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Augustus Thomas.

As a man thinks; a play in four acts online

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my wild oats and I ll make a clean breast of it my suffer
ings for my race will not be held against me. Vedah Seelig
is a Jewess, remember, and

BURRILL.

Be still, she s a clean, high-minded girl she ll forgive
adultery in you no quicker than she d forgive it anywhere.

D E LOTA.
You think so?

BURRILL.
I do.



AS A MAN THINKS 157

D E LOTA.

And that belief determines you to bring it to her knowl-
edge?

B u R R i L L.
It is already brought to her knowledge. You did that.

D E LOTA.

And you make the consequence as sinister as if it had
been planned?

B u R R i L L.

I won t conspire to hoodwink a girl into marrying you.
[Enter SEELIG.] [Pause.

SEELIG.

That phone rang?

D E LOTA.
Yes I was going to answer it.

SEELIG.

I answered it on the branch upstairs. I heard what
you were saying.

B U R R I L L.

Through that?

SEELIG.
Yes.

[SEELIG replaces receiver on phone.

D E LOTA.
I was telling Mr. Burrill a story for a magazine.



158 AS A MAN THINKS

S E E L I G.

[To BURRILL.] Is that true?

B U R R I L L.

I can t answer you.

S E E L I G.

In prison !

D E LOTA.
The man I was quoting.

S E E i, i G.

Why should a man in a story say: "Vedah Seelig is a
Jewess, remember." Why should Mr. Burrill interrupt
you to defend her?

BURRILL.
Good day, Doctor.

[BURRILL goes.

SEELIG.
Your confession just now [Indicates phone.

D E LOTA.

At that time in Paris, with public hatred at a white heat,
an obsolete law was dug up to persecute a foreigner and a
Jew.

SEELIG.
What law?

D E LOTA.

Imprisoning a man on the complaint of a woman s hus
band.



AS A MAN THINKS 159

S E E L I G.

We are fortunate to learn it.

D E LOTA.

There are some Jews I d expect to condemn me apos
tates, renegades, that join the wolves, but not you. That
imprisonment was my share of the hatred the race sustains.
You re big enough to see that and dismiss it. As for the
offense itself well you know men, Doctor Seelig. You re
a physician not a Rabbi.

SEELIG.
Clayton s home was not your first adventure?

D E LOTA.
I didn t know this man in Paris.

SEELIG.
You knew Clayton?

D E LOTA.
Yes.

SEELIG.
That s enough.

D E LOTA.
And Mrs. Clayton?

SEELIG.
What of her?

D E LOTA.
You brought her here.



160 AS A MAN THINKS

S E E L I G.

Well?

D E LOTA.
You excuse her and condemn me?

S E E I, I G.

[Pause.~\ There is a cynical maxim that every country
has the kind of Jews it deserves. This generous New York
deserves the best. A Jew has destroyed the home of A
benefactor, a Jew intimate in my own home approved b^y
me and mine. I shall do what I can to repair that destruc
tion.

D E LOTA.

There s some extenuation.

S E E L i G.

What?

D E LOTA.

This engagement to Vedah is not the first time I have
believed I was in love. There was one other when I was
much younger. The father of the Christian girl was a
Jew-baiter.

S E E L i G.
Well?

D E LOTA.

I was thrown over not because I wasn t a man not
because I hadn t ability nor ambition nor strength nor
promise of success but I was a Jew.



AS A MAN THINKS 161

S E E L I G.

You will pay that price the price of being a Jew al
most every day of your life.

D E LOTA.

I know in money in opportunity in sensibilities
yes; but that time I paid it with all those and more.
[Pause.] Consider then the temptation when that woman
who had thrown me over and married her Christian found
that she still could listen to the Jew.

S E E L i G.

[Pause.] This would be a proud moment for me, Ben
jamin, if one of my own people had told me that story just
as you have told it except that his revenge had been to
protect this Christian woman from herself.

CLAYTON
[Noise at door.] [CLAYTON enters violently.

