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Title: Dr. Jonathan
Author: Churchill, Winston
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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By Winston Churchill

A Play in Three Acts


This play was written during the war. But owing to the fact that several
managers politely declined to produce it, it has not appeared on any
stage. Now, perhaps, its theme is more timely, more likely to receive
the attention it deserves, when the smoke of battle has somewhat
cleared. Even when the struggle with Germany and her allies was in
progress it was quite apparent to the discerning that the true issue
of the conflict was one quite familiar to American thought, of
self-determination. On returning from abroad toward the end of 1917
I ventured into print with the statement that the great war had every
aspect of a race with revolution. Subliminal desires, subliminal fears,
when they break down the censor of law, are apt to inspire fanatical
creeds, to wind about their victims the flaming flag of a false
martyrdom. Today it is on the knees of the gods whether the
insuppressible impulses for human freedom that come roaring up from the
subliminal chaos, fanned by hunger and hate, are to thrash themselves
out in anarchy and insanity, or to take an ordered, intelligent and
conscious course. Of the Twentieth Century, industrial democracy is
the watchword, even as political democracy was the watchword of the two
centuries that preceded it. Economic power is at last realized to be
political power. No man owns himself, no woman owns herself if the
individual is not economically free. Perhaps the most encouraging omen
of the day is the fact that many of our modern employers, and even our
modern financiers and bankers seem to be recognizing this truth, to
be growing aware of the danger to civilization of its continued
suppression. Educators and sociologists may supply the theories; but by
experiment, by trial and error,--yes, and by prayer,--the solution must
be found in the practical domain of industry.



SCENE:   The library of ASHER PINDAR’S house in Foxon Falls, a New England
   village of some three thousand souls, over the destinies of which
   the Pindars for three generations have presided. It is a large,
   dignified room, built early in the nineteenth century, with white
   doors and gloss woodwork. At the rear of the stage,--which is the
   front of the house,--are three high windows with small, square panes
   of glass, and embrasures into which are fitted white inside
   shutters. These windows reach to within a foot or so of the floor;
   a person walking on the lawn or the sidewalk just beyond it may be
   seen through them. The trees bordering the Common are also seen
   through these windows, and through a gap in the foliage a glimpse of
   the terraced steeple of the Pindar Church, the architecture of which
   is of the same period as the house. Upper right, at the end of the
   wall, is a glass door looking out on the lawn. There is another
   door, lower right, and a door, lower left, leading into ASHER
   PINDAR’S study. A marble mantel, which holds a clock and certain
   ornaments, is just beyond this door. The wall spaces on the right
   and left are occupied by high bookcases filled with respectable
   volumes in calf and dark cloth bindings. Over the mantel is an
   oil painting of the Bierstadt school, cherished by ASHER as an
   inheritance from his father, a huge landscape with a self-conscious
   sky, mountains, plains, rivers and waterfalls, and two small figures
   of Indians--who seem to have been talking to a missionary. In the
   spaces between the windows are two steel engravings, “The Death of
   Wolfe on the Plains of Abraham” and “Washington Crossing the
   Delaware!” The furniture, with the exception of a few heirlooms,
   such as the stiff sofa, is mostly of the Richardson period of the
   ‘80s and ‘90s. On a table, middle rear, are neatly spread out
   several conservative magazines and periodicals, including a
   religious publication.

TIME: A bright morning in October, 1917,

   GEORGE PINDAR, in the uniform of a first lieutenant of the army,
   enters by the doorway, upper right. He is a well set up young man
   of about twenty-seven, bronzed from his life in a training camp, of
   an adventurous and social nature. He glances about the room, and
   then lights a cigarette.

   ASHER PINDAR, his father, enters, lower right. He is a tall,
   strongly built man of about sixty, with iron grey hair and beard.
   His eyes are keen, shadowed by bushy brows, and his New England
   features bear the stamp of inflexible “character.” He wears a black
   “cutaway” coat and dark striped trousers; his voice is strong and
   resonant. But he is evidently preoccupied and worried, though he
   smiles with affection as he perceives GEORGE. GEORGE’S fondness for
   him is equally apparent.

GEORGE. Hello, dad.

ASHER. Oh, you’re here, George.

GEORGE (looking, at ASHER). Something troubling you?

ASHER (attempting dissimulation). Well, you’re going off to France,
they’ve only given you two days’ leave, and I’ve scarcely seen anything
of you. Isn’t that enough?

GEORGE. I know how busy you’ve been with that government contract on
your hands. I wish I could help.

ASHER. You’re in the army now, my boy. You can help me again when you
come back.

GEORGE. I want to get time to go down to the shops and say goodbye to
some of the men.

ASHER. No, I shouldn’t do that, George.

GEORGE (surprised). Why not? I used to be pretty chummy with them, you
know,--smoke a pipe with them occasionally in the noon hour.

ASHER. I know. But it doesn’t do for an employer to be too familiar with
the hands in these days.

GEORGE. I guess I’ve got a vulgar streak in me somewhere, I get along
with the common people. There’ll be lots of them in the trenches, dad.

ASHER. Under military discipline.

GEORGE (laughing). We’re supposed to be fighting a war for democracy. I
was talking to old Bains yesterday,--he’s still able to run a lathe, and
he was in the Civil War, you know. He was telling me how the boys in his
regiment stopped to pick blackberries on the way to the battle of Bull

ASHER. That’s democracy! It’s what we’re doing right now--stopping to
pick blackberries. This country’s been in the war six months, since
April, and no guns, no munitions, a handful of men in France--while the
world’s burning!

GEORGE. Well, we won’t sell Uncle Sam short yet. Something is bothering
you, dad.

ASHER. No--no, but the people in Washington change my specifications
every week, and Jonathan’s arriving today, of all days.

GEORGE. Has Dr. Jonathan turned up?

ASHER. I haven’t seen him yet. It seems he got here this morning. No
telegram, nothing. And he had his house fixed up without consulting me.
He must be queer, like his father, your great uncle, Henry Pindar.

GEORGE. Tell me about Dr. Jonathan. A scientist,--isn’t he? Suddenly
decided to come back to live in the old homestead.

ASHER. On account of his health. He was delicate as a boy. He must have
been about eight or nine years old when Uncle Henry left Foxon Falls for
the west,--that was before you were born. Uncle Henry died somewhere in
Iowa. He and my father never got along. Uncle Henry had as much as
your grandfather to begin with, and let it slip through his fingers. He
managed to send Jonathan to a medical school, and it seems that he’s had
some sort of a position at Johns Hopkins’s--research work. I don’t know
what he’s got to live on.

GEORGE. Uncle Henry must have been a philanthropist.

ASHER. It’s all very well to be a philanthropist when you make more than
you give away. Otherwise you’re a sentimentalist.

GEORGE. Or a Christian.

ASHER. We can’t take Christianity too literally.

GEORGE (smiling). That’s its great advantage, as a religion.

ASHER. George, I don’t like to say anything just as you’re going
to fight for your country, my boy, but your attitude of religious
skepticism has troubled me, as well as your habit of intimacy with the
shop hands. I confess to you that I’ve been a little afraid at times
that you’d take after Jonathan’s father. He never went to church, he
forgot that he owed something to his position as a Pindar. He used to
have that house of his overrun with all sorts of people, and the yard
full of dirty children eating his fruit and picking his flowers. There’s
such a thing as being too democratic. I hope I’m as good an American as
anybody, I believe that any man with brains, who has thrift, ought to
rise--but wait until they do rise. You’re going to command men, and when
you come back here into the business again you’ll be in a position of
authority. Remember what I say, if you give these working people an
inch, they’ll take all you have.

GEORGE (laying his hand on ASHER’s shoulder). Something is worrying you,
dad. We’ve always been pretty good pals, haven’t we?

ASHER. Yes, ever since you were a little shaver. Well, George, I didn’t
want to bother you with it--today. It seems there’s trouble in the
shops,--in our shops, of all places,--it’s been going on for some time,
grumbling, dissatisfaction, and they’re getting higher wages than ever
before--ruinous wages. They want me to recognize the union.

GEORGE. Well, that beats me. I thought we were above the labour-trouble
line, away up here in New England.

ASHER (grimly). Oh, I can handle them.

GEORGE. I’ll bet you can. You’re a regular old war horse when you get
started. It’s your capital, it’s your business, you’ve put it all at the
disposal of the government. What right have they to kick up a row now,
with this war on? I must say I haven’t any sympathy with that.

ASHER (proudly). I guess you’re a real Pindar after all, George.

   (Enter an elderly maid, lower right.)

MAID. Timothy Farrell, the foreman’s here.

   (Enter, lower right, TIMOTHY, a big Irishman of about sixty, in
   working clothes.)

TIMOTHY. Here I am, sir. They’re after sending word you wanted me.

GEORGE (going up to TIMOTHY and shaking his hand warmly). Old Timothy!
I’m glad to get sight of you before I go.

TIMOTHY. And it’s glad I am to see you, Mr. George, before you leave.
And he an officer now! Sure, I mind him as a baby being wheeled up and
down under the trees out there. My boy Bert was saying only this morning
how we’d missed the sight of him in the shops this summer. You have a
way with the men, Mr. George, of getting into their hearts, like. I was
thinking just now, if Mr. George had only been home, in the shops, maybe
we wouldn’t be having all this complaint and trouble.

GEORGE. Who’s at the bottom of this, Timothy? Rench? Hillman? I thought
so. Well, they’re not bad chaps when you get under their skins.

   (He glances at his wrist watch)

Let me go down and talk with them, dad,--I’ve got time, my train doesn’t
leave until one thirty.

ASHER (impatiently, almost savagely). No, I’ll settle this, George, this
is my job. I won’t have any humoring. Come into my study, Timothy.

   TIMOTHY, shaking his head, follows ASHER out of the door, left.

   After a moment GEORGE goes over to the extreme left hand corner of
   the room, where several articles are piled. He drags out a kit bag,
   then some necessary wearing apparel, underclothes, socks, a sweater,
   etc., then a large and rather luxurious lunch kit, a pin cushion.
   with his monogram, a small travelling pillow with his monogram, a
   linen toilet case embroidered in blue, to hang on the wall--these
   last evidently presents from admiring lady friends. Finally he
   brings forth a large rubber life preserving suit. He makes a show
   of putting all these things in the bag, including the life-
   preserving suit; and reveals a certain sentiment, not too deep, for
   the pillow, the pincushion and the toilet case. At length he strews
   everything over the floor, and is surveying the litter with mock
   despair when a girl appears on the lawn outside, through one of the
   windows. She throws into the room a small parcel wrapped in tissue
   paper, and disappears. GEORGE picks up the parcel and looks
   surprised, and suddenly runs out of the door, upper right. He
   presently returns, dragging the girl by the wrists, she resisting.

   MINNIE FARRELL is about twenty one, with black hair and an abundant
   vitality. Her costume is a not wholly ineffective imitation of
   those bought at a great price at certain metropolitan
   establishments. A string of imitation pearls gleams against her
   ruddy skin.

MINNIE. Cut it out, George! (Glancing around apprehensively.) Say,
if your mother was to find me here she’d want to send me up to the
reformatory (she frees herself).

GEORGE. Where the deuce did you blow in from? (Regarding her with
admiration.) Is this the little Minnie Farrell who left Foxon Falls two
years ago? Gee whiz! aren’t we smart!

MINNIE. Do you like me? I’m making good money, since the war.

GEORGE. Do I like you? What are you doing here?

MINNIE. My brother Bert’s out there--he ain’t working today. Mr. Pindar
sent for father, and we walked up here with him. Where is he?

GEORGE (nodding toward the study). In there. But what are you doing,
back in Foxon Falls?

MINNIE. Oh, visiting the scenes of my childhood.

GEORGE (tearing open the tissue paper from the parcel). Did you make
these for me?   (He holds up a pair of grey woollen wristlets.)

MINNIE. Well, I wanted to do something for a soldier, and when I heard
you was going to France I thought you might as well have ‘em.

GEORGE. How did you hear I was going?

MINNIE. Bert told me when I came home yesterday. They say it’s cold in
the trenches, and nothing keeps the hands so warm as wristlets. I know,
because I’ve had ‘em on winter mornings, early, when I was going to
work. Will you wear ‘em, George?

GEORGE. Will I wear them! (He puts then on his wrists.) I’ll never take
them off till the war’s over.

MINNIE (pleased). You always were a josher!

GEORGE. Tell me, Minnie, why did you run away from me two years ago?

MINNIE. Run away from you! I left because I couldn’t stand this village
any longer. It was too quiet for me.

GEORGE. You’re a josher! You went off while I was away, without telling
me you were going. And then, when I found out where you were and hustled
over to Newcastle in my car, you turned me down hard.

MINNIE. You didn’t have a mortgage on me. There were plenty of girls of
your own kind at that house party you went to. I guess you made love to
them, too.

GEORGE. They weren’t in the same class with you. You’ve got the ginger.

MINNIE. I’ve still got the ginger, all right.

GEORGE. I thought you cared for me.

MINNIE. You always had the nerve, George.

GEORGE. You acted as if you did.

MINNIE. I’m a good actor. Say, what was there in it for me?--packing
tools in the Pindar shops, and you the son of my boss? You didn’t want
nothing from me except what all men want, and you wouldn’t have wanted
that long.

GEORGE. I was crazy about you.

MINNIE (her eyes falling on the travelling pillow and the pincushion;
picking theron: up in turn). I guess you told them that, too.

GEORGE (embarrassed). Oh, I’m popular enough when I’m going away. They
don’t care anything about me.

MINNIE (indicating the wristlets). You don’t want them,--I’ll give ‘em
to Bert.

GEORGE. No, you won’t.

MINNIE. I was silly. But we had a good time while it lasted,--didn’t we,

   (She evades him deftly, and picks up the life-preserving suit.)

What’s this?--a full dress uniform?

GEORGE. When a submarine gets you, all you’ve got to do is to jump
overboard and blow this--

   (He draws the siren from the pocket and starts to blow it, but she
   seizes his hand.)
--and float around until a destroyer picks you up.

   (Takes from another pocket a metal lunch box.)

This is for pate de foie gras sandwiches, and there’s room in here--

   (Indicating another pocket.)
--for a bottle of fizz. Come along with me, Minnie, ship as a Red Cross
nurse, and I’ll buy you one. The Atlantic wouldn’t be such a bad place,
with you,--and we wouldn’t be in a hurry to blow the siren. You’d look
like a peach in a white costume, too.

MINNIE. Don’t you like me in this?

GEORGE. Sure, but I’d like that better.

MINNIE. I’d make a good nurse, if I do say it myself. And I’d take good
care of you, George,--as good as any of them.

   (She nods toward the pillow and pincushion.)

GEORGE. Better!

   (He seizes her hands and attempts to draw her toward him.)

You used to let me!

MINNIE. That ain’t any reason.

GEORGE. Just once, Minnie,--I’m going away.

MINNIE. No. I didn’t mean to come in here--I just wanted to see what you
looked like in your uniform.

   (She draws away from him, just as Dr. JONATHAN appears in the
   doorway, lower right.)

Goodbye, George.

   (She goes out through the doorway, upper right.)

   (DR. JONATHAN may be almost any age,--in reality about thirty five.
   His head is that of the thinker, high above the eyes. His face
   bears evidence in its lines of years of labour and service, as well
   as of a triumphant struggle against ill health. In his eyes is a
   thoughtful yet illuminating smile, now directed toward GEORGE who,
   when he perceives him, is taken aback,)

DR. JONATHAN. Hello! I was told to come in here,--I hope I’m not

GEORGE. Not at all. How--how long have you been here?

DR. JONATHAN. Just long enough to get my bearings. I came this morning.

GEORGE. Oh! Are you--are you Dr. Jonathan?

DR. JONATHAN. I’m Jonathan. And you’re George, I suppose.

GEORGE. Yes. (He goes to him and shakes hands.) I’m sorry to be leaving
just as you come.

DR. JONATHAN. I’ll be here when you return.

GEORGE. I hope so (a pause). You won’t find Foxon Falls a bad old town.

DR. JONATHAN. And it will be a better one when you come back.

GEORGE. Why do you say that?

DR. JONATHAN (smiling). It seems a safe conjecture.

   (Dr. JONATHAN is looking at the heap of articles on the floor.)

GEORGE (grinning, and not quite at ease). You might imagine I was
embarking in the gent’s furnishing business, instead of going to war.
(He picks up the life-preserving suit.) Some friend of mother’s told her
about this, and she insisted upon sending for it. I don’t want to hurt
her feelings, but I can’t take it, of course.

   (He rolls it up and thrusts it under the sofa, upper left.)

You won’t give me away?


GEORGE. Dad ought to be here in a minute, he’s in there with old Timothy
Farrell, the moulder foreman. It seems that things are in a mess at the
shops. Rotten of the men to make trouble now--don’t you think?--when the
country’s at war! Darned unpatriotic, I say.

DR. JONATHAN. I saw a good many stars in your service flag as I passed
the office door this morning.

GEORGE. Yes. Over four hundred of our men have enlisted. I don’t
understand it.

DR. JONATHAN. Perhaps you will, George, when you come home.

GEORGE. You mean--

   (GEORGE is interrupted by the entrance, lower right, of his mother,
   AUGUSTA PINDAR. She is now in the fifties, and her hair is turning
   grey. Her uneventful, provincial existence as ASHER’S wife has
   confirmed and crystallized her traditional New England views, her
   conviction that her mission is to direct for good the lives of the
   less fortunate by whom she is surrounded. She carries her knitting
   in her hand,--a pair of socks for GEORGE. And she goes at once to

AUGUSTA. So you are Jonathan. They told me you’d arrived--why didn’t
you come to us? Do you think it’s wise to live in that old house of your
father’s before it’s been thoroughly heated for a few days?

DR. JONATHAN (taking her hand). Oh, I’m going to live with the doors and
windows open.

AUGUSTA. Dear me! I understand you’ve been quite ill, and you were never
very strong as a child. I made it my business to go through the house
yesterday, and I must say it looks comfortable. But the carpenters and
plumbers have ruined the parlour, with that bench, and the sink in the
corner. What are you going to do there?

DR. JONATHAN. I’m having it made into a sort of laboratory.

AUGUSTA. You don’t mean to say you intend to do any work!

DR. JONATHAN. Work ought to cure me, in this climate.

AUGUSTA. You mean to practise medicine? You ought to have consulted us.
I’m afraid you won’t find it remunerative, Jonathan,--but your father
was impractical, too. Foxon Falls is still a small place, in spite of
the fact that the shops have grown. Workmen’s families can’t afford to
pay big fees, you know.

DR. JONATHAN (smiling). I know.

