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Full text of "The bishop's candlesticks"

FRENCH'S ACTING EDITION 

No. 2328. 



The Bishop's 



Candlesticks 



A Play in One Act 



NORMAN McKINNEL 



LONDON: 
SAMUEL FRENCH, LTD. 



NEW YOKK: 
SAMUEL FRENCH 




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Turn to next page of cover. 



THE 

BISHOP'S CANDLESTICKS 



B plas in ne Bet 



BY 

NORMAN McKINNEL 



POUNDED ON AN INCIDENT IN VICTOR HUGO'S NOVEL 
"LKS MISERABLES" 



COPYRIGHT, 1908, BY NORMAN MC.KINNM, 



LONDON NBW 

SAMUEL FRENCH, LTD. SAMUEL FB ENCH 
PUBLISHERS 

. e, o PUBLISHEB 

28 SOUTHAMPTON STREET : 

STRAND. W.C.2 8 WEST 38ra STREET 



The fee for each representation of this play by amateura 
is Fifteen Shillings, payable in advance to 

Messrs. Samuel French, Ltd., 

26 Southampton Street, 

Strand, London, W.C.2, 

or their authorized representatives, who upon payment of the 
fee will send a written permission for this performance to take 
place. 

No public performance may be given unless this written per 
mission has first been obtained. 

Character Costumes and Wigs used in the performance of 
plays contained in French's Acting Edition may be obtained from 
MESSRS. CHAS. H. Fox, LTD., 27 Wellington Street, Strand, 
London, W.C.2. 



THE BISHOP'S CANDLESTICKS, 



Originally produced at the Duke of York's Theatre on August 
S4tk, fQOi, with the following cast: 

THE BISHOP ............ Mr. A. E. George. 

THE CONVICT ......... Mr. Norman McKinnel. 

PERSOME (The Bishop's sister, a v.idov. ) . Miss Nannie Griffin. 
MARIE ............ Miss Constance Walton. 

SERGEANT OF GENDARMES ...... Mr. Frank Woolfe. 

// was revived at the Kingsway Theatre on Friday, December 
sotk, JQO?, with the following cast : 



THE BISHOP ..... ....... Mr. Henry Vibart. 

THE CONVICT .......... Mr. Lemmon Warde. 

PERSOM6 ............. Miss Evelyn Hall. 

MARIE ............. Miss Maud Stewart. 

SERGEAN r OF GENDARMES ..... Mr. Douglas Gordon. 

TIME. The beginning of the last century. 
FLACE. France, about thirty miles from Pans. 



THE BISHOP'S CANDLESTICKS. 



SCENE : The kitchen of the BISHOP'S cottage. It is plainly 
. but substantially furnished. Doors R. and"L. andi^. c. 
Window R. c. Fireplace with heavy mantelpiece down 
R. Oak settle with cushions behind door L. C. Table 
in window R. c. with writing materials and crucifix 
(wood). Eight-day dock R. of window. Kitchen 
dresser with cupboard to lock down L. Oak dining 
table R. c. Chairs, Books, etc. Winter wood scene 
without. On the mantelpiece are two very handsome 
candlesticks which look strangely out of place with 
their surroundings. 

MARIE and PERSOME discovered. MARIE stirring some 
soup on the fire. PERSOM laying the cloth, etc. 

PERSOME. Marie, isn't the soup bailing yet? 

MARIE. Not yet, Madam. 

PERSOM. Well it ought to be. You haven't 
tended the fire properly, child. 

MARIE. But, Madam, you yourself made the fire up. 

PERSOM. Don't answer me back like that. It is 
rude. 

MARIE. Yes, Madam. 

PERSOME. Then don't let me have to rebuke you 
again. 

MARIE. No, Madam. 

PERSOM. I wonder where my brother can be. It 
is after eleven o'clock (looking at the clock} and no sign 
of him. Marie I 

MARIE. Yes, Madam. 

3 



4 THE BISHOP'S CANDLESTICKS. 

PERSOM. Did Monseigneur the Bishop leave any 
message for me ? 

MARIE. No, Madam. 

PERSOME. Did he tell you where he was going ? 

