the one-act plays of
Galsworthy or of Maeterlinck to be convinced that a _violent_ struggle
is not necessary to the art of either form.

This point is further illustrated in what Galsworthy himself says in
general about drama in his famous essay, _Some Platitudes Concerning
the Drama_, which should be read in connection with his satirical
comedy, _The Little Man_. In that essay Galsworthy writes: "The plot!
A good plot is that sure edifice which slowly rises out of the
interplay of circumstance on temperament, and temperament on
circumstance, within the enclosing atmosphere of an idea. A human
being is the best plot there is.... Now true dramatic action is what
characters do, at once contrary, as it were, to expectation, and yet
because they have already done other things.... Good dialogue again is
character, marshaled so as continually to stimulate interest or
excitement." This commentary of Galsworthy's on dramatic technique
offers to the student of _The Little Man_ an unusual opportunity to
verify a great critic's theory by a great playwright's practice. It is
indeed the _character_ of the Little Man that is the plot in this
case; the plot may be said to begin when, according to stage
direction, the hapless Baby wails, and to be well launched with the
Little Man's deprecatory, "Herr Ober! Might I have a glass of beer?"
These words distinguish him immediately from his bullying companions
in the buffet. The highest point of interest, like the beginning of
the plot, is to be found in the play of the Little Man's personality,
at the point where he is left alone with the Baby, now a typhus
suspect, and after an instant's wavering, bends all his puny energies
to pacifying its uneasy cry. Again, the end of the plot comes with the
tribute of the bewildered but adoring mother to the ineffably gentle
Little Man.

But a one-act play that has any pretensions to literature must be
looked upon as a law unto itself and should not be expected to conform
to any set of arbitrary requirements. As a matter of fact, there are
only a very few generalizations that can be made with regard to the
structure or to the classification of the one-act play. Even this book
contains plays that are not susceptible of any hard and fast
classification. _The Intruder_ and _Riders to the Sea_ are indubitably
tragedies, but _Fortune and Men's Eyes_, dealing, as it does, with the
tragic theme of love's disillusionment, belongs not at all with the
plays of Maeterlinck and Synge, shadowed, as they are, by death. And
though the deaths are many and bloody in _A Night at an Inn_, the
unreality of the romance is so strong that there is no such wrenching
of the human sympathies as we associate with tragedy. _The Pierrot of
the Minute_ is superficially a Harlequinade, but Dowson's insistence
on the theme of satiety brings it narrowly within the range of satire.
_Beauty and the Jacobin_ is rich in comedy; so is Lady Gregory's
_Spreading the News_, and in both, the situations change imperceptibly
from comedy to farce and from farce back to comedy.

The laws of the structure of the one-act play are in the nature of
dramatic art no less flexible. It can be said that in order to secure
that singleness of impression that is as essential to the one-act play
as to the short-story, a single well sustained theme is necessary, a
theme announced in some fashion early in the play. Indeed since the
one-act play is a short dramatic form, it may be said in regard to the
announcing of the theme that, "'Twere well it were done quickly." In
_Spreading the News_, the curtain is barely up before Mrs. Tarpey is
telling the magistrate: "Business, is it? What business would the
people here have but to be minding one another's business?" And at
approximately the same moment in the action of _The Intruder_, the
uncle, foreshadowing the theme of the mysterious coming of death,
says: "When once illness has come into a house, it is as though a
stranger had forced himself into the family circle."

The single dominant theme for its dramatic expression calls also for a
single situation developing to a single climax. In the case of
_Fortune and Men's Eyes_, it is the ballad-monger, who in crying his

      "Plays, Play not Fair,
  Or how a _gentlewoman's_ heart was took
  By a player, that was King in a stage-play,"

gives us in the first few minutes of the play his ironical clue to the
theme. And this theme is worked out in Mary Fytton's shallow intrigue
with William Herbert, which culminates in the shattering of the
Player's dream on that autumn day in South London at "The Bear and the

The single situation exemplifying the theme of _The Intruder_ is found
in the repeatedly expressed premonitions of the blind Grandfather,
stationary in his armchair, whose heightened senses detect the
presence of the Mysterious Stranger. The unity of effect secured in
this play is only rivaled, not surpassed, by the wonderful totality of
impression experienced by the reader of _The Fall of the House of
Usher_. The unity of effect in _The Intruder_ is secured also by
Maeterlinck's description of the setting, which reminds the playgoer
or the reader inevitably of Stevenson's familiar words: "Certain dark
gardens cry aloud for murder; certain old houses demand to be

In general, as has been said, the plot of the one-act play, because of
the time limitations, admits of no distracting incidents. For the same
reason the characterization must be swift and direct. By Bartley
Fallon's first speech in _Spreading the News_, Lady Gregory
characterizes him completely. He needs but say: "Indeed it's a poor
country and a scarce country to be living in. But I'm thinking if I
went to America it's long ago the day I'd be dead," and the
fundamental part of his character is fixed in the minds of the
audience. From that moment it is just a question of filling in the
picture with pantomime and further dialogue.

The characterization of the Player in _Fortune and Men's Eyes_ begins
at the moment that he enters the tavern, when Wat, the bear-ward,
calls out:

  "I say, I've played.... There's not one man
   Of all the gang--save one.... Ay, there be one
   I grant you, now!... He used me in right sort;
   A man worth better trades."

Wat's verdict on the fair-mindedness of Master William Shakespeare of
the Lord Chamberlain's company is borne out by the Player's own,

       "High fortune, man!
  Commend me to thy bear."
            [_Drinks and passes him the cup._]

The entrance of the ballad-monger gives Master Will an opening for a
punning jest and, the action continuing, shows him sympathetic to the
strayed lady-in-waiting, tender to the tavern boy, magnanimous to the
false friend and falser love.

One method of characterization which the author allows herself to use
in this play, no doubt to heighten the Elizabethan illusion, is rare
in the contemporary drama: when this "dark lady of the sonnets" flees
"The Bear and the Angel," the Player breaks forth into the
self-revealing soliloquy, found so frequently in his own plays, and
continuing as a dramatic convention until the last quarter of the
nineteenth century.[3]

         [Footnote 3: The Elizabethan platform stage survived until
         then in the shape of the long "apron," projecting in front of
         the proscenium. The characters were constantly stepping out
         of the frame of the picture; and while this visual convention
         maintained itself, there was nothing inconsistent or jarring
         in the auditory convention of the soliloquy. See William
         Archer, _Play-Making_, Boston, 1912, pp. 397-405.]

Characterization rests in part on pantomime. In _The Little Man_, the
Dutch Youth is dumb throughout the play, but he is sufficiently
characterized by his foolish demeanor and his recurrent laugh. The
part of the Little Man himself is one long gesture of humility and
dedication. In those one-act plays in which the old characters of the
Harlequinade reappear, like _The Maker of Dreams_ and _The Pierrot of
the Minute_, pantomime transcends dialogue as a method of
characterization. In the plays of the Irish dramatists, Synge, Yeats,
and Lady Gregory, pantomime and dialogue contribute equally to the
characterization, which is of a very high order, since all these
dramatists were close observers of the Irish peasant characters of
their plays.

Synge, especially, illustrates the following critical theory of
Galsworthy: "The art of writing true dramatic dialogue is an austere
art, denying itself all license, grudging every sentence devoted to
the mere machinery of the play, suppressing all jokes and epigrams
severed from character, relying for fun and pathos on the fun and
tears of life. From start to finish good dialogue is hand-made, like
good lace; clear, of fine texture, furthering with each thread the
harmony and strength of a design to which all must be subordinated." A
study of the dialogue of _Riders to the Sea_ reveals just this harmony
between the dialogue and the inevitability of the plot, the dialogue
and the simplicity of the characters.

The dialogue in _The Little Man_ is the very idiom one would expect to
issue from the mouth of the German colonel, the Englishman with the
Oxford voice, or the intensely national American, as the case may be.
The characters, though they have type names, are, as Mr. Galsworthy
would probably be the first to explain, highly individualized. The
author does not intend us to think that all Americans are like this
loud-voiced traveler, or all Englishmen like the pharisaical gentleman
who gives his wife the advertisements to read while he secures the
news sheet for himself.

The function of dialogue is the same both in the long and in the short
play. For, of course, both forms have many things in common. For
instance, as in the full-length play it is necessary for the dramatist
to carry forward the interest from act to act, to provide a "curtain"
that will leave the audience in a state of suspense, so in the one-act
play, the interest must be similarly relayed though the plot is
confined to a single act. In _The Intruder_, every premonition
expressed by the Grandfather grips the audience in such a way that
they await from minute to minute the coming of the mysterious
stranger. The tension is high in _A Night at an Inn_ from the moment
the curtain rises. In _Riders to the Sea_, the beginning of the
suspense coincides with the opening of the play and lasts. "They're
all gone now, and there isn't anything more the sea can do to me,"
says Maurya, and the audience experiences a rush of relief and a sense
of release that the last words, "No man at all can be living for ever,
and we must be satisfied," seem only to deepen.

A one-act play, then, has many structural features in common with the
short-story; its plot must from beginning to end be dominated by a
single theme; its crises may be crises of character as well as
conflicts of will or physical conflicts; it must by a method of
foreshadowing sustain the interest of the audience unflaggingly, but
ultimately relieve their tension; it must achieve swift
characterization by means of pantomime and dialogue; and its dialogue
must achieve its effects by the same methods as the dialogue of longer
plays, but by even greater economy of means. But when all is said and
done, the success of a one-act play is judged not by its conformity to
any set of hard and fast rules, but by its power to interest,
enlighten, and hold an audience.



The term "Commercial Theatre" is rarely used without disparagement.
The critic or the playwright who speaks of the Commercial Theatre
usually does so either for the purpose of reflecting on the cheapness
of the entertainment afforded, or in order to call attention to
spectacular receipts.

In this country the Commercial Theatre stands for that form of big
business in the theatrical world that produces dividends on the money
invested comparable to those earned by the most prosperous of the
large industries. This system has been, on the whole, a bad thing for
the drama, because managers with their eye on attractions that should
yield a return, let us say, of over ten per cent on the investment,
have been unable to produce the superior play with an appeal to a
definite, though perhaps limited audience, and have had to offer to
the public the kind of play that would draw large audiences over a
long period of time. The "longest run for the safest possible play" is
thus conspicuously associated with the Commercial Theatre. As Clayton
Hamilton says: "The trouble with the prevailing theatre system in
America to-day is not that this system is commercial; for in any
democratic country, it is not unreasonable to expect the public to
defray the cost of the sort of drama that it wishes, and that,
therefore, it deserves. The trouble is, rather, that our theatre
system is devoted almost entirely to big business; and that in
ignoring the small profits of small business it tends to exclude not
only the uncommercial drama, but the non-commercial drama as well."[4]
Here he makes a distinction between an "uncommercial" play, that is, a
play that is a failure with all kinds of audiences, and the
"noncommercial" play, which is capable of holding its own financially
and yielding modest returns.

         [Footnote 4: Clayton Hamilton, _The Non-Commercial Drama_.
         _The Bookman_, May, 1915.]

In the days before the pooling of theatrical interests in this
country there were indeed long runs, but in many of the large
American cities "stock companies," composed of groups of actors and
actresses all of about the same reputation and ability, were
maintained that kept a number of plays, a "repertory," before the
public in the course of a season and gave scope for experiment with
various kinds of plays. But the "star system," which has now become
common, has tended to drive out the "stock company" idea, with the
result that the average company rests on the reputation of the "star"
and dispenses with distinction in the "support." With the decay of the
stock company, the repertory system, in the form in which it did once
exist here in the Commercial Theatre, has also declined.

Both in Great Britain and in America the repertory system, long
established on the Continent, has been reintroduced in order to combat
the practices of the Commercial Theatre. For the most part the new
repertory theatres have been endowed either by the State or by private
individuals. "Absolute endowment for absolute freedom,"[5] has seemed
to at least one American the only means of delivering the drama from
commercial bondage. This phrase of Percy MacKaye's expresses his
cherished belief that endowed civic theatres, which should encourage
the participation of whole communities in a community form of drama,
are what is needed in a democracy. John Masefield, in the following
lines from the prologue written for the opening of the Liverpool
Repertory Theatre, has found a poetic theme in this idea of an endowed

  "Men will not spend, it seems, on that one art
   Which is life's inmost soul and passionate heart;
   They count the theatre a place for fun,
   Where man can laugh at nights when work is done.

   If it were only that, 'twould be worth while
   To subsidize a thing which makes men smile;
   But it is more; it is that splendid thing,
   A place where man's soul shakes triumphant wing;

   A place of art made living, where men may see
   What human life is and has seemed to be
   To the world's greatest brains....

                 O you who hark
   Fan to a flame through England this first spark,
   Till in this land there's none so poor of purse
   But he may see high deeds and hear high verse,
   And feel his folly lashed, and think him great
   In this world's tragedy of Life and Fate."[6]

         [Footnote 5: Percy MacKaye, _The Playhouse and the Play_, New
         York, 1909, p. 86.]

         [Footnote 6: Quoted by Percy MacKaye in _The Civic Theatre_,
         New York, 1912, p. 114.]

In Great Britain repertory is associated with the interest and
generosity of Miss A. E. F. Horniman, who will be mentioned in
connection with the Irish National Theatre, and through whom, after
some preliminary experiment, the Gaiety Theatre at Manchester was
opened as the first repertory house in England, in the spring of 1908.
Fifty-five different plays were produced in a little over two
years--"twenty-eight new, seventeen revivals of modern English plays,
five modern translations, and five classics."[7] In Miss Horniman's
own words, her interest was in a Civilized Theatre. "A Civilized
Theatre," she has written, "means that a city has something of
cultivation in it, something to make literature grow; a real theatre,
not a mere amusing toy. What we want is the opportunity for our men
and women, our boys and girls to get a chance to see the works of the
greatest dramatists of modern times, as well as the classics, for
their pleasure as well as their cultivation.... Young dramatists
should have a theatre where they can see the ripe works of the masters
and see them well acted at a moderate price. There should be in every
city a theatre where we can see the best drama worthily treated."[8]
Owing to war conditions, the Manchester project has had to be
abandoned, and so, for the most part, have other similar enterprises.
They rarely became self-supporting, but depended on subsidy of one
kind or another, which under new economic conditions is no longer
forthcoming. The Birmingham Repertory Theatre continues, however,
under the direction of John Drinkwater, and has become famous through
its production of his _Abraham Lincoln_. "John Drinkwater, I see, has
recently defined a Repertory Theatre," writes William Archer, in his
latest article on the subject, "as one which 'puts plays into stock
which are good enough to stay there.'" Enlarging this definition, I
should call it a theatre which excluded the long unbroken run; which
presents at least three different programs in each week (though a
popular success may be performed three or even four times a week
throughout a whole season); which can produce plays too good to be
enormously popular; which makes a principle of keeping alive the great
drama of the past, whether recent or remote; which has a company so
large that it can, without overworking its actors, keep three or four
plays ready for instant presentation; which possesses an ample stage
equipped with the latest artistic and labor-saving appliances; and
which offers such comfort in front of the house as to encourage an
intelligent public to make it an habitual place of resort.

         [Footnote 7: P. P. Howe, _The Repertory Theatre_, New York,
         1911, p. 59.]

         [Footnote 8: A. E. F. Horniman, _The Manchester Players_,
         _Poet Lore_, Vol. XXV, No. 3, p. 212; p. 213.]

"That there exists in every great American city an intelligent public
large enough to support one or more such playhouses is to my mind
indisputable. But the theatre might have to be run at a loss for two
or three opening seasons, until it had attracted and educated its
habitual supporters. For even a public of high general intelligence
needs a certain amount of special education in things of the theatre."
This testimony is in a highly optimistic vein.

A talk with B. Iden Payne, once director of the Manchester Players,
reveals the fact that in England at the present time the repertory
idea is being taken over with more promise of success by the small
groups that represent the Little Theatre movement in that country. The
repertory theatre there did succeed in arousing in the locality in
which, for the time being, it existed an interest in intelligent
plays, but it was not equally successful in confirming a distaste for
unintelligent plays. The study of these experiments will repay
Americans who are interested in seeing the repertory idea fostered
over here by endowment or otherwise.


The year 1911 saw the beginning in the United States of the Little
Theatre movement, which has grown with phenomenal rapidity and has
spread in all directions. The first Little Theatres in this country
were located in large cities; but in the course of time the idea has
penetrated to small towns and rural communities all over the United
States. Barns, wharves, saloons, and school assembly halls have been
transformed into intimate little playhouses. There were European
precedents for this idea. The Théâtre Libre, opened in Paris in 1887
by André Antoine as a protest against the kind of play then in favor,
is generally called the first of this type. In the years from 1887 to
1911 Little Theatres were opened in Russia, in Belgium, in Germany, in
Sweden, in Hungary, in England, in Ireland, and in France. In Europe
these theatres came into being, generally speaking, in order to give
freer play to the new arts of the theatre or for the purpose of
encouraging a more intellectual type of drama than was being produced
in the larger houses.

There are two conceptions of the Little Theatre current in the United
States. According to one, it is a theatrical organization housed in a
simple building, that makes its productions in the most economical
way, does not pay its actors, does not charge admission, and uses
scenery and properties that are cheaply manufactured at home.

[Illustration: _Twelfth Night_ on the stage of the Théâtre du Vieux
Colombier, New York.]

The Little Theatre is, however, more commonly conceived of as a
repertory theatre supported by the subscription system, producing its
plays on a small stage in a small hall, selecting for production the
kind of play not likely to be used by the Commercial Theatre, most
frequently the one-act play, and committed to experiments in stage
decoration, lighting, and the other stage arts. The Little Theatre and
the one-act play have developed each other reciprocally, for the
Little Theatre has encouraged the writing of one-act plays in Europe
and in this country. The one-act play is the natural unit of
production in the Little Theatre, both because it requires a less
sustained performance from the actors, who have frequently been
amateurs, and because it has offered in the same evening several
opportunities to the various groups of artists collaborating in the
productions of the Little Theatre. Though the movement has had the
effect of stimulating community spirit and has been the means of
solving grave community problems, the Little Theatre is not, in the
technical sense, a community theatre; in the sense, that is, in which
Percy MacKaye uses the word. It is not, in fact, so portentous an
enterprise, because it does not enlist the participation of every
member of a community. The community theatre is an example of civic
co-operation on a large scale; the Little Theatre, of the same kind
of co-operation on a small scale.

Notably artistic results have been achieved by such Little Theatres as
The Neighborhood Playhouse in New York, built in 1914 by the Misses
Irene and Alice Lewisohn, in connection with the social settlement
idea, to provide expression for the talents of a community that had
been previously trained in dramatic classes for some years; by the
Chicago Little Theatre, founded in 1911, now no longer in existence,
but for a few years under the direction of Maurice Browne, a disciple
of Gordon Craig's; by the Detroit Theatre of Arts and Crafts, once
under the direction of Mr. Sam Hume, also a follower of Gordon
Craig's; by the Washington Square Players, who during several seasons
in New York gave a remarkable impetus to the writing of one-act plays
in America; by the Provincetown Players, whose first productions were
made on Cape Cod, who later opened a small playhouse in New York, and
who gave the public an opportunity to know the plays of Eugene
O'Neill; by the Portmanteau Theatre of Stuart Walker, that uses but
one setting in its productions, but varies the effect with different
colored lights, and as its name implies, is portable, one of the few
of its kind in the world; by the 47 Workshop Theatre that has arisen
as the result of the course in playwriting given at Harvard University
by Professor George Pierce Baker, and the productions of which have
served to introduce many new writers; and by the Théâtre du Vieux
Colombier, that came to New York from Paris in 1917, and remained for
two seasons to illustrate the best French practice. These theatres
also enjoy the distinction of having experimented with repertory.

The Théâtre du Vieux Colombier was organized and is directed by
Jacques Copeau. It is no casual amateur experiment. Its actors are
professionals and its director is a scholar and an artist. In
preparation for the original opening the company went into the country
and established a little colony. "During five hours of each day they
studied repertoire but they did far more. They performed exercises in
physical culture and the dance: they read aloud and acted improvised
dramatic scenes. They worked thus upon their bodies, their voices and
their actions: made them subtle instruments in their command." They
learned that in an artistic production every gesture, every word,
every line, and every color counted. Naturally no group of amateurs or
semi-professionals can approach the results of a company trained as M.
Copeau's is. When he was over here, he was much interested in our
Little Theatres. He said in one of his addresses: "All the _little
theatres_ which now swarm in America, ought to come to an
understanding among themselves and unite, instead of trying to keep
themselves apart and distinctive. The ideas which they possess in
common have not even begun to be put into execution. They must be
incorporated into life."[9]

         [Footnote 9: The kind of co-operation to which he looked
         forward is beginning. For instance, the New York Drama League
         announces a Little Theatre membership. "Its purpose is to
         serve the needs of the large and constantly growing public
         that is interested in the activities of the semi-professional
         and amateur community groups who read or produce plays. Under
         this new Membership there will be issued monthly, for ten
         issues a Play List of five pages, giving a concise but
         complete synopsis of new plays, both one-act and longer
         plays. It will show the number of characters required; the
         kind of audience to which the play would be likely to appeal;
         the royalty asked for production rights; the production
         necessities and other information of value to production
         groups or individuals. One page will be devoted to three or
         four standard older plays treated with the same detail of
         information. The Little Theatre Supplement ... will continue
         to be issued each month, but will hereafter be a feature of
         the Little Theatre Membership only. It will contain the
         programs of the Little Theatres throughout the country; short
         accounts of what is going on among the various groups, and
         articles on Little Theatre problems, with hints on new,
         effective and economical methods of production."]

The native Little Theatres, much simpler affairs than the Vieux
Colombier, persist. They have made a place for themselves in American
life, among the farms, in the suburbs, in the small towns, and in the
cities. Sometimes, no doubt, they are like the one in Sinclair Lewis's
Gopher Prairie; or they hardly outlast a season. But new ones spring
up to replace those that have gone out of existence, and meanwhile the
ends of wholesome community recreation are being served.


About 1890 began the movement which has since been known as the Celtic
Renaissance, a movement that had for its object the lifting into
literature of the songs, myths, romances, and legends treasured for
countless generations in the hearts of the Irish peasantry. In the
same decade in Great Britain and on the Continent, tendencies were at
work looking to the reform of the drama and its rescue from commercial
formulas. The genesis of the Irish National Theatre, a pioneer in the
field of repertory in Great Britain, and one of the first of the
Little Theatres, is due to both of these influences.

Its first form was the Irish Literary Theatre, founded in 1899 by
Edward Martyn, the author of _The Heather Field_ and _Maeve_, George
Moore, and William Butler Yeats. The first play produced by this
organization was Yeats's _Countess Cathleen_. This enterprise employed
only English actors, and did not assume to be purely national in
scope. It came to an end in October, 1901. It was in October, 1902,
that in _Samhain_, the organ of the Irish National Theatre, William
Butler Yeats made the following announcement: "The Irish Literary
Theatre has given place to a company of Irish actors." The nucleus of
this new Irish National Theatre was certain companies of amateurs that
W. G. Fay had assembled. These companies were composed of people who
were unable to give full time to their interest in the drama, but who
came from the office or the shop to rehearse at odd moments during the
day and in the evening. The Irish National Theatre really developed
from these amateur companies. It was strictly national in scope. The
advisers, who were to include Synge, Lady Gregory, Padraic Colum,
William Butler Yeats, and others, looked to the Irish National Theatre
to bring the drama back to the people, to whom plays dealing with
society life meant nothing. They intended also that their plays
"should give them [the people] a quite natural pleasure, should either
tell them of their own life, or of that life of poetry where every man
can see his own magic, because there alone does human nature escape
from arbitrary conditions." This program has been carried out with
remarkable success.

October, 1902, is the date for the beginning of the Irish National
Theatre. At first W. G. Fay, and his brother, Frank Fay, were in
charge of the productions, the former as stage manager. Frank Fay had
charge of training a company, in which the star system was unknown. He
had studied French methods of stage diction and gesture, and the Irish
Players are generally said to show the results of his familiarity with
great French models. In 1913 a school of acting was organized in
order to perpetuate the tradition created by the Fays.

Among the most famous playwrights who have written for the Irish
National Theatre are Padraic Colum, John Millington Synge, William
Butler Yeats, Lady Gregory, St. John G. Ervine, Æ (George W. Russell),
and Lord Dunsany. At one time the theatre sent out, in a circular
addressed to aspiring authors who showed promise, the following
counsel: "A play to be suitable for performance at the Abbey should
contain some criticism of life, founded on the experience or personal
observation of the writer, or some vision of life, of Irish life by
preference, important from its beauty or from some excellence of
style, and this intellectual quality is not more necessary to tragedy
than to the gayest comedy."[10]

         [Footnote 10: Lady Gregory, _Our Irish Theatre_, New York,
         1913, p. 101.]

In 1904 the Irish National Theatre was housed for the first time in
its own playhouse, the Abbey Theatre. This change was made possible by
the generosity of Miss A. E. F. Horniman, who saw the Irish Players
when they first went to London in 1903. It was she who obtained the
lease of the Mechanics' Institute in Dublin, increased its capacity,
and rebuilt it, giving it rent free to the Players from 1904 to 1909,
in addition to an annual subsidy which she allowed them. In 1910 the
Abbey Theatre was bought from her by public subscription. The next
year, the Irish Players paid their famous visit to the United States.

The Irish National Dramatic Company was organized as a protest against
current theatrical practices. Its founders purposed to reform the
various arts of the theatre. By encouraging native playwrights they
hoped to do for the drama of Ireland what Ibsen and other writers had
done for the drama in Scandinavian countries, where people go to the
theatre to think as well as to feel. It was not intended in any sense
that these new Irish players were to serve the purpose of propaganda;
truth was not to be compromised in the service of a cause. Acting,
too, was to be improved: redundant gesture was to be suppressed;
repose was to be given its full value; speech was to be made more
important than gesture. Yeats in particular had theories as to the way
in which verse should be spoken on the stage; he advocated a cadenced
chant, monotonous but not sing-song, for the delivery of poetry. The
simplification of costume and setting was also included in their
scheme, for both were to be strictly accessory to the speech and
movement of the characters.

They have been faithful to their ideals. The performances at the Abbey
Theatre continue, although from time to time certain of the most
eminent actors of the company have withdrawn, some to migrate to
America. Among the plays produced in 1919 and 1920 by the National
Theatre Society at the Abbey Theatre are W. B. Yeats's _The Land of
Heart's Desire_, G. B. Shaw's _Androcles and the Lion_, Lady Gregory's
_The Dragon_, and Lord Dunsany's _The Glittering Gate_.


There are certain facts about the artistic transformation that the
theatre is undergoing in the twentieth century with which students of
the drama need to be familiar in order to picture for themselves how
plays can be interpreted by means of design, color, and light. The
transformation is definitely connected with a few famous names. In
Europe two men, Edward Gordon Craig and Max Reinhardt, stand out as
reformers in matters connected with the construction, the lighting,
and the design of stage settings. In this country the artists of the
theatre are, generally speaking, disciples of one or both of these
great Europeans and their colleagues. The new stage artist studies the
characterization and the situations in the play, the production of
which he is directing, and tries to make his setting suggestive of the
physical and emotional atmosphere in which the action of the drama

Gordon Craig has written several books and many articles embodying his
ideas on play production. In all his writings he emphasizes the
importance of having one individual with complete authority and
complete knowledge in charge of coordinating and subordinating the
various arts that go to make the production of a play a symmetrical
whole, his theory being that there is no one art that can be called to
the exclusion of all others _the_ Art of the Theatre: not the acting,
not the play, not the setting, not the dance; but that all these
properly harmonized through the personality of the director become the
Art of the Theatre.

The kind of setting that has become identified in the popular mind
with Gordon Craig is the simple monochrome background composed either
of draperies or of screens. It is unfortunate that this popular idea
should be so limited because, of course, the name of Gordon Craig
should carry with it the suggestion of an infinite variety of ways of
interpreting the play through design. His screens, built to stand
alone, vary in number from one to four and sometimes have as many as
ten leaves. They are either made of solid wood or are wooden frames
covered with canvas. The screens with narrow leaves may be used to
produce curved forms, and screens with broad leaves to enclose large
rectangular spaces. The screens are one form of the setting composed
of adjustable units, which can be adapted in an infinite variety of
ways to the needs of the play.

The new ideas in European stagecraft began to be popularized in
America in the year 1914-15, when under the auspices of the Stage
Society, Sam Hume, now teaching the arts of the theatre at the
University of California, and Kenneth Macgowan, the dramatic critic,
arranged an exhibition that was shown in New York, Chicago, and other
great centres, of new stage sets designed by Robert Edmond Jones, Sam
Hume, and others who have since become famous. The models displayed on
this occasion brought before the public for the first time the new
method of lighting which, as much as anything else, differentiates the
new theatre art from the old. It introduced the device of a concave
back wall made of plaster, sometimes called by its German name
"horizont," and a lighting equipment that would dye this plaster
horizon with colors that melted into one another like the colors in
the sky; a stage with "dimmers" for every circuit of lights, and
sockets for high-power lamps at any spot from the stage.

In the same year that the Stage Society showed Robert Edmond Jones's
models, he was given an opportunity to design the settings and
costumes for Granville Barker's production of Anatole France's _The
Man Who Married a Dumb Wife_, which may be said to have advertised the
new practices in America more than any other single production.

[Illustration: _The Merchant of Venice._ A room in Belmont. Design by
Robert Edmond Jones. A great round window framed in the heavy molding
of Mantegna and the pale clear sky of Northern Italy.]

Writing of his own work shortly after, Mr. Jones says: "While the
scenery of a play is truly important, it should be so important that
the audience should forget that it is present. There should be
fusion between the play and the scenery. Scenery isn't there to be
looked at, it's really there to be forgotten. The drama is a fire, the
scenery is the air that lifts the fire and makes it bright.... The
audience that is always conscious of the back drop is paying a
doubtful compliment to the painter.... Even costumes should be the
handiwork of the scenic artist. Yes, and if possible, he should build
the very furniture."[11] Robert Edmond Jones has not only designed
settings and costumes for poetic and fantastic forms of drama, but he
has also been called upon to plan the productions of realistic modern

         [Footnote 11: Robert Edmond Jones, _The Future Decorative Art
         of the Theatre_, _Theatre Magazine_, Vol. XXV, May, 1917, p.

Three of his designs introducing three different aspects of his work
have been here reproduced. The model for Maeterlinck's _The Seven
Princesses_ is an example of an attempt to present the essential
significant structure of a setting in the simplest way conceivable and
by so doing to stimulate the imagination of the spectator to create
for itself the imaginative environment of the play. His design for a
room in Belmont for _The Merchant of Venice_ shows a great round
window framed in the heavy molding of Mantegna and the pale, clear sky
of Northern Italy. The scene for _Good Gracious Annabelle_ is a
corridor in an hotel. This scene is a typical example of a more or
less abstract rendering of a literal scene. It was designed primarily
with the idea of giving as many different exits and entrances as
possible, in order that the action of the drama might be swift and

         [Footnote 12: Robert Edmond Jones himself has suggested the
         phrasing of these descriptions.]

When Sam Hume was connected with the Detroit Theatre of Arts and
Crafts, he used a symbolic and suggestive method for the setting of
poetic plays the scene of which was laid in no definite locality. In
this theatre he installed a permanent setting, including the following
units: "Four pylons [square pillars], constructed of canvas on wooden
frames, each of the three covered faces measuring two and one-half by
eighteen feet; two canvas flats each three by eighteen feet; two
sections of stairs three feet long, and one section eight feet long,
of uniform eighteen-inch height; three platforms of the same height,
respectively six, eight, and twelve feet long; dark green hangings as
long as the pylons; two folding screens for masking, covered with the
same cloth as that used in the hangings, and as high as the pylons;
and two irregular tree forms in silhouette.

"The pylons, flats, and stairs, and such added pieces as the arch and
window, were painted in broken color ...[13] so that the surfaces
would take on any desired color under the proper lighting."[14] The
economy of this method is illustrated by the fact that in one season
nineteen plays were given in the Arts and Crafts Theatre at Detroit,
and the settings for eleven of these were merely rearrangements of the
permanent setting. This kind of setting is sometimes called
"plastic"--a term which refers to the fact that the separate units are
in the round, and not flat. The effect secured in settings
representing outdoor scenes was made possible only by the use of a
plaster horizon of the general type described in connection with the
exhibition of the Stage Society.

         [Footnote 13: See p. xxxiii.]

         [Footnote 14: Sheldon Cheney, _The Art Theatre_, New York,
         1917, pp. 167-168.]

[Illustration: _Good Gracious Annabelle._ A corridor in a hotel.
Design by Robert Edmond Jones. A typical example of a more or less
abstract rendering of a literal scene. It was designed primarily with
the idea of giving as many different exits and entrances as possible
in order that the action of the drama might be swift and varied.]

Robert Edmond Jones and Sam Hume are two of an increasingly large
number of artists in America, among whom should be mentioned
Norman-bel Geddes, Maurice Browne, and Lee Simonson, who are
experimenting with design, color, and light. Underlying the work of
all of these is the belief that the whole production, the play, the
acting, the lighting, and the setting, should be unified by some one
dominating mood. In the work of these new artists, there is no place
for the old-fashioned painted back drop, the use of which emphasizes
the disparity between the painted and the actual perspective, though
their backgrounds are by no means necessarily either screens or
draperies. Another new style of background is the skeleton setting, a
permanent structural foundation erected on the stage, which through
the addition of draperies and movable properties, or the variation of
lights, or the manipulation of screens, may serve for all the scenes
of a play. A permanent structure of this sort, representing the Tower
of London, was used by Robert Edmond Jones in a recent production of
_Richard III_ in New York, at the Plymouth Theatre. When Jacques
Copeau conducted the Théâtre du Vieux Colombier in New York he had a
permanent structure built on the stage of the Garrick Theatre, that
he used for all the plays he produced; at times the upper half of the
stage was masked, at times the recess back of the two central columns
was used. The aspect of the stage was often completely changed by the
addition of tapestries, stairs, panels, screens, and furniture.

In the description of the equipment of the Detroit Theatre of Arts and
Crafts, reference has been made to a method of painting the plastic
units in broken color. This is so important a principle that it should
be more generally understood by those who are interested in the
theatre. The principle was put into operation by the Viennese
designer, Joseph Urban. In practice it means that a canvas painted
with red and with green spots upon which a red light is played, throws
up only the red spots blended so as to produce a red surface, and that
the same canvas under a green light shows a green surface; and, if
both kinds of lights are used, then both the green and red spots are
brought out, according to the proportion of the mixture of green and
red in the light.

Color is being used now not only for decorative purposes, but also
symbolically. The decorative use of color on the stage is, obviously,
like the decorative use of color in the design of textiles, or stained
glass, or posters. The symbolic use of color is less easy to
interpret, but it is plain that in most people's minds red is
connected with excitement and frenzy, and blues and grays, with an
atmosphere of mystery. This is a very bald suggestion of some of the
very subtle things that have been done with color on the modern stage.

The new methods of stage lighting make possible all kinds of color
combinations and effects. The use of the plaster horizon (or of the
cyclorama, a cheaper substitute, usually a straight semi-circular
curtain enclosing the stage, made of either white or light blue
cloth), combined with high-powered lights set at various angles on the
stage, makes outdoor effects possible, the beauty of which is new to
the theatre.[15] Nowadays footlights are not invariably discarded, but
where they are used they are wired so that groups of them can be
lighted when other sections are dimmed or darkened. When the setting
shows an interior scene with a window, though the scene may be lighted
from all sides, the window seems to be the source of all light. A
good deal of the lighting on the stage is what is known in the
interior decoration of houses as indirect lighting; colored lights are
produced most simply by the interposition between the source of light
and the stage of transparent colored slides, gelatine or glass.

         [Footnote 15: For a description of modern lighting equipment
         for a Little Theatre compare the section on the Theatre in
         the School in this introduction.]

In any production that is made under the influence of the new
stagecraft, the costumes, like the setting of the play, are considered
in connection with the resources of lighting. The costumes, whether
historically correct or historically suggestive, whether of a period
or conventionalized, are conceived in their three-fold relation to the
characters of the play, the background, and the scheme of lights, by
the designer or the director under whose general supervision the play
is staged.

In general, American audiences are hardly conscious of the existence
of these reforms. Here and there, it is true, the manager of a
commercial theatre or an opera house has called in an artist to
supervise his productions and has thus given publicity to the new way
of making the arts of the theatre work together. Certain Little
Theatres, also, have educated their followers in the significance of
the new use of light and design to represent the mood of a play. The
demands that the new method makes on craftsmanship have also commended
it to students in schools and colleges interested in play production.
Both the Little Theatres and the school theatres are doing a real
service when they educate their communities in these new arts, for not
only will this education increase the capacity of these particular
audiences to enjoy the good things of the theatre, but the influence
of these groups is bound in the long run to popularize the new


Shortly before the death of William Dean Howells, he related the
experience that he had had of being circularized by a correspondence
school that offered to teach him the art of writing fiction in a
phenomenally short time at a ridiculously low rate. In this instance,
there was something wrong with the mailing list, but the fact remains
that in universities successful courses in writing short-stories and
plays are given and the best of these courses actually have turned out
writers who achieve various degrees of success financially and
artistically It is plain that a brief treatise like the present one
makes no such pretensions; it means merely to suggest some of the most
obvious points of departure for students in the drama who wish to
exercise themselves in the composition of the one-act play, much as a
student of poetry will try his hand at a _ballade_ or a sonnet without
taking himself or his metrical exercises too seriously.

[Illustration: _Courtesy of Theatre Arts Magazine_

_The Seven Princesses._ Design by Robert Edmond Jones. An example of
the attempt to present the essential significant structure of a
setting in the simplest way conceivable and by so doing to stimulate
the imagination of the spectator to create for itself the imaginative
environment of the play.]

In the famous Perse School in Cambridge, England, the boys begin at
the age of twelve to practise playmaking as an aid to the fuller
understanding of Shakespeare's dramatic workmanship, and this work is
developed throughout the rest of the course. The boys, having learned
that Shakespeare himself used stories that he found ready to hand,
discover in their own reading a story that will lend itself to
dramatization. The story is told and retold from every angle. The
class is then divided up into committees to every one of which is
entrusted some part of the dramatization. One little committee busies
itself with the setting, another with the structure, another with the
comic characters, another with the songs that are interspersed and so
on. These committees prepare rough notes to be presented in class.
These notes may propose an outline of successive scenes, present the
part of some principal character, or the "business" (illustrative
action) of some minor part. Lessons of this sort are followed by
composition rehearsals, where the dramatic and literary value of the
proposed plot, characterization, pantomime, and dialogue are tested,
and subjected to the criticism of teacher and boys. In the next
lessons, the teacher brings to bear on the special problems on which
the boys are working all the criticism that his wider range of reading
and experience can suggest. In the light of his suggestions the
various points are debated and the boys then proceed to careful
fashioning, shaping, and writing. A rehearsal of the nearly finished
product is held, followed by a final revision of the text. The work
then goes forward to a public performance given with all due ceremony.
In the higher classes playmaking is taught more especially in
connection with writing and the boys are trained to imitate the style
of various dramatists. Synge was used as a model at one time for, as
one of the masters of the school explained: "The style of Synge is
easy to copy because it is so largely composed of a certain
phraseology. The same words, phrases, and turns of sentence occur
again and again. Here are a few taken at random; the reader will find
them in a context on almost any page of the plays: _It's myself_ --
_Is it me fight him?_ -- _I'm thinking_ -- _It's a poor_ (_fine,
great, hard_, etc.) _thing_ -- _A little path I have_ -- _Let you
come_ -- _God help us all_ -- _Till Tuesday was a week_ -- _The end of
time_ -- _The dawn of day_ -- _Let on_ -- _Kindly_ -- _Now_, as in
_Walk out now_ -- _Surely_ -- _Maybe_ -- _Itself_ -- _At all_ --
_Afeard_ -- _Destroyed_ -- _It curse_. Synge is also mighty fond of
the words _ditch_ and _ewe_. And there are certain forms of rhythm
about Synge's prose which are used with equal frequency, and are quick
and easy to catch. So far from this imitation of style being an
artificial method, the fact is that once a boy of sixteen or over has
read a play or two of Synge's, if he has any power of style in him, it
will be all but impossible to stop him writing like Synge for a few
weeks." Learning playwriting from models recalls the method of
Benjamin Franklin and Robert Louis Stevenson who in their youth wrote
slavish imitations of the great masters in order to form their own
prose style. Of course, it is not claimed that this work at the Perse
School makes playwrights, only that it gives the boys a deeper
appreciation of dramatic workmanship and furnishes a new kind of
intellectual game to add to the joy of school life.

The one-act plays contained in this collection are, as has been
suggested in what has been said about their construction, illustrative
of various kinds of workmanship. Certain of them are excellent models
for those who are experimenting with playwriting. The one-act play,
not nearly so difficult a form as the full-length play, offers
undergraduates in school and college and inexperienced writers
generally unlimited scope for experiment.

The testimony of Lord Dunsany is to the effect that his play is made
when he has discovered a motive. Asked whether he always began with a
motive, "'Not always,' he said; 'I begin with anything or next to
nothing. Then suddenly, I get started, and go through in a hurry. The
main point is not to interrupt a mood. Writing is an easy thing when
one is going strong and going fast; it becomes a hard thing only when
the onward rush is impeded. Most of my short plays have been written
in a sitting or two.'"[16] This passage is quoted because insight
into the practice of professional writers is always helpful to
amateurs. Dunsany uses "motive," it seems, as a convenient term for
denoting the idea, the character, the incident or the mood that impels
the dramatist to start writing a play. Such material is to be found
everywhere. Many professional writers accumulate vast stores of such
themes against the day when they may have the necessary leisure,
energy, and insight to develop them.

         [Footnote 16: Clayton Hamilton, _Seen on the Stage_, New
         York, 1920, p. 239.]

It has been pointed out that there are only thirty-six possible
dramatic situations in any case, and that no matter how the plot
shapes itself, it is bound to classify itself somehow or other as one
of the inescapable thirty-six. There is comfort also in the suggestion
that Shakespeare drew practically all the dramatic material that he
used so transcendently direct from the familiar and accessible
narrative stores of his day. The young or inexperienced playwright
need have no hesitation, then, in turning to such sources as the Greek
myths for inspiration. Quite recently a highly successful one-act play
of Phillip Moeller's proved that Helen of Troy is as eternally
interesting as she is perennially beautiful. Maurice Baring draws on
the old Greek stories, too, for several of his _Diminutive Dramas_.
The Bible has proved dramatically suggestive to Lord Dunsany and to
Stephen Phillips. The old ballads of _Fair Annie_ and _The Wife of
Usher's Well_ have been found dramatically available. The myths of the
old Norse Gods, used by Richard Wagner for his music dramas, contain
much unmined dramatic gold. John Masefield and Sigurjónsson have
converted Saga material to the uses of the drama. In old English
literature, in _Widsith_, in the _Battle of Brunanburh_, the seeking
dramatist may find. The romances of the Middle Ages, the fairy lore of
all peoples, and the old Hindu animal fables are fertile in suggestion
to the intending dramatist. What a wonderful one-act play, steeped in
the mellow atmosphere of the Renaissance in Italy, might be made out
of Browning's _My Last Duchess!_ At least one new literary precedent
has recently been created by the author who wrote a sequel to _Dombey
and Son_. Certainly many famous novels and plays may be conceived as
calling out for similar treatment at the hands of the experimental
playwright. Famous literary and historic characters offer themselves
as promising dramatic material. When Robert Emmons Rogers, author of
the well-known play, _Behind a Watteau Picture_, was a sophomore at
Harvard, he wrote the following charming little play on Shakespeare
which is reprinted here, with the author's permission, as a pleasing
example of a promising piece of apprentice work:[17]

         [Footnote 17: Robert Emmons Rogers, President of the Boston
         Drama League and Assistant Professor, specializing in modern
         literature and drama in the Massachusetts Institute of
         Technology, was born in Haddonfield, New Jersey, in 1888. He
         writes that his Anne Hathaway "was a particularly wild
         idealization based on Miss Adams as Peter Pan," and that even
         at eighteen he knew that his portrait of the girl, who was to
         be Shakespeare's wife, was not historically correct.
         Permission to perform the play must be secured from the


_Within the White Luces Inn on a late afternoon in spring, 1582. The
room is of heavy-beamed dark oak, stained by age and smoke, with a
great, hooded fireplace on the left. At the back is a door with the
upper half thrown back, and two wide windows through whose open
lattices, overgrown with columbine, one can see the fresh country side
in the setting sun. Under them are broad window seats. At the right, a
door and a tall dresser filled with pewter plates and tankards. A
couple of chairs, a stool and a low table stand about. ANNE, a slim
girl of sixteen, is mending the fire. MASTER GEORGE PEELE, a bold and
comely young man, in worn riding dress and spattered boots, sprawls
against the disordered table. GILES, a plump and peevish old rogue in
tapster's cap and apron, stands by the door looking out._

PEELE [_rousing himself_]. Giles! Gi-les!

GILES [_hurries to him_]. What more, zur? Wilt ha' the pastry or--?

PEELE. Another quart of sack.

GILES. Yus, zur! Anne, bist asleep? [_The girl rises slowly._]

ANNE [_takes the tankard_]. He hath had three a'ready.

PEELE [_cheerfully_]. And shall have three more so I will. This
player's life of mine is a weary one.

ANNE [_pertly_]. And a thirsty one, too, methinks.

GILES [_scandalized_]. Come, wench! Ha' done gawking about, and haste!
[_ANNE goes at right._] 'Er be a forrard gel, zur, though hendy. I be
glad 'er's none o' mine, but my brother's in Shottery. He canna say I
love 'is way o' making wenches so saucy.

PEELE. A pox on you! The best-spirited maid I ha' seen in
Warwickshire, I say. Forward? Man alive, wouldst have her like your
blowsy wenches here, that lie i' the sun all day? I have seen no one
so comely since I left London.

GILES [_feebly_]. But 'ere, zur, in Stratford--

PEELE [_hotly_]. Stratford? I doubt if God made Stratford! Another day
here and I should die in torment. Your grass lanes, your rubbly
houses, fat burgesses, old women, your young clouter-heads who have no
care for a bravely acted stage-play. [_Bitingly._] "Can any good come
out of Stratford?"

GILES. Noa, Maister Peele! Others ha' spoke more fairly--

PEELE [_impatiently_]. My sack, man! Is the girl a-brewing it?

GILES. Anne! Anne! (I'll learn she to mess about.) Anne!

ANNE [_hurries in and serves PEELE_]. I heard you.

GILES. Then whoi cunst thee not bustle? Be I to lose my loongs over

ANNE [_simply_]. Mistress Shakespeare called me to the butt'ry door.
Will hath not been home all day, and she is fair anxious. She bade me
send him home once I saw him.

PEELE [_drinking noisily_]. Who is it? [_ANNE is clearing the table._]

GILES [_shortly_]. Poor John Shakespeare's son Will.

PEELE. A Stratford lad? A straw-headed beater of clods!

GILES. Nay, zur. A wild young un, as 'ull do noa honest work, but
dreams the day long, or poaches the graät woods wi' young loons o'
like stomach.

ANNE [_indignantly, dropping a dish_]. It's not true! He is no

PEELE [_grinning_]. What a touchy lass! No poacher, eh?

ANNE. Nay, sir, but the brightest lad in Stratford. He hath learning
beyond the rest of us--and if he likes to wander i' the woods, 'tis
for no ill--he loves the open air--and you should hear the little
songs he makes!

PEELE. Do all the lads find in you such a defender, or only--? [_She
turns away._] Nay, no offense! I should like to see this Will.

GILES [_grumpily_]. 'E 'ave noa will to help 'is father in these sorry
times, but ever gawks at stage-plays. 'E 'ull come to noa good end.
[_The player starts up._]

PEELE. Stage-plays--no good end? Have a care, man!

GILES. Nay, zur--noa harm, zur! I--I--canna bide longer. [_Backs

ANNE [_at the window, wonderingly_]. He should be here. He hath never
lingered till sunset before. [_PEELE comes up behind her._]

PEELE. Troubled, lass?

ANNE. Nay, sir, but--but--[_Suddenly_] Listen!

PEELE [_blankly_]. To what? [_A faint singing without._]

ANNE [_eagerly_]. Canst hear nothing--a lilt afar off?

PEELE [_nodding_]. Like a May-day catch? I hear it.

ANNE. 'Tis Will! Cousin, Will is coming. [_GILES comes back._]

GILES [_peevishly_]. I canna help it. Byunt 'e later'n common?

A VOICE. [_The clear, boyish singing is coming very near._]

  When springtime frights the winter cold,      5
    (Hark to the children singing!)
  The cowslip turns the fields to gold,
    The bird from 's nest is winging--

PEELE. Look you! There the boy comes.

ANNE [_leaning out the window_]. Isn't he coming here? Will! Will!
[_He passes by the window singing the last words_

  Young hearts are gay, while yet 'tis May,
  Hark to the children singing!

_and leaps in over the lower part of the door, a sturdy, ruddy boy,
with merry face and a mop of brown hair. ANNE greets him with
outstretched hands._]

ANNE [_reproachfully_]. Will! Thy mother was so anxious!

WILL. I did na' think. I ha' been in the woods all day and forgot
everything till the sun set.

ANNE. All the day long? Thou must be weary.

WILL [_frankly_]. Nay, not very weary--but hungry.

ANNE. Poor boy. He shall have his supper now.

GILES [_protesting_]. 'E be allus eating 'ere, and I canna a-bear it.
Let him sup at his own whoam.

WILL [_shaking his head_]. I dare na go home, for na doubt my
father'll beat me rarely. I'll bide here till he be asleep. [_He
places himself easily in the armchair by the fire._]

GILES [_going sulkily_]. Thriftless young loon!

ANNE [_laying the table_]. Hast had a splendid day?

WILL [_absently_]. Aye. In the great park at Charlecote. There you can
lie on your back in the grass under the high arches of the trees,
where the sun rarely peeps in, and you can listen to the wind in the
trees, and see it shake the blossoms about you, and watch the red deer
and the rabbits and the birds--where everything is lovely and still.
[_His voice trails off into silence. ANNE smiles knowingly._]

ANNE. Thou'lt be making poetry before long, eh, Will?--Will? [_To
PEELE_] The boy hath not heard a word I spoke.

PEELE [_coming forward_]. Would he hear me, I wonder! Boy!

WILL [_starting_]. Sir? [_PEELE looks down on him sternly._]

PEELE. Dost know thou'rt in my chair?

WILL [_coolly_]. Thine? Indeed, 'tis very easy.

PEELE. Hark 'ee! Dost know my name?

WILL. I canna say I do.

PEELE [_distinctly_]. Master George Peele.

WILL. I thank thee, sir.

PEELE. Player in my Lord Admiral's Company.

WILL. [_His whole manner changes and he jumps up eagerly._] A player?
Oh--I did not know. Pray, take the seat.

PEELE [_amused_]. Dost think players are as lords? Most men have other
views. [_Sits. WILL watches him, fascinated._]

WILL. Nay, but--oh, I love to see stage-plays! Didst not play in
Coventry three days agone, "The History of the Wicked King Richard"?

PEELE. Aye, aye. Behold in me the tyrant.

WILL. Thou? Rarely done! I mind me yet how the hump-backed king
frowned and stamped about--thus [_imitating_]. Ha! Ha! 'Twas a brave

ANNE. Thy supper is ready, Will.

PEELE [_amused_]. The true player-instinct, on my soul!

WILL [_flattered_]. Dost truly think so? [_ANNE plucks his sleeve._]

ANNE. Will, where are thy wits? Supper waits.

WILL [_apologetically_]. Oh--I--I--did na hear thee. [_He tries to
eat, but his attention is ever distracted by the player's words._]

PEELE. Is my reckoning ready, girl?

ANNE. Reckoning now, sir? Wilt thou--?

PEELE. Yes, yes, I go to-night. To-morrow Warwick, then the long road
to Oxford, playing by the way--and London at last!

ANNE. And then? [_WILL listens intently._]

PEELE. Then back to the old Blackfriars, where all the city will flock
to our tragedies and chronicles--a long, merry life of it.

ANNE [_interested_]. And does the Queen ever come?

PEELE. Nay, child, we go to her. Last Christmas I played before her at
court, in the great room at Whitehall, before the nobles and
ambassadors and ladies--oh, a gay time--and the Queen said--

WILL [_starting up_]. What was the play?

ANNE. Eat thy supper, Will.

WILL [_impatiently_]. I want no more.

PEELE. So my young cockerel is awake again. Will, a boy of thy stamp
is lost here in Stratford. Thou shouldst be in London with us. By cock
and pie, I have a mind to steal thee for the company! [_Rises to pace
the floor._]

WILL [_breathlessly_]. To play in London?

ANNE. Nay, Will, he but jests. Thou'rt happier here than traipsing
about wi' the players. [_GILES appears at back._]

GILES. Nags be ready, zur, at sunset as thee'st bid. Shall I put the
gear on?

PEELE [_sharply_]. Well fed and groomed? Nay, I will see them myself.
[_GILES vanishes. PEELE turns at the door._] Hark'ee, lass. Thy lad
could do far worse than become a player. Good meat and drink, gold in
's pouch, favor at court, and true friends. I like the lad's spirit.
[_He goes. ANNE drops into his chair by the fire. Twilight is coming
on rapidly. WILL stands silent at the window looking after the

ANNE [_troubled_]. Will, what is it? Thou'rt very strange to-night.

WILL [_wistfully_]. I--I--Oh, Anne, I want to go to London. I am
a-weary of rusting in Stratford, where I can learn nothing new, save
to grow old, following my father's trade.

ANNE. But in London?

WILL [_kindling_]. In London one can learn more marvels in a day than
in a lifetime here; for there the streets are in a bustle all day
long, and the whole world meets in them, soldiers and courtiers and
men of war, from France and Spain and the new lands beyond the sea,
all full of learning and pleasant tales of foreign wars and the
wondrous things in the colonies. My schoolmaster told me of it. You
can stand in St. Paul's and the whole world passes by, mad for
knowledge and adventure. And then the stage-plays--!

ANNE. Oh, Will, why long for them?

WILL. Think how splendid they must be when the Queen herself loves to
see 'em. If I were like this player-fellow, and acted with the
Admiral's company! He laughed that he would take me with him--to be a
player and perchance _write_ plays, interludes, and noble tragedies!
Think of it, Anne--to live in London and be one of all the rare
company there, to write brave plays wi' sounding lines for all to
wonder at, and have folk turn on the streets when I passed and
whisper, "That be Will Shakespeare, the play-maker"--to act them even
at court and gain the Queen's own thanks! Anne, London is so great and
splendid! It beckons me wi' all its turmoil of affairs and its noble
hearts ready to love a new comrade. [_Disconsolately_] And I must bide
in Stratford?

ANNE [_gently_]. Come now, Will. No need to be so feverish. Sit down
by me. What canst thou know of play-making? What canst thou do in

WILL [_he sits down by the hearth at her feet, looking into the
firelight_]. I'll tell thee, Anne. Thy father and half the village
call me a lazy oaf, that I stray i' the woods some days instead of
helping my father. I canna help it. The fit comes on me, and I must be
alone, out i' the great woods.

ANNE [_gladly_]. Then thou dost not poach?

WILL [_hastily_]. No, no--that is--sometimes I am with Hodge and
Diccon and John a' Field, and 'tis hard not to chase the deer. Nay,
look not so grave--I try to do no harm.

ANNE [_quietly_]. And when thou'rt alone?

WILL. Then I lie under the trees or wander through the fields, and
make plays to myself, as though I writ them in my mind, and cry the
lines forth to the birds--they sound nobly, too--or make little songs
and sing them i' the sunshine. They are but dreams, I know, but
splendid ones--and the player looked wi' favor on me, and said I might
make a good player, and he would take me with him.

ANNE. But he only jested.

WILL. No jest to me! I'll take him at his word and go with him to
London. [_He starts up eagerly._]

ANNE [_troubled_]. Will, Will! [_PEELE enters at the back._]

PEELE. Hark 'ee, Giles, I go in half an hour!

WILL. Master Peele! [_Catches at his arm._]

PEELE. Well, youngster?

WILL [_slowly_]. Thou--thou saidst I had a good spirit and would do
well in London--in a stage company. Thou wert in jest, but--I will go
with thee, if I may.

PEELE [_taken all aback_]. Go with me?

WILL [_earnestly_]. With the player's company--to London.

PEELE [_laughing_]. 'S wounds! Thou hast assurance! Dost think to
become a great player at once?

WILL [_impatiently_]. Oh, I care not for the playing. Let me but be in
London, to see the people there and be near the theatre. I'll be the
players' servant, I'll hold the nobles' horses in the street--I'll do

PEELE [_seriously_]. And go with us all over England on hard journeys
to play to ignorant rustics?

WILL. Anywhere--I'll follow on to the world's end--only take me with
you to London! [_As he speaks GILES and MISTRESS SHAKESPEARE, a kindly
faced woman of middle age, dressed in housewife's cap and gown, appear
at the door._]

GILES. There 'e be, Mistress Shixpur.

MISTRESS S. [_as she enters_]. Oh, Will. [_He turns sharply._]

WILL [_confusedly_]. Mother! I--I--did not know thou wert here.

MISTRESS S. Why didst not come home--and what dost thou want with this

ANNE. He would go to London with him.

MISTRESS S. [_aghast_]. To London. My Will?

WILL [_quietly_]. Thou knowest, mother, what I ha' told thee, things I
told to no other, and now the good time has come that I can see more
of England.

MISTRESS S. But I canna let thee go. Oh, Anne, I knew the boy was
restless, but I did not think for it so soon. He is only a boy.

WILL [_coloring_]. In two years I shall be a man--I am a man now in
spirit. I canna stay in Stratford. [_MISTRESS SHAKESPEARE sinks down
in a chair._]

MISTRESS S. What o' me? And, Will, 'twill break thy father's heart!
[_WILL looks ashamed._]

WILL. I know, he would not understand. 'Tis hard. He must not know
till I be gone.

MISTRESS S. [_To PEELE_]. Oh, sir, how could you wish to lead the lad
away? Hath not London enough a'ready?

PEELE [_who has been listening uncomfortably, faces her gravely_]. I
but played with the lad at first, till I saw how earnest he was; then
I would take him, for I loved his boldness. But, boy, I'll tell thee
fairly, thou'lt do better here. Thou'st seen the brave side of it, the
gay dresses, the good horses, the cheering crowds and the court-favor.
But 'tis dark sometimes, too. The pouches often hang empty when the
people turn away--the lords are as the clouded sun, now smiling, now
cold--and there come the bitter days, when a man has no friends but
the pot-mates of the moment, when every man's hand is against him for
a vagabond and a rascal, when the prison-gates lay ever wide before
him, and the fickle folk, crying after a _new_ favorite, leave the old
to starve.

ANNE. Will, canst not see? Thou'rt better here--

WILL [_bravely_]. I know--all this may wait me--but I must go.

MISTRESS S. [_alarmed_]. Must go, Will? [_He kneels by her side._]

WILL. [_tenderly_]. Hush, mother, I'll tell thee. 'Tis not entirely my
longing, for this morning the keeper of old Lucy--

GILES. Ha, poaching again, young scamp!

WILL. Brought me before him--I was na poaching, I'll swear it, not so
much as chasing the deer--but Sir Thomas had no patience, and bade me
clear out, else he would seize me. I--I--dare na stay.

MISTRESS S. I feared it; thy father forbade thee in the great park.
And now--Oh, Will, Will--I know well how thou'st longed to go from
here--and now thou must--what shall I do, lacking thee?

PEELE [_frankly_]. Will, if thou must go, thou must. London is greater
than Stratford, and there is much evil there, but thou'rt
true-hearted, and--by my player's honor--I will stand by thee, till
the hangman get me. But we must go soon. 'Tis a dark road to
Warwick--I'll see to the horses. Is it a compact? [_WILL gives him his

WILL [_huskily_]. A compact, sir--to the end. [_PEELE hurries out._]

GILES. Look at 'e now, breaking 'is mother's heart, and mad wi' joy to
revel in London. 'Tis little 'e recks of she.

WILL [_hotly_]. Thou liest. [_Bending over her_] Mother, 'tis not
true. I do love thee and father, I love Stratford. I'll never forget
it. But 'tis so little here, and I must get away to gain learning and
do things i' the world, that I may bring home all I get; fame, if God
grant it, money, if I gain it, all to those at home.

ANNE. Thou'rt over-confident.

WILL. Aye, because I'm young. God knows there is enough pain in
London, and I'll get my share--but I'm _young_! Mother, thou'rt not

MISTRESS S. I knew 'twas coming, and 'tis not so hard. We will always
wait for thee at home, when thou'rt weary.

GILES [_at the door_]. The horses are waiting. 'Tis dark, Will.

WILL [_breaking down_]. Mother, mother!

MISTRESS S. The good God keep thee safe. Kiss me, Will. [_He bends
over her, then stumbles to the door, ANNE following._]

WILL [_turning_]. Anne--Anne--thou dost not despise me for deserting
Stratford. I _must_ go.

ANNE. Oh, I know. Thou'lt go to London and forget us all.

WILL. No, no, thou--I couldn't forget. I'll remember thee, Anne--I'll
put thee in my plays; all my young maids and lovers shall be thee, as
thou'rt now--and I'll bring thee rare gifts when I come home.

ANNE. I do na want them. Will--I--I--did na mean to be unkind. We were
good friends, and I trust in thee, for the future, that thou'lt be
great. Good-by--and do na forget the little playmate.

WILL. I will na forget [_kissing her_], and, Anne, be good to my
mother. [_She goes back to MISTRESS SHAKESPEARE, and he stands
watching them in the dusk._]

PEELE [_at the window_]. Come, come, Will! We must go.

WILL [_turning slowly_]. I--I'm coming, sir.


All the dramatic motives that have been enumerated so far have been
more or less literary in origin, but "A play may start from almost
anything: a detached thought that flashes through the mind; a theory
of conduct or an act which one firmly believes or wishes only to
examine; a bit of dialogue overheard or imagined; a setting, real or
imagined, which creates emotion in the observer; a perfectly detached
scene, the antecedents and consequences of which are as yet unknown; a
figure glimpsed in a crowd which for some reason arrests the attention
of the dramatist ... a mere incident--heard in idle talk or observed;
a story told only in barest outline or with the utmost detail."[18]

         [Footnote 18: George Pierce Baker, _Dramatic Technique_,
         Boston and New York, 1919, p. 47.]

The great dramatic critic, William Archer, has said that "the only
valid definition of the dramatic is: Any representation of imaginary
personages which is capable of interesting an average audience
assembled in a theater." For the purposes of the definition the Boy
Will of Robert Emmons Rogers's little piece and Drinkwater's Abraham
Lincoln are equally imaginary personages. In the case of the one-act
play the theatre in question is more often than not a Little Theatre
or a school theatre, the representation is more frequently at the
moment by amateur than by professional actors and the audience, being
small and close to the stage, is likely to assume a co-operative
attitude towards the playwright, the actor, and the other immediate
factors in the production. Since the success of a play depends on its
adaptability to the requirements of actor, theatre, and audience, it
is well for inexperienced playwrights to study the conditions under
which one-act plays are likely to be produced.

One very practical consideration to hold in mind is that the one-act
play has a shorter time in which to focus attention than the
full-length play and so the indispensable preliminary exposition must
be quickly disposed of and an urgent appeal to the emotional interest
of the audience must be made at the beginning. As has been said, every
artistic consideration that calls for singleness of impression in the
short-story is of equal importance in determining the unified
structure of the one-act play. For the reason that a one-act play is
almost never given by itself, if for no other, its effect will be
dissipated if plot, characterization, or atmosphere fails in unity.

The writer exercising himself in the art of play-making had best begin
with the procedure common to many professional playwrights. This first
step is the drawing up of a scenario, which is an outline showing the
course of the story, identifying the characters, indicating the
setting and atmosphere and explaining the nature of the play; that is,
whether, for example, it is to be a fantasy like _The Pierrot of the
Minute_, or a comedy of manners like _Wurzel-Flummery_.

Here for instance is such a scenario as might have been drawn up for
_The Boy Will_:

  THE BOY WILL (Historical fantasy)
  Scenario for a one-act play, by
  Robert Emmons Rogers

  (in order of their appearance)

  MASTER GEORGE PEELE, player of the Admiral's Company.
  GILES, a plump and peevish old rogue, a tapster.
  ANNE HATHAWAY, at sixteen a slim girl, niece to Giles.
  WILL SHAKESPEARE, a sturdy, ruddy boy, Anne's playmate.
  MISTRESS SHAKESPEARE, a kindly faced woman of middle age, Will's mother.

Within the White Luces Inn on a late afternoon in spring, 1582. (Here
a description of the interior would follow.)

Peele is eating and drinking at the inn, waited on by Anne Hathaway.

Anne, scolded by Giles for her slowness, is commended as comely and
spirited by Peele.

Peele abuses Stratford as a sleepy hole.

Anne explains her delay in fetching ale by the fact that Mistress
Shakespeare has been at the back door inquiring for Will who has been
gone all day.

Giles explains Will to Peele as a young poacher.

Anne indignantly denies the charge and praises Will as the brightest
boy in Stratford.

Giles accuses him of gawking at plays and predicts a bad end for the

Peele resents the implication.

Singing a May-day catch, Will enters. Afraid to go home because he has
been wasting his day in Charlecote Park and fears father's scolding.

Goes off into a golden dream of his day in the woods.

Peele attracts his attention by announcing his profession.

Will shows his interest.

Is too distracted by Peele to eat.

Peele announces itinerary of his players and kindles Will's
imagination with a mention of the Queen.

Threatens to carry Will off to London.

Anne discourages the plan.

Peele draws glowing pictures of actor's profession.

Will is all on fire for London in spite of Anne.

Tells Anne he's tired of being nagged.

Makes Peele promise to take him to London.

His mother comes for him and is aghast at the news, but finally
consents to let Will go without his father's knowledge.

Peele then draws a picture of the actor as vagabond to discourage

Anne holds out against his going.

Will tells how, though he has not been poaching, he has been warned by
Sir Thomas Lucy to clear out.

His mother sees that he must go.

Will makes a compact with Peele.

Promises Anne rare gifts and kissing his mother goes.

The scenario drawn up, the next step is to develop the plot. The plot
of a one-act play, to be effective, must be extraordinarily compact.
The accepted laws of plot construction for all artistic narratives are
the same. The climax must be carefully prepared for, as in Synge's
_Riders to the Sea_, and the various devices used for heightening the
suspense should be discovered and applied.

Characterization is more difficult for the tyro to manage than plot.
Consistency of characterization is attained through discovering in the
beginning a motive that will sufficiently account for the part taken
by the character by means of speech and action, and through constantly
testing the characterization by this motive. Such consistency of
characterization is illustrated to perfection in Tarkington's _Beauty
and the Jacobin_. The writer of the one-act play does not use many
characters. "Examination of several hundred one-act plays has revealed
that the average number of characters to a play is between three and

         [Footnote 19: B. Roland Lewis, _The Technique of the One-Act
         Play_, Boston, 1918, p. 211.]

Facility in writing dialogue is gained like facility in plot
construction and in characterization only by the patient study of the
work of experienced and successful playwrights. Dialogue that is
witty, charming, ironical, or graceful is of dramatic value only as it
is in character.

A little experience on the stage is a great help. Such experience
teaches the value of skillfully planned exits and entrances for
characters; helps the beginner to distinguish between action that
should be related and action that should be seen; shows him how a
scene must be devised to occupy the time it takes for a character to
appear after he has telephoned that he is coming; and a variety of
other practical considerations.

Stage directions are likely to be over-elaborated by the
inexperienced. The best stage directions are those that deal only with
matters of setting, lighting and essential pantomime or action. They
should not, in general, be used for characterization.

But after all there can be no infallible recipes for dramatic writing.
With the successful professional playwright, apprenticeship is often
an unconscious stage. Plays succeed that break all the rules laid down
by critics and professors of dramatic literature, but after all those
rules were, to begin with, based on practices productive of success
under other conditions. In any case some insight into the mechanics of
dramatic art does make the reading of plays more interesting and does
give an added zest to theatre going.


The giving of plays in schools is no new thing. One of the earliest
English comedies, _Ralph Roister Doister_, was written in the middle
of the sixteenth century by Nicholas Udall, a schoolmaster, probably
to be performed at Westminister School at Christmas time. Many
generations of boys in the English public schools have presented the
plays of the Greek and Latin dramatists; and schools and colleges in
this country have also at times given performances of the classic
drama. But until recently Shakespeare and the comedies of Sheridan and
Goldsmith have been the chief dramatic fare both in the classroom and
on the stage in American schools.

Modern plays are coming, however, to be more generally introduced into
the course of study. The following significant list, prepared by Miss
Anna H. Spaulding, is in use in the senior classes in English in the
Brookline High School, at Brookline, Massachusetts:

  Noah's Flood
  Sacrifice of Isaac
  The Servant in the House
  Ralph Roister Doister
  Tales of the Mermaid Tavern
  Merchant of Venice
  Jew of Malta
  Tragedy of Shakespeare
  Comedy of Shakespeare
  The Rivals
  The Good Natured Man
  She Stoops to Conquer
  The Lady of Lyons
  One Closet Drama
  The Second Mrs. Tanqueray
  One Comedy of Pinero
  The Silver King
  One Serious Play by Jones
  Arms and the Man
  Caesar and Cleopatra
  John Bull's Other Island
  The Doctor's Dilemma
  The Tragedy of Nan
  The Marrying of Ann Leete
  Seven Short Plays
  The Land of Heart's Desire, or
  The Countess Cathleen, or
  Cathleen Ni Houlihan
  The Shadow of the Glen
  Riders to the Sea
  The Birthright
  The Truth
  The Witching Hour, or
  As a Man Thinks
  The Scarecrow
  The Piper
  The Importance of Being Earnest

Thirty-five of these plays are distinctly modern. Another list, in use
as part of a course in contemporary literature given in the last half
of the third year at the Washington Irving High School and including
only modern plays, is reprinted below:

  The Blue Bird
  The Melting Pot
  Justice, or
  The Silver Box
  The Piper
  The Land of Heart's Desire
  Spreading the News

These plays are read and studied; that is to say, such topics as
dramatic workmanship, theme, setting, characterization, dialogue, and
diction are taken up in connection with each one and each one is made
the starting point for a new interest in the drama of to-day.[20]

         [Footnote 20: Further interesting information on the reading
         and the study of modern plays in the schools may be found in
         the valuable article by F. G. Thompkins of the Central High
         School, Detroit, called _The Play Course in High School_, in
         _The English Journal_ for November, 1920, and in the same
         issue, in the list of plays produced by St. Louis High
         Schools, prepared by Clarence Stratton, Chairman, National
         Council Committee on Plays.]

In another high school in New York, the Evander Childs, there is a
four years' course of two periods a week in classroom study of the
drama, old and new. All composition work is connected with this
special interest.

Another kind of work based on contemporary drama was carried on by a
group of first-year students in a certain high school who were much
interested in a program of one-act plays to be presented in the school
theatre. The teacher of English who had charge of this young class
discussed the subject of the theatre audience with them both before
and after the performance. The outcome of this analysis of the
interests of the audience was an outline. These fourteen-year old
girls said that the next time that they went to the theatre they would
keep in mind the following considerations:

    I. In regard to the play:
     A. Its title
     B. Classification
     C. Plot
     D. Characterization
     E. Dialogue
     F. Theme

   II. In regard to the actors:
     A. Their intelligence
     B. Clearness of speech
     C. Ease of manner
     D. Facial expression (appropriateness of make-up)
     E. Pantomime or action
       1. Posture
       2. Gesture
       3. Repose
     F. Costumes
       1. Appropriateness as an index to character
       2. Color and design
       3. Harmony with the setting

  III. In regard to the setting:
     A. The lighting
     B. Color and design
     C. Appropriateness as regards mood of play
     D. Suggestiveness
     E. Workmanship

One cannot help feeling that these young people were being effectively
trained to enjoy the best drama in the best way.

Not only is modern drama being read and studied in the English
classes, but the schools are becoming centres of Little Theatre
movements and leading their communities in pageants and dramatic
festivals. An editorial in _The New York Evening Post_ in 1918 put it
in this way: "As Froude states that in Tudor England there was acting
everywhere from palace to inn-yard and village green, so, the
prediction is made, future historians will record that in our America
there was acting everywhere--in neighborhood theatres, portable
theatres, church clubs, high schools and universities, settlements,
open amphitheatres, and hotel ballrooms."

One reason that amateur dramatics have taken on a new lease of life in
the schools is because other teachers besides teachers of English have
become interested in the project of giving a play. Students in physics
classes have planned and executed lighting systems for the school
theatre, students in carpentering and manual arts have built the
scenery from designs made in drawing classes, curtains have been
stenciled, costumes made and cloths dyed in domestic art classes,
programs printed by the school printing squad, music furnished by the
school orchestra and dances taught by the physical training
department. In most cases the line coaching and the general direction
of the play have been part of the work in English.

A concrete example will illustrate this kind of co-operation. Several
years ago the department of English at the Washington Irving High
School gave two plays, _Three Pills in a Bottle_, a product of the 47
Workshop, by Rachel Lyman Field, and _The Goddess of the Woven Wind_,
by Alice Rostetter. _The Goddess of the Woven Wind_ had grown out of
class-room work. The girls in an industrial course were studying the
origin of the silk industry. A pamphlet stated that the wife of
Hoangti, Si-Ling-Chi, was the first to prepare and weave silk. This
legend offered suggestive dramatic material peculiarly appropriate for
a girls' high school.

The work of obtaining the setting and the properties was divided
between two committees, each working under the direction of a
chairman. Since fifty dollars had been fixed as the limit of
expenditure for the two plays, the problem was rather a difficult one.
Fortunately, _Three Pills in a Bottle_ calls for a small cast. The
cast of The _Goddess of the Woven Wind_, however, included thirty-four
girls, most of whom had to be orientally clad and equipped. The
teacher who contemplates putting on a rather elaborate costume play in
his or her high school will be interested to learn that the amount was
so exactly fixed and the department so resourceful that fifty-one
dollars and nine cents was the total sum spent on the two plays. Then,
lest anyone think that there had been a miscalculation, let it be
added that this sum included the money spent for hot chocolate to
serve to the casts of the plays, between the afternoon and evening

The problem of staging _Three Pills in a Bottle_ was greatly
simplified by the fact that the frontispiece of the play gives a
simple, effective setting not difficult to copy. With the aid of some
amateur carpentering, the regular interior set was easily transformed
to suit the purpose. The problem of color was solved when the chairman
of the committee found a patchwork quilt in the attic, during a visit
to her mother's home; a conference with the janitress of her city
apartment developed the fact that she possessed a freshly scrubbed
wash-tub, which she was willing not only to donate to the cause, but
to have painted green.

