[From Peel Plays, 1908]
Printed and Published by
G & L Johnson,
Prospect Hill, Douglas
(Fisherman's Cottage. Little deep window looking over the sea. Juan and Nora sitting on either side of the " chiollagh " listening and looking anxiously at each other. Music of "Arrane Ghelbee " heard, increasing in sound and stopping abruptly.)
JUAN. Did thou hear that, woman?
NORA. I did so. Deed yes, Juan. -
JUAN. Did thou notice the tune was going furder this time?
NORA. Aye, furder still-always a fil bit an' a lil bit on-whatever is it meanin' at all !
JUAN. Did thou notice it different this time ?
NORA. Was it louder like--as if it was takin' anger at us?
JUAN. Like enough. Thinkin' of to-morrow.
NORA (lifting her apron to her eyes and weeping.) To-morrow, to-morrow ! What will we do at all to-morrow; an' black shame comin' on us for all the people to see.
JUAN. An' black shame put on the Chile that's been like our own an' not sense at her even to be knowin' it.
NORA. Chile veen ! Chile veen ! As innocent as the lil lambs in the fiel' for all she's lookin' so weiss. That's the way the lambs is, too, lookin' so weiss, an' only knowin' the sun is in for to warm them an' yarb in for them to eat, an' never takin' no heed of what to-morrow may bring. And that's our Eunys the same-knowin' nothin' but jus' to be happy an'to be doin' what we are tellin' her. An' the name of Eunys that was put on her at th'oul' Pazon was good too, for joy an' comfort an' happiness she has brought to us all these years.
JUAN. An' never an ill word or a cross look at her, but doin' lil things for others an' as good to read her book as any.
NORA. Aye, an' betthar too than some that's jealous of her.
JUAN. An' Pazon that should be leadin' a sthray lamb tendhar, to be like puttin' spite on her for all ! " Example," he was sayin'. an' " Presented at the Wardens for loose talkin' an' foolish laughter, an' puttin' flowers in her hair like a heathen." An' the Chile lookin' at him so serious like, wontherin' at all the big words, an' then smilin' at him till you'd have thought he must have seen she wasn' like others.
NORA. An' I believe Pazon is sorry for all. But he's a sevare man, an' not likin' to go back on his word. An' he always was for givin' ear to them that's tellin' crimes on others. Look at the way he was with his own childher, till they took an' lef' him an' the hearts jus bruk at them. There's neither mirth nor music comin' from yandhar house, an' I believe there isn't a more unhappier man in the Parish than Pazon. An' I'm blamin' some wans a deal more till him.
JUAN. Some wans ; aye indeed. Them wans that has childher of their own an' should be more tendherer than given' heed to all the talk that's goin'. But them Wardens is hardening their hearts that's hard enough already. It's pride that's doin' on them, for, to be sayin' that so many has been presented is showin' how keen they are to be mindin' the Parish.
NORA. Only this everin' itself I have been thinkin' of the time she come to us. Do you min' Juan how the sun was shining sthraight over the sea an' the lil tune of the waves on the shore?
JUAN. An' us two down at the edge of the tide talkin' of the lil wans that was took, an' us lef' hungerin' for the feel of a Chile's arms roun' our neck.
NORA. An' the quare oul' boat comin' in urrov the sunset an' row, row, rowin' nearer an' nearer, an' the music comin', an' us wontherin' who could it be at all, an' the tune jus' like the waves goin' up an' down an' never gettin' no furder-
JUAN. An' the sun blazin' sudden in our eyes an' jus' puzzled with the light-
NORA. An' there at our feet on the wet san' the Chile lyin', an' lookin' to betook up at us. Aw well, I don't know how can I bear it. Her to be took an' put at the Church dhure the same as them that has desarved it !
JUAN. I tell you woman I can't bear it, an' I'm goin' up to put a sight on Pazon again an' see can I peacify him and make him more lenient, an' take this black shame off of us that has never gone against him.
NORA. Aw Juan, Juan, I'm fearin' thou'll do no good, man. For he's hard terrible, an' it's example he's wantin' to make, an' the Bishop talkin', he says, of the scandal, an' (crying and rocking herself) it's our poor innocent lamb that's took without mercy.
JUAN (preparing to leave the house). Were you askin' Mrs. Cushlahan for the sheet when you were in this morning ?
NORA. Aye Juan, an' the bes' sheet in the chins she said would not be too good for our Lhiannoo. She is a kind woman is Mrs. Cushlahan, an' vext turble that them Wardens has put such a thing on us. The bes' sheet that she has got, fine linen they'd had there these years, an' lace trimming on the hem fit for a queen.