AUGUSTA. And we already have an excellent physician here, Dr. Senn.

DR. JONATHAN. I shan’t interfere with Dr. Senn.

GEORGE (laying his hand on AUGUSTA’s shoulder: apologetically). Mother
feels personally responsible for every man, woman and child in Foxon
Falls. I shouldn’t worry about Dr. Jonathan if I were you, mother, I’ve
got a notion he can take care of himself.

AUGUSTA (a little baffled by DR. JONATHAN’s self-command, sits down and
begins to knit). I must get these socks finished for you to take with
you, my dear. (To DR. JONATHAN) I can’t realize he’s going! (To GEORGE)
You haven’t got all your things in your bag! Where’s the life-preserving
suit I sent for?

GEORGE (glancing at DR. JONATHAN). Oh that’s gone, mother.

AUGUSTA. He always took cold so easily, and that will keep him warm and
dry, if those terrible Germans sink his ship. But your presents, George!
(To DR. JONATHAN:) Made for him by sisters of his college friends.

GEORGE (amused but embarrassed). I can’t fit up a section of the
trenches as a boudoir.

AUGUSTA. Such nice girls! I wish he’d marry one of them. Who made you
the wristlets? I hadn’t seen them.

GEORGE (taking of the wristlets and putting them in his bag). Oh, I
can’t give her away. I was--just trying them on, to see if they fitted.

AUGUSTA. When did they come?

GEORGE (glancing at DR. JONATHAN). Er--this morning.

   (Enter ASHER and TIMOTHY from the study, left. ASHER is evidently
   wrought up from his talk with TIMOTHY.)

ASHER. Remember, Timothy, I rely on sensible men like you to put a stop
to this nonsense.

AUGUSTA. Asher, here’s Jonathan.

ASHER. Oh! (He goes up to DR. JONATHAN and takes his hand, though it is
quite evident that his mind is still on the trouble in the shops). Glad
to see you back in Foxon Falls, Jonathan. I heard you’d arrived, and
would have dropped in on you, but things are in a muddle here just now.

DR. JONATHAN. Not only here, but everywhere.

ASHER. You’re right. The country’s going to the dogs. I don’t know what
will straighten it out.

DR. JONATHAN. Intelligence, open-mindedness, cooperation, Asher.

ASHER (arrested: looking at him). Hum!

DR. JONATHAN (leaving him and going up to TIMOTHY). You don’t remember
me, Timothy?

TIMOTHY. Sure and I do, sir,--though you were only a little lad. You
mind me of your father,--your smile, like. He was the grand, simple man!
It’s happy I am to see you back in Foxon Falls.

DR. JONATHAN. Yes, I’ve been ordered to the rear.

TIMOTHY. The rear, is it? I’m thinking we’ll be fighting this war in
Foxon Falls, too.

DR. JONATHAN. Yes, much of it will be fought behind the battle lines.

AUGUSTA. You think the Germans will come over here?

DR. JONATHAN. No, but the issue is over here already.

   (DR. JONATHAN picks up her ball of wool, which has fallen to the

AUGUSTA (looking at him apprehensively: puzzled). Thank you, Jonathan.

   (She turns to TIMOTHY, who has started toward the door, lower right)

Wait a moment, Timothy, I want to ask you about your children. What
do you hear from Minnie? I always took an interest in her, you
know,--especially when she was in the tool packing department of the
shops, and I had her in my Bible class. I appreciated your letting her
come,--an Irishman and a Catholic as you are.

TIMOTHY. The Church has given me up as a heathen, ma’am, when I married
your cook, and she a Protestant.

AUGUSTA. I’ve been worried about Minnie since she went to Newcastle. She
has so much vitality, and I’m afraid she’s pleasure loving though she
seemed to take to religion with her whole soul. And where’s Jamesy?

TIMOTHY. Jamesy, is it? It’s gone to the bad entirely he is, with the
drink. He left the shops when the twelve-hour shifts began--wherever
he’s at now. It’s home Minnie came from Newcastle yesterday, ma’am, for
a visit,--she’s outside there now, with Bert,--they walked along with

AUGUSTA. Bring them in, I want to see them,--especially Minnie. I must
say I’m surprised she should have come home without calling on me.

TIMOTHY. I’ll get them, ma’am.

   (He goes out of the door, upper right. GEORGE, who has been
   palpably ill at ease during this conversation, now makes for the
   door, lower right.)

AUGUSTA. Where are you going, my dear?

GEORGE (halting). I thought I’d look around and see if I’d forgotten
anything, mother.

AUGUSTA. Stay with us,--there’s plenty of time.

   (TIMOTHY returns through the doorway, upper right, with BERT, but
   without MINNIE.)

TIMOTHY. It’s disappeared entirely she is, ma’am,--here one minute and
there the next, the way with young people nowadays. And she’s going back
to Newcastle this afternoon, to her job at the Wire Works.

AUGUSTA. I must see her before she goes. I feel in a measure responsible
for her. You’ll tell her?

TIMOTHY. I’ll tell her.

AUGUSTA. How are you getting along, Bert?

BERT. Very well, thank you, Mrs. Pindar.

   (The MAID enters, lower right.)

MAID. Miss Thorpe wishes to speak with you, ma’am.

AUGUSTA (gathering up her knitting). It’s about the wool for the Red

   (Exit, lower right.)

GEORGE (shaking hands with BERT). Hello, Bert,--how goes it?

BERT. All right, thank you, lieutenant.

GEORGE. Oh, cut out the title.

   (BERT FARRELL is about twenty three. He wears a brown flannel shirt
   and a blue four-in-hand tie, and a good ready-made suit. He holds
   his hat in front of him. He is a self-respecting, able young Irish
   American of the blue-eyed type that have died by thousands on the
   battle fields of France, and whose pictures may be seen in our

ASHER. You’re not working today, Bert?

BERT. I’ve left the shops, Mr. Pindar,--I got through last night.

ASHER. Left the shops! You didn’t say anything about this, Timothy!

TIMOTHY. No, sir,--you have trouble enough today.

ASHER (to BERT). Why did you leave?

BERT. I’m going to enlist, Mr. Pindar,--with the Marines. From what I’ve
heard of that corps, I think I’d like to join it.

ASHER (exasperated). But why do you do a thing like this when you
must know I need every man here to help turn out these machines? And
especially young men like you, good mechanics! If you wanted to
serve your country, you were better off where you were. I got you
exempted--(catching himself) I mean, you were exempted from the draft.

BERT. I didn’t want to be exempted, sir. More than four hundred of
the boys have gone from the shops, as well as Mr. George here, and I
couldn’t stand it no longer.

ASHER. What’s Mr. George got to do with it? The cases are different.

BERT (stoutly). I don’t see that, Mr. Pindar. Every man, no matter who
he is, has to decide a thing like this for himself.

GEORGE. Bert’s right, dad.

ASHER. You say he’s right, when you know that I need every hand I can
get to carry out this contract?

GEORGE. He’s going to make a contract, too. He’s giving up all he has.

ASHER. And you approve of this, Timothy?

TIMOTHY. Sure, I couldn’t stop him, Mr. Pindar! And it’s proud I am
of him, the same as you are of Mr. George, that he’d be fighting for
America and liberty.

ASHER. Liberty! License is what we’re getting now! The workman thinks he
can do as he pleases. And after all I’ve done for my workmen,--building
them a club house with a piano in it, and a library and a billiard
table, trying to do my best to make them comfortable and contented. I
pay them enough to buy pianos and billiard tables for themselves, and
you tell me they want still higher wages.

TIMOTHY. They’re saying they can go down to the shipyards, where they’d
be getting five dollars and thirty cents a day.

ASHER. Let them go to the shipyards, if they haven’t any sense of
gratitude! What else do they say?

TIMOTHY. That you have a contract, sir, and making millions out of it.

ASHER. What can they know about my profits?

TIMOTHY. It’s just that, sir,--they know nothing at all. But they’re
saying they ought to know, since things is different now, and they’re
working for the war and the country, the same as yourself.

ASHER. Haven’t I established a system of bonuses, to share my profits
with the efficient and the industrious?

TIMOTHY. They don’t understand the bonuses,--how you come by them.
Autocracy is the word they use. And they say you put up a notice sudden
like, without asking them, that there’d be two long shifts instead of
three eight-hour ones. They’re willing to work twelve hours on end, for
the war, they say, but they’d want to be consulted.

ASHER. What business is it of theirs?

TIMOTHY. Well, it’s them that has to do the hard work, sir. There was a
meeting last night, I understand, with Rench and Hillman and a delegate
come from Newcastle making speeches, the only way they’d get their
rights would be for you to recognize the union.

ASHER. I’ll never recognize a union! I won’t have any outsiders,
meddlers and crooks dictating my business to me.

TIMOTHY. I’ve been with you thirty years, come December, Mr. Pindar,
and you’ve been a good employer to me. I don’t hold with the unions--you
know it well, sir, or you wouldn’t be asking me advice. I’m telling you
what they’re saying.

ASHER. I didn’t mean to accuse you,--you’ve been a good and loyal
employee--that’s why I sent for you. Find out what their game is, and
let me know.

TIMOTHY. It’s not a detective I am, Mr. Pindar. I’m a workman meself.
That’s another thing they’re saying, that you’d pay detectives to go
among them, like workingmen.

ASHER (impatiently). I’m not asking you to be a detective,--I only want
you to give me warning if we are to have a strike.

TIMOTHY. I’ve warned you, sir,--if it’s only for the sake of beating the
Germans, the dirty devils.

GEORGE (turning to BERT). Well, here’s wishing you luck, Bert, and
hoping we’ll meet over there. I know how you feel,--you want to be in
it, just as I do.

ASHER (turning). Perhaps I said more than I meant to, Bert. I’ve got to
turn out these machines in order that our soldiers may have shrapnel
to fight with, and what with enlistments and the determination of
unscrupulous workmen to take advantage of the situation, I’m pretty hard
pressed. I can’t very well spare steady young men like you, who have
too much sense and too much patriotism to mix yourselves up with trouble
makers. But I, too, can understand your feeling,--I’d like to be going
myself. You might have consulted me, but your place will be ready for
you when you come back.

BERT. Thank you, sir. (He turns his hat over in his hands.) Maybe it
would be fair to tell you, Mr. Pindar, that I’ve got a union card in my

ASHER. You, Timothy Farrell’s son!

TIMOTHY. What’s that? And never a word to me!

BERT (to TIMOTHY). Why wouldn’t I join the union? I took out the card
this morning, when I see that that’s the only way we’ll get what’s
coming to us. We ain’t got a chance against the employers without the

TIMOTHY. God help me, to think my son would join the union,--and he
going to be a soldier!

BERT (glancing at GEORGE). I guess there’ll be other union men in the
trenches besides me.

ASHER. Soldier or no soldier, I’ll never employ any man again who’s
joined a union.

GEORGE (perturbed). Hold on, dad!

ASHER. I mean what I say, I don’t care who he is.

BERT (who retains his self-possession). Excuse me, Mr. Pindar, but I’d
like to ask you a question--I’ve heard the men talking about this in
the shops. You don’t like it if we go off to--fight, but if we join the
union you fire us, no matter how short-handed you are.

ASHER. It’s a principle with me,--I won’t have any outside agency
dictating to me.

BERT. But if it came to recognizing the union, or shutting down?

ASHER. I’d shut down tomorrow.

   (GEORGE, who sees the point, makes a gesture as if about to

BERT. That’s what I’m getting at, Mr. Pindar. You say you’d shut down
for a principle, whether the government gets the machines or not.
And the men say they’d join the union for a principle, whether the
government gets the machines or not. It looks to me as if both was
hindering the war for a principle, and the question is, which principle
is it that agrees best with what we’re fighting for?

ASHER. No man joins a union for a principle, but for extortion. I can’t
discuss it,--I won’t!

BERT. I’m sorry, sir.

   (He turns to go out, lower right.)

GEORGE (overtaking him and grasping his hand). So long, Bert. I’ll look
you up, over there!

BERT (gazing at him). All right, Mr. George.

GEORGE. Goodbye, Timothy. Don’t worry about the boy.

TIMOTHY. It’s proud I am to have him go. Mr. George,--but I can’t think
why he’d be joining the union, and never telling me.

   (He stands for a moment troubled, glancing at ASHER, torn between
   loyalty to his employer and affection for his son. Then he goes out
   slowly, upper right. All the while DR. JONATHAN has stood in the
   rear of the room, occasionally glancing at GEORGE. He now comes
   forward, unobtrusively, yet withal impressively.)

ASHER. I never expected to hear such talk from a son of Timothy
Farrell,--a boy I thought was level-headed. (To DR. JONATHAN) What do
you think of that? You heard it.

DR. JONATHAN. Well, he stated the issue, Asher.

ASHER. The issue of what?

DR. JONATHAN. Of the new century.

GEORGE. The issue of the new century

ASHER. You’re right, we’ve got to put these people down. After the war
they’ll come to heel,--we’ll have a cheap labour market then.

DR. JONATHAN. Humanity has always been cheap, but we’re spending it
rather lavishly just now.

ASHER, You mean that there will be a scarcity of labour? And that they
can continue to blackmail us into paying these outrageous wages?

DR. JONATHAN. When you pay a man wages, Asher, you own him,--until he is
turned over to somebody else.

ASHER (puzzled, a little suspicious for the first time). I own his
labour, of course.

DR. JONATHAN. Then you own his body, and his soul. Perhaps he resents
being regarded as a commodity.

ASHER. What else is labour?

DR. JONATHAN. How would you like to be a commodity?

ASHER. I? I don’t see what that has to do with it. These men have no
consideration, no gratitude, after the way I’ve treated them.

DR. JONATHAN. Isn’t that what they object to?

ASHER. What?

DR. JONATHAN. To being treated.

ASHER. Object to kindness?

DR. JONATHAN. To benevolence.

ASHER. Well, what’s the difference?

DR. JONATHAN. The difference between self-respect and dependence.

ASHER. Are--are you a Socialist?

DR. JONATHAN. NO, I’m a scientist.

   (ASHER is standing staring at him when the MAID enters, lower

MAID. Your long distance call to Washington, sir.

ASHER. Very well.

   (As he starts to go out he halts and looks at DR. JONATHAN again,
   and then abruptly leaves the room, lower right, following the MAID.)

GEORGE (who has been regarding DR. JONATHAN: after a moment’s
hesitation). You seem to think there’s something to be said for the
workman’s attitude, Dr. Jonathan.

DR. JONATHAN. What is his attitude, George?

GEORGE. Well, you heard Bert just now. I thought he had poor old dad
on the hip when he accused the employer of holding up the war, too. But
after all, what labour is after is more money, isn’t it? and they’re
taking advantage of a critical situation to get it. And when they get
money, most of them blow it in on sprees.

DR. JONATHAN. George, what are you going to France to fight for?

GEORGE. Germany’s insulted our flag, murdered our people on the high
seas and wants to boss the world.

DR. JONATHAN (smiling). The issue, then, is human freedom.

GEORGE. Sure thing!

DR. JONATHAN. And you think every man and woman in this country is
reasonably free?

GEORGE. Every man can rise if he has the ability.

DR. JONATHAN. What do you mean by rise?

GEORGE. He can make money, set up for himself and be his own boss.

DR. JONATHAN. In other words, he can become free.

GEORGE (grinning). I suppose that’s one way of putting it.

DR. JONATHAN. Money gives him freedom, doesn’t it? Money gave you
yours,--to go to school and college until you were twenty four, and get
an education,--such as it was.

GEORGE. Such as it was!

DR. JONATHAN. Money gave you the choice of engaging in an occupation
in which you could take an interest and a pride, and enabled you
occasionally to go on a spree, if you ever went on a spree, George.

GEORGE. Once in awhile.

DR. JONATHAN. But this craving for amusement, for excitement and
adventure isn’t peculiar to you and me. Workingmen have it too,--and
working girls.

GEORGE. You’re a wise guy, I guess.

DR. JONATHAN. Oh no,--not that! But I’ve found out that you and I are
not so very different from Timothy Farrell and his children,--Bert and
Jamesy and--Minnie.

GEORGE (startled, and looking around to follow DR. JONATHAN’S glance
toward the windows). What do you know about them?

DR. JONATHAN. Oh, nothing at first hand. But I can see why Bert’s going
to the war, and why Jamesy took to drink, and why Minnie left Foxon

GEORGE. The deuce you can!

DR. JONATHAN. And so can you, George. When you get back from France you
will know what you have been fighting for.

GEORGE. And what’s that?

DR. JONATHAN. Economic freedom, without which political freedom is a
farce. Industrial democracy.

GEORGE. Industrial democracy! Well, it wasn’t included in my education
at Harvard.

DR. JONATHAN. Our education begins, unfortunately, after we leave
Harvard,--with Bert and Jamesy and Minnie. And here’s Minnie, now!

GEORGE (hastily). I’ll beat it! Mother wants to talk to her.

DR. JONATHAN (his hand on GEORGE’S arm). No,--wait.

   (Enter, lower right, AUGUSTA, followed by MINNIE FARRELL. MINNIE,
   AUGUSTA’S back being turned toward her, gives GEORGE a wink, which
   he acknowledges, and then glances toward DR. JONATHAN. AUGUSTA,
   with her knitting, seats herself in an armchair. Her attitude is
   somewhat inquisitorial; her tone, as she addresses MINNIE, non-
   committal. She is clearly offended by MINNIE’S poise and good-
   natured self-assertion.)

AUGUSTA. You remember Mr. Pindar, Minnie.

MINNIE (demurely). Glad to meet you again, Mr. Pindar. I hear you’re
going off to the war. Well, that’s great.

GEORGE (squeezing her hand; she winces a little). Oh, yes,-I remember

AUGUSTA. And this is Dr. Jonathan Pindar.

MINNIE (who has been eyeing DR. JONATHAN as a possible enemy; with
reserve). Glad to meet you, I’m sure.

DR. JONATHAN (smiling at her as he takes her hand). The pleasure

MINNIE (puzzled, but somewhat reassured). Glad to meet you.

DR. JONATHAN. I’ve come to live in Foxon Falls. I hope we’ll be friends.

MINNIE. I hope so. I’m going back to Newcastle this afternoon, there’s
nothing doing here.

DR. JONATHAN. Would you stay, if there were something doing?

MINNIE. I--I don’t know. What would I be doing here?

AUGUSTA (disapprovingly, surveying, MINNIE’S costume). I don’t think I
should have recognized you, Minnie.

MINNIE. City life agrees with me, Mrs. Pindar. But I needed a little
rest cure, and I came to see what the village looked like.

