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Harvest ^S

men, and never a bit of fresh money to put into the farm
only it all kept to make a solicitor of Bob and a chemist of
you.

Jack. Maurice, I'm awfully sorry. » . .

Maurice {impatiently). Oh, it's come to an end now.
We'll have to quit, I'm thinking, unless Bob helps us.

Jack. Do you mean that they're pressing you for
money ?

Maurice. I owe money in every shop in Dunmanway,
and there's the interest on the mortgage due and not a
penny to meet it. I thought maybe you could help me,
but you seem as badly off as myself.

Jack. Why on earth did you send me that ten
pounds ?

Maurice. Himself said we'd be disgraced if we didn't
send you something and you getting married. Besides,
what's a ten-pound note when you're choked with debts.
There's nothing for it now but to sell up and quit.

Jack. Oh, the farm mustn't go ; we must manage to
save it some wa}'. Does the old man know all this ?

Maurice. He knows things are bad, but I don't think he
knows they're as bad as they are.

Jack. And what about Timothy and Bob ?

Maurice. I wrote to Bob thinking maybe he'd help us,
but I didn't get an answer from him yet. He's thriving,
I hear, so maybe he could give us something.

Jack. Yes, he might. Did you write to Timothy ?

Maurice. He's oflf in America getting money for a
chapel. He'll be expecting money from us, not we
getting it from him.

Jack. I'll tell you — write to Patrick — he's a great man,
I believe, secretary to some lord in England. Do vou
know his address ?

Maurice. I will not write for help to a dirty cur like
him who's ashamed of his father and the place he was
reared, a bloody turn-coat who's changed his name and
his religion ! No, I'm damned if I'll write to him, not
if he had all the gold in the banks in England.



i6 Harvest

Jack. In a desperate case like this Vd certainly apply
to him. After all, it's to keep his own father from being
put on the road.

Maurice. Much he cares.

Jack. Perhaps Mary could help you; you could ask
her when she comes to-morrow.

Maurice. Yerra, what has she only a few bits of wages
put by in the bank. We're bet — unless Bob can help.

Jack. Has it really come to this that your only course
is to sell the farm ?

Maurice. What else can I do ? vSell the farm and pay
the debts and the mortgage ... if there's enough . . .
and clear off to the States.

Jack. The old man isn't fit for the States.

Maurice. Well, there's Dunmanway Union for him. . . .

Jack. Oh no, never ! Maurice, isn't there any girl
round here with money you could marry .?

Maurice. Bridget Twomey and myself have been
wanting to get married these four years, but I wouldn't
have it be said that I took her out of a comfortable home
and brought her into a place the like of this.

Jack. Well, I'll help you any way I can, Maurice. I
can't give you money, worse luck, but if a pair of willing
hands are any good they're at your service. If Bob won't
help you I'll chuck the chemist business and come and
work on the farm.

Maurice (looking distrustingly at Jack^s weedy figure).
You're not over strong for farm work, I'm thinking,
but thank you, Jack, 'tis well meant, and whatever Bob
says or does there'll be plenty of work for you on the
farm. We're shorthanded as it is, and the harvest only
beginning.

Jack. I'm ready to put my hand to anything. We must
save the farm . . . why {breaking off as a man^s figure
appears outside the little gate) here's Mr. Lordan !

William Lordan comes through the gate. He is an
elderly man of sixty-five or seventy years.

Lordan. W^ell, Jack, here you are.



Harvest 17

Jack. Yes, Mr. Lordan, I've run down for a day or
two just to see how you're all getting on.

Lordan. Ah, you'll find us in the same old rut, no
change at all. You've seen the world, you've got
education, but our horizon is bounded by those hills.

Jack. Still discontented, sir ?

Lordan. If I am it's only with a wholesome dis-
content. I was never one of those who sat contentedly
in darkness. Jack; I must always be groping about,
striking matches. What are you doing for yourself now ?

Jack. Well, I'm still in the chemist's shop in Dublin,
but I've taken a house and married a wife.

Lordan. Married ! I never heard a word of it. Why
didn't you tell me, Maurice ?

