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    Act III

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    Chapter 3
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    [Front part of stage shows an ante-room, with folding doors opening to rear part, which represents a portion of the Masterson parlor, curtained off to form a stage for the dance. Entrances down stage right and left. Up stage, at the left, are the curtains, which part in the middle; they are held by a cord which is fastened by the wall. OCEANA'S trunk stands near entrance, right. Also a couple of chairs.]

    [At rise: FREDDY stands left, holding curtain cord. OCEANA lies up centre, covered with the "Bridal-robe," asleep. Music of Sunrise Dance begins softly. FREDDY draws back curtains, revealing part of audience, left. He steals off. OCEANA gradually awakens, raises her head, lifts herself to her knees, stretches out her hands in worship to the Sun- god. Then slowly she rises, rapt in wonder. The robe falls back, revealing a filmy costume, primitive, elemental, naive. She begins to sway, and gradually glides into an ecstatic dance, which portrays the joyful awakening of morning.]

    MRS. MASTERSON. [Enters, left, in great agitation, stares at OCEANA, wrings her hands, paces about, signals to her frantically.] Oh! Oh!

    [Rushes left and releases curtains, which fall.]

    OCEANA. [Turns in consternation.] Why! What . . . [Sees MRS. MASTERSON.] Aunt Sophronia!

    MRS. MASTERSON. How dare you! How dare you!

    OCEANA. Why, what's the matter?

    MRS. MASTERSON. You ask me? Oh, oh!

    OCEANA. Aunt Sophronia, you stopped my dance!

    MRS. MASTERSON. Hussy! Shameless wanton! You have disgraced me before all the world!

    OCEANA. [Stares at her, slowly comprehending.] Oh! I see! [Goes to her with signs of distress.] Oh, Aunt Sophronia, I'm so sorry! I didn't mean to displease you!

    MRS. MASTERSON. Such a humiliation!

    OCEANA. Aunt Sophronia, you must believe me . . . I had a reason!

    MRS. MASTERSON. A what?

    OCEANA. A reason for doing it! I couldn't help it . . . believe me, believe me!

    MRS. MASTERSON. But what . . . what reason? What do you mean?

    OCEANA. I can't tell you, Aunt Sophronia. But truly . . . if you knew, you would understand. I simply had to do it.

    MRS. MASTERSON. [Bewildered.] Is the girl mad?

    OCEANA. Yes, I believe that is it! I am mad!

    DR. MASTERSON. [Opens door and enters left.] Oceana !

    MRS. MASTERSON. [Hurries to him.] Quincy! Don't come in here! It's not decent! [Pushes him towards door; to OCEANA.] Put something on you, girl!

    OCEANA. Of course. [Puts on robe.]

    MRS. MASTERSON. I can't comprehend you! Have you no sense of shame whatever?

    OCEANA. I had a sense of shame.

    MRS. MASTERSON. Naked! Almost naked! And in my home!

    ETHEL. [Enters left.] Mother, what's the matter?

    MRS. MASTERSON. Ethel! You knew of this outrageous plot . . .

    OCEANA. One moment, Aunt Sophronia. The blame for this rests upon me alone. I told Ethel that the dance was all right.

    MRS. MASTERSON. Ethel, leave the room. This is no place for you.

    ETHEL. Mother! The people are waiting . . .

    MRS. MASTERSON. Go at once! [To DR. MASTERSON.] Quincy, go out and make some apology to our guests. Explain to them that we had no idea . . . we were imposed upon . . .

    [Applause heard off left.]

    OCEANA. Perhaps if your guests were consulted . . .

    DR. MASTERSON. My dear Sophronia . . .

    MRS. MASTERSON. [Pushes him off.] Go! Quickly! [Turns to OCEANA.] And as for you, Anna Talbot, there is no more to be said. You have overwhelmed me with shame.

    OCEANA. Perhaps, Aunt Sophronia, you would prefer I should leave your house?

    MRS. MASTERSON. [Stiffly.] I would make no objection.