DR. JONATHAN. A sort of sentimental journey, Minnie.

MINNIE (flashing a look at GEORGE, and another at DR. JONATHAN). Well,
you might call it that. I get you.

AUGUSTA. Minnie, what church do you attend in Newcastle?

MINNIE. Well, I haven’t got a seat in any particular church, Mrs.

AUGUSTA. I didn’t expect you to go to the expense of getting a seat. I
hope you delivered the letter our minister gave you to the minister of
the First Church in Newcastle.

MINNIE. No, I didn’t, Mrs. Pindar, and that’s the truth. I never went
near a church.

AUGUSTA (drily). It’s a pity you ever went to Newcastle, I think.

MINNIE. It’s some town! Every time you ride into it you see a big sign,
“Welcome to Newcastle, population one hundred and six thousand, and
growing every day. Goodbye, and thank you!”

AUGUSTA (knitting). You drive about in automobiles!

MINNIE. Oh, sometimes I get a joy ride.

AUGUSTA. It grieves me to hear you talk in this way. I knew you were
pleasure loving, I thought I saw certain tendencies in you, yet you
seemed to realize the grace of religion when you were in my Bible class.
Your brother Jamesy took to drink--

MINNIE. And I took to religion. You meant to be kind, Mrs. Pindar, and I
thank you. But now I know why Jamesy took to drink--it was for the same
reason I took to religion.

AUGUSTA (scandalized). Minnie!

MINNIE. We were both trying to be free, to escape.

AUGUSTA. To escape? From what?

MINNIE (with a gesture indicating futility). I guess it would be pretty
hard to get it across to you, Mrs. Pindar. But I was working ten hours
a day packing tools in your shops, and all you gave me when the whistle
blew was--Jesus.

   (A pause: GEORGE takes a step toward her.)

Jamesy took to drink, and I took to Jesus. I’m not saying anything
against Him. He had His life, but I wanted mine. Maybe He would have

   (Turning impulsively toward DR. JONATHAN.)

I’ve got a hunch that you understand.

AUGUSTA. Minnie, I can’t let you talk about religion in this way in my

MINNIE. I’m sorry, Mrs. Pindar, I knew it wasn’t no use to come and see
you,--I told father so.

AUGUSTA. I suppose, if you’re determined to continue this life of--(she
catches herself) I can’t stop you.

MINNIE (flaring up). What life? Don’t worry about me, Mrs. Pindar,--I
get twenty five dollars a week at the Shale Works making barb wire to
trip up the Huns with,--enough to get nice clothes--(she glances down at
her dress) and buy good food, and have a good time on the side.

AUGUSTA (whose conceptions of what she believes to be MINNIE’s kind are
completely upset). You still work?

MINNIE. Work! Sure I work. I wouldn’t let any man get a strangle hold on
me. And I don’t kick at a little overtime, neither. I’m working for what
he’s going to fight for--(indicating GEORGE) it ain’t for myself only,
but for everybody that ain’t been free, all over the world. (To
DR. JONATHAN.) Ain’t that right? (She does not wait for his nod of
approval.) I was just saying this morning--(she looks toward GEORGE and
catches herself)--I’ve been wishing all along I could do more--go as a
nurse for some of the boys.

AUGUSTA. A nurse!

MINNIE (to DR. JONATHAN). If I was a man, I’d have been a doctor, like
you. Sick people don’t bother me, I give myself to ‘em. Before mother
died, when she was sick, she always said I’d ought to have been a nurse.
(A pause.) Well, I guess I’ll go along. The foreman only give me a
couple of days off to see the old home town.

GEORGE. Hold on, Minnie.

MINNIE. What is it?

GEORGE (to AUGUSTA). Minnie and I are old friends, mother.

AUGUSTA. Old friends?

GEORGE. Yes. I knew her--very well before she went away from Foxon
Falls, and I went to Newcastle and took her out for a drive in my car.

MINNIE (vehemently). No, you never.

GEORGE. Why do you deny it?

MINNIE. There’s nothing to it.

AUGUSTA (aghast). George!

GEORGE. Well, it’s true. I’m not ashamed of it, though Minnie appears to

MINNIE (on the verge of tears). If you wasn’t ashamed, why didn’t you
tell, her before? I’m not ashamed of it, neither. It was natural.

AUGUSTA (after a pause, with a supreme effort to meet the situation).
Well, I suppose men are different. But there’s no excuse for you, after
all I tried to do for you.

MINNIE. Thank God men are different!

   (AUGUSTA rises. The ball of wool drops to the floor again, and DR.
   JONATHAN picks it up.)

GEORGE. Mother, I’d like to tell you about it. You don’t understand.

AUGUSTA. I’m afraid I do understand, dear.

   (As she leaves the room, with dignity, GEORGE glances appealingly at

DR. JONATHAN (going up to MINNIE and taking her hand). Do you think
you’d have time to drop in to see me, Minnie, before your train goes?

MINNIE (gazing at him; after a moment). Sure! I guess I’d like to talk
to you.

DR. JONATHAN. It’s the little white house across the Common.

MINNIE. Oh, I know, that’s been shut up all these years.

DR. JONATHAN. And is open now again.

   (He goes out, lower right, and there is a brief silence as the two
   look after him.)

MINNIE. Say, who is he?

GEORGE. Why, he’s a cousin of mine--

MINNIE. I don’t mean that. He’s somebody, ain’t he?

GEORGE. By jingo, I’m beginning to think he is!

   (They stand gazing at one another.)

MINNIE (remembering her grievance: passionately). Now you’ve gone and
done it--telling your mother we were friends.

GEORGE. But we are--aren’t we? You couldn’t expect me to keep quiet,
under the circumstances.

MINNIE. She thinks I’m not fit to talk to you. Not that I care, except
that I was fond of her, she’s been good to me in her way, and I felt
real bad when I went off to Newcastle with the letter to the minister I
never laid eyes on. She’ll believe--you know what she’ll believe,--it’ll
trouble her. She’s your mother, and you’re going away. You might have
kept still.

GEORGE. I couldn’t keep still. What would you have thought of me?

MINNIE. It don’t make any difference what I’d have thought of you.

GEORGE. It makes a difference to me, and it makes some difference what I
think of myself. I seem to be learning a good many things this morning.

MINNIE. From him?

GEORGE: You mean Dr. Jonathan?


GEORGE (reflecting). I don’t know. I’m learning them from you, from

MINNIE. Maybe he put you wise.

GEORGE. Well, I don’t feel wise. And seeing you again this morning
brought it all back to me.

MINNIE. You were only fooling.

GEORGE. I began that way,--I’ll own up. But I told you I’d never met a
girl like you, you’re full of pep--courage--something I can’t describe.
I was crazy about you,--that’s straight,--but I didn’t realize it until
you ran off, and then I went after you,--but it was no good! I don’t
claim to have been square with you, and I’ve been thinking--well, that
I’m responsible.

MINNIE. Responsible for what?

GEORGE. Well-for your throwing yourself away down there at Newcastle.
You’re too good.

MINNIE (with heat). Throwing myself away?

GEORGE. Didn’t you? Didn’t you break loose?--have a good time?

MINNIE. Why wouldn’t I have a good time? That’s what you were having,--a
good time with me,--wasn’t it? And say, did you ever stop to think what
one day of a working girl’s life was like?

GEORGE. One day?

MINNIE. With an alarm clock scaring you out of sweet dreams in the
winter, while it’s dark, and you get up and dress in the cold and heat
a little coffee over a lamp and beat it for the factory,--and stand on
your feet all morning, in a noise that would deafen you, feeding a thing
you ain’t got no interest in? It don’t never need no rest! By eleven
o’clock you think you’re all in, that the morning’ll never end, but at
noon you get a twenty five cent feed that lasts you until about five in
the afternoon,--and then you don’t know which way the machine’s headed.
I’ve often thought of one of them cutters at Shale’s as a sort of
monster, watching you all day, waiting to get you when you’re too tired
to care. (Dreamily.) When it looks all blurred, and you want to put your
hand in it.

GEORGE. Good God, Minnie!

MINNIE. And when the whistle blows at night all you have is your little
hall bedroom in a rooming house that smells of stale smoke and cabbage.
There’s no place to go except the streets--but you’ve just got to go
somewhere, to break loose and have a little fun,--even though you’re so
tired you want to throw yourself on the bed and cry.

   (A pause.)

Maybe it’s because you’re tired. When you’re tired that way is when you
want a good time most. It’s funny, but it’s so.

   (A pause.)

You ain’t got no friends except a few girls with hall bedrooms like
yourself, and if a chance comes along for a little excitement, you don’t
turn it down, I guess.

GEORGE (after a pause). I never knew what your life was like.

MINNIE. Why would you?--with friends, and everything you want, only to
buy it? But since the war come on, I tell you, I ain’t kicking, I can go
to a movie or the theatre once in a while, and buy nice clothes, and I
don’t get so tired as I used to. I don’t want nothing from anybody, I
can take care of myself. It’s money that makes you free.

GEORGE. Money!

MINNIE. When I looked into this room this morning and saw you standing
here in your uniform, I says to myself, “He’s changed.” Not that you
wasn’t kind and good natured and generous, George, but you didn’t know.
How could you? You’d never had a chance to learn anything!

GEORGE (bitterly, yet smiling in spite of himself). That’s so!

MINNIE. I remember that first night I ran into you,--I was coming home
from your shops, and you made love to me right off the bat! And after
that we used to meet by the watering trough on the Lindon road. We were
kids then. And it didn’t make no difference how tired I was, I’d get
over it as soon as I saw you. You were the live wire!

GEORGE. Minnie, tell me, what made you come back to Foxon Falls today?

   (He seizes her hand.)

MINNIE (struggling). Don’t, George,--don’t go and be foolish again!

   (The shop whistle blows. She pulls away from him and backs toward
   the doorway, upper right.)

There’s the noon whistle! Goodbye, I’ll be thinking of you, over there.

GEORGE. I’ll write to you. Will you write to me, Minnie?

MINNIE (shaking her head). Don’t lose any sleep about me. Good luck,

   (She goes to the doorway, upper right, turns, kisses her hand to
   GEORGE and disappears. He goes to the doorway and gazes after her;
   presently he raises his hand and waves in answer to another signal,
   and smiles. He remains there until MINNIE is out of sight, and then
   is about to come back into the room when a man appears on the
   sidewalk, seen through the windows. The man is PRAG. He is a gaunt
   workman, with high cheek bones and a rather fanatical light in his
   blue eyes. He stands motionless, gazing at the house.)

GEORGE (calling). Do you want anything, Prag?

PRAG. I joost come to look at your house, where you live. It is no harm,
is it?

GEORGE. None at all.

   (PRAG continues to stare at the house, and GEORGE obeys a sudden

Won’t you come in, Prag?

PRAG (looking fixedly at the house). No, I stay here.

GEORGE. Come in a while,--don’t be unsociable.

   (PRAG crosses the lawn and enters, upper right. He surveys the room
   curiously, defiantly, and then GEORGE in uniform, as he cones down
   the stage.)

You’re not working today?

PRAG (with bitter gloom). I lose my job, you don’t hear? No, it is
nothings to you, and you go away to fight for liberty,--ain’t it?

GEORGE. How did you lose your job?

PRAG. The foreman come to me last night and says, “Prag I hear you
belong to the union. You gets out.”

GEORGE (after a moment’s hesitation). But--there are plenty of other
jobs these days. You can go down to the coast and get more than five
dollars a day at a shipyard.

PRAG. It is easy, yes, when you have a little home bought already, and
mortgaged, and childrens who go to school here, and a wife a long time

GEORGE. I’m sorry. But weren’t you getting along all right here, except
your wife’s illness? I don’t want to be impertinent,--I recognize that
it’s your affair, but I’d like to know why you joined the union.

PRAG. Why is it you join the army? To fight for somethings you would
give your life for--not so? Und you are a soldier,--would you run away
from your comrades to live safe and happy? No! That is like me. I lose
my job, I go away from my wife and childrens, but it is not for me, it
is for all, to get better things for all,--freedoms for all.

GEORGE. Then--you think this isn’t a free country.

PRAG. When I sail up the harbour at New York twenty years ago and see
that Liberty shining in the sun, I think so, yes. But now I know, for
the workmens, she is like the Iron Woman of Nuremberg, with her spikes
when she holds you in her arms. You call me a traitor, yes, when I say

GEORGE. No--I want to understand.

PRAG. I am born in Bavaria, but I am as good an American as any,--better
than you, because I know what I fight for, what I suffer for. I am not
afraid of the Junkers here,--I have spirits,--but the Germans at home
have no spirits. You think you fight for freedoms, for democracy, but
you fight for this! (He waves his hand to indicate the room.) If I had a
million dollars, maybe I fight for it, too,--I don’t know.

GEORGE. So you think I’m going to fight for this--for money?

PRAG. Are you going to fight for me, for the workmens and their
childrens? No, you want to keep your money, to make more of it from your
war contracts. It is for the capitalist system you fight.

GEORGE. Come, now, capital has some rights.

PRAG. I know this, that capital is power. What is the workmen’s vote
against it? against your newspapers and your system? America, she will
not be free until your money power is broken. You don’t like kings and
emperors, no,--you say to us workmens, you are not patriots, you are
traitors if you do not work and fight to win this war for democracy
against kings. Are we fools that we should worry about kings? Kings will
fall of themselves. Now you can put me in jail.

GEORGE. I don’t want to put you in jail, God knows! How would you manage

PRAG. Why does not the employer say to his workmens, “This is our war,
yours and mines. Here is my contract, here is my profits, we will have
no secrets, we will work together and talk together and win the war
together to make the world brighter for our childrens.” Und then we
workmens say, “Yes, we will work night and day so hard as we can,
because we are free mens.”

   (A fanatical gleams comes into his eyes.)

But your employer, he don’t say that,--no. He says, “This is my
contract, this is my shop, and if you join the unions to get your
freedoms you cannot work with me, you are traitors!”

   (He rises to a frenzy of exaltation.)

After this there will be another war, and the capitalists will be swept
away like the kings!

   (He pauses; GEORGE is silent.)

Und now I go away, and maybe my wife she die before I get to the
shipyard at Newcastle.

   (He goes slowly out, upper right, and GEORGE does not attempt to
   stay him. Enter ASHER, lower right.)

ASHER. I’ve just called up the Department in Washington and given them
a piece of my mind--told ‘em they’d have to conscript labour. Damn these
unions, making all this trouble, and especially today, when you’re going
off. I haven’t had a chance to talk to you. Well, you know that I’m
proud of you, my boy. Your grandfather went off to the Civil War when he
was just about your age.

GEORGE. And he knew what he was going to fight for.

ASHER. What?

GEORGE. I thought I knew, this morning. Now I’m not so sure.

ASHER. You say that, when Germany intended to come over here and crush
us, when she got through with the Allies.

GEORGE. No, it’s not so simple as that, dad, it’s bigger than that.

ASHER. Who’s been talking to you? Jonathan Pindar? I wish to God he’d
never come to Foxon Falls! I might have known what his opinions would
be, with his inheritance. (Reproachfully.) I didn’t suppose you could be
so easily influenced by sentimentalism, George, I’d hoped you’d got over

GEORGE. Are you sure it’s sentimentalism, dad? Dr. Jonathan didn’t say
much, but I’ll admit he started me thinking. I’ve begun to realize a few

ASHER. What things?

GEORGE (glancing at the clock on the mantel). I haven’t got time to tell
you,--I’m afraid I couldn’t make it clear, anyway,--it isn’t clear in
my own mind yet. But,--go slow with this labour business, dad, there’s
dynamite in it.

ASHER. Dynamite?

GEORGE. Human dynamite. They’re full of it,--we’re full of it, too, I
guess. They’re not so different from you and me, though I’ll admit that
many of them are ignorant, prejudiced and bitter. But this row isn’t
just the result of restlessness and discontent,--that’s the smoke, but
the fire’s there, too. I’ve heard enough this morning to be convinced
that they’re struggling for something fundamental, that has to do with
human progress,--the issue behind the war. It’s obscured now, in the
smoke. Now if that’s so you can’t ignore it, dad, you can’t suppress it,
the only thing to do is to sit down with them and try to understand it.
If they’ve got a case, if the union has come to stay, recognize it and
deal with it.

ASHER. You--you, my son, are not advising me to recognize the union! To
give our employees a voice in our private affairs!

GEORGE (courageously). But is the war our private affair, dad? Hasn’t it
changed things already?

   (ASHER makes a gesture of pain, of repudiation. GEORGE approaches
   him appealingly.)

Dad, you know how much we’ve always been to each other, I’d hate to have
any misunderstanding between us,--especially today. I’ve always accepted
your judgment. But I’m over twenty one, I’m going to fight this war,
I’ve got to make up my own mind about it.

ASHER (extending his arms and putting his hands on GEORGE’S shoulders).
Something’s upset you today, my boy,--you don’t know what you’re saying.
When you get over there and take command of your men you’ll see things
in a truer proportion.

GEORGE. No, I can’t leave it this way, dad. I’ve come to feel this
thing, it’s got hold of me now, I shan’t change. And I’ll be thinking of
it over there, all the time, if we don’t talk it out.

ASHER. For God’s sake, George, don’t speak of it again,--don’t think of
it! There’s no sacrifice I wouldn’t make for you, in reason, but you’re
asking me to go against my life-long convictions. As your father, I
forbid you to entertain such ideas--(he breaks off, choking). Don’t
speak of them, don’t think of them!

   (TIMOTHY FARRELL Steps inside the doorway, upper right, followed by
   BERT, and after a few moments by DR. JONATHAN.)

TIMOTHY. Excuse me sir, but you asked me to be letting you know if I
heard anything. There’s a meeting called for tonight, and they’ll
strike on Monday morning. It’s certain I am, from the way the men are
talking,--unless ye’d agree to meet the committee this afternoon and
come to an understanding like.

ASHER. Let them strike. If they burned down the shops this afternoon,
I wouldn’t stop them! (He waves TIMOTHY Off.) My boy is leaving for
France, and I’m going to New York with him.

TIMOTHY (with a sudden flaring up of sympathy). It’s meself has a boy
going, too, Mr. Pindar. And maybe it’s almost the last I’ll be seeing of
him, this noon hour. Just a word with ye, before it’s too late, sir.

ASHER (suppressing him). No, let them strike!

   (He turns to hide his emotion and then rushes out of the door, lower
   right. GEORGE and BERT come forward and stand with TIMOTHY, silent
   after ASHER’s dramatic exit; when TIMOTHY perceives DR. JONATHAN.)

TIMOTHY. Did you see my Minnie, doctor? She went to your house.