Jack. It was on " The Independent " and "The Irish
Times."

Maurice. And a long pedigree to the pair of them, the
same as if they were racehorses.

Lordan. I never saw it ! But tell me, who is the girl ?
Any one we know ?

Jack. Oh, no. She comes from Dublin. Her father was
a colonel in the army. He's retired now, and this is
his only child.

Lordan. A colonel's daughter ! My dear Jack, you
have done well for yourself.

Jack. I think you'll say so when you meet her. She's
inside.

Lordan. I shall be delighted to make her acquaintance.
And whereabouts is your house in Dublin ? One of those
fine residences on the Kingstown tram line, perhaps ?

Jack. No indeed, we've taken a tiny little house on the
flat of the city. Money is scarce with us at present.

Lordan. Oh ! . . . but that will come later.

Jack. Well, I hope to goodness it will. Ah, here's
Mildred. (Mildred comes out of the house.)

Mildred. Jack, dear, tea is just ready.

Jack. All right. I want to introduce an old friend to
you, Mildred. This is Mr. Lordan.

Mildred. How d'ye do.

B



i8 Harvest

LoRDAN. Pleased to meet you.

Mildred. I have often heard my husband speak of vou,
Mr. Lordan.

Bridget (who is leaning against the door of the house).
Faith, he's reason to remember him. Many's the pair of
sore hands he brought home from school, the creature !

LoRDAN. That's a base lie, Bridget. Jack was one of
my brightest scholars.

Mildred. I'm sure he was ; he certainly does you
credit.

Lordan. Oh, I assure you, Mrs. Hurley, Jack has very
little to thank me for. I only sowed the tiny insignificant
seeds of education ; it was left to other and cleverer men
to watch and tend their growth.

Mildred. Still, only for you, he wouldn't have got
the assisted scholarship in the Ballyhinch School. It's the
sowing the first beginning, that is the important thing,
Mr. Lordan.

Lordan. Well, I'd be glad to think that. . . . When
I look back on all the boys and girls I've had under my
care and see how many of them are scattered over the
world to-day — doctors and priests and all sorts — I'm glad
and proud to think that it was I who taught them their
letters, though, to be sure, they're smiling to-day at the
poor ignorant country schoolmaster who guided the pen
over their copies long ago.

Jack. I'm sure they're not, sir.

Lordan. Maybe not. Jack; maybe not. . . . There's
no family in the parish I'm prouder of than yours. One
of them a priest, Mrs. Hurley, that's had his sermons
printed in a weekly paper, and is over in America now
using his eloquence to win money for the Church ; and one
a solicitor that's unravelling the law in the west in the
County of Galway, and helping the widow and orphan
to get their own, and making a deal of money for himself ;
and one in England, who is so great that he's passed
beyond our knowledge entirely ; and Jack here, that's
giving medicines to the sick and bringing happiness to



Harvest 19

countless families in the City of Dublin and its suburbs.
Isn't that a harvest to be gathering, Mrs. Hurley, from
the seeds I sowed long ago in the little schoolhouse up
in the hills ? Faith ! There's politicians and statesmen
and members of Parliament must thank Knockmalgloss
and William Lordan for their first rudiments of education.
Mildred. Wonderful !
Jack. Well done, sir !

Bridget. Yerra, 'tis a statue ought to be put up to you
in|the market-place in Dunmanwav.
Mildred. Yes, indeed.

Bridget. Very convenient it would be to tie an ass-
cart to or for the hucksters to be laying fowl against on
a market-day.

LoRDAN {good-temperedly) . No, the boys and girls who
are scattered over the world are my monument. I have
my reward in the thought of them and the sight of them
sometimes coming home looking like gentlemen.

Maurice {speaking quietly, but intensely). D'ye know
the reward I'd give you ?
Lordan. No ; what ?

Maurice. I'd take you West to the quarry and I'd throw
you down the cliff and break your bloody neck, the way
you'd do no more harm to the place.

Maurice raises his hand as if to strike Lordan.
Lordan shrinks back. All are petrified for a second. Then
Maurice lets his hand fall heavily and strides into the
house.



