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Title: Plays of William E. Henley and R.L. Stevenson
Author: Henley, William Ernest, 1849-1903, Stevenson, Robert Louis, 1850-1894
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 "Plays of William E. Henley and R.L. Stevenson" ***

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L. STEVENSON***


Transcribed from the 1907 William Heinemann edition by David Price, email
ccx074@pglaf.org



                                The Plays
                                    of
                             W. E. Henley and
                             R. L. Stevenson

Deacon Brodie        Beau Austin
Admiral Guinea       Robert Macaire

                      [Picture: Decorative graphic]

                                  London

                            William Heinemann

                                   1907

                                * * * * *

   _Copyright_
_All rights reserved_



CONTENTS

                          PAGE
DEACON BRODIE                1
BEAU AUSTIN                111
ADMIRAL GUINEA             177
ROBERT MACAIRE             251



DEACON BRODIE
OR THE DOUBLE LIFE
A MELODRAMA IN FIVE ACTS
AND EIGHT TABLEAUX


PERSONS REPRESENTED


WILLIAM BRODIE, Deacon of the Wrights, Housebreaker and Master Carpenter.

OLD BRODIE, the Deacon’s Father.

WILLIAM LAWSON, Procurator-Fiscal, the Deacon’s Uncle.

ANDREW AINSLIE, HUMPHREY MOORE, GEORGE SMITH, Robbers in the Deacon’s
gang.

CAPTAIN RIVERS, an English Highwayman.

HUNT, a Bow Street Runner.

A DOCTOR.

WALTER LESLIE.

MARY BRODIE, the Deacon’s Sister.

JEAN WATT, the Deacon’s Mistress.

             VAGABONDS, OFFICERS OF THE WATCH, MEN-SERVANTS.

The Scene is laid in Edinburgh.  The Time is towards the close of the
Eighteenth Century.  The Action, some fifty hours long, begins at eight
p.m. on Saturday and ends before midnight on Monday.

NOTE.—_Passages suggested for omission in representation are enclosed in
square brackets_, _thus_ [ ].



SYNOPSIS OF ACTS AND TABLEAUX

                 ACT I.
TABLEAU I.          The Double Life.
TABLEAU II.         Hunt the Runner.
TABLEAU III.        Mother Clarke’s.
                 ACT II.
TABLEAU IV.         Evil and Good.
                ACT III.
TABLEAU V.          King’s Evidence.
TABLEAU VI.         Unmasked.
                 ACT IV.
TABLEAU VII.        The Robbery.
                 ACT V.
TABLEAU VIII.       The Open Door.

LONDON: PRINCE’S THEATRE


                             2_d_ _July_ 1884

DEACON BRODIE,        Mr. E. J. HENLEY.
WALTER LESLIE,        Mr. CHARLES CARTWRIGHT.
WILLIAM LAWSON,       Mr. JOHN MACLEAN.
ANDREW AINSLIE,       Mr. FRED DESMOND.
HUMPHREY MOORE,       Mr. EDMUND GRACE.
GEORGE SMITH,         Mr. JULIAN CROSS.
HUNT,                 Mr. HUBERT AKHURST.
OLD BRODIE,           Mr. A. KNIGHT.
CAPTAIN RIVERS,       Mr. BRANDON THOMAS.
MARY BRODIE,          Miss LIZZIE WILLIAMS.
JEAN WATT,            Miss MINNIE BELL.

MONTREAL


                         26_th_ _September_ 1887

DEACON BRODIE,        Mr. E. J. HENLEY.
WALTER LESLIE,        Mr. GRAHAM STEWART.
WILLIAM LAWSON,       Mr. EDMUND LYONS.
ANDREW AINSLIE,       Mr. FRED DESMOND.
HUMPHREY MOORE,       Mr. EDMUND GRACE.
GEORGE SMITH,         Mr. HORATIO SAKER.
HUNT,                 Mr. HENRY VERNON.
CAPTAIN RIVERS,       Mr. BRUCE PHILIPS.
MARY BRODIE,          Miss ANNIE ROBE.
JEAN WATT,            Miss CARRIE COOTE.

ACT I.


TABLEAU I.
THE DOUBLE LIFE.


_The Stage represents a room in the Deacon’s house_, _furnished partly as
a sitting-_, _partly as a bed-room_, _in the style of an easy burgess of
about_ 1780.  _C._, _a door_; _L. C._, _a second and smaller door_; _R.
C._, _practicable window_; _L._, _alcove_, _supposed to contain bed_; _at
the back_, _a clothes-press and a corner cupboard containing bottles_,
_etc._  MARY BRODIE _at needlework_; OLD BRODIE, _a paralytic_, _in
wheeled chair_, _at the fireside_, _L._


SCENE I


                         _To these_ LESLIE, _C._

LESLIE.  May I come in, Mary?

MARY.  Why not?

LESLIE.  I scarce knew where to find you.

MARY.  The dad and I must have a corner, must we not?  So when my
brother’s friends are in the parlour he allows us to sit in his room.
’Tis a great favour, I can tell you; the place is sacred.

LESLIE.  Are you sure that ‘sacred’ is strong enough?

MARY.  You are satirical!

LESLIE.  I?  And with regard to the Deacon?  Believe me, I am not so
ill-advised.  You have trained me well, and I feel by him as solemnly as
a true-born Brodie.

MARY.  And now you are impertinent!  Do you mean to go any further?  We
are a fighting race, we Brodies.  Oh, you may laugh, sir!  But ’tis no
child’s play to jest us on our Deacon, or, for that matter, on our
Deacon’s chamber either.  It was his father’s before him: he works in it
by day and sleeps in it by night; and scarce anything it contains but is
the labour of his hands.  Do you see this table, Walter?  He made it
while he was yet a ’prentice.  I remember how I used to sit and watch him
at his work.  It would be grand, I thought, to be able to do as he did,
and handle edge-tools without cutting my fingers, and getting my ears
pulled for a meddlesome minx!  He used to give me his mallet to keep and
his nails to hold; and didn’t I fly when he called for them! and wasn’t I
proud to be ordered about with them!  And then, you know, there is the
tall cabinet yonder; that it was that proved him the first of Edinburgh
joiners, and worthy to be their Deacon and their head.  And the father’s
chair, and the sister’s workbox, and the dear dead mother’s
footstool—what are they all but proofs of the Deacon’s skill, and tokens
of the Deacon’s care for those about him?

LESLIE.  I am all penitence.  Forgive me this last time, and I promise
you I never will again.

MARY.  Candidly, now, do you think you deserve forgiveness?

LESLIE.  Candidly, I do not.

MARY.  Then I suppose you must have it.  What have you done with Willie
and my uncle?

LESLIE.  I left them talking deeply.  The dear old Procurator has not
much thought just now for anything but those mysterious burglaries—

MARY.  I know!—

LESLIE.  Still, all of him that is not magistrate and official is
politician and citizen; and he has been striving his hardest to undermine
the Deacon’s principles, and win the Deacon’s vote and interest.

MARY.  They are worth having, are they not?

LESLIE.  The Procurator seems to think that having them makes the
difference between winning and losing.

MARY.  Did he say so?  You may rely upon it that he knows.  There are not
many in Edinburgh who can match with our Will.

LESLIE.  There shall be as many as you please, and not one more.

MARY.  How I should like to have heard you!  What did uncle say?  Did he
speak of the Town Council again?  Did he tell Will what a wonderful
Bailie he would make?  O why did you come away?

LESLIE.  I could not pretend to listen any longer.  The election is
months off yet; and if it were not—if it were tramping upstairs this
moment—drums, flags, cockades, guineas, candidates, and all!—how should I
care for it?  What are Whig and Tory to me?

MARY.  O fie on you!  It is for every man to concern himself in the
common weal.  Mr. Leslie—Leslie of the Craig!—should know that much at
least.

LESLIE.  And be a politician like the Deacon?  All in good time, but not
now.  I hearkened while I could, and when I could no more I slipped out
and followed my heart.  I hoped I should be welcome.

MARY.  I suppose you mean to be unkind.

LESLIE.  Tit for tat.  Did you not ask me why I came away?  And is it
usual for a young lady to say ‘Mr.’ to the man she means to marry?

MARY.  That is for the young lady to decide, sir.

LESLIE.  And against that judgment there shall be no appeal?

MARY.  O, if you mean to argue!—

LESLIE.  I do not mean to argue.  I am content to love and be loved.  I
think I am the happiest man in the world.

MARY.  That is as it should be; for I am the happiest girl.

LESLIE.  Why not say the happiest wife?  I have your word, and you have
mine.  Is not that enough?

MARY.  Have you so soon forgotten?  Did I not tell you how it must be as
my brother wills?  I can do only as he bids me.

LESLIE.  Then you have not spoken as you promised?

MARY.  I have been too happy to speak.

LESLIE.  I am his friend.  Precious as you are, he will trust you to me.
He has but to know how I love you, Mary, and how your life is all in your
love of me, to give us his blessing with a full heart.

MARY.  I am sure of him.  It is that which makes my happiness complete.
Even to our marriage I should find it hard to say ‘Yes’ when he said
‘No.’

LESLIE.  Your father is trying to speak.  I’ll wager he echoes you.

MARY (_to_ OLD BRODIE).  My poor dearie!  Do you want to say anything to
me?  No?  Is it to Mr. Leslie, then?

LESLIE.  I am listening, Mr. Brodie.

MARY.  What is it, daddie?

OLD BRODIE.  My son—the Deacon—Deacon Brodie—the first at school.

LESLIE.  I know it, Mr. Brodie.  Was I not the last in the same class?
(_To_ MARY.)  But he seems to have forgotten us.

MARY.  O yes! his mind is wellnigh gone.  He will sit for hours as you
see him, and never speak nor stir but at the touch of Will’s hand or the
sound of Will’s name.

LESLIE.  It is so good to sit beside you.  By and by it will be always
like this.  You will not let me speak to the Deacon?  You are fast set
upon speaking yourself?  I could be so eloquent, Mary—I would touch him.
I cannot tell you how I fear to trust my happiness to any one else—even
to you!

MARY.  He must hear of my good fortune from none but me.  And besides,
you do not understand.  We are not like families, we Brodies.  We are so
clannish, we hold so close together.

LESLIE.  You Brodies, and your Deacon!

OLD BRODIE.  Deacon of his craft, sir—Deacon of the Wrights—my son!  If
his mother—his mother—had but lived to see!

MARY.  You hear how he runs on.  A word about my brother and he catches
it.  ’Tis as if he were awake in his poor blind way to all the Deacon’s
care for him and all the Deacon’s kindness to me.  I believe he only
lives in the thought of the Deacon.  There, it is not so long since I was
one with him.  But indeed I think we are all Deacon-mad, we Brodies.  Are
we not, daddie dear?

BRODIE (_without_, _and entering_).  You are a mighty magistrate,
Procurator, but you seem to have met your match.


SCENE II


                      _To these_, BRODIE and LAWSON.

MARY (_curtseying_).  So, uncle! you have honoured us at last.

LAWSON.  _Quam primum_, my dear, _quam primum_.

BRODIE.  Well, father, do you know me?  (_He sits beside his father and
takes his hand_.)

[OLD BRODIE.  William—ay—Deacon.  Greater man—than—his father.

BRODIE.  You see, Procurator, the news is as fresh to him as it was five
years ago.  He was struck down before he got the Deaconship, and lives
his lost life in mine.

LAWSON.  Ay, I mind.  He was aye ettling after a bit handle to his name.
He was kind of hurt when first they made me Procurator.]

MARY.  And what have you been talking of?

LAWSON.  Just o’ thae robberies, Mary.  Baith as a burgher and a Crown
offeecial, I tak’ the maist absorbing interest in thae robberies.

LESLIE.  Egad, Procurator, and so do I.

BRODIE (_with a quick look at_ LESLIE).  A dilettante interest,
doubtless!  See what it is to be idle.

LESLIE.  Faith, Brodie, I hardly know how to style it.

BRODIE.  At any rate, ’tis not the interest of a victim, or we should
certainly have known of it before; nor a practical tool-mongering
interest, like my own; nor an interest professional and official, like
the Procurator’s.  You can answer for that, I suppose?

LESLIE.  I think I can; if for no more.  It’s an interest of my own, you
see, and is best described as indescribable, and of no manner of moment
to anybody.  [It will take no hurt if we put off its discussion till a
month of Sundays.]

BRODIE.  You are more fortunate than you deserve.  What do you say,
Procurator?

LAWSON.  Ay is he!  There is no a house in Edinburgh safe.  The law is
clean helpless, clean helpless!  A week syne it was auld Andra Simpson’s
in the Lawnmarket.  Then, naething would set the catamarans but to
forgather privily wi’ the Provost’s ain butler, and tak’ unto themselves
the Provost’s ain plate.  And the day, information was laid before me
offeecially that the limmers had made infraction, _vi et clam_, into
Leddy Mar’get Dalziel’s, and left her leddyship wi’ no sae muckle’s a
spune to sup her parritch wi’.  It’s unbelievable, it’s awful, it’s
anti-christian!

MARY.  If you only knew them, uncle, what an example you would make!  But
tell me, is it not strange that men should dare such things, in the midst
of a city, and nothing, nothing be known of them—nothing at all?

LESLIE.  Little, indeed!  But we do know that there are several in the
gang, and that one at least is an unrivalled workman.

LAWSON.  Ye’re right, sir; ye’re vera right, Mr. Leslie.  It had been
deponed to me offeecially that no a tradesman—no the Deacon here
himsel’—could have made a cleaner job wi’ Andra Simpson’s shutters.  And
as for the lock o’ the bank—but that’s an auld sang.

BRODIE.  I think you believe too much, Procurator.  Rumour’s an ignorant
jade, I tell you.  I’ve had occasion to see some little of their
handiwork—broken cabinets, broken shutters, broken doors—and I find them
bunglers.  Why, I could do it better myself!

LESLIE.  Gad, Brodie, you and I might go into partnership.  I back myself
to watch outside, and I suppose you could do the work of skill within?

BRODIE.  An opposition company?  Leslie, your mind is full of good
things.  Suppose we begin to-night, and give the Procurator’s house the
honours of our innocence?

MARY.  You could do anything, you two!

LAWSON.  Onyway, Deacon, ye’d put your ill-gotten gains to a right use;
they might come by the wind but they wouldna gang wi’ the water; and
that’s aye _a solatium_, as we say.  If I am to be robbit, I would like
to be robbit wi’ decent folk; and no think o’ my bonnie clean siller
dirling among jads and dicers.  [Faith, William, the mair I think on’t,
the mair I’m o’ Mr. Leslie’s mind.  Come the night, or come the morn, and
I’se gie ye my free permission, and lend ye a hand in at the window
forbye!

BRODIE.  Come, come, Procurator, lead not our poor clay into temptation.
(LESLIE _and_ MARY _talk apart_.)

LAWSON.  I’m no muckle afraid for your puir clay, as ye ca’t.]  But hark
i’ your ear: ye’re likely, joking apart, to be gey and sune in
partnership wi’ Mr. Leslie.  He and Mary are gey and pack, a body can see
that.

[BRODIE.  ‘Daffin’ and want o’ wit’—you know the rest.

LAWSON.  _Vidi_, _scivi_, _et audivi_, as we say in a Sasine, William.]
Man, because my wig’s pouthered do ye think I havena a green heart?  I
was aince a lad mysel’, and I ken fine by the glint o’ the e’e when a
lad’s fain and a lassie’s willing.  And, man, it’s the town’s talk;
_communis error fit jus_, ye ken.

[OLD BRODIE.  Oh!

LAWSON.  See, ye’re hurting your faither’s hand.

BRODIE.  Dear dad, it is not good to have an ill-tempered son.

LAWSON.  What the deevil ails ye at the match?  ’Od, man, he has a nice
bit divot o’ Fife corn-land, I can tell ye, and some Bordeaux wine in his
cellar!  But I needna speak o’ the Bordeaux; ye’ll ken the smack o’t as
weel’s I do mysel’; onyway it’s grand wine.  _Tantum et tale_.  I tell ye
the _pro’s_, find you the _con.’s_, if ye’re able.]

BRODIE.  [I am sorry, Procurator, but I must be short with you.]  You are
talking in the air, as lawyers will.  I prefer to drop the subject [and
it will displease me if you return to it in my hearing].

LESLIE.  At four o’clock to-morrow?  At my house? (_to_ MARY).

MARY.  As soon as church is done.  (_Exit_ MARY.)

LAWSON.  Ye needna be sae high and mighty, onyway.

BRODIE.  I ask your pardon, Procurator.  But we Brodies—you know our
failings!  [A bad temper and a humour of privacy.]

LAWSON.  Weel, I maun be about my business.  But I could tak’ a
doch-an-dorach, William; _superflua non nocent_, as we say; an extra dram
hurts naebody, Mr. Leslie.

BRODIE (_with bottle and glasses_).  Here’s your old friend, Procurator.
Help yourself, Leslie.  Oh no, thank you, not any for me.  You strong
people have the advantage of me there.  With my attacks, you know, I must
always live a bit of a hermit’s life.

LAWSON.  ’Od, man, that’s fine; that’s health o’ mind and body.  Mr.
Leslie, here’s to you, sir.  ’Od, it’s harder to end than to begin wi’
stuff like that.


SCENE III


                     _To these_, SMITH and JEAN, _C._

SMITH.  Is the king of the castle in, please?

LAWSON (_aside_).  Lord’s sake, it’s Smith!

BRODIE (_to_ SMITH).  I beg your pardon?

SMITH.  I beg yours, sir.  If you please, sir, is Mr. Brodie at home,
sir?

BRODIE.  What do you want with him, my man?

SMITH.  I’ve a message for him, sir, a job of work, sir!

BRODIE (_to_ SMITH; _referring to_ JEAN).  And who is this?

JEAN.  I am here for the Procurator, about my rent.  There’s nae offence,
I hope, sir.

LAWSON.  It’s just an honest wife I let a flat to in Libberton’s Wynd.
It’ll be for the rent?

JEAN.  Just that, sir.

LAWSON.  Weel, ye can just bide here a wee, and I’ll step down the road
to my office wi’ ye.  (_Exeunt_ BRODIE, LAWSON, LESLIE, _C._)


SCENE IV


                      SMITH, JEAN WATT, OLD BRODIE.

SMITH (_bowing them out_).  Your humble and most devoted servant, George
Smith, Esquire.  And so this is the garding, is it?  And this is the
style of horticulture?  Ha, it is!  (_At the mirror_.)  In that case
George’s mother bids him bind his hair.  (_Kisses his hand_.)  My dearest
Duchess,—(_To_ JEAN.)  I say, Jean, there’s a good deal of difference
between this sort of thing and the way we does it in Libberton’s Wynd.

JEAN.  I daursay.  And what wad ye expeck?

SMITH.  Ah, Jean, if you’d cast affection’s glance on this poor but
honest soger!  George Lord S. is not the nobleman to cut the object of
his flame before the giddy throng; nor to keep her boxed up in an old
mouse-trap, while he himself is revelling in purple splendours like
these.  He didn’t know you, Jean: he was afraid to.  Do you call that a
man?  Try a man that is.

JEAN.  Geordie Smith, ye ken vera weel I’ll tak’ nane o’ that sort of
talk frae you.  And what kind o’ a man are you to even yoursel’ to the
likes o’ him?  He’s a gentleman.

SMITH.  Ah, ain’t he just!  And don’t he live up to it?  I say, Jean,
feel of this chair.

JEAN.  My! look at yon bed!

SMITH.  The carpet too!  Axminster, by the bones of Oliver Cromwell!

JEAN.  What a expense!

SMITH.  Hey, brandy!  The deuce of the grape!  Have a toothful, Mrs.
Watt.  [(_Sings_)—

          ‘Says Bacchus to Venus,
          There’s brandy between us,
    And the cradle of love is the bowl, the bowl!’]

JEAN.  Nane for me, I thank ye, Mr. Smith.

SMITH.  What brings the man from stuff like this to rotgut and spittoons
at Mother Clarke’s; but ah, George, you was born for a higher spear!  And
so was you, Mrs. Watt, though I say it that shouldn’t.  (_Seeing_ OLD
BRODIE _for the first time_.)  Hullo! it’s a man!

JEAN.  Thonder in the chair.  (_They go to look at him_, _their backs to
the door_.)

GEORGE.  Is he alive?

JEAN.  I think there’s something wrong with him.

GEORGE.  And how was you to-morrow, my valued old gentleman, eh?

JEAN.  Dinna mak’ a mock o’ him, Geordie.

OLD BRODIE.  My son—the Deacon—Deacon of his trade.

JEAN.  He’ll be his feyther.  (HUNT _appears at door C._, _and stands
looking on_.)

SMITH.  The Deacon’s old man!  Well, he couldn’t expect to have his
quiver full of sich, could he, Jean?  (_To_ OLD BRODIE.)  Ah, my
Christian soldier, if you had, the world would have been more varigated.
Mrs. Deakin (_to_ JEAN), let me introduce you to your dear papa.

JEAN.  Think shame to yoursel’!  This is the Deacon’s house; you and me
shouldna be here by rights; and if we are, it’s the least we can do to
behave dacent.  [This is no the way ye’ll mak’ me like ye.]

SMITH.  All right, Duchess.  Don’t be angry.


SCENE V


 _To these_, HUNT, _C._  (_He steals down_, _and claps each one suddenly
                            on the shoulder_.)

HUNT.  Is there a gentleman here by the name of Mr. Procurator-Fiscal?

SMITH (_pulling himself together_).  D—n it, Jerry, what do you mean by
startling an old customer like that?

HUNT.  What, my brave un’?  You’re the very party I was looking for!

SMITH.  There’s nothing out against me this time?

HUNT.  I’ll take odds there is.  But it ain’t in my hands.  (_To_ OLD
BRODIE.)  You’ll excuse me, old genelman?

SMITH.  Ah, well, if it’s all in the way of friendship! . . . I say,
Jean, [you and me had best be on the toddle.]  We shall be late for
church.

HUNT.  Lady, George?

SMITH.  It’s a—yes, it’s a lady.  Come along, Jean.

HUNT.  A Mrs. Deacon, I believe?  [That was the name, I think?]  Won’t
Mrs. Deacon let me have a queer at her phiz?

JEAN (_unmuffling_).  I’ve naething to be ashamed of.  My name’s Mistress
Watt; I’m weel kennt at the Wynd heid; there’s naething again me.

HUNT.  No, to be sure, there ain’t; and why clap on the blinkers, my
dear?  You that has a face like a rose, and with a cove like Jerry Hunt
that might be your born father?  [But all this don’t tell me about Mr.
Procurator-Fiscal.]

GEORGE (_in an agony_).  Jean, Jean, we shall be late.  (_Going with
attempted swagger_.) Well, ta-ta, Jerry.


SCENE VI


    _To these_, _C_, BRODIE and LAWSON (greatcoat, muffler, lantern).

LAWSON (_from the door_).  Come your ways, Mistress Watt.

JEAN.  That’s the Fiscal himsel’.

HUNT.  Mr. Procurator-Fiscal, I believe?

LAWSON.  That’s me.  Who’ll you be?

HUNT.  Hunt the Runner, sir; Hunt from Bow Street; English warrant.

LAWSON.  There’s a place for a’ things, officer.  Come your ways to my
office, with me and this guid wife.

BRODIE (_aside to_ JEAN, _as she passes with a curtsey_).  How dare you
be here?  (_Aloud to_ SMITH.)  Wait you here, my man.

SMITH.  If you please, sir.  (BRODIE _goes out_, _C._)


SCENE VII


                              BRODIE, SMITH.

BRODIE.  What the devil brings you here?

SMITH.  _Con_found it, Deakin!  Not rusty?

[BRODIE.  And not you only: Jean too!  Are you mad?

SMITH.  Why, you don’t mean to say, Deakin, that you have been stodged by
G. Smith, Esquire?  Plummy old George?]

BRODIE.  There was my uncle the Procurator—

SMITH.  The Fiscal?  He don’t count.

BRODIE.  What d’ye mean?

SMITH.  Well, Deakin, since Fiscal Lawson’s Nunkey Lawson, and it’s all
in the family way, I don’t mind telling you that Nunkey Lawson’s a
customer of George’s.  We give Nunkey Lawson a good deal of brandy—G. S.
and Co.’s celebrated Nantz.

BRODIE.  What! does he buy that smuggled trash of yours?

SMITH.  Well, we don’t call it smuggled in the trade, Deakin.  It’s a
wink, and King George’s picter between G. S. and the Nunks.

BRODIE.  Gad! that’s worth knowing.  O Procurator, Procurator, is there
no such thing as virtue?  [_Allons_!  It’s enough to cure a man of vice
for this world and the other.]  But hark you hither, Smith; this is all
damned well in its way, but it don’t explain what brings you here.

SMITH.  I’ve trapped a pigeon for you.

BRODIE.  Can’t you pluck him yourself?

SMITH.  Not me.  He’s too flash in the feather for a simple nobleman like
George Lord Smith.  It’s the great Capting Starlight, fresh in from York.
[He’s exercised his noble art all the way from here to London.  ‘Stand
and deliver, stap my vitals!’]  And the north road is no bad lay, Deakin.

BRODIE.  Flush?

SMITH (_mimicking_).  ‘The graziers, split me!  A mail, stap my vitals!
and seven demned farmers, by the Lard—’

BRODIE.  By Gad!

SMITH.  Good for trade, ain’t it?  And we thought, Deakin, the Badger and
me, that coins being ever on the vanish, and you not over sweet on them
there lovely little locks at Leslie’s, and them there bigger and uglier
marine stores at the Excise Office . . .

BRODIE (_impassible_).  Go on.

SMITH.  Worse luck! . . . We thought, me and the Badger, you know, that
maybe you’d like to exercise your helbow with our free and galliant
horseman.

BRODIE.  The old move, I presume? the double set of dice?

SMITH.  That’s the rig, Deakin.  What you drop on the square you pick up
again on the cross.  [Just as you did with G. S. and Co.’s own agent and
correspondent, the Admiral from Nantz.]  You always was a neat hand with
the bones, Deakin.

BRODIE.  The usual terms, I suppose?

SMITH.  The old discount, Deakin.  Ten in the pound for you, and the rest
for your jolly companions every one.  [_That’s_ the way _we_ does it!]

BRODIE.  Who has the dice?

SMITH.  Our mutual friend, the Candleworm.

BRODIE.  You mean Ainslie?—We trust that creature too much, Geordie.

SMITH.  He’s all right, Marquis.  He wouldn’t lay a finger on his own
mother.  Why, he’s no more guile in him than a set of sheep’s trotters.

[BRODIE.  You think so?  Then see he don’t cheat you over the dice, and
give you light for loaded.  See to that, George, see to that; and you may
count the Captain as bare as his last grazier.

SMITH.  The Black Flag for ever!  George’ll trot him round to Mother
Clarke’s in two twos.]  How long’ll you be?

BRODIE.  The time to lock up and go to bed, and I’ll be with you.  Can
you find your way out?

SMITH.  Bloom on, my Sweet William, in peaceful array.  Ta-ta.


SCENE VIII


                    BRODIE, OLD BRODIE; to whom, MARY.

MARY.  O Willie, I am glad you did not go with them.  I have something to
tell you.  If you knew how happy I am, you would clap your hands, Will.
But come, sit you down there, and be my good big brother, and I will
kneel here and take your hand.  We must keep close to dad, and then he
will feel happiness in the air.  The poor old love, if we could only tell
him!  But I sometimes think his heart has gone to heaven already, and
takes a part in all our joys and sorrows; and it is only his poor body
that remains here, helpless and ignorant.  Come, Will, sit you down, and
ask me questions—or guess—that will be better, guess.

BRODIE.  Not to-night, Mary; not to-night.  I have other fish to fry, and
they won’t wait.

MARY.  Not one minute for your sister?  One little minute for your little
sister?

BRODIE.  Minutes are precious, Mary.  I have to work for all of us, and
the clock is always busy.  They are waiting for me even now.  Help me
with the dad’s chair.  And then to bed, and dream happy things.  And
to-morrow morning I will hear your news—your good news; it must be good,
you look so proud and glad.  But to-night it cannot be.

MARY.  I hate your business—I hate all business.  To think of chairs, and
tables, and foot-rules, all dead and wooden—and cold pieces of money with
the King’s ugly head on them; and here is your sister, your pretty
sister, if you please, with something to tell, which she would not tell
you for the world, and would give the world to have you guess, and you
won’t?—Not you!  For business!  Fie, Deacon Brodie!  But I’m too happy to
find fault with you.

BRODIE.  ‘And me a Deacon,’ as the Procurator would say.

MARY.  No such thing, sir!  I am not a bit afraid of you—nor a bit angry
neither.  Give me a kiss, and promise me hours and hours to-morrow
morning.

BRODIE.  All day long to-morrow, if you like.

MARY.  Business or none?

BRODIE.  Business or none, little sister!  I’ll make time, I promise you;
and there’s another kiss for surety.  Come along.  (_They proceed to push
out the chair_, _L.C._)  The wine and wisdom of this evening have given
me one of my headaches, and I’m in haste for bed.  You’ll be good, won’t
you, and see they make no noise, and let me sleep my fill to-morrow
morning till I wake?

MARY.  Poor Will!  How selfish I must have seemed!  You should have told
me sooner, and I wouldn’t have worried you.  Come along.

                                        (_She goes out_, _pushing chair_.)


SCENE IX


                                  BRODIE

          (_He closes_, _locks_, _and double-bolts both doors_)

BRODIE.  Now for one of the Deacon’s headaches!  Rogues all, rogues all!
(_Goes to clothes-press_, _and proceeds to change his coat_.)  On with
the new coat and into the new life!  Down with the Deacon and up with the
robber!  (_Changing neck-band and ruffles_.)  Eh God! how still the house
is!  There’s something in hypocrisy after all.  If we were as good as we
seem, what would the world be?  [The city has its vizard on, and we—at
night we are our naked selves.  Trysts are keeping, bottles cracking,
knives are stripping; and here is Deacon Brodie flaming forth the man of
men he is!]—How still it is! . . . My father and Mary—Well! the day for
them, the night for me; the grimy cynical night that makes all cats grey,
and all honesties of one complexion.  Shall a man not have _half_ a life
of his own?—not eight hours out of twenty-four?  [Eight shall he have
should he dare the pit of Tophet.]  (_Takes out money_.)  Where’s the
blunt?  I must be cool to-night, or . . . steady, Deacon, you must win;
damn you, you must!  You must win back the dowry that you’ve stolen, and
marry your sister, and pay your debts, and gull the world a little
longer!  (_As he blows out the lights_.)  The Deacon’s going to bed—the
poor sick Deacon!  _Allons_!  (_Throws up the window_, _and looks out_.)
Only the stars to see me! (_Addressing the bed_.)  Lie there, Deacon!
sleep and be well to-morrow.  As for me, I’m a man once more till
morning.  (_Gets out of the window_.)


TABLEAU II.
HUNT THE RUNNER


             _The Scene represents the Procurator’s Office_.


SCENE I


                               LAWSON, HUNT

[LAWSON (_entering_).  Step your ways in, Officer.  (_At wing_.)  Mr.
Carfrae, give a chair to yon decent wife that cam’ in wi’ me.  Nae news?

A VOICE WITHOUT.  Naething, sir.

LAWSON (_sitting_).  Weel, Officer, and what can I do for you?]

HUNT.  Well, sir, as I was saying, I’ve an English warrant for the
apprehension of one Jemmy Rivers, _alias_ Captain Starlight, now at large
within your jurisdiction.

LAWSON.  That’ll be the highwayman?

HUNT.  That same, Mr. Procurator-Fiscal.  The Captain’s given me a hard
hunt of it this time.  I dropped on his marks first at Huntingdon, but he
was away North, and I had to up and after him.  I heard of him all along
the York road, for he’s a light hand on the pad, has Jemmy, and leaves
his mark.  [I missed him at York by four-and-twenty hours, and lost him
for as much more.  Then I picked him up again at Carlisle, and we made a
race of it for the Border; but he’d a better nag, and was best up in the
road; so I had to wait till I ran him to earth in Edinburgh here and
could get a new warrant.]  So here I am, sir.  They told me you were an
active sort of gentleman, and I’m an active man myself.  And Sir John
Fielding, Mr. Procurator-Fiscal, he’s an active gentleman, likewise,
though he’s blind as a himage, and he desired his compliments to you,
[sir, and said that between us he thought we’d do the trick].

LAWSON.  Ay, he’ll be a fine man, Sir John.  Hand me owre your papers,
Hunt, and you’ll have your new warrant _quam primum_.  And see here,
Hunt, ye’ll aiblins have a while to yoursel’, and an active man, as ye
say ye are, should aye be grinding grist.  We’re sair forfeuchen wi’ our
burglaries.  _Non constat de personâ_.  We canna get a grip o’ the
delinquents.  Here is the _Hue and Cry_.  Ye see there is a guid two
hundred pounds for ye.

HUNT.  Well, Mr. Procurator-Fiscal [I ain’t a rich man, and two hundred’s
two hundred.  Thereby, sir], I don’t mind telling you I’ve had a bit of a
worry at it already.  You see, Mr. Procurator-Fiscal, I had to look into
a ken to-night about the Captain, and an old cock always likes to be sure
of his walk; so I got one of your Scotch officers—him as was so polite as
to show me round to Mr. Brodie’s—to give me full particulars about the
’ouse, and the flash companions that use it.  In his list I drop on the
names of two old lambs of my own; and I put it to you, Mr.
Procurator-Fiscal, as a genleman as knows the world, if what’s a black
sheep in London is likely or not to be keeping school in Edinburgh?

LAWSON.  _Coelum non animum_.  A just observe.

HUNT.  I’ll give it a thought, sir, and see if I can’t kill two birds
with one stone.  Talking of which, Mr. Procurator-Fiscal, I’d like to
have a bit of a confab with that nice young woman as came to pay her
rent.

LAWSON.  Hunt, that’s a very decent woman.

HUNT.  And a very decent woman may have mighty queer pals, Mr.
Procurator-Fiscal.  Lord love you, sir, I don’t know what the profession
would do without ’em!

LAWSON.  Ye’re vera richt, Hunt.  An active and a watchful officer.  I’ll
send her in till ye.


SCENE II


                              HUNT (_solus_)

Two hundred pounds reward.  Curious thing.  One burglary after another,
and these Scotch blockheads without a man to show for it.  Jock runs
east, and Sawney cuts west; everything’s at a deadlock; and they go on
calling themselves thief-catchers!  [By jingo, I’ll show them how we do
it down South!  Well, I’ve worn out a good deal of saddle leather over
Jemmy Rivers; but here’s for new breeches if you like.]  Let’s have
another queer at the list.  (_Reads_.) ‘Humphrey Moore, otherwise Badger;
aged forty, thick-set, dark, close-cropped; has been a prize-fighter; no
apparent occupation.’  Badger’s an old friend of mine, ‘George Smith,
otherwise the Dook, otherwise Jingling Geordie; red-haired and curly,
slight, flash; an old thimble-rig; has been a stroller; suspected of
smuggling; an associate of loose women.’  G. S., Esquire, is another of
my flock.  ‘Andrew Ainslie, otherwise Slink Ainslie; aged thirty-five;
thin, white-faced, lank-haired; no occupation; has been in trouble for
reset of theft and subornation of youth; might be useful as king’s
evidence.’  That’s an acquaintance to make.  ‘Jock Hamilton, otherwise
Sweepie,’ and so on.  [’Willie M’Glashan,’ hum—yes, and so on, and so
on.]  Ha! here’s the man I want.  ‘William Brodie, Deacon of the Wrights,
about thirty; tall, slim, dark; wears his own hair; is often at Clarke’s,
but seemingly for purposes of amusement only; [is nephew to the
Procurator-Fiscal; is commercially sound, but has of late (it is
supposed) been short of cash; has lost much at cock-fighting;] is proud,
clever, of good repute, but is fond of adventures and secrecy, and keeps
low company.’  Now, here’s what I ask myself: here’s this list of the
family party that drop into Mother Clarke’s; it’s been in the hands of
these nincompoops for weeks, and I’m the first to cry Queer Street!  Two
well-known cracksmen, Badger and the Dook! why, there’s Jack in the
Orchard at once.  This here topsawyer work they talk about, of course
that’s a chalk above Badger and the Dook.  But how about our
Mohock-tradesman?  ‘Purposes of amusement!’  What next?  Deacon of the
Wrights? and wright in their damned lingo means a kind of carpenter, I
fancy?  Why, damme, it’s the man’s trade!  I’ll look you up, Mr. William
Brodie, Deacon of the Wrights.  As sure as my name’s Jerry Hunt, I
wouldn’t take one-ninety-nine in gold for my chance of that ’ere two
hundred!


SCENE III


HUNT; to him JEAN

HUNT.  Well, my dear, and how about your gentleman friend now?  How about
Deacon Brodie?

JEAN.  I dinna ken your name, sir, nor yet whae ye are; but this is a
very poor employ for ony gentleman—it sets ill wi’ ony gentleman to cast
my shame in my teeth.

HUNT.  Lord love you, my dear, that ain’t my line of country.  Suppose
you’re not married and churched a hundred thousand times, what odds to
Jerry Hunt?  Jerry, my Pamela Prue, is a cove as might be your parent; a
cove renowned for the ladies’ friend [and he’s dead certain to be on your
side].  What I can’t get over is this: here’s this Mr. Deacon Brodie
doing the genteel at home, and leaving a nice young ’oman like you—as a
cove may say—to take it out on cold potatoes.  That’s what I can’t get
over, Mrs. Watt.  I’m a family man myself; and I can’t get over it.

JEAN.  And whae said that to ye?  They lee’d whatever.  I get naething
but guid by him; and I had nae richt to gang to his house; and O, I just
ken I’ve been the ruin of him!

HUNT.  Don’t you take on, Mrs. Watt.  Why, now I hear you piping up for
him, I begin to think a lot of him myself.  I like a cove to be
open-handed and free.

JEAN.  Weel, sir, and he’s a’ that.

HUNT.  Well, that shows what a wicked world this is.  Why, they told me—.
Well, well, ‘here’s the open ’and and the ’appy ’art.’  And how much, my
dear—speaking as a family man—now, how much might your gentleman friend
stand you in the course of a year?

JEAN.  What’s your wull?

HUNT.  That’s a mighty fancy shawl, Mrs. Watt.  [I should like to take
its next-door neighbour to Mrs. Hunt in King Street, Common Garden.]
What’s about the figure?

JEAN.  It’s paid for.  Ye can sweir to that.

HUNT.  Yes, my dear, and so is King George’s crown; but I don’t know what
it cost, and I don’t know where the blunt came from to pay for it.

JEAN.  I’m thinking ye’ll be a vera clever gentleman.

HUNT.  So I am, my dear; and I like you none the worse for being artful
yourself.  But between friends now, and speaking as a family man—

JEAN.  I’ll be wishin’ ye a fine nicht.  (_Curtsies and goes out_.)


SCENE IV


                              HUNT (_solus_)

HUNT.  Ah! that’s it, is it?  ‘My fancy man’s my ’ole delight,’ as we say
in Bow Street.  But which _is_ the fancy man?  George the Dock, or
William the Deacon?  One or both?  (_He winks solemnly_.)  Well, Jerry,
my boy, here’s your work cut out for you; but if you took one-nine-five
for that ’ere little two hundred you’d be a disgrace to the profession.


TABLEAU III.
MOTHER CLARKE’S

SCENE I


_The Stage represents a room of coarse and sordid appearance_: _settles_,
  _spittoons_, _etc._; _sanded floor_.  _A large table at back_, _where_
 AINSLIE, HAMILTON, _and others are playing cards and quarrelling_.  _In
  front_, _L. and R. smaller tables_, _at one of which are_ BRODIE _and_
           MOORE, _drinking_.  MRS. CLARKE _and women serving_.

MOORE.  You’ve got the devil’s own luck, Deacon, that’s what you’ve got.

BRODIE.  Luck!  Don’t talk of luck to a man like me!  Why not say I’ve
the devil’s own judgment?  Men of my stamp don’t risk—they plan, Badger;
they plan, and leave chance to such cattle as you [and Jingling Geordie.
They make opportunities before they take them].

MOORE.  You’re artful, ain’t you?

BRODIE.  Should I be here else?  When I leave my house I leave an _alibi_
behind me.  I’m ill—ill with a jumping headache, and the fiend’s own
temper.  I’m sick in bed this minute, and they’re all going about with
the fear of death on them lest they should disturb the poor sick Deacon.
[My bedroom door is barred and bolted like the bank—you remember!—and all
the while the window’s open, and the Deacon’s over the hills and far
away.  What do you think of me?]

MOORE.  I’ve seen your sort before, I have.

BRODIE.  Not you.  As for Leslie’s—

MOORE.  That was a nick above you.

BRODIE.  Ay was it.  He wellnigh took me red-handed; and that was better
luck than I deserved.  If I’d not been drunk, and in my tantrums, you’d
never have got my hand within a thousand years of such a job.

MOORE.  Why not?  You’re the King of the Cracksmen, ain’t you?

BRODIE.  Why not!  He asks me why not!  Gods, what a brain it is!  Hark
ye, Badger, it’s all very well to be King of the Cracksmen, as you call
it; but however respectable he may have the misfortune to be, one’s
friend is one’s friend, and as such must be severely let alone.  What!
shall there be no more honour among thieves than there is honesty among
politicians?  Why, man, if under heaven there were but one poor lock
unpicked, and that the lock of one whose claret you’ve drunk, and who has
babbled of woman across your own mahogany—that lock, sir, were entirely
sacred.  Sacred as the Kirk of Scotland; sacred as King George upon his
throne; sacred as the memory of Bruce and Bannockburn.

MOORE.  Oh, rot!  I ain’t a parson, I ain’t; I never had no college
education.  Business is business.  That’s wot’s the matter with me.

BRODIE.  Ay, so we said when you lost that fight with Newcastle Jemmy,
and sent us all home poor men.  That was a nick above _you_.

MOORE.  Newcastle Jemmy!  Muck: that’s my opinion of him: muck.  I’ll mop
the floor up with him any day, if so be as you or any on ’em ’ll make it
worth my while.  If not, muck!  That’s my motto.  Wot I now ses is, about
that ’ere crib at Leslie’s, wos I right, I ses? or wos I wrong?  That’s
wot’s the matter with you.

BRODIE.  You are both right and wrong.  You dared me to do it.  I was
drunk; I was upon my mettle; and I as good as did it.  More than that,
black-guardly as it was, I enjoyed the doing.  He is my friend.  He had
dined with me that day, and I felt like a man in a story.  I climbed his
wall, I crawled along his pantry roof, I mounted his window-sill.  That
one turn of my wrist—you know it I—and the casement was open.  It was as
dark as the pit, and I thought I’d won my wager, when, phewt! down went
something inside, and down went somebody with it.  I made one leap, and
was off like a rocket.  It was my poor friend in person; and if he’d
caught and passed me on to the watchman under the window, I should have
felt no viler rogue than I feel just now.

MOORE.  I s’pose he knows you pretty well by this time?

BRODIE.  ’Tis the worst of friendship.  Here, Kirsty, fill these glasses.
Moore, here’s better luck—and a more honourable plant!—next time.

MOORE.  Deacon, I looks towards you.  But it looks thundering like rotten
eggs, don’t it?

BRODIE.  I think not.  I was masked, for one thing, and for another I was
as quick as lightning.  He suspects me so little that he dined with me
this very afternoon.

MOORE.  Anyway, you ain’t game to try it on again, I’ll lay odds on that.
Once bit, twice shy.  That’s your motto.

BRODIE.  Right again.  I’ll put my _alibi_ to a better use.  And, Badger,
one word in your ear: there’s no Newcastle Jemmy about _me_.  Drop the
subject, and for good, or I shall drop you.  (_He rises_, _and walks
backwards and forwards_, _a little unsteadily_.  _Then returns_, _and
sits L._, _as before_.)


SCENE II


                      _To these_, HUNT, _disguised_

_He is disguised as a_ ‘_flying stationer_’ _with a patch over his eye_.
_He sits at table opposite_ BRODIE’S _and is served with bread and cheese
and beer_.

HAMILTON (_from behind_).  The deevil tak’ the cairts!

AINSLIE.  Hoot, man, dinna blame the cairts.

MOORE.  Look here, Deacon, I mean business, I do.  (HUNT _looks up at the
name of_ ‘_Deacon_.’)

BRODIE.  Gad, Badger, I never meet you that you do not.  [You have a set
of the most commercial intentions!]  You make me blush.

MOORE.  That’s all blazing fine, that is!  But wot I ses is, wot about
the chips?  That’s what I ses.  I’m after that thundering old Excise
Office, I am.  That’s my motto.

BRODIE.  ’Tis a very good motto, and at your lips, Badger, it kind of
warms my heart.  But it’s not mine.

MOORE.  Muck! why not?

BRODIE.  ’Tis too big and too dangerous.  I shirk King George; he has a
fat pocket, but he has a long arm.  [You pilfer sixpence from him, and
it’s three hundred reward for you, and a hue and cry from Tophet to the
stars.]  It ceases to be business; it turns politics, and I’m not a
politician, Mr. Moore.  (_Rising_.)  I’m only Deacon Brodie.

MOORE.  All right.  I can wait.

BRODIE (_seeing_ HUNT).  Ha, a new face,—and with a patch!  [There’s
nothing under heaven I like so dearly as a new face with a patch.]  Who
the devil, sir, are you that own it?  And where did you get it?  And how
much will you take for it second-hand?

