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    Act IV

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    Chapter 4
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    The parlor in Cornelius Doyle's house. It communicates with the
    garden by a half glazed door. The fireplace is at the other side
    of the room, opposite the door and windows, the architect not
    having been sensitive to draughts. The table, rescued from the
    garden, is in the middle; and at it sits Keegan, the central
    figure in a rather crowded apartment.

    Nora, sitting with her back to the fire at the end of the table,
    is playing backgammon across its corner with him, on his left
    hand. Aunt Judy, a little further back, sits facing the fire
    knitting, with her feet on the fender. A little to Keegan's
    right, in front of the table, and almost sitting on it, is Barney
    Doran. Half a dozen friends of his, all men, are between him and
    the open door, supported by others outside. In the corner behind
    them is the sofa, of mahogany and horsehair, made up as a bed for
    Broadbent. Against the wall behind Keegan stands a mahogany
    sideboard. A door leading to the interior of the house is near
    the fireplace, behind Aunt Judy. There are chairs against the
    wall, one at each end of the sideboard. Keegan's hat is on the
    one nearest the inner door; and his stick is leaning against it.
    A third chair, also against the wall, is near the garden door.

    There is a strong contrast of emotional atmosphere between the
    two sides of the room. Keegan is extraordinarily stern: no game
    of backgammon could possibly make a man's face so grim. Aunt Judy
    is quietly busy. Nora it trying to ignore Doran and attend to her

    On the other hand Doran is reeling in an ecstasy of mischievous
    mirth which has infected all his friends. They are screaming with
    laughter, doubled up, leaning on the furniture and against the
    walls, shouting, screeching, crying.

    AUNT JUDY [as the noise lulls for a moment]. Arra hold your
    noise, Barney. What is there to laugh at?

    DORAN. It got its fut into the little hweel--[he is overcome
    afresh; and the rest collapse again].

    AUNT JUDY. Ah, have some sense: you're like a parcel o childher.
    Nora, hit him a thump on the back: he'll have a fit.

    DORAN [with squeezed eyes, exsuflicate with cachinnation] Frens,
    he sez to dhem outside Doolan's: I'm takin the gintleman that
    pays the rint for a dhrive.

    AUNT JUDY. Who did he mean be that?

    DORAN. They call a pig that in England. That's their notion of a

    AUNT JUDY. Musha God help them if they can joke no better than

    DORAN [with renewed symptoms]. Thin--

    AUNT JUDY. Ah now don't be tellin it all over and settin yourself
    off again, Barney.

    NORA. You've told us three times, Mr Doran.

    DORAN. Well but whin I think of it--!

    AUNT JUDY. Then don't think of it, alanna.

    DORAN. There was Patsy Farrll in the back sate wi dhe pig between
    his knees, n me bould English boyoh in front at the machinery, n
    Larry Doyle in the road startin the injine wid a bed winch. At
    the first puff of it the pig lep out of its skin and bled Patsy's
    nose wi dhe ring in its snout. [Roars of laughter: Keegan glares
    at them]. Before Broadbint knew hwere he was, the pig was up his
    back and over into his lap; and bedad the poor baste did credit
    to Corny's thrainin of it; for it put in the fourth speed wid its
    right crubeen as if it was enthered for the Gordn Bennett.

    NORA [reproachfully]. And Larry in front of it and all! It's
    nothn to laugh at, Mr Doran.

    DORAN. Bedad, Miss Reilly, Larry cleared six yards backwards at
    wan jump if he cleared an inch; and he'd a cleared seven if
    Doolan's granmother hadn't cotch him in her apern widhout
    intindin to. [Immense merriment].

    AUNT JUDY, Ah, for shame, Barney! the poor old woman! An she was
    hurt before, too, when she slipped on the stairs.

    DORAN. Bedad, ma'am, she's hurt behind now; for Larry bouled her
    over like a skittle. [General delight at this typical stroke of
    Irish Rabelaisianism].

    NORA. It's well the lad wasn't killed.

    DORAN. Faith it wasn't o Larry we were thinkin jus dhen, wi dhe
    pig takin the main sthreet o Rosscullen on market day at a mile a
    minnit. Dh ony thing Broadbint could get at wi dhe pig in front
    of him was a fut brake; n the pig's tail was undher dhat; so that
    whin he thought he was putn non the brake he was ony squeezin the
    life out o the pig's tail. The more he put the brake on the more
    the pig squealed n the fasther he dhruv.

    AUNT JUDY. Why couldn't he throw the pig out into the road?

    DORAN. Sure he couldn't stand up to it, because he was
    spanchelled-like between his seat and dhat thing like a wheel on
    top of a stick between his knees.

    AUNT JUDY. Lord have mercy on us!

    NORA. I don't know how you can laugh. Do you, Mr Keegan?

    KEEGAN [grimly]. Why not? There is danger, destruction, torment!
    What more do we want to make us merry? Go on, Barney: the last
    drops of joy are not squeezed from the story yet. Tell us again
    how our brother was torn asunder.

    DORAN [puzzled]. Whose bruddher?

    KEEGAN. Mine.

    NORA. He means the pig, Mr Doran. You know his way.

    DORAN [rising gallantly to the occasion]. Bedad I'm sorry for
    your poor bruddher, Misther Keegan; but I recommend you to thry
    him wid a couple o fried eggs for your breakfast tomorrow. It was
    a case of Excelsior wi dhat ambitious baste; for not content wid
    jumpin from the back seat into the front wan, he jumped from the
    front wan into the road in front of the car. And--

    KEEGAN. And everybody laughed!

    NORA. Don't go over that again, please, Mr Doran.

    DORAN. Faith be the time the car went over the poor pig dhere was
    little left for me or anywan else to go over except wid a knife
    an fork.

    AUNT JUDY. Why didn't Mr Broadbent stop the car when the pig was

    DORAN. Stop the car! He might as well ha thried to stop a mad
    bull. First it went wan way an made fireworks o Molly Ryan's
    crockery stall; an dhen it slewed round an ripped ten fut o wall
    out o the corner o the pound. [With enormous enjoyment] Begob, it
    just tore the town in two and sent the whole dam market to
    blazes. [Nora offended, rises].

    KEEGAN [indignantly]. Sir!

    DORAN [quickly]. Savin your presence, Miss Reilly, and Misther
    Keegan's. Dhere! I won't say anuddher word.

    NORA. I'm surprised at you, Mr Doran. [She sits down again].

    DORAN [refectively]. He has the divil's own luck, that
    Englishman, annyway; for when they picked him up he hadn't a
    scratch on him, barrn hwat the pig did to his cloes. Patsy had
    two fingers out o jynt; but the smith pulled them sthraight for
    him. Oh, you never heard such a hullaballoo as there was. There
    was Molly, cryin Me chaney, me beautyful chaney! n oul Mat
    shoutin Me pig, me pig! n the polus takin the number o the car, n
    not a man in the town able to speak for laughin--

    KEEGAN [with intense emphasis]. It is hell: it is hell. Nowhere
    else could such a scene be a burst of happiness for the people.

    Cornelius comes in hastily from the garden, pushing his way
    through the little crowd.

    CORNELIUS. Whisht your laughin, boys! Here he is. [He puts his
    hat on the sideboard, and goes to the fireplace, where he posts
    himself with his back to the chimneypiece].

    AUNT JUDY. Remember your behavior, now.

    Everybody becomes silent, solemn, concerned, sympathetic.
    Broadbent enters, roiled and disordered as to his motoring coat:
    immensely important and serious as to himself. He makes his way
    to the end of the table nearest the garden door, whilst Larry,
    who accompanies him, throws his motoring coat on the sofa bed,
    and sits down, watching the proceedings.

    BROADBENT [taking off his leather cap with dignity and placing it
    on the table]. I hope you have not been anxious about me.

    AUNT JUDY. Deedn we have, Mr Broadbent. It's a mercy you weren't

    DORAN. Kilt! It's a mercy dheres two bones of you left houldin
    together. How dijjescape at all at all? Well, I never thought I'd
    be so glad to see you safe and sound again. Not a man in the town
    would say less [murmurs of kindly assent]. Won't you come down to
    Doolan's and have a dhrop o brandy to take the shock off?

    BROADBENT. You're all really too kind; but the shock has quite
    passed off.

    DORAN [jovially]. Never mind. Come along all the same and tell us
    about it over a frenly glass.

