Lennox Robinson.

Two plays: Harvest; The Clancy name online

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B 3 3M2 3DT




By the same Author


(Photo by Lafayette^ Dublin.)






191 1

Copyright 1911, 5. L. Robinson
All rights reserved







Act I — Outside the Hurleys' cottage at Knockmalgloss
Act II— Interior of the Hurleys^ cottage. Next day
Act III — Same Scene. Three weeks later



Scene — Outside the Hurleys^ farmhouse. On the right
is the front wall of the house ^ with a door in the middle
and a window on either side of the door. Above are three
windows, ^he door is half open. The back of the stage
and the left side are hounded by a stone wall about four
feet high. There is a small gate in the wall on the right.
It is about half-past six on an August afternoon.

Jack Hurley and his wife appear at the gate. He

opens it to let her pass through.
Jack. Here we are at last, thank goodness !
Mildred {coming through the gate and stopping dead).
This isn't it, Jack ?

JACK. Yes, this is it.
iiLDRED. But this isn't your home . . . where you were
born ?

Jack. Yes, dear, it is. I'm afraid it isn't a very grand
place, but ...

Mildred {almost with a wail). But I thought it was a
cottage ... a thatched cottage. I always thought you
were born and brought up in a little thatched cabin by
the roadside.

Jack. Indeed I wasn't. There's a fine slate roof on
that house. Of course labourers live in thatched cottages,
but strong farmers like us live in comfortable slated

Mildred. Well, I confess I'm disappointed; it's not
what I expected.

Jack. I'm sure you'll find the inside all right and Irish
enough to suit even you. Go in and have a look round.


2 Karvest

. MiLDKED Won't you coma in too ?

Jack {going over to the wall). I think I'll sit out here
and cool for a bit. Maurice and father won't be up for
half an hour. Do go in and tell me what you think of it.

Mildred. Yes, I think I shall. {Opens the door and
goes in. Jack sits on the wall. From inside) Oh, Jack,
dear !

Jack. Yes.

Mildred. You're quite right, it's perfectly lovely.
There's an open fire and a big pot hanging over it . . .
and there's turf ! . . . It's just like a scene in the Abbey

Jack. Are there any preparations for tea, because I'm
jolly hungry ?

Mildred {moving about inside). Well . . . there's some-
thing in the pot ... oh, it's some sort of yellow stew . . .
there's soda bread on the dresser, but the table isn't
laid, and the fire is out . . .

Jack. Hang it all ! Maurice said that Maggie
Hannigan would have everything ready.

Mildred {coming to the door and S'peaking in a lower
tone). Fancy, there's a little girl asleep on a pile of sacks
in a corner of the room.

Jack. That must be Maggie.

Mildred. I don't think she could be the servant;
she's a wild-looking little thing with uncombed hair and
a filthy face.

Jack. Well, I haven't seen any of the Hannigans for
five years, but to the best of my remembrance that
description fits them exactly.

Mildred. No, Jack, she couldn't be the servant. . . .
Perhaps I'd better wait till the others come up before
exploring further. That kitchen is delightful, but I'm
terrified of that little girl waking up and talking Irish
toTme or some thing like that. I'll sit outside with you.

Jack. Here's a nice seat. {Mildred climbs up beside him)

Mildred. It was stupid of me to think the cottage
would be thatched, but, of course, father hated the

Harvest 3

country, so I really never have had a chance of seeing it.
This is the real thing, isn't it ?

Jack. The real thing ?

Mildred. I mean this house is really a peasant's house,
and your father and Maurice are real, genuine peasants,
aren't they ?

Jack. Certainly. Knockmalgloss is real peasant
through and through.

Mildred {with a sigh of ineffable content). That's what
I love ! I've always longed to know their lives, to get
close to the soil, to get to know the great, eternal mother
of us all.

'* From the cool and dark-lipped furrows
Breathes a dim delight,
Through the woodland's purple plumage
To the diamond night.

" Aureoles of joy encircle
Every blade of grass.
Where the dew-fed creatures silent
And enraptured pass."

And . . . and . . . and ... I can't remember
the rest. ... I think it's the only true life ; everything
else seems so artificial compared with this. You used to
smile at me. Jack, for reading nothing but books about
Ireland and going to Irish pla)/S. You said I was too West
Briton to understand the peasant, but now . . . here
... I feel at home in a way I never did before

Jack. Do you really ? Oh, Mildred, I'm so glad,
because often . . . I've been afraid that you'd be
ashamed of me.

Mildred. Ashamed of you ?

Jack. Yes, ishamed of my being only a farmer's son,
and being born and brought up in a place like this.

