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

Author: William Ernest Henley

Scene III


SMITH. Where’s my beloved? Deakin, my beauty, where are you? Come to the arms of George, and let him introduce you. Capting Starlight Rivers! Capting, the Deakin: Deakin, the Capting. An English nobleman on the grand tour, to open his mind, by the Lard!

RIVERS. Stupendiously pleased to make your acquaintance, Mr. Deakin, split me!

[BRODIE. We don’t often see England’s heroes our way, Captain, but when we do, we make them infernally welcome.

RIVERS. Prettily put, sink me! A demned genteel sentiment, stap my vitals!]

BRODIE. Oh Captain! you flatter me. [We Scotsmen have our qualities, I suppose, but we are but rough and ready at the best. There’s nothing like your Englishman for genuine distinction. He is nearer France than we are, and smells of his neighbourhood. That d-d thing, the JE NE SAIS QUOI, too! Lard, Lard, split me! stap my vitals! O such manners are pure, pure, pure. They are, by the shade of Claude Duval!]

RIVERS. Mr. Deakin, Mr. Deakin [this is passatively too much]. What will you sip? Give it the Hanar of a neam.

BRODIE. By these most Hanarable hands now, Captain, you shall not. On such an occasion I could play host with Lucifer himself. Here, Clarke, Mother Midnight! Down with you, Captain! (FORCING HIM BOISTEROUSLY INTO A CHAIR.) I don’t know if you can lie, but, sink me! you shall sit. (DRINKING, ETC., IN DUMB-SHOW.)

MOORE (ASIDE TO SMITH). We’ve nobbled him, Geordie!

SMITH (ASIDE TO MOORE). As neat as ninepence! He’s taking it down like mother’s milk. But there’ll be wigs on the green to-morrow, Badger! It’ll be tuppence and toddle with George Smith.

MOORE. O muck! Who’s afraid of him? (TO AINSLIE.) Hang on, Slinkie.


[RIVERS. Will you sneeze, Mr. Deakin, sir?

BRODIE. Thanks; I have all the vices, Captain. You must send me some of your rappee. It is passatively perfect.]

RIVERS. Mr. Deakin, I do myself the Hanar of a sip to you.

BRODIE. Topsy-turvy with the can!

MOORE (ASIDE TO SMITH). That made him wink.

BRODIE. Your high and mighty hand, my Captain! Shall we dice - dice - dice? (DUMB-SHOW BETWEEN THEM.)


MOORE. What’s up now?

AINSLIE. I’m no to gie him the coggit dice?

MOORE. The square ones, rot you! Ain’t he got to lose every brass farden?

AINSLIE. What’ll like be my share?

MOORE. You mucking well leave that to me.

RIVERS. Well, Mr. Deakin, if you passatively will have me shake a Helbow -

BRODIE. Where are the bones, Ainslie? Where are the dice, Lord George? (AINSLIE GIVES THE DICE AND DICE-BOX TO BRODIE; AND PRIVATELY A SECOND PAIR OF DICE.) Old Fortune’s counters the bonnie money-catching, money-breeding bones! Hark to their dry music! Scotland against England! Sit round, you tame devils, and put your coins on me!

SMITH. Easy does it, my lord of high degree! Keep cool.

BRODIE. Cool’s the word, Captain - a cool twenty on the first?

RIVERS. Done and done. (THEY PLAY.)

HUNT (ASIDE TO MOORE, A LITTLE DRUNK). Ain’t that ’ere Scotch gentleman, your friend, too drunk to play, sir?

MOORE. You hold your jaw; that’s what’s the matter with you.

AINSLIE. He’s waur nor he looks. He’s knockit the box aff the table.

SMITH (PICKING UP BOX). That’s the way we does it. Ten to one and no takers!

BRODIE. Deuces again! More liquor, Mother Clarke!

SMITH. Hooray our side! (POUTING OUT.) George and his pal for ever!

BRODIE. Deuces again, by heaven! Another?


BRODIE. Ten more; money’s made to go. On with you!

RIVERS. Sixes.

BRODIE. Deuce-ace. Death and judgment? Double or quits?

RIVERS. Drive on! Sixes.

SMITH. Fire away, brave boys! (TO MOORE) It’s Tally-ho-the- Grinder, Hump!

BRODIE. Treys! Death and the pit! How much have you got there?

RIVERS. A cool forty-five.

BRODIE. I play you thrice the lot.

RIVERS. Who’s afraid?

SMITH. Stand by, Badger!

RIVERS. Cinq-ace.

BRODIE. My turn now. (HE JUGGLES IN AND USES THE SECOND PAIR OF DICE.) Aces! Aces again! What’s this? (PICKING UP DICE.) Sold! . . . You play false, you hound!

RIVERS. You lie!


MOORE. Here, none o’ that. (THEY HOLD HIM BACK. STRUGGLE.)

SMITH. Hold on, Deacon!

BRODIE. Let me go. Hands off, I say! I’ll not touch him. (STANDS WEIGHING DICE IN HIS HAND.) But as for that thieving whinger, Ainslie, I’ll cut his throat between this dark and to-morrow’s. To the bone. (ADDRESSING THE COMPANY.) Rogues, rogues, rogues! (SINGING WITHOUT.) Ha! what’s that?

AINSLIE. It’s the psalm-singing up by at the Holy Weaver’s. And O Deacon, if ye’re a Christian man -

THE PSALM WITHOUT:- ’Lord, who shall stand, if Thou, O Lord, Should’st mark iniquity? But yet with Thee forgiveness is, That feared Thou may’st be.’

BRODIE. I think I’ll go. ’My son the Deacon was aye regular at kirk.’ If the old man could see his son, the Deacon! I think I’ll - Ay, who SHALL stand? There’s the rub! And forgiveness, too? There’s a long word for you! I learnt it all lang syne, and now . . . hell and ruin are on either hand of me, and the devil has me by the leg. ’My son, the Deacon . . . !’ Eh, God! but there’s no fool like an old fool! (BECOMING CONSCIOUS OF THE OTHERS.) Rogues!

SMITH. Take my arm, Deacon.

BRODIE. Down, dog, down! [Stay and be drunk with your equals.] Gentlemen and ladies, I have already cursed you pretty heavily. Let me do myself the pleasure of wishing you - a very - good evening. (AS HE GOES OUT, HUNT, WHO HAS BEEN STAGGERING ABOUT IN THE CROWD, FALLS ON A SETTLE, AS ABOUT TO SLEEP.)



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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 March 31, 2023,

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. 31 Mar. 2023.

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 31 March 2023, from