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    Act III

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    Chapter 4
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    SCENE, [as before. Later in the day. Jimmy comes in, slightly drunk.]

    JIMMY -- [calls.] Pegeen! (Crosses to inner door.) Pegeen Mike! (Comes
    back again into the room.) Pegeen! (Philly comes in in the same state.) (To
    Philly.) Did you see herself?

    PHILLY. I did not; but I sent Shawn Keogh with the ass cart for to bear him
    home. (Trying cupboards which are locked.) Well, isn't he a nasty man to get
    into such staggers at a morning wake? and isn't herself the divil's daughter
    for locking, and she so fussy after that young gaffer, you might take your
    death with drought and none to heed you?

    JIMMY. It's little wonder she'd be fussy, and he after bringing bankrupt ruin
    on the roulette man, and the trick-o'-the-loop man, and breaking the nose of
    the cockshot-man, and winning all in the sports below, racing, lepping,
    dancing, and the Lord knows what! He's right luck, I'm telling you.

    PHILLY. If he has, he'll be rightly hobbled yet, and he not able to say ten
    words without making a brag of the way he killed his father, and the great
    blow he hit with the loy.

    JIMMY. A man can't hang by his own informing, and his father should be rotten
    by now. [Old Mahon passes window slowly.]

    PHILLY. Supposing a man's digging spuds in that field with a long spade, and
    supposing he flings up the two halves of that skull, what'll be said then in
    the papers and the courts of law?

    JIMMY. They'd say it was an old Dane, maybe, was drowned in the flood. (Old
    Mahon comes in and sits down near door listening.) Did you never hear tell of
    the skulls they have in the city of Dublin, ranged out like blue jugs in a
    cabin of Connaught?

    PHILLY. And you believe that?

    JIMMY -- [pugnaciously.] Didn't a lad see them and he after coming from
    harvesting in the Liverpool boat? "They have them there," says he, "making a
    show of the great people there was one time walking the world. White skulls
    and black skulls and yellow skulls, and some with full teeth, and some haven't
    only but one."

    PHILLY. It was no lie, maybe, for when I was a young lad there was a
    graveyard beyond the house with the remnants of a man who had thighs as long
    as your arm. He was a horrid man, I'm telling you, and there was many a fine
    Sunday I'd put him together for fun, and he with shiny bones, you wouldn't
    meet the like of these days in the cities of the world.

    MAHON -- [getting up.] -- You wouldn't is it? Lay your eyes on that skull,
    and tell me where and when there was another the like of it, is splintered
    only from the blow of a loy.

    PHILLY. Glory be to God! And who hit you at all?

    MAHON -- [triumphantly.] It was my own son hit me. Would you believe that?

    JIMMY. Well, there's wonders hidden in the heart of man!

    PHILLY -- [suspiciously.] And what way was it done?

    MAHON -- [wandering about the room.] -- I'm after walking hundreds and long
    scores of miles, winning clean beds and the fill of my belly four times in the
    day, and I doing nothing but telling stories of that naked truth. (He comes to
    them a little aggressively.) Give me a supeen and I'll tell you now. [Widow
    Quin comes in and stands aghast behind him. He is facing Jimmy and Philly,
    who are on the left.]

    JIMMY. Ask herself beyond. She's the stuff hidden in her shawl.

    WIDOW QUIN -- [coming to Mahon quickly.] -- you here, is it? You didn't go
    far at all?

    MAHON. I seen the coasting steamer passing, and I got a drought upon me and a
    cramping leg, so I said, "The divil go along with him," and turned again.
    (Looking under her shawl.) And let you give me a supeen, for I'm destroyed
    travelling since Tuesday was a week.

    WIDOW QUIN -- [getting a glass, in a cajoling tone.] -- Sit down then by the
    fire and take your ease for a space. You've a right to be destroyed indeed,
    with your walking, and fighting, and facing the sun (giving him poteen from a
    stone jar she has brought in.) There now is a drink for you, and may it be to
    your happiness and length of life.

    MAHON -- [taking glass greedily and sitting down by fire.] -- God increase

    WIDOW QUIN -- [taking men to the right stealthily.] -- Do you know what? That
    man's raving from his wound to-day, for I met him a while since telling a
    rambling tale of a tinker had him destroyed. Then he heard of Christy's deed,
    and he up and says it was his son had cracked his skull. O isn't madness a
    fright, for he'll go killing someone yet, and he thinking it's the man has
    struck him so?

    JIMMY -- [entirely convinced.] It's a fright, surely. I knew a party was
    kicked in the head by a red mare, and he went killing horses a great while,
    till he eat the insides of a clock and died after.

    PHILLY -- [with suspicion.] -- Did he see Christy?

    WIDOW QUIN. He didn't. (With a warning gesture.) Let you not be putting him
    in mind of him, or you'll be likely summoned if there's murder done. (Looking
    round at Mahon.) Whisht! He's listening. Wait now till you hear me taking
    him easy and unravelling all. (She goes to Mahon.) And what way are you
    feeling, mister? Are you in contentment now?

