Part 2 out of 3
FREDERIK _towards his chair_. CATHERINE, _embarrassed, plays with a rose
in her belt_.] Will you?...
CATHERINE. I ... I don't know....
PETER. [_Taking the rose and her hand in his own_] I know for you, my
dear. Make me happy.
CATHERINE. There's nothing I wouldn't do to make you happy, Uncle, but--
FREDERIK. You know that I love you, Kitty.
PETER. Yes, yes, yes. _That's_ all understood. He has always loved you.
Everybody knows it.
PETER. Make it a June wedding. We have ten days yet. [_Slipping her hand
in_ FREDERIK'S, _taking the rose, and tapping their clasped hands with the
flower as he speaks._
FREDERIK. Say yes, Kitty.
CATHERINE. [_Nervously_] I couldn't in ten days....
PETER. [_To_ FREDERIK.] Who is arranging the marriage, you or I? Say a
month, then, Katie.... Promise me.
CATHERINE. [_Her lips set._] If you have set your heart on it, I will,
Uncle Peter ... I will ... I promise.
PETER. [_Takes a ring of his hand._] The wedding ring--my dear mother's.
[_Gives it to_ CATHERINE.] You've made me very happy, my dear. [_He
kisses_ CATHERINE. _Then, releasing her, he nods to_ FREDERIK _to follow
his example._ PETER _turns his back on the young people and smokes._
FREDERIK. Catherine ... [_Dreading his embrace, she retreats towards_
PETER _and, as she touches him, his pipe falls to the floor. She looks at
him, startled._ FREDERIK, _struck, looking intently at_ PETER _who sits
CATHERINE. Uncle Peter ... Uncle! What is it? What's the matter? [_Runs to
the door--calling across the street._] Doctor! There he is--just going
out. [_Calls._] Come back. Come back, Doctor. [_To_ FREDERIK.] I felt it.
I felt something strange a minute ago. I felt it.
FREDERIK. [_Taking_ PETER'S _hand._] Uncle Peter!
CATHERINE. [_Coming back to_ PETER _and looking at him transfixed._] Uncle
Peter! Answer me! ... It's Katie!
_The_ DOCTOR _enters hurriedly._
DR. MACPHERSON. Is it ... Peter? [_He goes quickly to_ PETER _and listens
to his heart._ CATHERINE _and_ FREDERIK _on either side of him. The_
DOCTOR _with tender sympathy takes_ CATHERINE _in his arms._
WILLIAM. [_Rushes in with two tickets in his hand, leaving the door open.
The circus music is faintly heard._] Mr. Grimm!
DR. MACPHERSON. Sh! [_A pause as though breaking the news to them all._]
FREDERIK. [_Questioningly--dazed._] Dead? [CATHERINE _is overcome._
WILLIAM. [_At_ PETER'S _side--holding up the circus ticket._] He can't be
dead ... I've got his ticket to the circus.
SCENE. _The second act takes place ten days later, towards the close
of a rainy afternoon. A fire is burning in the grate and a basket
of hickory wood stands beside the hearth._ PETER'S _hat is no longer on
the peg. His pipes and jar of tobacco are missing. A number of wedding
presents are set on a table, some unopened. The interior of the room, with
its snapping fire, forms a pleasant contrast to the gloomy exterior. The
day is fading into dusk._ MRS. BATHOLOMMEY _is at the piano, playing the
wedding march from "Lohengrin." Four little girls are grouped about her,
singing the words to the air._
_"Faithful and true:
We lead ye forth,
Where love triumphant
Shall lighten the way."_
_"Bright star of love,
Flower of the earth,
Shine on ye both
On Love's perfect day."_
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. That's better. Children, remember that this is to be a
very _quiet_ wedding. You're to be here at noon to-morrow. You're not to
speak as you enter the room and take your places near the piano. Miss
Staats will come down from her room,--at least I suppose she will--and
will stand ... [_Thinks._] I don't know where--but you're to stop when _I_
look at you. Watch me as though I were about to be married. [_She takes
her place at the foot of the stairs and the children repeat the song until
she has marched across the room and stationed herself in some appropriate
corner. As_ FREDERIK _appears from the hall, where he leaves his raincoat
and umbrella,_ MRS. BATHOLOMMEY _motions the children to silence._] That
will do, dears, thank you. Hurry home between showers. [_The children go
as she explains to_ FREDERIK.] My Sunday-school scholars.... I thought
your dear uncle would like a song at the wedding. I know how bright and
cheery he would have been--poor man. Dear, noble, charitable soul!
FREDERIK. [_In a low voice._] Where's Catherine?
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. [_Taking up her fancy work, seating herself._] Upstairs.
FREDERIK. With that sick child? Tc!
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. Catherine finds it a pleasure to sit beside the little
fellow. William is very much better.
FREDERIK. [_Taking a telegram from his pocket-book._] Well, we shall soon
be off to Europe. I've just had a telegram to say a cabin has been
reserved for me on the _Imperator_. To-morrow, thank God, we shall take
the afternoon train to New York.
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. I must confess that I'm very glad. Of course, I'm happy
to stay and chaperone Catherine; but poor Mr. Batholommey has been alone
at the parsonage for ten days ... ever since your dear uncle ... [_Pauses,
unwinding yarn, then unburdening her mind._] I didn't think at first that
Catherine could persuade herself to marry you.
FREDERIK. [_Sharply._] I don't understand you, Mrs. Batholommey.
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. I mean she seemed so averse to--to an immediate
marriage; but of course it was your uncle's last request, and that
influenced her more than anything else. So it's to be a June wedding,
after all; he has his wish. You'll be married in ten days from the time he
left us. [_Remembering._] Some more letters marked personal came for him
while you were out. I put them in the drawer--[_Points to desk._] with
the rest. It seems odd to think the postman brings your uncle's letters
regularly, yet _he_ is not here.
FREDERIK. [_Looking towards the door of the office._] Did Hartman come?
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. Yes. He seemed rather surprised that you'd sent for him.
FREDERIK. Did you--er--tell him that we intend to leave to-morrow?
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. I spoke of your wedding trip,--yes.
FREDERIK. Did he seem inclined to stay?
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. He didn't say. He seemed very much agitated. [MARTA
_enters, carrying a night lamp._] We'll pack Miss Catherine's things
to-night, Marta. [_She notices the lamp._] The night lamp for William?
[_Looks up towards the door of his room._] Go in very quietly. He's
asleep, I think. [MARTA _goes up the stairs and into_ WILLIAM'S _room._]
By the way, Mr. Batholommey was very much excited when he heard that your
uncle had left a personal memorandum concerning us. We're anxious to hear
it read. [FREDERIK, _paying no attention to her words, is glancing at the
wedding presents._] We're anxious to hear it read.
JAMES. [_Entering._] Did you wish to see me?
FREDERIK. [_Offering his hand to_ JAMES.] How do you do, Hartman? I'm very
glad you consented to come back. My uncle never went into his office again
after you left. There is some private correspondence concerning matters of
which I know nothing; it lies on your old desk.... I'm anxious to settle
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY _leaves the room._
JAMES. Very well. I have no doubt but that I can get through with it by
FREDERIK. If you care to remain longer with the firm, I--er--
JAMES. No, thank you.
FREDERIK. I appreciate the fact that you came on my uncle's account. I
have no ill-feeling against you, Hartman.
JAMES. I'm not refusing to stay because of any ill-feeling. I'm going
because I know that you'll sell out before your uncle's cold in his grave.
I don't care to stay to see the old place change hands.
FREDERIK. I? Sell out? My intention is to carry out every wish of my dear
JAMES. I hope so. I haven't forgotten that you wanted him to sell out to
Hicks of Rochester on the very day he died. [_Exit into the office._
CATHERINE _comes from_ WILLIAM'S _room, simply dressed in white--no touch
of mourning._ FREDERIK _goes to the foot of the stairs and calls softly._
FREDERIK. Kitty! Here is our marriage license. I have the cabin on the
_Imperator_. Everything is arranged.
CATHERINE. [_Coming downstairs._] Yes. ... I meant to speak to you--again.
FREDERIK. To-morrow's the day, dear.
CATHERINE. [_Very subdued._] Yes....
FREDERIK. A June wedding--just as Uncle Peter wished.
CATHERINE. [_As before_.] Yes.... Just as he wished. Everything is just as
he.... [_With a change of manner--earnestly--looking at_ FREDERIK.]
Frederik, I don't want to go away. I don't want to go to Europe. If only I
could stay quietly here in--[_Tears in her voice as she looks round the
room._]--in my dear home.
FREDERIK. Why do you want to stay in this old cottage--with its candles
and lamps and shadows? It's very gloomy, very depressing.
CATHERINE. I don't want to leave this house.... I don't want any home but
this. [_Panic-stricken._] Don't take me away Frederik. I know you've never
really liked it at Grimm's Manor. Are you sure you'll want to come back to
FREDERIK. [_As though speaking to a child._] Of course. I'll do anything
CATHERINE. I--I've always wanted to please ... [_After a slight pause,
finding it difficult to speak his name._] Uncle Peter.... I felt that I
owed everything to him.... If he had lived ... if I could see _his_
happiness at our marriage--it would make _me_ happy; [_Pathetically._] but
he's gone ... and ... I'm afraid we're making a mistake. I don't feel
towards you as I ought, Frederik. I've told you again and again; but I
want to tell you once more: I'm willing to marry you ... but I don't love
you--I never shall.
FREDERIK. How do you know?
CATHERINE. I know ... I know.... It seems so disloyal to speak like this
after I promised _him_; but--
FREDERIK. Yes, you _did_ promise Uncle Peter you'd marry me, didn't you?
FREDERIK. And he died believing you?
FREDERIK. Then it all comes to this: are you going to live up to your
CATHERINE. That's it. That's what makes me try to live up to it. [_Wiping
her eyes._] But you know how I feel.... You understand....
FREDERIK. Perfectly; you don't quite know your own mind.... Very few young
girls do, I suppose. I love you and in time you'll grow to care for me.
[MARTA _re-enters from_ WILLIAM'S _room and closing the door comes down
the stairs and passes off._] What _are_ we to do with that child?
CATHERINE. He's to stay here, of course.
FREDERIK. The child should be sent to some institution. What claim has he
on you--on any of us?
CATHERINE. Why do you dislike him?
