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Three Plays by Padraic Colum

Part 5 out of 5

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MUSKERRY
Do you tell me that?

MRS. CRILLY
I went round to the shop, and everything you ordered was
sent to us.

MUSKERRY
And what is the meaning of that, ma'am?

MRS. CRILLY
If the town knew you were going from us, in a week we
would have to put up the shutters.

MUSKERRY
Well, I'll walk out of this, and when I come to the road
I'll go my own way.

MRS. CRILLY
We can't prevent you.

MUSKERRY
No, ma'am, you can't prevent me.

MRS. CRILLY
You've got your discharge, I suppose?

MUSKERRY
I've given three hours' notice, and I'll get my discharge
now.

MRS. CRILLY
_(at corridor door)_ We can't prevent you going if you
have the doctor's discharge.

MUSKERRY
The doctor's discharge! He would have given it to me--

MRS. CRILLY
You can't leave without the doctor's sanction.

MUSKERRY
Out of this house I will go to-day.

_James Scollard enters_.

SCOLLARD
I believe you want to see me, Mr. Muskerry.

MUSKERRY
I do, Mr. Scollard. I am leaving the house.

SCOLLARD
I will be glad to take up the necessary formalities for you,
Mr. Muskerry.

MRS. CRILLY
First of all, has the doctor marked my father off the
infirmary list?

SCOLLARD
No, Mrs. Crilly. Now that I recall the list, he has not.

MUSKERRY
I waited after Mass to-day, and I missed seeing him.

MRS. CRILLY
My father was seriously ill only a short time ago, and I
do not believe he is in a fit state to leave the infirmary.

SCOLLARD
That certainly has to be considered. Without the doctor
explicitly sending you down to the body of the house you are hardly
under my jurisdiction, Mr. Muskerry.

MUSKERRY
Mr. Scollard, I ask you to give me leave to go out of the
Workhouse for a day. You can do this on your own responsibility.

MRS. CRILLY
In the present state of his mind it's not likely he
would return to-night. Then if anything happened him your situation
is at stake.

MUSKERRY
I'm not a pauper. I'll go out of this to-day without leave
or license from any of you.

SCOLLARD
As you know yourself, Mr. Muskerry, it would be as much as
my situation is worth to let you depart in that way.

MUSKERRY
Well, go I will.

SCOLLARD
I cannot permit it, Mr. Muskerry. I say it with the
greatest respect.

MUSKERRY
How long will you keep me here?

SCOLLARD
Until the doctor visits the house.

MUSKERRY
That will be on Monday morning.

SCOLLARD
And this is Saturday, Mr. Muskerry.

MUSKERRY
And where will you put me until Monday?

SCOLLARD
Other arrangements will be made for you.

MUSKERRY
It's the pauper's bed you would give me!

SCOLLARD
The old arrangements will continue. Can I do anything
further for you, Mr. Muskerry?

MUSKERRY
No, you can do nothing further for me. It's a great deal
you have done for me! It's the pauper's bed you have given me!
_(He goes into the Select Ward)_

MRS. CRILLY
Sit down, Mr. Scollard. I want to speak to you.

_Mrs. Crilly seats herself at the table. Scollard sits down also._

MRS. CRILLY
The bank manager is in the town to-day, and there are
people waiting to tell him whether my father goes to our house or
goes away from us.

SCOLLARD No doubt there are, Mrs. Crilly.

MRS. CRILLY
But you have nothing to do with that, Mr. Scollard.

SCOLLARD
No, Mrs. Crilly.

MRS. CRILLY
I have my own battle to fight, and a hard battle it is.
I have to make bits of myself to mind everything and be prepared for
everything.

SCOLLARD
No doubt, Mrs. Crilly.

MRS. CRILLY
There are people who will blame me, but they cannot see
into my mind.

SCOLLARD
Will you come down to the parlour, Mrs. Crilly?

MRS. CRILLY
Yes, I'll go down.

_She remains seated, looking out steadily before her. Myles Gorman
comes in. He is dressed in his own clothes_.

SCOLLARD
Well, Gorman, what brings you back to the ward?

GORMAN
I just want to do something to my pipes, Master.

SCOLLARD
Very well, Gorman. You have your discharge, and you are
free to leave.

GORMAN
Oh, in a while I'll be taking the road.

_He seats himself at the fire and begins to fix the bag of his pipes_.

SCOLLARD
Now, Mrs. Crilly, come down to the parlour.

MRS. CRILLY
Yes.

SCOLLARD
Anna is waiting to see you.

MRS. CRILLY
_(rising)_ He will be well cared for here.

SCOLLARD
He will, Mrs. Crilly. I will give him all attention.

MRS. CRILLY
He expected to be in a different place to-day, but delay
does little harm.

SCOLLARD
Come down to the parlour, Mrs. Crilly, and drink a glass of
wine with us.

_They go out. The door of the Select Ward opens, and Thomas
Muskerry appears. He has got a stroke. His breathing makes a noise
in his mouth. As he moves he lags somewhat at the right knee. He
carries his right hand at his breast. He moves slowly across ward.
Felix Tournour enters, carrying a bunch of keys_.

TOURNOUR
And where are you going?

MUSKERRY
_(in a thickened voice)_ Ow--out. _(Motioning with left hand.
He moves across ward, and goes out on door of corridor)_

TOURNOUR
Well, you're not getting back to your snuggery, my oul' cod.
_(He goes into the Select Ward and begins to pitch Muskerry's
belongings into the outer ward. First of all come the pillows and
clothes off the bed)_ And there's your holy picture, and there's
your holy book. _(He comes out holding another book in official
binding. He opens it and reads)_ "Marianne, born May the 20th, 1870."
_(He turns back some pages and reads)_ Thomas Muskerry wrote this,
1850--

"In the pleasant month of May,
When the lambkins sport and play,
As I roved out for recreation,
I spied a comely maid,
Sequestered in the shade,
And on her beauty I gazed in admiration."

