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Full text of "The Corn In Green"

THE CORN IS GREEN 



THE GOTO 
IS GREEN 



A COMEDY IN THREE ACTS BY 



EMLYN WI LLI AMS 




RANDOM HOUSE NEW YORK 



Fruiting 



CAUTION: Professionals and amateurs are hereby warned 
that The Corn h Grccn f being fully protected under the 
copyright laws of the United States of America, the British 
Empire including the Dominion of Canada, and all other 
countries of the copyright union, is subject to royalty. 
All rights, including professional, amateur, motion picture, 
recitation, lecturing, public reading, radio broadcasting, 
and the rights of translation into foreign, languages, are 
strictly reserved. Particular emphasis is laid on the ques- 
tion of readings, permission for which must < he secured 
from the author's agent in writing. All inquiries .should 
be addressed to the author's agent, Harold Freedman, 
10 1 Park Avenue, New York City. 

Illustrations courtesy of VANDAMM STUDIO 
COPYRIGHT, 1938, 1941, BY EMLYN WILLIAMS 



MANUFACTURED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 



To 
S. G. C. 

AND, AT HER REQUEST, 
TO ALL TEACHERS. 



The Corn Is Green was first produced at the National 
Theatre, New York City, on November 26, 1940, with the 
following cast: 



(In the order in which they 

John Goronwy Jones RHYS WILLIAMS 

yi Miss Ronberry MILDRED DUNNOCK 

Idwal Morris CHARLES S. PURSELL 

Sarah Pugh GWYNETH HUGHES 

A Groom GEORGE BLEASDALE 

/\ The Squire EDMOND BREON 

X" Mrs. Watty ROSALIND IVAN 

^-Bessie Watty THELMA SCHNEE 

""'"-Miss Moffat ETHEL BARRYMORE 

Robbart Robbatch THOMAS LYONS 

jXs Morgan "Evans RICHARD WARING 

Glyn Thomas KENNETH CLARKE 

John Owen MERRITT O'DuEL 

Will Hughes TERENCE MORGAN 

Old Tom SAYRE CRAWLEY 

Boys, Girls and Parents: Julia Knox, Amelia 

Romano, Betty Conibear, Rosalind Carter, Harda 
Normann, Joseph Mclnerney, Marcel Dill, G^yilym 
Williams, Tommy Dix. 

Produced and staged by HERMAN SHUMLIN 
Setting designed by HOWARD BAY 

Costumes designed by ERNEST SCHRAPPS 



SCENES 

ACT ONE 

SCENE I An afternoon in June. 

SCENE II A night in August, six weeks later. 

ACT TWO 

SCENE I An early evening in August, two years later. 
SCENE II A morning in November, three months later. 

ACT THREE 
An afternoon in July, seven months later. 



The action o the play takes place in the living room of 
a house in Glansarno, a small village in a remote Welsh 
countryside. 

The time is the latter part of the last century, and covers a 
period of three years. 



ACT ONE 



ACT ONE 

SCENE I 

The living room of a house in Glansarno, a small village 
in a remote Welsh countryside. A sunny afternoon in June, 
in the latter fart of the last century* 

The house is old, and the ceiling slants away from the 
audience. Facing the audience, on the left, narrow stairs lead 
up to a landing and then on the left to a passage to the bed- 
rooms; we can just see, facing, the door of one bedroom which 
is later to be Miss Moffat's. A door leads to the 'kitchen; at the 
foot of the stairs, an alcove and a door lead to a little room 
which is later the study. In the bac\ wall, to the right, the 
front door, with outside it a small stone porch faintly over- 
grown with ivy f and opening to the left on to a path; in the 
bad{ wall, to the left, a large bay window with a small sofa 
seat. In the right wall, downstage, the garden door, and above 
it a small side window; when the door is open we can just 
see a trellised porch with a creeper. Through the thievish 
curtains over the bay window we glimpse a jagged stone wall 
and the sfy. 

The floor is of stone flags, with one rug in front of the sofa. 
Paded sprigged wallpaper. 

The furniture is a curious jumble of old Welsh and Vic- 
torian pieces. A large serviceable flat-topped desJ^ under the 
side window, a dcsl{~chair in front of it; a table with a small 
chair f near the middle of the room; an armchair, between the 
dt*$l{ und the table; a sofa, downstage, between the table and 

3 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

the foot of the stairs; in the bac\ wall, near the %itchen door, 
an old Welsh dresser with plates and crockery; in the left 
wall, against the staircase, a settle; in the window recess, a 
small table. In the bac\ wall, to the right of the front door, 
a small grandfathers cloc\. An oil lamp on the center table, 
another on the des\. Another on the dresser. 

The most distinctive feature of the room is the amount of 
booths on the walls, of all sorts and sizes; some in open booJ{- 
cases, others on newly built shelves, in practically every avail- 
able space. 

The fyitchen door is open; there are boo^s on the window 
seat. 

As the curtain rises, MR. JOHN GORONWY JONES and MISS 
RONBERRY are arranging the last booths in their places; she is 
sitting on a tiny stool taking booths out of a large packing 
case and fitting them on to narrow shelves between the gar- 
den door and the side window, flicking each one mcchani* 
colly with a tiny lace handkerchief. She is a gentlewoman in 
her thirties, with the sort of pinched prettincss that tends to 
loo^ sharp before that age r especially when it maizes sporadic 
attempts at coquetry; she wears a hat. He is a shabby Welsh- 
man of forty f bespectacled, gloomy and intense; a volcano, 
harmless even in full eruption, He is perched on top of a 
stef ladder, arranging booths on a high shelf between the front 
door and the bay window, dusting them vigorously before 
putting them in place. 

MR. JONES 

(Singing) 

". . . Pechudur wy, y dtia'n yw-~*O UiTemP yw fy itghri; 
Gostwng cly glu$c ? a'am Ilefaln clyw . - . So so st 
so so!" 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MISS RONBERRY 

(Seated on stool) 

Your voice has given me an agonizing headache. And if 
you must indulge in music, will you please not do it in 
Welsh? 

MR. JONES 

I wasn't indulgin' in music, I was singin' a hymn. (Putting 
the last boo\ on the shelf and climbing down) And i a hymn 
gives you a headache, there is nothing wrong with the hymn, 
there is something wrong with your head. 

MISS RONBERRY 

I still don't see the necessity for it. 

MR. JONES 

(Picking up the empty packing case and moving 

toward the fytcheri) 
I sing to cheer myself up. 

MISS RONBERRY 

What do the words mean ? 

MR. JONES 

"The wicked shall burn in hell." (Exits into fytchen.} 

(MISS RONBERRY fic^s tip packing case. IDWAL MORRIS 
comes in from garden, stops at door.} 

MISS RONBERRY 

Ohl (IDWAL is a thin, ragged boy of thirteen, very timid} 

Is the garden nice and ready? 

5 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

IDWAL 

'Sgwelwchi'n dda, d'wi'di torri'r bloda. 

MISS RONBERRY 

Translation! (Crosses with box to chair in arch of bay 
window then to left of center table.) 

(MR. JONES returns, carries two piles of booJ{s.) 

I0WAL 

Os gwelwchi'n dda, Mistar Jones, d'wi'di torri'r bloda, a 
mae'r domen yn hogla'n ofnadwy. 

(MISS RONBERRY goes to him and ta/{es flowers.) 

MR. JONES 

He says he cut the sweet peas and the rubbish heap is 
smelling terrible. 

MISS RONBERRY 

Oh, dear. His father must put something on it. (Arranges 
flowers in vase.) 

MR. JONES 

(Going up ladder) 

That's the English all over. The devil is there, is he? Don't 
take him away, put a bit of scent on him! Gofyn i dy dad i 
roi rwbeth arno am heddyw, 

10WAL 

Diolch, syr. (He runs into the garden ttgttin.) 

6 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MISS RONBERRY 

I hope he will have the sense to give the message. 

MR. JONES 
(Still on ladder) 

It is terrible, isn't it, the people on these green fields and 
flowery hillsides bein' turned out of Heaven because they 
cannot answer Saint Peter when he asks them who they are 
in English? It is wicked, isn't it, the Welsh children not 
bein' born knowing English isn't it? Good heavens, God 
bless my soul, by Jove, this, that and the other! 

MISS RONBERRY 

Anybody in Wales will tell you that the people in this part 
o the countryside are practically barbarians. (SARAH PUGH 
comes out of the bedroom and down the stairs. She is a 
buxom peasant woman, with a strong Welsh accent) Not a 
single caller for fifteen miles, and even then . . . 

SARAH 
Please, Miss I made the bed lovely. And I dust . . . 

MISS RONBERRY 

That will be all, dear. The Colonel is bound to have his 
own manservant. 

SARAH 

Then I better have another sit down in my post office. 

MR. JONES 
What is the matter with your post office? 

7 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

SARAH 

It has (Opens door) not had a letter for seven weeks. 
Nobody but me can write, and no good me writing because 
nobody but me can read. If I get a telegram I put him in the 
window and I die straight off. (She goes, closes door.) 

MISS RONBERRY 

You see? I can't thinly why a Colonel should elect to come 
and live in this place. There. ... I have never seen so many 
books! I do hope the curtains will not be too feminine. I 
chose them with such care. 



MR. JONES 
(Darkly) 

Why are you taking so much trouble getting somebody 
else's house ready for them? 

MISS RONBERRY 

(Examines cushion) 

You need not have helped me if you did not wish! (Crosses 
to settle for needle and thread) I am frightened of the spin' 
ning-wheel, too, and the china; his own furniture is so dis- 
tinctive. The desk. And the wastepapcr basket. . . * So . , 
so virile. 

MR. JONES 

(On ladder) 

Are you hoping that the Colonel will live up to his waste 
paper basket? 

MISS RON'BERRt 

That is horrid. 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MR. JONES 

And then you will have two on a string: him and the 
Squire . . . 

MISS RONBERRY 

Mr. Jones! 

MR. JONES 

And if I was a bit more of a masher, there would be three. 
Worldly things, that is your trouble. "Please, Mistar Jones, 
rny life is as empty as a rotten nutshell, so get me a husband 
before it is too late, double quick!" 

(A f^nocl^ at the front door; it opens and a liveried 
GROOM appears.) 

MISS RONBERRY 

You insulting man . . . 

GROOM 

The Squire. 

(The SQUIRE follows him. He is a handsome English 
country gentleman in his forties, wearing knic\er- 
hocl^ers and gaiters; a hard drinker f bluff, fyind, im- 
mensely vain; and, when the time comes, obtusely 
obstinate. The GROOM goes out again and shuts the 
door.} 

MISS RONBERRY 

(Fluttering eagerly into a handshake) 

Squire. . - , 

9 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

THE SQUIRE 

(With exuberant -patronage) 

Delicious lady, delicious surprise, and a merry afternoon to 
ye, as our forebears put it. ... How are you, Jones, making 
the most of your half -day? 

MR. JONES 
(Sullenly, making an uncertain effort to rise from the 

ladder) 
Good afternoon, sir ... 

THE SQUIRE 

Squat, dear fellow, squat . . . No ceremony with me! 
And why, dear lady, were you not at the Travers-Ellis wed- 
ding? 

(JONES starts down the ladder.) 

MISS RONBERRY ' 

Naughty! I sat next to you at the breakfast* 

THE SQUIRE 

By Jingo! So you did! 

MR. JONES 

Excuse me ... 

(He goes into study.) 

THE SQUIRE 

Deuced fine breakfast, . - . 

10 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MISS RONBERRY 

We had a talk about children. 

THE SQUIRE 

Did we? Well, the next wedding we're at, there'll be no 
chance of my forgettin' you, eh? 

MISS RONBERRY 

Why? 

THE SQUIRE 

Because you'll be the stunning, blushing bride! 

MISS RONBERRY 

And who will be the ? 

THE SQUIRE 

Now that's what / want to know, because I'm going to give 
you away! 

MISS RONBERRY 

Oh! 

(MR. JONES returns from the study.) 

THE SQUIRE 

Now who's it going to be? 

MISS RONBERRY 

Squire, you are too impatient! I am taking my time! 

THE SQUIRE 

Too bad . . No sign of the new inhabitant? 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MISS RONBERRY 

Any moment now, I think! The pony and trap met the 
London train at a quarter to twelve! 

THE SQUIRE 

Hasn't the fellow got his own private conveyance? 

MISS RONBERRY 

I think not. 

THE SQUIRE 

I hope he's all right. 

MISS RONBERRY 

He wrote very civilly to Mr. Jones about the house . . . 

THE SQUIRE 

Oh, yes. Not a club, I remember, but the papernot bad 
texture. Funny sort o chap, though, eh ? 

MISS RONBERRY 

Why? 

THE SQUIRE 

All these books. 

(A timid l{nocl{ at the front door. IDWAL enters, very 
frightened,) 

IDWAL 

Os gwclwchi'n (Ida, syr, mac Mistar Tomos wcdi 'ngyrrti i 
yma ich gwckl chil 

12 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

THE SQUIRE 

Y'know, it's as bad as being abroad. . . . Been among it 
half my life, and never get used to it. 

MR. JONES 
The groom told him, sir, that you wanted to see him. 

THE SQUIRE 

Oh, yes well, come here where I can see you, eh? (SQUIRE 
turns to him) Now, boy, how old are you (To JONES) or 
whatever the Chinese is for it? 

MR. JONES 

Just turned thirteen, sir. 

THE SQUIRE 

Thirteen? Well, why aren't you working in the mine over 
in the next valley? Don't like to see young fellows wasting 
their time, y'know. 

MR. JONES 

He has got one lung funny. 

THE SQUIRE 

Oh, I see. . . . Rough luck. Here, laddy, there's a sixpence 
for you, and remember all work and no play makes Taffy 
a dull boy! 

IDWAL 

Diolch yn faw, syr . . . 

THE SQUIRE 

And tell your uncle I want Ranger shod . . . 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

IDWAL 

Diolch, syr . . . 

THE SQUIRE 

And a gate mended . . . 

IDWAL 
Diolch yn faw, syr ... (He runs out.) 

MISS RONBERRY 

But he hasn't understood your orders! 

THE SQUIRE 

Neither he has . . . 

MR. JONES 

He thought the Squire was havin' a chat. I will tell his 
uncle 

IDWAL 

(Offstage, calling shrilly to his friends) 
Tomos Aneurin clyma'r cerbycl (JONES loo/{s out win- 
dow) dewch i wePd fe ddwe-dai with y Seweiar bry- 
siwchl 

MISS RONBERRY 

(Rises) 

That must be something . 

(IDWAL appears at the front door,, panting with expec- 
tation.) 

IDWAL 

Pliss, syr, dymaV carbyd! 

(He darts bact^ leaving the door open,) 
14 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MISS RONBERRY 

(JLoo\s out window) 
He must mean the Colonel. How gratifying . . . 

(BESSIE WATTY wanders shyly in. She is an extremely 
pretty, flump little girl of "fourteen; it is a moment 
before one realizes that her demureness is too good 
to be true. She wears her hair over her shoulders f is 
dressed very plainly, in a shabby sailor suit and hat, 
and carries brown-paper parcels. She is followed by 
MRS. WATTY, a middle-aged Cockney servant, dressed 
for traveling, carrying a hamper in her arms. Her 
self-confidence is not so overwhelming as the Squire's, 
but it is quite as complete, and as J^indly.} 

THE SQUIRE 

Capital . , . 

MRS. WATTY 

(To the SQUIRE) 
D'you speak English? 

THE SQUIRE 

(TaJ^en abacJ{) 
I do. 

MRS. WATTY 

Be a clear an' 'old this! 

(She hands him the hamper and hurries out through 
the front door.} 

THE SQUIRE 

Crikey! A Colonel with an abigail! (Catching BESSIE'S owl- 

15 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

li\e expression and stopping short) Why don't you say some- 
thing? 

BESSIE 
I never speak till I'm spoken to. 

THE SQUIRE 

Oh ... Well, who was that? 

BESSIE 

My mummy. (To MISS RQNBERRY) I never had no daddy. 
(Her accent is not as natural as her mother's; she sometimes 
strains to be ladylike f especially at moments lil^e this. MRS. 
WATTY returns with two large parcels.) 

MRS. WATTY 

My Gawd (Pause) they're heavy. (Puts them on table) 

MISS RONBERRY 

What are they? 

MRS. WATTY 

Books. 

(Tal(es hamper from SQUIRE.) 

THE SQUIRE 

Is your employer with you, my good woman? 

MRS. WATTY 

No, followed bc'ind, most of the way. Ought to he Vre by 
now, Fll 'avc a see* . . . (Goes to door) lire we arc! Tally-o! 
Thought we'd lost you! 

16 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

(A pause. MISS MOFFAT comes in from the road, wheel- 
ing a bicycle. She is about forty, a healthy English- 
woman with an honest face, clear, beautiful eyes, a 
humorous mouth, a direct friendly manner, and un- 
bounded vitality, which is prevented from tiring the 
spectator by its capacity for sudden silences and for 
listening. Her most prominent characteristic is her 
complete unsentimentality * She we,ars a straw hat, 
collar and tie, and a dar\ unexaggerated styrt; a 
satchel hangs from her shoulder.) 

MISS MOFFAT 

I was hoping to pass you, but that last hill was too much 
for me. (Displaying the bicycle) Good afternoon. 

ALL 
Good afternoon. 

MISS MOFFAT 

There's a smallish crowd already, so I thought I'd better 
bring Priscilla inside. Watty, can you find somewhere for 
her? (She gives the room a quicJ{ appraising loo\, peers out 
of the side window, and nods pleasantly to the SQUIRE.) 

MRS. WATTY 

Dunno, I'm sure. 

MISS MOFFAT 

I think I'll have a look at the garden first* (She goes out 
out into the garden.) 

MRS. WATTY 

(Wheeling bicycle gingerly toward the \itcheri) 
That must be my kitchen in there, well 'ave to 'ang 'er 

17 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

with the bacon. (To BESSIE) Come on, girl, give us a 'and 
don't stand there gcttin' into mischief! 



BESSIE 
I'm frightened of it. 

MRS. WATTY ' 

It won't bite you! Most it can do is catch fire, and I'll 'ave 
a drop o' water ready for it. (Her voice fades away into the 



BESSIE 
Has anybody got a sweetie? 

MISS RQNBERRY 

No. 

BESSIE 

Oh ____ 

(She trails after her mother into the lytchen. MISS 
MOFFAT returns very businesslike.) 

MISS MOFFAT 

It's bigger than I expected. . . . (Closes floor) There! 
(Puts satchel on des/{) Good afternoon! So this is my 
house. . . . 

THE SQUIRE 

(Mustering) 
No, it isn't! 

MISS MOFFAT 

Oh? Isn't this Pcngarth? The name of the building, I 

mean ? 

18 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MISS RONBERRY 

Yes, it is. ... 

MISS MOFFAT 

That's right, it was left me by my uncle, Dr. Moffat. I'm 
Miss Moffat. I take it you're Miss Ronberry, who so kindly 
corresponded with me? 

THE SQUIRE 

But sure those letters were written by a man? 

MISS MOFFAT 

Well, if they were, I have been grossly deceiving myself 
for over forty years. Now this is jolly interesting. Why did it 
never occur to you that I might be a woman? 

THE SQUIRE 

Well the paper wasn't scented . . . 



MISS RONBERRY 

And such a bold hand . . . 



THE SQUIRE 

And that long piece about the lease being ninety-nine years, 
don't you know . . . 

MISS MOFFAT 

Was there anything wrong with it? 

THE SQUIRE 

No, there wasn't, that's the point, 

19 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MISS MOFFAT 

I see. 

MISS RONBERRY 

And surely you signed your name very oddly? 

MISS MOFFAT 

My initials, L. C. Moffat? You see, I've never felt that 
Lily Christabel really suited me. 

MISS RONBERRY 

And I thought it meant Lieutenant-Colonel! But there 
was a military title after it. 

MISS MOFFAT 

M.A., Master of Arts. 

THE SQUIRE 

Arts? D'ye mean the degree my father bought me when I 
came down from the Varsity? 

MISS MOFFAT 

The very same. Except that: I was at Aberdeen, and had to 
work jolly hard for mine. 

TOE SQUIRE 

A female M.A.? And how long's that going to last? 



Quite a long time, 1 hope, considering we've been waiting 

for it for two thousand years. 

20 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MR. JONES 

(Who has been silent since she entered} 
Are you saved? 

MISS MOFFAT 

(Starting, turning and taking him in for the first time) 
I beg your pardon? 

MR. JONES 
Are you Church or Chapel? 

MISS MOFFAT 

I really don't know . . . And now you know all about me, 
what do you do? 

THE SQUIRE 

I'm afraid I don't do anything. (He extricates his hat 
angrily from the table.) 

MISS RONBERRY 

Mr. Treverby owns the Hall! 