MARIE. Yes, Madam. 

PERSOM. " Yes, Madam " (imitating). Then why 
haven't you told me, Stupid I 

MARIE. Madam didn't ask me. 

PERSOM. But that is no reason for your not telling 
me is it ? 

MARIE. Madam said only this morning I was not 
to chatter, so I thought 

PERSOM! Ah mon Dieu, you thought 1 Ah ! It 
is hopeless. 

MARIE. Yes, Madam. 

PERSOM. Don't keep saying " Yes, Madam," like 
a parrot, Nincompoop. 

MARIE. No, Madam. 

PERSOM. Well. Where did Monseigneur say he 
was going ? 

MARIE. To my mother's, Madam. 

PERSOM. To your mother's indeed! And why, 
pray? 

MARIE. Monseigneur asked me how she was, and I 
told him she was feeling poorly. 

PERSOM. You told him she was feeling poorly, did 
you ? And so my brother is to be kept out of his bed, 
and go without his supper because you told him she 
was feeling poorly. There's gratitude for you ! 

MARIE. Madam, the soup is boiling 1 

PERSOM. Then pour it out, fool, and don't chatter. 
(MARIE about to do so) No, no. Not like that, here 
let me do it, and do you put the salt cellars on the 
table the silver ones. 

MARIE. The silver ones, Madam ? 

PERSOM&. Yes, the silver ones. Are you deaf as 
well as stupid ? 

MARIE. They are sold, Madam. 



THE BISHOP'S CANDLESTICKS. 5 

PERSOME. Sold ! (with horror) sold 1 Are you mad ? 
Who sold them ? Why were they sold ? 

MARIE. Monseigneur the Bishop told me this after 
noon while you were out to take them to Monsieur 
Gervais who has often admired them, and sell them 
for as much as I could. 

PERSOME. But you had no right to do so without 
asking me. 

MARIE. But, Madam, Monseigneur the Bishop told 
me. (with awe) 

PERSOME. Monseigneur the Bishop is a ahem ! 
but, but what can he have wanted with the money 1 

MARIE. Pardon, Madam, but I think it was for 
Mere Gringoire. 

PERSOME. Mere Gringoire indeed. Mere Gringoire 1 
What, the old witch who lives at the top of the hill, and 
who says she is bedridden because she is too lazy to do 
any work ? And what did Mere Gringoire want with 
the money, pray ? 

MARIE. Madam, it was for the rent. The bailiff 
would not wait any longer and threatened to turn her 
out to-day if it were not paid, so she sent little Jean to 
Monseigneur to ask for help and 

PERSOME. Oh mon Dieu 1 It is hopeless, hopeless. 
We shall have nothing left. His estate is sold, his 
savings have gone. His furniture, everything. Were 
it not for my little dot we should starve, and now my 
beautiful beautiful (sob) salt cellars. Ah, it is too 
much, too much (she breaks down crying) 

MARIE. Madam, I am sorry, if I had known 

PERSOM^. Sorry and why, pray? If Monseigneur 
the Bishop chooses to sell his salt cellars he may do 
so, I suppose. Go and wash your hands, they are 
disgracefully dirty. 

MARIE. Yes, Madam, (going towards R.) 

(Enter the BISHOP, c.) 
BISHOP. Ah ! how nice and warm it is in here 



6 THE BISHOP'S CANDLESTICKS 

It is worth going out in the cold for th- sake of the 
comfort of coming in. 

(PERSOM has hastened to help him off with his coat, etc. 
MARIE has dropped a deep courtesy.) 

BISHOP. Thank you, dear, (looking at her) Why, 
what is the matter? You have been crying. 
Marie been troublesome, eh ? (shaking hts finger at 

her) Ah! 

PERSOME. No, it wasn't Mane but ! but ! 

BISHOP. Well, well, you shall tell me presently- 
Marie, my child, run home now, your mother is better, 
I have prayed with her, and the doctor has been. 
Run home 1 

(MARIE putting on cloak and going) 

And, Marie, let yourself in quietly in case your 
mother is asleep. 

