FIRST WAG. ’T is said they become so dazed by the noise of the city and the rush of such countless numbers, they forget who they are.
FIRST COUNTRYMAN. Eh? Forget who they are?
FIRST WAG (nodding). Aye.
(He winks aside at Second Wag.)
You have heard of this, dear friend?
SECOND WAG (winking aside). To be sure; ’t is quite common.
SECOND COUNTRYMAN. Forget their own faces?
SECOND WAG. Aye,—their faces. At least, they are not certain as to whose faces theirs may be.
FIRST COUNTRYMAN. Then we dare not leave this corner!
FIRST WAG. I would not advise it.
SECOND WAG. It would be most unsafe,—at least for to-night.
FIRST WAG. Of course there is this danger,—when you awake in the morning you may not know whether you are yourselves.
SECOND COUNTRYMAN. Would that I had never left my farm!
FIRST COUNTRYMAN. Would that I had never left my wife!
SECOND WAG. Do not despair; there is a way out of your troubles.
BOTH COUNTRYMEN. Tell us, we pray thee!
SECOND WAG. Each of you must take a gourd from his basket there and tie it around his ankle. Then, in the morning, when you awake, you will each know that it is yourself and none other.
FIRST COUNTRYMAN (to Second Countryman, joyfully). Dost thou hear? By our gourds we shall know!
SECOND COUNTRYMAN (joyfully). I hear! Thanks and yet again more thanks to thee, good sir!
[The Wags turn to go.]
FIRST WAG. May you know yourselves in the morning for what you truly are!
[Illustration: THE TWO COUNTRYMEN]
[They go, laughing aside. Each Countryman ties a gourd around his ankle, wraps his blanket round him, and lies down. They sleep. Pause.
Enter the_ WAGS softly, each carrying a small flag. They remove the gourds from Countrymen’s ankles and hide them under their blankets. They then tie the flags around Countrymen’s ankles and go, greatly pleased with their joke.]
TIME: the next morning.
PLACE: same as Scene I.
* * * * *
FIRST CITY WAG.
SECOND CITY WAG.
* * * * *
[The WAGS are seen peeping around the corner.]
FIRST WAG (softly). They are sound asleep.
SECOND WAG (softly). Then come.
[They enter and throw the two baskets of gourds over the wall. They then retire around the corner, peeping as before.]
FIRST COUNTRYMAN (waking; shaking Second Countryman). Wake up! Wake up!
[Each yawns; stretches; throws off his blanket; arises.]