By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: The Playboy of the Western World: A Comedy in Three Acts
Author: Synge, J. M. (John Millington)
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Playboy of the Western World: A Comedy in Three Acts" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.


The Playboy of the Western World


by J. M. Synge




In writing THE PLAYBOY OF THE WESTERN WORLD, as in my other plays, I
have used one or two words only that I have not heard among the country
people of Ireland, or spoken in my own nursery before I could read the
newspapers. A certain number of the phrases I employ I have heard also
from herds and fishermen along the coast from Kerry to Mayo, or from
beggar-women and ballad-singers nearer Dublin; and I am glad to
acknowledge how much I owe to the folk imagination of these fine
people. Anyone who has lived in real intimacy with the Irish peasantry
will know that the wildest sayings and ideas in this play are tame
indeed, compared with the fancies one may hear in any little hillside
cabin in Geesala, or Carraroe, or Dingle Bay. All art is a
collaboration; and there is little doubt that in the happy ages of
literature, striking and beautiful phrases were as ready to the
story-teller’s or the playwright’s hand, as the rich cloaks and dresses
of his time. It is probable that when the Elizabethan dramatist took
his ink-horn and sat down to his work he used many phrases that he had
just heard, as he sat at dinner, from his mother or his children. In
Ireland, those of us who know the people have the same privilege. When
I was writing _The Shadow of the Glen_, some years ago, I got more aid
than any learning could have given me from a chink in the floor of the
old Wicklow house where I was staying, that let me hear what was being
said by the servant girls in the kitchen. This matter, I think, is of
importance, for in countries where the imagination of the people, and
the language they use, is rich and living, it is possible for a writer
to be rich and copious in his words, and at the same time to give the
reality, which is the root of all poetry, in a comprehensive and
natural form. In the modern literature of towns, however, richness is
found only in sonnets, or prose poems, or in one or two elaborate books
that are far away from the profound and common interests of life. One
has, on one side, Mallarmé and Huysmans producing this literature; and
on the other, Ibsen and Zola dealing with the reality of life in
joyless and pallid words. On the stage one must have reality, and one
must have joy; and that is why the intellectual modern drama has
failed, and people have grown sick of the false joy of the musical
comedy, that has been given them in place of the rich joy found only in
what is superb and wild in reality. In a good play every speech should
be as fully flavoured as a nut or apple, and such speeches cannot be
written by anyone who works among people who have shut their lips on
poetry. In Ireland, for a few years more, we have a popular imagination
that is fiery and magnificent, and tender; so that those of us who wish
to write start with a chance that is not given to writers in places
where the springtime of the local life has been forgotten, and the
harvest is a memory only, and the straw has been turned into bricks.

J. M. S.

_January_ 21_st_, 1907.


OLD MAHON, _his father, a squatter_.
MARGARET FLAHERTY (called PEGEEN MIKE), _his daughter_.
SHAWN KEOUGH, _her cousin, a young farmer_.
WIDOW QUIN, _a woman of about thirty_.
PHILLY CULLEN and JIMMY FARRELL, _small farmers_.

The action takes place near a village, on a wild coast of Mayo. The
first Act passes on an evening of autumn, the other two Acts on the
following day.



SCENE: Country public-house or shebeen, very rough and untidy. There is
a sort of counter on the right with shelves, holding many bottles and
jugs, just seen above it. Empty barrels stand near the counter. At
back, a little to left of counter, there is a door into the open air,
then, more to the left, there is a settle with shelves above it, with
more jugs, and a table beneath a window. At the left there is a large
open fire-place, with turf fire, and a small door into inner room.
Pegeen, a wild-looking but fine girl, of about twenty, is writing at
table. She is dressed in the usual peasant dress.

_slowly as she writes._—Six yards of stuff for to make a yellow gown. A
pair of lace boots with lengthy heels on them and brassy eyes. A hat is
suited for a wedding-day. A fine tooth comb. To be sent with three
barrels of porter in Jimmy Farrell’s creel cart on the evening of the
coming Fair to Mister Michael James Flaherty. With the best compliments
of this season. Margaret Flaherty.

_a fat and fair young man comes in as she signs, looks round awkwardly,
when he sees she is alone._—Where’s himself?

_without looking at him._—He’s coming. (_She directs the letter._) To
Mister Sheamus Mulroy, Wine and Spirit Dealer, Castlebar.

_uneasily._—I didn’t see him on the road.

How would you see him (_licks stamp and puts it on letter_) and it dark
night this half hour gone by?

_turning towards the door again._—I stood a while outside wondering
would I have a right to pass on or to walk in and see you, Pegeen Mike
(_comes to fire_), and I could hear the cows breathing, and sighing in
the stillness of the air, and not a step moving any place from this
gate to the bridge.

_putting letter in envelope._—It’s above at the cross-roads he is,
meeting Philly Cullen; and a couple more are going along with him to
Kate Cassidy’s wake.

_looking at her blankly._—And he’s going that length in the dark night?

_impatiently._—He is surely, and leaving me lonesome on the scruff of
the hill. (_She gets up and puts envelope on dresser, then winds the
clock._) Isn’t it long the nights are now, Shawn Keogh, to be leaving a
poor girl with her own self counting the hours to the dawn of day?

_with awkward humour._—If it is, when we’re wedded in a short while
you’ll have no call to complain, for I’ve little will to be walking off
to wakes or weddings in the darkness of the night.

_with rather scornful good humour._—You’re making mighty certain,
Shaneen, that I’ll wed you now.

Aren’t we after making a good bargain, the way we’re only waiting these
days on Father Reilly’s dispensation from the bishops, or the Court of

_looking at him teasingly, washing up at dresser._—It’s a wonder,
Shaneen, the Holy Father’d be taking notice of the likes of you; for if
I was him I wouldn’t bother with this place where you’ll meet none but
Red Linahan, has a squint in his eye, and Patcheen is lame in his heel,
or the mad Mulrannies were driven from California and they lost in
their wits. We’re a queer lot these times to go troubling the Holy
Father on his sacred seat.

_scandalized._—If we are, we’re as good this place as another, maybe,
and as good these times as we were for ever.

_with scorn._—As good, is it? Where now will you meet the like of
Daneen Sullivan knocked the eye from a peeler, or Marcus Quin, God rest
him, got six months for maiming ewes, and he a great warrant to tell
stories of holy Ireland till he’d have the old women shedding down
tears about their feet. Where will you find the like of them, I’m

_timidly._—If you don’t it’s a good job, maybe; for (_with peculiar
emphasis on the words_) Father Reilly has small conceit to have that
kind walking around and talking to the girls.

_impatiently, throwing water from basin out of the door._—Stop
tormenting me with Father Reilly (_imitating his voice_) when I’m
asking only what way I’ll pass these twelve hours of dark, and not take
my death with the fear. (_Looking out of door._)

_timidly._—Would I fetch you the widow Quin, maybe?

Is it the like of that murderer? You’ll not, surely.

_going to her, soothingly._—Then I’m thinking himself will stop along
with you when he sees you taking on, for it’ll be a long night-time
with great darkness, and I’m after feeling a kind of fellow above in
the furzy ditch, groaning wicked like a maddening dog, the way it’s
good cause you have, maybe, to be fearing now.

_turning on him sharply._—What’s that? Is it a man you seen?

_retreating._—I couldn’t see him at all; but I heard him groaning out,
and breaking his heart. It should have been a young man from his words

_going after him._—And you never went near to see was he hurted or what
ailed him at all?

I did not, Pegeen Mike. It was a dark, lonesome place to be hearing the
like of him.

Well, you’re a daring fellow, and if they find his corpse stretched
above in the dews of dawn, what’ll you say then to the peelers, or the
Justice of the Peace?

_thunderstruck._—I wasn’t thinking of that. For the love of God, Pegeen
Mike, don’t let on I was speaking of him. Don’t tell your father and
the men is coming above; for if they heard that story, they’d have
great blabbing this night at the wake.

I’ll maybe tell them, and I’ll maybe not.

They are coming at the door, Will you whisht, I’m saying?

Whisht yourself.

[_She goes behind counter. Michael James, fat jovial publican, comes in
followed by Philly Cullen, who is thin and mistrusting, and Jimmy
Farrell, who is fat and amorous, about forty-five._]

_together._—God bless you. The blessing of God on this place.

God bless you kindly.

_to men who go to the counter._—Sit down now, and take your rest.
(_Crosses to Shawn at the fire._) And how is it you are, Shawn Keogh?
Are you coming over the sands to Kate Cassidy’s wake?

I am not, Michael James. I’m going home the short cut to my bed.

_speaking across the counter._—He’s right too, and have you no shame,
Michael James, to be quitting off for the whole night, and leaving
myself lonesome in the shop?

_good-humouredly._—Isn’t it the same whether I go for the whole night
or a part only? and I’m thinking it’s a queer daughter you are if you’d
have me crossing backward through the Stooks of the Dead Women, with a
drop taken.

If I am a queer daughter, it’s a queer father’d be leaving me lonesome
these twelve hours of dark, and I piling the turf with the dogs
barking, and the calves mooing, and my own teeth rattling with the

_flatteringly._—What is there to hurt you, and you a fine, hardy girl
would knock the head of any two men in the place?

_working herself up._—Isn’t there the harvest boys with their tongues
red for drink, and the ten tinkers is camped in the east glen, and the
thousand militia—bad cess to them!—walking idle through the land.
There’s lots surely to hurt me, and I won’t stop alone in it, let
himself do what he will.

If you’re that afeard, let Shawn Keogh stop along with you. It’s the
will of God, I’m thinking, himself should be seeing to you now. [_They
all turn on Shawn._]

_in horrified confusion._—I would and welcome, Michael James, but I’m
afeard of Father Reilly; and what at all would the Holy Father and the
Cardinals of Rome be saying if they heard I did the like of that?

_with contempt._—God help you! Can’t you sit in by the hearth with the
light lit and herself beyond in the room? You’ll do that surely, for
I’ve heard tell there’s a queer fellow above, going mad or getting his
death, maybe, in the gripe of the ditch, so she’d be safer this night
with a person here.

_with plaintive despair._—I’m afeard of Father Reilly, I’m saying. Let
you not be tempting me, and we near married itself.

_with cold contempt._—Lock him in the west room. He’ll stay then and
have no sin to be telling to the priest.

_to Shawn, getting between him and the door._—Go up now.

_at the top of his voice._—Don’t stop me, Michael James. Let me out of
the door, I’m saying, for the love of the Almighty God. Let me out
(_trying to dodge past him_). Let me out of it, and may God grant you
His indulgence in the hour of need.

_loudly._—Stop your noising, and sit down by the hearth. [_Gives him a
push and goes to counter laughing._]

_turning back, wringing his hands._—Oh, Father Reilly and the saints of
God, where will I hide myself to-day? Oh, St. Joseph and St. Patrick
and St. Brigid, and St. James, have mercy on me now! [_Shawn turns
round, sees door clear, and makes a rush for it._]

_catching him by the coattail._—You’d be going, is it?

_screaming._—Leave me go, Michael James, leave me go, you old Pagan,
leave me go, or I’ll get the curse of the priests on you, and of the
scarlet-coated bishops of the courts of Rome. [_With a sudden movement
he pulls himself out of his coat, and disappears out of the door,
leaving his coat in Michael’s hands._]

_turning round, and holding up coat._—Well, there’s the coat of a
Christian man. Oh, there’s sainted glory this day in the lonesome west;
and by the will of God I’ve got you a decent man, Pegeen, you’ll have
no call to be spying after if you’ve a score of young girls, maybe,
weeding in your fields.

_taking up the defence of her property._—What right have you to be
making game of a poor fellow for minding the priest, when it’s your own
the fault is, not paying a penny pot-boy to stand along with me and
give me courage in the doing of my work? [_She snaps the coat away from
him, and goes behind counter with it._]

_taken aback._—Where would I get a pot-boy? Would you have me send the
bell-man screaming in the streets of Castlebar?

_opening the door a chink and putting in his head, in a small
voice._—Michael James!