HUNT.  Well, sir, to tell you the truth (BRODIE _bows_) it’s not for
sale.  But it’s my own, and I’ll drink your honour’s health in anything.

BRODIE.  An Englishman, too!  Badger, behold a countryman.  What are you,
and what part of southern Scotland do you come from?

HUNT.  Well, your honour, to tell you the honest truth—

[BRODIE (_bowing_).  Your obleeged!]

HUNT.  I knows a gentleman when I sees him, your honour [and, to tell
your honour the truth—

BRODIE.  _Je vous baise les mains_!  (_Bowing_.)]

HUNT.  A gentleman as is a gentleman, your honour [is always a gentleman,
and to tell you the honest truth]—

BRODIE.  Great heavens! answer in three words, and be hanged to you!
What are you, and where are you from?

HUNT.  A patter-cove from Seven Dials.

BRODIE.  Is it possible?  All my life long have I been pining to meet
with a patter-cove from Seven Dials!  Embrace me, at a distance.  [A
patter-cove from Seven Dials!]  Go, fill yourself as drunk as you dare,
at my expense.  Anything he likes, Mrs. Clarke.  He’s a patter-cove from
Seven Dials.  Hillo! what’s all this?

AINSLIE.  Dod, I’m for nae mair!  (_At back_, _and rising_.)

PLAYERS.  Sit down, Ainslie.—Sit down, Andra.—Ma revenge!

AINSLIE.  Na, na, I’m for canny goin’.  (_Coming forward with bottle_.)
Deacon, let’s see your gless.

BRODIE.  Not an inch of it.

MOORE.  No rotten shirking, Deacon!

[AINSLIE.  I’m sayin’, man, let’s see your gless.

BRODIE.  Go to the deuce!]

AINSLIE.  But I’m sayin’—

BRODIE.  Haven’t I to play to-night?

AINSLIE.  But, man, ye’ll drink to bonnie Jean Watt?

BRODIE.  Ay, I’ll follow you there.  _A la reine de mes amours_!
(_Drinks_.)  What fiend put this in your way, you hound?  You’ve filled
me with raw stuff.  By the muckle deil!—

MOORE.  Don’t hit him, Deacon; tell his mother.

HUNT (_aside_).  Oho!


SCENE III


                        _To these_, SMITH, RIVERS.

SMITH.  Where’s my beloved?  Deakin, my beauty, where are you?  Come to
the arms of George, and let him introduce you.  Capting Starlight Rivers!
Capting, the Deakin: Deakin, the Capting.  An English nobleman on the
grand tour, to open his mind, by the Lard!

RIVERS.  Stupendiously pleased to make your acquaintance, Mr. Deakin,
split me!

[BRODIE.  We don’t often see England’s heroes our way, Captain, but when
we do, we make them infernally welcome.

RIVERS.  Prettily put, sink me!  A demned genteel sentiment, stap my
vitals!]

BRODIE.  Oh Captain! you flatter me.  [We Scotsmen have our qualities, I
suppose, but we are but rough and ready at the best.  There’s nothing
like your Englishman for genuine distinction.  He is nearer France than
we are, and smells of his neighbourhood.  That d—d thing, the _je ne sais
quoi_, too!  Lard, Lard, split me! stap my vitals!  O such manners are
pure, pure, pure.  They are, by the shade of Claude Duval!]

RIVERS.  Mr. Deakin, Mr. Deakin [this is passatively too much].  What
will you sip?  Give it the _h_anar of a neam.

BRODIE.  By these most _h_anarable hands now, Captain, you shall not.  On
such an occasion I could play host with Lucifer himself.  Here, Clarke,
Mother Midnight!  Down with you, Captain! (_forcing him boisterously into
a chair_.)  I don’t know if you can lie, but, sink me! you shall sit.
(_Drinking_, _etc._, _in dumb-show_.)

MOORE (_aside to_ SMITH).  We’ve nobbled him, Geordie!

SMITH (_aside to_ MOORE).  As neat as ninepence!  He’s taking it down
like mother’s milk.  But there’ll be wigs on the green to-morrow, Badger!
It’ll be tuppence and toddle with George Smith.

MOORE.  O muck!  Who’s afraid of him?  (_To_ AINSLIE.)  Hang on, Slinkie.

HUNT (_who is feigning drunkenness_, _and has overheard; aside_).  By
jingo!

[RIVERS.  Will you sneeze, Mr. Deakin, sir?

BRODIE.  Thanks; I have all the vices, Captain.  You must send me some of
your rappee.  It is passatively perfect.]

RIVERS.  Mr. Deakin, I do myself the _h_anar of a sip to you.

BRODIE.  Topsy-turvy with the can!

MOORE (_aside to_ SMITH).  That made him wink.

BRODIE.  Your high and mighty hand, my Captain!  Shall we dice—dice—dice?
(_Dumb-show between them_.)

AINSLIE (_aside to_ MOORE).  I’m sayin’—?

MOORE.  What’s up now?

AINSLIE.  I’m no to gie him the coggit dice?

MOORE.  The square ones, rot you!  Ain’t he got to lose every brass
farden?

AINSLIE.  What’ll like be my share?

MOORE.  You mucking well leave that to me.

RIVERS.  Well, Mr. Deakin, if you passatively will have me shake a
_h_elbow—

BRODIE.  Where are the bones, Ainslie?  Where are the dice, Lord George?
(AINSLIE _gives the dice and dice-box to_ BRODIE; _and privately a second
pair of dice_.)  Old Fortune’s counters the bonnie money-catching,
money-breeding bones!  Hark to their dry music!  Scotland against
England!  Sit round, you tame devils, and put your coins on me!

SMITH.  Easy does it, my lord of high degree!  Keep cool.

BRODIE.  Cool’s the word, Captain—a cool twenty on the first?

RIVERS.  Done and done.  (_They play_.)

HUNT (_aside to_ MOORE, _a little drunk_).  Ain’t that ’ere Scotch
gentleman, your friend, too drunk to play, sir?

MOORE.  You hold your jaw; that’s what’s the matter with you.

AINSLIE.  He’s waur nor he looks.  He’s knockit the box aff the table.

SMITH (_picking up box_).  That’s the way we does it.  Ten to one and no
takers!

BRODIE.  Deuces again!  More liquor, Mother Clarke!

SMITH.  Hooray our side!  (_Pouting out_.)  George and his pal for ever!

BRODIE.  Deuces again, by heaven!  Another?

RIVERS.  Done!

BRODIE.  Ten more; money’s made to go.  On with you!

RIVERS.  Sixes.

BRODIE.  Deuce-ace.  Death and judgment?  Double or quits?

RIVERS.  Drive on!  Sixes.

SMITH.  Fire away, brave boys!  (_To_ MOORE)  It’s Tally-ho-the-Grinder,
Hump!

BRODIE.  Treys!  Death and the pit!  How much have you got there?

RIVERS.  A cool forty-five.

BRODIE.  I play you thrice the lot.

RIVERS.  Who’s afraid?

SMITH.  Stand by, Badger!

RIVERS.  Cinq-ace.

BRODIE.  My turn now.  (_He juggles in and uses the second pair of
dice_.)  Aces!  Aces again!  What’s this?  (_Picking up dice_.)  Sold! . . .
You play false, you hound!

RIVERS.  You lie!

BRODIE.  In your teeth.  (_Overturns table_, _and goes for him_.)

MOORE.  Here, none o’ that.  (_They hold him back_.  _Struggle_.)

SMITH.  Hold on, Deacon!

BRODIE.  Let me go.  Hands off, I say!  I’ll not touch him.  (_Stands
weighing dice in his hand_.)  But as for that thieving whinger, Ainslie,
I’ll cut his throat between this dark and to-morrow’s.  To the bone.
(_Addressing the company_.)  Rogues, rogues, rogues!  (_Singing
without_.) Ha! what’s that?

AINSLIE.  It’s the psalm-singing up by at the Holy Weaver’s.  And O
Deacon, if ye’re a Christian man—

THE PSALM WITHOUT:—

    ‘Lord, who shall stand, if Thou, O Lord,
       Should’st mark iniquity?
    But yet with Thee forgiveness is,
       That feared Thou may’st be.’

BRODIE.  I think I’ll go.  ‘My son the Deacon was aye regular at kirk.’
If the old man could see his son, the Deacon!  I think I’ll—Ay, who
_shall_ stand?  There’s the rub!  And forgiveness, too?  There’s a long
word for you!  I learnt it all lang syne, and now . . . hell and ruin are
on either hand of me, and the devil has me by the leg.  ‘My son, the
Deacon . . . !’  Eh, God! but there’s no fool like an old fool!
(_Becoming conscious of the others_.)  Rogues!

SMITH.  Take my arm, Deacon.

BRODIE.  Down, dog, down!  [Stay and be drunk with your equals.]
Gentlemen and ladies, I have already cursed you pretty heavily.  Let me
do myself the pleasure of wishing you—a very—good evening.  (_As he goes
out_, HUNT, _who has been staggering about in the crowd_, _falls on a
settle_, _as about to sleep_.)

                                * * * * *

                                ACT-DROP.



ACT II.


TABLEAU IV.
EVIL AND GOOD


   _The Stage represents the Deacon’s workshop_; _benches_, _shavings_,
 _tools_, _boards_, _and so forth_.  _Doors_, _C. on the street_, _and L.
 into the house_.  _Without_, _church bells_; _not a chime_, _but a slow
                             broken tocsin_.


SCENE I


BRODIE (_solus_).  My head! my head!  It’s the sickness of the grave.
And those bells go on . . . go on! . . . inexorable as death and
judgment.  [There they go; the trumpets of respectability, sounding
encouragement to the world to do and spare not, and not to be found out.
Found out!  And to those who are they toll as when a man goes to the
gallows.]  Turn where I will are pitfalls hell-deep.  Mary and her dowry;
Jean and her child—my child; the dirty scoundrel Moore; my uncle and his
trust; perhaps the man from Bow Street.  Debt, vice, cruelty, dishonour,
crime; the whole canting, lying, double-dealing, beastly business!  ‘My
son the Deacon—Deacon of the Wrights!’  My thoughts sicken at it.  [Oh
the Deacon, the Deacon!  Where’s a hat for the Deacon? where’s a hat for
the Deacon’s headache? (_searching_).  This place is a piggery.  To be
respectable and not to find one’s hat.)


SCENE II


               _To him_, JEAN, _a baby in her shawl_.  _C._

JEAN (_who has entered silently during the Deacon’s last words_).  It’s
me, Wullie.

BRODIE (_turning upon her_).  What!  You here again?  [you again!]

JEAN.  Deacon, I’m unco vexed.

BRODIE.  Do you know what you do?  Do you know what you risk?  [Is there
nothing—nothing!—will make you spare me this idiotic, wanton
prosecution?]

JEAN.  I was wrong to come yestreen; I ken that fine.  But the day it’s
different; I but to come the day, Deacon, though I ken fine it’s the
Sabbath, and I think shame to be seen upon the streets.

BRODIE.  See here, Jean.  You must go now.  I come to you to-night; I
swear that.  But now I’m for the road.

JEAN.  No till you’ve heard me, William Brodie.  Do ye think I came to
pleasure mysel’, where I’m no wanted?  I’ve a pride o’ my ains.

BRODIE.  Jean, I am going now.  If you please to stay on alone, in this
house of mine, where I wish I could say you are welcome, stay (_going_).

JEAN.  It’s the man frae Bow Street.

BRODIE.  Bow Street?

JEAN.  I thocht ye would hear me.  Ye think little o’ me; but it’s mebbe
a braw thing for you that I think sae muckle o’ William Brodie . . . ill
as it sets me.

BRODIE.  [You don’t know what is on my mind, Jeannie, else you would
forgive me.]  Bow Street?

JEAN.  It’s the man Hunt: him that was here yestreen for the Fiscal.

BRODIE.  Hunt?

JEAN.  He kens a hantle.  He . . . Ye maunna be angered wi’ me, Wullie!
I said what I shouldna.

BRODIE.  Said?  Said what?

JEAN.  Just that ye were a guid frien’ to me.  He made believe he was
awful sorry for me, because ye gied me nae siller; and I said, ‘Wha tellt
him that?’ and that he lee’d.

BRODIE.  God knows he did!  What next?

JEAN.  He was that soft-spoken, butter wouldna melt in his mouth; and he
keept aye harp, harpin’; but after that let out, he got neither black nor
white frae me.  Just that ae word and nae mair; and at the hinder end he
just speired straucht out, whaur it was ye got your siller frae.

BRODIE.  Where I got my siller?

JEAN.  Ay, that was it!  ‘You ken,’ says he.

BRODIE.  Did he? and what said you?

JEAN.  I couldna think on naething, but just that he was a gey and clever
gentleman.

BRODIE.  You should have said I was in trade, and had a good business.
That’s what you should have said.  That’s what you would have said had
you been worth your salt.  But it’s blunder, blunder, outside and in
[upstairs, downstairs, and in my lady’s chamber].  You women!  Did he see
Smith?

JEAN.  Ay, and kennt him.

BRODIE.  Damnation!—No, I’m not angry with you.  But you see what I’ve to
endure for you.  Don’t cry.  [Here’s the devil at the door, and we must
bar him out as best we can.]

JEAN.  God’s truth, ye are nae vexed wi’ me?

BRODIE.  God’s truth, I am grateful to you.  How is the child?  Well?
That’s right.  (_Peeping._)  Poor wee laddie!  He’s like you, Jean.

JEAN.  I aye thocht he was liker you.

BRODIE.  Is he?  Perhaps he is.  Ah, Jeannie, you must see and make him a
better man than his father.

JEAN.  Eh man, Deacon, the proud wumman I’ll be gin he’s only half sae
guid.

BRODIE.  Well, well, if I win through this, we’ll see what we can do for
him between us.  (_Leading her out_, _C._)  And now, go—go—go.

LAWSON (_without_, _L._).  I ken the way, I ken the way.

JEAN (_starring to door_).  It’s the Fiscal; I’m awa.  (BRODIE, _L._).


SCENE III


                         _To these_, LAWSON, _L._

LAWSON.  A braw day this, William.  (_Seeing_ JEAN.)  Eh Mistress Watt?
And what’ll have brocht you here?

BRODIE (_seated on bench_).  Something, uncle, she lost last night, and
she thinks that something she lost is here.  _Voilà_.

LAWSON.  Why are ye no at the kirk, woman?  Do ye gang to the kirk?

JEAN.  I’m mebbe no what ye would just ca’ reg’lar.  Ye see, Fiscal, it’s
the wean.

LAWSON.  A bairn’s an excuse; I ken that fine, Mistress Watt.  But bairn
or nane, my woman, ye should be at the kirk.  Awa wi’ ye!  Hear to the
bells; they’re ringing in.  (JEAN _curtsies to both_, _and goes out C._
_The bells which have been ringing quicker_, _cease_.)


SCENE IV


LAWSON (_to_ BRODIE, _returning C. from door_).  _Mulier formosa
superne_, William: a braw lass, and a decent woman forbye.

BRODIE.  I’m no judge, Procurator, but I’ll take your word for it.  Is
she not a tenant of yours?

LAWSON.  Ay, ay; a bit house on my land in Liberton’s Wynd.  Her man’s
awa, puir body; or they tell me sae; and I’m concerned for her [she’s
unco bonnie to be left her lane].  But it sets me brawly to be finding
faut wi’ the puir lass, and me an elder, and should be at the plate.
[There’ll be twa words about this in the Kirk Session.]  However, it’s
nane of my business that brings me, or I should tak’ the mair shame to
mysel’.  Na, sir, it’s for you; it’s your business keeps me frae the
kirk.

BRODIE.  My business, Procurator?  I rejoice to see it in such excellent
hands.

LAWSON.  Ye see, it’s this way.  I had a crack wi’ the laddie, Leslie,
_inter pocula_ (he took a stirrup-cup wi’ me), and he tells me he has
askit Mary, and she was to speak to ye hersel’.  O, ye needna look sae
gash.  Did she speak? and what’ll you have said to her?

BRODIE.  She has not spoken; I have said nothing; and I believe I asked
you to avoid the subject.

LAWSON.  Ay, I made a note o’ that observation, William [and assoilzied
mysel’].  Mary’s a guid lass, and I’m her uncle, and I’m here to be
answered.  Is it to be ay or no?

BRODIE.  It’s to be no.  This marriage must be quashed; and hark ye,
Procurator, you must help me.

LAWSON.  Me? ye’re daft!  And what for why?

BRODIE.  Because I’ve spent the trust-money, and I can’t refund it.

LAWSON.  Ye reprobate deevil!

BRODIE.  Have a care, Procurator.  No wry words!

LAWSON.  Do you say it to my face, sir?  Dod, sir, I’m the Crown
Prosecutor.

BRODIE.  Right.  The Prosecutor for the Crown.  And where did you get
your brandy?

LAWSON.  Eh?

BRODIE.  Your brandy!  Your brandy man!  Where do you get your brandy?
And you a Crown official and an elder!

LAWSON.  Whaur the deevil did ye hear that?

BRODIE.  Rogues all!  Rogues all, Procurator!

LAWSON.  Ay, ay.  Lord save us!  Guidsake, to think o’ that noo! . . .
Can ye give me some o’ that Cognac?  I’m . . . I’m sort o’ shaken,
William, I’m sort o’ shaken.  Thank you, William! (_Looking_, _piteously
at glass_.)  _Nunc est bibendum_.  (_Drinks_.)  Troth, I’m set ajee a
bit.  Wha the deevil tauld ye?

BRODIE.  Ask no questions, brother.  We are a pair.

LAWSON.  Pair, indeed!  Pair, William Brodie!  Upon my saul, sir, ye’re a
brazen-faced man that durst say it to my face!  Tak’ you care, my bonnie
young man, that your craig doesna feel the wecht o’ your hurdies.  Keep
the plainstanes side o’ the gallows.  _Via trita_, _via tuta_, William
Brodie!

BRODIE.  And the brandy, Procurator? and the brandy?

LAWSON.  Ay . . . weel . . . be’t sae!  Let the brandy bide, man, let the
brandy bide!  But for you and the trust-money . . . damned!  It’s felony.
_ Tutor in rem suam_, ye ken, _tutor in rem suam_.  But O man, Deacon,
whaur is the siller?

BRODIE.  It’s gone—O how the devil should I know?  But it’ll never come
back.

LAWSON.  Dear, dear!  A’ gone to the winds o’ heaven!  Sae ye’re an
extravagant dog, too.  _Prodigus et furiosus_!  And that puir lass—eh,
Deacon, man, that puir lass!  I mind her such a bonny bairn.

BRODIE (_stopping his ears_).  Brandy, brandy, brandy, brandy, brandy

LAWSON.  William Brodie, mony’s the long day that I’ve believed in you;
prood, prood was I to be the Deacon’s uncle; and a sore hearing have I
had of it the day.  That’s past; that’s past like Flodden Field; it’s an
auld sang noo, and I’m an aulder man than when I crossed your door. But
mark ye this—mark ye this, William Brodie, I may be no sae guid’s I
should be; but there’s no a saul between the east sea and the wast can
lift his een to God that made him, and say I wranged him as ye wrang that
lassie.  I bless God, William Brodie—ay, though he was like my brother—I
bless God that he that got ye has the hand of death upon his hearing, and
can win into his grave a happier man than me.  And ye speak to me, sir?
Think shame—think shame upon your heart!

BRODIE.  Rogues all!

LAWSON.  You’re the son of my sister, William Brodie.  Mair than that I
stop not to inquire.  If the siller is spent, and the honour tint—Lord
help us, and the honour tint!—sae be it, I maun bow the head.  Ruin
shallna come by me.  Na, and I’ll say mair, William; we have a’ our weary
sins upon our backs, and maybe I have mair than mony.  But, man, if ye
could bring _half_ the jointure . . . [_potius quam pereas_] . . . for
your mither’s son?  Na?  You couldna bring the half?  Weel, weel, it’s a
sair heart I have this day, a sair heart and a weary.  If I were a better
man mysel’ . . . but there, there, it’s a sair heart that I have gotten.
And the Lord kens I’ll help ye if I can.  [_Potius quam pereas_.]


SCENE V


BRODIE.  Sore hearing, does he say?  My hand’s wet.  But it’s victory.
Shall it be go? or stay?  [I should show them all I can, or they may pry
closer than they ought.]  Shall I have it out and be done with it?  To
see Mary at once [to carry bastion after bastion at the charge]—there
were the true safety after all!  Hurry—hurry’s the road to silence now.
Let them once get tattling in their parlours, and it’s death to me.  For
I’m in a cruel corner now.  I’m down, and I shall get my kicking soon and
soon enough.  I began it in the lust of life, in a hey-day of mystery and
adventure.  I felt it great to be a bolder, craftier rogue than the
drowsy citizen that called himself my fellow-man.  [It was meat and drink
to know him in the hollow of my hand, hoarding that I and mine might
squander, pinching that we might wax fat.]  It was in the laughter of my
heart that I tip-toed into his greasy privacy.  I forced the strong-box
at his ear while he sprawled beside his wife.  He was my butt, my ape, my
jumping-jack.  And now . . . O fool, fool!  [Duped by such knaves as are
a shame to knavery, crime’s rabble, hell’s tatterdemalions!]  Shorn to
the quick!  Rooked to my vitals!  And I must thieve for my daily bread
like any crawling blackguard in the gutter.  And my sister . . . my kind,
innocent sister!  She will come smiling to me with her poor little
love-story, and I must break her heart.  Broken hearts, broken lives! . . .
I should have died before.


SCENE VI


                               BRODIE, MARY

MARY (_tapping without_).  Can I come in, Will?

BRODIE.  O yes, come in, come in!  (MARY _enters_.)  I wanted to be
quiet, but it doesn’t matter, I see.  You women are all the same.

MARY.  O no, Will, they’re not all so happy, and they’re not all Brodies.
But I’ll be a woman in one thing.  For I’ve come to claim your promise,
dear; and I’m going to be petted and comforted and made much of, altho’ I
don’t need it, and . . . Why, Will, what’s wrong with you?  You look . . .
I don’t know what you look like.

BRODIE.  O nothing!  A splitting head and an aching heart.  Well! you’ve
come to speak to me.  Speak up.  What is it?  Come, girl!  What is it?
Can’t you speak?

MARY.  Why, Will, what is the matter?

BRODIE.  I thought you had come to tell me something.  Here I am.  For
God’s sake out with it, and don’t stand beating about the bush.

MARY.  O be kind, be kind to me.

BRODIE.  Kind?  I am kind.  I’m only ill and worried, can’t you see?
Whimpering?  I knew it!  Sit down, you goose!  Where do you women get
your tears?

MARY.  Why are you so cross with me?  Oh, Will, you have forgot your
sister!  Remember, dear, that I have nobody but you.  It’s your own
fault, Will, if you’ve taught me to come to you for kindness, for I
always found it.  And I mean you shall be kind to me again.  I know you
will, for this is my great need, and the day I’ve missed my mother
sorest.  Just a nice look, dear, and a soft tone in your voice, to give
me courage, for I can tell you nothing till I know that you’re my own
brother once again.

BRODIE.  If you’d take a hint, you’d put it off till to-morrow.  But I
suppose you won’t.  On, then, I’m listening.  I’m listening!

MARY.  Mr. Leslie has asked me to be his wife.

BRODIE.  He has, has he?

MARY.  And I have consented.

BRODIE.  And . . . ?

MARY.  You can say that to me?  And that is all you have to say?

BRODIE.  O no, not all.

MARY.  Speak out, sir.  I am not afraid.

BRODIE.  I suppose you want my consent?

MARY.  Can you ask?

BRODIE.  I didn’t know.  You seem to have got on pretty well without it
so far.

MARY.  O shame on you! shame on you!

BRODIE.  Perhaps you may be able to do without it altogether.  I hope so.
For you’ll never have it. . . . Mary! . . . I hate to see you look like
that.  If I could say anything else, believe me, I would say it.  But I
have said all; every word is spoken; there’s the end.

MARY.  It shall not be the end.  You owe me explanation; and I’ll have
it.

BRODIE.  Isn’t my ‘No’ enough, Mary?

MARY.  It might be enough for me; but it is not, and it cannot be, enough
for him.  He has asked me to be his wife; he tells me his happiness is in
my hands—poor hands, but they shall not fail him, if my poor heart should
break!  If he has chosen and set his hopes upon me, of all women in the
world, I shall find courage somewhere to be worthy of the choice.  And I
dare you to leave this room until you tell me all your thoughts—until you
prove that this is good and right.

BRODIE.  Good and right?  They are strange words, Mary.  I mind the time
when it was good and right to be your father’s daughter and your
brother’s sister . . . Now! . . .

MARY.  Have I changed?  Not even in thought.  My father, Walter says,
shall live and die with us.  He shall only have gained another son.  And
you—you know what he thinks of you; you know what I would do for you.

BRODIE.  Give him up.

MARY.  I have told you: not without a reason.

BRODIE.  You must.

MARY.  I will not.

BRODIE.  What if I told you that you could only compass your happiness
and his at the price of my ruin?

MARY.  Your ruin?

BRODIE.  Even so.

MARY.  Ruin!

BRODIE.  It has an ugly sound, has it not?

MARY.  O Willie, what have you done?  What have you done?  What have you
done?

BRODIE.  I cannot tell you, Mary.  But you may trust me.  You must give
up this Leslie . . . and at once.  It is to save me.

MARY.  I would die for you, dear, you know that.  But I cannot be false
to him.  Even for you, I cannot be false to him.

BRODIE.  We shall see.  Let me take you to your room.  Come.  And,
remember, it is for your brother’s sake.  It is to save me.

MARY.  I am true Brodie.  Give me time, and you shall not find me
wanting.  But it is all so sudden . . . so strange and dreadful!  You
will give me time, will you not?  I am only a woman, and . . . O my poor
Walter!  It will break his heart!  It will break his heart!  (_A knock_.)

BRODIE.  You hear!

MARY.  Yes, yes.  Forgive me.  I am going.  I will go.  It is to save
you, is it not?  To save you.  Walter . . . Mr. Leslie . . . O Deacon,
Deacon, God forgive you!  (_She goes out_.)

BRODIE.  Amen.  But will He?


SCENE VII


BRODIE, HUNT

HUNT (_hat in hand_).  Mr. Deacon Brodie, I believe?

BRODIE.  I am he, Mr.—

HUNT.  Hunt, sir; an officer from Sir John Fielding of Bow Street.

BRODIE.  There can be no better passport than the name.  In what can I
serve you?

HUNT.  You’ll excuse me, Mr. Deacon.

BRODIE.  Your duty excuses you, Mr. Hunt.

HUNT.  Your obedient.  The fact is, Mr. Deacon [we in the office see a
good deal of the lives of private parties; and I needn’t tell a gentleman
of your experience it’s part of our duty to hold our tongues.  Now], it’s
come to my knowledge that you are a trifle jokieous.  Of course I know
there ain’t any harm in that.  I’ve been young myself, Mr. Deacon, and
speaking—

BRODIE.  O, but pardon me.  Mr. Hunt, I am not going to discuss my
private character with you.

HUNT.  To be sure you ain’t.  [And do I blame you?  Not me.]  But,
speaking as one man of the world to another, you naturally see a great
deal of bad company.

BRODIE.  Not half so much as you do.  But I see what you’re driving at;
and if I can illuminate the course of justice, you may command me.  (_He
sits_, _and motions_ HUNT _to do likewise_.)

HUNT.  I was dead sure of it; and ’and upon ’art, Mr. Deacon, I thank
you.  Now (_consulting pocket-book_), did you ever meet a certain George
Smith?

BRODIE.  The fellow they call Jingling Geordie?  (HUNT _nods_.)  Yes.

HUNT.  Bad character.

BRODIE.  Let us say . . . disreputable.

HUNT.  Any means of livelihood?

BRODIE.  I really cannot pretend to guess, I have met the creature at
cock-fights [which, as you know, are my weakness].  Perhaps he bets.

HUNT.  [Mr. Deacon, from what I know of the gentleman, I should say that
if he don’t—if he ain’t open to any mortal thing—he ain’t the man I
mean.]  He used to be about with a man called Badger Moore.

BRODIE.  The boxer?

HUNT.  That’s him.  Know anything of him?

BRODIE.  Not much.  I lost five pieces on him in a fight; and I fear he
sold his backers.

HUNT.  Speaking as one admirer of the noble art to another, Mr. Deacon,
the losers always do.  I suppose the Badger cockfights like the rest of
us?

BRODIE.  I have met him in the pit.

HUNT.  Well, it’s a pretty sport.  I’m as partial to a main as anybody.

BRODIE.  It’s not an elegant taste, Mr. Hunt.

HUNT.  It costs as much as though it was.  And that reminds me, speaking
as one sportsman to another, Mr. Deacon, I was sorry to hear that you’ve
been dropping a hatful of money lately.

BRODIE.  You are very good.

HUNT.  Four hundred in three months, they tell me.

BRODIE.  Ah!

HUNT.  So they say, sir.

BRODIE.  They have a perfect right to say so, Mr. Hunt.

HUNT.  And you to do the other thing?  Well, I’m a good hand at keeping
close myself.

BRODIE.  I am not consulting you, Mr. Hunt; ’tis you who are consulting
me.  And if there is nothing else (_rising_) in which I can pretend to
serve you . . . ?

HUNT (_rising_).  That’s about all, sir, unless you can put me on to
anything good in the way of heckle and spur?  I’d try to look in.

BRODIE.  O, come, Mr. Hunt, if you have nothing to do, frankly and flatly
I have.  This is not the day for such a conversation; and so good-bye to
you.  (_A knocking_, _C._)

HUNT.  Servant, Mr. Deacon.  (SMITH _and_ MOORE, _without waiting to be
answered_, _open and enter_, _C._  _They are well into the room before
they observe_ HUNT.)  [Talk of the Devil, sir!]

BRODIE.  What brings you here?  (SMITH _and_ MOORE, _confounded by the
officer’s presence_, _slouch together to right of door_.  HUNT, _stopping
as he goes out_, _contemplates the pair_, _sarcastically_.  _This is
supported by_ MOORE _with sullen bravado_; _by_ SMITH, _with cringing
airiness_.)

HUNT (_digging_ SMITH _in the ribs_).  Why, you are the very parties I
was looking for!  (_He goes out_, _C._)


SCENE VIII


BRODIE, MOORE, SMITH

MOORE.  Wot was that cove here about?

BRODIE (_with folded arms_, _half-sitting on bench_).  He was here about
you.

SMITH (_still quite discountenanced_).  About us?  Scissors!  And what
did you tell him?

BRODIE (_same attitude_).  I spoke of you as I have found you.  [I told
him you were a disreputable hound, and that Moore had crossed a fight.]
I told him you were a drunken ass, and Moore an incompetent and dishonest
boxer.

MOORE.  Look here, Deacon!  Wot’s up?  Wot I ses is, if a cove’s got any
thundering grudge agin a cove, why can’t he spit it out, I ses.

BRODIE.  Here are my answers (_producing purse and dice_).  These are
both too light.  This purse is empty, these dice are not loaded.  Is it
indiscretion to inquire how you share?  Equal with the Captain, I
presume?

SMITH.  It’s as easy as my eye, Deakin.  Slink Ainslie got letting the
merry glass go round, and didn’t know the right bones from the wrong.
That’s _h_all.

BRODIE.  [What clumsy liars you are!

SMITH.  In boyhood’s hour, Deakin, he were called Old Truthful.  Little
did he think—]

BRODIE.  What is your errand?

MOORE.  Business.

SMITH.  After the melancholy games of last night, Deakin, which no one
deplores so much as George Smith, we thought we’d trot round—didn’t us,
Hump? and see how you and your bankers was a-getting on.

BRODIE.  Will you tell me your errand?

MOORE.  You’re dry, ain’t you?

BRODIE.  Am I?

MOORE.  We ain’t none of us got a stiver, that’s wot’s the matter with
us.

BRODIE.  Is it?

MOORE.  Ay, strike me, it is!  And wot we’ve got to is to put up the
Excise.

SMITH.  It’s the last plant in the shrubbery Deakin, and it’s breaking
George the gardener’s heart, it is.  We really must!

BRODIE.  Must we?

MOORE.  Must’s the thundering word.  I mean business, I do.

BRODIE.  That’s lucky.  I don’t.

MOORE.  O, you don’t, don’t you?

BRODIE.  I do not.

MOORE.  Then p’raps you’ll tell us wot you thundering well do?

BRODIE.  What do I mean?  I mean that you and that merry-andrew shall
walk out of this room and this house.  Do you suppose, you blockheads,
that I am blind?  I’m the Deacon, am I not?  I’ve been your king and your
commander.  I’ve led you, and fed you, and thought for you with this
head.  And you think to steal a march upon a man like me?  I see you
through and through [I know you like the clock]; I read your thoughts
like print.  Brodie, you thought, has money, and won’t do the job.
Therefore, you thought, we must rook him to the heart.  And therefore,
you put up your idiot cockney.  And now you come round, and dictate, and
think sure of your Excise?  Sure?  Are you sure I’ll let you pack with a
whole skin?  By my soul, but I’ve a mind to pistol you like dogs.  Out of
this!  Out, I say, and soil my home no more.

MOORE (_sitting_).  Now look ’ere.  Mr. bloody Deacon Brodie, you see
this ’ere chair of yours, don’t you?  Wot I ses to you is, here I am, I
ses, and here I mean to stick.  That’s my motto.  Who the devil are you
to do the high and mighty?  You make all you can out of us, don’t you?
and when one of your plants get cross, you order us out of the ken?
Muck!  That’s wot I think of you.  Muck!  Don’t you get coming the nob
over me, Mr. Deacon Brodie, or I’ll smash you.

BRODIE.  You will?

MOORE.  Ay will I.  If I thundering well swing for it.  And as for
clearing out?  Muck!  Here I am, and here I stick.  Clear out?  You try
it on.  I’m a man, I am.

BRODIE.  This is plain speaking.

MOORE.  Plain?  Wot about your father as can’t walk?  Wot about your
fine-madam sister?  Wot about the stone-jug, and the dock, and the rope
in the open street?  Is that plain?  If it ain’t, you let me know, and
I’ll spit it out so as it’ll raise the roof off this ’ere ken.  Plain!
I’m that cove’s master, and I’ll make it plain enough for him.

BRODIE.  What do you want of me?

MOORE.  Wot do I want of you?  Now you speak sense.  Leslie’s is wot I
want of you.  The Excise is wot I want of you.  Leslie’s to-night and the
Excise to-morrow.  That’s wot I want of you, and wot I thundering well
mean to get.

BRODIE.  Damn you!

MOORE.  Amen.  But you’ve got your orders.

BRODIE (_with pistol_).  Orders? hey? orders?

SMITH (_between them_).  Deacon, Deacon!—Badger, are you mad?

MOORE.  Muck!  That’s my motto.  Wot I ses is, has he got his orders or
has he not?  That’s wot’s the matter with him.

SMITH.  Deacon, half a tick.  Humphrey, I’m only a light weight, and you
fight at twelve stone ten, but I’m damned if I’m going to stand still and
see you hitting a pal when he’s down.

MOORE.  Muck!  That’s wot I think of you.

SMITH.  He’s a cut above us, ain’t he?  He never sold his backers, did
he?  We couldn’t have done without him, could we?  You dry up about his
old man, and his sister; and don’t go on hitting a pal when he’s knocked
out of time and cannot hit back, for, damme, I will not stand it.

MOORE.  Amen to you.  But I’m cock of this here thundering walk, and that
cove’s got his orders.

BRODIE (_putting pistol on bench_).  I give in.  I will do your work for
you once more.  Leslie’s to-night and the Excise to-morrow.  If that is
enough, if you have no more . . . orders, you may count it as done.

MOORE.  Fen larks.  No rotten shirking, mind.

BRODIE.  I have passed you my word.  And now you have said what you came
to say, you must go.  I have business here; but two hours hence I am at
your . . . orders.  Where shall I await you?

MOORE.  What about that woman’s place of yours?

BRODIE.  Your will is my law.

MOORE.  That’s good enough.  Now, Dock.

SMITH.  Bye-bye, my William.  Don’t forget.


SCENE IX


BRODIE.  Trust me.  No man forgets his vice, you dogs, or forgives it
either.  It must be done: Leslie’s to-night and the Excise to-morrow.  It
shall be done.  This settles it.  They used to fetch and carry for me,
and now . . . I’ve licked their boots, have I?  I’m their man, their
tool, their chattel.  It’s the bottom rung of the ladder of shame.  I
sound with my foot, and there’s nothing underneath but the black
emptiness of damnation.  Ah, Deacon, Deacon, and so this is where you’ve
been travelling all these years; and it’s for this that you learned
French!  The gallows . . . God help me, it begins to dog me like my
shadow.  _There’s_ a step to take!  And the jerk upon your spine!  How’s
a man to die with a night-cap on?  I’ve done with this.  Over yonder,
across the great ocean, is a new land, with new characters, and perhaps
new lives.  The sun shines, and the bells ring, and it’s a place where
men live gladly; and the Deacon himself can walk without terror, and
begin again like a new-born child.  It must be good to see day again and
not to fear; it must be good to be one’s self with all men.  Happy like a
child, wise like a man, free like God’s angels . . . should I work these
hands off and eat crusts, there were a life to make me young and good
again.  And it’s only over the sea!  O man, you have been blind, and now
your eyes are opened.  It was half a life’s nightmare, and now you are
awake.  Up, Deacon, up, it’s hope that’s at the window!  Mary! Mary!
Mary!


SCENE X


BRODIE, MARY, OLD BRODIE

(BRODIE has fallen into a chair, with his face upon the table.  Enter
MARY, by the side door pushing her father’s chair.  She is supposed to
have advanced far enough for stage purposes before BRODIE is aware of
her.  He starts up, and runs to her.)

BRODIE.  Look up, my lass, look up, and be a woman!  I . . . O kiss me,
Mary I give me a kiss for my good news.

MARY.  Good news, Will?  Is it changed?

BRODIE.  Changed?  Why, the world’s a different colour!  It was night,
and now it’s broad day and I trust myself again.  You must wait, dear,
wait, and I must work and work; and before the week is out, as sure as
God sees me, I’ll have made you happy.  O you may think me broken,
hounds, but the Deacon’s not the man to be run down; trust him, he shall
turn a corner yet, and leave you snarling!  And you, Poll, you.  I’ve
done nothing for you yet; but, please God, I’ll make your life a life of
gold; and wherever I am, I’ll have a part in your happiness, and you’ll
know it, by heaven! and bless me.

MARY.  O Willie, look at him; I think he hears you, and is trying to be
glad with us.

BRODIE.  My son—Deacon—better man than I was.

BRODIE.  O for God’s sake, hear him!

MARY.  He is quite happy, Will, and so am I . . . so am I.

BRODIE.  Hear me, Mary.  This is a big moment in our two lives.  I swear
to you by the father here between us that it shall not be fault of mine
if this thing fails; if this ship founders you have set your hopes in.  I
swear it by our father; I swear it by God’s judgments.

MARY.  I want no oaths, Will.

BRODIE.  No, but I do.  And prayers, Mary, prayers.  Pray night and day
upon your knees.  I must move mountains.

OLD BRODIE.  A wise son maketh—maketh—

BRODIE.  A glad father?  And does your son, the Deacon, make you glad?  O
heaven of heavens, if I were a good man.

                                * * * * *

                                 ACT-DROP



ACT III.


TABLEAU V.
KING’S EVIDENCE


           _The Stage represents a public place in Edinburgh_.


SCENE I


                         JEAN, SMITH, _and_ MOORE

(_They loiter in L._, _and stand looking about as for somebody not
there_.  SMITH _is hat in hand to_ JEAN; MOORE _as usual_.)

MOORE.  Wot did I tell you?  Is he ’ere, or ain’t he?  Now, then.  Slink
by name and Slink by nature, that’s wot’s the matter with him.

JEAN.  He’ll no be lang; he’s regular enough, if that was a’.

MOORE.  I’d regular him; I’d break his back.

SMITH.  Badger, you brute, you hang on to the lessons of your
dancing-master.  None but the genteel deserves the fair; does they,
Duchess?

MOORE.  O rot!  Did I insult the blowen?  Wot’s the matter with me is
Slink Ainslie.

SMITH.  All right, old Crossed-in-love.  Give him forty winks, and he’ll
turn up as fresh as clean sawdust and as respectable as a new Bible.

MOORE.  That’s right enough; but I ain’t agoing to stand here all day for
him.  I’m for a drop of something short, I am.  You tell him I showed you
that (_showing his doubled fist_).  That’s wot’s the matter with him.
(_He lurches out_, _R._)


SCENE II


         SMITH _and_ JEAN, _to whom_ HUNT, _and afterwards_ MOORE

SMITH (_critically_).  No, Duchess, he has not good manners.

JEAN.  Ay, he’s an impident man.

SMITH.  So he is, Jean; and for the matter of that he ain’t the only one.

JEAN.  Geordie, I want nae mair o’ your nonsense, mind.

SMITH.  There’s our old particular the Deacon, now.  Why is he ashamed of
a lovely woman?  That’s not my idea of the Young Chevalier, Jean.  If I
had luck, we should be married, and retire to our estates in the country,
shouldn’t us? and go to church and be happy, like the nobility and
gentry.

JEAN.  Geordie Smith, div ye mean ye’d mairry me?

SMITH.  Mean it?  What else has ever been the ’umble petition of your
honest but well-meaning friend, Roman, and fellow-countryman?  I know the
Deacon’s your man, and I know he’s a cut above G. S.; but he won’t last,
Jean, and I shall.

JEAN.  Ay, I’m muckle ta’en up wi’ him; wha could help it?

SMITH.  Well, and my sort don’t grow on apple-trees either.

JEAN.  Ye’re a fine, cracky, neebourly body, Geordie, if ye wad just let
me be.

SMITH.  I know I ain’t a Scotchman born.

JEAN.  I dinna think sae muckle the waur o’ ye even for that; if ye would
just let me be.

[HUNT (_entering behind_, _aside_).  Are they thick?  Anyhow, it’s a
second chance.]

SMITH.  But he won’t last, Jean, and when he leaves you, you come to me.
Is that your taste in pastry?  That’s the kind of harticle that I
present.

HUNT (_surprising them as in Tableau I_.).  Why, you’re the very parties
I was looking for!

JEAN.  Mercy me!

SMITH.  Damn it, Jerry, this is unkind.

HUNT.  [Now this is what I call a picter of good fortune.]  Ain’t it
strange I should have dropped across you comfortable and promiscuous like
this?

JEAN (_stolidly_).  I hope ye’re middling weel, Mr. Hunt?  (_Going_.)
Mr. Smith!

SMITH.  Mrs. Watt, ma’am!  (_Going_.)

HUNT.  Hold hard, George.  Speaking as one lady’s man to another, turn
about’s fair play.  You’ve had your confab, and now I’m going to have
mine.  [Not that I’ve done with you; you stand by and wait.]  Ladies
first, George, ladies first; that’s the size of it.  (_To_ JEAN,
_aside_.)  Now, Mrs. Watt, I take it you ain’t a natural fool?

JEAN.  And thank ye kindly, Mr. Hunt.

SMITH (_interfering_).  Jean . . . !

HUNT (_keeping him off_).  Half a tick, George.  (_To_ JEAN.)  Mrs. Watt,
I’ve a warrant in my pocket.  One, two, three: will you peach?

JEAN.  Whaten kind of a word’ll that be?

SMITH.  Mum it is, Jean!

HUNT.  _When_ you’ve done dancing, George!  (_To_ JEAN.)  It ain’t a
pretty expression, my dear, I own it.  ‘Will you blow the gaff?’ is
perhaps more tenderer.

JEAN.  I think ye’ve a real strange way o’ expressin yoursel’.

HUNT (_to_ JEAN).  I can’t waste time on you, my girl.  It’s now or
never.  Will you turn king’s evidence?

JEAN.  I think ye’ll have made a mistake, like.

HUNT.  Well, I’m . . . ! (_Separating them_.)  [No, not yet; don’t push
me.]  George’s turn now.  (_To_ GEORGE.)  George, I’ve a warrant in my
pocket.

SMITH.  As per usual, Jerry?

HUNT.  Now I want king’s evidence.

SMITH.  Ah! so you came a cropper with _her_, Jerry.  Pride had a fall.

HUNT.  A free pardon and fifty shiners down.

SMITH.  A free pardon, Jerry?

HUNT.  Don’t I tell you so?

SMITH.  And fifty down? fifty?

HUNT.  On the nail.

SMITH.  So you came a cropper with her, and then you tried it on with me?

HUNT.  I suppose you mean you’re a born idiot?

SMITH.  What I mean is, Jerry, that you’ve broke my heart.  I used to
look up to you like a party might to Julius Cæsar.  One more of boyhood’s
dreams gone pop.  (_Enter_ MOORE, _L._)

HUNT (_to both_).  Come, then, I’ll take the pair, and be damned to you.
Free pardon to both, fifty down and the Deacon out of the way.  I don’t
care for you commoners, it’s the Deacon I want.

JEAN (_looking off stolidly_).  I think the kirks are scalin’.  There
seems to be mair people in the streets.

HUNT.  O that’s the way, is it?  Do you know that I can hang you, my
woman, and your fancy man a well?

JEAN.  I daur say ye would like fine, Mr. Hunt; and here’s my service to
you.  (_Going_.)

HUNT.  George, don’t you be a tomfool, anyway.  Think of the blowen here,
and have brains for two.