Curtain.



ACT II

Scene — ^he interior of the farmhouse. Timothy, as
the curtain rises, is in the act of shutting the door. Jack
is standing with his hack to the fire.

Timothy {to some one outside). Don't be long noiv.

A Woman's Voice. I won't, indeed. {She passes the
window)

Timothy. Well, well, isn't it a fine thing to have her
back?

Jack. It is indeed, and she seems so genuinely delighted
to get home.

Timothy. A7, I knew it. I knew she'd be the same
as she was before she went away. A girl the like of Mary
wouldn't be the one to change.

Jack. Still, she's changed a bit in appearance, don't
you think ? She usen't to be so white and thin.

Timothy. It's the town air and the hard work. Sure
a girl like her that's been reared in the country could
never thrive in a town.

Jack. Let's hope she'll soon get her colour, now that
she's back here.

Timothy {musing. What made her go away from us
at all. ... It hasn't been the same place since she
left. . . . Ah, God have pity on the old ! . . .
A figure passes the window.

Jack. Oh, there's Mr. Lordan. {Goes to the door.)
Come in, Mr. Lordan ; delighted to see you.

Lordan {coming in and looking round the room). How are
you, Jack ? Is your wife here ?

Jack. No, she's just gone out with Mary and Bridget.
Come in, she'll be back in a moment.



Harvest 21

LoRDAN. Well, I really can't wait. But if she'll be
only a minute.

Timothy. Yerra, what a hurry you're in and you red
idle from morning till night. Sit down there now and
quiet yourself.

LoRDAN. Well, I really shouldn't . . . however, I
suppose I can wait for five or ten minutes.

Timothy. Did you see Mary yet ?

LoRDAN. No. How is she ?

Timothy. Oh, she's fine, and delighted to be back
again. Maurice is after driving her up from the station,
and she had a sup of tea and went out with Bridget.

LoRDAN. How long will she be with you, do you think ?

Timothy. She's going to live here. She's not going
back any more.

LoRDAN. What .? Not going back ? Not going back
to London ?

Jack. She says she's sick of London. She wants to get
back to the old life.

LoRDAN {incredulously). Back to Knockmalgloss ?

Timothy. Ay !

Jack. Does it seem so extraordinary to you ? I can
understand it so well.

LoRDAN. Oh . . . well ... it won't last. After
London, this will seem only a poor sort of place to her,
Timothy, and she won't stay long.

Timothy. I wonder now. . . . She seems glad enough
to be home . . . but maybe we are quiet and dull, and
I'm thinking if you've travelled far at all you'd find it
hard to rest quiet in the latter end.

LoRDAN. That's the truth. ... (To Jack.) I called
to see if your wife would care to walk up the hill with
me. I have to go there, and I thought she might^ike
the walk.

Jack. I'm sure she would.

LoRDAN. She must find this a queer place after Dublin.

Jack. Oh, she likes it immensely so far, and we had
plenty of excitement last night.



22 Harvest

LoRDAN. Oh, yes, the fire. (To Timothy.) I was very
sorry to hear you had such a disastrous fire last night.

Timothy (lachrymosely). Ay, indeed.

LoRDAN. How on earth did it happen ?

Timothy. Not one of us knows ... at least not one
of us knows the lad that lit the match, but there's no
doubt at all 'twas done malicious.

LoRDAN. Really ! But who'd do a thing like that ?

Timothy. Who'd do it ? Who wouldn't if he got the
chance ?

LoRDAN. No, but really, have you any suspicions at
all?

Timothy. We have suspicions then and we'll have
proofs before long. Didn't I see the lads prowling
round last night, and only I'm the fool I am I'd have
gone and seen what they were up to. Suspicions is it ?

Jack. We were wakened about twelve o'clock by the
glare of the flames, and we all rushed out, but it Was
too late.

LoRDAN. Teh, tch ! How much was burned ?

Jack. Those three buildings on the far side of the yard.
Fortunately there wasn't much in them and . . .

