[From Mannin #8, 1916]

Ellie's Stranger *

A Manx Domestic Comedy.

By W. CLUCAS KINLEY.

* Mr. Kinley's little play, ' Ellie's Stranger,' was sent in for the Manx Society's Literary Competition in 7913, and gained very warm praise from Mr. A. P. Graves.

The persons of the Play.

Jem Kewley a Manx Mechanic resident in England
Billy Faragher a Farmer and Local Preacher
Mr. Clague (a Farmer) Ellie's Father
Mrs. Clague Ellie's Mother
Ann Jane Caveen, Servant at Clague's Farm, Cronk Skyr, Isle of Man
Ellie Clague

ACT I.

Scene 1.-Sitting-roam in Clague's farmhouse, Cronk Skyr; Mr. CLAGUE walking uneasily about the room. Mrs. CLAGUE and BILLY FARAGHER seated at a tea-table laid for two, after a cup of afternoon tea.

CLAGUE

IF that's all you have to tell me you needn't have called me in, for I wouldn't believe it, Faragher, unless I saw it with my own eyes.

FARAGHER

It's true enough though, Mr. Clague.

MRS. CLAGUE

Of course it's true, or Mr. Faragher wouldn't be telling it. Aw, Clague, what a mercy it would be if she was off our hands and married to some good religious man !

FARAGHER, to Mrs. Clague

She didn't give you any hint when she was home on Sunday?

MRS. CLAGUE

She never came home on Sunday ; the first time she has missed since she went to Douglas. (Turning to Clague) I told you, Clague, how it would be.

CLAGUE

Did you see anything of this yourself, Faragher ?

FARAGHER

No, but I can trust my information.

CLAGUE

Well, I wouldn't give that (snapping his fingers) for your information; and if my boy Philly was at home, he might be asking some of the busy ones to mind their own affairs.

MRS. CLAGUE

But she has been seen times with the young man, and what is she keeping away from home for, and not writing a word either? [Mrs. Clagile rises.

FARAGHER, also rising

It was an unpleasant duty, but as I was saying last Sun- day, we must not put the cup from us because it is bitter. If we failed to do little things like this for one another, how would we get through the world ? [He prepares to leave.

MRS. CLAGUE

Good afternoon Mr. Faragher, and thank you for the trouble you have taken.

FARAGHER

The trouble is nothing, Mrs. Clague, so long as I can do a good turn. (To Clague) Good afternoon, Mr. Clague. If you knew what a grief-

CLAGUE, abruptly

I know all about that, Faragher. Good day.

Exit FARAGHER, followed by MRS. CLAGUE.

CLAGUE, soliloquizing

I can't talk equal to you, Billy Faragher, but I'm thinking you are afraid that Ellie might see a better man than yourself: and in my opinion she would not have to travel far. [Re-enter MRS. CLAGUE, agitated; she seats herself at the table and strums with her fingers.

MRS. CLAGUE

So that's the way she's helping her Aunt Hannah your sister, Clague, bear in mind. I'm thankful its not on my conscience. I never wanted her to go, but you were that stupid and obstinate, that a body couldn't get a word of sense out of you. CLAGUE paces up and down without replying) And if she had behaved herself you don't know but Mr. Faragher himself was thinking about her-a man living on his own place; and a bit of money at him, and more to come when his grandmother dies-- the soul,

I don't think she'll last long. But no, out walking with any strange trouss, and going to theayters, maybe-the devil's parlours I call them. I was against it, Clague, from the very first, and you can't deny it.

CLAGUE, impatiently Dear me, were you never a girl yourself ?

MRS. CLAGUE

When I was a girl-[Enter Ann Pane Caveen abruptly, she hands a letter to Mis. Clague.

ANN JANE

A letter from Ellie. [Exit Ann,fane.

[Mrs. Clague opens package, and produces a scrap of paper and a small photograph. She glances over the paper, looks at the photograph for a few seconds and tosses it towards Clague, compressing her lips.

MRS. CLAGUE Now-seeing's believing. There she is, as large as life and as bold as a weasel, and a hat on her fit to frighten the rooks. Yes. Look at it. There's her hand on his shoulder, and him holding her fingers, and looking up in her eyes-like a sheep. And it's your fault, every bit of it. A girl's own mother is not allowed to look after her now -mothers are nothing when there are soft fathers about. And no letter with it. just a scrap of paper-'Dear mother, what do you think of this ?' The cheek of them is past all. You've got to have her home Clague (she strikes the table). Why, we never had our likeness done until we were years married; not till Philly was four and Ellie very near two, and then we sat down decently, Ellie on your knee and Philly at me, and an album on the table between us-all proper. Its not from me she gets the dirt, Clague-the Quilliams were always respectable (she strikes the table again).

CLAGUE, looking at the photograph It is a quare hat, too.

MRS. CLAGUE, resuming

And as like as not taken on a Sunday-for in Douglas they regard nothing-(tragically) a daughter of mine-

CLAGUE

There's many a worse thing done on Sunday, woman.

MRS. CLAGUE

And the Quilliams always carrying their heads so high. You're not a woman, Clague. You don't understand these things, but you'll just off and bring her home to morrow, before it goes too far (re-enter .inn Jane). Ann Jane, you might knock before coming into a room where people are talking.

