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Full text of "The hairy ape, Anna Christie, The first man"

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Anna Christie 
'he First Man 



Lene O'Neifl 



THE HATWY APE 
AJfNA CHBISTIE 
THE FIKST MAN 






PLAYS BY 
EUGENE O'NEILL 

1. Btjoad tbe Horlioii 

3. The Moon of the Csrlbbeea 

And Six other plays of the Sea 
& The Emperor Jones [ Dlff'rent; 

The Straw 



THE HAIRY APE 
ANNA CHRISTIE 
THE FIRST MAN 



EUGENE O'NEILL 



BONI AND LIVERIGHT 

PUBLISHEBS NEW YORK 



Ala so%,iiif^i^ 
B 



I FtBl71993 \ 



TOE HAIRT APB 
ANNA CHRISTIE 
THE FIRST MAN 

Copyright, IBtt, by 

BOKI & LlTEBKlHT, IvC 

Ftfil EUtion. 



Stand EditLt. Sipl., 1922 
7-Mnl Bditia», ■ Nov, 1931 

Fcurlh Edition. Jura. 19ZS 
Fi/IA Ediliim, ■ Aug., 1933 

Caittioit — All ptrtont are hereby warned that the 
playt publiihed in thi* volvme are fully protected 
under the copyright Uaet of the United Statei and 
all foreign eovntriei, and are lubjeet to royalty, 
and any one preeenting any of laid playi in any 
form tnhatioever tDtEAout the content of the Au- 
thor or hit recognized agentt mill be liable to the 
peTtaltiei by lam protjided. Applieationi for the 
acting righte muit be made to the American Play 
Company, Inc., SS Weit 4tnd Street, Nrw York 
City. 



Pfayers, 138 Macdougat Street; and "The First 
Man" was first produced at The Neighborhood 
PUrhouse, 466 Grand Street, New York City. 



0451, 



CONTENTS 

Thb Haiby Ara 1 

Ahha Chkistib ...... 69 

Thb Fiiut Mas 218 



"THE HAIRT APE" 
A Comedy of Ancient and Modem late 

In Eight Scenes 

BUOBNB O'NXILI. 



CHABACTERS 
RoBKKT SmTH, "Yank" 

PADDT 
LONO 
MiIjDKSD DoUOXiAS 

Hbb Aunt 
SzcoND Emoinekb 

A GuAKD 

A Secbbtaky or am OReANiZATK»r 
Stoeeksj XiADizg, Gbntlbhen, ktc. 



SCENES 
ScsNB I: The firemen's forecastle of an ocean liner 

— an hour after saihng from New York. 
Sons n : Section of promenade deck, two days out 

— morning. 
SoBMX HI: The stokehole. A few minutes later, 
ScEiTB IV: Same as Scene I. Half an hour later. 
ScBNS V: I^fth Avenue, New York. Three weeks 

later. 
ScEiTS VI: An island near the city. The n^t night. 
Scene VII: In the city. About a month later. 
Scene VHI : In the city. Twilight of the next day. 
Tou— The Modem. 



SCENE ONE 

—The firemen's forecastle of a tramatlantic 
ivaer an hour after aailing from New York for thi 
voyage acrott. Tien of narrow, steel bunks, three 
deep, on all sides. An entrance in rear. Benches 
on the "floor before the bunks. The room is 
crowded with men, shouting, cursing, laughing, 
singing — a confused, inchoate uproar swelling into 
a sort of u/tnty, a meaning — the bewildered, furi- 
ous, ba^d defiance of a beast in a cage. Nearly 
oU the men are drunJc. Many bottles are passed 
from hand to hand. AU are dressed in dungaree 
pants, heavy ugly shoes. Some wear singlets, but 
the majority are stripped to the waist. 

The treatment of this scene, or of any other 
scene in the play, should by no means be naturalis- 
tic. The effect sought after is a cramped space 
in the bowels of a ship, imprisoned by white steel. 
The lines of bunks, tlie uprights supporting them, 
cross each other like the steel framework of a cage. 
The ceiling crushes down upon the men's lieads. 
They cannot stand upright. This accentuates the 
natural stooping posture which shovelling coal and 
the resultant over-development of back and sJuml- 
der muscles have given them. The men themtel/oei 



4 

4 



t THE HAIRY APE 

thovld resemble those pictures in which the appear- 
ance of NeoTtderthal Man is guessed at. All are 
hairy-cheated, with long arms of tremendous 
power, and low, receding brows above their imaU, 
fierce, resentful eyes. All the civiiixed white races 
are represented, but except for the slight differ- 
entiation in color of hair, sktn, eyes, dU these m^n 
are alike. 

The curtain rises on a tumult of sownd. Yank 
is seated in the foreground. He seems broader, 
fiercer, more truculent, more powerful, more sure 
of himself than the rest. They respect his 
superior strength — the grudging respect of fear. 
Then, too, he represents to them a self-expression, 
the very last word in what they are, their most 
highly developed individual. 

Voices — Gif me trink dere, you! 
'Ave a wet! 
Salute! 
Gestindheit ! 
Skoal! 

Drank a8 a lord, God stiffen you! 
Here's howl 
Luck! 

Fass back that bottle, damn you! 
Pourin' it down his neck! 
Ho, Froggy! Where the devil have ; 

been? 
La Touraine. 



THE HAIRY APE 8 

I hit him smash in yaw, py Gott ! 

Jenkins — the First — he's a rotten swine 

And the coppers nabbed him — and I run — 
I like peer better. It don't pig head gif 

you. 
A slut, I'm sayin' ! She robbed me aslape — 
To hell with 'em all ! 
You're a bloody liar! 
Say dot again! [Commotion. Ttco men 

about to fight are pulled apart.\ 
No BCrappin' now ! 
To-night — 

See who's the best man! 
Bloody Dutchman! 
To-night on the for'ard square. 
Ill bet on Dutchj. 
He packa da wallop, I tella you ! 
Shut up, Wop! 
No fightin', maties. We're all chums, 

ain't we? 
[A voice starts bawling a gong.^ 

"Beer, beer, glorious beer ! 
Fill yourselves right up to here," 

Yakk — [For the firtt time seeming to take notice of 

uproar about ftim, turns around threateningly — in 

tone of contemptuous authority.^ Choke off dat 

! Where d'yuh get dat beer stuff? Beer, hell! 

's for goils — and Dutchmen. Me for somep'n wit 



4 THE HAIRY APE 

a kick to it ! Gimme a drink, one of jouse guys. l^Sev- 
eral bottlet are eagerly offered. He taken a tremendotu 
gulp at one of them; then, keeping the bottle in hi$ 
hand, glares belligerently at the owner, who hastent to 
acquiesce in thin robbery by aaytng:'\ All righto, Yank. 
Keep it and have another." [Yank contemptuouiljL 
turns his back on the crowd again. For a tecond thi 
is an embarrassed silence. TheTt—-'] 

Voices — ^We must be passing the Hook. 

She's beginning to roll to it. 

Six days in hell — and then SouthamptoQ. 

Py Yesus, I vish somepody take my I 
vatch for rae! 

Gittin' seasick. Square-head? 

Drink up and forget it! 

What's in your bottle? 

Gin. 

Dot's nigger trink. 

Absinthe? It's doped. You'll go off y(j 
chump. Froggy ! 

Cochon ! 

Whiskey, that's the ticket ! 

Where's Paddy? 

Going asleep. 

Sing UB that whiskey song, Paddy. [T 
all turn to an old, mzened Irishman who is dosing, 
very drunk, on the benches forward. His face is ex- 
tremely monkey-like teiih all the sad, patient path\ 
of thai animal in his small eyes.'\ 

Singa da song, Caruso Pat! 



THE HAIRT APE 5 

Ee's gettin' old. The drink is too much 
for him. 

He's too drunk. 
—[Blinking about him, itarta to hit feet 
reientftiUtf, twaying, holding on to the edge of a btmJt.] 
I'm never too drunk to sing. 'Tis only when I'm dead 
to the world I'd he wishful to sing at all. [ With a tort 
of tad conteTnpt.l "Whiskey Johnny," ye want? A 
chanty, ye want? Now that's a queer wish from the 
ugly like of you, God help you. But no matther. [ff« 

^^P Yank — [Again turning around tcornfuUif.'] Aw 
^Tell! Nix on dat old sailing ship stuff! All dat hull's 
dead, see? And you're dead, too, yuli damned old 
Harp, on'y yuh don't know it. Take it easy, see. Give 
us a rest. Nix on do loud noise, [T^'ifA a cynical 
grin."] Can't youse sec Vm tryin' to t'ink? 

All — [Repeating the word after him as one leith 
the tame cynical amused mockery.l Think! [The 
chorused word hat a brazen metallic quality at if their 



Oh, whiskey is the life of man ! 

Whiskey ! Johnny ! [They all join in on 
thit.] 
Oh, whiskey is the life of man ! 

Whiskey for my Johnny ! [Again chorus^ 
Oh, whiskey drove my old man mad ! 

Whiskey ! O Johnny ! 
Oh, whiskey drove my old man mad! 

Whiskey for my Johnny! 



6 THE HAIKY APE 

throats were phonograph homt. It it followed bj 
general uproar of Itard, barking laughter.l 

Voices — Don't be cracking jour head wid ut, Yai 
You gat headache, py jingo ! 
One thing about it — it rhjmcB with 
_ Ha, ha, ha ! 

Drink, don't think! 
Drink, don't think! 

Drink, don't think! [A whole chorus of 
voices has taken up this refrain, stamping on the floor, 
pounding on the benchex with fitts.l 

Yank— [ToAJTif^ a gulp from his bottle — good- 
naturedly.^ Aw right. Can de noise. I got juh de 
foist time, {The uproar subsides. A very drunken 
sentimental tenor begins to sing:'\ 
"Far away in Canada, 
Far across the sea. 
There's a lass who fondly waits 
Making a home for me " 

Yank — [Fiercely contemptuous.^ Shut up, yuh 
lousey boob! Where d'yuli get dat tripe? Home? 
Home, hell ! ni make a home for yuh ! I'll knock juh 
dead. Home ! T'hell wit home ! Where d'yuh get dat 
tripe? Dis is home, see? What d'yuh want wit home? 
[^Proudltf.^ I runned away from mine when I was a 
kid. On*y too glad to beat it, dat was me. Home was 
lickings for me, dat's all. But yuh can bet your shoit 
Qoone ain't never licked me since ! Wanter try it, any 
of youse? Huh! I guess not. [/n a more placated 



1 de 
Jcen I 




^ 



THE HAIRy APE T 

hut atm contemptuous tonff.l Goils waitin' for yah, 
huh? Aw, hell! Dat's nil tripe. Dey don't wait for 
noone. Dej'd double-cross yuh for a nickel. Dey*re 
all tarts, get me? Treat 'em rough, dat's me. To hell 
wit 'em. Tarts, dat's what, de whole bunch of 'em. 

Long — Cfry drwnfc, jumps on a bench excitedly, 
gesticulating with a bottle in his hand.'^ Listen 'ere, 
Comrades ! Yank 'ere is right. 'E says this 'ere 
Btinldn' ship is our 'ome. And 'e says as 'omc is 'ell. 
And 'e's right! This is 'ell. We lives in 'ell, Comrades 
— and right enough we'll die in it. [^Raging.] And 
who's ter blame, I arsks yerP We ain't. We wasn't 
born this rotten way. All men is born free and ckal. 
That's in the bleedin' Bible, maties. But what d'they 
care for the Bible — them lazy, bloated swine what 
travels first cabin? Them's the ones. They dragged us 
down 'til we're on'y wage slaves in the bowels of a 
bloody ship, sweatin', burnin' up, eatin' coal dust! 
Hit's them's ter blame — the damned capitalist clarsa ! 
[^There had been, a gradual murmur of contempttious 
resentment rising among the men until now he is tnter- 
rupted by a storm of catcalls, hisses, boos, hard laugh- 
ter.\ 

Voicis — Turn it ofTl 

Shut up! 

Sit down! 

CloBa da face! 

Tamnfool! {Etc.) 
Vask — Standing up and glaring at Long.] 
before I knock yuh down ! [Long makes hat\ 



8 THE HAIRY APE 

efface himself. Tank goes on contemptuouslj/.l T)e 
Bible, huh? De Cap'tlist clasa, huh? Aw nix on dat 
Salvation Army-Sociali§t bull. Git a soapbox ! Hire a 
hall ! Come and be saved, huh ? Jerk us to Jesus, huh? 
Aw g'wan! I've listened to lots of guys like you, see. 
Yuh're all wrong. Wanter know what I t'ink? Yuh 
ain't no good for noonc. Yuh're de bunk. Yuh ain't 
got no noive, get me? Yuh're yellow, dat'a what. Yel- 
low, dat's you. Say! What's dem slobs in de foist 
cabin got to do wit us? We're better men dan dey are, 
ain't we? Sure! One of us guys could clean up de 
whole mob wit one mit. Put one of 'em down here for 
one watch in de stokehole, what'd happen? Dey'd carry 
him off on a stretcher. Dem boids don't amount to 
nothin'. Dey're just baggage. Who makes dis old 
tub run? Ain't it us guys? Well den, we belong, don't 
we? We belong and dey don't. Dat'a all. [A loud 
chorus of approval. Yank goes on.^ As for dis bein* 
hell — aw, Duts ! Yuh lost your noive, dat'a what. Dia 
is ft man's job, get me? It belongs. It runs dis tub. 
No stiffs need apply. But yuh're a stiff, see? Yuh're 
yellow, dat'a you. 

V01CK8 — {^With a great hard pride in (Acm.j 

Righto ! 

A man's job! 

Talk is cheap. Long. 

He never could hold up his end. 

Divil take him! 

Yank's right. We make it go. 

Py Gott, Yank say right ting! 



THE HAIRY APE 9 

We doo't need noone cryin' over lu. 

Malcin' speeches. 

Throw him out! 

Yellow! 

Chuck him overhoard ! 

1*11 break his jaw for him! 

\_They crowd around Lokg threateniitgly,^ 
Yank — [Half good-natured again — contemptu- 
Wwuslg.'] Aw, take it easy. Leave him alone. He ain't 
woitb a punch. Drink up. Here's how, whoever owns 
die. l^He takes a long rwaUoze from hit bottle. AU 
drink with him. In a fiash all ig hUariout amiabilittf 
again, back-slapping, loud talk, etc.'\ 

Paddy — [Who has been sitting in a blinking, melan- 
choly daze — luddeidy criea out in a voice fall of old tor- 
row.'] We belong to this, you're saying? We make the 
ship to go, you're saying? Yerra then, that Almighty 
God have pity on us ! [His voice runs into the waU of 
a been, he rocks back and forth on his bench. The 
men stare at him, startled and impressed in spite of 
themselves.] Oh, to be back in the fine days of my 
youth, ochone ! Oh, there was fine beautiful ships them 
days — clippers wid tall masts touching the sky — fine 
strong men in them — men that was sons of the sea as 
if 'twas the mother that bore them. Oh, the clean skins 
of them, and the clear eyes, the straight backs and full 
chests of them! Brave men they was, and bold men 
Barely! We'd be sailing out, bound down round the 
Horn maybe. We'd be making sail in the dawn, with 
a fair breeze, singing a chanty song wid no care to it. 



I 



10 



THE HAIRY APE 



Ami astern the land would be sinking low an 
out, but we*d give it no heed but a laugli, and never a 
look behind. For the day that was, was enough, for 
we waa free men — and I'm thinking 'tis only slaves do 
be giving heed to the day that's gone or the day to come 
— until they're old like me. [With a sort of religious 
exaltation.^ Oh, to be scudding south again wid the 
power of the Trade Wind driving her on steady through 
the nights and the days ! Full sail on her ! Nights and 
days! Nights when the foam of the wake would be 
flaming wid fire, when the sky'd be blazing and winking 
wid stars. Or the full of the moon maybe. Then you'd 
see her driving through the gray night, her sails stretch- 
ing aloft all silver and white, not a sound on the deck, 
the lot of us dreaming dreams, till you'd believe 'twaa 
no real ship at all you was on but a ghost ship like the 
Flying Dutchman they saj does be roaming the seas 
forevermore widout touching a port. And there was 
the days, too. A warm sun on the clean decks. Sun 
warming the blood of you, and wind over the miles of 
shiny green ocean like strong drink to your lungs. 
Work — aye, hard work — but who'd mind that at alii* 
Sure, you worked under the sky and 'twas work wid 
skill and daring to it. And wid the day done, in the 
dog watch, smoking me pipe at ease, the lookout would 
be raising land maybe, and we'd see the mountains of 
South Americy wid the red fire of the setting sun painV 
ing their white tops and the clouds floating by them! 
{Hit tone of exaltation ceatei. He goet on moum- 
fvUy.^ Yerra, what's the use of talking? Tts a dead 



THE HAIRY APE 



11 



man*8 whisper. [To Yank 



mtfuUy.~\ 'Twas them 



L rtMentf 

days men belonged to ships, not now. 'Twas them dajs 
a ship was part of the sea, and a man was part of a 
ship, and the sea joined all together and made it one, 
[ScomfuUif.^ la it one wid this jou'd be, Yank — 
black smoke from the funnels smudging the sea, amud^ 
ing the decks — the bloody engines pounding and throb- 
bing and shaking — wid divil a sight of sun or a breath 
of clean air — choking our lungs wid coal dust — break- 
ing our backs and hearts in the hell of the stokehole — 
feeding the bloody furnace — feeding our lives along wid 
the coal, I'm tliinking — caged in by steel from h sight 
of the sky like bloody apes in the Zoo ! [With a harih 
laugh,'] Ho-ho, divil mend you! Is it to belong to 
that you're wishing? Is it a flesh and blood wheel of 
the engines you'd be? 

Yank — [ Who has been listening with a contemptuout 
tneer, barks out the answer.'] Sure ting! Dat's me! 
What about it? 

Padht — [As if to himself — with great sorrow.] Me 
time is past due. That a great wave wid sun in the 
heart of it may sweep me over the side sometime I'd 
be dreaming of the days that's gone! 

Yank — Aw, ynh crazy Mick! [He springs to his 
feet and advances on Paddy threateningly — then stops, 
fighting tome queer struggle within himself — lets his 
hands fall to his aides — contemptuously.] Aw, take it 
easy. Yuh're aw right, at dat. Yuh're bugs, dat's all 
■ — nutty as a cuckoo. All dat tripe yuli been pullin' — 
Aw, dat's all right, On'y it's dead, get me? Yuh don't 



THE HAIRY APE 

belong no more, see. Yuh don't get de staff, Yuli*re 
too old. [Diigmtedly.l But aw sajr, come up for air 
ODct in a while, can't yah? See what's happened smce 
yah croaked. [He tuddetiltf buriti forth vehemently, 
groTDing more and more excited.'^ Saj! Sure! Sure 
I meant it ! What de hell — Say, lemme talk ! Hey I 
Hey, you old Harp ! Hey, youse guys ! Say, listen to 
me — wait a moment — I gotter talk, see. I belong and 
he don't. He's dead bat I'm livin'. Listen to me ! Sure 
I'm part of de engines! Why de hell not! Dey move, 
don't dey? Dey're speed, ain't dey? Dey smash trou, 
don't dey? Twenty-five knots a hour! Dat's goin* 
some! Dat's new staff! Dat belongs! But him, he's 
too old. He gets dizzy. Say, listen. All dat crazy 
tripe about nights and days ; all dat crazy tripe about 
stars and moons; all dat crazy tripe about suns and 
winds, fresh air and de rest of it — Aw hell, dat's all a 
dope dream! Hittin' de pipe of de past, dat's what 
he's doin'. He's old and don't belong no more. But 
me, I'm young! I'm in de pink! I move wit it! It, get 
me I I mean de ting dat'a de guts of all dis. It plougha 
trou all de tripe he's been sayin'. It blows dat up ! It 
knocks dat dead ! It slams dat off en de face of de oith ! 
It, get me ! De engines and de coal and de smoke and 
all de reRt of it ! He can't breathe and swallow coal 
dust, but I kin, see? Dat's fresh air for me! Dat's 
food for me! I'm new, get me? Hell in de stokehole? 
Sure ! It takes a man to work in hell. Hell, sure, dat's 
my fav'rite climate. I eat it up! I git fat on it! It's 
ikes it hot ! It's me makes it roar ! It's t 



THE HAIRY APE 13 

\i move! Sure, on'y for me everyting atops. It aH 
goes dead, get me? De noise and smoke and all de' 
eo^nes movin* de woild, dej stop. Dere ain't nothin' 
BO more! Dat'e what I'ra aayin', Everyting else dat 
makes de woild move, somep'n makes it move. It can't 
move witout somep'n else, seeP Den yuh get down to 
me. Vm at de bottom, get me! Dere ain't nothin' 
f oither. I'm de end ! I'm de start ! I start somep'n 
and de woild moves! It — dat's me! — de new dat's 
moiderin' de old ! I'm de ting in coal dat makes it boin ; 
I'm steam and oil for de engines ; I'm de ting in noise dat 
makes yuh hear it ; I'm smoke and espresa trains and 
steamers and factory whistles ; I'm de ting in gold dat 
makes it money! And I'm what makes iron into steel! 
Steel, dat stands for de whole ting! And I'm steel — 
steel — steel! I'm de muscles in steel, de punch behind 
it! [^Ag he says this he founds with his fist agaijut 
the steel bunks. All the men, roused to a pitch of 
frenxied self-glorification hy his speech, do likewise. 
There is a deafening metallic roar, through which 
YiNK's voice can be heard bellowing.l Slaves, hell! 
We run de whole woiks. All de rich guys dat tint 
dcy're somep'n, dey ain't nothin'! Dey don't belong. 
Bat OS guys, we're in de move, we're at de bottom, de 
whole ting ie us ! [Paddy from the start of Yank'b 
speech has been taking one gvlp after another from his 
bottle, at first frightenedly, as if he were afraid tc{ 
Usten, then desperately, as if to drown hit senses, but 
finaUff has achieved complete indifferent, even amused, 
"ink sees his lips moving. He gt 



14 



THE HAffiY APE 



the uproar zeith a ikout.~\ Hey, youse guys, tabe it 
easy ! Wait a moment ! De nutty Harp is sayin' 
somep'n. 

Paddy — [/« heard now — throws his head back with a 
mocking burst of laughter.] Ho-ho-ho-ho-ho 

Yank — {Drawing back his fist, with a snarl."] Awl 
Look out who yuh're givin' the bark ! 

Paddy — {Begins to sing the "Miller of Dee" with 
enormous good-nature.] ^M 

"I care for nobody, no, not I, ^M 

And nobody cares for mc," j 

Yank — {Good-natured himself in a flash, interrupti 
Paddy with a slap on the bare back like a report.], 
Dat'a de stuff! Now yuh're gettin' wise to somep'n. 
Care for nobody, dat's de dope ! To hell wit 'em all ! 
And nix on nobody else carin'. I kin care for myself, 
get me ! {Eight bells sound, muffled, vibrating through 
the steel walls as if some enormous brazen gong were 
imbedded in the heart of the ship. All the men jump 
up mechanically, jUe through the door silently close 
upon each other's heels in what is very like a prisoners' 
lockstep. Yank slaps Paddy on tlie back.] Our 
watch, yuh old Harp! {Mockingly.] Come on down 
in hell. Eat up de coal dust. Drink in de heat. It's 
it, Bee! Act like yob liked it, yuh better — or croak 
yuhself. 

Paddy — {With jovial defiance.] To the divil wid it* 
111 not report this watch. Let thim log me and be 
damned. I'm no slave the like of you, I'll be sittin' 



THE HAIRY APE Ifi 

here at me ease, and drinking, and thinking, and dreun- 
ing dreanu. 

Tank — [^ContemptHoutly.'] Tinkin* and dreanun% 
vhatll that get yuhP What's tinkin' got to do wit it? 
We move, donH ire? Speed, ain't it? Fog, dat's all 
you stand for. But we drive trou dat, don't we? We 
split dat up and smash trou — twenty-five knots a hour I 
ITunu hit back on Paddt icomfuUg.'] Aw, yuh make 
me dck! Yuh don't bdong! [^He itridet oat the door 
M rear. Paddt htimt to lumtelf, bUiMng drowt3.y.'\ 

[Cttrfain] 



SCENE TWO 

ScxNE — TtDo days out. A section of the promenade 
deck. MiLi>K]!:u Dooglas and her aunt are dis- 
covered reclining in deck chairs. The former U a 
girl of twenty, slender, delicate, with a pale, pretty 
face marred by a self-conscious expression of dis- 
dainful superiority. She looks fretful, nervous 
and discontented, bored by her own anemia. Her 
^1 aunt is a pompous and proud — and fat — old lady. 
^H She is a type even to the point of a double chin, 
^H and lorgnettes. She is dressed pretentiously, as if 
^H afraid her face alone tcoidd never indicate her 
^H^ pontion in life. Mildred is dressed aU in white. 
^^ft The impression to be conveyed by this scene it 

^^H one of the beautiful, viind life of the sea all about — 
^^H tunshine on the deck in a great flood, the fresh sea 
J^^ mnd blowing across it. In the midst of this, these 
two incongruous, artificial figures, inert and die- 
harmonious, the elder like a gray lump of dough 
touched up zeith rouge, the younger looking at if 
the vitality of her stock had been sapped before 
the teas conceived, so that she is the expression not 
of its life energy but merely of the artificialitiet 
that energy had won for itself in the spending. 



i 



so 



THE HAmy APE 



MiLDREO — [Looking up with affected dreamineif.y 
How the black smoke swirls back against the sky! Is 
it not beautiful? 

Aunt — [Without looJcing up.] I dislike smoke of 
an J kind. 

Mixj)KED — My great-grandmother smoked a pipe — 
a clay pipe. 

Aunt — [Rufflinff.} Vulgar ! 

MiLDKED — She waa too distant a relative to be vul- 
gar. Time mellows pipes. 

Aunt — [Pretending boredom but irritated.l Did 
the sociology yoa took up at college teach you that — 
to play the ghoul on every possible occasion, excavating 
old bones? Why not let your great-grandmother rest 
in her grave? 

MiLDEED — [Dreamily.'] With her pipe beside her — 
puiHng in Paradise. 

Aunt — [Wiffc spite.'] Yes, you are a natural born 
ghoul. You are even getting to look like one, my dear. 

Mn-DEED — [In a pasaionlcss tone.] I detest you, 
Aunt. [Looking at her critically.] Do you know what 
you remind me of? Of a cold pork pudding against 
a background of linoleum tablecloth in the kitchen of 
a — but the possibilities are wearisome. [She dotes 
her eyes.'] 

AcNT — [With a bitter laugh.] Merci for your 
candor. But iince I am and must be your chaperone — 
in af^earance, at least — let us patch up some sort of 
armed truce. For my part you are quite free to indulge 



THE HAIRY APE 21 

^U^^OK of eccentricity that beguiles yoa — as long m 
yoa observe the aroenitiea 

MiLDEED-— [Drfliciin^f.] The inanities? 

AoNT — [Going on as if she hadn't heard.] Aft«r 
exhausting the morbid thrillB of social service work on 
New York's East Side — how they must have hated you, 
hy the way, the poor that you made so much poorer 
in their own eyes ! — you are now bent on making your 
slumming international. Well, I hope Whitechapel will 
provide the needed nerve tonic. Do not ask me to 
chaperone you there, however. I told your father I 
would not. I loathe deformity. We will hire an army 
of detectives and you may investigate everything — they 
aDow you to see, 

MnjJKED — [Protesting with a trace of genuine ear- 
nettnets.^ Please do not mock at my attempts to dis- 
cover how the other half lives. Give me credit for some 
sort of groping sincerity in that at least. I would 
like to help them. I would like to be some use in the 
world. Is it my fault I don't know how ? I would like 
to be sincere, to touch life somewhere, [With, weary 
Inttemess.] But I'm afraid I have neither the vitality 
nor integrity. All that was burnt out in our stock 
before I was bom. Grandfather's blast furnaces, fiam- 
ing to the sky, melting steel, making millions — then 
father keeping those home fires burning, making more 
millions — and httle me at the tail-end of it all. I'm a. 
waste product in the Bessemer process — ^like the mil- 
lions. Or rather, I inherit the acquired trait of the 
by-product, wealth, but none of the energy, none of 



THE HAIRY APE 

the strength of the ateel that made it. I am sired &7 
gold and darned by it, as they say at the race track 
— damned in more ways than one. [She laught ■mirth' 
lenlyl . 

AcNT — [Unimpressed — superciliously.^ You seem 
to be going in for sincerity to-day. It isn't becoming 
to you, really — except as an obvious pose. Be as 
artificial as you are, I advise. There's a sort of sin- 
cerity in that, you know. And, after all, you must 
confess you like that better. 

MiLDRKD^^Again affected and 6ored.] Yes, I sup- 
pose I do. Pardon me for my outburst. When a 
leopard complains of its spots, it must sound rather 
grotesque, f/n a mocking tone.^ Purr, httle leopard. 
Purr, scratch, tear, kill, gorge yourself and be happy 
— only stay in the jungle where your spots are camou- 
flage. In a cage they make you conspicuous. 

Aunt — I don't know what you are talking about. 

MiuisED — It would be rude to talk about anything 
to you. Let's just talk. [Sh^ looks at her wrist 
teatch.^ Well, thank goodness, it's about time for 
them to come for me. That ought to give me a new 
thrill, Aunt. 

Aunt [Affectedly/ troviiled.'^ You don't mean to say 
you're really going? The dirt — the heat must be 
frightful 

Mild BED — Grandfather started as a puddler. I 
should have inherited an immunity to heat that would 
make a salamander shiver. It will be fun to put it to 
the test. 



THE HAIRY APE : 

AoNT — But don't jou have to have the captainV 
or Bomeone's — permiasion to visit the stokehole? 

MiLDBKD — [With a triumphant smUe.l I have it — 
both his and the chief engineer's. Oh, the; didn't want 
to at first, in spite of my social service credentials. 
Thej didn't seem a bit anxious that I should investigate 
how the other half lives and works on a ship. So I had 
to tdl them that ray fattier, the president of Nazareth 
Steel, chairman of the board of directors of this line, 
had told me it would be all right. 

Aunt — He didn't, 

MiiJ)EZD — How Bai've age makes one! But I said 
he did. Aunt. I even said he had given me a letter to 
them — ^which I had lost. And they were afraid to take 
the chance that I might be lying. [Excitedly,'\ So it'» 
ho ! for the stokehole. The second engineer is to escort 
me. {^Lookiiig at her watch again.'] It's time. And 
here he comes, I think. [ The Secokd Enbinees enter*. 
Be is a husky, ^Tie-looking man of thirty-five or to. 
He stopt before the two and tipt hit cap, vitibly em- 
barraised and iU-at-ease.'] 

Second Engineer — Miss Douglas? 

MiLSBED — Yes, [Thromng off her ruga and getting 
to her feet.] Are we all ready to start? 

Second Enoikeer — In just a second, ma'am. I'm 
waiting for the Fourth. He's coming along, 

MiutaEO — [With a scomfvl smile.] You don't care 
o shoulder this responsibility alone, is that itP 

Second Enqineek — [Forcing a smile.^ Two are 



21 



THE HAIRY APE 



better than one. [^DUturbed hy her eyet, glance* out 
to tea — blurts out.~\ A fine day we're having, 

Mn-DBED — Is it? 

Second Engineek — A nice warm breeze 

Mtldked — It feels cold to me. 

Second Ekgineek — But it's hot enough in the 



MrLDRED— Not hot enough for me. I don't like 
Nature. I was never athletic. 

Second Engineek — {^Forcing a smiZe.] Well, you'll 
find it hot enough where you're going. 

MiLDfiED — Do you mean hell? 

Second Enginkeb — [Flabbergaxted, decides to 
laugh.^ Ho-ho ! No, I mean the stokehole. 

Mildred — My grandfather was a puddter. He 
played with boiling steel. 

Second Engineeb — \All at sea — uneasily.'] Is that 
EOp Hum, you'll excuse me, ma'am, but are you intend- 
ing to wear that dress. 

MiLDfiED — ^\Vhy not? 

Second Engineeb — Youll likely rub against oil and 
dirt. It can't be helped. 

MtLDKED— It doesn't matter. I have lots of white 
dresses. 

Second EiiGiNBEm — I have an old coat you might 
throw over 

Mit.DBED — I have lifty dresses like this. I will throw 
this one into the sea when I come back. That ought to 
wash it clean, don't you think? 

Second Engineer — [Doggedly.} There's laddera 



THE HAmY APE 25 

''to climb down that are Done too clean — and dark alley- 
way 9 

MiLDKED — I will wear this very dress and none other. 

Second Enoineeb — No offence meant. It's none of 
my business. I was only warning you 

Miu)KEn — Warning? That sounds thrilling. 

Second Engineek — [^Lookijig down the deck — wit\ 
a tigh of relief.} — There's the Fourth now. He's wait- 
ing for us. If you'll come 

MsLDBED — Go on. Ill follow you. [He goes. Mii<- 
SEED turna a mocking ttrale on her aunt.] An oaf — but 
a handsome, virile oaf. 

Aunt — [ScornfuUy.^ Poser ! 

Mtldbbd — Take care. He said there were dark 
all eyw ays 

Aunt — [In the tame toneS^ Poser ! 

MiLDEED — [Biting her Upi angrUy.l You arc right. 
But wonld that my millions were not so anemically 
chaste! 

Abnt — Yes, for a fresh pose I have no doubt you 
would drag the name of Douglas in the gutter ! 

Mnj)BEi) — From which it sprang. Good-by, Aunt. 
Don't pray too hard that I may fall into the fiery 
furnace. 

Aunt— Poser ! 

MtLDEiD — \yicioudy.'\ Old hag! [She tlapt her 
awnt mtvltingly acrota the face and walks off, laughing 

Aunt 



-IS, 



after her.'\ I said poser! 
[Curtaini 



SCENE m 




ScsNE — The atokehole. In the rear, the dimly-oat- 
I IvTied bulks of the furnaces and boilers. High 

^H overhead one hangmg electric bulb sheds just 
^H enough light through the murky air laden with 
^^f coal dust to pUe up masses of shadows everywhere. 
r A line of men, stripped to the waigt, is before the 

furnace doors. They bend over, loolnng neither 
^^ to right nor left, handliTig their shovels as if they 
^H were part of their bodies, with a strange, awkward, 
^H twingijig rhythm. They use the shovels to throw 
^^ open tlie furnace doors. Then from these fiery 
round holes in the black a flood of terrific light 
and heat pours full upon the men who are outlined 
in silhouette in the crouching, inhuman attitudes 
of chained gorillas. The men shovel with a rhyth- 
mic motion, swinging as on a pivot from the coal 
which lies in heaps on the floor behind to hurt 
it into the flaming mouths before them. There is 
a tumult of noise — the brazen clang of the furnace 
doors as they are flung open or slammed shut, the 
grating, teeth-gritting grind of steel against steel, 
of crunching coal. Tiiis clash of sounds stuns 
one's ears with its rending dissonance. But there 
order in it, rhythm, a mechanical regulated 



4 



30 



THE HAIRY APE 
And t 



recurrence, a tempo. And riling above aU, mak- 
ing the air hwm mth the quiver of liberated energy, 
the roar of leaping flames in the furnaces, the 
monotonoux throbbing heat of the engirtes. 

As the curtain rises, the furnace doors are shut. 
The men are taking a breathing spell. One or two 
are arranging the coal behind them, pulling it into 
more accessible heaps. The others can be dimljf 
made out leaning on th^r ihovela in relaxed atti- 
tudes of exhaustion. 
Paddt — [From somewhere in the Une — plaintvvelj/,'\ 
Yerra, will tliis divil's own watch nivir end ? Me back is 
broke, I'm destroyed entirely. 

Yank — [From the center of the line — with exuberant 
Mcorn-I Aw, yuh make me aick! Lie down and croakt 
why don't yuh? Always beeflu', dat's you! Say, dis is 
a cinch! Dis was made for me! It's my meat, get me! 
[A whistle is blown — a thin, shrill note from somewhere 
overhead in the darkness. Yank curses roithout resent- 
ment.l Dere'a de damn engineer crakin' de whip. He 
tinks we're loafin'. 

Paddy — [Vindictively.'] God stiffen him! 
Yank — [In an exultant tone of command.] Come 
on, youae guys! Git into de game! She's gittin' hun- 
gry! Pile some grub in her! Trow it into her belly! 
Come on now, all of yonse ! Open her up ! [At this last 
ail the men, who have followed his movements of getting 
into position, throw open their furnace doors with a 
deafening clang. Tlie fiery light floods over their shoul- 
deri as they bend round for the coed. RivaXeti of tootjf 



THE HAmy APE 



31 



wweat have traced maps on their backs. The enlarged 
muiclcs form buTickes of high light and thadom.^ 

Yans — [^Chanting a count as he shovels teithout 
seemijig effort.^ One — two— tree — t^** voice riling 
gxultantly in the joy of battle.'\ Dat's de stuff! Let 
her have it I All togodder now ! Sling it into her ! Let 
her ride! Shoot de piece now! Call de toin on her! 
Drive her into it! Feel her move! Watch her smoke! 
Speed, dat'a her middle name! Give her coal, youae 
gtija ! Coal, dat*s her booze ! Drink it up, babj ! Let's 
see yuh sprint ! Dig in and gain a lap ! Dere she 
go-o-es [TAi* last in the chanting formula of the gai- 
lery gods at the six-day hike race. He slams hit 
furnace door shut. The others do likewise with at 
much unison as their wearied bodies wUl permit. The 
effect i» of one fiery eye after another being blotted out 
with a scries of accompanying bangs.'] 

Paddy — [^Groaning.] Me hack is hroke. I'm bate 
out — bate — [^There is a pause. Then the inexorable 
whistle sounds again from the dim regions above the 
electric Ught. There is a growl of cursing rage from 
aa tides.1 

Yank — \^Shak*ng his fist upward — contemptuously."] 
Take it easy dere, you! Who d'juh tinks rimnin' dia 
game, me or you? When I git ready, we move. Not 
before! When I git ready, get me! 

Voices — [Approvingly.] That's the stuff! 

Yank tal him, py golly! 
Yank ain't affeerd. 



aft THE HAIRY APE 

Give him hell! 

Tell 'im 'e's a bloody sirioel 

Bloody slave-driver! 

Yank — [Contemptuously.^ He ain't gol no noive. 
He'a yellow, get me? All de engineers Is yellow. Dey 
got streaks a niile wide. Aw, to hell wit him ! Let's 
move, youae guys. We had a rest. Come on, she needs 
it! Give her pep! It ain't for him. Him and his 
whistle, dey don't belong. But we belong, see! We 
gotter feed de baby ! Come on ! [^He turns and flings 
hit furnace door open. They all follow his lead. At 
this instant the Second and Foubth Engineers enter 
from the darkness on the left with Mh^deed between 
them. She starts, turns paler, her pose is crumbling, 
she shivers with fright in spite of the blazing heat, but 
forces herself to leave tJie Enoineebs and take a few 
steps nearer the men. She is right behind Vank. AU 
this happens quickly whUe the men have their backs 
turned.'] 

Yank — Come on, youse guys ! [He is turning to get 
coal when the whistle sounds again in a peremptory, 
irritating note. This drives Yank into a sudden fury. 
WhUe the other men have turned full around and 
stopped dumfounded by the spectacle of Mild&kd 
standing there in her white dress, Yank does not turn 
far enough to see her. Besides, his head is thrown back, 
he blijtks upward through the murk trying to find the 
owner of the whistle, he brandishes his shovel mur- 
derously over his head in one hand, pouTiding on his 



THE HAIRY APE 



33 



eheit, goriUa-like, tDtth the other, thouttngsl Toin off 
dat whistle ! Come down outa derc, yuh yellow, brasB- 
buttoned, Belfast bum, yuh ! Come down and I'll knock 
yer brains out ! Yuh lousey, stinkin*, yellow mut of a 
Catholic-moiderin' bastard ! Come down and I'll 
moider yuh! Pulhn' dat whistle on me, huh? Ill 
show yuh! I'll crash yer skull in! I'll drive yer teel' 
down yer troat ! I'll slam yer nose trou de back of 
yer head ! I'll cut yer guts out for a nickel, yuh lousey 

boob, yuh dirty, crununy, muck-eatin' son of a 

[Suddenly he becomes conscious of all the other men 
staring at aom^tking directly behind his back. He 
whirls defensively with a snarling, murderous growl, 
crouching to spring, his lips drawn back over hig teeth, 
his small eyes gleaming ferociously. He sees Mildred, 
like a white apparition in the full light from the open 
furnace doors. He glares into her eyes, turned to 
ttone. As for her, during his speech she has listened, 
paralyzed with horror, terror, her whole personality 
crashed, beaten in, collapsed, by the terrific impact of 
this unknown, abysmal brutality, naked and shameless. 
As she looks at his gorilla face, as his eyes bore int6^ 
hers, she utters a low, choking cry and shrinks away 
from him, putting both hands up before her eyes to shut 
out the sight of his face, to protect her own. Thit 
startles Yank to a reaction. His mouth falls open, hit 
eyes grow bewildered.^ 

MjutasD^^About to faint — to the Engineebs, who 
now have her one by each arm — whimperingly.J Take 

i away ! Oh, the filthy beast ! [She faints. They 



84 THE HAIRY APE 

carry her qvicklj/ hack, ditappearing m the darknett 
at the left, rear. An iron door clangs that. Rage 
and bewildered furjf ruth back on Yank. He feelt 
hvnuelf inaulted in eome wnknown fashion in thef very 
heart of hit pride. He roar*:] God damn yuh! 
[^And hurU hit thovel after them at the door which 
hat just doted. It hitt the tteel btdkhead tnth a 
clang and faUa clattering on the tteel fhor. From 
overhead the whittle towadt again in a long, angry, 
intietent comuKOid.} 

[Curfom] 



SCENE FOUH 

BcBNB — The firemen'* forecastle. Yank's watch hat 
just come off duty and had dinner. Their facet 
and bodies shine from a soap and water scrubbing 
but around their eyes, where a hasty dousing does 
not touch, the coal dust sticks like black make-up, 
giving them a queer, sinister expression. Yank 
has not washed either face or body. He stands 
out vn contrast to them, a blackened, brooding 
figure. He is seated forward on a bench in the 
exact attitude of Rodin's "The Thinker." The 
others, most of them smoking pipes, are staring at 
Yank half-appreliensively, as if fearing an out- 
burst; half-amuaedly, as if they taw a joke some- 
where that tickled them. 
Voices — He ain't ate nothin'. 

Py golly, a fallar gat gat grub in him. 

Divil a lie. 

Yank feeda da Sre, no feeda da face. 

Ha-ha. 

He ain't even washed hisself. 

He's forgot. 

Hey, Yank, you forgot to wash. 
Yank — [SuOenly.] Forgot nothin'! To hell wit 
_ washin'. 

Voices — ^Itll stick to you. 

Itll get under your akin. 



THE HAIRY APE 

Give yer the bleedin* itch, that's wot. 
It makes spots on you — like a leopsrd. 
Like a piebald lugger, you mean. 
Better wash up, Yank. 
You sleep better. 
Wash up, Yank. 
Wash up! Wash up! 
Yank — l^Retent fully. ^ Aw say, youse guys. Lemme 
alone. Can't youse see I'm tryin' to tink? 

All — \^Repeating the word after him at one teith 
ct/nical mockert/.1 Think! [The word has a brazen, 
metallic quality at if their throats were phonograph 
horns. It is followed by a chorus of hard, barking 
laughter.'] 

Yank — [Springing to his feet and glaring at them 
belligerently. 1 Yes, tink! Tink, dat's what I said! 
What about it? [They are sSent, puxzled by his sud- 
den resentment at what used to be one of his jokes. 
Yank sits down again in the same attitude of "The 
Thinker."] 

Voices — Leave him alone. 

He's got a grouch on. 
Why wouldn't he? 
Patdt — [With a wink at the others.] Sure I 
what's the matther. Tis aisy to see. He's fallen in 
love, I'm telling you. 

All — [Repeating the word after him as one mth 
cynical mockery.] Love! [The ward has a hraxen, 
metallic quality at if their throats were phonograph 



"The 



THE HAIRY APE 39 

JtOTJU. It ii falloTced by a ckorui of Jiard, barking, 
laughter. 1 

Yank — [With a contemptuous tnort.] Love, hell! 
Hate* dat's what. I've fallen in hate, get me? 

Paddy — [PkihiophicdUy.] 'Twould take a wise 
man to tell one from the other. [With a bitter, ironical 
scorn, increasing as he goes o».] But I'm telling you 
it's love that's in it. Sure what else but love for lu 
poor bastes in the stokehole would be bringing a fine 
lady, dressed like a white quane, down a mile of ladders 
and steps to be havin' a look at us? [A groal of anger 
goes up from all iides.'\ 

Long — [Jumping on a bench — hecticlf/.l Hinsultin' 
ns! Hinsultin' us, the bloody cow! And them bloody 
engioeers! What right 'as they got to be ezhibitin' 
OB 'a if we waa bleedin' monkeys in a menagerie? Did 
we sign for hinsults to our dignity as 'onest workers? 
Is that in the ship's articles? You kin bloody well bet 
it ain't! But I knows why they done it. I arsked a 
deck steward 'o she was and 'e told me. 'Er old man's 
a bleedin' milliooaire, a bloody Capitalist! 'E'a got 
eauf bloody gold to sink this bleedin' ship ! 'E makes 
«rf the bloody steel in the world ! 'E owns this bloody 
boat I And you and me, comrades, we're 'is slaves ! 
And the skipper and mates and engineers, they're 'is 
slaves ! And she's 'is bloody daughter and we're all *er 
slaves, too ! And she gives *cr orders as 'ow she wants 
to see the bloody animals below decks and down they 
takes 'er! [Tliere it a roar of rage from all tidei.'\ 



i 



40 



THE HAIRY APE 



Yank — ^Blinking at him beteUderedli/.'] Say! Wi 
a moment! Is all dat straight goods P 

Long — Straight as string ! The blecdin' steward as 
waits on *eni, 'e told me about 'er. And what're we goin' 
ter do, I arsks yer? 'Ave we got ter swaller 'er hinsults 
like dogs? It ain't in the ship's articles. I tell yer 
got a case. We kin go ter law 

Yank — [Wi(A abysmal contempt.l Hell! Law 

All — [Hepeating the word after him as one 
cynical mockeri/.] Law! [The word has a brazen 
metallic quality as if their throats were phonograph 
horns. It is followed by a chorus of hard, barking 
laughter. 'I 

Long — [Feeling the groujtd slipping from under hit 
feet — desperately.'] As voters and citizens we kin force 
the bloody governments 

Yank — [With abysmal contempt,^ Hell! Govern- 
ments ! 

All — [Repeating the word after him as one mtJi 
cynical mockery.'\ Governments! [The word lias a 
brazen Tnetallic quality as if their throats were phono- 
graph horns. It is followed by a chorus of hard, bark- 
ing lavghter.~\ 

Long — [Hysterically.'] We're free and equal in the 
sight of God 

Yank — [Wi*A abysmal contempt.'] Hell! God! 

All — [Repeating the word after him as one mt% 
cyiucal mockery.] God! [The word has a braxen 
metallic quality as if their throats were phonograplk 



suits 

r W^^J 



THE HAIRY APE 



41 



It it foUoued bj/ a chorus of hard, barking, 
laughter. '\ 

Yank — [Witheringl^.J Aw, join de Salvatioa 
Aimy! 

All — Sit down ! Shut up ! Dsmn fool ! Sea- 
lawyer! \_Loiig tlinks back out of tight.^ 

Paddy — ^^ConttTMiing the trend of hit thoughts as 
if he had never been interrupted — bitterli/.^ And there 
she was standing behind us, and the Second pointing 
at us like a man you'd hear In a circus would be saj-ing: 
In this cage ia a queerer kind of baboon than ever you'd 
find in darkest Africy. We roast them in their own 
sweat — and be damned if you won't hear some of thim 
•aying they like it ! [He glances scornfully at Yank,] 

Yank — {^With a bewildered uncertain groal.'\ Aw! 

Paddt — And there was Yank roarin* curses and 
turning round wid his shovel to brain her — and she 
looked at him, and him at her 

Yank — [S/owi^,] She was aU white. I tought she 
was a ghost. Sure. 

Paddy — \^With heavy, hiting »arcaam.'\ 'Twas love 
at first sight, dtvil a doubt of it! If you'd seen the 
endearia' look on her pale mug when she shrivelled 
away with her hands over her eyes to shut out the sight 
of him ! Sure, 'twas as if she'd seen a great hairy ape 
escaped from the Zoo ! 

Yank — [Stung — with a growl of rage.l Aw! 

Paddy — ^And the loving way Yank heaved his shovel 
at the skull of her, only she was out the door ! [A grin 
breaking over his face.} Twas touching, I'm telling 



I 

i 

I 

4 



42 



THE HAIRY APE 



you! It put the touch of home, swate home in the 
stokehole. [^There it a roar of laughter from all.l 

Yank — [Glaring at Paddy jnenacingljf.'^ Aw, choke 
dat oft, see ! 