[To HOLLAND who restrains him.] Don t put your hand
on my arm. [Seeing DE LOTA.] I thought so.

S E E L i G.
[Interposing.] Thought what?

CLAYTON.
I called you on the phone I heard that dog s voice.

S E E L i G.

One moment [To DE LOTA, who confronts CLAYTCN.]
Go. [DE LOTA starts out.



162 AS A MAN THINKS

CLAYTON.
He came here to see her.

D E LOTA.
[Angrily returning. ] Yes. To see her!

S E E L i G.

[Loudly and again interposing.] I said go.
[DE LOTA sullenly goes.

CLAYTON.
And you stand for it. Your house.

S E E L i G.

Judge Hoover was with Mrs. Clayton also Mrs. Seelig
then I.

CLAYTON.
And my boy. Where was Dick?

SEELIG.
In his room.

CLAYTON.

Well,, I want him. He shan t be corrupted by their
damned assignations.

SEELIG.
His first call, Frank, and his last.

CLAYTON.
That part of it doesn t interest me.



AS A MAN THINKS 163

S E E L I G.

And your threatened divorce was the reason?

CLAYTON.

I thought they d get together on that. Well I want
Dick. [Pause.] Send for him, please.

S E E I, i G.

In a minute. He ll be glad to see you but you mustn t
say anything before him you ll regret.

CLAYTON.
I promise. I just want him, that s all.

S E E L i G.
He s with his mother, you know.

CLAYTON.
Well?

S E E L I G.

And Judge Hoover is also with Elinor.

CLAYTON.
What of it?

S E E L I G.

Nothing except well, the boy. There mustn t be a
dispute, Frank.

CLAYTON.
Say that to them.



164 AS A MAN THINKS

S E E L I G.

And you can t treat Mrs. Clayton as tho she were a
guilty woman.

CLAYTON.
Why can t I ?

S E E L I G.

Because in the first place she isn t guilty.

CLAYTON.
Isn t?

S E E L I G.

No.

CLAYTON.
She fools you, Seelig.

S E E L i G.

The physician who takes a woman through the sacred
crises of- her life mental as well as physical can t be de
ceived, Frank, and in the second place you have forfeited the
right to judge her you came into court yourself unclean.

CLAYTON.
And therefore can t resent adultery.

SEELIG.
Her defiant visit to De Lota s rooms wasn t adultery.

CLAYTON.

Damnation! when a woman s gone that far, the specific
degrees of her behavior aren t important.



AS A MAN THINKS 165

S E E L I G.

They re very important,, especially when they show re
covery. A woman who stops at the edge of the precipice
instead of taking the headlong plunge, mustn t be thrown
into the gulf and that by the man she herself had already
rescued by the man whose brutality forced her into the
peril.

CLAYTON.
Brutality !

S E E L I G.

A word ill chosen I meant bestiality who are you
to pass sentence upon her?

CLAYTON.
Unfortunately the man who married her.

S E E L i G.

Why! Dismiss the moral view of marriage. Consider
it only as our modern and manly and commercial mind is
organized to consider it a civil covenant no more.

CLAYTON.
What then?

S E E L I G.

Why, even then your position is that of a thief a con
fessed embezzler complaining in his hypocrisy of what?
that his partner s books appear inaccurate. That is the
proportion. On the sacred side of the relation you are
doubly guilty guilty of your immoral conduct guilty of
your base example and guilty of goading a good woman
into desperate things. For God s sake, Frank Clayton,



166 AS A MAN THINKS

cleanse your mind of its masculine conceit, prejudice, sel
fishness and partiality recognize your own destructive
work admit it regret it, undo it, and ask a good woman s
forgiveness.

[CLAYTON laughs ironically.

[HOOVER and ELINOR enter. Her appearance
stills CLAYTON, as he turns and sees her.

ELINOR.
Frank ? [Extends her hand pleadingly.

CLAYTON.
Well?

