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SMITH (STILL QUITE DISCOUNTENANCED). About us? Scissors! And what did you tell him?

BRODIE (SAME ATTITUDE). I spoke of you as I have found you. [I told him you were a disreputable hound, and that Moore had crossed a fight.] I told him you were a drunken ass, and Moore an incompetent and dishonest boxer.

MOORE. Look here, Deacon! Wot’s up? Wot I ses is, if a cove’s got any thundering grudge agin a cove, why can’t he spit it out, I ses.

BRODIE. Here are my answers (PRODUCING PURSE AND DICE). These are both too light. This purse is empty, these dice are not loaded. Is it indiscretion to inquire how you share? Equal with the Captain, I presume?

SMITH. It’s as easy as my eye, Deakin. Slink Ainslie got letting the merry glass go round, and didn’t know the right bones from the wrong. That’s Hall.

BRODIE. [What clumsy liars you are!

SMITH. In boyhood’s hour, Deakin, he were called Old Truthful. Little did he think -]

BRODIE. What is your errand?

MOORE. Business.

SMITH. After the melancholy games of last night, Deakin, which no one deplores so much as George Smith, we thought we’d trot round – didn’t us, Hump? and see how you and your bankers was a-getting on.

BRODIE. Will you tell me your errand?

MOORE. You’re dry, ain’t you?


MOORE. We ain’t none of us got a stiver, that’s wot’s the matter with us.

BRODIE. Is it?

MOORE. Ay, strike me, it is! And wot we’ve got to is to put up the Excise.

SMITH. It’s the last plant in the shrubbery Deakin, and it’s breaking George the gardener’s heart, it is. We really must!

BRODIE. Must we?

MOORE. Must’s the thundering word. I mean business, I do.

BRODIE. That’s lucky. I don’t.

MOORE. O, you don’t, don’t you?

BRODIE. I do not.

MOORE. Then p’raps you’ll tell us wot you thundering well do?

BRODIE. What do I mean? I mean that you and that merry-andrew shall walk out of this room and this house. Do you suppose, you blockheads, that I am blind? I’m the Deacon, am I not? I’ve been your king and your commander. I’ve led you, and fed you, and thought for you with this head. And you think to steal a march upon a man like me? I see you through and through [I know you like the clock]; I read your thoughts like print. Brodie, you thought, has money, and won’t do the job. Therefore, you thought, we must rook him to the heart. And therefore, you put up your idiot cockney. And now you come round, and dictate, and think sure of your Excise? Sure? Are you sure I’ll let you pack with a whole skin? By my soul, but I’ve a mind to pistol you like dogs. Out of this! Out, I say, and soil my home no more.

MOORE (SITTING). Now look ‘ere. Mr. bloody Deacon Brodie, you see this ‘ere chair of yours, don’t you? Wot I ses to you is, here I am, I ses, and here I mean to stick. That’s my motto. Who the devil are you to do the high and mighty? You make all you can out of us, don’t you? and when one of your plants get cross, you order us out of the ken? Muck! That’s wot I think of you. Muck! Don’t you get coming the nob over me, Mr. Deacon Brodie, or I’ll smash you.

BRODIE. You will?

MOORE. Ay will I. If I thundering well swing for it. And as for clearing out? Muck! Here I am, and here I stick. Clear out? You try it on. I’m a man, I am.

BRODIE. This is plain speaking.

MOORE. Plain? Wot about your father as can’t walk? Wot about your fine-madam sister? Wot about the stone-jug, and the dock, and the rope in the open street? Is that plain? If it ain’t, you let me know, and I’ll spit it out so as it’ll raise the roof off this ‘ere ken. Plain! I’m that cove’s master, and I’ll make it plain enough for him.

BRODIE. What do you want of me?

MOORE. Wot do I want of you? Now you speak sense. Leslie’s is wot I want of you. The Excise is wot I want of you. Leslie’s to-night and the Excise to-morrow. That’s wot I want of you, and wot I thundering well mean to get.

BRODIE. Damn you!

MOORE. Amen. But you’ve got your orders.

BRODIE (WITH PISTOL). Orders? hey? orders?

SMITH (BETWEEN THEM). Deacon, Deacon! – Badger, are you mad?

MOORE. Muck! That’s my motto. Wot I ses is, has he got his orders or has he not? That’s wot’s the matter with him.

SMITH. Deacon, half a tick. Humphrey, I’m only a light weight, and you fight at twelve stone ten, but I’m damned if I’m going to stand still and see you hitting a pal when he’s down.

MOORE. Muck! That’s wot I think of you.

SMITH. He’s a cut above us, ain’t he? He never sold his backers, did he? We couldn’t have done without him, could we? You dry up about his old man, and his sister; and don’t go on hitting a pal when he’s knocked out of time and cannot hit back, for, damme, I will not stand it.

MOORE. Amen to you. But I’m cock of this here thundering walk, and that cove’s got his orders.

BRODIE (PUTTING PISTOL ON BENCH). I give in. I will do your work for you once more. Leslie’s to-night and the Excise to-morrow. If that is enough, if you have no more . . . orders, you may count it as done.

MOORE. Fen larks. No rotten shirking, mind.

BRODIE. I have passed you my word. And now you have said what you came to say, you must go. I have business here; but two hours hence I am at your … orders. Where shall I await you?

MOORE. What about that woman’s place of yours?

BRODIE. Your will is my law.

MOORE. That’s good enough. Now, Dock.

SMITH. Bye-bye, my William. Don’t forget.


BRODIE. Trust me. No man forgets his vice, you dogs, or forgives it either. It must be done: Leslie’s to-night and the Excise to-morrow. It shall be done. This settles it. They used to fetch and carry for me, and now . . . I’ve licked their boots, have I? I’m their man, their tool, their chattel. It’s the bottom rung of the ladder of shame. I sound with my foot, and there’s nothing underneath but the black emptiness of damnation. Ah, Deacon, Deacon, and so this is where you’ve been travelling all these years; and it’s for this that you learned French! The gallows . . . God help me, it begins to dog me like my shadow. THERE’S a step to take! And the jerk upon your spine! How’s a man to die with a night-cap on? I’ve done with this. Over yonder, across the great ocean, is a new land, with new characters, and perhaps new lives. The sun shines, and the bells ring, and it’s a place where men live gladly; and the Deacon himself can walk without terror, and begin again like a new-born child. It must be good to see day again and not to fear; it must be good to be one’s self with all men. Happy like a child, wise like a man, free like God’s angels . . . should I work these hands off and eat crusts, there were a life to make me young and good again. And it’s only over the sea! O man, you have been blind, and now your eyes are opened. It was half a life’s nightmare, and now you are awake. Up, Deacon, up, it’s hope that’s at the window! Mary! Mary! Mary!



(BRODIE has fallen into a chair, with his face upon the table. Enter MARY, by the side door pushing her father’s chair. She is supposed to have advanced far enough for stage purposes before BRODIE is aware of her. He starts up, and runs to her.)

BRODIE. Look up, my lass, look up, and be a woman! I . . . O kiss me, Mary I give me a kiss for my good news.

MARY. Good news, Will? Is it changed?

BRODIE. Changed? Why, the world’s a different colour! It was night, and now it’s broad day and I trust myself again. You must wait, dear, wait, and I must work and work; and before the week is out, as sure as God sees me, I’ll have made you happy. O you may think me broken, hounds, but the Deacon’s not the man to be run down; trust him, he shall turn a corner yet, and leave you snarling! And you, Poll, you. I’ve done nothing for you yet; but, please God, I’ll make your life a life of gold; and wherever I am, I’ll have a part in your happiness, and you’ll know it, by heaven! and bless me.

MARY. O Willie, look at him; I think he hears you, and is trying to be glad with us.

BRODIE. My son – Deacon – better man than I was.

BRODIE. O for God’s sake, hear him!

MARY. He is quite happy, Will, and so am I … so am I.

BRODIE. Hear me, Mary. This is a big moment in our two lives. I swear to you by the father here between us that it shall not be fault of mine if this thing fails; if this ship founders you have set your hopes in. I swear it by our father; I swear it by God’s judgments.

MARY. I want no oaths, Will.

BRODIE. No, but I do. And prayers, Mary, prayers. Pray night and day upon your knees. I must move mountains.