Paddt — [Not heeding him — to the otheri.'] And 
her grabbin' at the Second's arm for protection. [With 
a grotesque imitation of a woman't voice.^ Kiss me, 
Engineer dear, for it's dark down here and me old man's 
in Wall Street making money ! Hug me tight, darlin', 
for I'm afeerd in the dark and me mother's on deck 
makin' eyes at the skipper ! [Another roar of laughter.'^ 

Yank — [Threat eningly.'\ Say! What yuh tryin* 
to do, kid me, yuh old Harp? 

Paddy — ^Divil a bit! Ain't I wishin' myaelf you'd 
brained her? 

Yank — [Fiercelif.^ I'll brain her! I'll brain her 
yet, wait 'n' see! [Coming over to Paddt — slowly.^ 
Say, is dat what she called me — a hairy ape? 

Paddy — She looked it at you if she didn't say the 
word itself, 

Yank — [Grinning horriblt/.'\ Hairy ape, huh? 
Sure ! Dat's dc way she looked at me, aw right. Hairy 
ape! So dat's me, huh? [Bursting into rage — ai if 
she were ttill in front of him. ] Yuh skinny tart ! Yuh 
white-faced bum, yuh! I'll show yuh who's a ape! 
[TnrTUJtg to the others, hewilderment seizing him 
again.] Say, youse guys. I was bawlin' him out for 
pullin' de whistle on us. You heard me. And den I 
seen youse lookin' at somep'n and I tought he'd sneaked 
down to come up in back of me, and I hopped round to 



THE HAIRY APE 



4S 



t him dead wit de shovel. And dere she was wit de 
light on her ! Christ, yuh coulda pushed me over with a 
finger ! I was scared, get me? Sure ! I tought 
she was a ghost, see? She was all in white like dej 
wrap around stiffs. You seen her. Kin yuh blame me.' 
She didn't belong, dat's what. And den when I come 
to and seen it was a real skoit and seen de way she was 
lookin' at me — like Paddy said — Christ, I was sore, get 
me? I don't stand for dat stuff from nobody. And I 
flung de shovel— on'y she'd beat it. [Furioufly.] I 
wished it'd banged her! I wished it'd knocked her 
block off! 

Long — And be 'anged for murder or 'lectrocuted P 
She ain't bleedin' well worth it. 

Yank — I don't give a damn what ! I'd be square wit 
her, wouldn't I? Tink I wanter let her put somep'n 
over on me? Tink I'm goin' to let her git away wit dat 
stuff? Yuh don't know me! Noone ain't never put 
nothin' over on me and got away wit it, see ! — not dat 
kind of stuff — no guy and no skoit neither! I'll fix 
her! Maybe she'll come down again 

VoicB — No chance, Yank. You scared her out of a 
year's growth. 

Yank — I scared her? Why de hell should I scare 
herP Who de hell is she? Ain't she de same as me? 
Hairy ape, huh? [TTWA his old confident bravado.^ 
Ill show her I'm better'o her, if she on'y knew it. I 
bdong and she don't, see! I move and she's dead! 
Twenty-five knots a hour, dats me! Dat carries her 
bat I make dat. She's on'y baggage. Sure! {^Again 



I 



44 



THE HAIRY APE 



bewSderedly.l But, Christ, she was funny I 
Did yuh pipe her hands P White and skinny. Yuh 
could Bee de bones trough 'em. And her mush, dat was 
dead white, too. And her eyes, dey was lite dey'd seen 
a ghost. Me, dat was! Sure! Hairy ape! Ghost, 
huh? Look at dat arm! [He extends his right arm, 
swelling out the great muscles.^ I coulda took her wit 
dat, wit' just my little finger even, and broke her in two. 
{^Again bewUderedly.^ Say, who is dat skoit, huh? 
What is sheP What's she come from? Who made her? 
Who give her do noive to look at me like dat? Dis 
ting's got my goat right. I don't get her. She's new 
to me. What does a skoit like her mean, huh? She 
don't belong, get me! I can't see her. [With growing 
anger.^ But one ting I'm wise to, aw right, aw right! 
Youse all kin bet your shoits I'll git even wit her. I'U 
show her if she tinks she — She grinds de organ and 
I'm on de string, huh? I'U fix her ! Let her come down 
again and I'll fling her in de furnace! She'll move den! 
She won't shiver at nothin', den! Speed, dat'll be her! 
She'll belong den ! [He grins korribltf.^ 

Paddt — She'll never come. She's had her belly-full, 
I'm telling you. She'll be in bed now, I'm thinking* wid 
ten doctors and nurses feedin' her salts to clean the fear 
out of her. 

Yank — [Enraged.1 Yuh tink I mode her sick, too, 
do yuh? Just lookin' at me, huh? Hairy ape, huh? 
[In a frenzp of rojfc] I'll fix her! I'U tell her where 
to git o£F! She'll git down on her knees and take it 
back or I'll bust de face ollen her ! [Shaking one fist 



THE HAIRY APE 



i5 



1 beating on h» chett with the other.] I'll 
find yiih! I'm comin', d'yuh hear? Ill fix jub, God 
damn yuh ! {^He makes a rush for the door.'\ 

I Voices — Stop him ! 
He'U get shot! 
He'll murder her! 
Trip him up! 
Hold him! 
He's gone crazy! 
Gott, he's strong! 
Hold him down! 
Look out for a kick! 
Pin his arras! 
}[They have all pUed on him and, after a fierce strug- 
gle, hy sheer weight of numbers have borne him to the 
floor just inside the door.'] 

Paddy — [Who has remained detached.] Kape him 
down til! he's cooled off. [Scomffdly.] Yerra, Yank, 
you're a great fool. Is it pajin' attention at all you 
are to the like of that skinny sow widout one drop of 
rale blood in her? 

Yank — [Frensiedlf/, from the bottom of the heap.] 
She done me doit ! She done me doit, didn't she? Ill git 
•qoare wit her! 1*11 get her some way! Git offen me, 
e guys ! Lemme up ! I'll show her who's a ape ! 



[Curtain] 



I 



SCENE FIVE 

»B — TTiree weeks later. A comer of Fifth Aveime 
Ml the Fifties on a fine, Sunday morning. A gen- 
eral atmosphere of clean, well-tidied, wide street; 
a flood of mellow, tempered sunshine; gentle, gen- 
teel bresxes. In the rear, the show windows of 
two shops, a jewelry establishment on the comer, 
a furrier's next to it. Here the adornments of 
extretne wealth are tantalisnngly displayed. The 
jeweler's wijidow is gaudy with glittering dia- 
monds, emeralds, rubies, pearls, etc., fashioned in 
ornate tiaras, crowns, necklaces, coUars, etc. 
From each piece hangs an enormous tag from 
tehich a dollar sign and numerals in intermittent 
electric lights wink out the incredible prices. The 
tame in the furrier's. Rich furs of all varie- 
ties hang there bathed in a downpour of artificial 
Ught, The general effect is of a background of 
magnificence cheapened and made grotesque by 
commercialism, a background in tawdry dishar- 
mony with the clear light and sunshine on the 
street itself. 

Up the side street Yank and Long come swag- 
gering. Long is dressed in shore clothes, wears a 
black Windsor tie, cloth cap. Yank: is in his dirty 
dssngareea. A fireman's cap with black peak is 



50 



THE HADiy APE 



cocked defiantly on the tide of hi» head. He h 
not shaved for dayt and around hU fierce, reient- 
ful eye* — a$ around thote of Long to a letter de- 
gree — the black smudge of coal dust ttUl sticks like 
make-up. They hetitate and stand together at th* 
corner, swaggering, looking about iheia teiih » 
forced, defiant contempt. 
Long — [^Indicating it all zmth an oratorical ges- 
ture.l Well, 'ere we are. Fif Avenoo. This 'ere*! 
their bleedin' private lane, as yer might say, [Bit- 
terly.Ji We're trespassers 'ere. Proletarians keep oif 
the grass ! 

Yank — [DuUy.^ I doa't see no grass, yuh boob. 
[Staring at the sidevalk.'\ Clean, ain't it? Yuh could 
eat a. fried egg offen it. The white wings got some job 
Bweepin' dis up. [Looking up and down the avenue — 
surlily.'\ Where's all dc white-collar stiiTs yuh said 
was here — and de skoits — her kind? 

LoNo — In church, blarst 'em ! Arstin' Jesus to gire 
'em more money. 

Yank — Choich, huhP I useter go to choich onct — ■ 
sure — when I was a kid. Me old man and woman, dey 
made me. Dey never went demselves, dough. Always 
got too big a head on Sunday mornin', dat was dem. 
[With a grin.'l Dey was scrappers for fair, bot' of 
dem. On Satiday nights when dey bot' got a skinful 
dey could put up a bout oughter been staged at de 
Garden. When dey got trough dere wasn't a chair or 
table wit a leg under it. Or else dey bot' jumped on 
me for somep'n, Dat was where I loined to take puoi^- 



THE HAIRY APE 



51 



ment. [With a grin and a ncagger.'] I'm a chip offen 
de old block, get me? 

Long — ^Did jer old man follow the sea ? 

Yank — ^Naw. Worked along shore. I ninned away 
when me old lady croaked wit de tremens. I helped at 
trnddn' and in de market. Den I shipped in de stoke- 
hole. Sure. Dat belongs. De rest was nothin*. 
ILoohing around Am.] I ain't never seen dis before. 
De Brookljm waterfront, dat was where I was dragged 
ap. [Taking a deep breath.^ Dis ain't so bod at 
dat, huhP 

liOMO — Not bad? Well, we pays for it wiv our 
bloody eweat, if yer wants to know ! 

Yank — [With ludden angry diggutt.^ Aw, hell! I 
don't see noone, see — like her. All dis gives me a pain. 
It don't belong. Say, ain't dere a backroom around 
dis dump? Let's go shoot a ball. All dJs is too clean 
Uid quiet and dolled-up, get me ! It gives me a pain. 

Long — Wait and yer'll bloody well see 

Yank — I don't wait for noone, I keep on de move. 
Say, what yuh drag me up here for, anyway? Tryin' 
to kid me, yuh simp, yuhP 

Long — Yer wants to get back at her, don't yer? 
That's what yer been saying' every bloomin' 'our since 
she hinsulted yer. 

Yank — [Vehemently. '\ Sure ting I do! Didn't I 
try to git even wit her in Southampton? Didn't I sneak 
on de dock and wait for her by dc gangplank? I was 
goin' to spit in her pale mug, see ! Sure, right in her 
pop-eyes! Dat woulda made me even, see? But no 



52 



THE HAIRY APE 



chanct, Dere was a whole army of plain clothes mi 
around. Dey spotted me and gimme de bum's rush. 
I never seen her. But I'll git square wit her yet, yon 
watch! \^Furioudi/.~\ De lousey tart! She tinks she 
kin get away wit moider — but not wit me! I'll 6x her! 
I'E tink of a way ! 

Long — ^Aa disgusted as he dares to be.'] Ain't that 
why I brought yer up 'ere — to show yer? Yer been 
lookin' at this *cre 'ole affair wrong. Yer been actin* 
an' talkin' 's if it was all a bleedin' personal matter 
between yer and that bloody cow. I wants to convince 
yer she was on'y a representative of 'er clarss. I wants 
to awaken yer bloody clarss consciousness. Then yerll 
see it's 'er clarss yer've got to fight, not 'er alone. 
There's a 'o!e mob of 'em like 'er, Gawd blind 'em ! 

Yank — [^Spitting on his hands — belligerently.'] De 
more de merrier when I gits started. Bring on de gang! 

Long — ^Yer'll see 'em in arf a mo', when that church 
lets out. [He turns and sees the window display tn the 
two stores for the first tiine.'] Blimey! Look at that, 
will yer? [They both walk back and stand looking in 
the jewelers. Long flies into a fury.] Just look at 
this 'ere bloomin' mess ! Just look at it ! Look at the 
bleedin' prices on 'em — more'n our 'old bloody stoke- 
hole makes in ten voyages sweatin' in 'ell ! And they — 
har and her bloody clarss — buys 'em for toys to dangle 
on 'em ! One of these 'ere would buy scoff for a Btarvin* 
family for a year ! 

Yank — Aw, cut de sob stuff ! T' hell wit de starrin* 
family! Yuhll be passiu' de hat to me next. [With 



THE HAIRY APE 



53 



Wi0» ^rmration.] Say, dem tings is pretty, huh? 
Bet yuh dey*d hock for a piece of change aw right. 
[Then turning aieay, hored.^ But, aw hell, vhat 
good are dey? Let her have 'em. Dey don't belong no 
more'n ehe does. [H^tfA a gesture of sweeping the 
jewelers into oblivion.] AU dat don't count, get me? 

Long — [Wfto has moved to the furriers — indig- 
nantlff.l And I s'pose this 'ere don't count neither — 
sHaB of poor, 'armless animals slaughtered ao as 'er 
and 'ers can keep their bleedin' noses warm! 

Yank — [Who has been staring at something inside — 
with queer excitement.^ Take a slant at dat! Give it 
de once-over! Monkey fur — two t'ousand bucks! 
[BemUderedly.'l Is dat straight goods — monkey fur? 

What de hell ? 

LoNQ — {^Bitterly,"] It's straight enuf. [With grim 
hv/mor.] They wouldn't bloody well pay that for a 
'airy ape's skin — no, nor for the 'ole liv'n' ape with 
all 'is 'ead, and body, and soul thrown in! 

Yank — [Clenching his fists, his face growing pale 
toith rage as if the skin in the windoio were a personal 
tuulf.] Trowin' it up in my face ! Christ ! I'll 
fix her! 

Long — [Excitedly.'] Church is out, *Ere they 
come, the bleedin' awine. [After a glance at Yank's 
iowerifig face — uneasily.'] Easy goes, Comrade. Keep 
JCT bloomin' temper. Remember force defeats itself. 
It ain't our weapon. We must impress our demands 
through peaceful means — the votes of the oa-marching 
proletarians of the bloody world! 



5i 



THE HAIRY APE 



Yank — [With abystnal contempt.^ Votes, h3 

Votes is a jolce, see. Votes for women! Let dem do it! 

Long — [StiH more unea»Uy.'\ Calm, now. Treat 

'em wiv the proper contempt. Observe the bleedin' 

parasites but 'old yer *oraes. 

Yank — [^AitgiHy.'] Git away from me! Yuh're 
yellow, dat's what. Force, dat*s me! De punch, dat's 
me every time, see! {The crowd from church enter 
from the right, sauntering slowly and affectedly, their 
heads held stiffly up, looking neither to right nor leflt 
talking in toneless, simpering voices. The women are 
rouged, calciviined, dyed, overdressed to the nth de- 
gree. The men are in Prince Alberts, high hats, spats, 
canes, etc. A procession of gaudy marionettes, yet 
xrith something of the relentless horror of Frankenstein* 
tfl their detached, mechanical unawareness.1 

Voices — Dear Doctor Caiaphas ! He is so sincere ! 
What was the sermon? I dozed off. 
About the radicals, my dear — and the 
false doctrines that are being preached. 
We must organize a hundred per cent Amer- 
ican bazaar. 
And let everyone contribute one one-hun- 
dredth percent of their income tax. 
What an original idea! 
We can devote the proceeds to rehi 

tating the veil of the temple. 
But that has been done so many time*.' 
Yank — [Glaring from one to the other of them — 
with an insulting snort of tcom.'\ Huh! Hull! \^With- 



reh^^l 
ime».^^^ 



THE HAIRY APE 



05 



Mtt xeeming to see kirn, they make wide detotirM to avoid 
the tpot where he itandt in the middle of the sidewalk,] 
LoKO — [Frightenedlff.'] Keep yer bloomjn' mouth 
shut, I tells jer. 

Yank — \^Viciously.'\ G'wan! Tell it to Sweeney! 
[He swaggers away and deliberately lurches into a top- 
hatted gentleman, then glares at him pugnaciouslg."} 
Say, who d'yuh tink yuh're bampin'? Tink yuh own 
de oith? 

Gentleman — [Coldly and affectedly."] I beg your 
pardon. [He has not looked at Yank and passes on 
without a glance, leaving him bewildered.] 

Long — [Rushing up and grabbing Yank's arm,] 
'Ere! Come away! This wasn't what I meant. Yerll 
'ave the bloody coppers down on us. 

Yank — [Savagely — giving him a push that tends 
him sprawling.] G'wan! 

Long — [Picks himself vp — hysterically.] I'll pop 
orf then. This ain't what I meant. And whatever 
'appens, yer can't blarne me. [He slinks off left.] 

Yank — T' hell wit youse ! [He approaches a lady — 
Trith a vicious grin and a smirking wink,] Hello, Kiddo. 
How's every little ting? Got anyting on for to-night? 
I know an old boiler down to de docks we kin crawl into. 
[The lady stalks by without a look, without a change 
of pace. Yank turns to others — insultingly,] Holy 
smokes, what a mug ! Go hide yuhself before de horses 
Bhy at yuh. Gee, pipe de heinie on dat one! Say, 
youse, yuh look like de stoin of a ferryboat. Paint and 
powder ! All dolled up to kill ! Yuh look like stiffs laid 



66 



THE HAIRY APE 



out for de boneyard ! Aw, g'wan, de lot of youse ! Ytil 
give me de eye-ache. Yuh don't belong, get me ! Look 
at me, why don't yousc dare? I belong, dat's me! 
'[Pointing to a skyscraper across the street which is in 
process of construction — rcith bravado.l See dat 
building goin' up dere? See de steel work? Steel, dat's 
me! Youse guys live on it and tint yuh're somep'n. 
But I'm in it, see ! I'm de hoistln* engine dat makes it 
go up! I'm it — de inside and bottom of it ! Sure! I'm 
steel and steam and smoke and de rest of it ! It moves 
— speed — twenty-five stories up — and me at de top and 
bottom — movin'! Youse simps don't move. Yuh're 
on'y dolls I winds up to see 'm spin, Yuh're de garbage^ 
get me — de leavins — de ashes we dump over de side! 
Now, wliata yuh gotto say? [B«( as they seem neither 
to see nor hear him, he flies into a fury.~\ Bums ! Piga ! 
Tarts ! Bitches ! [He turns in a rage on the m^n, 
bumping viciously mto them but not jarring them the 
least bit. Rather it is lie who recoils after each col- 
lision. He keeps growling.'] Git off dc oith! G'wan, 
yuh bum! Look where yuh're goin,' can't yuh? Git 
outa here! Fight, why don't yuh? Put up yer mits! 
Don't be a dog! Fight or I'll knock yuh dead ! [But, 
without seeming to see him, they aU answer with 
mechanical affected politeness:^ I beg your pardon. 
'[Then at a cry from one of the women, they all tcurrjf 
to the furrier's window.^ 

The Woman — [Ecstatically, with a gasp of de- 
light.'] Monkey fur! [The whole crowd of men and 



THE HAIRY APE 



57 



I chorus after her in the tame tone of affected 
delxght.'\ Monkey fur! 

YiNK — [With- a jerk of hit head back on hia ghoid- 
dera, as if he had received a pv/nch fvU in the face — 
raging,^ I see yuh, all in white ! I see yah, yah white- 
faced tart, yuh! Hairy ape, huh? I'll hairy ape ynh! 
[He bends down and grips at the street curbing as if to 
fluck it out and hurl it. Foiled in this, snarling with 
passion, he leaps to the lamp-post on the comer and 
tries to pull it up for a club. Just at that moment a 
bus is heard rumbling up. A fat, high-hatted, spatted 
gentleman runs out from the side street. He calls out 
plaintively: "Bus! Bus! Stop there!" and runs fuU 
tUt into the bending, straining Yank, mho is bowled off 
hit balance.} 

Yank — [Seeing a fight — with a roar of joy at he 
tpringi to his feet.} Atlast! Bus, huh? I'llbustyuh! 
[He lets drive a terrific swing, lus fist landing full on 
the fat gentleman's face. But the gentleman stands 
unmoved as if nothing had happened,} 

Gentleman — I beg your pardon. [Then irritably.} 
You have made me lose my bus, [He claps his hands 
and begins to scream:} OfGcer! Officer! [Many 
police whistles thrill out on the instant and a whole 
platoon of policemen rush in on Yank from all sides. 
Be tries to fight but is clubbed to the pavement and 
fallen upon. The crowd at the window liave not moved 
or noticed tkis disturbance. The clanging gong of the 
patrol wagon approaclies with a clamoring din.} 
[Curtain} 



n 

4 
4 



SCENE SIX 

KScBME — Night of the foUoaing day. A row of ceUt in 
the prison on BlackweUa Itlattd. The ceUt extend 
back diagonally from right front to left rear. 
They do not ttop, but disappear in the dark back- 
ground as if they ran on, nuinberless, into infinity. 
One electric bulb from the low ceiling of the narrow 
corridor sheds its light through the heavy steel 
bars of the cell at the extreme front and reveals 
part of the interior. Yank can be seen within, 
crouched on the edge of his cot in the attitude of 
Rodin's "The Thinker." His face is spotted with 
black aTid blue bruises. A blood-stained bandage 
is wrapped around his head. 



Yank — [Sudderdy starting as if atcakenmg from a 
dream, reaches out and shakes the bars — aloud to him- 
telf, 7eonderi7igly.~\ Steel. Dis is de Zoo, huh? [A 
lUrst of hard, barking laughter comes from the unseen 
vcupants of the ceUs, runs back down the tier, and 
uptly ceases. 1 
\otCR»— [Mockingly.^ TheZoo? That's a new name 
for this coop — a damn good name! 
Steel, eh? You said a mouthful. This is 

the old iron house. 
Who is that boob talkin'? 



THE HAIRY APE 



He's the bloke they bi 



■y brung 



Q out of his heac 



1 



The bulls had beat him up fierce. 
Yank — lDulli/.~\ I musta been dreamin'. I tought 
I was in a cage at de Zoo — but de apes don't talk, 
do de J ? 

Voices — ^^Witk mockiTtg laughter.^ You're in a c 
aw right, 
A coop! 
A pen ! 
A sty! 

A kennel ! [Hard laughter — a pause.'] 
Say, guy ! Who are you? No, never mind 

lying. What are you? 
Yes, tell us your sad story. What's your 

game? 
What did they jug yuh for? 
Yank — [Dully.'] I was a fireman — slokin' on de 
liners. [Then with sudden rage, rattling his cell bari.'^ 
I'm a hairy ape, get me? And I'll bust youse all in de 
jaw if yuh don't lay off kiddin' me. 

Voices — Huh ! You're a hard boiled duck ain't you ! 
When you spit, it bounces! [Laughter.'] 
Aw, can it. He's a regular guy. Ain't 

you? 
What did he say he was — a ape? 
Yank — [Defiantly.'] Sure ting! Ain't dat what 
youse all are — apes? [A silence. Then a furioui 
rattling of bars from down the corridor.] 

A Voice — [Thick with rage.'] I'll show yuh who's 
a ape, yuh bum ! 



THE HAIRY APE 

Nix! 



63 



Voices — Ssshh ! 

Can de noise! 

Piano ! 

You'll have the guard down on ua ! 

Yank— [Scorn/ii/Zjf.] De guard? Yuh mean dc 

le^er, don't ;uhP [^Angry exclamations from aU the 

>•] 

Voice — [^Placati'nglff.1 Aw, don't pay no attention 
mhim. He's off Mb nut from the beatin'-up he got. 
B«J. you guy ! We're waitin' to hear what they landed 
yon for — or ain't yuh tellin'P 
Yank— Sure, III tell youse. Sure! Why de hell notP 
— youse won't get me. Nobody gets me but me, 
I started to tell de Judge and all he says was: 
"Toity days to tink it over." Tink it over! Christ, 
iit'a all I been doin' for weeks! [^After a pau»e.'\ I 
wtryin' to git even wit someone, see? — someone dat 
lone me doit. 
Voices — [CymcaUtf.'\ De old stuff, I bet. Your goil, 
hull? 
Give yuh the double-cross, huh? 
That's them every time ! 
Did yuh beat up de odder guy? 
Vank — [Disgustedly.^ Aw, yuh're all wrong! Sure 
e was a skoit in it — ^but not what youse mean, not 
1 tripe. Dis was a new kind of skoit. She was 
I up all in white — in de stokehole. I tought she 
^ a ghost. Sure. [A paute.'\ 
Voices — [WhispertJtg.l Gee, he's still nutty. 
Let him rave. It's fun listenin'. 



6i 



THE HAIRY APE 



Yank — [ Unheedinff — groping in Ais thoughtg.'\ 
Her liands— dey was skiimj and white like dej wasn't 
real but painted on aoniep'n. Dere was a miUioa miles 
from me to her — twenty-five knots a hour. She wao 
like some dead ting dc cat brung in. Sure, dat's what. 
She didn't belong. She belonged in de window of a toy 
store, or on de top of a garbage can, see ! Sure ! [He 
breaks out angrQy.^ But would yuh believe it, she 
had de noive to do me doit. She lamped me like she 
was seein' somcp*n broke loose from de menagerie. 
Christ, yuh'd oughter seen her eyes! [He rattles the 
bars of his cell furiously.^ But I'll get back at her yet, 
you watch ! And if I can't find her I'll take it out on de 
gang she runs wit, I'm wise to where dey hangs out 
now. I'll show her who belongs ! I'll show her who's 
in de move and who ain't. You watch my smoke! 

Voices — [Serious and jofrtn^.] Dat's de talkin'! 
Take her for all she's got! 
What was this dame, anyway? Who was 
she, eh? 

Yank — I dunno. First cabin stiff. Her old man's a 
millionaire, dey says — name of Douglas. 

VoicKs — Douglas? That's the president of the Steel 
Trust, I bet. 
Sure. I seen his mug in de papers. 
He's filthy with dough. 

Voice — Hey, feller, take a tip from me. If you want 
to get back at that dame, you better join the WobbJ 
Youll get some action then. 

Yank— Wobblies? What de hell's dat? 



THE HAIRY APE 



65 



I Voice — ^Ain't you ever heard of the I. W. W.? 

Yank — Naw. \Vhat is it? 

Voice — A gang of blokes — a tough gaog. I been 
pEadin* about 'em to-day in the pajier. The guard give 

e the Sunday Times. There's a long spiel about 'em. 
t's from a speech made in the Senate by a guy named 
Senator Queen. [Heixinthecellnext toYA'sit^i. There 
u a rustling of paper.] Wait'll I eee if I got Hght 
enough and I'll read you. Listen. [He readg:^ 
"There is a menace existing in this country to-day 
which threatens the vitals of our fair Republic — as foul 
a menace against the very life-blood of the Ameri<»j] 
Eagle as was the foul conspiracy of Cataline against 
the eagles of ancient Rome ! 

Voice [DUgugtedlg.'] Aw hell! Tell him to salt 
detail of dat eagle! 

Voice — [ReadiTigtl "I refer to that devil's brew 
of rascals, jailbirds, murderers and cutthroats who 
libel all honest working men by calling themselves the 
Industrial Workers of the World ; but in the light of 
their nefarious plots, I call them the Industrious 
Wreckers of the World!" 

Yank — [With vengeful satisfaction.'] Wreckers, 
dat's de right dope ! Dat belongs ! Me for dem ! 

Voice — Ssshh! [Reading.] "This fiendish orgaoi- 
utioD is a foul ulcer on the fair body of our Democ- 
racy " 

Voice — Democracy, hell! Give him the boid, fellers 
— the raspberry! [They do.] 

Voice — Ssahh! [Reading:] "Like Cato I «ay to 



66 THE HAIHY APE 

this senate, the I. W. W. must be destroyed ! For tl 
represent an ever-present dagger pointed at the heart 
of the greatest nation the world has ever known, where 
all raen are born free and equal, with equal oppor- 
tunities to all, where the Founding Fathers have 
guaranteed to each one happiness, where Truth, Honor, 
Iiiberty, Justice, and the Brotherhood of Man are a 
religion absorbed with one's mother's milk, taught at 
our father's knee, sealed, signed, and stamped upon in 
the glorious Constitution of these United States ! [A 
perfect storm of hisses, catcalls, boos, and hard laugh- 
ter.] 

Voices — [Scornfully.} Hurrah for de Fort' of July 

Pass de hat! 

Liberty ! 

Justice ! 

Honor ! 

Opportunity ! 

Brotherhood! 
All — [With abysmal scorn.] Aw, hell 
Voice — Give that Queen Senator guy the bark ! AH 

togedder now — ont — two — tree [A terrific chortu 

of barking and yapping.] 

Gdari) — {From a distance.] Quiet there, youse — or 
I'll git the hose. [The noise subsides.] 

Yank — [H'ttA growling rage.] I'd like to catch dat 
senator guy alone for a second. I'd loin him some 
trute! 

Voice — Ssshh! Here's where he gits down to cases 
on the Wobblies. \^Reads:] "They plot with fire in 



i 



THE HAIRY APE 



67 



one band and dynamite in the other. They stop not 
before murder to gain their ends, nor at the outraging 
of defenceless womaniiood. They would tear down 
society, put the lowest scum in the seats of the mighty, 
turn Almighty God's revealed plan for the world topsy- 
turvy, and make of our sweet and lovely civilization a 
shambles, a desolation where man, God's masterpiece, 
would soon degenerate back to the ape !" 

Voice — [To Yank.] Hey, you guy. There's your 
ape stuff again. 

Yank — [With a growl of fury.'] I got him. So dey 
blow up tings, do dey? Dey turn tings round, do dey? 
Hey, lend me dat paper, will juh? 

Voice — Sure. Give it to him. On'y keep it to your- 
self, see. We don't wanter listen to no more of that 
slop. 

Voice — Here you are. Hide it under your mattress. 

Yank — [^Reaching out.'\ Tanks. I can't read much 

but I kin manage, [He gits, the paper in the hand at 

^H^M tide, in the attitude of Rodin's "The Thinker." A 

^^b(iu«e. Several snores from down the corridor. Sud- 

^^Rtn2y Yank jumps to his feet with a furious groan as 

1 '*i soTTte appalling thought had crashed on him — he- 

"^eredly.^ Sure — her old man — president of de Steel 

Trust — makes half de steel in de world — steel — ^where 

Li tought I belonged— drivin' trou — movin' — in dat — 

■ to make her — and cage me in for her to spit on ! Christ 

I[HeiAafre« the bars of his ceU door tiU the whole tier 

U^fembles. Irritated, protesting exclamations from 

wnau axeakened or trying to get to sleep.\ He madedis 



68 THE HAIRY APE 

— diB cage! Steel! It don't belong, dat's whm 
Cages, cells, locks, bolts, bars — dat's what it means! — 
holdin' me down wit him at de top ! But I'll drive trou ! 
Fire, dat melts it ! I'll be fire — under de heap — fire dat 
never goes out — hot as hell — breakin' out in de night — 
[While he has been saymg this last he has shaken his 
cell door to a clanging accompaniment. As he comei 
to the "breakin' out" he seizes one bar with both hands 
and, putting his two feet up against tJie others so that 
his position is parallel to the floor like a monkey's, he 
gives a great wrench baclcwardg. The bar bends like a 
licorice stick under his tremendous strength. Just al 
this motnent the Pbison Guabd rushes in, dragging a 
hose behind ftm,] 

Guard — [Angrilt/.'\ I'll loin youse bums to wake me 
up! [Sees Yank.] Hello, it's jou, huh? Got the 
D. Ts., hey? Well, I'll cure 'em. I'll drown your 
snakes for yuh ! [Noticing the bar. ] Hell, look at dat 
bar bended ! On'y a bug is strong enough for dat ! 

Yank — [Glaring at him.] Or a hairy ape, yuh big 
yellow bum! Look out! Here I come! [He graht 
another bar.] 

GuAED — [Scared now — yelling off left.] Toin de 
hoose on, Ben ! — full pressure ! And call de others — 
and a strait jacket! [The curtain is falling. As it 
hades Yank frora view, there is a splattering smash as 
the stream of toater hits the steel of Yank's cell.] 

[Curtain^ 



SCENE SE\^N 

[NE — Nearly a month later. An 1. W. W. local 
near the waterfront, showing the interior of a 
front room on the ground floor, and the street 
outside. Moonlight on the narrow street, buildings 
■massed in black thadovi. The interior of the room, 
which is general assemhly room, office, and reading 
room, resembles some dingy settlement hays clvh. 
A desk and high stool are in one corner. A table 
with papers, stacks of pamphlets, chairs about it, 
is at center. The ichole is decidedly cheap, banal, 
commonplace and unmysterious as a room could 
well be. The secretary is perched on the stool 
making entries in a large ledger. An eye shade 
casts his face into shadows. Eight or ten 
m«», longshoremen, iron workers, and tJte like, 
are grouped about the table. Two are playing 
checkers. One is writing a letter. Moat of them 
are smoking pipes. A hig signboard is on the wall 
at the rear, "Industrial Workers of the World — 
Local No. 57." 
Yank — [Comes down the street outside. He is 
^ttied as in Scene Five. He moves cautiously, myi- 
ftnously. He comes to a point opposite the door; tip- 
">fi toftly up to it, listens, is impressed by the silence 



72 



THE HAIRY APE 



within, knocks carefully, as if he were guessing a 
password to some secret rite. Listens. No answer. 
Knocks again a bit louder. No answer. Knocks im- 
patiently, much louder.^ 

Secretabt — [^Tuming around on his atool.'\ What 
the devil is that — someone tnocting? [Shouts :] Come 
in, why don't you? [^All the men in the room look up. 
Yank opens the door slowly, gingerly, as if afraid of an 
ambush. He looks around for secret doors, mystery, 
is taken aback by the commonplace'ness of the room and 
the men in it, thiiiks he may have gotten in the wrong 
place, then sees the signboard on the wall and is reag- 
sured.'] 

Yank — [Blurts out,'\ Hello. 

Men — [Reservedly.'] Hello. 

Yank — [More easily.] I tought I'd bumped into de 
wrong dump. 

Skceetaky — [Scrutinising him carefuUy.] Maybe 
you have. Are you a member? 

Yank — Naw, not yet. Dat's what I come for — ^to 
join. 

Seceetaey — That's easy. What's your job — loiif^ 
shore P 

Yank — Naw. Fireman — stoker on de liners. 

Seceetaey — [With satisfaction.} Welcome to our 
city. Glad to know you people are waking up at last. 
We haven't got many members in your line. 

Yank — Naw, Dey're all dead to de woild. 

Seceetaey — Well, you can hdp to wake 'em. 
What's your name? I'll make out your card. 



THE HAIRY ATE 



73 

Yank — [Confuaed.'] Name? Lenune tink. 

Secketakt — [Sharplg-I Don't jou know your own 
DameP 

Yank — Sure; but I been just Yank for ao long — 
Bob, dat's it— Bob Smith. 

Secbetasy— [JTri/tfif/.] Robert Snuth. [Fia$ out 
the reit of card,^ Here you are. Cost you half a 
dollar. 

Yanx — Is dat all — four bits? Dat's easy. \^Givet 
the Secretary the vtoney.^ 

Skcketaey — [^Throwing it tn drawer.'] Thanks. 
Wei], mate yonrself at home. No introductions needed. 
There's literature on the table. Take some of those 
pamphlets with you to distribute aboard ship. They 
may bring results. Sow the seed, only go about it 
right. Don't get caught and fired. We got plenty out 
of work. What we need is men who can hold their jobs 
— and work for us at the same time. 

Yank — Sure. [Suf he stUl stands, embarraiied and 
uTteasy-l 

SEcnETAST — [Looking at him — curiously.'] What 
did you knock for? Think we had a coon in uniform 
to open doors P 

Yank — Naw. I tought it was locked — and dat yuh'd 
wanter give me the once-over trou a peep-hole or 
Bomcp'n to see if I was right. 

Sbcketary — [Alert and suspicious but with an easy 
langh.] Think we were running a crap game? That 
door la never locked. What put that in your nut? 

Yank — [With a knowing grin, convinced that this is 



I 



THE HAIRY APE 

all coTnoajlage, a part of the tecrect/."} Dis burg is ful 
ofl)uUH,am'titP 

Secretary — [Skarpl7/.'\ What have the cops got 
to do with us? We're breaking no laws. 

Yank — [TFt'fA a Tenowing -winkJ] Sure. Youse 
wouliin't for woilds. Sure. I'm wise to dat. 

Secketahy — You seem to be wise to a lot of stuff 
none of us knows about. 

Yank — [With another wink.'\ Aw, dat's aw right, 
see. [Then made a bit resentful by the suspicious 
glances from all sides.^ Aw, can it! Youse needn't 
put me trou de toid degree. Can't youse see I belong? 
Sure! I'm reg'lar. I'll stick, get me? I'll shoot de 
woiks for youse. Dat's why I wanted to join in. 

Seceetaky — [BreezUy, feeling him otit.^ That's the 
right spirit. Only are you sure you understand what 
you've joined? It's all plain and above board; still, 
some guys get a wrong slant on us. [Sharply-I What'a 
your notion of the purpose of the I. W. W.? 

Yank — Aw, I know all about it. 

Secretary — [Sarcastically.'] Well, give us some 
of your valuable information. 

Yank — [Cumningly.] I know enough not to speak 
outa my toin. \^Then resentfully again.] Aw, say! 
I'm reglar. I'm wise to de game. I know yuh got to 
Watch your step wit a stranger. For alt youse know, I 
might be a plain-clothes dick, or somcp'n, dat'a what 
yuh're tinkin*, huh? Aw, forget it! I belong. 
Ask any guy down to de docks if I don't. 



Sbcbetarv — Who fi 



' you 



didn't? 



THE HAIRY APE 



76 



MK — After I'm 'oitiated, 

Sec&etaxt — \^Aitounded.'\ Initiated? There's no 
initiation. 

Yank — lDisappointed.'\ Ain't there no password — 
no grip nor nothin'? 

Secretary — What'd you think this is — the Elks — 
or the Black Hand P 

Yank— De Elks, hell ! De Black Hand, de^re a lot 
of yellow bsckstickin' Ginees, Naw. Dis is a man's 
gang, ain't it? 

Secsbtakt — ^You said it! That's why we stand on 
our two feet in the open. We got no secrets. 

Yank — [Surpriied but admiriTigly.^ Yuh mean to 
say yuh always run wide open — like dis? 

Sec ket ak y — Ex ac tl j. 

Yank — ^Den yuh sure got your noive wit youse! 

Secretary — [Sharplt/.'\ Just what was it made you 
want to join us? Come out with that straight. 

Yank — ^Yuh call me? Well, I got noive, too! Here's 
my hand. Yuh wanter blow tings up, don't yuh? Well, 
dat's me! I belong! 

Secbetary — [With pretended careleisneig.'] You 
mean change the unequal conditions of society fay legiti- 
mate direct action — or with dynamite? 

Yank — ^Dynamite! Blow it offen de oith — steel — all 
de cages — all de factories, steamers, buildings, jails — 
de Steel Trust and all dat makes i 



Secketabt — S o — that's 



your n 



t go. 

a, eh ? And did 



you 



isve any special job in that line you wanted to propose 



76 



THE HAIRY APE 



to us. [He makes a sign to the men, who get up 
cautiously one by one and group behind Yake.] 

Yank — [^Boldly.^ Sure, I'll come out wit it. I'll 
show youse I'm one of de gang. Dere's dat millionaire 
guj, Douglas " 

Seckstary — President of the Steel Trust, you meaa? 
Do you want to assassinate liimP 

Yank — Naw, dat don't get yuh nothin'. I mean 
blow up de factory, de woiks, where he makes de steel. 
Dat's what I'm after — to blow up de steel, knock all de 
steel in de woild up to de moon. Dat'll fix tings J 
[Eagerly, with a touch of bravado.l I'll do it by me 
lonesome! I'll show yuh! Tell me where his woiks is, 
how to git there, all de dope. Gimme de stulT, de old 
butter — and watch me do de rest! Watch de smoVe 
and see it move ! I don't give a damn if dey nab me — 
long as it's done! I'll soive life for it — and give 'em 
de laugh! [Half to himself.} And I'll write her a 
letter and tell her de hairy ape done it. Dat'll square 
tings. 

Seckktaef — [Stepping away from Yank.] Very 
interesting. [He givet a signal. The men, huskies aU, 
throw themselves on Yank and before he knows it they 
have his legs and arms pinioned. But lie is too flabber- 
gasted to wake a struggle, anyway. They feel him over 
for weapons.^ 

Man — No gat, no knife. Shall we give him what's 
what and put the boots to himi* 

Secretary — No. He isn't worth the trouble we'd 
get into. He's too stupid. [He comes cloter and 



THE HAIRY APE 



77 



laugJu mockingly in Yank's face.'\ Ho-ho! By God, 
this is the biggest joke they've put up on us yet. Hey, 
you Joke! Who sent you — Euros or Pinkerton? No, 
by God, you're such a bonehead I'll bet you're in the 
Secret Service ! Well, you dirty spy, you rotten agent 
provocator, yoa can go back and tell whatever skunk 
is paying you blood-money for betraying your brothers 
that he's wasting his coin. You couldn't catch a cold. 
And tell him that all he'll ever get on us, or ever has got, 
is just his own sneaking plots that he's framed up to 
put us in jail. We are what our manifesto says we 
are, neither more or less — and we'll give him a copy of 
that any time he calls. And as for you — [He glares 
tcomfvUy at Yank, who is sunk in an oblivious stupor,^ 
Oh, hell, what's the use of talking? You're a. brain- 
less ape. 

Yank — [Aroused by the word to fierce but futile 
atmggles.^ What's dat, juh Sheeny bum, yuh! 

Secsetaet — Throw him out, boys. [In spite of his 
struggles, this is done with gusto and Sclat. Propelled 
by several parting kicks, Yank lands sprawling in the 
middle of the narrow cobbled street. With a growl he 
starts to get up and storm the closed door, but stops 
bewildered by the confusion in his brain, pathetically 
impotent. He siti there, brooding, in as near to tlie 
attitude of Rodin'a "Thinker" as he can get tn hii 
position.'} 

Yank — [Bitterly.'] So dem boids don't tink I be- 
long, neddor. Aw, to hell wit 'em ! Dey're in de wrong 
pew — de same old bull — soapboxes and Salvation Army 



4 



78 THE HAIRY APE 

— no guts! Cut out an hour oiFen de job a daj i 
make me happy! Gimme a dollar more a day and make 
me happy ! Tree square a day, and cauliflowers in de 
front yard— ekal rights — a woman and kids — a lousey 
vote — and I'm all fixed for Jesus, huh? Aw, hellt 
What does dat get yuh? Dis ting's in your inside, but 
it ain't your bcUy. Fecdin' your face — sinkers and 
coffee — dat don't touch it. It's way down — at de bot- 
tom. Yuh can't grab it, and yuh can't stop it. It 
moves, and everyting moves. It stops and de whole 
woild stops. Dat's me now — I don't tick, see? — I'm a 
busted Ingersoll, dat's what. Steel was mc, and I 
owned de woild. Now I ain't steel, and de woild owns 
me. Aw, heU ! I can't see — it's all dark, get me? It's 
all wrong! f^He tumt a bitter mocldng face up like 
an ape gibbering at the moon.l Say, yousc up dere, 
Man in de Moon, yuh look so wise, girame de answer, 
huh? Slip me de inside dope, de information right from 
de stable — where do I get off at, huh? 

A Policeman — [^Who has come up the street in time 
to hear this last — with grim humor.'] You'll get off at 
the station, you boob, if you don't get up out of that 
and keep movin'. 

Yank — [^Looking up at him — with a hard, bitter 
laugh. ] Sure ! Lock me up ! Put me in a cage ! Dat's 
de on'y answer yuh know. G'wan, lock me up ! 

Policeman — What you been doin'? 

Yank — Enuf to gimme life for! I was bom, see? 
Sure, dat's de charge. Write it in de blotter. I was 
faorn, get me ! 



THE HAIRT APE 79 

Poucmuxr — [Jocotdg.'] God pity your old woman ! 
{^7'hen matter-of-facf.l Bat Fve no time for kidding. 
Toa're flonsed. Fd nm yoo in bat it's too long a walk 
to the station. Come on now, get up, or PU fan yoar 
can with this clab. Beat it now ! [He havlt Yank to 
»w feet.} 

YAm — [/» a vague mocking tow-J Say, where do I 
go from here? 

PoucxHAx — [Gtrifl^ Urn a puth — vith a grin, indif- 
fermtlp.} Go to heU. 

[Curfatn] 



SCENE EIGHT 

^ScBNB — Tvsiligkt of the next day. The monkey house 
^^t at the Zoo. One spot of clear gray light faUi on 
^^p the front of one cage go that the interior can be 
^^ aeen. The other cages are vague, shrouded in 
shadow from which chattering* pitched in a con- 
versational tone can he heard. On the one cage a 
sign from which the word "gorilla" stands out. 
The gigantic animal himself it seen squatting on 
his havmches on a bench in much the same attitude 
at Rodin's "Thinker." Yank enters from the left. 
Immediately a chorus of angry chattering and 
^^ tcreeching breaks out. The gorilla turns his eyei 
^^ft hut makes no sound or move. 

^^Yank — [With a hard, bitter laugh.] Welcome to 
your city, huhP Hail, hail, de gang's all here! [At the 
sound of his voice the chattering dies away into an 
attentive silence. Yank walks up to the gorilla's cage 
and, leaning over the railing, stares in at its occupant, 
aha stares back at him, silent and motionless. There is 
a pause of dead stillness. Then Yank begins to talk 
iriendly confidential tone, half -mockingly, but with 
•ep undercurrent of sympathy.'] Say, yuh're some 
d-lookin' guy, ain't yuh? I seen lots of tough nuts 
Mt d? gang called gorillas, but yuh're de foist real one 



84 



THE HAIRY APE 



I ever seen. Some chest yuh got, and shoulders, 
dcm arms and mits ! I bet yuh got a punch in eider fist 
dat'd knock 'em all silly! [^Tkis with genuine adtrura- 
tion. The gorilla, ai if he understood, itands upright, 
iwelling out his chest and pounding on it with his fist. 
Yank grins gympatheticaUy.'\ Sure, I get yuh. Yuh 
challenge de whole woild, huh? Yuh got what I was 
sayin' even if yuh mulTed de woids. [Then bitterness 
creeping «».] And why wouldn't yuh get me? Ain't 
we both members of de same club — de Hairy Apes? 
\Thcy stare at each other — a pause — then Yank goes 
on slowly and bitterly.^ So yuh're what she seen when 
she looked at me, de white-faced tart ! I was you to her, 
get meP On'y outa de cage — broke out — free to moider 
her, see? Sure! Dat'a what she tought. She wasn't 
wise dat I was in a cage, too — worser'n yours — sure — 
a damn sight — 'cause you got some chanct to bust loose 
— ^but me — [He grows confused.J Aw, hell ! It's all 
wrong, ain't it? [A pause.] I s'poae yuh wanter 
know what I'm doin' here, huh? I been warnun' a bench 
down to de Battery — ever since last night. Sure, I 
seen de sun come up. Dat was pretty, too — all red 
and pink and green. I was lookin' at de skyscrapers — 
steel — and all de ships comin' in, sailin' out, all OTep 
de oith — and dey was steel, too. De sun was warm, 
dey wasn't no clouds, and dere was a breeze blowin'. 
Sure, it was great stuff. I got it aw right — ^what 
Paddy said about dat bein' de right dope — on'j I 
couldn't get Ml it, see ? I couldn't belong in dat. It was 
over my head. And I kept tinkiu' — and den 



THE HAIRY APE 



85 



\ -ap here to see what jouse was lile. And I waited till 
dey was all gone to git yah alone. Say, how d'yuh 
feel Bittin* in dat pen all de time, havin' to stand for 
'em comin' and starin' at juh — de white-faced, skiiin; 
tarts and de boobs what marry 'em — makin' fun of 
yuh, laughin' at yuh, gittin' scared of yuh — damn 'em! 
[H^ powadg on the rail with fti's fiit. The gorilla rattlei 
the ban of hit cage avd snarls. All the other monkeys 
set up an angry chattering in the darkness. Y&nk goes 
on excitedly. '\ Sure! Dat's de way it hils me, too. 
On'y yuh're lucky, see? Yuh don't belong wit 'em and 
yah know it. But me, I belong wit 'em — but I don't, 
see? Dey don't belong wit me, dat's what. Get me? 
Tinkin' is hard — [He passes one hand across his fore- 
head with a painfvl gesture. The gorilla growls 
impatiently. Yank goes on gropingly.^ It's dis way, 
what I'm drivin' at. Youse can sit and dope dream 
in de past, green woods, de jungle and de rest of it. 
Den yuh belong and dey don't. Den yuh kin laugh at 
*em, see? Yuh're de champ of de woild. But me — I 
ain't got no past to tink in, nor nothin' dat's coming', 
on'y what's now — and dat don't belong. Sure, you're 
de best off! Yuh can't tink, can yuh? Yuh can't talk 
neider. But I kin make a bluff at talkin' and tinkin' — 
a'most git away wit it — a'most! — and dat's where de 
joker comes in. [ffe laughaJ\ I ain't on oith and I 
ain't in heaven, get me? I'm in de middle tryin' to 
separate 'em, takin' all de wolst punches from hot' of 
'em. Maybe dat's what dey call hell, huh? But you, 
yuh're at de bottom. You belong! Sure! Yuh're de 1 



86 THE HAmY APE 

on'j one in de voild dat does, yuh lucfcj stiff! [Tfti 
gorUla gTOwig proudly.^ And dat'a why dey gotter 
pi2t yuh in a cage, see? [The gorilla roart angrily.^ 
Sure! Yuh get me. It beats it when you try to tint 
it or talk it — it's way down — deep — behind — you 'n' me 
we feel it. Sure! Bot' members of dis club! [He 
latigha — then in a savage tOTie.^ What de hell ! T' hell 
wit it! A little action, dat's our meat! Dat belongs! 
Knock 'em down and keep bustin' 'em till dey croaks 
yuh wit a gat — ^wit steel! Sure! Are yuh game? 
Dey've looked at youse, ain't dey — ^in a cage? Wanter 
git even? Wanter wind up like a sport 'stead of 
croakin' slow in dere? [The goriUa roars an emphatic 
affirmative. Yank goes on with a sort of furious exalta- 
tion.'] Sure ! Yuh're reg'lar ! Yuh'll stick to de finish ! 
Me 'n' jou, huh? — bot' members of this club ! We'll put 
up one last star bout dat'Il knock 'em off en deir seats ! 
Deyll have to make de cages stronger after we're trou ! 
[The gorilla is straining at his bars, growling, hopping 
from one foot to the other. Yank takes a jimmy from 
under his coat and forces the lock on the cage door. 
He throws this open.] Pardon from de governor! 
Step out and shake hands ! I'll take yuh for a walk 
down Fif Avenoo. We'll knock 'em offen de oith and 
croak wit de band playin'. Come on. Brother. [The 
gorilla scrambles gingerly out of his cage. Goes to 
Yank and stands looking at him. Yank keeps hit 
mocking tone — holds out his hand,] Shake — de secret 
grip of our order. [Something, the tone of mockery, 
perhaps, suddenly enrages the animal. With a spring 



THE HAmY APE 



87 



%« wraps his huge armi around Yank in a mardertma 
hug. There is a crackling snap of crushed ribs — a 
gasping cry, stiU mocking, from Yank.] Hej, I didn't 
say, kiss me. [The gorilla lets the crushed body slip 
to the floor; stands over it uncertainly, considering; 
then picks it up, throws it in the cage, shuts the door, 
and shujfles off menacingly into the darkness at left. A 
great uproar of frightened chattering and whimpering 
comet from the other cages. Then Yank moves, groan- 
ing, opening his eyes, and there is silence. He mutters 
painfuUy.'] Say — dey oughter match him — wit 
Zybszko. He got me, aw right. I'm trou. Even him 
didn't tink I belonged. [Then, with sudden passionate 
despair.'] Christ, where do I get off at? Where do I 
fit in? [Checking himself as suddenly.] Aw, what de 
hell! No squakin', see! No quittin', get me ! Croak wit 
your boots on ! [He grabs hold of the bars of the cage 
and hauls himself painfully to his feet — looks around 
him bewilderedly — forces a mocking laugh,] In de 
cage, huh? [In the strident tones of a circtis barker.] 
Ladies and gents, step forward and take a slant at de 
one and only — [His voice weakening] — one and orig- 
inal — Hairy Ape from de wilds of — [He slips in a heap 
on the floor and dies. The monkeys set up a chatter- 
mg, whimpering wail. And, perhaps, the Hairy Ape 
at last belongs.] 