SMITH (_going_).  Ah, Jerry, if you knew anything, how different you
would talk!  (_They go together_, _R._)


SCENE III


                               HUNT, MOORE

HUNT.  Half a tick, Badger.  You’re a man of parts, you are; you’re
solid, you’re a true-born Englishman; you ain’t a Jerry-go-Nimble like
him.  Do you know what your pal the Deacon’s worth to you?  Fifty golden
Georges and a free pardon.  No questions asked, and no receipts demanded.
What do you say?  Is it a deal?

MOORE (_as to himself_).  Muck.  (_He goes out_, _R._)


SCENE IV


                         HUNT, _to whom_ AINSLIE

HUNT (_looking after them ruefully_).  And these were the very parties I
was looking for!  [Ah, Jerry, Jerry, if they knew this at the office!]
Well, the market price of that ’ere two hundred is a trifle on the
decline and fall.  (_Looking L._)  Hullo!  (_Slapping his thigh_).  Send
me victorious!  It’s king’s evidence on two legs.  (_Advancing with great
cordiality to meet_ AINSLIE, _who enters L._)  And so your name’s Andrew
Ainslie, is it?  As I was saying, you’re the very party I was looking
for.  Ain’t it strange, now, that I should have dropped across you
comfortable and promiscuous like this?

AINSLIE.  I dinna ken wha ye are, an’ I’m ill for my bed.

HUNT.  Let your bed wait, Andrew.  I want a little chat with you; just a
quiet little sociable wheeze.  Just about our friends, you know.  About
Badger Moore, and George the Dook, and Jemmy Rivers, and Deacon Brodie,
Andrew.  Particularly Deacon Brodie.

AINSLIE.  They’re nae friens o’ mine’s, mister.  I ken naething an’
naebody.  An’ noo I’ll get to my bed, wulln’t I?

HUNT.  We’re going to have our little talk out first.  After that perhaps
I’ll let you go, and perhaps I won’t.  It all depends on how we get along
together.  Now, in a general way, Andrew, and speaking of a man as you
find him, I’m all for peace and quietness myself.  That’s my usual game,
Andrew, but when I do make a dust I’m considered by my friends to be
rather a good hand at it.  So don’t you tread upon the worm.

AINSLIE.  But I’m sayin’—

HUNT.  You leave that to me, Andrew.  You shall do your pitch presently.
I’m first on the ground, and I lead off.  With a question, Andrew.  Did
you ever hear in your life of such a natural curiosity as a Bow Street
Runner?

AINSLIE.  Aiblins ay an’ aiblins no.

HUNT.  ‘Aiblins ay and aiblins no.’  Very good indeed, Andrew.  Now, I’ll
ask you another.  Did you ever see a Bow Street Runner, Andrew?  With the
naked eye, so to speak?

AINSLIE.  What’s your wull?

HUNT.  Artful bird!  Now since we’re getting on so cosy _and_ so free,
I’ll ask you another, Andrew.  Should you like to see a Bow Street
Runner?  (_Producing staff_.)  ’Cos, if so, you’ve only got to cast your
eyes on me.  Do you queer the red weskit, Andrew?  Pretty colour, ain’t
it?  So nice and warm for the winter too.  (AINSLIE _dives_, HUNT
_collars him_.)  No, you don’t.  Not this time.  Run away like that
before we’ve finished our little conversation?  You’re a nice young man,
you are.  Suppose we introduce our wrists into these here darbies?  Now
we shall get along cosier and freer than ever.  Want to lie down, do you?
All right! anything to oblige.

AINSLIE (_grovelling_).  It wasna me, it wasna me.  It’s bad companions;
I’ve been lost wi’ bad companions an’ the drink.  An’ O mister, ye’ll be
a kind gentleman to a puir lad, an’ me sae weak, an’ fair rotten wi’ the
drink an’ that.  Ye’ve a bonnie kind heart, my dear, dear gentleman; ye
wadna hang sitchan a thing as me.  I’m no fit to hang.  They ca’ me the
Cannleworm!  An’ I’ll dae somethin’ for ye, wulln’t I?  An’ ye’ll can
hang the ithers?

HUNT.  I thought I hadn’t mistook my man.  Now, you look here, Andrew
Ainslie, you’re a bad lot.  I’ve evidence to hang you fifty times over.
But the Deacon is my mark.  Will you peach, or wont you?  You blow the
gaff, and I’ll pull you through.  You don’t, and I’ll scragg you as sure
as my name’s Jerry Hunt.

AINSLIE.  I’ll dae onything.  It’s the hanging fleys me.  I’ll dae
onything, onything no to hang.

HUNT.  Don’t lie crawling there, but get up and answer me like a man.
Ain’t this Deacon Brodie the fine workman that’s been doing all these
tip-topping burglaries?

AINSLIE.  It’s him, mister; it’s him.  That’s the man.  Ye’re in the very
bit.  Deacon Brodie.  I’ll can tak’ ye to his vera door.

HUNT.  How do you know?

AINSLIE.  I gi’ed him a han’ wi’ them a’.  It was him an’ Badger Moore,
and Geordie Smith; an’ they gart me gang wi’ them whether or no; I’m that
weak, an’ whiles I’m donner’d wi’ the drink.  But I ken a’, an’ I’ll tell
a’.  And O kind gentleman, you’ll speak to their lordships for me, an’
I’ll no be hangit . . . I’ll no be hangit, wull I?

HUNT.  But you shared, didn’t you?  I wonder what share they thought you
worth.  How much did you get for last night’s performance down at Mother
Clarke’s?

AINSLIE.  Just five pund, mister.  Five pund.  As sure’s deith it wadna
be a penny mair.  No but I askit mair: I did that; I’ll do deny it,
mister.  But Badger kickit me, an’ Geordie, he said a bad sweir, an’ made
he’d cut the liver out o’ me, an’ catch fish wi’t.  It’s been that way
frae the first: an aith an’ a bawbee was aye guid eneuch for puir Andra.

HUNT.  Well, and why did they do it?  I saw Jemmy dance a hornpipe on the
table, and booze the company all round, when the Deacon was gone.  What
made you cross the fight, and play booty with your own man?

AINSLIE.  Just to make him rob the Excise, mister.  They’re wicked,
wicked men.

HUNT.  And is he right for it?

AINSLIE.  Ay is he.

HUNT.  By jingo!  When’s it for?

AINSLIE.  Dear, kind gentleman, I dinna rightly ken: the Deacon’s that
sair angered wi’ me.  I’m to get my orders frae Geordie the nicht.

HUNT.  O, you’re to get your orders from Geordie, are you?  Now look
here, Ainslie.  You know me.  I’m Hunt the Runner; I put Jemmy Rivers in
the jug this morning; I’ve got you this evening.  I mean to wind up with
the Deacon.  You understand?  All right.  Then just you listen.  I’m
going to take these here bracelets off, and send you home to that
celebrated bed of yours.  Only, as soon as you’ve seen the Dook you come
straight round to me at Mr. Procurator-Fiscal’s, and let me know the
Dook’s views.  One word, mind, and . . . cl’k!  It’s a bargain?

AINSLIE.  Never you fear that.  I’ll tak’ my bannet an’ come straucht to
ye.  Eh God, I’m glad it’s nae mair nor that to start wi’.  An’ may the
Lord bless ye, dear, kind gentleman, for your kindness.  May the Lord
bless ye.

HUNT.  You pad the hoof.

AINSLIE (_going out_).  An’ so I wull, wulln’t I not?  An’ bless, bless
ye while there’s breath in my body, wulln’t I not?

HUNT (_solus_).  You’re a nice young man, Andrew Ainslie.  Jemmy Rivers
and the Deacon in two days!  By jingo!  (_He dances an instant gravely_,
_whistling to himself_.)  Jerry, that ’ere little two hundred of ours is
as safe as the bank.


TABLEAU VI.
UNMASKED


_The Stage represents a room in Leslie’s house_.  _A practicable window_,
_C._, _through which a band of strong moonlight falls into the room_.
_Near the window a strong-box_.  _A practicable door in wing_, _L._
_Candlelight_.


SCENE I


LESLIE, LAWSON, MARY, _seated_.  BRODIE _at back_, _walking between the
windows and strong-box_.

LAWSON.  Weel, weel, weel, weel, nae doubt.

LESLIE.  Mr. Lawson, I am perfectly satisfied with Brodie’s word; I will
wait gladly.

LAWSON.  I have nothing to say against that.

BRODIE (_behind_ LAWSON).  Nor for it.

LAWSON.  For it? for it, William?  Ye’re perfectly richt there.  (_To_
LESLIE.)  Just you do what William tells you; ye canna do better than
that.

MARY.  Dear uncle, I see you are vexed; but Will and I are perfectly
agreed on the best course.  Walter and I are young.  Oh, we can wait; we
can trust each other.

BRODIE (_from behind_).  Leslie, do you think it safe to keep this
strong-box in your room?

LESLIE.  It does not trouble me.

BRODIE.  I would not.  ’Tis close to the window.

LESLIE.  It’s on the right side of it.

BRODIE.  I give you my advice: I would not.

LAWSON.  He may be right there too, Mr. Leslie.

BRODIE.  I give him fair warning: it’s not safe

LESLIE.  I have a different treasure to concern myself about; if all goes
right with that I shall be well contented.

MARY.  Walter!

LAWSON.  Ay, bairns, ye speak for your age.

LESLIE.  Surely, sir, for every age; the ties of blood, of love, of
friendship, these are life’s essence.

MARY.  And for no one is it truer than my uncle.  If he live to be a
thousand, he will still be young in heart, full of love, full of trust.

LAWSON.  All, lassie, it’s a wicked world.

MARY.  Yes, you are out of sorts to-day; we know that.

LESLIE.  Admitted that you know more of life, sir; admitted (if you
please) that the world is wicked; yet you do not lose trust in those you
love.

LAWSON.  Weel . . . ye get gliffs, ye ken.

LESLIE.  I suppose so.  We can all be shaken for a time; but not, I
think, in our friends.  We are not deceived in them; in the few that we
admit into our hearts.

MARY.  Never in these.

LESLIE.  We know these (_to_ BRODIE), and we think the world of them.

BRODIE (_at back_).  We are more acquainted with each other’s tailors,
believe me.  You, Leslie, are a very pleasant creature.  My uncle Lawson
is the Procurator-Fiscal.  I—What am I?—I am the Deacon of the Wrights,
my ruffles are generally clean.  And you think the world of me?  Bravo!

LESLIE.  Ay, and I think the world of you.

BRODIE (_at back_, _pointing to_ LAWSON).  Ask him.

LAWSON.  Hoot-toot.  A wheen nonsense: an honest man’s an honest man, and
a randy thief’s a randy thief, and neither mair nor less.  Mary, my lamb,
it’s time you were hame, and had you beauty sleep.

MARY.  Do you not come with us?

LAWSON.  I gang the ither gate, my lamb.  (LESLIE _helps_ MARY _on with
her cloak_, _and they say farewell at back_.  BRODIE _for the first time
comes front with_ LAWSON.)  Sae ye’ve consented?

BRODIE.  As you see.

LAWSON.  Ye’ll can pay it back?

BRODIE.  I will.

LAWSON.  And how?  That’s what I’m wonderin’ to mysel’.

BRODIE.  Ay, God knows that.

MARY.  Come, Will.


SCENE II


                      LESLIE, LAWSON (_wrapping up_)

LESLIE.  I wonder what ails Brodie?

LAWSON.  How should I ken?  What should I ken that ails him?

LESLIE.  He seemed angry even with you.

LAWSON (_impatient_).  Hoot awa’.

LESLIE.  Of course, I know.  But you see, on the very day when our
engagement is announced, even the best of men may be susceptible.  You
yourself seem not quite pleased.

LAWSON (_with great irritation_).  I’m perfectly pleased.  I’m perfectly
delighted.  If I werena an auld man, I’d be just beside mysel’ wi’
happiness.

LESLIE.  Well, I only fancied.

LAWSON.  Ye had nae possible excuse to fancy.  Fancy?  Perfect trash and
nonsense.  Look at yersel’.  Ye look like a ghaist, ye’re white-like,
ye’re black aboot the een; and do ye find me deavin’ ye wi’ fancies?  Or
William Brodie either?  I’ll say that for him.

LESLIE.  ’Tis not sorrow that alters my complexion; I’ve something else
on hand.  Come, I’ll tell you, under seal.  I’ve not been in bed till
daylight for a week.

LAWSON.  Weel, there’s nae sense in the like o’ that.

LESLIE.  Gad, but there is though.  Why, Procurator, this is town’s
business; this is a municipal affair; I’m a public character.  Why?  Ah,
here’s a nut for the Crown Prosecutor!  I’m a bit of a party to a
robbery.

LAWSON.  Guid guide us, man, what d’ye mean?

LESLIE.  You shall hear.  A week ago to-night, I was passing through this
very room without a candle on my way to bed, when . . . what should I
see, but a masked man fumbling at that window!  How he did the Lord
knows.  I suspect, Procurator, it was not the first he’d tried . . . for
he opened it as handily as his own front door.

LAWSON.  Preserve me!  Another of thae robberies!

LESLIE.  That’s it.  And, of course, I tried to seize him.  But the
rascal was too quick.  He was down and away in an instant.  You never saw
a thing so daring and adroit.

LAWSON.  Is that a’?  Ye’re a bauld lad, I’ll say that for ye.  I’m glad
it wasna waur.

LESLIE.  Yes, that’s all plain sailing.  But here’s the hitch.  Why
didn’t I tell the Procurator-Fiscal?  You never thought of that.

LAWSON.  No, man.  Why?

LESLIE.  Aha!  There’s the riddle.  Will you guess?  No? . . . I thought
I knew the man.

LAWSON.  What d’ye say?

LESLIE.  I thought I knew him.

LAWSON.  Wha was’t?

LESLIE.  Ah, there you go beyond me.  That I cannot tell.

LAWSON.  As God sees ye, laddie, are ye speaking truth?

LESLIE.  Well . . . of course!

LAWSON.  The haill truth?

LESLIE.  All of it.  Why not?

LAWSON.  Man, I’d a kind o’ gliff.

LESLIE.  Why, what were you afraid of?  Had you a suspicion?

LAWSON.  Me?  Me a suspicion?  Ye’re daft, sir; and me the Crown
offeecial! . . . Eh man, I’m a’ shakin’ . . . And sae ye thocht ye kennt
him?

LESLIE.  I did that.  And what’s more, I’ve sat every night in case of
his return.  I promise you, Procurator, he shall not slip me twice.
Meanwhile I’m worried and put out.  You understand how such a fancy will
upset a man.  I’m uneasy with my friends and on bad terms with my own
conscience.  I keep watching, spying, comparing, putting two and two
together, hunting for resemblances until my head goes round.  It’s like a
puzzle in a dream.  Only yesterday I thought I had him.  And who d’you
think it was?

LAWSON.  Wha?  Wha was’t?  Speak, Mr. Leslie, speak.  I’m an auld man;
dinna forget that.

LESLIE.  I name no names.  It would be unjust to him; and, upon my word,
it was so silly it would be unfair to me.  However, here I sit, night
after night.  I mean him to come back; come back he shall; and I’ll tell
you who he was next morning.

LAWSON.  Let sleeping dogs lie, Mr. Leslie; ye dinna ken what ye micht
see.  And then, leave him alane, he’ll come nae mair.  And sitting up a’
nicht . . . it’s a _factum imprestabile_, as we say: a thing impossible
to man.  Gang ye to your bed, like a guid laddie, and sleep lang and
soundly, and bonnie, bonnie dreams to ye!  (_Without_.)  Let sleeping
dogs lie, and gang ye to your bed.


SCENE III


                                  LESLIE

LESLIE (_calling_).  In good time, never fear!  (_He carefully bolts and
chains the door_.)  The old gentleman seems upset.  What for, I wonder?
Has he had a masked visitor?  Why not?  It’s the fashion.  Out with the
lights.  (_Blows out the candles_.  _The stage is only lighted by the
moon through the window_.)  He is sure to come one night or other.  He
must come.  Right or wrong, I feel it in the air.  Man, but I know you, I
know you somewhere.  That trick of the shoulders, the hang of the
clothes—whose are they?  Where have I seen them?  And then, that single
look of the eye, that one glance about the room as the window opened . . .
it is almost friendly; I have caught it over the glass’s rim!  If it
should be . . . his?  No, his it is not.

WATCHMAN (_without_).  Past ten o’clock, and a fine moonlight night.

ANOTHER (_further away_).  Past ten o’clock, and all’s well.

LESLIE.  Past ten?  Ah, there’s a long night before you and me, watchmen.
Heavens, what a trade!  But it will be something to laugh over with Mary
and . . . with him?  Damn it, the delusion is too strong for me.  It’s a
thing to be ashamed of.  ‘We Brodies’: how she says it!  ‘We Brodies and
our Deacon’: what a pride she takes in it, and how good it sounds to me!
‘Deacon of his craft, sir, Deacon of the . . .!  (BRODIE, _masked_,
_appears without at the window_, _which he proceeds to force_.)  Ha! I
knew he’d come.  I was sure of it.  (_He crouches near and nearer to the
window_, _keeping in the shade_.)  And I know you too.  I swear I know
you.


SCENE IV


                              BRODIE, LESLIE

BRODIE _enters by the window with assurance and ease_, _closes it
silently_, _and proceeds to traverse the room_.  _As he moves_, LESLIE
_leaps upon and grapples him_.

LESLIE.  Take off that mask!

BRODIE.  Hands off!

LESLIE.  Take off the mask!

BRODIE.  Leave go, by God, leave go!

LESLIE.  Take it off!

BRODIE (_overpowered_).  Leslie . . .

LESLIE.  Ah! you know me!  (_Succeeds in tearing off the mask_.)  Brodie!

BRODIE (_in the moonlight_).  Brodie.

LESLIE.  You . . . you, Brodie, you?

BRODIE.  Brodie, sir, Brodie as you see.

LESLIE.  What does it mean?  What does it mean, my God?  Were you here
before?  Is this the second time?  Are you a thief, man? are you a thief?
Speak, speak, or I’ll kill you.

BRODIE.  I am a thief.

LESLIE.  And my friend, my own friend, and . . . Mary, Mary! . . .
Deacon, Deacon, for God’s sake, no!

BRODIE.  God help me!

LESLIE.  ‘We Brodies!  We Brodies!’

BRODIE.  Leslie—

LESLIE.  Stand off!  Don’t touch me!  You’re a thief!

BRODIE.  Leslie, Leslie

LESLIE.  A thief’s sister!  Why are you here? why are you here?  Tell me!
Why do you not speak?  Man, I know you of old.  Are you Brodie, and have
nothing to say?

BRODIE.  To say?  Not much—God help me—and commonplace, commonplace like
sin.  I was honest once; I made a false step; I couldn’t retrace it; and
. . . that is all.

LESLIE.  You have forgot the bad companions!

BRODIE.  I did forget them.  They were there.

LESLIE.  Commonplace!  Commonplace!  Do you speak to me, do you reason
with me, do you make excuses?  You—a man found out, shamed, a liar, a
thief—a man that’s killed me, killed this heart in my body; and you
speak!  What am I to do?  I hold your life in my hand; have you thought
of that?  What am I to do?

BRODIE.  Do what you please; you have me trapped.

(JEAN WATT _is heard singing without two bars of_ ‘_Wanderin’ Willie_,’
_by way of signal_.)

LESLIE.  What is that?

BRODIE.  A signal.

LESLIE.  What does it mean?

BRODIE.  Danger to me; there is someone coming.

LESLIE.  Danger to you?

BRODIE.  Some one is coming.  What are you going to do with me?  (_A
knock at the door_.)

LESLIE (_after a pause_).  Sit down.  (_Knocking_.)

BRODIE.  What are you going to do with me?

LESLIE.  Sit down.  (BRODIE _sits in darkest part of stage_.  LESLIE
_opens door_, _and admits_ LAWSON.  _Door open till end of Act_.)


SCENE V


                          BRODIE, LAWSON, LESLIE

LAWSON.  This is an unco’ time to come to your door; but eh, laddie, I
couldna bear to think o’ ye sittin’ your lane in the dark.

LESLIE.  It was very good of you.

LAWSON.  I’m no very fond of playing hidee in the dark mysel’; and noo
that I’m here—

LESLIE.  I will give you a light.  (_He lights the candles_.  _Lights
up_.)

LAWSON.  God A’michty!  William Brodie!

LESLIE.  Yes, Brodie was good enough to watch with me.

LAWSON.  But he gaed awa’ . . . I dinna see . . . an’ Lord be guid to us,
the window’s open!

LESLIE.  A trap we laid for them: a device of Brodie’s.

BRODIE (_to_ LAWSON).  Set a thief to catch a thief.  (_Passing to_
LESLIE, _aside_.)  Walter Leslie, God will reward.  (JEAN _signals
again_.)

LAWSON.  I dinna like that singin’ at siccan a time o’ the nicht.

BRODIE.  I must go.

LAWSON.  Not one foot o’ ye.  I’m ower glad to find ye in guid hands.
Ay, ye dinna ken how glad.

BRODIE (_aside to_ LESLIE).  Get me out of this.  There’s a man there
will stick at nothing.

LESLIE.  Mr. Lawson, Brodie has done his shift.  Why should we keep him?
(JEAN _appears at the door_, _and signs to_ BRODIE.)

LAWSON.  Hoots! this is my trade.  That’s a bit o’ ‘Wanderin’ Willie.’
I’ve had it before me in precognitions; that same stave has been used for
a signal by some o’ the very warst o’ them.

BRODIE (_aside to_ LESLIE).  Get me out of this.  I’ll never forget
to-night.  (JEAN _at door again_.)

LESLIE.  Well, good-night, Brodie.  When shall we meet again?

LAWSON.  Not one foot o’ him.  (JEAN _at door_.)  I tell you, Mr. Leslie—


SCENE VI


                             _To these_, JEAN

JEAN (_from she door_).  Wullie, Wullie!

LAWSON.  Guid guide us, Mrs. Watt!  A dacent wumman like yoursel’!
Whatten a time o’ nicht is this to come to folks’ doors?

JEAN (_to_ BRODIE).  Hawks, Wullie, hawks!

BRODIE.  I suppose you know what you’ve done, Jean?

JEAN.  I _had_ to come, Wullie, he wadna wait another minit.  He wad have
come himsel’.

BRODIE.  This is my mistress.

LAWSON.  William, dinna tell me nae mair.

BRODIE.  I have told you so much.  You may as well know all.  That good
man knows it already.  Have you issued a warrant for me . . . yet?

LAWSON.  No, no, man: not another word.

BRODIE, (_pointing to the window_).  That is my work.  I am the man.
Have you drawn the warrant?

LAWSON (_breaking down_).  Your father’s son!

LESLIE (_to_ LAWSON).  My good friend!  Brodie, you might have spared the
old man this.

BRODIE.  I might have spared him years ago; and you and my sister, and
myself.  I might . . . would God I had!  (_Weeping himself_.)  Don’t
weep, my good old friend; I was lost long since; don’t think of me; don’t
pity me; don’t shame me with your pity!  I began this when I was a boy.
I bound the millstone round my neck; [it is irrevocable now,] and you
must all suffer . . . all suffer for me! . . . [for this suffering
remnant of what was once a man].  O God, that I can have fallen to stand
here as I do now.  My friend lying to save me from the gallows; my second
father weeping tears of blood for my disgrace!  And all for what?  By
what?  Because I had an open hand, because I was a selfish dog, because I
loved this woman.

JEAN.  O Wullie, and she lo’ed ye weel!  But come near me nae mair, come
near me nae mair, my man; keep wi’ your ain folks . . . your ain dacent
folks.

LAWSON.  Mistress Watt, ye shall sit rent free as lang’s there’s breath
in William Lawson’s body.

LESLIE.  You can do one thing still . . . for Mary’s sake.  You can save
yourself; you must fly.

BRODIE.  It is my purpose; the day after to-morrow.  It cannot be before.
Then I will fly; and O, as God sees me, I will strive to make a new and a
better life, and to be worthy of your friendship, and of your tears . . .
your tears.  And to be worthy of you too, Jean; for I see now that the
bandage has fallen from my eyes; I see myself, O how unworthy even of
you.

LESLIE.  Why not to-night?

BRODIE.  It cannot be before.  There are many considerations.  I must
find money.

JEAN.  Leave me, and the wean.  Dinna fash yoursel’ for us.

LESLIE (_opening the strong-box_, _and pouring gold upon the table_).
Take this and go at once.

BRODIE.  Not that . . . not the money that I came to steal!

LAWSON.  Tak’ it, William; I’ll pay him.

BRODIE.  It is in vain.  I cannot leave till I have said.  There is a
man; I must obey him.  If I slip my chain till he has done with me, the
hue and cry will blaze about the country; every outport will be shut; I
shall return to the gallows.  He is a man that will stick at nothing.


SCENE VII


                            _To these_, MOORE

MOORE.  Are you coming?

BRODIE.  I am coming.

MOORE (_appearing in the door_).  Do you want us all to get thundering
well scragged?

BRODIE (_going_).  There is my master.

                                * * * * *

                                 ACT-DROP



ACT IV.


TABLEAU VII.
THE ROBBERY


_The Stage represents the outside of the Excise Office in Chessel’s
Court_.  _At the back_, _L.C._, _an archway opening on the High Street_.
_The door of the Excise in wing_, _R._; _the opposite side of the stage
is lumbered with barrels_, _packing-cases_, _etc._  _Moonlight_; _the
Excise Office casts a shadow over half the stage_.  _A clock strikes the
hour_.  _A round of the City Guard_, _with halberts_, _lanterns_, _etc._,
_enters and goes out again by the arch_, _after having examined the
fastenings of the great door and the lumber on the left_.  _Cry without
in the High Street_: ‘_Ten by the bell_, _and a fine clear night_.’
_Then enter cautiously by the arch_, SMITH _and_ MOORE, _with_ AINSLIE
_loaded with tools_.


SCENE I


                          SMITH, MOORE, AINSLIE

SMITH (_entering first_).  Come on.  Coast clear.

MOORE (_after they have come to the front_.)  Ain’t he turned up yet?

SMITH (_to_ AINSLIE).  Now Maggot!  The fishing’s a going to begin.

AINSLIE.  Dinna cangle, Geordie.  My back’s fair broke.

MOORE.  O muck!  Hand out them pieces.

SMITH.  All right, Humptious!  (_To_ AINSLIE.)  You’re a nice old sort
for a rag-and-bone man: can’t hold a bag open!  (_Taking out tools_.)
Here they was.  Here are the bunchums, one _and_ two; and jolly old keys
was they.  Here’s the picklocks, crow-bars, and here’s Lord George’s pet
bull’s eye, his old and valued friend, the Cracksman’s treasure!

MOORE.  Just like you.  Forgot the rotten centrebit.

SMITH.  That’s all you know.  Here she is, bless her!  Portrait of George
as a gay hironmonger.

MOORE.  O rot!  Hand it over, and keep yourself out of that there
thundering moonlight.

SMITH (_lighting lantern_).  All right, old mumble-peg.  Don’t you get
carried away by the fire of old Rome.  That’s your motto.  Here are the
tools; a perfect picter of the sublime and beautiful; and all I hope is,
that our friend and pitcher, the Deakin, will make a better job of it
than he did last night.  If he don’t, I shall retire from the
business—that’s all; and it’ll be George and his little wife and a black
footman till death do us part.

MOORE.  O muck!  You’re all jaw like a sheep’s jimmy.  That’s my opinion
of you.  When did you see him last?

SMITH.  This morning; and he looked as if he was rehearsing for his own
epitaph.  I never see such a change in a man.  I gave him the office for
to-night; and was he grateful?  Did he weep upon my faithful bosom?  No;
he smiled upon me like a portrait of the dear departed.  I see his ’art
was far away; and it broke my own to look at him.

MOORE.  Muck!  Wot I ses is, if a cove’s got that much of the nob about
him, wot’s the good of his working single-handed?  That’s wot’s the
matter with him.

SMITH.  Well, old Father Christmas, he ain’t single-handed to-night, is
he?

MOORE.  No, he ain’t; he’s got a man with him to-night.

SMITH.  Pardon me, Romeo; two men, I think?

MOORE.  A man wot means business.  If I’d a bin with him last night, it
ain’t psalm-singin’ would have got us off.  Psalm-singin’?  Muck!  Let
’em try it on with me.

AINSLIE.  Losh me, I heard a noise.  (_Alarm; they crouch into the shadow
and listen_.)

SMITH.  All serene.  (_To_ AINSLIE)  Am I to cut that liver out of you?
Now, am I?  (_A whistle_.)  ’St! here we are.  (_Whistles a modulation_,
_which is answered_.)


SCENE II


                            _To these_ BRODIE

MOORE.  Waiting for you, Deacon.

BRODIE.  I see.  Everything ready?

SMITH.  All a-growing and a-blowing.

BRODIE.  Give me the light.  (_Briefly examines tools and door with
bull’s eye_.)  You, George, stand by, and hand up the pieces.  Ainslie,
take the glim.  Moore, out and watch.

MOORE.  I didn’t come here to do sentry-go, I didn’t.

BRODIE.  You came here to do as I tell you.  (MOORE _goes up slowly_.)
Second bunch, George.  I know the lock.  Steady with the glim.  (_At
work_.)  No good.  Give me the centrebit.

SMITH.  Right.  (_Work continues_.  AINSLIE _drops lantern_.)

BRODIE.  Curse you!  (_Throttling and kicking him_.)  You shake, and you
shake, and you can’t even hold a light for your betters.  Hey?

AINSLIE.  Eh Deacon, Deacon . . .

SMITH.  Now Ghost!  (_With lantern_.)

BRODIE.  ’St, Moore!

MOORE.  Wot’s the row?

BRODIE.  Take you the light.

MOORE (_to_ AINSLIE).  Wo’ j’ yer shakin’ at?  (_Kicks him_.)

BRODIE (_to_ AINSLIE).  Go you, and see if you’re good at keeping watch.
Inside the arch.  And if you let a footfall pass, I’ll break your back.
(AINSLIE _retires_.)  Steady with the light.  (_At work with centrebit_.)
Hand up number four, George.  (_At work with picklock_.)  That has it.

SMITH.  Well done our side.

BRODIE.  Now the crow bar!  (_At work_.)  That’s it.  Put down the glim,
Badger, and help at the wrench.  Your whole weight, men!  Put your backs
to it!  (_While they work at the bar_, BRODIE _stands by_, _dusting his
hands with a pocket-handkerchief_.  _As the door opens_.)_  Voilà_!  In
with you.

MOORE (_entering with light_).  Mucking fine work too, Deacon!

BRODIE.  Take up the irons, George!

SMITH.  How about the P(h)antom?

BRODIE.  Leave him to me.  I’ll give him a look.  (_Enters office_.)

SMITH (_following_).  Houp-là!


SCENE III


      AINSLIE; _afterwards_ BRODIE; _afterwards_ HUNT _and_ OFFICERS

AINSLIE.  Ca’ ye that mainners?  Ye’re grand gentry by your way o’t!  Eh
sirs, my hench!  Ay, that was the Badger.  Man, but ye’ll look bonnie
hangin’!  (_A faint whistle_.)  Lord’s sake, what’s thon?  Ay, it’ll be
Hunt an’ his lads.  (_Whistle repeated_.)  Losh me, what gars him
whustle, whustle?  Does he think me deaf?  (_Goes up_.  BRODIE _enters
from office_, _stands an instant_, _and sees him making a signal through
the arch_.)

BRODIE.  Rats! Rats!  (_Hides L. among lumber_.  _Enter noiselessly
through arch_ HUNT _and_ OFFICERS.)

HUNT.  Birds caught?

AINSLIE.  They’re a’ ben the house, mister.

HUNT.  All three?

AINSLIE.  The hale set, mister.

BRODIE.  Liar!

HUNT.  Mum, lads, and follow me.  (_Exit_, _with his men_, _into office_.
BRODIE _seen with dagger_.)

HUNT (_within_).  In the King’s name!

MOORE (_within_).  Muck!

SMITH (_within_).  Go it, Badger.

HUNT (_within_).  Take ’em alive, boys!

AINSLIE.  Eh, but that’s awful.  (_The Deacon leaps out_, _and stabs
him_.  _He falls without a cry_.)

BRODIE.  Saved!  (_He goes out by the arch_.)


SCENE IV


 HUNT _and_ OFFICERS; _with_ SMITH _and_ MOORE _handcuffed_.  _Signs of a
                             severe struggle_

HUNT (_entering_).  Bring ’em along, lads!  (_Looking at prisoners with
lantern_.)  Pleased to see you again, Badger.  And you too, George.  But
I’d rather have seen your principal.  Where’s he got to?

MOORE.  To hell, I hope.

HUNT.  Always the same pretty flow of language, I see, Hump.  (_Looking
at burglary with lantern_.)  A very tidy piece of work, Dook; very tidy!
Much too good for you.  Smacks of a fine tradesman.  It _was_ the Deacon,
I suppose?

SMITH.  You ought to know G. S. better by this time, Jerry.

HUNT.  All right, your Grace: we’ll talk it over with the Deacon himself.
Where’s the jackal?  Here, you, Ainslie!  Where are you?  By jingo, I
thought as much.  Stabbed to the heart and dead as a herring!

SMITH.  Bravo!

HUNT.  More of the Deacon’s work, I guess?  Does him credit too, don’t
it, Badger?

MOORE.  Muck.  Was that the thundering cove that peached?

HUNT.  That was the thundering cove.

MOORE.  And is he corpsed?

HUNT.  I should just about reckon he was.

MOORE.  Then, damme, I don’t mind swinging!

HUNT.  We’ll talk about that presently.  M’Intyre and Stewart, you get a
stretcher, and take that rubbish to the office.  Pick it up; it’s only a
dead informer.  Hand these two gentlemen over to Mr. Procurator-Fiscal,
with Mr. Jerry Hunt’s compliments.  Johnstone and Syme, you come along
with me.  I’ll bring the Deacon round myself.

                                * * * * *

                                 ACT-DROP



ACT V.


TABLEAU VIII.
THE OPEN DOOR


_The Stage represents the Deacon’s room_, _as in Tableau I_.  _Fire
light_.  _Stage dark_.  _A pause_.  _Then knocking at the door_, _C._
_Cries without of_ ‘WILLIE!’ ‘MR. BRODIE!’  _The door is burst open_.


SCENE I


                 DOCTOR, MARY, a MAIDSERVANT with lights.

DOCTOR.  The apartment is unoccupied.

MARY.  Dead, and he not here!

DOCTOR.  The bed has not been slept in.  The counterpane is not turned
down.

MARY.  It is not true; it cannot be true.

DOCTOR.  My dear young lady, you must have misunderstood your brother’s
language.

MARY.  O no; that I did not.  That I am sure I did not.

DOCTOR (_looking at door_).  The strange thing is . . . the bolt.

SERVANT.  It’s unco strange.

DOCTOR.  Well, we have acted for the best.

SERVANT.  Sir, I dinna think this should gang nae further.

DOCTOR.  The secret is in our keeping.  Affliction is enough without
scandal.

MARY.  Kind heaven, what does it mean?

DOCTOR.  I think there is no more to be done.

MARY.  I am here alone, Doctor; you pass my uncle’s door?

DOCTOR.  The Procurator-Fiscal?  I shall make it my devoir.  Expect him
soon.  (_Goes out with_ MAID.)

MARY (_hastily searches the room_).  No, he is not there.  She was right!
O father, you can never know, praise God!


SCENE II


               MARY, _to whom_ JEAN _and afterwards_ LESLIE

JEAN (_at door_).  Mistress . . . !

MARY.  Ah!  Who is there?  Who are you?

JEAN.  Is he no hame yet?  I’m aye waitin’ on him.

MARY.  Waiting for him?  Do you know the Deacon?  You?

JEAN.  I maun see him.  Eh, lassie, it’s life and death.

MARY.  Death . . . O my heart!

JEAN.  I maun see him, bonnie leddie.  I’m a puir body, and no fit to be
seen speakin’ wi’ the likes o’ you.  But O lass, ye are the Deacon’s
sister, and ye hae the Deacon’s e’en, and for the love of the dear kind
Lord, let’s in and hae a word wi’ him ere it be ower late.  I’m bringin’
siller.

MARY.  Siller?  You?  For him?  O father, father, if you could hear!
What are you?  What are you . . . to him?

JEAN.  I’ll be the best frien’ ’at ever he had; for, O dear leddie, I wad
gie my bluid to help him.

MARY.  And the . . . the child?

JEAN.  The bairn?

MARY.  Nothing!  O nothing!  I am in trouble, and I know not what I say.
And I cannot help you; I cannot help you if I would.  He is not here; and
I believed he was; and ill . . . ill; and he is not—he is . . . O, I
think I shall lose my mind!

JEAN.  Ay, it’s unco business.

MARY.  His father is dead within there . . . dead, I tell you . . . dead!

JEAN.  It’s mebbe just as weel.

MARY.  Well?  Well?  Has it come to this?  O Walter, Walter! come back to
me, or I shall die.  (LESLIE _enters_, _C._)

LESLIE.  Mary, Mary!  I hoped to have spared you this.  (_To_ JEAN.)
What—you?  Is he not here?

JEAN.  I’m aye waitin’ on him.

LESLIE.  What has become of him?  Is he mad?  Where is he?

JEAN.  The Lord A’michty kens, Mr. Leslie.  But I maun find him; I maun
find him.


SCENE III


                               MARY, LESLIE

MARY.  O Walter, Walter!  What does it mean?

LESLIE.  You have been a brave girl all your life, Mary; you must lean on
me . . . you must trust in me . . . and be a brave girl till the end.

MARY.  Who is she?  What does she want with _him_?  And he . . . where is
he?  Do you know that my father is dead, and the Deacon not here?  Where
has he gone?  He may be dead, too.  Father, brother . . . O God, it is
more than I can bear!

LESLIE.  Mary, my dear, dear girl . . . when will you be my wife?

MARY.  O, do not speak . . . not speak . . . of it to-night.  Not
to-night!  O not to-night!

LESLIE.  I know, I know dear heart!  And do you think that I whom you
have chosen, I whose whole life is in your love—do you think that I would
press you now if there were not good cause?

MARY.  Good cause!  Something has happened.  Something has happened . . .
to him!  Walter . . . !  Is he . . . dead?

LESLIE.  There are worse things in the world than death.  There is O . . .
Mary, he is your brother!

MARY.  What?  Dishonour! . . . The Deacon! . . . My God!

LESLIE.  My wife, my wife!

MARY.  No, no!  Keep away from me.  Don’t touch me.  I’m not fit . . .
not fit to be near you.  What has he done?  I am his sister.  Tell me the
worst.  Tell me the worst at once.

LESLIE.  That, if God wills, dear, that you shall never know.  Whatever
it be, think that I knew it all, and only loved you better; think that
your true husband is with you, and you are not to bear it alone.

MARY.  My husband? . . . Never.

LESLIE.  Mary . . . !

MARY.  You forget, you forget what I am.  I am his sister.  I owe him a
lifetime of happiness and love; I owe him even you.  And whatever his
fault, however ruinous his disgrace, he is my brother—my own brother—and
my place is still with him.

LESLIE.  Your place is with me—is with your husband.  With me, with me;
and for his sake most of all.  What can you do for him alone? how can you
help him alone?  It wrings my heart to think how little.  But together is
different.  Together . . . I join my strength, my will, my courage to
your own, and together we may save him.

MARY.  All that is over.  Once I was blessed among women.  I was my
father’s daughter, my brother loved me, I lived to be your wife.  Now . . . !
My father is dead, my brother is shamed; and you . . . O how could I
face the world, how could I endure myself, if I preferred my happiness to
your honour?

LESLIE.  What is my honour but your happiness?  In what else does it
consist?  Is it in denying me my heart? is it in visiting another’s sin
upon the innocent?  Could I do that, and be my mother’s son?  Could I do
that, and bear my father’s name?  Could I do that, and have ever been
found worthy of you?

MARY.  It is my duty . . . my duty.  Why will you make it so hard for me?
So hard, Walter so hard!

LESLIE.  Do I pursue you only for your good fortune, your beauty, the
credit of your friends, your family’s good name?  That were not love, and
I love you.  I love you, dearest, I love you.  Friend, father, brother,
husband . . . I must be all these to you.  I am a man who can love well.

MARY.  Silence . . . in pity!  I cannot . . . O, I cannot bear it.

LESLIE.  And say it was I who had fallen.  Say I had played my neck and
lost it . . . that I were pushed by the law to the last limits of
ignominy and despair.  Whose love would sanctify my jail to me? whose
pity would shine upon me in the dock? whose prayers would accompany me to
the gallows?  Whose but yours?  Yours! . . . And you would entreat
me—me!—to do what you shrink from even in thought, what you would die ere
you attempted in deed!

MARY.  Walter . . . on my knees . . . no more, no more!

LESLIE.  My wife! my wife!  Here on my heart!  It is I that must kneel . . .
I that must kneel to you.

MARY.  Dearest! . . . Husband!  You forgive him?  O, you forgive him?

LESLIE.  He is my brother now.  Let me take you to our father.  Come.


SCENE IV


              _After a pause_, BRODIE, _through the window_

BRODIE.  Saved!  And the alibi!  Man, but you’ve been near it this
time—near the rope, near the rope.  Ah boy, it was your neck, your neck
you fought for.  They were closing hell-doors upon me, swift as the wind,
when I slipped through and shot for heaven!  Saved!  The dog that sold
me, I settled him; and the other dogs are staunch.  Man, but your alibi
will stand!  Is the window fast?  The neighbours must not see the Deacon,
the poor, sick Deacon, up and stirring at this time o’ night.  Ay, the
good old room in the good, cozy old house . . . and the rat a dead rat,
and all saved.  (_He lights the candles_.)  Your hand shakes, sir?  Fie!
And you saved, and you snug and sick in your bed, and it but a dead rat
after all?  (_He takes off his hanger and lays it on the table_.)  Ay, it
was a near touch.  Will it come to the dock?  If it does!  You’ve a
tongue, and you’ve a head, and you’ve an alibi; and your alibi will
stand.  (_He takes off his coat_, _takes out the dagger_, _and with a
gesture of striking_)  Home!  He fell without a sob.  ‘He breaketh them
against the bosses of his buckler!’  (_Lays the dagger on the table_.)
Your alibi . . . ah Deacon, that’s your life! . . . your alibi, your
alibi.  (_He takes up a candle and turns towards the door_.)  O!  . . .
Open, open, open! judgment of God, the door is open!


SCENE V


                              BRODIE, MARY.

BRODIE.  Did you open the door?

MARY.  I did.

BRODIE.  You . . . you opened the door?

MARY.  I did open it

BRODIE.  Were you . . . alone?

MARY.  I was not.  The servant was with me; and the doctor.

BRODIE.  O . . . the servant . . . and the doctor.  Very true.  Then it’s
all over the town by now.  The servant and the doctor.  The doctor?  What
doctor?  Why the doctor?

MARY.  My father is dead.  O Will, where have you been?

BRODIE.  Your father is dead.  O yes!  He’s dead, is he?  Dead.  Quite
right.  Quite right . . . How did you open the door?  It’s strange.  I
bolted it.

MARY.  We could not help it, Will, now could we?  The doctor forced it.
He had to, had he not?

BRODIE.  The doctor forced it?  The doctor?  Was he here?  He forced it?
He?

MARY.  We did it for the best; it was I who did it . . . I, your own
sister.  And O Will, my Willie, where have you been?  You have not been
in any harm, any danger?

BRODIE.  Danger?  O my young lady, you have taken care of that.  It’s not
danger now, it’s death.  Death?  Ah! Death!  Death! Death!  (_Clutching
the table_.  _Then_, _recovering as from a dream_.)  Death?  Did you say
my father was dead?  My father?  O my God, my poor old father!  Is he
dead, Mary?  Have I lost him? is he gone?  O, Mary dear, and to think of
where his son was!

MARY.  Dearest, he is in heaven.

BRODIE.  Did he suffer?

MARY.  He died like a child.  Your name . . . it was his last.

BRODIE.  My name?  Mine?  O Mary, if he had known!  He knows now.  He
knows; he sees us now . . . sees me!  Ay, and sees you, left how lonely!

MARY.  Not so, dear; not while you live.  Wherever you are, I shall not
be alone, so you live.

BRODIE.  While I live?  I?  The old house is ruined, and the old master
dead, and I!  . . .  O Mary, try and believe I did not mean that it
should come to this; try and believe that I was only weak at first.  At
first?  And now!  The good old man dead, the kind sister ruined, the
innocent boy fallen, fallen . . . !  You will be quite alone; all your
old friends, all the old faces, gone into darkness.  The night (_with a
gesture_) . . . it waits for me.  You will be quite alone.

MARY.  The night!

BRODIE.  Mary, you must hear.  How am I to tell her, and the old man just
dead!  Mary, I was the boy you knew; I loved pleasure, I was weak; I have
fallen . . . low . . . lower than you think.  A beginning is so small a
thing!  I never dreamed it would come to this . . . this hideous last
night.

MARY.  Willie, you must tell me, dear.  I must have the truth . . . the
kind truth . . . at once . . . in pity.

BRODIE.  Crime.  I have fallen.  Crime.

MARY.  Crime?

BRODIE.  Don’t shrink from me.  Miserable dog that I am, selfish hound
that has dragged you to this misery . . . you and all that loved him . . .
think only of my torments, think only of my penitence, don’t shrink
from me.

MARY.  I do not care to hear, I do not wish, I do not mind; you are my
brother.  What do I care?  How can I help you?