_imitating him._—What ails you?

The queer dying fellow’s beyond looking over the ditch. He’s come up,
I’m thinking, stealing your hens. (_Looks over his shoulder._) God help
me, he’s following me now (_he runs into room_), and if he’s heard what
I said, he’ll be having my life, and I going home lonesome in the
darkness of the night. (_For a perceptible moment they watch the door
with curiosity. Some one coughs outside. Then Christy Mahon, a slight
young man, comes in very tired and frightened and dirty._)

_in a small voice._—God save all here!

God save you kindly.

_going to the counter._—I’d trouble you for a glass of porter, woman of
the house. [_He puts down coin._]

_serving him._—You’re one of the tinkers, young fellow, is beyond
camped in the glen?

I am not; but I’m destroyed walking.

_patronizingly._—Let you come up then to the fire. You’re looking
famished with the cold.

God reward you. (_He takes up his glass and goes a little way across to
the left, then stops and looks about him._) Is it often the police do
be coming into this place, master of the house?

If you’d come in better hours, you’d have seen “Licensed for the sale
of Beer and Spirits, to be consumed on the premises,” written in white
letters above the door, and what would the polis want spying on me, and
not a decent house within four miles, the way every living Christian is
a bona fide, saving one widow alone?

_with relief._—It’s a safe house, so. [_He goes over to the fire,
sighing and moaning. Then he sits down, putting his glass beside him
and begins gnawing a turnip, too miserable to feel the others staring
at him with curiosity._]

_going after him._—Is it yourself fearing the polis? You’re wanting,

There’s many wanting.

Many surely, with the broken harvest and the ended wars. (_He picks up
some stockings, etc., that are near the fire, and carries them away
furtively._) It should be larceny, I’m thinking?

_dolefully._—I had it in my mind it was a different word and a bigger.

There’s a queer lad. Were you never slapped in school, young fellow,
that you don’t know the name of your deed?

_bashfully._—I’m slow at learning, a middling scholar only.

If you’re a dunce itself, you’d have a right to know that larceny’s
robbing and stealing. Is it for the like of that you’re wanting?

_with a flash of family pride._—And I the son of a strong farmer (_with
a sudden qualm_), God rest his soul, could have bought up the whole of
your old house a while since, from the butt of his tailpocket, and not
have missed the weight of it gone.

_impressed._—If it’s not stealing, it’s maybe something big.

_flattered._—Aye; it’s maybe something big.

He’s a wicked-looking young fellow. Maybe he followed after a young
woman on a lonesome night.

_shocked._—Oh, the saints forbid, mister; I was all times a decent lad.

_turning on Jimmy._—You’re a silly man, Jimmy Farrell. He said his
father was a farmer a while since, and there’s himself now in a poor
state. Maybe the land was grabbed from him, and he did what any decent
man would do.

_to Christy, mysteriously._—Was it bailiffs?

The divil a one.


The divil a one.


_peevishly._—Ah, not at all, I’m saying. You’d see the like of them
stories on any little paper of a Munster town. But I’m not calling to
mind any person, gentle, simple, judge or jury, did the like of me.
[_They all draw nearer with delighted curiosity._]

Well, that lad’s a puzzle—the world.

He’d beat Dan Davies’ circus, or the holy missioners making sermons on
the villainy of man. Try him again, Philly.

Did you strike golden guineas out of solder, young fellow, or shilling
coins itself?

I did not, mister, not sixpence nor a farthing coin.

Did you marry three wives maybe? I’m told there’s a sprinkling have
done that among the holy Luthers of the preaching north.

_shyly._—I never married with one, let alone with a couple or three.

Maybe he went fighting for the Boers, the like of the man beyond, was
judged to be hanged, quartered and drawn. Were you off east, young
fellow, fighting bloody wars for Kruger and the freedom of the Boers?

I never left my own parish till Tuesday was a week.

_coming from counter._—He’s done nothing, so. (_To Christy._) If you
didn’t commit murder or a bad, nasty thing, or false coining, or
robbery, or butchery, or the like of them, there isn’t anything that
would be worth your troubling for to run from now. You did nothing at

_his feelings hurt._—That’s an unkindly thing to be saying to a poor
orphaned traveller, has a prison behind him, and hanging before, and
hell’s gap gaping below.

_with a sign to the men to be quiet._—You’re only saying it. You did
nothing at all. A soft lad the like of you wouldn’t slit the windpipe
of a screeching sow.

_offended._—You’re not speaking the truth.

_in mock rage._—Not speaking the truth, is it? Would you have me knock
the head of you with the butt of the broom?

_twisting round on her with a sharp cry of horror._—Don’t strike me. I
killed my poor father, Tuesday was a week, for doing the like of that.

_with blank amazement._—Is it killed your father?

_subsiding._—With the help of God I did surely, and that the Holy
Immaculate Mother may intercede for his soul.

_retreating with Jimmy._—There’s a daring fellow.

Oh, glory be to God!

_with great respect._—That was a hanging crime, mister honey. You
should have had good reason for doing the like of that.

_in a very reasonable tone._—He was a dirty man, God forgive him, and
he getting old and crusty, the way I couldn’t put up with him at all.

And you shot him dead?

_shaking his head._—I never used weapons. I’ve no license, and I’m a
law-fearing man.

It was with a hilted knife maybe? I’m told, in the big world it’s
bloody knives they use.

_loudly, scandalized._—Do you take me for a slaughter-boy?

You never hanged him, the way Jimmy Farrell hanged his dog from the
license, and had it screeching and wriggling three hours at the butt of
a string, and himself swearing it was a dead dog, and the peelers
swearing it had life?

I did not then. I just riz the loy and let fall the edge of it on the
ridge of his skull, and he went down at my feet like an empty sack, and
never let a grunt or groan from him at all.

_making a sign to Pegeen to fill Christy’s glass._—And what way weren’t
you hanged, mister? Did you bury him then?

_considering._—Aye. I buried him then. Wasn’t I digging spuds in the

And the peelers never followed after you the eleven days that you’re

_shaking his head._—Never a one of them, and I walking forward facing
hog, dog, or divil on the highway of the road.

_nodding wisely._—It’s only with a common week-day kind of a murderer
them lads would be trusting their carcase, and that man should be a
great terror when his temper’s roused.

He should then. (_To Christy._) And where was it, mister honey, that
you did the deed?

_looking at him with suspicion._—Oh, a distant place, master of the
house, a windy corner of high, distant hills.

_nodding with approval._—He’s a close man, and he’s right, surely.

That’d be a lad with the sense of Solomon to have for a pot-boy,
Michael James, if it’s the truth you’re seeking one at all.

The peelers is fearing him, and if you’d that lad in the house there
isn’t one of them would come smelling around if the dogs itself were
lapping poteen from the dungpit of the yard.

Bravery’s a treasure in a lonesome place, and a lad would kill his
father, I’m thinking, would face a foxy divil with a pitchpike on the
flags of hell.

It’s the truth they’re saying, and if I’d that lad in the house, I
wouldn’t be fearing the loosed kharki cut-throats, or the walking dead.

_swelling with surprise and triumph._—Well, glory be to God!

_with deference._—Would you think well to stop here and be pot-boy,
mister honey, if we gave you good wages, and didn’t destroy you with
the weight of work?

_coming forward uneasily._—That’d be a queer kind to bring into a
decent quiet household with the like of Pegeen Mike.

_very sharply._—Will you whisht? Who’s speaking to you?

_retreating._—A bloody-handed murderer the like of....

_snapping at him._—Whisht I am saying; we’ll take no fooling from your
like at all. (_To Christy with a honeyed voice._) And you, young
fellow, you’d have a right to stop, I’m thinking, for we’d do our all
and utmost to content your needs.

_overcome with wonder._—And I’d be safe in this place from the
searching law?

You would, surely. If they’re not fearing you, itself, the peelers in
this place is decent droughty poor fellows, wouldn’t touch a cur dog
and not give warning in the dead of night.

_very kindly and persuasively._—Let you stop a short while anyhow.
Aren’t you destroyed walking with your feet in bleeding blisters, and
your whole skin needing washing like a Wicklow sheep.

_looking round with satisfaction._—It’s a nice room, and if it’s not
humbugging me you are, I’m thinking that I’ll surely stay.

_jumps up._—Now, by the grace of God, herself will be safe this night,
with a man killed his father holding danger from the door, and let you
come on, Michael James, or they’ll have the best stuff drunk at the

_going to the door with men._—And begging your pardon, mister, what
name will we call you, for we’d like to know?

Christopher Mahon.

Well, God bless you, Christy, and a good rest till we meet again when
the sun’ll be rising to the noon of day.

God bless you all.

God bless you. [_They go out except Shawn, who lingers at door._]

_to Pegeen._—Are you wanting me to stop along with you and keep you
from harm?

_gruffly._—Didn’t you say you were fearing Father Reilly?

There’d be no harm staying now, I’m thinking, and himself in it too.

You wouldn’t stay when there was need for you, and let you step off
nimble this time when there’s none.

Didn’t I say it was Father Reilly....

Go on, then, to Father Reilly (_in a jeering tone_), and let him put
you in the holy brotherhoods, and leave that lad to me.

If I meet the Widow Quin....

Go on, I’m saying, and don’t be waking this place with your noise.
(_She hustles him out and bolts the door._) That lad would wear the
spirits from the saints of peace. (_Bustles about, then takes off her
apron and pins it up in the window as a blind. Christy watching her
timidly. Then she comes to him and speaks with bland good-humour._) Let
you stretch out now by the fire, young fellow. You should be destroyed

_shyly again, drawing off his boots._—I’m tired, surely, walking wild
eleven days, and waking fearful in the night. [_He holds up one of his
feet, feeling his blisters, and looking at them with compassion._]

_standing beside him, watching him with delight._—You should have had
great people in your family, I’m thinking, with the little, small feet
you have, and you with a kind of a quality name, the like of what you’d
find on the great powers and potentates of France and Spain.

_with pride._—We were great surely, with wide and windy acres of rich
Munster land.

Wasn’t I telling you, and you a fine, handsome young fellow with a
noble brow?

_with a flash of delighted surprise._—Is it me?

Aye. Did you never hear that from the young girls where you come from
in the west or south?

_with venom._—I did not then. Oh, they’re bloody liars in the naked
parish where I grew a man.

If they are itself, you’ve heard it these days, I’m thinking, and you
walking the world telling out your story to young girls or old.

I’ve told my story no place till this night, Pegeen Mike, and it’s
foolish I was here, maybe, to be talking free, but you’re decent
people, I’m thinking, and yourself a kindly woman, the way I wasn’t
fearing you at all.

_filling a sack with straw._—You’ve said the like of that, maybe, in
every cot and cabin where you’ve met a young girl on your way.

_going over to her, gradually raising his voice._—I’ve said it nowhere
till this night, I’m telling you, for I’ve seen none the like of you
the eleven long days I am walking the world, looking over a low ditch
or a high ditch on my north or my south, into stony scattered fields,
or scribes of bog, where you’d see young, limber girls, and fine
prancing women making laughter with the men.

If you weren’t destroyed travelling, you’d have as much talk and
streeleen, I’m thinking, as Owen Roe O’Sullivan or the poets of the
Dingle Bay, and I’ve heard all times it’s the poets are your like, fine
fiery fellows with great rages when their temper’s roused.

_drawing a little nearer to her._—You’ve a power of rings, God bless
you, and would there be any offence if I was asking are you single now?

What would I want wedding so young?

_with relief._—We’re alike, so.

_she puts sack on settle and beats it up._—I never killed my father.
I’d be afeard to do that, except I was the like of yourself with blind
rages tearing me within, for I’m thinking you should have had great
tussling when the end was come.

_expanding with delight at the first confidential talk he has ever had
with a woman._—We had not then. It was a hard woman was come over the
hill, and if he was always a crusty kind when he’d a hard woman setting
him on, not the divil himself or his four fathers could put up with him
at all.