MARIE. Oh thanks, thanks, Monseigneur. (she 
goes to door c., as it opens the snow drives in.) 

BISHOP. Here, Marie, take my comforter, it will 
keep you warm. It is very cold to-night. 

MARIE. Oh no, Monseigneur ! (shamefacedly) 

PERSOME. What nonsense, brother, she is young, 
she won't hurt. 

BISHOP. Ah, Persome", you have not been out, you 
don't know how cold it has become. Here, Marie, let 
me put it on for you. (does so) There 1 Run along, 
little one. 

(Exit MARIE, c.) 

PERSOME. Brother, I have no patience with you. 
There, sit down and take your soup, it has been wait 
ing ever so long. And if it is spoilt, it serves you 

right. 

BISHOP. It smells delicious. 

PERSOME. I'm sure Marie's mother is not so ill 
that you need have stayed out on such a night as this. 



THE BISHOP'S CANDLESTICKS. 7 

I believe those people pretend to be ill just to have the 
Bishop call on them. They have no thought of the 
Bishop ! 

BISHOP. It is kind of them to want to see me. 

PERSOM. Well for my part I believe that charity 
begins at home. 

BISHOP. And so you make me this delicious soup. 
You are very good to me, sister. 

PERSOME. Good to you, yes ! I should think so. 
I should like to know where you would be without me 
to look after you. The dupe of every idle scamp or 
lying old woman in the Parish. 

BISHOP. If people lie to me they are poorer, not I. 

PERSOM. But it is ridiculous, you will soon have 
nothing left. You give away everything, everything 1 1 1 

BISHOP. My dear, there is so much suffering in the 
world, and I can do so little (sighs) so very little. 

PERSOME. Suffering, yes, but you never think of 
the suffering you cause to those who love you best, 
the suffering you cause to me. 

BISHOP (rising) You, sister dear. Have I hurt you ? 
Ah, I remember you had been crying. Was it my 
fault ? I didn't mean to hurt you. I am sorry. 

PERSOME. Sorry. Yes. Sorry won't mend it. 
Humph I Oh, do go on eating your soup before it 
gets cold. 

BISHOP. Very well, dear, (sits) But tell me 

PERSOME. You are like a child, I can't trust you 
out of my sight. No sooner is my back turned than 
you get that little minx Marie to sell the silver salt 
cellars. 

BISHOP. Ah, yes, the salt cellars. It is a pity. You, 
you were proud of them ? 

PERSOME. Proud of them, why they have been in 
our family for years. 

BISHOP. Yes, it is a pity, they were beautiful, but 
still, dear, one can eat salt out of china just as well. 

PERSOME. Yes, or meat off the floor I suppose. 
Oh it's coming to that. And as for that old wretch 



g THE BISHOP'S CANDLESTICKS. 

Mere Gringoire, I wonder she had the audacity to 
send here again. The last time I saw her I gave her 
such a talking to that it ought to have had some effect. 

BISHOP. Yes ! I offered to take her in here for a 
day or two, but she seemed to think it might distress 
you. 

PERSOM. Distress me 1 ! I 

BISHOP. And the bailiff, who is a very just man, 
would not wait longer for the rent, so so you see I 
had to pay it. 

PERSOM. You had to pay it. (gesture of comic de 
spair). 

BISHOP. Yes, and you see I had no money so I 
had to dispose of the salt cellars. It was fortunate I 
had them, wasn't it ? (smiling) But, I'm sorry I have 
grieved you. 

PERSOM. Oh, go on ! go on ! you are incorrigible. 
You'll sell your candlesticks next. 

BISHOP (with real concern?) No, no, sister, not my 
candlesticks. 

PERSOME. Oh! Why not? They would pay 
somebody's rent I suppose. 

BISHOP. Ah, you are good, sister, to think of that, 
but, but I don't want to sell them. You see, dear, my 
mother gave them to me on on her deathbed just 
after you were born, and and she asked me to keep 
them in remembrance of her, so I would like to keep 
them, but perhaps it is a sin to set such store by 
them? 

