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(Introduction by Barrett H. dark) - Paper, .75






, l?20>>y FRANK SHAY
All Rights Reserved.

THE THREE WISHES was first produced by THE
HUT PLAYERS, American Army Post 731, (Neu-
f chateau, France,) A. E. F., October 9, 1918, at the
Y. M. C. A. hut, with the following cast:

CARNEY William B. Van Riper

BUCKS Frank Tillman


JIM Clifford B. Halvorson


SCENE: An Army Billet Somewhere in France.
Produced Under the Direction of William B.
Van Riper


The acting rights of this play are reserved by the author.
Performance is strictly forbidden unless his express con
sent, or that of his representatives, has first been obtained,
and attention is called to the penalties provided by law for
any infringement of his rights, as follows:

"Sec. 4966 : Any person publicly performing or representing
any dramatic or musical composition for which copyright has been ob
tained, without the consent of the proprietor of said dramatic or musi
cal composition or his heirs and assigns, shall be liable for damages
therefor, such damages in all cases to be assessed at such sum, not less
than one hundred dollars for the first and fifty dollars for every subse
quent performance,, as to the court shall appear to be just. If the un
lawful performance and representation be wilful and for profit, such
person or persons shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon convic
tion bo imprisoned for a period not exceeding one year." U. S. Re
vised Statutes, Title 60, Chap. 3.

Application for permission to produce
this play must be made to Frank Shay, 26-28
Horatio Street, New York. No perform
ance may be given without his consent.


(Somewhere in France, Carney, Bucks and Simperson, Pri
vates, are playing poker; from time to time, Jim, the Shine,
ministers to their wants. As the curtain rises, Carney, who
already holds most of the matches (or beans, as the case per
mits) is looking over his hand confidently; Simperson s ex
pression is judically immobile, Bucks openly disconsolate.
On the drazv, the expressions change; Bucks brightens, and
Carney looks serious. Betting, Bucks puts up half his re
maining pile. Simperson, zvho is dealing, passes, and Carney
raises Bucks.)

CARNEY. I hate seeing you so reckless, Bucks.

BUCKS, (in a slow, Southern voice) Yes, you do.

CARNEY. Well, I do. I hoped this game would last out
the evening. But the evenings are so plaguey long, and you
and Simp, are so damn reckless

BUCKS. There s the rest of my pile. I got a hand this
time. (Carney covers the bet.)

CARNEY. Lay em down. (The cards are laid on the

They re all mine. (He reaches out and gathers in the win-

BUCKS. Well, would you believe it? Three aces looked
mighty good to me.

CARNEY. Tres-bein what next? You, Simperson.

SIMPERSON. (Shaking his head slowly), Out of court.

CARNEY. Come up, Bucks come up.

BUCKS. No good talking to me. Three aces, too.

CABNEY (To Jim). Jim. Jim, what can you find for a
guy that seems to have cleaned out the place?

JIM. More of the same, I reckon.

CARNEY. That all?

JIM. That s all, boss.

BUCKS. (Still studying the three aces.) I know now what
did it to me. I touched Jim with my left hand.

SIMPERSON. What are you mystifying about, Bucks? You
touched Jim with your left hand?

BUCKS. It s bad luck to touch a darkey with your left
hand, when you re playing poker. I knew it was bad luck,
but I d forgotten that I did it. I never would have put up
my last centime on those aces, if I d remembered.

CARNEY. Jim, what s this he s growling about?

JIM. Luck, Mister Carney. He hain t got no such luck
as you, but he knows all about it. He s dead right, too.

SIMPERSON. What do you mean he s dead right?

JIM. About touching a colored person with your left hand.

BUCKS. No use trying to explain it to you, Simp. But it s
true. Jim knows more about luck than you ll ever learn. He s
one of those boys but it s /no use talking to you. You
wouldn t get it.

SIMPERSON. What sort of a fool hocus pocus are you
putting up, anyway ?

BUCKS. I tell you, you wouldn t understand it.

SIMPERSON. Well, I ve watched what Carney did to you,
and I don t want to understand it. It s no good, that s plain.
But I d like to know what you re talking about.

BUCKS. All right. Jim, come here.

CARNEY. (Clearing for a new game.) New game new

BUCKS. It s no game. Do you think I d sit in a game with
Jim? I just want to show you something. Jim, have you
got any bones in your pocket?