MISS MOFFAT 

Really. I've never had much to do with the landed gentry. 
Interesting. 

THE SQUIRE 

An rcvoir, dear lady. 'Day, Jones. (He goes frigidly out by 
the front door. JONES closes door} 

MISS MOFFAT 

Well, nobody could say that I've made a conquest there. 
. . . What's the matter with him? 

(MRS. WATTY comes in from kitchen with tea tray.) 

21 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MRS. WATTY 

I found the tea, ma'am, it loof^s all right. . . . 

MISS MOFFAT 

Good! 

MRS. WATTY 

An' the big luggage is comin' after , . . 

MISS MOFFAT 

(At study door) 
This isn't a bad little room . . . 

MRS. WATTY 

Where's his lordship? 

MISS MOFFAT 

(Going upstairs') 
Took offense and left. (She disappears down the passage.) 

MRS. WATTY 

(Loof{s at them both) 
Took offense? At 'cr? 

MISS RONBERRY 

I am afraid so. 

MRS, WATTY 

I'm jiggered 1 What: cFyo// think of 'er, eh? Ain't she a 

clinker? 

MISS RONBERRY 

She is unusual, is she not? 

22 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MRS. WATTY 

She's a clinker, that's what. Terrible strong-willed, o' course, 
terrible. Get 'er into mischief, I keep tellin' 'er. Would bring 
me 'ere. I said no, I said, not with my past, I said, 

MISS RONBERRY 

Your past? 

MRS. WATTY 

Before she took me up. But what with 'er, and now I've 
joined the Corpse, it's all blotted out. 

MR. JONES 
The Corpse? 

MRS. WATTY 

The Militant Righteous Corpse. Ran into 'em in the street 
I did, singin' and prayin' and collectin', full blast; and I been 
a different woman since. Are you saved? 

MR. JONES 
Yes, I am. 

MRS. WATTY 

So'm I. Ain't it lovely? 

MISS RONBERRY 

But what was your past? 

MRS. WATTY 

(Sorrowfully) 
Light fingers. 

MISS RONBERRY 

Light fingers? You mean stealing? 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MRS. WATTY 

Everywhere I went. Terrible. Pennies, stocking brooches, 
spoons, tiddly, anything. Every time there was a do, every- 
thing went; and I always knew it was me! (MISS MGFFAT 
comes downstairs} I was just tellin' 'em about my trouble. 

MISS MOFFAT 

Well, don't tell them any more. Is your kitchen all right? 

MRS. WATTY 

I ain't seed no mice yet. (She goes into "kitchen, takes 
hamper with her.} 

(Far away, softly, the sound of boys' voices, singing an 
old country song, in harmony, in Welsh: "Yr Hufcn 
Mclyn.") 

MISS MOFFAT 

I agree with the last tenant's taste. . . . You have arranged 
my things quite splendidly. Miss Ronbcrry. I do thank you 
both of you. ... I like this house (As the music grows *'/- 
perceptibly in the distance) . . What's that singing? 

MR. JONKS 

Boys coming home from the mine, 

MISS KONBERRY 

They burst into song on the slightest provocation* You 

mustn't take any notice . . . 

MISS MOFFAT 

1 like it ... And those mountains. That grand wild coun* 

24 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

tryside . . . The foreign-looking people . . . But business . . . 
I've heard about that mine. How far is it? 



MR. JONES 
It is the Glasynglo coal mine, six miles over the hills, 

MISS MOFFAT 

Hm . . . 

MISS RONBERRY 

We're hoping it will stay the only one, or our scenery will 
be ruined such a pretty landscape . . . 

MISS MOFFAT 

What is the large empty building next door? 

MR. JONES 

Next door? The old barn belongin' to the Gwalia Farm, 
before the farm was burnt down. . . . 

(Song fades out.) 

MISS MOFFAT 

So it's free? 

MR. JONES 

(Perplexed) 

Free? Yes ... 

MISS RONBERRY 

(Rises) 

I am overstaying my welcome. So very charming . . . 

25 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MR. JONES 

I also. All the volumes are dusted. . . . 
(Starts to go toward her.) 

MISS MOFFAT 

I want you two people. Very specially. First you. Miss Ron- 
berry. I used to meet friends of yours at lectures in London. 
You live alone, you have just enough money, you're not badly 
educated, and time lies heavy on your hands. 

MISS RONBERRY 

The Wingroves! How mean! I should never have 
thought , . . 

MISS MOFFAT 

Isn't that so? 

MISS RONBERRY 

Not at all. When the right gentleman appears , , , 

MISS MOFFAT 

If you're a spinster well on In her thirties, he's lost his 
way and isn't coming. Why don't you face the fact and enjoy 
yourself, the same as I do? 

MISS RONBERRY 

But when clicl you give up hope? Oh, what a horrid ex- 
pression. . * . 

MISS MOFFAT 

I can't recall ever having any hope. Visitors used to take a 
long look at my figure and say: "Shtfs going to be the clever 
one," 

26 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MISS RONBERRY 

But a woman's only future is to marry and and fulfill the 
duties of ... 

MISS MOFFAT 

Skittles! I'd have made a shocking wife, anyway. 

MISS RONBERRY 

But haven't you ever been in love? 

MISS MOFFAT 

No. 

MISS RONBERRY 

How very odd. 

MISS MOFFAT 

I've never talked to a man for more than five minutes 
without wanting to box his ears. 

MISS RONBERRY 

But how have you passed your time since . . . ? 

MISS MOFFAT 

Since I had no hope? Very busily. In the East End, for 
years. 

MISS RONBERRY 

Social service? 

MISS MOFFAT 

If you like; though there's nothing very social about wash- 
ing invalids with every unmentionable ailment under the 
sun. , . . I've read a lot, too. I'm afraid I'm what is known 
as an educated woman. Which brings me to Mr. Jones; the 
Wingroves told me all about you, too. 

27 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MR. JONES 

My conscience is as clear as the snow. 

MISS MOFFAT 

I'm sure it is, but you're a disappointed man, aren't you? 

MR. JONES 
(Startled) 
How can I be disappointed when I am saved? 

MISS MOFFAT 

Oh, but you can! You can't really enjoy sitting all by your- 
self on a raft, on a sea, containing everybody you know. 
You're disappointed because you're between two stools, 

MR. JONES 
Between two stools ? On a raft ? 



MISS MOFFAT 

Exactly. Your father was a grocer with just enough money 
to send you to a grammar school, with the result that you 
arc educated beyond your sphere, and yd; fail to quality for 
the upper classes. You feel frustrated, and fall back on being 
saved. Am I right? 

MR. JONES 

It is such a terrible thing you have said that I will have to 
think it over, 

MISS MOFFAT 

Do. (Rises) But in the meantime (P^jr^) would you 

two like to stop moping and be very useful to me? 

28 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MISS RONBERRY 



Useful? 



MISS MOFFAT 

Yes, tell me within a radius of five miles, how many fam- 
ilies are there round here? 



MISS RONBERRY 

Families? There's the Squire, of course, and Mrs. Gwent- 
Price in the little Plas Lodge, quite a dear thing . . . 

MISS MOFFAT 

I mean ordinary people. 

MISS RONBERRY 

The villagers? 

MISS MOFFAT 

Yes. How many families ? 

MISS RONBERRY 

I really haven't the faint . . . 

MR. JONES 

There are about twenty families in the village and fifteen 
in the farms around. 

MISS MOFFAT 

Many children? 

MR. JONES 

What age? 

29 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MISS MOFFAT 

Up to sixteen or seventeen. 

MR. JONES 

Round here they are only children till they are twelve. 
Then they are sent away over the hills to the mine, and in 
one week they are old men. 

MISS MOFFAT 

I see. How many can read or write ? 

MR. JONES 
Next to none. 

MISS RONBERRY 

Why do you ask? 

MISS MOFFAT 

Because I am going to start a school for them. 

MISS RONBERRY 

(Coldly) 

Start a school for them? What for? 



MISS MOFFAT 

What for? See these books? Hundreds o *em and some- 
thing wonderful to read in every single one. These nippers 
are to be cut off from all that, for ever, arc they? Why? Be- 
cause they happen to he born penniless in an uncivilized 
countryside, coining gold clown there in that stinking dun- 
geon for some beef-headed old miser! 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MR. JONES 

(Roused) 
That's right. . . . 

MISS MOFFAT 

The printed page, what is it? One of the miracles o all 
time, that's what! And yet when these poor babbies set eyes 
on it, they might just as well have been struck by the miracle 
of sudden blindness; and that, to my mind, is plain infamous! 



MR. JONES 
My goodness, Miss, that's right. . . . 

MISS RONBERRY 

The ordinary children, you mean? 



MISS MOFFAT 

Yes, my dear, the ordinary children that came into the 
world by the same process exactly as you and I. When I heard 
that this part of the world was a disgrace to a Christian coun- 
try, I knew this house was a godsend. I am going to start a 
school, immediately, next door in the barn, and you are going 
to help me! 

MISS RONBERRY 

I? 

MISS MOFFAT 

Yes, you! You're going to fling away your parasol and 
your kid gloves, and you're going to stain those tapering 
fingers with a little honest toil! 

3* 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MISS RONBERRY 

I couldn't teach those children, I couldn't! They they 
smell! 

MISS MOFFAT 

I we'd never been taught to wash, so would we; we'll put 
'em under the pump. . . . Mr. Jones d'ye know what I'm 
going to do with that obstinate old head of yours? 

MR. JONES 
My head? 

MISS MOFFAT 

I'm going to crack it open with a skewer. And I'm going 
to excavate all those chunks of grammar-school knowledge., 
give 'em a quick dust, and put 'em to some use at last. 

MR. JONES 

I am a solicitor's clerk in Gwaenygam and I cam thirty- 
three shillings per week. . . . 

MISS MOFFAT 

111 give you thirty-four and your lunch. 

MISS RONBKRRY 

I have an enormous house to run, and the flowers to do. . . . 

MISS MOFFAT 

Shut it up except one room, and leave the flowers to die a 
natural death in their own beds, I've been left a little money 

and I know exactly what I am going to do with it . . * 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MR. JONES 

But those children are in the mine earning money. How 
can they . . . ? 

MISS MOFFAT 

I'll pay their parents the few miserable pennies they get out 
of it ... And when I've finished with you, you won't have 
time to think about snapping up a husband, and you won't 
have time to be so pleased that you're saved! Well? 



MR. JONES 
I do not care if you are not chapel, I am with you. 

MISS MOFFAT 

Good! I have all the details worked out. I'll explain roughly. 
. . . Come along my dears, gather round, children gather 
round. (She ta\es the dazed MISS RONBERRY by the arm, seats 
her beside her on the $oja> and bec\pns MR. JONES to sit on 
her other side) Of course, we must go slowly at first, but if 
we put our backs into it ... Here we are, three stolid 
middle-aged folk, settled in our little groove and crammed 
with benefits; and there are those babbies scarcely out of the 
shell, that have no idea they are even breathing the air. . . . 
Only God can know how their life will end, but He will 
give us the chance to direct them a little of the way. . . . 



MR. JONES 

(Intoning, seized with religious fervor) 
We have the blessed opportunity to raise up the children 
from the bowels of the earth where the devil hath imprisoned 

33 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

them in the powers of darkness, and bring them to the light 
of knowledge 

MRS. WATTY 

(Coming in from the J^itchen) 
Here's the tea! 

MISS MOFFAT 

Each of us can take several classes, not only for the children, 
but their fathers and their mothers, and the older people too. 

The curtain falls. 



34 



ACT ONE 

SCENE II 

A night in August, six wee\s later. The window curtains 
arc closed and the lamps lit. The armchair has been pushed 
away from table, and two small benches face the audience. 
Red geraniums in pots across the window sills. Miss Moffat's 
straw hat is slung over the \nob of the settle at the foot of 
the stairs. The big des\ f the sofa and the settle are littered 
with boo\s, exercise books and sheets of paper. Apart from 
these details the room is unchanged. 

Sitting on the bench are five blac\-faced miners f between 
twelve and sixteen years of age f wearing caps f mufflers, boots 
and corduroys embedded in coal; they looJ^ as if they had 
been commanded to wait. They all loo\ ali\e under their 
blacJ^; the ringleader is MORGAN EVANS, fifteen, quicT^ and im- 
pudent; his second is ROBBART RQBBATCH, a big, slow boy, a year 
or two older; the others are GLYN THOMAS, WILL HUGHES and 
JOHN OWEN. They all hum at rise. 

MRS. WATTY comes downstairs, carrying a basket of washing. 

MRS. WATTY 

You 'ere again? (On stairs, stops halfway down.) 

ROBBART 

Be mai'n ddeud? 

MRS. WATTY 

I said, you 'ere again? 

35 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MORGAN 

No, Miss. 

MRS. WATTY 

What d'ye mean, no, Miss ? 

MORGAN 

We issn't 'ere again, Miss. 

MRS. WATTY 

What are you, then ? 

MORGAN 

We issn't the same lot ass this mornin', Miss. 

MRS. WATTY 

Ain't you? 

MORGAN 

Miss Ronny-berry tell us to wait, Miss, 

MRS. WATTY 

Ma'aml (Goes to tytchen door.} 

f 

MISS MOFFAT 

(In the bedroom} 

Yes? 

MRS. WATTY 

Five more nigger boys for you! (She goes into the tytehen* 
MORGAN ta/tes a bottle from his poef^et and swigs at it. One of 
the others holds out his hand, takes the bottle, gulps, and 

gives it bac/{ f while another begins to hum absent-mindedly, 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

a snatch of the same song as before. The rest ta\e up the 
harmony and sing it to the end. MR. JONES comes in.) 

MORGAN 

Sh! Good evening sir. 



MR. JONES 

Good evening. (Tips hat.) 

MORGAN 

I seed you and the lady teacher be'ind the door! (A laugh 
from him and the others.) 

MR. JONES 

You wait till you see Miss MoflEat. She will give you what 
for. 

MORGAN 

(Shading finger at boys) 

You wait till you see Miss Moffat. She will give you what 
for! (MR. JONES goes into the 'kitchen. ROBBART re-peats: "You 
wait till you see Miss Moffat, she will give you what for!") 
Shh! 

(MISS MOFFAT comes downstairs from the bedroom.) 

MISS MOFFAT 

I told you, the shape of the bedroom doesn't allow for a 
door into the barn Oh, she isn't here. . . . Sorry to keep you 
waiting, boys ? but I have to go across to Mr. Rees, the car- 
penter, and then 111 be able to talk to you. In the meantime, 

37 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

will you go to the pump in the garden shed, and wash your 
hands? Through there. You'll find a lantern. Did you under- 
stand all that? 

MORGAN 

Yes, Miss. 

THE OTHERS 

Thank you, Miss. 

MISS MOFFAT 

Good. (Starts to go.) 

MORGAN 

Please, Miss, can I have a kiss? 

MISS MOFFAT 

(Returns') 

What did you say? 

MORGAN 
Please, Miss, can I have a kiss? 

MISS MOFFAT 

Of course you can. (Puts her foot on bench tafos him by 
the ned{ and bends him over her knee and spanks him with 
the plans she carries) Can 1 oblige anybody else? (She goes 
out by the front door. The others follow fur with their eyes, 
aghast, in silence.) 

ROBBART 

Please, Miss, can I 'ave a smack bottom? 

(An uproar of mirth, and a tjuict( tangle of Welsh.) 

wnx 
Na-beth of Naw-stee. 

38 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MORGAN 



Cythral uffarn . . . 



GLYN 

Be hari hi hi a'i molchi . . . 



JOHN 
Pwy sisho molchi . . . 

WILL 
Welso ti'rioed wraig fel ene 

MORGAN 

Mae'n Iwcus na ddaru mi mo'i thrawo hi lawr a'i lladd 
hi ... 

ROBBART 

Nawn (Rises) i drio molchi dewch hogia (All rise 
start off) mae'n well nag eistedd yma dewch . . . 

GLYN 

Dynna gusan yti Morgan Bach. 

ROBBART 

Cymmer yna y corgu fol. 

JOHN 
Dynna ateb i ti. 

WILL 
Jobin da y diawl. 

MORGAN 
Cai da geg. 

39 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

(They lumber into the garden, dose door. MR. JONES' 
head appears timidly from the fyitchen. He sees they 
are gone, gives a sigh of relief, and comes into the 
room, carrying booJ^s. BESSIE comes in from the front 
door, dejected and sulfyy. She is munching a sweet; 
her hair is in curls, and one curl is turned around one 
finger, which she holds stiffly in the air. She lays her 
hat on the sofa, then decides MR. JONES'S company is 
better than none.) 

BESSIE 
Would you like a sweetie ? 

MR. JONES 
No, thank you, my little dear. Have you had another walk ? 

BEsSSIE 

Yes, Mr. Jones. All by myself. 

MR. JONES 

Did you see anybody? 

BESSIE 

Only a lady and a gentleman in the lane and mother told 

me never to look. . . . I do miss the shops. London's full o" 

them, you know. 

MR. JONES 

Full of fancy rubbish, you mean, 

BESSIE 

I'd like to be always shopping* I would, Sundays and 
all . . . 

40 



Bessie! 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MRS. WATTY 



BESSIE 

(Slyly} 

Mr. Jones, is it true the school idea isn't going on that 
well? 

MR. JONES 

Who told you that? 

BESSIE 

Miss Ronberry was sayin' something to my mum. Oh, I 
wasn't listenin'! . . . Besides, we've been here six weeks, and 
nothings started yet. 

MR. JONES 
Everything is splendid. 

BESSIE 

(Disappointed} 

Oh, I'm glad. Miss Moffat's been cruel to me, but I don't 
bear no grudge. 

MR. JONES 
Cruel to you? 

BESSIE 

She hides my sweets. She's a liar too. 

MR. JONES 
A liar? 

BESSIE 

Told me they're bad for me. And it says on the bag they're 
nourishin*. . . , And the idea of learnin' school with those 
children, ooh . . . 

41 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MR. JONES 

Why are you holding your hair like that? 

BESSIE 
These are my curls. D'you think it's nice? 

MR. JONES 
It is nice, but it is wrong. 

MRS. WATTY 

(Calling shrilly, in the J^itchen) 
Bess-ie! 

BESSIE 

I've been curlin' each one round me finger and holdin' it 
tight till it was all right. My finger's achin' something ter- 
rible. (She goes into the kitchen* A 1{noc\ at the front door.) 



MR. JONES 

Dewch ifewn. 



(IDWAL appears, drawing a small wooden crate on tiny 
wheels which he pushes in front of the sofa, MISS 

RONBERRY comes in from the study.) 

1PWAL 

Cloch yr ysgol, Mistar Jones. 

MR. JONES 

Diolch, ymachgcni* (Pause) Nosduwch. 

42 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

IDWAL 

Nosdawch, Mistar Jones. (He leaves through the front 
door.) 

MISS RONBERRY 

It says here that eight sevens are fifty-six. Then it says that 
seven eights are fifty-six I can't see that at all (MISS MOFFAT 
returns.) Well? 

MISS MOFFAT 

No good. 

MISS RONBERRY 

Oh, dear. 

MISS MOFFAT 

Mr. Rees says he's had a strict order not to discuss lining 
the roof till the lease of the barn is signed. 

MR. JONES 
Who gave the order? 

MISS MOFFAT 

That's what I want to know. 

MISS RONBERRY 

And when will the lease be signed? 

MISS MOFFAT 

Never, it seems to me. Did you call at the solicitor's ? 

MR. JONES 

They have located Sir Herbert Vezey, but he is now doubt- 
ful about letting the barn and will give his decision by post. 

43 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MISS MOFFAT 

But why? He'd already said it was no use to him. And 
my references were impeccable. . . . Why? 

MISS RONBERRY 

You look tired. 

MISS MOFFAT 

It's been a bit of a day. A letter from the mine to say no 
child can be released aboveground that's all blethers, but 
still ... A request from the public house not to start a school 
in case it interferes with beer-swilling and games of chance. 
A message from the chapel people to the effect that I am a 
foreign adventuress with cloven feet; a bit of a day. 

(MRS. WATTY comes in from the kitchen with a cup of 
tea.) 

MRS. WATTY 

Drop o' tea, rna'am, I expect you've 'ad a bit of a day. . . . 

MISS MOFFAT 

Who was that at the back, anything important? 

MRS. WATTY 

Only the person that does for that Mrs. Gwcnt-Price. 
Would you not 'ave your school opposite her lady because of 
her lady's 'eadaches. 

MISS MOFFAT 

(Angrily) 

What did you say ? 

44 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MRS. WATTY 

I pulverized 'er. I said it would be a shame, I said, if there 
was such a shindy over the way that the village couldn't hear 
Mrs. Double-Barrel givin' her 'usband what for, I said. The 
person didn't know where to put 'erself. (She goes bacl^ into 
the fytchen.) 

