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Title: Where There is Nothing - Being Volume I of Plays for an Irish Theatre
Author: Yeats, W. B. (William Butler), 1865-1939
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Where There is Nothing - Being Volume I of Plays for an Irish Theatre" ***

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_BY THE SAME WRITER._

  THE SECRET ROSE.
  THE CELTIC TWILIGHT.
  POEMS.
  THE WIND AMONG THE REEDS.
  THE SHADOWY WATERS.
  IDEAS OF GOOD AND EVIL.



PLAYS FOR AN IRISH THEATRE

VOLUME I.



WHERE THERE IS NOTHING:

  BEING VOLUME ONE OF PLAYS
  FOR AN IRISH THEATRE: BY
  W. B. YEATS


  LONDON: A. H. BULLEN, 47, GREAT
  RUSSELL STREET, W.C. 1903



  CHISWICK PRESS: CHARLES WHITTINGHAM AND CO.
  TOOKS COURT, CHANCERY LANE, LONDON.



DEDICATION OF VOLUMES ONE AND TWO OF PLAYS FOR AN IRISH THEATRE.


My dear Lady Gregory, I dedicate to you two volumes of plays
that are in part your own.

When I was a boy I used to wander about at Rosses Point and Ballisodare
listening to old songs and stories. I wrote down what I heard and made
poems out of the stories or put them into the little chapters of the
first edition of "The Celtic Twilight," and that is how I began to write
in the Irish way.

Then I went to London to make my living, and though I spent a part of
every year in Ireland and tried to keep the old life in my memory by
reading every country tale I could find in books or old newspapers, I
began to forget the true countenance of country life. The old tales were
still alive for me indeed, but with a new, strange, half unreal life, as
if in a wizard's glass, until at last, when I had finished "The Secret
Rose," and was half-way through "The Wind Among the Reeds," a wise woman
in her trance told me that my inspiration was from the moon, and that I
should always live close to water, for my work was getting too full of
those little jewelled thoughts that come from the sun and have no
nation. I had no need to turn to my books of astrology to know that the
common people are under the moon, or to Porphyry to remember the
image-making power of the waters. Nor did I doubt the entire truth of
what she said to me, for my head was full of fables that I had no longer
the knowledge and emotion to write. Then you brought me with you to see
your friends in the cottages, and to talk to old wise men on Slieve
Echtge, and we gathered together, or you gathered for me, a great number
of stories and traditional beliefs. You taught me to understand again,
and much more perfectly than before, the true countenance of country
life.

One night I had a dream almost as distinct as a vision, of a cottage
where there was well-being and firelight and talk of a marriage, and
into the midst of that cottage there came an old woman in a long cloak.
She was Ireland herself, that Cathleen ni Hoolihan for whom so many
songs have been sung and about whom so many stories have been told and
for whose sake so many have gone to their death. I thought if I could
write this out as a little play I could make others see my dream as I
had seen it, but I could not get down out of that high window of
dramatic verse, and in spite of all you had done for me I had not the
country speech. One has to live among the people, like you, of whom an
old man said in my hearing, "She has been a serving-maid among us,"
before one can think the thoughts of the people and speak with their
tongue. We turned my dream into the little play, "Cathleen ni Hoolihan,"
and when we gave it to the little theatre in Dublin and found that the
working people liked it, you helped me to put my other dramatic fables
into speech. Some of these have already been acted, but some may not be
acted for a long time, but all seem to me, though they were but a part
of a summer's work, to have more of that countenance of country life
than anything I have done since I was a boy.

W. B. Yeats.

_Feb. 1903._



  Paul Ruttledge, a Country Gentleman.
  Thomas Ruttledge, his Brother.
  Mrs. Thomas Ruttledge.
  Mr. Dowler,          }
  Mr. Algie,           } Magistrates.
  Colonel Lawley,      }
  Mr. Joyce,           }
  Mr. Green, a Stipendiary Magistrate.
  Sabina Silver,            }
  Molly the Scold,          }
  Charlie Ward,             } Tinkers.
  Paddy Cockfight,          }
  Tommy the Song,           }
  Johneen, etc.             }
  Father Jerome,       }
  Father Aloysius,     } Friars.
  Father Colman,       }
  Father Bartley,      }
  Other Friars, and a crowd of countrymen.



WHERE THERE IS NOTHING.



ACT I.


     Scene: _A lawn with croquet hoops, garden chairs and
     tables. Door into house at left. Gate through hedge at back. The
     hedge is clipped into shapes of farmyard fowl._ PAUL RUTTLEDGE
     _is clipping at the hedge in front. A table with toys
     on it._

_Thomas Ruttledge._ [_Coming out on steps._] Paul, are you
coming in to lunch?

_Paul Ruttledge._ No; you can entertain these people very well. They
are your friends: you understand them.

_Thomas Ruttledge._ You might as well come in. You have been
clipping at that old hedge long enough.

_Paul Ruttledge._ You needn't worry about me. I should be bored if I
went in, and I don't want to be bored more than is necessary.

_Thomas Ruttledge._ What is that creature you are clipping at now? I
can't make it out.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Oh, it is a Cochin China fowl, an image of some of
our neighbours, like the others.

_Thomas Ruttledge._ I don't see any likeness to anyone.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Oh, yes there is, if you could see their minds
instead of their bodies. That comb now----

_Mrs. Ruttledge._ [_Coming out on steps._] Thomas, are you
coming in?

_Thomas Ruttledge._ Yes, I'm coming; but Paul won't come.

     [THOMAS RUTTLEDGE _goes out._

_Mrs. Ruttledge._ Oh! this is nonsense, Paul; you must come. All
these men will think it so strange if you don't. It is nonsense to think
you will be bored. Mr. Green is talking in the most interesting way.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Oh! I know Green's conversation very well.

_Mrs. Ruttledge._ And Mr. Joyce, your old guardian. Thomas says he
was always so welcome in your father's time, he will think it so queer.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Oh! I know all their virtues. There's Dowler, who
puts away thousands a year in Consols, and Algie, who tells everybody all
about it. Have I forgotten anybody? Oh, yes! Colonel Lawley, who used to
lift me up by the ears, when I was a child, to see Africa. No, Georgina,
I know all their virtues, but I'm not coming in.

_Mrs. Ruttledge._ I can't imagine why you won't come in and be
sociable.

_Paul Ruttledge._ You see I can't. I have something to do here. I
have to finish this comb. You see it is a beautiful comb; but the wings
are very short. The poor creature can't fly.

_Mrs. Ruttledge._ But can't you finish that after lunch?

_Paul Ruttledge._ No, I have sworn.

_Mrs. Ruttledge._ Well, I am sorry. You are always doing
uncomfortable things. I must go in to the others. I wish you would have
come. [_She goes in._

_Jerome._ [_Who has come to gate as she disappears._] Paul, you
there! that is lucky. I was just going to ask for you.

_Paul Ruttledge._ [_Flinging clipper away, and jumping up._]
Oh, Father Jerome, I am delighted to see you. I haven't seen you for ever
so long. Come and have a talk; or will you have some lunch?

_Jerome._ No, thank you; I will stay a minute, but I won't go in.

_Paul Ruttledge._ That is just as well, for you would be bored to
death. There has been a meeting of magistrates in the village, and my
brother has brought them all in to lunch.

_Jerome._ I am collecting for the Monastery, and my donkey has gone
lame; I have had to put it up in the village. I thought you might be
able to lend me one to go on with.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Of course, I'm delighted to lend you that or
anything else. I'll go round to the yard with you and order it. But sit
down here first. What have you been doing all this time?

_Jerome._ Oh, we have been very busy. You know we are going to put
up new buildings.

_Paul Ruttledge._ [_Absent-mindedly._] No, I didn't know that.

_Jerome._ Yes, our school is increasing so much we are getting a
grant for technical instruction. Some of the Fathers are learning
handicrafts. Father Aloysius is going to study industries in France; but
we are all busy. We are changing with the times, we are beginning to do
useful things.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Useful things. I wonder what you have begun to
call useful things. Do you see those marks over there on the grass?

_Jerome._ What marks?

_Paul Ruttledge._ Those marks over there, those little marks of
scratching.

_Jerome._ [_Going over to the place_ PAUL RUTTLEDGE _has
pointed out._] I don't see anything.

_Paul Ruttledge._ You are getting blind, Jerome. Can't you see that
the poultry have been scratching there?

_Jerome._ No, the grass is perfectly smooth.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Well, the marks are there, whether you see them
or not; for Mr. Green and Mr. Dowler and Mr. Algie and the rest of them
run out of their houses when nobody is looking, in their real shapes,
shapes like those on my hedge. And then they begin to scratch, they
scratch all together, they don't dig but they scratch, and all the time
their mouths keep going like that.

     [_He holds out his hand and opens and shuts his fingers like a
     bird's bill._

_Jerome._ Oh, Paul, you are making fun of me.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Of course I am only talking in parables. I think
all the people I meet are like farmyard creatures, they have forgotten
their freedom, their human bodies are a disguise, a pretence they keep
up to deceive one another.

_Jerome._ [_Sitting down._] What is wrong with you?

_Paul Ruttledge._ Oh, nothing of course. You see how happy I am. I
have a good house and a good property, and my brother and his charming
wife have come to look after me. You see the toys of their children here
and everywhere. What should be wrong with me?

_Jerome._ I know you too well not to see that there is something
wrong with you.

_Paul Ruttledge._ There is nothing except that I have been thinking
a good deal lately.

_Jerome._ Perhaps your old dreams or visions or whatever they were
have come back. They always made you restless. You ought to see more of
your neighbours.

_Paul Ruttledge._ There's nothing interesting but human nature, and
that's in the single soul, but these neighbours of mine they think in
flocks and roosts.

_Jerome._ You are too hard on them. They are busy men, they hav'n't
much time for thought, I daresay.

_Paul Ruttledge._ That's what I complain of. When I hear these
people talking I always hear some organized or vested interest chirp or
quack, as it does in the newspapers. Algie chirps. Even you, Jerome,
though I have not found your armorial beast, are getting a little
monastic; when I have found it I will put it among the others. There is a
place for it there, but the worst of it is that it will take so long
getting nice and green.

_Jerome._ I don't know what creature you could make for me.

_Paul Ruttledge._ I am not sure yet; I think it might be a pigeon,
something cooing and gentle, and always coming home to the dovecot; not
to the wild woods but to the dovecot.

_Jerome._ I wonder what creature you yourself are like.

_Paul Ruttledge._ I daresay I am like some creature or other, for
very few of us are altogether men; but if I am, I would like to be one
of the wild sort. You are right about my dreams. They have been coming
back lately. Do you remember those strange ones I had at college?

_Jerome._ Those visions of pulling something down?

_Paul Ruttledge._ Yes, they have come back to me lately. Sometimes I
dream I am pulling down my own house, and sometimes it is the whole
world that I am pulling down. [_Standing up._] I would like to have
great iron claws, and to put them about the pillars, and to pull and
pull till everything fell into pieces.

_Jerome._ I don't see what good that would do you.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Oh, yes it would. When everything was pulled down
we would have more room to get drunk in, to drink contentedly out of the
cup of life, out of the drunken cup of life.

_Jerome._ That is a terribly wild thought. I hope you don't believe
all you say.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Perhaps not. I only know that I want to upset
everything about me. Have you not noticed that it is a complaint many of
us have in this country? and whether it comes from love or hate I don't
know, they are so mixed together here.

_Jerome._ I wish you would come and talk to our Superior. He has a
perfect gift for giving advice.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Well, we'll go to the yard now. [_He gets
up._

_Jerome._ I have often thought you would come to the Monastery
yourself in the end. You were so much the most pious of us all at
school. You would be happy in a Monastery. Something is always happening
there.

_Paul Ruttledge._ [_As they go up the garden._] I daresay, I
daresay; but I am not even sure that I am a Christian.

_Jerome._ Well, anyway, I wish that you would come and talk to our
Superior. [_They go out._

       *       *       *       *       *

     CHARLIE WARD _and_ BOY _enter by the path beyond
     the hedge and stand at gate._

_Charlie Ward._ No use going up there, Johneen, it's too grand a
place, it's a dog they might let loose on us. But I'll tell you what,
just slip round to the back door and ask do they want any cans mended.

_Johneen._ Let you take the rabbit then we're after taking out of
the snare. I can't bring it round with me.

_Charlie Ward._ Faith, you can't. They think as bad of us taking a
rabbit that was fed and minded by God as if it was of their own rearing;
give it here to me. It's hardly it will go in my pocket, it's as big as
a hare. It's next my skin I'll have to put it, or it might be noticed on
me. [_Boy goes out._

     [CHARLIE WARD _is struggling to put rabbit inside his
     coat when_ PAUL RUTTLEDGE _comes back._

_Paul Ruttledge._ Is there anything I can do for you? Do you want to
come in?

_Charlie Ward._ I'm a tinker by trade, your honour. I wonder is
there e'er a tin can the maids in the house might want mended or any
chairs to be bottomed?

_Paul Ruttledge._ A tinker; where do you live?

_Charlie Ward._ Faith, I don't stop long in any place. I go about
like the crows; picking up my way of living like themselves.

_Paul Ruttledge._ [_Opening gate._] Come inside here.
[CHARLIE WARD _hesitates._] Come in, you are welcome.

     [_Puts his hand on his shoulder._ CHARLIE WARD _tries to
     close his shirt over rabbit._

_Paul Ruttledge._ Ah, you have a rabbit there. The keeper told me
he had come across some snares in my woods.

