Plays of William E. Henley and R.L. Stevenson

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Author: William Ernest Henley

Scene III

ARETHUSA (AT BACK OF STAGE BY THE DOOR); GAUNT (FRONT L.); TO THESE, PEW, C.

PEW (SOTTO VOCE). All snug. (COMING DOWN.) So that was you, my young friend Christopher, as shot by me on the road; and so you was hot foot after old Pew? Christopher, my young friend, I reckon I’ll have the bowels out of that chest, and I reckon you’ll be lagged and scragged for it. (AT THESE WORDS ARETHUSA LOCKS THE DOOR, AND TAKES THE KEY.) What’s that? All still. There’s something wrong about this room. Pew, my ’art of oak, you’re queer to-night; brace up, and carry off. Where’s the tool? (PRODUCING KNIFE.) Ah, here she is; and now for the chest; and the gold; and rum - rum - rum. What! Open? . . . old clothes, by God! . . . He’s done me; he’s been before me; he’s bolted with the swag; that’s why he ran: Lord wither and waste him forty year for it! O Christopher, if I had my fingers on your throat! Why didn’t I strangle the soul out of him? I heard the breath squeak in his weasand; and Jack Gaunt pulled me off. Ah, Jack, that’s another I owe you. My pious friend, if I was God Almighty for five minutes! (GAUNT RISES AND BEGINS TO PACE THE STAGE LIKE A QUARTERDECK, L.) What’s that? A man’s walk. He don’t see me, thank the blessed dark! But it’s time to slip, my bo. (HE GROPES HIS WAY STEALTHILY TILL HE COMES TO GAUNT’S TABLE, WHERE HE BURNS HIS HAND IN THE CANDLE.) A candle - lighted - then it’s bright as day! Lord God, doesn’t he see me? It’s the horrors come alive. (GAUNT DRAWS NEAR AND TURNS AWAY.) I’ll go mad, mad! (HE GROPES TO THE DOOR, STOPPING AND STARTING.) Door. (HIS VOICE RISING FOR THE FIRST TIME, SHARP WITH TERROR.) Locked? Key gone? Trapped! Keep off - keep off of me - keep away! (SOTTO VOCE AGAIN.) Keep your head, Lord have mercy, keep your head. I’m wet with sweat. What devil’s den is this? I must out - out! (HE SHAKES THE DOOR VEHEMENTLY.) No? Knife it is then - knife - knife - knife! (HE MOVES WITH THE KNIFE RAISED TOWARDS GAUNT, INTENTLY LISTENING, AND CHANGING HIS DIRECTION AS GAUNT CHANGES HIS POSITION ON THE STAGE.)

ARETHUSA (RUSHING TO INTERCEPT HIM). Father, father, wake!

GAUNT. Hester, Hester! (HE TURNS, IN TIME TO SEE ARETHUSA GRAPPLE PEW IN THE CENTRE OF THE STAGE, AND PEW FORCE HER DOWN.)

ARETHUSA. Kit! Kit!

PEW (WITH THE KNIFE RAISED). Pew’s way!

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Chicago: William Ernest Henley, "Scene III," Plays of William E. Henley and R.L. Stevenson, ed. Macaulay, G. C. (George Campbell), 1852-1915 and trans. Evans, Sebastian in Plays of William E. Henley and R.L. Stevenson Original Sources, accessed February 29, 2024, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=8EY4MVPR53414RW.

MLA: Henley, William Ernest. "Scene III." Plays of William E. Henley and R.L. Stevenson, edited by Macaulay, G. C. (George Campbell), 1852-1915, and translated by Evans, Sebastian, in Plays of William E. Henley and R.L. Stevenson, Original Sources. 29 Feb. 2024. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=8EY4MVPR53414RW.

Harvard: Henley, WE, 'Scene III' in Plays of William E. Henley and R.L. Stevenson, ed. and trans. . cited in , Plays of William E. Henley and R.L. Stevenson. Original Sources, retrieved 29 February 2024, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=8EY4MVPR53414RW.