BRODIE.  Help? help _me_?  You would not speak of it, not wish it, if you
knew.  My kind good sister, my little playmate, my sweet friend! was I
ever unkind to you till yesterday?  Not openly unkind? you’ll say that
when I am gone.

MARY.  If you have done wrong, what do I care?  If you have failed, does
it change my twenty years of love and worship?  Never!

BRODIE.  Yet I must make her understand . . . !

MARY.  I am your true sister, dear.  I cannot fail, I will never leave
you, I will never blame you.  Come!  (_Goes to embrace_.)

BRODIE (_recoiling_).  No, don’t touch me, not a finger, not that,
anything but that!

MARY.  Willie, Willie!

BRODIE (_taking the bloody dagger from the table_).  See, do you
understand that?

MARY.  Ah!  What, what is it!

BRODIE.  Blood.  I have killed a man.

MARY.  You? . . .

BRODIE.  I am a murderer; I was a thief before.  Your brother . . . the
old man’s only son!

MARY.  Walter, Walter, come to me!

BRODIE.  Now you see that I must die; now you see that I stand upon the
grave’s edge, all my lost life behind me, like a horror to think upon,
like a frenzy, like a dream that is past.  And you, you are alone.
Father, brother, they are gone from you; one to heaven, one . . . !

MARY.  Hush, dear, hush!  Kneel, pray; it is not too late to repent.
Think of our father dear; repent.  (_She weeps_, _straining to his
bosom_.)  O Willie, my darling boy, repent and join us.


SCENE VI


                     _To these_, LAWSON, LESLIE, JEAN

LAWSON.  She kens a’, thank the guid Lord!

BRODIE (_to_ MARY).  I know you forgive me now; I ask no more.  That is a
good man.  (_To_ LESLIE.)  Will you take her from my hands?  (LESLIE
_takes_ MARY.)  Jean, are ye here to see the end?

JEAN.  Eh man, can ye no fly?  Could ye no say that it was me?

BRODIE.  No, Jean, this is where it ends.  Uncle, this is where it ends.
And to think that not an hour ago I still had hopes!  Hopes!  Ay, not an
hour ago I thought of a new life.  You were not forgotten, Jean.  Leslie,
you must try to forgive me . . . you, too!

LESLIE.  You are her brother.

BRODIE (_to_ LAWSON).  And you?

LAWSON.  My name-child and my sister’s bairn!

BRODIE.  You won’t forget Jean, will you? nor the child?

LAWSON.  That I will not.

MARY.  O Willie, nor I.


SCENE VII


                             _To these_, HUNT

HUNT.  The game’s up, Deacon.  I’ll trouble you to come along with me.

BRODIE (_behind the table_).  One moment, officer: I have a word to say
before witnesses ere I go.  In all this there is but one man guilty; and
that man is I.  None else has sinned; none else must suffer.  This poor
woman (_pointing to_ JEAN) I have used; she never understood.  Mr.
Procurator-Fiscal, that is my dying confession.  (_He snatches his hanger
from the table_, _and rushes upon_ HUNT, _who parries_, _and runs him
through_.  _He reels across the stage and falls_.)  The new life . . .
the new life!  (_He dies_.)

                                * * * * *

                                 CURTAIN.



BEAU AUSTIN


                                DEDICATED
                       WITH ADMIRATION AND RESPECT
                                    TO
                             GEORGE MEREDITH

                                * * * * *

BOURNEMOUTH:
      1_st_ _October_ 1884.



PERSONS REPRESENTED

GEORGE FREDERICK AUSTIN, called ‘Beau Austin’          Ætat. 50
JOHN FENWICK, of Allonby Shaw                             ,, 26
ANTHONY MUSGRAVE, Cornet in the Prince’s Own              ,, 21
MENTEITH, the Beau’s Valet                                ,, 55
A ROYAL DUKE (Dumb show.)
DOROTHY MUSGRAVE, Anthony’s Sister                        ,, 25
MISS EVELINA FOSTER, her Aunt                             ,, 45
BARBARA RIDLEY, her Maid                                  ,, 20
VISITORS TO THE WELLS

The Time is 1820.  The Scene is laid at Tunbridge Wells.  The Action
occupies a space of ten hours.



HAYMARKET THEATRE


                     _Monday_, _November_ 3_d_, 1890

                                  _CAST_

GEORGE FREDERICK AUSTIN       Mr. TREE
JOHN FENWICK                  Mr. FRED TERRY
ANTHONY MUSGRAVE              Mr. EDMUND MAURICE
MENTEITH                      Mr. BROOKFIELD
A ROYAL DUKE                  Mr. ROBB HARWOOD
DOROTHY MUSGRAVE              Mrs. TREE
MISS EVELINA FOSTER           Miss ROSE LECLERCQ
BARBARA RIDLEY                Miss AYLWARD
VISITORS TO THE WELLS

PROLOGUE


          _Spoken by_ MR. TREE _in the character of Beau Austin_

   ‘To all and singular,’ as Dryden says,
   We bring a fancy of those Georgian days,
   Whose style still breathed a faint and fine perfume
   Of old-world courtliness and old-world bloom:
   When speech was elegant and talk was fit
   For slang had not been canonised as wit;
   When manners reigned, when breeding had the wall,
   And Women—yes!—were ladies first of all;
   When Grace was conscious of its gracefulness,
   And man—though Man!—was not ashamed to dress.
   A brave formality, a measured ease,
   Were his—and her’s—whose effort was to please.
   And to excel in pleasing was to reign
   And, if you sighed, never to sigh in vain.

   But then, as now—it may be, something more—
   Woman and man were human to the core.
   The hearts that throbbed behind that quaint attire
   Burned with a plenitude of essential fire.
   They too could risk, they also could rebel,
   They could love wisely—they could love too well.
   In that great duel of Sex, that ancient strife
   Which is the very central fact of life,
   They could—and did—engage it breath for breath,
   They could—and did—get wounded unto death.
   As at all times since time for us began
   Woman was truly woman, man was man,
   And joy and sorrow were as much at home
   In trifling Tunbridge as in mighty Rome.

   Dead—dead and done with!  Swift from shine to shade
   The roaring generations flit and fade.
   To this one, fading, flitting, like the rest,
   We come to proffer—be it worst or best—
   A sketch, a shadow, of one brave old time;
   A hint of what it might have held sublime;
   A dream, an idyll, call it what you will,
   Of man still Man, and woman—Woman still!



ACT I.


MUSICAL INDUCTION: ‘_Lascia ch’io pianga_’ (_Rinaldo_).

                                                                   HANDEL.

_The Stage represents Miss Foster’s apartments at the Wells_.  _Doors_,
_L. and C._; _a window_, _L. C._, _looking on the street_; _a table R._,
_laid for breakfast_.


SCENE I


                      BARBARA; _to her_ MISS FOSTER

BARBARA (_out of window_).  Mr. Menteith!  Mr. Menteith!  Mr.
Menteith!—Drat his old head!  Will nothing make him hear?—Mr. Menteith!

MISS FOSTER (_entering_).  Barbara! this is incredible: after all my
lessons, to be leaning from the window, and calling (for unless my ears
deceived me, you were positively calling!) into the street.

BARBARA.  Well, madam, just wait until you hear who it was.  I declare it
was much more for Miss Dorothy and yourself than for me; and if it was a
little countrified, I had a good excuse.

MISS FOSTER.  Nonsense, child!  At least, who was it?

BARBARA.  Miss Evelina, I was sure you would ask.  Well, what do you
think?  I was looking out of window at the barber’s opposite—

MISS FOSTER.  Of which I entirely disapprove—

BARBARA.  And first there came out two of the most beautiful—the Royal
livery, madam!

MISS FOSTER.  Of course, of course: the Duke of York arrived last night.
I trust you did not hail the Duke’s footmen?

BARBARA.  O no, madam, it was after they were gone.  Then, who should
come out—but you’ll never guess!

MISS FOSTER.  I shall certainly not try.

BARBARA.  Mr. Menteith himself!

MISS FOSTER.  Why, child, I never heard of him.

BARBARA.  O madam, not the Beau’s own gentleman?

MISS FOSTER.  Mr. Austin’s servant.  No?  Is it possible?  By that,
George Austin must be here.

BARBARA.  No doubt of that, madam; they’re never far apart.  He came out
feeling his chin, madam, so; and a packet of letters under his arm, so;
and he had the Beau’s own walk to that degree you couldn’t tell his back
from his master’s.

MISS FOSTER.  My dear Barbara, you too frequently forget yourself.  A
young woman in your position must beware of levity.

BARBARA.  Madam, I know it; but la, what are you to make of me?  Look at
the time and trouble dear Miss Dorothy was always taking—she that trained
up everybody—and see what’s come of it: Barbara Ridley I was, and Barbara
Ridley I am; and I don’t do with fashionable ways—I can’t do with them;
and indeed, Miss Evelina, I do sometimes wish we were all back again on
Edenside, and Mr. Anthony a boy again, and dear Miss Dorothy her old
self, galloping the bay mare along the moor, and taking care of all of us
as if she was our mother, bless her heart!

MISS FOSTER.  Miss Dorothy herself, child?  Well, now you mention it,
Tunbridge of late has scarcely seemed to suit her constitution.  She
falls away, has not a word to throw at a dog, and is ridiculously pale.
Well, now Mr. Austin has returned, after six months of infidelity to the
dear Wells, we shall all, I hope, be brightened up.  Has the mail come?

BARBARA.  That it has, madam, and the sight of Mr. Menteith put it clean
out of my head.  (_With letters_.)  Four for you, Miss Evelina, two for
me, and only one for Miss Dorothy.  Miss Dorothy seems quite neglected,
does she not?  Six months ago, it was a different story.

MISS FOSTER.  Well, and that’s true, Barbara, and I had not remarked it.
I must take her seriously to task.  No young lady in her position should
neglect her correspondence.  (_Opening a letter_.)  Here’s from that dear
ridiculous boy, the Cornet, announcing his arrival for to-day.

BARBARA.  O madam, will he come in his red coat?

MISS FOSTER.  I could not conceive him missing such a chance.  Youth,
child, is always vain, and Mr. Anthony is unusually young.

BARBARA.  La, madam, he can’t help that.

MISS FOSTER.  My child, I am not so sure.  Mr. Anthony is a great concern
to me.  He was orphaned, to be sure, at ten years old; and ever since he
has been only as it were his sister’s son.  Dorothy did everything for
him: more indeed than I thought quite ladylike, but I suppose I begin to
be old-fashioned.  See how she worked and slaved—yes, slaved!—for him:
teaching him herself, with what pains and patience she only could reveal,
and learning that she might be able; and see what he is now: a gentleman,
of course, but, to be frank, a very commonplace one: not what I had hoped
of Dorothy’s brother; not what I had dreamed of the heir of two
families—Musgrave and Foster, child!  Well, he may now meet Mr. Austin.
He requires a Mr. Austin to embellish and correct his manners.  (_Opening
another letter_.)  Why, Barbara, Mr. John Scrope and Miss Kate Dacre are
to be married!

BARBARA.  La, madam, how nice!

MISS FOSTER.  They are: As I’m a sinful woman.  And when will you be
married, Barbara? and when dear Dorothy?  I hate to see old maids
a-making.

BARBARA.  La, Miss Evelina, there’s no harm in an old maid.

MISS FOSTER.  You speak like a fool, child: sour grapes are all very well
but it’s a woman’s business to be married.  As for Dorothy, she is
five-and-twenty, and she breaks my heart.  Such a match, too!  Ten
thousand to her fortune, the best blood in the north, a most advantageous
person, all the graces, the finest sensibility, excellent judgment, the
Foster walk; and all these to go positively a-begging!  The men seem
stricken with blindness.  Why, child, when I came out (and I was the dear
girl’s image!) I had more swains at my feet in a fortnight than our
Dorothy in—O, I cannot fathom it: it must be the girl’s own fault.

BARBARA.  Why, madam, I did think it was a case with Mr. Austin.

MISS FOSTER.  With Mr. Austin? why, how very rustic!  The attentions of a
gentleman like Mr. Austin, child, are not supposed to lead to matrimony.
He is a feature of society: an ornament: a personage: a private gentleman
by birth, but a kind of king by habit and reputation.  What woman could
he marry?  Those to whom he might properly aspire are all too far below
him.  I have known George Austin too long, child, and I understand that
the very greatness of his success condemns him to remain unmarried.

BARBARA.  Sure, madam, that must be tiresome for him.

MISS FOSTER.  Some day, child, you will know better than to think so.
George Austin, as I conceive him, and as he is regarded by the world, is
one of the triumphs of the other sex.  I walked my first minuet with him:
I wouldn’t tell you the year, child, for worlds; but it was soon after
his famous rencounter with Colonel Villiers.  He had killed his man, he
wore pink and silver, was most elegantly pale, and the most ravishing
creature!

BARBARA.  Well, madam, I believe that: he is the most beautiful gentleman
still.


SCENE II


                         _To these_, DOROTHY, _L_

DOROTHY (_entering_).  Good-morning, aunt!  Is there anything for me?
(_She goes eagerly to table_, _and looks at letters_.)

MISS FOSTER.  Good-morrow, niece.  Breakfast, Barbara.

DOROTHY (_with letter unopened_).  Nothing.

MISS FOSTER.  And what do you call that, my dear?  (_Sitting_.)  Is John
Fenwick nobody?

DOROTHY (_looking at letter_.)  From John?  O yes, so it is.  (_Lays down
letter unopened_, _and sits to breakfast_, BARBARA _waiting_.)

MISS FOSTER (_to_ BARBARA, _with plate_).  Thanks, child; now you may
give me some tea.  Dolly, I must insist on your eating a good breakfast:
I cannot away with your pale cheeks and that Patience-on-a Monument kind
of look.  (Toast, Barbara.)  At Edenside you ate and drank and looked
like Hebe.  What have you done with your appetite?

DOROTHY.  I don’t know, aunt, I’m sure.

MISS FOSTER.  Then consider, please, and recover it as soon as you can:
to a young lady in your position a good appetite is an attraction—almost
a virtue.  Do you know that your brother arrives this morning?

DOROTHY.  Dear Anthony!  Where is his letter, Aunt Evelina?  I am pleased
that he should leave London and its perils, if only for a day.

MISS FOSTER.  My dear, there are moments when you positively amaze.
(Barbara, some _pâté_, if you please!)  I beg you not to be a prude.  All
women, of course, are virtuous; but a prude is something I regard with
abhorrence.  The Cornet is seeing life, which is exactly what he wanted.
You brought him up surprisingly well; I have always admired you for it;
but let us admit—as women of the world, my dear—it was no upbringing for
a man.  You and that fine solemn fellow, John Fenwick, led a life that
was positively no better than the Middle Ages; and between the two of
you, poor Anthony (who, I am sure, was a most passive creature!) was so
packed with principle and admonition that I vow and declare he reminded
me of Issachar stooping between his two burdens.  It was high time for
him to be done with your apron-string, my dear: he has all his wild oats
to sow; and that is an occupation which it is unwise to defer too long.
By the bye, have you heard the news?  The Duke of York has done us a
service for which I was unprepared.  (More tea, Barbara!)  George Austin,
bringing the prince in his train, is with us once more.

DOROTHY.  I knew he was coming.

MISS FOSTER.  You knew, child? and did not tell?  You are a public
criminal.

DOROTHY.  I did not think it mattered, Aunt Evelina.

MISS FOSTER.  O do not make-believe.  I am in love with him myself, and
have been any time since Nelson and the Nile.  As for you, Dolly, since
he went away six months ago, you have been positively in the megrims.  I
shall date your loss of appetite from George Austin’s vanishing.  No, my
dear, our family require entertainment: we must have wit about us, and
beauty, and the _bel air_.

BARBARA.  Well, Miss Dorothy, perhaps it’s out of my place: but I do hope
Mr. Austin will come: I should love to have him see my necklace on.

DOROTHY.  Necklace? what necklace?  Did he give you a necklace?

BARBARA.  Yes, indeed, Miss, that he did: the very same day he drove you
in his curricle to Penshurst.  You remember, Miss, I couldn’t go.

DOROTHY.  I remember.

MISS FOSTER.  And so do I.  I had a touch of . . . Foster in the blood:
the family gout, dears! . . .  And you, you ungrateful nymph, had him a
whole day to yourself, and not a word to tell me when you returned.

DOROTHY.  I remember.  (_Rising_.)  Is that the necklace, Barbara?  It
does not suit you.  Give it me.

BARBARA.  La, Miss Dorothy, I wouldn’t for the world.

DOROTHY.  Come, give it me.  I want it.  Thank you: you shall have my
birthday pearls instead.

MISS FOSTER.  Why, Dolly, I believe you’re jealous of the maid.  Foster,
Foster: always a Foster trick to wear the willow in anger.

DOROTHY.  I do not think, madam, that I am of a jealous habit.

MISS FOSTER.  O, the personage is your excuse!  And I can tell you,
child, that when George Austin was playing Florizel to the Duchess’s
Perdita, all the maids in England fell a prey to green-eyed melancholy.
It was the _ton_, you see: not to pine for that Sylvander was to resign
from good society.

DOROTHY.  Aunt Evelina, stop; I cannot endure to hear you.  What is he
after all but just Beau Austin?  What has he done—with half a century of
good health, what has he done that is either memorable or worthy?  Diced
and danced and set fashions; vanquished in a drawing-room, fought for a
word; what else?  As if these were the meaning of life!  Do not make me
think so poorly of all of us women.  Sure, we can rise to admire a better
kind of man than Mr. Austin.  We are not all to be snared with the eye,
dear aunt; and those that are—O!  I know not whether I more hate or pity
them.

MISS FOSTER.  You will give me leave, my niece: such talk is neither
becoming in a young lady nor creditable to your understanding.  The world
was made a great while before Miss Dorothy Musgrave; and you will do much
better to ripen your opinions, and in the meantime read your letter,
which I perceive you have not opened.  (DOROTHY _opens and reads
letter_.)  Barbara, child, you should not listen at table.

BARBARA.  Sure, madam, I hope I know my place.

MISS FOSTER.  Then do not do it again.

DOROTHY.  Poor John Fenwick! he coming here!

MISS FOSTER.  Well, and why not?  Dorothy, my darling child, you give me
pain.  You never had but one chance, let me tell you pointedly: and that
was John Fenwick.  If I were you, I would not let my vanity so blind me.
This is not the way to marry.

DOROTHY.  Dear aunt, I shall never marry.

MISS FOSTER.  A fiddlestick’s end! every one must marry.  (_Rising_.)
Are you for the Pantiles?

DOROTHY.  Not to-day, dear,

MISS FOSTER.  Well, well! have your wish, Dolorosa.  Barbara, attend and
dress me.


SCENE III


                                 DOROTHY

DOROTHY.  How she tortures me, poor aunt, my poor blind aunt; and I—I
could break her heart with a word.  That she should see nothing, know
nothing—there’s where it kills.  O, it is more than I can bear . . . and
yet, how much less than I deserve!  Mad girl, of what do I complain? that
this dear innocent woman still believes me good, still pierces me to the
soul with trustfulness.  Alas, and were it otherwise, were her dear eyes
opened to the truth, what were left me but death?—He, too—she must still
be praising him, and every word is a lash upon my conscience.  If I could
die of my secret: if I could cease—but one moment cease—this living lie;
if I could sleep and forget and be at rest!—Poor John! (_reading the
letter_) he at least is guiltless; and yet for my fault he too must
suffer, he too must bear part in my shame.  Poor John Fenwick!  Has he
come back with the old story: with what might have been, perhaps, had we
stayed by Edenside?  Eden? yes, my Eden, from which I fell.  O my old
north country, my old river—the river of my innocence, the old country of
my hopes—how could I endure to look on you now?  And how to meet
John?—John, with the old love on his lips, the old, honest, innocent,
faithful heart!  There was a Dorothy once who was not unfit to ride with
him, her heart as light as his, her life as clear as the bright rivers we
forded; he called her his Diana, he crowned her so with rowan.  Where is
that Dorothy now? that Diana? she that was everything to John?  For O, I
did him good; I know I did him good; I will still believe I did him good:
I made him honest and kind and a true man; alas, and could not guide
myself!  And now, how will he despise me!  For he shall know; if I die,
he shall know all; I could not live, and not be true with him.  (_She
takes out the necklace and looks at it_.)  That he should have bought me
from my maid!  George, George, that you should have stooped to this!
Basely as you have used me, this is the basest.  Perish the witness!
(_She treads the trinket under foot_.)  Break, break like my heart, break
like my hopes, perish like my good name!


SCENE IV


                         _To her_, FENWICK, _C._

FENWICK (_after a pause_).  Is this how you receive me, Dorothy?  Am I
not welcome?—Shall I go then?

DOROTHY (_running to him_, _with hands outstretched_).  O no, John, not
for me.  (_Turning_, _and pointing to the necklace_.)  But you find me
changed.

FENWICK (_with a movement towards the necklace_).  This?

DOROTHY.  No, no, let it lie.  That is a trinket—broken.  But the old
Dorothy is dead.

FENWICK.  Dead, dear?  Not to me.

DOROTHY.  Dead to you—dead to all men.

FENWICK.  Dorothy, I loved you as a boy.  There is not a meadow on
Edenside but is dear to me for your sake, not a cottage but recalls your
goodness, not a rock nor a tree but brings back something of the best and
brightest youth man ever had.  You were my teacher and my queen; I walked
with you, I talked with you, I rode with you; I lived in your shadow; I
saw with your eyes.  You will never know, dear Dorothy, what you were to
the dull boy you bore with; you will never know with what romance you
filled my life, with what devotion, with what tenderness and honour.  At
night I lay awake and worshipped you; in my dreams I saw you, and you
loved me; and you remember, when we told each other stories—you have not
forgotten, dearest—that Princess Hawthorn that was still the heroine of
mine: who was she?  I was not bold enough to tell, but she was you!  You,
my virgin huntress, my Diana, my queen.

DOROTHY.  O silence, silence—pity!

FENWICK.  No, dear; neither for your sake nor mine will I be silenced.  I
have begun; I must go on and finish, and put fortune to the touch.  It
was from you I learned honour, duty, piety, and love.  I am as you made
me, and I exist but to reverence and serve you.  Why else have I come
here, the length of England, my heart burning higher every mile, my very
horse a clog to me? why, but to ask you for my wife?  Dorothy, you will
not deny me.

DOROTHY.  You have not asked me about this broken trinket?

FENWICK.  Why should I ask?  I love you.

DOROTHY.  Yet I must tell you.  Sit down.  (_She picks up the necklace_,
_and stands looking at it_.  _Then_, _breaking down_.)  O John, John,
it’s long since I left home.

FENWICK.  Too long, dear love.  The very trees will welcome you.

DOROTHY.  Ay, John, but I no longer love you.  The old Dorothy is dead,
God pardon her!

FENWICK.  Dorothy, who is the man?

DOROTHY.  O poor Dorothy!  O poor dead Dorothy!  John, you found me
breaking this: me, your Diana of the Fells, the Diana of your old romance
by Edenside.  Diana—O what a name for me!  Do you see this trinket?  It
is a chapter in my life.  A chapter, do I say? my whole life, for there
is none to follow.  John, you must bear with me, you must help me.  I
have that to tell—there is a secret—I have a secret, John—O, for God’s
sake, understand.  That Diana you revered—O John, John, you must never
speak of love to me again.

FENWICK.  What do you say?  How dare you?

DOROTHY.  John, it is the truth.  Your Diana, even she, she whom you so
believed in, she who so believed in herself, came out into the world only
to be broken.  I met, here at the Wells, a man—why should I tell you his
name?  I met him, and I loved him.  My heart was all his own; yet he was
not content with that: he must intrigue to catch me, he must bribe my
maid with this.  (_Throws the necklace on the table_.)  Did he love me?
Well, John, he said he did; and be it so!  He loved, he betrayed, and he
has left me.

FENWICK.  Betrayed?

DOROTHY.  Ay, even so; I was betrayed.  The fault was mine that I forgot
our innocent youth, and your honest love.

FENWICK.  Dorothy, O Dorothy!

DOROTHY.  Yours is the pain; but, O John, think it is for your good.
Think in England how many true maids may be waiting for your love, haw
many that can bring you a whole heart, and be a noble mother to your
children, while your poor Diana, at the first touch, has proved all
frailty.  Go, go and be happy, and let me be patient.  I have sinned.

FENWICK.  By God, I’ll have his blood.

DOROTHY.  Stop!  I love him.  (_Between_ FENWICK _and door_, _C._)

FENWICK.  What do I care?  I loved you too.  Little he thought of that,
little either of you thought of that.  His blood—I’ll have his blood!

DOROTHY.  You shall never know his name.

FENWICK.  Know it?  Do you think I cannot guess?  Do you think I had not
heard he followed you.  Do you think I had not suffered—O suffered!
George Austin is the man.  Dear shall he pay it!

DOROTHY (_at his feet_).  Pity me; spare me, spare your Dorothy!  I love
him—love him—love him!

FENWICK.  Dorothy, you have robbed me of my happiness, and now you would
rob me of my revenge.

DOROTHY.  I know it; and shall I ask, and you not grant?

FENWICK (_raising her_).  No, Dorothy, you shall ask nothing, nothing in
vain from me.  You ask his life; I give it you, as I would give you my
soul; as I would give you my life, if I had any left.  My life is done;
you have taken it.  Not a hope, not an end; not even revenge.  (_He
sits_.)  Dorothy, you see your work.

DOROTHY.  O God, forgive me.

FENWICK.  Ay, Dorothy, He will, as I do.

DOROTHY.  As you do?  Do you forgive me, John?

FENWICK.  Ay, more than that, poor soul.  I said my life was done, I was
wrong; I have still a duty.  It is not in vain you taught me; I shall
still prove to you that it was not in vain.  You shall soon find that I
am no backward friend.  Farewell.



ACT II.


MUSICAL INDUCTION: ‘_The Lass of Richmond Hill_.’

_The Stage represents George Austin’s dressing-room_.  _Elaborate
toilet-table_, _R._, _with chair_; _a cheval glass so arranged as to
correspond with glass on table_.  _Breakfast-table_, _L._, _front_.
_Door_, _L._  _The Beau is discovered at table_, _in dressing-grown_,
_trifling with correspondence_.  MENTEITH _is frothing chocolate_.


SCENE I


                             AUSTIN, MENTEITH

MENTEITH.  At the barber’s, Mr. George, I had the pleasure of meeting two
of the Dook’s gentlemen.

AUSTIN.  Well, and was his Royal Highness satisfied with his quarters?

MENTEITH.  Quite so, Mr. George.  Delighted, I believe.

AUSTIN.  I am rejoiced to hear it.  I wish I could say I was as pleased
with my journey, Menteith.  This is the first time I ever came to the
Wells in another person’s carriage; Duke or not, it shall be the last,
Menteith.

MENTEITH.  Ah, Mr. George, no wonder.  And how many times have we made
that journey back and forth?

AUSTIN.  Enough to make us older than we look.

MENTEITH.  To be sure, Mr. George, you do wear well.

AUSTIN.  _We_ wear well, Menteith.

MENTEITH.  I hear, Mr. George, that Miss Musgrave is of the company.

AUSTIN.  Is she so?  Well, well! well, well!

MENTEITH.  I’ve not seen the young lady myself, Mr. George; but the
barber tells me she’s looking poorly.

AUSTIN.  Poorly?

MENTEITH.  Yes, Mr. George, poorly was his word.

AUSTIN.  Well, Menteith, I am truly sorry.  She is not the first.

MENTEITH.  Yes, Mr. George.  (_A bell_.  MENTEITH _goes out_, _and
re-enters with card_.)

AUSTIN (_with card_).  Whom have we here?  Anthony Musgrave?

MENTEITH.  A fine young man, Mr. George; and with a look of the young
lady, but not so gentlemanly.

AUSTIN.  You have an eye, you have an eye.  Let him in.


SCENE II


                        AUSTIN, MENTEITH, ANTHONY

AUSTIN.  I am charmed to have this opportunity, Mr. Musgrave.  You belong
to my old corps, I think?  And how does my good friend, Sir Frederick?  I
had his line; but like all my old comrades, he thinks last about himself,
and gives me not of his news.

ANTHONY.  I protest, sir, this is a very proud moment.  Your name is
still remembered in the regiment.  (AUSTIN _bows_.)  The Colonel—he keeps
his health, sir, considering his age (AUSTIN _bows again_, _and looks at_
MENTEITH)—tells us young men you were a devil of a fellow in your time.

AUSTIN.  I believe I was—in my time.  Menteith, give Mr. Musgrave a dish
of chocolate.  So, sir, we see you at the Wells.

ANTHONY.  I have but just alighted.  I had but one thought, sir: to pay
my respects to Mr. Austin.  I have not yet kissed my aunt and sister.

AUSTIN.  In my time—to which you refer—the ladies had come first.

ANTHONY.  The women?  I take you, sir.  But then you see, a man’s
relatives don’t count.  And besides, Mr. Austin, between men of the
world, I am fairly running away from the sex: I am positively in flight.
Little Hortense of the Opera; you know; she sent her love to you.  She’s
mad about me, I think.  You never saw a creature so fond.

AUSTIN.  Well, well, child! you are better here.  In my time—to which you
have referred—I knew the lady.  Does she wear well?

ANTHONY.  I beg your pardon, sir!

AUSTIN.  No offence, child, no offence.  She was a very lively creature.
But you neglect your chocolate I see?

ANTHONY.  We don’t patronise it, Mr. Austin; we haven’t for some years:
the service has quite changed since your time.  You’d be surprised.

AUSTIN.  Doubtless.  I am.

ANTHONY.  I assure you, sir, I and Jack Bosbury of the Fifty-Second—

AUSTIN.  The Hampshire Bosburys?—

ANTHONY.  I do not know exactly, sir.  I believe he is related.

AUSTIN.  Or perhaps—I remember a Mr. Bosbury, a cutter of coats.  I have
the vanity to believe I formed his business.

ANTHONY.  I—I hope not, sir.  But as I was saying, I and this Jack
Bosbury, and the Brummagem Bantam—a very pretty light-weight, sir—drank
seven bottles of Burgundy to the three of us inside the eighty minutes.
Jack, sir, was a little cut; but me and the Bantam went out and finished
the evening on hot gin.  Life, sir, life!  Tom Cribb was with us.  He
spoke of you, too, Tom did: said you’d given him a wrinkle for his second
fight with the black man.  No, sir, I assure you, you’re not forgotten.

AUSTIN (_bows_).  I am pleased to learn it.  In my time, I had an esteem
for Mr. Cribb.

ANTHONY.  O come, sir! but your time cannot be said to be over.

AUSTIN.  Menteith, you hear?

MENTEITH.  Yes, Mr. George.

ANTHONY.  The Colonel told me that you liked to shake an elbow.  Your big
main, sir, with Lord Wensleydale, is often talked about.  I hope I may
have the occasion to sit down with you.  I shall count it an honour, I
assure you.

AUSTIN.  But would your aunt, my very good friend, approve?

ANTHONY.  Why, sir, you do not suppose I am in leading-strings?

AUSTIN.  You forget, child: a family must hang together.  When I was
young—in my time—I was alone; and what I did concerned myself.  But a
youth who has—as I think you have—a family of ladies to protect, must
watch his honour, child, and preserve his fortune.  You have no commands
from Sir Frederick?

ANTHONY.  None, sir, none.

AUSTIN.  Shall I find you this noon upon the Pantiles? . . . I shall be
charmed.  Commend me to your aunt and your fair sister.  Menteith?

MENTEITH.  Yes, Mr. George.  (_Shows Anthony out_.)


SCENE III


                      AUSTIN, MENTEITH, _returning_

AUSTIN.  Was I ever like that, Menteith?

MENTEITH.  No, Mr. George, you was always a gentleman.

AUSTIN.  Youth, my good fellow, youth.

MENTEITH.  Quite so, Mr. George.

AUSTIN.  Well, Menteith, we cannot make no mend.  We cannot play the
jockey with Time.  Age is the test: of wine, Menteith, and men.

MENTEITH.  Me and you and the old Hermitage, Mr. George, he-he!

AUSTIN.  And the best of these, the Hermitage.  But come: we lose our
day.  Help me off with this.  (MENTEITH _takes off_ AUSTIN’S
_dressing-gown_; AUSTIN _passes R. to dressing-table_, _and takes up
first cravat_.)

AUSTIN.  Will the hair do, Menteith?

MENTEITH.  Never saw it lay better, Mr. George.  (AUSTIN _proceeds to
wind first cravat_.  _A bell_: _exit_ MENTEITH.  AUSTIN _drops first
cravat in basket and takes second_.)

AUSTIN (_winding and singing_)—

          ‘I’d crowns resign
          To call her mine,
    Sweet Lass of Richmond Hill!’

(_Second cravat a failure_.  _Re-enter_ MENTEITH _with card_.)  Fenwick?
of Allonby Shaw?  A good family, Menteith, but I don’t know the
gentleman.  (_Lays down card_, _and takes up third cravat_.)  Send him
away with every consideration.

MENTEITH.  To be sure, Mr. George.  (_He goes out_.  _Third cravat a
success_.  _Re-enter_ MENTEITH.)  He says, Mr. George, that he has an
errand from Miss Musgrave.

AUSTIN (_with waistcoat_).  Show him in, Menteith, at once.  (_Singing
and fitting waistcoat at glass_)—

          ‘I’d crowns resign
          To call her mine,
    Sweet Lass of Richmond Hill!’



SCENE IV


                AUSTIN, _R. to him_ MENTEITH _and_ FENWICK

MENTEITH (_announcing_).  Mr. Fenwick, Mr. George.

AUSTIN.  At the name of Miss Musgrave, my doors fly always open.

FENWICK.  I believe, sir, you are acquainted with my cousin, Richard
Gaunt?

AUSTIN.  The county member?  An old and good friend.  But you need not go
so far afield: I know your good house of Allonby Shaw since the days of
the Black Knight.  We are, in fact, and at a very royal distance,
cousins.

FENWICK.  I desired, sir, from the nature of my business, that you should
recognise me for a gentleman.

AUSTIN.  The preliminary, sir, is somewhat grave.

FENWICK.  My business is both grave and delicate.

AUSTIN.  Menteith, my good fellow.  (_Exit_ MENTEITH.)  Mr. Fenwick,
honour me so far as to be seated.  (_They sit_.)  I await your pleasure.

FENWICK.  Briefly, sir, I am come, not without hope, to appeal to your
good heart.

AUSTIN.  From Miss Musgrave?

FENWICK.  No, sir, I abused her name, and am here upon my own authority.
Upon me the consequence.

AUSTIN.  Proceed

FENWICK.  Mr. Austin, Dorothy Musgrave is the oldest and dearest of my
friends, is the lady whom for ten years it has been my hope to make my
wife.  She has shown me reason to discard that hope for another: that I
may call her Mrs. Austin.

AUSTIN.  In the best interests of the lady (_rising_) I question if you
have been well inspired.  You are aware, sir, that from such interference
there is but one issue: to whom shall I address my friend?

FENWICK.  Mr. Austin, I am here to throw myself upon your mercy.  Strange
as my errand is, it will seem yet more strange to you that I came
prepared to accept at your hands any extremity of dishonour and not
fight.  The lady whom it is my boast to serve has honoured me with her
commands.  These are my law, and by these your life is sacred.

AUSTIN.  Then, sir (_with his hand upon the bell_), his conversation
becomes impossible.  You have me at too gross a disadvantage; and, as you
are a gentleman and respect another, I would suggest that you retire.

FENWICK.  Sir, you speak of disadvantage; think of mine.  All my life
long, with all the forces of my nature, I have loved this lady.  I came
here to implore her to be my wife, to be my queen; my saint she had been
always!  She was too noble to deceive me.  She told me what you know.  I
will not conceal that my first mood was of anger: I would have killed you
like a dog.  But, Mr. Austin—bear with me awhile—I, on the threshold of
my life, who have made no figure in the world, nor ever shall now, who
had but one treasure, and have lost it—if I, abandoning revenge,
trampling upon jealousy, can supplicate you to complete my misfortune—O
Mr. Austin! you who have lived, you whose gallantry is beyond the
insolence of a suspicion, you who are a man crowned and acclaimed, who
are loved, and loved by such a woman—you who excel me in every point of
advantage, will you suffer me to surpass you in generosity?

AUSTIN.  You speak from the heart.  (_Sits_.)  What do you want with me?

FENWICK.  Marry her.

AUSTIN.  Mr. Fenwick, I am the older man.  I have seen much of life, much
of society, much of love.  When I was young, it was expected of a
gentleman to be ready with his hat to a lady, ready with his sword to a
man; to honour his word and his king; to be courteous with his equals,
generous to his dependants, helpful and trusty in friendship.  But it was
not asked of us to be quixotic.  If I had married every lady by whom it
is my fortune—not my merit—to have been distinguished, the Wells would
scarce be spacious enough for my establishment.  You see, sir, that while
I respect your emotion, I am myself conducted by experience.  And
besides, Mr. Fenwick, is not love a warfare? has it not rules? have not
our fair antagonists their tactics, their weapons, their place of arms?
and is there not a touch of—pardon me the word! of silliness in one who,
having fought, and having vanquished, sounds a parley, and capitulates to
his own prisoner?  Had the lady chosen, had the fortune of war been
other, ’tis like she had been Mrs. Austin.  Now I . . . You know the
world.

FENWICK.  I know, sir, that the world contains much cowardice.  To find
Mr. Austin afraid to do the right, this surprises me.

AUSTIN.  Afraid, child?

FENWICK.  Yes, sir, afraid.  You know her, you know if she be worthy; and
you answer me with—the world: the world which has been at your feet: the
world which Mr. Austin knows so well how to value and is so able to rule.

AUSTIN.  I have lived long enough, Mr. Fenwick, to recognise that the
world is a great power.  It can make; but it can break.

FENWICK.  Sir, suffer me: you spoke but now of friendship, and spoke
warmly.  Have you forgotten Colonel Villiers?

AUSTIN.  Mr. Fenwick, Mr. Fenwick, you forget what I have suffered.

FENWICK.  O sir, I know you loved him.  And yet, for a random word you
quarrelled; friendship was weighed in vain against the world’s code of
honour; you fought, and your friend fell.  I have heard from others how
he lay long in agony, and how you watched and nursed him, and it was in
your embrace he died.  In God’s name have you forgotten that?  Was not
this sacrifice enough? or must the world, once again, step between Mr.
Austin and his generous heart?

AUSTIN.  Good God, sir, I believe you are in the right; I believe, upon
my soul I believe, there is something in what you say.

FENWICK.  Something, Mr. Austin?  O credit me, the whole difference
betwixt good and evil.

AUSTIN.  Nay, nay, but there you go too far.  There are many kinds of
good: honour is a diamond cut in a thousand facets, and with the true
fire in each.  Thus, and with all our differences, Mr. Fenwick, you and I
can still respect, we can still admire each other.

FENWICK.  Bear with me still, sir, if I ask you what is the end of life
but to excel in generosity?  To pity the weak, to comfort the afflicted,
to right where we have wronged, to be brave in reparation—these noble
elements you have; for of what besides is the fabric of your dealing with
Colonel Villiers?  That is man’s chivalry to man.  Yet to a suffering
woman—a woman feeble, betrayed, unconsoled—you deny your clemency, you
refuse your aid, you proffer injustice for atonement.  Nay, you are so
disloyal to yourself that you can choose to be ungenerous and unkind.
Where, sir, is the honour?  What facet of the diamond is that?

AUSTIN.  You forget, sir, you forget.  But go on.

FENWICK.  O sir, not I—not I but yourself forgets: George Austin forgets
George Austin.  A woman loved by him, betrayed by him, abandoned by
him—that woman suffers; and a point of honour keeps him from his place at
her feet.  She has played and lost, and the world is with him if he deign
to exact the stakes.  Is that the Mr. Austin whom Miss Musgrave honoured
with her trust?  Then, sir, how miserably was she deceived!

AUSTIN.  Child—child—

FENWICK.  Mr. Austin, still bear with me, still follow me.  O sir, will
you not picture that dear lady’s life?  Her years how few, her error thus
irreparable, what henceforth can be her portion but remorse, the
consciousness of self-abasement, the shame of knowing that her trust was
ill-bestowed?  To think of it: this was a queen among women; and
this—this is George Austin’s work!  Sir, let me touch your heart: let me
prevail with you to feel that ’tis impossible.

AUSTIN.  I am a gentleman.  What do you ask of me?

FENWICK.  To be the man she loved: to be clement where the world would
have you triumph, to be of equal generosity with the vanquished, to be
worthy of her sacrifice and of yourself.

AUSTIN.  Mr. Fenwick, your reproof is harsh—

FENWICK (_interrupting him_).  O sir, be, just be just!—

AUSTIN.  But it is merited, and I thank you for its utterance.  You tell
me that the true victory comes when the fight is won: that our foe is
never so noble nor so dangerous as when she is fallen, that the crowning
triumph is that we celebrate over our conquering selves.  Sir, you are
right.  Kindness, ay kindness after all.  And with age, to become
clement.  Yes, ambition first; then, the rounded vanity—victory still
novel; and last, as you say, the royal mood of the mature man; to
abdicate for others . . . Sir, you touched me hard about my dead friend;
still harder about my living duty; and I am not so young but I can take a
lesson.  There is my hand upon it: she shall be my wife.

FENWICK.  Ah, Mr. Austin, I was sure of it.

AUSTIN.  Then, sir, you were vastly mistaken.  There is nothing of Beau
Austin here.  I have simply, my dear child, sate at the feet of Mr.
Fenwick.

FENWICK.  Ah, sir, your heart was counsellor enough.

AUSTIN.  Pardon me.  I am vain enough to be the judge: there are but two
people in the world who could have wrought this change: yourself and that
dear lady.  (_Touches bell_.)  Suffer me to dismiss you.  One instant of
toilet, and I follow.  Will you do me the honour to go before, and
announce my approach?  (_Enter_ MENTEITH.)

FENWICK.  Sir, if my admiration—

AUSTIN.  Dear child, the admiration is the other way.  (_Embraces him_.
MENTEITH _shows him out_.)


SCENE V


                                  AUSTIN

AUSTIN.  Upon my word, I think the world is getting better.  We were none
of us young men like that—in my time, to quote my future brother.  (_He
sits down before the mirror_.)  Well, here ends Beau Austin.  Paris,
Rome, Vienna, London—victor everywhere: and now he must leave his bones
in Tunbridge Wells.  (_Looks at his leg_.)  Poor Dolly Musgrave! a good
girl after all, and will make me a good wife; none better.  The last—of
how many?—ay, and the best!  Walks like Hebe.  But still, here ends Beau
Austin.  Perhaps it’s time.  Poor Dolly—was she looking poorly?  She
shall have her wish.  Well, we grow older, but we grow no worse.


SCENE VI


                             AUSTIN, MENTEITH

AUSTIN.  Menteith, I am going to be married.

MENTEITH.  Well, Mr. George, but I am pleased to hear it.  Miss Musgrave
is a most elegant lady.

AUSTIN.  Ay, Mr. Menteith? and who told you the lady’s name?

MENTEITH.  Mr. George, you was always a gentleman.

AUSTIN.  You mean I wasn’t always?  Old boy, you are in the right.  This
shall be a good change for both you and me.  We have lived too long like
a brace of truants: now is the time to draw about the fire.  How much is
left of the old Hermitage?

MENTEITH.  Hard upon thirty dozen, Mr. George, and not a bad cork in the
bin.

AUSTIN.  And a mistress, Menteith, that’s worthy of that wine.

MENTEITH.  Mr. George, sir, she’s worthy of you.

AUSTIN.  Gad, I believe it.  (_Shakes hands with him_.)

MENTEITH (_breaking down_).  Mr. George, you’ve been a damned good master
to me, and I’ve been a damned good servant to you; we’ve been proud of
each other from the first; but if you’ll excuse my plainness, Mr. George,
I never liked you better than to-day.

AUSTIN.  Cheer up, old boy, the best is yet to come.  Get out the tongs,
and curl me like a bridegroom.  (_Sits before dressing-glass_; MENTEITH
_produces curling irons and plies them_.  AUSTIN _sings_)—

          ‘I’d crowns resign
          To call her mine,
    Sweet Lass of Richmond Hill!’

                                   DROP



ACT III.


MUSICAL INDUCTION: the ‘Minuet’ from ‘_Don Giovanni_’

_The stage represents Miss Foster’s lodging as in Act I_.


SCENE I


    DOROTHY, R., _at tambour_; ANTHONY, _C._, _bestriding chair_; MISS
                              FOSTER, _L.C._

ANTHONY.  Yes, ma’am, I like my regiment: we are all gentlemen, from old
Fred downwards, and all of a good family.  Indeed, so are all my friends,
except one tailor sort of fellow, Bosbury.  But I’m done with him.  I
assure you, Aunt Evelina, we are Corinthian to the last degree.  I
wouldn’t shock you ladies for the world—

MISS FOSTER.  Don’t mind me, my dear; go on.

ANTHONY.  Really, ma’am, you must pardon me: I trust I understand what
topics are to be avoided among females—And before my sister, too!  A girl
of her age!

DOROTHY.  Why, you dear, silly fellow, I’m old enough to be your mother.

ANTHONY.  My dear Dolly, you do not understand; you are not a man of the
world.  But, as I was going on to say, there is no more spicy regiment in
the service.

MISS FOSTER.  I am not surprised that it maintains its old reputation.
You know, my dear (_to_ DOROTHY), it was George Austin’s regiment.

DOROTHY.  Was it, aunt?

