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ONE ACT PLAYS



By

ALICE BROWN

THK PRISONER

MY LOVE AND I

THE BLACK DROP

ROBIN HOOD'S BARN

CHILDREN OF EARTH

HOMESPUN AND GOLD

THE FLYING TEUTON

THE ROAD TO CASTALY

BROMLEY NEIGHBORHOOD

THE SECRET OF THE CLAN

THE WIND BETWEEN THE WORLDS



ONE ACT PLAYS



BY

ALICE BROWN






THE MACMILLAN COMPANY

1921

All rights reserved




PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA



./\






&



COPYRIGHT, 1913,
BY ALICE BROWN.

COPYRIGHT, 1914,
BY THE CHICAGO LITTLE THEATRE.



COPYRIGHT, 1918,
BY WALTER H. BAKER & COMPANY.



COPYRIGHT, 1921,

BY THE MACMILLAN COMPANY.
Set up and printed. Published October, 1921.



.



Press of

J. J. Little & Ives Company
New York, U. S. A.



These plays are fully protected by copy-
right and may be produced only with the
written permission of and payment of
royalty to the author's representative, Nor-
man Lee Swartout, Summit, New Jersey.



CONTENTS



PAGE



M



THE HERO .......... . i

DOCTOR AUNTIE ......... 23

THE CRIMSON LAKE ........ 55

MILLY DEAR ........... 79

THE WEB ........... 105

THE LOVING CUP ......... I3 1

lc xJ OINT OWNERS IN SPAIN ....... 159

THE SUGAR HOUSE ......... 177

A MARCH WIND ......... 209



THE HERO



Produced by the Stuart Walker Company,
May 27, 1918

PERSONS OF THE PLAY

[In the order of their appearance]

Fiula, a young girl MARGARET MOWER

Mark, her brother MORGAN FARLEY

Finn, her lover PAUL KELLY

Men of the Island

Hugh GEORGE GAUL



THE HERO

Time: An afternoon in summer of a year of the Great
War.

Place: The interior of a fisherman s cottage on a little
island somewhere off the northwest coast of
Europe. A door, R, leads out of doors. A wide,
not very high window, with diamond panes, is at
the back, toward R. The window-seat belozv it is
also a chest. On the left wall is a fireplace, and
farther up stage a door leading to a bedroom.
The furnishings are of the simplest, but the room
has unique beauty from the mellowness of its
walls and the vague loveliness of the afternoon
light.

Fiula, a young girl, is by the table, C, em-
broidering a blue cloak with a golden thread.
She is dressed in dull blue and her hair is gold.
She gets up to look anxiously from the window,
and then goes back to her work. The outer door
opens and Mark comes in. He is young, slender,
appealing. He carries a small branch of oak
leaves. Fiula starts up, throws her work on the
table and goes to meet him.

Fiula. Have you enlisted ?

Mark. [ Tossing down his cap and gazing at her an

3



4 ONE ACT PLAYS

instant before answering. He looks brightly exalted,
and yet dazed.} Yes.

Fiula. [Puts her arms impulsively about him and
speaks excitedly.] And you've brought me my oak
leaves. [Takes the branch from him.]

Mark. Yes. What did you want of them?

Fiula. [Excitedly.] To make a crown. [Hesitat-
ingly.] And Finn enlisted.

Mark. [Unwillingly, avoiding her eyes.] No.
[Fiula throws down the branch, takes up her
work and begins to fold it with quick, passion-
ate motions, from time to time dashing the tears
from her eyes. Mark goes to her and puts his
hand on hers to stop her folding.}

What are you doing? You fold that cloth as if you
did it because Finn had not enlisted.

Fiula. [Passionately.] Do you know what this is?

Mark. Is it the same you've been sewing on early
mornings and half the night?

Fiula. Yes.

Mark. You told me it was a secret.

Fiula. It was a secret, but if Finn has not enlisted,
it's not a secret any more. I have no use for it, and
I'll throw it over the cliff.

Mark. What has it to do with Finn?

