[They all bend over the paper.
There is a movement in the hall.
All the men look up, facing the door.
Hop. Who’s there?
Gordon (draws back the curtains, entering from the hall in citizen’s clothes). Your prisoner, sir!
[All the men start, then some
go quickly to him. Mrs. S. gives
a cry of “Gordon!” Then she and Fair stand gazing in a
horrified way at him. Charlotte takes a step nearer.
Char. (under her breath). My God!
Hop. (to Gordon). I arrest you as a spy!
Gordon. I am already your prisoner.
Winth. (in an agony). Why did you not escape!
Gordon. I had no chance.
Evans (by the table with the paper). Colonel, look at this paper. As I’m alive, I think it is a trick! The ink is hardly dry. What if she meant it for a signal?
Char. A signal! So that’s it, you dog! You think I led him into his surrender; you think it is because I am afraid, and that is why I gave the paper up to you! A signal, then! If that is so, then every thing I do must seem a signal. I go up to him so (she goes to Gordon); I take his hands and look into his eyes; I say to him: Well done; you are a hero, even though you fail, I throw the curtains back and tell you, you can search the place: there’s no more you can find; he is the last. And if I take this bowl and crash it at your feet, as I do now, you think that, too, a signal; and with this candle in my hand (she snatches up candlestick), instead of lighting you throughout the house, I rush up to the window here and crash it through the glass, as I do now, and cry to you: Come on! Come on! You call them all my signals?
[She dashes out of the room and down the hall, as
The curtain falls.
The prison at Columbus. A large, bare room, built
of gray stone.
At the back and to the left a door with heavy iron bars leading to
the whitewashed corridor, where a lantern is hanging. A smaller door
on right leading to another room of the prison. High up in the wall
(Left) is a window with iron bars across it. At the back are two straw
mattresses, with old army blankets on them. To the right a pile of
straw which has evidently served as a bed. On each side of the stage
there is a rough wooden bench. It is 11 o’clock on the night of May
22nd. The moon shines brightly in at the window. The prison clock
slowly strikes the hour as the curtain rises. A soldier dressed in
a torn white shirt and trousers of Confederate gray, lies asleep on
the straw. Two soldiers lie stretched on the floor at front of stage
(Right), two others walking restlessly about, while another is reading
by the stump of a candle stuck in a bottle.
First Soldier. Has he been in for the last time to-night?