PERSONS OF THE PLAY
Morse, and others
SCENE: A VILLAGE OF THE WEST
The Action passes on Ascension Day.
Act I. Strangway’s rooms at Burlacombe’s. Morning.
Act II. Evening
Scene I. The Village
Scene II. The same.
Scene III. Outside the church.
Act III. Evening
Scene I. Strangway’s
Scene II. Burlacombe’s barn.
A BIT O’ LOVE
It is Ascension Day in a village of the West. In the low panelled hall-sittingroom of the Burlacombe’s farmhouse on the village green, Michael Strangway, a clerical collar round his throat and a dark Norfolk jacket on his back, is playing the flute before a very large framed photograph of a woman, which is the only picture on the walls. His age is about thirty-five his figure thin and very upright and his clean-shorn face thin, upright, narrow, with long and rather pointed ears; his dark hair is brushed in a coxcomb off his forehead. A faint smile hovers about his lips that Nature has made rather full and he has made thin, as though keeping a hard secret; but his bright grey eyes, dark round the rim, look out and upwards almost as if he were being crucified. There is something about the whole of him that makes him seen not quite present. A gentle creature, burnt within.
A low broad window above a window-seat forms the background to his figure; and through its lattice panes are seen the outer gate and yew-trees of a churchyard and the porch of a church, bathed in May sunlight. The front door at right angles to the window-seat, leads to the village green, and a door on the left into the house.
It is the third movement of Veracini’s violin sonata that Strangway plays. His back is turned to the door into the house, and he does not hear when it is opened, and Ivy Burlacombe, the farmer’s daughter, a girl of fourteen, small and quiet as a mouse, comes in, a prayer-book in one hand, and in the other a gloss of water, with wild orchis and a bit of deep pink hawthorn. She sits down on the window-seat, and having opened her book, sniffs at the flowers. Coming to the end of the movement Strangway stops, and looking up at the face on the wall, heaves a long sigh.
Ivy. [From the seat] I picked these for yu, Mr. Strangway.