Fiula. [She disengages her hand, unfolds the cloak
and holds it up before him. It is beautiful in its dusky
blue and broad gold border.] It was for him, because
he is a singer and a maker of songs. And I thought
he would come to tell me he had enlisted, and I was
going to make him a crown of oak leaves and put this



THE HERO 5



cloak about him and call in the boys, and show them
Finn in his glory, and tell them he would sing to them
all night long before he went away. [She folds the
cloak rapidly and scornfully and thrusts it into the
chest made by the window-seat. Then she covers her
face and cries silently.]

Mark. [Going to her.] Don't cry. It's true Finn
hasn't enlisted, but he gave a good reason.

Fiula. No reason is a good reason for letting other
men fight for you.

Mark. Finn is your lover. You must believe in
him.

Fiula. You say that because you don't want my
heart broken not because you believe in his good
reason.

Mark. [Trying to convince himself a<s well as her.]
He was no worse than the others.

Fiula. Did none of them enlist?

Mark. No.

Fiula. Not one of the boys on this island ?

Mark. No. And none of them had so good a
reason as Finn.

Fiula. I know their reason. Cowards !

Mark. [Earnestly.] No, Fiula, you're too hard on
them. They'd enlist if there was somebody to lead
them.

Fiula. Why didn't you lead them ?

Mark. Maybe I might if they didn't know me so
well. You don't think much of the stone in the path
you've stubbed over ever since you could walk.

Fiula. No. But you think something of that cliff



6 ONE ACT PLAYS

out there because it is great and terrible. Have the
recruiting officers gone?

Mark. They go at high tide.

Fiula. [Thoughtfully.} Sunset, that will be.
[Turns to him and entreats him warmly.} Go back
to the boys. Talk to them. Tell them what we're
righting for.

Mark. They've heard it all. And they say it's only
for England and they won't fight.

Fiula. Tell them it's not for England any more than
for the whole world. Tell them it's for the right to
live like free men and free women.

Mark. [Depressed.} No use, Fiula. The officers
told them that, and they listened and then they went
away and began to mend their nets and talk about a good
haul tomorrow.

Fiula. Sing to them then. Sing one of the songs
about the men that died to make this island free.

Mark. They know the island songs.

Fiula. Then sing one of the songs Finn made, about
heroes coming home at sunset with the light on their
shields and the girls meeting them with garlands. Call
Finn to sing his songs, and they will all catch fire to-
gether and go down to the boat and give in their
names and we shall be saved from shame.

[There is the sound of a clear call from a pipe,
a piquant phrase.}

Mark. [Arrested half way to the door, L.} There
he is, Fiula.

Fiula. [Transfigured with relief.} Finn!

[Finn enters in haste, looking from one to the



THE HERO 7

other, evidently not certain of his welcome. He
is young, slender, sure of himself, and has a
gay beauty of youth. His sense of privilege
/i comes from the conviction that it is -worth while

to sing songs. Fiula speaks entreatingly, for
she knows she has to persuade him to what
he has failed to do.]
Finn!

Finn. [Angrily.] Mark was in a hurry to bring
you the news.

Mark. [Resenting his tone.] I've answered a ques-
tion. Is there any harm in that?

Fiula. [Going to Mark and speaking eagerly.] Get
your horn. It's there by your bed. [Pointing, L.]
Call the boys together. Tell them Finn has a new
song. They're to meet him at the great oak and he will
sing it to them.

[Mark hurries out by the door, L.]
Finn ! [Fiula turns to him with a caressing aban-
don.]

Finn. [Frowningly.] The birds might be glad if
they could travel as fast as the word out of a man's
mouth.

Fiula. [Repulsed, withdrawing from him.] Mark
wasn't to blame. I asked him.

Finn. You might have waited for me to tell it. You
would have seen it as I do.

Fiula. [Passionately.] Make me do that, Finn.
Make me see why you won't enlist.

Finn. [Sulkily.] They ask me to go out and kill
men that want to live as much as I do.



8 ONE ACT PLAYS

Fiula. Finn! Finn! that's the way the others talk,
the

Finn. Say it. Say the word.

Fiula. No! no!

Finn. I will, then. Cowards. That's the word.
You call me a coward.