    MAHON -- [slightly emotional from his drink.] -- I'm poorly only, for it's a
    hard story the way I'm left to-day, when it was I did tend him from his hour
    of birth, and he a dunce never reached his second book, the way he'd come from
    school, many's the day, with his legs lamed under him, and he blackened with
    his beatings like a tinker's ass. It's a hard story, I'm saying, the way some
    do have their next and nighest raising up a hand of murder on them, and some
    is lonesome getting their death with lamentation in the dead of night.

    WIDOW QUIN -- [not knowing what to say.] -- To hear you talking so quiet,
    who'd know you were the same fellow we seen pass to-day?

    MAHON. I'm the same surely. The wrack and ruin of three score years; and
    it's a terror to live that length, I tell you, and to have your sons going to
    the dogs against you, and you wore out scolding them, and skelping them, and
    God knows what.

    PHILLY -- [to Jimmy.] -- He's not raving. (To Widow Quin.) Will you ask him
    what kind was his son?

    WIDOW QUIN -- [to Mahon, with a peculiar look.] -- Was your son that hit you a
    lad of one year and a score maybe, a great hand at racing and lepping and
    licking the world?

    MAHON -- [turning on her with a roar of rage.] -- Didn't you hear me say he
    was the fool of men, the way from this out he'll know the orphan's lot with
    old and young making game of him and they swearing, raging, kicking at him
    like a mangy cur. [A great burst of cheering outside, someway off.]

    MAHON -- [putting his hands to his ears.] -- What in the name of God do they
    want roaring below?

    WIDOW QUIN -- [with the shade of a smile.] -- They're cheering a young lad,
    the champion Playboy of the Western World. [More cheering.]

    MAHON -- [going to window.] It'd split my heart to hear them, and I with
    pulses in my brain-pan for a week gone by. Is it racing they are?

    JIMMY -- [looking from door.] -- It is then. They are mounting him for the
    mule race will be run upon the sands. That's the playboy on the winkered

    MAHON [puzzled.] That lad, is it? If you said it was a fool he was, I'd
    have laid a mighty oath he was the likeness of my wandering son (uneasily,
    putting his hand to his head.) Faith, I'm thinking I'll go walking for to
    view the race.

    WIDOW QUIN -- [stopping him, sharply.] -- You will not. You'd best take the
    road to Belmullet, and not be dilly-dallying in this place where there isn't a
    spot you could sleep.

    PHILLY -- [coming forward.] -- Don't mind her. Mount there on the bench and
    you'll have a view of the whole. They're hurrying before the tide will rise,
    and it'd be near over if you went down the pathway through the crags below.

    MAHON [mounts on bench, Widow Quin beside him.] -- That's a right view again
    the edge of the sea. They're coming now from the point. He's leading. Who
    is he at all?

    WIDOW QUIN. He's the champion of the world, I tell you, and there isn't a
    hop'orth isn't falling lucky to his hands to-day.

    PHILLY -- [looking out, interested in the race.] -- Look at that. They're
    pressing him now.

    JIMMY. He'll win it yet.

    PHILLY. Take your time, Jimmy Farrell. It's too soon to say.

    WIDOW QUIN -- [shouting.] Watch him taking the gate. There's riding.

    JIMMY -- [cheering.] More power to the young lad!

    MAHON. He's passing the third.

    JIMMY. He'll lick them yet!

    WIDOW QUIN. He'd lick them if he was running races with a score itself.

    MAHON. Look at the mule he has, kicking the stars.

    WIDOW QUIN. There was a lep! (catching hold of Mahon in her excitement.) He's
    fallen! He's mounted again! Faith, he's passing them all!

    JIMMY. Look at him skelping her!

    PHILLY. And the mountain girls hooshing him on!

    JIMMY. It's the last turn! The post's cleared for them now!

    MAHON. Look at the narrow place. He'll be into the bogs! (With a yell.)
    Good rider! He's through it again!

    JIMMY. He neck and neck!

    MAHON. Good boy to him! Flames, but he's in! [Great cheering, in which all

    MAHON [with hesitation.] What's that? They're raising him up. They're
    coming this way. (With a roar of rage and astonishment.) It's Christy! by
    the stars of God! I'd know his way of spitting and he astride the moon. [He
    jumps down and makes for the door, but Widow Quin catches him and pulls him

    WIDOW QUIN. Stay quiet, will you. That's not your son. (To Jimmy.) Stop
    him, or you'll get a month for the abetting of manslaughter and be fined as

    JIMMY. I'll hold him.

    MAHON [struggling.] Let me out! Let me out, the lot of you! till I have my
    vengeance on his head to-day.

    WIDOW QUIN -- [shaking him, vehemently.] -- That's not your son. That's a man
    is going to make a marriage with the daughter of this house, a place with fine
    trade, with a license, and with poteen too.

    MAHON -- [amazed.] That man marrying a decent and a moneyed girl! Is it mad
    yous are? Is it in a crazy-house for females that I'm landed now?

    WIDOW QUIN. It's mad yourself is with the blow upon your head. That lad is
    the wonder of the Western World.

