[Winthrop starts, then turns
quickly away into the darkness
outside the square of moonlight, covering his face with
his hands. When he turns, his face is drawn and white.
Winth. (takes his hand, pressing it). I can take them no better word than this: you died as you have lived.
[He turns to the door where
Hopkins has awaited him. Quickly
they go out into the hall. Bill’s voice is heard without.
Bill. You through for the night!
[He closes the door and locks
it. At the sound of the key
Gordon sinks to his knees in the square of moonlight.
Gordon. Thank God! (He remains with head bowed for a second, then looks about him). Five hours more!
[The heavy door of the prison is heard to close.
Gone! (He rises quickly to his feet). They have gone—and in the morning I have got to die! To-morrow! And on the scaffold, as a thief! To-night I have begun—to-morrow, then, sees how I end! Here, here, I must not think of that. No, no; I will not. That is not for me. Five hours more! The time is very short. Show me, dear God, how I shall spend it well and like a man! For is not Morgan saved! Has not the news gone safely out to him! And who has done all this! Thank God! thank God! he gave that place to me! What matter if I am afraid, for now ’tis done—’tis done! I’ve saved the greatest man that ever lived. I’ve saved him—saved him! I—yes, I! What does it matter that I want to live—I want to live!
[He sinks down upon the mattress,
covering his face with his
The curtain falls.
The banks of the Aspen River, six months later.
A cold, cloud-hung
afternoon in late November. At the back the river may be seen through
the trees, now almost stripped of their summer foliage. On both sides
of the scene are heavy forest trees, mostly pine and cedar. Across the
stage there winds a narrow and very rough road. It is the scene of
Winthrop’s camp, six months before. On the left a large fir tree, with
branches low to the ground; on the right, some scrub pine and oak.
Some traces of the camp are still to be seen; some broken boxes; the
charred remains of a fire at the right, near front. The sound of the
wind in the pines at rise. Enter Corporal Evans and Hopkins (Right) by
the road. They have on their leggings and heavy army overcoats, with
the collars up.
Evans (shivering). Uh! nasty weather. I have always been told about the sunny South. Good example of it, this!
Hopkins. It won’t last long, I fancy. The last time I was here the fall was beautiful; never saw such splendid weather (he looks around). The old camp again. How much can happen in six months. Remember the fight here? I hate to think about it. We did well to get off with our lives.