JUAN (Going). An' what good will fine linen and lace be doin' at all ? It's sackcloth an' ashes that should be in for them that's desarvin' such punishment, an' them that's innocent like our Eunys isn't needin' no lace to set them off. (Exit)
NORA (sol.) Aw well; it's pleasin' the Chile for all. The sow] ! When I would be thryin' me bes' for to explain what them wans was sayin', an' tellin' her for why she was to be wearin' the white sheet at the Church dhure, all she was sayin' was :- ".See the pretty lace, Granny veen- is it me that's to be dhressed so fine, an' all the people comin' to see !" Aw- dear, dear, but Juan mus' be mindin' that she'll not be hearin' any ill words from wans that'll be mockin'. But there's no fear for all, for she would only be smilin' at them, an' never take in the meaning anyway of what they would be thinkin'. It's time the Chile was home too. (Sitting dourn and,folding her hands patiently). Aw well, she'll not be long now.
Parson's Study. Parson writing. Enter Juan.
PARSON (drily). Well, Juan Sayle, what is it you want.'
JUAN (feebly,). Good everin', Sir, good everin'.
PARSON. Yes, Yes. Good evening. What is it you have come for? You know I am always busy on Saturday evening.
JUAN (gazing round). Aye, aye. An' all these fine books. There'll be a sight of readin' in them too. Is any, of them tellin' of the ways of shepherds, with sthray lambs?
PARSON (frowning impatiently). What do you mean, Juan Sayle ? Have you been taking too much again? (Looking closely and severely at the old man.)
JUAN. God forgive your Reverence. Taking too much again ! It's well known in Dalby there isn't a soberer man in than me, unless it's your Reverence, an' indeed if there's a dhrop between us it's not me that's had it anyhow-.
PARSON. Come now, I think you had better go home, and let the solemn thought of the coming morrow sober you and teach you to take more heed to the ways of your household.
JUAN (standing stubbornly leaning on stick & gazing on floor). Pazon ! Pazon ! You have known me these years, an' you cannot be sayin' that I have ever been consarned in dhrink, or unruly, or that my house was not regulated; an' the lit wan that was sent to us in place of them that was took was never no trouble to you in the Parish, but rared at me an' the wife as studdy an' God-fearing as we could do it. An' wherever she come from (looking through window with far-away dreamy air) she has been a good Chile to us, an' its like there's wans in that'll be takin' heed that the like ofher is not to be treated bad-(Music of Arrane Ghelbee heard; Juan starts, holding up hand and listeng). Did you hear that, Sir? (music gradually dying away).
PARSON. Hear what, Juan Sayle ? And what are you looking at me like that for? Come now ! I can make allowance for the real trouble this light- minded girl has brought upon you, but do not you forget your obedience to the Church and to me as your Spiritual Guide and Superior.
JUAN ((side drearily). An' the tune goin' still, an' likely him not hearin' it afther all. Well, well ! (1'o l'arsocc.) Is it light-minded you are callin' her, Sir? Light indeed-but the light of an innocent heart that knows no guile, an' her min' as the min' of a Chile for all her eighteen years.
PARSON. If Eunys is really eighteen years, she is quite old enough to know that she is' bringing trouble on you and your wife; and considering the circumstances of her birth, it is doubly to be desired that she should learn to conduct herself with modesty and soberness.
JUAN. Did you ever rightly know them circumstances, Sir?
PARSON. I know enough of the world, Juan Sayle, to find it only too easy to account for such circumstances. I also know that you and your wife took her as a foundling, and deserve praise for-
JUAN. Praise !-Us that's lovin' her !
PARSON. -for your care of her all these years. I also know from what has been told me, that you and your wife invented some foolish stories about your finding her as a baby; and that you deliberately checked any rumours that might have led to the discovery of her parents, and did your best to hide all traces of them by pretended mysteries, with which you thought to delude your neighbours.
You know probably who those parents were, and, (if they were relatives of your own, whose shame you wished to hide) you are none the less guilty of having connived at fraud and deceit all these years.
JUAN. Will your Reverence have patience an' let me tell the story now. I am an old man, Sir, and I have lived honourable all my life, an' it's hard talkin' of shame an' deceit to them that's not desarvin' it.
PARSON. Well, Sayle, in consideration of your age and the trouble you are in, I will listen to you. But I warn you that you will not impose upon me as you did upon your simpler neighbours and friends.
JUAN. It's thruth I'm tellin' you, Sir, an' no lie, an' this is the way the chile come to us- (Parson fetches note-book & inkstand, Juan watching and waiting quietly till he settles).
