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The Return of Peter Grimm by David Belasco

Part 3 out of 3

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FREDERIK. [_Not surprised--glancing towards the spot where_ PETER _stood
when he thought he saw him._] Oh! You, too? Did you see him, too?

MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. [_Incredulously._] Impossible!

CATHERINE. I don't care what anyone else may think--people have the right
to think for themselves; but I believe he has been here--he _is_ here.
Uncle Peter, if you can hear me now, give me back my promise--or--or I'll
take it back!

PETER. [_Gently--smilingly--relieved._] I did give it back to you, my
dear; but what a time I have had getting it across!



_The third act takes place at twenty minutes to twelve on the same night._

_The fire is out. The table on which_ PETER _took his coffee in the first
act is now being used by the_ DOCTOR _for_ WILLIAM'S _medicines, two
bottles, two glasses, two teaspoons, a clinical thermometer, &c._ WILLIAM,
_who has been questioned by the_ DOCTOR, _is now asleep upstairs._ PETER'S
_hat hangs on the peg in the shadow. Although the hour is late, no one has
thought of going to bed._ FREDERIK _is waiting at the hotel for the lawyer
whom_ HICKS _was to send to arrange for the sale of_ PETER GRIMM'S
_nurseries, but he has not arrived. The_ DOCTOR, _full of his theories, is
seated before the fire, writing the account of_ PETER GRIMM'S _return, for
the American Branch of the "London Society for Psychical Research." It is
now a fine, clear night. The clouds are almost silvery and a hint of the
moon is showing._

DR. MACPHERSON. [_Reading what he has written._] "To be forwarded to the
'London Society for Psychical Research': Dr. Hyslop: Dear Sir: This
evening at the residence of Peter--" [_Pauses and inserts "the late" and
continues to read after inserting the words._] "--the late Peter Grimm--
the well-known horticulturist of Grimm Manor, New York, certain phenomena
were observed which would clearly indicate the return of Peter Grimm, ten
days after his decease. While he was invisible to all, three people were
present besides myself--one of these, a child of eight, who received the
message. No spelling out by signals nor automatic writing was employed,
but word of mouth." [_A rap sounds._] Who will that be at this hour?...
[_Looks at the clock._] Nearly midnight. [_Opening the door._] Yes?

A VOICE. [_Outside._] Telegram for Frederik Grimm.

DR. MACPHERSON. Not in. I'll sign. [_He signs and, receiving the telegram,
sets it against a candle-stick on the desk and resumes his seat. Reads:_]
"I made a compact with Peter Grimm, while he was in the flesh, that
whichever went first was to return and give the other some sign; and I
propose to give positive proof--" [_He hesitates--thinks--then repeats._]
"positive proof that he kept this compact and that I assisted in the
carrying out of his instructions."

MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. [_Enters--evidently highly wrought up by the events of
the evening._] Who was that? Who knocked?


MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. I thought perhaps Frederik had come back. Don't you
consider William much better?


MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. Dear, dear! The scene that took place to-night has
completely upset me. [_The_ DOCTOR _takes up his pen and reads to
himself._] Well, Doctor: [_She pushes forward a chair and sits at the
other side of the table--facing him._] the breaking off of the engagement
is rather sudden, isn't it? We've been talking it over in the front
parlour, Mr. Batholommey and I. James has finished his work and has just
joined us. I suggest sending out a card--a neat card--saying that, owing
to the bereavement in the family, the wedding has been indefinitely
postponed. Of course, it isn't exactly true.

DR. MACPHERSON. Won't take place at all. [_Goes on reading._

MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. Evidently not; but if the whole matter looks very
strange to me--how is it going to look to other people; especially when we
haven't any--any rational explanation--as yet? We must get out of it in
some fashion.

DR. MACPHERSON. Whose business is it?

MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. Nobody's, of course. But Catherine's position is
certainly unusual; and the strangest part of it all is--she doesn't seem
to feel her situation. She's sitting alone in the library, seemingly
placid and happy. What I really wish to consult you about is this:
shouldn't the card we're going to send out have a narrow black border?
[_The_ DOCTOR _is now writing._] Doctor, you don't appear to be
interested. You might at least answer my question.

DR. MACPHERSON. What chance have I had to answer? You've done all the

MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. [_Rising--annoyed._] Oh, of course, all these little
matters sound trivial to you; but men like you couldn't look after the
workings of the _next_ world if other people didn't attend to _this_. Some
one has to do it.

DR. MACPHERSON. I fully appreciate the fact, Mistress Batholommey, that
other people are making it possible for me to be myself. I'll admit that;
and now if I might have a few moments in peace to attend to something
really important--

_The_ REV. MR. BATHOLOMMEY _has entered with his hat in his hand._

REV. MR. BATHOLOMMEY. Doctor, I've been thinking things over. I ran in for
a moment to suggest that we suspend judgment until the information William
has volunteered can be verified. I can scarcely believe that--

DR. MACPHERSON. Ump! [_Rises and goes to the telephone on the desk._]

REV. MR. BATHOLOMMEY. I regret that Frederik left the house without
offering some explanation.

DR. MACPHERSON. [_At the 'phone._] Marget, I'm at Peter's. I mean--I'm at
the Grimms'. Send me my bag. I'll stay the night with William. Bye.
[_Seats himself at the table._

REV. MR. BATHOLOMMEY. Tell Frederik that, if he cares to consult me, I
shall be at home in my study. Good-night, Doctor. Good-night, Rose.

DR. MACPHERSON. Hold on, Mr. Batholommey! [_The_ REV. MR. BATHOLOMMEY
_turns._] I'm writing an account of all that's happened here to-night--

REV. MR. BATHOLOMMEY. [_Dubiously._] Indeed!

DR. MACPHERSON. I shall verify every word of the evidence by William's
mother for whom I am searching. [_The_ REV. MR. BATHOLOMMEY _smiles
faintly behind his hand._] Then I shall send in my report, and not until
then. What I wish to ask is this: would you have any objection to the name
of Mrs. Batholommey being used as a witness?

REV. MR. BATHOLOMMEY. [_Looks perplexed._] Well,--er--a--

MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. Oh, no, you don't! You may flout our beliefs; but
wouldn't you like to bolster up your report with "the wife of a clergyman
who was present!" It sounds so respectable and sane, doesn't it? No, sir!
You cannot prop up your wild-eyed--

REV. MR. BATHOLOMMEY. Rose, my dear!

MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. [_Sweeping on._]--theories against the good black of a
minister's coat. _I_ think myself that you have _probably_ stumbled on the
truth about William's mother.

REV. MR. BATHOLOMMEY. _Can_ it be true? Oh, dreadful! Dreadful!

MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. But that child knew it all along. He's eight years old
and he was with her until five--and five's the age of memory. Every
incident of his mother's life has lingered in his little mind. Supposing
you do find her and learn that it's all true: what do you prove? Simply
that _William remembered_, and that's all there is to it.

REV. MR. BATHOLOMMEY. Let us hope that there's not a word of truth in it.
Don't you think, Doctor--mind, I'm not opposing your ideas as a
clergyman,--I'm just echoing what _everybody else_ thinks--don't you
believe these spiritualistic ideas, leading _away_ from the Heaven _we_
were taught to believe in, tend towards irresponsibility--er--
eccentricity--and--often--er--insanity? Is it healthy--that's the idea--is
it healthy?

DR. MACPHERSON. Well, Batholommey, religion has frequently led to the
stake, and I never heard of the Spanish Inquisition being called _healthy_
for anybody taking part in it. Still, religion flourishes. But your
old-fashioned, unscientific, gilt, ginger-bread Heaven blew up ten years
ago--went out. My Heaven's just coming in. It's new. Dr. Funk and a lot of
the clergymen are in already. You'd better get used to it, Batholommey,
and get in line and into the procession.

