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    Act I

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    Chapter 1
    Great George Street, Westminster, is the address of Doyle and
    Broadbent, civil engineers. On the threshold one reads that the
    firm consists of Mr Lawrence Doyle and Mr Thomas Broadbent, and
    that their rooms are on the first floor. Most of their rooms are
    private; for the partners, being bachelors and bosom friends,
    live there; and the door marked Private, next the clerks' office,
    is their domestic sitting room as well as their reception room
    for clients. Let me describe it briefly from the point of view of
    a sparrow on the window sill. The outer door is in the opposite
    wall, close to the right hand corner. Between this door and the
    left hand corner is a hatstand and a table consisting of large
    drawing boards on trestles, with plans, rolls of tracing paper,
    mathematical instruments and other draughtsman's accessories on
    it. In the left hand wall is the fireplace, and the door of an
    inner room between the fireplace and our observant sparrow.
    Against the right hand wall is a filing cabinet, with a cupboard
    on it, and, nearer, a tall office desk and stool for one person.
    In the middle of the room a large double writing table is set
    across, with a chair at each end for the two partners. It is a
    room which no woman would tolerate, smelling of tobacco, and much
    in need of repapering, repainting, and recarpeting; but this is
    the effect of bachelor untidiness and indifference, not want of
    means; for nothing that Doyle and Broadbent themselves have
    purchased is cheap; nor is anything they want lacking. On the
    walls hang a large map of South America, a pictorial
    advertisement of a steamship company, an impressive portrait of
    Gladstone, and several caricatures of Mr Balfour as a rabbit and
    Mr Chamberlain as a fox by Francis Carruthers Gould.

    At twenty minutes to five o'clock on a summer afternoon in 1904,
    the room is empty. Presently the outer door is opened, and a
    valet comes in laden with a large Gladstone bag, and a strap of
    rugs. He carries them into the inner room. He is a respectable
    valet, old enough to have lost all alacrity, and acquired an air
    of putting up patiently with a great deal of trouble and
    indifferent health. The luggage belongs to Broadbent, who enters
    after the valet. He pulls off his overcoat and hangs it with his
    hat on the stand. Then he comes to the writing table and looks
    through the letters which are waiting for him. He is a robust,
    full-blooded, energetic man in the prime of life, sometimes eager
    and credulous, sometimes shrewd and roguish, sometimes
    portentously solemn, sometimes jolly and impetuous, always
    buoyant and irresistible, mostly likeable, and enormously absurd
    in his most earnest moments. He bursts open his letters with his
    thumb, and glances through them, flinging the envelopes about the
    floor with reckless untidiness whilst he talks to the valet.

    BROADBENT [calling] Hodson.

    HODSON [in the bedroom] Yes sir.

    BROADBENT. Don't unpack. Just take out the things I've worn; and
    put in clean things.

    HODSON [appearing at the bedroom door] Yes sir. [He turns to go
    back into the bedroom.

    BROADBENT. And look here! [Hodson turns again]. Do you remember
    where I put my revolver?

    HODSON. Revolver, sir? Yes sir. Mr Doyle uses it as a
    paper-weight, sir, when he's drawing.

    BROADBENT. Well, I want it packed. There's a packet of cartridges
    somewhere, I think. Find it and pack it as well.

    HODSON. Yes sir.

    BROADBENT. By the way, pack your own traps too. I shall take you
    with me this time.

    HODSON [hesitant]. Is it a dangerous part you're going to, sir?
    Should I be expected to carry a revolver, sir?

    BROADBENT. Perhaps it might be as well. I'm going to Ireland.

    HODSON [reassured]. Yes sir.

    BROADBENT. You don't feel nervous about it, I suppose?

    HODSON. Not at all, sir. I'll risk it, sir.

    BROADBENT. Have you ever been in Ireland?

    HODSON. No sir. I understand it's a very wet climate, sir. I'd
    better pack your india-rubber overalls.

    BROADBENT. Do. Where's Mr Doyle?

    HODSON. I'm expecting him at five, sir. He went out after lunch.

    BROADBENT. Anybody been looking for me?

    HODSON. A person giving the name of Haffigan has called twice to-
    day, sir.

    BROADBENT. Oh, I'm sorry. Why didn't he wait? I told him to wait
    if I wasn't in.

    HODSON. Well Sir, I didn't know you expected him; so I thought it
    best to--to--not to encourage him, sir.

    BROADBENT. Oh, he's all right. He's an Irishman, and not very
    particular about his appearance.

    HODSON. Yes sir, I noticed that he was rather Irish....

    BROADBENT. If he calls again let him come up.

    HODSON. I think I saw him waiting about, sir, when you drove up.
    Shall I fetch him, sir?

    BROADBENT. Do, Hodson.

    HODSON. Yes sir [He makes for the outer door].

    BROADBENT. He'll want tea. Let us have some.

    HODSON [stopping]. I shouldn't think he drank tea, sir.

    BROADBENT. Well, bring whatever you think he'd like.

    HODSON. Yes sir [An electric bell rings]. Here he is, sir. Saw
    you arrive, sir.

    BROADBENT. Right. Show him in. [Hodson goes out. Broadbent gets
    through the rest of his letters before Hodson returns with the

    HODSON. Mr Affigan.

    Haffigan is a stunted, shortnecked, smallheaded, redhaired man of
    about 30, with reddened nose and furtive eyes. He is dressed in
    seedy black, almost clerically, and might be a tenth-rate
    schoolmaster ruined by drink. He hastens to shake Broadbent's
    hand with a show of reckless geniality and high spirits, helped
    out by a rollicking stage brogue. This is perhaps a comfort to
    himself, as he is secretly pursued by the horrors of incipient
    delirium tremens.