    BROADBENT. May I say how deeply I feel the kindness with which I
    have been overwhelmed since my accident? I can truthfully declare
    that I am glad it happened, because it has brought out the
    kindness and sympathy of the Irish character to an extent I had
    no conception of.

    SEVERAL {Oh, sure you're welcome!
    PRESENT. {Sure it's only natural.
    {Sure you might have been kilt.

    A young man, on the point of bursting, hurries out. Barney puts
    an iron constraint on his features.

    BROADBENT. All I can say is that I wish I could drink the health
    of everyone of you.

    DORAN. Dhen come an do it.

    BROADBENT [very solemnly]. No: I am a teetotaller.

    AUNT JUDY [incredulously]. Arra since when?

    BROADBENT. Since this morning, Miss Doyle. I have had a lesson
    [he looks at Nora significantly] that I shall not forget. It may
    be that total abstinence has already saved my life; for I was
    astonished at the steadiness of my nerves when death stared me in
    the face today. So I will ask you to excuse me. [He collects
    himself for a speech]. Gentlemen: I hope the gravity of the peril
    through which we have all passed--for I know that the danger to
    the bystanders was as great as to the occupants of the car--will
    prove an earnest of closer and more serious relations between us
    in the future. We have had a somewhat agitating day: a valuable
    and innocent animal has lost its life: a public building has been
    wrecked: an aged and infirm lady has suffered an impact for which
    I feel personally responsible, though my old friend Mr Laurence
    Doyle unfortunately incurred the first effects of her very
    natural resentment. I greatly regret the damage to Mr Patrick
    Farrell's fingers; and I have of course taken care that he shall
    not suffer pecuniarily by his mishap. [Murmurs of admiration at
    his magnanimity, and A Voice "You're a gentleman, sir"]. I am
    glad to say that Patsy took it like an Irishman, and, far from
    expressing any vindictive feeling, declared his willingness to
    break all his fingers and toes for me on the same terms [subdued
    applause, and "More power to Patsy!"]. Gentlemen: I felt at home
    in Ireland from the first [rising excitement among his hearers].
    In every Irish breast I have found that spirit of liberty [A
    cheery voice "Hear Hear"], that instinctive mistrust of the
    Government [A small pious voice, with intense expression, "God
    bless you, sir!"], that love of independence [A defiant voice,
    "That's it! Independence!"], that indignant sympathy with the
    cause of oppressed nationalities abroad [A threatening growl from
    all: the ground-swell of patriotic passion], and with the
    resolute assertion of personal rights at home, which is all but
    extinct in my own country. If it were legally possible I should
    become a naturalized Irishman; and if ever it be my good fortune
    to represent an Irish constituency in parliament, it shall be my
    first care to introduce a Bill legalizing such an operation. I
    believe a large section of the Liberal party would avail
    themselves of it. [Momentary scepticism]. I do. [Convulsive
    cheering]. Gentlemen: I have said enough. [Cries of "Go on"]. No:
    I have as yet no right to address you at all on political
    subjects; and we must not abuse the warmhearted Irish hospitality
    of Miss Doyle by turning her sittingroom into a public meeting.

    DORAN [energetically]. Three cheers for Tom Broadbent, the future
    member for Rosscullen!

    AUNT JUDY [waving a half knitted sock]. Hip hip hurray!

    The cheers are given with great heartiness, as it is by this
    time, for the more humorous spirits present, a question of
    vociferation or internal rupture.

    BROADBENT. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, friends.

    NORA [whispering to Doran]. Take them away, Mr Doran [Doran

    DORAN. Well, good evenin, Mr Broadbent; an may you never regret
    the day you wint dhrivin wid Halligan's pig! [They shake hands].
    Good evenin, Miss Doyle.

    General handshaking, Broadbent shaking hands with everybody
    effusively. He accompanies them to the garden and can be heard
    outside saying Goodnight in every inflexion known to
    parliamentary candidates. Nora, Aunt Judy, Keegan, Larry, and
    Cornelius are left in the parlor. Larry goes to the threshold and
    watches the scene in the garden.

    NORA. It's a shame to make game of him like that. He's a gradle
    more good in him than Barney Doran.

    CORNELIUS. It's all up with his candidature. He'll be laughed out
    o the town.

    LARRY [turning quickly from the doorway]. Oh no he won't: he's
    not an Irishman. He'll never know they're laughing at him; and
    while they're laughing he'll win the seat.

    CORNELIUS. But he can't prevent the story getting about.

    LARRY. He won't want to. He'll tell it himself as one of the most
    providential episodes in the history of England and Ireland.

    AUNT JUDY. Sure he wouldn't make a fool of himself like that.

    LARRY. Are you sure he's such a fool after all, Aunt Judy?
    Suppose you had a vote! which would you rather give it to? the
    man that told the story of Haffigan's pig Barney Doran's way or
    Broadbent's way?

    AUNT JUDY. Faith I wouldn't give it to a man at all. It's a few
    women they want in parliament to stop their foolish blather.

    BROADBENT [bustling into the room, and taking off his damaged
    motoring overcoat, which he put down on the sofa]. Well, that's
    over. I must apologize for making that speech, Miss Doyle; but
    they like it, you know. Everything helps in electioneering.

    Larry takes the chair near the door; draws it near the table; and
    sits astride it, with his elbows folded on the back.

    AUNT JUDY. I'd no notion you were such an orator, Mr Broadbent.

    BROADBENT. Oh, it's only a knack. One picks it up on the
    platform. It stokes up their enthusiasm.

    AUNT JUDY. Oh, I forgot. You've not met Mr Keegan. Let me
    introjooce you.

    BROADBENT [shaking hands effusively]. Most happy to meet you, Mr
    Keegan. I have heard of you, though I have not had the pleasure
    of shaking your hand before. And now may I ask you--for I value
    no man's opinion more--what you think of my chances here.

    KEEGAN [coldly]. Your chances, sir, are excellent. You will get
    into parliament.

    BROADBENT [delighted]. I hope so. I think so. [Fluctuating] You
    really think so? You are sure you are not allowing your
    enthusiasm for our principles to get the better of your judgment?

    KEEGAN. I have no enthusiasm for your principles, sir. You will
    get into parliament because you want to get into it badly enough
    to be prepared to take the necessary steps to induce the people
    to vote for you. That is how people usually get into that
    fantastic assembly.

    BROADBENT [puzzled]. Of course. [Pause]. Quite so. [Pause]. Er--
    yes. [Buoyant again] I think they will vote for me. Eh? Yes?

    AUNT JUDY. Arra why shouldn't they? Look at the people they DO
    vote for!

    BROADBENT [encouraged]. That's true: that's very true. When I see
    the windbags, the carpet-baggers, the charlatans, the--the--the
    fools and ignoramuses who corrupt the multitude by their wealth,
    or seduce them by spouting balderdash to them, I cannot help
    thinking that an honest man with no humbug about him, who will
    talk straight common sense and take his stand on the solid ground
    of principle and public duty, must win his way with men of all

    KEEGAN [quietly]. Sir: there was a time, in my ignorant youth,
    when I should have called you a hypocrite.

    BROADBENT [reddening]. A hypocrite!

    NORA [hastily]. Oh I'm sure you don't think anything of the sort,
    Mr Keegan.

    BROADBENT [emphatically]. Thank you, Miss Reilly: thank you.

    CORNELIUS [gloomily]. We all have to stretch it a bit in
    politics: hwat's the use o pretendin we don't?

    BROADBENT [stiffly]. I hope I have said or done nothing that
    calls for any such observation, Mr Doyle. If there is a vice I
    detest--or against which my whole public life has been a
    protest--it is the vice of hypocrisy. I would almost rather be
    inconsistent than insincere.

    KEEGAN. Do not be offended, sir: I know that you are quite
    sincere. There is a saying in the Scripture which runs--so far as
    the memory of an oldish man can carry the words--Let not the
    right side of your brain know what the left side doeth. I learnt
    at Oxford that this is the secret of the Englishman's strange
    power of making the best of both worlds.

    BROADBENT. Surely the text refers to our right and left hands. I
    am somewhat surprised to hear a member of your Church quote so
    essentially Protestant a document as the Bible; but at least you
    might quote it accurately.