ANN JANE

Every time ?

MRS. CLAGUE

Yes, every time.

ANN JANE

Very well mistress, but Mr. Clague said he didn't like quality ways unless there were people in who were used to them (she goes to the table and sees the portrait). Oh my goodness days, it's Ellie. Isn't she lovely? He's looking terrible nice at her.

MRS. CLAGUE, with acidity

it's the like of them that will look nice at a girl if she has no mother to guide her.

ANN JANE

Who is he, then ?

MRS. CLAGUE, sarcastically

A duke, I suppose ; they're all dukes in Douglas in the summer time.

ANN JANE, confidently

I don't think our Ellie would have a summer duke; and maybe he's better than Billy Faragher, with his big notions, pestering Ellie at every turn.

CLAGUE, encouragingly Well done, Ann Jane.

MRS. CLAGUE

Mr. Faragher is a most respectable young man, it's a pity there are not more like him. (ANN JANE gives a funny laugh. Severely) What are you laughing at now ?

ANN JANE

Just something Bella Mylrea said about him, after he took her home from the tea party.

MRS. CLAGUE

What had she to say about Mr. Faragher?

ANN JANE

She slapped his face for him. That's all.

MRS. CLAGUE It's like she led him on. I know the Mylreas-and look

here Ann Jane, we're talking. (ANN JANE withdraws after exchanging an intelligent look with Mr. Claque.

Me talking ? CLAGUE, (aside) with an amused smile Well Claque? MRS. CLAGUE

Well ? CLAGUE MRS. CLAGUE

Is that girl to be a disgrace to her father and mother? No

CLAGUE

Why? MRS. CLAGUE For.

CLAGUE MRS. CLAGUE

Haven't I been a good wife to you, Clague ? CLAGUE

Middling, middling. Let's ask her to bring the young man over, if its a sweetheart that's in.

MRS. CLAGUE

I'll not write to her-the hussy. CLAGUE, quietly

Then I'll do it myself. (As Claque is about to withdraw, re-enter Ann Jane, breathless; in her fluster she knocks at the door from inside.

MRS. CLAGUE

Ann Jane, what did I tell you ?

ANN JANE, panting

I know, Mrs. Clague, but I couldn't help it. Bella Mylrea has been here-she has seen him.

Seen who ? MRS. CLAGUE

ANN JANE, pointing to the photograph

Him. He's a regular gentleman, stopping at a big hotel on the front, and a gold chain with hangings to it, and beautiful rings on his fingers, and

MRS. CLAGUE

I don't care if he's got a ring through his nose, I'd like you to knock before you enter this room.

ANN JANE

And she said Billy Faragher was coming down the lane, and he jumped over the hedge sooner than meet her. MRS. CLAGUE

Fleeing from temptation, Ann Jane. ANN JANE Fleeing from Bella's tongue, more like. She has got something to say to him-telling her master and mistress that they want to keep an eye on her., (Viciously) Ugh

CLAGUE, in mock reproof Ann Jane, Ann Jane.

MRS. CLAGUE

It's not to be expected that you could see the good in a man like Mr. Faragher, but I've watched him from a child. There was him and our Philly and Jim Kioleya, all nearly of an age. Philly and Jim thinking of nothing but fighting lions and tigers, but Billy Faragher was anxious about his soul's salvation. The Faraghers were all like that-wonderful good people he comes from on both sides. Remember Clague, how good he was, telling where Philly and Jim kept their pipes when they were learning to smoke, and getting the money turning head over heels-

CLAGUE, interrupting

And it was on his stories I thrashed the two boys ? I wish I had known.

AAC

MRS. CLAGUE

It was for the good of their souls, Clague. What did the wise man say about sparing the rod ?

CLAGUE

The wise man never said to lay the rod on the wrong back.

MRS. CLAGUE

Beware of the spirit of vengeance, Clague.

CLAGUE

Beware of the spirit of fiddlesticks.

ANN JANE

Oh, they're saying Jim Kioleya will be over soon. He's got a patent or something, worth lots of money. He went foreign, didn't he ?

MRS. CLAGUE, scornfully

Foreign, indeed! Not him go foreign, but to Barrow or Bolton or some place.

ANN JANE

Do you think he'll be putting a sight on the Crook, mistress ?

MRS. CLAGUE

Not him, if he's got money in his pocket. I know the Kioleyas, from in to out. Put a beggar on horseback, Ann Jane, and there's only one place for them. He'll be smooking cigarettes, and calling himself Kewley, and thinking nobody knows he's Manx. He'll not come near Crook Skyr, the very place he was brought up.

CLAGUE

Poor lad, there's none of his own left here now. MRS. CLAGUE, firing up

There are others beside flesh and blood, Clague. The people who knew his mother and father before he was born-his mother was a Creer, I knew all the Creers-- people who have given him a piece many a time, but (growing miserable) they're all forgotten now, I warrant. Him that used to be like a brother with our Philly, sharing whatever was going.

CLAGUE

Yes, thrashings and all. I believe in my heart you liked the lad well enough.

MRS. CLAGUE

I liked him-and I didn't like him.