REV. MR. BATHOLOMMEY. You'll have to convince me first, Doctor--and that
no man can do. I made up my mind at twenty-one, and my Heaven is just
where it was then.

DOCTOR MACPHERSON. So I see. It hasn't improved a particle.

REV. MR. BATHOLOMMEY. [_Tolerantly._] Well, well. Good-night. [MRS.
BATHOLOMMEY _follows him in the hall._

MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. Good-night, Henry; I'll be home to-morrow. You'll be
glad to see me, dear, won't you?

REV. MR. BATHOLOMMEY. My church mouse! [_He pats her cheek, kisses her
good-night and goes._

MRS. BATHOLOMMEY. [_Who has gone to the door of her room--giving_ DR.
MACPHERSON _a parting shot._] Write as much as you like, Doctor; words are
but air. We didn't see Peter Grimm and you know and I know and everybody
knows that _seeing_ is believing.

DR. MACPHERSON. [_Looking up._] Damn everybody! It's everybody's ignorance
that has set the world back a thousand years. Where was I before you--Oh,
yes. [_Reads as_ MRS. BATHOLOMMEY _leaves the room._] "I assisted in the
carrying out of his instructions." [FREDERIK GRIMM _enters._

FREDERIK. Anybody in this house come to their senses yet?

DR. MACPHERSON. I think so, my boy. I think several in this house have
come to their senses. Catherine has, for one. I'm very glad to see you
back, Frederik. I have a few questions to put to you.

FREDERIK. Why don't you have more light? It's half dark in this room. [_He
picks up the lamp from the_ DOCTOR'S _table and holds it so that he can
look searchingly in the direction of the desk to see if_ PETER'S
_apparition is still there. His eye is suddenly riveted on the telegram
resting against the candlestick on the desk._] Is that telegram for me?


FREDERIK. Oh.... It may explain perhaps why I've been kept waiting at the
hotel.... [_Tries to go to the desk but cannot muster up courage._] I had
an appointment to meet a man who wanted to buy the gardens. I may as well
tell you, I'm thinking of selling out root and branch.

DR. MACPHERSON. [_Amazed._] Selling out? Peter Grimm's gardens? So this is
the end of Peter's great work?

FREDERIK. You'll think it strange, Doctor; but I--I simply can't make up
my mind to go near that old desk of my uncle's.... I have a perfect terror
of the thing! Would you mind handing me that telegram? [_The_ DOCTOR
_looks at him with scarcely veiled contempt, and hands him the telegram.
After a glance at the contents,_ FREDERIK _gives vent to a long-drawn
breath._] Billy Hicks--the man I was to sell to--is dead.... [_Tosses the
telegram across the table towards_ DR. MACPHERSON, _who does not take it.
It lies on the table._] I knew it this afternoon! I knew he would die ...
but I wouldn't let myself believe it. Someone told it to me ... whispered
it to me.... Doctor, as sure as you live--somebody else is doing my
thinking for me in this house.

DR. MACPHERSON. [_Studying_ FREDERIK.] What makes you say that?

FREDERIK. To-night--in this room, I thought I saw my uncle ... [_Pointing
towards the desk._] there.


FREDERIK. And just before I--I saw him--I--I had the ... the strangest
impulse to go to the foot of the stairs and call Kitty--give her the
house--and run--run--get out of it.

DR. MACPHERSON. Oh, a good impulse, I see! Very unusual, I should say.

FREDERIK. I thought he gave me a terrible look--a terrible look.

DR. MACPHERSON. Your uncle?

FREDERIK. Yes. My God! I won't forget that look! And as I started out of
the room--he blotted out.... I mean--I thought I saw him blot out; ...
then I left the photograph on the desk and--

DR. MACPHERSON. That's how William came by it. [_Jots down a couple of
notes._] Did you ever have this impulse before--to give up Catherine--to
let her have the cottage?