_with curiosity._—And isn’t it a great wonder that one wasn’t fearing

_very confidentially._—Up to the day I killed my father, there wasn’t a
person in Ireland knew the kind I was, and I there drinking, waking,
eating, sleeping, a quiet, simple poor fellow with no man giving me

_getting a quilt out of the cupboard and putting it on the sack._—It
was the girls were giving you heed maybe, and I’m thinking it’s most
conceit you’d have to be gaming with their like.

_shaking his head, with simplicity._—Not the girls itself, and I won’t
tell you a lie. There wasn’t anyone heeding me in that place saving
only the dumb beasts of the field. [_He sits down at fire._]

_with disappointment._—And I thinking you should have been living the
like of a king of Norway or the Eastern world. [_She comes and sits
beside him after placing bread and mug of milk on the table._]

_laughing piteously._—The like of a king, is it? And I after toiling,
moiling, digging, dodging from the dawn till dusk with never a sight of
joy or sport saving only when I’d be abroad in the dark night poaching
rabbits on hills, for I was a divil to poach, God forgive me, (_very
naïvely_) and I near got six months for going with a dung fork and
stabbing a fish.

And it’s that you’d call sport, is it, to be abroad in the darkness
with yourself alone?

I did, God help me, and there I’d be as happy as the sunshine of St.
Martin’s Day, watching the light passing the north or the patches of
fog, till I’d hear a rabbit starting to screech and I’d go running in
the furze. Then when I’d my full share I’d come walking down where
you’d see the ducks and geese stretched sleeping on the highway of the
road, and before I’d pass the dunghill, I’d hear himself snoring out, a
loud lonesome snore he’d be making all times, the while he was
sleeping, and he a man ’d be raging all times, the while he was waking,
like a gaudy officer you’d hear cursing and damning and swearing oaths.

Providence and Mercy, spare us all!

It’s that you’d say surely if you seen him and he after drinking for
weeks, rising up in the red dawn, or before it maybe, and going out
into the yard as naked as an ash tree in the moon of May, and shying
clods against the visage of the stars till he’d put the fear of death
into the banbhs and the screeching sows.

I’d be well-nigh afeard of that lad myself, I’m thinking. And there was
no one in it but the two of you alone?

The divil a one, though he’d sons and daughters walking all great
states and territories of the world, and not a one of them, to this
day, but would say their seven curses on him, and they rousing up to
let a cough or sneeze, maybe, in the deadness of the night.

_nodding her head._—Well, you should have been a queer lot. I never
cursed my father the like of that, though I’m twenty and more years of

Then you’d have cursed mine, I’m telling you, and he a man never gave
peace to any, saving when he’d get two months or three, or be locked in
the asylums for battering peelers or assaulting men (_with depression_)
the way it was a bitter life he led me till I did up a Tuesday and
halve his skull.

_putting her hand on his shoulder._—Well, you’ll have peace in this
place, Christy Mahon, and none to trouble you, and it’s near time a
fine lad like you should have your good share of the earth.

It’s time surely, and I a seemly fellow with great strength in me and
bravery of.... [_Someone knocks._]

_clinging to Pegeen._—Oh, glory! it’s late for knocking, and this last
while I’m in terror of the peelers, and the walking dead. [_Knocking

Who’s there?

_outside._ Me.

Who’s me?

The Widow Quin.

_jumping up and giving him the bread and milk._—Go on now with your
supper, and let on to be sleepy, for if she found you were such a
warrant to talk, she’d be stringing gabble till the dawn of day. [_He
takes bread and sits shyly with his back to the door._]

_opening door, with temper._—What ails you, or what is it you’re
wanting at this hour of the night?

_coming in a step and peering at Christy._—I’m after meeting Shawn
Keogh and Father Reilly below, who told me of your curiosity man, and
they fearing by this time he was maybe roaring, romping on your hands
with drink.

_pointing to Christy._—Look now is he roaring, and he stretched away
drowsy with his supper and his mug of milk. Walk down and tell that to
Father Reilly and to Shaneen Keogh.

_coming forward._—I’ll not see them again, for I’ve their word to lead
that lad forward for to lodge with me.

_in blank amazement._—This night, is it?

_going over._—This night. “It isn’t fitting,” says the priesteen, “to
have his likeness lodging with an orphaned girl.” (_To Christy._) God
save you, mister!

_shyly._—God save you kindly.

_looking at him with half-amazed curiosity._—Well, aren’t you a little
smiling fellow? It should have been great and bitter torments did rouse
your spirits to a deed of blood.

_doubtfully._—It should, maybe.

It’s more than “maybe” I’m saying, and it’d soften my heart to see you
sitting so simple with your cup and cake, and you fitter to be saying
your catechism than slaying your da.

_at counter, washing glasses._—There’s talking when any’d see he’s fit
to be holding his head high with the wonders of the world. Walk on from
this, for I’ll not have him tormented and he destroyed travelling since
Tuesday was a week.

_peaceably._—We’ll be walking surely when his supper’s done, and you’ll
find we’re great company, young fellow, when it’s of the like of you
and me you’d hear the penny poets singing in an August Fair.

_innocently._—Did you kill your father?

_contemptuously._—She did not. She hit himself with a worn pick, and
the rusted poison did corrode his blood the way he never overed it, and
died after. That was a sneaky kind of murder did win small glory with
the boys itself. [_She crosses to Christy’s left._]

_with good-humour._—If it didn’t, maybe all knows a widow woman has
buried her children and destroyed her man is a wiser comrade for a
young lad than a girl, the like of you, who’d go helter-skeltering
after any man would let you a wink upon the road.

_breaking out into wild rage._—And you’ll say that, Widow Quin, and you
gasping with the rage you had racing the hill beyond to look on his

_laughing derisively._—Me, is it? Well, Father Reilly has cuteness to
divide you now. (_She pulls Christy up._) There’s great temptation in a
man did slay his da, and we’d best be going, young fellow; so rise up
and come with me.

_seizing his arm._—He’ll not stir. He’s pot-boy in this place, and I’ll
not have him stolen off and kidnapped while himself’s abroad.

It’d be a crazy pot-boy’d lodge him in the shebeen where he works by
day, so you’d have a right to come on, young fellow, till you see my
little houseen, a perch off on the rising hill.

Wait till morning, Christy Mahon. Wait till you lay eyes on her leaky
thatch is growing more pasture for her buck goat than her square of
fields, and she without a tramp itself to keep in order her place at

When you see me contriving in my little gardens, Christy Mahon, you’ll
swear the Lord God formed me to be living lone, and that there isn’t my
match in Mayo for thatching, or mowing, or shearing a sheep.

_with noisy scorn._—It’s true the Lord God formed you to contrive
indeed. Doesn’t the world know you reared a black lamb at your own
breast, so that the Lord Bishop of Connaught felt the elements of a
Christian, and he eating it after in a kidney stew? Doesn’t the world
know you’ve been seen shaving the foxy skipper from France for a
threepenny bit and a sop of grass tobacco would wring the liver from a
mountain goat you’d meet leaping the hills?

_with amusement._—Do you hear her now, young fellow? Do you hear the
way she’ll be rating at your own self when a week is by?

_to Christy._—Don’t heed her. Tell her to go into her pigsty and not
plague us here.

I’m going; but he’ll come with me.

_shaking him._—Are you dumb, young fellow?

_timidly, to Widow Quin._—God increase you; but I’m pot-boy in this
place, and it’s here I’d liefer stay.

_triumphantly._—Now you have heard him, and go on from this.

_looking round the room._—It’s lonesome this hour crossing the hill,
and if he won’t come along with me, I’d have a right maybe to stop this
night with yourselves. Let me stretch out on the settle, Pegeen Mike;
and himself can lie by the hearth.

_short and fiercely._—Faith, I won’t. Quit off or I will send you now.

_gathering her shawl up._—Well, it’s a terror to be aged a score. (_To
Christy._) God bless you now, young fellow, and let you be wary, or
there’s right torment will await you here if you go romancing with her
like, and she waiting only, as they bade me say, on a sheepskin
parchment to be wed with Shawn Keogh of Killakeen.

_going to Pegeen as she bolts the door._—What’s that she’s after

Lies and blather, you’ve no call to mind. Well, isn’t Shawn Keogh an
impudent fellow to send up spying on me? Wait till I lay hands on him.
Let him wait, I’m saying.

And you’re not wedding him at all?

I wouldn’t wed him if a bishop came walking for to join us here.

That God in glory may be thanked for that.

There’s your bed now. I’ve put a quilt upon you I’m after quilting a
while since with my own two hands, and you’d best stretch out now for
your sleep, and may God give you a good rest till I call you in the
morning when the cocks will crow.

_as she goes to inner room._—May God and Mary and St. Patrick bless you
and reward you, for your kindly talk. (_She shuts the door behind her.
He settles his bed slowly, feeling the quilt with immense
satisfaction._)—Well, it’s a clean bed and soft with it, and it’s great
luck and company I’ve won me in the end of time—two fine women fighting
for the likes of me—till I’m thinking this night wasn’t I a foolish
fellow not to kill my father in the years gone by.



SCENE _as before. Brilliant morning light. Christy, looking bright and
cheerful, is cleaning a girl’s boots._

_to himself, counting jugs on dresser._—Half a hundred beyond. Ten
there. A score that’s above. Eighty jugs. Six cups and a broken one.
Two plates. A power of glasses. Bottles, a school-master’d be hard set
to count, and enough in them, I’m thinking, to drunken all the wealth
and wisdom of the County Clare. (_He puts down the boot carefully._)
There’s her boots now, nice and decent for her evening use, and isn’t
it grand brushes she has? (_He puts them down and goes by degrees to
the looking-glass._) Well, this’d be a fine place to be my whole life
talking out with swearing Christians, in place of my old dogs and cat,
and I stalking around, smoking my pipe and drinking my fill, and never
a day’s work but drawing a cork an odd time, or wiping a glass, or
rinsing out a shiny tumbler for a decent man. (_He takes the
looking-glass from the wall and puts it on the back of a chair; then
sits down in front of it and begins washing his face._) Didn’t I know
rightly I was handsome, though it was the divil’s own mirror we had
beyond, would twist a squint across an angel’s brow; and I’ll be
growing fine from this day, the way I’ll have a soft lovely skin on me
and won’t be the like of the clumsy young fellows do be ploughing all
times in the earth and dung. (_He starts._) Is she coming again? (_He
looks out._) Stranger girls. God help me, where’ll I hide myself away
and my long neck naked to the world? (_He looks out._) I’d best go to
the room maybe till I’m dressed again. [_He gathers up his coat and the
looking-glass, and runs into the inner room. The door is pushed open,
and Susan Brady looks in, and knocks on door._]

There’s nobody in it. [_Knocks again._]

_pushing her in and following her, with Honor Blake and Sara
Tansey._—It’d be early for them both to be out walking the hill.

I’m thinking Shawn Keogh was making game of us and there’s no such man
in it at all.

_pointing to straw and quilt._—Look at that. He’s been sleeping there
in the night. Well, it’ll be a hard case if he’s gone off now, the way
we’ll never set our eyes on a man killed his father, and we after
rising early and destroying ourselves running fast on the hill.

Are you thinking them’s his boots?

_taking them up._—If they are, there should be his father’s track on
them. Did you never read in the papers the way murdered men do bleed
and drip?

Is that blood there, Sara Tansey?

_smelling it._—That’s bog water, I’m thinking, but it’s his own they
are surely, for I never seen the like of them for whity mud, and red
mud, and turf on them, and the fine sands of the sea. That man’s been
walking, I’m telling you. [_She goes down right, putting on one of his

_going to window._—Maybe he’s stolen off to Belmullet with the boots of
Michael James, and you’d have a right so to follow after him, Sara
Tansey, and you the one yoked the ass cart and drove ten miles to set
your eyes on the man bit the yellow lady’s nostril on the northern
shore. [_She looks out._]

_running to window with one boot on._—Don’t be talking, and we fooled
to-day. (_Putting on other boot._) There’s a pair do fit me well, and
I’ll be keeping them for walking to the priest, when you’d be ashamed
this place, going up winter and summer with nothing worth while to
confess at all.