[Curtain] 



"ANNA CHRISTIE" 
A Play in Four Acts 

By 

EOOBNB 0'NbII.L 



CHARACTERS 

"Johkht-the-Peiibt" 
Two XjOnoshobehen 

A POSTICAN 

I4AKST, bartender 

Chbu. CmusTOPHSMOH, captain of the barge "Simeon 

Winthrop" 
Maktht Owsn 

Anita Chxistofhkkson, Chrit't daughter 
T'hkbb uem 07 A steakeb'b cbet 
ACat Btjbke, a ttoker 
JoaifsaSt deckhand on the barge 



SCENES 
ACT I 
"Johnny-tlie-Priest's" saloon near the waterfront, New 
York City. 

ACT n 

The barge, Simeon Wmthrop, at anchor in the harbor 
of ProTincetown, Mass. Ten days later. 

ACT III 
Cabin of the barge, at docic in Boston. A week later. 

ACT IV 

The same. Two days later. 

Time of the Play — ^Abont 1910. 



ACTI 

^CENS — "Johnnt-thb-Priest's" saloon near South 
Street, New York City. The stage is divided into 
two sections, showing a small back room on the 
right. On the left, forward, of the barroom, a 
large window looking out on the street. Beyond 
it, the main entrance — a double swinging door. 
Farther back, another window. The bar runs 
from left to right nearly the whole length of the 
rear wall. In back of the bar, a small showcase 
displaying a few bottles of case goods, for which 
there is evidently little call. The remainder of the 
rear space in front of the large mirrors is occupied 
hy half-barrels of cheap whiskey of the "mckel- 
a-shot" variety, from which the liquor is drawn 
hy means of spigots. On the right is an open 
doorway leading to the back room. In the back 
room are four round wooden tables with jive chairs 
grouped about each. In the rear, a family 
entrance opening on a side street. 
It is late afternoon of a day in fall. 
As the curtain rises, Johnny is discovered. 
•*Johnny-the-Peib3t" deserves his nickname. 
With his pale, thin, clean-shaven face, mild bbie 
eyes and white hair, a cassock would seem more 
tutted to him than the apron he wears. Neither 



98 ANNA CHRISTIE 

hit voice nor hit general manner ditpel ihu 
iUution which hat made him a pertonage of the 
vater front. They are »oft and hland. But 
beneath all hit mUdnest one tenset the man hehind 
the mask — cynical, callous, hard as nails. He it 
lounging at ease behind the bar, a pair of tpec- 
taclet on his nose, reading an evening paper. 

Two longshoremen enter from the street, wear- 
ing their working aprons, the button of the union 
pinned conspicuously on the caps pvlled tidewayi 
on their heads at an aggressive angle. 

FiKST LoNGSHOBEHAN — [As they range themselves 
at the fcor.] Gimme a shock. Number Two. [He 
tosses a coin on the bar.'] 

Second Longshoreman — Same here. [Johnny lett 
two glasses of barrel whiskey before them."] 

First Longshoeeman — Here's luck! [The other 
nods. They g^dp down their whiskey.'] 

Second Longshokeman — [Putting money on the 
bar.'] Give us another. 

First Longshoseman— Gimme a scoop this time — 
lager and porter. I'm dry, 

Second Longshoreman — Same here. [Johnmt 
draws the lager and porter and sets the big, foaming! 
schooners before them. They drink down half the con- 
tents and start to talk together hurriedly in low tonet. 
The door on the left it swung open and Larry enters. 
He is a boyish, red-cheeked, rather good-looking young 
fellow of twenty or fo.] 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



99 



V" 



—l^Noddiiig to Johnny — cheeiHy.'l Hello, 
boss. 

JoHSNT — ^Hello, Larry. [WtfA a glance at hit 
watehSl Just on time. [Larry goet to the right 
behind the bar, tahes off hU coat, and putt on an 
apron.'l 

YiRST LoNGSHOEEMAN — {Abruptly.'l Let's drink up 
and get back to it. [They finish their drinks and go 
out left. The Postvian enters as they leave. He 
exchanges nods with Johnny and throws a letter on 
the bar.^ 

The Postman — ^Addressed care of jou, Johnny. 
Enow him P 

Johnny — [PicJcs up the letter, adjusting his spec- 
tacles. Lasky comes and peers over his shoulders. 
Johnny reads very slowly.l Christopher Christo- 
pherson. 

The Postman — [Helpfully.} Square-head name. 

Labby — Old Chris — that's who. 

Johnny — Oh, sure, I was forgetting Chris carried 
a hell of a name like that. Letters come here for him 
sometimes before, I remember now. Long time ago, 
though. 
-The Postman — It'll get him all right then? 

Johnny — Sure thing.,'! He comes here whenever he's 
in port. ' 

TiTE Postman — [Turning to go.} Sailor, eh? 

Johnny — [With a grin.] Captain of a coal barge. 

Tmi Postman — [Laughing.} Some job! Well, 
along. 



100 ANNA CHRISTIE 

JoHNNT — SHong. I'll see he gets it. [The i 
man goes out. Johnny scrutinises the letter.^ You 
got good ejea, Larry. Where's it from? 

Larky — [After a glance.'\ St. Paul. That'll be in 
Minnesota, I'm thinkin'. Looks like a woman's writing, 
too, the old divil! 

JoHNNT — He's got E daughter somewheres out West, 
I think he told me once. [He puts the letter on the 
cash registeT.'\ Come to think of it, I ain't seen old 
Chris in a dog's age. [Putting his overcoat on, he 
comes around the end of the bar.J Guess I'll be gettin* 
home. See you to-morrow. 

Laktly — Good-night to ye, boas. [At Johnny goet 
toward the street door, it is pushed open and Chris- 
TOPHKa Cheistopherson enters. He is a short, squat, 
hroad-shovldered man of about pfty, with a round, 
weather-beaten, red face from which his light blue eyes 
peer shortsightedly, twinkling with a simple goad 
humor. His large mouth, overhung by a thick, droop- 
ing, yellow mustache, is childishly self-wUled and weak, 
of an obstinate kindliness. A thick neck is jammed like 
a post into the heavy trunk of his body. His arms mth 
their big, hairy, freckled hands, and Ms stumpy legs 
terminating in large fiat feet, ore awkwardly short and 
muscular. He walks wHh a clumsy, rolling gait. Hit 
voice, wJien not raised in a hollow boom, is toned down 
to a sly, confidential half-whisper with something 
vaguely plaintive in its quality. He is dressed tn a 
wrinkled, ill-fitting dark suit of shore clothes, and wean 
a faded cap of gray cloth over his mop of griesledp. 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



101 



air. Just noa hit face beams with a too-blistftd 
happiness, and he has evidently been drinking. He 
reaches his hand out to JohTrnj/.'] 

Chei9 — Hello, Yohnnj ! Have drink on mc. Come 
on, Larry. Give us drint. Have one yourself. [Put- 
ting his hand in his pocket.^ Ay gat money — plenty 
money. 

JoHNNT — {Shakes Chris by tlie hand.'\ Speak of 
the devil. We was just talkin' about you. 

Labky — [Coming to the end of the bar."] Hello, 
Chris. Put it there. [They shake hands.'] 

CHBia — l^Beaming.l Give us drink.^ j.^-^f^ 
.-Johnny — [WitTi a grin.] You got a half-snoot- 
ful now, Where'd you get it? 

Chsis — {^Grinning.'] Oder fallar on oder barge — 
Irish fallar — he gat bottle vhiskey and we drank it, 
yust us two. Dot vhiskey gat kick, by yingo ! Ay 
yiist come ashore. Give us drink, Larry. Ay vaa little 
drunk, not much, Yust feel good. [He laughs and 
commences to sing in a nasal, high-pitched quaver.] 
•"My Yosephine, come board de ship. Long time Ay 

vait for you. 
De moon, she shi-i-i-ine. She looka yust lite yon. 
Tchee-tchee, tchee-tchee, tchee-tchee, tchee-tchee," 
\To the accompaniment of this last he waves his hand 
Of if he were conducting an orchestra.] 
_JoftNNT — {With a laugh.] Same old Yoaie, eh, 
Chris? 
Ch&i3 — You don't know good song when you hear 



102 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



him. Italian fallar od oder barge, he leara me da^. 
Give ua drink. [He throws change on the fear.] 

Larby — \^With a profeational oir.] What's yojit 
pleasure, gentlemen? 

Johnny — Small beer, Larry. 

Chris — Vhiskey — Number Two. 

Labky — [At he gets their drrnkt."] Fll take a cigai: 
on you, 

Chbis — [Lifting his glags,'\ Skoal! [He drmkt.l 

Johnny — Drink hearty. 

CHRta — [Immediately.'^ Have oder drinlc. 

Johnny — No. Some other time. Got to go home 
now. So-ymi've just landed? Where are you in from 
this time? 

^Chbis — Norfolk. Ve make slow voyage — dirty 
vedder— yust fog, fog, fog, all bloody time! [There is 
an iasigtent ring from the doorbell at the family 
entrance in the back room. Chrix gives a start — 
hurrie^y.} Ay go open, Larry, Ay forgat. It va8 
Marthy. She come with me. [He goes into the back 
room.'] 

Lakby — [With a chuckle.'] He's still got that same 
cow livin' with him, the old fool ! 

Johnny — [With a grin.] A sport, Chris is. WeU, 
111 beat it home. S'long. [He goes to the strtei 
door.] 

Lakby — So long, boss, 

Johnny — Oil — don't forget to give him his letter. 

Labhy — I won't. [Johnny goes out. In the i 
time, Chbi3 has opened the family entrance door, i 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



103 



ntMjF Ma&tht. She m^kt be forty or fifty. Her jotvly, 
mottled face, with iti thick red note, is itreaked with 
interlacing purple veint. Her thick, gray hair w pUed 
anyhow in a greasy mop on top of her round head. Her 
figure is fiabby and fat; her breath comet in wheexy 
ffasps; she speaks in a loud, mannish voice, punctuated 
by explosions of hoarse laughter. But there stUl 
twinkles *n her blood-shot blue eyes a youthftd lust for 
life which hard usage has failed to stifle, a sense of 
humor mocking, but good-tempered. She wears a 
man's cap, double-breasted man's jacket, and a grimy, 
calico skirt. Her bare feet are encased in a man's 
brogans several sines too large for her, which gives her 
a shuffling, wobbly gait.^ 

Makthy — {^GrumbUngly.'\ What yuh trjin' to do, 
I>utcliy — ^keep me standin' out there all day? [She 
eomes forward and sits at the table in tlie right corner, 
front. I 

Caais — [^MoUifyingly.^ Ay'm sorry, Marthy. Ay 
talk to Yohnny. Ay forgat. What you goin* take for 
drink F 

Mastht — [Appeased."^ Gimme a ecoop of lager 
«n' ale. 

Chbis — Ay go bring him back. [He returns to the 
bor.] Lager and ale for Marthy, Larry. Vhiskey 
for me. [He throws change on the bar.] 

Lakbt — Right you are. [Then remembering, he 
takes the letter from in back of the bar.^ Here's a 
tetter for you — from St. Paul, Minnesota — and a lady's 
writin*. [He grm».] 



104 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



Chbib — [Quickly — taking if.] Oh, den it com 
from my daughter, Anna. She live dere, [He turni 
the letter over in his hands uncertainlj/.l Ay don't 
gat letter from Anna — must be a year. 

IjAEEY — [Jolcingly.l That's a fine fairy tale to he 
tellin' your daughter ! Sure I'll bet it's some bum. 

CnKi3'^-[Soberl^.'\ No. Dis come from Annft 
[Erigrotesd by the letter in his hand — uncertaiiUi/.'] 
By golly. Ay tank Ay'm too dnint for read dis letter 
from Anna, Ay tank Ay sat down for a minute. You 
bring drinks in back room, Larry. [He goes into the 
roomonright.^ 

Maethy — [Angrily.'] Where's my larger an* ale, 
yuh big stiff? 

Cheis — [Preoccupied.'] Larry bring him. [He tit» 
down opposite her. Larry brings in the drinks anA 
sets them on the table. He and Marthy exchange nodt 
of recognition. Larry stand* looking at Chris curi- 
ously. Marthy takes a long draught of her schooner 
and heaves a huge sigh of satisfaction, wiping her 
mouth with the back of her hand. Chris stares at ths 
letter for a moment — slowly opens it, and, squinting 
his eyes, commences to read laboriously, his lips moving 
as he spells out the words. As he reads his face light) 
up with an expression of mingled joy and hewUd er- 
ment.'] 

Lahst — Good news? 

Maetht — [Her curiosity also arouted."] 
that yuli got — a letter, fur Gawd's sake? 

CHnis — [Pauses for a moment, after flmshing .\ 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



105 



letter, at if to let the newt sinJc in— then ludderUy 
pounda hia fist on the table with happy excitement.^ 
Pj yiminy! Yust tanlt, Anna aay ohe's comin' here 
right ttvay ! She gat sick od yob in St. Paul, she saj. 
It's short letter, don't tal me much more'n dat. 
[Btaming,'[ Fy golly, dat*a good news all at one time 
for ole fallar! [Then turning to Marthy, rather 
tthamefacedly.l You know, Marthy, Ay've tole you Ay 
don't see my Anna since ghe vas little gel in Sveden five 
year ole. 

Mabtht — ^How oldll she be now? 

Chris — She must be — I at me see — she must be 
twenty year ole, py Yo ! 

Lakky — [Surpriied.'l You've not seen her in fif- 
teen years? 

Ch&i9 — [Suddenly growing somber — in a low ton^.^ 
No. Ven she vas little gel. Ay vaa ho'sun on vind- 
jammer. Ay never gat home only few time dem year, 
Ay'm fool sailor fallar. My voman — Anna's mother — 
she gat tired vait all time Sveden for me ven Ay 
don't never come. She come dis country, bring Anna, 
dey go out Minnesota, live with her cousins on farm. 
Den ven her mo'der die ven Ay vaa on voyage. Ay tank 
it's better dem cousins keep Anna. Ay tank it's better 
Anna live on farm, den she don't know dat ole davil, 
sea, she don't know fader hke me. 

Lahkt — [With a wink at Maetht.] This girl, now, 
11 be marryin' a sailor herself, likely. It's in the blood. 

Ch&ib — [Suddenly springing to his feet and smash- 



106 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



ing kit fist on the table m a rage.} No, pj God ! 
don't do dat ! 

Maetht — {^Graiping her schooner hattUjf — 
angrily.~\ Hey, look out, juh nut! Wanta spill my 
suds for meP 

LAaar — [ATnazed-l Oho, what's up with you? 
Ain't you a sailor yourself now, and always beenP 

CHsrs — [Slowly.'\ Cat's just vhy Ay say it. 
l^Forcing a tmile.^ Sailor vas all right fallar, but not 
for marry gel. No. Ay know dat. Anna's mo'der, 
she know it, too. 

Labbt — {^As Chris remains sunk in gloomy reflec- 
tion.^ When is your daughter comin'? Soon? 

Chkis — [Routed.^ Py yiminj. Ay forgat. [^Reads 
through the letter hurriedlg.^ She say she come right 
avay, dat's all. 

Laaby — She'll majhe be comin' here to look for you, 
I s'pose. [He returns to the bar, whistling. Left 
alone uiith Maktht, who stares at him teith a twinkle 
of malicious humor in her eyes, Chbis tudderdy becomes 
desperately Ul-at-ease. He fidgets, then gets up 
hurriedly. "^ 

Chbis — Ay gat speak with Larry. Ay be right back. 
[Mollifyingly.'\ Ay bring you oder drink. 

Mabtht — [Emptying her glass.'] Sure. That's 
me. [As he retreats with the glass she guffaws after 
him derisively.] 

Chris — [To Labey in an alarmed whisper.] Py 
yingo. Ay gat gat Marthj shore off barge before Addb, 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



107 



come! Anna raise hell if she find dat out. Marthjr 
raise hell, too. for go, py gollj ! 

Labby — ^With a chuckle.^ Serve ye right, je old 
divil — havin' a woman at your age ! 

Chbis — l^Scratching his head in a quandary.l You 
ial me lie for tal Marthj, Larry, ao's she gat ofT barge 
quick. ^ 

L.AKBT — She knows your daughter's comin*. Tell her 
to get the hell out of it. 

Chkis — No. Ay don't like make her feel had. 

Labbt — ^You're an old mush ! Keep your girl away 
from the barge, then. She'll likely want to stay ashore 
anyway. [^Curtously.^ What does she work at, your 
Anna? 

Chbis — She stay on dem cousins' farm 'till two year 
ago. Dan she gat yob nurse gel in St. Paul. [Then 
ahaking kia head reaoluteli/.} But Ay don't vant for 
her gat yob now. Ay vant for her stay with me. 

Labbt — [Scornfidljf.l On a coal barge! She'll not 
like that, I'm thinkin'. 

Mabtht — [Shouts from next room.] Don't I get 
that bucket o' suds, Dutchy? 

Chbis — [Startled — in apprehensive confusion,^ Yes, 
Ay come, Marthy. 

Labey — [Drawing the lager and ale, handi it to 
Chbis — laughing.^ Now you're in for it! You'd bet- 
ter tell her straight to get out! 

ChbIs — [Shaking in his boots,^ Py golly. [He 
takes her drink in to Mabthy and sits down at the 
tiable. She sips it in silence. Labby moves quittlff 



108 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



close to the partition to listen, grinning aiUh expectA' 
tion. Cheis geems on the verge of speaking, heiitatei, 
gulps down his whi»key desperately as if seeking for 
courage. He attempts to whistle a few bars of 
"Yosephine" with careless bravado, but the whittle 
peters out futilely. Marthy stares at him keenly, 
taking in his embarrassment with a malicious twinkle 
of amusement in her eye. Ch&is clears his throat.1 
Marthj — 

Mabthy — [Aggrcssively-I Wha's that? [^Then, 
pretending to fly into a rage, her eyes enjoying Chris* 
Tnisery.l I'm wise to what's in back of your nut, 
Dutchy. Yuh want to git rid o' me, huh? — now she's 
comia'. Gimme the bum's rush ashore, huh? Lcmme 
tell yuh, Dutchy, there ain't a square-head workin' on 
a boat man enough to git away with that. Don't start 
no thin' yuh can't finish! 

Chris — [Miserably.^ Ay don't start nutting, 
Martliy. 

Martht — [Glares at him for a second — then can- 
not control a burst of laughter.'^ Ho-ho! Yuh're a 
scream. Square-head — an honest-ter-Gawd knockout ! 
Ho-ho ! [She wheezes, panting for breath.'\ 

Cheis — [With childish pique.'\ Ay don't see nutting 
for laugh at. 

Marthy — Take a slant in the mirror and yuVU see. 
Ho-ho! [Recovering from her mirth — chuckling, 
scornfully.] A square-head tryin' to kid Marthy Owen 
at this late day ! — after me campin' with barge men 
the last twenty years. I'm wise to the game, up, down* 
and sideways. I ain't been born and dragged up on 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



109 



aie water front for nothin*. Think I'd make trouble, 
huh? Not me! Ill pack up me dude an' beat it. I'm 
qnittin' juh, get me? I'm tellin' juh I'm sick of 
stickin' with yuh, and I'm leavin' yuh flat, aee? There's 
plenty of other guys on other barges waitin' for me. 
Always was, I always found. \^She claps ike agton- 
ithed Chxis on tlie back.} So cheer up, Dutchy! Ill 
be ofTeo the barge before she comes. You'll be rid o* 
me for good — and me o' you — good riddance for 
both of us. Ho-ho ! 

Chkis — l^Serioutltf.l Ay don' tank dat. You vas 
good gel, Marthy. 

Maktht^ — [Grinning.'] Good girl? Aw, can the 
bull! Well, yuh treated me square, yuhself. So it's 
fifty-fifty. Nobody's sore at nobody. We're still 
good frien's, huh? [Lakky retumt to bar.1 

Casts — [BeamiTig now that he tees hU troubles dit- 
appearing.] Yes, py golly. ■ ' " ~ 

MAttTHY — That's the talkin' ! In all my time I tried 
never to split with a guy with no hard feelin's. But 
what was yuh so scared about — that I'd kick up a row? 
That ain't Marthy's way. [ScornfuUff.] Think I'd 
break my heart to loose yuh? Commit suicide, huh? 
Ho-ho ! Gawd ! The world's full o' men if that's all I'd 
worry about! [Then jcith a grin, after emptying Tier 
glati.'\ Blow me to another scoop, huh? I'll drink 
your kid's health for yuh. 

Chbis — [Eagerly.] Sure tang. Ay go gat him. 
[^He takes the two glasses into the bar,] Oder drink, 
me for both. 



110 ANNA CHRISTIE 

Laebv — [^Getting the drinks and putting them on 
the 6ar.] She's not such a bad lot, that one. 

Chris — [Joviatl^.l She's good gel, Ay tal you! 
Py golly. Ay calabratc now ! Give me vhiskey here at 
bar, too. [He puts down money. Lab&t serves Aim.] 
You have drink, Larry. 

Lahkt — [Virtuougly.l You know I never touch it. 

Chris — You don't know what you miss. Skoal! 
[He drinks — then begins to sing loudl^.l 

"My Yosephine, come board de ship " 

l^He picks up the drinks for Maktht and himself and 
walks unsteadily into the back room, singiTig.^ 
*'De moon, she ahi-i-i-ine. She looks yust like you. 
Tche-tchee, tehee- tehee, tchee-tchec, tchee-tchee." 

Makthy — [Grinning, hands to ears.] Gawd! 

Chbis — [Sitting doten.^ Ay'm good singer, yea? 
Ve drink, eh? Skoal! Aycalabrate! [He drinks.] Ay 
calabrate 'cause Anna's coming home. You know, 
Marthy, Ay never write for her to come, 'cause Ay tank 
Ay'm no good for her. But all time Ay hope like hell 
some day she vant for see me and den she come. And 
dat's vay it happen now, py yiminy ! [His face beam- 
ing.] What you tank she look like, Marthy? Ay bet 
you she's fine, good, strong gel, pooty like hell ! lAviog 
on farm made her like dat. And Ay bet you some day 
ahe marry good, steady land fallar here in £)ast, have 
borne all her own, have kits — and dan Ay'm ole grand- 
fader, py golly ! And Ay go visit dem every time Ay 
gat in port near! [Bursting xeith jo7f.] By yiminy 
crickens, Ay calabrate dat ! IShouts.] Bring odec ^ 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



111 



e tmashes h 
a bang.1 

Labbt — [Coming in from bar — irritably.l Easy 
there! Don't be breakin' the table, you old goat! 
Chbis — [By way of reply, grint foolishly and begint 

to »ing.'\ "My Yosephine comes board de ship " 

""" - Mauthy — [Touching Chris' arm, perauaaivelySl 
You're soused to the ears, Dutchy. Go out and put a 
feed into you. It'll sober you up. [Then as Chkb 
shakes his head obstinately.^ Listen, yuh old nut! 
Yuh don't know what time your kid's liable to show up. 
Yuh want to be sober when she comes, don't yuh? 

Chbis — [Arotised — gets unsteadily to his feet.] Py 
golly, yes. 

Lar&t — ^That's good sense for you. A good beef 
stew'll fix you. Go round the corner. 

Chsis — All right. Ay be back soon, Mar thy. 
[Chbis goes through the bar and out the street door.^ 
Labst — He'll come round all right with some grub 
^^B him. 

^B Mabtht — Sure. [Labbt goes back to the bar and 

^glten/met his netexpaper. Mabtht sips what is left of 

' k<r schooner reflectively. There ia the ring of the 

iamUy entrance belt. Labby comes to the door and 

opens it a trifle — then, with a puzzled esipression, 

p'^i it wide. Anka Chbtbtofhbbson enters. She ia 

" tall, blond, fully-developed girl of twenty, handsome 

l^/ler a large. Viking-daughter fashion but now run 

t health and plainly showing aU the outward 

ncei of belonging to the world's oldest profession. 



112 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



Her i/outhful face is already hard and cynical beneath 
it» layer of make-up. Her clothea are the tavidry 
finery of peatant ttock turned prostitute. She comet 
and sinks wearily in a chair by the table, left front."] 

Anna — Gimme a whiskey — ^ginger ale on the side. 
[^Then, as Labet turns to go, forcing a winniTig smUe 
at Aim.] And don't be stingy, baby. 

Laesy — [^Sarcastically.^ Shall I serve it in a pailP 

Anna — [With a hard laugh.] That suits me down 
to the ground, [Laeey goes into the bar. The two 
women size each other up ttith frank stares. La&bt 
comes back with the drink rehich he sets before Akna 
and returns to tlie bar again. Anna downs her drink 
at a gulp. Then, after a moment, as the alcohol be- 
gins to rouse her, she turns to Marthy with a friendly 
smile.] Gee, I needed that bad, all right, all right! 

Mahthy — [Nodding her head sympathetically.] 
Sure — yuh look all in. Been on a bat? 

Anna — No — travelling — day end a half on the train. 
Had to sit up all night in the dirty coach, too. Gawd, 
I thought I'd never get here ! 

Maethy — [With a start — looking at her intently.] 
Where'd yuh come from, huh? 

Anna — St. Paul — out in Minnesota. 

Maethy — [Staring at her in amazement — slowly.] 

So — yuh'r e [She suddenly burst out into hoarse^ 

ironical laughter.] Gawd! 

Anna — All the way from Minnesota, sure. [Flaring 
up.] What you laughing at? Me? 



ANNA CHKISTIE 



lis 



of 

1^ 



T — [^HattUff.l No, honeat, kid, I « 
thinkin* of Eomethin* else. 

Anna — [MoUified — with a tmile.'\ Well, I wonldot 
blame you, at that. Guess I do look rotten — ynst oat 
of the hospital two weeks. I'm going to have another 
'ski. What d'you say? Have something on me? 

Maktkt — Sure I wilL T'anks. [^She callt.^ Hey, 
isrry! Little service! l^He com^s in.^ 

Anna — Same for me. 

Mabthy — Same here, [Laket taket their glatiei 
and goes out.'\ 

Anna — ^Why don't you come sit over here, be 
sociable. I'm a dead stranger in this burg — and I 
ain't spoke a word with no one since day before yes- 
terday. 

Maktht — Sure thing, [She shufflet over to Anna'* 
table and aits down opposite her. Lakrt brings the 
drinks and Anna pays Aim.] 

Anna — Skoal! Here's how! [She drintj.] 

Mabtha — Here's luck! [She takes a gvlp from her 
tchooner.l 

Anna — [Taking a package of Sweet Caporal ciga- 
rettes from her bag."] Let you smoke in here, won't 
they? 

Mastht — [DoubtffiUi/.l Sure. [Then with evident 
anxietff.'] On'y trow it away if yuh hear someone 
oomin'. 

Anna — [Lighting one and taking a deep inhale.^ 
Gee, they're fussy in this dump, ain't they? [She puffs, 
staring at the table top. Mabthy looks her over with 



114 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



a new penetrating interest, taking in every detaS t 
her face. Anna suddenly becomes conscious of this 
appraising stare — resentfuUy.J Ain't nothing wrong 
with me, is there? You're looking hard enough. 

Maethy — [^Irritated by the other's tone — scom- 
fuUy.l Ain't got to look much. I got your number the 
minute you stepped in the door, 

Anna — [Her eyes narrowing.'] Ain't you smart! 
Well, I got yours, too, without no trouble. You're me 
forty years from now. That's you! [She gives a hard 
little laugh,"] 

Maethy — [^Angrily.] Is that so? Well, I'll tell 
you straight, kiddo, that Marthy Owen never — [^She 
catches herself up short — with a grin.] What are jou 
and me scrappin' over? Let's cut it out, huh? Me, I 
don't want no hard feelin's with no one. {^Extending 
her hand.] Shake and forget it, huhP 

Anna — [Shakes her hand gladly.] Only too glad 
to. I ain't looking for trouble. Let's have 'nother. 
What d'you say? 

Martby — [Shaking her head.] Not for mine. Vm 
full up. And you — Had anythin' to eat lately? 

Anna — Not since this morning on the train. 

Makthy — Then yuh better go easy on it, hadnt 
yuh? 

Anna — [After a moment's hesitation.] Guess you're 
right. I got to meet someone, too. But my nerves is 
on edge after that rotten trip. 

Maetht — Yuh said yuh was just outa the hospital? 

Anna — Two weeks ago. [Leatang over to Mae.th» 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



116 



m^entiaUi/.^ The joint I was in out in St. Paul got 
raided. That was the start. The judge give all us girls 
thirty days. Tlie others didn't seem to mind being in 
the cooler much. Some of 'em was used to it. But me, 
I couldn't stand it. It got my goat right — couldn't eat 
or sleep or nothing. I never could stand being caged up 
nowheres. I got good and sick and they had to send 
me to the hospital. It was nice there. I was sorry to 
leave it, honest ! 

Makthy — [^After a slight paute.l Did yuh say 
yuh got to meet someone here? 

Anka — Yes. Oh, not what you mean. It's my Old 
Man I got to meet. Honest ! It's funny, too, I ain't 
seen him since I was a kid — don't even know what he 
looks like — yust had a letter every now and then. This 
was always the only address he give me to write him 
back. He's yanitor of some building here now — ^used to 
be a sailor. 

Makthy — \^A8tofUthed.'\ Janitor ! 

Ahna — Sure. And I was thinking maybe, seeing he 
ain't never done a thing for me in my life, he might be 
willing to stake me to a room and eats till I get 
rested up. [Wearilt/,'\ Gee, I sure need that rest! 
I'm knocked out. [Then resignedlif.] But I ain't 
expecting much from him. Give you a kick when you're 
down, that's what all men do. [ With sudden passion.'] 
Men, I hate 'em — all of 'em ! And I don't expect hell 
turn out no better than the rest. [^Then with sudden 
interest. 1 Say, do you hang out around this dump 
much.^ 



116 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



Makthy — Oh, off and on. 

Anna — Then maybe you know him — my Old Maa 
or at least seen him? 

Maktht — It ain't old Chris, is itP 

Anna— Old Chris? 

Marthy — Chris Christophers on, his full name is. 

Anna — {^Ercitedlt/.^ Yes, that's him! Anna 
ChrJBtopherBon — that's my real name — only out there 
I called myself Anna Christie. So you know hira, ehP 

Mabtht — [Evasively.] Seen hira about for years. 

Anna — Say, what's he like, tell me, honest? 

Marthy — Oh, he's short and 

Anna — [/7npa(ien(?(/.j I don't care what he looks 
like. What kind is he? 

Marthy — [Earnestly.^ Well, yuh can bet your 
life, kid, he's as good an old guy as ever walked 
on two feet. That goes! 

Anna — [Pleased.] I'm glad to hear it. Then joo 
think's he'll stake me to that rest cure I'm after? 

Mabtht — [Emphatically.] Surest thing you know. 
[Disgustedly.il But where'd yuh get the idea he was 
a janitor? 

Anna— He wrote me he was himself. 

Makthv — Well, he was lyin'. He ain't. He's cap- 
tain of a barge — five men under him. 

Anna — [Disgusted in her turn.] A barge? What 
kind of a barge? 

Maethy — Coal, mostly. 

Anna — A coal barge! [With a harsh laugk.^ If 
that ain't a 8weII job to find your long lost Old Man 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



117 



kiDg at ! Gee, I knew something'd be bound to turn 
out wrong — always does with me. That puts my idea 
of his giving me a reat on the bum. 

Mabthy — ^What d'yuh mean? 

Akua — I s'pose he lives on the boat, don't he? 

Mabtey — Sure. What aboat it? Can't you live 
on it, too? 

Anna — [ScomfuHy.'] Me? On a dirty coal barge! 
What d'jou think I am? 

Makthy — [Resentfully.'] What d'yuh know ahout 
barges, huh? Bet yuh ain't never seen one. That's 
what comes of his bringing yuh up inland — away from 
the old devil sea — ^where yuh'd be safe — Gawd! [The 
irony of it strikes her sense of huTnor and she laught 
hoareely.l 

Anna — [Angrily.'] Hia bringing me up! Is that 
what he tells people! I hke his nerve! He let them 
cousins of mj Old Woman's keep me on their farm and 
work me to death like a dpg. 

Mabthy — ^Well, he's got queer notions on some 
things. Pve heard him say a farm was the beat place 
for a kid. 

Anna — Sure. That's what he'd always answer back 
— and a lot of crazy stuff about staying away from the 
8ca — stuff I couldn't make head or tail to. I thought 
he must be nutty. 

Makthy — He is on that one point. [CasuaUy.] So 
yuh didn't fall for life on the farm, huh? 

Anna — I should say not ! The old man of the fam- 
ily, htB wife, and four sons — I had to slave for all of 



118 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



'em. I was oiJy a poor relation, and they treated^ 
worse than they dare treat a hired girl. {^After a 
moment'i heiitation — iomberly.'\ It was one of the 
Bons — the youngest — started me — when I was sixteen. 
After that, I hated 'em so I'd killed 'era all if I'd stayed. 
So I run away — to St. Paul. 

Maktht — [WAo hat been Uttening sympathetic' 
ally.] I've hourd Old Chris talkin' about your bein' a 
nurse girl out there. Was that all a bluff yuh put up 
when yuh wrote himP 

Anna — Not on your life, it wasn't. It was true for 
two years, I didn't go wrong all at one jump. Being 
a nurse girl was yust what finished me. Talcing care 
of other people's kids, always listening to their bawling 
and crying, caged in, when you're only a kid yourself 
and want to go out and sec things. At last I got the 
chance — to get into that house. And you bet your life 
I took it! [Defiantly.1 And I ain't sorry neither. 
[After a paute — with bitter hatred.'\ It was all men's 
fault — the whole business. It was men on the farm 
ordering and beating me — and giving me the wrong 
start. Then when I was a nurse, it was men again 
hanging around, bothering me, trying to see what they 
could get. [She give* a hard laugh.] And now it's 
men all the time. Gawd, I hate 'era all, every mother's 
son of 'em! Don't you? 

Maktht — Oh, I dunno. There's good ones and bad 
ones, kid. You've just had a run of bad luck with 'em, 
that's all. Your Old Man, now — old Chris — ^he's & 
good one. 



ANNA CHRISTIE 119 

Anna — [Scepttcallif.'] He'U have to show me. 

Martht — Yuh kept right on writing him yah was a 
nurse girl still, even after yuh was in the houee, didn't 
yuh? 

Anna — Sure. [Ci/nically.^ Not that I think he'd 
care a darn. 

MAaxHY — Yuh're all wrong ahout him, kid. 
lEamestly.'\ I know Old Chris well for a long time. 
He's talked to me 'bout you lots o' times. He thinks 
the world o' you, honest he does. 

Anna — Aw, quit the kiddin' ! 

Masthy — Honest ! Only, he's a simple old guy, see? 
He*8 got nutty notions. But he means well, honest. 
Listen to me, kid — [She w interrupted by the opening 
and shutting of the street door in the bar and by hear- 
ing Chris'i voice.~\ Ssshli! 

Anna — What's up? 

Crrib — {Who has entered the bar. He seems co/t- 
^dtrahly sobered up.'\ Py golly, Larry, dat grub 
taste good. Marthy in back? 

Laskt — Sure — and another tramp with her. [Chris 
Starts for the entrance to the back room."] 

Makthy — [To Anna in a hurried, nervous a>hiaper.'[ 
That's him now. He's comin' in here. Brace up ! 

Anna — Who? [Chris opens the door.] 

Mahthy — [As if she were greeting him for the first 
time.~\ Why hello, Old Chris. [Then before he can 
apeak, she shuffles hurriedly past him into the bar, 
beckoning him to follow Aer.] Come here I wanta tell 
juh somethin'. [He goes out to her. She speaks hur- 



130 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



riedly in a low voice.^ Listen! I'm goin' to beat it 
down to the barge — pack up me duds and blow. That's 
her in there — your Anaa. — ^just como — waitin* for yuh. 
Treat her right, see? She's beeo eick. Well, s'long! 
[^She goes into the back room — to Anna.] S'long, kid. 
I gotta beat it now. See ytih later. 

Anna — [Nervousli/.l So long. [Martha goei 
guicklif mit of the family entrance.^ 

Labry — [Looking at the stupefied Cheis curi- 
0U«/^.] Well, what's up now? 

Cheis — [Vaguelp.^ Nutting — nutting. [He staitdt 
before the door to the back roam in an agony of eror 
barrassed emotion — then he forces himself to a bold 
decision, pushes open the door and walks in. He stands 
there, casts a shy glance at Anna, whose brilliant 
clothes, and, to him, high-toned appearance, awe him 
terribly. He looks about him with pitifid nervousness 
as if to avoid the appraising look with which she takes 
in hig face, his clothes, etc — his voice seeming to plead 
for her forebearance.'] Anna! 

Anna — [Acutely embarrassed in her tum.'\ Hdlo 
— father. She told me it was you. I yust got here a 
little wliile ago, 

Cheis — [Goes slowly over to her chatr,^ It's good 
— for see you — after all dem years, Anna. [He hendt 
down over her. After an embarrassed struggle thty 
manage to kiss each other.^ 

Anna — [A trace of genuine feeling in her voice.'\ 
It's good to see you, too. 

Chbis — [Grasps her arms and looks into 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



121 






ihen overcome hy a wave of fierce tendemeit.1 Anna 
lilla! Anna lilla! ^Takes her in his arms.] 

Anna — [Shrinks away from him, half -frightened.] 
What's that— Swedish? I don't koow it. [Then a* 
if teeking relief from the tension in a voluble chatter.] 
Gee, I had an awful trip coming here. I'm all in. 
I had to sit up in the dirty coach all night — couldn't 
get no sleep, hardly — and then I had a hard job finding 
place. I never been in New York before, you know. 



Chbis — [Who has been staring down at her face 

Imiringly, not hearing what she says — impulsively.] 
You know you vas awful pooty gel, AnnaP Ay bet all 
men see you fall in love with you, py yiminy ! 

Anna — [Repelled — harshly.] Cut it! You talk 
same as they all do. 

CH&ts — [Hurt — humbly.~\ Ain't no harm for your 
fader talk dat vay, Anna. 

Anna — [Forcing a short laiigh,'] No — course not. 
Only — it's funny to see you and not remember nothing. 
You're hko — a stranger. 

Cheis — [Sadly.] Ay s'pose. Ay never come home 
only few times ven you vas kit in Sveden. You don't 
remember dat? 

Anna — ^No. [Resentfully.~] But why didn't you 
never come home them days? Why didn't you never 
come out West to see me? 

Chbis — [Slowly.^ Ay tank, after your rao'der die, 
avay on voyage, it's better for you you don't 
le! [He sinks down in the chair opposite 



122 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



her dejectedly — then turm to her — sadly.'] Aj dont 
know, Anna, vhy Ay never come home Sveden in ole 
year. Ay vant come home end of every voyage. Ay 
vant see your mo'der, your two bro'der before dey vas 
drowned, you ven you vas born — biit — Ay— don't go. 
Ay sign on oder ships — go South America, go Aus- 
tralia, go China, go every port all over world many 
times — but Ay never go aboard ship sail for Sveden. 
Ven Ay gat money for pay passage home as passenger 
den — [He bows his head guUtU?/.'] Ay forgat and 
Ay spend all money. Ven Ay tank again, it's too late, 
[He sighs.] Ay don't know vhy but dat's vay with 
most sailor fallar, Anna. Dat ole davil sea make dem 
crazy fools with her dirty tricks. It's so. 

Anna — [Who has watched him leeevly while he hat 
been speaking — with a trace of scorn in her voice.] 
Then you think the sea's to blame for everything, eh? 
Well, you're still workio' on it, ain't you, spite of all 
you used to write me about hating it. That dame was 
here told me you was captain of a coal barge — and 
you wrote me you was yanitor of a building! 

Chris — [Embarrassed but lying glibly.] Oh, Ay 
work on land long time as yanitor. Yust short time 
ago Ay got dis yob cause Ay vas sick, need open air. 

Anna — [Sceptically.] Sick? You? You'd never 
think it. 

Chbis — And, Anna, dis ain't real sailor yob. Dis 
ain't real boat on sea. She's yuat ole tub — ^like piece 
of land with house on it dat float. Yob on her ain't 
aea yob. No. Ay don't gat yob on sea, Anna, if Ay< 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



123 



die first. Ay swear dat, Ten your moMer die. Ay keep 
my word, py yingo ! 

Anna — [Perplejred.^ Well, I can't see no difference. 
l^DitmitiiTig the gubject.l Speaking of being sick, I 
been there myself — yust out of the hospital two 
weeks ago. 

Ckeis — [^Immediately all concern.] You, Anna? 
Py golly! [^Anxiougli/.'^ You feel better now, dough, 
don't you? You look little tired, dat's all ! 

Anna — [iVearily.^ I am. Tired to death. I need 
a long rest and I don*t see much chance of getting it. 

Cbbis — What you mean, Anna? 

Anna^ — Well, when I made up my mind to come to 
»ee you, I thought you was a yanitor — that you'd have 
a place where, maybe, if you didn't mind having me, I 
could visit a while and rest up — till I felt able to get 
back on the job again. 

Chkis — [Eagerly.} But Ay gat place, Anna — nice 
place. You rest all you want, py yiminy ! You don't 
never liave to vork as nurse gel no more. You stay with 
me, py golly ! 

Anna — [Surprised and pleased by his eagerTiess — 
with a tmile.1 Then you're really glad to see me — 
honest ? 

Cssis — [PresstTtg one of her hands in both of his.} 
Anna, Ay like see you like hell. Ay tal you ! And don't 
jou talk no more about gatting yob. You stay with 
me. Ay don't see you for long time, you don't forgat 
dat, [Hig voice treinltles.] Ay'm gatting ole. Ay 
gat no one in vorld but you. 



124 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



Anna — ^Touched — embaTTassed by thit unfamiliar 
emotion.^ Tlmtiks. It sounds good to hear someone 
— talk to me that way. Say, though — if you're so 
loDelj — rit's funny — why ain't you ever married again? 

Chris — {^Shakitig his head emphatically — after a 
pause.^ Ay love your mo'der too much for ever do 
dat, Anna. 

Anna — [Impretsed — tlowly.'] I don't remember 
nothing about her. What was she like? Tell me. 

Chhis — Ay tal you all about everytang — and yoa 
tal me all tangs happen to you. But not here now. 
Dis ain't good place for young gel, anyway. Only no 
good sailor fallar come here for gat drunk. [He gett 
to his feet quickly and picks up her bag.~\ You come 
with me, Anna. You need lie down, gat rest. 

Anna — [Half rises to her feet, then sits down 
again.^ Where're you going? 

Cheis — Come. Ve gat on board. 

Anna — [Disappointcdly.l On board your barge, 
you mean? [Dryly.^ Nix for mine! [Then seeing 
hit crestfallen look — forcing a smile.] Do you think 
that's a good place for a young girl like me — ^a coal 
barge? 

Cbkis — {DuUy.l Yes, Ay tank. [He ketitatet — 
then continuea more and more pleadingly.'] You don't 
know how nice it's on barge, Anna. Tug come and 
ve gat towed out on voyage — yust water all round, and 
suni and fresh air, and good grub for make you strong, 
healthy get. You see many tangs you don't see before. 
You gat moonhght at night, maybe; see steamer pass; 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



13S 



«ce schooner make sail — see everytang dat'a pooty. 
You need take rest like dat. You work too hard for 
young gel already. You need vacation, yea ! 

Anna — [Who has liateiied to kim zstith a growing 
interest — at'ift an uncertain laugh.] It sounds good to 
hear you tell it. I'd sure like a trip on the water, all 
right. It's the harge idea has me stopped. Well, I'll 
go down with you and have a look — and maybe I'll take 
a chance. Gee, I'd do anything once. 

Chkis — [Picks up her bag again.l Ve go, ch? 

Anna — ^What's the rush? Wait a second. [For- 
getting the situation for a moment, she relapses into 
the familiar form and flashes one of her winnirig tradf 
tmites at him.^ Gee, I'm thirsty. 

Chbis — [Sets down her bag immediately/ — haatUj/.'] 
Ay'm sorry, Anna. What you tank you like for 
drink, ehP 

Anna — [Promptly.'] ITl take a — [Then sud- 
denly reminded — confusedly.'] I don't know. What'a 
they got here P 

Chkis — [With a grin.] Ay don't tank dey got much 
fancy drink for young gel in dis place, Anna. Yinger 
ale— a a s'p rill a, maybe. 

Anna — [Forcing a laugh herself.] Make it sas, 
then. 

Chbis — [Coming up to her — with a tcink.] Ay tal 
you, Anna, ve calabrate, yes — dis one time because ve 
meet after many year. [In a half whisper, em- 
barratsedly.] Dey gat good port wine, Anna. It's 
^ood for you, Ay tank — ^little bit — for give you appe- 



126 



ANNA CHRISTIE 
, neider. One cli 



tite. It ain't strong, 
jour head, Ay promiGe. 

Anna — [With a half kytterical laugk.^ All right, 
ril take port. 

Chkia — Ay go gat him. [He goes out to the bar. 
At loon as the door closes, Anna starts to her feet.} 

Anna*— [Ptcfrin^ up her hag— -half -nloud — ttam- 
meringli/.~\ Gawd, I can't stand this! I better beat it. 
[r/iew she lets her bag drop, stumbles over to her chair 
again, avd covering her face teith her hands, begins 
to »o6.] 

Labey — Inputting doion his paper as Chkis comes 
up — zcith a grin.l Well, who's the blond? 

Chbis — [Proudly.] Dat vas Anna, Larry. 

