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If: a play in four acts eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 64 pages of information about If.

ARCHIE BEAL

Well, what have you got ’em all in here for?

JOHN BEAL

Yes, that’s just it.  I hate interfering with them, but, well, I simply had to.  You see there’s two sorts of idols here; they offer fruit and rats to some of them; they lay them on their hands or their laps.

ARCHIE BEAL

Why do they offer them rats?

JOHN BEAL

O, I don’t know.  They don’t know either.  It’s the right thing to do out here, it’s been the right thing for hundreds of years; nobody exactly knows why.  It’s like the bows we have on evening shoes, or anything else.  But it’s all right.

ARCHIE BEAL

Well, what are you putting them in heaps for?

JOHN BEAL

Because there’s the other kind, the ones with wide mouths and rust round them.

ARCHIE BEAL

Rust?  Yes, so there is.  What do they do?

JOHN BEAL

They offer blood to them, Archie.  They pour it down their throats.  Sometimes they kill people, sometimes they only bleed them.  It depends how much blood the idol wants.

ARCHIE BEAL

How much blood it wants?  Good Lord! 
How do they know?

JOHN BEAL

The priests tell them.  Sometimes they fill them up to their necks—­they’re all hollow, you know.  In spring it’s awful.

ARCHIE BEAL

Why are they worse in spring?

JOHN BEAL

I don’t know.  The priests ask for more blood then.  Much more.  They say it always was so.

ARCHIE BEAL

And you’re stopping it?

JOHN BEAL

Yes, I’m stopping these.  One must.  I’m letting them worship those.  Of course, it’s idolatry and all that kind of thing, but I don’t like interfering short of actual murder.

ARCHIE BEAL

And they’re obeying you?

JOHN BEAL

’M, y-yes.  I think so.

ARCHIE BEAL

You must have got a great hold over them.

JOHN BEAL

Well, I don’t know about that.  It’s the pass that counts.

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