    HAFFIGAN. Tim Haffigan, sir, at your service. The top o the
    mornin to you, Misther Broadbent.

    BROADBENT [delighted with his Irish visitor]. Good afternoon, Mr

    TIM. An is it the afthernoon it is already? Begorra, what I call
    the mornin is all the time a man fasts afther breakfast.

    BROADBENT. Haven't you lunched?

    TIM. Divil a lunch!

    BROADBENT. I'm sorry I couldn't get back from Brighton in time to
    offer you some; but--

    TIM. Not a word, sir, not a word. Sure it'll do tomorrow.
    Besides, I'm Irish, sir: a poor ather, but a powerful dhrinker.

    BROADBENT. I was just about to ring for tea when you came. Sit
    down, Mr Haffigan.

    TIM. Tay is a good dhrink if your nerves can stand it. Mine

    Haffigan sits down at the writing table, with his back to the
    filing cabinet. Broadbent sits opposite him. Hodson enters
    emptyhanded; takes two glasses, a siphon, and a tantalus from the
    cupboard; places them before Broadbent on the writing table;
    looks ruthlessly at Haffigan, who cannot meet his eye; and

    BROADBENT. Try a whisky and soda.

    TIM [sobered]. There you touch the national wakeness, sir.
    [Piously] Not that I share it meself. I've seen too much of the
    mischief of it.

    BROADBENT [pouring the whisky]. Say when.

    TIM. Not too sthrong. [Broadbent stops and looks enquiringly at
    him]. Say half-an-half. [Broadbent, somewhat startled by this
    demand, pours a little more, and again stops and looks]. Just a
    dhrain more: the lower half o the tumbler doesn't hold a fair
    half. Thankya.

    BROADBENT [laughing]. You Irishmen certainly do know how to
    drink. [Pouring some whisky for himself] Now that's my poor
    English idea of a whisky and soda.

    TIM. An a very good idea it is too. Dhrink is the curse o me
    unhappy counthry. I take it meself because I've a wake heart and
    a poor digestion; but in principle I'm a teetoatler.

    BROADBENT [suddenly solemn and strenuous]. So am I, of course.
    I'm a Local Optionist to the backbone. You have no idea, Mr
    Haffigan, of the ruin that is wrought in this country by the
    unholy alliance of the publicans, the bishops, the Tories, and
    The Times. We must close the public-houses at all costs [he

    TIM. Sure I know. It's awful [he drinks]. I see you're a good
    Liberal like meself, sir.

    BROADBENT. I am a lover of liberty, like every true Englishman,
    Mr Haffigan. My name is Broadbent. If my name were Breitstein,
    and I had a hooked nose and a house in Park Lane, I should carry
    a Union Jack handkerchief and a penny trumpet, and tax the food
    of the people to support the Navy League, and clamor for the
    destruction of the last remnants of national liberty--

    TIM. Not another word. Shake hands.

    BROADBENT. But I should like to explain--

    TIM. Sure I know every word you're goin to say before yev said
    it. I know the sort o man yar. An so you're thinkin o comin to
    Ireland for a bit?

    BROADBENT. Where else can I go? I am an Englishman and a Liberal;
    and now that South Africa has been enslaved and destroyed, there
    is no country left to me to take an interest in but Ireland.
    Mind: I don't say that an Englishman has not other duties. He has
    a duty to Finland and a duty to Macedonia. But what sane man can
    deny that an Englishman's first duty is his duty to Ireland?
    Unfortunately, we have politicians here more unscrupulous than
    Bobrikoff, more bloodthirsty than Abdul the Damned; and it is
    under their heel that Ireland is now writhing.

    TIM. Faith, they've reckoned up with poor oul Bobrikoff anyhow.

    BROADBENT. Not that I defend assassination: God forbid! However
    strongly we may feel that the unfortunate and patriotic young man
    who avenged the wrongs of Finland on the Russian tyrant was
    perfectly right from his own point of view, yet every civilized
    man must regard murder with abhorrence. Not even in defence of
    Free Trade would I lift my hand against a political opponent,
    however richly he might deserve it.

    TIM. I'm sure you wouldn't; and I honor you for it. You're goin
    to Ireland, then, out o sympithy: is it?

    BROADBENT. I'm going to develop an estate there for the Land
    Development Syndicate, in which I am interested. I am convinced
    that all it needs to make it pay is to handle it properly, as
    estates are handled in England. You know the English plan, Mr
    Haffigan, don't you?

    TIM. Bedad I do, sir. Take all you can out of Ireland and spend
    it in England: that's it.

    BROADBENT [not quite liking this]. My plan, sir, will be to take
    a little money out of England and spend it in Ireland.

    TIM. More power to your elbow! an may your shadda never be less!
    for you're the broth of a boy intirely. An how can I help you?
    Command me to the last dhrop o me blood.

    BROADBENT. Have you ever heard of Garden City?

    TIM [doubtfully]. D'ye mane Heavn?

    BROADBENT. Heaven! No: it's near Hitchin. If you can spare half
    an hour I'll go into it with you.

    TIM. I tell you hwat. Gimme a prospectus. Lemme take it home and
    reflect on it.

    BROADBENT. You're quite right: I will. [He gives him a copy of Mr
    Ebenezer Howard's book, and several pamphlets]. You understand
    that the map of the city--the circular construction--is only a

    TIM. I'll make a careful note o that [looking dazedly at the

    BROADBENT. What I say is, why not start a Garden City in Ireland?

    TIM [with enthusiasm]. That's just what was on the tip o me
    tongue to ask you. Why not? [Defiantly] Tell me why not.

