Suddenly she tears them across, twice, thrice, lets the bits. flutter to the floor, and turns her back on him. He stands looking at her leaning against the plush-covered table, her head down, a dark figure in a dark room, with the moonlight sharpening her outline. Hardly a moment he stays, then makes for the door. When he is gone, she still stands there, her chin on her breast, with the sound in her ears of cheering, of hurrying feet, and voices crying: “’Eavy Defeat!” stands, in the centre of a pattern made by the fragments of the torn-up notes, staring out unto the moonlight, seeing not this hated room and the hated Square outside, but a German orchard, and herself, a little girl, plucking apples, a big dog beside her; and a hundred other pictures, such as the drowning see. Then she sinks down on the floor, lays her forehead on the dusty carpet, and presses her body to it. Mechanically, she sweeps together the scattered fragments of notes, assembling them with the dust into a little pile, as of fallen leaves, and dabbling in it with her fingers, while the tears run down her cheeks.
Girl. Defeat! Der Vaterland! Defeat!. . . . One shillin’!
[Then suddenly, in the
moonlight, she sits up, and begins to
sing with all her might “Die Wacht am Rhein.” And outside men
pass, singing: “Rule, Britannia!”]
A Girl, sits crouched over her knees on a stile close to a river. A man with a silver badge stands beside her, clutching the worn top plank. The girl’s level brows are drawn together; her eyes see her memories. The MAN’s eyes see the girl; he has a dark, twisted face. The bright sun shines; the quiet river flows; the Cuckoo is calling; the mayflower is in bloom along the hedge that ends in the stile on the towing-path.
The girl. God knows what ’e’ll say, Jim.
The man. Let ’im. ’E’s come too late, that’s all.
The girl. He couldn’t come before. I’m frightened. ‘E was fond o’ me.
The man. And aren’t I fond of you?
The girl. I ought to ’a waited, Jim; with ‘im in the fightin’.
The man. [Passionately] And what about me? Aren’t I been in the fightin’—earned all I could get?
The girl. [Touching him] Ah!
The man. Did you—? [He cannot speak the words.]
The girl. Not like you, Jim—not like you.
The man. Have a spirit, then.