OLD BRODIE. A wise son maketh – maketh –

BRODIE. A glad father? And does your son, the Deacon, make you glad? O heaven of heavens, if I were a good man.




The Stage represents a public place in Edinburgh.



(They loiter in L., and stand looking about as for somebody not there. SMITH is hat in hand to JEAN; MOORE as usual.)

MOORE. Wot did I tell you? Is he ‘ere, or ain’t he? Now, then. Slink by name and Slink by nature, that’s wot’s the matter with him.

JEAN. He’ll no be lang; he’s regular enough, if that was a’.

MOORE. I’d regular him; I’d break his back.

SMITH. Badger, you brute, you hang on to the lessons of your dancing-master. None but the genteel deserves the fair; does they, Duchess?

MOORE. O rot! Did I insult the blowen? Wot’s the matter with me is Slink Ainslie.

SMITH. All right, old Crossed-in-love. Give him forty winks, and he’ll turn up as fresh as clean sawdust and as respectable as a new Bible.

MOORE. That’s right enough; but I ain’t agoing to stand here all day for him. I’m for a drop of something short, I am. You tell him I showed you that (SHOWING HIS DOUBLED FIST). That’s wot’s the matter with him. (HE LURCHES OUT, R.)


SMITH and JEAN, to whom HUNT, and afterwards MOORE

SMITH (CRITICALLY). No, Duchess, he has not good manners.

JEAN. Ay, he’s an impident man.

SMITH. So he is, Jean; and for the matter of that he ain’t the only one.

JEAN. Geordie, I want nae mair o’ your nonsense, mind.

SMITH. There’s our old particular the Deacon, now. Why is he ashamed of a lovely woman? That’s not my idea of the Young Chevalier, Jean. If I had luck, we should be married, and retire to our estates in the country, shouldn’t us? and go to church and be happy, like the nobility and gentry.

JEAN. Geordie Smith, div ye mean ye’d mairry me?

SMITH. Mean it? What else has ever been the ‘umble petition of your honest but well-meaning friend, Roman, and fellow-countryman? I know the Deacon’s your man, and I know he’s a cut above G. S.; but he won’t last, Jean, and I shall.

JEAN. Ay, I’m muckle ta’en up wi’ him; wha could help it?

SMITH. Well, and my sort don’t grow on apple-trees either.

JEAN. Ye’re a fine, cracky, neebourly body, Geordie, if ye wad just let me be.

SMITH. I know I ain’t a Scotchman born.

JEAN. I dinna think sae muckle the waur o’ ye even for that; if ye would just let me be.

[HUNT (ENTERING BEHIND, ASIDE). Are they thick? Anyhow, it’s a second chance.]

SMITH. But he won’t last, Jean, and when he leaves you, you come to me. Is that your taste in pastry? That’s the kind of harticle that I present.

HUNT (SURPRISING THEM AS IN TABLEAU I.). Why, you’re the very parties I was looking for!

JEAN. Mercy me!

SMITH. Damn it, Jerry, this is unkind.

HUNT. [Now this is what I call a picter of good fortune.] Ain’t it strange I should have dropped across you comfortable and promiscuous like this?

JEAN (STOLIDLY). I hope ye’re middling weel, Mr. Hunt? (GOING.) Mr. Smith!

SMITH. Mrs. Watt, ma’am! (GOING.)

HUNT. Hold hard, George. Speaking as one lady’s man to another, turn about’s fair play. You’ve had your confab, and now I’m going to have mine. [Not that I’ve done with you; you stand by and wait.] Ladies first, George, ladies first; that’s the size of it. (TO JEAN, ASIDE.) Now, Mrs. Watt, I take it you ain’t a natural fool?

JEAN. And thank ye kindly, Mr. Hunt.


HUNT (KEEPING HIM OFF). Half a tick, George. (TO JEAN.) Mrs. Watt, I’ve a warrant in my pocket. One, two, three: will you peach?

JEAN. Whaten kind of a word’ll that be?

SMITH. Mum it is, Jean!

HUNT. WHEN you’ve done dancing, George! (TO JEAN.) It ain’t a pretty expression, my dear, I own it. ‘Will you blow the gaff?’ is perhaps more tenderer.

JEAN. I think ye’ve a real strange way o’ expressin yoursel’.

HUNT (TO JEAN). I can’t waste time on you, my girl. It’s now or never. Will you turn king’s evidence?

JEAN. I think ye’ll have made a mistake, like.

HUNT. Well, I’m … ! (SEPARATING THEM.) [No, not yet; don’t push me.] George’s turn now. (TO GEORGE.) George, I’ve a warrant in my pocket.

SMITH. As per usual, Jerry?

HUNT. Now I want king’s evidence.

SMITH. Ah! so you came a cropper with HER, Jerry. Pride had a fall.

HUNT. A free pardon and fifty shiners down.

SMITH. A free pardon, Jerry?

HUNT. Don’t I tell you so?

SMITH. And fifty down? fifty?

HUNT. On the nail.

SMITH. So you came a cropper with her, and then you tried it on with me?

HUNT. I suppose you mean you’re a born idiot?

SMITH. What I mean is, Jerry, that you’ve broke my heart. I used to look up to you like a party might to Julius Caesar. One more of boyhood’s dreams gone pop. (ENTER MOORE, L.)

HUNT (TO BOTH). Come, then, I’ll take the pair, and be damned to you. Free pardon to both, fifty down and the Deacon out of the way. I don’t care for you commoners, it’s the Deacon I want.

JEAN (LOOKING OFF STOLIDLY). I think the kirks are scalin’. There seems to be mair people in the streets.

HUNT. O that’s the way, is it? Do you know that I can hang you, my woman, and your fancy man a well?

JEAN. I daur say ye would like fine, Mr. Hunt; and here’s my service to you. (GOING.)

HUNT. George, don’t you be a tomfool, anyway. Think of the blowen here, and have brains for two.

SMITH (GOING). Ah, Jerry, if you knew anything, how different you would talk! (THEY GO TOGETHER, R.)



HUNT. Half a tick, Badger. You’re a man of parts, you are; you’re solid, you’re a true-born Englishman; you ain’t a Jerry-go-Nimble like him. Do you know what your pal the Deacon’s worth to you? Fifty golden Georges and a free pardon. No questions asked, and no receipts demanded. What do you say? Is it a deal?




HUNT (LOOKING AFTER THEM RUEFULLY). And these were the very parties I was looking for! [Ah, Jerry, Jerry, if they knew this at the office!] Well, the market price of that ‘ere two hundred is a trifle on the decline and fall. (LOOKING L.) Hullo! (SLAPPING HIS THIGH). Send me victorious! It’s king’s evidence on two legs. (ADVANCING WITH GREAT CORDIALITY TO MEET AINSLIE, WHO ENTERS L.) And so your name’s Andrew Ainslie, is it? As I was saying, you’re the very party I was looking for. Ain’t it strange, now, that I should have dropped across you comfortable and promiscuous like this?

AINSLIE. I dinna ken wha ye are, an’ I’m ill for my bed.

HUNT. Let your bed wait, Andrew. I want a little chat with you; just a quiet little sociable wheeze. Just about our friends, you know. About Badger Moore, and George the Dook, and Jemmy Rivers, and Deacon Brodie, Andrew. Particularly Deacon Brodie.

AINSLIE. They’re nae friens o’ mine’s, mister. I ken naething an’ naebody. An’ noo I’ll get to my bed, wulln’t I?

HUNT. We’re going to have our little talk out first. After that perhaps I’ll let you go, and perhaps I won’t. It all depends on how we get along together. Now, in a general way, Andrew, and speaking of a man as you find him, I’m all for peace and quietness myself. That’s my usual game, Andrew, but when I do make a dust I’m considered by my friends to be rather a good hand at it. So don’t you tread upon the worm.

AINSLIE. But I’m sayin’ –

HUNT. You leave that to me, Andrew. You shall do your pitch presently. I’m first on the ground, and I lead off. With a question, Andrew. Did you ever hear in your life of such a natural curiosity as a Bow Street Runner?

AINSLIE. Aiblins ay an’ aiblins no.

HUNT. ‘Aiblins ay and aiblins no.’ Very good indeed, Andrew. Now, I’ll ask you another. Did you ever see a Bow Street Runner, Andrew? With the naked eye, so to speak?

