Coats by Lady Augusta Gregory
Hazel EDITOR OF “CHAMPION"
Mineog EDITOR OF “TRIBUNE"
John A WAITER
Scene: Dining room of Royal Hotel Cloonmore.
Hazel: (Coming in.) Did Mr. Mineog come yet, John?
John: He did not, Mr. Hazel. Ah, he won't be long coming.
It's seldom he does be late.
Hazel: Is the dinner ready?
John: It is, sir. Boiled beef and parsnips, the same as every
Monday for all comers, and an apple pie for yourself and Mr. Mineog.
Mineog: (Coming in.) Mr. Hazel is the first tonight. I'm glad
to see you looking so good.
(They take off coats and give to waiter.)
Mineog: Put that on its own peg.
Hazel: And mine on its own peg to the rear.
John: I will, sir.
(He drops coats in putting them up. Then notices broken pane
in window and picks up the coats hurriedly, putting them on
pegs. Hazel and Mineog have sat down.)
Hazel: Have you any strange news?
Mineog: I have but the same news I always have, that it is
quick Monday comes around, and that it is hard make provision for to
fill up the four sheets of the Tribune, and nothing happening in
these parts worth while. There would seem to be no news on this day
beyond all days of the year.
Hazel: Sure there is the same care and the same burden on
myself. I wish I didn't put a supplement to the Champion. The
deer knows what way will I fill it between this and Thursday, or in
what place I can go questing after news!
Mineog: Last week passed without anything doing. It is a very
backward place to give information for two papers. If it was not for
the league is between us, and for us meeting here on every Monday to
make sure we are taking different sides on every question may turn up,
and giving every abuse to one another in print, there is no person
would pay his penny for the two of them, or it may be for the one of
Hazel: That is so. And the worst is, there is no question
ever rises that we do not agree on, or that would have power to make us
fall out in earnest. It was different in my early time. The questions
used to rise up then were worth fighting for.
Mineog: There are some people so cantankerous they will heat
themselves in argument as to which side might be right or wrong in a
war, or if wars should be in it at all, or hangings.
Hazel: Ah, when they are as long on the road as we are,
they'll take things easy. Mineog: Now all the kingdoms of the
earth to go struggling on one wrong side or another, or to bring
themselves down to dust and ashes, it would not break our friendship.
In all the years past there never did a cross word rise between us.
Hazel: There never will. What are the fights of politics and
parties beside living neighbourly with one another, and to go peaceable
to the grave, our selves that are the oldest residents in the Square.
Mineog: It will be long indeed before you will be followed to
the grave. You didn't live no length yet. You are too fresh to go out
and to forsake your wife and your family.
Hazel: Ah, when the age would be getting up on you, you
wouldn't be getting younger. But it's yourself that is as full of
spirit as a four-year-old. I wish I had a sovereign for every year you
will reign after me in the Square.
Mineog: (Sneezes.) There is a draught of air coming in the
Hazel: (Rising.) Take care might it be open—no, but a
pane that is out. There is a very chilly breeze sweeping in.
Mineog: (Rising.) I will put on my coat so. There is no
use giving provocation to a cold.
Hazel: I'll do the same myself. It is hard to banish a sore
(They put on coats. John brings in dinner. They sit down.)
Mineog: See can you baffle that draught of air, John.
John: I'll go in search of something to stop it, sir. This
bit of a board I brought is too unshapely.
Mineog: Two columns of the Tribune as empty yet as
anything you could see. I had them kept free for the Bishop's speech
and he didn't come after.
Hazel: That's the same cause has left myself with so wide a
Mineog: In the years past there used always to be something
happening such as famines, or the invention of printing. The whole
world has got very slack.
Hazel: You are a better hand than what I am at filling odd
spaces would be left bare. It is often I think the news you put out
comes partly from your own brain, and the prophecies you lay down about
the weather and the crops.
Mineog: Ah, I might stick in a bit of invention sometimes,
when I'm put to the pin of my collar.
Hazel: I might maybe make an attack on the Tribune for
Mineog: Ah, what is it but a white sin. Sure it tells every
person the same thing. It doesn't tell many lies, it goes somewhere a
Hazel: I spent a good while this evening searching through
the shelves of the press I have in the office. I write an article an
odd time, when there is nothing doing, that might come handy in a
Mineog: So have I a press of the sort, and shelves in it. I
am after going through them to-day.