JIM. What do you want to know for, Mr. Bucks?

BUCKS. Show these gentlemen what you can do, Jim.

JIM. Go long with you, Mister Bucks.

BUCKS. Look here, you black shine haven t I lost twenty
francs on your account tonight? Dig up those bones.

(Jim fumbles in his pockets; for a moment it appears that
the bones are lost, but at last he produces two.)

Make it three, boy.

(Jim looks up protestingly, but Bucks insists; the third
dice comes out, Jim grinning and shaking his head.)

Now show the gentlemen what you can dp. They don t
believe in luck in you know what I mean, Jim. (Jim rolls
the dice tentatively on the table.)

JIM. She s working strong tonight, Mister Bucks.

CARNEY. Come along! What s the confidential?

SIMPERSON. Give us your demonstration, Louisiana.

JIM. I wants three sixes. I wants three sixes. (He rolls
the dice. The others look on carelessly, then with sudden

CARNEY. Got em, by Heck!

SIMPERSON. Let me look at those dice. (He examines
them carefully, testing and rolling them.)


Can you do it again?

JIM. I wants three sixes. I wants three sixes. (He rolls
them; the others look in amazement at the throiv.)

She s workin mighty strong tonight.
CARNEY. Now wouldn t that crimp you?

SIMPERSON. That s a remarkable throw. Do you know
how many thousand chances there are against repeating a
throw of three faces? By the laws of chance

BUCKS. You may know something about the laws of the
land, back in the States, Simp., but you don t know anything
about the real laws of chance. Jim does ; they all do.

JIM. They ain t many that can do as much as what I can,
when she s workin strong, boss.

SIM PERSON. I believe you re right, Jim. Anybody that can
just call for one throw in fifty thousand, and get it (Carney
shuffles the cards.)

CARNEY. Play some more, boys?

SIM PERSON. I m flat, Carney and so s Bucks. You might
play a hand with Jim.

JIM. I m willin , boss. I m good tonight.
CARNEY. I guess not, Shine.
SIMPERSON. Wise work, sonny.

CARNEY. What s the use anyway? I win a lot of this
crinkley stuff, and there s nothing in this man s country to do
with it after you get it. If it were real, honest-to-God United
States money now and a man could go along Broadway

SIMPERSON. Shut up about money, and all the rest of that,
Carney. I ve had enough of it. Besides
Si MPERSON. Look here, Jim, I want to know
JIM. Laws, boss, if you want to know how to get her
workin strong, I can t tell you nothin . You have to feel
when it s so, and there s few white folks mighty few

CARNEY. Yes, and there s few white men that could lick
Jack Johnson. But what of it? Pas de quoi. Most of us
don t want to try.

SIMPERSON. Don t butt in, Carney. What about it Jim?
I m strong for this stuff. Three sixes twice, just by saying
the words

JIM. There s lots of words I could say, Mister Simper-

BUCKS. I advise you not to start anything, Simp.

CARNEY. Oh, come now, Buckie. That s what we came for
to start something. You talk like the new Lieutenant.

SIMPERSON. Now, Jim, what do you mean words you
could say?

JIM. Did you gentlemen I ain t preferrin the question to
Mr. Bucks now, you understand did you gentlemen ever
hear of a Virgo Doctor?

SIMPERSON. I ve heard of a Voodoo, if that s what you

JIM. Some folks call em that, but tain t the right name.
Right name s Virgo Doctor. They re the people what can
get her goin strong, now and again.

SIMPERSON. Now look here, Jim, I m broke, but I m good
for ten francs on this, if you can pull something special.

JIM. I wouldn t do it for money, nohow. And I wouldn t
like to get you gentlemen in bad with no officers

SIMPERSON. You won t. Bucks and I are safe, and nothing
you can do would put Carney in worse with the new Lieu

CARNEY. For the love of Heaven, Simp., let me forget him
for a minute

SIMPERSON. Go to it, Jim.

BUCKS. Now understand, fellows I m not in on this.

SIMPERSON. All right. Bucks is out. Now, Jim.

JIM. I ll take this table cloth, if you don t mind. {He
drapes the table cover around him, and takes up the candle.}

And I ll put out the light. (He pauses.)