DR. JONATHAN. I met her on the street just now, and left her with Mrs.

GEORGE. Prag’s wife! You’ve been to see her?

DR. JONATHAN. Yes. Her condition is serious. She needs a nurse, and
Minnie volunteered.

TIMOTHY. My Minnie, is it? Then she won’t be going back to Newcastle.

DR. JONATHAN (looking at GEORGE). She won’t be going back to Newcastle.

TIMOTHY. That’s Minnie! (he turns to GEORGE). Well, goodbye, Mr.
George,--I’ll say God bless you again. (He looks at BERT.) You’ll be
fighting over there, the pair of you, for freedom. Have an eye on him,
Sir, if you can,--give him some good advice.

GEORGE (his hand on BERT’S shoulder). Bert can take care of himself, I
guess. I’ll be needing the advice!

   (He shakes hands with TIMOTHY.)



SCENE:   A fairly large room in DR. JONATHAN’s house in Foxon Falls, which
   has been converted into a laboratory. The house antedates the
   PINDAR mansion, having been built in the first decade of the
   nineteenth century, and though not large, has a certain distinction
   and charm. The room has a panelled wainscoting and a carved wooden
   mantel, middle left, painted white, like the doors. Into the
   fireplace is set a Franklin stove. The windows at the rear have
   small panes; the lower sashes are raised; the tops of the hollyhocks
   and foxgloves in the garden bed may be seen above the window sills,
   and the apple trees beyond. Under the windows is a long table, on
   which are chemical apparatus. A white enamelled sink is in the rear
   right corner. The walls are whitewashed, the wooden floor bare. A
   door, left, in the rear, leads into DR. JONATHAN’S office; another,
   middle right, into a little front hall.

TIME: A July morning, 1918.

   MINNIE FARRELL, in the white costume worn by nurses and laboratory
   workers, is at the bench, pouring liquid into a test tube and
   holding its up to the light, when DR. JONATHAN enters from the

DR. JONATHAN. Has anyone been in, Minnie?

MINNIE (turning, with the test tube in her hand). Now, what a question
to ask, Dr. Jonathan! Was there ever a morning or afternoon that
somebody didn’t stray in here with their troubles? (Fiercely.) They
don’t think a scientist has a real job,--they don’t understand, if you
put this across--(she holds up the test tube)--you’ll save the lives of
thousands of soldiers, and a few ordinary folks, too, I guess. But you
won’t let me tell anyone.

DR. JONATHAN. It will be time enough to tell them when we do put it

MINNIE. But we’re going to,--that is, you’re going to.

DR. JONATHAN. You’re too modest, Minnie.

MINNIE. Me modest! But what makes me sore is that they don’t give you
a chance to put this thing across. Dr. Senn’s a back number, and if
they’re sick they come here and expect you to cure ‘em for nothing.

DR. JONATHAN. But they can’t complain if I don’t cure them.

MINNIE. And half the time they ain’t sick at all,--they only imagine it.

DR. JONATHAN. Well, that’s interesting too,--part of a doctor’s
business. It’s pretty hard to tell in these days where the body ends and
the soul begins.

MINNIE. It looks like you’re cutting out the minister, too. You’d ought
to be getting his salary.

DR. JONATHAN. Then I’d have to do his job.

MINNIE. I get you--you’d be paid to give ‘em all the same brand of dope.
You wouldn’t be free.

DR. JONATHAN. To experiment.

MINNIE. You couldn’t be a scientist. Say, every time I meet the minister
I want to cry, he says to himself, “She ran away from Jesus and went to
the bad. What right has she got to be happy?” And Mrs. Pindar’s just
the same. If you leave the straight and narrow path you can’t never get
back--they keep pushing you off.

DR. JONATHAN (who has started to work at the bench). I’ve always had my
doubts about your sins, Minnie.

MINNIE. Oh, I was a sinner, all right, they’ll never get that out of
their craniums. But being a sinner isn’t a patch on being a scientist!
It’s nearly a year now since you took me in. The time’s flown! When
I was in the Pindar Shops, and in the Wire Works at Newcastle I could
always beat the other girls to the Main Street when the whistle blew,
but now I’m sorry when night comes. I can’t hardly wait to get back
here--honest to God! Say, Dr. Jonathan, I’ve found out one thing,--it’s
being in the right place that keeps a man or a woman straight. If you’re
in the wrong place, all the religion in the world won’t help you. If
you’re doing work you like, that you’ve got an interest in, and
that’s some use, you don’t need religion (she pauses). Why, that’s
religion,--it ain’t preaching and praying and reciting creeds, it’s
doing--it’s fun. There’s no reason why religion oughtn’t to be fun, is

DR. JONATHAN. None at all!

MINNIE. Now, if we could get everybody in the right job, we wouldn’t
have any more wars, I guess.

DR. JONATHAN. The millennium always keeps a lap ahead--we never catch up
with it.

MINNIE. Well, I don’t want to catch up with it. We wouldn’t have
anything more to do. Say, it’s nearly eleven o’clock--would you believe
it?--and I’ve been expecting Mr. Pindar to walk in here with the
newspaper. I forgot he was in Washington.

DR. JONATHAN. He was expected home this morning.

MINNIE. What gets me is the way he hangs around here, too, like
everybody else, and yet I’ve heard him call you a Socialist, and swear
he hasn’t any use for Socialists.

DR. JONATHAN. Perhaps he’s trying to find out what a Socialist is.
Nobody seems to know.

MINNIE. He don’t know, anyway. If it hadn’t been for you, his shops
would have been closed down last winter.

DR. JONATHAN. It looks as if they’d be closed down now, anyway.

MINNIE (concerned, looking up). Is that so? Well, he won’t recognize the
union--he doesn’t know what century he’s living in. But he’s human, all
the same, and he’s good to the people he’s fond of, like my father,--and
he sure loves George. He’s got George’s letters all wore out, reading
them, to people. (A pause.) He don’t know where George is, does he, Dr.

DR. JONATHAN. Somewhere in France.

MINNIE. We spotted Bert because he’s with the Marines, at that place
where they put a crimp in the Huns the other day when they were going to
walk into Paris.

DR. JONATHAN. Chateau-Thierry.

MINNIE. I’ll leave it to you. But say, Dr. Jonathan, things don’t look
good to me,--I’m scared we won’t get enough of our boys over there
before the deal’s closed up. I’ve got so I don’t want to look at a

   (A brief silence.)

I never told you George wrote me a couple of letters, did I?

DR. JONATHAN. No, I’m quite sure you didn’t.

MINNIE. I never told nobody. His father and mother would be wild if they
knew it. I didn’t answer them--I just sent him two post cards with no
writing on except the address--just pictures.

DR. JONATHAN. Pictures?

MINNIE. One of the Pindar Church and the Other of the Pindar Shops. I
guess he’ll understand they were from me, all right. You see, when I ran
away from the Pindar Shops and the Pindar Church--I always connect them
together--I was stuck on George. That’s why I ran away.


MINNIE. Oh, I never let him know. I don’t know why I told you--I had to
tell somebody,--and you won’t give me away.

DR. JONATHAN. You may count on me.

MINNIE. He didn’t care nothing about me, really. But you can’t help
liking George. He’s human, all right! If he was boss of the Pindar Shops
there wouldn’t be any strike.

   (A knock at the door, right.)

I wonder who’s butting in now!

   (She goes to the door and jerks it open.)

   (A man’s voice, without.) Good morning, Miss Farrell. Is the doctor

MINNIE. This is his busy day.

DR. JONATHAN (going toward the door). Oh, it’s you, Hillman. Come in.

MINNIE. I guess I’ll go for the mail.

   (With a resigned expression she goes oust right as HILLMAN comes in,
   followed by RENCH and FERSEN. They are the strike committee.
   HILLMAN is a little man, with red hair and a stiff, bristling red
   moustache. He holds himself erect, and walks on the balls of his
   feet, quietly. RENCH is tall and thin, with a black moustache,
   like a seal’s. He has a loud, nasal voice, and an assertive manner.
   FERSEN is a blond Swede.)

   (DR. JONATHAN puts one or two objects in place on the bench. His
   manner is casual but cordial, despite the portentous air of the

   (The men, their hats in their hands, go toward the bench and inspect
   the test tubes and apparatus.)

RENCH (New England twang). Always manage to have something on hand when
you ain’t busy with the folks, doctor. It must be interestin’ to fool
with these here chemicals.

DR. JONATHAN. It keeps me out of mischief.

HILLMAN. I guess you haven’t much time to get into mischief.

FERSEN. We don’t like to bother you.

DR. JONATHAN. No bother, Fersen,--sit down. (He draws forward some
chairs, and they sit down.) How is the baby?

FERSEN. Oh, she is fine, now, since we keep her outside in the baby
carriage, like you tell us.

   (FERSEN grins, and immediately becomes serious again. A brief

HILLMAN (clearing his throat). The fact is, Dr. Jonathan, the boys have
struck,--voted last night to walk out at noon today.

FERSEN. We thought we tell you now. You been such a good friend to us
and our families.

DR. JONATHAN. But isn’t this rather sudden, with Mr. Pindar in

RENCH. We couldn’t wait no longer,--he’s been standing us off for more
than a year. When he comes back from Washington there’ll be nothing
doing. He’s got to recognize the union or lose his contract.

DR. JONATHAN. He may prefer to lose his contract.

RENCH. Well, he can afford to. Then he can go to hell.

HILLMAN. Hold on, Sam, that ain’t no way to talk to the doctor!

RENCH. I didn’t mean no disrespect to him. He don’t go ‘round preachin’,
like some fellers I could mention, but actions is louder than words.
Ain’t that the reason we’re here, because he sympathizes with us and
thinks we’re entitled to a little more of this freedom that’s bein’
handed ‘round? We want you to help us, doctor.

DR. JONATHAN. It seems to me you’ve come a little late, Rench,--after
the event.

HILLMAN. Maybe if you’d said a word, they’d never have voted to strike.

FERSEN. But you never said nothing, Doctor.

DR. JONATHAN. Well, when you get around to admitting doctors to your
labour unions, perhaps they’ll talk.

HILLMAN. If all the doctors was like you!

DR. JONATHAN. Give ‘em a chance, Hillman.

HILLMAN. We don’t have to explain to you why we want the union,--it’s
the only way we’ll ever get a say about the conditions in which we work
and live, now that the day of individual bargaining is gone by. You
understand. Mr. Pindar raised our wages when we threatened to strike
last fall, but he calculates to drop ‘em again when the soldiers come

FERSEN (nodding). Sure thing!

HILLMAN. It’s this way, doctor. We notice Mr. Pindar comin’ in here to
see you every day or so,--like the rest of Foxon Falls. And we thought
you could make him see this thing straight, if any man could.

DR. JONATHAN. So the shops will be idle.

RENCH. Not a shaft’ll turn over till he recognizes the union.

HILLMAN. We don’t want to do nothin’ to obstruct the war, but we’ve got
to have our rights.

DR. JONATHAN. Can you get your rights now, without obstructing the war?

RENCH (aggressively). I get what you’re driving at, doctor. You’re
going to say that we’ve just reached quantity production on these here
machines, and if labour gets from under now, the Huns win. But tell me
this,--where’ll labour be if America wins and our Junkers (he pronounces
the J) come out on top?--as they callate to.

DR. JONATHAN (smiling). When a building with dry rot catches fire,
Rench, can you put limit to how much of it will burn?

RENCH (after a pause). Maybe not. I get you--but--

DR. JONATHAN. No nation, no set of men in any nation can quench that
fire or make the world that is coming out of this war. They may think
they can, but they can’t.

HILLMAN. That’s so!

DR. JONATHAN. Germany will be beaten, because it is the temper of the
nation, the temper of the times--your temper. You don’t want Germany to
win, Rench?

RENCH. No, I guess not.

DR. JONATHAN. And if you don’t work here, you’ll go off to work
somewhere else.

RENCH. Where they recognize the union.

DR. JONATHAN. A good many of your friends have enlisted, haven’t they?
(RENCH nods.) And what do you suppose they are fighting for?

RENCH. For the same thing as we want, a square deal.

DR. JONATHAN. And what do you think George Pindar is fighting for?

RENCH. I ain’t got nothing to say against him.

DR. JONATHAN. If you close down the Pindar Shops, won’t it mean that a
few more of your friends will lose their lives? These men are fighting
for something they don’t yet understand, but when they come back they’ll
know more about it. Why not wait until George Pindar comes back?

RENCH. He mayn’t never come back.

DR. JONATHAN. Give him the opportunity.

RENCH. I like George,--he’s always been friendly--what we call a
common man up here in New England--naturally democratic. But at bottom
employers is all alike. What makes you think he won’t take his ideas
about labour from the old man?

DR. JONATHAN. Because he belongs to the generation that fights this war.

HILLMAN (shuffling). It ain’t no use, doctor. Unless you can bring Mr.
Pindar ‘round, the shops’ll close down.

DR. JONATHAN. I can’t, but something else can.


DR. JONATHAN. Circumstances. No man can swim up stream very long in
these days, Hillman. Wait a while, and see.

RENCH (rising). We’ve voted to put this strike through, and by God,
we’ll do it.

FERSEN (rising and shaking hands with DR. JONATHAN). It’s fine weather,

RENCH (bursting into a laugh). He’s like the man who said, when Congress
declared war, “It’s a fine day for it!” It’s a fine day for a strike!

HILLMAN (who has risen, shaking hands with DR. JONATHAN). But you’ll
talk to Mr. Pindar, anyway?

DR. JONATHAN (smiling). Yes, I’ll talk with him.

   (Enter TIMOTHY FARRELL, right, in working clothes.)

TIMOTHY. Good morning, doctor. (Surveying the committee.) So it’s here
ye are, after voting to walk out of the shops just when we’re beginning
to turn out the machines for the soldiers!

RENCH. If we’d done right we’d have called the strike a year ago.

TIMOTHY. Fine patriots ye are--as I’m sure the doctor is after telling
you--to let the boys that’s gone over there be murdered because ye must
have your union!

HILLMAN. If Mr. Pindar recognizes the union, Timothy, we’ll go to work

TIMOTHY. He recognize the union! He’ll recognize the devil first! Even
Dr. Jonathan, with all the persuasion he has, couldn’t get Mr. Pindar to
recognize the union. He’ll close down the shops, and it’s hunting a job
I’ll be, and I here going on thirty years.

RENCH. If he closes the shops--what then? The blood of the soldiers’ll
be on his head, not ours. If there were fewer scabs in the country--

HILLMAN. Hold on, Sam.

TIMOTHY. A scab, is it? If I was the government do you know what I’d do
with the likes of you--striking in war time? I’d send ye over there to
fight the Huns with your bare fists. I’m a workman meself, but I don’t
hold with traitors.

RENCH. Who’s a traitor? It’s you who are a traitor to your class. If a
union card makes a man a traitor, your own son had one in his pocket the
day he enlisted.

TIMOTHY. A traitor, and he fighting for his country, while you’d be
skulking here to make trouble for it!

   (MINNIE appears on the threshold of the door, right. DR. JONATHAN,
   who is the first to perceive from her expression that there is
   something wrong, takes a step toward her. After a moment’s silence
   she comes up to TIMOTHY and lays a hand on his arm.)

TIMOTHY (bewildered). What is it, Minnie?

MINNIE. Come home, father.

TIMOTHY. What is it? It’s not a message ye have--it’s not a message
about Bert?

   (MINNIE continues to gaze at him.)

The one I’d be looking for these many days! (He seizes her.) Can’t ye
speak, girl? Is the boy dead?

MINNIE. Yes, father.

TIMOTHY (puts his hand to his forehead and lets fall his hat. DR.
JONATHAN picks it up). Me boy! The dirty devils have killed him!

MINNIE. Come, father, we’ll go home.

TIMOTHY. Home, is it? It’s back to the shops I’m going. (To the
committee) Damn ye--we’ll run the shops in spite of ye! Where’s me hat?

   (DR. JONATHAN hands it to him as the committee file out in silence.)

Come with me as far as the shops, Minnie. Thank you, doctor--(as DR.
JONATHAN gives him the hat)--it’s you I’ll be wanting to see when I get
me mind again.

   (DR. JONATHAN goes with TIMOTHY and MINNIE as far as the door,
   right, and then comes back thoughtfully to the bench, takes up a
   test tube and holds it to the light. Presently ASHER PINDAR
   appears in the doorway, right.)

ASHER. Good morning, Jonathan.

DR. JONATHAN. Good morning, Asher. I didn’t know you’d got back from

ASHER. I came in on the mail train.

DR. JONATHAN. Have you been to the office?

ASHER. No. I stopped at the house to speak to Augusta, and then--(he
speaks a trifle apologetically)--well, I went for a little walk.


ASHER. I’ve been turning something over in my mind. And the country
looked so fine and fresh I crossed the covered bridge to the other side
of the river. When George was a child I used to go over there with him
on summer afternoons. He was such a companionable little shaver--he’d
drop his toys when he’d see me coming home from the office. I can see
him now, running along that road over there, stopping to pick funny
little bouquets--the kind a child makes, you know--ox-eyed daisies and
red clover and buttercups all mixed up together, and he’d carry them
home and put them in a glass on the desk in my study.

   (A pause.)

It seems like yesterday! It’s hard to realize that he’s a grown man,
fighting over there in the trenches, and that any moment I may get a
telegram, or be called to the telephone--Have you seen today’s paper?


ASHER. It looks like more bad news,--the Germans have started another
one of those offensives. I was afraid they were getting ready for it.
West of Verdun this time. And George may be in that sector, for all I
know. How is this thing going to end, Jonathan? That damned military
machine of theirs seems invincible--it keeps grinding on. Are we going
to be able to stem the tide, or to help stem it with a lot of raw
youths. They’ve only had a year’s training.

DR. JONATHAN. Germany can’t win, Asher.

ASHER. What makes you say that? We started several years too late.

Dr. JONATHAN. And Germany started several centuries too late.

ASHER. My God, I hope you’re right. I don’t know.

   (He walks once or twice up and down the room..)

I’ve had another letter.

DR. JONATHAN. This morning?

ASHER. No--I got it before I left for Washington. But I didn’t bring it
in to you I wanted to think about it.

   (He draws the letter, together with a folded paper, from his pocket,
   and lays the paper down on the bench. Then he adjusts his glasses
   and begins to read.)

“Dear dad,

“The sky is the colour of smeared charcoal. We haven’t been in the
trenches long enough to evolve web feet, so mine are resting on a duck
board spread over a quagmire of pea soup. The Heinies are right here,
soaking in another ditch beyond a barbed wire fence, about the distance
of second base from the home plate. Such is modern war!