_Charlie Ward._ If he did, sir, it was no snare of mine he found.
This is a rabbit I bought in the town of Garreen early this morning.
Sixpence I was made give for it, and to mend a tin can along with that.

_Paul Ruttledge._ [_Touching rabbit._] It's warm still, however.
But the day is hot. Never mind; you are quite welcome to it. I daresay
you will have a cheery meal of it by the roadside; my dinners are often
tiresome enough. I often wish I could change--look here, will you change
clothes with me?

_Charlie Ward._ Faith, I'd swap soon enough if you weren't humbugging
me. It's I that would look well with that suit on me! The peelers would
all be touching their caps to me. You'd see them running out for me to
sign summonses for them.

_Paul Ruttledge._ But I am not humbugging. I am in earnest.

_Charlie Ward._ In earnest! Then when I go back I'll commit Paddy
Cockfight to prison for hitting me yesterday.

_Paul Ruttledge._ You don't believe me, but I will explain. I'm dead
sick of this life; I want to get away; I want to escape--as you say, to
pick up my living like the crows for a while.

_Charlie Ward._ To make your escape. Oh! that's different. [_Coming
closer._] But what is it you did? You don't look like one that would be
in trouble. But sometimes a gentleman gets a bit wild when he has a drop
taken.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Well, never mind. I will explain better while we are
changing. Come over here to the potting shed. Make haste, those
magistrates will be coming out.

_Charlie Ward._ The magistrates! Are they after you? Hurry on, then!
Faith, they won't know you with this coat. [_Looking at his rags._] It's a
pity I didn't put on my old one coming out this morning.

     [_They go out through the garden._ THOMAS RUTTLEDGE _comes
     down steps from house with_ COLONEL LAWLEY _and_
     MR. GREEN.

_Mr. Green._ Yes, they have made me President of the County
Horticultural Society. My speech was quite a success; it was punctuated
with applause. I said I looked upon the appointment not as a tribute to
my own merits, but to their public spirit and to the Society, which I
assured them had come to stay.

_Colonel Lawley._ What has become of Paul and Father Jerome? I thought
I heard their voices out here, and now they are conspicuous by their
absence.

_Thomas Ruttledge._ He seems to have no friend he cares for but that
Father Jerome.

_Mr. Green._ I wish he would come more into touch with his fellows.

_Colonel Lawley._ What a pity he didn't go into the army. I wish he
would join the militia. Every man should try to find some useful sphere
of employment.

_Mr. Green._ Thomas, your brother will never come to see me, though
I often ask him. He would find the best people--people worth meeting--at
my house. I wonder if he would join the Horticultural Society? I know I
voice the sentiments of all the members in saying this. I spoke to a
number of them at the function the other day.

_Thomas Ruttledge._ I wish he would join something. Joyce wants him
to join the Masonic Lodge. It is not a right life for him to keep hanging
about the place and doing nothing.

_Mr. Green._ He won't even come and sit on the Bench. It's not fair
to leave so much of the work to me. I ought to get all the support
possible from local men.

     [MRS. RUTTLEDGE _comes down steps with_ MR. DOWLER,
     MR. ALGIE, _and_ MR. JOYCE. _She is walking in front._

_Mrs. Ruttledge._ [_To_ THOMAS RUTTLEDGE.] Oh! Thomas, isn't it
too bad, Paul has lent the donkey to that friar. I wanted Mr. Joyce to
see the children in their panniers. Do speak to him about it.

_Thomas Ruttledge._ Well, the donkey belongs to him, and for the
matter of that so does the house and the place. It would be rather hard
on him not to be able to use things as he likes.

_Mr. Algie._ What a pleasure it must be to Paul to have you and the
little ones living here. He certainly owes you a debt of gratitude. Man
was not born to live alone.

_Mrs. Ruttledge._ Well, I think we have done him good. He hasn't done
anything for years, except mope about the house and cut the bushes into
those absurd shapes, and now we are trying to make him live more like
other people.

_Colonel Lawley._ He was always inclined to be a bit of a faddist.

_Mrs. Ruttledge._ [_To_ MR. ALGIE.] Do let me give you a lesson in
croquet. I have learned all the new rules. [_To_ MR. JOYCE.] Please
bring me that basket of balls. [_To COLONEL LAWLEY._] Will you
bring me the mallets? Yes, I am afraid he is a faddist. We have done our
best for him, but he ought to be more with men.

_Mr. Algie._ Yes, Mr. Dowler was just saying he ought to try and be
made a director of the new railway.

_Colonel Lawley._ The militia--the militia.

_Mr. Joyce._ It's a great help to a man to belong to a Masonic Lodge.

_Mr. Green._ The Horticultural Society is in want of new members.

_Mrs. Ruttledge._ Well, I wish he would join something.

       *       *       *       *       *

     _Enter_ PAUL RUTTLEDGE _in tinker's clothes, carrying a rabbit in
     his hand._ CHARLIE WARD _follows in_ PAUL'S _clothes. All stand
     aghast._

_Mr. Joyce._ Good God!

     [_Drops basket._ COLONEL LAWLEY, _who has mallets in his hand, at
     sight of_ PAUL RUTTLEDGE _drops them, and stands still._

_Mrs. Ruttledge._ Paul! are you out of your mind?

_Thomas Ruttledge._ For goodness' sake, Paul, don't make such a fool of
yourself.

_Mrs. Ruttledge._ What on earth has happened, and who on earth is that
man?

_Paul Ruttledge._ [_Opens gate for tinker. To_ CHARLIE WARD.] Wait for
me, my friend, down there by the cross-road. [CHARLIE WARD _goes out._

_Mr. Green._ Has he stolen your clothes?

_Paul Ruttledge._ Oh! it's all right; I have changed clothes with him. I
am going to join the tinkers.

_All._ To join the tinkers!

_Paul Ruttledge._ Life is getting too monotonous; I would give it a
little variety. [_To_ MR. GREEN.] As you would say, it has been running
in grooves.

_Mr. Joyce._ [_To_ MRS. RUTTLEDGE.] This is only his humbugging
talk; he never believes what he says.

     [PAUL RUTTLEDGE _goes towards the steps._

_Mrs. Ruttledge._ Surely you are not going into the house with those
clothes?

_Paul Ruttledge._ You are quite right. Thomas will go in for me. [_To_
THOMAS RUTTLEDGE.] Just go to my study, will you, and bring me my
despatch-box; I want something from it before I go.

_Thomas Ruttledge._ Where are you going to? I wish you would tell me
what you are at.

_Paul Ruttledge._ The despatch-box is on the top of the bureau.

     [_THOMAS RUTTLEDGE goes out._

_Mr. Joyce._ What does all this mean?

_Paul Ruttledge._ I will explain. [_Sits down on the edge of iron
table._] Did you never wish to be a witch, and to ride through the air
on a white horse?

_Mr. Joyce._ I can't say I ever did.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Never? Only think of it--to ride in the darkness under
the stars, to make one's horse leap from cloud to cloud, to watch the
sea glittering under one's feet and the mountain tops going by.

_Colonel Lawley._ But what has this to do with the tinkers?

_Paul Ruttledge._ As I cannot find a broomstick that will turn itself
into a white horse, I am going to turn tinker.

_Mr. Dowler._ I suppose you have some picturesque idea about these
people, but I assure you, you are quite wrong. They are nothing but
poachers.

_Mr. Algie._ They are nothing but thieves.

_Mr. Joyce._ They are the worst class in the country.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Oh, I know that; they are quite lawless. That is what
attracts me to them. I am going to be irresponsible.

_Mr. Green._ One cannot escape from responsibility by joining a set of
vagabonds.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Vagabonds--that is it. I want to be a vagabond, a
wanderer. As I can't leap from cloud to cloud I want to wander from road
to road. That little path there by the clipped edge goes up to the
highroad. I want to go up that path and to walk along the highroad, and
so on and on and on, and to know all kinds of people. Did you ever think
that the roads are the only things that are endless; that one can walk
on and on and on, and never be stopped by a gate or a wall? They are
the serpent of eternity. I wonder they have never been worshipped. What
are the stars beside them? They never meet one another. The roads are
the only things that are infinite. They are all endless.

_Mrs. Ruttledge._ But they must stop when they come to the sea?

_Paul Ruttledge._ Ah! you are always so wise.

_Mr. Joyce._ Stop talking nonsense, Paul, and throw away those filthy
things.

_Paul Ruttledge._ That would be setting cleanliness before godliness. I
have begun the regeneration of my soul.

_Mr. Dowler._ I don't see what godliness has got to do with it.

_Mr. Algie._ Nor I either.

_Paul Ruttledge._ There was a saint who said, "I must rejoice without
ceasing, although the world shudder at my joy." He did not think he
could save his soul without it. I agree with him, and as I was
discontented here, I thought it time to make a change. Like that worthy
man, I must be content to shock my friends.

_Mr. Dowler._ But you had everything here you could want.

_Paul Ruttledge._ That's just it. You who are so wealthy, you of all
people should understand that I want to get rid of all that
responsibility, answering letters and so on. It is not worth the trouble
of being rich if one has to answer letters. Could you ever understand,
Georgina, that one gets tired of many charming things? There are family
responsibilities [_to_ MR. JOYCE], but I can see that you, who were my
guardian, sympathize with me in that.

_Mr. Joyce._ Indeed I do not.

_Mrs. Ruttledge._ I should think you could be cheerful without ceasing
to be a gentleman.

_Paul Ruttledge._ You are thinking of my clothes. We must feel at ease
with the people we live amongst. I shall feel at ease with the great
multitude in these clothes. I am beginning to be a man of the world. I
am the beggarman of all the ages--I have a notion Homer wrote something
about me.

_Mr. Dowler._ He is either making fun of us or talking great rot. I
can't listen to any more of this nonsense. I can't see why a man with
property can't let well alone. Algie are you coming my way?

     [_They both go into the house, and come out presently with umbrella
     and coat._

_Mr. Green._ Depend upon it, he's going to write a book. There was a man
who made quite a name for himself by sleeping in a casual ward.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Oh! no, I'm not going to write about it; if one writes
one can do nothing else. I am going to express myself in life. [_To_
THOMAS RUTTLEDGE _who has returned with box._] I hope soon to live by the
work of my hands, but every trade has to be learned, and I must take
something to start with. [_To_ MRS. RUTTLEDGE.] Do you think you will
have any kettles to mend when I come this way again?

     [_He has taken box from_ THOMAS RUTTLEDGE _and unlocked it._

_Thomas Ruttledge._ I can't make head or tail of what you are at.

_Colonel Lawley._ What he is at is fads.

_Mr. Green._ I don't think his motive is far to seek. He has some idea
of going back to the dark ages. Rousseau had some idea of the same kind,
but it didn't work.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Yes; I want to go back to the dark ages.

_Mr. Green._ Do you want to lose all the world has gained since then?

_Paul Ruttledge._ What has it gained? I am among those who think that
sin and death came into the world the day Newton eat the apple. [_To_
MRS. RUTTLEDGE, _who is going to speak._] I know you are going to tell me
he only saw it fall. Never mind, it is all the same thing.

_Mrs. Ruttledge._ [_Beginning to cry._] Oh! he is going mad!

_Mr. Joyce._ I'm afraid he is really leaving us.

_Paul Ruttledge._ [_Who has been looking at papers, tearing one or two,
etc., takes out a packet of notes, which he puts in his breast._] I
daresay this will last me long enough, Thomas. I am not robbing you of
very much. Well, good-bye. [_Pats him gently on the shoulder._] I
mustn't forget the rabbit, it may be my dinner to-night; I wonder who
will skin it. Good-bye, Colonel, I think I've astonished you to-day.
[_Slaps his shoulder._] That was too hard, was it? Forgive it, you know
I'm a common man now. [_Lifts his hat and goes out of gate. Closes it
after him and stands with his hands on it, and speaks with the voice of
a common man._] Go on, live in your poultry-yard. Scratch straw and
cluck and cackle at everything that you take for a fox. [_Exit._

_Mr. Joyce._ [_Goes to_ MRS. RUTTLEDGE, _who has sat down and is wiping
her eyes._] I am very sorry for this, for his father's sake, but it may
be as well in the end. If it comes to the worst, you and Thomas will
keep up the family name better than he would have done.

_Mr. Dowler._ He'll find the poor very different from what he thinks
when they pick his pocket.

_Colonel Lawley._ To think that a magistrate should have such fads!

_Mr. Green._ I venture to say you will see him here in a very different
state of mind in a week.

_Mr. Algie._ [_Who has been in a brown study._] He has done for himself
in this world and the next. Why, he won't be asked to a single shoot if
this is heard of.

_Thomas Ruttledge._ [_Turning from the gate._] Here are the children,
Georgina. Don't say anything before the nurse.

_Mr. Green._ Well, I must be off. [_Goes in for stick._

_Mr. Joyce._ Just bring me out my coat, Green.

     [_They all prepare to go._ MRS. RUTTLEDGE _has gone to open gate and
     children come in, one in a perambulator. All gather round them
     admiringly._

_Mr. Joyce._ Have you a kiss for godfather to-day?

_Mrs. Ruttledge._ The poor darlings! I hope they will never know what
has happened.

_Colonel Lawley._ Thank goodness, they have no nonsense in their heads.
We know where we are with them.


CURTAIN.



ACT II.


     Scene: _By the roadside. A wall of unmortared stone in the
     background. Tinkers' encampment. Men, women, and children standing
     round._ PAUL RUTTLEDGE _standing by a fire._

_Paul Ruttledge._ What do you mean by "tinning" the soldering iron?