The task of staging _The Goddess of the Woven Wind_ was difficult and
interesting, because it was decidedly a costume play, and because it
was a first production. Some of the difficulties that confronted the
chairman of the committee for that play were amusing.

For instance, after some perplexed thought on the subject, she tacked
the following list of costumes and properties on the Bulletin Board of
the English office:


  Mulberry tree
  Gardener's spade
  Teakwood stool
  Chinese necklaces
  Large, colorful abacus
  Mandarin coats and hats
  Sky-blue Chinese bowl
  Chinese gong
  Bamboo rod
  Silk cocoons

She also advertised the need of these things and many others in all
her classes. Within two weeks nearly everything had either appeared or
been promised, except a Chinese gong with a proper "whang" to it, an
unbreakable sky-blue bowl and the mulberry tree! A teacher in a
neighboring school lent the company a splendid gong, sometimes used in
their orchestra; a student transformed a wooden chopping bowl by means
of clay and tempera into an exquisite piece of pottery, copied from a
priceless bowl on exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The mulberry tree was still an unsolved problem, when Dugald Stuart
Walker, the artist who has produced a number of plays at the
Christadora House in New York, was consulted. He suggested that the
tree be a conventionalized one of flat "drapes" of green and brown
poplin, with cocoons sewn on in a simple border design.

The staging of the play then became a project for members of a
third-year art class. During their English period they read the play,
recited on the subject of the China of remote dynasties, constructed a
miniature stage, and then, forming committees among themselves, worked
out the practical details. One group purchased the necessary paint,
another painted the vermilion sun. Her neighbor affixed it to a bamboo
rod. To emphasize the Chinese setting, two girls made a frame with a
dragon as head-piece and huge, colorful Chinese medallions to be sewn
on the side drapery. The design for the medallions was obtained from a
Chinese brass plate. Almost every girl in the class took part in the
project. Interest was easily aroused, as a number of girls in this
class took part in the play.

As for the costumes, for the thirty-four members of the cast, only
eight dollars' worth was hired. The rest were either borrowed or made
by the girls. The most successful one, perhaps, that worn by the
empress, was copied from an Edmund Dulac illustration of the Princess
Badoura. The astrologers' costumes were obtained from photographs of
_The Yellow Jacket_, lent by Mrs. Coburn. To complete the project, the
girls wrote a composition explaining how to organize the staging of a
costume play.

Meanwhile, the selection and coaching of the two casts was going on.
Competition for the parts was open to the girls of the entire school.
A great many girls were tried out before the two committees made a
choice. In fact, every girl who was recommended by her English teacher
was given an opportunity to read a part. In a number of cases two
girls were assigned for one part and it was not known until almost the
last moment who was to have the rôle or who was to understudy.
Rehearsals were held at least three times a week, for three weeks, and
a full-dress rehearsal was held two days before the final performance.
It was thought advisable to allow a day to elapse between the last
rehearsal and the real performance, in order to give the girls an
opportunity to rest.

In coaching the plays, an effort was made to have a girl read the line
properly without having it read to her. The members of the coaching
committee would explain the mood or frame of mind to the speaker; the
girl would then interpret the mood in her reading.

In addition to the coaching committee, several teachers sat at the
back of the auditorium during rehearsals, to warn the speakers when
they could not be heard.

The advertising campaign began soon after a choice of plays had been
made. In compliance with the request of the Publicity Committee, one
of the teachers of an art class and a teacher in the English
Department assigned to their pupils the problem of making posters to
advertise the plays. To the painter of the best one a prize was

Announcements of the play were posted by pupils in various parts of
the building. Tiny brochures decorated with Chinese motives were
prepared by students during an English period, and later were
circulated among the faculty, and placed upon office bulletin boards,
and in diaries. In writing these brochures the girls applied the
knowledge they had gained in studying the writing of advertisements.
Two illustrated advertisements made in one class were displayed in
other high schools; a number were sent in an envelope with tickets to
patrons and distinguished friends of the schools. One class wrote
letters to firms of wholesale silk merchants and importers,
advertising _The Goddess of the Woven Wind_, the story of silk.

In order to increase the sale of tickets and to prepare an
appreciative audience, various subjects were suggested to English
teachers for projects in class work connected with the plays. In many
classes every girl wrote and illustrated a paper on some topic
pertaining to Chinese life, such as customs, costumes, religion,
occupations, silk, China, umbrellas, fireworks, fans, position of
women, objects of art. Oral compositions were devoted to phases of
some of these subjects. In the oral work and in the written
composition, accurate knowledge of authorities consulted was insisted
upon. Chinese proverbs were studied. "A man knows, but a woman knows
better," used by the author in her play, was one of the most popular
ones. Translations, found in the _Literary Digest_, of Chinese poems
of the sixteenth and of the eighteenth century were produced and read
by the girls, many of whom brought to class all the Chinese articles
they could find at home. Incense burners, fans, pitchers,
embroideries, chop sticks, beads, shoes, vases, and even a Chinese
newspaper, found their way to the class-room and were exhibited with
pride. Interest in things Chinese was so great that clippings and
prints continued coming in for almost two weeks after the play had
been presented. Class visits were made to the Chinese exhibit at the
Metropolitan Museum of Art and to importing houses in the

The kind of co-operation described has led in some schools to the
establishment of workshops similar to those conducted in connection
with certain university courses in playwriting and dramatics and with
many of the Little Theatres. A paragraph that appeared recently in a
calendar of the New York Drama League explains in a convincing way the
necessity for a workshop in connection with all amateur producing.
"One of the most vital problems that the amateur group has to solve,"
says the writer, "is that of securing a proper place for the preparing
of a production. Not all organizations can hold rehearsals, paint
scenery, experiment with lighting on costumes and scenery on the
stage on which they are finally to play. Even where this is possible,
it is costly. Much of the activity is now carried on in the homes of
members so far as rehearsals go; in barns or garages as regards the
painting of scenery and not at all so far as the lighting question is
concerned. More often than not, a few hasty final rehearsals are
relied upon to pull into shape some of the most important elements of
a satisfactory performance.

"The remedy lies in the acquisition of a workshop. A large room with a
very high ceiling will serve admirably. But you must be able to work
recklessly in it, sawing wood, hammering nails, mussing things up
generally with paint and riddling the walls and ceiling with hooks and
screws to hang lighting apparatus and other properties. An
old-fashioned barn can be converted into an ideal workshop, if
provision is made for proper heating. All the activity should be
concentrated in the workshop and there is no reason why all the
experimentalists cannot be at work at once--the carpenters, the scene
painters, the electricians, the property men, and even the actors with
their director."

The use of miniature model stages is becoming more and more common in
the schools, the preliminary model serving the workshop, until the
background, lighting, properties, and costumes are completed. It is an
excellent thing for schools to start a collection of models of famous
theatres and notably successful stage-sets. The material for these
exists in illustrated books and magazines and in the mass of
descriptive material in regard to the stage that is now being

         [Footnote 21: There is a comprehensive list of books
         published by the Public Library of New York that is an
         indispensable guide to amateurs interested in Little Theatres
         and play production and in matters connected with lighting,
         scenery, costumes, and theatre building; it is W. B. Gamble,
         _The Development of Scenic Art and Stage Machinery_, New
         York, 1920. Cf. also the articles of Irving Pichel that have
         appeared from time to time in _The Theatre Arts Magazine_.
         The three following books are especially valuable for school
         theatres: Barrett H. Clark, _How to Produce Amateur Plays_,
         Boston, 1917; Constance D'Arcy Mackay, _Costumes and Scenery
         for Amateurs_. _A Practical Working Handbook_, New York, 1915
         (the illustrations are especially valuable); and Evelyn
         Hilliard, Theodora McCormick, Kate Oglebay, _Amateur and
         Educational Dramatics_, New York, 1917.]

[Illustration: Interior of the Beechwood Theatre.]

[Illustration: Exterior of the Beechwood Theatre.]

Two school theatres designed especially for the purpose of
fostering in the schools to which they are attached an interest in
the drama are the Garden Theatre of the high school at Montclair, New
Jersey, and the Beechwood Theatre in the private school at
Scarborough-on-Hudson, New York, built by Frank A. Vanderlip. At
Montclair the present high school building was completed in 1914. To
the northeast of the building at that time was a ravine which afforded
a natural amphitheatre. The site was perfect, and a gift from a
public-spirited citizen, Mrs. Henry Lang, made it possible to create
on this spot a very artistic and beautiful place for outdoor
performances, either plays or pageants.

On the slope nearest the building are semi-circular rows of concrete
seats accommodating about fifteen hundred people. A brook spanned by
two arched bridges separates the audience from the stage. Back of the
turf stage is a graveled stage slightly raised and reached by two
flights of steps. The pergola and trees make a beautiful background.
The house in the rear is a part of the plant and is used for dressing
and make-up.

The Beechwood Theatre within the school has a proscenium opening of
twenty-seven feet and a stage depth, back to the plaster horizon, of
the same dimensions. There are two complete sets of drapery, one of
coarse écru linen and one of blue velvet; there is also a stock
drawing-room set of thirty pieces. Back of the stage are ten
dressing-rooms. The lighting arrangements are extraordinarily
complete: the theatre has a standard electrical equipment of
footlights and borders and a switchboard of the best type to which has
recently been added the latest lighting devices, consisting of an
X-ray border, the end section of which is on a separate dimmer, a
thousand-watt centre floodlight, six five-hundred watt-spotlights,
each on separate dimmers, in the false proscenium or tormentor,[22]
and a line of one-thousand-watt floodlights for lighting the plaster
sky. All of this recently added equipment is controlled from a
separate portable switchboard.

         [Footnote 22: For the explanation of this and kindred
         technical terms, see Arthur Edwin Krows, _Play Production in
         America_, New York, 1916.

         Cf. Maurice Browne, _The Temple of a Living Art_. _The
         Drama_, Chicago, 1913, No. 12, p. 168: "Nor is this just a
         question of stage jargon; that man or woman who would
         establish an Art Theatre that is an Art Theatre and not a pet
         rabbit fed by hand, must be able to design it, to ventilate
         it, to decorate it, to equip its stage, to light it (and to
         handle its lighting himself, or his electricians will not
         listen to him), to plan his costumes and scenery, aye, and at
         a shift, to make them with his own hand."]

Though this plant was built primarily for the school, it is used also
by the Beechwood Players, a Little Theatre organization, and by other
community clubs which comprise an orchestra, a chorus, a group
interested in the fine arts, and a poetry circle. Mr. Vanderlip looks
forward to the development of a school of the arts of the theatre from
the nucleus of the Beechwood community clubs. With this idea in mind
he has just built a workshop for the Beechwood Players in a separate
building. It contains power woodworking machines, and rooms for
painting scenery and for the costume department, the latter containing
power sewing machines.

There is no doubt but that these two schools have unique facilities
for developing an interest in the acted drama. But artistic results
have often been secured in the school theatre with equipment falling
far short of the ideal standards achieved at Montclair and at
Scarborough. Other less fortunate schools are, moreover, at no
particular disadvantage when it comes to the class-room study of the
drama for which this book is primarily planned, this work being the
first step in the direction of a more intelligent attitude toward
modern plays and modern theatres. A class-room reading of modern plays
without any accessories, as Shakespeare is often read from the seats
and the aisles, is one of the most practical methods of speech and
voice improvement. Louis Calvert, the eminent actor, speaking of this
kind of training says: "After all it is one of the simplest things in
the world to learn to speak correctly, to take thought and begin and
end each word properly.... A little attention to one's everyday
conversation will often work wonders. If one schools himself for a
while to speak a little more slowly, and to give each syllable its
due, it is surprising how naturally and rapidly his speech will
clarify. If we take care of the consonants, the vowels will take care
of themselves."

[Illustration: Ravine where the Garden Theatre was built.]

[Illustration: The Garden Theatre.]

At the present time, then, the theatre in the schools means a variety
of things. It means first and foremost, as suggested by the latest
college entrance requirements, the study of modern plays, side by side
with the classics. It means also the improvement of English speech,
through the interpretation and the reading aloud of the text. It means
a study of the new art of the theatre such as the present book
suggests. It means often the presentation of plays before outside
audiences and the consequent strengthening of the ties that should
exist between the school and the community. It may mean the
co-operation of several departments of the school in the production;
and, in this case, it usually results in the establishment of some
kind of a workshop. And finally, in certain favored schools, it means
the erection of model Little Theatres. It seems fair to suppose that
this newly aroused interest in modern drama and in modern methods of
production in the schools will have far-reaching results.



         [Footnote 23: Copyright, 1912, by Harper and Brothers.
         Copyright in Great Britain. All acting rights both amateur
         and professional reserved by the author.]

Since the days of Edward Eggleston, Indiana has been accumulating
literary traditions until at the present time it rivals New England in
the variety of its literary associations. Newton Booth Tarkington,
born in Indianapolis in 1869, and continuing to make his home there
still in the old family house on North Pennsylvania Street, is one of
the most distinguished of the Hoosier writers. As a lad of eleven he
began his friendship with James Whitcomb Riley, then a neighbor. "He
acknowledges (shaking his head in reflection at the depth of it) that
the spirit of Riley has exercised over him a strong, if often
unconsciously felt, influence all his life." The delicious stories of
Penrod and of the William Sylvanus Baxter of _Seventeen_ that Booth
Tarkington has told for the unalloyed delight of old and young are
said to reproduce quite accurately the author's recollection of his
own boyhood pranks and associations in the Middle-Western city of his
birth. Tarkington went first to Phillips Exeter Academy and later to
Purdue University at Lafayette, Indiana, before he became a member of
the class of '93 at Princeton. His popularity and his good fellowship
are still cherished memories on the campus.

It seems that he was infallibly associated in the undergraduate mind
with the singing of _Danny Deever_; so much so, that whenever he
appeared on the steps at Nassau Hall there would be an immediate
demand for his speciality, a demand that often caused him to retire as
inconspicuously as possible from the crowd. These old days are
commemorated in the following verses, a copy of which, framed, hangs
on the walls of the Princeton Club in New York.


  "The same old Tark--just watch him shy
    Like hunted thing, and hide, if let,
    Away behind his cigarette,
  When 'Danny Deever' is the cry.

  Keep up the call and by and by
  We'll make him sing, and find he's yet
           The same old Tark.

  No 'Author Leonid' we spy
    In him, no cultured ladies' pet:
    He just drops in, and so we get
  The good old song, and gently guy
  The same old Tark--just watch him shy!"

No biography of Booth Tarkington, no matter how brief, should omit to
mention that he was elected to the Indiana State Legislature and sat
for a time in that body, where he accumulated, no doubt, some data on
the subject of Indiana politics that he may afterwards have put to
literary use.

He has found the subject for most of his novels and plays[24] in
contemporary American life, which he treats unsentimentally,
spiritedly, and vigorously. _Beauty and the Jacobin_, like his famous
and fascinating tale, _Monsieur Beaucaire_, is exceptional among his
works in deserting the modern American scene for an Eighteenth Century
situation. The story and the play are likely, for this reason, to be
compared. The tone of _Monsieur Beaucaire_ is more urbane, more
whimsical, more romantic than the mood of _Beauty and the Jacobin_
which "breaks with the pretty, pretty kind of thing. There is a new
quality in the texture of the writing.... The plot here springs
directly from character, and the action of the piece is inevitable.
_Beauty and the Jacobin_ gives evidence of being the first conscious
and determined, as it is the first consistent, effort of the author to
leave the surface and work from the inside of his characters out....
The whole of the little drama is scintillant with wit, delicate and at
times brilliant and somewhat Shavian, which flashes out poignantly
against the sombreness of its background."[25]

         [Footnote 24: For a bibliography of his works through the
         year 1913, see Asa Don Dickinson, _Booth Tarkington, a
         Gentleman from Indiana_, Garden City, no date.]

         [Footnote 25: Robert Cortes Holliday, _Booth Tarkington_,
         Garden City and New York, 1918, pp. 155-156; p. 157.]

_Beauty and the Jacobin_ was published in 1912 and has had at least
one performance on the professional stage. On November 12, 1912, it
was played by members of the company then acting in _Fanny's First
Play_, at a matinée at the Comedy Theatre, in New York. It has always
been a favorite with amateurs and quite recently was performed in St.
Louis by one of the dramatic clubs of that city.


_Our scene is in a rusty lodging-house of the Lower Town,
Boulogne-sur-Mer, and the time, the early twilight of dark November in
northern France. This particular November is dark indeed, for it is
November of the year 1793, Frimaire of the Terror. The garret room
disclosed to us, like the evening lowering outside its one window, and
like the times, is mysterious, obscure, smoked with perplexing
shadows; these flying and staggering to echo the shiftings of a young
man writing at a desk by the light of a candle._

_We are just under the eaves here; the dim ceiling slants; and there
are two doors: that in the rear wall is closed; the other, upon our
right, and evidently leading to an inner chamber, we find ajar. The
furniture of this mean apartment is chipped, faded, insecure, yet
still possessed of a haggard elegance; shamed odds and ends, cheaply
acquired by the proprietor of the lodging-house, no doubt at an
auction of the confiscated leavings of some emigrant noble. The single
window, square and mustily curtained, is so small that it cannot be
imagined to admit much light on the brightest of days; however, it
might afford a lodger a limited view of the houses opposite and the
street below. In fact, as our eyes grow accustomed to the obscurity we
discover it serving this very purpose at the present moment, for a
tall woman stands close by in the shadow, peering between the curtains
with the distrustfulness of a picket thrown far out into an enemy's
country. Her coarse blouse and skirt, new and as ill-fitting as sacks,
her shop-woman's bonnet and cheap veil, and her rough shoes are
naïvely denied by her sensitive, pale hands and the high-bred and
in-bred face, long profoundly marked by loss and fear, and now very
white, very watchful. She is not more than forty, but her hair,
glimpsed beneath the clumsy bonnet, shows much grayer than need be at
that age. This is ANNE DE LASEYNE_.

_The intent young man at the desk, easily recognizable as her brother,
fair and of a singular physical delicacy, is a finely completed
product of his race; one would pronounce him gentle in each sense of
the word. His costume rivals his sister's in the innocence of its
attempt at disguise: he wears a carefully soiled carter's frock, rough
new gaiters, and a pair of dangerously aristocratic shoes, which are
not too dusty to conceal the fact that they are of excellent make and
lately sported buckles. A tousled cap of rabbit-skin, exhibiting a
tricolor cockade, crowns these anomalies, though not at present his
thin, blond curls, for it has been tossed upon a dressing-table which
stands against the wall to the left. He is younger than MADAME DE
LASEYNE, probably by more than ten years; and, though his features so
strikingly resemble hers, they are free from the permanent impress of
pain which she bears like a mourning-badge upon her own._

_He is expending a feverish attention upon his task, but with patently
unsatisfactory results; for he whispers and mutters to himself, bites
the feather of his pen, shakes his head forebodingly, and again and
again crumples a written sheet and throws it upon the floor. Whenever
this happens ANNE DE LASEYNE casts a white glance at him over her
shoulder--his desk is in the center of the room--her anxiety is
visibly increased, and the temptation to speak less and less easily
controlled, until at last she gives way to it. Her voice is low and

ANNE. Louis, it is growing dark very fast.

LOUIS. I had not observed it, my sister. [_He lights a second candle
from the first; then, pen in mouth, scratches at his writing with a
little knife._]

ANNE. People are still crowding in front of the wine-shop across the

LOUIS [_smiling with one side of his mouth_]. Naturally. Reading the
list of the proscribed that came at noon. Also waiting, amiable
vultures, for the next bulletin from Paris. It will give the names of
those guillotined day before yesterday. For a good bet: our own names
[_he nods toward the other room_]--yes, hers, too--are all three in
the former. As for the latter--well, they can't get us in that now.

ANNE [_eagerly_]. Then you are certain that we are safe?

LOUIS. I am certain only that they cannot murder us day before
yesterday. [_As he bends his head to his writing a woman comes in
languidly through the open door, bearing an armful of garments, among
which one catches the gleam of fine silk, glimpses of lace and rich
furs--a disordered burden which she dumps pell-mell into a large
portmanteau lying open upon a chair near the desk. This new-comer is
of a startling gold-and-ivory beauty; a beauty quite literally
striking, for at the very first glance the whole force of it hits the
beholder like a snowball in the eye; a beauty so obvious, so
completed, so rounded, that it is painful; a beauty to rivet the
unenvious stare of women, but from the full blast of which either king
or man-peasant would stagger away to the confessional. The egregious
luster of it is not breathed upon even by its overspreading of sullen
revolt, as its possessor carelessly arranges the garments in the
portmanteau. She wears a dress all gray, of a coarse texture, but
exquisitely fitted to her; nothing could possibly be plainer, or of a
more revealing simplicity. She might be twenty-two; at least it is
certain that she is not thirty. At her coming, LOUIS looks up with a
sigh of poignant wistfulness, evidently a habit; for as he leans back
to watch her he sighs again. She does not so much as glance at him,
but speaks absently to MADAME DE LASEYNE. Her voice is superb, as it
should be; deep and musical, with a faint, silvery huskiness._]

ELOISE [_the new-comer_]. Is he still there?

ANNE. I lost sight of him in the crowd. I think he has gone. If only
he does not come back!

LOUIS [_with grim conviction_]. He will.

ANNE. I am trying to hope not.

ELOISE. I have told you from the first that you overestimate his
importance. Haven't I said it often enough?

ANNE [_under her breath_]. You have!

ELOISE [_coldly_]. He will not harm you.

ANNE [_looking out of the window_]. More people down there; they are
running to the wine-shop.

LOUIS. Gentle idlers! [_The sound of triumphant shouting comes up from
the street below._] That means that the list of the guillotined has
arrived from Paris.

ANNE [_shivering_]. They are posting it in the wine-shop window.
[_The shouting increases suddenly to a roar of hilarity, in which the
shrilling of women mingles._]

LOUIS. Ah! One remarks that the list is a long one. The good people
are well satisfied with it. [_To ELOISE_] My cousin, in this amiable
populace which you champion, do you never scent something of--well,
something of the graveyard scavenger? [_She offers the response of an
unmoved glance in his direction, and slowly goes out by the door at
which she entered. Louis sighs again and returns to his scribbling._]

ANNE [_nervously_]. Haven't you finished, Louis?

LOUIS [_indicating the floor strewn with crumpled slips of paper_]. A

ANNE. Not good enough?

LOUIS [_with a rueful smile_]. I have lived to discover that among all
the disadvantages of being a Peer of France the most dangerous is that
one is so poor a forger. Truly, however, our parents are not to be
blamed for neglecting to have me instructed in this art; evidently
they perceived I had no talent for it. [_Lifting a sheet from the
desk._] Oh, vile! I am not even an amateur. [_He leans back, tapping
the paper thoughtfully with his pen._] Do you suppose the Fates took
all the trouble to make the Revolution simply to teach me that I have
no skill in forgery? Listen. [_He reads what he has written._]
"Committee of Public Safety. In the name of the Republic. To all
Officers, Civil and Military: Permit the Citizen Balsage"--that's
myself, remember--"and the Citizeness Virginie Balsage, his
sister"--that's you, Anne--"and the Citizeness Marie Balsage, his
second sister"--that is Eloise, you understand--"to embark in the
vessel _Jeune Pierrette_ from the port of Boulogne for Barcelona.
Signed: Billaud Varennes. Carnot. Robespierre." Execrable! [_He tears
up the paper, scattering the fragments on the floor._] I am not even
sure it is the proper form. Ah, that Dossonville!

ANNE. But Dossonville helped us--

LOUIS. At a price. Dossonville! An individual of marked attainment,
not only in penmanship, but in the art of plausibility. Before I paid
him he swore that the passports he forged for us would take us not
only out of Paris, but out of the country.

ANNE. Are you sure we must have a separate permit to embark?

LOUIS. The captain of the _Jeune Pierrette_ sent one of his sailors to
tell me. There is a new Commissioner from the National Committee, he
said, and a special order was issued this morning. They have an
officer and a file of the National Guard on the quay to see that the
order is obeyed.

ANNE. But we bought passports in Paris. Why can't we here?

LOUIS. Send out a street-crier for an accomplished forger? My poor
Anne! We can only hope that the lieutenant on the quay may be drunk
when he examines my dreadful "permit." Pray a great thirst upon him,
my sister! [_He looks at a watch which he draws from beneath his
frock._] Four o'clock. At five the tide in the river is poised at its
highest; then it must run out, and the _Jeune Pierrette_ with it. We
have an hour. I return to my crime. [_He takes a fresh sheet of paper
and begins to write._]

ANNE [_urgently_]. Hurry, Louis!

LOUIS. Watch for Master Spy.

ANNE. I cannot see him. [_There is silence for a time, broken only by
the nervous scratching of Louis's pen._]

LOUIS [_at work_]. Still you don't see him?

ANNE. No. The people are dispersing. They seem in a good humor.

LOUIS. Ah, if they knew--[_He breaks off, examines his latest effort
attentively, and finds it unsatisfactory, as is evinced by the
noiseless whistle of disgust to which his lips form themselves. He
discards the sheet and begins another, speaking rather absently as he
does so._] I suppose I have the distinction to be one of the most
hated men in our country, now that all the decent people have left
it--so many by a road something of the shortest! Yes, these merry
gentlemen below there would be still merrier if they knew they had
within their reach a forfeited "Emigrant." I wonder how long it would
take them to climb the breakneck flights to our door. Lord, there'd be
a race for it! Prize-money, too, I fancy, for the first with his

ANNE [_lamentably_]. Louis, Louis! Why didn't you lie safe in England?

LOUIS [_smiling_]. Anne, Anne! I had to come back for a good sister of

ANNE. But I could have escaped alone.

LOUIS. That is it--"alone"! [_He lowers his voice as he glances toward
the open door._] For she would not have moved at all if I hadn't come
to bully her into it. A fanatic, a fanatic!

ANNE [_brusquely_]. She is a fool. Therefore be patient with her.

LOUIS [_warningly_]. Hush.

ELOISE [_in a loud, careless tone from the other room_]. Oh, I heard
you! What does it matter? [_She returns, carrying a handsome skirt and
bodice of brocade and a woman's long mantle of light-green cloth,
hooded and lined with fur. She drops them into the portmanteau and
closes it._] There! I've finished your packing for you.

LOUIS [_rising_]. My cousin, I regret that we could not provide
servants for this flight. [_Bowing formally._] I regret that we have
been compelled to ask you to do a share of what is necessary.

ELOISE [_turning to go out again_]. That all?

LOUIS [_lifting the portmanteau_]. I fear--

ELOISE [_with assumed fatigue_]. Yes, you usually do. What now?

LOUIS [_flushing painfully_]. The portmanteau is too heavy. [_He
returns to the desk, sits, and busies himself with his writing,
keeping his grieved face from her view._]

ELOISE. You mean you're too weak to carry it?

LOUIS. Suppose at the last moment it becomes necessary to hasten

ELOISE. You mean, suppose you had to run, you'd throw away the
portmanteau. [_Contemptuously._] Oh, I don't doubt you'd do it!

LOUIS [_forcing himself to look up at her cheerfully_]. I dislike to
leave my baggage upon the field, but in case of a rout it might be a
temptation--if it were an impediment.

ANNE [_peremptorily_]. Don't waste time. Lighten the portmanteau.

LOUIS. You may take out everything of mine.

ELOISE. There's nothing of yours in it except your cloak. You don't

ANNE. Take out that heavy brocade of mine.

ELOISE. Thank you for not wishing to take out my fur-lined cloak and
freezing me at sea!

LOUIS [_gently_]. Take out both the cloak and the dress.

ELOISE [_astounded_]. What!

LOUIS. You shall have mine. It is as warm, but not so heavy.

ELOISE [_angrily_]. Oh, I am sick of your eternal packing and
unpacking! I am sick of it!

ANNE. Watch at the window, then. [_She goes swiftly to the
portmanteau, opens it, tosses out the green mantle and the brocaded
skirt and bodice, and tests the weight of the portmanteau._] I think
it will be light enough now, Louis.

LOUIS. Do not leave those things in sight. If our landlord should come

ANNE. I'll hide them in the bed in the next room. Eloise! [_She points
imperiously to the window. ELOISE goes to it slowly and for a moment
makes a scornful pretense of being on watch there; but as soon as
MADAME DE LASEYNE has left the room she turns, leaning against the
wall and regarding Louis with languid amusement. He continues to
struggle with his ill-omened "permit," but, by and by, becoming aware
of her gaze, glances consciously over his shoulder and meets her
half-veiled eyes. Coloring, he looks away, stares dreamily at nothing,
sighs, and finally writes again, absently, like a man under a spell,
which, indeed, he is. The pen drops from his hand with a faint click
upon the floor. He makes the movement of a person suddenly awakened,
and, holding his last writing near one of the candles, examines it
critically. Then he breaks into low, bitter laughter._]

ELOISE [_unwillingly curious_]. You find something amusing?

LOUIS. Myself. One of my mistakes, that is all.

ELOISE [_indifferently_]. Your mirth must be indefatigable if you can
still laugh at those.

LOUIS. I agree. I am a history of error.

ELOISE. You should have made it a vocation; it is your one genius. And
yet--truly because I am a fool I think, as Anne says--I let you hector
me into a sillier mistake than any of yours.

LOUIS. When?

ELOISE [_flinging out her arms_]. Oh, when I consented to this absurd
journey, this _tiresome_ journey--with _you_! An "escape"? From
nothing. In "disguise." Which doesn't disguise.

LOUIS [_his voice taut with the effort for self-command_]. My sister
asked me to be patient with you, Eloise--

ELOISE. Because I am a fool, yes. Thanks. [_Shrewishly._] And then, my
worthy young man? [_He rises abruptly, smarting almost beyond

LOUIS [_breathing deeply_]. Have I not been patient with you?

ELOISE [_with a flash of energy_]. If _I_ have asked you to be
anything whatever--with me!--pray recall the petition to my memory.

LOUIS [_beginning to let himself go_]. Patient! Have I ever been
anything but patient with you? Was I not patient with you five years
ago when you first harangued us on your "Rights of Man" and your
monstrous republicanism? Where you got hold of it all I don't know--

ELOISE [_kindling_]. Ideas, my friend. Naturally, incomprehensible to
you. Books! Brains! Men!

LOUIS. "Books! Brains! Men!" Treason, poison, and mobs! Oh, I could
laugh at you then: they were only beginning to kill us, and I was
patient. Was I not patient with you when these Republicans of yours
drove us from our homes, from our country, stole all we had,
assassinated us in dozens, in hundreds, murdered our King? [_He walks
the floor, gesticulating nervously._] When I saw relative after
relative of my own--aye, and of yours, too--dragged to the
abattoir--even poor, harmless, kind André de Laseyne, whom they took
simply because he was my brother-in-law--was I not patient? And when I
came back to Paris for you and Anne, and had to lie hid in a stable,
every hour in greater danger because you would not be persuaded to
join us, was I not patient? And when you finally did consent, but
protested every step of the way, pouting and--

ELOISE [_stung_]. "Pouting!"

LOUIS. And when that stranger came posting after us so obvious a spy--

ELOISE [_scornfully_]. Pooh! He is nothing.

LOUIS. Is there a league between here and Paris over which he has not
dogged us? By diligence, on horseback, on foot, turning up at every
posting-house, every roadside inn, the while you laughed at me because
I read death in his face! These two days we have been here, is there
an hour when you could look from that window except to see him
grinning up from the wine-shop door down there?

ELOISE [_impatiently, but with a somewhat conscious expression_]. I
tell you not to fear him. There is nothing in it.

LOUIS [_looking at her keenly_]. Be sure I understand why you do not
think him a spy! You believe he has followed us because you--

ELOISE. I expected that! Oh, I knew it would come! [_Furiously._] I
never saw the man before in my life!

LOUIS [_pacing the floor_]. He is unmistakable; his trade is stamped
on him; a hired trailer of your precious "Nation's."

ELOISE [_haughtily_]. The Nation is the People. You malign because you
fear. The People is sacred!

LOUIS [_with increasing bitterness_]. Aren't you tired yet of the
Palais Royal platitudes? I have been patient with your Mericourtisms
for so long. Yes, always I was patient. Always there was time; there
was danger, but there was a little time. [_He faces her, his voice
becoming louder, his gestures more vehement._] But now the _Jeune
Pierrette_ sails this hour, and if we are not out of here and on her
deck when she leaves the quay, my head rolls in Samson's basket within
the week, with Anne's and your own to follow! _Now_, I tell you, there
is no more time, and _now_--

ELOISE [_suavely_]. Yes? Well? "Now?" [_He checks himself; his lifted
hand falls to his side._]

LOUIS [_in a gentle voice_]. I am still patient. [_He looks into her
eyes, makes her a low and formal obeisance, and drops dejectedly into
the chair at the desk._]

ELOISE [_dangerously_]. Is the oration concluded?

LOUIS. Quite.

ELOISE [_suddenly volcanic_]. Then "_now_" you'll perhaps be "patient"
enough to explain why I shouldn't leave you instantly. Understand
fully that I have come thus far with you and Anne solely to protect
you in case you were suspected. "_Now_," my little man, you are safe:
you have only to go on board your vessel. Why should I go with you?
Why do you insist on dragging me out of the country?

LOUIS [_wearily_]. Only to save your life; that is all.

ELOISE. My life! Tut! My life is safe with the People--my People!
[_She draws herself up magnificently._] The Nation would protect me!
I gave the people my whole fortune when they were starving. After
that, who in France dare lay a finger upon the Citizeness Eloise

LOUIS. I have the idea sometimes, my cousin, that perhaps if you had
not given them your property they would have taken it, anyway.
[_Dryly._] They did mine.

ELOISE [_agitated_]. I do not expect you to comprehend what I
felt--what I feel! [_She lifts her arms longingly._] Oh, for a Man!--a
Man who could understand me!

LOUIS [_sadly_]. That excludes me!

ELOISE. Shall I spell it?

LOUIS. You are right. So far from understanding you, I understand
nothing. The age is too modern for me. I do not understand why this
rabble is permitted to rule France; I do not even understand why it is
permitted to live.

ELOISE [_with superiority_]. Because you belong to the class that
thought itself made of porcelain and the rest of the world clay. It is
simple: the mud-ball breaks the vase.

LOUIS. You belong to the same class, even to the same family.

ELOISE. You are wrong. One circumstance proves me no aristocrat.

LOUIS. What circumstance?

ELOISE. That I happened to be born with brains. I can account for it
only by supposing some hushed-up ancestral scandal. [_Brusquely._] Do
you understand that?

LOUIS. I overlook it. [_He writes again._]

ELOISE. Quibbling was always a habit of yours. [_Snapping at him
irritably._] Oh, stop that writing! You can't do it, and you don't
need it. You blame the people because they turn on you now, after
you've whipped and beaten and ground them underfoot for centuries and
centuries and--

LOUIS. Quite a career for a man of twenty-nine!

ELOISE. I have said that quibbling was--

LOUIS [_despondently_]. Perhaps it is. To return to my other
deficiencies, I do not understand why this spy who followed us from
Paris has not arrested me long before now. I do not understand why you
hate me. I do not understand the world in general. And in particular I
do not understand the art of forgery. [_He throws down his pen._]

ELOISE. You talk of "patience"! How often have I explained that you
would not need passports of any kind if you would let me throw off my
incognito. If anyone questions you, it will be sufficient if I give my
name. All France knows the Citizeness Eloise d'Anville. Do you suppose
the officer on the quay would dare oppose--

LOUIS [_with a gesture of resignation_]. I know you think it.

ELOISE [_angrily_]. You tempt me not to prove it. But for Anne's

LOUIS. Not for mine. That, at least, I understand. [_He rises._] My
dear cousin, I am going to be very serious--

ELOISE. O heaven! [_She flings away from him._]

LOUIS [_plaintively_]. I shall not make another oration--

ELOISE. Make anything you choose. [_Drumming the floor with her
foot._] What does it matter?

LOUIS. I have a presentiment--I ask you to listen--

ELOISE [_in her irritation almost screaming_]. How can I help but
listen? And Anne, too! [_With a short laugh._] You know as well as I
do that when that door is open everything you say in this room is
heard in there. [_She points to the open doorway, where MADAME DE
LASEYNE instantly makes her appearance, and after exchanging one fiery
glance with ELOISE as swiftly withdraws, closing the door behind her
with outraged emphasis._]

ELOISE [_breaking into a laugh_]. Forward, soldiers!

LOUIS [_reprovingly_]. Eloise!

ELOISE. Well, _open_ the door, then, if you want her to hear you make
love to me! [_Coolly._] That's what you're going to do, isn't it?

LOUIS [_with imperfect self-control_]. I wish to ask you for the last

ELOISE [_flouting_]. There are so many last times!

LOUIS. To ask you if you are sure that you know your own heart. You
cared for me once, and--

ELOISE [_as if this were news indeed_]. I did? Who under heaven ever
told you that?

LOUIS [_flushing_]. You allowed yourself to be betrothed to me, I

ELOISE. "Allowed" is the word, precisely. I seem to recall changing
all that the very day I became an orphan--and my own master!
[_Satirically polite._] Pray correct me if my memory errs. How long
ago was it? Six years? Seven?

LOUIS [_with emotion_]. Eloise, Eloise, you did love me then! We were
happy, both of us, so very happy--

ELOISE [_sourly_]. "Both!" My faith! But I must have been a brave
little actress.

LOUIS. I do not believe it. You loved me. I--[_He hesitates._]

ELOISE. Do get on with what you have to say.

LOUIS [_in a low voice_]. I have many forebodings, Eloise, but the
strongest--and for me the saddest--is that this is the last chance you
will ever have to tell--to tell me--[_He falters again._]

ELOISE [_irritated beyond measure, shouting_]. To tell you what?

LOUIS [_swallowing_]. That your love for me still lingers.

ELOISE [_promptly_]. Well, it doesn't. So _that's_ over!

LOUIS. Not quite yet. I--

ELOISE [_dropping into a chair_]. O Death!

LOUIS [_still gently_]. Listen. I have hope that you and Anne may be
permitted to escape; but as for me, since the first moment I felt the
eyes of that spy from Paris upon me I have had the premonition that I
would be taken back--to the guillotine, Eloise. I am sure that he will
arrest me when I attempt to leave this place to-night. [_With
sorrowful earnestness._] And it is with the certainty in my soul that
this is our last hour together that I ask you if you cannot tell me
that the old love has come back. Is there nothing in your heart for

ELOISE. Was there anything in _your_ heart for the beggar who stood at
your door in the old days?

LOUIS. Is there nothing for him who stands at yours now, begging for a

ELOISE [_frowning_]. I remember you had the name of a disciplinarian
in your regiment. [_She rises to face him._] Did you ever find
anything in your heart for the soldiers you ordered tied up and
flogged? Was there anything in your heart for the peasants who starved
in your fields?

LOUIS [_quietly_]. No; it was too full of you.

ELOISE. Words! Pretty little words!

LOUIS. Thoughts. Pretty, because they are of you. All, always of
you--always, my dear. I never really think of anything but you. The
picture of you is always before the eyes of my soul; the very name of
you is forever in my heart. [_With a rueful smile._] And it is on the
tips of my fingers, sometimes when it shouldn't be. See. [_He steps to
the desk and shows her a scribbled sheet._] This is what I laughed at
a while ago. I tried to write, with you near me, and unconsciously I
let your name creep into my very forgery! I wrote it as I wrote it in
the sand when we were children; as I have traced it a thousand times
on coated mirrors--on frosted windows. [_He reads the writing aloud._]
"Permit the Citizen Balsage and his sister, the Citizeness Virginie
Balsage, and his second sister, the Citizeness Marie Balsage, and
Eloise d'Anville"--so I wrote!--"to embark upon the vessel _Jeune
Pierrette_--" You see? [_He lets the paper fall upon the desk._] Even
in this danger, that I feel closer and closer with every passing
second, your name came in of itself. I am like that English Mary: if
they will open my heart when I am dead, they shall find, not "Calais,"
but "Eloise"!

ELOISE [_going to the dressing-table_]. Louis, that doesn't interest
me. [_She adds a delicate touch or two to her hair, studying it
thoughtfully in the dressing-table mirror._]

LOUIS [_somberly_]. I told you long ago--

ELOISE [_smiling at her reflection_]. So you did--often!

LOUIS [_breathing quickly_]. I have nothing new to offer. I
understand. I bore you.

ELOISE. Louis, to be frank: I don't care what they find in your heart
when they open it.

LOUIS [_with a hint of sternness_]. Have you never reflected that
there might be something for me to forgive you?

ELOISE [_glancing at him over her shoulder in frowning surprise_].

LOUIS. I wonder sometimes if you have ever found a flaw in your own

ELOISE [_astounded_]. So! [_Turning sharply upon him._] You are
assuming the right to criticize me, are you? Oho!

LOUIS [_agitated_]. I state merely--I have said--I think I forgive you
a great deal--

ELOISE [_beginning to char_]. You do! You bestow your gracious pardon
upon me, do you? [_Bursting into flame._] Keep your forgiveness to
yourself! When I want it I'll kneel at your feet and beg it of you!
You can _kiss_ me then, for then you will know that "the old love has
come back"!

LOUIS [_miserably_]. When you kneel--

ELOISE. Can you picture it--_Marquis?_ [_She hurls his title at him,
and draws herself up in icy splendor._] I am a woman of the Republic!

LOUIS. And the Republic has no need of love.

ELOISE. Its daughter has no need of yours!

LOUIS. Until you kneel to me. You have spoken. It is ended. [_Turning
from her with a pathetic gesture of farewell and resignation, his
attention is suddenly arrested by something invisible. He stands for a
moment transfixed. When he speaks, it is in an altered tone, light and
at the same time ominous._] My cousin, suffer the final petition of a
bore. Forgive my seriousness; forgive my stupidity, for I believe that
what one hears now means that a number of things are indeed ended.
Myself among them.

ELOISE [_not comprehending_]. "What one hears?"

LOUIS [_slowly_]. In the distance. [_Both stand motionless to listen,
and the room is silent. Gradually a muffled, multitudinous sound, at
first very faint, becomes audible._]

ELOISE. What is it?

LOUIS [_with pale composure_]. Only a song! [_The distant sound
becomes distinguishable as a singing from many unmusical throats and
pitched in every key, a drum-beat booming underneath; a tumultuous
rumble which grows slowly louder. The door of the inner room opens,
and MADAME DE LASEYNE enters._]

ANNE [_briskly, as she comes in_]. I have hidden the cloak and the
dress beneath the mattress. Have you--

LOUIS [_lifting his hand_]. Listen! [_She halts, startled. The
singing, the drums, and the tumult swell suddenly much louder, as if
the noise-makers had turned a corner._]

ANNE [_crying out_]. The "Marseillaise"!

LOUIS. The "Vultures' Chorus"!

ELOISE [_in a ringing voice_]. The Hymn of Liberty!

ANNE [_trembling violently_]. It grows louder.

LOUIS. Nearer!

ELOISE [_running to the window_]. They are coming this way!

ANNE [_rushing ahead of her_]. They have turned the corner of the
street. Keep back, Louis!

ELOISE [_leaning out of the window, enthusiastically_]. _Vive
la_--[_She finishes with an indignant gurgle as ANNE DE LASEYNE,
without comment, claps a prompt hand over her mouth and pushes her
vigorously from the window._]

ANNE. A mob--carrying torches and dancing. [_Her voice shaking
wildly._] They are following a troop of soldiers.

LOUIS. The National Guard.

ANNE. Keep back from the window! A man in a tricolor scarf marching in

LOUIS. A political, then--an official of their government.

ANNE. O Virgin, have mercy! [_She turns a stricken face upon her
brother._] It is that--

LOUIS [_biting his nails_]. Of course. Our spy. [_He takes a
hesitating step toward the desk; but swings about, goes to the door at
the rear, shoots the bolt back and forth, apparently unable to decide
upon a course of action; finally leaves the door bolted and examines
the hinges. ANNE, meanwhile, has hurried to the desk, and, seizing a
candle there, begins to light others in a candelabrum on the
dressing-table. The noise outside grows to an uproar; the
"Marseillaise" changes to "Ça ira"; and a shaft of the glare from the
torches below shoots through the window and becomes a staggering red
patch on the ceiling._]

ANNE [_feverishly_]. Lights! Light those candles in the sconce,
Eloise! Light all the candles we have. [_ELOISE, resentful, does not

LOUIS. No, no! Put them out!

ANNE. Oh, fatal! [_She stops him as he rushes to obey his own
command._] If our window is lighted he will believe we have no thought
of leaving, and pass by. [_She hastily lights the candles in a sconce
upon the wall as she speaks; the shabby place is now brightly

LOUIS. He will not pass by. [_The external tumult culminates in
riotous yelling, as, with a final roll, the drums cease to beat.
MADAME DE LASEYNE runs again to the window._]

ELOISE [_sullenly_]. You are disturbing yourselves without reason.
They will not stop here.

ANNE [_in a sickly whisper_]. They have stopped.

LOUIS. At the door of this house? [_MADAME DE LASEYNE, leaning against
the wall, is unable to reply, save by a gesture. The noise from the
street dwindles to a confused, expectant murmur. LOUIS takes a pistol
from beneath his blouse, strides to the door, and listens._]

ANNE [_faintly_]. He is in the house. The soldiers followed him.

LOUIS. They are on the lower stairs. [_He turns to the two women
humbly._] My sister and my cousin, my poor plans have only made
everything worse for you. I cannot ask you to forgive me. We are

ANNE [_vitalized with the energy of desperation_]. Not till the very
last shred of hope is gone. [_She springs to the desk and begins to
tear the discarded sheets into minute fragments._] Is that door

LOUIS. They'll break it down, of course.

ANNE. Where is our passport from Paris?

LOUIS. Here. [_He gives it to her._]

ANNE. Quick! Which of these "permits" is the best?

LOUIS. They're all hopeless--[_He fumbles among the sheets on the

ANNE. Any of them. We can't stop to select. [_She thrusts the passport
and a haphazard sheet from the desk into the bosom of her dress. An
orderly tramping of heavy shoes and a clinking of metal become audible
as the soldiers ascend the upper flight of stairs._]

ELOISE. All this is childish. [_Haughtily._] I shall merely announce--

ANNE [_uttering a half-choked scream of rage_]. You'll announce
nothing! Out of here, both of you!

LOUIS. No, no!

ANNE [_with breathless rapidity, as the noise on the stairs grows
louder_]. Let them break the door in if they will; only let them find
me alone. [_She seizes her brother's arm imploringly as he pauses,
uncertain._] Give me the chance to make them think I am here alone.

LOUIS. I can't--

ANNE [_urging him to the inner door_]. Is there any other possible
hope for us? Is there any other possible way to gain even a little
time? Louis, I want your word of honor not to leave that room unless I
summon you. I must have it! [_Overborne by her intensity, LOUIS nods
despairingly, allowing her to force him toward the other room. The
tramping of the soldiers, much louder and very close, comes to a
sudden stop. There is a sharp word of command, and a dozen muskets
ring on the floor just beyond the outer door._]

ELOISE [_folding her arms_]. You needn't think I shall consent to hide
myself. I shall tell them--

ANNE [_in a surcharged whisper_]. You will not ruin us! [_With furious
determination, as a loud knock falls upon the door._] In there, I tell
you! [_Almost physically she sweeps both ELOISE and LOUIS out of the
room, closes the door upon them, and leans against it, panting. The
knocking is repeated. She braces herself to speak._]

ANNE [_with a catch in her throat_]. Who is--there?

A SONOROUS VOICE. French Republic!

ANNE [_faltering_], It is--it is difficult to hear. What do you--

THE VOICE. Open the door.

ANNE [_more firmly_]. That is impossible.

THE VOICE. Open the door.

ANNE. What is your name?

THE VOICE. Valsin, National Agent.

ANNE. I do not know you.


ANNE. I am here alone. I am dressing. I can admit no one.

THE VOICE. For the last time: open!


THE VOICE. Break it down. [_A thunder of blows from the butts of
muskets falls upon the door._]

ANNE [_rushing toward it in a passion of protest_]. No, no, no! You
shall not come in! I tell you I have not finished dressing. If you are
men of honor--Ah! [_She recoils, gasping, as a panel breaks in, the
stock of a musket following it; and then, weakened at rusty bolt and
crazy hinge, the whole door gives way and falls crashing into the
room. The narrow passage thus revealed is crowded with shabbily
uniformed soldiers of the National Guard, under an officer armed with
a saber. As the door falls a man wearing a tricolor scarf strides by
them, and, standing beneath the dismantled lintel, his hands behind
him, sweeps the room with a smiling eye._

_This personage is handsomely, almost dandiacally dressed in black;
his ruffle is of lace, his stockings are of silk; the lapels of his
waistcoat, overlapping those of his long coat, exhibit a rich
embroidery of white and crimson. These and other details of elegance,
such as his wearing powder upon his dark hair, indicate either insane
daring or an importance quite overwhelming. A certain easy power in
his unusually brilliant eyes favors the probability that, like
Robespierre, he can wear what he pleases. Undeniably he has
distinction. Equally undeniable is something in his air that is dapper
and impish and lurking. His first glance over the room apparently
affording him acute satisfaction, he steps lightly across the
prostrate door, MADAME DE LASEYNE retreating before him but keeping
herself between him and the inner door. He comes to an unexpected halt
in a dancing-master's posture, removing his huge hat--which displays a
tricolor plume of ostrich feathers--with a wide flourish, an
intentional burlesque of the old-court manner._]

VALSIN. Permit me. [_He bows elaborately._] Be gracious to a recent
fellow-traveler. I introduce myself. At your service: Valsin, Agent of
the National Committee of Public Safety. [_He faces about sharply._]
Soldiers! [_They stand at attention._] To the street door. I will
conduct the examination alone. My assistant will wait on this floor,
at the top of the stair. Send the people away down below there,
officer. Look to the courtyard. Clear the streets. [_The officer
salutes, gives a word of command, and the soldiers shoulder their
muskets, march off, and are heard clanking down the stairs. VALSIN
tosses his hat upon the desk, and turns smilingly to the trembling but
determined MADAME DE LASEYNE._]

ANNE [_summoning her indignation_]. How dare you break down my door!
How dare you force your--

VALSIN [_suavely_]. My compliments on the celerity with which the
citizeness has completed her toilet. Marvelous. An example to her sex.

ANNE. You intend robbery, I suppose.

VALSIN [_with a curt laugh_]. Not precisely.

ANNE. What, then?

VALSIN. I have come principally for the returned Emigrant, Louis
Valny-Cherault, formerly called Marquis de Valny-Cherault, formerly of
the former regiment of Valny; also formerly--

ANNE [_cutting him off sharply_]. I do not know what you mean by all
these names--and "formerlies"!

VALSIN. No? [_Persuasively._] Citizeness, pray assert that I did not
encounter you last week on your journey from Paris--

ANNE [_hastily_]. It is true I have been to Paris on business; you
may have seen me--I do not know. Is it a crime to return from Paris?

VALSIN [_in a tone of mock encouragement_]. It will amuse me to hear
you declare that I did not see you traveling in company with Louis
Valny-Cherault. Come! Say it.

ANNE [_stepping back defensively, closer to the inner door_]. I am
alone, I tell you! I do not know what you mean. If you saw me speaking
with people in the diligence, or at some posting-house, they were only
traveling acquaintances. I did not know them. I am a widow--

VALSIN. My condolences. Poor, of course?

ANNE. Yes.

VALSIN. And lonely, of course? [_Apologetically._] Loneliness is in
the formula: I suggest it for fear you might forget.

ANNE [_doggedly_]. I am alone.

VALSIN. Quite right.

ANNE [_confusedly_]. I am a widow, I tell you--a widow, living here
quietly with--

VALSIN [_taking her up quickly_]. Ah--"with"! Living here alone, and
also "with"--whom? Not your late husband?

ANNE [_desperately_]. With my niece.

VALSIN [_affecting great surprise_]. Ah! A niece! And the niece, I
take it, is in your other room yonder?

ANNE [_huskily_]. Yes.

VALSIN [_taking a step forward_]. Is she pretty? [_ANNE places her
back against the closed door, facing him grimly. He assumes a tone of
indulgence._] Ah, one must not look: the niece, likewise, has not
completed her toilet.

ANNE. She is--asleep.

VALSIN [_glancing toward the dismantled doorway_]. A sound napper! Why
did you not say instead that she was--shaving? [_He advances,

ANNE [_between her teeth_]. You shall not go in! You cannot see her!
She is--

VALSIN [_laughing_]. Allow me to prompt you. She is not only asleep;
she is ill. She is starving. Also, I cannot go in because she is an
orphan. Surely, she is an orphan? A lonely widow and her lonely orphan
niece. Ah, touching--and sweet!

ANNE [_hotly_]. What authority have you to force your way into my
apartment and insult--

VALSIN [_touching his scarf_]. I had the honor to mention the French

ANNE. So! Does the French Republic persecute widows and orphans?

VALSIN [_gravely_]. No. It is the making of them!

ANNE [_crying out_]. Ah, horrible!

VALSIN. I regret that its just severity was the cause of your own
bereavement, Citizeness. When your unfortunate husband, André,
formerly known as the Prince de Laseyne--

ANNE [_defiantly, though tears have sprung to her eyes_]. I tell you I
do not know what you mean by these titles. My name is Balsage.

VALSIN. Bravo! The Widow Balsage, living here in calm obscurity with
her niece. Widow Balsage, answer quickly, without stopping to think.
[_Sharply._] How long have you lived here?

ANNE. Two months. [_Faltering._]--A year!

VALSIN [_laughing_]. Good. Two months and a year! No visitors? No


VALSIN [_wheeling quickly and picking up LOUIS's cap from the
dressing-table_]. This cap, then, belongs to your niece.

ANNE [_flustered, advancing toward him as if to take it_]. It was--it
was left here this afternoon by our landlord.

VALSIN [_musingly_]. That is very, very puzzling. [_He leans against
the dressing-table in a careless attitude, his back to her._]

ANNE [_cavalierly_]. Why "puzzling"?

VALSIN. Because I sent him on an errand to Paris this morning. [_She
flinches, but he does not turn to look at her, continuing in a tone of
idle curiosity._] I suppose your own excursion to Paris was quite an
event for you, Widow Balsage. You do not take many journeys?

ANNE. I am too poor.

VALSIN. And you have not been contemplating another departure from


VALSIN [_still in the same careless attitude, his back toward her and
the closed door_]. Good. It is as I thought: the portmanteau is for

ANNE [_choking_]. It belongs to my niece. She came only an hour ago.
She has not unpacked.

VALSIN. Naturally. Too ill.

ANNE. She had traveled all night; she was exhausted. She went to sleep
at once.

VALSIN. Is she a somnambulist?

ANNE [_taken aback_]. Why?

VALSIN [_indifferently_]. She has just opened the door of her room in
order to overhear our conversation. [_Waving his hand to the
dressing-table mirror, in which he had been gazing._] Observe it,
Citizeness Laseyne.

ANNE [_demoralized_]. I do not--I--[_Stamping her foot._] How often
shall I tell you my name is Balsage!

VALSIN [_turning to her apologetically_]. My wretched memory. Perhaps
I might remember better if I saw it written: I beg a glance at your
papers. Doubtless you have your certificate of citizenship--

ANNE [_trembling_]. I have papers, certainly.

VALSIN. The sight of them--

ANNE. I have my passport; you shall see. [_With wildly shaking hands
she takes from her blouse the passport and the "permit," crumpled
together._] It is in proper form--[_She is nervously replacing the two
papers in her bosom when with a sudden movement he takes them from
her. She cries out incoherently, and attempts to recapture them._]

VALSIN [_extending his left arm to fend her off_]. Yes, here you have
your passport. And there you have others. [_He points to the littered
floor under the desk._] Many of them!

ANNE. Old letters! [_She clutches at the papers in his grasp._]

VALSIN [_easily fending her off_]. Doubtless! [_He shakes the "permit"
open._] Oho! A permission to embark--and signed by three names of the
highest celebrity. Alas, these unfortunate statesmen, Billaud
Varennes, Carnot, and Robespierre! Each has lately suffered an injury
to his right hand. What a misfortune for France! And what a
coincidence! One has not heard the like since we closed the theatres.

ANNE [_furiously struggling to reach his hand_]. Give me my papers!
Give me--

VALSIN [_holding them away from her_]. You see, these unlucky great
men had their names signed for them by somebody else. And I should
judge that this somebody else must have been writing quite
recently--less than half an hour ago, from the freshness of the
ink--and in considerable haste; perhaps suffering considerable anguish
of mind, Widow Balsage! [_MADAME DE LASEYNE, overwhelmed, sinks into a
chair. He comes close to her, his manner changing startlingly._]

VALSIN [_bending over with sudden menace, his voice loud and harsh_].
Widow Balsage, if you intend no journey, why have you this forged
permission to embark on the Jeune Pierrette? Widow Balsage, who is the
Citizen Balsage?

ANNE [_faintly_]. My brother.

VALSIN [_straightening up_]. Your first truth. [_Resuming his
gaiety._] Of course he is not in that room yonder with your niece.

ANNE [_brokenly_]. No, no, no; he is not! He is not here.

VALSIN [_commiseratingly_]. Poor woman! You have not even the pleasure
to perceive how droll you are.

ANNE. I perceive that I am a fool! [_She dashes the tears from her
eyes and springs to her feet._] I also perceive that you have
denounced us before the authorities here--

VALSIN. Pardon. In Boulogne it happens that _I_ am the authority. I
introduce myself for the third time: Valsin, Commissioner of the
National Committee of Public Safety. Tallien was sent to Bordeaux;
Collot to Lyons; I to Boulogne. Citizeness, were all of the august
names on your permit genuine, you could no more leave this port
without my counter-signature than you could take wing and fly over the

ANNE [_with a shrill laugh of triumph_]. You have overreached
yourself! You're an ordinary spy: you followed us from Paris--

VALSIN [_gaily_]. Oh, I intended you to notice that!

ANNE [_unheeding_]. You have claimed to be Commissioner of the highest
power in France. We can prove that you are a common spy. You may go to
the guillotine for that. Take care, Citizen! So! You have denounced
us; we denounce you. I'll have you arrested by your own soldiers. I'll
call them--[_She makes a feint of running to the window. He watches
her coolly, in silence; and she halts, chagrined._]

VALSIN [_pleasantly_]. I was sure you would not force me to be
premature. Remark it, Citizeness Laseyne: I am enjoying all this. I
have waited a long time for it.

ANNE [_becoming hysterical_]. I am the Widow Balsage, I tell you! You
do not know us--you followed us from Paris. [_Half sobbing._] You're a
spy--a hanger-on of the police. We will prove--

VALSIN [_stepping to the dismantled doorway_]. I left my assistant
within hearing--a species of animal of mine. I may claim that he
belongs to me. A worthy patriot, but skillful, who has had the honor
of a slight acquaintance with you, I believe. [_Calling._]
Dossonville! [_DOSSONVILLE, a large man, flabby of flesh,
loose-mouthed, grizzled, carelessly dressed, makes his appearance in
the doorway. He has a harsh and reckless eye; and, obviously a
flamboyant bully by temperament, his abject, doggish deference to
VALSIN is instantly impressive, more than confirming the latter's
remark that DOSSONVILLE "belongs" to him. DOSSONVILLE, apparently, is
a chattel indeed, body and soul. At sight of him MADAME DE LASEYNE
catches at the desk for support and stands speechless._]

VALSIN [_easily_]. Dossonville, you may inform the Citizeness Laseyne
what office I have the fortune to hold.

DOSSONVILLE [_coming in_]. Bright heaven! All the world knows that you
are the representative of the Committee of Public Safety. Commissioner
to Boulogne.

VALSIN. With what authority?

DOSSONVILLE. Absolute--unlimited! Naturally. What else would be

VALSIN. You recall this woman, Dossonville?

DOSSONVILLE. She was present when I delivered the passport to the
Emigrant Valny-Cherault, in Paris.

VALSIN. Did you forge that passport?

DOSSONVILLE. No. I told the Emigrant I had. Under orders.
[_Grinning._] It was genuine.

VALSIN. Where did you get it?


VALSIN [_suavely_]. Sit down, Dossonville. [_The latter, who is
standing by a chair, obeys with a promptness more than military.
VALSIN turns smilingly to MADAME DE LASEYNE._] Dossonville's
instructions, however, did not include a "permit" to sail on the
_Jeune Pierrette_. All of which, I confess, Citizeness, has very much
the appearance of a trap! [_He tosses the two papers upon the desk.
Utterly dismayed, she makes no effort to secure them. He regards her
with quizzical enjoyment._]

ANNE. Ah--you--[_She fails to speak coherently._]

VALSIN. Dossonville has done very well. He procured your passport,
brought your "disguises," planned your journey, even gave you
directions how to find these lodgings in Boulogne. Indeed, I
instructed him to omit nothing for your comfort. [_He pauses for a
moment._] If I am a spy, Citizeness Laseyne, at least I trust your
gracious intelligence may not cling to the epithet "ordinary." My
soul! but I appear to myself a most uncommon type of spy--a very
intricate, complete, and unusual spy, in fact.

ANNE [_to herself, weeping_]. Ah, poor Louis!

VALSIN [_cheerfully_]. You are beginning to comprehend? That is well.
Your niece's door is still ajar by the discreet width of a finger, so
I assume that the Emigrant also begins to comprehend. Therefore I take
my ease! [_He seats himself in the most comfortable chair in the room,
crossing his legs in a leisurely attitude, and lightly drumming the
tips of his fingers together, the while his peaceful gaze is fixed
upon the ceiling. His tone, as he continues, is casual._] You
understand, my Dossonville, having long ago occupied this very
apartment myself, I am serenely aware that the Emigrant can leave the
other room only by the window; and as this is the fourth floor, and a
proper number of bayonets in the courtyard below are arranged to
receive any person active enough to descend by a rope of bed-clothes,
one is confident that the said Emigrant will remain where he is. Let
us make ourselves comfortable, for it is a delightful hour--an hour I
have long promised myself. I am in a good humor. Let us all be happy.
Citizeness Laseyne, enjoy yourself. Call me some bad names!

ANNE [_between her teeth_]. If I could find one evil enough!

VALSIN [_slapping his knee delightedly_]. There it is: the complete
incompetence of your class. You poor aristocrats, you do not even know
how to swear. Your ancestors knew how! They were fighters; they knew
how to swear because they knew how to attack; you poor moderns have no
profanity left in you, because, poisoned by idleness, you have
forgotten even how to resist. And yet you thought yourselves on top,
and so you were--but as foam is on top of the wave. You forgot that
power, like genius, always comes from underneath, because it is
produced only by turmoil. We have had to wring the neck of your
feather-head court, because while the court was the nation the nation
had its pockets picked. You were at the mercy of anybody with a pinch
of brains: adventurers like Mazarin, like Fouquet, like Law, or that
little commoner, the woman Fish, who called herself Pompadour and took
France--France, merely!--from your King, and used it to her own
pleasure. Then, at last, after the swindlers had well plucked you--at
last, unfortunate creatures, the People got you! Citizeness, the
People had starved: be assured they will eat you to the bone--and then
eat the bone! You are helpless because you have learned nothing and
forgotten everything. You have forgotten everything in this world
except how to be fat!

DOSSONVILLE [_applauding with unction_]. Beautiful! It is beautiful,
all that! A beautiful speech!


DOSSONVILLE [_meekly_]. Perfectly, perfectly.

VALSIN [_crossly_]. That wasn't a speech; it was the truth. Citizeness
Laseyne, so far as you are concerned, I am the People. [_He extends
his hand negligently, with open palm._] And I have got you. [_He
clenches his fingers, like a cook's on the neck of a fowl._] Like
that! And I'm going to take you back to Paris, you and the Emigrant.
[_She stands in an attitude eloquent of despair. His glance roves from
her to the door of the other room, which is still slightly ajar; and,
smiling at some fugitive thought, he continues, deliberately._] I take
you: you and your brother--and that rather pretty little person who
traveled with you. [_There is a breathless exclamation from the other
side of the door, which is flung open violently, as ELOISE--flushed,
radiant with anger, and altogether magnificent--sweeps into the room
to confront VALSIN._]

ELOISE [_slamming the door behind her_]. Leave this Jack-in-Office to
me, Anne!

DOSSONVILLE [_dazed by the vision_]. Lord! What glory! [_He rises,
bowing profoundly, muttering hoarsely._] Oh, eyes! Oh, hair! Look at
her shape! Her chin! The divine--

VALSIN [_getting up and patting him reassuringly on the back_]. The
lady perceives her effect, my Dossonville. It is no novelty. Sit down,
my Dossonville. [_The still murmurous DOSSONVILLE obeys VALSIN turns
to ELOISE, a brilliant light in his eyes._] Let me greet one of the
nieces of Widow Balsage--evidently not the sleepy one, and certainly
not ill. Health so transcendent--

ELOISE [_placing her hand upon MADAME DE LASEYNE's shoulder_]. This is
a clown, Anne. You need have no fear of him whatever. His petty
authority does not extend to us.

VALSIN [_deferentially_]. Will the niece of Widow Balsage explain why
it does not?

ELOISE [_turning upon him fiercely_]. Because the patriot Citizeness
Eloise d'Anville is here!

VALSIN [_assuming an air of thoughtfulness_]. Yes, she is here. That
"permit" yonder even mentions her by name. It is curious. I shall have
to go into that. Continue, niece.

ELOISE [_with supreme haughtiness_]. This lady is under her

VALSIN [_growing red_]. Pardon. Under whose protection?

ELOISE [_sulphurously_]. Under the protection of Eloise d'Anville!
[_This has a frightful effect upon VALSIN; his face becomes contorted;
he clutches at his throat, apparently half strangled, staggers, and
falls choking into the easy-chair he has formerly occupied._]

VALSIN [_gasping, coughing, incoherent_]. Under the pro--the
protection--[_He explodes into peal after peal of uproarious
laughter._] The protection of--Aha, ha, ha, ho, ho, ho! [_He rocks
himself back and forth unappeasably._]

ELOISE [_with a slight lift of the eyebrows_]. This man is an idiot.

VALSIN [_during an abatement of his attack_]. Oh, pardon! It
is--too--much--too much for me! You say--these people are--

ELOISE [_stamping her foot_]. Under the protection of Eloise
d'Anville, imbecile! You cannot touch them. She wills it! [_At this,
VALSIN shouts as if pleading for mercy, and beats the air with his
hands. He struggles to his feet and, pounding himself upon the chest,
walks to and fro in the effort to control his convulsion._]

ELOISE [_to ANNE, under cover of the noise he makes_]. I was wrong: he
is not an idiot.

ANNE [_despairingly_]. He laughs at you.

ELOISE [_in a quick whisper_]. Out of bluster; because he is afraid.
He is badly frightened. I know just what to do. Go into the other room
with Louis.

ANNE [_protesting weakly_]. I can't hope--

ELOISE [_flashing from a cloud_]. You failed, didn't you? [_MADAME DE
LASEYNE, after a tearful perusal of the stern resourcefulness now
written in the younger woman's eyes, succumbs with a piteous gesture
of assent and goes out forlornly. ELOISE closes the door and stands
with her back to it._]

VALSIN [_paying no attention to them_]. Eloise d'Anville! [_Still
pacing the room in the struggle to subdue his hilarity._] This young
citizeness speaks of the protection of Eloise d'Anville! [_Leaning
feebly upon DOSSONVILLE's shoulder._] Do you hear, my Dossonville? It
is an ecstasy. Ecstasize, then. Scream, Dossonville!

DOSSONVILLE [_puzzled, but evidently accustomed to being so, cackles
instantly_]. Perfectly. Ha, ha! The citizeness is not only stirringly
beautiful, she is also--

VALSIN. She is also a wit. Susceptible henchman, concentrate your
thoughts upon domesticity. In this presence remember your wife!

ELOISE [_peremptorily_]. Dismiss that person. I have something to say
to you.

VALSIN [_wiping his eyes_]. Dossonville, you are not required. We are
going to be sentimental, and heaven knows you are not the moon. In
fact, you are a fat old man. Exit, obesity! Go somewhere and think
about your children. Flit, whale!

DOSSONVILLE [_rising_]. Perfectly, my chieftain. [_He goes to the
broken door._]

ELOISE [_tapping the floor with her shoe_]. Out of hearing!

VALSIN. The floor below.

DOSSONVILLE. Well understood. Perfectly, perfectly! [_He goes out
through the hallway; disappears, chuckling grossly. There are some
moments of silence within the room, while he is heard clumping down a
flight of stairs; then VALSIN turns to ELOISE with burlesque ardor._]

VALSIN. "Alone at last!"

ELOISE [_maintaining her composure_]. Rabbit!

VALSIN [_dropping into the chair at the desk, with mock dejection_].
Repulsed at the outset! Ah, Citizeness, there were moments on the
journey from Paris when I thought I detected a certain kindness in
your glances at the lonely stranger.

ELOISE [_folding her arms_]. You are to withdraw your soldiers,
countersign the "permit," and allow my friends to embark at once.

VALSIN [_with solemnity_]. Do you give it as an order, Citizeness?

ELOISE. I do. You will receive suitable political advancement.

VALSIN [_in a choked voice_]. You mean as a--a reward?

ELOISE [_haughtily_]. _I_ guarantee that you shall receive it! [_He
looks at her strangely; then, with a low moan, presses his hand to his
side, seeming upon the point of a dangerous seizure._]

VALSIN [_managing to speak_]. I can only beg you to spare me. You have
me at your mercy.

ELOISE [_swelling_]. It is well for you that you understand that!

VALSIN [_shaking his hand ruefully_]. Yes; you see I have a bad liver:
it may become permanently enlarged. Laughter is my great danger.

ELOISE [_crying out with rage_]. _Oh!_

VALSIN [_dolorously_]. I have continually to remind myself that I am
no longer in the first flush of youth.

ELOISE. Idiot! Do you not know who I am!

VALSIN. You? Oh yes--[_He checks himself abruptly; looks at her with
brief intensity; turns his eyes away, half closing them in quick
meditation; smiles, as upon some secret pleasantry, and proceeds
briskly._] Oh yes, yes, I know who you are.

ELOISE [_beginning haughtily_]. Then you--

VALSIN [_at once cutting her off_]. As to your name, I do not say.
Names at best are details; and your own is a detail that could hardly
be thought to matter. _What_ you are is obvious: you joined Louis and
his sister in Paris at the barriers, and traveled with them as "Marie
Balsage," a sister. You might save us a little trouble by giving us
your real name; you will probably refuse, and the police will have to
look it up when I take you back to Paris. Frankly, you are of no
importance to us, though of course we'll send you to the Tribunal. No
doubt you are a poor relative of the Valny-Cheraults, or, perhaps, you
may have been a governess in the Laseyne family, or--

ELOISE [_under her breath_]. Idiot! Idiot!

VALSIN [_with subterranean enjoyment, watching her sidelong_]. Or the
good-looking wife of some faithful retainer of the Emigrant's,

ELOISE [_with a shrill laugh_]. Does the Committee of Public Safety
betray the same intelligence in the appointment of all its agents?
[_Violently._] Imbecile, I--

VALSIN [_quickly raising his voice to check her_]. You are of no
importance, I tell you! [_Changing his tone._] Of course I mean
politically. [_With broad gallantry._] Otherwise, I am the first to
admit extreme susceptibility. I saw that you observed it on the
way--at the taverns, in the diligence, at the posting-houses, at--

ELOISE [_with serenity_]. Yes. I am accustomed to oglers.

VALSIN. Alas, I believe you! My unfortunate sex is but too responsive.

ELOISE [_gasping_]. "Responsive"--Oh!

VALSIN [_indulgently_]. Let us return to the safer subject. Presently
I shall arrest those people in the other room and, regretfully, you
too. But first I pamper myself; I chat; I have an attractive woman to
listen. In the matter of the arrest, I delay my fire; I do not flash
in the pan, but I lengthen my fuse. Why? For the same reason that when
I was a little boy and had something good to eat, I always first paid
it the compliments of an epicure. I looked at it a long while. I
played with it. Then--I devoured it! I am still like that. And Louis
yonder is good to eat, because I happen not to love him. However, I
should mention that I doubt if he could recall either myself or the
circumstance which annoyed me; some episodes are sometimes so little
to certain people and so significant to certain other people. [_He
smiles, stretching himself luxuriously in his chair._] Behold me,
Citizeness! I am explained. I am indulging my humor: I play with my
cake. Let us see into what curious little figures I can twist it.

ELOISE. Idiot!

VALSIN [_pleasantly_]. I have lost count, but I think that is the
sixth idiot you have called me. Aha, it is only history, which one
admires for repeating itself. Good! Let us march. I shall play--[_He
picks up the "permit" from the desk, studies it absently, and looks
whimsically at her over his shoulder, continuing:_] I shall play
with--with all four of you.

ELOISE [_impulsively_]. Four?

VALSIN. I am not easy to deceive; there are four of you here.

ELOISE [_staring_]. So?

VALSIN. Louis brought you and his sister from Paris: a party of three.
This "permit" which he forged is for four; the original three and the
woman you mentioned a while ago, Eloise d'Anville. Hence she must have
joined you here. The deduction is plain: there are three people in
that room: the Emigrant, his sister, and this Eloise d'Anville. To the
trained mind such reasoning is simple.

ELOISE [_elated_]. Perfectly!

VALSIN [_with an air of cunning_]. Nothing escapes me. You see that.

ELOISE. At first glance! I make you my most profound compliments. Sir,
you are an eagle!

VALSIN [_smugly_]. Thanks. Now, then, pretty governess, you thought
this d'Anville might be able to help you. What put that in your head?

ELOISE [_with severity_]. Do you pretend not to know what she is?

VALSIN. A heroine I have had the misfortune never to encounter. But I
am informed of her character and history.

ELOISE [_sternly_]. Then you understand that even the Agent of the
National Committee risks his head if he dares touch people she chooses
to protect.

VALSIN [_extending his hand in plaintive appeal_]. Be generous to my
opacity. How could _she_ protect anybody?

ELOISE [_with condescension_]. She has earned the gratitude--

VALSIN. Of whom?

ELOISE [_superbly_]. Of the Nation!

VALSIN [_breaking out again_]. Ha, ha, ha! [_Clutching at his side._]
Pardon, oh, pardon, liver of mine. I must not die; my life is still

ELOISE [_persisting stormily_]. Of the People, stupidity! Of the whole
People, dolt! Of France, blockhead!

VALSIN [_with a violent effort, conquering his hilarity_]. There! I am
saved. Let us be solemn, my child; it is better for my malady. You are
still so young that one can instruct you that individuals are rarely
grateful; "the People," never. What you call "the People" means folk
who are not always sure of their next meal; therefore their great
political and patriotic question is the cost of food. Their heroes
are the champions who are going to make it cheaper; and when these
champions fail them or cease to be useful to them, then they either
forget these poor champions--or eat them. Let us hear what your Eloise
d'Anville has done to earn the reward of being forgotten instead of

ELOISE [_her lips quivering_]. She surrendered her property
voluntarily. She gave up all she owned to the Nation.