“But these aren’t the things that trouble me. Last night, when I was wet
to the skin and listening to the shells--each singing its own song in
the darkness--I was able to think with astonishing ease better than if
I were sitting at a mahogany desk in a sound proof room! I was thinking
over the talk we had the day I left home,--do you remember it?--about
the real issue of this war. I’ve thought of it time and again, but I’ve
never written you about it. Since I have been in France I have had a
liberal education gathered from all sorts and conditions of men. Right
here in the trench near me are a street car conductor, a haberdasher, a
Swedish farm hand, a grocery clerk, a college professor, a Pole from the
Chicago Stock Yards, an Irish American janitor of a New York apartment
house, and Grierson from Cleveland, whose father has an income of
something like a million a year. We have all decided that this is a
war for the under dog, whether he comes from Belgium or Armenia or that
so-called land of Democracy, the United States of America. The hope that
spurs us on and makes us willing to endure these swinish surroundings
and die here in the mud, if need be, is that the world will now be
reorganized on some intelligent basis; that Grierson and I, if we get
back, won’t have to rot on a large income and petrified ideas, but will
have some interesting and creative work to do. Economic inequalities
must be reduced, and those who toil must be given a chance to live, not
merely to exist. Their lives must include a little leisure, comfortable
homes, art and beauty and above all an education that none of us,
especially those of us who went to universities, never got,--but which
now should be available for all.

“The issue of this war is industrial democracy, without which political
democracy is a farce. That sentence is Dr. Jonathan’s. But when I was
learning how to use the bayonet from a British sergeant in Picardy I
met an English manufacturer from Northumberland. He is temporarily an
officer. I know your opinion of theorists, but this man is working out
the experiment with human chemicals. After all, the Constitution of
the United States, now antiquated and revered, once existed only in the
brains of French theorists! In the beginning was the Word, but the
deed must follow. This Englishman, whose name is Wray, has given me the
little pamphlet he wrote from his experience, and I shall send it to

“Though I am writing this letter in what to me is a solemn and
undoubtedly exalted hour, I am sure that my mind was never clearer
or saner. Dad, I have set my heart on inaugurating an experiment in
industrial democracy in Foxon Falls! I’d like to be able to think--if
anything happened to me--that the Pindar shops were among the first
in America to recognize that we are living in a new era and a changed

   (ASHER walks over to the bench and lays down the open letter on it.)

If anything should happen to that boy, Jonathan, there wouldn’t be
anything in life left for me! Industrial democracy! So you put that into
his head! Socialism, I suppose.

DR. JONATHAN. No, experimental science.

ASHER. Call it what you like. What surprises me is, when I look back
over the months you’ve been here, how well we’ve got along in spite of
your views.

DR. JONATHAN. Why not say in spite of yours, Asher?

ASHER (smiling involuntarily). Well, it’s been a comfort to drop in here
and talk to you, in spite of what you believe. You’ve got the gift of
sympathy, Jonathan. But I don’t approve of you’re spending your time in
this sort of work--(he waves a hand toward the bench)--which may never
come to anything, and in doctoring people for nothing and patching up
their troubles. I daresay you enjoy it, but what worries me is how you
are going to live?

DR. JONATHAN. By practising your cardinal virtue, thrift.

ASHER. I’ve got a proposal to make to you part of a scheme I’ve been
turning over in my mind for the last six months--and when George’s
letter came I decided to put it through. I went to New York and had
Sterry, a corporation lawyer, draw it up. I’m going to prove I’m not a
mossback. It will reorganize the Pindar Shops.

DR. JONATHAN. Well, that’s good news.

ASHER. First, with reference to your part in it, I shall establish a
free hospital for my employees, and put you in charge of it, at a salary
of five thousand a year. After all, you’re the only Pindar left except
George, and I’m satisfied that as a doctor you’re up to the job, since
you’ve driven Dr. Senn out of business.

DR. JONATHAN. Practical proof, Asher. Fortunately Dr. Senn has enough to
live on.

ASHER. In offering you this position I have only one stipulation to
make--(he clears his throat)--it’s about Minnie Farrell. I think the
world of Timothy, I wouldn’t willingly hurt his feelings, but I can’t
have Minnie with you in the hospital, Jonathan. You deserve a great
deal of credit for what you’ve done for the girl, you’ve kept her out of
mischief, but considering her past, her life at Newcastle--well, even if
I approved of having her in the hospital Augusta would never hear of it.
And then she had some sort of an affair with George--I daresay there was
nothing wrong--

DR. JONATHAN. Wrong is a question of code, Asher. We’ve all had
pasts--What interests me is Minnie’s future.

ASHER. Of course you wouldn’t decline my offer on Minnie’s account.

DR. JONATHAN. On my own account, Asher. We’ll say no more about Minnie.

ASHER. You refuse to help me, when I’m starting out on a liberal scheme
which I thought you would be the first to endorse?

DR. JONATHAN. I have not refused to help you,--but you have not told me
the scheme?

ASHER. Well. (He’ taps the paper in his hand.) For those employees who
serve me faithfully I have arranged pensions.

DR. JONATHAN. For those, in other words, who refrain from taking their
destinies in their own hands, and who do as you wish.

ASHER. For those who are industrious and make no trouble. And I have
met the objection that they have no share in the enterprise by allowing
them, on favourable terms, to acquire stock in the company.

DR. JONATHAN. I see. You will let them acquire half of the stock, in
order that they may have an equal voice.

ASHER. Equal? It’s my company, isn’t it?

DR. JONATHAN. At present.

ASHER. I supply the capital. Furthermore, I have arranged for a system
of workmen’s committees, which I recognize, and with which I will
continually consult. That’s democratic enough--isn’t it? If the men have
any grievances, these will be presented in an orderly manner through the

DR. JONATHAN. And if you find the demands--reasonable, you grant them.

ASHER. Certainly. But one thing I set my face against as a matter of
principle, I won’t recognize the unions.

DR. JONATHAN. But--who is to enforce the men’s side of this contract?

ASHER. What do you mean?

DR. JONATHAN. What guarantee have they, other than a union organization,
that you will keep faith?

ASHER. My word.


ASHER. Never in my life have I regarded my possessions as my own. I am a

DR. JONATHAN. The sole trustee.

ASHER. Under God.

DR. JONATHAN. And you have God’s proxy. Well, it seems to me that that
is a very delightful arrangement, Asher--William appears to approve of
it, too.

ASHER. William? William who?

DR. JONATHAN. William Hohenzollern.

ASHER. You compare me to the Kaiser!

DR. JONATHAN. Only in so far as you have in common a certain
benevolence, Asher. Wouldn’t your little plan, if your workmen accepted
it, keep you in as a benevolent autocrat?

ASHER. Me? an autocrat?

DR. JONATHAN. You are preparing to give your men more privileges, and
perhaps more money on the condition that they will renounce rights to
which they are entitled as free men. You are ready to grant anything but
a constitution. So is William.

ASHER. Do you seriously suggest that I give labour a voice in my

DR. JONATHAN. Doesn’t George suggest it, when he pleads for industrial
democracy? He seems to think that he is ready to give his life for it.
And Bert Farrell has already given his life for it.

ASHER (agitatedly). What? Timothy’s boy, Bert? Is he dead? Why didn’t
you tell me?

DR. JONATHAN (gently). I’ve had no chance. Minnie and Timothy were here
just before you came in.

ASHER. Oh God, I’m sorry--I’m sorry for Timothy. It might have
been--I’ll go and see Timothy. Where is he?--at his house.

DR. JONATHAN. No, at the shops. He wanted to keep working until they
close down.

ASHER (who has started for the door, right, turns). What do you mean?

   (There is a knock at the door.)

DR. JONATHAN. I mean that the moment has come, Asher, to remember
George. That your opportunity is here--heed it.

ASHER. I can’t, I won’t desert my principles

   (The knock is repeated. DR. JONATHAN goes to the door and opens it.
   Enter, in the order named, HILLMAN, RENCH and FERSEN.)

HILLMAN. Beg your pardon, Mr. Pindar, we’ve been waiting for you at the
office, and we heard you was here.

ASHER ( facing them with a defiance almost leonine). Well, what is it?

HILLMAN (glancing at DR. JONATHAN). There’s a matter we’d like to talk
over with you, Mr. Pindar, as soon as convenient.

ASHER. This is as convenient as any time, right now.

HILLMAN. The men voted to strike, last night. Maybe Dr. Jonathan has
told you.

ASHER. Voted to strike behind my back while I was in Washington
attending to the nation’s business!

RENCH. It ain’t as if this was anything new, Mr. Pindar, as if we hadn’t
been discussing this here difference for near a year. You’ve had your
warning right along.

ASHER. Didn’t I raise your wages last January?

HILLMAN. Wait a minute, Mr. Pindar. (He looks at DR. JONATHAN.)
It oughtn’t to be only what you say--what capital says. Collective
bargaining is only right and fair, now that individual bargaining has
gone by. We want to be able to talk to you as man to man,--that’s only
self-respecting on our part. All you’ve got to do is to say one word,
that you’ll recognize the union, and I’ll guarantee there won’t be any

RENCH. If you don’t, we walk out at noon.

HILLMAN (with an attempt at conciliation). I know if we could sit down
and talk this thing out with you, Mr. Pindar, you’d see it reasonable.

ASHER. Reasonable? Treasonable, you mean,--to strike when the lives of
hundreds of thousands of your fellow countrymen depend on your labour.

RENCH. We ain’t striking--you’re striking!

FERSEN (nodding). That’s right!

RENCH. We’re ready to go back to work this afternoon if you treat us
like Americans. (FERSEN nods.) You say we’re obstructing the war by not
giving in,--what’s the matter with you giving in? Ain’t the employers
just as much traitors as we?

HILLMAN. Hold on, Sam,--we won’t get nowhere by calling names. Let’s
discuss it cool!

ASHER. I refuse to discuss it.

   (He takes the paper out of his docket and holds it up.)

Do you see this paper? It’s a plan I had made, of my own free will, for
the betterment and advancement of the working class. It was inspired by
the suggestion of my son, who is now fighting in France. I came back to
Foxon Falls this morning happy in the hope that I was to do something
to encourage what was good in labour--and how have I been met? With
a demand, with a threat. I was a fool to think you could stand decent

   (He seizes the paper, and tears it in two.)

HILLMAN. Wait a minute, Mr. Pindar. If you won’t listen to us, maybe Dr.
Jonathan would say a word for us. He understands how we feel.

ASHER (savagely tearing the paper in two, and then again in four).
That’s my answer! I won’t have Dr. Pindar or anyone else interfering in
my private affairs.

RENCH. All right--I guess we’re wasting time here, boys. We walk out and
stay out. (Threateningly.) Not a shaft’ll turn over in them shops until
you recognize the union. And if that’s treason, go back to Washington
and tell ‘em so. Come on boys!

   (He walks out, followed by FERSEN, nodding, and lastly by HILLMAN,
   who glances at DR. JONATHAN. ASHER stares hard at them as they
   leave. Then an expression of something like agony crosses his

ASHER. My God, it’s come! My shops shut down, for the first time in my
life, and when the government relies on me!

   (DR. JONATHAN stoops down and picks up the fragments of the document
   from the floor.)

What are you doing?

DR. JONATHAN. Trying to save the pieces, Asher.

ASHER. I’ve got no use for them now.

DR. JONATHAN. But history may have.

ASHER. History. History will brand these men with shame for all time.
I’ll fix ‘em! I’ll go back to Washington, and if the government has
any backbone, if it’s still American, they’ll go to work or fight!
(Pointedly.) This is what comes of your Utopian dreams, of your

   (A POLAK WOMAN is seen standing in the doorway, right.)

WOMAN. Doctor!


WOMAN. My baby is seek--I think maybe you come and see him. Mrs.
Ladislaw she tell me you cure her little boy, and that maybe you come,
if I ask you.

DR. JONATHAN. Yes, I’ll come. What is your name?

WOMAN. Sasenoshky.

DR. JONATHAN. Your husband is in the shops?

WOMAN. He was, doctor. Now he is in the American army.

DR. JONATHAN. Sasenoshky--in the American army.

WOMAN (proudly). Yes, he is good American now,--he fight to make them
free in the old country, too.

DR. JONATHAN. Well, we’ll have a look at the baby. He may be in the
White House some day--President Sasenoshky! I’ll be back, Asher.

   (The noon whistle blows.)

ASHER. That’s the signal! I’ll get along, too.

DR. JONATHAN. Where are you going?

ASHER. I guess it doesn’t make much difference where I go.

   (He walks out, followed by DR. JONATHAN and the WOMAN. The room is
   empty for a moment, and then MINNIE FARRELL enters through the
   opposite door, left, from DR. JONATHAN’S office. She gazes around
   the room, and then goes resolutely to the bench and takes up several
   test tubes in turn, holding theme to the light. Suddenly her eye
   falls on GEORGE’S letter, which ASHER has left open on the bench
   with the envelope beside it. MINNIE Slowly reaches out and picks it
   up, and then holds it to her lips... She still has the letter
   in her hand, gazing at it, when AUGUSTA PINDAR enters, right.)

AUGUSTA. Oh, I thought Mr. Pindar was here!

MINNIE. Perhaps he’s been here--I don’t know. I just came in. (She
hesitates a second, then goes to the bench and lays the letter down.)

AUGUSTA. He must have been here,--he told me he was coming to talk with
Dr. Pindar.

   (She approaches the bench and glances at the letter.)

Isn’t that a letter from my son?

MINNIE (a little defiantly, yet almost in tears). I guess it is.

AUGUSTA. It was written to you?


AUGUSTA. Then what were you doing with it?

MINNIE. I just--picked it up. You think I was reading it? Well, I

AUGUSTA. Then how did you know it was written by my son?

   (MINNIE is silent.)

You must be familiar with his handwriting. I think I’d better take it.
(She folds it up and puts it in the envelope.) Does George write to you?

MINNIE. I’ve had letters from him.

AUGUSTA. Since he went to France?


AUGUSTA (after a pause). I’ve never approved of Dr. Findar employing
you here. I warned him against you--I told him that you would betray his
kindness as you betrayed mine, but he wouldn’t listen to me. I told him
that a girl who was capable of drawing my son into an intrigue while
she was a member of the church and of my Bible class, a girl who had the
career you had in Newcastle, couldn’t become a decent and trustworthy
woman. The very fact that you had the audacity to come back to Foxon
Falls and impose on Dr. Pindar’s simplicity, proves it.

MINNIE. You know all about me, Mrs. Pindar.

AUGUSTA. I wasn’t born yesterday.

MINNIE. Oh, ladies like you, Christian ladies, are hard! They won’t
believe nothing good of anybody--only the bad. You’ve always been
sheltered, you’ve always had everything you’d want, and you come and
judge us working girls. You’d drive me out of the only real happiness
I ever had, being here with a man like Dr. Jonathan, doing work it’s
a pleasure to do--a pleasure every minute!--work that may do good to
thousands of people, to the soldiers over there--maybe to George, for
all you know! (She burst into tears.) You can’t understand--how could
you? After all, you’re his mother. I oughtn’t to forget it.

AUGUSTA. Yes, I’m his mother. And you? You haven’t given up the idea
that he may marry you some day, if you stay here and pretend to have
reformed. You write to him. George may have been foolish, but he isn’t
as foolish as that!

MINNIE. He doesn’t care about me.

AUGUSTA. I’m glad you realize it. But you mean to stay here in Foxon
Falls, nevertheless. You take advantage of Dr. Pindar, who is easily
imposed upon, as his father was before him. But if I told you that you
might harm Dr. Pindar by staying here, interfere with his career, would
you be willing to leave?

MINNIE. Me? Me doing Dr. Jonathan harm?

AUGUSTA, Yes. I happen to know that he has very little money. He makes
none, he never asks anyone for a bill. He spends what he has on this
kind of thing--research, for the benefit of humanity, as he thinks,--but
very little research work succeeds, and even then it doesn’t pay.

MINNIE. He doesn’t care about money.

AUGUSTA. Perhaps not. He is one of those impractical persons who have to
be looked out for, if they are fortunate enough to have anyone to look
out for them. Since he is a cousin of my husband, Mr. Pindar considers
him as one of his many responsibilities. Mr. Pindar has always had, in
a practical way, the welfare of his working people at heart, and now he
proposes to establish a free hospital for them and to put Dr. Pindar
in charge of it. This will give him a good living as well as a definite
standing in the community, which he needs also.

MINNIE. He’s the biggest man in Foxon Falls today!

AUGUSTA. That is as one thinks. At any rate, he has this opportunity.
Are you going to stand in the way of it?

MINNIE. Me stand in the way of it?

AUGUSTA. If Dr. Pindar accepts the place, you can’t go with him,--you
will have to find some other position. Mr. Pindar is firm about that,
and rightly so. But I believe Dr. Pindar would be quite capable of
refusing rather than inconvenience anyone with whom he is connected.

MINNIE. You’re right there!

AUGUSTA. He’s quixotic.

MINNIE. If that’s a compliment, you’re right again.

AUGUSTA. It isn’t exactly a compliment.

MINNIE. I guess you mean he’s queer--but you’re wrong--you’re wrong!
He’s the only man in Foxon Falls who knows what kind of a world we’re
going to live in from now on. Why? Because he’s a scientist, because
he’s trained himself to think straight, because he understands people
like you and people like me. He don’t blame us for what we do--he knows
why we do it.

   (A pause.)

That’s the reason I try not to blame you for being hard--you can’t
understand a girl like me. You can’t understand George.

AUGUSTA (white). We’ll leave my son out of the conversation, if
you please. We were talking of Dr. Pindar. You seem to have some
consideration for him, at least.

MINNIE. I’d go to the electric chair for him!

AUGUSTA. I’m not asking you to do that.

MINNIE. You want me to go away and get another place. I remember a
lesson you gave us one day in Bible class, “Judge not, that you be not
judged,”--that was what you talked about. But you’re judging me on what
you think is my record,--and you’d warn people against hiring me. If
everybody was a Christian like that these days, I’d starve or go on the

AUGUSTA. We have to pay for what we do.

MINNIE. And you make it your business to see that we pay.

   (A pause.)

Well, I’ll go. I didn’t know how poor Dr. Jonathan was,--he never said
anything about it to me. I’ll disappear.

AUGUSTA. You have some good in you.

MINNIE. Don’t begin talking to me about good!

   (TIMOTHY FARRELL enters, right.)

TIMOTHY. Good morning, ma’am. (Looking at MINNIE and AUGUSTA). I came to
fetch Minnie to pass an hour with me.