Timothy. Not much ? There was a cart in them
and a set of harness and a mangle crusher, and a scythe,
and four sacks of hayseed I saved myself, and — and — and
any amount of other things we'll only remember and
we wanting them.

LoRDAN. Dear, dear ! But you haven't an enemy in
the place. I wonder was it really malicious ?

Timothy {fiercely). I tell you it w a s malicious. There's
people I could name this minute who'd be delighted
to have this house burned over our heads and us hunted
from the country.

LoRDAN. Is that a fact ?

Jack. You see none of us were near the place after
three o'clock, and Maurice, who was there then, wasn't
even smoking.

LoRDAN. You'll apply for compensation then f



Harvset 23

Jack. Oh, yes.

Timothy. We will so. What blasted fools we'd be.
Ifs bad to be without a set of harness, and a cart, and
a mangle crusher, but it's worse to be without the money.
Maurice comes in.

LoRDAN. Oh, how are you, Maurice ?

Maurice (sullenly). Good-day to you. {Pours himself
out a cup of tea)

LoRDAN. Did you see Mary and your sister-in-law
anywhere ?

Maurice. No.

LoRDAN. I wonder will they be soon in. ... I was
just hearing about the fire . . . what a terrible thing . . .
{Maurice makes no answer, but drinks sullenly , standing up.
There is a constrained silence) How is the harvest
getting on ? {Maurice makes an unintelligible answer)

Timothy. Ah, we're getting it in slowly.

LoRDAN. I'm glad to hear that. {Another pause)
Well, as she doesn't seem to be coming I think I must
go and look for her. If I should miss her you'll tell her
I called, won't you ?

Jack. Certainly, but I'm sure you'll find her in the
yard. She's very likely looking at the smouldering
remains of the fire. {Lordan goes out)

Timothy. It's what I was saying to Jack, that it's a
great thing to have Mary back.

Maurice. God knows, she's come to a poor hungry
place.

Jack. Wait till you hear from Bob ; maybe he'U send
you forty or fifty pounds.

Maurice {sullenly). I got a letter from him below at
the post office.

Jack. What ! Well, what did he say ?
Maurice {taking a letter out of his pocket and throwing
tt over to Jack). That's what he said, curse him.

Jack reads the letter — which is short — quickly. ^
Jack {in disgust). What a shame ! I think he might
have put off getting his old motor.



24 Harvest

Timothy. What's that ? Have you a letter from Bob ?

Jack. Yes.

Timothy. How much does he send ? {7o Maurice.)
You asked him for money, didn't you ?

Maurice. He doesn't send a bloody sixpence. He's
getting a motor-car . . . and he has no money for us.
Damn him and his motor-car !

Timothy. Couldn't he send us money as well ?

Maurice. He could not. He's gone into debt to get it.

Timothy. Why's that, I wonder ?

Jack. He says it's necessary. He's trying to get into
a better set, and he thinks that having a motor would be
a help to him.

Timothy. Maybe so, but 'tis a hard thing he wouldn't
have anything to send his old father. . . . Well, 'tis
only what I expected from him ; we must battle it ou t
ourselves.

Maurice. I'm thinking maybe a worse thing could
have happened to us than to have had that burning last
night. A little hard money will come in very handy.

Timothy {with a chuckle). That's so.

Maurice. We won't be missing a cart that had only
one wheel and a set of harness that would go to pieces
in your hand.

Jack. I suppose there'll be no difficulty about the
compensation .?

Maurice. Oh, sure it's always hard to screw out money,
but I don't see how they can refuse it.

Jack. You saw the chaps prowling round last night,
didn't you ?

Timothy {chuckling. I did so. {Proceeds to light his
fife)

Jack. But who do you think would have a spite against
you ?

Maurice. I don't know at all ; whoever they were they
done me a good turn with all their tricks. I only wish
they'd burned the whole place before them. {Timothy
is stoofing and grofing on the floor.)



Harvest 25

Jack. Yes, if you only had a large sum of money in
hand you could start fair again. What's the matter;
what have you dropped ?

Timothy. 'Tis a match I dropped.

