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Title: Seven Short Plays
Author: Gregory, Lady, 1852-1932
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Seven Short Plays" ***

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transcribed by Brian Foley using LilyPond.



   _By Lady Gregory_


   Irish Folk-History Plays

     First Series: The Tragedies
       Grania. Kincora. Dervorgilla

     Second Series: The Tragic Comedies
       The Canavans. The White Cockade. The Deliverer

   New Comedies
     The Bogie Men. The Full Moon. Coats. Damer’s
     Gold. McDonough’s Wife

   Our Irish Theatre
     A Chapter of Autobiography

   Seven Short Plays
     Spreading the News. Hyacinth Halvey. The Rising
     of the Moon. The Jackdaw. The Workhouse Ward.
     The Travelling Man. The Gaol Gate

   The Golden Apple
     A Kiltartan Play for Children



   Seven Short Plays

   By

   Lady Gregory


   G. P. Putnam’s Sons
   New York and London
   The Knickerbocker Press
   1916


   COPYRIGHT, 1903, by LADY AUGUSTA GREGORY

   COPYRIGHT, 1904, by LADY GREGORY

   COPYRIGHT, 1905, by LADY GREGORY

   COPYRIGHT, 1906, by LADY GREGORY

   COPYRIGHT, 1909, by LADY GREGORY


These plays have been copyrighted and published simultaneously in the
United States and Great Britain.

All rights reserved, including that of translation into foreign
languages.

All acting rights, both professional and amateur, are reserved in the
United States, Great Britain, and all countries of the Copyright
Union, by the author. Performances forbidden and right of presentation
reserved.

Application for the right of performing these plays or reading them in
public should be made to Samuel French, 28 West 38th St., New York
City, or 26 South Hampton St., Strand, London.


Second Impression

The Knickerbocker Press, New York



DEDICATION


_To you, W. B. YEATS, good praiser, wholesome dispraiser, heavy-handed
judge, open-handed helper of us all, I offer a play of my plays for
every night of the week, because you like them, and because you have
taught me my trade._

   AUGUSTA GREGORY

   _Abbey Theatre,
     May 1, 1909._



CONTENTS

                                                PAGE

   SPREADING THE NEWS                              1

   HYACINTH HALVEY                                29

   THE RISING OF THE MOON                         75

   THE JACKDAW                                    93

   THE WORKHOUSE WARD                            137

   THE TRAVELLING MAN                            155

   THE GAOL GATE                                 173

   MUSIC FOR THE SONGS IN THE PLAYS              189

   NOTES, &C.                                    196



SPREADING THE NEWS

PERSONS

   _Bartley Fallon._
   _Mrs. Fallon._
   _Jack Smith._
   _Shawn Early._
   _Tim Casey._
   _James Ryan._
   _Mrs. Tarpey._
   _Mrs. Tully._
   _A Policeman_ (JO MULDOON).
   _A Removable Magistrate._

SPREADING THE NEWS

   _Scene: The outskirts of a Fair. An Apple Stall, Mrs. Tarpey
   sitting at it. Magistrate and Policeman enter._


_Magistrate_: So that is the Fair Green. Cattle and sheep and mud. No
system. What a repulsive sight!

_Policeman_: That is so, indeed.

_Magistrate_: I suppose there is a good deal of disorder in this
place?

_Policeman_: There is.

_Magistrate_: Common assault?

_Policeman_: It’s common enough.

_Magistrate_: Agrarian crime, no doubt?

_Policeman_: That is so.

_Magistrate_: Boycotting? Maiming of cattle? Firing into houses?

_Policeman_: There was one time, and there might be again.

_Magistrate_: That is bad. Does it go any farther than that?

_Policeman_: Far enough, indeed.

_Magistrate:_ Homicide, then! This district has been shamefully
neglected! I will change all that. When I was in the Andaman Islands,
my system never failed. Yes, yes, I will change all that. What has
that woman on her stall?

_Policeman:_ Apples mostly—and sweets.

_Magistrate:_ Just see if there are any unlicensed goods
underneath—spirits or the like. We had evasions of the salt tax in the
Andaman Islands.

_Policeman:_ (_Sniffing cautiously and upsetting a heap of apples._) I
see no spirits here—or salt.

_Magistrate:_ (_To Mrs. Tarpey._) Do you know this town well, my good
woman?

_Mrs. Tarpey:_ (_Holding out some apples._) A penny the half-dozen,
your honour.

_Policeman:_ (_Shouting._) The gentleman is asking do you know the
town! He’s the new magistrate!

_Mrs. Tarpey:_ (_Rising and ducking._) Do I know the town? I do, to be
sure.

_Magistrate:_ (_Shouting._) What is its chief business?

_Mrs. Tarpey:_ Business, is it? What business would the people here
have but to be minding one another’s business?

_Magistrate:_ I mean what trade have they?

_Mrs. Tarpey:_ Not a trade. No trade at all but to be talking.

_Magistrate:_ I shall learn nothing here.

  (_James Ryan comes in, pipe in mouth. Seeing Magistrate he
  retreats quickly, taking pipe from mouth._)

_Magistrate:_ The smoke from that man’s pipe had a greenish look; he
may be growing unlicensed tobacco at home. I wish I had brought my
telescope to this district. Come to the post-office, I will telegraph
for it. I found it very useful in the Andaman Islands.

  (_Magistrate and Policeman go out left._)

_Mrs. Tarpey:_ Bad luck to Jo Muldoon, knocking my apples this way and
that way. (_Begins arranging them._) Showing off he was to the new
magistrate.

  (_Enter Bartley Fallon and Mrs. Fallon._)

_Bartley:_ Indeed it’s a poor country and a scarce country to be
living in. But I’m thinking if I went to America it’s long ago the day
I’d be dead!

_Mrs. Fallon:_ So you might, indeed.

  (_She puts her basket on a barrel and begins putting parcels in
  it, taking them from under her cloak._)

_Bartley:_ And it’s a great expense for a poor man to be buried in
America.

_Mrs. Fallon:_ Never fear, Bartley Fallon, but I’ll give you a good
burying the day you’ll die.

_Bartley:_ Maybe it’s yourself will be buried in the graveyard of
Cloonmara before me, Mary Fallon, and I myself that will be dying
unbeknownst some night, and no one a-near me. And the cat itself may be
gone straying through the country, and the mice squealing over the
quilt.

_Mrs. Fallon:_ Leave off talking of dying. It might be twenty years
you’ll be living yet.

_Bartley:_ (_With a deep sigh._) I’m thinking if I’ll be living at the
end of twenty years, it’s a very old man I’ll be then!

_Mrs. Tarpey:_ (_Turns and sees them._) Good morrow, Bartley Fallon;
good morrow, Mrs. Fallon. Well, Bartley, you’ll find no cause for
complaining to-day; they are all saying it was a good fair.

_Bartley:_ (_Raising his voice._) It was not a good fair, Mrs. Tarpey.
It was a scattered sort of a fair. If we didn’t expect more, we got
less. That’s the way with me always; whatever I have to sell goes down
and whatever I have to buy goes up. If there’s ever any misfortune
coming to this world, it’s on myself it pitches, like a flock of crows
on seed potatoes.

_Mrs. Fallon:_ Leave off talking of misfortunes, and listen to Jack
Smith that is coming the way, and he singing.

  (_Voice of Jack Smith heard singing:_)

   I thought, my first love,
     There’d be but one house between you and me,
   And I thought I would find
     Yourself coaxing my child on your knee.
   Over the tide
     I would leap with the leap of a swan,
   Till I came to the side
     Of the wife of the Red-haired man!

  (_Jack Smith comes in; he is a red-haired man, and is carrying
  a hayfork._)

_Mrs. Tarpey:_ That should be a good song if I had my hearing.

_Mrs. Fallon:_ (_Shouting._) It’s “The Red-haired Man’s Wife.”

_Mrs. Tarpey:_ I know it well. That’s the song that has a skin on it!

  (_She turns her back to them and goes on arranging her
  apples._)

_Mrs. Fallon:_ Where’s herself, Jack Smith?

_Jack Smith:_ She was delayed with her washing; bleaching the clothes
on the hedge she is, and she daren’t leave them, with all the tinkers
that do be passing to the fair. It isn’t to the fair I came myself,
but up to the Five Acre Meadow I’m going, where I have a contract for
the hay. We’ll get a share of it into tramps to-day. (_He lays down
hayfork and lights his pipe._)

_Bartley:_ You will not get it into tramps to-day. The rain will be
down on it by evening, and on myself too. It’s seldom I ever started
on a journey but the rain would come down on me before I’d find any
place of shelter.

_Jack Smith:_ If it didn’t itself, Bartley, it is my belief you would
carry a leaky pail on your head in place of a hat, the way you’d not
be without some cause of complaining.

  (_A voice heard, “Go on, now, go on out o’ that. Go on I
  say.”_)

_Jack Smith:_ Look at that young mare of Pat Ryan’s that is backing
into Shaughnessy’s bullocks with the dint of the crowd! Don’t be
daunted, Pat, I’ll give you a hand with her.

  (_He goes out, leaving his hayfork._)

_Mrs. Fallon:_ It’s time for ourselves to be going home. I have all I
bought put in the basket. Look at there, Jack Smith’s hayfork he left
after him! He’ll be wanting it. (_Calls._) Jack Smith! Jack
Smith!—He’s gone through the crowd—hurry after him, Bartley, he’ll be
wanting it.

_Bartley:_ I’ll do that. This is no safe place to be leaving it. (_He
takes up fork awkwardly and upsets the basket._) Look at that now! If
there is any basket in the fair upset, it must be our own basket! (_He
goes out to right._)

_Mrs. Fallon:_ Get out of that! It is your own fault, it is. Talk of
misfortunes and misfortunes will come. Glory be! Look at my new
egg-cups rolling in every part—and my two pound of sugar with the
paper broke——

_Mrs. Tarpey:_ (_Turning from stall._) God help us, Mrs. Fallon, what
happened to your basket?

_Mrs. Fallon:_ It’s himself that knocked it down, bad manners to him.
(_Putting things up._) My grand sugar that’s destroyed, and he’ll not
drink his tea without it. I had best go back to the shop for more,
much good may it do him!

  (_Enter Tim Casey._)

_Tim Casey:_ Where is Bartley Fallon, Mrs. Fallon? I want a word with
him before he’ll leave the fair. I was afraid he might have gone home
by this, for he’s a temperate man.

_Mrs. Fallon:_ I wish he did go home! It’d be best for me if he went
home straight from the fair green, or if he never came with me at all!
Where is he, is it? He’s gone up the road (_jerks elbow_) following
Jack Smith with a hayfork.

  (_She goes out to left._)

_Tim Casey:_ Following Jack Smith with a hayfork! Did ever any one
hear the like of that. (_Shouts._) Did you hear that news, Mrs.
Tarpey?

_Mrs. Tarpey:_ I heard no news at all.

_Tim Casey:_ Some dispute I suppose it was that rose between Jack
Smith and Bartley Fallon, and it seems Jack made off, and Bartley is
following him with a hayfork!

_Mrs. Tarpey:_ Is he now? Well, that was quick work! It’s not ten
minutes since the two of them were here, Bartley going home and Jack
going to the Five Acre Meadow; and I had my apples to settle up, that
Jo Muldoon of the police had scattered, and when I looked round again
Jack Smith was gone, and Bartley Fallon was gone, and Mrs. Fallon’s
basket upset, and all in it strewed upon the ground—the tea here—the
two pound of sugar there—the egg-cups there—Look, now, what a great
hardship the deafness puts upon me, that I didn’t hear the
commencement of the fight! Wait till I tell James Ryan that I see
below; he is a neighbour of Bartley’s, it would be a pity if he
wouldn’t hear the news!

  (_She goes out. Enter Shawn Early and Mrs. Tully._)

_Tim Casey:_ Listen, Shawn Early! Listen, Mrs. Tully, to the news!
Jack Smith and Bartley Fallon had a falling out, and Jack knocked Mrs.
Fallon’s basket into the road, and Bartley made an attack on him with
a hayfork, and away with Jack, and Bartley after him. Look at the
sugar here yet on the road!

_Shawn Early:_ Do you tell me so? Well, that’s a queer thing, and
Bartley Fallon so quiet a man!

_Mrs. Tully:_ I wouldn’t wonder at all. I would never think well of a
man that would have that sort of a mouldering look. It’s likely he has
overtaken Jack by this.

  (_Enter James Ryan and Mrs. Tarpey._)

_James Ryan:_ That is great news Mrs. Tarpey was telling me! I suppose
that’s what brought the police and the magistrate up this way. I was
wondering to see them in it a while ago.

_Shawn Early:_ The police after them? Bartley Fallon must have injured
Jack so. They wouldn’t meddle in a fight that was only for show!

_Mrs. Tully:_ Why wouldn’t he injure him? There was many a man killed
with no more of a weapon than a hayfork.

_James Ryan:_ Wait till I run north as far as Kelly’s bar to spread
the news! (_He goes out._)

_Tim Casey:_ I’ll go tell Jack Smith’s first cousin that is standing
there south of the church after selling his lambs. (_Goes out._)

_Mrs. Tully:_ I’ll go telling a few of the neighbours I see beyond to
the west. (_Goes out._)

_Shawn Early:_ I’ll give word of it beyond at the east of the green.

  (_Is going out when Mrs. Tarpey seizes hold of him._)

_Mrs. Tarpey:_ Stop a minute, Shawn Early, and tell me did you see red
Jack Smith’s wife, Kitty Keary, in any place?

_Shawn Early:_ I did. At her own house she was, drying clothes on the
hedge as I passed.

_Mrs. Tarpey:_ What did you say she was doing?

_Shawn Early:_ (_Breaking away._) Laying out a sheet on the hedge.
(_He goes._)

_Mrs. Tarpey_: Laying out a sheet for the dead! The Lord have mercy
on us! Jack Smith dead, and his wife laying out a sheet for his
burying! (_Calls out._) Why didn’t you tell me that before, Shawn
Early? Isn’t the deafness the great hardship? Half the world might be
dead without me knowing of it or getting word of it at all! (_She sits
down and rocks herself._) O my poor Jack Smith! To be going to his
work so nice and so hearty, and to be left stretched on the ground in
the full light of the day!

  (_Enter Tim Casey._)

_Tim Casey:_ What is it, Mrs. Tarpey? What happened since?

_Mrs. Tarpey:_ O my poor Jack Smith!

_Tim Casey:_ Did Bartley overtake him?

_Mrs. Tarpey:_ O the poor man!

_Tim Casey:_ Is it killed he is?

_Mrs. Tarpey:_ Stretched in the Five Acre Meadow!

_Tim Casey:_ The Lord have mercy on us! Is that a fact?

_Mrs. Tarpey:_ Without the rites of the Church or a ha’porth!

_Tim Casey:_ Who was telling you?

_Mrs. Tarpey:_ And the wife laying out a sheet for his corpse. (_Sits
up and wipes her eyes._) I suppose they’ll wake him the same as
another?

  (_Enter Mrs. Tully, Shawn Early, and James Ryan._)

_Mrs. Tully:_ There is great talk about this work in every quarter of
the fair.

_Mrs. Tarpey:_ Ochone! cold and dead. And myself maybe the last he was
speaking to!

_James Ryan:_ The Lord save us! Is it dead he is?

_Tim Casey:_ Dead surely, and the wife getting provision for the wake.

_Shawn Early:_ Well, now, hadn’t Bartley Fallon great venom in him?

_Mrs. Tully:_ You may be sure he had some cause. Why would he have
made an end of him if he had not? (_To Mrs. Tarpey, raising her
voice._) What was it rose the dispute at all, Mrs. Tarpey?

_Mrs. Tarpey:_ Not a one of me knows. The last I saw of them, Jack
Smith was standing there, and Bartley Fallon was standing there, quiet
and easy, and he listening to “The Red-haired Man’s Wife.”

_Mrs. Tully:_ Do you hear that, Tim Casey? Do you hear that, Shawn
Early and James Ryan? Bartley Fallon was here this morning listening
to red Jack Smith’s wife, Kitty Keary that was! Listening to her and
whispering with her! It was she started the fight so!

_Shawn Early:_ She must have followed him from her own house. It is
likely some person roused him.

_Tim Casey:_ I never knew, before, Bartley Fallon was great with Jack
Smith’s wife.

_Mrs. Tully:_ How would you know it? Sure it’s not in the streets they
would be calling it. If Mrs. Fallon didn’t know of it, and if I that
have the next house to them didn’t know of it, and if Jack Smith
himself didn’t know of it, it is not likely you would know of it, Tim
Casey.

_Shawn Early:_ Let Bartley Fallon take charge of her from this out so,
and let him provide for her. It is little pity she will get from any
person in this parish.

_Tim Casey:_ How can he take charge of her? Sure he has a wife of his
own. Sure you don’t think he’d turn souper and marry her in a
Protestant church?

_James Ryan:_ It would be easy for him to marry her if he brought her
to America.

_Shawn Early:_ With or without Kitty Keary, believe me it is for
America he’s making at this minute. I saw the new magistrate and Jo
Muldoon of the police going into the post-office as I came up—there
was hurry on them—you may be sure it was to telegraph they went, the
way he’ll be stopped in the docks at Queenstown!

_Mrs. Tully:_ It’s likely Kitty Keary is gone with him, and not
minding a sheet or a wake at all. The poor man, to be deserted by his
own wife, and the breath hardly gone out yet from his body that is
lying bloody in the field!

  (_Enter Mrs. Fallon._)

_Mrs. Fallon:_ What is it the whole of the town is talking about? And
what is it you yourselves are talking about? Is it about my man
Bartley Fallon you are talking? Is it lies about him you are telling,
saying that he went killing Jack Smith? My grief that ever he came
into this place at all!

_James Ryan:_ Be easy now, Mrs. Fallon. Sure there is no one at all in
the whole fair but is sorry for you!

_Mrs. Fallon:_ Sorry for me, is it? Why would any one be sorry for me?
Let you be sorry for yourselves, and that there may be shame on you
for ever and at the day of judgment, for the words you are saying and
the lies you are telling to take away the character of my poor man,
and to take the good name off of him, and to drive him to destruction!
That is what you are doing!

_Shawn Early:_ Take comfort now, Mrs. Fallon. The police are not so
smart as they think. Sure he might give them the slip yet, the same as
Lynchehaun.

_Mrs. Tully:_ If they do get him, and if they do put a rope around his
neck, there is no one can say he does not deserve it!

_Mrs. Fallon:_ Is that what you are saying, Bridget Tully, and is that
what you think? I tell you it’s too much talk you have, making
yourself out to be such a great one, and to be running down every
respectable person! A rope, is it? It isn’t much of a rope was needed
to tie up your own furniture the day you came into Martin Tully’s
house, and you never bringing as much as a blanket, or a penny, or a
suit of clothes with you and I myself bringing seventy pounds and two
feather beds. And now you are stiffer than a woman would have a
hundred pounds! It is too much talk the whole of you have. A rope is
it? I tell you the whole of this town is full of liars and schemers
that would hang you up for half a glass of whiskey. (_Turning to go._)
People they are you wouldn’t believe as much as daylight from without
you’d get up to have a look at it yourself. Killing Jack Smith indeed!
Where are you at all, Bartley, till I bring you out of this? My nice
quiet little man! My decent comrade! He that is as kind and as
harmless as an innocent beast of the field! He’ll be doing no harm at
all if he’ll shed the blood of some of you after this day’s work! That
much would be no harm at all. (_Calls out._) Bartley! Bartley Fallon!
Where are you? (_Going out._) Did any one see Bartley Fallon?

  (_All turn to look after her._)

_James Ryan:_ It is hard for her to believe any such a thing, God help
her!

  (_Enter Bartley Fallon from right, carrying hayfork._)

_Bartley:_ It is what I often said to myself, if there is ever any
misfortune coming to this world it is on myself it is sure to come!

  (_All turn round and face him._)

_Bartley:_ To be going about with this fork and to find no one to take
it, and no place to leave it down, and I wanting to be gone out of
this—Is that you, Shawn Early? (_Holds out fork._) It’s well I met
you. You have no call to be leaving the fair for a while the way I
have, and how can I go till I’m rid of this fork? Will you take it and
keep it until such time as Jack Smith——

_Shawn Early:_ (_Backing._) I will not take it, Bartley Fallon, I’m
very thankful to you!

_Bartley:_ (_Turning to apple stall._) Look at it now, Mrs. Tarpey, it
was here I got it; let me thrust it in under the stall. It will lie
there safe enough, and no one will take notice of it until such time
as Jack Smith——

_Mrs. Tarpey:_ Take your fork out of that! Is it to put trouble on me
and to destroy me you want? Putting it there for the police to be
rooting it out maybe. (_Thrusts him back._)

_Bartley:_ That is a very unneighbourly thing for you to do, Mrs.
Tarpey. Hadn’t I enough care on me with that fork before this, running
up and down with it like the swinging of a clock, and afeard to lay it
down in any place! I wish I never touched it or meddled with it at
all!

_James Ryan:_ It is a pity, indeed, you ever did.

_Bartley:_ Will you yourself take it, James Ryan? You were always a
neighbourly man.

_James Ryan:_ (_Backing._) There is many a thing I would do for you,
Bartley Fallon, but I won’t do that!

_Shawn Early:_ I tell you there is no man will give you any help or
any encouragement for this day’s work. If it was something agrarian
now——

_Bartley:_ If no one at all will take it, maybe it’s best to give it
up to the police.

_Tim Casey:_ There’d be a welcome for it with them surely!
(_Laughter._)

_Mrs. Tully:_ And it is to the police Kitty Keary herself will be
brought.

_Mrs. Tarpey:_ (_Rocking to and fro._) I wonder now who will take the
expense of the wake for poor Jack Smith?

_Bartley:_ The wake for Jack Smith!

_Tim Casey:_ Why wouldn’t he get a wake as well as another? Would you
begrudge him that much?

_Bartley:_ Red Jack Smith dead! Who was telling you?

_Shawn Early:_ The whole town knows of it by this.

_Bartley:_ Do they say what way did he die?

_James Ryan:_ You don’t know that yourself, I suppose, Bartley Fallon?
You don’t know he was followed and that he was laid dead with the stab
of a hayfork?

_Bartley:_ The stab of a hayfork!

_Shawn Early:_ You don’t know, I suppose, that the body was found in
the Five Acre Meadow?

_Bartley:_ The Five Acre Meadow!

_Tim Casey:_ It is likely you don’t know that the police are after the
man that did it?

_Bartley:_ The man that did it!

_Mrs. Tully:_ You don’t know, maybe, that he was made away with for
the sake of Kitty Keary, his wife?

_Bartley:_ Kitty Keary, his wife!

  (_Sits down bewildered._)

_Mrs. Tully:_ And what have you to say now, Bartley Fallon?

_Bartley:_ (_Crossing himself._) I to bring that fork here, and to
find that news before me! It is much if I can ever stir from this
place at all, or reach as far as the road!

_Tim Casey:_ Look, boys, at the new magistrate, and Jo Muldoon along
with him! It’s best for us to quit this.

_Shawn Early:_ That is so. It is best not to be mixed in this business
at all.

_James Ryan:_ Bad as he is, I wouldn’t like to be an informer against
any man.

  (_All hurry away except Mrs. Tarpey, who remains behind her
  stall. Enter magistrate and policeman._)

_Magistrate:_ I knew the district was in a bad state, but I did not
expect to be confronted with a murder at the first fair I came to.

_Policeman:_ I am sure you did not, indeed.

_Magistrate:_ It was well I had not gone home. I caught a few words
here and there that roused my suspicions.

_Policeman:_ So they would, too.

_Magistrate:_ You heard the same story from everyone you asked?

_Policeman:_ The same story—or if it was not altogether the same,
anyway it was no less than the first story.

_Magistrate:_ What is that man doing? He is sitting alone with a
hayfork. He has a guilty look. The murder was done with a hayfork!

_Policeman:_ (_In a whisper._) That’s the very man they say did the
act; Bartley Fallon himself!

_Magistrate:_ He must have found escape difficult—he is trying to
brazen it out. A convict in the Andaman Islands tried the same game,
but he could not escape my system! Stand aside—Don’t go far—have the
handcuffs ready. (_He walks up to Bartley, folds his arms, and stands
before him._) Here, my man, do you know anything of John Smith?

_Bartley:_ Of John Smith! Who is he, now?

_Policeman:_ Jack Smith, sir—Red Jack Smith!

_Magistrate:_ (_Coming a step nearer and tapping him on the
shoulder._) Where is Jack Smith?

_Bartley:_ (_With a deep sigh, and shaking his head slowly._) Where is
he, indeed?

_Magistrate:_ What have you to tell?

_Bartley:_ It is where he was this morning, standing in this spot,
singing his share of songs—no, but lighting his pipe—scraping a match
on the sole of his shoe——

_Magistrate:_ I ask you, for the third time, where is he?

_Bartley:_ I wouldn’t like to say that. It is a great mystery, and it
is hard to say of any man, did he earn hatred or love.

_Magistrate:_ Tell me all you know.

_Bartley:_ All that I know—Well, there are the three estates; there is
Limbo, and there is Purgatory, and there is——

_Magistrate:_ Nonsense! This is trifling! Get to the point.

_Bartley:_ Maybe you don’t hold with the clergy so? That is the
teaching of the clergy. Maybe you hold with the old people. It is what
they do be saying, that the shadow goes wandering, and the soul is
tired, and the body is taking a rest—The shadow! (_Starts up._) I was
nearly sure I saw Jack Smith not ten minutes ago at the corner of the
forge, and I lost him again—Was it his ghost I saw, do you think?

_Magistrate:_ (_To policeman._) Conscience-struck! He will confess all
now!

_Bartley:_ His ghost to come before me! It is likely it was on account
of the fork! I to have it and he to have no way to defend himself the
time he met with his death!

_Magistrate:_ (_To policeman._) I must note down his words. (_Takes
out notebook._) (_To Bartley:_) I warn you that your words are being
noted.

