Lennox Robinson.

Two plays: Harvest; The Clancy name online

. (page 4 of 6)
Online LibraryLennox RobinsonTwo plays: Harvest; The Clancy name → online text (page 4 of 6)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

fifty pounds.

Jack. Fifty pounds!

Mary. Isn 't it splendid ? And — better still — he
says he will send as much again in a week or two, and
more from time to time.

Jack. Mary ! Oh, isn't this splendid ! The farm is
saved. Why didn't we write to him before. Good old
Patrick ! I thought he couldn't be as bad as Maurice
tried to make out. . . . But, Mary, how did you know
where he lived ? None of us have heard from him for

Mary {glibly). Oh, we met by chance one day in



London, and since then we have written sometimes to
each other.

Jack. Where is he, what is he doing ?

Mary. He didn't tell me exactly what he was doing ;
he's secretary or something to a very rich man.

Jack. Does he live in London ?

Mary. Well ... he asked me not to tell his address
to the people here ; he doesn't want it known.
Maurice is right, he is a bit ashamed of us, but please don't
remind Maurice of it. He must be fond of father to send
him all this money.

Jack. Yes, of course. What a relief ! I don't feel so
hopeless now. Fancy, Mildred has just said she can't
stand Knockmalgloss, that we must go away. I felt so
sick about it, but I don't mind quite as much now when
1 think that I'll leave father prosperous.

Mary. Oh, Jack, I'm sorry you're going, you had set
your heart on living at Knockmalgloss, but I knew Mildred
could never be happy here ; you couldn't expect her to be,
could you ?

Jack. N-no, I suppose not.

Mary. I ' m going away to-day.

Jack {blankly). Going av\ray ?

Mary. Yes, I'm going back to London.

Jack. But I thought you had given it up for good.

Mary. So I had, but . . . but I've got into the way
of working, and I couldn't be happy idling here at home.
I've made up my mind to go back and Bridget's father is
driving down to the station in half an hour and he'll
give me a lift.

Jack. Well, Mary, I think that's rotten of you !
You've only just come, and why do you go away in such
a hurry. Father will be awfully disgusted. Why, you've
only been here three weeks.

Mary. Yes, I know I have. I . . . I . . . thought I
would stay much longer, but now I find I can't.

Jack. But has your post been kept open for you ?

Mary. Oh, yes.

4^ Harvest

Jack. Well, I call it rotten. When will you be over
again ?

Mary {hastily). Oh, I don't know. Not for a long
time. Would you mind giving me the key of my bag,
Jack; you borrowed it, do you remember, to try if it
would fit yours.

Jack. Oh yes, I have it in my pocket, I think. Look
here, you're not going out into the infinite the way you
did before. If Mildred and I go back to Dublin you must
come over and spend Christmas with us, and {taking out
of his pocket a pencil atid a piece of torn paper) give me
your address now.

Mary. My . . . address ? . . .

Jack. Yes, I must know where to write to you.

Mary. Of ... of course. {With an effort.) Twenty-
one, Kingscote Mansions, will find me.

Jack. Where on earth is that ? I mean is it S.W. or
what ?

Mary. Yes, yes. S.W.

Jack. All right. Is that where you work or where you
live ?

Mary. That's where I work.

Jack. And whereabouts do you live ?

Mary {hurriedly). Oh, I . . . I . . . out Hampstead

Jack. You're typing, aren't you ?

Mary. Yes. Give me the key please, I want to lock
my bag.

Jack. Oh, wait a minute, there's time enough. I
was wondering whether you couldn't get the same
sort of work in Dublin. That would be so awfully
nice for us, wouldn't it ? What sort of an office are
you in ?

Mary. A stockbroker's office.

Jack. Oh, well, you should be able to get a place like
that in Dublin. {Making a spill of the paper in his hand
and proceeding to light his pipe at the fire.)

Mary. I don't want to go to Dublin.

Harvest 47

Jack. What's . . . the . . . matter with . . .
Dublin ?

Mary. Oh, I don't know, I wouldn't like it ; I'd rather
stay on in London.