    OCEANA. I will go as soon as I dress.

    MRS. MASTERSON. Very well. [Starts towards the door.] I will do what I can to atone for your wantonness.

    OCEANA. One moment, Aunt Sophronia.


    OCEANA. Ethel tells me that you had something to say to me about grandfather's will.

    MRS. MASTERSON. Oh! Ethel told you, did she?

    OCEANA. Yes . . . she wished you to know that she had told me. Of course, feeling towards me as you do, you would hardly expect me to give up any rights that I may have.

    MRS. MASTERSON. We will be content with what rights the law allows us.

    OCEANA. What I wished to say was that I would be willing to give Ethel part of my inheritance.


    OCEANA. I would not give it to Freddy, for he is a man, and I should be breaking the mainspring of his life. But I will give half my money to Ethel, provided that you will consent to let her go with me.

    MRS. MASTERSON. Oh! So that is your idea! You have already weaned the child from me . . . you have made her a traitor to me; and now you wish to buy her altogether.

    OCEANA. Aunt Sophronia!

    MRS. MASTERSON. Your offer is declined. I have no more to say to you.

    [She sweeps out.]

    OCEANA. [Stands lost in thought; a smile grows upon her face.] Poor Aunt Sophronia!

    [Begins to hum, and to sway as in the Sunrise Dance. She completes the dance from where she was interrupted, from an impulse of inner delight.]

    FREDDY. [Steals in right; watches her, enraptured, as she stands with arms outstretched in ecstasy. He rushes towards her and flings himself at her feet, clasping her hand.] Oceana!

    OCEANA. Freddy!

    FREDDY. [Sobbing incoherently.] Oceana! I can't stand it!

    OCEANA. Why . . . what's the matter?

    FREDDY. I love you! I love you! I can't live without you! I can't give you up . . . Oceana, have mercy on me!

    OCEANA. [Gravely.] Freddy! This won't do! No . . . let go of me, please! You must control yourself.

    FREDDY. Don't send me away! How can you be so cruel to me?

    OCEANA. But, Freddy, I have told you that I don't love you. [She stands, thinking.] Give me my robe. Now, come sit down here, and listen to me. I am going away, Freddy, and you won't see me any more. And that is for the best . . . for you must get me out of your mind. I don't love you, Freddy.

    FREDDY. And you never would love me?

    OCEANA. Never.

    FREDDY. But why not . . . why not?

    OCEANA. I can't tell you that.

    FREDDY. Oh, you are pitiless to me!

    OCEANA. One does not give love out of pity. That is a cowardly thing to ask. [She pauses.] I must be frank with you, Freddy. You have got to face the facts. When I give my love, it will be to a man; and you are not a man.

    FREDDY. But I am growing up!

    OCEANA. No; you don't understand me. You should have grown up years ago. You have been stunted. [She takes his hand.] Look! See the stains!

    FREDDY. Why. . .

    OCEANA. Cigarettes! And you want to be a man!

    FREDDY. Is that so unforgivable?

    OCEANA. It is only one thing of many, my dear cousin.

    FREDDY. Oceana, you don't know what men are!

    OCEANA. Oh, don't I! My dear boy, there is nothing about men that I don't know. I have read Krafft-Ebing and Havelock Ellis . . . I know it all. I know it as a physician knows it. I can read a man's diseases in his complexion . . . I can read his vices in his eyes. Don't you see?

    FREDDY. [Drops his eyes.] I see!

    OCEANA. Don't think that I am despising you, dear boy. I know the world you have lived in.

    FREDDY. But what can I do?

    OCEANA. You can go away, and make a man of yourself. Go West, get out into the open. Learn to ride and hunt . . . harden your muscles and expand your chest. Until then you're not fit to be the father of any woman's child!

    FREDDY. Drop college, you mean?