_who has been listening at the door._—Whisht! there’s someone inside
the room. (_She pushes door a chink open._) It’s a man. (_Sara kicks
off boots and puts them where they were. They all stand in a line
looking through chink._)

I’ll call him. Mister! Mister! (_He puts in his head._) Is Pegeen

_coming in as meek as a mouse, with the looking-glass held behind his
back._—She’s above on the cnuceen, seeking the nanny goats, the way
she’d have a sup of goat’s milk for to colour my tea.

And asking your pardon, is it you’s the man killed his father?

_sidling toward the nail where the glass was hanging._—I am, God help

_taking eggs she has brought._—Then my thousand welcomes to you, and
I’ve run up with a brace of duck’s eggs for your food today. Pegeen’s
ducks is no use, but these are the real rich sort. Hold out your hand
and you’ll see it’s no lie I’m telling you.

_coming forward shyly, and holding out his left hand._—They’re a great
and weighty size.

And I run up with a pat of butter, for it’d be a poor thing to have you
eating your spuds dry, and you after running a great way since you did
destroy your da.

Thank you kindly.

And I brought you a little cut of cake, for you should have a thin
stomach on you, and you that length walking the world.

And I brought you a little laying pullet—boiled and all she is—was
crushed at the fall of night by the curate’s car. Feel the fat of that
breast, Mister.

It’s bursting, surely. [_He feels it with the back of his hand, in
which he holds the presents._]

Will you pinch it? Is your right hand too sacred for to use at all?
(_She slips round behind him._) It’s a glass he has. Well, I never seen
to this day a man with a looking-glass held to his back. Them that
kills their fathers is a vain lot surely. (_Girls giggle._)

_smiling innocently and piling presents on glass._—I’m very thankful to
you all to-day....

_coming in quickly, at door._—Sara Tansey, Susan Brady, Honor Blake!
What in glory has you here at this hour of day?

_giggling._—That’s the man killed his father.

_coming to them._—I know well it’s the man; and I’m after putting him
down in the sports below for racing, leaping, pitching, and the Lord
knows what.

_exuberantly._—That’s right, Widow Quin. I’ll bet my dowry that he’ll
lick the world.

If you will, you’d have a right to have him fresh and nourished in
place of nursing a feast. (_Taking presents._) Are you fasting or fed,
young fellow?

Fasting, if you please.

_loudly._—Well, you’re the lot. Stir up now and give him his breakfast.
(_To Christy._) Come here to me (_she puts him on bench beside her
while the girls make tea and get his breakfast_) and let you tell us
your story before Pegeen will come, in place of grinning your ears off
like the moon of May.

_beginning to be pleased._—It’s a long story; you’d be destroyed

Don’t be letting on to be shy, a fine, gamey, treacherous lad the like
of you. Was it in your house beyond you cracked his skull?

_shy but flattered._—It was not. We were digging spuds in his cold,
sloping, stony, divil’s patch of a field.

And you went asking money of him, or making talk of getting a wife
would drive him from his farm?

I did not, then; but there I was, digging and digging, and “You
squinting idiot,” says he, “let you walk down now and tell the priest
you’ll wed the Widow Casey in a score of days.”

And what kind was she?

_with horror._—A walking terror from beyond the hills, and she two
score and five years, and two hundredweights and five pounds in the
weighing scales, with a limping leg on her, and a blinded eye, and she
a woman of noted misbehaviour with the old and young.

_clustering round him, serving him._—Glory be!

And what did he want driving you to wed with her? [_She takes a bit of
the chicken._]

_eating with growing satisfaction._—He was letting on I was wanting a
protector from the harshness of the world, and he without a thought the
whole while but how he’d have her hut to live in and her gold to drink.

There’s maybe worse than a dry hearth and a widow woman and your glass
at night. So you hit him then?

_getting almost excited._—I did not. “I won’t wed her,” says I, “when
all know she did suckle me for six weeks when I came into the world,
and she a hag this day with a tongue on her has the crows and seabirds
scattered, the way they wouldn’t cast a shadow on her garden with the
dread of her curse.”

_teasingly._—That one should be right company.

_eagerly._—Don’t mind her. Did you kill him then?

“She’s too good for the like of you,” says he, “and go on now or I’ll
flatten you out like a crawling beast has passed under a dray.” “You
will not if I can help it,” says I. “Go on,” says he, “or I’ll have the
divil making garters of your limbs tonight.” “You will not if I can
help it,” says I. [_He sits up, brandishing his mug._]

You were right surely.

_impressively._—With that the sun came out between the cloud and the
hill, and it shining green in my face. “God have mercy on your soul,”
says he, lifting a scythe; “or on your own,” says I, raising the loy.

That’s a grand story.

He tells it lovely.

_flattered and confident, waving bone._—He gave a drive with the
scythe, and I gave a lep to the east. Then I turned around with my back
to the north, and I hit a blow on the ridge of his skull, laid him
stretched out, and he split to the knob of his gullet. [_He raises the
chicken bone to his Adam’s apple._]

_together._—Well, you’re a marvel! Oh, God bless you! You’re the lad

I’m thinking the Lord God sent him this road to make a second husband
to the Widow Quin, and she with a great yearning to be wedded, though
all dread her here. Lift him on her knee, Sara Tansey.

Don’t tease him.

_going over to dresser and counter very quickly, and getting two
glasses and porter._—You’re heroes surely, and let you drink a supeen
with your arms linked like the outlandish lovers in the sailor’s song.
(_She links their arms and gives them the glasses._) There now. Drink a
health to the wonders of the western world, the pirates, preachers,
poteen-makers, with the jobbing jockies; parching peelers, and the
juries fill their stomachs selling judgments of the English law.
[_Brandishing the bottle._]

That’s a right toast, Sara Tansey. Now Christy. [_They drink with their
arms linked, he drinking with his left hand, she with her right. As
they are drinking, Pegeen Mike comes in with a milk can and stands
aghast. They all spring away from Christy. He goes down left. Widow
Quin remains seated._]

_angrily, to Sara._—What is it you’re wanting?

_twisting her apron._—An ounce of tobacco.

Have you tuppence?

I’ve forgotten my purse.

Then you’d best be getting it and not fooling us here. (_To the Widow
Quin, with more elaborate scorn._) And what is it you’re wanting, Widow

_insolently._—A penn’orth of starch.

_breaking out._—And you without a white shift or a shirt in your whole
family since the drying of the flood. I’ve no starch for the like of
you, and let you walk on now to Killamuck.

_turning to Christy, as she goes out with the girls._—Well, you’re
mighty huffy this day, Pegeen Mike, and, you young fellow, let you not
forget the sports and racing when the noon is by. (_They go out._)

_imperiously._—Fling out that rubbish and put them cups away. (_Christy
tidies away in great haste_). Shove in the bench by the wall. (_He does
so._) And hang that glass on the nail. What disturbed it at all?

_very meekly._—I was making myself decent only, and this a fine country
for young lovely girls.

_sharply._—Whisht your talking of girls. [_Goes to counter right._]

Wouldn’t any wish to be decent in a place....

Whisht I’m saying.

_looks at her face for a moment with great misgivings, then as a last
effort, takes up a loy, and goes towards her, with feigned
assurance._—It was with a loy the like of that I killed my father.

_still sharply._—You’ve told me that story six times since the dawn of

_reproachfully._—It’s a queer thing you wouldn’t care to be hearing it
and them girls after walking four miles to be listening to me now.

_turning round astonished._—Four miles.

_apologetically._—Didn’t himself say there were only bona fides living
in the place?

It’s bona fides by the road they are, but that lot came over the river
lepping the stones. It’s not three perches when you go like that, and I
was down this morning looking on the papers the post-boy does have in
his bag. (_With meaning and emphasis._) For there was great news this
day, Christopher Mahon. (_She goes into room left._)

_suspiciously._—Is it news of my murder?

_inside._—Murder, indeed.

_loudly._—A murdered da?

_coming in again and crossing right._—There was not, but a story filled
half a page of the hanging of a man. Ah, that should be a fearful end,
young fellow, and it worst of all for a man who destroyed his da, for
the like of him would get small mercies, and when it’s dead he is,
they’d put him in a narrow grave, with cheap sacking wrapping him
round, and pour down quicklime on his head, the way you’d see a woman
pouring any frish-frash from a cup.

_very miserably._—Oh, God help me. Are you thinking I’m safe? You were
saying at the fall of night, I was shut of jeopardy and I here with

_severely._—You’ll be shut of jeopardy no place if you go talking with
a pack of wild girls the like of them do be walking abroad with the
peelers, talking whispers at the fall of night.

_with terror._—And you’re thinking they’d tell?

_with mock sympathy._—Who knows, God help you.

_loudly._—What joy would they have to bring hanging to the likes of me?

It’s queer joys they have, and who knows the thing they’d do, if it’d
make the green stones cry itself to think of you swaying and swiggling
at the butt of a rope, and you with a fine, stout neck, God bless you!
the way you’d be a half an hour, in great anguish, getting your death.

_getting his boots and putting them on._—If there’s that terror of
them, it’d be best, maybe, I went on wandering like Esau or Cain and
Abel on the sides of Neifin or the Erris plain.

_beginning to play with him._—It would, maybe, for I’ve heard the
Circuit Judges this place is a heartless crew.

_bitterly._—It’s more than Judges this place is a heartless crew.
(_Looking up at her._) And isn’t it a poor thing to be starting again
and I a lonesome fellow will be looking out on women and girls the way
the needy fallen spirits do be looking on the Lord?

What call have you to be that lonesome when there’s poor girls walking
Mayo in their thousands now?

_grimly._—It’s well you know what call I have. It’s well you know it’s
a lonesome thing to be passing small towns with the lights shining
sideways when the night is down, or going in strange places with a dog
nosing before you and a dog nosing behind, or drawn to the cities where
you’d hear a voice kissing and talking deep love in every shadow of the
ditch, and you passing on with an empty, hungry stomach failing from
your heart.

I’m thinking you’re an odd man, Christy Mahon. The oddest walking
fellow I ever set my eyes on to this hour to-day.

What would any be but odd men and they living lonesome in the world?

I’m not odd, and I’m my whole life with my father only.

_with infinite admiration._—How would a lovely handsome woman the like
of you be lonesome when all men should be thronging around to hear the
sweetness of your voice, and the little infant children should be
pestering your steps I’m thinking, and you walking the roads.

I’m hard set to know what way a coaxing fellow the like of yourself
should be lonesome either.


Would you have me think a man never talked with the girls would have
the words you’ve spoken to-day? It’s only letting on you are to be
lonesome, the way you’d get around me now.

I wish to God I was letting on; but I was lonesome all times, and born
lonesome, I’m thinking, as the moon of dawn. [_Going to door._]

_puzzled by his talk._—Well, it’s a story I’m not understanding at all
why you’d be worse than another, Christy Mahon, and you a fine lad with
the great savagery to destroy your da.

It’s little I’m understanding myself, saving only that my heart’s
scalded this day, and I going off stretching out the earth between us,
the way I’ll not be waking near you another dawn of the year till the
two of us do arise to hope or judgment with the saints of God, and now
I’d best be going with my wattle in my hand, for hanging is a poor
thing (_turning to go_), and it’s little welcome only is left me in
this house to-day.

_sharply._—Christy! (_He turns round._) Come here to me. (_He goes
towards her._) Lay down that switch and throw some sods on the fire.
You’re pot-boy in this place, and I’ll not have you mitch off from us

You were saying I’d be hanged if I stay.

_quite kindly at last._—I’m after going down and reading the fearful
crimes of Ireland for two weeks or three, and there wasn’t a word of
your murder. (_Getting up and going over to the counter._) They’ve
likely not found the body. You’re safe so with ourselves.

_astonished, slowly._—It’s making game of me you were (_following her
with fearful joy_), and I can stay so, working at your side, and I not
lonesome from this mortal day.

What’s to hinder you from staying, except the widow woman or the young
girls would inveigle you off?