Jack. Well, maybe Mildred and I might run over and
see you at Christmas. How do you get to . . . what's
the name of the place r Oh, hang it all, Mary, I've burnt
the paper with your address, what a donkey I am, I lit
my pipe with it. Give it to me again like a good girl ;
I'll write it in my pocket-book this time. {Takes out
pocket-book after he has waited for her to speak.) Yes ?

Mary. Twenty. . . . I'll give it to you before I go.
{Turns to leave.)

Jack. No, maybe we'd forget it. Give it to me now.
" Twenty-one." What's the rest ?

Mary. Twenty-one . . .

Jack. Surely you haven't forgotten it ?

Mary {quickly). Oh no, of course not. {Desperately.)
Twenty-one, Brompton Road.

Jack. Brompton Road; why, that's not the same
address ?

Mary. That's . . . that's my other address.

Jack. But that's not near Hampstead.

Mary. It will find me all right.

Jack. But . . .

Mary. Give mc the key now. Jack, please. {Her
voice is so pitiful that he looks at her startled)

Jack. What's the matter ?

Mary. Nothing.

Jack. There is something. Is it about these addresses ?

Mary. No, no, there's nothing the matter.

Jack (persistently). Are they bogus addresses ?

Mary {trying to smile). Of course not. What put that
idea into your head ?

Jack. They are bogus addresses.

Mary. No, Jack. How . . . how ridiculous.

Jack. I know they're bogus addresses ; why did
you give them to me ? ;

48 Harvest

Mary. No, Jack . . .

Jack. Why did you give them to me ?

Mary (afur trying to speak). I . . , I . . . don't know.

Jack. Don't you want me to know where you live ?

Mary. I'll . . . I'll explain later. {Tries to pass him.
but he stops her)

Jack (sternly). No, I must have your explanation now.
(Silence.) Well, I'm waiting for it. Why don't you want
me to know where you live ?

Mary. I . . . I. . . . (Dead silence.)

Jack. Mary, what are you doing in London ?

Mary (after a moment). I think you know, Jack ?

Jack. Mary ! This . . . this . . . isn't true, is it,
Mary ? I mean. . . .

Mary (quietly). It is quite true. . . . Typing didn't
pay, so I ... I found a more paying profession.

Jack. Mary !

Mary. Why did you press me so hard. Jack ? You need
never have known.

Jack (ajter a moment). How could you ?

Mary. I don't want to defend myself, but ... I
was too well educated to be a servant, and I was never
happy as one, so to better myself I learned typing. . . .
It's a hard life. Jack, and I soon found out how hard it
was, and I was as dissatisfied as ever. Then there only
seemed one way out of it . . . and he . . . my employer,
I mean. . . .

Jack. What brutes men are !

Mary. No, Jack ; honestly, I went into it deliberately
\vith my eyes open. You see, a woman I knew chucked
typing and went in for this . . . and I saw what a splendid
time she had, and how happy she was — and I was
so miserably unhappy — and how she had everything
she wanted and I had nothing, and . . . and . . •

Jack. Oh, Mary, how could you ?

Mary. But this life made me unhappy too, and so in
desperation I came home ; but I've grown too far away
from it all, and now I'm going back.

Harvest 49

Jack. You're not going deliberately back to that life ?

Mary. Yes, Jack, I am. I wrote a few days ago to . . .
to the man Pve been with lately, and asked him for
money, and he sent me fifty pounds, and is willing to
have me back.

Jack. Fifty pounds ? But Patrick ? . . .

Mary. All that about Patrick is a fable intended to
deceive Maurice and father. I meant to deceive you, too,
but you pressed me so hard.

Jack. You're not going back, you're not going to
sacrifice yourself for father and the farm ; it's ridiculous,
it's not worth it.

Mary {quietly). I'm not sacrificing myself. Even if he
hadn't sent me the money I'd have gone back. I'm
not sacrificing myself.

Jack. I don't understand.

Mary. Don't you see. Jack, I'm not happy here.
I thought if I could get home to the farm and the old
simple life it would be all right, but it isn't. Everything
jars on me, the roughness and the hard living and the
coarse food — oh, it seems ridiculous — but they make me
physically ill. I always thought, " if I could get away
home to Knockmalgloss I could start fair again."