Hazel: But it's hard find a thing would be suitable, unless
you might dress it up again someway fresh.
Mineog: I made a thought and I searching a while ago. I was
thinking it would be a very nice thing to show respect to yourself, and
friendliness, putting down a short account of you and of all you have
done for your family and for the town.
Hazel: That is a strange thing now! I had it in my mind to do
the very same service to yourself.
Mineog: Is that so?
Hazel: Your worth and your generosity and the way you have
worked the Tribune for your own and for the public good.
Mineog: And another thing. I not only thought to write it but
I am after writing it.
Hazel: (Suspiciously.) You had not much time for that.
Mineog: I never was one to spare myself in anything that
could benefit a friend.
Hazel: Neither would I spare myself. I have my article wrote.
Mineog: I have a mind to read my own one to you, the way you
will know there is nothing in it but what is friendly and is kind.
Hazel: I will do the same thing. There's nothing I have said
in it but what you will like to be hearing.
Mineog: (Who has rummaged pockets.) I thought I put it in the
inside pocket—no matter—here it is.
Hazel: (Rummaging.) Here is my one. I was thinking I had it
Mineog: (Reading, after he has turned over a couple of sheets
rapidly) “Born and bred in this Square, he took his chief pride in
his native town.”
Hazel: (Turning over two sheets.) “It was in this parish and
district he spent the most part of his promising youth—Richly stored
with world-wide knowledge.”
Mineog: “Well able to give out an opinion on any matter at
Hazel: “To lay down his mind on paper it would be hard to
Mineog: “With all that, humble that he would halt and speak
to you the same as a child——” I'm maybe putting it down a bit too
simple, but the printer will give it a little shaping after.
Hazel: So will my own printer be lengthening out the words
for me according to the type and the letters of the alphabet he will
have plentiful and to spare.
Mineog: “Well looking and well thought of. A true Irishman in
supporting all forms of sport.”
Hazel: What's that? I never was one for betting on races or
gaining prizes for riddles.
Mineog: It is strange now I have no recollection of putting
that down. It is I myself in the days gone by would put an odd shilling
on a horse.
Hazel: These typewriters would bother the world. Wait
now—let me throw an eye on those papers you have in your hand.
Mineog: Not at all. I would sooner be giving it out to you
Hazel: Of course it is very pleasing to be listening to so
nice an account—but lend it a minute.
(Puts out hand.)
Mineog: Bring me now a bottle of wine, John—you know the
sort—till I'll drink to Mr. Hazel's good health.
John: I will, sir.
Hazel: No, but bring it at my own expense till I will drink
to Mr. Mineog. Just give me a hold of that paper for one minute only.
Mineog: Keep patience now. I will go through it with no
Hazel: (Making a snap.) Just for one minute.
Mineog: (Clapping his hand on it.) What a hurry you are
in! Stop now till I'll find the place. “Very rarely indeed has been met
with so fair and so neighbourly a man.”
Hazel: Give me a look at it.
Mineog: What is it ails you? You are uneasy about something.
What is it you are hiding from me?
Hazel: What would I have to hide but that the papers got
mixed in some way, and you have in your hand what I wrote about
yourself, and not what you wrote about myself?
Mineog: What way did they get into the wrong pocket now?
Hazel: (Putting MS. in his pocket.) Give me back my own and I
will give you back your own.
Mineog: I don't know. You are putting it in my mind there
might be something underhand. I would like to make sure what did you
say about me in the heel. (Turns over.) “He was honest and widely
respected.” Was honest—are you saying me to be a rogue at this
Hazel: That's not fair dealing to be searching through it
against my will.
Mineog: “He was trusted through the whole townland.” Was
trusted—is it that you are making me out to be a thief?
Hazel: Well, follow your own road and take your own way.
Mineog: ”——Mr. Mineog leaves no family to lament his loss,
but along with the Tribune, which he fostered with the care of a
father, we offer up prayers for the repose of his soul.” (Stands up.)
It is a notice of my death you are after writing!
Hazel: You should understand that.
Mineog: An obituary notice! Of myself! Is it that you expect
me to quit the living world between this and Thursday?
Hazel: I had no thought of the kind.
Mineog: I'm not stretched yet! What call have you to go offer
prayers for me?
Hazel: I tell you I had it put by this long time till I would
have occasion to use it.
Mineog: Is it this long time, so, you have been waiting for
Hazel: Not at all.