PERSOME. Brother, brother, you will break my 
heart (with tears in her voice). There ! don't say any 
thing more. Kiss me and give me your blessing. 
I'm going to bed. (they kiss) 

BISHOP (making sign of the cross and murmuring 
blessing) 

(PERSOM locks cupboard door and going) 
PERSOME\ Don't sit up too long and tire your eyes. 



THE BISHOP'S CANDLESTICKS. 9 

BISHOP. No, dear \ Good night I 
(PERSOME" Exits R.) 

BISHOP, (comes to table and opens a book then looks up 
at the candlesticks} They would pay somebody's rent 
It was kind of her to think of that. (He stirs the fit e, 
trims the lamp, arranges some books and papers, sits 
down, is restless, shivers slightly, clock outside strikes 12 
and he settles to read. Music during this. Enter the 
CONVICT stealthily, he has a long knife and seizes the 
BISHOP from behind.) 

CONVICT. If you call out you are a dead man ! 

BISHOP. But, my friend, as you see, I am reading. 
Why should I call out ? Can I help you in any way ? 

CONVICT (hoarsely) I want food. I'm starving, I 
haven't eaten anything for three days. Give me food 
quickly, quickly, curse you. 

BISHOP, (eagerly) But certainly, my son, you shall 
have food. I will ask my sister for the keys of the 
cupboard, (rising) 

CONVICE. Sit down 1 1 1 

(The BISHOP sits, smiling) 

None of that, my friend 1 I'm too old a bird to be 
caught with chaff. You would ask your sister for the 
keys, would you ? A likely story 1 You would rouse 
the house too. Eh ? Ha I ha 1 A good joke truly. 
Come, where is the food. I want no keys. I have a 
wolf inside me tearing at my entrails, tearing me ; quick, 
tell me where the food is. 

BrsHOp. (aside) I wish Persome' would not lock the 
cupboard, (aloud) Come, my friend, you have nothing 
to fear. My sister and I are alone here. 

CONVICT. How do I know that ? 

BISHOP. Why I have just told you. 

(CONVICT looks long at the BISHOP.) 
CONVICT. Humph 1 I'll risk it 



10 THE BISHOP'S CANDLESTICKS. 

(BISHOP, going to door R.) 

But mind I Play me false and as sure as there are 
devils in Hell I'll drive my knife through your heart. 
I have nothing to lose. 

BISHOP. You have your soul to lose, my son, it is of 
more value than my heart (at door R. calling) Persome, 
Persome. (The CONVICT stands behind him with his 
knife ready.) 

PERSOME. (within) Yes, Brother. 

BISHOP. Here is a poor traveller who is hungry. 
If you are not undressed will you come and open the 
cupboard and I will give him some supper. 

PERSOME. (within) What, at this time of night ? A 
pretty business truly. Are we to have no sleep now ? 
but to be at the beck and call of every ne'er-do-well 
who happens to pass ? 

BISHOP. But, Persome, the traveller is hungry. 

PERSOME. Oh, very well, I am coming. (PERSOM 
Enters R., she sees the knife in the CONVICT'S hand) 
(frightened) Brother, what is he doing with that knife. 

BISHOP. The knife, oh, well, you see, dear, perhaps 
he may have thought that I I had sold ours, (laughs 
gently) 

PERSOME. Brother, I am frightened. He glares at 
us like a wild beast, (aside to him) 

CONVICT. Hurry, I tell you. Give me food or I'll 
stick my knife in you both and help myself. 

BISHOP. Give me the keys, Persome, (she gives them 
to him) and now, dear, you may go to bed. 

(PERSOM& going. The CONVICT springs in front of her.) 

CONVICT. Stop ! Neither of you leave this room 
till I do. 

(She looks at the BISHOP.) 

BISHOP. Persome*, will you favour this gentleman 
with your company at supper. He evidently desires 
it. 



THE BISHOP'S CANDLESTICKS. H 

PERSOME. Very well, brother, (she sits down at 
table staring at the two) 

BISHOP. Here is some cold pie and a bottle of wine 
and some bread. 

CONVICT. Put them on the table, and stand below 
it so that I can see you. 

(BISHOP does so and opens drawer in table taking out 
knife and fork, looking at the knife in CONVICT'S 
hand). 