AUGUSTA (agitated and taken aback). Were--were having a little talk.
(She goes up to TIMOTHY.) I’m distressed to hear about Bert!

TIMOTHY. Thank you for your sympathy, ma’am.

   (A brief silence. Enter ASHER, right.)

ASHER (surveying the group). You here, Augusta? (He goes up to TIMOTHY
and presses his hand.) I wanted to see you, Timothy,--I understand how
you feel. We both gave our sons in this war. You’ve lost yours, and I
expect to lose mine.


TIMOTHY. Don’t say that, Mr. Pindar

ASHER. Why not? What right have I to believe, after what has happened in
my shops today, that he’ll come back?

TIMOTHY. God forbid that he should be lost, too! There’s trouble
enough--sorrow enough--

ASHER. Sorrow enough! But if a man has one friend left, Timothy, it’s

TIMOTHY (surprised). Sure, I hope it’s a friend I am, sir,--a friend
this thirty years.

ASHER. We’re both old fashioned, Timothy,--we can’t help that.

TIMOTHY. I’m old fashioned enough to want to be working. And now that
the strike’s on, whatever will I do? Well, Bert is after giving his life
for human liberty,--the only thing a great-hearted country like America
would be fighting for. There’s some comfort in that! I think of him as
a little boy, like when he’d be carrying me dinner pail to the shops at
noon, runnin’ and leppin’ and callin’ out to me, and he only that high!

ASHER. As a little boy!

TIMOTHY. Yes, sir, it’s when I like to think of him best. There’s a
great comfort in childher, and when they grow up we lose them anyway.
But it’s fair beset I’ll be now, with nothing to do but think of him.

ASHER. You can thank these scoundrels who are making this labour trouble
for that.

TIMOTHY. Scoundrels, is it? Scoundrels is a hard word, Mr. Pindar.

ASHER. What else are they? Scoundrels and traitors! Don’t tell me that
you’ve gone over to them, Timothy--that you’ve deserted me, too! That
you sympathize with these agitators who incite class against class!

TIMOTHY. I’ve heard some of them saying, sir, that if the unions gain
what they’re after, there’ll be no classes at all at all. And classes is
what some of us didn’t expect to find in this country, but freedom.

ASHER. Freedom! They’re headed for anarchy. And they haven’t an ounce of

TIMOTHY (meaningly). Don’t say that, sir. Me own boy is after dying over
there, and plenty have gone out of your own shops, as ye can see for
yourself every time you pass under the office door with some of the
stars in the flag turning to gold. And those who stays at home and works
through the night is patriots, too. The unions may be no better than
they should be, but the working man isn’t wanting anyone to tell him
whether he’d be joining them or not.

ASHER. I never expected to hear you talk like this!

TIMOTHY. Nor I, sir. But it’s the sons, Mr. Pindar,--the childher that
changes us. I’ve been thinking this morning that Bert had a union
card in his pocket when he went away,--and if he died for that kind
of liberty, it’s good enough for his old father to live for. I see how
wicked it was to be old fashioned.

ASHER. Wicked?

TIMOTHY. Isn’t it the old fashioned nation we’re fighting, with its
kings and emperors and generals that would crush the life and freedom
out of them that need life. And why wouldn’t the men have the right to
organize, sir, the way that they’d have a word to say about what they’d
be doing?

ASHER. You--you ask me to sacrifice my principles and yield to men who
are deliberately obstructing the war?

TIMOTHY. Often times principles is nothing but pride, sir. And it might
be yourself that’s obstructing the war, when with a simple word from you
they’d go on working.

ASHER (agitatedly). I can’t, I won’t recognize a labour union!

TIMOTHY. Have patience, sir. I know ye’ve a kind heart, and that ye’ve
always acted according to your light, the same as me. But there’s more
light now, sir,--it’s shining through the darkness, brighter than the
flashes of the cannon over there. In the moulding room just now it seems
to break all around me, and me crying like a child because the boy was
gone. There was things I hadn’t seen before or if I saw them, it was
only dim-like, to trouble me (ASHER turns away) the same as you are
troubled now. And to think it’s me that would pity you, Mr. Pindar! I
says to myself, I’ll talk to him. I ain’t got no learning, I can’t find
the words I’m after--but maybe I can persuade him it ain’t the same
world we’re living in.

ASHER. I was ready to recognize that. Before they came to me this
morning I had made a plan to reorganize the shops, to grant many

TIMOTHY. You’ll excuse me, sir, but it’s what they don’t want,--anyone
to be granting them privileges, but to stand on their own feet, the same
as you. I never rightly understood until just now,--and that because I
was always looking up, while you’d be looking down, and seeing nothing
but the bent backs of them. It’s inside we must be looking, sir,--and
God made us all the same, you and me, and Mr. George and my son Bert,
and the Polak and his wife and childher. It’s the strike in every one of
us, sir,--and half the time we’d not know why we’re striking!

ASHER. You’re right there, Timothy

TIMOTHY. But that makes no difference, sir. It’s what we can’t be
reasoning, but the nature in us all--

   (He flings his arm toward the open windows.)
--like the flowers and the trees in the doctor’s garden groping to the
light of the sun. Maybe the one’ll die for lack of the proper soil, and
many is cruelly trampled on, but the rest’ll be growing, and none to
stop ‘em.

ASHER (pacing to the end of the room, and turning). No, I won’t listen
to it! You--you ask me to yield to them, when you have lost your son,
when they’re willing to sacrifice--to murder my son on the field of

   (He pauses and looks toward the doorway, right. DR. JONATHAN
   standing there, holding in his hand a yellow envelope. ASHER
   starts forward.)

A telegram? For me?

DR. JONATHAN. Yes, Asher.

   (After giving it to ASHER, DR. JONATHAN takes his stand beside
   MINNIE, who is at the back of the room, near the bench. He lays a
   hand on her arm. ASHER tears open the envelope and stares at the
   telegram, his hands trembling.)

ASHER (exclaiming, in a half whisper). George!

AUGUSTA. Oh Asher, not--not--!

   (She reaches for the telegram. He gives it to her. She reads.)
“Captain George Pindar severely wounded, condition critical.”

TIMOTHY. Please God he’ll be spared to ye!



SCENE: Same as in Act I, the library of ASHER PINDAR’S house.

TIME:   The following day, early afternoon. A storm is raging, with wind
   and rain and occasional bright flashes of lightning and heavy peals
   of thunder. ASHER is pacing up and down the room, folding and
   unfolding his hands behind his back, when AUGUSTA enters, lower
   right, her knitting in her hand. There is a flash and a peal of

AUGUSTA. Oh! Asher, did you know that the elm at the end of the Common
was struck just now?--that splendid old landmark!

ASHER. All the old landmarks are being struck down, one after another.

AUGUSTA (going up to him and putting her hand on his arm). I’ve been
so nervous all day. Do be careful how you go about during this strike.
Those sullen and angry groups of men on the street this morning--

ASHER. Oh, they wouldn’t dare touch me. If we only had a state
constabulary we’d soon break that sort of thing up. But the Legislature
trembles whenever a labour leader opens his mouth.

AUGUSTA (sitting down and taking up her knitting). If only I could be of
some help to you! But it’s always been so.

ASHER. You’ve been a good wife, Augusta!

AUGUSTA. I don’t know. I’ve kept your house, I’ve seen that you were
well fed, but I’ve been thinking lately how little that is for a
woman--for a human being.

ASHER (surprised). Why, Augusta! I can’t remember the time when you
haven’t been busy. You’ve taken an active part in church work and looked
out for the people of the village.

AUGUSTA. Yes, and what has it all amounted to? The poor are ungrateful,
they won’t go near the church, and today they’re buying pianos. Soon
there won’t be any poor to help.

ASHER. That’s so. We’ll be the paupers, if this sort of thing keeps on.

AUGUSTA. I’ve tried to do my duty as a Christian woman, but the world
has no use, apparently, for Christians in these times. And whenever you
have any really serious trouble, I seem to be the last person you take
into your confidence.

ASHER. I don’t worry you with business matters.

AUGUSTA. Because you do not regard me as your intellectual equal.

ASHER. A woman has her sphere. You have always filled it admirably.

AUGUSTA. “Adorn” is the word, I believe.

ASHER. To hear you talk, one would think you’d been contaminated by
Jonathan. You, of all people!

AUGUSTA. There seems to be no place for a woman like me in these
days,--I don’t recognize the world I’m living in.

ASHER. You didn’t sleep a wink last night, thinking of George.

AUGUSTA. I’ve given up all hope of ever seeing him again alive.

   (Enter DR. JONATHAN, lower right. His calmness is in contrast to
   the storm, and to the mental states of ASHER and AUGUSTA.)

Why, Jonathan, what are you doing out in this storm?

DR. JONATHAN. I came to see you, Augusta.

AUGUSTA (knitting, trying to hide her perturbation at his appearance).
Did you? You might have waited until the worst was over. You still have
to be careful of your health, you know.

DR. JONATHAN (sitting down). There are other things more important than
my health. No later news about George, I suppose.

ASHER. Yes. I got another telegram early this morning saying that he is
on his way home on a transport.

DR. JONATHAN. On his way home!

ASHER. If he lives to arrive. I’ll show you the wire. Apparently they
can’t make anything out of his condition, but think it’s shell shock.
This storm has been raging along the coast ever since nine o’clock, the
wires are down, but I did manage to telephone to New York and get hold
of Frye, the shell-shock specialist. In case George should land today,
he’ll meet him.

DR. JONATHAN. Frye is a good man.

ASHER. George is hit by a shell and almost killed nearly a month ago,
and not a word do I hear of it until I get that message in your house
yesterday! Then comes this other telegram this morning. What’s to be
said about a government capable of such inefficiency? Of course the
chances of his landing today are small, but I can’t leave for New York
until tonight because that same government sends a labour investigator
here to pry into my affairs, and make a preliminary report. They’re
going to decide whether or not I shall keep my property or hand it over
to them! And whom do they send? Not a business man, who’s had practical
experience with labour, but a professor out of some university,--a

DR. JONATHAN. Awkward people, these professors. But what would you do
about it, Asher? Wall up the universities?

ASHER. Their trustees, who are business men, should forbid professors
meddling in government and politics. This fellow had the impudence to
tell me to my face that my own workmen, whom I am paying, aren’t working
for me. I’m only supposed to be supplying the capital. We talk about
Germany being an autocracy it’s nothing to what this country has become!

DR. JONATHAN (smiling). An autocracy of professors instead of business
men. Well, every dog has his day. And George is coming home.

ASHER. And what is there left to hand over to him if he lives? What
future has the Pindar Shops,--which I have spent my life to build up?

DR. JONATHAN. If George lives, as we hope, you need not worry about the
future of the Pindar Shops, I think.

AUGUSTA. If God will only spare him!

ASHER. I guess I’ve about got to the point where I don’t believe that a
God exists.

   (A flash and a loud peal of thunder.)


ASHER. Then let Him strike me!

   (He hurries abruptly out of the door, left.)

AUGUSTA (after a silence). During all the years of our married life, he
has never said such a thing as that. Asher an atheist!

DR. JONATHAN. So was Job, Augusta,--for a while.

AUGUSTA (avoiding DR. JONATHAN’S glance, and beginning to knit). You
wanted to speak to me, Jonathan?

   (The MAID enters, lower right.)

MAID. Timothy Farrell, ma’am.

   (Exit maid, enter TIMOTHY FARRELL.)

AUGUSTA. I’m afraid Mr. Pindar can’t see you just now, Timothy.

TIMOTHY. It’s you I’ve come to see, ma’am, if you’ll bear with me,--who
once took an interest in Minnie.

AUGUSTA. It is true that I once took an interest in her, Timothy, but
I’m afraid I have lost it. I dislike to say this to you, her father, but
it’s so.

TIMOTHY. Don’t be hard on her, Mrs. Pindar. She may have been wild-like
in Newcastle, but since she was back here to work for the doctor she’s
been a good girl, and that happy I wouldn’t know her, and a comfort to
me in me old age,--what with Bert gone, and Jamesy taken to drink! And
now she’s run away and left me alone entirely, with the shops closed,
and no work to do.

AUGUSTA (knitting). She’s left Foxon Falls?

TIMOTHY (breaking down for a moment). When I woke up this morning I
found a letter beside me bed--I’m not to worry, she says and I know
how fond of me she was--be the care she took of me. She’s been keeping
company with no young man--that I know. If she wasn’t working with the
doctor on that discovery she’d be home with me.

AUGUSTA. I’m sorry for you, Timothy, but I don’t see what I can do.

TIMOTHY. I minded that you were talking to her yesterday in the
lab’rat’ry, before the telegram came about Mr. George.


TIMOTHY. It was just a hope, ma’am, catching at a straw-like.

AUGUSTA (tightening her lips). I repeat that I’m sorry for you, Timothy.
I have no idea where she has gone.

TIMOTHY (looking at her fixedly. She pauses in her knitting and returns
his look). Very well, ma’am--there’s no need of my bothering you. You’ve
heard nothing more of Mr. George?

AUGUSTA (with sudden tears). They’re sending him home.

TIMOTHY. And now that ye’re getting him back, ma’am, ye might think with
a little more charity of her that belongs to me--the only one I’d have

   (TIMOTHY goes out, lower right. AUGUSTA is blinded by tears. She
   lets fall her ball of wool. DR. JONATHAN picks it up.)

AUGUSTA. I try to be fair in my judgments, and true to my convictions,
but what Minnie has done cannot be condoned.

DR. JONATHAN (sitting down beside AUGUSTA) And what has Minnie done,

AUGUSTA. You ask me that? I try hard to give you credit, Jonathan, for
not knowing the ways of the world--but it’s always been difficult to
believe that Minnie Farrell had become well--a bad woman.

DR. JONATHAN. A bad woman. I gather, then, that you don’t believe in the
Christian doctrines of repentance and regeneration.

AUGUSTA (bridling). The leopard doesn’t change his spots. And has she
shown any sign of repentance? Has she come to me and asked my pardon for
the way in which she treated me? Has she gone to church and asked God’s
forgiveness? But I know you are an agnostic, Jonathan,--it grieves me. I
couldn’t expect you to see the necessity of that.

DR. JONATHAN. If it hadn’t been for Minnie, I shouldn’t have been
able to achieve a discovery that may prove of value to our suffering
soldiers, as well as to injured operatives in factories. In spite of the
news of her brother’s death, Minnie worked all afternoon and evening.
It was midnight when we made the successful test, after eight months of

AUGUSTA. I hope the discovery may be valuable. It seems to me that there
is too much science in these days and too little religion. I’ve never
denied that the girl is clever.

DR. JONATHAN. But you would deny her the opportunity to make something
of her cleverness because in your opinion; she has broken the Seventh
Commandment. Is that it?

AUGUSTA. I can’t listen to you when you talk in this way.

DR. JONATHAN. But you listen every Sunday to Moses--if it was
Moses?--when he talks in this way. You have made up your mind, haven’t
you, that Minnie has broken the Commandment?

AUGUSTA. I’m not a fool, Jonathan.

DR. JONATHAN. You are what is called a good woman. Have you proof that
Minnie is what you would call a bad one?

AUGUSTA. Has she ever denied it? And you heard her when she stood up in
this room and spoke of her life in Newcastle.

DR. JONATHAN. But no court of law would convict her on that.

AUGUSTA. And she had an affair with George. Oh, I can’t talk about it!

DR. JONATHAN. I’m afraid that George will wish to talk about it, when he
comes back.

AUGUSTA, She’s been corresponding with George--scheming behind my back.

DR. JONATHAN. Are you sure of that?

AUGUSTA. She confessed to me that she had had letters from him.

DR. JONATHAN. And that she’d written letters in return?

AUGUSTA. What right have you to catechize me, Jonathan?

DR. JONATHAN. The same right, Augusta, that you have to catechize
Minnie. Only I wish to discover the truth, and apparently you do not.
She left me a letter, too, in which she said, “Don’t try to find me--I
wouldn’t come back if you did. Mrs. Pindar was right about me, after
all--I had to break loose again.” Now, Augusta, I’d like to know what
you make of that?

AUGUSTA. It’s pretty plain, isn’t it?

DR. JONATHAN. If the girl were really “bad,” as you insist, would she
say a thing like that?

AUGUSTA. I’m afraid I’m not an authority on Minnie’s kind.

DR. JONATHAN. Well, I am. The only motive which could have induced her
to leave my laboratory and Foxon Falls--her father--is what you would
call a Christian motive.

AUGUSTA. What do you mean?

DR. JONATHAN. An unselfish motive. She went because she thought she
could help someone by going.

AUGUSTA. Why--do you discuss this with me?

DR. JONATHAN. Because I’ve come to the conclusion that you know
something about Minnie’s departure, Augusta.

AUGUSTA (again on the verge of tears). Well, then, I do. I am
responsible for her going--I’m not ashamed of it. Her remaining here was
an affront to all right thinking people. I appealed to her, and she had
the decency to leave.

DR. JONATHAN. Decency is a mild word to apply to her sacrifice.

AUGUSTA. I suppose, with your extraordinary radical views, you mean that
she might have remained here and married George. One never can predict
the harm that a woman of that kind can do.

DR. JONATHAN (rising). The harm that a bad woman can do, Augusta,
is sometimes exceeded only by the harm a good woman can do. You are
unfortunately steeped in a religion which lacks the faith in humanity
that should be its foundation. The girl has just given you the strongest
proof of an inherent goodness, and you choose to call her bad. But if
you will not listen to Moses and the prophets, how will you listen to

AUGUSTA. Jonathan! Where are you going?

DR. JONATHAN. To find Minnie Farrell and bring her back to Foxon Falls.

   (He goes out, lower right. AUGUSTA sits for a while, motionless,
   and then makes an attempt to go on with her knitting. A man’s face
   is seen pressed against the glass of the middle window. AUGUSTA
   does not perceive him. He disappears, the glass door, upper right,
   opens slowly and PRAG enters! His clothes are wet, he is unshaven,
   he is gaunt and ill, and his eyed gleans. He leaves the door open
   behind him. Once inside the room, he halts and stares at AUGUSTA,
   who gathers up her knitting and rises. She does not lack courage.)

AUGUSTA. What do you want?

PRAG. I come to see Mr. Pindar.

AUGUSTA. The proper place to see Mr. Pindar is in his office. What do
you mean by forcing your way into this house?

PRAG (advancing). I have no right here--it is too fine for me, yes?

   (Through the window the figure of a woman is seen running across the
   lawn, and a moment later MINNIE FARRELL comes in through the open
   doorway, upper right. She is breathless and somewhat wet.)

AUGUSTA. Minnie!

