Author: Alfred Noyes
Release Date: April 30, 2004 [EBook #12220]
Character set encoding: ASCII
*** Start of this project gutenberg EBOOK Rada ***
Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Juliet Sutherland, Charles M. Bidwell and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.
A DRAMA OF WAR IN ONE ACT
Author of “The Wine Press,” “Tales of the Mermaid Tavern,” Etc.
Rada, wife of the village doctor.
Subka, her daughter, aged twelve.
Arram } two hostile soldiers quartered
Michael } in her house, in time of war.
NANKO, a half-witted schoolmaster.
The scene is in the Balkans, in a village which has just been taken by the enemy, on Christmas Eve.
Scene—A guest-chamber, the typical living-room of a prosperous village doctor in the Balkans. On the left, a small window and an entrance door. On the right, a door leading into a bedroom. At the back, an open fire of logs is burning brightly. Over the fireplace is the eikonostasis, with three richly coloured and gilded eikons, the central one of the Madonna. The light, which is never allowed to go out, is burning before it. The room is lit at present only by this, the fire-light, and two candles in brass candlesticks on a black wooden table under the window. Rows of porcelain plates round the walls gleam fitfully. On either side of the eikonostasis is a large chibouk, with inlaid bowl and amber mouth-piece. There is a divan with scarlet rugs flung across it to the right of the fire; and there are several skins and rugs on the floor.
Two Roumanian soldiers_, Arram_ and MICHAEL, are seated at the table, drinking.
Rada, a dark handsome woman, sits weeping with her head bowed in her hands, on the divan.
NANKO, the idiot, sits on the floor, rubbing his hands, snapping his fingers, chuckling to himself, and staring into the fire.
Arram Look here, my girl, where’s the use of snivelling? You ought to think yourself damned lucky to be alive.
O my God! My God!
This is war, this is! And you can’t expect war to be all cakes and cream.
[They laugh and drink.]
ARRAM You ought to think yourself damned lucky to be alive, and have two men quartered on you instead of one. If your husband and the rest of the villagers hadn’t made such a disturbance, they might have been alive, too.