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FRENCH'S ACTING EDITION

No. 2328.



The Bishop's



Candlesticks



A Play in One Act



NORMAN McKINNEL



LONDON:
SAMUEL FRENCH, LTD.



NEW YOKK:
SAMUEL FRENCH




_-

J



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THE

BISHOP'S CANDLESTICKS



B plas in ne Bet



BY

NORMAN McKINNEL



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



COPYRIGHT, 1908, BY NORMAN MC.KINNM,



LONDON NBW

SAMUEL FRENCH, LTD. SAMUEL FB ENCH
PUBLISHERS

. e, o PUBLISHEB

28 SOUTHAMPTON STREET :

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



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

Messrs. Samuel French, Ltd.,

26 Southampton Street,

Strand, London, W.C.2,

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

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

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



THE BISHOP'S CANDLESTICKS,



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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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



THE BISHOP'S CANDLESTICKS.



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

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

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

MARIE. Not yet, Madam.

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

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

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

MARIE. Yes, Madam.

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

MARIE. No, Madam.

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

MARIE. Yes, Madam.

3



4 THE BISHOP'S CANDLESTICKS.

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

MARIE. No, Madam.

PERSOME. Did he tell you where he was going ?

MARIE. Yes, Madam.

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

MARIE. Madam didn't ask me.

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

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

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

MARIE. Yes, Madam.

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

MARIE. No, Madam.

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

MARIE. To my mother's, Madam.

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

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

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

MARIE. Madam, the soup is boiling 1

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

MARIE. The silver ones, Madam ?

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

MARIE. They are sold, Madam.



THE BISHOP'S CANDLESTICKS. 5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



6 THE BISHOP'S CANDLESTICKS

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

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

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

her) Ah!

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

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

(MARIE putting on cloak and going)

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

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

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

MARIE. Oh no, Monseigneur ! (shamefacedly)

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

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

(Exit MARIE, c.)

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

right.

BISHOP. It smells delicious.

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



THE BISHOP'S CANDLESTICKS. 7

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



g THE BISHOP'S CANDLESTICKS.

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

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

PERSOM. Distress me 1 ! I

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BISHOP (making sign of the cross and murmuring
blessing)

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



THE BISHOP'S CANDLESTICKS. 9

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

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

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

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

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

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

CONVICE. Sit down 1 1 1

(The BISHOP sits, smiling)

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

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

CONVICT. How do I know that ?

BISHOP. Why I have just told you.

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



10 THE BISHOP'S CANDLESTICKS.

(BISHOP, going to door R.)

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

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

PERSOME. (within) Yes, Brother.

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

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

BISHOP. But, Persome, the traveller is hungry.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(She looks at the BISHOP.)

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



THE BISHOP'S CANDLESTICKS. H

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

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

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

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

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

PERSOME. Prison ?

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

BISHOP. That is why they are left open.

CONVICT. Well they are shut now 1

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

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

CONVICT. You're not afraid of thieves ?

BISHOP. I am sorry for them.

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

BISHOP. I am a Bishop.

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

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



12 THE BISHOP'S CANDLESTICKS.

PERSOM. Leave you with

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

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

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

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

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

BISHOP. I think one who has suffered much.

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

BISHOP. Tell me about it about Hell.

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

BISHOP. No 1 I will not tell the police.

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

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

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



THE BISHOP'S CANDLESTICKS. J3

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

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

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

BISHOP. To starve ?

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

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

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

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



14 THE BISHOP'S CANDLESTICKS.

CONVICT. And if any one comes ?

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

CONVICT. Your friend ? (puzzled}

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

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

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

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

(Enter the BISHOP)

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

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

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

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

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

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



THE BISHOP'S CANDLESTICKS. 15

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



16 THE BISHOP'S CANDLESTICKS.

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

(Enter BISHOP, L.)

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

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

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

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


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