Larky— [/» amasemcnt.'l Your daughter, Anna? 
[Chkib nods. Larey lets a long, low whistle escape 
him and turns away emharrassedly.] 

Cbbis — ^Don't you tank she vas pooty gel, Larry? 

Labry — [Rising to the occasion.] Sure! A peach! 

Chris — You bet you ! Give me drink for take back 
— one port vine for Anna — she calabrate dla one time 
with me — and small beer for me. 

Larey — [As he gets the drinhs.] Small beer for 
you, eh? She's reformin' you already. 

Chris — [Pleased.] You bet! [He takes the drinks. 
As she hears him coming, Anna hastily dries her eyes, 
tries to smile. Chris comes in and sets the drinks down 
on the table — stares at her for a second anxiously — 
patting her hand.] You look tired, Anna. Veil, Ay 
make you take good long rest now. [Picking up hit 



ANNA CHRISTIE 127 

beer."} Come, you drink vine. It put new life in jou. 

ISke liftt her glatt — he grw.'] Skoal, Anna! You 

know dat Svedish word? 

Anma — Skoal ! [Poamtn^ her port at a gulp Uke a 
drink of whitketf — her lipM tremblmg.'^ Skoal? Guei» 
J know that word, all right, all right ! 

IThe Curiam FaUt'\ 



ACT TWO 

ScsNB — Ten days later. The stern of the deeply-laden 
barge, "Simeon Winthhof," at anchor in the 
outer harbor of Provincetown, Man. It t» ten 
o'clock at night. Dense fog shrouds the barge on 
aU sides, and she floats motionless on a calm. A 
lantern set up on an immense coU of thick hawser 
sheds a dull, fUtering light on objects near it — the 
heavy steel bits for making fast the tow lines, etc. 
In the rear is the cabin, its misty windows glowing 
manly with the light of a lamp inside. The chim- 
ney of the cabin stove rises a few feet above the 
roof. The doleful tolling of bells, on Long Point, 
on ships at anchor, breaks the silence at regular 
intervals. 

As the curtain rises, Anna is discovered stand- 
ing near the coH of rope on which the lantern ts 
placed. She looks healthy, transformed, the 
natural color has come back to her face. She has 
on a black, otlsktn coat, but wears no hat. She is 
staring out into the fog astern with an expression 
of awed wonder. The cabin door is pushed open 
and Chbis appears. He is dressed in yellow oil- 
ikitts — coat, pants, sou'wester — and wears high 
sea-boots. 



182 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



Chbis — [The glare from the cabin still in hit eyt 
peert blinkingly astern.'] Anna! [Receiving no reply, 
he calls again, this time with apparent apprehension.'^ 
Anna! 

Anna — [With a start — mahing a gesture with her 
Imnd as if to impose silence — in a hushed vphisper.'\ 
Yes, here I am. What d'you want ? 

Chris — [WalJcs over to her — soUcitouslp.'] Don't 
you come turn in, Anna? It's late — after four bells. 
It ain't Rood for you stay out here in fog, Ay tant. 

Anna — Why not? [With a trace of strange exulta- 
tion.'] I love this fog ! Honest ! It's so — [She hesi- 
tates, groping for a 'wnri}..'\ — ^Funny and still. I fed 
as if I was — out of things altogether. 

Chbib — [Spitting disgustedly/.'] Fog's vorst one of 
her dirty tricks, py yingo ! 

Anna — [With a short lai/gh.] Beefing about the 
sea again ? I'm getting so's I love it, the little Pve seen. 

CHnis^fCT(7Wc»/ij at her moodHy.'] Dat's foolish 
talk. Anna. You see her more, you don't talk dat vay. 
[Then seeing her irritation, he hastily adopts a more 
cheerful tone."] But Ay'm glad you like it on barge. 
Ay'm glad it makes you feel good again. [With a 
placating grin.] You lite live like diB alone with ole 
fa'der, eh? 

Anna — Sure I do. Everything's been so different 
from anything T ever come across before. And now — 
this fog — Gee, I wouldn't have missed it for nothing. I 
never thou^t living on ships was so different from 
land. Gee, I'd yust love to work on it, honest I would) 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



133 



was a man. I don't wonder ycni always been 
Bailor. 

Chkis — [Vehemently.'] Ay ain't eailor, Anna. And 
dis ain't real sea. You only see nice part. [Then as 
the doesn't answer, he continues hopefuily.'] Veil, fog 
lift in morning. Ay tank. 

Anna — [^The exultation again in her voice.] I love 
it! I don't give a rap if it never lifts! [Cheis fidgets 
from one foot to the other worriedly. Anna continues 
tlowlj/i after a pause.] It makes me feel clean — out 
here — 'a if I'd taken a bath. 

Chkis — \^After a pause.] You better go in cabin — 
read book. Dat put you to sleep. 

Anna — I don't want to sleep. I want to stay out 
here — and think about things. 

Chbis — IWalks away from her toward the cabin — 
then comes back.] You act funny to-night, Anna. 

Anna — [^Her voice rising aiigrily.] Say, wbat're 
you trying to do — make things rotten? You been kind 
as kind can be to me and I certainly appreciate it — 
only don't spoil it all now. [TAen, seeing the hurt 
expression on her father's face, she forces a smile.'\ 
Let's talk of something else. Come. Sit down here. 
[She points to the coU of rope.] 

Chsis — [^Sits down beside her with a sigh.] It's 
gatting pooty late in night, Ajina. Must be near five 
beUe. 

Akna — {^Interestedly.] Five bells? What time is 
that? 

Chkis — Half past ten. 



lU 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



AvxA — Fomy I dani know nsUBag •bout ■ 
talk — bat thoae eo o Mi i a was slvaTB ***^'y erofw ■ 
thftt staff. Gee, «Msi*t I at^ of H — ud of tbeuP 

Caus — ^Toa doal Hke Gw oa (mrm, Anna? 

AnA — Vre told yon » hnodred tinm I hated it. 
{DecidetBjf.^ Fd rather hare one drop of ocean than 
all the fans IB the world ! Hooest! And voo woakln't 
like a farm, neither. Bxr^ ^rbia* joa belong. l^SJie 
mtakrf a wstefimg fftxtmrt w»Mrd.] Bat not on a 
coal barge. Yon bdrag ob a real ship. Mailing all over 
the world. 

Chxu — [Moo^gJ\ Aj^e done dat raanj year, 
Amta, trhen \j Tas damn foot 

Anka — [Ditgtutt^s.^ Oh, rata! [After a pause 
ike ipeakt mtitingl^.'\ Was the men in oar family 
always saQors — as far back as joa know aboat? 

Chxd — {Shortly.'] Yes. Damn fools! All men in 
onr Tillage on coast, Sveden, go to sea. Ain't nutting 
else for dem to do. My fa'der die on board ship in 
Indian Ocean. He's buried at sea. Aj don't never 
know him only little bit. Den my tree bro'der, older'u 
me, dey go on ships. Den Aj go, too. Den mv mo'der 
■he's left all lone. She die pootv quick after dat — 
all lone. Ve ras all aray on voyage when she die. \_Ht 
pauteM ta/Ri/.l Two my bro'der dey gat lost on fishing 
boat same like your bro'ders vas drowned. My oder 
bro'der, he save money, give up sea, den he die home 
in bed. He's only one dat ole davil don't kill. [De- 
fiantlj/.^ But me, Ay bet you Ay die ashore in bed, 
too! 



t 



I ANNA CHRISTIE 135 

Anna — ^Were rII of *em yast plaio aaOonP 

Chbis — ^Able body seaman, most of dmu ^With a 
certain pride-l Dey vas all smart eeamao, too— A one. 
[^Tken after hesitating a mQirunt — lA^rfy.] Aj *■« 
bo'san. 

Anna — Bo'sun ? 

Chbis — ^Dat's kind of officer. 

Anna — Gee, that was fine. What doea be do? 

Cheis — [After a aecond't lunitation, plunged into 
gloom again by hit fear of her enthuriatm.] Hard 
vork all time. It's rotten. Ay tal you, for go to les. 
[^Determined to disgust her with sea life — Toiubly.\ 
Dey're all fool fallar, dem fai!ar in our family. Dej 
all vork rotten yob on sea for nutting, don't care nat- 
ting but ynst gat big pay day in pocket, gal drunk, gat 
robbed, ship avay again on odor voyage. Dey don't 
come home. Dey don't do anytaog like good man do. 
And dat ole davil, sea, sooner, later she frallow 
dem up. 

Anna — {With an excited lavgh.^ Good sports, Pd 
call 'em. [Then hastily.'\ But aay — listen — did all 
the women of the family marry sailors ? 

Chsis — [Eagerly — seeing a chance to drive home 
Am point.^ Yes — and it's bad on dem like hell vorst of 
all. Dey don't see deir men only once in long while. 
Dey set and vait all 'lone. And vhen dcir boys grows 
ap, go to sea, dey sit and vait some more. [Vehemently,^ 
Any gel marry aailor, she's crazy fool! Your mo'der 
she tal you same tang if she ras alive. [He relapset 
into an attitude of somber braodivg.] 



136 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



Anna — [After a pause — drearnU^.'] Fanny! I" 
feel sort of — nuttj, to-night. I feel old. 

Cants— [Mystified.] Ole? 

Anna — Sure — ^like I'd been living a long, long time 
■ — out here in the fog. [Frorening perplexedly.] I 
don't know how to tell you yuat what I mean. It's liJte 
I'd come home after a long visit away some place. It 
all seems like I'd been here before lots of times — on 
boats — in this same fog. [With a short laugh,] You 
must think I'm off my base. 

CuBis — [Gruffly,] Anybody feel funny dat vay in 
fog. 

Anna — [PerBtslenily.] But why d'you s'pose I fed 
so — so — like I'd found something I'd missed and been 
looking for — 's if this was the right place for me to fit 
in? And I seem to have forgot — everything that's hap- 
pened — like it didn't matter no more. And I feel clean, 
somehow — like you feel 5Tist after you've took a bath. 
And I feel happy for once — yes, honest ! — happier than 
I ever been anj-where before! [As Chkis makes no 
comment but a heavy sigh, she continues wonderingly,] 
It's nutty for me to feel that way, don't you think? 

Chbis — [A grim foreboding in his z.oice.] Ay tank 
Ay'm damn fool for bring you on voyage, Anna. 

Anna — [Impressed by his tone.J You talk — nu tty 
to-night yourself. You act 's if you was scared sqi 
thing was going to happen. 

Chris — Only God know dat, Anna. 

AsNA—lHalf-mockinghj.] Then it'll be i 
will, like the preachers say — what does happen. 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



137 



—[^Starts to ki» feet with fierce protest.'] No ! 

Cat ole davil, sea, she ain't God! [/» the pause of 

$ilence that comes after his defiance a haU in a man's 

Hkiuii/, exhausted voice comes faintly out of tlie fog to 

^^OTt.'\ *'Ahoy!" [Chbis gives a startled exclama- 

^B Anna — [Jumping to her feet.] What's that? 

^B Chbi9 — [WAo has regained his composure — sheep- 

^tihly.] Py golly, dat scare me for minute. It's only 

Bome fallar hail, Anna — loose hia course in fog. Must 

be fisherman's power boat. His engine break down. 

Ay guess. [The "ahoy" comes again through the waU 

of fog, sounding much nearer this time. Chris goes 

over to the port bulwark.] Sound from dis side. She 

come in from open sea. [He holds his hands to his 

month, megaphone-fashion, and shouts hack.] Ahoy, 

^^ere ! Vhat's trouble? 

^H The Voice — [This time sounding nearer hut up for- 
^^pard toward the bow.'\ Heave a rope when we come 
alongside. [Then irritably.] Where are ye, ye scut? 
Chxis — ^Ay hear dem rowing. Dey come up by bow, 
_Ay tank. [Then shouting out again.] Dis vay! 
, The Voice — Right ye are! [There is a muffled 
I of oars in oar-locks.] 
Anna — [Half to iierself — resentfully.] Why don't 
Wt guy stay where lie belongs? 

Chkis — [Hurriedly/.] Ay go up bow. All hands 
■deep 'cepting fallar on vatch. Ay gat heave Une to 
flat fftllar. [He picks up a coil of rope and hurries off 
iouard the bow. Anna walks back toward the extreme 



138 ANNA CHRISTIE 

Item at if the wanted to remain at much isolated e 
poitible. She turns her back on the proceedings and 
ttaret out into the fog. The Voice is heard again 
shouting "Ahoy" and Chsib answering "Dis vay" 
Then tlicre is a pause — the murmur of excited voices — 
then the scuffling of feet. Chris appears from around 
the cabin to port. He is supporting the limp form of 
a man dressed in dungarees, holding one of the man't 
arms around his neck. The deckhand, Johnson, a 
young, blond Swede, follows him, helping along another 
exhausted man similar fashion. Anna turns to looi: at 
them. Chris stops for a second — volublj/.~\ Anna! 
You come help, viU you? You find vhiskey in cabin. 
Dese fallars need diinlc for fix dcm. Dey vas near dead. 

Anna — \^Hurrying to Aim.] Sure — but who are 
tliey? What's the trouble? 

Chhis — Sailor fallars. Deir steamer gat wrecked, 
Dey been five days in open boat — four fallars — only 
one left able stand up. Come, Anna. '[She precedes 
him into the cabin, holding the door open while he and 
Johnson carry in their burdens. The door is shut, 
then opened again as Johnson comes out. Chbis's 
voice shouts after ftm.] Go gat odcr fallar, Yohnson. 

Johnson — Yes, sir. [He goes. The door is closed 
again. Mat Burke stumbles in around the port side of 
the cabin. He moves slowly, feeling his way uncertainly, 
keeping hold of the port bulwark with his right hand 
to steady himself. He is stripped to the waist, has on 
nothing but a pair of dirty dungaree pants. He it a 
powerful, broad-chested six-footer, his face haadsomh- 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



139 



in a hard, rough, bold, defiant may. He is about tkirtj/, 
in the full power of his heavy-muscled, i^nmenie 
ttrength. His dark eyes are bloodshot and wild from 
sleeplessness. The muscles of his arms and shoulders 
are lumped in knots and bunckesf the veins of his fore- 
arms stand out like blue cords. He finds his way to the 
coU of hawser and sits down on it facing the cabin, his 
back bowed, head in his hands, in an attitude of spent 

BiTKKE — [Talking aloud to himself. ] Row, je clii,-ill 
Row! [Then lifting his head and looking about him.'] 
What's this tub? Well, we're safe anyway — with the 
help of God. [He makes the sign of the cross mechan- 
icaiiy. Johnson comes along the deck to port, sup- 
porting the fourth man, who is babbling to himself 
incoherently. Bukke glances at him disdain fully.'\ Is 
it losing the Bmall wits ye iver had, ye are? Deck-scrub- 
bing scut! [They pass him and go into the cabin, 
leaving the door open, Buekk sags forward wearily.] 
I'm bate out — ^batc out entirely. 

Anna — [Comes out of the cabin with a tumbler 
quarter-fun of whiskey in her hand. She gives a start 
when she sees Burke so near her, the light from the 
open door falling full on Mm. Then, overcoming what 
is evidently a feeling of repulsion, she comes up beside 
fiim,] Here yon are. Here's a drink for you. You 
need it, I guess. 

BpBKE — [Lifting his head slowly — confusedly.] Is 
it dreaming I am? 



140 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



Aiwa — [Half smiling.] Drink it and you'll find it 
ain't no dream. 

BcttKE — To hell with the drink — but I'll take it just 
the same. [He tosses it down.^ Aah! I'm needin* 
that — and 'tis fine stuff. [Looking vp at her with 
frank, grinning admiration.'] But 'twasn't the booze I 
meant when I said, was I dreaming. I thought jou 
was some mermaid out of tlie sea come to torment roe. 
[He reaches out to feel of her arm.'] Aje, rale flesh 
and blood, divil a less, 

AsNA— '[Coldly. Stepping back from Am.] Cat 
that. 

BcKKB — But tell me, isn't this a barge I'm on — 
or isn't it? 
Anna — Sure. 

Burke— And what is a fine handsome woman the 
like of you doing on this scow? 

Anna — [Coldly.] Never you mind. [Then half- 
amused in spite of herself.] Say, you're a great one, 
honest — starting right in kidding after what you been 
through. 

Burke — [Delighted — proudly.] Ah, it was nothinj^ 
— aisy for a rate man with guts to him, the like of me. 
[He laughs.] All in the day's work, darlin'. [Then, 
more seriously but still in a boastful tone, confident- 
ially.] But I won't be denying 'twas a damn narrow 
squeak. We'd all ought to bo with Davy Jones at the 
bottom of the sea, be rights. And only for me, Pm 
telling you, and the great strength and guts is in me, 
we'd be being scoffed by the fishes this minute ! 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



141 



AnKA — {Contemptuovtlff.'l Gee, jou hate yourself, 
don't you? [TAen turning awatf from him imiiffcr- 
entli/.J Well, you'd better come in and lie down. Yon 
must want to sleep. 

BuKKE — {Stung — rinng tmtteadUjf to kit feet teith 
chest out and head thrown back — resentftUly.l Lie 
down and sleep, is it ? Divil a wink I'm after having for 
two days and nights and divil a bit I'm needing now. 
Let you not be thinking I'm the like of them three weak 
BCuts come in the boat with me. I could lick the three 
of them sitting down with one hand tied behind me. 
They may he bate out, but I'm not — and I've been 
rowing tlie boat with them lying in the bottom not able 
to raise a hand for the last two days we was in it. 
[^Furioualtf, as lie sees this is making no impression on 
her.'\ And I can lick all hands on this tub, wan be 
wan, tired as I am ! 

Anna — [Sarcastically.l Gee, ain't you a hard guy! 
[^Then, with a trace of sympathy, as she notices hijn 
twaying from weaJcness.1 But never mind that figlit 
talk. I'll take your word for all you've said. Go on 
and fiit down out here, anyway, if I can't get you to 
come inside. [He sits down weakly.'] You're all in, 
you might as well own up to it. 

BuBKE — [Fiercely.^ The hell I am! 

Anna — [Coldly.'\ Well, be stubborn then for all I 
care. And I must say I don't care for your language. 
The men I know don't pull that rough stuff when ladies 
are around. 

Bu&KE — IGetiing unsteadily to his feet again — in a 



142 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



rage.] Ladies! Ho-ho! Divii mend you! Lei yoa 
not be making game of me. Whafe would ladies be doing 
on this bloody hulk? [J» Anna attempts to go to the 
cabin, he lurches into her path.] Aisy, now! You're 
not the old Square-head's woman, I suppose youll be 
telling me next — living in his cabin with him, do leas ! 
[Seeing the cold, hoitUe exprestion on Anna's face, 
he Buddenly changes his tone to one of boisterous 
joviality.'] But I do be thinking, iver since the first 
look my eyes took at you, that it's a fool you are to be 
wasting yourself — a fine, handsome girl — on a stumpy 
runt of a man like that old Swede. There's too many 
strapping great lads on the sea would give their heart's 
blood for one kiss of you! 

Anna — [Scornfully.] Lads like you, eh? 

BtTKEK — [Grinning.] Ye take the words out o' my 
mouth. I'm the proper lad for you, if it's meself do be 
saying it. [Wi(A a quick movement he puts his arms 
about her waist.] Whisht, now, me daisy! Himself's 
in the cabin. It's wan of your kisses I'm needing to 
take the tiredness from me bones. Wan kiss, now! 
[He presses her to him and attempts to kiss her.] 

Anna^ — [Struggling fiercely.] Leggo of me, you big 
mut! [She pushes him away with all her Tmght. Bxtbkb^ 
weak and tottering, is caught off his guard. He it 
thrown down backward and, in falling, hits his Head n 
hard thump against the bulwark. He lies there stiU, 
knocked out for the moment. Anna stands for a sec- 
ond, looHng down at him frightenedly. Then the kneelt 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



143 



betide him arid raiies hii head to her knee, ttaring 
mto his face anxiously for some sign of life.^ 

Bdeke — [Stirring a hit — mutter*ngly.~\ God stiffen 
it I [He opens his eyes and blinks up at her with vague 
vonder.'\ 

AiiNA — [Letting his head sink back on the deck, 
rising to her feet ivith a sigh of relief.^ You're coming 
to all right, eh? Goe, I was scared for a moment I'd 
killed you. 

BcBKK — [TTiffe difficulty rising to a sitting position 
— scomfuUy.^ Killed, is it? It'd take more than a 
bit of a blow to crack my thicTt skull. [Then looking 
at her with the most intense admiration.'\ But, glory 
be, it's a power of strength is in them two fine arms of 
yonrs. There's not a man in the world can say the 
Bame as you, that he seen Mat Burke lying at his feet 
and him dead to the world. 

Anna — [Rather TemorsefuHy.'] Forget it. I'm 
»orry it happened, seeP [Burke rises and sits on bench, 
Tlten severely.'] Only you had no right to be getting 
fresh with me. Listen, now, and don't go getting any 
more wrong notions. I'm on this barge because I'm 
making a trip with my father. The captain's my 
father. Now you know. 

BuRKB — The old square — the old Swede, I mean? 

Anna — Yes, 

BoBKE — [Rising — peering at her face.l Sure I 
might have known it, if I wasn't a bloody fool from 
birth. Where else'd you get that fine ydlow hair is 
like a golden crown on your head. 



144 



-[With 



ANNA CHRISTIE 

amused laugh.^ Say, notlmig 



Anna— 

stops you, does it? [Then attempting a severe tone 
again.'\ But don't you think you ought to be apol- 
ogizing for what you said and done yust a minute ago, 
instead of trying to kid me with that mush? 

BuEKE — [Iju}%gnantly.'\ Mush ! [Then bending 
forward totoard her with very intense earnestness. 1 
Indadc and I will ask your pardon a thousand times — 
and on my knees, if ye like. I didn't mean a word of 
what I said or did. [Resentful again for a second.^ 
But divil a woman in all the ports of the world has iver 
made a great fool of me that way before! 

Anna — [With amused sarcasm.'] I see. You mean 
you're a lady-killer and they all fall for you. 

BuHKE — [Offended. Passionately. '[ Leave off your 
fooling ! 'Tis that is after getting my back up at you. 
[Earnestly.l 'Tis no lie I'm telling you about the 
women. [Ruefully.'] Though it's a great jackass I 
am to be mistaking you, even in anger, for the like of 
them cows on the waterfront is the only women I've met 
up with since I was growcd to a man. [As Amna 
shrinks away from him at this, he hurries on plead- 
ingly.] Fm a hard, rough man and I'm not fit, I'm 
thinking, to be kissing the shoe-soles of a fine, dacent 
girl the like of yourself. 'Tis only the ignorance of 
your kind made me see you wrong. So you'll for^ve 
me, for the love of God, and let us be friends from this 
out. [Passionately.'] I'm thinking I'd rather be 
friends with you than have my wish for anj-thing else in 
the world. [He holds out his hand to her shyly.'] 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



146 



—[^Looking queerly at him, perplexed and 
worried, hut moved and pleased in tpite of henelf — 
takes his hand uncertainlp.^ Sure. 

Buses — [With boyish deltght.l God bless you! 
[/n his excitement he squeezes her hand tight.] 

Anna — Ouch ! 

BuBKE — [Hastily dropping her hand — ruefvRif.'\ 
Your pardon, Miss. 'Tis a clumsy ape I am. [Then 
simply— glancing down his arm proudly.^ It's great 
pover I have in my hand and arm, and I do be for- 
getting it at times. 

Anna — {^Nursing her crushed hand and glancing at 
his arm, not without a trace of his own admiration.^ 
Gee, you're some strong, all right. 

'BtJUKE— [Delighted.] It's no lie, and why shouldn't 
I be, with me shoveling a million tons of coal in the 
stokeholes of ships since I was a lad only. [He pats 
the coil of hawser invitingly.] Let you sit down, now, 
Miss, and I'll be telling you a bit of myself, and you'll 
be telling me a bit of yourself, and in an hour we'll be 
as old friends as if we was born in the same house. [He 
puUs at her sleeve shyly.] Sit down now, if you plaze. 

Ansa— [With a half laugh.'} Well— [She sits 
down.] But we won't talk about me, see? You tell me 
about yourself and about the wreck. 

Bn&KE — [Flattered.] I'll tell you, surely. But can 
I be asking you one question, Miss, has my head in a 
pxizzle? 

Anna — [Guardedly.] Well — I dunno — what is it? 

BoKE& — What is it you do when jyou're not taking a 



146 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



trip with the Old Man? For I'm thinking a I 
the like of jou ain't living always on this tub, 

Anna — [Uneasil^.l No — of course I ain't. [iSft« 
tearches his face suspiciously, afraid there may be some 
hidden insinuation in his words. Seeing his simple 
frankness, she goes on confidentli/.'\ Well, I'll tell you. 
I'm a governess, seeP I take care of kids for people and 
learn them things. 

BnBKE — [Impressed.l A governess, is it? You 
must be smart, surely. 

Anna — But let's not talk about me. Tell me about 
the wreck, like you promised me you would. 

BuftKE — [Importantly.] 'Twas tliis way, Miss. 
Two weeks out we ran into the divil's own storm, and 
she sprang wan hell of a leak up for'ard. The skipper 
was hoping to make Boston before another blow would 
finish her, but ten days back we met up with another 
storm the like of the first, only worse. Pour days we 
was in it with green seas raking over her from bow 
to stem. That was a terrible time, God help us, 
[Proudly.^ And if 'twasn't for me and my great 
strength, I'm telling you — and it's God's truth — 
there'd been mutiny itself in the stokehole, 'Twas me 
held them to it, with a kiek to wan and a clout to 
another, and they not caring a damn for the engineers 
any more, but fearing a clout of my right arm more 
than they'd fear the sea itself. [He glances at Her 
anxiously, eager for her approval.] 

Anna — [Concealing a smile — amused by this boyish 
boasting of his.] You did some hard work, didn't you? 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



147 



{^Promptly. 1 I did that! I'm a divil f 
sticHog it out when them that's weak give up. But 
much good it did anyone! 'Twas a mad, fightin' 
scramhic in the last seconds n-ith each man for himself. 
I disremember how it come about, but there was the 
four of us in wan boat and when we was raised high 
on a great wave I took a look about and divil a sight 
there was of ship or men on top of the sea. 

Anna — [In a subdued voice.^ Then all the others 
was drowned? 

BtruKE — They was, surely. 

Anna — [TTtfA a shudder.] What a terrible end ! 

Btibk»— [riirna to her.] A terrible end for the like 
of them swabs does live on land, maybe. But for the 

:e of us does be roaming the seas, a good end, I'm 
you — quick and clane. 

AttSA — [Struck by the reord.~\ Yes, clean. That's 
yust tlie word foi- — all of it — the way it makes me feel. 

Bdske — The sea, you mean? llntereatedly.] I'm 
th i nking you have a bit of it in your blood, too. Your 
Old Man wasn't only a barge rat — ^begging your par- 
don — all his life, by the cut of him, 

Anna — No, he was bo'sun on sailing ships for years. 
And all the men on both sides of t))c family have gone 
to sea as far back as he remembers, he says. All the 
women have married sailors, too, 

BcBKE — [With intense satisfaction.l Did they, 
now? They had spirit in them. It's only on the sea 
you'd find rale men with guts is 6t to wed with fine, 



a of thei 
^Kfike of 

^^ Ann 



US 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



high-tempered girls [TAfU he adds half-boldly] ' 
like of jours elf, 

Anna — [ITifA a laugh.] There jou go kiddin' 
again. [TAcrt seeing his hurt expression — quickly.^ 
Bui you was goiDg to tell me about yourself. You're 
Irish, of course I can (ell that. 

BuftKE — [Stautly.] Yes, thank God, though I've 
not seen a sight of it in fifteen years or more. 

Anna — [ThoughtfuUy.~\ Sailors never do go home 
hardly, do they? That's what my father was saying. 

BcKKE — He wasn't telling no lie. [IPiiA sudden 
melanckolj/.] It's a hard and lonesome life, the sea is. 
The only women you'd meet in the ports of the world 
who'd be willing to speak you a kind word isn't woman 
at all. You know the kind I mane, and they're a poor, 
wicked lot, God forgive them. They're looking to steal 
the money from you only. 

Anna — [Her face averted — rising to her feet — 
agitatedly,'] I think — I guess I'd better see what's 
doing inside. 

Bl-bke — [Afraid he has offended her — beseech- 
ingly.] Don't go, I'm saying! Is it I've given yoa 
offence with my talk of the Uke of them? Don't heed it 
at all ! I'm clumsy in my wits when it comes to talking 
proper with a girl the like of you. And why wouldn't 
I be? Since the day I left home for to go to sea punch- 
ing coal, this is the first time I've had a word with a 
rale, dacent woman, So don't turn your back on me 
now, and we beginning to be friends. 



I 



ANNA CHRISTIE 

■[^Tuming to him again — forcing a smilc^t 
I'm not Bore at jou, honest. 

BuBKS — [^GratefuUif.l God bless you! 

Anna — [Chajiging the subject abruptly."] But ifl 
you honestly think the sea's such a rotten life, why I 
don't you get out of it? 

Bttskb — [^Surprised.] Work on land, is it? \^She 
nodi. He spits scornfully.] Digging spuds in the 
muck from dawn to dark, I suppose? [Vehementlj/.'] i 
I wasn't made for it. Miss. 

Anna — {^With a laugh.] I thought you'd say that. 1 

BuEKE — [Argwrnentatively.] But there's good jobs 
and bad jobs at sea, like there'd be on land. I'm think- 
ing if it's in the stokehole of a proper liner I was, I'd 
be able to have a httle house and be home to it wan 
week out of four. And I'm tliinking that maybe then 
I'd have the luck to find a fine dacent girl — the like of 
yourself, now — would be willing to wed with me. , 

Anna — \^Turning away from him icith a short laugh 
~-itneaBiltf.] Why sure. Why not? 

BcBKE — {^Edging up close to her — eafvltantly.] 
Then you think a girl the like of yourself might maybe 
not mind the past at all but only be seeing the good 
herself put in me? 

Anna — [Jn the same tone.] Why, sure. 

Bdbee — [Passionately.] She'd not be sorry for it, 
Pd take my oath! Tis no more drinking and roving 
&bout I'd be doing then, but giving my pay day into 
her hand and staying at home with her as meek as a 
laub each night of the week I'd be in port. 



190 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



Akna — [Afoced in 'pitr of herself and troubled h§ 
thit half-concealed proposal — with a forced latigh.'\ 
All you got to do is find the girl. 

Bdkke — I have found her! 

Anna — [Half-frighlenedly — trying to laagh it off.'B 
You have? When? I thought you was saying — 

BuKKE— [BoWiy and forcefvlly.J This 
[^Hanging his head — humbly.l If she'll be having » 
{Then raiivag his eyei to her* — nrnplyJ] Tis yoa ] 
mean. 

Anna — [/• held by hit eyes for a moment— 
thrinJct back from him with a strange, broken laugh.^ 
Say — are you — going crazy? Are you trying to kid 
me? Proposing — to rae! — for Gawd's sake! — on such 
short acquaintance? [Chbis comes oat of the cabin 
and stands staring bltnkingly astern. When he makes 
out Anna in such intimate proximity to this strange 
sailor, an angry expression comes over fti« face.l 

Buses — {FolloTviTig her — with fierce, pleading i»- 
tiitence.l Vva telling you there's the will of God in it 
that brought me safe through the storm and fog to 
the wan spot in the world where you was! Think of 
that now, and isn't it queer 

Cheis— Anna! {He comes toward them, raging, I 
fists clenched.'] Anna, you gat in cabin, you hear! 

Anna — {AU her emotions immediately transfot 
into resentment at his buRyiug tone.] Who d'you t 
you're talking to — a slave? 

Chus — {Hart — his voice breaking — pieadin 
Tou need gat rest, Anna. You gat sleep. {SH* 6 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



151 1 



^ 



mot move. He tumi on Bobke furiouiljf']. What you 
doing here, you sailor faUar? Vou ain't sick like oders. 
You gat in fo'c's'tle. Dey give you bunk. \_Threateiir 
mglt/.'\ You hurry. Ay tal you! 

Anna — [Impulsively.^ But he ia sick. Look at him, I 
Be can hardly stand up. 

'[Straightening and thrcminff out hit cheit 
o bold tough.'\ Is it giving me orders ye are, 
toe bucko? Let you look out, then! With wan hand, 
weak as I am, I can break ye in two and fiing the pieces 
over the side — and your crew after you. [Stopping 
abruptlf/.^ 1 was forgetting. You're her Old Man 
and I'd not raise a fiat to you for the world. [His 
knees sag, he waver* and seems about to fall. Anna, 
utters an exclamation of alarm and hurries to his side.^ 

Anna — [Taking one of his arms over her shoidder.^ 
Come on in the cabin. You can have my bed if there ■ 
ain't no other place. 

BoEKE — [With jvbHant happiness — as they proceed^ 
toward the cabin-l Glory be to God, is it holding my 
arm about your neck you are ! Anna ! Anna ! Sure 
it's a sweet name is suited to you. 

Akka — [Guiding him carefully.} Sssh! Sssh! 

Bttrke— Whisht, is it? Indade, and III not. Ill be 
roaring it out like a fog horn over the sea ! You're the 
girt of the world and well be marrying eoon and I dont i 
care who knows it ! i 

Anna — [As she guides him through the cabin door."] 
Ssshhi Never mind that talk. You go to sleep. 
[They go out of sight in the cabin. Cbbis, who has 



ISa ANNA CHRISTIE 

been Utterung to Btikkz'b lait wordt with open-mouthed 
amazement itandt looking after them helpUtaly.l 

Chsib — [Turn* taddevly and thdkei hia fitt out af 
the tea — with bitter hatred.^ Dat's jour dirty trickf 
damn ole davil, you ! [ Then tn a frenzy of rage. ] But, 
py God, you dont do dat! Not while Ay'm liying! 
No, py God, you don't i 

ITke Curtain FalWl 



ACT THREE 

iNE — The interior of the cabin on the bargef] 
"Simeon Winthjiop" {at dock in Boxton)— 
row, loto-ceUinged compartment the tcaUa of which 
are painted a light brown with white trimmings. In 
the rear on the left, a door IcadtJig to the sleeping 
quarters. In the far left corner, a large locker- 
closet, painted white, on the door of which a mirror 
hangs on a nail. In the rear wall, two small square 
windows and a door opening out on the deck 
toward the stern. In the right wall, two more 
windows looking out on the port deck. White 
curtains, clean and stiff, are at the windows. A 
table with two cane-hottomed chairs stands in the 
center of the cabin. A dilapidated, wicker rocker, 
painted brown, is also by the table. 

It is afternoon of a sunny day about a week 
later. From the harbor and docks outside, muffled 
by the closed door and windows, comes the sound 
of steamers' whistles and the puffing snort of the 
donkey engines of some ship unloading nearby. 

As the curtain rises, Chbis and Anna are dis- 
covered. Anna is seated in the rocking-chair by 
the table, with a newspaper in her hands. She it 
not reading but staring straight in front of her. 



t ANNA CHRISTIE 

She looks unhappy, tToubled, frowningly cancel 
trated on her thoughts. Chbis watiders about the 
room, catting quick, unea»y tide glances at her 
face, then stopping to peer absentmindedly out of 
the window. His attitude betrays an overwhelm- 
ing, gloomy anxiety which has him on tenter hooks. 
He pretends to be engaged in setting things ship- 
shape, but this occupation is confined to picking 
up some object, staring at it stupidly for a second, 
then aiitdeily putting it down again. He clears 
his throat and starts to sing to himself in a low^ 
doleful voice: "My Yosephine, come aboard < 
ihip. Long thne Ay vatt for you." 



AsrsA — [Turning on him, sarcastically.'] I'm g 
Bomeone's feeling good. [^Wearily.] Gee, I sure ^ 
we was out of this dump and back in New York. 

Chkis — [With a sigh."] Ay'm glad vhen ve sail 
again, too. [Then, as she makes no comment, he goes 
on with a ponderous attempt at sarcasm."] Ay don't 
see vhy you don't like Boston, dough. You have go< 
time here, Ay tank. You go ashore all time, every d 
and night veek ve've been here. You go to movies, i 
show, gat all kinds fun — [His eyes hard with hatredi 
All with that damn Irish f allar ! 

Amna — [With weary scorn.] Oh, for heaven's sal 
are you off on that again? Where's the harm in 
taking me around? D'you want me to sit all day i 
night in this cabin with you — and knit? Ain't I ( 
ft right to have as good a time as I can? 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



157 



Chsib — It aint right kind of fun — not with that 
fallar, no. 

Anna — I been back on board every rught bj eleven, 

ain't I? [Then struck by lo-me thought — looks at Aim 

with keen suspicion — with rtttTig anger.] Say, look 

^Jliere, what d'you mean by what you yust said? 

^L Chkis — [/faafiZi/.] Nutting but what Ay say, Anna. 

^H Anna — ^You said "ain't right" and you said it funny. 

^^ay, listen here, you ain't trying to insinuate that 

there's something wrong between us, are you? 

Chbis — \^Horrified.] No, Anna! No, Ay avear to 
God, Ay never tank dat ! 

Anna — IMollified by his very evident sincerity — 
aitting down again.'] Well, don't you never think it 
neither if you want me ever to speak to you again. 
[Angrily again.] If I ever dreamt you thought that, 
I'd get the hell out of this barge so quick you couldn't 
see me for dust. 

Chbis — [Soothingly.~\ Ay wouldn't never dream — 
[Then, after a second's pause, reprovingly.] You vaa 
gatting learn to svear. Dat ain't nice for young gel, 
yon tank? 

Anna — [TFi(A a faint trace of a smile.] Excuse me. 
You ain't used to such language, I know. [Mock- 
ingly.] That's what your taking me to sea has done 
forme. 

Chbis — [Indignantly.] No, it ain't me. It's dat 
damn sailor fallar learn you bad tangs. 

Anna — He ain't a sailor. He's a stoker. 

Chbis — [Forcibly.] Dat vas million times vorse, Ay 



158 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



tal you! Dem fallars dat vork below shoveling coal 
vas de dirtiest, rough gang of no-good fallars in 
vorld ! 

Anna — I'd hate to hear you say that to Mat. 

Cheis — Oh, Ay tal him same tang. You don't j 
it in head Ay*m scared of him yust 'can 
stronger'n Ay vas. [Menacingly/.] You don't gat for 
fight with fists with dem fallars. Dere's odcr vay for 
fix him, 

Anna — [Glancing at him mth sudden alari 
What d'you mean? 

Chbis — [Sullenly. '\ Nutting, 

Anna — You'd better not. I wouldn't start | 
trouble with him if I was you. He might forget s 
time that you was old and my father — and then yoofl 
be out of luck. 

Chbis— [TF((fe smouldering hatred.^ Veil, yuat j| 
him ! Ay'm ole bird maybe, but Ay bet Ay show | 
trick or two. 

Anna — [Suddenly changing her tone — per- 
suasively.'] Aw come on, be good. What's eating you, 
anyway? Don't you want no one to be nice to i 
except yourself? 

Cheis — [Placated — coming to her — eagerly.] 
Ay do, Anna — only not fallar on sea. But Ay like! 
you marry steady fallar got good yob on land, 
have little home in country all your own 

Anna — [Rising to her feet — brusquely.] Oh, i 
out! [Scornfully.] Little home in the countryM 
wish you could have seen the little home in the com 



ANNA CHBISTIE 



169 



ll 



ire you bod me in jail till I was ai:cteen! [TFitA 
riiing irritation,1 Some day you're going to get me 
■o mad with that talk, I'm going to turn loose on you 
and tell you — a lot of things that'll open your eyes. 

Cbbis — [AlavTTU-d.l Ay don't vant— 

Anna — I know you don't; but you keep on talking 
it the same. 

Chbis — Ay don't talk no more den, Anna. 

Anna — Then promise me you'll cut out saying nasty 
things about Mat Burke every chance you get. 

Cbuis — [Evagive and suipiclous.^ Vhj? You like 
dst fallar — very much, Anna? 

Anna — Yea, I certainly do ! He's a regular man, no 
matter what faults he's got. One of his fingera is 
worth all the hundreds of men I met out there— inland. 

Chbis — [His face darkemng.'} Maybe you tank you 
him, den? 

AnsA— [Defiantly.] What of it if I do? 

[Scowling and forcing out the words.] 
•ybe — you tank you — marry him? 

Anna — [Shaking her head.] No! [Cheis' face 

\hts lip with relief. Anna continues slowly, a trace of 
tadneis in her voice.] If I'd met him four years ago — 
or even two years ago — I'd have jumped at the chance, 
I tell you that straight. And I would now — only he's 
euch a simple guy — a big kid — and I ain't got the lieart 
to fool him. [She breaks off suddenly.] But don't 
never say again he ain't good enough for me. It's me 
ain't good enough for him. 



160 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



Chbis — [Snorts icomfuUi/.J Py yiminy, yon | 
crazy, Ay tank ! 

Anna— [WiiA a mournful laugh.] Well, I 1 
thinking I was myself the last few days. \^Ske goet 
and takes a shawl from a hook near the door and throws 
it over her shoulders.] Guess I'll take a walk down to 
the end of the dock for a minute and see what's doing. 
I love to watch the ships passing. Mat'll be along 
before long, I guess. Tell him where I am, will you? 

Chkis — [Despondently.] All right, Ay tal him. 
[Anna goes out the doorway on rear. Chbis follows 
her out and stands on the deck outside for a moment 
looking after her. Then he comes back inside and shuts 
the door. He stands looking out of the teindow — 
mutters — "Dirty ole davU, you." Then he goes to the 
table, sets the cloth straight mechanically, picks up the 
newspaper Anna has let fall to the floor and sits down 
in the rocking-chair. He stares at the paper for a 
tehUe, then puts it on table, holds his head in his hands 
and sighs drearily. The noise of a man's heavy foot- 
steps comes from the deck outside and there is a loud 
knock on the door. Cheis starts, makes a move as if 
to get up and go to the door, then thinks better of it 
and sits still. The knock is repeated — then as no 
answer comes, the door is ftung open and Mat Bubsb 
appears. Chkis scowls at the intruder and his hat 
instinctively goes back to the sheath knife on his I 
BoKEs is dressed up — wears a cheap blue suit, a stripi 
cotton shirt with a black tie, and black shoes newly 
shined. His face ia beaTiung with good humor.] 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



161 



BiTBKS — [^A> he teei Chkis — in a jovial tone of 
mocherj/.] Well, God bless who's here! [iJe bendi 
down and squeezes his huge form through the narrow 
doorxeay.'\ And how is the world treating you thia 
afternoon, Anna's father? 

Chbib — [SuUerUjf.'] Pooty goot — ^if it ain't for some 
fallare. 

BuBKB — [^With a grin.] Meaning me, do you? 
[_He laughs.'] Well, if you ain't the funny old cranic 
of a man! [TAen sobeTly.~\ Where's herself? 
[Chbi3 siti dumb, scowling. Ms eyes averted. Burke 
M irritated by this silence.'\ Where's Anna, I'm after 
asking you? 

Chkis — [^Hesitating — then grouchUy."] She go down 
end of dock. 

BuBKK — I'U be going down to her, then. But firsl; 
I'm thinking I'U take this chance when we're alone to 
have a word with you. [He sits down opposite Chkis 
at the table and leans over toward him.] And that 
word is soon said, I'm marrying your Anna before 
this day is out, and you might as well make up your 
mind to it whether you like it or no. 

Chris — [Glaring at him with hatred and forcing a 
icornful laugh.] Ho-ho! Dat's easy for say! 

^BtmKE — ^You mean I won't? [ScornfuHy.] la ii 
i like of yourself will stop mc, are you thinking? 
Chris — ^Yes, Ay stop it, if it come to vorst. 
BuRK£ — [With scornful pity.] God help you! 
Chkis — But ain't no need for me do dat. Anna 



I 
I 



162 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



BuHKE — ISmiling confidentlif,} Is it Anna 
think will prevent me? 

Chkis— Yes. 

Bdrkb — And I'm telling yoa she'll not. She knows 
I'm loving her, and ahe loves me the same, and I 
fcnow it. 

Chbis — Ho-ho! She onlj have fun. She make 
fool of you, dat's all ! 

BiTBKE — l^Unshaken — pleaxantly.'] That's a lie in 
your throat, divil mend jou ! 

Cnais — No, it ain't lie. She tal me yust before she 
go out she never marry fallar like you. 

Bdkke — I'll not believe it. 'Tis a great old liar you 
are, and a divil to be making a power of trouble if you 
had your way. But 'tis not trouble I'm looking for, 
and me sitting down here. [Earnestly.'] Let us be 
talking it out now as man to man. You're her father, 
and wouldn't it be a shame for us to be at each other's 
throats like a pair of dogs, and I married with Anna. 
So out with the truth, man alive. What is it you're 
holding against me at all? 

CuHis — [A bit placated, in spite of himself, bg 
Bukee's evident sincerity — but puzzled aiid sus- 
picioug.] Veil — Ay don't vant for Anna gat married. 
Listen, you fallar. Ay'm a ole man. Ay don't see 
Anna for fifteen year. She vas all Ay gat in vorld. 
And now ven she come on first trip — you tank Ay rant 
her leave me lone again? 

BuBKE— [ffear((/y.] Let you not be thinking I hftV| 
uo heart at all for the way you'd be feeling. 



I 



I 



ANNA CHRISTIE 1 

Chbis — lAatonUhed and encouraged — trying 
plead persuasively.^ Den you do right tang, eh? You 
ship avay again, leave Anna alone. [Cajolingly.^ 
Big fallar like you dat's on sea, he don't need vife. He , 
gat new gel in every port, you know dat. 

BiTKKE — [Angry for a second.} God stiffen you! 
[Then controlling himself — calmly.'] I'll not be giving 
jou the lie on that. But divil take you, there's a time 
comes to every man, on sea or land, that isn't a born 
fool, when he's sick of the lot of them cows, and wearing 
his heart out to meet up with a fine dacent girl, and 
have a home to call his own and be rearing up children 
in it, 'Tis small use you're asking me to leave Anna. 
She's the wan woman of the world for me, and I can't 
live without her now, I'm thinking. 

Chkis-— You forgat all about her in one veek out of 
port. Ay bet you ! 

BoRKE — You don't know the like I am. Death itself ] 
wouldn't make me forget her. So let you not be making 
talk to me about leaving her. I'll not, and be damned 
to you ! It won't be so bad for you as you'd make out 
at all. She'll be living here in the States, and her 
married to me. And you'd be seeing her often so- 
sight more often than ever you saw her the fifteen year* ' 
she was growing up in the West. It's quare you'd be 
the one to be making great trouble about her leaving 
you when you never laid eyes on her once in all them 

Chkis — [GuUtUy.l Ay taught it vas better Anna J 



164 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



stay avay, grow up inland where she don't 
ole davil, sea. 

BtraKE — [^Scornfulli/.] Is it blaming the sea for 
your troubles ye are again, God help you? Well, 
Anna knows it now. 'Twas in her blood, anyway, 

Chhis — And Ay don't vant she ever know no-goi 
fallar on sea 

BusKE — She knows one now. 

Chris — [Banging the table loith his fist — furiousltf. 
Dai's yust it! Dat'e yuat what you are — no-good, 
sailor fallar! You tank Ay lat her Hfe be made sorry 
by you like her mo'der's vas by me! No, Ay avear! 
She don't marry you if Ay gat kill you first! 

BcRKE — [Looks at him a moment, in astonishment — 
then laughing uproariously.^ Ho-ho! Glory be to 
God, it's bold talk you have for a stumpy runt of a 
man I ■ 

Chhis — [Threateni/ngly.^ Veil — ^you see! I 

Burke — [With grinning defiance.^ I'll see, 8urdy¥ 
I'll see myself and Anna married this day, I'm telling' 
you! [Then with contemptuous exasperation.^ It's 
quare fool's blather you have about the sea done this 
and the sea done that. You'd ought to be shamed to be 
saying the like, and you an old sailor yourself. I'm 
after hearing a lot of it from you and a lot more that 
Anna's told me you do be saying to her, and I'm think- 
ing it's a poor weak thing you are, and not a man 
at all! 

Chbis^ — [DarMy.l You see if Ay'm man — may! 



» 



quickei 



1 you 



tank. 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



165 



Bdkke — [^Contemptuoudi/.^ Yerra, don't be boast- 
ing. I'm thinting 'tia out of your wits you've got with 
fright of the sea. You'd be wisiiing Anna married to a 
farmer, she told me. That'd be a swate match, surely ! 
Would jou have a fine girl the like of Anna lying down 
^^ at nights with a muddy scut stinking of pigs and dung? 
^H^fOr would you have her tied for life to the like of them 
^^H skinny, shrivelled swabs does be working in cities? 
^^B Chris — Dat's He, you fool! 