CONVICT. My knife is sharp, (he runs his finger along 
the edge and looks at them meaningly) And as for forks 
(taking it up) Faugh 1 steel (he throws it away) We 
don't use forks in Prison. 

PERSOME. Prison ? 

CONVICT, (cutting off an enormous slice, which he tears 
with his fingers like an animal. Then starts) What was 
that ? (he looks at the door) Why the devil do you leave 
the window unshuttered and the door unbarred so that 
anyone can come in. (shutting them) 

BISHOP. That is why they are left open. 

CONVICT. Well they are shut now 1 

BISHOP (sighs) For the first time in thirty years. 

(CONVICT eats voraciously and throws a bone on the floor.) 
PERSOME. Oh, my nice clean floor 1 
(BISHOP picks up the bone and puts it on plate.) 

CONVICT. You're not afraid of thieves ? 

BISHOP. I am sorry for them. 

CONVICT. Sorry for them. Hal ha 1 ha! (drinks 
from bottle) That's a good one. Sorry for them. Ha! 
hal hal (drinks) (suddenly) What the devil are you? 

BISHOP. I am a Bishop. 

CONVICT. Hal ha! ha! A Bishop. Holy Virgin, 
a Bishop. Well I'm damned 1 

BISHOP. I hope you may escape that, my son. Per- 
some, you may leave us, this gentleman will excuse you. 



12 THE BISHOP'S CANDLESTICKS. 

PERSOM. Leave you with 

BISHOP. Please 1 My friend and I can talk more 
freely then. 

{By this time, owing to his starving condition the wine 
has affected him). 

CONVICT. What's that? Leave us. Yes, yes, leave 
us. Good night. I want to talk to the Bishop. The 
Bishop. Ha 1 ha 1 (laughs as he drinks and coughs) 

BISHOP. Good night, Persomd. (he holds the door- 
open and she goes out R. holding in her skirts as she 
passes the CONVICT). 

CONVICT, (chuckling to himself} The Bishop. Ha I 
ha 1 Well I'm (suddenly very loudly) D' you know 
what I am ? 

BISHOP. I think one who has suffered much. 

CONVICT. Suffered (puzzled} suffered? My God, 
yes. (drinks) But that's a long time ago. Ha I ha 1 
That was when I was a man, now I'm not a man ; now 
I'm a number: number 15729 and I've lived in Hell 
for ten years. 

BISHOP. Tell me about it about Hell. 

CONVICT. Why ? (suspiciously) Do you want to tell 
the police to set them on my track. 

BISHOP. No 1 I will not tell the police. 

CONVICT (looks at him earnestly) I believe you 
(scratching his head}, but damn me if I know why. 

BISHOP, (laying his hand on the CONVICI'S arm) Tell 
me about the time the time before you went to 
Hell. 

CONVICT. It's so long ago I forgot but I had a little 
cottage, there were vines growing on it (dreamily) they 
looked pretty with the evening sun on them and, and 
there was a woman she was (thinking hard) she 
must have been my wife yes. (suddenly and very 
rapidly) Yes, I remember ! she was ill, we had no food, 
I could get no work, it was a bad year, and my wife, 
my Jeanette was ill, dying (pause) so I stole to buy 



THE BISHOP'S CANDLESTICKS. J3 

her food, (long pause the BISHOP gently pats his hand) 
They caught me. I pleaded to them, I told them why 
I stole but they laughed at me, and I was sentenced to 
ten years in the prison hulks, (pause) ten years in Hell. 
The night I was sentenced the gaoler told me told 
me Jeanette was dead, (sobs, with fury) Ah, damn 
them, damn them. God curse them all (he sinks on 
the table sobbing). 

BISHOP. Now tell me about the prison ship, about 
Hell. 

CONVICT. Tell you about it ? Look here, I was a 
man once. I'm a beast now and they made me what 
I am. They chained me up like a wild animal, they 
lashed me like a hound. I fed on filth, I was cov 
ered with vermin, I slept on boards and I complained. 
Then they lashed me again. For ten years, ten years. 
Oh God I They took away my name, they took away 
my soul and they gave me a devil in its place, but one 
day they were careless, one day they forgot to chain 
up their wild beast and he escaped. He was free. 
That was six weeks ago. I was free, free to starve. 