ELINOR.
I m in the dust forgive me.

S E E L i G.

[In undertone.] Judge

[Starts out, HOOVER following.

CLAYTON.

[Checking them."] No none of that. Let s not con
trive any interview of repentance.

ELINOR.

You you re not going to drag the whole story into the
courts.

CLAYTON.

I m going to [Pause.] do only what is necessary.
ELINOR.

[Sits speaks with effort at control.] As we forgive
those that trespass against us



AS A MAN THINKS 167

CLAYTON.

It s too late to adjust matters with a few appropriate
quotations.

HOOVER.
You won t waive any right by a reasonable delay.

S E E L i G.

None so for pity s sake, Frank, tell Colonel Emory to
wait.

CLAYTON.
I ve retained my own counsel I don t ask other advice.

ELINOR.
[Brokenly. ] Why why do you come to see me?

CLAYTON.

I don t ! I came because your friend Mr. De Lota was
here with you.

ELINOR.
Frank !

HOOVER.
7 brought De Lota.

CLAYTON.

[Explosively.] I don t object. [Then with fateful con
trol.] I m just going to take Dick out of the muck, that s
all.

ELINOR.
Dick!



168 AS A MAN THINKS

HOOVER.

[Bristling.] The law prescribes the only way that

ELINOR.

[Quickly interposing.] Father don t don t. We
mustn t talk of law and its wrangle over Dick. Frank s
perfectly right. If I were meeting Mr. De Lota after the
terrible mistake of that night Dick shouldn t be in my care
at all. [Turns to CLAYTON.] It it was on account of the
suit that s all. If you let Colonel Emory do that cruel
thing without believing me. Father brought him Dick
wasn t here. I said that I wouldn t bring up my jealousy
of that woman in Paris nothing to blacken the name of
Dick s father didn t I? [Turns to HOOVER.

HOOVER.
She did.

ELINOR.

[Again to CLAYTON.] You must see Dick but leave
him here, Frank, until you know the very truth about it
all. You get him, father

HOOVER.

[Going.] Of course. I ve seen fifty cases that looked
worse than this smoothed out by a little patience.,

ELINOR.
[Anxiously.] Get Dick.

CLAYTON.
You saw De Lota?

ELINOR.
With father.



AS A MAN THINKS 169

HOOVER.

[Turning.] De Lota s statement to me, Frank was iden
tical with Elinor s.

CLAYTON.

Never mind.

HOOVER.

[Coming back."] I ve got to mind you re not informed.
Elinor and De Lota were friends before you ever came to
New York. [ELINOR tries to silence HOOVER.

CLAYTON.
Friends?

ELINOR.

[Pause, and as CLAYTON glares at her.~] Yes. [To
HOOVER.] Get Dick. Go don t say any more.
[HOOVER goes.

CLAYTON.
[Accusingly. ] I introduced De Lota to you only a year



ELINOR.
I know, but

CLAYTON.
Why pretend you were not acquainted?

ELINOR.
I I was considering his feelings.

CLAYTON.
What do you mean by that?



170 AS A MAN THINKS

E L I N O E.

Before I knew you we were engaged.

CLAYTON.

Engaged.

E L, i N o E.

He and I. Father objected on account of De Lota s
race and Father forbade me ever to speak of it in his
hearing. When you and I met I was still over-senstive
about it and .

CLAYTON.

[Furiously.] No, by God! It won t do. You can t
square it. I see it now. I ve been a dupe for years and
years.

E L I N O E.

I never saw him again until you brought him home.

CLAYTON.
Don t, I m through with it. [Going.

E L I N O E.

Frank don t go wait! See Dick!

CLAYTON.
[Turning.] Dick.

E L I N O E.

You must see your boy.

CLAYTON.

boy ! How do I know he s my boy ?
[ELINOR and SEELIG both exclaim.



AS A MAN THINKS 171

ELINOR.
Oh!

S E E L I G.

Frank!

CLAYTON.