    LARRY. Tom: with the best intentions you're making an ass of
    yourself. You don't understand Mr Keegan's peculiar vein of

    BROADBENT [instantly recovering his confidence]. Ah! it was
    only your delightful Irish humor, Mr Keegan. Of course, of
    course. How stupid of me! I'm so sorry. [He pats Keegan
    consolingly on the back]. John Bull's wits are still slow, you
    see. Besides, calling me a hypocrite was too big a joke to
    swallow all at once, you know.

    KEEGAN. You must also allow for the fact that I am mad.

    NORA. Ah, don't talk like that, Mr Keegan.

    BROADBENT [encouragingly]. Not at all, not at all. Only a
    whimsical Irishman, eh?

    LARRY. Are you really mad, Mr Keegan?

    AUNT JUDY [shocked]. Oh, Larry, how could you ask him such a

    LARRY. I don't think Mr Keegan minds. [To Keegan] What's the true
    version of the story of that black man you confessed on his

    KEEGAN. What story have you heard about that?

    LARRY. I am informed that when the devil came for the black
    heathen, he took off your head and turned it three times round
    before putting it on again; and that your head's been turned ever

    NORA [reproachfully]. Larry!

    KEEGAN [blandly]. That is not quite what occurred. [He collects
    himself for a serious utterance: they attend involuntarily]. I
    heard that a black man was dying, and that the people were afraid
    to go near him. When I went to the place I found an elderly
    Hindoo, who told me one of those tales of unmerited misfortune,
    of cruel ill luck, of relentless persecution by destiny, which
    sometimes wither the commonplaces of consolation on the lips of a
    priest. But this man did not complain of his misfortunes. They
    were brought upon him, he said, by sins committed in a former
    existence. Then, without a word of comfort from me, he died with
    a clear-eyed resignation that my most earnest exhortations have
    rarely produced in a Christian, and left me sitting there by his
    bedside with the mystery of this world suddenly revealed to me.

    BROADBENT. That is a remarkable tribute to the liberty of
    conscience enjoyed by the subjects of our Indian Empire.

    LARRY. No doubt; but may we venture to ask what is the mystery of
    this world?

    KEEGAN. This world, sir, is very clearly a place of torment and
    penance, a place where the fool flourishes and the good and wise
    are hated and persecuted, a place where men and women torture one
    another in the name of love; where children are scourged and
    enslaved in the name of parental duty and education; where the
    weak in body are poisoned and mutilated in the name of healing,
    and the weak in character are put to the horrible torture of
    imprisonment, not for hours but for years, in the name of
    justice. It is a place where the hardest toil is a welcome refuge
    from the horror and tedium of pleasure, and where charity and
    good works are done only for hire to ransom the souls of the
    spoiler and the sybarite. Now, sir, there is only one place of
    horror and torment known to my religion; and that place is hell.
    Therefore it is plain to me that this earth of ours must be hell,
    and that we are all here, as the Indian revealed to me--perhaps
    he was sent to reveal it to me to expiate crimes committed by us
    in a former existence.

    AUNT JUDY [awestruck]. Heaven save us, what a thing to say!

    CORNELIUS [sighing]. It's a queer world: that's certain.

    BROADBENT. Your idea is a very clever one, Mr Keegan: really most
    brilliant: I should never have thought of it. But it seems to
    me--if I may say so--that you are overlooking the fact that, of
    the evils you describe, some are absolutely necessary for the
    preservation of society, and others are encouraged only when the
    Tories are in office.

    LARRY. I expect you were a Tory in a former existence; and that
    is why you are here.

    BROADBENT [with conviction]. Never, Larry, never. But leaving
    politics out of the question, I find the world quite good enough
    for me: rather a jolly place, in fact.

    KEEGAN [looking at him with quiet wonder]. You are satisfied?

    BROADBENT. As a reasonable man, yes. I see no evils in the
    world--except, of course, natural evils--that cannot be remedied
    by freedom, self-government, and English institutions. I think
    so, not because I am an Englishman, but as a matter of common

    KEEGAN. You feel at home in the world, then?

    BROADBENT. Of course. Don't you?

    KEEGAN [from the very depths of his nature]. No.

    BROADBENT [breezily]. Try phosphorus pills. I always take them
    when my brain is overworked. I'll give you the address in Oxford

    KEEGAN [enigmatically: rising]. Miss Doyle: my wandering fit has
    come on me: will you excuse me?

    AUNT JUDY. To be sure: you know you can come in n nout as you

    KEEGAN. We can finish the game some other time, Miss Reilly. [He
    goes for his hat and stick.

    NORA. No: I'm out with you [she disarranges the pieces and
    rises]. I was too wicked in a former existence to play backgammon
    with a good man like you.

    AUNT JUDY [whispering to her]. Whisht, whisht, child! Don't set
    him back on that again.

    KEEGAN [to Nora]. When I look at you, I think that perhaps
    Ireland is only purgatory, after all. [He passes on to the garden

    NORA. Galong with you!

    BROADBENT [whispering to Cornelius]. Has he a vote?

    CORNELIUS [nodding]. Yes. An there's lots'll vote the way he
    tells them.

    KEEGAN [at the garden door, with gentle gravity]. Good evening,
    Mr Broadbent. You have set me thinking. Thank you.

    BROADBENT [delighted, hurrying across to him to shake hands]. No,
    really? You find that contact with English ideas is stimulating,

    KEEGAN. I am never tired of hearing you talk, Mr Broadbent.

    BROADBENT [modestly remonstrating]. Oh come! come!

    KEEGAN. Yes, I assure you. You are an extremely interesting man.
    [He goes out].

    BROADBENT [enthusiastically]. What a nice chap! What an
    intelligent, interesting fellow! By the way, I'd better have a
    wash. [He takes up his coat and cap, and leaves the room through
    the inner door].

    Nora returns to her chair and shuts up the backgammon board.

    AUNT JUDY. Keegan's very queer to-day. He has his mad fit on him.

    CORNELIUS [worried and bitter]. I wouldn't say but he's right
    after all. It's a contrairy world. [To Larry]. Why would you be
    such a fool as to let him take the seat in parliament from you?

    LARRY [glancing at Nora]. He will take more than that from me
    before he's done here.

    CORNELIUS. I wish he'd never set foot in my house, bad luck to
    his fat face! D'ye think he'd lend me 300 pounds on the farm,
    Larry? When I'm so hard up, it seems a waste o money not to
    mortgage it now it's me own.

    LARRY. I can lend you 300 pounds on it.

    CORNELIUS. No, no: I wasn't putn in for that. When I die and
    leave you the farm I should like to be able to feel that it was
    all me own, and not half yours to start with. Now I'll take me
    oath Barney Doarn's goin to ask Broadbent to lend him 500 pounds
    on the mill to put in a new hweel; for the old one'll harly hol
    together. An Haffigan can't sleep with covetn that corner o land
    at the foot of his medda that belongs to Doolan. He'll have to
    mortgage to buy it. I may as well be first as last. D'ye think
    Broadbent'd len me a little?

    LARRY. I'm quite sure he will.

    CORNELIUS. Is he as ready as that? Would he len me five hunderd,
    d'ye think?

    LARRY. He'll lend you more than the land'll ever be worth to
    you; so for Heaven's sake be prudent.

    CORNELIUS [judicially]. All right, all right, me son: I'll be
    careful. I'm goin into the office for a bit. [He withdraws
    through the inner door, obviously to prepare his application to

    AUNT JUDY [indignantly]. As if he hadn't seen enough o borryin
    when he was an agent without beginnin borryin himself! [She
    rises]. I'll bory him, so I will. [She puts her knitting on the
    table and follows him out, with a resolute air that bodes trouble
    for Cornelius].

    Larry and Nora are left together for the first time since his
    arrival. She looks at him with a smile that perishes as she sees
    him aimlessly rocking his chair, and reflecting, evidently not
    about her, with his lips pursed as if he were whistling. With a
    catch in her throat she takes up Aunt Judy's knitting, and makes
    a pretence of going on with it.

    NORA. I suppose it didn't seem very long to you.

    LARRY [starting]. Eh? What didn't?

    NORA. The eighteen years you've been away.

    LARRY. Oh, that! No: it seems hardly more than a week. I've been
    so busy--had so little time to think.

    NORA. I've had nothin else to do but think.

    LARRY. That was very bad for you. Why didn't you give it up? Why
    did you stay here?

    NORA. Because nobody sent for me to go anywhere else, I suppose.
    That's why.