VALSIN [_genially_]. And immediately went to live with her relatives
in great luxury.

ELOISE [_choking_]. The Republic will protect her. She gave her whole

VALSIN. And the order for its confiscation was already written when
she did it.

ELOISE [_passionately_]. Ah--_liar!_

VALSIN [_smiling_]. I have seen the order. [_She leans against the
wall, breathing heavily. He goes on, smoothly._] Yes, this martyr
"gave" us her property; but one hears that she went to the opera just
the same and wore more jewels than ever, and lived richly upon the
Laseynes and Valny-Cheraults, until _they_ were confiscated. Why, all
the world knows about this woman; and let me tell you, to your credit,
my governess, I think you have a charitable heart: you are the only
person I ever heard speak kindly of her.

ELOISE [_setting her teeth_]. Venom!

VALSIN [_observing her slyly_]. It is with difficulty I am restraining
my curiosity to see her--also to hear her!--when she learns of her
proscription by a grateful Republic.

ELOISE [_with shrill mockery_]. Proscribed? Eloise d'Anville
proscribed? Your inventions should be more plausible, Goodman Spy! I
_knew_ you were lying--

VALSIN [_smiling_]. You do not believe--

ELOISE [_proudly_]. Eloise d'Anville is a known Girondist. The Gironde
is the real power in France.

VALSIN [_mildly_]. That party has fallen.

ELOISE [_with fire_]. Not far! It will revive.

VALSIN. Pardon, Citizeness, but you are behind the times, and they are
very fast nowadays--the times. The Gironde is dead.

ELOISE [_ominously_]. It may survive _you_, my friend. Take care!

VALSIN [_unimpressed_]. The Gironde had a grand façade, and that was
all. It was a party composed of amateurs and orators; and of course
there were some noisy camp-followers and a few comic-opera
vivandières, such as this d'Anville. In short, the Gironde looked
enormous because it was hollow. It was like a pie that is all crust.
We have tapped the crust--with a knife, Citizeness. There is nothing

ELOISE [_contemptuously_]. You say so. Nevertheless, the Rolands--

VALSIN [_gravely_]. Roland was found in a field yesterday; he had
killed himself. His wife was guillotined the day after you left Paris.
Every one of their political friends is proscribed.

ELOISE [_shaking as with bitter cold_]. It is a lie! Not Eloise

VALSIN [_rising_]. Would you like to see the warrant for her arrest?
[_He takes a packet of documents from his breast pocket, selects one,
and spreads it open before her._] Let me read you her description:
"Eloise d'Anville, aristocrat. Figure, comely. Complexion, blond.
Eyes, dark blue. Nose, straight. Mouth, wide--"

ELOISE [_in a burst of passion, striking the warrant a violent blow
with her clenched fist_]. Let them dare! [_Beside herself, she strikes
again, tearing the paper from his grasp. She stamps upon it._] Let
them dare, I say!

VALSIN [_picking up the warrant_]. Dare to say her mouth is wide?

ELOISE [_cyclonic_]. Dare to arrest her!

VALSIN. It does seem a pity. [_He folds the warrant slowly and
replaces it in his pocket._] Yes, a great pity. She was the one
amusing thing in all this somberness. She will be missed. The
Revolution will lack its joke.

ELOISE [_recoiling, her passion exhausted_]. Ah, infamy! [_She turns
from him, covering her face with her hands._]

VALSIN [_with a soothing gesture_]. Being only her friend, you speak
mildly. The d'Anville herself would call it blasphemy.

ELOISE [_with difficulty_]. She is--so vain--then?

VALSIN [_lightly_]. Oh, a type--an actress.

ELOISE [_her back to him_]. How do you know? You said--

VALSIN. That I had not encountered her. [_Glibly._] One knows best the
people one has never seen. Intimacy confuses judgment. I confess to
that amount of hatred for the former Marquis de Valny-Cherault that I
take as great an interest in all that concerns him as if I loved him.
And the little d'Anville concerns him--yes, almost one would say,
consumes him. The unfortunate man is said to be so blindly faithful
that he can speak her name without laughing.

ELOISE [_stunned_]. Oh!

VALSIN [_going on, cheerily_]. No one else can do that, Citizeness.
Jacobins, Cordeliers, Hébertists, even the shattered relics of the
Gironde itself, all alike join in the colossal laughter at this
Tricoteuse in Sèvres--this Jeanne d'Arc in rice-powder!

ELOISE [_tragically_]. They laugh--and proclaim her an outlaw!

VALSIN [_waving his hand carelessly_]. Oh, it is only that we are
sweeping up the last remnants of aristocracy, and she goes with the
rest--into the dust-heap. She should have remained a royalist; the
final spectacle might have had dignity. As it is, she is not of her
own class, not of ours: neither fish nor flesh nor--but yes, perhaps,
after all, she is a fowl.

ELOISE [_brokenly_]. Alas! Homing--with wounded wing! [_She sinks into
a chair with pathetic grace, her face in her hands._]

VALSIN [_surreptitiously grinning_]. Not at all what I meant.
[_Brutally._] Peacocks don't fly.

ELOISE [_regaining her feet at a bound_]. You imitation dandy! You--

VALSIN [_with benevolence_]. My dear, your indignation for your friend
is chivalrous. It is admirable; but she is not worth it. You do not
understand her: you have probably seen her so much that you have never
seen her as she is.

ELOISE [_witheringly_]. But you, august Zeus, having _never_ seen her,
will reveal her to me!

VALSIN [_smoothly urbane_]. If you have ears. You see, she is not
altogether unique, but of a variety known to men who are wise enough
to make a study of women.

ELOISE [_snapping out a short, loud laugh in his face_]. Pouff!

VALSIN [_unruffled_]. I profess myself an apprentice. The science
itself is but in its infancy. Women themselves understand very well
that they are to be classified, and they fear that we shall perceive
it: they do not really wish to be known. Yet it is coming; some day
our cyclopedists will have you sorted, classed, and defined with
precision; but the d'Alembert of the future will not be a woman,
because no woman so disloyal will ever be found. Men have to acquire
loyalty to their sex: yours is an instinct. Citizen governess, I will
give you a reading of the little d'Anville from this unwritten work.
To begin--

ELOISE [_feverishly interested, but affecting languor_]. _Must_ you?

VALSIN. To Eloise d'Anville the most interesting thing about a
rose-bush has always been that Eloise d'Anville could smell it.
Moonlight becomes important when it falls upon her face; sunset is
worthy when she grows rosy in it. To her mind, the universe was set in
motion to be the background for a decoration, and she is the
decoration. She believes that the cathedral was built for the fresco.
And when a dog interests her, it is because he would look well beside
her in a painting. Such dogs have no minds. I refer you to all the
dogs in the portraits of Beauties.

ELOISE [_not at all displeased; pretending carelessness_]. Ah, you
have heard that she is beautiful?

VALSIN. Far worse: that she is a Beauty. Let nothing ever tempt _you_,
my dear, into setting up in that line. For you are very
well-appearing, I assure you; and if you had been surrounded with all
the disadvantages of the d'Anville, who knows but that you might have
become as famous a Beauty as she? What makes a Beauty is not the
sumptuous sculpture alone, but a very peculiar arrogance--not in the
least arrogance of mind, my little governess. In this, your d'Anville
emerged from childhood full-panoplied indeed; and the feather-head
court fell headlong at her feet. It was the fated creature's ruin.

ELOISE [_placidly_]. And it is because of her beauty that you drag her
to the guillotine?

VALSIN. Bless you, I merely convey her!

ELOISE. Tell me, logician, was it not her beauty that inspired her to
give her property to the Nation?

VALSIN. It was.

ELOISE. What perception! I am faint with admiration. And no doubt it
was her beauty that made her a Republican?

VALSIN. What else?

ELOISE. Hail, oracle! [_She releases an arpeggio of satiric

VALSIN. That laugh is diaphanous. I see you through it, already
convinced. [_She stops laughing immediately._] Ha! we may proceed.
Remark this, governess: a Beauty is the living evidence of man's
immortality; the one plain proof that he has a soul.

ELOISE. It is not so bad then, after all?

VALSIN. It is utterly bad. But of all people a Beauty is most
conscious of her duality. Her whole life is based upon her absolute
knowledge that her Self and her body are two. She sacrifices all
things to her beauty because her beauty feeds her Self with a dreadful
food which it has made her unable to live without.

ELOISE. My little gentleman, you talk like a sentimental waiter. Your
metaphors are all hot from the kitchen.

VALSIN [_nettled_]. It is natural; unlike your Eloise, I am _really_
of "the People"--and starved much in my youth.

ELOISE. But, like her, you are still hungry.

VALSIN. A Beauty is a species of cannibal priestess, my dear. She will
make burnt-offerings of her father and her mother, her sisters--her
lovers--to her beauty, that it may in turn bring her the food she must
have or perish.

ELOISE. _Boum!_ [_She snaps her fingers._] And of course she bathes in
the blood of little children?

VALSIN [_grimly_]. Often.

ELOISE [_averting her gaze from his_]. This mysterious food--

VALSIN. Not at all mysterious. Sensation. There you have it. And that
is why Eloise d'Anville is a renegade. You understand perfectly.

ELOISE. You are too polite. No.

VALSIN [_gaily_]. Behold, then! Many women who are not Beauties are
beautiful, but in such women you do not always discover beauty at your
first glance: it is disclosed with a subtle tardiness. It does not
dazzle; it is reluctant; but it grows as you look again and again. You
get a little here, a little there, like glimpses of children hiding in
a garden. It is shy, and sometimes closed in from you altogether, and
then, unexpectedly, this belated loveliness springs into bloom before
your very eyes. It retains the capacity of surprise, the vital element
of charm. But the Beauty lays all waste before her at a stroke: it is
soon over. Thus your Eloise, brought to court, startled Versailles;
the sensation was overwhelming. Then Versailles got used to her, just
as it had to its other prodigies: the fountains were there, the King
was there, the d'Anville was there; and naturally, one had seen them;
saw them every day--one talked of matters less accepted. That was
horrible to Eloise. She had tasted; the appetite, once stirred, was
insatiable. At any cost she must henceforth have always the sensation
of being a sensation. She must be the pivot of a reeling world. So she
went into politics. Ah, Citizeness, there was one man who understood
Beauties--not Homer, who wrote of Helen! Romance is gallant by
profession, and Homer lied like a poet. For the truth about the Trojan
War is that the wise Ulysses made it, not because Paris stole Helen,
but because the Trojans were threatening to bring her back.

ELOISE [_unwarily_]. Who was the man that understood Beauties?

VALSIN. Bluebeard. [_He crosses the room to the dressing-table, leans
his back against it in an easy attitude, his elbows resting upon the

ELOISE [_slowly, a little tremulously_]. And so Eloise d'Anville
should have her head cut off?

VALSIN. Well, she thought she was in politics, didn't she?
[_Suavely._] You may be sure she thoroughly enjoyed her hallucination
that she was a great figure in the Revolution--which was cutting off
the heads of so many of her relatives and old friends! Don't waste
your pity, my dear.

ELOISE [_looking at him fixedly_]. Citizen, you must have thought a
great deal about my unhappy friend. She might be flattered by so
searching an interest.

VALSIN [_negligently_]. Not interest in her, governess, but in the
Emigrant who cools his heels on the other side of that door, greatly
to my enjoyment, waiting my pleasure to arrest him. The poor wretch is
the one remaining lover of this girl; faithful because he let his
passion for her become a habit; and he will never get over it until he
has had possession. She has made him suffer frightfully, but I shall
never forgive her for not having dealt him the final stroke. It would
have saved me all the bother I have been put to in avenging the injury
he did me.

ELOISE [_frowning_]. What "final stroke" could she have "dealt" him?

VALSIN [_with sudden vehement intensity_]. She could have loved him!
[_He strikes the table with his fist._] I see it! I see it! Beauty's
husband! [_Pounding the table with each exclamation, his voice rising
in excitement._] What a vision! This damned, proud, loving Louis, a
pomade bearer! A buttoner! An errand-boy to the perfumer's, to the
chemist's, to the milliner's! A groom of the powder-closet--

ELOISE [_snatching at the opportunity_]. How noisy you are!

VALSIN [_discomfited, apologetically_]. You see, it is only so lately
that we of "the People" have dared even to whisper. Of course, now
that we are free to shout, we overdo it. We let our voices out, we let
our joys out, we let our hates out. We let everything out--except our
prisoners! [_He smiles winningly._]

ELOISE [_slowly_]. Do you guess what all this bluster--this tirade
upon the wickedness of beauty--makes me think?

VALSIN. Certainly. Being a woman, you cannot imagine a bitterness
which is not "personal."

ELOISE [_laughing_]. "Being a woman," I think that the person who has
caused you the greatest suffering in your life must be very

VALSIN [_calmly_]. Quite right. It was precisely this d'Anville. I
will tell you. [_He sits on the arm of a chair near her, and continues
briskly._] I was not always a politician. Six years ago I was a
soldier in the Valny regiment of cavalry. That was the old army, that
droll army, that royal army; so ridiculous that it was truly majestic.
In the Valny regiment we had some rouge-pots for officers--and for a
colonel, who but our Emigrant yonder! Aha! we suffered in the ranks,
let me tell you, when Eloise had been coy; and one morning it was my
turn. You may have heard that she was betrothed first to Louis and
later to several others? My martyrdom occurred the day after she had
announced to the court her betrothal to the young Duc de Creil, whose
father afterward interfered. Louis put us on drill in a hard rain: he
had the habit of relieving his chagrin like that. My horse fell, and
happened to shower our commander with mud. Louis let out all his rage
upon me: it was an excuse, and, naturally, he disliked mud. But I was
rolling in it, with my horse: I also disliked it--and I was indiscreet
enough to attempt some small reply. That finished my soldiering,
Citizeness. He had me tied to a post before the barracks for the rest
of the day. I remember with remarkable distinctness that the valets
of heaven had neglected to warm the rain for that bath; that it was
February; and that Louis's orders had left me nothing to wear upon my
back except an unfulsome descriptive placard and my modesty.
Altogether it was a disadvantageous position, particularly for the
exchange of repartee with such of my comrades as my youthful
amiability had not endeared; I have seldom seen more cheerful
indifference to bad weather. Inclement skies failed to injure the
spectacle: it was truly the great performance of my career; some
people would not even go home to eat, and peddlers did a good trade in
cakes and wine. In the evening they whipped me conscientiously--my
tailor has never since made me an entirely comfortable coat. Then they
gave me the place of honor at the head of a procession by torchlight
and drummed me out of camp with my placard upon my back. So I adopted
another profession: I had a friend who was a doctor in the stables of
d'Artois; and I knew horses. He made me his assistant.

ELOISE [_shuddering_]. You are a veterinarian!

VALSIN [_smiling_]. No; a horse-doctor. It was thus I "retired" from
the army and became a politician. My friend was only a horse-doctor
himself, but his name happened to be Marat.

ELOISE. Ah, frightful! [_For the first time she begins to feel genuine

VALSIN. The sequence is simple. If Eloise d'Anville hadn't coquetted
with young Creil I shouldn't be Commissioner here to-day, settling my
account with Louis. I am in his debt for more than the beating: I
should tell you there was a woman in my case, a slender lace-maker
with dark eyes--very pretty eyes. She had furnished me with a rival, a
corporal; and he brought her for a stroll in the rain past our
barracks that day when I was attracting so much unsought attention.
They waited for the afterpiece, enjoyed a pasty and a bottle of
Beaune, and went away laughing cozily together. I did not see my
pretty lace-maker again, not for years--not until a month ago. Her
corporal was still with her, and it was their turn to be undesirably
conspicuous. They were part of a procession passing along the Rue St.
Honoré on its way to the Place of the Revolution. They were standing
up in the cart; the lace-maker had grown fat, and she was scolding her
poor corporal bitterly. What a habit that must have been!--they were
not five minutes from the guillotine. I own that a thrill of
gratitude to Louis temporarily softened me toward him, though at the
very moment I was following him through the crowd. At least he saved
me from the lace-maker!

ELOISE [_shrinking from him_]. You are horrible!

VALSIN. To my regret you must find me more and more so.

ELOISE [_panting_]. You _are_ going to take us back to Paris, then? To
the Tribunal--and to the--[_She covers her eyes with her hands._]

VALSIN [_gravely_]. I can give you no comfort, governess. You are
involved with the Emigrant, and, to be frank, I am going to do as
horrible things to Louis as I can invent--and I am an ingenious man.
[_His manner becomes sinister._] I am near the top. The cinders of
Marat are in the Pantheon, but Robespierre still flames; and he claims
me as his friend. I can do what I will. And I have much in store for
Louis before he shall be so fortunate as to die!

ELOISE [_faintly_]. And--and Eloise--d'Anville? [_Her hands fall from
her face: he sees large, beautiful tears upon her cheeks._]

VALSIN [_coldly_]. Yes. [_She is crushed for the moment; then,
recovering herself with a violent effort, lifts her head defiantly and
stands erect, facing him._]

ELOISE. You take her head because your officer punished you, six years
ago, for a breach of military discipline!

VALSIN [_in a lighter tone_]. Oh no. I take it, just as she injured
me--incidentally. In truth, Citizeness, it isn't I who take it: I only
arrest her because the government has proscribed her.

ELOISE. And you've just finished telling me you were preparing
tortures for her! I thought you an intelligent man. Pah! You're only a
gymnast. [_She turns away from him haughtily and moves toward the

VALSIN [_touching his scarf of office_]. True. I climb. [_She halts
suddenly, as if startled by this; she stands as she is, her back to
him, for several moments, and does not change her attitude when she

ELOISE [_slowly_]. You climb alone.

VALSIN [_with a suspicious glance at her_]. Yes--alone.

ELOISE [_in a low voice_]. Why didn't you take the lace-maker with
you? You might have been happier. [_Very slowly she turns and comes
toward him, her eyes full upon his: she moves deliberately and with
incomparable grace. He seems to be making an effort to look away, and
failing: he cannot release his eyes from the glorious and starry
glamour that holds them. She comes very close to him, so close that
she almost touches him._]

ELOISE [_in a half-whisper_]. You might have been happier with--a
friend--to climb with you.

VALSIN [_demoralized_]. Citizeness--I am--I--

ELOISE [_in a voice of velvet_]. Yes, Say it. You are--

VALSIN [_desperately_]. I have told you that I am the most susceptible
of men.

ELOISE [_impulsively putting her hand on his shoulder_]. Is it a
crime? Come, my friend, you are a man who _does_ climb: you will go
over all. You believe in the Revolution because you have used it to
lift you. But other things can help you, too. Don't you need them?

VALSIN [_understanding perfectly, gasping_]. Need what? [_She draws
her hand from his shoulder, moves back from him slightly, and crosses
her arms upon her bosom with a royal meekness._]

ELOISE [_grandly_]. Do I seem so useless?

VALSIN [_in a distracted voice_]. Heaven help me! What do you want?

ELOISE. Let these people go. [_Hurriedly, leaning near him._] I have
promised to save them: give them their permit to embark, and I--[_She
pauses, flushing beautifully, but does not take her eyes from him._]
I--I do not wish to leave France. My place is in Paris. You will go
into the National Committee. You can be its ruler. You _will_ rule it!
I believe in you! [_Glowing like a rose of fire._] I will go with you.
I will help you! I will marry you!

VALSIN [_in a fascinated whisper_]. Good Lord! [_He stumbles back from
her, a strange light in his eyes._]

ELOISE. You are afraid--

VALSIN [_with sudden loudness_]. I am! Upon my soul, I am afraid!

ELOISE [_smiling gloriously upon him_]. Of what, my friend? Tell me of

VALSIN [_explosively_]. Of myself! I am afraid of myself because I am
a prophet. This is precisely what I foretold to myself you would do!
I knew it, yet I am aghast when it happens--aghast at my own

ELOISE [_bewildered to blankness_]. What?

VALSIN [_half hysterical with outrageous vanity_]. I swear I knew it,
and it fits so exactly that I am afraid of myself! _Aha_, Valsin, you
rogue! I should hate to have you on _my_ track! Citizen governess, you
are a wonderful person, but not so wonderful as this devil of a

ELOISE [_vaguely, in a dead voice_]. I cannot understand what you are
talking about. Do you mean--

VALSIN. And what a spell was upon me! I was near calling Dossonville
to preserve me.

ELOISE [_speaking with a strange naturalness, like a child's_]. You
mean--you don't want me?

VALSIN. Ah, Heaven help me, I am going to laugh again! Oh, ho, ho! I
am spent! [_He drops into a chair and gives way to another attack of
uproarious hilarity._] Ah, ha, ha, ha! Oh, my liver, ha, ha! No,
Citizeness, I do not want you! Oh, ha, ha, ha!

ELOISE. _Oh!_ [_She utters a choked scream and rushes at him._] Swine!

VALSIN [_warding her off with outstretched hands_]. Spare me! Ha, ha,
ha! I am helpless! Ho, ho, ho! Citizeness, it would not be worth your
while to strangle a man who is already dying!

ELOISE [_beside herself_]. Do you dream that I _meant_ it?

VALSIN [_feebly_]. Meant to strangle me?

ELOISE [_frantic_]. To give myself to you!

VALSIN. In short, to--to marry me! [_He splutters._]

ELOISE [_furiously_]. It was a ruse--

VALSIN [_soothingly_]. Yes, yes, a trick. I saw that all along.

ELOISE [_even more infuriated_]. For their sake, beast! [_She points
to the other room._] To save _them_!

VALSIN [_wiping his eyes_]. Of course, of course. [_He rises, stepping
quickly to the side of the chair away from her and watching her
warily._] _I_ knew it was to save them. We'll put it like that.

ELOISE [_in an anger of exasperation_]. It _was_ that!

VALSIN. Yes, yes. [_Keeping his distance._] I saw it from the first.
[_Suppressing symptoms of returning mirth._] It was perfectly plain.
You mustn't excite yourself--nothing could have been clearer! [_A
giggle escapes him, and he steps hastily backward as she advances upon

ELOISE. Poodle! Valet! Scum of the alleys! Sheep of the prisons!
Jailer! Hangman! Assassin! Brigand! _Horse-doctor!_ [_She hurls the
final epithet at him in a climax of ferocity which wholly exhausts
her; and she sinks into the chair by the desk, with her arms upon the
desk and her burning face hidden in her arms. VALSIN, morbidly
chuckling, in spite of himself, at each of her insults, has retreated
farther and farther, until he stands with his back against the door of
the inner room, his right hand behind him, resting on the latch. As
her furious eyes leave him he silently opens the door, letting it
remain a few inches ajar and keeping his back to it. Then, satisfied
that what he intends to say will be overheard by those within, he
erases all expression from his face, and strides to the dismantled
doorway in the passage._]

VALSIN [_calling loudly_]. Dossonville! [_He returns, coming down
briskly to ELOISE. His tone is crisp and soldier-like._] Citizeness, I
have had my great hour. I proceed with the arrests. I have given you
four plenty of time to prepare yourselves. Time? Why, the Emigrant
could have changed clothes with one of the women in there a dozen
times if he had hoped to escape in that fashion--as historical
prisoners _have_ won clear, it is related. Fortunately, that is
impossible just now; and he will not dare to attempt it.

DOSSONVILLE [_appearing in the hallway_]. Present, my chieftain!

VALSIN [_sharply_]. Attend, Dossonville. The returned Emigrant,
Valny-Cherault, is forfeited; but because I cherish a special
grievance against him, I have decided upon a special punishment for
him. It does not please me that he should have the comfort and
ministrations of loving women on his journey to the Tribunal. No, no;
the presence of his old sweetheart would make even the scaffold sweet
to him. Therefore I shall take him alone. I shall let these women go.

DOSSONVILLE. What refinement! Admirable! [_ELOISE slowly rises,
staring incredulously at VALSIN._]

VALSIN [_picking up the "permit" from the desk_]. "Permit the Citizen
Balsage and his sister, the Citizeness Virginie Balsage, and his
second sister, Marie Balsage, and Eloise d'Anville--" Ha! You see,
Dossonville, since one of these three women is here, there are two in
the other room with the Emigrant. They are to come out, leaving him
there. First, however, we shall disarm him. You and I have had
sufficient experience in arresting aristocrats to know that they are
not always so sensible as to give themselves up peaceably, and I
happened to see the outline of a pistol under the Emigrant's frock the
other day in the diligence. We may as well save one of us from a
detestable hole through the body. [_He steps toward the door, speaking
sharply._] Emigrant, you have heard. For your greater chagrin, these
three devoted women are to desert you. Being an aristocrat, you will
pretend to prefer this arrangement. They are to leave at once. Throw
your pistol into this room, and I will agree not to make the arrest
until they are in safety. They can reach your vessel in five minutes.
When they have gone, I give you my word not to open this door for ten.
[_A pistol is immediately thrown out of the door, and falls at
VALSIN's feet. He picks it up, his eyes alight with increasing

VALSIN [_tossing the pistol to DOSSONVILLE_]. Call the lieutenant.
[_DOSSONVILLE goes to the window, leans out, and beckons. VALSIN
writes hastily at the desk, not sitting down._] "Permit the three
women Balsage to embark without delay upon the _Jeune Pierrette_.
Signed: Valsin." There, Citizeness, is a "permit" which permits. [_He
thrusts the paper into the hand of ELOISE, swings toward the door of
the inner room, and raps loudly upon it._] Come, my feminines! Your
sailors await you--brave, but no judges of millinery. There's a fair
wind for you; and a grand toilet is wasted at sea. Come, charmers;
come! [_The door is half opened, and MADAME DE LASEYNE, white and
trembling violently, enters quickly, shielding as much as she can the
inexpressibly awkward figure of her brother, behind whom she extends
her hand, closing the door sharply. He wears the brocaded skirt which
MADAME DE LASEYNE has taken from the portmanteau, and ELOISE's long
mantle, the lifted hood and MADAME DE LASEYNE's veil shrouding his
head and face._]

VALSIN [_in a stifled voice_]. At last! At last one beholds the regal
d'Anville! No Amazon--

DOSSONVILLE [_aghast_]. It looks like--

VALSIN [_shouting_]. It doesn't! [_He bows gallantly to LOUIS._] A
cruel veil, but, oh, what queenly grace! [_LOUIS stumbles in the
skirt. VALSIN falls back, clutching at his side. But ELOISE rushes to
LOUIS and throws herself upon her knees at his feet. She pulls his
head down to hers and kisses him through the veil._]

VALSIN [_madly_]. Oh, touching devotion! Oh, sisters! Oh, love! Oh,
honey! Oh, petticoats--

DOSSONVILLE [_interrupting humbly_]. The lieutenant, Citizen
Commissioner. [_He points to the hallway, where the officer appears,
standing at attention._]

VALSIN [_wheeling_]. Officer, conduct these three persons to the quay.
Place them on board the _Jeune Pierrette_. The captain will weigh
anchor instantly. [_The officer salutes._]

ANNE [_hoarsely to LOUIS, who is lifting the weeping ELOISE to her
feet_]. Quick! In the name of--

VALSIN. Off with you! [_MADAME DE LASEYNE seizes the portmanteau and
rushes to the broken doorway, half dragging the others with her. They
go out in a tumultuous hurry, followed by the officer. ELOISE sends
one last glance over her shoulder at VALSIN as she disappears, and one
word of concentrated venom:_ "Buffoon!" _In wild spirits he blows a
kiss to her. The fugitives are heard clattering madly down the

DOSSONVILLE [_excitedly_]. We can take the Emigrant now. [_Going to
the inner door._] Why wait--

VALSIN. That room is empty.


VALSIN [_shouting with laughter_]. He's gone! Not bare-backed, but in
petticoats: that's worse! He's gone, I tell you! The other was the

DOSSONVILLE. Then you recog--

VALSIN. Imbecile, she's as well known as the Louvre! They're off on
their honeymoon! She'll take him now! She will! She will, on the soul
of a prophet! [_He rushes to the window and leans far out, shouting at
the top of his voice:_] _Quits with you, Louis! Quits! Quits!_ [_He
falls back from the window and relapses into a chair, cackling

DOSSONVILLE [_hoarse with astonishment_]. You've let him go! You've
let 'em _all_ go!

VALSIN [_weak with laughter_]. Well, _you're_ not going to inform.
[_With a sudden reversion to extreme seriousness, he levels a sinister
forefinger at his companion._] And, also, take care of your health,
friend; remember constantly that you have a weak throat, _and don't
you ever mention this to my wife_! These are bad times, my
Dossonville, and neither you nor I will see the end of them. Good
Lord! Can't we have a little fun as we go along? [_A fresh convulsion
seizes him, and he rocks himself pitiably in his chair._]





_Performance Free_

Ernest Christopher Dowson, now generally known simply as Ernest
Dowson, was born at the Grove, Belmont Hill, Lee, Kent, August 2,
1867, and died in London thirty-three years later. His schooling,
because of his delicate health, was irregular, and he spent too short
a time at Queen's College, Oxford, to take a degree. He lived abroad
much, but during his sojourns in London in the 'nineties belonged to
the Rhymer's Club[26] that met in an upper room of Johnson's own
"Cheshire Cheese." His death from consumption brought to a close a
life marred by waste and sordid associations.

         [Footnote 26: Yeats has commemorated this club in the
         following lines in his poem, _The Grey Rock_:

           "Poets with whom I learned my trade,
            Companions of the Cheshire Cheese."]

_The Pierrot of the Minute_, Ernest Dowson's only dramatic attempt, is
touched like the preceding play with the glamour of the old régime.
Its charming artificiality suggests the pastoral games to which the
ladies and gentlemen of Louis XV's circle may have turned for relief
after the formalities and extravagances of their life at court.

Dowson's play, written in 1892, is mentioned in one of his letters,
dated October twenty-fourth of that year: "I have been frightfully
busy," he wrote, "having rashly undertaken to make a little Pierrot
play in verse ... which is to be played at Aldershot and afterwards at
the Chelsea Town Hall: the article to be delivered in a fortnight. So
until this period of mental agony is past, I can go nowhere." Anyone
who has ever had to write something that had to be ready on a certain
date will understand the quality of Dowson's emotion in this letter.

A recent critic who has studied the literary fashions of the group to
which Dowson belonged and found that the members were addicted to the
frequent use of the adjective, white, says: "Ernest Dowson was
dominated by a sense of whiteness.... _The Pierrot of the Minute_ is a
veritable symphony in white. He calls for 'white music' and the Moon
Maiden rides through the skies 'drawn by a team of milk-white
butterflies,' and farther on in the same poem we have a palace of many

  "'Within the fairest, clad in purity,
    Our mother dwelt immemorially:
    Moon-calm, moon-pale, with moon-stones on her gown,
    The floor she treads with little pearls is sown....'"

When the play was given in this country at the McCallum Theatre at
Northampton, Massachusetts, it was "staged in black and white, the
garden set having black walls on which fantastic white forms were
stenciled. The bench, the statue, and Pierrot and his lady love were
in white. To have tried to depict a real garden would have crowded the
small stage, so a garden was suggested, and by suggestion caught the
spirit of the piece."[27]

         [Footnote 27: Constance D'Arcy Mackay, _The Little Theatre in
         the United States_, New York, 1917, p. 97.]

Granville Bantock, the English musician, composed _The Pierrot of the
Minute_. _A Comedy Overture to a Dramatic Phantasy by Ernest Dowson_,
which he conducted at the Worcester Festival in 1908. This music in
whole or part may be used in connection with a production of Dowson's




_SCENE._--_A glade in the Parc du Petit Trianon. In the center a Doric
temple with steps coming down the stage. On the left a little Cupid on
a pedestal. Twilight._

_Enter PIERROT with his hands full of lilies. He is burdened with a
little basket. He stands gazing at the Temple and the Statue._


  My journey's end! This surely is the glade
  Which I was promised: I have well obeyed!
  A clue of lilies was I bid to find,
  Where the green alleys most obscurely wind;
  Where tall oaks darkliest canopy o'erhead,
  And moss and violet make the softest bed;
  Where the path ends, and leagues behind me lie
  The gleaming courts and gardens of Versailles;
  The lilies streamed before me, green and white;
  I gathered, following: they led me right,
  To the bright temple and the sacred grove:
  This is, in truth, the very shrine of Love!

[_He gathers together his flowers and lays them at the foot of Cupid's
statue; then he goes timidly up the first steps of the temple and

  It is so solitary, I grow afraid.
  Is there no priest here, no devoted maid?
  Is there no oracle, no voice to speak,
  Interpreting to me the word I seek?

[_A very gentle music of lutes floats out from the temple. PIERROT
starts back; he shows extreme surprise; then he returns to the
foreground, and crouches down in rapt attention until the music
ceases. His face grows puzzled and petulant._]

  Too soon! too soon! in that enchanting strain,
  Days yet unlived, I almost lived again:
  It almost taught me that I most would know--
  Why am I here, and why am I Pierrot?

[_Absently he picks up a lily which has fallen to the ground, and

  Why came I here, and why am I Pierrot?
  That music and this silence both affright;
  Pierrot can never be a friend of night.
  I never felt my solitude before--
  Once safe at home, I will return no more.
  Yet the commandment of the scroll was plain;
  While the light lingers let me read again.

[_He takes a scroll from his bosom and reads._]

  "_He loves to-night who never loved before;
  Who ever loved, to-night shall love once more._"
  _I_ never loved! I know not what love is.
  I am so ignorant--but what is this?


  "_Who would adventure to encounter Love
  Must rest one night within this hallowed grove.
  Cast down thy lilies, which have led thee on,
  Before the tender feet of Cupidon._"
  Thus much is done, the night remains to me.
  Well, Cupidon, be my security!
  Here is more writing, but too faint to read.

[_He puzzles for a moment, then casts the scroll down._]

  Hence, vain old parchment. I have learnt thy rede!

[_He looks round uneasily, starts at his shadow; then discovers his
basket with glee. He takes out a flask of wine, pours it into a glass,
and drinks._]

  _Courage, mon Ami!_ I shall never miss
  Society with such a friend as this.
  How merrily the rosy bubbles pass,
  Across the amber crystal of the glass.
  I had forgotten you. Methinks this quest
  Can wake no sweeter echo in my breast.

[_Looks round at the statue, and starts._]

  Nay, little god! forgive. I did but jest.

[_He fills another glass, and pours it upon the statue._]

  This libation, Cupid, take,
    With the lilies at thy feet;
  Cherish Pierrot for their sake,
    Send him visions strange and sweet,
  While he slumbers at thy feet.
    Only love kiss him awake!
      _Only love kiss him awake!_

[_Slowly falls the darkness, soft music plays, while PIERROT gathers
together fern and foliage into a rough couch at the foot of the steps
which lead to the Temple d'Amour. Then he lies down upon it, having
made his prayer. It is night. He speaks softly._]

  Music, more music, far away and faint:
  It is an echo of mine heart's complaint.
  Why should I be so musical and sad?
  I wonder why I used to be so glad?
  In single glee I chased blue butterflies,
  Half butterfly myself, but not so wise,
  For they were twain, and I was only one.
  Ah me! how pitiful to be alone.
  My brown birds told me much, but in mine ear
  They never whispered this--I learned it here:
  The soft wood sounds, the rustlings in the breeze,
  Are but the stealthy kisses of the trees.
  Each flower and fern in this enchanted wood
  Leans to her fellow, and is understood;
  The eglantine, in loftier station set,
  Stoops down to woo the maidly violet.
  In gracile pairs the very lilies grow:
  None is companionless except Pierrot.
  Music, more music! how its echoes steal
  Upon my senses with unlooked for weal.
  Tired am I, tired, and far from this lone glade
  Seems mine old joy in rout and masquerade.
  Sleep cometh over me, now will I prove,
  By Cupid's grace, what is this thing called love.


[_There is more music of lutes for an interval, during which a bright
radiance, white and cold, streams from the temple upon the face of
PIERROT. Presently a MOON MAIDEN steps out of the temple; she descends
and stands over the sleeper._]


  Who is this mortal
    Who ventures to-night
  To woo an immortal?
    Cold, cold the moon's light,
  For sleep at this portal,
    Bold lover of night.
  Fair is the mortal
    In soft, silken white,
  Who seeks an immortal.
    Ah, lover of night,
  Be warned at the portal,
    And save thee in flight!

[_She stoops over him: PIERROT stirs in his sleep._]

PIERROT [_murmuring_].

  Forget not, Cupid. Teach me all thy lore:
  "_He loves to-night who never loved before._"


  Unwitting boy! when, be it soon or late,
  What Pierrot ever has escaped his fate?
  What if I warned him! He might yet evade,
  Through the long windings of this verdant glade;
  Seek his companions in the blither way,
  Which, else, must be as lost as yesterday.
  So might he still pass some unheeding hours
  In the sweet company of birds and flowers.
  How fair he is, with red lips formed for joy,
  As softly curved as those of Venus' boy.
  Methinks his eyes, beneath their silver sheaves,
  Rest tranquilly like lilies under leaves.
  Arrayed in innocence, what touch of grace
  Reveals the scion of a courtly race?
  Well, I will warn him, though, I fear, too late--
  What Pierrot ever has escaped his fate?
  But, see, he stirs, new knowledge fires his brain,
  And Cupid's vision bids him wake again.
  Dione's Daughter! but how fair he is,
  Would it be wrong to rouse him with a kiss?

[_She stoops down and kisses him, then withdraws into the shadow._]

PIERROT [_rubbing his eyes_].

  Celestial messenger! remain, remain;
  Or, if a vision, visit me again!
  What is this light, and whither am I come
  To sleep beneath the stars so far from home?

[_Rises slowly to his feet._]

  Stay, I remember this is Venus' Grove,
  And I am hither come to encounter ----

THE LADY [_coming forward, but veiled_].

PIERROT [_in ecstasy, throwing himself at her feet_].

  Then have I ventured and encountered Love?


  Not yet, rash boy! and, if thou wouldst be wise,
  Return unknowing; he is safe who flies.


  Never, sweet lady, will I leave this place
  Until I see the wonder of thy face.
  Goddess or Naiad! lady of this Grove,
  Made mortal for a night to teach me love,
  Unveil thyself, although thy beauty be
  Too luminous for my mortality.

THE LADY [_unveiling_].

  Then, foolish boy, receive at length thy will:
  Now knowest thou the greatness of thine ill.


  Now have I lost my heart, and gained my goal.


  Didst thou not read the warning on the scroll?

[_Picks up the parchment._]


  I read it all, as on this quest I fared,
  Save where it was illegible and hard.


  Alack! poor scholar, wast thou never taught
  A little knowledge serveth less than naught?
  Hadst thou perused ---- but, stay, I will explain
  What was the writing which thou didst disdain.


  "_Au Petit Trianon_, at night's full noon,
  Mortal, beware the kisses of the moon!
  Whoso seeks her she gathers like a flower--
  He gives a life, and only gains an hour."

PIERROT [_laughing recklessly_].

  Bear me away to thine enchanted bower,
  All of my life I venture for an hour.


  Take up thy destiny of short delight;
  I am thy lady for a summer's night.
  Lift up your viols, maidens of my train,
  And work such havoc on this mortal's brain
  That for a moment he may touch and know
  Immortal things, and be full Pierrot.
  White music, Nymphs! Violet and Eglantine!
  To stir his tired veins like magic wine.
  What visitants across his spirit glance,
  Lying on lilies, while he watch me dance?
  Watch, and forget all weary things of earth,
  All memories and cares, all joy and mirth,
  While my dance woos him, light and rhythmical,
  And weaves his heart into my coronal.
  Music, more music for his soul's delight:
  Love is his lady for a summer's night.

[_PIERROT reclines, and gazes at her while she dances. The dance
finished, she beckons to him: he rises dreamily, and stands at her


  Whence came, dear Queen, such magic melody?


  Pan made it long ago in Arcady.


  I heard it long ago, I know not where,
  As I knew thee, or ever I came here.
  But I forget all things--my name and race
  All that I ever knew except thy face.
  Who art thou, lady? Breathe a name to me,
  That I may tell it like a rosary.
  Thou, whom I sought, dear Dryad of the trees,
  How art thou designate--art thou Heart's-Ease?


  Waste not the night in idle questioning,
  Since Love departs at dawn's awakening.


  Nay, thou art right; what recks thy name or state,
  Since thou art lovely and compassionate.
  Play out thy will on me: I am thy lyre.


  I am to each the face of his desire.


  I am not Pierrot, but Venus' dove,
  Who craves a refuge on the breast of love.


  What wouldst thou of the maiden of the moon?
  Until the cock crow I may grant thy boon.


  Then, sweet Moon Maiden, in some magic car,
  Wrought wondrously of many a homeless star--
  Such must attend thy journeys through the skies,--
  Drawn by a team of milk-white butterflies,
  Whom, with soft voice and music of thy maids,
  Thou urgest gently through the heavenly glades;
  Mount me beside thee, bear me far away
  From the low regions of the solar day;
  Over the rainbow, up into the moon,
  Where is thy palace and thine opal throne;
  There on thy bosom ----


                        Too ambitious boy!
  I did but promise thee one hour of joy.
  This tour thou plannest, with a heart so light,
  Could hardly be completed in a night.
  Hast thou no craving less remote than this?


  Would it be impudent to beg a kiss?


  I say not that: yet prithee have a care!
  Often audacity has proved a snare.
  How wan and pale do moon-kissed roses grow--
  Dost thou not fear my kisses, Pierrot?


  As one who faints upon the Libyan plain
  Fears the oasis which brings life again!


  Where far away green palm trees seem to stand
  May be a mirage of the wreathing sand.


  Nay, dear enchantress, I consider naught,
  Save mine own ignorance, which would be taught.


  Dost thou persist?

                    I do entreat this boon!

[_She bends forward, their lips meet: she withdraws with a petulant
shiver. She utters a peal of clear laughter._]


  Why art thou pale, fond lover of the moon?


  Cold are thy lips, more cold than I can tell;
  Yet would I hang on them, thine icicle!
  Cold is thy kiss, more cold than I could dream
  Arctus sits, watching the Boreal stream:
  But with its frost such sweetness did conspire
  That all my veins are filled with running fire;
  Never I knew that life contained such bliss
  As the divine completeness of a kiss.


  Apt scholar! so love's lesson has been taught,
  Warning, as usual, has gone for naught.


  Had all my schooling been of this soft kind,
  To play the truant I were less inclined.
  Teach me again! I am a sorry dunce--
  I never knew a task by conning once.


  Then come with me! below this pleasant shrine
  Of Venus we will presently recline,
  Until birds' twitter beckon me away
  To my own home, beyond the milky-way.
  I will instruct thee, for I deem as yet
  Of Love thou knowest but the alphabet.


  In its sweet grammar I shall grow most wise,
  If all its rules be written in thine eyes.

[_THE LADY sits upon a step of the temple, and PIERROT leans upon his
elbow at her feet, regarding her._]

  Sweet contemplation! how my senses yearn
  To be thy scholar always, always learn.
  Hold not so high from me thy radiant mouth,
  Fragrant with all the spices of the South;
  Nor turn, O sweet! thy golden face away,
  For with it goes the light of all my day.
  Let me peruse it, till I know by rote
  Each line of it, like music, note by note;
  Raise thy long lashes, Lady! smile again:
  These studies profit me.

[_Takes her hand._]

                          Refrain, refrain!

PIERROT [_with passion_].

  I am but studious, so do not stir;
  Thou art my star, I thine astronomer!
  Geometry was founded on thy lip.

[_Kisses her hand._]


  This attitude becomes not scholarship!
  Thy zeal I praise; but, prithee, not so fast,
  Nor leave the rudiments until the last,
  Science applied is good, but 'twere a schism
  To study such before the catechism.
  Bear thee more modestly, while I submit
  Some easy problems to confirm thy wit.


  In all humility my mind I pit
  Against her problems which would test my wit.

THE LADY [_questioning him from a little book bound deliciously in

        What is Love?
  Is it a folly,
  Is it mirth, or melancholy?
        Joys above,
  Are there many, or not any?
            What is love?

PIERROT [_answering in a very humble attitude of scholarship_].

      If you please,
  A most sweet folly!
  Full of mirth and melancholy:
      Both of these!
  In its sadness worth all gladness,
      If you please!


      Prithee where,
  Goes Love a-hiding?
  Is he long in his abiding
  Can you bind him when you find him;
      Prithee, where?


      With spring days
  Love comes and dallies:
  Upon the mountains, through the valleys
      Lie Love's ways.
  Then he leaves you and deceives you
      In spring days.


  Thine answers please me: 'tis thy turn to ask.
  To meet thy questioning be now my task.


  Since I know thee, dear Immortal,
  Is my heart become a blossom,
  To be worn upon thy bosom.
  When thou turn me from this portal,
  Whither shall I, hapless mortal,
  Seek love out and win again
  Heart of me that thou retain?


  In and out the woods and valleys,
  Circling, soaring like a swallow,
  Love shall flee and thou shalt follow:
  Though he stops awhile and dallies,
  Never shalt thou stay his malice!
  Moon-kissed mortals seek in vain
  To possess their hearts again!


  Tell me, Lady, shall I never
  Rid me of this grievous burden?
  Follow Love and find his guerdon
  In no maiden whatsoever?
  Wilt thou hold my heart for ever?
  Rather would I thine forget,
  In some earthly Pierrette!


  Thus thy fate, what'er thy will is!
  Moon-struck child, go seek my traces
  Vainly in all mortal faces!
  In and out among the lilies,
  Court each rural Amaryllis:
  Seek the signet of Love's hand
  In each courtly Corisande!


  Now, verily, sweet maid, of school I tire:
  These answers are not such as I desire.


  Why art thou sad?

                   I dare not tell.

THE LADY [_caressingly_].
                                   Come, say!


  Is love all schooling, with no time to play?


  Though all love's lessons be a holiday,
  Yet I will humor thee: what wouldst thou play?


  What are the games that small moon-maids enjoy,
  Or is their time all spent in staid employ?


  Sedate they are, yet games they much enjoy:
  They skip with stars, the rainbow is their toy.


  That is too hard!

                   For mortal's play.

                                      What then?


  Teach me some pastime from the world of men.


  I have it, maiden.

                    Can it soon be taught?


  A single game, I learnt it at the Court.
  I sit by thee.

                But, prithee, not so near.


  That is essential, as will soon appear.
  Lay here thine hand, which cold night dews anoint,
  Washing its white ----

                       Now is this to the point?


  Prithee, forebear! Such is the game's design.


  Here is my hand.

                  I cover it with mine.


  What must I next?

[_They play._]


                            It goes too fast.

[_They continue playing, until PIERROT catches her hand._]

PIERROT [_laughing_].

  'Tis done. I win my forfeit at the last.

[_He tries to embrace her. She escapes; he chases her round the stage;
she eludes him._]


  Thou art not quick enough. Who hopes to catch
  A moon-beam, must use twice as much despatch.

PIERROT [_sitting down sulkily_].

  I grow aweary, and my heart is sore.
  Thou dost not love me; I will play no more.

[_He buries his face in his hands. THE LADY stands over him._]


  What is this petulance?

                         'Tis quick to tell--
  Thou hast but mocked me.

                          Nay! I love thee well!


  Repeat those words, for still within my breast
  A whisper warns me they are said in jest.


  I jested not: at daybreak I must go,
  Yet loving thee far better than thou know.


  Then, by this altar, and this sacred shrine,
  Take my sworn troth, and swear thee wholly mine!
  The gods have wedded mortals long ere this.


  There was enough betrothal in my kiss.
  What need of further oaths?

                             That bound not thee!


  Peace! since I tell thee that it may not be.
  But sit beside me whilst I soothe thy bale
  With some moon fancy or celestial tale.


  Tell me of thee, and that dim, happy place
  Where lies thine home, with maidens of thy race!

THE LADY [_seating herself_].

  Calm is it yonder, very calm; the air
  For mortals' breath is too refined and rare;
  Hard by a green lagoon our palace rears
  Its dome of agate through a myriad years.
  A hundred chambers its bright walls enthrone,
  Each one carved strangely from a precious stone.
  Within the fairest, clad in purity,
  Our mother dwelleth immemorially:
  Moon-calm, moon-pale, with moon stones on her gown,
  The floor she treads with little pearls is sown;
  She sits upon a throne of amethysts,
  And orders mortal fortunes as she lists;
  I, and my sisters, all around her stand,
  And, when she speaks, accomplish her demand.


  Methought grim Clotho and her sisters twain
  With shriveled fingers spun this web of bane!


  Theirs and my mother's realm is far apart;
  Hers is the lustrous kingdom of the heart,
  And dreamers all, and all who sing and love,
  Her power acknowledge, and her rule approve.


  Me, even me, she hath led into this grove.


  Yea, thou art one of hers! But, ere this night,
  Often I watched my sisters take their flight
  Down heaven's stairway of the clustered stars
  To gaze on mortals through their lattice bars;
  And some in sleep they woo with dreams of bliss
  Too shadowy to tell, and some they kiss.
  But all to whom they come, my sisters say,
  Forthwith forget all joyance of the day,
  Forget their laughter and forget their tears,
  And dream away with singing all their years--
  Moon-lovers always!

[_She sighs._]

                     Why art sad, sweet Moon?



  For this, my story, grant me now a boon.


  I am thy servitor.

                    Would, then, I knew
  More of the earth, what men and women do.


  I will explain.

                 Let brevity attend
  Thy wit, for night approaches to its end.


  Once was I a page at Court, so trust in me:
  That's the first lesson of society.



          I mean the very best.
  Pardy! thou wouldst not hear about the rest.
  I know it not, but am a _petit maître_
  At rout and festival and _bal champêtre_.
  But since example be instruction's ease,
  Let's play the thing.--Now, Madame, if you please!

[_He helps her to rise, and leads her forward: then he kisses her
hand, bowing over it with a very courtly air._]


  What am I, then?

                  A most divine Marquise!
  Perhaps that attitude hath too much ease.

[_Passes her._]

  Ah, that is better! To complete the plan,
  Nothing is necessary save a fan.


  Cool is the night, what needs it?

                                   Madame, pray
  Reflect, it is essential to our play.

THE LADY [_taking a lily_].

  Here is my fan!

                 So, use it with intent:
  The deadliest arm in beauty's armament!


  What do we next?

                  We talk!

                          But what about?


  We quiz the company and praise the rout;
  Are polished, petulant, malicious, sly,
  Or what you will, so reputations die.
  Observe the Duchess in Venetian lace,
  With the red eminence.

                        A pretty face!


  For something tarter set thy wits to search--
  "She loves the churchman better than the church."


  Her blush is charming; would it were her own!


  Madame is merciless!

                      Is that the tone?


  The very tone: I swear thou lackest naught.
  Madame was evidently bred at Court.


  Thou speakest glibly: 'tis not of thine age.


  I listened much, as best becomes a page.


  I like thy Court but little ----

                                 Hush! the Queen!
  Bow, but not low--thou knowest what I mean.


  Nay, that I know not!

                       Though she wear a crown,
  'Tis from La Pompadour one fears a frown.


  Thou art a child: thy malice is a game.


  A most sweet pastime--scandal is its name.


  Enough, it wearies me.

                        Then, rare Marquise,
  Desert the crowd to wander through the trees.

[_He bows low, and she curtsies; they move round the stage. When they
pass before the Statue he seizes her hand and falls on his knee._]


  What wouldst thou now?

                        Ah, prithee, what, save thee!


  Was this included in thy comedy?


  Ah, mock me not! In vain with quirk and jest
  I strive to quench the passion in my breast;
  In vain thy blandishments would make me play:
  Still I desire far more than I can say.
  My knowledge halts, ah, sweet, be piteous,
  Instruct me still, while time remains to us,
  Be what thou wist, Goddess, moon-maid, _Marquise_,
  So that I gather from thy lips heart's ease,
  Nay, I implore thee, think thee how time flies!


  Hush! I beseech thee, even now night dies.


  Night, day, are one to me for thy soft sake.

[_He entreats her with imploring gestures, she hesitates: then puts
her finger on her lip, hushing him._]


  It is too late, for hark! the birds awake.


  The birds awake! It is the voice of day!


  Farewell, dear youth! They summon me away.

[_The light changes, it grows daylight: and music imitates the
twitter of the birds. They stand gazing at the morning: then PIERROT
sinks back upon his bed, he covers his face in his hands._]

THE LADY [_bending over him_].

  Music, my maids! His weary senses steep
  In soft untroubled and oblivious sleep,
  With Mandragore anoint his tired eyes,
  That they may open on mere memories,
  Then shall a vision seem his lost delight,
  With love, his lady for a summer's night.
  Dream thou hast dreamt all this, when thou awake,
  Yet still be sorrowful, for a dream's sake.
  I leave thee, sleeper! Yea, I leave thee now,
  Yet take my legacy upon thy brow:
  Remember me, who was compassionate,
  And opened for thee once, the ivory gate.
  I come no more, thou shalt not see my face
  When I am gone to mine exalted place:
  Yet all thy days are mine, dreamer of dreams,
  All silvered over with the moon's pale beams:
  Go forth and seek in each fair face in vain,
  To find the image of thy love again.
  All maids are kind to thee, yet never one
  Shall hold thy truant heart till day be done.
  Whom once the moon has kissed, loves long and late,
  Yet never finds the maid to be his mate.
  Farewell, dear sleeper, follow out thy fate.

[_The MOON MAIDEN withdraws: a song is sung from behind: it is full


  Sleep! Cast thy canopy
      Over this sleeper's brain,
  Dim grow his memory,
      When he awake again.

  Love stays a summer night,
      Till lights of morning come;
  Then takes her wingèd flight
      Back to her starry home.

  Sleep! Yet thy days are mine;
      Love's seal is over thee:
  Far though my ways from thine,
      Dim though thy memory.

  Love stays a summer night,
      Till lights of morning come;
  Then takes her wingèd flight
      Back to her starry home.

[_When the song is finished, the curtain falls upon PIERROT


[_Spoken in the character of PIERROT_]

  _The sun is up, yet ere a body stirs,
  A word with you, sweet ladies and dear sirs,
  (Although on no account let any say
  That PIERROT finished Mr. Dowson's play_).

  _One night not long ago, at Baden Baden,--
  The birthday of the Duke,--his pleasure garden
  Was lighted gaily with_ feu d'artifice,
  _With candles, rockets, and a center-piece
  Above the conversation house, on high,
  Outlined in living fire against the sky,
  A glittering_ Pierrot, _radiant, white,
  Whose heart beat fast, who danced with sheer delight,
  Whose eyes were blue, whose lips were rosy red,
  Whose_ pompons _too were fire, while on his head
  He wore a little cap, and I am told
  That rockets covered him with showers of gold.
  "Take our applause, you well deserve to win it,"
  They cried: "Bravo! the_ Pierrot _of the minute!"
  What with applause and gold, one must confess
  That_ Pierrot _had "arrived," achieved success,
  When, as it happened, presently, alas!
  A terrible disaster came to pass.
  His nose grew dim, the people gave a shout,
  His red lips paled, both his blue eyes went out.
  There rose a sullen sound of discontent,
  The golden shower of rockets was all spent;
  He left off dancing with a sudden jerk,
  For he was nothing but a firework.
  The garden darkened and the people in it
  Cried, "He is dead,--the_ Pierrot _of the minute!"_

  _With every artist it is even so;
  The artist, after all, is a_ Pierrot--
  _A_ Pierrot _of the minute, naif, clever,
  But Art is back of him, She lives for ever!_

  _Then pardon my Moon Maid and me, because
  We craved the golden shower of your applause!
  Pray shrive us both for having tried to win it,
  And cry, "Bravo! The_ Pierrot _of the minute!"_




         [Footnote 28: Copyright, Feb. 1, 1913, in the United States
         by Oliphant Down. Reprinted by special arrangement with
         Gowans & Gray, Ltd., Glasgow.

         Professionals and amateurs are hereby warned that this play
         is fully copyrighted under the existing laws of the United
         States, and no one is allowed to produce this play without
         first having obtained permission of Samuel French, 28 West 38
         Street, New York.]

_The Maker of Dreams_ by the late Oliphant Down was first given at the
Royalty Theatre in Glasgow, November 20, 1911. The design for the
setting here reproduced was used when the play was acted in March,
1915, at The Neighborhood Playhouse in New York. The picture does not
show how touches of red here and there in the scene, and the brilliant
blue sky, visible through the quaint windows, enhanced the character
of the black and white of the walls and of the flower pots. The back
wall of the set was mounted on casters and, while Pierrette slept,
moved silently off stage, to disclose to the audience a formal garden
at the back, where a miniature Pierrot and a tiny Pierrette did a
joyous little dance, thus suggesting to the spectators Pierrette's
happy dream.

Pierrot, the hero of this and of the preceding play, has had an
interesting stage history. To understand him fully we have to go back
to the comedy of masks that had fully developed in Italy by the time
of the Renascence. This comedy was a special kind of play, the
scenario of which only was written, the dialogue being improvised by
the individual players. Each player wore a costume and a mask that
never changed, and these fixed his identity. Most of the parts had a
strong local flavor, the pedant, for example, hailing from Bologna,
the overly shrewd merchant, from Venice. Many of the characters have
become fixed types and reappear under their old names in various forms
of modern drama. Pantaloon, Harlequin, Columbine, Punch and Judy, and
Pierrot are among those who live on in modern drama. There is an
enchanting play by Granville Barker and Dion Clayton Calthrop called
_The Harlequinade_, that describes in a popular way the devious and
uncertain paths traveled by these stock characters down the ages.

Pierrot's ancestry is not so clearly Italian as the others. Pedrolino,
a mischievous, intriguing buffoon, Pagliaccio, a madcap who wore a
painted hat of white wool and a garment of white linen, whose face was
covered with flour, and who wore a white mask, have both been cited as
types that may have contributed to the figure of Pierrot, whose name
makes its first appearance in Molière's play, _Don Juan ou le Festin
de Pierre_. Not that this dull servant of Molière's is in any sense
the counterpart of the Pierrot of our day who is by turns languishing
or vivacious, impish or poetic, but never doltish. From the
seventeenth century, Pierrot, his costume borrowed from the Neapolitan
mask, Pulcinella, became more and more prominent on both the Italian
and the French stage. It was a certain French pantomime actor by the
name of Deburau who died a few years before the middle of the
nineteenth century, who gave Pierrot the prominence that he enjoys
to-day and who dressed the character in the guise that he most often
assumes on the modern stage. "The short woolen tunic, with its great
buttons and its narrow sleeves, that overhung the hands, soon became
an ample calico blouse with wide long sleeves like those of the
Italian Pagliaccio. He suppressed the collar, which cast an upward
shadow from the footlights on to his face, and interfered with the
play of his countenance, and instead of the white skull-cap of his
predecessor, he emphasized the pallor of his face by framing it in a
cap of black velvet."[29] The Pierrot of our fancy[30] comes to us
also through the pictures of Watteau and Pater and the designs of
Aubrey Beardsley.

         [Footnote 29: Maurice Sand, _The History of the
         Harlequinade_, London, 1915, Vol. I, p. 219.]

         [Footnote 30: _Mon Ami Pierrot._ _Songs and Fantasies_,
         compiled by Kendall Banning, Chicago, 1917. This book
         presents the Pierrot of modern poetry and drama.]

A one-act farce, _The Quod Wrangle_, is the only other published play
of Oliphant Down's. Its plot, as outlined in _The London Times_ of
March 4, 1914, reminds one strongly of O. Henry's _The Cop and the

[Illustration: _The Maker of Dreams_ at The Neighborhood Playhouse,
designed by Aline Bernstein.]




_Evening. A room in an old cottage, with walls of dark oak, lit only
by the moonlight that peers through the long, low casement-window at
the back, and the glow from the fire that is burning merrily on the
spectator's left. A cobbled street can be seen outside, and a door to
the right of the window opens directly on to it. Opposite the fire is
a kitchen dresser with cups and plates twinkling in the firelight. A
high-backed oak settle, as though afraid of the cold moonlight, has
turned its back on the window and warms its old timbers at the fire.
In the middle of the room stands a table with a red cover; there are
chairs on either side of it. On the hob, a kettle is keeping itself
warm; whilst overhead, on the hood of the chimney-piece, a small lamp
is turned very low._

_A figure flits past the window and, with a click of the latch,
PIERRETTE enters. She hangs up her cloak by the door, gives a little
shiver and runs to warm herself for a moment. Then, having turned up
the lamp, she places the kettle on the fire. Crossing the room, she
takes a tablecloth from the dresser and proceeds to lay tea, setting
out crockery for two. Once she goes to the window and, drawing aside
the common red casement-curtains, looks out, but returns to her work,
disappointed. She puts a spoonful of tea into the teapot, and another,
and a third. Something outside attracts her attention; she listens,
her face brightening. A voice is heard singing:_

  "Baby, don't wait for the moon,
     She is caught in a tangle of boughs;
   And mellow and musical June
     Is saying 'Good-night' to the cows."

[_The voice draws nearer and a conical white hat goes past the
window. PIERROT enters._]

PIERROT [_throwing his hat to PIERRETTE_]. Ugh! How cold it is. My
feet are like ice.

PIERRETTE. Here are your slippers. I put them down to warm. [_She
kneels beside him, as he sits before the fire and commences to slip
off his shoes._]

PIERROT [_singing:_]

  "Baby, don't wait for the moon,
     She will put out her tongue and grimace;
   And mellow and musical June
     Is pinning the stars in their place."

Isn't tea ready yet?

PIERRETTE. Nearly. Only waiting for the kettle to boil.

PIERROT. How cold it was in the market-place to-day! I don't believe I
sang at all well. I can't sing in the cold.

PIERRETTE. Ah, you're like the kettle. He can't sing when he's cold
either. Hurry up, Mr. Kettle, if you please.

PIERROT. I wish it were in love with the sound of its own voice.

PIERRETTE. I believe it is. Now it's singing like a bird. We'll make
the tea with the nightingale's tongue. [_She pours the boiling water
into the teapot._] Come along.

PIERROT [_looking into the fire_]. I wonder. She had beauty, she had
form, but had she soul?

PIERRETTE [_cutting bread and butter at the table_]. Come and be
cheerful, instead of grumbling there to the fire.

PIERROT. I was thinking.

PIERRETTE. Come and have tea. When you sit by the fire, thoughts only
fly up the chimney.

PIERROT. The whole world's a chimney-piece. Give people a thing as
worthless as paper, and it catches fire in them and makes a stir; but
real thought, they let it go up with the smoke.

PIERRETTE. Cheer up, Pierrot. See how thick I've spread the butter.

PIERROT. You're always cheerful.

PIERRETTE. I try to be happy.

PIERROT. Ugh! [_He has moved to the table. There is a short silence,
during which PIERROT sips his tea moodily._]

PIERRETTE. Tea all right?

PIERROT. Middling.

PIERRETTE. Only middling! I'll pour you out some fresh.

PIERROT. Oh, it's all right! How you do worry a fellow!

PIERRETTE. Heigh-ho! Shall I chain up that big black dog?

PIERROT. I say, did you see that girl to-day?

PIERRETTE. Whereabouts?

PIERROT. Standing by the horse-trough. With a fine air, and a string
of great beads.

PIERRETTE. I didn't see her.

PIERROT. I did, though. And she saw me. Watched me all the time I was
singing, and clapped her hands like anything each time. I wonder if it
is possible for a woman to have a soul as well as such beautiful

PIERRETTE. She was made up!

PIERROT. I'm sure she was not. And how do you know? You didn't see

PIERRETTE. Perhaps I _did_ see her.

PIERROT. Now, look here, Pierrette, it's no good your being jealous.
When you and I took on this show business, we arranged to be just
partners and nothing more. If I see anyone I want to marry, I shall
marry 'em. And if you see anyone who wants to marry you, _you_ can
marry 'em.

PIERRETTE. I'm not jealous! It's absurd!

PIERROT [_singing abstractedly_].

  "Baby, don't wait for the moon,
     She has scratched her white chin on the gorse;
   And mellow and musical June
     Is bringing the cuckoo remorse."

PIERRETTE. Did you see that girl after the show?

PIERROT. No. She had slipped away in the crowd. Here, I've had enough
tea. I shall go out and try to find her.

PIERRETTE. Why don't you stay in by the fire? You could help me to
darn the socks.

PIERROT. Don't try to chaff me. Darning, indeed! I hope life has got
something better in it than darning.

PIERRETTE. I doubt it. It's pretty much the same all the world over.
First we wear holes in our socks, and then we mend them. The wise ones
are those who make the best of it, and darn as well as they can.

PIERROT. I say, that gives me an idea for a song.

PIERRETTE. Out with it, then.

PIERROT. Well, I haven't exactly formed it yet. This is what flashed
through my mind as you spoke: [_He runs up on to the table, using it
as a stage._]

  "Life's a ball of worsted,
     Unwind it if you can,
   You who oft have boasted

[_He pauses for a moment, then hurriedly, in order to gloss over the
false accenting._]

  That you are a man."

Of course that's only a rough idea.

PIERRETTE. Are you going to sing it at the show?

PIERROT [_jumping down from the table_]. You're always so lukewarm. A
man of artistic ideas is as sensitively skinned as a baby.

PIERRETTE. Do stay in, Pierrot. It's so cold outside.

PIERROT. You want me to listen to you grumbling, I suppose.

PIERRETTE. Just now you said I was always cheerful.

PIERROT. There you are; girding at me again.

PIERRETTE. I'm sorry, Pierrot. But the market-place is dreadfully wet,
and your shoes are awfully thin.

PIERROT. I tell you I will not stop in. I'm going out to find that
girl. How do I know she isn't the very woman of my dreams?

PIERRETTE. Why are you always trying to picture an ideal woman?

PIERROT. Don't _you ever_ picture an ideal man?

PIERRETTE. No, I try to be practical.

PIERROT. Women are so unimaginative! They are such pathetic, motherly
things, and when they feel extra motherly they say, "I'm in love." All
that is so sordid and petty. I want a woman I can set on a pedestal,
and just look up at her and love her.

PIERRETTE [_speaking very fervently_].

  "Pierrot, don't wait for the moon,
     There's a heart chilling cold in her rays;
   And mellow and musical June
     Will only last thirty short days."

PIERROT. Oh, I should never make you understand! Well, I'm off. [_As
he goes out, he sings, sidelong, over his shoulder in a mocking tone,
"Baby, don't wait for the moon." PIERRETTE listens for a moment to his
voice dying away in the distance. Then she moves to the fire-place,
and begins to stir the fire. As she kneels there, the words of an old
recitation form on her lips. Half unconsciously she recites it again
to an audience of laughing flames and glowing, thoughtful coals._]

  "There lives a maid in the big, wide world,
     By the crowded town and mart,
   And people sigh as they pass her by;
     They call her Hungry Heart.

   For there trembles that on her red rose lip
     That never her tongue can say,
   And her eyes are sad, and she is not glad
     In the beautiful calm of day.

   Deep down in the waters of pure, clear thought,
     The mate of her fancy lies;
   Sleeping, the night is made fair by his light
     Sweet kiss on her dreaming eyes.

   Though a man was made in the wells of time
     Who could set her soul on fire,
   Her life unwinds, and she never finds
     This love of her heart's desire.

   If you meet this maid of a hopeless love,
     Play not a meddler's part.
   Silence were best; let her keep in her breast
     The dream of her hungry heart."

[_Overcome by tears, she hides her face in her hands. A slow, treble
knock comes on the door; PIERRETTE looks up wonderingly. Again the
knock sounds._]

PIERRETTE. Come in. [_The door swings slowly open, as though of its
own accord, and without, on the threshold, is seen THE MANUFACTURER,
standing full in the moonlight. He is a curious, though
kindly-looking, old man, and yet, with all his years, he does not
appear to be the least infirm. He is the sort of person that children
take to instinctively. He wears a quaintly cut, bottle-green coat,
with silver buttons and large side-pockets, which almost hide his
knee-breeches. His shoes have large buckles and red heels. He is
exceedingly unlike a prosperous manufacturer, and, but for the absence
of a violin, would be mistaken for a village fiddler. Without a word
he advances into the room, and, again of its own accord, the door
closes noiselessly behind him._]

PIERRETTE [_jumping up and moving towards him_]. Oh, I'm so sorry. I
ought to have opened the door when you knocked.

MANUFACTURER. That's all right. I'm used to opening doors. And yours
opens much more easily than some I come across. Would you believe it,
some people positively nail their doors up, and it's no good knocking.
But there, you're wondering who I am.

PIERRETTE. I was wondering if you were hungry.

MANUFACTURER. Ah, a woman's instinct. But, thank you, no. I am a small
eater; I might say a very small eater. A smile or a squeeze of the
hand keeps me going admirably.

PIERRETTE. At least you'll sit down and make yourself at home.

MANUFACTURER [_moving to the settle_]. Well, I have a habit of making
myself at home everywhere. In fact, most people think you can't make a
_home_ without _me_. May I put my feet on the fender? It's an old
habit of mine. I always do it.

PIERRETTE. They say round here:

  "Without feet on the fender
   Love is but slender."

MANUFACTURER. Quite right. It is the whole secret of the domestic
fireside. Pierrette, you have been crying.

PIERRETTE. I believe I have.

MANUFACTURER. Bless you, I know all about it. It's Pierrot. And so
you're in love with him, and he doesn't care a little bit about you,
eh? What a strange old world it is! And you cry your eyes out over

PIERRETTE. Oh, no, I don't often cry. But to-night he seemed more
grumpy than usual, and I tried so hard to cheer him up.

MANUFACTURER. Grumpy, is he?

PIERRETTE. He doesn't mean it, though. It's the cold weather, and the
show hasn't been paying so well lately. Pierrot wants to write an
article about us for the local paper by way of an advertisement. He
thinks the editor may print it if he gives him free passes for his

MANUFACTURER. Do you think Pierrot is worth your tears?


MANUFACTURER. You know, tears are not to be wasted. We only have a
certain amount of them given to us just for keeping the heart moist.
And when we've used them all up and haven't any more, the heart dries
up, too.

PIERRETTE. Pierrot is a splendid fellow. You don't know him as well as
I do. It's true he's always discontented, but it's only because he's
not in love with anyone. You know, love does make a tremendous
difference in a man.

MANUFACTURER. That's true enough. And has it made a difference in you?

PIERRETTE. Oh, yes! I put Pierrot's slippers down to warm, and I make
tea for him, and all the time I'm happy because I'm doing something
for him. If I weren't in love, I should find it a drudgery.

MANUFACTURER. Are you sure it's real love?

PIERRETTE. Why, yes!

MANUFACTURER. Every time you think of Pierrot, do you hear the patter
of little bare feet? And every time he speaks, do you feel little
chubby hands on your breast and face?

PIERRETTE [_fervently_]. Yes! Oh, yes! That's just it!

MANUFACTURER. You've got it right enough. But why is it that Pierrot
can wake up all this poetry in you?

PIERRETTE. Because--oh, because he's just Pierrot.

MANUFACTURER. "Because he's just Pierrot." The same old reason.

PIERRETTE. Of course, he is a bit dreamy. But that's his soul. I am
sure he could do great things if he tried. And have you noticed his
smile? Isn't it lovely! Sometimes, when he's not looking, I want ever
so much to try it on, just to see how I should look in it.
[_Pensively._] But I wish he'd smile at me a little more often,
instead of at others.

MANUFACTURER. Ho! So he smiles at others, does he?

PIERRETTE. Hardly a day goes by but there's some fine lady at the
show. There was one there to-day, a tall girl with red cheeks. He is
gone to look for her now. And it is not their faults. The poor things
can't help being in love with him. [_Proudly._] I believe everyone is
in love with Pierrot.

MANUFACTURER. But supposing one of these fine ladies were to marry

PIERRETTE. Oh, they'd never do that. A fine lady would never marry a
poor singer. If Pierrot were to get married, I think I should just ...
fade away.... Oh, but I don't know why I talk to you like this. I feel
as if I had known you for a long, long time. [_THE MANUFACTURER rises
from the settle and moves across to PIERRETTE, who is now folding up
the white table-cloth._]

MANUFACTURER [_very slowly_]. Perhaps you _have_ known me for a long,
long time. [_His tone is so kindly and impressive that PIERRETTE
forgets the table-cloth and looks up at him. For a moment or two he
smiles back at her as she gazes, spellbound; then he turns away to the
fire again, with the little chuckle that is never far from his lips._]

PIERRETTE [_taking a small bow from his side-pocket_]. Oh, look at

MANUFACTURER [_in mock alarm_]. Oh, oh, I didn't mean you to see that.
I'd forgotten it was sticking out of my pocket. I used to do a lot of
archery at one time. I don't get much chance now. [_He takes it and
puts it back in his pocket._]

PIERROT [_singing in the distance_].

  "Baby, don't wait for the moon,
     She is drawing the sea in her net;
   And mellow and musical June
     Is teaching the rose to forget."

MANUFACTURER [_in a whisper as the voice draws nearer_]. Who is that?

PIERRETTE. Pierrot. [_Again the conical white hat flashes past the
window and PIERROT enters._]

PIERROT. I can't find her anywhere. [_Seeing THE MANUFACTURER._]
Hullo! Who are you?

MANUFACTURER. I am a stranger to you, but Pierrette knew me in a

PIERROT. An old flame perhaps?

MANUFACTURER. True, I am an old flame. I've lighted up the world for a
considerable time. Yet when you say "old," there are many people who
think I'm wonderfully well preserved for my age. How long do you think
I've been trotting about?

PIERROT [_testily, measuring a length with his hands_]. Oh, about that

MANUFACTURER. I suppose being funny all day _does_ get on your nerves.

PIERRETTE. Pierrot, you needn't be rude.

MANUFACTURER [_anxious to be alone with PIERROT_]. Pierrette, have you
got supper in?

PIERRETTE. Oh, I must fly! The shops will all be shut. Will you be
here when I come back?

MANUFACTURER [_bustling her out_]. I can't promise, but I'll try, I'll
try. [_PIERRETTE goes out. There is a silence, during which THE
MANUFACTURER regards PIERROT with amusement._]

MANUFACTURER. Well, friend Pierrot, so business is not very brisk.

PIERROT. Brisk! If laughter meant business, it would be brisk enough,
but there's no money. However, I've done one good piece of work
to-day. I've arranged with the editor to put an article in the paper.
That will fetch 'em. [_Singing_]:

  "Please come one day and see our house that's down among the trees,
  But do not come at four o'clock for then we count the bees,
  And bath the tadpoles and the frogs, who splash the clouds with gold,
  And watch the new-cut cucum_bers_ perspiring with the cold."

That's a song I'm writing.

MANUFACTURER. Pierrot, if you had all the money in the world you
wouldn't be happy.

PIERROT. Wouldn't I? Give me all the money in the world and I'll risk
it. To start with, I'd build schools to educate the people up to
high-class things.