Mildred. No, dear, I love you for it and for not being
ashamed to bring me down to see it.

4 Harvest

Jack. If the poor old Colonel could see you now ! On

the threshold of an Irish cottage, married to a farmer's


Mildred. Poor dads ! He and his cronies are at the
Club now, I expect, discussing the frightful state of
Ireland, and shaking " The Irish Times " at each other.

Jack. Do you think he'll ever come round, Mildred ?

Mildred. Of course he will, as soon as he realises that
though you're an Irish peasant you're not a tenant
owing him two years' rent.

Jack. I don't suppose I am much of a peasant . . .
going to school in a town and all that sort of thing.
When I see all the old people again I'll be able to find
out if I've changed.

t^MiLDRED. The person I'm most anxious to see — after
your family — is that wonderful schoolmaster who helped
you all so splendidly.

Jack. Mr. Lordan ?

Mildred. Yes, Mr. Lordan. He must be a grand man.
I wonder will he find you changed ? Of course every-
thing will be the same here; the country never changes.

Jack {a little discontentedly). Well, I don't know.
Maurice seems to have been altering things. There
used to be a big manure heap here (pointing) just in
front of the door.

Mildred {making a face). Oh, Jack, how horrid !

Jack. I suppose it was ; somehow we never minded it
long ago. I'm sure Maurice has things greatly altered
since he began to manage the farm — modern methods
and all that sort of thing, you know.

Mildred. It pays well, I suppose ?

Jack. You bet it does ! Those farmers could buy the
country before them if they wanted to. Oh, they've
piles of money put by in the bank accumulating there
year after year.

Mildred {open-eyed). Really !

Jack. Well, look at all that has been spent on us.
There's my brother Patrick who was put into the Civil

Harvest 5

Service and is now secretary to some big man in England,
and Bob that's a solicitor in the west, and Timothy
that's a priest, and myself ! I can tell you there
was a lot of money wanted to educate all of us, but my
father feels the loss of it no more than a field misses a
blade of grass.

Mildred. Doesn't he ?

Jack. It stands to reason farming must pay enormously.
Take a field of oats, for instance ; ever)' grain that's sown
gives a huge percentage in return. ... I don't know
exactly how many grains a stalk carries, but several
hundreds I'm sure . . . why, there's no investment in the
world would give you a return like that.

Mildred. Oh, how I wish we had a farm.

Jack. I wish we had indeed.

Mildred. I'm glad it pays so well, because now I won't
mind your asking your brother for money. I felt it
was a little bit mean to come and sponge on him just
after we were married.

Jack {airily). Oh, Maurice won't mind. He'll hand
me over sixty pounds without a murmur. It would
have been a shame to cut short our honeymoon.

Mildred. Yes. But we were extravagant. Well, one
doesn't honeymoon in London every day. It's all right
if your brother can float us again. The rent of that
house is ridiculously cheap.

Jack. I do wish I had enough money to start a chemist's
shop of my own.

Mildred. Yes, I wish we had. But I suppose it's
safer to stick on as assistant to Corrib. After all there
are one or two chemists already in Dublin.

Jack. Oh, I wouldn't start up in Dublin. I'd start
down here.

Mildred. Here ?

Jack. Yes, in Dunmanway, maybe. Country people
are awfully fond of dosing themselves, and I bet you I'd
do a roaring trade in six months, and I could have cattle
medicines too, concoct some mixture of^my own and
call it *' Hurley's Cure " or something like that.

6 Harvest

Mildred. Y-yes . . . but would it be quite wise to
settle down so near home where every one would know
who you were and who your father is ?

Jack. Oh, that's just where I'd score. Farmers are
thought an awful lot of nowadays, and when it's known
that I'm the son of " old Tim Hurley from Knockmal-
gloss," you'll find every one flocking to my shop. It
doesn't pay to be ashamed of your father nowadays —
if he's a farmer.

Mildred. How strange that seems. ... I mean
that they should think such a lot of your father just
for being a farmer.

Jack (proudly). Oh, but better still, I've an uncle
who's an evicted tenant, and my first cousin has been
three times imprisoned for agrarian crimes.

Mildred {a little shocked). Good gracious J

Jack. You see this gives me a tremendous pull over a
fellow who's only the son of — say — a shopkeeper, or —
worse still — a gentleman. Down here my fortune would
be made in no time ; but, hang it all, I'm stuck up in
Dublin with no chance of getting out of it for goodness
knows how long. Oh, farmers are lucky chaps, they
positively can't help making money. Even if they never
turn a sod or sow a seed they've only got to put cattle
into a field one month and take them out three months
later and make pounds and pounds of a profit.

