George M. P Baird.

Mirage online

. (page 1 of 2)
Online LibraryGeorge M. P BairdMirage → online text (page 1 of 2)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


MIRAGE



BY



GEORGE M. P. BAIRD




STEWART KIDD

MODERN PLAYS

EDITED BY
FRANK SHAY



Stewart Kidd Dramatic Anthologies

Fifty Contemporary One-Act Plays

Edited by
FRANK SHAY and PIERRE LOVING

THIS volume contains FIFTY REPRESENTATIVE ONE-ACT PLAYS
of the MODERN THEATER, chosen from the dramatic works of con-
temporary writers all over the world and is the second volume in the
Stewart Kidd Dramatic Anthologies, the first being European Theories of the
Drama, by Barrett H. Clark, which has been so enthusiastically received.

The editors have scrupulously sifted countless plays and have selected the
best available in English. One-half the plays have never before been pub-
lished in book form; thirty-one are no longer available in any other edition.
The work satisfies a long-felt want for a handy collection of the choicest
plays produced by the art theaters all over the world. It is a complete reper-
tory for a little theater, a volume for the study of the modern drama, a rep-
resentative collection of the world's best short plays.

CONTENTS



AUSTRIA

Schnitzler (Arthur) Literature
BELGIUM

Maeterlinck (Maurice) The Intruder
BOLIVIA

More (Federico) Interlude
DENMARK

Wied (Gustave) Autumn Fires
FRANCE

Ancey (George) M. Lamblin

Porto- Riche (Georges) Francoise's Luck
GERMANY

Ettinger (Karl) Altruism

von Hof mannsthal (Hugo) Madonna Dia-
nora

Wedekind (Frank) The Tenor
GREAT BRITAIN

Bennett (Arnold) A Good Woman

Calderon (George) The Little Stone House

Cannan (Gilbert) Mary's Wedding

Dowson (Ernest) The Pierrot of the Min-
ute.

Ellis (Mrs. Havelock) The Subjection
of Kezia

Hankin (St. John) The Constant Lover
INDIA

Mukerji (Dhan Gopal) The Judgment of

Indra
IRELAND

Gregory (Lady) The Workhouse Ward
HOLLAND

Speenhoff (J. H.) Louise
HUNGARY

Biro (Lajos) The Grandmother
ITALY

Giocosa (Giuseppe) The Rights of the Soul
RUSSIA

Andreyev (Leonid) Love of One's Neigh-
bor

Tchekoff (Anton) The Boor



SPAIN

Benevente (Jacinto) His Widow's Hus-
band
Quinteros (Serafina and Joaquin Alverez)

A Sunny Morning
SWEDEN

Strindberg (August) The Creditor
UNITED STATES

Beach (Lewis) Brothers
Cowan (Sada) In the Morgue
Crocker (Bosworth) The Baby Carriage
Cronyn (George W.) A Death in Fever

Flat
Davies (Mary Carolyn) The Slave with

Two Faces

Day (Frederick L.) The Slump
Planner (Hildegard) Mansions
Glaspell (Susan) Trifles
Gerstenberg (Alice) The Pot Boiler
Helburn (Theresa) Enter the Hero
Hudson (Holland) The Shepherd in the

Distance

Kemp (Harry) Boccaccio's Untold Tale
Langner (Lawrence) Another Way Out
MacMillan (Mary) The Shadowed Star
Millay (Edna St. Vincent) Aria da Capo
Moeller (Philip) Helena's Husband
O'Neill (Eugene) He
Stevens (Thomas Wood) The Nursery

Maid of Heaven
Stevens (Wallace) Three Travelers Watch

a Sunrise

Tompkins (Frank G.) Sham
Walker (Stuart) The Medicine Show
Wellman (Rita) For All Time
Wilde (Percival) The Finger of God
YIDDISH

Ash (Sholom) Night

Pinski (David) Forgotten Souls



Large 8vo, 585 pages. Net, $5.00



Send for Complete Dramatic Catalogue

STEWART KIDD COMPANY

PUBLISHERS, - - CINCINNATI, U. S. A.



