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Three Plays by Padraic Colum

Part 4 out of 5

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ANNA
Yes, mother.

MRS. CRILLY
The Martins are not giving up their house for a year or two?

ANNA
No, mother.

MRS. CRILLY
If he resigns now his pension will be safe. There is
nothing else against him.

ANNA
But some one will find out the difference in the coal.

MRS. CRILLY
It's the new Workhouse Master who will know that.

ANNA
_(hardening)_ But _he_ could not pass such a thing, mother.

MRS. CRILLY
_(abandoning a position)_ Well, after your grandfather
gets his pension we could make some arrangement with the Guardians.

ANNA
Yes, mother. Hasn't grandfather a hundred pounds invested in
the shop?

MRS. CRILLY
It's not a hundred pounds. Besides, it's not an
investment.

ANNA
_(with a certain resolution in her rich voice)_ Mother. Is my
money safe?

MRS. CRILLY
We could give you the eighty pounds, Anna, but after
that we would need all the help we could get from you.

ANNA
Yes, mother.

MRS. CRILLY
_(again taking up a position)_ But if we help James
Scollard to the place.

ANNA
_(with determination)_ Whether Mr. Scollard gets the place or
does not get the place, I'll want my fortune, mother.

MRS. CRILLY
Very well, Anna. If we could get him to come over. ... _(She sits
in arm chair)_ There's a lamb in Ginnell's field; you might call
in to-morrow and ask them to prepare it for us.

ANNA
Then grandfather is coming to dinner on Sunday?

MRS. CRILLY
We must get him to come.

_Some one is coming up the passage. Anna's hand is on handle of door.
She holds it open. Thomas Muskerry stands there_.

MUSKERRY
_(pleased to see her)_ Well, Nancy!

ANNA
Good night, grandpapa. _(He regards her with fondness)_

MRS. CRILLY
Good night, father.

MUSKERRY
This Nancy girl is looking remarkably well. _(He turns to
Mrs. Crilly)_ Well, ma'am, and how are you? I've written that letter
for that rascally Albert.

_He leaves his stick on table and goes to desk. Mrs. Crilly watches
him. Anna comes to her. Muskerry addresses an envelope with some
labour. Mrs. Crilly notices a tress of Anna's hair falling down. Anna
kneels down beside her. She takes off Anna's cap, settles up the hair,
and puts the cap on again. Having addressed the envelope, Muskerry
holds up a piece of wax to the gas. He seals the letter then holds
it out_.

MUSKERRY
Here's the letter now, and maybe it's the last thing I can
do for any of ye.

MRS. CRILLY
You are very good.

_Muskerry goes to them_.

MUSKERRY
In season and out of season I've put myself at your service.
I can do no more for ye.

_She takes the letter from him. His resentment is breaking down. He
sits on chair beside armchair. He speaks in a reconciling tone_.

MUSKERRY
You're looking well, Marianne,

MRS. CRILLY
I'm beginning to be well again.

MUSKERRY
And the infant? What age is he now?

MRS. CRILLY
Little Joseph is ten months old.

MUSKERRY
I dreamt of him last night. I thought Joseph became a bishop.
He ought to be reared for the Church, Marianne. Well, well, I've
nothing more to do with that. _(He settles himself in the armchair)_
Did Christy Clarke bring in the papers?

ANNA
Christy Clarke hasn't been here at all, grandpapa.

MUSKERRY
Stand here till I look at you Nancy. _(Anna comes left of
stove)_ I wouldn't be surprised if you were the best-looking girl in
the town, Nancy.

ANNA
_(without any coquettishness)_ Anna Crilly is riot going into
competition with the others. _(She wraps the muffler round him, then
kisses him)_ Good night, grandpapa. _(She goes out by corridor door)_

MRS. CRILLY
Thank you for the letter for Albert.

MUSKERRY
I think, Marianne, it's the last thing I can do for you or
yours.

MRS. CRILLY
Well, we can't tell a bad story of you, and things are
well with us.

MUSKERRY
I'm glad to hear that. I was thinking of going to see you
next week.

MRS. CRILLY
Come to dinner on Sunday. We are having a lamb.

MUSKERRY
What sort is the lamb?

MRS. CRILLY
Oh, a very young lamb. Anna will make the dressing for
you.

MUSKERRY
I'll send round a bottle of wine. Perhaps we'll be in the
way of celebrating something for Albert.

MRS. CRILLY
Nancy was saying that you might like to stay a few days
with us.

MUSKERRY
Stay a few days! How could I do that, ma'am?

MRS. CRILLY
You could get somebody to look after the House. James
Scollard would do it, and you could stay out for a few days.

MUSKERRY
Well, indeed, I'll do no such thing. What put it into your
head to ask me this?

MRS. CRILLY
Nancy said--

MUSKERRY
Let the girl speak for herself. What's in your mind, woman?

MRS. CRILLY
Well, you're not looking well.

MUSKERRY
I'm as well as ever I was.

MRS. CRILLY
Others do not think so.

MUSKERRY
I suppose you heard I was late a few mornings. No matter
for that. I'm as well as ever I was. No more talk about it; I'm
going on with the work. _(He rises and goes over to desk)_

MRS. CRILLY
I'm sorry to say that no one else thinks as well of you
as you do yourself.

MUSKERRY
Well, I'll hear no more about it, and that's enough about it.
Why isn't Albert Crilly here?

MRS. CRILLY
Well, he was here, and he is coming back.

MUSKERRY
I'll want him. _(He takes up a card left on the desk. He
turns round and reads)_--"You have let the Guardians pay for a
hundred tons. James Covey delivered only fifty tons of coal." Who
left this here?

MRS. CRILLY
I suppose Albert left it for you.

MUSKERRY The impudent rascal. How dare he address himself like that
to me? _(He throws card on table)_

MRS. CRILLY
Perhaps he found something out in the books.