Jack. Yes, Mary, you can, you can.

Mary. So I came home, and everything is the same,
and everyone thinks I'm as pure and innocent as when
I went away, but . . . but . . .

Jack. Then stay, Mary.

Mary. But, Jack, the dreadful thing is I Want to go
back. . . . You weren't at home, you didn't see how
father — because he loved me — kept me here against my
will . . . almost strangled me. Well, I broke out when
I got away, I threw all the old things overboard. I've
had a splendid time. I can't give it up. I'm longing for
that life, and its excitement and splendour and colour.
I want a big city and crowds of people and bright lights
and lovely costly clothes, and . . . and . . .oh. Jack,
I want it all, all that dreadful, splendid life.


50 Harvest

Jack. Stop, Mary, pull yourself together. Of course,
life here is dull, but you'd 'get used to it in time, you
would indeed, indeed you would, Mary.

Mary. No, no, there's nothing here would satisfy me.
I must get back to London, I must, Jack. I want it. . . .
I . . .

Jack. Don't talk like that.

Mary. When the sun sets here it's all so dark and cold
and dreary ; but in London — ^why we're only beginning
to live then ! It's a dreadful life, but oh, it's so splendid !

Jack. What are you saying ? Yet you know you got
sick of it.

Mary. Only because I thought Knockmalgloss was
calling me home. But I was wrong. I must go on, on.
I'm so restless, you can't ever go back, Jack, if you once get
into the stream you must go on, on, on.

Jack. Yes ; on, on.

Mary. We're all like that, all except father and
Maurice ; and Jack, I'm so terrified that somehow or
other — in some indirect way — they may come under the
influence that has destroyed us. I think Maurice is
harder than he used to be, and a few nights ago I dreamed
that father had stolen a lot of money to pay the debts.
I woke crying. Oh, Jack, if that should ever come to
be true !

Jack. Oh . . . Oh, nonsense, that . . . that was
only a dream.

Mary. Yes, but some day it might come true ; so,
Jack, I must go back and help them.

Jack. Do you imagine for a moment that we'd use
money earned by you that way to keep the farm together ?

Mary. I said that sort of thing myself when I left
London ; I called it the wages of shame, and I only took
away two plain dresses and the barest necessities of life,
but I see now that's all nonsense, and before a month
had passed I wrote and begged for fifty pounds !

Jack. It's different . . . asking it for yourself, but
we couldn't live on it.

Harvest 51

Mary. Don't you understand that nothing would
make me happier than the thought that I am helping
father and Maurice ?

Jack. And do you think there'd be an hour's happiness
for them as long as you earn money that way ?

Mary. Maurice doesn't know, he need never know ; I
trust you, Jack, not to tell him. . . .lam going back
for my own sake and to help father while I can.

Jack. While you can ?

Mary. I ... I think this man is begininng to tire,
and . . . and . . .

Jack. But he sent you — oh, it's too horrible !

Mary. Fifty pounds is a mere bagatelle to him; it's
easier to write a cheque than a passionate letter, and his
was so cold.

Jack. Is there no chance of his marrying you ?

Mary. No. He's married already. {A pause)

Jack. Mary, come and live with Mildred and me in
Dublin. You mustn't go back to London.

Mary. I couldn't, dear, thank you very much, but I
couldn't . . . besides I'm sure Mildred wouldn't have

Jack. She'd have to.

Mary. No, it wouldn't do. I think from the very
beginning she has suspected me.

Jack. Oh, no, I'm sure she hasn't.

Mary. Anyway I'd hate a pokey, middle-class existence
in Dublin ... I'd feel caged again.

Jack. How hopeless it seems.

Mary. Poor Jack 1 There, I hear Mildred's voice.
Give me the key and I'll run and close my bag. {He
gives it to her. She goes out)

Mildred {entering with a howllof butter in her hand
followed by Maggie with a jug. Mildred puts the bowl
on the dresser). Give me the buttermilk. {Maggie gives,
it to her) There's the cloth Bridget wants. {Gives a
cloth to Maggie, who goes out) Why, what's the matter,
k ? You're not faint again, are you ?