    LARRY. Yes: one does stick frightfully in the same place, unless
    some external force comes and routs one out. [He yawns slightly;
    but as she looks up quickly at him, he pulls himself together and
    rises with an air of waking up and getting to work cheerfully to
    make himself agreeable]. And how have you been all this time?

    NORA. Quite well, thank you.

    LARRY. That's right. [Suddenly finding that he has nothing else
    to say, and being ill at ease in consequence, he strolls about
    the room humming a certain tune from Offenbach's Whittington].

    NORA [struggling with her tears]. Is that all you have to say to
    me, Larry?

    LARRY. Well, what is there to say? You see, we know each other so

    NORA [a little consoled]. Yes: of course we do. [He does not
    reply]. I wonder you came back at all.

    LARRY. I couldn't help it. [She looks up affectionately]. Tom
    made me. [She looks down again quickly to conceal the effect of
    this blow. He whistles another stave; then resumes]. I had a sort
    of dread of returning to Ireland. I felt somehow that my luck
    would turn if I came back. And now here I am, none the worse.

    NORA. Praps it's a little dull for you.

    LARRY. No: I haven't exhausted the interest of strolling about
    the old places and remembering and romancing about them.

    NORA [hopefully]. Oh! You DO remember the places, then?

    LARRY. Of course. They have associations.

    NORA [not doubting that the associations are with her]. I suppose

    LARRY. M'yes. I can remember particular spots where I had long
    fits of thinking about the countries I meant to get to when I
    escaped from Ireland. America and London, and sometimes Rome and
    the east.

    NORA [deeply mortified]. Was that all you used to be thinking

    LARRY. Well, there was precious little else to think about here,
    my dear Nora, except sometimes at sunset, when one got maudlin
    and called Ireland Erin, and imagined one was remembering the
    days of old, and so forth. [He whistles Let Erin Remember].

    NORA. Did jever get a letter I wrote you last February?

    LARRY. Oh yes; and I really intended to answer it. But I haven't
    had a moment; and I knew you wouldn't mind. You see, I am so
    afraid of boring you by writing about affairs you don't
    understand and people you don't know! And yet what else have I to
    write about? I begin a letter; and then I tear it up again. The
    fact is, fond as we are of one another, Nora, we have so little
    in common--I mean of course the things one can put in a letter--
    that correspondence is apt to become the hardest of hard work.

    NORA. Yes: it's hard for me to know anything about you if you
    never tell me anything.

    LARRY [pettishly]. Nora: a man can't sit down and write his life
    day by day when he's tired enough with having lived it.

    NORA. I'm not blaming you.

    LARRY [looking at her with some concern]. You seem rather out of
    spirits. [Going closer to her, anxiously and tenderly] You
    haven't got neuralgia, have you?

    NORA. No.

    LARRY [reassured]. I get a touch of it sometimes when I am below
    par. [absently, again strolling about] Yes, yes. [He begins to
    hum again, and soon breaks into articulate melody].

    Though summer smiles on here for ever,
    Though not a leaf falls from the tree,
    Tell England I'll forget her never,

    [Nora puts dawn the knitting and stares at him].

    O wind that blows across the sea.

    [With much expression]

    Tell England I'll forget her ne-e-e-e-ver
    O wind that blows acro-oss--

    [Here the melody soars out of his range. He continues falsetto,
    but changes the tune to Let Erin Remember]. I'm afraid I'm boring
    you, Nora, though you're too kind to say so.

    NORA. Are you wanting to get back to England already?

    LARRY. Not at all. Not at all.

    NORA. That's a queer song to sing to me if you're not.

    LARRY. The song! Oh, it doesn't mean anything: it's by a German
    Jew, like most English patriotic sentiment. Never mind me, my
    dear: go on with your work; and don't let me bore you.

    NORA [bitterly]. Rosscullen isn't such a lively place that I am
    likely to be bored by you at our first talk together after
    eighteen years, though you don't seem to have much to say to me
    after all.

    LARRY. Eighteen years is a devilish long time, Nora. Now if it
    had been eighteen minutes, or even eighteen months, we should be
    able to pick up the interrupted thread, and chatter like two
    magpies. But as it is, I have simply nothing to say; and you seem
    to have less.

    NORA. I--[her tears choke her; but the keeps up appearances

    LARRY [quite unconscious of his cruelty]. In a week or so we
    shall be quite old friends again. Meanwhile, as I feel that I am
    not making myself particularly entertaining, I'll take myself
    off. Tell Tom I've gone for a stroll over the hill.

    NORA. You seem very fond of Tom, as you call him.

    LARRY [the triviality going suddenly out of his voice]. Yes I'm
    fond of Tom.

    NORA. Oh, well, don't let me keep you from him.

    LARRY. I know quite well that my departure will be a relief.
    Rather a failure, this first meeting after eighteen years, eh?
    Well, never mind: these great sentimental events always are
    failures; and now the worst of it's over anyhow. [He goes out
    through the garden door].

    Nora, left alone, struggles wildly to save herself from
    breaking down, and then drops her face on the table and gives way
    to a convulsion of crying. Her sobs shake her so that she can
    hear nothing; and she has no suspicion that she is no longer
    alone until her head and breast are raised by Broadbent, who,
    returning newly washed and combed through the inner door, has
    seen her condition, first with surprise and concern, and then
    with an emotional disturbance that quite upsets him.

    BROADBENT. Miss Reilly. Miss Reilly. What's the matter? Don't
    cry: I can't stand it: you mustn't cry. [She makes a choked
    effort to speak, so painful that he continues with impulsive
    sympathy] No: don't try to speak: it's all right now. Have your
    cry out: never mind me: trust me. [Gathering her to him, and
    babbling consolatorily] Cry on my chest: the only really
    comfortable place for a woman to cry is a man's chest: a real
    man, a real friend. A good broad chest, eh? not less than
    forty-two inches--no: don't fuss: never mind the conventions:
    we're two friends, aren't we? Come now, come, come! It's all
    right and comfortable and happy now, isn't it?

    NORA [through her tears]. Let me go. I want me hankerchief.

    BROADBENT [holding her with one arm and producing a large silk
    handkerchief from his breast pocket]. Here's a handkerchief. Let
    me [he dabs her tears dry with it]. Never mind your own: it's too
    small: it's one of those wretched little cambric handkerchiefs--

    NORA [sobbing]. Indeed it's a common cotton one.

    BROADBENT. Of course it's a common cotton one--silly little
    cotton one--not good enough for the dear eyes of Nora Cryna--

    NORA [spluttering into a hysterical laugh and clutching him
    convulsively with her fingers while she tries to stifle her
    laughter against his collar bone]. Oh don't make me laugh: please
    don't make me laugh.

    BROADBENT [terrified]. I didn't mean to, on my soul. What is it?
    What is it?

    NORA. Nora Creena, Nora Creena.

    BROADBENT [patting her]. Yes, yes, of course, Nora Creena, Nora
    acushla [he makes cush rhyme to plush].

    NORA. Acushla [she makes cush rhyme to bush].

    BROADBENT. Oh, confound the language! Nora darling--my Nora--the
    Nora I love--

    NORA [shocked into propriety]. You mustn't talk like that to me.

    BROADBENT [suddenly becoming prodigiously solemn and letting her
    go]. No, of course not. I don't mean it--at least I do mean it;
    but I know it's premature. I had no right to take advantage of
    your being a little upset; but I lost my self-control for a

    NORA [wondering at him]. I think you're a very kindhearted man,
    Mr Broadbent; but you seem to me to have no self-control at all
    [she turns her face away with a keen pang of shame and adds] no
    more than myself.

    BROADBENT [resolutely]. Oh yes, I have: you should see me when I
    am really roused: then I have TREMENDOUS self-control. Remember:
    we have been alone together only once before; and then, I regret
    to say, I was in a disgusting state.

    NORA. Ah no, Mr Broadbent: you weren't disgusting.

    BROADBENT [mercilessly]. Yes I was: nothing can excuse it:
    perfectly beastly. It must have made a most unfavorable
    impression on you.

    NORA. Oh, sure it's all right. Say no more about that.

    BROADBENT. I must, Miss Reilly: it is my duty. I shall not detain
    you long. May I ask you to sit down. [He indicates her chair with
    oppressive solemnity. She sits down wondering. He then, with the
    same portentous gravity, places a chair for himself near her;
    sits down; and proceeds to explain]. First, Miss Reilly, may I
    say that I have tasted nothing of an alcoholic nature today.