    MAHON. I seen it's my son.

    WIDOW QUIN. You seen that you're mad. (Cheering outside.) Do you hear them
    cheering him in the zig-zags of the road? Aren't you after saying that your
    son's a fool, and how would they be cheering a true idiot born?

    MAHON -- [getting distressed.] -- It's maybe out of reason that that man's
    himself. (Cheering again.) There's none surely will go cheering him. Oh, I'm
    raving with a madness that would fright the world! (He sits down with his
    hand to his head.) There was one time I seen ten scarlet divils letting on
    they'd cork my spirit in a gallon can; and one time I seen rats as big as
    badgers sucking the life blood from the butt of my lug; but I never till this
    day confused that dribbling idiot with a likely man. I'm destroyed surely.

    WIDOW QUIN. And who'd wonder when it's your brain-pan that is gaping now?

    MAHON. Then the blight of the sacred drought upon myself and him, for I never
    went mad to this day, and I not three weeks with the Limerick girls drinking
    myself silly, and parlatic from the dusk to dawn. (To Widow Quin, suddenly.)
    Is my visage astray?

    WIDOW QUIN. It is then. You're a sniggering maniac, a child could see.

    MAHON -- [getting up more cheerfully.] -- Then I'd best be going to the union
    beyond, and there'll be a welcome before me, I tell you (with great pride),
    and I a terrible and fearful case, the way that there I was one time,
    screeching in a straightened waistcoat, with seven doctors writing out my
    sayings in a printed book. Would you believe that?

    WIDOW QUIN. If you're a wonder itself, you'd best be hasty, for them lads
    caught a maniac one time and pelted the poor creature till he ran out, raving
    and foaming, and was drowned in the sea.

    MAHON -- [with philosophy.] -- It's true mankind is the divil when your head's
    astray. Let me out now and I'll slip down the boreen, and not see them so.

    WIDOW QUIN -- [showing him out.] -- That's it. Run to the right, and not a
    one will see. [He runs off.]

    PHILLY -- [wisely.] You're at some gaming, Widow Quin; but I'll walk after
    him and give him his dinner and a time to rest, and I'll see then if he's
    raving or as sane as you.

    WIDOW QUIN -- [annoyed.] If you go near that lad, let you be wary of your
    head, I'm saying. Didn't you hear him telling he was crazed at times?

    PHILLY. I heard him telling a power; and I'm thinking we'll have right sport,
    before night will fall. [He goes out.]

    JIMMY. Well, Philly's a conceited and foolish man. How could that madman
    have his senses and his brain-pan slit? I'll go after them and see him turn
    on Philly now. [He goes; Widow Quin hides poteen behind counter. Then hubbub

    VOICES. There you are! Good jumper! Grand lepper! Darlint boy! He's the
    racer! Bear him on, will you! [Christy comes in, in Jockey's dress, with
    Pegeen Mike, Sara, and other girls, and men.]

    PEGEEN -- [to crowd.] -- Go on now and don't destroy him and he drenching with
    sweat. Go along, I'm saying, and have your tug-of-warring till he's dried his

    CROWD. Here's his prizes! A bagpipes! A fiddle was played by a poet in the
    years gone by! A flat and three-thorned blackthorn would lick the scholars
    out of Dublin town!

    CHRISTY -- [taking prizes from the men.] -- Thank you kindly, the lot of you.
    But you'd say it was little only I did this day if you'd seen me a while since
    striking my one single blow.

    TOWN CRIER -- [outside, ringing a bell.] -- Take notice, last event of this
    day! Tug-of-warring on the green below! Come on, the lot of you! Great
    achievements for all Mayo men!

    PEGEEN. Go on, and leave him for to rest and dry. Go on, I tell you, for
    he'll do no more. (She hustles crowd out; Widow Quin following them.)

    MEN -- [going.] -- Come on then. Good luck for the while!

    PEGEEN -- [radiantly, wiping his face with her shawl.] -- Well, you're the
    lad, and you'll have great times from this out when you could win that wealth
    of prizes, and you sweating in the heat of noon!

    CHRISTY -- [looking at her with delight.] -- I'll have great times if I win
    the crowning prize I'm seeking now, and that's your promise that you'll wed me
    in a fortnight, when our banns is called.

    PEGEEN -- [backing away from him.] -- You've right daring to go ask me that,
    when all knows you'll be starting to some girl in your own townland, when your
    father's rotten in four months, or five.

    CHRISTY -- [indignantly.] Starting from you, is it? (He follows her.) I
    will not, then, and when the airs is warming in four months, or five, it's
    then yourself and me should be pacing Neifin in the dews of night, the times
    sweet smells do be rising, and you'd see a little shiny new moon, maybe,
    sinking on the hills.

    PEGEEN [looking at him playfully.] -- And it's that kind of a poacher's love
    you'd make, Christy Mahon, on the sides of Neifin, when the night is down?

    CHRISTY. It's little you'll think if my love's a poacher's, or an earl's
    itself, when you'll feel my two hands stretched around you, and I squeezing
    kisses on your puckered lips, till I'd feel a kind of pity for the Lord God is
    all ages sitting lonesome in his golden chair.

