Skip to main content

Full text of "Mystical cameo plays"

See other formats



cnr, " si " ,o,, "' ' m ' , ' csc ^r ! -»"''--»-™.- 



Printed image digitised by the University of Southampton Library Digitisation Unit 


Printed image digitised by the University of Southampton Library Digitisation Unit 



Permission to perform these plays in pubic must be obtained from the 




Printed image digitised by the University of Southampton Library Digitisation Unit 





c'ohn Hawkins; Aye, Lady, these be lean days, let us hope 
for better. Will you not be wanting any cabbage along 
with the potatoes. They are good hard ones, 6d. each. 

Mrs. Meaner: Not to-day, Mr. Hawkins. I can't afford 
cabbages as well as potatoes, unless you could trust me 
till the end of the week ? 

John Hawkins: 1 couldn't. As I have said, these be lean days, 
Mrs. Meaner, it's difficult to keep going. It is not like the 
old days when business was brisk. 

Mrs. Meaner: That was when you hawked your goods in a 
handcart, I suppose, Mr. Hawkins ? 

John Hawkins: Handcart ! Oh yes. One had to do some- 
thing. Yet I have built up this business even though I 
did draw a handcart. I have my troubles, Mrs. Meaner. 
Only last week a number of boys robbed my stall of 
apples and after I had arranged them so neatly. One of 
them has been sent to a reformatory school. I'll larn 'em. 

Mrs. Meaner: The poor boy ! I heard about it. He said the 
best apples were on the top and those underneath were 
bad. He took the bad ones — three years for stealing bad 

John Hawkins: The Commandment says, "Thou shalt not 
steal." If we would be good Christians we must obey 
the Commandments. 

Mrs. Meaner: Do not the Scriptures also say, " Give freely 
and it will be returned to you tenfold"? 

John Hawkins: Ah, it depends how you interpret that. There 
are somethings difficult to understand in the Scriptures, 
but the Commandments are the Commandments. 1 have 
to earn all I get and I can't afford to give away, indeed 
no. " Buy and sell," that is my motto. 

Mrs. Meaner: You are a hard man, Mr. Hawkins, and some 

day you will repent of it. Good day. (exit) 
John Hawkins: A hard man ? The old skinflint ! Let her 
come here again and I'll tell her something. She doesn't 

Printed image digitised by the University of Southampton Library Digitisation Unit 

know what I have to put up with, 1 am compelled to 
sit in the shop and watch if anyone is going to rob me 
Cabbages on trust ! What next ? (He goes inside the 
shop and seats himself on an orange box. A limping man 
passes the shop, looks at the stall, passes on & then 
John Hawkins (watching) : Now what does he want ? Tie 
looks suspicious. If he wants to buy, why does he walk 
up and down ? No, he is up to no good.' I must watch 

(The man comes in front of the stall, looks up and down 

the street, a frightened look on his face. Suddenly he 

grabs _ something from the stall and limps off. John 

Hawkins rushes out, shouting). 
John Hawkins: Stop thief ! I've been robbed ! 

(People appear. The limping man cannot get away for 

thc people crowd around him). 
John Hawkins: I have been robbed. This man has stolen 

something trom my, stall. 
Woman: He doesn't look as though he has the energy to rob 
Men: What can he have stolen ? There's nothing in his hand 

(A policeman now arrives.) - 
Policeman: Wot's this ? Come, make room, fto Hawkins) 

^ Now then, M.r. 'Awkins, wot's the trouble ? 
John Hawkins: J have been outraged. This man has robbed 

me. I want the law on him.- 1 saw him steal something 

It is in his pocket. 
Policeman (to limping man ) : j\j ow then> my man> produce 

the evidence. Wot 'ave you got ? Is it true you have 

something in vour pocket ? 
Limping Man: Yes-yes-constable. It's true. I had to do 

it, but I am very sorrv. 
Constable: Had to do it ? " What do you mean ? Remember, 

vou are_ confessing to a crime. 

he admits it. I]e 

John Hawkins: There you are, constable 

would rob a good Christian. 
Limping Man (who would collapse but for the policeman) ■ 1 

had to do it. 
Constable (kindly): Tell me, my man, did vou steal because 

you were hungry ? 
Limping Man: No, constable, because I am sick. 
John Hawkins: An excuse. Lock him up. 
Constable: But that conveys little, my man. What was it 

you stole ? 
Limping Mai: A potato. 

Printed image digitised by the University of Southampton Library Digitisation Unit 

John Hawkins: A potato ? A paltry theft: 

Crowd: Only a potato! Let him go. 

Woman: Poor fellow, he is sick and must be hungry. 