^^1 BuaKE — 'Tis not, 'Tis your own mad notions I'm 
^^^after telling. But you know the truth in your heart, 
H if great fear of the sea has made you a liar and coward 
itself. [^Pounding the table.1 The sea's the only life 
for a man with guts in him isn't afraid of his own 
shadow! 'Tis only on the sea he's free, and hJm roving 
the face of the world, seeing all things, and not giving 
a damn for saving up money, or stealing from his 
friends, or any of the black tricks that a landlubber'd 
Waste hia life on. 'Twas yourself knew it once, and you 
k bo'sun for years, 
Chris — \^Sputtering rtitk rage.'\ You vas crazy 
tfool, Ay tal you ! 

BuBKK — You've swallowed the anchor. The sea give 
■you a clout once knocked you down, and you're not 
■man enough to get up for anotlier, but he there for 
B'the rest of your life howling bloody murder. 
VProudIy.'\ Isn't it myself the sea has nearly drowned, 
1 me battered and bate till I was that close to hell I 
■eould bear the flames roaring, and never a groan out 



161 



tin the I 



ANNA CHRISTIE 
e up and it i 



seeing the j^ 
streugth and guts of a man was in me? 

CaBis—[Scornfull7/J Yes, jou vas hell of faUar, 
hear jou tal it! 

BunKE — lAngrily.'l You'll be calling me a liar once 
too often, me old bucko ! Wasn't the whole story of it 
and my picture itself in the newspapers of Boston a 
week back? [Looking Chkis up and down, belittlingly.^ 
Sure I'd Uke to see you in the best of your youth do the 
like of what I done in the storm and after. 'Tis a mad 
lunatic, screeching with fear, you'd be this minute t 

Chhis — Ho-ho ! You vas young fool ! In ole years 
when Ay was on windjammer. Ay vas through hundred 
storms vorse'u dat ! Ships vas ships den — and men dat 
sail on dem vas real men. And now what you gat on 
steamers? You gat fallars on deck don't know ship 
from mudscow. [With a meaning glance at Busks.] 
And below deck you gat faUara yust know how for 
shovel coal — might just as veil vork on coal vagoa 
ashore ! 

BuKKB — [Stung — angrily.^ Is it casting insults at 
the men in the stokehole ye are, je old ape? God stiffen 
you ! Wan of them is worth any ten stock-fish-awillii^ 
Square-heads ever shipped on a windbag! 

Chbis — [Hig face leorking with rage, hit hand going 
back to the theath-knife on his hip.J Irish svine, you! 

Bukke — [Tawntinglp.^ Don't ye like the Irish, ye 
old babboon? Tis that you're needing in your family, 
I'm telling you — an Irishman and a man of the stoke- 
hole — to put guts in it so that youll not be having 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



167 , 



grandchndren would be fearful cowards and jackassea 
the like of yourself ! 

Chbis — [Half rising from hit chair — in a voice 
choked with rage,"] You look out! 

BrBES — [Watching him intently — a mocking imile 
on his Ups.1 And it's that you'll be having, no matter 
what jou'U do to prevent ; for Anna and me'll be mar- 
ried this day, and no old fool the like of you will stop ua 
when I've made up my mind. 

Chbis — [With a hoarse cr^.^ You don't! [He I 
throws himself at Bubke, knife in hand, knocking his 
chair over hachwards. BunitE springs to his feet 
quickly in time to meet the attack. He laughs with the 
pure love of battle. The old Swede is like a child in his 
haTids. Burke does not strike or mistreat him in. anj/ ' 
wai/, but simply twists his right hand behind his bade t 
and forces the knife from his fingers. He throws the 
knife into a far comer of the room — tauntijiglj/.l 

BiTRKE — Old men is getting childish shouldn't play 
with knives. [Holding the struggling Chbis at arm's 
length — with a sudden rush of anger, drawing back 
his jist.li I've half a mind to hit you a great clout 
will put Gense in your square head. Kape off me now, 
Vm warning you! [He gives Chris a push with the I 
flat of his hand which sends the old Swede staggering 
back against the cabin wall, where he remains standing, 
panting heamly, his eyes fixed on Burke with hatred, at 
if he were only collecting his strength to rush at him, 
I again.^ 

BuBKE — [Warmrigly.'] Now don't be coming at me j 



168 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



again, I'm saying, or I'll flatten you on the floor with 
blow, if 'tis Anna's father you are itself! I've no 
patience left for you, [Then with an amused laugk-l 
Well, 'tis a bold old man you are just the same, and I'd 
never think it was in you to come tackling me alone. 
[A shadow crosses the cabin windows. Both men start 
Anna appears in the doorway.^ 

Anna — [With pleased surprise as she sees Bukzb, 
Hello, Mat. Are you here already? I was down — -' 
[S?ie stops, looliing from one to the other, sensing 
immediately/ that something has happened.^ What'a 
up? [Then noticing the overturned chair — in alarm.'\ 
How'd that chair get knocked over? [Turning on 
BuBKE reproachfully. '\ You ain't been fighting with 
him. Mat — after you promised ? 

BuKKE — [His old self again.'] I've not laid a hand 
on him, Anna. [He goes and picks up the chair, then 
turning on the still questioning Anna — teith a reassur- 
ing smUe-l Let you not be worried at all. 'Twas only 
a bit of an argument we was having to pass the time 
tin you'd come. 

Anna— It must have been some argument when you 
got to throwing chairs. [She turns on Chkis.] Why 
don't you say something? What was it about? 

Cheis — [Relaxing at last — avoiding her eye»-~ 
sheepishly,'] Ve vas talking about ahipa and fallan 
on sea. 

Anna — [ With a relieved tmUe.] Oh — the old 
stuff, eh? 

BuKEE — [Stiddenly teeming to come to a htAi 



i 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



169 I 



I 
I 



iecuion — leith a decant grin at Chais.] He'a 
after telling jou the whole of it. We was arguing 
about you mostly. 

Anna — [With a frown.l About me? 

BuEBE — And we'll be finishing it out right here and 
now in your presence if you're willing. l^He »it» down 
at the left of table.'] 

Anna — [Vncertaiidy — looking from him. to her I 
father.] Sure. Tell me what it's all about. 

Chbis — [Advancing toward the table — protesting to 
BuEKE,] No! You don't do dat, you! You tal him 
you don't vant for hear him talk, Anna. 

Anna — But I do. I want this cleared up, 

Cheis — [Miserabli/ afraid now.] Veil, not now, any- 
Tay. You vas going ashore, yes? You ain't got time — 

Anna — [Firj/iZj/.] Yes, right here and now. [She 
turns to BuEKE.] You tell mc, Mat, since he don't 
waii,t to. 

BuBXE — [Draws a deep breath — then plunges m 
holdlff.] The whole of it's in a few words only. So'« 
he'd mal^e no mistake, and him hating the sight of me, I 
told him in his teeth I loved you. [Passionately.] And 
that's God truth, Anna, and well you know it ! ^ 

Cheis — [ScornfuUif — forcing a laugh.] Ho-l 
He tal same tang to gel every port he go ! 

Anna — [Shrinking from her father with repulsion— 
resentfully,] Shut up, can't you? [Then to Buese — 
feelingly,] I know it's true. Mat, I don't mind what 
be says. 

BuasE — [Hvmbly gratefid.] God bless yout 



170 



ANNA, CHRISTIE 
what? 



"i Anna — And thcr 

BnaKE — And then — IHesitatiHgly-l And then I said 
— [He looks at her pleadingly. ] I said I was sure — I 
told him I thought jou have a bit of love for rae, too. 
[Paisionateli/.^ Say you do, Anna! Let you not 
dcHtroy me entirely, for the love of God ! [He graapa 
both her handa in hia two.'] 

Anna — [Deeplt/ moved and troubled — forcing a 
trembling laugh.] So you told him that. Mat? No 
wonder he was mad, [Forcing out the leorda.'] Well, 
maybe it's true, Mat. Maybe I do. I been thinking 
and thinking — I didn't want to. Mat, I'll own up to 
that — I tried to cut it out — but — [She laughs help- 
leaalt/.'] I gueas I can't help it anyhow. So I guess I 
do, Mat. [Then with a audden joyoug defiance.] Sin 
I do! What's the use of kiddin* myself ditferenJ 
Sure I love you, Mat ! 

Chbis — [With a cry of pain.] Anna! [He i 
CTUahed.] 

BtritKE — [With a great depth of sincerity in hit~ 
humble gratitude.] God be praised ! 

Anna — [Assertively.] And I ain't never loved a_ 
man in my life before, you can always believe that- 
matter what happens. 

Busks — [Goes over to her and puts hia arms aroi 
her,] Sure I do be believing ivery word you iver said 
or iver will say. And 'tis you and me will be having 
B grand, beautiful life together to the end of our days ! 
[He tries to kisa her. At first she turns away her head 
— then, overcome by a fierce hnpulae of paasionate low. 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



171 



I 



»he takes hit head in both her hands and holds his fat 
close to hers, staring into his eyes. Then she kisses him I 
fuU on the Zip*.] 

Anna — [Pushing 7iim away from her — forcing a 1 
broken laugh.~\ Good-bye. [She walks to the door- | 
may in rear — stands with her back toward them, look- 
ing out. Her shotdders quiver once or twice as if she \ 
were jighting back her sobs.~\ 

BuBEi: — [Too in the seventh heaven of bliss to get 
any correct interpretation of her word — with a laugh.'\ 
Good-by, is it ? The divil you say ! I'll be coming back 
at you in a second for more of the same! [To Chkis, 
who has quickened to instant attention at his daugh- 
ter's good-by, and has looked back at her with a stir- 
ring of foolish hope in his eyes.l Now, me old bucko, 
what'll yon be saying? Yon heard the words from her 
own lips. Confess I've bate you. Own up like a man 
when you're bate fai^ and square. And here's my 
hand to you — \iioidfont his hand.'\ And let you 
take it and we'll shake and forget what's over and 
done, and be friends from tliis out. 

Chhis — [With implacable hatred.'\ Ay don't shake j 
hands with you f allar — not vhile Ay live ! 

Bdbke — [Offended.^ The back of my hand to you 
then, if that suits you better. [GrowHngr.] 'Tis a I 
rotten bad loser you are, divi! mend you ! 

Chkis — Ay don't lose — [Trying to be scornful and ' 
self-convincing-l Anna say she like you little bit but 
you don't hear her say she marry you. Ay bet. [At 
the sound of her name Anna has turned round to theTO. 



172 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



Her face is composed and calm again, but tt is the deat 
calm of despair.'\ 

BuBKE — [Scornfully.l No, and I wasn't hearing her 
say tile sun is shining either. 

Chris — [Doggedlp.^ Dat's all right. She dorf 
say it, yust same. 

Anna — [^Quietly — coming forward to th.em.'\ No, ; 
didn't say it. Mat. 

Chris — l^Eagerly.'] Dere! You hear! 

Bdekb — [Misunderstanding her — TcitK a grin.V 
You're waiting till you do be asked, you mane? Wd! 
I'm asking you now. And we'll be married this dajj 
with the help of God 1 

Anna- — IGently.'l You heard what I said, Mat — -^ 
after I kissed you? 

BuKKE — '[Alarmed by something in her manner.^ 
No— I disremember. 

Anna — I said good-by, [Her voice trembling.'^ 
That kiss was for good-bj. Mat, 

ButtKE — {TerrifiedJ^ What d'you mane? 

Anna — I can't marry you, Mat — and we've i 
good-by. That's all. 

Chris — [Vnable to hold bach his exultation.^ 
know it ! Ay know dat vas so ! 

Bdrke — [Jumping to his feet — unable to believe 1i 
ears.'] Anna! Is it making game of me you'd belQ 
Tis a quare time to joke with me, and don't be doinf ' 
it, for the love of God. 

Anna — [Loolctng him in the eyes — steadilj/,'] D'yon 



f 



ANNA CHRISTIE 1 

think I'd Icid you now? No, I'm not jolting, Mat. 
mean what I said. 

BtTBKE — Ye don't! Ye can't! 'Tis mad you are, 
I'm telling you ! 

Anna — [Firedl^.'l No Fm not. 

BuKKE — \^Desperately.'\ But what's come over you I 
BO sudden? You was saying you loved me 

Anna — ^111 say that as often as you want me to. It'i 
true. 

BuEKE — {^Bewilderedl}/.'] Then why — ^what, in thel 
divil's name — Oh, God help me, I can't make head or" 
tail to it at all ! 

Anna — Because it's the best way out I can figure, 
Mat. \^Her voice catching.'\ I been thinking it over 
and thinking it over day and night all week. Don't -J 
think it ain't hard on me, too. Mat. 

BcKKE — ^For the love of God, tell me then, what is it 
that's preventing you wedding me when the two of us 
has love? {^Suddenly getting an idea and pointing at 
Chris — exasperately.J Is it giving heed to the like of 
that old fool ye are, and liim hating me and filling your 
ears full of bloody lies against me? 

Chris — [^Getting to Ids feet- — -raging triumphantly 
before Anna has a chance to get in a leord.^ Yes, Anna 
believe me, not you ! She know her old fa'der don't lie 
like you. 

Anna — [Turning on her father angrily.l You sit 
down, d'you hear? Wliere do you come in butting in 
and making things worse? You're like a devil, you 
are! {^Harghly,^ Good Lord, and I was beginning to 



174 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



like you, beginning to forget all I've got held up against 
you! 

Chhis — [Crushed — feeblyj\ You ain't got nutting 
for hold against me, Anna. 

Anna — Ain't I yust ! Well, lemme tell you — [She 
glance* at Bitkke and stops abruptly.^ Say, Mat, I'm 
e'priaed at you. You didn't think anything hrf 
said 

BtTEKE — [Glumly.^ Sure, what else woidd it be? 

Anna — Think I've ever paid any attention to all his 
crazy bull? Gee, you must take me for a five-year- 
old kid. 

BtTEKK — [Puzzled and beginning to be irritated i 
her too.l I don't know how to take you, with yaai 
saying this one minute and that the next. 

Anna — ^Well, he has notlung to do with it. 

Burke — Then what is it has? Tell me, and dottl 
keep rae waiting and sweating blood. 

Anna — [Reaoluteltf.'^ I can't tell you — and I wont 
I got a good reason— and that's all you need to know. 
I can't marry you, that's all there is to it, [Distract- 
edly.} So, for Gawd's sake, let's talk of something 
else. 

BuBEE — 111 not! [Then fearfidly.'] Is it marri 
to someone else you are — in the West maybe? 

Anna — [Vehemently.^ I should say not. 

BuKKE — [Regaining his courage.} To the divil v 
all other reasons then. They don't matter with me at** 
all. [He gets to his feet confidently, assuming a mas- 
terful tone.} I'm thinking you're the like of them 



ANNA CHRISTIE 

Sen can't make up their mind till they're drove to it. 
Well, then, I'll males up your mind for you bloody 
quick. [He ta.kes her by the arms, grinning to soften 
his serious buUying,^ We've had enough of talk! Let J 
you be going into your room now and be dressing iai 
your best and we'll be going ashore. 

Chki3- — [Aroused — angrilt/.'\ No, py God, she donti 
do that! [Tafces hold of her arm.] 

Anna — [Who has Ustejied to Bukee in astonishment. ' 
She draws away from him, instinctively repelled by hit 
tone, but not exactly sure if he is serious or not — a 
trace of resentment in her voice.\ Say, where do you 
get that stuff? 

BuREB — [Imperiously.] Never mind, now ! Let you 
go get dressed, I'm saying. [Then turning to Chaib.] 
We'll be seeing who'll win in the end — me or you. 

Cebi9 — [7*0 Anna — also in an authoritative tone.] 
You stay right here, Anna, you hear! [Anna standi 
looking from one to the other of them as if she thought 
they had both gone crazy. Then the expression of her 
face freezes into th^ hardened sneer of her experience.] 

BuHKB— [Fio;«%.] She'll not! She'll do what I, 
say ! You've had your hold on her long enough. It*# 
niy turn now. 

Anna- — [IF«(A a hard laugh.] Your turn? Say»l 
what am I, anyway? 

BnEKE — 'Tis not what you are, 'tis what you're ] 
going to be this day — and that's wedded to me before ' 
night comes. Hurry up now with your dressing. 



176 



AIWA CHRISTIE 



Chkis — l^Commandiiigli/.] You don't do one tang 
he saj, Anna! [Anna laughs mockingly,^ 

BuKKE — She will, so ! 

Chris — Ay tal you she don't ! Ay'm her fa'der. 

ButtKE — She will in spite of you. She's taking E 
orders from this out, not yours. 

Anna — [Laughing agatn.^ Orders is good! 

BtTEKE — [Turnijig to her impatiently/.^ Hurry i 
now, and shake a leg. We've no time to be wasting. 
[Irritated as she doesn't move.'] Oo you hear what I'm 
telling you? 

Chbis — You stay dere, Anna ! 

Anna — [At the end of her ■patience — biasing out at 
them passionately.^ You can go to hell, both of you! 
[There is something in her tone that makes them forget 
their quarrel and turn to her in a stunned amosement. 
Anna laughs wildly.~\ You're just like all the rest of 
them — you two! Gawd, you'd think I was a piece of 
furniture! Ill show you! Sit down now! [As they 
hesitate — furiously.'^ Sit down and let me talk for a 
minute. You're all wrong, see? Listen to me! I'm 
going to tell you something — and then I'm going to 
beat it. [To Bubee — with a harsh laugh.^ I'm going 
to tell you a funny story, so pay attention. [Pointing 
to Chkis.] I've been meaning to turn it loose on him 
every time he'd get my goat with his bull about keeping 
me safe inland. I wasn't going to tell you, but you've 
forced me into it. What's the dif ? It's all wrong any- 
way, and you might as well get cured that way as any 
other. [TTifA hard moc!cing.'\ Only don't forget what 



ANNA CHRISTIE 

70U said a miaute ago about it not mattenng to 7011 
what other reason I got so long aa I wasn't married to 
no one elsEs. 

Burke — [Manfully.'] That's my word, and) IT] 
stick to it! 

Anna — [Laughing bitterljf.'] What a chancet Yon ' 
malce me laugh, honest! Want to bet you will? Wait 
'n see! [She stands at the table rear, looking from 
one to the other of the two men with her hard, mocking 
smile. Then she begins, fighting to control her emotion 
and speak calTrdy.'\ First thing is, I want to tell jou 
two guys something. You was going on 's if one of you 
had got to own me. But nobody owns mc, see? — 'cept- 
ing myself. I'll do what I please and no man, I don't 
give a hoot who he is, can tell me what to do ! I ain't 
asJdng either of you for a living. I can make it myself 
—one way or other. I'm my own boss. So put that in 
your pipe and smoke it ! You and your orders ! 

BuKKE — [Protestingly.^ I wasn't meaning it that 
way at all and well you know it. You've no call to be 
raising this rumpus with me, [Pointing to Chkis.] 
*Tis him you've a right 

Anna — I'm coming to him. But you — you did meaa 
it that way, too. You sounded — yust like all the rest. 
{^Hysterically.'] But, damn it, shut up! Let me talk 
(or a change! 

BtTBKE — 'Tis quare, rough talk, that — for a dacenl J 
prl the like of you ! 

Anna — [WtfA a hard laugh.] Decent? Who tdld 
you I was? [Chkis is sitting teith bowed shoulders, hit 



178 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



head in his kandt. She leans over in exaxperation <mi\ 
shakes him violently by the shoulder.'] Don't go to 
■leep, Old Man! Listen here, I'm talking to you now! 

Chjiis — [Straightening up and looking about as if ke 
aere seeking a way to escape — with frightened fore- 
boding in his voice.] Ay don't vant for hear it. You 
vas going out of head. Ay tank, Anna. 

Anna — [^Violetttly.] Well, living with you is enough 
to drive anyone off their nut. Your bunk about the 
farm being so fine! Didn't I write you year after 
year how rotten it was and what a dirty slave them 
cousins made of me? What'd you care? Notliing! 
Not even enough to come out and see me I That crazy 
bull about wanting to keep me away from the sea don't 
go down with me ! You yust didn't want to be bothered 
with me ! You're like all the rest of 'em ! M 

Chkis — [Feebly.] Anna! It ain't so ^ 

Anna — [Not heeding his interruption — revenge' 
fvUy.] But one thing I never wrote you. It was one 
of them cousins that you think is such nice people — 
the youngest son — Paul — that started me wrong. 
[Loudly.] It wasn't none of my fault. I hated him 
worse'n hell and he knew it. But he was big and strong. 
— [Pointing to Burke] — like you! 

BcKKS — [Half springing to his feet — his 
clenched.] God blarst it ! [He sinks slowly back t; 
chair again. Hie kmickles showing white on his clenched 
hands, his face tense with the effort to suppress his 
grief and rage.] 

Cbbib — [In a cry of horrified pain.^ Anna! 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



179 



Anna — '[To hiinr— teeming not to have heard their 
I inter ruptioni.'\ That was why I run away from the 
farm. That was what made me get a job as nurse girl 
in St. Paul. \^With a hard, mocking laugh.] And you 
think that was a nice yob for a girl, too, don't you? 
[^Sarcastically,'\ With all them nice inland fellers just 
lookiiig for a chance to marry me, I s'pose. Marry me? 
What a chance! They wasn't looking for marrying. 
[As BuKKE lets a groan of fury escape him — dear 
perately.} I'm owning up to everything fair and 
square. I was caged in, I tell you — yust like in yail — 
taking care of other people's kids — ^listening to 'cia 
bawling and crying day and night — ^when I wanted to 
be out — and I was lonesome — lonesome as hell ! [ With 
a sudden weariness in her voice.] So I give up finally. 
What was the use? [^She stops and looks at the two 
fR£n. Both are motionless and silent. Chris seems in 
a stupor of despair, kis house of cards fallen about him. 
Biteee's face is livid with the rage that is eating hivt: 
■ up, but he is too stunned and bewUdered yet to find a 
I vent for it. The condemnation slie feels in their silence 
goads Aska into a harsh, strident defiance.] You 
don't say nothing — either of you — but I know what 
you're thinking. You're like all the rest! [To Chzu 
— furiously.] And who's to blame for it, me or you? 
If you'd even acted like a man — if you'd even been a 
regular father and had me with you — maybe things 
I Would be dilTerent ! 

Casu — [/n agony.] Don't talk dat vay, Aonal ! 



180 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



Ay go crazy! Ay von't listen! [P«(« }iu handt over 
hU ears, ] 

Anna — [Infuriated hy his action — stridently.^ You 
will too listen! [She leans over aitd puUs his hands 
from his ears — leith hysterical rage.^ You — keeping 
me safe inland — I wasn't no nurse girl the last two 
years — I lied when I wrote you — I was in a house, that's 
what ! — yes, that kind of a house — the kind sailors lite 
you and Mat goes to in port — and your nice inland 
men, too-^and all men, God damn 'em! I hate 'em! 
Hate 'em! [She breaks into hysterical gobbing, throvi- 
ing herself into the chair and hiding her face in her 
hands on the table. The two men have sprung to their 
feet.] 

Chris — [Whimpering like a child.] Anna! Anna! 
It's lie! It's lie! [He stands wringing his hands 
together and begins to weep.] 

BuEKE — [His whole great body tense like a spr 
dully and gropingly.] So that's what's in it ! 

Anna — [Raising her head at the sound of his 
— with extreme mocking bitterness.] I s'pose you 
remember your promise, Mat? No other reason was to 
count with you so long as I wasn't married already. 
So I s'pose you want me to get dressed and go ashore, 
don't you? [She laughs.] Yes, you do! 

BcBKE — [On the verge of his outbreak — «(oi 
ingly.] God stiffen you! 

Anna — [Trying to keep up her hard, bitter tone, 6»# 
gradually letting a note of pittfui pleading creep in.] 
I a'pose if I tried to tdl you I wasn't — that — no more 



voice^^ 






ANNA CHRISTIE 181 

d Ijelieve me, wouldn't yon ? Yes, you would ! And 
if I told you that yust getting out in this btirge, and 
being on the sea had changed me and made me feel 
different about thinga, 's if all I'd been through wasn't 
me and didn't count asd was yust like it never happened 
— you'd laugh, wouldn't youP And you'd die laughing 
if I said that meeting you that funny way that 
might in the fog, and afterwards seeing that you w&s 
straight goods stuck on roe, had got me to thinking 
for the first time, and I sized you up as a different kind 
of man — a sea man as different from the ones on land 
as water is from mud — and that was why I got stuck 
on you, too, I wanted to marry you and fool you, but 
I couldn't. Don't you see how I'd changed ? I couldn't 
lOnarry you with you believing a lie^and I was shamed 
[to tell you the truth — till the both of jou forced my 
hand, and I seen you was the same as all the rest. And 
now, give me a bawling out and beat it, like I can tell 
you're going to. [She stops, looking at Burkb. He 
is silent, his face averted, his features beginmng to work 
with fury. She pleads passionately.'\ Will you believe 
it if I tell you that loving you has made me — clean? 
It's the straight goods, honest! [Then as he doesn't 
replif — bitterli/.] Like hell you will! You're like all 
the rest ! 

I BtiRKE — [Blazing out — turning on her in a perfect 
[frenzy of rage — Ms voice trembling with passion.^ The 
rest, is it? God's curse on you! Clane, is it? Yoa 
slut, you, I'll be killing you now! [He picks up the 
chair on which he has been sitting and, swinging it high 



182 ANNA CHRISTIE 

over hit shovider, springs toward her. Chbis ruihet 
forward with a cry of alarm, trying to ward off the 
blow from kis daughter. Anna looks up into Burke's 
et/es with the fearlessness of despair, Bubkb cheej^ 
himself, the chair held in tlie air,] 

Chbis — [WUdly.l Stop, jou crazy fool! You vai 
for murder her! 

Anka — [Pushing her father away hrusquely, 
eyes stiU holding Bubke's.] Keep out of this, you! 
[To BnEKE — duUy,} Well, ain't you got the nerve to 
doitP Go ahead! I'll be thankful to you, honest. I'm 
sick of the whole game. 

BuBKE — IThrowiTig the chair away into a corner € 
the room — helplessly.^ I can't do it, God help me, and>l 
your two eyes looking at me. [Furiously.^ Though I 
do be thinking I'd have a good right to smash your 
skull like a rotten egg. Was there iver a woman in 
the world had the rottenness in her that you have, and 
was there iver a man the like of me was made the fool 
of the world, and me thinking thoughts about you, and 
having great love for you, and dreaming dreams of the 
fine life we'd have when we'd be wedded ! [His voice 
high pitched in a lamentation that is like a keen^, 
Ycrra, God help me! I'm destroyed entirely and my 
heart is broken in bits ! I'm asking God Himself, was 
it for this He'd have me roaming the earth since I was 
a lad only, to come to black shame in the end, where 
I'd be giving a power of love to a woman is the same 
as others you'd meet in any hooker-shanty in port, 
with red gowns on them and paint on their grinning 



I 



ANNA CHRISTIE 

L mugs, would be sleeping with any man for a dollar 
\ or two! 

Anna — [/» a Bcream.1 Don't, Mat! For Gawd's 
sake! [Then raging and pov/nding on the table mth 
her hands.] Get out of here! Leave me alone! Get I 
out of here ! 

BiraKE — [Hi3 anger rushing bocAr on ftim.] I'll be 
going, surely! And I'll be drinking sloos of whiskey 
will wash that black kiss of yours off my lips ; and I'll 
be getting dead rotten drunk so I'll not remember if 
'twas iver born you was at all ; and I'll be shipping away 
on some boat will take me to the other end of the world 
where I'll never see your face again! [ff* turns toioard 
the door.] 

Chbi9 — [Who has been standmg in a stupor — tud- 
derdy grasping Bubkb by the arm — stupidly.1 No, 
you don't go. Ay tank maybe it's better Anna marry 
you now. 

BiTEKE — [Shalcing Chsis off — furiously.~\ Lave go 
of me, ye old ape ! Marry her, is it ? I'd see her roast- 
ing in hell first ! I'm shipping away out of this, I'm 
telling yout [Pointing to Anna — passionateli/.'\ And 
my curse on you and the curse of Almighty God and 
all the Saints ! You've destroyed me this day and may 
you lie awake in the long nights, tormented with 
thoughts of Mat Burke and the great wrong you'vB . 
done him ! 

Anna — [In anguish-l Mat ! [But he turns mthout 
another word and strides out of the doorway, Anna 
looJcs after him wildly, starts to run after him, then 



184 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



kidei her face in her outstretched armt, fobbing. 
Chbis standg in a stupor, staring at the ^oor,'\ 

Chbis — [After a pause, dully.^ Ay tank Ay go 
ashore, too. 

Anna- — [Lookimg up, wiUdly.^ Not after him! 
him go ! Don't you dare 

CuKis — [Soviberly.'\ Ay go for gat drink. 

Anna — [With a harsh laugh.'\ So I'm driving 3 
to drink, too, eh? I s'pose jou want to get drunk h 
you can forget — ^like him? 

Chkis — [Bursting out angrUi/.'] Yes, Ay ■ 
You tank Ay hke hear dem tangs. [Breaking down — 
weepinj.l Ay tank you vasn't dat kind of gel, Anna. 

Anna — [Modcinglj/.l And I s'pose you want me to 
beat it, don't you? You don't want me here disgracing 
you, I s'pose? 

Chbib — No, you stay here ! [Goes over and pats her 
on the shoulder, the tears running down his face.'] 
Ain't your fault, Anna, Ay know dat. [She looks up 
at him, softened. He bursts into rage.'] It's dat ole 
davil, sea, do this to me! [He shakes his fist at the 
door.] It's her dirty tricks! It vas all right on barge 
with yust you and me. Den she bring dat Irish fallar 
in fog, she make you like him, she make you fight with 
me all time ! If dat Irish fallar don't never come, you 
don't never tal me dem tangs, Ay don't never know, 
and everytang's all right. [He shakes his fist again,] 
Dirty ole davil ! 

Anna — [TTtiA spent weariness.] Oh, what's 
use? Go on ashore and get drunk. 



ANNA CHRISTIE 186 

Chbis — {^Goes into room on Uft and gets hU cap. 
He goes to the door, tUent and stupid — then tum».'\ 
You vait here, Anna? 

Anna — {DvUif.l Maybe — and majbe not. Maybe 
rU get drunk, too. Maybe ITl— But what the heU 
do you care what I do? Go on and beat it. [Cnara 
turns ttupidlp and goes out. Anna tits at the table, 
staring straight in front of her.'\ 

{The Curtain Fallg} 



ACT FOUR 

ScBNs — Same at Act Three, about miie o'clock oj 
foggy night two days later. The whistlet of 
gteamers in the harbor can be heard. The cabin 
it lighted by a small lamp on the table. A suit 
case ttands in the middle of the floor. Anna is sit- 
ting in the Tockijtg-chair. She wears a hat, is all 
dressed up as in Act One. Her face is pale, looks 
terribli/ tired and worn, as if the two days just 
past had been ones of suffering and sleepiest 
nights. She stares before her despondently, her 
chin in her hands. There is a timid knock on the 
door in rear. Anna jumps to her feet with a 
startled exclamation and looks toward the door \ 
with an expression of mingled hope and fear. 



Anna — [Famtly.'] Come in. {Then summoning I 
her courage — more resolutely.'^ Come in. {The door 
is opened and Cheis appears in the doorway. He is in 
a very bleary, bedraggled condition, suffering from the 
after effects of his drunk. A tin paU full of foaming 
beer is in his hand. He comes forward, his eyes avoid- 
ing Anna's. He mutters stupidly.'] It's foggy. 

Anna — [Looking him over with contempt.'] So you 
come back at lust, did you? You're a fine looking 
sight! {Then jeeringly.] I thought you'd be&teu it 



190 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



for good on account of the disgrace I'd brought on joii. 

Chuis — [Wincing — faintlf/.l Don't say dat, Anna. 
please! [He tita in a chair by the table, tetting dovn 
the can of beer, holding hia head in hia hands,^ 

Anna — [Looks at him with a certain sympathjfi 
What's the troubleP Feeling sick? 

Chuis — [Dully.'\ Inside my head feel sick. 

Anna — Well, what d'you expect after being aoui 
for two daysP [RcsentfuUy,^ It serves you right, 
fine thing — you leaving me alone on this barge all t 
time! 

Chris — [Humfti^.] Ay'm sorry, Anna. 

Anna — [Scornfully.'] Sorry! 

Cbbis — But Ay'm not sick inside head vay you me* 
Ay'm sick from tank too much about you, about me. 

Anna — And how about me? D'you suppose I aia 
been thinking, too? 

CuRis — Ay'm sorry, Anna. [He sees her bag and 
gives a start.'] You pack your bag, Anna? You vas 
going ? 

Anna — [Forcibly.] Yes, I was going right back t 
what you think. 

Chris — Annal 

Anna — I went ashore to get a train for New York. 
I'd been waiting and waiting 'till I was sick of it. Tbeii, 
I changed my mind and decided not to go to-day, 
I'm going first thing to-morrow, so it'll all be the eti 
in the end. 

Chris — [Raising his head — pleadingly.] No, ; 
never do dat, Anna! 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



191 



Anna — [TFt(ft a sneer.] Why not, I'd like to know? 
Chbis — You don't never gat to do — dat vaj — no 
[ more, Ay tal you. Ay fix dat up all right. 
Anna — ISuspiciougly.] Fix what up? 
Cbkis — [Not seeming to have heard her quettion — 
mdly.] You vas vaiting, you say? You vasn't vaiting 
for me. Ay bet, 

Anna — [Calloutly.] You'd win. 
Cheis — For dat Irish fallar? 

Anna — [Defantly.] Yes — if you want to know! 
[Then with a forlorn laugh.~] If he did come back it'd 
only be 'cause he wanted to beat me up or kill me, I 
suppose. But even if he did, I'd rather have him come 
than not show up at all. I wouldn't care what he did. 

Chbis — ^Ay guess it's true you vas iu love with him 
all right. 

Anna — ^You guess ! 

Chris — [Turning to her earnestly.] And Ay'ra 
Borry for you like hell he don't come, Anna ! 
. Anna — [Softened.] Seems to me you've changed 
I your tune a lot. 

Cheis — Ay've been tanking, and Ay guess it vas all 
my fault — all bad tangs dat happen to you. [Plead- 
ingly.] You try for not hate me, Anna, Ay'm crazy 
L ole fool, dat's all. 
I Anna — ^Wlio said I hated you? 

P Chsis — Ay'm sorry for everytang Ay do wrong for 
you, Anna. Ay vant for you be happy all rest of your 
life for make up! It make you happy marry dat Irish 
fallar, Ay vant it, too. 



193 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



Anna — [Dully.] Well, there ain't no chance. But 
I'm glad you think diiferent about it, anyway. 

Chkis — [Supplicatinglj/.l And you tank — maybe 
— ^jou forgive me sometime? 

Anna — [With a wan amile.] I'll forgive you ri^ 
now. 

Chkis — [Seising her hajid arid kissing it — brokenly,'] 
Annalilla! Anna lilla! 

Anna— [ ToMcAed but a bit embarrasied.} Don't 
bawl about it. There ain't nothing to forgive, anyway. 
It ain't your fault, and it ain't mine, and it ain't his 
neither. We're ail poor nuts, and tilings happen, and 
we yust get mixed in wrong, that's all. 

Chris — [Eagerly.] You say right tang, Anna, pj; 
golly! It ain't nobody's fault! [Shaking hit fiitA 
It's dat ole davil, sea ! 

Anna — [With an exasperated laugh.] Gee, wont^ 
you ever can that stuff? [Cheis relapses into injured 
silence. After a pause Anna continues curiously.] 
You said a minute ago you'd fixed something up — aboub 
me. What was it? 

Chkis — [After a hesitating pause.] Ay*m shippig 
avay on sea again, Anna. 

Anna — [Astounded.] You're — ^what? 

Chkis — Ay sign on steamer sail to-morrow. Ay j 
my ole yob— bo'sun. [Anna stares at ktm. As he g 
on, a bitter smile comes over her face.] Ay tank datf 
beat tang for you. Ay only bring you bad luck, A^ 
tank. Ay make your mo'der's life sorry. Ay don't vant 
make yours dat way, but Ay do yust same. Dat ole 



I 

I 



ANNA CHRISTIE 

davil, sea, she malce me Yonah man ain't no good for 
nobodj. And Ay tank now it ain't no vise fight with 
sea. No man dat live going to beat her, pj jingo ! 

Anna — \_With a laugh of helpless bittemess.^ SoJ 
that's how jou've fixed me, is it? 

Chbis — Yea, Ay tank if dat ole davil gat me back-i 
she leave you alone den. 

Anna — {^Bitterly.'] But, for Gawd's sake, don't yon • 
Bee, you're doing the same thing you've always doni 
Don't you see—? j^But she sees the look of obsessed 
stubborTmess on her father's face and gives it up help- 
lessli/.l But what's the use of talking. You ain't 
right, that's what. I'll never blame you for nothing 
no more. But how you could figure out that was fix- 
ing me ! 

Chbis — ^Dat ain't all. Ay gat dem fallars in steara- 
ship office to pay you all money coming to me every j 
month vhile Ay'm avay. 

AnnA—^^With ahardlaugh.J Thanks. Butlguess ' 
I won't be hard up for no small change. 

Chbts — [Hart — kumbly.l It ain't much. Ay know, 
but it's plenty for keep you so you never gat go 
back 

Anna— [S'ftor%.] Shut up, will you? Well talk J 
about it later, see?. 

Chbis — '[After a pause — ingratiatingly.^ You like 
Ay go ashore look for dat Irish fallar, Anna? 

Anna — lAngrUif.'] Not much! Think I want to 
drag him back? 

Chkis — [After a pause — uTtcomfortablv.'] Py golly, 



194 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



dat booze don't go veil. Give me fever, Ay tank. Ai 
feel hot like hell, [He takes off his coat and lett it 
drop on the floor. There is a loud thud.\ 

Anna — [With a aiort.] What you got in your 
pocket, for Pete's sake — a. ton of lead? [She reachei 
down, takes the coat and pulls out a revolver — look/ti 
from it to him i« amazement,] A gun? What 
you doing with this? 

Chris — [Sheepishly.] Ay forgat. Ain't nuti 
Ain't loaded, anyvay. 

Anna — [Breaking it open to make sure — tl 
closing it again — looking at htm suspiciously,] That 
ain't telling me why you got it? 

Chkis — [SlieepislUy.] Ay'm ole fool. Ay gat it 
vhen Ay go ashore first. Ay tank den it's all fault of 
dat Irish f allar. 

Anna — [With a shudder.] Say, you're crazier than 
I thought. I never dreamt you'd go that far. 

CBEia — [Quickly.] Ay don't. Ay gat better aense 
right avay. Ay don't never buy bullets even. It ain't 
his fault, Ay know. 

Anna — [Still suspicious of him.] Well, I'll take 
care of this for a while, loaded or not. [Slie puts it in 
the drawer of table and closes the drawer,] 

Chkis — [Placatingljf.] Throw it overboard if you 
vant. Ay don't care. [Then after a pause.] Py golly, 
Ay tank Ay go lie down. Ay feel sick. [Anna takes a 
magazine from the table, Chris hesitates by htl\ 
chair.] Ve talk again before Ay go, yes? 

Anna — [Dully.] Where's this ship going to? 



!ooArjl 

] 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



196 



tati 



!hki8 — Cape Town. Dat's in South Africa. She's 
British steamer called Londonderry. \^He standi hes*- 
tatingltf — f.nally blurts out.^ Anna — you forgive rae 

■e? 

Anna — \Wearily.\ Sure I do. You ain't to blame, 
ou're yust — what jou are — ^like mc. 

Chbis — [Pleadingly. '\ Den — you lat me kiss you 
again once? 

Anna — [Raising her 'face — forcing a wan smUe.^ 
Sure. No hard feelings, 

Chris — [Kisses her — broketUy.'] Anna iilla! Ay — 
[Be fights for words to express himself, but pads none 
— miserably—^with a *o6.] Ay can't say it. Good- 
night, Anna. 

Anna — Good-night. [He picks up the can of beer 
and goes slowly into the room on left, his shoulders 
bowed, his head sunk forward dejectedly. He closes the 
door after him. Anna turns over the pages of the 
magazine, trying desperately to banish her thoughts by 
looking at the pictures. This fails to distract her, and 
flinging the magazine back on the table, she springs to 
her feet and walks about the cabin distractedly, clench- 
ing and unclenching her hands. She speaks aloud to 
herself in a tense, trenAling voice.^ Gawd, I can't 
stand this much longer ! What am I waiting for any- 
way? — ^like a damn fool! [She laughs helplessly, then 
checks herself abruptly, as she hears the sound of heavy 
footsteps on the deck outside. She appears to recognize 
these and her face lights up with joy. She gasps:'j[ 
Matl [A strange terror seems suddenly to seize her. 



196 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



She rushes to the table, takes the revolv. 
and crouches down in the comer, left, behind the cup- 
hoard. A moment later the door is fiung open and Mat 
Burke appears vn. the doorway. He is in bad shape — 
his clothes torn and dirty, covered reith sawdust as if he 
had been groveUing or sleeping on barroom floors. 
There is a red bruise on his forehead over one of hit 
eyes, another over one cheekbone, his knuckles are 
skinned and raw — plain evidence of the fighting he hat 
been through on his "bat." His eyes are bloodshot and 
heavy-lidded, his face has a bloated look. But beyond 
these appearances — the results of heavy drinking— 
there is an expression in his eyes of wild mental turmoil, 
of impotent animal rage baffled by its ow 
misery.^ 

BrnKB — [Peers blinkingly about the 
hoarsely.] Let you not be hiding from me, wlioei 
here — though 'tis well you know I'd have a right to 
come back and murder you, [He stops to listen. Hear- 
ing no sound, he closes the door behind him and comes 
forward to the table. He throws himself into the 
rocking-chair — despondently.] There's no one here, 
I'm thinking, and 'tis a great fool I am to be coming. 
[With a sort of duinb, uncomprehending afiguish.'\ 
Yerra, Mat Burke, 'tis a great jackass you've become 
and what's got into you at all, at al! ? She's gone out of 
this long ago, I'm telling you, and youll never see her 
face again. [Anna stands up, hesitating, struggling 
between joy and fear. BriKKE's eyes fall on Anna's 
bag. He leans over to examine if.] What's this? 



turmou, 
'hoer^^* 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



197 



[^JoyfuUy.'\ It's hers. She's not gone! But where is 
she? Ashore? [^Darkly.^ What would she be doing 
ashore on this rotten night? [Hi* face auddeidy con- 
wised Jcith grief and rage.'] 'Tis that, is it? Oh, 
God's curse on her ! [RagingJ^ I'll wait 'till she comes 
and choke her dirty life out. [Anna starts, her face 
grows hard. She steps into the room, the revolver in . 
her right hand }>y her s%de.'\ I 

Anna — [In a cold, hard tone.'\ What are you doing I 
I here? I 

BcKEB — [Wheeling about with a terrified gasp.^ ' 
' Glory be to God! [They remain motionless and sUent 
for a moment, holding each other's epes.J 

Anna — [In the same hard voicc.^ Well, can't you 
, talk? I 

BnasE — [Trying to fall into an easy, careless tone.^ ] 
You've a year's growth scared out of me, coming at me 
I 80 sudden and me thinking I wag alone. 

Anna — You've got your nerve butting in here with- 
out knocking or nothing. What d'you want? 

BrRKE — [AirU>/.] Oh, nothing much. I was want- 
ing to have a last word with you, that's all. [ife movet 
a step toward her.'\ i 

Anna — [Sharply — raising the revolver in her hand.} I 
Careful now ! Don't try getting too close. I heard 
what you said you'd do to me. ' J 

BnaKE — [Noticing the revolver for the first (tnw.] 

, Is it murdering me you'd be now, God forgive you? 

\_Then viith a contemptuous laugh.'\ Or is it thinking 



198 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



I'd be frightened by that old tin whistle? 
itraight for her.l 

AN^fA — \^Wildly.'\ Look out, I tell you! 

BuBKE — [IfAo hag covts no close that the revolver 
i» almost touching his chest.'] Let you shoot, then! 
l^Then with sudden tvUd grief.] Let you shoot, I'm 
Baying, and be done with it! Let you end me with a 
ahot and I'll be thanking you, for it's a rotten dog's 
life I've lived the past two days since I've known what 
you are, 'til I'm after wishing I was never born at all ! 

Anna — [Overcome — letting the revolver drop to the 
floor, as if her fingers had no strength to hold it — 
•hysterically.] What d'you want coming here? Why 
don't you beat it? Go on! [Ske passes him and sinks 
down in the rocMng-chair.] 

BuBKE — [Following her — mournfully.] 'Tis righcfl 
you'd be asking why did I corae. [Then angrilg.] "Kb " 
because 'tia a great weak fool of the world I am, and 
me tormented with the wickedness you'd told of your- 
self, and drinking oceana of booze that'd make me for- 
get. Forget P Divil a word I'd forget, and your face 
grinning always in front of ray eyes, awake or asleep, 
'til I do be thinking a madhouse is the proper place 
for me. 

Amna — [Glancing at his hands and face — scom-^ 
fvUff.] You look like you ought to be put away some 
place. Wonder you wasn't pulled in. You been scrap- 
, too, ain't V 



ping. 



t your 



BrRKB — I have — ^with every scut would take off his 
coat to me I [Fiercely.] And each time I'd be hitting 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



1» 



[I't his face I'd be seeing 



one a clout m the mug, it wasn't 
at all, but yours, and me wanting to drive you a blow 
Would knock jou out of this world where I wouldn't be 
seeing or thinking more of you. 

Anna — [Her lips trembling pitifvUi/,'^ Thanka! 

BcREE — [Walking up and down — distractedly,'] 
That's right, make game of me! Oh, I'm a great 
coward Burely, to be coming back to speak with you 
at all. You've a right to laugh at me. ■ 

Anna — I ain't laughing at you. Mat. I 

BuKKE — [Unheeding.~\ You to be what yoii arej^ 
and me to be Mat Burke, and me to be drove back tq 
look at you again! Tis black shame is on me! 

Anna — [SesentfuUy.Ji Then get out. No one*« 
holding you ! 

BuEKs — [BmeUderedlT/.^ And me to listen to that 
talk from a woman like you and be frightened to close 
her mouth with a slap ! Oh, God help me, I'm a yellow 
coward for all men to spit at ! [Then furiouslff.l But 
111 not be getting out of this 'till I've had me word. 
[Raising Ms fist threateningly.^ And let you look out 
how you'd drive me ! [Letting his fist fall helplessly,'^ 
Don't be angry now! I'm raving like a real lunatic, 
I'm thinking, and the sorrow you put on me has my 
brains drownded in grief. [Siiddeidy bending down to 
her and grasping her arm intensely,~l Tell me it's a lie, 
I'm saying! That's what I'm after coming to hear 
you say. 

AssA.—[Dully.'\ A he? What? 

BuKKE — [With passionate entreat^.] All the had-J 



200 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



ness you told me two days back. Sure it must be a lie! 
Vou was only making game of me, wasn't jou? Tell 
me 'twas a lie, Anna, and Fll be saying prayers of 
thanks on my two knees to the Almighty God ! 

Anna — {Terribly shaken — faintly.] I can't, Mat. 
{As he turns away — imploringly.] Oh, Mat, won't you 
see that no matter what I was I ain't that any more? 
Why, listen! I packed up my bag this afternoon and 
went ashore. I'd been waiting here all alone for two 
days, tliinking maybe you'd come back — thinking 
maybe you'd think over all I'd said — and maybe — oh, 
1 don't know what I was hoping! But I was afraid to 
even go out of the cabin for a second, honest — -afraid 
you might come and not find me here. Then I gave 
up hope when you didn't sliow up and I went to the 
railroad station. I was going to New York. I waa 
going back— — - 

Burke — [Hoarsely.] God's curse on you! 

Anna — Listen, Mat ! You hadn't come, and I'd ga' 
up hope. But — in the station — I couldn't go. I'd 
bought my ticket and everytliing, {She takes the ticket 
from her dress and tries to hold it before his eyes.] 
But I got to thinking about you — and I couldn't take 
the train — I couldn't! So I come back here — to wait 
some more. Oh, Mat, don't you see I've changed? 
Can't you forgive what's dead and gone — and forget it? 

BuBKE — {Turning on her — overcome by rage 
again.] Forget, is it? I'll not forget 'til my dying 
day, I'm telling you, and mc tormented with thoughts. 
{In a frejiny.] Oh, I'm wishing I had wan of them 



'as 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



I 

k 



201 1 

lomenst me this minute and I'd beat him with my fista 
'till he'd be a bloody corpse! I'm wishing the whole 
lot of them will roast in hell 'til the Judgment Day — 
and yourself along with them, for you're as bad i 
they are. 

Anna — [^Shuddering. '\ Mat! [Then after a patugM 
— in a voice of dead, stony caltn.^ Well, you've had! 
your say. Now you better bent it. 

BuKKE — [Starts slowly for the door — heaxtatet — J 
then after a pause.'] And what'll you be doing? 

Anna — What difference does it make to you? 

Bn&KE — I'm asking you ! 

Anna — [In the same iome.] My bag's packed and 
I got my ticket. I'll go to New York to-morrow. 

BiTitK£ — [Helplesily.~\ You mean — you'll be doing! 
the same again.'' 