STEWART KIDD MODERN PLAYS

Edited by Frank Shay



MIRAGE



Stewart Kidd Modern Plays
Edited by FRANK SHAY

To meet the immensely increased demands of the play-reading public
and those interested in the modern drama, Stewart Kidd are issuing
under the general editorship of Frank Shay a series of plays from the pens
of the world's best contemporary writers. No effort is being spared to
secure the best work available, and the plays are issued in a form that is
at once attractive to readers and suited to the needs of the performer
and producer. Buffalo Express: "Each play is of merit. Each is unlike
the other. The group furnishes a striking example [of the realistic trend
of the modern drama."

From time to time special announcements will be printed giving com-
plete lists of the plays.

SHAM, a Social Satire in One Act. By Frank G. Tompkins.
Originally produced by Sam Hume, at the Arts and Crafts Theatre,

Detroit.

San Francisco Bulletin : "The lines are new and many of them
are decidedly clever."
Providence Journal : "An ingenious and merry little one-act play."

THE SHEPHERD IN THE DISTANCE, a Pantomime in
One Act. By Holland Hudson.
Originally produced by the Washington Square Players.
Oakland Tribune: "A pleasing pantomime of the Ancient East."

MANSIONS, a Play in One Act. By Hildegarde Planner.
Originally produced by the Indiana Little Theatre Society.
Three Arts Magazine : "This thoughtful and well-written play of
Characters and Ideals has become a favorite with Little Theatres
and is now available in print."

HEARTS TO MEND, a Fantasy in One Act.

By H. A. Overstreet.

Originally produced by the Fireside Players, White Plains, N. Y.
St. Louis Star : "It is a light whimsy and well carried out."
San Francisco Chronicle: "No one is likely to hear or read it
without real and legitimate pleasure."

SIX WHO PASS WHILE THE LENTILS BOIL.

By Stuart Walker.
Originally produced by the Portmanteau Players at Christodora

House, New York City.

Brooklyn Eagle: "Literary without being pedantic, and dramatic
without being noisy."

OTHERS TO FOLLOW. Bound in Art Paper. Each, net, .50



MIRAGE



By

GEORGE M. P. BAIRD




CINCINNATI

STEWART KIDD COMPANY
PUBLISHERS



COPYRIGHT, 1922
STEWART KIDD COMPANY




All Rights Reserved

Applications for permission to produce MIRAGE must be

made to the author, who may be addressed in care of the

publishers, Stewart Kidd Company, Cincinnati, Ohio.



Printed in the United States of America
THE CAXTON PRESS



MIRAGE

A Play in One Act

By
GEORGE M. P. BAIRD



PERSONS OF THE PLAY

POLAINA, a Hopi Girl

GRAYSON STONE, an Ethnologist

CHRISTINE, his Wife

DR. JAMES HORMEK, a Psychiatrist

A HOPI WOMAN

ANOTHER HOPI WOMAN



MIRAGE



Polaina, 1 the niece of Chief Loloamai, is a nine-
teen-year-old daughter of an ancient Amarind
tribe, and heir to a civilization different from , but
in no essential sense inferior to, that of the paler
peoples who have invaded its demesne. She is a
"child of nature" perhaps, but by no means a
simple one. Passion and stoicism, intellectual
curiosity and superstition, frankness and guile,
craving and custom, struggle within her. She is
neither a pathetic fool nor a sentimental wanton,
but a strong woman with an intense desire for hap-
piness, an ardent love of life, and the courage to
attempt their satisfaction whatever the cost. Po-
laina is dressed in a wrapper-like, blue, cotton
gown which reaches slightly below the knees. Her
right shoulder and arm are bare, and a scarlet
blanket is flung over the left shoulder and fastened
beneath the right armpit. There are brightly
beaded moccasins upon her feet, and her legs are
wound about with strips of white cotton cloth.
Her blue-black hair is parted in the center and
rolled in elaborate "butterfly" coils above her ears.
These coils, together with the yellow squash blos-



1 Polaina = Butterfly.



MIRAGE

soms which ornament them, are a badge of virgin-
ity among the Hopi Indians. Her necklace,
bracelets, and large, square ear-pendants are of
hammered silver set with raw turquoise.

The First Hopi Woman is a middle-aged squaw,
while the Second Hopi Woman is probably about
ten years her senior. The faces of both are wrinkled
with a thousand little lines. Their hair is stiffly
braided, and their garments are similar to those of
Polaina, though much more subdued in color.
These women are the sibyls of the play, their func-
tion being not unlike that of a Greek chorus.

