KEENEY (swallowing hard—in a hoarse whisper, as if he had difficulty in speaking). You said—you was agoin’ mad—God!
(A long wail is heard from the deck above: “Ah bl-o-o-o-ow!” A moment later the MATE’S face appears through the skylight. He cannot see MRS. KEENEY.)
MATE (in great excitement). Whales, sir—a whole school of ’em—off the starb’d quarter ’bout five mile away—big ones!
KEENEY (galvanized into action). Are you lowerin’ the boats?
MATE. Yes, sir.
KEENEY (with grim decision). I’m a-comin’ with ye.
MATE. Aye, aye, sir. (Jubilantly) You’ll git the ile now right enough, sir.
(His head is withdrawn and he can be heard shouting orders.)
KEENEY (turning to his wife). Annie! Did you hear him? I’ll git the ile. (She doesn’t answer or seem to know he is there. He gives a hard laugh, which is almost a groan.) I know you’re foolin’ me, Annie. You ain’t out of your mind—(anxiously) be you? I’ll git the ile now right enough—jest a little while longer, Annie—then we’ll turn hom’ard. I can’t turn back now, you see that, don’t ye? I’ve got to git the ile. (In sudden terror) Answer me! You ain’t mad, be you?
(She keeps on playing the organ, but makes no reply. The MATE’S face appears again through the skylight.)
MATE. All ready, sir.
(KEENEY turns his back on his wife and strides to the doorway, where he stands for a moment and looks back at her in anguish, fighting to control his feelings.)
MATE. Comin’, sir?
KEENEY (his face suddenly grown hard with determination). Aye.
(He turns abruptly and goes out. MRS. KEENEY does not appear to notice his departure. Her whole attention seems centred in the organ. She sits with half-closed eyes, her body swaying a little from side to side to the rhythm of the hymn. Her fingers move faster and faster and she is playing wildly and discordantly as the Curtain falls.)
[Footnote 1: Included by special permission of the publishers, Messrs. Gowans and Gray, Glasgow.]
SCENE: Interior of a lonely cottage on the road from Struan to Rannoch in North Perthshire.
TIME: After the Rising of 1745.
MORAG is restlessly moving backwards and forwards. The old woman is seated on a low stool beside the peat fire in the centre of the floor.
The room is scantily furnished and the women are poorly clad. MORAG is barefooted. At the back is the door that leads to the outside. On the left of the door is a small window. On the right side of the room there is a door that opens into a barn. MORAG stands for a moment at the window, looking out.