FREDERIK. I don't, but--
CATHERINE. Yes, you do. I can't understand it. I remember how angry you
were when you came back from college and found him living here. You never
mention his mother's name, yet you played together as children. When Uncle
tried to find Annamarie and bring her back, you were the only one opposed
FREDERIK. William is an uncomfortable child to have in the house. He has a
way of staring at people as though he had a perpetual question on his
lips. It's most annoying.
CATHERINE. What question?
FREDERIK. As for his mother--I've never seen her since she left this house
and I don't care to hear her name on your lips. Her reputation is--[_The
rain starts pattering on the shingled roof._] Tc! More rain ... the third
day of it.... [_Going to the window--calling._] Otto! [_Angrily._] Otto!
See what the wind has done--those trellises. [_Bangs the window shut._]
That old gardener should have been laid off years ago.... By the way, his
son James is here for a few hours--to straighten matters out. I must see
how he's getting on. [_Taking her hand, drawing her towards the table with
a change of manner._] Have you seen all the wedding presents, Kitty? I'll
be back in a few minutes. [_Pats her cheek and exits._
CATHERINE _stands over her wedding presents just as he left her--not
looking at them--her eyes filled with tears. The door is suddenly opened
and the_ DOCTOR _enters, a tweed shawl over his shoulders, wearing a tweed
cap. He has a book under his arm._
DR. MACPHERSON. How's William? [CATHERINE _tries to hide her tears, but he
sees through her. He tosses his cap, coat and book on the sofa._] What's
CATHERINE. Nothing.... I was only thinking.... I was hoping that those we
love ... and lose ... _can't_ see us here. I'm beginning to believe
there's not much happiness in _this_ world.
DR. MACPHERSON. Why, you little snip. I've a notion to spank you. Talking
like that with life before you! Read this book, child; [_Gesturing towards
the book on the sofa._] it proves that the dead do see us; they do come
back. [_Walks to the foot of the stairs--turns._] Catherine, I understand
that you've not a penny to your name--unless you marry Frederik; that he
has inherited you along with the orchids and tulips. Don't let that
influence you. If Peter's plans bind you--and you look as though they
did--my door's open. Think it over. It's not too late. [_Goes half-way up
the stairs--then pauses._] Don't let the neighbours' opinions and a few
silver spoons--[_Pointing to the wedding presents_ stand in the way of
your future. [_Exit into_ WILLIAM'S _room. The rain increases. The sky
grows blacker--the room darker._ CATHERINE _gives a cry and stretches out
her arms, not looking up._
CATHERINE. Uncle Peter! Uncle Peter! Why did you do it? Why did you ask
it? Oh, dear! Oh, dear! If you could see me now. [_She stands rigid--her
arms outstretched._ MARTA, _who has silently entered from the dining-room
with fresh candles, goes to_ CATHERINE. CATHERINE _suddenly buries her
face on_ MARTA'S _broad breast, breaking into sobs; then recovering, wipes
her eyes._] There, there ... I mustn't cry ... others have troubles, too,
MARTA. Others have troubles, too.
CATHERINE. I had hoped, Marta, that Annamarie would have heard of Uncle's
loss and come back to us at this time....
MARTA. If it had only brought us all together once more; but no message
... nothing ... I cannot understand.
CATHERINE. She knows that our door is open....
_The rain beats against the windows. A sharp double knock is heard at the
door._ CATHERINE _starts as though suddenly brought to herself, hastily
goes into the next room, taking the_ DOCTOR'S _book with her._ MARTA _has
hurried towards the front door, when the_ REV. MR. BATHOLOMMEY _and_
COLONEL LAWTON _appear in the hall as though they had entered quickly, to
escape the storm._ MARTA, _greeting them, passes of to tell_ FREDERIK _of
their presence. The_ REV. MR. BATHOLOMMEY _wears a long, black cloth,
rain-proof coat._ COLONEL LAWTON _wears a rubber poncho._ COLONEL LAWTON
_is a tall man with a thin brown beard and moustache, about forty-eight.
He is dressed in a Prince Albert coat, unpressed trousers, and a negligee
shirt. He wears spectacles and has a way of throwing back his head and
peering at people before answering them. The_ REV. MR. BATHOLOMMEY _sets
his umbrella in the hall and the_ COLONEL _hangs his broad-brimmed hat on
the handle--as though to let it drip._
REV. MR. BATHOLOMMEY. Brr! I believe it's raining icicles.
COLONEL LAWTON. [_Taking off his overshoes._] Gee Whillikins! What a day!
Good thing the old windmill out yonder is tied up. Great weather for
baptisms, Parson. [_There is a faint, far-away rumble of thunder._
FREDERIK _enters._] Well, here we are, Frederik, my boy--at the time you
REV. MR. BATHOLOMMEY. How are you, Frederik?
COLONEL LAWTON _crosses to the fire, followed by the_ REV. MR.
FREDERIK. [_Who has gone to the desk for a paper lying under a
paper-weight._] I sent for you to hear a memorandum left by my uncle. I
only came across it yesterday. [_There is a louder peal of thunder. A
flash of lightning illuminates the room._
COLONEL LAWTON. I must have drawn up ten wills for the old gentleman, but
he always tore 'em up. May I have a drink of his plum brandy, Frederik?
FREDERIK. Help yourself. Pastor?
REV. MR. BATHOLOMMEY. Er--er--
COLONEL LAWTON _goes to the sideboard and pours out two drinks from a
decanter. A heavy roll of thunder now ends in a sharp thunderclap._ MRS.
BATHOLOMMEY, _who is entering the room, gives a cry and puts her hands
over her face._ COLONEL LAWTON _bolts his whiskey. The_ REV. MR.
BATHOLOMMEY _takes a glass and stands with it in his hand._
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. [_Removing her hands in time to see the brandy._] Why,
Henry! What are you doing? Are your feet wet?
REV. MR. BATHOLOMMEY. No, Rose; they're not. I want a drink and I'm going
to take it. It's a bad night. [_Drinks._
COLONEL LAWTON. [_Throws a hickory log on the fire, which presently blazes
up, making the room much lighter._] Go ahead, Frederik. [_Sits._
REV. MR. BATHOLOMMEY _has drawn up a chair for his wife, and now seats
himself before the snapping hickory fire._
REV. MR. BATHOLOMMEY. I knew that your uncle would remember his friends
and his charities. He was so liberal! One might say of him that he was the
very soul of generosity. He gave in such a free-handed, princely fashion.
FREDERIK. [_Reading in a businesslike manner._] For Mrs. Batholommey--
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. The dear man--to think that he remembered me! I knew
he'd remember the church and Mr. Batholommey, of course; but to think that
he'd remember me! He knew that my income was very limited. He was so
thoughtful! His purse was always open.
FREDERIK. [_Eyes_ MRS. BATHOLOMMEY _for a second, then continues._] For
Mr. Batholommey--[REV. MR. BATHOLOMMEY _nods solemnly._] and the Colonel.
COLONEL LAWTON. [_Taking out a cigar._] He knew that I did the best I
could for him ... [_His voice breaks._] the grand old man. [_Recovering._]
What'd he leave me? Mrs. B.--er? [_Nods inquiringly at_ MRS. BATHOLOMMEY,
_who bows assent, and he lights his cigar._
FREDERIK. [_Glancing at the paper._] Mrs. Batholommey, he wished you to
have his miniature--with his affectionate regards.
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. Dear old gentleman--and er--yes?
FREDERIK. To Mr. Batholommey--
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. But--er--you didn't finish with me.
FREDERIK. You're finished.
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. I'm finished?
FREDERIK. You may read it yourself if you like.
REV. MR. BATHOLOMMEY. No, no, no. She'll take your word for it.
FREDERIK. [_Reads._] "To Mr. Batholommey, my antique watch fob--with my
profound respects." [_Continues._] To Colonel Lawton--
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. His watch fob? Is _that_ what he left to _Henry_? Is
that all? [_As_ FREDERIK _nods._] Well! If he had no wish to make _your_
life easier, Henry, he should at least have left something for the church.
Oh! Won't the congregation have a crow to pick with you!
FREDERIK. [_Reading._] "To my life-long friend, Colonel Lawton, I leave my
most cherished possession." [COLONEL LAWTON _has a look on his face as
though he were saying, "Ah! I'll get something worth while."_
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. [_Angrily._] When the church members hear that--
COLONEL LAWTON. [_Chewing his cigar._] I don't know why he was called upon
to leave anything to the church--he gave it thousands; and only last
month, he put in chimes. As _I_ look at it, he wished to give you
something he had _used_--something personal. Perhaps the miniature and the
fob _ain't_ worth three whoops in Hell,--it's the sentiment of the thing
that counts--[_Chewing the word with his cigar._] the sentiment. Drive on,
FREDERIK. "To Colonel Lawton, my father's prayer-book."
COLONEL LAWTON. [_Suddenly changing--dazed._] His prayer-book ... me?
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. [_Seeing_ FREDERIK _lay down the paper and rise._] Is
FREDERIK. That's all.
COLONEL LAWTON. [_Still dazed._] A prayer-book.... Me? Well, I'll be--
[_Struck._] Here, Parson, let's swap. You take the prayer-book--I'll take
the old fob.
REV. MR. BATHOLOMMEY. [_Stiffly._] Thank you. I already _have_ a
prayer-book. [_Goes to the window and looks out--his back turned to the
others--trying to control his feelings._
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. [_Her voice trembling with vexation and
disappointment._] Well, all that I can say is--I'm disappointed in your
COLONEL LAWTON. Is it for this you hauled us out in the rain, Frederik?
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. [_Bitterly._] I see now ... he only gave to the church
to show off.
REV. MR. BATHOLOMMEY. Rose! ... I myself am disappointed, but--
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. He did! Or why didn't he _continue_ his work? He was
_not_ a generous man. He was a hard, uncharitable, selfish old man.
REV. MR. BATHOLOMMEY. [_Horrified._] Rose, my dear!
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. He was! If he were here, I'd say it to his face. The
congregation sicked _you_ after him. Now that he's gone and you'll get
nothing more, they'll call you slow--slow and pokey. You'll see! You'll
REV. MR. BATHOLOMMEY. Sh!
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. As for the Colonel, who spent half his time with Mr.
Grimm, what is his reward? A watch-fob! [_Prophetically._] Henry, mark my
words--this will be the end of _you_. It's only a question of a few weeks.