_with rapture._—And I’ll have your words from this day filling my ears,
and that look is come upon you meeting my two eyes, and I watching you
loafing around in the warm sun, or rinsing your ankles when the night
is come.

_kindly, but a little embarrassed._—I’m thinking you’ll be a loyal
young lad to have working around, and if you vexed me a while since
with your leaguing with the girls, I wouldn’t give a thraneen for a lad
hadn’t a mighty spirit in him and a gamey heart. [_Shawn Keogh runs in
carrying a cleeve on his back, followed by the Widow Quin._]

_to Pegeen._—I was passing below, and I seen your mountainy sheep
eating cabbages in Jimmy’s field. Run up or they’ll be bursting surely.

Oh, God mend them! [_She puts a shawl over her head and runs out._]

_looking from one to the other. Still in high spirits._—I’d best go to
her aid maybe. I’m handy with ewes.

_closing the door._—She can do that much, and there is Shaneen has long
speeches for to tell you now. [_She sits down with an amused smile._]

_taking something from his pocket and offering it to Christy._—Do you
see that, mister?

_looking at it._—The half of a ticket to the Western States!

_trembling with anxiety._—I’ll give it to you and my new hat (_pulling
it out of hamper_); and my breeches with the double seat (_pulling it
off_); and my new coat is woven from the blackest shearings for three
miles around (_giving him the coat_); I’ll give you the whole of them,
and my blessing, and the blessing of Father Reilly itself, maybe, if
you’ll quit from this and leave us in the peace we had till last night
at the fall of dark.

_with a new arrogance._—And for what is it you’re wanting to get shut
of me?

_looking to the Widow for help._—I’m a poor scholar with middling
faculties to coin a lie, so I’ll tell you the truth, Christy Mahon. I’m
wedding with Pegeen beyond, and I don’t think well of having a clever
fearless man the like of you dwelling in her house.

_almost pugnaciously._—And you’d be using bribery for to banish me?

_in an imploring voice._—Let you not take it badly, mister honey; isn’t
beyond the best place for you where you’ll have golden chains and shiny
coats and you riding upon hunters with the ladies of the land. [_He
makes an eager sign to the Widow Quin to come to help him._]

_coming over._—It’s true for him, and you’d best quit off and not have
that poor girl setting her mind on you, for there’s Shaneen thinks she
wouldn’t suit you though all is saying that she’ll wed you now.
[_Christy beams with delight._]

_in terrified earnest._—She wouldn’t suit you, and she with the divil’s
own temper the way you’d be strangling one another in a score of days.
(_He makes the movement of strangling with his hands._) It’s the like
of me only that she’s fit for, a quiet simple fellow wouldn’t raise a
hand upon her if she scratched itself.

_putting Shawn’s hat on Christy._—Fit them clothes on you anyhow, young
fellow, and he’d maybe loan them to you for the sports. (_Pushing him
towards inner door._) Fit them on and you can give your answer when you
have them tried.

_beaming, delighted with the clothes._—I will then. I’d like herself to
see me in them tweeds and hat. (_He goes into room and shuts the

_in great anxiety._—He’d like herself to see them. He’ll not leave us,
Widow Quin. He’s a score of divils in him the way it’s well nigh
certain he will wed Pegeen.

_jeeringly._—It’s true all girls are fond of courage and do hate the
like of you.

_walking about in desperation._—Oh, Widow Quin, what’ll I be doing now?
I’d inform again him, but he’d burst from Kilmainham and he’d be sure
and certain to destroy me. If I wasn’t so God-fearing, I’d near have
courage to come behind him and run a pike into his side. Oh, it’s a
hard case to be an orphan and not to have your father that you’re used
to, and you’d easy kill and make yourself a hero in the sight of all.
(_Coming up to her._) Oh, Widow Quin, will you find me some contrivance
when I’ve promised you a ewe?

A ewe’s a small thing, but what would you give me if I did wed him and
did save you so?

_with astonishment._—You?

Aye. Would you give me the red cow you have and the mountainy ram, and
the right of way across your rye path, and a load of dung at
Michaelmas, and turbary upon the western hill?

_radiant with hope._—I would surely, and I’d give you the wedding-ring
I have, and the loan of a new suit, the way you’d have him decent on
the wedding-day. I’d give you two kids for your dinner, and a gallon of
poteen, and I’d call the piper on the long car to your wedding from
Crossmolina or from Ballina. I’d give you....

That’ll do so, and let you whisht, for he’s coming now again. [_Christy
comes in very natty in the new clothes. Widow Quin goes to him

If you seen yourself now, I’m thinking you’d be too proud to speak to
us at all, and it’d be a pity surely to have your like sailing from
Mayo to the Western World.

_as proud as a peacock._—I’m not going. If this is a poor place itself,
I’ll make myself contented to be lodging here. [_Widow Quin makes a
sign to Shawn to leave them._]

Well, I’m going measuring the race-course while the tide is low, so
I’ll leave you the garments and my blessing for the sports to-day. God
bless you! [_He wriggles out._]

_admiring Christy._—Well, you’re mighty spruce, young fellow. Sit down
now while you’re quiet till you talk with me.

_swaggering._—I’m going abroad on the hillside for to seek Pegeen.

You’ll have time and plenty for to seek Pegeen, and you heard me saying
at the fall of night the two of us should be great company.

From this out I’ll have no want of company when all sorts is bringing
me their food and clothing (_he swaggers to the door, tightening his
belt_), the way they’d set their eyes upon a gallant orphan cleft his
father with one blow to the breeches belt. (_He opens door, then
staggers back._) Saints of glory! Holy angels from the throne of light!

_going over._—What ails you?

It’s the walking spirit of my murdered da!

_looking out._—Is it that tramper?

_wildly._—Where’ll I hide my poor body from that ghost of hell? [_The
door is pushed open, and old Mahon appears on threshold. Christy darts
in behind door._]

_in great amazement._—God save you, my poor man.

_gruffly._—Did you see a young lad passing this way in the early
morning or the fall of night?

You’re a queer kind to walk in not saluting at all.

Did you see the young lad?

_stiffly._—What kind was he?

An ugly young streeler with a murderous gob on him, and a little switch
in his hand. I met a tramper seen him coming this way at the fall of

There’s harvest hundreds do be passing these days for the Sligo boat.
For what is it you’re wanting him, my poor man?

I want to destroy him for breaking the head on me with the clout of a
loy. (_He takes off a big hat, and shows his head in a mass of bandages
and plaster, with some pride._) It was he did that, and amn’t I a great
wonder to think I’ve traced him ten days with that rent in my crown?

_taking his head in both hands and examining it with extreme
delight._—That was a great blow. And who hit you? A robber maybe?

It was my own son hit me, and he the divil a robber, or anything else,
but a dirty, stuttering lout.

_letting go his skull and wiping her hands in her apron._—You’d best be
wary of a mortified scalp, I think they call it, lepping around with
that wound in the splendour of the sun. It was a bad blow surely, and
you should have vexed him fearful to make him strike that gash in his

Is it me?

_amusing herself._—Aye. And isn’t it a great shame when the old and
hardened do torment the young?

_raging._—Torment him is it? And I after holding out with the patience
of a martyred saint till there’s nothing but destruction on, and I’m
driven out in my old age with none to aid me.

_greatly amused._—It’s a sacred wonder the way that wickedness will
spoil a man.

My wickedness, is it? Amn’t I after saying it is himself has me
destroyed, and he a liar on walls, a talker of folly, a man you’d see
stretched the half of the day in the brown ferns with his belly to the

Not working at all?

The divil a work, or if he did itself, you’d see him raising up a
haystack like the stalk of a rush, or driving our last cow till he
broke her leg at the hip, and when he wasn’t at that he’d be fooling
over little birds he had—finches and felts—or making mugs at his own
self in the bit of glass we had hung on the wall.

_looking at Christy._—What way was he so foolish? It was running wild
after the girls maybe?

_with a shout of derision._—Running wild, is it? If he seen a red
petticoat coming swinging over the hill, he’d be off to hide in the
sticks, and you’d see him shooting out his sheep’s eyes between the
little twigs and the leaves, and his two ears rising like a hare
looking out through a gap. Girls, indeed!

It was drink maybe?

And he a poor fellow would get drunk on the smell of a pint. He’d a
queer rotten stomach, I’m telling you, and when I gave him three pulls
from my pipe a while since, he was taken with contortions till I had to
send him in the ass cart to the females’ nurse.

_clasping her hands._—Well, I never till this day heard tell of a man
the like of that!

I’d take a mighty oath you didn’t surely, and wasn’t he the laughing
joke of every female woman where four baronies meet, the way the girls
would stop their weeding if they seen him coming the road to let a roar
at him, and call him the looney of Mahon’s.

I’d give the world and all to see the like of him. What kind was he?

A small low fellow.

And dark?

Dark and dirty.

_considering._—I’m thinking I seen him.

_eagerly._—An ugly young blackguard.

A hideous, fearful villain, and the spit of you.

What way is he fled?

Gone over the hills to catch a coasting steamer to the north or south.

Could I pull up on him now?

If you’ll cross the sands below where the tide is out, you’ll be in it
as soon as himself, for he had to go round ten miles by the top of the
bay. (_She points to the door_). Strike down by the head beyond and
then follow on the roadway to the north and east. (_Mahon goes

_shouting after him._—Let you give him a good vengeance when you come
up with him, but don’t put yourself in the power of the law, for it’d
be a poor thing to see a judge in his black cap reading out his
sentence on a civil warrior the like of you. [_She swings the door to
and looks at Christy, who is cowering in terror, for a moment, then she
bursts into a laugh._]

Well, you’re the walking Playboy of the Western World, and that’s the
poor man you had divided to his breeches belt.

_looking out; then, to her._—What’ll Pegeen say when she hears that
story? What’ll she be saying to me now?

She’ll knock the head of you, I’m thinking, and drive you from the
door. God help her to be taking you for a wonder, and you a little
schemer making up the story you destroyed your da.

_turning to the door, nearly speechless with rage, half to himself._—To
be letting on he was dead, and coming back to his life, and following
after me like an old weazel tracing a rat, and coming in here laying
desolation between my own self and the fine women of Ireland, and he a
kind of carcase that you’d fling upon the sea....

_more soberly._—There’s talking for a man’s one only son.

_breaking out._—His one son, is it? May I meet him with one tooth and
it aching, and one eye to be seeing seven and seventy divils in the
twists of the road, and one old timber leg on him to limp into the
scalding grave. (_Looking out._) There he is now crossing the strands,
and that the Lord God would send a high wave to wash him from the

_scandalised._—Have you no shame? (_putting her hand on his shoulder
and turning him round._) What ails you? Near crying, is it?

_in despair and grief._—Amn’t I after seeing the love-light of the star
of knowledge shining from her brow, and hearing words would put you
thinking on the holy Brigid speaking to the infant saints, and now
she’ll be turning again, and speaking hard words to me, like an old
woman with a spavindy ass she’d have, urging on a hill.

There’s poetry talk for a girl you’d see itching and scratching, and
she with a stale stink of poteen on her from selling in the shop.

_impatiently._—It’s her like is fitted to be handling merchandise in
the heavens above, and what’ll I be doing now, I ask you, and I a kind
of wonder was jilted by the heavens when a day was by. [_There is a
distant noise of girls’ voices. Widow Quin looks from window and comes
to him, hurriedly._]

You’ll be doing like myself, I’m thinking, when I did destroy my man,
for I’m above many’s the day, odd times in great spirits, abroad in the
sunshine, darning a stocking or stitching a shift; and odd times again
looking out on the schooners, hookers, trawlers is sailing the sea, and
I thinking on the gallant hairy fellows are drifting beyond, and myself
long years living alone.

_interested._—You’re like me, so.

I am your like, and it’s for that I’m taking a fancy to you, and I with
my little houseen above where there’d be myself to tend you, and none
to ask were you a murderer or what at all.

And what would I be doing if I left Pegeen?