John Hawkins: The potato was mine and he stole it: " Thou 

shalt not steal." 
Constable: In the eyes of the law it is a theft. Why did you 

steal it (sympathetically) ? 
Limping Man: Because I had to. You see, constable, I suffer 

from rheumatism and 1 read in a book that if a sufferer 

carried in his pocket a potato it would act as a Charm 

against rheumatics, provided the potato was stolen. Lcl 

me keep it. 
Crowd: Let him keep it. 
Constable: Will you prefer the charge, Mr, 'Awkirts ? 

(Hawkins walks back into his shop without a word). 
Constable: Get alo'ng, my man, and don't lose the potato, 




Place: Wingrove, near Aylesbury, Time: 1736. ... 

Priest: Why have you come here? 

Mary: Susannah has bewitched my spinning-wheel and it will 
no longer go round. 

Joseph: I can justify my wife's statement, for the spinning- 
wheel is indeed bewitched and 1 demand that Susannah be 
tried by the Village Bible to prove her guilt. 

Priest: What do you say to this, M.ary ? 

Mary: J will swear before any magistrate that what I accuse 
Susannah of is true. 

Prie.t: Know you that this is a serious charge against your 
neighbour ? 

Joseph and Mary: Yes, father, we do. 

Priest: And will you abide by what the Holy Book says in 
answer to your accusation ? 

Joseph and Mary: We will. 

Priest: And now, Susannah, are you guilty of witchcraft ? 

Susannah: No. father, thev both lie. 1 did not, nor could not 

Printed image digitised by the University of Southampton Library Digitisation Unit 


bewitch their spinning-wheel, nor anything else, 
Mary: She lies, she muttered over it whilst 1 was working 

and then the wheel stopped. 
Priest: Susannah, will you abide by what the Holy Book 

says to justify you ? 
Susannah: 1 will, father, for the Holy Hook does not lie. 
Priest: Here is the piece of wood with which we shall open 

the Bible. Who will open first ? 
Jc;cph: As you are the witness to our accusation, and as 

you are a Minister of God, 'twere better you opened first. 
Priest: Very well then. (The Priest inserts the fiat stick 

into the Bible and. where the end of the stick points he 

reads) : " Therefore judge nothing before thy time, until 

the Lord come who both will bring to light hidden things 

of darkness." (Cor. 1, b.) 
Priest: You have heard. Now, Joseph, you next. 
Joseph: I think Susannah ought to open now as she is the 

guilty one. 
Suaannah: As you persist in thinking that 1 am guilty of 

witchcraft, it is better 1 ask my question last of all, as 

that will be my defence. ■■ 
Priest: It shall be so. Now. Joseph, open. 
Joseph (reads) : " God forbid, yes, let God be true, but every 

man a liar, as it is written that thou might'st be justified 

in thy sayings when thou art judged." (Romans 111, 4). 
Priest: Note your answers, my children. Open, Mary. 
Mary (reads) : " But if while we seek to be justified by 

Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore 

Christ minister of sin? God forbid. (Galatians 11. 17.) 
Priest: And now, Susannah, as you are accused, ask the 

Book to answer for you. 
SLis-nnah (reads) : " Wherefore putting away' lying, speak 

every man truth with his neighbour, for we are members 

one of the other." (Ephesians TV, 25.) 
Priest: And now, my children, you have heard the Word of 

God. Hearken unto it for the Word is the Haw, 

Printed image digitised by the University of Southampton Library Digitisation Unit 















Two cyclists dismount on the Stambridge Road (Essex) and 
gaze at a post which marks the site of " The Whispering- 
Court of the Manor." Time: Evening. 

Harold: I say, Tom, that's a queer thing, isn't it ? "The 
Whispering Court of the M.anor.' 1 wonder what it 
means ? 

Tcm: Hard to say. Must have been a place where every 
whisper could have been heard. You know what it is 
like in some big churches. If you cough it can be heard 
all over the place. 

Harold: That's true. But there's something strange about 
this place. The authorities wouldn't put a post up to 
mark this site unless there was something important There's a legend in connection with it, I feel 

Tcm: Perhaps we can enquire when we get to Stambridge. 
In the meantime, I am tired and I see no reason why we 
should not rest here for a while. 

Harold: All right, have it your own way. 

(They settle down on the mossy bank of the road). 

Tom: That's comfortable (yawns). Sleep, say I. 

Harold: "The Whispering Court "—the name fascinates me. 
Perhaps the place suffered from ghosts. 

Tcm: Shut up about ghosts, there aren't any. Settle down 
(yawns) and get some rest, we've got three more days 
then back to work; that's a ghost I don't like, (yawns' 

Printed image digitised by the University of Southampton Library Digitisation Unit 

then sleeps.) 
Harold (to himself): "The Whispering Court "—I wonder 
what it means (yawns). It's some mediaeval legend, I 
suppose, (falls asleep.) 

