GRANDMA. I'll give it to her. (Takes up from
floor a tumbler covered with a plate, holding a
THE COPPERHEAD 35
MA. (Bending over bed) How is mammy's pre-
cious now ? Don't wake up, darling Grandma Per-
ley's just gonta give it a nice spoonful of the cool
GRANDMA. Open mouffy (Gives medicine.)
The angel !
MA. Now, lay down, dear, and mammy'll make
the beautiful house again. Keep out the nasty flies
and skeeters. (Fixes net.)
GRANDMA. Seems easier.
MA. (Resuming work) Yes.
GRANDMA. Beats me ; six little sugar pills melted
in a tumbler o' water (Shakes head.)
MA. There's sumpin' about 'em.
GRANDMA. Don't allow 'em in the army.
MA. Might be better if they did. I hear they're
dyin' like flies in the hospitals.
GRANDMA. Kain't believe all we hear, Martha.
They said Stonewall Jackson was killed early in
MA. Well, wasn't he?
GRANDMA. I doubt it. Six weeks has gone by
and Joe Hooker has hed to fall back; looks to me
like that yarn about Jackson was jest to throw our
folks off their guard and "shot by his own men."
MA. May be
GRANDMA. Sounds fishy. An* where's all the help
we was gonta git from the four million niggers?
'mancipation's been out six months.
MA. Maybe the niggers didn't git it most of
'em kain't read, an' the Rebs wouldn't tell 'em, would
GRANDMA. P'raps not (Pause) and Grant!
Why ain't he stirrin' hisself? Sometimes I think
them yarns about his drinkin's more truth than
poetry. Lord if I'd only been a man!
36 THE COPPERHEAD
MA. Well, it's a siege, Joey says in his letters
if a man's ever been a drinkin' man, seems ter me
that'd drive him to it agin jest settin' an' settin'
outside the city waitin' an' waitin' day in day
out even hotter'n this place, too.
GRANDMA. Lord pity 'em!
MA. 'Cause that's the real South Vicksburg is.
GRANDMA. Oughta be some breeze from the river,
MA. Joey don't speak of it.
GRANDMA. How long's it been fur Joey?
MA. Two years and two months since he marched
past that gate.
GRANDMA. I mean at Vicksburg?
MA. Oh! 'Bout six weeks now since the siege
begun. (Pause; going.) I kin tell exactly by his
GRANDMA. Six weeks is near enough. (Calls)
Lord ! I ain't timin bread in the oven by it. (MA
returns with bunch of letters from the house.)
MA. I think this is the one. (Opens letter. Reads
in bitter silence a moment.)
GRANDMA. (Pause) What's the matter now ?
MA. (Pause; shakes head) 'Bout his father.
GRANDMA. Well, don't let's git on that subject
MA. (Studying letter and biting lip.) When the
news of it got into the army some o' the men from
here had papers with the trial in 'em (Looks
up in agony.) Joey's father ! My baby's father
GRANDMA. Evil company kin bring any man
down, but I'll stake my hope o' salvation that Milt
Shanks didn't do the murder.
MA. Not his fault if he didn't. He'd fired two
shots his revolver showed that at the trial.
GRANDMA. I don't know. They didn't hang him
at any rate.
THE COPPERHEAD 37
MA. What comfort kin Joey git from that ? The
verdict was hangin', and they'd a hung him only the
governor committed all o' their sentences ter life in
the penitentiary life life in the penitentiary. We
knowed about it comin' from day to day but it was
a thunderbolt to Joey. He says (Reads) "If I
could jes' put my arms around you, mammy "
GRANDMA. (Going to her) Now, quit that, Mar-
tha. You started to find out when Vicksburg com-
menced. Lord, we've all got troubles.
MA. (Bracing up) I know (With other letter.)
It's a lead pencil, and I can't make out the writin'
now it's gittin' so dark, besides.
GRANDMA. An* yer tuckered out with yer ironin'.
MA. Only my back it'll ease up when I lay
(Enter MRS. BATES and SUE to back of fence.)
MRS. BATES. (Calling) Good evening. (MA
runs to bid and sings lullaby "Old Dog Tray." )
GRANDMA. (Signals silence) The child's asleep.
MRS. BATES. Sorry.
GRANDMA. All right, I guess. (Enter MRS. BATES
to yard. Enter SUE; she carries a tin lantern, un-
MRS. BATES. I brought some rennet fur her.