Jack {coming over and looking for it). Maybe you dropped
it into the fire. ... I can't see it. . . . Is it under
that chair, Maurice ?

Maurice. It is not.

Timothy. I had it in my hand and I turned around
to scratch myself and 'twas gone.

Maurice. What matter, can't you take another.

Timothy (obstinately). I'd like to find it.

Jack. You must have dropped it into the fire.

Maurice (taking a box out of his focket). Here, for
God's sake, take one of these. What's a match .?

Timothy. Faith, a match may mean a great deal to a
man . . . if he knows what to do with it.

Jack. What do you mean ?

Timothy. Oh, I know what I'm talking of. There's a
deal of money in a match.

Maurice. Money in a match ? I wish to God there
was money in a match.

Timothy. I've known a match to be worth a matter
of thirty or forty pounds to a man.

Maurice. How was that ?

Timothy (mysteriously). Oh, I know. (Suddenly begins
to chuckle)

Maurice (crossly). What the devil are you wheezing
about. Money in a match ?

Timothy (still chuckling). Yes, a timber match the
like of that. (Holding up the charred stump.) And 'tis
you should know that.

Maurice. I ?

Jack. How should he know it ?

Timothy. Isn't he going to get a deal of money for
all that was burnt on him last night ?

Maurice. Oh, is that all.

Jack. How do you know it was done with a timber
match ?



26 Harvest

Timothy. How do I know, is it ? (Goes off into a
cackle of laughter) How do I know, moyah !

Jack. What on earth are you laughing at ?

Timothy. How do I know ? . . . 'Twould be a
wonder if the hand that struck the match wouldn't
know, and that put it to the old oil barrel ! Forty
pounds for one timber match ! {Goes off into a cackle
of laughter.)

Maurice {understanding before Jack. With grudging
admiration). Well, isn't he . . . the . . . divil !

Jack {horrified). Do you mean that . . . that he
set fire to the place himself ?

Maurice. I didn't think I had a da with so much
spirit.

Timothy {inanely). One . . . timber . . . match.

Jack {to Timothy). Are you mad ? What on earth
did you do it for ? {Timothy keep up his inane
chuckling)

Maurice {grinning). He's delighted with hiniself now.

Jack. Well, there's an end to the compensation.

Maurice {sobering. And why ? {Timothy stops his
chuckling and listens)

Jack. You can't get it now.

Timothy (pugnaciously). And why wouldn't we get it ?

Jack. How can you when it was you yourself did it ]
Where's the maliciousness in that ?

Timothy. I don't see why we wouldn't get it.

Jack {impatiently). Can't you tell him why, Maurice?

Maurice {sullenly). Why wouldn't we get it as well as
another .?

Jack. Maurice !

Maurice. Hadn't we to pay last year for Cronin's
house, and didn't every one in the country know 'twas
old Ned Cronin fired it himself.

Jack. I'm ashamed of you ; how can you think of such
a thing? Why it's . . . it's stealing !^

Timothy. Sure who's to know I done it ? Not a one
saw me and I lighting the barrel.



Harvest 27

Jack. That has nothing to do with it. Didn't you
see yourself how dishonest it was ?

Timothy. Maybe I did, but I saw something more,
and that was that I was on the way to being put out of
the farm. I never had much belief in Bob, and doesn't
that letter show I was right — and says I to myself, " 'tis
time for Timothy to turn round and see what he can do."
That's what I said.

Maurice. All the farm wants is a little money, and
if s hard to say you'd grudge us getting that.

Jack (hotly). I'll do more than grudge it. . . . I'll
give information.

Maurice. And put him and me out on the road ?
Maybe this money would save us, I don't see where else
we're to turn for it.

Jack. It would be better to be walking the roads
begging than . . .

Maurice. 'Tis easy for you to talk. You've got a fine
place up in Dublin ; there's no fear of y o u having to
tramp the roads.

Jack. I'd spend my last penny of money and my last
ounce of strength to save the farm, but I won't be a
partner to your dishonesty.