One of these new football playing ministers, just out of college, will
take _your_ place. It's not what you _preach_ now that counts; it's what
you coax out of the rich parishioners' pockets.
REV. MR. BATHOLOMMEY. [_In a low voice._] _Mrs._ Batholommey!
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. Religion doesn't stand where it did, Henry--there's no
denying that. There was a time when people had to go to church--they
weren't decent if they didn't. Now you have to wheedle 'em in. The church
needs funds in these days when a college professor is openly saying that--
[_Her voice breaks._] the Star of Bethlehem was a comet. [_Weeps._
REV. MR. BATHOLOMMEY. Control yourself. I must insist upon it, Mrs.
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. [_Breaking down--almost breathlessly._] Oh! If I said
all the things I feel like saying about Peter Grimm--well--I shouldn't be
fit to be a clergyman's wife. Not to leave his dear friends a--
COLONEL LAWTON. He _wasn't_ liberal; but, for God's sake, madam, pull
yourself together and think what he ought to have done for me!--I've
listened to his plans for twenty years. I've virtually given up my
business for him, and what have I got out of it? Not a button! Not a
button! A bible. Still _I'm_ not complaining. Hang that chimney, Frederik,
it's smoking. [COLONEL LAWTON _stirs the fire--a log falls out and the
flame goes down. The room has gradually grown darker as the night
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. [_Turning on_ COLONEL LAWTON.] Oh, you've feathered your
nest, Colonel! You're a rich man.
COLONEL LAWTON. [_Enraged, raising his voice._] What? I never came here
that _you_ weren't begging.
FREDERIK. [_Virtuously--laying down the paper._] Well, I'm disgusted! When
I think how much more I should have if he hadn't continually doled out
money to every one of you!
COLONEL LAWTON. What?
FREDERIK. He was putty in your hands.
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. Yes, you can afford to defend his memory--you've got the
FREDERIK. I don't defend his memory. He was a gullible old fossil, and the
whole town knew it.
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. _You_ did at any rate. I've heard you flatter him by the
FREDERIK. Of course. He liked flattery and I gave him what he wanted. Why
not? I gave him plenty. The rest of you were at the same thing; and I had
the pleasure of watching him give you the money that belonged to me--to
_me_--my money.... What business had he to be generous with my money?
[_The_ COLONEL _strikes a match to light his cigar, and, as it flares up,
the face of_ FREDERIK _is seen--distorted with anger._] I'll tell you
this: had he lived much longer, there would have been nothing left for me.
It's a fortunate thing for me that--[_He pauses, knowing that he has said
too much. The room is now very dark. The rain has subsided. Everything is
quiet outside. There is not a sound, save the ticking of the clock._
REV. MR. BATHOLOMMEY. [_Solemnly--breaking the pause._] Young man, it
might have been better had Mr. Grimm given his _all_ to charity--for he
has left his money to an ingrate.
FREDERIK. [_Laughing derisively._] Ha! Ha!
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. Sh! Someone's coming.
_All is quiet. The clock ticks in the dark. The door opens._
FREDERIK. [_With a change of voice._] Come in. [_Nobody enters._] Where's
a light? We've been sitting in the dark like owls. Come in. [_A pause. He
strikes a match and holds it above his head. The light shows the open
door. A wind, blowing through the doorway, causes the match to flicker,
and_ FREDERIK _protects it with his hand._
COLONEL LAWTON. I'll see who's ... [_Looks out._] No one.
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. Someone _must_ be there. Who opened the door? [_The wind
puts out the match in_ FREDERIK'S _hand. The room is once more in
semi-darkness._] There ... it closed again ... [FREDERIK _strikes another
match and holds it up. The door is seen to be closed._
COLONEL LAWTON. [_Who is nearest to the door._] I didn't touch it.
FREDERIK. [_Blowing out the match._] I'll have the lamps brought in.
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. Curious ...
REV. MR. BATHOLOMMEY. It was the wind--a draught.
COLONEL LAWTON. [_Returning to his chair._] Must have been.
CATHERINE. [_Entering with a lamp._] Did someone call me?
_Without pausing, she sets the lamp on the table down right--opposite the
group of characters. She turns up the wick and _PETER GRIMM _is seen
standing in the room--half in shadow. He is as he was in life. The clothes
he wears appear to be those he wore about his house in the first act. He
carries his hat in his hand. He has the same kind smile, the same
deferential manner, but his face is more spiritual and years younger. The
lamp, which _CATHERINE_ has placed on the table, brightens the room._
PETER. [_Whose eyes never leave_ CATHERINE.] Yes ... I called you.... I've
FREDERIK. [_To_ CATHERINE.] No.
PETER. Don't be frightened, Katie. It's the most natural thing in the
world. You wanted me and I came.
FREDERIK. Why? What made you think someone called you?
CATHERINE. I'm so accustomed to hear Uncle Peter's voice in this room,
that sometimes I forget he's not here ... I can't get over it! I was
almost sure I heard him speak ... but, of course, as soon as I came in--I
remembered.... But some one must have called me.
PETER _stands looking at them, perplexed; not being able to comprehend as
yet that he is not seen._
CATHERINE. Isn't it curious ... to hear your name and turn and ...
[_Unconsciously, she looks in_ PETER'S _face._] no one there?
REV. MR. BATHOLOMMEY. [_Kindly._] Nerves ... imagination.
FREDERIK. You need a complete change. [_Crossing to the door._] For
heaven's sake, let's have more light or we shall all be hearing voices.
PETER. Strange.... Nobody seems to see me.... It's--it's extraordinary!
Katie! ... Katie! ... [_His eyes have followed_ CATHERINE _who is now at
CATHERINE. [_Pausing._] Perhaps it was the book I was reading that made me
think I heard.... The Doctor lent it to me.
FREDERIK. [_Pooh-poohing._] Oh!
CATHERINE. [_Half to herself._] If he _does_ know, if he _can_ see, he'll
be comforted by the thought that I'm going to do everything he wanted.
[_She passes out of the room._
PETER. [_Showing that he does not want her to carry out his wishes._] No,
no, don't ... Frederik, I want to speak to you.
[FREDERIK, _not glancing in_ PETER'S _direction, lights a cigarette._
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. Well, Frederik, I hope the old gentleman can see his
PETER. I can see several mistakes. [REV. MR. BATHOLOMMEY _rises and goes
towards the door, pausing in front of_ PETER _to take out his watch._] ...
Mr. Batholommey, I'm glad to see you in my house.... I'm very sorry that
you can't see me. I wasn't pleased with my funeral sermon; it was very
gloomy--very. I never was so depressed in my life.
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. [_To_ FREDERIK.] Do you know what I should like to say
to your uncle?
PETER. I know.
REV. MR. BATHOLOMMEY. I hope at least you'll care for the parish poor as
your uncle did--and keep on with _some_ of his charities.
PETER. [_Putting his hand on_ REV. MR. BATHOLOMMEY'S _shoulder._] That's
all attended to. I arranged all that with Frederik. He must look after my
FREDERIK. I might as well tell you now--you needn't look to me. It's Uncle
Peter's fault if your charities are cut off.
REV. MR. BATHOLOMMEY. [_Half-doubtingly._] It doesn't seem possible that
he made no arrangements to continue his good works. [FREDERIK _remains
stolid._ REV. MR. BATHOLOMMEY _puts back his watch after glancing at it._]
Just thirty minutes to make a call. [_Goes into the hall to put on his
overshoes, coat, &c., leaving_ PETER'S _hand extended in the air._
COLONEL LAWTON. [_Rising._] I must be toddling. [_Pauses._] It's queer,
Frederik, how things turn out in this world. [_He stands, thinking matters
over--cigar in mouth, his hand on his chin._
PETER. [_Slipping his hand through_ COLONEL LAWTON'S _arm. They seem to
look each other in the eye._] You were perfectly right about it, Thomas, I
should have made a will ... I--suppose it _is_ a little too late, isn't
it?... It would be--er--unusual to do it now, wouldn't it?
COLONEL LAWTON, _who has heard nothing--seen nothing--moves away as
though_ PETER _had never held his arm, and goes up into the hall for his
cape and overshoes._
COLONEL LAWTON. [_Noticing an old gold-headed walking-stick in the hall._]
Oh, er--what are you going to do with all the old man's family relics,
FREDERIK. The junk, you mean? I shall lay it on some scrap-heap, I
suppose. It's not worth a penny.
COLONEL LAWTON. I'm not so sure of that. They say there's a lot of money
paid for this sort of trash.
FREDERIK. Is that so? Not a bad idea to have a dealer in to look it over.
PETER _stands listening, a faint smile on his face._
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. If I could have the old clock--cheap, Frederik, I'd take
it off your hands.
FREDERIK. I'll find out how much it's worth. I shall have everything
appraised. [_Sets his watch by the clock._ MRS. BATHOLOMMEY _gives him a
look and joins her husband at the door._
COLONEL LAWTON. Good-night. [_Exit, closing the door._
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. [_As_ REV. MR. BATHOLOMMEY _goes out--calling after
him._] Henry, Catherine wants you to come back for supper. [MRS.
BATHOLOMMEY _leaves the room too disgusted for words._ FREDERIK _goes into
PETER. [_Now alone._] We live and learn ... and oh! what I have learned
since I came back.... [_He goes to his own particular peg in the vestibule
and hangs up his hat. He glances at the wedding presents. Presently he
sees the flowers which_ CATHERINE _has placed on the desk. With a smile,
he touches the flowers._ MARTA _enters with another lamp, which she places
on a table. As_ PETER'S _eyes rest on_ MARTA, _he nods and smiles in
recognition, waiting for a response._] Well, Marta?... Don't you know
your old master?... No?... No?... [_She winds the clock and leaves the
room._] I seem to be a stranger in my own house ... yet the watch-dog knew
me and wagged his tail as I came in. [_He stands trying to comprehend it
all._] Well! Well!
FREDERIK. [_Looking at his watch, re-enters from the office and goes to
the 'phone, which presently rings._ FREDERIK _instantly lifts the receiver
as though not wishing to attract attention. In a low voice._] Yes ... I
was waiting for you. How are you, Mr. Hicks? [_Listens._] I'm not anxious
to sell--no. I prefer to carry out my dear old uncle's wishes. [PETER
_eyes him--a faint smile on his lips._] If I got my price? Well ... of
course in that case ... I might be tempted. To-morrow? No, I can't see you
to-morrow. I'm going to be married to-morrow, and leave at once for New
York. Thank you. [_Listens._] To-night? Very well, but I don't want it
known. I'll sell, but it must be for more than the price my uncle refused.