52 Harvest

Jack. No, thank you.

Mildred. Then what is it .? . . . Oh, I suppose
you're as sick as I am of this hole of a place, but never
mind, it's only for another day or so.

Jack {with difficulty). It's not that at all, Mildred,
it's {not looking at her) I'm in terrible trouble, and
I think you're the only person can help me out
of it.

Mildred. Trouble, Jack ? Fresh trouble ?

Jack. Yes, fresh, dreadful, terrifying trouble. . . .
It's about . . . Mary . . .

Mildred. Yes ?

Jack. I want her ... I want you to persuade her
to come and live with us in Dublin.

Mildred. To live with us in Dublin ? Why ?

Jack. I don't want her to go back to London. She
intends going back at once.

Mildred. But if she wants to go why should we stop

Jack. Oh, she mustn't go, Mildred ; you must
persuade her to come and live with us.

Mildred. But why ? We may not be in Dublin for
long. And anyway . . .

Jack. Don't you want her to come ?

Mildred. I don't see how we could afford to have

Jack. She could get work in Dublin. At any rate,
Mildred, she mustn't go back to London. You must
get her to stay.

Mildred. What is the matter. Jack ? I don't see
why we should prevent her if she wants to go back to
London, and certainly I'm not very keen to have her
with us in Dublin.

Jack. Then you won't ask her ? ^ i ;

Mildred. I don't see why I should.

Jack. Then . . . then I'll have to tell you why . . .
I'm trying to save her.

Mildred. Save her ?

Harvest S3

Jack. It's . . . it's ... I don't know how to tell
you. She's . . . she's been living with a man in London.
They're not married.
1^^ Mildred {almost with triumph). Ah, I thought so.

Jack. She's been very unhappy and she came home,
and now she's unhappy here and she wants to go back.
. She wants to go back, Mildred, back to

Mildred. Yes ?

Jack. I've done my best, I've used every argument in
my power and I can't shake her ; she seems determined.
I've begged, pleaded ... so now, Mildred, you must
help me.

Mildred. How can / help you ?

Jack. You must try and persuade her ... a woman
may know what arguments to use to another woman.
Everything I say seems to make her only more determined,
but you'll know how to persuade her.

Mildred. I'm afraid I couldn't persuade her.

Jack. Oh, yes, I'm sure you can ; she thinks she wouldn't
be happy with us in Dublin, but you could get that idea
out of her head. Insist on her coming back with us
to Dublin.

Mildred. If you couldn't shake her resolution it's
hardly likely that she'll listen to anything I say.

Jack. Oh, but try. Come and speak to her now in
her room. {Catching her arm and half fulling her to the

Mildred. Don't, Jack.

Jack {stopping suddenly). Don't you want her to come ?

Mildred {angry at the way he has dragged her). No,
I don't.

Jack. Mildred !

Mildred. I'm awfully sorry for her, of course, but I
certainly won't have her to live with us.

Jack. Why not ?

Mildred. Because . . . because she's not respectable.

Jack. Not respectable? . ,■ , .

54 Harvest

Mildred. Pm not going to have a woman like that
living in the house with me. I don't know how you
could ask me to do such a thing.

Jack {controlling himself with an effort). You . . .
mean . . . you won't help her at all ?

Mildred. I'll help her some other way.

Jack. This is the only way you can help her . . .
Do you realise, Mildred, that she's going back to London,
back to that life ; won't you try to save her from it ?

Mildred. I'll give her money.

Jack. You may keep your damned money. Do you
think she's a beggar-woman in the streets you can fling
a sixpence to ?

Mildred. I don't see much difference between them.

Jack. How dare you say that ?

Mildred {trying to pass him). Let me out. Let me
go ; how dare you try to stop me ? Jack, what's the matter
with you ?