_Bartley:_ If I had ha’ run faster in the beginning, this terror would
not be on me at the latter end! Maybe he will cast it up against me at
the day of judgment—I wouldn’t wonder at all at that.

_Magistrate:_ (_Writing._) At the day of judgment——

_Bartley:_ It was soon for his ghost to appear to me—is it coming
after me always by day it will be, and stripping the clothes off in
the night time?—I wouldn’t wonder at all at that, being as I am an
unfortunate man!

_Magistrate:_ (_Sternly._) Tell me this truly. What was the motive of
this crime?

_Bartley:_ The motive, is it?

_Magistrate:_ Yes; the motive; the cause.

_Bartley:_ I’d sooner not say that.

_Magistrate:_ You had better tell me truly. Was it money?

_Bartley:_ Not at all! What did poor Jack Smith ever have in his
pockets unless it might be his hands that would be in them?

_Magistrate:_ Any dispute about land?

_Bartley:_ (_Indignantly._) Not at all! He never was a grabber or
grabbed from any one!

_Magistrate:_ You will find it better for you if you tell me at once.

_Bartley:_ I tell you I wouldn’t for the whole world wish to say what
it was—it is a thing I would not like to be talking about.

_Magistrate:_ There is no use in hiding it. It will be discovered in
the end.

_Bartley:_ Well, I suppose it will, seeing that mostly everybody knows
it before. Whisper here now. I will tell no lie; where would be the
use? (_Puts his hand to his mouth, and Magistrate stoops._) Don’t be
putting the blame on the parish, for such a thing was never done in
the parish before—it was done for the sake of Kitty Keary, Jack
Smith’s wife.

_Magistrate:_ (_To policeman._) Put on the handcuffs. We have been
saved some trouble. I knew he would confess if taken in the right way.

  (_Policeman puts on handcuffs_.)

_Bartley:_ Handcuffs now! Glory be! I always said, if there was ever
any misfortune coming to this place it was on myself it would fall. I
to be in handcuffs! There’s no wonder at all in that.

  (_Enter Mrs. Fallon, followed by the rest. She is looking back
  at them as she speaks._)

_Mrs. Fallon:_ Telling lies the whole of the people of this town are;
telling lies, telling lies as fast as a dog will trot! Speaking
against my poor respectable man! Saying he made an end of Jack Smith!
My decent comrade! There is no better man and no kinder man in the
whole of the five parishes! It’s little annoyance he ever gave to any
one! (_Turns and sees him._) What in the earthly world do I see before
me? Bartley Fallon in charge of the police! Handcuffs on him! O
Bartley, what did you do at all at all?

_Bartley:_ O Mary, there has a great misfortune come upon me! It is
what I always said, that if there is ever any misfortune——

_Mrs. Fallon:_ What did he do at all, or is it bewitched I am?

_Magistrate:_ This man has been arrested on a charge of murder.

_Mrs. Fallon:_ Whose charge is that? Don’t believe them! They are all
liars in this place! Give me back my man!

_Magistrate_. It is natural you should take his part, but you have no
cause of complaint against your neighbours. He has been arrested for
the murder of John Smith, on his own confession.

_Mrs. Fallon:_ The saints of heaven protect us! And what did he want
killing Jack Smith?

_Magistrate:_ It is best you should know all. He did it on account of
a love affair with the murdered man’s wife.

_Mrs. Fallon:_ (_Sitting down._) With Jack Smith’s wife! With Kitty
Keary!—Ochone, the traitor!

_The Crowd:_ A great shame, indeed. He is a traitor, indeed.

_Mrs. Tully:_ To America he was bringing her, Mrs. Fallon.

_Bartley:_ What are you saying, Mary? I tell you——

_Mrs. Fallon:_ Don’t say a word! I won’t listen to any word you’ll
say! (_Stops her ears._) O, isn’t he the treacherous villain? Ohone go
deo!

_Bartley:_ Be quiet till I speak! Listen to what I say!

_Mrs. Fallon:_ Sitting beside me on the ass car coming to the town, so
quiet and so respectable, and treachery like that in his heart!

_Bartley:_ Is it your wits you have lost or is it I myself that have
lost my wits?

_Mrs. Fallon:_ And it’s hard I earned you, slaving, slaving—and you
grumbling, and sighing, and coughing, and discontented, and the priest
wore out anointing you, with all the times you threatened to die!

_Bartley:_ Let you be quiet till I tell you!

_Mrs. Fallon:_ You to bring such a disgrace into the parish. A thing
that was never heard of before!

_Bartley:_ Will you shut your mouth and hear me speaking?

_Mrs. Fallon:_ And if it was for any sort of a fine handsome woman,
but for a little fistful of a woman like Kitty Keary, that’s not four
feet high hardly, and not three teeth in her head unless she got new
ones! May God reward you, Bartley Fallon, for the black treachery in
your heart and the wickedness in your mind, and the red blood of poor
Jack Smith that is wet upon your hand! (_Voice of Jack Smith heard
singing._)

   The sea shall be dry,
     The earth under mourning and ban!
   Then loud shall he cry
     For the wife of the red-haired man!

_Bartley:_ It’s Jack Smith’s voice—I never knew a ghost to sing
before——. It is after myself and the fork he is coming! (_Goes back.
Enter Jack Smith._) Let one of you give him the fork and I will be
clear of him now and for eternity!

_Mrs. Tarpey:_ The Lord have mercy on us! Red Jack Smith! The man that
was going to be waked!

_James Ryan:_ Is it back from the grave you are come?

_Shawn Early:_ Is it alive you are, or is it dead you are?

_Tim Casey:_ Is it yourself at all that’s in it?

_Mrs. Tully:_ Is it letting on you were to be dead?

_Mrs. Fallon:_ Dead or alive, let you stop Kitty Keary, your wife,
from bringing my man away with her to America!

_Jack Smith:_ It is what I think, the wits are gone astray on the
whole of you. What would my wife want bringing Bartley Fallon to
America?

_Mrs. Fallon:_ To leave yourself, and to get quit of you she wants,
Jack Smith, and to bring him away from myself. That’s what the two of
them had settled together.

_Jack Smith:_ I’ll break the head of any man that says that! Who is it
says it? (_To Tim Casey:_) Was it you said it? (_To Shawn Early:_) Was
it you?

_All together:_ (_Backing and shaking their heads._) It wasn’t I said
it!

_Jack Smith:_ Tell me the name of any man that said it!

_All together:_ (_Pointing to Bartley._) It was _him_ that said it!

_Jack Smith:_ Let me at him till I break his head!

  (_Bartley backs in terror. Neighbours hold Jack Smith back._)

_Jack Smith:_ (_Trying to free himself._) Let me at him! Isn’t he the
pleasant sort of a scarecrow for any woman to be crossing the ocean
with! It’s back from the docks of New York he’d be turned (_trying to
rush at him again_), with a lie in his mouth and treachery in his
heart, and another man’s wife by his side, and he passing her off as
his own! Let me at him can’t you.

  (_Makes another rush, but is held back._)

_Magistrate:_ (_Pointing to Jack Smith._) Policeman, put the handcuffs
on this man. I see it all now. A case of false impersonation, a
conspiracy to defeat the ends of justice. There was a case in the
Andaman Islands, a murderer of the Mopsa tribe, a religious
enthusiast——

_Policeman:_ So he might be, too.

_Magistrate:_ We must take both these men to the scene of the murder.
We must confront them with the body of the real Jack Smith.

_Jack Smith:_ I’ll break the head of any man that will find my dead
body!

_Magistrate:_ I’ll call more help from the barracks. (_Blows
Policeman’s whistle._)

_Bartley:_ It is what I am thinking, if myself and Jack Smith are put
together in the one cell for the night, the handcuffs will be taken
off him, and his hands will be free, and murder will be done that time
surely!

_Magistrate:_ Come on! (_They turn to the right._)



HYACINTH HALVEY


PERSONS

   _Hyacinth Halvey._
   _James Quirke, a butcher._
   _Fardy Farrell, a telegraph boy._
   _Sergeant Carden._
   _Mrs. Delane, Postmistress at Cloon._
   _Miss Joyce, the Priest’s House-keeper._


HYACINTH HALVEY


  _Scene: Outside the Post Office at the little town of Cloon.
  Mrs. Delane at Post Office door. Mr. Quirke sitting on a chair
  at butcher’s door. A dead sheep hanging beside it, and a thrush
  in a cage above. Fardy Farrell playing on a mouth organ. Train
  whistle heard._

_Mrs. Delane:_ There is the four o’clock train, Mr. Quirke.

_Mr. Quirke:_ Is it now, Mrs. Delane, and I not long after rising? It
makes a man drowsy to be doing the half of his work in the night time.
Going about the country, looking for little stags of sheep, striving
to knock a few shillings together. That contract for the soldiers
gives me a great deal to attend to.

_Mrs. Delane:_ I suppose so. It’s hard enough on myself to be down
ready for the mail car in the morning, sorting letters in the half
dark. It’s often I haven’t time to look who are the letters from—or
the cards.

_Mr. Quirke:_ It would be a pity you not to know any little news might
be knocking about. If you did not have information of what is going
on who should have it? Was it you, ma’am, was telling me that the new
Sub-Sanitary Inspector would be arriving to-day?

_Mrs. Delane:_ To-day it is he is coming, and it’s likely he was in
that train. There was a card about him to Sergeant Carden this
morning.

_Mr. Quirke:_ A young chap from Carrow they were saying he was.

_Mrs. Delane:_ So he is, one Hyacinth Halvey; and indeed if all that
is said of him is true, or if a quarter of it is true, he will be a
credit to this town.

_Mr. Quirke:_ Is that so?

_Mrs. Delane:_ Testimonials he has by the score. To Father Gregan they
were sent. Registered they were coming and going. Would you believe me
telling you that they weighed up to three pounds?

_Mr. Quirke:_ There must be great bulk in them indeed.

_Mrs. Delane:_ It is no wonder he to get the job. He must have a great
character so many persons to write for him as what there did.

_Fardy:_ It would be a great thing to have a character like that.

_Mrs. Delane:_ Indeed I am thinking it will be long before you will
get the like of it, Fardy Farrell.

_Fardy:_ If I had the like of that of a character it is not here
carrying messages I would be. It’s in Noonan’s Hotel I would be,
driving cars.

_Mr. Quirke:_ Here is the priest’s housekeeper coming.

_Mrs. Delane:_ So she is; and there is the Sergeant a little while
after her.

  (_Enter Miss Joyce._)

_Mrs. Delane:_ Good-evening to you, Miss Joyce. What way is his
Reverence to-day? Did he get any ease from the cough?

_Miss Joyce:_ He did not indeed, Mrs. Delane. He has it sticking to
him yet. Smothering he is in the night time. The most thing he comes
short in is the voice.

_Mrs. Delane:_ I am sorry, now, to hear that. He should mind himself
well.

_Miss Joyce:_ It’s easy to say let him mind himself. What do you say
to him going to the meeting to-night? (_Sergeant comes in._) It’s for
his Reverence’s _Freeman_ I am come, Mrs. Delane.

_Mrs. Delane:_ Here it is ready. I was just throwing an eye on it to
see was there any news. Good-evening, Sergeant.

_Sergeant:_ (_Holding up a placard._) I brought this notice, Mrs.
Delane, the announcement of the meeting to be held to-night in the
Courthouse. You might put it up here convenient to the window. I hope
you are coming to it yourself?

_Mrs. Delane:_ I will come, and welcome. I would do more than that for
you, Sergeant.

_Sergeant:_ And you, Mr. Quirke.

_Mr. Quirke:_ I’ll come, to be sure. I forget what’s this the meeting
is about.

_Sergeant:_ The Department of Agriculture is sending round a lecturer
in furtherance of the moral development of the rural classes.
(_Reads._) “A lecture will be given this evening in Cloon Courthouse,
illustrated by magic lantern slides—” Those will not be in it; I am
informed they were all broken in the first journey, the railway
company taking them to be eggs. The subject of the lecture is “The
Building of Character.”

_Mrs. Delane:_ Very nice, indeed. I knew a girl lost her character,
and she washed her feet in a blessed well after, and it dried up on
the minute.

_Sergeant:_ The arrangements have all been left to me, the Archdeacon
being away. He knows I have a good intellect for things of the sort.
But the loss of those slides puts a man out. The thing people will not
see it is not likely it is the thing they will believe. I saw what
they call tableaux—standing pictures, you know—one time in Dundrum——

_Mrs. Delane:_ Miss Joyce was saying Father Gregan is supporting you.

_Sergeant:_ I am accepting his assistance. No bigotry about me when
there is a question of the welfare of any fellow-creatures. Orange and
green will stand together to-night. I myself and the station-master
on the one side; your parish priest in the chair.

_Miss Joyce:_ If his Reverence would mind me he would not quit the
house to-night. He is no more fit to go speak at a meeting than
(_pointing to the one hanging outside Quirke’s door_) that sheep.

_Sergeant:_ I am willing to take the responsibility. He will have no
speaking to do at all, unless it might be to bid them give the
lecturer a hearing. The loss of those slides now is a great annoyance
to me—and no time for anything. The lecturer will be coming by the
next train.

_Miss Joyce:_ Who is this coming up the street, Mrs. Delane?

_Mrs. Delane:_ I wouldn’t doubt it to be the new Sub-Sanitary
Inspector. Was I telling you of the weight of the testimonials he got,
Miss Joyce?

_Miss Joyce:_ Sure I heard the curate reading them to his Reverence.
He must be a wonder for principles.

_Mrs. Delane:_ Indeed it is what I was saying to myself, he must be a
very saintly young man.

  (_Enter Hyacinth Halvey. He carries a small bag and a large
  brown paper parcel. He stops and nods bashfully._)

_Hyacinth:_ Good-evening to you. I was bid to come to the post
office——

_Sergeant:_ I suppose you are Hyacinth Halvey? I had a letter about
you from the Resident Magistrate.

_Hyacinth:_ I heard he was writing. It was my mother got a friend he
deals with to ask him.

_Sergeant:_ He gives you a very high character.

_Hyacinth:_ It is very kind of him indeed, and he not knowing me at
all. But indeed all the neighbours were very friendly. Anything any
one could do to help me they did it.

_Mrs. Delane:_ I’ll engage it is the testimonals you have in your
parcel? I know the wrapping paper, but they grew in bulk since I
handled them.

_Hyacinth:_ Indeed I was getting them to the last. There was not one
refused me. It is what my mother was saying, a good character is no
burden.

_Fardy:_ I would believe that indeed.

_Sergeant:_ Let us have a look at the testimonials.

  (_Hyacinth Halvey opens parcel, and a large number of envelopes
  fall out._)

_Sergeant:_ (_Opening and reading one by one_). “He possesses the fire
of the Gael, the strength of the Norman, the vigour of the Dane, the
stolidity of the Saxon”——

_Hyacinth:_ It was the Chairman of the Poor Law Guardians wrote that.

_Sergeant:_ “A magnificent example to old and young”——

_Hyacinth:_ That was the Secretary of the DeWet Hurling Club——

_Sergeant:_ “A shining example of the value conferred by an eminently
careful and high class education”——

_Hyacinth:_ That was the National Schoolmaster.

_Sergeant:_ “Devoted to the highest ideals of his Mother-land to such
an extent as is compatible with a hitherto non-parliamentary
career”——

_Hyacinth:_ That was the Member for Carrow.

_Sergeant:_ “A splendid exponent of the purity of the race”——

_Hyacinth:_ The Editor of the _Carrow Champion_.

_Sergeant:_ “Admirably adapted for the efficient discharge of all
possible duties that may in future be laid upon him”——

_Hyacinth:_ The new Station-master.

_Sergeant:_ “A champion of every cause that can legitimately benefit
his fellow-creatures”—— Why, look here, my man, you are the very one
to come to our assistance to-night.

_Hyacinth:_ I would be glad to do that. What way can I do it?

_Sergeant:_ You are a newcomer—your example would carry weight—you
must stand up as a living proof of the beneficial effect of a high
character, moral fibre, temperance—there is something about it here I
am sure—(_Looks._) I am sure I saw “unparalleled temperance” in some
place——

_Hyacinth:_ It was my mother’s cousin wrote that—I am no drinker, but
I haven’t the pledge taken——

_Sergeant:_ You might take it for the purpose.

_Mr. Quirke:_ (_Eagerly._) Here is an anti-treating button. I was made
a present of it by one of my customers—I’ll give it to you (_sticks it
in Hyacinth’s coat_) and welcome.

_Sergeant:_ That is it. You can wear the button on the platform—or a
bit of blue ribbon—hundreds will follow your example—I know the boys
from the Workhouse will——

_Hyacinth:_ I am in no way wishful to be an example——

_Sergeant:_ I will read extracts from the testimonials. “There he is,”
I will say, “an example of one in early life who by his own unaided
efforts and his high character has obtained a profitable
situation”—(_Slaps his side._) I know what I’ll do. I’ll engage a few
corner-boys from Noonan’s bar, just as they are, greasy and sodden, to
stand in a group—there will be the contrast—The sight will deter
others from a similar fate—That’s the way to do a tableau—I knew I
could turn out a success.

_Hyacinth:_ I wouldn’t like to be a contrast—-

_Sergeant:_ (_Puts testimonials in his pocket._) I will go now and
engage those lads—sixpence each, and well worth it—Nothing like an
example for the rural classes.

  (_Goes off, Hyacinth feebly trying to detain him._)

_Mrs. Delane:_ A very nice man indeed. A little high up in himself,
may be. I’m not one that blames the police. Sure they have their own
bread to earn like every other one. And indeed it is often they will
let a thing pass.

_Mr. Quirke:_ (_Gloomily._) Sometimes they will, and more times they
will not.

_Miss Joyce:_ And where will you be finding a lodging, Mr. Halvey?

_Hyacinth:_ I was going to ask that myself, ma’am. I don’t know the
town.

_Miss Joyce:_ I know of a good lodging, but it is only a very good man
would be taken into it.

_Mrs. Delane:_ Sure there could be no objection there to Mr. Halvey.
There is no appearance on him but what is good, and the Sergeant after
taking him up the way he is doing.

_Miss Joyce:_ You will be near to the Sergeant in the lodging I speak
of. The house is convenient to the barracks.

_Hyacinth:_ (_Doubtfully._) To the barracks?

_Miss Joyce:_ Alongside of it and the barrack yard behind. And that’s
not all. It is opposite to the priest’s house.

_Hyacinth:_ Opposite, is it?

_Miss Joyce:_ A very respectable place, indeed, and a very clean room
you will get. I know it well. The curate can see into it from his
window.

_Hyacinth:_ Can he now?

_Fardy:_ There was a good many, I am thinking, went into that lodging
and left it after.

_Miss Joyce:_ (_Sharply._) It is a lodging you will never be let into
or let stop in, Fardy. If they did go they were a good riddance.

_Fardy:_ John Hart, the plumber, left it——

_Miss Joyce:_ If he did it was because he dared not pass the police
coming in, as he used, with a rabbit he was after snaring in his hand.

_Fardy:_ The schoolmaster himself left it.

_Miss Joyce:_ He needn’t have left it if he hadn’t taken to
card-playing. What way could you say your prayers, and shadows
shuffling and dealing before you on the blind?

_Hyacinth:_ I think maybe I’d best look around a bit before I’ll
settle in a lodging——

_Miss Joyce:_ Not at all. _You_ won’t be wanting to pull down the
blind.

_Mrs. Delane:_ It is not likely _you_ will be snaring rabbits.

_Miss Joyce:_ Or bringing in a bottle and taking an odd glass the way
James Kelly did.

_Mrs. Delane:_ Or writing threatening notices, and the police taking a
view of you from the rear.

_Miss Joyce:_ Or going to roadside dances, or running after
good-for-nothing young girls——

_Hyacinth:_ I give you my word I’m not so harmless as you think.

_Mrs. Delane:_ Would you be putting a lie on these, Mr. Halvey?
(_Touching testimonials._) I know well the way you will be spending
the evenings, writing letters to your relations——

_Miss Joyce:_ Learning O’Growney’s exercises——

_Mrs. Delane:_ Sticking post cards in an album for the convent bazaar.

_Miss Joyce:_ Reading the _Catholic Young Man_——

_Mrs. Delane:_ Playing the melodies on a melodeon——

_Miss Joyce:_ Looking at the pictures in the _Lives of the Saints_.
I’ll hurry on and engage the room for you.

_Hyacinth:_ Wait. Wait a minute——

_Miss Joyce:_ No trouble at all. I told you it was just opposite.
(_Goes._)

_Mr. Quirke:_ I suppose I must go upstairs and ready myself for the
meeting. If it wasn’t for the contract I have for the soldiers’
barracks and the Sergeant’s good word, I wouldn’t go anear it. (_Goes
into shop._)

_Mrs. Delane:_ I should be making myself ready too. I must be in good
time to see you being made an example of, Mr. Halvey. It is I myself
was the first to say it; you will be a credit to the town. (_Goes._)

_Hyacinth:_ (_In a tone of agony._) I wish I had never seen Cloon.

_Fardy:_ What is on you?

_Hyacinth:_ I wish I had never left Carrow. I wish I had been drowned
the first day I thought of it, and I’d be better off.

_Fardy:_ What is it ails you?

_Hyacinth:_ I wouldn’t for the best pound ever I had be in this place
to-day.

_Fardy:_ I don’t know what you are talking about.

_Hyacinth:_ To have left Carrow, if it was a poor place, where I had
my comrades, and an odd spree, and a game of cards—and a coursing
match coming on, and I promised a new greyhound from the city of
Cork. I’ll die in this place, the way I am. I’ll be too much closed
in.

_Fardy:_ Sure it mightn’t be as bad as what you think.

_Hyacinth:_ Will you tell me, I ask you, what way can I undo it?

_Fardy:_ What is it you are wanting to undo?

_Hyacinth:_ Will you tell me what way can I get rid of my character?

_Fardy:_ To get rid of it, is it?

_Hyacinth:_ That is what I said. Aren’t you after hearing the great
character they are after putting on me?

_Fardy:_ That is a good thing to have.

_Hyacinth:_ It is not. It’s the worst in the world. If I hadn’t it, I
wouldn’t be like a prize mangold at a show with every person praising
me.

_Fardy:_ If I had it, I wouldn’t be like a head in a barrel, with
every person making hits at me.

_Hyacinth:_ If I hadn’t it, I wouldn’t be shoved into a room with all
the clergy watching me and the police in the back yard.

_Fardy:_ If I had it, I wouldn’t be but a message-carrier now, and a
clapper scaring birds in the summer time.

_Hyacinth:_ If I hadn’t it, I wouldn’t be wearing this button and
brought up for an example at the meeting.

_Fardy:_ (_Whistles._) Maybe you’re not, so, what those papers make
you out to be?

_Hyacinth:_ How would I be what they make me out to be? Was there ever
any person of that sort since the world was a world, unless it might
be Saint Antony of Padua looking down from the chapel wall? If it is
like that I was, isn’t it in Mount Melleray I would be, or with the
Friars at Esker? Why would I be living in the world at all, or doing
the world’s work?

_Fardy:_ (_Taking up parcel._) Who would think, now, there would be so
much lies in a small place like Carrow?

_Hyacinth:_ It was my mother’s cousin did it. He said I was not reared
for labouring—he gave me a new suit and bid me never to come back
again. I daren’t go back to face him—the neighbours knew my mother had
a long family—bad luck to them the day they gave me these. (_Tears
letters and scatters them._) I’m done with testimonials. They won’t be
here to bear witness against me.

_Fardy:_ The Sergeant thought them to be great. Sure he has the
samples of them in his pocket. There’s not one in the town but will
know before morning that you are the next thing to an earthly saint.

_Hyacinth:_ (_Stamping._) I’ll stop their mouths. I’ll show them I can
be a terror for badness. I’ll do some injury. I’ll commit some crime.
The first thing I’ll do I’ll go and get drunk. If I never did it
before I’ll do it now. I’ll get drunk—then I’ll make an assault—I tell
you I’d think as little of taking a life as of blowing out a candle.

_Fardy:_ If you get drunk you are done for. Sure that will be held up
after as an excuse for any breaking of the law.

_Hyacinth:_ I will break the law. Drunk or sober I’ll break it. I’ll
do something that will have no excuse. What would you say is the worst
crime that any man can do?

_Fardy:_ I don’t know. I heard the Sergeant saying one time it was to
obstruct the police in the discharge of their duty——

_Hyacinth:_ That won’t do. It’s a patriot I would be then, worse than
before, with my picture in the weeklies. It’s a red crime I must
commit that will make all respectable people quit minding me. What can
I do? Search your mind now.

_Fardy:_ It’s what I heard the old people saying there could be no
worse crime than to steal a sheep——

_Hyacinth:_ I’ll steal a sheep—or a cow—or a horse—if that will leave
me the way I was before.

_Fardy:_ It’s maybe in gaol it will leave you.

_Hyacinth:_ I don’t care—I’ll confess—I’ll tell why I did it—I give
you my word I would as soon be picking oakum or breaking stones as to
be perched in the daylight the same as that bird, and all the town
chirruping to me or bidding me chirrup——

_Fardy:_ There is reason in that, now.

_Hyacinth:_ Help me, will you?

_Fardy:_ Well, if it is to steal a sheep you want, you haven’t far to
go.

_Hyacinth:_ (_Looking round wildly._) Where is it? I see no sheep.

_Fardy:_ Look around you.

_Hyacinth:_ I see no living thing but that thrush——

_Fardy:_ Did I say it was living? What is that hanging on Quirke’s
rack?

_Hyacinth:_ It’s (_fingers it_) a sheep, sure enough——

_Fardy:_ Well, what ails you that you can’t bring it away?

_Hyacinth:_ It’s a dead one——

_Fardy:_ What matter if it is?

_Hyacinth:_ If it was living I could drive it before me——

_Fardy:_ You could. Is it to your own lodging you would drive it? Sure
everyone would take it to be a pet you brought from Carrow.

_Hyacinth:_ I suppose they might.