    NORA. It doesn't seem to make as much difference in you as it
    would in an Irishman, somehow.

    BROADBENT. Perhaps not. Perhaps not. I never quite lose myself.

    NORA [consolingly]. Well, anyhow, you're all right now.

    BROADBENT [fervently]. Thank you, Miss Reilly: I am. Now we shall
    get along. [Tenderly, lowering his voice] Nora: I was in earnest
    last night. [Nora moves as if to rise]. No: one moment. You must
    not think I am going to press you for an answer before you have
    known me for 24 hours. I am a reasonable man, I hope; and I am
    prepared to wait as long as you like, provided you will give me
    some small assurance that the answer will not be unfavorable.

    NORA. How could I go back from it if I did? I sometimes think
    you're not quite right in your head, Mr Broadbent, you say such
    funny things.

    BROADBENT. Yes: I know I have a strong sense of humor which
    sometimes makes people doubt whether I am quite serious. That is
    why I have always thought I should like to marry an Irishwoman.
    She would always understand my jokes. For instance, you would
    understand them, eh?

    NORA [uneasily]. Mr Broadbent, I couldn't.

    BROADBENT [soothingly]. Wait: let me break this to you gently,
    Miss Reilly: hear me out. I daresay you have noticed that in
    speaking to you I have been putting a very strong constraint on
    myself, so as to avoid wounding your delicacy by too abrupt an
    avowal of my feelings. Well, I feel now that the time has come to
    be open, to be frank, to be explicit. Miss Reilly: you have
    inspired in me a very strong attachment. Perhaps, with a woman's
    intuition, you have already guessed that.

    NORA [rising distractedly]. Why do you talk to me in that
    unfeeling nonsensical way?

    BROADBENT [rising also, much astonished]. Unfeeling! Nonsensical!

    NORA. Don't you know that you have said things to me that no man
    ought to say unless--unless--[she suddenly breaks down again and
    hides her face on the table as before] Oh, go away from me: I
    won't get married at all: what is it but heartbreak and

    BROADBENT [developing the most formidable symptoms of rage and
    grief]. Do you mean to say that you are going to refuse me? that
    you don't care for me?

    NORA [looking at him in consternation]. Oh, don't take it to
    heart, Mr Br--

    BROADBENT [flushed and almost choking]. I don't want to be petted
    and blarneyed. [With childish rage] I love you. I want you for my
    wife. [In despair] I can't help your refusing. I'm helpless: I
    can do nothing. You have no right to ruin my whole life. You--[a
    hysterical convulsion stops him].

    NORA [almost awestruck]. You're not going to cry, are you? I
    never thought a man COULD cry. Don't.

    BROADBENT. I'm not crying. I--I--I leave that sort of thing to
    your damned sentimental Irishmen. You think I have no feeling
    because I am a plain unemotional Englishman, with no powers of

    NORA. I don't think you know the sort of man you are at all.
    Whatever may be the matter with you, it's not want of feeling.

    BROADBENT [hurt and petulant]. It's you who have no feeling.
    You're as heartless as Larry.

    NORA. What do you expect me to do? Is it to throw meself at your
    head the minute the word is out o your mouth?

    BROADBENT [striking his silly head with his fists]. Oh, what a
    fool! what a brute I am! It's only your Irish delicacy: of
    course, of course. You mean Yes. Eh? What? Yes, yes, yes?

    NORA. I think you might understand that though I might choose to
    be an old maid, I could never marry anybody but you now.

    BROADBENT [clasping her violently to his breast, with a crow of
    immense relief and triumph]. Ah, that's right, that's right:
    That's magnificent. I knew you would see what a first-rate thing
    this will be for both of us.

    NORA [incommoded and not at all enraptured by his ardor]. You're
    dreadfully strong, an a gradle too free with your strength. An I
    never thought o whether it'd be a good thing for us or not. But
    when you found me here that time, I let you be kind to me, and
    cried in your arms, because I was too wretched to think of
    anything but the comfort of it. An how could I let any other man
    touch me after that?

    BROADBENT [touched]. Now that's very nice of you, Nora, that's
    really most delicately womanly [he kisses her hand chivalrously].

    NORA [looking earnestly and a little doubtfully at him]. Surely
    if you let one woman cry on you like that you'd never let another
    touch you.

    BROADBENT [conscientiously]. One should not. One OUGHT not, my
    dear girl. But the honest truth is, if a chap is at all a
    pleasant sort of chap, his chest becomes a fortification that has
    to stand many assaults: at least it is so in England.

    NORA [curtly, much disgusted]. Then you'd better marry an

    BROADBENT [making a wry face]. No, no: the Englishwoman is too
    prosaic for my taste, too material, too much of the animated
    beefsteak about her. The ideal is what I like. Now Larry's taste
    is just the opposite: he likes em solid and bouncing and rather
    keen about him. It's a very convenient difference; for we've
    never been in love with the same woman.

    NORA. An d'ye mean to tell me to me face that you've ever been in
    love before?

    BROADBENT. Lord! yes.

    NORA. I'm not your first love?

    BROADBENT. First love is only a little foolishness and a lot of
    curiosity: no really self-respecting woman would take advantage
    of it. No, my dear Nora: I've done with all that long ago. Love
    affairs always end in rows. We're not going to have any rows:
    we're going to have a solid four-square home: man and wife:
    comfort and common sense--and plenty of affection, eh [he puts
    his arm round her with confident proprietorship]?

    NORA [coldly, trying to get away]. I don't want any other woman's

    BROADBENT [holding her]. Nobody asked you to, ma'am. I never
    asked any woman to marry me before.

    NORA [severely]. Then why didn't you if you're an honorable man?

    BROADBENT. Well, to tell you the truth, they were mostly married
    already. But never mind! there was nothing wrong. Come! Don't
    take a mean advantage of me. After all, you must have had a fancy
    or two yourself, eh?

    NORA [conscience-stricken]. Yes. I suppose I've no right to be

    BROADBENT [humbly]. I know I'm not good enough for you, Nora. But
    no man is, you know, when the woman is a really nice woman.

    NORA. Oh, I'm no better than yourself. I may as well tell you
    about it.

    BROADBENT. No, no: let's have no telling: much better not. I
    shan't tell you anything: don't you tell ME anything. Perfect
    confidence in one another and no tellings: that's the way to
    avoid rows.

    NORA. Don't think it was anything I need be ashamed of.

    BROADBENT. I don't.

    NORA. It was only that I'd never known anybody else that I could
    care for; and I was foolish enough once to think that Larry--

    HROADBENT [disposing of the idea at once]. Larry! Oh, that
    wouldn't have done at all, not at all. You don't know Larry as I
    do, my dear. He has absolutely no capacity for enjoyment: he
    couldn't make any woman happy. He's as clever as be-blowed; but
    life's too earthly for him: he doesn't really care for anything
    or anybody.

    NORA. I've found that out.

    BROADBENT. Of course you have. No, my dear: take my word for it,
    you're jolly well out of that. There! [swinging her round against
    his breast] that's much more comfortable for you.

    NORA [with Irish peevishness]. Ah, you mustn't go on like that. I
    don't like it.

    BROADBENT [unabashed]. You'll acquire the taste by degrees. You
    mustn't mind me: it's an absolute necessity of my nature that I
    should have somebody to hug occasionally. Besides, it's good for
    you: it'll plump out your muscles and make em elastic and set up
    your figure.

    NORA. Well, I'm sure! if this is English manners! Aren't you
    ashamed to talk about such things?

    BROADBENT [in the highest feather]. Not a bit. By George, Nora,
    it's a tremendous thing to be able to enjoy oneself. Let's go off
    for a walk out of this stuffy little room. I want the open air to
    expand in. Come along. Co-o-o-me along. [He puts her arm into his
    and sweeps her out into the garden as an equinoctial gale might
    sweep a dry leaf].

    Later in the evening, the grasshopper is again enjoying the
    sunset by the great stone on the hill; but this time he enjoys
    neither the stimulus of Keegan's conversation nor the pleasure
    of terrifying Patsy Farrell. He is alone until Nora and
    Broadbent come up the hill arm in arm. Broadbent is still
    breezy and confident; but she has her head averted from him
    and is almost in tears].