Mildred. How easy it sounds ! Jack, as soon as ever
we can let's save money and buy a farm.

Jack. But you'd be awfully bored on a farm, Mildred.

Mildred. Indeed, Jack, I wouldn't. I think it would
be just the ideal life. Of course I know it's only a dream
at present, but some day I do hope we'll get done with
shops and towns and come and live in the real country.

Jack. I had no idea you were as fond of the country as

Mildred. Yes I am, and . . . {breaks of as the gate
opens suddenly and a country woman appears).

Woman. Yerra, is it yourself, Johnnie, home again ?

Harvest 7

Jack. Hallo, Bridget ! Yes, I'm home again. How are
you ?

Bridget. Ah, I said they hadn't got rid of you so easy.

Jack. This is my wife, Bridget. Maybe you heard
I had got married.

Bridget. Well, I heard the old man saying you were
after doing something like it. How are you, ma'am ?

Mildred. How d'ye do ?

Bridget. Indeed, we had always a sort of a liking for
poor Johnnie ourselves, the creature !

Jack. How are you all getting on ?

Bridget. Wisha, pulling along, pulling along. Did
you see himself vet ?

Jack. Yes ; Mildred and I stopped for a minute at the
western field and spoke to father and Maurice. They
didn't like to lose any time cutting it, so we came on
up here and they'll be after us soon.

Bridget. Indeed, they're backward with the harvest,
but 'twon't be long now. How did you think them
looking ?

Jack. Father seems splendid, but Maurice looks a lot
older than ...

Bridget. Ay, Maurice has aged a fright in the last four

Mildred {pleasantly). I should have thought people
would be always young down here.

Bridget. Well now, ma'am, that would be a queer
thing ; old age is all we can be looking for from this out.
. . . I stepped up now to see that the place was
ready for you. I was here in the morning setting that
young divil of a Maggie Hannigan about her work, and
then I was milking for Maurice this evening.

Jack. Any amount of milk and butter, I suppose ?
Bridget. Well, not so much then. But, God
Almighty ! Maurice have a black heifer that's a divil at
pucking. She met the white cow this evening in the
corner of the stall where she couldn't escape, and she let
a drive with her horns, and only that I gave her a belt

8 Harvest

with a stick I had in my hand she'd have her pinned
against the wall. You may say there'd be no more about
it then. The breadth of a ha'penny either way and her
guts were riddled.

Mildred. Oh !

Bridget. Indeed yes, ma'am, an awful thing it would
have been and a great loss to Maurice, and he not able to
bear more losses at present . . . {a loud crash of falling
crockery is heard from the house). Oh, there's my brave
Maggie at it again ! Bedad, Wait till I catch her. {Moves
qidckly into the house.)

Mildred. What an extraordinary woman !

Jack. Oh, she's a very decent soul.

Bridget {in the house). Ha ! At the buttermilk, were
you ? And two of the best jugs broken. . . . Oh, look
at the meal burnt to a cinder ! In the name of God,
why couldn't you take it off the fire . . . and the hens
not fed, I suppose. What were you doing at all, Maggie
Hannigan ?

A Small Voice. I was asleep, ma'am.

Bridget. Faith, I'll put you to sleep the way you
won't want rocking. You idle tinker's brat that was
taken for charity out of a wet ditch ; come here, you
young divil.

A small girl with untidy streaming hair darts out of
the house and disappears round the corner.

Mildred. Oh, Jack, how dreadful ! What awful
language !

Jack. Merely the picturesque speech of the peasant,
my dear.

Bridget {at the door). Well, isn't she a fright, now ?
There's not so much as a plate on the table for you and
the fire black out. I hope you're not waiting on your tea,
ma'am ?

Jack. Time enough, Bridget. We'll wait till the others

Bridget {looking out and shading her eyes). I see them
on the road now, they'll be here in one minute. {Dis-
appears inside)

Harvest 9

Mildred {nervously shaking out her dress and straighten-
ing her hat). I feel cooler now. I'm sure my face was
scarlet after cycling up all those hills ; your father must
have thought me an awful sight.

Jack. He doesn't often see such a pretty one, I bet.

Bridget. Indeed, when Johnnie was a little gossoon
driving cows — and he never much of a one t o drive cows —
his father little thought he'd be bringing a woman the
like of yourself to see him, the creature.

timothy Hurley, an old man, and Maurice enter.

Timothy. Well, Jack, here you are. Why wouldn't
you go inside ?

Jack. We thought we'd wait here till you came up.
Bridget's just getting the tea ready.