Jack. You don't understand me, don't you ? You
thought you'd married a soft-spoken, civilised, town-bred
boy, and you find yourself tied for life to a brutal Irish
peasant. Yes, I'm only a peasant, though you say no one
would ever think it ; as if a few years in Dublin, shop-made
clothes, and a little education make any difference in a
man like me, whose fathers have lived on the soil for
three hundred years ? You think you know me ? Pf !
You don't, and you never will.

Mildred. Jack.

Jack. You made a mistake when you married me —
damn you — ^you'll have to take fresh stock of the peasant,
my dear Mildred.

Mildred. I thought . . .

Jack. I don't care a damn what you thought. . . .
{As Mildred reaches the door Mary enters. She has her
bag in her hand.)

Mary. What is it ? Jack, what's the matter ?
{Mildred passes out.) What have you been doing to
MHdred ?

Harvest 55

Jack Mildred has been learning the sort of man she

Mary. Oh, Jack, you have given way to one of those
dreadful fits of temper. Oh, how could you ? I thought
you had cured yourself of them Jong ago.

Jack. Why should I be ashamed of my temper ? It's
part of myself ; it's more myself than this politeness and
soft speaking and ...

Mary. What nonsense, Jack; you must have terrified

Jack. Yes, I fancy I did . . . but I don't care what
she thinks of me.

Mary. What was it all about ?

Jack. It was about you.

Mary. About me ? Oh, I suppose you asked her to be
nice to me, and she . . . how stupid of you. Of course
she's not that sort . . . you must apologise, Jack.

Jack. Indeed, I won't. She ... she insulted you.

Mary. Well, you must make it up. Jack. What sort
of a life will you have if you begin like this ?

Jack. Life ? We'll have a dog's life, Mary. I think it
would be better if we parted altogether.

Mary. No, no, you can't do that, it would be grossly
unfair to her.

Jack {desperately). But I can't live her life, I can't
understand her and she can't understand me. What are
we to do ?

Mary. You had better go away, you must leave Ireland
altogether, and never come back.^ Try and forget you're
an Irish peasant, it's the only thing to do.

Jack. I can't ; I want to come back to this peasant life.

Mary. You can't do that since you've married a girl
like Mildred. You must live her life.

Jack. How can I, how can I ? You're not really going,
are you ?

Mary. Yes, I am.

Jack. I can't offer you shelter in Dublin, Mary, but
for God's sake don't go back to London.

$6 Harvest

. Mary. I must, Jack ; I couldn't stay here.

Jack. Think . . . think of father, Mary. He thinks
there is no one in the world like you. He's been fretting
for years because you weren't here, and now you're going
away again, perhaps never to come back. Mary, if
you've a spark of affection for him you'll stay.

Mary (troubled). Oh, Jack.

Jack. He's old and he's had a hard life, but if he had you
here with him till he dies he'll be a happy man. And then,
Mary, if you go back to London haven't you ever thought
that perhaps — somehow or other — ^you might be seen
there by some one who knew you and . . . and under-
stood, and who'd come back here and tell him. Have
you ever thought of that ?

Mary (in a lozo voice). Yes, often and often.

Jack. Don't run the risk of his finding out, it would
kill him.

Mary. If I stayed — we're so poor — the farm so
hampered. Oh, Jack, my dream — if it should come true 1

Jack. Is that one of your reasons for going ?

Mary. Yes. My love for him is the only thing that
makes me hesitate about going, but in another sense it's
one of the things that's drawing me back to London.

Jack. You mean that you want to prevent your dream
coming true ?

Mary. Yes.

Jack. Then I'll tell you that you're" too late. Father
himself set fire to those buildings to get compensation.
So there's no use in your going back to save him from
dishonesty. Your dream is true. Now, you'll stay,
won't you ?

Mary (pausing for a moment, then breaking into half
hysterical laughter). And I thought he was so simple, so
innocent, so unspoiled ! Oh, Jack, how . . . how
killingly funny 1 Father, the simple, honest peasant, the
only decent one of us. I cried all last night at the con-
trast ! H i s unselfishness, h i s simplicity . . . oh. Jack,
how funny ; and you thought that would keep me ?