PRAG (turning and confronting MINNIE). So! You come back to Foxon Falls,

MINNIE. You guessed it.

PRAG. You follow me?

MINNIE. But you’re some sprinter! (She seizes him by the arm.) Come on,
Prag,--you haven’t got any business here, and you know it.

PRAG (stubbornly). I come to see Mr. Pindar. I vill see him!

AUGUSTA. He isn’t home.

PRAG. Then I vait for him.

MINNIE (glancing toward the study door, where she suspects ASHER is). No
you don’t, either! You come along with me.

   (She pulls him, and he resists. They begin to struggle. AUGUSTA
   cries out and runs to MINNIE’s assistance.)

Keep away, Mrs. Pindar. If Mr. Pindar’s home, find him and tell him not
to come in here. This man’s crazy.

PRAG (struggling with MINNIE). Crazy, is it? What is it to you--what
I do with Mr. Pindar. He is also your enemy--the enemy of all

   (AUGUSTA, after a second’s indecision, turns and runs toward the
   door, left, that leads into ASHER’s study. MINNIE tries to push
   PRAG toward the doorway, upper right, but she is no match for the
   nervous strength he is able to summon up in his fanatical frenzy.
   Just as AUGUSTA reaches the study door, it is flung open and ASHER

ASHER. What’s the matter?

   (Then he sees MINNIE and PRAG struggling and strides toward them.
   AUGUSTA tries to prevent him reaching them. PRAG wrenches himself
   free from MINNIE and draws a pistol front his pocket. MINNIE flings
   herself between him and ASHER, who momentarily halts, too astonished
   to act.)

PRAG (to MINNIE). Get avay! He kill my wife, he drive me out of my
home--he will not have the unions. I shoot him! Get oudt!

ASHER. Stand aside, Minnie, I’ll take care of him.

   (AUGUSTA cries out. ASHER advances, seizes MINNIE by the shoulder
   and thrusts her aside. PRAG has the pistol levelled at him.)

PRAG. Recognize the unions, or I shoot!

ASHER. Lower that pistol! Do you think you can intimidate me?

PRAG. They can hang me,--I die for freedoms!

   (He is apparently about to pull the trigger, but he does not. His
   eyes are drawn away from ASHER, toward the doorway, lower right,
   where DR. JONATHAN is seen standing, gazing at him. Gradually his
   arm drops to his side, and DR. JONATHAN goes up to him and takes the
   pistol from his hand. PRAG breaks down, sobbing violently.)

It is no good! I can’t--now.

DR. JONATHAN (his hand on PRAG’S shoulder). Come with me, Prag, to my

   (He leads PRAG, shaken by sobs, out of the doorway, upper right,
   and they are seen through the windows crossing the lawn and

AUGUSTA. Oh, Asher!

   (She goes up to him and puts her hand on his arm, and then turns to

You saved him

MINNIE. Dr. Jonathan saved him. He’d save everybody, if they’d let him.
Ever since he took care of Prag’s wife, when she died, he’s got him

ASHER. You’ve done a brave thing, Minnie. I shan’t forget it.

MINNIE. I want you to forget it. I wouldn’t like to see anybody hurt.

AUGUSTA. But--how did you happen to be here--in Foxon Falls?

MINNIE. Oh, I didn’t mean to come back. I’m going away again.

AUGUSTA. I have no right to ask you to go away, now.

ASHER. What’s this? Did you ask Minnie to leave Foxon Falls?

AUGUSTA. Asher, I’d like to talk with Minnie, if you don’t mind.

ASHER (glancing at the two women). Well, I shan’t forget what you’ve
done, Minnie.

   (He goes out, lower right.)

MINNIE (who is on the verge of losing her self-control). I didn’t come
back to Foxon Falls to talk to you again, Mrs. Pindar. I’m sorry, but
I’ve got to go.


MINNIE. You didn’t care yesterday--why should you care today?

AUGUSTA (with an effort). I ought to tell you that Dr. Pindar has
declined Mr. Pindar’s offer.

MINNIE. He isn’t going to take charge of the hospital?


MINNIE. But if he’s so poor, how’s he going to live? He can’t afford to
hire me to help him.

AUGUSTA. I don’t know. Dr. Pindar was about to leave in search of you.

MINNIE. I was afraid of that--when he ought to be going to New York to
test the discovery at the hospitals there. He meant to.

AUGUSTA. You must see him.

MINNIE. Oh, I’ll see him now. That was what hurt me most, lying to him
about why I was leaving--letting him think I was sick of working with

AUGUSTA. Minnie, I’m willing to say that I was mistaken about you. You
may have been unwise, but you never did anything wrong. Isn’t it so?

MINNIE. Why do you think that now? What changed you? Just because
I might have helped to keep Mr. Pindar from being shot by a crazy
man--that didn’t change you, did it?

AUGUSTA. I was mistaken!

MINNIE. If you thought I was bad yesterday, I’m bad today.

AUGUSTA. A bad woman couldn’t have done what you did just now.

MINNIE. Don’t you believe it, Mrs. Pindar. I knew a woman in
Newcastle--but there’s no use going into that, I guess. There’s worse
kinds of badness than what you call bad.

AUGUSTA. I--I can’t discuss it. But I want to be just. I’m convinced
that I did you a wrong--and I’m sorry. Won’t you believe me?

MINNIE. But you’ll never forgive me--even if I hadn’t done what you
thought--on account of what happened with George.

AUGUSTA. I--I’ll try.

MINNIE. No, don’t try--forgiveness doesn’t come that way, Mrs. Pindar.
(With sudden acuteness.) It was on account of George, not Dr. Jonathan,
that you wanted to get me out of Foxon Falls.

AUGUSTA. I repeat--I shouldn’t have asked you to go. Isn’t that enough?

MINNIE. I told you not to worry about me and George. I ran away from him
once--I guess I won’t have to do it again.

AUGUSTA. You--you ran away from him?

MINNIE. From the church, too, and from the Bible class and from you,
and from the shops. But I’m free now, there isn’t any danger of my going
wrong,--I know what I can do, I’ve learned my job--Dr. Jonathan’s taught
me. You needn’t have me on your conscience, either. I’ll go across
and see if I can help Dr. Jonathan take care of that poor wreck, Prag.
Life’s been too tough for him--

AUGUSTA (starting forward to detain her). Wait a moment, Minnie,--tell
me how you happened to come back, to be here so--providentially.

MINNIE. There wasn’t anything providential about it. I took the six
o’clock train to Newcastle this morning. Not that I had any notion of
staying there. I ran into Prag at the station. I nursed his wife, you
know--and he started in to tell me how he was coming up to Foxon Falls
to shoot Mr. Pindar because he’d closed down the works rather than
recognize the union. I knew that Prag was just about crazy enough to do
it, because I’ve heard Dr. Jonathan talk about the mental disease he’s
got. That was about ten, and the train for Foxon Falls was leaving in a
few minutes. I ran into the booth to phone Dr. Jonathan, but the storm
had begun down there, and I couldn’t get a connection. So I caught the
train, and when it pulled in here I saw Pray jump out of the smoking car
and start to run. I couldn’t run as fast as he could, and I’d only got
to the other side of the Common when I saw him walk into the house.

AUGUSTA (after a pause). Minnie, you’ll stay here now? Your father needs
you--I--I should never forgive myself if you left.

MINNIE. Tell me, Mrs. Pindar,--have you heard anything more from George?

AUGUSTA (hesitating). Yes--Mr. Pindar got a telegram this morning.

MINNIE. He’s coming home! When will he get here?

AUGUSTA. I--don’t know. Oh, I’m afraid he may never get here--alive.

MINNIE. Don’t say that! George will live--he’s got to live.

AUGUSTA (gazing, at her). What makes you think so?

MINNIE. Because he’s needed so in the world--in Foxon Falls.

   (She starts for the doorway, upper right.)

AUGUSTA. You’re not going?

MINNIE. I couldn’t stay here--now.

AUGUSTA. Why--why not?

MINNIE (in tears). I should think you’d know why not!

AUGUSTA. You mean--you care--you care that much?

MINNIE. I’m going.

   (She turns to leave the room when the sound of an automobile is
   heard without, the brakes going on, etc. MINNIE, who has got as far
   as the doorway, upper right halts and stares.)

AUGUSTA (excitedly). What is it?

MINNIE. An automobile. Oh, Mrs. Pindar--it’s him--it’s George!

   (She draws back from the doorway, her hands clasped.)

AUGUSTA. George! (She hurries toward the doorway, speaking as she goes.)
Where is he?

Why doesn’t he come in?

MINNIE (staring out). He can’t. Oh, I’ll get Dr. Jonathan!

   (She is speaking as AUGUSTA goes out.)

   (Mingling with other voices, ASHER’s resonant and commanding voice
   is heard.)

ASHER (without). Bring him in through the library--it’s easier for you,

   (MINNIE who obviously cannot now escape through the doorway, upper
   right, without GEORGE seeing her, after a second’s resolution dashes
   across the room and out of the door, lower right. A moment later
   GEORGE is brought in through the doorway, upper right, leaning
   heavily on Dr. FRYE, a capable looking man, whose well fitting
   business suit and general appearance indicate a prosperous city
   practice. GEORGE is in uniform. He is much thinner, and his face
   betrays acute suffering. His left arm hangs helpless at his side.)

   (ASHER and AUGUSTA follow, ASHER with a look of pain which has been
   increased by an incident which occurred at the automobile, where
   GEORGE refused to allow ASHER to help support him.)

   (GEORGE gets a little way into the room when he stops, sways a
   little, and spasmodically puts his hand to his heart. ASHER, in a
   frenzy of anxiety, again approaches to help him, but GEORGE repulses

GEORGE (protesting with what strength he has, as if in fear). N--no,
dad, I’d rather not--I--I can get along.

   (ASHER halts and gazes at him mutely, and then looks at AUGUSTA.)

DR. FRYE. You’d better sit down here a minute and rest, Captain Pindar.

   (ASHER starts to pull up an armchair, but AUGUSTA looks at him and
   shakes her head, and pulls it up herself. GEORGE sinks into the
   chair, leans back his head and closes his eyes. AUGUSTA hovers over
   him, smoothing his hair.)

AUGUSTA. Is there nothing we can do, Dr. Frye? A little brandy--?

Dr. FRYE (who is evidently trying to hide his own concern by a show of
professional self-confidence), I think I’d wait a few moments.

GEORGE (murmuring). I--I’ll be all right, mother

   (DR. FRYE stands gazing down at him a few seconds and then comes
   forward into the room to join ASHER.)

ASHER. For God’s sake tell me what it is, doctor! Why did you leave New
York with him when he was in this condition? Was it because?

Dr. FRYE (speaking more rapidly than is his wont). He was surprisingly
well, considering everything, when we left New York, and the army
medical men advised taking him home. I thought an automobile better than
a slow train. I tried to telephone you, but the storm--

ASHER. I know.

Dr. FRYE. I sent you a wire.

ASHER. I didn’t get it.

DR. FRYE. It was impossible to get a good nurse on account of the
influenza epidemic. In fact, I didn’t think he needed one--but I thought
you’d feel more comfortable if I came. He seemed extraordinary well,
even cheerful until we got right into Foxon Falls. We were passing your
shops, and a big crowd of men were there, making a noise, shouting at a
speaker. Is there a strike on here?

ASHER. Yes. You say he got like this when he saw the crowd?

DR. FRYE (indicating GEORGE). As you see. He fell back on the cushions
as though he’d been hit--it all happened in a second. I have the history
of the case from the army people--he had an attack something like this

ASHER. Did you notice how he avoided me?

DR. FRYE (with reluctance). That may not be anything. It’s his heart, at
present,--and yet I’m convinced that this is a case for a psychologist
as well as for a medical man. I confess I’m puzzled, and as soon as we
can get a connection with New York I want to summon Barnwell.

ASHER. I’ll see if I can get a wire through.

DR. FRYE. Telephone Plaza 4632.

   (ASHER hurries out, lower right. Dr. FRYE returns to GEORGE to take
   his pulse when DR. JONATHAN enters, upper right. He crosses the
   room directly to GEORGE and stands looking down at him.)

AUGUSTA (who is a little behind GEORGE’S chair, gives DR. JONATHAN an
agonized glance, which she transfers to Dr. FRYE when he drops GEORGE’S
wrist). George! George, dear!

   (DR. FRYE is silent Then ASHER reenters.)

ASHER (in a low tone, to Dr. FRYE). They think they can get New York
within half an hour.

   (DR. FRYE nods. His attention is now fixed upon DR. JONATHAN, whose
   gaze is still focussed on GEORGE. ASHER and AUGUSTA now begin to
   look at DR. JONATHAN. Gradually, as though by the compulsion of DR.
   JONATHAN’S regard; GEORGE slowly opens his eyes.)

GEORGE (stammering). Dr. Jonathan!

DR. JONATHAN. I’m here, George.

GEORGE. Is there-is there a strike in the shops?

   (DR. JONATHAN glances at ASHER.)

ASHER (hesitating, speaking with difficulty). Don’t worry about that
now, George.

GEORGE. Why--why are they striking?

ASHER. I’ll tell you all about it later--when you feel better.

GEORGE (feebly, yet insistent). I--I want to know.

ASHER. We can’t talk about it now, my boy--later.

GEORGE. Did--did you get my letter--the letter in which I begged you--

ASHER. Yes, yes--I’ll explain it all tomorrow.

GEORGE. I--I may not be here--tomorrow. You didn’t do what--I asked?
It’s--so simple--when you’ve thought about it--when you’ve fought for

ASHER. I--I had a plan, George. We’ll go over it

   (He approaches GEORGE.)

GEORGE (shrinking). No--no!

   (ASHER recoils. MINNIE FARRELL appears, upper right, from the
   direction of the Common. She carries a phial, a dropper and some
   water in a glass. Seeing the group gathered about GEORGE, she
   hesitates, but DR. JONATHAN motions her to come forward.)

W--who is that? Minnie?

   (GEORGE makes an attempt to sit up, but his head falls back and his
   eyes close again. Then DR. JONATHAN lays his hand on Dr. FRYE’s
   arm, as though to draw him aside.)

Dr. FRYE. Is this Dr. Jonathan Pindar? I wondered if you were a
relation--(he glances at ASHER)--but I wasn’t looking for you in Foxon
Falls. If you have something to suggest--?

DR. JONATHAN ( taking the phial and the dropper from MINNIE). With your
permission. In any case it can do no harm.

DR. FRYE. By all means: If I had realized you were here--!

   (ASHER looks on in astonishment. DR. JONATHAN measures out a few
   drops of the liquid from the phial into the glass of water, which
   MINNIE holds.)

DR. JONATHAN. George, will you take this?

   (He holds the glass while GEORGE drinks. To Dr. FRYE:)

There’s a lounge in Mr. Pindar’s study.

(To AUGUSTA:) Get a blanket.

   (AUGUSTA goes toward the door, lower right, while MINNIE Starts to

We’ll need you, Minnie.

   (He hands MINNIE the glass, dropper and phial. The two physicians
   pick GEORGE up and carry him out, left, followed by MINNIE. ASHER
   goes a little way and then halts with a despairing gesture. AUGUSTA
   having gone for the blanket, ASHER is left alone, pacing, until she

AUGUSTA (going through the room from right to left, with the blanket).
Ah, Asher!

   (ASHER begins pacing again, when Dr. FRYE reenters from the left.)

ASHER. Is there--is there any hope?

DR. FRYE (his hand on ASHER’S sleeve). I can tell you more when I
have had a chance to talk with Dr. Pindar. This seems to be one of his
cases--but I confess, when I mentioned Barnwell, I didn’t think of him.
The situation came so suddenly. And in spite of his name being yours, I
didn’t expect to find him here.

ASHER. Then you know of Jonathan?

DR. FRYE. I didn’t know of him until I read the book which he published
about a year ago. When I was in Baltimore in March, I asked for him at
Johns Hopkins’s, and they told me that he had gone to New England for
his health. Extraordinary to meet him here--and today!

ASHER. What book? He’s never spoken to me of any book.

DR. FRYE. On the Physical Effects of Mental Crises. There has been a
good deal of controversy about it in the profession, but I’m one of
those who believe that the physician must seek to cure, not only
the body, but the soul. We make a guess--though he’s published no
religion--the true scientist is the minister of the future.

ASHER. I never realized that Jonathan--!

DR. FRYE (smiling a little). No prophet is without honour save in his
own country.

ASHER. What has he given George?

DR. FRYE. I can’t tell you exactly, but I can make a guess--though he’s
published no account of his recent experiments.

   (As DR. JONATHAN reenters from the left.)

He will undoubtedly tell you himself. (Exit Dr. FRYE, left.)

ASHER. Will he live?

DR. JONATHAN. I’ll be frank with you, Asher,--I don’t know. All we can
do is to wait.

ASHER. I call God to witness there’s nothing I wouldn’t do, no sacrifice
I wouldn’t make, if that boy could be saved!

DR. JONATHAN. Remember that, Asher.

ASHER. Remember what?

DR. JONATHAN. If his life is saved, you will be called upon to make a
sacrifice, to do your part.

ASHER. My part?

DR. JONATHAN. Yes. What I have given him--the medicine--is only half the
battle--should it succeed. My laboratory experiments were only completed
last night.

ASHER. This is what you have been working on?

DR. JONATHAN. It happens to be. But I have had no chance to test
it--except on animals. I meant to have gone to a war hospital in New
York today. If it works, then we shall have to try the rest of the
experiment,--your half of it.

ASHER. What’s that?

DR. JONATHAN. You probably noticed that George avoided you.

ASHER. It’s more than I can bear. You know what we’ve been to each
other. If he should die--feeling that way--!

DR. JONATHAN. George hasn’t lost his affection for you; if it were so,
we shouldn’t have that symptom. I will tell you, briefly, my theory of
the case. But first let me say, in justice to Frye, that he was in no
position to know certain facts that give the clue to George’s condition
the mental history.

ASHER. I don’t understand.

DR. JONATHAN. The day he left home, for France, certain things happened
to him to arouse his sympathy with what we call working people, their
lives and aspirations. As you know, George has a very human side,--he
loves his fellow men. He’d never thought of these things before. He went
with them, naturally, to you, and I infer that you suppressed him!

ASHER. I told him I couldn’t discuss certain aspects. His emotional
state troubled me,--he was going away, and I imagined he would get over

DR. JONATHAN. He didn’t get over it. It was an emotional crisis. He left
home with a conflict in his mind,--a conflict between his affection for
you and that which he had suddenly come to see was right. I mean, right
for today, for the year and hour in which we are living. This question
of the emancipation of labour began a hundred years ago, with the
introduction of machinery and the rise of modern industry, and in this
war it has come to a head. Well, as the time approached for George to
risk his life for his new beliefs, his mental conflict deepened. He
talked with other young men who believed they were fighting for the same
cause. And then--it must have been shortly before he was wounded--he
wrote you that appeal.