JUAN. Well, your Reverence-herself an' me was down at the tide that everin', an' the wather low, an' the sun goin' down; an' there was no soun' heard but the lil tune of the waves. An' out of the brightness of the sky we saw a boat comin' from the Wes' an' wan rowin' towards us, an' music comin' over the wather to us. We were hearin' no words, but music it was, sweeter than ' any bird could sing. An' the wife went down on her knees on the wet San', an' " Juan, Juan," I was hearin' her say, " Juan, Juan, look what the say has brought us, Juan." But I was takin' no heed for I was watchin' an' lookin' with my han' over me eyes, an' then I saw him like as if he was goin' back again, an' he rew, an' he rew, an' he rew-a mis' come over me eyes that I could not see him. An' I looked down at my feet and there was herself on her knees with a chile in her arms. " Juan, Juan," she says, " look what the say has brought us in place of them that's gone." An' the babe looked up an' smiled as if it was come home. Aye, aye, that's the way it was.
PARSON. (After a pause.) And what did you do then?
JUAN. An' we went up the shore with it, an' a passel of folk was on the sthreet. But when we were tellin' them.-"Aw purr it back! purr it back where it come from " they were sayin'-"You'll never get no good from the like of yandhar" they were sayin' ! " Purr it back. There'll be wans in to look afther it an' take it back." That's the way they were talkin'. But the music was soundin' loud again like as if it was takin' anger at us. I don't know was them wans hearin' it or not, but the wife an' me, we was hearin' it.- An' we went in an' shut the dhure, an' aw the joy we took of the chile. An' me sent up on the laff for th' oul' cradle, an' herself racching down in the chiss for the fil caps :in' coats an' shoes our wans had wore! Aw well, well ! An' to think what's comin' on the chile now !
PARSON. Now Sayle, I have listened patiently to you because I promised to hear your story, but you cannot expect me to believe such a tissue of falsehood.-
JUAN. (Doggedly.) It's thruth I'm tellin' ye an' no lie. An' the babe christened nes' day at th' oul' Parson, an' us mindin' keerful that it was not took back before-
PARSON. I am not saying that you mean to speak falsely and I wish to be charitable as far as I can. It is probable that you and Mrs. Sayle have told your story so often that you have almost come to believe in it yourself-but I must tell you that I am very much shocked to find how much hold superstition still has upon you.
JUAN (Going on as if he had not heard.) An' he was askin' herself what would she call the chile, an' she answered an' said,--" Call her Eunys, for the Lord hath comforted His people." An' he did so an' the babe was named " Eunys " -that's like you'd be callin' Joy, Comfort, Happiness to, Sir,-an' the Sign of the Cross put on her-though I'm thinkin' them wars out yandhar, (pointing towards sea) was not bes' pleased, for the storm that was in that night was cruel urrov massy.
PARSON. (Getting up angrily.) There now, that will do, this is mere profanity. Worse than ignorance, and heart-breaking after all the years I have laboured among you. All you say only convinces me that the Church needs to take severe measures in dealing with you and I shall take occasion to-morrow to speak very seriously about the terrible and heathenish superstition which binds you still in chains of darkness.
JUAN. (Interrupting.) Is there no chance at all of the penance being took off of her ?
PARSON. I cannot go back from my word Sayle, nor has anything you have said given me any reason for so doing. The girl has been presented by the Wardens, who I have no doubt have grave reasons for taking such a step, and she must go through what is ordained for her own good and for the sake of example to others.
JUAN. (Half-incredulous.) An' is she, that's not even knowin' the meanin' of such things-is she to stand at the Church dhure in the white sheet for all ?
PARSON. She must stand at the Church door in the white sheet of penance-
JUAN. You are calling it the white sheet of penance but when our Eunys is wearin' it to- morrow it will be the white robe of Innocence, an' the cannle in her han' will shine no brighter than the pure soul of her before the Angels that are in Heaven.
(Fisherman's Cottage. Nora sitting waiting. Soft strains of music dying away as door otem and Eunys enters slowly, looking back, and with hand waving vond lits moving as if speaking.)
NORA. (Watching.) Who's thy company, chree? (Ennys takes no heed but coming forward slowly takes stool at Nora's feet and looks iip, affectionately caressing the old woman's face.)
NORA. What's doin' on thee, chree ?
EUNYS. (Holding up hand and listening.) Arn't you hearing it Granny veen, an' arn't you hearing them calling me all the time ?
NORA. Who is it that's callin' my lamb ? Hush thee, hush thee, Chile veen. It's fancies an' fayries thass in. Stay quite now an' let Grannie talk to thee.