_Fardy:_ Miss Joyce sending in for news of it and it bleating behind
the bed.

_Hyacinth:_ (_Distracted_). Stop! stop!

_Mrs. Delane:_ (_From upper window._) Fardy! Are you there, Fardy
Farrell?

_Fardy:_ I am, ma’am.

_Mrs. Delane:_ (_From window._) Look and tell me is that the telegraph
I hear ticking?

_Fardy:_ (_Looking in at door._) It is, ma’am.

_Mrs. Delane:_ Then botheration to it, and I not dressed or undressed.
Wouldn’t you say, now, it’s to annoy me it is calling me down. I’m
coming! I’m coming! (_Disappears._)

_Fardy:_ Hurry on, now! hurry! She’ll be coming out on you. If you are
going to do it, do it, and if you are not, let it alone.

_Hyacinth:_ I’ll do it! I’ll do it!

_Fardy:_ (_Lifting the sheep on his back._) I’ll give you a hand with
it.

_Hyacinth:_ (_Goes a step or two and turns round._) You told me no
place where I could hide it.

_Fardy:_ You needn’t go far. There is the church beyond at the side of
the Square. Go round to the ditch behind the wall—there’s nettles in
it.

_Hyacinth:_ That’ll do.

_Fardy:_ She’s coming out—run! run!

Hyacinth: (_Runs a step or two._) It’s slipping!

_Fardy:_ Hoist it up! I’ll give it a hoist! (_Halvey runs out._)

_Mrs. Delane:_ (_Calling out._) What are you doing Fardy Farrell? Is
it idling you are?

_Fardy:_ Waiting I am, ma’am, for the message——

_Mrs. Delane:_ Never mind the message yet. Who said it was ready?
(_Going to door._) Go ask for the loan of—no, but ask news of—Here,
now go bring that bag of Mr. Halvey’s to the lodging Miss Joyce has
taken——

_Fardy:_ I will, ma’am. (_Takes bag and goes out._)

_Mrs. Delane:_ (_Coming out with a telegram in her hand._) Nobody
here? (_Looks round and calls cautiously._) Mr. Quirke! Mr. Quirke!
James Quirke!

_Mr. Quirke:_ (_Looking out of his upper window with soap-suddy
face_). What is it, Mrs. Delane?

_Mrs. Delane:_ (_Beckoning._) Come down here till I tell you.

_Mr. Quirke:_ I cannot do that. I’m not fully shaved.

_Mrs. Delane:_ You’d come if you knew the news I have.

_Mr. Quirke:_ Tell it to me now. I’m not so supple as I was.

_Mrs. Delane:_ Whisper now, have you an enemy in any place?

_Mr. Quirke:_ It’s likely I may have. A man in business——

_Mrs. Delane:_ I was thinking you had one.

_Mr. Quirke:_ Why would you think that at this time more than any
other time?

_Mrs. Delane:_ If you could know what is in this envelope you would
know that, James Quirke.

_Mr. Quirke:_ Is that so? And what, now, is there in it?

_Mrs. Delane:_ Who do you think now is it addressed to?

_Mr. Quirke:_ How would I know that, and I not seeing it?

_Mrs. Delane:_ That is true. Well, it is a message from Dublin Castle
to the Sergeant of Police!

_Mr. Quirke:_ To Sergeant Carden, is it?

_Mrs. Delane:_ It is. And it concerns yourself.

_Mr. Quirke:_ Myself, is it? What accusation can they be bringing
against me? I’m a peaceable man.

_Mrs. Delane:_ Wait till you hear.

_Mr. Quirke:_ Maybe they think I was in that moonlighting case——

_Mrs. Delane:_ That is not it——

_Mr. Quirke:_ I was not in it—I was but in the neighbouring
field—cutting up a dead cow, that those never had a hand in——

_Mrs. Delane:_ You’re out of it——

_Mr. Quirke:_ They had their faces blackened. There is no man can say
I recognized them.

_Mrs. Delane:_ That’s not what they’re saying——

_Mr. Quirke:_ I’ll swear I did not hear their voices or know them if I
did hear them.

_Mrs. Delane:_ I tell you it has nothing to do with that. It might be
better for you if it had.

_Mr. Quirke:_ What is it, so?

_Mrs. Delane:_ It is an order to the Sergeant bidding him immediately
to seize all suspicious meat in your house. There is an officer coming
down. There are complaints from the Shannon Fort Barracks.

_Mr. Quirke:_ I’ll engage it was that pork.

_Mrs. Delane:_ What ailed it for them to find fault?

_Mr. Quirke:_ People are so hard to please nowadays, and I recommended
them to salt it.

_Mrs. Delane:_ They had a right to have minded your advice.

_Mr. Quirke:_ There was nothing on that pig at all but that it went
mad on poor O’Grady that owned it.

_Mrs. Delane:_ So I heard, and went killing all before it.

_Mr. Quirke:_ Sure it’s only in the brain madness can be. I heard the
doctor saying that.

_Mrs. Delane:_ He should know.

_Mr. Quirke:_ I give you my word I cut the head off it. I went to the
loss of it, throwing it to the eels in the river. If they had salted
the meat, as I advised them, what harm would it have done to any
person on earth?

_Mrs. Delane:_ I hope no harm will come on poor Mrs. Quirke and the
family.

_Mr. Quirke:_ Maybe it wasn’t that but some other thing——

_Mrs. Delane:_ Here is Fardy. I must send the message to the Sergeant.
Well, Mr. Quirke, I’m glad I had the time to give you a warning.

_Mr. Quirke:_ I’m obliged to you, indeed. You were always very
neighbourly, Mrs. Delane. Don’t be too quick now sending the message.
There is just one article I would like to put away out of the house
before the Sergeant will come. (_Enter Fardy._)

_Mrs. Delane:_ Here now, Fardy—that’s not the way you’re going to the
barracks. Anyone would think you were scaring birds yet. Put on your
uniform. (_Fardy goes into office._) You have this message to bring
to the Sergeant of Police. Get your cap now, it’s under the counter.
(_Fardy reappears, and she gives him telegram._)

_Fardy:_ I’ll bring it to the station. It’s there he was going.

_Mrs. Delane:_ You will not, but to the barracks. It can wait for him
there.

  (_Fardy goes off. Mr. Quirke has appeared at door._)

_Mr. Quirke:_ It was indeed a very neighbourly act, Mrs. Delane, and
I’m obliged to you. There is just _one_ article to put out of the way.
The Sergeant may look about him then and welcome. It’s well I cleared
the premises on yesterday. A consignment to Birmingham I sent. The
Lord be praised isn’t England a terrible country with all it consumes?

_Mrs. Delane:_ Indeed you always treat the neighbours very decent, Mr.
Quirke, not asking them to buy from you.

_Mr. Quirke:_ Just one article. (_Turns to rack._) That sheep I
brought in last night. It was for a charity indeed I bought it from
the widow woman at Kiltartan Cross. Where would the poor make a profit
out of their dead meat without me? Where now is it? Well, now, I could
have swore that that sheep was hanging there on the rack when I went
in——

_Mrs. Delane:_ You must have put it in some other place.

_Mr. Quirke:_ (_Going in and searching and coming out._) I did not;
there is no other place for me to put it. Is it gone blind I am, or is
it not in it, it is?

_Mrs. Delane:_ It’s not there now anyway.

_Mr. Quirke:_ Didn’t you take notice of it there yourself this
morning?

_Mrs. Delane:_ I have it in my mind that I did; but it’s not there
now.

_Mr. Quirke:_ There was no one here could bring it away?

_Mrs. Delane:_ Is it me myself you suspect of taking it, James Quirke?

_Mr. Quirke:_ Where is it at all? It is certain it was not of itself
it walked away. It was dead, and very dead, the time I bought it.

_Mrs. Delane:_ I have a pleasant neighbour indeed that accuses me that
I took his sheep. I wonder, indeed, you to say a thing like that! I to
steal your sheep or your rack or anything that belongs to you or to
your trade! Thank you, James Quirke. I am much obliged to you indeed.

_Mr. Quirke:_ Ah, be quiet, woman; be quiet——

_Mrs. Delane:_ And let me tell you, James Quirke, that I would sooner
starve and see everyone belonging to me starve than to eat the size
of a thimble of any joint that ever was on your rack or that ever will
be on it, whatever the soldiers may eat that have no other thing to
get, or the English that devour all sorts, or the poor ravenous people
that’s down by the sea! (_She turns to go into shop._)

_Mr. Quirke:_ (_Stopping her._) Don’t be talking foolishness, woman.
Who said you took my meat? Give heed to me now. There must some other
message have come. The Sergeant must have got some other message.

_Mrs. Delane:_ (_Sulkily._) If there is any way for a message to come
that is quicker than to come by the wires, tell me what it is and I’ll
be obliged to you.

_Mr. Quirke:_ The Sergeant was up here making an excuse he was
sticking up that notice. What was he doing here, I ask you?

Mrs. Delane: How would I know what brought him?

_Mr. Quirke:_ It is what he did; he made as if to go away—he turned
back again and I shaving—he brought away the sheep—he will have it for
evidence against me——

_Mrs. Delane:_ (_Interested._) That might be so.

_Mr. Quirke:_ I would sooner it to have been any other beast nearly
ever I had upon the rack.

_Mrs. Delane:_ Is that so?

Mr. Quirke: I bade the Widow Early to kill it a fortnight ago—but she
would not, she was that covetous!

_Mrs. Delane:_ What was on it?

_Mr. Quirke:_ How would I know what was on it? Whatever was on it, it
was the will of God put it upon it—wasted it was, and shivering and
refusing its share.

_Mrs. Delane:_ The poor thing.

_Mr. Quirke:_ Gone all to nothing—wore away like a flock of thread. It
did not weigh as much as a lamb of two months.

_Mrs. Delane:_ It is likely the Inspector will bring it to Dublin?

_Mr. Quirke:_ The ribs of it streaky with the dint of patent
medicines——

_Mrs. Delane:_ I wonder is it to the Petty Sessions you’ll be brought
or is it to the Assizes?

_Mr. Quirke:_ I’ll speak up to them. I’ll make my defence. What can
the Army expect at fippence a pound?

_Mrs. Delane:_ It is likely there will be no bail allowed?

_Mr. Quirke:_ Would they be wanting me to give them good quality meat
out of my own pocket? Is it to encourage them to fight the poor
Indians and Africans they would have me? It’s the Anti-Enlisting
Societies should pay the fine for me.

_Mrs. Delane:_ It’s not a fine will be put on you, I’m afraid. It’s
five years in gaol you will be apt to be getting. Well, I’ll try and
be a good neighbour to poor Mrs. Quirke.

  (_Mr. Quirke, who has been stamping up and down, sits down and
  weeps. Halvey comes in and stands on one side._)

_Mr. Quirke:_ Hadn’t I heart-scalding enough before, striving to rear
five weak children?

_Mrs. Delane:_ I suppose they will be sent to the Industrial Schools?

_Mr. Quirke:_ My poor wife——

_Mrs. Delane:_ I’m afraid the workhouse——

_Mr. Quirke:_ And she out in an ass-car at this minute helping me to
follow my trade.

_Mrs. Delane:_ I hope they will not arrest her along with you.

_Mr. Quirke:_ I’ll give myself up to justice. I’ll plead guilty! I’ll
be recommended to mercy!

_Mrs. Delane:_ It might be best for you.

_Mr. Quirke:_ Who would think so great a misfortune could come upon a
family through the bringing away of one sheep!

_Hyacinth:_ (_Coming forward._) Let you make yourself easy.

_Mr. Quirke:_ Easy! It’s easy to say let you make yourself easy.

_Hyacinth:_ I can tell you where it is.

_Mr. Quirke:_ Where what is?

_Hyacinth:_ The sheep you are fretting after.

_Mr. Quirke:_ What do you know about it?

_Hyacinth:_ I know everything about it.

_Mr. Quirke:_ I suppose the Sergeant told you?

_Hyacinth:_ He told me nothing.

_Mr. Quirke:_ I suppose the whole town knows it, so?

_Hyacinth:_ No one knows it, as yet.

_Mr. Quirke:_ And the Sergeant didn’t see it?

_Hyacinth:_ No one saw it or brought it away but myself.

_Mr. Quirke:_ Where did you put it at all?

_Hyacinth:_ In the ditch behind the church wall. In among the nettles
it is. Look at the way they have me stung. (_Holds out hands._)

_Mr. Quirke:_ In the ditch! The best hiding place in the town.

_Hyacinth:_ I never thought it would bring such great trouble upon
you. You can’t say anyway I did not tell you.

_Mr. Quirke:_ You yourself that brought it away and that hid it! I
suppose it was coming in the train you got information about the
message to the police.

_Hyacinth:_ What now do you say to me?

_Mr. Quirke:_ Say! I say I am as glad to hear what you said as if it
was the Lord telling me I’d be in heaven this minute.

_Hyacinth:_ What are you going to do to me?

_Mr. Quirke:_ Do, is it? (_Grasps his hand._) Any earthly thing you
would wish me to do, I will do it.

_Hyacinth:_ I suppose you will tell——

_Mr. Quirke:_ Tell! It’s I that will tell when all is quiet. It is I
will give you the good name through the town!

_Hyacinth:_ I don’t well understand.

_Mr. Quirke:_ (_Embracing him._) The man that preserved me!

_Hyacinth:_ That preserved you?

_Mr. Quirke:_ That kept me from ruin!

_Hyacinth:_ From ruin?

_Mr. Quirke:_ That saved me from disgrace!

_Hyacinth:_ (_To Mrs. Delane._) What is he saying at all?

_Mr. Quirke:_ From the Inspector!

_Hyacinth:_ What is he talking about?

_Mr. Quirke:_ From the magistrates!

_Hyacinth:_ He is making some mistake.

_Mr. Quirke:_ From the Winter Assizes!

_Hyacinth:_ Is he out of his wits?

_Mr. Quirke:_ Five years in gaol!

_Hyacinth:_ Hasn’t he the queer talk?

_Mr. Quirke:_ The loss of the contract!

_Hyacinth:_ Are my own wits gone astray?

_Mr. Quirke:_ What way can I repay you?

_Hyacinth:_ (_Shouting._) I tell you I took the sheep——

_Mr. Quirke:_ You did, God reward you!

_Hyacinth:_ I stole away with it——

_Mr. Quirke:_ The blessing of the poor on you!

_Hyacinth:_ I put it out of sight——

_Mr. Quirke:_ The blessing of my five children——

_Hyacinth:_ I may as well say nothing——

_Mrs. Delane:_ Let you be quiet now, Quirke. Here’s the Sergeant
coming to search the shop——

  (_Sergeant comes in: Quirke leaves go of Halvey, who arranges
  his hat, etc._)

_Sergeant:_ The Department to blazes!

_Mrs. Delane:_ What is it putting you out?

_Sergeant:_ To go to the train to meet the lecturer, and there to get
a message through the guard that he was unavoidably detained in the
South, holding an inquest on the remains of a drake.

_Mrs. Delane:_ The lecturer, is it?

_Sergeant:_ To be sure. What else would I be talking of? The lecturer
has failed me, and where am I to go looking for a person that I would
think fitting to take his place?

_Mrs. Delane:_ And that’s all? And you didn’t get any message but the
one?

_Sergeant:_ Is that all? I am surprised at you, Mrs. Delane. Isn’t it
enough to upset a man, within three quarters of an hour of the time of
the meeting? Where, I would ask you, am I to find a man that has
education enough and wit enough and character enough to put up
speaking on the platform on the minute?

_Mr. Quirke:_ (_Jumps up._) It is I myself will tell you that.

_Sergeant:_ You!

_Mr. Quirke:_ (_Slapping Halvey on the back._) Look at here, Sergeant.
There is not one word was said in all those papers about this young
man before you but it is true. And there could be no good thing said
of him that would be too good for him.

_Sergeant:_ It might not be a bad idea.

_Mr. Quirke:_ Whatever the paper said about him, Sergeant, I can say
more again. It has come to my knowledge—by chance—that since he came
to this town that young man has saved a whole family from destruction.

_Sergeant:_ That is much to his credit—helping the rural classes——

_Mr. Quirke:_ A family and a long family, big and little, like sods of
turf—and they depending on a—on one that might be on his way to dark
trouble at this minute if it was not for his assistance. Believe me,
he is the most sensible man, and the wittiest, and the kindest, and
the best helper of the poor that ever stood before you in this square.
Is not that so, Mrs. Delane?

_Mrs. Delane:_ It is true indeed. Where he gets his wisdom and his wit
and his information from I don’t know, unless it might be that he is
gifted from above.

_Sergeant:_ Well, Mrs. Delane, I think we have settled that question.
Mr. Halvey, you will be the speaker at the meeting. The lecturer sent
these notes—you can lengthen them into a speech. You can call to the
people of Cloon to stand out, to begin the building of their
character. I saw a lecturer do it one time at Dundrum. “Come up here,”
he said, “Dare to be a Daniel,” he said——

_Hyacinth:_ I can’t—I won’t——

_Sergeant:_ (_Looking at papers and thrusting them into his hand._)
You will find it quite easy. I will conduct you to the platform—these
papers before you and a glass of water—That’s settled. (_Turns to
go._) Follow me on to the Courthouse in half an hour—I must go to the
barracks first—I heard there was a telegram—(_Calls back as he goes._)
Don’t be late, Mrs. Delane. Mind, Quirke, you promised to come.

_Mrs. Delane:_ Well, it’s time for me to make an end of settling
myself—and indeed, Mr. Quirke, you’d best do the same.

_Mr. Quirke:_ (_Rubbing his cheek._) I suppose so. I had best keep on
good terms with him for the present. (_Turns._) Well, now, I had a
great escape this day.

  (_Both go in as Fardy reappears whistling._)

_Hyacinth:_ (_Sitting down._) I don’t know in the world what has come
upon the world that the half of the people of it should be cracked!

_Fardy:_ Weren’t you found out yet?

_Hyacinth:_ Found out, is it? I don’t know what you mean by being
found out.

_Fardy:_ Didn’t he miss the sheep?

_Hyacinth:_ He did, and I told him it was I took it—and what happened
I declare to goodness I don’t know—Will you look at these? (_Holds out
notes._)

_Fardy:_ Papers! Are they more testimonials?

_Hyacinth:_ They are what is worse. (_Gives a hoarse laugh._) Will you
come and see me on the platform—these in my hand—and I speaking—giving
out advice. (_Fardy whistles._) Why didn’t you tell me, the time you
advised me to steal a sheep, that in this town it would qualify a man
to go preaching, and the priest in the chair looking on.

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

_Hyacinth:_ (_Looking round._) I would take apples if I could see
them. I wish I had broke my neck before I left Carrow and I’d be
better off! I wish I had got six months the time I was caught setting
snares—I wish I had robbed a church.

_Fardy:_ Would a Protestant church do?

_Hyacinth:_ I suppose it wouldn’t be so great a sin.

_Fardy:_ It’s likely the Sergeant would think worse of it—Anyway, if
you want to rob one, it’s the Protestant church is the handiest.

_Hyacinth:_ (_Getting up._) Show me what way to do it?

_Fardy:_ (_Pointing._) I was going around it a few minutes ago, to see
might there be e’er a dog scenting the sheep, and I noticed the window
being out.

_Hyacinth:_ Out, out and out?

_Fardy:_ It was, where they are putting coloured glass in it for the
distiller——

_Hyacinth:_ What good does that do me?

_Fardy:_ Every good. You could go in by that window if you had some
person to give you a hoist. Whatever riches there is to get in it
then, you’ll get them.

_Hyacinth:_ I don’t want riches. I’ll give you all I will find if you
will come and hoist me.

_Fardy:_ Here is Miss Joyce coming to bring you to your lodging. Sure
I brought your bag to it, the time you were away with the sheep——

_Hyacinth:_ Run! Run!

  (_They go off. Enter Miss Joyce._)

_Miss Joyce:_ Are you here, Mrs. Delane? Where, can you tell me, is
Mr. Halvey?

_Mrs. Delane:_ (_Coming out dressed._) It’s likely he is gone on to
the Courthouse. Did you hear he is to be in the chair and to make an
address to the meeting?

_Miss Joyce:_ He is getting on fast. His Reverence says he will be a
good help in the parish. Who would think, now, there would be such a
godly young man in a little place like Carrow!

  (_Enter Sergeant in a hurry, with telegram._)

_Sergeant:_ What time did this telegram arrive, Mrs. Delane?

_Mrs. Delane:_ I couldn’t be rightly sure, Sergeant. But sure it’s
marked on it, unless the clock I have is gone wrong.

_Sergeant:_ It is marked on it. And I have the time I got it marked on
my own watch.

_Mrs. Delane:_ Well, now, I wonder none of the police would have
followed you with it from the barracks—and they with so little to
do——

_Sergeant:_ (_Looking in at Quirke’s shop._) Well, I am sorry to do
what I have to do, but duty is duty.

  (_He ransacks shop. Mrs. Delane looks on. Mr. Quirke puts his
  head out of window._)

_Mr. Quirke:_ What is that going on inside? (_No answer._) Is there
any one inside, I ask? (_No answer._) It must be that dog of
Tannian’s—wait till I get at him.

_Mrs. Delane:_ It is Sergeant Carden, Mr. Quirke. He would seem to be
looking for something——

  (_Mr. Quirke appears in shop. Sergeant comes out, makes another
  dive, taking up sacks, etc._)

_Mr. Quirke:_ I’m greatly afraid I am just out of meat, Sergeant—and
I’m sorry now to disoblige you, and you not being in the habit of
dealing with me——

_Sergeant:_ I should think not, indeed.

_Mr. Quirke:_ Looking for a tender little bit of lamb, I suppose you
are, for Mrs. Carden and the youngsters?

_Sergeant:_ I am not.

_Mr. Quirke:_ If I had it now, I’d be proud to offer it to you, and
make no charge. I’ll be killing a good kid to-morrow. Mrs. Carden
might fancy a bit of it——

_Sergeant:_ I have had orders to search your establishment for
unwholesome meat, and I am come here to do it.

_Mr. Quirke:_ (_Sitting down with a smile._) Is that so? Well, isn’t
it a wonder the schemers does be in the world.

_Sergeant:_ It is not the first time there have been complaints.

_Mr. Quirke:_ I suppose not. Well, it is on their own head it will
fall at the last!

_Sergeant:_ I have found nothing so far. _Mr. Quirke:_ I suppose not,
indeed. What is there you could find, and it not in it?

_Sergeant:_ Have you no meat at all upon the premises?

_Mr. Quirke:_ I have, indeed, a nice barrel of bacon.

_Sergeant:_ What way did it die?

_Mr. Quirke:_ It would be hard for me to say that. American it is. How
would I know what way they do be killing the pigs out there?
Machinery, I suppose, they have—steam hammers——

_Sergeant:_ Is there nothing else here at all?

_Mr. Quirke:_ I give you my word, there is no meat living or dead in
this place, but yourself and myself and that bird above in the cage.

_Sergeant:_ Well, I must tell the Inspector I could find nothing. But
mind yourself for the future.

_Mr. Quirke:_ Thank you, Sergeant. I will do that. (_Enter Fardy. He
stops short._)

_Sergeant:_ It was you delayed that message to me, I suppose? You’d
best mend your ways or I’ll have something to say to you. (_Seizes and
shakes him._)

_Fardy:_ That’s the way everyone does be faulting me. (_Whimpers._)

  (_The Sergeant gives him another shake. A half-crown falls out
  of his pocket._)

_Miss Joyce:_ (_Picking it up._) A half-a-crown! Where, now, did you
get that much, Fardy?

_Fardy:_ Where did I get it, is it!

_Miss Joyce:_ I’ll engage it was in no honest way you got it.

_Fardy:_ I picked it up in the street——

_Miss Joyce:_ If you did, why didn’t you bring it to the Sergeant or
to his Reverence?

_Mrs. Delane:_ And some poor person, may be, being at the loss of it.

_Miss Joyce:_ I’d best bring it to his Reverence. Come with me, Fardy,
till he will question you about it.

_Fardy:_ It was not altogether in the street I found it——

_Miss Joyce:_ There, now! I knew you got it in no good way! Tell me,
now.

_Fardy:_ It was playing pitch and toss I won it——

_Miss Joyce:_ And who would play for half-crowns with the like of you,
Fardy Farrell? Who was it, now?

_Fardy:_ It was—a stranger——

_Miss Joyce:_ Do you hear that? A stranger! Did you see e’er a
stranger in this town, Mrs. Delane, or Sergeant Carden, or Mr. Quirke?

_Mr. Quirke:_ Not a one.

_Sergeant:_ There was no stranger here.

_Mrs. Delane:_ There could not be one here without me knowing it.

_Fardy:_ I tell you there was.

_Miss Joyce:_ Come on, then, and tell who was he to his Reverence.

_Sergeant:_ (_Taking other arm._) Or to the bench.

_Fardy:_ I did get it, I tell you, from a stranger.

_Sergeant:_ Where is he, so?

_Fardy:_ He’s in some place—not far away.

_Sergeant:_ Bring me to him.

_Fardy:_ He’ll be coming here.

_Sergeant:_ Tell me the truth and it will be better for you.

_Fardy:_ (_Weeping._) Let me go and I will.

_Sergeant:_ (_Letting go._) Now—who did you get it from?

_Fardy:_ From that young chap came to-day, Mr. Halvey.

_All:_ Mr. Halvey!

_Mr. Quirke:_ (_Indignantly._) What are you saying, you young ruffian
you? Hyacinth Halvey to be playing pitch and toss with the like of
you!

_Fardy:_ I didn’t say that.

_Miss Joyce:_ You did say it. You said it now.

_Mr. Quirke:_ Hyacinth Halvey! The best man that ever came into this
town!

_Miss Joyce:_ Well, what lies he has!

_Mr. Quirke:_ It’s my belief the half-crown is a bad one. May be it’s
to pass it off it was given to him. There were tinkers in the town at
the time of the fair. Give it here to me. (_Bites it._) No, indeed,
it’s sound enough. Here, Sergeant, it’s best for you take it.