MR. JONES 

That has not helped the peace in the community, neither. 

MISS MOFFAT 

I know, but she does make a tip-top cup of tea. . . . (See- 
ing the crate, wearily) What's that? 



MR. JONES 
It is the bell, for the school. 



MISS MOFFAT 

Oh, is it? 

MISS RONBERRY 

(Rising) 
The bell? Do let us have a peep . . . 

MR. JONES 

It was on Llantalon Monastery before it burnt down. . . . 

MISS MOFFAT 

(Of ens crate) 

Look, it's got the rope, and everything. . . . Well, it's good 
to see it, anyway. 

45 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MISS RONBERRY 

The mason finished the little tower for it yesterday. Do let 
us tell those boys to put it up! It'll bring us luck! 

MISS MOFFAT 

I it keeps them out o mischief till I'm ready . , . 

MISS RONBERRY 

Mr. Jones, do go and tell them! 

(JONES gives her a doubtful loo\ and goes toward the 
garden. As he opens the door, JOHN OWEN shouts: 
"Mai, Mr. Jones, yn dywed!" All the boys laugh,} 

MISS MOFFAT 

Poor Jonesy, he's terrified of 'em. 

MISS RONBERRY 

So am I. They're so big. And so black. . . . 

(SARAH runs in, excited, leaving the door open behind 
her.) 

SARAH 

A letter from the gentleman that own the barn, I had a 
good look at the seal! 

MISS MOFFAT 

At last . . . 

MISS RONBERRY 

What does it say? 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MISS MOFFAT 

Sir Herbert still cannot give a definite decision until the 
seventeenth. Another week wasted. This is infuriating. 

MISS RONBERRY 

Does it mean he may not let you have it? 

SARAH 
Oh 

MISS MOFFAT 

He must it would ruin everything. . . . 

MISS RONBERRY 

Sarah isn't there another empty building anywhere round 
here? 

SARAH 

There is the pigsties on the Maes Road, but they issn't big 
enough. (5/2 e goes.) 

MISS RONBERRY 

Oh, dear! Can't we start afresh somewhere else? 



MISS MOFFAT 

I've spent too much on preparations here besides, I felt 
so right here from the start. ... I can't leave now . , . I'm 
a Christian woman, but I could smack Sir Herbert's face till 
my arm dropped off. 

(The front door is opened unceremoniously and the 
SQUIRE strides in; he is in full evening dress.) 

47 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

THE SQUIRE 

Jolly good evenin', teacher. Remember me? 

MISS MOFFAT 

Would you mind going outside, knocking, and waiting 
quite a long time before I say "Come in"? 

THE SQUIRE 

Jolly good! Parlor games, what? 

MISS RONBERRY 

But, Miss Moffat, it's the Squire! Squire, you must forget 
you ever saw me in this dress ... So ashamed ... I shan't 
be a moment . . . (She runs upstairs into the bedroom.) 



THE SQUIRE 

Rat tat tat, one two three four come in, one two three four, 
forward march! My dear madam, you're not in class now! (A 
\noc\ at the garden door) Come in! 

(ROBBART and MORGAN enter from garden. MORGAN has 
lantern.) 

ROBBART 

Please, Miss, for the bell. 

THE SQUIRE 

Evening, boys! (Enter JONES) Evening, Jones, I am ap- 
palled to observe, my boys, that you are still soiling your 
fingers in, that disgusting coal mine! 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MR. JONES 

Excuse me, please. . . . (He goes into the study.) 

THE SQUIRE 

What's that you've got there? 

ROBBART 

Bell, syr, for the school. 

THE SQUIRE 

Up with it, boys, up with it! (ROBBART lifts the crate and 
carries it out of the garden door, which MORGAN has opened 
for him. MORGAN follows him, shutting the door) Ding dong 
bell teacher's in the well! . . . Now, my dear madam 

MISS MOFFAT 

Fm rather irritable this evening, so unless there's a reason 
for your visit . . . 

THE SQUIRE 

Oh, but there is! Very important message. Word of mouth. 
From a gent that's just been dining with me. Sir Herbert 
Vezey. 

MISS MOFFAT 

Yes? Oh, do be quick! . . . 

THE SQUIRE 

He has definitely decided that he has no use for the barn 
but he does not see it as a school, and under 110 circum- 
stances will he let it as such, so he must regretfully decline, 
et cetera. 

49 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MISS MOFFAT 

(Trying to hide her chagrin) 

He implied in his first letter that he would be willing to 
sell. 

THE SQUIRE 

Then some bigwig must have made him change his mind, 
mustn't he? 

MISS MOFFAT 

(Suddenly looking at him, incredulously} 
You? 

THE SQUIRE 

(Rising, serious, taking the floor with a certain authority) 
I have not called on you, madam, because I have been 

eyeing your activities very closely from afar. ... It is with 

dis disapproval and er dis 

MISS MOFFAT 

It is unwise to embark on a speech with the vocabulary of 
a child of five. 

THE SQUIRE 

(Suddenly aggressive) 

I am not going to have any of this damned hanky-panky 
in my village! 

MISS MOFFAT 

Your village! 

THE SQUIRE 

My village! I am no braggart, but Fd have you know that 
everything you can see from that window and you haven't 
got a bad view 7 ownl Now, my dear madam * . . 

50 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MISS MOFFAT 

(In an outburst) 

And stop calling me your dear madam. I'm not married, 
I'm not French, and you haven't the slightest affection for 
me! 

THE SQUIRE 

Oh. . . . First of all, I'm not one to hit a woman below the 
belt. If you know what I mean. Always be fair to the fair 
sex. . . . All my life I've done my level best for the villagers. 
They call me Squire, y'know, term of affection, jolly touch- 
ing. ... I mean, a hamper every Christmas, the whole shoot, 
and a whopping tankard of beer on my birthday, and on my 
twentv-firster they all got a mug . . . 

MISS MOFFAT 

Go on. 

THE SQUIRE 

They jabber away in that funny lingo, but bless their hearts, 
it's a free country! But puttin' 'em up to read English, and 
pothooks, and givin' 'em ideas ... If there were more people 
like you, y'know, England'd be a jolly dangerous place to live 
in! What d'ye want to do, turn 'ern into gentlemen? What's 
the idea? 

MISS MOFFAT 

I am beginning to wonder myself. 



THE SQUIRE 

Anyway, this buyin' 'em out of the mine is a lot of gam- 
mon. I own a half share in it. 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MISS MOFFAT 

That explains a good deal. 

THE SQUIRE 

Why don't you take up croquet ? Keep you out of mischief. 
(MISS RONBERRY comes out of the bedroom} Well, dear lady, 
anything I can do to make your stay here a happier one . . . 

MISS MOFFAT 

Thank you. 

THE SQUIRE 

I must be getting back. If I know Sir Herbert, my best old 
port will be no more . . . 

MISS MOFFAT 

Wait a minute. 

THE SQUIRE 

Yes? 

MISS MOFFAT 

I know I shall be sticking a pin into a whale, but here are 
just two words about yourself. You are the Squire Bountiful, 
are you? Adored by his contented subjects, intelligent and 
benignly understanding, are you? I should just like to point 
out that there is a considerable amount of dirt, ignorance, 
misery and discontent abroad in this world, and that a good 
deal of it is due to people like you, because you are a stupid, 
conceited, greedy, good-for-nothing, addle-headed nincom- 
poop, and you can go to blue blazes. Good night! (She turns 
away. A frozen pause.) 

52 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

THE SQUIRE 

I perceive that you have been drinking. (He goes.) 
(MISS RONBERRY comes downstairs.) 

MISS MOFFAT 

That was undignified, but I feel better for it. (She sits on 
the bench, intensely depressed.) 

MISS RONBERRY 

I am glad, because it was plain-spoken, wasn't it? Has he 
been nasty? So unlike the Squire . , . 

MISS MOFFAT 

He was kindness itself. He advised me to go and live in a 
hole in the ground with my knitting. He has persuaded the 
owner not to sell. 

MISS RONBERRY 

Oh, dear ... of course ... I always think men know 
best, don't you? 

MISS MOFFAT 

Yes. 

MISS RONBERRY 

I'm wearing rny mousseline de soie, and he never even 
noticed. . . . What will you do? 

MISS MOFFAT 

Sell the house; take this brain child of a ridiculous spinster, 
and smother it. Have you got a handkerchief? 

53 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MISS RONBERRY 

Yes, Miss Moffat. Why? 

MISS MOFFAT 

I want to blow my nose. (She holds her hand out; MISS 
RONBERRY hands her the handkerchief. She blows her nose, 
and returns the handkerchief.) 

MISS RONBERRY 

You ought to have had a cry. I love a cry when Fm de- 
pressed. Such an advantage over the gentlemen, I always 
think. 

MISS MOFFAT 

(Opening the study door) 
Mr. Jones . . . 

JONES 
(Off stage) 
Yes ... 

MISS MOFFAT 

Will you write letters to the tradespeople and the mine? 
We are giving up the school . . . 

JONES 

(Off stage) 
Oh! 

MISS MOFFAT 

I suppose we'd better start putting some order into this 
chaos, and get the business over - . . What are these filthy 
exercise books doing among my papers . . , ? 

54 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MISS RONBERRY 

Those hooligans just now. They said Mr. Jones had picked 
them out because they could write English and would I 
mind my own some-dreadful-word business. 



MISS MOFFAT 

I set them an essay on "How I would spend my holiday." 
I must have been mad. . . . (Throws one boo\ away and 
ta\es one from MISS RONBERRY.) 



MISS RONBERRY 

(Reading, laboriously) 

"If I has ever holiday I has breakfast and talks then 
dinner and a rest, tea then nothing then supper then I talk 
and I go sleep." 

MISS MOFFAT 

From exhaustion, I suppose. (BESSIE comes in from the 
fyitchen, gets hat -from table and starts for door) Where are 
you going? 

BESSIE 
Just another walk, Miss Moffat. 



MISS RONBERRY 

What's the matter, little dear? 

BESSIE 
Mum's hit me. 

MISS RONBERRY 

Oh, naughty mum. Why? 

55 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

BESSIE 

Just because I told her she was common. (She goes out.) 

MISS RONBERRY 

That child is unhappy. 

MISS MOFFAT 

I can't be bothered with her. Another time I'd have been 
faintly amused by this one's idea of a holiday, judging by a 
rather crude drawing. 

MISS RONBERRY 

What is it? 

MISS MOFFAT 

A bicycling tour with me in bloomers. 

MISS RONBERRY 

Tch, tch . . . 

MISS MOFFAT 

(Reading) 

" 'Holiday-time.' That carefree magic word! What shall it 
be this year, tobogganing among the eternal snows or tasting 
the joys of Father Neptune?" 

MISS RONBERRY 

But that's beautiful! Extraordinary! 

MISS MOFFAT 

I might think so too if I hadn't seen it in a book open on 
that desk. (Throws boo)^ in 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MISS RONBERRY 
Oh! 

MISS MOFFAT 

No, your Squire was right. ... I have been a stupid and 
impractical ass, and I can't imagine how . . . (Loo\s at 
name on boo\. She begins to read, slowly > with difficulty'} 
"The mine is dark ... If a light come in the mine ... the 
rivers in the mine will run fast with the voice of many 
women; the walls will fall in, and it will be the end of the 
world." 

(MISS RONBERRY is listening, inquiringly. MORGAN enters 
brusquely. He has made no attempt to wash, but 
now that he is alone he half -emerges as a truculent f 
arresting boy with, latent in him f a very strong per- 
sonality which his immaturity and natural inclina- 
tion ma\e him shy to display) 

MORGAN 

We put up the bell, Miss. 

MISS RONBERRY 

Shhh the garden . . . (MORGAN moves sulkily toward the 
door) Do go on ... 

MISS MOFFAT 

(Reading) 

". . . So the mine is dark. . . . But when I walk through 
the Tan something shaft, in the dark, I can touch with 
my hands the leaves on the trees, and underneath . . . where 
the corn is green." (Lool^s at MORGAN.) 

57 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MORGAN 

Go on readin'. 

MISS MOFFAT 

(Reading) 

". . . There is a wind in the shaft, not carbon monoxide 
they talk about, it smell like the sea, only like as if the sea 
had fresh flowers lying about . . . and that is my holiday." 
(She loo\s at the name on bool^. MORGAN starts off, turns 
quickly as she speaks) Are you Morgan Evans? 

MORGAN 

Yes, Miss. 

MISS MOFFAT 

Did you write this? 

MORGAN 

(After hesitation, sullenly) 
No, Miss. 

MISS MOFFAT 

But it's in your book. 

MORGAN 

Yes, Miss. 

MISS MOFFAT 

Then who wrote it? 

MORGAN 

I dunno, Miss. 

(MISS MOFFAT nods to MISS RONBERRY, who fatters dis* 
erectly into the study t doses door.) 

58 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MISS MOFFAT 

Did you write this? (It is difficult to tell from the crisp 
severity of her manner that she is experiencing a growing 
inward excitement. MORGAN loof(s at her, distrustfully.) 

MORGAN 

I dunnOj Miss. . . . What iss the matter with it? 



MISS MOFFAT 

Sit down. (He sits} And take your cap ofif. (He takfs off 
his cap) Spelling's deplorable, of course. "Mine" with two 
"n's," and "leaves" 1, e, , s. 



MORGAN 

What wass it by rights? 

MISS MOFFAT 

A "v," to start with. 

MORGAN 

I never 'eard o' no *Vs," Miss. 

MISS MOFFAT 

Don't call me Miss. 

MORGAN 

Are you not a Miss? 

MISS MOFFAT 

Yes, I am, but it is not polite. 

59 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MORGAN 

Oh. 

MISS MOFFAT 

You say "Yes, Miss Moffat," or "No, Miss Moffat." M, o, 
double f, a, t. 

MORGAN 

No Vs"? 

MISS MOFFAT 

No Vs." Where do you live? 

MORGAN 

Under the ground, Miss. 

MISS MOFFAT 

I mean your home. 

MORGAN 

Llyn-y-Mwyn, Miss . . . Moffat. Four miles from 'ere. 

MISS MOFFAT 

How big is it? 

MORGAN 

Four 'ouses and a beer-'ouse. 

MISS MOFFAT 

Have you any hobbies? 

MORGAN 

Oh, yes. 

MISS MOFFAT 

What? 

60 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MORGAN 

Rum. (He ta\es a small bottle of rum out of his pocket.) 

MISS MOFFAT 

Rum? Do you live with your parents? 

MORGAN 

No, by my own self. My mother iss dead, and my father 
and my four big brothers wass in the Big Shaft Accident 
when I wass ten. 

MISS MOFFAT 

Killed? 

MORGAN 

Oh, yes, everybody wass. 

MISS MOFFAT 

What sort of man was your father? 

MORGAN 

'E was a mongrel. 

MISS MOFFAT 

A what? 

MORGAN 

'E had a dash of English. 'E learned it to me. 

MISS MOFFAT 

D'you go to chapel? 

MORGAN 

No, thank you. 

61 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MISS MOFFAT 

Who taught you to read and write? 

MORGAN 

Tott? 

MISS MOFFAT 

Taught. The verb "to teach." 

MORGAN 

Oh, teached. 

MISS MOFFAT 

Who taught you? 

MORGAN 

I did. 

MISS MOFFAT 

Why? 

MORGAN 

I dunno. 

MISS MOFFAT 

What books have you read? 

MORGAN 

Books? A bit of the Bible and a book that a feller from 
the Plas kitchen nab for me. 

MISS MOFFAT 

What was it? 

MORGAN 

The Ladies' Companion! (MISS MOFFAT rises and wal\s 
thoughtfully toward her de$1{, studying him. He sits ttncom~ 

62 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

fortably, twirling his cap between his fingers} Can I go now, 
pliss ... 

MISS MOFFAT 

No. (MORGAN sits, ta\en abacJ() Do you want to learn any 
more? 

MORGAN 

No, thank you. 

MISS MOFFAT 

Why not? 

MORGAN 

The other men would have a good laugh. 

MISS MOFFAT 

I see. Have you ever written anything before this exercise? 

MORGAN 

No. 

MISS MOFFAT 

Why not? 

MORGAN 

Nobody never ask me to. What iss the matter with it? 

MISS MOFFAT 

Nothing's the matter with it. Whether it means anything 
is too early for me to say, but it shows exceptional talent for 
a boy in your circumstances. 

MORGAN 

(Blinking and hesitating) 
Terrible long words, Miss Moffat. 

63 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MISS MOFFAT 

This shows that you are very clever. 

(A pause. He looJ^s up slowly, not sure if he has heard 
aright, loo\s at her searching, then away again. 
His mind is wording uncertainly, but swiftly.) 

MORGAN 

Oh. 

MISS MOFFAT 

Have you ever been told that before? 

MORGAN 

It iss news to me. 

MISS MOFFAT 

What effect does the news have on you? 

MORGAN 

It iss a bit sudden. It makes me that I ... (Hesitating, 
then flunging) I want to get more clever still. I want to 
know what iss behind o all them books. . . . 

MISS MOFFAT 

Miss Ronberry ... (To him) Can you come tomorrow? 

MORGAN 

(Tafyen by surprise) 
Tomorrow no I am workin* on the six-till-four shift. 

MISS MOFFAT 

Then can you be here at five? 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MORGAN 

Five no, not before seven, Miss six miles to walk . . . 

MISS MOFFAT 

Oh, yes, of course seven then. In the meantime I'll correct 
this for spelling and grammar. 

MORGAN 

(Staring at her, fascinated) 
Yes, Miss Moffat. 

MISS MOFFAT 

That will be all. Good night. 

MORGAN 

Good night, Miss Moffat. 

MISS MOFFAT 

Are you the one I spanked? (He turns at the door, loo\s 
at her, smiles, blinds and goes) Miss Ronberry! Mr. Jones! 

(MISS RONBERRY runs in from the study.) 

MISS RONBERRY 

Yes? 

MISS MOFFAT 

I have been a deuce of a fool. It doesn't matter about the 
barn; we are going to start the school, in a. small way at first, 
in this room. . . . And I am going to get those youngsters 
out of that mine if I have to black my face and go down and 
fetch them myself! Get Jonesy before he posts those letters, 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

and tell those others I'll be ready for them in five minutes. 
We are going on with the school! (MISS RONBERRY scampers 
into the study, rather dazed. Her voice is heard, calling: 
"We are going on with the school!" The door shuts behind 
her. MISS MOFFAT reads from the exercise booty ". . . and 
when I walk in the dark ... I can touch with my hands 
. . . where the corn is green. . . ." 

(The school bell rings.} 

Curtain 



66 



ACT TWO 



ACT TWO 

SCENE I 

An early evening in August, two years later; the sun is still 
bright. 

The room is now a complete jumble of living room and 
schoolroom, and there is every sign of cheerful overcrowding. 
The table in the window recess is re-placed by a double 
school des\; the table and its small chair are -pushed behind 
the sofa; a school des\ stands isolated between the big open- 
top des\ and the sofa; between the sofa and the bay windotv, 
two rows of four school dest^s each, squeezed together and 
facing the audience at an angle. Charts, maps, an alphabet 
list are pinned up higgledy-piggledy over all the booT{s; a 
large world globe on the shelf; hat-pegs have been fixed 
irregularly bacl^ of right door above and below J^itchen door. 
BooJ(S overflow everywhere, all over the dresser especially, in 
place of plates; the hat-pegs are loaded with caps and hats; 
MISS MOFFAT'S cloa\ hangs on a hoo\ on the bac\ of the front 
door; a blackboard lies on the sofa upside down, with "Con- 
stantinople is the capital of Turkey" written across in MISS 
RONBERRY'S tremulous handwriting. The lamp on the table has 
been removed. Potted plants on the window sills. 

Before the curtain rises, voices are heard singing, in har- 
mony, in Welsh, "Eugeilio'r Gwenyth Gwyn"; children f 
shrill, sweet and self-confident, reinforced by harmony from 
older boys and parents, especially SARAH. 

The room seems full of people; MISS RONBERRY stands 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

perched on the tiny stool between the sofa and the foot of 
the stairs, her bac\ to the audience, conducting stiffly; MR, 
JONES is crouched in the des\ chair, correcting exercises at 
the open desJ^. SARAH, two older peasant women in shawls, 
and three older men in their shabby best stand crowded be- 
hind the eight des\s and in the window recess. In the front 
row of des^s sit ROBBART, IDWAL, a little girl, and GLYN 
THOMAS; in the second sit another little boy, another little 
girl, BESSIE and WILL HUGHES. In another des\ pushed pro- 
visionally next the front row sits JOHN OWEN, and in the 
other isolated one sits OLD TOM, an elderly distinguished- 
looking peasant, his cap and stic\ before him, carried away 
by the music. A young girl sits at table. 