BISHOP. To starve ? 

CONVICT. Yes, to starve. They feed you in Hell, 
but when you escape from it you starve. They were 
hunting me everywhere and I had no passport, no 
name. So I stole again, I stole these rags, I stole my 
food daily, I slept in the woods, in barns, anywhere. 
I dare not ask for work, I dare not go into a town to 
beg, so I stole and they have made me what I am, 
they have made me a thief. God curse them all. 
(empties the bottle and throws it into the fireplace R. 
smashing it.) 

BISHOP. My son, you have suffered much but there 
is hope for all. 

CONVICT. Hope 1 Hope ! Ha 1 ha 1 ha 1 (laughs 
wildly) 

BISHOP. You have walked far, you are tired. Lie 
down and sleep on the couch there and I will get you 
some coverings. 



14 THE BISHOP'S CANDLESTICKS. 

CONVICT. And if any one comes ? 

BISHOP. No one will come, but if they do, are you 
not my friend ? 

CONVICT. Your friend ? (puzzled} 

BISHOP. They will not molest the Bishop's friend. 

CONVICT. The Bishop's friend, (scratching his head 
utterly puzzled} 

BISHOP. I will get the coverings. (Exit L.) 

CONVICT, (looks after him, scratches his head} The 
Bishop's friend 1 (he goes to fire to warm himself and 
notices the candlesticks. He looks round to see if he is 
alone and takes them down, weighing them.} Silver, by 
God, and heavy. What a prize 1 (he hears the BISHOP 
coming and in his haste drops one candlestick on the 
table) 

(Enter the BISHOP) 

BISHOP (sees what is going on but goes to the settle up 
L. with coverings} Ah, you are admiring my candle 
sticks. I am proud of them. They were a gift from 
my mother. A little too handsome for this poor cot 
tage perhaps, but all I have to remind me of her. 
Your bed is ready. Will you lie down now ? 

CONVICT. Yes, yes, I'll lie down now. (puzzled} 
Look here, why the devil are you ki kind to me. 
(suspiciously} What do you want ? Eh ? 

BISHOP. I want you to have a good sleep, my friend. 

CONVICT. I believe you want to convert me ; save 
my soul, don't you call it? Well it's no good, see? I 
don't want any damned religion, and as for the Church, 
Bah 1 I hate the Church. 

BISHOP. That is a pity, my son, as the Church does 
not hate you. 

CONVICT. You are going to try to convert me. Oh, 
Ha I ha 1 that's a good idea. Ha I ha I ha 1 No, 
no, Monseigneur the Bishop. I don't want any of 
your Faith, Hope and Charity, see ? So anything you 
do for me you're doing to the devil, understand ? (de- 
fiantly} 



THE BISHOP'S CANDLESTICKS. 15 

BISHOP. One must do a great deal for the devil, in 
order to do a little for God. 

CONVICT (angrily) I don't want any damned religion 
I tell you. 

BISHOP. Won't you lie down now, it is late. 

CONVICT (grumbling) Well all right, but I won't 
be preached at, I I (on couch) You're sure no one 
will come ? 

BISHOP. I don't think they will, but if they do 
you yourself have locked the door. 

CONVICT. Humph ! I wonder if it's safe, (he goes 
to the door and tries it, then turns and sees the BISHOP 
holding the coveting, annoyed) Here 1 you go to bed. 
I'll cover myself (the BISHOP hesitates) Go on, I tell 
you. 

BISHOP. Good night, my son. (Exit L.) 

(CONVICT waits till he is off then tries the BISHOP'S 
door). 