MUSKERRY
No matter whether he did or not, he'll have to have respect
when he addresses me. Anyway it's a lie--a damn infernal lie. I was
in the stores the other day, and there was eighty tons of coal still
there. Certainly twenty tons had been taken out of it. The Provision
Check Account will show. _(He takes up a book and turns round. He
goes back some pages. He lets the book fall. He stands there helpless)_
I suppose you all are right in your judgment of me. I'm at my
failing time. I'll have to leave this without pension or prospect.
They'll send me away.

MRS. CRILLY
They had nothing against you before this.

MUSKERRY
I was spoken of as the pattern for the officials of Ireland.

MRS. CRILLY
If you resigned now--

MUSKERRY
Before this comes out. _(He looks for help)_ Marianne, it
would be like the blow to the struck ox if I lost my pension.

MRS. CRILLY
If you managed to get the pension you could pay the
Guardians back in a lump sum.

MUSKERRY
If I resigned now, where would I go to?

MRS. CRILLY
It was always understood that you would stay with us.

MUSKERRY
No, Marianne.

MRS. CRILLY
You'll have the place to yourself. The boys will be
going to school, and Albert will be away, too. Anna and myself will
look after you.

MUSKERRY
I could stay for a while.

MRS. CRILLY
Oh, well, if you have a better place to go--

MUSKERRY
Remember what I said, Marianne. I've worked for you and
yours, in season and out of season. There should be no more claims
on me.

MRS. CRILLY
There are no more claims on you.

MUSKERRY
I'm willing to leave in the shop what I put into the shop.
Let Anna know that it will come to her from me. I'll write to the
Guardians to-night and I'll send in my resignation. I venture to
think that they'll know their loss.

_Mrs. Crilly goes out quietly by corridor door_.

MUSKERRY
_(by himself)_ And I had made this place as fit for me as
the nest for the wren. Wasn't he glad to write that card, the
impudent rascal, with his tongue in his cheek? I'll consider it again.
I won't leave this place till it fits myself to leave it.

_Christy Clarice enters by corridor door with papers_.

MUSKERRY
They want me to resign from this place, Christy.

CHRISTY
You're thirty years here! Aren't you, Mister Muskerry?

MUSKERRY
Thirty years, thirty years. Ay, Christy, thirty years; it's
a long time. And I'm at my failing time. Perhaps I'm not able to do
any more. Day after day there would be troubles here, and I wouldn't
be able to face them. And in the end I might lose my position. I'm
going to write out my resignation. _(He goes to the desk and writes.
Christy is at table. Muskerry turns round after writing)_

MUSKERRY
No one that comes here can have the same heart for the poor
that I had. I was earning in the year of the famine. I saw able men
struggling to get the work that would bring them a handful of Indian
meal. And I saw the little children waiting on the roads for relief.
_(He turns back and goes on with letter. Suddenly a bell in the
House begins to toll)_ What's that for, Christy?

CHRISTY
Malachi O'Rourk, the Prince, as they called him, is dead.

MUSKERRY
Aye, I gave orders to toll him when he died. He was an
estated gentleman, and songs were made about his family. People used
to annoy him, but he's gone from them now. Bring me a little whisky,
Christy.

_Christy goes to Cabinet. Muskerry follows him_.

CHRISTY
There's none in the bottle, Mister Muskerry.

MUSKERRY
_(bitterly)_ No, I suppose not. And is that rascal, Albert
Crilly, coming back?

CHRISTY
He's coming, Mister Muskerry. I left the novelette on the
table. Miss Coghlan says it's a nice love story. "The Heart of
Angelina," it is called.

MUSKERRY
I haven't the heart to read.

_The bell continues to toll. Christy goes to door_.

CHRISTY
Good night, Mister Muskerry.

MUSKERRY
Good night, Christy.

_Christy Clarke goes out through apartments. Thomas Muskerry is
standing with hand on arm chair. The bell tolls_.

CURTAIN

ACT SECOND

_In Crilly's, a month later. The room is the parlour off the shop.
A glass door, right, leads into the shop, and the fireplace is above
this door. In the back, right, is a cupboard door. Back is a window
looking on the street. A door, left, leads to other rooms. There is
a table near shop door and a horse-hair sofa back, an armchair at
fire, and two leather-covered chairs about. Conventional pictures on
walls, and two certificates framed, showing that some one in the
house has passed some Intermediate examinations._

_It is the forenoon of an April day. Mrs. Crilly is seated on sofa,
going through a heap of account books. Anna Crilly is at window.
Crofton Crilly enters from the shop._

CRILLY
It's all right, Marianne.

MRS. CRILLY
Well?

CRILLY
The Guardians insisted on appointing an outside person to
take stock of the workhouse stores. It's the new regulation, you know.
Well, the job lay between young Dobbs and Albert, and Albert has got
it. I don't say but it was a near thing.

MRS. CRILLY
I hope Albert will know what to do.

CRILLY
He'll want to watch the points. Where's the Master?

MRS. CRILLY
He's in his room upstairs.

CRILLY
Was he not out this morning?

MRS. CRILLY
He's not dressed yet.

CRILLY
He was more particular when he was in the workhouse.

ANNA
I know who those two children are now. They are the new
gas-manager's children.

CRILLY
He's a Scotchman.

ANNA
And married for the second time. Mother, Mrs. Dunne is going to
the races. Such a sketch of a hat.

MRS. CRILLY
It would be better for her if she stayed at home and
looked after her business.

ANNA
She won't have much business to look after soon. That's the
third time her husband has come out of Farrell's public-house.

CRILLY
He's drinking with the Dispensary Doctor. Companions! They're
the curse of this town, Marianne. _(He sits down)_

ANNA
She's walked into a blind man, hat and all. He's from the Workhouse.

CRILLY
He's the blind piper out of the workhouse, Myles Gorman.

MRS. CRILLY
There's no one within. You should go into the shop, Anna.

ANNA
Yes, mother. _(She crosses)_ James Scollard is coming in, mother.

MRS. CRILLY
Very well, Anna. Stay in the shop until Mary comes.

_Anna goes into the shop. Crilly moves about_.

MRS. CRILLY
You're very uneasy.

CRILLY
Yes, I am uneasy, Marianne. There's some presentment on me.
Fifty pounds a year is a good pension for the old man. He's a month
out now. He ought to be getting an instalment.