BESSIE is silent, bored, and prettier than ever, though still 
dressed as a sober little schoolgirl. The boys we saw before 
as miners are clean and almost spruce; the parents follow 
every movement of MISS RONBERRY'S with avid curiosity. The 
pupils have slates and slate pencils in front of them. 

The song is sung through to the end. 

MISS RONBERRY 

Now that was quite better. Full of splendid feeling, and 
nice and precise as well. Have you all got my English trans- 
lation? (She climbs down from her stool.) 

THE PUPILS 

Yes, Miss Ronberry. 

MISS RONBERRY 

Are you all quite sure of the meaning of "Thou lovedest 
him, fair maid, that doth not love thee back?" 

70 



THE CORN IS GREEN 
(Four older people follow with motion of lips.) 

THE PUPILS 

Yes, Miss Ronberry. 

(Four feople spea\ the line after the others have said 

it.) 

OLD TOM 

(Singing stentoriously , in broken English) 
"That doth not luff thee . . . ba-a-ck!" 

MISS RONBERRY 

Capital, Mr. Tom. (She ta^es a small handbell from a 
hoo\ beneath the stairs, rings it vigorously, and hangs it up 
again; nobody moves) Home sweet home, children! Boys 
and girls, come out to play! 

(MISS PUGH nudges IDWAL.) 

IDWAL 
Please, Miss Ronberry, can we have some more? 

MISS RONBERRY 

Well, just the tiniest lesson. We must keep to the curricu- 
lum. (Steps upon stool again) Now what would you like? 

IDWAL 
Please, Miss Ronberry, how do you spell it? 

MISS RONBERRY 

What, dear? 

7* 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

OLD TOM 

Curriculum! 

MISS RONBERRY 

What would you like? The rivers of Europe or King 
Alfred and the cakes? 

OLD TOM 
Multiplication table! 

(Some say "Yes" Others repeat "multiplications") 

MISS RONBERRY 

Well, twice six are twelve! 

(One old man does not recite. He smiles.) 

THE PUPILS 

Twice seven are fourteen twice eight are sixteen 
(They complete the table.) 

OLD TOM 
Twice thirteen are twenty-six! 

MISS RONBERRY 

Capital school dismiss! 

(IDWAL crosses front of desl{ to window. All rise except 
BESSIE.) 

GLYN THOMAS 
Be'di'r gloch. Merry? 

72 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

1ST GIRL 

Chwarter I bump. 

A MOTHER 

What iss the next thing in the multiplication? 

A BOY 
Wn i ddim yn wyr gofyn iddi (Rises.) 

A MOTHER 

Why issn't there any geography now? 

SARAH PUGH 

Friday geography, Thursday today . . . 

AN OLD LADY 

Pnawn dydd lau, te, banner awr wedi tri 

IDWAL 
Dyma'r fistress! 

(MISS MOFFAT tual\s in from the garden. All rise but 
BESSIE. She is more alert and businesslike than ever. 
She is studying an exercise boo\. She goes into the 
kitchen .) 

SARAH PUGH 

Miss Moffat. 

A YOUNG FATHER 

Oh, yes. 

SARAH PUGH 

Mi ddylaswn fod yn pobi heddyw 
A dwidi gadal y cig yn y popdy - 

73 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

A MOTHER 

Mi fydd eich cegin chi ar dan, Mrs. Pugh 

IDWAL 

'Nhad, gai fynd i chwara yn nghae John Da vies 

A FATHER 

(Answering him) 
Ddim heddyw dwisho ti gartre 

1ST GIRL 

Yforty d'wi am drio sgwennu llythyr (Crossing to 2ND 
GIRL.) 

2ND GIRL 

Os gynnachi steel-pen golew? 

WILL HUGHES 

Mae'na gymaint o flots! 

3RD GIRL 

Dwi wedi sgwennu llythyr at fy nain, wni ddim be 
ddidi'thi. 

WILL HUGHES 

Welsochi 'rioed eiriau fel one? 

SARAH PUGH 

Fedri'thi ddim canu fel Cytnraes, digon siwr 

ROBBART ROBBATCH 

Mae'r hen ddyn am oyn rwbeth iddi eto -drychwch 
arno 

74 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

SARAH PUGH 

Mi gollith'o ei Gymraeg cyn bo hir 
Idwal, what you looking so sorry always wanting to 
know something 

3RD GIRL 

Mae genni just ddigon o amswer i gyrraedd at y llyn 
Mae'r dwr yn rhy oer i ymdrochi 

SARAH PUGH 

Nag ydi mae'r haul wedi bod yn rhy boeth heddyw 

(The crowd finally trickle out, shepherded by MISS 
RONBERRY. Besides BESSIE, there are left OLD TOM, 
studying, MISS RONBERRY and IDWAL.) 

IDWAL 

Miss Ronberry, please, what is four times fourteen? 

MISS RONBERRY 

Thank you so much for the flowers, Idwal, dear. 

IDWAL 

Yes, Miss Ronberry. (He follows the others; leaves door 
open.) 

MISS RONBERRY 

Is there anything you would like to know, Mr. Tom? 

OLD TOM 

Where iss Shakespeare? 

MISS RONBERRY 

Where? Shakespeare, Mr. Tom, was a very great writer. 

75 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

OLD TOM 

Writer? Like the Beibl? 

MISS RONBERRY 

Like the Bible. 

OLD TOM 

Dear me, and me thinkin' the man was a place. (Following 
the others, muttering sadly} If I iss been born fifty years 
later, I iss been top of the class. 

MISS RONBERRY 

Oh, dear . . . (Tidying the des%s. BESSIE crawls over seats 
to small des1() Miss Moflfat has been doing grammar with 
Form Two under the pear tree for an hour, she must be 
dead. . . . Why did you not get up when she crossed? (She 
takes a pumice stone from a drawer,) 

BESSIE 

My foot went to sleep. (Her manner is more impudent 
than ever.) 

MISS RONBERRY 

That, dear, is a naughty fib. 

BESSIE 
(Sits) 

If you want to know, Miss Ronberry, I feel quite faint 
sometimes, as if my heart'd stopped and the world was 
coming to an end. 

MISS RONBERRY 

(With guileless solicitude) 
Bessie, dear, how horrid! 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MR. JONES 

It may be in the nature of a premonition. 

MISS RONBERRY 

A what? 

MR. JONES 

I had a premonition once. Like a wave of the ocean 
breakin' on a sea shell. Something had said to me that 
mornin*: "Walk, and think, and keep ofi the food, for 
thirteen hours." So I ordered my supper, and I went. 
Towards the end of the day (MISS MOFFAT enters from 
kitchen) I was sittin* on a stile in a cloak of meditation; and 
a voice roared at me: "John Goronwy Jones, tomorrow 
morning is the end of the world!" 

MISS MOFFAT 

And was it? 

MR. JONES 

(Sadly) 
It was eight years ago. It was a splendid experience. 

MISS MOFFAT 

Which proves how much the gift of prophecy can owe to 
an empty stomach. . . . Anybody seen a Greek book? (Picf^~ 
ing up a tiny volume) Here it is ... (Starting toward stairs.) 

MISS RONBERRY 

Greek, Miss MofFat? 

MISS MOFFAT 

Morgan Evans is starting Greek this month. 

77 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MISS RONBERRY 

No! I didn't know you knew Greek? 

MISS MOFFAT 

I don't; I've just got to keep one day ahead of him and 
trust to luck. (She disappears into her bedroom.) 

MISS RONBERRY 

To think that two years ago he hardly knew English! 

BESSIE 
Stuck-up teacher's pet. 

MISS RONBERRY 

You must not think that, dear, Miss MoflEat says he is 
clever. 

BESSIE 

He always looks right through me, so I don't know, I'm 
sure. Stuck-up teacher's pet. ... I got some scent on my 
hands, Mr. Jones, like to smell them? 

MR. JONES 

No, thank you, Bessie, I can smell them from here, thank 
you. 

BESSIE 

(Sniffing her hands, softly) 
Ooh, it's lovely. . . . 

MISS RONBERRY 

She has some wonderful plans for him I can tell by her 
manner. I think she is trying to send him to one of those 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

Church schools so that he can get a curateship. Would not 
that be exciting? 

BESSIE 

(Indolently} 
I think she's ridin* for a fall. 



(JONES turns, loo\s, and goes bac\ to his 



MISS RONBERRY 

Bessie! Why? 

BESSIE 

All this orderin' 'im about. I've got eyes in my head, if 
she hasn't, and he's gettin' sick of it. I think a lady ought 
to be dainty. She's no idea. 

(MISS MOFFAT appears at the top of the stairs.) 

MISS MOFFAT 

Evans! (A pause. MORGAN comes in from the study. He is 
now seventeen. He is dressed in a shabby country suit f and 
is at the moment the submissive schoolboy, very different 
from the first act. He carries a sheet of writing and a pen. 
MISS MOFFAT'S attitude to him seems purely impersonal. The 
others watch them) Finished? 

MORGAN 
Yes, Miss Moffat. 

(MISS RONBERRY rubs in\ off her hands with pumice 
stone?) 

79 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MISS MOFFAT 

How many pages ? 

MORGAN 

Nine. 

MISS MOFFAT 

Three too many. Boil down to six. Have you got those 
lines of Voltaire? 

MORGAN 

Yes, Miss MofFat. 

MISS MOFFAT 

It's just five have your walk now, good and brisk. . . . 

(MORGAN, taking his cap from a peg, starts for the 
-front door.) 

MORGAN 
Yes, Miss Moffat. (Stops.) 

MISS MOFFAT 

But kill two birds and get the Voltaire by heart. If you 
can ever argue a point like that, you'll do. Back in twenty 
minutes and take your pen from behind your ear. (She 
disappears into her bedroom. Her manner is too matter of 
fact to be unkind, but MORGAN is not taking it well. He 
throws his pen on to a des\.) 

BESSIE 

Now turn a somersault and beg. (He loo^s at her with 
contempt. She returns his stare brazenly. She turns to see if 
the others are noticing. MISS RONBERRY is busy with her 
pumice stone and MR. JONES is engrossed in his wor\* BESSIE 

80 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

looks away from them all, suddenly soft and mysterious) 
Can you smell scent? 

MORGAN 

Yes. 

BESSIE 

(Dreamily) 
Nice, isn't it? 

MORGAN 

I don't know, I never come across scent before. (Correct- 
ing himself unwillingly) I did never come across scent be- 
fore. . . . 

BESSIE 

Bright, aren't you? Don't you ever get tired of lessons? 
(JONES loo\s in disapproval. She begins to sing "With His 
Bell Bottom Trousers" He goes to the front door, turns, 
then goes, banging the door. She flings down her slate) 
There we go. And my mummy ought to be back soon, and 
then well know somethin'. 



MR. JONES 
What is the matter? Where has she gone? 

BESSIE 

One of her prayer meetings. Twenty miles to shake a tam- 
bourine in the open air. I think it's wicked. . . . She ought 
to be just in time, and then well know. 



MR. JONES 
Know what? 

81 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

BESSIE 

About that horrid Morgan Evans. It's been lessons every 
night with teacher, hasn't it, since we left the mine? And 
long walks in between, to blow the cobwebs away? But the 
last week or two we've been breaking our journey, so we've 
heard. 

MR. JONES 

How do you mean? 

BESSIE 

A glass of rum next door at the Gwesmor Arms and then 
another, and then another! 

MR. JONES 
(Perturbed} 
Oh, . . . Whoever told you that? 

BESSIE 

A little bird. And if my mummy's sciatica's better she's 
going to jump up and look over the frosty part, and then 
we'll \now. 

(MRS. WATTY hurries in through the front door, in high 
spirits. She wears an ill-fitting Militant Righteous- 
ness Corps uniform, and carries an umbrella and a 
brown-paper parcel.} 

MRS. WATTY 

Guess what's 'appened to me! 

BESSIE 

What? 

82 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MRS. WATTY 

I'm a Sergeant-Major! 

(MISS MOFFAT has come out on to the landing; her hair 
is down and she is brushing it.) 

MISS MOFFAT 

Watty, you're not! 

(JONES turns to MISS MOFFAT.) 

MRS. WATTY 

Oh, ma'am, I didn't see you . . . 

MISS MOFFAT 

Tell me more! 

MRS. WATTY 

You remember Sergeant-Major 'Opkins desertin' in Cardiff 
and marryin' a sailor? 

MISS MOFFAT 

Yes? 

MRS. WATTY 

Well, last week, not two months after she give up the 
Corpse, she was dead! 

MISS MOFFAT 

And you've stepped into her shoes? 

MRS. WATTY 

They're a bit on the big side; but I can put a bit o paper 

83 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

in. The uniform fits lovely, though. Ill get you a cup o' tea 
and an egg, ma'am, you never 'ad that cold meat, ma'am, 
111 be bound? 

MISS MOFFAT 

Folk eat too much anyway. (She goes bacl^ into her bed- 
room?) 

BESSIE 
Did you jump? 

MRS. WATTY 

(Coming bac\ into the room) 

Just caught 5 im. (To MR. JONES, sorrowfully) He was 
'avin' a good drink, sir. ... (To BESSIE) Don't you dare 
tell 'er, you little dollymop, or 111 rattle your bones. . . . 

(MISS MOFFAT reappears and comes downstairs.) 

MISS MOFFAT 

Was it a nice service, Watty? 

MRS. WATTY 

Beautiful, ma'am. They said they 'oped the late Sergeant- 
Major was gone where we all want to go, but with 'er having 
deserted they couldn't be sure. Then we saved three sinners. 
You ought to been there. . . . And the collection! (Starts 
-for Jfitcheri) I 'adn't seed so much oof since the Great Liver- 
pool Exhibition. 

MISS RONBERRY 

But they didn't make a collection at the Liverpool Exhi- 
bition, did they? 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MRS. WATTY 

No, but I did. 

(MR. JONES ta^es blackboard to settle. MISS RONBERRY 
gets booT^ from dresser. MRS. WATTY goes to fytchen.) 

BESSIE 
Please, Miss Moflfat, can I have the money for my ticket? 

(MR. JONES draws diagram on blackboard.) 

MISS MOFFAT 

What ticket? 

BESSIE 

For Tregarna Fair tomorrow. You said I could go. 

MISS MOFFAT 

On the contrary, I said you couldn't. Not in school hours. 

MISS RONBERRY 

Are you feeling better, dear? 

BESSIE 

No, Miss Ronberry. It's all this sittin' down. It's been going 
on for two years now. I heard tell it ends in everythin' rottin' 
away. 

MISS MOFFAT 

(Sitting at desl$ 
What's rotting away? 

85 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MISS RONBERRY 

Bessie says she's been sitting down for two years. 

MISS MOFFAT 

She's lucky. My feet feel as if I've been standing for the 
same length of time. What are these, Ron? 

MISS RONBERRY 

Two more accounts, I fear. 

MISS MOFFAT 

Oh 3 yes. The Liddell and Scott and Evans's new suit. 
Teh . . . (Cheerfully} I shall have to sell out a couple more 
shares, I expect. 

MISS RONBERRY 

Oh, dear. 

MISS MOFFAT 

Not at all. It's easy to squander money, and it's easy to 
hoard it. The most difficult thing in the world is to use it. 
And if I've learned to use it, I've done something. That's 
better.. . . . My plans are laid, Ron, my dear, my plans are 
laid! But don't ask me what I'm hatching, because I can't 
tell you till tomorrow. 

MISS RONBERRY 

You are wonderful! 

MISS MOFFAT 

Go to Halifax. (MISS RONBERRY sits on couch and studies 
from booT() ^' m enjoying myself. (Huge sigh from BESSIE) 
Bessie Watty, what is this dying duck business? 

86 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

BESSIE 

Yes, Miss Moffat. 

MISS MOFFAT 

Don't "y es > Miss Mofiat" me. Explain yourself. 

BESSIE 

My mummy said all these lessons is bad for my inside. 

MISS MOFFAT 

She told me they stop you eating sweets, but perhaps I am 
telling the lie. 

BESSIE 
Yes, Miss Moffat. 

MISS MOFFAT 

What's the matter with your inside? 

BESSIE 

It goes round and round through sittin' down. P'r'aps what 
I want is a change. 

MISS MOFFAT 

(Muttering) 

"Adelphos, a brother" . . . There is nothing to prevent you 
going for walks between lessons. You can go for one now, 
as far as Sarah Pugh Postman, to see if my new chalks have 
arrived. (Looking at BESSIE, as the latter stares before her 
without moving) Quick march. 

BESSIE 
I'm not goin'. 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MISS MOFFAT 

What did you say? 

BESSIE 

I'm not goin'. Everybody's against me. . . . I'm goin' to 
throw myself off o a cliff, an' kill myself. . . . It'll make a 
nice case in the papers, me in pieces at the bottom of a cliff! 
I'm goin* mad, mad, and I'm goin* to kill myself, nothin' 
goin' to stop me stone dead at the bottom of a cliff ah 
ah ah ... 

(MRS. WATTY strides in from the 'kitchen with a cupful 
of cold water which she throws into her daughter's 
face.) 

MRS. WATTY 

(To MISS MOFFAT) 

I made a mess o* your rug, ma'am, but it's worth it. She's 
got bad blood, this girl, mark my word. 

MISS RONBERRY 

She'll catch her death! 

MRS. WATTY 

Nothing like cold water, ma'am. I learnt that with her 
father. 'E was foreign, you know. (She goes bac\ into the 
\itchen. MISS MOFFAT studies BESSIE with distaste.) 

MISS MOFFAT 

And how do you feel after that? 

BESSIE 
I can't remember anything. I'm in a comma. 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MISS MOFFAT 

(Taking her by the arm, starts pushing her upstairs) 
Well sit on our bed for an hour with the door locked, 
shall we, and try to remember? And next week you go away 
into service and see how we like that. . . . (She pushes her 
out of sight into the passage; a door bangs; the noise of a 
loc\ turning. MISS MOFFAT comes downstairs, tucking the \ey 
into her petticoat pocket) I must count her as one of my 
failures. Fish out of water, of course. Guttersnipe species if 
there is such a fish. She'll be more at home in service. . . . 
(Muttering) "Dendron, a tree " 

MISS RONBERRY 

I beg your pardon . . . ? Oh, Miss Moffat, I am bursting 
with curiosity your plans for Morgan Evans is it a curate- 
ship? 

MISS MOFFAT 

(Slowly, amused} 

No, it isn't a curateship. (She laughs happily f wal\s toward 
the des\ and ta\es up an exercise 



MISS RONBERRY 

I really don't see anything funny about curates. (To MR. 
JONES) I mean, there is nothing wrong with curates, is there? 

MR. JONES 
No, except that they ought to go to chapel. 

MISS MOFFAT 

Who has been writing in here? 



THE CORN IS GREEN 
(MRS. WATTY appears at the fytchen door.) 

MRS. WATTY 

Your egg, ma'am! 

MISS MOFFAT 

"Bessie Watty has the face of an angel!" 
(JONES takes hat from peg, goes to door.) 

MISS RONBERRY 

What an extraordinary . . . 

MISS MOFFAT 

But I know the writing. John Goronwy Jones, I'm ashamed 
of you. 

MR. JONES 

I shall see you tomorrow if we are spared. 

MISS RONBERRY 

(Shocked) 
Oh! 

MR. JONES 

You all misjudge that little girl. She has the face of a good 
woman in the melting pot. 

MISS MOFFAT 

I've got the face of a good woman, too, and well out of the 
melting pot, but I don't think I'd ever find it in writing. (She 
goes into the %itchen) 

90 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MRS. WATTY 

I never thought I'd live to call you a naughty old man, 
(She follows MISS MOFFAT into the fytchen. MR. JONES goes out 
through the front door. MISS RONBERRY gets her hat and shawl 
and crosses to small mirror in bookcase. The front door opens 
abruptly and MORGAN appears. He is dishevelled, and it is 
fairly apparent that he has been drinking. His manner is de- 
fiant. The door bangs behind him.) 

MISS RONBERRY 

Oh, it's you, Morgan. . . . (Eac\ at the mirror} Miss Mof- 
fat is having something to eat. 

MORGAN 

And I have been having something to drink, so we are 
quits. 

MISS RONBERRY 

(Looking at him sharply f the unpleasant truth dawn- 
ing on her) 
I will tell her that you are back. . . , 

MORGAN 
I don't want to see no Miss Moffat. 

MISS RONBERRY 

You mean "I don't want to see Miss Moflfat." The double 
negative. . . . 

MORGAN 

Now don't you start! ... I like the double negative, it says 
what I want the way I like, and I am not goin' to stand no 

9* 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

interferences from nobody! Voltaire indeed . , . (Crumples 
paper, %ic%s it savagely into a corner.) 

MISS RONBERRY 

Morgan! I've never seen you like this before! 