ANTHONY.  Beau Austin?  Yes, it was; and a precious dust they make about
him still—a parcel of old frumps!  That’s why I went to see him.  But
he’s quite extinct: he couldn’t be Corinthian if he tried.

MISS FOSTER.  I am afraid that even at your age George Austin held a very
different position from the distinguished Anthony Musgrave.

ANTHONY.  Come, ma’am, I take that unkindly.  Of course I know what
you’re at: of course the old pût cut no end of a dash with the Duchess.

MISS FOSTER.  My dear child, I was thinking of no such thing; _that_ was
immoral.

ANTHONY.  Then you mean that affair at Brighton: when he cut the Prince
about Perdita Robinson.

MISS FOSTER.  No, I had forgotten it.

ANTHONY.  O, well, I know—that duel!  But look here, Aunt Evelina, I
don’t think you’d be much gratified after all if I were to be broke for
killing my commanding officer about a quarrel at cards.

DOROTHY.  Nobody asks you, Anthony, to imitate Mr. Austin.  I trust you
will set yourself a better model.  But you may choose a worse.  With all
his faults, and all his enemies, Mr. Austin is a pattern gentleman: You
would not ask a man to be braver, and there are few so generous.  I
cannot bear to hear him called in fault by one so young.  Better judges,
dear, are better pleased.

ANTHONY.  Hey-day! what’s this?

MISS FOSTER.  Why, Dolly, this is April and May.  You surprise me.

DOROTHY.  I am afraid, indeed, madam, that you have much to suffer from
my caprice.  (_She goes out_, _L._)


SCENE II


                           ANTHONY, MISS FOSTER

ANTHONY.  What is the meaning of all this, ma’am?  I don’t like it.

MISS FOSTER.  Nothing, child, that I know.  You spoke of Mr. Austin, our
dear friend, like a groom; and she, like any lady of taste, took arms in
his defence.

ANTHONY.  No, ma’am, that won’t do.  I know the sex.  You mark my words,
the girl has some confounded nonsense in her head, and wants looking
after.

MISS FOSTER.  In my presence, Anthony, I shall ask you to speak of
Dorothy with greater respect.  With your permission, your sister and I
will continue to direct our own affairs.  When we require the
interference of so young and confident a champion, you shall know.
(_Curtsies_, _kisses her hand_, _and goes out_, _L._)


SCENE III


                                 ANTHONY

ANTHONY.  Upon my word, I think Aunt Evelina one of the most uncivil old
women in the world.  Nine weeks ago I came of age; and they still treat
me like a boy.  I’m a recognised Corinthian, too: take my liquor with old
Fred, and go round with the Brummagem Bantam and Jack Bosb— . . . O damn
Jack Bosbury.  If his father was a tailor, he shall fight me for his
ungentlemanly conduct.  However, that’s all one.  What I want is to make
Aunt Evelina understand that I’m not the man to be put down by an old
maid who’s been brought up in a work-basket, begad!  I’ve had nothing but
rebuffs all day.  It’s very remarkable.  There was that man Austin, to
begin with.  I’ll be hanged if I can stand him.  I hear too much of him;
and if I can only get a good excuse to put him to the door, I believe it
would give Dorothy and all of us a kind of a position.  After all, he’s
not a man to visit in the house of ladies: not when I’m away, at least.
Nothing in it of course; but is he a man whose visits I can sanction?


SCENE IV


                             ANTHONY, BARBARA

BARBARA.  Please, Mr. Anthony, Miss Foster said I was to show your room.

ANTHONY.  Ha!  Baby?  Now, you come here.  You’re a girl of sense, I
know.

BARBARA.  La, Mr. Anthony, I hope I’m nothing of the kind.

ANTHONY.  Come, come! that’s not the tone I want: I’m serious.  Does this
man Austin come much about the house?

BARBARA.  O Mr. Anthony, for shame!  Why don’t you ask Miss Foster?

ANTHONY.  Now I wish you to understand: I’m the head of this family.
It’s my business to look after my sister’s reputation, and my aunt’s too,
begad!  That’s what I’m here for: I’m their natural protector.  And what
I want you, Barbara Ridley, to understand—you whose fathers have served
my fathers—is just simply this: if you’ve any common gratitude, you’re
bound to help me in the work.  Now Barbara, you know me, and you know my
Aunt Evelina.  She’s a good enough woman; I’m the first to say so.  But
who is she to take care of a young girl?  She’s ignorant of the world to
that degree she believes in Beau Austin!  Now you and I, Bab, who are not
so high and dry, see through and through him; we know that a man like
that is no fit company for any inexperienced girl.

BARBARA.  O Mr. Anthony, don’t say that.  (_Weeping_.)

ANTHONY.  Hullo! what’s wrong?

BARBARA.  Nothing that I know of.  O Mr. Anthony, I don’t think there can
be anything.

ANTHONY.  Think?  Don’t think?  What’s this?

BARBARA.  O sir!  I don’t know, and yet I don’t like it.  Here’s my
beautiful necklace all broke to bits: she took it off my very neck, and
gave me her birthday pearls instead; and I found it afterwards on the
table, all smashed to pieces; and all she wanted it for was to take and
break it.  Why that?  It frightens me, Mr. Anthony, it frightens me.

ANTHONY (_with necklace_).  This?  What has this trumpery to do with us?

BARBARA.  He gave it me: that’s why she broke it.

ANTHONY.  He? who?

BARBARA.  Mr. Austin did; and I do believe I should not have taken it,
Mr. Anthony, but I thought no harm, upon my word of honour.  He was
always here: that was six months ago; and indeed, indeed, I thought they
were to marry.  How would I think else with a born lady like Miss
Dorothy?

ANTHONY.  Why, Barbara, God help us all, what’s this?  You don’t mean to
say that there was—

BARBARA.  Here it is, as true as true: they were going for a jaunt; and
Miss Foster had her gout; and I was to go with them; and he told me to
make-believe I was ill; and I did; and I stayed at home; and he gave me
that necklace; and they went away together; and, oh dear!  I wish I’d
never been born.

ANTHONY.  Together? he and Dolly?  Good Lord! my sister!  And since then?

BARBARA.  We haven’t seen him from that day to this, the wicked villain;
and, Mr. Anthony, he hasn’t so much as written the poor dear a word.

ANTHONY.  Bab, Bab, Bab, this is a devil of a bad business; this is a
cruel bad business, Baby; cruel upon me, cruel upon all of us; a family
like mine.  I’m a young man, Barbara, to have this delicate affair to
manage; but, thank God, I’m Musgrave to the bone.  He bribed a
servant-maid, did he?  I keep his bribe; it’s mine now; dear bought, by
George!  He shall have it in his teeth.  Shot Colonel Villiers, did he?
we’ll see how he faces Anthony Musgrave.  You’re a good girl, Barbara; so
far you’ve served the family.  You leave this to me.  And, hark ye, dry
your eyes and hold your tongue: I’ll have no scandal raised by you.

BARBARA.  I do hope, sir, you won’t use me against Miss Dorothy.

ANTHONY.  That’s my affair; your business is to hold your tongue.  Miss
Dorothy has made her bed and must lie on it.  Here’s Jack Fenwick.  You
can go.


SCENE V


                             ANTHONY, FENWICK

ANTHONY.  Jack Fenwick, is that you?  Come here, my boy.  Jack, you’ve
given me many a thrashing, and I deserved ’em; and I’ll not see you made
a fool of now.  George Austin is a damned villain, and Dorothy Musgrave
is no girl for you to marry: God help me that I should have to say it.

FENWICK.  Good God, who told _you_?

ANTHONY.  Ay, Jack; it’s hard on me, Jack.  But you’ll stand my friend in
spite of this, and you’ll take my message to the man, won’t you?  For
it’s got to come to blood, Jack: there’s no way out of that.  And perhaps
your poor friend will fall, Jack; think of that: like Villiers.  And all
for an unworthy sister.

FENWICK.  Now, Anthony Musgrave, I give you fair warning; see you take
it: one word more against your sister, and we quarrel.

ANTHONY.  You let it slip yourself, Jack: you know yourself she’s not a
virtuous girl.

FENWICK.  What do you know of virtue, whose whole boast is to be vicious?
How dare you draw conclusions?  Dolt and puppy! you can no more
comprehend that angel’s excellencies than she can stoop to believe in
your vices.  And you talk morality?  Anthony, I’m a man who has been
somewhat roughly tried: take care.

ANTHONY.  You don’t seem able to grasp the situation, Jack.  It’s very
remarkable; I’m the girl’s natural protector; and you should buckle-to
and help, like a friend of the family.  And instead of that, begad! you
turn on me like all the rest.

FENWICK.  Now mark me fairly: Mr. Austin follows at my heels; he comes to
offer marriage to your sister—that is all you know, and all you shall
know; and if by any misplaced insolence of yours this marriage should
miscarry, you have to answer, not to Mr. Austin only, but to me.

ANTHONY.  It’s all a most discreditable business, and I don’t see how you
propose to better it by cutting my throat.  Of course if he’s going to
marry her, it’s a different thing; but I don’t believe he is, or he’d
have asked me.  You think me a fool?  Well see they marry, or they’ll
find me a dangerous fool.


SCENE VI


                _To these_, AUSTIN, BARBARA _announcing_.

BARBARA.  Mr. Austin.  (_She shows_ AUSTIN _in_, _and retires_.)

AUSTIN.  You will do me the justice to acknowledge, Mr. Fenwick, that I
have been not long delayed by my devotion to the Graces.

ANTHONY.  So, sir, I find you in my house—

AUSTIN.  And charmed to meet you again.  It went against my conscience to
separate so soon.  Youth, Mr. Musgrave, is to us older men a perpetual
refreshment.

ANTHONY.  You came here, sir, I suppose, upon some errand?

AUSTIN.  My errand, Mr. Musgrave, is to your fair sister.  Beauty, as you
know, comes before valour.

ANTHONY.  In my own house, and about my own sister, I presume I have the
right to ask for something more explicit.

AUSTIN.  The right, my dear sir, is beyond question; but it is one, as
you were going on to observe, on which no gentleman insists.

FENWICK.  Anthony, my good fellow, I think we had better go.

ANTHONY.  I have asked a question.

AUSTIN.  Which I was charmed to answer, but which, on repetition, might
begin to grow distasteful.

ANTHONY.  In my own house—

FENWICK.  For God’s sake, Anthony!

AUSTIN.  In your aunt’s house, young gentleman, I shall be careful to
refrain from criticism.  I am come upon a visit to a lady: that visit I
shall pay; when you desire (if it be possible that you desire it) to
resume this singular conversation, select some fitter place.  Mr.
Fenwick, this afternoon, may I present you to his Royal Highness?

ANTHONY.  Why, sir, I believe you must have misconceived me.  I have no
wish to offend: at least at present.

AUSTIN.  Enough, sir.  I was persuaded I had heard amiss.  I trust we
shall be friends.

FENWICK.  Come, Anthony, come: here is your sister.

    (_As_ FENWICK _and_ ANTHONY _go out_, _C._, _enter_ DOROTHY, _L._)


SCENE VII


                             AUSTIN, DOROTHY

DOROTHY.  I am told, Mr. Austin, that you wish to see me.

AUSTIN.  Madam, can you doubt of that desire? can you question my
sincerity?

DOROTHY.  Sir, between you and me these compliments are worse than idle:
they are unkind.  Sure, we are alone!

AUSTIN.  I find you in an hour of cruelty, I fear.  Yet you have
condescended to receive this poor offender; and having done so much, you
will not refuse to give him audience.

DOROTHY.  You shall have no cause, sir, to complain of me.  I listen.

AUSTIN.  My fair friend, I have sent myself—a poor ambassador—to plead
for your forgiveness.  I have been too long absent; too long, I would
fain hope, madam, for you; too long for my honour and my love.  I am no
longer, madam, in my first youth; but I may say that I am not unknown.
My fortune, originally small, has not suffered from my husbandry.  I have
excellent health, an excellent temper, and the purest ardour of affection
for your person.  I found not on my merits, but on your indulgence.  Miss
Musgrave, will you honour me with your hand in marriage?

DOROTHY.  Mr. Austin, if I thought basely of marriage, I should perhaps
accept your offer.  There was a time, indeed, when it would have made me
proudest among women.  I was the more deceived, and have to thank you for
a salutary lesson.  You chose to count me as a cipher in your rolls of
conquest; for six months you left me to my fate; and you come here
to-day—prompted, I doubt not, by an honourable impulse—to offer this
tardy reparation.  No: it is too late.

AUSTIN.  Do you refuse?

DOROTHY.  Yours is the blame: we are no longer equal.  You have robbed me
of the right to marry any one but you; and do you think me, then, so poor
in spirit as to accept a husband on compulsion?

AUSTIN.  Dorothy, you loved me once.

DOROTHY.  Ay, you will never guess how much: you will never live to
understand how ignominious a defeat that conquest was.  I loved and
trusted you: I judged you by myself; think, then, of my humiliation,
when, at the touch of trial, all your qualities proved false, and I
beheld you the slave of the meanest vanity—selfish, untrue, base!  Think,
sir, what a humbling of my pride to have been thus deceived: to have
taken for my idol such a commonplace imposture as yourself; to have
loved—yes, loved—such a shadow, such a mockery of man.  And now I am
unworthy to be the wife of any gentleman; and you—look me in the face,
George—are you worthy to be my husband?

AUSTIN.  No, Dorothy, I am not.  I was a vain fool; I blundered away the
most precious opportunity; and my regret will be lifelong.  Do me the
justice to accept this full confession of my fault.  I am here to-day to
own and to repair it.

DOROTHY.  Repair it?  Sir you condescend too far.

AUSTIN.  I perceive with shame how grievously I had misjudged you.  But
now, Dorothy, believe me, my eyes are opened.  I plead with you, not as
my equal, but as one in all ways better than myself.  I admire you, not
in that trivial sense in which we men are wont to speak of women, but as
God’s work: as a wise mind, a noble soul, and a most generous heart, from
whose society I have all to gain, all to learn.  Dorothy, in one word, I
love you.

DOROTHY.  And what, sir, has wrought this transformation?  You knew me of
old, or thought you knew me?  Is it in six months of selfish absence that
your mind has changed?  When did that change begin?  A week ago?  Sure,
you would have written!  To-day?  Sir, if this offer be anything more
than fresh offence, I have a right to be enlightened.

AUSTIN.  Madam, I foresaw this question.  So be it: I respect, and I will
not deceive you.  But give me, first of all, a moment for defence.  There
are few men of my habits and position who would have done as I have done:
sate at the feet of a young boy, accepted his lessons, gone upon his
errand: fewer still, who would thus, at the crisis of a love, risk the
whole fortune of the soul—love, gratitude, even respect.  Yet more than
that!  For conceive how I respect you, if I, whose lifelong trade has
been flattery, stand before you and make the plain confession of a truth
that must not only lower me, but deeply wound yourself.

DOROTHY.  What means—?

AUSTIN.  Young Fenwick, my rival for your heart, he it was that sent me.

DOROTHY.  He?  O disgrace!  He sent you!  That was what he meant?  Am I
fallen so low?  Am I your common talk among men?  Did you dice for me?
Did he kneel?  O John, John, how could you!  And you, Mr. Austin, whither
have you brought me down? shame heaping upon shame—to what end! oh, to
what end?

AUSTIN.  Madam, you wound me: you look wilfully amiss.  Sure, any lady in
the land might well be proud to be loved as you are loved, with such
nobility as Mr. Fenwick’s, with such humility as mine.  I came, indeed,
in pity, in good-nature, what you will.  (See, dearest lady, with what
honesty I speak: if I win you, it shall be with the unblemished truth.)
All that is gone.  Pity? it is myself I pity.  I offer you not love—I am
not worthy.  I ask, I beseech of you: suffer me to wait upon you like a
servant, to serve you with my rank, my name, the whole devotion of my
life.  I am a gentleman—ay, in spite of my fault—an upright gentleman;
and I swear to you that you shall order your life and mine at your free
will.  Dorothy, at your feet, in remorse, in respect, in love—O such love
as I have never felt, such love as I derided—I implore, I conjure you to
be mine!

DOROTHY.  Too late! too late.

AUSTIN.  No, no, not too late: not too late for penitence, not too late
for love.

DOROTHY.  Which do you propose? that I should abuse your compassion, or
reward your treachery?  George Austin, I have been your mistress, and I
will never be your wife.

AUSTIN.  Child, dear child, I have not told you all: there is worse
still: your brother knows; the boy as good as told me.  Dorothy, this is
scandal at the door—O let that move you: for that, if not for my sake,
for that, if not for love, trust me, trust me again.

DOROTHY.  I am so much the more your victim: that is all, and shall that
change my heart?  The sin must have its wages.  This, too, was done long
ago: when you stooped to lie to me.  The shame is still mine, the fault
still yours.

AUSTIN.  Child, child, you kill me: you will not understand.  Can you not
see? the lad will force me to a duel.

DOROTHY.  And you will kill him?  Shame after shame, threat upon threat.
Marry me, or you are dishonoured; marry me, or your brother dies: and
this is man’s honour!  But my honour and my pride are different.  I will
encounter all misfortune sooner than degrade myself by an unfaithful
marriage.  How should I kneel before the altar, and vow to reverence as
my husband you, you who deceived me as my lover?

AUSTIN.  Dorothy, you misjudge me cruelly; I have deserved it.  You will
not take me for your husband; why should I wonder?  You are right.  I
have indeed filled your life with calamity: the wages, ay, the wages, of
my sin are heavy upon you.  But I have one more thing to ask of your
pity; and O remember, child, who it is that asks it: a man guilty in your
sight, void of excuse, but old, and very proud, and most unused to
supplication.  Dorothy Musgrave, will you forgive George Austin?

DOROTHY.  O, George!

AUSTIN.  It is the old name: that is all I ask, and more than I deserve.
I shall remember, often remember, how and where it was bestowed upon me
for the last time.  I thank you, Dorothy, from my heart; a heart, child,
that has been too long silent, but is not too old, I thank God! not yet
too old, to learn a lesson and to accept a reproof.  I will not keep you
longer: I will go—I am so bankrupt in credit that I dare not ask you to
believe in how much sorrow.  But, Dorothy, my acts will speak for me with
more persuasion.  If it be in my power, you shall suffer no more through
me: I will avoid your brother; I will leave this place, I will leave
England, to-morrow; you shall be no longer tortured with the
neighbourhood of your ungenerous lover.  Dorothy, farewell!


SCENE VIII


                    DOROTHY; _to whom_, ANTHONY, _L._

DOROTHY (_on her knees_, _and reaching with her hands_.)  George, George!
(_Enter_ ANTHONY.)

ANTHONY.  Ha! what are you crying for?

DOROTHY.  Nothing, dear!  (_Rising_.)

ANTHONY.  Is Austin going to marry you?

DOROTHY.  I shall never marry.

ANTHONY.  I thought as much.  You should have come to me.

DOROTHY.  I know, dear, I know; but there was nothing to come about.

ANTHONY.  It’s a lie.  You have disgraced the family.  You went to John
Fenwick: see what he has made of it!  But I will have you righted: it
shall be atoned in the man’s blood.

DOROTHY.  Anthony!  And if I had refused him?

ANTHONY.  You? refuse George Austin?  You never had the chance.

DOROTHY.  I have refused him.

ANTHONY.  Dorothy, you lie.  You would shield your lover; but this
concerns not you only: it strikes my honour and my father’s honour.

DOROTHY.  I have refused him—refused him, I tell you—refused him.  The
blame is mine; are you so mad and wicked that you will not see?

ANTHONY.  I see this: that man must die.

DOROTHY.  He? never!  You forget, you forget whom you defy; you run upon
your death.

ANTHONY.  Ah, my girl, you should have thought of that before.  It is too
late now.

DOROTHY.  Anthony, if I beg you—Anthony, I have tried to be a good
sister; I brought you up, dear, nursed you when you were sick, fought for
you, hoped for you, loved you—think of it, think of the dear past, think
of our home and the happy winter nights, the castles in the fire, the
long shining future, the love that was to forgive and suffer always—O you
will spare, you will spare me this.

ANTHONY.  I will tell you what I will do, Dolly: I will do just what you
taught me—my duty: that, and nothing else.

DOROTHY.  O Anthony, you also, you to strike me!  Heavens, shall I kill
them—I—I, that love them, kill them!  Miserable, sinful girl!  George,
George, thank God, you will be far away!  O go, George, go at once!

ANTHONY.  He goes the coward!  Ay, is this more of your contrivance?
Madam, you make me blush.  But to-day at least I know where I can find
him.  This afternoon, on the Pantiles, he must dance attendance on the
Duke of York.  Already he must be there; and there he is at my mercy.

DOROTHY.  Thank God, you are deceived: he will not fight.  He promised me
that; thank God I have his promise for that.

ANTHONY.  Promise!  Do you see this? (_producing necklace_) the thing he
bribed your maid with?  I shall dash it in his teeth before the Duke and
before all Tunbridge.  Promise, you poor fool? what promise holds against
a blow?  Get to your knees and pray for him; for, by the God above, if he
has any blood in his body, one of us shall die before to-night.  (_He
goes out_.)

DOROTHY.  Anthony, Anthony! . . . O my God, George will kill him.

               _Music_: ‘_Chè farò_,’ _as the drop falls_.

                                  DROP.



ACT IV.


MUSICAL INDUCTION: ‘Gavotte;’ ‘_Iphigénie en Aulide_.’

                                                                     GLUCK

_The Stage represents the Pantiles_: _the alleys fronting the spectators
in parallel lines_.  _At the back_, _a stand of musicians_, _from which
the_ ‘_Gavotte_’ _is repeated on muted strings_.  _The music continues
nearly through Scene I_.  _Visitors walking to and fro beneath the
lines_.  _A seat in front_, _L._


SCENE I


                MISS FOSTER, BARBARA, MENTEITH; _Visitors_

MISS FOSTER (_entering_; _escorted by_ MENTEITH, _and followed by_
BARBARA).  And so, Menteith, here you are once more.  And vastly pleased
I am to see you, my good fellow, not only for your own sake, but because
you harbinger the Beau.  (_Sits_, _L._; MENTEITH _standing over her_.)

MENTEITH.  Honoured madam, I have had the pleasure to serve Mr. George
for more than thirty years.  This is a privilege—a very great privilege.
I have beheld him in the first societies, moving among the first rank of
personages; and none, madam, none outshone him.

BARBARA.  I assure you, madam, when Mr. Menteith took me to the play, he
talked so much of Mr. Austin that I couldn’t hear a word of Mr. Kean.

MISS FOSTER.  Well, well, and very right.  That was the old school of
service, Barbara, which you would do well to imitate.  This is a child,
Menteith, that I am trying to form.

MENTEITH.  Quite so, madam.

MISS FOSTER.  And are we soon to see our princely guest, Menteith?

MENTEITH.  His Royal Highness, madam?  I believe I may say quite so.  Mr.
George will receive our gallant prince upon the Pantiles (_looking at his
watch_) in, I should say, a matter of twelve minutes from now.  Such,
madam, is Mr. George’s order of the day.

BARBARA.  I beg your pardon, madam, I am sure, but are we really to see
one of His Majesty’s own brothers?  That will be pure!  O madam, this is
better than Carlisle.

MISS FOSTER.  The wood-note wild: a loyal Cumbrian, Menteith.

MENTEITH.  Eh?  Quite so, madam.

MISS FOSTER.  When she has seen as much of the Royal Family as you, my
good fellow, she will find it vastly less entertaining.

MENTEITH.  Yes, madam, indeed; In these distinguished circles, life is
but a slavery.  None of the best set would relish Tunbridge without Mr.
George; Tunbridge and Mr. George (if you’ll excuse my plainness, madam)
are in a manner of speaking identified; and indeed it was the Dook’s
desire alone that brought us here.

BARBARA.  What? the Duke?  O dear! was it for that?

MENTEITH.  Though, to be sure, madam, Mr. George would always be charmed
to find himself (_bowing_) among so many admired members of his own set.

MISS FOSTER.  Upon my word, Menteith, Mr. Austin is as fortunate in his
servant as his reputation.

MENTEITH.  Quite so, madam.  But let me observe that the opportunities I
have had of acquiring a knowledge of Mr. George’s character have been
positively unrivalled.  Nobody knows Mr. George like his old attendant.
The goodness of that gentleman—but, madam, you will soon be equally
fortunate, if, as I understand, it is to be a match.

MISS FOSTER.  I hope, Menteith, you are not taking leave of your senses.
Is it possible you mean my niece?

MENTEITH.  Madam, I have the honour to congratulate you.  I put a second
curl in Mr. George’s hair on purpose.


SCENE II


_To these_, AUSTIN.  MENTEITH _falls back_, _and_ AUSTIN _takes his place
in front of_ MISS FOSTER, _his attitude a counterpart of_ MENTEITH’S.

AUSTIN.  Madam, I hasten to present my homage.

MISS FOSTER.  A truce to compliments!  Menteith, your charming fellow
there, has set me positively crazy.  Dear George Austin, is it true? can
it be true?

AUSTIN.  Madam, if he has been praising your niece he has been well
inspired.  If he was speaking, as I spoke an hour ago myself, I wish,
Miss Foster, that he had held his tongue.  I have indeed offered myself
to Miss Dorothy, and she, with the most excellent reason, has refused me.

MISS FOSTER.  Is it possible? why, my dear George Austin . . . then I
suppose it is John Fenwick after all!

AUSTIN.  Not one of us is worthy.

MISS FOSTER.  This is the most amazing circumstance.  You take my breath
away.  My niece refuse George Austin? why, I give you my word, I thought
she had adored you.  A perfect scandal: it positively must not get
abroad.

AUSTIN.  Madam, for that young lady I have a singular regard.  Judge me
as tenderly as you can, and set it down, if you must, to an old man’s
vanity—for, Evelina, we are no longer in the heyday of our youth—judge me
as you will: I should prefer to have it known.

MISS FOSTER.  Can you?  George Austin, you?  My youth was nothing; I was
a failure; but for you? no, George, you never can, you never must be old.
You are the triumph of my generation, George, and of our old friendship
too.  Think of my first dance and my first partner. And to have this
story—no, I could not bear to have it told of you.

AUSTIN.  Madam, there are some ladies over whom it is a boast to have
prevailed; there are others whom it is a glory to have loved.  And I am
so vain, dear Evelina, that even thus I am proud to link my name with
that of Dorothy Musgrave.

MISS FOSTER.  George, you are changed.  I would not know you.

AUSTIN.  I scarce know myself.  But pardon me, dear friend (_taking his
watch_), in less than four minutes our illustrious guest will descend
amongst us; and I observe Mr. Fenwick, with whom I have a pressing
business.  Suffer me, dear Evelina!—


SCENE III


_To these_, FENWICK.  MISS FOSTER _remains seated_, _L._  AUSTIN _goes R.
to_ FENWICK, _whom he salutes with great respect_

AUSTIN.  Mr. Fenwick, I have played and lost.  That noble lady, justly
incensed at my misconduct, has condemned me.  Under the burden of such a
loss, may I console myself with the esteem of Mr. Fenwick?

FENWICK.  She refused you?  Pardon me, sir, but was the fault not yours?

AUSTIN.  Perhaps to my shame, I am no novice, Mr. Fenwick; but I have
never felt nor striven as to-day.  I went upon your errand; but, you may
trust me, sir, before I had done I found it was my own.  Until to-day I
never rightly valued her; sure, she is fit to be a queen.  I have a
remorse here at my heart to which I am a stranger.  Oh! that was a brave
life, that was a great heart that I have ruined.

FENWICK.  Ay, sir, indeed.

AUSTIN.  But, sir, it is not to lament the irretrievable that I intrude
myself upon your leisure.  There is something to be done, to save, at
least to spare, that lady.  You did not fail to observe the brother?

FENWICK.  No, sir, he knows all; and being both intemperate and ignorant—

AUSTIN.  Surely.  I know.  I have to ask you then to find what friends
you can among this company; and if you have none, to make them.  Let
everybody hear the news.  Tell it (if I may offer the suggestion) with
humour: how Mr. Austin, somewhat upon the wane, but still filled with
sufficiency, gloriously presumed and was most ingloriously set down by a
young lady from the north: the lady’s name a secret, which you will
permit to be divined.  The laugh—the position of the hero—will make it
circulate;—you perceive I am in earnest;—and in this way I believe our
young friend will find himself forestalled.

FENWICK.  Mr. Austin, I would not have dared to ask so much of you; I
will go further: were the positions changed, I should fear to follow your
example.

AUSTIN.  Child, child, you could not afford it.


SCENE IV


_To there_, _the_ ROYAL DUKE, _C._; _then_, _immediately_, ANTHONY, _L._
FENWICK _crosses to_ MISS FOSTER, _R._  AUSTIN _accosts the_ DUKE, _C._,
_in dumb show_; _the muted strings take up a new air_, _Mozart’s_
‘_Anglaise_’; _couples passing under the limes_, _and forming a group
behind_ AUSTIN _and the_ DUKE.  ANTHONY _in front_, _L._, _watches_
AUSTIN, _who_, _as he turns from the_ DUKE, _sees him_, _and comes
forward with extended hand_

AUSTIN.  Dear child, let me present you to his Royal Highness.

ANTHONY (_with necklace_).  Mr. Austin, do you recognise the bribe you
gave my sister’s maid?

AUSTIN.  Hush, sir, hush! you forget the presence of the Duke.

ANTHONY.  Mr. Austin, you are a coward and a scoundrel.

AUSTIN.  My child, you will regret these words: I refuse your quarrel.

ANTHONY.  You do?  Take that.  (_He strikes_ AUSTIN _on the mouth_.  _At
the moment of the blow_—)


SCENE V


_To these_, DOROTHY, _L. U. E._  DOROTHY, _unseen by_ AUSTIN, _shrieks_.
_Sensation_.  _Music stops_.  _Tableau_

AUSTIN (_recovering his composure_).  Your Royal Highness, suffer me to
excuse the disrespect of this young gentleman.  He has so much apology,
and I have, I hope, so good a credit, as incline me to accept this blow.
But I must beg of your Highness, and, gentlemen, all of you here present,
to bear with me while I will explain what is too capable of
misconstruction.  I am the rejected suitor of this young gentleman’s
sister; of Miss Dorothy Musgrave: a lady whom I singularly honour and
esteem; a word from whom (if I could hope that word) would fill my life
with happiness.  I was not worthy of that lady; when I was defeated in
fair field, I presumed to make advances through her maid.  See in how
laughable a manner fate repaid me!  The waiting-girl derided, the
mistress denied, and now comes in this very ardent champion who publicly
insults me.  My vanity is cured; you will judge it right, I am persuaded,
all of you, that I should accept my proper punishment in silence; you, my
Lord Duke, to pardon this young gentleman; and you, Mr. Musgrave, to
spare me further provocation, which I am determined to ignore.

DOROTHY (_rushing forward_, _falling at_ AUSTIN’S _knees_, _and seizing
his hand_).  George, George, it was for me.  My hero! take me!  What you
will!

AUSTIN (_in an agony_).  My dear creature, remember that we are in
public.  (_Raising her_.)  Your Royal Highness, may I present you Mrs.
George Frederick Austin?  (_The Curtain falls on a few bars of the_
‘_Lass of Richmond Hill_.’)

                                * * * * *

                                 THE END



ADMIRAL GUINEA


                                DEDICATED
                        WITH AFFECTION AND ESTEEM
                            TO ANDREW LANG BY
                             THE SURVIVORS OF
                               THE _WALRUS_

SAVANNAH, this 27_th_ day of
      _September_ 1884



PERSONS REPRESENTED


JOHN GAUNT, called ‘ADMIRAL GUINEA,’ once Captain of the Slaver
_Arethusa_.

ARETHUSA GAUNT, his Daughter.

DAVID PEW, a Blind Beggar, once Boatswain of the _Arethusa_

KIT FRENCH, a Privateersman.

MRS. DRAKE, Landlady of the _Admiral Benbow_ Inn.

                                * * * * *

The Scene is laid in the neighbourhood of Barnstaple.  The Time is about
the year 1760.  The action occupies part of a day and night.

                                * * * * *

NOTE.—_Passages suggested for omission in representation are enclosed in
square brackets_, _thus_ [ ].



ACT I.


_The Stage represents a room in the Admiral Guinea’s house_: _fireplace_,
_arm-chair_, _and table with Bible_, _L._, _towards the front_; _door
C._, _with window on each side_, _the window on the R._, _practicable_;
_doors_, _R. and L._, _back_; _corner cupboard_, _a brass-strapped
sea-chest fixed to the wall and floor_, _R._; _cutlasses_, _telescopes_,
_sextant_, _quadrant_, _a calendar_, _and several maps upon the wall_; _a
ship clock_; _three wooden chairs_; _a dresser against wall_, _R. C._;
_on the chimney-piece the model of a brig and several shells_.  _The
centre bare of furniture_.  _Through the widows and the door_, _which is
open_, _green trees and a small field of sea_.


SCENE I


                   ARETHUSA _is discovered_, _dusting_

ARETHUSA.  Ten months and a week to-day!  Now for a new mark.  Since the
last, the sun has set and risen over the fields and the pleasant trees at
home, and on Kit’s lone ship and the empty sea.  Perhaps it blew; perhaps
rained; (_at the chart_) perhaps he was far up here to the nor’ard, where
the icebergs sail; perhaps at anchor among these wild islands of the
snakes and buccaneers.  O, you big chart, if I could see him sailing on
you!  North and South Atlantic; such a weary sight of water and no land;
never an island for the poor lad to land upon.  But still, God’s there.
(_She takes down the telescope to dust it_.)  Father’s spy-glass again;
and my poor Kit perhaps with such another, sweeping the great deep!


SCENE II


 ARETHUSA; _to her_, KIT, _C._  [_He enters on tiptoe_, _and she does not
                            see or hear him_]

ARETHUSA (_dusting telescope_).  At sea they have less dust at least:
that’s so much comfort.

KIT.  Sweetheart, ahoy!

ARETHUSA.  Kit!

KIT.  Arethusa.

ARETHUSA.  My Kit!  Home again—O my love!—home again to me!

KIT.  As straight as wind and tide could carry me!

ARETHUSA.  O Kit, my dearest.  O Kit—O! O!

KIT.  Hey?  Steady, lass: steady, I say.  For goodness’ sake, ease it
off.

ARETHUSA.  I will, Kit—I will.  But you came so sudden.

KIT.  I thought ten months of it about preparation enough.

ARETHUSA.  Ten months and a week: you haven’t counted the days as I have.
Another day gone, and one day nearer to Kit: that has been my almanac.
How brown you are! how handsome!

KIT.  A pity you can’t see yourself!  Well, no, I’ll never be handsome:
brown I may be, never handsome.  But I’m better than that, if the
proverb’s true; for I’m ten hundred thousand fathoms deep in love.  I
bring you a faithful sailor.  What! you don’t think much of that for a
curiosity?  Well, that’s so: you’re right; the rarity is in the girl
that’s worth it ten times over.  Faithful?  I couldn’t help it if I
tried!  No, sweetheart, and I fear nothing: I don’t know what fear is,
but just of losing you.  (_Starting_.)  Lord, that’s not the Admiral?

ARETHUSA.  Aha, Mr. Dreadnought! you see you fear my father.

KIT.  That I do.  But, thank goodness, it’s nobody.  Kiss me: no, I won’t
kiss you: kiss _me_.  I’ll give you a present for that.  See!

ARETHUSA.  A wedding-ring!

KIT.  My mother’s.  Will you take it?

ARETHUSA.  Yes, will I—and give myself for it.

KIT.  Ah, if we could only count upon your father!  He’s a man every inch
of him; but he can’t endure Kit French.

ARETHUSA.  He hasn’t learned to know you, Kit, as I have, nor yet do you
know him.  He seems hard and violent; at heart he is only a man
overwhelmed with sorrow.  Why else, when he looks at me and does not know
that I observe him, should his face change, and fill with such
tenderness, that I could weep to see him?  Why, when he walks in his
sleep, as he does almost every night, his eyes open and beholding
nothing, why should he cry so pitifully on my mother’s name?  Ah, if you
could hear him then, you would say yourself: here is a man that has
loved; here is a man that will be kind to lovers.

KIT.  Is that so?  Ay, it’s a hard thing to lose your wife; ay, that must
cut the heart indeed.  But for all that, my lass, your father is keen for
the doubloons.

ARETHUSA.  Right, Kit: and small blame to him.  There is only one way to
be honest, and the name of that is thrift.

KIT.  Well, and that’s my motto.  I’ve left the ship; no more letter of
marque for me.  Good-bye to Kit French, privateersman’s mate; and
how-d’ye-do to Christopher, the coasting skipper.  I’ve seen the very
boat for me: I’ve enough to buy her, too; and to furnish a good house,
and keep a shot in the locker for bad luck.  So far, there’s nothing to
gainsay.  So far it’s hopeful enough; but still there’s Admiral Guinea,
you know—and the plain truth is that I’m afraid of him.

ARETHUSA.  Admiral Guinea?  Now Kit, if you are to be true lover of mine,
you shall not use that name.  His name is Captain Gaunt.  As for fearing
him, Kit French, you’re not the man for me, if you fear anything but sin.
He’s a stern man because he’s in the right.

KIT.  He is a man of God; I am what he calls a child of perdition.  I was
a privateersman—serving my country, I say; but he calls it pirate.  He is
thrifty and sober; he has a treasure, they say, and it lies so near his
heart that he tumbles up in his sleep to stand watch over it.  What has a
harum-scarum dog like me to expect from a man like him?  He won’t see I’m
starving for a chance to mend; ‘Mend,’ he’ll say; ‘I’ll be shot if you
mend at the expense of my daughter;’ and the worst of it is, you see,
he’ll be right.

ARETHUSA.  Kit, if you dare to say that faint-hearted word again, I’ll
take my ring off.  What are we here for but to grow better or grow worse?
Do you think Arethusa French will be the same as Arethusa Gaunt?

KIT.  I don’t want her better.

ARETHUSA.  Ah, but she shall be!

KIT.  Hark, here he is!  By George, it’s neck or nothing now.  Stand by
to back me up.


SCENE III


                         _To these_, GAUNT, _C._

KIT (_with_ ARETHUSA’S _hand_).  Captain Gaunt, I have come to ask you
for your daughter.

GAUNT.  Hum.  (_He sits in his chair_, _L._)

KIT.  I love her, and she loves me, sir.  I’ve left the privateering.
I’ve enough to set me up and buy a tidy sloop—Jack Lee’s; you know the
boat, Captain; clinker built, not four years old, eighty tons burthen,
steers like a child.  I’ve put my mother’s ring on Arethusa’s finger; and
if you’ll give us your blessing, I’ll engage to turn over a new leaf, and
make her a good husband.

GAUNT.  In whose strength, Christopher French?

KIT.  In the strength of my good, honest love for her: as you did for her
mother, and my father for mine.  And you know, Captain, a man can’t
command the wind; but (excuse me, sir) he can always lie the best course
possible, and that’s what I’ll do, so God help me.

GAUNT.  Arethusa, you at least are the child of many prayers; your eyes
have been unsealed; and to you the world stands naked, a morning watch
for duration, a thing spun of cobwebs for solidity.  In the presence of
an angry God, I ask you: have you heard this man?

ARETHUSA.  Father, I know Kit, and I love him.

GAUNT.  I say it solemnly, this is no Christian union.  To you,
Christopher French, I will speak nothing of eternal truths: I will speak
to you the language of this world.  You have been trained among sinners
who gloried in their sin: in your whole life you never saved one
farthing; and now, when your pockets are full, you think you can begin,
poor dupe, in your own strength.  You are a roysterer, a jovial
companion; you mean no harm—you are nobody’s enemy but your own.  No
doubt you tell this girl of mine, and no doubt you tell yourself, that
you can change.  Christopher, speaking under correction, I defy you!  You
ask me for this child of many supplications, for this brand plucked from
the burning: I look at you; I read you through and through; and I tell
you—no!  (_Striking table with his fist_.)

KIT.  Captain Gaunt, if you mean that I am not worthy of her, I’m the
first to say so.  But, if you’ll excuse me, sir, I’m a young man, and
young men are no better’n they ought to be; it’s known; they’re all like
that; and what’s their chance?  To be married to a girl like this!  And
would you refuse it to me?  Why, sir, you yourself, when you came
courting, you were young and rough; and yet I’ll make bold to say that
Mrs. Gaunt was a happy woman, and the saving of yourself into the
bargain.  Well, now, Captain Gaunt, will you deny another man, and that
man a sailor, the very salvation that you had yourself?

GAUNT.  Salvation, Christopher French, is from above.

KIT.  Well, sir, that is so; but there’s means, too; and what means so
strong as the wife a man has to strive and toil for, and that bears the
punishment whenever he goes wrong?  Now, sir, I’ve spoke with your old
shipmates in the Guinea trade.  Hard as nails, they said, and true as the
compass: as rough as a slaver, but as just as a judge.  Well, sir, you
hear me plead: I ask you for my chance; don’t you deny it to me.

GAUNT.  You speak of me?  In the true balances we both weigh nothing.
But two things I know: the depth of iniquity, how foul it is; and the
agony with which a man repents.  Not until seven devils were cast out of
me did I awake; each rent me as it passed.  Ay, that was repentance.
Christopher, Christopher, you have sailed before the wind since first you
weighed your anchor, and now you think to sail upon a bowline?  You do
not know your ship, young man: you will go to le’ward like a sheet of
paper; I tell you so that know—I tell you so that have tried, and failed,
and wrestled in the sweat of prayer, and at last, at last, have tasted
grace.  But, meanwhile, no flesh and blood of mine shall lie at the mercy
of such a wretch as I was then, or as you are this day.  I could not own
the deed before the face of heaven if I sanctioned this unequal yoke.
Arethusa, pluck off that ring from off your finger.  Christopher French,
take it, and go hence.

KIT.  Arethusa, what do you say?

ARETHUSA.  O Kit, you know my heart.  But he is alone, and I am his only
comfort; and I owe all to him; and shall I not obey my father?  But, Kit,
if you will let me, I will keep your ring.  Go, Kit; go, and prove to my
father that he was mistaken; go and win me.  And O, Kit, if ever you
should weary, come to me—no, do not come! but send a word—and I shall
know all, and you shall have your ring.  (GAUNT _opens his Bible and
begins to read_.)

KIT.  Don’t say that, don’t say such things to me; I sink or swim with
you.  (_To_ GAUNT.)  Old man, you’ve struck me hard; give me a good word
to go with.  Name your time; I’ll stand the test.  Give me a spark of
hope, and I’ll fight through for it.  Say just this—‘Prove I was
mistaken,’ and by George, I’ll prove it.

GAUNT (_looking up_).  I make no such compacts.  Go, and swear not at
all.

ARETHUSA.  Go, Kit!  I keep the ring.


SCENE IV


                             ARETHUSA, GAUNT

ARETHUSA.  Father, what have we done that you should be so cruel?

GAUNT (_laying down Bible_, _and rising_).  Do you call me cruel?  You
speak after the flesh.  I have done you this day a service that you will
live to bless me for upon your knees.

ARETHUSA.  He loves me, and I love him: you can never alter that; do what
you will, father, that can never change.  I love him, I believe in him, I
will be true to him.

GAUNT.  Arethusa, you are the sole thing death has left me on this earth;
and I must watch over your carnal happiness and your eternal weal.  You
do not know what this implies to me.  Your mother—my Hester—tongue cannot
tell, nor heart conceive the pangs she suffered.  If it lies in me, your
life shall not be lost on that same reef of an ungodly husband.  (_Goes
out_, _C._)


SCENE V


                                 ARETHUSA

ARETHUSA.  I thought the time dragged long and weary when I knew that Kit
was homeward bound, all the white sails a-blowing out towards England,
and my Kit’s face turned this way?  (_She begins to dust_.)  Sure, if my
mother were here, she would understand and help us; she would understand
a young maid’s heart, though her own had never an ache; and she would
love my Kit.  (_Putting back the telescope_.)  To think she died: husband
and child—and so much love—she was taken from them all.  Ah, there is no
parting but the grave!  And Kit and I both live, and both love each
other; and here am I cast down?  O, Arethusa, shame!  And your love home
from the deep seas, and loving you still; and the sun shining; and the
world all full of hope?  O, hope, you’re a good word!


SCENE VI


                                  GAUNT

ARETHUSA; _to her_, PEW

PEW (_singing without_)—

          ‘Time for us to go!
          Time for us to go!
    And we’ll keep the brig three pints away,
          For it’s time for us to go.’

ARETHUSA.  Who comes here? a seaman by his song, and father out!  (_She
tries the air_)  ‘Time for us to go!’  It sounds a wild kind of song.
(_Tap-tap_; PEW _passes the window_.)  O, what a face—and blind!

PEW (_entering_).  Kind Christian friends, take pity on a poor blind
mariner, as lost his precious sight in the defence of his native country,
England, and God bless King George!

ARETHUSA.  What can I do for you, sailor?

PEW.  Good Christian lady, help a poor blind mariner to a mouthful of
meat.  I’ve served His Majesty in every quarter of the globe; I’ve spoke
with ’Awke and glorious Anson, as I might with you; and I’ve tramped it
all night long, upon my sinful feet, and with a empty belly.

ARETHUSA.  You shall not ask bread and be denied by a sailor’s daughter
and a sailor’s sweetheart; and when my father returns he shall give you
something to set you on your road.

PEW.  Kind and lovely lady, do you tell me that you are in a manner of
speaking alone? or do my ears deceive a poor blind seaman?

ARETHUSA.  I live here with my father, and my father is abroad.