Bridget. Come here, Maurice, and give me a hand till
I redden the place. {Jhe younger man goes into the

Timothy. Well, now, isn't it a wonder you wouldn't
sit down inside. You must be tired, ma'am, after
bicycling up from the station. . . . Sure I'd have sent
the cart to meet you only Jack didn't tell me the day you'd
be coming.

Mildred. Oh, thanks, I'm not a bit tired. We only
knew we could get three extra days last night, and I asked
Jack to wire to you this morning, but he said you'd have
a room ready in any case.

Timothy. To be sure we're ready for you and glad to see
you too. I think. Jack, it's five years or more since you
were here.

Jack. Yes, five years last spring.

Timothy. Well now ! But when you did come you
brought a fine young woman before you — God Wess her —
though 'tis only a poor place she's come to and plain

Jack. Oh, Mildred doesn't mind.

Mildred. I'm awfully glad to be here.

Timothy. Well, ma'am, we're proud and happy to have
you, but you must take us as you find us, and . . .

10 Harvest

Bridget. It's in a mess she found you then, Timothy
Hurley, and a stinking house she came into, by reason of
that misbegotten brat of a Maggie Hannigan that let
the meal burn on the fire and herself asleep. Asleep !
'Tis the queer sleep she'd have if I was around.

Timothy. Teh, tch, Maggie's not to be depended on
at all. Sit down on the bench, ma'am, till the tea is

Mildred {sitting dozvn). Wouldn't you sit down too ?

Timothy. Never ask an old man to sit down and never
stop an old horse working, for you won't get the one to
go on or the other to get up. Though indeed I'm tired
enough after working all day.

Mildred. You haven't got the harvest in yet, I hear ?

Timothy. No, w'e haven't it all cut yet ; but we're
well on with it now, and maybe we'll be bringing it in
next week or the week after.

Mildred {in a tone oj intense disa-pp ointment). Oh, then,
we won't be here to see it threshed. I did want to see a

Timothy. Wisha, you must stay a good bit now that
you're here.

Jack. I've only three days' leave, you see ; we got a
fortnight for our honeymoon, and it was only as a great
favour, and after any amount of grumbling and growling,
that old Corrib gave me three days to come down here.
Faith, I thought I'd get the sack on the head of it.

Timothy. Three days ! Does he know you haven't
seen your old father for five years ?

Jack. Much he cares. He often says he wishes his
assistants were all unmarried orphans.

Timothy. He must be a hard man surely. But, maybe,
ma'am, you'd stay a while after Jack. 'Tis a lonely place,
of course, but I didn't tell you yet that I'm expecting
my daughter home to-morrow.

Jack. What ! Mary coming home ?

Timothy. I thought that would surprise you. Yes,
I had a letter from her this morning, and she's leaving

Harvest n

to-day, and she'll he here to-morrow about the middle of
the day.

Jack. Gracious ! Where does she write from ?

Timothy. It's from London she writes.

Jack. Have you been hearing from her lately ?

Timothy. No, then ; never a line for three years.

Mildred. What is she doing in London ?

Timothy. I don't rightly know, ma'am. Six years
ago she went out of this farm and oif to Bristol as a servant
to a lady there — 'twas Mrs. O'Mara got her the place.
She didn't keep that long, but she went to a very grand
place altogether as a lady's maid ... a lady's maid,
that's what s h e called it.

Mildred. I know.

Timothy. Regular she used to write once a fortnight,
but for three years she didn't send us the tint of a letter.
Sure I thought it was dead she was until this morning
and the letter came.

Mildred. You must have been awfully pleased.

Jack. I'm delighted she's coming home. I wonder will
she be much changed.

Timothy. She will not. Divil a bit changed she is.
For though it was only half a sheet of a letter she wrote
d'ye know what she said ? Wait now . . . where have I
the letter ? {Getting out a letter and, reading it) Oh, here
it is. . . . " Don't have a hired car to meet me ; I'd
rather be driven up by the old red mare in the cart. I
suppose she's still alive." Look at that now ! Look at
the way she remembers the old red mare, and it six
years since she left ! Changed ? I tell you she won't be

Jack. And have you got the red mare still ?

Timothy. Yerra, to be sure we have. But if she was
old six years ago you may say she's not young to-day.
However, right or wrong, Maurice '11 drive her down to
the station to-morrow. Isn't the kettle boiling yet,
Bridget ? (Walks into the house)

Mildred. What is your sister like. Jack ?

w Harvest

Jack. Well, I haven't seen her for nine or ten years.
I was away at school, and she left home when I was seven-
teen ; but she was an awfully clever girl. She's a year
older than I am.

Mildred. Maurice is the eldest of you, isn't he ?

