LIZZIE. Feyther—ye’re no’behaving well. John—
LIZZIE (helplessly). Naething—feyther, stop it. They’ll think ye’re clean daft.
DAVID (ceasing to howl and speaking with gravity). I ken it fine, Lizzie; an’ it’s no easy for a man who has been respeckit an’ lookit up to a’ his life to be thought daft at eighty-three; but the most important thing in life is to get yer ain way. (Resumes wailing.)
LIZZIE (puzzled, to JOHN). Whit’s that?
JOHN. It’s his philosophy that he was talking aboot.
DAVID (firmly). An’ I’m gaein’ to tell wee Alexander yon bit story, tho’ they think me daft for it.
LIZZIE. But it’s no’ for his ain guid, feyther. I’ve telt ye so, but ye wudna listen.
DAVID. I wudna listen, wumman! It was you wudna listen to me when I axed ye whit harm—(Chuckles.—Checking himself) No! I’m no gaein’ to hae that ower again. I’ve gied up arguing wi’ women. I’m juist gaein’ tae greet loud an’ sair till wee Alexander’s brought in here to hae his bit story; an’ if the neighbors—(Loud squall.)
LIZZIE (aside to JOHN). He’s fair daft!
JOHN (aghast). Ye’d no send him to—
LIZZIE (reproachfully). John!
(A louder squall from the old man.)
LIZZIE (beating her hands together distractedly). He’ll be —We’ll—He’ll—Och!!! (Resigned and beaten) John, go and bring wee Alexander in here.
(JOHN is off like a shot. The opening of the door of the other room can be told by the burst of ALEXANDER’S voice. The old man’s wails have stopped the second his daughter capitulated. JOHN returns with ALEXANDER and bears him to his grandfather’s waiting knee. The boy’s tears and howls have ceased and he is smiling triumphantly. He is of course in his night-shirt and a blanket, which Grandpa wraps round him, turning toward the fire.)
LIZZIE (looking on with many nods of the head and smacks of the lips). There you are! That’s the kind o’ boy he is. Greet his heart oot for a thing an’ stop the moment he gets it.
DAVID. Dae ye expect him to gae on after he’s got it? Ah, but, Alexander, ye didna get it yer lane this time; it took the twa o’ us. An’ hard work it was for the Auld Yin! Man! (Playing hoarse)
I doot I’ve enough voice left for a—(Bursting out very loud and making the boy laugh.) Aweel! Whit’s it gaein’ to be—eh?
SPREADING THE NEWS
[Footnote 1: Included by special permission of Lady Gregory and of Messrs. G.P. Putnam’s Sons, the publishers of Seven Short Plays (1909), and other volumes of Lady Gregory’s works. Application for acting rights must be made to Samuel French, 28 West 38th Street, New York City.]