  (_Gives it to Sergeant, who examines it._)

_Sergeant:_ Can it be? Can it be what I think it to be?

_Mr. Quirke:_ What is it? What do you take it to be?

_Sergeant:_ It is, it is. I know it. I know this half-crown——

_Mr. Quirke:_ That is a queer thing, now.

_Sergeant:_ I know it well. I have been handling it in the church for
the last twelvemonth——

_Mr. Quirke:_ Is that so?

_Sergeant:_ It is the nest-egg half-crown we hand round in the
collection plate every Sunday morning. I know it by the dint on the
Queen’s temples and the crooked scratch under her nose.

_Mr. Quirke:_ (_Examining it._) So there is, too.

_Sergeant:_ This is a bad business. It has been stolen from the
church.

_All:_ O! O! O!

_Sergeant:_ (_Seizing Fardy._) You have robbed the church!

_Fardy:_ (_Terrified._) I tell you I never did!

_Sergeant:_ I have the proof of it.

_Fardy:_ Say what you like! I never put a foot in it!

_Sergeant:_ How did you get this, so?

_Miss Joyce:_ I suppose from the stranger?

_Mrs. Delane:_ I suppose it was Hyacinth Halvey gave it to you, now?

_Fardy:_ It was so.

_Sergeant:_ I suppose it was he robbed the church?

_Fardy:_ (_Sobs._) You will not believe me if I say it.

_Mr. Quirke:_ O! the young vagabond! Let me get at him!

_Mrs. Delane:_ Here he is himself now!

  (_Hyacinth comes in. Fardy releases himself and creeps behind him._)

_Mrs. Delane:_ It is time you to come, Mr. Halvey, and shut the mouth
of this young schemer.

_Miss Joyce:_ I would like you to hear what he says of you, Mr.
Halvey. Pitch and toss, he says.

_Mr. Quirke:_ Robbery, he says.

_Mrs. Delane:_ Robbery of a church.

_Sergeant:_ He has had a bad name long enough. Let him go to a
reformatory now.

_Fardy:_ (_Clinging to Hyacinth._) Save me, save me! I’m a poor boy
trying to knock out a way of living; I’ll be destroyed if I go to a
reformatory. (_Kneels and clings to Hyacinth’s knees._)

_Hyacinth:_ I’ll save you easy enough.

_Fardy:_ Don’t let me be gaoled!

_Hyacinth:_ I am going to tell them.

_Fardy:_ I’m a poor orphan——

_Hyacinth:_ Will you let me speak?

_Fardy:_ I’ll get no more chance in the world——

_Hyacinth:_ Sure I’m trying to free you——

_Fardy:_ It will be tasked to me always.

_Hyacinth:_ Be quiet, can’t you.

_Fardy:_ Don’t you desert me!

_Hyacinth:_ Will you be silent?

_Fardy:_ Take it on yourself.

_Hyacinth:_ I will if you’ll let me.

_Fardy:_ Tell them you did it.

_Hyacinth:_ I am going to do that.

_Fardy:_ Tell them it was you got in at the window.

_Hyacinth:_ I will! I will!

_Fardy:_ Say it was you robbed the box.

_Hyacinth:_ I’ll say it! I’ll say it!

_Fardy:_ It being open!

_Hyacinth:_ Let me tell, let me tell.

_Fardy:_ Of all that was in it.

_Hyacinth:_ I’ll tell them that.

_Fardy:_ And gave it to me.

_Hyacinth:_ (_Putting hand on his mouth and dragging him up._) Will
you stop and let me speak?

_Sergeant:_ We can’t be wasting time. Give him here to me.

_Hyacinth:_ I can’t do that. He must be let alone.

_Sergeant:_ (_Seizing him._) He’ll be let alone in the lock-up.

_Hyacinth:_ He must not be brought there.

_Sergeant:_ I’ll let no man get him off.

_Hyacinth:_ I will get him off.

_Sergeant:_ You will not!

_Hyacinth:_ I will.

_Sergeant:_ Do you think to buy him off?

_Hyacinth:_ I will buy him off with my own confession.

_Sergeant:_ And what will that be?

_Hyacinth:_ It was I robbed the church.

_Sergeant:_ That is likely indeed!

_Hyacinth:_ Let him go, and take me. I tell you I did it.

_Sergeant:_ It would take witnesses to prove that.

_Hyacinth:_ (_Pointing to Fardy._) He will be witness.

_Fardy:_ O! Mr. Halvey, I would not wish to do that. Get me off and I
will say nothing.

_Hyacinth:_ Sure you must. You will be put on oath in the court.

_Fardy:_ I will not! I will not! All the world knows I don’t
understand the nature of an oath!

_Mr. Quirke:_ (_Coming forward._) Is it blind ye all are?

_Mrs. Delane:_ What are you talking about?

_Mr. Quirke:_ Is it fools ye all are?

_Miss Joyce:_ Speak for yourself.

_Mr. Quirke:_ Is it idiots ye all are?

_Sergeant:_ Mind who you’re talking to.

_Mr. Quirke:_ (_Seizing Hyacinth’s hands._) Can’t you see? Can’t you
hear? Where are your wits? Was ever such a thing seen in this town?

_Mrs. Delane:_ Say out what you have to say.

_Mr. Quirke:_ A walking saint he is!

_Mrs. Delane:_ Maybe so.

_Mr. Quirke:_ The preserver of the poor! Talk of the holy martyrs!
They are nothing at all to what he is! Will you look at him! To save
that poor boy he is going! To take the blame on himself he is going!
To say he himself did the robbery he is going! Before the magistrate
he is going! To gaol he is going! Taking the blame on his own head!
Putting the sin on his own shoulders! Letting on to have done a
robbery! Telling a lie—that it may be forgiven him—to his own injury!
Doing all that I tell you to save the character of a miserable slack
lad, that rose in poverty.

  (_Murmur of admiration from all._)

_Mr. Quirke:_ Now, what do you say?

_Sergeant:_ (_Pressing his hand._) Mr. Halvey, you have given us all a
lesson. To please you, I will make no information against the boy.
(_Shakes him and helps him up._) I will put back the half-crown in the
poor-box next Sunday. (_To Fardy._) What have you to say to your
benefactor?

_Fardy:_ I’m obliged to you, Mr. Halvey. You behaved very decent to
me, very decent indeed. I’ll never let a word be said against you if I
live to be a hundred years.

_Sergeant:_ (_Wiping eyes with a blue handkerchief._) I will tell it
at the meeting. It will be a great encouragement to them to build up
their character. I’ll tell it to the priest and he taking the chair——

_Hyacinth:_ O stop, will you——

_Mr. Quirke:_ The chair. It’s in the chair he himself should be. It’s
in a chair we will put him now. It’s to chair him through the streets
we will. Sure he’ll be an example and a blessing to the whole of the
town. (_Seizes Halvey and seats him in chair._) Now, Sergeant, give a
hand. Here, Fardy.

  (_They all lift the chair with Halvey in it, wildly protesting._)

_Mr. Quirke:_ Come along now to the Courthouse. Three cheers for
Hyacinth Halvey! Hip! hip! hoora!

  (_Cheers heard in the distance as the curtain drops._)



THE RISING OF THE MOON


PERSONS

   _Sergeant._
   _Policeman X._
   _Policeman B._
   _A Ragged Man._


THE RISING OF THE MOON


  _Scene: Side of a quay in a seaport town. Some posts and
  chains. A large barrel. Enter three policemen. Moonlight._


  (_Sergeant, who is older than the others, crosses the stage to
  right and looks down steps. The others put down a pastepot and
  unroll a bundle of placards._)

_Policeman B:_ I think this would be a good place to put up a notice.
(_He points to barrel._)

_Policeman X:_ Better ask him. (_Calls to Sergt._) Will this be a good
place for a placard?

  (_No answer._)

_Policeman B:_ Will we put up a notice here on the barrel? (_No
answer._)

_Sergeant:_ There’s a flight of steps here that leads to the water.
This is a place that should be minded well. If he got down here, his
friends might have a boat to meet him; they might send it in here from
outside.

_Policeman B:_ Would the barrel be a good place to put a notice up?

_Sergeant:_ It might; you can put it there.

  (_They paste the notice up._)

_Sergeant:_ (_Reading it._) Dark hair—dark eyes, smooth face, height
five feet five—there’s not much to take hold of in that—It’s a pity I
had no chance of seeing him before he broke out of gaol. They say he’s
a wonder, that it’s he makes all the plans for the whole organization.
There isn’t another man in Ireland would have broken gaol the way he
did. He must have some friends among the gaolers.

_Policeman B:_ A hundred pounds is little enough for the Government to
offer for him. You may be sure any man in the force that takes him
will get promotion.

_Sergeant:_ I’ll mind this place myself. I wouldn’t wonder at all if
he came this way. He might come slipping along there (_points to side
of quay_), and his friends might be waiting for him there (_points
down steps_), and once he got away it’s little chance we’d have of
finding him; it’s maybe under a load of kelp he’d be in a fishing
boat, and not one to help a married man that wants it to the reward.

_Policeman X:_ And if we get him itself, nothing but abuse on our
heads for it from the people, and maybe from our own relations.

_Sergeant:_ Well, we have to do our duty in the force. Haven’t we the
whole country depending on us to keep law and order? It’s those that
are down would be up and those that are up would be down, if it
wasn’t for us. Well, hurry on, you have plenty of other places to
placard yet, and come back here then to me. You can take the lantern.
Don’t be too long now. It’s very lonesome here with nothing but the
moon.

_Policeman B:_ It’s a pity we can’t stop with you. The Government
should have brought more police into the town, with _him_ in gaol, and
at assize time too. Well, good luck to your watch.

  (_They go out._)

_Sergeant:_ (_Walks up and down once or twice and looks at placard._)
A hundred pounds and promotion sure. There must be a great deal of
spending in a hundred pounds. It’s a pity some honest man not to be
the better of that.

  (_A ragged man appears at left and tries to slip past. Sergeant
  suddenly turns._)

_Sergeant:_ Where are you going?

_Man:_ I’m a poor ballad-singer, your honour. I thought to sell some
of these (_holds out bundle of ballads_) to the sailors. (_He goes
on._)

_Sergeant:_ Stop! Didn’t I tell you to stop? You can’t go on there.

_Man:_ Oh, very well. It’s a hard thing to be poor. All the world’s
against the poor!

_Sergeant:_ Who are you?

_Man:_ You’d be as wise as myself if I told you, but I don’t mind. I’m
one Jimmy Walsh, a ballad-singer.

_Sergeant:_ Jimmy Walsh? I don’t know that name.

_Man:_ Ah, sure, they know it well enough in Ennis. Were you ever in
Ennis, sergeant?

_Sergeant:_ What brought you here?

_Man:_ Sure, it’s to the assizes I came, thinking I might make a few
shillings here or there. It’s in the one train with the judges I came.

_Sergeant:_ Well, if you came so far, you may as well go farther, for
you’ll walk out of this.

_Man:_ I will, I will; I’ll just go on where I was going. (_Goes
towards steps._)

_Sergeant:_ Come back from those steps; no one has leave to pass down
them to-night.

_Man:_ I’ll just sit on the top of the steps till I see will some
sailor buy a ballad off me that would give me my supper. They do be
late going back to the ship. It’s often I saw them in Cork carried
down the quay in a hand-cart.

_Sergeant:_ Move on, I tell you. I won’t have any one lingering about
the quay to-night.

_Man:_ Well, I’ll go. It’s the poor have the hard life! Maybe yourself
might like one, sergeant. Here’s a good sheet now. (_Turns one over._)
“Content and a pipe”—that’s not much. “The Peeler and the goat”—you
wouldn’t like that. “Johnny Hart”—that’s a lovely song.

_Sergeant:_ Move on.

_Man:_ Ah, wait till you hear it. (_Sings:_)

   There was a rich farmer’s daughter lived near the town of Ross;
   She courted a Highland soldier, his name was Johnny Hart;
   Says the mother to her daughter, “I’ll go distracted mad
   If you marry that Highland soldier dressed up in Highland plaid.”

_Sergeant:_ Stop that noise.

  (_Man wraps up his ballads and shuffles towards the steps_)

_Sergeant:_ Where are you going?

_Man:_ Sure you told me to be going, and I am going.

_Sergeant:_ Don’t be a fool. I didn’t tell you to go that way; I told
you to go back to the town.

_Man:_ Back to the town, is it?

_Sergeant:_ (_Taking him by the shoulder and shoving him before him._)
Here, I’ll show you the way. Be off with you. What are you stopping
for?

_Man:_ (_Who has been keeping his eye on the notice, points to it._) I
think I know what you’re waiting for, sergeant.

_Sergeant:_ What’s that to you?

_Man:_ And I know well the man you’re waiting for—I know him well—I’ll
be going.

  (_He shuffles on._)

_Sergeant:_ You know him? Come back here. What sort is he?

_Man:_ Come back is it, sergeant? Do you want to have me killed?

_Sergeant:_ Why do you say that?

_Man:_ Never mind. I’m going. I wouldn’t be in your shoes if the
reward was ten times as much. (_Goes on off stage to left_). Not if it
was ten times as much.

_Sergeant:_ (_Rushing after him._) Come back here, come back. (_Drags
him back._) What sort is he? Where did you see him?

_Man:_ I saw him in my own place, in the County Clare. I tell you you
wouldn’t like to be looking at him. You’d be afraid to be in the one
place with him. There isn’t a weapon he doesn’t know the use of, and
as to strength, his muscles are as hard as that board (_slaps
barrel_).

_Sergeant:_ Is he as bad as that?

_Man:_ He is then.

_Sergeant:_ Do you tell me so?

_Man:_ There was a poor man in our place, a sergeant from
Ballyvaughan.—It was with a lump of stone he did it.

_Sergeant:_ I never heard of that.

_Man:_ And you wouldn’t, sergeant. It’s not everything that happens
gets into the papers. And there was a policeman in plain clothes,
too.... It is in Limerick he was.... It was after the time of the
attack on the police barrack at Kilmallock.... Moonlight ... just
like this ... waterside.... Nothing was known for certain.

_Sergeant:_ Do you say so? It’s a terrible county to belong to.

_Man:_ That’s so, indeed! You might be standing there, looking out
that way, thinking you saw him coming up this side of the quay
(_points_), and he might be coming up this other side (_points_), and
he’d be on you before you knew where you were.

_Sergeant:_ It’s a whole troop of police they ought to put here to
stop a man like that.

_Man:_ But if you’d like me to stop with you, I could be looking down
this side. I could be sitting up here on this barrel.

_Sergeant:_ And you know him well, too?

_Man:_ I’d know him a mile off, sergeant.

_Sergeant:_ But you wouldn’t want to share the reward?

_Man:_ Is it a poor man like me, that has to be going the roads and
singing in fairs, to have the name on him that he took a reward? But
you don’t want me. I’ll be safer in the town.

_Sergeant:_ Well, you can stop.

_Man:_ (_Getting up on barrel._) All right, sergeant. I wonder, now,
you’re not tired out, sergeant, walking up and down the way you are.

_Sergeant:_ If I’m tired I’m used to it.

_Man:_ You might have hard work before you to-night yet. Take it easy
while you can. There’s plenty of room up here on the barrel, and you
see farther when you’re higher up.

_Sergeant:_ Maybe so. (_Gets up beside him on barrel, facing right.
They sit back to back, looking different ways._) You made me feel a
bit queer with the way you talked.

_Man:_ Give me a match, sergeant (_he gives it and man lights pipe_);
take a draw yourself? It’ll quiet you. Wait now till I give you a
light, but you needn’t turn round. Don’t take your eye off the quay
for the life of you.

_Sergeant:_ Never fear, I won’t. (_Lights pipe. They both smoke._)
Indeed it’s a hard thing to be in the force, out at night and no
thanks for it, for all the danger we’re in. And it’s little we get but
abuse from the people, and no choice but to obey our orders, and never
asked when a man is sent into danger, if you are a married man with a
family.

_Man:_ (_Sings_)—

   As through the hills I walked to view the hills and shamrock plain,
   I stood awhile where nature smiles to view the rocks and streams,
   On a matron fair I fixed my eyes beneath a fertile vale,
   As she sang her song it was on the wrong of poor old Granuaile.

_Sergeant:_ Stop that; that’s no song to be singing in these times.

_Man:_ Ah, sergeant, I was only singing to keep my heart up. It sinks
when I think of him. To think of us two sitting here, and he creeping
up the quay, maybe, to get to us.

_Sergeant:_ Are you keeping a good lookout?

_Man:_ I am; and for no reward too. Amn’t I the foolish man? But when
I saw a man in trouble, I never could help trying to get him out of
it. What’s that? Did something hit me?

  (_Rubs his heart._)

_Sergeant:_ (_Patting him on the shoulder._) You will get your reward
in heaven.

_Man:_ I know that, I know that, sergeant, but life is precious.

_Sergeant:_ Well, you can sing if it gives you more courage.

_Man:_ (_Sings_)—

   Her head was bare, her hands and feet with iron bands were bound,
   Her pensive strain and plaintive wail mingles with the evening gale,
   And the song she sang with mournful air, I am old Granuaile.
   Her lips so sweet that monarchs kissed....

_Sergeant:_ That’s not it.... “Her gown she wore was stained with
gore.” ... That’s it—you missed that.

_Man:_ You’re right, sergeant, so it is; I missed it. (_Repeats
line._) But to think of a man like you knowing a song like that.

_Sergeant:_ There’s many a thing a man might know and might not have
any wish for.

_Man:_ Now, I daresay, sergeant, in your youth, you used to be sitting
up on a wall, the way you are sitting up on this barrel now, and the
other lads beside you, and you singing “Granuaile”?...

_Sergeant:_ I did then.

_Man:_ And the “Shan Bhean Bhocht”?...

_Sergeant:_ I did then.

_Man:_ And the “Green on the Cape?”

_Sergeant:_ That was one of them.

_Man:_ And maybe the man you are watching for to-night used to be
sitting on the wall, when he was young, and singing those same
songs.... It’s a queer world....

_Sergeant:_ Whisht!... I think I see something coming.... It’s only a
dog.

_Man:_ And isn’t it a queer world?... Maybe it’s one of the boys you
used to be singing with that time you will be arresting to-day or
to-morrow, and sending into the dock....

_Sergeant:_ That’s true indeed.

_Man:_ And maybe one night, after you had been singing, if the other
boys had told you some plan they had, some plan to free the country,
you might have joined with them ... and maybe it is you might be in
trouble now.

_Sergeant:_ Well, who knows but I might? I had a great spirit in those
days.

_Man:_ It’s a queer world, sergeant, and it’s little any mother knows
when she sees her child creeping on the floor what might happen to it
before it has gone through its life, or who will be who in the end.

_Sergeant:_ That’s a queer thought now, and a true thought. Wait now
till I think it out.... If it wasn’t for the sense I have, and for my
wife and family, and for me joining the force the time I did, it might
be myself now would be after breaking gaol and hiding in the dark, and
it might be him that’s hiding in the dark and that got out of gaol
would be sitting up where I am on this barrel.... And it might be
myself would be creeping up trying to make my escape from himself, and
it might be himself would be keeping the law, and myself would be
breaking it, and myself would be trying maybe to put a bullet in his
head, or to take up a lump of a stone the way you said he did ... no,
that myself did.... Oh! (_Gasps. After a pause._) What’s that?
(_Grasps man’s arm._)

_Man:_ (_Jumps off barrel and listens, looking out over water._) It’s
nothing, sergeant.

_Sergeant:_ I thought it might be a boat. I had a notion there might
be friends of his coming about the quays with a boat.

_Man:_ Sergeant, I am thinking it was with the people you were, and
not with the law you were, when you were a young man.

_Sergeant:_ Well, if I was foolish then, that time’s gone.

_Man:_ Maybe, sergeant, it comes into your head sometimes, in spite of
your belt and your tunic, that it might have been as well for you to
have followed Granuaile.

_Sergeant:_ It’s no business of yours what I think.

_Man:_ Maybe, sergeant, you’ll be on the side of the country yet.

_Sergeant:_ (_Gets off barrel._) Don’t talk to me like that. I have my
duties and I know them. (_Looks round._) That was a boat; I hear the
oars.

  (_Goes to the steps and looks down._)

_Man:_ (_Sings_)—

   O, then, tell me, Shawn O’Farrell,
     Where the gathering is to be.
   In the old spot by the river
     Right well known to you and me!

_Sergeant:_ Stop that! Stop that, I tell you!

_Man:_ (_Sings louder_)—

   One word more, for signal token,
     Whistle up the marching tune,
   With your pike upon your shoulder,
     At the Rising of the Moon.

_Sergeant:_ If you don’t stop that, I’ll arrest you.

  (_A whistle from below answers, repeating the air._)

_Sergeant:_ That’s a signal. (_Stands between him and steps._) You
must not pass this way.... Step farther back.... Who are you? You are
no ballad-singer.

_Man:_ You needn’t ask who I am; that placard will tell you. (_Points
to placard._)

_Sergeant:_ You are the man I am looking for.

_Man:_ (_Takes off hat and wig. Sergeant seizes them._) I am. There’s
a hundred pounds on my head. There is a friend of mine below in a
boat. He knows a safe place to bring me to.

_Sergeant:_ (_Looking still at hat and wig._) It’s a pity! It’s a
pity. You deceived me. You deceived me well.

_Man:_ I am a friend of Granuaile. There is a hundred pounds on my
head.

_Sergeant:_ It’s a pity, it’s a pity!

_Man:_ Will you let me pass, or must I make you let me?

_Sergeant:_ I am in the force. I will not let you pass.

_Man:_ I thought to do it with my tongue. (Puts hand in breast.) What
is that?

  (_Voice of Policeman X outside:_) Here, this is where we left him.

_Sergeant:_ It’s my comrades coming.

_Man:_ You won’t betray me ... the friend of Granuaile. (_Slips behind
barrel._)

  (_Voice of Policeman B:_) That was the last of the placards.

_Policeman X:_ (_As they come in._) If he makes his escape it won’t be
unknown he’ll make it.

  (_Sergeant puts hat and wig behind his back._)

_Policeman B:_ Did any one come this way?

_Sergeant:_ (_After a pause._) No one.

_Policeman B:_ No one at all?

_Sergeant:_ No one at all.

_Policeman B:_ We had no orders to go back to the station; we can stop
along with you.

_Sergeant:_ I don’t want you. There is nothing for you to do here.

_Policeman B:_ You bade us to come back here and keep watch with you.

_Sergeant:_ I’d sooner be alone. Would any man come this way and you
making all that talk? It is better the place to be quiet.

_Policeman B:_ Well, we’ll leave you the lantern anyhow. (_Hands it to
him._)

_Sergeant:_ I don’t want it. Bring it with you.

_Policeman B:_ You might want it. There are clouds coming up and you
have the darkness of the night before you yet. I’ll leave it over here
on the barrel. (_Goes to barrel._)

_Sergeant:_ Bring it with you I tell you. No more talk.

_Policeman B:_ Well, I thought it might be a comfort to you. I often
think when I have it in my hand and can be flashing it about into
every dark corner (_doing so_) that it’s the same as being beside the
fire at home, and the bits of bogwood blazing up now and again.

  (_Flashes it about, now on the barrel, now on Sergeant._)

_Sergeant:_ (_Furious._) Be off the two of you, yourselves and your
lantern!

  (_They go out. Man comes from behind barrel. He and Sergeant
  stand looking at one another._)

_Sergeant:_ What are you waiting for?

_Man:_ For my hat, of course, and my wig. You wouldn’t wish me to get
my death of cold?

  (_Sergeant gives them._)

_Man:_ (_Going towards steps._) Well, good-night, comrade, and thank
you. You did me a good turn to-night, and I’m obliged to you. Maybe
I’ll be able to do as much for you when the small rise up and the big
fall down ... when we all change places at the Rising (_waves his hand
and disappears_) of the Moon.

_Sergeant:_ (_Turning his back to audience and reading placard._) A
hundred pounds reward! A hundred pounds! (_Turns towards audience._) I
wonder, now, am I as great a fool as I think I am?


_Curtain._



THE JACKDAW


PERSONS

   JOSEPH NESTOR   _An Army Pensioner._
   MICHAEL COONEY  _A Farmer._
   MRS. BRODERICK  _A Small Shopkeeper._
   TOMMY NALLY     _A Pauper._
   SIBBY FAHY      _An Orange Seller._
   TIMOTHY WARD    _A Process Server._


THE JACKDAW


  _Scene: Interior of a small general shop at Cloon. Mrs.
  Broderick sitting down. Tommy Nally sitting eating an orange
  Sibby has given him. Sibby, with basket on her arm, is looking
  out of door._


_Sibby:_ The people are gathering to the door of the Court. The
Magistrates will be coming there before long. Here is Timothy Ward
coming up the street.

_Timothy Ward:_ (_Coming to door._) Did you get that summons I left
here for you ere yesterday, Mrs. Broderick?

_Mrs. Broderick:_ I believe it’s there in under the canister. (_Takes
it out._) It had my mind tossed looking at it there before me. I know
well what is in it if I made no fist of reading it itself. It’s no
wonder with all I had to go through if the reading and writing got
scattered on me.

_Ward:_ You know it is on this day you have to appear in the Court?

_Mrs. Broderick:_ It isn’t easy to forget that, though indeed it is
hard for me to be keeping anything in my head these times, but maybe
remembering to-morrow the thing I was saying to-day.

_Ward:_ Up to one o’clock the magistrates will be able to attend to
you, ma’am, before they will go out eating their meal.

_Mrs. Broderick:_ Haven’t I the mean, begrudging creditors now that
would put me into the Court? Sure it’s a terrible thing to go in it
and to be bound to speak nothing but the truth. When people would meet
with you after, they would remember your face in the Court. What way
would they be certain was it in or outside of the dock?