CLAGUE, laughing

You screened him many a time, anyway, when I was after him.

MRS. CLAGUE, on the defensive

And if I did, it was because I didn't want you to strike the boys in your anger, Clague, because you had a heavy hand.

CLAGUE, softly

Perhaps you are right, mistress, perhaps you are right. Oh, these women, these women and their children. CURTAIN

ACT I.

Scene 2.-Douglas Promenade, early in a summer evening.

ELLIE CLAGUE seated with a letter in her hand.

ELLIE

Now, isn't that like them, not to guess who it was ? (with great deliberation) Did they think that I would be photo- graphed like that in earnest ? [She rises and walks up and

down, making little swipes with her parasol. JEM KEWLEY approaching her from behind, walks beside her and raises his hat.

JEM

Somebody is catching it, Ellie. Am I the culprit ? [He leads her back to the seat.

ELLIE

Oh, Jem, whatever do you think JEM

That's an easy one. I think Miss Ellie Clague is the most charming-[Elbe taps him on the arm with her parasol.

ELLIE, wilfully

You are not to talk like that. We are only two old friends and neighbours who have met after a long absence, and celebrate the occasion by having our photo- graphs taken.

Jem, mimicking her In a rather silly attitude.

ELLIE

Well, Jem, it was your choice. Now do be serious.

JEM, pulling a stupid face

Will that do?

ELLIE, inspecting' himcritically

yes, that's better--a little more expression, please. Now listen. . I have had a letter from home. Such a letter. They did'nt recognise you (jem whistles) and mother is in dreadful tantrums-you remember her way-poor father must have had a time. I'm afraid he is a bit upset, too ; but it is so stupid of them, isn't it, Jem ? Anybody could see we did it only for fun.

JEM, taking her at her word

Of course. Anybody could see that. [ELLIE regards him enquiringly, a little disappointed at being taken so literally.

ELLIE

Perhaps I should not give it out of my hands, but Jem (handing him the letter) read that- oh, it is too bad. (J Em reads with an air of perplexity merging into one of amusement, and finally breaks into a hearty laugh.) You are very easily amused, sir.

JEM

Ellie, this is rich. Now I know that my foot is on my native rock (he hums)

It's my own dear Ellan Vannin With her green hills by the sea. [ELLIE, rather annoyed, puts out her hand for the letter.

JEM

Let me read this passage again (he reads aloud) : and Ellie, your mother wants you to know her very words " little did I think that a daughter of mine would stoop to pick up with the first strange trouss (JEM taps his own chest) that comes along." I believe it is only a bit of fun, but it will prevent your mother going on, if you tell Aunt Hannah that you are wanted at home.'

ELLIE, between amusement and vexation

So you see what an impression the portrait of Mr. James Kewley, the rising inventor, has created in his native village.

JEM, with sincerity

I would not have a word altered. Do you think, Ellie, that Jem Kewley, the orphan, doesn't know your mother's warm heart ? I was only a bit of a boy when I left the Island, and I have not seen it for ten years, but I know the welcome that waits for me at Cronk Skyr. (With emotion) Ellie, out on the world we meet too many people with flattery on their lips and treachery in their minds, and I am not going to judge your mother by the sharp thoughtless word she speaks sometimes, but by her good Manx nature that will not let her see a child go hungry or a widow unhelped.

ELLIE, gratified and smiling

Does this mean that you intend to test your welcome at the Cronk ?

JEM

Of course I do.

ELLIE

Then you had better come over with me on Saturday.

JEM

Ellie, you are a witch. That was my idea too.

ELLIE

By the first afternoon train ?

JEM

By the first afternoon train-and Ellie, wouldn't it be a joke if I appeared as your-er-young man ?

ELLIE, warningly

If you do, it's to be only in fun.

JEM, solemnly Oh, of course, only in fun.

ELLIE, somewhat disappointed I mean only in fun, you know.

JEM, in a shatter-of-fact way

So do I.

ELLIE, looking up sharply O Jem, you remember Billy Faragher ?

JEM

Billy Faragher, Ballachass, who was always going to be a bishop or a deemster ?

ELLIE

He's the same yet. (Rather demurely) The farm is his own now.

JEM, keenly interested Is he courting you, Ellie

ELLIE

Dear me, Jem, what if he is ? "There's nothing to ruffle your feathers.

JEM

No, it was ridiculous of me to take my new position so seriously. I subside.

ELLIE

Well-really, Jem, I dare say I could be mistress of Ballachass-if I liked.

JEM, nervously

Yes ?

ELLIE

And I don't like, but he has got the right side of mother, and I am hearing nothing but Billy Faragher's money, and Billy Faragher's horses, and Billy Faragher's sermons-

JEM

His sermons?

ELLIE

Yes, he's on the plan-and I'm tired of it all.

JEM

And haven't you told him that ?

ELLIE

He hasn't given me the chance; he seems to be waiting, waiting, for an opportunity to pounce on me when I will be unable to refuse him, and I have the feeling that lie's watching me. When you come, Jern, I hope you will do something to rid me of him.

JEM, after a moment's thought We'll manage it.

ELLIE

It won't be easy, Jem.

JEM, firmly

Easy or not, it will be done. And I say, Ellie, how did you know me when we met ?

