SOLDIER. You see, soldier! Drop your ‘ands, now. There’s nothin’ for it but a laugh. You an’ me know that. Laugh, soldier!
THE MAN. You blarsted—
(THE GIRL springs to him and stops his mouth.)
SOLDIER. It’s no use, soldier. I can’t do it. I said I’d laugh to-day, and laugh I will. I’ve come through that, an’ all the stink of it; I’ve come through sorrer. Never again! Cheer-o, mate! The sun’s shinin’!
(He turns away.)
THE GIRL. Jack, don’t think too ’ard of me!
SOLDIER (looking back). No fear, old pretty girl! Enjoy your fancy! So long! Gawd bless you both!
(He sings and goes along the path, and the song—
I’ll be right there to-night
Where the fields are snowy white;
Banjos ringin’, darkies singin’—
All the world seems bright!—
THE MAN. ’E’s mad.
THE GIRL (looking down the path, with her hands clasped). The sun ’as touched ’im, Jim!
THE KNAVE OF HEARTS
[Footnote 1: This play is fully protected by copyright and may be used only with the written permission of, and the payment of royalty to, Norman Lee Swartout, Summit, New Jersey. Included by permission of the author and Mr. Swartout.]
POMPDEBILE THE EIGHTH, KING OF HEARTS
THE KNAVE OF HEARTS
THE LADY VIOLETTA
SIX LITTLE PAGES
THE MANAGER (bowing deeply). Ladies and gentlemen, you are about to hear the truth of an old legend that has persisted wrongly through the ages, the truth that, until now, has been hid behind the embroidered curtain of a rhyme, about the Knave of Hearts, who was no knave but a very hero indeed. The truth, you will agree with me, gentlemen and most honored ladies, is rare! It is only the quiet, unimpassioned things of nature that seem what they are. Clouds rolled in massy radiance against the blue, pines shadowed deep and darkly green, mirrored in still waters, the contemplative mystery of the hills—these things which exist, absorbed but in their own existence—these are the perfect chalices of truth.
But we, gentlemen and thrice-honored ladies, flounder about in a tangled net of prejudice, of intrigue. We are blinded by conventions, we are crushed by misunderstanding, we are distracted by violence, we are deceived by hypocrisy, until only too often villains receive the rewards of nobility and the truly great-hearted are suspected, distrusted, and maligned.