AINSLIE. What’s your wull?

HUNT. Artful bird! Now since we’re getting on so cosy AND so free, I’ll ask you another, Andrew. Should you like to see a Bow Street Runner? (PRODUCING STAFF.) ‘Cos, if so, you’ve only got to cast your eyes on me. Do you queer the red weskit, Andrew? Pretty colour, ain’t it? So nice and warm for the winter too. (AINSLIE DIVES, HUNT COLLARS HIM.) No, you don’t. Not this time. Run away like that before we’ve finished our little conversation? You’re a nice young man, you are. Suppose we introduce our wrists into these here darbies? Now we shall get along cosier and freer than ever. Want to lie down, do you? All right! anything to oblige.

AINSLIE (GROVELLING). It wasna me, it wasna me. It’s bad companions; I’ve been lost wi’ bad companions an’ the drink. An’ O mister, ye’ll be a kind gentleman to a puir lad, an’ me sae weak, an’ fair rotten wi’ the drink an’ that. Ye’ve a bonnie kind heart, my dear, dear gentleman; ye wadna hang sitchan a thing as me. I’m no fit to hang. They ca’ me the Cannleworm! An’ I’ll dae somethin’ for ye, wulln’t I? An’ ye’ll can hang the ithers?

HUNT. I thought I hadn’t mistook my man. Now, you look here, Andrew Ainslie, you’re a bad lot. I’ve evidence to hang you fifty times over. But the Deacon is my mark. Will you peach, or wont you? You blow the gaff, and I’ll pull you through. You don’t, and I’ll scragg you as sure as my name’s Jerry Hunt.

AINSLIE. I’ll dae onything. It’s the hanging fleys me. I’ll dae onything, onything no to hang.

HUNT. Don’t lie crawling there, but get up and answer me like a man. Ain’t this Deacon Brodie the fine workman that’s been doing all these tip-topping burglaries?

AINSLIE. It’s him, mister; it’s him. That’s the man. Ye’re in the very bit. Deacon Brodie. I’ll can tak’ ye to his vera door.

HUNT. How do you know?

AINSLIE. I gi’ed him a han’ wi’ them a’. It was him an’ Badger Moore, and Geordie Smith; an’ they gart me gang wi’ them whether or no; I’m that weak, an’ whiles I’m donner’d wi’ the drink. But I ken a’, an’ I’ll tell a’. And O kind gentleman, you’ll speak to their lordships for me, an’ I’ll no be hangit. . . I’ll no be hangit, wull I?

HUNT. But you shared, didn’t you? I wonder what share they thought you worth. How much did you get for last night’s performance down at Mother Clarke’s?

AINSLIE. Just five pund, mister. Five pund. As sure’s deith it wadna be a penny mair. No but I askit mair: I did that; I’ll do deny it, mister. But Badger kickit me, an’ Geordie, he said a bad sweir, an’ made he’d cut the liver out o’ me, an’ catch fish wi’t. It’s been that way frae the first: an aith an’ a bawbee was aye guid eneuch for puir Andra.

HUNT. Well, and why did they do it? I saw Jemmy dance a hornpipe on the table, and booze the company all round, when the Deacon was gone. What made you cross the fight, and play booty with your own man?

AINSLIE. Just to make him rob the Excise, mister. They’re wicked, wicked men.

HUNT. And is he right for it?

AINSLIE. Ay is he.

HUNT. By jingo! When’s it for?

AINSLIE. Dear, kind gentleman, I dinna rightly ken: the Deacon’s that sair angered wi’ me. I’m to get my orders frae Geordie the nicht.

HUNT. O, you’re to get your orders from Geordie, are you? Now look here, Ainslie. You know me. I’m Hunt the Runner; I put Jemmy Rivers in the jug this morning; I’ve got you this evening. I mean to wind up with the Deacon. You understand? All right. Then just you listen. I’m going to take these here bracelets off, and send you home to that celebrated bed of yours. Only, as soon as you’ve seen the Dook you come straight round to me at Mr. Procurator-Fiscal’s, and let me know the Dook’s views. One word, mind, and … cl’k! It’s a bargain?

AINSLIE. Never you fear that. I’ll tak’ my bannet an’ come straucht to ye. Eh God, I’m glad it’s nae mair nor that to start wi’. An’ may the Lord bless ye, dear, kind gentleman, for your kindness. May the Lord bless ye.

HUNT. You pad the hoof.

AINSLIE (GOING OUT). An’ so I wull, wulln’t I not? An’ bless, bless ye while there’s breath in my body, wulln’t I not?

HUNT (SOLUS). You’re a nice young man, Andrew Ainslie. Jemmy Rivers and the Deacon in two days! By jingo! (HE DANCES AN INSTANT GRAVELY, WHISTLING TO HIMSELF.) Jerry, that ‘ere little two hundred of ours is as safe as the bank.


The Stage represents a room in Leslie’s house. A practicable window, C., through which a band of strong moonlight falls into the room. Near the window a strong-box. A practicable door in wing, L. Candlelight.


LESLIE, LAWSON, MARY, seated. BRODIE at back, walking between the windows and strong-box.

LAWSON. Weel, weel, weel, weel, nae doubt.

LESLIE. Mr. Lawson, I am perfectly satisfied with Brodie’s word; I will wait gladly.

LAWSON. I have nothing to say against that.


LAWSON. For it? for it, William? Ye’re perfectly richt there. (TO LESLIE.) Just you do what William tells you; ye canna do better than that.

MARY. Dear uncle, I see you are vexed; but Will and I are perfectly agreed on the best course. Walter and I are young. Oh, we can wait; we can trust each other.

BRODIE (FROM BEHIND). Leslie, do you think it safe to keep this strong-box in your room?

LESLIE. It does not trouble me.

BRODIE. I would not. ‘Tis close to the window.

LESLIE. It’s on the right side of it.

BRODIE. I give you my advice: I would not.

LAWSON. He may be right there too, Mr. Leslie.

BRODIE. I give him fair warning: it’s not safe.

LESLIE. I have a different treasure to concern myself about; if all goes right with that I shall be well contented.

MARY. Walter!

LAWSON. Ay, bairns, ye speak for your age.

LESLIE. Surely, sir, for every age; the ties of blood, of love, of friendship, these are life’s essence.

MARY. And for no one is it truer than my uncle. If he live to be a thousand, he will still be young in heart, full of love, full of trust.

LAWSON. All, lassie, it’s a wicked world.

MARY. Yes, you are out of sorts to-day; we know that.

LESLIE. Admitted that you know more of life, sir; admitted (if you please) that the world is wicked; yet you do not lose trust in those you love.

LAWSON. Weel . . . ye get gliffs, ye ken.

LESLIE. I suppose so. We can all be shaken for a time; but not, I think, in our friends. We are not deceived in them; in the few that we admit into our hearts.

MARY. Never in these.

LESLIE. We know these (TO BRODIE), and we think the world of them.

BRODIE (AT BACK). We are more acquainted with each other’s tailors, believe me. You, Leslie, are a very pleasant creature. My uncle Lawson is the Procurator-Fiscal. I – What am I? – I am the Deacon of the Wrights, my ruffles are generally clean. And you think the world of me? Bravo!

LESLIE. Ay, and I think the world of you.


LAWSON. Hoot-toot. A wheen nonsense: an honest man’s an honest man, and a randy thief’s a randy thief, and neither mair nor less. Mary, my lamb, it’s time you were hame, and had you beauty sleep.

MARY. Do you not come with us?


BRODIE. As you see.

LAWSON. Ye’ll can pay it back?

BRODIE. I will.

LAWSON. And how? That’s what I’m wonderin’ to mysel’.

BRODIE. Ay, God knows that.

MARY. Come, Will.


LESLIE, LAWSON (wrapping up)

LESLIE. I wonder what ails Brodie?

LAWSON. How should I ken? What should I ken that ails him?

LESLIE. He seemed angry even with you.


LESLIE. Of course, I know. But you see, on the very day when our engagement is announced, even the best of men may be susceptible. You yourself seem not quite pleased.

LAWSON (WITH GREAT IRRITATION). I’m perfectly pleased. I’m perfectly delighted. If I werena an auld man, I’d be just beside mysel’ wi’ happiness.