Gray son Stone is a tall, somewhat emaciated man,
about thirty-five years of age. He is suffering from
amnesia, superinduced by sunstroke and exposure,
and has reverted to type. His hair and beard are
brown in color and quite unkempt, while his face,
arms, and bare feet are deeply tanned. He is
dressed, Hopi fashion, in a faded blue shirt and
nondescript tan cotton trousers. He wears a band
of red cloth about his head.

Christine is a well-poised, good-looking young
woman, blonde as to complexion, and obviously
Back Bay as to social status. She wears an ecru
pongee motor coat over a blue summer frock, sun-
hat, tourist veil, and stout walking boots.

Dr. James Hormek is a short, somewhat stout per-
son, who would be singled out anywhere as a suc-
cessful physician. He has a generous, senti-
mental nature which he tries to disguise by a
brusque manner and clipped, incisive mode of
8



MIRAGE

speech. He is dressed in tweeds, golf cap, and
tortoise-shell glasses, and carries motor gauntlets.

The action takes place upon the roof of an adobe
house, which forms one of the higher terraces in a
Hopi pueblo. To the right and left the walls of an-
other course of dwellings rise and are lost to sight
in the flies. At the rear is a low battlement of sun-
baked bricks, beyond which the silent desert and the
purple waste of space stretch inimitably. A rude
ladder leans against the wall, right, and the top of
another can be seen projecting above the battlement.
It is the hour before dawn on an August morning.
Polaina is discovered at a stone corn-trough, down-
stage, left.

POLAINA (grinding corn and singing)
I-o-ho wonder-water,
I-o-ho wonder-water,
Life anew to him who drinks!
Look where southwest clouds are bringing rain;
Look where southeast clouds are bringing rain;
Life anew to him who drinks!
I-o-ho wonder-water,
I-o-ho wonder water,
Life anew to him who drinks!*

(Two Hopi women bearing water-jars upon their
heads enter from the left, rear. They put down the
jars and squat beside them.)

FIRST WOMAN (wearily)
Dry!

* See note on page 36.



M I.R A G E

SECOND WOMAN

The rock pools are empty.

FIRST WOMAN

The Well of the Eagles has failed.

POLAINA

But the spring beneath the yuccas, at the foot
of the mesa? Even in the moon of thirst it has
always given sweet water.

FIRST WOMAN

Dry, too. The clay bottom is a crust of mud
burned like adobe.

SECOND WOMAN

Only the poisoned pool yields its palmful of bad
medicine.

POLAINA

The old men say that there has never been so
parched a summer; never so great a drouth in
all the years since the gods, our fathers, fled to
this mesa from the falling mountains.

FIRST WOMAN (taking a gourd bottle from the folds
of her blanket)

I have brought the witch-water from the poi-
soned pool.

POLAINA (surprised)
What will you do with that?

SECOND WOMAN (significantly)
The thirst will soon be upon us. This is the milk
of forgetfulness from the breasts of Death.

FIRST WOMAN (nodding assent)
When the throat is afire and the tongue hangs
10



MIRAGE

like a blackened bean-pod between cracked,
swollen lips, swift death will be good medicine.

POLAINA (cheerfully)

Do not speak of death; the rains must come
soon. Uncle Loloamai and the priests have been
three days in the Kivas below the earth, weav-
ing the ceremonial cords of many colors and
binding feathers upon the sacred bahos. 1 When
the yellow line brightens in the east we shall
plant them upon the edge of the mesa toward
the dawn, and the climbing sun will bear our
prayers for rain aloft.

SECOND WOMAN (skeptically)

Bahos ! What virtue is there in prayers breathed
to the turkey feathers and eagle feathers upon
a painted stick?

POLAINA

Last year the Blue Flutes danced, the women
planted bahos in the white dawn, and at sunset
the rain clouds kissed the painted desert with a
crystal kiss.

SECOND WOMAN (looking sharply at Polaina)

Some say it was not Hevebe, the Rain Lord, but
the White Bahana 2 , who brought luck, for it was
on that day that our herdsmen found him nearly
dead with thirst in the desert, and brought him
to the pueblo.