    BROADBENT. There are difficulties. I shall overcome them; but
    there are difficulties. When I first arrive in Ireland I shall be
    hated as an Englishman. As a Protestant, I shall be denounced
    from every altar. My life may be in danger. Well, I am prepared
    to face that.

    TIM. Never fear, sir. We know how to respict a brave innimy.

    BROADBENT. What I really dread is misunderstanding. I think you
    could help me to avoid that. When I heard you speak the other
    evening in Bermondsey at the meeting of the National League, I
    saw at once that you were--You won't mind my speaking frankly?

    TIM. Tell me all me faults as man to man. I can stand anything
    but flatthery.

    BROADBENT. May I put it in this way?--that I saw at once that you
    were a thorough Irishman, with all the faults and all, the
    qualities of your race: rash and improvident but brave and
    goodnatured; not likely to succeed in business on your own
    account perhaps, but eloquent, humorous, a lover of freedom, and
    a true follower of that great Englishman Gladstone.

    TIM. Spare me blushes. I mustn't sit here to be praised to me
    face. But I confess to the goodnature: it's an Irish wakeness.
    I'd share me last shillin with a friend.

    BROADBENT. I feel sure you would, Mr Haffigan.

    TIM [impulsively]. Damn it! call me Tim. A man that talks about
    Ireland as you do may call me anything. Gimme a howlt o that
    whisky bottle [he replenishes].

    BROADBENT [smiling indulgently]. Well, Tim, will you come with me
    and help to break the ice between me and your warmhearted,
    impulsive countrymen?

    TIM. Will I come to Madagascar or Cochin China wid you? Bedad
    I'll come to the North Pole wid you if yll pay me fare; for the
    divil a shillin I have to buy a third class ticket.

    BROADBENT. I've not forgotten that, Tim. We must put that little
    matter on a solid English footing, though the rest can be as
    Irish as you please. You must come as my--my--well, I hardly know
    what to call it. If we call you my agent, they'll shoot you. If
    we call you a bailiff, they'll duck you in the horsepond. I have
    a secretary already; and--

    TIM. Then we'll call him the Home Secretary and me the Irish
    Secretary. Eh?

    BROADBENT [laughing industriously]. Capital. Your Irish wit has
    settled the first difficulty. Now about your salary--

    TIM. A salary, is it? Sure I'd do it for nothin, only me cloes ud
    disgrace you; and I'd be dhriven to borra money from your
    friends: a thing that's agin me nacher. But I won't take a penny
    more than a hundherd a year. [He looks with restless cunning at
    Broadbent, trying to guess how far he may go].

    BROADBENT. If that will satisfy you--

    TIM [more than reassured]. Why shouldn't it satisfy me? A
    hundherd a year is twelve-pound a month, isn't it?

    BROADBENT. No. Eight pound six and eightpence.

    TIM. Oh murdher! An I'll have to sind five timme poor oul mother
    in Ireland. But no matther: I said a hundherd; and what I said
    I'll stick to, if I have to starve for it.

    BROADBENT [with business caution]. Well, let us say twelve pounds
    for the first month. Afterwards, we shall see how we get on.

    TIM. You're a gentleman, sir. Whin me mother turns up her toes,
    you shall take the five pounds off; for your expinses must be kep
    down wid a sthrong hand; an--[He is interrupted by the arrival of
    Broadbent's partner.]

    Mr Laurence Doyle is a man of 36, with cold grey eyes, strained
    nose, fine fastidious lips, critical brown, clever head, rather
    refined and goodlooking on the whole, but with a suggestion of
    thinskinedness and dissatisfaction that contrasts strongly with
    Broadbent's eupeptic jollity.

    He comes in as a man at home there, but on seeing the stranger
    shrinks at once, and is about to withdraw when Broadbent
    reassures him. He then comes forward to the table, between the
    two others.

    DOYLE [retreating]. You're engaged.

    BROADBENT. Not at all, not at all. Come in. [To Tim] This
    gentleman is a friend who lives with me here: my partner, Mr
    Doyle. [To Doyle] This is a new Irish friend of mine, Mr Tim

    TIM [rising with effusion]. Sure it's meself that's proud to meet
    any friend o Misther Broadbent's. The top o the mornin to you,
    sir! Me heart goes out teeye both. It's not often I meet two such
    splendid speciments iv the Anglo-Saxon race.

    BROADBENT [chuckling] Wrong for once, Tim. My friend Mr Doyle is
    a countryman of yours.

    Tim is noticeably dashed by this announcement. He draws in his
    horns at once, and scowls suspiciously at Doyle under a vanishing
    mark of goodfellowship: cringing a little, too, in mere nerveless
    fear of him.

    DOYLE [with cool disgust]. Good evening. [He retires to the
    fireplace, and says to Broadbent in a tone which conveys the
    strongest possible hint to Haffigan that he is unwelcome] Will
    you soon be disengaged?

    TIM [his brogue decaying into a common would-be genteel accent
    with an unexpected strain of Glasgow in it]. I must be going.
    Ivnmportnt engeegement in the west end.

    BROADBENT [rising]. It's settled, then, that you come with me.

    TIM. Ish'll be verra pleased to accompany ye, sir.

    BROADBENT. But how soon? Can you start tonight--from Paddington?
    We go by Milford Haven.