MORGAN 

You haven't, have you? (In a rising torrent of invective) 
Well, now I come to think of it, I haven't neither, not for 
two years, and I'm surprised by meself, and shocked by me- 
self ! "Coin' inside one o' them public houses and puttin' me 
nice clean boots on that dirty rail, and me dainty lady fingers 
on that detestable mucky counter! Pourin' poison rum down 
me nice clean teeth, and spittin' in a spittoon. What's come 
over you, Morgan Evans ? You come back to your little cage, 
and if you comb hair and wash hands and get your grammar 
right and forget you was once the Middle-weight Champion 
of the Glasynglo Miners, we might give you a nice bit of 
sewin* to do ... Where's that Bessie Watty, sendin' her 
mother to spy on me, I'll knock her bloody block off. . . . 

MISS RONBERRY 

(Outraged) 

Morgan Evans, language! Don't you dare use an expression 
like that to me again! 

MORGAN 

(Facing her, leaning over couch) 

I got plenty of others, thank you, and they are all comin' 
out. I am goin' to surprise quite a few . . . 

(MISS MOFFAT enters jrom the kitchen) 
92 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MISS MOFFAT 

Have a good walk, Evans? 

MORGAN 

Yes, Miss Moffat. 

MISS MOFFAT 

Can you repeat the Voltaire? (Sitting on the sofa, drin%- 
ing milJ^.) 

MORGAN 
Not yet. 

MISS MOFFAT 

It's very short. 

MORGAN 

Paper blowed away. 

MISS MOFFAT 

Oh. Copy it again, will you, and bring it to me. 

MORGAN 

(Muttering) 
Yes, Miss Moffat. 

MISS MOFFAT 

(Holding out the jug) 
Would you like a drink? 

(MORGAN stops.) 

MORGAN 

No, thank you. (He goes into the study) 

93 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MISS MOFFAT 

I hope he's not going to be slow at French. It'll make the 
Greek so much more difficult. . . . 



MISS RONBERRY 

You don't think perhaps all this in his situation is rather 
sudden for him? I mean . . . 



MISS MOFFAT 

Not for him, my dear. He has the most brilliantly receptive 
brain I've ever come across. Don't tell him so, but he has. 



MISS RONBERRY 

I know his brain is all right. . . . 

MISS MOFFAT 

I'm very pleased with his progress, on the whole. ... (A 
fyzocf^ at the front door. MISS RONBERRY moves toward the 
door. MISS MOFFAT stops her) Wait a minute! (Crosses to al- 
cove window. Peering out toward the front door) Yes, it 
is. ... 

MISS RONBERRY 

Who? 

MISS MOFFAT 

Royalty, the Conservatives and all the Grand Lamas rolled 
into one. The Squire. 

MISS RONBERRY 

The Squire! Oh, my! 

94 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MISS MOFFAT 

It is indeed. Oh, my let me have your shawl. 

MISS RONBERRY 

But he hasn't been here since that dreadful evening. . . . 

MISS MOFFAT 

I (Going upstairs) behaved more stupidly that night than 
I ever have in my life, and that's saying something. . . . 

MISS RONBERRY 

But why is he here now? 

MISS MOFFAT 

Never you mind. . . . All I can tell you is that it is to do 
with Morgan Evans, and that it is vital I make the right im- 
pression. 

MISS RONBERRY 

(As MISS MOFFAT runs upstairs) 
What sort of impression ? 

MISS MOFFAT 

(On last step) 
Helpless and clinging, or as near as dammit . . . 

(She disappears into her room, as there is a second im- 
patient k. noc k at ^e front door.) 

MISS RONBERRY 

Come in! 

(The door opens and the GROOM appears.) 
95 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

THE GROOM 

(Announcing) 
The Squire. 

(The SQUIRE follows the GROOM, who retires and shuts 
the door.} 

THE SQUIRE 

Good afternoon. (He is dressed in a summer lounge suit, 
and holds his hat in his hand.) 

MISS RONBERRY 

Your hat, Squire . . . 

THE SQUIRE 

No, thank you, I am not staying. 

MISS RONBERRY 

Oh, dear, I do look a sketch . . . 

THE SQUIRE 

(LooJ(s around) 
So this is the seat o learning. 

MISS RONBERRY 

We are always on the point of a good spring-clean. How 
dreadful that we have no refreshment to offer you! 

THE SQUIRE 

You can tell her from me that I am not here to be insulted 
again. 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MISS RONBERRY 

Oh, I'm sure you aren't! I mean . . . 

THE SQUIRE 

She called me an addle-headed nincompoop. 

(MISS MOFFAT comes downstairs, a lace shawl draped 
over her shoulder. She carries a bowl of flowers.) 

MISS MOFFAT 

Miss Ronberry, dear, my roses are dying. . . . Would you 
pour out a little water for them, I have such a headache I 
don't think . . . (Feigning surprise) Squire! 

THE SQUIRE 

You wrote to me. Perhaps you have forgotten. 

MISS MOFFAT 

How could I forget! I only thought that after the over- 
wrought fashion of my behaviour at our last meeting you 
must ignore my very nervous invitation. Miss Ronberry, a 
chair, dear, for the Squire. . . . 

(Startled, MISS RONBERRY ta\es a small chair from 



THE SQUIRE 

I have not a great deal of time to spare, I fear. 

MISS MOFFAT 

Of course you haven't, I was just saying to Miss Ronberry, 
he's so busy hell never be able to fit it in! Miss Ronberry, 

97 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

dear, would you get some water for them? (She hands the 
bowl to MISS RONBERRY, who passes the SQUIRE and goes into 
the garden bewildered) Tell me, Squire, how did your prize- 
giving fare this afternoon? 

THE SQUIRE 

Rather a bore, y'know. 

MISS MOFFAT 

I had so hoped to see you judge. I love flowers. 

THE SQUIRE 

It wasn't flowers. It was cows. 

MISS MOFFAT 

Oh. It was your speech I wanted to hear, of course; I heard 
you made such an amusing one at the Croquet. 

THE SQUIRE 

Oh, did they tell you about that? Rather a good pun, eh? 
(Laughing) Ha, ha ... -I may I sit down? 

MISS MOFFAT 

Do! 

THE SQUIRE 

I thought Griffith, the butcher, was going to laugh his 
napper off. 

MISS MOFFAT 

Indeed . . . Do you know, Squire, that makes me rather 
proud? 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

THE SQUIRE 

Proud? Why? 

MISS MOFFAT 

Because he would not have understood a word if his little 
girls hadn't learnt English at my school. 

THE SQUIRE 

Oh. Never thought o it like that. . . . (As she puts her 
hand to her head, says "Oh"} Headache? 

MISS MOFFAT 

Squire, you see before you a tired woman. We live and 
learn, and I have learnt how right you were that night. I 
have worked my fingers to the bone battering my head against 
a stone wall. 

THE SQUIRE 

But I heard you were a spiffing success. 

MISS MOFFAT 

Oh, no. 

THE SQUIRE 

(Muttering) 
It's fair of you to admit it, I must say. 

MISS MOFFAT 

You see, in one's womanly enthusiasm one forgets that the 
qualities vital to success in this sort of venture are completely 
lacking in one: intelligence, courage and authority. . . . The 
qualities, in short, of a man. 

99 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

THE SQUIRE 

Come, come, you mustn't be too hard on yourself, y'know. 
After all, you've meant well. 

MISS MOFFAT 

It's kind of you to say that. 

THE SQUIRE 

What about this Jones chappie? 

MISS MOFFAT 

He's a dear creature, but ... I have no wish to be fulsome. 
I mean a man like yourself. 



THE SQUIRE 

I see. 

MISS MOFFAT 

One gets into such muddles! You'd never believe! 

THE SQUIRE 

Well . . . I've never been on your side, but I'm sorry to 
hear you've come a cropper. When are you giving it up ? 

MISS MOFFAT 

Oh ... That again is difficult; I have all my widow's mite, 
as it were, in the venture. . . . 

(MORGAN appears from the study carrying a paper. He 
has regained his self-control.) 
100 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MORGAN 

(Stops) 

Please excuse me 

MISS MOFFAT 

It's all right, Evans. Have you copied it? On my desk, will 



you? 



MORGAN 

Excuse me, sir ... Good afternoon, sir. 

THE SQUIRE 

Good afternoon, my boy. 

MORGAN 

Excuse me, sir ... Thank you. (He goes.) 

THE SQUIRE 

Nice well-spoken lad. Relative? 

MISS MOFFAT 

No. A pupil. He used to be one of your miners. 

THE SQUIRE 

No! 

MISS MOFFAT 

I'm glad you thought he was a nice well-spoken lad. 

THE SQUIRE 

Yes . . . One of my miners, interesting . . . 

101 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MISS MOFFAT 

Because he is the problem I should like your advice about. 

THE SQUIRE 

What's he been up to, poaching? 

MISS MOFFAT 

No. 

THE SQUIRE 

A bit o' muslin? 

MISS MOFFAT 

(Amused} 
No, no ... There are none, anyway. . . . 

THE SQUIRE 

(Suddenly shrewd} 
What about the little Cockney filly? 



MISS MOFFAT 

Bessie Watty? Oh, no, I assure you she's a schoolgirl. . . . 

THE SQUIRE 

I dunno, all these young people growing up together, 
y'know eh ? 

MISS MOFFAT 

I think it's good for them . . . No, there's nothing of that 
sort but he's a problem just the same. And like a true 
woman I have to scream for help to a man. To you. 

102 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

THE SQUIRE 

(Completely won) 
Scream away, dear lady, scream away! 

MISS MOFFAT 

Well, he's clever. 

THE SQUIRE 

Oh, is he? Good at figures, and all that? Because if he is, 
there's no reason why I shouldn't put him in my Mine Office, 
as junior office boy. What d'ye think of that? 

MISS MOFFAT 

No. Figures aren't his strong point. 

THE SQUIRE 

Thought you said he was clever. 

MISS MOFFAT 

To begin with, he can write. 

THE SQUIRE 

Oh. Well? 

MISS MOFFAT 

Very well. 

THE SQUIRE 

Then he could make fair copies. Eh? 

MISS MOFFAT 

No. (Choosing her words care-fully} This boy is quite 

out of the ordinary. 

103 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

THE SQUIRE 



Sure? 



MISS MOFFAT 

As sure as one o your miners would be, cutting through 
coal and striking a diamond without a flaw. He was born 
with very exceptional gifts. They must be they ought to be 
given every chance. 

THE SQUIRE 

You mean he might turn into a literary bloke? 

MISS MOFFAT 

He might, yes. 

THE SQUIRE 

I'm bio wed! How d'ye know? 

MISS MOFFAT 

By his work. It's very good. 

THE SQUIRE 

How d'ye know it's good ? 

MISS MOFFAT 

How does one know Shakespeare's good? 

THE SQUIRE 

Shakespeare? What's he got to do with it? 

MISS MOFFAT 

He was a literary bloke. 

104 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

THE SQUIRE 

Ye-es. He was good, o course. 

MISS MOFFAT 

This little tenant o yours, Squire, has it in him to bring 
great credit to you. 

THE SQUIRE 

Yes, he is a tenant of mine, isn't he? 

MISS MOFFAT 

Imagine i you could say that you had known well, say. 
Lord Tennyson, as a boy on your estate! 

THE SQUIRE 

Rather a lark, what? Though it's a bit different, y'know. 
Tennyson was at Cambridge. My old college. 



MISS MOFFAT 

Oh . . . Poor Evans. What a pity he was not born at the 
beginning of the eighteenth century! 

THE SQUIRE 

Beginning of the eighteenth century . . . Now when was 
that . . . ? 

MISS MOFFAT 

He would have had a protector. (Ta\e$ two boo\s from 
bookcase.} 

THE SQUIRE 

What against? 

105 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MISS MOFFAT 

A patron. Pope, you recall, dedicated the famous "Essay on 
Man" to his protector. (Crosses front of small des\^) 

THE SQUIRE 

"To H. St. John Lord Bolingbroke." Mmm ... I have 
heard of it, now I remember. . . . 

MISS MOFFAT 

Isn't it wonderful to think that that inscription is handed 
down to posterity? (Reading from the other booty "To the 
Right Honourable Earl of Southampton . . . Your Honour's 
in all duty, William Shakespeare." 

THE SQUIRE 

Oh. 

MISS MOFFAT 

I often think of the pride that surged in the Earl's bosom 
when his encouragement gave birth to the masterpiece of a 
poor and humble writer! 

THE SQUIRE 

Funny, I never thought of Shakespeare being poor, some- 
how. 

MISS MOFFAT 

Some say his father was a butcher. The Earl realized he 
had genius, and fostered it. 

THE SQUIRE 

Mmm! If this boy really is clever, it seems a pity for me 
not to do something about it, doesn't it? 

106 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MISS MOFFAT 

A great pity. And I can tell you exactly how you can do 
something about it. 

THE SQUIRE 

How? 

MISS MOFFAT 

There's a scholarship going. 

THE SQUIRE 

Scholarship? Where? 

MISS MOFFAT 

To Oxford. 

THE SQUIRE 

(Staggered) 

Oxford? 

MISS MOFFAT 

(Moves closer) 

A scholarship to Trinity College, Oxford, open to boys of 
secondary education in the British Isles. My school hardly 
comes under the heading of secondary education, and I wrote 
to your brother at Magdalen; he pulled some strings for me, 
and they have agreed to make a special case of this boy, on 
one condition. That you vouch for him. Will you? 

THE SQUIRE 

My dear lady, you take the cake . . . Can't he be just as 
clever at home? 

MISS MOFFAT 

No, he can't. For the sort of future he ought to have, he 
must have polish he has everything else. The background of 

107 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

a university would be invaluable to him. . . . (SQUIRE rises) 
Will you? 

THE SQUIRE 

Well, the 'Varsity, y'know, hang it all ... Mind you, hell 
never get it. 

MISS MOFFAT 

I know, but he must have the chance. . . . 

THE SQUIRE 

Still, y'know, even the mere prospect of one o' my miners . . . 

MISS MOFFAT 

Think of Shakespeare! 

THE SQUIRE 

All serene. (MISS MOFFAT rises') I'll drop a line to Henry 
next week. Rather a lark, what? I must be off . . , 

MISS MOFFAT 

I should be most obliged if the letter could be posted to- 
morrow. Would you like me to draft out a recommendation 
and send it over to the Hall? You must be so busy with the 
estate. . . . 

THE SQUIRE 

I am rather. Polka supper tomorrow night . . , Yes, do do 
that. Good-bye, dear lady! 

MISS MOFFAT 

Thank you so very much, Squire. . . . 

108 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

THE SQUIRE 

Happier conditions, and all that! Glad you've come to your 
senses! 

MISS MOFFAT 

Thank you so very much. Squire! 

THE SQUIRE 

Not at all, I'm all for giving a writer-fellow a helping hand. 
Tell my brother that, if you like . . . Good-bye Good-bye. 
(Exits. MISS MOFFAT closes door. MISS RONBERRY hurries in from 
the garden, carrying the bowl of roses. The afternoon sun be- 
gins to set.) 

MISS RONBERRY 

Well? (Puts vase on desl^) 

MISS MOFFAT 

That man is so stupid it sits on him like a halo. 

MISS RONBERRY 

What happened? 

MISS MOFFAT 

In ten minutes I have given the Squire the impression that 
he spends his whole time fostering genius in the illiterate. 

MISS RONBERRY 

But how? 

MISS MOFFAT 

Soft soap and curtseying; with my brain, my heart and my 
soul. I've beaten you at your own game, my dear; at my age 
and with my looks, I flirted with him! And he is going to 

109 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

write to Oxford; at least, I am going to write to Oxford for 
him. Hallelujah. 

MISS RONBERRY 

Oxford? 

MISS MOFFAT 

I am entering my little pit-pony for a scholarship to Ox- 
ford, child, Oxford University! 

MISS RONBERRY 

(Incredulous) 
But they don't have miners at Oxford University! 

MISS MOFFAT 

Well, they're going to. The lad is on this earth for eighty 
years at the most out of a few millions; let the proud silly 
ones grovel and be useful for a change, so he can step up on 
their backs to something better! I was bursting to say that to 
the Lord of the Manor, so I must vent it on you . . . Thank 
you for your shawl, my dear and now you've served your 
purpose, you can go home but you'd better watch out, I may 
beat you to the altar yet. . . . (She shuts the -front door on 
her, and comes bac\ into the room, gets papers, then crosses 
to table moves table, moves milJ^ jug to sideboard and sits at 
table. Seated before she calls.) Evans! (MORGAN comes in from 
the study, carrying a pen, boo\s and papers. His mantle of re- 
serve has descended on him again; his inward rebellion is 
only to be guessed at from his eyes, which she does not see. 
He pulls the chair up to the table and sits opposite her. The 
daylight begins to wane) Is this your essay on the Wealth of 
Nations? 

no 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MORGAN 



Yes. 



MISS MOFFAT 

(Reading briskly) 

Say so and underline it. Nothing irritates examiners more 
than that sort o vagueness. (She hands him the exercise 
booty I couldn't work this sentence out. 

MORGAN 

"The eighteenth century was a cauldron. Vice and ele- 
gance boiled to a simmer until the kitchen of society reeked 
fulminously, and the smell percolated to the marble halls 
above." (Hands paper bac'kj) 

MISS MOFFAT 

D'ye know what that means ? 

MORGAN 

Yes, Miss Moffat. 

MISS MOFFAT 

Because I don't. Clarify, my boy, clarify, and leave the rest 
to Mrs. Henry Wood. . . . "Water" with two t* s . . . that's 
a bad lapse. . . . The Adam Smith sentence was good. Origi- 
nal, and clear as well. Seven out of ten, not bad, but not good 
you must avoid long words until you know exactly what 
they mean. Otherwise domino. . . . Your reading? 



MORGAN 

Burke's "Cause of the Present Discontents." 

in 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MISS MOFFAT 

Style? 

MORGAN 

His style appears to me ... as if there was too much of it. 

MISS MOFFAT 

His style struck me as florid. 

MORGAN 

His style struck me as florid. 

MISS MOFFAT 

Again. 

MORGAN 

His style struck me as florid. 

MISS MOFFAT 

Subject matter? 

MORGAN 

A sound argument, falsified by by the high color of the 
sentiments, 

MISS MOFFAT 

Mmm. "The high color of the sentiments" . , . odd but 
not too odd, good and stylish. . . . For next time. (Dictating 
as MORGAN writes) Walpole and Sheridan as representatives 
of their age; and no smelly cauldrons. (Opening another 
booty By the way, next Tuesday I'm starting you on Greek. 

MORGAN 

(Looking up, feigning interest) 
Oh, yes? 

112 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MISS MQFFAT 

(Subduing her excitement) 

I am going to put you in for a scholarship to Oxford. (He 
loo^s uf at her, arrested.) 

MORGAN 
Oxford? Where the lords go? 

MISS MOFFAT 

(Amused) 

The same. I've made a simplified alphabet to begin with. 
It's jolly interesting after Latin. . . . (The matter-of-factness 
with which she is controlling her excitement over the scholar- 
ship seems to gall him more and more; he watches her, 
bitterly} Have a look at it by Tuesday, so we can make a good 
start. Oh, and before we go on with the lesson, I've found the 
nail file I mentioned. . . . (MORGAN slams a booty I'll show 
you how to use it. I had them both here somewhere. . . . 

MORGAN 
(Quietly) 
I shall not need a nail file in the coal mine. 

MISS MOFFAT 

In the what? 

MORGAN 

(Turns to her) 
I am going back to the coal mine. 

MISS MOFFAT 

I don't understand you. Explain yourself. 

"3 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MORGAN 

I do not want to learn Greek, nor to pronounce any long 
English words, nor to keep my hands clean. 

MISS MOFFAT 

(Staggered) 

What's the matter with you? Why not? 

MORGAN 

Because . . . because (Leans over, both hands on table) I 
was born in a Welsh hayfield when my mother was helpin' 
with the harvest and I always lived in a house with no stairs, 
only a ladder and no water and until my brothers was 
killed I never sleep except three in a bed. I know that is ter- 
rible grammar but it is true. 

MISS MOFFAT 

What on earth has three in a bed got to do with learning 
Greek? 

MORGAN 

It has a. lot! The last two years I have not had no proper 
talk with English chaps in the mine because I was so busy 
keepin' this old grammar in its place. Tryin' to better my- 
self . . . Tryin' to better myself, the day and the night . . . ! 
You cannot take a nail file into the Gwesmor Arms public 
bar! 

MISS MOFFAT 

My dear boy, file your nails at home! I never heard any- 
thing so ridiculous. Besides, you don't go to the Gwesmor 
Arms! 

114 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MORGAN 

Yes, I do, I have been there every afternoon for a week, 
spendin' your pocket money, and I have been there now, and 
that is why I can speak my mind! 

MISS MOFFAT 

I had no idea that you felt like this. 

MORGAN 

Because you are not interested in me. 

MISS MOFFAT 

Not interested in you? 