EUNYS. (With a far-away look.) Still they're calling me, Granny, first thing when the sun comes slanting in on the wall an' the birds are singing, an' the leaves of the trees are whisperin' in at the window, they are crying, "Lhiannoo come away." In the morning down at the tide an' up in the Glen they're calling, " Lhiannoo come away; " coming along the lane in the little everin', an' the waves all dancin' in the sunset, still I'm hearin' them calling " Lhiannoo come away, Lhiannoo come away!"
NORA. There, there, Chile veen. Thou's tired an' fanciful. It'll be fayries that's callin' an' you musn' be mindin' them, Graili-ma-chree. You wouldn' be for leaving me an' Grandaa at all
EUNYs. Not only Fayries, Granny. There's more till Fayries too. The Stars were calling me to-day, Granny.
NORA. Chut ! Chut ! It's fancies the Chile has got. Lizzen now till I tell thee again what we mus' be doin' to-morrow.-
EUNYS. (Unheeding.) I was over on Dalby Mountain a while ago, Granny, an' I was lyin' on the turf an' puttin' my ear to the ground in the place Grandaa was telling of. Do you mind Granny veen ?
NORA. Aye deed. Aye deed. They're sayin' if you listen still an' quite you'll be hearin' the Stars tellin 'theSecrets of the Infinite ! I've heard my own Mother sayin' it, an' I'm thinkin' its what's meanin' in the Book where its sayin' :- The Morning Stars sang together-Yes, yes chree, I know the place well. An' were you so far as that Chile veen
EUNYS. I was listening Granny an' for a long time I was only hearing the bees in among the heather, an' a lark was singing up in the sky, an' the lil flies rustling in the stalks of the grass-an' then, Granny villish, I heard the Stars too, what they were saying. An' all the Stars were crying (clasping her hands with an upward look) " Lhiannoo come away, Lhiannoo come away."
NORA. Well now, an' was that all they had to say. " Come away home " its like they were meanin'. Home to me an' thy Grandaa that's longin' if the Chile veen is out of our sight for an' hour. That's what the stars would be tellin' thee chree. Any way it's bes' for lil gels to be stayin' at home in th' everin'. There's wans on the mountains that's bes' not spoke of, an' there's wans talkin' too. Aye deed, an' a power of spite at them too, an' deed, Eunys, it's not well for thee to be goin' alone in them places so often, (tenderly stroking the girl's hair.
(Door opens and Juan enters with blaze of sunshine.)
EUNYS. See, Granny veen, how the sunset Fayries are coming slidin' down the sun beams. Did they come with you Grandaa all the way from the sunset?
JUAN. (Closing door and standing looking gravely at her.) Thou'd bes' be goin' to bed, Lhiannoo veen. Its like thou'll be tired enough to-morrow.
NORA. (Looking anxiously at him.) Was it no good, Juan, man,
JUAN. No good at all, for obstinate turble he was. (Sitting down wearily.) Well, well ! that's the way it iss ! She mus stan' at the Church dhure for all to see in the white sheet an all. (Leaning his head on his hand.)
EUNYS. (Springing up eayerly.) Is it me Grandaa an' the white sheet. ? Don't take on Grandaa-I'm not minding now, for Granny has got a fine dress for me to-morrow. You should see the lace that's on it-Fit for a Queen isn't it Granny veen?
NORA. Aye deed. It's like the Queen isn' usin' no better.
EUNYS. Where is it, Granny, that Grandaa can see me in it,an'then he'll not be takro on any more.
NORA. In the parlour it is. Take the candle Chile veen an' go keerful now. It's middlin' dark in theer.
(Ennys goes out and presently returns, slowly entering, draped in sheet and with lighted candle in her hand. Stands listening wistfully.)
(Chorus from without, accompanied by the rhythmical sound of rowlocks.)-(Air "Arrane Ghel bee.")
Rowing, rowing from the Sunset
Where the water-fayries play,
We are come to bear thee homeward
Lhiannoo, Lhiannoo, come away.
EUNYS. (Answering in clear distinct tones, sings.)
I am coming, I am coming,
Hark they call me from the foam;
(Turning to old folk yearningly.)
Oh, Fare-you-well ! I may not linger, Stars and Sunset call me home.
(Chorus from without.)
Lonely, lonely will they wander
On the ever-dark'ning shore ;
Softly sing the waves together
But the Lhiannoo comes no more.
Only from the Land of Sunset
Flowing, flowing evermore,
Oh ! Sadly sing the waves together
On the lonely Dalby Shore.