LESLIE. Well, I only fancied.

LAWSON. Ye had nae possible excuse to fancy. Fancy? Perfect trash and nonsense. Look at yersel’. Ye look like a ghaist, ye’re white-like, ye’re black aboot the een; and do ye find me deavin’ ye wi’ fancies? Or William Brodie either? I’ll say that for him.

LESLIE. ‘Tis not sorrow that alters my complexion; I’ve something else on hand. Come, I’ll tell you, under seal. I’ve not been in bed till daylight for a week.

LAWSON. Weel, there’s nae sense in the like o’ that.

LESLIE. Gad, but there is though. Why, Procurator, this is town’s business; this is a municipal affair; I’m a public character. Why? Ah, here’s a nut for the Crown Prosecutor! I’m a bit of a party to a robbery.

LAWSON. Guid guide us, man, what d’ye mean?

LESLIE. You shall hear. A week ago to-night, I was passing through this very room without a candle on my way to bed, when . . . what should I see, but a masked man fumbling at that window! How he did the Lord knows. I suspect, Procurator, it was not the first he’d tried . . . for he opened it as handily as his own front door.

LAWSON. Preserve me! Another of thae robberies!

LESLIE. That’s it. And, of course, I tried to seize him. But the rascal was too quick. He was down and away in an instant. You never saw a thing so daring and adroit.

LAWSON. Is that a’? Ye’re a bauld lad, I’ll say that for ye. I’m glad it wasna waur.

LESLIE. Yes, that’s all plain sailing. But here’s the hitch. Why didn’t I tell the Procurator-Fiscal? You never thought of that.

LAWSON. No, man. Why?

LESLIE. Aha! There’s the riddle. Will you guess? No? . . . I thought I knew the man.

LAWSON. What d’ye say?

LESLIE. I thought I knew him.

LAWSON. Wha was’t?

LESLIE. Ah, there you go beyond me. That I cannot tell.

LAWSON. As God sees ye, laddie, are ye speaking truth?

LESLIE. Well . . . of course!

LAWSON. The haill truth?

LESLIE. All of it. Why not?

LAWSON. Man, I’d a kind o’ gliff.

LESLIE. Why, what were you afraid of? Had you a suspicion?

LAWSON. Me? Me a suspicion? Ye’re daft, sir; and me the Crown offeecial! . . . Eh man, I’m a’ shakin’ … And sae ye thocht ye kennt him?

LESLIE. I did that. And what’s more, I’ve sat every night in case of his return. I promise you, Procurator, he shall not slip me twice. Meanwhile I’m worried and put out. You understand how such a fancy will upset a man. I’m uneasy with my friends and on bad terms with my own conscience. I keep watching, spying, comparing, putting two and two together, hunting for resemblances until my head goes round. It’s like a puzzle in a dream. Only yesterday I thought I had him. And who d’you think it was?

LAWSON. Wha? Wha was’t? Speak, Mr. Leslie, speak. I’m an auld man; dinna forget that.

LESLIE. I name no names. It would be unjust to him; and, upon my word, it was so silly it would be unfair to me. However, here I sit, night after night. I mean him to come back; come back he shall; and I’ll tell you who he was next morning.

LAWSON. Let sleeping dogs lie, Mr. Leslie; ye dinna ken what ye micht see. And then, leave him alane, he’ll come nae mair. And sitting up a’ nicht . . . it’s a FACTUM IMPRESTABILE, as we say: a thing impossible to man. Gang ye to your bed, like a guid laddie, and sleep lang and soundly, and bonnie, bonnie dreams to ye! (WITHOUT.) Let sleeping dogs lie, and gang ye to your bed.



LESLIE (CALLING). In good time, never fear! (HE CAREFULLY BOLTS

AND CHAINS THE DOOR.) The old gentleman seems upset. What for, I wonder? Has he had a masked visitor? Why not? It’s the fashion. Out with the lights. (BLOWS OUT THE CANDLES. THE STAGE IS ONLY LIGHTED BY THE MOON THROUGH THE WINDOW.) He is sure to come one night or other. He must come. Right or wrong, I feel it in the air. Man, but I know you, I know you somewhere. That trick of the shoulders, the hang of the clothes – whose are they? Where have I seen them? And then, that single look of the eye, that one glance about the room as the window opened . . . it is almost friendly; I have caught it over the glass’s rim! If it should be . . . his? No, his it is not.

WATCHMAN (WITHOUT). Past ten o’clock, and a fine moonlight night.

ANOTHER (FURTHER AWAY). Past ten o’clock, and all’s well.

LESLIE. Past ten? Ah, there’s a long night before you and me, watchmen. Heavens, what a trade! But it will be something to laugh over with Mary and . . . with him? Damn it, the delusion is too strong for me. It’s a thing to be ashamed of. ‘We Brodies’: how she says it! ‘We Brodies and our Deacon’: what a pride she takes in it, and how good it sounds to me! ‘Deacon of his craft, sir, Deacon of the . . .! (BRODIE, MASKED, APPEARS WITHOUT AT THE WINDOW, WHICH HE PROCEEDS TO FORCE.) Ha! I knew he’d come. I was sure of it. (HE CROUCHES NEAR AND NEARER TO THE WINDOW, KEEPING IN THE SHADE.) And I know you too. I swear I know you.



BRODIE enters by the window with assurance and ease, closes it silently, and proceeds to traverse the room. As he moves, LESLIE leaps upon and grapples him.

LESLIE. Take off that mask!

BRODIE. Hands off!

LESLIE. Take off the mask!

BRODIE. Leave go, by God, leave go!

LESLIE. Take it off!




LESLIE. You . . . you, Brodie, you?

BRODIE. Brodie, sir, Brodie as you see.

LESLIE. What does it mean? What does it mean, my God? Were you here before? Is this the second time? Are you a thief, man? are you a thief? Speak, speak, or I’ll kill you.

BRODIE. I am a thief.

LESLIE. And my friend, my own friend, and . . . Mary, Mary! . . . Deacon, Deacon, for God’s sake, no!

BRODIE. God help me!

LESLIE. ‘We Brodies! We Brodies!’

BRODIE. Leslie –

LESLIE. Stand off! Don’t touch me! You’re a thief!

BRODIE. Leslie, Leslie

LESLIE. A thief’s sister! Why are you here? why are you here? Tell me! Why do you not speak? Man, I know you of old. Are you Brodie, and have nothing to say?

BRODIE. To say? Not much – God help me – and commonplace, commonplace like sin. I was honest once; I made a false step; I couldn’t retrace it; and . . . that is all.

LESLIE. You have forgot the bad companions!

BRODIE. I did forget them. They were there.

LESLIE. Commonplace! Commonplace! Do you speak to me, do you reason with me, do you make excuses? You – a man found out, shamed, a liar, a thief – a man that’s killed me, killed this heart in my body; and you speak! What am I to do? I hold your life in my hand; have you thought of that? What am I to do?

BRODIE. Do what you please; you have me trapped.


LESLIE. What is that?

BRODIE. A signal.

LESLIE. What does it mean?

BRODIE. Danger to me; there is someone coming.

LESLIE. Danger to you?

BRODIE. Some one is coming. What are you going to do with me? (A KNOCK AT THE DOOR.)


BRODIE. What are you going to do with me?




LAWSON. This is an unco’ time to come to your door; but eh, laddie, I couldna bear to think o’ ye sittin’ your lane in the dark.

LESLIE. It was very good of you.

LAWSON. I’m no very fond of playing hidee in the dark mysel’; and noo that I’m here –

LESLIE. I will give you a light. (HE LIGHTS THE CANDLES. LIGHTS UP.)

LAWSON. God A’michty! William Brodie!

LESLIE. Yes, Brodie was good enough to watch with me.

LAWSON. But he gaed awa’ . . . I dinna see . . . an’ Lord be guid to us, the window’s open!

LESLIE. A trap we laid for them: a device of Brodie’s.

BRODIE (TO LAWSON). Set a thief to catch a thief. (PASSING TO LESLIE, ASIDE.) Walter Leslie, God will reward. (JEAN SIGNALS AGAIN.)

LAWSON. I dinna like that singin’ at siccan a time o’ the nicht.

BRODIE. I must go.