_Anna comes in from shop_.

ANNA
Mother, the doctor's daughter is in the shop.

MRS. CRILLY
What does she want?

ANNA
_(imitating an accent)_ Send up a pound of butter, two pounds
of sugar, and a pound of tea.

MRS. CRILLY
These people are paying nobody. But we can't refuse her.
I suppose we'll have to send them up. Be very distant with her, Anna.

ANNA
I've kept her waiting. Here's a letter, mother.

MRS. CRILLY
_(taking letter)_ When did it come, Anna?

ANNA
It's just handed in.

_Anna goes out. Mrs. Crilly opens letter_.

MRS. CRILLY
It's from the bank. They want me to call. What does the
bank manager want with me, I wonder?

CRILLY
I have something to tell you, Marianne. I'll tell you in a
while. _(He takes a turn up and down)_

MRS. CRILLY
What do you want to tell me?

CRILLY
Prepare your mind, Marianne.

MRS. CRILLY
What is it?

CRILLY
I owe you money, Marianne.

MRS. CRILLY
Money! How do you owe me money?

CRILLY
That cute boy, James Covey, who took in all the town--

MRS. CRILLY
_(rising)_ Covey! My God! You backed a bill for him?

CRILLY
I'll make a clean breast of it. I did.

MRS. CRILLY
_(with fear in her eyes)_ How much is it?

CRILLY
_(walking away to window)_ I'll come to that, Marianne.

MRS. CRILLY
Did any one back the bill with you?

CRILLY
I obliged the fellow. No one backed the bill with me.

MRS. CRILLY
Does any one know of it?

CRILLY
No, Marianne.

MRS. CRILLY
The bank.... Tell me what happened.

CRILLY
The bank manager sent for me when he came to the town after
Covey cleared.

MRS. CRILLY
We had four hundred pounds in the bank.

CRILLY
We had, Marianne.

MRS. CRILLY
Tell me how much was the bill.

CRILLY
There's no use in beating about the bush. The bill was for
three hundred pounds.

MRS. CRILLY
And what has the bank done?

CRILLY
I'm sorry to say, Marianne, the bank has taken the money over
from our account.

MRS. CRILLY
You've ruined us at last, Crofton Crilly.

CRILLY
You should never forgive me, Marianne. I'll go to America and
begin life again. _(He turns to go out by shop)_

MRS. CRILLY
We have no money left.

CRILLY
A hundred pounds, Marianne.

MRS. CRILLY
That's Anna's money.

CRILLY
Scollard should be satisfied.

MRS. CRILLY
Anna insists on getting her money.

CRILLY
Very well, Marianne. I'll leave it all to yourself.

_James Scollard comes in. Anna is behind him. Scollard has an
account book in his hand_.

SCOLLARD
Good morning, Mrs. Crilly. Good morning, Mr. Crilly.

MRS. CRILLY
Good morning, Mr. Scollard.

_Crofton Crilly turns to go_.

ANNA
Don't go, father.

SCOLLARD
Don't go, Mr. Crilly. I have something particular to say to
yourself and Mrs. Crilly.

MRS. CRILLY
Sit down, Mr. Scollard.

_Anna brings chair, and Scollard sits center. Anna stands behind him.
Mrs. Crilly sits left of him_.

SCOLLARD
I am here to propose for the hand of your daughter, Miss
Anna Crilly.

MRS. CRILLY
We have nothing to say against your proposal, Mr. Scollard.

CRILLY
Won't you take something, James?

SCOLLARD
No, thanks, Mr. Crilly. I never touch intoxicants.

_Crofton Crilly goes into shop_.

MRS. CRILLY
We couldn't wish for a better match for Anna. But I feel
bound to tell you, Mr. Scollard, that we have had a very severe loss
in our business.

ANNA
What is it, mother?

MRS. CRILLY
I don't mind telling you. Mr. Crilly has made himself
responsible for a bill on the bank.

SCOLLARD
In whose interest, Mrs. Crilly?

MRS. CRILLY
He backed a bill for James Covey. A bill for three
hundred pounds.

ANNA
Oh, mother!

MRS. CRILLY
It's a dead sure loss. I don't know what we are to do,
Anna.

SCOLLARD
This is very bad, Mrs. Crilly.

_Crofton Crilly comes back from shop. He brings in a glass of whisky.
He puts whisky on chimney-piece._

MRS. CRILLY
The bank has taken over three hundred pounds from our
account.

CRILLY
Perhaps Scollard--

SCOLLARD
What were you saying, Mr. Crilly?

CRILLY
Oh, I was just thinking--about a bill you know--If some one
would go security for us at the bank--

ANNA
Father, what are you saying?

MRS. CRILLY
It's unnecessary to talk like that. In spite of your
foolishness, we still have a balance at the bank.

ANNA
My portion comes to me from my grandmother.

SCOLLARD
May I ask, Mrs. Crilly, is Miss Crilly's portion safe?

MRS. CRILLY
It is safe, Mr. Scollard.

SCOLLARD
I have been definitely appointed Master of the Union, and I
may say that Anna and myself are anxious to marry.

MRS. CRILLY
It needn't be soon, Mr. Scollard.

SCOLLARD
After Easter, Mrs. Crilly.

MRS. CRILLY
But that's very soon.

SCOLLARD
I am anxious to settle down, Mrs. Crilly. I'm on my way to
a meeting of the Board of Guardians, but before I go I'd like to
have some more information about your loss.

MRS. CRILLY
Anna's portion is not touched, but we could hardly
afford to let the money go from us now.

SCOLLARD
Is that so, Mrs. Crilly?

MRS. CRILLY
Three hundred pounds is a very severe loss.

SCOLLARD
Very severe, indeed. Still, you understand, Mrs. Crilly,
the difficulties of taking such a step as marriage without adequate
provision.

CRILLY
Damn it all, man, Marianne and myself married without
anything at all.

MRS. CRILLY
_(bitterly)_ Anna won't be such a fool as her mother.