(MA nods thanks.)
GRANDMA. That's good.
SUE. We're goin' down to the church.
GRANDMA. Why ?
MRS. BATES. Fixin' the booths fur to-morrow.
MA. (Joining them) I'm so sorry I can't go
along and help.
MRS. BATES. Lord knows you got yer hands full.
GRANDMA. Ain't hed her supper.
MRS. BATES. What !
38 THE COPPERHEAD
MA. It's too hot fur supper.
GRANDMA. (To MA) Where's yer tea kettle?
MA. I've got cold tea.
SUE. Let me git it, Mrs. Shanks.
MA. It's in the well I'll get some glasses.
GRANDMA. You'll set still. I'll git the glasses.
(Puts her in chair. Exit. SUE goes to well. A
little cry from the bed.)
MA. (Resigned) I guess she's waking. (Gets
SUE. Did we wake her, do you 'spose ?
MA. She's slept a good while, anyway. (Re-
enter GRANDMA with glasses, glass sugar bowl,
brown sugar and spoons.)
MA. Come, dearie, Auntie Bates brought Elsie,
oh, such good supper. Mother'll hold her little girl
on her lap while she eats it. (MA sits at ironing
board and feeds ELSIE. MRS. BATES stands. SUE
brings tea from well.)
GRANDMA. (Slyly indicating ELSIEJ It's a good
plan to change the subject now we git on better
when you don't notice us How many booths
you got? (Pours tea.)
MRS. BATES. Oh, a dozen, I should think.
SUE. If we can get dolls enough by to-morrow
we're going to have the old woman that lived in a
GRANDMA. Have what?
MRS. BATES. The S'Louis papers say at their fair
Nellie Grant, the Gineral's little dotter, was the old
woman a shoe as big as Elsie's bed for her house
and dozens of dolls all over it.
GRANDMA. How old's Grant's dotter?
MRS. BATES. Only three or four.
GRANDMA. Well, don't that beat the Dutch. Til
bet it took like hot cakes.
THE COPPERHEAD 39
MA. (Coaxingly) Not here, dearie that's way
off where the sun goes to bed and hot cakes ain't
near so nice as Auntie Bates' custard.
GRANDMA. Little pitchers have big ears.
(Enter ANDREWS from left at back.)
MA. There's Brother Andrews.
GRANDMA. A minute later'n he'd a caught me
MRS. BATES. Good evening.
ANDREWS. Good evening may I come in?
MA. Of course yer always welcome, Mr. An-
drews. (ANDREWS enters yard. He shows elation.)
ANDREWS. There's some wonderful news on the
GRANDMA. What is it? (MA and MRS. BATES
chorus "Tell us" and "Good news?")
ANDREWS. Vicksburg's surrendered.
SUE. "I rHooray !
MA. > ( Together} 1 Thank God !
MRS. BATES. J ' I Oh, Mr. Andrews !
(The twilight goes into moonlight.)
GRANDMA. God bless ole Grant.
ANDREWS. (Fervently) Amen amen, Sister
MA. (Pause) And Joey, too
ANDREWS. Yes, Joey, too, and all our brave boys
in blue. The news conies pretty direct altho' it
hasn't been officially confirmed.
GRANDMA. Then hold on, don't count your
chickens too soon.
ANDREWS. Oh, I believe it's true true.
MRS. BATES. Why, Brother Andrews?
ANDREWS. I've expected it right along. The
prisoners that have been passing through here give
awful reports of their starvation in Vicksburg
40 THE COPPERHEAD
eating dogs anything and just to think of the
glorious way it comes to-morrow will be the Fourth
of July and, praise be to God, we've our bell for
the meeting house.
GRANDMA. The bell's come?
ANDREWS. Come? Why, it's up in the belfry,
Sister Perley. Some folks want us to ring it every
day for twelve o'clock, but we'll begin with the
Sunday service and the Wednesday prayer meetings,
except, of course, if this surrender's true we'll ring
in the glorious Fourth.
MA. And maybe Joey kin git a furlough now.
ANDREWS. Of course he'll git a furlough.
MA. (To ELSIE,) Buvver Joey comin' home to
Elsie and Muzzer.
GRANDMA. The news makes us all fergit our
manners will you hev some cold tea, Brother An-
ANDREWS. (Hesitates) Why
SUE. Right out of the well awfully good.
ANDREWS. Thank you yes.