Mineog: You to kill me to-day and to think to bury me
Hazel: Can't you listen? I was wanting something to fill
Mineog: Would nothing serve you to fill space but only my own
corpse? To go set my coffin making and to put nettles growing on my
hearth! Wouldn't it be enough to rob my house or to make an attack upon
my means? Wouldn't that fill up the gap?
Hazel: Let you not twist it that way!
Mineog: The time I was in the face of my little dinner to go
startle me with a thing of the sort! I'm not worth the ground I stand
on! For the Champion of next Thursday! I to be dead ere
Hazel: I looked for no such thing.
Mineog: What is it makes you say me to be done and dying? Am
I reduced in the face?
Hazel: You are not.
Mineog: Am I yellow and pale and shrunken?
Hazel: Why would you be?
Mineog: Would you say me to be crampy in the body? Am I
staggery in the legs?
Hazel: I see no such signs.
Mineog: Is it in my hand you see them? Is it lame or is it
freezed-brittle like ice?
Hazel: It is as warm and as good as my own.
Mineog: Let me take a hold of you till you will tell me has
it the feel of a dead man's grip.
Hazel: I know that it has not.
Mineog: Is it shaking like a bunch of timber shavings?
Hazel: Not at all, not at all.
Mineog: It should be my hearing that is failing from me, or
that I am crippled and have lost my walk.
Hazel: You are roaring and bawling without sense.
Mineog: Let the Champion go to flitters before I will
die to please it! I will not give in to it driving me out of the world
before my hour is spent! It would hardly ask that of a man would be of
no use and no account, or even of a beast of any consequence.
Hazel: Who is asking you to die?
Mineog: Giving no time hardly for the priest to overtake me
and to give me the rites of the Church!
Hazel: I tell you there is no danger of you giving up at all!
Every person knows there must some sickness come before death. Some
take it from a neighbour and it is put on others by God.
Mineog: Even so, it's hard say.
Hazel: You have not a ha'p'orth on you. No complaint in the
Mineog: That's nothing! Sickness comes upon some as sudden as
to clap their hands.
Hazel: What are you talking about? You are thinking us to be
in the days of the cholera yet!
Mineog: There are yet other diseases besides that.
Hazel: You put the measles over you and we going the road to
Mineog: There is more than measles has power bring a man
Hazel: You had the chin-cough passed and you rising. We were
cut at the one time for the pock.
Mineog: A disease to be allotted to you it would find you
out, and you maybe up twenty mile in the air!
Hazel: Ah, what disease could have you swept in the course of
the next two days?
Mineog: That is what I'm after saying—unless you might have
murder in your mind?
Hazel: Ah, what murder!
Mineog: What way are you thinking to do away with me? To
shoot me with the trigger of a gun and to give me shortening of life?
Hazel: The trigger of a gun! God bless it, I never fingered
such a thing in the length of my life!
Mineog: To take aim at me and destroy me; to shoot me in
forty halves like a crow in the time of the wheat!
Hazel: Oh, now, don't say a thing like that!
Mineog: Or to drown me maybe in the river, enticing me across
the rotten plank of the bridge. (Seizing bottle.) Will you tell me
on the virtue of your oath, is death lurking in that sherry wine?
Hazel: (Pulling out paper.) Ah, God bless your jig! And how
would I know is it a notice of my own death has come into my hand in
the pocket of this coat I put on me through a mistake?
Mineog: Give it here. That's my property!
Hazel: (Reading.) “We sympathise with Mrs. Hazel and the
family.” There is proof now. Is it that you would go grieving with my
wife and I to be living yet?
Mineog: I didn't follow you out beyond this world with
craving for the repose of your soul. It is nothing at all beside what
Hazel: Oh, I bear no grudge at all against you. I am not
huffy and crabbed like yourself to go taking offence. Sure Kings and
big people of the sort are used to see their dead-notices made ready
from the hour of their birth out. And it is not anything printed on
papers or any flight of words on the Tribune could give me any
concern at all. See now will I be put out. (Reads.) What now is
this? “Mr. Hazel was of good race, having in him the old stock of the
country, the Mahons, the O'Hagans, the Casserlys——.” Where now did
you get that? I never heard before, a Casserly to be in my fathers.
Mineog: It might be on the side of the mother.
Hazel: It was not. My mother was a girl of the Hessians that
was born in the year of the French. My grandmother was Winefred Kane.