You ve lived a lie about that blackguard all along until
I trap you in his room.

ELINOR.

But Dick our baby Dick. For God s sake, Frank, don t
say a thing like that.

CLAYTON.

Why not, if it s here here [Striking forehead.] And
hell itself can t burn it out.

S E E L i G.
[At the door.] Frank it s the boy.

CLAYTON.

No no !

[Turns and goes rapidly out by the other door.
[Enter DICK.

ELINOR.

[To SEELIG.] What have I done? I didn t know I
didn t know.

DICK.
[To ELINOR.] Where s Papa?



172 AS A MAN THINKS

E LI N O K.

[With a heart-broken cry. } Ah! [Kneels and takes
DICK in her arms.} My boy my boy [Brushes back his
hair.} Our baby boy. [Kisses and embraces him hysteri-
cally, sobbing.

CURTAIN.



ACT IV.



ACT FOUR




CENE : Same as Act II, the Lounging
Room at Clayton s. A large couch is
drawn up in front of fire. The room is
lighted only by the lamp on the small
table and a candelabrum near the tele
phone. The pictures on the wall are
awry, and there is a look of general desola
tion about the place. A window is open at left side of
room and the sound of church bells comes in.

DISCOVERED: CLAYTON on couch near fire steamer rug
over him he in dressing gown and slippers. His shoes are
on floor.

[Enter SUTTON from dining-room carrying tray.



I beg pardon, sir.



Well?



SUTTON.



CLAYTON.



SUTTON.

I ve a bowl of bouillon and some toast I thought maybe
you d try it, sir.

CLAYTON.

[Indifferently. ] Thank you, Sutton.

SUTTON.

[Putting tray on table at head of the couch.] Shall I
put it nearer? [CLAYTON shakes head.] If you d rather
have a milk punch, sir?

175



176 AS A MAN THINKS

CLAYTON.
No.

S U T T O N.

Or an egg-nogg [CLAYTON shakes head.

CLAYTON.
You might shut that window.

S u T T o N.
Yes, sir. [Going to the window.

CLAYTON.

Those damn bells

S u T T o N.
Yes, sir. [Closes window.

CLAYTON.
When did Doctor Seeling say he d come?

S u T T o N.
As soon as possible.

CLAYTON.
And it s been three hours.

S u T T o N.

Nearly three hours, yes, sir. There s the door may be
Doctor now.

[Goes to hall.

[CLAYTON re-arranges pillow and lies down again.

[HOOVER S voice is heard outside.



AS A MAN THINKS 177

S U T T O N.

[Also outside.] He s lying down in the smoking room.
[Enter SUTTON.
[HOOVER and ELINOR appear in hallway.

SUTTON.

[Leaning over the back of the couch.] Pardon, sir

Judge Hoover!

CLAYTON.

[Shaking head.] No

SUTTON.
And Mrs. Clayton, sir.

CLAYTON.

[Sitting up.] Here?

HOOVER.

[Entering.] I don t want to intrude, Frank, but it
seems necessary. Come in, Elinor!

[SUTTON goes.] [ELINOR comes down to the
couch.

CLAYTON.

You ll have to see my attorney. I m not able to talk any
business.

ELINOR.

[Tenderly.] You re ill, Frank?

CLAYTON.
[Coldly.] Resting a minute



178 AS A MAN THINKS

ELINOR.

I m sorry to disturb you, but it s for Dick. [Pause.]
[CLAYTON motions slightly to a chair which HOOVER places
ELINOR sits.] You know that to-morrow is a holiday?
[CLAYTON nods.] Dick s eager about it

CLAYTON.
[Complainingly to HOOVER.] This isn t necessary, is it?

ELINOR.

Dick s talked for days about his tree and hanging up his
stocking by the big fireplace at home. Our difference,
Frank, mustn t put a blight on the boy s Christmas.

CLAYTON.
[In undertone.] My God! What drivel!

ELINOR.