CRILLY
Well, Scollard has his position, and we helped him to it.

SCOLLARD
I acknowledge that.

ANNA
Isn't my portion eighty pounds, mother?

MRS. CRILLY
Yes, Anna. But I'd like to tell Mr. Scollard that it
would come as a strain on us to let the money go at once.

SCOLLARD
I daresay, Mrs. Crilly.

ANNA
But, mother, wouldn't the money be safer with us?

MRS. CRILLY
Well, I leave the whole thing in the hands of Mr.
Scollard.

SCOLLARD
Anna and myself have been talking things over, Mrs. Crilly.

ANNA
And we don't want to begin life in a poor way.

SCOLLARD
We see the advantage of being always solvent, Mrs. Crilly.

ANNA
James has ambitions, and there's no reason why he shouldn't
venture for the post of Secretary of the County Council when old
Mr. Dobbs retires.

SCOLLARD
In a few years, Mrs. Crilly, when I had more official
experience and some reputation.

ANNA
Then he would have seven or eight hundred a year.

SCOLLARD
As I said, a man like myself would want to be in a
perfectly solvent position.

ANNA
Besides, James has no money of his own.

SCOLLARD
I never had the chance of putting money by--Family calls,
Mrs. Crilly.

ANNA
And we don't want to begin life in a poor way.

MRS. CRILLY
You won't want the whole of the money. I'll give you
forty pounds now.

CRILLY
And forty when the first child is born.

ANNA
Oh, father, how can you say such a thing?

SCOLLARD
I need only say this. Anna and myself were talking over
affairs, and we came to the conclusion it would be best not to start
with less than eighty pounds. _(He rises)_ I have to go down to the
Board Room now, for there is a meeting of the Guardians. _(He goes
towards door)_

CRILLY
Won't you take a glass?

SCOLLARD
No, thanks, Mr. Crilly. I never touch stimulants. Good day
to you all.

_He goes out. Crofton Crilly goes after him_.

MRS. CRILLY
Anna, you won't be deprived of your money.

ANNA
Then what's the difficulty, mother?

MRS. CRILLY
Let half of the money remain with us for a while.

ANNA
But, mother, if I don't get all my money, what security have I
that what's left will be good in six months or a year?

MRS. CRILLY
I'll watch the money for you, Anna.

ANNA
It's hard to keep a hold on money in a town where business is
going down.

MRS. CRILLY
Forty pounds will be given to you and forty pounds will
be kept safe for you.

ANNA
Forty pounds! There's not a small farmer comes into the shop
but his daughter has more of a dowry than forty pounds.

MRS. CRILLY
Think of all who marry without a dowry at all.

ANNA
You wouldn't have me go to James Scollard without a dowry?

MRS. CRILLY
Well, you know the way we're situated. If you insist on
getting eighty pounds we'll have to make an overdraft on the bank,
and, in the way business is, I don't know how we'll ever recover it.

ANNA
There won't be much left out of eighty pounds when we get what
suits us in furniture.

MRS. CRILLY
I could let you have some furniture.

ANNA
No, mother. We want to start in a way that is different from
this house.

MRS. CRILLY
You'll want all the money together?

ANNA
All of it, mother.

MRS. CRILLY
You'll have to get it so. But you're very hard, Anna.

ANNA
This house would teach any one to look to themselves.

MRS. CRILLY
Come upstairs. _(Anna goes, left)_ Three hundred pounds
of a loss. Eighty pounds with that. I'm terrified when I think.
_(She goes after Anna)_

_Crofton Crilly comes in from shop. He takes glass of whisky from
table, and sits down in arm chair_.

CRILLY
I don't know what Marianne's to do at all. She has a shocking
lot to contend with. Can anything be got from the old man, I wonder?

_Albert Crilly comes in by door, left_.

ALBERT
Well, pa.

CRILLY
Well, Albert. What's the news in the town, Albert?

ALBERT
They say that you've backed a bill for Covey.

CRILLY
If your mother hears that kind of talk she'll be vexed, Albert.

ALBERT
But did you back the bill?

CRILLY
For Heaven's sake, let me alone, Albert. Yes, I backed the
bill.

ALBERT
How much?

CRILLY
You'll hear all about it from your mother.

ALBERT
They say the bill was for three hundred.

CRILLY
It was three or thereabouts.

ALBERT
'Pon my word, father, the mother will have to take out a
mandamus against you.

CRILLY
_(with parental dignity)_ Don't talk to me in that way, Sir.

ALBERT
It's scandalous, really. I expect you've ruined the business.

CRILLY
I hate the world and all its works and pomps.

ALBERT
I believe you've done for the business. I'm going away.

CRILLY
Then you've got the other appointment?

ALBERT
Temporary clerkship in the Land Department. I wonder would
the mother let me have the money for clothes?

CRILLY
_(desperately)_ Don't mention it at all to her.

ALBERT
I have a card from a Dublin tailor in my pocket. If I could
pay him for one suit, I could get another on tick.

CRILLY
I tell you not to talk to your mother about money. That fellow,
Scollard, has put her out.

ALBERT
How's that?

CRILLY
Money again. Wants the whole of Anna's portion down. And
Anna's backing him up, too. I don't know how your mother can stand it.
I don't like Scollard. Then you won't be staying on, Albert, to do
the stocktaking in the Workhouse?

ALBERT
No; they'll have to get some one else. I'm glad to be out of
that job.

CRILLY
I'm not sorry, Albert.

ALBERT
The mother would expect me to do something queer in my report.

CRILLY
Between you and me, Albert, women aren't acquainted with the
working of affairs, and they expect unusual things to happen. Who
will they make stocktaker, now?

ALBERT
Young Dobbs, likely. I suppose the whole business about the
coal will come out then?

CRILLY
I suppose it will; but say nothing about it now, Albert. Let
the hare sit.

ALBERT
What does the old man think about it now?

CRILLY
He's very close to himself. I think he has forgotten all
about it.

ALBERT
I wouldn't say so.

CRILLY
Who's that in the shop, Albert?

ALBERT
Felix Tournour.

