Complete Project Gutenberg John Galsworthy Works eBook

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     [He puts his arm through hers, raises her, and almost pushes her
     through the doorway.  She goes, still looking back.]

American. [Gravely] There’s nothing I admire more’n courage.  Guess
I’ll go and smoke in the corridor.

[As he goes out the little man looks very wistfully after him.  Screwing up his mouth and nose, he holds the baby away from him and wavers; then rising, he puts it on the seat opposite and goes through the motions of letting down the window.  Having done so he looks at the baby, who has begun to wail.  Suddenly he raises his hands and clasps them, like a child praying.  Since, however, the baby does not stop wailing, he hovers over it in indecision; then, picking it up, sits down again to dandle it, with his face turned toward the open window.  Finding that it still wails, he begins to sing to it in a cracked little voice.  It is charmed at once.  While he is singing, the American appears in the corridor.  Letting down the passage window, he stands there in the doorway with the draught blowing his hair and the smoke of his cigar all about him.  The little man stops singing and shifts the shawl higher to protect the baby’s head from the draught.]

American. [Gravely] This is the most sublime spectacle I have ever envisaged.  There ought to be a record of this.

     [The little man looks at him, wondering.  You are typical, sir,
     of the sentiments of modern Christianity.  You illustrate the
     deepest feelings in the heart of every man.]

     [The little man rises with the baby and a movement of approach.]

Guess I’m wanted in the dining-car.

     [He vanishes.  The little man sits down again, but back to the
     engine, away from the draught, and looks out of the window,
     patiently jogging the baby On his knee.]

Curtain

SCENE III

An arrival platform.  The little man, with the baby and the bundle, is standing disconsolate, while travellers pass and luggage is being carried by.  A station official, accompanied by a policeman, appears from a doorway, behind him.

Official. [Consulting telegram in his hand] ‘Das ist der Herr’.

     [They advance to the little man.]

Official.  ‘Sie haben einen Buben gestohlen’?

Little man.  I only speak English and American.

Official.  ‘Dies ist nicht Ihr Bube’?

     [He touches the Baby.]

Little man. [Shaking his head] Take care—­it’s ill.

     [The man does not understand.]

Ill—­the baby——­

Official. [Shaking his head] ‘Verstehe nicht’.  Dis is nod your baby? 
No?

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Complete Project Gutenberg John Galsworthy Works from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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