You you won t forget about them ten francs, Mister Simp-
erson? (Simperson nods. Jim stands for a moment looking
straight before him; then he blows out the candle and be
gins a sing-song chant.}
Are you there are you near me are you close in the dark,

in the air? Are you there?
I s a-callin Fs a-callin I s a-callin .
Can you hear me? I s a-callin . Are you near me? I s a-

callin .

If you re near me are you touchin me? Am I touchin you?
For I m puttin out my hand I m puttin out all my fingers
I m puttijn* out my fingers in the dark toward you.

For the power of the darkness for the Virgo of the night
I m stretchin out my hand.

I m reachin out my hand and I m sayin in my heart all the
words I got to say all the words I got to say, in my

Do you put your hand in mine? Do you leave me cryin
lone in the night?

Now I feel the breath now I feel the breath now I touch
the hidden hand. Now the ring is on my finger. Now
the river s flowin over me flowin over me. Now I s
come to Virgo now I s still again now I s still.
I s touchin for luck on his left shoulder, for the wish that
must be fulfill . Now I s touchin on the right shoulder
for the second wish. Now I s touchin on his head on
his head for the third wish.

Virgo Virgo Virgo, now I s touched him Virgo listen
Virgo listen Virgo listen till he calls you!

{At the words, he has touched Carney on the shoulders and
on the head. There is a pause as he finished the chant;
then he twitches off the table cloth, dropping on his knees
by the table and covers his faces in his hands, crying out.)
Light the light! For the Lord s sake, light the light!
SIMPERSON. (in a hushed voice) What does that mean,

BUCKS. (lighting the candle) I don t know. He touch
ed Carney for three wishes.
SIMPERSON. What was all that, Jim?
JIM. Don t ask me Mister Simperson don t ask me.

SIMPERSON. Does it mean that Carney gets his wish, three

JIM. Mebbe so, but don t ask me. Lord forgive me
don t ask me. I never did feel her workin so strong.

SIMPERSON. Try it, Carney. What do you wish?

CARNEY. You know well enough what I wish.

SIMPERSON. Don t say you want to go home.

CARNEY. Oh, I don t camouflage it. I ve been a private
ever since I joined the army with no chance at all. I wish
the same thing every day I get up in the morning,

SIMPERSON. I get you.

BUCKS. Well, you don t behave like it.

CARNEY. I ve lost patience, that s all. I wish I was out ol
the ranks any way, at all, but out of the ranks. (There is
the commotion of men coming to attention outside, and a
voice is heard inquiring for Carney.)

Hang it all, it s the new Lieutenant. (Enter the Lieutenant.
The men scramble to their feet.)
CARNEY. Yes, sir.

THE LIEUTENANT. You have some knowledge of French?
CARNEY. A little, sir.

THE LIEUTENANT. So the Major said. He had only your
word for it, I believe, but he is making you a sergeant, and
detailing you specially. Your warrant is waiting at head
quarters. You are to take a squad at once and go out after
horses. You will cover the towns and villages listed here,
starting from the village of Dubois-sur-cotr. A motor truck
is moving immediately. Get your stuff and be ready. You will
be the only man in the detail who speaks French, and you will
be expected to buy horses to the best possible advantage,
picking them up wherever you can find them. Report back
to Dubois-sur-cote in five days.

CARNEY. You say we start tonight, sir?

THE LIEUTENANT. At once. I ve been a long time locating
you, so I advise that you report to the Major immediately.
You know where the camion starts?

CARNEY. Yes, sir.

THE LIEUTENANT. And you know where Dubois-sur-cote

CARNEY. I ll find it, sir.

THEJ LIEUTENANT. Very good, I may tell you frankly,
Carney, the Major has confidence in you. More than I have,
I m afraid. You have everything?

CARNEY. Yes, sir.

THE LIEUTENANT. Good night. (The Lieutenant goes out,
leaving Carney staring at his movement order.)

CARNEY. (Reading) Sergeant Carney and eight men.

SIMPERSON. Well, I ll be damned! Jim, I owe you[ ten

BUCKS. Don t take it too seriously, Simp. !
SIMPERSON. Well, it s mighty weird, just the same.

6 .

CARNEY. Weird I should say weird. The truck s waiting
in the rain, and me off for five days with a squad that knows
I ve just been raised, trying to buy horses from Frenchies on
what French I know. Weird it s looney, to put it mild.