I’ve nice jobs you could be doing, gathering shells to make a whitewash
for our hut within, building up a little goose-house, or stretching a
new skin on an old curragh I have, and if my hut is far from all sides,
it’s there you’ll meet the wisest old men, I tell you, at the corner of
my wheel, and it’s there yourself and me will have great times
whispering and hugging....

_outside, calling far away._—Christy! Christy Mahon! Christy!

Is it Pegeen Mike?

It’s the young girls, I’m thinking, coming to bring you to the sports
below, and what is it you’ll have me to tell them now?

Aid me for to win Pegeen. It’s herself only that I’m seeking now.
(_Widow Quin gets up and goes to window._) Aid me for to win her, and
I’ll be asking God to stretch a hand to you in the hour of death, and
lead you short cuts through the Meadows of Ease, and up the floor of
Heaven to the Footstool of the Virgin’s Son.

There’s praying.

_nearer._—Christy! Christy Mahon!

_with agitation._—They’re coming. Will you swear to aid and save me for
the love of Christ?

_looks at him for a moment._—If I aid you, will you swear to give me a
right of way I want, and a mountainy ram, and a load of dung at
Michaelmas, the time that you’ll be master here?

I will, by the elements and stars of night.

Then we’ll not say a word of the old fellow, the way Pegeen won’t know
your story till the end of time.

And if he chances to return again?

We’ll swear he’s a maniac and not your da. I could take an oath I seen
him raving on the sands to-day. [_Girls run in._]

Come on to the sports below. Pegeen says you’re to come.

The lepping’s beginning, and we’ve a jockey’s suit to fit upon you for
the mule race on the sands below.

Come on, will you?

I will then if Pegeen’s beyond.

She’s in the boreen making game of Shaneen Keogh.

Then I’ll be going to her now. [_He runs out followed by the girls._]

Well, if the worst comes in the end of all, it’ll be great game to see
there’s none to pity him but a widow woman, the like of me, has buried
her children and destroyed her man. [_She goes out._]



SCENE _as before. Later in the day. Jimmy comes in, slightly drunk._

_calls._—Pegeen! (_Crosses to inner door._) Pegeen Mike! (_Comes back
again into the room._) Pegeen! (_Philly comes in in the same state. To
Philly._) Did you see herself?

I did not; but I sent Shawn Keogh with the ass cart for to bear him
home. (_Trying cupboards which are locked._) Well, isn’t he a nasty man
to get into such staggers at a morning wake? and isn’t herself the
divil’s daughter for locking, and she so fussy after that young gaffer,
you might take your death with drought and none to heed you?

It’s little wonder she’d be fussy, and he after bringing bankrupt ruin
on the roulette man, and the trick-o’-the-loop man, and breaking the
nose of the cockshot-man, and winning all in the sports below, racing,
lepping, dancing, and the Lord knows what! He’s right luck, I’m telling

If he has, he’ll be rightly hobbled yet, and he not able to say ten
words without making a brag of the way he killed his father, and the
great blow he hit with the loy.

A man can’t hang by his own informing, and his father should be rotten
by now. [_Old Mahon passes window slowly._]

Supposing a man’s digging spuds in that field with a long spade, and
supposing he flings up the two halves of that skull, what’ll be said
then in the papers and the courts of law?

They’d say it was an old Dane, maybe, was drowned in the flood. (_Old
Mahon comes in and sits down near door listening._) Did you never hear
tell of the skulls they have in the city of Dublin, ranged out like
blue jugs in a cabin of Connaught?

And you believe that?

_pugnaciously._—Didn’t a lad see them and he after coming from
harvesting in the Liverpool boat? “They have them there,” says he,
“making a show of the great people there was one time walking the
world. White skulls and black skulls and yellow skulls, and some with
full teeth, and some haven’t only but one.”

It was no lie, maybe, for when I was a young lad there was a graveyard
beyond the house with the remnants of a man who had thighs as long as
your arm. He was a horrid man, I’m telling you, and there was many a
fine Sunday I’d put him together for fun, and he with shiny bones, you
wouldn’t meet the like of these days in the cities of the world.

_getting up._—You wouldn’t is it? Lay your eyes on that skull, and tell
me where and when there was another the like of it, is splintered only
from the blow of a loy.

Glory be to God! And who hit you at all?

_triumphantly._—It was my own son hit me. Would you believe that?

Well, there’s wonders hidden in the heart of man!

_suspiciously._—And what way was it done?

_wandering about the room._—I’m after walking hundreds and long scores
of miles, winning clean beds and the fill of my belly four times in the
day, and I doing nothing but telling stories of that naked truth. (_He
comes to them a little aggressively._) Give me a supeen and I’ll tell
you now. (_Widow Quin comes in and stands aghast behind him. He is
facing Jimmy and Philly, who are on the left._)

Ask herself beyond. She’s the stuff hidden in her shawl.

_coming to Mahon quickly._—you here, is it? You didn’t go far at all?

I seen the coasting steamer passing, and I got a drought upon me and a
cramping leg, so I said, “The divil go along with him,” and turned
again. (_Looking under her shawl._) And let you give me a supeen, for
I’m destroyed travelling since Tuesday was a week.

_getting a glass, in a cajoling tone._—Sit down then by the fire and
take your ease for a space. You’ve a right to be destroyed indeed, with
your walking, and fighting, and facing the sun (_giving him poteen from
a stone jar she has brought in_). There now is a drink for you, and may
it be to your happiness and length of life.

_taking glass greedily and sitting down by fire._—God increase you!

_taking men to the right stealthily._—Do you know what? That man’s
raving from his wound to-day, for I met him a while since telling a
rambling tale of a tinker had him destroyed. Then he heard of Christy’s
deed, and he up and says it was his son had cracked his skull. O isn’t
madness a fright, for he’ll go killing someone yet, and he thinking
it’s the man has struck him so?

_entirely convinced._—It’s a fright, surely. I knew a party was kicked
in the head by a red mare, and he went killing horses a great while,
till he eat the insides of a clock and died after.

_with suspicion._—Did he see Christy?

He didn’t. (_With a warning gesture._) Let you not be putting him in
mind of him, or you’ll be likely summoned if there’s murder done.
(_Looking round at Mahon._) Whisht! He’s listening. Wait now till you
hear me taking him easy and unravelling all. (_She goes to Mahon._) And
what way are you feeling, mister? Are you in contentment now?

_slightly emotional from his drink._—I’m poorly only, for it’s a hard
story the way I’m left to-day, when it was I did tend him from his hour
of birth, and he a dunce never reached his second book, the way he’d
come from school, many’s the day, with his legs lamed under him, and he
blackened with his beatings like a tinker’s ass. It’s a hard story, I’m
saying, the way some do have their next and nighest raising up a hand
of murder on them, and some is lonesome getting their death with
lamentation in the dead of night.

_not knowing what to say._—To hear you talking so quiet, who’d know you
were the same fellow we seen pass to-day?

I’m the same surely. The wrack and ruin of three score years; and it’s
a terror to live that length, I tell you, and to have your sons going
to the dogs against you, and you wore out scolding them, and skelping
them, and God knows what.

_to Jimmy._—He’s not raving. (_To Widow Quin._) Will you ask him what
kind was his son?

_to Mahon, with a peculiar look._—Was your son that hit you a lad of
one year and a score maybe, a great hand at racing and lepping and
licking the world?

_turning on her with a roar of rage._—Didn’t you hear me say he was the
fool of men, the way from this out he’ll know the orphan’s lot with old
and young making game of him and they swearing, raging, kicking at him
like a mangy cur. [_A great burst of cheering outside, someway off._]

_putting his hands to his ears._—What in the name of God do they want
roaring below?

_with the shade of a smile._—They’re cheering a young lad, the champion
Playboy of the Western World. [_More cheering._]

_going to window._—It’d split my heart to hear them, and I with pulses
in my brain-pan for a week gone by. Is it racing they are?

_looking from door._—It is then. They are mounting him for the mule
race will be run upon the sands. That’s the playboy on the winkered

_puzzled._—That lad, is it? If you said it was a fool he was, I’d have
laid a mighty oath he was the likeness of my wandering son (_uneasily,
putting his hand to his head._) Faith, I’m thinking I’ll go walking for
to view the race.

_stopping him, sharply._—You will not. You’d best take the road to
Belmullet, and not be dilly-dallying in this place where there isn’t a
spot you could sleep.

_coming forward._—Don’t mind her. Mount there on the bench and you’ll
have a view of the whole. They’re hurrying before the tide will rise,
and it’d be near over if you went down the pathway through the crags

_mounts on bench, Widow Quin beside him._—That’s a right view again the
edge of the sea. They’re coming now from the point. He’s leading. Who
is he at all?

He’s the champion of the world, I tell you, and there isn’t a hop’orth
isn’t falling lucky to his hands to-day.

_looking out, interested in the race._—Look at that. They’re pressing
him now.

He’ll win it yet.

Take your time, Jimmy Farrell. It’s too soon to say.

_shouting._—Watch him taking the gate. There’s riding.

_cheering._—More power to the young lad!

He’s passing the third.

He’ll lick them yet!

He’d lick them if he was running races with a score itself.

Look at the mule he has, kicking the stars.

There was a lep! (_catching hold of Mahon in her excitement._) He’s
fallen! He’s mounted again! Faith, he’s passing them all!

Look at him skelping her!

And the mountain girls hooshing him on!

It’s the last turn! The post’s cleared for them now!

Look at the narrow place. He’ll be into the bogs! (_With a yell._) Good
rider! He’s through it again!

He’s neck and neck!

Good boy to him! Flames, but he’s in! [_Great cheering, in which all

_with hesitation._—What’s that? They’re raising him up. They’re coming
this way. (_With a roar of rage and astonishment._) It’s Christy! by
the stars of God! I’d know his way of spitting and he astride the moon.
[_He jumps down and makes for the door, but Widow Quin catches him and
pulls him back._]

Stay quiet, will you. That’s not your son. (_To Jimmy._) Stop him, or
you’ll get a month for the abetting of manslaughter and be fined as

I’ll hold him.

_struggling._—Let me out! Let me out, the lot of you! till I have my
vengeance on his head to-day.

_shaking him, vehemently._—That’s not your son. That’s a man is going
to make a marriage with the daughter of this house, a place with fine
trade, with a license, and with poteen too.

_amazed._—That man marrying a decent and a moneyed girl! Is it mad yous
are? Is it in a crazy-house for females that I’m landed now?

It’s mad yourself is with the blow upon your head. That lad is the
wonder of the Western World.

I seen it’s my son.

You seen that you’re mad. (_Cheering outside._) Do you hear them
cheering him in the zig-zags of the road? Aren’t you after saying that
your son’s a fool, and how would they be cheering a true idiot born?

_getting distressed._—It’s maybe out of reason that that man’s himself.
(_Cheering again._) There’s none surely will go cheering him. Oh, I’m
raving with a madness that would fright the world! (_He sits down with
his hand to his head._) There was one time I seen ten scarlet divils
letting on they’d cork my spirit in a gallon can; and one time I seen
rats as big as badgers sucking the life blood from the butt of my lug;
but I never till this day confused that dribbling idiot with a likely
man. I’m destroyed surely.

And who’d wonder when it’s your brain-pan that is gaping now?

Then the blight of the sacred drought upon myself and him, for I never
went mad to this day, and I not three weeks with the Limerick girls
drinking myself silly, and parlatic from the dusk to dawn. (_To Widow
Quin, suddenly._) Is my visage astray?

It is then. You’re a sniggering maniac, a child could see.

_getting up more cheerfully._—Then I’d best be going to the union
beyond, and there’ll be a welcome before me, I tell you (_with great
pride_), and I a terrible and fearful case, the way that there I was
one time, screeching in a straightened waistcoat, with seven doctors
writing out my sayings in a printed book. Would you believe that?

If you’re a wonder itself, you’d best be hasty, for them lads caught a
maniac one time and pelted the poor creature till he ran out, raving
and foaming, and was drowned in the sea.