_Charlie Ward._ If the face of it is not well tinned it won't lift the
solder. Show me here.

     [_Takes soldering iron from_ PAUL RUTTLEDGE'S _hand._

_Paul Ruttledge._ [_Sitting down and drawing a tin can to him._] Now,
let me see how you mend this hole. It seems easy. I'm sure I will be
able to learn it as well as any of you.

     [_Two tinkers come and stand over him._

_Charlie Ward._ [_Pointing to one of them._] This, sir, is Tommy the
Song. He's the best singer we have, but the divil a much good he is only
that. He's a great warrant to snare hares.

_Tommy the Song._ Is the gentleman going to join us?

_Paul Ruttledge._ Indeed I am, if you'll let me. There's nothing I'd
like better.

_Tommy the Song._ But are you going to learn the trade?

_Paul Ruttledge._ Yes, if you'll teach me. I'm sure I'll make a good
tinker. Look at that now, see how I've stopped that hole already.

_Charlie Ward._ [_Taking the can from him and looking at it._] If every
can had a little hole in the middle like that, I think you _would_ be
able to mend them; but there's the straight hole, and the crooked hole,
the round hole, the square hole, the angle hole, the bottom hole, the
top hole, the side leak, the open leak, the leak-all-round, but I won't
frighten you with the names of them all, only this I will say, that,
when you've learned to mend all the leakages in a can--and that should
take you a year--you're only in the first day of the tinker's week.

_Tommy the Song._ Don't believe him. He's only humbugging you. It's not
the hardness of the work will daunt you.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Thank you. I was not believing him at all. I'm quite
sure I'll be able to mend any can at the end of a week, but the
bottoming of them will take longer. I can see that's not so easy. When
will you start to teach me that, Charlie?

_Charlie Ward._ [_As another tinker comes up._] Paddy, here's the
gentleman I was telling you about. He's going to join us for good and
all. [_To_ PAUL RUTTLEDGE.] Wait till we have time and some quiet place,
and he'll show you as good a cockfight as ever you saw. [_A woman comes
up._] This is his wife; Molly the Scold we call her; faith, she is a
better fighter than any cock he ever had in a basket; he'd find it hard
to shut the lid on her.

_Molly the Scold._ The gentleman seems foolish. Is he all there?

_Paddy Cockfight._ Stop your chat, Molly, or I'll hit you a welt.

_Charlie Ward._ Keep your tongue quiet, Molly. If the gentleman has
reasons for keeping out of the way it isn't for us to be questioning
him. [_To_ PAUL RUTTLEDGE.] Don't mind her, she's cross enough, but
maybe your own ladies would be cross as well if they saw their young
sons dying by the roadside in a little kennel of straw under the
ass-cart the way she did; from first to last.

_Paul Ruttledge._ I suppose you have your troubles like others. But you
seem cheerful enough.

_Charlie Ward._ It isn't anything to fret about. Some of us go soon, and
some travel the roads for their lifetime. What does it matter when we
are under the nettles if it was with a short rope or a long one we were
hanged?

_Paul Ruttledge._ Yes, that is the way to take life. What does the
length of our rope matter?

_Charlie Ward._ We haven't time to be thinking of troubles like people
that would be shut up in a house. We have the wide world before us to
make our living out of. The people of the whole world are begrudging us
our living, and we make it out of them for all that. When they will
spread currant cakes and feather beds before us, it will be time for us
to sit down and fret.

_Tommy the Song._ It's likely you'll think the life too hard. Would you
like to be passing by houses in the night-time, and the fire shining out
of them, and you hardly given the loan of a sod to light your pipe, and
the rain falling on you?

_Paul Ruttledge._ Why are the people so much against you?

_Tommy the Song._ We are not like themselves. It's little we care about
them or they about us. If their saint did curse us itself----

_Charlie Ward._ Stop. I won't have you talking about that story here.
Why would they think so much of the curse of one saint, and saints so
plenty?

_Paddy Cockfight._ Where's the good of a gentleman being here? He'll be
breaking down on the road. It's on the ass-cart he'll be wanting to sit.

_Tommy the Song._ Indeed, I don't think he'll stand the hardship.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Oh, I'll stand it well enough.

_Tommy the Song._ You're not like us that were reared to it. You were
not born like us with wandering in the heart.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Oh yes, I have wandering in the heart. I got sick of
these lighted rooms you were talking of just now.

_Charlie Ward._ That might be so. It's the dark is welcome to a man
sometimes.

_Paul Ruttledge._ The dark. Yes, I think that is what I want. [_Stands
up._] The dark, where there is nothing that is anything, and nobody that
is anybody; one can be free there, where there is nothing. Well, if you
let me stay with you, I don't think you will hear any complaints from
me. Charlie Ward, Paddy, and the rest of you, I want you to understand
that from this out I am one of yourselves. I'll live as you live and do
as you do.

     [JOHNEEN _and other children come running in._

_Johneen._ I was on the top of the bank and I seen a priest coming down
the cross-road with his ass. It's collecting he is. We're going to set
ourselves here to beg something from him.

_Another Child._ [_Breathlessly._] And he has a whole lot of things on
the ass. A whole lot of things up behind him.

_Another Child._ O boys, O boys, we'll have our dealing trick out of
them yet. The best way'll be---- [_He suddenly catches sight of_ PAUL
RUTTLEDGE.] Whist, ye divils ye, don't you see the new gentleman?

_Paul Ruttledge._ Speak out, boys; don't be afraid of me; I'm one of
yourselves now.

_Child._ Oh! but we were going to---- But I won't tell you. [_To the
other_ children.] Come away here, and we'll not tell him what we'll do.

_Paul Ruttledge._ [_To_ CHARLIE WARD.] What are they going to do?
They're putting their heads together.

_Charlie Ward._ They're going to put a bush across the road, and when
the friar gets down to pull it out of the way they'll snap what they can
off the ass, and away with them.

_Paul Ruttledge._ And why wouldn't they tell me that? Am I not one of
yourselves?

_Charlie Ward._ Ah! It's likely they'll never trust you.

_Paul Ruttledge._ But they will soon see that I am one of themselves.

_Charlie Ward._ No; but that's the very thing, you're not one of
ourselves. You were not born on the road, reared on the road, married on
the road like us.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Well, it's too late for me to be reared on the road,
but I don't see why I shouldn't marry on the road like you. I certainly
would do it if it would make me one of you.

_Charlie Ward._ It might make you one of us, there's no doubt about
that. It's the only thing that would do it.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Well, find a wife for me.

_Charlie Ward._ Faith, you haven't far to go to find one. Paddy there
will give you over his wife quick enough; he won't make a hard bargain
over her.

_Paul Ruttledge._ But I am in earnest. I want to cut myself off from my
old life.

_Charlie Ward._ Oh! I was forgetting that.

_Sabina Silver._ [_To_ MOLLY.] I wonder what was it he did? I wonder had
he the misfortune to kill anybody?

_Charlie Ward._ [_Calling_ SABINA _over._] Here's a girl should make a
good wife, Sabina Silver her name is. Her father is just dead; he didn't
treat her over well.

_Sabina Silver._ [_Coming over._] What is it?

_Charlie Ward._ This gentleman wants to speak to you. I think he's
looking out for a wife.

_Sabina Silver._ [_Hanging her head._] Don't be humbugging me.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Indeed he's not, Sabina.

_Sabina Silver._ You're only joking a poor girl. Sure, what would make
you think of me at all?

_Paul Ruttledge._ Sabina, have you been always on the road with Charlie
Ward and the others?

_Sabina Silver._ I have, indeed.

_Paul Ruttledge._ And you'd make a good tinker's wife?

_Sabina Silver._ You're joking me, but I would be a better wife for a
tinker than for anyone else.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Sabina, will you marry me?

_Sabina Silver._ Oh! but I'd be afraid.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Why, Sabina?

_Sabina Silver._ I'd be afraid you'd beat me.

_Charlie Ward._ You see her father used to beat her. She's afraid of the
look of a man now.

_Paul Ruttledge._ I would not beat you, Sabina. How can you have got
such an idea?

_Sabina Silver._ Will you promise me that you won't beat me? Will you
swear it to me?

_Paul Ruttledge._ Of course I will.

_Sabina Silver._ [_To_ CHARLIE WARD.] Will you make him swear it?
Haven't you a little book in your pack? Bring it out and make him swear
to me on it, and you'll be my witness.

_Charlie Ward._ I think, Sibby, you need not be afraid.

_Sabina Silver._ What's your name, gentleman?

_Paul Ruttledge._ My name is Paul. Do you like it?

_Sabina Silver._ Then I won't marry you, Mr. Paul, till you swear to me
upon the book that you will never beat me with any stick that you could
call a stick, and that you will never strike a kick on me from behind.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Charlie, go and bring out that book to satisfy her. Of
course I swear that; it is absurd.

     [CHARLIE WARD _brings the book out of his pack._

_Paul Ruttledge._ I swear, Sabina, that I will never strike you with any
stick of any kind, and that I will never kick you. There, will that do?
[_He takes book and kisses it._

_Sabina Silver._ I misdoubt you. Kiss the book again. [PAUL RUTTLEDGE
_kisses it._

_Charlie Ward._ That's all right.

_A Child._ [_Crying from a distance._] He's coming now, the priest's
coming!

_Paul Ruttledge._ Then the priest will marry us. That comes in very
handy.

_Charlie Ward._ [_Scornfully._] A priest marry you, indeed he'll do
nothing of the kind. I hate priests and friars. It's unlucky to get
talking to them at all. You never know what trouble you're in for.

_A Child._ [_Coming up._] That's true, indeed. The last time I spoke to
a priest it's what he leathered me with a stick; may the divil fly away
with him.

_Paul Ruttledge._ But somebody must marry us.

_Charlie Ward._ Of course. You'll lep over the tinker's budget the usual
way. You'll just marry her by lepping over the budget the same as the
rest of us marry.

_Paul Ruttledge._ That's all I want to know. Please marry me in whatever
is your usual way.

       *       *       *       *       *

     JEROME _enters, leading the ass. He carries a pig's cheek, some
     groceries, a string of onions, etc., on the ass, which still has
     its nursery trappings. He goes up to_ CHARLIE WARD _thinking he is_
     PAUL RUTTLEDGE.

_Jerome._ Paul, what are you doing here?

_Charlie Ward._ [_Turning._] What do you want?

_Jerome._ Oh! I'm mistaken. I thought----

_Paul Ruttledge._ I am here, Father Jerome, but you're talking to the
wrong man.

_Jerome._ Good God, Paul, what has happened?

_Paul Ruttledge._ Nothing has happened that need surprise you. Don't you
remember what we talked of to-day? You told me I was too much by myself.
After you went away I thought I would make a change.

_Jerome._ But a change like this!

_Paul Ruttledge._ Why should you find fault with it? I am richer now
than I was then. I only lent you that donkey then, now I give him to
you.

_Jerome._ What has brought you among such people as these?

_Paul Ruttledge._ I find them on the whole better company than the
people I left a little while ago. Let me introduce you to----

_Jerome._ What can you possibly gain by coming here? Are you going to
try and teach them?

_Paul Ruttledge._ Oh! no, I am going to learn from them.

_Jerome._ What can you learn from them?

_Paul Ruttledge._ To pick up my living like the crows, and to solder tin
cans. Just give me that one I mended a while ago.

     [_Holds it out to_ FATHER JEROME.

_Jerome._ That is all nonsense.

_Paul Ruttledge._ I am happy. Do not your saints put all opponents to
the rout by saying they alone of all mankind are happy?

_Jerome._ I suppose you will not compare the happiness of these people
with the happiness of saints?

_Paul Ruttledge._ There are all sorts of happiness. Some find their
happiness like Thomas à Kempis, with a little book and a little cell.

_Paddy Cockfight._ I would wonder at anybody that could be happy in a
cell.

_Paul Ruttledge._ These men fight in their way as your saints fought,
for their hand is against the world. I want the happiness of men who
fight, who are hit and hit back, not the fighting of men in red coats,
that formal, soon-finished fighting, but the endless battle, the endless
battle. Tell me, Father Jerome, did you ever listen in the middle of the
night?

_Jerome._ Listen for what?

_Paul Ruttledge._ Did you ever, when the monastery was silent, and the
dogs had stopped barking, listen till you heard music?

_Jerome._ What sort of music do you mean?

_Paul Ruttledge._ Not the music we hear with these ears [_touching his
ears_], but the music of Paradise.

_Jerome._ Brother Colman once said he heard harps in the night.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Harps! It was because he was shut in a cell he heard
harps, maybe it sounds like harps in a cell. But the music I have heard
sometimes is made of the continual clashing of swords. It comes
rejoicing from Paradise.

_Jerome._ These are very wild thoughts.

_Tommy the Song._ I often heard music in the forths. There is many of us
hear it when we lie with our heads on the ground at night.

_Jerome._ That was not the music of Paradise.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Why should they not hear that music, although it may
not set them praying, but dancing.

_Jerome._ How can you think you will ever find happiness amongst their
devils' mirth?

_Paul Ruttledge._ I have taken to the roads because there is a wild
beast I would overtake, and these people are good snarers of beasts.
They can help me.

_Charlie Ward._ What kind of a wild beast is it you want?

_Paul Ruttledge._ Oh! it's a very terrible wild beast, with iron teeth
and brazen claws that can root up spires and towers.

_Charlie Ward._ It's best not to try and overtake a beast like that, but
to cross running water and leave it after you.