CRILLY _(rising)_ I wonder what they think about Scollard in the
Poor-house. _(He and Albert go into the shop as Muskerry enters from
left)_

_Muskerry is untidily dressed. His boots are unlaced. He walks
across the room and speaks pettishly_.

MUSKERRY
They haven't brought my soup yet. They won't give much of
their time to me. I'm disappointed in Anna Crilly. Well, a certain
share in this shop was to have gone to Anna Crilly. I'll get that
share, and I'll hoard it up myself. I'll hoard it up. And the fifty
pounds of my pension, I'll hoard that up, too.

_Albert comes in from shop_.

MUSKERRY
That's a black fire that's in the grate. I don't like the
coal that comes into this place.

ALBERT
Coal, eh, grandpapa.

MUSKERRY
I said coal.

ALBERT
We haven't good stores here.

MUSKERRY
Confound you for your insolence.

ALBERT
Somebody you know is in the shop--Felix Tournour.

MUSKERRY
Bid Tournour come in to me.

ALBERT
_(talking into the shop)_ You're wanted here, Tournour. Come
in now or I'll entertain the boss with "The Devil's Rambles."
_(He turns to Muskerry)_ I was given the job of stocktaking.

MUSKERRY
That's a matter for yourself.

ALBERT
I don't think I'll take the job now.

MUSKERRY
Why won't you take it?

ALBERT
I don't know what to say about the fifty tons of coal.

MUSKERRY
I was too precipitate about the coal. But don't have me at
the loss of fifty pounds through any of your smartness.

ALBERT
All right, grandfather; I'll see you through.

MUSKERRY
Confound you for a puppy.

_Felix Tournour enters. He looks prosperous. He has on a loud check
suit. He wears a red tie and a peaked cap_.

ALBERT
The Master wants to speak to you, Tournour.

TOURNOUR
What Master.

ALBERT
The boss, Tournour, the boss.

MUSKERRY
I want you, and that's enough for you, Tournour.

ALBERT
I suppose you don't know, grandpapa, that Tournour has a
middling high position in the Poorhouse now.

MUSKERRY
What are you saying?

ALBERT
Tournour is Ward-master now.

MUSKERRY
I wasn't given any notice of that.

ALBERT
Eh, Tournour--

"The Devil went out for a ramble at night,
Through Garrisowen Union to see every sight.
He saw Felix Tournour--"

TOURNOUR

"He saw one in comfort, of that you'll be sure.
With his back to the fire stands Felix Tournour,"

_He puts his back to fire_.

ALBERT
Well, so-long, gents. _(He goes out by shop door)_

MUSKERRY
Let me see you, Tournour.

TOURNOUR
I'm plain to be seen.

MUSKERRY
Who recommended you for Ward-master?

TOURNOUR
Them that had the power.

MUSKERRY
I would not have done it, Tournour.

TOURNOUR
No. And still, d'ye see, I'm up and not down. Well, I'll be
going.

MUSKERRY
Come back here, Tournour. I made it a rule that no
Ward-master should let drink be brought in to the paupers.

TOURNOUR
It's a pity you're not Master still!

MUSKERRY
What are you saying?

TOURNOUR
It's a pity that you're not still the Master over us.

MUSKERRY
Tournour, you're forgetting yourself.

TOURNOUR
Well, maybe you are still the Master.

MUSKERRY
How dare you speak to me with such effrontery? How dare you?

TOURNOUR
I dunno. I'm going away now, if your _honour_ has nothing
more to say to me. _(He turns to go)_

MUSKERRY
You shall not. You shall not, I say.

TOURNOUR
What?

MUSKERRY
You shall not go away until you've apologised to me.

TOURNOUR
Don't be talking, Thomas Muskerry. You're not Master over me.

MUSKERRY
Not the Master over you?

TOURNOUR
No. There's an end to your sway, Mr. Muskerry.

MUSKERRY
Go out of the house. No, stay here. You think I'm out of
the Workhouse. No. That's not so. I've claims, great claims, on it
still. Not for nothing was I there for thirty years, the pattern for
the officials of Ireland.

TOURNOUR
Twenty-nine years, I'm telling you.

MUSKERRY
The Guardians will take account of me.

TOURNOUR
And maybe they would, too.

MUSKERRY
What's that you're saying?

TOURNOUR
The Guardians might take an account of Thomas Muskerry in a
way he mightn't like. _(He goes to door)_

MUSKERRY
Come back here, Felix Tournour.

TOURNOUR
I'm not your sub-servant.

MUSKERRY
Stand here before me.

TOURNOUR
You and your before me! Your back to heaven and your belly
to hell.

MUSKERRY
Go away. Go away out of this.

TOURNOUR
Don't try to down-face me. I know something about you.

MUSKERRY
About me!

TOURNOUR
Aye, you and your fifty tons of coal. _(Muskerry goes back
from him)_ Great claims on the Workhouse have you. The Guardians
will take account of you. Will they? Talk to them about the fifty
tons of coal. Go and do that, my pattern of the officials of Ireland!

_Tournour goes out by shop. Muskerry stands with his hands on the
arm chair_.

MUSKERRY
This minute I'll go down to the Guardians and make my
complaint. _(He notices his appearance)_ I'm going about all day
with my boots unlaced. I'm falling into bad ways, bad, slovenly ways.
And my coat needs brushing, too. _(He takes off his coat and goes to
window and brushes it)_ That's Myles Gorman going back to the
Workhouse. I couldn't walk with my head held as high as that. In
this house I am losing my uprightness. I'll do more than lace my
boots and brush my coat. I'll go down to the Guardians and I'll pay
them back their fifty pounds.

_Anna Crilly comes in from left with a bowl of soup_.

ANNA
Here's your soup, grandpapa.

MUSKERRY
I can't take it now, Anna. _(He puts on his coat)_

ANNA
Are you going out, grandpapa?

MUSKERRY
I'm going before the meeting of the Board of Guardians.

ANNA
Are you, grandpapa?

MUSKERRY
Yes, Anna, I am. I'm going to pay them back their fifty
pounds.