    TIM [hesitating]. Well--I'm afreed--I [Doyle goes abruptly into
    the bedroom, slamming the door and shattering the last remnant of
    Tim's nerve. The poor wretch saves himself from bursting into
    tears by plunging again into his role of daredevil Irishman. He
    rushes to Broadbent; plucks at his sleeve with trembling fingers;
    and pours forth his entreaty with all the brogue be can muster,
    subduing his voice lest Doyle should hear and return]. Misther
    Broadbent: don't humiliate me before a fella counthryman. Look
    here: me cloes is up the spout. Gimme a fypounnote--I'll pay ya
    nex choosda whin me ship comes home--or you can stop it out o me
    month's sallery. I'll be on the platform at Paddnton punctial an
    ready. Gimme it quick, before he comes back. You won't mind me
    axin, will ye?

    BROADBENT. Not at all. I was about to offer you an advance for
    travelling expenses. [He gives him a bank note].

    TIM [pocketing it]. Thank you. I'll be there half an hour before
    the thrain starts. [Larry is heard at the bedroom door,
    returning]. Whisht: he's comin back. Goodbye an God bless ye. [He
    hurries out almost crying, the 5 pound note and all the drink it
    means to him being too much for his empty stomach and
    overstrained nerves].

    DOYLE [returning]. Where the devil did you pick up that seedy
    swindler? What was he doing here? [He goes up to the table where
    the plans are, and makes a note on one of them, referring to his
    pocket book as he does so].

    BROADBENT. There you go! Why are you so down on every Irishman
    you meet, especially if he's a bit shabby? poor devil! Surely a
    fellow-countryman may pass you the top of the morning without
    offence, even if his coat is a bit shiny at the seams.

    DOYLE [contemptuously]. The top of the morning! Did he call you
    the broth of a boy? [He comes to the writing table].

    BROADBENT [triumphantly]. Yes.

    DOYLE. And wished you more power to your elbow?

    BROADBENT. He did.

    DOYLE. And that your shadow might never be less?

    BROADBENT. Certainly.

    DOYLE [taking up the depleted whisky bottle and shaking his head
    at it]. And he got about half a pint of whisky out of you.

    BROADBENT. It did him no harm. He never turned a hair.

    DOYLE. How much money did he borrow?

    BROADBENT. It was not borrowing exactly. He showed a very
    honorable spirit about money. I believe he would share his last
    shilling with a friend.

    DOYLE. No doubt he would share his friend's last shilling if his
    friend was fool enough to let him. How much did he touch you for?

    BROADBENT. Oh, nothing. An advance on his salary--for travelling

    DOYLE. Salary! In Heaven's name, what for?

    BROADBENT. For being my Home Secretary, as he very wittily called

    DOYLE. I don't see the joke.

    BROADBENT. You can spoil any joke by being cold blooded about it.
    I saw it all right when he said it. It was something--something
    really very amusing--about the Home Secretary and the Irish
    Secretary. At all events, he's evidently the very man to take
    with me to Ireland to break the ice for me. He can gain the
    confidence of the people there, and make them friendly to me. Eh?
    [He seats himself on the office stool, and tilts it back so that
    the edge of the standing desk supports his back and prevents his
    toppling over].

    DOYLE. A nice introduction, by George! Do you suppose the whole
    population of Ireland consists of drunken begging letter writers,
    or that even if it did, they would accept one another as

    BROADBENT. Pooh! nonsense! He's only an Irishman. Besides, you
    don't seriously suppose that Haffigan can humbug me, do you?

    DOYLE. No: he's too lazy to take the trouble. All he has to do is
    to sit there and drink your whisky while you humbug yourself.
    However, we needn't argue about Haffigan, for two reasons. First,
    with your money in his pocket he will never reach Paddington:
    there are too many public houses on the way. Second, he's not an
    Irishman at all.

    BROADBENT. Not an Irishman! [He is so amazed by the statement
    that he straightens himself and brings the stool bolt upright].

    DOYLE. Born in Glasgow. Never was in Ireland in his life. I know
    all about him.

    BROADBENT. But he spoke--he behaved just like an Irishman.

    DOYLE. Like an Irishman!! Is it possible that you don't know that
    all this top-o-the-morning and broth-of-a-boy and more-power-to-
    your-elbow business is as peculiar to England as the Albert Hall
    concerts of Irish music are? No Irishman ever talks like that in
    Ireland, or ever did, or ever will. But when a thoroughly
    worthless Irishman comes to England, and finds the whole place
    full of romantic duffers like you, who will let him loaf and
    drink and sponge and brag as long as he flatters your sense of
    moral superiority by playing the fool and degrading himself and
    his country, he soon learns the antics that take you in. He picks
    them up at the theatre or the music hall. Haffigan learnt the
    rudiments from his father, who came from my part of Ireland. I
    knew his uncles, Matt and Andy Haffigan of Rosscullen.

    BROADBENT [still incredulous]. But his brogue!

    DOYLE. His brogue! A fat lot you know about brogues! I've heard
    you call a Dublin accent that you could hang your hat on, a
    brogue. Heaven help you! you don't know the difference between
    Connemara and Rathmines. [With violent irritation] Oh, damn Tim
    Haffigan! Let's drop the subject: he's not worth wrangling about.

    BROADBENT. What's wrong with you today, Larry? Why are you so

    Doyle looks at him perplexedly; comes slowly to the writing
    table; and sits down at the end next the fireplace before

    DOYLE. Well: your letter completely upset me, for one thing.


    LARRY. Your foreclosing this Rosscullen mortgage and turning poor
    Nick Lestrange out of house and home has rather taken me aback;
    for I liked the old rascal when I was a boy and had the run of
    his park to play in. I was brought up on the property.

    BROADBENT. But he wouldn't pay the interest. I had to foreclose
    on behalf of the Syndicate. So now I'm off to Rosscullen to look
    after the property myself. [He sits down at the writing table
    opposite Larry, and adds, casually, but with an anxious glance at
    his partner] You're coming with me, of course?