_Tommy the Song._ I heard one coming after me one night; very big and
shadowy it was, and I could hear it breathing. But when it came up with
me I lifted a hazel rod was in my hand, and it was gone on the moment.

_Paul Ruttledge._ My wild beast is Laughter, the mightiest of the
enemies of God. I will outrun it and make it friendly.

_Jerome._ That is your old wild talk. Do have some sense and go back to
your family.

_Paul Ruttledge._ I am never going back to them. I am going to live
among these people. I will marry among them.

_Jerome._ That is nonsense; you will soon change your mind.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Oh! no, I won't; I am taking my vows as you made yours
when you entered religion. I have chosen my wife; I am going to marry
before evening.

_Jerome._ Thank God, you will have to stop short of that, the Church
will never marry you.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Oh! I am not going to ask the help of the Church. But
I am to be married by what may be as old a ceremony as yours. What is
it I am to do, Charlie?

_Charlie Ward._ To lep a budget, sir.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Yes, that is it, the budget is there by the wall.

_Jerome._ I command you, in the name of the Holy Church and of the
teaching you have received from the Church, to leave this folly, this
degradation, this sin!

_Paul Ruttledge._ You forget, Jerome, that I am on the track of the wild
beast, and hunters in all ages have been a bad people to preach to. When
I have tamed the beast, perhaps I will bring him to your religious house
to be baptized.

_Jerome._ I will not listen to this profanity. [_To_ CHARLIE WARD.] It
is you who have put this madness on him as you have stolen his clothes!

_Charlie Ward._ Stop your chat, ye petticoated preacher.

_Paul Ruttledge._ I think, Father Jerome, you had better be getting
home. This people never gave in to the preaching of S. Patrick.

_Paddy Cockfight._ I'll send you riding home with your face to the tail
of the ass!

_Tommy the Song._ No, stop till we show you that we can make as good
curses as yourself. That you may never be warm in winter or cold in
summer time----

_Charlie Ward._ That's the chat! Bravo! Let him have it.

_Tinkers._ Be off! be off out of this!

_Molly the Scold._ Now curse him, Tommy.

_Tommy the Song._ A wide hoarseness on you--a high hanging to you on a
windy day; that shivering fever may stretch you nine times, and that the
curses of the poor may be your best music, and you hiding behind the
door. [JEROME _goes out._

_Molly the Scold._ And you hiding behind the door, and squeezed between
the hinges and the wall.

_Other Tinkers._ Squeezed between the hinges and the wall. [_They follow_
JEROME.

_Paul Ruttledge._ [_Crying after them._] Don't harm that gentleman; he
is a friend of mine.

     [_He goes to the wall, and stands there silently, looking upward._

_Sabina Silver._ It was grand talk, indeed: I didn't understand a word
of it.

_Paul Ruttledge._ The crows are beginning to fly home. There is a flock
of them high up under that cloud. I wonder where their nests are.

_Charlie Ward._ A long way off, among those big trees about Tillyra
Castle.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Yes, I remember. I have seen them coming home there on
a windy evening, tossing and whirling like the sea. They may have seen
what I am looking for, they fly so far. A sailor told me once that he
saw a crow three hundred miles from land, but maybe he was a liar.

_Charlie Ward._ Well, they fly far, anyway.

_Paul Ruttledge._ They tell one another what they have seen, too. That
is why they make so much noise. Maybe their news goes round the world.
[_He comes towards the others._] I think they have seen my wild beast,
Laughter. They could tell me if he has a face smoky from the eternal
fires, and wings of brass and claws of brass--claws of brass. [_Holds
out his hands and moves them like claws._] Sabina, would you like to see
a beast with eyes hard and cold and blue, like sapphires? Would you,
Sabina? Well, it's time now for the wedding. So what shall we get for
the wedding party? What would you like, Sabina?

_Sabina Silver._ I don't know.

_Paul Ruttledge._ What do you say, Charlie? A wedding cake and
champagne. How would you like champagne? [Tinkers _begin to return_.

_Charlie Ward._ It might be middling.

_Paul Ruttledge._ What would you say to a----

       *       *       *       *       *

     _One of the_ Boys _runs in carrying a pig's cheek. The rest of the_
     Tinkers _return with him_.

_Boy._ I knew I could do it. I told you I'd have my dealing trick out of
the priest. I took a hold of this, and Johneen made a snap at the
onions.

_Paul Ruttledge._ And he didn't catch you?

_Boy._ He'd want to be a lot smarter than he is to do that.

_Paul Ruttledge._ You are a smart lad, anyway. What do you say we should
have for our wedding party?

_Boy._ Are you rich?

_Paul Ruttledge._ More or less.

_Boy._ I seen a whole truck full of cakes and bullseyes in the village
below. Could you buy the whole of them?

_Charlie Ward._ Stop talking nonsense. What we want is porter.

_Paul Ruttledge._ All right. How many public-houses are there in the
village?

_Tommy the Song._ Twenty-four.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Is there any place we can have barrels brought to?

_Charlie Ward._ There's a shed near seems to be empty. We might go
there.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Then go and order as many barrels as we can make use
of to be brought there.

_Paddy Cockfight._ We will; and we'll stop till we've drunk them out.

_Paul Ruttledge._ [_Taking out money._] I have more money than will pay
for that. Sabina, we'll treat the whole neighbourhood in honour of our
wedding. I'll have all the public-houses thrown open, and free drinks
going for a week!

_Tinkers._ Hurrah! hurrah! hurrah!

_Charlie Ward._ Three cheers more, boys.

_All._ Hurrah! hurrah! hurrah!

_The Boys._ Now here's the budget.

_Paul Ruttledge._ [_Taking_ SABINA SILVER'S _hand_.] Now, Sabina, one,
two, three!


CURTAIN.



ACT III.


     Scene: _A large shed. Some sheepskins hanging up. Irons and pots
     for branding sheep, some pitchforks, etc. Tinkers playing cards,_
     PAUL RUTTLEDGE _sitting on an upturned basket_.

_Charlie Ward._ Stop that melodeon, now will ye, and we'll have a taste
of the cocks. Paul didn't see them yet what they can do. Where's Tommy?
Where in the earthly world is Tommy the Song?

_Paddy Cockfight._ He's over there in the corner.

_Charlie Ward._ What are you doing there, Tommy?

_Tommy the Song._ Taking a mouthful of prayers, I am.

_Charlie Ward._ Praying! did anyone ever hear the like of that? Pull him
out of the corner.

     [PADDY COCKFIGHT _pulls_ TOMMY THE SONG _out of the corner_.

_Charlie Ward._ What is it you were praying for, I would like to know?

_Tommy the Song._ I was praying that we might all soon die.

_Paddy Cockfight._ Die, is it?

_Charlie Ward._ Is it die and all that porter about? Well! you have done
enough praying, go over there and look for the basket. Who was it set
him praying, I wonder? I am thinking it is the first prayer he ever said
in his life.

_Sabina Silver._ It's likely it was Paul. He's after talking to him
through the length of an hour.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Maybe it was. Don't mind him. I said just now that
when we were all dead and in heaven it would be a sort of drunkenness, a
sort of ecstasy. There is a hymn about it, but it is in Latin. "Et calix
meus inebrians quam praeclarus est." How splendid is the cup of my
drunkenness!

_Charlie Ward._ Well, that is a great sort of a hymn. I never thought
there was a hymn like that, I never did.

_Paddy Cockfight._ To think, now, there is a hymn like that. I mustn't
let it slip out of my mind. How splendid is the cup of my drunkenness,
that's it.

_Charlie Ward._ Have you found that old bird of mine?

_Tommy the Song._ [_Who has been searching among the baskets._] Here he
is, in the basket and a lot of things over it.

_Charlie Ward._ Get out that new speckled bird of yours, Paddy, I've
been wanting to see how could he play for a week past.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Where do you get the cocks?

_Paddy Cockfight._ It was a man below Mullingar owned this one. The day
I first seen him I fastened my two eyes on him, he preyed on my mind,
and next night, if I didn't go back every foot of nine miles to put him
in my bag.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Do you pay much for a good fighting cock?

_Sabina Silver._ [_Laughs._] Do you pay much, Paddy?

_Paul Ruttledge._ Perhaps you don't pay anything.

_Sabina Silver._ I think Paddy gets them cheap.

_Charlie Ward._ He gets them cheaper than another man would, anyhow.

_Paddy Cockfight._ He's the best cock I ever saw before or since.
Believe me, I made no mistake when I pitched on him.

_Tommy the Song._ I don't care what you think of him. I'll back the red;
it's he has the lively eye.

_Molly the Scold._ Andy Farrell had an old cock, and it bent double like
himself, and all the feathers flittered out of it, but I hold you he'd
leather both your red and your speckled cock together. I tell ye, boys,
that was the cock!

     [_Uproarious shouts and yells heard outside._

_Charlie Ward._ Those free drinks of yours, Paul, is playing the devil
with them. Do you hear them now and every roar out of them? They're
putting the cocks astray. [_He takes out a cock._] Sure they think it's
thunder.

_Molly the Scold._ There's not a man of them outside there now but would
be ready to knock down his own brother.

_Tommy the Song._ He wouldn't know him to knock him down. They're all
blind. I never saw the like of it.

_Paul Ruttledge._ You in here stood it better than that.

_Charlie Ward._ When those common men drink it's what they fall down.
They haven't the heads. They're not like us that have to keep heads and
heels on us.

_Paddy Cockfight._ It's well we kept them out of this, or they'd be
lying on the floor now, and there'd be no place for my poor bird to show
himself off. Look at him now! Isn't he the beauty! [_Takes out the
cock._

_Charlie Ward._ Now boys, settle the place, put over those barrels out
of that. [_They push barrels into a row at back._] Paul, you sit on the
bin the way you'll get a good view.

     [_A loud knock at the door. An authoritative voice outside._

_Voice._ Open this door.

_Paddy Cockfight._ That's Green, the Removable; I know his voice well!

_Charlie Ward._ Clear away, boys. Back with those cocks. There, throw
that sack over the baskets. Quick, will ye!

_Colonel Lawley._ [_Outside._] Open this door at once.

_Mr. Green._ [_Outside._] I insist on this door being opened.

_Molly the Scold._ What do they want at all? I wish we didn't come into
a place with no back door to it.

_Paul Ruttledge._ There's nothing to be afraid of. Open the door,
Charlie. [CHARLIE WARD _opens the door_.

       *       *       *       *       *

     _Enter_ MR. GREEN, COLONEL LAWLEY, MR. DOWLER, MR. JOYCE, MR. ALGIE
     _and_ THOMAS RUTTLEDGE.

_Paddy Cockfight._ All J.P.'s; I have looked at every one of them from
the dock!

_Mr. Green._ Mr. Ruttledge, this is very sad.

_Mr. Joyce._ This is a disgraceful business, Paul; the whole countryside
is demoralized. There is not a man who has come to sensible years who is
not drunk.

_Mr. Dowler._ This is a flagrant violation of all propriety. Society is
shaken to its roots. My own servants have been led astray by the free
drinks that are being given in the village. My butler, who has been with
me for seven years, has not been seen for the last two days.

_Paul Ruttledge._ I am sure you will echo Mr. Dowler, Algie.

_Mr. Algie._ Indeed I do. I endorse his sentiments completely. There has
not been a stroke of work done for the last week. The hay is lying in
ridges where it has been cut, there is not a man to be found to water
the cattle. It is impossible to get as much as a horse shod in the
village.

_Paul Ruttledge._ I think you have something to say, Colonel Lawley?

_Colonel Lawley._ I have undoubtedly. I want to know when law and order
are to be re-established. The police have been quite unable to cope with
the disorder. Some of them have themselves got drunk. If my advice had
been taken the military would have been called in.

_Mr. Green._ The military are not indispensable on occasions like the
present. There are plenty of police coming now. We have wired to Dublin
for them, they will be here by the four o'clock train.

_Paul Ruttledge._ [_Gets down from his bin._] But you have not told me
what you have come here for? Is there anything I can do for you?

_Thomas Ruttledge._ Won't you come home, Paul? The children have been
asking for you, and we don't know what to say.

_Mr. Green._ We have come to request you to go to the public-houses, to
stop the free drinks, to send the people back to their work. As for
those tinkers, the law will deal with them when the police arrive.

_Thomas Ruttledge._ Oh, Paul, why have you upset the place like this?

_Paul Ruttledge._ Well, I wanted to give a little pleasure to my
fellow-creatures.

_Mr. Dowler._ This seems rather a low form of pleasure.

_Paul Ruttledge._ I daresay it seems to you a little violent. But the
poor have very few hours in which to enjoy themselves; they must take
their pleasure raw; they haven't the time to cook it.

_Mr. Algie._ But drunkenness!

_Paul Ruttledge._ [_Putting his hand on the shoulders of two of the
magistrates._] Have we not tried sobriety? Do you like it? I found it
very dull? [_A yell from outside._] There is not one of those people
outside but thinks that he is a king, that he is riding the wind. There
is not one of them that would not hit the world a slap in the face. Some
poet has written that exuberance is beauty, and that the roadway of
excess leads to the palace of wisdom. But I forgot--you do not read the
poets.

_Mr. Dowler._ What we want to know is, are you going to send the people
back to their work?

_Paul Ruttledge._ Oh, work is such a little thing in comparison with
experience. Think what it is to them to have their imagination like a
blazing tar-barrel for a whole week. Work could never bring them such
blessedness as that.

_Mr. Dowler._ Everyone knows there is no more valuable blessing than
work.