ELLIE

How did you know me?

JEM

That's a Manx answer, anyhow.

ELLIE

Don't be nasty. I'll try to tell you. It was close to where we are now--you passed me by, and Philly came to my mind first. I looked round, you were looking too -and I remembered you.

JEM _.

It was the same with me, and when I saw you looking, Cronk Skyr, and the school house, and Philly, all came back to me, and I called you by name.

ELLIE

Allow me to correct you, Mr. Kewley, you did not. You said 'It's Philly Clague's sister, isn't it?' [They both laugh heartily.

JEM

I remember your greeting to me, though.

ELLIE

Now, what did I say, Mister Clever ?

JEM

you said, 'Well-it's Nutty Kioleya!'

ELLIE, laughing

It's downright mean of you to remember that, and I was so taken by surprise. I'll tell Philly when I write.

J EM

It was the sweetest music I had heard for ten years. When you are writing to Philly you might send him a message from me.

ELLIE

What is it ?

JEM, after thinking

My plans are not complete yet. I'll tell you on Saturday.

ELLIE

Saturday will be a busy day. Let one see (counting on her

fingers), there's our journey to the Cronk. There's your message to Philly. There's Billy Faragher to be frightened off. There's mother to be faced---

JEM

And father.

ELLIE

Oh, father's all right. Have I forgotten anything?

JEM

No, that is the full programme. (Thoughtfully) Before we go, Ellie, I want to tell you something.

ELLIE, with finger raised

Be careful, Jem.

JEM, reassuringly Oh, it's not anything nice.

ELLIE

Then I don't want to hear it. What is it ?

JEM

Really, it's not a bit nice, and it happened a long time ago.

ELLIE, stamping her foot I want to hear it, now.

JEM

You'll be sorry. Am I forgiven before I begin? (Ellie nods agreement) Once upon a time, when you wanted to go down to the shore with Philly and me, I said to Philly -'Your Ellie is-a-little-nuisance.'

ELLIE

Jem, you horrid person. What for?

JEM

On general principles, I think. We found girls in the way when we were seeking adventures.

ELLIE, with pretended haughtiness And what is your present opinion, may I ask ?

JEM

Ellie, don't be too hard on me. I have been repenting it in sackcloth and ashes ever since.

ELLIE

Ever since when ?

JEM Ever since-we met again,

ELLIE

Less than a fortnight ago. Very like a death-bed repentance,Jem.

JEM

Well, my confession balances yours about Faragher; and now I'm ready to take you for a stroll. [Exeunt. CURTAIN

Act II.

Scene 1.-A Country Road, near Cronk Skyr Enter ANN TANE, carrying two heavy buckets, which she sets down

ANN JANE

So Ellie is coming home for good. If I had been in her place they wouldn't have got me home in a hurry. I wish I had the chance of a whole summer in Douglas (she raises her skirts and dances a few steps), wouldn't I have them after me? I don't believe her Aunt Hannah wanted her to do any work; it was only to give the girl a change. It's that Billy Faragher, poking his nose, and making mischief. Oh, laws, here he is. [Enter FARAGHER.

FARAGHER

Hallo, Ann Jane ; is the well dry ?

ANN JANE

No, Mr. Faragher; we've got our stock of herrings to-day, and I'm just going down for a couple of kishans of salt. If you're doing nothing you might give a body a hand back with it.

FARAGHER, scowls aside and then afably I don't think I'll have time to-day, Ann Jane.

ANN JANE

I didn't think you would, Mr. Faragher; but there is no harm in asking.

FARAGHER

Not a bit, Ann Jane, not a bit. How are they all at the house, up ?

ANN JANE

Busy enough, what with putting the herrings down and getting ready for Ellie and her friend to-morrow; busy enough.

FARAGHER, with suppressed eagerness And who might Ellie's friend be ?

ANN JANE

You know as much as I do, Mr. Faragher.

FARAGHER

It's a while now since she was home. There must be some attraction in Douglas, don't you think ?

ANN JANE

There's nothing but attractions in Douglas, they say.

FARAGHER

Now, Ann Jane, you know what I mean-there must be somebody in Douglas she wants to see ?

ANN JANE

Maybe there's somebody at the Cronk she doesn't want to see.

FARAGHER, uncomfortably

Quite so; it might be that, but I'm afraid, Ann Jane, that she is too fond of worldly pleasure. She will be better at home until she goes to a house of her own.

ANN JANE

You don't believe in pleasures, then, Mr. Faragher?

FARAGHER

Oh, yes, proper pleasures-under her mother's eye.

ANN JANE

Like tea-parties and teaching in Sunday-school--the sort of pleasure you would like for yourself ? What company is there in Cronk Skyr for a girl like our Ellie ?

FARAGHER, complacently

you might as well ask what company there is for a man like me ? We must do our duty wherever we are.

ANN JANE And what is Ellie's duty ?

FARAGHER

To remain with her mother. I know she didn't want her to go to Douglas.

ANN JANE

Did you ever hear of anything her mother did want her to do, unless it was something unpleasant ? And her father wants her to have her fill of enjoyment while she can get it.