    DOYLE [rising nervously and recommencing his restless movements].
    That's it. That's what I dread. That's what has upset me.

    BROADBENT. But don't you want to see your country again after 18
    years absence? to see your people, to be in the old home again?

    DOYLE [interrupting him very impatiently]. Yes, yes: I know all
    that as well as you do.

    BROADBENT. Oh well, of course [with a shrug] if you take it in
    that way, I'm sorry.

    DOYLE. Never you mind my temper: it's not meant for you, as you
    ought to know by this time. [He sits down again, a little ashamed
    of his petulance; reflects a moment bitterly; then bursts out] I
    have an instinct against going back to Ireland: an instinct so
    strong that I'd rather go with you to the South Pole than to

    BROADBENT. What! Here you are, belonging to a nation with the
    strongest patriotism! the most inveterate homing instinct in the
    world! and you pretend you'd rather go anywhere than back to
    Ireland. You don't suppose I believe you, do you? In your heart--

    DOYLE. Never mind my heart: an Irishman's heart is nothing but
    his imagination. How many of all those millions that have left
    Ireland have ever come back or wanted to come back? But what's
    the use of talking to you? Three verses of twaddle about the
    Irish emigrant "sitting on the stile, Mary," or three hours of
    Irish patriotism in Bermondsey or the Scotland Division of
    Liverpool, go further with you than all the facts that stare you
    in the face. Why, man alive, look at me! You know the way I nag,
    and worry, and carp, and cavil, and disparage, and am never
    satisfied and never quiet, and try the patience of my best

    BROADBENT. Oh, come, Larry! do yourself justice. You're very
    amusing and agreeable to strangers.

    DOYLE. Yes, to strangers. Perhaps if I was a bit stiffer to
    strangers, and a bit easier at home, like an Englishman, I'd be
    better company for you.

    BROADBENT. We get on well enough. Of course you have the
    melancholy of the Celtic race--

    DOYLE [bounding out of his chair] Good God!!!

    BROADBENT [slyly]--and also its habit of using strong language
    when there's nothing the matter.

    DOYLE. Nothing the matter! When people talk about the Celtic
    race, I feel as if I could burn down London. That sort of rot
    does more harm than ten Coercion Acts. Do you suppose a man need
    be a Celt to feel melancholy in Rosscullen? Why, man, Ireland was
    peopled just as England was; and its breed was crossed by just
    the same invaders.

    BROADBENT. True. All the capable people in Ireland are of English
    extraction. It has often struck me as a most remarkable
    circumstance that the only party in parliament which shows the
    genuine old English character and spirit is the Irish party. Look
    at its independence, its determination, its defiance of bad
    Governments, its sympathy with oppressed nationalities all the
    world over! How English!

    DOYLE. Not to mention the solemnity with which it talks old-
    fashioned nonsense which it knows perfectly well to be a century
    behind the times. That's English, if you like.

    BROADBENT. No, Larry, no. You are thinking of the modern hybrids
    that now monopolize England. Hypocrites, humbugs, Germans, Jews,
    Yankees, foreigners, Park Laners, cosmopolitan riffraff. Don't
    call them English. They don't belong to the dear old island, but
    to their confounded new empire; and by George! they're worthy of
    it; and I wish them joy of it.

    DOYLE [unmoved by this outburst]. There! You feel better now,
    don't you?

    BROADBENT [defiantly]. I do. Much better.

    DOYLE. My dear Tom, you only need a touch of the Irish climate to
    be as big a fool as I am myself. If all my Irish blood were
    poured into your veins, you wouldn't turn a hair of your
    constitution and character. Go and marry the most English
    Englishwoman you can find, and then bring up your son in
    Rosscullen; and that son's character will be so like mine and so
    unlike yours that everybody will accuse me of being his father.
    [With sudden anguish] Rosscullen! oh, good Lord, Rosscullen! The
    dullness! the hopelessness! the ignorance! the bigotry!

    BROADBENT [matter-of-factly]. The usual thing in the country,
    Larry. Just the same here.

    DOYLE [hastily]. No, no: the climate is different. Here, if the
    life is dull, you can be dull too, and no great harm done. [Going
    off into a passionate dream] But your wits can't thicken in that
    soft moist air, on those white springy roads, in those misty
    rushes and brown bogs, on those hillsides of granite rocks and
    magenta heather. You've no such colors in the sky, no such lure
    in the distances, no such sadness in the evenings. Oh, the
    dreaming! the dreaming! the torturing, heartscalding, never
    satisfying dreaming, dreaming, dreaming, dreaming! [Savagely] No
    debauchery that ever coarsened and brutalized an Englishman can
    take the worth and usefulness out of him like that dreaming. An
    Irishman's imagination never lets him alone, never convinces him,
    never satisfies him; but it makes him that he can't face reality
    nor deal with it nor handle it nor conquer it: he can only sneer
    at them that do, and [bitterly, at Broadbent] be "agreeable to
    strangers," like a good-for-nothing woman on the streets.
    [Gabbling at Broadbent across the table] It's all dreaming, all
    imagination. He can't be religious. The inspired Churchman that
    teaches him the sanctity of life and the importance of conduct is
    sent away empty; while the poor village priest that gives him a
    miracle or a sentimental story of a saint, has cathedrals built
    for him out of the pennies of the poor. He can't be intelligently
    political, he dreams of what the Shan Van Vocht said in ninety-
    eight. If you want to interest him in Ireland you've got to call
    the unfortunate island Kathleen ni Hoolihan and pretend she's a
    little old woman. It saves thinking. It saves working. It saves
    everything except imagination, imagination, imagination; and
    imagination's such a torture that you can't bear it without
    whisky. [With fierce shivering self-contempt] At last you get
    that you can bear nothing real at all: you'd rather starve than
    cook a meal; you'd rather go shabby and dirty than set your mind
    to take care of your clothes and wash yourself; you nag and
    squabble at home because your wife isn't an angel, and she
    despises you because you're not a hero; and you hate the whole
    lot round you because they're only poor slovenly useless devils
    like yourself. [Dropping his voice like a man making some
    shameful confidence] And all the while there goes on a horrible,
    senseless, mischievous laughter. When you're young, you exchange
    drinks with other young men; and you exchange vile stories with
    them; and as you're too futile to be able to help or cheer them,
    you chaff and sneer and taunt them for not doing the things you
    daren't do yourself. And all the time you laugh, laugh, laugh!
    eternal derision, eternal envy, eternal folly, eternal fouling
    and staining and degrading, until, when you come at last to a
    country where men take a question seriously and give a serious
    answer to it, you deride them for having no sense of humor, and
    plume yourself on your own worthlessness as if it made you better
    than them.