FREDERIK. Not much, I hadn't. Certainly not. I told you someone else was
thinking for _me_. I don't want to give her up. It's folly! I've always
been fond of her. But if she has turned against me, I'm not going to sit
here and cry about it. I shall be up and off. [_Rising._] But I'll tell
you one thing: from this time, I propose to think for myself. I've taken a
room at the hotel and a few things for the night. I've done with this
house. I'd like to sell it along with the gardens, and let a stranger raze
it to the ground; but--[_Thinks as he looks towards the desk._] when I
walk out of here to-night--it's hers--she can have it. ... I wouldn't
sleep here.... I give her the home because ...

DR. MACPHERSON. Because you don't believe anything; but you want to be on
the safe side in case he--[_Gesturing to desk._] was there.

FREDERIK. [_Puzzled--awed--his voice almost dropping to a whisper._] How
do you account for it, Doctor?

DR. MACPHERSON. It might have been an hallucination or perhaps you did see
him, though it could have been inflammation of conscience, Frederik: when
did you last see Annamarie?

FREDERIK. [_Angrily._] Haven't I told you already that I refuse to answer
any questions as to my--

DR. MACPHERSON. I think it only fair to tell you that it won't make a
particle of difference whether you answer me or not. I have someone on the
track now--working from an old address; I've called in the detectives and
I'll find her, you may be sure of that. As long as I'm going to know it, I
may as well hear your side of it, too. When did you last see Annamarie?

FREDERIK. [_Sits--answers dully, mechanically, after a pause._] About
three years ago.

DR. MACPHERSON. Never since?


DR. MACPHERSON. What occurred the last time you saw her?

FREDERIK. [_Quietly, as before._] What _always_ occurs when a young man
realizes that he has his life before him, must be respected--looked up to,
settle down, think of his future and forget a silly girl?

DR. MACPHERSON. A scene took place, eh? Was William present?

FREDERIK. Yes. She held him in her arms.


FREDERIK. I left the house.

DR. MACPHERSON. Then it's all true. [FREDERIK _is silent._] What are you
going to do for William?

FREDERIK. Nothing. I'm a rich man now--and if I recognize him--he'll be at
me till the day he dies. His mother's gone to the dogs and under her
influence, the boy--

DR. MACPHERSON. Be silent, you damned young scoundrel. Oh! What an act of
charity if the good Lord took William, and I say it with all my heart. Out
of all you have--not a crumb for--

FREDERIK. I want you to know I've sweat for that money, and I'm going to
keep it!

DR. MACPHERSON. _You've_ sweat for--

FREDERIK. [_Showing feeling._]--Yes! How do you think I got the money? I
went to jail for it--jail, jail. Every day I've been in this house has
been spent in prison. I've been doing time. Do you think it didn't get on
my nerves? I've gone to bed at nine o'clock and thought of what I was
missing in New York. I've got up at cock-crow to be in time for grace at
the breakfast table. I took charge of a class in Sabbath-school, and I
handed out the infernal cornucopias at the church Christmas tree, while he
played Santa Claus. What more can a fellow do to earn his money? Don't you
call that sweating? No, sir; I've danced like a damned hand-organ monkey
for the pennies he left me, and I had to grin and touch my hat and make
believe I liked it. Now I'm going to spend every cent for my own personal

DR. MACPHERSON. Will rich men never learn wisdom!

FREDERIK. [_Rising_.] No, they won't! But in every fourth generation there
comes along a _wise_ fellow--a spender who knows how to distribute the
money others have hoarded: I'm the spender.

DR. MACPHERSON. Shame upon you and your like! Your breed should be

FREDERIK. [_Taking a little packet of letters from the desk_.] Oh, no,
we're quite as necessary as you are. And now--I shall answer no more
questions. I'm done. Good-night, Doctor.

