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- Six Plays - 8/62 -

me, I promise you.

MILLIE. 'Tis beyond the power of you or any man to make me do that, Andrew.

ANDREW. Millie, what's the good of we two going on to church one with t'other?

MILLIE. There's no good at all, Andrew.

ANDREW. Millie, I could have sworn that you had begun to care sommat more than ordinary for me that last time we were together.

MILLIE. Then you could have sworn wrong. I care nothing for you, Andrew, no, nothing. But I gave my word I'd go to church with you and be wed. And--I'll not break my word, I'll not.

ANDREW. And is this all that you can say to me to-day, Mill?

MILLIE. Yes, Andrew, 'tis all. And now, 'tis very late, and I have got to dress myself.

ELIZABETH. [Calling loudly from above.] Millie, what are you stopping for? Come you up here and get your gown on, do.

[MILLIE looks haughtily at ANDREW as she passes him. She goes slowly out of the room.

[ANDREW picks up the flowers and stands holding them, looking disconsolately down upon them. MAY comes in, furtively.

MAY. All alone, Andrew? Has Millie gone to put her fine gown on?

ANDREW. Yes, Millie's gone to dress herself.

MAY. O that's a beautiful nosegay, Andrew. Was it brought for Mill?

ANDREW. Yes, May, but she won't have it.

MAY. Millie don't like you very much, Andrew, do she?

ANDREW. Millie's got quite changed towards me since last time.

MAY. And when was that, Andrew?

ANDREW. Why, last time was the evening of the Fair, May.

MAY. When I was hid in the cupboard yonder, Andrew?

ANDREW. So you were, May. Well, can't you recollect how 'twas that she spoke to me then?

MAY. O yes, Andrew, and that I can. 'Twas a quist a-cooing in the tree one time--and then--she did recollect herself and did sharpen up her tongue and 'twas another sort of bird what could drive its beak into the flesh of anyone--so 'twas.

ANDREW. O May--you say she did recollect herself--what do you mean by those words?

MAY. You see, she did give her word that she would speak sharp and rough to you.

ANDREW. What are you talking about, May? Do you mean that the tongue of her was not speaking as the heart of her did feel?

MAY. I guess 'twas sommat like that, Andrew.

ANDREW. O May, you have gladdened me powerful by these words.

MAY. But, O you must not tell of me, Andrew.

ANDREW. I will never do so, May--only I shall know better how to be patient, and to keep the spirit of me up next time that she do strike out against me.

MAY. I'm not a-talking of Mill, Andrew.

ANDREW. Who are you talking of then, I'd like to know?

MAY. 'Twas Annet.

ANDREW. What was?

MAY. Annet who was dressed up in the cloak and bonnet of Millie that night and who did speak with you so gentle and nice.

ANDREW. Annet!

ELIZABETH. [Is heard calling.] There, father, come along down and give your face a wash at the pump.

MAY. Let's go quick together into the garden, Andrew, and I'll tell you all about it and how 'twas that Annet acted so.

[She seizes ANDREW'S hand and pulls him out of the room with her.


ACT III.--Scene 2.

A few minutes later.

ELIZABETH stands tying her bonnet strings before a small mirror on the wall. DANIEL is mopping his face with a big, bright handkerchief. ANNET, dressed for church, is by the table. She sadly takes up the nosegay of flowers which ANDREW brought for MILLIE, and moves her hand caressingly over it.

ELIZABETH. If you think that your neckerchief is put on right 'tis time you should know different, Father.

DANIEL. What's wrong with it then, I'd like to know?

ELIZABETH. 'Tis altogether wrong. 'Tis like the two ears of a heifer sticking out more than anything else that I can think on.

DANIEL. Have it your own way, Mother--and fix it as you like.

[He stands before her and she rearranges it.

ANNET. These flowers were lying on the ground.

ELIZABETH. Thrown there in a fine fit of temper, I warrant.

DANIEL. Her was as quiet as a new born lamb once the door was broke open and she did see as my word, well, 'twas my word.

ELIZABETH. We all hear a great deal about your word, Father, but 'twould be better for there to be more do and less say about you.

DANIEL. [Going over to Annet and looking at her intently.] Why, my wench--what be you a-dropping tears for this day?

ANNET. [Drying her eyes.] 'Twas--'twas the scent out of one of the flowers as got to my eyes, Uncle.

DANIEL. Well, that's a likely tale it is. Hear that, Mother? 'Tis with her eyes that this little wench do snuff at a flower. That's good, bain't it?

ELIZABETH. I haven't patience with the wenches now-a-days. Lay down that nosegay at once, Annet, and call your cousin from her room. I warrant she has finished tricking of herself up by now.

DANIEL. Ah, I warrant as her'll need a smartish bit of time for to take the creases out of the face of she.

[ANDREW and MAY come in.]

DANIEL. Well, Andrew, my lad, 'tis about time as we was on the way to church I reckon.

ANDREW. I count as 'tis full early yet, master.

[He takes up the nosegay from the table and crosses the room to the window where ANNET is standing, and trying to control her tears.

ANDREW. Annet, Millie will have none of my blossoms. I should like it well if you would carry them in your hand to church this day.

ANNET. [Looking wonderingly at him.] Me, Andrew?

ANDREW. Yes, you, Annet. For, look you, they become you well. They have sommat of the sweetness of you in them. And the touch of them is soft and gentle. And--I would like you to keep them in your hands this day, Annet.

ANNET. O Andrew, I never was given anything like this before.

ANDREW. [Slowly.] I should like to give you a great deal more, Annet--only I cannot. And 'tis got too late.

ELIZABETH. Too late--I should think it was. What's come to the maid! In my time girls didn't use to spend a quarter of the while afore the glass as they do now. Suppose you was to holler for her again, Father.

DANIEL. Anything to please you, Mother -

MAY. I hear her coming, Uncle. I hear the noise of the silk.

[MILLIE comes slowly into the room in her wedding clothes. She holds herself very upright and looks from one to another quietly and coldly.

MAY. Andrew's gived your nosegay to Annet, Millie.

MILLIE. 'Twould have been a pity to have wasted the fresh blossoms.

MAY. But they were gathered for you, Mill.

MILLIE. Annet seems to like them better than I did.

DANIEL. Well, my wench--you be tricked out as though you was off to the horse show. Mother, there bain't no one as can beat our wench in

Six Plays - 8/62

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