ASHER. The letter I read to you!

DR. JONATHAN. The fact that in his own home, in the shops which bore his
name, no attempt had been made to meet the new issues for which he was
going into battle, weighed upon him. Then came the shell that
shattered his body. But the probabilities are that he was struck down,
unconscious, at the very moment when the conflict in his mind was most
acute. He was thinking of you, of the difference you and he had had,
he was lonely, he was afraid for the bravest men feel fear. To him the
bursting of the shell was the bursting of the conflict within him. I
won’t go into the professional side of the matter, the influence of
the mental state on the physical--but after the wound healed, whenever
anything occurred to remind him of the conflict,--a letter from you,
the sight of the strikers this afternoon at the shops, meeting you once
more, a repetition came of what happened when the shell struck him.
Certain glands fail in their functions, the heart threatens to stop and
put an end to life. If my theory is correct, what I have given him may
tide over that danger, but only on one condition can he continue to live
and become a useful member of society.

ASHER. What condition?

DR. JONATHAN. That the mental conflict, the real cause of the trouble,
he resolved. The time has come, Asher, when you must make your choice
between your convictions and your son.

ASHER. Speak out.

DR. JONATHAN. I mean that you must be prepared to tell George, if he
recovers, that you have abandoned your attitude toward the workmen, that
you are willing to recognize their union, settle the strike, and go even
further than in their ignorance they ask. You must try the experiment
in the democratization of industry on which George’s heart is set.
Otherwise I will not answer for his sanity, I cannot even give you the
hope that he will live.

ASHER. I never heard of a mental conflict producing such a state!

DR. JONATHAN. Remember, you have said that you will make any sacrifice
to save George’s life.

ASHER (turning on DR. JONATHAN). You’re not trying to play on my--my
superstition,--at a time like this!

DR. JONATHAN. I’m not dealing with superstition, Asher, but with
science. If George revives, he will wish to talk with you.

ASHER. When?

DR. JONATHAN. Probably this evening--or never. I ask you the
question--will you yield your convictions?

   (ASHER bows his head. DR. JONATHAN gazes at him for a moment,

I’ll go back to him now. I think he’d better be moved to his room, and
put to bed.

   (Exit DR. JONATHAN, left. For a minute ASHER remains alone, and
   then DR. JONATHAN and Dr. FRYE reappear, carrying GEORGE. The
   blanket is flung over his knees, and he seems lifeless. They are
   followed by MINNIE, carrying the phial and the glass, and by
   AUGUSTA. They cross the room and go out, lower right. ASHER walks
   behind them as far as the door, hesitates, and then goes out.)

   (THE CURTAIN falls and remains down a minute to indicate a lapse of
   three hours. When it rises again night has come, the lamps are
   lighted and the window curtains drawn. ASHER and AUGUSTA are
   discovered standing together. ASHER has a black, leather covered
   book in his hand, with one finger in the place where he has been
   reading. Both show the effects of a strain.)

AUGUSTA (who has been speaking). And when we took him upstairs, I was
sure he was going to die--it seemed to me as if nothing could save him.
He’s been sitting up and talking to us--of course he’s pale and weak
and wasted, but in spite of that, Asher, he seems to have a strength, a
force that he didn’t have before he went away. He isn’t a boy any more.
I can’t describe it, but I’m almost afraid of him--!

ASHER. He--he hasn’t mentioned me?

AUGUSTA. No, my dear--and since Jonathan warned me not to, I’ve said
nothing about you. Why is it?

ASHER. Jonathan’s the master now.

AUGUSTA. In spite of what I’ve felt about him, he has saved George for
us. It seems a miracle.

ASHER. A scientific miracle.

AUGUSTA (indicating the book ASHER holds). And yet you were reading the

ASHER. I just took it down. (He lays it on the table, and touches
AUGUSTA, with an unwonted tenderness, on the shoulder). I think we
may hope, now, Augusta. But before we can be sure that he’ll get well,
there’s something else to be done.

AUGUSTA (anxiously). What?

ASHER. Go back to George,--I’ll tell you later. It seems that we must
trust Jonathan. Here he is now.

   (Enter DR. JONATHAN, lower right, as AUGUSTA departs.)

DR. JONATHAN. George wants to get dressed, and come down.

ASHER. You think it wise?

DR. JONATHAN. Under the circumstances yes. The heart is practically
normal again, we have done all that is physically possible. One half of
the experiment seems to have succeeded, and the sooner we try the other
half, the better. Are you still willing?

ASHER. I’m prepared. I’ve carried out your--instructions--sent for the

DR. JONATHAN (looking at him). Good!

ASHER (with an effort). Jonathan, I--I guess I misjudged you--

DR. JONATHAN (Smiling). Wait until you are sure. Nothing matters if we
can save that boy. By the way, he asked for Timothy, and I’ve sent for

ASHER. He asked for Timothy, and not for me!

DR. JONATHAN. It seems he saw an officer of Bert’s regiment, after the
boy was killed. Here’s the committee, I think.

   (The MAID enters, lower right. She does not speak, but ushers in
   HILLMAN, RENCH and FERSEN, and retires.)

HILLMAN. | RENCH. |-Good evening, Mr. Pindar. Good evening, doctor.

ASHER. Good evening.

   (An awkward silence. From habit, ASHER stares at them defiantly, as
   DR. JONATHAN goes out, lower right.)

HILLMAN (going up to ASHER). How’s your son, Mr. Pindar?

RENCH. We’re real anxious about the Captain.

FERSEN (nodding). The boys think a whole lot of him, Mr. Pindar.

ASHER. He’s better, thank you. The medicine Dr. Pindar has given him

RENCH. Didn’t I say so? When I heard how he was when he got back, I said
to Fred Hillman here,--if anybody can cure him, it’s Dr. Jonathan, right
here in Foxon Falls!

   (A pause.)

I’m sorry this here difference came up just now, Mr. Pindar, when the
Captain come home. We was a little mite harsh--but we was strung up, I
guess, from the long shifts. If we’d known your son was comin’--

ASHER. You wouldn’t have struck?

RENCH. We’d have agreed to put it off. When a young man like that is
near dying for his country why--anything can wait. But what we’re asking
is only right.

ASHER. Well, right or not right, I sent for you to say, so far as I’m
concerned, the strike’s over.

RENCH. You’ll--you’ll recognize the union?

ASHER. I grant--( he catches himself)--I consent to your demands.

   (After a moment of stupefaction, their faces light up, and they
   approach him.)

RENCH. We appreciate it, Mr. Pindar. This’ll make a lot of families
happy tonight.

FERSEN. It will that.

HILLMAN. Maybe you won’t believe me, Mr. Pindar, but it was hard to see
the shops closed down--as hard on us as it was on you. We take pride in
them, too. I guess you won’t regret it.

ASHER (waving them away). I hope not. I ought to tell you that you may
thank my son for this--my son and Dr. Pindar.

RENCH. We appreciate it,--just the same.

   (ASHER makes a gesture as thought to dismiss the subject, as well as
   the committee. They hesitate, and are about to leave when GEORGE,
   followed by DR. JONATHAN, comes in, lower right. His entrance is
   quite dramatic. He walks with the help of a stick, slowly, but his
   bearing is soldierly, authoritative, impressive. He halts when he
   perceives the committee.)

HILLMAN (going up to GEORGE). How are you, Captain?

FERSEN. Good to have you home once more.

RENCH (going up to GEORGE). Good to see you, Captain, on a day like
this. As Larz Fersen said when we were going to strike, “It’s a fine day
for it.” Well, this is a better day--you home and well, and the strike

GEORGE (glancing from one to the other, and then at ASHER). What do you

RENCH. Why, Mr. Pindar--your father here’s just made everybody happy.
He’s recognized the union, and we’re going back to work. We’ll turn
out machines to make shrapnel enough to kill every Hun in France,--get
square with ‘em for what they done to you.

   (They all watch GEORGE, absorbed in the effect this announcement has
   on him. An expression of happiness grows in his eyes. After a
   moment he goes up to ASHER.)

GEORGE. Dad, why did you do this?

ASHER. I’ll tell you, George. When you came home this afternoon I
realized something I hadn’t realized before. I saw that the tide was
against me, that I was like that old English king who set his throne
on the sands and thought he could stay the waters. If--if anything had
happened to you, I couldn’t have fought on, but now that you’re here
with me again, now that you’ve risked your life and almost lost it for
this--this new order in which you believe, why, it’s enough for me--I
can surrender with honour. I’m tired, I need a rest. I’d have gone
down fighting, but I guess you’ve saved me. I’ve been true to my
convictions,--you, who belong to the new generation, must be true to
yours. And as I told you once, all I care about this business is to hand
it over to you.

GEORGE. You’ll help me!

ASHER. This seems to be Jonathan’s speciality,--science. But I never
give my word half heartedly, my boy, and I’ll back you to my last
dollar. Be prepared for disappointments,--but if you accomplish
something, I’ll be glad. And if you fail, George,--any failure for a
man’s convictions is a grand failure.

GEORGE. Well, it means life to me, dad. I owe it to you.

ASHER (turning toward DR. JONATHAN). No, you owe it to him,--to science.

   (He puts one hand on GEORGE’S shoulder, and the other, with an
   abrupt movement, on DR. JONATHAN’S.)

And if science will do as much for democracy, then--

GEORGE. Then, you’re from Missouri. Good old dad!

ASHER (huskily, trying, to carry it off, and almost overcome by emotion
at the reconciliation). I’m from Missouri, my boy.

DR. JONATHAN. Then you’re a true scientist, Asher, for science, too,
waits to be shown.

   (ASHER goes out, lower right. Dr. JONATHAN, evidently in support
   and sympathy, goes with him. GEORGE and the committee look after
   them, and then GEORGE sits down, and smiles at the men.)

GEORGE. And we’ve got to be scientists, too. Are you fellows willing to
take your share in the experiment?

HILLMAN. What experiment’s that, Captain?

GEORGE. Now that you’ve got your union, what’s the good of it?

RENCH (after a pause). Why, I thought we’d made that pretty clear,
Captain. We’ve got something to fall back on in case the employers don’t
live up to their agreements. I’m not speaking of you--

GEORGE. In other words, you’ve got a weapon.

RENCH. Well, you might call it that.

GEORGE. But weapons imply warfare,--don’t they?

RENCH. We wouldn’t fight with you.

GEORGE. Yes, you would,--if our interests conflicted. When I was in the
trenches I kept thinking of the quotation Lincoln used, “A house divided
against itself cannot stand.” We’re going to try to perpetuate that
house, just as he did.

HILLMAN. Lincoln had common sense.

GEORGE. Another name for intelligence. And what we’ve got to decide is
whether the old house will do--for democracy--industrial democracy? Can
we shore up the timbers--or shall we have to begin to build a new house?

RENCH (glancing at HILLMAN). The old one sure enough looks rotten to me.
I’ve said that all along.

GEORGE. It seems to have served its day. Has your union got the plans of
a new house ready--consulted an architect?

RENCH. I’m afraid we don’t get you, Captain.

GEORGE. You belong to the American Federation of Labour, don’t you? Has
it got a new house ready to move into?

RENCH. Well, I haven’t seen any plans.

GEORGE. If the old structure’s too small, one party or the other will
have to be shoved out. The capitalist or the employee. Which will it be?

RENCH (laughing). If it comes to that--

GEORGE (smiling). There’s no question in your mind. But you hadn’t
thought about it--your Federation hasn’t thought about it, or doesn’t
want to think about it, and your employers don’t want to, either.

HILLMAN (stroking his moustache). That’s so

GEORGE. I’ll tell you who have thought about it--the Bolshevists and
the I. W. W. And because they have a programme,--some programme, any
programme, they’re more intelligent than we, for the time.

RENCH. Those guys?

GEORGE. Exactly,--those guys. At least they see that the house isn’t fit
to live in. They want to pull it down, and go back to living in trees
and caves.

HILLMAN. That’s about right.

GEORGE. But you’re conservatives, you labour union people--the
aristocrats of labour, which means that you don’t think. What you really
object to, when you come down to it, is that men like my father and me,
and the bankers,--we’re all in the same boat, most of ‘us own banks,
too,--control the conditions of life for you and men like you.

RENCH. I never heard it put in those words, but by gum, it’s so.

GEORGE. And your Confederation, your unions are for the skilled workers,
whose conditions aren’t so bad,--and they’re getting better every time
you jack up the wages. You complain that we employers aren’t thinking of
you, but are you thinking of the millions of the unskilled who live from
hand to mouth? The old structure’s good enough for you, too. But
what will the miserable men, who don’t sit in, be doing while we’re
squabbling to see who’ll have the best rooms?

RENCH. Blow the house up, I guess.

GEORGE. If they’re rough with it, it’ll tumble down like a pack of
cards--simply because we’re asses. Can’t we build a house big enough
for all--for a hundred million people and their descendants? A house in
which, after a while, there will be no capitalists and no exploiters
and no wreckers, only workers--each man and woman on the job they were
fitted for? It’s a man-sized job, but isn’t it worth tackling?

RENCH (enthused). It’s sure worth tackling, Captain.

GEORGE. And can’t we begin it, in a modest way, by making a little model
of the big house right here in Foxon Falls? Dr. Jonathan will help us.

RENCH. Go to it, Captain. We’ll trust him and you.

GEORGE. Trust is all right, but you’ve got to go to it, too, and use
your headpieces. We’ve got to sit down together and educate ourselves,
who are now employers and employees, get hold of all the facts, the
statistics,--and all the elements, the human nature side of it, from the
theorists, the students, whom we’ve despised.

RENCH. Well, it’s a fact, I hadn’t thought much of them intellectuals.

GEORGE. They’re part of the game--their theories are the basis for an
intelligent practice. And what should we be able to do without their
figures? Look at what we’ve worked out in large scale production and
distribution in this war! That’s a new world problem. Shall we be
pioneers here in Foxon Falls in the new experiment?

RENCH. An experiment in human chemicals, as the doctor would say.
Pioneers! I kind of like that word. You can put me in the wagon,

GEORGE. It will be a Conestoga with the curtains rolled up, so that
everybody can see in. No secrets. And it will be a wagon with an
industrial constitution.

FERSEN. Excuse me, Captain,--but what’s that?

   (RENCH laughs.)

GEORGE (smiling). Hasn’t it struck you, Fersen, that unless a man has a
voice and an interest in the industry in which he works his voice, and
interest in the government for which he votes is a mockery?

   (FERSEN nods.)

RENCH. We’ll have to give Larz a little education.

GEORGE. Oh, I guess he’ll make a good industrial citizen. But that’s
part of the bargain.

RENCH. That’s fair. Human nature ain’t so rotten, when you give it a

GEORGE. Well, then, are you willing to try it out, on the level?

RENCH. I cal’late we’ll stick, Captain.

HILLMAN. We sure will.

FERSEN. We’ll be pioneers!

GEORGE. That’s good American, Fersen, not to be afraid of an ideal.
Shake! We’ll sit down with it in a day or two.

   (They all shake. The members of the committee file out of the room,
   lower right. GEORGE is left alone for a brief interval, when
   MINNIE, in the white costume of a nurse, enters, lower right,
   with a glass of medicine in her hand.)

MINNIE (halting). You’re all alone? Where’s Dr. Jonathan?

GEORGE. He’s gone off with dad.

MINNIE. It’s nine o’clock.

   (She hands him the glass, he drinks the contents and sets the glass
   on the table. Then he takes her hands and draws her to him and
   kisses her. She submits almost passively.)

Why are you doing this, George?

GEORGE. Because I love you, because I need you, because I’m going to
marry you.

MINNIE (shaking her head: slowly). No you’re not.

GEORGE. Why not?

MINNIE. You know why not, as well as I do.

   (She gazes up at him. He is still holding her in his arms.
   Suddenly she kisses him passionately, breaks away from him and
   starts to fly from the room, when she runs into DR. JONATHAN, who is
   entering, lower right.)

DR. JONATHAN. Where are you going, Minnie?

   (MINNIE halts, and is silent. DR. JONATHAN lays a detaining hand on
   her arm, and looks from one to the other, comprehendingly.)

GEORGE. I’ve asked her to marry me, Dr. Jonathan.

DR. JONATHAN. And what are your objections, Minnie?

MINNIE. You know why I can’t, Dr. Jonathan. What kind of a wife would I
make for him, with his family and friends. I’d do anything for him but
that! He wouldn’t be happy.

DR. JONATHAN. And what’s your answer, George?

GEORGE. I don’t want her for my family and friends,--I want her for
myself. This isn’t a snap judgment--I’ve had time to think it over.

MINNIE. I didn’t mean to be here when you got home. I know I’m not fit
to be your wife I haven’t had any education.

GEORGE. Neither have I. We start level there. I’ve lived among people
of culture, and I’ve found out that culture chiefly consists of fixed
ideas, and obstruction to progress, of hating the President,--of knowing
the right people and eating fish with a fork.

MINNIE (smiling, though in tears). Well, I never ate fish with a knife,

GEORGE. I spent my valuable youth learning Greek and Latin, and I can’t
speak or read either of them. I know that Horace wrote odes, and Cicero
made orations, but I can’t quote them. All I remember about biology is
that the fittest are supposed to survive, and in this war I’ve seen the
fittest killed off like flies. You’ve had several years of useful work
in the Pindar Shops and the Wire Works, to say nothing of a course in
biological chemistry, psychology and sociology under Dr. Jonathan. I’ll
leave it to him whether you don’t know more about life than I do--about
the life and problems of the great mass of people in this country. And
now that the strike’s over--

MINNIE. The strike’s over!

GEORGE. Yes. I’ve chosen my life. It isn’t going to be divided between a
Wall Street office and Newport and Palm Beach. A girl out of a finishing
school wouldn’t be of any use to me. I’m going to stay right here in
Foxon Falls, Minnie, I’ve got a real job on my hands, and I need a real
woman with special knowledge to help me. I don’t mean to say we won’t
have vacations, and we’ll sit down and get our education together. Dr.
Jonathan will be the schoolmaster.

MINNIE. It’s a dream, George.

GEORGE. Well, Minnie, if it’s a dream worth dying for it’s a dream worth
living for. Your brother Bert died for it.



     Economic freedom, without which political freedom is a farce
     Flaming flag of a false martyrdom
     It’s money that makes you free
     Often times principles is nothing but pride
     We can’t take Christianity too literally

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large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.