_Mr. Algie._ Idleness is the curse of this country.

_Paul Ruttledge._ I am prejudiced, for I have always been an idler.
Doubtless, the poor must work. It was, no doubt, of them you were
speaking. Yet, doesn't the Church say, doesn't it describe heaven as a
place where saints and angels only sing and hold branches and wander
about hand in hand. That must be changed. We must teach the poor to
think work a thing fit for heaven, a blessed thing. I'll tell you what
we'll do, Dowler. Will you subscribe, and you, and you, and we'll send
lecturers about with magic lanterns showing heaven as it should be, the
saints with spades and hammers in their hands and everybody working. The
poor might learn to think more of work then. Will you join in that
scheme, Dowler?

_Mr. Dowler._ I think you'd better leave these subjects alone. It is
obvious you have cut yourself off from both religion and society.

_Mr. Green._ The world could not go on without work.

_Paul Ruttledge._ The world could not go on without work! The world
could not go on without work! I must think about it. [_Gets up on bin._]
Why should the world go on? Perhaps the Christian teacher came to bring
it to an end. Let us send messengers everywhere to tell the people to
stop working, and then the world may come to an end. He spoke of the
world, the flesh, and the devil. Perhaps it would be a good thing to end
these one by one.

_Colonel Lawley._ Come away out of this. He has gone mad.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Ah! I thought that would scare them.

_Mr. Joyce._ I wish, Paul, you would come back and live like a
Christian.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Like a Christian?

_Mr. Joyce._ Come away, there's no use stopping here any longer.

_Paul Ruttledge._ [_Sternly._] Wait, I have something to say to that.
[_To_ CHARLIE WARD.] Do not let anyone leave this place.

     [Tinkers _close together at the door_.

_Mr. Green._ [_To_ Tinkers.] This is nonsense. Let me through.

     [Tinker _spreads out his arms before him_.

_Paul Ruttledge._ You have come into a different kingdom now; the old
kingdom of the people of the roads, the houseless people. We call
ourselves tinkers, and you are going to put us on our trial if you can.
You call yourselves Christians and we will put you on your trial first.
I will put the world on its trial, and myself of yesterday. [_To a_
Boy.] Run out, Johneen, keep a watch, and tell us when the train is
coming. Sabina, that rope; we will set these gentlemen on those barrels.
[Tinkers _take hold of them_.

_Colonel Lawley._ Keep your hands off me, you drunken scoundrel!

     [_Strikes at_ CHARLIE WARD, _but_ Tinkers _seize his arms behind_.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Tie all their hands behind them.

_Mr. Dowler._ We'd better give in, there's no saying how many more of
them there are.

_Mr. Algie._ I'll be quiet, the odds are too great against us.

_Mr. Green._ The police will soon be here; we may as well stay quietly.

_Paddy Cockfight._ Here, give it to me, I'll put a good twist in it.
Don't be afraid, sir, it's not about your neck I'm putting it----. There
now, sit quiet and easy, and you won't feel it at all.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Are all their hands tied? Now then, heave them up on
to the barrels.

     [_Slight scuffle, during which all are put on the barrels in a
     semicircle._

_Paul Ruttledge._ Ah! yes, you are on my barrels now; last time I saw
you, you were on your own dunghill. Let me see, is there anyone here who
can write?

_Charlie Ward._ Nobody.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Never mind, you can keep count on your fingers. The
rest must sit down and behave themselves as befits a court. They say
they are living like Christians. Let us see.

_Thomas Ruttledge._ Oh, Paul, don't make such a fool of yourself.

_Paul Ruttledge._ The point is not wisdom or folly, but the Christian
life.

_Mr. Dowler._ Don't answer him, Thomas. Let us preserve our dignity.

_Mr. Algie._ Yes, let us keep a dignified attitude--we won't answer
these ruffians at all.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Respect the court! [_Turns to Colonel Lawley._] You
have served your Queen and country in the field, and now you are a
colonel of militia.

_Colonel Lawley._ Well, what is there to be ashamed of in that? Answer
me that, now.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Yet there is an old saying about turning the other
cheek, an old saying, a saying so impossible that the world has never
been able to get it out of its mind. You have helped to enlist men for
the army, I think? Some of them have fought in the late war, and you
have even sent some of your own militia there.

_Colonel Lawley._ If I did I'm proud of it.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Did they think it was a just war?

_Colonel Lawley._ That was not their business. They had taken the
Queen's pay. They would have disgraced themselves if they had not gone.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Is it not the doctrine of your Christian Church, of
your Catholic Church, that he who fights in an unjust war, knowing it to
be unjust, loses his own soul?

_Colonel Lawley._ I should like to know what would happen to the country
if there weren't soldiers to protect it.

_Paul Ruttledge._ We are not discussing the country, we are discussing
the Christian life. Has this gentleman lived the Christian life?

_All the Tinkers._ He has not!

_Paddy Cockfight._ His sergeant tried to enlist me, giving me a
shilling, and I drunk.

_Tommy the Song._ [_Singing._]

  She bid me take love easy, as the leaves grow on the tree,
  But I, being young and foolish, with her would not agree.

_Charlie Ward._ Stop your mouth, Tommy. This is not your show. [_To_ PAUL
RUTTLEDGE.] Are you going to put a fine on the Colonel? If so I'd like
his cloak.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Now we'll try Mr. Dowler, the rich man. [_Holds up his
fingers in a ring._] Mr. Dowler, could you go through this?

_Mr. Algie._ Don't answer him, Dowler; he's going beyond all bounds.

_Paul Ruttledge._ I was a rich man and I could not, and yet I am
something smaller than a camel, and this is something larger than a
needle's eye.

_Mr. Joyce._ Don't answer this profanity.

_Charlie Ward._ But what about the cloak?

_Paul Ruttledge._ Oh! go and take it.

     [CHARLIE WARD _goes and takes cloak off the_ COLONEL.

_Colonel Lawley._ You drunken rascal, I'll see you in the dock for this.

_Mr. Joyce._ You're encouraging robbery now.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Remember the commandment, "Give to him that asketh
thee"; and the hard commandment goes even farther, "Him that taketh thy
cloak forbid not to take thy coat also." [_Holding out his rags._]
Have I not shown you what Mr. Green would call a shining example.
Charlie, ask them all for their coats.

_Charlie Ward._ I will, and their boots, too.

_All the Tinkers._ [_Uproariously._] Give me your coat; I'll have your
boots, etc.

_Mr. Green._ Wait till the police come. I'll turn the tables on you; you
may all expect hard labour for this.

_Paul Ruttledge._ [_To the_ Tinkers.] Stand back, the trial is not over.
Mr. Green, these friends of yours have been convicted of breaking the
doctrine they boast of. They do not love their enemies; they do not give
to every man that asks of them. Some of them, Mr. Dowler, for instance,
lay up treasures upon earth; they ask their goods again of those who
have taken them away. But you, Mr. Green, are the worst of all. They
break the Law of Christ for their own pleasure, but you take pay for
breaking it. When their goods are taken away you condemn the taker; when
they are smitten on one cheek you punish the smiter. You encourage them
in their breaking of the Law of Christ.

_Tommy the Song._ He does, indeed. He gave me two months for snaring
rabbits.

_Paddy Cockfight._ He tried to put a fine on me for a cock I had, and he
took five shillings off Molly for hitting a man.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Your evidence is not wanted. His own words are enough.
[_Stretching out his arms._] Have any of these gentlemen been living the
Christian life?

_All._ They have not.

_Johneen._ [_Coming in._] Ye'd best clear off now. I see the train
coming in to the station.

_Paddy Cockfight._ The police will find plenty to do in the village
before they come to us; that's one good job.

_Paul Ruttledge._ One moment. I have done trying the world I have left.
You have accused me of upsetting order by my free drinks, and I have
showed you that there is a more dreadful fermentation in the Sermon on
the Mount than in my beer-barrels. Christ thought it in the
irresponsibility of His omnipotence. [_Getting from his bin._] Charlie,
give me that cloak. [_He flings it back._

_Charlie Ward._ Aren't you going to punish them anyway?

_Paul Ruttledge._ No, no, from this out I would punish nobody but
myself.

     [_Some of the_ Tinkers _have gone out_.

_Charlie Ward._ We'd best be off while we can. Come along, Paul, Sibby's
gone.

     [_As they go out_ TOMMY THE SONG _is singing_,

  Down by the sally garden my love and I did stand,
  And on my leaning shoulder she laid her milk-white hand;
  She bade me take love easy, as the leaves grow on the tree,
  But I, being young and foolish, with her would not agree.

     [_All go out except_ PAUL RUTTLEDGE.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Well, good-bye, Thomas; I don't suppose I'll see you
again. Use all I have; spend it on your children; I'll never want it.
[_To the others._] Will you come and join us? We will find rags for you
all. Perhaps you will give up that dream that is fading from you, and
come among the blind, homeless people; put off the threadbare clothes of
the Apostles and run naked for awhile. [_Is going out._

_Thomas Ruttledge._ You have nothing against me, have you, Paul?

_Paul Ruttledge._ Oh, yes, I have; a little that I have said against all
these, and a worse thing than all, though it is not in the book.

_Thomas Ruttledge._ What is it?

_Paul Ruttledge._ [_Looking back from the threshold._] You have begotten
fools.


CURTAIN.



ACT IV.


     Scene 1.--_Great door in the middle of the stage under a stone
     cross, with flights of steps leading to door. Enter_ CHARLIE WARD,
     PADDY COCKFIGHT, TOMMY THE SONG, _and_ SABINA SILVER. _They are
     supporting_ PAUL RUTTLEDGE, _who is bent and limping._

_Charlie Ward._ We must leave you here. The monks will take you in.
We're very sorry, Paul. It's a heartscald to us to leave you and you
know that, but what can we do? [_They lead_ PAUL RUTTLEDGE _to steps._

_Paul Ruttledge._ Ah! that was a bad stitch! [_Gasps._] Take care now;
put me down gently.

_Sabina Silver._ Oh! can't we keep him with us anyway; he'll find no one
to care him as well as myself.

_Tommy the Song._ What way can you care him, Sibby? It's no way to have
him lying out on the roadside under guano bags, like ourselves, and the
rain coming down on him like it did last night. It's in hospital he'll
be for the next month.

_Charlie Ward._ We'd never leave you if you could even walk. If we have
to give you to the monks itself, we'd keep round the place to encourage
you, only for the last business. We'll have to put two counties at least
between us and Gortmore after what we're after doing.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Never mind, boys, they'll never insult a tinker again
in Gortmore as long as the town's a town.

_Charlie Ward._ Dear knows! it breaks my heart to think of the fine
times we had of it since you joined us. Why the months seemed like days.
And all the fine sprees we had together! Now you're gone from us we
might as well be jailed at once.

_Paddy Cockfight._ And how you took to the cocks! I believe you were a
better judge than myself. No one but you would ever have fancied that
black-winged cock--and he never met his match.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Ah! well, I'm doubled up now like that old cock of
Andy Farrell's.

_Paddy Cockfight._ No, but you were the best warrant to set a snare that
ever I came across.

_Paul Ruttledge._ [_Sitting down with difficulty on the steps._] Yes; it
was a grand time we had, and I wouldn't take back a day of it; but it's
over now, I've hit my ribs against the earth and they're aching.

_Sabina Silver._ Oh! Paul, Paul, is it to leave you we must? And you
never once struck a kick or a blow on me all this time, not even and you
in pain with the rheumatism. [_A clock strikes inside._

_Charlie Ward._ There's the clock striking. The monks will be getting
up. We'd best be off after the others. I hear some noise inside; they'd
best not catch us here. I'll stop and pull the bell. Be off with you,
boys!

_Paul Ruttledge._ Good-bye, Sabina. Don't cry! you'll get another
husband.

_Sabina Silver._ I'll never lep the budget with another man; I swear it.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Good-bye, Paddy. Good-bye, Tommy. My mother Earth will
have none of me and I will go look for my father that is in heaven.

_Paddy Cockfight._ Come along, Sibby.

     [_Takes her hand and hurries off._

_Charlie Ward._ [_Rings bell._] Are they sure to let you in, Paul? Have
you got your story ready?

_Paul Ruttledge._ No fear, they won't refuse a sick man. No one knows me
but Father Jerome, and he won't tell on me.

_Charlie Ward._ There's a step inside. I'll cut for it.

     [_He goes out. Paul is left sitting on steps._


     Scene 2.--_The crypt under the Monastery church. A small barred
     window high up in the wall, through which the cold dawn is
     breaking. Altar in a niche at the back of stage; there are seven
     unlighted candles on the altar. A little hanging lamp near the
     altar._ PAUL RUTTLEDGE _is lying on the altar steps. Friars are
     dancing slowly before him in the dim light_. FATHER ALOYSIUS _is
     leaning against a pillar_.

     _Some_ Friars _come in carrying lanterns_.

_First Friar._ What are they doing? Dancing?

_Second Friar._ I told you they were dancing, and you would not believe
me.

_First Friar._ What on earth are they doing it for?

_Third Friar._ I heard them saying Father Paul told them to do it if
they ever found him in a trance again. He told them it was a kind of
prayer and would bring joy down out of heaven, and make it easier for
him to preach.

_Second Friar._ How still he is lying; you would nearly think him to be
dead.

_A Friar._ It is just a twelvemonth to-day since he was in a trance like
this.

_Second Friar._ That was the time he gave his great preaching. I can't
blame those that went with him, for he all but persuaded me.

