The Atlantic Book of Modern Plays eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 361 pages of information about The Atlantic Book of Modern Plays.


JOE MULDOON, a policeman

SCENE:  The outskirts of a Fair.  An Apple Stall. MRS. TARPEY sitting at it. MAGISTRATE and POLICEMAN enter.

MAGISTRATE.  So that is the Fair Green.  Cattle and sheep and mud.  No system.  What a repulsive sight!

POLICEMAN.  That is so, indeed.

MAGISTRATE.  I suppose there is a good deal of disorder in this place?

POLICEMAN.  There is.

MAGISTRATE.  Common assault?

POLICEMAN.  It’s common enough.

MAGISTRATE.  Agrarian crime, no doubt?

POLICEMAN.  That is so.

MAGISTRATE.  Boycotting?  Maiming of cattle?  Firing into houses?

POLICEMAN.  There was one time, and there might be again.

MAGISTRATE.  That is bad.  Does it go any farther than that?

POLICEMAN.  Far enough, indeed.

MAGISTRATE.  Homicide, then!  This district has been shamefully neglected!  I will change all that.  When I was in the Andaman Islands, my system never failed.  Yes, yes, I will change all that.  What has that woman on her stall?

POLICEMAN.  Apples mostly—­and sweets.

MAGISTRATE.  Just see if there are any unlicensed goods underneath—­spirits or the like.  We had evasions of the salt tax in the Andaman Islands.

POLICEMAN (sniffing cautiously and upsetting a heap of apples).  I see no spirits here—­or salt.

MAGISTRATE (to MRS. TARPEY).  Do you know this town well, my good woman?

MRS. TARPEY (holding out some apples).  A penny the half-dozen, your honor.

POLICEMAN (shouting).  The gentleman is asking do you know the town!  He’s the new magistrate!

MRS. TARPEY (rising and ducking).  Do I know the town?  I do, to be sure.

MAGISTRATE (shouting).  What is its chief business?

MRS, TARPEY.  Business, is it?  What business would the people here have but to be minding one another’s business?

MAGISTRATE.  I mean what trade have they?

MRS. TARPEY.  Not a trade.  No trade at all but to be talking.

MAGISTRATE.  I shall learn nothing here.

(JAMES RYAN comes in, pipe in mouth.  Seeing MAGISTRATE, he retreats quickly, taking pipe from mouth.)

MAGISTRATE.  The smoke from that man’s pipe had a greenish look; he may be growing unlicensed tobacco at home.  I wish I had brought my telescope to this district.  Come to the post-office; I will telegraph for it.  I found it very useful in the Andaman Islands.

(MAGISTRATE and POLICEMAN go out left.)

MRS. TARPEY.  Bad luck to Jo Muldoon, knocking my apples this way and that way. (Begins arranging them.) Showing off he was to the new magistrate.

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The Atlantic Book of Modern Plays from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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