Timothy (plaintively). Wisha, 'tis hard you'd cross us
now, and all you have to do is to hold your tongue. I'm
sorry I ever told you at all only keep it to myself, but
sure I thought you'd be pleased the same as Mauriceen
was pleased.

Jack. Here's some one coming. Don't say a word
about this. But mind, Maurice, if you do anything
about getting compensation I'll publish the truth.
{Enter Mildred^ Lordan, Bridget and Maggie with
clothes) We can save the farm some other way.

Bridget {to Maggie). Put them down there in the
corner and be wringing out them shirts.

Lordan. I can't persuade your wife to come. She
says she thinks there wouldn't be time before tea,
Timothy, do persuade her.



28 Harvest

Timothy {faying him no attention). I think I've a
queer set of sons who won't give a sixpence to save a
poor old man who's spent all his money on them. A
queer set {with a black look at Jack) who'd grudge me
getting the little bit I deserve. {Goes out, Maurice follows.)

Jack. Wait a minute, Maurice, I'll come with you;
we must settle that matter definitely. {Goes out)

Mildred. Dear me, what's the matter with Jack ?

Bridget. Himself is vexed about something.

LoRDAN. I expect it's about the fire.

Bridget. Well then, mind me, there might be a worse
thing happen them. A bit of cold money coming into
the farm would be a great thing.

Mildred. Yes, I suppose so. Oh, I wish I could help
in some way.

LoRDAN. Ah, Mrs. Hurley, you have the same feeling
as myself, the same longing to lift these people out of
the narrow groove of their lives. In fact that's my
business this afternoon.

Bridget. Where are you going ?

LoRDAN. Up the hill to the Hayes'. It's Kattie I'm
teaching now.

Mildred. Is she going in for some examination ?

LoRDAN. Yes, she's working for an examination up in
Dublin next month, and the schoolmaster isn't allowed
to teach her some of the subjects in school hours, and
he hasn't the inclination nor the knowledge to teach her
after school, so it's then I come in and help her.

Mildred. I hope she'll pass.

LoRDAN. I think she will, she's a very smart girl.
The other daughter — there are only two of them — I
have succeeded in making a school-teacher of.

Mildred. How pleased their mother must be.

LoRDAN {with a satisfied smile). Yes, she is, I think.

Bridget. Sarah Hayes was a fool always, but there'll
be days when there's churning and young pigs and
young turkeys and not a one to give her a hand's turn only
herself, and I warrant she won't be blessing you then.



Harvest 29

Mildred. Oh, nonsense, Bridget; isn't it better for
her to have them away earning good salaries.

Bridget. Maybe you don't understand, ma'am, living
in a town all your life. . . .

Mildred {loftily). I think I understand very well.
I'm Irish like yourself, and I've married an Irishman and
a farmer's son. . . .

Bridget. Ah, sure ! Poor Johnny, the creature !

LoRDAN. Don't mind her, Mrs. Hurley. She's old-
fashioned ideas.

Mildred. It's ridiculous to think I don't understand.
I'm not a baby, absurd. . . . Have the Hayes any sons,
Mr. Lordan ?

LoRDAN. They have two. But I haven't been able to
,make any hand of them, and I'm afraid they'll settle down
on the farm. The present schoolmaster, he's a very
excellent man, Mrs. Hurley, but he has no ambition at aU
for his scholars, and he didn't give the young Hayes any
encouragement when the)' told him of the grand positions
I had in my eye for them. It was very different when I
was at the school.

Maggie. It was so.

LoRDAN. Ah, then, Maggie, I could never make much
hand of you.

Maggie {politely) . Oh, then, there Were some of us
weren't altogether pleased when you went. Better the
divil you know than the divil you don't know, and for all
the new fella down at the school isn't such a terror for
learning as yourself was, Mr. Lordan, still, times he's as
cross as a bag of weasels.

Bridget. Now, Maggie, speak civil.

LoRDAN (in a pleased, voice). They don't like him, then ?

Maggie. Oh, they like him well enough, only he's
queer and cranky ; you wouldn't know where you'd have


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Online LibraryLennox RobinsonTwo plays: Harvest; The Clancy name → online text (page 2 of 6)