DR. MACPHERSON. Good-night and good-bye. [_With a look of disgust, he has
gone to the table, held a medicine bottle to the light to look at the
label and poured a spoonful into a wine-glass filled with water. As_
FREDERIK _leaves the house, the_ DOCTOR _taps on a door and calls_.]
Catherine! [CATHERINE _enters, and shows by the glance she directs at the
front door that she knows_ FREDERIK _has been in the room and has just
left the house_.] Burn up your wedding dress. We've made no mistake. I can
tell you _that_! [_Goes up the stairs to_ WILLIAM'S _room, taking the lamp
with him_. JAMES _has entered, and, taking_ CATHERINE'S _hand, holds it
for a moment_.

JAMES. Good-night, Catherine. [_She turns and lays her hand on his

CATHERINE. I wonder, James, if _he_ can see us now.

JAMES. That's the big mystery!... Who can tell? But any man who works with
flowers and things that grow--knows there is no such thing as death--
there's nothing but life--life and always life. I'll be back in the
morning.... Won't you ... see me to the door?

CATHERINE. Yes ... yes.... [_They go up together,_ CATHERINE _carrying a
candle into the dark vestibule. The moment they disappear, a lamp standing
on the piano goes out as though the draught from the door or an unseen
hand had extinguished it. It is now quite dark outside, and the moon is
hidden for a moment. At the same time, a light, seemingly coming from
nowhere, reveals_ PETER GRIMM _standing in the room at the door--as though
he had been there when the young people passed out. He is smiling and
happy. The moon is not seen, but the light of it (as though it had come
out from behind a cloud) now reveals the old windmill. From outside the
door the voices of_ JAMES _and_ CATHERINE _are heard as they both say:_]

JAMES. Catherine, ... I won't go without it....

PETER. [_Knowing that_ JAMES, _is demanding a kiss._] Aha! [_Rubs his
hands in satisfaction--then listens--and after a second pause exclaims,
with an upraised finger, as though he were hearing the kiss._] Ah! Now I
can go.... [_He walks to the peg on which his hat hangs, and takes it
down. His work is done._ CATHERINE _re-enters, darting into the hall in
girlish confusion._

JAMES' HAPPY VOICE. [_Outside._] Good-night!

CATHERINE. [_Calling to him through the crack in the door._] Good-night!
[_She closes the door, turns the key and draws the heavy bolt--then leans
against the door, candle-stick in hand--the wind has blown out the
candle._] Oh, I'm so happy! I'm so happy!

PETER. Then good-night to you, my darling: love cannot say good-bye. [_She
goes to_ PETER'S _chair, and, sitting, thinks it all over--her hands
clasped in her lap--her face radiant with happiness._] Here in your
childhood's home I leave you. Here in the years to come, the way lies
clear before you. [_His arm upraised._] "_Lust in Rust_"--Pleasure and
Peace go with you. [CATHERINE _looks towards the door--remembering_ JAMES'
_kiss--half smiling._] [_Humorously._] Y--es; I saw you. I heard ... I
know.... Here on some sunny, blossoming day when, as a wife, you look out
upon my gardens--every flower and tree and shrub shall bloom enchanted to
your eyes.... All that happens--happens again. And if, at first, a little
knock of poverty taps at the door, and James finds the road hard and
steep--what is money?--a thing,--a good thing to have,--but still a thing
... and happiness will come without it. And when, as a mother, you shall
see my plantings with new eyes, my Catherine,--when you explain each leaf
and bud to your little people--you will remember the time when _we_ walked
together through the leafy lanes and I taught you--even as you teach
them--you little thing!... So, I shall linger in your heart. And some day,
should your children wander far away and my gardens blossom for a stranger
who may take my name from off the gates,--what _is_ my name? Already it
grows faint to my ears. [_Lightly._] Yes, yes, yes, let others take my
work.... Why should _we_ care? All that happens, happens again. [_She
rests her elbow on the chair, half hides her face in her hand._] And never
forget this: I shall be waiting for you--I shall know all your life. I
shall adore your children and be their grandfather just as though I were
here; I shall find it hard not to laugh at them when they are bad, and I
shall worship them when they are good--and I don't want them too good....
Frederik was good.... I shall be everywhere about you ... in the stockings
at Christmas, in a big, busy, teeming world of shadows just outside your
threshold, or whispering in the still noises of the night.... And oh! as
the years pass, [_Standing over her chair._] you cannot imagine what pride
I shall take in your comfortable middle life--the very _best_ age, I
think--when you two shall look out on your possessions arm in arm--and
take your well-earned comfort and ease. How I shall love to see you look
fondly at each other as you say: "Be happy, Jim--you've worked hard for
this;" or James says: "Take your comfort, little mother, let them all wait
upon _you--you_ waited upon _them_. Lean back in your carriage--you've
earned it!" And towards the end--[_Sitting on a chair by her side and
looking into her face._] after all the luxuries and vanities and
possessions cease to be so important--people return to very simple things,
dear. The evening of life comes bearing its own lamp. Then, perhaps, as a
little old grandmother, a little old child whose bed-time is drawing near,
I shall see you happy to sit out in the sunlight of another day; asking
nothing more of life than the few hours to be spent with those you
love,... telling your grandchildren, at your knees, how much brighter the
flowers blossomed when _you_ were young. Ha! Ha! Ha! All that happens,
happens again.... And when, one glad day, glorified, radiant, young once
more, the mother and I shall take you in our arms,--oh! what a reunion!
[_Inspired._] The flight of love--to love.... And now ... [_He bends over
her and caresses her hand._] good-night. [CATHERINE _rises and, going to
the desk, buries her face in the bunch of flowers placed there in memory
of_ PETER.