FARAGHER, condescendingly

I'm afraid you don't understand, Ann Jane. Mrs. Clague is a remarkably clever, penetrating woman.

ANN JANE

I know she's thinking diamonds of you.

FARAGHER

And her husband, although he is a good man according to his lights, is without a spark of intellect, besides (ponderously) being neglectful of the things that endure.

ANN JANE, heatedly

He's not neglectful of the happiness of the people about him, anyway, and if he doesn't take a prayer at the chapel as often as some, there's not a dog in the parish that's not jumping on him. You leave Mr. Clague alone.

FARAGHER

Yes, yes. Your feelings do you credit, Ann Jane, but mere good nature is not everything.

ANN JANE, curtly

Neither is mere talk.

FARAGHER

I don't dispute it. But about Ellie's future-you seem to think there is no one at the Cronk good enough for her. I was not aware that she is a great heiress.

ANN JANE

Heiress ? No; but she is equal to the best in the land. (Growing warmer) Our Ellie is fit to be a lady; and when she marries she'll take the man for himself not for fields and furniture.

FARAGHER, acutely

But fields and furniture are something. There are lots of girls who would be proud to be in Ballachass--- with a husband who'll be in the House of Keys one day.

ANN JANE

Then if you are a Christian man, take pity on one of the poor souls and marry her. Maybe that'll put rest on the flock of them (picks up her buckets). I must be off, or the mistress will be after me. [Exit Ann Jane.

FARAGHER Bringing a friend from Douglas? William Faragher, you must put your best foot first, (reassuring himself) but where can she find a man to give her the home that I can ? A teetotaller and a preacher, with a place of his own, is not to be sneezed at Ellie, my girl. And that Ann Jane is deep, although she pretends to be soft. The impudent slut-expecting me to carry buckets for her. Now, why couldn't she have told me all she knew ? But some people have that nature, they'll twist and turn when they are asked a straight question, and if there's a crooked way in they are bound to find it. Clague spoils her, too, letting her have her say like one of themselves ; but I've got the mother on my side (confidently) and that's more than half the battle. Well, I'll be taking a walk by the station to-morrow, and perhaps I'll see the new friend. [Exit Faragher. Re-enter ANN JANE with two buckets. She sets them down wearily, and after watching Faragher dis- appear, seats herself on one.

ANN JAME

No time, Mr. Faragher. (Contemptuously) Mph, I wouldn't have taken your help anyway. You've got plenty of time to go round specking and gossiping, though. If I were Ellie I wouldn't have you with a dozen farms (she stretches herself, rises, and is taking up the buckets when CLAGUE enters).

CLAGUE

Well, Ann Jane, girl, you have a good load.

ANN JANE

Yes, it's the salt for the herrings, but I can manage,

CLAGUE

Let me see the buckets (attempting to take them from her).

ANN JANE

It's all right, Mr. Clague (resisting him. CLAGUE tries the weight of one of the buckets).

CLAGUE

It's not all right-for girls-but there's no hurry on us. I'll take a draw at the pipe first. [He seats himself on a bucket, motions to ANN JANE to do the same, and lights a short pipe, Produced from his vest pocket. When he as comfortable ANN JANE places her hand confidentially on his shoulder.

ANN JANE

I was glad enough of a little race out, man.

CLAGUE, laughing knowingly ' I dare say you were, girl, I dare say you were.

ANN JANE

Billy Faragher stopped me as I was going.

CLAGUE

Asking newses, I warrant ?

ANN JANE

He got none though, excepting that Ellie would be home to-morrow.

CLAGUE

Thou shouldn't have told him that, Ann Jane; he'll be down at the station.

ANN JANE

No; watching behind some hedge he'll be; (deliberately) but I don't think Ellie will mind-this time.

CLAGUE

Why, girl?

ANN JANE

Because I've got a notion some way that the friend Ellie is bringing is a young man, Did you ever feel sure of a thing like that, Mr. Clague ? (CLAGUE is about to speak.

ANN JANE shakes his shoulder and continues) And that be- tween them they'll be putting the hogh-hogh on Billy Faragher.

CLAGUE, rather mysti'fi'ed, putting his pipe in his pocket

I don't know indeed, girl, I don't know indeed. (He takes the buckets, ANN JANE attempts to secure one, but he pushes her away gently, saying in a confidential whisper) No, no, Ann Jane-thou can take them when we get close to the house. [Exeunt.

CURTAIN

ACT II. Scene 2.

-Sitting-room at Clague's farmhouse, Cronk Skyr. Curtain rises, disclosing ELLIE in outdoor dress, drawing off her gloves.

ELLIE

Mother! Mother! Mrs. Clague ! Ann Jane ! House

on fire! Anyone in ? [Enter CLAGUE. Ellie rushes to him and they kiss.

CLAGUE

Home again, Ellie, girl. Let me have a look at you. They are putting a polish on our Ellie. I'm afraid she'll soon be leaving the nest.

ELLIE

Silly old Father. Where's Mother?

CLAGUE, wearily

Hard at work somewhere ; she won't alter her ways now. But where is your grand friend ?

ELLIE I didn't say he was grand.

CLAGUE, roguishly

So it is a he ?

ELLIE, surprised

Of course.

CLAGUE

Whatever will your mother say?