Anna — [Stonily. 1 Yes, 

BuBKE — [In anguish.] YouTl not! Don't torment 
me with that talk! 'Tis a she-divil you are sent to 
drive me mad entirely ! 

Anna — [Her voice hreaJcing.] Oh, for Gawd's Gake> 
Mat, leave me alone ! Go away ! Don't you see I'm 
licked? Why d'you want to Iceep on kicking me? 

BpBKE — [indignantly.] And don't you deserve thai 
Worst I'd say, God forgive you? 

Anna — All right. Maybe I do. But don't rub it in. 
Why ain't you done what you said you was going to? 
Why ain't you got that ship was going to take you to . 
the other side of the earth where you'd never see me a 
again? 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



Whafc — then you're goitij 
m, drunk i 



BiTKKK — I have. 

Anna — [Startled.'\ 
honest? 

BuKKE — I signed on to-day at n 
was — and she's sailing to-morrow. 

Anna — And whcre's ehe going to? 

Burke — Cape Town. 

Anna — [The memory of having heard that name t 
little whUe before coming to her — with a start, cm 
futedlt/.l Cape Town? Where's that. Far away? 

BuKKE — 'Tis at the end of Africa. That's far™ 
for you. 

Anna — {^Forcing a laugh.1 You're keeping your 
word all right, ain't you? [^ After a slight pause— 
euriouslyJ] What's the boat's name? 

BuBKE— The Londonderry. 

Anna — [/( suddenly comes to her that this is tM 
tame ship her father is sailing on.] The LondonderryH 
It's the same — Oh, this is too much! {^With i 
ironical laughter.'\ Ha-ha-ha! 

BcEKE — What's up with you now? 

Anna — Ha-ha-ha! It's funny, funny! I'll 
laughing ! 

BuKKE — [Irritated.'] Laughing at what? 

Anna — It's a secret. You'll know soon enough, 
funny. [Controlling herself — after a pause- 
oZ/y.] What kind of a place is this Cape Town? Kentj 
of dames there, I suppose? 

BuKKE — To hell with them! That I may never setiM 
Another woman to my dying hour ! 



^H ANNA CHRISTIE 20iB 

Akna — That's what you say now, but I'll bet by the 
time you get there you'll have forgot all about me and 
start in talking the same old bull you talked to me to _ 
the first one you meet. ■ 

Bttkke — lOffended-l I'll not, then! God mend yoOffl 
is it making me out to be the like of yourself you are^a 
and you taking up with this one and that all the years 1 
of your life? ' 

Anna — [^ArtgrUy assertive.'] Yes, that's yust what 
I do mean! You been doing the same thing all your 
life, picking up a new girl in every port. How're you 
any better than I wasP M 

BuEKE — [Thoroughly exasperated.^ Is it no shamflH 
you have at all? I'm a fool to be wasting talk on yon" 
and you hardened in badness, I'll go out of this and 
lave you alone forever. [He starts for the door — then 
stops to turn on her furiously.] And I suppose 'tis the 
same lies you told them all before that you told to me? 

Anna — [Indignantli/.] That's a lie! I never did! 

BuKSE — ^Miserably.'\ You'd be saying that, any- 
way. 

Anna — [Forcibly, with growing intensity.] Are 
you trying to accuse me — of being in love — really i 
love — ^with them? 

BuBKE — I'm thinking you were, surely. 

Anna — [Furiously, as if this were the last insult — 
advancing on ktm threateningly.] You mutt, you! 
I've stood enough from you. Don't you dare. [With 
tcornfwl bitterness.] Love 'em! Oh, my Gawd! You 
damn thick-head! Love 'em? [Savagely.] I hated_ 



2M 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



'em, I tell you ! Hated 'em, hated 'em, hated *em ! And 
may Gawd strike me dead this minute and mj mother, 
too, if she was alive, if I ain't telling you the honest 
truth! 

BuftKE — [ImmeTuely pleased hy her vehemence- 
light beginning to break over his face — but gtiU i 
tain, torn between doubt and the desire to believe — A^IjKrfl 
lessltf.l If I could only be believing you now! 

Anna — l^Distractedlp.^ Oh, what's the u 
What's the use of me talking? What's the 
of anything? [Pleadingly.^ Oh, Mat, you mustn't 
think that for a second! You mustn't! Think all 
the other bad about me you want to, and I 
won't kick, 'cause you've a right to. But don't tliink . 
that! [On the point of tears,'] I couldn't bear itU 
It'd be yust too much to know you was going awa^ 
where I'd never see you again — thinking that about u 

Bdhke — [After an inward struggle — tensely — fort 
ing out the words with difficidty.'] If I was believing- 
that you'd never had love for any other man i 
world but me — I could be forgetting the rest, maybe. 

Anna — [With a cry of joi/.] Mat! 

BuKKE — [5^010^^.] If 'tis truth you're after tellinj 
I'd have a right, maybe, to believe you'd changed— 
tliat I'd changed you myself 'til the thing you'd 1 
all your life wouldn't be you any more at all. 

AtiJi A— [Hanging on his words — breathlessly.^ 
Mat ! That's what I been trying to tell you all alonf 

BxiEKE — [Simply.^ For I've a power of strength h 
me to lead men the way I want, and women, too, mayl 



I 



ANNA CHRISTIE 

and I'm thinking I'd change you to a m 

entirelj, so I'd never know, or you either, what kind of 

woman you'd been in the past at all. 

Anna — Yes, you could, Mat! I know you could! 

BuKKE — And I'm thinking 'twas n't your fault, 
maybe, but having that old ape for a father that left 
you to grow up alone, made you what you was. And 
if I could be believing 'tis only me you 

Anna — IDistractedly.'] You got to believe it, Mat! 
What can I do ? I'll do anything, anything you want to 
prove I'm not lying ! 

BuRKK — [Suddenly teems to have a solution. He 
feeli in the pocket of his coat and grasps soviething — 
toleimily.^ Would you be willing to swear an oath, 
now — a terrible, fearful oath would send your soul to 
the divils in hell if you was lying? 

Anna — [Eagerly.^ Sure, I'll swear, Mat — on any- 
thing! 

BuKKE — [Takes a small, cheap old crucifix from his 
pocket and holds it up for her to see."] Will you swear 
on this? 

Anna — [Reaching out for it.'\ Yea, Sure I wilL 
Give it to me. 

Burks — [Holding it away.l 'Tis a cross was given 
me by my mother, God rest her soul. [He makes the - 
sign of the cross mechanically.^ I was a lad only, and 
she told me to keep it by me if I'd be waking or sleeping 
and never lose it, and it'd bring me luck. She died 
soon after. But I'm after keeping it with me from 
that day to this, and I'm telling jou there's great 



206 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



power in it, and 'tis great bad luck it'e saved me from 
and me roaming the seas, and I having it tied round 
mj neck when my last ship sunk, and it bringing me safe 
to land when the others went to their death. \_^erif 
■t earTieatly.l And I'm warning you now, if you'd swear 
an oath on this, 'tis my old woman herself will be look- 
ing down from Hivin above, and praying Almighty God 
and the Saints to put a great curse on you if she'd 
hear you swearing a lie! 

Anna — [Awed by his manner — superstitiouslif,] I 
wouldn't have the nerve — honest — if it was a lie. But 
it's the truth and I ain't scared to swear. Give it 
to me. 

BuBKE — [Handing it to her — almost fnghtenedly, 
as if he feared for her safety.^ Be careful what you'd 
swear, I'm saying. 

Anna — [Holding the cross gingerlj/.J Well — what 
do you want me to swear? You say it. 

BuEKE — Swear I'm the only man in the world ivir 
you felt love for. 

Anna — [Looking into his eyes steadily.^ 1 swear it. 

BcBKE — ^And that you'll be forgetting from this day 
all the badness youVe done and never do the like of 
it again. 

Anna — [Forcibly.^ I swear it! I swear it by God! 

BtTEKE — And may the blackest curse of God strike 
you if you're lying. Say it now ! 

Anna — And may the blackest curse of God strike 
me if I'm lying ! 

BuKKE — [With a stupendous sigh.^ Oh, glory be 



ANNA CHRISTIE 207 

to God, I'm after believing you now ! ^^He takes the 
CTOst from her hand, his face beaming with joy, ami 
puts it back in his pocket. He puts his arm about her 
uaist and is about to kiss her when he stops, appalled hjf . 
some terrible doubt.'\ 

Anna — [^Alarvied.~\ What's the matter with you? 
I BcREE — \With sudden fierce questioniiig.l Is it 
I Catholic ye areP 

Anna — [Confused.'] No. Why? 
BnaKE — [FUled with a sort of bewildered fore- 
boding.] Oh, God, help me! [With a dark glanee of 
suspicion at her.] There's some divil's trickery in it, 
to be swearing an oath on a Catholic cross and you wan 
of the others. 
I Akna — [Distractedly.] Oh, Mat, don't you be- 
I lieve me ? 

BcuKK — [Miserably.] If it isn't a Catholic you 

Anna — I ain't nothing. What's the diiference? 
Didn't you lioar me swear? 

'BuaK'K— [Passionately.] Oh, I'd a right to stay 
away from you — but I couldn't ! I was loving yon in 
spite of it all and wanting to be with you, God forgive 
me, no matter what you are. I'd go mad if I'd not 
have yon ! I'd be killing the world — [He seizes her in 
hit arms and kisses her fiercely.] 

Anna — [With a gasp of joy.] Mat ! 

Burke — [Suddenly holding her away from him and 
ttaring into her eyes as if to probe into her sovi — ■ 
ilowly.] If yonr oath is do proper oath at all. 111 



208 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



have to be taking jour naked word for it and have yoa 
anyway, I'm tliinking — I'm needing you that bad ! 

Anna — [Hurt — reproachfuUt/.] Mat! I swore, 
dido't I? 

BuAEE — [Defiantly, as if chaUengtTig fate."] Oath 
or no oath, 'tis no matter. We'll be wedded in the 
morning, with the help of God. [StUl more defiantl^.'\ 
We'll be happy now, the two of us, in spite of the divil t 
[He crushet her to him and kisses Her again. The door 
on the left is pushed open and Cnais appears in the 
doorway. He stands blinking at them. At first the old 
expression of hatred of Burke comes into his eyes 
instinctively. Then a look of resignation and relief 
takes its place. His face lights up with a sudden happy 
thought. He turns back into the bedroom — reap- 
pears immediately with the tin can of beer in his hand 
— grinning. ] 

Chris — Ve have drink on this, py golly! [Thi 
break away from each other mith startled ewclam 
tions.1 

BwuKE — [Ea^plosively.] God stiffen it! [He foj 
a step toward Chris threateningly.'] 

Anna — [Happily — to her father."] That's the way 
to talk ! [With a laugh.] And say, it's about time for 
you and Mat to kiss and make up. You're going to be 
shipmates on the Londonderry, did you know it? 

BusKE — [Astounded.] Shipmates — Has 
self 

Chkis — [Equally astounded.] Ay vas bo'su 
her. 



ANNA CHRISTIE 



209 



I 



BuHKE— The divil! [Then angrilj/.^ Yoia'd be 
going back to sea and leaving her alone, would you? 

AsNA—lQuieldi/.l It's all right, Mat. That's 
where he belongs, and I want liim to go. You got to 
go, too; we'll need the monej. [W^ifA a laugh, as she 
gets the glasges.] And as for me being alone, that 
runs in the family, and I'll get used to it. \^Pouring I 
out their glasses.'^ I'll get a little house somewhere J 
and I'll make a regular place for you two to come back ;] 
to, — wait and see. And now you drink up and be i 
friends. 

BtTKKE — [IlappUy — hut still a bit resentful against 1 
the old man,.'] Sure! [^Clinking his glass against 
Chkis'.] Here's luck to you! [He drinks.] 

Chkis — [^Subdued — his face ■melancholy.'\ Skoal, | 
[He drinks. ] 

Burke — [To Anna, with a mnk.^ Youll not be 
lonesome long. I'll see to that, with the help of God. 
Tis himself here will be having a grandchild to ride on 
his foot, I'm telling you ! 

Anna — [Turning away in embarrassment.] Quit I 
the kidding, now. [She picks up her bag arid goes into I 
the room on left. As soon as she is gone Bueke I 
relapses into an attitude of gloomy thought. Chris 1 
stares at his beer absent-mindedly. Finally BrRKE I 
turns on htnt.] 

Burke — la it any religion at all you have, you and I 
your Anna ? 

Chris — [Surprised.] Vhy yea. Ve vaa Lutheran in 
ole country. 



Bi 



ANNA CHRISTIE 
[Horrified.] Luthers, is it? [Then I 



a grim resignation, slowly, aloud to himtdf.} Well, 
I'm damned then surely. Yerra, what's the difference? 
Tis the will of God, anyway. 

Chris — [Moodily preoccupied with his own thoughts 
— speaks with somber premonition as Anna re-enters 
from the left."] It's funny. It's queer, yes — you and 
me shipping on same boat dat vay. It ain't right. Ay 
don't know — it's dat funny vay ole davil sea do her 
vorst dirty triclts, yes. It's so. [He gets up and goet 
back and, opening the door, itarea out into the dark' 

BtTRKE — [Nodding his head in gloomy acquiescence 
— wit^ a great sigh.] I'm fearing maybe you have thff 
right of it for once, divil talte you. 

Anna — [Forcing a laugh.] Gee, Mat, you ain't 
agreeing with him, are you? [She comes forward and 
puts her arm about his shotdder — with a dctermmed 
gaiety.] Aw say, what's the matter? Cut out the 
gloom. We're all fixed now, ain't we, me and you? 
[Pourt out more beer into his glass and fiUt 
one for herself — slaps him on the hack.] Come on! 
Here's to the sea, no matter what! Be a game sport 
and drink to that ! Come on .' [She gulps down her 
glass. Burke banishes his superstitious premonitiont 
with a defiant jerJt of his head, grins up at her, awft 
drinks to her toast.] 

Chbis — [Looleing out into the night — lost in his 
fOuAer preoccupation — shakes his head and mutters.] 
Fog, fog, fog, all bloody time. You can't see vhere 



ANNA CHRISTIE 2H 

yaa vas going, no. Only dat ole davil, sea — she knows ! 
{The two itare at him. From the harbor comes the 
maffled, moumfvl wail of tteamera' whittlei.'\ 

IThe Curtmn Fofl*] 



"THE FIRST MAN" 
A P1.AT IN FouB Axna 



BUGENE (yNEILL 



CHARACTERS 

CtntTU Jatsok 

BIaxtha* hit wife 

JoHH Jatsoh, Am lather, a banker 

JoHK, Jb., Mi brother 

RicHAU), Am brother 

Ebthbs (Mrs. Mass Shbftibij>), hi$ titter 

Lilt, hit titter 

Mrs. Davidson, hit father't omtt 

IdAKK Sheffield, a lamger 

EuiLT, JoHM Jb.*s wife 

BlCHAKD BiaXLOW 

A Maid 
ATiAiNXD Ndbsb 



TIME— The Preeent 



SCENES 
ACTI 
Living-room in the house of Cu&tis Jatbon, Bridge- 
town, Conn. — an afternoon in early Fall. 

ACT n 

CpBTis' study — morning of the following day. 



The same — three o'clock in the morning of a day in 
early spring of the next year. ^ 



ACT IV 

Same as Act I — three days later. 



ACTI 



ACT I 

Scene — Living-room of Cuetis Jayson's house m 
Bridgetown, Conn. 

A laTge, comfortable room. On the left, an 
arm-chair, a big open fireplace, a writing deili 
with chair in far left corner. On tMi side there 
ii also a door leading into Curtis' stvdy. In the 
rear, center, a double doorway opening on the 
haU and the entryway. Bookcaset are buUt into 
the wall on both sides of this doorzcay. In the far 
right corner, a grand piano. Three large toin- 
dows looking out on the lawn, and another arm- 
chair, front, are on this right side of the room. 
Opposite the fireplace is a couch, facing front. 
Opposite the windowa on the right is a long table 
with magazines, reading lamp, etc. Four chairs 
are grouped about the table. The walls and ceil- 
ing are in a French gray color. A great rug 
covers most of the hardwood floor. 

It is around four o'clock of a fine afternoon in 
early fall. 

As the curtain rises, Martha, Cnaxis and 
BioELOw are discovered. Martha is a healthy, 
fine-looking woman of thirty-eight. She does Jiot 
appear this age for her strenuous life in the open 
has kept Tier young and fresh. She possesses the 



t THE FIRST MAN 

frank, clear, direct quality of outdoari, out- 
ipoken and generous. Her wavy hair is a dark 
brown, her eyes hlue-gray. Cuktis Jatson it a 
tall, rangy, broad-shovldered man of thirty- 
seven. While spare, his figure has an appearance 
of rugged health, of great nervous strength held 
in reserve. His square-jawed, large-featured 
face retains an eager boyish enthusiasm in spite 
of its prevailing expression of thoughtful, pre- 
occupied aloofness. Hit crisp dark hair is gray- 
ing at the temples, Edward Bigelow m a large, 
handsome man of thirty-nine. His face shows 
culture and tolerance, a sense of humor, a laxy 
unambitious contentment. Curtis is reading an 
article in tome scientific periodical, seated by the 
table. Martha and Bigelow are sitting nearby, 
laughing and chatting. 



BiOELOW — [Is talking with a comically worried 
earnest air."] So you know, I'm getting so I'm ac- 
tually afraid to leave them alone with that governeBS. 
She's too romantic. I'll wager she's got a whole book 
full of ghost stories, superstitions, and jeUow-journal 
horrors up her sleeve. 

Martha — Oh, poob! Doa't go milling around for 
trouble. When I was a kid I used to get fun out of 
my horrors. 

BiGEi.ow — But I imagine you were more 
than most of us. 

Martha— Why? 






THE FIRST MAN 

BiGEiow— Well, Nevada— the Far West at that < 
time — I ehould think a child would have grown so ac- 
customed to violent sceDes 

Mabtha — [^Smiling.^ Oh, in the mining camps; 
but you don't suppose my father lugged me along on 
his prospecting trips, do you? Why, I never saw any 
rough scenes until I'd finished with school and went to , 
live with father in Goldfield. 

BiGELOw — [Smili7ig.'\ And then you met Curt. I 

Maktha — Yes — but I didn't mean he was a rough 
Rcene. He was very mild even in those days. Do 
' tell me what he was like at Cornell. 

BiGELOw — A romanticist — and he still is! 

Martha — [Pointing at Cuetis with gay miichief.^ 
What! That sedate man! Never! 

Cuetis — [Looking up and smiling a 
feetionately — lazily,'\ Don't mind hin 
always was crazy. 

BiGELow — [3*0 Curt — accitii7igly.'\ Why did you 
elect to take up mining engineering at Cornell instead 
of a classical degree at the Yale of your fathers and 
brothers? Because you had been reading Bret Harte 
in prep, school and mistaken him for a modem realist. 
You devoted four years to grooming yourself for an- 
other outcast of Poker Flat. [Martha laughx.l 

Curtis — [Grijvning.^ It was you who were hyp- 
notized by Harte — so much so that his West of the 
past is still your blinded New England-movie idea of 
the West at present. But go on. What next? 

BiGELOw — Next? You get a job as engineer in 



' them both af- 
, Martha. He 



224 



THE FmST MAN 



that Goldfield mine — but you are soon disiUuBioned by 
ft laborious life where aix-shootera are as rare as nug- 
gets. You try prospecting. You find nothing but 
different varieties of pebbles. But it is necessary to 
your nature to project romance into these stones, so 
you go in strong for geology. As a geologist, you . 
become a slave to the Romance of the Rocks. It i 
but a step from that to anthropology — the I 
mance of all. There you find yourself — because then 
is no further to go. You win fame as the most prt 
£cient of young skull-hunters — and wander over 1 
face of the globe, digging up bones like an old dog. 

CuaTis — l^With a laugh.'\ The man is mad, 
tha. 

B10EI.0W — Mad! What an accusation to 
from one who is even now considering setting forth ( 
a five-year excavating contest in search of the remai 
of our gibbering ancestor, the First Man! 

CuHTis — [With sudden seriouijiess.^ I'm not coit 
sidering it any longer. I've decided to go. 

Martha — [Starting — tlie hurt ahowijtg in 
Boicr.] When did you decide? 

Curtis — I only really came to a decision this mc 
ing, [TFiift a scHousneis that force* BigeloW'b i 
terested attention.'] It's a case of got to go. It's | 
tremendous opportunity that it woidd be a crime foi 
me to neglect. 

BiGELOw — And a big honor, too, isn't it, to 1 
picked as a member of such a large affair? 

Curtis — [With a smUe.^ I guess it's just thfti 



THE FIRST MAN 



22fil 



they want all the men with considerable practical ex- 
perience they can get. There are bound to be hard- 
ships and they know I'm hardened to them, [Turning 
to his wife with an affectionate smile.'] We haven't 
roughed it in the queer comers for the lagt ten years 
without knowing how it's done, have we, Martha? 

Maktha — [DuUy.] No, Curt. 

CuRTia — [^With an earnest enthusiasm.'] And this I 
expedition is what you call a large affair, Big. It's 
the largest thing of its kind ever undertaken. The 
possibilities, from the standpoint of anthropology, are 
limitleHS. ■ - 

BiGKLow — [^With a grin.] Aha! Now we come | 
to the Missing Link! 

Curtis — [Frowning.] Darn your Barnum and I 
Bailey circus lingo. Big. This isn't a thing to mock I 
at. I should think the origin of man would be some- I 
thing that would appeal even to your hothouse iraag- I 
ination. Modern science believes — knows — that Asia J 
was the first home of the human race. That's where I 
we're going, to the great Central Asian plateau north.* 
of the Himalayas. 
I : BiGELow — [More soberly.] And there you hope to ] 
dig up — our first ancestor? 

CcBTis— It's a chance in a million, but I believe we 1 
may, myself — at least find authentic traces of him so ] 
that we can reconstruct his life and habits. I was up 
in that country a lot while I was mining advisor to the j 
Chinese government — did some of my own work on the [ 
side. The extraordinary results I obtained with the ] 



226 



THE FIRST MAN 



little means at my disposal conviaced me of the richcB 
yet to be uncovered. The First Maa may be among 
them. 

BiGSLow — [Tumijig to Martha.] And you were 
with him on that Asian plateau? 

Martha — ^Yes, I've always been with him. 

Curtis — You bet she has. [He goes over and putt 
his hand on kU xvife's »kotUder affectionately.^ Mar- 
tha's more efficient than a whole staff of assistants 
and secretaries. She knows more about what I'm 
doing than I do half the time. [He tumt toward kit 
ttudtf.^ Well, I guess I'll go in and work some, 

Maktha — [Quietly.l Do you need me now. Curt? 

BiGELow — IStarting ap.~\ Yes, if you two want 
to work together, why just shoo me 

Curtis — [Puts both hands on his shoulders and 
forces him to his seat agatn.^ No. Sit down, Big. 
I don't need Martha now, [Coming over to her, bends 
down and kisses her — rather mockinglyj^ I couldn't 
deprive Big of an audience for his confessions of | 
fond parent. 

BiGELov — Aha ! Now it's you who are mocking | 
something you know nothing about. [An atelex 
silence follozns this remark.^ 

Curtis — [Frovming.^ I guess you're forgettinj 
aren't you, Big? [He turns and walks iato his study, 
closing the door gently behind him.^ 

Martha — [After a pause — sadlj/.} Poor Curt. 

BioELOw — [Ashatned and confused.'] I had fog 
gotten 



THE FIKST MAN 



2!tr 



I 



Mabtha — ^The years have made me reconciled, 

ley haven't Curt. {She sight — thtn turm to Bigk- 
with a forced smUe.'] I suppose it's hard for 

ij of you back here to realize that Curt and I ever 

id any children. 

BiGKLOw — [After a pauge,'] How oU were they 
when ? 

Mabtha — Three years and two — both girls, [^Ske 
goei on tadly.l We had a nice little house in Gold- 
6eld. {^Forcing a tmUe.^ We were very respectable 
home folks then. The wandering came later, after — ■■ 
It was a Sunday in winter when Curt and I had ^ne 
visiting some friends. The nurse girl fell asleep — 
OP something — and the children sneaked out in their 
underclothes and played in the snow. Pneumonia set 
in — and a week later they were both dead. 
,' BiGELOw — [Shocked.'] Good heavens! 

Maktha — We were real lunatics for a time. And 
then when we'd calmed down enough to reali2e — ^how 
things stood with us — we swore we'd never have chil- 
dren again — to steal away their memory. It wasn't 
what you thought — romanticism — that set Curt wan- 
dering — and me with him. It was a longing to lose 
ourselves — to forget. He flung himself with all his 
power into every new study that interested him. He 
couldn't keep still, mentally or bodily — and I fol- 
lowed. He needed me — then^ — so dreadfully! 

BioELOW — And is it that keeps driving him on now? 

Mabtha — Oh, no. He's found himself. His work 
has taken the place of the children. 



228 



THE FIRST MAN 



BiQELOw — And with you, too? 

Maetha— [irii/t a wan smUe.'\ Well, I've helped 
■ — all I could. His work has me in it, I like to think 
— and I have him, 

BiGEi.ow — [Shakittg his head.^ I think people are 
foolish to stand bj such an oath as you took — foi>^. 
ever. IWith a smile.'] Children are a great cotofcN 
in one's old age, I've tritely found. 

Martha — \^Smiling.] Old age! 

BiOELow — I'm knocking at the door of fatal forty, 

Martha — [With forced gaietj/.] You're not very 
tactful, I must say. Don't you know I'm thirty-eight P 

BioELOw — [GaUanil//.'\ A woman is as old as she 
looks. You're not thirty yet. 

Martha — [^Laughing.'] After that nice remark 
I'll have to forgive you everything, won't I? [Lilt 
Jayson cornea in from the rear. She is a slender, 
rather pretty girl of treenty-five. The stamp of col- 
lege student is stiU very much about her. She rather 
insists on a superior, intellectual air, is full of nervous, 
thwarted energy. At the sight of them sitting on the 
couch together, her eyebrows are raised.] 

Lily — {^Coming into the room — hreezUy.] Hello, 
Martha. Hello, Big. IThey both get up loith an- 
swering "Helios."] I walked right in regardless. Hop< 
I'm not interrupting. 

Mahtha — Not at all. 

Lily — [Sitting down by the table as Mastba am 
BiGELow resume their seats on the lounge.] I must 
say it sounded serious. I heard you tell Big you'd 



THE FIRST MAN 



229 



forgive him everything, Martha. [Drtfltf — with 
mocking glance at Bigelow.] You're letting jonr- 1 
■elf in for a large proposition, 

BiGELow^ — [Displeased but trying to sm'tle it o;^,] 
The past is never past for a dog with a bad name, eh, 
Lilj? [Lily laughs. Bigelow gets wp.] If joa 
I want to reward me for ray truthfulness, Mrs. Jayson, 
\ help me take the kids for an airing in the car. I 
know it's an imposition but they've grown to expect 
you. [Glancing at his watch.'\ By Jove, I'll have to ! 
run along. I'll got them and then pick you up hei 
Is that all right? 

Mak th a — Fi ne, 

Bigelow — I'll run, then. Good-bj, Lily. [She ! 
nodi. BioELOw goes out rear.] 

Mabtha — [Cordiatty.^ Come on over here, Lily. 

Lii,y — [Sits on couch xnth Maktha — after a pauie 
—mth a smile.^ You were forgetting, weren't you? 

Maktua — What ? 

Lily — That you'd invited all the family over here 
to tea this afternoon. I'm the advance guard. 

Maetha — [Embarratsed.] So I was! How stu- 
pid! 

Lily — [TTit/i an inquisitive glance at Maktha's 
face but with studied caTelestness.l Do you like 
Bigelow? 

Maktha, Yes, very much. And Curt thinks the | 
world of liim. 

Lily — Oh, Curt is the last one to be bothered by 
anyone's morals. Cart and I are the unconventional 



230 



THE FraST MAN 



ones of the family. The trouble with Bigelow, Mar- 
tha, is that he was too careless to conceal his sins — 
and that won't go down m tliis Philistine small town. 
You have to hide and be a fellow hypocrite or they re- 
venge themselves on you. Bigelow didn't. He 
fiaunted his love-affairs in everyone's face. I used to 
admire him for it. No one exactly blamed him, 
their secret hearts. His wife was a terrible, strait 
laced creature. No man could have endured 
\^Di8gusfcdli/.'\ After her death he suddenly acqui: 
a bad conscience. He'd never noticed the childi 
fore. I'll bet he didn't even know their names. And 
then, presto, he's about in our midst giving an imita- 
tion of a wet hen with a brood of ducks. It's a bore, 
if you ask me. 

Mabtha — l^Flushvng.Ji I think it's very fine of 
him. 

LcT — '[Shaking her head,^ His reform is too si 
den. He's joined the hypocrites, I think. 

Martha — I'm sure he's no hypocrite. When you" 
Bee him with the children 

LrLT — Oh, I know he's a good actor. Lots of 
women have been in love with him. [Then suddenljf.^ 
You won't be furious if I'm very, very frank, will you, 
Martha P 

Mahtha — [Surprised.'\ No, of course not, Lily. 

Lily — Well, I'm the bearer of a message from the 
Jay son family. 

Martha — [Astonished.'] A message? For me? 

Lily — Don't think that I have anything to do with 



lu^H 



THE FIRST MAN 



231 



I'm only a Victor record of their misgivings. 
Shall I switch it going? Well, then, father thinks, 
brother John and wife, sister Esther and husband all 
think that jou are unwisely intimate with this same 
Bigelow. 

^MASTHA — \^Stun7ied.'\ I? Unwisely intimate — ? 
[Suddenly laughing teith amugement.'\ Well, you sure 
■re funny people ! 
Lilt — No, we're not funny. We'd be all right if 
We were. On the contrary, we're very dull and deadly. 
Bigelow really has a villainous rep. for philandering. 
But, of course, you didn't know that. 

Mabtha — [BeginTiing to feel resentful — coldlt/.J 

No, I didn't — and I don't care to know it now. 

L Lily — [Calmli/.'l I told them you wouldn't relish 

rtheir silly advice. [In a very confidential, friendly 

' tone.l Oh, I hate their narrow small-town ethics as 

much as you do, Martha. I sympathize with you, 

indeed I do. But I have to live with them and so, for 

comfort's sake, I've had to make compromises. And 

you're going to live in our midst from now on, aren't 

you? Well then, you'll have to make compromises, 

too — if you want any peace. 

Martha — But — compromises about what? [Farc- 
ing a laugh.l I refuse to take it seriously. How 
anyone could think — it's too absurd. 

LrLT — What set them going was Big's being around 
auch an awful lot the weeks Curt was in New York, 
just after you'd settled down here. You must ac- 
knowledge he was — ^very much present then, Martha, 



282 THE FIRST MAN 

Maktha — But it was on account of his childn 
They were always with him. 

Lilt — The town doesn't trust tliis sudden fond par- 
enthood, Martha. We've known him too long, you see. 

Maktha — But he's Curfs oldest and best friend. 

Ltly — We've found tliey always are, 

M&RTiiA — [Springing to her feet — indignantlp.l 
It's a case of evil minds, it seems to me — and it would 
be extremely insulting if I didn't have a sense of humor».j 
l^Resentfull^.'\ You can tell your family, that as firfj 
as I'm concerned, the town may ^B 

Ln,T — Go to the devil. I knew you'd say that. 
Well, fight the good fight. You have all my beat 
wishes. [Tri//( a iigh.'\ I wish I had something 
worth fighting for. Now that I'm through with col- 
lege, my occupation's gone. All I do is read book 
after book. The only live people are the ones io 
books, I find, and the only live life. 

Martha — [Immcdiatelif sjfmpathettc.^ You're 
lonely, that's what, Lily. 

Lii.y—[Drily.2 Don't pity me, Martha— or I'll 
join the enemy, 

Martha — I'm not. But I'd Uke to help you if I 
could. [^After a pause.^ Have you ever thought of 
marrying ? 

I1II.T — [With a laugh.l Martha ! How banal ! 
The men I see are enongh to banish that thought if I 
ever had it. 

Martha — Marriage isn't only the man. It's chil- 
dren. Wouldn't you like to have cliildrenP 



I 



THE FIRST MAN 

Lflt — \TurniTig to her bluntttf.] Wouldn't you? J 

Mastha — [Confuted.] But — Lilj 

Lilt — Oh, I know it wasn't practicable as long a 
you elected to wander with Curt — ^but why not now 
when you've definitely settled down here? I think that 
would solve things all round. If you could present 
Father with a grandson, I'm sure he'd fall on your 
neck. He feels piqued at the John and Esther fami- 
lies because they've had a run of girls. A male Jay- 
Aunt Davidson would weep with joy. [Sud- 
denl^.l You're thirty-eight, aren't you, Martha? 

Martha — Y es ■ 

Lilt — Then why don't you — before it's too late? * 
[Mabtha, itruggling with herielf, docs not anrwer. 
Lily goes on tlowly.] You won't want to tag along 
with Curt to the ends of the earth forever, will you? 
[Curiouxlt/.l Wasn't that queer life like any other? i 
I mean, didn't it get to pall on you? 

I Martha — {^As if confessing it reluctantly, "[ Yes J 
— ^perhaps — in the last two years. 
Lelt — [DectjiceZ^.] It's time for both of you to 
rest on your laurels. Why can't Curt keep on with 
what he's doing now—stay home and write his books? 
Mabtha— Curt isn't that kind. The actual work 
— ^the romance of it — that's his bfe. 
Lilt — But if he goes and you have to stay, you'll I 
be lonesome — [vieaninglyl alone. 
Martha — Horribly. I don't know what I'll do. 
Lilt— Then why— why? Think, Martha. If Curt J 



THE FIRST MAN 

knew — thaF was to happen — he'd want to atay ha 
with you. I'm sure he would. 

Martha — [Shalcing her head sadlt/.'] No. Curt 
has grown to dislike children. They remind him of — 
ours that were taken. He adored them so — ^he's never 
become reconciled. 

Lily — If you confronted Curt with the actual fact, 
he'd be reconciled soon enough, and happy in the bar- 
gain. 

Mabtha — [Eagerly.} Do you really think eo? 

Lflt — And you, Martha — I can tell from the wsJ 
you've talked that you'd like to. 

Martha — [Excitedly.^ Yes, I — I never thou^ 
I'd ever want to again. For many years after th« 
died I never once dreamed of it — . But lately- 
last years — I've felt — and when we came to live h«^ 
— and I saw all around me — homes — and child rq 

I [iShe hesitatet as if aihamed at having cot 

fessed so much.'] 

LiiY — [Putting an arm around her — affectio 
ately.] I know. [Vigoroudy.'] You must, thati 
all there ia to it ! If you want my advice, you go rig! 
ahead and don't tell Curt until it's a fact he'll hal^ 
to learn to like, willy-nilly. You'll find, in his inmol 
heart, he'll be tickled to death, 

Martha — [ForciJig a imile.'\ Yes, I — I'll confe| 
I thought of that. In spite of my fear, I — I've- 
mean — I [She flushes in a shamed confusto 

Lii-T — [Looking at her searchinglj/.] Why, ] 
tha, what — [Then suddenly understandin 



THE FIRST MAN 

I excited pleaiure.^ Martha! I know! It is so, isn't 1 
it? Itia! 

Martha — [/» a whiiper.'\ Yes. 

Ltlt — [Kissing her affectionately.^ You dear^ J 
you! [Then after a pause.^ How long have yoa J 
known? 

Martha — For over two months, [There is a ring I 
from the front door bell in the hall.'] 

Lilt — [JumpiTig wp.] I'll bet that's we Jajsona 
now. [She rung to the door in the rear and looks 
down the hall to the right. '\ Yes, it's Esther and 
husband and Aunt Davidson. [She comes back to 
Martha laughing excitedly. The Maid is seen going 
to the door.\ The first wave of attack, Martha! Be 
brave! The Young Guard dies but never surrenders! 
I MiMtTHA — [Displeased but forcing a smile.l You 
make me feel terribly ill at ease when you put it that 
way, Lily. [She rises now and goes to greet the vis- I 
itors, who enter, Mrs. Davidson is seventy-ftve yean ' 
old — a thin, sinewy old lady, old-fashioned, unbending 
and rigorous in manner. She is dressed aggressively 
in the fashion of a bygone age. Esther is a stout, 
middle-aged woman with the round, unmarked, senti- 
mentally-contented face of one who lives unthinkingly 
from day to day, sheltered in an assured position in 
her little world. Mare, her husband, is a lean, taU, 
stooping man of about forty-five. His long face it 
alert, shrewd, cautious, fuU of the superficial craftiness 
of the lawyer mind. Martha kisses the two women, 
shakes hands with Mask, uttering the usual meaning- 



236 THE FIRST MAN 

lets greetingi m a forced tone. They reply tn muck 
the tame ipirit. There it the buzx of this empty chat- 
ter while Martha gets them seated. Lilt atandt 
looking on with a cynical smile of amusement. Mbs. 
Davidson is in the chair at the end of table, left, 
Esther sits by Maktha on couch. Mask in chair at 
front of table.^ Will you have tea now or shall 1 
wait for the others? 

Esther — Let's wait. They ought to be here i 
moment. 

Lilt — \^Malicio'itsly.'\ Juet think, Martha had fosj 
gotten you were coming. She was going motoriiu 
with Bigelow. [There is a dead silence at thif 
broken diplomatically by Sheffield.] 

Sheffield— Where is Curt, Martha? 

Maktha- — Hard at work in his study. I'm afraj 
he's there for the day. 

Sheffield — [Condescendingly.l Still plugging 
away at his book, I suppose. Well, I hope it will be 
a big success, 

Lily — [Irritated by his smugness.] As big a suc- 
cess as the brief you're writiog to restrain the citizeiu 
from preventing the Traction Company robbing them, 
eh Mark? {^Before anyone can reply, she turns sud- 
denly on her aunt who is sitting rigidly on her chair, 
staring before her stonily like some old lady in a da- 
guerreotype — in a loud challenging tone.] You don't 
mind if I smoke. Aunt? [She takes a cigarette out of ■ 
case and lights if.] 

EsTHEu — [SmUi7ig.'\ Lily ! 



THE FmST MAN 237 

Mu3. Davidson — [Fixes Lily with her stare — in a 
toTie of irrevocable decision.^ We'll get you married, 
young lady, and that very soon. What you need to 
faring you down to earth is a husband and the respon- 
sibility of children. [Turning her glance to Martha, 
a challenge in her qvestion.'\ Every woman who is 
able should have children. Don't you believe that* 
Martha Jayson? [She accentuates the full najne.l 

Maetha — [Taken aback for a moment but rettram- 
her resentment — gently.^ Yes, I do, Mrs, David- 

Mbs. Davidson — [Seemingly placated by this reply 
■ — in a milder tone.J You must call me aunt, my dear, 
[Meaningly.l All the Jaysons do. 

Maktua — [Simply.~\ Thank you, aunt. 

Lilt — [As if all of this aroused her irritation — in 
a nervous fuming,'\ Why don't the others come, dam 
'em? I'm dying for my tea. [The door from the 
study is opened and Curt appears. They all greet 
ftim.] 

Cdbtis — [Absent-mindedly.'\ Hello, everybody. 
[Then leith a preoccupied air to Martha.] Martha, 
I don't want to interrupt you — but 

Martha — [Getting up briskly.} You want my 
help? 

Curtis — [With the same absent-miTided dir.] Yea 
— not for long — ^just a few notes before I forget them. 
[He goes back into the study.} 

Maetha — [Seemijigly relieved by this interruption 
ttnd glad of the chance it gives to show them her im- 



238 THE FIRST MAN 

portance to Cuet.] You'll excuse me for a few Tao-~ 
ments, all of you, won't youP \^They all nod.] 

Mas. Davidson — [Rather harshljf.~\ Why doesn't 
Curt hire a sccrctarj? That is no work for his wife. 

Martha — [Quietli/.l A paid secretary could 
hardly give the sympathy and understanding Curt 
needs, Mrs. Davidson. [Proudly.] And she would 
have to study for years, as I have done, in order to 
take my place. [To Liiy.] If I am not here by the 
time the others arrive, will you see about the tes, 
Lily ? 

Lily — [Eagerly.] Sure. I love to serve drinks. 
If I were a man, I'd be a bartender — in Mexico or 
Canada, 

Maktha — [Going toward the gtudj/.] I'll be with 
you again in a minute, I hope. [She goea in and 
thutg the door behind her.] 

EsTHEE — [Pettishly.] Even people touched by a 
smattering of science seem to get rude, don't they? 

Msa. Davidson — [Harshly.] I have heard much 
silly talk of this being an age of free women, and I 
have always said it was tommyrot. [Pointing to the 
study.]. She is an example. She is more of a slave 
to Curt's hobbies than any of my generation were to 
anything but their children. [Still more harshly.] 
Where are her children? 

LfLT — They died, Aunt, as children have a bad habit 
of doing. [Then meaningly.] However, I wouldn't 
despair if I were you. [Mbs, Davidson stares at her 
fixedly.] 



THE FIRST MAN 239 

—[^Betraying a sudden frightened jeal- 
ousy.^ What do you mean, Lilj? What are you so 
mysterious about? What did she say? What ? 

Lily — \_Mockingly.'\ Mark, your frau seema to 
have me on the stand. Can I refuse to answer? 
\There is a ring at the bell. Lily jumps to her feet 
excitedly.l Here comes the rest of our Grand Fleet. 
Now I'll have my tea, [S/ie darts out to the hallway.^ 

Esther — [Shaking her head.l Goodness, Lily is 
trying on the nerves. [Jatson, his two sons, John 
and Dick, ajid John's wife, Emily, enter from hallway 
in rear. Jatson, the father, is a short, stout, bald- 
headed man of siriy. A typical, small-town. New Eng- 
land best-family banker, reserved in pose, unobtrusively 
important — a placid exterior hiding querulousness and 
a fussy temper. John Jonior is his father over again 
in appearance, but pompous, obtrusive, purse-and- 
famUy-proud, extremely irritating in his self-compla- 
cent air of authority, emptily assertive and loud. He 
it about forty. Richard, the other brother, is a typ- 
ical young Casino and country club member, coUege- 
bred, good looking, not unlikable. He has been an of- 
ficer in the war and has not forgotten it. Emily, 
John Je.'s wife, is one of those small, mouse-like 
women who conceal beneath an outward aspect of gen- 
tle, unprotected innocence a very active envy, a silly 
pride, and a mean malice. The people in the room with 
the exception of Mes. Davidson rise to greet them. 
AU exchange familiar, perfunctory greetings. She^- 
F£ELD relirtquishet his teat in front of the table to 



240 



THE rmST MAN 



Jatbon, going to the ckair, right front, kimtelf. 
John and Dick take tlur two chain to the rear of 
table. Emily joini Esther on the couch and they 
whisper together excitedly. Esthee doing most of the 
talking. The men remain in uncomfortable silence for 
a moment.l 

Dick — [TTifA gay mockery.'] Well, the gang's all 
here. Looks like the League of Nations. [Then with 
impatienccl Let's get down to cases, folks, I want 
to know why I've been summoned here. I'm due for 
tournament mixed-doubles at the Casino at five. 
Where's the tea — and has Curt a stick in the cellar to 
put in it? 

LtLY — [Appearing in tlie doorway.] Here's tea — 
but no stick for you, sot. [The Maip brings in tray 
with tea things.] 

John — [Heavily.] It seems it would be more to 
the point to inquire where our hostess 

Jayson — [Rousing himself again.] Yee, And 
where is Curt? 

Lily — Working at his book. He called Martha 1 
take notes on something. 

Esther — [With a trace of resentment.] She ] 
us as if she were glad of the excuse. 

Lily — Stuff, Esther! She knows how much I 
depends on her — and we don't. 

EMiLY^[/7i her quiet, lisping voice — aith the t 
innocent air.] Martha seems to be a model 
[But there is some quality to the way she says it tht 
makes them all stare at her uneasily.] 



THE FIRST MAN 



241 



rLY — l^Imultingly.]; How well you saj what y 
don't mean, Emily! Twinkle, twinkle, little bat! But 
I'm forgetting to do the honors. Tea, everybody? 
^Without leaitijig for any aniwer.^ Tea, everybody! 
[The tea it served.'\ 

Jatson — {^Impotiently.l Stop fooling, Lily. Let's 
get to OUT muttons. Did you talk with Martha? 

Ltiy — [Brisldi/.] I did, sir. 

Jatson — [/n a loitered voice.^ What did she say? 

T.n.y — She said you could all go to the devil! 
[They aU look shocked and insulted. Lily enjoys ' 
this, then adds quietly.l Oh, not in those words. 
Martha is a perfect lady. But she made it plain she 
will thank you to mind your own business. 

Esther — [Volubly.l And just imagine, she'd even i 
forgotten she'd asked us here this afternoon and was ' 
going motoring with Bigelow. 

Lilt — ^With his three children, too, don't forget. 

Emily — [Softli/.^ They have become such well-be- 
haved and intelligent children, they say. [Again aU 
t the others hesitate, staring at her suspiciovaly.'] 
t Lily — [Sharply.'\ You'd better let Martha train 
yours for a while, Emily. I'm sure she'd improve their i 
manners — though, of course, she couldn't give them 
any intelligence. 

EuiLY — [TFitA the pathos of outraged innocertce.^ 
Oh! 

Dick — [Interrupting.'] So it's Bigelow you're up 
in the air about? [He gives a low whistle — then 
froamt angrily,] The deuce you say! 



242 THE FIRST MAN 

Lilt — [^Mockingl^.] Look at our soldier boy 
home from the wars getting serious about the family 
honor! It's too bad this is a rough, untutored coun- 
try where they don't permit dueling, isn't it, Diet? 

Dice — [fft« pose crumblirig — angrili/.'] Go to the 
devil! 

Sheffield — [IFitA a calm, judicious air.^ This 
wrangling is getting us nowhere. You say she was 
resentful about our well-meant word to the wise? 

Jayson — [TestUjf.] Surely she must realize that 
some consideration is due the position she occupies in 
Bridgetown as Curt's wife. 

Lily — Martha is properly unimpressed by big frogs 
in tiny puddles. And there you are. 

Mrs. Davidson — [^Outraged.^ The idea! She 
takes a lot upon herself — the daughter of a Wild 
Western coal- miner. 

Lily — lMoclcmgly.'\ Gold miner, Aunt. 

Mrs. Davidson — It makes no difference — a common 
miner! 

Sheffield — [Keeidy inquisitive. "[ Just before th« 
others came, Lily, you gave out some hints — ^very de6- 
nite hints, I should say 

Esther — [Excitedly.'\ Yes, you did, Lily. What 
did you mean? 

Lily — IJJncertainly.^ Perhaps I shouldn't have. 
It's not my secret. [Enjoying herself immensely now 
that she holds the spotlight — after a pause, in a stage 
whisper.] Shall I tell you? Yes, I can't help teU- 
ing. Well, Martha is going to have a son. [^They 



THE FIRST MAN 



213 



are aU stunned and flabbergasted and ttare at her 
speechlessly/. ] 

Mrs. Davidson — [^Her face lighting up — joyoutly.^ 
A son ! Curt's son ! 

Jayson — [Pleased by the idea but bewildered.] A 
aonP 

Dick — ^Smartly.] Lily's kidding you. How can 
she know it's a son — unless she's a clairvoyant. 

EsTHEE — [With glad rdief.] Yes, how stupid! 

Lily — I am clairvoyant in this case. Allah is great 
and it will be a son — if only to make you and Emily 
burst with envy among your daughters. 

Esther — Lily ! 

Emily — Oh ! 

Jayson — [Testily.] Keep still for a moment, Lily, 
for God's sake. This is no subject to joke about, re- 
member. 

Lilt — Martha told me. I know that. 

Jayson — ^And does Curt know this? 

Lily — No, not yet. Martha has been afraid to tell 
him. 

Jayson — ^Ah, that explains matters. You know I 
asked Curt some time ago — and he said it was im- 
possible. 

Emily — [With a lift of her eyebroTcs.] Impossi- 
ble? Why, what a funny thing to say. 

Sheffield — [Keerdy lawyer-like.] And why is 
Martha afraid to tell iiim, Lily? 

Lily — It's all very simple. When the two died 
years ago, they said they would never have one again. 



244 



THE FIRST MAN 



Martha thinks Curt is still haunted by their memorf 
and is afraid he will resent another as an intruder. I 
told her that was all fooIishnesB — that a child was the_ 
one thing to make Curt settle down for good at I 
here and write his books. 

Jaysox — [Eagerli/.l Yea, I believe that myi 
[Pleated.] Well, this is fine news. 

Emily — Still it was her duty to tell Curt, don't 3 
think? I don't see how she could be afraid of ( 
— for those reasons. [Thej/ all stare at her.] 

Esther — [Resetitftdly.~\ I don't, either. 
Curt's the biggest- hearted and kindest 

Emily — I wonder how long she's known — this? 

Ln-ir — [Skarplff.'\ Two months, she said. 