Make it ten thousand more and it's done. [_Listens._] You'll come
to-night?... Yes, yes.... [_Listens at the 'phone._] The dear old man told
you his plans never failed, eh? God rest his soul! [_Laughing
indulgently._] Ha! Ha! Ha!
PETER. Ha! Ha! Ha!
FREDERIK. [_Echoing_ HICKS' _words._] What would he say if he knew? What
could he say? Everything must change.
_A far-away rumble of thunder is heard--the lightning flickers at the
window and a flash is seen on the telephone which tinkles and responds as
though from the electric shock. Exclaiming "Ugh,"_ FREDERIK _drops the
receiver--which hangs down._
PETER. [_The storm passes as he speaks into the receiver without touching
the telephone._] Good-evening, my friend. We shall soon meet--face to
face. You won't be able to carry this matter through.... [_Looking into
space as though he could see the future._] You're not well and you're
going out to supper to-night; ... you will eat something that will cause
you to pass over.... I shall see you to-morrow.... A happy crossing!
FREDERIK. [_Picks up the receiver._] Hello?... You don't feel well, you
say? [_Then echoing the purport of_ HICKS' _answer._] I see.... Your
lawyer can attend to everything to-night without you. Very well. It's
entirely a question of money, Mr. Hicks. Send your lawyer to the Grimm
Manor Hotel. I'll arrange at once for a room. Good-bye. [_Hangs up the
receiver._] That's off my mind. [_He lights a fresh cigarette--his face
expressing the satisfaction he feels in the prospect of a perfectly idle
future._ PETER _looks at him as though to say: "And that's the boy whom I
loved and trusted!"_ FREDERIK _gets his hat, throws his coat over his arm,
and hastens out._
PETER. [_Turns and faces the door leading into the next room, as though he
could feel the presence of some one waiting there._] Yes ... I am still
in the house. Come in ... come in ... [_He repeats the signal of the first
act._] Ou--oo. [_The door opens slowly--and_ CATHERINE _enters as though
at_ PETER'S _call. She looks about her, not understanding. He holds out
his arms to her._ CATHERINE _walks slowly towards him. He takes her in his
arms, but she does not respond. She does not know that she is being
held._] There! There!... Don't worry.... It's all right.... We'll arrange
things very differently. I've come back to change all my plans. [_She
moves away a step--just out of his embrace. He tries to call her back._]
Katie! ... Can't I make my presence known to _you_? Katie! Can't my love
for you outlive _me_? Isn't it here in the home?... Don't cry. [_She moves
about the room in thought. As_ PETER _watches her--she pauses near his
CATHERINE. [_Suddenly._] Crying doesn't help matters.
PETER. She hears me. She doesn't know it, but she hears me. She's cheering
up. [_She inhales the flowers--a half smile on her lips._] That's right,
you haven't smiled before since I died. [_Suddenly giving way to the
realization of her loss_, CATHERINE _sighs._
PETER. [_Correcting himself._] I--I mean--since I learned that there was a
happier place than the world I left.... I'm a trifle confused. I've not
had time to adjust myself to these new conditions. [CATHERINE _smiles
sadly--goes up to the window, and, leaning against the pane, looks out
into the night._ PETER _continues comfortingly._] The dead have never
really died, you know. We couldn't die if we tried. We're all about
you.... Look at the gardens: they've died, haven't they? But there they
are all the better for it. Death is the greatest thing in the world. It's
really a--Ha!--delightful experience. What is it, after all? A nap from
which we waken rested, refreshened ... a sleep from which we spring up
like children tumbling out of bed--ready to frolic through another world.
I was an old man a few days ago; now I'm a boy. I feel much younger than
you--much younger. [_A conflict is going on in_ CATHERINE'S _mind. She
walks to the chair by the fireplace and sits--her back to the audience.
He approaches her and lays a tender hand on her shoulder._] I know what
you're thinking.... Katie, I want you to break that very foolish promise I
asked you to make. You're almost tempted to. Break it! Break it at once;
then--[_Glancing smilingly towards the door through which he came--as
though he wished to leave--like a child longing to go back to play._] then
I could--take the journey back in peace.... I can't go until you do--and I
... I long to go.... Isn't my message any clearer to you? [_Reading her
mind._] You have a feeling ... an impression of what I'm saying; but the
words ... the words are not clear.... Mm ... let me see.... If you can't
understand me--there's the Doctor, he'll know how to get the message--
he'll find the way.... Then I can hurry back ... home....
CATHERINE. [_Helplessly--changing her position like a tired child._] Oh,
I'm so alone.
PETER. [_Cheerily._] Not alone at all--not at all. I shall drop in very
often ... and then, there's your mother. [_Suddenly remembering._] Oh,
yes, I had almost forgotten. I have a message for you, Katie.... [_He
seats himself in a chair which is almost in front of her._] I've met your
mother. [_She sits in a reverie._ PETER _continues with the air of a
returned traveller relating his experiences._] She heard that I had
crossed over and there she was--waiting for me. You're thinking of it,
aren't you? Wondering if we met.... Yes, that was the first interesting
experience. She knew me at once. "You were Peter Grimm," she said, "before
you knew better"--that's what _they_ call leaving _this_ world--"_to know
better_." You call it "dying." [_Confidentially._] She's been here often,
it seems, watching over you. I told her how much I loved you and said that
you had a happy home. I spoke of your future--of my plans for you and
Frederik. "Peter Grimm," she said, "you've over-looked the most important
thing in the world--love. You haven't given her _her right_ to the choice
of her lover--_her right_!" Then it came over me that I'd made a terrible
mistake ... and at that minute, you called to me. [_Impressively._] In the
darkness surrounding all I had left behind, there came a light ... a
glimmer where you stood ... a clear call in the night.... It seemed as
though I had not been away one second ... but in that second, you had
suffered.... Now I am back to show you the way.... I am here to put my
hand on your dear head and give you your mother's blessing; to say she
will be with you in spirit until she holds you in her arms--you and your
loved husband--[CATHERINE _turns in her chair and looks towards the door
of the room in which_ JAMES _is working._ PETER _catches the thought._]--
yes, James, it's you.... And the message ended in this kiss. [_Prints a
kiss on her cheek._] Can't you think I'm with you, dear child? Can't you
_think_ I'm trying to help you? Can't you even hope? Oh, come, at least
hope! Anybody can hope.
CATHERINE _rises with an entire change of manner--takes a bright red
blossom from the vase on_ PETER'S _desk--then deliberately walks to the
door of the room in which_ JAMES _is working._ PETER _follows her action
hopefully. She does not tap on the door, however, but turns and sits at
the piano--in thought--not facing the piano. She puts_ PETER'S _flowers
against her face. Then, laying the flowers on the piano, sings softly
three or four bars of the song she sang in the first act--and stops
CATHERINE. [_To herself._] That I should sit here singing--at a time like
PETER. Sing! Sing! Why not? Lift up your voice like a bird! Your old uncle
doesn't sleep out there in the dust. That's only the dream. He's here--
here--alive. All his age gone and youth glowing in his heart. If I could
only tell you what lies before you--before us all! If people even
_suspected_ what the next life really is, they wouldn't waste time here--I
can tell you _that_. They'd do dreadful things to get away from this
existence--make for the nearest pond or--[_Pausing abruptly._] Ah, here
comes someone who'll know all about it! [_The_ DOCTOR _comes from_
WILLIAM'S _room._ PETER _greets him in a cordial but casual way, as though
he had parted from him only an hour before._] Well, Andrew, I apologize.
[_Bowing obsequiously._] You were right. I apologize.
CATHERINE. How is he, Doctor?
DR. MACPHERSON. William is better. Dropped off to sleep again. Can't quite
PETER. I apologize. I said that if I could come back, I would; and here I
am--apologizing. Andrew! Andrew! [_Trying to attract_ DR. MACPHERSON'S
_attention._] I have a message, but I can't get it across. This is your
chance. I want _you_ to take it. I don't wish Catherine to marry Frederik.
DR. MACPHERSON. He's somewhat feverish yet.
PETER. Can't _you_ understand one word?
DR. MACPHERSON. It's a puzzling case....
PETER. What? Mine?
DR. MACPHERSON. [_Getting a pad from his pocket--writing out a
prescription with his fountain pen._] I'll leave this prescription at the
PETER. I'm quite shut out.... They've closed the door and turned the key
DR. MACPHERSON. [_Suddenly noticing that_ CATHERINE _seems more
cheerful._] What's happened? I left you in tears and here you are--all
CATHERINE. Yes, I--I am happier--for some reason.... For the last few
minutes I--I've had such a strange feeling.
DR. MACPHERSON. That's odd: so have I! Been as restless as a hungry mouse.
Something seemed to draw me down here--can't explain it.
PETER. I'm beginning to be felt in this house.
DR. MACPHERSON. Catherine, I have the firm conviction that, in a very
short time, I shall hear from Peter. [_Sitting at the table._
PETER. I hope so. It's high time now.
DR. MACPHERSON. What I want is some positive proof; some absolute test;
CATHERINE _has seated herself at the table.--Unconsciously they both
occupy the same seats as in the first act._
PETER. The trouble is with other people, not with us. You want us to give
all sorts of proofs; and here we are just back for a little while--very
poorly put together on the chance that you'll see us at all.
DR. MACPHERSON. Poor old Peter--bless his heart! [_His elbow on the table
as though he had been thinking over the matter._ CATHERINE _sits quietly
listening._] If he kept that compact with me, and came back,--do you know
what I'd ask him first? If our work goes on.
PETER. Well, now, that's a regular sticker. It's bothered me considerably
since I crossed over.
CATHERINE. What do you mean, Doctor?
DR. MACPHERSON. The question _every man wants the answer to_: what's to
become of me--_me_--_my work_? Am I going to be a bone setter in the next
life and he a tulip man?... I wonder.