Jack. Yes, and then there's my brother in England
whom we never hear of, and then the solicitor and
Timothy and Mary. {Maurice appears out of the house)

Maurice {shyly to Mildred). If you would go in now,
Bridget Twomey will show you your room.

Mildred. Thank you, I would be glad of a wash-up.
Mildred goes in and shuts the door.

Maurice. Well, Jack, how are things going with you .^

Jack. Oh, pretty well. I'm still at the same place in
Dublin, assistant in Corrib's shop.

Maurice. Are you now ? I suppose there's a lot of
money to be made over that ?

Jack. There is if you had a shop of your own in a good
locality, but assistants don't get very good wages, worse

Maurice. Don't they now ? But didn't you write to
me that you were going to marry a rich woman ?

Jack. No, indeed. Mildred's father is a very wealthy
man, but he cut up rough at her marrying me, and won't
g'lve her a penny as long as we remain in this country,
disgracing him, as he politely calls it. Mildred has about
twenty pounds a year which her mother left her, but
that's all.

Maurice {visibly disappoifited). You wrote home that
she had a lot of money.

Jack. So she would if her father wasn't such an old
beast. No, we're not rich ; far from it, in fact I'm very
much in need of money at the present moment. We went
to England for our honeymoon, and London played the
devil with our finances, and we have come home with
empty pockets. So I'm awfully afraid I'll have to come
down on you to tide us over our first year. We shall
begin very quietly, of course. We have taken a little

Harvest 13

house, and have some furniture bought already, but we
want about sixty pounds just to pay the rent and sundry
expenses for the first year. I hate sponging on you, and
I know my education has cost a good deal, but I hope
this is the last money I'll ever need from you.

Maurice. Sixty pounds ! Wouldn't you rather have a
hundred ?

Jack. No, thank you ; I think sixty will do.

Maurice. If 'twas sixty shillings or sixty pence you
asked me for this minute I couldn't give them to you.

Jack. Oh, I don't want it just this minute; if you let
me have a cheque by the time I go back it will do all right.

Maurice. I'll give you no cheque.

Jack. Why not ? . . . Why won't you give me a
cheque, Maurice ?

Maurice. It's only wasting paper for me to be making
out cheques.

Jack. How do you mean ?
Iaurice. I mean what I say. It's only wasting paper
for me to be making out cheques.

Jack. How ? I don't understand.

Maurice. Are you an omadhaun that you can't under-
stand what I'm saying ? {Deliberately) There's no
money in the bank for you, or for any one.

Jack. No money ? How is there no money in the bank ?
Why have you drawn it all ?

Maurice. There's no money out of it either.

Jack. But . . . but . . . Maurice, what's happened ?
What have you been doing ? The farm was always
making plenty of money.

Maurice. It isn't making plenty of money now,

Jack. But . . . how . . . why ? Do explain,

Maurice {sullenly). You can't have a solicitor, and a
priest, and a chemist in a family without spending money,
and for the last ten years you've been all drawing money
out of the farm . . . there's no more to drain now.

14 Harvest

Jack. Maurice ! . . . I had no idea of such a thing ;
I wouldn't, of course, have asked you to give me money,
but I thought . . .

Maurice (bitterly). You thought, I suppose, that a
farm v^as a sort of machine that turned out sovereigns and
bank-notes as many as you pleased.

Jack. Well, there was always money for the asking, and
no word of difficult)/ in getting it. Didn't you send me
ten pounds a month before I was married ? If the farm
could make that then, how was I to know it couldn't
make sixty to-day ?

Maurice. It didn't make that.

Jack. What do you mean ?

Maurice. That ten pounds was borrowed.

Jack {after an incredulous fause). Do you mean that
you've had to borrow money ?

Maurice. Every sod on the farm is mortgaged.

Jack. Good heavens, Maurice ! . . . When did this
begin ?

Maurice. Well, after Timothy was through Maynooth
there was no way of educating you except to borrow.
I wanted to take you away from school and put you to
the farm, but Mr. Lordan said it would be a shame you
were such a promising scholar. So I borrowed money
to educate you and to keep the farm together.

Jack. Haven't you been able to pay off any of it ?

Maurice. No.

Jack. But the farm must be making a heap of

Maurice. It isn't.

Jack. Maurice !

Maurice. Oh, I suppose you think I'm a bloody fool
not to be able to make it pay ; but sure what chance
have I and I never taught how to farm ? There was
money and education wanted to make priests and doctors
and gentlemen of you all, and wasn't there money an'
education wanted to make a farmer of me .? No ; nothing
taught me only what I picked up from my father and the

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Online LibraryLennox RobinsonTwo plays: Harvest; The Clancy name → online text (page 1 of 6)