CATHERINE. Dear Uncle Peter....

MARTA _enters--pausing to hear if all is quiet in_ WILLIAM'S _room_.
CATHERINE, _lifting her face, sees_ MARTA _and rapturously hugs her, to_
MARTA'S _amazement--then goes up the stairs_.

PETER. [_Whose eyes never leave_ CATHERINE.] "_Lust in Rust_!" Pleasure
and Peace! Amen! [CATHERINE _passes into her room, the music dying away as
her door closes_. MARTA, _still wondering, goes to the clock and winds
it_.] Poor Marta! Every time she thinks of me, she winds my clock. We're
not quite forgotten.

DR. MACPHERSON. [_Re-appears, carrying_ WILLIAM, _now wrapped up in an
old-fashioned Dutch patchwork quilt. The_ DOCTOR _has a lamp in his free
hand_.] So you want to go downstairs, eh? Very good! How do you feel,

WILLIAM. New all over.

DR. MACPHERSON. [_Placing the lamp on the little table right, and laying_
WILLIAM _on the couch_.] Now I'll get you the glass of cold water. [_Goes
into the dining-room, leaving the door open_.

PETER. [_Calling after the_ DOCTOR.] Good-night, Andrew. I'm afraid the
world will have to wait a little longer for the _big_ guesser. Drop in
often. I shall be glad to see you here.

WILLIAM. [_Quickly rising on the couch, looks towards the peg on which_
PETER GRIMM'S _hat hung. Calling_.] Mr. Grimm! Where are you? I knew that
you were down here. [_Seeing_ PETER.] Oh, [_Raising himself to his knees
on the sofa_.] I see you _now_!

PETER. Yes? [_There is an impressive pause and silence as they face each

WILLIAM. Oh, you've got your hat;... it's off the peg.... You're going.
Need you go right away--Mr. Grimm? Can't you wait a little while?

PETER. I'll wait for you, William.

WILLIAM. May I go with you? Thank you. I couldn't find the way without

PETER. Yes, you could. It's the surest way in this world. But I'll wait,--
don't worry.

WILLIAM. I sha'n't. [_Coaxingly_.] Don't be in a hurry ... I want--[_Lies
down happily_.] to take a nap first.... I'm sleepy. [_He pulls the
covering up and sleeps_.