    BROADBENT [roused to intense earnestness by Doyle's eloquence].
    Never despair, Larry. There are great possibilities for Ireland.
    Home Rule will work wonders under English guidance.

    DOYLE [pulled up short, his face twitching with a reluctant
    smile]. Tom: why do you select my most tragic moments for your
    most irresistible strokes of humor?

    BROADBENT. Humor! I was perfectly serious. What do you mean? Do
    you doubt my seriousness about Home Rule?

    DOYLE. I am sure you are serious, Tom, about the English

    BROADBENT [quite reassured]. Of course I am. Our guidance is the
    important thing. We English must place our capacity for
    government without stint at the service of nations who are less
    fortunately endowed in that respect; so as to allow them to
    develop in perfect freedom to the English level of
    self-government, you know. You understand me?

    DOYLE. Perfectly. And Rosscullen will understand you too.

    BROADBENT [cheerfully]. Of course it will. So that's all right.
    [He pulls up his chair and settles himself comfortably to lecture
    Doyle]. Now, Larry, I've listened carefully to all you've said
    about Ireland; and I can see nothing whatever to prevent your
    coming with me. What does it all come to? Simply that you were
    only a young fellow when you were in Ireland. You'll find all
    that chaffing and drinking and not knowing what to be at in
    Peckham just the same as in Donnybrook. You looked at Ireland
    with a boy's eyes and saw only boyish things. Come back with me
    and look at it with a man's, and get a better opinion of your

    DOYLE. I daresay you're partly right in that: at all events I
    know very well that if I had been the son of a laborer instead of
    the son of a country landagent, I should have struck more grit
    than I did. Unfortunately I'm not going back to visit the Irish
    nation, but to visit my father and Aunt Judy and Nora Reilly and
    Father Dempsey and the rest of them.

    BROADBENT. Well, why not? They'll be delighted to see you, now
    that England has made a man of you.

    DOYLE [struck by this]. Ah! you hit the mark there, Tom, with
    true British inspiration.

    BROADBENT. Common sense, you mean.

    DOYLE [quickly]. No I don't: you've no more common sense than a
    gander. No Englishman has any common sense, or ever had, or ever
    will have. You're going on a sentimental expedition for perfectly
    ridiculous reasons, with your head full of political nonsense
    that would not take in any ordinarily intelligent donkey; but you
    can hit me in the eye with the simple truth about myself and my

    BROADBENT [amazed]. I never mentioned your father.

    DOYLE [not heeding the interruption]. There he is in Rosscullen,
    a landagent who's always been in a small way because he's a
    Catholic, and the landlords are mostly Protestants. What with
    land courts reducing rents and Land Acts turning big estates into
    little holdings, he'd be a beggar this day if he hadn't bought
    his own little farm under the Land Purchase Act. I doubt if he's
    been further from home than Athenmullet for the last twenty
    years. And here am I, made a man of, as you say, by England.

    BROADBENT [apologetically]. I assure you I never meant--

    DOYLE. Oh, don't apologize: it's quite true. I daresay I've
    learnt something in America and a few other remote and inferior
    spots; but in the main it is by living with you and working in
    double harness with you that I have learnt to live in a real
    world and not in an imaginary one. I owe more to you than to any

    BROADBENT [shaking his head with a twinkle in his eye]. Very
    friendly of you, Larry, old man, but all blarney. I like blarney;
    but it's rot, all the same.

    DOYLE. No it's not. I should never have done anything without
    you; although I never stop wondering at that blessed old head of
    yours with all its ideas in watertight compartments, and all the
    compartments warranted impervious to anything that it doesn't
    suit you to understand.

    BROADBENT [invincible]. Unmitigated rot, Larry, I assure you.

    DOYLE. Well, at any rate you will admit that all my friends are
    either Englishmen or men of the big world that belongs to the big
    Powers. All the serious part of my life has been lived in that
    atmosphere: all the serious part of my work has been done with
    men of that sort. Just think of me as I am now going back to
    Rosscullen! to that hell of littleness and monotony! How am I to
    get on with a little country landagent that ekes out his 5 per
    cent with a little farming and a scrap of house property in the
    nearest country town? What am I to say to him? What is he to say
    to me?

    BROADBFNT [scandalized]. But you're father and son, man!

    DOYLE. What difference does that make? What would you say if I
    proposed a visit to YOUR father?

    BROADBENT [with filial rectitude]. I always made a point of going
    to see my father regularly until his mind gave way.

    DOYLE [concerned]. Has he gone mad? You never told me.

