TOM BUSH (calling back over his shoulder, as the preparations begin). Come, Nancy, we’ve found a fine place to swing the kettle.
AMY ROBY (at right, stooping over basket). And here’s a splendid spot for unpacking the baskets!
[Nancy Lincoln runs first to the fire, to see how the work is going forward, and then returns to Amy, who is busily unpacking baskets, with the assistance of the other girls. Nancy takes some of the contents of the baskets, and then hurries to Tom Bush with them.
Here are some potatoes and corn-dodgers to put on the ashes.
(to Andrew Smith).
It is mos’ time that you had better be tuning up your fiddle, Andrew!
AMY ROBY (to Nancy, who stands center, shielding her eyes, and looking towards background). Isn’t Abe coming?
NANCY LINCOLN (shaking her head). No, Abe isn’t even in sight yet. But he’ll surely be here as soon as he has finished splitting those rails.
ONE OF THE LITTLE GIRLS (joyfully). Andrew is beginning to play!
[Andrew Smith’s fiddle gives out the first notes of a reel. Those who are bending at their various occupations begin to nod and trip. In an instant everything is dropped, and the young people are all for merriment. They begin, center of sward, a grand right and left. Andrew Smith stands at right fiddling with the greatest possible gusto.
As the dance ends, Andrew Smith points with his fiddle-bow to a figure seen approaching from the background, a tall, lank, kindly-faced boy, dressed like the others but with an ax over his shoulder.
ALL (with a loud cry—intense delight—at the very top of their lungs). Lincoln! Abe Lincoln!
[They run to meet him. He comes down center with an admiring group on each side.
NANCY LINCOLN (looking up at Abe). It wasn’t really a holiday till you came.
[Lincoln smiles at her, and then turns to Tom Bush.
LINCOLN (as he and Nancy and Tom Bush form a group at fire: the rest up stage, left). What have you been doing, Tom?
TOM BUSH. Fixing the fire, and now I’m going to see about getting the right sort of wood for the floor of a squirrel-cage. I caught a squirrel yesterday, and I------Oh, I forgot! You wouldn’t be interested in that. You said yesterday that if you were me you would let the squirrel go.
LINCOLN (looking straight before him to something far beyond the narrow world of Little Creek). I don’t like to see things in cages: I like to see ’em free. I believe in freedom for everything living!
AMY ROBY (breaking in upon the group). Come, Tom, there’s another dance beginning!