PEW.  Dear, beautiful, Christian lady, tell a poor blind man your
honoured name, that he may remember it in his poor blind prayers.

ARETHUSA.  Sailor, I am Arethusa Gaunt.

PEW.  Sweet lady, answer a poor blind man one other question: are you in
a manner of speaking related to Cap’n John Gaunt?  Cap’n John as in the
ebony trade were known as Admiral Guinea?

ARETHUSA.  Captain John Gaunt is my father.

PEW (_dropping the blind man’s whine_).  Lord, think of that now!  They
told me this was where he lived, and so it is.  And here’s old Pew, old
David Pew, as was the Admiral’s own bo’sun, colloguing in his old
commander’s parlour, with his old commander’s gal (_seizes_ ARETHUSA).
Ah, and a bouncer you are, and no mistake.

ARETHUSA.  Let me go! how dare you?

PEW.  Lord love you, don’t you struggle, now, don’t you.  (_She escapes
into front R. corner_, _where he keeps her imprisoned_.)  Ah, well, we’ll
get you again, my lovely woman.  What a arm you’ve got—great god of
love—and a face like a peach!  I’m a judge, I am.  (_She tries to escape;
he stops her_.)  No, you don’t; O, I can hear a flea jump!  [But it’s
here where I miss my deadlights.  Poor old Pew; him as the ladies always
would have for their fancy man and take no denial; here you are with your
commander’s daughter close aboard, and you can’t so much as guess the
colour of her lovely eyes.  (_Singing_)—

       ‘Be they black like ebony;
    Or be they blue like to the sky.’

Black like the Admiral’s? or blue like his poor dear wife’s?  Ah, I was
fond of that there woman, I was: the Admiral was jealous of me.]
Arethusa, my dear,—my heart, what a ’and and arm you _have_ got; I’ll
dream o’ that ’and and arm, I will!—but as I was a-saying, does the
Admiral ever in a manner of speaking refer to his old bo’sun David Pew?
him as he fell out with about the black woman at Lagos, and almost
slashed the shoulder off of him one morning before breakfast?

ARETHUSA.  You leave this house.

PEW.  Hey? (_he crosses and seizes her again_)  Don’t you fight, my
lovely one: now don’t make old blind Pew forget his manners before a
female.  What! you will?  Stop that, or I’ll have the arm right out of
your body.  (_He gives her arm a wrench_.)

ARETHUSA.  O! help, help!

PEW.  Stash your patter, damn you.  (ARETHUSA _gives in_.)  Ah, I thought
it: Pew’s way, Pew’s way.  Now, look you here, my lovely woman.  If you
sling in another word that isn’t in answer to my questions, I’ll pull
your j’ints out one by one.  Where’s the Commander?

ARETHUSA.  I have said: he is abroad.

PEW.  When’s he coming aboard again?

ARETHUSA.  At any moment.

PEW.  Does he keep his strength?

ARETHUSA.  You’ll see when he returns.  (_He wrenches her arm again_.)
Ah!

PEW.  Is he still on piety?

ARETHUSA.  O, he is a Christian man!

PEW.  A Christian man, is he?  Where does he keep his rum?

ARETHUSA.  Nay, you shall steal nothing by my help.

PEW.  No more I shall (_becoming amorous_).  You’re a lovely woman,
that’s what you are; how would you like old Pew for a sweetheart, hey?
He’s blind, is Pew, but strong as a lion; and the sex is his ’ole
delight.  Ah, them beautiful, beautiful lips!  A kiss!  Come!

ARETHUSA.  Leave go, leave go!

PEW.  Hey? you would?

ARETHUSA.  Ah!  (_She thrusts him down_, _and escapes to door_, _R._)


SCENE VII


PEW (_picking himself up_).  Ah, she’s a bouncer, she is!  Where’s my
stick?  That’s the sort of female for David Pew.  Didn’t she fight? and
didn’t she struggle? and shouldn’t I like to twist her lovely neck for
her?  Pew’s way with ’em all: the prettier they was, the uglier he were
to ’em.  Pew’s way: a way he had with him; and a damned good way too.
(_Listens at L. door_.)  That’s her bedroom, I reckon; and she’s
double-locked herself in.  Good again: it’s a crying mercy the Admiral
didn’t come in.  But you always loses your ’ed, Pew, with a female:
that’s what charms ’em.  Now for business.  The front door.  No bar; only
a big lock (_trying keys from his pocket_).  Key one; no go.  Key two; no
go.  Key three; ah, that does it.  Ah! (_feeling key_) him with the three
wards and the little ’un: good again!  Now if I could only find a mate in
this rotten country ’amlick: one to be eyes to me; I can steer, but I
can’t conn myself, worse luck!  If I could only find a mate!  And
to-night, about three bells in the middle watch, old Pew will take a
little cruise, and lay aboard his ancient friend the Admiral; or, barring
that, the Admiral’s old sea-chest—the chest he kept the shiners in aboard
the brig.  Where is it, I wonder? in his berth, or in the cabin here?
It’s big enough, and the brass bands is plain to feel by.  (_Searching
about with stick_.)  Dresser—chair—(_knocking his head on the cupboard_.)
Ah!—O, corner cupboard.  Admiral’s chair—Admiral’s table—Admiral’s—hey!
what’s this?—a book—sheepskin—smells like a ’oly Bible.  Chair (_his
stick just avoids the chest_).  No sea-chest.  I must have a mate to see
for me, to see for old Pew: him as had eyes like a eagle!  Meanwhile,
rum.  Corner cupboard, of course (_tap-tapping_).  Rum—rum—rum.  Hey?
(_He listens_.)  Footsteps.  Is it the Admiral?  (_With the whine_.)
Kind Christian friends—


SCENE VIII


                            PEW; to him GAUNT

GAUNT.  What brings you here?

PEW.  Cap’n, do my ears deceive me? or is this my old commander?

GAUNT.  My name is John Gaunt.  Who are you, my man, and what’s your
business?

PEW.  Here’s the facks, so help me.  A lovely female in this house was
Christian enough to pity the poor blind; and lo and belold! who should
she turn out to be but my old commander’s daughter!  ‘My dear,’ says I to
her, ‘I was the Admiral’s own particular bo’sun.’—‘La, sailor,’ she says
to me, ‘how glad he’ll be to see you!’—‘Ah,’ says I, ‘won’t he
just—that’s all.’—‘I’ll go and fetch him,’ she says; ‘you make yourself
at ’ome.’  And off she went; and, Commander, here I am.

GAUNT (_sitting down_).  Well?

PEW.  Well, Cap’n?

GAUNT.  What do you want?

PEW.  Well, Admiral, in a general way, what I want in a manner of
speaking is money and rum.  (_A pause_.)

GAUNT.  David Pew, I have known you a long time.

PEW.  And so you have; aboard the old _Arethusa_; and you don’t seem that
cheered up as I’d looked for, with an old shipmate dropping in, one as
has been seeking you two years and more—and blind at that.  Don’t you
remember the old chantie?—

          ‘Time for us to go,
          Time for us to go,
    And when we’d clapped the hatches on,
          ’Twas time for us to go.

What a note you had to sing, what a swaller for a pannikin of rum, and
what a fist for the shiners!  Ah, Cap’n, they didn’t call you Admiral
Guinea for nothing.  I can see that old sea-chest of yours—her with the
brass bands, where you kept your gold dust and doubloons: you know!—I can
see her as well this minute as though you and me was still at it playing
pût on the lid of her . . .  You don’t say nothing, Cap’n?  . . .  Well,
here it is: I want money and I want rum.  You don’t know what it is to
want rum, you don’t: it gets to that p’int, that you would kill a ’ole
ship’s company for just one guttle of it.  What?  Admiral Guinea, my old
Commander, go back on poor old Pew? and him high and dry?  [Not you!
When we had words over the negro lass at Lagos, what did you do? fair
dealings was your word: fair as between man and man; and we had it out
with p’int and edge on Lagos sands.  And you’re not going back on your
word to me, now I’m old and blind?  No, no! belay that, I say.  Give me
the old motto: Fair dealings, as between man and man.]

GAUNT.  David Pew, it were better for you that you were sunk in fifty
fathom.  I know your life; and first and last, it is one broadside of
wickedness.  You were a porter in a school, and beat a boy to death; you
ran for it, turned slaver, and shipped with me, a green hand.  Ay, that
was the craft for you: that was the right craft, and I was the right
captain; there was none worse that sailed to Guinea.  Well, what came of
that?  In five years’ time you made yourself the terror and abhorrence of
your messmates.  The worst hands detested you; your captain—that was me,
John Gaunt, the chief of sinners—cast you out for a Jonah.  [Who was it
stabbed the Portuguese and made off inland with his miserable wife?  Who,
raging drunk on rum, clapped fire to the baracoons and burned the poor
soulless creatures in their chains?]  Ay, you were a scandal to the
Guinea coast, from Lagos down to Calabar? and when at last I sent you
ashore, a marooned man—your shipmates, devils as they were, cheering and
rejoicing to be quit of you—by heaven, it was a ton’s weight off the
brig!

PEW.  Cap’n Gaunt, Cap’n Gaunt, these are ugly words.

GAUNT.  What next?  You shipped with Flint the Pirate.  What you did then
I know not; the deep seas have kept the secret: kept it, ay, and will
keep against the Great Day.  God smote you with blindness, but you heeded
not the sign.  That was His last mercy; look for no more.  To your knees,
man, and repent!  Pray for a new heart; flush out your sins with tears;
flee while you may from the terrors of the wrath to come.

PEW.  Now, I want this clear: Do I understand that you’re going back on
me, and you’ll see me damned first?

GAUNT.  Of me you shall have neither money nor strong drink: not a guinea
to spend in riot; not a drop to fire your heart with devilry.

PEW.  Cap’n, do you think it wise to quarrel with me?  I put it to you
now, Cap’n, fairly, as between man and man—do you think it wise?

GAUNT.  I fear nothing.  My feet are on the Rock.  Begone!  (_He opens
the Bible and begins to read_.)

PEW (_after a pause_).  Well, Cap’n, you know best, no doubt; and David
Pew’s about the last man, though I says it, to up and thwart an old
Commander.  You’ve been ’ard on David Pew, Cap’n: ’ard on the poor blind;
but you’ll live to regret it—ah, my Christian friend, you’ll live to eat
them words up.  But there’s no malice here: that ain’t Pew’s way; here’s
a sailor’s hand upon it . . . You don’t say nothing?  (GAUNT _turns a
page_.)  Ah, reading, was you?  Reading, by thunder!  Well, here’s my
respecks (_singing_)—

          ‘Time for us to go,
          Time for us to go,
    When the money’s out, and the liquor’s done,
          Why, it’s time for us to go.

(_He goes tapping up to door_, _turns on the threshold_, _and listens_.
GAUNT _turns a page_.  PEW, _with a grimace_, _strikes his hand upon the
pocket with the keys_, _and goes_.)

                                  DROP.



ACT II.


_The Stage represents the parlour of the_ ‘_Admiral Benbow_’ _inn_.
_Fire-place_, _R._, _with high-backed settles on each side_; _in front of
these_, _and facing the audience_, _R._, _a small table laid with a
cloth_.  _Tables_, _L._, _with glasses_, _pipes_, _etc._  _Broadside
ballads on the wall_.  _Outer door of inn_, _with the half-door in L._,
_corner back_; _door_, _R._, _beyond the fire-place_; _window with red
half-curtains_; _spittons_; _candles on both the front tables_; _night
without_.


SCENE I


                  PEW; afterwards MRS. DRAKE, out and in

PEW (_entering_).  Kind Christian friends—(_listening; then dropping the
whine_.)  Hey? nobody!  Hey?  A grog-shop not two cable-lengths from the
Admiral’s back-door, and the Admiral not there?  I never knew a seaman
brought so low: he ain’t but the bones of the man he used to be.  Bear
away for the New Jerusalem, and this is what you run aground on, is it?
Good again; but it ain’t Pew’s way; Pew’s way is rum.—Sanded floor.  Rum
is his word, and rum his motion.—Settle—chimbley—settle
again—spittoon—table rigged for supper.  Table-glass.  (_Drinks
heeltap_.) Brandy and water; and not enough of it to wet your eye; damn
all greediness, I say.  Pot (_drinks_), small beer—a drink that I ab’or
like bilge!  What I want is rum.  (_Calling_, _and rapping with stick on
table_.)  Halloa, there!  House, ahoy!

MRS. DRAKE (_without_).  Coming, sir, coming.  (_She enters_, _R._)  What
can I do—? (_Seeing_ PEW.)  Well I never did!  Now, beggar-man, what’s
for you?

[PEW.  Rum, ma’am, rum; and a bit o’ supper.

MRS. DRAKE.  And a bed to follow, I shouldn’t wonder!

PEW.  _And_ a bed to follow: _if_ you please.]

MRS. DRAKE.  This is the ‘_Admiral Benbow_,’ a respectable house, and
receives none but decent company; and I’ll ask you to go somewhere else,
for I don’t like the looks of you.

PEW.  Turn me away?  Why, Lord love you, I’m David Pew—old David Pew—him
as was Benbow’s own particular cox’n.  You wouldn’t turn away old Pew
from the sign of his late commander’s ’ed?  Ah, my British female, you’d
have used me different if you’d seen me in the fight!  [There laid old
Benbow, both his legs shot off, in a basket, and the blessed spy-glass at
his eye to that same hour: a picter, ma’am, of naval daring: when a round
shot come, and took and knocked a bucketful of shivers right into my poor
daylights.  ‘Damme,’ says the Admiral, ‘is that old Pew, _my_ old Pew?’
he says.—‘It’s old Pew, sir,’ says the first lootenant, ‘worse luck,’ he
says.—‘Then damme,’ says Admiral Benbow, ‘if that’s how they serve a
lion-’arted seaman, damme if I care to live,’ he says; and, ma’am, he
laid down his spy-glass.]

MRS. DRAKE.  Blind man, I don’t fancy you, and that’s the truth; and I’ll
thank you to take yourself off.

PEW.  Thirty years have I fought for country and king, and now in my
blind old age I’m to be sent packing from a measly public-’ouse?  Mark
ye, ma’am, if I go, you take the consequences.  Is this a inn?  Or haint
it?  If it is a inn, then by act of parleyment, I’m free to sling my
’ammick.  Don’t you forget: this is a act of parleyment job, this is.
You look out.

MRS. DRAKE.  Why, what’s to do with the man and his acts of parliament?
I don’t want to fly in the face of an act of parliament, not I.  If what
you say is true—

PEW.  True?  If there’s anything truer than a act of parleyment—Ah! you
ask the beak.  True?  I’ve that in my ’art as makes me wish it wasn’t.

MRS. DRAKE.  I don’t like to risk it.  I don’t like your looks, and
you’re more sea-lawyer than seaman to my mind.  But I’ll tell you what:
if you can pay, you can stay.  So there.

PEW.  No chink, no drink?  That’s your motto, is it?  Well, that’s sense.
Now, look here, ma’am, I ain’t beautiful like you; but I’m good, and I’ll
give you warrant for it.  Get me a noggin of rum, and suthin’ to scoff,
and a penny pipe, and a half-a-foot of baccy; and there’s a guinea for
the reckoning.  There’s plenty more in the locker; so bear a hand, and be
smart.  I don’t like waiting; it ain’t my way.  (_Exit_ MRS. DRAKE, _R._
PEW _sits at the table_, _R._  _The settle conceals him from all the
upper part of the stage_.)

MRS. DRAKE (_re-entering_).  Here’s the rum, sailor.

PEW (_drinks_).  Ah, rum!  That’s my sheet-anchor: rum and the blessed
Gospel.  Don’t you forget that, ma’am: rum and the Gospel is old Pew’s
sheet-anchor.  You can take for another while you’re about it; and, I
say, short reckonings make long friends, hey?  Where’s my change?

MRS. DRAKE.  I’m counting it now.  There, there it is, and thank you for
your custom.  (_She goes out_, _R._)

PEW (_calling after her_).  Don’t thank me, ma’am; thank the act of
parleyment!  Rum, fourpence; two penny pieces and a Willi’m-and-Mary
tizzy makes a shilling; and a spade half-guinea is eleven and six
(_re-enter_ MRS. DRAKE _with supper_, _pipe_, _etc._); and a blessed
majesty George the First crown-piece makes sixteen and six; and two
shilling bits is eighteen and six; and a new half-crown makes—no it
don’t!  O, no!  Old Pew’s too smart a hand to be bammed with a soft
half-tusheroon.

MRS. DRAKE (_changing piece_).  I’m sure I didn’t know it, sailor.

PEW (_trying new coin between his teeth_).  In course you didn’t, my
dear; but I did, and I thought I’d mention it.  Is that my supper, hey?
Do my nose deceive me?  (_Sniffing and feeling_.)  Cold duck? sage and
onions? a round of double Gloster? and that noggin o’ rum?  Why, I
declare if I’d stayed and took pot-luck with my old commander, Cap’n John
Gaunt, he couldn’t have beat this little spread, as I’ve got by act of
parleyment.

MRS. DRAKE (_at knitting_).  Do you know the captain, sailor?

PEW.  Know him?  I was that man’s bos’un, ma’am.  In the Guinea trade, we
was known as ‘Pew’s Cap’n,’ and ‘Gaunt’s Bo’sun,’ one for other like.  We
was like two brothers, ma’am.  And a excellent cold duck, to be sure; and
the rum lovely.

MRS. DRAKE.  If you know John Gaunt, you know his daughter Arethusa.

PEW.  What?  Arethusa?  Know her, says you? know her?  Why, Lord love
you, I was her god-father.  [‘Pew,’ says Jack Gaunt to me, ‘Pew,’ he
says, ‘you’re a man,’ he says; ‘I like a man to be a man,’ says he, ‘and
damme,’ he says, ‘I like _you_; and sink me,’ says he, ‘if you don’t
promise and vow in the name of that new-born babe,’ he says, ‘why damme,
Pew,’ says he, ‘you’re not the man I take you for.’]  Yes, ma’am, I named
that female; with my own ’ands I did; Arethusa, I named her; that was the
name I give her; so now you know if I speak true.  And if you’ll be as
good as get me another noggin of rum, why, we’ll drink her ’elth with
three times three.  (_Exit_ MRS. DRAKE: PEW _eating_.  MRS. DRAKE
_re-entering with rum_.)

[MRS. DRAKE.  If what you say be true, sailor (and I don’t say it isn’t,
mind!), it’s strange that Arethusa and that godly man her father have
never so much as spoke your name.

PEW.  Why, that’s so!  And why, says you?  Why, when I dropped in and
paid my respecks this morning, do you think she knew me?  No more’n a
babe unborn!  Why, ma’am, when I promised and vowed for her, I was the
picter of a man-o’-war’s man, I was: eye like a eagle; walked the deck in
a hornpipe, foot up and foot down; v’ice as mellow as rum; ’and upon
’art, and all the females took dead aback at the first sight, Lord bless
’em!  Know me?  Not likely.  And as for me, when I found her such a
lovely woman—by the feel of her ’and and arm!—you might have knocked me
down with a feather.  But here’s where it is, you see: when you’ve been
knocking about on blue water for a matter of two-and-forty year,
shipwrecked here, and blown up there, and everywhere out of luck, and
given over for dead by all your messmates and relations, why, what it
amounts to is this: nobody knows you, and you hardly know yourself, and
there you are; and I’ll trouble you for another noggin of rum.

MRS. DRAKE.  I think you’ve had enough.

PEW.  I don’t; so bear a hand.  (_Exit_ MRS. DRAKE; PEW _empties the
glass_.)  Rum, ah, rum, you’re a lovely creature; they haven’t never done
you justice.  (_Proceeds to fill and light pipe_; _re-enter_ MRS. DRAKE
_with rum_.)]  And now, ma’am, since you’re so genteel and amicable-like,
what about my old commander?  Is he, in a manner of speaking, on half
pay? or is he living on his fortune, like a gentleman slaver ought?

MRS. DRAKE.  Well, sailor, people talk, you know.

PEW.  I know, ma’am; I’d have been rolling in my coach, if they’d have
held their tongues.

MRS. DRAKE.  And they do say that Captain Gaunt, for so pious a man, is
little better than a miser.

PEW.  Don’t say it, ma’am; not to old Pew.  Ah, how often have I up and
strove with him!  ‘Cap’n, live it down,’ says I.  ‘Ah, Pew,’ says he,
‘you’re a better man than I am,’ he says; ‘but dammne,’ he says, ‘money,’
he says, ‘is like rum to me.’  (_Insinuating_.)  And what about a old
sea-chest, hey? a old sea-chest, strapped with brass bands?

MRS. DRAKE.  Why, that’ll be the chest in his parlour, where he has it
bolted to the wall, as I’ve seen with my own eyes; and so might you, if
you had eyes to see with.

PEW.  No, ma’am, that ain’t good enough; you don’t bam old Pew.  You
never was in that parlour in your life.

MRS. DRAKE.  I never was?  Well, I declare!

PEW.  Well then, if you was, where’s the chest?  Beside the chimbley,
hey?  (_Winking_.)  Beside the table with the ’oly Bible?

MRS. DRAKE.  No, sailor, you don’t get any information out of me.

PEW.  What, ma’am?  Not to old Pew?  Why, my god-child showed it me
herself, and I told her where she’d find my name—P, E, W, Pew—cut out on
the starn of it; and sure enough she did.  Why, ma’am, it was his old
money-box when he was in the Guinea trade; and they do say he keeps the
rhino in it still.

MRS. DRAKE.  No, sailor, nothing out of me!  And if you want to know, you
can ask the Admiral himself!  (_She crosses_, _L._)

PEW.  Hey?  Old girl fly?  Then I reckon I must have a mate, if it was
the parish bull.


SCENE II


                    _To these_, KIT, _a little drunk_

KIT (_looking in over half-door_).  Mrs. Drake!  Mother!  Where are you?
Come and welcome the prodigal!

MRS. DRAKE (_coming forward to meet him as he enters_; PEW _remains
concealed by the settle_, _smoking_, _drinking_, _and listening_).  Lord
bless us and save us, if it ain’t my boy!  Give us a kiss.

KIT.  That I will, and twenty if you like, old girl.  (_Kisses her_.)

MRS. DRAKE.  O Kit, Kit, you’ve been at those other houses, where the
stuff they give you, my dear, it is poison for a dog.

[KIT.  Round with friends, mother: only round with friends.

MRS. DRAKE.  Well, anyway, you’ll take a glass just to settle it, from
me.  (_She brings the bottle_, _and fills for him_.)  There, that’s pure;
that’ll do you no harm.]  But O, Kit, Kit, I thought you were done with
all this Jack-a-shoring.

KIT.  What cheer, mother?  I’m only a sheet in the wind; and who’s the
worse for it but me?

MRS. DRAKE.  Ah, and that dear young lady; and her waiting and keeping
single these two years for the love of you!

KIT.  She, mother? she’s heart of oak, she’s true as steel, and good as
gold; and she has my ring on her finger, too.  But where’s the use?  The
Admiral won’t look at me.

MRS. DRAKE.  Why not?  You’re as good a man as him any day.

KIT.  Am I?  He says I’m a devil, and swears that none of his flesh and
blood—that’s what he said, mother!—should lie at my mercy.  That’s what
cuts me.  If it wasn’t for the good stuff I’ve been taking aboard, and
the jolly companions I’ve been seeing it out with, I’d just go and make a
hole in the water, and be done with it, I would, by George!

MRS. DRAKE.  That’s like you men.  Ah, we know you, we that keeps a
public-house—we know you, good and bad: you go off on a frolic and
forget; and you never think of the women that sit crying at home.

KIT.  Crying?  Arethusa cry?  Why, dame, she’s the bravest-hearted girl
in all broad England!  Here, fill the glass!  I’ll win her yet.  I drink
to her; here’s to her bright eyes, and here’s to the blessed feet she
walks upon!

PEW (_looking round the corner of the settle_).  Spoke like a gallant
seaman, every inch.  Shipmate, I’m a man as has suffered, and I’d like to
shake your fist, and drink a can of flip with you.

KIT (_coming down_).  Hullo, my hearty! who the devil are you?  Who’s
this, mother?

MRS. DRAKE.  Nay, I know nothing about him.  (_She goes out_, _R._)

PEW.  Cap’n, I’m a brother seaman, and my name is Pew, old David Pew, as
you may have heard of in your time, he having sailed along of ’Awke and
glorious Benbow, and a right-’and man to both.

KIT.  Benbow?  Steady, mate!  D’ye mean to say you went to sea before you
were born?

PEW.  See now!  The sign of this here inn was running in my ’ed, I
reckon.  Benbow, says you? no, not likely!  Anson, I mean; Anson and Sir
Edward ’Awke: that’s the pair: I was their right-’and man.

KIT.  Well, mate, you may be all that, and more; but you’re a rum un to
look at, anyhow.

PEW.  Right you are, and so I am.  But what is looks?  It’s the ’art that
does it: the ’art is the seaman’s star; and here’s old David Pew’s, a
matter of fifty years at sea, but tough and sound as the British
Constitootion.

KIT.  You’re right there, Pew.  Shake hands upon it.  And you’re a man
they’re down upon, just like myself, I see.  We’re a pair of plain,
good-hearted, jolly tars; and all these ’longshore fellows cock a lip at
us, by George.  What cheer, mate?

ARETHUSA (_without_).  Mrs. Drake!  Mrs. Drake!

PEW.  What, a female? hey? a female?  Board her board her, mate!  I’m
dark.  (_He retires again behind_, _to table_, _R._, _behind settle_.)

ARETHUSA (_without_).  Mrs. Drake!

MRS. DRAKE (_re-entering and running to door_).  Here I am, my dear; come
in.


SCENE III


                           _To these_, ARETHUSA

ARETHUSA.  Ah, Kit, I’ve found you.  I thought you would lodge with Mrs.
Drake.

KIT.  What? are you looking for your consort?  Whistle, I’m your dog;
I’ll come to you.  I’ve been toasting you fathom deep, my beauty; and
with every glass I love you dearer.

ARETHUSA.  Now Kit, if you want to please my father, this is not the way.
Perhaps he thinks too much of the guineas: well, gather them—if you think
me worth the price.  Go you to your sloop, clinker built, eighty tons
burthen—you see I remember, Skipper Kit!  I don’t deny I like a man of
spirit; but if you care to please Captain Gaunt, keep out of taverns; and
if you could carry yourself a bit more—more elderly!

[KIT.  Can I?  Would I?  Ah, just couldn’t and just won’t I, then!

MRS. DRAKE.  I hope, madam, you don’t refer to my house; a publican I may
be, but tavern is a word that I don’t hold with; and here there’s no bad
drink, and no loose company; and as for my blessedest Kit, I declare I
love him like my own.

ARETHUSA.  Why, who could help it, Mrs. Drake?]

KIT.  Arethusa, you’re an angel.  Do I want to please Captain Gaunt?
Why, that’s as much as ask whether I love you.  [I don’t deny that his
words cut me; for they did.  But as for wanting to please him, if he was
deep as the blue Atlantic, I would beat it out.  And elderly, too?  Aha,
you witch, you’re wise!  Elderly?  You’ve set the course; you leave me
alone to steer it.  Matrimony’s my port, and love is my cargo.]  That’s a
likely question, ain’t it, Mrs. Drake?  Do I want to please him!
Elderly, says you?  Why, see here: Fill up my glass, and I’ll drink to
Arethusa on my knees.

ARETHUSA.  Why, you stupid boy, do you think that would please him?

KIT.  On my knees I’ll drink it!  (_As he kneels and drains the glass_,
GAUNT _enters_, _and he scrambles to his feet_.)


SCENE IV


                            _To these_, GAUNT

GAUNT.  Arethusa, this is no place for you.

ARETHUSA.  No, father.

GAUNT.  I wish you had been spared this sight; but look at him, child,
since you are here; look at God’s image, so debased.  And you, young man
(_to_ KIT), you have proved that I was right.  Are you the husband for
this innocent maid?

KIT.  Captain Gaunt, I have a word to say to you.  Terror is your last
word; you’re bitter hard upon poor sinners, bitter hard and black—you
that were a sinner yourself.  These are not the true colours: don’t
deceive yourself; you’re out of your course.

[GAUNT.  Heaven forbid that I should be hard, Christopher.  It is not I;
it’s God’s law that is of iron.  Think! if the blow were to fall now,
some cord to snap within you, some enemy to plunge a knife into your
heart; this room, with its poor taper light, to vanish; this world to
disappear like a drowning man into the great ocean; and you, your brain
still whirling, to be snatched into the presence of the eternal Judge:
Christopher French, what answer would you make?  For these gifts wasted,
for this rich mercy scorned, for these high-handed bravings of your
better angel,—what have you to say?

KIT.  Well, sir, I want my word with you, and by your leave I’ll have it
out.

ARETHUSA.  Kit, for pity’s sake!

KIT.  Arethusa, I don’t speak to you, my dear: you’ve got my ring, and I
know what that means.  The man I speak to is Captain Gaunt.  I came
to-day as happy a man as ever stepped, and with as fair a look-out.  What
did you care? what was your reply?  None of your flesh and blood, you
said, should lie at the mercy of a wretch like me!  Am I not flesh and
blood that you should trample on me like that?  Is that charity, to stamp
the hope out of a poor soul?]

GAUNT.  You speak wildly; or the devil of drink that is in you speaks
instead.

KIT.  You think me drunk? well, so I am, and whose fault is it but yours?
It was I that drank; but you take your share of it, Captain Gaunt: you it
was that filled the can.

GAUNT.  Christopher French, I spoke but for your good, your good and
hers.  ‘Woe unto him’—these are the dreadful words—‘by whom offences
shall come: it were better—’ Christopher, I can but pray for both of us.

KIT.  Prayers?  Now I tell you freely, Captain Gaunt, I don’t value your
prayers.  Deeds are what I ask; kind deeds and words—that’s the true-blue
piety: to hope the best and do the best, and speak the kindest.  As for
you, you insult me to my face; and then you’ll pray for me?  What’s that?
Insult behind my back is what I call it!  No, sir; you’re out of the
course; you’re no good man to my view, be you who you may.

MRS. DRAKE.  O Christopher!  To Captain Gaunt?

ARETHUSA.  Father, father, come away!

KIT.  Ah, you see?  She suffers too; we all suffer.  You spoke just now
of a devil; well, I’ll tell you the devil you have: the devil of judging
others.  And as for me, I’ll get as drunk as Bacchus.

GAUNT.  Come!


SCENE V


                           PEW, MRS. DRAKE, KIT

PEW (_coming out and waving his pipe_).  Commander, shake!  Hooray for
old England!  If there’s anything in the world that goes to old Pew’s
’art, it’s argyment.  Commander, you handled him like a babby, kept the
weather gauge, and hulled him every shot.  Commander, give it a name, and
let that name be rum!

KIT.  Ay, rum’s the sailor’s fancy.  Mrs. Drake, a bottle and clean
glasses.

MRS. DRAKE.  Kit French, I wouldn’t.  Think better of it, there’s a dear!
And that sweet girl just gone!

PEW.  Ma’am, I’m not a ’ard man; I’m not the man to up and force a act of
parleyment upon a helpless female.  But you see here: Pew’s friends is
sacred.  Here’s my friend here, a perfeck seaman, and a man with a ’ed
upon his shoulders, and a man that, damme, I admire.  He give you a
order, ma’am:—march!

MRS. DRAKE.  Kit, don’t you listen to that blind man; he’s the devil
wrote upon his face.

PEW.  Don’t you insinuate against my friend.  _He_ ain’t a child, I hope?
_he_ knows his business?  Don’t you get trying to go a lowering of my
friend in his own esteem.

MRS. DRAKE.  Well, I’ll bring it, Kit; but it’s against the grain.
(_Exit_.)

KIT.  I say, old boy, come to think of it, why should we?  It’s been
glasses round with me all day.  I’ve got my cargo.

PEW.  You? and you just argy’d the ’ed off of Admiral Guinea?  O stash
that!  _I_ stand treat, if it comes to that!

KIT.  What!  Do I meet with a blind seaman and not stand him?  That’s not
the man I am!

MRS. DRAKE (_re-entering with bottle and glasses_).  There!

PEW.  Easy does it, ma’am.

KIT.  Mrs. Drake, you had better trot.

MRS. DRAKE.  Yes, I’ll trot; and I trot with a sick heart, Kit French, to
leave you drinking your wits away with that low blind man.  For a low man
you are—a low blind man—and your clothes they would disgrace a scarecrow.
I’ll go to my bed, Kit; and O, dear boy, go soon to yours—the old room,
you know; it’s ready for you—and go soon and sleep it off; for you know,
dear, they, one and all, regret it in the morning; thirty years I’ve kept
this house, and one and all they did regret it, dear.

PEW.  Come now, you walk!

MRS. DRAKE.  O, it’s not for your bidding.  You a seaman?  The ship for
you to sail in is the hangman’s cart.—Good-night, Kit dear, and better
company!


SCENE VI


PEW, KIT.  They sit at the other table, L.

PEW.  Commander, here’s _her_ ’ealth!

KIT.  Ay, that’s the line: _her_ health!  But that old woman there is a
good old woman, Pew.

PEW.  So she is, Commander.  But there’s no woman understands a seaman;
now you and me, being both bred to it, we splice by natur’.  As for A.
G., if argyment can win her, why, she’s yours.  If I’d a-had your ’ed for
argyment, damme, I’d a-been a Admiral, I would!  And if argyment won’t
win her, well, see here, you put your trust in David Pew.

KIT.  David Pew, I don’t know who you are, David Pew; I never heard of
you; I don’t seem able to clearly see you.  Mrs. Drake, she’s a smart old
woman, Pew, and she says you’ve the devil in your face.

PEW.  Ah, and why, says you?  Because I up and put her in her place, when
she forgot herself to you, Commander.

KIT.  Well, Pew, that’s so; you stood by me like a man.  Shake hands,
Pew; and we’ll make a night of it, or we’ll know why, old boy!

PEW.  That’s my way.  That’s Pew’s way, that is.  That’s Pew’s way all
over.  Commander, excuse the liberty; but when I was your age, making
allowance for a lowlier station and less ’ed for argyment, I was as like
you as two peas.  I know it by the v’ice (_sings_)—

    ‘We hadn’t been three days at sea before we saw a sail,
    So we clapped on every stitch would stand, although it blew a gale,
    And we walked along full fourteen knots, for the barkie she did know
    As well as ever a soul on board, ’twas time for us to go.’

Chorus, Cap’n!

PEW _and_ KIT (_in chorus_)—

          ‘Time for us to go,
          Time for us to go,
    As well as ever a soul on board,
          ’Twas time for us to go.’

PEW (_sings_)—

    ‘We carried away the royal yard, and the stunsail boom was gone;
    Says the skipper, “They may go or stand, I’m damned if I don’t crack
    on;”
    So the weather braces we’ll round in, and the trysail set also,
    And we’ll keep the brig three p’ints away, for it’s time for us to
    go.

Give it mouth, Commander!

PEW _and_ KIT (_in chorus_)—

          ‘Time for us to go,
          Time for us to go,
    And we’ll keep the brig three p’ints away,
          For it’s time for us to go.’

PEW.  I ain’t sung like that since I sang to Admiral ’Awke, the night
before I lost my eyes, I ain’t.  ‘Sink me!’ says he, says Admiral ’Awke,
my old commander (_touching his hat_), ‘sink me!’ he says, ‘if that ain’t
’art-of-oak,’ he says: ‘’art-of-oak,’ says he, ‘and a pipe like a bloody
blackbird!’  Commander, here’s my respecks, and the devil fly away with
Admiral Guinea!

KIT.  I say, Pew, how’s this?  How do you know about Admiral Guinea?  I
say, Pew, I begin to think you know too much.

PEW.  I ax your pardon; but as a man with a ’ed for argyment—and that’s
your best p’int o’ sailing, Commander; intelleck is your best p’int—as a
man with a ’ed for argyment, how do I make it out?

KIT.  Aha, you’re a sly dog, you’re a deep dog, Pew; but you can’t get
the weather of Kit French.  How do I make it out?  I’ll tell you.  I make
it out like this: Your name’s Pew, ain’t it?  Very well.  And you know
Admiral Guinea, and that’s his name, eh?  Very well.  Then you’re Pew;
and the Admiral’s the Admiral; and you know the Admiral; and by George,
that’s all.  Hey?  Drink about, boys, drink about!

PEW.  Lord love you, if I’d a-had a ’ed like yours!  Why the Admiral was
my first cap’n.  I was that man’s bo’sun, I was, aboard the _Arethusa_;
and we was like two brothers.  Did you never hear of Guinea-land and the
black ivory business? (_sings_)—

    ‘A quick run to the south we had, and when we made the Bight
    We kept the offing all day long and crossed the bar at night.
    Six hundred niggers in the hold and seventy we did stow,
    And when we’d clapped the hatches on, ’twas time for us to go.’

Lay forward, lads!

KIT _and_ PEW (_in chorus_)—

    ‘Time for us to go,’ etc.

KIT.  I say, Pew, I like you; you’re a damned ugly dog; but I like you.
But look ye here, Pew: fair does it, you know, or we part company this
minute.  If you and the Ad—the Admirable were like brothers on the Guinea
coast, why aren’t you like brothers here?

PEW.  Ah, _I_ see you coming.  What a ’ed! what a ’ed!  Since Pew is a
friend of the family, says you, why didn’t he sail in and bear a hand,
says you, when you was knocking the Admiral’s ship about his ears in
argyment?

KIT.  Well, Pew, now you put a name to it, why not?

PEW.  Ah, why not?  There I recko’nise you.  [Well, see here: argyment’s
my weakness, in a manner of speaking; I wouldn’t a-borne down and spiled
sport, not for gold untold, no, not for rum, I wouldn’t!  And besides,
Commander, I put it to you, as between man and man, would it have been
seaman-like to let on and show myself to a old shipmate, when he was
yard-arm to yard-arm with a craft not half his metal, and getting blown
out of water every broadside?  Would it have been ’ansome?  I put it to
you, as between man and man.

KIT.  Pew, I may have gifts; but I never thought of that.  Why, no: not
seaman-like.  Pew, you’ve a heart; that’s what I like you for.

PEW.  Ah, that I have: you’ll see.  I wanted—now you follow me—I wanted
to keep square with Admiral Guinea.]  Why? says you.  Well, put it that I
know a fine young fellow when I sees him; and put it that I wish him
well; and put it, for the sake of argyment, that the father of that
lovely female’s in my power.  Aha?  Pew’s Power!  Why, in my ’ands he’s
like this pocket ’andke’cher.  Now, brave boy, do you see?

KIT.  No, Pew, my head’s gone; I don’t see.

PEW.  Why, cheer up, Commander!  You want to marry this lovely female?

KIT.  Ay, that I do; but I’m not fit for her, Pew; I’m a drunken dog, and
I’m not fit for her.

PEW.  Now, Cap’n, you’ll allow a old seaman to be judge: one as sailed
with ’Awke and blessed Benb— with ’Awke and noble Anson.  You’ve been
open and above-board with me, and I’ll do the same by you: it being the
case that you’re hard hit about a lovely woman, which many a time and oft
it has happened to old Pew; and him with a feeling ’art that bleeds for
you, Commander; why look here: I’m that girl’s godfather; promised and
vowed for her, I did; and I like you; and you’re the man for her; and, by
the living Jacob, you shall splice!

KIT.  David Pew, do you mean what you say?

PEW.  Do I mean what I say?  Does David Pew?  Ask Admiral ’Awke!  Ask old
Admiral Byng in his coffin, where I laid him with these lands!  Pew does,
is what those naval commanders would reply.  Mean it?  I reckon so.

KIT.  Then, shake hands.  You’re an honest man, Pew—old Pew!—and I’ll
make your fortune.  But there’s something else, if I could keep the run
of it.  O, ah!  But _can_ you?  That’s the point.  Can you; don’t you
see?

PEW.  Can I?  You leave that to me; I’ll bring you to your moorings; I’m
the man that can, and I’m him that will.  But only, look here, let’s
understand each other.  You’re a bold blade, ain’t you?  You won’t stick
at a trifle for a lovely female?  You’ll back me up?  You’re a man, ain’t
you? a man, and you’ll see me through and through it, hey?  Come; is that
so?  Are you fair and square and stick at nothing?

KIT.  Me, Pew?  I’ll go through fire and water.

PEW.  I’ll risk it.—Well, then, see here, my son: another swallow and we
jog.

KIT.  No, not to-night, Pew, not to-night!

PEW.  Commander, in a manner of speaking, wherefore?

KIT.  Wherefore, Pew?  ’Cause why, Pew?  ’Cause I’m drunk, and be damned
to you!

PEW.  Commander, I ax your pardon; but, saving your presence, that’s a
lie.  What? drunk? a man with a ’ed for argyment like that? just you get
up, and steady yourself on your two pins, and you’ll be as right as
ninepence.

[KIT.  Pew, before we budge, let me shake your flipper again.  You’re
heart of oak, Pew, sure enough; and if you can bring the Adam—Admirable
about, why, damme, I’ll make your fortune!  How you’re going to do it, I
don’t know; but I’ll stand by; and I know you’ll do it if anybody can.
But I’m drunk, Pew; you can’t deny that: I’m as drunk as a Plymouth
fiddler, Pew; and how you’re going to do it is a mystery to me.

PEW.  Ah, you leave that to me.  All I want is what I’ve got: your
promise to stand by and bear a hand (_producing a dark lantern_).]  Now,
here, you see, is my little glim; it ain’t for me, because I’m blind,
worse luck! and the day and night is the blessed same to David Pew.  But
you watch.  You put the candle near me.  Here’s what there ain’t mony
blind men could do, take the pick o’ them! (_lighting a screw of paper_,
_and with that_, _the lantern_).  Hey?  That’s it.  Hey?  Go and pity the
poor blind!

KIT (_while_ PEW _blows out the candles_).  But I say, Pew, what do you
want with it?

PEW.  To see by, my son.  (_He shuts the lantern and puts it in his
pocket_.  _Stage quite dark_.  _Moonlight at window_.)  All ship-shape?
No sparks about?  No?  Come, then, lean on me and heave ahead for the
lovely female.  (_Singing sotto voce_)—

          ‘Time for us to go,
          Time for us to go,
    And when we’d clapped the hatches on,
          ’Twas time for us to go.’

                                * * * * *

                                   DROP



ACT III.


_The Stage represents the Admiral’s house_, _as in Act I_.  GAUNT
_seated_, _is reading aloud_; ARETHUSA _sits at his feet_.  _Candles_


SCENE I


                             ARETHUSA, GAUNT

[GAUNT (_reading_).  ‘And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to
return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and
where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy
God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the
Lord do so to me, and more also, if aught but death part thee and me.’
(_He closes the book_.)  Amen.

ARETHUSA.  Amen.  Father, there spoke my heart.]

GAUNT.  Arethusa, the Lord in his mercy has seen right to vex us with
trials of many kinds.  It is a little matter to endure the pangs of the
flesh: the smart of wounds, the passion of hunger and thirst, the
heaviness of disease; and in this world I have learned to take thought
for nothing save the quiet of your soul.  It is through our affections
that we are smitten with the true pain, even the pain that kills.

ARETHUSA.  And yet this pain is our natural lot.  Father, I fear to
boast, but I know that I can bear it.  Let my life, then, flow like
common lives, each pain rewarded with some pleasure, each pleasure linked
with some pain: nothing pure whether for good or evil: and my husband,
like myself and all the rest of us, only a poor, kind-hearted sinner,
striving for the better part.  What more could any woman ask?

GAUNT.  Child, child, your words are like a sword.  What would she ask?
Look upon me whom, in the earthly sense, you are commanded to respect.
Look upon me: do I bear a mark? is there any outward sign to bid a woman
avoid and flee from me?

ARETHUSA.  I see nothing but the face I love.

GAUNT.  There is none: nor yet on the young man Christopher, whose words
still haunt and upbraid me.  Yes, I am hard; I was born hard, born a
tyrant, born to be what I was, a slaver captain.  But to-night, and to
save you, I will pluck my heart out of my bosom.  You shall know what
makes me what I am; you shall hear, out of my own life, why I dread and
deprecate this marriage.  Child, do you remember your mother?

ARETHUSA.  Remember her?  Ah, if she had been here to-day!

GAUNT.  It is thirteen years since she departed, and took with her the
whole sunshine of my life.  Do you remember the manner of her departure?
You were a child, and cannot; but I can and do.  Remember? shall I ever
forget?  Here or hereafter, ever forget!  Ten years she was my wife, and
ten years she lay a-dying.  Arethusa, she was a saint on earth; and it
was I that killed her.

ARETHUSA.  Killed her? my mother?  You?

GAUNT.  Not with my hand; for I loved her.  I would not have hurt one
hair upon her head.  But she got her death by me, as sure as by a blow.

ARETHUSA.  I understand—I can see: you brood on trifles,
misunderstandings, unkindnesses you think them; though my mother never
knew of them, or never gave them a second thought.  It is natural, when
death has come between.