    OCEANA. Be your own college! The idea of trying to build a brain in a body that's decaying! How could you stand it? Don't you ever feel that you are boiling over . . . that you must have something upon which you can wreak yourself? Don't you feel that you'd like to tame a horse, or to sail a boat in a storm? Don't you ever read about adventures?

    FREDDY. Yes, I read about them.

    OCEANA. And don't you ever feel that you must experience them? That you must face some kind of danger . . . do something that you can look back on with pride? Why, see . . . six years ago there came to our island three war-canoes full of savages . . . cannibals they were. If father and I hadn't been there, they'd have wiped our people out. And do you think I'd give up the memory of that struggle?

    FREDDY. What happened?

    OCEANA. Fortunately they came in the daytime, so we soon drove them back to their boats. See . . . I'll show you. [She goes to trunk.] Here's one of them.

    [She lifts up a human skull.]

    FREDDY. Good Lord!

    OCEANA. Notice that crack. That was done with a spear . . . by my prince, the one who made me this robe, you know. He cleaned the skull out for me.

    FREDDY. Rather a ghastly sort of souvenir.

    OCEANA. Oh, I don't mind that. Father and I found it useful . . . a sort of memento mori.

    FREDDY. [Looking into trunk.] And what are those things?

    OCEANA. They are some of my arrows. And these are what we used for bowls . . . turtle-shells, you see.

    FREDDY. [Pointing.] But those?

    OCEANA. Oh, my single-sticks. [Lifts them.] That's the game Henry and I were talking about. You ought to get him to teach it to you.

    FREDDY. What's it like?

    OCEANA. I'll show you. [She takes from the trunk two leather helmets and gloves.] Here you are! It's an old English game . . . didn't you ever read "Robin Hood"?

    FREDDY. Oh, it's that? Why, they used to crack each other's heads!

    OCEANA. The object was to draw first blood. But we used to wear these helmets. You see how we've dented them up? And these old cudgels . . . how they remind me of father!

    FREDDY. Humph! They're heavy.

    OCEANA. You take the stick this way; it's a kind of fencing. [She gives him a stick and illustrates the play.] No, so!

    MRS. MASTERSON. [Enters.] What's this? Is this the way you get ready to leave?

    OCEANA. [Imploring.] Oh, Aunt Sophronia, I beg your pardon! I got so interested . . .

    MRS. MASTERSON. Is there no limit to your indiscretion?

    DR. MASTERSON. [Enters hurriedly.] Sophronia, I beg of you . . .

    MRS. MASTERSON. I will hear no more of this! I have spoken, once for all . . .

    DR. MASTERSON. But, my dear . . .

    MRS. MASTERSON. No more!

    DR. MASTERSON. But, Sophronia, the people don't understand why . . . .

    MRS. MASTERSON. It was outrageous!

    DR. MASTERSON. I know. But since it was begun . . . it's so difficult to explain . . .

    MRS. MASTERSON. No more of this! I won't hear it!

    HENRY. [Enters; stares about.] Mrs. Masterson, what have you done here?

    MRS. MASTERSON. There is no reason why you should concern yourself with it.

    HENRY. But I wish to know.

    MRS. MASTERSON. What do you wish to know?

    HENRY. Did you stop Oceana's dance?

    MRS. MASTERSON. I did.

    HENRY. And why?

    MRS. MASTERSON. Because I saw fit to.

    HENRY. But your guests . . .

    MRS. MASTERSON. I will attend to my guests.

    HENRY. But what is Oceana going to do?

    MRS. MASTERSON. She is going to leave our house.

    HENRY. This is a shame. Most of the people enjoyed the dance. They would like to see more . . .

    MRS. MASTERSON. Henry, you will permit me to decide about what goes on in my home.

    HENRY. You may decide for yourself. But if Oceana leaves tonight, I will leave also . . . and I will never return.

    MRS. MASTERSON. Very well, Sir; as you please.