CONVICT. No lock of course. Curse it. (looks 
round and sees the candlesticks again) Humph ! I'll 
have another look at them (he takes them up and toys 
with them) Worth hundreds I'll warrant. If I had 
these turned into money they'd start me fair. Humph I 
The old boy's fond of them too, said his mother gave 
him them. His mother, yes. They didn't think of 
my mother when they sent me to Hell. He was kind 
to me too but what's a Bishop for except to be kind 
to you. Here, cheer up, my hearty, you're getting soft. 
God I wouldn't my chain mates laugh to see 15729 
hesitating about collaring the plunder because he felt 
good. Good 1 Ha ! ha ! Oh my God ! Good ! Ha ! 
hal 15729 getting soft. That's a good one. Hal 
ha I No, I'll take his candlesticks and go, if I stay 
here he'll preach at me in the morning and I'll get 
soft. Damn him and his preaching too. Here goes ! 
(he takes the candlesticks, stows them in his coat and 
cautiously Exits L. C. as he does so the door slams). 

PERSOME (without) Who's there ? Who's there I 



16 THE BISHOP'S CANDLESTICKS. 

say ? Am I to get no sleep to-night. Who's there I 
say ? (Enter R. PERSOM) I'm sure I heard the door 
shut (looking round) No one here ? (knocks at the 
BISHOP'S doori.. Sees the candlesticks have gone) The 
candlesticks, the candlesticks. They are gone. 
Brother, brother, come out. Fire, murder, thieves I 

(Enter BISHOP, L.) 

BISHOP. What is it, dear, what is it ? What is the 
matter ? 

PERSOM. He has gone. The man with the hun 
gry eyes has gone, and he has taken your candlesticks. 

BISHOP. Not my candlesticks, sister, surely not 
those (he looks and sighs) Ah that is hard, very hard, 
I, I He might have left me those. They were all I 
had. (almost breaking down.) 

PERSOME. Well, but go and inform the police. He 
can't have gone far. They will soon catch him, and 
you'll get the candlesticks back again. You don't 
deserve them, though, leaving them about with a man 
like that in the house. 

BISHOP. You are right, Persome'. It was my fault. 
I led him into temptation. 

PERSOM. Oh nonsense 1 led him into temptation 
indeed 1 The man is a thief, a common scoundrelly 
thief. I knew it the moment I saw him. Go and in 
form the police or I will, (going but he stops her) 

BISHOP. And have him sent back to prison (very 
softly) sent back to Hell 1 No Persome'. It is a just 
punishment for me ; I set too great store by them. 
It was a sin. My punishment is just but, Oh God, it is 
hard, it is very hard, (he buries his head in his hands). 

PERSOME. No, brother, you are wrong. If you won't 
tell the police I will. I will not stand by and see you 
robbed. I know you are my brother and my Bishop 
and the best man in all France, but you are a fool. I 
tell you, a child, and I will not have your goodness 
abused. I shall go and inform the police, (going) 



THE BISHOP'S CANDLESTICKS. 17 

BISHOP. Stop, Person^. The candlesticks were 
mine, they are his now. It is better so. He has more 
need of them than I. My mother would have wished 
it so had she been here. 

PERSOME. But {great knocking without). 

SERGEANT (without) Monseigneur, Monseigneur, we 
have something for you, may we enter? 

BISHOP. Enter, my son. 

(Enter SERGEANT and three GENDARMES with CONVICT 
bound. The SERGEANT carries the candlesticks) 

PERSOME. Ah so they have caught you, villain, have 
they? 

SERGEANT. Yes, madam, we found this scoundrel 
slinking along the road, and as he wouldn't give any 
account of himself we arrested him on suspicion. Holy 
Virgin, isn't he strong and didn't he struggle ? While 
we were securing him these candlesticks fell out of his 
pockets. 



seizes them, goes to table and brushes them 
with her apron lovingly.) 

I remembered the candlesticks of Monseigneur the 
Bishop, so we brought him here that you might identify 
them and then we'll lock him up. (The BISHOP and the 
CONVICT have been looking at each other. The CONVICT 
with dogged defiance.) 

BISHOP. But, but I don't understand, this gentleman 
is my very good friend. 

SERGEANT. Your friend, Monseigneur 1 ! Holy Vir 
gin I Well!!! 

BISHOP. Yes, my friend, he did me the honour to 
sup with me to-night and I I have given him the 
candlesticks. 