LAWSON. Not one foot o’ ye. I’m ower glad to find ye in guid hands. Ay, ye dinna ken how glad.

BRODIE (ASIDE TO LESLIE). Get me out of this. There’s a man there will stick at nothing.

LESLIE. Mr. Lawson, Brodie has done his shift. Why should we keep him? (JEAN APPEARS AT THE DOOR, AND SIGNS TO BRODIE.)

LAWSON. Hoots! this is my trade. That’s a bit o’ ‘Wanderin’ Willie.’ I’ve had it before me in precognitions; that same stave has been used for a signal by some o’ the very warst o’ them.

BRODIE (ASIDE TO LESLIE). Get me out of this. I’ll never forget to-night. (JEAN AT DOOR AGAIN.)

LESLIE. Well, good-night, Brodie. When shall we meet again?

LAWSON. Not one foot o’ him. (JEAN AT DOOR.) I tell you, Mr. Leslie –


To these, JEAN

JEAN (FROM SHE DOOR). Wullie, Wullie!

LAWSON. Guid guide us, Mrs. Watt! A dacent wumman like yoursel’! Whatten a time o’ nicht is this to come to folks’ doors?

JEAN (TO BRODIE). Hawks, Wullie, hawks!

BRODIE. I suppose you know what you’ve done, Jean?

JEAN. I HAD to come, Wullie, he wadna wait another minit. He wad have come himsel’.

BRODIE. This is my mistress.

LAWSON. William, dinna tell me nae mair.

BRODIE. I have told you so much. You may as well know all. That good man knows it already. Have you issued a warrant for me . . . . yet?

LAWSON. No, no, man: not another word.

BRODIE, (POINTING TO THE WINDOW). That is my work. I am the man. Have you drawn the warrant?

LAWSON (BREAKING DOWN). Your father’s son!

LESLIE (TO LAWSON). My good friend! Brodie, you might have spared the old man this.

BRODIE. I might have spared him years ago; and you and my sister, and myself. I might . . . would God I had! (WEEPING HIMSELF.) Don’t weep, my good old friend; I was lost long since; don’t think of me; don’t pity me; don’t shame me with your pity! I began this when I was a boy. I bound the millstone round my neck; [it is irrevocable now,] and you must all suffer . . . all suffer for me! . . . [for this suffering remnant of what was once a man]. O God, that I can have fallen to stand here as I do now. My friend lying to save me from the gallows; my second father weeping tears of blood for my disgrace! And all for what? By what? Because I had an open hand, because I was a selfish dog, because I loved this woman.

JEAN. O Wullie, and she lo’ed ye weel! But come near me nae mair, come near me nae mair, my man; keep wi’ your ain folks . . . your ain dacent folks.

LAWSON. Mistress Watt, ye shall sit rent free as lang’s there’s breath in William Lawson’s body.

LESLIE. You can do one thing still . . . for Mary’s sake. You can save yourself; you must fly.

BRODIE. It is my purpose; the day after to-morrow. It cannot be before. Then I will fly; and O, as God sees me, I will strive to make a new and a better life, and to be worthy of your friendship, and of your tears . . . your tears. And to be worthy of you too, Jean; for I see now that the bandage has fallen from my eyes; I see myself, O how unworthy even of you.

LESLIE. Why not to-night?

BRODIE. It cannot be before. There are many considerations. I must find money.

JEAN. Leave me, and the wean. Dinna fash yoursel’ for us.


BRODIE. Not that . . . not the money that I came to steal!

LAWSON. Tak’ it, William; I’ll pay him.

BRODIE. It is in vain. I cannot leave till I have said. There is a man; I must obey him. If I slip my chain till he has done with me, the hue and cry will blaze about the country; every outport will be shut; I shall return to the gallows. He is a man that will stick at nothing.


To these, MOORE

MOORE. Are you coming?

BRODIE. I am coming.

MOORE (APPEARING IN THE DOOR). Do you want us all to get thundering well scragged?

BRODIE (GOING). There is my master.




The Stage represents the outside of the Excise Office in Chessel’s Court. At the back, L.C., an archway opening on the High Street. The door of the Excise in wing, R.; the opposite side of the stage is lumbered with barrels, packing-cases, etc. Moonlight; the Excise Office casts a shadow over half the stage. A clock strikes the hour. A round of the City Guard, with halberts, lanterns, etc. enters and goes out again by the arch, after having examined the fastenings of the great door and the lumber on the left. Cry without in the High Street: ‘Ten by the bell, and a fine clear night.’ Then enter cautiously by the arch, SMITH and MOORE, with AINSLIE loaded with tools.



SMITH (ENTERING FIRST). Come on. Coast clear.

MOORE (AFTER THEY HAVE COME TO THE FRONT.) Ain’t he turned up yet?

SMITH (TO AINSLIE). Now Maggot! The fishing’s a going to begin.

AINSLIE. Dinna cangle, Geordie. My back’s fair broke.

MOORE. O muck! Hand out them pieces.

SMITH. All right, Humptious! (TO AINSLIE.) You’re a nice old sort for a rag-and-bone man: can’t hold a bag open! (TAKING OUT

TOOLS.) Here they was. Here are the bunchums, one AND two; and jolly old keys was they. Here’s the picklocks, crow-bars, and here’s Lord George’s pet bull’s eye, his old and valued friend, the Cracksman’s treasure!

MOORE. Just like you. Forgot the rotten centrebit.

SMITH. That’s all you know. Here she is, bless her! Portrait of George as a gay hironmonger.

MOORE. O rot! Hand it over, and keep yourself out of that there thundering moonlight.

SMITH (LIGHTING LANTERN). All right, old mumble-peg. Don’t you get carried away by the fire of old Rome. That’s your motto. Here are the tools; a perfect picter of the sublime and beautiful; and all I hope is, that our friend and pitcher, the Deakin, will make a better job of it than he did last night. If he don’t, I shall retire from the business – that’s all; and it’ll be George and his little wife and a black footman till death do us part.

MOORE. O muck! You’re all jaw like a sheep’s jimmy. That’s my opinion of you. When did you see him last?

SMITH. This morning; and he looked as if he was rehearsing for his own epitaph. I never see such a change in a man. I gave him the office for to-night; and was he grateful? Did he weep upon my faithful bosom? No; he smiled upon me like a portrait of the dear departed. I see his ‘art was far away; and it broke my own to look at him.

MOORE. Muck! Wot I ses is, if a cove’s got that much of the nob about him, wot’s the good of his working single-handed? That’s wot’s the matter with him.

SMITH. Well, old Father Christmas, he ain’t single-handed to- night, is he?

MOORE. No, he ain’t; he’s got a man with him to-night.

SMITH. Pardon me, Romeo; two men, I think?

MOORE. A man wot means business. If I’d a bin with him last night, it ain’t psalm-singin’ would have got us off. Psalm- singin’? Muck! Let ’em try it on with me.


SMITH. All serene. (TO AINSLIE) Am I to cut that liver out of you? Now, am I? (A WHISTLE.) ‘St! here we are. (WHISTLES A MODULATION, WHICH IS ANSWERED.)


To these BRODIE

MOORE. Waiting for you, Deacon.

BRODIE. I see. Everything ready?

SMITH. All a-growing and a-blowing.


BULL’S EYE.) You, George, stand by, and hand up the pieces. Ainslie, take the glim. Moore, out and watch.

MOORE. I didn’t come here to do sentry-go, I didn’t.

BRODIE. You came here to do as I tell you. (MOORE GOES UP SLOWLY.) Second bunch, George. I know the lock. Steady with the glim. (AT WORK.) No good. Give me the centrebit.


BRODIE. Curse you! (THROTTLING AND KICKING HIM.) You shake, and you shake, and you can’t even hold a light for your betters. Hey?

AINSLIE. Eh Deacon, Deacon . . .


BRODIE. ‘St, Moore!

MOORE. Wot’s the row?

BRODIE. Take you the light.

MOORE (TO AINSLIE). Wo’ j’ yer shakin’ at? (KICKS HIM.)

BRODIE (TO AINSLIE). Go you, and see if you’re good at keeping watch. Inside the arch. And if you let a footfall pass, I’ll break your back. (AINSLIE RETIRES.) Steady with the light. (AT

WORK WITH CENTREBIT.) Hand up number four, George. (AT WORK WITH PICKLOCK.) That has it.