Emily — Two months? [She lets this sink iti.l 

John — [Quickly scenting something — eaget 
What do you mean, Emily? [Then as if he read I 
mind.] Two months? But before that — Curt 1 
away in New York almost a month! 

Lily — [Turning on Emily fiercely.'] So! You g 
someone to say it for yon as yon always do. Poison 
Mind ! Oh, I wish the ducking stool had never been 
abolished ! 

Emily — [Growiv^g crimson — falteringlj/.] I — I 
didn't mean 

John — [Furiousltf.] Where the honor of the fam- 
ily is at stake 

Lilt — [Fiercely.] Ssshh, you empty barrel! I 

think I hear [The door from the study is opened 

and Mabtha comes in in the midst of a heavy sUance, 



THE FIRST MAN 



245 



: the gentleTtien rite stiffly. Maktha « made imirte- 
diately self-conscious and resentful by the feeling that 
they have been- discussing her unfavorably. '\ 

Martha — [Coming forward — tBtth a forced cor- 
diality.^ How do you do, everybody? So sorry I 
wasn't here when you came. I hope Lily made proper 
excuses for me. [She goes from one to the other of 
the four latest comers mth "So glad you came," etc. 
They reply formally and perfunctorily. Maktea 
finally finds a scat on the couch between Emily and 
EsTHEE.] I hope Lily — ^but I see you've all had tea. 

Lily — [Trying to save the situation — gayly-l 
Yes. You can trust me as understudy for the part of 
hostess any time. 

Maktha — [Forcing a smile.^ Well, I'm glad to 
know I wasn't missed. 

Emily- — [Sweetly.J We were talking about you — 
at least, we were listening to Lily talk about you. 

Maktha — [Stiffening defensively. J About me? 

Emily — ^Yes — about how devoted you were to Curt's 
wort. [Lilt gives her a venomous glance of scom.'\ 

Martha — [Pleased hut inwardly uneasy.~\ Oh, but 
you see I consider it my work, too, I've helped Tiiin 
with it so long now. 

Jayson — [In a forced tone.l And how is Curt'a 
book coming, Martha? 

Martha — [More and more stung by their strained 
attitudes and tTiquisitive glances. Coldly and cut- 
tingly.'] Finely, thank you. The book will cause 
quite a stir, I believe. It will make the name of Jaj;- 



246 



THE FIRST MAN 



son famous in the big world outside of Bridgeto 

Mas. Davidsoh — [Indignantlg.'\ The name 
Jayeon has been 

Jayson — [PUadingly.'] Aunt Elizabeth! 

Ln-y — Aunt means it's world famous already, Mar- 
tha, [Poin/ing to the sullen John,] John was once 
a substitute on the Yale Freshman soccer team, you 
know. If it wasn't for his weak shins he would have 
made the team, fancy! 

Dick — [T/iis ticklei his sense of humor and he 
bursts into laughter.^ Lily wins! [As his brother 
glares at him — looking at his match-l Heavens, 111 
have to hustle! [Gets to his feet.] I'm due at the 
Casino. [Comes and shakes Maktba's hand for- 
mally.'] I'm sorry I can't stay. 

Mabtha — So glad you came. Do come in again 
any time. We keep open house, you know — Western 
fashion. [She accentuates this.^ 

I)icK~[Hurricdly.^ Delighted to. [He 
for the door in rear.] 

Lilt — [As if suddenly making up her mind,^ Wj 
a second ! I'm coming with you 

Dick — Sure thing — only hurry, darn you! [fl 
goes out.~] 

Lily — [Stops at the door in rear and catchi 
Maktha's eye, looks meaningly at the otheril^ 
Phew ! I need fresh air ! [She makes an encoura^ 
motion as tf pummeling someone to Martha, tndic 
vng her assembled fanaly as the victim — then goes £ 
laughing. A motor is heard starting — running 0^ 



■ THE FIRST MAN 247 

Esther — [With a huge sigh of relief.'\ Thank 
goodnesE, she's gone. What a vixen! What would 
you do if you htid u sister like that, Martha? 

Martha — I'd love her — and try to understand her. 

Sheffield — [Meaningly.] She's a bod ally to rely 
on — ^this side of the fence one day, and that the next. 

Martha — ^Is that why you advised her to become 
a lawyer, Mr. Sheffield P 

Sheffield — [Stuitg, but maintaiavng an unruffled 
/ronf.] Now, now, that remark must be catalogued as 
catty. 

Martha — [Defiantlif.'] It seems to be in the 
Bridgetown atmosphere. I never was — not the least 
bit — ^in the open air. 

Jatgon — [Conciliatingly.1 Oh, Bridgetown isn't 
BO bad, Martha, once you get used to us. 

JoHK — It's one of the most prosperous and wealthy 
towns in the U. S. — and that means in the world, 
nowadays. 

Emily — [With her sugary sToUe.l That isn't what 
Martha means, you silly. I know what she's thinking 
about us, and I'm not sure that I don't agree with her 
J — partly. She feels that we're so awfully strict — about 
certain things. It must be bo different in the Far We«t 
— I suppose — so much freer. 

MAaTHA — [Acidly.'] Then you believe broad- 
mindedness and clean thinking are a question of local- 
ity? I can't agree with you. I know nothing of the 
present Far West, not having lived there for ten years* 
but Curt and I have lived in the Far East and I'm 



218 



THE FIRST MAN 



sure he'd agree with me in saying that Chinese ances- 
tor worship ia far more dignified than ours. After 
all, yoii know, theirs is religion, not snobbery. [There 
is a loud hoiikbig of an auto horn before the house. 
Martha starts, seems to come to a quick decUioii, and 
announces with studied carelessness.'] That must be 
Mr. Bigelow. I suppose Lily told you I had an en- 
gagement to go motoring with him. So sorry I must 
leave. But I'm like Lily. I need fresh air. [Sht 
walks to the study door as she is talking.] I'll call 
Curt. [She raps loudly on the door and calls.] 
Curt! Come out! It's important. [She turns and 
goes to the door, smUijig fixedly.] He'll be out when 
he's through swearing. [She goes out, rear.] 

John — [Exploding.] Well, of all the damned 
cheek! 

EsTHEK — She shows her breeding, I must say. 

Emily — [With horror.] Oh, how rude — and insult- 
ing. 

Mrs. Davidson — [Rising rigidly to her feet.] I 
will never set foot in tlus house again ! 

Jayson — [Jumping up to restrain her — worriedly.^ 
Now, Aunt Elizabeth, do keep your head! We must 
have no scandal of any sort. Remember there are 
servants about. Do sit down. [The old lady re- 
fuses in stubborn silence.] 

SHEFFmLD — [Judiciously.] One must make al- 
lowances for one in her condition. Aunt. 

Jatson — [Snatching at this.] Exactly. Remeu- 



THE FIRST MAN 249 

Kr her condition. Aunt [tfttiZ^] and do sit down. 
[The old lady plvmpx herself down again angTily.'] 

EuiLY — [In her lisp of hidden meanings.} Yes, the 
family mustn't forget — ^her condition- [The door 
from the study is opened and CtraT appears. His 
face shows his annoyance at being interrupted, hit 
eyes are preoccupied. They aU turn and greet him 
embarrassedly. He nods silently and comes slowly 
down front. ~\ 

Cttetis — [Looking arownd.} Where's Marthai* 
ghat's the important thing she called me out for? 

EsTHEK — [Forcing gaiety.^ To play host, you big 
bear, you! Don't you think we came to see you, too? 
Sit down here and he good. [He sits on sofa.} 

Emily — [Softly.} Martha had to leave us to go 
motoring with Mr, Bigelow. 

EsTHEa — [Hastily.} And the three children, 

Ctrans — [Frowning grumpily.} Hm! Big and hi» 
eternal kids. [He sighs. They exchange meaning 
glances, Coet seems to feel ashamed of his grumpi- 
ness and tries to fling it off — -mth a cheerful smile,} 
But what the deuce! I must be getting selfish to 
grudge Martha her bit of fresh air. You don't know 
what it means to outdoor animals like us to be pent 
Up. [He springs to his feet and paces back and forth 
nervotisly.} We're used to living with the sky for 
a roof — [Then interestedly.} Did Martha tell you 
rd definitely decided to go on the five year Asian ex- 
pedition? 

EsTHBB — Curt! You're not! 



250 



THE FmST MAN 



EifiLT — And leave Martha here — all alone- 
five years? 

Jatson — Yes, you can't take Martha with you this 
time, you know. 

CcKTis — IWith a laugh.^ No? What makes you 
BO sure of that? [At they look mystified, he contivr 
ties confidentiallif.'\ I'll let you in on tlie secret — 
only you must all promise not to breathe a word to 
Martha — until to-morrow. To-morrow is her birth- 
day, you know, and this is a surprise I've saved for 
her. [TJiey all nod.] Tve been intriguing my 
damnedest for the past month to get permission for 
Martlia to go witli me. It was difUcult because 
women are supposed to be barred, [Happily.'\ But 
Pve succeeded. The letter came this morning. How 
tickled to death she'll be when she hears! I know 
she's given up hope. \ThoughtfuUy.~\ I suppose it's 
that has been making her act so out-of-sorta lately. 

Jayson — [Worriedly.^ Hmm! But would you per- 
sist in going — alone — ^if you knew it was impossible 
for her ? 

CttRTis — [Frowning.^ I can't imagine it without 
her. You people can't have any idea what a help — 
a chum — she's been. You can't believe that a woman 
could be — so much that — in a life of that kind — how 
I've grown to depend on her. The thousand details 
— she attends to them all. She remembers everything. 
Why, I'd be lost. I wouldn't know how to start. 
[With a laugh."] I know this sounds like a confessioo 
of weakness but it's true just the same. [Frowwitg 



THE FIRST MAN 



251 

ogroin.] However, naturallj my work must always be 
the first consideration. Yes, absolutely! [Then mith 
glad relief.'] But what's the use of rambling on this 
way? We can both go, thank heaven! 

Mrs. Davidson — [Sternlt/.'\ No. She cannot go. 
And it is j/onr duty 

CtiETrs — [^Interrupting her with a trace of impa- 
tience.'] Oh, come! That's all nonsense. Aunt. You 
don't understand the kind of woman Martha is. 

Mrs. Davidson — [Harshly.] The women I under- 
stand prefer rearing their children to selfish gallivant- 
ing over the world. 

Curtis — [Impatiently.] But we have no children 
now. Aunt. 

Mrs. Davidson — I know that, more's the pity. But 
later 

Curtis — [Emphatically.^ No, I tell you! It's im- 
possible ! 

Mbb, Davidson — [Grimly.] I have said my last 
word. Go your own road and work your own ruin. 

Cdrtis — [Bruxquely.] I think I'll change my togs 
and go for a walk. Excuse me for a second. Ill be 
right down again. [He goes out, rear.] 

EiiiLY — [With her false air of innocence.] Curt 
acts BO funny, doesn't he? Did you notice how em- 
phatic he was about it's being impossible P And he 
fiaid Martha asemed to him to be acting queer lately 
— ^with him, I suppose he meant. 

Esther — He certainly appeared put out when he 
lieard she'd gone motoring with Big, 



4 



262 THE FIRST MAN 

Jatson — IMoodUy.'] This dislike of the very mot- 
tion of children. It isn't like Cart, not a bit. 

John — ^There's something rotten in Denmark some- 
where. This family will yet live to regret having ac- 
cepted a stranger 

Sheffield — {MoUifj/iTtgl!/ — mth a judicial atr.] 
Come now! This is all only suspicion. There is no 
evidence ; you have no case ; and the defendant is inno- 
cent until you have proved her guilty, remember. 
{Getting to hit feet.} Well, let's break up. Esther, 
you and I ought to be getting home. {They aU m«.] 

J&TSON — [Tc^iiZj/.] Well, if I were sure it would 
all blow over without any open scandal, I'd offer up 
a prayer of thanks. 

[The Curtain FaOs} 



ACT n 

rScBNE — CoBTia Jatson's study. 

On the left, forward, a gun rack in kMcK are 
dU flayed several varieties of rifles and shotgu/i 
Farther back, three windows looking out on tlie 
garden. In the rear wall, an open fireplace Tcith 
two leather arm-chairs in front of it. To riffkt 
of fireplace, a door leading into the living-room. 
In the far right corner, another chair. In the 
right waU, three windows looking out on the lawn 
and garden. On this side, front, a typewriting 
table with machine and chair. Opposite the mn- 
dows on the right, a bulky leather couch, facing 
front. In front of the •wiiidows on the left, a long 
table with stacks of paper piled here and there on 
it, reference books, etc. On the left of table, a 
swivel chair. Gray oak bookcases are built into 
the cream rough plaster walls which are otherwise 
almost hidden from view by a collection of all sorts 
of hunter's trophies, ajumal heads of all kinds. 
The floor is covered with animal skins — tigsr, 
polar bear, leopard, Hon, etc. Shins are alto 
thrown over the backs of the chairs. The sec- 
tions of the bookcase not occupied by scientific 
volumes have been turned into a specimen case for 



i THE FIRST MAN 

all iortt of zoological, geological, anthropological 
odditicn. 

It is jiad-monUng, sunny and bright, of the fol- 
lowing day. 

CcBTis and Bigklow are discovered. Cm-ns JS 
half-sitting on the comer of the table, left, »m 
ing a pipe, Bigelow is lying xpraicled on i 
couch. Through the open mndoici on the i 
come the shouts of children playing, MakthaS 
voice joins in with theirs. 



BiGELOw — Listen to that rumpus, will you! The 
kids are having tlie time of their lives. \^He goes to 
the window and looks out — delightedly, '\ Your wife 
is playing hide and seek with them. Come and look. 

CtJHTis — [TFiiA a trace of annoyance.^ Oh, I can 
see well enough from here. 

BiGELow— [ TTi^A a laugh-l She eeems to get as 
much fun out of it as they do. \^As a shriek comes 
from outside — eTcitedly.^ Ah, Eddy discovered her 
behind the tree. Isn't he tickled now ! [He tumt 
back from the window and lights a cigarette — enthuti- 
attically.l Jove, what a hand she is with children! 

CuKTis — [As if the subject bored him,"] Oh, Mai^ 
tha gets along well with anyone. 

BiGELow — [Sits on the couch again — with a scep- 
tical smile.'\ You think so? With everyone? 

Curtis — [Surprised.] Yes — with everyone we've 
ever come in contact with — even aboriginal natives, 

BiOKLOW — With tlie aboriginal natives of Bridge- 



THE FIRST MAN 



257 



townP With the well-known Jayson family, for ex- 
ampk ? 

CuBTis — [Getting to his feet — frowning.'] Why, 
everything's all right between Martha and them, ian't 
it? What do you moan. Big? I certainly ima^ned 
— but Pll confess this damn book has had me so pre- 
occupied 

BiQELOw — ^Too dam preoccupied, if you'll pardon 
my saying so. It's not fair to leave her to fight it 
alone. 

Curtis — [Jmpattentltf.] Fight what? Martha has 
a sense of hmnor. I'm sure their petty prejudices 
merely amuse her. 

BiGELow — [Sententioutlj/.^ A mosquito is a ridicu- 
lous, amusing creature, seen under a microscope; but 
when a swarm has been stinging you all night 

CiTRTis — [A broad grin coming over At* face-J 
You speak from experience, eh? 

BiGELOw — [Smiling.'] You bet I do. Touch me 
anywhere and you'll find a bite. This, my native 
town, did me the honor of devoting its entire leisure 
attention for years to stinging me to death. 

CuKTis — Well, if I am to believe one-tenth of the 
family letters I used to receive on the subject of my 
old friend, Bigelow, they sure had just cause. 

BiOSLOW — Oh, I'll play fair. I'll admit they did — 
then. But it's exasperating to know they never give 
you credit for changing — I almost said, reforming. 
One ought to be above the gossip of a town like this 
^-but say what you like, it does get under your alciu. 



StBS 



THE FIRST MAN 



CuB-ns — [Wiift an indulgent gmile.'\ So you'd lilce 
to be known as a reformed character, ehP 

BiQELov — [Rather ruefully.] Et tu! Your tone 
IB sceptical. But I swear to you, Curt, I'm an abso- 
lutelj new man eincc my wife's death, since I've grown 
to love the children. Before that I hardly knew them. 
They were hers, not mine, it seemed. [HU face light- 
ing up.] Now we're the best of pals, and I've com- 
menced to appreciate life from a different angle. I've 
found a career at last — the children — the finest career 
u man could have, I believe, 

CvB.Tis.~[Indifferentl}f.'\ Yes, I suppose so — ^if 
you're made that way. 

BiGELOW — Meaning you're not? 

CnsTis — Not any more. [Frowning,'] I tried that 
once. 

BiGELow — [After a pause — arith a $niile.^ But 
we're wandering from the subject of Martha ventu 
the mosquitoes. 

Cuaxis — [TTit/i a short laugh.] Oh, to the deuce 
with that! Trust Martha to take care of herself. 
Besides, I'll have her out of this stagnant hole before 
so very long — six montlis, to be exact. 

BioELOw — Where do you think of settling her then? 

Curtis — No settling about it, I'm going to take 
her with me. 

BiGELow — [Surpriied.] On the Asian expedition? 

CoKTis — Yes. I haven't told her yet but I'm going 
to to-day. It's her birthday — and I've been saring 
the news to surprise her with. 



H THE FIRST MAN 2S9 

BieEi-ow — Her birthday? I wish the children and 
I had known— but it's not too late yet. 

CoETis — [With a grin.'l Thirty-nine candles, if 
you're thinking of baking a cake! 

BiGELOw — l^Meaningli/.^ That's not old — but it's 
not young either. Curt. 

CnRTia — {^Disgust edly.'\ You talk like an old 
woman, Big. What have years to do with it? Mar- 
^— ;tha is young in spirit and always will be. [There is 
^^^ knack at the door wnd Maetha's voice calling: "May 
^p coToe in, people?"^ Sure thing! [Bigelow jumps 
to open the door and Maktha enters. She is jlushed, 
excited, fvU of the joy of life, panting from her ex- 
ertions.^ 

tAlABTHA — [Laughing.^ I've had to run away and 
save them with the governess. They're too active 
or me. [She throws herself on the couch.~\ Phew! 
I'm all tired out. I must be getting old. 

Curtis — [With a grin.'\ Big was just this minute 
remarking that, Martha, [Bigelow looks cmbar- 
raited-l 

Mahtha — [Laughing at him.'\ Well, I declare ! 

Of all the horrid things to hear 

Bigelow — [Still embarrassed but forcing a joltvng 
tone.l He — prevaricates, Mrs. Jayson. 

Mabtha — There now, Curtl I'm sure it was you 
who said it. It sounds just like one of your horrid 
^Biacts, 
^H Bigelow — And how can I offer my felicitatic»u 



260 



THE FIRST MAN 



now? But I do, despite jour husband's calm 
May your shadow never grow less! 

Martha — Thank you. . [She thaket hU proffered 
hand heaTtily.'\ 

BiGELOw — ^And now I'll collect my flock *nd j 
home. 

Curtis — So long, Big. Be sure you don't i 
one of your heirs! 

BiGEi.ow — No fear — but they might mislay 
[He goes. Curt nta down on couch. Mabtha j 
to the window right, and looks out — after a patH 
waving her hand."] 

Maktha — There they go. What darlings they i 
[Cbetis grunts perfunctorily. Martha con 
and aits beside Cubt on the couch — with 
Whoever did say it was right. Curt. I am getting a 

Curtis — [Taking one of her hands and pattinff ^ 
Nonsense ! 

Martha — [Shaking her head and smiling teith a 
touch of sadness.^ No. I feel it. 

Curtis — [Puts his arms around her protectingl^.^ 
Nonsense! You're not the sort that ever grows old. 

Martha — [Nestling up to him-'] I'm afraid we're 
all that sort, dear. Even you. [She touches the 
white hair about his temples playfuily.] Circumstan- 
tial evidence. I'll have to dye it when you're asleep 
some lime — and then nobody'll know. 

CuKTis — [Looking at her.] You haven't any Bil- 
ver threads. [Jokingly.] Am I to suspect ? 

Ma&tha — No, I don't. Honest, cross my }ie«rt» 



THE FIRST MAN 



261 



[ wouldn't evcji conceal that from you, if I did. But 
gray hairs prove nothing. I am actually older than 
jou, don't forget. 

Curtis — One whole year! That's frightful, isn't it? 

Maktha — I'm a woman, remember; so that one 
means at least six. Ugh ! Let's not talk about it. 
Do you know, it really fills me with a queer panic 
sometimes ? 

CuETia — [Squeezing Aer,] Silly girl! 

Maktha — {^Snuggling close to Aim.] Will you al- 
ways love me — even when I'm old and ugly and feeble 
and you're still young and strong and handsome? 

CuaTis — [Kisses her — temleTly.^ Martha! What 
a foolish question, sweetheart. If we ever have to grow 
old, well do it together just as we've always done 
everything. 

Martha — [TFifA a happy sigh.] That's my dream 
of happiness. Curt. [EnthusiasticaUy.] Oh, it has 
been a wonderful, strange life we've lived together, 

fCurt, hasn't it? You're sure you've never regretted 
-—never had the weest doubt that it might have been 
better witli — someone else? 

CcRTis — [Kisses her again — tenderly reproachfvl.'] 
Martha ! 

Maktha — ^And I have h^ped — really helped you, 
haven't I? 

CnaTis — [Much moved.] You've been the best wife 
a man could ever wish for, Martha. You've been — 
you are wonderful. I owe everything to you — ^your 



262 



THE FIRST MAN 



Bjmpathy and encouragement. Don't you know 
realize that? [She fci«*^» him gratefuUif.l 

Maetha — \^Maaing happUt/.l Yes, it's been a won- 
derful, glorious life. Fd live it over again if I could, 
every single second of it — even the terrible suffering 
— the children, 

CtJBTis — [^Wincing,'] Don't. I wouldn't want that 
over again, [^Tken clianging the subject abruptly.^ 
But why have you been putting all our life into the 
past tense? It seems to me the most interesting part 
u still ahead of us. 

Ma&tha — [Softly.^ I mean — together — Curt. 

Curtis — So do I ! 

Maetha — But you're going away — and I can't i] 
with you this time. 

CuBTis — [STtUUng to himself over her head.^ Y^§ 
that does complicate matters, doesn't it? 

Martha — [Hurt — looking up at ^m.] Cui 
How indifferently you say that — as if you didn't c 

CpETis — [^Avoiding her eyes — teasingly.Ji 
do you think you'll do all the time I'm gone? 

Martha — Oh, I'll be lost — dead — I won't 
what to do. I'll die of loneliness — [^yearnhig creep- 
ing into her voice'] unless 

CuBTis — [^Ijiquisitively-I Unless what? 

Mabtha — [Burying her face on his shofiJder — pas- 
sionately-l Oh, Curt, I love you so! Swear that 
you'll always love me no matter what I do — no matter 
what I ask 



H THE FIRST MAN 263 

Cdbtis — l^Vaguely v/neaty now, trj/mg to peer into 
her face.^ But, sweetheart 

Martha — {^Giving way weakly to her feeUnga for a 
moment — entreatingly.^ Then don't go! 

Cdetis — [Astonished.'l Why, I've got to go. You 
know that. 

Maktha — Yea, I suppose jou have. [Vigorously, 
a> if flinging off a weakTiets.^ Of course you have! 

CuRTia — But, Martha — you said you'd be lonely 
unless — unless what? 

Martha — Unless I — [SAe hesitates, blughxTig and 
confused.'] I mean we — oh, I'm so afraid of what 
you'll — hold me close, very close to you and I'll whis- 
per it. [She pulls his liead down and whispers in his 
ear. A look of disappointment and overman forces 
itself on his face.'\ 
t_, Curtis — [Almost indigTiantly,'] But that's impos- 
kble, Martha! 

H Maetha — [Pleadingly.] Now don't be angry with 
"ine. Curt — not till you've heard everything. [With a 
trace of defiance.] It isn't impossible, Curt. It's so! 
It's happened! I was saving it as a secret — to tell 
you to-day — on my birthday. 

CcETis — [Stunned.] You mean it — ^is a fact? 

Mastha — Yes. [Then pitifully.] Oh, Curt, don't 
look that way ! You seem so cold — so far away from 
rae. [Straining her arms about him.] Why don't 
you hold me close to you? Why don't you say you're 
glad — for my sake? 

Curtis — [Agitatedly.] But Martha — you don't 



261 



THE FIRST MAN 



understand. How can I pretend gladness whei^— 
[Vehemently.'] Why, it would spoil all our plans! 

Martha — Plans? Our plans? What do you mean? 

CuETia — lExcitedli/.'\ Why, you're going with me, 
of course! I've obtained official permission. I've been 
working for it for months. The letter came yester- 
day morning. 

Maetha — [^Stwuned.^ Permission — to go with 
you 

Cdktis — [Excitedly.'] Yes. I couldn't conceive 
going without you. And I laiew how you must be 
wishing 

Martha — [In pam."] Oh! 

Curtis — [DUtractedlff — jumping to his feet and 
staring at her bewUderetUi/.] Martha! You don't 
mean to tell me you weren't ! 

MftttTHA — [In a crushed roicc.J I was wishing you 
would finally decide not to go— to stay at home. 

Curtis — [Betraying exasperation.] But you must 
realize that's impossible. Martha, are you sure you've 
clearly understood what I've told you? You can go 
with me, do you hear? Everything is arranged. And 
I've had to fight so hard — I was running the risk of 
losing my own chance by my insistence that I couldn't 
go without you. 

Martha — [Weakly and helplessly.] I understand 
all that. Curt. 

Curtis — [rndignatilly.] And yet — you hesitate! 
Why, this is t!ie greatest thing of its kind ever at- 
tempted ! There are unprecedented possibilities ! A 



I 



THE FIRST MAN 265 

whole new world of knowledge may be opened up — 
the very origin of Man himself ! And you will be the 
only woman 

Maktha — I realize all that. Curt. 

CuETis — You can't — and hesitate! And then — 
think, Martha. — it will mean that you and I won't 
have to be separated. We can go on living the old, 
free life together. 

Maktha — [Growing calm now.^ You are forget- 
ting — ^what I told you. Curt. You must face the fact. 
I cannot go. 

Curtis — [Overwhelmed by the f,nality of ker tone 
■ — after a pause.'] How long have you known — this? 

Maktha — Two months, about, 

CcttTis — But why didn't you tell me before? 

Martha — I was afraid you wouldn't understand — 
and you haven't. Curt. But why didn't you tell me 
before — what you were planning? 

C0ETIS — lEagerly.~\ You mean — then — you would 
have been glad to go — before this had happened? 

Martha — I would have accepted it, 

CURTIS— [Despairin.gly.J Martha, how could you 
ever have allowed this to happen? Oh, I suppose I'm 
talking foolishness. It wasn't your seeking, I know. 

Martha — Yes it was. Curt. I wished it. I sought 
it. 

CuETrs — {iTidignantly.l Martha! [Then in a 
,'hurt tone.^ You have broken the promise we made 
■when they died. We were to keep their memories in- 
^Tiolate. They were to be always — our only cliildren. 



266 THE FIRST MAN 

Mabtba — [Gently.'] Thej forgive me. Curt. And 
you will for^ve me, too— when you see him — and love 
him. 

Cdktib — Him ? 

Martha — I know it will be a boy. 

CuETis — [Sinking down on the couch betide het 
d^f/.] Martha! You have blown my world to bits. 

Martha — [Taking one of his hands in hers — 
gently.] You must make allowances for me, Curt, and 
forgive me. I am, getting old. No, it's the truth. 
I've reached the turning point. Will you listen to 
my side of it, Curt, and try to see it — with sympa- 
thy — with true understanding — [R^t(A a trace of 
bitterness.] — forgetting your work for the moment? 

CuKTis — [Miserably.] That's unfair, Martha. I 
think of it as our work — and I have always believed 
you did, too. 

Ma&tha— [Quickly.] I did, Curt! I do! All in 
the past is our work. It's my greatest pride to tliink 
BO. But, Curt, I'll have to confess frankly — during 
the past two years I've felt myself — feeling as if I 
wasn't complete — with that alone. 

Curtis — Martha! [Bitterly.] And all the time I 
believed that more and more it was becoming the aim 
of your life, too. 

Maktha — [With a sad smile.] I'm glad of that, 
dear. I tried my best to conceal it from you. It 
would have been so unfair to let you guess while we 
were still in harness. But oh, how I kept looking for- 
ward to the time when we would come back — and rest 



THE FIRST MAN 



267 



— ^in our own Lome! You know — you said that was 
your plan — to stay here and write jour books — and 

I was hoping 

Cuaxis — [TFi/A a gesture of aversion.^ I loathe 
this book-writing. It isn't my part, 1 realize now. 
But when I made the plans you speak of, how could 
I know that then? 

Martha — [^Decisively.] You've got to go. I 
won't try to stop you, I'll help all in my power — 
as I've always done. Only — I can't go with you any 
more. And you must help me — to do my work — ^by 
understanding it. [He is silent, frowning, his face 
agitated, preoccupied. She goes on intensely.] Oh, 
^-£urt, I wish I could tell you what I feel, make jou 
Hfeel with me the longing for a child. If you had just 
Hfte tiniest bit of feminine in you — ! [Forcing a 
smUe.] But you're so utterly masculine, dear! 
That's what has made me love you, I suppose — so 
I've no right to complain of it. [Intensely.] I 
don't. I wouldn't have you changed one bit! I love 
you ! And I love the things you love — your work — 
because it's a part of you. And that's what I want 
you to do — to reciprocate — to love the creator in me 
— to desire that I, too, should complete myself with 
the thing nearest my heart! 

CuBTis — [Intensely preoccupied with his own strug 

gle — vaguely.] But I thought 

Martha — I know ; but, after all, your work is 
yours, not mine. I have been only a helper, a good 
comrade, too, I hope, but — somehow — outside of it 



f.L 



THE FIRST MAN 



aH. Do you remember two years ago when we were 
camped in Yunnan, among the aboriginal tribes? It 
was one night there when we were lying out in our 
Bleeping-bags up in the mountains along the Tibetan 
frontier. I couldn't sleep. Suddenly I felt oh, so 
tired — utterly alone — out of harmony with you — ^with 
the earth under me. I became horribly despondent — 
like an outcast who suddenly realizes the whole world 
is alien. And all the wandering about the world, and 
all the romance and excitement I'd enjoyed in it, ap- 
peared an aimless, futile business, chasing around in 
a circle in an effort to avoid touching reality. For- 
give me, Curt. I meant myself, not you, of course. 
Oh, it was horrible, I tell you, to feel that way. I 
tried to laugh at myself, to iight it off, but it stayed 
and grew worse. It seemed as if I were the only crea- 
ture alive — ^who was not alive. And all at once the 
picture came of a tribeswoman who stood looking at 
us in a little mountain village as we rode by. She was 
nursing her child. Her eyes were so curiously sure 
of herself. She was horribly ugly, poor woman, and 
yet — as the picture came back to mo — I appeared to 
myself the ugly one while she was beautiful. And I 
thought of our children who had died — and such a 
longing for another child came to me that I b^aa 
sobbing. You were asleep. You didn't hear. [She 
pauses — then proceeds slowli/.'\ And when we came 
back here — -to have a home at last, I was so happy 
because I saw my chance of fulfillment — before it was 
too late. {In a gentle, pleading voice.l Now can 



^^^^ THE FIRST MAN 269 

jDU understand, dear? \^She puts her hand on his 
urm.] 

Curtis — [Starting as if awaking from a sleep."] 
Understand? No, I can't understand, Martha. 

Maetha — [/■« a gasp of unbearable hurt.] Curt! 
I don't believe jou heard a word I was sajing. 

Ctraxis — [BursttTig forth as if releasing aU the 
fent-up struggle that has been gathering within htm.] 
Ko, I can't understand. I cannot, cannot! It 
seems like treachery to me. 

^ Martha — Curt ! 
CuRTiB — I've depended on you. This is the crucial 
|ioint — the biggest thing of my life — and you de- 
sert nie! 

Mabtha — [Resentment gathering in her e^es.] If 
you had listened to me — if you had even tried to 

ieel 

CuHTis — I feel that you are deliberately ruining my 
Ughest hope. How can I go on without youP I've 
been trying to imagine myself alone. I can't ! Even 
with my work — who can I get to take your place? 
Oh, Martha, why do you have to bring this new de- 
ment into our lives at this late day? Haven't we 
been sufficient, you and I together? Isn't that a more 
difficult, beautiful happiness to achieve than — chil- 
dren? Everyone has children. Don't I love you as 
nuch as any man could love a woman? Isn't that 
enough for you? Doesn't it mean anything to you 
that I need you so terribly — for myself, for my work 
everything that is best and worthiest in m 



870 



THE FIRST MAN 



Can you expect me to be glad when you propose to 
introduce a stranger who will steal away your love, 
your interest — ^who will separate us and deprive me 
of you! No, no, I cannot! It's asHng the impos- 
sible. I am only human, 

Maktha — If you were himian you would think of 
my life as well as yours. 

CuETis — I do ! It is OUT life I am fighting for, not 
mine — our life that you want to destroy. 

Maktha — Our life seems to mean your life to you, 
Curt — and only your life. I have devoted fifteen 
years to that. Now I must fight for my own. 

Curtis — [Aghast,'] You talk as if we were ene- 
mies, Martha! [Striding forcnard and seizing Her tn 
his arms.] No, you don't mean it! I love you so, 
Martha! You've made yourself part of my life, my 
work — I need you so! I can't share you with any- 
one! I won't! Martha, my own! Say that you 
won't, dear? [He kisses her passionately again and 
again.'} 

Mabtha — [All her love and tenderness aroused hy 
his kisses and passionate sincerittf — weakening.] 
Curt! Curt! [Pitiably.] It won't separate us, dear. 
Can't you see he will be a link between us — even when 
we are away from each other — that he will bring us 
together all the closer? 

CuETis — But I can't be away from you ! 

Mabtha — [Miserably.] Oh, Curt, why won't you 
look the fact in the face — and learn to accept it with 



THE FmST MAN 



27X 



joy? Why can't you for my Eakep I would do that I 



for 



you. 



I 



CoKTis — [^Breaking away -from her — pas8ionately.'\ 
You will not do what I have implored you — for me! 
And I am looking the fact in the face- — ^the fact that 
there must be no fact ! [Avoidijig her eyei — as if de- 
fying his (yum finer feelings.^ There are doctors I 
who 

Martha — [Shrinhiitg hack from him.'] Curt! 
You propose that — to mc! [IFifA overwhelming sor- 
row.] Oh, Curt! When I feel liiin— hia life within 
me — lite a budding of my deepest soul — to flower and 
continue me — you say what you have just said! 
[Grief-strlcken.J Oh, jou never, never, never will un- 
derstand ! 

CuttTis — [_Skamefacedly.^ Martha, I — [Dm- 
tractedly.] I don't know what I'm saying! This 
whole situation is so unbearable! Why, why does it 
have to happen now? 

Ma&tua — [Gently.'] It must be now — or not at J 
all — at ray age, dear. [TAen after a pause — staring \ 
at him frightenedly — sadly.] You have changed. 
Curt. I remember it used to be your happiness to 
sacrifice yourself for me, 

CoETia — I had no work then — no purpose beyond 
myself. To sacrifice oneself is easy. But when your 
only meaning becomes as a searcher for knowledge- 
you cannot sacrifice that, Martha. You must sacr 
fice everything for that — or lose all sincerity. 



272 



THE FIRST MAN 



Mabtha — I wonder where your work leaves off and 
you begin. Hasn't your work become jou? 

CuKTis — Yes and no. [Helplessly.^ You can't un- 
derstand, Mai'tha! . . . 

Maetha — Nor you. 

CuETis — [With a trace of bitter irony.l And yoi 
and your work? Aren't they one and the same? 

Martha — So you think mine is selfish, too? [After 
a pause — sadlp.'\ I can't blame you, Curt. It's all 
my fault. I've spoiled you by giving up my life so 
completely to youra. You've forgotten I have one. 
Oh, I don't mean that I was a martyr. I know that 
in you alone lay my happiness and fulfillment in those 
years — after the children died. But we are no longer 
what we were then. We must, both of us, rdearn to 
love and respect — ^what we have become. 

CuKTis — [Violently.'] Nonsense! You talk as if 
love were an intellectual process — [Taking her into 
his arms — passiovately.] I love you — always and for- 
ever! You are me and I am you. What use is all 
this vivisecting? [He kisses her fiercely. They look 
into each other's eyes for a second — then instinctively 
fall back from one another.] 

Mabtha — [In a whisper.] Yes, you love me. But 
who am I? There is no recognition in your eyes. You 
don't know. 

CvnTia—[ Frightenedly.] Martha ! Stop ! This is 
terrible! [They continue to be held by each otker't 
fearfully questioning eyes.] 

[The Curtain Ftdls] 



ACT ni 



ACT III 

Scene — Same a» Act II. 

As the curtain rises, Jathon is discovered sit'- 
ting in an armchair by the fireplace, in which a i 
log fire is burning fitfully. He is staring into the 
flames, a strained, expectant expression on his 
■face. It is about three o'clock in the mormng. 
There is no light but that furnished by the fire 
which fills the room with shifting shadows. The 
door in the rear is opened and Richass appears, 
his face harried by the stress of wwusual emotion. 
Through the opened doorway, a low, muffled 
moan of anguish sounds -from the upper part of 
the house. Jayson and Richakd both shudder. 
The latter closes the door behind, him quickly as if 
anxious to shut out the noise. 



Jayson — [Looking up aiixiously.'] Well? 

Rich AB.D~~[ Involuntarily straightening up as »fl 
about to salute and report to a superior officer."] Nol 
change, sir. [Then, as if remembering himself, comes ' 
to the fireplace and slumps down tn a chair — agitat- 
edly.^ God, Dad, I can't stand her moaning and 
screaming! It's got my nerves shot to pieces, I 
tiiought Z was hardened, I've heard them out Id No \ 



276 THE FIRST MAN 

Man's Land— dying by inches — when you couldn't g 
to them or help — but thia ia worse — a million times! 
After aU, that was war — and they were men 

Jayson — Martha is having an exceptionally hard 
ordeal. 

RrcuARS — Since three o'clock this morning — yester- 
day morning, I should say. It's a wonder she isn't 
dead. 

Jayson— [yl/icr a paw.»e,] Where is Curt? 

Richard — [HarshJy.'\ Still out in the garden, 
walking around bareheaded in the cold like a lunatic. 

Jayson — Why didn't you make him come in? 

RicHAKD — Make him! It's easy to say. He's in » 
queer state, Dadi I can tell you! There's something 
torturing him besides her pain—- — - 

Jayson — [After a ■pause.^ Yes, there's a lot in all 
this we don't know about. 

RicHAUD — I suppose the reason he's so down on the 
family is because we've rather cut her since that tea 
affair. 

Jayson — He shouldn't blame us. She acted abomi- 
nably and has certainly caused enough talk since then 
— always about with Bigelow 

Richaud — [With a sardonic laugh.^ And yet be 
keeps asking everyone to send for Bigelow — says lie 
wants to talk to him — not us. We can't understand! 
[He laughs bitterly.] 

Jayson — I'm afraid Curt knows we understand too 
much. [Agitatedty-I But why does he want Bigelow, 
is God's name? In his present state — with the sue- 



I 



THE FmST MAN 377 

) he mast have — there's liable to be a frightful 

RicHABD — Don't be afraid of a scene, \^With pity- 
ing tcorn.'] The hell of it is he seeniB to regard Bige- 
low as his best friend. Damned if I can make it out. 

Jatson — I gave orders that thej were alwaja to tell 
Curt Bigelow was out of town and couldn't be reached. 
[With a »igh.~\ What a frightful situation for all 
of us! [After a pause.^ It may sound cruel of me — 
but — I can't help wishing for all our sakes that this 
child will never 

RicHAED — ^Yes, Dad, I know what you're thinking. 
It would be the best thing for it, too — although I hate 
myself for saying it. [There is a pause. Then the 
door in rear w opened and Lily appears. She is pale 
and agitated. Leaving the door open behind her the 
comes forward and flings herself on the lounge.'\ 

Jayson — [Anxiousltf.l Well? 

Lilt — [Irritablif, getting up and switching on the 
Ughta.l Isn't everything gloomy enoughP [Sits 
down."] 1 couldn't bear it upstairs one second 
longer, Esther and Emily are coming down, too. It's 
too much for them — and they've had personal experi- 
ence. [Tri/ing to mask her agitation by a pretense at 
f.ippan-cy.\ I hereby become a life-member of the 
birth-control league. Let's let humanity cease — if 
God can't manage its continuance any better than that ! 

RiCHAsn — [Seriously-I Second the motion. 

Jatson — [Peevishly.^ You're young idiots. Keep 
your blasphemous nonsense to yourself, Lily ! 



378 



THE FIRST MAN 



Lilt — {^Jumping up and ttamping her foot — hyt- 
tericallf/.] I can't stand it. Take me home, Dick, 
won't you? We're doing no good waiting here. I'D 
have a fit — or something — if I stay. 
-T,~ Richard — [Glad of the excuse to go himself— ^i 
briskly.^ Thst'c how I feel. I'll drive you home. 
Come along. [Sbtbee and Emily enter, followed by"^ 
John.] 

Lily — [Excitedly,^ I'll never marry or have 
child! Never, never! I'll go into Mark's office to-'l 
morrow and make myself independent of marriage, 

EsTHEK — Sssh! Lily! Don't you know you*p 
shouting? And what silly talk! 

Lily — Pll show you whether it's silly ! Ill 

Richard — [lmpatienHy.'\ Are you coming or not? 

Lilt — [Quickly.^ Yea — wait — here I am. [She 
pushes past the otJiers and follows Riceabd out rear. 
Esther and Emily sit on couch — John on chair, right 
rear.l 

Esther — [IFiiA a sigh.l I thought I went through 
sometliing when mine were born — but this is too awfni. 

Emii.t — And, according to John, Curt actually says 
he hates it! Isn't that terrible? [After a pause — 
meaningly.^ It's almost as if her sufTering was a pun- 
ishment, don't you think? 

Ebthek — If it is, she's being punished enough. 
Heaven knows. It can't go on this way much longer 
or something dreadful will happen. 

Emily — Do you think the baby 



THE FIRST MAN 



279 I 



Esther — I don't know, I shouldn't say it but per- 1 



hapa it would be better if— 
Emilt— That's what I think. 



EsTHEB — Oh, I wish I didn't have such evil t 



ispi-j 



III ii 



cious — but the way Curt goea on — how c« 
feeling there's something wrong? 

Jatson — ISudderUt/.'] How is Curt? 

Emily — John just came in from the garden. 
[Tumirig around to where John is dosing in his chair 
— sharply.} John! Well I never! If he isn't falling 
asleep! John! [He jerks up his head and stares at 
her, blinking stupidly. She continues irritably.} A 4 
nice time to pick out for a nap, I must say. 

John — [Surlilj/.'\ Don't forget I have to be at the J 
bank in the morning. 

Jayson — [TestHy.'] 1 have to be at the bank, tooT 
— and yoii don't notice me sleeping. Tell me about 
Curt, You just left him, didn't you? 

John — [Irritably,'} Yea, and I've been walking 
around that damned garden half the night watching J 
over him. Isn't that enough to wear anyone out? 1 1 
can feel I've got a terrible cold coming on 

Esther — \^Impatientli/,] For goodness sake, don't 4 
you start to pity yourself! 

John — [Indignantly.^ I'm not. I think I've ' 
showed my willingness to do everything I could. If 
Curt was only the least bit grateful! He isn't. He 
hates US all and wishes we were out of his home. I J 
would have left long ago if I didn't want to do my partil 
in saving the family name from disgrace. 



THE FmST MAN 

Jatsom — [Impatiently.] Has he quieted down, | 
that's what I want to know? 

John — [Harahly.~\ Not the least bit. He's out of j 
his head — and I*d be out of mine if a child was being; I 
bom to my wife that 

Jatson — [Angritjf.l Keep that to yourself! Re- 
member you have no proof. [Moroielj/.l Think all 
you want — but don't talk. 

Emily — [Pettishly.] The whole town knows It, i 
anyway ; I'm sure they must. 

Jayson — ^There's only been gossip — no real scan- \ 
dal. Let's do our united best to keep it at tliat. I 
[After a patiae.] Where's Aunt Elizabeth? Well I 
have to keep an eye on her, too, or she's quite liable to ] 
blurt out the whole business before all comers. 

EsTHEa — You needn't be afraid. She's forgotten ] 
all about the scandalous part. No word of it ] 
come to her out in the country and she hasn't set foot I 
in town since that unfortunate tea, remember. And | 
at present she's so busy wishing the child will be t 
boy, that she hasn't a thought for another thin^^j 
[The door in the rear is opened and Mark Shepfielo ] 
enters. He comes vp to the fire to warm himself. 
The others watch him in silence for a moment.] 
- Jayson — [Impatiently.] Well, Mark? Where*! j 
Curt? 

Shefpibld — [Frowning.] Inside, I think he'll be '3 
with us in a minute. [With a scornful smile.] Juii| 
now he's 'phoning to Bigelow. [The others gasp.^ 



THE FIRST MAN 



281] 



Jaysok — [FurioMiZy.] For God's sake, couldn't ■ 
you stop him? 

Sheffield — Not without a scene. Your Aunt per-l 
euaded him to come into the house — and he rushed for] 
the 'phone. I think he guessed we had been lying tal 
him 

Jayson — [After a pau9e.'[ Then he — Bigelow will 
be here soon? 

Sheffield — [Dril^.l It depends on his sense of 
decency. As he seems lacking in that quality, I've i 
doubt he'll come. 
^ JoHif — [Rising to his feet — pompouslp.'] Then I^l 
for one, will go. Come, Emily. Since Curt seems f 



I 
I 



concerned, I want it thor-l 
3 wash our hands of thel 



want to ! 
I think it ] 



bound to disgrace everyo 
oughly understood that 
whole disgraceful affair. 

Emilt — [SnappisMy.'] Go if you 
won't! [Then teith a sacrificing air."] 
our duty to stay. 

Jaysokt — [Exasperated.^ Sit down. Wash your' 
hands indeed ! Aren't you as much concerned as any 
of usi* 

Sheffield — [Sharply.'\ Sshli ! I think I hear 
Curt now. [John stts down abruptly/. All stiffen into 
stony attitudes. The door is opened and Cdht enters. 
He is incredibly drawn and haggard, a tortured, be- 
wildered expression in his eyes. His hair is dishev- 
elled, his boots caked with mud. He stands at the 
door staring from one to the other of his fatrnXy wtt\ 
a wUd, contemptuous scorn and mutters.^ 



282 



THE FIRST MAN 



CuETia — Liars! WeU, he's coming now, [1 
wUderedli/.^ Why didn't you want him to come, ehP 
He's my oldest friend. I've got to talk to someone — 
and I can't to you. [Wildlf/.'\ What do you want 
here, anj-way? Why don't you go? [A scream of 
Maktha's is heard through the doorway. Cuar 
shudders violently, slams the door to tinih a crash, m 
putting his shotdders against it at if to bar out thg^ 
sound inexorably — in oTiguish.'] God, why must i 
go through such agony? Why? Why? [^He goes Iti 
the fireplace as Mahk makes way for him, flings } 
self exhavstedly on a chair, his shoulders boieed, 
face hidden in his hands. The others stare at i 
pityingly. There is a long sUence. Then the 
women whisper together, get up and tiptoe out of thi 
room, motioning for the others to follow them. JoK 
does so. Sheffielu starts to go, then notices 
preoccupied Jaysom who is staring moodily into thiM 

/!"■] 

SHBFFIB1.D — Sstt! j^As Jayson looks up — m 
tehisper.'] Let's go out and leave him alone. Per^J 
haps hell sleep. 

Javbon — ^Starting to follow Sheffield, hesitates 
and puts a hand on his son's shouldcr.J Curt. Re- 
member I'm your father. Can't you confide in me? 
I'll do anything to help. 

CuRTia — [HarsMy.l No, Dad. Leave me alone, 

Jayson — [Piqued.'l As you wish. [He starts <«| 

ffo] 

CuaTis — And send Big in to me as soon as he comec 



I 



THE FIRST MAN 

Jayson — [Stopt, appears about to object — then re- 
marks coldlt/.^ Very well — if you insist. [^He 
gwitches off the lights. He hesitates at the door wn- 
certainli/, then opens it and goes out. There is a 
pause. Then Cubt lifts his head and peers about the 
room. Seeing he is alone he springs to his feet and 
begivia to pace back and forth, his teeth clenched, his 
features working convulsively. Then, as if attracted 
by an irresistible impulse, he goes to the closed door 
and puts his ear to the crack. He evidently hears his 
tcife's moans for he starts away — in agony.'] 

CnRTia — Oh, Martha, Martha! Martha, darling! 
[Hff flings himself in the chair by the fireplace — hidet 
his face in his hands and sobs bitterlif. There is a 
ring from somewhere in the house. Soon after there is 
a knock at the door. Curtis doesn't hear at first but 
when it is repeated he mutters huskily.] Come in. 
[BioELow enters. Cttrt looks up at him.] Close 
that door. Big, for God's sake! 

