C. N. (jumping up with a howl). Ah, they are upon me! That dreadful word “citizen”! (Looks at M. P. and staggers back). Oh, Lord! is it? Yes, it is—the woman that I sentenced on that horrible morning, the last morning I adorned the judicial bench.
M. P. What is the matter? And how badly you’re dressed; and you seem afraid. What can you be afraid of? If I am not afraid of the cows, I am sure you needn’t be—with your great thick stick, too. (She looks at him and laughs, and says aside, Why to be sure, if it isn’t that silly, spiteful old man that sentenced me on the last of the bad days before we all got so happy together!) (To N.) Why, Mr. Nupkins—citizen—I remember you; you are an old acquaintance: I’ll go and call my husband.
C. N. Oh, no! no! don’t! please don’t!—(Aside: There, there, I’m done for—can I run away?—No use—perhaps I might soften her. I used to be called eloquent—by the penny-a-liners. I’ve made a jury cry—I think—let me try it. Gentlemen of the Jury, remember the sad change in my client’s position! remember.—Oh, I’m going mad, I think—she remembers me) (Kneels before her) Oh, woman, woman, spare me! Let me crawl into the copse and die quietly there!
M. P. Spare you, citizen? Well, I could have spared you once, well enough, and so could many another poor devil have done. But as to dying in the copse, no, I really can’t let you do that. You must come home to our house, and we’ll see what can be done with you. It’s our old house, but really nice enough, now; all that pretty picture of plenty that I told you about on that day when you were so hard upon me has come to pass, and more.
C. N. Oh, no! I can’t come!
M. P. Oh, yes; you can get as far as that, and we’ll give you something to eat and drink, and then you’ll be stronger. It will really please me, if you’ll come; I’m like a child with a new toy, these days, and want to show new-comers all that’s going on. Come along, and I’ll show you the pretty new hall they are building for our parish; it’s such a pleasure to stand and watch the lads at work there, as merry as grigs. Hark! you may hear their trowels clinking from here. And, Mr. Nupkins, you mustn’t think I stole those loaves; I really didn’t.
C. N. Oh, dear me! Oh, dear me! She wants to get me away and murder me! I won’t go.
M. P. How can you talk such nonsense? Why, on earth, should I murder you?
C. N. (sobbing). Judicially, judicially!
M. P. How silly you are! I really don’t know what you mean. Well, if you won’t come with me, I’m off; but you know where to go when you want your dinner. But if you still owe me a grudge, which would be very silly of you, any of the people in the houses yonder will give you your food. [Exit.