SMITH. Well done our side.

BRODIE. Now the crow bar! (AT WORK.) That’s it. Put down the glim, Badger, and help at the wrench. Your whole weight, men! Put your backs to it! (WHILE THEY WORK AT THE BAR, BRODIE STANDS BY, DUSTING HIS HANDS WITH A POCKET-HANDKERCHIEF. AS THE DOOR OPENS.) VOILA! In with you.

MOORE (ENTERING WITH LIGHT). Mucking fine work too, Deacon!

BRODIE. Take up the irons, George!

SMITH. How about the P(h)antom?

BRODIE. Leave him to me. I’ll give him a look. (ENTERS OFFICE.)



AINSLIE; afterwards BRODIE; afterwards HUNT and OFFICERS

AINSLIE. Ca’ ye that mainners? Ye’re grand gentry by your way o’t! Eh sirs, my hench! Ay, that was the Badger. Man, but ye’ll look bonnie hangin’! (A FAINT WHISTLE.) Lord’s sake, what’s thon? Ay, it’ll be Hunt an’ his lads. (WHISTLE REPEATED.) Losh me, what gars him whustle, whustle? Does he think me deaf? (GOES UP. BRODIE ENTERS FROM OFFICE, STANDS AN INSTANT, AND SEES HIM MAKING A SIGNAL THROUGH THE ARCH.)


HUNT. Birds caught?

AINSLIE. They’re a’ ben the house, mister.

HUNT. All three?

AINSLIE. The hale set, mister.



HUNT. In the King’s name! }

MOORE. Muck! } (WITHIN.)

SMITH. Go it, Badger. }

HUNT. Take ’em alive, boys! }




HUNT and OFFICERS; with SMITH and MOORE handcuffed. Signs of a severe struggle

HUNT (ENTERING). Bring ’em along, lads! (LOOKING AT PRISONERS WITH LANTERN.) Pleased to see you again, Badger. And you too, George. But I’d rather have seen your principal. Where’s he got to?

MOORE. To hell, I hope.

HUNT. Always the same pretty flow of language, I see, Hump. (LOOKING AT BURGLARY WITH LANTERN.) A very tidy piece of work, Dook; very tidy! Much too good for you. Smacks of a fine tradesman. It WAS the Deacon, I suppose?

SMITH. You ought to know G. S. better by this time, Jerry.

HUNT. All right, your Grace: we’ll talk it over with the Deacon himself. Where’s the jackal? Here, you, Ainslie! Where are you? By jingo, I thought as much. Stabbed to the heart and dead as a herring!

SMITH. Bravo!

HUNT. More of the Deacon’s work, I guess? Does him credit too, don’t it, Badger?

MOORE. Muck. Was that the thundering cove that peached?

HUNT. That was the thundering cove.

MOORE. And is he corpsed?

HUNT. I should just about reckon he was.

MOORE. Then, damme, I don’t mind swinging!

HUNT. We’ll talk about that presently. M’Intyre and Stewart, you get a stretcher, and take that rubbish to the office. Pick it up; it’s only a dead informer. Hand these two gentlemen over to Mr. Procurator-Fiscal, with Mr. Jerry Hunt’s compliments. Johnstone and Syme, you come along with me. I’ll bring the Deacon round myself.




The Stage represents the Deacon’s room, as in Tableau I. Fire light. Stage dark. A pause. Then knocking at the door, C. Cries without of ‘WILLIE!’ ‘MR. BRODIE!’ The door is burst open.



DOCTOR. The apartment is unoccupied.

MARY. Dead, and he not here!

DOCTOR. The bed has not been slept in. The counterpane is not turned down.

MARY. It is not true; it cannot be true.

DOCTOR. My dear young lady, you must have misunderstood your brother’s language.

MARY. O no; that I did not. That I am sure I did not.

DOCTOR (LOOKING AT DOOR). The strange thing is . . . the bolt.

SERVANT. It’s unco strange.

DOCTOR. Well, we have acted for the best.

SERVANT. Sir, I dinna think this should gang nae further.

DOCTOR. The secret is in our keeping. Affliction is enough without scandal.

MARY. Kind heaven, what does it mean?

DOCTOR. I think there is no more to be done.

MARY. I am here alone, Doctor; you pass my uncle’s door?

DOCTOR. The Procurator-Fiscal? I shall make it my devoir. Expect him soon. (GOES OUT WITH MAID.)

MARY (HASTILY SEARCHES THE ROOM). No, he is not there. She was right! O father, you can never know, praise God!


MARY, to whom JEAN and afterwards LESLIE

JEAN (AT DOOR). Mistress . . . .!

MARY. Ah! Who is there? Who are you?

JEAN. Is he no hame yet? I’m aye waitin’ on him.

MARY. Waiting for him? Do you know the Deacon? You?

JEAN. I maun see him. Eh, lassie, it’s life and death.

MARY. Death . . . O my heart!

JEAN. I maun see him, bonnie leddie. I’m a puir body, and no fit to be seen speakin’ wi’ the likes o’ you. But O lass, ye are the Deacon’s sister, and ye hae the Deacon’s e’en, and for the love of the dear kind Lord, let’s in and hae a word wi’ him ere it be ower late. I’m bringin’ siller.

MARY. Siller? You? For him? O father, father, if you could hear! What are you? What are you . . . to him?

JEAN. I’ll be the best frien’ ‘at ever he had; for, O dear leddie, I wad gie my bluid to help him.

MARY. And the . . . . the child?

JEAN. The bairn?

MARY. Nothing! O nothing! I am in trouble, and I know not what I say. And I cannot help you; I cannot help you if I would. He is not here; and I believed he was; and ill . . . ill; and he is not – he is . . . . O, I think I shall lose my mind!

JEAN. Ay, it’s unco business.

MARY. His father is dead within there . . . dead, I tell you . . . dead!

JEAN. It’s mebbe just as weel.

MARY. Well? Well? Has it come to this? O Walter, Walter! come back to me, or I shall die. (LESLIE ENTERS, C.)

LESLIE. Mary, Mary! I hoped to have spared you this. (TO JEAN.) What – you? Is he not here?

JEAN. I’m aye waitin’ on him.

LESLIE. What has become of him? Is he mad? Where is he?

JEAN. The Lord A’michty kens, Mr. Leslie. But I maun find him; I maun find him.



MARY. O Walter, Walter! What does it mean?

LESLIE. You have been a brave girl all your life, Mary; you must lean on me . . . you must trust in me . . . and be a brave girl till the end.

MARY. Who is she? What does she want with HIM? And he . . . where is he? Do you know that my father is dead, and the Deacon not here? Where has he gone? He may be dead, too. Father, brother . . . O God, it is more than I can bear!

LESLIE. Mary, my dear, dear girl . . . when will you be my wife?

MARY. O, do not speak . . . not speak . . . of it to-night. Not to-night! O not to-night!

LESLIE. I know, I know dear heart! And do you think that I whom you have chosen, I whose whole life is in your love – do you think that I would press you now if there were not good cause?

MARY. Good cause! Something has happened. Something has happened . . . . to him! Walter . . . ! Is he . . . . dead?

LESLIE. There are worse things in the world than death. There is O . . . Mary, he is your brother!

MARY. What? Dishonour! . . . . The Deacon! . . . . My God!

LESLIE. My wife, my wife!

MARY. No, no! Keep away from me. Don’t touch me. I’m not fit . . . not fit to be near you. What has he done? I am his sister. Tell me the worst. Tell me the worst at once.

LESLIE. That, if God wills, dear, that you shall never know. Whatever it be, think that I knew it all, and only loved you better; think that your true husband is with you, and you are not to bear it alone.

MARY. My husband? . . . Never.

LESLIE. Mary . . . !

MARY. You forget, you forget what I am. I am his sister. I owe him a lifetime of happiness and love; I owe him even you. And whatever his fault, however ruinous his disgrace, he is my brother – my own brother – and my place is still with him.

LESLIE. Your place is with me – is with your husband. With me, with me; and for his sake most of all. What can you do for him alone? how can you help him alone? It wrings my heart to think how little. But together is different. Together . . . . I join my strength, my will, my courage to your own, and together we may save him.