MA. You're sure they'll let him come ?
ANDREWS. Positive. After that splendid brav-
ery in recovering the flag.
GRANDMA. What was that, Brother Andrews?
ANDREWS. In one of the Rebels' attempts to
break through a Union color bearer was struck
Joey not only supported the man but kept the flag
flying, too Didn't you know of it?
MA. Well, not so fine as that one o' Joey's let-
ters said "Ji m Evers was hit with a bay'net while
he was carryin' our flag and I was so close to him
that I caught him when he fell over " That's
jes' seemed natural kindness.
ANDREWS. Caught him! Why, Joe fought like
SUE. Joey !
THE COPPERHEAD 41
MRS. BATES. Well! Well!
GRANDMA. I'm ready to believe it, 'cause at Fort
Dearborn the dare devils was always the boys.
MA. Who told you about it, Brother Andrews?
ANDREWS. Why well it's a little embarrassing
but Joey's father told me.
MA. His father?
GRANDMA. ('Discounting it) Oh ! (MRS. BATES
and SUE relax also.)
MA. (Pause) I thought maybe you'd got it
straighter'n that. I guess Joey's letter's about right.
ANDREWS. And then again when General Grant
was holding a council of war with Admiral Porter
on a gunboat in the river the Rebels knew it some-
how and made a sally. Joey swam out to the boat
and carried the news to Grant Grant hustled back
in his skiff and rallied our men, who were retreating.
Grant sent for Joey the next day and made a world
of fuss over him Yes, indeed.
MA. Did you git all that from his father, too ?
ANDREWS. Well yes.
GRANDMA. 'M. (The women again go cold.)
SUE. (Pause) Well, Joey's spunky, jest the
MRS. BATES. (Pause) Sue and I were just goin*
down to the church are there many there?
ANDREWS. Oh, yes.
SUE. (Suddenly) Oh we've settled about the
rebel states, Mrs. Shanks.
GRANDMA. How !
SUE. Well, you see, I'm on the platform as the
Goddess of Liberty and I say like this : (Recites)
"Within the field of blue a cloud I see,
The lightnings threaten over Liberty,
My daughters, come ! Ye thirteen brave I bore
And come, ye younger, making thirty-four."
42 THE COPPERHEAD
'Cause there's thirty-four states altogether then
these dear little girls thirteen walkin' two and two
six couples an' then single that cute baby of Mrs.
Ransom's, hardly bigger'n Elsie she's Rhode Is-
land. Then the other states accordin' to their dates
of admission, all with blue sashes, except the rebel
states, wherever they are, have red sashes and
don't you think this is too beautiful? heavy bands
of smoke-colored tulle blindfoldin' their eyes, mean-
in' error. These darlin's ! None of 'em over ten !
Why, I jest cried at rehearsal.
GRANDMA. Well I'm comin' to see you if I'm
able to walk. You git me a ticket What are
they, Mrs. Bates?
MRS. BATES. Two bits. ^GRANDMA gets shin
plaster pocketbook and produces twenty-five cents.)
Thank you. (Stows the paper in similar book.)
Come, Sue, we're awfully late now.
MA. Elsie thanks you for her supper, Auntie
MRS. BATES. She shall have more to-morrow
Good-by. ( Exit with SuE.J
MA. Why do yo' 'spose Milt wanted ter make up
that ridiculous stuff about Joey?
ANDREWS. It's true every word of it. Grant
wanted to know what he could do for Joey well,
one way and another the dear boy told him every-
thing and on Joey's account Milt has been par-
doned, Mrs. Shanks.
MA. (Pause) Pardoned !
MA. (Prompting) You mean from hangin' to
penitentiary for life.
ANDREWS. (Shakes head) That was done at the
time of their conviction for the whole band but
Milt has been set free.
THE COPPERHEAD 43
MA. How do you know who told you?
ANDREWS. Milt told me.
MA. In the prison?
ANDREWS. Here Milt's back in town.
MA. He's foolin' you. He's broke out, ain't he?
ANDREWS. Pardoned by the Governor I've
seen his papers. (MA gives ELSIE to GRANDMA.,)
MA. In town ? (ANDREWS nods. MA gets up
walks nervously stops. Pause.) It's time Elsie
was in bed will you undress her, Mrs. Perley I've
got to talk to Brother Andrews alone.
GRANDMA. Come with grandma, darlin', an* she'll
tell you about the fairies. (Takes ELSIE to porch.)