_First Friar._ They think he is going to preach again when he awakes,
that's why they are dancing. When he wakes one of them will go and call
the others.

_Third Friar._ We were all in danger when one so pious was led away.
It's five years he has been with us now, and no one ever went so quickly
from lay brother to novice, and novice to friar.

_First Friar._ The way he fasted too! The Superior bade me watch him at
meal times for fear he should starve himself.

_Third Friar._ He thought a great deal of Brother Paul then, but he
isn't so well pleased with him now.

_Second Friar._ What is Father Aloysius doing there? standing so quiet
and his eyes shut.

_Third Friar._ He is meditating. Didn't you hear Brother Paul gives
meditations of his own.

_First Friar._ Colman was telling me about that. He gives them a joyful
thought to fix their minds on. They must not let their minds stray to
anything else. They must follow that single thought and put everything
else behind them.

_Third Friar._ Colman fainted the other day when he was at his
meditation. He says it is a great labour to follow one thought always.

_Second Friar._ What do they do it for?

_First Friar._ To escape what they call the wandering of nature. They
say it was in the trance Brother Paul got the knowledge of it. He says
that if a man can only keep his mind on the one high thought he gets out
of time into eternity, and learns the truth for itself.

_Third Friar._ He calls that getting above law and number, and becoming
king and priest in one's own house.

_Second Friar._ A nice state of things it would be if every man was his
own priest and his own king.

_First Friar._ I wonder will he wake soon. I thought I saw him stir just
now. Father Aloysius, will he wake soon?

_Aloysius._ What did you say?

_First Friar._ Will he wake soon?

_Aloysius._ Yes, yes, he will wake very soon now.

_Second Friar._ What are they going to do now; are they going to dance?

_Third Friar._ He was too patient with him. He would have made short
work of any of us if we had gone so far.

_First Dancer._

  Nam, et si ambulavero in medio umbrae mortis,
  Non timebo mala, quoniam tu mecum es.

_First Friar._ They are singing the twenty-second Psalm. What madness to
sing!

_Second Dancer._

  Virga tua, et baculus tuus,
  Ipsa me consolata sunt.

_First Dancer._

  Parasti in conspectu meo mensam
  Adversus eos qui tribulant me.

_Second Dancer._

Impinguasti in oleo caput meum;
Et calix meus inebrians quam praeclarus est.

_Second Friar._ Here is the Superior. There'll be bad work now.

       *       *       *       *       *

     SUPERIOR _comes in_.

_Superior._ [_Holding up his hand._] Silence!

     [_They stop singing and dancing._

_First Dancer._ It's the Superior.

_Superior._ Stop this blasphemy! Leave the chapel at once! I will deal
with you by-and-by. [_Dancing_ Friars _go out_.

_Jerome._ [_Stooping over_ PAUL.] He has not wakened from the trance
yet.

_Aloysius._ [_Who still remains perfectly motionless._] Not yet, but he
will soon awake--Paul!

_Superior._ It is hardly worth while being angry with those poor fools
whose heads he has turned with his talk. [_Stoops and touches his
hand._] It is quite rigid. I will wait till he is alive again, there is
no use wasting words on a dead body.

_Jerome._ [_Stooping over him._] His eyes are beginning to quiver. Let
me be the first to speak to him. He may say some wild things when he
awakes, not knowing who is before him.

_Superior._ He must not preach. I must have his submission at once.

_Jerome._ I will do all I can with him. He is most likely to listen to
me. I was once his close friend.

_Superior._ Speak to him if you like, but entire submission is the only
thing I will accept. [_To the other_ Monks.] Come with me, we will leave
Father Jerome here to speak to him. [SUPERIOR _and_ Friars _go to the
door_.] Such desecration, such blasphemy. Remember, Father Jerome,
entire submission, and at once. [SUPERIOR _and_ Friars _go out_.

_Jerome._ Where are the rest of his friends, Father Aloysius? Bartley
and Colman ought to be with him when he is like this.

_Aloysius._ They are resting, because, when he has given his message,
they may never be able to rest again.

_Jerome._ [_Bending over him._] My poor Paul, this will wear him out;
see how thin he has grown!

_Aloysius._ He is hard upon his body. He does not care what happens to
his body.

_Jerome._ He was like this when he was a boy; some wild thought would
come on him, and he would not know day from night, he would forget even
to eat. It is a great pity he was so hard to himself; it is a pity he
had not always someone to look after him.

_Aloysius._ God is taking care of him; what could men like us do for
him? We cannot help him, it is he who helps us.

_Jerome._ [_Going on his knee and taking his hand._] He is awaking. Help
me to lift him up. [_They lift him into a chair._

_Aloysius._ I will go and call the others now.

_Jerome._ Do not let them come for a little time, I must speak to him
first.

_Aloysius._ I cannot keep them away long. One cannot know when the
words may be put in his mouth.

     [ALOYSIUS _goes out._ JEROME _stands by_ PAUL RUTTLEDGE, _holding his
     hand_.

_Paul Ruttledge._ [_Raising his head._] Ah, you are there, Jerome. I am
glad you are there. I could not get up to drive away the mouse that was
eating the wax that dropped from the candles. Have you driven it away?

_Jerome._ It is not evening now. It is almost morning. You were on your
knees praying for a great many hours, and then I think you fainted.

_Paul Ruttledge._ I don't think I was praying. I was among people, a
great many people, and it was very bright--I will remember presently.

_Jerome._ Do not try to remember. You are tired, you must be weak, you
must come and have food and rest.

_Paul Ruttledge._ I do not think I can rest. I think there is something
else I have to do, I forget what it is.

_Jerome._ I am afraid you are thinking of preaching again. You must not
preach. The Superior says you must not. He is very angry; I have never
seen him so angry. He will not allow you to preach again.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Did I ever preach?

_Jerome._ Yes. It was in the garden you got the trance last time. We
found you like this, and we lifted you to the bench under the yew tree,
and then you began to speak. You spoke about getting out of the body
while still alive, about getting away from law and number. All the
friars came to listen to you. We had never heard such preaching before,
but it was very like heresy.

_Paul Ruttledge._ [_Getting up._] Jerome, Jerome, I remember now where I
was. I was in a great round place, and a great crowd of things came
round me. I couldn't see them very clearly for a time, but some of them
struck me with their feet, hard feet like hoofs, and soft cat-like feet;
and some pecked me, and some bit me, and some clawed me. There were all
sorts of beasts and birds as far as I could see.

_Jerome._ Were they devils, Paul, were they the deadly sins?

_Paul Ruttledge._ I don't know, but I thought, and I don't know how the
thought came to me, that they were the part of mankind that is not
human; the part that builds up the things that keep the soul from God.

_Jerome._ That was a terrible vision.

_Paul Ruttledge._ I struggled and I struggled with them, and they heaped
themselves over me till I was unable to move hand or foot; and that went
on for a long, long time.

_Jerome._ [_Crossing himself._] God have mercy on us.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Then suddenly there came a bright light, and all in a
minute the beasts were gone, and I saw a great many angels riding upon
unicorns, white angels on white unicorns. They stood all round me, and
they cried out, "Brother Paul, go and preach; get up and preach, Brother
Paul." And then they laughed aloud, and the unicorns trampled the ground
as though the world were already falling in pieces.

_Jerome._ It was only a dream. Come with me. You will forget it when you
have had food and rest.

_Paul Ruttledge._ [_Looking at his arm._] It was there one of them
clawed me; one that looked at me with great heavy eyes.

_Jerome._ The Superior has been here; try and listen to me. He says you
must not preach.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Great heavy eyes and hard sharp claws.

_Jerome._ [_Putting his hands on his shoulders._] You must awake from
this. You must remember where you are. You are under rules. You must not
break the rules you are under. The brothers will be coming in to hear
you, you must not speak to them. The Superior has forbidden it.

_Paul Ruttledge._ [_Touching_ JEROME'S _hand_.] I have always been a great
trouble to you.

_Jerome._ You must go and submit to the Superior. Go and make your
submission now, for my sake. Think of what I have done for your sake.
Remember how I brought you in, and answered for you when you came here.
I did not tell about that wild business. I have done penance for that
deceit.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Yes, you have always been good to me, but do not ask
me this. I have had other orders.

_Jerome._ Last time you preached the whole monastery was upset. The
Friars began to laugh suddenly in the middle of the night.

_Paul Ruttledge._ If I have been given certain truths to tell, I must
tell them at once before they slip away from me.

_Jerome._ I cannot understand your ideas; you tell them impossible
things. Things that are against the order of nature.

_Paul Ruttledge._ I have learned that one needs a religion so wholly
supernatural, that is so opposed to the order of nature that the world
can never capture it.

     [_Some_ Friars _come in. They carry green branches in their hands_.

_Paul Ruttledge._ They are coming. Will you stay and listen?

_Jerome._ I must not stay. I must not listen.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Help me over to the candles. I am weak, my knees are
weak. I shall be strong when the words come. I shall be able to teach.
[_He lights a taper at the hanging lamp and tries to light the candles
with a shaking hand. JEROME takes the taper from him and lights the
candles._] Why are you crying, Jerome?

_Jerome._ Because we that were friends are separated now. We shall never
be together again.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Never again? The love of God is a very terrible thing.

_Jerome._ I have done with meddling. I must leave you to authority now.
I must tell the Superior you will not obey. [_He goes out._

_First Friar._ Father Jerome had a very dark look going out.

_Second Friar._ He was shut up with the Superior this morning. I wonder
what they were talking about.

_First Friar._ I wonder if the Superior will mind our taking the
branches. They are only cut on Palm Sunday other years. What will he
tell us, I wonder? It seems as if he was going to tell us how to do some
great thing. Do you think he will teach us to do cures like the friars
used at Esker?

_Second Friar._ Those were great cures they did there, and they were not
strange men, but just the same as ourselves. I heard of a man went to
them dying on a cart, and he walked twenty miles home to Burren holding
the horses head.

_First Friar._ Maybe we'll be able to see visions the same as were seen
at Knock. It's a great wonder all that was seen and all that was done
there.

_Third Friar._ I was there one time, and the whole place was full of
crutches that had been thrown away by people that were cured. There was
a silver crutch there some rich man from America had sent as an offering
after getting his cure. Speak to him, Brother Colman. He seems to be in
some sort of a dream. Ask if he is going to speak to us now.

_Colman._ We are all here, Brother Paul.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Have you all been through your meditations? [_They all
gather round him._

_Bartley._ We have all tried; we have done our best; but it is hard to
keep our mind on the one thing for long.

_Paul Ruttledge._ "He ascended into heaven." Have you meditated upon
that? Did you reject all earthly images that came into your mind till
the light began to gather?

_Third Friar._ I could not fix my mind well. When I put out one thought
others came rushing in.

_Colman._ When I was meditating, the inside of my head suddenly became
all on fire.

_Aloysius._ While I was meditating I felt a spout of fire going up
between my shoulders.

_Paul Ruttledge._ That is the way it begins. You are ready now to hear
the truth. Now I can give you the message that has come to me. Stand
here at either side of the altar. Brother Colman, come beside me here.
Lay down your palm branches before this altar; you have brought them as
a sign that the walls are beginning to be broken up, that we are going
back to the joy of the green earth. [_Goes up to the candles and
speaks._] Et calix meus inebrians quam praeclarus est. For a long time
after their making men and women wandered here and there, half blind
from the drunkenness of Eternity; they had not yet forgotten that the
green Earth was the Love of God, and that all Life was the Will of God,
and so they wept and laughed and hated according to the impulse of their
hearts. [_He takes up the green boughs and presses them to his breast._]
They gathered the green Earth to their breasts and their lips, as I
gather these boughs to mine, in what they believed would be an eternal
kiss. [_He remains a little while silent._

_Second Friar._ I see a light about his head.

_Third Friar._ I wonder if he has seen God.

_Paul Ruttledge._ It was then that the temptation began. Not only the
Serpent who goes upon his belly, but all the animal spirits that have
loved things better than life, came out of their holes and began to
whisper. The men and women listened to them, and because when they had
lived according to the joyful Will of God in mother wit and natural
kindness, they sometimes did one another an injury, they thought that it
would be better to be safe than to be blessèd, they made the Laws. The
Laws were the first sin. They were the first mouthful of the apple, the
moment man had made them he began to die; we must put out the Laws as I
put out this candle.

     [_He puts out the candle with an extinguisher, still holding the
     boughs with his left hand. Two orthodox Friars have come in._

_First Orthodox Friar._ You had better go for the Superior.

_Second Orthodox Friar._ I must stop and listen.

     [_The First Orthodox Friar listens for a minute or two and then
     goes out._

_Paul Ruttledge._ And when they had lived amidst the green Earth that is
the Love of God, they were sometimes wetted by the rain, and sometimes
cold and hungry, and sometimes alone from one another; they thought it
would be better to be comfortable than to be blessèd. They began to
build big houses and big towns. They grew wealthy and they sat
chattering at their doors; and the embrace that was to have been
eternal ended, lips and hands were parted. [_He lets the boughs slip out
of his arms._] We must put out the towns as I put out this candle.
[_Puts out another candle._

_A Friar._ Yes, yes, we must uproot the towns.

_Paul Ruttledge._ But that is not all, for man created a worse thing,
yes, a worse defiance against God. [_The_ Friars _groan_.] God put
holiness into everything that lives, for everything that desires is full
of His Will, and everything that is beautiful is full of His Love; but
man grew timid because it had been hard to find his way amongst so much
holiness, and though God had made all time holy, man said that only the
day on which God rested from life was holy, and though God had made all
places holy, man said, "no place but this place that I put pillars and
walls about is holy, this place where I rest from life"; and in this and
like ways he built up the Church. We must destroy the Church, we must
put it out as I put out this candle. [_Puts out another candle._

_Friars._ [_Clasping one another's hands._] He is right, he is right.
The Church must be destroyed. [_The_ SUPERIOR _comes in_.