MORGAN 

(Losing control) 

How can you be interested in a machine that you put a 
penny in and if nothing comes out you give it a good shake? 
"Evans, write me an essay; Evans, get up and bow; Evans, 
what is a subjunctive!" My name is Morgan Evans, and all 
my friends call me Morgan, and if there is anything gets on 
the wrong side of me it is callin' me Evans! . . . And do you 
know what they call me in the village? Ci bach yr ysgol! The 
schoolmistress's little dog! What has it got to do with you if 
my nails are dirty? Mind your own business! (He buries his 
head in his hands) 

MISS MOFFAT 

I never meant you to know this. I have spent money on you 
I don't mind that, money ought to be spent. But time is dif- 
ferent. Your life has not yet begun, mine is half over. And 
when you're a middle-aged spinster, some folk say it's pretty 

115 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

near finished. Two years is valuable currency. I have spent 
two years on you. Even since that first day, the mainspring of 
this school has been your career. Sometimes, in the middle 
of the night, when I have been desperately tired, I have lain 
awake, making plans. Large and small. Sensible and silly. 
Plans, for you. And you tell me I have no interest in you. If 
I say any more I shall start to cry; and I haven't cried since I 
was younger than you are, and I'd never forgive you for that. 
I am going for a walk. I don't like this sort of conversation; 
please never mention it again. If you want to go on, be at 
school tomorrow. (Going) If not, don't. 

MORGAN 

I don't want your money, and I don't want your time! . . . 
I don't want to be thankful to no strange woman for any- 
thing! 

MISS MOFFAT 

I don't understand you. I don't understand you at all. 
(Taking her cloa\ that is hanging on door, she goes out by 
the front door. MORGAN folds his arms, ta\es a drin\, futs 
bottle on the table. There is a booJ^ there. He moves booJ^. 
BESSIE comes in from the garden. She has fut her hair half up 
and wears earrings.} 

BESSIE 

Hello! (She clutches her leg) Caught my knee climbin' 
down the rainpipe, ooh. . . . (As he ta\es no notice, she 
crosses to 'kitchen door) P'r'aps I'm invisible. . . . (She marches 
into the 'kitchen, singing "Bell Bottom Trousers" and bangs 
the door behind her. Far away, the sound of singing: Men re- 
turning from the mine, harmonizing their familiar melody, 
"Yr Hufen Melyn." BESSIE returns from the \itcheri) Mum's 

116 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

gone out. (After a pause} Expect she's gone to tell Mrs. Rob- 
erts about her meetin'. Though how she manages with Mrs. 
Roberts knowin' no English an' deaf as well . . . (After a 
pause*) Talking a lot, aren't I? 

MORGAN" 

Yes. 

BESSIE 

Well, I'm not deaf. 

MORGAN 

Been spyin'? 

BESSIE 

If people lock me in and take the key out of the keyhole, 
they can't blame me for listenin' at it. Ooh, I think she's 
wicked. 

MORGAN 
Mind your own business! 

BESSIE 

I won't. I like to know about everything; I like doin' all 
the things I like; I like sweets, I don't care if it does make 
me fat, and I love earrings. I like to shake my head like a 
lady. . . . (The singing stops. A pause) It's funny. . . . We 
never been by ourselves before. (She begins to sing in Welsh. 
The tune is "Lliw Gwyn Rhosyn yr Haf") Didn't know I 
knew Welsh, did you? . . . You like that song, don't you? 
That's why I learnt it. 

MORGAN 

You are different when you sing. 

117 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

BESSIE 

Am I? ... What's this, medicine? (Picfa up rum bottle, 
drinks* He takes bottle from her, ta^es a drin\ and puts it in 
his pocket) Tastes like rubber. Nice, though. . . . You know 
you was quite right to put her in her place. Clever chap like 
you learnin' lessons off a woman! 

MORGAN 

That's right 

BESSIE 

(Soft, persuasive) 
You don't 'ave to go to Oxford! Clever chap like you! 

MORGAN 

(In a whisper) 
That's right. . . . (He turns slowly and loo\s at her.) 

BESSIE 
What a man wants isi a bit o' sympathy! 

(He loo\s at her, his hand on the bac\ of the chair. It 
is growing faintly darker. She laughs, and begins to 
sing again; she turns, still singing, lool^s up at him, 
and smiles. He pushes away the chair, seizes her with 
violence, and pisses her passionately. Their arms en- 
twine and the chair crashes to the floor.) 

The curtain falls 



118 



ACT TWO 

SCENE II 

A morning in "November, three months later. The room 
is much as it was; the fotted flants have been removed; the 
daylight is so poor that the lamps are lit. 

MRS. WATTY is carrying in from the kitchen a small table, 
new and light. On it blotter, in\, pens, pencil, a duster and a 
cup of tea. MISS RONBERRY is pushing the armchair in from 
the study past the sofa into its old place, next to the isolated 



MRS. WATTY 

(Singing) 

"I'm saved I am, I'm saved I am. . . ." (MRS. WATTY moves 
the large table a bit, so as to get through, pic\s up small table, 
places it well downstage) What would the armchair be for, 
miss ? 

MISS RONBERRY 

The Squire's coming. He's invigilating. (She opens des\ 
drawer, and takes out package with sealed Oxford papers'.) 

MRS. WATTY 

What was that, please, miss ? 

MISS RONBERRY 

The Oxford people have appointed him and Miss Moffat to 
watch Morgan Evans while he is sitting the scholarship, so 
that he cannot cheat, 

119 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MRS. WATTY 

What a shame. . . . (Still arranging furniture) You'd never 
think it was nearly nine in the morning, would you? 

MISS RONBERRY 

It's stopped snowing. 

MRS. WATTY 

(Peering out of the window) 

Only just. The milkman said the road was blocked down by 
the bridge. 

MISS RONBERRY 

How terrible i Morgan couldn't get through! 

MRS. WATTY 

Countin' sheep all night, I was. (Picking up two envelopes 
from the floor, near the front door) She didn't 'ave a wink 
neither. I could 'ear her thinkin'. 

MISS RONBERRY 

It is a very important day for her. 

MRS. WATTY 

Looks like that one's Bessie. Would you mind? 

MISS RONBERRY 

That means Sarah the Post got through. . . . 

MRS. WATTY 

She'd come the other way, down the 'ill. . . . 

120 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MISS RONBERRY 

That's true . . . (Reading) "Dear Mum" to think I taught 
her to write "Cheltenham is terrible. Can I have a shilling? 
I do the steps. Madam is terrible. Your obedient girl." 

MRS. WATTY 

Obedient. (Laughs) I like that. . . . (Throwing the letter 
into the waste fafer basket) She's been away three months 
now, she ought to be gettin' used to it. 

MISS RONBERRY 

But do you not miss her? 

MRS. WATTY 

(Emphatically ) 
No! I don't like 'er, you know, never 'ave. 

MISS RONBERRY 

But, Mrs. Watty, your own daughter! 

MRS. WATTY 

I know, but I've never been able to take to 'er. First time I 
saw 'er, I said, "No." (Going) With 'er dad being foreign, 
you see. 

MISS RONBERRY 

But couldn't your husband have taken her abroad to his 
own family? 

MRS. WATTY 

Oh, my 'usband was quite different. British to the core. 
(She goes into the 'kitchen. MISS RONBERRY blinds after her, and 

121 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

places writing pad on the little table. MISS MOFFAT comes slowly 
downstairs. She is alert, but more subdued than the audience 
has yet seen her. MISS RONBERRY ta^es up the cup of tea, and 
watches her apprehensively.} 

MISS MOFFAT 

It's stopped snowing. 

MISS RONBERRY 

It's a white world, as they say ... Do you think he will 
get through the snow? 

MISS MOFFAT 

This morning he would get through anything. 

MISS RONBERRY 

I am so glad. I thought perhaps he he had not been work- 
ing satisfactorily. . . . 

MISS MOFFAT 

At ten o'clock last night I had to take his books away from 
him. 

MISS RONBERRY 

I am glad. 

MISS MOFFAT 

I hope he won't get wet he must not (Pic^s up string, 
plays with it) be upset in any way. What made you think he 
wasn't working well ? 

MISS RONBERRY 

Nothing, only . . . you remember the night you went for 
that long walk, when he might be going back to the mine? 

122 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MISS MOFFAT 

(After a pause) 
Yes? 

MISS RONBERRY 

The next morning he started studying again, and yet it 
seemed so different. 

MISS MOFFAT 

How? 

MISS RONBERRY 

Almost strained . . . what a silly thing to say ... I mean, 
as you did not say anything more about the mine . . . 

MISS MOFFAT 

He didn't say any more himself. He just turned up. I didn't 
embrace him on both cheeks, but I said "Righto." Since which 
time, he has never stopped working. 

MISS RONBERRY 

I am so glad . . . Oh, this arrived from the Penlan Town 
Hall! It must be his birth certificate. . . . 



MISS MOFFAT 

Good. ... I must send it off to the President of Trinity. 
Rather a nervous post-mortem from him last night; two 
pages to ask if the youngster's legitimate. (Opens envelope, 
loo\s at birth certificate) Thank Heaven he is. And no con- 
viction for drunkenness; references have been spotless. That 
will help, I hope, 

MISS RONBERJR.Y 

Would it not be splended if he won! 

123 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MISS MOFFAT 

{After a pause) 

Not very likely, I am afraid. (Moving about, nervously} 
The syllabus rather attaches importance to general knowledge 
of the academic sort. His is bound to be patchy on the ex- 
uberant side I have had to force it; two years is not enough 
even for him. If he checks himself, and does not start telling 
them what they ought to think of Milton, with fair luck he 
might stand a chance. He will have some pretty strong public- 
school candidates against him, of course. Bound to. It depends 
on how much the examiners will appreciate a highly original 
intelligence. 

MISS RONBERRY 

(Seated on couch) 
But wouldn't it be exciting! 



MISS MOFFAT 

Yes, it would. People run down the Universities, and al- 
ways will, but it would be a wonderful thing for him. It 
would be a wonderful thing for rural education all over the 
country. 

MISS RONBERRY 

And most of all, it would be a wonderful thing for you! 



MISS MOFFAT 

(Almost soliloquizing) 

I suppose so ... It is odd to have spent so many hours with 
another human being, in the closest intellectual communion 
because it has been that. I know every trick and twist of that 

124 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

brain of his, exactly where it will falter and where it will 
gallop ahead of me and yet not to know him at all. I woke 
up in the middle of the night thinking of Henry the Eighth. 
I have a feeling there may be a question about the old boy 
and the Papacy. (Crosses to bookshelves. Ta\es boo\ from 
shelf and maJ^es notations on a piece of writing paper') 111 
cram one or two facts into him, the last minute . . - (Sud- 
denly, in a sob, with all the inward conviction of which she 
is capable) Oh, God, he must win it ... (MRS. WATTY comes 
in from the tytchen, carrying a steaming cup of tea) He 
must. 

MRS. WATTY 

(Hands her cup of tea) 

Cup a tea! Now, ma'am, don't get in a pucker! Six more 
Saturday mornin's like this in the next 'alf-year, (Gets MISS 
RONBERRYV cup from table) remember! 



MISS MOFFAT 

The first paper is the important one I expect we'll get 
more used to the others. . . . 



MISS RONBERRY 

Suppose the Squire doesn't come! 

MISS MOFFAT 

He will. He has got to the point of looking on the lad as a 
racehorse. 

MISS RONBERRY 

You don't think the snow might deter him? 

125 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MRS. WATTY 

I just seed 'is nibs' gardener clearin' a way from the gates. 
Shame the red carpet gettin' so wet. 

(MRS. WATTY goes bac\ into the fyitchen.) 

MISS RONBERRY 

Surely it is getting brighter this side . . . (Loo\s out of the 
window) Oh, I can see him! Morgan, I mean! 

MISS MOFFAT 

Can you? 

MISS RONBERRY 

Coming up the Nant, do you see? Ploughing through! 

MISS MOFFAT 

What is the time? (Loo\s at her breast watch.) 

MISS RONBERRY 

Ten minutes to! 

MISS MOFFAT 

(Sitting at her desTt) 

He will have just two minutes . . . (A l^noc\ at the front 
door) Good. There's the Squire . . . 

MISS RONBERRY 

(Running to the door) 

He is as excited as any of us ... (BESSIE enters the room, 
followed by MR. JONES) Bessie . . . But it cannot be you, your 
mother has just received . . . 

126 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

BESSIE 

I left the same day I posted it. (She is shabbily dressed, in 
semi-grown-up fashion, and wears a cloa\. Her manner is 
staccato, nervy and defiant. MR. JONES closes door, leaves 
BESSIE'S bag near des\+ She faces MISS MOFFAT, who stares at 
her, puzzled.) 

MISS MOFFAT 

This is unexpected. 

BESSIE 

Isn't it just? I have been travellin' all night, quite a wreck. 
I woke Mr. Jones up and he got the stationmaster to drive us 
over in his trap, in the snow nice, wasn't it? (She is trying 
not to be frightened, and not succeeding. The conversation 
from now on quickens and grows more nervous.) 

MISS MOFFAT 

You have arrived at an inconvenient time. 
(MISS RONBERRY crosses Left above table.} 

BESSIE 
Fancy. 

MISS MOFFAT 

Have you come to see your mother? 

BESSIE 

No. (She plucks up courage and sits suddenly in the arm- 
chair. MISS MOFFAT frowns and rises.) 

MISS MOFFAT 

Then why are you here? 

127 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

BESSIE 

Questions and answers, just like school again! 

MISS MOFFAT 

Why have you brought this girl here this morning? 

MR. JONES 
I did not bring her, Miss Moffat, she brought me. . . . 

MISS MOFFAT 

Whom have you come to see? 

BESSIE 

You. 

MISS MOFFAT 

Me? (BESSIE docs not spea^) I can give you exactly one 
minute of my time. (Pause) Is it money? (As BESSIE does not 
answer, impatiently to the others) Will you wait in the study? 
(MR. JONES -follows MISS RONBERRY into the study} One min- 
ute. . . . Quickly! 

BESSIE 

Why? 

MISS MOFFAT 

Morgan Evans is sitting for his Oxford examination here 
this morning. 

BESSIE 
Well, 'e needn't. 

MISS MOFFAT 

What do you mean? 

128 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

BESSIE 

Because he won't ever be goin* to Oxford. 



MISS MOFFAT 

Why not? 

BESSIE 

Because there's goin' to be a little stranger. (A pause) I'm 
going to have a little stranger. (She begins to whimper into 
her handkerchief, half acting, half nerves and excitement. 
MISS MOFFAT stares at her.) 



MISS MOFFAT 

You're lying. 

BESSIE 

Doctor Brett, The Firs, Cheltenham . . . And i you don't 
believe it's Morgan Evans, you ask 'im about that night you 
locked me up the night you had the words with him! 



MISS MOFFAT 

I see ... (With a sudden cry) Why couldn't I have seen 
before! (Her eyes rest on the examination table. She collects 
herself, desperately) Does he know? 



BESSIE 

I've come to tell 'im! I was ever so upset, of course, and now 
I've lost me place. Oh, she was artful. He'll have to marry 
me, or I'll show him up, 'cause I must give the little stranger 
a name. . . . 

129 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MISS MOFFAT 

(Exasperated beyond endurance} 

Stop saying "little stranger"! I you must have a baby, then 
call it a baby! . . . Have you told anybody? 



BESSIE 
Mr. Jones, that's all. . . . 



MISS RONBERRY 

(Peering timidly through the study door) 
The Squire is coming up the road! (She goes bacJ^ into the 
study.) 

BESSIE 
111 wait here for him. 



MISS MOFFAT 

For the next three hours, he must not be disturbed. You 
are not going to see him . . . 



BESSIE 

You can't bully me, the way I am! (Rising, and facing her 
across the examination table, the resentment of two years 
pouring out f real hysteria this time) 'Asn't sunk in yet, 'as it? 
I'm teaching you something, am I ? You didn't know things 
like that went on, did you? Why? You couldn't see what was 
goin' on under your nose, 'cause you're too busy managin' 
everything Well, you can't manage him any longer, 'cause 
he's got to manage me now, the way I am, he's got to 

130 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

(MR. JONES pofes his head round the study door; he is 
in a state of panic, MISS RONBERRY hovers behind 
him.) 

MR. JONES 
Morgan Evans has turned the corner up the hill . . . 

MISS RONBERRY 

So there isn't much time! 

(MR. JONES -follows MISS RONBERRY bac\ into the study.} 

MISS MOFFAT 

I'm afraid I am going to do a little managing now. You 
are going into the kitchen, where your mother will make you 
breakfast; you will then lie down, and as soon as this session 
is finished we will go upstairs and talk it all over when we 
are a little calmer. 

(A t^noc\ at the -front door.) 



BESSIE 

He's here! I got to see him! (BESSIE starts up. MISS MOFFAT 
detains her.) 

MISS MOFFAT 

If you try and disobey me, I shall not answer for the con- 
sequences. (Holds her wrist.) 

BESSIE 
(Cowed) 
You wouldn't dare lay a finger on me ... 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MISS MOFFAT 

Oh, yes, I would. If you attempt to stay in this room, or to 
blab to anybody about this before we have had that talk- 
even your mother ... I am in a pretty nervous state myself, 
this morning, and I shall strike you so hard that I shall prob- 
ably kill you. ... I mean every word of that. 

{Another %noc\ f more impatient. She quells BESSIE 
with her loo\; crosses and holds of en the "kitchen 
door.} 

BESSIE 

(Laughs) 

I don't mind. Three hours'll go soon enough. (She goes 
into the 'kitchen. MISS MOFFAT shuts the door after her, 
straightens herself, and opens the front door. The SQUIRE 
enters, in Inverness cape and hat, stamping the snow from 
his boots; he carries several periodicals, chiefly sporting and 
dramatic. The rest of the scene is played very quic\ly.) 

MISS MOFFAT 

(Ta^es his coat and hat) 

So very sorry how kind of you such a dreadful day . . . 
(Hangs SQUIRE'S coat on door.) 

THE SQUIRE 

Not at all, Mistress Pedagogue, anything for a lark. . . . 
Glad it isn't me, what . . . ? I've got a spiffy bit of news for 
you. 

MISS MOFFAT 

Yes? 

132 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

THE SQUIRE 

I've bought the barn from Sir Herbert, and we can move 
the whole shoot next door by March. What d'ye think? 

MISS MOFFAT 

Wonderful . . . 

THE SQUIRE 

We can knock a door straight through here to the barn 
aren't ye pleased about it? 

MISS MOFFAT 

(Going to the desf^ f hardly aware of what she is doing, 

as MISS RONBERRY runs in jrom the study) 
Yes, but you know, this examination, (Knoc\ at front door) 
rather worrying . . . 

MISS RONBERRY 

Good morning, Squire! Terrible weather . . . 

THE SQUIRE 

Beastly 

(MISS RONBERRY opens the -front door and lets MORGAN 
in. She closes the door before she ta\es his overcoat, 
cap and muffler. He has been hurrying, but he is 
quiet and calm.) 

MISS MOFFAT 

Wet? 

MORGAN 

No, thank you. Good day, sir ... 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MISS RONBERRY 

Let me take your things . . . 

MORGAN 

Thank you . . . 

MISS MOFFAT 

Before I open the papers, I have a feeling they may bring 
up Henry the Eighth. Memorize these two facts, will you? 
(Hands him a paper.) 

MISS RONBERRY 

(Puts down a sprig of white heather) 
White heather just a thought! (She runs into the study.) 

MORGAN 

Thank you . . . 

THE SQUIRE 

Good luck, my boy. 

MORGAN 

Thank you, sir ... 

THE SQUIRE 

Glad it isn't me! 

(MORGAN hands her the paper.) 

MR. JONES 

(Pops his head round the study door) 
Fob llwyddiant, ymachgeni! 

MORGAN 
Diolch 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

(MISS MOFFAT throws paper in the basket. MR. JONES 
goes bac\ into the study. MORGAN sits at the tablet) 

MISS MOFFAT 

Name and particulars, to save time. And don't get ex- 
uberant. 

MORGAN 

No. 

MISS MOFFAT 

Or illegible. 

MORGAN 

No. 

(Pause.) 

THE SQUIRE 

But aren't you going to wish my little protege good 
fortune ? 

MISS MOFFAT 

(After a pause, to MORGAN) 
Good luck. 

MORGAN 

Thank you. 

(The doc\ begins to stride nine.) 

MISS MOFFAT 

Ready? (MORGAN nods. She cuts the envelope and places 
the examination paper in front of him. She loo\s at the 
duplicate paper of questions, smiles') Henry the Eighth! 

135 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

(She sits in the armchair. The SQUIRE embarks on his periodi- 
cal. MORGAN begins to write, MISS MOFFAT raises her head, 
loof^s anxiously toward the kitchen, then steadfastly at MOR- 
GAN, her lip trembling. A pause. The only sound is the scratch 
of a pen.) 