PETER. I wish you the pleasantest dream a little boy can have in _this_

_Instantly, as though the room were peopled with faint images of_
WILLIAM'S _dream, the phantom circus music is heard, with its elfin horns;
and, through the music, voices call "Hai! Hai!" The sound of the cracking
of a whip is heard, and the blare of a clown's ten-cent tin horn. The
phantom voice of the_ CLOWN _(very faint) calls:_

CLOWN'S VOICE. Billy Miller's big show and monster circus is in town this
afternoon! Don't forget the date! Only one ring--no confusion. Circus day
comes but once a year, little sir. Come early and see the wild animals and
hear the lion roar-r-r! Mind, I shall expect _you!_ Wonderful troupe of
trained mice in the side-show.

_During the above, the deeper voice of a_ "HAWKER"--_muffled and far off--

HAWKER'S VOICE. Peanuts, pop-corn, lemonade--ice cold lemo--lemo--
lemonade! Circus day comes but once a year.

_Breaking in through the music, and the voices of the_ CLOWN _and_ HAWKER,
_the gruff voice of a_ "BARKER" _is heard calling._

BARKER'S VOICE. Walk in and see the midgets and the giant! Only ten
cents--one dime!

_As these voices die away, the_ CLOWN, _whose voice indicates that he is
now perched on the head of the couch, sings:_

"Uncle Rat has gone to town,
Ha! H'm!
Uncle Rat has gone to town
To buy his niece"--

_His voice ends abruptly--the music stops. Everything is over. There is
silence. Then three clear knocks sound on the door._

PETER. Come in.... [_The door opens. No one is there--but a faint path of
phosphorous light is seen._] Oh, friends! Troops of you! [_As though he
recognizes the unseen guests._] I've been gone so long that you came for
me, eh? I'm quite ready to go back. I'm just waiting for a happy little
fellow who's going back with us.... We'll follow. Do you all go ahead--
lead the way. [_He looks at_ WILLIAM, _holds out his arms, and_ WILLIAM
_jumps up and runs into them._] Well, William! You _know better_ now.
Come! [_Picking up_ WILLIAM.] Happy, eh? [WILLIAM _nods, his face

WILLIAM. Oh, yes!

PETER. Let's be off, then. [_As they turn towards the door._

DR. MACPHERSON. [_Re-entering, goes to the couch with the water, and
suddenly, setting down the glass, exclaims in a hushed voice:_] My God!
He's dead! [_He half raises up a boy that appears to be_ WILLIAM. _The
light from the lamp on the table falls on the dead face of the child. Then
the_ DOCTOR _gently lays the boy down again on the couch, and sits
pondering over the mystery of death._

PETER. [_To the_ DOCTOR.] Oh, no! There never was so fair a prospect for

WILLIAM. [_In_ PETER'S _arms._] I _am_ happy!

_Outside a hazy moonlight shimmers. A few stars twinkle in the far-away
sky; and the low moon is seen back of the old windmill._

PETER. [_To_ WILLIAM.] If the rest of them only knew what they're missing,

WILLIAM. [_Begins to sing, joyously._]
"Uncle Rat has gone to town."

PETER _dances up a few steps towards the door, singing with_ WILLIAM.

"Ha! H'm!
Uncle Rat has gone to town
To buy his niece a wedding gown.
Ha! H'm!"

PETER. [_Gives one last fond look towards_ CATHERINE'S _room. To_
WILLIAM.] We're off! [_Putting the boy over his shoulder, they sing
together, as they go up, the phantom circus music accompanying them._]
"What shall the wedding breakfast be?
Ha! H'm!"

PETER. [_Alone._]
"What shall the wedding breakfast be?
Hard boiled eggs and a cup of tea."

WILLIAM _and_ PETER. "Ha! H'm!"

PETER GRIMM _has danced off with the child through the faint path of
light. As he goes, the wind or an unseen hand closes the door after them.
There is a moment's pause until their voices are no longer heard--then the
curtain slowly descends. The air of the song is taken up by an unseen
orchestra and continues as the audience passes out._


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