_First Friar._ Here is the Superior.

_A Friar._ He has been saying----

_Superior._ Hush! I will hear him to the end.

_Paul Ruttledge._ That is not all. These things may be accomplished and
yet nothing be accomplished. The Christian's business is not reformation
but revelation, and the only labours he can put his hand to can never be
accomplished in Time. He must so live that all things shall pass away.
[_He stands silent for a moment and then cries, lifting his hand above
his head._] Give me wine out of thy pitchers; oh, God, how splendid is
my cup of drunkenness. We must become blind, and deaf, and dizzy. We
must get rid of everything that is not measureless eternal life. We
must put out hope as I put out this candle. [_Puts out a candle._] And
memory as I put out this candle. [_As before._] And thought, the waster
of Life, as I put out this candle. [_As before._] And at last we must
put out the light of the Sun and of the Moon, and all the light of the
World and the World itself. [_He now puts out the last candle, the
chapel is very dark. The only light is the faint light of morning coming
through the window._] We must destroy the World; we must destroy
everything that has Law and Number, for where there is nothing, there is
God.

     [_The_ SUPERIOR _comes forward. One of_ PAUL'S Friars _makes as if to
     speak to him. The_ SUPERIOR _strikes at him with the back of his
     hand_.

_Superior._ [_To_ PAUL RUTTLEDGE.] Get out of this, rebel, blasphemous
rebel!

_Paul Ruttledge._ Do as you like to me, but you cannot silence my
thoughts. I learned them from Jesus Christ, who made a terrible joy,
and sent it to overturn governments, and all settled order.

     [PAUL'S Friars _rush to save him from the_ SUPERIOR.

_Paul Ruttledge._ There is no need for violence. I am ready to go.

_Colman._ [_Taking his hand._] I will go with you.

_Aloysius._ I will go with you too.

_Several other Friars._ And I, and I, and I.

_Superior._ Whoever goes with this heretic goes straight into the pit.

_Bartley._ Do not leave us behind you. Let us go with you.

_Colman._ Teach us! teach us! we will help you to teach others.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Let me go alone, the one more, the one nearer
falsehood.

_Bartley._ We will go with you! We will go with you! We must go where we
can hear your voice.

_A Friar._ [_Who stands behind the_ SUPERIOR.] God is making him speak
against himself.

_Paul Ruttledge._ No, the time has not come for you. You would be
thinking of your food at midday and listening for the bells at prayer
time. You have not yet heard the voices and seen the faces.

_Superior._ A miracle! God is making the heretic speak against himself.
Listen to him!

_Aloysius._ We will not stay behind, we will go with you.

_Bartley._ We cannot live without hearing you!

_Paul Ruttledge._ I am led by hands that are colder than ice and harder
than diamonds. They will lead me where there will be hard thoughts of me
in the hearts of all that love me, and there will be a fire in my heart
that will make it as bare as the wilderness.

_Aloysius._ We will go with you. We too will take those hands that are
colder than ice and harder than diamonds.

_Several Monks._ We too! we too!

_Patrick._ Bring us to the hands that are colder than ice and harder
than diamonds.

_Other Monks._ Pull them away! pull them away from him!

     [_They are about to seize the Monks who are with_ PAUL RUTTLEDGE.

_Superior._ [_Going between them._] Back! back! I will have no scuffling
here. Let the devil take his children if he has a mind to. God will call
His own.

     [_The_ Monks _fall back_. SUPERIOR _goes up to altar, takes the cross
     from it and turns, standing on the steps_.

_Superior._ Father Aloysius, come to me here. [ALOYSIUS _takes_ PAUL
RUTTLEDGE'S _hand_.] Father Bartley, Father Colman. [_They go nearer to_
PAUL RUTTLEDGE.] Father Patrick! [_A_ Friar _comes towards him_.] Kneel
down! [FATHER PATRICK _kneels_.] Father Clement, Father Nestor, Father
James ... leave the heretic--you are on the very edge of the pit. Your
shoes are growing red hot.

_A Friar._ I am afraid, I am afraid. [_He kneels._

_Superior._ Kneel down; return to your God. [_Several_ Monks _kneel_.

_Colman._ They have deserted us.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Many will forsake the truth before the world is pulled
down. [_Stretching out his arms over his head._] I pulled down my own
house, now I go out to pull down the world.

_Superior._ Strip off those holy habits.

_Paul Ruttledge._ [_Taking off his habit._] One by one I am plucking off
the rags and tatters of the world.



ACT V.


     Scene: _Smooth level grass near the Shannon. Ecclesiastical ruins,
     a part of which have been roofed in. Rocky plain in the distance,
     with a river._ FATHER COLMAN _sorting some bundles of osiers_.

     ALOYSIUS _enters with an empty bag_.

_Colman._ You are the first to come back Aloysius. Where is Brother
Bartley?

_Aloysius._ He parted from me at the cross roads and went on to preach
at Shanaglish. He should soon be back now.

_Colman._ Have you anything in the bag?

_Aloysius._ Nothing. [_Throws the bag down._] It doesn't seem as if our
luck was growing. We have but food enough to last till to-morrow. We
have hardly that. The rats from the river got at the few potatoes I
gathered from the farmers at Lisheen last week, in the corner where they
were.

_Colman._ This is the first day you got nothing at all. Maybe you didn't
ask the right way.

_Aloysius._ I asked for alms for the sake of the love of God. But the
first place where I asked it, the man of the house was giving me a
handful of meal, and the woman came and called out that we were serving
the devil in the name of God, and she drove me from the door.

_Colman._ It is since the priests preached against us they say that. Did
you go on to Lisheen. They used always to treat us well there.

_Aloysius._ I did, but I got on no better there.

_Colman._ That is a wonder, after the woman that had the jaundice being
cured with prayers by Brother Paul.

_Aloysius._ That's just it. If he did cure her, they say the two best of
her husband's bullocks died of the blackwater the next day, and he was
no way thankful to us after that.

_Colman._ Did you try the houses along the bog road?

_Aloysius._ I did, and the children coming back from school called out
after me and asked who was it did away with the widow Cloran's cow.

_Colman._ The widow Cloran's cow?

_Aloysius._ That was the cow that died after grazing in the ruins here.

_Colman._ If it did, it was because of an old boot it picked up and ate,
and that never belonged to us.

_Aloysius._ I wish we had something ourselves to eat. They should be
sitting down to their dinner in the monastery now. They will be having a
good dinner to-day to carry them over the fast to-morrow.

_Colman._ I am thinking sometimes, Brother Paul should give more thought
to us than he does. It is all very well for him, he is so taken up with
his thoughts and his visions he doesn't know if he is full or fasting.

_Aloysius._ He has such holy thoughts and visions no one would like to
trouble him. He ought not to be in the world at all, or to do the
world's work.

_Colman._ So long as he is in the world, he must give some thought to
it. There must be something wrong in the way he is doing things now. I
thought he would have had half Ireland with him by this time with his
great preaching, but someway when he preaches to the people, they don't
seem to mind him much.

_Aloysius._ He is too far above them; they have not education to
understand him.

_Colman._ They understand me well enough when I give my mind to it. But
it is harder to preach now than it was in the monastery. We had
something to offer then; absolution here, and heaven after.

_Aloysius._ Isn't it enough for them to hear that the kingdom of heaven
is within them, and that if they do the right meditations----

_Colman._ What can poor people that have their own troubles on them get
from a few words like that they hear at a cross road or a market, and
the wind maybe blowing them away? If we could gather them together
now.... Look, Aloysius, at these sally rods; I have a plan in my mind
about them.

     [_He has stuck some of the rods in the ground, and begins weaving
     others through them._

_Aloysius._ Are you going to make baskets like you did in the monastery
schools?

_Colman._ We must make something if we are to live. But it is more than
that I was thinking of; we might coax some of the youngsters to come and
learn the basket making; it would make them take to us better if we
could put them in the way of earning a few pence.

_Aloysius._ [_Taking up some of the osiers and beginning to twist
them._] That might be a good way to come at them; they could work
through the day, and at evening we could tell them how to repeat the
words till the light comes inside their heads. But would Paul think well
of it? He is more for pulling down than building up.

_Colman._ When I explain it to him I am sure he will think well of it;
he can't go on for ever without anyone to listen to him.

_Aloysius._ I suppose not, and with no way of living. But I don't know,
I'm afraid he won't like it.

_Colman._ Hush! Here he is coming.

_Aloysius._ If one had a plan now for doing some destruction----

_Colman._ Hush! don't you see there is somebody with him.

       *       *       *       *       *

     PAUL RUTTLEDGE _comes in with_ CHARLIE WARD.

_Paul Ruttledge._ This is Charlie Ward, my old friend.

_Aloysius._ The Charlie Ward you lived on the roads with?

_Paul Ruttledge._ Yes, when I went looking for the favour of my hard
mother, Earth, he helped me. He is her good child and she loves him.

_Colman._ He is welcome. How did he find you out?

_Paul Ruttledge._ I don't know. How did you find me out, Charlie?

_Charlie Ward._ Oh, I didn't lose sight of you so much as you thought. I
had to stop away from Gortmore a good while after we left you at the
gate, but I sent Paddy Cockfight one time to get news, and he mended
cans for the laundry of the monastery, and they told him you were well
again, and a monk as good as the rest. But a while ago I got word there
was a monk had gone near to break up the whole monastery with his talk
and his piety, and I said to myself, "That's Paul!" And then I heard
there was a monk had been driven out for not keeping the rules, and I
said to myself, "That's Paul!" And the other day when what's left of us
came to Athlone, I heard talk of some disfrocked monks that were
upsetting the whole neighbourhood, and I said, "That's Paul." To Sabina
Silver I said that. "That merry chap Paul," I said.

_Paul Ruttledge._ I'm afraid you have a very bad opinion of me, Charlie.
Well, maybe I earned it.

_Aloysius._ You cannot know much of him if you have a bad opinion of
him. He will be made a saint some day.

_Charlie Ward._ He will, if there's such a thing as a saint of mischief.

_Paul Ruttledge._ A saint of mischief? Well, why not that as well as
another? He would upset all the beehives, he would throw them into the
market-place. Sit down now, Charlie, and eat a bit with us.

_Colman._ You are welcome, indeed, to all we can give you, but we have
not a bit of food that is worth offering you. Aloysius got nothing at
all in the villages to-day, Brother Paul. The people are getting cross.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Well, sit down, anyway. The country people liked me
well enough once, there was no man they liked so much as myself when I
gave them drink for nothing. Didn't they, Charlie?

_Charlie Ward._ Oh, that was a great time. They were lying thick about
the roads. I'll be thinking of it to my dying day.

_Paul Ruttledge._ I have given them another kind of drink now.

_Charlie Ward._ What sort of a drink is that?

_Paul Ruttledge._ We have rolled a great barrel out of a cellar that is
under the earth. We have rolled it right into the midst of them. [_He
moves his hand about as if he were moving a barrel._] It's heavy, and
when they have drunk what is in it, I would like to see the man that
would be their master.

_Charlie Ward._ That would be a great drink, but I wouldn't be sure that
you're in earnest.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Colman and Aloysius will tell you all about it. It was
made in a good still, the barley was grown in a field that's down under
the earth.

_Charlie Ward._ That's likely enough. I often heard of places like that.

_Paul Ruttledge._ And when they have drunk from my barrel, they will
break open the door, they will put law and number under their two feet;
and they will have a hot palm and a cold palm, for they will put down
the moon and the sun with their two hands.

_Charlie Ward._ There's no mistake but you're the same Paul still; nice
and plain and simple, only for your hard talk. And what about the
rheumatism? It's hardly you got through that fit you had, and you don't
look as if much hardship would agree with you now.

_Aloysius._ He does not, indeed, and if he doesn't kill himself one way
he will another. Wait now till I tell you the way he is living. I don't
think he tasted bit or sup to-day, and all he had last night was a
couple of dry potatoes.

_Charlie Ward._ Is that so? [_Takes_ PAUL RUTTLEDGE'S _arm_.] You haven't
much more flesh on you than a crane in moonlight. They don't seem to
have much notion of minding you here, you that were reared soft. It
would be better for you to come back to us; bad as our lodging is,
there'd be a bit in the pot for you and Sabina to care you. It's she
would give you a good welcome.

_Colman._ [_Starting up._] We can mind him well enough here. I have a
plan. We haven't been getting on the way we ought with the people. It's
no way to be getting on with people to be asking things of them always,
they have no opinion at all of us seeing us the way we are. They have no
notion of the respect they should show to Brother Paul, and the way all
the Brothers used to be listening to his preaching, and the townspeople
as well. And I, myself, the time I preached in Dublin----

_Aloysius._ Yes, indeed, Paul, think of the great crowds used to come
when you preached in the Abbey church, and all the money that was
gathered that time of the Mission.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Yes, I used to like once to see all the faces looking
up at me. But now all that is gone from me. Now I think it is enough to
be a witness for the truth, and to think the thoughts I like. God will
bring the people to me. He will make of my silence a great wind that
will shatter the ships of the world.

_Colman._ That is all very well, but the people are not coming.

_Aloysius._ And more than that, they are driving us away from their
doors now, Paul.