MANUFACTURER. You dream of fame and wealth and empty ideals, and you
miss all the best things there are. You are discontented. Why? Because
you don't know how to be happy.

PIERROT [_reciting_]:

  "Life's a running brooklet,
     Catch the fishes there,
   You who wrote a booklet
     On a woman's hair."

[_Explaining._] That's another song I'm writing. It's the second
verse. Things come to me all of a sudden like that. I must run out a
third verse, just to wind it up.

MANUFACTURER. Why don't you write a song without any end, one that
goes on for ever?

PIERROT. I say, that's rather silly, isn't it?

MANUFACTURER. It all depends. For a song of that sort the singer must
be always happy.

PIERROT. That wants a bit of doing in my line.

MANUFACTURER. Shall you and I transact a little business?

PIERROT. By all means. What seats would you like? There are the front
rows covered in velvet, one shilling; wooden benches behind, sixpence;
and, right at the back, the twopenny part. But, of course, you'll have
shilling ones. How many shall we say?

MANUFACTURER. You don't know who I am.

PIERROT. That makes no difference. All are welcome, and we thank you
for your courteous attention.

MANUFACTURER. Pierrot, I am a maker of dreams.

PIERROT. A what?

MANUFACTURER. I make all the dreams that float about this musty world.

PIERROT. I say, you'd better have a rest for a bit. I expect you're a
trifle done up.

MANUFACTURER. Pierrot, Pierrot, your superior mind can't tumble to my
calling. A child or one of the "people" would in a moment. I am a
maker of dreams, little things that glide about into people's hearts
and make them glad. Haven't you often wondered where the swallows go
to in the autumn? They come to my workshop, and tell me who wants a
dream, and what happened to the dreams they took with them in the

PIERROT. Oh, I say, you can't expect me to believe that.

MANUFACTURER. When flowers fade, have you never wondered where their
colors go to, or what becomes of all the butterflies in the winter?
There isn't much winter about my workshop.

PIERROT. I had never thought of it before.

MANUFACTURER. It's a kind of lost property office, where every
beautiful thing that the world has neglected finds its way. And there
I make my celebrated dream, the dream that is called "love."

PIERROT. Ho! ho! Now we're talking.

MANUFACTURER. You don't believe in it?

PIERROT. Yes, in a way. But it doesn't last. It doesn't last. If there
is form, there isn't soul, and, if there is soul, there isn't form.
Oh, I've tried hard enough to believe it, but, after the first wash,
the colors run.

MANUFACTURER. You only got hold of a substitute. Wait until you see
the genuine article.

PIERROT. But how is one to tell it?

MANUFACTURER. There are heaps of signs. As soon as you get the real
thing, your shoulder-blades begin to tingle. That's love's wings
sprouting. And, next, you want to soar up among the stars and sit on
the roof of heaven and sing to the moon. Of course, that's because I
put such a lot of the moon into my dreams. I break bits off until it's
nearly all gone, and then I let it grow big again. It grows very
quickly, as I dare say you've noticed. After a fortnight it is ready
for use once more.

PIERROT. This is most awfully fascinating. And do the swallows bring
all the dreams?

MANUFACTURER. Not always; I have other messengers. Every night when
the big clock strikes twelve, a day slips down from the calendar, and
runs away to my workshop in the Land of Long Ago. I give him a touch
of scarlet and a gleam of gold, and say, "Go back, little Yesterday,
and be a memory in the world." But my best dreams I keep for to-day. I
buy babies, and fit them up with a dream, and then send them complete
and carriage paid ... in the usual manner.

PIERROT. I've been dreaming all my life, but they've always been
dreams I made myself. I suppose I don't mix 'em properly.

MANUFACTURER. You leave out the very essence of them. You must put in
a little sorrow, just to take away the over-sweetness. I found that
out very soon, so I took a little of the fresh dew that made pearls in
the early morning, and I sprinkled my dreams with the gift of tears.

PIERROT [_ecstatically_]. The gift of tears! How beautiful! You know,
I should rather like to try a real one. Not one of my own making.

MANUFACTURER. Well, there are plenty about, if you only look for them.

PIERROT. That is all very well, but who's going to look about for
stray dreams?

MANUFACTURER. I once made a dream that would just suit you. I slipped
it inside a baby. That was twenty years ago, and the baby is now a
full-grown woman, with great blue eyes and fair hair.

PIERROT. It's a lot of use merely telling me about her.

MANUFACTURER. I'll do more. When I shipped her to the world, I kept
the bill of lading. Here it is. You shall have it.

PIERROT. Thanks, but what's the good of it?

MANUFACTURER. Why, the holder of that is able to claim the goods; you
will notice it contains a complete description, too. I promise you,
you're in luck.

PIERROT. Has she red cheeks and a string of great beads?


PIERROT. Ah, then it is not she. Where shall I find her?

MANUFACTURER. That's for you to discover. All you have to do is to

PIERROT. I'll start at once. [_He moves as if to go._]

MANUFACTURER. I shouldn't start out to-night.

PIERROT. But I want to find her soon. Somebody else may find her
before me.

MANUFACTURER. Pierrot, there was once a man who wanted to gather

PIERROT [_annoyed at the commonplace_]. Mushrooms!

MANUFACTURER. Fearing people would be up before him, he started out
overnight. Morning came, and he found none, so he returned
disconsolate to his house. As he came through the garden, he found a
great mushroom had grown up in the night by his very door-step. Take
the advice of one who knows, and wait a bit.

PIERROT. If that's your advice.... But tell me this, do you think I
shall find her?

MANUFACTURER. I can't say for certain. Would you consider yourself a

PIERROT. Ah ... of course ... when you ask me a direct thing like
that, you make it ... er ... rather awkward for me. But, if I may say
so, as man to ma ... I mean as man to ... [_he hesitates_].

MANUFACTURER [_waiving the point_]. Yes, yes.

PIERROT. Well, I flatter myself that ...

MANUFACTURER. Exactly. And that's your principal danger. Whilst you
are striding along gazing at the stars, you may be treading on a
little glow-worm. Shall I give you a third verse for your song?

  "Life's a woman calling,
     Do not stop your ears,
   Lest, when night is falling,
     Darkness brings you tears."

[_THE MANUFACTURER'S kindly and impressive tone holds PIERROT as it
had held PIERRETTE some moments before. Whilst the two are looking at
each other, a little red cloak dances past the window, and PIERRETTE
enters with her marketing._]

PIERRETTE. Oh, I'm so glad you're still here.

MANUFACTURER. But I must be going now. I am a great traveler.

PIERRETTE [_standing against the door, so that he cannot pass_]. Oh,
you mustn't go yet.

MANUFACTURER. Don't make me fly out of the window. I only do that
under very unpleasant circumstances.

PIERROT [_gaily, with mock eloquence_]. Pierrette, regard our visitor.
You little knew whom you were entertaining. You see before you the
maker of the dreams that slip about the world like little fish among
the rushes of a stream. He has given me the bill of lading of his
great masterpiece, and it only remains for me to find her. [_Dropping
to the commonplace._] I wish I knew where to look.

MANUFACTURER. Before I go, I will give you this little rhyme:

  "Let every woman keep a school,
   For every man is born a fool."

[_He bows, and goes out quickly and silently._]

PIERRETTE [_running to the door, and looking out_]. Why, how quickly
he has gone! He's out of sight.

PIERROT. At last I am about to attain my great ideal. There will be a
grand wedding, and I shall wear my white coat with the silver braid,
and carry a tall gold-topped stick. [_Singing:_]

  "If we play any longer, I fear you will get
   Such a cold in the head, for the grass is so wet.
   But during the night, Margareta divine,
   I will hang the wet grass up to dry on the line."

Pierrette, I feel that I am about to enter into a man's inheritance, a
woman's love.

PIERRETTE. I wish you every happiness.

PIERROT [_singing teasingly:_]

  "We shall meet in our dreams, that's a thing understood;
   You dream of the river, I'll dream of the wood.
   I am visiting you, if the river it be;
   If we meet in the wood, you are visiting me."

PIERRETTE. We must make lots of money, so that you can give her all
she wants. I'll dance and dance until I fall, and the people will
exclaim, "Why, she has danced herself to death."

PIERROT. You're right. We must pull the show together. I'll do that
article for the paper at once. [_He takes paper, ink, etc., from the
dresser, and, seating himself at the table, commences to write._]
"There has lately come to this town a company of strolling players,
who give a show that is at once musical and droll. The audience is
enthralled by Pierrot's magnificent singing and dancing, and ... er
... very much entertained by Pierrette's homely dancing. Pierrette is
a charming comedienne of twenty, with ..." what color hair?

PIERRETTE. Fair, quite fair.

PIERROT. Funny how one can see a person every day and not know the
color of their hair. "Fair hair and ..." eyes?

PIERRETTE. Blue, Pierrot.

PIERROT. "Fair hair and blue eyes." Fair! Blue! Oh, of course it's
nonsense, though.

PIERRETTE. What's nonsense?

PIERROT. Something I was thinking. Most girls have fair hair and blue

PIERRETTE. Yes, Pierrot, we can't all be ideals.

PIERROT. How musical your voice sounds! I can't make it out. Oh, but,
of course, it is all nonsense! [_He takes the bill of lading from his
pocket and reads it._]

PIERRETTE. What's nonsense?... Pierrot, won't you tell me?

PIERROT. Pierrette, stand in the light.

PIERRETTE. Is anything the matter?

PIERROT. I almost believe that nothing matters. [_Reading and glancing
at her._] "Eyes that say 'I love you'; arms that say 'I want you';
lips that say 'Why don't you?'" Pierrette, is it possible! I've never
noticed before how beautiful you are. You don't seem a bit the same. I
believe you have lost your real face, and have carved another out of a

PIERRETTE. Oh, Pierrot, what is it?

PIERROT. Love! I've found it at last. Don't you understand it all?

  "I am a fool
   Who has learned wisdom in your school."

To think that I've seen you every day, and never dreamed ... dreamed!
Yes, ah yes, it's one of his beautiful dreams. That is why my heart
seems full of the early morning.

PIERRETTE. Ah, Pierrot!

PIERROT. Oh, how my shoulders tingle! I want to soar up, up. Don't you
want to fly up to the roof of heaven and sing among the stars?

PIERRETTE. I have been sitting on the moon ever so long, waiting for
my lover. Pierrot, let me try on your smile. Give it to me in a kiss.
[_With their hands outstretched behind them, they lean towards each
other, till their lips meet in a long kiss._]

PIERRETTE [_throwing back her head with a deep sigh of happiness._]
Oh, I am so happy. This might be the end of all things.

PIERROT. Pierrette, let us sit by the fire and put our feet on the
fender, and live happily ever after. [_They have moved slowly to the
settle. As they sit there, PIERROT sings softly:_]

  "Baby, don't wait for the moon,
     The stairs of the sky are so steep;
   And mellow and musical June
     Is waiting to kiss you to sleep."

[_The lamp on the hood of the chimney-piece has burned down, leaving
only the red glow from the fire upon their faces, as the curtain
whispers down to hide them._]




         [Footnote 31: Copyright, 1912, 1921, by Percy MacKaye. All
         rights reserved.


         This play in its printed form is designed for the reading
         public only. All dramatic rights in it are fully protected by
         copyright, in the United States, Great Britain, and all
         countries subscribing to the Berne Convention. NO PUBLIC OR
         OF ROYALTY. As the courts have also ruled that the PUBLIC
         READING of a play, for pay or where tickets are sold,
         constitutes a "PERFORMANCE," no such reading may be given
         except under conditions above stated.

         Anyone disregarding the author's rights renders himself
         liable to prosecution. PERSONS WHO DESIRE PERMISSION TO GIVE

Percy MacKaye was born in New York, March 16, 1875, the son of Steele
MacKaye, a well-known dramatist and theatrical inventor of his day.
"My own early dramatic training," writes the son, "was in the theatre
in relation with my father's work there as dramatist, actor, and
director." In another place he says: "I have not sought to conceal, or
to put aside, the grateful enthusiasm I feel, as a son and comrade of
Steele MacKaye, for those examples of untiring devotion to the theatre
and of constructive achievement in its art, by which his life has been
an inspiration to my own, to follow--however haltingly and through
different means--the trail of his large leadership." Percy MacKaye was
graduated from Harvard in 1897 and later spent a year studying at the
University of Leipzig. After travel abroad, he returned to New York in
1900 and taught there in a private school till 1904. He spent some
time in the next five years lecturing on the Drama of Democracy and
the Civic Theatre at various American universities. In 1904 he joined
the colony of artists and men of letters at Cornish, New Hampshire,
the home of Saint-Gaudens, Maxfield Parrish, Winston Churchill, and
others. Since that date Percy MacKaye has devoted himself wholly to
poetry and the drama, writing community masques, plays of various
kinds, and operas.[32] It is interesting to note that one of the
latest products of his pen, _Washington, the Man Who Made Us, A Ballad
Play_, was translated into French and presented by M. Copeau's
players, at the Théâtre du Vieux Colombier, during their second season
in New York, and later acted in English by Walter Hampden, the scene
designs being made by Robert Edmond Jones. In October, 1920, he was
invited to Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, not to teach but to
continue his own creative work, quite untrammeled, filling there the
first fellowship in creative literature ever established in this

         [Footnote 32: A list of his works is given in the latest
         _Who's Who in America_.]

_Yankee Fantasies_, a collection of five one-act plays of which
_Gettysburg_ is one, is the expression of Percy MacKaye's belief that
the American dramatist may find "north of Boston," or, in fact, in
almost any rural neighborhood, material for "quaint and lovely
interpretation of our native environment now ignored." These plays,
published in 1912, testified also to his conviction that the time had
come for the development of the one-act play in this country, not only
because this form is distinctive and capable of expressing what the
full-length play cannot, but also because a receptive audience was
already organized. He found even then that amateurs in schools,
colleges, and elsewhere were clamoring to perform one-act plays, to
see them performed, and to read them. At that date Little Theatres
were just beginning to be, but in the preface to _Yankee Fantasies_,
the author advocated the establishment of Studio Theatres, in essence
experimental, many of which have since come into existence under
different names, wherein playwrights might practice the new craft of
the one-act play as in a workshop. The one-act play may be said to
have arrived in the nine years that have elapsed since _Gettysburg_
was published.

The one-act play has shown no tendency, however, to rival the
short-story in the matter of local color. Kentucky, California, Iowa,
Louisiana, to name but a few of the favored states which have served
as rich backgrounds for many finely flavored narratives of American
life, have been neglected as sources of dramatic material. But though
Percy MacKaye may perhaps be matched with Mary Wilkins, there is no
writer who has made notable use in the one-act play of localities,
associated, for example, with the art of George W. Cable, Bret Harte,
James Lane Allen, or Hamlin Garland. One of the paths of glory for the
American dramatist lies undoubtedly in this direction.



  LINK TADBOURNE, _ox-yoke maker_.
  POLLY, _his grandniece_.

_The Place is country New Hampshire, at the present time._

_SCENE.--A woodshed, in the ell of a farm house._

_The shed is open on both sides, front and back, the apertures being
slightly arched at the top. [In bad weather, these presumably may be
closed by big double doors, which stand open now--swung back outward
beyond sight.] Thus the nearer opening is the proscenium arch of the
scene, under which the spectator looks through the shed to the
background--a grassy yard, a road with great trunks of soaring elms,
and the glimpse of a green hillside. The ceiling runs up into a gable
with large beams._

_On the right, at back, a door opens into the shed from the house
kitchen. Opposite it, a door leads from the shed into the barn. In the
foreground, against the right wall, is a work-bench. On this are
tools, a long, narrow, wooden box, and a small oil stove, with
steaming kettle upon it._

_Against the left wall, what remains of the year's wood supply is
stacked, the uneven ridges sloping to a jumble of stove-wood and
kindlings mixed with small chips on the floor, which is piled deep
with mounds of crumbling bark, chips and wood-dust._

_Not far from this mounded pile, at right center of the scene, stands
a wooden arm-chair, in which LINK TADBOURNE, in his shirt-sleeves,
sits drowsing. Silhouetted by the sunlight beyond, his sharp-drawn
profile is that of an old man, with white hair cropped close, and gray
mustache of a faded black hue at the outer edges. Between his knees
is a stout thong of wood, whittled round by the drawshave which his
sleeping hand still holds in his lap. Against the side of his chair
rests a thick wooden yoke and collar. Near him is a chopping-block._

_In the woodshed there is no sound or motion except the hum and
floating steam from the tea-kettle. Presently the old man murmurs in
his sleep, clenching his hand. Slowly the hand relaxes again. From the
door, right, comes POLLY--a sweet-faced girl of seventeen, quietly
mature for her age. She is dressed simply. In one hand, she carries a
man's wide-brimmed felt hat; over the other arm, a blue coat. These
she brings toward LINK. Seeing him asleep, she begins to tiptoe, lays
the coat and hat on the chopping-block, goes to the bench and trims
the wick of the oil-stove, under the kettle. Then she returns and
stands near LINK, surveying the shed._

_On closer scrutiny, the jumbled woodpile has evidently a certain
order in its chaos: some of the splittings have been piled in
irregular ridges; in places, the deep layer of wood-dust and chips has
been scooped, and the little mounds slope and rise like miniature
valleys and hills.[33]_

         [Footnote 33: A suggestion for the appropriate arrangement of
         these mounds may be found in the map of the battle-field
         annexed to the volume by Capt. R. K. Beecham, entitled
         _Gettysburg_, A. C. McClurg, 1911.]

_Taking up a hoe, POLLY--with careful steps--moves among the hollows,
placing and arranging sticks of kindling, scraping and smoothing the
little mounds with the hoe._

_As she does so, from far away, a bugle sounds._

  LINK [_snapping his eyes wide open, sits up_].
  Hello! Cat-nappin' was I, Polly?

  POLLY.                 Just a kitten-nap, I guess.

[_Laying the hoe down, she approaches._]

  The yoke done?

  LINK [_giving a final whittle to the yoke-collar thong_].
  When he's ben steamed a spell, and bended snug,
  I guess this feller'll sarve t' say "Gee" to--

[_Lifting the other yoke-collar from beside his chair, he holds the
whittled thong next to it, comparing the two with expert eye._]

  and "Haw" to him. Beech every time, Sir; beech
  or walnut. Hang me if I'd shake a whip
  at birch, for ox-yokes.--Polly, are ye thar?

  Yes, Uncle Link.

  LINK.   What's that I used to sing ye?
  "Polly, put the kittle on,
  Polly, put the kittle on,
  Polly, put the kittle on--" [_Chuckling._]
  We'll give this feller a dose of ox-yoke tea!

  The kettle's boilin'.

  LINK.        Wall, then, steep him good.

[_POLLY takes from LINK the collar-thong, carries it to the
work-bench, shoves it into the narrow end of the box, which she then
closes tight and connects--by a piece of hose--to the spout of the
kettle. At the further end of the box, steam then emerges through a
small hole._]

  You're feelin' smart to-day.

  LINK.              Smart!--Wall, if I
  could git a hull man to swap legs with me,
  mebbe I'd arn my keep. But this here settin'
  dead an' alive, without no legs, day in,
  day out, don't make an old hoss wuth his oats.

  POLLY [_cheerfully_].
  I guess you'll soon be walkin' round.

  LINK.                        Not if
  that doctor feller has his say: He says
  I can't never go agin this side o' Jordan;
  and looks like he's 'bout right.--Nine months to-morrer,
  Polly, gal, sence I had that stroke.

  POLLY [_pointing to the ox-yoke_].
                        You're fitter  sittin' than most folks standin'.

  LINK [_briskly_].   Oh, they can't
  keep my two hands from makin' ox-yokes. That's
  my second natur' sence I was a boy.

[_Again in the distance a bugle sounds. LINK starts._]

  What's that?

  POLLY.     Why, that's the army veterans
  down to the graveyard. This is Decoration
  mornin': you ain't forgot?

  LINK.             So 'tis, so 'tis.
  Roger, your young man--ha! [_Chuckling._] He come and axed me
  was I agoin' to the cemetery.
  "Me? Don't I look it?" says I. Ha! "Don't I look it?"

  He meant--to decorate the graves.

  LINK.                    O' course;
  but I must take my little laugh. I told him
  I guessed I wa'n't persent'ble anyhow,
  my mustache and my boots wa'n't blacked this mornin'.
  I don't jest like t' talk about my legs.--
  Be you a-goin' to take your young school folks,

         Dear no! I told my boys and girls
  to march up this way with the band. I said
  I'd be a-stayin' home and learnin' how
  to keep school in the woodpile here with you.

  LINK [_looking up at her proudly_].
  Schoolma'am at seventeen! Some smart, I tell ye!

  POLLY [_caressing him_].
  School-master, you, past seventy; that's smarter!
  I tell 'em I learn from you, so's I can teach
  my young folks what the study-books leave out.

  Sure ye don't want to jine the celebratin'?

  No _Sir_! We're goin' to celebrate right here,
  and you're to teach me to keep school some more.

[_She holds ready for him the blue coat and hat._]

  LINK [_looking up_].
  What's thar?

  POLLY.    Your teachin' rig.

[_She helps him on with it._]

  LINK.                         The old blue coat!--
  My, but I'd like to see the boys: [_Gazing at the hat._] the Grand
  Old Army Boys! [_Dreamily._] Yes, we was boys: jest boys!
  Polly, you tell your young folks, when they study
  the books, that we was nothin' else but boys
  jest fallin' in love, with best gals left t' home--
  the same as you; and when the shot was singin',
  we pulled their pictur's out, and prayed to them
  'most more 'n the Allmighty.

[_LINK looks up suddenly--a strange light in his face. Again, to a far
strain of music, the bugle sounds._]

                                Thar she blows

       They're marchin' to the graves with flowers.

  My Godfrey! 't ain't so much thinkin' o' flowers
  and the young folks, their faces, and the blue
  line of old fellers marchin'--it's the music!
  that old brass voice a-callin'! Seems as though,
  legs or no legs, I'd have to up and foller
  to God-knows-whar, and holler--holler back
  to guns roarin' in the dark. No; durn it, no!
  I jest can't stan' the music.

  POLLY [_goes to the work-bench, where the box is steaming_].
                                Uncle Link,
  you want that I should steam this longer?

  LINK [_absently_].
  A kittleful, a kittleful.

  POLLY [_coming over to him_].
                                             Now, then,
  I'm ready for school.--I hope I've drawed the map
  all right.

             Map? Oh, the map!

[_Surveying the woodpile reminiscently, he nods._]

                              Yes, thar she be:
  old Gettysburg!

                 I know the places--most.

  So, _do_ ye? Good, now: whar's your marker?

  POLLY [_taking up the hoe_].

  Willoughby Run: whar's that?

  POLLY [_points with the hoe toward the left of the woodpile_].
                               That's farthest over
  next the barn door.

  LINK.      My, how we fit the Johnnies
  thar, the fust mornin'! Jest behind them willers,
  acrost the Run, that's whar we captur'd Archer.
  My, my!

  POLLY.    Over there--that's Seminary Ridge.

[_She points to different heights and depressions, as LINK nods his

  Peach Orchard, Devil's Den, Round Top, the Wheatfield--

  Lord, Lord, the Wheatfield!

  POLLY [_continuing_].
                              Cemetery Hill,
  Little Round Top, Death Valley, and this here
  is Cemetery Ridge.

  LINK [_pointing to the little flag_].
                     And colors flyin'!
  We _kep_ 'em flyin' thar, too, all three days,
  from start to finish.

  POLLY.        Have I learned 'em right?

  _A_ number One, chick! Wait a mite: Culp's Hill:
  I don't jest spy Culp's Hill.

  POLLY.               There wa'n't enough
  kindlin's to spare for that. It ought to lay
  east there, towards the kitchen.

  LINK.                   Let it go!
  That's whar us Yanks left our back door ajar
  and Johnson stuck his foot in: kep it thar,
  too, till he got it squoze off by old Slocum.
  Let Culp's Hill lay for now.--Lend me your marker.

[_POLLY hands him the hoe. From his chair, he reaches with it and digs
in the chips._]

  Death Valley needs some scoopin' deeper. So:
  smooth off them chips.

[_POLLY does so with her foot._]

                         You better guess 't was deep
  as hell, that second day, come sundown.--Here,

[_He hands back the hoe to her._]

  flat down the Wheatfield yonder.

[_POLLY does so._]

  that Wheatfield: wall, we flatted it down flatter
  than any pancake what you ever cooked,
  Polly; and 't wan't no maple syrup neither
  was runnin', slipp'ry hot and slimy black
  all over it, that nightfall.

  POLLY.              Here's the road
  to Emmetsburg.

  LINK.   No, 'tain't: this here's the pike
  to Taneytown, where Sykes's boys come sweatin',
  after an all-night march, jest in the nick
  to save our second day. The Emmetsburg
  road's thar.--Whar was I, 'fore I fell cat-nappin'?

  At sunset, July second, Sixty-three.

  LINK [_nodding, reminiscent_].
  The Bloody Sundown! God, that crazy sun:
  she set a dozen times that afternoon,
  red-yeller as a punkin jacko'lantern,
  rairin' and pitchin' through the roarin' smoke
  till she clean busted, like the other bombs,
  behind the hills.

  POLLY.   My! Wa'n't you never scart
  and wished you'd stayed t' home?

  LINK.                   Scart? Wall, I wonder!
  Chick, look a-thar: them little stripes and stars.
  I heerd a feller onct, down to the store,--
  a dressy mister, span-new from the city--
  layin' the law down: "All this _stars and stripes_,"
  says he, "and _red and white and blue_ is rubbish,
  mere sentimental rot, spread-eagleism!"
  "I wan't t' know!" says I. "In Sixty-three,
  I knowed a lad, named Link. Onct, after sundown
  I met him stumblin'--with two dead men's muskets
  for crutches--towards a bucket, full of ink--
  water, they called it. When he'd drunk a spell,
  he tuk the rest to wash his bullet holes.--
  Wall, sir, he had a piece o' splintered stick,
  with _red and white and blue_, tore 'most t' tatters,
  a-danglin' from it." "Be you color sergeant?"
  says I. "Not me," says Link; "the sergeant's dead,
  but when he fell, he handed me this bit
  o' _rubbish_--red and white and blue." And Link
  he laughed. "What be you laughin' for?" says I.
  "Oh, nothin'. Ain't it lovely, though!" says Link.

  What did the span-new mister say to that?

  I didn't stop to listen. Them as never
  heerd dead men callin' for the colors don't
  guess what they be. [_Sitting up and blinking hard._]
                              But this ain't keepin' school!

  POLLY [_quietly_].
  I guess I'm learnin' somethin', Uncle Link.

  The second day, 'fore sunset.

[_He takes the hoe and points with it._]

                                Yon's the Wheatfield.
  Behind it thar lies Longstreet with his rebels.
  Here be the Yanks, and Cemetery Ridge
  behind 'em. Hancock--he's our general--
  he's got to hold the Ridge, till reinforcements
  from Taneytown. But lose the Wheatfield, lose
  the Ridge, and lose the Ridge--lose God-and-all!--
  Lee, the old fox, he'd nab up Washington,
  Abe Lincoln and the White House in one bite!--
  So the Union, Polly,--me and you and Roger,
  your Uncle Link, and Uncle Sam--is all
  thar--growin' in that Wheatfield.

  POLLY [_smiling proudly_].
                                    And they're growin'

         Not the wheat, though. Over them stone walls,
  thar comes the Johnnies, thick as grasshoppers:
  gray legs a-jumpin' through the tall wheat tops.
  And now thar ain't no tops, thar ain't no wheat,
  thar ain't no lookin': jest blind feelin' round
  in the black mud, and trampin' on boys' faces,
  and grapplin' with hell-devils, and stink o' smoke,
  and stingin' smother, and--up thar through the dark--
  that crazy punkin sun, like an old moon
  lopsided, crackin' her red shell with thunder!

[_In the distance, a bugle sounds, and the low martial music of a
brass band begins. Again LINK's face twitches, and he pauses,
listening. From this moment on, the sound and emotion of the brass
music, slowly growing louder, permeates the scene._]

  Oh! What was God a-thinkin' of, t' allow
  the created world to act that awful?

  LINK.                       Now,
  I wonder!--Cast your eye along this hoe:

[_He stirs the chips and wood-dirt round with the hoe-iron._]

  Thar in that poked up mess o' dirt, you see
  yon weeny chip of ox-yoke?--That's the boy
  I spoke on: Link, Link Tadbourne: "Chipmunk Link,"
  they call him, 'cause his legs is spry 's a squirrel's.--
  Wall, mebbe some good angel, with bright eyes
  like yourn, stood lookin' down on him that day,
  keepin' the Devil's hoe from crackin' him.

[_Patting her hand, which rests on his hoe._]

  If so, I reckon, Polly, it was you.
  But mebbe jest Old Nick, as he sat hoein'
  them hills, and haulin' in the little heaps
  o' squirmin' critters, kind o' reco'nized
  Link as his livin' image, and so kep him
  to put in an airthly hell, whar thar ain't no legs,
  and worn-out devils sit froze in high-backed chairs,
  list'nin' to bugles--bugles--bugles, callin'.

[_LINK clutches the sides of his chair, staring. The music draws
nearer. POLLY touches him soothingly._]

  Don't, dear; they'll soon quit playin'. Never mind 'em.

  LINK [_relaxing under her touch_].
  No, never mind; that's right. It's jest that onct--
  onct we was boys, onct we was boys--with legs.
  But never mind. An old boy ain't a bugle.
  _Onct_, though, he was: and all God's life a-snortin'
  outn his nostrils, and Hell's mischief laughin'
  outn his eyes, and all the mornin' winds
  ablowin' _Glory Hallelujahs_, like
  brass music, from his mouth.--But never mind!
  'T ain't nothin': boys in blue ain't bugles now.
  Old brass gits rusty, and old underpinnin'
  gits rotten, and trapped chipmunks lose their legs.

[_With smoldering fire._]

  But jest the same--

[_His face convulses and he cries out, terribly--straining in his
chair to rise._]

                       --for holy God, that band!
  Why don't they stop that band!

  POLLY [_going_].
                                 I'll run and tell them.
  Sit quiet, dear. I'll be right back.

[_Glancing back anxiously, POLLY disappears outside. The approaching
band begins to play "John Brown's Body." LINK sits motionless,
gripping his chair._]

  LINK.                        _Set quiet!_
  Dead folks don't set, and livin' folks kin stand,
  and Link--he kin set quiet.--Goda'mighty,
  how _kin_ he set, and them a-marchin' thar
  with old John Brown? Lord God, you ain't forgot
  the boys, have ye? the boys, how they come marchin'
  home to ye, live and dead, behind old Brown,
  a-singin' _Glory_ to ye! Jest look down:
  thar's Gettysburg, thar's Cemetery Ridge:
  don't say ye disremember _them_! And thar's
  the colors: Look, he's picked 'em up--the sergeant's
  blood splotched 'em some--but thar they be, still flyin'!
  Link done that: Link--the spry boy, what they call
  Chipmunk: you ain't forgot his double-step,
  have ye? [_Again he cries out, beseechingly._]--
                 My God, why do You keep on marchin'
  and leave him settin' here?

[_To the music outside, the voices of children begin to sing the words
of "John Brown's Body." At the sound, LINK's face becomes transformed
with emotion, his body shakes and his shoulders heave and


[_Wresting himself mightily, he rises from his chair, and stands._]

  Them are the boys that marched to Kingdom-Come
  ahead of us, but we keep fallin' in line.
  Them voices--Lord, I guess you've brought along
  your Sunday choir of young angel folks
  to help the boys out.

[_Following the music with swaying arms._]

                        Glory!--Never mind
  me singin': you kin drown me out. But I'm
  goin' t' jine in, or bust!

[_Joining with the children's voices, he moves unconsciously along the
edge of the woodpile. With stiff steps--his one hand leaning on the
hoe, his other reached as to unseen hands, that draw him--he totters
toward the sunlight and the green lawn, at back. As he does so, his
thin, cracked voice takes up the battle-hymn where the children's are
singing it:_]

  "--a-mold'rin' in the grave,
   John Brown's body lies a-mold'rin' in the grave,
   John Brown's body lies a-mold'rin' in the grave,
     But his soul goes--"

[_Suddenly he stops, aware that he is walking, and cries aloud,

                        Lord, Lord, my legs!
  Whar did Ye git my legs?

[_Shaking with delight, he drops his hoe, seizes up the little flag
from the woodpile, and waves it joyously._]

                          I'm comin', boys!
  Link's loose agin: Chipmunk has sprung his trap.

[_With tottering gait, he climbs the little mound in the woodpile._]

  Now, boys, three cheers for Cemetery Ridge!
  Jine in, jine in!

[_Swinging the flag._]


[_Outside, the music grows louder, and the voices of old men and
children sing martially to the brass music._

_With his final cheer, LINK stumbles down from the mound, brandishes
in one hand his hat, in the other the little flag, and stumps off
toward the approaching procession into the sunlight, joining his old
cracked voice, jubilant, with the singers:_]

      "--ry hallelujah,
  Glory, glory hallelujah,
    His truth is marchin' on!"





         [Footnote 34: Professionals and amateurs are hereby warned
         that this play is fully copyrighted under the existing laws
         of the United States, and no one is allowed to produce this
         play without first having obtained permission of Samuel
         French, 28 West 28 Street, New York.]

Alan Alexander Milne was born January 18, 1882. He was a student at
Westminster School, the library of which is familiar ground to every
reader of Irving's _Sketch Book_. From there he proceeded to Trinity
College, Cambridge. On his graduation, he went into journalism in
London. He was assistant editor of _Punch_ from 1906 to 1914. During
the War he was a lieutenant in the Fourth Royal Warwickshire Regiment.
In the introduction to his volume of _First Plays_, in which
_Wurzel-Flummery_ appears, he gives the following whimsical account of
his career as a dramatist: "These five plays [_The Lucky One_, _The
Boy Comes Home_, _Belinda_, _The Red Feather_, _Wurzel-Flummery_] were
written in the order in which they appear now, during the years 1916
and 1917. They would hardly have been written had it not been for the
War, although only one of them is concerned with that subject. To his
other responsibilities the Kaiser now adds this volume.

"For these plays were not the work of a professional writer, but the
recreation of a (temporary) professional soldier. Play-writing is a
luxury to a journalist, as insidious as golf and much more expensive
in time and money. When an article is written, the financial reward
(and we may as well live as not) is a matter of certainty. A novelist,
too, even if he is not in 'the front rank'--but I never heard of one
who wasn't--can at least be sure of publication. But when a play is
written, there is no certainty of anything save disillusionment.

"To write a play, then, while I was a journalist seemed to me a
depraved proceeding, almost as bad as going to Lord's in the morning.
I thought I could write one (we all think we can), but I could not
afford so unpromising a gamble. But once in the Army the case was
altered. No duty now urged me to write. My job was soldiering, and my
spare time was my own affair. Other subalterns played bridge and golf;
that was one way of amusing oneself. Another way was--why not?--to
write plays.

"So we began with _Wurzel-Flummery_. I say 'we,' because another is
mixed up in this business even more seriously than the Kaiser. She
wrote; I dictated. And if a particularly fine evening drew us out for
a walk along the byways--where there was no saluting, and one could
smoke a pipe without shocking the Duke of Cambridge--then it was to
discuss the last scene and to wonder what would happen in the next. We
did not estimate the money or publicity which might come from this new
venture; there has never been any serious thought of making money by
my bridge-playing, nor desire for publicity when I am trying to play
golf. But secretly, of course, we hoped. It was that which made it so
much more exciting than any other game.

"Our hopes were realized to the following extent:

"Wurzel-Flummery was produced by Mr. Dion Boucicault at the New
Theatre in April, 1917. It was originally written in three acts, in
which form it was shown to one or two managers. At the beginning of
1917 I was offered the chance of production in a triple bill if I cut
it down into a two-act play. To cut even a line is painful, but to cut
thirty pages of one's first comedy, slaughtering whole characters on
the way, has at least a certain morbid fascination. It appeared,
therefore, in two acts; and one kindly critic embarrassed us by saying
that a lesser artist would have written it in three acts, and most of
the other critics annoyed us by saying that a greater artist would
have written it in one act. However, I amused myself some months later
by slaying another character--the office-boy, no less--thereby getting
it down to one act, and was surprised to find that the one-act version
was, after all, the best.... At least, I think it is.... At any rate,
that is the version I am printing here; but, as can be imagined, I am
rather tired of the whole business by now, and I am beginning to
wonder if anyone ever did take the name of Wurzel-Flummery at all.
Possibly the whole thing is an invention."

_Wurzel-Flummery_ was first produced in this country at the Arts and
Crafts Theatre in Detroit; recently it was acted again by The Players
of St. Louis.



  MARGARET CRAWSHAW (_his wife_).
  VIOLA CRAWSHAW (_his daughter_).

_SCENE.--ROBERT CRAWSHAW's town house. Morning._

_It is a June day before the War in the morning-room of ROBERT
CRAWSHAW's town house. Entering it with our friend the house-agent,
our attention would first be called to the delightful club fender
round the fireplace. On one side of this a Chesterfield sofa comes out
at right angles. In a corner of the sofa MISS VIOLA CRAWSHAW is
sitting, deep in "The Times." The house-agent would hesitate to
catalogue her, but we notice for ourselves, before he points out the
comfortable armchair opposite, that she is young and pretty. In the
middle of the room and facing the fireplace is (observe) a solid
knee-hole writing-table, covered with papers and books of reference,
and supported by a chair at the middle and another at the side. The
rest of the furniture, and the books and pictures round the walls, we
must leave until another time, for at this moment the door behind the
sofa opens and RICHARD MERITON comes in. He looks about thirty-five,
has a clean-shaven intelligent face, and is dressed in a dark tweed
suit. We withdraw hastily, as he comes behind VIOLA and puts his hands
over her eyes._

RICHARD. Three guesses who it is.

VIOLA [_putting her hands over his_]. The Archbishop of Canterbury.


VIOLA. The Archbishop of York.

RICHARD. Fortunately that exhausts the archbishops. Now, then, your
last guess.

VIOLA. Richard Meriton, M.P.

RICHARD. Wonderful! [_He kisses the top of her head lightly and goes
round to the club fender, where he sits with his back to the
fireplace._] How did you know? [_He begins to fill a pipe._]

VIOLA [_smiling_]. Well, it couldn't have been father.

RICHARD. N-no, I suppose not. Not just after breakfast anyway.
Anything in the paper?

VIOLA. There's a letter from father pointing out that ----

RICHARD. I never knew such a man as Robert for pointing out.

VIOLA. Anyhow, it's in big print.

RICHARD. It would be.

VIOLA. You are very cynical this morning, Dick.

RICHARD. The sausages were cold, dear.

VIOLA. Poor Dick! Oh, Dick, I wish you were on the same side as

RICHARD. But he's on the wrong side. Surely I've told you that
before.... Viola, do you really think it would make a difference?

VIOLA. Well, you know what he said about you at Basingstoke the other

RICHARD. No, I don't, really.

VIOLA. He said that your intellectual arrogance was only equaled by
your spiritual instability. I don't quite know what it means, but it
doesn't sound the sort of thing you want in a son-in-law.

RICHARD. Still, it was friendly of him to go right away to Basingstoke
to say it. Anyhow, you don't believe it.

VIOLA. Of course not.

RICHARD. And Robert doesn't really.

VIOLA. Then why does he say it?

RICHARD. Ah, now you're opening up very grave questions. The whole
structure of the British Constitution rests upon Robert's right to say
things like that at Basingstoke.... But really, darling, we're very
good friends. He's always asking my advice about things--he doesn't
take it, of course, but still he asks it; and it was awfully good of
him to insist on my staying here while my flat was being done up.
[_Seriously._] I bless him for that. If it hadn't been for the last
week I should never have known you. You were just "Viola"--the girl
I'd seen at odd times since she was a child; and now--oh, why won't
you let me tell your father? I hate it like this.

VIOLA. Because I love you, Dick, and because I know father. He would,
as they say in novels, show you the door. [_Smiling._] And I want you
this side of the door for a little bit longer.

RICHARD [_firmly_]. I shall tell him before I go.

VIOLA [_pleadingly_]. But not till then; that gives us two more days.
You see, darling, it's going to take me all I know to get round him.
You see, apart from politics you're so poor--and father hates poor

RICHARD [_viciously_]. Damn money!

VIOLA [_thoughtfully_]. I think that's what father means by spiritual

RICHARD. Viola! [_He stands up and holds out his arms to her. She goes
to him and_--] Oh, Lord, look out!

VIOLA [_reaching across to the mantelpiece_]. Matches?

RICHARD. Thanks very much. [_He lights his pipe as ROBERT CRAWSHAW
comes in. CRAWSHAW is forty-five, but his closely-trimmed mustache and
whiskers, his inclination to stoutness, and the loud old-gentlemanly
style in trousers which he affects with his morning-coat, make him
look older, and, what is more important, the Pillar of the State which
he undoubtedly is._]

CRAWSHAW. Good-morning, Richard. Down at last?

RICHARD. Good-morning. I did warn you, didn't I, that I was bad at

CRAWSHAW. Viola, where's your mother?

VIOLA [_making for the door_]. I don't know, father; do you want her?

CRAWSHAW. I wish to speak to her.

VIOLA. All right, I'll tell her. [_She goes out. RICHARD picks up "The
Times" and sits down again._]

CRAWSHAW [_sitting down in a business-like way at his desk_]. Richard,
why don't you get something to do?

RICHARD. My dear fellow, I've only just finished breakfast.

CRAWSHAW. I mean generally. And apart, of course, from your--ah--work
in the House.

RICHARD [_a trifle cool_]. I have something to do.

CRAWSHAW. Oh, reviewing. I mean something serious. You should get a
directorship or something in the City.

RICHARD. I hate the City.

CRAWSHAW. Ah! there, my dear Richard, is that intellectual arrogance
to which I had to call attention the other day at Basingstoke.

RICHARD [_dryly_]. Yes, so Viola was telling me.

CRAWSHAW. You understood, my dear fellow, that I meant nothing
personal. [_Clearing his throat._] It is justly one of the proudest
boasts of the Englishman that his political enmities are not allowed
to interfere with his private friendships.

RICHARD [_carelessly_]. Oh, I shall go to Basingstoke myself one day.

_Enter MARGARET. MARGARET has been in love with ROBERT CRAWSHAW for
twenty-five years, the last twenty-four years from habit. She is
small, comfortable, and rather foolish; you would certainly call her a
dear, but you might sometimes call her a poor dear._

MARGARET. Good-morning, Mr. Meriton. I do hope your breakfast was all

RICHARD. Excellent, thank you.

MARGARET. That's right. Did you want me, Robert?

CRAWSHAW [_obviously uncomfortable_].
Yes--er--h'r'm--Richard--er--what are your--er--plans?

RICHARD. Is he trying to get rid of me, Mrs. Crawshaw?

MARGARET. Of course not. [_To ROBERT._] Are you, dear?

CRAWSHAW. Perhaps we had better come into my room, Margaret. We can
leave Richard here with the paper.

RICHARD. No, no; I'm going.

CRAWSHAW [_going to the door with him_]. I have some particular
business to discuss. If you aren't going out, I should like to consult
you in the matter afterwards.

RICHARD. Right. [_He goes out._ ]

CRAWSHAW. Sit down, Margaret. I have some extraordinary news for you.

MARGARET [_sitting down_]. Yes, Robert?

CRAWSHAW. This letter has just come by hand. [_He reads it._] "199,
Lincoln's Inn Fields. Dear Sir, I have the pleasure to inform you that
under the will of the late Mr. Antony Clifton you are a beneficiary to
the extent of £50,000."


CRAWSHAW. Wait! "A trifling condition is attached--namely, that you
should take the name of--Wurzel-Flummery."


CRAWSHAW. "I have the honor to be, your obedient servant, Denis
Clifton." [_He folds the letter up and puts it away._]

MARGARET. Robert, whoever is he? I mean the one who's left you the

CRAWSHAW [_calmly_]. I have not the slightest idea, Margaret.
Doubtless we shall find out before long. I have asked Mr. Denis
Clifton to come and see me.

MARGARET. Leaving you fifty thousand pounds! Just fancy!

CRAWSHAW. Wurzel-Flummery!

MARGARET. We can have the second car now, dear, can't we? And what
about moving? You know you always said you ought to be in a more
central part. Mr. Robert Crawshaw, M.P., of Curzon Street sounds so
much more--more Cabinety.

CRAWSHAW. Mr. Robert Wurzel-Flummery, M.P., of Curzon Street--I don't
know what _that_ sounds like.

MARGARET. I expect that's only a legal way of putting it, dear. They
can't really expect us to change our name to--Wurzley-Fothergill.

CRAWSHAW. Wurzel-Flummery.

MARGARET. Yes, dear, didn't I say that? I am sure you could talk the
solicitor round--this Mr. Denis Clifton. After all, it doesn't matter
to _him_ what we call ourselves. Write him one of your letters, dear.

CRAWSHAW. You don't seem to apprehend the situation, Margaret.

MARGARET. Yes, I do, dear. This Mr.--Mr.--

CRAWSHAW. Antony Clifton.

MARGARET. Yes, he's left you fifty thousand pounds, together with the
name of Wurzley-Fothergill--

CRAWSHAW. Wurzel--oh, well, never mind.

MARGARET. Yes, well, you tell the solicitor that you will take the
fifty thousand pounds, but you don't want the name. It's too absurd,
when everybody knows of Robert Crawshaw, M.P., to expect you to call
yourself Wurzley-Fothergill.

CRAWSHAW [_impatiently_]. Yes, yes. The point is that this Mr. Clifton
has left me the money on _condition_ that I change my name. If I don't
take the name, I don't take the money.

MARGARET. But is that legal?

CRAWSHAW. Perfectly. It is often done. People change their names on
succeeding to some property.

MARGARET. I thought it was only when your name was Moses and you
changed it to Talbot.

CRAWSHAW [_to himself_]. Wurzel-Flummery!

MARGARET. I wonder why he left you the money at all. Of course it was
very nice of him, but if you didn't know him--Why do you think he did,

CRAWSHAW. I know no more than this letter. I suppose he
had--ah--followed my career, and was--ah--interested in it, and being
a man with no relations, felt that he could--ah--safely leave this
money to me. No doubt Wurzel-Flummery was his mother's maiden name, or
the name of some other friend even dearer to him; he wished the
name--ah--perpetuated, perhaps even recorded not unworthily in the
history of our country, and--ah--made this will accordingly. In a way
it is a kind of--ah--sacred trust.

MARGARET. Then, of course, you'll accept it, dear?

CRAWSHAW. It requires some consideration. I have my career to think
about, my duty to my country.

MARGARET. Of course, dear. Money is a great help in politics, isn't

CRAWSHAW. Money wisely spent is a help in any profession. The view of
riches which socialists and suchlike people profess to take is
entirely ill-considered. A rich man, who spends his money
thoughtfully, is serving his country as nobly as anybody.

MARGARET. Yes, dear. Then you think we _could_ have that second car
and the house in Curzon Street?

CRAWSHAW. We must not be led away. Fifty thousand pounds, properly
invested, is only two thousand a year. When you have deducted the
income-tax--and the tax on unearned income is extremely high just

MARGARET. Oh, but surely if we have to call ourselves Wurzel-Flummery
it would count as _earned_ income.

CRAWSHAW. I fear not. Strictly speaking, all money is earned. Even if
it is left to you by another, it is presumably left to you in
recognition of certain outstanding qualities which you possess. But
Parliament takes a different view. I do not for a moment say that
fifty thousand pounds would not be welcome. Fifty thousand pounds is
certainly not to be sneezed at--

MARGARET. I should think not, indeed!

CRAWSHAW [_unconsciously rising from his chair_]. And without this
preposterous condition attached I should be pleased to accept this
trust, and I would endeavor, Mr. Speaker--[_He sits down again
suddenly._] I would endeavor, Margaret, to carry it out to the best of
my poor ability. But--Wurzel-Flummery!

MARGARET. You would soon get used to it, dear. I had to get used to
the name of Crawshaw after I had been Debenham for twenty-five years.
It is surprising how quickly it comes to you. I think I only signed my
name Margaret Debenham once after I was married.

CRAWSHAW [_kindly_]. The cases are rather different, Margaret.
Naturally a woman, who from her cradle looks forward to the day when
she will change her name, cannot have this feeling for the--ah--honor
of his name, which every man--ah--feels. Such a feeling is naturally
more present in my own case since I have been privileged to make the
name of Crawshaw in some degree--ah--well-known, I might almost say

MARGARET [_wistfully_]. I used to be called "the beautiful Miss
Debenham of Leamington." Everybody in Leamington knew of me. Of
course, I am very proud to be Mrs. Robert Crawshaw.

CRAWSHAW [_getting up and walking over to the fireplace_]. In a way it
would mean beginning all over again. It is half the battle in politics
to get your name before the public. "Whoever is this man
Wurzel-Flummery?" people will say.

MARGARET. Anyhow, dear, let us look on the bright side. Fifty thousand
pounds is fifty thousand pounds.

CRAWSHAW. It is, Margaret. And no doubt it is my duty to accept it.
But--well, all I say is that a _gentleman_ would have left it without
any conditions. Or at least he would merely have expressed his _wish_
that I should take the name, without going so far as to enforce it.
Then I could have looked at the matter all round in an impartial

MARGARET [_pursuing her thoughts_]. The linen is marked R. M. C. now.
Of course, we should have to have that altered. Do you think R. M. F.
would do, or would it have to be R. M. W. hyphen F.?

CRAWSHAW. What? Oh--yes, there will be a good deal of that to attend
to. [_Going up to her._] I think, Margaret, I had better talk to
Richard about this. Of course, it would be absurd to refuse the money,
but--well, I should like to have his opinion.

MARGARET [_getting up_]. Do you think he would be very sympathetic,
dear? He makes jokes about serious things--like bishops and
hunting--just as if they weren't at all serious.

CRAWSHAW. I wish to talk to him just to obtain a new--ah--point of
view. I do not hold myself in the least bound to act on anything he
says. I regard him as a constituent, Margaret.

MARGARET. Then I will send him to you.

CRAWSHAW [_putting his hands on her shoulders_]. Margaret, what do you
really feel about it?

MARGARET. Just whatever _you_ feel, Robert.

CRAWSHAW [_kissing her_]. Thank you, Margaret; you are a good wife to
me. [_She goes out. CRAWSHAW goes to his desk and selects a "Who's
Who" from a little pile of reference-books on it. He walks round to
his chair, sits down in it and begins to turn the pages, murmuring
names beginning with "C" to himself as he gets near the place. When he
finds it, he murmurs "Clifton--that's funny" and closes the book.
Evidently the publishers have failed him._]

_Enter RICHARD._

RICHARD. Well, what's the news? [_He goes to his old seat on the
fender._] Been left a fortune?

CRAWSHAW [_simply_]. Yes.... By a Mr. Antony Clifton. I never met him
and I know nothing about him.

RICHARD [_surprised_]. Not really? Well, I congratulate you. [_He
sighs._] To them that hath--But what on earth do you want my advice

CRAWSHAW. There is a slight condition attached.


CRAWSHAW. The condition is that with this money--fifty thousand
pounds--I take the name of--ah--Wurzel-Flummery.

RICHARD [_jumping up_]. What!

CRAWSHAW [_sulkily_]. I said it quite distinctly--Wurzel-Flummery.
[_RICHARD in an awed silence walks over to the desk and stands looking
down at the unhappy CRAWSHAW. He throws out his left hand as if
introducing him._]

RICHARD [_reverently_]. Mr. Robert Wurzel-Flummery, M.P., one of the
most prominent of our younger Parliamentarians. Oh, you ... oh!... oh,
how too heavenly! [_He goes back to his seat, looks up and catches
CRAWSHAW's eye, and breaks down altogether._]

CRAWSHAW [_rising with dignity_]. Shall we discuss it seriously, or
shall we leave it?

RICHARD. How can we discuss a name like Wurzel-Flummery seriously?
"Mr. Wurzel-Flummery in a few well-chosen words seconded the motion."
... "'Sir,' went on Mr. Wurzel-Flummery"--Oh, poor Robert!

CRAWSHAW [_sitting down sulkily_]. You seem quite certain that I shall
take the money.

RICHARD. I am quite certain.

CRAWSHAW. Would _you_ take it?

RICHARD [_hesitating_]. Well--I wonder.

CRAWSHAW. After all, as William Shakespeare says, "What's in a name?"

RICHARD. I can tell you something else that Shakespeare--_William_
Shakespeare--said. [_Dramatically rising._] Who steals my purse with
fifty thousand in it--steals trash. [_In his natural voice._] Trash,
Robert. [_Dramatically again._] But he who filches from me my good
name of Crawshaw [_lightly_] and substitutes the rotten one of

CRAWSHAW [_annoyed_]. As a matter of fact, Wurzel-Flummery is a very
good old name. I seem to remember some--ah--Hampshire Wurzel-Flummeries.
It is a very laudable spirit on the part of a dying man to wish
to--ah--perpetuate these old English names. It all seems to me quite
natural and straightforward. If I take this money I shall have nothing
to be ashamed of.

RICHARD. I see.... Look here, may I ask you a few questions? I should
like to know just how you feel about the whole business?

CRAWSHAW [_complacently folding his hands_]. Go ahead.

RICHARD. Suppose a stranger came up in the street to you and said, "My
poor man, here's five pounds for you," what would you do? Tell him to
go to the devil, I suppose, wouldn't you?

CRAWSHAW [_humorously_]. In more parliamentary language, perhaps,
Richard. I should tell him I never took money from strangers.

RICHARD. Quite so; but that if it were ten thousand pounds, you would
take it?

CRAWSHAW. I most certainly shouldn't.

RICHARD. But if he died and left it to you, _then_ you would?

CRAWSHAW [_blandly_]. Ah, I thought you were leading up to that. That,
of course, is entirely different.


CRAWSHAW. Well--ah--wouldn't _you_ take ten thousand pounds if it were
left to you by a stranger?

RICHARD. I daresay I should. But I should like to know why it would
seem different.

CRAWSHAW [_professionally_]. Ha--hum! Well--in the first place, when a
man is dead he wants his money no longer. You can therefore be certain
that you are not taking anything from him which he cannot spare. And
in the next place, it is the man's dying wish that you should have the
money. To refuse would be to refuse the dead. To accept becomes almost
a sacred duty.

RICHARD. It really comes to this, doesn't it? You won't take it from
him when he's alive, because if you did, you couldn't decently refuse
him a little gratitude; but you know that it doesn't matter a damn to
him what happens to his money after he's dead, and therefore you can
take it without feeling any gratitude at all.

CRAWSHAW. No, I shouldn't put it like that.

RICHARD [_smiling_]. I'm sure you wouldn't, Robert.

CRAWSHAW. No doubt you can twist it about so that--

RICHARD. All right, we'll leave that and go on to the next point.
Suppose a perfect stranger offered you five pounds to part your hair
down the middle, shave off your mustache, and wear only one
whisker--if he met you suddenly in the street, seemed to dislike your
appearance, took out a fiver and begged you to hurry off and alter
yourself--of course you'd pocket the money and go straight to your

CRAWSHAW. Now you are merely being offensive.

RICHARD. I beg your pardon. I should have said that if he had left you
five pounds in his will?--well, then twenty pounds?--a hundred
pounds?--a thousand pounds?--fifty thousand pounds?--[_Jumping up
excitedly._] It's only a question of price--fifty thousand pounds,
Robert--a pink tie with purple spots, hair parted across the back,
trousers with a patch in the seat, call myself Wurzel-Flummery--any
old thing you like, you can't insult me--anything you like, gentlemen,
for fifty thousand pounds. [_Lowering his voice._] Only you must leave
it in your will, and then I can feel that it is a sacred duty--a
sacred duty, my lords and gentlemen. [_He sinks back into the sofa and
relights his pipe._]

CRAWSHAW [_rising with dignity_]. It is evidently useless to prolong
this conversation.

RICHARD [_waving him down again_]. No, no, Robert; I've finished. I
just took the other side--and I got carried away. I ought to have been
at the Bar.

CRAWSHAW. You take such extraordinary views of things. You must look
facts in the face, Richard. This is a modern world, and we are modern
people living in it. Take the matter-of-fact view. You may like or
dislike the name of--ah--Wurzel-Flummery, but you can't get away from
the fact that fifty thousand pounds is not to be sneezed at.

RICHARD [_wistfully_]. I don't know why people shouldn't sneeze at
money sometimes. I should like to start a society for sneezing at
fifty thousand pounds. We'd have to begin in a small way, of course;
we'd begin by sneezing at five pounds--and work up.... The trouble is
that we're all inoculated in our cradles against that kind of cold.

CRAWSHAW [_pleasantly_]. You will have your little joke. But you know
as well as I do that it is only a joke. There can be no serious reason
why I should not take this money. And I--ah--gather that you don't
think it will affect my career?

RICHARD [_carelessly_]. Not a bit. It'll help it. It'll get you into
all the comic papers.

MARGARET _comes in at this moment, to the relief of CRAWSHAW, who is
not quite certain if he is being flattered or insulted again._

MARGARET. Well, have you told him?

RICHARD [_making way for her on the sofa_]. I have heard the news,
Mrs. Crawshaw. And I have told Robert my opinion that he should have
no difficulty in making the name of Wurzel-Flummery as famous as he
has already made that of Crawshaw. At any rate I hope he will.

MARGARET. How nice of you!

CRAWSHAW. Well, it's settled then. [_Looking at his watch._] This
solicitor fellow should be here soon. Perhaps, after all, we can
manage something about--Ah, Viola, did you want your mother?

_Enter VIOLA._

VIOLA. Sorry, do I interrupt a family meeting? There's Richard, so it
can't be very serious.

RICHARD. What a reputation!

CRAWSHAW. Well, it's over now.

MARGARET. Viola had better know, hadn't she?

CRAWSHAW. She'll have to know some time, of course.

VIOLA [_sitting down firmly on the sofa_]. Of course she will. So
you'd better tell her now. I knew there was something exciting going
on this morning.

CRAWSHAW [_embarrassed_]. Hum--ha--[_To MARGARET._] Perhaps you'd
better tell her, dear.

MARGARET [_simply and naturally_]. Father has come into some property,
Viola. It means changing our name unfortunately. But your father
doesn't think it will matter.

VIOLA. How thrilling! What is the name, mother?

MARGARET. Your father says it is--dear me, I shall never remember it.

CRAWSHAW [_mumbling_]. Wurzel-Flummery.

VIOLA [_after a pause_]. Dick, _you_ tell me, if nobody else will.

RICHARD. Robert said it just now.

VIOLA. That wasn't a name, was it? I thought it was just a--do say it
again, father.

CRAWSHAW [_sulkily but plainly_]. Wurzel-Flummery.

VIOLA [_surprised_]. Do you spell it like that? I mean like a wurzel
and like flummery?

RICHARD. Exactly, I believe.

VIOLA [_to herself_]. Miss Viola Wurzel-Flummery--I mean they'd have
to look at you, wouldn't they? [_Bubbling over._] Oh, Dick, what a
heavenly name! Who had it first?

RICHARD. They are an old Hampshire family--that is so, isn't it,

CRAWSHAW [_annoyed_]. I said I thought that I remembered--Margaret,
can you find Burke there? [_She finds it, and he buries himself in the
families of the great._]

MARGARET. Well, Viola, you haven't told us how you like being Miss

VIOLA. I haven't realized myself yet, mummy. I shall have to stand in
front of my glass and tell myself who I am.

RICHARD. It's all right for _you_. You know you'll change your name
one day, and then it won't matter what you've been called before.

VIOLA [_secretly_]. H'sh! [_She smiles lovingly at him, and then says
aloud._] Oh, won't it? It's got to appear in the papers, "A marriage
has been arranged between Miss Viola Wurzel-Flummery ..." and
everybody will say, "And about time too, poor girl."

MARGARET [_to CRAWSHAW_]. Have you found it, dear?

CRAWSHAW [_resentfully_]. This is the 1912 edition.

MARGARET. Still, dear, if it's a very old family, it ought to be in by

VIOLA. I don't mind how old it is; I think it's lovely. Oh, Dick, what
fun it will be being announced! Just think of the footman throwing
open the door and saying--

MAID [_announcing_]. Mr. Denis Clifton. [_There is a little natural
confusion as CLIFTON enters jauntily in his summer suiting with a
bundle of papers under his arm. CRAWSHAW goes towards him and shakes

CRAWSHAW. How do you do, Mr. Clifton? Very good of you to come.
[_Looking doubtfully at his clothes._] Er--it is Mr. Denis Clifton,
the solicitor?

CLIFTON [_cheerfully_]. It is. I must apologize for not looking the
part more, but my clothes did not arrive from Clarkson's in time. Very
careless of them when they had promised. And my clerk dissuaded me
from the side-whiskers which I keep by me for these occasions.

CRAWSHAW [_bewildered_]. Ah yes, quite so. But you have--ah--full
legal authority to act in this matter?

CLIFTON. Oh, decidedly. Oh, there's no question of that.

CRAWSHAW [_introducing_]. My wife--and daughter. [_CLIFTON bows
gracefully._] My friend, Mr. Richard Meriton.

CLIFTON [_happily_]. Dear me! Mr. Meriton too! This is quite a
situation, as we say in the profession.

RICHARD [_amused by him_]. In the legal profession?

CLIFTON. In the theatrical profession. [_Turning to MARGARET._] I am a
writer of plays, Mrs. Crawshaw. I am not giving away a professional
secret when I tell you that most of the managers in London have
thanked me for submitting my work to them.

CRAWSHAW [_firmly_]. I understood, Mr. Clifton, that you were the
solicitor employed to wind up the affairs of the late Mr. Antony

CLIFTON. Oh, certainly. Oh, there's no doubt about my being a
solicitor. My clerk, a man of the utmost integrity, not to say
probity, would give me a reference. I am in the books; I belong to the
Law Society. But my heart turns elsewhere. Officially I have embraced
the profession of a solicitor--[_Frankly, to MRS. CRAWSHAW._] But you
know what these official embraces are.

MARGARET. I'm afraid--[_She turns to her husband for assistance._]

CLIFTON [_to RICHARD_]. Unofficially, Mr. Meriton, I am wedded to the

VIOLA. Dick, isn't he lovely?

CRAWSHAW. Quite so. But just for the moment, Mr. Clifton, I take it
that we are concerned with legal business. Should I ever wish to
produce a play, the case would be different.

CLIFTON. Admirably put. Pray regard me entirely as the solicitor for
as long as you wish. [_He puts his hat down on a chair with the papers
in it, and taking off his gloves, goes on dreamily._] Mr. Denis
Clifton was superb as a solicitor. In spite of an indifferent make-up,
his manner of taking off his gloves and dropping them into his
hat--[_He does so._]

MARGARET [_to CRAWSHAW_]. I think, perhaps, Viola and I--

RICHARD [_making a move too_]. We'll leave you to your business,

CLIFTON [_holding up his hand_]. Just one moment if I may. I have a
letter for you, Mr. Meriton.

RICHARD [_surprised_]. For me?

CLIFTON. Yes. My clerk, a man of the utmost integrity--oh, but I said
that before--he took it round to your rooms this morning, but found
only painters and decorators there. [_He is feeling in his pockets and
now brings the letter out._] I brought it along, hoping that Mr.
Crawshaw--but of course I never expected anything so delightful as
this. [_He hands over the letter with a bow._]

RICHARD. Thanks. [_He puts it in his pocket._]

CLIFTON. Oh, but do read it now, won't you? [_To MRS. CRAWSHAW._] One
so rarely has an opportunity of being present when one's own letters
are read. I think the habit they have on the stage of reading letters
aloud to each other is such a very delightful one. [_RICHARD, with a
smile and a shrug, has opened his letter while CLIFTON is talking._]

RICHARD. Good Lord!

VIOLA. Dick, what is it?

RICHARD [_reading_]. "199, Lincoln's Inn Fields. Dear Sir, I have the
pleasure to inform you that under the will of the late Mr. Antony
Clifton you are a beneficiary to the extent of £50,000."

VIOLA. Dick!

RICHARD. "A trifling condition is attached--namely, that you should
take the name of--Wurzel-Flummery." [_CLIFTON, with his hand on his
heart, bows gracefully from one to the other of them._]

CRAWSHAW [_annoyed_]. Impossible! Why should he leave any money to

VIOLA. Dick! How wonderful!

MARGARET [_mildly_]. I don't remember ever having had a morning quite
like this.

RICHARD [_angrily_]. Is this a joke, Mr. Clifton?

CLIFTON. Oh, the money is there all right. My clerk, a man of the

RICHARD. Then I refuse it. I'll have nothing to do with it. I won't
even argue about it. [_Tearing the letter into bits._] That's what I
think of your money. [_He stalks indignantly from the room._]

VIOLA. Dick! Oh, but, mother, he mustn't. Oh, I must tell him--[_She
hurries after him._]

MARGARET [_with dignity_]. Really, Mr. Clifton, I'm surprised at you.
[_She goes out too._]

CLIFTON [_looking round the room_]. And now, Mr. Crawshaw, we are

CRAWSHAW. Yes. Well, I think, Mr. Clifton, you have a good deal to

CLIFTON. My dear sir, I'm longing to begin. I have been looking
forward to this day for weeks. I spent over an hour this morning
dressing for it. [_He takes papers from his hat and moves to the
sofa._] Perhaps I had better begin from the beginning.

CRAWSHAW [_interested, indicating the papers_]. The documents in the

CLIFTON. Oh dear, no--just something to carry in the hand. It makes
one look more like a solicitor. [_Reading the title._] "Watherston v.
Towser--_in re_ Great Missenden Canal Company." My clerk invents the
titles; it keeps him busy. He is very fond of Towser; Towser is always
coming in. [_Frankly._] You see, Mr. Crawshaw, this is my first real
case, and I only got it because Antony Clifton is my uncle. My efforts
to introduce a little picturesqueness into the dull formalities of the
law do not meet with that response that one would have expected.

CRAWSHAW [_looking at his watch_]. Yes. Well, I'm a busy man, and if
you could tell me as shortly as possible why your uncle left this
money to me, and apparently to Mr. Meriton too, under these
extraordinary conditions, I shall be obliged to you.

CLIFTON. Say no more, Mr. Crawshaw; I look forward to being entirely
frank with you. It will be a pleasure.

CRAWSHAW. You understand, of course, my position. I think I may say
that I am not without reputation in the country; and proud as I am to
accept this sacred trust, this money which the late Mr. Antony Clifton
has seen fit--[_modestly_] one cannot say why--to bequeath to me, yet
the use of the name Wurzel-Flummery would be excessively awkward.

CLIFTON [_cheerfully_]. Excessively.

CRAWSHAW. My object in seeing you was to inquire if it was absolutely
essential that the name should go with the money.

CLIFTON. Well [_thoughtfully_], you may have the name _without_ the
money if you like. But you must have the name.

CRAWSHAW [_disappointed_]. Ah! [_Bravely._] Of course, I have nothing
against the name, a good old Hampshire name--

CLIFTON [_shocked_]. My dear Mr. Crawshaw, you didn't think--you
didn't really think that anybody had been called Wurzel-Flummery
before? Oh no, no. You and Mr. Meriton were to be the first, the
founders of the clan, the designers of the Wurzel-Flummery sporran--

CRAWSHAW. What do you mean, sir? Are you telling me that it is not a
real name at all?

CLIFTON. Oh, it's a name all right. I know it is because--er--_I_ made
it up.

CRAWSHAW [_outraged_]. And you have the impudence to propose, sir,
that I should take a made-up name?

CLIFTON [_soothingly_]. Well, all names are made up some time or
other. Somebody had to think of--Adam.

CRAWSHAW. I warn you, Mr. Clifton, that I do not allow this trifling
with serious subjects.

CLIFTON. It's all so simple, really.... You see, my Uncle Antony was a
rather unusual man. He despised money. He was not afraid to put it in
its proper place. The place he put it in was--er--a little below golf
and a little above classical concerts. If a man said to him, "Would
you like to make fifty thousand this afternoon?" he would say--well,
it would depend what he was doing. If he were going to have a round at
Walton Heath--

CRAWSHAW. It's perfectly scandalous to talk of money in this way.

CLIFTON. Well, that's how he talked about it. But he didn't find many
to agree with him. In fact, he used to say that there was nothing,
however contemptible, that a man would not do for money. One day I
suggested that if he left a legacy with a sufficiently foolish name
attached to it, somebody might be found to refuse it. He laughed at
the idea. That put me on my mettle. "Two people," I said; "leave the
same silly name to two people, two well-known people, rival
politicians, say, men whose own names are already public property.
Surely they wouldn't both take it." That touched him. "Denis, my boy,
you've got it," he said. "Upon what vile bodies shall we experiment?"
We decided on you and Mr. Meriton. The next thing was to choose the
name. I started on the wrong lines. I began by suggesting names like
Porker, Tosh, Bugge, Spiffkins--the obvious sort. My uncle--

CRAWSHAW [_boiling with indignation_]. How _dare_ you discuss me with
your uncle, sir! How dare you decide in this cold-blooded way whether
I am to be called--ah--Tosh--or-ah--Porker!

CLIFTON. My uncle wouldn't hear of Tosh or Porker. He wanted a
humorous name--a name he could roll lovingly round his tongue--a name
expressing a sort of humorous contempt--Wurzel-Flummery! I can see now
the happy ruminating smile which came so often on my Uncle Antony's
face in those latter months. He was thinking of his two
Wurzel-Flummeries. I remember him saying once--it was at the Zoo--what
a pity it was he hadn't enough to divide among the whole Cabinet. A
whole bunch of Wurzel-Flummeries; it would have been rather jolly.

CRAWSHAW. You force me to say, sir, that if _that_ was the way you and
your uncle used to talk together at the Zoo, his death can only be
described as a merciful intervention of Providence.

CLIFTON. Oh, but I think he must be enjoying all this somewhere, you
know. I hope he is. He would have loved this morning. It was his one
regret that from the necessities of the case he could not live to
enjoy his own joke; but he had hopes that echoes of it would reach him
wherever he might be. It was with some such idea, I fancy, that toward
the end he became interested in spiritualism.

CRAWSHAW [_rising solemnly_]. Mr. Clifton, I have no interest in the
present whereabouts of your uncle, nor in what means he has of
overhearing a private conversation between you and myself. But if, as
you irreverently suggest, he is listening to us, I should like him to
hear this. That, in my opinion, you are not a qualified solicitor at
all, that you never had an uncle, and that the whole story of the will
and the ridiculous condition attached to it is just the tomfool joke
of a man who, by his own admission, wastes most of his time writing
unsuccessful farces. And I propose--

CLIFTON. Pardon my interrupting. But you said farces. Not farces,
comedies--of a whimsical nature.

CRAWSHAW. Whatever they were, sir, I propose to report the whole
matter to the Law Society. And you know your way out, sir.

CLIFTON. Then I am to understand that you refuse the legacy, Mr.

CRAWSHAW [_startled_]. What's that?

CLIFTON. I am to understand that you refuse the fifty thousand pounds?

CRAWSHAW. If the money is really there, I most certainly do not refuse

CLIFTON. Oh, the money is most certainly there--and the name. Both
waiting for you.

CRAWSHAW [_thumping the table_]. Then, sir, I accept them. I feel it
my duty to accept them, as a public expression of confidence in the
late Mr. Clifton's motives. I repudiate entirely the motives that you
have suggested to him, and I consider it a sacred duty to show what I
think of your story by accepting the trust which he has bequeathed to
me. You will arrange further matters with my solicitor. Good-morning,

CLIFTON [_to himself as he rises_]. Mr. Crawshaw here drank a glass of
water. [_To CRAWSHAW._] Mr. Wurzel-Flummery, farewell. May I express
the parting wish that your future career will add fresh luster to--my
name. [_To himself as he goes out._] Exit Mr. Denis Clifton with
dignity. [_But he has left his papers behind him. CRAWSHAW, walking
indignantly back to the sofa, sees the papers and picks them up._]

CRAWSHAW [_contemptuously_]. "Watherston v. Towser--_in re_ Great
Missenden Canal Company." Bah! [_He tears them up and throws them into
the fire. He goes back to his writing-table and is seated there as
VIOLA, followed by MERITON, comes in._]

VIOLA. Father, Dick doesn't want to take the money, but I have told
him that of course he must. He must, mustn't he?

RICHARD. We needn't drag Robert into it, Viola.

CRAWSHAW. If Richard has the very natural feeling that it would be
awkward for me if there were two Wurzel-Flummeries in the House of
Commons, I should be the last to interfere with his decision. In any
case, I don't see what concern it is of yours, Viola.

VIOLA [_surprised_]. But how can we get married if he doesn't take the

CRAWSHAW [_hardly understanding_]. Married? What does this mean,

RICHARD. I'm sorry it has come out like this. We ought to have told
you before, but anyhow we were going to have told you in a day or two.
Viola and I want to get married.

CRAWSHAW. And what did you want to get married on?

RICHARD [_with a smile_]. Not very much, I'm afraid.

VIOLA. We're all right now, father, because we shall have fifty
thousand pounds.

RICHARD [_sadly_]. Oh, Viola, Viola!

CRAWSHAW. But naturally this puts a very different complexion on

VIOLA. So of course he must take it, mustn't he, father?

CRAWSHAW. I can hardly suppose, Richard, that you expect me to entrust
my daughter to a man who is so little provident for himself that he
throws away fifty thousand pounds because of some fanciful objection
to the name which goes with it.

RICHARD [_in despair_]. You don't understand, Robert.

CRAWSHAW. I understand this, Richard. That if the name is good enough
for me, it should be good enough for you. You don't mind asking Viola
to take _your_ name, but you consider it an insult if you are asked to
take _my_ name.

RICHARD [_miserably to VIOLA_]. Do you want to be Mrs.

VIOLA. Well, I'm going to be Miss Wurzel-Flummery anyhow, darling.

RICHARD [_beaten_]. Heaven help me! you'll make me take it. But you'll
never understand.

CRAWSHAW [_stopping to administer comfort to him on his way out_].
Come, come, Richard. [_Patting him on the shoulder._] I understand
perfectly. All that you were saying about money a little while
ago--it's all perfectly true, it's all just what I feel myself. But in
practice we have to make allowances sometimes. We have to sacrifice
our ideals for--ah--others. I shall be very proud to have you for a
son-in-law, and to feel that there will be the two of us in Parliament
together upholding the honor of the--ah--name. And perhaps now that we
are to be so closely related, you may come to feel some day that your
views could be--ah--more adequately put forward from _my_ side of the

RICHARD. Go on, Robert; I deserve it.

CRAWSHAW. Well, well! Margaret will be interested in our news. And you
must send that solicitor a line--or perhaps a telephone message would
be better. [_He goes to the door and turns round just as he is going
out._] Yes, I think the telephone, Richard; it would be safer.