    PEGEEN. That'll be right fun, Christy Mahon, and any girl would walk her
    heart out before she'd meet a young man was your like for eloquence, or talk,
    at all.

    CHRISTY -- [encouraged.] Let you wait, to hear me talking, till we're astray
    in Erris, when Good Friday's by, drinking a sup from a well, and making mighty
    kisses with our wetted mouths, or gaming in a gap or sunshine, with yourself
    stretched back unto your necklace, in the flowers of the earth.

    PEGEEN -- [in a lower voice, moved by his tone.] -- I'd be nice so, is it?

    CHRISTY -- [with rapture.] -- If the mitred bishops seen you that time, they'd
    be the like of the holy prophets, I'm thinking, do be straining the bars of
    Paradise to lay eyes on the Lady Helen of Troy, and she abroad, pacing back
    and forward, with a nosegay in her golden shawl.

    PEGEEN -- [with real tenderness.] -- And what is it I have, Christy Mahon, to
    make me fitting entertainment for the like of you, that has such poet's
    talking, and such bravery of heart?

    CHRISTY -- [in a low voice.] -- Isn't there the light of seven heavens in your
    heart alone, the way you'll be an angel's lamp to me from this out, and I
    abroad in the darkness, spearing salmons in the Owen, or the Carrowmore?

    PEGEEN. If I was your wife, I'd be along with you those nights, Christy
    Mahon, the way you'd see I was a great hand at coaxing bailiffs, or coining
    funny nick-names for the stars of night.

    CHRISTY. You, is it? Taking your death in the hailstones, or in the fogs of

    PEGEEN. Yourself and me would shelter easy in a narrow bush, (with a qualm of
    dread) but we're only talking, maybe, for this would be a poor, thatched place
    to hold a fine lad is the like of you.

    CHRISTY -- [putting his arm round her.] -- If I wasn't a good Christian, it's
    on my naked knees I'd be saying my prayers and paters to every jackstraw you
    have roofing your head, and every stony pebble is paving the laneway to your

    PEGEEN -- [radiantly.] If that's the truth, I'll be burning candles from this
    out to the miracles of God that have brought you from the south to-day, and I,
    with my gowns bought ready, the way that I can wed you, and not wait at all.

    CHRISTY. It's miracles, and that's the truth. Me there toiling a long while,
    and walking a long while, not knowing at all I was drawing all times nearer to
    this holy day.

    PEGEEN. And myself, a girl, was tempted often to go sailing the seas till I'd
    marry a Jew-man, with ten kegs of gold, and I not knowing at all there was the
    like of you drawing nearer, like the stars of God.

    CHRISTY. And to think I'm long years hearing women talking that talk, to all
    bloody fools, and this the first time I've heard the like of your voice
    talking sweetly for my own delight.

    PEGEEN. And to think it's me is talking sweetly, Christy Mahon, and I the
    fright of seven townlands for my biting tongue. Well, the heart's a wonder;
    and, I'm thinking, there won't be our like in Mayo, for gallant lovers, from
    this hour, to-day. (Drunken singing is heard outside.) There's my father
    coming from the wake, and when he's had his sleep we'll tell him, for he's
    peaceful then. [They separate.]

    MICHAEL -- [singing outside] --
    The jailor and the turnkey
    They quickly ran us down,
    And brought us back as prisoners
    Once more to Cavan town. [He comes in supported by Shawn.]
    There we lay bewailing
    All in a prison bound. . . . [He sees Christy. Goes and shakes him drunkenly
    by the hand, while Pegeen and Shawn talk on the left.]

    MICHAEL -- [to Christy.] -- The blessing of God and the holy angels on your
    head, young fellow. I hear tell you're after winning all in the sports below;
    and wasn't it a shame I didn't bear you along with me to Kate Cassidy's wake,
    a fine, stout lad, the like of you, for you'd never see the match of it for
    flows of drink, the way when we sunk her bones at noonday in her narrow grave,
    there were five men, aye, and six men, stretched out retching speechless on
    the holy stones.

    CHRISTY -- [uneasily, watching Pegeen.] -- Is that the truth?

    MICHAEL. It is then, and aren't you a louty schemer to go burying your poor
    father unbeknownst when you'd a right to throw him on the crupper of a Kerry
    mule and drive him westwards, like holy Joseph in the days gone by, the way we
    could have given him a decent burial, and not have him rotting beyond, and not
    a Christian drinking a smart drop to the glory of his soul?

    CHRISTY -- [gruffly.] It's well enough he's lying, for the likes of him.

    MICHAEL -- [slapping him on the back.] -- Well, aren't you a hardened slayer?
    It'll be a poor thing for the household man where you go sniffing for a female
    wife; and (pointing to Shawn) look beyond at that shy and decent Christian I
    have chosen for my daughter's hand, and I after getting the gilded
    dispensation this day for to wed them now.

    CHRISTY. And you'll be wedding them this day, is it?