Drivel when I repeat it if you will but not as little
Dick talks it day after day. His love for you isn t drivel.

CLAYTON.

[To HOOVER.] You promised Emory to begin suit if I d
keep quiet.

HOOVER.
Yes.

CLAYTON.
Nearly a month ago.

HOOVER.
I know but [Turns to ELINOR.



AS A MAN THINKS 179

ELINOR.

I refuse. There s nothing left me to live for but my
baby and his happiness. I won t I won t bring an accu
sation against his father [CLAYTON moves away wearily
to mantel ELINOR rises. ] You are his father and only
your wish to crush me makes you pretend to doubt it. I ve
forfeited your love, I know I m not here to plead against
that but to avoid any scar I can for the boy s heart. I
want you to let Dick come here to-morrow [CLAYTON
moves impatiently.] Not with me with Miss Doane. I
want you to see him and take him in your arms

CLAYTON.
[Shakes head.] No

HOOVER.

[With some indignation.] Whatever he is he s a child,
and for seven years this was his home.

CLAYTON.

There ll be other anniversaries. He may as well learn
now.

ELINOR.

No not now. When he s old enough to understand I ll
tell him the truth.

CLAYTON.
What is the truth?

ELINOR.

That his mother was a foolish woman who thought her
husband didn t understand her. That his father punished



180 AS A MAN THINKS

her out of all proportion to her offense, but only as women
must expect punishment.

C L A x T o N.
[Sneering.] I know because men are brutes.

E L I N O B,.

Because God has put into woman s keeping a trust of
which no one neither husbands nor fathers tell them truly
about which the world in its vain disputes of equality
misleads them of which they learn only through their
own suffering.

CLAYTON.

[Leaving ELINOR and going to HOOVER.] This kind of
thing is what I try to escape.

ELINOR.

[Following. ] Let Dick spend his Christmas morning
here. [CLAYTON shakes head.] You used to ask after him
every day until you took this cruel pose of pretending that
he s not your boy.

CLAYTON.
[To HOOVER.] Please

E LI N o E.

I couldn t tell you in Doctor Seelig s presence plainly
enough. You know Father s insane antipathy to [Pause.]
to those people. Any word the most sacred any name
the most honored by scornful repetition becomes a re
proach,, and I had grown fearful of ridicule about my for
mer friendship for Ben De Lota. That was my sole rea-
gon for silence.



AS A MAN THINKS 181

CLAYTON.
[Wearily.] My God!

HOOVER.
Elinor, Frank! [Indicates hall.

B u R R i L L.
de.] Is he too ill to be seen a moment?



HOOVER.

[Peering cautiously into hall.] Woman, too.
[Enter SUTTON.

S u T T o N.
Mr. Burrill, sir.

CLAYTON.
I said no one but Doctor Seelig.

S U T T O N:

Miss Seelig, Doctor s daughter, is with Mr. Burrill.

ELINOR.
Father! [Going quickly out by dining room door.

HOOVER.
[Following.] I want a word, Frank, when they re gone.

CLAYTON.
But not with her.

HOOVER.
No she ll go.

[HOOVER leaves.



182 AS A MAN THINKS

CLAYTON.

My coat! [SUTTON gets CLAYTON S coat and waistcoat
from the table CLAYTON takes them and nods for SUTTON
to go.

[SUTTON goes.

[CLAYTON feebly unbuttons his dressing gown,
pauses, wearily throws coat and waistcoat to a
chair from which they slip to the floor. CLAY
TON sits on the couch.

[BURRILL and VEDAH enter.

B TJ R R I L L.

Sorry to disturb you, Mr. Clayton.

VEDAH.
And your man says you re not well.

CLAYTON.

Nothing! Won t you be seated? [VEDAH takes chair
BURRILL places for her.

BURRILL.

I m [Pause.] That is, we re well, I wanted to thank
you for my contract on the court-house sculpture.

CLAYTON.
They gave it to you, did they?

BURRILL.