RICHARD [_holding out his hands to VIOLA_]. Come here, Mrs.

VIOLA. Not Mrs. Wurzel-Flummery; Mrs. Dick. And soon, please, darling.
[_She comes to him._]

RICHARD [_shaking his head sadly at her_]. I don't know what I've
done, Viola. [_Suddenly._] But you're worth it. [_He kisses her, and
then says in a low voice._] And God help me if I ever stop thinking

_Enter MR. DENIS CLIFTON. He sees them, and walks about very tactfully
with his back towards them, humming to himself._


CLIFTON [_to himself_]. Now where did I put those papers? [_He hums to
himself again._] Now where--oh, I beg your pardon! I left some papers

VIOLA. Dick, you'll tell him. [_As she goes out, she says to
CLIFTON._] Good-by, Mr. Clifton, and thank you for writing such nice

CLIFTON. Good-by, Miss Crawshaw.

VIOLA. Just say it to see how it sounds.

CLIFTON. Good-by, Miss Wurzel-Flummery.

VIOLA [_smiling happily_]. No, not Miss, Mrs. [_She goes out._]

CLIFTON [_looking in surprise from her to him_]. You don't mean--

RICHARD. Yes; and I'm taking the money after all, Mr. Clifton.

CLIFTON. Dear me, what a situation! [_Thoughtfully to himself._] I
wonder how a rough scenario would strike the managers.

RICHARD. Poor Mr. Clifton!

CLIFTON. Why poor?

RICHARD. You missed all the best part. You didn't hear what I said to
Crawshaw about money before you came.

CLIFTON [_thoughtfully_]. Oh! was it very--[_Brightening up._] But I
expect Uncle Antony heard. [_After a pause._] Well, I must be getting
on. I wonder if you've noticed any important papers lying about, in
connection with the Great Missenden Canal Company--a most intricate
case, in which my clerk and I--[_He has murmured himself across to the
fireplace, and the fragments of his important case suddenly catch his
eye. He picks up one of the fragments._] Ah, yes. Well, I shall tell
my clerk that we lost the case. He will be sorry. He had got quite
fond of that canal. [_He turns to go, but first says to MERITON._] So
you're taking the money, Mr. Meriton?


CLIFTON. And Mr. Crawshaw too?


CLIFTON [_to himself as he goes out_]. They are both taking it. [_He
stops and looks up to UNCLE ANTONY with a smile._] Good old Uncle
Antony--_he_ knew--_he_ knew! [_MERITON stands watching him as he




         [Footnote 35: Copyright, 1918, by Gowans and Gray. All rights
         reserved. Reprinted by permission of and by special
         arrangement with Harold Brighouse. Also printed in the United
         States by Leroy Phillips, Boston. _Maid of France_ is fully
         protected by copyright. It must not be performed by either
         amateurs or professionals, without written permission. For
         such permission apply to Samuel French, 28-30 West 38 Street,
         New York City.]

Miss Horniman could hardly have foreseen the development of a
Manchester school of dramatists as the outcome of her experiment with
repertory at the Gaiety Theatre in Manchester, because her purpose was
to produce good plays irrespective of geographical limitations. But
the fact is that the project was a source of real inspiration to a
group of young Lancashire writers among whom may be mentioned Allan
Broome, Stanley Houghton, and Harold Brighouse. There is no plainer
illustration of the relations between the audience and the play, or
between the theatre and the play, or between the actor and the play
than the dramatic activity that followed the establishment of the
Abbey Theatre in Dublin and the setting up of Miss Horniman's
experiment in Manchester.

Although in this collection, Brighouse is represented by _Maid of
France_, a play with no local Lancashire coloring, first given on July
16, 1917, in London, not Manchester (it was later produced at the
Greenwich Village Theatre in New York, beginning April 18, 1918), he
has up to the present time written seven plays about Lancashire. He
has been particularly successful in one-act drama; _Lonesome Like_,
_The Price of Coal_, and _Spring in Bloomsbury_ have been popular here
and in England. B. Iden Payne, who directed productions at the Gaiety
Theatre for some time, says: "In all Harold Brighouse's plays there is
in the acting more laughter than one would expect from the reading." A
number of Brighouse's plays have been published; in the introduction
to the latest volume,[36] he writes: "In another age than ours
play-books were a favorite, if not the only form of light reading....
The reader mentally producing a play from the book in his hand looks
through a magic casement at what he gloriously will instead of through
a proscenium arch at the handiwork of a mere human producer." This
playwright's attitude toward the reading of plays, with its appeal to
the imagination, is one justification for a collection like the
present one.

         [Footnote 36: Harold Brighouse, _Three Lancashire Plays_,
         London and New York, 1920. There is a bibliographical note at
         the end.]

Brighouse is himself a Manchester man, having been born in Eccles, a
suburb, on July 26, 1882. He was educated at the Manchester Grammar
School. Until 1913 he was engaged in business, carrying on his
literary work at the same time, but in that year he gave himself up
exclusively to writing. Besides plays, he has written fiction and
criticism. During the Great War, he was attached to the Intelligence
Staff of the Air Ministry.



  BLANCHE, _a flower-girl._
  PAUL, _a French Poilu._
  FRED, _an English Tommy._
  GERALD SOAMES, _an English lieutenant._

_THE SCENE represents one side of a square in a French town on
Christmas Eve, 1916. The buildings shown have suffered from German
shells, except the church in the center which stands immune,
protected, as it were, by the statue of Jeanne d'Arc which stands on a
pedestal, surrounded by steps in front of it. The church is lighted up
within for the midnight mass, but it is its side which presents itself
to one's view, so that the ingoing worshipers are not seen. The statue
is of the Maid in her armor. It is nearly midnight on Christmas Eve
and the lighting, which should not be too realistically obscure,
suggests faint moonlight._

_PAUL, a French private in war-worn uniform, stands by the steps,
gazing adoringly at the statue. He is a charmingly simple, credulous
man, in peace a peasant. To him there enters from the right, BLANCHE,
a flower-girl, in a cloak, with a basket of flowers. In face and
figure, BLANCHE must resemble the statue. She is a pert, impudent,
extremely self-possessed saleswoman, burning, however, with the fierce
light of French patriotism which, almost in spite of herself, is apt
to get the better of her. Ready as she is to trade upon PAUL's mystic
reverence for the Maid, familiarity with the statue has not bred
contempt in her. She stops by PAUL, offering her flowers with a
cajoling smile._

BLANCHE. Will you buy a flower, monsieur?

PAUL. Flower, mademoiselle? You can sell flowers at this hour when it
is nearly midnight?

BLANCHE. There is moonlight, and I have a smile, monsieur. It is my
smile which sells the flowers. Does not monsieur agree that it is

PAUL [_uneasily_]. Mademoiselle has charm.

BLANCHE. And I have charms for you. My flowers. Will you not buy a
flower, monsieur, and I will pin it to your uniform where it will draw
all the ladies' eyes to you when you promenade on the boulevard?

PAUL. I do not promenade. I stay here.

BLANCHE. Here in the Square where it is dull and lonely? But on the
boulevards are lights, monsieur, and gaiety, and people promenade
because to-night is Christmas Eve.

PAUL. Mademoiselle, you're kind. Will you be kind to me and tell me

BLANCHE. What can I tell?

PAUL. I am only a peasant and I do not know many things. But you live
in the town and you must know. They say, mademoiselle, they have told
me, that there are miracles on Christmas Eve.

BLANCHE. Did you believe them?

PAUL. I did not know. I only hoped.

BLANCHE. What did you hope?

PAUL [_very earnestly_]. I have been told that stone can speak on
Christmas Eve. And I want, oh, mademoiselle, I want to hear the
blessed voice of our glorious Maid.

BLANCHE. Monsieur has sentiment.

PAUL [_pleadingly_]. You think that she will speak to me?

BLANCHE [_dropping all banter_]. Monsieur, she speaks in stone to all
of us. She stands erect, serene, like the unconquerable spirit of
France and cries defiance at the Boche. They sent their shells like
hail and ground our homes to powder and made a desolation of our
streets, but they could not touch the statue of the Maid nor the
church she guards.

PAUL. And she speaks! She speaks!

BLANCHE. She is the soul of France, monsieur, defying tyranny,
invincible and unafraid. She is a message to each one of us. As the
shells fell all around and could not harm her, so must we stand
unshaken for the France we love. She speaks of freedom and

PAUL. And she will speak to me?

BLANCHE [_pityingly as she sees how literally he has taken her_].

PAUL. What must I do, mademoiselle, to hear her voice?

BLANCHE [_seeing in this too good an opportunity for selling a
flower_]. Will you not buy a flower for the Maid? They come from far
away, from the South where there is always sun, and so they are not
cheap. But, for a franc, you may have one lily of Lorraine to put upon
the statue of the Maid.

PAUL. A lily of Lorraine!

BLANCHE [_showing a flower, then taking it back tantalizingly_]. See,
monsieur! How could she refuse to speak to you if you gave her that?

PAUL. It is the way to make her speak! [_Puts out hand for the flower
and then draws back._ ] But a franc! And I have nothing but one sou.

BLANCHE. One sou! When flowers are so dear, and have to come so far!
Mon dieu, monsieur, but you have had a thirsty day if a sou is all
that you have left from the wineshops.

PAUL. I did not spend it there, mademoiselle. I gave it to the church,
this church where is the statue of our Maid.

BLANCHE [_only half scoffing_]. Monsieur is devout.

PAUL. Not always, mademoiselle. But I was born at Domremy where she
was born and I have always adored our sainted Maid who died for
France. Perhaps because of that, perhaps without the flower, Jeanne
will speak to me at midnight when they say the statues come to life.

BLANCHE [_touched_]. Monsieur, I do not know. Perhaps she will. But
see, here is a lily of Lorraine which I give you for the Maid. Put it
upon her statue and perhaps it will awaken her to speech.

PAUL. Mademoiselle! [_Taking the flower._] How can I thank you?

BLANCHE. I also am a maid of France, monsieur. You are a soldier and
you fight for France. But I must sell my flowers now. Perhaps, when I
have sold them, I will come again to see if Jeanne has spoken.

PAUL. You think she will?

BLANCHE. Monsieur, have faith. All things are possible on Christmas
Eve. [_She moves L. PAUL goes to the statue and puts the lily on its

BLANCHE. Holy Virgin, the lies I've told! What simplicity! But Jeanne
might. She might. [_Exit BLANCHE L. PAUL stands, watching. An English
lieutenant, GERALD SOAMES, enters R., carrying a small wreath of
evergreens. He is awkward and self-conscious and stops short when he
sees PAUL, annoyed in the English way at being found out in an act of
sentiment. By consequence, the little ceremony he had proposed falls
short of the impressiveness he designed for it._]

GERALD. O Lord, there's a fellow there. Er--[_PAUL salutes._]
Oh--er--c'est ici la statue de Jeanne d'Arc, n'est-ce pas?

PAUL. Mais oui, monsieur.

GERALD. And that's about as far as my French will go. I say, you're
not on duty, are you? Vous n'êtes pas de garde?

PAUL. Non, monsieur.

GERALD. No, of course you're not. Damned silly question to ask. All
the same, I wish he'd take a hint. I say. Lord, I've forgotten the
French for "have a drink." Besides, he couldn't. It's too late. I'll
just do what I came for and go. [_Puts back into pocket the coin he
had taken out._] After all, the fellow's as good a right to be here as
I have. I'll have one more shot. N'avez-vous pas des affaires?

PAUL. Mais non, monsieur. Pas ce soir. Je suis en congé.

GERALD. Heaven knows what that means, except that he's a fixture. Oh
well, I don't care if he does see me. He'll not know what to make of
it, anyhow. [_Up to statue._] Jeanne d'Arc, I'm putting this wreath on
your statue. It's an English wreath and it came from England. It's
English holly and English ivy and it's supposed to mean that England's
sorry for the awful things she did to you and I hope you've forgiven
us all. [_He has cap off. Now puts cap on._] I think that's all.
[_Places wreath at statue's feet. Stands erect, salutes, turns._] Hang
that French fellow. I suppose he'll think I'm mad. [_GERALD goes down
steps and off R. PAUL salutes, then goes up steps to look at the
wreath. FRED COLLEDGE, an English private, enters L. Without noticing
PAUL, he sits on the steps and lights a cigarette. In the light of his
match he sees PAUL, gives a little amused laugh and lies back making
himself comfortable, turning up coat-collar, etc. PAUL sees him, and
is shocked. Comes down steps._]

PAUL. Monsieur!

FRED. Hullo, cockey. How are you getting on?

PAUL. Monsieur! This place. These steps. One does not rest upon these

FRED. Ho yes, one does. I'm doing it, so I ought to know.

PAUL. But here, monsieur. Outside the church.

FRED. That's all right. The better the place the better the seat. It
ain't a feather-bed in the old house at home, but I've sort of lost
the feather-bed 'abit lately.

PAUL. One should not sit on these steps, monsieur.

FRED. You must like that tune, old son, the way you stick to it. And,
if you ask me, one should not do a pile of things that one's been
doing over here. Take me, now. By rights, I ought to be eating roast
beef and plum-pudding to-morrow in Every Street. Third turn on the
left below the Mile End Pavilion, but I suppose I'm the same way as
you. Going back on the train at 2 A.M. to eat my Christmas dinner in
the blooming trenches. That's you, ain't it? And it's me, too. So
let's sit down together and do an entente for an hour. Don't talk and
I'll race you to where the dreams come from. [_He pulls PAUL down
genially beside him._]

PAUL [_sitting_]. I ought not to sit here.

FRED. Ain't these steps soft enough for you?

PAUL. Monsieur, you do not understand. I come from Domremy.

FRED. Do you? I'm Mile End myself. What about it?

PAUL. But Domremy.

FRED. Can't say I'm much the wiser.

PAUL. But here, monsieur. This statue. It is our glorious maid. C'est
Jeanne d'Arc.

FRED. Ark, eh? Is that old Noah? [_Gets up to look at statue._]

PAUL [_rising_]. Jeanne d'Arc, monsieur. She--

FRED. Oh, it's a lady, is it? Dressed like that for riding, I reckon.
So that's old Noah's wife, is it? Well, the old cock had a bit of

PAUL. It is Jeanne d'Arc. You call her--what do you call her?--Joan

FRED. Not guilty. I ain't so forward with the ladies. I don't call
them in their Christian names till I've been introduced.

PAUL. You English call her Joan of Arc. The great Jeanne d'Arc. She--

FRED. Wait a bit. Now don't excite me for a moment. I'm thinking. I've
heard that name before.

PAUL. But yes, monsieur. In history.

FRED. That's done it. I take you, cockey. I knew it was a way back.
Well, she's nothing in my life. [_Returns to steps and sits._]

PAUL. She is of my life. I come from Domremy.

FRED. So you said.

PAUL. It was her birthplace.

FRED [_clapping him on the shoulder_]. Cockey, I'm with you now. I
know the feeling. Why, we'd a man born in our street that played
center-forward for the Arsenal. Makes you proud of the place where you
were born. Na pooed now, poor devil. Got his head blown off last
month. He was a sergeant in our lot. 'Ave a woodbine?

PAUL. Not here, monsieur.

FRED. Please yourself. Smoke your own. Them black things are no use to
me. It's a rum country yours, old son. Light beer and black tobacco.
But you fight on it all right. Oh yes, you fight all right. 'Ere, 'ave
a piece of chocolate to keep the cold out. My missus sent me that.

PAUL [_accepting_]. Merci. I hope madame is well.

FRED. Eh? Who's madame? Oh, you mean old Sally. She's all right. In
bed. That's where she is. And I'm here. But I could do with a bit of a
snooze myself. Come on, let's do a doss together.

PAUL. A doss?

FRED. Yus. Wait a bit. I speak French when I'm 'appy. Je vais dormir.
Vous likewise dormir.

PAUL. I did not come to sleep, monsieur. I came to watch.

FRED. Watch? What do you want to watch for here? No Germans here.

PAUL. C'est la nuit de Noël, monsieur. They say the statues come to
life on Christmas Eve, and I am watching here to see if Jeanne will
breathe and move and speak to a piou-piou from Domremy.

FRED. You know, old son, you could have scared me once with a tale
like that. But not to-day. I've been seeing life lately. If old Nelson
got down off his perch, and I met him walking in Trafalgar Square,
I'd just salute and think no more about it. You can't raise my hair

PAUL. Then you believe that she will speak?

FRED. You go to sleep, cockey, and there's no knowing what you'll
hear. Come on, old sport. Je dormir and vous dormir, and we'll be a
blooming dormitory. [_PAUL hesitates, looks at statue, then lies by
FRED._] That's right. Lie close. Two can keep warmer than one. Oh
well, good-night all. Merry Christmas, and to hell with the Kaiser.
[_They sleep. The statue is darkened, and the lay figure of the statue
is replaced by the living JEANNE. Bells chime midnight. As they begin,
JEANNE awakes. With the first chime, light shines dimly on the statue.
By the last chime, the statue is in brilliant light and JEANNE stirs
on the pedestal and bends to the wreath. She lifts it, wondering._]

JEANNE. The wreath is here. I did not dream it, then. I saw him come
and lay the wreath at my feet. I saw his uniform, and the uniform was
not of France. I saw his face, and it was not a Frenchman's face. I
heard his voice, and the voice was an English voice. I do not
understand. Why should the English bring a wreath to me? I do not want
their wreath. I want no favors from an Englishman. I am Jeanne d'Arc.
I am your enemy, you English, whom I made to bite the dust at Orléans
and vanquished at Patay. It was I who bore the standard into the
cathedral at Rheims when we crowned my Dauphin the anointed King of
France, and English Bedford trembled at my name. Burgundians took me
at Compiègne. Your English money bought me from them, and your English
hatred gave me up to mocking priests to try for sorcery. You called me
"Heretic," "Relapsed," "Apostate," and "Idolater," and burnt me for a
witch in Rouen market-place. And now do you lay a wreath at Jeanne's
feet? And do you think she thanks you? I scorn your wreath. This
wreath an English soldier set at Jeanne's feet. I tear it, and I
trample on it. [_FRED and PAUL have awakened during this speech. Both
are bewildered at first, like men who dream. But as JEANNE is about to
tear the wreath FRED interposes._]

FRED. I dunno if I'm awake or asleep, but that there wreath, lady--I
say, don't tear it. I don't know nothing about it bar what you've just
said, but if any of our blokes put it there, you can take it from me
it was kindly meant.

JEANNE. You? Who are you? You're--You're English.

FRED [_apologetically_]. Yus. I'm English. I don't see that I can help
it, though. I just happen to be English same as a dawg. I'm sorry if
it upsets you, but I'm English all right. And--No. Blimey, I won't
apologize for it. I'm English. I'm English, and proud of it. So there!

JEANNE. Why are the English here in France? Why do I see so many of

PAUL. Maid--Jeanne--

JEANNE. You! You are not English. You are a soldier of France.

PAUL. I am of France.

JEANNE. Then shame to you, soldier of France! Shame on a Frenchman who
can forget his pride of race and make a comrade of an Englishman!

PAUL. Maid, you do not understand.

JEANNE. No. I do not understand. I do not understand treachery. I do
not understand baseness, dishonor, and the perfidy of one who has
forgotten he is French. The English are the foes of France, and you
consort with them. You--

FRED. 'Ere, 'ere, 'alf a mo'. Steady on, lady. You've got to learn
something. All that stuff you've just been talking about the Battle of
Waterloo. It's a wash-out now. We've cut it out. This 'ere bloke
you're grousing at 'e's a friend of mine, and I'll pipe up for a
friend when 'e's being reprimanded undeserving.

JEANNE. It is for that I blame a son of France, that he makes friends
with you.

FRED. Well, it's your mistake. That's the worst of coming out of
history. You're out of date. If I took my great-grandmother on a
motor-bus to a picture-show, she'd have the same sort of fit that
you've got, only it's worse with you. You're further back. And I'll
tell you something. That old French froggy business is dead and gorn.
We've given it up. Time's passed when an Englishman thought he could
lick two Frenchmen with one hand tied behind his back. It's a back
number, lady. Carpentier put the lid on that. You ask Billy Wells. Us
blokes and the French, we're feeding out of one another's hands

JEANNE. I have seen the English and the French together in the
streets. They do not fight.

FRED. Lord bless you, no. Provost-marshal wouldn't let 'em, if they
wanted a friendly scrap.

JEANNE. They fraternize. I have seen them walking arm-in-arm.

FRED. That's natural enough.

JEANNE. Natural, for French and English!

FRED. Yes, lady, natural. If you'd seen the Frenchies fighting, same
as I have, you'd want to walk arm-in-arm with them yourself, and be
proud to do it, too.

PAUL. The English, are our brothers, Maid.

FRED. Gorlummy, we're more than that. I've known brothers do the dirty
on each other. Us and the French, we're--why, we're _pals_. So that's
all right, lady. Just let me put that wreath back where you got it
from. I'm sure you'll 'urt someone's feelings if you trample on it.
[_He tries to take wreath, she prevents him._]

JEANNE. When you have shown me why I should accept an English wreath,
perhaps I will. So far I've yet to learn why a soldier of France is
friendly with an Englishman.

FRED. I can't show you more than this, can I? [_Links arms with

JEANNE. That is not reason.

PAUL [_unlinking his arm_]. Perhaps I can show you reason. I who was
born at Domremy.

JEANNE. You come from there! My home?

PAUL. Yes.

JEANNE. You know St. Remy's church and the Meuse and the beech-tree
where they said the fairies used to dance. The tree. Is it still

PAUL. I do not know.

JEANNE. And the fields! The fields where I kept my father's sheep, and
the wolves would not come near when I had charge of them, and the
birds came to me and ate bread from my lap. You know those fields of

PAUL. I knew them once.

JEANNE. You knew my church. It still is there?

PAUL. Who can say?

JEANNE. Cannot you, who were baptized in it?

PAUL. Jeanne, the Germans came to Domremy. I do not know if anything
is left.

JEANNE. The Germans? But the Germans did not count when I lived there.

FRED. No, and they'll count a sight less before so long.

PAUL. They came like a thunderstorm, Jeanne. They swept our men away.
They tore up treaties, and they came through Belgium and ravished it,
and took us unawares. They blotted out our frontiers and came on like
the tide till even Paris heard the sound of German guns. And then the
English came, slowly at first, and just a little late, but not too
late, then more and more and all the time more English came. They
swept the Germans from the seas and drove their ships to hide.
Shoulder to shoulder they have fought for France. They hurled the
Germans back from Paris, and when their soldiers fell more came and
more. Their plowmen and their clerks, their great lords and their
scullions, all came to France to fight with us for la patrie. Their
women make munitions and--

FRED. Yus. I daresay. Very fine. Only that'll do. We ain't done
nothing to make a song about.

PAUL. Our children and our children's children will make songs of what
the English did.

FRED. You let 'em. Leave it to 'em. Way I look at it is this, lady.
There's a big swelled-headed bully, and he gets a little fellow down
and starts kicking 'im. Well, it ain't manners, and we blokes comes
along to teach 'im wot's wot. That's all there is to it.

PAUL. There's more than I could tell in a hundred years, Jeanne.

FRED. Then what's the good of trying?

JEANNE. He tried because he had to make me understand your friendship
and all the noble thought and noble deed that lie behind this little
wreath. [_She raises the wreath._]

FRED [_interposing_]. Oh, I say now, lady, go easy with that wreath,
won't you? I--I wouldn't trample it if I were you. Battle of
Waterloo's a long time ago.

JEANNE. Don't be afraid.

FRED. Gave me a turn to see you pick it up like that.

JEANNE [_putting it on her head_]. The English wreath is in its right
place now. Here, on the head of Jeanne d'Arc. I'll wear that wreath
forever. Give me your hand, you English soldier.

FRED. I've not washed since morning, lady.

JEANNE. Your hand, that fights for France. [_She takes it._] And
yours, soldier of France.

PAUL. Jeanne! But you--[_Holding back timidly._]

JEANNE. I am where I would always be--[_she has a hand of
both_]--amongst my fighting men. They have set me on a pedestal and
made a saint of me, but I am better here, between you two, both
soldiers of France. They will not let me fight for France to-day. Save
for this mystic hour on Christmas Eve I am a thing of stone. But
Jeanne lives on. Her spirit fights for France to-day as Jeanne fought
five hundred years ago. And, in this hour when I am granted speech, I
say, "Fight on, fight on for France till France and Belgium are free
and the invader pays the price of treachery. And you, you English who
have come to France, and you in England who are making arms for
France, I, who have hated you, I, whom you burnt, I, Jeanne d'Arc of
Rheims and Orléans, I give you thanks. My people are your people, and
my cause your cause. Vivent! Vivent les Anglais!" [_During this speech
she drops the soldiers' hands. They resume gradually their sleeping
attitudes. JEANNE mounts her pedestal, and gives the last words from
it, then becomes stone again. The light fades to darkness, then
becomes the moonlight of the opening. BLANCHE enters L. She goes to
the steps, looks at the sleeping soldiers, and stands above them. Her
basket is empty but for one flower._]

PAUL [_stirring and seeing her_]. Jeanne!

BLANCHE. My name is Blanche, monsieur.

PAUL. But I--you--[_he rises_]. Mademoiselle, you are very like--

BLANCHE. I am the flower-girl whom you saw before you went to sleep,
and I am very like myself, monsieur.

PAUL. Was I asleep? [_Looks at statue._] Yes. There is Jeanne.

BLANCHE. Where else should Jeanne be but on her pedestal?

FRED [_stirring_]. Revelley again before you've hardly closed your
blooming eyes. [_Sits up sharply on seeing BLANCHE._] Hullo!
You're--you're--[_Turns to PAUL._] Why, cockey, it wasn't a yarn. The
statues do walk about in France. There's one of them doing it.

PAUL. You saw her too?

FRED. Saw her? Of course I seen her. She's there. Ain't you and me
been talking familiar with her for the last ten minutes?

PAUL. Yes, with Jeanne.

FRED. Took my 'and she did, and chanced the dirt.

BLANCHE. You have been dreaming, monsieur. C'était une rêverie.

FRED. Who's raving? Well, it may be raving, but we all raved together.
You and me and 'im, and I'll eat my bayonet raw if you didn't stand
there and take us by the hands and tell us you were that there Joan of
Arc what used to tell old Bonaparte what to do when he was in an 'ole.

BLANCHE. It was not I. There is the statue, monsieur. [_Points to

FRED. Where? [_Looks._] Well, that's queer. You're the dead spit and
image of 'er, too. And 'ere, 'ere, cockey! [_Takes PAUL's arm

PAUL. Monsieur?

FRED. Look at the statue. Look at its head. Who put that wreath on it?
Did you climb up there?


FRED. No. You know you didn't. We saw her put it on herself.

PAUL. But, monsieur, then you have dreamed the same dream as I.

FRED. I saw you all right, and you saw me?

PAUL. I saw you.

FRED. And we both saw 'er. It's a rum go, cockey, but I told you I'd
given up being surprised. Our lot and yours we're going whacks in
licking the Germans, ain't we? Yus, and now we're going whacks in the
same dream, so that's that and chance it. Ententing again, only extra
cordial. [_Scratches head._] I don't quite see where she comes in,
though, if she ain't the statue.

BLANCHE. I am a flower-girl, monsieur.

FRED. Not so many flowers about you, then.

BLANCHE. I have sold out, all but one flower, monsieur, and I came
back to see if you [_to PAUL_] had got your wish.

PAUL. Yes, mademoiselle, I had my wish. The saints sent Jeanne to me
in a dream.

BLANCHE. You happy man, to get your wish!

PAUL. I am happy, mademoiselle. I have spoken with Jeanne d'Arc.

FRED. And you and me will be speaking with our sergeants if we don't
buck up and catch that blinking train. Come on, old son, back to the
Big Stink for us.

BLANCHE. Messieurs return to fight?

FRED. Lord love you, no. It's only a rumor about the war. We're a
Cook's excursion on a joy-ride seeing the sights of France. [_FRED and
PAUL move R. together._]

BLANCHE. Monsieur!

FRED [_stopping_]. Well?

BLANCHE. I kept one flower back. It is for you--for the brave English
soldier who goes out to fight for France.

FRED. Don't make me homesick. Reminds me of the flower-pots on my
kitchen window-sill. [_Takes flower and produces chocolate._] 'Ere,
miss, 'ave a bit of chocolate. Made in England, that was.

BLANCHE. Monsieur will need it for himself.

FRED. Go on. Take it. I'm all right. It's Christmas Day and extra
rations. [_Kisses her._]

BLANCHE. Merci, monsieur. Et bonne chance, mes braves, bonne chance.

FRED. Oh, we'll chance it all right. Merry Christmas, old dear. [_FRED
and PAUL go off together R. BLANCHE watches them go. Lights in the
church go out. Girls enter L. as if coming from Mass, singing a


  Noël! Noël! thy babe that lies
  Within the manger, Mother-Maid,
  Is King of earth and Paradise,
  O guard him well, Noël, Noël
  Ye shepherds sing, be not afraid.

  O little hills of France, awake,
  For angel hosts are chanting high,
  His heart is piercèd for our sake,
  Noël, Noël, we guard him well,
  He liveth though all else shall die.

[_BLANCHE joins them, singing as they cross._]




         [Footnote 37: Copyright, in United States, 1909, by Augusta
         Gregory. Reprinted by permission of G. P. Putnam's Sons, New
         York and London.

         This play has been copyrighted and published simultaneously
         in the United States and Great Britain.

         All rights reserved, including that of translation into
         foreign languages.

         All acting rights, both professional and amateur, are
         reserved in the United States, Great Britain, and all
         countries of the Copyright Union, by the author. Performances
         forbidden and right of presentation reserved.

         Application for the right of performing this play or
         reading it in public should be made to Samuel French, 28 West
         38 St., New York City.]

Isabella Augusta Persse, later Lady Gregory, was born at Roxborough,
County Galway, Ireland, in 1859. One who saw her in the early years of
her married life describes her thus: "She was then a young woman, very
earnest, who divided her hair in the middle and wore it smooth on
either side of a broad and handsome brow. Her eyes were always full of
questions. ... In her drawing-room were to be met men of assured
reputation in literature and politics and there was always the best
reading of the times upon her tables."

Two closely related interests have always divided Lady Gregory's
attention. Her occupation with the Irish Players has been constant,
and she has from the beginning been a director of the Abbey Theatre,
where _Spreading the News_ was first performed on December 27, 1904.
This play was also included in the American repertory of the Players,
whom Lady Gregory accompanied on their visit to the United States in
1911. The spirit that she puts into her work with them is well
illustrated by those lines of Blake which she quoted in a speech made
at a dinner given her by _The Outlook_ when she was in New York. Her
hard work having been commented on, she replied:

  "I will not cease from mental strife
   Or let the sword fall from my hand
   Till we have built Jerusalem
   In--Ireland's--fair and lovely land."

In her book on _Our Irish Theatre, A Chapter of Autobiography_, she
relates the story of how one day when she assembled the company for
rehearsal in Washington, D. C., she invited them to leave their work
and come with her to Mount Vernon for a holiday and picnic. "I told
them," she writes, "the holiday was not a precedent, for we might go
to a great many countries before finding so great a man to honor."
Washington, it seems, had been a friend of her grandfather's who had
been in America with his regiment.

Her other great interest has been the folklore of Ireland. She has
been called the Irish Malory, because through her retelling of the
Irish sagas, she has popularized and made accessible the great cycles
of heroic legends. She has employed for the vernacular of these
romances and folk tales what she calls Kiltartan English, Kiltartan
being the village near her home, the dialect of which she has
assimilated and utilized. Lady Gregory has also used her historical
and legendary knowledge for the background of some of her plays.

It is said that the original impulse that influenced Lady Gregory to
interest herself in these old Irish stories came from Yeats, her
friend and associate in the project of the Irish National Theatre. It
was his suggestion in the first place that led to her writing
_Cuchulain of Muirthemne_. "He could not have been long at Coole,"
writes George Moore of Yeats, "before he began to draw her attention
to the beauty of the literature that rises among the hills and bubbles
irresponsibly, and set her going from cabin to cabin taking down
stories, and encouraging her to learn the original language of the
country, so that they might add to the Irish idiom which the peasant
had already translated into English, making in this way a language for
themselves." The influence continues, for her latest book, _Visions
and Beliefs in the West of Ireland_, contains two essays and notes
from the pen of Yeats.

The literary association of Yeats and Lady Gregory has been a fruitful
one for Ireland. Not only has Yeats encouraged Lady Gregory's
researches into the past, but she has been of the greatest assistance
to him in his work. When he is at Coole, she writes from his
dictation, arranges his manuscript, reads to him and serves him as
literary counselor.

Lady Gregory's life touches the life of Ireland at many points. In
addition to her literary occupations, she lectures and co-operates
actively with a number of societies that have as their aim social or
political betterment.



  JO MULDOON, _a policeman_.

_SCENE._--_The outskirts of a Fair. An Apple Stall. MRS. TARPEY
sitting at it. MAGISTRATE and POLICEMAN enter._

MAGISTRATE. So that is the Fair Green. Cattle and sheep and mud. No
system. What a repulsive sight!

POLICEMAN. That is so, indeed.

MAGISTRATE. I suppose there is a good deal of disorder in this place?

POLICEMAN. There is.

MAGISTRATE. Common assault?

POLICEMAN. It's common enough.

MAGISTRATE. Agrarian crime, no doubt?

POLICEMAN. That is so.

MAGISTRATE. Boycotting? Maiming of cattle? Firing into houses?

POLICEMAN. There was one time, and there might be again.

MAGISTRATE. That is bad. Does it go any farther than that?

POLICEMAN. Far enough, indeed.

MAGISTRATE. Homicide, then! This district has been shamefully
neglected! I will change all that. When I was in the Andaman Islands,
my system never failed. Yes, yes, I will change all that. What has
that woman on her stall?

POLICEMAN. Apples mostly--and sweets.

MAGISTRATE. Just see if there are any unlicensed goods
underneath--spirits or the like. We had evasions of the salt tax in
the Andaman Islands.

POLICEMAN [_sniffing cautiously and upsetting a heap of apples_]. I
see no spirits here--or salt.

MAGISTRATE [_to MRS. TARPEY_]. Do you know this town well, my good

MRS. TARPEY [_holding out some apples_]. A penny the half-dozen, your

POLICEMAN [_shouting_]. The gentleman is asking do you know the town!
He's the new magistrate!

MRS. TARPEY [_rising and ducking_]. Do I know the town? I do, to be

MAGISTRATE [_shouting_]. What is its chief business?

MRS. TARPEY. Business, is it? What business would the people here have
but to be minding one another's business?

MAGISTRATE. I mean what trade have they?

MRS. TARPEY. Not a trade. No trade at all but to be talking.

MAGISTRATE. I shall learn nothing here. [_JAMES RYAN comes in, pipe in
mouth. Seeing MAGISTRATE he retreats quickly, taking pipe from

MAGISTRATE. The smoke from that man's pipe had a greenish look; he may
be growing unlicensed tobacco at home. I wish I had brought my
telescope to this district. Come to the post-office, I will telegraph
for it. I found it very useful in the Andaman Islands. [_MAGISTRATE
and POLICEMAN go out left._]

MRS. TARPEY. Bad luck to Jo Muldoon, knocking my apples this way and
that way. [_Begins arranging them._] Showing off he was to the new
magistrate. [_Enter BARTLEY FALLON and MRS. FALLON._]

BARTLEY. Indeed it's a poor country and a scarce country to be living
in. But I'm thinking if I went to America it's long ago the day I'd be

MRS. FALLON. So you might, indeed. [_She puts her basket on a barrel
and begins putting parcels in it, taking them from under her cloak._]

BARTLEY. And it's a great expense for a poor man to be buried in

MRS. FALLON. Never fear, Bartley Fallon, but I'll give you a good
burying the day you'll die.

BARTLEY. Maybe it's yourself will be buried in the graveyard of
Cloonmara before me, Mary Fallon, and I myself that will be dying
unbeknownst some night, and no one a-near me. And the cat itself may
be gone straying through the country, and the mice squealing over the

MRS. FALLON. Leave off talking of dying. It might be twenty years
you'll be living yet.

BARTLEY [_with a deep sigh_]. I'm thinking if I'll be living at the
end of twenty years, it's a very old man I'll be then!

MRS. TARPEY [_turns and sees them_]. Good morrow, Bartley Fallon; good
morrow, Mrs. Fallon. Well, Bartley, you'll find no cause for
complaining to-day; they are all saying it was a good fair.

BARTLEY [_raising his voice_]. It was not a good fair, Mrs. Tarpey. It
was a scattered sort of a fair. If we didn't expect more, we got less.
That's the way with me always; whatever I have to sell goes down and
whatever I have to buy goes up. If there's ever any misfortune coming
to this world, it's on myself it pitches, like a flock of crows on
seed potatoes.

MRS. FALLON. Leave off talking of misfortunes, and listen to Jack
Smith that is coming the way, and he singing. [_Voice of JACK SMITH
heard singing:_]

  I thought, my first love,
    There'd be but one house between you and me,
  And I thought I would find
    Yourself coaxing my child on your knee.
  Over the tide
    I would leap with the leap of a swan,
  Till I came to the side
    Of the wife of the red-haired man!

[_JACK SMITH comes in; he is a red-haired man, and is carrying a

MRS. TARPEY. That should be a good song if I had my hearing.

MRS. FALLON [_shouting_]. It's "The Red-haired Man's Wife."

MRS. TARPEY. I know it well. That's the song that has a skin on it!
[_She turns her back to them and goes on arranging her apples._]

MRS. FALLON. Where's herself, Jack Smith?

JACK SMITH. She was delayed with her washing; bleaching the clothes on
the hedge she is, and she daren't leave them, with all the tinkers
that do be passing to the fair. It isn't to the fair I came myself,
but up to the Five Acre Meadow I'm going, where I have a contract for
the hay. We'll get a share of it into tramps to-day. [_He lays down
hayfork and lights his pipe._]

BARTLEY. You will not get it into tramps to-day. The rain will be down
on it by evening, and on myself too. It's seldom I ever started on a
journey but the rain would come down on me before I'd find any place
of shelter.

JACK SMITH. If it didn't itself, Bartley, it is my belief you would
carry a leaky pail on your head in place of a hat, the way you'd not
be without some cause of complaining. [_A voice heard, "Go on, now, go
on out o' that. Go on I say."_]

JACK SMITH. Look at that young mare of Pat Ryan's that is backing into
Shaughnessy's bullocks with the dint of the crowd! Don't be daunted,
Pat, I'll give you a hand with her. [_He goes out, leaving his

MRS. FALLON. It's time for ourselves to be going home. I have all I
bought put in the basket. Look at there, Jack Smith's hayfork he left
after him! He'll be wanting it. [_Calls._] Jack Smith! Jack
Smith!--He's gone through the crowd--hurry after him, Bartley, he'll
be wanting it.

BARTLEY. I'll do that. This is no safe place to be leaving it. [_He
takes up fork awkwardly and upsets the basket._] Look at that now! If
there is any basket in the fair upset, it must be our own basket! [_He
goes out to right._]

MRS. FALLON. Get out of that! It is your own fault, it is. Talk of
misfortunes and misfortunes will come. Glory be! Look at my new
egg-cups rolling in every part--and my two pound of sugar with the
paper broke--

MRS. TARPEY [_turning from stall_]. God help us, Mrs. Fallon, what
happened your basket?

MRS. FALLON. It's himself that knocked it down, bad manners to him.
[_Putting things up._] My grand sugar that's destroyed, and he'll not
drink his tea without it. I had best go back to the shop for more,
much good may it do him! [_Enter TIM CASEY._]

TIM CASEY. Where is Bartley Fallon, Mrs. Fallon? I want a word with
him before he'll leave the fair. I was afraid he might have gone home
by this, for he's a temperate man.

MRS. FALLON. I wish he did go home! It'd be best for me if he went
home straight from the fair green, or if he never came with me at all!
Where is he, is it? He's gone up the road [_jerks elbow_] following
Jack Smith with a hayfork. [_She goes out to left._]

TIM CASEY. Following Jack Smith with a hayfork! Did ever anyone hear
the like of that. [_Shouts._] Did you hear that news, Mrs. Tarpey?

MRS. TARPEY. I heard no news at all.

TIM CASEY. Some dispute I suppose it was that rose between Jack Smith
and Bartley Fallon, and it seems Jack made off, and Bartley is
following him with a hayfork!

MRS. TARPEY. Is he now? Well, that was quick work! It's not ten
minutes since the two of them were here, Bartley going home and Jack
going to the Five Acre Meadow; and I had my apples to settle up, that
Jo Muldoon of the police had scattered, and when I looked round again
Jack Smith was gone, and Bartley Fallon was gone, and Mrs. Fallon's
basket upset, and all in it strewed upon the ground--the tea here--the
two pound of sugar there--the egg-cups there--Look, now, what a great
hardship the deafness puts upon me, that I didn't hear the
commincement of the fight! Wait till I tell James Ryan that I see
below; he is a neighbor of Bartley's, it would be a pity if he
wouldn't hear the news! [_She goes out. Enter SHAWN EARLY and MRS.

TIM CASEY. Listen, Shawn Early! Listen, Mrs. Tully, to the news! Jack
Smith and Bartley Fallon had a falling out, and Jack knocked Mrs.
Fallon's basket into the road, and Bartley made an attack on him with
a hayfork, and away with Jack, and Bartley after him. Look at the
sugar here yet on the road!

SHAWN EARLY. Do you tell me so? Well, that's a queer thing, and
Bartley Fallon so quiet a man!

MRS. TULLY. I wouldn't wonder at all. I would never think well of a
man that would have that sort of a moldering look. It's likely he has
overtaken Jack by this. [_Enter JAMES RYAN and MRS. TARPEY._]

JAMES RYAN. That is great news Mrs. Tarpey was telling me! I suppose
that's what brought the police and the magistrate up this way. I was
wondering to see them in it a while ago.

SHAWN EARLY. The police after them? Bartley Fallon must have injured
Jack so. They wouldn't meddle in a fight that was only for show!

MRS. TULLY. Why wouldn't he injure him? There was many a man killed
with no more of a weapon than a hayfork.

JAMES RYAN. Wait till I run north as far as Kelly's bar to spread the
news! [_He goes out._]

TIM CASEY. I'll go tell Jack Smith's first cousin that is standing
there south of the church after selling his lambs. [_Goes out._]

MRS. TULLY. I'll go telling a few of the neighbors I see beyond to the
west. [_Goes out._]

SHAWN EARLY. I'll give word of it beyond at the east of the green.
[_Is going out when MRS. TARPEY seizes hold of him._]

MRS. TARPEY. Stop a minute, Shawn Early, and tell me did you see red
Jack Smith's wife, Kitty Keary, in any place?

SHAWN EARLY. I did. At her own house she was, drying clothes on the
hedge as I passed.

MRS. TARPEY. What did you say she was doing?

SHAWN EARLY [_breaking away._] Laying out a sheet on the hedge. [_He

MRS. TARPEY. Laying out a sheet for the dead! The Lord have mercy on
us! Jack Smith dead, and his wife laying out a sheet for his burying!
[_Calls out._] Why didn't you tell me that before, Shawn Early? Isn't
the deafness the great hardship? Half the world might be dead without
me knowing of it or getting word of it at all! [_She sits down and
rocks herself._] Oh, my poor Jack Smith! To be going to his work so
nice and so hearty, and to be left stretched on the ground in the full
light of the day! [_Enter TIM CASEY._]

TIM CASEY. What is it, Mrs. Tarpey? What happened since?

MRS. TARPEY. Oh, my poor Jack Smith!

TIM CASEY. Did Bartley overtake him?

MRS. TARPEY. Oh, the poor man!

TIM CASEY. Is it killed he is?

MRS. TARPEY. Stretched in the Five Acre Meadow!

TIM CASEY. The Lord have mercy on us! Is that a fact?

MRS. TARPEY. Without the rites of the Church or a ha'porth!

TIM CASEY. Who was telling you?

MRS. TARPEY. And the wife laying out a sheet for his corpse. [_Sits up
and wipes her eyes._] I suppose they'll wake him the same as another?

MRS. TULLY. There is great talk about this work in every quarter of
the fair.

MRS. TARPEY. Ochone! cold and dead. And myself maybe the last he was
speaking to!

JAMES RYAN. The Lord save us! Is it dead he is?

TIM CASEY. Dead surely, and the wife getting provision for the wake.

SHAWN EARLY. Well, now, hadn't Bartley Fallon great venom in him?

MRS. TULLY. You may be sure he had some cause. Why would he have made
an end of him if he had not? [_To MRS. TARPEY, raising her voice._]
What was it rose the dispute at all, Mrs. Tarpey?

MRS. TARPEY. Not a one of me knows. The last I saw of them, Jack Smith
was standing there, and Bartley Fallon was standing there, quiet and
easy, and he listening to "The Red-haired Man's Wife."

MRS. TULLY. Do you hear that, Tim Casey? Do you hear that, Shawn Early
and James Ryan? Bartley Fallon was here this morning listening to red
Jack Smith's wife, Kitty Keary that was! Listening to her and
whispering with her! It was she started the fight so!

SHAWN EARLY. She must have followed him from her own house. It is
likely some person roused him.

TIM CASEY. I never knew, before, Bartley Fallon was great with Jack
Smith's wife.

MRS. TULLY. How would you know it? Sure it's not in the streets they
would be calling it. If Mrs. Fallon didn't know of it, and if I that
have the next house to them didn't know of it, and if Jack Smith
himself didn't know of it, it is not likely you would know of it, Tim

SHAWN EARLY. Let Bartley Fallon take charge of her from this out so,
and let him provide for her. It is little pity she will get from any
person in this parish.

TIM CASEY. How can he take charge of her? Sure he has a wife of his
own. Sure you don't think he'd turn souper and marry her in a
Protestant church?

JAMES RYAN. It would be easy for him to marry her if he brought her to

SHAWN EARLY. With or without Kitty Keary, believe me it is for America
he's making at this minute. I saw the new magistrate and Jo Muldoon of
the police going into the post-office as I came up--there was hurry on
them--you may be sure it was to telegraph they went, the way he'll be
stopped in the docks at Queenstown!

MRS. TULLY. It's likely Kitty Keary is gone with him, and not minding
a sheet or a wake at all. The poor man, to be deserted by his own
wife, and the breath hardly gone out yet from his body that is lying
bloody in the field! [_Enter MRS. FALLON._]

MRS. FALLON. What is it the whole of the town is talking about? And
what is it you yourselves are talking about? Is it about my man
Bartley Fallon you are talking? Is it lies about him you are telling,
saying that he went killing Jack Smith? My grief that ever he came
into this place at all!

JAMES RYAN. Be easy now, Mrs. Fallon. Sure there is no one at all in
the whole fair but is sorry for you!

MRS. FALLON. Sorry for me, is it? Why would anyone be sorry for me?
Let you be sorry for yourselves, and that there may be shame on you
forever and at the day of judgment, for the words you are saying and
the lies you are telling to take away the character of my poor man,
and to take the good name off of him, and to drive him to destruction!
That is what you are doing!

SHAWN EARLY. Take comfort now, Mrs. Fallon. The police are not so
smart as they think. Sure he might give them the slip yet, the same as

MRS. TULLY. If they do get him, and if they do put a rope around his
neck, there is no one can say he does not deserve it!

MRS. FALLON. Is that what you are saying, Bridget Tully, and is that
what you think? I tell you it's too much talk you have, making
yourself out to be such a great one, and to be running down every
respectable person! A rope, is it? It isn't much of a rope was needed
to tie up your own furniture the day you came into Martin Tully's
house, and you never bringing as much as a blanket, or a penny, or a
suit of clothes with you and I myself bringing seventy pounds and two
feather beds. And now you are stiffer than a woman would have a
hundred pounds! It is too much talk the whole of you have. A rope is
it? I tell you the whole of this town is full of liars and schemers
that would hang you up for half a glass of whisky. [_Turning to go._]
People they are you wouldn't believe as much as daylight from without
you'd get up to have a look at it yourself. Killing Jack Smith indeed!
Where are you at all, Bartley, till I bring you out of this? My nice
quiet little man! My decent comrade! He that is as kind and as
harmless as an innocent beast of the field! He'll be doing no harm at
all if he'll shed the blood of some of you after this day's work! That
much would be no harm at all. [_Calls out._] Bartley! Bartley Fallon!
Where are you? [_Going out._] Did anyone see Bartley Fallon? [_All
turn to look after her._]

JAMES RYAN. It is hard for her to believe any such a thing, God help
her! [_Enter BARTLEY FALLON from right, carrying hayfork._]

BARTLEY. It is what I often said to myself, if there is ever any
misfortune coming to this world it is on myself it is sure to come!
[_All turn round and face him._]

BARTLEY. To be going about with this fork and to find no one to take
it, and no place to leave it down, and I wanting to be gone out of
this--Is that you, Shawn Early? [_Holds out fork._] It's well I met
you. You have no call to be leaving the fair for a while the way I
have, and how can I go till I'm rid of this fork? Will you take it and
keep it until such time as Jack Smith--

SHAWN EARLY [_backing_]. I will not take it, Bartley Fallon, I'm very
thankful to you!

BARTLEY [_turning to apple stall_]. Look at it now, Mrs. Tarpey, it
was here I got it; let me thrust it in under the stall. It will lie
there safe enough, and no one will take notice of it until such time
as Jack Smith--

MRS. TARPEY. Take your fork out of that! Is it to put trouble on me
and to destroy me you want? putting it there for the police to be
rooting it out maybe. [_Thrusts him back._]

BARTLEY. That is a very unneighborly thing for you to do, Mrs. Tarpey.
Hadn't I enough care on me with that fork before this, running up and
down with it like the swinging of a clock, and afeard to lay it down
in any place! I wish I never touched it or meddled with it at all!

JAMES RYAN. It is a pity, indeed, you ever did.

BARTLEY. Will you yourself take it, James Ryan? You were always a
neighborly man.

JAMES RYAN [_backing_]. There is many a thing I would do for you,
Bartley Fallon, but I won't do that!

SHAWN EARLY. I tell you there is no man will give you any help or any
encouragement for this day's work. If it was something agrarian now--

BARTLEY. If no one at all will take it, maybe it's best to give it up
to the police.

TIM CASEY. There'd be a welcome for it with them surely! [_Laughter._]

MRS. TULLY. And it is to the police Kitty Keary herself will be

MRS. TARPEY [_rocking to and fro_]. I wonder now who will take the
expense of the wake for poor Jack Smith?

BARTLEY. The wake for Jack Smith!

TIM CASEY. Why wouldn't he get a wake as well as another? Would you
begrudge him that much?

BARTLEY. Red Jack Smith dead! Who was telling you?

SHAWN EARLY. The whole town knows of it by this.

BARTLEY. Do they say what way did he die?

JAMES RYAN. You don't know that yourself, I suppose, Bartley Fallon?
You don't know he was followed and that he was laid dead with the stab
of a hayfork?

BARTLEY. The stab of a hayfork!

SHAWN EARLY. You don't know, I suppose, that the body was found in the
Five Acre Meadow?

BARTLEY. The Five Acre Meadow!

TIM CASEY. It is likely you don't know that the police are after the
man that did it?

BARTLEY. The man that did it!

MRS. TULLY. You don't know, maybe, that he was made away with for the
sake of Kitty Keary, his wife?

BARTLEY. Kitty Keary, his wife! [_Sits down bewildered._]

MRS. TULLY. And what have you to say now, Bartley Fallon?

BARTLEY [_crossing himself_]. I to bring that fork here, and to find
that news before me! It is much if I can ever stir from this place at
all, or reach as far as the road!

TIM CASEY. Look, boys, at the new magistrate, and Jo Muldoon along
with him! It's best for us to quit this.

SHAWN EARLY. That is so. It is best not to be mixed in this business
at all.

JAMES RYAN. Bad as he is, I wouldn't like to be an informer against
any man. [_All hurry away except MRS. TARPEY, who remains behind her
stall. Enter MAGISTRATE and POLICEMAN._]

MAGISTRATE. I knew the district was in a bad state, but I did not
expect to be confronted with a murder at the first fair I came to.

POLICEMAN. I am sure you did not, indeed.

MAGISTRATE. It was well I had not gone home. I caught a few words here
and there that roused my suspicions.

POLICEMAN. So they would, too.

MAGISTRATE. You heard the same story from everyone you asked?

POLICEMAN. The same story--or if it was not altogether the same,
anyway it was no less than the first story.

MAGISTRATE. What is that man doing? He is sitting alone with a
hayfork. He has a guilty look. The murder was done with a hayfork!

POLICEMAN [_in a whisper_]. That's the very man they say did the act;
Bartley Fallon himself!

MAGISTRATE. He must have found escape difficult--he is trying to
brazen it out. A convict in the Andaman Islands tried the same game,
but he could not escape my system! Stand aside--Don't go far--have the
handcuffs ready. [_He walks up to BARTLEY, folds his arms, and stands
before him._] Here, my man, do you know anything of John Smith?

BARTLEY. Of John Smith! Who is he, now?

POLICEMAN. Jack Smith, sir--Red Jack Smith!

MAGISTRATE [_coming a step nearer and tapping him on the shoulder_].
Where is Jack Smith?

BARTLEY [_with a deep sigh, and shaking his head slowly_]. Where is
he, indeed?

MAGISTRATE. What have you to tell?

BARTLEY. It is where he was this morning, standing in this spot,
singing his share of songs--no, but lighting his pipe--scraping a
match on the sole of his shoe--

MAGISTRATE. I ask you, for the third time, where is he?

BARTLEY. I wouldn't like to say that. It is a great mystery, and it is
hard to say of any man, did he earn hatred or love.

MAGISTRATE. Tell me all you know.

BARTLEY. All that I know--Well, there are the three estates; there is
Limbo, and there is Purgatory, and there is--

MAGISTRATE. Nonsense! This is trifling! Get to the point.

BARTLEY. Maybe you don't hold with the clergy so? That is the teaching
of the clergy. Maybe you hold with the old people. It is what they do
be saying, that the shadow goes wandering, and the soul is tired, and
the body is taking a rest--The shadow! [_Starts up._] I was nearly
sure I saw Jack Smith not ten minutes ago at the corner of the forge,
and I lost him again--Was it his ghost I saw, do you think?

MAGISTRATE [_to POLICEMAN_]. Conscience-struck! He will confess all

BARTLEY. His ghost to come before me! It is likely it was on account
of the fork! I to have it and he to have no way to defend himself the
time he met with his death!

MAGISTRATE [_to POLICEMAN_]. I must note down his words. [_Takes out
notebook._] [_To BARTLEY._] I warn you that your words are being

BARTLEY. If I had ha' run faster in the beginning, this terror would
not be on me at the latter end! Maybe he will cast it up against me at
the day of judgment--I wouldn't wonder at all at that.

MAGISTRATE [_writing_]. At the day of judgment--

BARTLEY. It was soon for his ghost to appear to me--is it coming after
me always by day it will be, and stripping the clothes off in the
night time?--I wouldn't wonder at all at that, being as I am an
unfortunate man!

MAGISTRATE [_sternly_]. Tell me this truly. What was the motive of
this crime?

BARTLEY. The motive, is it?

MAGISTRATE. Yes; the motive; the cause.

BARTLEY. I'd sooner not say that.

MAGISTRATE. You had better tell me truly. Was it money?

BARTLEY. Not at all! What did poor Jack Smith ever have in his pockets
unless it might be his hands that would be in them?

MAGISTRATE. Any dispute about land?

BARTLEY [_indignantly_]. Not at all! He never was a grabber or grabbed
from anyone!

MAGISTRATE. You will find it better for you if you tell me at once.

BARTLEY. I tell you I wouldn't for the whole world wish to say what it
was--it is a thing I would not like to be talking about.

MAGISTRATE. There is no use in hiding it. It will be discovered in the

BARTLEY. Well, I suppose it will, seeing that mostly everybody knows
it before. Whisper here now. I will tell no lie; where would be the
use? [_Puts his hand to his mouth, and MAGISTRATE stoops._] Don't be
putting the blame on the parish, for such a thing was never done in
the parish before--it was done for the sake of Kitty Keary, Jack
Smith's wife.

MAGISTRATE [_to POLICEMAN_]. Put on the handcuffs. We have been saved
some trouble. I knew he would confess if taken in the right way.
[_POLICEMAN puts on handcuffs._]

BARTLEY. Handcuffs now! Glory be! I always said, if there was ever any
misfortune coming to this place it was on myself it would fall. I to
be in handcuffs! There's no wonder at all in that. [_Enter MRS.
FALLON, followed by the rest. She is looking back at them as she

MRS. FALLON. Telling lies the whole of the people of this town are;
telling lies, telling lies as fast as a dog will trot! Speaking
against my poor respectable man! Saying he made an end of Jack Smith!
My decent comrade! There is no better man and no kinder man in the
whole of the five parishes! It's little annoyance he ever gave to
anyone! [_Turns and sees him._] What in the earthly world do I see
before me? Bartley Fallon in charge of the police! Handcuffs on him!
Oh, Bartley, what did you do at all at all?

BARTLEY. Oh, Mary, there has a great misfortune come upon me! It is
what I always said, that if there is ever any misfortune--

MRS. FALLON. What did he do at all, or is it bewitched I am?

MAGISTRATE. This man has been arrested on a charge of murder.

MRS. FALLON. Whose charge is that? Don't believe them! They are all
liars in this place! Give me back my man!

MAGISTRATE. It is natural you should take his part, but you have no
cause of complaint against your neighbors. He has been arrested for
the murder of John Smith, on his own confession.

MRS. FALLON. The saints of heaven protect us! And what did he want
killing Jack Smith?

MAGISTRATE. It is best you should know all. He did it on account of a
love affair with the murdered man's wife.

MRS. FALLON [_sitting down_]. With Jack Smith's wife! With Kitty
Keary!--Ochone, the traitor!

THE CROWD. A great shame, indeed. He is a traitor, indeed.

MRS. TULLY. To America he was bringing her, Mrs. Fallon.

BARTLEY. What are you saying, Mary? I tell you--

MRS. FALLON. Don't say a word! I won't listen to any word you'll say!
[_Stops her ears._] Oh, isn't he the treacherous villain? Ohone go

BARTLEY. Be quiet till I speak! Listen to what I say!

MRS. FALLON. Sitting beside me on the ass car coming to the town, so
quiet and so respectable, and treachery like that in his heart!

BARTLEY. Is it your wits you have lost or is it I myself that have
lost my wits?

MRS. FALLON. And it's hard I earned you, slaving, slaving--and you
grumbling, and sighing, and coughing, and discontented, and the priest
wore out anointing you, with all the times you threatened to die!

BARTLEY. Let you be quiet till I tell you!

MRS. FALLON. You to bring such a disgrace into the parish. A thing
that was never heard of before!

BARTLEY. Will you shut your mouth and hear me speaking?

MRS. FALLON. And if it was for any sort of a fine handsome woman, but
for a little fistful of a woman like Kitty Keary, that's not four feet
high hardly, and not three teeth in her head unless she got new ones!
May God reward you, Bartley Fallon, for the black treachery in your
heart and the wickedness in your mind, and the red blood of poor Jack
Smith that is wet upon your hand! [_Voice of JACK SMITH heard

  The sea shall be dry,
    The earth under mourning and ban!
  Then loud shall he cry
    For the wife of the red-haired man!

BARTLEY. It's Jack Smith's voice--I never knew a ghost to sing
before--It is after myself and the fork he is coming! [_Goes back.
Enter JACK SMITH._] Let one of you give him the fork and I will be
clear of him now and for eternity!

MRS. TARPEY. The Lord have mercy on us! Red Jack Smith! The man that
was going to be waked!

JAMES RYAN. Is it back from the grave you are come?

SHAWN EARLY. Is it alive you are, or is it dead you are?

TIM CASEY. Is it yourself at all that's in it?

MRS. TULLY. Is it letting on you were to be dead?

MRS. FALLON. Dead or alive, let you stop Kitty Keary, your wife, from
bringing my man away with her to America!

JACK SMITH. It is what I think, the wits are gone astray on the whole
of you. What would my wife want bringing Bartley Fallon to America?

MRS. FALLON. To leave yourself, and to get quit of you she wants, Jack
Smith, and to bring him away from myself. That's what the two of them
had settled together.

JACK SMITH. I'll break the head of any man that says that! Who is it
says it? [_To TIM CASEY._] Was it you said it? [_To SHAWN EARLY._] Was
it you?

ALL TOGETHER [_backing and shaking their heads_]. It wasn't I said it!

JACK SMITH. Tell me the name of any man that said it!

ALL TOGETHER [_pointing to BARTLEY_]. It was him that said it!

JACK SMITH. Let me at him till I break his head! [_BARTLEY backs in
terror. Neighbors hold JACK SMITH back._]

JACK SMITH [_trying to free himself_]. Let me at him! Isn't he the
pleasant sort of a scarecrow for any woman to be crossing the ocean
with! It's back from the docks of New York he'd be turned [_trying to
rush at him again_], with a lie in his mouth and treachery in his
heart, and another man's wife by his side, and he passing her off as
his own! Let me at him, can't you. [_Makes another rush, but is held

MAGISTRATE [_pointing to JACK SMITH_]. Policeman, put the handcuffs on
this man. I see it all now. A case of false impersonation, a
conspiracy to defeat the ends of justice. There was a case in the
Andaman Islands, a murderer of the Mopsa tribe, a religious

POLICEMAN. So he might be, too.

MAGISTRATE. We must take both these men to the scene of the murder. We
must confront them with the body of the real Jack Smith.

JACK SMITH. I'll break the head of any man that will find my dead

MAGISTRATE. I'll call more help from the barracks. [_Blows POLICEMAN's

BARTLEY. It is what I am thinking, if myself and Jack Smith are put
together in the one cell for the night, the handcuffs will be taken
off him, and his hands will be free, and murder will be done that time

MAGISTRATE. Come on! [_They turn to the right._]




  Spreading the News.
  I thought, my first love, there'd be but one house
  be-tween you and me, And I thought
  I would find your-self coax-ing
  my child on your knee. O-ver the tide
  I would leap with the leap of a swan,
  Till I came to the side
  of the wife of the red-haired man.


The idea of this play first came to me as a tragedy. I kept seeing as
in a picture people sitting by the roadside, and a girl passing to the
market, gay and fearless. And then I saw her passing by the same place
at evening, her head hanging, the heads of others turned from her,
because of some sudden story that had risen out of a chance word, and
had snatched away her good name.

But comedy and not tragedy was wanted at our theatre to put beside the
high poetic work, _The King's Threshold_, _The Shadowy Waters_, _On
Baile's Strand_, _The Well of the Saints_; and I let laughter have its
way with the little play. I was delayed in beginning it for a while,
because I could only think of Bartley Fallon as dull-witted or silly
or ignorant, and the handcuffs seemed too harsh a punishment. But one
day by the seat at Duras a melancholy man who was telling me of the
crosses he had gone through at home said--"But I'm thinking if I went
to America, it's long ago to-day I'd be dead. And it's a great expense
for a poor man to be buried in America." Bartley was born at that
moment, and, far from harshness, I felt I was providing him with a
happy old age in giving him the lasting glory of that great and
crowning day of misfortune.

It has been acted very often by other companies as well as our own,
and the Boers have done me the honor of translating and pirating it.



         [Footnote 38: Copyright, 1912, 1916, 1917, by Jeannette
         Marks. The professional and amateur stage rights of this play
         are strictly reserved by the author. Application for
         permission to produce the play should be made to the author,
         who may be addressed in care of the publishers, Little, Brown
         and Company, Boston. All rights reserved.]

Jeannette Marks, playwright, poet, essayist, and writer of short
stories, was born in 1875 at Chattanooga, Tennessee. She grew up in
Philadelphia, however, where her father was a member of the faculty of
the University of Pennsylvania. Her education in this country was
supplemented by a sojourn at a school in Dresden. She took her first
degree at Wellesley College in 1900, and her master's degree there in
1903. Her graduate studies were pursued at the Bodleian Library and at
the British Museum. Since 1901 she has taught English literature at
Mount Holyoke.

The play here reprinted, _Welsh Honeymoon_, was one of the two--the
other was her _The Merry, Merry Cuckoo_--that won the Welsh National
Theatre First Prize for the best Welsh plays in November, 1911, the
year after Josephine Preston Peabody had carried off the palm at

She writes in her preface to _Three Welsh Plays_, the collection from
which _Welsh Honeymoon_ is drawn:

"'Poetry' and 'song' are words which convey, better than any other two
words could, the priceless gifts of the Welsh people to the world.
With their love for music, for beauty, for the significance of their
land and its folklore, their inherent romance in the difficult art of
living, they have transformed ugliness into beauty, turned loneliness
into speech, and ever recalled life to its only permanent possessions
in wonder and romance.

"Curiously enough, the Welsh, rich in poetry and music, have been
almost altogether devoid of plays. But no one who has read those first
Welsh tales in the 'Mabinogion' (c. 1260) could for an instant think
the Cymru devoid of the dramatic instinct. The Welsh way of
interpreting experience is essentially dramatic. _The Dream of Maxen
Wledig_, _The Dream of Rhonabwy_, both from the 'Mabinogion,' are
sharply dramatic, although then and later Welsh literature remained
practically devoid of the play form. Experience dramatized is, too,
that Pilgrim's Progress of Gwalia: 'Y Bardd Cwsg' (1703).

"Every gift of the Welsh would seem to promise the realization some
day of a great national drama, for they have not only the gift of
poetry and the power to seize the symbol--short cut through
experience--which can, even as the crutch of Ibsen's Little Eyolf,
lift a play into greatness; they have, also, natures profoundly
emotional and yet intellectually critical. They are, humanly speaking,
perfect tools for the achievement of great drama. But it is a drab
journey from those 'Mabinogion' days of wonder, coarse and crude as
they were in many ways, yet intensely vital, through the 'Bardd Cwsg'
to Twm o'r Nant (1739-1810) the so-called 'Welsh Shakespeare,' whose
Interludes might, with sufficient worrying, afford delectation to the
rock-ribbed Puritanism which has stood, as much as any other
oppression, in the way of Gwalia's full development of her genius for

"It was, then, a significant moment when 'The Welsh National Theatre'
came into existence with so powerful a patron as Lord Howard de
Walden, lessee of the Haymarket, and Owen Rhoscomyl (Captain Owen
Vaughan) and other gifted Welsh literati for its sponsors. And it did
not seem an insignificant moment to one person, the playwright of _The
Merry Merry Cuckoo_ and _Welsh Honeymoon_, when she learned through
her friendly agent, Curtis Brown of London, that she had received one
of the Welsh National Theatre's first prizes (1911)."

Jeannette Marks's interest in Wales is the result of a number of
holidays spent in wandering through its highways and byways. Books of
hers like _Through Welsh Doorways_ and _Gallant Little Wales_ bespeak
an affectionate intimacy with homes and inhabitants. In the last
named, especially, the chapters called "Cambrian Cottages" and "Welsh
Wales" contain material that is highly illuminating in connection with
the interpretation of her plays. Edward Knobloch, the playwright, is
said to have pointed out to the author the dramatic situations
inherent in her short stories and sketches, a suggestion which bore
fruit in _Three Welsh Plays_.

The first performance of _Welsh Honeymoon_ was given by the American
Drama Society in Boston in February, 1916. It has also been produced
by the Boston Women's City Club, the Vagabond Players in Baltimore,
the Hull House Players in Chicago, and the Prince Street Players in



  CATHERINE JONES, _his wife_.
  EILIR MORRIS, _nephew of Vavasour Jones_.
  MRS. MORGAN, _the baker_.
  HOWELL HOWELL, _the milliner_.


            1 _ch_ has, roughly, the same sound as in German or in
                  the Scotch _loch_.
            2 _dd_ = English _th_, roughly, in brea_th_e.
            3 _e_ has, roughly, the sound of _ai_ in d_ai_ry.
            4 _f_ = English _v_.
            5 _ff_ = English sharp _f_.
            6 _ll_ represents a sound intermediate between _the_ and _fl_.
            7 _w_ as a consonant is pronounced as in English; as a
                  vowel = _oo_.
            8 _y_ is sometimes like _u_ in b_u_t, but sometimes like _ee_
                  in gr_ee_n.

         NOTE: _The author will gladly answer questions about
         pronunciation, costuming, etc., etc._]

_PLACE._--_Beddgelert, a little village in North Wales._

_A Welsh kitchen. At back, in center, a deep ingle, with two hobs and
fire bars fixed between, on either side settles. On the left-hand side
near the fire a church; on the right, in a pile, some peat ready for
use. Above the fireplace is a mantel on which are set some brass
candlesticks, a deep copper cheese bowl, and two pewter plates. Near
the left settle is a three-legged table set with teapot, cups and
saucers for two, a plate of bread and butter, a plate of jam, and a
creamer. At the right and to the right of the door, is a tall, highly
polished, oaken grandfather's clock, with a shining brass face; to the
left of the door is a tridarn. The tridarn dresser is lined with
bright blue paper and filled with luster china. The floor is of beaten
clay, whitewashed around the edges; from the rafters of the peaked
ceiling hang flitches of bacon, hams, and bunches of onions and herbs.
On the hearth is a copper kettle singing gaily; and on either side of
the fireplace are latticed windows opening into the kitchen. Through
the door to the right, when open, may be seen the flagstones and
cottages of a Welsh village street; through latticed windows the
twinkling of many village lights._

_It is about half after eleven on Allhallows' Eve in the village of

_At rise of curtain, the windows of kitchen are closed; the fire is
burning brightly, and two candles are lighted on the mantelpiece.
VAVASOUR JONES, about thirty-five years old, dressed in a striped
vest, a short, heavy blue coat, cut away in front, and with
swallowtails behind, and trimmed with brass buttons, and somewhat
tight trousers down to his boot tops, is standing by the open door at
the right, looking out anxiously on to the glittering, rain-wet
flagstone street and calling after someone._

VAVASOUR[40] [_calling_]. Kats, Kats, mind ye come home soon from
Pally Hughes's!

         [Footnote 40: The _a_'s are broad throughout, i. e., Kats is
         pronounced Kaats; Vavasour is Vavasoor: _ou_ is oo.]

CATHERINE [_from a distance_]. Aye, I'm no wantin' to go, but I must.

VAVASOUR. Good-by! Kats, ye mind about comin' home? [_There is no
reply, and VAVASOUR looks still further into the rain-wet street. He
calls loudly and desperately._] Kats, Kats darlin', I cannot let you
go without tellin' ye that--Kats, do ye hear? [_There is still no
reply and after one more searching of the street, VAVASOUR closes the
door and sits down on the end of the nearest settle._]

VAVASOUR. Dear, dear, she's gone, an' I may never see her again, an'
I'm to blame, an' she didn't know whatever that in the night--[_Loud
knocking on the closed door; VAVASOUR jumps and stands irresolute._]
The devil, it can't be comin' for her already? [_The knocking grows

VOICE [_calling_]. Catherine, Vavasour, are ye in?

VAVASOUR [_opening the door_]. Aye, come in, whoever ye are. [_MRS.
MORGAN, the Baker, dressed in a scarlet whittle and freshly starched
white cap beneath her tall Welsh beaver hat, enters, shaking the rain
from her cloak._]

MRS. MORGAN. Where's Catherine?

VAVASOUR. She's gone, Mrs. Morgan.

MRS. MORGAN. Gone? Are ye no goin'? Not goin' to Pally Hughes's on
Allhallows' Eve?

VAVASOUR [_shaking his head and looking very white_]. Nay, I'm no
feelin' well.

MRS. MORGAN. Aye, I see ye're ill?

VAVASOUR. Well, I'm not ill, but I'm not well. Not well at all, Mrs.

MRS. MORGAN. We'll miss ye, but I must hurryin' on whatever; I'm late
now. Good-night!

VAVASOUR [_speaking drearily_]. Good-night! [_He closes the door and
returns to the settle, where he sits down by the pile of peat and
drops his head in his hand. Then he starts up nervously for no
apparent cause and opens one of the lattice windows. With an
exclamation of fear, he slams it to and throws his weight against the
door. Calling and holding hard to the door._] Ye've no cause to come
here! Ye old death's head, get away! [_Outside there is loud pounding
on the door and a voice shouting for admittance. VAVASOUR is obliged
to fall back as the door is gradually forced open, and a head is
thrust in, a white handkerchief tied over it._]

HOWELL HOWELL [_seeing the terror-stricken face of VAVASOUR_]. Well,
man, what ails ye; did ye think I was a ghost? [_HOWELL HOWELL, the
Milliner, in highlows and a plum-colored coat, a handkerchief on his
hat, enters, stamping off the rain and closing the door. He carefully
wipes off his plum-colored sleeves and speaks indignantly._] Well,
man, are ye crazy, keepin' me out in the rain that way? Where's

VAVASOUR [_stammering_]. She's at P-p-p-ally Hughes's.

HOWELL HOWELL. Are ye no goin'?

VAVASOUR. Nay, Howell Howell, I'm no goin'.

HOWELL HOWELL. An' dressed in your best? What's the matter? Have ye
been drinkin' whatever?

VAVASOUR [_wrathfully_]. Drinkin'! I'd better be drinkin' when
neighbors go walkin' round the village on Allhallows' Eve with their
heads done up in white.

HOWELL HOWELL. Aye, well, I can't be spoilin' the new hat I have,
that I cannot. A finer beaver there has never been in my shop. [_He
takes off the handkerchief, hangs it where the heat of the fire will
dry it a bit, and then, removing the beaver, shows it to VAVASOUR,
turning it this way and that._]

VAVASOUR [_absent-mindedly_]. Aye, grand, grand, man!

HOWELL HOWELL. What are ye gazin' at the clock for?

VAVASOUR [_guiltily_]. I'm no lookin' at anything.

HOWELL HOWELL. Well, indeed, I must be goin', or I shall be late at
Pally Hughes's. Good-night.

VAVASOUR. Good-night. [_He closes the door and stands before the
clock, studying it. While he is studying its face the door opens
slowly, and the tumbled, curly head of a lad about eighteen years of
age peers in. The door continues slowly to open. VAVASOUR unconscious
all the while._] 'Tis ten now. Ten, eleven, twelve; that's three hours
left, 'tis; nay, nay, 'tis only two hours left, after all, an' then--

EILIR MORRIS [_bounding in and shutting the door behind him with a
bang_]. Boo! Whoo--o--o!

VAVASOUR [_his face blanched, dropping limply on to the settle_]. The

EILIR MORRIS [_troubled_]. Uch, the pity, Uncle! I didn't think, an'
ye're ill!

VAVASOUR. Tut, tut, 'tis no matter, an' I'm not ill--not ill at all,
but Eilir, lad, ye're kin, an'--could ye promise never to tell?