MA. I'll bring her medicine when it's time. (Exit
GRANDMA with ELSIE. Pause.) Where is he
ANDREWS. Waiting for me.
ANDREWS. For some message from his wife.
MA. Am I his wife in the eyes o' Gawd?
ANDREWS. Aren't you ? For better for worse
MA. It's the law in Illinois when a man's con-
victed of murder it sets his wife free.
ANDREWS. Do you ask to be free ?
MA. I don't ask anything any more fur myself,
Brother Andrews. (A candle is lighted inside the
ANDREWS. Well, it won't help Milt to cast him
off, will it?
MA. I'm thinkin' about the children and I ask
ANDREWS. If you ask me you'll send word to
your husband to come home.
MA. (Pause) Home (Pause.) What if
Joey's here on his furlough? What then?
ANDREWS. I wish you might have seen Milt's
face when he told me of Joey's bravery.
44 THE COPPERHEAD
MA. I'm thinkin' what Joey's face must a
been when he wrote me the letters after his father's
trial reached the army (Shakes head.) I know
why Joey was willin' to swim out to a gunboat or
foller Jim Evers and his flag in the front ranks
his letter says "Don't you never shed a tear fur
me, mammy if it comes to me." My Gawd!
Think of a boy of nineteen writin' that-a-way!
ANDREWS. He'll feel different, now, when he
comes to know that his heroism gives his father an-
other chance at life let me tell Milt to come home.
MA. (Pause) I'll see him.
MA. But I'll have to git used to the notion of it
some before I'll say jest what I will do one way
or the other (Pause.) I'm gonna kneel down by
my baby's bed an' ask Gawd. (Distant gun. MA
sits on the ironing chair, with her head bent to her
knees, and buries her face in her hands. A country
band strikes up in the distance, "Rally Round the
ANDREWS. (Pause) The news is confirmed, I
guess. (Goes to MA.) Come, Martha God's doing
it all his way we can't be downhearted about any-
thing. (M.\ rises and, slowly nodding, exit. AN-
DREWS watches her off, then wipes his forehead and
puts on his hat. He slowly turns to go. The vil-
lage band still plays. He stops at sight of somebody.
It is SHANKS. SHANKS enters, left, behind fence.
SHANKS shows more than three years' added age
his hair is perceptibly gray and he is more worn in
ANDREWS. She'll see you. (SHANKS crosses to-
ward house. Pause.)
SHANKS. She's kneelin' by the bed.
THE COPPERHEAD 45
ANDREWS. One minute. (Looks down the road
cautiously. Returns.) I've a letter for you.
SHANKS. From her?
ANDREWS. From Washington I didn't even
mention it to you in the village because it didn't
seem safe. (Hands letter.)
SHANKS. You might jes' stand at the gate. (AN-
DREWS stands watch. SHANKS opens letter and reads
by the light from the door. He puts letter in pocket.
ANDREWS returns.) I'm ordered to Pennsylvania.
(Pause.) What's been going on there? we didn't
git much news in Joliet.
ANDREWS. Hooker has succeeded Rosecrans in
command but Lee's driven him back (Pause.)
Harper's Ferry's been taken by Lee things gener-
ally pretty gloomy.
SHANKS. My letter hints there's some under-
ground leak through this crowd I'm with. (Hand
goes to lapel.) They took our buttons away from
us in jail.
ANDREWS. (Ominously) 'Twouldn't be safe to
wear one now.
SHANKS. I reckon not I didn't feel very safe
even without mine down there to-night.
ANDREWS. The county is very bitter.
SHANKS. Whata they say about me bein' par-
doned and Lem Tollard kept in for life?
ANDREWS. Very few of them know it yet.
SHANKS. It's gonna make it hard in Pennsyl-
vania, I cahilate.
ANDREWS. Joey's good work should explain it.
SHANKS. Maybe. (Pause.) Tollard ain't a mur-
derer in heart fact none of 'em jes' wrong-headed
an' war's war (Pause.) If anything happens to
me Brother Andrews I mean permanent
ANDREWS. I understand, Milt.
SHANKS. Why, thenI'd like her to really
46 THE COPPERHEAD
know (ANDREWS nods.) She's fine. (Pause.)
Mighty fine like the wonderful women that
(Pause chews wipes nose.) An' the back wash
of it when she knows why and everything'll be
twice as hard 'cause she's awful tender-hearted so
make her understand that I sensed all of it and was
proud she done her part this way
ANDREWS. I shall.