ANNA
And have you the fifty pounds?

MUSKERRY
Your mother has it for me.

ANNA
Sit down, grandpapa, and take your soup.

MUSKERRY
No, Anna, I won't take anything until my mind is at rest
about the coal. A certain person has spoken to me in a way I'll
never submit to be spoken to again.

_Mrs. Crilly comes in_.

MRS. CRILLY
What has happened to you?

MUSKERRY
Felix Tournour knows about the coal, Marianne. He can
disgrace me before the world.

ANNA
And grandpapa wants to go before the Guardians and pay them
back the fifty pounds.

MRS. CRILLY
Wait until we consult Mr. Scollard.

_Anna goes out_.

MUSKERRY
No, Marianne. I'm not going to be a party to this any longer.
I'm going before the Guardians, and I'll pay them back their fifty
pounds.

MRS. CRILLY
Fifty pounds. From what place is fifty pounds to come so
easily?

MUSKERRY
I'll ask you to give me the fifty pounds, Marianne.

MRS. CRILLY
I'll do no such thing. Anna is getting married, and she
claims her fortune.

MUSKERRY
Anna getting married. This was kept from me. And who is
Anna getting married to?

MRS. CRILLY
To James Scollard.

MUSKERRY
To James Scollard. And so Anna is getting married to my
successor, James Scollard. My successor. How well I knew there was
some such scheme behind shifting me out of the Workhouse. And Anna
Crilly was against me all the time. Well, well, well. I'll remember
this.

MRS. CRILLY
I'm at great losses since you came here.

MUSKERRY
I'm at greater losses, Marianne.

MRS. CRILLY
What losses are you at?

MUSKERRY
The loss of my trust, the loss of my dignity, my
self-respect, and--

MRS. CRILLY
I think we did all we could for you.

MUSKERRY
I'm going out now to pay back the Guardians the sum due to
them from me. I want fifty pounds from you. I claim it, and I have a
right to claim it.

MRS. CRILLY
We have no money at all. Listen. Crofton Crilly backed a
bill for James Covey, and three hundred pounds has been taken from
our account.

MUSKERRY
Three hundred pounds!

MRS. CRILLY
Yes. Three hundred pounds.

MUSKERRY
He backed a bill for three hundred pounds. And do you think,
Marianne Crilly, there can be any luck, in a house where such a
thing could happen? I tell you there is no luck nor grace in your
house. _(He puts on his hat and goes to cupboard to get his stick. He
opens the cupboard. He turns round)_

MUSKERRY
_(greatly moved)_ My God, my God. I'm made cry at the
things that happen in this house.

MRS. CRILLY
What is it?

MUSKERRY
The good meat I brought in. There it is on the floor and
the cat mangling it. I'll go out of this house, and I'll never put
foot into it again.

MRS. CRILLY
And where will you go?

MUSKERRY
I'll go before the Board of Guardians and I'll ask them to
provide for me.

MRS. CRILLY
What do you want me to do for you?

MUSKERRY
Give me fifty pounds, so that I can pay them off now.

MRS. CRILLY
Haven't I told you the way I'm straitened for money?

MUSKERRY
You have still in the bank what would save my name.

MRS. CRILLY
Don't be unreasonable. I have to provide for my children.

MUSKERRY
Your children. Yes, you have to provide for your children.
I provided for them long enough. And now you would take my place, my
honour, and my self-respect, and provide for them over again.
_(He goes out)_

MRS. CRILLY
I'll have to put up with this, too.

_Anna re-enters._

ANNA
Where has he gone, mother?

MRS. CRILLY
He has gone down to the Workhouse.

ANNA
What is he going to do, mother?

MRS. CRILLY
He says he will ask the Guardians to provide for him.

ANNA
It's not likely they'll do that for a man with a pension of
fifty pounds a year.

MRS. CRILLY
I don't know what will happen to us.

ANNA
He'll come back, mother.

MRS. CRILLY
He will. But everything will have been made public, and
the money will have to be paid.

ANNA
_(at the window)_ There he is going down the street, mother.

MRS. CRILLY
Which way?

ANNA
Towards the Workhouse. And here's the doctor's daughter coming
into the shop again, mother.

MRS. CRILLY
I'll go out and see her myself. _(As she goes out she
hands Anna a cheque)_ That's the last cheque I'll be able to make out.
There's your eighty pounds, Anna. _(She goes into the shop)_

ANNA
We can begin to get the furniture now.

_She sits down at the table and makes some calculation with a pencil_.

CURTAIN

ACT THIRD

_The infirm ward in the Workhouse. Entrance from corridor, right.
Forward, left, are three beds with bedding folded upon them. Back,
left, is a door leading into Select Ward. This door is closed, and a
large key is in lock. Fireplace with a grating around it, left. Back,
right, is a window with little leaded panes_.

_It is noon on a May day, but the light inside the ward is feeble._

_Two paupers are seated at fire. One of them, Mickie Cripes, is a
man of fifty, stooped and hollow-chested, but with quick blue eyes.
The other man, Tom Shanley, is not old, but he looks broken and
listless. Myles Gorman, still in pauper dress, is standing before
window, an expectant look on his face_.

_Thomas Muskerry enters from corridor. He wears his own clothes,
but he has let them get into disorder. His hair and beard are
disordered, and he seems very much broken down. Nevertheless, he
looks as if his mind were composed_.

MUSKERRY
It's dark in here, Michael.

GRIPES
It is, sir.

MUSKERRY
I find it very spiritless after coming up from the chapel.
Don't pass your whole day here. Go down into the yard. _(He stands
before the window)_ This is the first fine day, and you ought to go
out along the country road. Ask the Master for leave. It's the month
of May, and you'll be glad of the sight of the grass and the smell
of the bushes. Now here's a remarkable thing. I venture to think
that the like of this has never happened before. Here are the bees
swarming at the window pane.

GORMAN
You'll hear my pipes on the road to-day. That's as sure as
the right hand is on my body. _(He goes out by corridor door)_

CRIPES
Myles Gorman must have been glad to hear that buzzing.