    BROADBENT [stopping to snuff up the hillside air]. Ah! I like
    this spot. I like this view. This would be a jolly good place for
    a hotel and a golf links. Friday to Tuesday, railway ticket and
    hotel all inclusive. I tell you, Nora, I'm going to develop this
    place. [Looking at her] Hallo! What's the matter? Tired?

    NORA [unable to restrain her tears]. I'm ashamed out o me life.

    BROADBENT [astonished]. Ashamed! What of?

    NORA. Oh, how could you drag me all round the place like that,
    telling everybody that we're going to be married, and
    introjoocing me to the lowest of the low, and letting them shake
    hans with me, and encouraging them to make free with us? I little
    thought I should live to be shaken hans with be Doolan in broad
    daylight in the public street of Rosscullen.

    BROADBENT. But, my dear, Doolan's a publican: a most influential
    man. By the way, I asked him if his wife would be at home
    tomorrow. He said she would; so you must take the motor car round
    and call on her.

    NORA [aghast]. Is it me call on Doolan's wife!

    BROADBENT. Yes, of course: call on all their wives. We must get a
    copy of the register and a supply of canvassing cards. No use
    calling on people who haven't votes. You'll be a great success as
    a canvasser, Nora: they call you the heiress; and they'll be
    flattered no end by your calling, especially as you've never
    cheapened yourself by speaking to them before--have you?

    NORA [indignantly]. Not likely, indeed.

    BROADBENT. Well, we mustn't be stiff and stand-off, you know. We
    must be thoroughly democratic, and patronize everybody without
    distinction of class. I tell you I'm a jolly lucky man, Nora
    Cryna. I get engaged to the most delightful woman in Ireland; and
    it turns out that I couldn't have done a smarter stroke of

    NORA. An would you let me demean meself like that, just to get
    yourself into parliament?

    BROADBENT [buoyantly]. Aha! Wait till you find out what an
    exciting game electioneering is: you'll be mad to get me in.
    Besides, you'd like people to say that Tom Broadbent's wife had
    been the making of him--that she got him into parliament--into
    the Cabinet, perhaps, eh?

    NORA. God knows I don't grudge you me money! But to lower meself
    to the level of common people

    BROADBENT. To a member's wife, Nora, nobody is common provided
    he's on the register. Come, my dear! it's all right: do you think
    I'd let you do it if it wasn't? The best people do it. Everybody
    does it.

    NORA [who has been biting her lip and looking over the hill,
    disconsolate and unconvinced]. Well, praps you know best what
    they do in England. They must have very little respect for
    themselves. I think I'll go in now. I see Larry and Mr Keegan
    coming up the hill; and I'm not fit to talk to them.

    BROADBENT. Just wait and say something nice to Keegan. They tell
    me he controls nearly as many votes as Father Dempsey himself.

    NORA. You little know Peter Keegan. He'd see through me as if I
    was a pane o glass.

    BROADBENT. Oh, he won't like it any the less for that. What
    really flatters a man is that you think him worth flattering. Not
    that I would flatter any man: don't think that. I'll just go and
    meet him. [He goes down the hill with the eager forward look of a
    man about to greet a valued acquaintance. Nora dries her eyes,
    and turns to go as Larry strolls up the hill to her].

    LARRY. Nora. [She turns and looks at him hardly, without a word.
    He continues anxiously, in his most conciliatory tone]. When I
    left you that time, I was just as wretched as you. I didn't
    rightly know what I wanted to say; and my tongue kept clacking to
    cover the loss I was at. Well, I've been thinking ever since; and
    now I know what I ought to have said. I've come back to say it.

    NORA. You've come too late, then. You thought eighteen years was
    not long enough, and that you might keep me waiting a day longer.
    Well, you were mistaken. I'm engaged to your friend Mr Broadbent;
    and I'm done with you.

    LARRY [naively]. But that was the very thing I was going to
    advise you to do.

    NORA [involuntarily]. Oh you brute! to tell me that to me face.

    LARRY [nervously relapsing into his most Irish manner]. Nora,
    dear, don't you understand that I'm an Irishman, and he's an
    Englishman. He wants you; and he grabs you. I want you; and I
    quarrel with you and have to go on wanting you.

    NORA. So you may. You'd better go back to England to the animated
    beefsteaks you're so fond of.

    LARRY [amazed]. Nora! [Guessing where she got the metaphor] He's
    been talking about me, I see. Well, never mind: we must be
    friends, you and I. I don't want his marriage to you to be his
    divorce from me.

    NORA. You care more for him than you ever did for me.

    LARRY [with curt sincerity]. Yes of course I do: why should I
    tell you lies about it? Nora Reilly was a person of very little
    consequence to me or anyone else outside this miserable little
    hole. But Mrs Tom Broadbent will be a person of very considerable
    consequence indeed. Play your new part well, and there will be no
    more neglect, no more loneliness, no more idle regrettings and
    vain-hopings in the evenings by the Round Tower, but real life
    and real work and real cares and real joys among real people:
    solid English life in London, the very centre of the world. You
    will find your work cut out for you keeping Tom's house and
    entertaining Tom's friends and getting Tom into parliament; but
    it will be worth the effort.

    NORA. You talk as if I were under an obligation to him for
    marrying me.

    LARRY. I talk as I think. You've made a very good match, let me
    tell you.

    NORA. Indeed! Well, some people might say he's not done so badly

    LARRY. If you mean that you will be a treasure to him, he thinks
    so now; and you can keep him thinking so if you like.

    NORA. I wasn't thinking o meself at all.

    LARRY. Were you thinking of your money, Nora?

    NORA. I didn't say so.

    LARRY. Your money will not pay your cook's wages in London.

    NORA [flaming up]. If that's true--and the more shame for you to
    throw it in my face if it IS true--at all events it'll make us
    independent; for if the worst comes to the worst, we can always
    come back here an live on it. An if I have to keep his house for
    him, at all events I can keep you out of it; for I've done with
    you; and I wish I'd never seen you. So goodbye to you, Mister
    Larry Doyle. [She turns her back on him and goes home].

    LARRY [watching her as she goes]. Goodbye. Goodbye. Oh, that's so
    Irish! Irish both of us to the backbone: Irish, Irish, Irish--

    Broadbent arrives, conversing energetically with Keegan.

    BROADBENT. Nothing pays like a golfing hotel, if you hold the
    land instead of the shares, and if the furniture people stand in
    with you, and if you are a good man of business.

    LARRY. Nora's gone home.

    BROADBENT [with conviction]. You were right this morning, Larry.
    I must feed up Nora. She's weak; and it makes her fanciful. Oh,
    by the way, did I tell you that we're engaged?

    LARRY. She told me herself.

    BROADBENT [complacently]. She's rather full of it, as you may
    imagine. Poor Nora! Well, Mr Keegan, as I said, I begin to see my
    way here. I begin to see my way.

    KEEGAN [with a courteous inclination]. The conquering Englishman,
    sir. Within 24 hours of your arrival you have carried off our
    only heiress, and practically secured the parliamentary seat. And
    you have promised me that when I come here in the evenings to
    meditate on my madness; to watch the shadow of the Round Tower
    lengthening in the sunset; to break my heart uselessly in the
    curtained gloaming over the dead heart and blinded soul of the
    island of the saints, you will comfort me with the bustle of a
    great hotel, and the sight of the little children carrying the
    golf clubs of your tourists as a preparation for the life to

    BROADBENT [quite touched, mutely offering him a cigar to console
    him, at which he smiles and shakes his head]. Yes, Mr Keegan:
    you're quite right. There's poetry in everything, even [looking
    absently into the cigar case] in the most modern prosaic things,
    if you know how to extract it [he extracts a cigar for himself
    and offers one to Larry, who takes it]. If I was to be shot for
    it I couldn't extract it myself; but that's where you come in,
    you see [roguishly, waking up from his reverie and bustling
    Keegan goodhumoredly]. And then I shall wake you up a bit. That's
    where I come in: eh? d'ye see? Eh? eh? [He pats him very
    pleasantly on the shoulder, half admiringly, half pityingly].
    Just so, just so. [Coming back to business] By the way, I believe
    I can do better than a light railway here. There seems to be no
    question now that the motor boat has come to stay. Well, look at
    your magnificent river there, going to waste.

    KEEGAN [closing his eyes]. "Silent, O Moyle, be the roar of thy

    BROADBENT. You know, the roar of a motor boat is quite pretty.

    KEEGAN. Provided it does not drown the Angelus.