Fiula. [Drooping with shame.] I don't call you
that. Mark was right. I must believe in you. Tell me
what to call you, Finn?

Finn. [Proudly.] I am a singer. I make songs.
Do you suppose there are two men in all the millions
of their army that can make the songs I make?

Fiula. [Taking fire.] No.

Finn. Do you know any other man like me, a man
with songs running through his head all day long like
a river with grass on its banks, a man with fingers
to play them and a voice to sing? If I am killed my
ringers will be stiff and my voice will be silent and the
river of song will cease to flow and the grass on its
banks will wither.

Fiula. Finn! [Recovering herself.] But the men
you sing most about, they were killed. And we call
them heroes and remember them forevermore.

Finn. [Protidly.] I am greater than all heroes
because I sing about them and I make their swords
flash brighter than ever they did on the field of battle
and their war-cry sounds louder from my lips.

Fiula. Your eyes shine as they do when you sing.
Now is your time, Finn, your great and wonderful
time.

[The sound of a horn.]



THE HERO 9

Mark is calling the boys. Run to the great oak, and
sing them a song of heroes and lead them down to the
boat, singing, and they will all give in their names
and you will give yours. And then come back to me
and I will put on you the singer's robe and crown.
[She picks up the oak branch and begins hastily to
plait a chaplet of leaves.]

Finn. [Muttering like a sulky boy.] I have just
sung to them.

Fiula. [Still plaiting her wreath.] What song did
you sing?

Finn. It was a new song.

Fiula. Of heroes?

Finn. Of a hero.

Fiula. Was he a soldier?

Finn. Yes. An old soldier, with his deeds behind
him. And again his country was at war. And they
put the armies into his hands.

Fiula. The English armies?

Finn. Yes. And then they sent him on a mission
to another country.

Fiula. [Beginning to understand.] To Russia!

Finn. Yes. And his ship was sunk by the enemy
and he went down with her.

Fiula. Lord Kitchener!

Finn. Yes. And up to that, anybody could make
the song. But after that, only I could make it. For
I see what nobody else can see. He went down
silent and strong, as he had lived. And all the drowned
rose up in the sea to meet him, and they called him by
name and crowned him with crowns and sang songs.



io ONE ACT PLAYS

Fiula. [In awe.] Did you see all that, Finn?

Finn. Yes. I saw it, and I sang it because I only
can see and sing.

Fiula. Did the boys like the song?

Finn. They cheered as the men under the sea
cheered Lord Kitchener, and they carried me on their
shoulders.

Fiula. Why did they like it, Finn?

Finn. Because it made their blood run fast and
their feet long for the march and their fists strong to
strike. And each man of them forgot it was Lord
Kitchener I sang about. Each man thought the song
was about himself. He was the hero. Do you see?

Fiula. Go back to them, Finn. Go back to the boys
and make them feel they are heroes. And lead them
down to give in their names, and give yours, my love
my love. For if you fail in that you fail me, too, and
I cannot live. {She holds up the completed crown
before him and then lays it on the table.]

Voices of Men without. Finn! Finn!

Fiula. The boys are tired of waiting. They have
come for you. Go with them, Finn, and sing the song
of heroes.

[While Finn is hesitating toward the door it is
opened and the Men flock in. They are young,
strong, in fishermen's clothes and excited of
mien.]

Have you come for Finn ?

A Man. Indeed and we have. We want every able-
bodied man on the island.



THE HERO ii

A Man. [To Fiula.] But it's not for him to sing
we've come. We were on our way to the great oak
and we met the constable and he said Big Hugh'd
broken out of jail.

A Man. They said he ran this way. So you shut
your door and keep it hasped.

A Man. Have you seen him, maidie?

Fiula. [Indifferently, still watching Finn.] No.

A Man. Bolt your door. Come on, Finn. And
to-night you shall sing us a rare song about the hunting
of Big Hugh.

A Man. [Pessimistically.] I misdoubt whether
he's not gone over the cliff. The blood-stain was that
way.

Fiula. Did Big Hugh make the stain? Had they
wounded him, do you think ?

A Man. More likely he'd killed a child or a sheep
or something and flung it over the cliff. They say he
killed nine men at a blow and that's why he was in jail.
And maybe he's killed the tenth.