(Up curtain. Discovered: the Lord of the Manor at the 
Whispering Court. Time : 14th century. Midnight. A 
number of people are present. The Lord of the Manor 
is reading out names, and as he reads out each name there 
is an echoing whisper.) 

Lcrd cf the Manor: Beck; Longbow; Brian; Armstrong; 
Tucker Fletcher; Dickson; Strangeways (no answer to 
this name). Where is Strangeways ? He is an old 
tenant and ought to be here now. lie must realise that 
he will have to double his rent for every ten minutes 
he is late. Let us proceed to business. Beck ! 

Beck: Five pounds, sir. 

Secretary (recording with coal) : No more, no less. 

Lcrd of the Manor: Longbow ! 

Longbow: Three pounds, sir. 

Secretary: Five minutes late last quarter; six pounds ten. 

Longbow: But — my Lord — 

Secretary: Six pounds ten. 

Lord of the Manor: From midnight to cock-crow on the 
Wednesda}'- following Michaelmas Day. You know the 
rules ; you arrived five minutes after midnight. 

Secretary: Six pounds twelve. 

Lcngbcw: Here is the money. 1 delay no longer. 

Lord cf the Manor: Brian ! 

Secretary: Four pounds five and a bushel of wheat. 

Brian: Here is the money, Lord, but no wheat. I have had 
a poor harvest. 

SccreLary: Four pounds five and two bushels of wheal. 

Lord of the Manor: Where is the money ? 

Brian: Here, ma Lord. 

Secretary: Three bushels of wheat and one for every month 
until next quarter. 

Lord of the Manor: Armstrong ! 

Secretary: Sixteen pounds, shoes for five horses and nails 

Lord cf the Manor: Have you all these ? 

Armstrong: The shoes and nails, me Lord, but no monev. 

Secretary: Thirty-two pounds, shoes for ten horses arid "nails 

Armstrong: My Lord — 

Lcrd cf the Manor: Thirty-two pounds, shoes for ten horses, 
nails supplied and one horse. Tucker ! 

Printed image digitised by the University of Southampton tibrary Digitisation Unit 

Secretary: Five bags of coal, the labour of two sons ami 

services of wife. 
Lord of the Manor:- What have you to say ? 
Tucker: You have had my sons' labour and yourself the ser- 
vices of my wife. The coal is outside. 
Lcrd of the Manor (to Secretary) : Go you outside and 

vouch for this; bring in a piece for recording. (Secretary 

retires and returns with a sample of coal.) 
Secretary (recording): Debt clear, my Lord. 
Lord of the Manor: Fletcher ! 
Secretary: One side of beef and two pounds, 
Fleixher: Here is the money, me Ford, and I have a cow 

without. She is the last and I cannot cut her in half. 
Secretary: Debt clear, my Ford, 
Lord cf the Manor: Dickson ! 
Secretary: Twenty-five pounds, one farm, two ploughs and 

twelve horses. 
Lord of the Manor: Have you all these ? 
Dickson: You have the farm, me Lord, and two ploughs. I 

have no money and if you ever get the horses may you 

ride to Hell, 
Cecretary: What now, my Lord ? 
Lord of the Manor: Let him be hanged by 

Strangeways ! 

(The figure of an old man is seen comii 

door. He looks ghastly pale.) 
Strangeways (in a hollow voice) : Strangewavs. 
Lord cf the Manor: Why art thou late ? Knowest thou thai 

thy fine has been trebled by now ? 
Secretary: Thirty-six pounds. 
Lord cf the Manor: Have you the money 
Strangeways: My Lord, I crave thy pardon for coming hither 

at so late an hour. But I have had an accident on the 

way and had difficulty in freeing myself from my body 

which is lying dead by the roadside. I come therefore 

in the spirit that thou might'st not line me or mine too 

heavily by forfeit. 
Secretary: One dead man's clothes. Court adjourns. 

(Curtain down. Discovered: cyclists.) 
Harold: One dead man's clothes. 
Tom: Harold, wake up, it's raining, let's on our way. What 

were you dreaming ? One dead man's clothes'? 

us own rope, 
through ilu: 

Printed image digitised by the University of Southampton tibrary Digitisation Unit 

Printed image digitised by the University of Southampton Library Digitisation Unit 

Printed image digitised by the University of Southampton Library Digitisation Unit 








Printed image digitised by the University of Southampton Library Digitisation Unit 

►I«X-rite ColorChecker® Color Rendition Chart 

■ ■.■!■■■■ ■■..:/ - . '..■■■ ' ■■■■.■■.■;-■■-■.:■■ \ :. ...-;\ ■■,.•:<. 

Printed image digitised by the University of Southampton Library Digitisation Unit