"I said I greatly fear
That Mercury will draw near,
As once he appeared unto Venus,
Or as it might have been
To the Carthaginian Queen,
Or the Grecian Wight called Polyphemus."

_Muskerry comes back to the ward. He stands looking stupidly at the
heap Tournour has thrown out. Tournour throws down the book.
Muskerry goes towards the open door of the ward. Felix Tournour
closes the door deliberately turns the key and holds the key in his
hand_.

TOURNOUR
You have no more to do with your snug little ward, Mr.
Muskerry. _(He puts the key on his bunch and goes out)_

MUSKERRY
_(muttering with slack lips and cheeks)_ It's--it's--the
pau--pauper's bed they've given me.

GORMAN
_(turning round his face)_ Who's there?

MUSKERRY
It's--it's--Thomas Muskerry.

GORMAN
Is that the Master?

MUSKERRY
It's--it's the pauper's bed they've given me.

GORMAN
Can I give you any hand, Master?

MUSKERRY
I'll want to make--the bed. Give me a hand to make the bed.
_(Gorman comes over to him)_ My own sheet and blanket is here. I
needn't lie on a pauper's sheet. Whose bed is this?

GORMAN
It's the middle bed, Master. It's my own bed.

MUSKERRY
_(helplessly)_ What bed will I take, then?

GORMAN
My bed. I won't be here.

MUSKERRY
And where are you going?

GORMAN
I'm leaving the house this day. I'll be going on the roads.

MUSKERRY
Myles--Myles Gorman. The man that was without family or
friends. Myles Gorman. Help me to lay down the mattress. Where will
you sleep to-night, Myles Gorman?

GORMAN
At Mrs. Muirnan's, a house between this and the town of
Ballinagh. I haven't the money to pay, but she'll give me the place
for to-night. Now, Master, I'll spread the sheet for you. _(They
spread the sheet on the bed_.)

MUSKERRY
Can you go down the stairs, Myles Gorman? I tried to get
down the stairs and my legs failed me.

GORMAN
One of the men will lead me down.

MUSKERRY
_(resting his hand on the bed and standing up)_ Sure one of
the men will lead me down the stairs, too.

_Myles Gorman spreads blanket on bed. He stands up, takes pipes,
and is ready to go out. Muskerry becomes more feeble. He puts
himself on the bed_.

MUSKERRY
Myles--Myles Gorman--come back.

GORMAN
What will I do for you, Master?

MUSKERRY
Say a prayer for me.

GORMAN
What prayer will I say, Master?

MUSKERRY
Say "God be good to Thomas Muskerry."

GORMAN
_(taking off his hat)_ "God be good to Thomas Muskerry, the
man who was good to the poor." Is that all, Master?

MUSKERRY
That's--that's all.

_Gorman goes to the door_.

GORMAN
In a little while you'll hear my pipes on the road.

_He goes out. There is the sound of heavy breathing from the bed.
Then silence. The old pauper with the staff enters. He is crossing
the ward when his attention is taken by the humming of the bees at
the window pane. He listens for a moment_.

THE OLD PAUPER
A bright day, and the clay on their faces. That's
what I saw. And we used to be coming from Mass and going to the
coursing match. The hare flying and the dogs stretching after her up
the hill. Fine dogs and fine men. I saw them all.

_Christy Clarke comes in. He goes to table for his bag. He sees the
figure on the bed, and goes over_.

CHRISTY
I'm going now, Mister Muskerry. Mister Muskerry!
Mister Muskerry! Oh! the Master is dead. _(He runs back to the door)_
Mrs. Crilly. Mrs. Crilly. _(He goes back to the bed, and throws
himself on his knees)_ Oh! I'm sorry you're gone, Thomas Muskerry.

THE OLD PAUPER
And is he gone home, too! And the bees humming and all!
He was the best of them. Each of his brothers could lift up their
plough and carry it to the other side of the field. Four of them
could clear a fair. But their fields were small and poor, and so they
scattered.

_Mrs. Crilly comes in_.

MRS. CRILLY
Christy Clarke, what is it?

CHRISTY
The Master is dead.

MRS. CRILLY
My God, my God!

CHRISTY
Will I go and tell them below?

MRS. CRILLY
No. Bring no one here yet. We killed him. When
everything is known that will be known.

CHRISTY
I'll never forget him, I think.

MRS. CRILLY
What humming is that?

CHRISTY
The bees at the window pane. And there's Myles Gorman's
pipes on the road.

_The drear call of the pipes is heard_.

END OF PLAY

"Thomas Muskerry" was first produced on May 5th, 1910, by the Abbey
Theater Company, at the Abbey Theater, Dublin, with the following
cast:--

THOMAS MUSKERRY Arthur Sinclair
MRS. CRILLY Cara Allgood
CROFTON CRILLY J.M. Kerrigan
ALBERT CRILLY Eric Gorman
ANNA CRILLY Maire O'Neill
MYLES GORMAN Fred O'Donovan
FELIX TOURNOUR Sydney Morgan
JAMES SCOLLARD J.A. O'Rourke
CHRISTY CLARKE U. Wright
MICKIE GRIPES Fred Rowland
TOM SHANLEY Ambrose Power
AN OLD PAUPER J.M. Kerrigan.

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