    BROADBENT. He has joined the Tariff Reform League. He would never
    have done that if his mind had not been weakened. [Beginning to
    declaim] He has fallen a victim to the arts of a political
    charlatan who--

    DOYLE [interrupting him]. You mean that you keep clear of your
    father because he differs from you about Free Trade, and you
    don't want to quarrel with him. Well, think of me and my father!
    He's a Nationalist and a Separatist. I'm a metallurgical chemist
    turned civil engineer. Now whatever else metallurgical chemistry
    may be, it's not national. It's international. And my business
    and yours as civil engineers is to join countries, not to
    separate them. The one real political conviction that our
    business has rubbed into us is that frontiers are hindrances and
    flags confounded nuisances.

    BROADBENT [still smarting under Mr Chamberlain's economic
    heresy]. Only when there is a protective tariff--

    DOYLE [firmly] Now look here, Tom: you want to get in a speech on
    Free Trade; and you're not going to do it: I won't stand it. My
    father wants to make St George's Channel a frontier and hoist a
    green flag on College Green; and I want to bring Galway within 3
    hours of Colchester and 24 of New York. I want Ireland to be the
    brains and imagination of a big Commonwealth, not a Robinson
    Crusoe island. Then there's the religious difficulty. My
    Catholicism is the Catholicism of Charlemagne or Dante, qualified
    by a great deal of modern science and folklore which Father
    Dempsey would call the ravings of an Atheist. Well, my father's
    Catholicism is the Catholicism of Father Dempsey.

    BROADBENT [shrewdly]. I don't want to interrupt you, Larry; but
    you know this is all gammon. These differences exist in all
    families; but the members rub on together all right. [Suddenly
    relapsing into portentousness] Of course there are some questions
    which touch the very foundations of morals; and on these I grant
    you even the closest relationships cannot excuse any compromise
    or laxity. For instance--

    DOYLE [impatiently springing up and walking about]. For instance,
    Home Rule, South Africa, Free Trade, and the Education Rate.
    Well, I should differ from my father on every one of them,
    probably, just as I differ from you about them.

    BROADBENT. Yes; but you are an Irishman; and these things are not
    serious to you as they are to an Englishman.

    DOYLE. What! not even Home Rule!

    BROADBENT [steadfastly]. Not even Home Rule. We owe Home Rule not
    to the Irish, but to our English Gladstone. No, Larry: I can't
    help thinking that there's something behind all this.

    DOYLE [hotly]. What is there behind it? Do you think I'm
    humbugging you?

    BROADBENT. Don't fly out at me, old chap. I only thought--

    DOYLE. What did you think?

    BROADBENT. Well, a moment ago I caught a name which is new to me:
    a Miss Nora Reilly, I think. [Doyle stops dead and stares at him
    with something like awe]. I don't wish to be impertinent, as you
    know, Larry; but are you sure she has nothing to do with your
    reluctance to come to Ireland with me?

    DOYLE [sitting down again, vanquished]. Thomas Broadbent: I
    surrender. The poor silly-clever Irishman takes off his hat to
    God's Englishman. The man who could in all seriousness make that
    recent remark of yours about Home Rule and Gladstone must be
    simply the champion idiot of all the world. Yet the man who could
    in the very next sentence sweep away all my special pleading and
    go straight to the heart of my motives must be a man of genius.
    But that the idiot and the genius should be the same man! how is
    that possible? [Springing to his feet] By Jove, I see it all now.
    I'll write an article about it, and send it to Nature.

    BROADBENT [staring at him]. What on earth--

    DOYLE. It's quite simple. You know that a

    BROADBENT. A caterpillar!!!

    DOYLE. Yes, a caterpillar. Now give your mind to what I am going
    to say; for it's a new and important scientific theory of the
    English national character. A caterpillar--

    BROADBENT. Look here, Larry: don't be an ass.

    DOYLE [insisting]. I say a caterpillar and I mean a caterpillar.
    You'll understand presently. A caterpillar [Broadbent mutters a
    slight protest, but does not press it] when it gets into a tree,
    instinctively makes itself look exactly like a leaf; so that both
    its enemies and its prey may mistake it for one and think it not
    worth bothering about.

    BROADBENT. What's that got to do with our English national

    DOYLE. I'll tell you. The world is as full of fools as a tree is
    full of leaves. Well, the Englishman does what the caterpillar
    does. He instinctively makes himself look like a fool, and eats
    up all the real fools at his ease while his enemies let him alone
    and laugh at him for being a fool like the rest. Oh, nature is
    cunning, cunning! [He sits down, lost in contemplation of his

    BROADBENT [with hearty admiration]. Now you know, Larry, that
    would never have occurred to me. You Irish people are amazingly
    clever. Of course it's all tommy rot; but it's so brilliant, you
    know! How the dickens do you think of such things! You really
    must write an article about it: they'll pay you something for it.
    If Nature won't have it, I can get it into Engineering for you: I
    know the editor.

    DOYLE. Let's get back to business. I'd better tell you about Nora

    BROADBENT. No: never mind. I shouldn't have alluded to her.

    DOYLE. I'd rather. Nora has a fortune.

    BROADBENT [keenly interested]. Eh? How much?

    DOYLE. Forty per annum.

    BROADBENT. Forty thousand?

    DOYLE. No, forty. Forty pounds.

    BROADBENT [much dashed.] That's what you call a fortune in
    Rosscullen, is it?

    DOYLE. A girl with a dowry of five pounds calls it a fortune in
    Rosscullen. What's more 40 pounds a year IS a fortune there; and
    Nora Reilly enjoys a good deal of social consideration as an
    heiress on the strength of it. It has helped my father's
    household through many a tight place. My father was her father's
    agent. She came on a visit to us when he died, and has lived with
    us ever since.