    MICHAEL -- [drawing himself up.] -- Aye. Are you thinking, if I'm drunk
    itself, I'd leave my daughter living single with a little frisky rascal is the
    like of you?

    PEGEEN -- [breaking away from Shawn.] -- Is it the truth the dispensation's

    MICHAEL -- [triumphantly.] Father Reilly's after reading it in gallous Latin,
    and "It's come in the nick of time," says he; "so I'll wed them in a hurry,
    dreading that young gaffer who'd capsize the stars."

    PEGEEN -- [fiercely.] He's missed his nick of time, for it's that lad,
    Christy Mahon, that I'm wedding now.

    MICHAEL -- [loudly with horror.] -- You'd be making him a son to me, and he
    wet and crusted with his father's blood?

    PEGEEN. Aye. Wouldn't it be a bitter thing for a girl to go marrying the
    like of Shaneen, and he a middling kind of a scarecrow, with no savagery or
    fine words in him at all?

    MICHAEL -- [gasping and sinking on a chair.] -- Oh, aren't you a heathen
    daughter to go shaking the fat of my heart, and I swamped and drownded with
    the weight of drink? Would you have them turning on me the way that I'd be
    roaring to the dawn of day with the wind upon my heart? Have you not a word
    to aid me, Shaneen? Are you not jealous at all?

    SHANEEN -- [In great misery.] -- I'd be afeard to be jealous of a man did slay
    his da.

    PEGEEN. Well, it'd be a poor thing to go marrying your like. I'm seeing
    there's a world of peril for an orphan girl, and isn't it a great blessing I
    didn't wed you, before himself came walking from the west or south?

    SHAWN. It's a queer story you'd go picking a dirty tramp up from the highways
    of the world.

    PEGEEN -- [playfully.] And you think you're a likely beau to go straying
    along with, the shiny Sundays of the opening year, when it's sooner on a
    bullock's liver you'd put a poor girl thinking than on the lily or the rose?

    SHAWN. And have you no mind of my weight of passion, and the holy
    dispensation, and the drift of heifers I am giving, and the golden ring?

    PEGEEN. I'm thinking you're too fine for the like of me, Shawn Keogh of
    Killakeen, and let you go off till you'd find a radiant lady with droves of
    bullocks on the plains of Meath, and herself bedizened in the diamond
    jewelleries of Pharaoh's ma. That'd be your match, Shaneen. So God save you
    now! [She retreats behind Christy.]

    SHAWN. Won't you hear me telling you. . . ?

    CHRISTY -- [with ferocity.] -- Take yourself from this, young fellow, or I'll
    maybe add a murder to my deeds to-day.

    MICHAEL -- [springing up with a shriek.] -- Murder is it? Is it mad yous are?
    Would you go making murder in this place, and it piled with poteen for our
    drink to-night? Go on to the foreshore if it's fighting you want, where the
    rising tide will wash all traces from the memory of man. [Pushing Shawn
    towards Christy.]

    SHAWN -- [shaking himself free, and getting behind Michael.] -- I'll not fight
    him, Michael James. I'd liefer live a bachelor, simmering in passions to the
    end of time, than face a lepping savage the like of him has descended from the
    Lord knows where. Strike him yourself, Michael James, or you'll lose my drift
    of heifers and my blue bull from Sneem.

    MICHAEL. Is it me fight him, when it's father-slaying he's bred to now?
    (Pushing Shawn.) Go on you fool and fight him now.

    SHAWN -- [coming forward a little.] -- Will I strike him with my hand?

    MICHAEL. Take the loy is on your western side.

    SHAWN. I'd be afeard of the gallows if I struck him with that.

    CHRISTY -- [taking up the loy.] -- Then I'll make you face the gallows or quit
    off from this. [Shawn flies out of the door.]

    CHRISTY. Well, fine weather be after him, (going to Michael, coaxingly) and
    I'm thinking you wouldn't wish to have that quaking blackguard in your house
    at all. Let you give us your blessing and hear her swear her faith to me, for
    I'm mounted on the spring-tide of the stars of luck, the way it'll be good for
    any to have me in the house.

    PEGEEN [at the other side of Michael.] -- Bless us now, for I swear to God
    I'll wed him, and I'll not renege.

    MICHAEL -- [standing up in the centre, holding on to both of them.] -- It's
    the will of God, I'm thinking, that all should win an easy or a cruel end, and
    it's the will of God that all should rear up lengthy families for the nurture
    of the earth. What's a single man, I ask you, eating a bit in one house and
    drinking a sup in another, and he with no place of his own, like an old
    braying jackass strayed upon the rocks? (To Christy.) It's many would be in
    dread to bring your like into their house for to end them, maybe, with a
    sudden end; but I'm a decent man of Ireland, and I liefer face the grave
    untimely and I seeing a score of grandsons growing up little gallant swearers
    by the name of God, than go peopling my bedside with puny weeds the like of
    what you'd breed, I'm thinking, out of Shaneen Keogh. (He joins their hands.)
    A daring fellow is the jewel of the world, and a man did split his father's
    middle with a single clout, should have the bravery of ten, so may God and
    Mary and St. Patrick bless you, and increase you from this mortal day.