GAUNT.  I married her from Falmouth.  She was comely as the roe; I see
her still—her dove’s eyes and her smile!  I was older than she; and I had
a name for hardness, a hard and wicked man; but she loved me—my
Hester!—and she took me as I was.  O how I repaid her trust!  Well, our
child was born to us; and we named her after the brig I had built and
sailed, the old craft whose likeness—older than you, girl—stands there
above our heads.  And so far, that was happiness.  But she yearned for my
salvation; and it was there I thwarted her.  My sins were a burden upon
her spirit, a shame to her in this world, her terror in the world to
come.  She talked much and often of my leaving the devil’s trade I sailed
in.  She had a tender and a Christian heart, and she would weep and pray
for the poor heathen creatures that I bought and sold and shipped into
misery, till my conscience grew hot within me.  I’ve put on my hat, and
gone out and made oath that my next cargo should be my last; but it never
was, that oath was never kept.  So I sailed again and again for the
Guinea coast, until the trip came that was to be my last indeed.  Well,
it fell out that we had good luck trading, and I stowed the brig with
these poor heathen as full as she would hold.  We had a fair run westward
till we were past the line; but one night the wind rose and there came a
hurricane, and for seven days we were tossed on the deep seas, in the
hardest straits, and every hand on deck.  For several days they were
battened down: all that time we heard their cries and lamentations, but
worst at the beginning; and when at last, and near dead myself, I crept
below—O! some they were starved, some smothered, some dead of broken
limbs; and the hold was like a lazar-house in the time of the anger of
the Lord!

ARETHUSA.  O!

GAUNT.  It was two hundred and five that we threw overboard: two hundred
and five lost souls that I had hurried to their doom.  I had many die
with me before; but not like that—not such a massacre as that; and I
stood dumb before the sight.  For I saw I was their murderer—body and
soul their murderer; and, Arethusa, my Hester knew it.  That was her
death-stroke: it felled her.  She had long been dying slowly; but from
the hour she heard that story, the garment of the flesh began to waste
and perish, the fountains of her life dried up; she faded before my face;
and in two months from my landing—O Hester, Hester, would God I had died
for thee!

ARETHUSA.  Mother!  O poor soul!  O poor father!  O father, it was hard
on you.

GAUNT.  The night she died, she lay there, in her bed.  She took my hand.
‘I am going,’ she said, ‘to heaven.  For Christ’s sake,’ she said, ‘come
after me, and bring my little maid.  I’ll be waiting and wearying till
you come;’ and she kissed my hand, the hand that killed her.  At that I
broke out calling on her to stop, for it was more than I could bear.  But
no, she said she must still tell me of my sins, and how the thought of
them had bowed down her life.  ‘And O!’ she said, ‘if I couldn’t prevail
on you alive, let my death.’ . . . Well, then, she died.  What have I
done since then?  I’ve laid my course for Hester.  Sin, temptation,
pleasure, all this poor shadow of a world, I saw them not: I saw my
Hester waiting, waiting and wearying.  I have made my election sure; my
sins I have cast them out.  Hester, Hester, I will come to you, poor
waiting one; and I’ll bring your little maid: ay, dearest soul, I’ll
bring your little maid safe with me!

ARETHUSA.  O teach me how!  Show me the way! only show me.—O mother,
mother!—If it were paved with fire, show me the way, and I will walk it
bare-foot!

GAUNT.  They call me a miser.  They say that in this sea-chest of mine I
hoard my gold.  (_He passes R. to chest_, _takes out key_, _and unlocks
it_.)  They think my treasure and my very soul are locked up here.  They
speak after the flesh, but they are right.  See!

ARETHUSA.  Her watch? the wedding ring?  O father, forgive me!

GAUNT.  Ay, her watch that counted the hours when I was away; they were
few and sorrowful, my Hester’s hours; and this poor contrivance numbered
them.  The ring—with that I married her.  This chain, it’s of Guinea
gold; I brought it home for her, the year before we married, and she wore
it to her wedding.  It was a vanity: they are all vanities; but they are
the treasure of my soul.  Below here, see, her wedding dress.  Ay, the
watch has stopped: dead, dead.  And I know that my Hester died of me; and
day and night, asleep and awake, my soul abides in her remembrance.

ARETHUSA.  And you come in your sleep to look at them.  O poor father!  I
understand—I understand you now.

GAUNT.  In my sleep?  Ay? do I so?  My Hester!

ARETHUSA.  And why, why did you not tell me?  I thought—I was like the
rest!—I feared you were a miser.  O, you should have told me; I should
have been so proud—so proud and happy.  I knew you loved her; but not
this, not this.

GAUNT.  Why should I have spoken?  It was all between my Hester and me.

ARETHUSA.  Father, may I speak?  May I tell you what my heart tells me?
You do not understand about my mother.  You loved her—O, as few men can
love.  And she loved you: think how she loved you!  In this world, you
know—you have told me—there is nothing perfect.  All we men and women
have our sins; and they are a pain to those that love us, and the deeper
the love, the crueller the pain.  That is life; and it is life we ask,
not heaven; and what matter for the pain, if only the love holds on?  Her
love held: then she was happy!  Her love was immortal; and when she died,
her one grief was to be parted from you, her one hope to welcome you
again.

GAUNT.  And you, Arethusa: I was to bring her little maid.

ARETHUSA.  God bless her, yes, and me!  But, father, can you not see that
she was blessed among women?

GAUNT.  Child, child, you speak in ignorance; you touch upon griefs you
cannot fathom.

ARETHUSA.  No, dearest, no.  She loved you, loved you and died of it.
Why else do women live?  What would I ask but just to love my Kit and die
for him, and look down from heaven, and see him keep my memory holy and
live the nobler for my sake?

GAUNT.  Ay, do you so love him?

ARETHUSA.  Even as my mother loved my father.

GAUNT.  Ay?  Then we will see.  What right have I—You are your mother’s
child: better, tenderer, wiser than I.  Let us seek guidance in prayer.
Good-night, my little maid.

ARETHUSA.  O father, I know you at last.


SCENE II


GAUNT _and_ ARETHUSA _go out_, _L._, _carrying the candles_.  _Stage
dark_.  _A distant clock chimes the quarters_, _and strikes one_.
_Then_, _the tap-tapping of Pew’s stick is hear without_; _the key is put
into the lock_; _and enter_ PEW, _C._, _he pockets key_, _and is followed
by_ KIT, _with dark lantern_

PEW.  Quiet, you lubber!  Can’t you foot it soft, you that has daylights
and a glim?

KIT.  All right, old boy.  How the devil did we get through the door?
Shall I knock him up?

PEW.  Stow your gab (_seizing his wrist_).  Under your breath!

KIT.  Avast that!  You’re a savage dog, aren’t you?

PEW.  Turn on that glim.

KIT.  It’s as right as a trivet, Pew.  What next?  By George, Pew, I’ll
make your fortune.

PEW.  Here, now, look round this room, and sharp.  D’ye see a old
sea-chest?

KIT.  See it, Pew? why, d’ye think I’m blind?

PEW.  Take me across, and let me feel of her.  Mum; catch my hand.  Ah,
that’s her (_feeling the chest_), that’s the Golden Mary.  Now, see here,
my bo, if you’ve the pluck of a weevil in a biscuit, this girl is yours;
if you hain’t, and think to sheer off, I’m blind, but I’m deadly.

KIT.  You’ll keep a civil tongue in your head all the same.  I’ll take
threats from nobody, blind or not.  Let’s knock up the Admiral and be
done with it.  What I want is to get rid of this dark lantern.  It makes
me feel like a housebreaker, by George.

PEW (_seated on chest_).  You follow this.  I’m sick of drinking bilge,
when I might be rolling in my coach, and I’m dog-sick of Jack Gaunt.
Who’s he to be wallowing in gold, when a better man is groping crusts in
the gutter and spunging for rum?  Now, here in this blasted chest is the
gold to make men of us for life: gold, ay, gobs of it; and writin’s
too—things that if I had the proof of ’em I’d hold Jack Gaunt to the
grindstone till his face was flat.  I’d have done it single-handed; but
I’m blind, worse luck: I’m all in the damned dark here, poking with a
stick—Lord, burn up with lime the eyes that saw it!  That’s why I raked
up you.  Come, out with your iron, and prise the lid off.  You shall
touch your snack, and have the wench for nothing; ay, and fling her in
the street, when done.

KIT.  So you brought me here to steal did you?

PEW.  Ay did I; and you shall.  I’m a biter: I bring blood.

KIT.  Now, Pew, you came here on my promise, or I’d kill you like a rat.
As it is, out of that door!  One, two, three (_drawing his cutlass_), and
off!

PEW (_leaping at his throat_, _and with a great voice_).  Help! murder!
thieves!


SCENE III


_To these_, ARETHUSA, GAUNT, _with lights_.  _Stage light_.  PEW _has_
KIT _down_, _and is throttling him_

PEW.  I’ve got him, Cap’n.  What, kill my old commander, and rob him of
his blessed child?  Not with old Pew!

GAUNT.  Get up, David: can’t you see you’re killing him?  Unhand, I say.

ARETHUSA.  In heaven’s name, who is it?

PEW.  It’s a damned villain, my pretty; and his name, to the best of my
belief, is French.

ARETHUSA.  Kit?  Kit French?  Never!

KIT (_rising_).  He’s done for me.  (_Falls on chest_.)

[PEW.  Don’t you take on about him, ducky; he ain’t worth it.  Cap’n
Gaunt, I took him and I give him up.  You was ’ard on me this morning,
Cap’n: this is my way—Pew’s way, this is—of paying of you out.

ARETHUSA.  Father, this is the blind man that came while you were abroad.
Sure you’ll not listen to _him_.  And you, Kit, you, what is this?

KIT.  Captain Gaunt, that blind devil has half-throttled me.  He brought
me here—I can’t speak—he has almost killed me—and I’d been drinking too.

GAUNT.  And you, David Pew, what do you say?]

PEW.  Cap’n, the rights of it is this.  Me and that young man there was
partaking in a friendly drop of rum at the _Admiral Benbow_ inn; and I’d
just proposed his blessed Majesty, when the young man he ups and says to
me: ‘Pew,’ he says, ‘I like you, Pew: you’re a true seaman,’ he says;
‘and I’m one as sticks at nothing; and damme, Pew,’ he says, ‘I’ll make
your fortune.’  [Can he deny as them was his words?  Look at him, you as
has eyes: no, he cannot.  ‘Come along of me,’ he says, ‘and damme, I’ll
make your fortune.’]  Well, Cap’n, he lights a dark lantern (which you’ll
find it somewhere on the floor, I reckon), and out we goes, me follerin’
his lead, as I thought was ’art-of-oak and a true-blue mariner; and the
next I knows is, here we was in here, and him a-askin’ me to ’old the
glim, while he prised the lid off of your old sea-chest with his cutlass.

GAUNT.  The chest?  (_He leaps_, _R._, _and examines chest_.)  Ah!

PEW.  Leastways, I was to ’elp him, by his account of it, while he nailed
the rhino, and then took and carried off that lovely maid of yours; for a
lovely maid she is, and one as touched old Pew’s ’art Cap’n, when I ’eard
that, my blood biled.  ‘Young man,’ I says, ‘you don’t know David Pew,’ I
says; and with that I ups and does my dooty by him, cutlass and all, like
a lion-’arted seaman, though blind.  [And then in comes you, and I gives
him up: as you know for a fack is true, and I’ll subscribe at the
Assizes.  And that, if you was to cut me into junks, is the truth, the
’ole truth, and nothing but the truth, world without end, so help me,
amen; and if you’ll ’and me over the ’oly Bible, me not having such a
thing about me at the moment, why, I’ll put a oath upon it like a man.]

ARETHUSA.  Father, have you heard?

[GAUNT.  I know this man, Arethusa, and the truth is not in him.

ARETHUSA.  Well, and why do we wait?  We know Kit, do we not?

KIT.  Ay, Captain, you know the pair of us, and you can see his face and
mine.]

GAUNT.  Christopher, the facts are all against you.  I find you here in
my house at midnight: you who at least had eyes to see, and must have
known whither you were going.  It was this man, not you, who called me
up: and when I came in, it was he who was uppermost and who gave you up
to justice.  This unsheathed cutlass is yours; there hangs the scabbard,
empty; and as for the dark lantern, of what use is light to the blind?
and who could have trimmed and lighted it but you?

PEW.  Ah, Cap’n, what a ’ed for argyment!

KIT.  And now, sir, now that you have spoken, I claim the liberty to
speak on my side.

GAUNT.  Not so.  I will first have done with this man.  David Pew, it
were too simple to believe your story as you tell it; but I can find no
testimony against you.  From whatever reason, assuredly you have done me
service.  Here are five guineas to set you on your way.  Begone at once;
and while it is yet time, think upon your repentance.

PEW.  Cap’n, here’s my respecks.  You’ve turned a pious man, Cap’n; it
does my ’art good to ’ear you.  But you ain’t the only one.  O no!  I
came about and paid off on the other tack before you, I reckon: you ask
the Chaplain of the Fleet else, as called me on the quarter-deck before
old Admiral ’Awke himself (_touching his hat_), my old commander.
[’David Pew,’ he says, ‘five-and-thirty year have I been in this trade,
man and boy,’ that chaplain says, ‘and damme, Pew,’ says he, ‘if ever I
seen the seaman that could rattle off his catechism within fifty mile of
you.  Here’s five guineas out of my own pocket,’ he says; ‘and what’s
more to the pint,’ he says, ‘I’ll speak to my reverend brother-in-law,
the Bishop of Dover,’ he says; ‘and if ever you leave the sea, and wants
a place as beadle, why damme,’ says he, ‘you go to him, for you’re the
man for him, and him for you.’

GAUNT.  David Pew, you never set your foot on a King’s ship in all your
life.  There lies the road.

PEW.  Ah, you was always a ’ard man, Cap’n, and a ’ard man to believe,
like Didymus the ’Ebrew prophet.  But it’s time for me to go, and I’ll be
going.  My service to you, Cap’n: and I kiss my ’and to that lovely
female.

          ‘Time for us to go,
          Time for us to go,
    And when we’d clapped the hatches on,
          ’Twas time for us to go.’



SCENE IV


                           KIT, ARETHUSA, GAUNT

ARETHUSA.  Now, Kit?

KIT.  Well, sir, and now?

GAUNT.  I find you here in my house at this untimely and unseemly hour; I
find you there in company with one who, to my assured knowledge, should
long since have swung in the wind at Execution Dock.  What brought you?
Why did you open my door while I slept to such a companion?  Christopher
French, I have two treasures.  One (_laying his hand on_ ARETHUSA’S
_shoulder_) I know you covet.  Christopher, is this your love?

KIT.  Sir, I have been fooled and trapped.  That man declared he knew
you, declared he could make you change your mind about our marriage.  I
was drunk, sir, and I believed him: heaven knows I am sober now, and can
see my folly; but I believed him then, and followed him.  He brought me
here, he told me your chest was full of gold that would make men of us
for life.  At that I saw my fault, sir, and drew my cutlass; and he, in
the wink of an eye, roared out for help, leaped at my throat like a
weasel and had me rolling on the floor.  He was quick, and I, as I tell
you, sir, was off my balance.

GAUNT.  Is this man, Pew, your enemy?

KIT.  No sir; I never saw him till to-night.

GAUNT.  Then, if you must stand the justice of your country, come to the
proof with a better plea.  What? lantern and cutlass yours; you the one
that knew the house; you the one that saw; you the one overtaken and
denounced; and you spin me a galley yarn like that?  If that is all your
defence, you’ll hang, sir, hang.

ARETHUSA.  Ah! Father, I give him up: I will never see him, never speak
to him, never think of him again; I take him from my heart; I give myself
wholly up to you and to my mother; I will obey you in every point—O, not
at a word merely—at a finger raised!  I will do all this; I will do
anything—anything you bid me; I swear it in the face of heaven.
Only—Kit!  I love him, father, I love him.  Let him go.

[GAUNT.  Go?

ARETHUSA.  You let the other.  Open the door again—for my sake, father—in
my mother’s name—O, open the door and let him go.]

KIT.  Let me go?  My girl, if you had cast me out is morning, good and
well: I would have left you, though it broke my heart.  But it’s a
changed story now; now I’m down on my luck, and you come and stab me from
behind.  I ask no favour, and I’ll take none; I stand here on my
innocence, and God helping me I’ll clear my good name, and get your love
again, if it’s love worth having.  [Now, Captain Gaunt, I’ve said my say,
and you may do your pleasure.  I am my father’s son, and I never feared
to face the truth.

GAUNT.  You have spoken like a man, French, and you may go.  I leave you
free.

KIT.  Nay, sir, not so: not with my will.  I’m accused and counted
guilty; the proofs are against me; the girl I love has turned upon me.
I’ll accept no mercy at your hands.]  Captain Gaunt, I am your prisoner.

ARETHUSA.  Kit, dear Kit—

GAUNT.  Silence!  Young man, I have offered you liberty without bond or
condition.  You refuse.  You shall be judged.  Meanwhile (_opening the
door_, _R._), you will go in here.  I keep your cutlass.  The night
brings counsel: to-morrow shall decide.  (_He locks_ KIT _in_, _leaving
the key in the door_.)


SCENE V


                    GAUNT, ARETHUSA, _afterwards_ PEW

ARETHUSA.  Father, you believe in him; you do; I know you do.

GAUNT.  Child, I am not given to be hasty.  I will pray and sleep upon
this matter.  (_A knocking at the door_, _C._)  Who knocks so late?  (_He
opens_.)

PEW (_entering_).  Cap’n, shall I fetch the constable?

GAUNT.  No.

PEW.  No?  Have ye killed him?

GAUNT.  My man, I’ll see you into the road.  (_He takes_ PEW _by the
arm_, _and goes out with him_.)


SCENE VI


                                 ARETHUSA

ARETHUSA.  (_Listens_; _then running to door_, _R._)  Kit—dearest! wait!
I will come to you soon.  (GAUNT _re-enters_, _C._, _as the drop falls_.)



ACT IV.


_The Stage represents the Admiral’s house_, _as in Acts I. and III_.  _A
chair_, _L._, _in front_.  _As the curtain rises_, _the Stage is dark_.
_Enter_ ARETHUSA, _L._, _with candle_; _she lights another_; _and passes
to door_, _R._, _which she unbolts_.  _Stage light_


SCENE I


                              ARETHUSA, KIT

ARETHUSA.  Come, dear Kit, come!

KIT.  Well, I’m here.

ARETHUSA.  O Kit, you are not angry with me.

KIT.  Have I reason to be pleased?

ARETHUSA.  Kit, I was wrong.  Forgive me.

KIT.  O yes.  I forgive you.  I suppose you meant it kindly; but there
are some kindnesses a man would rather die than take a gift of.  When a
man is accused, Arethusa, it is not that he fears the gallows—it’s the
shame that cuts him.  At such a time as that, the way to help was to
stand to your belief.  You should have nailed my colours to the mast, not
spoke of striking them.  If I were to be hanged to-morrow, and your love
there, and a free pardon and a dukedom on the other side—which would I
choose?

ARETHUSA.  Kit, you must judge me fairly.  It was not my life that was at
stake, it was yours.  Had it been mine—mine, Kit—what had you done, then?

KIT.  I am a downright fool; I saw it inside out.  Why, give you up, by
George!

ARETHUSA.  Ah, you see!  Now you understand.  It was all pure love.  When
he said that word—O!—death and that disgrace!  . . .  But I know my
father.  He fears nothing so much as the goodness of his heart; and yet
it conquers.  He would pray, he said: and to-night, and by the kindness
of his voice, I knew he was convinced already.  All that is wanted, is
that you should forgive me.

KIT.  Arethusa, if you looked at me like that I’d forgive you piracy on
the high seas.  I was only sulky; I was boxed up there in the black dark,
and couldn’t see my hand.  It made me pity that blind man, by George!

ARETHUSA.  O, that blind man!  The fiend!  He came back, Kit: did you
hear him? he thought we had killed you—you!

KIT.  Well, well, it serves me right for keeping company with such a
swab.

ARETHUSA.  One thing puzzles me: how did you get in?  I saw my father
lock the door.

KIT.  Ah, how?  That’s just it.  I was a sheet in the wind, you see.  How
did we?  He did it somehow. . . . By George, he had a key!  He can get in
again.

ARETHUSA.  Again? that man!

KIT.  Ay, can he!  Again!  When he likes!

ARETHUSA.  Kit, I am afraid.  O Kit, he will kill my father.

KIT.  Afraid.  I’m glad of that.  Now, you’ll see I’m worth my salt at
something.  Ten to one he’s back to Mrs. Drake’s.  I’ll after, and lay
him aboard.

ARETHUSA.  O Kit, he is too strong for you.

KIT.  Arethusa, that’s below the belt!  Never you fear; I’ll give a good
account of him.

ARETHUSA (_taking cutlass from the wall_).  You’ll be none the worse for
this, dear.

KIT.  That’s so (_making cuts_).  All the same, I’m half ashamed to draw
on a blind man; it’s too much odds.  (_He leaps suddenly against the
table_.)  Ah!

ARETHUSA.  Kit!  Are you ill?

KIT.  My head’s like a humming top; it serves me right for drinking.

ARETHUSA.  O, and the blind man!  (_She runs_, _L._, _to the corner
cupboard_, _brings a bottle and glass_, _and fills and offers glass_.)
Here, lad, drink that.

KIT.  To you!  That’s better.  (_Bottle and glass remain on Gaunt’s
table_.)

ARETHUSA.  Suppose you miss him?

KIT.  Miss him!  The road is straight; and I can hear the tap-tapping of
that stick a mile away.

ARETHUSA (_listening_).  St! my father stirring in his room!

KIT.  Let me get clear; tell him why when I’m gone.  The door—?

ARETHUSA.  Locked!

KIT.  The window!

ARETHUSA.  Quick, quick!  (_She unfastens R. window_, _by which_ KIT
_goes out_.)


SCENE II


                      ARETHUSA, GAUNT _entering L._

ARETHUSA.  Father, Kit is gone . . . He is asleep.

GAUNT.  Waiting, waiting and wearying.  The years, they go so heavily, my
Hester still waiting!  (_He goes R. to chest_, _which he opens_.)  That
is your chain; it’s of Guinea gold; I brought it you from Guinea.
(_Taking out chain_.)  You liked it once; it pleased you long ago; O, why
not now—why will you not be happy now? . . . I swear this is my last
voyage; see, I lay my hand upon the Holy Book and swear it.  One more
venture—for the child’s sake, Hester; you don’t think upon your little
maid.

ARETHUSA.  Ah, for my sake, it was for my sake!

GAUNT.  Ten days out from Lagos.  That’s a strange sunset, Mr. Yeo.  All
hands shorten sail!  Lay aloft there, look smart!  . . .  What’s that?
Only the negroes in the hold . . . Mr. Yeo, she can’t live long at this;
I have a wife and child in Barnstaple. . . . Christ, what a sea!  Hold
on, for God’s sake—hold on fore and aft!  Great God! (_as thought the sea
were making a breach over the ship at the moment_).

ARETHUSA.  O!

GAUNT.  They seem quieter down below there . . .  No water—no light—no
air—seven days battened down, and the seas mountain high, and the ship
labouring hell-deep!  Two hundred and five, two hundred and five, two
hundred and five—all to eternal torture!

ARETHUSA.  O pity him, pity him!  Let him sleep, let him forget!  Let her
prayers avail in heaven, and let him rest!

GAUNT.  Hester, no, don’t smile at me.  Rather tears!  I have seen you
weep—often, often; two hundred and five times.  Two hundred and five!
(_With ring_.)  Hester, here is your ring (_he tries to put the ring on
his finger_).  How comes it in my hand?  Not fallen off again?  O no,
impossible! it was made smaller, dear, it can’t have fallen off!  Ah, you
waste away.  You must live, you must, for the dear child’s sake, for
mine, Hester, for mine!  Ah, the child.  Yes.  Who am I to judge?  Poor
Kit French!  And she, your little maid, she’s like you, Hester, and she
will save him!  How should a man be saved without a wife?

ARETHUSA.  O father, if you could but hear me thank and bless you!  (_The
tapping of Pew’s stick is heard approaching_.  GAUNT _passes L. front and
sits_.)

GAUNT (_beginning to count the taps_).  One—two—two hundred and five

ARETHUSA (_listening_).  God help me, the blind man!  (_She runs to
door_, _C._; _the key is put into the lock from without_, _and the door
opens_.)


SCENE III


ARETHUSA (_at back of stage by the door_); GAUNT (_front L._); _to
these_, PEW, _C._

PEW (_sotto voce_).  All snug.  (_Coming down_.)  So that was you, my
young friend Christopher, as shot by me on the road; and so you was hot
foot after old Pew?  Christopher, my young friend, I reckon I’ll have the
bowels out of that chest, and I reckon you’ll be lagged and scragged for
it.  (_At these words_ ARETHUSA _locks the door_, _and takes the key_.)
What’s that?  All still.  There’s something wrong about this room.  Pew,
my ’art of oak, you’re queer to-night; brace up, and carry off.  Where’s
the tool?  (_Producing knife_.)  Ah, here she is; and now for the chest;
and the gold; and rum—rum—rum.  What!  Open? . . . old clothes, by God! . . .
He’s done me; he’s been before me; he’s bolted with the swag; that’s
why he ran: Lord wither and waste him forty year for it!  O Christopher,
if I had my fingers on your throat!  Why didn’t I strangle the soul out
of him?  I heard the breath squeak in his weasand; and Jack Gaunt pulled
me off.  Ah, Jack, that’s another I owe you.  My pious friend, if I was
God Almighty for five minutes!  (GAUNT _rises and begins to pace the
stage like a quarterdeck_, _L._)  What’s that?  A man’s walk.  He don’t
see me, thank the blessed dark!  But it’s time to slip, my bo.  (_He
gropes his way stealthily till he comes to Gaunt’s table_, _where he
burns his hand in the candle_.)  A candle—lighted—then it’s bright as
day!  Lord God, doesn’t he see me?  It’s the horrors come alive.  (GAUNT
_draws near and turns away_.)  I’ll go mad, mad!  (_He gropes to the
door_, _stopping and starting_.)  Door.  (_His voice rising for the first
time_, _sharp with terror_.)  Locked?  Key gone?  Trapped!  Keep off—keep
off of me—keep away!  (_Sotto voce again_.)  Keep your head, Lord have
mercy, keep your head.  I’m wet with sweat.  What devil’s den is this?  I
must out—out!  (_He shakes the door vehemently_.)  No?  Knife it is
then—knife—knife—knife!  (_He moves with the knife raised towards_ GAUNT,
_intently listening_, _and changing his direction as_ GAUNT _changes his
position on the stage_.)

ARETHUSA (_rushing to intercept him_).  Father, father, wake!

GAUNT.  Hester, Hester!  (_He turns_, _in time to see_ ARETHUSA _grapple_
PEW _in the centre of the Stage_, _and_ PEW _force her down_.)

ARETHUSA.  Kit!  Kit!

PEW (_with the knife raised_).  Pew’s way!


SCENE IV


                             _To these_, KIT

(_He leaps through window_, _R._, _and cuts_ PEW _down_.  _At the same
moment_, GAUNT, _who has been staring helplessly at his daughter’s
peril_, _fully awakes_.)

GAUNT.  Death and blood!  (KIT, _helping_ ARETHUSA, _has let fall the
cutlass_.  GAUNT_ picks it up and runs on_ PEW.)  Damned mutineer, I’ll
have your heart out!  (_He stops_, _stands staring_, _drops cutlass_,
_falls upon his knees_.)  God forgive me!  Ah, foul sins, would you blaze
forth again?  Lord, close your ears!  Hester, Hester, hear me not!  Shall
all these years and tears be unavailing?

ARETHUSA.  Father, I am not hurt.

GAUNT.  Ay, daughter, but my soul—my lost soul!

PEW (_rising on his elbow_).  Rum?  You’ve done me.  For God’s sake, rum.
(ARETHUSA _pours out a glass_, _which_ KIT _gives to him_.)  Rum?  This
ain’t rum; it’s fire!  (_With great excitement_.)  What’s this?  I don’t
like rum?  (_Feebly_.)  Ay, then, I’m a dead man, and give me water.

GAUNT.  Now even his sins desert him.

PEW (_drinking water_).  Jack Gaunt, you’ve always been my rock ahead.
It’s thanks to you I’ve got my papers, and this time I’m shipped for
Fiddler’s Green.  Admiral, we ain’t like to meet again, and I’ll give you
a toast: Here’s Fiddler’s Green, and damn all lubbers!  (_Seizing_
GAUNT’S _arm_.)  I say—fair dealings, Jack!—none of that heaven business:
Fiddler’s Green’s my port, now, ain’t it?

GAUNT.  David, you’ve hove short up, and God forbid that I deceive you.
Pray, man, pray; for in the place to which you are bound there is no
mercy and no hope.

PEW.  Ay, my lass, you’re black, but your blood’s red, and I’m all a-muck
with it.  Pass the rum, and be damned to you.  (_Trying to sing_)—

    ‘Time for us to go,
    Time for us—’

                                                              (_He dies_.)

GAUNT.  But for the grace of God, there lies John Gaunt!  Christopher,
you have saved my child; and I, I, that was blinded with
self-righteousness, have fallen.  Take her, Christopher; but O, walk
humbly!

                                * * * * *

                                 CURTAIN



MACAIRE
A MELODRAMATIC FARCE
IN THREE ACTS


PERSONS REPRESENTED


ROBERT MACAIRE.

BERTRAND.

DUMONT, Landlord of the _Auberge des Adrets_.

CHARLES, a Gendarme, Dumont’s supposed son.

GORIOT.

THE MARQUIS, Charles’s Father.

THE BRIGADIER of Gendarmerie.

THE CURATE.

THE NOTARY.

A WAITER.

ERNESTINE, Goriot’s Daughter.

ALINE.

MAIDS, PEASANTS (_Male and Female_), GENDARMES.

The Scene is laid in the Courtyard of the _Auberge des Adrets_, on the
frontier of France and Savoy.  The time 1800.  The action occupies an
interval of from twelve to fourteen hours: from four in the afternoon
till about five in the morning.

                                * * * * *

NOTE.—_The time between the acts should be as brief as possible_, _and
the piece played_, _where it is merely comic_, _in a vein of patter_.



ACT I.


_The Stage represents the courtyard of the Auberge des Adrets_.  _It is
surrounded by the buildings of the inn_, _with a gallery on the first
story_, _approached_, _C._, _by a straight flight of stairs_.  _L. C._,
_the entrance doorway_.  _A little in front of this_, _a small grated
office_, _containing business table_, _brass-bound cabinet_, _and
portable cash-box_.  _In front_, _R. and L._, _tables and benches_;
_one_, _L._, _partially laid for a considerable party_.


SCENE I


ALINE and MAIDS; _to whom_ FIDDLERS; _afterwards_ DUMONT _and_ CHARLES.
_As the curtain rises_, _the sound of the violins is heard approaching_.
ALINE _and the inn servants_, _who are discovered laying the table_,
_dance up to door L. C._, _to meet the_ FIDDLERS, _who enter likewise
dancing to their own music_.  _Air_: ‘_Haste to the Wedding_.’  _The_
FIDDLERS _exeunt playing into house_, _R. U. E._  ALINE _and_ MAIDS
_dance back to table_, _which they proceed to arrange_

ALINE.  Well, give me fiddles: fiddles and a wedding feast.  It tickles
your heart till your heels make a runaway match of it.  I don’t mind
extra work, I don’t, so long as there’s fun about it.  Hand me up that
pile of plates.  The quinces there, before the bride.  Stick a pink in
the Notary’s glass: that’s the girl he’s courting.

DUMONT (_entering_; _with_ CHARLES).  Good girls, good girls!  Charles,
in ten minutes from now what happy faces will smile around that board!

CHARLES.  Sir, my good fortune is complete; and most of all in this, that
my happiness has made my father happy.

DUMONT.  Your father?  Ah, well, upon that point we shall have more to
say.

CHARLES.  What more remains that has not been said already?  For surely,
sir, there are few sons more fortunate in their father: and, since you
approve of this marriage, may I not conceive you to be in that sense
fortunate in your son?

DUMONT.  Dear boy, there is always a variety of considerations.  But the
moment is ill chosen for dispute; to-night, at least, let our felicity be
unalloyed.  (_Looking off L. C._)  Our guests arrive: here is our good
Curate, and here our cheerful Notary.

CHARLES.  His old infirmity, I fear.

DUMONT.  But Charles—dear boy!—at your wedding feast!  I should have
taken it unneighbourly had he come strictly sober.


SCENE II


_To these_, _by the door L. C._, _the_ CURATE _and the_ NOTARY, _arm in
arm_; _the latter owl-like and titubant_

CURATE.  Peace be on this house!

NOTARY (_singing_).  ‘Prove an excuse for the glass.’

DUMONT.  Welcome, excellent neighbours!  The Church and the Law.

CURATE.  And you, Charles, let me hope your feelings are in solemn
congruence with this momentous step.

NOTARY (_digging_ CHARLES _in the ribs_).  Married?  Lovely bride?  Prove
an excuse!

DUMONT (_to_ CURATE).  I fear our friend? perhaps? as usual? eh?

CURATE.  Possibly: I had not yet observed it.

DUMONT.  Well, well, his heart is good.

CURATE.  He doubtless meant it kindly.

NOTARY.  Where’s Aline?

ALINE.  Coming, sir!  (NOTARY _makes for her_.)

CURATE (_capturing him_).  You will infallibly expose yourself to
misconstruction.  (_To_ CHARLES.)  Where is your commanding officer?

CHARLES.  Why, sir, we have quite an alert.  Information has been
received from Lyons that the notorious malefactor, Robert Macaire, has
broken prison, and the Brigadier is now scouring the country in his
pursuit.  I myself am instructed to watch the visitors to our house.

DUMONT.  That will do, Charles: you may go.  (_Exit_ CHARLES.)  You have
considered the case I laid before you?

NOTARY.  Considered a case?

DUMONT.  Yes, yes.  Charles, you know, Charles.  Can he marry? under
these untoward and peculiar circumstances, can he marry?

NOTARY.  Now, lemme tell you: marriage is a contract to which there are
two constracting parties.  That being clear, I am prepared to argue
categorically that your son Charles—who, it appears, is not your son
Charles—I am prepared to argue that one party to a contract being null
and void, the other party to a contract cannot by law oblige or constrain
the first party to constract or bind himself to any contract, except the
other party be able to see his way clearly to constract himself with him.
I donno if I make myself clear?

DUMONT.  No.

NOTARY.  Now, lemme tell you: by applying justice of peace might possibly
afford relief.

DUMONT.  But how?

NOTARY.  Ay, there’s the rub.

DUMONT.  But what am I to do?  He’s not my son, I tell you: Charles is
not my son.

NOTARY.  I know.

DUMONT.  Perhaps a glass of wine would clear him?

NOTARY.  That’s what I want.  (_They go out_, _L. U. E._)

ALINE.  And now, if you’ve done deranging my table, to the cellar for the
wine, the whole pack of you.  (_Manet sola_, _considering table_.)
There: it’s like a garden.  If I had as sweet a table for my wedding, I
would marry the Notary.


SCENE III


_The Stage remains vacant_.  _Enter_, _by door L. C._, MACAIRE, _followed
by_ BERTRAND _with bundle_; _in the traditional costume_

MACAIRE.  Good!  No police.

BERTRAND (_looking off_, _L. C._).  Sold again!

MACAIRE.  This is a favoured spot, Bertrand: ten minutes from the
frontier: ten minutes from escape.  Blessings on that frontier line!  The
criminal hops across, and lo! the reputable man.  (_Reading_)  ‘_Auberge
des Adrets_, by John Paul Dumont.’  A table set for company; this is
fate: Bertrand, are we the first arrivals?  An office; a cabinet; a
cash-box—aha! and a cash-box, golden within.  A money-box is like a
Quaker beauty: demure without, but what a figure of a woman!  Outside
gallery: an architectural feature I approve; I count it a convenience
both for love and war: the troubadour—twang-twang; the craftsmen—(_makes
as if turning key_.)  The kitchen window: humming with cookery; truffles,
before Jove!  I was born for truffles.  Cock your hat: meat, wine, rest,
and occupation; men to gull, women to fool, and still the door open, the
great unbolted door of the frontier!

BERTRAND.  Macaire, I’m hungry.

MACAIRE.  Bertrand, excuse me, you are a sensualist.  I should have left
you in the stone-yard at Lyons, and written no passport but my own.  Your
soul is incorporate with your stomach.  Am I not hungry, too?  My body,
thanks to immortal Jupiter, is but the boy that holds the kite-string; my
aspirations and designs swim like the kite sky-high, and overlook an
empire.

BERTRAND.  If I could get a full meal and a pound in my pocket I would
hold my tongue.

MACAIRE.  Dreams, dreams!  We are what we are; and what are we?  Who are
you? who cares?  Who am I? myself.  What do we come from? an accident.
What’s a mother? an old woman.  A father? the gentleman who beats her.
What is crime? discovery.  Virtue? opportunity.  Politics? a pretext.
Affection? an affectation.  Morality? an affair of latitude.  Punishment?
this side the frontier.  Reward? the other.  Property? plunder.
Business? other people’s money—not mine, by God! and the end of life to
live till we are hanged.

BERTRAND.  Macaire, I came into this place with my tail between my legs
already, and hungry besides; and then you get to flourishing, and it
depresses me worse than the chaplain in the jail.

MACAIRE.  What is a chaplain?  A man they pay to say what you don’t want
to hear.

BERTRAND.  And who are you after all? and what right have you to talk
like that?  By what I can hear, you’ve been the best part of your life in
quod; and as for me, since I’ve followed you, what sort of luck have I
had?  Sold again!  A boose, a blue fright, two years’ hard, and the
police hot-foot after us even now.

MACAIRE.  What is life?  A boose and the police.

BERTRAND.  Of course, I know you’re clever; I admire you down to the
ground, and I’ll starve without you.  But I can’t stand it, and I’m off.
Good-bye: good luck to you, old man! and if you want the bundle—

MACAIRE.  I am a gentleman of a mild disposition and, I thank my maker,
elegant manners; but rather than be betrayed by such a thing as you are,
with the courage of a hare, and the manners, by the Lord Harry, of a
jumping-Jack—(_He shows his knife_.)

BERTRAND.  Put it up, put it up: I’ll do what you want.

MACAIRE.  What is obedience? fear.  So march straight, or look for
mischief.  It’s not _bon ton_, I know, and far from friendly.  But what
is friendship? convenience.  But we lose time in this amiable dalliance.
Come, now an effort of deportment: the head thrown back, a jaunty
carriage of the leg; crook gracefully the elbow.  Thus.  ’Tis better.
(_Calling_.)  House, house here!

BERTRAND.  Are you mad?  We haven’t a brass farthing.

MACAIRE.  Now!—But before we leave!


SCENE IV


                            _To these_, DUMONT

DUMONT.  Gentlemen, what can a plain man do for your service?

MACAIRE.  My good man, in a roadside inn one cannot look for the
impossible.  Give one what small wine and what country fare you can
produce.

DUMONT.  Gentlemen, you come here upon a most auspicious day, a
red-letter day for me and my poor house, when all are welcome.  Suffer
me, with all delicacy, to inquire if you are not in somewhat narrow
circumstances?

MACAIRE.  My good creature, you are strangely in error; one is rolling in
gold.

BERTRAND.  And very hungry.

DUMONT.  Dear me, and on this happy occasion I had registered a vow that
every poor traveller should have his keep for nothing, and a pound in his
pocket to help him on his journey.

MACAIRE (_aside_).  A pound in his pocket?

BERTRAND (_aside_).  Keep for nothing?

MACAIRE (_aside_).  Bitten!

BERTRAND (_aside_).  Sold again!

DUMONT.  I will send you what we have: poor fare, perhaps, for gentlemen
like you.


SCENE V


MACAIRE, BERTRAND; _afterwards_ CHARLES, _who appears on the gallery_,
_and comes down_

BERTRAND.  I told you so.  Why will you fly so high?

MACAIRE.  Bertrand, don’t crush me.  A pound: a fortune!  With a pound to
start upon—two pounds, for I’d have borrowed yours—three months from now
I might have been driving in my barouche, with you behind it, Bertrand,
in a tasteful livery.

BERTRAND (_seeing_ CHARLES).  Lord, a policeman!

MACAIRE.  Steady!  What is a policeman?  Justice’s blind eye.  (_To_
CHARLES.)  I think, sir, you are in the force?

CHARLES.  I am, sir, and it was in that character—

MACAIRE.  Ah, sir, a fine service!

CHARLES.  It is, sir, and if your papers—

MACAIRE.  You become your uniform.  Have you a mother?  Ah, well, well!

CHARLES.  My duty, sir—

MACAIRE.  They tell me one Macaire—is not that his name, Bertrand?—has
broken jail at Lyons?

CHARLES.  He has, sir, and it is precisely for that reason—

MACAIRE.  Well, good-bye.  (_Shaking_ CHARLES _by the hand and leading
him towards the door_, _L. U. E._)  Sweet spot, sweet spot.  The scenery
is . . . (_kisses his finger-tips_.  _Exit_ CHARLES).  And now, what is a
policeman?

BERTRAND.  A bobby.


SCENE VI


MACAIRE, BERTRAND; _to whom_ ALINE _with tray_; _and afterwards_ MAIDS

ALINE (_entering with tray_, _and proceeding to lay table_, _L._)  My
men, you are in better luck than usual.  It isn’t every day you go shares
in a wedding feast.

MACAIRE.  A wedding?  Ah, and you’re the bride.

ALINE.  What makes you fancy that?

MACAIRE.  Heavens, am I blind?

ALINE.  Well, then, I wish I was.

MACAIRE.  I take you at the word: have me.

ALINE.  You will never be hanged for modesty.

MACAIRE.  Modesty is for the poor: when one is rich and nobly born, ’tis
but a clog.  I love you.  What is your name?

ALINE.  Guess again, and you’ll guess wrong.  (_Enter the other servants
with wine baskets_.)  Here, set the wine down.  No, that is the old
Burgundy for the wedding party.  These gentlemen must put up with a
different bin.  (_Setting wine before_ MACAIRE _and_ BERTRAND, _who are
at table_, _L._)

MACAIRE (_drinking_).  Vinegar, by the supreme Jove!

BERTRAND.  Sold again!

MACAIRE.  Now, Bertrand, mark me.  (_Before the servants he exchanges the
bottle for the one in front of_ DUMONT’S _place at the head of the other
table_.)  Was it well done?

BERTRAND.  Immense.

MACAIRE (_emptying his glass into_ BERTRAND’S).  There, Bertrand, you may
finish that.  Ha! music?


SCENE VII


_To these_, _from the inn_, _L. U. E._, DUMONT, CHARLES, the CURATE, the
NOTARY jigging: from the inn, _R. U. E._, FIDDLERS playing and dancing;
and through door L. C., GORIOT, ERNESTINE, PEASANTS, dancing likewise.
Air: ‘Haste to the Wedding.’  As the parties meet, the music ceases

DUMONT.  Welcome, neighbours! welcome friends!  Ernestine, here is my
Charles, no longer mine.  A thousand welcomes.  O the gay day!  O the
auspicious wedding!  (CHARLES, ERNESTINE, DUMONT, GORIOT, CURATE, _and_
NOTARY _sit to the wedding feast_; PEASANTS, FIDDLERS, _and_ MAIDS,
_grouped at back_, _drinking from the barrel_.)  O, I must have all happy
around me.

GORIOT.  Then help the soup.

DUMONT.  Give me leave: I must have all happy.  Shall these poor
gentlemen upon a day like this drink ordinary wine?  Not so: I shall
drink it.  (_To_ MACAIRE, _who is just about to fill his glass_)  Don’t
touch it, sir!  Aline, give me that gentleman’s bottle and take him mine:
with old Dumont’s compliments.

MACAIRE.  What?

BERTRAND.  Change the bottle?

MACAIRE (_aside_).  Bitten!

BERTRAND (_aside_).  Sold again.

DUMONT.  Yes, all shall be happy.

GORIOT.  I tell ’ee, help the soup!

DUMONT (_begins to help soup_.  _Then_, _dropping ladle_.)  One word: a
matter of detail: Charles is not my son.  (_All exclaim_.)  O no, he is
not my son.  Perhaps I should have mentioned it before.

CHARLES.  I am not your son, sir?

DUMONT.  O no, far from it.

GORIOT.  Then who the devil’s son be he?

DUMONT.  O, I don’t know.  It’s an odd tale, a romantic tale: it may
amuse you.  It was twenty years ago, when I kept the _Golden Head_ at
Lyons: Charles was left upon my doorstep in a covered basket, with
sufficient money to support the child till he should come of age.  There
was no mark upon the linen, nor any clue but one: an unsigned letter from
the father of the child, which he strictly charged me to preserve.  It
was to prove his identity: he, of course, would know the contents, and he
only; so I keep it safe in the third compartment of my cash-box, with the
ten thousand francs I’ve saved for his dowry.  Here is the key; it’s a
patent key.  To-day the poor boy is twenty-one, to-morrow to be married.
I did perhaps hope the father would appear: there was a Marquis coming;
he wrote me for a room; I gave him the best, Number Thirteen, which you
have all heard of: I did hope it might be he, for a Marquis, you know, is
always genteel.  But no, you see.  As for me, I take you all to witness
I’m as innocent of him as the babe unborn.

MACAIRE.  Ahem!  I think you said the linen bore an M?

DUMONT.  Pardon me: the markings were cut off.

MACAIRE.  True.  The basket white, I think?

DUMONT.  Brown, brown.

MACAIRE.  Ah! brown—a whitey-brown.

GORIOT.  I tell ’ee what, Dumont, this is all very well; but in that
case, I’ll be danged if he gets my daater.  (_General consternation_.)

DUMONT.  O Goriot, let’s have happy faces!