_Ward:_ It is not in the dock you will be put this time. And there
will be no bodily harm done to you, but to seize your furniture and
your goods. It’s best for me to be going there myself and not to be
wasting my time. (_Goes out._)

_Mrs. Broderick:_ Many a one taking my goods on credit and I seeing
their face no more. But nothing would satisfy the people of this
district. Sure the great God Himself when He came down couldn’t please
everybody.

_Sibby:_ I am thinking you were talking of some friend, ma’am, might
be apt to be coming to your aid.

_Mrs. Broderick:_ Well able he is to do it if the Lord would but put
it in his mind. Isn’t it a strange thing the goods of this world to
shut up the heart of a brother from his own, the same as Esau and
Jacob, and he having a good farm of land in the County Limerick. It is
what I heard that in that place the grass does be as thick as grease.

_Sibby:_ I suppose, ma’am, you wrote giving him an account of your
case?

_Mrs. Broderick:_ Sure, Mr. Nestor, the dear man, has his fingers wore
away writing for me, and I telling him all he had or had not to say.
At Christmas I wrote, and at Little Christmas, and at St. Brigit’s
Day, and on the Feast of St. Patrick, and after that again such time
as I had news of the summons being about to be served. And you may ask
Mrs. Delane at the Post Office am I telling any lie saying I got no
word or answer at all.... It’s long since I saw him, but it is the way
he used to be, his eyes on kippeens and some way suspicious in his
heart; a dark weighty tempered man.

_Sibby:_ A person to be crabbed and he young, it is not likely he will
grow kind at the latter end.

_Tommy Nally:_ That is no less than true now. There are crabbed people
and suspicious people to be met with in every place. It is much that I
got a pass from the Workhouse this day, the Master making sure when I
asked it that I had in my pocket the means of getting drink.

_Mrs. Broderick:_ It would maybe be best to go join you in the
Workhouse, Tommy Nally, when I am out of this, than to go walking the
world from end to end.

_Tommy Nally:_ Ah, don’t be saying that, ma’am; sure you couldn’t be
happy within those walls if you had the whole world. Clean outside,
but very hard within. No rank but all mixed together, the good, the
middling and the bad, the well reared and the rough.

_Mrs. Broderick:_ Sure I’m not asking to go in it. You could never be
as stiff in any place as in any sort of little cabin of your own.

_Tommy Nally:_ The tea boiled in a boiler, you should close your eyes
drinking it, and ne’er a bit of sugar hardly in it at all. And our
curses on them that boil the eggs too hard! What use is an egg that is
hard to any person on earth? And as to the dinner, what way would a
tasty person eat it not having a knife or a fork?

_Mrs. Broderick:_ That I may live to be in no one’s way, but to have
some little corner of my own!

_Tommy Nally:_ And to come to your end in it, ma’am! If you were the
Lady Mayor herself you’d be brought out to the deadhouse if it was ten
o’clock at night, and not a wash unless it was just a Scotch lick, and
nobody to wake you at all!

_Mrs. Broderick:_ I will not go in it! I would sooner make any shift
and die by the side of the wall. Sure heaven is the best place, heaven
and this world we’re in now!

_Sibby:_ Don’t be giving up now, ma’am. Here is Mr. Nestor coming,
and if any one will give you an advice he is the one will do it. Why
wouldn’t he, he being, as he is, an educated man, and such a great one
to be reading books.

_Mrs. Broderick:_ So he is too, and keeps it in his mind after. It’s a
wonder to me a man that does be reading to keep any memory at all.

_Nally:_ It’s easy for him to carry things light, and his pension paid
regular at springtime and harvest.

  (_Nestor comes in reading “Tit-Bits.”_)

_Nestor:_ There was a servant girl in Austria cut off her finger
slicing cabbage....

_All:_ The poor thing!

_Nestor:_ And her master stuck it on again with glue. That now was a
very foolish thing to do. What use would a finger be stuck with glue
that might melt off at any time, and she to be stirring the pot?

_Sibby:_ That is true indeed.

_Nestor:_ Now, if I myself had been there, it is what I would have
advised....

_Sibby:_ That’s what I was saying, Mr. Nestor. It is you are the grand
adviser. What now will you say to poor Mrs. Broderick that has a
summons out against her this day for up to ten pounds?

_Nestor:_ It is what I am often saying, it is a very foolish thing to
be getting into debt.

_Mrs. Broderick:_ Sure what way could I help it? It’s a very done-up
town to be striving to make a living in.

_Nestor:_ It would be a right thing to be showing a good example.

_Mrs. Broderick:_ They would want that indeed. There are more die with
debts on them in this place than die free from debt.

_Nestor:_ Many a poor soul has had to suffer from the weight of the
debts on him, finding no rest or peace after death.

_Sibby:_ The Magistrates are gone into the Courthouse, Mrs. Broderick.
Why now wouldn’t you go up to the bank and ask would the manager
advance you a loan?

_Mrs. Broderick:_ It is likely he would not do it. But maybe it’s as
good for me go as to be sitting here waiting for the end.

  (_Puts on hat and shawl._)

_Nestor:_ I now will take charge of the shop for you, Mrs. Broderick.

_Mrs. Broderick:_ It’s little call there’ll be to it. The time a
person is sunk that’s the time the custom will go from her. (_She goes
out._)

_Nally:_ I’ll be taking a ramble into the Court to see what are the
lads doing. (_Goes out._)

_Sibby:_ (_Following them._) I might chance some customers there
myself.

  (_Goes out calling—oranges, good oranges._)

_Nestor:_ (_Taking a paper from his pocket, sitting down, and
beginning to read._) “Romantic elopement in high life. A young lady at
Aberdeen, Missouri, U.S.A., having been left by her father an immense
fortune....”

  (_Stops to wipe his spectacles, puts them on again and looks
  for place, which he has lost. Cooney puts his head in at door
  and draws it out again._)

_Nestor:_ Come in, come in!

_Cooney:_ (_Coming in cautiously and looking round._) Whose house now
might this be?

_Nestor:_ To the Widow Broderick it belongs. She is out in the town
presently.

_Cooney:_ I saw her name up over the door.

_Nestor:_ On business of her own she is gone. It is I am minding the
place for her.

_Cooney:_ So I see. I suppose now you have good cause to be minding
it?

_Nestor:_ It would be a pity any of her goods to go to loss.

_Cooney:_ I suppose so. Is it to auction them you will or to sell them
in bulk?

_Nestor:_ Not at all. I can sell you any article you will require.

_Cooney:_ It would be no profit to herself now, I suppose, if you did?

_Nestor:_ What do you mean saying that? Do you think I would defraud
her from her due in anything I would sell for her at all?

_Cooney:_ You are not the bailiff so?

_Nestor:_ Not at all. I wonder any person to take me for a bailiff!

_Cooney:_ You are maybe one of the creditors?

_Nestor:_ I am not. I am not a man to have a debt upon me to any
person on earth.

_Cooney:_ I wonder what it is you are at so, if you have no claim on
the goods. Is it any harm now to ask what’s this your name is?

_Nestor:_ One Joseph Nestor I am, there are few in the district but
know me. Indeed they all have a great opinion of me. Travelled I did
in the army, and attended school and I young, and slept in the one bed
with two boys that were learning Greek.

_Cooney:_ What way now can I be rightly sure that you are Joseph
Nestor?

_Nestor:_ (_Pulling out envelope._) There is my pension docket. You
will maybe believe that.

_Cooney:_ (_Examining it._) I suppose you may be him so. I saw your
name often before this.

_Nestor:_ Did you now? I suppose it may have travelled a good
distance.

_Cooney:_ It travelled as far as myself anyway at the bottom of
letters that were written asking relief for the owner of this house.

_Nestor:_ I suppose you are her brother so, Michael Cooney?

_Cooney:_ If I am, there are some questions that I want to put and to
get answers to before my mind will be satisfied. Tell me this now. Is
it a fact Mary Broderick to be living at all?

_Nestor:_ What would make you think her not to be living and she
sending letters to you through the post?

_Cooney:_ I was saying to myself with myself, there was maybe some
other one personating her and asking me to send relief for their own
ends.

_Nestor:_ I am in no want of any relief. That is a queer thing to say
and a very queer thing. There are many worse off than myself, the Lord
be praised!

_Cooney:_ Don’t be so quick now starting up to take offence. It is
hard to believe the half the things you hear or that will be told to
you.

_Nestor:_ That may be so indeed; unless it is things that would be
printed on the papers. But I would think you might trust one of your
own blood.

_Cooney:_ I might or I might not. I had it in my mind this long time
to come hither and to look around for myself. There are seven
generations of the Cooneys trusted nobody living or dead.

_Nestor:_ Indeed I was reading in some history of one Ulysses that
came back from a journey and sent no word before him but slipped in
unknown to all but the house dog to see was his wife minding the
place, or was she, as she was, scattering his means.

_Cooney:_ So she would be too. If Mary Broderick is in need of relief
I will relieve her, but if she is not, I will bring away what I
brought with me to its own place again.

_Nestor:_ Sure here is the summons. You can read that, and if you will
look out the door you can see by the stir the Magistrates are sitting
in the Court. It is a great welcome she will have before you, and the
relief coming at the very nick of time.

_Cooney:_ It is too good a welcome she will give me I am thinking. It
is what I am in dread of now, if she thinks I brought her the money so
soft and so easy, she will never be leaving me alone, but dragging all
I have out of me by little and little.

_Nestor:_ Maybe you might let her have but the lend of it.

_Cooney:_ Where’s the use of calling it a lend when I may be sure I
never will see it again? It might be as well for me to earn the value
of a charity.

_Nestor:_ You might do that and not repent of it.

_Cooney:_ It is likely I’ll be annoyed with her to the end of my
lifetime if she knows I have as much as that to part with. It might be
she would be following me to Limerick.

_Nestor:_ Wait now a minute till I will give you an advice.

_Cooney:_ It is likely my own advice is the best. Look over your own
shoulder and do the thing you think right. How can any other person
know the reasons I have in my mind?

_Nestor:_ I will know what is in your mind if you will tell it to me.

_Cooney:_ It would suit me best, she to get the money and not to know
at the present time where did it come from. The next time she will
write wanting help from me, I will task her with it and ask her to
give me an account.

_Nestor:_ That now would take a great deal of strategy.... Wait now
till I think.... I have it in my mind I was reading in a penny novel
... no but on the “Gael” ... about a boy of Kilbecanty that saved his
old sweetheart from being evicted.

_Cooney:_ I never heard my sister had any old sweetheart.

_Nestor:_ It was playing Twenty-five he did it. Played with the
husband he did, letting him win up to fifty pounds.

_Cooney:_ Mary Broderick was no cardplayer. And if she was itself she
would know me. And it’s not fifty pounds I am going to leave with her,
or twenty pounds, or a penny more than is needful to free her from the
summons to-day.

_Nestor:_ (_Excited._) I will make up a plan! I am sure I will think
of a good one. It is given in to me there is no person so good at
making up a plan as myself on this side of the world, not on this side
of the world! I will manage all. Leave here what you have for her
before she will come in. I will give it to her in some secret way.

_Cooney:_ I don’t know. I will not give it to you before I will get a
receipt for it ... and I’ll not leave the town till I’ll see did she
get it straight and fair. Into the Court I’ll go to see her paying it.

  (_Sits down and writes out receipt._)

_Nestor:_ I was reading on “Home Chat” about a woman put a note for
five pounds into her son’s prayer book and he going a voyage. And when
he came back and was in the church with her it fell out, he never
having turned a leaf of the book at all.

_Cooney:_ Let you sign this and you may put it in the prayer book so
long as she will get it safe. (_Nestor signs. Cooney looks
suspiciously at signature and compares it with a letter and then gives
notes._)

_Nestor:_ (_Signing._) Joseph Nestor.

_Cooney:_ Let me see now is it the same handwriting I used to be
getting on the letters. It is. I have the notes here.

_Nestor:_ Wait now till I see is there a prayer book.... (_Looks on
shelf_). Treacle, castor oil, marmalade.... I see no books at all.

_Cooney:_ Hurry on now, she will be coming in and finding me.

_Nestor:_ Here is what will do as well.... “Old Moore’s Almanac.” I
will put it here between the leaves. I will ask her the prophecy for
the month. You can come back here after she finding it.

_Cooney:_ Amn’t I after telling you I wouldn’t wish her to have sight
of me here at all? What are you at now, I wonder, saying that. I will
take my own way to know does she pay the money. It is not my intention
to be made a fool of.

  (_Goes out._)

_Nestor:_ You will be satisfied and well satisfied. Let me see now
where are the predictions for the month. (_Reads._) “The angry
appearance of Scorpio and the position of the pale Venus and Jupiter
presage much danger for England. The heretofore obsequious Orangemen
will refuse to respond to the tocsin of landlordism. The scales are
beginning to fall from their eyes.”

  (_Mrs. Broderick comes in without his noticing her. She gives a
  groan. He drops book and stuffs notes into his pocket._)

_Mrs. Broderick:_ Here I am back again and no addition to me since I
went.

_Nestor:_ You gave me a start coming in so noiseless.

_Mrs. Broderick:_ It is time for me go to the Court, and I give you my
word I’d be better pleased going to my burying at the Seven Churches.
A nice slab I have there waiting for me, though the man that put it
over me I never saw him at all, and he a far off cousin of my own.

_Nestor:_ Who knows now, Mrs. Broderick, but things might turn out
better than you think.

_Mrs. Broderick:_ What way could they turn out better between this and
one o’clock?

_Nestor:_ (_Scratching his head._) I suppose now you wouldn’t care to
play a game of Twenty-five?

_Mrs. Broderick:_ I am surprised at you, Mr. Nestor, asking me to go
cardplaying on such a day and at such an hour as this.

_Nestor:_ I wonder might some person come in and give an order for ten
pounds’ worth of the stock?

_Mrs. Broderick:_ Much good it would do me. Sure I have the most of it
on credit.

_Nestor:_ Well, there is no knowing. Some well-to-do person now
passing the street might have seen you and taken a liking to you and
be willing to make an advance or a loan.

_Mrs. Broderick:_ Ah, who would be taking a liking to me as they might
to a young girl in her bloom.

_Nestor:_ Oh, it’s a sort of thing might happen. Sure age didn’t catch
on to you yet; you are clean and fresh and sound. What’s this I was
reading in “Answers.” (_Looks at it._) “Romantic elopement....”

_Mrs. Broderick:_ I know of no one would be thinking of me for a wife
... unless it might be yourself, Mr. Nestor....

_Nestor:_ (_Jumping up and speaking fast and running finger up and
down paper._) “Performance of Dick Whittington.” ... There now, there
is a story that I read in my reading, it was called Whittington and
the Cat. It was the cat led to his fortune. There might some person
take a fancy to your cat....

_Mrs. Broderick:_ Ah, let you have done now. I have no cat this good
while. I banished it on the head of it threatening the jackdaw.

_Nestor:_ The jackdaw?

_Mrs. Broderick:_ (_Fetches cage from inner room._) Sure I reared it
since the time it fell down the chimney and I going into my bed. It is
often you should have seen it, in or out of its cage. Hero his name
is. Come out now, Hero.

  (_Opens cage._)

_Nestor:_ (_Slapping his side._) That is it ... that’s the very thing.
Listen to me now, Mrs. Broderick, there are some might give a good
price for that bird. (_Sitting down to the work._) It chances now
there is a friend of mine in South Africa. A mine owner he is ... very
rich ... but it is down in the mine he has to live by reason of the
Kaffirs ... it is hard to keep a watch upon them in the half dark,
they being black.

_Mrs. Broderick:_ I suppose....

_Nestor:_ He does be lonesome now and again, and he is longing for a
bird to put him in mind of old Ireland ... but he is in dread it would
die in the darkness ... and it came to his mind that it is a custom
with jackdaws to be living in chimneys, and that if any birds would
bear the confinement it is they that should do it.

_Mrs. Broderick:_ And is it to buy jackdaws he is going?

_Nestor:_ Isn’t that what I am coming to. (_He pulls out notes._) Here
now is ten pounds I have to lay out for him. Take them now and good
luck go with them, and give me the bird.

_Mrs. Broderick:_ Notes is it? Is it waking or dreaming I am and I
standing up on the floor?

_Nestor:_ Good notes and ten of them. Look at them! National Bank they
are.... Count them now, according to your fingers, and see did I tell
any lie.

_Mrs. Broderick:_ (_Counting._) They are in it sure enough ... so long
as they are good ones and I not made a hare of before the magistrates.

_Nestor:_ Go out now to the Court and show them to Timothy Ward, and
see does he say are they good. Pay them over then, and its likely you
will be let off the costs.

_Mrs. Broderick:_ (_Taking shawl._) I will go, I will go. Well, you
are a great man and a kind man, Joseph Nestor, and that you may live a
thousand years for this good deed.

_Nestor:_ Look here now, ma’am, I wouldn’t wish you to be mentioning
my name in this business or saying I had any hand in it at all.

_Mrs. Broderick:_ I will not so long as it’s not pleasing to you.
Well, it is yourself took a great load off me this day! (_She goes
out._)

_Nestor:_ (_Calling after her._) I might as well be putting the
jackdaw back into the cage to be ready for the journey. (_Comes into
shop._) I hope now he will be well treated by the sailors and he
travelling over the sea.... Where is he now.... (_Chirrups._) Here
now, come here to me, what’s this your name is.... Nero! Nero! (_Makes
pounces behind counter._) Ah, bad manners to you, is it under the
counter you are gone!

  (_Lies flat on the floor chirruping and calling, Nero! Nero!
  Nally comes in and watches him curiously._)

_Nally:_ Is it catching blackbeetles you are, Mr. Nestor? Where are
they and I will give you a hand....

_Nestor:_ (_Getting up annoyed._) It’s that bird I was striving to
catch a hold of for to put him back in the cage.

_Tommy Nally:_ (_Making a pounce._) There he is now. (_Puts bird in
cage._) Wait now till I’ll fasten the gate.

_Nestor:_ Just putting everything straight and handy for the widow
woman I am before she will come back from the settlement she is making
in the Court.

_Nally:_ What way will she be able to do that?

_Nestor:_ I gave her advice. A thought I had, something that came from
my reading. (_Taps paper._) Education and reading and going in the
army through the kingdoms of the world; that is what fits a man now to
be giving out advice.

_Tommy:_ Indeed, it’s good for them to have you, all the poor ignorant
people of this town.

_Cooney:_ (_Coming in hurriedly and knocking against Nally as he goes
out._) What, now, would you say to be the best nesting place in this
town. Nests of jackdaws I should say.

_Nestor:_ There is the old mill should be a good place. To the west of
the station it is. Chimneys there are in it. Middling high they are.
Wait now till I’ll tell you of the great plan I made up....

_Cooney:_ What are you asking for those rakes in the corner? It’s no
matter, I’ll take one on credit, or maybe it is only the lend of it
I’ll take. ... I’ll be coming back immediately. (_He goes out with
rake._)

_Sibby:_ (_Coming in excitedly._) If you went bird-catching, Mr.
Nestor, tell me what way would you go doing it?

_Nestor:_ It is not long since I was reading some account of that ...
lads that made a trade of it ... nets they had and they used to be
spreading them in the swamps where the plover do be feeding....

_Sibby:_ Ah, sure where’s the use of a plover!

_Nestor:_ And snares they had for putting along the drains where the
snipe do be picking up worms.... But if I myself saw any person going
after things of the sort, it is what I would advise them to stick to
the net.

_Sibby:_ What now is the price of that net in the corner?

_Nestor:_ (_Taking it down._) It is but a little bag that is, suitable
for carrying small articles; it would become your oranges well.
Twopence I believe, Sibby, is what I should charge you for that.

_Sibby:_ (_Taking money out of handkerchief._) Give it to me so! Here
I’ll get the start of you, Timothy Ward, anyway.

  (_She takes it and goes out, almost overturning Timothy Ward,
  who is rushing in._)

_Nestor:_ Well, Timothy, did you see the Widow Broderick in the Court?

_Ward:_ I did see her. It is in it she is, now, looking as content as
in the coffin, and she paying her debt.

_Nestor:_ Did she give you any account of herself?

_Ward:_ She did to be sure, and to the whole Court; but look here now,
I have no time to be talking. I have to be back there when the
magistrates will have their lunch taken. Now you being so clever a
man, Mr. Nestor, what would you say is the surest way to go catching
birds?

_Nestor:_ It is a strange thing now, I was asked the same question not
three minutes ago. I was just searching my mind. It seems to me I have
read in some place it is a very good way to go calling to them with
calls; made for the purpose they are. You have but to sit under a tree
or whatever place they may perch and to whistle ... suppose now it
might be for a curlew.... (_Whistles._)

_Timothy Ward:_ Are there any of those calls in the shop?

_Nestor:_ I would not say there are any made for the purpose, but
there might be something might answer you all the same. Let me see
now.... (_Gets down a box of musical toys and turns them over._)

_Ward:_ Is there anything now has a sound like the croaky screech of a
jackdaw?

_Nestor:_ Here now is what we used to be calling a corncrake....
(_Turns it_.) Corncrake, corncrake ... but it seems to me now that to
give it but the one creak, this way ... it is much like what you would
hear in the chimney at the time of the making of the nests.

_Ward:_ Give it here to me!

  (_Puts a penny on counter and runs out._)

_Tommy Nally:_ (_Coming in shaking with excitement._) For the love of
God, Mr. Nestor, will you give me that live-trap on credit!

_Nestor:_ A trap? Sure there is no temptation for rats to be settling
themselves in the Workhouse.

_Nally:_ Or a snare itself ... or any sort of a thing that would make
the makings of a crib.

_Nestor:_ What would you want, I wonder, going out fowling with a
crib?

_Nally:_ Why wouldn’t I want it? Why wouldn’t I have leave to catch a
bird the same as every other one?

_Nestor:_ And what would the likes of you be wanting with a bird?

_Nally:_ What would I want with it, is it? Why wouldn’t I be getting
my own ten pounds?

_Nestor:_ Heaven help your poor head this day!

_Nally:_ Why wouldn’t I get it the same as Mrs. Broderick got it?

_Nestor:_ Well, listen to me now. You will not get it.

_Nally:_ Sure that man is buying them will have no objection they to
come from one more than another.

_Nestor:_ Don’t be arguing now. It is a queer thing for you, Tommy
Nally, to be arguing with a man like myself.

_Nally:_ Think now all the good it would do me ten pound to be put in
my hand! It is not you should be begrudging it to me, Mr. Nestor. Sure
it would be a relief upon the rates.

_Nestor:_ I tell you you will not get ten pound or any pound at all.
Can’t you give attention to what I say?

_Nally:_ If I had but the price of the trap you wouldn’t refuse it to
me. Well, isn’t there great hardship upon a man to be bet up and to
have no credit in the town at all.

_Nestor:_ (_Exasperated, and giving him the cage._) Look here now, I
have a right to turn you out into the street. But, as you are silly
like and with no great share of wits, I will make you a present of
this bird till you try what will you get for it, and till you see will
you get as much as will cover its diet for one day only. Go out now
looking for customers and maybe you will believe what I say.

_Nally:_ (_Seizing it._) That you may be doing the same thing this
day fifty years! My fortune’s made now! (_Goes out with cage._)

_Nestor:_ (_Sitting down._) My joy go with you, but I’m bothered with
the whole of you. Everyone expecting me to do their business and to
manage their affairs. That is the drawback of being an educated man!

  (_Takes up paper to read._)

_Mrs. Broderick:_ (_Coming in._) I declare I’m as comforted as Job
coming free into the house from the Court!

_Nestor:_ Well, indeed, ma’am, I am well satisfied to be able to do
what I did for you, and for my friend from Africa as well, giving him
so fine and so handsome a bird.

_Mrs. Broderick:_ Sure Finn himself that chewed his thumb had not your
wisdom, or King Solomon that kept order over his kingdom and his own
seven hundred wives. There is neither of them could be put beside you
for settling the business of any person at all.

  (_Sibby comes in holding up her netted bag._)

_Nestor:_ What is it you have there, Sibby?

_Sibby:_ Look at them here, look at them here.... I wasn’t long
getting them. Warm they are yet; they will take no injury.

_Mrs. Broderick:_ What are they at all?

_Sibby:_ It is eggs they are ... look at them. Jackdaws’ eggs.

_Nestor:_ (_Suspiciously._) And what call have you now to be bringing
in jackdaws’ eggs?

_Sibby:_ Is it ten pound apiece I will get for them do you think, or
is it but ten pound I will get for the whole of them?

_Nestor:_ Is it drink, or is it tea, or is it some change that is come
upon the world that is fitting the people of this place for the asylum
in Ballinasloe?

_Sibby:_ I know of a good clocking hen. I will put the eggs under
her.... I will rear them when they’ll be hatched out.

_Nestor:_ I suppose now, Mrs. Broderick, you went belling the case
through the town?

_Mrs. Broderick:_ I did not, but to the Magistrates upon the bench
that I told it out of respect to, and I never mentioned your name in
it at all.

_Sibby:_ Tell me now, Mrs. Broderick, who have I to apply to?

_Mrs. Broderick:_ What is it you are wanting to apply about?

_Sibby:_ Will you tell me where is the man that is after buying your
jackdaw?

_Mrs. Broderick:_ (_Looking at Nestor._) What’s that? Where is he, is
it?

_Nestor:_ (_Making signs of silence._) How would you know where he is?
It is not in a broken little town of this sort such a man would be
stopping, and he having his business finished.

_Sibby:_ Sure he will have to be coming back here for the bird. I will
stop till I’ll see him drawing near.

_Nestor:_ It is more likely he will get it consigned to the shipping
agent. Mind what I say now, it is best not be speaking of him at all.

  (_Timothy Ward comes in triumphantly, croaking his toy. He has
  a bird in his hand._)

_Ward:_ I chanced on a starling. It was not with this I tempted him,
but a little chap that had him in a crib. Would you say now, Mr.
Nestor, would that do as well as a jackdaw? Look now, it’s as handsome
every bit as the other. And anyway it is likely they will both die
before they will reach to their journey’s end.