The curtain falls slowly 



ACT THREE 



ACT THREE 

SCENE: An afternoon in July. Seven months later. 

The school has been moved next door, and the room is 
much less crowded; the small table is bac\ in the window 
recess, the armchair is in its old position; the large table, 
however, is no longer behind the sofa with its chair, its place 
being tal^en by three small school des\s facing the front 
door; between the front door and the bay window a blacJ^- 
board on its easel faces the audience at an angle, with ''Eliza- 
beth, fynown as Good Q. Bess" written on it in bloc\ letters. 

MR. JONES stands in command beside the blackboard. In 
two of the school desJ(s sit IDWAL and ROBBART, each poring 
over his slate. On the settle sit the SQUIRE, downstage, his 
arms folded li\e a pupil, his eyes fixed on MR. JONES, and next 
to him OLD TOM, upstage, laboriously copying the inscription 
on to his slate. MR. JONES crosses to IDWAL'S des\, then to ROB- 
BART'S des\; loo\s at their wor\. 

OLD TOM 

(Muttering, as he writes} 

Elissabeth known as what in goodness is a "k" doin' 
there, that iss a pussell for me . . . 

MR. JONES 

a l wandered lonely as a cloud." From "The Daffodils," by 
Wordsworth. 

139 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

(The boys scratch busily. The SQUIRE begins to nod 
sleepily. MISS RONBERRY hurries in from the garden.) 

MISS RONBERRY 

What is the capital of Sweden? 

MR. JONES 

Stockholm. 

MISS RONBERRY 

Thank you. (She hurries bac\ into the garden.) 

OLD TOM 
Please, sir, how many 1's in "daffodils"? 

THE SQUIRE 

Damned if I know. 

(JOHN OWEN comes in by the study door.) 

JOHN 

Please, Mistar Jones, Form Two Arithmetic Report Miss 
Moffat says will you come in school with it. (He goes bacT^. 
MR. JONES follows him through the study after getting boo\ 
and papers from the sideboard. The SQUIRE snores.) 

ROBBART 

Mae o'n cysgu. Tyd. Idwal . . . 

OLD TOM 

Plenty Welsh at home, not in the class, please, by request, 
scoundrels and notty boys! 

140 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

IDWAL 

(Rises) 

Squire iss 'avin' a snore. Nai ddangos rwbeth ichi (He 
rises, runs to the blackboard, ta^es the chalT^ and the duster, 
and swiftly rubs out and adds to the inscription till it reads: 
"NO . . . GOOD . . . BESSIE^ The SQUIRE grunts. As he 
strides the period the SQUIRE sticks his foot out. He says 
"Na-fe.") 

MR. JONES 

(Returning) 

Now history. (Stumbles over the SQUIRE'S foot. Crosses to 
blackboard) Excuse me . . . Elizabeth . . . (He sees the in- 
scription and stops short. He turns on the others, grave and 
perturbed) Who did this? 



IDWAL 

Please, Mr. Jones, perhaps it iss some terrible dunce that 
want to know what iss Bessie Watty been doin' the last few 
months. 



(A pause.) 

MR. JONES 

Whoever it was . . . (SQUIRE rises) I am going to cane 
him! It was not you, sir, by any chance? 



THE SQUIRE 

Not guilty. . . . Bessie Watty? Little Cockney thing? Nice 
ankles ? 

141 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MR. JONES 

I do not know, sir ... (Boys snicker) Silence, boys! 
Where is my duster? 

(SQUIRE goes to window and loo\s out.) 

THE SQUIRE 

Still no sign of him. 

MR. JONES 

You mean Morgan Evans, sir? (Boys loo\ up) He is not 
expected before the train leaving Oxford half -past one . . . 

THE SQUIRE 

There's a sporting chance the Viva finished yesterday, and 
I sent the wagonette to meet the one-ten. 

MR. JONES 

Do you think that he may know the result when he 
arrives ? 

THE SQUIRE 

I doubt it. Miss Moffat said well hear by letter in a day or 
two. . . . (Rising restlessly and going toward the front door) 
Think I'll propel the old pins down the highway, just in 
case . . . 

IDWAL 

Please, sir, what sort of a place is Oxford? 

THE SQUIRE 

Dunno, I'm sure. Cambridge myself. (He goes. Leaves door 
open.) 

142 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MR. JONES 

(At blackboard) 
Now history. Repeat after me ... 

H>WAL 
Please, Mr. Jones, tell us about Bessie Watty? 



MR. JONES 

If you are kept in tomorrow, I will give you religion. Re- 
peat after me ... (The school bell rings) Dismiss! (ROBBART 
rises and straps booJ{s. MR. JONES goes to desJ^ and tidies 
papers. SARAH hurries in from the front door. She is dressed 
in her best f in the traditional Welsh peasant costume with a 
steeple hat) 

SARAH 

Please, sir, have you got my father (Seeing OLD TOM) 
tiddona, 'nhad, ma'dy frwas di'n oeri . . . 

OLD TOM 
English, daughter, in the class, pliss! 

SARAH 

You are an old soft, your porridge it iss gettin* cold and 
you have not got your sleep . . . 

OLD TOM 
But I got my Queen Elizabeth . . . 

(SARAH ta\es his slate, puts it on ROBBART'S desi(.) 
143 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

SARAH 

And in the mornin' you got your rheumatics come on! 
(SARAH helps OLD TOM to rise. MISS RONBERRY comes in from 
the garden?) 

ROBBART 

Sarah Pugh, what you all clobbered up for? 

SARAH 
Because for Morgan Evans. 

MR. JONES 
Is there some news? 

MISS RONBERRY 

About Morgan? Oh, quickly! 

SARAH 

Not yet, Mistar Jones. But when it comes, I know it iss 
good news, so what do I do? I open the dresser, out the 
lavender bags and into my Sundays! Home (Starts to door 
with OLD TOM), dada, for Sundays . . . 

MR. JONES 
Before we have definite news, that is unwise . . . 

SARAH 

John Goronwy Jones, pliss, sir, you are an old soft. Every- 
body is ready to meet him by the Nant! The grocer got his 
fiddle . . . 

IDWAL 

And William Williams the public got his cornet 1 

144 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

ROBBART 

And with me on me mouth organ . . . (Strikes chord on 
mouth organ.) 

SARAH 

And me singin'! 

ROBBART 

Tyd, Idwal . (He runs out by the front door, -followed by 
IDWAL.) 

MISS RONBERRY 

Perhaps preparing for news to be good means that it 
will be. 

MR. JONES 

Everything is preordained. Morgan Evans has either won 
the scholarship, or lost it. 

MISS RONBERRY 

Let us all say together, "Morgan Evans has won the scholar- 
ship!" 

ALL 

(Except MR. JONES) 
"Morgan Evans has won the scholarship!" 

SARAH 

(To OLD TOM) 
Tiddana, 'nhad 

OLD TOM 

I never got a letter yet, and nobody never put Sundays on 
for me. . . . (He goes out by the front door. SARAH starts to 
go. MISS RONBERRY'S eye catches the blackboard.) 

*45 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MISS RONBERRY 

"No . . . (SARAH comes bac\) good . . . Bessie." Good 
gracious! 

MR. JONES 

Where is my duster? (Loo^s behind blackboard.) 

MISS RONBERRY 

What does that mean? 

SARAH 

Bessie Watty. Miss Ronberry, where is she? 

(MR. JONES finds duster at IDWAL'S des%) 

MISS RONBERRY 

I don't know, dear. 

SARAH 

Miss Moffat she hears from her, in my post office. (JONES 
erases blackboard) We wass all wonderin'. (She goes out by 
the front door.) 

MISS RONBERRY 

Well, I have been wondering too! She came back that 
morning and just went away again. Morgan Evans was tell- 
ing me only the day he left for Oxford that he didn't even 
see her. Where is she? 

MR. JONES 

It is more important to know if Morgan Evans has won 
or not. 

MISS RONBERRY 

I know ... If he hasn't, it will break her heart. 

146 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MR. JONES 

Would she feel it so keen as all that? 



MISS RONBERRY 

I used not to think so, but since that day they have been so 
much better friends, it has been a pleasure to hear them con- 
versing. Perhaps it is the strain of all these examinations . . . 

(MISS MOFFAT comes in -from the study with exercise 
boo\, chuckling.) 

MISS MOFFAT 

Gwyneth Thomas, the plasterer's eldest, essay on Knowl- 
edge. "Be good, sweet maid, and let who will be clever" I 
wonder if the Reverend Kingsley had any idea what a smack 
in the eye that was for lady teachers? And then Gwyneth 
Thomas starts (Reading) : "It is not nice to know too much, 
I wish to be like Miss Ronberry, Miss Moffat is different, she 
knows everything." Any news? 

MR. JONES 
Not yet. 

MISS MOFFAT 

I thought not. . . . (A pause) Where is the Squire? 

MR. JONES 

Gone to see if there is any sign. 

MISS MOFFAT 

Thank the Lord. That man is really becoming a nuisance. 
He gave up Henley to be here this week. Did you know? 

147 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MR. JONES 

You do not appear nervous? 



MISS MOFFAT 

I am past being nervous. If he has won, I shan't believe it. 
Flatly. 

MISS RONBERRY 

And if he has lost? 

MISS MOFFAT 

If he has lost . . . (After a pause} We must proceed as if 
nothing had happened. The sun rises and sets every day, and 
while it does we have jolly well got to revolve round it; the 
time to sit up and take notice will be the day it decides not 
to appear. In the meantime, Mr. Jones, your report is on your 
desk. Miss Ronberry, Form Two are waiting for your music 
like a jungle of hungry parakeets. 

MISS RONBERRY 

Yes, Miss Moffat 

(They retire meekly through the study. MISS MOFFAT is 
done. She loo^s at her watch; her armor loosens 
perceptibly; she is on edge and apprehensive. She 
goes toward the stairs, but before she reaches them 
the garden door opens suddenly and MORGAN appears. 
He wears a new dar\ suit, carries a travelling bag 
and his cap, and looJ{s dusty and tired. His manner 
is excited and unstable; he is alternately eager and 
intensely depressed. She stares at him, not daring to 



148 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MORGAN 

I caught the early train. I knew they would all be watching 
for me, so I got out at Llanmorfedd and got a lift to Gwaeny- 
gam. 

MISS MOFFAT 

Does that mean . . . ? 

MORGAN 

Oh, no news. Except that I am not hopeful. 

MISS MOFFAT 

Why not? 

MORGAN 

They talked to me for one hour at the Viva . . . 

MISS MOFFAT 

That doesn't mean anything. Go on. 

MORGAN 

They jumped down hard on the New Testament question. 
As you said they would. . . . You are very pale. 

MISS MOFFAT 

Better than a raging fever. Go on. 

1 MORGAN 

I spent five minutes explaining why Saint Paul sailed from 
a town three hundred miles inland. 

MISS MOFFAT 

Oh, dear. (Their manner together has changed since we 

149 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

last saw them together. They are hardly at all teacher and 
pupil, superior and inferior, adult and child. They are more 
li\e two friends held solidly by a bond unsentimental and un- 
self -conscious. MORGAN'S English has immensely improved, 
and he expresses himself with ease.) Parnell? 

MORGAN 

Parnell . . . (Smiles) Oh, yes ... I was going to stick up 
for the old chap, but when they started off with "that fellow 
Parnell," I told the tale against him for half an hour. I wasn't 
born a Welshman for nothing. 

MISS MOFFAT 

Ha . . And the French? 

MORGAN 

Not good. I said "naturellement" to everything, but it didn't 
fit every time. 

MISS MOFFAT 

And the Greek verbs? 

MORGAN 

They were sarcastic. 

MISS MOFFAT 

Did the President send for you? 

MORGAN 

I had half an hour with him . . . 

MISS MOFFAT 

You did? 

150 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MORGAN 

Yes, but so did the other nine candidates! He was a very 
kind and grand old gentleman sitting in a drawing room the 
size of Penlan Town Hall. I talked about religion, the same 
as you said . . . 

MISS MOFFAT 

(Correcting him, mechanically) 
Just as you advised . . . 

MORGAN 

Just as you advised. He asked me if I had ever had strong 
drink, and I looked him straight in the eye and said "No." 

MISS MOFFAT 

Oh! 

MORGAN 

I was terrible terribly nervous. My collar stud flew off, 
and I had to hold on to my collar with one hand, and he did 
not seem impressed with me at all. . . . He was very curious 
about you. (Rises) Did you know there was an article in the 
Morning Post about the school ? 

MISS MOFFAT 

Was there? . . . But what else makes you despondent? 



MORGAN 

The other candidates. They appeared to me brilliant. I had 
never thought they would be, somehow! Two from Eton and 
one from Harrow one of them very rich. I had never thought 
a scholarship man might be rich. He had his own servant. 

151 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MISS MOFFAT 



Gosh! 



MORGAN 

And the servant looked so like my father I thought it was 
at first. . . . And, as I was leaving, the examiners appeared 
to be sorry for me in some way, and I received the impression 
that I had failed. I ... 

MISS MOFFAT 

When shall we know? 

MORGAN 

The day after tomorrow. They are writing to you. 

MISS MOFFAT 

The villagers are all in their best, and talking about a holi- 
day tomorrow. It is very stupid of them, because if you have 
failed it will make you still more sick at heart . . . 

MORGAN 

If I have failed? (In sudden desperation) Don't speak 
about it! 

MISS MOFFAT 

But we must! You faced the idea the day you left for 
Oxford . . . 

MORGAN 

I know, but I have been to Oxford, and come back, since 
then! I have come back from the world! Since the day I was 
born, I have been a prisoner behind a stone wall, and now 
somebody has given me a leg-up to have a look at the othpr 

152 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

side. . . . They cannot drag me back again, they cannot. They 
must give me a push and send me over! 

MISS MOFFAT 

I've never heard you talk so much since I've known you. 

MORGAN 

That is just it! I can talk, now! The three days I have been 
there, I have been talking my head off! 

MISS MOFFAT 

Ha! If three days at Oxford can do that to you, what would 
you be like at the end of three years ? 

MORGAN 

That's just it again. It would be everything I need, every- 
thing! Starling and I spent three hours one night discussin' 
the law Starling, you know, the brilliant one. . . . The 
words came pouring out of me all the words that I had 
learnt and written down and never spoken. I suppose I was 
talking nonsense, but I was at least holding a conversation! I 
suddenly realized that I had never done it before I had 
never been able to do it. (With a strong Welsh accent) "How 
are you, Morgan? Nice day, Mr. Jones! Not bad for the 
harvest." A vocabulary of twenty words; all the thoughts 
that you have given to me were being stored away as if they 
were always going to be useless locked up and rotting away 
a lot of questions with nobody to answer them, a lot of 
statements with nobody to contradict them. . . , And there 
I was with Starling, nineteen to the dozen. I came out of his 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

rooms that night,, and I walked down the High. That's their 
High Street, you know. 

MISS MOFFAT 

(Nodding, drinking in the torrent with the most in- 

tense pleasure} 
Yes^ yes. . . . 

MORGAN 

I looked up, and there was a moon behind Magd Maud- 
lin. Not the same moon I have seen over the Nant, a different 
face altogether. Everybody seemed to be walking very fast, 
with their gowns on, in the moonlight. The bells were ring- 
ing, and I was walking faster than anybody and I felt -well, 
the same as on the rum in the old days! 

MISS MOFFAT 

Go on. 

MORGAN 

All of a sudden, with one big rush, against that moon, and 
against that High Street I saw this room; you and me sitting 
here studying, and all those books and everything I have 
ever learnt from those books, and from you, was lighted up 
like a magic lantern: Ancient Rome, Greece, Shakespeare, 
Carlyle, Milton. . . . Everything had a meaning, because I 
was in a new world my world! And so it came to me why 
you worked like a slave to make me ready for this scholar- 
ship. .(^Lamdy) I've finished, 

MISS MOFFAT 

I didn't want you to stop. 

154 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MORGAN 

I had not been drinking. 

MISS MOFFAT 

I know. 

MORGAN 

I can talk to you too, now. 

MISS MOFFAT 

Yes. I'm glad. 

(The SQUIRE comes in from the front door. MORGAN 
rises.) 

THE SQUIRE 

No sign of the eller-me-lad, dang it ... (Hangs hat on 
door) Evans! (Goes to MORGAN, shades hands) There you 
are! 

MORGAN 

Good day, sir. 

THE SQUIRE 

Well? 

MORGAN 

They are sending the result through the post. 

THE SQUIRE 

The devil they are. (To MISS MOFFAT, as he sits in arm- 
chair) D'ye know I am finding this waiting a definite strain ? 

(MR. JONES runs in from the study, stops at foot of 
stairs.) 

155 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MR. JONES 

Somebody said they had seen Morgan . . . 

MORGAN 

Day after tomorrow. 

MR. JONES 

Oh 

THE SQUIRE 

Examiners all right, my boy? 

MORGAN 

Rather sticky, sir. 

THE SQUIRE 

Lot of old fogies, I expect. Miss Moffat, I told you you 
ought to have made inquiries at the other place. How- 
ever . . . 

(MISS RONBERRY runs in from the study.) 

MISS RONBERRY 

Somebody said they had seen . . . 

THE SQUIRE AND MR. JONES 

The day after tomorrow! 

MISS RONBERRY 

Oh . . . How are you, Morgan, dear . . . ? 

MR. JONES 

(Wandering out to the porch) 
The suspense is terrible. 

156 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

THE SQUIRE 



I know. 



MR. JONES 

Even the little children are worrying about (He stops 
short; he has seen somebody coming down the village street; 
he loo\s again, doubtfully; starts, then peers anxiously into 
the room. Everybody is preoccupied. He comes into the room, 
shuts the door t and stands a moment with his bac\ to if) 
Morgan, my boy, are you not exhausted after your journey? 
Would you not like something to eat? 

MORGAN 
I am rather hungry, yes ... 

MISS MOFFAT 

But how stupid of me! Watty will boil you an egg . . . 
Come along . . . 

MORGAN 

(Rising) 

Thank you. Excuse me ... (He follows MISS MOFFAT out.) 

MISS MOFFAT 

(As she goes into the J^itchen) 
Did they spot the Dry den howler? 

MORGAN 

No. 

(MR. JONES goes to the J^itchen door and closes it after 
them.) 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

THE SQUIRE 

You seemed very anxious to get 'em out of the room. 
What's the matter . . . ? 

(The front door opens and BESSIE wal\s in. She has 
completely changed; she might be ten years older. 
Her hair is up; she wears a cheaply smart costume } 
with a cape, and loo\s dazzlingly pretty in a loose 
opulent style. Her whole personality has blossomed. 
A pause. They stare at her.) 

BESSIE 

Hallo! 

THE SQUIRE 

How d'ye do . . . ? 

BESSIE 

I'm very well indeed, thanks, and how are you, blooming ? 
(Her accent is nearer the ladylike than it has been yet.) 

THE SQUIRE 

Yes, thanks . . . What is this? 



MISS RONBERRY 

I really couldn't say ... Good gracious, it's Bessie W 

BESSIE 

Right first time. Hello, Miss Ronberry, how's geography, 
the world still goin' round in circles ? Hello, Mr. Jones, flirty 
as ever? 

158 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

THE SQUIRE 

And to what do we owe this honor? 

BESSIE 

Well, it's like this . . . 

MR. JONES 

(Desperately} 
Miss Ronberry, will you please return to your class . . . ? 

MISS RONBERRY 

They are quite safe. I left Mary Davies in charge . . . 

BESSIE 

No, you don't. We've had too many secrets as it is. 

MR. JONES 

Three days ago she sent money to you. Did you not receive 
the letter? 

BESSIE 
Yes, I did, and all the others, till I was sick of 'em. 

THE SQUIRE 

What is all this? 

BESSIE 

Last week I was glancing through the Mid-Wales Gazette, 
and I'm here to congratulate a certain young gent in case he 
has won that scholarship. 

MR. JONES 
Oh! 

159 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MISS RONBERRY 

But what has that got to do with you? 

BESSIE 

You see, Miss, it's like this . . . 

MR. JONES 

(In a last effort to stop her) 
Don't say it don't say it! 

BESSIE 
Four weeks yesterday, I had a baby. 

(A pause. MISS RONBERRY and THE SQUIRE stare at her. 
MR. JONES gives a sigh of impotent despair.) 

THE SQUIRE 

You had a what? 

BESSIE 

A baby. Seven pounds thirteen ounces. 

THE SQUIRE 

Good God, how ghastly. 

MR. JONES 

(Turns to her) 
It is a disgustin' subject and . . . 

BESSIE 

It isn't disgusting at all. I I had a wedding ring you'd 
think it was sweet. 