    BROADBENT [reassuringly]. Oh no: it won't do that: not the least
    danger. You know, a church bell can make a devil of a noise when
    it likes.

    KEEGAN. You have an answer for everything, sir. But your plans
    leave one question still unanswered: how to get butter out of a
    dog's throat.


    KEEGAN. You cannot build your golf links and hotels in the air.
    For that you must own our land. And how will you drag our acres
    from the ferret's grip of Matthew Haffigan? How will you persuade
    Cornelius Doyle to forego the pride of being a small landowner?
    How will Barney Doran's millrace agree with your motor boats?
    Will Doolan help you to get a license for your hotel?

    BROADBENT. My dear sir: to all intents and purposes the syndicate
    I represent already owns half Rosscullen. Doolan's is a tied
    house; and the brewers are in the syndicate. As to Haffigan's
    farm and Doran's mill and Mr Doyle's place and half a dozen
    others, they will be mortgaged to me before a month is out.

    KEEGAN. But pardon me, you will not lend them more on their land
    than the land is worth; so they will be able to pay you the

    BROADBENT. Ah, you are a poet, Mr Keegan, not a man of business.

    LARRY. We will lend everyone of these men half as much again on
    their land as it is worth, or ever can be worth, to them.

    BROADBENT. You forget, sir, that we, with our capital, our
    knowledge, our organization, and may I say our English business
    habits, can make or lose ten pounds out of land that Haffigan,
    with all his industry, could not make or lose ten shillings out
    of. Doran's mill is a superannuated folly: I shall want it for
    electric lighting.

    LARRY. What is the use of giving land to such men? they are too
    small, too poor, too ignorant, too simpleminded to hold it
    against us: you might as well give a dukedom to a crossing

    BROADBENT. Yes, Mr Keegan: this place may have an industrial
    future, or it may have a residential future: I can't tell yet;
    but it's not going to be a future in the hands of your Dorans and
    Haffigans, poor devils!

    KEEGAN. It may have no future at all. Have you thought of that?

    BROADBENT. Oh, I'm not afraid of that. I have faith in Ireland,
    great faith, Mr Keegan.

    KEEGAN. And we have none: only empty enthusiasms and patriotisms,
    and emptier memories and regrets. Ah yes: you have some excuse
    for believing that if there be any future, it will be yours; for
    our faith seems dead, and our hearts cold and cowed. An island of
    dreamers who wake up in your jails, of critics and cowards whom
    you buy and tame for your own service, of bold rogues who help
    you to plunder us that they may plunder you afterwards. Eh?

    BROADBENT [a little impatient of this unbusinesslike view]. Yes,
    yes; but you know you might say that of any country. The fact is,
    there are only two qualities in the world: efficiency and
    inefficiency, and only two sorts of people: the efficient and the
    inefficient. It don't matter whether they're English or Irish. I
    shall collar this place, not because I'm an Englishman and
    Haffigan and Co are Irishmen, but because they're duffers and I
    know my way about.

    KEEGAN. Have you considered what is to become of Haffigan?

    LARRY. Oh, we'll employ him in some capacity or other, and
    probably pay him more than he makes for himself now.

    BROADBENT [dubiously]. Do you think so? No no: Haffigan's too
    old. It really doesn't pay now to take on men over forty even for
    unskilled labor, which I suppose is all Haffigan would be good
    for. No: Haffigan had better go to America, or into the Union,
    poor old chap! He's worked out, you know: you can see it.

    KEEGAN. Poor lost soul, so cunningly fenced in with invisible

    LARRY. Haffigan doesn't matter much. He'll die presently.

    BROADBENT [shocked]. Oh come, Larry! Don't be unfeeling. It's
    hard on Haffigan. It's always hard on the inefficient.

    LARRY. Pah! what does it matter where an old and broken man
    spends his last days, or whether he has a million at the bank or
    only the workhouse dole? It's the young men, the able men, that
    matter. The real tragedy of Haffigan is the tragedy of his wasted
    youth, his stunted mind, his drudging over his clods and pigs
    until he has become a clod and a pig himself--until the soul
    within him has smouldered into nothing but a dull temper that
    hurts himself and all around him. I say let him die, and let us
    have no more of his like. And let young Ireland take care that it
    doesn't share his fate, instead of making another empty grievance
    of it. Let your syndicate come--

    BROADBENT. Your syndicate too, old chap. You have your bit of the

    LARRY. Yes, mine if you like. Well, our syndicate has no
    conscience: it has no more regard for your Haffigans and Doolans
    and Dorans than it has for a gang of Chinese coolies. It will use
    your patriotic blatherskite and balderdash to get parliamentary
    powers over you as cynically as it would bait a mousetrap with
    toasted cheese. It will plan, and organize, and find capital
    while you slave like bees for it and revenge yourselves by paying
    politicians and penny newspapers out of your small wages to write
    articles and report speeches against its wickedness and tyranny,
    and to crack up your own Irish heroism, just as Haffigan once
    paid a witch a penny to put a spell on Billy Byrne's cow. In the
    end it will grind the nonsense out of you, and grind strength and
    sense into you.

    BROADBENT [out of patience]. Why can't you say a simple thing
    simply, Larry, without all that Irish exaggeration and
    talky-talky? The syndicate is a perfectly respectable body of
    responsible men of good position. We'll take Ireland in hand, and
    by straightforward business habits teach it efficiency and
    self-help on sound Liberal principles. You agree with me, Mr
    Keegan, don't you?

    KEEGAN. Sir: I may even vote for you.

    BROADBENT [sincerely moved, shaking his hand warmly]. You shall
    never regret it, Mr Keegan: I give you my word for that. I shall
    bring money here: I shall raise wages: I shall found public
    institutions, a library, a Polytechnic [undenominational, of
    course], a gymnasium, a cricket club, perhaps an art school. I
    shall make a Garden city of Rosscullen: the round tower shall be
    thoroughly repaired and restored.

    KEEGAN. And our place of torment shall be as clean and orderly as
    the cleanest and most orderly place I know in Ireland, which is
    our poetically named Mountjoy prison. Well, perhaps I had better
    vote for an efficient devil that knows his own mind and his own
    business than for a foolish patriot who has no mind and no

    BROADBENT [stiffly]. Devil is rather a strong expression in that
    connexion, Mr Keegan.

    KEEGAN. Not from a man who knows that this world is hell. But
    since the word offends you, let me soften it, and compare you
    simply to an ass. [Larry whitens with anger].

    BROADBENT [reddening]. An ass!

    KEEGAN [gently]. You may take it without offence from a madman
    who calls the ass his brother--and a very honest, useful and
    faithful brother too. The ass, sir, is the most efficient of
    beasts, matter-of-fact, hardy, friendly when you treat him as a
    fellow-creature, stubborn when you abuse him, ridiculous only in
    love, which sets him braying, and in politics, which move him to
    roll about in the public road and raise a dust about nothing. Can
    you deny these qualities and habits in yourself, sir?

    BROADBENT [goodhumoredly]. Well, yes, I'm afraid I do, you know.

    KEEGAN. Then perhaps you will confess to the ass's one fault.

    BROADBENT. Perhaps so: what is it?

    KEEGAN. That he wastes all his virtues--his efficiency, as you
    call it--in doing the will of his greedy masters instead of doing
    the will of Heaven that is in himself. He is efficient in the
    service of Mammon, mighty in mischief, skilful in ruin, heroic in
    destruction. But he comes to browse here without knowing that the
    soil his hoof touches is holy ground. Ireland, sir, for good or
    evil, is like no other place under heaven; and no man can touch
    its sod or breathe its air without becoming better or worse. It
    produces two kinds of men in strange perfection: saints and
    traitors. It is called the island of the saints; but indeed in
    these later years it might be more fitly called the island of the
    traitors; for our harvest of these is the fine flower of the
    world's crop of infamy. But the day may come when these islands
    shall live by the quality of their men rather than by the
    abundance of their minerals; and then we shall see.

    LARRY. Mr Keegan: if you are going to be sentimental about
    Ireland, I shall bid you good evening. We have had enough of
    that, and more than enough of cleverly proving that everybody who
    is not an Irishman is an ass. It is neither good sense nor good
    manners. It will not stop the syndicate; and it will not interest
    young Ireland so much as my friend's gospel of efficiency.

    BROADBENT. Ah, yes, yes: efficiency is the thing. I don't in the
    least mind your chaff, Mr Keegan; but Larry's right on the main
    point. The world belongs to the efficient.