_Nestor:_ (_Lifting up his hands._) Of all the foolishness that ever
came upon the world!

_Ward:_ Hurry on now, Mrs. Broderick, tell me where will I bring it to
the buyer you were speaking of. He is fluttering that hard it is much
if I can keep him in my hand. Is it at Noonan’s Royal Hotel he is or
is it at Mack’s?

_Nestor:_ (_Shaking his head threateningly._) How can you tell that
and you not knowing it yourself?

_Ward:_ Sure you have a right to know what way did he go, and he after
going out of this.

_Mrs. Broderick:_ (_Her eyes apprehensively on Nestor._) Ah, sure, my
mind was tattered on me. I couldn’t know did he go east or west.
Standing here in this place I was, like a ghost that got a knock upon
its head.

_Ward:_ If he is coming back for the bird it is here he will be
coming, and if it is to be sent after him it is likely you will have
his address.

_Mrs. Broderick:_ So I should, too, I suppose. Where now did I put it?
(_She looks to Nestor for orders, but cannot understand his signs, and
turns out pocket._) That’s my specs ... that’s the key of the box ...
that’s a bit of root liquorice.... Where now at all could I have left
down that address?

_Ward:_ There has no train left since he was here. Sure what does it
matter so long as he did not go out of this. I’ll bring this bird to
the railway. Tell me what sort was he till I’ll know him.

_Mrs. Broderick:_ (_Still looking at Nestor._) Well, he was middling
tall ... not very gross ... about the figure now of Mr. Nestor.

_Ward:_ What aged man was he?

_Mrs. Broderick:_ I suppose up to sixty years. About the one age,
you’d say, with Mr. Nestor.

_Ward:_ Give me some better account now; it is hardly I would make him
out by that.

_Mrs. Broderick:_ A grey beard he has hanging down ... and a bald
poll, and grey hair like a fringe around it ... just for all the world
like Mr. Nestor!

_Nestor:_ (_Jumping up._) There is nothing so disagreeable in the
whole world as a woman that has too much talk.

_Mrs. Broderick:_ Well, let me alone. Where’s the use of them all
picking at me to say where did I get the money when I am under orders
not to tell it?

_Ward:_ Under orders?

_Mrs. Broderick:_ I am, and strong orders.

_Ward:_ Whose orders are those?

_Mrs. Broderick:_ What’s that to you, I ask you?

_Ward:_ Isn’t it a pity now a woman to be so unneighbourly and she
after getting profit for herself?

_Mrs. Broderick:_ Look now, Mr. Nestor, the way they are going on at
me, and you saying no word for me at all.

_Ward:_ How would he say any word when he hasn’t it to say? The only
word could be said by any one is that you are a mean grasping person,
gathering what you can for your own profit and keeping yourself so
close and so compact. It is back to the Court I am going, and it’s no
good friend I’ll be to you from this out, Mrs. Broderick!

_Mrs. Broderick:_ Amn’t I telling you I was bidden not to tell?

_Sibby:_ You were. And is it likely it was you yourself bid yourself
and gave you that advice, Mrs. Broderick? It is what I think the bird
was never bought at all. It is in some other way she got the money.
Maybe in a way she does not like to be talking of. Light weights,
light fingers! Let us go away so and leave her, herself and her money
and her orders! (_Timothy Ward goes out, but Sibby stops at door._)
And much good may they do her.

_Mrs. Broderick:_ Listen to that, Mr. Nestor! Will you be listening to
that, when one word from yourself would clear my character! I leave it
now between you and the hearers. Why would I be questioned this way
and that way, the same as if I was on the green table before the
judges? You have my heart broke between you. It’s best for me to heat
the kettle and wet a drop of tea.

  (_Goes to inner room._)

_Sibby:_ Tell us the truth now, Mr. Nestor, if you know anything at
all about it.

_Nestor:_ I know everything about it. It was to myself the notes were
handed in the first place. I am willing to take my oath to you on
that. It was a stranger, I said, came in.

_Sibby:_ I wish I could see him and know him if I did see him.

_Nestor:_ It is likely you would know a man of that sort if you did
see him, Sibby Fahy. It is likely you never saw a man yet that owns
riches would buy up the half of this town.

_Sibby:_ It is not always them that has the most that makes the most
show. But it is likely he will have a good dark suit anyway, and
shining boots, and a gold chain hanging over his chest.

_Nestor:_ (_Sarcastically._) He will, and gold rings and pins the same
as the King of France or of Spain.

  (_Enter Cooney, hatless, streaked with soot and lime,
  speechless but triumphant. He holds up a nest with nestlings._)

_Nestor:_ What has happened you, Mr. Cooney, at all?

_Cooney:_ Look now, what I have got!

_Nestor:_ A nest, is it?

_Cooney:_ Three young ones in it!

_Nestor:_ (_Faintly._) Is it what you are going to say they are
jackdaws!

_Cooney:_ I followed your directions....

_Nestor:_ How do you make that out?

_Caoney:_ You said the mill chimneys were full of them....

_Nestor:_ What has that to do with it?

_Cooney:_ I left my rake after me broken in the loft ... my hat went
away in the millrace ... I tore my coat on the stones ... there has
mortar got into my eye....

_Nestor:_ The Lord bless and save us!

_Cooney:_ But there is no man can say I did not bring back the birds,
sound and living and in good health. Look now, the open mouths of
them! (_All gather round_.) Three of them safe and living.... I lost
one climbing the wall. ... Where now is the man is going to buy them?

_Sibby:_ (_Pointing at Nestor._) It is he that can tell you that.

_Cooney:_ Make no delay bringing me to him. I’m in dread they might
die on me first.

_Nestor:_ You should know well that no one is buying them.

_Sibby:_ No one! Sure it was you yourself told us that there was!

_Nestor:_ If I did itself there is no such a man.

_Sibby:_ It’s not above two minutes he was telling of the rings and
the pins he wore.

_Nestor:_ He never was in it at all.

_Cooney:_ What plan is he making up now to defraud me and to rob me?

_Sibby:_ Question him yourself, and you will see what will he say.

_Cooney:_ How can I ask questions of a man that is telling lies?

_Nestor:_ I am telling no lies. I am well able to answer you and to
tell you the truth.

_Cooney:_ Tell me where is the man that will give me cash for these
birds, the same as he gave it to the woman of this house?

_Sibby:_ That’s it, that is it. Let him tell it out now.

_Cooney:_ Will you have me ask it as often as the hairs of my head? If
I get vexed I will make you answer me.

_Nestor:_ It seems to me to have set fire to a rick, but I am well
able to quench it after. There is no man in South Africa, or that came
from South Africa, or that ever owned a mine there at all. Where is
the man bought the bird, are you asking? There he is standing among us
on this floor. (_Points to Cooney._) That is himself, the very man!

_Cooney:_ (_Advancing a step._) What is that you are saying?

_Nestor:_ I say that no one came in here but yourself.

_Cooney:_ Did he say or not say there was a rich man came in?

_Sibby:_ He did, surely.

_Nestor:_ To make up a plan....

_Cooney:_ I know well you have made up a plan.

_Nestor:_ To give it unknownst....

_Cooney:_ It is to keep it unknownst you are wanting!

_Nestor:_ The way she would not suspect....

_Cooney:_ It is I myself suspect and have cause to suspect! Give me
back my own ten pounds and I’ll be satisfied.

_Nestor:_ What way can I give it back?

_Cooney:_ The same way as you took it, in the palm of your hand.

_Nestor:_ Sure it is paid away and spent....

_Cooney:_ If it is you’ll repay it! I know as well as if I was inside
you you are striving to make me your prey! But I’ll sober you! It is
into the Court I will drag you, and as far as the gaol!

_Nestor:_ I tell you I gave it to the widow woman....

  (_Mrs. Broderick comes in._)

_Cooney:_ Let her say now did you.

_Mrs. Broderick:_ What is it at all? What is happening? Joseph Nestor
threatened by a tinker or a tramp!

_Nestor:_ I would think better of his behaviour if he was a tinker or
a tramp.

_Mrs. Broderick:_ He has drink taken so. Isn’t drink the terrible
tempter, a man to see flames and punishment upon the one side and
drink upon the other, and to turn his face towards the drink!

_Cooney:_ Will you stop your chat, Mary Broderick, till I will drag
the truth out of this traitor?

_Mrs. Broderick:_ Who is that calling me by my name? Och! Is it
Michael Cooney is in it? Michael Cooney, my brother! O Michael, what
will they think of you coming into the town and much like a rag on a
stick would be scaring in the wheatfield through the day?

_Cooney:_ (_Pointing at Nestor._) It was going up in the mill I
destroyed myself, following the directions of that ruffian!

_Mrs. Broderick:_ And what call has a man that has drink taken to go
climbing up a loft in a mill? A crooked mind you had always, and
that’s a sort of person drink doesn’t suit.

_Cooney:_ I tell you I didn’t take a glass over a counter this ten
year.

_Mrs. Broderick:_ You would do well to go learn behaviour from Mr.
Nestor.

_Cooney:_ The man that has me plundered and robbed! Tell me this now,
if you can tell it. Did you find any pound notes in “Old Moore’s
Almanac”?

_Mrs. Broderick:_ I did not to be sure, or in any other place.

_Nestor:_ She came in at the door and I striving to put them into the
book.

_Cooney:_ Look are they in it now, and I will say he is not tricky,
but honest.

_Nestor:_ You needn’t be looking....

_Mrs. Broderick:_ (_Turning over the leaves._) Ne’er a thing at all in
it but the things that will or will not happen, and the days of the
changes of the moon.

_Cooney:_ (_Seizing and shaking it._) Look at that now! (_To
Nestor._) Will you believe me now telling you that you are a rogue?

_Nestor:_ Will you listen to me, ma’am....

_Cooney:_ No, but listen to myself. I brought the money to you.

_Nestor:_ If he did he wouldn’t trust you with it, ma’am.

_Cooney:_ I intended it for your relief.

_Nestor:_ In dread he was you would go follow him to Limerick.

_Mrs. Broderick:_ It is not likely I would be following the like of
him to Limerick, a man that left me to the charity of strangers from
Africa!

_Cooney:_ I gave the money to him....

_Nestor:_ And I gave it to yourself paying for the jackdaw. Are you
satisfied now, Mary Broderick?

_Mrs. Broderick:_ Satisfied, is it? It would be a queer thing indeed I
to be satisfied. My brother to be spending money on birds, and his
sister with a summons on her head. Michael Cooney to be passing
himself off as a mine-owner, and I myself being the way I am!

_Cooney:_ What would I want doing that? I tell you I ask no birds,
black, blue or white!

_Mrs. Broderick:_ I wonder at you now saying that, and you with that
clutch on your arm! (_Cooney indignantly flings away nest._)
Searching out jackdaws and his sister without the price of a needle
in the house! I tell you, Michael Cooney, it is yourself will be
wandering after your burying, naked and perishing, through winds and
through frosts, in satisfaction for the way you went wasting your
money and your means on such vanities, and she that was reared on the
one floor with you going knocking at the Workhouse door! What good
will jackdaws be to you that time?

_Cooney:_ It is what I would wish to know, what scheme are the whole
of you at? It is long till I will trust any one but my own eyes again
in the whole of the living world.

  (_She wipes her eyes indignantly. Tommy Nally rushes in the
  bird and cage still in his hands._)

_Nally:_ Where is the bird buyer? It is here he is said to be. It is
well for me get here the first. It is the whole of the town will be
here within half an hour; they have put a great scatter on themselves
hunting and searching in every place, but I am the first!

_Nestor:_ What is it you are talking about?

_Nally:_ Not a house in the whole street but is deserted. It is much
if the Magistrates themselves didn’t quit the bench for the pursuit,
the way Tim Ward quitted the place he had a right to be!

_Nestor:_ It is some curse in the air, or some scourge?

_Nally:_ Birds they are getting by the score! Old and young! Where is
the bird-buyer? Who is it now will give me my price?

  (_He holds up the cage._)

_Cooney:_ There is surely some root for all this. There must be some
buyer after all. It’s to keep him to themselves they are wanting.
(_Goes to door._) But I’ll get my own profit in spite of them.

  (_He goes outside door, looking up and down the street._)

_Mrs. Broderick:_ Look at what Tommy Nally has. That’s my bird.

_Nally:_ It is not, it’s my own!

_Mrs. Broderick:_ That is my cage!

_Nally:_ It is not, it is mine!

_Mrs. Broderick:_ Wouldn’t I know my own cage and my own bird? Don’t
be telling lies that way!

_Nally:_ It is no lie I am telling. The bird and the cage were made a
present to me.

_Mrs. Broderick:_ Who would make a present to you of the things that
belong to myself?

_Nally:_ It was Mr. Nestor gave them to me.

_Mrs. Broderick:_ Do you hear what he says, Joseph Nestor? What call
have you to be giving a present of my bird?

_Nestor:_ And wasn’t I after buying it from you?

_Mrs. Broderick:_ If you were it was not for yourself you bought it,
but for the poor man in South Africa you bought it, and you defrauding
him now, giving it away to a man has no claim to it at all. Well, now,
isn’t it hard for any man to find a person he can trust?

_Nestor:_ Didn’t you hear me saying I bought it for no person at all?

_Mrs. Broderick:_ Give it up now, Tommy Nally, or I’ll have you in
gaol on the head of it.

_Nally:_ Oh, you wouldn’t do such a thing, ma’am, I am sure!

_Mrs. Broderick:_ Indeed and I will, and have you on the treadmill for
a thief.

_Nally:_ Oh, oh, oh, look now, Mr. Nestor, the way you have made me a
thief and to be lodged in the gaol!

_Nestor:_ I wish to God you were lodged in it, and we would have less
annoyance in this place!

_Nally:_ Oh, that is a terrible thing for you to be saying! Sure the
poorhouse itself is better than the gaol! The nuns preparing you for
heaven and the Mass every morning of your life....

_Nestor:_ If you go on with your talk and your arguments it’s to gaol
you will surely go.

_Nally:_ Milk of a Wednesday and a Friday, the potatoes steamed very
good.... It’s the skins of the potatoes they were telling me you do
have to be eating in the gaol. It is what I am thinking, Mr. Nestor,
that bird will lie heavy on you at the last!

_Nestor:_ (_Seizing cage and letting the bird out of the door._) Bad
cess and a bad end to it, and that I may never see it or hear of it
again!

_Mrs. Broderick:_ Look what he is after doing! Get it back for me!
Give it here into my hands I say! Why wouldn’t I sell it secondly to
the buyer and he to be coming to the door? It is in my own pocket I
will keep the price of it that time!

_Nally:_ It would have been as good you to have left it with me as to
be sending itself and the worth of it up into the skies!

_Mrs. Broderick:_ (_Taking Nestor’s arm._) Get it back for me I tell
you! There it is above in the ash tree, and it flapping its wings on a
bough!

_Nestor:_ Give me the cage, if that will content you, and I will
strive to entice it to come in.

_Cooney:_ (_Coming in._) Everyone running this way and that way. It is
for birds they are looking sure enough. Why now would they go through
such hardship if there was not a demand in some place?

_Nestor:_ (_Pushing him away._) Let me go now before that bird will
quit the branch where it is.

_Cooney:_ (_Seizing hold of him._) Is it striving to catch a bird for
yourself you are now?

_Nestor:_ Let me pass if you please. I have nothing to say to you at
all.

_Cooney:_ Laying down to me they were worth nothing! I knew well you
had made up some plan! The grand adviser is it! It is to yourself you
gave good advice that time!

_Nestor:_ Let me out I tell you before that uproar you are making will
drive it from its perch on the tree.

_Cooney:_ Is it to rob me of my own money you did and to be keeping me
out of the money I earned along with it!

  (_Threatens Nestor with “Moore’s Almanac,” which he has picked up._)

_Sibby:_ Take care would there be murder done in this place!

  (_She seizes Nestor, Mrs. Broderick seizes Cooney. Tommy Nally
  wrings his hands._)

_Nestor:_ Tommy Nally, will you kindly go and call for the police.

_Cooney:_ Is it into a den of wild beasts I am come that must go
calling out for the police?

_Nestor:_ A very unmannerly person indeed!

_Cooney:_ Everyone thinking to take advantage of me and to make their
own trap for my ruin.

_Nestor:_ I don’t know what cause has he at all to have taken any
umbrage against me.

_Cooney:_ You that had your eye on my notes from the first like a goat
in a cabbage garden!

_Nestor:_ Coming with a gift in the one hand and holding a dagger in
the other!

_Cooney:_ If you say that again I will break your collar bone!

_Nestor:_ O, but you are the terrible wicked man!

_Cooney:_ I’ll squeeze satisfaction out of you if I had to hang for
it! I will be well satisfied if I’ll kill you!

  (_Flings “Moore’s Almanac” at him._)

_Nestor:_ (_Throwing his bundle of newspapers._) Oh, good jewel!

_Ward:_ (_Coming in hastily._) Whist the whole of you, I tell you! The
Magistrates are coming to the door! (_Comes in and shuts it after
him._)

_Mrs. Broderick:_ The Lord be between us and harm! What made them go
quit the Court?

_Ward:_ The whole of the witnesses and of the prosecution made off
bird-catching. The Magistrates sent to invite the great mine-owner to
go lunch at Noonan’s with themselves.

_Cooney:_ Horses of their own to stick him with they have. I wouldn’t
doubt them at all.

_Ward:_ He could not be found in any place. They are informed he was
never seen leaving this house. They are coming to make an
investigation.

_Nestor:_ Don’t be anyway uneasy. I will explain the whole case.

_Ward:_ The police along with them....

_Cooney:_ Is the whole of this district turned into a trap?

_Ward:_ It is what they are thinking, that the stranger was made away
with for his gold!

_Cooney:_ And if he was, as sure as you are living, it was done by
that blackguard there!

  (_Points at Nestor._)

_Ward:_ If he is not found they will arrest all they see upon the
premises....

_Cooney:_ It is best for me to quit this.

  (_Goes to door._)

_Ward:_ Here they are at the door. Sergeant Carden along with them.
Hide yourself, Mr. Nestor, if you’ve anyway to do it at all.

  (_Sounds of feet and talking and knock at the door. Cooney
  hides under counter. Nestor lies down on top of bench, spreads
  his newspaper over him. Mrs. Broderick goes behind counter._)

_Nestor:_ (_Raising paper from his face and looking out._) Tommy
Nally, I will give you five shillings if you will draw “Tit-Bits” over
my feet.


_Curtain_



THE WORKHOUSE WARD


PERSONS

   _Mike McInerney_   } PAUPERS
   _Michael Miskell_  }
   _Mrs. Donohoe_,      A COUNTRYWOMAN


THE WORKHOUSE WARD


  _Scene: A ward in Cloon Workhouse. The two old men in their
  beds._


_Michael Miskell:_ Isn’t it a hard case, Mike McInerney, myself and
yourself to be left here in the bed, and it the feast day of Saint
Colman, and the rest of the ward attending on the Mass.

_Mike McInerney:_ Is it sitting up by the hearth you are wishful to
be, Michael Miskell, with cold in the shoulders and with speckled
shins? Let you rise up so, and you well able to do it, not like myself
that has pains the same as tin-tacks within in my inside.

_Michael Miskell:_ If you have pains within in your inside there is no
one can see it or know of it the way they can see my own knees that
are swelled up with the rheumatism, and my hands that are twisted in
ridges the same as an old cabbage stalk. It is easy to be talking
about soreness and about pains, and they maybe not to be in it at all.

_Mike McInerney:_ To open me and to analyse me you would know what
sort of a pain and a soreness I have in my heart and in my chest. But
I’m not one like yourself to be cursing and praying and tormenting the
time the nuns are at hand, thinking to get a bigger share than myself
of the nourishment and of the milk.

_Michael Miskell:_ That’s the way you do be picking at me and faulting
me. I had a share and a good share in my early time, and it’s well you
know that, and the both of us reared in Skehanagh.

_Mike McInerney:_ You may say that, indeed, we are both of us reared
in Skehanagh. Little wonder you to have good nourishment the time we
were both rising, and you bringing away my rabbits out of the snare.

_Michael Miskell:_ And you didn’t bring away my own eels, I suppose, I
was after spearing in the Turlough? Selling them to the nuns in the
convent you did, and letting on they to be your own. For you were
always a cheater and a schemer, grabbing every earthly thing for your
own profit.

_Mike McInerney:_ And you were no grabber yourself, I suppose, till
your land and all you had grabbed wore away from you!

_Michael Miskell:_ If I lost it itself, it was through the crosses I
met with and I going through the world. I never was a rambler and a
card-player like yourself, Mike McInerney, that ran through all and
lavished it unknown to your mother!

_Mike McInerney:_ Lavished it, is it? And if I did was it you yourself
led me to lavish it or some other one? It is on my own floor I would
be to-day and in the face of my family, but for the misfortune I had
to be put with a bad next door neighbour that was yourself. What way
did my means go from me is it? Spending on fencing, spending on walls,
making up gates, putting up doors, that would keep your hens and your
ducks from coming in through starvation on my floor, and every four
footed beast you had from preying and trespassing on my oats and my
mangolds and my little lock of hay!

_Michael Miskell:_ O to listen to you! And I striving to please you
and to be kind to you and to close my ears to the abuse you would be
calling and letting out of your mouth. To trespass on your crops is
it? It’s little temptation there was for my poor beasts to ask to
cross the mering. My God Almighty! What had you but a little corner of
a field!

_Mike McInerney:_ And what do you say to my garden that your two pigs
had destroyed on me the year of the big tree being knocked, and they
making gaps in the wall.

_Michael Miskell:_ Ah, there does be a great deal of gaps knocked in a
twelvemonth. Why wouldn’t they be knocked by the thunder, the same as
the tree, or some storm that came up from the west?

_Mike McInerney:_ It was the west wind, I suppose, that devoured my
green cabbage? And that rooted up my Champion potatoes? And that ate
the gooseberries themselves from off the bush?

_Michael Miskell:_ What are you saying? The two quietest pigs ever I
had, no way wicked and well ringed. They were not ten minutes in it.
It would be hard for them eat strawberries in that time, let alone
gooseberries that’s full of thorns.

_Mike McInerney:_ They were not quiet, but very ravenous pigs you had
that time, as active as a fox they were, killing my young ducks. Once
they had blood tasted you couldn’t stop them.

_Michael Miskell:_ And what happened myself the fair day of
Esserkelly, the time I was passing your door? Two brazened dogs that
rushed out and took a piece of me. I never was the better of it or of
the start I got, but wasting from then till now!

_Mike McInerney:_ Thinking you were a wild beast they did, that had
made his escape out of the travelling show, with the red eyes of you
and the ugly face of you, and the two crooked legs of you that
wouldn’t hardly stop a pig in a gap. Sure any dog that had any life
in it at all would be roused and stirred seeing the like of you going
the road!

_Michael Miskell:_ I did well taking out a summons against you that
time. It is a great wonder you not to have been bound over through
your lifetime, but the laws of England is queer.

_Mike McInerney:_ What ailed me that I did not summons yourself after
you stealing away the clutch of eggs I had in the barrel, and I away
in Ardrahan searching out a clocking hen.

_Michael Miskell:_ To steal your eggs is it? Is that what you are
saying now? (_Holds up his hands._) The Lord is in heaven, and Peter
and the saints, and yourself that was in Ardrahan that day put a hand
on them as soon as myself! Isn’t it a bad story for me to be wearing
out my days beside you the same as a spancelled goat. Chained I am and
tethered I am to a man that is ramsacking his mind for lies!

_Mike McInerney:_ If it is a bad story for you, Michael Miskell, it is
a worse story again for myself. A Miskell to be next and near me
through the whole of the four quarters of the year. I never heard
there to be any great name on the Miskells as there was on my own race
and name.

_Michael Miskell:_ You didn’t, is it? Well, you could hear it if you
had but ears to hear it. Go across to Lisheen Crannagh and down to
the sea and to Newtown Lynch and the mills of Duras and you’ll find a
Miskell, and as far as Dublin!

_Mike McInerney:_ What signifies Crannagh and the mills of Duras? Look
at all my own generations that are buried at the Seven Churches. And
how many generations of the Miskells are buried in it? Answer me that!

_Michael Miskell:_ I tell you but for the wheat that was to be sowed
there would be more side cars and more common cars at my father’s
funeral (_God rest his soul!_) than at any funeral ever left your own
door. And as to my mother, she was a Cuffe from Claregalway, and it’s
she had the purer blood!

_Mike McInerney:_ And what do you say to the banshee? Isn’t she apt to
have knowledge of the ancient race? Was ever she heard to screech or
to cry for the Miskells? Or for the Cuffes from Claregalway? She was
not, but for the six families, the Hyneses, the Foxes, the Faheys, the
Dooleys, the McInerneys. It is of the nature of the McInerneys she is
I am thinking, crying them the same as a king’s children.

_Michael Miskell:_ It is a pity the banshee not to be crying for
yourself at this minute, and giving you a warning to quit your lies
and your chat and your arguing and your contrary ways; for there is no
one under the rising sun could stand you. I tell you you are not
behaving as in the presence of the Lord!

_Mike McInerney:_ Is it wishful for my death you are? Let it come and
meet me now and welcome so long as it will part me from yourself! And
I say, and I would kiss the book on it, I to have one request only to
be granted, and I leaving it in my will, it is what I would request,
nine furrows of the field, nine ridges of the hills, nine waves of the
ocean to be put between your grave and my own grave the time we will
be laid in the ground!

_Michael Miskell:_ Amen to that! Nine ridges, is it? No, but let the
whole ridge of the world separate us till the Day of Judgment! I would
not be laid anear you at the Seven Churches, I to get Ireland without
a divide!

_Mike McInerney:_ And after that again! I’d sooner than ten pound in
my hand, I to know that my shadow and my ghost will not be knocking
about with your shadow and your ghost, and the both of us waiting our
time. I’d sooner be delayed in Purgatory! Now, have you anything to
say?

_Michael Miskell:_ I have everything to say, if I had but the time to
say it!