SIMPERSON. But you said you wished

CARNEY. Yes, I said I wished and at that very moment
the Lieutenant was stalling around with his instructions,
pretending to try to locate me. It was all decided before we
started the game tonight. I ve seen the Major have his eye
on me a lot lately. It s just co-incidence but I m the vic
tim. And it all comes of my putting up a bluff about know
ing French saying "Tres bien," and "Voulez vous."

BUCKS. Now, Carney, I wouldn t be too sure

CARNEY. Well, I am sure. That s the trouble with us
all of us. Bluff. And look what it gets you into ! Look
at the responsibility! Think of me with that detail. More
than likely half of them know more French than I do. And
they won t admit it. They ll bluff and stall, and leave it all
up to me. And we ll sleep in stables for a week stables in
France ! Have you tried em ? Have you even sniffed em at
long ra^ige?

BUCKS. I can guess what they re like.

CARNEY. Sure you can. You can guess from any village
you pass through. They were cleaned out just before the
battle of Waterloo, and they ve been ripening ever since, just
for me and my detail. And we ll come back in five days on
crow-baits that can hardly haul their ragged hoofs out of the
mud. Buy horses with French money! If I bought Joe
Patchen s full brother for fifty francs, that Lieutenant would
growl at me. I m the unluckiest guy

SIMPERSON. Don t say that didn t you get your wish?

CARNEY. Yes, and don t I wish I hadn t? I wish I was
back where I was, that s what I wish. (Re-enter the Lieuten

THE LIEUTENANT. Carney, I gave you certain orders for
immediate execution. I didn t expect you to rise to your op
portunity. I wasn t surprised when you didn t. The work
couldn t wait, so the Major has made other arrangements.
Your appointment as sergeant has been cancelled. There will
be no other punishment, this time, but I hope the matter will
make some impression on you, for your own good. Let me
have that movement order. Good night. Exit the Lieuten

SIMPERSON. Now say that s co-incidence, will you?

CARNEY. No, but I wi {He is about to say he wishes,
ivhen Simperson puts his hand over his mouth.)

SIMPERSON. Be still now. Whatever you think you want
to say, don t say it. Let s get at the facts here, if we can.

BUCKS. You won t get any facts. Take my advice, and
forget all about it.

CARNEY. Or go as far as you like it s all on me.

SIMPERSON. Be quiet now. This may be very important.
There s no use wasting a great chance, just because it is a

CARNEY. I ll be quiet. Spill it.

SIMPERSON. Here we are, we three in France. It s all a
gamble it s a gamble if we get home or if we don t. And
what we do here is a gamble. Well, now, here we see this
shine Jim throw three sixes twice. Chance? Perhaps. But
he called for them, and they came. I don t pretend to un
derstand it, but it gets me. He sing-songs some nonsense
with the light out, and touches Carney for three wishes. Now
we know Carney s lucky. But he wishes twicey and each
time the thing happens. Always by natural means maybe
so. If he wished something unnatural, the voodoo would
most likely shake him. Now the point is he s got one more
wish coming.
CARNEY. Well, I wi (Again Simperson gags him.)

SIMPERSON. Now don t do anything* till you hear from
me. First, let s find out if Jim knows how far the voodoo ll

BUCKS. (Incredulously.) I ve known folks before try
ing to find out things like that.


JIM. Yes, boss.

SIMPERSON. Would your voodoo take notice of a hypothe
tical question or a hypothetical wish?

JIM. That sounds pretty good, boss, but I don t know. I
ain t never tried no hypoflutical wish on her.

CARNEY. What s the use being so dead sober about it,

SIMPERSON. Because it may be mighty sober business. It
might mean a lot to you, and to me, and to all of us. It
might mean a lot to the A. E. F.

CARNEY. Well if I should wi (He stops himself.) We ll
say if I should mention just mention our whipping the
Boches, would the voodoo take any interest?

JIM. I don t know. She wouldn t do nothin cept about
you yourself, Mister Carney I know that.

CARNEY. It s for me myself, personally, this mention,
we ll call it?

JIM. Just for yourself, personally, Mister Carney.

SIMPERSON. Now go slow, Carney. I don t know what
you re thinking. It s a chance a great chance, but it must
seem to come naturally, and it must come through you alone
you son of luck.