PETER. Andrew, I've asked everybody--Tom, Dick and Harry. One spirit told
me that sometimes our work _does_ go on; but he was an awful liar--you
knew we don't drop our earth habits at once. He said that a genius is
simply a fellow who's been there before in some other world and knows his
business. Now then: [_Confidentially preparing to open an argument--
sitting in his old seat at the table, as in the first act._] it stands to
reason, Andrew, doesn't it? What chance has the beginner compared with a
fellow who knew his business before he was born?
DR. MACPHERSON. [_Unconsciously grasping the thought._] I believe it is
possible to have more than one chance at our work.
PETER. There ... you caught that.... Why can't you take my message to
DR. MACPHERSON. [_Rising to get his shawl--gruffly._] Thought over what I
told you concerning this marriage? Not too late to back out.
PETER. He's beginning to take the message.
CATHERINE. Everything's arranged: I shall be married as Uncle Peter
wished. I sha'n't change my mind.
DR. MACPHERSON. H'm! [_Picks up his shawl._
PETER. [_Trying to detain the_ DOCTOR--_tugging at his shawl without
seeming to pull it._] Don't give up! Don't give up! A girl can always
change her mind--while there's life. Don't give up! [_The_ DOCTOR _turns,
facing_ PETER, _looking directly at him as he puts his hand in his coat
pocket._] You heard that, eh?... Didn't you? Yes? Did it cross over?...
What?... It did?... You're looking me in the face, Andrew; can you see me?
[_The_ DOCTOR _takes a pencil out of his pocket, writes a prescription,
throws his shawl over his shoulder--turning his back towards_ PETER _and
facing_ CATHERINE.] Tc! Tc! Tc!
DR. MACPHERSON. Good-night.
CATHERINE. Good-night. [CATHERINE _goes quietly to the fireplace, kneeling
down, mends the fire, and remains there sitting on an ottoman._
PETER. [_Calling after the_ DOCTOR.] If I could only make some sign--to
start you thinking; but I can't depend upon _you_, I see that.... [_Then
changing--as though he had an idea._] Ah, yes! There _is_ another way. Now
to work. [_With renewed activity, he taps in the direction of the office
door, although he himself stands three feet away from it. The door opens
promptly and_ JAMES _appears on the threshold--pen in hand--as though
something had made him rise suddenly from his desk._ CATHERINE, _still
seated, does not see_ JAMES, _who stands looking at her--remembering that
she is to be married on the following day._ PETER _tempts_ JAMES.] Yes,
she _is_ pretty, James ... young and lovely.... Look!... There are kisses
tangled in her hair where it curls ... hundreds of them.... Are you going
to let her go? Her lips are red with the red of youth. Every smile is an
invocation to life. Who could resist her smiles? Can you, James? No, you
will not let her go. And her hands, James.... Look! Hands made to clasp
and cling to yours. Imagine her little feet trudging happily about _your_
home.... Look at her shoulders ... shaped for a resting-place for a little
head.... You were right, James, we should ask nothing of our girls but to
marry the men they love and be happy wives and happy mothers of happy
children. You feel what I am saying.... You couldn't live without her,
could you? No? Very well, then--[_Changing abruptly._] Now, it's your
JAMES _pauses a moment. There is silence. Then he comes forward a step
and_ CATHERINE, _hearing him, turns and rises._
JAMES. [_Coldly--respectfully._] Miss Grimm ...
CATHERINE. James ...
JAMES. I felt that you were here and wished to speak to me. I--I don't
know why ...
PETER. Good for James.
CATHERINE. [_Shaking hands with him._] I'm very glad to see you again,
James. [_When_ PETER _sees that he has brought the two young people
together, he stands in the background. The lovers are in the shadow, but_
PETER'S _figure is marked and clear._] Why did you go away?
CATHERINE. And without saying a word.
JAMES. Your uncle sent me away. I told him the truth again.
CATHERINE. Oh ...
JAMES. I am going in a few hours.
CATHERINE. Where are you going? What do you intend to do?
JAMES. [_Half-heartedly._] Father and I are going to try our luck
together. We're going to start with a small fruit farm. It will give me a
chance to experiment....
CATHERINE. It will seem very strange when I come back home.... Uncle gone
... and you, James. [_Her voice trembling._
JAMES. I hope you'll be happy, Catherine.
CATHERINE. James, Uncle died smiling at me--thinking of me ... and just
before he went, he gave me his mother's wedding ring and asked me to marry
Frederik. I shall never forget how happy he was when I promised. That was
all he wanted. His last smile was for me ... and there he sat--still
smiling after he was gone ... the smile of a man leaving the world
perfectly satisfied--at peace. It's like a hand on my heart--hurting it--
when I question anything he wanted. I couldn't meet him in the hereafter
if I didn't do everything he wished; I couldn't say my prayers at night; I
couldn't speak his name in them.... He trusted me; depended upon me; did
everything for me; so I must do this for him.... I wanted you to know
this, James, because ...
JAMES. Why haven't you told Frederik the truth?
CATHERINE. I have.
JAMES. That you don't love him? [CATHERINE _doesn't answer, but_ JAMES
_knows._] ... And he's willing to take you like that?--a little girl like
you--in _that_ way.... God! He's rotten all the way through. He's even
worse than I thought. Katie, I didn't mean to say a word of this to-day--
not a word; but a moment since--something made me change my mind--I don't
know what!... [PETER _smiles._] I felt that I _must_ talk to you. You
looked so young, so helpless, such a child. You've never had to think for
yourself--you don't know what you're doing. You _couldn't_ live under it,
Catherine. You're making the greatest mistake possible, if you marry where
you don't love. Why should you carry out your uncle's plans? You're going
to be wretched for life to please a dead man who doesn't know it; or, if
he does know it, regrets it bitterly.
PETER. I agree with you now, James.
CATHERINE. You musn't say that, James.
JAMES. But I will say it--I will speak my mind. I don't care how fond you
were of your uncle or how much he did for you--it wasn't right to ask this
of you. It wasn't fair. The whole thing is the mistake of a _very_
obstinate old man.
JAMES. I loved him, too; but he _was_ an obstinate old man. Sometimes I
think it was the Dutch blood in his veins.
PETER. A very frank, outspoken fellow. I like to hear him talk--now.
JAMES. Do you know why I was sent away? Why I quarrelled with your uncle?
I said that I loved you ... he asked me.... I didn't tell him because I
had any hopes--I hadn't.... I haven't now.... [_Struck._] But in spite of
what I'm saying ... I don't know what makes me think that I ... I could
take you in my arms and you would let me ... but I do think it.
CATHERINE. [_Retreats, backing towards_ PETER.] No!... Don't touch me,
James--you mustn't! Don't!... Don't!
PETER _pushes her into_ JAMES' _arms, without touching her. She exclaims_
"Oh, James!" _and fairly runs towards_ JAMES _as though violently
propelled. In reality, she thinks that she is yielding to an impulse. As
she reaches him, she exclaims_ "No," _and turns back, but_ JAMES, _with
outstretched arms, catches her._
JAMES. You love me. [_Draws her to him._
CATHERINE. Don't make me say that, James.
JAMES. I _will_ make you say it! You _do_ love me.
CATHERINE. No matter if I do, that won't alter matters.
JAMES. What? What?
CATHERINE. No, no, don't say any more.... I won't hear it. [_She stands
free of_ JAMES--_then turns and walks to the stairs._] Good-bye, Jim.
JAMES. Do you mean it? Are you really going to sacrifice yourself because
of--Am I really losing you?... Catherine! Catherine!
CATHERINE. [_In tears--beseechingly._] Please don't.... Please don't....
FREDERIK _enters. Until the entrance of_ FREDERIK, PETER _has had hope in
his face, but now he begins to feel apprehensive._
FREDERIK. [_Throwing his hat and coat on a chair._] I have some work to
do--more of my uncle's unopened mail; then I'll join you, Hartman. We
JAMES _looks at_ CATHERINE, _then at_ FREDERIK. CATHERINE _gives him an
imploring glance--urging him not to speak._ FREDERIK _has gone to_ PETER'S
JAMES. I'll come back later. [_Goes towards the hall._
FREDERIK. Catherine, have you asked James to be present at the ceremony
FREDERIK. James, will you--
JAMES. I shall be leaving early in the morning.
FREDERIK. Too bad! [_Exit_ JAMES.
FREDERIK _lights the desk candles, takes the mail out of the drawer--opens
two letters--tears them up after barely glancing at them--then sees_
CATHERINE _still standing at the foot of the stairs--her back to him. He
lays the cigar on the desk, crosses, and, taking her in his arms, kisses
CATHERINE. [_With a revulsion of feeling._] No! No! No! [_She covers her
face with her hands--trying to control herself._] Please!... Not now....
FREDERIK. Why not _now_? [_Suspiciously._] Has Hartman been talking to
you? What has he been saying to you? [CATHERINE _starts slowly up the
stairs._] Wait a moment, please.... [_As she retreats a step up the
stairs, he follows her._] Do you really imagine you--you care for that
FREDERIK. I'm sorry to insist. Of course, I knew there was a sort of
school-girl attachment on your part; ... that you'd known each other since
childhood. I don't take it at all seriously. In three months, you'll
forget him. I must insist, however, that you do _not_ speak to him again
to-night. After to-morrow--after we are married--I'm quite sure that you
will not forget you are my wife, Catherine--my wife.
CATHERINE. I sha'n't forget. [_She escapes into her room._ FREDERIK _goes
to his desk._
PETER. [_Confronting_ FREDERIK.] Now, sir, I have something to say to you,
Frederik Grimm, my beloved nephew! I had to die to find you out; but I
know you! [FREDERIK _is reading a letter._] You sit there opening a dead
man's mail--with the heart of a stone--thinking: "He's gone! he's gone!--
so I'll break every promise!" But there is something you have forgotten--
something that always finds us out: the law of reward and punishment. Even
now it is overtaking you. Your hour has struck. [FREDERIK _takes up
another letter and begins to read it; then, as though disturbed by a
passing thought, he puts it down. As though perplexed by the condition of
his own mind, he ponders, his eyes resting unconsciously on_ PETER.] Your
hour has struck.
FREDERIK. [_To himself._] What in the world is the matter with me
FREDERIK. [_Has opened a long, narrow, blue envelope containing a letter
on blue paper and a small photograph. He stares at the letter, aghast._]
My God! Here's luck.... Here's luck! From that girl Annamarie to my uncle.
Oh, if he had read it!
