The Servant in the House eBook

Charles Rann Kennedy
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 90 pages of information about The Servant in the House.

ROBERT.  By God, but I call myself summat—­I’M THE DRAIN-MAN,

VICAR [feverishly].  You shall not go! . . .

ROBERT.  Why, wot is there to fear?  Ain’t it worth while, to move away that load o’ muck!

VICAR.  The stench—­the horror—­the darkness . . .

ROBERT.  What’s it matter, if the comrides up above ‘av’ light an’ joy an’ a breath of ’olesome air to sing by? . . .

VICAR.  Hour by hour—­dying—­alone . . .

ROBERT.  The comrides up in the spans an arches, joinin’ ’ands . . .

VICAR.  Fainter and fainter, below there, and at last—­an endless silence! . . .

ROBERT.  ’Igh in the dome, the ’ammerin’s of the comrides as ‘av’ climbed aloft!

AUNTIE.  William, there is yet one other way! . . .

VICAR.  Yes, yes, I see:  I see! . . . [To ROBERT].  Then—­you mean to go?

ROBERT.  By ’Eaven, yus!

VICAR.  Then, by God and all the powers of grace, you shall not go alone!  Off with these lies and make-believes!  Off with these prisoner’s shackles!  They cramp, they stifle me!  Freedom!  Freedom!  This is no priest’s work—­it calls for a man! . . .

[He tears off his parson’s coat and collar, casting them furiously aside.  He rolls up his sleeves.]

Now, if you’re ready, Comrade:  you and I together!

AUNTIE.  God’s might go with you, William!  Accept him, Christ!

[There is a silence.  Then ROBERT speaks with slow consideration.]

ROBERT.  I—­don’t—­know.  It’s dangerous, you understand!

VICAR.  I go with you.

ROBERT.  This ain’t psalms an ‘ymns an’ ole maids’ tea-parties, mind you!  It may mean typhoid!

VICAR.  I understand.

ROBERT.  Rats.

VICAR.  Yes.

ROBERT.  They don’t leave you alone:  they got teeth,
remember—­poison in ’em!

VICAR.  I will go with you.

[A slight pause.  Then ROBERT, dropping into a quite ordinary tone, says.]

ROBERT.  Then let’s ‘av’ summat so eat, an’ get along.  There’s nuthin’ more to say.

MARY [inspired].  Yes, there is!

ROBERT.  What do you mean, miss?

MARY.  I mean that I understand:  that I know who you are.

ROBERT.  Me? . . .

MARY [simply].  Yes, you are my father.

ROBERT.  ‘Ow the everlastin’ did you know that?

MARY [going up to him].  Because you are my wish come true:  because you are brave, because you are very beautiful, because you are good!

ROBERT.  My little kid!  My little kid!

[They embrace each other.]

VICAR.  Robert! [Taking his left hand].

AUNTIE.  Brother! [Taking his other hand.]

[They form a kind of cross.]

[MANSON and ROGERS re-enter with table-cloth, etc., for lunch.]

Project Gutenberg
The Servant in the House from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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