Mineog: What is being out in one name towards drawing down
the forecast of all classes of deaths upon myself?
Hazel: There are twenty thousand things you might lay down
and I would give them no leave to annoy me. But I have no mind any
strange family to be mixed through me, but to go my own road and to
carry my own character.
Mineog: I would say you to be very crabbed to be making much
of a small little mistake of the sort.
Hazel: I will not have blood put in my veins that never rose
up in them by birth. You to have put a slur maybe on the whole of my
posterity for ever. That now is a thing out of measure.
Mineog: It might be the Casserlys are as fair as the
Hessians, and as well looking and as well reared.
Hazel: There's no one can know that. What place owns them? My
tribe didn't come inside the province. Every generation was born and
bred in this or in some neighbouring townland.
Mineog: Sure you will be but yourself whatever family may be
laying claim to you.
Hazel: Any person of the Casserlys to have done a wrong deed
at any time, the neighbours would be watching and probing my own brood
till they would see might the track of it break out in any way. It ran
through our race to be hard tempered, from the Kanes that are very hot.
Mineog: Why would the family of the Casserlys go doing wrong
deeds more than another?
Hazel: I would never forgive it, if it was the highest man in
Connacht said it.
Mineog: I tell you there to be any flaw in them, it would
have worked itself out in yourself ere this.
Hazel: Putting on me the weight of a family I never knew or
never heard the name of at all. It is that is killing me entirely.
Mineog: Neither did I ever hear their name or if they ever
lived in the world, or did any deed good or bad in it at all.
Hazel: What made you drag them hither for to write them in my
Mineog: I did not drag them hither——Give me that paper.
(Takes MS. and looks at it.) What would it be but a misprint?
Hessian, Casserly. There does be great resemblance in the sound of a
Hazel: Whether or no, you have a great wrong done me! The
person I had most dependence on to be the most person to annoy me! If
it was a man from the County Mayo I wouldn't see him treated that way!
Mineog: Have sense now! What would signify anything might be
wrote about you, and the green scraws being over your head?
Hazel: That's the worst! I give you my oath I would not go
miching from death or be in terror of the sharpness of his bones, and
he coming as at the Flood to sweep the living world along with me, and
leave no man on earth having penmanship to handle my deeds, or to put
his own skin on my story!
Mineog: Ah it's likely the both of us will be forgotten and
our names along with us, and we out in the meadow of the dead.
Hazel: I will not be forgotten! I have posterity will put a
good slab over me. Not like some would be left without a monument,
unless it might be the rags of a cast waistcoat would be put on sticks
in a barley garden, to go flapping at the thieves of the air.
Mineog: Let the birds or the neighbours go screech after me
and welcome, and I not in it to hear or to be annoyed.
Hazel: Why wouldn't we hear? I'm in dread it's too much I'll
hear, and you yourself sending such news to travel abroad, that there
is blood in me I concealed through my lifetime!
Mineog: What you are saying now has not the sense of reason.
Hazel: Tom Mineog to say that of me, that was my trusty
comrade and my friend, what at all will strangers be putting out about
Mineog: Ah, what call have you to go lamenting as if you had
lost all on this side of the sea!
Hazel: You to have brought that annoyance on me, what would
enemies be saying of me? That it was in my breed to be cracked or to
have a thorn in the tongue. There's a generation of families would be
great with you, and behind you they would be backbiting you.
Mineog: They will not. You are of a family doesn't know how
to say a wrong word.
Hazel: A rabbit mushroom they might say me to be, with no
memory behind or around me!
Mineog: Not at all. The world knows you to be civil and
brought up to mannerly ways.
Hazel: They might say me to have been a foreigner or a Jew
Mineog: I can bear witness you have no such yellow look. And
Hazel is a natural name.
Hazel: It's likely they'll say I was a sheep-stealer or a
tinker that went foraging around after food!
Mineog: You that never put your hand on a rabbit burrow or
stood before a magistrate or a judge!
Hazel: They'll put me down as a grabber that was ready to
quench a widow's fire!
Mineog: Oh, where are you running to at all my dear man!
Hazel: And I not to be able at that time to rise up and to
get satisfaction! I to be wandering as a shadow and to see some schemer
spilling out his lies! That would be the most grief in death! I to hit
him a blow of my fist and he maybe not to feel it or to think it to be
but a breeze of wind!