PETER. [_Standing in front of_ FREDERIK _looks into space--as though
reading the letter in the air._] "Dear Mr. Grimm: I have not written
because I can't do anything to help William, and I am ashamed."
FREDERIK. Wh! [_As though he had read the first part to himself, now reads
aloud._] "Don't be too hard upon me.... I have gone hungry trying to save
a few pennies for him, but I never could; and now I see that I cannot hope
to have him back. William is far better off with you. I--" [_Hesitates._
PETER. [_Going back of the desk, standing behind_ FREDERIK'S _chair._] Go
FREDERIK. "I wish that I might see him once again. Perhaps I could come
and go in the night."
PETER. That's a terrible thing for a mother to write.
FREDERIK. [_Who has been looking down at the letter--suddenly feeling_
PETER'S _presence._] Who's that? Who's in this room? [_Looks over his
shoulder--then glances about._] I could have sworn somebody was looking
over my shoulder ... or had come in at the door ... or ... [_But seeing no
one--he continues._] "I met someone from home; ... if there is any truth
in the rumour of Catherine's marriage--it mustn't be, Mr. Grimm--it
mustn't be ... not to Frederik. For Frederik is my little boy's--"
[FREDERIK _gives a furtive glance upstairs at the door of the child's
room. Picks up the small picture which was in the envelope._] Her picture
... [_Turns it over--looks at the back--reads._] "For my boy, from
Annamarie." [FREDERIK, _conscious-stricken for the time being, bows his
PETER. For the first time since I entered this house, you are yourself,
Frederik Grimm. Once more a spark of manhood is alight in your soul.
Courage! It's not too late to repent. Turn back, lad! Follow your impulse.
Take the little boy in your arms. Go down on your knees and ask his
mother's pardon. Turn over a fresh page, that I may leave this house in
FREDERIK. [_Looks about uneasily, then glances towards the door leading
into the hall._] Who is at the door? Curious ... I thought I heard someone
PETER. I am at the door--I, Peter Grimm! Annamarie is at the door--the
little girl who is ashamed to come home; the old mother in the kitchen
breaking her heart for some word. William is at the door--your own flesh
and blood--nameless; Katie, sobbing her heart out--you can hear her; all--
we are all at the door--every soul in this house. We are all at the door
of your conscience, Frederik.... Don't keep us waiting, my boy. It's very
hard to kill the love I had for you. I long to love you again--to take you
back to my heart--lies and all. [FREDERIK _rises--in deep thought._] Yes!
Call her! Tell her the truth. Give her back her promise.... Give her back
her home.... Close the door on a peaceful, happy, silent room and go.
Think--think of that moment when you give her back her freedom! Think of
her joy, her gratitude, her affection. It's worth living for, lad. Speak!
Make haste and call her, Fritz. [FREDERIK _takes several steps--then turns
back to the desk. He tears the letter in two, muttering to himself,_ "Damn
the woman," _and sinks into his chair._] Frederik Grimm, stand up before
me! [FREDERIK _starts to rise, but changes his mind._] Stand up! [FREDERIK
_rises--not knowing why he has risen._ PETER _points an accusing finger
at_ FREDERIK.] Liar to the dead! Cheat, thief, hypocrite! You sha'n't have
my little girl. You only want her for a week, a day, an hour. I refuse. I
have come back to take her from you and you cannot put me to rest.... I
have come back.... You cannot drive me from your thoughts--I am there....
[_Tapping his forehead, without touching it._] I am looking over your
shoulder ... in at the window ... under the door.... You are breathing me
in the air.... I am looking at your heart. [_He brings his clenched fist
down on the desk in answer to_ FREDERIK'S _gesture; but, despite the
seeming violence of the blow, he makes no sound._] Hear me! You shall hear
me! Hear me! [_Calling loudly._] Hear me! Hear me! Hear me! Will nobody
hear me? Is there no one in this house to hear me? No one? Has my journey
been in vain?... [_For the first time fully realizing the situation._] Oh,
must we stand or fall by the mistakes we made here and the deed we did? Is
there no second chance in this world?
FREDERIK. [_With a sneer on his lips as though trying to banish his
MARTA _enters with a tray, containing a pot of coffee and a plate of small
cakes._ PETER, _who has watched her with appealing eyes, like a dog
craving attention, glances from her to the desk and from the desk back to_
MARTA--_trying to tempt her to look at the torn letter._ FREDERIK, _deep
in thought, does not notice her._ PETER _points to the desk as though to
say, "Look!" After a pause, she picks up the picture and the letter--
holding them in one hand to clear a spot for the tray which she is about
to set on the desk._
PETER. [_Speaking in a hushed voice._] Marta, see what you have in your
hand ... that letter ... there ... read it.... Run to Catherine with it.
Read it from the house-tops.... The letter ... Look! There you have the
story of Annamarie.... It is the one way to know the truth in this house--
the only way.... There in your hand--the letter.... He will never
speak.... The letter for Catherine.
MARTA _sets down the picture and the letter; but something prompts her to
look at them; however, before she can carry out her impulse,_ FREDERIK
FREDERIK. My God! How you startled me! [MARTA _sets down the tray._] Oh!
To be off and out of this old rat-trap. [_He wipes his forehead with his
black-bordered handkerchief._] I mean--our loss comes home to us so keenly
here where we are accustomed to see him.
MARTA. A cup of coffee, sir?
FREDERIK. No, no, no.
MARTA. [_Pathetically._] I thought you wished to keep to your uncle's
customs.... He always took it at this time.
FREDERIK. [_Recovering._] Yes, yes, of course.
MARTA. ... No word?...
FREDERIK. [_Hesitates._] What do you mean?
MARTA. No letter?
FREDERIK. Letter?... [_Covering the letter with his hand._] From whom?...
MARTA. From ... At a time like this, I thought ... I felt ... that
Annamarie ... that there should be some message.... Every day I expect to
PETER _gestures to_ MARTA--_pointing to the picture and letter, now
covered by_ FREDERIK'S _hand._
MARTA. [_Hesitating._] Are you certain?
FREDERIK. Quite certain. [_She curtsies and leaves the room._ FREDERIK,
_as though relieved to see her go, jumps to his feet, and, tearing the
letter in smaller pieces, lights them in the candle, dropping the burning
pieces on a tray. As the flame dies out,_ FREDERIK _brushes the blackened
paper into the waste-basket._] There's an end to _that_!
PETER _crouches near the basket--hovering over it, his hinds clasped
helplessly. After a pause, he raises his hand, until it points to a
bedroom above. An echo of the circus music is very faintly heard; not with
the blaring of brasses, but with the sounds of elfin horns, conveying the
impression of a phantom circus band. The door of_ WILLIAM'S _room opens,
and he comes out as though to listen to the music. He wears a sleeping
suit and is bare-footed. He has come down stairs before_ FREDERIK _sees
him._ FREDERIK _quickly puts aside the photograph, laying it on the desk,
covering it with his hand._
FREDERIK. [_Gruffly._] Why aren't you in bed? If you're ill, that's the
proper place for you.
WILLIAM. I came down to hear the circus music.
FREDERIK. Circus music?
WILLIAM. It woke me up.
FREDERIK. The circus left town days ago. You must have been dreaming.
WILLIAM. The band's playing now. Don't you hear it, sir? The procession's
passing. [_He runs to the window and opens it. The music stops. A breeze
sweeps through the room--bellies out the curtains and causes the lustres
to jingle on the mantel. Surprised._] No. It's almost dark. There's no
procession ... no shining horses.... [_Turning sadly away from the
window._] I wonder what made me think the--I must have been dreaming.
[_Rubbing his eyes._
FREDERIK. [_Goes to the window, closes it. The child looks at him and, in
retreating from him, unconsciously backs towards_ PETER.] Are you feeling
WILLIAM. Yes, sir, I feel better--and hungry.
FREDERIK. Go back to bed.
WILLIAM. Yes, sir. [FREDERIK _sits._
PETER. Where's your mother, William?
WILLIAM. Do you know where Annamarie is?
FREDERIK. Why do you ask me? What should I know of her?
WILLIAM. Grandmother doesn't know; Miss Catherine doesn't know; nobody
FREDERIK. I don't know, either. [_Tears up the picture--turning so that_
WILLIAM _does not see what he is doing._ PETER, _who has been smiling at_
WILLIAM, _motions him to come nearer._ WILLIAM, _feeling_ PETER'S
_presence, looks round the room._
WILLIAM. Mr. Frederik, where's _old_ Mr. Grimm?
WILLIAM. Are you sure he's dead? 'Cause--[_Puzzled--unable to explain
himself, he hesitates._
FREDERIK. [_Annoyed._.] You'd better go to bed.
WILLIAM. [_Pointing to a glass of water on a tray._] Can I have a drink of
FREDERIK. Go to bed, sir, or you'll be punished. Water's not good for
little boys with fever.
WILLIAM. [_Going towards the stairs._] Wish I could find a cold brook and
lie in it. [_Goes slowly up the stairs._ FREDERIK _would destroy the
pieces of the picture; but_ PETER _faces him as though forbidding him to
touch it, and, for the first time,_ FREDERIK _imagines he sees the
apparition of his uncle._
FREDERIK. [_In a very low voice--almost inaudibly._] My God! I thought I
saw ... [_Receding a step and yet another step as the vision of_ PETER _is
still before him, he passes out of the room, wiping the beads of sweat
from his forehead._ WILLIAM, _hearing the door close, comes down stairs
and, running to the table at back, drinks a glass of water._
WILLIAM. Um! That's good!
PETER. William! [WILLIAM _doesn't see_ PETER _yet, but he feels his
WILLIAM. Wish it _had_ been the circus music.
PETER. You shall hear it all again. [_Gestures towards the plate of cakes
on the tray._] Come, William, here's something very nice.
WILLIAM. [_Seeing the cakes._] Um! Cakes! [_He steals to the tray, looking
over his shoulder in fear of being caught._
PETER. Don't be frightened. I'm here to protect you. Help yourself to the
cakes. William, do you think you could deliver a message for me ... a very
_The circus music is heard._ WILLIAM _sits at the tray and_ PETER _seats
himself opposite as though he were the host doing the honours._ WILLIAM,
_being unconsciously coaxed by_ PETER, _is prevailed upon to choose the
biggest cake. He takes a bite, looking towards_ PETER.