    [Hubbub outside.]

    [Old Mahon rushes in, followed by all the crowd, and Widow Quin. He makesa
    rush at Christy, knocks him down,and begins to beat him.]

    PEGEEN -- [dragging back his arm.] -- Stop that, will you. Who are you at

    MAHON. His father, God forgive me!

    PEGEEN -- [drawing back.] -- Is it rose from the dead?

    MAHON. Do you think I look so easy quenched with the tap of a loy? [Beats
    Christy again.]

    PEGEEN -- [glaring at Christy.] -- And it's lies you told, letting on you had
    him slitted, and you nothing at all.

    CHRISTY -- [clutching Mahon's stick.] -- He's not my father. He's a raving
    maniac would scare the world. (Pointing to Widow Quin.) Herself knows it is

    CROWD. You're fooling Pegeen! The Widow Quin seen him this day, and you
    likely knew! You're a liar!

    CHRISTY -- [dumbfounded.] It's himself was a liar, lying stretched out with
    an open head on him, letting on he was dead.

    MAHON. Weren't you off racing the hills before I got my breath with the start
    I had seeing you turn on me at all?

    PEGEEN. And to think of the coaxing glory we had given him, and he after
    doing nothing but hitting a soft blow and chasing northward in a sweat of
    fear. Quit off from this.

    CHRISTY -- [piteously.] You've seen my doings this day, and let you save me
    from the old man; for why would you be in such a scorch of haste to spur me to
    destruction now?

    PEGEEN. It's there your treachery is spurring me, till I'm hard set to think
    you're the one I'm after lacing in my heart-strings half-an-hour gone by. (To
    Mahon.) Take him on from this, for I think bad the world should see me raging
    for a Munster liar, and the fool of men.

    MAHON. Rise up now to retribution, and come on with me.

    CROWD -- [jeeringly.] There's the playboy! There's the lad thought he'd rule
    the roost in Mayo. Slate him now, mister.

    CHRISTY -- [getting up in shy terror.] -- What is it drives you to torment me
    here, when I'd asked the thunders of the might of God to blast me if I ever
    did hurt to any saving only that one single blow.

    MAHON -- [loudly.] If you didn't, you're a poor good-for-nothing, and isn't
    it by the like of you the sins of the whole world are committed?

    CHRISTY -- [raising his hands.] -- In the name of the Almighty God. . . .

    MAHON. Leave troubling the Lord God. Would you have him sending down
    droughts, and fevers, and the old hen and the cholera morbus?

    CHRISTY -- [to Widow Quin.] -- Will you come between us and protect me now?

    WIDOW QUIN. I've tried a lot, God help me, and my share is done.

    CHRISTY -- [looking round in desperation.] -- And I must go back into my
    torment is it, or run off like a vagabond straying through the Unions with the
    dusts of August making mudstains in the gullet of my throat, or the winds of
    March blowing on me till I'd take an oath I felt them making whistles of my
    ribs within?

    SARA. Ask Pegeen to aid you. Her like does often change.

    CHRISTY. I will not then, for there's torment in the splendour of her like,
    and she a girl any moon of midnight would take pride to meet, facing
    southwards on the heaths of Keel. But what did I want crawling forward to
    scorch my understanding at her flaming brow?

    PEGEEN -- [to Mahon, vehemently, fearing she will break into tears.] -- Take
    him on from this or I'll set the young lads to destroy him here.

    MAHON -- [going to him, shaking his stick.] -- Come on now if you wouldn't
    have the company to see you skelped.

    PEGEEN -- [half laughing, through her tears.] -- That's it, now the world will
    see him pandied, and he an ugly liar was playing off the hero, and the fright
    of men.

    CHRISTY -- [to Mahon, very sharply.] -- Leave me go!

    CROWD. That's it. Now Christy. If them two set fighting, it will lick the

    MAHON -- [making a grab at Christy.] -- Come here to me.

    CHRISTY -- [more threateningly.] -- Leave me go, I'm saying.

    MAHON. I will maybe, when your legs is limping, and your back is blue.

    CROWD. Keep it up, the two of you. I'll back the old one. Now the playboy.

    CHRISTY -- [in low and intense voice.] -- Shut your yelling, for if you're
    after making a mighty man of me this day by the power of a lie, you're setting
    me now to think if it's a poor thing to be lonesome, it's worse maybe to go
    mixing with the fools of earth. [Mahon makes a movement towards him.]

    CHRISTY -- [almost shouting.] -- Keep off . . . lest I do show a blow unto the
    lot of you would set the guardian angels winking in the clouds above. [He
    swings round with a sudden rapid movement and picks up a loy.]

    CROWD -- [half frightened, half amused.] -- He's going mad! Mind yourselves!
    Run from the idiot!

    CHRISTY. If I am an idiot, I'm after hearing my voice this day saying words
    would raise the topknot on a poet in a merchant's town. I've won your racing,
    and your lepping, and . . .