MUSKERRY
Why was Myles glad to hear it?

SHANLEY
He was leaving on the first fine day.

CRIPES
The buzzing at the pane would let any one know that the air
is nice for a journey.

MUSKERRY
I am leaving to-day, myself.

CRIPES
And where are you going, Mr. Muskerry?

MUSKERRY
I'm going to a place of my own.

_Muskerry goes into the Select Ward_.

CRIPES
I'll tell you what brought Thomas Muskerry back to the
workhouse to be an inmate in it. Living in a bad house. Living with
his own. That's what brought him back. And that's what left me here,
too.

SHANLEY
_(listlessly)_ The others have the flour, and we may hawk
the bran.

_An old pauper comes into the ward. His face looks bleached. He has
the handle of a sweeping-brush for a staff. He moves about the ward,
muttering to himself. He seats himself on chair, right_.

THE OLD MAN
_(speaking as if thinking aloud)_ I was at twelve
o'clock Mass. Now one o'clock would be a late Mass. I was at Mass at
one o'clock. Wouldn't that be a long time to keep a priest, and he
fasting the whole time?

CRIPES
I'll tell you what Thomas Muskerry did when he left the bad
house he was in. _(He puts coal on the fire)_

THE OLD MAN
I was at one o'clock Mass in Skibbereen. I know where
Skibbereen is well. In the County Cork. Cork is a big county. As big
as Dublin and Wicklow. That's where the people died when there was
the hunger.

CRIPES
He came before the meeting of the Guardians, and he told them
he owed them the whole of his year's pension. Then he got some sort
of a stroke, and he broke down. And the Guardians gave him the Select
Ward there for himself.

SHANLEY
They did well for him.

CRIPES
Why wouldn't they give him the Select Ward? It's right that
he'd get the little room, and not have to make down the pauper's bed
with the rest of us.

SHANLEY
He was at the altar to-day, and he stayed in the chapel
after Mass.

CRIPES
He'll be here shortly.

THE OLD MAN
Skibbereen! That's where the people died when there was
the hunger. Men and women without coffins, or even their clothes off.
Just buried. Skibbereen I remember well, for I was a whole man then.
And the village. For there are people living in it yet. They didn't
all die.

SHANLEY
We'll have somebody else in the Select Ward this evening.

CRIPES
That's what they were talking about. The nuns are sending a
patient up here.

SHANLEY
I suppose the Ward-master will be in here to regulate the
room. _(He rises)_

CRIPES
Aye, the Ward-master. Felix Tournour, the Ward-master. You've
come to your own place at last, Felix Tournour.

SHANLEY
Felix Tournour will be coming the master over me if he finds
me here. _(Shanley goes out)_

CRIPES
Felix Tournour! That's the lad that will be coming in with
his head up like the gander that's after beating down a child.

_Christy Clarice enters. He carries a little portmanteau_.

CHRISTY
Is Mr. Muskerry here?

CRIPES
He's in the room. _(A sound of water splashing and the
movements of a heavy person are heard)_ Will you be speaking with him,
young fellow?

CHRISTY
I will.

CRIPES
Tell him, like a good little boy, that the oul' men would be
under a favour to him if he left a bit of tobacco. You won't forget
that?

CHRISTY
I won't forget it.

CRIPES
I don't want to be in the way of Felix Tournour. We're going
down to the yard, but we'll see Mr. Muskerry when he's going away.

_Cripes goes out_.

MUSKERRY
_(within)_ Is that you, Christy Clarke?

CHRISTY
It is, Mr. Muskerry.

MUSKERRY
Have you any news, Christy?

CHRISTY
No news, except that my mother is in the cottage, and is
expecting you to-day.

MUSKERRY
I'll be in the cottage to-day, Christy. I'm cleaning myself.
_(A sound of splashing and moving about)_ The Guardians were good to
get the little house for me. I'd as lieve be there as in a mansion.
There's about half an acre of land to the place, and I'll do work on
the ground from time to time, for it's a good thing for a man to get
the smell of the clay.

CHRISTY
And how are you in health, Mr. Muskerry?

MUSKERRY
I'm very well in health. I was anointed, you know, and
after that I mended miraculously.

CHRISTY
And what about the pension?

MUSKERRY
I'm getting three hundred pounds. They asked me to realize
the pension. I hope I have life enough before me. _(He comes out. He
has on trousers, coat, and starched shirt. The shirt is soiled and
crushed)_

MUSKERRY
On Saturdays I'll do my marketing. I'll come into the town,
and I'll buy the bit of meat for my dinner on Sunday. But what are
you doing with this portmanteau, Christy?

CHRISTY
I'm going away myself.

MUSKERRY
To a situation, is it?

CHRISTY
To a situation in Dublin.

MUSKERRY
I wish you luck, Christy. _(He shakes hands with the boy,
and sits down on a chair)_ I was dreaming on new things all last
night. New shirts, new sheets, everything new.

CHRISTY
I want to be something.

MUSKERRY
What do you want to be?

CHRISTY
A writer.

MUSKERRY
A writer of books, is it?

CHRISTY
Yes, a writer of books.

MUSKERRY
Listen, now, and tell me do you hear anything. That's the
sound of bees swarming at the window. That's a good augury for you,
Christy.

CHRISTY
All life's before me.

MUSKERRY
Will you give heed to what I tell you?

CHRISTY
I'll give heed to it, Mr. Muskerry.

MUSKERRY
Live a good life.

CHRISTY
I give heed to you.

MUSKERRY
Your mother had great hardship in rearing you.

CHRISTY
I know that, Mr. Muskerry, but now I'm able for the world.

MUSKERRY
I wish success to all your efforts. Be very careful of your
personal appearance.

CHRISTY
I will, Mr. Muskerry.

MUSKERRY
Get yourself a new cravat before you leave the town.

CHRISTY
I'll get it.

MUSKERRY
I think I'd look better myself if I had a fresher shirt.

CHRISTY
I saw clean shirts of yours before the fire last night in my
mother's house.

MUSKERRY
I wish I could get one before I leave this place.