Yes. The finished marble must be up in a year. Ma
terial workmen studio everything s cheaper on the other
side



AS A MAN THINKS 183

CLAYTON.
I know.

BURRILL.

So I m sailing day after to-morrow unless you need
me here in the architect s libel suit!

CLAYTON.
They ve withdrawn that.

B u R R i L L.

They have? [CLAYTON nods. BURRILL turns eagerly to
VEDAH.] Then we go

VED AH.

Yes!

BURRILL.
Vedah and I have been married.

CLAYTON.

Married ?

BURRILL.
Half an hour ago.

VEDAH.
Yes. [Rises and stands by BURRILL.

BURRILL.
[Taking VEDAH S hand.] I m the happiest man alive.

CLAYTON.

[Moodily.] Half an hour? Ah,, yes. \WitH an effort
rises and goes to them. ] Well, I congratulate you both.



184 AS A MAN THINKS

VE D A H.

Papa and Mama don t know it yet. [BURRILL goes to the
fireplace.

CLAYTON.
An elopement?

V E D A H.

Is it? If we didn t leave the city?

[Enter SUTTON.
Mrs. Seeling, sir.

[VEDAH anxiously goes to BURRILL.

[Enter MRS. SEELIG.

[SUTTON goes out.

MRS. SEELIG.

Vedah. [Sees BURRILL.] You know your father s
wishes.

BURRILL.
We ve been married, Mrs. Seelig.

MRS. SEELIG.
Vedah!

VEDAH.
Yes, Mama.

MRS. SEELIG.
When?

VEDAH.
At five o clock.

MRS. SEELIG.
How? Who married you?



AS A MAN THINKS 185

B U R R I L L.

A Justice of the Peace.

MRS. SEELIG.
Frank! [Turns to CLAYTON.

V E D A H.

[Going to her mother.] Remember your parents objected
to Papa.

MRS. SEELIG.

[To CLAYTON.] My father was a Rabbi Doctor Seelig s
ideas were advanced even his own people thought so.

VE D A H.
No couple could be happier than you have been.

MRS. SEELIG.

Is this happiness my only daughter runs away why?
To-day? Why secretly?

B U R R I L L.

I m sailing for Paris.

VE D A H.
[Returning to BURRILL.] To be gone a year.

B U R R I L L.

The separation was impossible.

MRS. SEELIG.
Couldn t you have trusted Vedah that long?



186 AS A MAN THINKS

V E D A H.

It was /, Mama.

MRS. SEELIG.
You?

V E D A H.

To risk a sculptor in Paris ? Oh no !

MRS. SEELIG.
Well, go home and tell your poor father.

VE D A H.
I want you with us, Mama.

B u R R i L L.
I m willing to tell the Doctor alone.

V E D A H.
[In alarm.] No.

MRS. SEELIG.
Very well, wait for me and we ll meet Papa together.

V E D A H.

[To CLAYTON.] Good-bye!
[They shake hands.

CLAYTON.
Good-bye. [Shakes hands with BURRILL.] Bon voyage.

B u R R i L L.
Thank you. [Starts out with VEDAH.



AS A MAN THINKS 187

MRS. SEELIG.

[Impulsively. ] Vedah ! [VEDAH turns, MRS. SEELIG
embraces and kisses her.

B U R R I L L

Thank you, Mrs. Seelig. [Goes out with VEDAH.

MRS. SEELIG.

[Sighing and turning to CLAYTON who is at the fire
place.] I left Elinor waiting for Judge Hoover. When
I go back I want to carry her some comfort.

CLAYTON*
Your arrival will do that, Mrs. Seelig.

MRS. SEELIG.
I hope so. This is Christmas Eve, you know.

CLAYTON.
Yes.

MRS. SEELIG.

Little Dick has always found his stocking in there.
[Indicates the music room.

CLAYTON.

Mrs. Clayton mustn t use Dick to break down my de
cision.

MRS. SEELIG.