WILLIAM. [_To himself._] Ha!... Think I am dreaming. [_Rubbing his little
stomach ecstatically._] Hope I won't wake up and find there wasn't any
PETER. Don't worry, you won't. [WILLIAM _has taken another piece of cake
which he nibbles at--now holding a piece in each hand._] Pretty
substantial dream, eh? There's a fine, fat raisin. [WILLIAM _eats the
raisin, then looks into the sugar-bowl._] Don't hesitate, William. Sugar
won't hurt you now. Nothing can hurt you any more. Fall to, William--help
yourself. [WILLIAM _looks over his shoulder, fearing the return of_
FREDERIK.] Oh, he won't come back in a hurry. Ha! Frederik thought he saw
me, William; well, he didn't. He had a bad conscience--hallucination.
[WILLIAM _nibbles a lump of sugar._] Now, William, I have a message for
you. Won't you try and take it for me, eh? [_But_ WILLIAM _eats another
lump of sugar._] I see ... I can't expect to get any assistance from a boy
while his little stomach's calling. [WILLIAM _empties the cream jug and
helps himself to cakes. Presently the music dies out._] Now I'm going to
tell you something. [_Impressively._] You're a very lucky boy, William; I
congratulate you. Do you know why--of all this household--you are the only
one to help me?... This is the secret: in a little time--it won't be
long--you're going--[_As though he were imparting the most delightful
information._]--to know better! Think of _that_! Isn't the news splendid?
[_But_ WILLIAM _eats on._] Think of what most of us have to endure before
_we_ know better! Why, William, you're going into the circus without
paying for a ticket. You're laying down the burden before you climb the
hill. And in your case, William, you are fortunate indeed; for there are
some little soldiers in this world already handicapped when they begin the
battle of life.... Their parents haven't fitted them for the struggle....
Like little moon moths,--they look in at the windows; they beat at the
panes; they see the lights of happy firesides--the lights of home; but
they never get in.... You are one of these wanderers, William.... And so,
it is well for you that before your playing time is over--before your
man's work begins,--you're going to know the great secret. Happy boy! No
coarsening of your child's heart, until you stand before the world like
Frederik; no sweat and toil such as dear old James is facing; no dimming
of the eye and trembling of the hand such as the poor old Doctor shall
know in time to come; no hot tears to blister your eyes, ... tears such as
Katie is shedding now; but, in all your youth, your faith--your
innocence,--you'll fall asleep and oh! the awakening, William!... "It is
well with the _child_." [WILLIAM _lays down the cake and, clasping his
hands, thinks._ PETER _answers his thoughts._] What? No--don't think of
it! Nonsense! You _don't_ want to grow up to be a man. Grow up to fail?
Or, still worse--to succeed--to be famous? To wear a heavy laurel wreath?
A wreath to be held up by tired hands that ache for one hour's freedom.
No, no, you're to escape all that, William; joy is on the way to meet you
with sweets in its outstretched hands and laughter on its lips. [WILLIAM
_takes the last swallow of a piece of cake, exclaims_ "Hm!" _in a
satisfied way, brushes the crumbs off his lap, and sits back in his
chair._] Have you had enough? Good! William, I want you to try to
understand that you're to help me, will you? Will you tell Miss Catherine
WILLIAM. [_Without looking up, his hands folded in his lap._] Take me back
with you, Mr. Grimm?
PETER. Can you see me, William?
WILLIAM. No, sir; but I know.
PETER. Come here. [WILLIAM _doesn't move._] Here ... here ... [WILLIAM
_advances to the center of the room and pauses hesitatingly._] Take my
hand ... [WILLIAM _approaches in the direction of the voice._ PETER
_takes_ WILLIAM'S _outstretched hand._] Have you got it?
WILLIAM. No, sir....
PETER. [_Putting his hand on_ WILLIAM'S _head._] Now?... Do you feel it?
WILLIAM. I feel something, yes, sir. [_Puts his hand on_ PETER'S _hand,
which is still on his head._] But where's your hand? There's nothing
PETER. But you hear me?
WILLIAM. I can't really hear you.... It's a dream. [_Coaxingly._] Oh, Mr.
Grimm, take me back with you.
PETER. You're not quite ready to go with me yet, William--not until we can
see each other face to face.
WILLIAM. Why did you come back, Mr. Grimm? Wasn't it nice where you were?
PETER. It was indeed. It was like--[_Whimsically._]--new toys.
WILLIAM. [_To whom the idea appeals._] As nice as that!
PETER. Nicer. But I had to come back with this message. I want you to help
me to deliver it. [_Indicating the picture._
WILLIAM. Where's the bosom of Abraham, Mr. Grimm?
WILLIAM. The minister says you're asleep there.
PETER. Stuff and nonsense! I haven't been near the bosom of Abraham.
WILLIAM. Too bad you died before you went to the circus, Mr. Grimm. But it
must be great to be in a place where you can look down and see the circus
for nothing. Do you remember the clown that sang: "Uncle Rat has gone to
PETER. Yes, indeed; but let us talk of something more important. Come
here, William [_He starts towards the desk._]; would you like to see
someone whom all little boys love--love more than anybody else in the
whole world? [PETER _is standing at the desk with his finger on the torn
pieces of the picture._
WILLIAM. Yes, the clown in the circus.... No ... it isn't a clown; ...
it's our mother.... Yes, I want to see my mother, Annamarie.
[_Unconsciously_ WILLIAM _comes to the desk and sees the torn picture--
picks up a piece and looks at it. Very simply._] Why ... there she is!...
That's her face.
PETER. Ah! You recognize her. Mother's face is there, William, but it's in
little bits. We must put her together, William. We must show her to
everybody in the house, so that everybody will say: "How in the world did
she ever get here? To whom does this picture belong?" We must set them to
WILLIAM. Yes. Let us show her to everybody. [_He sits and joins the pieces
under the guidance of_ PETER.] Annamarie ... Annamarie ...
PETER. You remember many things, William ... things that happened when you
lived with Annamarie, don't you?
WILLIAM. I was very little....
PETER. Still, you remember....
WILLIAM. [_Evasively._] I was afraid....
PETER. You loved her.
WILLIAM. [_To picture._] Oh, yes ... yes, I loved you.
PETER. Now, through that miracle of love, you can remember many things
tucked away in your childish brain,--things laid away in your mind like
toys upon a shelf. Come, pick them up and dust them off and bring them out
again. It will come back. When you lived with Annamarie ... there was you
... and Annamarie ... and--
WILLIAM. --and the other one.
PETER. Ah! We're getting nearer! Who _was_ the other one?
WILLIAM. [_Gives a quick glance towards the door--then as though speaking
to the picture._] I must put you together before _he_ comes back. [_He
fits the other pieces together_--PETER _trying to guide him. Presently_
WILLIAM _hums as a child will when at play, singing the tune of "Uncle
Rat."_] "Uncle Rat has gone to town."
PETER _and_ WILLIAM. [_Singing together._] "Ha! H'm!" [_At this instant_,
PETER _is indicating another piece of the picture._
WILLIAM. Her other foot. [_Then sings._]
"Uncle Rat has gone to town,
To buy his niece a wedding gown."
[_Adjusting a piece of the picture._] Her hand.
WILLIAM _and_ PETER. [_Singing._] "Ha! H'm!"
WILLIAM. Her other hand. [_Sings_.]
"What shall the wedding breakfast be?
Hard boiled eggs and--"
[_Speaking_.] Where's--[WILLIAM _pauses--looking for a piece of the
PETER. [_Finishing the verse_.] "A cup of tea." [_With a gesture as though
knocking on the door of the adjoining room to attract_ MRS. BATHOLOMMEY'S
WILLIAM. [_Speaks_.] There's her hat.
WILLIAM _and_ PETER. [_Singing_.] "Ha! H'm!"
WILLIAM. [_Stops singing and claps his hands with boyish delight--staring
at the picture_.] Annamarie! Annamarie! You're not in bits any more--
you're all put together.
_By this time,_ PETER _is going up the stairs, and, as he stands in front
of_ CATHERINE'S _door, it opens_. PETER _passes in and_ CATHERINE _comes
CATHERINE. [_Astonished_.] Why, William! What are you doing here?
WILLIAM. Miss Catherine! Come down! Come down! I have something to show
CATHERINE. [_Not coming down_.] No, dear--come upstairs; there's a good
boy. You mustn't play down there. Come to bed. [_Passes into_ WILLIAM'S
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. [_Who has entered, and sees_ WILLIAM..] William!
WILLIAM. Look--look! [_Pointing to the picture_.] See what old Mr. Grimm
brought back with him.
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. [_Alarmed_.] What are you talking about, William? Old
Mr. Grimm is dead.
WILLIAM. No, he isn't; ... he's come back.... He has been in this room.
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. Absurd!
WILLIAM. I was talking to him.
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. You're feverish again. I must get the Doctor. [_Comes
down to_ WILLIAM.] And I thought you were feeling better! [_Seeing_
CATHERINE, _who appears on the balcony as though wondering why_ WILLIAM
_doesn't come to bed_.] The child's mind is wandering. He imagines all
sorts of things. I'll call the Doctor--
PETER. [_Who has re-entered._] You needn't--he's coming now. Come in,
Andrew. I'm giving you one more chance.
_The_ DOCTOR _enters, wearing his skull-cap, and carrying his pipe in his
hand. It is evident that he has come over in a hurry._
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. [_Surprised._] I was just going for you. How fortunate
that you came.
DR. MACPHERSON. I thought I'd have another peep at William.
_By this time_, CATHERINE _has seated herself on a chair, and takes_
WILLIAM _on her lap. He puts his arms round her neck._
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. He's quite delirious.
DR. MACPHERSON. Doesn't look it. [_Putting his hand on_ WILLIAM'S _cheek
and forehead._] Very slight fever. What makes you think he was delirious?
[_Taking_ WILLIAM'S _pulse._
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. [_Interrupting._] He said that old Mr. Grimm was in this
room--that he was talking to him.
DR. MACPHERSON. [_Interested._] Yes? Really? Well, possibly he is. Nothing
remarkable in _that_, is there?
PETER. Well, at last!
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. What? Oh, of course, you believe in--
DR. MACPHERSON. In fact, I had a compact with him to return if--
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. A compact? Of all the preposterous--
DR. MACPHERSON. Not at all. Dozens of cases on record--as I can show you--
where these compacts have actually been kept. [_Suddenly struck--looking
at_ WILLIAM.] I wonder if that boy's a sensitive. [_Hand on his chin._] I
CATHERINE. [_Echoing the_ DOCTOR'S _words._] A sensitive?