160 



THE CORN IS GREEN 
(MRS. WATTY hurries in from the tytchen.) 

MRS. WATTY 

Morgan Evans's luggage. Excuse me, sir. (Catches sight of 
the SQUIRE'S serious face} Oh! . . . (Fearfully) Any news? 

THE SQUIRE 

Well, yes 

MRS. WATTY 

Bessie! (Drops the bag in her excitement) My, you do look 
a dollymop! Excuse me, sir ... 

THE SQUIRE 

Say anything you like . . . 

MRS. WATTY 

Where d'you get them bracelets? 

BESSIE 
Present. 

MRS. WATTY 

Oh, that's all right. Where 'ave you been, you madam? 

BESSIE 
Turnin' you into a granny. 

MRS. WATTY 

A gra (Both laugh) Well, fancy I 

(MISS MOFFAT comes in from the fytchen.) 
161 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MISS MOFFAT 

And I should try and have a sleep if I were you . . . 

MRS. WATTY 

You could 'ave knocked me down with a feather! 

BESSIE 

Hello. (MISS MOFFAT stops short) I've just been telling them 
you-know-what. (It is plain she is no longer afraid of MISS 
MOFFAT. The latter loo\s from one to the other, helplessly.} 

THE SQUIRE 

And now I think it's time you told us who the fellow is. 
I am going to take drastic proceedings . . . 

MRS. WATTY 

That's right, dear. Who is it? 

BESSIE 
Well, as a matter of fact . . . 

MISS MOFFAT 

(With a cry] 
No! I'll pay you anything . . . Anything! 

BESSIE 

It's no good, miss. (MISS MOFFAT turns away) It's Morgan 
Evans. 

(A pause) 

162 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

THE SQUIRE 



What! 



MISS RONBERRY 

(Dazed) 

I don't believe it ... 



MRS. WATTY 

(Really upset, to MISS MOFFAT) 
Oh, ma'am. 

MISS MOFFAT 

I've been dreading this, for months. In a terrible way it's a 
relief. 

BESSIE 
Bamboozlin' me every week he was in the gutter! 

MISS MOFFAT 

Lies, all lies, and I was glad to be telling them . . . 

MISS RONBERRY 

(Suddenly articulate) 

I can't go on listening! I can't bear it! It all comes of 
meddling with this teaching. She was in my class . . . What 
would Papa have said! This horrible unnatural happen- 
ing . . . 

MISS MOFFAT 

(Exasperated beyond endurance) 

Don't talk nonsense! It isn't horrible, and it isn't unnatural! 
On the contrary, it's nature giving civilization a nasty tweak 
of the nose. The schoolmistress has learnt a lesson, but it's a 
little late now. 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

BESSIE 

(Rising) 

Where is he? 

MRS. WATTY 

Over my dead body, my girl . . . 

BESSIE 

She's right, mum, it's too late. I got a four-weeks-old baby, 
kickin', healthy and hungry, and I haven't got a husband to 
keep him, so his father's got to turn into my husband. That's 
only fair, isn't it? 

THE SQUIRE 

(Rises) 

I'm sorry, Miss Moffat, but I'm inclined to agree . . . 

BESSIE 
I'll call him ... 

MR. JONES 

There is no need to call him! 

THE SQUIRE 

What's the matter with you? 

MR. JONES 

I am sorry to say that I have a strong feeling of affection 
for this young woman. 

BESSIE 

(Sitting again on the sofa, amused) 
Oh, yes I've got the face of an angel, haven't I? 

164 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MR. JONES 

And I am willing to do my duty by rehabilitating her in 
wedlock, and bestowing on the infant every advantage by 
bringing it up a Baptist. 

THE SQUIRE 

Are you serious? 

MR. JONES 

I am always serious. 

BESSIE 

(To MISS MOFFAT) 
You'd like that, wouldn't you? 

MRS. WATTY 

Now we're not pretendin 5 it's a windfall, but for a girl 
who's took the wrong turnin' it's a present! And you'd *ave 
your own way in everything wouldn't she, sir? 

MR. JONES 
(Eagerly) 
Of course . . . 

MRS. WATTY 

Well, will you? 

BESSIE 

No. I won't. I'd like to oblige . , . (Laughs) but, really, 
I couldn't! (MR. JONES turns away) Besides, my friend would 
be furious. 

MRS. WATTY 

(Clutching at straws) 
Your friend ? 

165 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

BESSIE 

Ever such a nice gentleman, sporting, quite a swell, owns a 
race-course. (MRS. WATTY loo\s suspicious) You needn't look 
like that. I only met him ten weeks ago. I'd started servin' 
behind a bar for fun. I was the picture of health and ever 
so lucky in the counter bein' very high, 

THE SQUIRE 

I have never heard such a conversation outside a police 
court. I am seeking the safety of my own quarters. Anything 
I can do, Miss Moflfat . . . 

BESSIE 
I suppose you wouldn't care to stake a claim? 

THE SQUIRE 

Good gracious . . . 

(Exits. BESSIE laughs.) 

MISS MOFFAT 

Doesn't this man of yours want to marry you? 

BESSIE 

'E won't talk of anything else, but he won't have the baby. 
He says it would be different if the father'd been a pal of 
his you can understand it, really, can't you? So I've got to 
give up my friend and marry Morgan Evans. Pity, 'cos my 
friend worships me. Ever since I left he keeps on sending me 
telegrams. I just got two at the station, and I expect I'll 

166 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

get some more tonight, isn't it rich? (Laughs) Mr. Jones 
wouldn't consider the baby without me? 

MISS RONBERRY 

The baby without you! Your child! What about your 
your mother love? 

BESSIE 

I expect you'll think I'm a wicked girl, but d'you know, I 
haven't got any! 

MISS RONBERRY 

Oh, what a vile thing to say, vile . . . 

BESSIE 
(Rising) 

Now listen, dear. . . . You're seeing this baby as if it was 
yours, aren't you you'd think the world of it, wouldn't you ? 

MISS RONBERRY 

It would mean everything to me (Turns away} my 
whole life. . . . 

BESSIE 

I have a pretty near idea how old you are. When I'm your 
age I'll love the idea of a baby, but life hasn't begun yet for 
me. I'm just getting a taste for it. What do I want with a 
baby? 

MRS. WATTY 

That's what we all wafit to know! 

BESSIE 
Yes, murn, but you know what it is ... 

167 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MISS RONBERRY 

You're inhuman, that's what you are! To think you don't 
want it. ... (She is on the point of bursting into foolish 
tears, and runs into study.) 

BESSIE 

I didn't mean to be nasty but inhuman indeed! I didn't 
want the baby, nobody would have, but I was careful so it'd 
be all right, and now it is all right I want it to have a good 
time. But / want a good time too! I could have left it on a 
doorstep, couldn't I? But I must see it's in good hands and 
that's why I've come to Morgan Evans. 

MISS MOFFAT 

You want to make him marry you, on the chance he will 
become fond enough of the child to ensure its future your 
conscience will be clear and later you can go off on your 

own? 

BESSIE 
I shouldn't be surprised . . . 

MISS MOFFAT 

In the meantime, it's worth while to ruin a boy on on 
the threshold of ... 

BESSIE 

I don't know anything about that, I'm sure. (Calling) 
Morgan! 

MISS MOFFAT 

(Intercepting her, desperately) 

Ssh! Wait a minute, wait, . . . There may be a way out- 
there must be ... 

168 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MRS. WATTY 

Gawd bless us, ma'am I got it! 



MISS MOFFAT 

What? 

MRS. WATTY 

Why can't you adopt it? (BESSIE and MR. JONES stare -from 
her to MISS MOFFAT.) 

MISS MOFFAT 

Don't be ridiculous. 

MRS. WATTY 

Would that do you, Bessie? 

BESSIE 

Well! I never thought . . . 

MRS. WATTY 

Would it, though? 

BESSIE 

(After consideration) 
Yes, it would. 

MISS MOFFAT 

It tvpuld? ... But ... But what would 7 do with a 
baby? I I don't even know what they look like! 

MRS. WATTY 

They're lovely little things. Now it's all arranged . . . 

MISS MOFFAT 

But it would be fantastic . . . 

169 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

BESSIE 

(Going up to her, eagerly) 

Oh, do, please, it'd put everything to rights! I would know 
the baby was safe. Morgan Evans need never know a thing 
about it. I can marry my friend, and it will all be beautiful! 
He might grow like his father and turn out quite nice, and 
anyway I'm not really so bad, you know. And he's on the 
bottle now and I could give all the instructions before I go. 
And you could have it straight away, see, because if it's going 
I don't want to have it with me longer than I can help, see, 
because I'd only start gettin' fond of it, see . , . 

MRS. WATTY 

Come on, ma'am, you've been pushin' us about for three 
years, now we'll give you a shove! 

MISS MOFFAT 

But it's mad I tell you . . . 

MRS. WATTY 

Not as mad as takin' me in was, with my trouble! You've 
allus been like that, you might as well go on ... 

MISS MOFFAT 

But I was never meant to be a mother. I'm not like Miss 
Ronberry. Why, she is the one to do it ... 

MR. JONES 
(Hastily) 

She would never agree. We were discussin' Marged Hop- 

170 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

kins going to the workhouse and she said she could never 
hold with any child born like that. 

MISS MOFFAT 

Oh ... I suppose it would worry some folk. . . . But, 
Watty, you're the grandmother, and surely you . . . 

MRS. WATTY 

Oh, I couldn't! I don't bear it no ill-will, but every penny I 
get goes to the Corpse. You're the one, dear, really you are. 

MISS MOFFAT 

Bessie Watty, do you mean that if I do not adopt this child, 
you . . . 

BESSIE 

I will have to tell Morgan Evans, and he will have to marry 
me, I swear that. 

MISS MOFFAT 

And do you swear that you would never let Morgan Evans 
know the truth? 

BESSIE 

I swear. If there are any questions, I'll say it was my 
friend's. 

(A pause.) 

MISS MOFFAT 

Then -I give in. 

BESSIE 

That's lovely. My friend will be pleased. Ill pop back to 
the public-house for his telegram and send him a nice one 

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back. Good-bye, all, well arrange details later, shall we? My 
friend gave me this buckle, isn't it nice? He offered me a 
tiny one, real, but I think the false is prettier, don't you? 

MR. JONES 

(As she turns to go) 
Are you going to take up a life of sin? 

BESSIE 
(Smiling) 

I shouldn't be surprised. I'm only really meself with a lot 
of gentlemen round me, y'know, and a nice glass o' port will 
never come amiss, neither. (To MRS. WATTY) That cold water 
didn't really do the trick, mum, did it? ... (To MISS MOF- 
FAT, serious for a moment) Good-bye ... I only did it to spite 
you, y'know. 

MR. JONES 
You are not fit to touch the hem of her garment. 

BESSIE 

Oh, yes, I am! Just because she's read a lot o' books. Books, 
books! Look at 'em all! I got more out of life at my age than 
she has out o' them all her days and I'll get a lot more yet! 
What d'you bet me? (She goes out by the front door, leaves 
door open. MRS. WATTY closes the door after her.) 

MRS. WATTY 

That's settled . . . (Comes down.) 

(The voices of children f in the barn, singing "Dacw'n- 
ghariad") 

172 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MR. JONES 

(Making for the study door) 
For which we must be truly thankful . . . 

(MORGAN wal\s in quickly from the fytchen. He goes 
straight to MISS MOFFAT; his face is white and shoc\ed. 
They stare at him, instinctively silent?) 

MORGAN 

Has she gone? 

MISS MOFFAT 

Why? 

MORGAN 

The Squire just came in to see me. 

MISS MOFFAT 

The fool! The idiotic fool . . . 



MORGAN 

Then it's true . . . ! He thought I knew. (Laughs) Then 
he said it was for the best that I ought to be told. . . . (The 
singing stops in the barn) It is funny. She and I, we do not 
know each other at all It was a long time ago, and I never 
thought again about it and neither did she. I know she 
didn't . . . And here we are ... It is funny, too, because if 
you and I had not made that bad quarrel, it would never 
have happened ... It ought to make me feel older but I 
feel more young than I have ever done before . . . Oh, God, 
why should this happen. . . . 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MISS MOFFAT 

Steady . . . 

MR. JONES 

There is no need for you to upset yourself, my boy. Miss 
Moffat is going to take care of of 

MORGAN 

What? 

MISS MOFFAT 

I am going to adopt it. 

MORGAN 

(His old truculent self emerging) 
What in hell do you take me for ? 

MR. JONES 
Morgan, swearing! Be haru ti . . . 

MORGAN 

(In a rage) 

I will swear some more too, if people talk to me like that! 
(To MISS MOFFAT) What do you take me for? 

MR. JONES 
Then what would you like to do, my boy . . . ? 

MORGAN 

What would I like to do? (Getting more and more Welsh) 
It is not a question of what I would like to do, or what I 
might be allowed, but what I am going to do what any fel- 
low with any guts in him must do! I am going to marry her! 

174 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MISS MOFFAT 

(With a cry) 
I knew this would happen, I knew . . . 



MORGAN 

What else is there, when I have made a fool of myself and 
of her, and of the poor the poor I am not going to talk 
about any of it to anybody. All I will say is that Bessie Watty 
and I are going to get married as soon as we can, and that is 
final! (He flings himself into the armchair.) 



MISS MOFFAT 

(Hopelessly') 
I see. 

(A J^nocJ^ at the front door. SARAH hurries in agog with 
excitement. She runs to MRS. WATTY.) 

SARAH 

Bessie's telegram from her friend, they send it from Pen- 
Ian ... I never seed one before! 



MRS. WATTY 

Poor chap, 'ell be disappointed again. . . . (Opens the tele- 
gram, and hands it to MISS MOFFAT) What does it say, ma'am? 
. . . Read it, ma'am, take your mind off things . . . 

(MISS MOFFAT glances halfheartedly at the telegram. A 
pause. She loofys up at MORGAN.) 

175 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MISS MOFFAT 

You have won the scholarship. (Reading) "First, Evans, 
Second, Fayver-Iles, Third, Starling. Congratulations." (SARAH 
claps her hands and runs out by the front door, closes it. 
MORGAN laughs bitterly and turns away. Folding the telegram 
carefully, she tuc\s it into her belt, still quiet, burning with a 
slow-mounting and deliberate fervor) Lock the school door, 
Watty, will you? 

MRS. WATTY 

(To MR. JONES, tremulously) 

Go in there, sir, I'll make you a cup of tea. . . . (MR. JONES 
goes into the "kitchen. MRS. WATTY loc\s the study door and 
follows him.) 

MISS MOFFAT 

Look at me, Morgan. (MORGAN faces her in the armchair, 
defiantly) For the first time, we are together. Our hearts are 
face to face, naked and unashamed, because there's no time 
to lose, my boy; the clock is ticking and there's no time to 
lose. If ever anybody has been at the crossroads, you are 
now. . . . 

MORGAN 

It is no good. I am going to marry her. 

MISS MOFFAT 

And I am going to speak to you very simply. I want you to 
change suddenly from a boy to a man. I understand that this 
is a great shock to you, but I want you to throw off this pas- 
sionate obstinacy to do the right thing. . . . Did you promise 
her marriage? 

MORGAN 

No, never . , . 

176 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MISS MOFFAT 

Did you even tell her that you were in love with her? 

MORGAN 

(Repelled) 
No, never . . . 

MISS MOFFAT 

Then your situation now is the purest accident; it is to be 
regretted, but it has happened before and it will happen again. 
So cheer up, you are not the central figure of such a tragedy 
as you think . . . 

MORGAN 

That does not altef the fact that I have a duty to to them 
both. . . . 

MISS MOFFAT 

She has her own plans, and she doesn't want the child; and 
I am willing to look after it if you behave as I want you to 
behave. If you marry her, you know what will happen, don't 
you? You will go back to the mine. In a year she will have 
left you both. You will be drinking again, and this time you 
will not stop. And you will enjoy being this besotted and un- 
couth village genius who once showed such promise; but it 
will not be worth it, you know. 

MORGAN 

There is a child, living and breathing on this earth, and liv- 
ing and breathing because of me. . . . 

MISS MOFFAT 

I don't care if there are fifty children on this earth because 
of you! . . . You mentioned the word "duty," did you? Yes, 

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THE CORN IS GREEN 

you have a duty, but it is not to this loose little lady, or to 
her offspring either. 

MORGAN 
You mean a duty to you? 

MISS MOFFAT 

No. A year ago I should have said a duty to me, yes; but 
that night you showed your teeth you gave me a lot to think 
about, you know. You caught me unawares, and I gave you 
the worst possible answer back. I turned sorry for myself and 
taunted you with ingratitude. I was a dolt not to realize that 
a debt of gratitude is the most humiliating debt of all, and 
that a little show of affection would have wiped it out. I offer 
that affection to you, today. 

MORGAN 
Why are you saying this to me now ? 

MISS MOFFAT 

Because, as the moments are passing, and I am going to get 
my way, I know that I am never going to see you again. 

(A pause.) 

MORGAN 
Never again? But why? 

MISS MOFFAT 

If you are not to marry her, it would be madness for you to 
come into contact with the child; so if I am adopting the 

ITS 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

child, you can never come to see me; it is common sense. You 
have been given the push over the wall that you asked for. 

MORGAN 

But you will be staying here . . . How can I never come 
back after everything you have done for me? 

MISS MOFFAT 

D'you remember, the last six months, I've gone for a long 
walk over Moel Hiraeth, every morning at eight, like clock- 
work, for my health? 

MORGAN 

Yes? 

MISS MOFFAT 

There's one bit of the road, round a boulder and there's an 
oak tree, and under it the valley suddenly drops sheer. Every 
morning regularly, as I was turning that corner, by some trick 
of the mind, I found myself thinking of you working for this 
scholarship, and winning it. And I experienced something 
which must after all be comparatively rare: A feeling of com- 
plete happiness. I shall experience it again. No, Morgan Evans, 
you have no duty to me. Your only duty is to the world. 

MORGAN 
To the world? 

MISS MOFFAT 

Now you are going, there is no harm in telling you some- 
thing. I don't think you realize quite what your future can 
become if you give it the chance. I have always been very 
definite about the things I wanted, and I have always had 

179 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

everything worked out to a T. P'r'aps that's the trouble with 
me, I dunno . . . I've got you worked out, and it's up to you 
whether it will come right or not. . . . 

MORGAN 
(Eagerly) 
Go on. 

MISS MOFFAT 

I rather made out to the Squire that I wanted you to be a 
writer the truth might have sounded ridiculous; but stranger 
things have happened. You have a great deal now and Oxford 
will give you the rest. 

MORGAN 

For what? 

MISS MOFFAT 

Enough to become a great man o our country. "If a light 
come in the mine" you said, remember? 

MORGAN 

Yes. 

MISS MOFFAT 

Make that light come in the mine and some day free these 
children. And you could be more, much, much more; you 
could be a man for a future nation to be proud of . - . Per- 
haps I'm mad, I dunno. We'll see. It's up to you. 

MORGAN 

(Rises before speaking) 
Yes. 

(MR. JONES appears timidly from the kitchen.) 
180 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

MR. JONES 

Is it all right to ring the bell to say holiday tomorrow? 

MISS MOFFAT 

Yes. (MR. JONES'S face lights up; he hurries to the study 
door, unlocks it, and disappears) I think that's all. 

MORGAN 

But I I do not know what to say. 

MISS MOFFAT 

Then don't say it. 

MORGAN 

I have been so much time in this room. 



MISS MOFFAT 

And the lessons are over. 



MORGAN 

(Impulsively) 
I shall always remember. 

MISS MOFFAT 

Will you? Well, I'm glad you think you will. (She prc^,* 
the bag and cap into his unwilling hands. IDWAL runs in from 
the study, very excited. ROBBART appears behind him.) 

IDWAL 
Please, Miss Moffat, the band is out, and they say Morgan 

181 



THE CORN IS GREEN 

got to come down to Penlan Town Hall for Wales to see a 
real toff! 

MORGAN 
Na, ddim diolch . . . 

ROBBART 

Tyd, man, tyd, they never forgive you! (An afterthought) 
And, please, Miss Moffat, Mr. Jones say is he to say school 
day after tomorrow, nine o'clock same as usual? 

MISS MOFFAT 

Nine o'clock. The same as usual. . . . 

ROBBART 

Yes, Miss Moffat, (He runs bac\ into the study, followed by 
IDWAL.) 

MISS MOFFAT 

(She offer? her hand, MORGAN tafyes it) 
Good-bye. And I had ray heart set on coming up to London 
and having tea on the Terrace. 

(Voices mixed with singing of stage,) 

IDWAL 

(Putting his head round the barn door, and disappear-* 

ing again) 
Brysia, Morgan Evans, brysia! 

(MORGAN tries to say something, fails, and hurries into 
the study. The kitchen door opens, and MRS. WATTY 
appears cautiously.} 

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