    OCEANA. Henry, let me have a say. I am obliged to you, but I don't want to stay. It's absurd for me to be here . . . I don't belong here. I've lived all my life under the open sky; I've been free. I've swum several miles every day and run several more; I've hunted and fished and danced and played; and here they dress me up in long skirts and sit me in a corner and tell me I'm a lady! I can stand it just so long . . . I've stood it twenty-four hours, and I feel like a wild animal in a cage. If I don't find something to do . . . something real . . . something that is thrilling . . . truly, I'll murder some one. [She paces the room; DR. and MRS. Masterson shrink away from her.] Yes, I mean it! [With increasing vehemence.] Picture me at home. When I was hungry, I went out for game; and unless I got the game, I stayed hungry. Or I went fishing, and I had to get my canoe through the surf. I had the zest of danger . . . I had real struggle. But here I have nothing. They bring me my food on silver platters; they get up and give me their seats, they even push the doors open in front of me! And so I'm panting for something to do . . . for some opposition, some competition, some conflict. I'm spoiling for a fight! You, Henry, don't you know what I mean? A fight! [With a sharp, swift gesture.] I want to meet some wild animal again! Is there a wild animal in you? [They stare at each other; suddenly she springs and takes the other single-stick from FREDDY.] Here! You know this game! My father taught you! [She holds out one to him.] Come on!

    HENRY. [Bewildered.] Oceana! This is not the place.

    OCEANA. It's the place for me! Take it! [She forces it on him.] Now! Forget that I'm a woman! Ready!

    HENRY. Oceana! No!

    OCEANA. Are you afraid of your mother-in-law?

    HENRY. Good heavens!

    OCEANA. If you're not, you're the only man in the family that isn't. [She drops her robe.] Now!

    MRS. MASTERSON. This is disgraceful!

    DR. MASTERSON. Oceana, I beg of you . . .

    OCEANA. Defend yourself! [She makes a feint at Henry's head, causing him to raise his stick.] Lay on!

    [She attacks him briskly. He defends himself. There is a swift rattle of the sticks and a vivid conflict.]

    HENRY. [Laughing.] Oceana, for God's sake, stop!

    MRS. MASTERSON. Oh, stop them!

    DR. MASTERSON. Are you mad?

    FREDDY. Oceana!

    OCEANA. [Wild with the excitement of the struggle.] Lay on! Ha, ha! Well played! Guard! Once again! Ah, this is what I like! This is what I've been looking for! [They leap here and there; the others dodge out of the way, protesting; the conflict grows more and more strenuous.]

    LETITIA. [Enters left; screams in terror.] Henry! [They stop; a long pause.] Henry! What does this mean?

    HENRY. My dear . . .

    [Stops for lack of breath.]

    OCEANA. Freddy, my robe.

    [Wraps herself and sits in chair, smiling.]

    LETITIA. What does this mean?

    MRS. MASTERSON. Of all the shameless and insane procedures!

    LETITIA. Are you mad, Henry?

    OCEANA. No, no, Letitia. We know just what we're about. You see, your husband and I are considering whether or not we shall fall in love with each other.

    LETITIA. [Wildly.] Oh!

    MRS. MASTERSON. Monstrous!

    DR. MASTERSON. Oceana!

    LETITIA. How dare you?

    OCEANA. He's interested, you know. I've got hold of him.

    LETITIA. [Furiously.] Henry, you stand there and permit her to insult me . . .

    HENRY. My dear, believe me . . .

    OCEANA. [Sharply.] Stop, Henry! [A pause.] Look at me!

    HENRY. Well?

    OCEANA. Don't tell her a lie. A lie is the thing I never pardon.

    HENRY. Why . . . why . . .

    [Falls silent.]

    MRS. MASTERSON. Henry!

    FREDDY. Gee whiz!

    LETITIA. Henry, I demand that you come home with me instantly.

    OCEANA. Don't go.

    LETITIA. [Almost speechless.] If you stay here, you stay alone!

    OCEANA. [Rises, casts aside her robe, stretches wide her arms.] Letitia! Look at me! Am I the sort of woman that you can safely leave your husband alone with?