    MAHON. Shut your gullet and come on with me.

    CHRISTY. I'm going, but I'll stretch you first. [He runs at old Mahon with
    the loy, chases him out of the door, followed by crowd and Widow Quin. There
    is a great noise outside, then a yell, and dead silence for a moment. Christy
    comes in, half dazed, and goes to fire.]

    WIDOW QUIN -- [coming in, hurriedly, and going to him.] -- They're turning
    again you. Come on, or you'll be hanged, indeed.

    CHRISTY. I'm thinking, from this out, Pegeen'll be giving me praises the same
    as in the hours gone by.

    WIDOW QUIN -- [impatiently.] Come by the back-door. I'd think bad to have
    you stifled on the gallows tree.

    CHRISTY -- [indignantly.] I will not, then. What good'd be my life-time, if
    I left Pegeen?

    WIDOW QUIN. Come on, and you'll be no worse than you were last night; and you
    with a double murder this time to be telling to the girls.

    CHRISTY. I'll not leave Pegeen Mike.

    WIDOW QUIN -- [impatiently.] Isn't there the match of her in every parish
    public, from Binghamstown unto the plain of Meath? Come on, I tell you, and
    I'll find you finer sweethearts at each waning moon.

    CHRISTY. It's Pegeen I'm seeking only, and what'd I care if you brought me a
    drift of chosen females, standing in their shifts itself, maybe, from this
    place to the Eastern World?

    SARA -- [runs in, pulling off one of her petticoats.] -- They're going to hang
    him. (Holding out petticoat and shawl.) Fit these upon him, and let him run
    off to the east.

    WIDOW QUIN. He's raving now; but we'll fit them on him, and I'll take him, in
    the ferry, to the Achill boat.

    CHRISTY -- [struggling feebly.] -- Leave me go, will you? when I'm thinking of
    my luck to-day, for she will wed me surely, and I a proven hero in the end of
    all. [They try to fasten petticoat round him.]

    WIDOW QUIN. Take his left hand, and we'll pull him now. Come on, young

    CHRISTY -- [suddenly starting up.] -- You'll be taking me from her? You're
    jealous, is it, of her wedding me? Go on from this. [He snatches up a stool,
    and threatens them with it.]

    WIDOW QUIN -- [going.] -- It's in the mad-house they should put him, not in
    jail, at all. We'll go by the back-door, to call the doctor, and we'll save
    him so. [She goes out, with Sara, through inner room. Men crowd in the
    doorway. Christy sits down again by the fire.]

    MICHAEL -- [in a terrified whisper.] -- Is the old lad killed surely?

    PHILLY. I'm after feeling the last gasps quitting his heart. [They peer in
    at Christy.]

    MICHAEL -- [with a rope.] -- Look at the way he is. Twist a hangman's knot on
    it, and slip it over his head, while he's not minding at all.

    PHILLY. Let you take it, Shaneen. You're the soberest of all that's here.

    SHAWN. Is it me to go near him, and he the wickedest and worst with me? Let
    you take it, Pegeen Mike.

    PEGEEN. Come on, so. [She goes forward with the others, and they drop the
    double hitch over his head.]

    CHRISTY. What ails you?

    SHAWN -- [triumphantly, as they pull the rope tight on his arms.] -- Come on
    to the peelers, till they stretch you now.

    CHRISTY. Me!

    MICHAEL. If we took pity on you, the Lord God would, maybe, bring us ruin
    from the law to-day, so you'd best come easy, for hanging is an easy and a
    speedy end.

    CHRISTY. I'll not stir. (To Pegeen.) And what is it you'll say to me, and I
    after doing it this time in the face of all?

    PEGEEN. I'll say, a strange man is a marvel, with his mighty talk; but what's
    a squabble in your back-yard, and the blow of a loy, have taught me that
    there's a great gap between a gallous story and a dirty deed. (To Men.) Take
    him on from this, or the lot of us will be likely put on trial for his deed

    CHRISTY -- [with horror in his voice.] -- And it's yourself will send me off,
    to have a horny-fingered hangman hitching his bloody slip-knots at the butt of
    my ear.

    MEN -- [pulling rope.] -- Come on, will you? [He is pulled down on the floor.]

    CHRISTY -- [twisting his legs round the table.] -- Cut the rope, Pegeen, and
    I'll quit the lot of you, and live from this out, like the madmen of Keel,
    eating muck and green weeds, on the faces of the cliffs.

    PEGEEN. And leave us to hang, is it, for a saucy liar, the like of you? (To
    men.) Take him on, out from this.

    SHAWN. Pull a twist on his neck, and squeeze him so.

    PHILLY. Twist yourself. Sure he cannot hurt you, if you keep your distance
    from his teeth alone.

    SHAWN. I'm afeard of him. (To Pegeen.) Lift a lighted sod, will you, and
    scorch his leg.

    PEGEEN -- [blowing the fire, with a bellows.] Leave go now, young fellow, or
    I'll scorch your shins.