SHANKS. Show her that ef she hadn't suffered
and suffered plenty my work wouldn't a looked
ANDREWS. She'll know.
SHANKS. And Joey (ANDREWS nods.) Tell
her 'twas really me that got word to Grant at Co-
lumbus, Kentucky, that Van Dorn was behind him,
an* saved thousands o' Union lives like as not
Joey's amongst the lot. (MA comes from house
peering into the lesser light.)
ANDREWS. Well, good-night.
MA. You, Brother Andrews ?
ANDREWS. Yes, Martha.
SHANKS. An' me. (General pause.)
ANDREWS. I'm just going Good-night, Milt.
(Affectionately pats his shoulder and goes. At in-
tervals from now on a small cannon fires salutes.)
MA. (Pause) Yer pardoned?
SHANKS. Yes by the Governor.
MA. (Points after ANDREWS,) He says 'count
MA. Well Don't that mortify you com-
SHANKS. 'T would if I didn't believe Joey'd un-
derstand my side of it some day.
MA. Your side was Peace wasn't it?
SHANKS. As fur as I could make it yes.
THE COPPERHEAD 47
MA. Yer empty revolver showed two of the shots
was by you.
SHANKS. I pinted over their heads besides, I
know I didn't hit anybody.
MA. You didn't tell that at yer trial, did ye?
SHANKS. What use? And then I couldn't strive
to throw all the blame onto Lem and the others.
MA. Yer doin' it now, ain't you ?
SHANKS. I reckon I am come to think of it
MA. (Pause) But what? Ef you've got any-
thing to say fur yer self fur Gawd's sake, Milt
SHANKS. I'm doin' it now 'cause I care more fur
what you think about my bein' a murderer, Martha
^ than what the law court thought
MA. I'd like ter believe ye, Milt.
SHANES. If ye could it'd be mighty fine.
MA. Ye've been untruthful so often.
SHANKS. Ter you, Martha?
MA. Yes, to me about nearly every trip you
made after you turned copperhead somethin' didn't
gee. Where was you and Lem Tollard an* yer
crowd takin' them stolen horses?
MA. For rebel guerrillas, if the truth's known,
SHANKS. (Nods) Confederate cavalry yes.
MA. And when the Sheriff's posse headed you off
you killed two of 'em.
SHANKS. (Shakes head) Our crowd not me.
MA. Am I to try an* make neighbors believe
SHANKS. My God no no (Pause.) I ain't
talkin' fur the neighbors besides, they won't be
neighbors o' mine.
MA. They won't
SHANKS. I cahilate ter go East in a day or so
48 THE COPPERHEAD
an' git work when the harvestin' begins the war's
made farm hands scarce folks say.
MA. East? (SHANKS nods.) Fur good?
SHANKS. Well while the war's on, anyway.
MA. And after the war? ,
SHANKS. I hope ter be near you (Pause) and
the children ef I kin.
MA. (Pause) Have you hed yer supper?
SHANKS. Yes, thank you. I'd like a drink,
though. (Moves to well.)
MA. Here's tea and it's been cold.
SHANKS. Thank you. (Returns, takes tea.)
MA. Ailin' some the heat and the flies but she
made a good supper and is sleepin'.
SHANKS. Would it wake her if I looked at her?
MA. No talkin' would an' ye better wait till
Grandma Perley comes out.
SHANKS. What d'ye hear from Joey ?
MA. Here's his letters (Sorts them.)
'Twould do you no good to read these (Lays
SHANKS. Where's the last one?
MA. (Handing letter) I'll get Grandma Perley
out the other way. (Exit. SHANKS watches her
off drinks tea from bucket opens a letter and
reads. The village bell tolls distantly. SHANKS
adjusts himself to the novelty and resumes reading.
The sound of a cantering horse approaches MILT
moves from light to shadow. SAM CARTER, a sol-
dier, rides on and stops back of fence, pauses, dis-
mounts and ties. Soldier enters yard to light calls
SAM. (Calls) Hello!
SHANKS. (Speaks) Good-evening.
SAM. (Inquiring) Shanks?
THE COPPERHEAD 49
SHANKS. (Into light again) Hello, Sam. (A
SAM. (Pause nodding off) That's fur Vicks-
SAM. What are you doin' round here?