SERGEANT (incredulously) You gave him, him your 
candlesticks? Holy Virgin! 

BISHOP (severely) Remember, my son, that she is 
Holy. 



18 THE BISHOP'S CANDLESTICKS, 

SERGEANT (saluting) Pardon, Monseigneur. 
BISHOP. And now I think you may let your prisoner 

go- 

SERGEANT. But he won't show me his papers, he 

won't tell me who he is. 

BISHOP. I have told you he is my friend. 

SERGEANT. Yes, that's all very well, but 

BISHOP. He is your Bishop's friend, surely that is 
enough. 

SERGEANT. Well, but 

BISHOP. Surely ? 

(A pause. The SERGEANT and the BISHOP look at each 

other.) 

SERGEANT. I I Humph 1 (to his men) Loose the 
prisoner (they do so) Right about turn, quick march ! 
(Exit SERGEANT and GENDARMES. A long pause?) 

CONVICT (very slowly as if in a dream) You told 
them you had given me the candlesticks, given me 
them. By God 1 

PERSOM (shaking her fist at him and hugging the 
candlesticks to her breast) Oh you scoundrel, you pitiful 
scoundrel, you come here and are fed. and warmed, 
and and you thieve ; steal from your benefactor. Oh 
you blackguard. 

BISHOP. Persome', you are overwrought. Go to 
your room. 

PERSOME. What, and leave you with him to be 
cheated again, perhaps murdered. No, I will not. 

BISHOP (with slight severity) Persome', leave us, I 
wish it. 

(She looks hard at him, then turns towards her door.) 

PERSOME. Well, if I must go at least I'll take the 
candlesticks with me. 

BISHOP (more severely) Persome, place the candle 
sticks on that table and leave us. 

PERSOM (defiantly) I will not 1 



THE BISHOP'S CANDLESTICKS. 19 

BISHOP (loudly and with great severity} I, your 
Bishop, command it. 

(PERSOM does so with great reluctance and Exits R.) 

CONVICT (shamefacedly) Monseigneur, I'm glad I 
didn't get away with them, curse me, I am. I'm glad. 

BISHOP. Now won't you sleep here, see your bed 
is ready. 

CONVICT. No ! (looking at the candlesticks} No 1 no I 
I daren't, I daren't besides I must go on, I must get 
to Paris, it is big, and I I can be lost there, they 
won't find me there and I must travel at night, do you 
understand ? 

BISHOP. I see you must travel by night. 

CONVICT. I I didn't believe there was any good 
in the world one doesn't when one has been in Hell, 
but somehow I I know you're good and, and it's a 
queer thing to ask but but could you, would you bless 
me before I go I I think it would help me. I 
(Jiangs his head very shamefacedly) 

BISHOP (Makes sign of the cross and murmurs bless 
ing). 

CONVICT (tries to speak but a sob almost chokes him} 
Good night, (he hurries towards the door) 

BISHOP. Stay, my son, you have forgotten your 
property (giving him the candlesticks). 

CONVICT. You mean me you want me to take 
them? 

BISHOP. Please, they may help you. 

(The CONVICT takes the candlesticks in absolute amaze* 
ment.) 

BISHOP. And, my son. There is a path through 
the woods at the back of this cottage which leads to 
Paris, it is a very lonely path, and I have noticed that 
my good friends the gendarmes do not like lonely 
paths at night. It is curious. 



20 THE BISHOP'S CANDLESTICKS. 

CONVICT. Ah, thanks, thanks, Monseigneur. I I 
(he sobs) Ah 1 I'm a fool, a child to cry, but somehow 
you have made me feel that that it is just as if some 
thing had come into me as if I were a man again and 
not a wild beast, (the door at back is open and the 
CONVICT is standing in if) 

BISHOP (putting his hand on his shoulder]. Always 
remember, my son, that this poor body is the Temple of 
the Living God. 

CONVICT (with great awe). The Temple of the Living 
God. I'll remember. (Exit L. c.) 

(The BISHOP doses the door and goes quietly to the Prie- 
dieu in the window R., he sinks on his knees, and bows 
his head in prayer.) 

SLOW CURTAIN. 



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