_Mike McInerney:_ (_Sitting up._) Let me up out of this till I’ll
choke you!

_Michael Miskell:_ You scolding pauper you!

_Mike McInerney:_ (_Shaking his fist at him._) Wait a while!

_Michael Miskell:_ (_Shaking his fist._) Wait a while yourself!

  (_Mrs. Donohoe comes in with a parcel. She is a countrywoman
  with a frilled cap and a shawl. She stands still a minute. The
  two old men lie down and compose themselves._)

_Mrs. Donohoe:_ They bade me come up here by the stair. I never was in
this place at all. I don’t know am I right. Which now of the two of ye
is Mike McInerney?

_Mike McInerney:_ Who is it is calling me by my name?

_Mrs. Donohoe:_ Sure amn’t I your sister, Honor McInerney that was,
that is now Honor Donohoe.

_Mike McInerney:_ So you are, I believe. I didn’t know you till you
pushed anear me. It is time indeed for you to come see me, and I in
this place five year or more. Thinking me to be no credit to you, I
suppose, among that tribe of the Donohoes. I wonder they to give you
leave to come ask am I living yet or dead?

_Mrs. Donohoe:_ Ah, sure, I buried the whole string of them. Himself
was the last to go. (_Wipes her eyes._) The Lord be praised he got a
fine natural death. Sure we must go through our crosses. And he got a
lovely funeral; it would delight you to hear the priest reading the
Mass. My poor John Donohoe! A nice clean man, you couldn’t but be fond
of him. Very severe on the tobacco he was, but he wouldn’t touch the
drink.

_Mike McInerney:_ And is it in Curranroe you are living yet?

_Mrs. Donohoe:_ It is so. He left all to myself. But it is a lonesome
thing the head of a house to have died!

_Mike McInerney:_ I hope that he has left you a nice way of living?

_Mrs. Donohoe:_ Fair enough, fair enough. A wide lovely house I have;
a few acres of grass land ... the grass does be very sweet that grows
among the stones. And as to the sea, there is something from it every
day of the year, a handful of periwinkles to make kitchen, or cockles
maybe. There is many a thing in the sea is not decent, but cockles is
fit to put before the Lord!

_Mike McInerney:_ You have all that! And you without ere a man in the
house?

_Mrs. Donohoe:_ It is what I am thinking, yourself might come and keep
me company. It is no credit to me a brother of my own to be in this
place at all.

_Mike McInerney:_ I’ll go with you! Let me out of this! It is the name
of the McInerneys will be rising on every side!

_Mrs. Donohoe:_ I don’t know. I was ignorant of you being kept to the
bed.

_Mike McInerney:_ I am not kept to it, but maybe an odd time when
there is a colic rises up within me. My stomach always gets better the
time there is a change in the moon. I’d like well to draw anear you.
My heavy blessing on you, Honor Donohoe, for the hand you have held
out to me this day.

_Mrs. Donohoe:_ Sure you could be keeping the fire in, and stirring
the pot with the bit of Indian meal for the hens, and milking the goat
and taking the tacklings off the donkey at the door; and maybe putting
out the cabbage plants in their time. For when the old man died the
garden died.

_Mike McInerney:_ I could to be sure, and be cutting the potatoes for
seed. What luck could there be in a place and a man not to be in it?
Is that now a suit of clothes you have brought with you?

_Mrs. Donohoe:_ It is so, the way you will be tasty coming in among
the neighbours at Curranroe.

_Mike McInerney:_ My joy you are! It is well you earned me! Let me up
out of this! (He sits up and spreads out the clothes and tries on
coat.) That now is a good frieze coat ... and a hat in the fashion ...
(_He puts on hat._)

_Michael Miskell:_ (_Alarmed._) And is it going out of this you are,
Mike McInerney?

_Mike McInerney:_ Don’t you hear I am going? To Curranroe I am going.
Going I am to a place where I will get every good thing!

_Michael Miskell:_ And is it to leave me here after you you will?

_Mike McInerney:_ (_In a rising chant._) Every good thing! The goat
and the kid are there, the sheep and the lamb are there, the cow does
be running and she coming to be milked! Ploughing and seed sowing,
blossom at Christmas time, the cuckoo speaking through the dark days
of the year! Ah, what are you talking about? Wheat high in hedges, no
talk about the rent! Salmon in the rivers as plenty as turf! Spending
and getting and nothing scarce! Sport and pleasure, and music on the
strings! Age will go from me and I will be young again. Geese and
turkeys for the hundreds and drink for the whole world!

_Michael Miskell:_ Ah, Mike, is it truth you are saying, you to go
from me and to leave me with rude people and with townspeople, and
with people of every parish in the union, and they having no respect
for me or no wish for me at all!

_Mike McInerney:_ Whist now and I’ll leave you ... my pipe (_hands it
over_); and I’ll engage it is Honor Donohoe won’t refuse to be sending
you a few ounces of tobacco an odd time, and neighbours coming to the
fair in November or in the month of May.

_Michael Miskell:_ Ah, what signifies tobacco? All that I am craving
is the talk. There to be no one at all to say out to whatever thought
might be rising in my innate mind! To be lying here and no conversible
person in it would be the abomination of misery!

_Mike McInerney:_ Look now, Honor.... It is what I often heard said,
two to be better than one.... Sure if you had an old trouser was full
of holes ... or a skirt ... wouldn’t you put another in under it that
might be as tattered as itself, and the two of them together would
make some sort of a decent show?

_Mrs. Donohoe:_ Ah, what are you saying? There is no holes in that
suit I brought you now, but as sound it is as the day I spun it for
himself.

_Mike McInerney:_ It is what I am thinking, Honor ... I do be weak an
odd time ... any load I would carry, it preys upon my side ... and
this man does be weak an odd time with the swelling in his knees ...
but the two of us together it’s not likely it is at the one time we
would fail. Bring the both of us with you, Honor, and the height of
the castle of luck on you, and the both of us together will make one
good hardy man!

_Mrs. Donohoe:_ I’d like my job! Is it queer in the head you are grown
asking me to bring in a stranger off the road?

_Michael Miskell:_ I am not, ma’am, but an old neighbour I am. If I
had forecasted this asking I would have asked it myself. Michael
Miskell I am, that was in the next house to you in Skehanagh!

_Mrs. Donohoe:_ For pity’s sake! Michael Miskell is it? That’s worse
again. Yourself and Mike that never left fighting and scolding and
attacking one another! Sparring at one another like two young pups you
were, and threatening one another after like two grown dogs!

_Mike McInerney:_ All the quarrelling was ever in the place it was
myself did it. Sure his anger rises fast and goes away like the wind.
Bring him out with myself now, Honor Donohoe, and God bless you.

_Mrs. Donohoe:_ Well, then, I will not bring him out, and I will not
bring yourself out, and you not to learn better sense. Are you making
yourself ready to come?

_Mike McInerney:_ I am thinking, maybe ... it is a mean thing for a
man that is shivering into seventy years to go changing from place to
place.

_Mrs. Donohoe:_ Well, take your luck or leave it. All I asked was to
save you from the hurt and the harm of the year.

_Mike McInerney:_ Bring the both of us with you or I will not stir out
of this.

_Mrs. Donohoe:_ Give me back my fine suit so (_begins gathering up the
clothes_), till I’ll go look for a man of my own!

_Mike McInerney:_ Let you go so, as you are so unnatural and so
disobliging, and look for some man of your own, God help him! For I
will not go with you at all!

_Mrs. Donohoe:_ It is too much time I lost with you, and dark night
waiting to overtake me on the road. Let the two of you stop together,
and the back of my hand to you. It is I will leave you there the same
as God left the Jews!

  (_She goes out. The old men lie down and are silent for a moment._)

_Michael Miskell:_ Maybe the house is not so wide as what she says.

_Mike McInerney:_ Why wouldn’t it be wide?

_Michael Miskell:_ Ah, there does be a good deal of middling poor
houses down by the sea.

_Mike McInerney:_ What would you know about wide houses? Whatever sort
of a house you had yourself it was too wide for the provision you had
into it.

_Michael Miskell:_ Whatever provision I had in my house it was
wholesome provision and natural provision. Herself and her
periwinkles! Periwinkles is a hungry sort of food.

_Mike McInerney:_ Stop your impudence and your chat or it will be the
worse for you. I’d bear with my own father and mother as long as any
man would, but if they’d vex me I would give them the length of a rope
as soon as another!

_Michael Miskell:_ I would never ask at all to go eating periwinkles.

_Mike McInerney:_ (_Sitting up._) Have you anyone to fight me?

_Michael Miskell:_ (_Whimpering._) I have not, only the Lord!

_Mike McInerney:_ Let you leave putting insults on me so, and death
picking at you!

_Michael Miskell:_ Sure I am saying nothing at all to displease you.
It is why I wouldn’t go eating periwinkles, I’m in dread I might
swallow the pin.

_Mike McInerney:_ Who in the world wide is asking you to eat them?
You’re as tricky as a fish in the full tide!

_Michael Miskell:_ Tricky is it! Oh, my curse and the curse of the
four and twenty men upon you!

_Mike McInerney:_ That the worm may chew you from skin to marrow bone!
(_Seizes his pillow._)

_Michael Miskell:_ (_Seizing his own pillow._) I’ll leave my death on
you, you scheming vagabone!

_Mike McInerney:_ By cripes! I’ll pull out your pin feathers!
(_Throwing pillow._)

_Michael Miskell:_ (_Throwing pillow._) You tyrant! You big bully you!

_Mike McInerney:_ (_Throwing pillow and seizing mug._) Take this so,
you stobbing ruffian you!

  (_They throw all within their reach at one another, mugs,
  prayer books, pipes, etc._)


_Curtain_



THE TRAVELLING MAN


PERSONS

   _A Mother._
   _A Child._
   _A Travelling Man._


THE TRAVELLING MAN

A MIRACLE PLAY


  _Scene: A cottage kitchen. A woman setting out a bowl and jug
  and board on the table for bread-making._

_Child:_ What is it you are going to make, mother?

_Mother:_ I am going to make a grand cake with white flour. Seeds I
will put in it. Maybe I’ll make a little cake for yourself too. You
can be baking it in the little pot while the big one will be baking in
the big pot.

_Child:_ It is a pity daddy to be away at the fair on a Samhain night.

_Mother:_ I must make my feast all the same, for Samhain night is more
to me than to any other one. It was on this night seven years I first
came into this house.

_Child:_ You will be taking down those plates from the dresser so,
those plates with flowers on them, and be putting them on the table.

_Mother:_ I will. I will set out the house to-day, and bring down the
best delf, and put whatever thing is best on the table, because of the
great thing that happened me seven years ago.

_Child:_ What great thing was that?

_Mother:_ I was after being driven out of the house where I was a
serving girl....

_Child:_ Where was that house? Tell me about it.

_Mother:_ (_Sitting down and pointing southward._) It is over there I
was living, in a farmer’s house up on Slieve Echtge, near to Slieve na
n-Or, the Golden Mountain.

_Child:_ The Golden Mountain! That must be a grand place.

_Mother:_ Not very grand indeed, but bare and cold enough at that time
of the year. Anyway, I was driven out a Samhain day like this, because
of some things that were said against me.

_Child:_ What did you do then?

_Mother:_ What had I to do but to go walking the bare bog road through
the rough hills where there was no shelter to find, and the sharp wind
going through me, and the red mud heavy on my shoes. I came to
Kilbecanty....

_Child:_ I know Kilbecanty. That is where the woman in the shop gave
me sweets out of a bottle.

_Mother:_ So she might now, but that night her door was shut and all
the doors were shut; and I saw through the windows the boys and the
girls sitting round the hearth and playing their games, and I had no
courage to ask for shelter. In dread I was they might think some
shameful thing of me, and I going the road alone in the night-time.

_Child:_ Did you come here after that?

_Mother:_ I went on down the hill in the darkness, and with the dint
of my trouble and the length of the road my strength failed me, and I
had like to fall. So I did fall at the last, meeting with a heap of
broken stones by the roadside.

_Child:_ I hurt my knee one time I fell on the stones.

_Mother:_ It was then the great thing happened. I saw a stranger
coming towards me, a very tall man, the best I ever saw, bright and
shining that you could see him through the darkness; and I knew him to
be no common man.

_Child:_ Who was he?

_Mother:_ It is what I thought, that he was the King of the World.

_Child:_ Had he a crown like a King?

_Mother:_ If he had, it was made of the twigs of a bare blackthorn;
but in his hand he had a green branch, that never grew on a tree of
this world. He took me by the hand, and he led me over the
stepping-stones outside to this door, and he bade me to go in and I
would find good shelter. I was kneeling down to thank him, but he
raised me up and he said, “I will come to see you some other time.
And do not shut up your heart in the things I give you,” he said, “but
have a welcome before me.”

_Child:_ Did he go away then?

_Mother:_ I saw him no more after that, but I did as he bade me. (_She
stands up and goes to the door._) I came in like this, and your father
was sitting there by the hearth, a lonely man that was after losing
his wife. He was alone and I was alone, and we married one another;
and I never wanted since for shelter or safety. And a good wife I made
him, and a good housekeeper.

_Child:_ Will the King come again to the house?

_Mother:_ I have his word for it he will come, but he did not come
yet; it is often your father and myself looked out the door of a
Samhain night, thinking to see him.

_Child:_ I hope he won’t come in the night time, and I asleep.

_Mother:_ It is of him I do be thinking every year, and I setting out
the house, and making a cake for the supper.

_Child:_ What will he do when he comes in?

_Mother:_ He will sit over there in the chair, and maybe he will taste
a bit of the cake. I will call in all the neighbours; I will tell them
he is here. They will not be keeping it in their mind against me then
that I brought nothing, coming to the house. They will know I am
before any of them, the time they know who it is has come to visit me.
They will all kneel down and ask for his blessing. But the best
blessing will be on the house he came to of himself.

_Child:_ And are you going to make the cake now?

_Mother:_ I must make it now indeed, or I will be late with it. I am
late as it is; I was expecting one of the neighbours to bring me white
flour from the town. I’ll wait no longer, I’ll go borrow it in some
place. There will be a wedding in the stonecutter’s house Thursday,
it’s likely there will be flour in the house.

_Child:_ Let me go along with you.

_Mother:_ It is best for you to stop here. Be a good child now, and
don’t be meddling with the things on the table. Sit down there by the
hearth and break up those little sticks I am after bringing in. Make a
little heap of them now before me, and we will make a good fire to
bake the cake. See now how many will you break. Don’t go out the door
while I’m away, I would be in dread of you going near the river and it
in flood. Behave yourself well now. Be counting the sticks as you
break them.

  (_She goes out._)

_Child:_ (_Sitting down and breaking sticks across his knee._) One—and
two—O I can break this one into a great many, one, two, three,
four.—This one is wet—I don’t like a wet one—five, six—that is a great
heap.—Let me try that great big one.—That is too hard.—I don’t think
mother could break that one.—Daddy could break it.

  (_Half-door is opened and a travelling man comes in. He wears a
  ragged white flannel shirt, and mud-stained trousers. He is
  bareheaded and barefooted, and carries a little branch in his
  hand._)

_Travelling Man:_ (_Stooping over the child and taking the stick._)
Give it here to me and hold this.

  (_He puts the branch in the child’s hand while he takes the
  stick and breaks it._)

_Child:_ That is a good branch, apples on it and flowers. The tree at
the mill has apples yet, but all the flowers are gone. Where did you
get this branch?

_Travelling Man:_ I got it in a garden a long way off.

_Child:_ Where is the garden? Where do you come from?

_Travelling Man:_ (_Pointing southward._) I have come from beyond
those hills.

_Child:_ Is it from the Golden Mountain you are come? From Slieve na
n-Or?

_Travelling Man:_ That is where I come from surely, from the Golden
Mountain. I would like to sit down and rest for a while.

_Child:_ Sit down here beside me. We must not go near the table or
touch anything, or mother will be angry. Mother is going to make a
beautiful cake, a cake that will be fit for a King that might be
coming in to our supper.

_Travelling Man:_ I will sit here with you on the floor.

  (_Sits down._)

_Child:_ Tell me now about the Golden Mountain.

_Travelling Man:_ There is a garden in it, and there is a tree in the
garden that has fruit and flowers at the one time.

_Child:_ Like this branch?

_Travelling Man:_ Just like that little branch.

_Child:_ What other things are in the garden?

_Travelling Man:_ There are birds of all colours that sing at every
hour, the way the people will come to their prayers. And there is a
high wall about the garden.

_Child:_ What way can the people get through the wall?

_Travelling Man:_ There are four gates in the wall: a gate of gold,
and a gate of silver, and a gate of crystal, and a gate of white
brass.

_Child:_ (_Taking up the sticks._) I will make a garden. I will make a
wall with these sticks.

_Travelling Man:_ This big stick will make the first wall.

  (_They build a square wall with sticks._)

_Child:_ (_Taking up branch._) I will put this in the middle. This is
the tree. I will get something to make it stand up. (_Gets up and
looks at dresser._) I can’t reach it, get up and give me that shining
jug.

  (_Travelling Man gets up and gives him the jug._)

_Travelling Man:_ Here it is for you.

_Child:_ (_Puts it within the walls and sets the branch in it._) Tell
me something else that is in the garden?

_Travelling Man:_ There are four wells of water in it, that are as
clear as glass.

_Child:_ Get me down those cups, those flowery cups, we will put them
for wells. (_He hands them down._) Now I will make the gates, give me
those plates for gates, not those ugly ones, those nice ones at the
top.

  (_He takes them down and they put them on the four sides for
  gates. The Child gets up and looks at it._)

_Travelling Man:_ There now, it is finished.

_Child:_ Is it as good as the other garden? How can we go to the
Golden Mountain to see the other garden?

_Travelling Man:_ We can ride to it.

_Child:_ But we have no horse.

_Travelling Man:_ This form will be our horse. (_He draws a form out
of the corner, and sits down astride on it, putting the child before
him._) Now, off we go! (_Sings, the child repeating the refrain_)—

       Come ride and ride to the garden,
         Come ride and ride with a will:
       For the flower comes with the fruit there
         Beyond a hill and a hill.

   _Refrain_

       Come ride and ride to the garden,
         Come ride like the March wind;
       There’s barley there, and water there,
         And stabling to your mind.

_Travelling Man:_ How did you like that ride, little horseman?

_Child:_ Go on again! I want another ride!

_Travelling Man_ (_sings_)—

       The Archangels stand in a row there
         And all the garden bless,
       The Archangel Axel, Victor the angel
         Work at the cider press.

   _Refrain_

       Come ride and ride to the garden, &c.

_Child:_ We will soon be at the Golden Mountain now. Ride again. Sing
another song.

_Travelling Man_ (_sings_)—


       O scent of the broken apples!
         O shuffling of holy shoes!
       Beyond a hill and a hill there
         In the land that no one knows.

   _Refrain_

       Come ride and ride to the garden, &c.


_Child:_ Now another ride.

_Travelling Man:_ This will be the last. It will be a good ride.

  (_The mother comes in. She stares for a second, then throws
  down her basket and snatches up the child._)

_Mother:_ Did ever anyone see the like of that! A common beggar, a
travelling man off the roads, to be holding the child! To be leaving
his ragged arms about him as if he was of his own sort! Get out of
that, whoever you are, and quit this house or I’ll call to some that
will make you quit it.

_Child:_ Do not send him out! He is not a bad man; he is a good man;
he was playing horses with me. He has grand songs.

_Mother:_ Let him get away out of this now, himself and his share of
songs. Look at the way he has your bib destroyed that I was after
washing in the morning!

_Child:_ He was holding me on the horse. We were riding, I might have
fallen. He held me.

_Mother:_ I give you my word you are done now with riding horses. Let
him go on his road. I have no time to be cleaning the place after the
like of him.

_Child:_ He is tired. Let him stop here till evening.

_Travelling Man:_ Let me rest here for a while, I have been travelling
a long way.

_Mother:_ Where did you come from to-day?

_Travelling Man:_ I came over Slieve Echtge from Slieve na n-Or. I had
no house to stop in. I walked the long bog road, the wind was going
through me, there was no shelter to be got, the red mud of the road
was heavy on my feet. I got no welcome in the villages, and so I came
on to this place, to the rising of the river at Ballylee.

_Mother:_ It is best for you to go on to the town. It is not far for
you to go. We will maybe have company coming in here.

  (_She pours out flour into a bowl and begins mixing._)

_Travelling Man:_ Will you give me a bit of that dough to bring with
me? I have gone a long time fasting.

_Mother:_ It is not often in the year I make bread like this. There
are a few cold potatoes on the dresser, are they not good enough for
you? There is many a one would be glad to get them.

_Travelling Man:_ Whatever you will give me, I will take it.

_Mother:_ (_Going to the dresser for the potatoes and looking at the
shelves._) What in the earthly world has happened all the delf? Where
are the jugs gone and the plates? They were all in it when I went out
a while ago.

_Child:_ (_Hanging his head._) We were making a garden with them. We
were making that garden there in the corner.

_Mother:_ Is that what you were doing after I bidding you to sit still
and to keep yourself quiet? It is to tie you in the chair I will
another time! My grand jugs! (_She picks them up and wipes them._) My
plates that I bought the first time I ever went marketing into Gort.
The best in the shop they were. (_One slips from her hand and
breaks._) Look at that now, look what you are after doing.

  (_She gives a slap at the child._)

_Travelling Man:_ Do not blame the child. It was I myself took them
down from the dresser.

_Mother:_ (_Turning on him._) It was you took them! What business had
you doing that? It’s the last time a tramp or a tinker or a rogue of
the roads will have a chance of laying his hand on anything in this
house. It is jailed you should be! What did you want touching the
dresser at all? Is it looking you were for what you could bring away?

_Travelling Man:_ (_Taking the child’s hands._) I would not refuse
these hands that were held out for them. If it was for the four winds
of the world he had asked, I would have put their bridles into these
innocent hands.

_Mother:_ (_Taking up the jug and throwing the branch on the floor._)
Get out of this! Get out of this I tell you! There is no shelter here
for the like of you! Look at that mud on the floor! You are not fit to
come into the house of any decent respectable person!

  (_The room begins to darken._)

_Travelling Man:_ Indeed, I am more used to the roads than to the
shelter of houses. It is often I have spent the night on the bare
hills.

_Mother:_ No wonder in that! (_She begins to sweep floor._) Go out of
this now to whatever company you are best used to, whatever they are.
The worst of people it is likely they are, thieves and drunkards and
shameless women.

_Travelling Man:_ Maybe so. Drunkards and thieves and shameless women,
stones that have fallen, that are trodden under foot, bodies that are
spoiled with sores, bodies that are worn with fasting, minds that are
broken with much sinning, the poor, the mad, the bad....

_Mother:_ Get out with you! Go back to your friends, I say!

_Travelling Man:_ I will go. I will go back to the high road that is
walked by the bare feet of the poor, by the innocent bare feet of
children. I will go back to the rocks and the wind, to the cries of
the trees in the storm! (_He goes out._)

_Child:_ He has forgotten his branch!

  (_Takes it and follows him._)

_Mother:_ (_Still sweeping._) My good plates from the dresser, and
dirty red mud on the floor, and the sticks all scattered in every
place. (_Stoops to pick them up._) Where is the child gone? (_Goes to
door._) I don’t see him—he couldn’t have gone to the river—it is
getting dark—the bank is slippy. Come back! Come back! Where are you?
(_Child runs in._)

_Mother:_ O where were you? I was in dread it was to the river you
were gone, or into the river.

_Child:_ I went after him. He is gone over the river.

_Mother:_ He couldn’t do that. He couldn’t go through the flood.

_Child:_ He did go over it. He was as if walking on the water. There
was a light before his feet.

_Mother:_ That could not be so. What put that thought in your mind?

_Child:_ I called to him to come back for the branch, and he turned
where he was in the river, and he bade me to bring it back, and to
show it to yourself.

_Mother:_ (_Taking the branch._) There are fruit and flowers on it. It
is a branch that is not of any earthly tree. (_Falls on her knees._)
He is gone, he is gone, and I never knew him! He was that stranger
that gave me all! He is the King of the World!



THE GAOL GATE


PERSONS

   _Mary Cahel_         AN OLD WOMAN
   _Mary Cushin_        HER DAUGHTER-IN-LAW
   _The Gatekeeper_


THE GAOL GATE


  _Scene: Outside the gate of Galway Gaol. Two countrywomen, one
  in a long dark cloak, the other with a shawl over her head,
  have just come in. It is just before dawn._


_Mary Cahel:_ I am thinking we are come to our journey’s end, and that
this should be the gate of the gaol.

_Mary Cushin:_ It is certain it could be no other place. There was
surely never in the world such a terrible great height of a wall.

_Mary Cahel:_ He that was used to the mountain to be closed up inside
of that! What call had he to go moonlighting or to bring himself into
danger at all?

_Mary Cushin:_ It is no wonder a man to grow faint-hearted and he shut
away from the light. I never would wonder at all at anything he might
be driven to say.

_Mary Cahel:_ There were good men were gaoled before him never gave in
to anyone at all. It is what I am thinking, Mary, he might not have
done what they say.

_Mary Cushin:_ Sure you heard what the neighbours were calling the
time their own boys were brought away. “It is Denis Cahel,” they were
saying, “that informed against them in the gaol.”

_Mary Cahel:_ There is nothing that is bad or is wicked but a woman
will put it out of her mouth, and she seeing them that belong to her
brought away from her sight and her home.

_Mary Cushin:_ Terry Fury’s mother was saying it, and Pat Ruane’s
mother and his wife. They came out calling it after me, “It was Denis
swore against them in the gaol!” The sergeant was boasting, they were
telling me, the day he came searching Daire-caol, it was he himself
got his confession with drink he had brought him in the gaol.

_Mary Cahel:_ They might have done that, the ruffians, and the boy
have no blame on him at all. Why should it be cast up against him, and
his wits being out of him with drink?

_Mary Cushin:_ If he did give their names up itself, there was maybe
no wrong in it at all. Sure it’s known to all the village it was Terry
that fired the shot.