    KEEGAN [with polished irony]. I stand rebuked, gentlemen. But
    believe me, I do every justice to the efficiency of you and your
    syndicate. You are both, I am told, thoroughly efficient civil
    engineers; and I have no doubt the golf links will be a triumph
    of your art. Mr Broadbent will get into parliament most
    efficiently, which is more than St Patrick could do if he were
    alive now. You may even build the hotel efficiently if you can
    find enough efficient masons, carpenters, and plumbers, which I
    rather doubt. [Dropping his irony, and beginning to fall into the
    attitude of the priest rebuking sin] When the hotel becomes
    insolvent [Broadbent takes his cigar out of his mouth, a little
    taken aback], your English business habits will secure the
    thorough efficiency of the liquidation. You will reorganize the
    scheme efficiently; you will liquidate its second bankruptcy
    efficiently [Broadbent and Larry look quickly at one another; for
    this, unless the priest is an old financial hand, must be
    inspiration]; you will get rid of its original shareholders
    efficiently after efficiently ruining them; and you will finally
    profit very efficiently by getting that hotel for a few shillings
    in the pound. [More and more sternly] Besides those efficient
    operations, you will foreclose your mortgages most efficiently
    [his rebuking forefinger goes up in spite of himself]; you will
    drive Haffigan to America very efficiently; you will find a use
    for Barney Doran's foul mouth and bullying temper by employing
    him to slave-drive your laborers very efficiently; and [low and
    bitter] when at last this poor desolate countryside becomes a
    busy mint in which we shall all slave to make money for you, with
    our Polytechnic to teach us how to do it efficiently, and our
    library to fuddle the few imaginations your distilleries will
    spare, and our repaired Round Tower with admission sixpence, and
    refreshments and penny-in-the-slot mutoscopes to make it
    interesting, then no doubt your English and American shareholders
    will spend all the money we make for them very efficiently in
    shooting and hunting, in operations for cancer and appendicitis,
    in gluttony and gambling; and you will devote what they save to
    fresh land development schemes. For four wicked centuries the
    world has dreamed this foolish dream of efficiency; and the end
    is not yet. But the end will come.

    BROADBENT [seriously]. Too true, Mr Keegan, only too true. And
    most eloquently put. It reminds me of poor Ruskin--a great man,
    you know. I sympathize. Believe me, I'm on your side. Don't
    sneer, Larry: I used to read a lot of Shelley years ago. Let us
    be faithful to the dreams of our youth [he wafts a wreath of
    cigar smoke at large across the hill].

    KEEGAN. Come, Mr Doyle! is this English sentiment so much more
    efficient than our Irish sentiment, after all? Mr Broadbent
    spends his life inefficiently admiring the thoughts of great men,
    and efficiently serving the cupidity of base money hunters. We
    spend our lives efficiently sneering at him and doing nothing.
    Which of us has any right to reproach the other?

    BROADBENT [coming down the hill again to Keegan's right hand].
    But you know, something must be done.

    KEEGAN. Yes: when we cease to do, we cease to live. Well, what
    shall we do?

    BROADBENT. Why, what lies to our hand.

    KEEGAN. Which is the making of golf links and hotels to bring
    idlers to a country which workers have left in millions because
    it is a hungry land, a naked land, an ignorant and oppressed

    BROADBENT. But, hang it all, the idlers will bring money from
    England to Ireland!

    KEEGAN. Just as our idlers have for so many generations taken
    money from Ireland to England. Has that saved England from
    poverty and degradation more horrible than we have ever dreamed
    of? When I went to England, sir, I hated England. Now I pity it.
    [Broadbent can hardly conceive an Irishman pitying England; but
    as Larry intervenes angrily, he gives it up and takes to the bill
    and his cigar again]

    LARRY. Much good your pity will do it!

    KEEGAN. In the accounts kept in heaven, Mr Doyle, a heart
    purified of hatred may be worth more even than a Land Development
    Syndicate of Anglicized Irishmen and Gladstonized Englishmen.

    LARRY. Oh, in heaven, no doubt! I have never been there. Can you
    tell me where it is?

    KEEGAN. Could you have told me this morning where hell is? Yet
    you know now that it is here. Do not despair of finding heaven:
    it may be no farther off.

    LARRY [ironically]. On this holy ground, as you call it, eh?

    KEEGAN [with fierce intensity]. Yes, perhaps, even on this holy
    ground which such Irishmen as you have turned into a Land of

    BROADBENT [coming between them]. Take care! you will be
    quarrelling presently. Oh, you Irishmen, you Irishmen! Toujours
    Ballyhooly, eh? [Larry, with a shrug, half comic, half impatient,
    turn away up the hill, but presently strolls back on Keegan's
    right. Broadbent adds, confidentially to Keegan] Stick to the
    Englishman, Mr Keegan: he has a bad name here; but at least he
    can forgive you for being an Irishman.

    KEEGAN. Sir: when you speak to me of English and Irish you forget
    that I am a Catholic. My country is not Ireland nor England, but
    the whole mighty realm of my Church. For me there are but two
    countries: heaven and hell; but two conditions of men: salvation
    and damnation. Standing here between you the Englishman, so
    clever in your foolishness, and this Irishman, so foolish in his
    cleverness, I cannot in my ignorance be sure which of you is the
    more deeply damned; but I should be unfaithful to my calling if I
    opened the gates of my heart less widely to one than to the

    LARRY. In either case it would be an impertinence, Mr Keegan, as
    your approval is not of the slightest consequence to us. What use
    do you suppose all this drivel is to men with serious practical
    business in hand?

    BROADBENT. I don't agree with that, Larry. I think these things
    cannot be said too often: they keep up the moral tone of the
    community. As you know, I claim the right to think for myself in
    religious matters: in fact, I am ready to avow myself a bit of
    a--of a--well, I don't care who knows it--a bit of a Unitarian;
    but if the Church of England contained a few men like Mr Keegan,
    I should certainly join it.

    KEEGAN. You do me too much honor, sir. [With priestly humility to
    Larry] Mr Doyle: I am to blame for having unintentionally set
    your mind somewhat on edge against me. I beg your pardon.

    LARRY [unimpressed and hostile]. I didn't stand on ceremony with
    you: you needn't stand on it with me. Fine manners and fine words
    are cheap in Ireland: you can keep both for my friend here, who
    is still imposed on by them. I know their value.

    KEEGAN. You mean you don't know their value.

    LARRY [angrily]. I mean what I say.

    KEEGAN [turning quietly to the Englishman] You see, Mr Broadbent,
    I only make the hearts of my countrymen harder when I preach to
    them: the gates of hell still prevail against me. I shall wish
    you good evening. I am better alone, at the Round Tower, dreaming
    of heaven. [He goes up the hill].

    LARRY. Aye, that's it! there you are! dreaming, dreaming,
    dreaming, dreaming!

    KEEGAN [halting and turning to them for the last time]. Every
    dream is a prophecy: every jest is an earnest in the womb of

    BROADBENT [reflectively]. Once, when I was a small kid, I dreamt
    I was in heaven. [They both stare at him]. It was a sort of pale
    blue satin place, with all the pious old ladies in our
    congregation sitting as if they were at a service; and there was
    some awful person in the study at the other side of the hall. I
    didn't enjoy it, you know. What is it like in your dreams?

    KEEGAN. In my dreams it is a country where the State is the
    Church and the Church the people: three in one and one in three.
    It is a commonwealth in which work is play and play is life:
    three in one and one in three. It is a temple in which the priest
    is the worshipper and the worshipper the worshipped: three in one
    and one in three. It is a godhead in which all life is human and
    all humanity divine: three in one and one in three. It is, in
    short, the dream of a madman. [He goes away across the hill].

    BROADBENT [looking after him affectionately]. What a regular old
    Church and State Tory he is! He's a character: he'll be an
    attraction here. Really almost equal to Ruskin and Carlyle.

    LARRY. Yes; and much good they did with all their talk!

    BROADBENT. Oh tut, tut, Larry! They improved my mind: they raised
    my tone enormously. I feel sincerely obliged to Keegan: he has
    made me feel a better man: distinctly better. [With sincere
    elevation] I feel now as I never did before that I am right in
    devoting my life to the cause of Ireland. Come along and help me
    to choose the site for the hotel.
    Chapter 4
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