SHANKS. Well I have been away, but
SAM. (Pause) In trouble we heard, in the
SHANKS. Yes considerable but, somehow
'count Joey doin' so well I I was released
SAM. He did do well (Awkwardly.) Come
up by the gate. (They go up.) Whoa, boy Whoa !
(Goes to horse.)
SHANI:S. Where air you from now?
SAM. Vicksburg but I left there two days ago
with some prisoners and wounded steamer Forest
Queen to Cairo. When did you hear from Joe?
SHANKS. (Down with letter to light) Last week.
SAM. How was Joe ?
SHANKS. (Reading) All right an' mighty
hopeful about Grant's winnin'.
SAM. Joe Joe's dead.
SHANKS. Dead! (Looks slowly at letter and
SAM. Yes awful sorry.
SHANKS. Who told you so?
SAM. I saw him.
SHANKS. Saw him killed?
SAM. No but afterwards in his coffin.
SHANKS. You mean they buried him?
SAM. We fetched his body home on our boat to
Cairo and box car over here.
SHANKS. Kain't be no mistake? Joseph Taylor
SAM. (Nods) Son o' Milton Shanks.
50 THE COPPERHEAD
SHANKS. (Nods helplessly) That's right. (Re-
MA. Yer kin come in now, but walk on yer toes.
SHANKS. Sam Carter's here
MA. Oh How are you, Sam?
SHANKS. with bad news, Martha.
MA. (Quickly) Bad news! From Joey?
MA. Give me the letter. (Takes letter quickly
SHANKS. That's the one you gave me Joey
couldn't write hisself My God, Martha, it's
terrible (Cannon bell. The milage band plays
"When Johnnie comes Marching Home")
MA. Terrible? Hurt bad?
SAM. He's dead, Mrs. Shanks.
MA. Oh, Gawd! Oh, Gawd! (Crosses, in
agony to corner of well falls, kneeling on it she
sobs a bit, then, realising that JOEY had that place
before he went away, she caresses the curb and
SAM. (After pause) Yer oughta say somethin'
SHANKS. Joey wouldn't want ye ter do that, Ma.
(Bends over her.)
MA. (Shrinking from him) Fer Gawd's sake,
Milt Shanks don't tetch me yer unclean yer un-
clean (She rises. She presses JOE'S letter
against her face and so, sobbing, crosses to ironing
board, gets other letters, and exit.)
SHANKS. (Pause) You said in a box car.
SAM. Unloaded in the depot now.
SHANKS. I'll go there. (Starts.)
SAM. (Interposes) I wouldn't, Milt.
SHANKS. Why not?
THE COPPERHEAD 51
SAM. Newt Gillespie's with it he's wounded,
SHANKS. Well 'twont hurt fur me to be there,
too by his coffin
SAM. 'T won't be pleasant, 'cause that's one rea-
son Newt come along. 'Fore he died, Joe said,
"Don't let my father see me even in my coffin."
Boy was kinda feverish but Newt takes it serious
and Newt wouldn't 'low you even if you went there.
(He mounts.) My advice is to take it comfortable
as you kin. (SAM rides off. SHANKS watches him
off looks at sky comes into light looks painfully
into house stands irresolute goes into road with
intention of going to JOEY feels the pull of the
stricken wife stops returns into light and is look-
ing into house. In distance, "Johnny Comes March-
CHARACTERS IN PART TWO
MILTON SHANKS Aged 78
MADELINE KING, his granddaughter
LEM TOLLARD .
SCENE: Set same as preceding acts but showing
lapse }f forty years and some improvement by
money. The lilac bush is now tall as the house
and is in bloom spring flowers in beds. The
ground cloth has become a lawn. The well-
sweep is replaced by super-structure and pulley
wheel. Small trees are big. Vines cover the
porch. The cornfield suggests Villa acreage in-
stead. There is a picket fence where the rails
were. Lawn furniture.
DISCOVERED: Empty stage. Piano heard. Enter
SHANKS aged seventy-six white-haired and
bowed. He is in his shirt sleeves. He crosses
up to gate goes outside, and examines R.F.D.
box. Opens letter to himself, reads. Consults
watch. The song stops.
SHANKS. (Calls) Some letters fur you, dearie.
MADELINE. (Off) From Boston?
SHANKS. One is. (Enter MADELINE. This part
is for the same actress who does MA in Acts One
and Two but with complete change of character
from drudge woman to bright girl and from dark
hair to blonde.)