Voices. Gude night, Tam. Glide naight, old Jim!
Voices. Gude might, Mr. Trustaford. ’Tes a wonderful fine mune.
Voice of Trustaford. Ah! ‘Tes a brave mune for th’ poor old curate!
Voice. “My ’eart ’E lighted not!”
[TRUSTAFORD’S laugh, and the rattling, fainter and fainter, of wheels. A spasm seizes on Strangway’s face, as he stands there by the open door, his hand grips his throat; he looks from side to side, as if seeking a way of escape.]
The BURLACOMBES’ high and nearly empty barn. A lantern is hung by a rope that lifts the bales of straw, to a long ladder leaning against a rafter. This gives all the light there is, save for a slender track of moonlight, slanting in from the end, where the two great doors are not quite closed. On a rude bench in front of a few remaining, stacked, square-cut bundles of last year’s hay, sits Tibby Jarland, a bit of apple in her mouth, sleepily beating on a tambourine. With stockinged feet Gladys, ivy, Connie, and mercy, Tim Clyst, and Bobbie Jarland, a boy of fifteen, are dancing a truncated “Figure of Eight”; and their shadow are dancing alongside on the walls. Shoes and some apples have been thrown down close to the side door through which they have come in. Now and then ivy, the smallest and best of the dancers, ejaculates words of direction, and one of the youths grunts or breathes loudly out of the confusion of his mind. Save for this and the dumb beat and jingle of the sleepy tambourine, there is no sound. The dance comes to its end, but the drowsy Tibby goes on beating.
Mercy. That’ll du, Tibby; we’re finished. Ate yore apple. [The stolid Tibby eats her apple.]
Clyst. [In his teasing, excitable voice] Yu maids don’t dance ’elf’s well as us du. Bobbie ’e’s a great dancer. ’E dance vine. I’m a gude dancer, meself.
Gladys. A’n’t yu conceited just?
Clyst. Aw! Ah! Yu’ll give me kiss for that. [He chases, but cannot catch that slippery white figure] Can’t she glimmer!
Mercy. Gladys! Up ladder!
Clyst. Yu go up ladder; I’ll catch ’ee then. Naw, yu maids, don’t yu give her succour. That’s not vair [Catching hold of mercy, who gives a little squeal.]
Connie. Mercy, don’t! Mrs. Burlacombe’ll hear. Ivy, go an’ peek.
[Ivy goes to flee side door and peers through.]
Clyst. [Abandoning the chase and picking up an apple—they all have the joyous irresponsibility that attends forbidden doings] Ya-as, this is a gude apple. Luke at Tibby!
by drowsiness, has fallen back into the hay,
asleep. Gladys, leaning against the hay breaks into humming:]