_with philosophy._—It’s true mankind is the divil when your head’s
astray. Let me out now and I’ll slip down the boreen, and not see them

_showing him out._—That’s it. Run to the right, and not a one will see.
[_He runs off._]

_wisely._—You’re at some gaming, Widow Quin; but I’ll walk after him
and give him his dinner and a time to rest, and I’ll see then if he’s
raving or as sane as you.

_annoyed._—If you go near that lad, let you be wary of your head, I’m
saying. Didn’t you hear him telling he was crazed at times?

I heard him telling a power; and I’m thinking we’ll have right sport,
before night will fall. [_He goes out._]

Well, Philly’s a conceited and foolish man. How could that madman have
his senses and his brain-pan slit? I’ll go after them and see him turn
on Philly now. [_He goes; Widow Quin hides poteen behind counter. Then
hubbub outside._]

There you are! Good jumper! Grand lepper! Darlint boy! He’s the racer!
Bear him on, will you! [_Christy comes in, in Jockey’s dress, with
Pegeen Mike, Sara, and other girls and men._]

_to crowd._—Go on now and don’t destroy him and he drenching with
sweat. Go along, I’m saying, and have your tug-of-warring till he’s
dried his skin.

Here’s his prizes! A bagpipes! A fiddle was played by a poet in the
years gone by! A flat and three-thorned blackthorn would lick the
scholars out of Dublin town!

_taking prizes from the men._—Thank you kindly, the lot of you. But
you’d say it was little only I did this day if you’d seen me a while
since striking my one single blow.

_outside, ringing a bell._—Take notice, last event of this day!
Tug-of-warring on the green below! Come on, the lot of you! Great
achievements for all Mayo men!

Go on, and leave him for to rest and dry. Go on, I tell you, for he’ll
do no more. (_She hustles crowd out; Widow Quin following them._)

_going._—Come on then. Good luck for the while!

_radiantly, wiping his face with her shawl._—Well, you’re the lad, and
you’ll have great times from this out when you could win that wealth of
prizes, and you sweating in the heat of noon!

_looking at her with delight._—I’ll have great times if I win the
crowning prize I’m seeking now, and that’s your promise that you’ll wed
me in a fortnight, when our banns is called.

_backing away from him._—You’ve right daring to go ask me that, when
all knows you’ll be starting to some girl in your own townland, when
your father’s rotten in four months, or five.

_indignantly._—Starting from you, is it? (_He follows her._) I will
not, then, and when the airs is warming in four months, or five, it’s
then yourself and me should be pacing Neifin in the dews of night, the
times sweet smells do be rising, and you’d see a little shiny new moon,
maybe, sinking on the hills.

_looking at him playfully._—And it’s that kind of a poacher’s love
you’d make, Christy Mahon, on the sides of Neifin, when the night is

It’s little you’ll think if my love’s a poacher’s, or an earl’s itself,
when you’ll feel my two hands stretched around you, and I squeezing
kisses on your puckered lips, till I’d feel a kind of pity for the Lord
God is all ages sitting lonesome in his golden chair.

That’ll be right fun, Christy Mahon, and any girl would walk her heart
out before she’d meet a young man was your like for eloquence, or talk,
at all.

_encouraged._—Let you wait, to hear me talking, till we’re astray in
Erris, when Good Friday’s by, drinking a sup from a well, and making
mighty kisses with our wetted mouths, or gaming in a gap or sunshine,
with yourself stretched back unto your necklace, in the flowers of the

_in a lower voice, moved by his tone._—I’d be nice so, is it?

_with rapture._—If the mitred bishops seen you that time, they’d be the
like of the holy prophets, I’m thinking, do be straining the bars of
Paradise to lay eyes on the Lady Helen of Troy, and she abroad, pacing
back and forward, with a nosegay in her golden shawl.

_with real tenderness._—And what is it I have, Christy Mahon, to make
me fitting entertainment for the like of you, that has such poet’s
talking, and such bravery of heart?

_in a low voice._—Isn’t there the light of seven heavens in your heart
alone, the way you’ll be an angel’s lamp to me from this out, and I
abroad in the darkness, spearing salmons in the Owen, or the

If I was your wife, I’d be along with you those nights, Christy Mahon,
the way you’d see I was a great hand at coaxing bailiffs, or coining
funny nick-names for the stars of night.

You, is it? Taking your death in the hailstones, or in the fogs of

Yourself and me would shelter easy in a narrow bush, (_with a qualm of
dread_) but we’re only talking, maybe, for this would be a poor,
thatched place to hold a fine lad is the like of you.

_putting his arm round her._—If I wasn’t a good Christian, it’s on my
naked knees I’d be saying my prayers and paters to every jackstraw you
have roofing your head, and every stony pebble is paving the laneway to
your door.

_radiantly._—If that’s the truth, I’ll be burning candles from this out
to the miracles of God that have brought you from the south to-day, and
I, with my gowns bought ready, the way that I can wed you, and not wait
at all.

It’s miracles, and that’s the truth. Me there toiling a long while, and
walking a long while, not knowing at all I was drawing all times nearer
to this holy day.

And myself, a girl, was tempted often to go sailing the seas till I’d
marry a Jew-man, with ten kegs of gold, and I not knowing at all there
was the like of you drawing nearer, like the stars of God.

And to think I’m long years hearing women talking that talk, to all
bloody fools, and this the first time I’ve heard the like of your voice
talking sweetly for my own delight.

And to think it’s me is talking sweetly, Christy Mahon, and I the
fright of seven townlands for my biting tongue. Well, the heart’s a
wonder; and, I’m thinking, there won’t be our like in Mayo, for gallant
lovers, from this hour, to-day. (_Drunken singing is heard outside._)
There’s my father coming from the wake, and when he’s had his sleep
we’ll tell him, for he’s peaceful then. [_They separate._]

_singing outside_—
    The jailor and the turnkey
    They quickly ran us down,
    And brought us back as prisoners
    Once more to Cavan town.

[_He comes in supported by Shawn._]

    There we lay bewailing
    All in a prison bound....

[_He sees Christy. Goes and shakes him drunkenly by the hand, while
Pegeen and Shawn talk on the left._]

_to Christy._—The blessing of God and the holy angels on your head,
young fellow. I hear tell you’re after winning all in the sports below;
and wasn’t it a shame I didn’t bear you along with me to Kate Cassidy’s
wake, a fine, stout lad, the like of you, for you’d never see the match
of it for flows of drink, the way when we sunk her bones at noonday in
her narrow grave, there were five men, aye, and six men, stretched out
retching speechless on the holy stones.

_uneasily, watching Pegeen._—Is that the truth?

It is then, and aren’t you a louty schemer to go burying your poor
father unbeknownst when you’d a right to throw him on the crupper of a
Kerry mule and drive him westwards, like holy Joseph in the days gone
by, the way we could have given him a decent burial, and not have him
rotting beyond, and not a Christian drinking a smart drop to the glory
of his soul?

_gruffly._—It’s well enough he’s lying, for the likes of him.

_slapping him on the back._—Well, aren’t you a hardened slayer? It’ll
be a poor thing for the household man where you go sniffing for a
female wife; and (_pointing to Shawn_) look beyond at that shy and
decent Christian I have chosen for my daughter’s hand, and I after
getting the gilded dispensation this day for to wed them now.

And you’ll be wedding them this day, is it?

_drawing himself up._—Aye. Are you thinking, if I’m drunk itself, I’d
leave my daughter living single with a little frisky rascal is the like
of you?

_breaking away from Shawn._—Is it the truth the dispensation’s come?

_triumphantly._—Father Reilly’s after reading it in gallous Latin, and
“It’s come in the nick of time,” says he; “so I’ll wed them in a hurry,
dreading that young gaffer who’d capsize the stars.”

_fiercely._—He’s missed his nick of time, for it’s that lad, Christy
Mahon, that I’m wedding now.

_loudly with horror._—You’d be making him a son to me, and he wet and
crusted with his father’s blood?

Aye. Wouldn’t it be a bitter thing for a girl to go marrying the like
of Shaneen, and he a middling kind of a scarecrow, with no savagery or
fine words in him at all?

_gasping and sinking on a chair._—Oh, aren’t you a heathen daughter to
go shaking the fat of my heart, and I swamped and drownded with the
weight of drink? Would you have them turning on me the way that I’d be
roaring to the dawn of day with the wind upon my heart? Have you not a
word to aid me, Shaneen? Are you not jealous at all?

_In great misery._—I’d be afeard to be jealous of a man did slay his

Well, it’d be a poor thing to go marrying your like. I’m seeing there’s
a world of peril for an orphan girl, and isn’t it a great blessing I
didn’t wed you, before himself came walking from the west or south?

It’s a queer story you’d go picking a dirty tramp up from the highways
of the world.

_playfully._—And you think you’re a likely beau to go straying along
with, the shiny Sundays of the opening year, when it’s sooner on a
bullock’s liver you’d put a poor girl thinking than on the lily or the

And have you no mind of my weight of passion, and the holy
dispensation, and the drift of heifers I am giving, and the golden

I’m thinking you’re too fine for the like of me, Shawn Keogh of
Killakeen, and let you go off till you’d find a radiant lady with
droves of bullocks on the plains of Meath, and herself bedizened in the
diamond jewelleries of Pharaoh’s ma. That’d be your match, Shaneen. So
God save you now! [_She retreats behind Christy._]

Won’t you hear me telling you...?

_with ferocity._—Take yourself from this, young fellow, or I’ll maybe
add a murder to my deeds to-day.

_springing up with a shriek._—Murder is it? Is it mad yous are? Would
you go making murder in this place, and it piled with poteen for our
drink to-night? Go on to the foreshore if it’s fighting you want, where
the rising tide will wash all traces from the memory of man. [_Pushing
Shawn towards Christy._]

_shaking himself free, and getting behind Michael._—I’ll not fight him,
Michael James. I’d liefer live a bachelor, simmering in passions to the
end of time, than face a lepping savage the like of him has descended
from the Lord knows where. Strike him yourself, Michael James, or
you’ll lose my drift of heifers and my blue bull from Sneem.

Is it me fight him, when it’s father-slaying he’s bred to now?
(_Pushing Shawn._) Go on you fool and fight him now.

_coming forward a little._—Will I strike him with my hand?

Take the loy is on your western side.

I’d be afeard of the gallows if I struck him with that.

_taking up the loy._—Then I’ll make you face the gallows or quit off
from this. [_Shawn flies out of the door._]

Well, fine weather be after him, (_going to Michael, coaxingly_) and
I’m thinking you wouldn’t wish to have that quaking blackguard in your
house at all. Let you give us your blessing and hear her swear her
faith to me, for I’m mounted on the spring-tide of the stars of luck,
the way it’ll be good for any to have me in the house.

_at the other side of Michael._—Bless us now, for I swear to God I’ll
wed him, and I’ll not renege.

_standing up in the centre, holding on to both of them._—It’s the will
of God, I’m thinking, that all should win an easy or a cruel end, and
it’s the will of God that all should rear up lengthy families for the
nurture of the earth. What’s a single man, I ask you, eating a bit in
one house and drinking a sup in another, and he with no place of his
own, like an old braying jackass strayed upon the rocks? (_To
Christy._) It’s many would be in dread to bring your like into their
house for to end them, maybe, with a sudden end; but I’m a decent man
of Ireland, and I liefer face the grave untimely and I seeing a score
of grandsons growing up little gallant swearers by the name of God,
than go peopling my bedside with puny weeds the like of what you’d
breed, I’m thinking, out of Shaneen Keogh. (_He joins their hands._) A
daring fellow is the jewel of the world, and a man did split his
father’s middle with a single clout, should have the bravery of ten, so
may God and Mary and St. Patrick bless you, and increase you from this
mortal day.

Amen, O Lord!

[_Hubbub outside. Old Mahon rushes in, followed by all the crowd, and
Widow Quin. He makes a rush at Christy, knocks him down, and begins to
beat him._]

_dragging back his arm._—Stop that, will you. Who are you at all?

His father, God forgive me!

_drawing back._—Is it rose from the dead?