ELLIE

He's not afraid of Mother. He'll be here in a few minutes.

CLAGUE

And does he know the way ?

ELLIE

He'll find the way. He's got a tongue in his head.

CLAGUE, coaxingly

Who is he, Ellie-a sweetheart ?

ELLIE

No, Father, a friend. Can't you guess ? CLAGUE, seriously

Ellie, girl, is it the man you were taken with? ELLIE, pretending to be ashamed

Yes, Father. [CLAGUE lays his hand on her shoulder: she looks him fearlessly in the eyes: he pats her head and releases her. CLAGUE, quiet y

It's all right, Ellie, girl. (He kissess her brow. Enter MRS. CLAGUE, with her cap slightly awry: she sighs and sinks into a chair).

MRS. CLAGUE, tired

So you are here, Ellie ? (She submits to Ellie's kiss).

ELLIE

Yes, Mother, and I wish you had made yourself look a bit smarter. Let me help you to change your dress. [Exit CLAGUE.

MRS. CLAGUE

Somebody must work, Ellie. We can't all go enjoying ourselves, and rooms to be got ready for visitors, though we don't know who they are, nor where they come from, no more than the grave.

ELLIE

That's a surprise for you.

MRS. CLAGUE

You've given us surprises enough, Ellie--photographs and-the rest.

ELLIE, annoyed

What ' rest?'

MRS. CLAGUE, mysteriously

Aw, we're not too far from Douglas to hear things.

ELLIE, to excite her mother's euriosity

Then I had better tell him that he won't be welcome.

MRS. CLAGUE, an horror

Is it a man you are bringing to this house ?

ELLIE, nodding

Yes.

MRS. CLAGUE, producing photograph from her pocket, after some fumbling

That one ?

ELLIE

Yes.

MRS. CLAGUE, distressed

Tell me this, Ellie, girl. Was that picture done on a Sunday?

ELLIE, very distinctly

Yes, Mother. After we had been for a sail in the Bay. [MRS. CLAGUE, sinks into a chair, raises her hands in a gesture of agony and brings them down on her knees again with a slap.

MRS. CLAGUE, exhausted

I'm ready to go now. How did you get to know him, Ellie ?

ELLIE, indifferently

I forget who spoke first. I believe we both spoke together.

MRS. CLAGUE

And you are not ashamed to tell it ?

ELLIE, bluntly No.

MRS. CLAGUE, staring at vacancy

And her mother a Quilliam. Aw, she's a real Clague. Is there any talk of him marrying you, child?

ELLIE, slowly, hanging /ter head

No, none whatever.

MRS. CLAGUE, with a gesture of resignation

Into Thy hands. Come closer to me, child. How long has he been on the Island ?

ELLIE, still pretending to be embarrassed About a fortnight, I believe.

MRS. CLAGUE, folding her hands, and looking up piously If she had been taken in the measles and her soul saved-[Enter ANN JANE, bursting the door open, and flustered.

ANN JANE

A gentleman asking to see Mrs. Clague. Oh, Ellie, you are home again-we've been missing you dreadful. (They shake hands)

MRS. CLAGUE, revived

What am I always telling you about that door? Say `Not to-day.' (Mournfully) This is the day of our tribula- tion, Ann Jane, and we don't want to be bothered with mangles or sewing machines.

ANN JANE, confidently

He's not a mangle or sewing machines, he's a real gentleman (in a loud whisper), here he is. [ELLIE standing behind door, slips out unobserved as soon as the Stranger has entered. Enter JEM KEWLEY. Exit ANN JANE.

JEM, after a comprehensive glance around, strides boldly to the side of MRS. CLAGUE, and says, holding out his hand, How do you do, Mrs. Clague? (MRS. CLAGUE, sitting as far bark as possible, affects not to see his hand. JEM KEWLEY catches her hand, stoops and kisses her) There now. MRS. CLAGUE, indignantly

Yes. 'There, now' indeed. What is this ?

JEM

Making friends.

MRS. CLAGUE, trying to get still further back in her chair (scornfully)

If cheek will do it, you'll make plenty. Who are you ?

JEM, drawing himself up and speaking broadly

Don't you know me, woman? Have a good look.

MRS. CLAGUE, more reasonably

There's Manx on your tongue: and I seem to know the face. You are not belonging to the Cronk, are you ?

JEM, very broadly

Take another look still, woman (pause). Don't you remember Jem Kioleya?

MRS. CLAGUE

Jem Kioleya ! Of course it is. Jem, son, how are you ?

(they embrace) Your mother was a dhoiagh soul. We're talking about you regular. You've changed mighty though, Jem--and you are doing well, I suppose ?

JEM

I can't complain. You haven't changed much yourself, Mrs. Clague, at all.

MRS. CLAGUE

The world is full of changes, Jem. I was only saying- when was it?-that I knew you'd be,"putting g a sight on us. [ELLIE, unseen, having removed her hat and coat, enters and stands near door.

JEM

And Philly is prospering, I'm told. MRS. CLAGUE Yes, and writing every month. Ellie is thinking of going out to him, and then we'll be left-two lonely old people. [ELLIE displays amazement.

JEM, taken aback

Ellie-little Ellie: going to Africa?