_Mary Cahel:_ Stop your mouth now and don’t be talking. You haven’t
any sense worth while. Let the sergeant do his own business with no
help from the neighbours at all.

_Mary Cushin:_ It was Pat Ruane that tempted them on account of some
vengeance of his own. Every creature knows my poor Denis never handled
a gun in his life.

_Mary Cahel:_ (_Taking from under her cloak a long blue envelope._) I
wish we could know what is in the letter they are after sending us
through the post. Isn’t it a great pity for the two of us to be
without learning at all?

_Mary Cushin:_ There are some of the neighbours have learning, and you
bade me not bring it anear them. It would maybe have told us what way
he is or what time he will be quitting the gaol.

_Mary Cahel:_ There is wonder on me, Mary Cushin, that you would not
be content with what I say. It might be they put down in the letter
that Denis informed on the rest.

_Mary Cushin:_ I suppose it is all we have to do so, to stop here for
the opening of the door. It’s a terrible long road from Slieve Echtge
we were travelling the whole of the night.

_Mary Cahel:_ There was no other thing for us to do but to come and to
give him a warning. What way would he be facing the neighbours, and he
to come back to Daire-caol?

_Mary Cushin:_ It is likely they will let him go free, Mary, before
many days will be out. What call have they to be keeping him? It is
certain they promised him his life.

_Mary Cahel:_ If they promised him his life, Mary Cushin, he must live
it in some other place. Let him never see Daire-caol again, or Daroda
or Druimdarod.

_Mary Cushin:_ O, Mary, what place will we bring him to, and we driven
from the place that we know? What person that is sent among strangers
can have one day’s comfort on earth?

_Mary Cahel:_ It is only among strangers, I am thinking, he could be
hiding his story at all. It is best for him to go to America, where
the people are as thick as grass.

_Mary Cushin:_ What way could he go to America and he having no means
in his hand? There’s himself and myself to make the voyage and the
little one-een at home.

_Mary Cahel:_ I would sooner to sell the holding than to ask for the
price paid for blood. There’ll be money enough for the two of you to
settle your debts and to go.

_Mary Cushin:_ And what would yourself be doing and we to go over the
sea? It is not among the neighbours you would wish to be ending your
days.

_Mary Cahel:_ I am thinking there is no one would know me in the
workhouse at Oughterard. I wonder could I go in there, and I not to
give them my name?

_Mary Cushin:_ Ah, don’t be talking foolishness. What way could I
bring the child? Sure he’s hardly out of the cradle; he’d be lost out
there in the States.

_Mary Cahel:_ I could bring him into the workhouse, I to give him some
other name. You could send for him when you’d be settled or have some
place of your own.

_Mary Cushin:_ It is very cold at the dawn. It is time for them open
the door. I wish I had brought a potato or a bit of a cake or of
bread.

_Mary Cahel:_ I’m in dread of it being opened and not knowing what
will we hear. The night that Denis was taken he had a great cold and a
cough.

_Mary Cushin:_ I think I hear some person coming. There’s a sound like
the rattling of keys. God and His Mother protect us! I’m in dread of
being found here at all!

  (_The gate is opened, and the Gatekeeper is seen with a lantern
  in his hand._)

_Gatekeeper:_ What are you doing here, women? It’s no place to be
spending the night time.

_Mary Cahel:_ It is to speak with my son I am asking, that is gaoled
these eight weeks and a day.

_Gatekeeper:_ If you have no order to visit him it’s as good for you
go away home.

_Mary Cahel:_ I got this letter ere yesterday. It might be it is
giving me leave.

_Gatekeeper:_ If that’s so he should be under the doctor, or in the
hospital ward.

_Mary Cahel:_ It’s no wonder if he’s down with the hardship, for he
had a great cough and a cold.

_Gatekeeper:_ Give me here the letter to read it. Sure it never was
opened at all.

_Mary Cahel:_ Myself and this woman have no learning. We were loth to
trust any other one.

_Gatekeeper:_ It was posted in Galway the twentieth, and this is the
last of the month.

_Mary Cahel:_ We never thought to call at the post office. It was
chance brought it to us in the end.

_Gatekeeper:_ (_Having read letter._) You poor unfortunate women,
don’t you know Denis Cahel is dead? You’d a right to come this time
yesterday if you wished any last word at all.

_Mary Cahel:_ (_Kneeling down._) God and His Mother protect us and
have mercy on Denis’s soul!

_Mary Cushin:_ What is the man after saying? Sure it cannot be Denis
is dead?

_Gatekeeper:_ Dead since the dawn of yesterday, and another man now in
his cell. I’ll go see who has charge of his clothing if you’re wanting
to bring it away.

  (_He goes in. The dawn has begun to break._)

_Mary Cahel:_ There is lasting kindness in Heaven when no kindness is
found upon earth. There will surely be mercy found for him, and not
the hard judgment of men! But my boy that was best in the world, that
never rose a hair of my head, to have died with his name under
blemish, and left a great shame on his child! Better for him have
killed the whole world than to give any witness at all! Have you no
word to say, Mary Cushin? Am I left here to keen him alone?

_Mary Cushin:_ (_Who has sunk on to the step before the door, rocking
herself and keening._) Oh, Denis, my heart is broken you to have died
with the hard word upon you! My grief you to be alone now that spent
so many nights in company!

What way will I be going back through Gort and through Kilbecanty? The
people will not be coming out keening you, they will say no prayer for
the rest of your soul!

What way will I be the Sunday and I going up the hill to the Mass?
Every woman with her own comrade, and Mary Cushin to be walking her
lone!

What way will I be the Monday and the neighbours turning their heads
from the house? The turf Denis cut lying on the bog, and no
well-wisher to bring it to the hearth!

What way will I be in the night time, and none but the dog calling
after you? Two women to be mixing a cake, and not a man in the house
to break it!

What way will I sow the field, and no man to drive the furrow? The
sheaf to be scattered before springtime that was brought together at
the harvest!

I would not begrudge you, Denis, and you leaving praises after you.
The neighbours keening along with me would be better to me than an
estate.

But my grief your name to be blackened in the time of the blackening
of the rushes! Your name never to rise up again in the growing time of
the year! (_She ceases keening and turns towards the old woman._) But
tell me, Mary, do you think would they give us the body of Denis? I
would lay him out with myself only; I would hire some man to dig the
grave.

  (_The Gatekeeper opens the gate and hands out some clothes._)

_Gatekeeper:_ There now is all he brought in with him; the flannels
and the shirt and the shoes. It is little they are worth altogether;
those mountainy boys do be poor.

_Mary Cushin:_ They had a right to give him time to ready himself the
day they brought him to the magistrates. He to be wearing his Sunday
coat, they would see he was a decent boy. Tell me where will they bury
him, the way I can follow after him through the street? There is no
other one to show respect to him but Mary Cahel, his mother, and
myself.

_Gatekeeper:_ That is not to be done. He is buried since yesterday in
the field that is belonging to the gaol.

_Mary Cushin:_ It is a great hardship that to have been done, and not
one of his own there to follow after him at all.

_Gatekeeper:_ Those that break the law must be made an example of. Why
would they be laid out like a well behaved man? A long rope and a
short burying, that is the order for a man that is hanged.

_Mary Cushin:_ A man that was hanged! O Denis, was it they that made
an end of you and not the great God at all? His curse and my own curse
upon them that did not let you die on the pillow! The curse of God be
fulfilled that was on them before they were born! My curse upon them
that brought harm on you, and on Terry Fury that fired the shot!

_Mary Cahel:_ (_Standing up._) And the other boys, did they hang them
along with him, Terry Fury and Pat Ruane that were brought from
Daire-caol?

_Gatekeeper:_ They did not, but set them free twelve hours ago. It is
likely you may have passed them in the night time.

_Mary Cushin:_ Set free is it, and Denis made an end of? What justice
is there in the world at all?

_Gatekeeper:_ He was taken near the house. They knew his footmark.
There was no witness given against the rest worth while.

_Mary Cahel:_ Then the sergeant was lying and the people were lying
when they said Denis Cahel had informed in the gaol?

_Gatekeeper:_ I have no time to be stopping here talking. The judge
got no evidence and the law set them free.

  (_He goes in and shuts gate after him._)

_Mary Cahel:_ (_Holding out her hands._) Are there any people in the
streets at all till I call on them to come hither? Did they ever hear
in Galway such a thing to be done, a man to die for his neighbour?

Tell it out in the streets for the people to hear, Denis Cahel from
Slieve Echtge is dead. It was Denis Cahel from Daire-caol that died in
the place of his neighbour!

It is he was young and comely and strong, the best reaper and the best
hurler. It was not a little thing for him to die, and he protecting
his neighbour!

Gather up, Mary Cushin, the clothes for your child; they’ll be wanted
by this one and that one. The boys crossing the sea in the springtime
will be craving a thread for a memory.

One word to the judge and Denis was free, they offered him all sorts
of riches. They brought him drink in the gaol, and gold, to swear
away the life of his neighbour!

Pat Ruane was no good friend to him at all, but a foolish, wild
companion; it was Terry Fury knocked a gap in the wall and sent in the
calves to our meadow.

Denis would not speak, he shut his mouth, he would never be an
informer. It is no lie he would have said at all giving witness
against Terry Fury.

I will go through Gort and Kilbecanty and Druimdarod and Daroda; I
will call to the people and the singers at the fairs to make a great
praise for Denis!

The child he left in the house that is shook, it is great will be his
boast in his father! All Ireland will have a welcome before him, and
all the people in Boston.

I to stoop on a stick through half a hundred years, I will never be
tired with praising! Come hither, Mary Cushin, till we’ll shout it
through the roads, Denis Cahel died for his neighbour!

  (_She goes off to the left, Mary Cushin following her._)


_Curtain_



MUSIC FOR THE SONGS IN THE PLAYS


[Illustration: Music sheet for THE RED-HAIRED MAN’S WIFE

   THE RED-HAIRED MAN’S WIFE

   _Spreading the News._

   I thought, my first love, there’d be but one house between you and me,
   And I thought I would find yourself coaxing my child on your knee.
   Over the tide I would leap with the leap of a swan,
   Till I came to the side of the wife of the red-haired man.]


[Illustration: Music sheet for GRANUAILE

   GRANUAILE

   _The Rising of the Moon._

   As through the hills I walked to view the bills and sham-rock plain,
   I stood a while where nature smiles to view the rocks and streams.
   On a ma-tron fair I fixed my eyes beneath a fer-tile vale,
   As she sang her song—it was on the wrong of poor old Gran-u-aile.

   Her head was bare, her hands and feet with iron bands were bound,
   Her pensive strain and plaintive wail mingles with the evening gale,
   And the song she sang with mournful air, I am old Granuaile,
   Her lips so sweet that monarchs kissed--]


[Illustration: Music sheet for JOHNNY HART

JOHNNY HART

   _The Rising of the Moon._

   There was a rich far-mer’s daugh-ter lived near the town of Ross;
   She courted a High-land soldier, His name was John-ny Hart;
   Says the mother to her daughter, “I’ll go distracted mad
   If you mar-ry that Highland soldier dressed up to his High-land plaid.”]


[Illustration: Music sheet for THE RISING OF THE MOON

   THE RISING OF THE MOON

   O, then, tell me, Shawn O’ Far-rell, where the gath’ring is to be.
   In the old spot by the river, Right well known to you and me.
   One word more, for signal token whistle up the march-ing tune,
   With your pike up - on your shoulder at the rising of the moon.]


[Illustration: Music sheet for GAOL GATE

   GAOL GATE

   Caions.

   _Tempo, ad lib._

   What way will I be the Sun-day
   And I going up the hill to the Mass;
   Ev’ry woman with her own comrade
   And Mary Cush-in to be walk-ing her lone.

   {_Spoken_.}
   What way drive the furrow?
   {_Sings_.}
   The sheaf to be scat-tered before spring-time that was
     brought together at the harvest!

   {_Spoken_.}
   I would not—an estate.
   {_Sings_.}
   But my grief your name to be blackened in
     the time of the black’ning of the rushes
   Your ... name never to rise up again
   In the growing time ... of ... the year.]



NOTES AND CASTS

SPREADING THE NEWS

The idea of this play first came to me as a tragedy. I kept seeing as
in a picture people sitting by the roadside, and a girl passing to the
market, gay and fearless. And then I saw her passing by the same place
at evening, her head hanging, the heads of others turned from her,
because of some sudden story that had risen out of a chance word, and
had snatched away her good name.

But comedy and not tragedy was wanted at our theatre to put beside the
high poetic work, _The King’s Threshold_, _The Shadowy Waters_, _On
Baile’s Strand_, _The Well of the Saints_; and I let laughter have its
way with the little play. I was delayed in beginning it for a while,
because I could only think of Bartley Fallon as dull-witted or silly
or ignorant, and the handcuffs seemed too harsh a punishment. But one
day by the sea at Duras a melancholy man who was telling me of the
crosses he had gone through at home said—“But I’m thinking if I went
to America, its long ago to-day I’d be dead. And its a great expense
for a poor man to be buried in America.” Bartley was born at that
moment, and, far from harshness, I felt I was providing him with a
happy old age in giving him the lasting glory of that great and
crowning day of misfortune.

It has been acted very often by other companies as well as our own,
and the Boers have done me the honour of translating and pirating it.


HYACINTH HALVEY

I was pointed out one evening a well-brushed, well-dressed man in the
stalls, and was told gossip about him, perhaps not all true, which
made me wonder if that appearance and behaviour as of extreme
respectability might not now and again be felt a burden.

After a while he translated himself in my mind into Hyacinth; and as
one must set one’s original a little way off to get a translation
rather than a tracing, he found himself in Cloon, where, as in other
parts of our country, “character” is built up or destroyed by a
password or an emotion, rather than by experience and deliberation.

The idea was more of a universal one than I knew at the first, and I
have had but uneasy appreciation from some apparently blameless
friends.


THE RISING OF THE MOON

When I was a child and came with my elders to Galway for their salmon
fishing in the river that rushes past the gaol, I used to look with
awe at the window where men were hung, and the dark, closed gate. I
used to wonder if ever a prisoner might by some means climb the high,
buttressed wall and slip away in the darkness by the canal to the
quays and find friends to hide him under a load of kelp in a fishing
boat, as happens to my ballad-singing man. The play was considered
offensive to some extreme Nationalists before it was acted, because it
showed the police in too favourable a light, and a Unionist paper
attacked it after it was acted because the policeman was represented
“as a coward and a traitor”; but after the Belfast police strike that
same paper praised its “insight into Irish character.” After all these
ups and downs it passes unchallenged on both sides of the Irish Sea.


THE JACKDAW

The first play I wrote was called “Twenty-five.” It was played by our
company in Dublin and London, and was adapted and translated into
Irish and played in America. It was about “A boy of Kilbecanty that
saved his old sweetheart from being evicted. It was playing
Twenty-five he did it; played with the husband he did, letting him win
up to £50.”

It was rather sentimental and weak in construction, and for a long
time it was an overflowing storehouse of examples of “the faults of my
dramatic method.” I have at last laid its ghost in “The Jackdaw,” and
I have not been accused of sentimentality since the appearance of
this.

THE WORKHOUSE WARD

I heard of an old man in the workhouse who had been disabled many
years before by, I think, a knife thrown at him by his wife in some
passionate quarrel.

One day I heard the wife had been brought in there, poor and sick. I
wondered how they would meet, and if the old quarrel was still alive,
or if they who knew the worst of each other would be better pleased
with one another’s company than with that of strangers.

I wrote a scenario of the play, Dr. Douglas Hyde, getting in plot what
he gave back in dialogue, for at that time we thought a dramatic
movement in Irish would be helpful to our own as well as to the Gaelic
League. Later I tried to rearrange it for our own theatre, and for
three players only, but in doing this I found it necessary to write
entirely new dialogue, the two old men in the original play obviously
talking at an audience in the wards, which is no longer there.

I sometimes think the two scolding paupers are a symbol of ourselves
in Ireland—[Gaelic script and words]—“it is better to be quarrelling
than to be lonesome.” The Rajputs, that great fighting race, when they
were told they had been brought under the Pax Britannica and must give
up war, gave themselves to opium in its place, but Connacht has not
yet planted its poppy gardens.


THE TRAVELLING MAN

An old woman living in a cabin by a bog road on Slieve Echtge told me
the legend on which this play is founded, and which I have already
published in “Poets and Dreamers.”

“There was a poor girl walking the road one night with no place to
stop, and the Saviour met her on the road, and He said—’Go up to the
house you see a light in; there’s a woman dead there, and they’ll let
you in.’ So she went, and she found the woman laid out, and the
husband and other people; but she worked harder than they all, and she
stopped in the house after; and after two quarters the man married
her. And one day she was sitting outside the door, picking over a bag
of wheat, and the Saviour came again, with the appearance of a poor
man, and He asked her for a few grains of the wheat. And she
said—’Wouldn’t potatoes be good enough for you?’ And she called to the
girl within to bring out a few potatoes. But He took nine grains of
the wheat in His hand and went away; and there wasn’t a grain of wheat
left in the bag, but all gone. So she ran after Him then to ask Him to
forgive her; and she overtook Him on the road, and she asked
forgiveness. And He said—’Don’t you remember the time you had no house
to go to, and I met you on the road, and sent you to a house where
you’d live in plenty? And now you wouldn’t give Me a few grains of
wheat.’ And she said—’But why didn’t you give me a heart that would
like to divide it?’ That is how she came round on Him. And He
said—’From this out, whenever you have plenty in your hands, divide it
freely for My sake.’”

And an old woman who sold sweets in a little shop in Galway, and whose
son became a great Dominican preacher, used to say—“Refuse not any,
for one may be the Christ.”

I owe the Rider’s Song, and some of the rest, to W. B. Yeats.


THE GAOL GATE

I was told a story some one had heard, of a man who had gone to
welcome his brother coming out of gaol, and heard he had died there
before the gates had been opened for him.

I was going to Galway, and at the Gort station I met two cloaked and
shawled countrywomen from the slopes of Slieve Echtge, who were
obliged to go and see some law official in Galway because of some
money left them by a kinsman in Australia. They had never been in a
train or to any place farther than a few miles from their own village,
and they felt astray and terrified “like blind beasts in a bog” they
said, and I took care of them through the day.

An agent was fired at on the road from Athenry, and some men were
taken up on suspicion. One of them was a young carpenter from my old
home, and in a little time a rumour was put about that he had informed
against the others in Galway gaol. When the prisoners were taken
across the bridge to the courthouse he was hooted by the crowd. But at
the trial it was found that he had not informed, that no evidence had
been given at all; and bonfires were lighted for him as he went home.

These three incidents coming within a few months wove themselves into
this little play, and within three days it had written itself, or been
written. I like it better than any in the volume, and I have never
changed a word of it.


FIRST PRODUCTIONS OF THE PLAYS

SPREADING THE NEWS was produced for the first time at the opening of
the Abbey Theatre, on Tuesday, 27th December, 1904, with the following
cast:

   _Bartley Fallon_             W. G. FAY
   _Mrs. Fallon_              SARA ALGOOD
   _Mrs. Tully_               EMMA VERNON
   _Mrs. Tarpey_      MAIRE NI GHARBHAIGH
   _Shawn Early_              J. H. DUNNE
   _Tim Casey_             GEORGE ROBERTS
   _James Ryan_           ARTHUR SINCLAIR
   _Jack Smith_          P. MACSUIBHLAIGH
   _A Policeman_               R. S. NASH
   _A Removable Magistrate_     F. J. FAY


HYACINTH HALVEY was first produced at the Abbey Theatre on 19th
February, 1906, with the following cast:

   _Hyacinth Halvey_                               F. J. FAY
   _James Quirke, a butcher_                       W. G. FAY
   _Fardy Farrell, a telegraph boy_          ARTHUR SINCLAIR
   _Sergeant Carden_                            WALTER MAGEE
   _Mrs. Delane, Postmistress at Cloon_         SARA ALLGOOD
   _Miss Joyce, the Priest’s House-keeper_  BRIGIT O’DEMPSEY


THE GAOL GATE was first produced at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, on 20th
October, 1906, with the following cast:

   _Mary Cahel_         SARA ALLGOOD
   _Mary Cushin_       MAIRE O’NEILL
   _The Gate Keeper_       F. J. FAY


THE JACKDAW was first produced at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, on 23rd
February, 1907, with the following cast:

   _Joseph Nestor_          F. J. FAY
   _Michael Cooney_         W. G. FAY
   _Mrs. Broderick_      SARA ALLGOOD
   _Tommy Nally_      ARTHUR SINCLAIR
   _Sibby Fahy_      BRIGIT O’DEMPSEY
   _Timothy Ward_      J. M. KERRIGAN


THE RISING OF THE MOON was first produced at the Abbey Theatre,
Dublin, on 9th March, 1907, with the following cast:

   _Sergeant_         ARTHUR SINCLAIR
   _Policeman X._      J. A. O’ROURKE
   _Policeman B._      J. M. KERRIGAN
   _Ballad Singer_          W. G. FAY


WORKHOUSE WARD was first produced at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, on
20th April, 1908, with the following cast:

   _Mike M’Inerney_      ARTHUR SINCLAIR
   _Michael Miskell_      FRED O’DONOVAN
   _Mrs. Donohue_          MARIE O’NEILL



_A Selection from the Catalogue of_

G. P. PUTNAM’S SONS

Complete Catalogues sent on application

   The Golden Apple

   A Kiltartan Play for Children

   By
   Lady Gregory

   Author of “Seven Short Plays”
   “Our Irish Theatre”
   “Irish Folk-History Plays,” etc.

   _8º Eight full-page Illustrations in color_
   _$1.25 net._


This play deals with the adventures of the King of Ireland’s son, who
goes in search of the Golden Apple of Healing. The scenes are laid in
the Witch’s Garden, the Giant’s House, the Wood of Wonders, and the
King of Ireland’s Room. It is both humorous and lyrical, and should
please children and their elders, alike. The colored illustrations
have the same old faery-tale air as the play itself.


   Irish Folk-History Plays

   By

   LADY GREGORY

   _First Series. The Tragedies_

   GRANIA     KINCORA     DERVORGILLA

   _Second Series. The Tragic Comedies_

   THE CANAVANS     THE WHITE COCKADE     THE DELIVERER

   _2 vols. Each, $1.5O net. By mail, $1.65_

Lady Gregory has preferred going for her material to the traditional
folk-history rather than to the authorized printed versions, and she
has been able, in so doing, to make her plays more living. One of
these, Kincora, telling of Brian Boru, who reigned in the year 1000,
evoked such keen local interest that an old farmer travelled from the
neighborhood of Kincora to see it acted in Dublin.

The story of Grania, on which Lady Gregory has founded one of these
plays, was taken entirely from tradition. Grania was a beautiful young
woman and was to have been married to Finn, the great leader of the
Fenians; but before the marriage, she went away from the bridegroom
with his handsome young kinsman, Diarmuid. After many years, when
Diarmuid had died (and Finn had a hand in his death), she went back to
Finn and became his queen.

Another of Lady Gregory’s plays, The Canavans dealt with the stormy
times of Queen Elizabeth, whose memory is a horror in Ireland second
only to that of Cromwell.

The White Cockade is founded on a tradition of King James having
escaped from Ireland after the battle of the Boyne in a wine barrel.

The choice of folk history rather than written history gives a
freshness of treatment and elasticity of material which made the late
J. M. Synge say that “Lady Gregory’s method had brought back the
possibility of writing historic plays.”

All these plays, except Grania, which has not yet been staged, have
been very successfully performed in Ireland. They are written in the
dialect of Kiltartan, which had already become familiar to readers of
Lady Gregory’s books.


   New Comedies

   By

   LADY GREGORY

   The Bogie Men—The Full Moon—Coats
   Damer’s Gold—McDonough’s Wife

   _8º, With Portrait in Photogravure. $1.50 net. By mail, $1.65_

The plays have been acted with great success by the Abbey Company, and
have been highly extolled by appreciative audiences and an
enthusiastic press. They are distinguished by a humor of unchallenged
originality.

One of the plays in the collection, “Coats,” depends for its plot upon
the rivalry of two editors, each of whom has written an obituary
notice of the other. The dialogue is full of crisp humor. “McDonough’s
Wife,” another drama that appears in the volume, is based on a legend,
and explains how a whole town rendered honor against its will. “The
Bogie Men” has as its underlying situation an amusing misunderstanding
of two chimney-sweeps. The wit and absurdity of the dialogue are in
Lady Gregory’s best vein. “Damer’s Gold” contains the story of a miser
beset by his gold-hungry relations. Their hopes and plans are upset by
one they had believed to be of the simple of the world, but who
confounds the Wisdom of the Wise. “The Full Moon” presents a little
comedy enacted on an Irish railway station. It is characterized by
humor of an original and delightful character and repartee that is
distinctly clever.


   Irish Plays

   By
   LADY GREGORY

Lady Gregory’s name has become a household word in America and her
works should occupy an exclusive niche in every library. Mr. George
Bernard Shaw, in a recently published interview, said Lady Gregory “is
the greatest living Irishwoman.... Even in the plays of Lady Gregory,
penetrated as they are by that intense love of Ireland which is
unintelligible to the many drunken blackguards with Irish names who
make their nationality an excuse for their vices and their
worthlessness, there is no flattery of the Irish; she writes about the
Irish as Molière wrote about the French, having a talent curiously
like Molière.”

“The witchery of Yeats, the vivid imagination of Synge, the amusing
literalism mixed with the pronounced romance of their imitators, have
their place and have been given their praise without stint. But none
of these can compete with Lady Gregory for the quality of
universality. The best beauty in Lady Gregory’s art is its
spontaneity. It is never forced.... She has read and dreamed and
studied, and slept and wakened and worked, and the great ideas that
have come to her have been nourished and trained till they have grown
to be of great stature.”—_Chicago Tribune._

   G. P. PUTNAM’S SONS
   NEW YORK      LONDON





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