Do you think I look so easy quenched with the tap of a loy? [_Beats
Christy again._]

_glaring at Christy._—And it’s lies you told, letting on you had him
slitted, and you nothing at all.

_clutching Mahon’s stick._—He’s not my father. He’s a raving maniac
would scare the world. (_Pointing to Widow Quin._) Herself knows it is

You’re fooling Pegeen! The Widow Quin seen him this day, and you likely
knew! You’re a liar!

_dumbfounded._—It’s himself was a liar, lying stretched out with an
open head on him, letting on he was dead.

Weren’t you off racing the hills before I got my breath with the start
I had seeing you turn on me at all?

And to think of the coaxing glory we had given him, and he after doing
nothing but hitting a soft blow and chasing northward in a sweat of
fear. Quit off from this.

_piteously._—You’ve seen my doings this day, and let you save me from
the old man; for why would you be in such a scorch of haste to spur me
to destruction now?

It’s there your treachery is spurring me, till I’m hard set to think
you’re the one I’m after lacing in my heart-strings half-an-hour gone
by. (_To Mahon._) Take him on from this, for I think bad the world
should see me raging for a Munster liar, and the fool of men.

Rise up now to retribution, and come on with me.

_jeeringly._—There’s the playboy! There’s the lad thought he’d rule the
roost in Mayo. Slate him now, mister.

_getting up in shy terror._—What is it drives you to torment me here,
when I’d asked the thunders of the might of God to blast me if I ever
did hurt to any saving only that one single blow.

_loudly._—If you didn’t, you’re a poor good-for-nothing, and isn’t it
by the like of you the sins of the whole world are committed?

_raising his hands._—In the name of the Almighty God....

Leave troubling the Lord God. Would you have him sending down droughts,
and fevers, and the old hen and the cholera morbus?

_to Widow Quin._—Will you come between us and protect me now?

I’ve tried a lot, God help me, and my share is done.

_looking round in desperation._—And I must go back into my torment is
it, or run off like a vagabond straying through the unions with the
dusts of August making mudstains in the gullet of my throat, or the
winds of March blowing on me till I’d take an oath I felt them making
whistles of my ribs within?

Ask Pegeen to aid you. Her like does often change.

I will not then, for there’s torment in the splendour of her like, and
she a girl any moon of midnight would take pride to meet, facing
southwards on the heaths of Keel. But what did I want crawling forward
to scorch my understanding at her flaming brow?

_to Mahon, vehemently, fearing she will break into tears._—Take him on
from this or I’ll set the young lads to destroy him here.

_going to him, shaking his stick._—Come on now if you wouldn’t have the
company to see you skelped.

_half laughing, through her tears._—That’s it, now the world will see
him pandied, and he an ugly liar was playing off the hero, and the
fright of men.

_to Mahon, very sharply._—Leave me go!

That’s it. Now Christy. If them two set fighting, it will lick the

_making a grab at Christy._—Come here to me.

_more threateningly._—Leave me go, I’m saying.

I will maybe, when your legs is limping, and your back is blue.

Keep it up, the two of you. I’ll back the old one. Now the playboy.

_in low and intense voice._—Shut your yelling, for if you’re after
making a mighty man of me this day by the power of a lie, you’re
setting me now to think if it’s a poor thing to be lonesome, it’s worse
maybe to go mixing with the fools of earth. [_Mahon makes a movement
towards him._]

_almost shouting._—Keep off ... lest I do show a blow unto the lot of
you would set the guardian angels winking in the clouds above. [_He
swings round with a sudden rapid movement and picks up a loy._]

_half frightened, half amused._—He’s going mad! Mind yourselves! Run
from the idiot!

If I am an idiot, I’m after hearing my voice this day saying words
would raise the topknot on a poet in a merchant’s town. I’ve won your
racing, and your lepping, and....

Shut your gullet and come on with me.

I’m going, but I’ll stretch you first. [_He runs at old Mahon with the
loy, chases him out of the door, followed by crowd and Widow Quin.
There is a great noise outside, then a yell, and dead silence for a
moment. Christy comes in, half dazed, and goes to fire._]

_coming in, hurriedly, and going to him._—They’re turning again you.
Come on, or you’ll be hanged, indeed.

I’m thinking, from this out, Pegeen’ll be giving me praises the same as
in the hours gone by.

_impatiently._—Come by the back-door. I’d think bad to have you stifled
on the gallows tree.

_indignantly._—I will not, then. What good’d be my life-time, if I left

Come on, and you’ll be no worse than you were last night; and you with
a double murder this time to be telling to the girls.

I’ll not leave Pegeen Mike.

_impatiently._—Isn’t there the match of her in every parish public,
from Binghamstown unto the plain of Meath? Come on, I tell you, and
I’ll find you finer sweethearts at each waning moon.

It’s Pegeen I’m seeking only, and what’d I care if you brought me a
drift of chosen females, standing in their shifts itself, maybe, from
this place to the Eastern World?

_runs in, pulling off one of her petticoats._—They’re going to hang
him. (_Holding out petticoat and shawl._) Fit these upon him, and let
him run off to the east.

He’s raving now; but we’ll fit them on him, and I’ll take him, in the
ferry, to the Achill boat.

_struggling feebly._—Leave me go, will you? when I’m thinking of my
luck to-day, for she will wed me surely, and I a proven hero in the end
of all. [_They try to fasten petticoat round him._]

Take his left hand, and we’ll pull him now. Come on, young fellow.

_suddenly starting up._—You’ll be taking me from her? You’re jealous,
is it, of her wedding me? Go on from this. [_He snatches up a stool,
and threatens them with it._]

_going._—It’s in the mad-house they should put him, not in jail, at
all. We’ll go by the back-door, to call the doctor, and we’ll save him
so. [_She goes out, with Sara, through inner room. Men crowd in the
doorway. Christy sits down again by the fire._]

_in a terrified whisper._—Is the old lad killed surely?

I’m after feeling the last gasps quitting his heart. [_They peer in at

_with a rope._—Look at the way he is. Twist a hangman’s knot on it, and
slip it over his head, while he’s not minding at all.

Let you take it, Shaneen. You’re the soberest of all that’s here.

Is it me to go near him, and he the wickedest and worst with me? Let
you take it, Pegeen Mike.

Come on, so. [_She goes forward with the others, and they drop the
double hitch over his head._]

What ails you?

_triumphantly, as they pull the rope tight on his arms._—Come on to the
peelers, till they stretch you now.


If we took pity on you, the Lord God would, maybe, bring us ruin from
the law to-day, so you’d best come easy, for hanging is an easy and a
speedy end.

I’ll not stir. (_To Pegeen._) And what is it you’ll say to me, and I
after doing it this time in the face of all?

I’ll say, a strange man is a marvel, with his mighty talk; but what’s a
squabble in your back-yard, and the blow of a loy, have taught me that
there’s a great gap between a gallous story and a dirty deed. (_To
men._) Take him on from this, or the lot of us will be likely put on
trial for his deed to-day.

_with horror in his voice._—And it’s yourself will send me off, to have
a horny-fingered hangman hitching his bloody slip-knots at the butt of
my ear.

_pulling rope._—Come on, will you? [_He is pulled down on the floor._]

_twisting his legs round the table._—Cut the rope, Pegeen, and I’ll
quit the lot of you, and live from this out, like the madmen of Keel,
eating muck and green weeds, on the faces of the cliffs.

And leave us to hang, is it, for a saucy liar, the like of you? (_To
men._) Take him on, out from this.

Pull a twist on his neck, and squeeze him so.

Twist yourself. Sure he cannot hurt you, if you keep your distance from
his teeth alone.

I’m afeard of him. (_To Pegeen._) Lift a lighted sod, will you, and
scorch his leg.

_blowing the fire, with a bellows._—Leave go now, young fellow, or I’ll
scorch your shins.

You’re blowing for to torture me (_His voice rising and growing
stronger._) That’s your kind, is it? Then let the lot of you be wary,
for, if I’ve to face the gallows, I’ll have a gay march down, I tell
you, and shed the blood of some of you before I die.

_in terror._—Keep a good hold, Philly. Be wary, for the love of God.
For I’m thinking he would liefest wreak his pains on me.

_almost gaily._—If I do lay my hands on you, it’s the way you’ll be at
the fall of night, hanging as a scarecrow for the fowls of hell. Ah,
you’ll have a gallous jaunt I’m saying, coaching out through Limbo with
my father’s ghost.

_to Pegeen._—Make haste, will you? Oh, isn’t he a holy terror, and
isn’t it true for Father Reilly, that all drink’s a curse that has the
lot of you so shaky and uncertain now?

If I can wring a neck among you, I’ll have a royal judgment looking on
the trembling jury in the courts of law. And won’t there be crying out
in Mayo the day I’m stretched upon the rope with ladies in their silks
and satins snivelling in their lacy kerchiefs, and they rhyming songs
and ballads on the terror of my fate? [_He squirms round on the floor
and bites Shawn’s leg._]

_shrieking._—My leg’s bit on me. He’s the like of a mad dog, I’m
thinking, the way that I will surely die.

_delighted with himself._—You will then, the way you can shake out
hell’s flags of welcome for my coming in two weeks or three, for I’m
thinking Satan hasn’t many have killed their da in Kerry, and in Mayo
too. [_Old Mahon comes in behind on all fours and looks on unnoticed._]

_to Pegeen._—Bring the sod, will you?

_coming over._—God help him so. (_Burns his leg._)

_kicking and screaming._—O, glory be to God! [_He kicks loose from the
table, and they all drag him towards the door._]

_seeing old Mahon._—Will you look what’s come in? [_They all drop
Christy and run left._]

_scrambling on his knees face to face with old Mahon._—Are you coming
to be killed a third time, or what ails you now?

For what is it they have you tied?

They’re taking me to the peelers to have me hanged for slaying you.

_apologetically._—It is the will of God that all should guard their
little cabins from the treachery of law, and what would my daughter be
doing if I was ruined or was hanged itself?

_grimly, loosening Christy._—It’s little I care if you put a bag on her
back, and went picking cockles till the hour of death; but my son and
myself will be going our own way, and we’ll have great times from this
out telling stories of the villainy of Mayo, and the fools is here.
(_To Christy, who is freed._) Come on now.

Go with you, is it? I will then, like a gallant captain with his
heathen slave. Go on now and I’ll see you from this day stewing my
oatmeal and washing my spuds, for I’m master of all fights from now.
(_Pushing Mahon._) Go on, I’m saying.

Is it me?

Not a word out of you. Go on from this.

_walking out and looking back at Christy over his shoulder._—Glory be
to God! (_With a broad smile._) I am crazy again! [_Goes._]

Ten thousand blessings upon all that’s here, for you’ve turned me a
likely gaffer in the end of all, the way I’ll go romancing through a
romping lifetime from this hour to the dawning of the judgment day.
[_He goes out._]

By the will of God, we’ll have peace now for our drinks. Will you draw
the porter, Pegeen?

_going up to her._—It’s a miracle Father Reilly can wed us in the end
of all, and we’ll have none to trouble us when his vicious bite is

_hitting him a box on the ear._—Quit my sight. (_Putting her shawl over
her head and breaking out into wild lamentations._) Oh my grief, I’ve
lost him surely. I’ve lost the only Playboy of the Western World.


THE PLAYBOY OF THE WESTERN WORLD was first produced by the National
Theatre Society, Ltd., at the Abbey Theatre, on Saturday, 26th January,
1907, under the direction of W. G. Fay.

Christopher Mahon, W. G. FAY
Old Mahon, his father, a squatter, A. POWER.
Michael James Flaherty (called “Michael James”), a publican, ARTHUR
Margaret Flaherty (called “Pegeen Mike”), his daughter, MARIE O’NEILL.
Shawn Keogh, her second cousin, a young farmer, F. J. FAY.

small farmers,
Philly O’Cullen, J. A. O’ROURKE.
Jimmy Farrell, J. M. KERRIGAN.


village girls,
Honor Blake, MARY CRAIG.


*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Playboy of the Western World: A Comedy in Three Acts" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
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.