MARY. All that is over. Once I was blessed among women. I was my father’s daughter, my brother loved me, I lived to be your wife. Now . . . . ! My father is dead, my brother is shamed; and you . . . O how could I face the world, how could I endure myself, if I preferred my happiness to your honour?

LESLIE. What is my honour but your happiness? In what else does it consist? Is it in denying me my heart? is it in visiting another’s sin upon the innocent? Could I do that, and be my mother’s son? Could I do that, and bear my father’s name? Could I do that, and have ever been found worthy of you?

MARY. It is my duty . . . my duty. Why will you make it so hard for me? So hard, Walter so hard!

LESLIE. Do I pursue you only for your good fortune, your beauty, the credit of your friends, your family’s good name? That were not love, and I love you. I love you, dearest, I love you. Friend, father, brother, husband . . . I must be all these to you. I am a man who can love well.

MARY. Silence . . . in pity! I cannot . . . . O, I cannot bear it.

LESLIE. And say it was I who had fallen. Say I had played my neck and lost it . . . that I were pushed by the law to the last limits of ignominy and despair. Whose love would sanctify my jail to me? whose pity would shine upon me in the dock? whose prayers would accompany me to the gallows? Whose but yours? Yours! . . . And you would entreat me – me! – to do what you shrink from even in thought, what you would die ere you attempted in deed!

MARY. Walter . . . on my knees . . . no more, no more!

LESLIE. My wife! my wife! Here on my heart! It is I that must kneel . . . I that must kneel to you.

MARY. Dearest! . . . . Husband! You forgive him? O, you forgive him?

LESLIE. He is my brother now. Let me take you to our father. Come.


After a pause, BRODIE, through the window

BRODIE. Saved! And the alibi! Man, but you’ve been near it this time – near the rope, near the rope. Ah boy, it was your neck, your neck you fought for. They were closing hell-doors upon me, swift as the wind, when I slipped through and shot for heaven! Saved! The dog that sold me, I settled him; and the other dogs are staunch. Man, but your alibi will stand! Is the window fast? The neighbours must not see the Deacon, the poor, sick Deacon, up and stirring at this time o’ night. Ay, the good old room in the good, cozy old house . . . and the rat a dead rat, and all saved. (HE LIGHTS THE CANDLES.) Your hand shakes, sir? Fie! And you saved, and you snug and sick in your bed, and it but a dead rat after all? (HE TAKES OFF HIS HANGER AND LAYS IT ON THE TABLE.) Ay, it was a near touch. Will it come to the dock? If it does! You’ve a tongue, and you’ve a head, and you’ve an alibi; and your alibi will stand. (HE TAKES OFF HIS COAT, TAKES OUT THE DAGGER, AND WITH A GESTURE OF STRIKING) Home! He fell without a sob. ‘He breaketh them against the bosses of his buckler!’ (LAYS THE DAGGER ON THE TABLE.) Your alibi . . . ah Deacon, that’s your life! . . . your alibi, your alibi. (HE TAKES UP A CANDLE AND TURNS TOWARDS THE DOOR.) O! . . . Open, open, open! judgment of God, the door is open!



BRODIE. Did you open the door?

MARY. I did.

BRODIE. You . . . . you opened the door?

MARY. I did open it

BRODIE. Were you . . . alone?

MARY. I was not. The servant was with me; and the doctor.

BRODIE. O . . . the servant . . . and the doctor. Very true. Then it’s all over the town by now. The servant and the doctor. The doctor? What doctor? Why the doctor?

MARY. My father is dead. O Will, where have you been?

BRODIE. Your father is dead. O yes! He’s dead, is he? Dead. Quite right. Quite right . . . How did you open the door? It’s strange. I bolted it.

MARY. We could not help it, Will, now could we? The doctor forced it. He had to, had he not?

BRODIE. The doctor forced it? The doctor? Was he here? He forced it? He?

MARY. We did it for the best; it was I who did it . . . I, your own sister. And O Will, my Willie, where have you been? You have not been in any harm, any danger?

BRODIE. Danger? O my young lady, you have taken care of that. It’s not danger now, it’s death. Death? Ah! Death! Death! Death! (CLUTCHING THE TABLE. THEN, RECOVERING AS FROM A DREAM.) Death? Did you say my father was dead? My father? O my God, my poor old father! Is he dead, Mary? Have I lost him? is he gone? O, Mary dear, and to think of where his son was!

MARY. Dearest, he is in heaven.

BRODIE. Did he suffer?

MARY. He died like a child. Your name . . . it was his last.

BRODIE. My name? Mine? O Mary, if he had known! He knows now. He knows; he sees us now . . . sees me! Ay, and sees you, left how lonely!

MARY. Not so, dear; not while you live. Wherever you are, I shall not be alone, so you live.

BRODIE. While I live? I? The old house is ruined, and the old master dead, and I! . . . O Mary, try and believe I did not mean that it should come to this; try and believe that I was only weak at first. At first? And now! The good old man dead, the kind sister ruined, the innocent boy fallen, fallen . . . ! You will be quite alone; all your old friends, all the old faces, gone into darkness. The night (WITH A GESTURE) . . . it waits for me. You will be quite alone.

MARY. The night!

BRODIE. Mary, you must hear. How am I to tell her, and the old man just dead! Mary, I was the boy you knew; I loved pleasure, I was weak; I have fallen . . . low . . . lower than you think. A beginning is so small a thing! I never dreamed it would come to this . . . . this hideous last night.

MARY. Willie, you must tell me, dear. I must have the truth . . . the kind truth . . . at once . . . in pity.

BRODIE. Crime. I have fallen. Crime.

MARY. Crime?

BRODIE. Don’t shrink from me. Miserable dog that I am, selfish hound that has dragged you to this misery . . . you and all that loved him . . . think only of my torments, think only of my penitence, don’t shrink from me.

MARY. I do not care to hear, I do not wish, I do not mind; you are my brother. What do I care? How can I help you?

BRODIE. Help? help ME? You would not speak of it, not wish it, if you knew. My kind good sister, my little playmate, my sweet friend! was I ever unkind to you till yesterday? Not openly unkind? you’ll say that when I am gone.

MARY. If you have done wrong, what do I care? If you have failed, does it change my twenty years of love and worship? Never!

BRODIE. Yet I must make her understand . . . . !

MARY. I am your true sister, dear. I cannot fail, I will never leave you, I will never blame you. Come! (GOES TO EMBRACE.)

BRODIE (RECOILING). No, don’t touch me, not a finger, not that, anything but that!

MARY. Willie, Willie!


MARY. Ah! What, what is it!

BRODIE. Blood. I have killed a man.

MARY. You? . . . .

BRODIE. I am a murderer; I was a thief before. Your brother . . . the old man’s only son!

MARY. Walter, Walter, come to me!

BRODIE. Now you see that I must die; now you see that I stand upon the grave’s edge, all my lost life behind me, like a horror to think upon, like a frenzy, like a dream that is past. And you, you are alone. Father, brother, they are gone from you; one to heaven, one . . . . !

MARY. Hush, dear, hush! Kneel, pray; it is not too late to repent. Think of our father dear; repent. (SHE WEEPS, STRAINING TO HIS BOSOM.) O Willie, my darling boy, repent and join us.



LAWSON. She kens a’, thank the guid Lord!

BRODIE (TO MARY). I know you forgive me now; I ask no more. That is a good man. (TO LESLIE.) Will you take her from my hands? (LESLIE TAKES MARY.) Jean, are ye here to see the end?

JEAN. Eh man, can ye no fly? Could ye no say that it was me?

BRODIE. No, Jean, this is where it ends. Uncle, this is where it ends. And to think that not an hour ago I still had hopes! Hopes! Ay, not an hour ago I thought of a new life. You were not forgotten, Jean. Leslie, you must try to forgive me . . . you, too!

LESLIE. You are her brother.


LAWSON. My name-child and my sister’s bairn!

BRODIE. You won’t forget Jean, will you? nor the child?

LAWSON. That I will not.

MARY. O Willie, nor I.


To these, HUNT

HUNT. The game’s up, Deacon. I’ll trouble you to come along with me.