I bought a little tree [Indicates its height.} I caught
the Christian shopkeeper smiling but no matter. I had
Sutton take it in at the tradesman s entrance. [CLAYTON






188 AS A MAN THINKS

turns away.~] I know. You think that is more indelicacy
characteristic of the race but Vedah is going with that
young man my own heart is alive to the suffering around
us. Yours? yes ! it comes soon enough to us all but
Frank! that little boy who is

CLAYTON.

Please ! Mrs. Seelig, the doctor s ordered me to avoid all
excitement. [Sits wearily on couch.

MRS. SEELIG.
[Sympathetically.] He didn t tell us.

CLAYTON.
Not Doctor Seelig.

MRS. SEELIG.
Oh!

CLAYTON.

A specialist but he doesn t help me. Sutton phoned
and I m waiting for Doctor Seelig now.

MRS. SEELIG.

Now? I can t meet him here. But that tree s in the
house and you must let us bring Dick over.

[Enter HOOVER.

HOOVER.
Pardon.

MRS. SEELIG.

I m going Good night.
[She goes.



AS A MAN THINKS 189

CLAYTON.
[Pause.] Where is?

HOOVER.

Elinor? [Clayton nods. ] She left immediately. [CLAY
TON lies down on couch.] She s not a bad woman,
Frank ! What she said about my opposition was true but
we all learn. I didn t know the hearts those people had in
em [Pause.] And her girlish affair with De Lota was
well, you know Elinor s craze for music. That s the ex
planation attraction was mostly artistic.

[Enter SUTTON.

Doctor Seelig.

CLAYTON.

You ll have to excuse me, Judge.

HOOVER.

Sorry to see you ill, old man.
[Enter SEELIG.

SEELIG.
Good evening.

HOOVER.

Good evening, Doctor. [Going, extends hand.] I wish
you [Pause.] the compliments of the season.

SEELIG.
The same to you, Judge.

[HOOVER goes.] [SUTTON takes SEELIG S hat and
coat.



190 AS A MAN THINKS

S E E L I G.

Well, Frank under the weather? [Leans over back of
couch.

CLAYTON.
Pretty rotten.

S E E L i G.
Need a little air in here.

CLAYTON.
I couldn t stand the damned bells.

S E E L i G.
Better stand them a minute.

[Opens window. The sound of church bells is
heard.

CLAYTON.
"Peace on earth, good will to men."

S E E L i G.

How long have you been this way? [Talcing CLAYTON S
pulse.

CLAYTON.
Been here since last night.

S E E L i G.
Drinking?

CLAYTON.
Very little.



AS A MAN THINKS 191

SEELIG.

Pain anywRere?

CLAYTON.
Some back of ray neck near the shoulders.

SEELIG.

Headache? [CLAYTON shakes head.] No other pains?
[CLAYTON shakes head.] What kept you in the house?

CLAYTON.
I feel all in rotten tired.

SEELIG.

I d have come earlier, Frank, but a long list. Then there
was an accident to a little chap on Third Avenue they
brought him to the hospital smaller than your boy. We
operate on him at eight-thirty. [Regards watch.] When I
got away from that the police stopped us at every cross
street. Wonderful sight on the Avenue people seem to
have money. I think a prosperity Christmas.

[Picks up the coat and waistcoat from the floor
folds them. Straightens pictures on wall.

CLAYTON.

Can t we have that window closed now? [Pause
SEELIG closes the window, shutting out the sound of the
bells.] Ha! "Glad tidings of great joy."

SEELIG.
Comes only once a year.



192 AS A MAN THINKS

CLAYTON.

You any respect for the whole business that Christ fab
rication ?

S E E L i G.

[Going to fireplace. ] You mean the Church idea the
creeds ?

CLAYTON.
Yes.

S E E L I G.

[Pause. ] I ve outgrown the one my own mother start
ed me in, but I take off my hat to the man.

CLAYTON.
Why!

S E E L I G.

Oh, He knew He d worked it all out.


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