A Man. It's not true he killed nine men.

A Man. He struck down a man that was preaching
treason to all governments and that's not unlawful
killing.

A Man. [Doubtfully.] But it's killing. And what
if he was at large and turned on us ?

Finn. Come on, boys. We'll hunt him down.

Fiula. You're very bold when the pack of you set
upon one man. But when it comes to marching out
to fight



12 ONE ACT PLAYS

A Man. Oh, it's true, maidie, Big Hugh's got to be
caught. For he's seven feet high and has six thumbs
on each hand.

A Man. And he could do damage if he set about it
damage to property.

Fiula. The Huns are doing damage to the whole
world.

A Man. [Vacantly.} So they are. But it's not
likely they'll get here.

Finn. Come on, boys. We'll track him down and
deliver him over to the constable and to-night I will
sing you the song of Big Hugh.

[They go out and one turns back to say to Fiula
confidentially, 'Tis true they'd have hanged him
long ago, only his six thumbs are so strong it's
easier to do it to-morrow than to-day. He turns
to go and Fiula calls to him:]
Fiula. Where's Mark?

Man. He's down at the great oak blowing his horn
for us to come and swear away our lives. Maybe when
we've caught Big Hugh we'll take him down to the
oak and show Mark there's something to do to keep
the peace on this island. Begin at home, I say. Begin
at home.

[He goes. Fiula stands anxiously listening. Finn

appears at the window and calls.]
Finn. Fiula, bolt the door.

[Fiula looks at him in a quick revulsion as he dis-
appears.]

Fiula. [Scornfully.] Bolt the door! [She goes to
the chest, takes out the singing robe and tries to tear it.



THE HERO 13

But the fabric resists her and she sinks down on the
chest, buries her face in the robe and cries silently.]

[Hugh appears at the door, L. He is young and,
though no bigger than the other wvien, their
superior in sheer splendor of youth. He is
p-ale and is br eat h less from haste. He has
wrapped an old piece of sail cloth about him and
is holding it tightly, with both hands, against
his breast.]
Hugh. Little girl ! Let me come in.

[Fiula rises and drops the cloak. He is sur-
prised.]

You're not a child.

Fiula. [Quietly.] No. I am a woman.
Hugh. It is a long time since I have seen a woman
like you. Though none of them are like you.

[She stands looking at him gravely, and he asks

gently:]

May I shut the door ? [He crosses to the outer door
which the Men have left open and shuts it.]
Fiula. Why did you come that way?
Hugh. I stole this piece of sail cloth in your garden,
and then I hid in the garden, and that was the door I
saw. [He sits and leans back, exhausted.] Will you
fasten it ? [Indicating the outer door.]

[Fiula fastens the door and returns to stand be-
fore him.]

Fiula. Why do you want it fastened?
Hugh. The constable is after me. If they come to
that door and find it bolted, I can get out through the
garden before you open it to them.



14 ONE ACT PLAYS

Fiula. I shouldn't open it.

Hugh. Not if I tell you I have broken out of jail?

Fiula. No.

Hugh. Why not?

Fiula. Because one of the boys said you struck
down a man preaching treason.

Hugh. Do you know who I am?

Fiula. Let me see your thumbs.

[He smiles and stretches out his hands to her,
but catches them back again to hold the cloth
against his breast.]

[In surprise.] Why, they're just like mine.

Hugh. You thought I had six thumbs.

[She nods.]

It's only a story they have about me.

Fiula. Are you seven feet tall ?

Hugh. That's a story they have.

Fiula. Why do they make up stories about you ?

Hugh. [Quietly.] Because they are afraid of my
persuading them to take trouble, the trouble that leads
some to life and some to death, and they pretend I am
stronger than all of them put together so they will not
be ashamed of their fear.

Fiula. Have they seen you?

Hugh. No. But their singer has sung about me.

Fiula. Finn? [Proudly.] Finn is going to enlist.

Hugh. Good. He's in luck.

Fiula. [Doubtfully.] At least I think he will. [In
sudden passion] I pray God he will.

Hugh. I know his songs. They are all about
heroes. Of course he would enlist.



THE HERO 15

Fiula. [In sudden terror.] But the men are after
you.

Hugh. Who?

Fiula. All the men on the island. They told me to
fasten the door.

Hugh. But you weren't afraid.

Fiula. When men are afraid, girls have to be dif-
ferent.

Hugh. Are they afraid?

Fiula. They were afraid of going to war.

Hugh. That's why I got out of jail to go to war.

Fiula. They'll take you and put you in again.

Hugh. That's why I tried to get to the boat the
officers came on, and stow myself away.

Fiula. She sails at sunset. Hurry.

[He rises, staggers and sinks back.}

Hugh. I can't. I am hurt.

Fiula. [Hurrying to him and offering her shoulder
for him to lean against.} What is it?

Hugh. I knocked down the guard and ran. And
I ran over roofs and jumped. And a spiked railing
caught me and I hung there till I worked myself free.
But I shall never be a soldier.

Fiula. [Pulling the cloth aside and putting her hand
on him.} Blood.

Hugh. Take your hand away.

Fiula. I am not afraid of blood. I tell you women
can't be afraid when men are as they are. Stand up.
Slowly. So.

[He rises and leans on her.}

Hugh. Yes. I must get out of here.



16 ONE ACT PLAYS

Fiula. Come into my brother's room. You shall lie
down on his bed and I will bandage you.

[They begin to walk slowly toward the door, L.

He stops.]
Hugh. Your brother may come in that way, as I

did.

Fiula. I shall be there with you.

Hugh. Do other men come here ?

Fiula. Yes, all the boys. But they'll come by that
door. [Pointing to the outer door.]

Hugh. Does your lover come?

Fiula. How do you know I have a lover ?

Hugh. By the look in your eyes. Is it Finn?

Fiula. Yes. [Proudly.] You've never seen Finn.

Hugh. I saw him just now. When I was hidden
down below there. I heard him singing a song of a
hero. Is it a true song?

Fiula. It is about Lord Kitchener. He was
drowned.

Hugh. A singer like Finn could sing them a better
song. He could sing how the hero came back.

Fiula. Are you a singer?

Hugh. I could sing once.

[A call outside.]

Fiula. They're coming. In here, quick. [Indicat-
ing the door, L.] I will lock myself in with you.

Hugh. No. What if you could hide me so they
never got at me?

Fiula. I will hide you. From my brother even.

Hugh. What if you could stop up this hole in here?
[His hand on his wound.] I might get away to the
war and I might not.



THE HERO 17

Fiula. Don't speak. Move slowly. You are bleed-
ing to death.

Hugh. That was what I wanted to give my blood.
And this is what the gods do. They give us our wish
but they give it in their own way. They forbid me to
go and fight, but they will let me sing to these boys and
turn their hearts to going.

[Cries without: Fiula! Fiula!]

Fiula. No, no. You shall be saved. In spite of all
the gods you shall be saved. Come.

Hugh. No, sweetheart. I shall stand here and sing.

Fiula. This cloak, then. The singing robe. [She
wraps it about him.} The singer's crown. [She
crowns him with the chaplet of oak. As she does this
she calls toward the door.} Is that you, Finn? Mark,
is it you ?

Hugh. Unbolt the door.

[Fiula unbolts the door and Finn enters. The
Men behind him crowd up to the door. They
are eager and excited.}

Finn. The constable and his men are coming up the
other side of the downs and we're going over this way
to meet them. You've not seen him, Fiula? [Seeing
Hugh who stands ma\jestic in his robe and crown.}
Who is this ?

[He steps in and the Men follow curiously.}

Fiula. A stranger. He is a singer, Finn, like you.

A Man. Let us see his thumbs, I say. Let's see the
thumbs of all strangers till Big Hugh is caught.

Hugh. [Smilingly extending both hands.] Look
at them.

Finn. [Going to him with outstretched hands.]



i8 ONE ACT PLAYS

Never mind his thumbs. Anyone could see he is a
singer. [To Hugh.] Did you come from the main-
land?

Hugh. Perhaps I came from the mainland and per-
haps I came from under the sea.