MRS. CLAGUE

You remember Ellie, then?

JEM

I have an idea what she's like now. I have-er--seen her photograph.

MRS. CLAGUE, resuming

It has been talked about times, and there's nothing here for a girl, is there now, Jem ? Besides Philly is saying she'd soon get a good match out there. [ELLIE comes forward.

ELLIE

Mother, this has gone far enough. I couldn't help hear- ing you. (Notuingher mother's astonishment) No, this is not the first time I've seen him.

MRS. CLAGUE, seeing daylight

Aw, is he the one who was gulling your fingers ?

ELLIE

Yes, Mother. Jem is the 'strange trouss.' We thought you would have known him at once.

MRS. CLAGUE

I was saying to your Father that he reminded me of somebody, but for the life of me I couldn't think who it was.

ELLIE

And you have been telling Jem some little joke of Philly's. If he didn't know you he might think that there was nothing in a girl's mind but good matches.

MRS. CLAGUE

And what else is there, child, but that, and fine clothes, and playing the piano ?

ELLIE

There's a good deal else.

MRS. CLAGUE

There's not much work in their heads, anyway, for they are too good to do a thing about the house.

JEM, to humour her

The young ones are not like the old ones, Mrs. Clague, although they think they know so much.

ELLIE, amused (aside)

Oh, you humbug.

MRS. CLAGUE

You never spoke a truer word Jem. I like to hear sensible talk, (to ELLIE sagaciously) Jem knows, the world has taught him. But I must be tidying myself. Here, Ellie, take Jern out to see your Father. (Exeunt ELLIE and JEM. MRS. CLAGUE continuing) Now, that's what I

call a proper, sensible young man. He was always one to be good tempered, though, was Jem-and the poor lad had it hard enough ; Clague was fond of him too ; many a time I've heard him say-[Enter ANN JANE.

ANN JANE

Mr. Faragher. [FARAGHER enters, carrying his hat. Exit ANN JANE.

FARAGHER It's a fine day, Mrs. Clague.

MRS. CLAGUE, coldly

Is it ?

FARAGHER

O-oh (aside). I was saying it's a fine day.

MRS. CLAGUE, without turning Yes, I heard you.

FARAGHER, making another attempt So Ellie has not brought her young friend.

MRS. CLAGUE

Oh, hasn't she ?

FARAGHER

I mean-1 happened to see her coming up from the station alone.

MRS. CLAGUE

Perhaps your eyesight is failing you, Mr. Faragher. She's not alone now. And a nice young man he is. Well enough off, too.

FARAGHER, incredulously

A young man-and is he going to stop at the house ?

MRS. CLAGUE

Dear me, Mr. Faragher, you know so much, it's a pity you haven't learned more. Last week nobody knew anything of Ellie's doings but yourself, and now it seems you know nothing. Of course he's going to stop at the house (she rises), and welcome to stop as long as he likes. I dare say Ann Jane can find the master for you.

FARAGHER, nervously (consulting his watch) It doesn't matter this afternoon-I must be going. [Exit FARAGHER, MRS. CLAGUE bowing stiffly to him. MRS. CLAGUE, in amazement (when he has gone)

I declare ! I believe that man is after our Ellie.

[Exit MRS. CLAGUE. Enter JEM and ELLIE. ELLIE

Jem, you don't think Philly meant all that nonsense ?

JEM, teasing

Why not, Ellie. Isn't it true ?

ELLIE, pleadingly

Oh, Jem, don't say you think I ever intended going to Africa-like that.

JEM

You will be writing to Philly on Monday ?

ELLIE

Yes. Are those wonderful plans complete ?

JEM

Quite. Don't send him one of the photos, Ellie.

ELLIE, perplexed

Yet people say women are changeable. It was your own proposal, you know.

JEM, stealing his arm round her

Tell him to expect one in a week or two-taken like this.

ELLIE, Shyly

And your message ?

JEM

You may tell him that his old school-mate, Jem Kewley, will soon be his brother-in-law.

ELLIE, more shyly

In fun ?

JEM

No, Ellie-in earnest.

ELLIE, trying to be matter-of fact You haven't asked me about that, Jem.

JEM

Was there any need ?

ELLIE

I don't think there was, Jem. (She holds up her face and he kisses her) Oh, Jem, I'm so happy; I can't face anyone yet; come outside for a while. [JEM is about to kiss her again when MRS. CLAGUE enters, having changed her dress, she throws up her hands horror-stricken.

MRS. CLAGUE

What is this ?

JEM

We were only practising for a second photograph, Mother, the first was not a success. [ELLIE frees herself, and darts off; JEM.follows, laughing.

MRS. CLAGUE

Awl-

CURTAIN

ACT II. Scene 3.-

Same as before

MRS. CLAGUE seated, CLAGUE an high glee walking about the room

CLAGUE

That's something like a man for you. Not a bit of pride in him. He has kissed Ann Jane in the cowhouse, and got her laughing over old times when they were all at the Cronk school together, and yet they say there are hundreds of men under him at the place where he's working.

MRS. CLAGUE, with superiority

I always knew Jem would fall on his feet. What have I been telling you, times ?