    CHRISTY. You're blowing for to torture me (His voice rising and growing
    stronger.) That's your kind, is it? Then let the lot of you be wary, for, if
    I've to face the gallows, I'll have a gay march down, I tell you, and shed the
    blood of some of you before I die.

    SHAWN -- [in terror.] -- Keep a good hold, Philly. Be wary, for the love of
    God. For I'm thinking he would liefest wreak his pains on me.

    CHRISTY -- [almost gaily.] -- If I do lay my hands on you, it's the way you'll
    be at the fall of night, hanging as a scarecrow for the fowls of hell. Ah,
    you'll have a gallous jaunt I'm saying, coaching out through Limbo with my
    father's ghost.

    SHAWN -- [to Pegeen.] -- Make haste, will you? Oh, isn't he a holy terror,
    and isn't it true for Father Reilly, that all drink's a curse that has the lot
    of you so shaky and uncertain now?

    CHRISTY. If I can wring a neck among you, I'll have a royal judgment looking
    on the trembling jury in the courts of law. And won't there be crying out in
    Mayo the day I'm stretched upon the rope with ladies in their silks and satins
    snivelling in their lacy kerchiefs, and they rhyming songs and ballads on the
    terror of my fate? [He squirms round on the floor and bitesShawn's leg.]

    SHAWN -- [shrieking.] My leg's bit on me. He's the like of a mad dog, I'm
    thinking, the way that I will surely die.

    CHRISTY -- [delighted with himself.] -- You will then, the way you can shake
    out hell's flags of welcome for my coming in two weeks or three, for I'm
    thinking Satan hasn't many have killed their da in Kerry, and in Mayo too.
    [Old Mahon comes in behind on all fours and looks on unnoticed.]

    MEN -- [to Pegeen.] -- Bring the sod, will you?

    PEGEEN [coming over.] -- God help him so. (Burns his leg.)

    CHRISTY -- [kicking and screaming.] -- O, glory be to God! [He kicks loose
    from the table, and they all drag him towards the door.]

    JIMMY -- [seeing old Mahon.] -- Will you look what's come in? [They all drop
    Christy and run left.]

    CHRISTY -- [scrambling on his knees face to face with old Mahon.] -- Are you
    coming to be killed a third time, or what ails you now?

    MAHON. For what is it they have you tied?

    CHRISTY. They're taking me to the peelers to have me hanged for slaying you.

    MICHAEL -- [apologetically.] It is the will of God that all should guard
    their little cabins from the treachery of law, and what would my daughter be
    doing if I was ruined or was hanged itself?

    MAHON -- [grimly, loosening Christy.] -- It's little I care if you put a bag
    on her back, and went picking cockles till the hour of death; but my son and
    myself will be going our own way, and we'll have great times from this out
    telling stories of the villainy of Mayo, and the fools is here. (To Christy,
    who is freed.) Come on now.

    CHRISTY. Go with you, is it? I will then, like a gallant captain with his
    heathen slave. Go on now and I'll see you from this day stewing my oatmeal
    and washing my spuds, for I'm master of all fights from now. (Pushing Mahon.)
    Go on, I'm saying.

    MAHON. Is it me?

    CHRISTY. Not a word out of you. Go on from this.

    MAHON [walking out and looking back at Christy over his shoulder.] -- Glory
    be to God! (With a broad smile.) I am crazy again! [Goes.]

    CHRISTY. Ten thousand blessings upon all that's here, for you've turned me a
    likely gaffer in the end of all, the way I'll go romancing through a romping
    lifetime from this hour to the dawning of the judgment day. [He goes out.]

    MICHAEL. By the will of God, we'll have peace now for our drinks. Will you
    draw the porter, Pegeen?

    SHAWN -- [going up to her.] -- It's a miracle Father Reilly can wed us in the
    end of all, and we'll have none to trouble us when his vicious bite is healed.

    PEGEEN -- [hitting him a box on the ear.] -- Quit my sight. (Putting her
    shawl over her head and breaking out into wild lamentations.) Oh my grief,
    I've lost him surely. I've lost the only Playboy of the Western World.


    THE PLAYBOY OF THE WESTERN WORLD was first produced by the National Theatre
    Society, Ltd., at the Abbey Theatre, on Saturday, 26th January, 1907, under
    the direction of W. G. Fay.

    Christopher Mahon, W. G. FAY
    Old Mahon, his father, a squatter, A. POWER.
    Michael James Flaherty (called "Michael James"), a publican, ARTHUR SINCLAIR.
    Margaret Flaherty (called "Pegeen Mike"), his daughter, MARIE O'NEILL.
    Shawn Keogh, her second cousin, a young farmer, F. J. FAY.

    small farmers,
    Philly O'Cullen, J. A. O'ROURKE.
    Jimmy Farrell, J. M. KERRIGAN.

    Widow Quin, SARA ALLGOOD

    village girls,
    Sara Tansey, BRIGIT O'DEMPSEY
    Susan Brady, ALICE O'SULLIVAN

    Honor Blake, MARY CRAIG.

    Peasants, HARRY YOUNG.
    U. WRIGHT.
    Chapter 4
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