EILIR MORRIS [_who thinks his uncle has been drinking, speaks to him
as if he would humor his whim_]. Aye, Uncle, I'm kin, an' I promise.
Tell on. What is it? Are ye sick?

VAVASOUR [_drearily_]. Uch, lad, I'm not sick!

EILIR MORRIS. Well, what ails ye?

VAVASOUR. 'Tis Allhallows' Eve an'--

EILIR MORRIS. Aren't ye goin' to Pally Hughes's?

VAVASOUR [_moaning and rising_]. Ow, the devil, goin' to Pally
Hughes's while 'tis drawin' nearer an' nearer an'--Ow! 'Tis the night
when Catherine must go.

EILIR MORRIS. When Aunt Kats must go! What do you mean?

VAVASOUR. She'll be dead to-night at twelve.

EILIR MORRIS [_bewildered_]. Dead at twelve? But she's at Pally
Hughes's. Does she know it?

VAVASOUR. No, but I do, an' to think I've been unkind to her! I've
tried this year to make up for it, but 'tis no use, lad; one year'll
never make up for ten of harsh words, whatever. Ow! [_Groaning,
VAVASOUR collapses on to the settle and rocks to and fro, moaning

EILIR MORRIS [_mystified_]. Well, ye've not been good to her, Uncle,
that's certain; but ye've been different the past year.

VAVASOUR [_sobbing_]. Aye, but a year'll not do any good, an' she'll
be dyin' at twelve to-night. Ow! I've turned to the scriptures to see
what it says about a man an' his wife, but it'll no do, no do, no do!

EILIR MORRIS. Have ye been drinkin', Uncle?

VAVASOUR [_hotly_]. Drinkin'!

EILIR MORRIS. Well, indeed, no harm, but, Uncle, I cannot understand
why Aunt Kats's goin' an' where.

VAVASOUR [_rising suddenly from the settle and seizing EILIR by the
coat lapel_]. She's goin' to leave me, lad; 'tis Allhallows' Eve
whatever! An' she'll be dyin' at twelve. Aye, a year ago things were
so bad between us, on Allhallows' Eve I went down to the church porch
shortly before midnight to see whether the spirit of your Aunt Kats
would be called an'--

EILIR MORRIS. Uncle, 'twas fair killin' her!

VAVASOUR. I wanted to see whether she would live the twelve months
out. An' as I was leanin' against the church wall, hopin', aye, lad,
prayin' to see her spirit there, an' know she'd die, I saw somethin'
comin' 'round the corner with white over its head.

EILIR MORRIS [_wailing_]. Ow--w!

VAVASOUR. It drew nearer an' nearer, an' when it came in full view of
the church porch, it paused, it whirled around like that, an' sped
away with the shroud flappin' about its feet, an' the rain beatin'
down on its white hood.

EILIR MORRIS [_wailing again_]. Ow--w!

VAVASOUR. But there was time to see that it was the spirit of
Catherine, an' I was glad because my wicked prayer had been answered,
an' because with Catherine dyin' the next Allhallows', we'd have to
live together only the year out.

EILIR MORRIS [_raising his hand_]. Hush, what's that?

VAVASOUR. 'Tis voices whatever. [_Both listen, EILIR goes to the
window, VAVASOUR to the door. The voices become louder._]

EILIR MORRIS. They're singin' a song at Pally Hughes's. [_Voices are
audibly singing:_]

  Ni awn adre bawb dan ganu,
    Ar hyd y nos;
  Saif ein hiaith safo Cymru,
    Ar hyd y nos;
  Bydded undeb a brawdgarwch
  Ini'n gwlwm diogelwch,
  Felly canwn er hyfrydwch,
    Ar hyd y nos.

  Sweetly sang beside a fountain,
    All through the night,
  Mona's maiden on that mountain,
    All through the night.
  When wilt thou, from war returning,
  In whose breast true love is burning,
  Come and change to joy my mourning,
    By day and night?

VAVASOUR. Aye, they're happy, an' Kats does not know. I went home that
night, lad, thinkin' 'twas the last year we'd have to live together,
an', considerin' as 'twas the last year, I might just as well try to
be decent an' kind. An' when I reached home, Catherine was up waitin'
for me an' spoke so pleasantly, an' we sat down an' had a long
talk--just like the days when we were courtin'.

EILIR MORRIS. Did she know, Uncle?

VAVASOUR [_puzzled_]. Nay, how could she know. But she seems
queer,--as if she felt the evil comin'. Well, indeed, each day was
sweeter than the one before, an' we were man an' wife in love an'
kindness at last, but all the while I was thinkin' of that figure by
the churchyard. Lad, lad, ye'll be marryin' before long,--be good to
her, lad, be good to her! [_VAVASOUR lets go the lapels of EILIR's
coat and sinks back on to the settle, half sobbing. Outside the roar
of wind and rain growing louder can be heard._]

VAVASOUR [_looking at the clock_]. An' here 'tis Allhallows' Eve
again, an' the best year of my life is past, an' she must die in an
hour an' a half. Ow, ow! It has all come from my own evil heart an'
evil wish. Think, lad, prayin' for her callin'; aye, goin' there,
hopin' ye'd see her spirit, an' countin' on her death!

EILIR MORRIS [_mournfully_]. Aye, Uncle, 'tis bad, an' I've no word to
say to ye for comfort. I recollect well the story Granny used to tell
about Christmas Pryce; 'twas somethin' the same whatever. An' there
was Betty Williams was called a year ago, an' is dead now; an' there
was Silvan Griffith, an' Geffery, his friend, an' Silvan had just time
to dig Geffery's grave an' then his own, too, by its side, an' they
was buried the same day an' hour.

VAVASOUR [_wailing_]. Ow--w--w! [_At that moment the door is blown
violently open by the wind; both men jump and stare out into the dark
where only the dimmed lights of the rain-swept street are to be seen,
and the very bright windows of Pally Hughes's cottage._]

EILIR MORRIS. Uch, she'll be taken there!

VAVASOUR. Aye, an', Eilir, she was loath to go to Pally's, but I could
not tell her the truth.

EILIR MORRIS. Are ye not goin', Uncle?

VAVASOUR. Nay, lad, I cannot go. I'm fair crazy. I'll just be stayin'
home, waitin' for them to bring her back. Ow--w--w!

EILIR MORRIS. Tut, tut, Uncle, I'm sorry. I'll just see for ye what
they're doin'. [_EILIR steps out and is gone for an instant. He comes
back excitedly._]

VAVASOUR [_shouting after him_]. Can ye see her, lad?

EILIR MORRIS [_returning_]. Dear, they've a grand display, raisins an'
buns, an' spices an' biscuits--

VAVASOUR. But your Aunt Kats?

EILIR MORRIS. Aye, an' a grand fire, an' a tub with apples in it an'--

VAVASOUR. But Catherine?

EILIR MORRIS. Aye, she was there near the fire, an' just as I turned,
they blew the lights out.

VAVASOUR. Blew the lights out! Uch, she'll be taken there whatever!

EILIR MORRIS. They're tellin' stories in the dark.

VAVASOUR. Go back again an' tell what ye can see of your Aunt Kats,


VAVASOUR [_shouting after him_]. Find where she's sittin', lad--make
certain of that.

EILIR MORRIS [_running in breathless_]. They're throwin' nuts on the

VAVASOUR. Is she there?

EILIR MORRIS. I'm thinkin' she is, but old Pally Hughes was just
throwin' a nut on the fire an'--

VAVASOUR [_impatiently_]. 'Tis no matter about Pally Hughes whatever,
but your Aunt Kats, did--

EILIR MORRIS. There was only the light of the fire; I did not see her,
but I'll go again.

VAVASOUR. Watch for her nut an' see does it burn brightly.

EILIR MORRIS [_going out_]. Aye.

VAVASOUR [_calling after_]. Mind, I'm wantin' to know what she's
doin'. [_He has scarcely spoken the last word when a great commotion
is heard: a door across the street being slammed to violently, and the
sound of running feet. VAVASOUR straightens up, his eyes in terror on
the door, which CATHERINE JONES throws open and bursts through._]

VAVASOUR [_holding out his arms_]. Catherine, is it really ye!
[_CATHERINE, after a searching glance at him, draws herself up.
VAVASOUR draws himself up, too, and then stoops to pick up some peat
which he puts on the fire, and crosses over to left and sits down on
the settle near the chimney, without having embraced her. CATHERINE's
face is flushed, her eyes wild under the pretty white cap she wears, a
black Welsh beaver above it. She is dressed in a scarlet cloak, under
this a tight bodice and short, full skirt, bright stockings, and clogs
with brass tips. Her apron is of heavy linen, striped; over her breast
a kerchief is crossed, and from the elbows down to the wrist are full
white sleeves stiffly starched._]

CATHERINE. Yiss, yiss, 'twas dull at Pally's--very dull. My nut didn't
burn very brightly, an'--an'--well, indeed, my feet was wet, an' I
feared takin' a cold.

VAVASOUR. Yiss, yiss, 'tis better for ye here, dearie. [_Then there is
silence between them. CATHERINE still breathes heavily from the
running, and VAVASOUR shuffles his feet. While they are both sitting
there, unable to say a word, the door opens without a sound, and
EILIR's curly head is thrust in. A guttural exclamation from him makes
them start and look towards the door, but he closes it before they can
see him. CATHERINE then takes off her beaver and looks at VAVASOUR.
VAVASOUR opens his mouth, shuts it, and opens it again._]

VAVASOUR [_desperately_]. Did ye have a fine time at Pally's?

CATHERINE. Aye, 'twas gay an' fine an'--an'--yiss, yiss, so 'twas an'
so 'twasn't.

VAVASOUR [_his eyes seeking the clock_]. A quarter past eleven, uch!
Katy, do ye recall Pastor Evan's sermon, the one he preached last New

CATHERINE [_also glancing at the clock_]. Sixteen minutes after

VAVASOUR [_catching CATHERINE's glance at the clock_]. Well,
Catherine, do--

CATHERINE. Yiss, yiss, I said I did whatever. 'Twas about inheritin'
the grace of life together.

VAVASOUR. Kats, dear, wasn't he sayin' that love is eternal, an'
that--a man--an'--an'--his wife was lovin' for--for--

CATHERINE [_glancing at the clock and meeting VAVASOUR's eyes just
glancing away from the clock_]. Aye, lad, for ever-lastin' life! Uch,
what have I done?

VAVASOUR [_unheeding and doubling up as if from pain_]. Half after
eleven! Yiss, yiss, dear, didn't he say that the Lord was mindful of
us--of our difficulties, an' our temptations an' our mistakes?

CATHERINE [_tragically_]. Aye, an' our mistakes. Ow, ow, ow, but a
half hour's left!

VAVASOUR. Do ye think, dearie, that if a man were to--to--uch!--be
unkind to his wife--an' was sorry an' his wife--his wife dies, that
he'd be--be--

CATHERINE [_tenderly_]. Aye, I'm thinkin' so. An', lad dear, do ye
think if anythin' was to happen to ye to-night,--yiss, _this_
night,--that ye'd take any grudge against me away with ye?

VAVASOUR [_stiffening_]. Happen to _me_, Catherine? [_VAVASOUR
collapses, groaning. CATHERINE goes to his side on the settle._]

CATHERINE [_in an agonized voice_]. Uch, dearie, what is it, what is
it, what ails ye?

VAVASOUR [_slanting an eye at the clock_]. Nothin', nothin' at all.
Ow, the devil, 'tis twenty minutes before twelve whatever!

CATHERINE. Lad, lad, what is it?

VAVASOUR. 'Tis nothin', nothin' at all--'tis--ow!--'tis just a little
pain across me.

CATHERINE [_her face whitening as she steals a look at the clock and
puts her arm around VAVASOUR_]. Vavasour, lad dear, is that the wind
in the chimney? Put your arm about me an' hold fast.

VAVASOUR [_both hands across his stomach, his eyes on the clock_].
Ow--ten minutes!

CATHERINE [_shaking all over_]. Is that a step at the door?

VAVASOUR [_unheeding_].'Tis goin' to strike now in a minute.

CATHERINE [_her eyes in horror on the clock_]. Five minutes before

VAVASOUR [_almost crying, his eyes fixed on the clock's face_]. Uch,
the toad, the serpent!

CATHERINE [_her face in her hands_]. Dear God, he's goin' now!

VAVASOUR [_covering his eyes_]. Uch, the devil! Uch, the gates of
hell! [_CATHERINE cries out. VAVASOUR groans loudly. The clock is
striking: One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten,
Eleven, Twelve! The last loud clang vibrates and subsides. Through a
chink in her fingers CATHERINE is peering at VAVASOUR. Through a
similar chink his agonized eyes are peering at her._]

CATHERINE [_gulping_]. Uch!

VAVASOUR. The devil!

CATHERINE [_putting out her hand to touch him_]. Lad, dear! [_They
embrace, they kiss, they dance madly about. Then they do it all over
again. While they are doing this, EILIR opens the door again and
thrusts in his head. He stares open-eyed, open-mouthed at them, and
leans around the side of the door to see what time it is, saying
audibly "five minutes past twelve," grunts his satisfaction, and
closes the door._]

VAVASOUR [_mad with joy_]. Kats, are ye here, really here?

CATHERINE [_surprised_]. Am _I_ here? Tut, lad, are _ye_ here?

VAVASOUR [_shrewdly_]. Yiss, that is are we _both_ here?

CATHERINE [_perplexed_]. Did ye think I wasn't goin' to be?

VAVASOUR [_suppressed intelligent joy in his eyes_]. No--o, not that,
only I thought, I thought ye was goin' to--to--faint, Kats. I thought
ye looked like it, Kats.

CATHERINE [_the happiness on her face vanishing, sinks on to the
nearest settle_]. Uch, I'm a bad, bad woman, aye, Vavasour Jones, a
_bad_ woman!

VAVASOUR [_puzzled, yet lightly_]. Nay, Kats, nay!

CATHERINE [_desperately and almost in tears_]. Ye cannot believe what
I must tell ye. Lad, a year ago this night I went to the church porch,
hopin', aye, prayin', ye'd be called, that I'd see your spirit

VAVASOUR [_starting and recovering himself_]. Catherine, ye did that!

CATHERINE [_plunging on with her confession_]. Aye, lad, I did, I'd
been so unhappy with the quarrelin' an' hard words. I could think of
nothin' but gettin' rid of them.

VAVASOUR [_in a tone of condemnation and standing over her_]. That was
bad, very bad indeed!

CATHERINE. An' then, lad, when I reached the church corner an' saw
your spirit was really there, _really_ called, an' I knew ye'd not
live the year out, I was frightened, but uch! lad, I was glad, I was

VAVASOUR [_looking grave_]. Catherine, 'twas a terrible thing to do!

CATHERINE [_meekly_]. Yiss, I know it now, but I didn't then. I was
hard-hearted, an' I was weak with longin' to escape from it all. An'
when I ran home I was frightened, but uch! lad, I was glad, too, an'
now it hurts me so to think of it. Can you no comfort me?

VAVASOUR [_grudgingly, but not touching CATHERINE's outstretched
hand_]. Aye, well, I could, but, Kats, 'twas such a terrible thing to

CATHERINE. Yiss, yiss, ye'll never be able to forgive me, I'm
thinkin'. An' then when ye came in from the lodge, ye spoke so
pleasantly to me that I was troubled. An' now the year through it has
grown better an' better, an' I could think of nothin' but lovin' ye,
an' wishing' ye to live, an' knowin' I was the cause of your bein'
called. Uch, lad, _can_ ye forgive me?

VAVASOUR [_slowly_]. Aye, I can, none of us is without sin; but,
Catherine, it was wrong, aye, aye, 'twas a wicked thing for a woman to

CATHERINE [_still more meekly_]. An' then to-night, lad, I was
expectin' ye to go, knowin' ye couldn't live after twelve, an' ye
sittin' there so innocent an' mournful. An' when the time came, I
wanted to die myself. Uch!

VAVASOUR [_sitting down beside her and putting an arm about her as he
speaks in a superior tone of voice_]. No matter, dearie, now. It _was_
wrong in ye, but we're still here, an' it's been a sweet year, yiss,
better nor a honeymoon, an' all the years after we'll make better nor
this. There, there, Kats, let's have a bit of a wassail to celebrate
our Allhallows' honeymoon, shall we?

CATHERINE [_starting to fetch a bowl_]. Yiss, lad, 'twould be fine,
but, Vavasour, can ye forgive me, think, lad, for hopin', aye, an'
prayin' to see your spirit called, just wishin' that ye'd not live the
year out?

VAVASOUR [_with condescension_]. Kats, I can, an' I'm not layin' it up
against ye, though 'twas a wicked thing for ye to do--for anyone to
do. Now, darlin', fetch the bowl.

CATHERINE [_starting for the bowl again but turning on him_].
Vavasour, how does it happen that the callin' is set aside, an' that
ye're really here? Such a thing has not been in Beddgelert in the
memory of man.

VAVASOUR [_with dignity_]. I'm not sayin' how it's happened, Kats, but
I'm thinkin' 'tis modern times whatever, an' things have changed--aye,
indeed, 'tis modern times.

CATHERINE [_sighing contentedly_]. Good! 'Tis lucky 'tis modern times




         [Footnote 41: Copyright, 1916, by L. E. Bassett. Reprinted by
         special arrangement with John W. Luce & Company, Boston.
         Acting rights in the hands of Samuel French, 28 West 38
         Street, New York.]

"He was of a dark type of Irishman, though not black-haired. Something
in his air gave one the fancy that his face was dark from gravity.
Gravity filled the face and haunted it, as though the man behind were
forever listening to life's case before passing judgment.... When
someone spoke to him he answered with grave Irish courtesy. When the
talk became general he was silent.... His manner was that of a man too
much interested in the life about him to wish to be more than a
spectator. His interest was in life, not in ideas." In these words,
John Masefield gives his first impressions of John Millington Synge,
whom he met at a friend's house, in London, in January, 1903.

Synge, born April 16, 1871, at Newton Little, near Dublin, and dying
in Dublin, March 24, 1909, belongs to that group of "inheritors of
unfulfilled renown" who died before the prime of life was reached. He
left six plays, notable the _Riders to the Sea_ and _Deirdre of the
Sorrows_, that are among the greatest in our language. He was delicate
from the beginning, and after some education in private schools in
Dublin and Bray, left school when about fourteen and studied with a
tutor. In 1892 he took his B.A. degree from Trinity College, Dublin,
whose rolls contain a number of names famous in English literature.
While at college, he studied music at the Royal Irish Academy of
Music, where he won a scholarship. His first impulse was to make music
his career, and he spent portions of the next four years in Germany,
France, and Italy studying music and traveling. In May, 1898, he first
went to the Aran Islands, later to be the scene of _Riders to the
Sea_. Thereafter in Paris in 1899 he met Yeats, who advised him to go
back to the Aran Islands to renew his contact with the simple folk
there. For the next three years he divided his time between Paris and
Ireland. It was in 1904 that his play, _Riders to the Sea_,[42] was
first produced. He was at Dublin that same year for the opening of the
Abbey Theatre, of which he was one of the advisers. Whenever the Irish
Players visited England, he traveled with them. In 1909 came the
operation that ended his life.

         [Footnote 42: For a list of Synge's other plays, see E. A.
         Boyd, _The Contemporary Drama of Ireland_, Boston, 1917.]

Synge's book, _The Aran Islands_, which is a record of his various
visits to these three islands lying about thirty miles off the coast
of County Galway, is full of material that throws light on the setting
and characterization of _Riders to the Sea_. The central incident in
this play was suggested to Synge while he was sojourning on Inishmaan,
the middle island of the Aran group, by a tale that he heard of a man
whose body had been washed up on a distant coast, and who had been
identified as belonging to the Islands, because of his characteristic
garments. When on Inishmaan, Synge himself lived in just such a
cottage as that which is the background for the tragedy of Maurya's
sons. He wrote of this cottage, "The kitchen itself, where I will
spend most of my time, is full of beauty and distinction. The red
dresses of the women who cluster round the fire on their stools give a
glow of almost Eastern richness, and the walls have been toned by the
surf-smoke to a soft brown that blends with the gray earth-color of
the floor. Many sorts of fishing-tackle, and the nets and oilskins of
the men, are hung up on the walls or among the open rafters." And the
following passage from his _Aran Islands_ is an eloquent description
of the atmosphere there: "A week of smoking fog has passed over and
given me a strange sense of exile and desolation. I walk round the
island nearly every day, yet I can see nothing anywhere but a mass of
wet rock, a strip of surf, and then a tumult of waves.

"The slaty limestone has grown black with the water that is dripping
on it, and wherever I turn there is the same gray obsession twining
and wreathing itself among the narrow fields, and the same wail from
the wind that shrieks and whistles in the loose rubble of the walls."

Mr. Masefield, in his recollections of Synge, reports also the
following conversation between himself and the Irish playwright: Synge
saying, "They [the islanders] asked me to fiddle to them so that they
might dance," and Mr. Masefield asking, "Do you play, then?" and Synge
answering, "I fiddle a little. I try to learn something different for
them every time. The last time I learned to do conjuring tricks.
They'd get tired of me if I didn't bring something new. I'm thinking
of learning the penny whistle before I go again."

A later visitor[43] to the Aran Islands, Miss B. N. Hedderman, a
district nurse, gives further evidences of the simplicity of those
people from whom the characters of _Riders to the Sea_ were drawn. She
tells of a man who owned a house with two comfortable rooms in it, one
of which he leveled ruthlessly because he had dreamed that it hindered
the passage of the "good people." The illustrations in her little book
showing cottage interiors and peasant costumes will be found useful by
groups who are planning to produce _Riders to the Sea_. But the best
guide to the costumes and social life of the West of Ireland is J. B.

         [Footnote 43: B. N. Hedderman, _Glimpses of My Life in Aran_,
         Bristol, 1917.]

         [Footnote 44: J. B. Yeats, _Life in the West of Ireland_,
         Dublin and London, 1912. The color prints and line drawings
         in this book are very beautiful. Cf. also J. M. Synge, _The
         Aran Islands_. With drawings by Jack B. Yeats, Dublin and
         London, 1907.]

The _Drama Calendar_ of December 13, 1920, offers the following
suggestion for a musical setting for the play: "The attention of
Little Theatre directors is called to a musical prelude to Synge's
_Riders to the Sea_, arranged by Henry F. Gilbert from the Symphonic
Prologue, which was played at the Worcester Musical Festival this
fall. This original arrangement of the material is intended to build
the mood which the play sustains, and is simply orchestrated for seven
instruments. Every Little Theatre should be able to gather such an
orchestra. Here is an opportunity to give continuity to a program of
one-acts; music answers a question which is one of the hardest the
director has to solve: how a mood which is to be created and sustained
in the brief space of twenty minutes shall not be too fleeting."



_First performed at the Molesworth Hall, Dublin, February 25, 1904._


  MAURYA, _an old woman._
  BARTLEY, _her son._
  CATHLEEN, _her daughter._
  NORA, _a younger daughter._

_SCENE._--_An Island off the West of Ireland._

_Cottage kitchen, with nets, oil-skins, spinning wheel, some new
boards standing by the wall, etc. CATHLEEN, a girl of about twenty,
finishes kneading cake, and puts it down in the pot-oven by the fire;
then wipes her hands, and begins to spin at the wheel. NORA, a young
girl, puts her head in at the door._

NORA [_in a low voice_]. Where is she?

CATHLEEN. She's lying down, God help her, and may be sleeping, if
she's able. [_NORA comes in softly, and takes a bundle from under her

CATHLEEN [_spinning the wheel rapidly_]. What is it you have?

NORA. The young priest is after bringing them. It's a shirt and a
plain stocking were got off a drowned man in Donegal. [_CATHLEEN stops
her wheel with a sudden movement, and leans out to listen._]

NORA. We're to find out if it's Michael's they are, some time herself
will be down looking by the sea.

CATHLEEN. How would they be Michael's, Nora? How would he go the
length of that way to the far north?

NORA. The young priest says he's known the like of it. "If it's
Michael's they are," says he, "you can tell herself he's got a clean
burial by the grace of God, and if they're not his, let no one say a
word about them, for she'll be getting her death," says he, "with
crying and lamenting." [_The door which NORA half closed is blown open
by a gust of wind._]

CATHLEEN [_looking out anxiously_]. Did you ask him would he stop
Bartley going this day with the horses to the Galway fair?

NORA. "I won't stop him," says he, "but let you not be afraid. Herself
does be saying prayers half through the night, and the Almighty God
won't leave her destitute," says he, "with no son living."

CATHLEEN. Is the sea bad by the white rocks, Nora?

NORA. Middling bad, God help us. There's a great roaring in the west,
and it's worse it'll be getting when the tide's turned to the wind.
[_She goes over to the table with the bundle._] Shall I open it now?

CATHLEEN. Maybe she'd wake up on us, and come in before we'd done.
[_Coming to the table._] It's a long time we'll be, and the two of us

NORA [_goes to the inner door and listens_]. She's moving about on the
bed. She'll be coming in a minute.

CATHLEEN. Give me the ladder, and I'll put them up in the turf-loft,
the way she won't know of them at all, and maybe when the tide turns
she'll be going down to see would he be floating from the east. [_They
put the ladder against the gable of the chimney; CATHLEEN goes up a
few steps and hides the bundle in the turf-loft. MAURYA comes from the
inner room._]

MAURYA [_looking up at CATHLEEN and speaking querulously._] Isn't it
turf enough you have for this day and evening?

CATHLEEN. There's a cake baking at the fire for a short space
[_throwing down the turf_] and Bartley will want it when the tide
turns if he goes to Connemara. [_NORA picks up the turf and puts it
round the pot-oven._]

MAURYA [_sitting down on a stool at the fire_]. He won't go this day
with the wind rising from the south and west. He won't go this day,
for the young priest will stop him surely.

NORA. He'll not stop him, mother, and I heard Eamon Simon and Stephen
Pheety and Colum Shawn saying he would go.

MAURYA. Where is he itself?

NORA. He went down to see would there be another boat sailing in the
week, and I'm thinking it won't be long till he's here now, for the
tide's turning at the green head, and the hooker's tacking from the

CATHLEEN. I hear someone passing the big stones.

NORA [_looking out_]. He's coming now, and he in a hurry.

BARTLEY [_comes in and looks round the room. Speaking sadly and
quietly_]. Where is the bit of new rope, Cathleen, was bought in

CATHLEEN [_coming down_]. Give it to him, Nora; it's on a nail by the
white boards. I hung it up this morning, for the pig with the black
feet was eating it.

NORA [_giving him a rope_]. Is that it, Bartley?

MAURYA. You'd do right to leave that rope, Bartley, hanging by the
boards. [_BARTLEY takes the rope._] It will be wanting in this place,
I'm telling you, if Michael is washed up to-morrow morning, or the
next morning, or any morning in the week, for it's a deep grave we'll
make him by the grace of God.

BARTLEY [_beginning to work with the rope_]. I've no halter the way I
can ride down on the mare, and I must go now quickly. This is the one
boat going for two weeks or beyond it, and the fair will be a good
fair for horses I heard them saying below.

MAURYA. It's a hard thing they'll be saying below if the body is
washed up and there's no man in it to make the coffin, and I after
giving a big price for the finest white boards you'd find in
Connemara. [_She looks round at the boards._]

BARTLEY. How would it be washed up, and we after looking each day for
nine days, and a strong wind blowing a while back from the west and

MAURYA. If it wasn't found itself, that wind is raising the sea, and
there was a star up against the moon, and it rising in the night. If
it was a hundred horses, or a thousand horses you had itself, what is
the price of a thousand horses against a son where there is one son

BARTLEY [_working at the halter, to CATHLEEN_]. Let you go down each
day, and see the sheep aren't jumping in on the rye, and if the jobber
comes you can sell the pig with the black feet if there is a good
price going.

MAURYA. How would the like of her get a good price for a pig?

BARTLEY [_to CATHLEEN_]. If the west wind holds with the last bit of
the moon let you and Nora get up weed enough for another cock for the
kelp. It's hard set we'll be from this day with no one in it but one
man to work.

MAURYA. It's hard set we'll be surely the day you're drownd'd with the
rest. What way will I live and the girls with me, and I an old woman
looking for the grave? [_BARTLEY lays down the halter, takes off his
old coat, and puts on a newer one of the same flannel._]

BARTLEY [_to NORA_]. Is she coming to the pier?

NORA [_looking out_]. She's passing the green head and letting fall
her sails.

BARTLEY [_getting his purse and tobacco_]. I'll have half an hour to
go down, and you'll see me coming again in two days, or in three days,
or maybe in four days if the wind is bad.

MAURYA [_turning round to the fire, and putting her shawl over her
head_]. Isn't it a hard and cruel man won't hear a word from an old
woman, and she holding him from the sea?

CATHLEEN. It's the life of a young man to be going on the sea, and who
would listen to an old woman with one thing and she saying it over?

BARTLEY [_taking the halter_]. I must go now quickly. I'll ride down
on the red mare, and the gray pony'll run behind me.... The blessing
of God on you. [_He goes out._]

MAURYA [_crying out as he is in the door_]. He's gone now, God spare
us, and we'll not see him again. He's gone now, and when the black
night is falling I'll have no son left me in the world.

CATHLEEN. Why wouldn't you give him your blessing and he looking round
in the door? Isn't it sorrow enough is on everyone in this house
without your sending him out with an unlucky word behind him, and a
hard word in his ear? [_MAURYA takes up the tongs and begins raking
the fire aimlessly without looking round._]

NORA [_turning towards her_]. You're taking away the turf from the

CATHLEEN [_crying out_]. The Son of God forgive us, Nora, we're after
forgetting his bit of bread. [_She comes over to the fire._]

NORA. And it's destroyed he'll be going till dark night, and he after
eating nothing since the sun went up.

CATHLEEN [_turning the cake out of the oven_]. It's destroyed he'll
be, surely. There's no sense left on any person in a house where an
old woman will be talking forever. [_MAURYA sways herself on her

CATHLEEN [_cutting off some of the bread and rolling it in a cloth; to
MAURYA_]. Let you go down now to the spring well and give him this and
he passing. You'll see him then and the dark word will be broken, and
you can say "God speed you," the way he'll be easy in his mind.

MAURYA [_taking the bread_]. Will I be in it as soon as himself?

CATHLEEN. If you go now quickly.

MAURYA [_standing up unsteadily_]. It's hard set I am to walk.

CATHLEEN [_looking at her anxiously_]. Give her the stick, Nora, or
maybe she'll slip on the big stones.

NORA. What stick?

CATHLEEN. The stick Michael brought from Connemara.

MAURYA [_taking a stick NORA gives her_]. In the big world the old
people do be leaving things after them for their sons and children,
but in this place it is the young men do be leaving things behind for
them that do be old. [_She goes out slowly. NORA goes over to the

CATHLEEN. Wait, Nora, maybe she'd turn back quickly. She's that sorry,
God help her, you wouldn't know the thing she'd do.

NORA. Is she gone round by the bush?

CATHLEEN [_looking out_]. She's gone now. Throw it down quickly, for
the Lord knows when she'll be out of it again.

NORA [_getting the bundle from the loft_]. The young priest said he'd
be passing to-morrow, and we might go down and speak to him below if
it's Michael's they are surely.

CATHLEEN [_taking the bundle_]. Did he say what way they were found?

NORA [_coming down_]. "There were two men," says he, "and they rowing
round with poteen before the cocks crowed, and the oar of one of them
caught the body, and they passing the black cliffs of the north."

CATHLEEN [_trying to open the bundle_]. Give me a knife, Nora, the
string's perished with the salt water, and there's a black knot on it
you wouldn't loosen in a week.

NORA [_giving her a knife_]. I've heard tell it was a long way to

CATHLEEN [_cutting the string_]. It is surely. There was a man in here
a while ago--the man sold us that knife--and he said if you set off
walking from the rocks beyond, it would be seven days you'd be in

NORA. And what time would a man take, and he floating? [_CATHLEEN
opens the bundle and takes out a bit of a stocking. They look at them

CATHLEEN [_in a low voice_]. The Lord spare us, Nora! isn't it a queer
hard thing to say if it's his they are surely?

NORA. I'll get his shirt off the hook the way we can put the one
flannel on the other. [_She looks through some clothes hanging in the
corner._] It's not with them, Cathleen, and where will it be?

CATHLEEN. I'm thinking Bartley put it on him in the morning, for his
own shirt was heavy with the salt in it. [_Pointing to the corner._]
There's a bit of a sleeve was of the same stuff. Give me that and it
will do. [_NORA brings it to her and they compare the flannel._]

CATHLEEN. It's the same stuff, Nora; but if it is itself aren't there
great rolls of it in the shops of Galway, and isn't it many another
man may have a shirt of it as well as Michael himself?

NORA [_who has taken up the stocking and counted the stitches, crying
out_]. It's Michael, Cathleen, it's Michael; God spare his soul, and
what will herself say when she hears this story, and Bartley on the

CATHLEEN [_taking the stocking_]. It's a plain stocking.

NORA. It's the second one of the third pair I knitted, and I put up
three score stitches, and I dropped four of them.

CATHLEEN [_counts the stitches_]. It's that number is in it. [_Crying
out._] Ah, Nora, isn't it a bitter thing to think of him floating that
way to the far north, and no one to keen him but the black hags that
do be flying on the sea?

NORA [_swinging herself round, and throwing out her arms on the
clothes_]. And isn't it a pitiful thing when there is nothing left of
a man who was a great rower and fisher, but a bit of an old shirt and
a plain stocking?

CATHLEEN [_after an instant_]. Tell me is herself coming, Nora? I hear
a little sound on the path.

NORA [_looking out_]. She is, Cathleen. She's coming up to the door.

CATHLEEN. Put these things away before she'll come in. Maybe it's
easier she'll be after giving her blessing to Bartley, and we won't
let on we've heard anything the time he's on the sea.

NORA [_helping CATHLEEN to close the bundle_]. We'll put them here in
the corner. [_They put them into a hole in the chimney corner.
CATHLEEN goes back to the spinning-wheel._]

NORA. Will she see it was crying I was?

CATHLEEN. Keep your back to the door the way the light'll not be on
you. [_NORA sits down at the chimney corner, with her back to the
door. MAURYA comes in very slowly, without looking at the girls, and
goes over to her stool at the other side of the fire. The cloth with
the bread is still in her hand. The girls look at each other, and NORA
points to the bundle of bread._]

CATHLEEN [_after spinning for a moment_]. You didn't give him his bit
of bread? [_MAURYA begins to keen softly, without turning round._]

CATHLEEN. Did you see him riding down? [_MAURYA goes on keening._]

CATHLEEN [_a little impatiently_]. God forgive you; isn't it a better
thing to raise your voice and tell what you seen, than to be making
lamentation for a thing that's done? Did you see Bartley, I'm saying
to you.

MAURYA [_with a weak voice_]. My heart's broken from this day.

CATHLEEN [_as before_]. Did you see Bartley?

MAURYA. I seen the fearfulest thing.

CATHLEEN [_leaves her wheel and looks out_]. God forgive you; he's
riding the mare now over the green head, and the gray pony behind him.

MAURYA [_starts, so that her shawl falls back from her head and shows
her white tossed hair. With a frightened voice_]. The gray pony behind

CATHLEEN [_coming to the fire_]. What is it ails you, at all?

MAURYA [_speaking very slowly_]. I've seen the fearfulest thing any
person has seen, since the day Bride Dara seen the dead man with the
child in his arms.

CATHLEEN AND NORA. Uah. [_They crouch down in front of the old woman
at the fire._]

NORA. Tell us what it is you seen.

MAURYA. I went down to the spring well, and I stood there saying a
prayer to myself. Then Bartley came along, and he riding on the red
mare with the gray pony behind him. [_She puts up her hands, as if to
hide something from her eyes._] The Son of God spare us, Nora!

CATHLEEN. What is it you seen?

MAURYA. I seen Michael himself.

CATHLEEN [_speaking softly_]. You did not, mother; it wasn't Michael
you seen, for his body is after being found in the far north, and he's
got a clean burial by the grace of God.

MAURYA [_a little defiantly_]. I'm after seeing him this day, and he
riding and galloping. Bartley came first on the red mare; and I tried
to say "God speed you," but something choked the words in my throat.
He went by quickly; and "The blessing of God on you," says he, and I
could say nothing. I looked up then, and I crying, at the gray pony,
and there was Michael upon it--with fine clothes on him, and new shoes
on his feet.

CATHLEEN [_begins to keen_]. It's destroyed we are from this day. It's
destroyed, surely.

NORA. Didn't the young priest say the Almighty God wouldn't leave her
destitute with no son living?

MAURYA [_in a low voice, but clearly_]. It's little the like of him
knows of the sea.... Bartley will be lost now, and let you call in
Eamon and make me a good coffin out of the white boards, for I won't
live after them. I've had a husband, and a husband's father, and six
sons in this house--six fine men, though it was a hard birth I had
with every one of them and they coming to the world--and some of them
were found and some of them were not found, but they're gone now the
lot of them.... There were Stephen, and Shawn, were lost in the great
wind, and found after in the Bay of Gregory of the Golden Mouth, and
carried up the two of them on the one plank, and in by that door.
[_She pauses for a moment, the girls start as if they heard something
through the door that is half open behind them._]

NORA [_in a whisper_]. Did you hear that, Cathleen? Did you hear a
noise in the north-east?

CATHLEEN [_in a whisper_]. There's someone after crying out by the

MAURYA [_continues without hearing anything_]. There was Sheamus and
his father, and his own father again, were lost in a dark night, and
not a stick or sign was seen of them when the sun went up. There was
Patch after was drowned out of a curagh that turned over. I was
sitting here with Bartley, and he a baby, lying on my two knees, and I
seen two women, and three women, and four women coming in, and they
crossing themselves, and not saying a word. I looked out then, and
there were men coming after them, and they holding a thing in the half
of a red sail, and water dripping out of it--it was a dry day,
Nora--and leaving a track to the door. [_She pauses again with her
hand stretched out towards the door. It opens softly and old women
begin to come in, crossing themselves on the threshold, and kneeling
down in front of the stage with red petticoats over their heads._]

MAURYA [_half in a dream, to CATHLEEN_]. Is it Patch, or Michael, or
what is it at all?

CATHLEEN. Michael is after being found in the far north, and when he
is found there how could he be here in this place?

MAURYA. There does be a power of young men floating round in the sea,
and what way would they know if it was Michael they had, or another
man like him, for when a man is nine days in the sea, and the wind
blowing, it's hard set his own mother would be to say what man was it.

CATHLEEN. It's Michael, God spare him, for they're after sending us a
bit of his clothes from the far north. [_She reaches out and hands
MAURYA the clothes that belonged to MICHAEL. MAURYA stands up slowly,
and takes them in her hands. NORA looks out._]

NORA. They're carrying a thing among them and there's water dripping
out of it and leaving a track by the big stones.

CATHLEEN [_in a whisper to the women who have come in_]. Is it Bartley
it is?

ONE OF THE WOMEN. It is surely, God rest his soul. [_Two younger women
come in and pull out the table. Then men carry in the body of
BARTLEY, laid on a plank, with a bit of a sail over it, and lay it on
the table._]

CATHLEEN [_to the women, as they are doing so_]. What way was he

ONE OF THE WOMEN. The gray pony knocked him into the sea, and he was
washed out where there is a great surf on the white rocks. [_MAURYA
has gone over and knelt down at the head of the table. The women are
keening softly and swaying themselves with a slow movement. CATHLEEN
and NORA kneel at the other end of the table. The men kneel near the

MAURYA [_raising her head and speaking as if she did not see the
people around her_]. They're all gone now, and there isn't anything
more the sea can do to me.... I'll have no call now to be up crying
and praying when the wind breaks from the south, and you can hear the
surf is in the east, and the surf is in the west, making a great stir
with the two noises, and they hitting one on the other. I'll have no
call now to be going down and getting Holy Water in the dark nights
after Samhain, and I won't care what way the sea is when the other
women will be keening. [_To NORA._] Give me the Holy Water, Nora,
there's a small sup still on the dresser. [_NORA gives it to her._]

MAURYA [_drops MICHAEL's clothes across BARTLEY's feet, and sprinkles
the Holy Water over him_]. It isn't that I haven't prayed for you,
Bartley, to the Almighty God. It isn't that I haven't said prayers in
the dark night till you wouldn't know what I'ld be saying; but it's a
great rest I'll have now, and it's time surely. It's a great rest I'll
have now, and great sleeping in the long nights after Samhain, if it's
only a bit of wet flour we do have to eat, and maybe a fish that would
be stinking. [_She kneels down again, crossing herself, and saying
prayers under her breath._]

CATHLEEN [_to an old man_]. Maybe yourself and Eamon would make a
coffin when the sun rises. We have fine white boards herself bought,
God help her, thinking Michael would be found, and I have a new cake
you can eat while you'll be working.

THE OLD MAN [_looking at the boards_]. Are there nails with them?

CATHLEEN. There are not, Colum; we didn't think of the nails.

ANOTHER MAN. It's a great wonder she wouldn't think of the nails, and
all the coffins she's seen made already.

CATHLEEN. It's getting old she is, and broken. [_MAURYA stands up
again very slowly and spreads out the pieces of MICHAEL's clothes
beside the body, sprinkling them with the last of the Holy Water._]

NORA [_in a whisper to CATHLEEN_]. She's quiet now and easy; but the
day Michael was drowned you could hear her crying out from this to the
spring well. It's fonder she was of Michael, and would anyone have
thought that?

CATHLEEN [_slowly and clearly_]. An old woman will be soon tired with
anything she will do, and isn't it nine days herself is after crying
and keening, and making great sorrow in the house?

MAURYA [_puts the empty cup mouth downwards on the table, and lays her
hands together on BARTLEY's feet_]. They're all together this time,
and the end is come. May the Almighty God have mercy on Bartley's
soul, and on Michael's soul, and on the souls of Sheamus and Patch,
and Stephen and Shawn [_bending her head_]; and may He have mercy on
my soul, Nora, and on the soul of everyone is left living in the
world. [_She pauses, and the keen rises a little more loudly from the
women, then sinks away._]

MAURYA [_continuing_]. Michael has a clean burial in the far north, by
the grace of the Almighty God. Bartley will have a fine coffin out of
the white boards, and a deep grave surely. What more can we want than
that? No man at all can be living forever, and we must be satisfied.
[_She kneels down again and the curtain falls slowly._]




         [Footnote 45: Copyright, 1916, by The Sunwise Turn, Inc. All
         rights reserved. The professional and amateur stage rights on
         this play are strictly reserved by the author. Applications
         for permission to produce the Play should be made to The
         Neighborhood Playhouse, 466 Grand Street, New York.

         Any infringement of the author's rights will be punished by
         the penalties imposed under the United States Revised
         Statutes, Title 60, Chapter 3.]

Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, eighteenth baron Dunsany, was born
in 1878, a lord of the British Empire, heir to an ancient barony,
created by Henry VI in the middle of the fifteenth century. He went
from Eton to Sandhurst, the English military college, held a
lieutenancy in a famous regiment, the Coldstream Guards, saw active
service in the South African War and served in the Great War as an
officer in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. He turned aside from his
career as a soldier in 1906 to stand for West Wiltshire as the
Conservative candidate, but he was defeated. He writes enthusiastically
always of his interest in sport; he has gone to the ends of the earth
to shoot big game. His first book, _The Gods of Pegana_, was published
in 1905. He has since written sketches, fantastic tales, and
plays,[46] and latterly introductions to the poems of Francis
Ledwidge, the Irish peasant poet, who fell in battle in 1917.
Dunsany's early plays were put on at the Abbey Theatre where Yeats
produced _The Glittering Gate_ in 1909.

         [Footnote 46: For bibliography see E. A. Boyd, _The
         Contemporary Drama of Ireland_, Boston, 1917.]

The initial American productions were also made in Little Theatres,
under the auspices of the Stage Society of Philadelphia and at The
Neighborhood Playhouse in New York, where the first performance on any
stage of _A Night at an Inn_ was given on April 22, 1916. It was an
immediate success and aroused great general interest in Dunsany's
other plays. It was remarked at the time that its scene on an English
moor was far from "his own Oriental Never Never Land," and that it
recalled in its substance _The Moonstone_ by Wilkie Collins and _The
Mystery of Cloomber_ by A. Conan Doyle. Dunsany, unlike the other
playwrights associated with the Irish National Theatre, has borrowed
the glamour of the Orient rather than that of Celtic lore, to heighten
his dramatic effects. There is, in fact, much that is Biblical in his
mood and in his diction.

When, at a later date, Lord Dunsany saw the production of _A Night at
an Inn_ at The Neighborhood Playhouse, the effect of the play
"exceeded his own expectations, and he was surprised to note the
thrill which it communicated to his audience. 'It's a very simple
thing,' he said,--'merely a story of some sailors who have stolen
something and know that they are followed. Possibly it is effective
because nearly everybody, at some time or other, has done something he
was sorry for, has been afraid of retribution, and has felt the hot
breath of a pursuing vengeance on the back of his neck.... _A Night at
an Inn_ was written between tea and dinner in a single sitting. That
was very easy.'"[47]

         [Footnote 47: Clayton Hamilton, _Seen on the Stage_, New
         York, 1920, p. 238; p. 239.]

_A Night at an Inn_ is one of Dunsany's contributions to the revival
of romance in our generation. In an article published ten years ago,
called _Romance and the Modern Stage_, he wrote: "Romance is so
inseparable from life that all we need, to obtain romantic drama, is
for the dramatist to find any age or any country where life is not too
thickly veiled and cloaked with puzzles and conventions, in fact to
find a people that is not in the agonies of self-consciousness. For
myself, I think it is simpler to imagine such a people, as it saves
the trouble of reading to find a romantic age, or the trouble of
making a journey to lands where there is no press.... The kind of
drama that we most need to-day seems to me to be the kind that will
build new worlds for the fancy; for the spirit, as much as the body,
needs sometimes a change of scene."



  A. E. SCOTT-FORTESQUE (The Toff), _a dilapidated gentleman._
  WILLIAM JONES (Bill)      }
  ALBERT THOMAS             } _merchant sailors._
  JACOB SMITH (Sniggers)    }
  First Priest of Klesh.
  Second Priest of Klesh.
  Third Priest of Klesh.

_The curtain rises on a room in an inn. SNIGGERS and BILL are talking,
THE TOFF is reading a paper. ALBERT sits a little apart._

SNIGGERS. What's his idea, I wonder?

BILL. I don't know.

SNIGGERS. And how much longer will he keep us here?

BILL. We've been here three days.

SNIGGERS. And 'aven't seen a soul.

BILL. And a pretty penny it cost us when he rented the pub.

SNIGGERS. 'Ow long did 'e rent the pub for?

BILL. You never know with him.

SNIGGERS. It's lonely enough.

BILL. 'Ow long did you rent the pub for, Toffy? [_THE TOFF continues
to read a sporting paper; he takes no notice of what is said._]

SNIGGERS. 'E's _such_ a toff.

BILL. Yet 'e's clever, no mistake.

SNIGGERS. Those clever ones are the beggars to make a muddle. Their
plans are clever enough, but they don't work, and then they make a
mess of things much worse than you or me.


SNIGGERS. I don't like this place.

BILL. Why not?

SNIGGERS. I don't like the looks of it.

BILL. He's keeping us here because here those niggers can't find us.
The three heathen priests what was looking for us so. But we want to
go and sell our ruby soon.

ALBERT. There's no sense in it.

BILL. Why not, Albert?

ALBERT. Because I gave those black devils the slip in Hull.

BILL. You give 'em the slip, Albert?

ALBERT. The slip, all three of them. The fellows with the gold spots
on their foreheads. I had the ruby then and I give them the slip in

BILL. How did you do it, Albert?

ALBERT. I had the ruby and they were following me....

BILL. Who told them you had the ruby? You didn't show it.

ALBERT. No.... But they kind of know.

SNIGGERS. They kind of know, Albert?

ALBERT. Yes, they know if you've got it. Well, they sort of mouched
after me, and I tells a policeman and he says, O, they were only three
poor niggers and they wouldn't hurt me. Ugh! When I thought of what
they did in Malta to poor old Jim.

BILL. Yes, and to George in Bombay before we started.


BILL. Why didn't you give 'em in charge?

ALBERT. What about the ruby, Bill?


ALBERT. Well, I did better than that. I walks up and down through
Hull. I walks slow enough. And then I turns a corner and I runs. I
never sees a corner but I turns it. But sometimes I let a corner pass
just to fool them. I twists about like a hare. Then I sits down and
waits. No priests.


ALBERT. No heathen black devils with gold spots on their face. I give
'em the slip.

BILL. Well done, Albert!

SNIGGERS [_after a sigh of content_]. Why didn't you tell us?

ALBERT. 'Cause 'e won't let you speak. 'E's got 'is plans and 'e
thinks we're silly folk. Things must be done 'is way. And all the time
I've give 'em the slip. Might 'ave 'ad one o' them crooked knives in
him before now but for me who give 'em the slip in Hull.

BILL. Well done, Albert! Do you hear that, Toffy? Albert has give 'em
the slip.

THE TOFF. Yes, I hear.

SNIGGERS. Well, what do you say to that?

THE TOFF. O.... Well done, Albert!

ALBERT. And what a' you going to do?

THE TOFF. Going to wait.

ALBERT. Don't seem to know what 'e's waiting for.

SNIGGERS. It's a nasty place.

ALBERT. It's getting silly, Bill. Our money's gone and we want to sell
the ruby. Let's get on to a town.

BILL. But 'e won't come.

ALBERT. Then we'll leave him.

SNIGGERS. We'll be all right if we keep away from Hull.

ALBERT. We'll go to London.

BILL. But 'e must 'ave 'is share.

SNIGGERS. All right. Only let's go. [_To THE TOFF._] We're going, do
you hear? Give us the ruby.

THE TOFF. Certainly. [_He gives them a ruby from his waistcoat pocket;
it is the size of a small hen's egg. He goes on reading his paper._]

ALBERT. Come on, Sniggers. [_Exeunt ALBERT and SNIGGERS._]

BILL. Good-by, old man. We'll give you your fair share, but there's
nothing to do here--no girls, no halls, and we must sell the ruby.

THE TOFF. I'm not a fool, Bill.

BILL. No, no, of course not. Of course you ain't, and you've helped us
a lot. Good-by. You'll say good-by?

THE TOFF. Oh, yes. Good-by. [_Still reads his paper. Exit BILL. THE
TOFF puts a revolver on the table beside him and goes on with his
papers. After a moment the three men come rushing in again,

SNIGGERS [_out of breath_]. We've come back, Toffy.

THE TOFF. So you have.

ALBERT. Toffy.... How did they get here?

THE TOFF. They walked, of course.

ALBERT. But it's eighty miles.

SNIGGERS. Did you know they were here, Toffy?

THE TOFF. Expected them about now.

ALBERT. Eighty miles!

BILL. Toffy, old man ... what are we to do?

THE TOFF. Ask Albert.

BILL. If they can do things like this, there's no one can save us but
you, Toffy.... I always knew you were a clever one. We won't be fools
any more. We'll obey you, Toffy.

THE TOFF. You're brave enough and strong enough. There isn't many that
would steal a ruby eye out of an idol's head, and such an idol as that
was to look at, and on such a night. You're brave enough, Bill. But
you're all three of you fools. Jim would have none of my plans, and
where's Jim? And George. What did they do to him?

SNIGGERS. Don't, Toffy!

THE TOFF. Well, then, your strength is no use to you. You want
cleverness; or they'll have you the way they had George and Jim.

ALL. Ugh!

THE TOFF. Those black priests would follow you round the world in
circles. Year after year, till they got the idol's eye. And if we died
with it, they'd follow our grandchildren. That fool thinks he can
escape from men like that by running round three streets in the town
of Hull.

ALBERT. God's truth, _you_ 'aven't escaped them, because they're

THE TOFF. So I supposed.

ALBERT. You _supposed_!

THE TOFF. Yes, I believe there's no announcement in the Society
papers. But I took this country seat especially to receive them.
There's plenty of room if you dig, it is pleasantly situated, and,
what is more important, it is in a very quiet neighborhood. So I am at
home to them this afternoon.

BILL. Well, _you're_ a deep one.

THE TOFF. And remember, you've only my wits between you and death, and
don't put your futile plans against those of an educated gentleman.

ALBERT. If you're a gentleman, why don't you go about among gentlemen
instead of the likes of us?

THE TOFF. Because I was too clever for them as I am too clever for

ALBERT. Too clever for them?

THE TOFF. I never lost a game of cards in my life.

BILL. You never lost a game?

THE TOFF. Not when there was money in it.

BILL. Well, well!

THE TOFF. Have a game of poker?

ALL. No, thanks.

THE TOFF. Then do as you're told.

BILL. All right, Toffy.

SNIGGERS. I saw something just then. Hadn't we better draw the



THE TOFF. Don't draw the curtains.

SNIGGERS. O, all right.

BILL. But, Toffy, they can see us. One doesn't let the enemy do that.
I don't see why....

THE TOFF. No, of course you don't.

BILL. O, all right, Toffy. [_All begin to pull out revolvers._]

THE TOFF [_putting his own away_]. No revolvers, please.

ALBERT. Why not?

THE TOFF. Because I don't want any noise at my party. We might get
guests that hadn't been invited. _Knives_ are a different matter.
[_All draw knives. THE TOFF signs to them not to draw them yet. TOFFY
has already taken back his ruby._]

BILL. I think they're coming, Toffy.

THE TOFF. Not yet.

ALBERT. When will they come?

THE TOFF. When I am quite ready to receive them. Not before.

SNIGGERS. I should like to get this over.

THE TOFF. Should you? Then we'll have them now.


THE TOFF. Yes. Listen to me. You shall do as you see me do. You will
all pretend to go out. I'll show you how. I've got the ruby. When they
see me alone they will come for their idol's eye.

BILL. How can they tell like this which of us has it?

THE TOFF. I confess I don't know, but they seem to.

SNIGGERS. What will you do when they come in?

THE TOFF. I shall do nothing.


THE TOFF. They will creep up behind me. Then, my friends, Sniggers and
Bill and Albert, who gave them the slip, will do what they can.

BILL. All right, Toffy. Trust us.

THE TOFF. If you're a little slow, you will see enacted the cheerful
spectacle that accompanied the demise of Jim.

SNIGGERS. Don't, Toffy. We'll be there, all right.

THE TOFF. Very well. Now watch me. [_He goes past the windows to the
inner door R. He opens it inwards, then under cover of the open door,
he slips down on his knee and closes it, remaining on the inside,
appearing to have gone out. He signs to the others, who understand.
Then he appears to re-enter in the same manner._]

THE TOFF. Now, I shall sit with my back to the door. You go out one by
one, so far as our friends can make out. Crouch very low to be on the
safe side. They mustn't see you through the window. [_BILL makes his
sham exit._]

THE TOFF. Remember, no revolvers. The police are, I believe,
proverbially inquisitive. [_The other two follow BILL. All three are
now crouching inside the door R. THE TOFF puts the ruby beside him on
the table. He lights a cigarette. The door at the back opens so slowly
that you can hardly say at what moment it began. THE TOFF picks up his
paper. A native of India wriggles along the floor ever so slowly,
seeking cover from chairs. He moves L. where THE TOFF is. The three
sailors are R. SNIGGERS and ALBERT lean forward. BILL's arm keeps them
back. An arm-chair had better conceal them from the Indian. The black
Priest nears THE TOFF. BILL watches to see if any more are coming.
Then he leaps forward alone--he has taken his boots off--and knifes
the Priest. The Priest tries to shout but BILL's left hand is over his
mouth. THE TOFF continues to read his sporting paper. He never looks

BILL [_sotto voce_]. There's only one, Toffy. What shall we do?

THE TOFF [_without turning his head_]. Only one?

BILL. Yes.

THE TOFF. Wait a moment. Let me think. [_Still apparently absorbed in
his paper._] Ah, yes. You go back, Bill. We must attract another
guest.... Now, are you ready?

BILL. Yes.

THE TOFF. All right. You shall now see my demise at my Yorkshire
residence. You must receive guests for me. [_He leaps up in full view
of the window, flings up both arms and falls to the floor near the
dead Priest._] Now, be ready. [_His eyes close. There is a long pause.
Again the door opens, very, very slowly. Another priest creeps in. He
has three golden spots upon his forehead. He looks round, then he
creeps up to his companion and turns him over and looks inside of his
clenched hands. Then he looks at the recumbent TOFF. Then he creeps
toward him. BILL slips after him and knifes him like the other with
his left hand over his mouth._]

BILL [_sotto voce_]. We've only got two, Toffy.

THE TOFF. Still another.

BILL. What'll we do?

THE TOFF [_sitting up_]. Hum.

BILL. This is the best way, much.

THE TOFF. Out of the question. Never play the same game twice.

BILL. Why not, Toffy?

THE TOFF. Doesn't work if you do.

BILL. Well?

THE TOFF. I have it, Albert. You will now walk into the room. I showed
you how to do it.


THE TOFF. Just run over here and have a fight at this window with
these two men.

ALBERT. But they're ...

THE TOFF. Yes, they're dead, my perspicuous Albert. But Bill and I are
going to resuscitate them.... Come on. [_BILL picks up a body under
the arms._]

THE TOFF. That's right, Bill. [_Does the same._] Come and help us,
Sniggers.... [_SNIGGERS comes._] Keep low, keep low. Wave their arms
about, Sniggers. Don't show yourself. Now, Albert, over you go. Our
Albert is slain. Back you get, Bill. Back, Sniggers. Still, Albert.
Mustn't move when he comes. Not a muscle. [_A face appears at the
window and stays for some time. Then the door opens and, looking
craftily round, the third Priest enters. He looks at his companions'
bodies and turns round. He suspects something. He takes up one of the
knives and with a knife in each hand he puts his back to the wall. He
looks to the left and right._]

THE TOFF. Come on, Bill. [_The Priest rushes to the door. THE TOFF
knifes the last Priest from behind._]

THE TOFF. A good day's work, my friends.

BILL. Well done, Toffy. Oh, you are a deep one!

ALBERT. A deep one if ever there was one.

SNIGGERS. There ain't any more, Bill, are there?

THE TOFF. No more in the world, my friend.

BILL. Aye, that's all there are. There were only three in the temple.
Three priests and their beastly idol.

ALBERT. What is it worth, Toffy? Is it worth a thousand pounds?

THE TOFF. It's worth all they've got in the shop. Worth just whatever
we like to ask for it.

ALBERT. Then we're millionaires now.

THE TOFF. Yes, and, what is more important, we no longer have any

BILL. We'll have to sell it now.

ALBERT. That won't be easy. It's a pity it isn't small and we had half
a dozen. Hadn't the idol any other on him?

BILL. No, he was green jade all over and only had this one eye. He had
it in the middle of his forehead and was a long sight uglier than
anything else in the world.

SNIGGERS. I'm sure we ought all to be very grateful to Toffy.

BILL. And, indeed, we ought.

ALBERT. If it hadn't been for him....

BILL. Yes, if it hadn't been for old Toffy....

SNIGGERS. He's a deep one.

THE TOFF. Well, you see I just have a knack of foreseeing things.

SNIGGERS. I should think you did.

BILL. Why, I don't suppose anything happens that our Toff doesn't
foresee. Does it, Toffy?

THE TOFF. Well, I don't think it does, Bill. I don't think it often

BILL. Life is no more than just a game of cards to our old Toff.

THE TOFF. Well, we've taken these fellows' trick.

SNIGGERS [_going to window_]. It wouldn't do for anyone to see them.

THE TOFF. Oh, nobody will come this way. We're all alone on a moor.

BILL. Where will we put them?

THE TOFF. Bury them in the cellar, but there's no hurry.

BILL. And what then, Toffy?

THE TOFF. Why, then we'll go to London and upset the ruby business. We
have really come through this job very nicely.

BILL. I think the first thing that we ought to do is to give a little
supper to old Toffy. We'll bury these fellows to-night.

ALBERT. Yes, let's.

SNIGGERS. The very thing!

BILL. And we'll all drink his health.

ALBERT. Good old Toffy!

SNIGGERS. He ought to have been a general or a premier. [_They get
bottles from cupboard, etc._]

THE TOFF. Well, we've earned our bit of a supper. [_They sit down._]

BILL [_glass in hand_]. Here's to old Toffy, who guessed everything!

ALBERT and SNIGGERS. Good old Toffy!

BILL. Toffy, who saved our lives and made our fortunes.

ALBERT and SNIGGERS. Hear! Hear!

THE TOFF. And here's to Bill, who saved me twice to-night.

BILL. Couldn't have done it but for your cleverness, Toffy.

SNIGGERS. Hear, hear! Hear! Hear!

ALBERT. He foresees everything.

BILL. A speech, Toffy. A speech from our general.

ALL. Yes, a speech.

SNIGGERS. A speech.

THE TOFF. Well, get me some water. This whisky's too much for my head,
and I must keep it clear till our friends are safe in the cellar.

BILL. Water? Yes, of course. Get him some water, Sniggers.

SNIGGERS. We don't use water here. Where shall I get it?

BILL. Outside in the garden. [_Exit SNIGGERS._]

ALBERT. Here's to future!

BILL. Here's to Albert Thomas, Esquire.

ALBERT. And William Jones, Esquire. [_Re-enter SNIGGERS, terrified._]

THE TOFF. Hullo, here's Jacob Smith, Esquire, J. P., alias Sniggers,
back again.

SNIGGERS. Toffy, I've been thinking about my share in that ruby. I
don't want it, Toffy; I don't want it.

THE TOFF. Nonsense, Sniggers. Nonsense.

SNIGGERS. You shall have it, Toffy, you shall have it yourself, only
say Sniggers has no share in this 'ere ruby. Say it, Toffy, say it!

BILL. Want to turn informer, Sniggers?

SNIGGERS. No, no. Only I don't want the ruby, Toffy....

THE TOFF. No more nonsense, Sniggers. We're all in together in this.
If one hangs, we all hang; but they won't outwit me. Besides, it's not
a hanging affair, they had their knives.

SNIGGERS. Toffy, Toffy, I always treated you fair, Toffy. I was always
one to say, Give Toffy a chance. Take back my share, Toffy.

THE TOFF. What's the matter? What are you driving at?

SNIGGERS. Take it back, Toffy.

THE TOFF. Answer me, what are you up to?

SNIGGERS. I don't want my share any more.

BILL. Have you seen the police? [_ALBERT pulls out his knife._]

THE TOFF. No, no knives, Albert.

ALBERT. What then?

THE TOFF. The honest truth in open court, barring the ruby. We were

SNIGGERS. There's no police.

THE TOFF. Well, then, what's the matter?

BILL. Out with it.

SNIGGERS. I swear to God....


THE TOFF. Don't interrupt.

SNIGGERS. I swear I saw something _what I didn't like_.

THE TOFF. What you didn't like?

SNIGGERS [_in tears_]. O Toffy, Toffy, take it back. Take my share.
Say you take it.

THE TOFF. What has he seen? [_Dead silence, only broken by SNIGGERS'S
sobs. Then steps are heard. Enter a hideous idol. It is blind and
gropes its way. It gropes its way to the ruby and picks it up and
screws it into a socket in the forehead. SNIGGERS still weeps softly,
the rest stare in horror. The idol steps out, not groping. Its steps
move off, then stop._]

THE TOFF. O, great heavens!

ALBERT [_in a childish, plaintive voice_]. What is it, Toffy?

BILL. Albert, it is that obscene idol [_in a whisper_] come from

ALBERT. It is gone.

BILL. It has taken its eye.

SNIGGERS. We are saved.

A VOICE OFF [_with outlandish accent_]. Meestaire William Jones, Able
Seaman. [_THE TOFF has never spoken, never moved. He only gazes
stupidly in horror._]

BILL. Albert, Albert, what is this? [_He rises and walks out. One moan
is heard. SNIGGERS goes to the window. He falls back sickly._]

ALBERT [_in a whisper_]. What has happened?

SNIGGERS. I have seen it. I have seen it. O, I have seen it! [_He
returns to table._]

THE TOFF [_laying his hand very gently on SNIGGERS's arm, speaking
softly and winningly._] What was it, Sniggers?

SNIGGERS. I have seen it.



VOICE. Meestaire Albert Thomas, Able Seaman.

ALBERT. Must I go, Toffy? Toffy, must I go?

SNIGGERS [_clutching him_]. Don't move.

ALBERT [_going_]. Toffy, Toffy. [_Exit._]

VOICE. Meestaire Jacob Smith, Able Seaman.

SNIGGERS. I can't go, Toffy. I can't go. I can't do it. [_He goes._]

VOICE. Meestaire Arnold Everett Scott-Fortescue, late Esquire, Able

THE TOFF. I did not foresee it. [_Exit._]




         [Footnote 48: Copyright, 1921, by Stark Young. Acting rights,
         amateur and professional, must be secured from the author,
         care of the New York Drama League, 7 East 42 Street, New

Stark Young, dramatist and critic, the author of _The Twilight Saint_,
was born in Como, Mississippi, on October 11, 1881. He was graduated
from the university of his native state and a year later took his
master's degree at Columbia University. From 1907 to 1915 he taught at
the University of Texas, and from 1915 to 1921 he was professor of
English at Amherst College. His travels have taken him to Greece, and
to Spain, and to Italy where he has lingered, making a special study
of the native drama.

The text of _The Twilight Saint_ has undergone revision by the author
since its first appearance. It was acted in 1918 with _Madretta_,
another of the author's plays, at the dramatic school of the Carnegie
Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, under the direction of Thomas
Wood Stevens. The author writes: "The only instruction I should like
to propose is that the actor of St. Francis keep him very simple, not
get him moralizing and long-faced. In Egan's book on St. Francis[49]
there is a picture of the preaching to the birds in which Boutet de
Monvel shows a Tuscan type that is my idea of the man simplified." The
play itself suggests charming by-ways of literature that lead in one
direction perhaps to Hewlett's _Earthwork Out of Tuscany_ and
Josephine Preston Peabody's _The Wolf of Gubbio_, and in another
possibly to the Saint's own _Little Flowers_, and _Canticle to the

         [Footnote 49: Maurice F. Egan, _Everybody's St. Francis_,
         with pictures by M. Boutet de Monvel, New York, 1912.]



  GUIDO, _the husband, a young poet._
  LISETTA, _his wife._
  PIA, _a neighbor woman._

_In the year 1215 A.D._

_A room in GUIDO's house, on a hillside near Bevagna. It is a poor
apartment, clumsily kept. On your left near the front is a bed; on the
floor by the bed lie scattered pages of manuscript. A table littered
with manuscripts and crockery stands against the back wall of the room
to the right. On the right hand wall is a big fireplace with copper
vessels and brass. A bench sits by the fireplace and several stools
about the room. On the stone flags two sheepskins are spread._

_Through the open door in the middle of the back wall rises the slope
of a hill, green with spring and starred with flowers. A stream is
visible through the grass and the drowsy sound of the water fills the
air. The late yellow sunlight falls through a window over the bed like
gilding and floods the hill without._

_LISETTA lies on the bed, still, her eyes closed. PIA sits on the
ingle bench, halfway in the great fireplace, shelling peas. She is a
little peasant woman with a kerchief on her head and a wrinkled face
as brown as a nut._

_GUIDO sits at the table, his face to the wall, his chin on his palm._


  Guido, Guido, thou hast not spoke this hour,
  Nor read one word nor written aught. Dear Lord,
  The lion on the palace at Assisi
  Sits not more still in stone! Guido, look thou!

GUIDO [_turning round without looking at her_].

  Yes, old Pia, good neighbor.


  Yes, old Pia! Guido, grieve not so much,
  Lisetta will be well before the spring
  Comes round again.


  Yes, Lisetta will be well perhaps. God grant!


  Well, what then?


  'Tis not only of her I think, Pia, here am I
  Shut in this house from month to month a nurse;
  Here lies she sick, this child, and may not stir;
  And I, lacking due means to hire, must serve
  The house; while my best self, my soul, my art,
  Rust. My soul is scorched with holy thirst,
  My temples throb, my veins run fire; but yet,
  For all my dim distress and vague desire,
  No word, no single song, no verse, has come--
  O Blessed God!--stifled with creature needs,
  And with necessity about my throat!


  Thy corner is too hot, the glaring sun
  Is yet on the wall.


  'Tis not that sun that maddens me, O Pia!
  Can you not see me shrunk? Have you not heard
  That other Guido of Perugia
  How he is grown? How lately at the feast
  That Ugolino, the great cardinal,
  Spread at Assisi Easter night, Guido
  Read certain of his verses and declaimed
  Pages of cursed sonnets to the guests.


  Young Guido of Perugia, thy friend?


  Yea. And when he ended, came the Duke
  Down from the dais to kiss that Guido's hand
  Humbly, and said that poesy was king.


  Madonna, kissed by the Duke!


  And I, O God, I might have honor too
  Could I but break this prison where I drudge!


  Speak low, her sleep is light. Her road is hard
  As well as thine. For all this year, since thou
  Didst bring her to Rieto here to us,
  Hath she lain on her bed, broken with pain,
  This child that is thy wife and loveth thee.


  Aye, yes, 'tis true, she loveth me, she loveth me,
  And I love her. 'Tis worse--add grief to care,
  And Poesy fares worse.


  And she is grown most pale and still of late.


  Look, Pia, how she lieth there like death,
  That far-off patience on her face. Now, now,
  Surely I needs must make a song! And yet
  I may not; ashes and floor-sweeping clog
  My soul within me!


  Nay, let thy dreams pass. Look thou, how pale!
  Dear Lord, how blue her little veins do shine!


  Thou art most kind, good neighbor, to come here
  Helping our house. And it is very strange
  That when we are so kind we cannot know
  The heart also. For in my soul I hear
  A bell summoning me always--


  If I should stew in milk the peas, maybe--
  Do you think the child would eat it?


  For thy world is not my world, kind old friend.


  Why do you not walk, Guido, for a while,
  I have an hour yet.


  Then I will go, Pia. But not for long,
  I will come back soon enough to my chores, be sure;
  Mine is a short tether.

[_He goes out. LISETTA on the bed opens her eyes._]




  Yes, dear child.


  Pia, turn my pillow, I am stifled.


  There! Thou hast slept well?


  I have not slept.


  Holy Virgin, thou hast not slept!


  Pia, think you I did not know? This month
  I scarce have slept for thinking on his lot.
  I read his fighting soul. Where are his songs,
  The great renown that waited him? Down, down,
  Struck by the self-same hand that shattered me.
  I listen night on night and hear him moan
  In his sleep--


  It is his love for thee, Lisetta.


  The padre from the village hemmed and said
  That God had sent me and my sickness here
  For Guido's cross to bear, his scourge. They thought
  I slept--


  Thou hast dreamed this, he loveth thee, Lisetta.


  Yea, loveth me somewhat but glory more.
  And I would have it so. O Mother of God,
  When wilt thou send me death? O Blessed Mother,
  I have lain so still!


  Beware, Lisetta, tempt not God!


  Death is the sister of all them that weep, Pia.


  Child, child, try thou to sleep.


  For thy sake will I try.


  Aye, sleep now. I will smooth thy bed.
  [_PIA begins to draw up the covers smooth. She stops suddenly
  to listen._]


  What, good Pia?


  Footsteps. Look, it is a monk.

[_FRANCIS OF ASSISI comes to the door._]


  I have not eaten food this day. Hast thou
  Somewhat that I may eat?


  Alas, poor brother, sit thee here; there's bread
  And cheese and lentils, eat thy store. Poor 'tis,
  But given in His name.


  I will eat then and bless thee.


  He taketh but a crust!


  It is enough. He that hath eaten long
  The bread of the heart hath little hunger in him.


  Sit thou and rest, poor soul.


  Nay, I must go on. My daughter, child,
  Thou sleepest not for all thy lowered lids.
  Tears quiver on thy lashes, hast thou pain?


  The tears of women even in dreams may fall,
  Good brother. Wilt thou not bide?


  I must fare on.


  Aye, aye, the world lies open to thy hand,
  But unto me this twelvemonth is a death.
  The flesh is dead, and dying lies my soul,
  Shrunk like a flower in my fevered hand.

FRANCIS [_he goes over and stands beside the bed_].

  My dear.


  I may not see the stars rise on the hills,
  Nor tend the flocks at even, nor rise to do
  Aught of the small sweet round of duties owed
  To him I love; but lie a burden to him,
  Calling on death who heareth not.


  My life hath given me words for thee to hear.


  Surely thy life is peace.


  There is a life larger than life, that dwells
  Invisible from all; whose lack alone
  Is death. There in thy soul the stars may rise,
  And at the even the gentle thoughts return
  To flock the quiet pastures of the mind;
  And in the large heart love is all thou owest
  For service unto God and thy Beloved.


  Little Brother!


  May you have God's peace, dear friends. Farewell.

[_He goes out. PIA stands a moment wiping her eyes, then returns to
shelling the peas. There is a silence for a while._]


  Why dost thou look so long upon the door?


  Pia, the spring smiles on the tender grass,
  Surely the sun is brighter where he stood.


  'Tis a glaring sun for twilight.


  Pia, 'twill be the gentlest of all eves.
  Surely God sent the brother for my need,
  To give His peace.


  Aye, and my old heart ripens at his words
  Like apples in the sun. 'Tis a sweet monk.


  Who is he, think you?


  One of the Little Poor Men, by his brown.
  They are too thin, these brothers, and do lack
  Stomach for life. [_She returns to the peas._] Mark, oh, 'tis merry now
  To see the little beggars from their pods
  Popping like schoolboys from their shoes in spring!
  The season hath been so fine and dry this year
  My peas are smaller and must have more work.
  Well, well, labor is good, and things made scarce
  Are better loved.


  Pia, thou art a good woman.


  Child, do not make me cry. 'Tis thy pure heart
  Deceives thee. Stubborn I am and full of sloth,
  And a wicked old thing.


  I would not grieve thee. Pia, 'twas my love
  That sees thy goodness better than thyself.

PIA [_hanging the kettle of peas over the coals_].

  Lisetta, I see the sky at the chimney top.

[_PIA begins to sing in her sweet, old, cracked voice, as she stirs
the pot_:]

  _Firefly, firefly, come from the shadows,
  Twilight is falling over the meadows,
  Burn, little garden lamps, flicker and shimmer,
  Shine, little meadow stars, twinkle and glimmer.
  Firefly, firefly, shine, shine!_






  Pia, come near me here. [_PIA kneels by the bed._] Can you not see
  How much I love? If I could only speak
  To him or he to me, Guido, my love!


  Surely he is beside thee often.


  His hand is near, but not his heart.


  Nay, child, 'tis Guido's way. He speaks but little.
  When I speak to him look what he says,
  "Yes, good Pia," 'tis not much.


  Aye, tell me not. On winter nights I lay
  Hearing the tree limbs rattle there like hail,
  And from the corner eaves the dropping rain
  Like big dogs lapping all about--and he
  Spoke not to me. He sat beside his taper
  But never a line wrote down. Once I had words,
  Bright dreams, that shone through him, the same fire shone
  Through both, his songs were mine!


  Yes, thine--rest thee, rest thee!


  But more his, Pia, more his!


  Aye, his. Wilt thou not eat the broth?


  Not now, good Pia, 'tis not for food I die.
  'Tis not for food.


  Yet thou must eat.


  Wilt thou not read one song of these to me?


  Close then thine eyes and rest.

[_LISETTA closes her eyes. A shepherd's pipe far-off and faint begins
to play; from this on to the end of the play you can hear the
shepherd's pipe. PIA takes up at random a sheet of the manuscripts.
She sighs a great sigh, and begins to mimic LISETTA's voice._]


  O music locked amid the stones,
  Beside the--amid the--


  Read on--and thou hast told me day by day
  Thou couldst not read.


  I read from hearing thee from day to day
  Repeat the verses.


  Fie! Give them to me here.

[_She takes the paper and holds it in her hands on her breast, and
reads without looking at it._]

  _O music locked amid the stones,
  My love hath spoken like to thee,_

  Pia, think you--Pia, do you not hear
  The mowers and the reapers in the fields
  Singing the evening song, and the twilight pipes?
  The twilight is the hour when hearts break!
  How many lonely twilights will there be
  Ere God will spare me?

PIA [_kneeling_].

  Hush, child, hush, darling!

[_LISETTA turns her face to the window by the bed. PIA strokes her
hand and sings softly:_]

  _Firefly, firefly, come from the shadows--_

  There!--he is coming now, I hear his steps
  Upon the gravel road. Good-night, sweet child,
  I'll get me home.

  Pia, good-night once more.

[_PIA slips away. GUIDO enters softly. The twilight is gone and the
moon falls through the window over the bed. The hill outside is bright
with moonlight._]

GUIDO [_softly_].

  Asleep, Lisetta?


  Guido! Ah, I have need of naught, Guido.
  Thou needst not leave yet the pleasant air.


  Lisetta, my love, I have been long from thee.


  Let not that trouble thee, my needs are few,
  And Pia is most kind.


  So little I may do.


  Thou hast already served to weariness.

[_He kneels beside her bed._]


  My love, I have been long from thee, but now
  I will not leave thee any more. Oh, God,
  Let these kisses tell my heart to her.


  Guido, my love, perhaps I dream of thee!
  Perhaps God sends a dream to solace me.


  Along the stream I went and where it crossed
  Bevagna road--where the chestnut grows, thou knowest--
  Lisetta, I saw him.


  Yes, yes, I know, whom sawest thou?


  The brother, Francis of Assisi.


  Guido, sawest thou him?


  Aye, him. There had he stopped to rest, being spent;
  And round him came the birds, beating their wings
  Upon his cloak and lighting on his arm.
  I saw him smile on them and heard him speak!
  "My brother birds, little brothers, ye should love God
  Who gave you your wings and your bright songs and spread
  The soft air for you." He stroked their necks
  And blessed them. And then I saw his eyes.
  "Father," I cried, "speak thou to me, I faint
  Beside my way!"


  Aye, and he said? Guido, what said he?


  "Thou art as one that lieth at the gate
  Of Paradise and entereth not. For God
  Hath given thee thy soul for its own life,
  And not for glory among men."




  Lisetta, from his kind eyes I drank, and knew
  How God had magnified my soul through him,
  And sent me peace. And I returned to thee;
  For here in thee have I my glory.


  Guido, the old spring comes back again. And now
  I may speak. Guido, look through my window vines there
  Where the stars rise. O Love, I have not slept
  For lacking thee. And often have I seen
  The moonlight lie like sleep upon the hill,
  And in the garden of the sky the moon
  Drift like a blown rose, Guido, and yet
  I might not speak.


  Thou art my saint and shrine!


  Now shall my dream become thy song again,
  And the long twilight be more sweet, Guido!


  I pray thee rest thee now and sleep. Good-night.
  My full heart breaks in song; and I will sit
  Hearing the blessed saints within my soul,
  And will not stir from thee lest thou shouldst wake
  When I might not be near to serve thy need.

[_The shepherd pipe far-off and faint is heard playing._]




         [Footnote 50: Reprinted by special arrangement with Gowans &
         Gray. Ltd., Glasgow. The acting rights are reserved.]

[Illustration: Costumes for _The Masque of the Two Strangers_ designed
at the Washington Irving High School.]

Between the Lady Alice Egerton, who acted in the masque of _Comus_,
which Milton composed for presentation before John, earl of
Bridgewater, then President of Wales, and the Lady Alix Egerton,
author of _The Masque of the Two Strangers_, lie three hundred years;
but throughout these centuries the descendants of the first earl of
Bridgewater have cherished consistently the great traditions of
English literature. The family has owned for many generations the
Ellesmere Chaucer and the Bridgewater manuscript of _Comus_, both of
which have recently been edited by the twentieth century Lady Alix

Her _The Masque of the Two Strangers_ here reprinted was given at the
Washington Irving High School in March, 1921. The designs for the
costumes used in this production are here illustrated. The following
notes will help the reader to reconstruct the costumes from the

    I. _The Princess_
         White soft material.
         Spangled trimming.
         Mantle of blue.
         Veil of blue net.
         Hennin (head dress) in silver.

   II. _Hope_
         Glass ball.
         Lavender under slip.
         Veil of rose pink.

  III. _Joy_
         Draping of orange yellow.
         Flowers of various colors.
         Vermilion scarf.

   IV. _Love_
         Long, full cape of deep purple; cowl falling back.
         Cerise costume.
         Silver surcoat and helmet.

    V. _Laughter_
         Yellow and black.
         Trimming of bells.

   VI. _Poetry_
         Light green with silver; paper design on border.

  VII. _Song_
         Robe dyed in rainbow hues.
         Silver wings.

 VIII. _Dance_

   IX. _Power_
         Bright blue.
         Gilt headpiece jeweled.
         Mantle and sash of purple.

    X. _Fame_
         Robe of deep green.
         Gold border.
         Laurel leaves on gold crown.

   XI. _Riches_
         Knight's close-fitting short coat of henna.
         (Flannel dyed to represent felt or leather.)
         Gold lacings; gold paper design on coat; gold and henna helmet.

  XII. _Service_
         Soft yellow shaded to brown at bottom of skirt and sleeves.
         Front panel of dark green forming part of head drapery.

 XIII. _Sorrow_

  XIV. _Herald_
         Dark red and gold.


[_Enter a JESTER._]

  Good people, of your gentle courtesy,
  I pray your patience, now, and list to me.
  Before you I will here present to-day
  A story told in the medieval way.
  Now sad--now merry--here and there a song,
  While through it all a meaning runs along.
  On this side is the Court of Youth where dwells
  A Princess who is held by magic spells.
  On that is the vast Otherworld from whence
  The great Immortals come for her defense.
  Betwixt the greater and the lesser Power,
  That duel that goes on from hour to hour
  Throughout the ages, I would have you see
  Depicted in this passing phantasy.

[_Music of Masque begins._]

  The players come and I had best away;
  I'll come back afterwards and end my say.


         [Footnote 51: I am indebted to Miss Italia Conti for the
         original scenario of the Masque, and to former Editors of
         _Vanity Fair_ and _The Crown_ for permission to reprint the
         two songs which were published in their journals.--ALIX



_JOY and LAUGHTER run in laughing, chase each other round the stage
and pelt each other with flowers._

  LAUGHTER [_flinging herself on the ground, breathless_].
  Ah, it is good to run and laugh again.
  I am so weary of these somber days.

  And I of sitting silent in the house.
  We used before to have such merry games,
  Now Douce-coeur will not even smile.

  LAUGHTER [_mysteriously_].
  She says that she will never laugh again.

  And when I called to her to come and play
  At hide-and-seek down in the rose-garden,
  She said her playing days were over now.

  It seems so strange. Only a while ago
  We played at ball across the laurel hedge,
  And when the ball fell in the fountain-court
  And rolled into the water, floating out
  To where the lilies lay half closed in sleep,
  'Twas she who went in barefoot, with her dress
  Kilted above her knees, and laughed to feel
  The flicking of the golden fishes' tails.
  She said her pink toes looked like coral shells,
  And splashed the water just to see it shine
  Like diamonds in the sun upon my hair.
  A while ago she was a child with us.

  JOY [_sighs_].
  Laughter, I like not living at the Court. [_Starting._]
  Someone is coming.

[_They run and hide behind a seat. SONG enters, humming to herself and
twisting flowers into a garland. JOY and LAUGHTER spring out upon her
and catch hold of her hands one on each side._]

  LAUGHTER. Why, 'tis only Song.
  For three days now we have not heard thy voice.

  No, Douce-coeur says life is too sad for songs.
  Yet music is a gift of the high gods
  And like the birds I sing or I must die.

  JOY [_coaxingly_].
  Sing us a ballad while we are alone.
  Old Service is asleep beside the well
  And will not hear thee.

  SONG [_sitting on the seat_].
  Well, what shall I sing?
  How would you like "All on an April Day?"

  JOY [_clapping her hands_].
  About the knight who rode to Amiens Town?

  Then will we sing the refrain, Joy and I.

  SONG [_begins very softly, and, forgetting, sings louder to the end_].

  _A lover rode to Amiens town
              (All on an April day);
  He looked not up, he looked not down
  But fixed his gaze on Amiens town
              (Sing hey!--the Lover's Way)._

  _The cuckoo sang above his head
              (All on an April day);
  The blossoming trees were white and red,
  Yet still he never turned his head
              (Sing hey!--the Lover's Way)._

  _The dappled grass with daisies strewn
              (All on an April day)
  Was trodden by his horse's shoon;
  He heeded not those daisies strewn
              (Sing hey!--the Lover's Way)._

  _He wore a ragged surcoat green
              (All on an April day)
  But no device thereon was seen.
  Nor blazon on that surcoat green
              (Sing hey!--the Lover's Way)._

  _He rode in by the Eastern Gate
              (All on an April day);
  Though poor and mean was his estate
  Kings have gone through that Eastern Gate
              (Sing hey!--the Lover's Way)._

  _He stood by the Cathedral door
              (All on an April day)
  And watched of ladies fair a score
  Pass in through the Cathedral door
              (Sing hey!--the Lover's Way)._

  _A knot of ribbon at his feet
              (All on an April day)
  And one swift smile, such radiance sweet
  Fell with the ribbon at his feet
              (Sing hey!--the Lover's Way)._

  _He hid the token in his breast
              (All on an April day)
  Yet to his lips full oft he prest
  The ribbon hidden in his breast
              (Sing hey!--the Lover's Way)._

  _A lover rode to Amiens town
              (All on an April day),
  A beggar wore a starry crown
  And a King rode out of Amiens town
              (Sing hey!--the Lover's Way)._

[_After the 4th verse enter DANCE, who dances through the remaining

[_Enter SERVICE hurriedly._]

SERVICE. How now, what noise is this? Thou knowest, Song, thy voice
may not be heard at all, and ye children too, ye will get sent away.
Sure, that ye will. Here am I sent packing off to seek for the Wise
Woman Poetry. The heralds too are up and down the land with
proclamations. Go in, go in; Douce-coeur is wandering with the Gray
Stranger in the garden, and when she comes, may want your company.

[_Enter POETRY._]

  I am the mouthpiece of the Eternal Gods,
  And in my voice, that down the ages rings,
  Men hear the ceaseless heart-beats of the world.
  Without me all that has been would have died
  And lain forgotten in a silent grave.
  The present echoes what I once have sung,
  The future holds the secrets I have read.

SERVICE. Hail, and well met! I was but starting forth to seek thee.
Thou who hast the wisdom of all time mayst help us in our hour of
need; an evil spell has been cast about the Princess, and how it is to
be broken, none of us know.

  Good Service, tell me all; for I presume,
  Despite the tender care which through her life
  Has shielded Douce-coeur like a ring of steel,
  That to her side some foe has won his way
  And dimmed the peaceful mirror of her soul.

SERVICE. Yea, truly, one evening as the sun was setting a woman clad
in long gray robes entered the Palace gates and meeting the Princess
on the terrace walk led her down among the cypresses. They sat long
together in the twilight and ever since Douce-coeur is changed. No
smile curves her lips, the sunlight is gone from her face, and she
goes always with veiled head, and sad unseeing eyes. I heard but now
her companions are to be sent away. Joy, Laughter, Song and Dance, all
to be banished. This is the Gray Woman's doing, but why, no man can

  The stranger in gray robes of whom ye speak
  Is Sorrow's self, whose other name is Pain.
  She comes, and when she comes none may resist.
  Against her none have power to bar their gates.
  Ye who have always cherishèd Douce-coeur
  And guarded her from knowledge of the World,
  Have left her ignorance a prey to pain.
  Thus night has fallen on a tender heart
  That never saw the shadows for the sun.
  Queen Sorrow, who can hide the stars of heaven,
  Has torn the golden veil from top to hem,
  And in the outer darkness Douce-coeur stands,
  Seeing no rift to tell of light eclipsed,
  Knowing no key to all the mystery.

SERVICE. The King, her father, has sent proclamations forth that whoso
can bring back the smiles to Douce-coeur's lips, the sunshine to her
face, whoso can win her from the Gray Woman's side, on him shall half
the kingdom be bestowed and Douce-coeur's hand in marriage. The
Heralds have gone crying this abroad, and we have word three suitors
are traveling here post-haste.

  I know not who these suitors chance to be
  But not by them may Sorrow be cast out.
  One only holds a mightier spell than hers,
  And I will send my constant messenger
  To seek him to the ends of all the Earth.
  Come to me, Child, who holdst Eternal Youth.

[_Enter HOPE._]

  HOPE. Didst call me, Poetry?

  POETRY.                     Yea, child of my Heart,
  Go out into the wilderness for me.
  Find me the Stranger in a Pilgrim's garb
  Around whose head the song birds pipe their lays,
  Beneath whose feet the withered flowers revive.
  Say, "In the Court of Youth Queen Sorrow reigns
  And shadows lie like night on Douce-coeur's heart."

  In the great Court of Youth, Queen Sorrow reigns
  And shadows lie like night on Douce-coeur's heart.

  Bid him come hither. Haste thee on thy way.

[_Exit HOPE. Trumpet music. Herald heard off. "Oyez! Oyez! Oyez!"_]

SERVICE. Here comes the Herald!

[_Enter HERALD repeating "Oyez! Oyez! Oyez!"_]

HERALD [_facing audience_]. Know all whom it may concern throughout
this realm, that as One has come and brought darkness on the Land, to
all good people is this Proclamation made. Whoso can drive the Gray
Woman forth, whoso can free the Princess Douce-coeur from her spell,
whoso can bring back the sunshine to the Land, unto him will be given
the half of the kingdom, and the Hand of the Princess Douce-coeur in
marriage. Given on this day of June. "Oyez! Oyez! Oyez!"

[_Exit HERALD. "Oyez! Oyez! Oyez!" dies away in the distance._]

[_Music. Enter JOY, LAUGHTER, SONG and DANCE, followed by PRINCESS

  Ye children of the Court, your hour has struck.
  Your doom of banishment has been pronounced,
  For where I am there can ye never be.

  Douce-coeur, I pray thee hear me. Let me sing
  One of the old songs that we loved--may be
  The memory of those happy days will rise
  And lift the weight of sadness from thy face.

  Douce-coeur, I charge thee, listen. All the past
  Of Childhood calls thee in the voice of Song.

  Sing if thou wilt. Those days were long ago.

  _I stood beside the lilac bush
    While all its blossoms rained on me,
  I watched the white wraith of a moon
    Turn to pale gold above the sea._

  _I held a wand of almond bough
    And waved it three times circlewise,
  I whispered words of faery lore
    With beating heart and close shut eyes._

  _I oped them on a forest scene
    Of summer-land; the open glade
  Lay shining like a tourmaline
    Set in a ring of duller jade._

  _I saw three queens with shining crowns
    Go riding by on palfreys gray;
  I saw three knights that followed close,
    And dreams were in their eyes that day._

  _I saw a minstrel with his harp,
    His cloak was green and patched and torn;
  I saw a hunter with his bow,
    I heard the winding of his horn._

  _I saw a bush of lavender
    With clouds of fluttering butterflies,
  Then I looked backward to the earth
    And broke my faery spell with sighs._

  I cannot bear thy music. In my heart
  No answering chords respond. The past is dead.
  I hear the tears of thousands in thy voice.
  When Sorrow speaks--I hear no tones but hers.

  No, thou art mine, Princess. I hold thee fast.

  Douce-coeur, I bid thee raise thy heavy eyes.
  Dance is the eldest daughter of my heart.
  Born when the rhythm of the stars was voiced,
  The past and future meet alike in her.
  Let her bring back the sunshine to thy face.

  With flying feet we chased the hours away.
  I used to make thee clap thy hands in glee
  And thought to go with thee along the years.

  My feet are lead, but dance on if thou wilt,
  What can the future hold for me and thee?

[_As the Dance ends, she cries:_]

  Ah, Sorrow, bid them cease and drive them hence.
  Send Joy and Laughter, Song and Dance away.
  Call Silence here who is thy foster-child.
  I am afraid of all this mocking world
  And fain would live alone, alone with thee.

  Go forth, go forth into the wilderness. Here is no room for ye.
  Go forth into the void that lies beyond. Here I in majesty
  Henceforth shall reign, veiling the sun and stars to all eternity.
  Go forth. Let wide-eyed Silence take the place ye occupied before
  Where flowers ye scattered he henceforth shall strew ashes upon the floor.
  Twilight shall fall upon this Court of Youth now and for evermore.

[_Exeunt SONG, DANCE, JOY, and LAUGHTER._]

  Douce-coeur, thine eyes are bound. Thou dost but see
  With vision warped by her who holds thy hand.
  I, who have watched the web of Life unfold
  And hold the secrets of a million lives,
  Can tell thee from the heights whereon I dwell,
  It is not thus that thou wilt help the world.
  Thou canst not right the wrong with further wrong.
  But now thine ears are dulled; thou wilt not hear
  What I might teach thee.

[_During this speech enter HERALD who speaks to SERVICE. Exit

SERVICE. Three suitors, Fame, Riches, and Power are at the gate,
Princess, and claim an audience. They have banished the Gray Woman
from the side of others and seek to do this for thee. With them they
bring charms that have before broken the spells of Sorrow; these are
beyond price but each asks in exchange thy hand in marriage as
promised in the proclamation cried by the heralds.

  DOUCE-COEUR [_turning to SORROW_].
  What must I do?

  SORROW. Bid them approach, my child;
  It may be their rich gifts will pleasure thee.

[_Enter HERALD followed by FAME._]

HERALD. Fame, Lord of the Marches of the East, salutes thee.

[_Exit HERALD._]

  Fame am I called, Princess. I bring thee this
  Crown of Unfading Leaves for which men pray
  And toil throughout their lives--unsatisfied.
  It shall be thine unsought. Grant me thy hand,
  And thou shalt live in glamour of high destiny.
  Thy name shall sound in honor through the world;
  Thy words shall set the hearts of men aflame.
  Let me but place the wreath about thy head,
  Thus shalt thou strike this lyre with deathless notes
  Which shall, vibrating through the fields of space,
  Ring on, and on, nor ever find a goal.

  Deaf are the ears on which thy phrases fall.
  With one so young what are thy spells to mine?

  I see thy wreath of leaves, entwined with asps
  Whose forked tongues whisper "jealousy and hate."
  Thy harp is out of tune with Sorrow's voice.

  She is too tender for thine upward way.
  The solitude of those who follow thee
  Is not for her. Pass on, my lord, pass on.

[_Enter HERALD, followed by RICHES._]

[Illustration: Costumes for _The Masque of the Two Strangers_ designed
at the Washington Irving High School.]

  Riches, Lord of the Marches of the West, salutes thee.

[_Exit HERALD._]

  My name is Riches, and I offer thee
  A store of wealth exhaustless as the sand.
  This is the symbol of my opulence,
  A casket in whose depths gold never fails.
  Grant me thy hand, and thou, Princess, shalt gain
  All that the world contains of happiness.
  Thy palace shall be built of precious stones,
  And thou shalt walk on rose-leaves every day.
  Sorrow shall be forgotten in my arms,
  Nothing shall be denied thee wealth can buy.
  All things--all men yield to the touch of gold.

  Blind are the eyes on which thy visions rise.
  My spells have turned thy glories into dust.

  The gold thou offerest me is stained with blood;
  Thy precious stones were won with tears and toil;
  The sum of all thy wealth could not reflower
  The arid wastes that Sorrow has laid bare.

  She is too simple for thy promises;
  To one who knows not Sister Poverty
  Thy lures, my lord, appear as idle words.

[_Enter HERALD, followed by POWER._]

  Power, Lord of the Marches North and South, salutes thee.

[_Exit HERALD._]

  My name, Princess, is Power and this my gift.
  My brothers brought thee fair renown and gold
  With freedom from the spells that Sorrow weaves.
  All these I offer thee. If thou accept,
  Together we will sway men's destinies,
  Together we may rule their hearts--their souls--
  Together turn the very universe.
  Our throne shall rise a monument of might,
  Its steps shall mount from the green land of earth,
  Its canopy shall scrape the stars of Heaven.

  I have set that about her like a net
  Thou canst not deal with. Never yet, O Power,
  Hast thou been known to cut through cords of fear.

  I would not wield thy scepter for an hour.
  The burden of its weight would bear me down.

  She is too young, too gentle for the heights
  Where thou wouldst raise her. Be content, my lords;
  What ye have done is well, but One alone
  Can break the spell, and he is at the gates.
  Already Hope returns. He comes, he comes.

[_Enter HOPE running._]

  The stranger comes; he whom I went to seek.

  The Stranger comes whose music fills the world.

  The Stranger comes, whose treasure gilds the world.

  The Stranger comes, whose scepter rules the world.

  Now shall thy spell be broken. Dost thou hear
  The measured footsteps of approaching Fate?
  The one who comes clad in a Pilgrim's garb
  Has ever proved thy silent conqueror.

  I yield to him who is the greatest here,
  But those who have not met me by the way
  Can never know him as he may be known.
  They only who have trod the dark abyss
  May dare to stand upon the topmost height.
  For they whose eyes were blindfold for awhile
  Alone can bear that blaze of brilliant light.
  Thus have I brought thee more than all thy Court.
  Learn from his lips to see the world anew.
  I drew that gray veil all about thy head
  Thinking perchance to keep thee for my own,
  But thou wert made for sunlight, not for gloom.
  Thus do I leave thee. Fare thee well, Princess!

[_Enter LOVE._]

  DOUCE-COEUR [_starts up and tries to hold SORROW back_].
  Ah, stay with me, thou art my only friend!

[_LOVE and SORROW look at each other, she draws her veil across her
face and exit._]

  Who art thou, Stranger, in a pilgrim's guise
  Who comest unattended, unannounced?

  I may not tell thee that. Thou first must learn
  Out of thine own heart to recall my name.

  Fame, Power, and Riches brought me costly gifts
  Which I refused.

  LOVE.    I come with empty hands.

  Thy coming caused Queen Sorrow to depart;
  What right hast thou to drive my friends from me?

  I came to bring thee swift deliverance,
  She laid a spell upon thee which in time
  Had turned thy heart to unresponsive stone.

  She brought me peace and sure oblivion
  Of all this dark and weary world around.

  Art thou so sure, Princess, the world is dark?

  So sure? Have I not heard the children weep?
  Is not my heart torn with their piteous cries?
  We live, and round us lies their sea of tears,
  A mighty sea that could engulf a realm.

  I met a Child outside thy Palace once.
  His dress was ragged, but he smiled at me,
  And in his hand he held a purple flower.
  I knew it for the magic flower of Dream.
  I asked him "Art thou happy?" and he said
  "I'm mostly hungry; sometimes I am cold;
  And there are stones and thorns that hurt my feet,
  But while my Flower lives I am quite content.
  And I have friends too, in the Palace there;
  Laughter and Dance they come and play with me."
  I met that Child to-day, Princess. His face
  Was white and pinched, and down his baby cheeks
  The tears were running, "See, my Flower has died,
  And Dance and Laughter have been sent away.
  Joy too is gone. Queen Sorrow reigns at Court."
  Even the children now can play no more.
  He never knew before the world was dark.
  Art thou so sure, Princess, the Child was wrong?

  Have I not heard bereavèd mothers weep?

  There thou dost touch a chord in ignorance.
  Thou canst not guess the strength of Motherhood,
  The hopes, the joys, the passionate regrets.
  She who has borne her child close to her heart
  Has lit a star in Heaven that lights her way.
  I kneel by them in their Gethsemane
  And teach them how to weave immortal wreaths
  Out of the sweetest flowers of Memory;
  For them the sun still shines behind the clouds,
  Art thou so sure the world is wholly dark?

  There echo in my ears the groans of Toil,
  Of those who labor on from year to year
  Until they sink beneath their weary lot.

  Toil is the destiny of man, Princess,
  And none may question the Supreme Decree.
  Perchance through toil alone man may redeem
  A past that is forgotten. Who can tell?
  And there is still some aftermath of joy
  In labor well achieved, some dignity
  In toil accomplished. If the way is hard
  And seeming endless, those who seek for me
  Will often find me singing at their side.
  Mine is the Brotherhood of Sympathy.
  But thou hast banished Song, in silence now
  The toilers have to go upon their way.
  Art thou so sure, it was all dark before?

  What light is there for those who strive and fail?

  One only fails. He whom some term Success,
  He who gives heart and soul and youth and strength
  To an unworthy cause. Failure is he
  Who sacrifices me before the world,
  Who prostitutes the God in him for what
  Will turn to dust and ashes in his hand.
  'Tis he alone is outcast though he thinks
  Himself the sun of all the universe.
  To those, Princess, who striving seem to fail,
  It is not failure, for none see the end,
  And they who sigh are only those who seek
  An earlier consummation than is just;
  If they cling fast to me they still behold
  The white star-flowers Hope plants about the world.
  Who knows to what fair land rough seas may lead?

  Lo! over all I see the cruel hand
  Of Death outstretched, certain and pitiless.

  The hand of Death is full of tenderness.
  He leads men through that dark mysterious gate--
  That all must pass into another life--
  To other lives that through the cycles bring
  The souls of men upward from step to step,
  Uniting those for ever who are one.
  Death hushes them like children on his breast.
  Setting his own smile on their silent lips--
  That tender smile of strange triumphant peace.
  Death is my Brother, and I say to thee,
  Learn to know me, thou wilt not fear his hand.

  Another hand is knocking at my heart
  Whose touch I know not, and I feel afraid--
  Afraid to listen. Yet I long to hear.
  Stranger, who art thou? Let me see thy face.

  Learn to know me and thou shalt nothing fear.

  Who art thou? Let me look into thine eyes.

  Learn to know me and thou wilt find the Light.

  Pilgrim, who art thou? Let me know thy name.

  Dost thou not know me, Douce-coeur?

  DOUCE-COEUR [_slowly_].
  Thou art Love!

  And dost thou know the meaning of my name?
  Tell me thou art not fearful any more.

  The darkness that was bound about mine eyes
  Is falling from me. In the growing light
  The answer to Life's riddle is made clear.
  I seem to stand upon a height, caught up
  In ecstasy of rapture near the sun.
  The day is dawning; far before my eyes
  I see the earth spread out there like a map.
  Shadow and sunshine traveling on the road
  O'ertake each other, mingle--and are one.

  O Love, all hail! What is my crown to thine?
  Thy music is the song of all the stars
  Which rings through every heart attune to thine.

  O Love, all hail! What is my wealth to thine?
  Thy treasures are the moons of happiness,
  Thy boundless gold the sunshine of the world.

  O Love, all hail! Thine is the greater rule,
  The force predominating. Thou alone
  Art the unvanquished King who conquers all.

  O Love, whose face is sought by all the world,
  Bid her go forth out of her Palace gates
  Into her kingdom that lies all around,
  Teach her what means to use to right the wrong
  And ease the burden man has laid on man.
  My voice that once could rouse men's sleeping souls
  Grows weary, and men often heed me not,
  Turning deaf ears that will not hear my words;
  'Tis thou alone canst wind that mystic horn
  Which wakes alike the sleeping and the dead.

  O Love, I pray thee call the children back,
  I am ashamed to think I drove them forth,
  I erred in ignorance. Forgive me, lord.


  All ye who came to battle Sorrow's spell,
  Be with her now. And ye who hold in fee
  Her happy days, go with her through the years.
  I all unseen will guide her destiny.
  And when, Princess, I come again to thee,
  A worshiper will follow in my train.
  From other lips than mine thou then shalt learn
  The sweetest and the tenderest tale of all.

  Now let us join with Song. In merry mirth
  Draw to a fitting close our Interlude.

  Sorrow reigned her little day
  Love has driven her far away
  Brought the sunshine back to Court
  Thus we end in merry sport.

[_Exeunt ALL._]


[_Enter JESTER._]

  The Tale is over and their parts are done,
  And Love again has proved the strongest one.
  I wonder has it pleased you now to see
  The oldest tale told thus in phantasy.
  And let your answer be whate'er it may,
  Whether your thumbs be up or down to-day
  Will hurt not me. I did not write the play.




Maurice Polydore Marie Bernard Maeterlinck, to give him his full
baptismal name, was born in Ghent on August 29, 1862. He was sent to
the Jesuit College de Sainte-Barbe, the institution which another
great Belgian, Emile Verhaeren, also attended. In 1885, Maeterlinck
entered the University of Ghent to study law, but his practice of this
profession was confined to a scant year or two. Maeterlinck's chief
interest in his college years seems to have been the modern movement
in Belgian literature. But the frequency of his visits to Paris
increased in the years between 1886 and 1896, and finally in the
latter year he settled there.

The following word picture supplements the photographs of Maeterlinck
that are so frequently reproduced in our magazines and newspapers:
"Maeterlinck is easily described: a man of about five feet nine in
height, inclined to be stout; silver hair lends distinction to the
large round head and boyish fresh complexion; blue-gray eyes, now
thoughtful, now merry, and an unaffected off-hand manner. The features
are not cut, left rather 'in the rough,' as sculptors say, even the
heavy jaw and chin are drowned in fat; the forehead bulges and the
eyes lose color in the light and seem hard; still, an interesting and
attractive personality."

Maeterlinck's fame rests on his poetry and his essays no less than on
his plays. _L'Intruse_, _The Intruder_, reprinted here, belongs to the
early years of his activity as a playwright. It was printed in 1890 in
a Belgian periodical, _La Wallonie_, and was acted for the first time
a year later at Paul Fort's Théâtre d'Art in Paris, at a performance
given for the benefit of the poet, Paul Verlaine, and the painter,
Paul Gauguin. Maeterlinck, though publishing volumes of essays from
time to time, continues to write for the theatre.[52] In 1908 _The
Blue Bird_, dramatizing the quest for Truth, one of the most popular
of modern plays, was given for the first time in Moscow, to be
followed ten years later by the première in New York of a sequel,
_The Betrothal_, similarly dramatizing the search for Beauty. In 1910
came his translation of _Macbeth_ into French. A year later he was
awarded the Nobel prize for literature.

         [Footnote 52: For bibliography, see Jethro Bithell, _Life and
         Writings of Maurice Maeterlinck_, London and New York, 1913.]

_The Intruder_, the theme of which is the mysterious coming of death,
is an illustration of one of Maeterlinck's pet theories in regard to
the subject matter of the drama. He expresses it in this way in his
famous essay on _The Tragic in Daily Life_: "An old man, seated in his
armchair, waiting patiently with his lamp beside him--submitting with
bent head to the presence of his soul and his destiny--motionless as
he is, does yet live in reality a deeper, more human, more universal
life than ... the captain who conquers in battle." To plays based on
this theory has been given the name "static drama." _The Intruder_
illustrates also Maeterlinck's use of symbols. The Grandfather in the
play is blind, for instance; blind characters in Maeterlinck's plays
are symbols of the spiritual blindness of the human race; the gardener
sharpening his scythe stands for death; the mysterious quenching of
the lamp--it may have gone out because there was no oil in
it--signifies the going out of life.

The problem in the staging of this play is the "creation of a mood or
atmosphere, rather than the unfolding of an action." One of the
settings used in this country is here reproduced. It was designed for
the Arts & Crafts Theatre of Detroit. Sheldon Cheney, whose
description of Sam Hume's plastic units for the stage of this Little
Theatre is given in the Introduction on page xxxi, has described the
rearrangement of this equipment and the additions that can be made to
it for the production of this play as follows: "For Maeterlinck's _The
Intruder_, which demanded a room in an old château, one important
addition was made, a flat with a door. At the left was the arch, then
a pylon and curtain, and then the Gothic window with practicable
casements added. The rest of the back wall was made up of the new
door-piece flanked by curtains, while the third wall consisted of two
pylons and curtains. Stairs and platforms were utilized before the
window and under the arch. A small two-stair unit was added, leading
to the new door. This arrangement afforded exactly that suggestion of
spaciousness and mystery for which the play calls." When the play was
given at the Independent Theatre in London in 1895, it was played
behind a blue gauze curtain.

On one of Maeterlinck's visits to London, he was taken by Alfred
Sutro, the dramatist, to call on Barrie in his flat at the Adelphi.
Maeterlinck was asked to write his name on the whitewashed wall of
Barrie's studio. He did so and added above the signature: "_Au père de
Peter Pan, et au grandpère de L'Oiseau Bleu._"




_A dimly lighted room in an old country-house. A door on the right, a
door on the left, and a small concealed door in a corner. At the back,
stained-glass windows, in which the color green predominates, and a
glass door opening on to a terrace. A Dutch clock in one corner. A
lamp lighted._

THE THREE DAUGHTERS. Come here, grandfather. Sit down under the lamp.

THE GRANDFATHER. There does not seem to me to be much light here.

THE FATHER. Shall we go on to the terrace, or stay in this room?

THE UNCLE. Would it not be better to stay here? It has rained the
whole week, and the nights are damp and cold.

THE ELDEST DAUGHTER. Still the stars are shining.

THE UNCLE. Ah! stars--that's nothing.

THE GRANDFATHER. We had better stay here. One never knows what may

THE FATHER. There is no longer any cause for anxiety. The danger is
past, and she is saved....

THE GRANDFATHER. I fancy she is not going on well....

THE FATHER. Why do you say that?

THE GRANDFATHER. I have heard her speak.

THE FATHER. But the doctors assure us we may be easy....

THE UNCLE. You know quite well that your father-in-law likes to alarm
us needlessly.

[Illustration: _Courtesy of Theatre Arts Magazine_

Setting for _The Intruder_ composed of plastic units designed by Sam

THE GRANDFATHER. I don't look at these things as you others do.

THE UNCLE. You ought to rely on us, then, who can see. She looked very
well this afternoon. She is sleeping quietly now; and we are not going
to spoil, without any reason, the first comfortable evening that luck
has thrown in our way.... It seems to me we have a perfect right to be
easy, and even to laugh a little, this evening, without apprehension.

THE FATHER. That's true; this is the first time I have felt at home
with my family since this terrible confinement.

THE UNCLE. When once illness has come into a house, it is as though a
stranger had forced himself into the family circle.

THE FATHER. And then you understood, too, that you should count on no
one outside the family.

THE UNCLE. You are quite right.

THE GRANDFATHER. Why could I not see my poor daughter to-day?

THE UNCLE. You know quite well--the doctor forbade it.

THE GRANDFATHER. I do not know what to think....

THE UNCLE. It is absurd to worry.

THE GRANDFATHER [_pointing to the door on the left_]. She cannot hear

THE FATHER. We shall not talk too loud; besides, the door is very
thick, and the Sister of Mercy is with her, and she is sure to warn us
if we are making too much noise.

THE GRANDFATHER [_pointing to the door on the right_]. He cannot hear


THE GRANDFATHER. He is asleep?

THE FATHER. I suppose so.

THE GRANDFATHER. Someone had better go and see.

THE UNCLE. The little one would cause _me_ more anxiety than your
wife. It is now several weeks since he was born, and he has scarcely
stirred. He has not cried once all the time! He is like a wax doll.

THE GRANDFATHER. I think he will be deaf--dumb too, perhaps--the usual
result of a marriage between cousins.... [_A reproving silence._]

THE FATHER. I could almost wish him ill for the suffering he has
caused his mother.

THE UNCLE. Do be reasonable; it is not the poor little thing's fault.
He is quite alone in the room?

THE FATHER. Yes; the doctor does not wish him to stay in his mother's
room any longer.

THE UNCLE. But the nurse is with him?

THE FATHER. No; she has gone to rest a little; she has well deserved
it these last few days. Ursula, just go and see if he is asleep.

THE ELDEST DAUGHTER. Yes, father. [_THE THREE SISTERS get up, and go
into the room on the right, hand in hand._]

THE FATHER. When will your sister come?

THE UNCLE. I think she will come about nine.

THE FATHER. It is past nine. I hope she will come this evening, my
wife is so anxious to see her.

THE UNCLE. She is certain to come. This will be the first time she has
been here?

THE FATHER. She has never been into the house.

THE UNCLE. It is very difficult for her to leave her convent.

THE FATHER. Will she be alone?

THE UNCLE. I expect one of the nuns will come with her. They are not
allowed to go out alone.

THE FATHER. But she is the Superior.

THE UNCLE. The rule is the same for all.

THE GRANDFATHER. Do you not feel anxious?

THE UNCLE. Why should we feel anxious? What's the good of harping on
that? There is nothing more to fear.

THE GRANDFATHER. Your sister is older than you?

THE UNCLE. She is the eldest of us all.

THE GRANDFATHER. I do not know what ails me; I feel uneasy. I wish
your sister were here.

THE UNCLE. She will come; she promised to.

THE GRANDFATHER. I wish this evening were over!

[_THE THREE DAUGHTERS come in again._]

THE FATHER. He is asleep?

THE ELDEST DAUGHTER. Yes, father; very sound.

THE UNCLE. What shall we do while we are waiting?

THE GRANDFATHER. Waiting for what?

THE UNCLE. Waiting for our sister.

THE FATHER. You see nothing coming, Ursula?

THE ELDEST DAUGHTER [_at the window_]. Nothing, father.

THE FATHER. Not in the avenue? Can you see the avenue?

THE DAUGHTER. Yes, father; it is moonlight, and I can see the avenue
as far as the cypress wood.

THE GRANDFATHER. And you do not see anyone?

THE DAUGHTER. No one, grandfather.

THE UNCLE. What sort of a night is it?

THE DAUGHTER. Very fine. Do you hear the nightingales?

THE UNCLE. Yes, yes.

THE DAUGHTER. A little wind is rising in the avenue.

THE GRANDFATHER. A little wind in the avenue?

THE DAUGHTER. Yes; the trees are trembling a little.

THE UNCLE. I am surprised that my sister is not here yet.

THE GRANDFATHER. I cannot hear the nightingales any longer.

THE DAUGHTER. I think someone has come into the garden, grandfather.


THE DAUGHTER. I do not know; I can see no one.

THE UNCLE. Because there is no one there.

THE DAUGHTER. There must be someone in the garden; the nightingales
have suddenly ceased singing.

THE GRANDFATHER. But I do not hear anyone coming.

THE DAUGHTER. Someone must be passing by the pond, because the swans
are scared.

ANOTHER DAUGHTER. All the fishes in the pond are diving suddenly.

THE FATHER. You cannot see anyone?

THE DAUGHTER. No one, father.

THE FATHER. But the pond lies in the moonlight....

THE DAUGHTER. Yes; I can see that the swans are scared.

THE UNCLE. I am sure it is my sister who is scaring them. She must
have come in by the little gate.

THE FATHER. I cannot understand why the dogs do not bark.

THE DAUGHTER. I can see the watch-dog right at the back of his kennel.
The swans are crossing to the other bank!...

THE UNCLE. They are afraid of my sister. I will go and see. [_He
calls._] Sister! sister! Is that you?... There is no one there.

THE DAUGHTER. I am sure that someone has come into the garden. You
will see.

THE UNCLE. But she would answer me!

THE GRANDFATHER. Are not the nightingales beginning to sing again,

THE DAUGHTER. I cannot hear one anywhere.

THE GRANDFATHER. And yet there is no noise.

THE FATHER. There is a silence of the grave.

THE GRANDFATHER. It must be some stranger that scares them, for if it
were one of the family they would not be silent.

THE UNCLE. How much longer are you going to discuss these

THE GRANDFATHER. Are all the windows open, Ursula?

THE DAUGHTER. The glass door is open, grandfather.

THE GRANDFATHER. It seems to me that the cold is penetrating into the

THE DAUGHTER. There is a little wind in the garden, grandfather, and
the rose-leaves are falling.

THE FATHER. Well, shut the door. It is late.

THE DAUGHTER. Yes, father.... I cannot shut the door.

THE TWO OTHER DAUGHTERS. We cannot shut the door.

THE GRANDFATHER. Why, what is the matter with the door, my children?

THE UNCLE. You need not say that in such an extraordinary voice. I
will go and help them.

THE ELDEST DAUGHTER. We cannot manage to shut it quite.

THE UNCLE. It is because of the damp. Let us all push together. There
must be something in the way.

THE FATHER. The carpenter will set it right to-morrow.

THE GRANDFATHER. Is the carpenter coming to-morrow?

THE DAUGHTER. Yes, grandfather; he is coming to do some work in the

THE GRANDFATHER. He will make a noise in the house.

THE DAUGHTER. I will tell him to work quietly. [_Suddenly the sound of
a scythe being sharpened is heard outside._]

THE GRANDFATHER [_with a shudder_]. Oh!

THE UNCLE. What is that?

THE DAUGHTER. I don't quite know; I think it is the gardener. I cannot
quite see; he is in the shadow of the house.

THE FATHER. It is the gardener going to mow.

THE UNCLE. He mows by night?

THE FATHER. Is not to-morrow Sunday?--Yes.--I noticed that the grass
was very long round the house.

THE GRANDFATHER. It seems to me that his scythe makes as much noise

THE DAUGHTER. He is mowing near the house.

THE GRANDFATHER. Can you see him, Ursula?

THE DAUGHTER. No, grandfather. He stands in the dark.

THE GRANDFATHER. I am afraid he will wake my daughter.

THE UNCLE. We can scarcely hear him.

THE GRANDFATHER. It sounds to me as if he were mowing inside the

THE UNCLE. The invalid will not hear it; there is no danger.

THE FATHER. It seems to me that the lamp is not burning well this

THE UNCLE. It wants filling.

THE FATHER. I saw it filled this morning. It has burnt badly since the
window was shut.

THE UNCLE. I fancy the chimney is dirty.

THE FATHER. It will burn better presently.

THE DAUGHTER. Grandfather is asleep. He has not slept for three

THE FATHER. He has been so much worried.

THE UNCLE. He always worries too much. At times he will not listen to

THE FATHER. It is quite excusable at his age.

THE UNCLE. God knows what we shall be like at his age!

THE FATHER. He is nearly eighty.

THE UNCLE. Then he has a right to be strange.

THE FATHER. He is like all blind people.

THE UNCLE. They think too much.

THE FATHER. They have too much time to spare.

THE UNCLE. They have nothing else to do.

THE FATHER. And, besides, they have no distractions.

THE UNCLE. That must be terrible.

THE FATHER. Apparently one gets used to it.

THE UNCLE. I cannot imagine it.

THE FATHER. They are certainly to be pitied.

THE UNCLE. Not to know where one is, not to know where one has come
from, not to know whither one is going, not to be able to distinguish
midday from midnight, or summer from winter--and always darkness,
darkness! I would rather not live. Is it absolutely incurable?

THE FATHER. Apparently so.

THE UNCLE. But he is not absolutely blind?

THE FATHER. He can perceive a strong light.

THE UNCLE. Let us take care of our poor eyes.

THE FATHER. He often has strange ideas.

THE UNCLE. At times he is not at all amusing.

THE FATHER. He says absolutely everything he thinks.

THE UNCLE. But he was not always like this?

THE FATHER. No; once he was as rational as we are; he never said
anything extraordinary. I am afraid Ursula encourages him a little too
much; she answers all his questions....

THE UNCLE. It would be better not to answer them. It's a mistaken
kindness to him. [_Ten o'clock strikes._]

THE GRANDFATHER [_waking up_]. Am I facing the glass door?

THE DAUGHTER. You have had a nice sleep, grandfather?

THE GRANDFATHER. Am I facing the glass door?

THE DAUGHTER. Yes, grandfather.

THE GRANDFATHER. There is nobody at the glass door?

THE DAUGHTER. No, grandfather; I do not see anyone.

THE GRANDFATHER. I thought someone was waiting. No one has come?

THE DAUGHTER. No one, grandfather.

THE GRANDFATHER [_to the UNCLE and FATHER_]. And your sister has not

THE UNCLE. It is too late; she will not come now. It is not nice of

THE FATHER. I'm beginning to be anxious about her. [_A noise, as of
someone coming into the house._]

THE UNCLE. She is here! Did you hear?

THE FATHER. Yes; someone has come in at the basement.

THE UNCLE. It must be our sister. I recognized her step.

THE GRANDFATHER. I heard slow footsteps.

THE FATHER. She came in very quietly.

THE UNCLE. She knows there is an invalid.

THE GRANDFATHER. I hear nothing now.

THE UNCLE. She will come up directly; they will tell her we are here.

THE FATHER. I am glad she has come.

THE UNCLE. I was sure she would come this evening.

THE GRANDFATHER. She is a very long time coming up.

THE UNCLE. However, it must be she.

THE FATHER. We are not expecting any other visitors.

THE GRANDFATHER. I cannot hear any noise in the basement.

THE FATHER. I will call the servant. We shall know how things stand.
[_He pulls a bell-rope._]

THE GRANDFATHER. I can hear a noise on the stairs already.

THE FATHER. It is the servant coming up.

THE GRANDFATHER. It sounds to me as if she were not alone.

THE FATHER. She is coming up slowly....

THE GRANDFATHER. I hear your sister's step!

THE FATHER. I can only hear the servant.

THE GRANDFATHER. It is your sister! It is your sister! [_There is a
knock at the little door._]

THE UNCLE. She is knocking at the door of the back stairs.

THE FATHER. I will go and open myself. [_He partly opens the little
door; THE SERVANT remains outside in the opening._] Where are you?

THE SERVANT. Here, sir.

THE GRANDFATHER. Your sister is at the door?

THE UNCLE. I can only see the servant.

THE FATHER. It is only the servant. [_To THE SERVANT._] Who was that,
that came into the house?

THE SERVANT. Came into the house?

THE FATHER. Yes; someone came in just now?

THE SERVANT. No one came in, sir.

THE GRANDFATHER. Who is it sighing like that?

THE UNCLE. It is the servant; she is out of breath.

THE GRANDFATHER. Is she crying?

THE UNCLE. No; why should she be crying?

THE FATHER [_to THE SERVANT_]. No one came in just now?


THE FATHER. But we heard someone open the door!

THE SERVANT. It was I shutting the door.

THE FATHER. It was open?

THE SERVANT. Yes, sir.

THE FATHER. Why was it open at this time of night?

THE SERVANT. I do not know, sir. I had shut it myself.

THE FATHER. Then who was it that opened it?

THE SERVANT. I do not know, sir. Someone must have gone out after me,

THE FATHER. You must be careful.--Don't push the door; you know what a
noise it makes!

THE SERVANT. But, sir, I am not touching the door.

THE FATHER. But you are. You are pushing as if you were trying to get
into the room.

THE SERVANT. But, sir, I am three yards away from the door.

THE FATHER. Don't talk so loud....

THE GRANDFATHER. Are they putting out the light?

THE ELDEST DAUGHTER. No, grandfather.

THE GRANDFATHER. It seems to me it has grown pitch dark all at once.

THE FATHER [_to THE SERVANT_]. You can go down again now; but do not
make so much noise on the stairs.

THE SERVANT. I did not make any noise on the stairs.

THE FATHER. I tell you that you did make a noise. Go down quietly; you
will wake your mistress. And if anyone comes now, say that we are not
at home.

THE UNCLE. Yes; say that we are not at home.

THE GRANDFATHER [_shuddering_]. You must not say that!

THE FATHER.... Except to my sister and the doctor.

THE UNCLE. When will the doctor come?

THE FATHER. He will not be able to come before midnight. [_He shuts
the door. A clock is heard striking eleven._]

THE GRANDFATHER. She has come in?



THE FATHER. No, she has gone downstairs.

THE GRANDFATHER. I thought that she was sitting at the table.

THE UNCLE. The servant?


THE UNCLE. That would complete one's happiness!

THE GRANDFATHER. No one has come into the room?

THE FATHER. No; no one has come in.

THE GRANDFATHER. And your sister is not here?

THE UNCLE. Our sister has not come.

THE GRANDFATHER. You want to deceive me.

THE UNCLE. Deceive you?

THE GRANDFATHER. Ursula, tell me the truth, for the love of God!

THE ELDEST DAUGHTER. Grandfather! Grandfather! what is the matter with

THE GRANDFATHER. Something has happened! I am sure my daughter is

THE UNCLE. Are you dreaming?

THE GRANDFATHER. You do not want to tell me!... I can see quite well
there is something....

THE UNCLE. In that case you can see better than we can.

THE GRANDFATHER. Ursula, tell me the truth!

THE DAUGHTER. But we have told you the truth, grandfather!

THE GRANDFATHER. You do not speak in your ordinary voice.

THE FATHER. That is because you frighten her.

THE GRANDFATHER. Your voice is changed too.

THE FATHER. You are going mad! [_He and THE UNCLE make signs to each
other to signify THE GRANDFATHER has lost his reason._]

THE GRANDFATHER. I can hear quite well that you are afraid.

THE FATHER. But what should we be afraid of?

THE GRANDFATHER. Why do you want to deceive me?

THE UNCLE. Who is thinking of deceiving you?

THE GRANDFATHER. Why have you put out the light?

THE UNCLE. But the light has not been put out; there is as much light
as there was before.

THE DAUGHTER. It seems to me that the lamp has gone down.

THE FATHER. I see as well now as ever.

THE GRANDFATHER. I have millstones on my eyes! Tell me, girls, what is
going on here! Tell me, for the love of God, you who can see! I am
here, all alone, in darkness without end! I do not know who seats
himself beside me! I do not know what is happening a yard from me!...
Why were you talking under your breath just now?

THE FATHER. No one was talking under his breath.

THE GRANDFATHER. You did talk in a low voice at the door.

THE FATHER. You heard all I said.

THE GRANDFATHER. You brought someone into the room!...

THE FATHER. But I tell you no one has come in!

THE GRANDFATHER. Is it your sister or a priest?--You should not try to
deceive me.--Ursula, who was it that came in?

THE DAUGHTER. No one, grandfather.

THE GRANDFATHER. You must not try to deceive me; I know what I
know.--How many of us are there here?

THE DAUGHTER. There are six of us round the table, grandfather.

THE GRANDFATHER. You are all round the table?

THE DAUGHTER. Yes, grandfather.

THE GRANDFATHER. You are there, Paul?


THE GRANDFATHER. You are there, Oliver?

THE UNCLE. Yes, of course I am here, in my usual place. That's not
alarming, is it?

THE GRANDFATHER. You are there, Geneviève?

ONE OF THE DAUGHTERS. Yes, grandfather.

THE GRANDFATHER. You are there, Gertrude?

ANOTHER DAUGHTER. Yes, grandfather.

THE GRANDFATHER. You are here, Ursula?

THE ELDEST DAUGHTER. Yes, grandfather; next to you.

THE GRANDFATHER. And who is that sitting there?

THE DAUGHTER. Where do you mean, grandfather?--There is no one.

THE GRANDFATHER. There, there--in the midst of us!

THE DAUGHTER. But there is no one, grandfather!

THE FATHER. We tell you there is no one!

THE GRANDFATHER. But you cannot see--any of you!

THE UNCLE. Pshaw! You are joking?

THE GRANDFATHER. I do not feel inclined for joking, I can assure you.

THE UNCLE. Then believe those who can see.

THE GRANDFATHER [_undecidedly_]. I thought there was someone.... I
believe I shall not live long....

THE UNCLE. Why should we deceive you? What use would there be in that?

THE FATHER. It would be our duty to tell you the truth....

THE UNCLE. What would be the good of deceiving each other?

THE FATHER. You could not live in error long.

THE GRANDFATHER [_trying to rise_]. I should like to pierce this

THE FATHER. Where do you want to go?

THE GRANDFATHER. Over there....

THE FATHER. Don't be so anxious....

THE UNCLE. You are strange this evening.

THE GRANDFATHER. It is all of you who seem to me to be strange!

THE FATHER. Do you want anything?...

THE GRANDFATHER. I do not know what ails me.

THE ELDEST DAUGHTER. Grandfather! grandfather! What do you want,

THE GRANDFATHER. Give me your little hands, my children.

THE THREE DAUGHTERS. Yes, grandfather.

THE GRANDFATHER. Why are you all three trembling, girls?

THE ELDEST DAUGHTER. We are scarcely trembling at all, grandfather.

THE GRANDFATHER. I fancy you are all three pale.

THE ELDEST DAUGHTER. It is late, grandfather, and we are tired.

THE FATHER. You must go to bed, and grandfather himself would do well
to take a little rest.

THE GRANDFATHER. I could not sleep to-night!

THE UNCLE. We will wait for the doctor.

THE GRANDFATHER. Prepare me for the truth.

THE UNCLE. But there is no truth!

THE GRANDFATHER. Then I do not know what there is!

THE UNCLE. I tell you there is nothing at all!

THE GRANDFATHER. I wish I could see my poor daughter!

THE FATHER. But you know quite well it is impossible; she must not be
awaked unnecessarily.

THE UNCLE. You will see her to-morrow.

THE GRANDFATHER. There is no sound in her room.

THE UNCLE. I should be uneasy if I heard any sound.

THE GRANDFATHER. It is a very long time since I saw my daughter!... I
took her hands yesterday evening, but I could not see her!... I do not
know what has become of her!... I do not know how she is.... I do not
know what her face is like now.... She must have changed these
weeks!... I felt the little bones of her cheeks under my hands....
There is nothing but the darkness between her and me, and the rest of
you!... I cannot go on living like this ... this is not living.... You
sit there, all of you, looking with open eyes at my dead eyes, and not
one of you has pity on me!... I do not know what ails me.... No one
tells me what ought to be told me.... And everything is terrifying
when one's dreams dwell upon it.... But why are you not speaking?

THE UNCLE. What should we say, since you will not believe us?

THE GRANDFATHER. You are afraid of betraying yourselves!

THE FATHER. Come now, be rational!

THE GRANDFATHER. You have been hiding something from me for a long
time!... Something has happened in the house.... But I am beginning to
understand now.... You have been deceiving me too long!--You fancy
that I shall never know anything?--There are moments when I am less
blind than you, you know!... Do you think I have not heard you
whispering--for days and days--as if you were in the house of someone
who had been hanged--I dare not say what I know this evening.... But I
shall know the truth!... I shall wait for you to tell me the truth;
but I have known it for a long time, in spite of you!--And now, I feel
that you are all paler than the dead!

THE THREE DAUGHTERS. Grandfather! grandfather! What is the matter,

THE GRANDFATHER. It is not you that I am speaking of, girls. No, it is
not you that I am speaking of.... I know quite well you would tell me
the truth--if they were not by! ... And besides, I feel sure that
they are deceiving you as well.... You will see, children--you will
see!... Do not I hear you all sobbing?

THE FATHER. Is my wife really so ill?

THE GRANDFATHER. It is no good trying to deceive me any longer; it is
too late now, and I know the truth better than you!...

THE UNCLE. But _we_ are not blind; we are not.

THE FATHER. Would you like to go into your daughter's room? This
misunderstanding must be put an end to.--Would you?

THE GRANDFATHER [_becoming suddenly undecided_]. No, no, not now--not

THE UNCLE. You see, you are not reasonable.

THE GRANDFATHER. One never knows how much a man has been unable to
express in his life!... Who made that noise?

THE ELDEST DAUGHTER. It is the lamp flickering, grandfather.

THE GRANDFATHER. It seems to me to be very unsteady--very!

THE DAUGHTER. It is the cold wind troubling it....

THE UNCLE. There is no cold wind, the windows are shut.

THE DAUGHTER. I think it is going out.

THE FATHER. There is no more oil.

THE DAUGHTER. It has gone right out.

THE FATHER. We cannot stay like this in the dark.

THE UNCLE. Why not?--I am quite accustomed to it.

THE FATHER. There is a light in my wife's room.

THE UNCLE. We will take it from there presently, when the doctor has

THE FATHER. Well, we can see enough here; there is the light from

THE GRANDFATHER. Is it light outside?

THE FATHER. Lighter than here.

THE UNCLE. For my part, I would as soon talk in the dark.

THE FATHER. So would I. [_Silence._]

THE GRANDFATHER. It seems to me the clock makes a great deal of

THE ELDEST DAUGHTER. That is because we are not talking any more,

THE GRANDFATHER. But why are you all silent?

THE UNCLE. What do you want us to talk about?--You are really very
peculiar to-night.

THE GRANDFATHER. Is it very dark in this room?

THE UNCLE. There is not much light. [_Silence._]

THE GRANDFATHER. I do not feel well, Ursula; open the window a little.

THE FATHER. Yes, child; open the window a little. I begin to feel the
want of air myself. [_The girl opens the window._]

THE UNCLE. I really believe we have stayed shut up too long.

THE GRANDFATHER. Is the window open?

THE DAUGHTER. Yes, grandfather; it is wide open.

THE GRANDFATHER. One would not have thought it was open; there is not
a sound outside.

THE DAUGHTER. No, grandfather; there is not the slightest sound.

THE FATHER. The silence is extraordinary!

THE DAUGHTER. One could hear an angel tread!

THE UNCLE. That is why I do not like the country.

THE GRANDFATHER. I wish I could hear some sound. What o'clock is it,

THE DAUGHTER. It will soon be midnight, grandfather. [_Here THE UNCLE
begins to pace up and down the room._]

THE GRANDFATHER. Who is that walking round us like that?

THE UNCLE. Only I! only I! Do not be frightened! I want to walk about
a little. [_Silence._]--But I am going to sit down again;--I cannot
see where I am going. [_Silence._]

THE GRANDFATHER. I wish I were out of this place!

THE DAUGHTER. Where would you like to go, grandfather?

THE GRANDFATHER. I do not know where--into another room, no matter
where! no matter where!

THE FATHER. Where could we go?

THE UNCLE. It is too late to go anywhere else. [_Silence. They are
sitting, motionless, round the table._]

THE GRANDFATHER. What is that I hear, Ursula?

THE DAUGHTER. Nothing, grandfather; it is the leaves falling.--Yes, it
is the leaves falling on the terrace.

THE GRANDFATHER. Go and shut the window, Ursula.

THE DAUGHTER. Yes, grandfather. [_She shuts the window, comes back,
and sits down._]

THE GRANDFATHER. I am cold. [_Silence. THE THREE SISTERS kiss each
other._] What is that I hear now?

THE FATHER. It is the three sisters kissing each other.

THE UNCLE. It seems to me they are very pale this evening.

THE GRANDFATHER. What is that I hear now, Ursula?

THE DAUGHTER. Nothing, grandfather; it is the clasping of my hands.


THE DAUGHTER. I do not know, grandfather ... perhaps my sisters are
trembling a little?...

THE GRANDFATHER. I am afraid, too, my children. [_Here a ray of
moonlight penetrates through a corner of the stained glass, and throws
strange gleams here and there in the room. A clock strikes midnight;
at the last stroke there is a very vague sound, as of someone rising
in haste._]

THE GRANDFATHER [_shuddering with peculiar horror_]. Who is that who
got up?

THE UNCLE. No one got up!

THE FATHER. I did not get up!


THE GRANDFATHER. Someone got up from the table!

THE UNCLE. Light the lamp!... [_Cries of terror are suddenly heard
from the child's room, on the right; these cries continue, with
gradations of horror, until the end of the scene._]

THE FATHER. Listen to the child!

THE UNCLE. He has never cried before!

THE FATHER. Let us go and see him!

THE UNCLE. The light! The light! [_At this moment, quick and heavy
steps are heard in the room on the left.--Then a deathly
silence.--They listen in mute terror, until the door of the room opens
slowly, the light from it is cast into the room where they are
sitting, and the Sister of Mercy appears on the threshold, in her
black garments, and bows as she makes the sign of the cross, to
announce the death of the wife. They understand, and, after a moment
of hesitation and fright, silently enter the chamber of death, while
THE UNCLE politely steps aside on the threshold to let the three girls
pass. The blind man, left alone, gets up, agitated, and feels his way
round the table in the darkness._]

THE GRANDFATHER. Where are you going?--Where are you going?--The girls
have left me all alone!





         [Footnote 53: Copyright, 1917, by Josephine Preston Peabody.
         This play is fully protected under the Copyright law of the
         United States and is subject to royalty when produced by
         amateurs or professionals. Applications for the right to
         produce _Fortune and Men's Eyes_ should be made to Samuel
         French, 28 West 38 Street, New York. All rights reserved.]

Josephine Preston Peabody (Mrs. Lionel S. Marks) was born in New York
on May 30, 1874. She attended the Girls' Latin School in Boston and
later went to Radcliffe College. From 1901 to 1903 she taught English
literature at Wellesley College. Her verse, dramatic and lyric, has
made her an outstanding figure in American letters.

_Fortune and Men's Eyes_ (1900), the first of her published plays, is
written in blank verse. _Marlowe_, likewise a study of a great
Elizabethan, _The Wings_, the setting of which is early English, _The
Piper_, a new version of the medieval legend made famous by Browning,
and _The Wolf of Gubbio_, dominated by the lovely figure of St.
Francis of Assisi, are also poetic dramas. Her best known play, _The
Piper_, was awarded the first prize in 1910 in the Stratford-on-Avon
competition in which there were three hundred and fifteen contestants.
It was then produced at the Memorial Theatre at Stratford.

In recent years two playwrights have consulted Shakespeare's sonnets
for dramatic themes; first, Josephine Preston Peabody found in them a
motive for her poetic play, _Fortune and Men's Eyes_, and later George
Bernard Shaw turned them to dramatic account, in his own fashion, in
_The Dark Lady of the Sonnets_. The dramatic situation chosen for
_Fortune and Men's Eyes_ has been read by some Shakespearian scholars
into the familiar dedication of the 1609 edition of the Sonnets, which
runs: "To the only begetter of these ensuing sonnets Mr. W. H. all
happiness and that eternity promised by our ever-living poet wisheth
the well-wishing adventurer in setting forth T. T." The last initials
stand for the name of the publisher, Thomas Thorpe. "Begetter" has
been variously interpreted as inspirer of the Sonnets or as partner in
the commercial enterprise of their publication. "Mr. W. H." has been
more usually identified with William Herbert, earl of Pembroke, though
some have thought that the initials were inverted and referred to
Henry Wriothesly, earl of Southampton, to whom Shakespeare's other
poems were dedicated. If W. H. does refer to the earl of Pembroke, it
is usually held that the "dark lady" is in reality the blond Mistress
Mary Fytton, whose name was coupled with Pembroke's. Whether the
sonnets are in any sense at all autobiographical has also been
endlessly debated. It was admittedly an age when every poet tried his
hand at sonnet sequences and in all these sequences, not excepting
Shakespeare's, there are to be found the same conventional conceits.
But it is generally believed now that the sonnets of Spenser and
Sidney refer to the personal experiences of their authors. It is quite
possible, then, that Shakespeare, too, may have used a literary
convention as a means of personal expression, though it seems
impertinent in any case to question the feeling back of "When in
disgrace with fortune and men's eyes." This brief reference to
conflicting interpretations of the Sonnets shows how material of
dramatic value may lurk even in the purlieus of textual criticism.

Josephine Preston Peabody herself says: "The play was written after
long worship of the W. S. Sonnets, as a method of introspection, to
satisfy my own curiosity concerning the truth of the sonnet theories.
In spite of recurrent threats, by one actor after another, it has
never yet been produced on the professional stage. But it has been
read and recommended for reading, in various colleges, as a picture of
Elizabethan times, and as an interpretation of the Pembroke-Fytton
aspect of the sonnet story."


  _"When in disgrace with Fortune and men's eyes" ..._

                                           Sonnet xxix.


  WILLIAM HERBERT, _son of the Earl of Pembroke._
  SIMEON DYER, _a Puritan._
  TOBIAS, _host of "The Bear and The Angel."_
  WAT BURROW, _a bear-ward._
  DICKON, _a little boy, son to TOBIAS._
  CHIFFIN, _a ballad-monger._

  A PLAYER, _master W. S. of the Lord Chamberlain's Company._

  MISTRESS MARY FYTTON, _a maid-of-honor to Queen Elizabeth._
  MISTRESS ANNE HUGHES, _also of the Court._

_Time represented: An afternoon in the autumn of the year 1599._

_SCENE._--_Interior of "The Bear and the Angel," South London. At
back, the center entrance gives on a short alley-walk which joins the
street beyond at a right angle. To right and left of this doorway,
casements. Down, on the right, a door opening upon the inn-garden; a
second door on the right, up, leading to a tap-room. Opposite this,
left, a door leading into a buttery. Opposite the garden-door, a large
chimney-piece with a smoldering wood-fire. A few seats; a lantern
(unlighted) in a corner. In the foreground, to the right, a long and
narrow table with several mugs of ale upon it, also a lute._

_At one end of the table WAT BURROW is finishing his ale and holding
forth to the PRENTICE (who thrums the lute) and a group of taverners,
some smoking. At the further end of the table SIMEON DYER observes
all with grave curiosity. TOBIAS and DICKON draw near. General noise._

  PRENTICE [_singing_].
  _What do I give for the Pope and his riches!
  I's my ale and my Sunday breeches;
  I's an old master, I's a young lass,
  And we'll eat green goose, come Martinmas!
          Sing Rowdy Dowdy,
          Look ye don't crowd me
          I's a good club,
                      --So let me pass!_

  Again! again!

  PRENTICE.       _Sing Rowdy--_

  WAT [_finishing his beer_]. Swallow it down.
  Sling all such froth and follow me to the Bear!
  They stay for me, lined up to see us pass
  From end to end o' the alley. Ho! You doubt?
  From Lambeth to the Bridge!

  TAVERNERS. }     {'Tis so; ay.
  PRENTICES. }     {Come, follow! Come.

  WAT.         Greg's stuck his ears
  With nosegays, and his chain is wound about
  Like any May-pole. What? I tell ye, boys,
  Ye have seen no such bear, a Bear o' Bears,
  Fit to bite off the prophet, in the show,
  With seventy such boys!
  [_Pulling DICKON's ear_]. Bears, say you, bears?
  Why, Rursus Major, as your scholars tell,
  A royal bear, the greatest in his day,
  The sport of Alexander, unto Nick--
  Was a ewe-lamb, dyed black; no worse, no worse.
  To-morrow come and see him with the dogs;
  He'll not give way,--not he!

  DICKON.             To-morrow's Thursday!
  To-morrow's Thursday!

  PRENTICE.    Will ye lead by here?

  Ay, that would be a sight. Wat, man, this way!

  Ho, would you squinch us? Why, there be a press
  O' gentry by this tide to measure Nick
  And lay their wagers, at a blink of him,
  Against to-morrow! Why, the stairs be full.
  To-morrow you shall see the Bridge a-creak,
  The river--dry with barges,--London gape,
  Gape! While the Borough buzzes like a hive
  With all their worships! Sirs, the fame o' Nick
  Has so pluckt out the gentry by the sleeve,
  'Tis said the Queen would see him.

  TOBIAS. }     {Ay, 'tis grand.
  DICKON. }     {O-oh, the Queen?

  How now? Thou art no man to lead a bear,
  Forgetting both his quality and hers!
  Drink all; come, drink to her.

  TOBIAS.               Ay, now.

  WAT.                          To her!--
  And harkee, boy, this saying will serve you learn:
  "The Queen, her high and glorious majesty!"

  SIMEON [_gravely_].
  Long live the Queen!

  WAT.       Maker of golden laws
  For baitings! She that cherishes the Borough
  And shines upon our pastimes. By the mass!
  Thank her for the crowd to-morrow. But for her,
  We were a homesick handful of brave souls
  That love the royal sport. These mouthing players,
  These hookers, would 'a' spoiled us of our beer--

  Lying by to catch the gentry at the stairs,--
  All pressing to Bear Alley--

  WAT.                Run 'em in
  At stage-plays and show-fooleries on the way.
  Stage-plays, with their tart nonsense and their flags,
  Their "Tamerlanes" and "Humors" and what not!
  My life on't, there was not a man of us
  But fared his Lent, by reason of their fatness,
  And on a holiday ate not at all!

  TOBIAS [_solemnly_].
  'Tis so; 'tis so.

  WAT.     But when she heard it told
  How lean the sport was grown, she damns stage-plays
  O' Thursday. So: Nick gets his turn to growl!

  As well as any player.
  [_With a dumb show of ranting among the TAVERNERS._]

  WAT.          Players?--Hang them!
  I know 'em, I. I've been with 'em.... I was
  As sweet a gentlewoman in my voice
  As any of your finches that sings small.

  TOBIAS.                         'Twas high.

[_Enter THE PLAYER, followed by CHIFFIN, the ballad-monger. He is
abstracted and weary._]

  WAT [_lingering at the table_].
  I say, I've played.... There's not one man
  Of all the gang--save one.... Ay, there be one
  I grant you, now!... He used me in right sort;
  A man worth better trades.

[_Seeing THE PLAYER._]

                             --Lord love you, sir!
  Why, this is you indeed. 'Tis a long day, sir,
  Since I clapped eyes on you. But even now
  Your name was on my tongue as pat as ale!
  You see me off. We bait to-morrow, sir;
  Will you come see? Nick's fresh, and every soul
  As hot to see the fight as 'twere to be--
  Man Daniel, baited with the lions!

  TOBIAS.                   Sir,
  'Tis high ... 'tis high.

  WAT.            We show him in the street
  With dogs and all, ay, now, if you will see.

  Why, so I will. A show and I not there?
  Bear it out bravely, Wat. High fortune, man!
  Commend me to thy bear.

[_Drinks and passes him the cup._]

  WAT.            Lord love you, sir!
  'Twas ever so you gave a man godspeed....
  And yet your spirits flag; you look but palely.
  I'll take your kindness, thank ye.

[_Turning away._]

                                     In good time!
  Come after me and Nick, now. Follow all;
  Come boys, come, pack!

[_Exit WAT, still descanting. Exeunt most of the TAVERNERS, with the
PRENTICE. SIMEON DYER draws near THE PLAYER, regarding him gravely.
CHIFFIN sells ballads to those who go out. DICKON is about to follow
them, when TOBIAS stops him._]

  What? Not so fast, you there;
  Who gave you holiday? Bide by the inn;
  Tend on our gentry.

[_Exit after the crowd._]

  CHIFFIN.   Ballads, gentlemen?
  Ballads, new ballads?

  With your pardon, sir,
  I am gratified to note your abstinence
  From this deplorable fond merriment
  Of baiting of a bear.

  THE PLAYER.   Your friendship then
  Takes pleasure in the heaviness of my legs.
  But I am weary I would see the bear.
  Nay, rest you happy; malt shall comfort us.

  You do mistake me. I am--

  CHIFFIN.         Ballad, sir?
  "How a Young Spark would Woo a Tanner's Wife,
  And She Sings Sweet in Turn."

  SIMEON [_indignantly_].
                                Abandoned poet!

  CHIFFIN [_indignantly_].
  I'm no such thing! An honest ballad, sir,
  No poetry at all.

  Good, sell thy wares.

  "A Ballad of a Virtuous Country-Maid
  Forswears the Follies of the Flaunting Town"--
  And tends her geese all day, and weds a vicar.

  A godlier tale, in sooth. But speak, my man;
  If she be virtuous, and the tale a true one,
  Can she not do't in prose?

  THE PLAYER.       Beseech her, man.
  'Tis scandal she should use a measure so.
  For no more sin than dealing out false measure
  Was Dame Sapphira slain.

  SIMEON.         You are with me, sir;
  Although methinks you do mistake the sense
  O' that you have read.... This jigging, jog-trot rime,
  This ring-me-round, debaseth mind and matter,
  To make the reason giddy--

                             Ballad, sir?
  "Hear All!" A fine brave ballad of a Fish
  Just caught off Dover; nay, a one-eyed fish,
  With teeth in double rows.

  THE PLAYER.       Nay, nay, go to.

  "My Fortune's Folly," then; or "The True Tale
  Of an Angry Gull;" or "Cherries Like Me Best."
  "Black Sheep, or How a Cut-Purse Robbed His Mother;"
  "The Prentice and the Dell!"... "Plays Play not Fair,"
  Or how a _gentlewoman's_ heart was took
  By a player that was king in a stage-play....
  "The Merry Salutation," "How a Spark
  Would Woo a Tanner's Wife!" "The Direful Fish"--
  Cock's passion, sir! not buy a cleanly ballad
  Of the great fish, late ta'en off Dover coast,
  Having two heads and teeth in double rows....
  Salt fish catched in fresh water?...
                                       'Od's my life!
  What if or salt or fresh? A prodigy!
  A ballad like "Hear All!" And me and mine,
  Five children and a wife would bait the devil,
  May lap the water out o' Lambeth Marsh
  Before he'll buy a ballad. My poor wife,
  That lies a-weeping for a tansy-cake!
  Body o' me, shall I scent ale again?

  Why, here's persuasion; logic, arguments.
  Nay, not the ballad. Read for thine own joy.
  I doubt not but it stretches, honest length,
  From Maid Lane to the Bridge and so across.
  But for thy length of thirst--

[_Giving him a coin._]

                                 That touches near.

  CHIFFIN [_apart_].
  A vagrom player, would not buy a tale
  O' the Great Fish with the twy rows o' teeth!
  Learn you to read! [_Exit._]

  Thou seemest, sir, from that I have overheard,
  A man, as one should grant, beyond thy calling....
  I would I might assure thee of the way,
  To urge thee quit this painted infamy.
  There may be time, seeing thou art still young,
  To pluck thee from the burning. How are ye 'stroyed,
  Ye foolish grasshoppers! Cut off, forgotten,
  When moth and rust corrupt your flaunting shows,
  The Earth shall have no memory of your name!

  Pray you, what's yours?

  SIMEON. I am called Simeon Dyer.

[_There is the sudden uproar of a crowd in the distance. It continues
at intervals for some time._]

                    }   Hey, lads?
  PRENTICES.        }   Some noise beyond: Come, cudgels, come!
                    }   Come on, come on, I'm for it.

[_Exeunt all but THE PLAYER, SIMEON, and DICKON._]

  Something untoward, without: or is it rather
  The tumult of some uproar incident
  To this ... vicinity?

  THE PLAYER. It is an uproar
  Most incident to bears.

  DICKON.        I would I knew!