BioELOw — [Does so — then taking off his overcoat, 
hat, and throwing them on the lounge comes quickly 
over to CuBT.] I got over as soon as I could. [^As 
he sees Cubt's face he starts and says sympa- 
thetically.] By Jove, old man, you look as though 
you'd been through hell! 

CuRTia — [^Grimly.] I have. I am. 

BiGKLow — [Slapping his back.] Buck up! [Then 
anxiously.] How's Martha? 

CoETis — She's in hell, too 

BioELow — [Attemptijtg consolation,] You're surely 



4 
4 



THE FraST MAN 

not worrying, are you? Martha is so strong sn 
healthy there's no doubt of her pulling through in Gni 
shape. 

CuETis — She should never have attempted tbilffl 
[Aiter a pauac] I've a grudge against you, Big, Iw^ 
was you bringing your children over here that SrBt.1 
planted this in her mind. 

BiGELow — [After a paase.] I've guessed yottl 
thought that. That's why you haven't noticed me- 
or them — over here so much lately. I'll confess thi 
I felt you — [Angrily.'\ And the infernal gossip— "J 
111 admit I thought that you — oh, damn this rotteaj 
town, anyway ! 

CuKTiH — [Impatiently J\ Oh, for God's aabe^ 
[Bitterly.'\ I didn't want you here to discuss Bridgi 
town gossip. 

BiGELOw — I know, old man, forgive me. [In jpit#J 
of the closed door one of Martha's agonised mocmtm 
it heard. They both thudder.] 

Curtis — [In a dead, monotonous tone,'] She baffl 
been moaning like that hour after hour. I shall hav^ 
those sounds in my ears until the day I die. Nothi 
can ever make me forget — nothing. 

BiGELOw — [Trying to distract ftim.] Deuce tal 
it, Curt, what's the matter with you? I 
thought you'd turn morbid. 

Curtis — [Darkly.^ I've changed^ Big — I hare 
know myself any more. 

BiGELow — Oace you're back on the job 



THE FIRST MAN 



285 



r 



youll be all right. You're still determined to go on 
this expedition, aren't you? 

Cdrtis — Yes. I was supposed to join them this 
weet in New York but I've arranged to catch up with 
them in China — as soon as it's possible for us to go. 

BiGEiow — Us? You mean you still plan to 
take 

Curtis — {^Angrilff aggreisive.'] Yes, certainly! 
Why not? Martha ought to be able to travel in a 
month or so. 

BiGELow — ^Yes, but — do you thiiik it would be safe 
to take the child? 

CuRTia — [WiiA a bitter laugh.l Yes — I was for- 
getting the child, wasn't I? IVicioualy.] But per- 
haps — [Then catckiitg himself with a groaTi.^ Oh, 
damn aU children. Big! 

B1GET.0W— [Astonished.} Curt ! 

CuitTia — [/n anguish.'] I can't help it — I've fought 
against it. But it's there — deep down in me — and I 
can't drive it out. I can't ! 

BiGELow — [Bewildered.] What, Curt? 

CcETiS — Hatred ! Yes, hatred ! What's the use of 
denying it? I must tell someone and you're the only . 
one who might understand. [H^iift a wild laugh.'\ 
For you — hated your wife, didn't yon? 

BiGELOw — [Stunned.] Good God, you don't mean 
you hate — Martha? 

CoBTis — [Raging.] Hate Martha? How dare 
you, you fool ! I love Martha — love her with every 
miserable drop of blood in me — with all my life — all 



286 



THE FIRST MAN 



nij soul! She is my whole world — everything! 
Martha ! God, man, have you gone crazy to say eai 
a mad thing? [Savagelg.'\ No, I hate it. It! 
•'■^ BiGELow — [^Shocked.^ Curt! Don't yon know 3 
can't talk like that — now — when 

Curtis — [Harshlp.^ It has made us both 1 

torments — not only now — every day, every hour, i 

months and months. Why shouldn't I hate it, eh?^ 

BrsELOw — [^S taring at his friend' » wild, distort ea 
face with growing ftorror.] Curtt Can't you realize 
how horrible 

CuBTia — Yes, it's horrible. I've told myself that 
a million times. [With emphasis.^ But it's true! 

BiGELow — [Severely-I Shut up! You're not your- 
self. Come, think for a moment. What would Mar^ 
tha feel if she heard you going on this way? Why — 
it would kill her ! 

CuiiTis — [With a tobh'vng groanSl Oh, I know, I 
know! [After a "pauxe.^ She read it in my eyes. 
Yes, it's horrible, but when I saw her there su£Fering 
so frightfully — I couldn't keep it out of my eyes. I 
tried to force it baek^ — for her sake — but I couldn't. 
I was holding her hands and her eyes searched mine 
with such a longing question in them — and she read 
only my hatred there, not my love for her. And she 
screamed and seemed to try to push me away. I 
wanted to kneel down and pray for forgiveness — to 
tell her it was only my love for her — that I couldn't 
help it. And then the doctors told me to leave— 



I 



THE FIRST MAN 2 

now the door is locked against me [He 

tobi.'i 

BiGELow — [^Greatljf moved.'\ This is only jour 
damned imagination. They put you out because you 
were in their way, that's alJ, And as for Martha, she 
was probably suffering so much 

Curtis — No. She read it in mj eyes. I saw that 
look in hers — of horror — horror of me! 

B1GEI.0W — lGrufflt/.1 You're raving, damn it! 

Curtis — [Unheeding. "l It came home to her then 
' — ^the undeniable truth. [With a groan.^ Isn't it 
fiendish that I should he the one to add to her torture 
— in epite of myself— in spite of all my will to conceal 
it! She will never forgive mc, never! And how can 
I forgive myself? 

Big E1.0 w—[Disf roc fedZy.] For God's sake, don't 
think about it! It's absurd — ridiculous! 

CtTETis — [Groining more calm — in a tone of obies- 
non.] She's guessed it ever since that day when we 
quarreled — her birthday. Oh, you can have no idea 
of the misery there has been in our lives since then. 
You haven't seen or guessed the reason. No one has. 
It has been — the thought of it. 

BiQELOw — Curt ! 

CuuTis—lUnheeding.l For years we had welded 
our lives together bo that we two were sufficient, each 
to each. There was no room for a third. And it was 
a fine, free life we had made — a life of new worlds, of 
discovery, of knowledge invaluable to mankind. Isn't 
such a life worth all the sacrifice it must entailP 



288 THE FIRST MAN 

BiOBLOW — But that life was your life, Curt- 
CuRTia — [Vehementljf.l No, it was her life, tow 
her work as well as mine. She had made the life, ■ 



life — the wort. 



■ work. Had she the right to i 



pudiate what she had built because she suddenly has 
a fancy for a home, children, a miserable ease! I had 
thought I was her home, her children. I had tried 
to make my life worthy of being that to her. And I 
had failed. I was not enough. 

BiGELOw — Curt ! 

CuETis — Oh, I tried to become reconciled. I tried 
my damnedest. I tried to love this child as I had 
loved those that died. But I couldn't. And so, this 
being estranged us. We loved as intensely as ever but 
t( pushed us apart. I grew to dread the idea of this 
intruder. She saw this in me. I denied it — ^but she 
knew. There was something in each of us the other 
grew to hate. And still we loved as never before, per- 
haps, for we grew to pity each other's helplessness. 

BiGELow — Curt ! Are you sure jou ought to tell 
anyone this? 

Curtis — [ Waving his remark aiide.1 One day, 
when I was trying to ima^ne myself without her, and 
finding nothing but hopelessness — yet knowing I must 
go — a thought suddenly struck me — a horrible but 
fascinating possibility that had never occurred to me 
before. [With feverish intensity.l Can you guess 
what it was? 

BioELow — No. And I think you've done earn 
morbid raving, if you ask me. 



THE FIRST MAN S 

Craxis — The thought that came to me was that if 
i certain thing happened, Martha could still go with 
ne. And I knew, if it did happen, that she would 
want to go, that she would fling herself into the spirit 
of our work to forget, that she would be mine more 
than ever, 

BiGELOw — {^Afraid to believe the obvious answer.^ 
Curt! 

CuETis — ^Yes. My thought was that the chOd 
might be born dead. 

'SiG^i.ow— [Repelled — sterrdy.^ Damn it, man, do 
you know what j'ou're saying? [Relentingly.^ No, 
Curt, old boy, do stop talking. If you don't I'll send 
for a doctor, damned if I won't. That talk belongs 
in an asylum. God, man, can't you realize this ia your 
child — yours as well as hers? 

Ctietis— I've tried. I cannot. There is some in- 
exorable force in me 

BiGELow — [Coldly,'] Do you realize how con- 
temptible this confession makes you out? [AngrUy.'\ 
Why, if you had one trace of human kindness in you 
— one bit of unselfish love for jour wife — one particle 

of pity for her suffering 

CuETig — [Anguished.] I have — all the love and 
pity in the world for her! That's why I can't help 
hating — the cause of her suffering, 

BiGELow — Have you never thought that you might 
repay Martha for giving up all her life to you by de- 
voting the rest of yours to her? 
^^CgBTis — [Bitterly.] She can be happy without 



290 



THE FIRST MAN 



me. She w31 have this child^ — to take my place. [/»- 
temely.^ You think I would not give up my work 
for her? But I would ! I will stay here — do anything 
she wishes — if only we can make a new beginning again 
— together — alo ne ! 

BisKLOw — l^.igitated.^ Curt, for God's sake, don't 
return to that! Why, good God, man — even now — 
while you're speaking — don't you realize what may be 
happening? And you can talk as if you were i 



CuETia — [Ftercelff.'\ I can't fadp but wish it!l 

BiGELOW — [Distractedlp.^ For the love of ' 
if you have such thoughts, keep them to yourself, 
won't listen t You make me despise life! 

CrttTift— And would you have me love life? {T 
door in the rear is opened and Jayson enters, pale a 
imnarved. A succession of quick, piercing shrieki^ 
heard before he can close the door behind him, S?u 
dering.~] My God! My God! [With a fierce crj 
Will — this — never — end ! 

Jayson — [^Tremblinglif.^ Sh-h-h, they say this | 
the crisis, [Puts his arm around Citht.] Bear up, i 
boy, it will soon be over now. [He sits dotcn m tlu 
chair BiGEtow has vacated, pointedly ignoring the lati 
ter. The door is opened again and Emily, Esth 
John and Shefpie-ld file wt quickly as if escaping frot 
the cries of the reoman upstairs. They are all greai 
agitated. Cpet groans, pressing his clenched 
against his ears. The two women sit on the lom 
Mask comes forward and stands by Jayson'a i 



THE FIRST MAN 281 

^OHN tits hjf the door a$ before. Bioelow retreats 
behind Ccrt's chair, aware of their hogtUity. There 
is a loTig pause.^ 

EsTHEB — [^Suddenly.^ She has stopped — \^Thet/ 
dU listen.^ 

Jatson — [ifM«ttZ^.] Thank God, it's over at last. 
[The door is opened and Mes. Davidson enters. The 
old lady is radiant, -weeping tears of jo^-] 

Mes. Davidson — [Calls out exvltantly between 
$ohs.'\ A son. Curt — a son. [TTiiA rapt fervor — 
falling on her knees.} Let us all give thanks to God! 

Cdktib — [In a horrible cry of rage and anguish.l 
No! No! You lie! [They all cry out in fright arid 
amasemenl: "Citkt"! The door is opened and the 
NtTESE appears.} 

NuKSE — {^Looking at Cdktis in a low voice.} Mr. 
Jayson, your wife is asking for you. 

BiGELow — [Promptly slapping Cubt on the back.} 
There! What did I tell you? Run, jou chump! 

CoETis — [With a gasp of joy.} Martha! Darling, 
I'm coming- [He rushes out after the Nuubk.] 

BiGELOw — [Coiaes forward to get his hat and coat 
from the sofa — coldly.} Pardon me, please. [The^ 
shrink away from him.} 

Emily — [As he goes to the door — cuttingly.} 
Some people seem to have no sense of decency ! 

BiGELOw — [Stung, stops at the door and looks from 
one to the other of them — bitingly.} No, I quite 
agree with you. [He goes out, shutting the door. 
They all gasp angrSy.} 



292 THE FIRST MAN 

John — Scoundrel ! 

Jayson — [Testily — going to Mes. D., who i» ttiU 
on her knees praying.] Do get up. Aunt Elizabeth! 
How ridiculous! What a scene if anyone should see 
jon like that. [He raises her to her feet and leads her 
to a chair by tiie fire. She obeys unresistingly, se 
ingly unaware of what she is doing.] 

EsTHEH — [UTiablc to restrain her jealousy.'] 
it's a boy. 

Emily — Did you hear Curt — how he yelled 
"No"? It's plain as the nose on your face he c 
want 

Esther — How awful! 

John — Well, can you blame him? 

Emily — And the awful cheek of that Bigelow per- 

EsTHEa — They appeared as friendly as ever when 
we came in. 

John — [Scornfully.] Curt is a blind simpletoiki 
and that man is a dyed-in-the-wooI scoundrel. 

Jayson — [Frightcnedly.] Shhh! Suppose 
were overheard ! 

Emily — When Curt leaves we can put her in her 
proper place. I'll soon let her know she hasn't fooled 
me, for one. [While she is speaking Mas. D. has 
gotten up and is going silently toward the door.'] 

Jayson — [Testily.] Aunt Elizabeth, where are 
you going? 

Mbs. D. — [Tenderly.'] I must see him again, the 
dear! [She goes out.^ 



I 



THE FIRST MAN 293 

EsTHEB — [Devoured by curiositjf — Jientatingly.'] 
I think I — come on, Emily. Let's go up and see 

Emtlt — Not I! I never want to lay eyes on it. 

JoH-N — Nor I. 

EsTHEH — I was only tliinking — everyone will think 
it funny if we don't, 

Jayson — [Hastily.'\ Yes, yes. We must keep np 
appearances, [Getting to his feet.'] Yes, I think we 
had better all go up — ^make some sort of inquiry about 

Martha, you know. It's espectcd of us and 

[They are all standing, hesitating, when the door in 
the rear is opened and the Ndese appears, supporting 
CuKT. The latter is like a corpse. His face is petri- 
^d with grief, his body seems limp and half-para- 
lyzed.'] 

NnasE — [Her eyes flashing, indignantly.] It's a 
wonder some of you wouldn't come up — here, help 
me! Take him, can't you? I've got to run back! 
[Jatson and Sheffield spring forward and lead 
Cttet to a chair by the fire,] 

Jatson — [Anxious.] Curt! Curt, my boy! What 
is it, son? 

EurLY — [Catching the Nubse as she tries to go.'\ 
Nurse! What is the matter? 

NtmsE — [Slowly.] His wife is dead. [They are 
all stUl, stunned.] She lived just long enough to 
recognize him. 

Emily — And — the babyp 

Ndkse — [With a professional air.] Oh, it's a fine, 
healthy baby — eleven pounds — that's what made it so 



394 THE FmST MAN 

difficult. ISke goeM. The othera aU if and in »ilenc«.'\ 

KsTHE& — [Sodded y t inking on the couch and 
bunting into teart.^ Oh, Tin so eorry I said — or 
thought — anything wrong about her. Forgive me, 
Martha ! 

Sheffield — [Honeitly moved but unable to retut 
this opportuTtity for Latin — soJemnlj/.] De mortuis 
nil nisi bonum. 

Jayson — [Who hag been giving all his attention fdfl 
hit ton-l Curt! Curt! ■ 

KjjtLT — Hadn't the doctor better ^ 

Jatson — Shlih ! He begins to recognize me. Curt ! 

Curtis — [Looking around him bewildcredlj/.^ Yes. 
[Suddejily remembrance cornea and a spasm of intol- 
erable pain contracts his features. He presses his 
hands to the side of his head and groans brokenly.'] 
Martha! Gone! Dead! Oh! [He appeals wUdlff 
to the others.1 Her eyes — she tnew me — she smiled 
— she whispered — forgive me. Curt, — forgive her — 
when it was I who should have said forgive me — but 
before I could — she [He falters brokenly."] 

Emtlt — [Looking from one to the other mean- 
ingly as if this justified all their suspicions.] Oh! 

Cttetis — [A sudden triumph in his voice.] But she 
loved me again — only me — I saw it in her eyes! She 
had forgotten — 1(. [Raging.] Never let me see it! 
Never let it come near me! It has murdered her! 
[Springing to Iiia feet.] I hate it from the bottom 
of my soul — I will never see it — never — never — I take 
my oath! [At his father takes hit arm — shaking him 



THE FmST MAN 295 

off.'] Let me go! I am going back to her! [He 
Mtndei out of the door m a freiuy of grief amd rage. 
They aU stand trampced, looking at each other be- 
V)ildereMy.'\ 

Emtlt — [Puttvng aU her venomout gratification 
irtto one tfonJ,} Well! 

{The Curtain FaUe} 



Same at Act I. It is afternoon of a ] 
day three days later, Motort are heard coming 
up the drive in front of the house. There is the 
muffled sound of voices. The Maid is seen going 
along the haU to the front door. Then the family 
enter from the rear. First come Jatson and 
Esther with Mrr. Davidbon — then Lily, Diox 
and Sheffield — then John and his wife. All 
are dressed in mourning. The OTily one -who he- 
trays any signs of sincere grief is Mes. David- 
son, The others all have a strained look, irri- 
tated, worried, or merely gloomy. They seem 
to be thinking "The worst is yet to come.'* 



Jatson — [Leading Mks. D., teho is weeping softly, 
to the chair at left of table — fretfuUy.'\ Please do 
■it down. Aunt. [She does so mechanically.'\ And 
do stop crying. [He sits down in front of table. 
EsTHEB goes to couch where she is joined by Emily. 
Maek goes over and stands in bade of them, Dick 
and John sit at rear of table. Lily comes down 
front and walks about nervously. She seems in a par- 
ticularly fretful, upset mood.) 

Lilt — l_Trying to conceal her feelings under a 



300 



THE FmST MAN 



I 



forced flippancy.'\ What ridiculous thinga funerabl 
are, anyway! That stupid rainiater — whining away 
through his nose! Why does the Lord show such a 
partiality for men with adenoids, I wonder. 

Jayson — [Testily.^ Sshhh! Have you no reapect 
for anything? 

Lilt — [Reaentfidlt/.l If I had, I'd have lost it 
when I saw all of you pulling such long faces in the 
church whore you knew you were under observation. 
Pah! Such hypocrisy! And then, to cap it all, Emily 
has to force out a few crocodile teara at the grave! 

Emily — llmiignantly.l When I saw Curt — that*fl 
why I cried — not for her! 

Jayson — What a scene Curt made! I actually be- 
lieve he wanted to throw himself into the grave ! 

Dick — ^You believe he wanted to! Why, it was all 
Mark and I could do to hold him, wasn't it, Mark? 
[Sheffield nods.'] 

Jayson — Intolerable! I never expected he'd i 
violent like that. He's seemed calm enough the ] 
three days. 

Lily — Calm! Yes, just like a corpse is calm! 

Jatbon — [Diitractedly.^ And now this perfectly 
mad idea of going away to-day to join that infernal 
expedition — ^leaving that child on our hands — the child 
he has never even looked at! Why, it's too n 
strously flagrant ! He's deliberately flaunting 
acandal in everyone's face! 

John — [Firmly.^ He must be brought to time. 

Sheffield— Yes, we must talk to him— quite openl}^ 



THE FIKST MAN 



301 



I 



r if we're forced to. After all, I guesa he realizes the 
situation more keenly than any of us. 

Lilt — '[Who has wandered to leintlow on right-l 
You mean you think he believes — Well, I don't. And 
you had better be careful not to let him guess what 
you think. [Pointing outside.^ There's my proof. 
There he is walking about with Bigelow. Can you 
imagine Curt doing that — if he thought for a mo- 
ment 

Dice — Oh, I guess Curt isn't all fool. He knows 
that's the very best way to keep people from sus- 
pecting, 

EsTHEtt — [Indignantl^.l But wouldn't you think 
that Bigelow person — It's disgusting, his sticking 
to Curt like this. 

Sheffieli) — Well, for one, I'm becoming quite re- 
signed to Bigelow's presence. In the first place, he 
seems to be the only one who can bring Curt to rea- 
son. Then again, I feel that it is to Bigelow's own 
interest to convince Curt that he mustn't provoke an 
open scandal by running away without acknowledging 
this child. 

Ljxy — [Suddeidy bursting forth htfsterically.l 
Oh, I hate you, all of you! I loathe your suspicions 
— and I loathe myself because I'm beginning to be poi- 
soned by them, too. 

Emily — Really, Lily, at this late hour — after the 
r Tay Curt has acted — and her last words when she 
ras dying 

Lily — [Distractedly.l I know! Shut up! Haven't 



303 



THE FIRST MAN 



yoa told it a million times already? [Mks. Datidsok 
gett mp amd waUet to the door, rear. She hat besn 
crying toftlg during this scene, obliriout to the talk 
around A^r.] 

Jatsos— [rcitay.] Aant Elizabeth! Where are 
you going? [A* she doesn't ansxer hut goes out into 
the haU-l Esther, go with her and see that she 
doesn't — 

EsTB£a — [^c'' "P Kith a jealous irritation.^ 
She's only going up to see the babv. She's simply 
forgotten everrthing else in the world ! 

Lilt — \^Indignaatli/.'\ She probably realizes what 
we are too mean to remember — that the baby, at least, 
is innocent. Wait, Esther. I'll come with you. 

Jaysox — Yes, hurry, she shouldn't be loft alone. 
[EsTHEB OTid LiT-T foUoai the old lady out, rear.'\ 

Dick — [After a pause — impatiently.'] Well, what 
next? I don't see what good we are accomplishing. 
May I run along? [He gets up restlessly at he is 
speaking and goes to the wmdorD.~\ 

Jatson — [Severely.] You will stay, if you please. 
There's to be no shirking on anyone's part. It may 
tate all of us to induce Curt 

Sheffield — I wouldn't worry, Bigelow is taking 
that job otF our hands, I imagine. 

Dick — [Looking out of the leindow.] He certainly 
seems to be doing his damnedest, [With a sneer.J 
The stage missed a great actor in him. 

Jaxson — [Worriedly.] But, if Bigelow should 
faa 



I 



THE FIRST MAN 803 

Sheffiei.1) — Then we^l succeed, [^With a grim 
tmile.^ By God, we'll have to. 

Jaybon — Curt has already packed his trunks and 
had them taken down to the station — told me he was 
leaving on the five o'clock train. 

Sheffiei-d— But didn't you hint to him there was 
sow this matter of the child to be considered in mak- 
ing his plans? 

Jatson — \^Lamely.'\ I started to. He simply 
flared up at me with insane rage. 

Dick — ILooking out the a-iWoic.] Say, I believe 
they're coming in. 

Jayson — Bigelow ? 

Dick — Yes, they're both making for the front door, 

Shsffibld — I suggest we beat a retreat to Curt's 
study and wait there. 

Jayson — ^Yes. let's do that — come on, all of you. 
[They all retire grumblingly hut precipitately to the 
study, closing the door behind them. The front door 
ii heard opening and a moment later Cdet and BroK- 
I.OW enter the roorit. Cukt's face is set in an expres- 
sion of stony grief. Bioelow is flushed, esocited, 
indignant.^ 

Bigelow — [As CuaT sinks down on the couch — 
pleading indignantly.'] Curt, damn it, wake up! Are 
you made of stone? Has everything I've said gone 
in one ear and out the other? I know it's hell for me 
to torment you at this particular time but it's your 
own incredibly unreasonable actions that force me to. 
I know how terribly you must fed but — damn it, man. 



80« 



THE FIRST MAN 



w 

I 
I 



postpone this going away! Face this situation ] 
a man! Be reconciled to your child, stay with liii 
at least until you can make suitable arrangements- 

Cdrtis — [Fixedly.'\ I will never see it! Never! 

BrcFLow — How can you keep repeating that — with 
Martha hardly cold in her grave! I ask you again, 
what would she think, how would she feel — If yon 
would only consent to see tlus baby, I know you*d 
realize how damnably mad and cruel you are, Won't 
you — ^just for a second? 

Curtis — No. [Then raging.'] If I saw it Pd be 
tempted to — [Then brokenly.^ No more of that 
talk. Big. I've heard enough. I've readied the limit. 

BiGELow — [Restraining hit anger teith difficulty — 
coldly.] That's your final answer, eh? Well, rm 
thyough, I've done all I could. If you want to play 
the brute — to forget all that was most dear in the 
world to Martha — to go your own damn selfish way — 
well, there's nothing more to be said. You will be 
punished for it, believe mc! [He takes a step toward 
the door.] And I — I want you to understand that 
all friendship ceases between us from tliis day. You 
are not the Curt I thought I knew — and I have noth- 
ing but a feeling of repulsion — ^good-by. [He aiarta 
for the door.] 

CcttTis — [Dvlly.] Good-by, Big. 

flioELow — \^Stops, his features worktTig anth grief 
and looks back at his friend — then suddenly goes back 
to him — penitently.l Curt! Forgive me! I ougbi 



to know better. Thia ii 



t you. 



You'll come to 



youi 



^r THE FIRST MAN" 305 

^ adf when you've had time to tliink it over. The mem- 
orj of Martha — she'll tell you what you must do. 
[ffe wrings Curt's Aand.] Good-by, old scout! 

»CiiETis — [Du}It/.'\ Good-by. [Bigelow hurries 
outt rear, Cckt aitg in a dumb apathy for a whUe — 
then groans heaTt-brokejUy.^ Martha! Martha! [He 
springs to kis feet distractedly. The door of the 
study is slowly opened and Sheffield peers out cau- 
tiously — then comes into the room, followed by the 
others. Tiiey all take seats as before. Cubt ignores 
them.'] 

SKEFfiELD — [Clearing his throat.^ Curt 

HL CuKTis — [Suddenly.'] What time is it, do you 

^Bknow! 

^H Ssx^vmui— [Looking at his watch.] Two minutes 

^Vto four. 

^B CvKTis — [Impatiently.] StUl an hour more of 

^1 Jatson — [Clearing his throat.] Curt [Be- 

^f fore he starts what he intends to say, there is the sound 
of voices from the hall. Esthek and Lilt Jtelp in 
Mbs. Davidson to her former chair. The old lady's 
face is again transformed with joy. Esther joiru 
Emily oti the couch. Lilt sits in chair — front right. 
There is a long, uncomfortable pause during lehich 
CusT paces up ajtd down.] 

Mas. DivniaoN — [SuddeTdp murmuring aloud to 
herself — happily. ] He's such a dear! I could stay 
watching him forever. 

JiYson— [Testily.] Sahhh! Aunt! [Then clear- 



806 THE FIRST MAN 

ing hi» throat again.'] Surely ;ou*re not still think- 
ing of going on the five o'clock train, are you, CurtP 

CuHTis — Yes. 

Sheffield — [Drily.'] Then Mr. Bigelow didn't 
persuade you 

CnBTts — [Coldly and impatiently.'] I'm not to be 
pereuoded by Big or anyone else. And I'll thank you 
not to talk any naore about it. [They all stiffen re~ 
aentfuUy at his tone.] 

Jaybon — [3*0 CcET — in a pleading tone.] You 
mustn't be unreasonable. Curt. After all we are your 
family — your best friends in the world — and we are 
only trying to help you 

Curtis — [TFKA nervous vehemence.] I don't want 
your help. You will help me most by keeping silent. 

Emily — [With a ineaning look at the others — 
ineeringlt/.] Yes, no doubt. 

Esther — Sshhh, Emily ! 

Jayson — [Helplessly.] But, yon see, Curt-^ 

SHEFriELD — [ With his best judicial air.] If 3 
all allow me to be the spokesman, I tliink perhl 
that I — [They all nod and signify their acqui 
eence.] Well, then, will you listen to me, 
[This last sovierehat impatiently ai Ccet contin-i 
pace, eyes on the f.oor.] 

Cdktih — [Without loohing at him — harshly."\ 
Yes, I'm listening. What else can I do when you've 
got me cornered? Say what you like and let's get 
this over. 

Sbefvibiji — First of all. Curt, I hope it is needless 



THE FIRST MAN 



307 



for me to express how very deeply we all feel for you 
in your sorrow. But we sincerely trust that you are 
aware of our heartfelt sympathy, {^They all nod. A 
bitter, cynical smile comes over Lily's foes.] 

EsTHEa — [Suddenly breakivg down and beginning 
to weep.l Poor Martha! [Sheffield glances at his 
wife, impatient at this interruption. The others also 
show their irritation.^ 

Emily — [Fettishly.l Esther! For goodness sake! 
[CuET hesitates, stares at his sister frowiningly as if 
judging her sincerity — then bends down over her and 
kisses the top of her bowed head impulsively — seems 
about to break doten himself — grits his teeth and 
forces it back — glances around at the others defiantly 
and resumes his pacing, Esthek dries her eyes, forc- 
ing a trembling smile. The cry has done her good.'\ 

Sheffield — {Clearing his throat.'] I may truth- 
fully say we all feel — as Esther docs — even if we do 
not give Tent — {With an air of sincere sympathy."] 
I know how terrible a day this must be for you, Curt. 
We all do. And we feel guilty in breaking in upon 
the sanctity of your sorrow in any way. But, if you 
will pardon my saying so, your own course of action 
— the suddenness of your plans — have ma<le it im- 
perative that we come to an understanding about cer- 
tain things — about one thing in particular, I might 
say. [He pauses. CuttT goes on pacing back and 
forth as if he hadn't heard.] 

Jayson — [Placatii^lt/.] Yea, it is for the best, 
Curt. 



£sTiiEK — Yes, Curt dear, you mustn't be unrea- 
sonable. 

Dick — {^Feeling called upon to tay something.^ 
Yes, old man, you've got to face things like a regular. 
Facta are facta. [TAw makes everybody uTieasy.l 

Lily — {Springivg to her feet.~\ Phew! it's close in 
here. I'm going out in the garden. Yoii can call me 
when these — orations — are finiehed. [She sweeps out 
tcomfvlly.l 

Jatson — {^CalliTig after her im'perioualy.'\ Lily! 
1"Bm( she doesn't answer and he gives it up with a hope- 
less «fifft.] 

CuBTis — [Harshly.} What time is it? 

Sheffield— You have plenty of time to listen to 
what I — I should rather say we — have to ask you, 
Curt. I promise to be brief. But first let me again 
impress upon you that I am talking in a spirit of the 
deepest friendliness and sympathy with you — as a 
fellow-member of the same family, I may say — and 
with the highest ideals and the honor of that family 
always in view. [Curt makes vo comment. Shef- 
FiEi.T> imconscioasly begins to adopt the alert keen- 
ness of the cross-examiner.'] First, let me ask you, 
is it your intention to take that five o'clock trajy^ 
to-day? 

CcRTis — [Harshly.'\ I've told you that. 

Sheffield — And then you'll join this 
AsiaP 

Curtis — You know that, 

Shbpj-ield — ^To be gone five years? 




THE FIRST MAN 



309 



CiTBTis — [^Shrugging his shoulders.'\ More or less. 
Sheffield — Is it your intention to return here at 
any time before you leave for Asia? 

tCuETia — No ! 
Sheffield — And your determination on these plans 
irrevocable ? 
CuKTis — Irrevocable! Exactly. Please remember 
at. 

Sheffielo — [Sharpie/.] That being your atti- 
tude, I will come bluntly to the core of the whole mat- 
ter — the child whose coming into the world cost Mar- 
tha her life. 

Curtis — [Savagelp.^ Her murderer! You are 
right! [They all look shocked, 3uspiciout.'\ 

Sheffield — [Remonstratingly but suspiciously.^ 
You can hardly hold the child responsible for the ter- 
rible outcome. Women die every day from the same 
cause. l^Keerdi/.^ Why do you attribute guilt to the 
child in this case, Curt ? 

CcuT!s~It lives and Martha is gone — But, enough ! 
I've said I never wanted it mentioned to me. Will 
you please remember that? 

SHEFFIEI.D — [^Sharpli/.] Its name is Jayson, Curt 
^in the eyes of the law. Will you please remember 
that? 

CuuTis — [Distractedly.1 I don't want to remem- 
ber anything! [Wildly.^ Please, for God's sake, 
leave me alone! 

Sheffield — [Coldly.^ 1 am sorry, Curt, but you 
cannot act as if you were alone in this affair. 



310 



THE FIRST MAN 



Cdstis — Why not? Am I not alone — more alone tliu 
mioutc than any creature on God's earth? 

Sheffield — [Sootkingl^.l In jour great grief. 
Yes, yes, of course. We all appreciate — and we hate 
to— IPerguagivelff-l Yes, it would be much wiser 
to postpone these practical considerations until you 
are in a calmer mood. And if vou will only ^ve us 
the chance — why not put off this precipitate depar- 
ture — for a month, say — and in the meantime 

CtTETia — [Hor«A/y,] I am going when I said I 
was. I must get away from this horrible hole — as 
far away as I can. I must get hack to my work for 
only in it will I find Martha again. But you — you 
can't understand that. What ia the good of all this 
talking which leads nowhere? 

Sheffield — {^ColtSj/.] You're mistaken. It leads 
to this: Do you understand that your running away 
from this child — on the very day of its mother's 
funeral.' — will have a very queer appearance in the 
eyes of the world? 

Emily — And what are you going to do with the 
baby, CurtP Do you tliink you can run off regardless 
and leave it here— on our hands? 

CuKTis — [Distractedljf.l I'll give it this home. 
And someone — anyone — Esther, Lily — can appoint a 
nurse to live here and — [Breaking down.} Oh, doD*t 
bother me! 

Sheffield — [Sharpl}/.} In the world's eyes, it 
will appear precious like a desertion on your part. 



THE FIRST MAN 



311 



BTI8 — Oh, arrange it to suit yourselves — any- 
thing you wish 

Sheffielh — [QuicMt/.l I'll take you at your 
word. Then let us arrange it this way. You will re- 
main here a month longer at least 

CUETIS — No ! 

Sheffield — [Igfiorifig the interruption.'] You can 
make plans for the child's future in that time, become 
reconciled to it 

CuETIS — No ! 

Jatson — IPleadinglT/.] Curt — please — for all our 
■skc8 — ^when the honor of the family is at stake. 

Dick — ^Yes, old man, there's that about it, you 
know. 

CUKTIS — No ! 

Emily — Oh, he's impossible! 

Sheffield — Perhaps Curt misunderstood me. 
\^Meamngtg.'] Be reconciled to it in the eyes of the 
public. Curt. That's what I meant. Your own pri- 
vate feelings in the matter — are no one's business but 
your own, of course. ' 

CuttTis — [Bewilderedly.] But — I don't see — Oh, 
damn your eyes of the public ! 

Emilv — IBreaJcing in.] It's all very well for you 
to ignore what people in town think — ^you'll be in China 
or heaven knows where. The scandal won't touch you 
• — ^but we've got to live here and have our position to 
consider. 

Curtis — {^Mpsiifled.] Scandal? What scandal? 
[TAfn with a harth laugh.] Oh, you mean the imbe- 



312 



THE FmST MAN 



more 






cile busy-hoclies will call mc an unnatur&l fathe^ 
Well, ht them! I suppose I am. But they don't 
know 

EHir,Y — {SpitefuBy.} Perliaps they know 
than you think they do. 

Cvm]s~-[Turmvg on h^r — skarply.J Just 
do you mean by that, eh? 

EsTHEK— Emily! Slihh! 

Javson — IFlurricdl}/.^ Be still, Emily. Let 
do the talking. 

Sheffield — [Interposmg placatingly."] 
Emily means is simply this. Curt: You haven't ev^t' 
been to look at this child since it has been bom— not 
once, have you ? 

Curtis — No, and I never intend 

Sheffield — [Insinuatingly.] And don't you sup- 
pose the doctors and nurses — and the servants — have 
noticed this? It is not the usual procedure, you must 
acknowledge, and they wouldn't be human if the^ 
didn't think your action — or lack of action — peculiar 
and comment on it outside. 

Curtis — Well, let them ! Do you think I care a, 
fiddler's curse liow people judge me? 

SnaPFlELD — It is hardly a case of their judging — 
you. [Breaking off as Jie catches Cdet'b tortured 
eyes fired on him leUdly.] This is a small town, Curt» 
and you know as well as I do, gossip is not the least 
of its faults. It doesn't take long for such things to 
get started. [Persuasively.] Now I ask you frankly, 
is it wise to provoke deliberately what may easily 



THE FIRST MAN 3 

[•■ct at rest by a little — I'll be frank — a little prctci 
on jour part? 



Javson — ^Yes, my boy, Aa a Jaysoti, 1 know you 
sigh.^ Yes, you really must 



doQ*t wisb 

Esther— [ITt^fi 
think of us. Curt. 

Curtis — [tn. an acute ttate of muddled conftuion.^ 
But — I — ^yoii— liow are you concerned? Pretense? 
You mean you want me to stay and pretend — in order 
that you won't be disturbed by any silly tales they 
tell about nic? '[With a wild laugh.] Good God, 
this is too much! Why does a man have to be mad- 
dened by fools at such a time! [Raging.] Leave me 
alone! You're like a swarm of poisonous flies, 

Jayson — Curt! This is — really — ^when we've tried 
to be so considerate 

John — [BurstiTtg with rage.] It's an outrage to 
allow such insults! 

Dick — You're not playing the game, Curt, 

(Emii-V — [Spitefvllt/.] It seems to me it's much 
(Bore for Martha's sake, we're urging you than for 
our own. After all, the town can't say anything 
against us. 

Curtis — [Turntjig on her.} Martha's sake? 

[ BroAvn/ J/. ] Martha is gone. Leave her out of this, 

Sheffield — [Sharply.] But unfortunately, Curt, 

others will not leave her out of tliis. They will pry 

and pry — you know what they are — and 

Emu.t — Curt couldn't act the way he is doing if he 
ever really cared for her. 



3U 



THE FIRST MAN 



CuEns — You dare to aay that! [Then controUinff 
hiiraelf a bit — with scathing s€orn.'\ What do know 
of love—womtn like jou ! You call your little rabbit- 
hutch emotions love — your bread-and-butter paeaions 
— and you liavr the effrontery to judge 

£milt — [Shrinking from him frightenedly.l Ohi 
John! 

JonK — [GettiTig to his fcct.'\ 1 protest! I cannot 
allow even my own brother 

Dick — [Grabbing his arm,] Keep your head, old 
hoy. 

Sheffield — [Peremptorily.^ You are making a 
fool of yourself. Curt — and you are damned insulting 
in the bargain. I think I may say that we've all 
about reached the end of our patience. What Emily 
said is for your own best interest, if you had the sense 
to see it. And I put it to you once and for ail : Are 
you or are you not willing to act like a man of honor 
to protect your own good name, the family name, the 
name of tlus child, and your wife's memory? Let me 
tell you, your wife's good name is more endangered 
by your stubbornness than anything else. 

Curtis — [TrembliTig with rage.'] I — I begin to 
think — you — all of you — are aiming at something 
against Martha in this. Yes — in back of your words 
— your actions — I begin to feel — [■^'^ff'^'S-] Ga 
away ! Gtt out of tlus house — all of you ! Oh, I 
know your meanness! I've seen how you've tried to 
hurt her ever since we came — because you resented in 
your small minds her evident superiority — 



THE FIRST MAN 



315 



I 

I 
I 



Emilt — [Scornfully-I Superiority, indeed! 

Curtis — Her breadth of mind and greatness of soul 
that you couldn't understand, I've giieased all this, 
and if I haven't interfered it's only because I knew she 
was too far above you to notice your sickening mal- 

Emilv — [FttriouiZ^.] You're only acting — acting 
for our benefit because you think we don't 

CcETis — [Turniftg on her — with annihilating con- 
tempt.l Why, you — you poor little nonentity! 
l^John struggles to get foneard but Dick holds him 
baclc.l 

Emily — [Insane with rage — shrUlj/.l But we know 
— and the whole town knows — and you needn't pre- 
tend you've been blind. You've given the whole thing 
away yourself — the silly way you've acted — telling 
.everyone how you hated that baby — letting everyone 

Jayson — Emilyt [The others are aU frighteried, ■ 
tri/ to interrupt her. Ccrt stares at her in a tturmed ' 
hewUderment.] 

EMn.Y — [Paaring forth all her venom regardlest-l 
But you might as well leave off your idiotic pretend- 
ing. It doesn't fool us — or anyone else — your sending 
for Bigelow that night — your hobnobbing with him 
ever since — your pretending he's as much your friend 
as ever. They're all afraid of you — but I'm not! I 
tell you to your face — it's all acting you're doing — 
just cheap acting to try and pull the wool over our 



eyes 



until 



you v 



away like a coward — and left QS I 



'. -i :z\^ri 



-i GoJ! 
:---.7 Sal 



P -vtcnd- 



«-|u- i. 



. rrrlii'fi lil:c a per- 
.1 miumi. Tiriil,-!,,.] 
r ii,ii«l.s. Oh, thU 



THE FIRST MAN 



317 



"is bestial — disgusting! And there is nothing to be 
done. I feci defenseless. One would have to be aa 
low as you are — She would have been defenseless, 
too. It is better she is dead. [He atarei about him 
— wUdly,^ And you think — you all think 

EsTBEB — [Pityingly. 'I Curt, dear, we don't think 
anything except what you've made us think with your 
crazy carrying-on. 

CuETis — [Looking from one to the other of them.^ 
Yes — all of you — it's on your faces. [Hit eyes pe 
themselves on his aunt.} No, you don't — you 



Mks, Davidson — I? Don't what, Curtis? My, how 
sick you look, poor boy ! 

■ CtiETis — You — don't believe — tliis child 

m Mbs. Davtoson — He's the sweetest baby I ever saw 

' fprowdZy] and Jayson right to the tips of his toes, 

CuKTis — Ah, I know you-— [Looking aroumd at 

the others •with loathing and hatred.} But look at 

them — [With a burst of fierce determination.1 

Wait ! Ill give you the only answer [He daihet 

for the door in rear, shakes off his father and Dies, 
teho try to stop him, and then is heard bounding up 
the stairs in haU. Dick runs after him, Jayson as 
far as the doorway. Esther gives a stifled scream. 
There is a tense pause. Then Dick reappears.] 
Dick — It's all right. I saw him go in. 
Jayson — [Frightenedly.} But — good God — he's 
liable — why didn't you follow him? 



318 



THE FIRST MAN 



Dick — The doctor ttod nunc are there. 
would have callod out, wouldn't Ihej, if 

Mrs. Davidson — [Getting angrier and angrier as 
her pKvdcment hat grown greater — in a stem t<meJ\ 
I understand less and less of this. Where has Curtis 
gone? Why did he act so sick? What is the n 
with nil of you? 

EsTiiEB — Nothing, Aunt dear, nothing! 

Mss, Daviijhon — \o, you'll not hush me up I 
cutingly.^ You all look guilty- Have you been ■ 
ing nnything against Curtis' baby? Thai vtu w]^ 
Curtis seemed to think. A fine time youVe ] 
out — with his wife not cold in her grave ! 

Jayson — Aunt ! 

Mks. Davtdsox — I never liked that womaib \ 
never understood her. But now — now I love her I 
beg her forgiveness. She died like a true womagc 
the performance of her duty. She died gloriousljh 
and I will always respect her memory. [Suddt 
fiying into a pasgion.~\ I feel that you are all hoi 
to her baby — poor, little, defenseless creature ! 
you'd hate the idea of Curtis' having a sod — you i 
your girls! Well, I'll make you bitterly regret ] 

day you \^SIie plumps henelf down in her cJu 

again, staring stubbornly and angrUy before her.'V 

Emily — [Spitefully.] I fear it will be neceaa 
to tell Aunt 

Jayson — Sshh! You have made enough troi 
with your tdling already I [Miserably.'] It shi 



never have c 



THE FIRST MAN 319 

e to this pass. Curt will never forgive 



Esther — [Jiesenifnlly to Emuy.] See what not 
holding your tongue has done — and my children will 
have to sufFpr for it, too! 

» Sheffield — [Severely.^ If Emily had permitted 
Jne to conduct this business uninterruptedly, this would 
never have occurred, 

Emily — That's right! All pick on me! Cowards! 
[She breaks down and sofes,] 

Dick— [From the doorway. Coming back into the 
room.^ Sstt! Here he comes! 

CrKTis — [Reenters. There Is a look of strange ex- 
ultation on his face. He looks from one to the other 
of them. He stammers.] Well — iiiy answer to you 
■ — your rotten world — I kissed him — he is mine! He 
looked at me — it was as if Martha looked at me — 
through his eyes. 

EsTHEK — [Voicing the general relief. JoyfiMy.'\ 
■Oh, Curt! You won't go now? You'll stay? 
■ Curtis — [Staring at her, then from one to another 
of the rest with a withering scorn.'\ Ha! Now you 
think you have conquered, do you? No, I'm not going 
to stay! Do you think your vile slander could in- 
fluence me to give up my work? And neither shall you 
influence the life of my son. I leave him here. I 
must. But not to your tender mercies. No, no ! 
Thank God, there still remains one Jayson with un- 
muddled integrity to whom I can appeal. [He goet 



320 THE FraST MAX 

to Mbs. Datidsox.] I will lean him in jour car^ 
Aunt — while I am gone. 

Mas. Datidso:! — {Deliffhted.'] It will be a gr«at 
happiness. He will be — the one God never granted 
me. [Her Jlp» trembling.^ God has answered mj 
prayer at last. 

CrsTis — I thank you. Aunt. [KitMes her revereitr- 
tiaRif.l 

Mbs. Da>-tdson- — [PUaaed but laoraJiy hound to 
grumble at Aim.] But I cannot approve of your 
running away like this. It isn't natural. [Then with 
selfish ha»te, fearing her icordt may change hit mind 
and she tc'dl lose the ba&t/.] But you always were a 
queer person — and a man must do faithfully the work 
ordained for him. 

CuETis — [Gladly.^ Yes, I must go! What would 
I be for liiin — or anyont — if I stayed? Thank God, 
you understand. But I will come back. [The light 
of an Ideal beginning to shine in his eyes.'\ When he 
is old enough, I will teach him to know and love a big, 
free lifi;. Martlm usitl to say that he would take her 
piirt in time. My goal shall be his goal, too. Martha 
shall live again for me in him. And you, Aunt, swear 
to keep him with you — out there in the country — 
never to Vt Iiiiri know this obscene little world. [He 
indicates his reliitivcx.^ 

Mas. I)avii)So.v— Yes, I promise, Curtis. Let any- 
one dare ! [She glares about her. The noise of 

n motor is heard frovt the drive. It stops in front of 
the housc.~\ 



THE FIRST MAN 



321 



I 



—I must go. [He kisses hit aunt.] Teach 
him his mother was the moat beautiful soul that ever 
lived. Good-by, Aunt. 

Mas. Davidson — Good-by, Curtis! [Without look- 
ing at the others, he starts for th^ door, rear. They 
all break out into conscience-stricken protestationi.l 

Jayson — l^Miserably.J Curt! You're not leaving 
us that way? 

BsTHEa — Curt — ^you're going — without a word ! 
[Thep all say this practically together and crotnd 
toward him, John and Kuily remain svllerdy apart. 
CcKT turns to face them.'\ 

Lily — [Enters from the rear.^ You're not going. 
Curt? 

CuETis — [Turmng to her.^ Yes. Good-hy, Lily. 
[He kisses Aer,] You loved her, didn't you? You 
are not like — Take my advice and get away before 
you become — [He has been staring into her face. 
Suddenly he pushes her brusquely away from him — 
coldljf,'\ But I see in your face it's too late. 

Ln,Y — [MiserabU/.'\ No, Curt — I swear 

CuETis — [l'''acing them all defiantly.'] Yes, I «n 
going without a word^because I cannot find the 
fitting one. Be thankful I can't. It would shrivel up 
your souls like flame. [He again turns and strides to 
the door.] 

Jayson — [His grief overcoming Attn.] My boy! 
We are wrong — we know — but — at least say you for- 
give us. 

CmiTis — [Wavers with his back towards them — 



322 



THE FraST MAN 



then tarni and forcet the words out.'\ Ask forgiveneat 
of her. SKe — yes — she wa§ so fine — I feel she — so you 
are forgiven, Good-by. [He goet. The motor it 
heard driving off. There is n tense paHse.'\ 

Lii.r — Then he did find out? Oh, a fine mess you've 
made of everything! But no — I should say **we," 
shouldn't I? Curt guessed that. Oh, I hate you — 
and myself! [She breaks down.'] 

[There is a strained pause during which they are alt 
silent, their eyes avoiding each other, pved in dtUl, 
stupid stares. Finally, Dick fidgets uncomfortably, 
heaves a noisy sigh, and blurts out with an attempt at 
comforting reassurance:^ 

Dick — Well, it isn't as bad as it might have been, 
anyway. He did acknowledge the kid — before witaessea, 
too. 

Jatson — [TestHy.'l Keep your remarks to yourself, 
if you please! \But most of his famUff are already 
begnming to look rel%eved,1 



[The Curtain Fatts} 



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