_Charlie Ward._ The way they do to us. But Paul was not born on the
roads. [_Lights his pipe._

_Colman._ It's no use stopping waiting for a wind; if we have anything
to say that's worth the people listening to, we must bring them to hear
it one way or another. Now, it is what I was saying to Aloysius, we must
begin teaching them to make things, they never had the chance of any
instruction of the sort here.

_Paul Ruttledge._ To make things? This sort of things? [_Takes the
half-made basket from_ COLMAN.

_Colman._ Those and other things, we got a good training in the old
days. And we'll get a grant from the Technical Board. The Board pays up
to four hundred pounds to some of its instructors.

_Paul Ruttledge._ And then?

_Aloysius._ Oh, then we'll sell all the things we make. I'm sure we'll
get a market for them.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Oh, I understand; you will sell them. And what about
the dividing of the money? You will need to make laws about that.

_Colman._ Of course; we will have to make rules, and to pay according to
work.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Oh, we will grow quite rich in time. What are we to do
then? we can't go on living in this ruin?

_Colman._ Of course not. We'll build workshops and houses for those who
come to work from a distance, good houses, slated, not thatched.

_Paul Ruttledge._ [_Turning to_ ALOYSIUS _and_ CHARLIE WARD.] Yes, you see
his plan. To gather the people together, to build houses for them; to
make them rich too, and to keep their money safe. And the Kingdom of God
too? What about that?

_Colman._ Oh, I'm just coming to that. They will think so much more of
our teaching when we have got them under our influence by other things.
Of course we will teach them their meditations, and give them a regular
religious life. We must settle out some little place for them to pray
in--there's a high gable over there where we could hang a bell----

_Paul Ruttledge._ Oh yes, I understand. You would weave them together
like this [_weaves the osiers in and out_], you would add one thing to
another, laws and money and church and bells, till you had got
everything back again that you have escaped from. But it is my business
to tear things asunder like this [_tears pieces from the basket_], and
this, and this----

_Aloysius._ I told him you'd never agree to it. He ought to have known
that himself.

_Colman._ We must have something to offer the people.

_Paul Ruttledge._ You say that because you got nothing to-day. Aloysius
has got nothing in his sack. [_Taking sack and turning it upside down._]
It is quite empty. Every religious teacher before me has offered
something to his followers, but I offer them nothing. [_Plunging his arm
down into the sack._] My sack is quite empty. I will never dip my hand
into nature's full sack of illusions; I am tired of that old conjuring
bag. [_He walks up and down muttering._

_Charlie Ward._ [_To_ COLMAN.] You may as well give up trying to settle
him down to anything. He was a tinker once, and he'll be a tinker
always; he has got the wandering into his blood. Will you come back to
the roads, Paul, to your old friends and to Sabina?

_Paul Ruttledge._ [_Sitting down beside him._] Ah, my old friends, they
were very kind to me; but these friends too are very kind to me.

_Charlie Ward._ Well, come and see them anyway; they'll be glad to see
you, those that are left of us.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Those that are left of you? Where are the others?

_Charlie Ward._ Some are dead, and some are jailed, and some are on the
roads here and there. Sabina is with us always, and Johneen is a great
hand with the tools now, but Tommy the Song----

_Paul Ruttledge._ Oh, Tommy the Song, does he pray still? He was
beginning to pray. Did he ever get an answer?

_Charlie Ward._ Well, I don't know about an answer, but I believe he
heard something one night beside an old thorn tree, some sort of a voice
it was.

_Paul Ruttledge._ A voice? What did it say to him? Did he see anything?
We have learned too much, our minds are like troubled water--we get
nothing but broken images. He who knew nothing may have seen all. Is he
praying still?

_Charlie Ward._ If he is, it's in Galway gaol he's praying, with or
without a thorn tree.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Did he tell no one what the voice said to him?

_Charlie Ward._ He did not, unless he might have told Johneen or some
other one.

_Paul Ruttledge._ I will go with you and see them. [_Gets up._

_Colman._ [_To_ ALOYSIUS, _with whom he has been whispering_.] Take care,
but if he goes back to his old friends, he'll stop with them and leave
us.

_Aloysius._ [_Putting his hand on_ PAUL RUTTLEDGE'S _arm_.] Don't go,
Brother Paul, till I talk to you awhile.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Do you want me? Well, Charlie, I will stay here, I
won't go; but bring all the rest to see me, I want to ask them about
that vision.

_Charlie Ward._ I'll bring one of them, anyway. [_Exit._

_Aloysius._ Brother Paul, it is what I am thinking; now the tinkers have
come back to you, you could begin to gather a sort of an army; you can't
fight your battle without an army. They could call to the other tinkers,
and the tramps and the beggars, and the sieve-makers and all the
wandering people. It would be a great army.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Yes, that would be a great army, a great wandering
army.

_Aloysius._ The people would be afraid to refuse us then; we would march
on----

_Paul Ruttledge._ Yes, we could march on. We could march on the towns,
and we could break up all settled order; we could bring back the old
joyful, dangerous, individual life. We would have banners, we would each
have a banner, banners with angels upon them--we will march upon the
world with banners----

_Colman._ We would not be in want of food then, we could take all we
wanted.

_Aloysius._ We could take all we wanted, we would be too many to put in
gaol; all the people would join us in the end; you would be able to
persuade them all, Brother Paul, you would be their leader; we would
make great stores of food----

_Paul Ruttledge._ We will have one great banner that will go in front,
it will take two men to carry it, and on it we will have Laughter, with
his iron claws and his wings of brass and his eyes like sapphires----

_Aloysius._ That will be the banner for the front, we will have
different troops, we will have captains to organize them, to give them
orders----

_Paul Ruttledge._ [_Standing up._] To organize? That is to bring in law
and number? Organize--organize--that is how all the mischief has been
done. I was forgetting, we cannot destroy the world with armies, it is
inside our minds that it must be destroyed, it must be consumed in a
moment inside our minds. God will accomplish his last judgment, first in
one man's mind and then in another. He is always planning last
judgments. And yet it takes a long time, and that is why he laments in
the wind and in the reeds and in the cries of the curlews.

_Colman._ I think we had better go down to the river and see are there
any eels on the lines we set. We must find something for supper. It is
near sunset; see how the crows are flying home.

_Paul Ruttledge._ [_Looking up._] The crows are my darlings! I like
their harsh merriment better than those sad cries of the wind and the
rushes. Look at them, they are tossing about like witches, tossing about
on the wind, drunk with the wind.

_Colman._ Well, I'll go look at the lines, anyhow. Put turf on the fire,
Aloysius; Bartley should soon be home from Shanaglish.

_Aloysius._ I wonder why he isn't home by this. I'm uneasy till I see
him, after the way the people treated me to-day. [_Shades his eyes to
look out._] Here he is! He's running!

_Colman._ [_Coming over to him._] He is running hard! He must be in some
danger----

       *       *       *       *       *

     _Enter_ BARTLEY _out of breath_.

_Bartley._ Run, run, come away, there's not a minute to lose.

_Colman._ What is the matter? what has happened?

_Bartley._ The people are coming up the road! They attacked me in the
market! They followed me, they are on the road. I slipped away across
the fields. Run, run!

_Colman._ What is it? What are they going to do to us?

_Bartley._ You would know that if you saw them! They have stones and
sticks. Raging they are, and calling for our lives. They say we brought
witchcraft and ill-luck on the place! Come to the boat, it's in the
rushes; they won't see us, we'll get to the island. Hurry, hurry! [_He
runs out._

_Aloysius._ Come, Brother Paul, hurry, hurry!

_Paul Ruttledge._ I am going to stay.

_Bartley._ They will kill us if we stay! Brother Colman said they have
stones and sticks; I think I hear them!

_Paul Ruttledge._ You are afraid because you have been shut up so long.
I am not afraid because I have lived upon the roads, where one is ready
for anything that may happen. One has to learn that, like any other
thing. I will stay.

_Aloysius._ He wants the crown!

_Paul Ruttledge._ Where is Bartley?

_Colman._ He is gone. Come, you must go too, we can't leave you here.
You have too much to do to throw your life away, we have all too much to
do.

_Paul Ruttledge._ No, no. There is nothing to do; I am going to stay.

_Aloysius._ I will stay with you. [_Takes his hand._

_Paul Ruttledge._ Death is the last adventure, the first perfect joy,
for at death the soul comes into possession of itself, and returns to
the joy that made it. [_A great shout outside._

_Colman._ [_Seizing ALOYSIUS._] Come, come, Aloysius! come, Paul! We
haven't a moment, here they are. [_Drags_ ALOYSIUS _away_.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Good-bye, Aloysius, good-bye, Colman. Keep a pick
going at the foundations of the world.

     [COLMAN _and_ ALOYSIUS _run on_.

_One of the Mob outside._ They are here in the ruins!

_Another Voice._ This way! This way!

_Paul Ruttledge._ I will not go. I have a little reason for staying, but
no reason is too little to be the foundation of martyrdom. People have
been martyred for all kinds of reasons, and my reason that is not worth
a rush will do as well as any other. [_Looks round._] Ah! they are gone.
A little reason, a little reason. I have entered into the second
freedom--the irresponsibility of the saints.

_Sings._

  Parasti in conspectu meo mensam
  Adversus eos qui tribulant me.
  Impinguasti in oleo caput meum,
  Et calix meus inebrians quam praeclarus est.

    [People _rush in with sticks uplifted._

_One of the Mob._ Where are the heretics?

_Another._ We'll make an end of their witchcraft!

_Another._ Here is the worst of them!

_Another._ Give me back my cattle you put the sickness on!

_Another._ We'll have no witchcraft here! Drive away the unfrocked
priest!

_Another._ Make an end of him when we have the chance!

_Paul Ruttledge._ Yes, make an end of me. I have tried hard to live a
good life; give me a good death now.

_One of the Crowd._ Quick, don't give him time to put the evil eye on
us!

     [_They rush at him. His hands are seen swaying about above the
     crowd._

_Paul Ruttledge._ I go to the invisible heart of flame!

_One of the Crowd._ Throw him there now! Where are the others?

_Another._ They must be among the rocks.

_Another._ They are not; they are gone down the road!

_Another._ I tell you it's in the rocks they are! It's in the rocks
they're hiding!

_Another._ They are not; they couldn't run in the rocks; they're running
down the road.

_Several Voices._ They're on the road; they're on the road.

     [_They all rush out, leaving_ PAUL RUTTLEDGE _lying on the ground. It
     grows darker_. FATHERS COLMAN _and_ ALOYSIUS _creep up_.

_Colman._ Paul, Paul, come; we have still time to get to the boat.

_Aloysius._ Oh! they have killed him; there is a wound in his neck! Oh!
he has been the first of us to get the crown!

_Colman._ There are voices! They must be coming back! Come to the boat,
maybe we can bury him to-morrow!

     [_They go out._ PAUL RUTTLEDGE _half rises and sinks back_.

       *       *       *       *       *

     _Enter_ CHARLIE WARD _and_ SABINA SILVER.

_Charlie Ward._ They have done for him. I thought they would.

_Sabina Silver._ Oh, Paul, I never thought to find you like this! He's
not dead; he'll come round yet.

_Charlie Ward._ [_Opens his shirt and puts in his hand on his heart._]
Paul!

_Paul Ruttledge._ Ah! Charlie, give me the soldering iron--no, bring me
the lap anvil--I'm as good a tinker as any of you.

_Charlie Ward._ He thinks he's back on the roads with us! He is done
for.

_Sabina Silver._ I knew he'd have to come back to me to die after all;
it's a lonesome thing to die among strangers.

_Paul Ruttledge._ That is right, that is right, take me up in your
brazen claws. But no--no--I will not go out beyond Saturn into the
dark. Take me down--down to that field under the earth, under the roots
of the grave.

_Sabina Silver._ I don't know what he is saying. I never could
understand his talk.

_Paul Ruttledge._ O plunge me into the wine barrel, into the wine barrel
of God.

_Sabina Silver._ Won't you speak to me, Paul? Don't you know me? I am
Sibby; don't you remember me, Sibby, your wife?

_Charlie Ward._ He sees you now; I think he knows you.

     [PAUL RUTTLEDGE _has raised himself on his elbow and is looking at_
     SABINA SILVER.

_Sabina Silver._ He knows me. I was sure he would know me.

_Paul Ruttledge._ Colman, Colman, remember always where there is nothing
there is God. [_He sinks down again._

_One of the Crowd._ [_Coming back with two or three others._] I knew
they must be in the rocks.

_Charlie Ward._ Well, he's gone! There'll soon be none of us left at
all. And I never knew what it was he did that brought him to us.

_Sabina Silver._ Oh, Paul, Paul!

     [_Begins to keen very low, swaying herself to and fro._

_One of the Crowd._ [_To_ CHARLIE WARD.] Was he a friend of yours?

_Charlie Ward._ He was, indeed. I must do what I can for him now.

_One of the Crowd._ That's natural, that's natural. It's a pity they did
it. They'd best have left him alone. We'd best be going back to the
town.

     [SABINA SILVER _raises the keen louder. The_ Strangers _and_ CHARLIE
     WARD _take off their hats._



CHISWICK PRESS: PRINTED BY CHARLES WHITTINGHAM AND CO. TOOKS COURT,
CHANCERY LANE, LONDON.



Transcriber's Note:

The original text contained a great deal of italic, bold and small-capped
formatting. For the purposes of producing this text version, the
underscore symbol surrounds italicized text and small-capped text is
converted to all-caps.





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