  THE PLAYER [_holding him off at arm's length_].
  Hey, boy? We would have tidings of the bear:
  Go thou, I'll be thy surety. Mark him well.
  Omit no fact; I would have all of it:
  What manner o' bear he is,--how bears himself;
  Number and pattern of ears, and eyes what hue;
  His voice and fashion o' coat. Nay, come not back,
  Till thou hast all. Skip, sirrah!

[_Exit DICKON._]

  SIMEON.                  Think, fair sir.
  Take this new word of mine to be a seed
  Of thought in that neglected garden plot,
  Thy mind, thy worthier part. But think!

  THE PLAYER.                    Why, so;
  Thou hast some right, friend; now and then it serves.
  Sometimes I have thought, and even now sometimes,
  ... I think.

  SIMEON [_benevolently_]. Heaven ripen thought unto an harvest!

[THE PLAYER _rises, stretches his arms, and paces the floor,

  THE PLAYER [_alone_].
  Some quiet now.... Why should I thirst for it
  As if my thoughts were noble company?
  Alone with the one man of all living men
  I have least cause to honor....
                                  I'm no lover,
  That seek to be alone!... She is too false--
  At last, to keep a spaniel's loyalty.
  I do believe it. And by my own soul,
  She shall not have me, what remains of me
  That may be beaten back into the ranks.
  I will not look upon her.... Bitter Sweet.
  This fever that torments me day by day--
  Call it not love--this servitude, this spell
  That haunts me like a sick man's fantasy,
  With pleading of her eyes, her voice, her eyes--
  It shall not have me. I am too much stained:
  But, God or no God, yet I do not live
  And have to bear my own soul company,
  To have it stoop so low. She looks on Herbert.
  Oh, I have seen. But he,--he must withstand.
  He knows that I have suffered,--suffer still--
  Although I love her not. Her ways, her ways--
  It is her ways that eat into the heart
  With beauty more than Beauty; and her voice
  That silvers o'er the meaning of her speech
  Like moonshine on black waters. Ah, uncoil!...
  He's the sure morning after this dark dream;
  Clear daylight and west wind of a lad's love;
  With all his golden pride, for my dull hours,
  Still climbing sunward! Sink all loves in him!
  And cleanse me of this cursèd, fell distrust
  That marks the pestilence....
                                _'Fair, kind, and true.'_
  Lad, lad. How could I turn from friendliness
  To worship such false gods?--
  There cannot thrive a greater love than this,
  'Fair, kind, and true.' And yet, if She were true
  To me, though false to all things else;--one truth,
  So one truth lived--. One truth! O beggared soul
  --Foul Lazarus, so starved it can make shift
  To feed on crumbs of honor!--Am I this?

[_Enter ANNE HUGHES. She has been running in evident terror, and
stands against the door looking about her._]

  Are you the inn-keeper?

[_THE PLAYER turns and bows courteously._]

                         Nay, sir, your pardon.
  I saw you not... And yet your face, methinks,
  But--yes, I'm sure....
                         But where's the inn-keeper?
  I know not where I am, nor where to go.

  Madam, it is my fortune that I may
  Procure you service. [_Going towards the door. The uproar
  sounds nearer._]

  ANNE.              Nay! what if the bear--

  The bear?

  The door! The bear is broken loose.
  Did you not hear? I scarce could make my way
  Through that rank crowd, in search of some safe place.
  You smile, sir! But you had not seen the bear,--
  Nor I, this morning. Pray you, hear me out,--
  For surely you are gentler than the place.
  I came ... I came by water ... to the Garden,
  Alone, ... from bravery, to see the show
  And tell of it hereafter at the Court!
  There's one of us makes count of all such 'scapes
  ('Tis Mistress Fytton). She will ever tell
  The sport it is to see the people's games
  Among themselves,--to go _incognita_
  And take all as it is not for the Queen,
  Gallants and rabble! But by Banbury Cross,
  I am of tamer mettle!--All alone,
  Among ten thousand noisy watermen;
  And then the foul ways leading from the Stair;
  And then ... no friends I knew, nay, not a face.
  And my dear nose beset, and my pomander
  Lost in the rout,--or else a cut-purse had it:
  And then the bear breaks loose! Oh, 'tis a day
  Full of vexations, nay, and dangers too.
  I would I had been slower to outdo
  The pranks of Mary Fytton.... You know her, sir?

  If one of my plain calling may be said
  To know a maid-of-honor. [_More lightly._] And yet more:
  My heart has cause to know the lady's face.

  ANNE [_blankly_].
  Why, so it is.... Is't not a marvel, sir,
  The way she hath? Truly, her voice is good....
  And yet,--but oh, she charms; I hear it said.
  A winsome gentlewoman, of a wit, too.
  We are great fellows; she tells me all she does;
  And, sooth, I listen till my ears be like
  To grow for wonder. Whence my 'scape, to-day!
  Oh, she hath daring for the pastimes here;
  I would--change looks with her, to have her spirit!
  Indeed, they say she charms Someone, by this.


  ANNE.   Hast heard?
  Why sure my Lord of Herbert.
  Ay, Pembroke's son. But there I doubt,--I doubt.
  He is an eagle will not stoop for less
  Than kingly prey. No bird-lime takes him.

  THE PLAYER.                      Herbert....
  He hath shown many favors to us players.

  Ah, now I have you!

  THE PLAYER. Surely, gracious madam;
  My duty; ... what besides?

  ANNE.             This face of yours.
  'Twas in some play, belike. [_Apart._] ... I took him for
  A man it should advantage me to know!
  And he's a proper man enough.... Ay me!

[_When she speaks to him again it is with encouraging condescension._]

  Surely you've been at Whitehall, Master Player?

  THE PLAYER [_bowing_].

  ANNE. And how oft? And when?

  THE PLAYER.                  Last Christmas tide;
  And Twelfth Day eve, perchance. Your memory
  Freshens a dusty past.... The hubbub's over.
  Shall I look forth and find some trusty boy
  To attend you to the river?

  ANNE.              I thank you, sir.

[_He goes to the door and steps out into the alley, looking up and
down. The noise in the distance springs up again._]

  [_Apart._] 'Tis not past sufferance. Marry, I could stay
  Some moments longer, till the streets be safe.
  Sir, sir!

  THE PLAYER [_returning_].
  Command me, madam.

  ANNE.     I will wait
  A little longer, lest I meet once more
  That ruffian mob or any of the dogs.
  These sports are better seen from balconies.

  Will you step hither? There's an arbored walk
  Sheltered and safe. Should they come by again,
  You may see all, an't like you, and be hid.

  A garden there? Come, you shall show it me.

[_They go out into the garden on the right, leaving the door shut.
Immediately enter, in great haste, MARY FYTTON and WILLIAM HERBERT,
followed by DICKON, who looks about and, seeing no one, goes to
setting things in order._]

  Quick, quick!... She must have seen me. Those big eyes,
  How could they miss me, peering as she was
  For some familiar face? She would have known,
  Even before my mask was jostled off
  In that wild rabble ... bears and bearish men.

  Why would you have me bring you?

  MARY.                   Why? Ah, why!
  Sooth, once I had a reason: now 'tis lost,--
  Lost! Lost! Call out the bell-man.

  DICKON [_seriously_]. Shall I so?

  Nay, nay; that were a merriment indeed,
  To cry us through the streets! [_To MARY._] You riddling charm.

  A riddle, yet? You almost love me, then.


  Because you cannot understand.
  Alas, when all's unriddled, the charm goes.

  Come, you're not melancholy?

  MARY.               Nay, are you?
  But should Nan Hughes have seen us, and spoiled all--

  How could she so?

  MARY.       I know not ... yet I know
  If she had met us, she could steal To-day,
  Golden To-day.

  HERBERT. A kiss; and so forget her.

  Hush, hush,--the tavern-boy there.
  [_To DICKON._]        Tell me, boy,--
  [_To HERBERT._]   Some errand, now; a roc's egg!
  Strike thy wit.

  What is't you miss? Why, so. The lady's lost
  A very curious reason, wrought about
  With diverse broidery.

  MARY.         Nay, 'twas a mask.

  A mask, arch-wit? Why will you mock yourself
  And all your fine deceits? Your mask, your reason,
  Your reason with a mask!

  MARY.           You are too merry.
  [_To DICKON._] A mask it is, and muffler finely wrought
  With little amber points all hung like bells.
  I lost it as I came, somewhere....

  HERBERT.                  Somewhere
  Between the Paris Gardens and the Bridge.

  Or below Bridge--or haply in the Thames!

  No matter where, so you do bring it back.
  Fly, Mercury! Here's feathers for thy heels. [_Giving coin._]

  MARY [_aside_].
  Weights, weights! [_Exit DICKON._]

[_HERBERT looks about him, opens the door of the taproom, grows
troubled. She watches him with dissatisfaction, seeming to warm her
feet by the fire meanwhile._]

  HERBERT [_apart_].
  I know this place. We used to come
  Together, he and I ...

  MARY [_apart_]. Forgot again.
  O the capricious tides, the hateful calms,
  And the too eager ship that would be gone
  Adventuring against uncertain winds,
  For some new, utmost sight of Happy Isles!
  Becalmed,--becalmed ... But I will break this calm.

[_She sees the lute on the table, crosses and takes it up, running her
fingers over the strings very softly. She sits._]

  Ah, mermaid, is it you?

  MARY.          Did you sail far?

  Not I; no, sooth. [_Crossing to her._]
                                Mermaid, I would not think.
  But you--

  I think not. I remember nothing.
  There's nothing in the world but you and me;
  All else is dust. Thou shalt not question me;
  Or if,--but as a sphinx in woman-shape:
  And when thou fail'st at answer, I shall turn,
  And rend thy heart and cast thee from the cliff.

[_She leans her head back against him, and he kisses her._]

  So perish all who guess not what I am!...
  Oh, but I know you: you are April-Days.
  Nothing is sure, but all is beautiful!

[_She runs her fingers up the strings, one by one, and listens,
speaking to the lute._]

  Is it not so? Come, answer. Is it true?
  Speak, sweeting, since I love thee best of late,
  And have forsook my virginals for thee.
  _All's beautiful indeed and all unsure?_
  _"Ay"_ ... (Did you hear?) _He's fair and faithless? "Ay."_
  [_Speaking with the lute._]

  Poor oracle, with only one reply!--
  Wherein 'tis unlike thee.

  MARY.            _Can he love aught
  So well as his own image in the brook,
  Having once seen it?_

  HERBERT.        Ay!

  MARY.               The lute saith "_No."_ ...
  O dullard! Here were tidings, would you mark.
  What said I? _Oracle, can he love aught
  So dear as his own image in the brook,
  Having once looked_?... No, truly.
  [_With sudden abandon._]         Nor can I!

  O leave this game of words, you thousand-tongued.
  Sing, sing to me. So shall I be all yours
  Forever;--or at least till you be mute!...
  I used to wonder he should be thy slave:
  I wonder now no more. Your ways are wonders;
  You have a charm to make a man forget
  His past and yours, and everything but you.

  MARY [_speaking_].
  _"When daisies pied and violets blue
    And lady-smocks all silver-white"_--
  How now?

  "How now?" That song ... thou wilt sing that?

  Marry, what mars the song?

  HERBERT.          Have you forgot
  Who made it?

  MARY. Soft, what idleness! So fine?
  So rude? And bid me sing! You get but silence;
  Or, if I sing,--beshrew me, it shall be
  A dole of song, a little starveling breath
  As near to silence as a song can be.

[_She sings under-breath, fantastically._]

  _Say how many kisses be
  Lent and lost twixt you and me?
  'Can I tell when they begun?'
  Nay, but this were prodigal:
  Let us learn to count withal.
  Since no ending is to spending,
  Sum our riches, one by one.
  'You shall keep the reckoning,
  Count each kiss while I do sing.'_

  Oh, not these little wounds. You vex my heart;
  Heal it again with singing,--come, sweet, come.
  Into the garden! None shall trouble us.
  This place has memories and conscience too:
  Drown all, my mermaid. Wind them in your hair
  And drown them, drown them all.

[_He swings open the garden-door for her. At the same moment ANNE's
voice is heard approaching._]

  ANNE [_without_]. Some music there?

  Perdition! Quick--behind me, love.

[_Swinging the door shut again, and looking through the crack._]

  'Tis she--
  Nan Hughes, 'tis she! How came she here? By heaven,
  She crosses us to-day. Nan Hughes lights here
  In a Bank tavern! Nay, I'll not be seen.
  Sooner or later it must mean the wreck
  Of both ... should the Queen know.

  HERBERT.                  The spite of chance!
  She talks with someone in the arbor there
  Whose face I see not. Come, here's doors at least.

[_They cross hastily. MARY opens the door on the left and looks

  Too thick.... I shall be penned. But guard you this
  And tell me when they're gone. Stay, stay;--mend all.
  If she have seen me,--swear it was not I.
  Heaven speed her home, with her new body-guard!

[_Exit, closing door. HERBERT looks out into the garden._]

  By all accursèd chances,--none but he!

[_Retires up to stand beside the door, looking out of casement.
Re-enter from the garden, ANNE, followed by THE PLAYER._]

  No, 'twas some magic in my ears, I think.
  There's no one here. [_Seeing HERBERT._]
                            But yes, there's someone here:--
  The inn-keeper. Are you--
                            Saint Catherine's bones!
  My Lord of Herbert. Sir, you could not look
  More opportune. But for this gentleman--

  HERBERT [_bowing_].
  My friend, this long time since,--

  Marry, your friend?

  THE PLAYER [_regarding HERBERT searchingly_].
  This long time since.

  ANNE.        Nay, is it so, indeed?
  [_To HERBERT._] My day's fulfilled of blunders! O sweet sir,
  How can I tell you? But I'll tell you all
  If you'll but bear me escort from this place
  Where none of us belongs. Yours is the first
  Familiar face I've seen this afternoon!

  HERBERT [_apart_].
  A sweet assurance.
  [_Aloud._]    But you seek ... you need
  Some rest--some cheer, some--Will you step within?

[_Indicating tap-room._]

  The tavern is deserted, but--

  ANNE.                Not here!
  I've been here quite an hour. Come, citywards,
  To Whitehall! I have had enough of bears
  To quench my longing till next Whitsuntide.
  Down to the river, pray you.

  HERBERT.            Sooth, at once?

  At once, at once.
  [_To THE PLAYER._] I crave your pardon, sir,
  For sundering your friendships. I've heard say
  A woman always comes between two men
  To their confusion. You shall drink amends
  Some other day. I must be safely home.

  THE PLAYER [_reassured by HERBERT's reluctance to go._]
  It joys me that your trials have found an end;
  And for the rest, I wish you prosperous voyage;
  Which needs not, with such halcyon weather toward.

  HERBERT [_apart_].
  It cuts: and yet he knows not. Can it pass?
  [_To him._] Let us meet soon. I have--I know not what
  To say--nay, no import; but chance has parted
  Our several ways too long. To leave you thus,
  Without a word--

  ANNE.   You are in haste, my lord!
  By the true faith, here are two friends indeed!
  Two lovers crossed: and I,--'tis I that bar them.
  Pray tarry, sir. I doubt not I may light
  Upon some link-boy to attend me home
  Or else a drunken prentice with a club,
  Or that patched keeper strolling from the Garden
  With all his dogs along; or failing them,
  A pony with a monkey on his back,
  Or, failing that, a bear! Some escort, sure,
  Such as the Borough offers! I shall look
  Part of a pageant from the Lady Fair,
  And boast for three full moons, "Such sights I saw!"
  Truly, 'tis new to me: but I doubt not
  I shall trick out a mind for strange adventure,
  As high as--Mistress Fytton!

  HERBERT.            Say no more,
  Dear lady! I entreat you pardon me
  The lameness of my wit. I'm stark adream;
  You lighted here so suddenly, unlooked for
  Vision in Bankside.... Let me hasten you,
  Now that I see I dream not. It grows late.

  And can you grant me such a length of time?

  Length? Say Illusion! Time? Alas, 'twill be
  Only a poor half-hour [_loudly_], a poor half-hour!
  [_Apart._] Did she hear that, I wonder?

  THE PLAYER [_bowing over ANNE's hand_]. Not so, madam;
  A little gold of largess, fallen to me
  By chance.

  HERBERT [_to him_].
  A word with you--
  [_Apart._]   O, I am gagged!

  You go with us, sir?

[_He moves towards door with them._]

  THE PLAYER. No, I do but play
  Your inn-keeper.

  HERBERT [_apart, despairingly_].
  The eagle is gone blind.

[_Exeunt, leaving doors open. They are seen to go down the walk
together. At the street they pause, THE PLAYER, bowing slowly, then
turning back towards the inn; ANNE holding HERBERT's arm. Within, the
door on the left opens slightly, then MARY appears._]

  'Tis true. My ears caught silence, if no more.
  They're gone....

[_She comes out of her hiding-place and opens the left-hand casement
to see ANNE disappearing with HERBERT._]

  She takes him with her! He'll return?
  Gone, gone, without a word; and I was caged,--
  And deaf as well. O, spite of everything!
  She's so unlike.... How long shall I be here
  To wait and wonder? He with her--with her!

[_THE PLAYER, having come slowly back to the door, hears her voice.
MARY darts towards the entrance to look after HERBERT and ANNE. She
sees him and recoils. She falls back step by step, while he stands
holding the door-posts with his hands, impassive._]


  Yes.... [_After a pause._] And you.

  MARY.                      Do you not ask me why
  I'm here?

  I am not wont to shun the truth:
  But yet I think the reason you could give
  Were too uncomely.

  MARY.     Nay;--

  THE PLAYER.      If it were truth;
  If it were truth! Although that likelihood
  Scarce threatens.

  MARY.    So. Condemned without a trial.

  O, speak the lie now. Let there be no chance
  For my unsightly love, bound head and foot,
  Stark, full of wounds and horrible,--to find
  Escape from out its charnel-house; to rise
  Unwelcome before eyes that had forgot,
  And say it died not truly. It should die.
  Play no imposture: leave it,--it is dead.
  I have been weak in that I tried to pour
  The wine through plague-struck veins. It came to life
  Over and over, drew sharp breath again
  In torture such as't may be to be born,
  If a poor babe could tell. Over and over,
  I tell you, it has suffered resurrection,
  Cheating its pain with hope, only to die
  Over and over;--die more deaths than men
  The meanest, most forlorn, are made to die
  By tyranny or nature.... Now I see all
  Clear. And I say, it shall not rise again.
  I am as safe from you as I were dead.
  I know you.

  MARY. Herbert--

  THE PLAYER.      Do not touch his name.
  Leave that; I saw.

  MARY.     You saw? Nay, what?

  THE PLAYER.                   The whole
  Clear story. Not at first. While you were hid,
  I took some comfort, drop by drop, and minute
  By minute. (Dullard!) Yet there was a maze
  Of circumstance that showed even then to me
  Perplext and strange. You here unravel it.
  All's clear: you are the clue. [_Turning away._]

  MARY [_going to the casement_].
  [_Apart._]                               Caged, caged!
  Does he know all? Why were those walls so dense?
  [_To him._] Nan Hughes hath seized the time to tune your mind
  To some light gossip. Say, how came she here?

  All emulation, thinking to match you
  In high adventure:--liked it not, poor lady!
  And is gone home, attended.

[_Re-enter DICKON._]

  DICKON [_to MARY_] They be lost!--
  Thy mask and muffler;--'tis no help to search.
  Some hooker would 'a' swallowed 'em, be sure,
  As the whale swallows Jonas, in the show.

  'Tis nought: I care not.

  DICKON [_looking at the fire_].
  Hey, it wants a log.

[_While he mends the fire, humming, THE PLAYER stands taking thought.
MARY speaks apart, going to casement again to look out._]

  MARY [_apart_].
  I will have what he knows. To cast me off:--
  Not thus, not thus. Peace, I can blind him yet,
  Or he'll despise me. Nay, I will not be
  Thrust out at door like this. I will not go
  But by mine own free will. There is no power
  Can say what he might do to ruin us,
  To win Will Herbert from me,--almost mine,
  And I all his, all his--O April-Days!--
  Well, friendship against love? I know who wins.
  He is grown dread.... But yet he is a man.

[_Exit DICKON into tap-room._]

[_To THE PLAYER, suavely._] Well, headsman?

[_He does not turn._]

                           Mind your office: I am judged.
  Guilty, was it not so?... What is to do,
  Do quickly.... Do you wait for some reprieve?
  Guilty, you said. Nay, do you turn your face
  To give me some small leeway of escape?
  And yet, I will not go ...

[_Coming down slowly._]

                             Well, headsman?...
  You ask not why I came here, Clouded Brow,
  Will you not ask me why I stay? No word?
  O blind, come lead the blind! For I, I too
  Lack sight and every sense to linger here
  And make me an intruder where I once
  Was welcome, oh most welcome, as I dreamed.
  Look on me, then. I do confess, I have
  Too often preened my feathers in the sun
  And thought to rule a little, by my wit.
  I have been spendthrift with men's offerings
  To use them like a nosegay,--tear apart,
  Petal by petal, leaf by leaf, until
  I found the heart all bare, the curious heart
  I longed to see for once, and cast away.
  And so, at first, with you.... Ah, now I think
  You're wise. There's nought so fair, so ... curious.
  So precious-rare to find as honesty.
  'Twas all a child's play then, a counting-off
  Of petals. Now I know.... But ask me why
  I come unheralded, and in a mist
  Of circumstance and strangeness. Listen, love;
  Well then, dead love, if you will have it so.
  I have been cunning, cruel,--what you will:
  And yet the days of late have seemed too long
  Even for summer! Something called me here.
  And so I flung my pride away and came,
  A very woman for my foolishness,
  To say once more,--to say ...

  THE PLAYER.          Nay, I'll not ask.
  What lacks? I need no more, you have done well.
  'Tis rare. There is no man I ever saw
  But you could school him. Women should be players.
  You are sovran in the art: feigning and truth
  Are so commingled in you. Sure, to you
  Nature's a simpleton hath never seen
  Her own face in the well. Is there aught else?
  To ask of my poor calling?

  MARY.             I deserved it
  In other days. Hear how I can be meek.
  I am come back, a foot-worn runaway,
  Like any braggart boy. Let me sit down
  And take Love's horn-book in my hands again
  And learn from the beginning;--by the rod,
  If you will scourge me, love. Come, come, forgive.
  I am not wont to sue: and yet to-day
  I am your suppliant, I am your servant,
  Your link-boy, ay, your minstrel: ay,--wilt hear?

[_Takes up the lute, and gives a last look out of the casement._]

  The tumult in the streets is all apart
  With the discordant past. The hour that is
  Shall be the only thing in all the world.
  [_Apart._] I will be safe. He'll not win Herbert from me!

[_Crossing to him._]

  Will you have music, good my lord?

  THE PLAYER [_catching the lute from her._] Not that.
  Not that! By heaven, you shall not.... Nevermore.

  So ... But you speak at last. You are, forsooth,
  A man: and you shall use me as my due;--
  A woman, not the wind about your ears;
  A woman whom you loved.

  THE PLAYER [_half-apart, still holding the lute_].
                          Why were you not
  That beauty that you seemed?... But had you been,
  'Tis true, you would have had no word for me,--
  No looks of love!

  MARY.    The man reproaches me?

  Not I--not I.... Will Herbert, what am I
  To lay this broken trust to you,--to you,
  Young, free, and tempted: April on his way,
  Whom all hands reach for, and this woman here
  Had set her heart upon!

  MARY.          What fantasy!
  Surely he must have been from town of late,
  To see the gude-folks! And how fare they, sir?
  Reverend yeoman, say, how thrive the sheep?
  What did the harvest yield you?--Did you count
  The cabbage heads? and find how like ... nay, nay!
  But our gude-wife, did she bid in the neighbors
  To prove them that her husband was no myth?
  Some Puritan preacher, nay, some journeyman,
  To make you sup the sweeter with long prayers?
  This were a rare conversion, by my soul!
  From sonnets unto sermons:--eminent!

  Oh, yes, your scorn bites truly: sermons next.
  There is so much to say. But it must be learned,
  And I require hard schooling, dream too much
  On what I would men were,--but women most.
  I need the cudgel of the task-master
  To make me con the truth. Yes, blind, you called me,
  And 'tis my shame I bandaged mine own eyes
  And held them dark. Now, by the grace of God,
  Or haply because the devil tries too far,
  I tear the blindfold off, and I see all.
  I see you as you are; and in your heart
  The secret love sprung up for one I loved,
  A reckless boy who has trodden on my soul--
  But that's a thing apart, concerns not you.
  I know that you will stake your heaven and earth
  To fool me,--fool us both.

  MARY [_with idle interest_].
  Why were you not
  So stern a long time since? You're not so wise
  As I have heard them say.

  THE PLAYER [_standing by the chimney_].
  Wise? Oh, not I.
  Who was so witless as to call me wise?
  Sure he had never bade me a good-day
  And seen me take the cheer....
                                 I was your fool
  Too long.... I am no longer anything.
  Speak: what are you?

  MARY [_after a pause_].
  The foolishest of women:
  A heart that should have been adventurer
  On the high seas; a seeker in new lands,
  To dare all and to lose. But I was made
  A woman.
           Oh, you see!--could you see all.
  What if I say ... the truth is not so far,

[_Watching him._]

  Yet farther than you dream. If I confess ...
  He charmed my fancy ... for the moment,--ay
  The shine of his fortunes too, the very name
  Of Pembroke?... Dear my judge,--ay, clouded brow
  And darkened fortune, be not black to me!
  I'd try for my escape; the window's wide,
  No one forbids, and yet I stay--I stay.

  Oh, I was niggard, once, unkind--I know,
  Untrusty: loved, unloved you, day by day:
  A little and a little,--why, I knew not,
  And more, and wondered why;--then not at all:
  Drank up the dew from out your very heart,
  Like the extortionate sun, to leave you parched
  Till, with as little grace, I flung all back
  In gusts of angry rain! I have been cruel.
  But the spell works; yea, love, the spell, the spell
  Fed by your fasting, by your subtlety
  Past all men's knowledge.... There is something rare
  About you that I long to flee and cannot:--
  Some mastery ... that's more my will than I.

[_She laughs softly. He listens, looking straight ahead, not at her,
immobile, but suffering evidently. She watches his face and speaks
with greater intensity. Here she crosses nearer and falls on her

  Ah, look: you shall believe, you shall believe.
  Will you put by your Music? Was I that?
  Your Music,--very Music?... Listen, then,
  Turn not so blank a face. Thou hast my love.
  I'll tell thee so till thought itself shall tire
  And fall a-dreaming like a weary child, ...
  Only to dream of you, and in its sleep
  To murmur You.... Ah, look at me, love, lord ...
  Whom queens would honor. Read these eyes you praised,
  That pitied, once,--that sue for pity now.
  But look! You shall not turn from me--

  THE PLAYER.                   Eyes, eyes!--
  The darkness hides so much.

  MARY.              He'll not believe....
  What can I do? What more,--what more, you ... man?
  I bruise my heart here, at an iron gate....

[_She regards him half gloomily without rising._]

  Yet there is one thing more.... You'll take me, now?--
  My meaning.... You were right. For once I say it.
  There is a glory of discovery [_ironically_]
  To the black heart ... because it may be known
  But once,--but once....
                          I wonder men will hide
  Their motives all so close. If they could guess,--
  It is so new to feel the open day
  Look in on all one's hidings, at the end.
  So.... You were right. The first was all a lie:
  A lie, and for a purpose....
  Now,--[_she rises and stands off, regarding him abruptly_],
  And why, I know not,--but 'tis true, at last,
  I do believe ... I love you.
                               Look at me!

[_He stands by the fireside against the chimney-piece. She crosses to
him with passionate appeal, holding out her arms. He turns his eyes
and looks at her with a rigid scrutiny. She endures it for a second,
then wavers; makes an effort, unable to look away, to lift her arms
towards his neck; they falter and fall at her side. The two stand
spellbound by mutual recognition. Then she speaks in a low voice._]

  Oh, let me go!

[_She turns her head with an effort,--gathers her cloak about her,
then hastens out as if from some terror._]

[_THE PLAYER is alone beside the chimney-piece. The street outside is
darkening with twilight through the casements and upper door. There is
a sound of rough-throated singing that comes by and is softened with
distance. It breaks the spell._]

  So; it is over ... now. [_He looks into the fire._]

  "_Fair, kind, and true." And true!_... My golden Friend.
  Those two ... together.... He was ill at ease.
  But that he should betray me with a kiss!

  By this preposterous world ... I am in need.
  Shall there be no faith left? Nothing but names?
  Then he's a fool who steers his life by such.
  Why not the body-comfort of this herd
  Of creatures huddled here to keep them warm?--
  Trying to drown out with enforcèd laughter
  The query of the winds ... unanswered winds
  That vex the soul with a perpetual doubt.
  What holds me?... Bah, that were a Cause, indeed!
  To prove your soul one truth, by being it,--
  Against the foul dishonor of the world!
  How else prove aught?...
                           I talk into the air.
  And at my feet, my honor full of wounds.
  Honor? Whose honor? For I knew my sin,
  And she ... had none. There's nothing to avenge.

[_He speaks with more and more passion, too distraught to notice
interruptions. Enter DICKON, with a tallow-dip. He regards THE PLAYER
with half-open mouth from the corner; then stands by the casement,
leaning up against it and yawning now and then._]

  I had no right: that I could call her mine
  So none should steal her from me, and die for't.
  There's nothing to avenge ... Brave beggary!
  How fit to lodge me in this home of Shows,
  With all the ruffian life, the empty mirth,
  The gross imposture of humanity,
  Strutting in virtues it knows not to wear,
  Knave in a stolen garment--all the same--
  Until it grows enamored of a life
  It was not born to,--falls a-dream, poor cheat,
  In the midst of its native shams,--the thieves and bears
  And ballad-mongers all!... Of such am I.

[_Re-enter TOBIAS and one or two TAVERNERS. TOBIAS regards THE PLAYER,
who does not notice anyone,--then leads off DICKON by the ear. Exeunt
into taproom. THE PLAYER goes to the casement, pushes it wide open,
and gazes out at the sky._]

  Is there naught else?... I could make shift to bind
  My heart up and put on my mail again,
  To cheat myself and death with one fight more,
  If I could think there were some worldly use
  For bitter wisdom.
                     But I'm no general,
  That my own hand-to-hand with evil days
  Should cheer my doubting thousands....
                                         I'm no more
  Than one man lost among a multitude;
  And in the end dust swallows them--and me,
  And the good sweat that won our victories.
  Who sees? Or seeing, cares? Who follows on?
  Then why should my dishonor trouble me,
  Or broken faith in him? _What is it suffers?
  And why?_ Now that the moon is turned to blood.

[_He turns towards the door with involuntary longing, and seems to

  No ... no, he will not come. Well, I have naught
  To do but pluck from me my bitter heart,
  And live without it.

[_Re-enter DICKON with a tankard and a cup. He sets them down on a
small table; this he pushes towards THE PLAYER, who turns at the

                        So...? Is it for me?

  Ay, on the score! I had good sight o' the bear.
  Look, here's a sprig was stuck on him with pitch;--

[_Rubbing the sprig on his sleeve._]

  I caught it up,--from Lambeth marsh, belike.
  Such grow there, and I've seen thee cherish such.

  Give us thy posy.

[_He comes back to the fire and sits in the chair near by. DICKON gets
out the iron lantern from the corner._]

  DICKON.          Hey! It wants a light.

[_THE PLAYER seems to listen once more, his face turned towards the
door. He lifts his hand as if to hush DICKON, lets it fall, and looks
back at the fire. DICKON regards him with shy curiosity and draws

  Thou wilt be always minding of the fire ...
  Wilt thou not?


  DICKON.          It likes me, too.

  THE PLAYER.                        So?

  DICKON.                                Ay....
  I would I knew what thou art thinking on
  When thou dost mind the fire....

  THE PLAYER.                  Wouldst thou?

  DICKON.                                      Ay.

[_Sound of footsteps outside. A group approaches the door._]

  Oh, here he is, come back!

  THE PLAYER [_rising with passionate eagerness_].
                            Brave lad--brave lad!

  DICKON [_singing_].
  _Hang out your lanthorns, trim your lights
  To save your days from knavish nights!_

[_He plunges, with his lantern, through the doorway, stumbling against
WAT BURROW, who enters, a sorry figure, the worse for wear._]

  WAT [_sourly_].
  Be the times soft, that you must try to cleave
  Way through my ribs as tho' I was the moon?--
  And you the man-wi-'the-lanthorn, or his dog?--
  You bean!...

[_Exit DICKON. WAT shambles in and sees THE PLAYER._]

               What, you sir, here?

  Ay, here, good Wat.

[_While WAT crosses to the table and gets himself a chair, THE PLAYER
looks at him as if with a new consciousness of the surroundings. After
a time he sits as before. Re-enter DICKON and curls up on the floor,
at his feet._]

  O give me comfort, sir. This cursèd day,--
  A wry, damned ... noisome.... Ay, poor Nick, poor Nick!
  He's all to mend--Poor Nick! He's sorely maimed,
  More than we'd baited him with forty dogs.
  'Od's body! Said I not, sir, he would fight?
  Never before had he, in leading-chain,
  Walked out to take the air and show his parts....
  'Went to his noddle like some greenest gull's
  That's new come up to town.... The prentices
  Squeaking along like Bedlam, he breaks loose
  And prances me a hey,--I dancing counter!
  Then such a cawing 'mongst the women! Next,
  The chain did clatter and enrage him more;--
  You would 'a' sworn a bear grew on each link,
  And after each a prentice with a cudgel,--
  Leaving him scarce an eye! So, howling all,
  We run a pretty pace ... and Nick, poor Nick,
  He catches on a useless, stumbling fry
  That needed not be born,--and bites into him.
  And then ... the Constable ... And now, no show!

  Poor Wat!... Thou wentest scattering misadventure
  Like comfits from thy horn of plenty, Wat.

  Ay, thank your worship. You be best to comfort.

[_He pours a mug of ale._]

  No show to-morrow! Minnow Constable....
  I'm a jack-rabbit strung up by my heels
  For every knave to pinch as he goes by!
  Alas, poor Nick, bear Nick ... oh, think on Nick.

  With all his fortunes darkened for a day,--
  And the eye o' his reason, sweet intelligencer,
  Under a beggarly patch.... I pledge thee, Nick.

  Oh, you have seen hard times, sir, with us all.
  Your eyes lack luster, too, this day. What say you?
  No jesting.... What? I've heard of marvels there
  In the New Country. There would be a knop-hole
  For thee and me. There be few Constables
  And such unhallowed fry.... An thou wouldst lay
  Thy wit to mine--what is't we could not do?
  Wilt turn't about?

[_Leans towards him in cordial confidence._]

                     Nay, you there, sirrah boy,
  Leave us together; as 'tis said in the play,
  'Come, leave us, Boy!'

[_DICKON does not move. He gives a sigh and leans his head against THE
PLAYER's knee, his arms around his legs. He sleeps. THE PLAYER gazes
sternly into the fire, while WAT rambles on, growing drowsy._]

  The cub there snores good counsel. When all's done,
  What a bubble is ambition!... When all's done....
  What's yet to do?... Why, sleep.... Yet even now
  I was on fire to see myself and you
  Off for the Colony with Raleigh's men.
  I've been beholden to 'ee.... Why, for thee
  I could make shift to suffer plays o' Thursday.
  Thou'rt the best man among them, o' my word.
  There's other trades and crafts and qualities
  Could serve ... an thou wouldst lay thy wit to mine.
  Us two!... us two!...

  THE PLAYER [_apart, to the fire_].
  "Fair, kind, and true."...

  WAT.                     ... Poor Nick!

[_He nods over his ale. There is muffled noise in the taproom. Someone
opens the door a second, letting in a stave of a song, then slams the
door shut. THE PLAYER, who has turned, gloomily, starts to rise.
DICKON moves in his sleep, sighs heavily, and settles his cheek
against THE PLAYER's shoes. THE PLAYER looks down for a moment. Then
he sits again, looking now at the fire, now at the boy, whose hair he

  So, heavy-head. You bid me think my thought
  Twice over; keep me by, a heavy heart,
  As ballast for thy dream. Well, I will watch ...
  Like slandered Providence. Nay, I'll not be
  The prop to fail thy trust untenderly,
  After a troubled day....
                           Nay, rest you here.




         [Footnote 54: From _The Little Man and Other Satires_;
         copyright, 1915, by Charles Scribner's Sons. By permission of
         the publishers. Acting rights, professional and amateur,
         reserved to the author in care of the publisher.]

"Close by the Greek temples at Paestum there are violets that seem
redder, and sweeter, than any ever seen--as though they have sprung up
out of the footprints of some old pagan goddess; but under the April
sun, in a Devonshire lane, the little blue scentless violets capture
every bit as much of the spring." Affection for the West country that
was the home of John Galsworthy's ancestors heightens the glamour of
this enchanting bit of writing from one of his essays. As he himself
has said, the Galsworthys have been in Devonshire as far back as
records go--"since the flood of Saxons at all events." He was born,
though, at Coombe in Surrey in 1867. From 1881 to 1886, he was at
Harrow where he did well at work and games. He was graduated with an
honor degree in law from New College, Oxford, in 1889. Following his
father's example, he took up the law and was called to the bar
(Lincoln's Inn) in 1890. "I read," he says, "in various chambers,
practised almost not at all, and disliked my profession thoroughly."

For nearly two years thereafter, Galsworthy traveled, visiting among
other places, Russia, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Fiji
Islands, and South Africa. On a sailing-ship plying between Adelaide
and the Cape he met and made a friend of the novelist, Joseph Conrad,
then still a sailor. Galsworthy was soon to become a writer himself,
publishing his first novel in 1899. Since that date he has written
novels, plays, essays, and verse that have made him famous.[55]
Through his writings he has become a great social force. In this
respect his influence resembles that of Charles Dickens. He has made
people who read his books or see his plays acted think about the
justice or injustice of institutions commonly accepted without a
question. The presentation of his play _Justice_ (1909), moved the
Home Secretary of the day, Winston Churchill, to put into effect
several important reforms affecting the English prison system.

         [Footnote 55: For a short bibliography, see Sheila
         Kaye-Smith, _John Galsworthy_, London, 1916.]

_The Little Man_, no less a socializing agency in its way, was
produced in New York at Maxine Elliott's Theatre in February, 1917, as
a curtain raiser to G. K. Chesterton's play, Magic. The part of the
Little Man himself was taken by O. P. Heggie, one of the most
intelligent and distinguished actors on the English-speaking stage. J.
Ranken Towse, reviewing the performance for the Saturday Magazine of
the _New York Evening Post_, on February 17, 1917, wrote: "Another
entertainment of notable excellence is that provided by the double
bill at Maxine Elliott's Theatre, consisting of Galsworthy's _The
Little Man_ and Chesterton's _Magic_. Here are two plays of diverse
character and superior quality, in which some highly intelligent and
artistic acting is done by Mr. O. P. Heggie. Some sensitive reviewers
have found cause of offense in Mr. Galsworthy's somewhat fanciful
American, but the dramatist has been equally disrespectful in his
handling of Germans, Dutch, and English. The value and significance of
the piece, of course, are to be looked for, not in its broad
humors--which are largely conventional--but in the ethical and moral
lesson and profound social philosophy which they suggest and
illustrate." It is hard to sympathize with the "sensitive reviewers,"
though to the native ear, to be sure, the utterances of the American
lack verisimilitude. The author of _The Little Man_ has even been
humorously reproached with using the speech of Deadwood Dick for his

The play was also given quite recently, during the season of 1920-21,
as part of the repertory at the Everyman Theatre in London. On the
programs invariably appears the note which is prefixed also to this as
to every printed version. It explains carefully that this play was
written before the days of the Great War. This note bespeaks the
playwright's perfect detachment which is, as has been said, "an
artistic device, not a matter of divine indifference." Yet the satire
does seem to be directed, incidentally at least, against certain
familiar national characteristics, for it is the humanity of the
Little Man, whose mixed ancestry is described by the American as being
"a bit streaky," that puts to shame the various types of human
arrogance and indifference with which he is surrounded.


         [Footnote 56: AUTHOR'S NOTE

         Since it is just possible that someone may think _The Little
         Man_ has a deep, dark reference to the war, it may be as well
         to state that this whimsey was written in October, 1913.]

_SCENE I.--Afternoon, on the departure platform of an Austrian railway
station. At several little tables outside the buffet persons are
taking refreshment, served by a pale young waiter. On a seat against
the wall of the buffet a woman of lowly station is sitting beside two
large bundles, on one of which she has placed her baby, swathed in a
black shawl._

WAITER [_approaching a table whereat sit an English traveler and his
wife_]. Zwei Kaffee?

ENGLISHMAN [_paying_]. Thanks. [_To his wife, in an Oxford voice._]

ENGLISHWOMAN [_in a Cambridge voice_]. One.

AMERICAN TRAVELER [_with field-glasses and a pocket camera--from
another table_]. Waiter, I'd like to have you get my eggs. I've been
sitting here quite a while.

WAITER. Yes, sare.

GERMAN TRAVELER. Kellner, bezahlen! [_His voice is, like his mustache,
stiff and brushed up at the ends. His figure also is stiff and his
hair a little gray; clearly once, if not now, a colonel._]

WAITER. Komm' gleich! [_The baby on the bundle wails. The mother takes
it up to soothe it. A young, red-cheeked Dutchman at the fourth table
stops eating and laughs._]

AMERICAN. My eggs! Get a wiggle on you!

WAITER. Yes, sare. [_He rapidly recedes. A LITTLE MAN in a soft hat is
seen to the right of the tables. He stands a moment looking after the
hurrying waiter, then seats himself at the fifth table._]

ENGLISHMAN [_looking at his watch_]. Ten minutes more.


AMERICAN [_addressing them_]. 'Pears as if they'd a prejudice against
eggs here, anyway. [_The English look at him, but do not speak._]

GERMAN [_in creditable English_]. In these places man can get nothing.
[_The WAITER comes flying back with a compote for the DUTCH YOUTH, who

GERMAN. Kellner, bezahlen!

WAITER. Eine Krone sechzig. [_The GERMAN pays._]

AMERICAN [_rising, and taking out his watch--blandly_]. See here! If I
don't get my eggs before this watch ticks twenty, there'll be another
waiter in heaven.

WAITER [_flying_]. Komm' gleich!

AMERICAN [_seeking sympathy_]. I'm gettin' kind of mad!

[_The ENGLISHMAN halves his newspaper and hands the advertisement half
to his wife. The BABY wails. The MOTHER rocks it. The DUTCH YOUTH
stops eating and laughs. The GERMAN lights a cigarette. The LITTLE MAN
sits motionless, nursing his hat. The WAITER comes flying back with
the eggs and places them before the AMERICAN._]

AMERICAN [_putting away his watch_]. Good! I don't like trouble. How
much? [_He pays and eats. The WAITER stands a moment at the edge of
the platform and passes his hand across his brow. The LITTLE MAN eyes
him and speaks gently._]

LITTLE MAN. Herr Ober! [_The WAITER turns._] Might I have a glass of

WAITER. Yes, sare.

LITTLE MAN. Thank you very much. [_The WAITER goes._]

AMERICAN [_pausing in the deglutition of his eggs--affably_]. Pardon
me, sir; I'd like to have you tell me why you called that little bit
of a feller "Herr Ober." Reckon you would know what that means? Mr.
Head Waiter.

LITTLE MAN. Yes, yes.

AMERICAN. I smile.

LITTLE MAN. Oughtn't I to call him that?

GERMAN [_abruptly_]. Nein--Kellner.

AMERICAN. Why, yes! Just "waiter." [_The ENGLISHWOMAN looks round her
paper for a second. The DUTCH YOUTH stops eating and laughs. The
LITTLE MAN gazes from face to face and nurses his hat._]

LITTLE MAN. I didn't want to hurt his feelings.


AMERICAN. In my country we're vurry democratic--but that's quite a

ENGLISHMAN [_handling coffee-pot, to his wife_]. More?


GERMAN [_abruptly_]. These fellows--if you treat them in this manner,
at once they take liberties. You see, you will not get your beer. [_As
he speaks the WAITER returns, bringing the LITTLE MAN's beer, then

AMERICAN. That 'pears to be one up to democracy. [_To the LITTLE
MAN._] I judge you go in for brotherhood?

LITTLE MAN [_startled_]. Oh, no! I never--

AMERICAN. I take considerable stock in Leo Tolstoi myself. Grand
man--grand-souled apparatus. But I guess you've got to pinch those
waiters some to make 'em skip. [_To the ENGLISH, who have carelessly
looked his way for a moment._] You'll appreciate that, the way he
acted about my eggs. [_The ENGLISH make faint motions with their
chins, and avert their eyes. To the WAITER, who is standing at the
door of the buffet._] Waiter! Flash of beer--jump, now!

WAITER. Komm' gleich!

GERMAN. Cigarren!

WAITER. Schön. [_He disappears._]

AMERICAN [_affably--to the LITTLE MAN_]. Now, if I don't get that
flash of beer quicker'n you got yours, I shall admire.

GERMAN [_abruptly_]. Tolstoi is nothing--nichts! No good! Ha?

AMERICAN [_relishing the approach of argument_]. Well, that is a
matter of temperament. Now, I'm all for equality. See that poor woman
there--vurry humble woman--there she sits among us with her baby.
Perhaps you'd like to locate her somewhere else?

GERMAN [_shrugging_]. Tolstoi is sentimentalisch. Nietzsche is the
true philosopher, the only one.

AMERICAN. Well, that's quite in the prospectus--vurry stimulating
party--old Nietzsch--virgin mind. But give me Leo! [_He turns to the
red-cheeked youth._] What do you opine, sir? I guess by your labels,
you'll be Dutch. Do they read Tolstoi in your country? [_The DUTCH
YOUTH laughs._]

AMERICAN. That is a vurry luminous answer.

GERMAN. Tolstoi is nothing. Man should himself express. He must
push--he must be strong.

AMERICAN. That is so. In Amurrica we believe in virility; we like a
man to expand--to cultivate his soul. But we believe in brotherhood
too; we're vurry democratic. We draw the line at niggers; but we
aspire, we're vurry high-souled. Social barriers and distinctions
we've not much use for.

ENGLISHMAN. Do you feel a draught?

ENGLISHWOMAN [_with a shiver of her shoulder toward the AMERICAN_]. I

GERMAN. Wait! You are a young people.

AMERICAN. That is so; there are no flies on us. [_To the LITTLE MAN,
who has been gazing eagerly from face to face._] Say! I'd like to have
you give us your sentiments in relation to the duty of man. [_The
LITTLE MAN fidgets, and is about to open his mouth._]

AMERICAN. For example--is it your opinion that we should kill off the
weak and diseased, and all that can't jump around?

GERMAN [_nodding_]. Ja, ja! That is coming.

LITTLE MAN [_looking from face to face_]. They might be me. [_The
DUTCH YOUTH laughs._]

AMERICAN [_reproving him with a look_]. That's true humility. 'Tisn't
grammar. Now, here's a proposition that brings it nearer the bone:
Would you step out of your way to help them when it was liable to
bring you trouble?

GERMAN. Nein, nein! That is stupid.

LITTLE MAN [_eager but wistful_]. I'm afraid not. Of course one wants

GERMAN. Nein, nein! That is stupid! What is the duty?

LITTLE MAN. There was St. Francis d'Assisi and St. Julien
l'Hospitalier, and--

AMERICAN. Vurry lofty dispositions. Guess they died of them. [_He
rises._] Shake hands, sir--my name is--[_He hands a card._] I am an
ice-machine maker. [_He shakes the LITTLE MAN's hand._] I like your
sentiments--I feel kind of brotherly. [_Catching sight of the WAITER
appearing in the doorway._] Waiter, where to h--ll is that flash of

GERMAN. Cigarren!

WAITER. Komm' gleich! [_He vanishes._]

ENGLISHMAN [_consulting watch_]. Train's late.

ENGLISHWOMAN. Really! Nuisance! [_A station POLICEMAN, very square and
uniformed, passes and repasses._]

AMERICAN [_resuming his seat--to the GERMAN_]. Now, we don't have so
much of that in Amurrica. Guess we feel more to trust in human nature.

GERMAN. Ah! ha! you will bresently find there is nothing in him but

LITTLE MAN [_wistfully_]. Don't you believe in human nature?

AMERICAN. Vurry stimulating question. That invites remark. [_He looks
round for opinions. The DUTCH YOUTH laughs._]

ENGLISHMAN [_holding out his half of the paper to his wife_]. Swap!
[_His wife swaps._]

GERMAN. In human nature I believe so far as I can see him--no more.

AMERICAN. Now that 'pears to me kind o' blasphemy. I'm vurry
idealistic; I believe in heroism. I opine there's not one of us
settin' around here that's not a hero--give him the occasion.

LITTLE MAN. Oh! Do you believe that?

AMERICAN. Well! I judge a hero is just a person that'll help another
at the expense of himself. That's a vurry simple definition. Take that
poor woman there. Well, now, she's a heroine, I guess. She would die
for her baby any old time.

GERMAN. Animals will die for their babies. That is nothing.

AMERICAN. Vurry true. I carry it further. I postulate we would all die
for that baby if a locomotive was to trundle up right here and try to
handle it. I'm an idealist. [_To the GERMAN._] I guess _you_ don't
know how good you are. [_As the GERMAN is twisting up the ends of his
mustache--to the ENGLISHWOMAN._] I should like to have you express an
opinion, ma'am. This is a high subject.

ENGLISHWOMAN. I beg your pardon.

AMERICAN. The English are vurry humanitarian; they have a vurry high
sense of duty. So have the Germans, so have the Amurricans. [_To the
DUTCH YOUTH._] I judge even in your little country they have that.
This is a vurry civilized epoch. It is an epoch of equality and
high-toned ideals. [_To the LITTLE MAN._] What is your nationality,

LITTLE MAN. I'm afraid I'm nothing particular. My father was
half-English and half-American, and my mother half-German and

AMERICAN. My! That's a bit streaky, any old way. [_The POLICEMAN
passes again._] Now, I don't believe we've much use any more for those
gentlemen in buttons, not amongst the civilized peoples. We've grown
kind of mild--we don't think of self as we used to do. [_The WAITER
has appeared in the doorway._]

GERMAN [_in a voice of thunder_]. Cigarren! Donnerwetter!

AMERICAN [_shaking his fist at the vanishing WAITER_]. That flash of

WAITER. Komm' gleich!

AMERICAN. A little more, and he will join George Washington! I was
about to remark when he intruded: The kingdom of Christ nowadays is
quite a going concern. The Press is vurry enlightened. We are mighty
near to universal brotherhood. The colonel here [_he indicates the
GERMAN_], he doesn't know what a lot of stock he holds in that
proposition. He is a man of blood and iron, but give him an
opportunity to be magnanimous, and he'll be right there. Oh, sir! yes.
[_The GERMAN, with a profound mixture of pleasure and cynicism,
brushes up the ends of his mustache._]

LITTLE MAN. I wonder. One wants to, but somehow--[_He shakes his

AMERICAN. You seem kind of skeery about that. You've had experience
maybe. The flesh is weak. I'm an optimist--I think we're bound to make
the devil hum in the near future. I opine we shall occasion a good
deal of trouble to that old party. There's about to be a holocaust of
selfish interests. We're out for high sacrificial business. The
colonel there with old-man Nietzsch--he won't know himself. There's
going to be a vurry sacred opportunity. [_As he speaks, the voice of a
RAILWAY OFFICIAL is heard in the distance calling out in German. It
approaches, and the words become audible._]

GERMAN [_startled_]. Der Teufel! [_He gets up, and seizes the bag
beside him. The STATION OFFICIAL has appeared, he stands for a moment
casting his commands at the seated group. The DUTCH YOUTH also rises,
and takes his coat and hat. The OFFICIAL turns on his heel and
retires, still issuing directions._]

ENGLISHMAN. What does he say?

GERMAN. Our drain has come in, de oder platform; only one minute we
haf. [_All have risen in a fluster._]

AMERICAN. Now, that's vurry provoking. I won't get that flash of beer.
[_There is a general scurry to gather coats and hats and wraps, during
which the lowly woman is seen making desperate attempts to deal with
her baby and the two large bundles. Quite defeated, she suddenly puts
all down, wrings her hands, and cries out: "Herr Jesu! Hilfe!" The
flying procession turn their heads at that strange cry._]

AMERICAN. What's that? Help? [_He continues to run. The LITTLE MAN
spins round, rushes back, picks up baby and bundle on which it was

LITTLE MAN. Come along, good woman, come along! [_The woman picks up
the other bundle and they run. The WAITER, appearing in the doorway
with the bottle of beer, watches with his tired smile._]

_SCENE II.--A second-class compartment of a corridor carriage, in
motion. In it are seated the ENGLISHMAN and his wife, opposite each
other at the corridor end, she with her face to the engine, he with
his back. Both are somewhat protected from the rest of the travelers
by newspapers. Next to her sits the GERMAN, and opposite him sits the
AMERICAN; next the AMERICAN in one window corner is seated the DUTCH
YOUTH; the other window corner is taken by the GERMAN's bag. The
silence is only broken by the slight rushing noise of the train's
progression and the crackling of the English newspapers._

AMERICAN [_turning to the DUTCH YOUTH_]. Guess I'd like that winder
raised; it's kind of chilly after that old run they gave us. [_The
DUTCH YOUTH laughs, and goes through the motions of raising the
window. The ENGLISH regard the operation with uneasy irritation. The
GERMAN opens his bag, which reposes on the corner seat next him, and
takes out a book._]

AMERICAN. The Germans are great readers. Vurry stimulating practice. I
read most anything myself! [_The GERMAN holds up the book so that the
title may be read._] "Don Quixote"--fine book. We Amurricans take
considerable stock in old man Quixote. Bit of a wild-cat--but we
don't laugh at him.

GERMAN. He is dead. Dead as a sheep. A good thing, too.

AMERICAN. In Amurrica we have still quite an amount of chivalry.

GERMAN. Chivalry is nothing--sentimentalisch. In modern days--no good.
A man must push, he must pull.

AMERICAN. So you say. But I judge your form of chivalry is sacrifice
to the state. We allow more freedom to the individual soul. Where
there's something little and weak, we feel it kind of noble to give up
to it. That way we feel elevated. [_As he speaks there is seen in the
corridor doorway the LITTLE MAN, with the WOMAN'S BABY still on his
arm and the bundle held in the other hand. He peers in anxiously. The
ENGLISH, acutely conscious, try to dissociate themselves from his
presence with their papers. The DUTCH YOUTH laughs._]

GERMAN. Ach! So!

AMERICAN. Dear me!

LITTLE MAN. Is there room? I can't find a seat.

AMERICAN. Why, yes! There's a seat for one.

LITTLE MAN [_depositing bundle outside, and heaving BABY_]. May I?

AMERICAN. Come right in! [_The GERMAN sulkily moves his bag. The
LITTLE MAN comes in and seats himself gingerly._]

AMERICAN. Where's the mother?

LITTLE MAN [_ruefully_]. Afraid she got left behind. [_The DUTCH YOUTH
laughs. The ENGLISH unconsciously emerge from their newspapers._]

AMERICAN. My! That would appear to be quite a domestic incident. [_The
ENGLISHMAN suddenly utters a profound "Ha, Ha!" and disappears behind
his paper. And that paper and the one opposite are seen to shake, and
little squirls and squeaks emerge._]

GERMAN. And you haf got her bundle, and her baby. Ha! [_He cackles

AMERICAN [_gravely_]. I smile. I guess Providence has played it pretty
low down on you. I judge it's acted real mean. [_The BABY wails, and
the LITTLE MAN jigs it with a sort of gentle desperation, looking
apologetically from face to face. His wistful glance renews the fire
of merriment wherever it alights. The AMERICAN alone preserves a
gravity which seems incapable of being broken._]

AMERICAN. Maybe you'd better get off right smart and restore that
baby. There's nothing can act madder than a mother.

LITTLE MAN. Poor thing; yes! What she must be suffering! [_A gale of
laughter shakes the carriage. The ENGLISH for a moment drop their
papers, the better to indulge. The LITTLE MAN smiles a wintry smile._]

AMERICAN [_in a lull_]. How did it eventuate?

LITTLE MAN. We got there just as the train was going to start; and I
jumped, thinking I could help her up. But it moved too quickly,
and--and--left her. [_The gale of laughter blows up again._]

AMERICAN. Guess I'd have thrown the baby out.

LITTLE MAN. I was afraid the poor little thing might break. [_The BABY
wails; the LITTLE MAN heaves it; the gale of laughter blows._]

AMERICAN [_gravely_]. It's highly entertaining--not for the baby. What
kind of an old baby is it, anyway? [_He sniffs._] I judge it's a

LITTLE MAN. Afraid I've hardly looked at it yet.

AMERICAN. Which end up is it?

LITTLE MAN. Oh! I think the right end. Yes, yes, it is.

AMERICAN. Well, that's something. Guess I should hold it out of winder
a bit. Vurry excitable things, babies!

ENGLISHWOMAN [_galvanized_]. No, no!

ENGLISHMAN [_touching her knee_]. My dear!

AMERICAN. You are right, ma'am. I opine there's a draught out there.
This baby is precious. We've all of us got stock in this baby in a
manner of speaking. This is a little bit of universal brotherhood. Is
it a woman baby?

LITTLE MAN. I--I can only see the top of its head.

AMERICAN. You can't always tell from that. It looks kind of
over-wrapped-up. Maybe it had better be unbound.

GERMAN. Nein, nein, nein!

AMERICAN. I think you are vurry likely right, colonel. It might be a
pity to unbind that baby. I guess the lady should be consulted in this

ENGLISHWOMAN. Yes, yes, of course--I--

ENGLISHMAN [_touching her_]. Let it be! Little beggar seems all right.

AMERICAN. That would seem only known to Providence at this moment. I
judge it might be due to humanity to look at its face.

LITTLE MAN [_gladly_]. It's sucking my finger. There, there--nice
little thing--there!

AMERICAN. I would surmise you have created babies in your leisure
moments, sir?

LITTLE MAN. Oh! no--indeed, no.

AMERICAN. Dear me! That is a loss. [_Addressing himself to the
carriage at large._] I think we may esteem ourselves fortunate to have
this little stranger right here with us; throws a vurry tender and
beautiful light on human nature. Demonstrates what a hold the little
and weak have upon us nowadays. The colonel here--a man of blood and
iron--there he sits quite ca'm next door to it. [_He sniffs._] Now,
this baby is ruther chastening--that is a sign of grace, in the
colonel--that is true heroism.

LITTLE MAN [_faintly_]. I--I can see its face a little now. [_All bend

AMERICAN. What sort of a physiognomy has it, anyway?

LITTLE MAN [_still faintly_]. I don't see anything but--but spots.

GERMAN. Oh! Ha! Pfui! [_The DUTCH YOUTH laughs._]

AMERICAN. I am told that is not uncommon amongst babies. Perhaps we
could have you inform us, ma'am.

ENGLISHWOMAN. Yes, of course--only--what sort of--

LITTLE MAN. They seem all over its--[_At the slight recoil of
everyone._] I feel sure it's--it's quite a good baby underneath.

AMERICAN. That will be ruther difficult to come at. I'm just a bit
sensitive. I've vurry little use for affections of the epidermis.

GERMAN. Pfui! [_He has edged away as far as he can get, and is
lighting a big cigar. The DUTCH YOUTH draws his legs back._]

AMERICAN [_also taking out a cigar_]. I guess it would be well to
fumigate this carriage. Does it suffer, do you think?

LITTLE MAN [_peering_]. Really, I don't--I'm not sure--I know so
little about babies. I think it would have a nice expression--if--if
it showed.

AMERICAN. Is it kind of boiled-looking?

LITTLE MAN. Yes--yes, it is.

AMERICAN [_looking gravely round_]. I judge this baby has the measles.
[_The GERMAN screws himself spasmodically against the arm of the

ENGLISHWOMAN. Poor little thing! Shall I--? [_She half-rises._]

ENGLISHMAN [_touching her_]. No, no--Dash it!

AMERICAN. I honor your emotion, ma'am. It does credit to us all. But I
sympathize with your husband too. The measles is a vurry important
pestilence in connection with a grown woman.

LITTLE MAN. It likes my finger awfully. Really, it's rather a sweet

AMERICAN [_sniffing_]. Well, that would appear to be quite a question.
About them spots, now? Are they rosy?

LITTLE MAN. No--o; they're dark, almost black.

GERMAN. Gott! Typhus! [_He bounds up onto the arm of the

AMERICAN. Typhus! That's quite an indisposition! [_The DUTCH YOUTH
rises suddenly, and bolts out into the corridor. He is followed by the
GERMAN, puffing clouds of smoke. The ENGLISH and AMERICAN sit a moment
longer without speaking. The ENGLISHWOMAN's face is turned with a
curious expression--half-pity, half-fear--toward the LITTLE MAN. Then
the ENGLISHMAN gets up._]

ENGLISHMAN. Bit stuffy for you here, dear, isn't it? [_He puts his arm
through hers, raises her, and almost pushes her through the doorway.
She goes, still looking back._]

AMERICAN [_gravely_]. There's nothing I admire more'n courage. Guess
I'll go and smoke in the corridor. [_As he goes out the LITTLE MAN
looks very wistfully after him. Screwing up his mouth and nose, he
holds the BABY away from him and wavers; then rising, he puts it on
the seat opposite and goes through the motions of letting down the
window. Having done so he looks at the BABY, who has begun to wail.
Suddenly he raises his hands and clasps them, like a child praying.
Since, however, the BABY does not stop wailing, he hovers over it in
indecision; then, picking it up, sits down again to dandle it, with
his face turned toward the open window. Finding that it still wails,
he begins to sing to it in a cracked little voice. It is charmed at
once. While he is singing, the AMERICAN appears in the corridor.
Letting down the passage window, he stands there in the doorway with
the draught blowing his hair and the smoke of his cigar all about him.
The LITTLE MAN stops singing and shifts the shawl higher, to protect
the BABY's head from the draught._]

AMERICAN [_gravely_]. This is the most sublime spectacle I have ever
envisaged. There ought to be a record of this. [_The LITTLE MAN looks
at him, wondering._] We have here a most stimulating epitome of our
marvelous advance toward universal brotherhood. You are typical, sir,
of the sentiments of modern Christianity. You illustrate the deepest
feelings in the heart of every man. [_The LITTLE MAN rises with the
BABY and a movement of approach._] Guess I'm wanted in the dining-car.
[_He vanishes._] [_The LITTLE MAN sits down again, but back to the
engine, away from the draught, and looks out of the window, patiently
jogging the BABY on his knee._]

_SCENE III.--An arrival platform. The LITTLE MAN, with the BABY and
the bundle, is standing disconsolate, while travelers pass and luggage
is being carried by. A STATION OFFICIAL, accompanied by a POLICEMAN,
appears from a doorway, behind him._

OFFICIAL [_consulting telegram in his hand_]. Das ist der Herr. [_They
advance to the LITTLE MAN._]

OFFICIAL. Sie haben einen Buben gestohlen?

LITTLE MAN. I only speak English and American.

OFFICIAL. Dies ist nicht Ihr Bube? [_He touches the BABY._]

LITTLE MAN [_shaking his head_]. Take care--it's ill. [_The man does
not understand._] Ill--the baby--

OFFICIAL [_shaking his head_]. Verstehe nicht. Dis is nod your baby?

LITTLE MAN [_shaking his head violently_]. No, it is not. No.

OFFICIAL [_tapping the telegram_]. Gut! You are 'rested. [_He signs to
the POLICEMAN, who takes the LITTLE MAN's arm._]

LITTLE MAN. Why? I don't want the poor baby.

OFFICIAL [_lifting the bundle_]. Dies ist nicht Ihr Gepäck--pag?


OFFICIAL. Gut. You are 'rested.

LITTLE MAN. I only took it for the poor woman. I'm not a

OFFICIAL [_shaking head_]. Verstehe nicht. [_The LITTLE MAN tries to
tear his hair. The disturbed BABY wails._]

LITTLE MAN [_dandling it as best he can_]. There, there--poor, poor!

OFFICIAL. Halt still! You are 'rested. It is all right.

LITTLE MAN. Where is the mother?

OFFICIAL. She comm by next drain. Das telegram say: Halt einen Herrn
mit schwarzem Buben and schwarzem Gepäck. 'Rest gentleman mit black
baby und black--pag. [_The LITTLE MAN turns up his eyes to heaven._]

OFFICIAL. Komm mit us. [_They take the LITTLE MAN toward the door from
which they have come. A voice stops them._]

AMERICAN [_speaking from as far away as may be_]. Just a moment! [_The
OFFICIAL stops; the LITTLE MAN also stops and sits down on a bench
against the wall. The POLICEMAN stands stolidly beside him. The
AMERICAN approaches a step or two, beckoning; the OFFICIAL goes up to

AMERICAN. Guess you've got an angel from heaven there! What's the
gentleman in buttons for?

OFFICIAL. Was ist das?

AMERICAN. Is there anybody here that can understand Amurrican?

OFFICIAL. Verstehe nicht.

AMERICAN. Well, just watch my gestures. I was saying [_he points to
the LITTLE MAN, then makes gestures of flying_], you have an angel
from heaven there. You have there a man in whom Gawd [_he points
upward_] takes quite an amount of stock. This is a vurry precious man.
You have no call to arrest him [_he makes the gesture of arrest_]. No,
sir. Providence has acted pretty mean, loading off that baby on him
[_he makes the motion of dandling_]. The little man has a heart of
gold. [_He points to his heart, and takes out a gold coin._]

OFFICIAL [_thinking he is about to be bribed_]. Aber, das ist _zu_

AMERICAN. Now, don't rattle me! [_Pointing to the LITTLE MAN._] Man
[_pointing to his heart_] Herz [_pointing to the coin_] von Gold. This
is a flower of the field--he don't want no gentleman in buttons to
pluck him up. [_A little crowd is gathering, including the two

OFFICIAL. Verstehe absolut nichts. [_He taps the telegram._] Ich muss
mein duty do.

AMERICAN. But I'm telling you. This is a good man. This is probably
the best man on Gawd's airth.

OFFICIAL. Das macht nichts--gut or no gut, I muss mein duty do. [_He
turns to go toward the LITTLE MAN._]

AMERICAN. Oh! Vurry well, arrest him; do your duty. This baby has
typhus. [_At the word "typhus" the OFFICIAL stops._]

AMERICAN [_making gestures_]. First-class typhus, black typhus,
schwarzen typhus. Now you have it. I'm kind o' sorry for you and the
gentleman in buttons. Do your duty!

OFFICIAL. Typhus? Der Bub'--die baby hat typhus?

AMERICAN. I'm telling you.

OFFICIAL. Gott im Himmel!

AMERICAN [_spotting the GERMAN in the little throng_]. Here's a
gentleman will corroborate me.

OFFICIAL [_much disturbed, and signing to the POLICEMAN to stand
clear_]. Typhus! Aber das ist grässlich!

AMERICAN. I kind o' thought you'd feel like that.

OFFICIAL. Die Sanitätsmachine! Gleich! [_A PORTER goes to get it. From
either side the broken half-moon of persons stand gazing at the LITTLE
MAN, who sits unhappily dandling the BABY in the center._]

OFFICIAL [_raising his hands_]. Was zu thun?

AMERICAN. Guess you'd better isolate the baby. [_A silence, during
which the LITTLE MAN is heard faintly whistling and clucking to the

OFFICIAL [_referring once more to his telegram_]. 'Rest gentleman mit
black baby. [_Shaking his head._] Wir must de gentleman hold. [_To the
GERMAN._] Bitte, mein Herr, sagen Sie ihm, den Buben zu niedersetzen.
[_He makes the gesture of deposit._]

GERMAN [_to the LITTLE MAN_]. He say: Put down the baby. [_The LITTLE
MAN shakes his head, and continues to dandle the BABY._]

OFFICIAL. Sie müssen--you must. [_The LITTLE MAN glowers, in

ENGLISHMAN [_in background--muttering_]. Good man!

GERMAN. His spirit ever denies; er will nicht.

OFFICIAL [_again making his gesture_]. Aber er muss! [_The LITTLE MAN
makes a face at him._] Sag' ihm: Instantly put down baby, and komm'
mit us. [_The BABY wails._]

LITTLE MAN. Leave the poor ill baby here alone? Be-be-be-d--d first!

AMERICAN [_jumping onto a trunk--with enthusiasm_]. Bully! [_The
ENGLISH clap their hands; the DUTCH YOUTH laughs. The OFFICIAL is
muttering, greatly incensed._]

AMERICAN. What does that body-snatcher say?

GERMAN. He say this man use the baby to save himself from arrest. Very
smart--he say.

AMERICAN. I judge you do him an injustice. [_Showing off the LITTLE
MAN with a sweep of his arm._] This is a vurry white man. He's got a
black baby, and he won't leave it in the lurch. Guess we would all act
noble, that way, give us the chance. [_The LITTLE MAN rises, holding
out the BABY, and advances a step or two. The half-moon at once gives,
increasing its size; the AMERICAN climbs onto a higher trunk. The
LITTLE MAN retires and again sits down._]

AMERICAN [_addressing the OFFICIAL_]. Guess you'd better go out of
business and wait for the mother.

OFFICIAL [_stamping his foot_]. Die Mutter sall 'rested be for taking
out baby mit typhus. Ha! [_To the LITTLE MAN._] Put ze baby down!
[_The LITTLE MAN smiles._] Do you 'ear?

AMERICAN [_addressing the OFFICIAL_]. Now, see here. 'Pears to me you
don't suspicion just how beautiful this is. Here we have a man giving
his life for that old baby that's got no claim on him. This is not a
baby of his own making. No, sir, this a vurry Christ-like proposition
in the gentleman.

OFFICIAL. Put ze baby down, or ich will gommand someone it to do.

AMERICAN. That will be vurry interesting to watch.

OFFICIAL [_to POLICEMAN_]. Nehmen Sie den Buben. Dake it vrom him.
[_The POLICEMAN mutters, but does not._]

AMERICAN [_to the GERMAN_]. Guess I lost that.

GERMAN. He say he is not his officer.

AMERICAN. That just tickles me to death.

OFFICIAL [_looking round_]. Vill nobody dake ze Bub'?

ENGLISHWOMAN [_moving a step--faintly_]. Yes--I--

ENGLISHMAN [_grasping her arm_]. By Jove! Will you!

OFFICIAL [_gathering himself for a great effort to take the BABY, and
advancing two steps_]. Zen I gommand you--[_He stops and his voice
dies away._] Zit dere!

AMERICAN. My! That's wonderful. What a man this is! What a sublime
sense of duty! [_The DUTCH YOUTH laughs. The OFFICIAL turns on him,
but as he does so the MOTHER of the BABY is seen hurrying._]

MOTHER. Ach! Ach! Mei' Bubi! [_Her face is illumined; she is about to
rush to the LITTLE MAN._]

OFFICIAL [_to the POLICEMAN_]. Nimm die Frau! [_The POLICEMAN catches
hold of the WOMAN._]

OFFICIAL [_to the frightened WOMAN_]. Warum haben Sie einen Buben mit
Typhus mit ausgebracht?

AMERICAN [_eagerly, from his perch_]. What was that? I don't want to
miss any.

GERMAN. He say: Why did you a baby with typhus with you bring out?

AMERICAN. Well, that's quite a question. [_He takes out the
field-glasses slung around him and adjusts them on the BABY._]

MOTHER [_bewildered_], Mei' Bubi--Typhus--aber Typhus? [_She shakes
her head violently._] Nein, nein, nein! Typhus!

OFFICIAL. Er hat Typhus.

MOTHER [_shaking her head_]. Nein, nein, nein!

AMERICAN [_looking through his glasses_]. Guess she's kind of right! I
judge the typhus is where the baby's slobbered on the shawl, and it's
come off on him. [_The DUTCH YOUTH laughs._]

OFFICIAL [_turning on him furiously_]. Er hat Typhus.

AMERICAN. Now, that's where you slop over. Come right here. [_The
OFFICIAL mounts, and looks through the glasses._]

AMERICAN [_to the LITTLE MAN_]. Skin out the baby's leg. If we don't
locate spots on that, it'll be good enough for me. [_The LITTLE MAN
fumbles out the BABY's little white foot._]

MOTHER. Mei' Bubi! [_She tries to break away._]

AMERICAN. White as a banana. [_To the OFFICIAL--affably._] Guess
you've made kind of a fool of us with your old typhus.

OFFICIAL. Lass die Frau! [_The POLICEMAN lets her go, and she rushes
to her BABY._]

MOTHER. Mei' Bubi! [_The BABY, exchanging the warmth of the LITTLE MAN
for the momentary chill of its MOTHER, wails._]

OFFICIAL [_descending and beckoning to the POLICEMAN_]. Sie wollen den
Herrn accusiren? [_The POLICEMAN takes the LITTLE MAN's arm._]

AMERICAN. What's that? They goin' to pinch him after all? [_The
MOTHER, still hugging her BABY, who has stopped crying, gazes at the
LITTLE MAN, who sits dazedly looking up. Suddenly she drops on her
knees, and with her free hand lifts his booted foot and kisses it._]

AMERICAN [_waving his hat_]. 'Ra! 'Ra! [_He descends swiftly, goes up
to the LITTLE MAN, whose arm the POLICEMAN has dropped, and takes his
hand._] Brother, I am proud to know you. This is one of the greatest
moments I have ever experienced. [_Displaying the LITTLE MAN to the
assembled company._] I think I sense the situation when I say that we
all esteem it an honor to breathe the rather inferior atmosphere of
this station here along with our little friend. I guess we shall all
go home and treasure the memory of his face as the whitest thing in
our museum of recollections. And perhaps this good woman will also go
home and wash the face of our little brother here. I am inspired with
a new faith in mankind. We can all be proud of this mutual experience;
we have our share in it; we can kind of feel noble. Ladies and
gentlemen, I wish to present to you a sure-enough saint--only wants a
halo, to be transfigured. [_To the LITTLE MAN._] Stand right up. [_The
LITTLE MAN stands up bewildered. They come about him. The OFFICIAL
bows to him, the POLICEMAN salutes him. The DUTCH YOUTH shakes his
head and laughs. The GERMAN draws himself up very straight, and bows
quickly twice. The ENGLISHMAN and his wife approach at least two
steps, then, thinking better of it, turn to each other and recede. The
MOTHER kisses his hand. The PORTER returning with the Sanitätsmachine,
turns it on from behind, and its pinkish shower, goldened by a ray of
sunlight, falls around the LITTLE MAN's head, transfiguring it as he
stands with eyes upraised to see whence the portent comes._]

AMERICAN [_rushing forward and dropping on his knees_]. Hold on just a
minute! Guess I'll take a snap-shot of the miracle. [_He adjusts his
pocket camera._] This ought to look bully!


*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "One-Act Plays - By Modern Authors" ***

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