CHRISTY
Will I run off and get one for you?

MUSKERRY
Would you, Christy? Would it be too much trouble?

_Muskerry rises_.

CHRISTY
I'll go now.

MUSKERRY
You're a very willing boy, Christy, and you're sure to get
on. _(He goes to a little broken mirror on the wall)_ I am white and
loose of flesh, and that's not a good sign with me, Christy. I'll
tell you something. If I were staying here to-night, it's the
pauper's bed I'd have to sleep on.

_Mrs. Crilly comes to the door_.

MRS. CRILLY
Well, I see you're making ready for your departure.

MUSKERRY
_(who has become uneasy)_ I am ready for my departure.

MRS. CRILLY
And this young man has come for you, I suppose?

MUSKERRY
This young man is minding his own business.

CHRISTY
I'm going out now to get a shirt for the Master.

MRS. CRILLY
A starched shirt, I suppose, Christy. Go down to our
house, and tell Mary to give you one of the shirts that are folded up.

MUSKERRY
The boy will go where he was bid go.

MRS. CRILLY
Oh, very well. Run, Christy, and do the message for the
Master.

_Christy Clarke goes out_.

MUSKERRY
I don't know what brought you here to-day.

MRS. CRILLY
Well, I wanted to see you.

MUSKERRY
You could come to see me when I was settled down.

MRS.
CRILLY Settled in the cottage the Guardians have given you?

MUSKERRY
Yes, ma'am.

MRS. CRILLY
_(with nervous excitement, restrained)_ No one of us
will ever go near the place.

MUSKERRY
Well, you'll please yourself.

MRS. CRILLY
You put a slight on us all when you go there to live.

MUSKERRY
Well, I've lived with you to my own loss.

MRS. CRILLY
Our house is the best house in the town, and I'm the
nearest person to you.

MUSKERRY
Say nothing more about that.

MRS. CRILLY
Well, maybe you do right not to live with us, but you
ought not to forsake us altogether.

MUSKERRY
And what do you mean by forsaking you altogether?

MRS. CRILLY
When you leave the place and do not even turn your step
in our direction it's a sign to all who want to know that you
forsake us altogether.

MUSKERRY
What do you want me to do?

MRS. CRILLY
Come up to Cross Street with me, have dinner and spend
the night with us. People would have less to talk about if you did
that.

MUSKERRY
You always have a scheme.

MRS. CRILLY
Come to us for this evening itself.

MUSKERRY
I wish you wouldn't trouble me, woman. Can't you see that
when I go out of this I want to go to my own place?

MRS. CRILLY
You can go there to-morrow.

MUSKERRY
Preparations are made for me.

MRS. CRILLY
You don't know what preparations.

MUSKERRY
Two pounds of the best beef-steak were ordered to be sent
up to-day.

MRS. CRILLY
I wouldn't trust that woman, Mrs. Clarke, to cook
potatoes.

MUSKERRY
Well, I'll trust her, ma'am.

MRS. CRILLY
_(taking Muskerry's sleeve)_ Don't go to-day, anyway.

MUSKERRY
You're very anxious to get me to come with you. What do you
want from me?

MRS. CRILLY
We want nothing from you. You know how insecure our
business is. When it's known in the town that you forsake us,
everybody will close in on us.

MUSKERRY
God knows I did everything that a man could do for you and
yours. I won't forget you. I haven't much life left to me, and I
want to live to myself.

MRS. CRILLY
I know. Sure I lie awake at night, too tired to sleep,
and long to get away from the things that are pressing in on me. I
know that people are glad of their own way, and glad to live in the
way that they like. When I heard the birds stirring I cried to be
away in some place where I won't hear the thing that's always
knocking at my head. The business has to be minded, and it's
slipping away from us like water. And listen, if my confinement
comes on me and I worried as I was last year, nothing can save me.
I'll die, surely.

MUSKERRY
_(moved)_ What more do you want me to do?

MRS. CRILLY
Stay with us for a while, so that we'll have the name of
your support.

MUSKERRY
I'll come back to you in a week.

MRS. CRILLY
That wouldn't do at all. There's a reason for what I ask.
The town must know that you are with us from the time you leave this.

MUSKERRY
_(with emotion)_ God help me with you all, and God direct
me what to do.

MRS. CRILLY
It's not in you to let us down.

_Muskerry turns away. His head is bent. Mrs. Crilly goes to him_.

MUSKERRY
Will you never be done taking from me? I want to leave this
and go to a place of my own.

_Muskerry puts his hand to his eyes. When he lowers his hand again
Mrs. Crilly lays hers in it. Christy Clarke comes in. Muskerry turns
to him. Muskerry has been crying_.

MUSKERRY
Well, Christy, I'll be sending you back on another message.

_Mrs. Crilly makes a sign to Christy not to speak_.

MUSKERRY
Go to your mother and tell her---

CHRISTY
I met my mother outside.

MUSKERRY
Did she get the things that were sent to her?

CHRISTY
My mother was sent away from the cottage.

MUSKERRY
Who sent your mother away from the cottage?

CHRISTY
Mrs. Crilly sent her away.

MUSKERRY
And why did you do that, ma'am?

MRS. CRILLY
I sent Mary to help to prepare the place for you, and
the woman was impertinent to Mary--

MUSKERRY
Well, ma'am?

MRS. CRILLY
I sent the woman away.

MUSKERRY
And so you take it on yourself to dispose of the servants
in my house?

MRS. CRILLY
I daresay you'll take the woman's part against my
daughter.

MUSKERRY
No, ma'am, I'll take no one's side, but I'll tell you this.
I want my own life, and I won't be interfered with.

MRS. CRILLY
I'm sorry for what occurred, and I'll apologise to the
boy's mother if you like.

MUSKERRY
I won't be interfered with, I tell you. From this day out
I'm free of my own life. And now, Christy Clarke, go down stairs and
tell the Master, Mr. Scollard, that I want to see him.

_Christy Clarice goes out_.

MRS. CRILLY
I may as well tell you something else. None of the
things you ordered were sent up to the cottage.

Book of the day: