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The Full Moon by Lady Augusta Gregory

 

  TO ALL SANE PEOPLE IN OR OUT OF CLOON
  WHO KNOW THEIR NEIGHBOURS TO BE
  NATURALLY CRACKED OR SOMEWAY QUEER
  OR TO HAVE GONE WRONG IN THE HEAD.

PERSONS                   [Sidenote: ALL SANE]
  Shawn Early
  Bartley Fallon
  Peter Tannian
  Hyacinth Halvey
  Mrs. Broderick
  Miss Joyce
  Cracked Mary
  Davideen,
    HER BROTHER, AN INNOCENT

THE FULL MOON

   Scene: A shed close to Cloon Station; Bartley Fallon is sitting
   gloomily on a box; Hyacinth Halvey and Shawn Early are coming in at
   door
.

Shawn Early: It is likely the train will not be up to its time, and cattle being on it for the fair. It's best wait in the shed. Is that Bartley Fallon? What way are you, Bartley?

Bartley Fallon: Faith, no way at all. On the drag, on the drag; striving to put the bad times over me.

Shawn Early: Is it business with the nine o'clock you have?

Bartley Fallon: The wife that is gone visiting to Tubber, and that has the door locked till such time as she will come back on the train. And I thought this shed a place where no bad thing would be apt to happen me, and not to be going through the streets, and the darkness falling.

Shawn Early: It is not long till the full moon will be rising.

Bartley Fallon: Everything that is bad, the falling sickness—God save the mark—or the like, should be at its worst at the full moon. I suppose because it is the leader of the stars.

Shawn Early: Ah, what could happen any person in the street of Cloon?

Bartley Fallon: There might. Look at Matt Finn, the coffin-maker, put his hand on a cage the circus brought, and the lion took and tore it till they stuck him with a fork you'd rise dung with, and at that he let it drop. And that was a man had never quitted Cloon.

Shawn Early: I thought you might be sending something to the fair.

Bartley Fallon: It isn't to the train I would be trusting anything I would have to sell, where it might be thrown off the track. And where would be the use sending the couple of little lambs I have? It is likely there is no one would ask me where was I going. When the weight is not in them, they won't carry the price. Sure, the grass I have is no good, but seven times worse than the road.

Shawn Early: They are saying there'll be good demand at the fair of Carrow to-morrow.

Hyacinth Halvey: To-morrow the fair day of Carrow? I was not remembering that.

Bartley Fallon: Ah, there won't be many in it, I'm thinking. There isn't a hungrier village in Connacht, they were telling me, and it's poor the look of it as well.

Hyacinth Halvey: To-morrow the fair day. There will be all sorts in the streets to-night.

Bartley Fallon: The sort that will be in it will be a bad sort—sievemakers and tramps and neuks.

Hyacinth Halvey: The tents on the fair green; there will be music in it; there was a fiddler having no legs would set men of threescore years and of fourscore years dancing. I can nearly hear his tune.

   (He whistles “The Heather Broom.”)

Bartley Fallon: You are apt to be going there on the train, I suppose? It is well to be you, Mr. Halvey, having a good place in the town, and the price of your fare, and maybe six times the price of it, in your pocket.

Hyacinth Halvey: I didn't think of that. I wonder could I go—for one night only—and see what the lads are doing.

Shawn Early: Are you forgetting, Mr. Halvey, that you are to meet his Reverence on the platform that is coming home from drinking water at the Spa?

Hyacinth Halvey: So I can meet him, and get in the train after him getting out.

   (Mrs. Broderick and Peter Tannian come in.)

Mrs. Broderick: Is that Mr. Halvey is in it? I was looking for you at the chapel as I passed, and the Angelus bell after ringing.

Hyacinth Halvey: Business I have here, ma'am. I was in dread I might not be here before the train.

Mrs. Broderick: So you might not, indeed. That nine o'clock train you can never trust it to be late.

Hyacinth Halvey: To meet Father Gregan I am come, and maybe to go on myself.

Mrs. Broderick: Sure, I knew well you would be in haste to be before Father Gregan, and we knowing what we know.

Hyacinth Halvey: I have no business only to be showing respect to him.

Shawn Early: His good word he will give to Mr. Halvey at the Board, where it is likely he will be made Clerk of the Union next week.

Mrs. Broderick: His good word he will give to another thing besides that, I am thinking.

Hyacinth Halvey: I don't know what you are talking about.

Mrs. Broderick: Didn't you hear the news, Peter Tannian, that Mr. Halvey is apt to be linked and joined in marriage with Miss Joyce, the priest's housekeeper?

Peter Tannian: I to believe all the lies I'd hear, I'd be a racked man by this.

Mrs. Broderick: What I say now is as true as if you were on the other side of me. I suppose now the priest is come home there'll be no delay getting the license.

Hyacinth Halvey: It is not so settled as that.

Mrs. Broderick: Why wouldn't it be settled and it being told at Mrs. Delane's and through the whole world?

Peter Tannian: She should be a steady wife for him—a fortied girl.

Shawn Early: A very good fortune in the bank they are saying she has, and she having crossed the ocean twice to America.

Hartley Fallen: It's as good for him to have a woman will keep the door open before him and his victuals ready and a quiet tongue in her head. Not like that little Tartar of my own.

Mrs. Broderick. And an educated woman along with that. A man of his sort, going to be Clerk of the Union and to be taken up with books and papers, it's likely he'd die in a week, he to marry a dunce.

Bartley Fallon: So it's likely he would.

Mrs. Broderick: A little shop they are saying she will take, for to open a flour store, and you to be keeping the accounts, the way you would not spend any waste time.

Hyacinth Halvey: I have no mind to be settling myself down yet a while. I might maybe take a ramble here or there. There's many of my comrades in the States.

Mrs. Broderick: To go away from Cloon, is it? And why would you think to do that, and the whole town the same as a father and mother to you? Sure, the sergeant would live and die with you, and there are no two from this to Galway as great as yourself and the priest. To see you coming up the street, and your Dublin top-coat around you, there are some would give you a salute the same nearly as the Bishop.

Peter Tannian: They wouldn't do that maybe and they hearing things as I heard them.

Hyacinth Halvey: What things?

Peter Tannian: There was a herd passing through from Carrow. It is what I heard him saying———

Mrs. Broderick: You heard nothing of Mr. Halvey, but what is worthy of him. But that's the way always. The most thing a man does, the less he will get for it after.

Peter Tannian: A grand place in Carrow I suppose you had?

Hyacinth Halvey: I had plenty of places. Giving out proclamations—attending waterworks——.

Mrs. Broderick: It is well fitted for any place he is, and all that was written around him and he coming into Cloon.

Peter Tannian: Writing is easy.

Mrs. Broderick: Look at him since he was here, this twelvemonth back, that he never went into a dance-house or stood at a cross-road, and never lost a half-an-hour with drink. Made no blunder, made no rumours. Whatever could be said of his worth, it could not be too well said.

Hyacinth Halvey: Do you think now, ma'am, would it be any harm I to go spend a day or maybe two days out of this—I to go on the train——.

Miss Joyce: (At door, coming in backwards.) Go back now, go back! Don't be following after me in through the door! Is Mr. Halvey there? Don't let her come following me, Mr. Halvey!

Hyacinth Halvey: Who is it is in it?

   (Sound of discordant singing outside.)

Miss Joyce: Cracked Mary it is, that is after coming back this day from the asylum.

Hyacinth Halvey: I never saw her, I think.

Shawn Early: The creature, she was light this long while and not good in the head, and at the last lunacy came on her and she was tied and bound. Sometimes singing and dancing she does be, and sometimes troublesome.

Miss Joyce: They had a right to keep her spancelled in the asylum. She would begrudge any respectable person to be walking the street. She'd hoot you, she'd shout you, she'd clap her hands at you. She is a blight in the town.

Hyacinth Halvey: There is a lad along with her.

Shawn Early: It is Davideen, her brother, that is innocent. He was left rambling from place to place the time she was put within walls.

   (Cracked Mary and Davideen come in.
    Miss Joyce clings to Hyacinth's arm.)

Cracked Mary: Give me a charity now, the way I'll be keeping a little rag on me and a little shoe to my foot. Give me the price of tobacco and the price of a grain of tea; for tobacco is blessed and tea is good for the head.

Shawn Early: Give out now, Davideen, a verse of “The Heather Broom.” That's a splendid tune.

Davideen: (Sings.)

  Oh, don't you remember,
  As it's often I told you,
  As you passed through our kitchen,
  That a new broom sweeps clean?
  Come out now and buy one,
  Come out now and try one—

   (His voice cracks, and he breaks off, laughing foolishly.)