FIRST WOMAN

The Great Spirit behind the sun had touched
him, and the Drouth Demons feared him. The
Heyapo, the rushing clouds, followed the trail

1 Bahos = votive prayer-sticks.

2 Bahana = white man.

II



MIRAGE

of the mad white stranger. (Touching her head.}
The queer are good medicine.

SECOND WOMAN

Polaina, this Bahana is your lover. Can you
not make him work his strong rain-charm again?
POLAINA

He says that he makes no medicine, that he has
no power. He does not even know whence he
came, or his name, or the home of his people.

FIRST WOMAN

The sun brings forgetfulness.

SECOND WOMAN

He is not a man, but a child of the sun.

POLAINA

He is a man! (Enigmatically.) It is not well
that a woman should be spouse to the child of a
god.

FIRST WOMAN

Then you are to be his woman ?
POLAINA (touching the great wing whorls of hair
on the sides of her head)

I would cast aside the blossom of the squash for
no other. For him alone would I let down these
coils of maidenhood and plait them in wifely
fashion.

SECOND WOMAN

The white corn and the red corn do not grow on
one stock.
POLAINA

No, but they are ground in the same trough,
and when the pika 1 is baked it is as sweet as
bread from unmingled meal.

1 Pika = cakes "paper bread."
12



MIRAGE

FIRST WOMAN

You know nothing of the Banana's tribe. What
if the gods should give back his memory and he
should carry you far from your people to the
Eastland, where the sun grows cold with cloud?
POLAINA
I should be happy anywhere with him.

FIRST WOMAN

Perhaps he already has a white woman for wife.
Some day he may remember. The eagle flies
far; but when the blood of dying day is red upon
the canyon crest, he returns to his nest among
the rocks.
POLAINA

For my Bahana there are no yesterdays. He
was born again of the desert and the sun. The
past is a mirage. Nothing is real but our love,
and in it are all the to-morrows.

SECOND WOMAN (dully)

Unless the rains come there will be no to-morrow
for the children of Muyinguava. 1

(A pause. Polalna continues at her work. The
First Woman points toward the east, where the
first light of dawn is brightening.)

FIRST WOMAN

The spirits of the dawn are bending a yellow
line in the east like a string to the great bow of
the sky, and soon the blazing arrow of the sun
will shoot upward to the cloudless heavens.

(From below and at some distance comes the



1 Muyinguava = life-giving god spirit of growth and
fertility.

13



MIRAGE

rhythmic chant of the men as they file up from the
Kivas or council chambers to make invocation to
the Great-Spirit-Behind-the-Sunfor the life-giving
rains. They approach slowly. Their song in-
creasing in volume for a time dies gradually
as they move eastward toward the edge of the mesa. 1 )

(Grayson Stone climbs halfway down the ladder,
right, and stands silent for a moment, a dark
silhouette against the growing light. He speaks
slowly, almost colorlessly.)

STONE
May you have good in your hearts, O women !

POLAINA AND WOMEN

May you have good in your heart, O Bahana!

(He descends.)

STONE
Will there be rain to-day?

POLAINA (approaching him)
Listen! The men are marching to the eastern
cliff to pray for it. If the Demons keep the
breath of the prayer-sticks from the Great-
Spirit-Behind-the-Sun, the young men and the
Antelope Priests must dance the dance of the
rattlesnake to-morrow. Then surely there will
be rain.

SECOND WOMAN

There will be no rain.

STONE

The sun is still beneath the rim of the desert,
but it is already fever-hot. Give me to drink.

1 Chant should be accompanied by drum (tom-tom) and
Indian flute.



MIRAGE

FIRST WOMAN

The springs are dried up. We have no water.

POLAINA

Is it true, my Bahana, as these women say, that
in your country it rains many times and the sun
is as pale as the moon ?

STONE

My country! I have no country but this. I
remember nothing earlier than my first sight of
you as you bent above me and poured the living
water, drop by drop, upon my tortured tongue.
I have tried to recall the past, for I know that I
have not lived here always. I must be of another
another tribe. But it's no use. When I strive
to remember, I am like one in the darkness of a
strange house where still things and living
things are vaguely sensed, but are not seen or
known.

POLAINA

Some day you will remember; and in that day
I shall be forgotten.

STONE (takes her hand)

I must go on trying, but I shall never pierce the
darkness. Yet, even if the lost should come
back to me, if I should learn to remember, it
would make no difference in our love, Polaina.

POLAINA

Are you sure, Bahana? That is a fear that is
with me always. The call of the tribe is strong
and blood will answer blood.

STONE

No, my Butterfly, love is a mightier magic,
greater than all the powers, stronger than death



MIRAGE

itself. You are my tribe, and when my arms
are about you I embrace my only people. Love
sits with us in the Council Kiva of Life, and who
shall dare to make evil medicine where he
abides? O little Butterfly, have you begun to
doubt me? Have you ceased to trust my love?

POLAINA

No, no, I trust you ! . . . And yet I am afraid.
Though the coyote-cub be suckled by a dog on
the roof of a chief's house, time comes when the
ancient longing for the wide waste of moonwhite
desert leaps in his heart and he answers the sum-
mons of the far-off pack.

STONE

I am not a wolf, but a man. I shall remain upon
the roof of the chief's house.

POLAINA

You say that because you have not come to re-
member. Perhaps you once loved another wo-
man, and when the thought of her returns I
shall be left alone.

STONE
There can be no other woman, Butterfly.

POLAINA

The wells fail, the Demons are angry, and we
must die of thirst unless the rains come swiftly.
If you heard the call to return to the land of
cloud and rivers, the call of life and love and
your own people, you would go.

STONE

In life or death you are mine; I would not go.
(Pause.} Come, you shall plant a baho for me
on the edge of the mesa.
16



MIRAGE

POLAINA

You are a white man, a Bahana! Can you be-
lieve in Hopi magic?
STONE

Our souls are of one tribe, and I believe in you.
Come!

(They go off stage, right, hand in hand.)

FIRST WOMAN (grinding corn)

I grind the red corn and the white corn in one
trough.

SECOND WOMAN

Meal is not bread until it has felt the fire.

FIRST WOMAN

How lies the corn in the Kivas on the Altar of the
Six Directions?
SECOND WOMAN (sorting corn)

A yellow ear to the north, and a blue ear to the
west, a sugar ear for the zenith of the sun, and a
black ear for its nadir, a red ear to the south,
and a white ear to the east. It is a powerful
charm to lay them so, but to mingle them is bad
medicine.

(The southern dawn has come swiftly, and the desert
begins to glow with the growing warmth of the sum-
mer sun. The light and heat increase in intensity
throughout the rest of the action.)

(Christine and Dr. Hormek enter, left.)

FIRST WOMAN

A red ear to the south and a white ear to the
east; an evil charm and a bad medicine if they
be mingled.



MIRAGE

CHRISTINE (advancing)
Good-morning.

WOMEN

May good be in your hearts!

CHRISTINE (illustrating her words with gesture and
raising her voice as one does when one thinks the
hearer unfamiliar with one's language)
We wish to buy pottery jars, you know.

(The women indicate that they understand.)

SECOND WOMAN

We have many beautiful pots. We will show.
(The First Woman goes of stage, right.)

DR. HORMEK

Now, don't be long, Christine. It's hot on this
roof already, and in an hour it'll be unbearable.
CHRISTINE

Five minutes will be long enough, Dr. Hormek.

DR. HORMEK (humorously petulant)

That's what you said at Acoma, and it took two
hours. O, you women! When the bargaining
instinct gets you, the devil himself couldn't
drag you away.

CHRISTINE (bantering him)

You'll remember, doctor, that I didn't ask you
to come with me.

HORMEK

O, you didn't, eh? I suppose I'm to let you go
wandering all over this godforsaken desert alone !
I never should have permitted you to leave
Havordton.

18



MIRAGE

CHRISTINE (tossing her head}

Do you think that you could have prevented

my coming?
HORMEK

No, I suppose not. But you'll have to admit

that the whole thing has been a wild-goose chase.

Now, hasn't it?
CHRISTINE (seriously)

I have not given up hope.

HORMEK

Ah, but you have! I can see it in your eyes.
Your voice cries out, "No hope," even when
you are protesting the opposite. Come, Chris-
tine, give up this silly business. It can mean
but unhappiness for both of us.

CHRISTINE

I shall not give up until I have found Grayson,
or have conclusive proof that he is dead.

HORMEK

Proof! Great Scott! Haven't you the word of
the guides and the government agent for it?
Your brother, who spent months searching the
desert for him, believes he is dead. No man
could live without food or water through an
August week in these wastes.

CHRISTINE

The very fact that they found no trace of him
convinces me that he is still alive.
HORMEK

For quixotic obstinacy, go to a woman, especially
a married one! Here am I, trailing you all over
this damned I beg your pardon this infernal
country like a love-sick crusader when I ought

19



MIRAGE

to be back home with my patients. Many of
them are not half so crazy as I am.

CHRISTINE (coolly)

Well, why not take a train to-mcrrow? By
starting now you will have plenty of time to
reach the railroad.

HORMEK

I shan't leave without you; you know that.

CHRISTINE (banteringly)

For quixotic obstinacy, go to a man, especially
an unmarried one.

HORMEK

I'm not good at repartee. Hang it all, Christine,
I want to marry you, can't you understand
that ? (She smiles.) Oh, it's damned humorous,
no doubt, and I'm making seven kinds of an ass
of myself, but I can't help it. It's enough to
make any red-blooded man fighting mad, to
have a woman like you within his reach and be
denied her by this gho (He is about to say
"ghost" but changes it to) this romantic fancy
of yours.

CHRISTINE (serious again)
Please don't say any more.

HORMEK

I shan't, if it pains you, dear, but honestly
now

CHRISTINE

There, you're beginning all over again!

HORMEK

Well, let me have my word out now, and I swear
I won't trouble you again. We've been at every
pueblo and white settlement in this benighted

20



MIRAGE

region; you're ruining your health, and still no
word of Grayson. I want you to promise that
you'll go back home with me at the end of this
week. (He seizes her hand.) Will you, Chris-
tine?

(The First Woman returns with a back-load of
pottery.)

CHRISTINE (hesitant)
I I don't know.

SECOND WOMAN

Pots of the butterfly and pots of the eagle,

bowls of the rain-beast, and jars with the sign

of Hevebe.
FIRST WOMAN (displaying her wares)

Paint cups, corn bowls, and water-jars.
CHRISTINE (examining the collection with the eye of a

connoisseur)

The burning is not so good as that of Acoma.

(Holding up a small bowl.) How much?

FIRST WOMAN

Three dollar?

CHRISTINE

One.
SECOND WOMAN (protesting)

The lady knows the best. Three dollar it is

little.
CHRISTINE (firmly)

One.

FIRST WOMAN

Two dollar?

HORMEK

Give it to her and let's get out of here. (Takes
two silver dollars from purse.)
21



MIRAGE

CHRISTINE

It's not worth that much. (Hormek is about to
give the coins to the woman.} She means two
dollars Mexican; one of those is sufficient.

(Hormek pays; Christine turns to go.)

FIRST WOMAN (taking a small jar out of a larger one

and holding it up)

Good medicine!
HORMEK (taking the jar)

I say, Christine, look at this one! Red and

white, Greek fret, and (Examining it closely),

by George, Greek letters Alpha, Pi, Sigma!
CHRISTINE (as if stricken by a blow)

Why, so it is! (To woman) Where did you get

this? It's not Hopi.

SECOND WOMAN

We make; Bahana paint.

HORMEK

Who?

FIRST WOMAN

Bahana, white man.

HORMEK

How'd he come to paint it? Who is he?
FIRST WOMAN (touching her forehead significantly)
A child of the mirage touched by the Great-
Spirit-Behind-the-Sun.

SECOND WOMAN

The forgetful one who gives us luck.

CHRISTINE

Oh, if it is he!

22



MIRAGE

HORMEK

Bring him here.

(Second Woman nods and goes out, right.)

CHRISTINE

How long has the white man been with you?

FIRST WOMAN

Since this time last year. We found him dying
in the desert just before the rains came.

HORMEK

And he remembers nothing?

FIRST WOMAN

His mind is like a bowl before it is painted.
CHRISTINE (moving impulsively toward the right)

I must go to him!
HORMEK (detaining her)

No, stay here. Try to calm yourself. It may

be a mistake. It may be someone else.


1

Online LibraryGeorge M. P BairdMirage → online text (page 1 of 2)