GORIOT.  Happy faces be danged!  I want to marry my daater; I want your
son.  But who be this?  I don’t know, and you don’t know, and he don’t
know.  He may be anybody; by Jarge, he may be nobody!  (_Exclamations_.)

CURATE.  The situation is crepuscular.

ERNESTINE.  Father, and Mr. Dumont (and you too, Charles), I wish to say
one word.  You gave us leave to fall in love; we fell in love; and as for
me, my father, I will either marry Charles, or die a maid.

CHARLES.  And you, sir, would you rob me in one day of both a father and
a wife?

DUMONT (_weeping_).  Happy faces, happy faces!

GORIOT.  I know nothing about robbery; but she cannot marry without my
consent, and that she cannot get.

(_All speak together_ . . .

  DUMONT.  O dear, O dear!

  ALINE.  What spoil the wedding?

  ERNESTINE.  O father!

  CHARLES.  Sir, sir, you would not—

. . . )

GORIOT (_exasperated_).  I wun’t, and what’s more I shan’t.

NOTARY.  I donno if I make myself clear?

DUMONT.  Goriot, do let’s have happy faces!

GORIOT.  Fudge! Fudge!!  Fudge!!!

CURATE.  Possibly on application to this conscientious jurist, light may
be obtained.

ALL.  The Notary; yes, yes; the Notary!

DUMONT.  Now, how about this marriage?

NOTARY.  Marriage is a contract, to which there are two constracting
parties, John Doe and Richard Roe.  I donno if I make myself clear?

ALINE.  Poor lamb!

CURATE.  Silence, my friend; you will expose yourself to misconstruction.

MACAIRE (_taking the stage_).  As an entire stranger in this painful
scene, will you permit a gentleman and a traveller to interject one word?
There sits the young man, full, I am sure, of pleasing qualities; here
the young maiden, by her own confession bashfully consenting to the
match; there sits that dear old gentleman, a lover of bright faces like
myself, his own now dimmed with sorrow; and here—(may I be allowed to
add?)—here sits this noble Roman, a father like myself, and like myself
the slave of duty.  Last you have me—Baron Henri-Frédéric de Latour de
Main de la Tonnerre de Brest, the man of the world and the man of
delicacy.  I find you all—permit me the expression—gravelled.  A marriage
and an obstacle.  Now, what is marriage?  The union of two souls, and,
what is possibly more romantic, the fusion of two dowries.  What is an
obstacle? the devil.  And this obstacle? to me, as a man of family, the
obstacle seems grave; but to me, as a man and a brother, what is it but a
word?  O my friend (_to_ GORIOT), you whom I single out as the victim of
the same noble failings with myself—of pride of birth, of pride of
honesty—O my friend, reflect.  Go now apart with your dishevelled
daughter, your tearful son-in-law, and let their plaints constrain you.
Believe me, when you come to die, you will recall with pride this amiable
weakness.

GORIOT.  I shan’t, and what’s more I wun’t.  (CHARLES _and_ ERNESTINE
_lead him up stage_, _protesting_.  _All rise_, _except_ NOTARY.)

DUMONT (_front R._, _shaking hands with_ MACAIRE).  Sir, you have a noble
nature.  (MACAIRE _picks his pocket_.)  Dear me, dear me, and you are
rich.

MACAIRE.  I own, sir, I deceived you: I feared some wounding offer, and
my pride replied.  But to be quite frank with you, you behold me here,
the Baron Henri-Frédéric de Latour de Main de la Tonnerre de Brest, and
between my simple manhood and the infinite these rags are all.

DUMONT.  Dear me, and with this noble pride, my gratitude is useless.
For I, too, have delicacy: I understand you could not stoop to take a
gift.

MACAIRE.  A gift? a small one? never!

DUMONT.  And I will never wound you by the offer.

MACAIRE (_aside_).  Bitten.

BERTRAND (_aside_).  Sold again.

GORIOT (_taking the stage_).  But, look’ee here, he can’t marry.

(_All speak together_ . . .

  MACAIRE.  Hey?

  DUMONT.  Ah!

  ALINE.  Hey day!

  CURATE.  Wherefore?

  ERNESTINE.  Oh!

  CHARLES.  Ah!

. . . )

GORIOT.  Not without his veyther’s consent!  And he hasn’t got it; and
what’s more, he can’t get it: and what’s more, he hasn’t got a veyther to
get it from.  It’s the law of France.

ALINE.  Then the law of France ought to be ashamed of itself.

ERNESTINE.  O, couldn’t we ask the Notary again?

CURATE.  Indubitably you may ask him.

(_All speak together_ . . .

  MACAIRE.  Can’t they marry?

  DUMONT.  Can’t he marry?

  ALINE.  Can’t she marry?

  ERNESTINE.  Can’t we marry?

  CHARLES.  Can’t I marry?

  GORIOT.  Bain’t I right?

. . . )

NOTARY.  Constracting parties.

CURATE.  Possibly to-morrow at an early hour he may be more perspicuous.

GORIOT.  Ay, before he’ve time to get at it.

NOTARY.  Unoffending jurisconsult overtaken by sorrow.  Possibly by
applying justice of peace might afford relief.

(_All speak together_ . . .

  MACAIRE.  Bravo!

  DUMONT.  Excellent!

  CHARLES.  Let’s go at once!

  ALINE.  The very thing!

. . . )

ERNESTINE.  Yes, this minute!

GORIOT.  I’ll go.  I don’t mind getting advice, but I wun’t take it.

MACAIRE.  My friends, one word: I perceive by your downcast looks that
you have not recognised the true nature of your responsibility as
citizens of time.  What is care? impiety.  Joy? the whole duty of man.
Here is an opportunity of duty it were sinful to forego.  With a word, I
could lighten your hearts; but I prefer to quicken your heels, and send
you forth on your ingenuous errand with happy faces and smiling thoughts,
the physicians of your own recovery.  Fiddlers, to your catgut!  Up,
Bertrand, and show them how one foots it in society; forward, girls, and
choose me every one the lad she loves; Dumont, benign old man, lead forth
our blushing Curate; and you, O bride, embrace the uniform of your
beloved, and help us dance in your wedding-day.  (_Dance_, _in the course
of which_ MACAIRE _picks_ DUMONT’S _pocket of his keys_, _selects the key
of the cash-box_, _and returns the others to his pocket_.  _In the end_,
_all dance out_: _the wedding-party_, _headed by_ FIDDLERS, _L. C._;
_the_ MAIDS _and_ ALINE _into the inn_, _R. U. E._  _Manet_ BERTRAND
_and_ MACAIRE.)


SCENE VIII


MACAIRE, BERTRAND, _who instantly takes a bottle from the wedding-table_,
_and sits with it_, _L._

MACAIRE.  Bertrand, there’s a devil of a want of a father here.

BERTRAND.  Ay, if we only knew where to find him.

MACAIRE.  Bertrand, look at me: I am Macaire; I am that father.

BERTRAND.  You, Macaire? you a father?

MACAIRE.  Not yet, but in five minutes.  I am capable of anything.
(_Producing key_.)  What think you of this?

BERTRAND.  That?  Is it a key?

MACAIRE.  Ay, boy, and what besides? my diploma of respectability, my
patent of fatherhood.  I prigged it—in the ardour of the dance I prigged
it; I change it beyond recognition, thus (_twists the handle of the
key_); and now . . .?  Where is my long-lost child? produce my young
policeman! show me my gallant boy!

BERTRAND.  I don’t understand.

MACAIRE.  Dear innocence, how should you?  Your brains are in your fists.
Go and keep watch.  (_He goes into the office and returns with the
cash-box_.)  Keep watch, I say.

BERTRAND.  Where?

MACAIRE.  Everywhere.  (_He opens box_.)

BERTRAND.  Gold.

MACAIRE.  Hands off!  Keep watch.  (BERTRAND _at back of stage_.)  Beat
slower, my paternal heart!  The third compartment; let me see.

BERTRAND.  S’st!  (MACAIRE _shuts box_.)  No; false alarm.

MACAIRE.  The third compartment.  Ay, here t—

BERTRAND.  S’st!  (_Same business_.)  No: fire away.

MACAIRE.  The third compartment: it must be this.

BERTRAND.  S’st!  (MACAIRE, _keeps box open_, _watching_ BERTRAND.)  All
serene; it’s the wind.

MACAIRE.  Now, see here!  (_He darts his knife into the stage_.)  I will
either be backed as a man should be, or from this minute out I’ll work
alone.  Do you understand?  I said alone.

BERTRAND.  For the Lord’s sake, Macaire!—

MACAIRE.  Ay, here it is.  (_Reading letter_).  ‘Preserve this letter
secretly; its terms are known only to you and me: hence when the time
comes, I shall repeat them, and my son will recognise his father.’
Signed: ‘Your Unknown Benefactor.’  (_He turns it over twice and replaces
it_.  _Then_, _fingering the gold_)  Gold!  The yellow enchantress,
happiness ready-made and laughing in my face!  Gold: what is gold?  The
world; the term of ills; the empery of all; the multitudinous babble of
the change, the sailing from all ports of freighted argosies; music,
wine, a palace; the doors of the bright theatre, the key of consciences,
and love—love’s whistle!  All this below my itching fingers; and to set
this by, turn a deaf ear upon the siren present, and condescend once
more, naked, into the ring with fortune—Macaire, how few would do it!
But you, Macaire, you are compacted of more subtile clay.  No cheap
immediate pilfering: no retail trade of petty larceny; but swoop at the
heart of the position, and clutch all!

BERTRAND (_at his shoulder_).  Halves!

MACAIRE.  Halves?  (_He locks the box_.)  Bertrand, I am a father.
(_Replaces box in office_.)

BERTRAND (_looking after him_).  Well, I—am—damned!

                                * * * * *

                                  DROP.



ACT II.


_When the curtain rises_, _the night has come_.  _A hanging cluster of
lighted lamps over each table_, _R. and L._  MACAIRE, _R._, _smoking a
cigarette_; BERTRAND, _L._, _with a church-warden_: _each with bottle and
glass_


SCENE I


                            MACAIRE, BERTRAND

MACAIRE.  Bertrand, I am content: a child might play with me.  Does your
pipe draw well?

BERTRAND.  Like a factory chimney.  This is my notion of life: liquor, a
chair, a table to put my feet on, a fine clean pipe, and no police.

MACAIRE.  Bertrand, do you see these changing exhalations? do you see
these blue rings and spirals, weaving their dance, like a round of
fairies, on the footless air?

BERTRAND.  I see ’em right enough.

MACAIRE.  Man of little vision, expound me these meteors! what do they
signify, O wooden-head?  Clod, of what do they consist?

BERTRAND.  Damned bad tobacco.

MACAIRE.  I will give you a little course of science.  Everything,
Bertrand (much as it may surprise you), has three states: a vapour, a
liquid, a solid.  These are fortune in the vapour: these are ideas.  What
are ideas? the protoplasm of wealth.  To your head—which, by the way, is
a solid, Bertrand—what are they but foul air?  To mine, to my prehensile
and constructive intellects, see, as I grasp and work them, to what
lineaments of the future they transform themselves: a palace, a barouche,
a pair of luminous footmen, plate, wine, respect, and to be honest!

BERTRAND.  But what’s the sense in honesty?

MACAIRE.  The sense?  You see me: Macaire: elegant, immoral, invincible
in cunning; well, Bertrand, much as it may surprise you, I am simply
damned by my dishonesty.

BERTRAND.  No!

MACAIRE.  The honest man, Bertrand, that God’s noblest work.  He carries
the bag, my boy.  Would you have me define honesty? the strategic point
for theft.  Bertrand, if I’d three hundred a year, I’d be honest
to-morrow.

BERTRAND.  Ah!  Don’t you wish you may get it!

MACAIRE.  Bertrand, I will bet you my head against your own—the longest
odds I can imagine—that with honesty for my spring-board, I leap through
history like a paper hoop, and come out among posterity heroic and
immortal.


SCENE II


_To these_, _all the former characters_, _less the_ NOTARY.  _The fiddles
are heard without_, _playing dolefully_.  _Air_: ‘_O dear_, _what can the
matter be_?’ _in time to which the procession enters_

MACAIRE.  Well, friends, what cheer?

(_All speak together_ . . .

  ALINE.  No wedding, no wedding!

  GORIOT.  I told ’ee he can’t and he can’t.

  DUMONT.  Dear, dear me!

  ERNESTINE.  They won’t let us marry.

  CHARLES.  No wife, no father, no nothing!

. . . )

CURATE.  The facts have justified the worst anticipations of our absent
friend, the Notary.

MACAIRE.  I perceive I must reveal myself.

DUMONT.  God bless me, no!

MACAIRE.  My friends, I had meant to preserve a strict incognito, for I
was ashamed (I own it!) of this poor accoutrement; but when I see a face
that I can render happy, say, my old Dumont, should I hesitate to work
the change?  Hear me, then, and you (_to the others_) prepare a smiling
countenance.  (_Repeating_.)  ‘Preserve this letter secretly; its terms
are only known to you and me; hence when the time comes, I shall repeat
them, and my son will recognise his father.—Your Unknown Benefactor.’

DUMONT.  The words! the letter!  Charles, alas! it is your father!

CHARLES.  Good Lord!  (_General consternation_.)

BERTRAND (_aside_: _smiling his brow_).  I see it now; sublime!

CURATE.  A highly singular eventuality.

GORIOT.  Him?  O well, then, I wun’t.  (_Goes up_.)

MACAIRE.  Charles, to my arms!  (_Business_.)  Ernestine, your second
father waits to welcome you.  (_Business_.)  Goriot, noble old man, I
grasp your hand.  (_He doesn’t_.)  And you, Dumont, how shall your
unknown benefactor thank you for your kindness to his boy?  (_A dead
Pause_.)  Charles, to my arms!

CHARLES.  My father, you are still something of a stranger.  I hope—er—in
the course of time—I hope that may be somewhat mended.  But I confess
that I have so long regarded Mr. Dumont—

MACAIRE.  Love him still, dear boy, love him still.  I have not returned
to be a burden on your heart, nor much, comparatively, on your pocket.  A
place by the fire, dear boy, a crust for my friend, Bertrand.  (_A dead
pause_.)  Ah, well, this is a different home-coming from that I fancied
when I left the letter: I dreamed to grow rich.  Charles, you remind me
of your sainted mother.

CHARLES.  I trust, sir, you do not think yourself less welcome for your
poverty.

MACAIRE.  Nay, nay—more welcome, more welcome.  O, I know
your—(_business_) backs!  Besides, my poverty is noble.  Political . . .
Dumont, what are your politics?

DUMONT.  A plain old republican, my lord.

MACAIRE.  And yours, my good Goriot?

GORIOT.  I be a royalist, I be, and so be my daater.

MACAIRE.  How strange is the coincidence!  The party that I sought to
found combined the peculiarities of both: a patriotic enterprise in which
I fell.  This humble fellow . . . have I introduced him?  You behold in
us the embodiment of aristocracy and democracy.  Bertrand, shake hands
with my family.  (BERTRAND _is rebuffed by one and the other in dead
silence_.)

BERTRAND.  Sold again!

MACAIRE.  Charles, to my arms!  (_Business_.)

ERNESTINE.  Well, but now that he has a father of some kind, cannot the
marriage go on?

MACAIRE.  Angel, this very night: I burn to take my grandchild on my
knees.

GORIOT.  Be you that young man’s veyther?

MACAIRE.  Ay, and what a father!

GORIOT.  Then all I’ve got to say is, I shan’t and I wun’t.

MACAIRE.  Ah, friends, friends, what a satisfaction it is, what a sight
is virtue!  I came among you in this poor attire to test you; how nobly
have you borne the test!  But my disguise begins to irk me: who will lend
me a good suit?  (_Business_.)


SCENE III


_To these_, _the_ MARQUIS, _L. C._

MARQUIS.  Is this the house of John Paul Dumont, once of Lyons?

DUMONT.  It is, sir, and I am he, at your disposal.

MARQUIS.  I am the Marquis Villers-Cotterêts de la Cherté de Médoc.
(_Sensation_.)

MACAIRE.  Marquis, delighted, I am sure.

MARQUIS (_to_ DUMONT).  I come, as you perceive, unfollowed; my errand,
therefore, is discreet.  I come (_producing notes from breast-pocket_)
equipped with thirty thousand francs; my errand, therefore, must be
generous.  Can you not guess?

DUMONT.  Not I, my lord.

MARQUIS (_repeating_).  ‘Preserve this letter,’ etc.

MACAIRE.  Bitten.

BERTRAND.  Sold again (_aside_).  (_A pause_.)

ALINE.  Well, I never did!

DUMONT.  Two fathers!

MARQUIS.  Two?  Impossible.

DUMONT.  Not at all.  This is the other.

MARQUIS.  This man?

MACAIRE.  This is the man, my lord; here stands the father; Charles, to
my arms!  (CHARLES _backs_.)

DUMONT.  He knew the letter.

MARQUIS.  Well, but so did I.

CURATE.  The judgment of Solomon.

GORIOT.  What did I tell ’ee? he can’t marry.

ERNESTINE.  Couldn’t they both consent?

MARQUIS.  But he’s my living image.

MACAIRE.  Mine, Marquis, mine.

MARQUIS.  My figure, I think?

MACAIRE.  Ah, Charles, Charles!

CURATE.  We used to think his physiognomy resembled Dumont’s.

DUMONT.  Come to look at him, he’s really like Goriot.

ERNESTINE.  O papa, I hope he’s not my brother.

GORIOT.  What be talking of?  I tell ’ee, he’s like our Curate.

CHARLES.  Gentlemen, my head aches.

MARQUIS.  I have it: the involuntary voice of nature.  Look at me, my
son.

MACAIRE.  Nay, Charles, but look at me.

CHARLES.  Gentlemen, I am unconscious of the smallest natural inclination
for either.

MARQUIS.  Another thought: what was his mother’s name?

MACAIRE.  What was the name of his mother by you?

MARQUIS.  Sir, you are silenced.

MACAIRE.  Silenced by honour.  I had rather lose my boy than compromise
his sainted mother.

MARQUIS.  A thought: twins might explain it: had you not two foundlings?

DUMONT.  Nay, sir, one only; and judging by the miseries of this evening,
I should say, thank God!

MACAIRE.  My friends, leave me alone with the Marquis.  It is only a
father that can understand a father’s heart.  Bertrand, follow the
members of my family.  (_They troop out_, _L. U. E. and R. U. E._, _the
fiddlers playing_.  _Air_: ‘_O dear_, _what can the matter be_?’)


SCENE IV


                             MACAIRE, MARQUIS

MARQUIS.  Well, sir?

MACAIRE.  My lord, I feel for you.  (_Business_.  _They sit_, _R._)

MARQUIS.  And now, sir?

MACAIRE.  The bond that joins us is remarkable and touching.

MARQUIS.  Well, sir?

MACAIRE (_touching him on the breast_).  You have there thirty thousand
francs.

MARQUIS.  Well, sir?

MACAIRE.  I was but thinking of the inequalities of life, my lord: that I
who, for all you know, may be the father of your son, should have
nothing; and that you who, for all I know, may be the father of mine,
should be literally bulging with bank notes.  . . .  Where do you keep
them at night?

MARQUIS.  Under my pillow.  I think it rather ingenious.

MACAIRE.  Admirably so!  I applaud the device.

MARQUIS.  Well, sir?

MACAIRE.  Do you snuff, my lord?

MARQUIS.  No, sir, I do not.

MACAIRE.  My lord, I am a poor man.

MARQUIS.  Well, sir? and what of that?

MACAIRE.  The affections, my lord, are priceless.  Money will not buy
them; or, at least, it takes a great deal.

MARQUIS.  Sir, your sentiments do you honour.

MACAIRE.  My lord, you are rich.

MARQUIS.  Well, sir?

MACAIRE.  Now follow me, I beseech you.  Here am I, my lord; and there,
if I may so express myself, are you.  Each has the father’s heart, and
there we are equal; each claims yon interesting lad, and there again we
are on a par.  But, my lord—and here we come to the inequality, and what
I consider the unfairness of the thing—you have thirty thousand francs,
and I, my lord, have not a rap.  You mark me? not a rap, my lord!  My
lord, put yourself in my position: consider what must be my feelings, my
desires; and—hey?

MARQUIS.  I fail to grasp . . .

MACAIRE (_with irritation_).  My dear man, there is the door of the
house; here am I; there (_touching_, MARQUIS _on the breast_) are thirty
thousand francs.  Well, now?

MARQUIS.  I give you my word of honour, sir, I gather nothing; my mind is
quite unused to such prolonged exertion.  If the boy be yours, he is not
mine; if he be mine, he is not yours; and if he is neither of ours, or
both of ours . . . in short, my mind . . .

MACAIRE.  My lord, will you lay those thirty thousand francs upon the
table?

MARQUIS.  I fail to grasp . . . but if it will in any way oblige you . . .
(_Does so_.)

MACAIRE.  Now, my lord, follow me: I take them up; you see?  I put them
in my pocket; you follow me?  This is my hat; here is my stick; and here
is my—my friend’s bundle.

MARQUIS.  But that is my cloak.

MACAIRE.  Precisely.  Now, my lord, one more effort of your lordship’s
mind.  If I were to go out of that door, with the full intention—follow
me close—the full intention of never being heard of more, what would you
do?

MARQUIS.  I!—send for the police.

MACAIRE.  Take your money!  (_Dashing down the notes_.)  Man, if I met
you in a lane!  (_He drops his head upon the table_.)

MARQUIS.  The poor soul is insane.  The other man, whom I suppose to be
his keeper, is very much to blame.

MACAIRE (_raising his head_).  I have a light!  (_To_ MARQUIS.)  With
invincible oafishness, my lord, I cannot struggle.  I pass you by; I
leave you gaping by the wayside; I blush to have a share in the progeny
of such an owl.  Off, off, and send the tapster!

MARQUIS.  Poor fellow!


SCENE V


MACAIRE, _to whom_ BERTRAND.  _Afterwards_ DUMONT

BERTRAND.  Well?

MACAIRE.  Bitten.

BERTRAND.  Sold again.

MACAIRE.  Had he the wit of a lucifer match!  But what can gods or men
against stupidity?  Still, I have a trick.  Where is that damned old man?

DUMONT (_entering_).  I hear you want me.

MACAIRE.  Ah, my good old Dumont, this is very sad.

DUMONT.  Dear me, what is wrong?

MACAIRE.  Dumont, you had a dowry for my son?

DUMONT.  I had; I have: ten thousand francs.

MACAIRE.  It’s a poor thing, but it must do.  Dumont, I bury my old
hopes, my old paternal tenderness.

DUMONT.  What? is he not your son?

MACAIRE.  Pardon me, my friend.  The Marquis claims my boy.  I will not
seek to deny that he attempted to corrupt me, or that I spurned his gold.
It was thirty thousand.

DUMONT.  Noble soul!

MACAIRE.  One has a heart . . . He spoke, Dumont, that proud noble spoke,
of the advantages to our beloved Charles; and in my father’s heart a
voice arose, louder than thunder.  Dumont, was I unselfish?  The voice
said no; the voice, Dumont, up and told me to begone.

DUMONT.  To begone? to go?

MACAIRE.  To begone, Dumont, and to go.  Both, Dumont.  To leave my son
to marry, and be rich and happy as the son of another; to creep forth
myself, old, penniless, broken-hearted, exposed to the inclemencies of
heaven and the rebuffs of the police.

DUMONT.  This is what I had looked for at your hands.  Noble, nobleman!

MACAIRE.  One has a heart . . . and yet, Dumont, it can hardly have
escaped your penetration that if I were to shift from this hostelry
without a farthing, and leave my offspring to wallow—literally—among
millions, I should play the part of little better than an ass.

DUMONT.  But I had thought . . . I had fancied . . .

MACAIRE.  No, Dumont, you had not; do not seek to impose upon my
simplicity.  What you did think was this, Dumont: for the sake of this
noble father, for the sake of this son whom he denies for his own
interest—I mean, for his interest—no, I mean, for his own—well, anyway,
in order to keep up the general atmosphere of sacrifice and nobility, I
must hand over this dowry to the Baron Henri-Frédéric de Latour de Main
de la Tonnerre de Brest.

(_Together_: _each shaking him by the hand_ . . .

  DUMONT.  Noble, O noble!

  BERTRAND.  Beautiful, O beautiful!

. . .)

DUMONT.  Now Charles is rich he needs it not.  For whom could it more
fittingly be set aside than for his noble father?  I will give it you at
once.

BERTRAND.  At once, at once!

MACAIRE (_aside to_ BERTRAND).  Hang on.  (_Aloud_.)  Charles, Charles,
my lost boy!  (_He falls weeping at L. table_.  DUMONT _enters the
office_, _and brings down cash-box to table R._  _He feels in all his
pockets_: BERTRAND _from behind him making signs to_ MACAIRE, _which the
latter does not see_.)

DUMONT.  That’s strange.  I can’t find the key.  It’s a patent key.

BERTRAND (_behind_ DUMONT, _making signs to_ MACAIRE).  The key, he can’t
find the key.

MACAIRE.  O yes, I remember.  I heard it drop.  (_Drops key_.)  And here
it is before my eyes.

DUMONT.  That?  That’s yours.  I saw it drop.

MACAIRE.  I give you my word of honour I heard it fall five minutes back.

DUMONT.  But I saw it.

MACAIRE.  Impossible.  It must be yours.

DUMONT.  It is like mine, indeed.  How came it in your pocket?

MACAIRE.  Bitten.  (_Aside_.)

BERTRAND.  Sold again (_aside_) . . . You forget, Baron, it’s the key of
my valise; I gave it you to keep in consequence of the hole in my pocket.

MACAIRE.  True, true; and that explains.

DUMONT.  O, that explains.  Now, all we have to do is to find mine.  It’s
a patent key.  You heard it drop.

MACAIRE.  Distinctly.

BERTRAND.  So I did: distinctly.

DUMONT.  Here, Aline, Babette, Goriot, Curate, Charles, everybody, come
here and look for my key!


SCENE VI


_To these with candles_, _all the former characters_, _except_ FIDDLERS,
PEASANTS, _and_ NOTARY.  _They hunt for the key_

DUMONT.  It’s bound to be here.  We all heard it drop.

MARQUIS (_with_ BERTRAND’S _bundle_).  Is this it?

ALL (_with fury_).  No.

BERTRAND.  Hands off, that’s my luggage.  (_Hunt resumed_.)

DUMONT.  I heard it drop, as plain as ever I heard anything.

MARQUIS.  By the way (_all start up_), what are we looking for?

ALL (_with fury_).  O!!

DUMONT.  Will you have the kindness to find my key?  (_Hunt resumed_.)

CURATE.  What description of a key—

DUMONT.  A patent, patent, patent, patent key!

MACAIRE.  I have it.  Here it is!

ALL (_with relief_).  Ah!!

DUMONT.  That?  What do you mean?  That’s yours.

MACAIRE.  Pardon me.

DUMONT.  It is.

MACAIRE.  It isn’t.

DUMONT.  I tell you it is: look at that twisted handle.

MACAIRE.  It can’t be mine, and so it must be yours.

DUMONT.  It is not.  Feel in your pockets.  (_To the others_.)  Will you
have the kindness to find my patent key?

ALL.  Oh!!  (_Hunt resumed_.)

MACAIRE.  Ah, well, you’re right.  (_He slips key into_ DUMONT’S
_pocket_.)  An idea: suppose you felt in your pocket?

ALL (_rising_).  Yes!  Suppose you did!

DUMONT.  I will not feel in my pockets.  How could it be there?  It’s a
patent key.  This is more than any man can bear.  First, Charles is one
man’s son, and then he’s another’s, and then he’s nobody’s, and be damned
to him!  And then there’s my key lost; and then there’s your key!  What
is your key?  Where is your key?  Where isn’t it?  And why is it like
mine, only mine’s a patent?  The long and short of it is this: that I’m
going to bed, and that you’re all going to bed, and that I refuse to hear
another word upon the subject or upon any subject.  There!

MACAIRE (_aside_).  Bitten.

BERTRAND (_aside_).  Sold again.

(ALINE _and_ MAIDS _extinguish hanging lamps over tables_, _R. and L._
_Stage lighted only by guests’ candles_.)

CHARLES.  But, sir, I cannot decently retire to rest till I embrace my
honoured parent.  Which is it to be?

MACAIRE.  Charles, to my—

DUMONT.  Embrace neither of them; embrace nobody; there has been too much
of this sickening folly.  To bed!!!  (_Exit violently R. U. E._  _All the
characters troop slowly upstairs_, _talking in dumb show_.  BERTRAND
_and_ MACAIRE _remain in front C._, _watching them go_.)

BERTRAND.  Sold again, captain?

MACAIRE.  Ay, they will have it.

BERTRAND.  It?  What?

MACAIRE.  The worst, Bertrand.  What is man? a beast of prey.  An hour
ago, and I’d have taken a crust, and gone in peace.  But no: they would
trick and juggle, curse them; they would wriggle and cheat!  Well, I
accept the challenge: war to the knife.

BERTRAND.  Murder?

MACAIRE.  What is murder?  A legal term for a man dying.  Call it Fate,
and that’s philosophy; call me Providence, and you talk religion.  Die?
My, that is what man is made for; we are full of mortal parts; we are all
as good as dead already, we hang so close upon the brink: touch a button,
and the strongest falls in dissolution.  Now, see how easy: I take
you—(_grappling him_.)

BERTRAND.  Macaire—O no!

MACAIRE.  Fool! would I harm a fly, when I had nothing to gain?  As the
butcher with the sheep, I kill to live; and where is the difference
between man and mutton? pride and a tailor’s bill.  Murder?  I know who
made that name—a man crouching from the knife!  Selfishness made it—the
aggregated egotism called society; but I meet that with a selfishness as
great.  Has he money?  Have I none—great powers, none?  Well, then, I
fatten and manure my life with his.

BERTRAND.  You frighten me.  Who is it?

MACAIRE.  Mark well.  (_The_ MARQUIS _opens the door of Number Thirteen_,
_and the rest_, _clustering round_, _bid him good-night_.  _As they begin
to disperse along the gallery he enters and shuts the door_.)  Out, out,
brief candle!  That man is doomed.

                                * * * * *

                                   DROP



ACT III


SCENE I


                            MACAIRE, BERTRAND

_As the curtain rises_, _the stage is dark and empty_.  _Enter_ MACAIRE,
_L. U. E._, _with lantern_.  _He looks about_

MACAIRE (_calling off_).  S’st!

BERTRAND (_entering L. U. E._).  It’s creeping dark.

MACAIRE.  Blinding dark; and a good job.

BERTRAND.  Macaire, I’m cold; my very hair’s cold.

MACAIRE.  Work, work will warm you: to your keys.

BERTRAND.  No, Macaire, it’s a horror.  You not kill him; let’s have no
bloodshed.

MACAIRE.  None: it spoils your clothes.  Now, see: you have keys and you
have experience; up that stair, and pick me the lock of that man’s door.
Pick me the lock of that man’s door.

BERTRAND.  May I take the light?

MACAIRE.  You may not.  Go.  (BERTRAND _mounts the stairs_, _and is seen
picking the lock of Number Thirteen_.)  The earth spins eastward, and the
day is at the door.  Yet half an hour of covert, and the sun will be
afoot, the discoverer, the great policeman.  Yet, half an hour of night,
the good, hiding, practicable night; and lo! at a touch the gas-jet of
the universe turned on; and up with the sun gets the providence of honest
people, puts off his night-cap, throws up his window, stares out of
house—and the rogue must skulk again till dusk.  Yet half an hour and,
Macaire, you shall be safe and rich.  If yon fool—my fool—would but
miscarry, if the dolt within would hear and leap upon him, I could
intervene, kill both, by heaven—both!—cry murder with the best, and at
one stroke reap honour and gold.  For, Bertrand dead—

BERTRAND (_from above_).  S’st, Macaire!

MACAIRE.  Is it done, dear boy?  Come down.  (BERTRAND _descends_.)  Sit
down beside this light: this is your ring of safety, budge not beyond—the
night is crowded with hobgoblins.  See ghosts and tremble like a jelly if
you must; but remember men are my concern; and at the creak of a man’s
foot, hist!  (_Sharpening his knife upon his sleeve_.)  What is a knife?
A plain man’s sword.

BERTRAND.  Not the knife, Macaire; O, not the knife!

MACAIRE.  My name is Self-Defence.  (_He goes upstairs and enters Number
Thirteen_.)

BERTRAND.  He’s in.  I hear a board creak.  What a night, what a night!
Will he hear him?  O Lord, my poor Macaire!  I hear nothing, nothing.
The night’s as empty as a dream: he must hear him; he cannot help but
hear him; and then—O Macaire, Macaire, come back to me.  It’s death, and
it’s death, and it’s death.  Red, red: a corpse.  Macaire to kill,
Macaire to die?  I’d rather starve, I’d rather perish, than either: I’m
not fit, I’m not fit, for either!  Why, how’s this?  I want to cry.  (_A
stroke_, _and groan from above_.)  God Almighty, one of them’s gone!
(_He falls with his head on table_, _R._  MACAIRE _appears at the top of
the stairs_, _descends_, _comes airily forward and touches him on the
shoulder_.  BERTRAND, _with a cry_, _turns and falls upon his neck_.)  O,
O, and I thought I had lost him.  (_Day breaking_.)

MACAIRE.  The contrary, dear boy.  (_He produces notes_.)

BERTRAND.  What was it like?

MACAIRE.  Like?  Nothing.  A little blood, a dead man.

BERTRAND.  Blood! . . . Dead!  _He falls at table sobbing_.  MACAIRE
_divides the notes into two parts_; _on the smaller he wipes the bloody
knife_, _and folding the stains inward_, _thrusts the notes into_
BERTRAND’S _face_.)

MACAIRE.  What is life without the pleasures of the table!

BERTRAND (_taking and pocketing notes_).  Macaire, I can’t get over it.

MACAIRE.  My mark is the frontier, and at top speed.  Don’t hang your jaw
at me.  Up, up, at the double; pick me that cash-box; and let’s get the
damned house fairly cleared.

BERTRAND.  I can’t.  Did he bleed much?

MACAIRE.  Bleed?  Must I bleed you?  To work, or I’m dangerous.

BERTRAND.  It’s all right, Macaire; I’m going.

MACAIRE.  Better so: an old friend is nearly sacred.  (_Full daylight:
lights up_.  MACAIRE _blows out lantern_.)

BERTRAND.  Where’s the key?

MACAIRE.  Key?  I tell you to pick it.

BERTRAND (_with the box_).  But it’s a patent lock.  Where is the key?
You had it.

MACAIRE.  Will you pick that lock?

BERTRAND.  I can’t: it’s a patent.  Where’s the key?

MACAIRE.  If you will have it, I put it back in that old ass’s pocket.

BERTRAND.  Bitten, I think.  (MACAIRE _dancing mad_.)


SCENE II


                            _To these_, DUMONT

DUMONT.  Ah, friends, up so early?  Catching the worm, catching the worm?

(Sitting on the table dissembling box and dissembling box . . .

  MACAIRE.  Good-morning, good-morning!

  BERTRAND.  Early birds, early birds.

. . . )

DUMONT.  By the way, very remarkable thing: I found the key.

MACAIRE.  No!

BERTRAND.  O!

DUMONT.  Perhaps a still more remarkable thing: it was my key that had
the twisted handle.

MACAIRE.  I told you so.

DUMONT.  Now, what we have to do is to get the cash-box.  Hallo! what’s
that your sitting on?

BERTRAND.  Nothing.

MACAIRE.  The table!  I beg your pardon.

DUMONT.  Why, it’s my cash-box!

MACAIRE.  Why, so it is!

DUMONT.  It’s very singular.

MACAIRE.  Diabolishly singular.

BERTRAND.  Early worms, early worms!

DUMONT (_blowing in key_).  Well, I suppose you are still willing to
begone?

MACAIRE.  More than willing, my dear soul: pressed, I may say, for time;
for though it had quite escaped my memory, I have an appointment in Turin
with a lady of title.

DUMONT (_at box_).  It’s very odd.  (_Blows its key_.)  It’s a singular
thing (_blowing_), key won’t turn.  It’s a patent.  Some one must have
tampered with the lock (_blowing_).  It’s strangely singular, it’s
singularly singular!  I’ve shown this key to commercial gentlemen all the
way from Paris: they never saw a better key! (_more business_).  Well
(_giving it up and looking reproachfully on key_), that’s pretty
singular.

MACAIRE.  Let me try.  (_He tries_, _and flings down the key with a
curse_.)  Bitten.

BERTRAND.  Sold again.

DUMONT (_picking up key_).  It’s a patent key.

MACAIRE (_to_ BERTRAND).  The game’s up: we must save the swag.  (_To_
DUMONT.)  Sir, since your key, on which I invoke the blight of Egypt, has
once more defaulted, my feelings are unequal to a repetition of
yesterday’s distress, and I shall simply pad the hoof.  From Turin you
shall receive the address of my banker, and may prosperity attend your
ventures.  (_To_ BERTRAND.)  Now, boy!  (_To_ DUMONT.)  Embrace my
fatherless child! farewell!  (MACAIRE _and_ BERTRAND _turn to go off and
are met in the door by the_ GENDARMES.)


SCENE III


               _To these_, _the_ BRIGADIER _and_ GENDARMES

BRIGADIER.  Let no man leave the house.

MACAIRE (_aside_).  Bitten.

BERTRAND (_aside_).  Sold again.

DUMONT.  Welcome, old friend!

BRIGADIER.  It is not the friend that comes; it is the Brigadier.  Summon
your guests: I must investigate their passports.  I am in pursuit of a
notorious malefactor, Robert Macaire.

DUMONT.  But I was led to believe that both Macaire and his accomplice
had been arrested and condemned.

BRIGADIER.  They were, but they have once more escaped for the moment,
and justice is indefatigable.  (_He sits at table R._)  Dumont, a bottle
of white wine.

MACAIRE (_to_ DUMONT).  My excellent friend, I will discharge your
commission, and return with all speed.  (_Going_.)

BRIGADIER.  Halt!

MACAIRE (_returning: as if he saw_ BRIGADIER _for the first time_).  Ha?
a member of the force?  Charmed, I’m sure.  But you misconceive me: I
return at once, and my friend remains behind to answer for me.

BRIGADIER.  Justice is insensible to friendship.  I shall deal with you
in due time.  Dumont, that bottle.

MACAIRE.  Sir, my friend and I, who are students of character, would
grasp the opportunity to share and—may one add?—to pay the bottle.
Dumont, three!

BERTRAND.  For God’s sake!  (_Enter_ ALINE _and_ MAIDS.)

MACAIRE.  My friend is an author: so, in a humbler way, am I.  Your
knowledge of the criminal classes naturally tempts one to pursue so
interesting an acquaintance.

BRIGADIER.  Justice is impartial.  Gentlemen, your health.

MACAIRE.  Will not these brave fellows join us?

BRIGADIER.  They are on duty; but what matters?

MACAIRE.  My dear sir, what is duty? duty is my eye.

BRIGADIER (_solemnly_).  And Betty Martin.  (GENDARMES _sit at table_.)

MACAIRE (_to_ BERTRAND).  Dear friend, sit down.

BERTRAND (_sitting down_).  O Lord!

BRIGADIER (_to_ MACAIRE).  You seem to be a gentleman of considerable
intelligence.

MACAIRE.  I fear, sir, you flatter.  One has lived, one has loved, and
one remembers: that is all.  One’s _Lives of Celebrated Criminals_ has
met with a certain success, and one is ever in quest of fresh material.

DUMONT.  By the way, a singular thing about my patent key.

BRIGADIER.  This gentleman is speaking.

MACAIRE.  Excellent Dumont! he means no harm.  This Macaire is not
personally known to you?

BRIGADIER.  Are you connected with justice?

MACAIRE.  Ah, sir, justice is a point above a poor author.

BRIGADIER (_with glass_).  Justice is the very devil.

MACAIRE.  My dear sir, my friend and I, I regret to say, have an
appointment in Lyons, or I could spend my life in this society.  Charge
your glasses: one hour to madness and to joy!  What is to-morrow? the
enemy of to-day.  Wine? the bath of life.  One moment: I find I have
forgotten my watch.  (_He makes for the door_.)

BRIGADIER.  Halt!

MACAIRE.  Sir, what is this jest?

BRIGADIER.  Sentry at the door.  Your passports.

MACAIRE.  My good man, with all the pleasure in life.  (Gives papers.
_The_ BRIGADIER _puts on spectacles_, _and examines them_.)

BERTRAND (_rising_, _and passing round to_ MACAIRE’S _other side_).  It’s
life and death: they must soon find it.

MACAIRE (_aside_).  Don’t I know?  My heart’s like fire in my body.

BRIGADIER.  Your name is?

MACAIRE.  It is; one’s name is not unknown.

BRIGADIER.  Justice exacts your name.

MACAIRE.  Henri-Frédéric de Latour de Main de la Tonnerre de Brest.

BRIGADIER.  Your profession?

MACAIRE.  Gentleman.

BRIGADIER.  No, but what is your trade?

MACAIRE.  I am an analytical chymist.

BRIGADIER.  Justice is inscrutable.  Your papers are in order.  (_To_
BERTRAND.)  Now, sir, and yours?

BERTRAND.  I feel kind of ill.

MACAIRE.  Bertrand, this gentleman addresses you.  He is not one of us;
in other scenes, in the gay and giddy world of fashion, one is his
superior.  But to-day he represents the majesty of law; and as a citizen
it is one’s pride to do him honour.

BRIGADIER.  Those are my sentiments.

BERTRAND.  I beg your pardon, I—(_Gives papers_.)

BRIGADIER.  Your name?

BERTRAND.  Napoleon.

BRIGADIER.  What?  In your passport it is written Bertrand.

BERTRAND.  It’s this way: I was born Bertrand, and then I took the name
of Napoleon, and I mostly always call myself either Napoleon or Bertrand.

BRIGADIER.  The truth is always best.  Your profession?

BERTRAND.  I am an orphan.

BRIGADIER.  What the devil!  (_To_ MACAIRE.)  Is your friend an idiot?

MACAIRE.  Pardon me, he is a poet.

BRIGADIER.  Poetry is a great hindrance to the ends of justice.  Well,
take your papers.

MACAIRE.  Then we may go?


SCENE IV


_To these_, CHARLES, _who is seen on the gallery_, _going to the door of
Number Thirteen_.  _Afterwards all the characters but the_ NOTARY _and
the_ MARQUIS

BRIGADIER.  One glass more.  (BERTRAND _touches_ MACAIRE, _and points to_
CHARLES, _who enters Number Thirteen_).

MACAIRE.  No more, no more, no more.

BRIGADIER (_rising and taking_ MACAIRE _by the arm_).  I stipulate!

MACAIRE.  Engagement in Turin!

BRIGADIER.  Turin?

MACAIRE.  Lyons, Lyons!

BERTRAND.  For God’s sake.

BRIGADIER.  Well, good-bye!

MACAIRE.  Good-bye, good—

CHARLES (_from within_).  Murder!  Help!  (_Appearing_.)  Help here!  The
Marquis is murdered.

BRIGADIER.  Stand to the door.  A man up there.  (_A_ GENDARME _hurries
up staircase into Number Thirteen_, CHARLES _following him_.  _Enter on
both sides of gallery the remaining characters of the piece_, _except
the_ NOTARY _and the_ MARQUIS.)

MACAIRE (_aside_).  Bitten, by God!

BERTRAND (_aside_).  Lost!

BRIGADIER (_to_ DUMONT).  John Paul Dumont, I arrest you.

DUMONT.  Do your duty, officer.  I can answer for myself and my own
people.

BRIGADIER.  Yes, but these strangers?

DUMONT.  They are strangers to me.

MACAIRE.  I am an honest man: I stand upon my rights: search me; or
search this person, of whom I know too little.  (_Smiting his brow_.)  By
heaven, I see it all!  This morning—(_To_ BERTRAND.)  How, sir, did you
dare to flaunt your booty in my very face?  (_To_ BRIGADIER.)  He showed
me notes; he was up ere day; search him, and you’ll find.  There stands
the murderer.

BERTRAND.  O, Macaire!  (_He is seized and searched and the notes are
found_.)

BRIGADIER.  There is blood upon the notes.  Handcuffs.  (MACAIRE _edging
towards the door_.)

BERTRAND.  Macaire, you may as well take the bundle.  (MACAIRE _is
stopped by sentry_, _and comes front_, _R._)

CHARLES (_re-appearing_).  Stop, I know the truth.  (_He comes down_.)
Brigadier, my father is not dead.  He is not even dangerously hurt.  He
has spoken.  There is the would-be assassin.

MACAIRE.  Hell!  (_He darts across to the staircase_, _and turns on the
second step_, _flashing out the knife_.)  Back, hounds!  (_He springs up
the stair_, _and confronts them from the top_.)  Fools, I am Robert
Macaire!  (_As_ MACAIRE _turns to flee_, _he is met by the gendarme
coming out of Number Thirteen_; _he stands an instant checked_, _is shot
from the stage_, _and falls headlong backward down the stair_.  BERTRAND,
_with a cry_, _breaks from the gendarmes_, _kneels at his side_, _and
raises his head_.)

BERTRAND.  Macaire, Macaire, forgive me.  I didn’t blab; you know I
didn’t blab.

MACAIRE.  Sold again, old boy.  Sold for the last time; at least, the
last time this side death.  Death—what is death?  (_He dies_.)

                                * * * * *

                                 CURTAIN

                                * * * * *

                                * * * * *

         Printed by T. and A. CONSTABLE, Printers to His Majesty
                    at the Edinburgh University Press





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