Harvest 57

Why we're all equally bad now — he and I — we both sell
ourselves, he for the price of those old houses and I for
a few years of splendour and happiness. . . . There's
no reason why he shouldn't know all about me. I'm no
worse than he. ... I don't care now, I can enjoy my
life thoroughly. Nothing on earth will stop me going.
You've done me the best turn in your life teUing me that.
Give me a kiss, old boy, and I'll be off. {Before she
reaches him Lor dan enters^

Jack. I implore . . .

Mary. No, no, it's no use.

LoRDAN {cheerfully). Well, hasn't Patrick behaved nobly.
I was speaking to Maurice just now and he told me he is
going to marry Bridget on the strength of it. . . . Where
is she till I congratulate her ?

Mary. I don't know. Round in the dairy, perhaps.

LoRDAN. Well, I'll have a look for her. Do you feel
better, Jack ? I heard you got a bit faint in the cornfield
just now.

Jack {dully). Oh, I'm all right.

LoRDAN. You're not fit for such rough coarse work.
... I never thought Patrick was as ungrateful as Maurice
tried to make out, fifty pounds he sent over in an envelope
as easy as you or I would send a shilling postal order . . .
and I hear he says he'll send any amount more ; you're a
wonderful family !

Mary {smiling). Yes, a wonderful family !

LoRDAN. The way you've all got on ! I tell you what,
if every boy and girl I ever taught had turned out a
failure I'd feel content and satisfied when I looked at all
of you and saw what I've made of you.

Mary. What you've made of us ? I wonder do you
really know what you've made of us ?

LoRDAN. Isn't it easily seen ? One with a motor car,
no less ; and one sending over fifty pounds as easily as
sixpence, and Jack here ... ah ! It was good, sound
seed I sowed long ago in the little schoolhouse and it's
to-day you're all reaping the rich harvest.

58 Harvest

Mary. I wonder have you any idea of the harvest we're
reaping ? I think . . . yes, I think I'll tell you. . . .

Jack. Mary !

Mary. Yes, Jack, I will.

LoRDAN. What do you mean ?

Mary. I'm going to tell you what you've made of
us all.

LoRDAN. What does she mean, Jack ?

Mary. There's Patrick first. He's become a gentleman
in England and is ashamed of his family and the place he
was reared ; he's a coward, a snivelling coward, who's
changed his name and his religion for fear he'U be thought
a dirty Irishman. That's what you've made of him.

LoRDAN. That's unfair, Mary ; he has just sent home
fifty ...

Mary. That money didn't come from him at all.
You'll never hear from h i m again. . . . Then there's
Timothy ; he isn't ashamed of us because most of his
fellow priests are sprung from our class, and then there's
the solicitor. You're fond of saying that he's a great
success ; well, his success has made him run into debt to
buy a motor car, it's made him refuse to give his father
a five pound note to keep him off the road, it's made him
stay away from Knockmalgloss for seven years, and I
suppose it will keep him away till the day of his death.
And look at Jack there ; you've made a fine thing of him,
haven't you ? A chemist up in Dublin indeed, a man
who's married a lady and who's going to live like a gentle-
man ? No, but a country boy who fainted in the harvest
field. You've made a fainting, artificial weakling of him.
And me ... do you know what you've made of me ?

Jack. Stop, Mary, stop.

Mary. That fifty pounds you think came from Patrick
really came from me. I earned every penny of it.
LoRDAN. I don't understand you.

Mary. Yes, every penny of it. And isn't it a great
thing for a girl like me to be able to earn all that
money ?

Harvest 59

LoRDAN. Fifty pounds ! Did you earn all that ? Well,
maybe you're grateful to me now, you'd be a long time
in Knockmalgloss before you'd put your hand on fifty

Mary. Jack, listen to him 1

Jack. For God's sake stop. Go away, Mr. Lordan,
don't you see . . .

Mary. That's a fine sum of money for a girl like me
to earn. Oh, I'm reaping a glorious harvest, Mr. Lordan,
a beautiful, golden harvest of monej? and fine clothes,

1 2 4 6

Online LibraryLennox RobinsonTwo plays: Harvest; The Clancy name → online text (page 4 of 6)