FIRST NEIGHBOR. Oh, no! We would rather hear you tell your Grandmother about the sermon and the music.
GRANDMOTHER. What hymns did they sing, Karen?
KAREN (as before). Hymns? They sang—let me see—they sang—
[She stops in confusion.]
GRANDMOTHER. Why, Karen! Are you ill?
SECOND NEIGHBOR. No, Grandmother, Karen is not ill. She is ashamed. She was not thinking of the beautiful music nor of the sermon this morning. Is that not true, Karen?
KAREN (ashamed). Y-e-s—
GRANDMOTHER. What is this?
THIRD NEIGHBOR. Tell your Grandmother what you were thinking about in church, Karen.
KAREN. I was thinking about—about—my new shoes.
GRANDMOTHER. A great thing to think about in church—a pair of plain black shoes!
FOURTH NEIGHBOR. She did not wear her black shoes; she wore red shoes!
GRANDMOTHER (gasping). Red shoes—to church?
FIRST NEIGHBOR (nodding). Every one was terribly shocked!
GRANDMOTHER (still gasping). Red shoes to church!
SECOND NEIGHBOR. Even the pastor looked at her shoes!
GRANDMOTHER (indignantly). Red shoes to church!
THIRD NEIGHBOR. The choir looked! All fixed their eyes on Karen’s red shoes.
GRANDMOTHER. It is the most shocking thing I
ever heard! Do you hear me,
KAREN (hanging her head in shame). Yes, Grandmother.
GRANDMOTHER. You must never, never, so long as you live, wear red shoes to church again. It is not at all proper. Do you hear me, Karen?
KAREN (as before). Yes, Grandmother.
FOURTH NEIGHBOR. Do you think she should have her Sunday dinner?
GRANDMOTHER. Not one bite! She shall stay in her room all day. Do you hear me, Karen?
KAREN. Yes, Grandmother.
GRANDMOTHER. Thank you for telling me, Neighbors. To think of it! Red shoes to church!
TIME: the following Sunday, after church.
PLACE: the churchyard.
* * * * *
THE OLD SOLDIER.
* * * * *
[The GRANDMOTHER and KAREN come from the church. The OLD SOLDIER stands near the church door. He tries to speak to the Grandmother, but she does not hear him.]
KAREN. Wait a moment, Grandmother! The Old Soldier wants to speak with you.
GRANDMOTHER (turning). What do you want, Old Soldier?
OLD SOLDIER. I want to dust your shoes, madam.
GRANDMOTHER. That is very good of you.
(Old Soldier dusts her shoes).
Thank you; now I will go to my carriage while you dust Karen’s shoes.