[Footnote 1: Included by special permission of the author and of the publishers, Messrs. Gowans and Gray, of Glasgow.]
SAKAH ORMEHOD, An old woman
EMMA BRIERLEY, A young woman
THE REV. FRANK ALLEYNE, A curate
SAM HORROCKS, A young man
THE SCENE represents the interior of a cottage in a Lancashire village. Through the window at the back the gray row of cottages opposite is just visible. The outside door is next to the window. Door left. As regards furniture the room is very bare. The suggestion is not of an empty room, but a stripped room. For example, there are several square patches where the distemper of the walls is of a darker shade than the rest, indicating the places once occupied by pictures. There is an uncovered deal the left wall is a dresser and a plate-rack above it containing a few pots. The dresser has also one or two utensils upon it. A blackened kettle rests on the top of the cooking-range, but the room contains only the barest necessities. The floor is uncarpeted. There are no window curtains, but a yard of cheap muslin is fastened across the window, not coming, however, high enough to prevent a passer-by from looking in, should he wish to do so. On the floor, near the fire, is a battered black tin trunk, the lid of which is raised. On a peg behind the door left is a black silk skirt and bodice and an old-fashioned beaded bonnet. The time is afternoon. As the curtain rises the room is empty. Immediately, however, the door left opens and SARAH ORMEROD, an old woman, enters, carrying clumsily in her arms a couple of pink flannelette nightdresses, folded neatly. Her black stuff dress is well worn, and her wedding-ring is her only ornament. She wears elastic-sided boots, and her rather short skirt shows a pair of gray worsted stockings. A small plaid shawl covers her shoulders. SARAH crosses and puts the nightdresses on the table, surveying the trunk ruefully. There is a knock at the outside door and she looks up.
SARAH. Who’s theer?
EMMA (without). It’s me, Mrs. Ormerod, Emma Brierley.
SARAH. Eh, coom in, Emma, lass.
(Enter EMMA BRIERLEY. She is a young weaver, and, having just left her work, she wears a dark skirt, a blouse of some indeterminate blue-gray shade made of cotton, and a large shawl over her head and shoulders in place of a jacket and hat. A colored cotton apron covers her skirt below the waist, and the short skirt displays stout stockings similar to Sarah’s. She wears clogs, and the clothes—except the shawl—are covered with ends of cotton and cotton-wool fluff. Even her hair has not escaped. A pair of scissors hangs by a cord from her waist.)
SARAH. Tha’s kindly welcoom. It’s good o’ thee to think o’ coomin’ to see an ould woman like me.