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. What's that?
DR. MACPHERSON. It's difficult to explain. I mean a human organism so
constituted that it can be _informed_ or _controlled_ by those who--er--
have--[_With a gesture._] crossed over.
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. I think I'll put the boy to bed, Doctor.
DR. MACPHERSON. Just a moment, Mistress Batholommey. I'm here to find out
what ails William. William, what makes you think that Mr. Grimm is in this
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. I wouldn't have the child encouraged in such ideas,
DR. MACPHERSON. Sh! Please, please. [_Taking the boy on his knee._] What
makes you think Peter Grimm is in this room?
WILLIAM. [_Hesitating._] ... The things he said to me.
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. Said to you?
CATHERINE. [_Wonderingly._] William, ... are you sure he ...
DR. MACPHERSON. Said to you, eh? [WILLIAM _nods assent._] _Old_ Mr. Grimm?
[WILLIAM _nods._] Sure of that, William?
WILLIAM. Oh. yes, sir.
DR. MACPHERSON. Think before you speak, my boy; what did Mr. Grimm say to
WILLIAM. Lots of things ...
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. Really!
DR. MACPHERSON. [_Raises his hand for silence._] How did he look, William?
WILLIAM. I didn't see him.
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. Ha!
DR. MACPHERSON. You must have seen something.
WILLIAM. I thought once I saw his hat on the peg where it used to hang.
[_Looks at the peg._] No, it's gone.
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. [_Remonstrating._] Doctor!
DR. MACPHERSON. [_Thinking._] I wonder if he really did--
CATHERINE. Do you think he could have seen Uncle Peter?
PETER. [_Pointing to the desk._] William!
WILLIAM. Look! ... [_Points to the picture._] That's what I wanted to show
you when you were upstairs.
CATHERINE. [_Seeing the picture._] It's his mother--Annamarie.
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. The Lord save us--his mother! I didn't know you'd heard
CATHERINE. We haven't.
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. Then how'd that picture get into the house?
PETER. Ah! I knew she'd begin! Now that she's wound up, we shall get at
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. It's a new picture. She's much changed. How ever did it
find its way here?
CATHERINE. I never saw it before. It's very strange.... We've all been
waiting for news of her. Even her mother doesn't know where she is, or--
could Marta have received this since I--
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. I'll ask her. [_Exit into dining-room._
CATHERINE. If not, who had the picture?... And why weren't we _all_
told?... Who tore it up? Did you, William? [WILLIAM _shakes his head,
meaning "No."_] Who has been at the desk? No one save Frederik ...
Frederik ... and surely he--[_She pauses--perplexed._
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. [_Re-entering._] No, Marta hasn't heard a word; and,
only a few minutes ago, she asked Frederik if some message hadn't come,
but he said "No, nothing." I didn't tell her of the picture.
CATHERINE. [_Looking at the picture._] I wonder if there was any message
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. I remember the day that picture came ... the day your
uncle died.... It was in a long blue envelope--the size of the picture....
I took it from the postman myself because every one was distracted and
rushing about. It dropped to the floor and as I picked it up I thought I
knew the writing; but I couldn't remember whose it was.... It was directed
to your uncle.... [_Looking from the desk to the waste-basket._] There's
the envelope [_Holding up a scrap of blue envelope._] and paper; ... some
one has burned it.
CATHERINE. Annamarie wrote to my uncle ...
DR. MACPHERSON. [_Not understanding._] But what could Peter have to say to
_me_ concerning Annamarie? [_Making a resolution--rising._] We're going to
find out. You may draw the curtains, Catherine, if you please. [CATHERINE
_draws the curtains. The_ DOCTOR _turns the lights down and closes the
door. A pause._] Peter Grimm ...
PETER. Yes, Andrew?...
DR. MACPHERSON. [_Not hearing._] If you have come back ... if you are in
the room ... and the boy speaks truly--give me some sign ... some
PETER. I can't give you a sign, Andrew.... I have spoken to the boy ...
the boy ...
DR. MACPHERSON. If you cannot make your presence known to me--I know there
are great difficulties--will you try and send your message by William? I
presume you have one--
PETER. Yes, that's right.
DR. MACPHERSON. --or else you wouldn't have come back.
PETER. That's just the point I wanted to make, Andrew. You understand
DR. MACPHERSON. [_As before._] I am waiting.... We are all waiting.
[_Noticing that a door is a trifle ajar._] The door's open again. [MRS.
BATHOLOMMEY, _without making a sound, closes it and sits as before._
PETER. Sh! Listen! [_A pause._
WILLIAM. [_In a peculiar manner--as though in a half dream--but not
shutting his eyes. As though controlled by_ PETER.] There was Annamarie
and me and the other.
DR. MACPHERSON. [_Very low, as though afraid to interrupt_ WILLIAM'S
_train of thought._] What other?
WILLIAM. The man ... that came.
DR. MACPHERSON. What man?
WILLIAM. The man that made Annamarie cry.
CATHERINE. Who was he?
WILLIAM. I don't know ...
PETER. Yes, you do. Don't tell lies, William.
DR. MACPHERSON. What man made Annamarie cry?
WILLIAM. I can't remember....
PETER. Yes, you can.... You're afraid....
CATHERINE. [_In a low voice._] So you do remember the time when you lived
with Annamarie; ... you always told me that you didn't ... [_To_ DR.
MACPHERSON.] I must know more of this--[_Pauses abruptly._] Think,
William, who came to the house?
PETER. That's what _I_ asked you, William.
WILLIAM. That's what _he_ asked ...
DR. MACPHERSON. Who?
WILLIAM. Mr. Grimm.
DR. MACPHERSON. When, William?
WILLIAM. Just now ...
CATHERINE _and_ MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. [_Together._] Just now!
DR. MACPHERSON. H'm.... You both ask the same question, eh? The man that
came to see--
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. [_Perplexed._] It can't be possible that the child knows
what he's talking about.
DR. MACPHERSON. [_Ignoring her._] What did you tell Mr. Grimm when he
PETER. You'd better make haste, William. Frederik is coming back.
WILLIAM. [_Looking uneasily over his shoulder._] I'm afraid.
CATHERINE. Why does he always look towards that door? You're not afraid
WILLIAM. [_Looking towards the door._] N-no--but.... Please, please don't
let Mr. Frederik come back. 'Cause then I'll be afraid again.
DR. MACPHERSON. Ah!
PETER. William! William!
WILLIAM. [_Rising quickly._] Yes, Mr. Grimm?
PETER. You must say that I am very unhappy.
WILLIAM. He says he is very unhappy.
DR. MACPHERSON. Why is he unhappy?... Ask him.
WILLIAM. Why are you unhappy, Mr. Grimm?
PETER. I am thinking of Catherine's future....
WILLIAM. [_Not understanding the last word--puzzled._] Eh?
PETER. To-morrow ...
WILLIAM. [_After a slight pause._] To-morrow ...
WILLIAM. [_Looks at_ CATHERINE--_hesitating._] Your--[_Stops._ CATHERINE
_gives the_ DOCTOR _a quick glance--she seems to divine the message._
DR. MACPHERSON. [_Prompting._] Her--
CATHERINE. What, William? What of to-morrow?
PETER. She must not marry Frederik.
WILLIAM. I mustn't say _that_.
DR. MACPHERSON. What?
WILLIAM. What he wanted me to say. [_Points towards_ PETER. _All
instinctively look towards the spot to which_ WILLIAM _points, but they
see no one._
PETER. [_Speaking slowly to the boy._] Catherine--must--not--marry
DR. MACPHERSON. Speak, William. No one will hurt you.
WILLIAM. Oh, yes, _he_ will.... [_Looking timidly towards the door_
FREDERIK _passed through._] I don't want to tell his name--'cause ...
DR. MACPHERSON. Why don't you tell the name, William?
PETER. Make haste, William, make haste.
WILLIAM. [_Trembling._] I'm afraid ... I'm afraid ... he will make
Annamarie cry; ... he makes me cry ...
CATHERINE. [_With suppressed excitement--half to herself._] Why are you
afraid of him? Was Frederik the man that came to see Annamarie?
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. Catherine!
CATHERINE. [_On her knees before_ WILLIAM.] Was he? Was it Frederik Grimm?
Tell me, William.
MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. Surely you don't believe ...
CATHERINE. [_In a low voice._] I've thought of a great many things to-day
... little things ... little things I'd never noticed before.... I'm
putting them together just as he put that picture together.... I must know
PETER. William, make haste.... Frederik is listening at the door.
WILLIAM. [_Frightened._] I won't say any more. He's there ... at the door
... [_He looks over his shoulder and_ CATHERINE _goes towards the door._
DR. MACPHERSON. William, tell me.
CATHERINE _opens the door suddenly._ FREDERIK _is standing, listening. He
is taken unawares and for a few seconds he does not move--then he
WILLIAM. Please don't let him scold me. I'm afraid of him. [_Going towards
the stairs--looking at_ FREDERIK.] I was afraid of him when I lived with
Annamarie and he came to see us and made her cry.
DR. MACPHERSON. Are you sure you remember that? Weren't you too small?
WILLIAM. No, I do remember.... I always did remember; only for a little
while I--I forgot.... I must go to bed. He told me to. [_Goes upstairs._
PETER. [_Calling after_ WILLIAM.] You're a good boy, William. [WILLIAM
_goes to his room._
CATHERINE. [_After a slight pause--simply._] Frederik, you've heard from
Annamarie.... [_Gestures towards the desk._ FREDERIK _sees the photograph
and is silent._] You've had a letter from her. You tried to destroy it.
Why did you tell Marta that you'd had no message--no news? You went to see
her, too. Why did you tell me that you'd never seen her since she went
away? Why did you lie to me? Why do you hate that child?
FREDERIK. Are you going to believe what that boy--
CATHERINE. I'm going to find out. I'm going to find out where she is,
before I marry you. That child may be right or wrong; but I'm going to
know what his mother was to you. I want the truth.
DR. MACPHERSON. [_Who has been in thought--now looking up._] We've heard
the truth. We had that message from Peter Grimm himself.
CATHERINE. Yes, it is true. I believe Uncle Peter Grimm was in this room