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- Six Plays - 5/62 -


ANNET. I'll go with her.

[She starts forward and hurriedly moves towards the door.

ELIZABETH. Stop a moment, Millie. What are you thinking of to go trailing out in the dew with that beautiful cloak and bonnet. Take and lay them in the box at once, do you hear?

DANIEL. That's it, Mill. 'Twouldn't do for to mess them up afore the day. 'Twas a fair price as I gived for they, and that I can tell you, my girl.

[ANNET stops irresolutely. MAY seizes her hand.

MAY. Come off, come off, "Cousin Millie"; 'tis not damp outside, and O I'm afeared to cross the rickyard by myself.

[She pulls ANNET violently by the hand and draws her out of the door.

ELIZABETH. Off with the cloak this minute, Millie.

MAY. [Calling back.] She's a-taking of it off, Aunt, she is.

ELIZABETH. I don't know what's come to the maid. She don't act like herself to-day.

DANIEL. Ah, that be asking too much of a maid, to act like herself, and the wedding day close ahead of she.

ELIZABETH. I'd be content with a suitable behaviour, Father. I'm not hard to please.

DANIEL. Ah, you take and let her go quiet, same as I lets th' old mare when her first comes up from grass.

ELIZABETH. 'Tis all very well for you to talk, Father but 'tis I who have got to do.

DANIEL. Come Mother, come Andrew, I be sharp set. And 'tis the feel of victuals and no words as I wants in my mouth.

ELIZABETH. Well, Father, I'm not detaining you. There's the door, and the food has been cooling on the table this great while.

DANIEL. Come you, Andrew, come you, Mother. Us'll make a bit of a marriage feast this night.

[He leads the way and the others follow him out.

[Curtain.]

ACT II.--Scene 1.

A woodland path. GILES comes forward with his two servants, GEORGE and JOHN, who are carrying heavy packets.

GILES. 'Tis powerful warm to-day. We will take a bit of rest before we go further.

GEORGE. [Setting down his packet.] That's it, master. 'Tis a rare weight as I've been carrying across my back since dawn.

JOHN. [Also setting down his burden.] Ah, I be pleased for to lay aside yon. 'Tis wonderful heavy work, this journeying to and fro with gold and silver.

GILES. Our travelling is very nigh finished. There lies the road which goes to Camel Farm.

GEORGE. Oh, I count as that must be a rare sort of a place, master.

JOHN. Seeing as us haven't stopped scarce an hour since us landed off the sea.

GEORGE. But have come running all the while same as the fox may run in th' early morning towards the poultry yard.

JOHN. Nor broke bread, nor scarce got a drop of drink to wet th' insides of we.

GILES. 'Tis very little further that you have got to journey, my good lads. We are nigh to the end of our wayfaring.

GEORGE. And what sort of a place be we a-coming to, master?

GILES. 'Tis the place out of all the world to me.

JOHN. I count 'tis sommat rare and fine in that case, seeing as we be come from brave foreign parts, master.

GILES. 'Tis rarer, and finer than all the foreign lands that lie beneath the sun, my lads.

GEORGE. That's good hearing, master. And is the victuals like to be as fine as the place?

GILES. O, you'll fare well enough yonder.

JOHN. I was never one for foreign victuals, nor for the drink that was over there neither.

GILES. Well, the both of you shall rest this night beneath the grandest roof that ever sheltered a man's head. And you shall sit at a table spread as you've not seen this many a year.

GEORGE. That'll be sommat to think on, master, when us gets upon our legs again.

JOHN. I be thinking of it ahead as I lies here, and that's the truth.

[The two servants stretch themselves comfortably beneath the trees. GILES walks restlessly backwards and forwards as though impatient at any delay. From time to time he glances at a ring which he wears, sighing heavily as he does so.

[An old man comes up, leaning on his staff.

OLD MAN. Good-morning to you, my fine gentlemen.

GILES. Good-morning, master.

OLD MAN. 'Tis a wonderful warm sun to-day.

GILES. You're right there, master.

OLD MAN. I warrant as you be journeying towards the same place where I be going, my lord.

GILES. And where is that, old master?

OLD MAN. Towards Camel Farm.

GILES. You're right. 'Tis there and nowhere else that we are going.

OLD MAN. Ah, us'll have to go smartish if us is to be there in time.

GILES. In time for what, my good man?

OLD MAN. In time for to see the marrying, my lord.

GILES. The marrying? What's that you're telling me?

OLD MAN. 'Tis at noon this day that she's to be wed.

GILES. Who are you speaking of, old man?

OLD MAN. And where is your lordship journeying this day if 'tis not to the marrying?

GILES. Who's getting wed up yonder, tell me quickly?

OLD MAN. 'Tis th' old farmer's daughter what's to wed come noon- tide.

GILES. [Starting.] Millie! O that is heavy news. [Looking at his hand.] Then 'tis as I feared, for since daybreak yesterday the brightness has all gone from out of the seven stones. That's how 'twould be, she told me once.

[He turns away from the others in deep distress of mind.

GEORGE. Us'll see no Camel Farm this day.

JOHN. And th' inside of I be crying out for victuals.

OLD MAN. Then you be not of these parts, masters?

GEORGE. No, us be comed from right over the seas, along of master.

JOHN. Ah, 'tis a fine gentleman, master. But powerful misfortunate in things of the heart.

GEORGE. Ah, he'd best have stopped where he was. Camel Farm baint no place for the like of he to go courting at.

JOHN. Ah, master be used to them great palaces, all over gold and marble with windows as you might drive a waggon through, and that you might.

GEORGE. All painted glass. And each chair with golden legs to him, and a sight of silver vessels on the table as never you did dream of after a night's drinking, old man. [GILES comes slowly towards them.

GILES. And who is she to wed, old man?

OLD MAN. Be you a-speaking of the young mistress up at Camel Farm, my lord?

GILES. Yes. With whom does she go to church to-day?

OLD MAN. 'Tis along of Master Andrew that her do go. What lives up Cranham way.

GILES. Ah, th' old farmer was always wonderful set on him. [A


Six Plays - 5/62

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