CLAGUE, in oood-humoured doubt

I don't remember it, mistress, but I suppose it's true. Well, I'm real glad, for Jem was a good boy, even if I had to thrash him sometimes because he had no father to do it.

MRS. CLAGUE

And 'nointed terrible for contriving. His father was like that. [Enter JEm and ELLIE arm in arm. They whisper, as if undecided who should speak first. Ellie comes forward.

ELLIE, hesitatingly

Mother, the Stranger has been talking of marrying me- and I have agreed.

JEM, speaking broadly

You see, Mother, I wanted a wife, but I wanted a mother more, so by taking Ellie I have a wife, a mother, and a brother all at once.

CLAGUE

You don't want a father, I suppose. You young scamp, stealing my daughter from me right under my eyes.

JEM, with much feeling

You were always a father to me-the only father I ever knew.

CLAGUE

Jem, boy, I'm glad to see this day (to ELLIE) God bless you, Ellie, girl.

MRS. CLAGUE, reminiscently

Aw, Jem, Jem, when you were all children, playing about together, I used to say, `Who knows ?-maybe Jem will be coming home with a fortune at him one of these days to marry Ellie.' Didn't I, Clague ?

CLAGUE, doubtfully

I dare say you did; mistress, I dare say you did. [ELLIE whispers to JEM.

JEM

Here, Mother, there's some one else who ought to be told. Where's Ann Jane ?

MRS. CLAGUE What do you want of her ?

ELLIE

We must tell Ann Jane, Mother (goes to door). Anti Jane ! Ann Jane!

MRS. CLAGUE, Warningly

Aw, well, tell her if you like, but if she makes too free don't blame me. I know the Caveens-four generations of them. [Enter ANN JANE, red-faced and smiling.

ELLIE, after kissing her

Ann Jane, I want you to wish us joy.

ANN JANE You haven't been long.

JEM

Now, Ann Jane, will you dance at the wedding? ANN JANE

Yes, I will, and with yourself, too, Jem Kioleya : and I have something to tell you, Ellie. Keep your eye on him. ELLIE, shy and confident

I'm not afraid.

ANN JANE

Don't be too sure. He kissed me just now, when I had a milk-can in each hand. (She pretends to wipe her lips with her apron). What would my young man say if he knew ?

JEM

Bring him to the wedding, Ann Jane, and let him kiss the bride.

ANN JANE

I wouldn't trust him with her. (Seriously) Jem Kioleya, they were saying you would be stuck up, now that you are getting on in the world, but I wouldn't have it. (On the verge o/tears) I wish you both-what is it ?-long life and happ'sness, (She buries her face in her handkerchief and rushes from the room, while a knocking is heard at the outer door).

CLAGUE

Let them knock 1 [FARAGHER peeps in.

JEM

Hullo, Billy, is that you? (FARAGHER attempts to with draw, but JEM grips him). Come on, man. You're just in time to congratulate us.

MRS. CLAGUE

'Deed an' it's Mr. Faragher that ought to be pleased; I've been tellin' Jem there the anxious he's been about Ellie, there was no match for her at the Crook.

FARAGHER

I did not ask for this. You are all on the one hand. Let me go !

JEM, releasing hint, regards him with a smile in which there is a strong tinge of contempt

Yes, you had better go, Billy.

MRS. CLAGUE

Well! did anybody ever hear the like of that? And I thought he'd have been fair delighted. [CLAGUE places himself close to the door.

CLAGUE

Goodbye, Ballachass; maybe I'm not so clever as you, but I'll offer a bit of advice. There's a text somewhere about people who dig pits for others. Study it, my lad, and when you're ready to preach on it say the word, and we'll all come to hear you. [FARAGHER retires scowling. ELLIE, shyly

Oh, Father, you needn't have been so hard-now.

CLAGUE, vigorouisly

Ellie, girl, I could handle twenty Faraghers to-day. I was afraid of him, Ellie; afraid that his slithery tongue would be too many for us. (JEM draws ELLIE to hhn) But when I see you standing there with Jem-who was always like my own boy-I'm near crying with joy. You're safe, Ellie, safe in the care of a good man, and a good Manxman. Bring that bottle and glasses, Ann Jane.

MRS. CLAGUE

Clague ?

CLAGUE

Yes, the bottle and glasses. Phut! I'm myself to-night, mistress; and you'll just have to put up with it.

MRS. CLAGUE And his Racabite sash up there in the chis' ! [ANN JANE returns with tray, bottle and four glasses. CLAGUE pours out, and hands first to MRS. CLAGUE, who tastes, looks resigned, and tastes again, afterwards to JEM and ELLIE. CLAGUE

Where's your own glass, Ann Jane ? [ANN JANE slyly produces one from the pocket of her apron.

MRS. CLAGUE, in amazement

Ann Jane! Aw, trust a Caveen when there's anything going.

CLAGUE, impatiently

Come on, Ann Jane. I feel like a two-year-old. (They all touch glasses). Here's long life to our Ellie, and the Stranger she brought to the Cronk. [All repeat this and sip, excepting CLAGUE, who finishes his at a draught. He is pouring himself another glass, when MRS. CLAGUE arrests him with a distressed cry -

MRS. CLAGUE

Clague !

CURTAIN


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