    BROADBENT [attentively, beginning to suspect Larry of misconduct
    with Nora, and resolving to get to the bottom of it]. Since when?
    I mean how old were you when she came?

    DOYLE. I was seventeen. So was she: if she'd been older she'd
    have had more sense than to stay with us. We were together for 18
    months before I went up to Dublin to study. When I went home for
    Christmas and Easter, she was there: I suppose it used to be
    something of an event for her, though of course I never thought
    of that then.

    BROADBENT. Were you at all hard hit?

    DOYLE. Not really. I had only two ideas at that time, first, to
    learn to do something; and then to get out of Ireland and have a
    chance of doing it. She didn't count. I was romantic about her,
    just as I was romantic about Byron's heroines or the old Round
    Tower of Rosscullen; but she didn't count any more than they did.
    I've never crossed St George's Channel since for her sake--never
    even landed at Queenstown and come back to London through

    BROADBENT. But did you ever say anything that would justify her
    in waiting for you?

    DOYLE. No, never. But she IS waiting for me.

    BROADBENT. How do you know?

    DOYLE. She writes to me--on her birthday. She used to write on
    mine, and send me little things as presents; but I stopped that
    by pretending that it was no use when I was travelling, as they
    got lost in the foreign post-offices. [He pronounces post-offices
    with the stress on offices, instead of on post].

    BROADBENT. You answer the letters?

    DOYLE. Not very punctually. But they get acknowledged at one time
    or another.

    BROADBENT. How do you feel when you see her handwriting?

    DOYLE. Uneasy. I'd give 50 pounds to escape a letter.

    BROADBENT [looking grave, and throwing himself back in his chair
    to intimate that the cross-examination is over, and the result
    very damaging to the witness] Hm!

    DOYLE. What d'ye mean by Hm!?

    BROADBENT. Of course I know that the moral code is different in
    Ireland. But in England it's not considered fair to trifle with a
    woman's affections.

    DOYLE. You mean that an Englishman would get engaged to another
    woman and return Nora her letters and presents with a letter to
    say he was unworthy of her and wished her every happiness?

    BROADBENT. Well, even that would set the poor girl's mind at

    DOYLE. Would it? I wonder! One thing I can tell you; and that is
    that Nora would wait until she died of old age sooner than ask my
    intentions or condescend to hint at the possibility of my having
    any. You don't know what Irish pride is. England may have knocked
    a good deal of it out of me; but she's never been in England; and
    if I had to choose between wounding that delicacy in her and
    hitting her in the face, I'd hit her in the face without a
    moment's hesitation.

    BROADBENT [who has been nursing his knee and reflecting,
    apparently rather agreeably]. You know, all this sounds rather
    interesting. There's the Irish charm about it. That's the worst
    of you: the Irish charm doesn't exist for you.

    DOYLE. Oh yes it does. But it's the charm of a dream. Live in
    contact with dreams and you will get something of their charm:
    live in contact with facts and you will get something of their
    brutality. I wish I could find a country to live in where the
    facts were not brutal and the dreams not unreal.

    BROADBENT [changing his attitude and responding to Doyle's
    earnestness with deep conviction: his elbows on the table and his
    hands clenched]. Don't despair, Larry, old boy: things may look
    black; but there will be a great change after the next election.

    DOYLE [jumping up]. Oh get out, you idiot!

    BROADBENT [rising also, not a bit snubbed]. Ha! ha! you may
    laugh; but we shall see. However, don't let us argue about that.
    Come now! you ask my advice about Miss Reilly?

    DOYLE [reddening]. No I don't. Damn your advice! [Softening]
    Let's have it, all the same.

    BROADBENT. Well, everything you tell me about her impresses me
    favorably. She seems to have the feelings of a lady; and though
    we must face the fact that in England her income would hardly
    maintain her in the lower middle class--

    DOYLE [interrupting]. Now look here, Tom. That reminds me. When
    you go to Ireland, just drop talking about the middle class and
    bragging of belonging to it. In Ireland you're either a gentleman
    or you're not. If you want to be particularly offensive to Nora,
    you can call her a Papist; but if you call her a middle-class
    woman, Heaven help you!

    BROADBENT [irrepressible]. Never fear. You're all descended from
    the ancient kings: I know that. [Complacently] I'm not so
    tactless as you think, my boy. [Earnest again] I expect to find
    Miss Reilly a perfect lady; and I strongly advise you to come and
    have another look at her before you make up your mind about her.
    By the way, have you a photograph of her?

    DOYLE. Her photographs stopped at twenty-five.

    BROADBENT [saddened]. Ah yes, I suppose so. [With feeling,
    severely] Larry: you've treated that poor girl disgracefully.

    DOYLE. By George, if she only knew that two men were talking
    about her like this--!

    BROADBENT. She wouldn't like it, would she? Of course not. We
    ought to be ashamed of ourselves, Larry. [More and more carried
    away by his new fancy]. You know, I have a sort of presentiment
    that Miss Really is a very superior woman.

    DOYLE [staring hard at him]. Oh you have, have you?

    BROADBENT. Yes I have. There is something very touching about the
    history of this beautiful girl.

    DOYLE. Beau--! Oho! Here's a chance for Nora! and for me!
    [Calling] Hodson.

    HODSON [appearing at the bedroom door]. Did you call, sir?

    DOYLE. Pack for me too. I'm going to Ireland with Mr Broadbent.

    HODSON. Right, sir. [He retires into the bedroom.]

    BROADBENT [clapping Doyle on the shoulder]. Thank you, old chap.
    Thank you.
    Next Chapter
    Chapter 1
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