    LETITIA. [Stares at her terrified, then bursts into tears and flings herself into HENRY'S arms.] Henry!

    OCEANA. Ah, yes! That is safer!

    HENRY. [Supports LETITIA.] My dear! My dear!

    LETITIA. Come home with me!

    OCEANA. God, man, how I pity you! Bound in chains to a woman like that! And with all the world conspiring to hold you fast! How can you bear it? Do you expect to bear it forever? What will become of your soul? Oh, I pity you! I pity you!

    LETITIA. [Hysterically.] Henry, take me home! Take me home at once!

    HENRY. Yes, my dear, yes!

    OCEANA. What is the spell they've laid upon you? You make me think of Gulliver . . . a giant stretched out upon the ground, impotent, bound fast with a million tiny threads! Wake up, man . . . wake up! You've only one life to live. You act as if you had a thousand.

    LETITIA. Mother!

    MRS. MASTERSON. How long is this to continue?

    LETITIA. Henry, won't you stop listening to her?

    OCEANA. He's not listening to me, Letitia. He's listening to the voice of the universe, calling to him. The voice of unborn generations, clamoring, agonizing! What do you suppose it means, man . . . this storm that has shaken us? It is Nature's trumpet-call . . . it is the shout of discovery of the powers within us! For ages upon ages life has been preparing it . . . and now suddenly we meet . . . the barriers are shattered and flung down, the tides of being sweep us together!

    MRS. MASTERSON. Oh! This is outrageous!

    DR. MASTERSON. Oceana, Henry is married!

    OCEANA. Married! Married! That is the sorcery with which you bind him! No longer a man at all, but some aborted thing . . . a relic! An eunuch! They mumble their incantations over you . . . the spell is done, and you sink back, cowed and whimpering! You are a machine, a domestic utensil! Never again are you to love and to dare to create No, there are other things in life for you . . . bread and butter, cooks and dinner parties, billiards and bridge-whist . . . that is your portion! A married man!

    LETITIA. [Terrified.] Henry! For God's sake!

    [He no longer returns her embraces, but stares at Oceana, fascinated.]

    OCEANA. Don't you see, man? It's a dream! A nightmare! Rouse yourself, lift your head . . . and it's gone! Life is calling! Come away!

    LETITIA. [Frantically.] Mother! Mother!

    MRS. MASTERSON. Quincy, if you can't stop this outrage, I will! Call the servants.

    [She starts toward Oceana.]

    OCEANA. Call the police! Call your guests! Anything . . . bring the world down on him. Terrify him with conventions, beat him into subjection again!

    MRS. MASTERSON. Wanton!

    OCEANA. Wanton! Oh, how well you understand me! I, with my hunger for righteousness . . . I, who have disciplined myself as an anchorite, who have served as a priestess of life! And you, with your formulas and your superstitions . . . you pass judgment upon me! [With terrific energy.] See! This man and I, we are the gateway to the future! And you seek to bar it! By what right do you stand in the path of posterity . . . you tormentors of the ideal, you assassins of human hope!

    MRS. MASTERSON. [Almost striking her.] Oh! Oh! And my children have to listen to this! [She whirls about.] Ethel! Freddy! Go out of the room!

    ETHEL. I am going with Oceana.


    ETHEL. Some day . . . if not now. She's perfectly right. Letitia has no business to keep him. She never would have got him if she hadn't played a part.

    MRS. MASTERSON. Ethel Masterson!

    LETITIA. Little vixen!

    FREDDY. [Rushes to OCEANA and seizes her hand.] Oceana! Let me go with you, too!

    DR. MASTERSON. What next!

    OCEANA. No, Freddy . . . no! [She withdraws her hand and holds it out to Henry.] Henry! Come!

    [A tense pause; all stare at Henry. He never takes his eyes from Oceana. Slowly, like one hypnotized, he draws away from his wife's embrace, and moves towards Oceana. He seizes her hand. All stand transfixed. Silence.]

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