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Wilfrid Wilson Gibson.

Womenkind; a play in one act online

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GIBSON



Womenkind




Pilgrim Players Series. No. 4. Price 6d. net.

WOMENKIND

A Play in One Act



BY

WILFRID WILSON GIBSON



London :
DAVID NUTT, 57-59 Long Acre



/



WOMENKIND.



This -play zvas froduced by the Pilgrim Players Series
on Saturday, February 24M, igi2, and all dramatic
rights are reserved by the Author.



(WOMENKIND



A Play in One Act



BY



WILFRID WILSON GIBSON.



AUTHOR OF



1/



DAILY BREAD (1910).
FIRES (1912).




lLon5on :
DAVID NUTT, 57-59 Long Acre, W.C.



fVIIs h-jd a way with babies.

With babies, and with women.

(He snatches the child from Judith, before she
realises what he is after, and hobbles away with
it to the settle beside the fire. Before she can
move to follow him, footsteps are heard on the
threshold).

Eliza : Ah, God, they're at the door !

(As she speaks, Jim Barrasford, and P.ha'be, his
bride, enter , talking and laughing. Jjidith Eller-
shaw shrinks into the shadow behind the door,
• while they come between her and the high-backed
settle on which Ezra, is sitting, with the child ^
out of sight. Eliza stands dazed y in the middle
of the room).

Jim : Well ... so that's over !

And we're home, at last !

I hope the tea is ready.

I'm almost famished, mother —

As hungry as a hawk.

I've hardly had a bite, to-day :

And getting married's hungry work.

As Phoebe knows . . .

But, you've stopped laughing, now, lass . . .

And you look scared

There's nothing here to scare you.

Have you no word of welcome, mother,

That you stand like a stock, and gaping —

And gaping like a foundered ewe ?

I'll have you give my bride the greeting

That's due to her, my bride .

Poor lass, she's all atremble

But, we'll soon see who's mistress !
Eliza {coming forward) : You're welcome, daughter.

May you . . .
Ezra {crooning, unseen, to the baby) : " Sing to youi
mammy !

Sing to your daddy ! "

17



WOMENKIND.

Jim : What ails the old fool now ?

You must not heed him, Phoebe.

He is simple ; there's no harm in him.

{Going towards the settle)

Come, dad, and stir your stumps . . .
Why, mother, what is this !
Whose brat ...
Ezra : Whose brat ! Whose brat !

And who should know but he !

He's gay . . . he's gay !

He asks whose brat !

Maybe, you came too soon, my little lass :

But, he's a funny daddy.

To ask whose brat ! (crooning)

" Sing to your mammy . . ."

{Judith Ellershmv steps forward to take the
child from Ezra).

Jim : You ! Judith Ellershaw !
Why, lass . . .

{He moves to meet her ; but stops in confusion.
No one speaks, as Judith takes the child, and
zvraps it in her shaivl. She is moving towards
the door, when 'Phoebe steps before her, and
shuts it : then turns and faces Judith).
Phoebe : You shall not go.
Judith : And who are you to stay me ?
Phoebe: I . . . I'm Jim's bride.
Judith : And what would Jim's bride have to say to me?

Come, let me pass.
Phoebe : You shall not go.
Judith : Nay, woman, let me by !

You do not know me for the thing I am.

H you but guessed, you'd fling the door wide

open ;
And draw your skirts about you,
Lest any rag of mine should smirch them
I'm not flt company for fair young brides.
I never should have come 'mid decent folk.
You little know . . .
Phoebe : I heard your name just now . . .
And i have heard that name before.

i8



WOMENKIND.

Judith: You've heard my name before!

I wonder . . . but you heard no good of it.

Who ever spoke . .
Phoebe : I heard it from the lips

That uttered it just now.
Judith : From Jim !

Well . . . Jim knows what I am.

I wonder that he lets you talk with me.

Come, woman, I must go
Phoebe : Not till I know the name of your child's lather.
Ji'.ddh : Nay ! you've no right to ask it.
Phoebe : Maybe . . . and yet, you shall not cross
that step.

Until you tell .
Judith : Come, woman, don't be foolish
Phoebe : You say that I've no right.

Pray God, you speak the truth.

Yet, there may be no woman in the world

Who has a bettei right.
Judith : Why, lass : you'd surely never heed

An old man's witless babble !

A poor, old crazy .
Phoebe (still facing Judith): If I've no right, you will
not have the heart

To keep the name from me.

But set my mind at eas?.
Judith : I will not have the heart !

If it will set your mind at ease,

I'll speak my shame .

I'll speak my shame right out . . .

I'll speak my shame right out, before you all.
Jim : But, lass . . .
Judith : I would not have a bride unhappy.

Upon her wedding-day.

The father of my child was William Burn .

A stranger to these parts . .

Now ... let me pass.

{She tries to slip by, but Phoebe does not make
way for her).

Jim : Aye, Phoebe : let her go :

Don't be too hard on her :

She's told you what you asked . . .

19



WOMENKIND.

Though, why . . . unless ...

Yet, I don't iDlame the lass.

She should know best.
Phoebe {to Judith, looking her straight in the eyes) : You

lie !
Judith : I lie ?

Phoebe : To-day, I wedded your child's father.
Eliza : O God !

Jim : Come, lass, I say ...
Judith : No ! woman, no !

I spoke the truth.

Have I not shamed myself enough, already,

That you must call me liar ?
{to Eliza).

Speak out, speak out, and tell . . .

At least, you know me well enough

To tell her I'm no liar.

Speak out, if you're not tongue-tied :

And tell her all you know ...

How I'm a byeword among honest women,

And yet, no liar . . . Speak !

You'd tongue enough a while ago :

And have you none to answer your son's wife;

And save your son from slander ?
Eliza {hesitatingly) : I never knew the lass to lie.

{While they haze been talking, Ezra has risen
from the settle, unnoticed, and has hobbled
round to ivhere Phabe and Judith are standing.
He suddenly toitches Phcebe's arm).
Ezra : Give me the babe again . . .

Nay ! this is not the lass . . .

I want Jim's bride,.

The mother of his daughter.

Come, Judith, lass, where are you ?

I want to nurse my grandchild,

The little lass, Jim's little lass.

{While he is speaking, Judith tries to slip past
Phcebe, but Ezra clutches hold of her : and
Phcebe sets her back against the door. Eliza
goes up to Ezra; and takes him by the arm; and
leads him, mutteringly, back to the settle).

20



WOMENKIND.

Eliza : Come, Ezia, hold your foolish tongue.

You don't know what you're saying .
Jim : If he don't hold his tongue, I'll . . .
Judith {to Pkcebe) : And will you weigh an old man's
witlessness

Against my word ?

O woman, pay no heed to idle tongues.

If you would keep your happiness !
Phoebe (looking her in the face) : But, even while the


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Online LibraryWilfrid Wilson GibsonWomenkind; a play in one act → online text (page 1 of 2)