CARNEY. Jim, can you tell me how far this voodoo ll go?
What ll he do for me ?

JIM. There ain t no tellin what she ll do, boss ain t no
tellin .

SIMPERSON. Very careful, now, Carney. Don t you so
much as think of wishing anything until we get it all fig
ured out. For, however improbable it is, it must seem to hap
pen by natural means. That s evidently the way the thing

BUCKS. You boys are monkeying with a buzz saw, I warn

SIMPERSOX. So there s no use in figuring anything too mir

CARNEY. I might mention being given a commission.

SIMPERSON. Didn t I say we must avoid the miraculous?

CARNEY. Well, I tell you the Major has his eye on me.

SIMPERSON. He won t have when the Lieutenant gets
through. Whatever you do and it may be something mighty
big you must do as a private. Now I m trying to figure out
what s the biggest thing a private can get away with.

BUCKS. They say a private captured a German Major
General up at Chateau Thierry.

CARNEY. Well, I ain t that tender hearted.

BUCKS. And a private of engineers set off a mine up in
the Arras front that blew up a whole

CARNEY. Yes, and where did he light? Not for me!

SIMPERSON. Well, if you ll let us work it out

CARNEY. No you don t. You ve worked out enough to


show your slant. I m goin to work it out now. You listen
to me.

SIMPERSON. We ll listen, but see that you don t say the
word "wish." See that you don t even think it.

CARNEY. Quit butting in. If there s anything in this at
all, it s just as likely to be something big. Nothing s too big
for a voodoo. Now here s what) I ll do : first, I ll get trans-
fered to Aviation. Nothing impossible about that. Now say
I make good at the flying game. I can ride anything on four
legs, and lots of these French stallions are harder to stick
on than a plane. I say Aviation, because the stunt must be
one that I can pull off alone. Now, here s the voodoo s
chance. I get a plane. I go up. I make a landing behind
the Boche lines

SIMPERSON. Don t do that. Do you know how hard it is to
crank one: of those engines again, alone?

CARNEY. Leave that to me. I ve got a scheme for that.
Well, now, I m over back of the Boche lines. I ve got my
little double barrelled machine gun. I settle quietly beside a
road. It s up to the Voodoo. Now along come two large
grey automobiles. I turn loose with my gun. I get every
body in the first car, including the dummy. I get everybody
in the second car except one party ; he s an oldish party, with
a stiff left arm, and he understands English perfectly. I in
vite this party over to my plane. Major General, huh! My
oldish party is still under my gun, mind you. And I say to
him, "Bill, get busy with that propeller we re going up."
Pretty good, no? Tres bon, yes? You ll run this for me,
will you? You ll scheme it all out, will you? If I d let you
talk, you d be talking yet. As it is, it s as good as done.
Lordy I m dry I wish I had a drink. (Jim instantly sets three
mugs on the table.}

JIM. Here you are, Mister Carney. You was wishin for
a drink. (Carney starts violently, seeing what he has done.
The other two see it also, and rise abruptly, their mugs in]
their hands.}

SIMPERSON. You damn fool!

BUCKS. (At the same time with Simp er son.) Carney \
(Both swing their mugs at his head; Carney ducks, and is
drenched with drinks and broken earthenware, as


The Provincetown

Edited and Selected by
George Cram Cook and Frank Shay.

A record of the work of the most serious
and important of all new theatre move
ments in America. The plays, which are
distinctively American, are a notable con
tribution to our stage, and go far towards
indicating America s place in the world of
the theatre.

The contents are:

ARIA DE CAPO - By Edna St. Vincent Millay
NIGHT By James Oppenheim


By George Cram Cook and Susan Glaspell

By Eugene G. O Neill

COCAINE - - By Pendleton King

ENEMIES - By Neith Boyce and Hutchins Hapgood
NOT SMART By Wilbur Daniel Steele

THE WIDOW S VEIL - By Alice Rostetter
Octavo, silk cloth, tilt top, net S3.OO.

26-28 Horatio St., New York




OCT 8 1932

LD 21-50?H-8,-32

Gaylord Bros.


Syracuse, N. ^




Online LibraryThomas Wood StevensThree wishes; a comedy in one act → online text (page 1 of 1)