BRODIE (BEHIND THE TABLE). One moment, officer: I have a word to say before witnesses ere I go. In all this there is but one man guilty; and that man is I. None else has sinned; none else must suffer. This poor woman (POINTING TO JEAN) I have used; she never understood. Mr. Procurator-Fiscal, that is my dying confession. (HE SNATCHES HIS HANGER FROM THE TABLE, AND RUSHES UPON HUNT, WHO PARRIES, AND RUNS HIM THROUGH. HE REELS ACROSS THE STAGE AND FALLS.) The new life . . . the new life! (HE DIES.)


———————————————————– Play: BEAU AUSTIN



GEORGE FREDERICK AUSTIN, called ‘Beau Austin’ AEtat. 50 JOHN FENWICK, of Allonby Shaw ” ” 26 ANTHONY MUSGRAVE, Cornet in the Prince’s Own ” ” 21 MENTEITH, the Beau’s Valet ” ” 55 A ROYAL DUKE (Dumb show.)

The Time is 1820. The Scene is laid at Tunbridge Wells. The Action occupies a space of ten hours.






‘To all and singular,’ as Dryden says, We bring a fancy of those Georgian days, Whose style still breathed a faint and fine perfume Of old-world courtliness and old-world bloom: When speech was elegant and talk was fit For slang had not been canonised as wit; When manners reigned, when breeding had the wall, And Women – yes! – were ladies first of all; When Grace was conscious of its gracefulness, And man – though Man! – was not ashamed to dress. A brave formality, a measured ease,
Were his – and her’s – whose effort was to please. And to excel in pleasing was to reign
And, if you sighed, never to sigh in vain.

But then, as now – it may be, something more – Woman and man were human to the core.
The hearts that throbbed behind that quaint attire Burned with a plenitude of essential fire. They too could risk, they also could rebel, They could love wisely – they could love too well. In that great duel of Sex, that ancient strife Which is the very central fact of life, They could – and did – engage it breath for breath, They could – and did – get wounded unto death. As at all times since time for us began Woman was truly woman, man was man,
And joy and sorrow were as much at home In trifling Tunbridge as in mighty Rome.

Dead – dead and done with! Swift from shine to shade The roaring generations flit and fade.
To this one, fading, flitting, like the rest, We come to proffer – be it worst or best – A sketch, a shadow, of one brave old time; A hint of what it might have held sublime; A dream, an idyll, call it what you will, Of man still Man, and woman – Woman still!




The Stage represents Miss Foster’s apartments at the Wells. Doors, L. and C.; a window, L. C., looking on the street; a table R., laid for breakfast.



BARBARA (OUT OF WINDOW). Mr. Menteith! Mr. Menteith! Mr. Menteith! – Drat his old head! Will nothing make him hear? – Mr. Menteith!

MISS FOSTER (ENTERING). Barbara! this is incredible: after all my lessons, to be leaning from the window, and calling (for unless my ears deceived me, you were positively calling!) into the street.

BARBARA. Well, madam, just wait until you hear who it was. I declare it was much more for Miss Dorothy and yourself than for me; and if it was a little countrified, I had a good excuse.

MISS FOSTER. Nonsense, child! At least, who was it?

BARBARA. Miss Evelina, I was sure you would ask. Well, what do you think? I was looking out of window at the barber’s opposite –

MISS FOSTER. Of which I entirely disapprove –

BARBARA. And first there came out two of the most beautiful – the Royal livery, madam!

MISS FOSTER. Of course, of course: the Duke of York arrived last night. I trust you did not hail the Duke’s footmen?

BARBARA. O no, madam, it was after they were gone. Then, who should come out – but you’ll never guess!

MISS FOSTER. I shall certainly not try.

BARBARA. Mr. Menteith himself!

MISS FOSTER. Why, child, I never heard of him.

BARBARA. O madam, not the Beau’s own gentleman?

MISS FOSTER. Mr. Austin’s servant. No? Is it possible? By that, George Austin must be here.

BARBARA. No doubt of that, madam; they’re never far apart. He came out feeling his chin, madam, so; and a packet of letters under his arm, so; and he had the Beau’s own walk to that degree you couldn’t tell his back from his master’s.

MISS FOSTER. My dear Barbara, you too frequently forget yourself. A young woman in your position must beware of levity.

BARBARA. Madam, I know it; but la, what are you to make of me? Look at the time and trouble dear Miss Dorothy was always taking – she that trained up everybody – and see what’s come of it: Barbara Ridley I was, and Barbara Ridley I am; and I don’t do with fashionable ways – I can’t do with them; and indeed, Miss Evelina, I do sometimes wish we were all back again on Edenside, and Mr. Anthony a boy again, and dear Miss Dorothy her old self, galloping the bay mare along the moor, and taking care of all of us as if she was our mother, bless her heart!

MISS FOSTER. Miss Dorothy herself, child? Well, now you mention it, Tunbridge of late has scarcely seemed to suit her constitution. She falls away, has not a word to throw at a dog, and is ridiculously pale. Well, now Mr. Austin has returned, after six months of infidelity to the dear Wells, we shall all, I hope, be brightened up. Has the mail come?

BARBARA. That it has, madam, and the sight of Mr. Menteith put it clean out of my head. (WITH LETTERS.) Four for you, Miss Evelina, two for me, and only one for Miss Dorothy. Miss Dorothy seems quite neglected, does she not? Six months ago, it was a different story.

MISS FOSTER. Well, and that’s true, Barbara, and I had not remarked it. I must take her seriously to task. No young lady in her position should neglect her correspondence. (OPENING A LETTER.) Here’s from that dear ridiculous boy, the Cornet, announcing his arrival for to-day.

BARBARA. O madam, will he come in his red coat?

MISS FOSTER. I could not conceive him missing such a chance. Youth, child, is always vain, and Mr. Anthony is unusually young.

BARBARA. La, madam, he can’t help that.

MISS FOSTER. My child, I am not so sure. Mr. Anthony is a great concern to me. He was orphaned, to be sure, at ten years old; and ever since he has been only as it were his sister’s son. Dorothy did everything for him: more indeed than I thought quite ladylike, but I suppose I begin to be old-fashioned. See how she worked and slaved – yes, slaved! – for him: teaching him herself, with what pains and patience she only could reveal, and learning that she might be able; and see what he is now: a gentleman, of course, but, to be frank, a very commonplace one: not what I had hoped of Dorothy’s brother; not what I had dreamed of the heir of two families – Musgrave and Foster, child! Well, he may now meet Mr.Austin. He requires a Mr. Austin to embellish and correct his manners. (OPENING ANOTHER LETTER.) Why, Barbara, Mr. John Scrope and Miss Kate Dacre are to be married!

BARBARA. La, madam, how nice!

MISS FOSTER. They are: As I’m a sinful woman. And when will you be married, Barbara? and when dear Dorothy? I hate to see old maids a-making.

BARBARA. La, Miss Evelina, there’s no harm in an old maid.

MISS FOSTER. You speak like a fool, child: sour grapes are all very well but it’s a woman’s business to be married. As for Dorothy, she is five-and-twenty, and she breaks my heart. Such a match, too! Ten thousand to her fortune, the best blood in the north, a most advantageous person, all the graces, the finest sensibility, excellent judgment, the Foster walk; and all these to go positively a-begging! The men seem stricken with blindness. Why, child, when I came out (and I was the dear girl’s image!) I had more swains at my feet in a fortnight than our Dorothy in – O, I cannot fathom it: it must be the girl’s own fault.

BARBARA. Why, madam, I did think it was a case with Mr. Austin.

MISS FOSTER. With Mr. Austin? why, how very rustic! The attentions of a gentleman like Mr. Austin, child, are not supposed to lead to matrimony. He is a feature of society: an ornament: a personage: a private gentleman by birth, but a kind of king by habit and reputation. What woman could he marry? Those to whom he might properly aspire are all too far below him. I have known George Austin too long, child, and I understand that the very greatness of his success condemns him to remain unmarried.

BARBARA. Sure, madam, that must be tiresome for him.

MISS FOSTER. Some day, child, you will know better than to think so. George Austin, as I conceive him, and as he is regarded by the world, is one of the triumphs of the other sex. I walked my first minuet with him: I wouldn’t tell you the year, child, for worlds; but it was soon after his famous rencounter with Colonel Villiers. He had killed his man, he wore pink and silver, was most elegantly pale, and the most ravishing creature!

BARBARA. Well, madam, I believe that: he is the most beautiful gentleman still.