Mineog: You are going too far entirely!
Hazel: I to give out a strong curse on him and on his
posterity and his land. It would kill my heart if he would take it to
be no human voice, but some vanity like the hissing of geese!
Mineog: I myself would recognise your voice, and you to be
living or dead.
Hazel: You say that now. But my ghost to come calling to you
in the night time to rise up and to clear my character, you would run
shivering to the priest as from some unnatural thing. You would call to
him to come banish me with a Mass!
Mineog: The Lord be between us and harm.
Hazel: To have no power of revenge after death! My strength
to go nourish weeds and grass! A lie to be told and I living I could go
lay my case before the courts. So I will too! I'll silence you! I'll
learn you to have done with misspellings and with death notices! I'll
hinder you bringing in Casserlys! I go take advice from the lawyer!
(Goes towards door.)
Mineog: I'll go lay down my own case and the way that you
have my life threatened!
Hazel: I'll get justice and a hearing. The Judge will give in
to my say!
Mineog: I that will put you under bail! I'll bind you over to
Hazel: I'll break the bail of the sun and moon before I'll
give you leave to go brand me with strange names the same as you would
tarbrand a sheep! I'll put yourself and your Tribune under the
law of libel!
Mineog: I'll make a world's wonder of you! I'll give plenty
and enough to the Champion to fill out its windy pages that
Hazel: (At door.) I will lay my information before you will
Mineog: (Seizing him.) I will lay my information against you
for theft and you bringing away my coat!
Hazel: I have no intention of bringing it away!
Mineog: Is it that you will deny it? Don't I know that spot
of grease on the sleeve?
Hazel: Did I never carve a goose? Why wouldn't there be a
spot of grease on my own sleeve?
Mineog: Strip it off of you this minute!
Hazel: Give me back my own coat, so!
Mineog: What are you talking about! That's a great wonder
now. So it is not my own coat.
Hazel: Strip it off before you will quit the room!
Mineog: I'll be well pleased casting it off!
Hazel: You will not cast it on the dust and the dirt of the
floor! (Helps him.) Go easy now.——That's it——
(Takes it off gently and places it on chair.)
Mineog: Give me now my own coat!
Hazel: (Struggling with it.) It fails me to get it off.
Mineog: What way did you get it on?
Hazel: It is that it is made too narrow.
Mineog: No, but yourself that has too much bulk.
Hazel: (Struggling.) There now is a tear!
Mineog: (Taking his arm.) Mind now, you'll have it destroyed.
Hazel: Give me a hand, so.
Mineog: (Helping him gently.) Have a care—it's a bit tender
in the seams——give me here your hand—it is caught in the rip of the
John: (Coming in, puts pie on table.) Wait now, sir, till I'll
aid you to handle Mr. Hazel's coat.
(Whips off coat, takes up other coat, hangs both on pegs.)
The apple pie, Sir.
(Hazel sits down, gasping and wiping his face.
Mineog turns his back.)
John: Is there anything after happening, Mr. Hazel?
Hazel: There is not—unless some sort of a battle.
John: Ah, what signifies? There to be more of battles in the
world there would be less of wars.
(He pushes Mineog's chair to table.)
Hazel: (After a pause.) Apple pie?
Mineog: (Sitting down.) Indeed, I am not any way inclined for
(Takes plate. John stuffs a cushion into window pane and picks up
John: Are these belonging to you, Mr. Mineog?
Mineog: Let you throw them on the coals of the fire, where we
have no use for them presently.
Hazel: (Stopping John and taking them.) Thursday is very near
at hand. Two empty columns is a large space to go fill.
Mineog: Indeed I am feeling no way fit to go writing columns.
Hazel: (Putting his MS. in his pocket.) There is nothing ails
them only to begin a good way after the start, and to stop before the
Mineog: (Putting his MS. in his pocket.) We'll do that. We can
put such part of them as we do not need at this time back in the shelf
of the press.
Hazel: (Filling glasses and lifting his.) That it may be long
before they will be needed!
Mineog: (Lifting glass.) That they may never be needed!
I find some bald little notes I made before writing Coats.
“Hazel is astonished Mineog can take such a thing to heart, but it is quite
different when he himself is off ended.” “The quarrel is so violent you think it
can never be healed, but the ordinary circumstances of life force
reconciliation. They are the most powerful force of all.” And then a quotation
from Nietzsche, “A good war justifies every cause.”