Finn. [Fascinated.] Sing us the song of under
the sea.

Hugh. Under the sea is a green, green world, as
green as the greenest. And all the sailors that have
died of drowning live there and smoke and tell yarns
and sing songs. They are in a safe harbor. And to
every man the harbor looks like the harbor he loved
best when he was ashore. And to one it is the harbor
of Plymouth and to one it is New York and to one it
is Rio. But if any man hears there's a storm brewing
over the good land he loved before he was drowned, he
gets uneasy and he climbs up by the seaweed ropes he
tried to clutch at when he went down, and the seaweed
holds him, and he comes up and he sights the land, and
if all's well he goes down again, contented. But there's
one that's never stayed down

Finn. [Crying out in great excitement.] Kitch-
ener!

The Men. Kitchener ! Kitchener !

Hugh. He's uneasy, do you see, because the devil's
gnawing at Old England and he's come up. To walk
the earth to call the boys to fight to fight beside
them

A Man. He's come back. Why, boys, don't you
see?

A Man. He's here.



THE HERO 19

A Man. Lord Kitchener.

All. [In great excitement.'} Kitchener ! Kitchener !
[They are pressing tozward him, but Fiula steps in
front of him and extends her arms.]

Fiula. Keep off.

A Man. She's right. He's not as we are. He's
been drowned and come to, as you might say.

A Man. 'Twotild be dangerous to touch a spirit or
to get too nigh.

A Man. [Bending forward and speaking wistfully
and curiously. ] Sir, be you a spirit ?

A Man. 'Tis no earthly face he wears. See! it
grows pale.

A Man. But 'tis a kind of bright paleness, as you
might say.

Hugh. [He has been upholding himself with diffi-
culty and now he draws himself up for a great effort
and speaks nobly.} I sing you a song, the song of the
hero. The hero vanishes. The earth smothers him or
the sea drowns him. But he returns. When there is
need of him, he comes. Do you think an Englishman
could go down and lie there in the salt brine and for-
get England ? Do you think an American could forget
his country or a Frenchman forget France? No, my
boys, Kitchener's not dead. He's alive.

Men. He's here. Hurrah ! hurrah !

Hugh. [Swaying a little, but chanting bravely.
And now Fiula is beside him to give him her shoulder
when he needs it.] There shall be a song sung for-
ever, so long as the Great War is sung. It is the song
of the hero's return. And it shall be told how Lord



20 ONE ACT PLAYS

Kitchener came back to save England and the world.
And the only way to save them is to call on men to
fight.

Men. [Beside themselves.] Shall we fight, sir?
Shall we fight?

[A bell without.]
Fiula. Sunset.

Mark. [Runs in.] The officers are on board, but
they'll give us five minutes more.
A Man. Still, there's Big Hugh.
Mark. Big Hugh? Let Big Hugh go. It's our
business to hunt the Hun. Come down and give your
names.

Hugh. [Pointing to Mark.] Your leader. [Point-
ing to Finn.] Your singer. To teach you blows and
great hurrahs.

Mark. [To Fiula.] Who is this?
Fiula. [Proudly.] A singer.

Finn. [Dropping on his knee before Hugh.] Mas-
ter! I swear to you, master, I will sing clear and
strike true.

[The bell again.]

A Man. Come, come. Sign on. Sign on.
A Man. Who'll be the first?

[They make for the door.]

Finn. [Springing to his feet.] No crowding.
Mark!

[Mark takes his place at their head. Finn puts his
pipe to his lips and they march out, at a quick
trot, Mark at their head and Finn bringing up
the rear. There is a Hooding sunset light.



THE HERO 21

Fiula rushes to the door and closes it. She hur-
ries back to Hugh.}

Fiula. Now I can take care of you and love you
and save you.

Hugh. [Wavering.} No, sweetheart. I must go
as I came. If they find it's only Big Hugh of the six
thumbs the heart will die out of them. They'd desert.
Or go like cattle, driven.

Fiula. But you it's you that must be saved. Not
all the world but you. [She puts her arms about him
and he leans on her.}

Hugh. The cliff out there. That's where I must go.


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