Mrs. Broderick: He has a sweet note in his voice, but to know or to understand what he is doing, he couldn't do it.

Cracked Mary: Leave him a while. His song that does be clogged through the daytime, the same as the sight is clogged with myself. It isn't but in the night time I can see anything worth while. Davy is a proper boy, a proper boy; let you leave Davy alone. It was himself came before me ere yesterday in the morning, and I walking out the madhouse door.

Shawn Early: It is often there will fiddlers be waiting to play for them coming out, that are maybe the finest dancers of the day.

Cracked Mary: Waiting before me he was, and no one to give him knowledge unless it might be the Big Man. I give you my word he near ate the face off me. As glad to see me he was as if I had dropped from heaven. Come hither to me, Davy, and give no heed to them. It is as dull and as lagging as themselves you would be maybe, and the world to be different and the moon to change its courses with the sun.

Bartley Fallon: I never would wish to be put within a madhouse before I'd die.

Cracked Mary: Sorry they were losing me. There was not a better prisoner in it than my own four bones.

Bartley Fallon: Squeals you would hear from it, they were telling me, like you'd hear at the ringing of the pigs. Savages with whips beating them the same as hounds. You would not stand and listen to them for a hundred sovereigns. Of all bad things that can come upon a man, it is certain the madness is the last.

Miss Joyce: It is likely she was well content in it, and the friends she had being of her own class.

Cracked Mary: What way could you make friends with people would be always talking? Too much of talk and of noise there was in it, cursing, and praying, and tormenting; some dancing, some singing, and one writing a letter to a she devil called Lucifer. I not to close my ears, I would have lost the sound of Davideen's song.

Miss Joyce: It was good shelter you got in it through the bad weather, and not to be out perishing under cold, the same as the starlings in the snow.

Cracked Mary: I was my seven months in it, my seven months and a day. My good clothes that went astray on me and my boots. My fine gaudy dress was all moth-eated, that was worked with the wings of birds. To fall into dust and ashes it did, and the wings rose up into the high air.

Bartley Fallen. Take care would the madness catch on to ourselves the same as the chin-cough or the pock.

Mrs. Broderick: Ah, that's not the way it goes travelling from one to another, but some that are naturally cracked and inherit it.

Shawn Early: It is a family failing with her tribe. The most of them get giddy in their latter end.

Miss Joyce: It might be it was sent as a punishment before birth, for to show the power of God.

Peter Tannian: It is tea-drinking does it, and that is the reason it is on the wife it is apt to fall for the most part.

Mrs. Broderick: Ah, there's some does be thinking their wives isn't right, and there's others think they are too right. There to be any fear of me going astray, I give you my word I'd lose my wits on the moment.

Hyacinth Halvey: There are some say it is the moon.

Shawn Early: So it is too. The time the moon is going back, the blood that is in a person does be weakening, but when the moon is strong, the blood that moves strong in the same way. And it to be at the full, it drags the wits along with it, the same as it drags the tide.

Mrs. Broderick: Those that are light show off more and have the talk of twenty the time it is at the full, that is sure enough. And to hold up a silk handkerchief and to look through it, you would see the four quarters of the moon; I was often told that.

Miss Joyce: It is not you, Mr. Halvey, will give in to an unruly thing like the moon, that is under no authority, and cannot be put back, the same as a fast day that would chance to fall upon a feast.

Hyacinth Halvey: It is likely it is put in the sky the same as a clock for our use, the way you would pick knowledge of the weather, the time the stars would be wild about it.

Mrs. Broderick: That is very nice now. The thing you'd know, you'd like to go on, and to hear more or less about it.

Miss Joyce: (To H.H.) It is a lantern for your own use it will be to-night, and his Reverence coming home through the street, and yourself coming along with him to the house.

Mrs. Broderick: That's right, Miss Joyce. Keep a good grip of him. What do you say to him talking a while ago as if his mind was running on some thought to leave Cloon?

Miss Joyce: What way could he leave it?

Hyacinth Halvey: No way at all, I'm thinking, unless there would be a miracle worked by the moon.

Mrs. Broderick: Ah, miracles is gone out of the world this long time, with education, unless that they might happen in your own inside.

Miss Joyce: I'll go set the table and kindle the fire, and I'll come back to meet the train with you myself.

(She goes. A noise heard outside.)

Hyacinth Halvey: What is that now?

Shawn Early: (At door.) Some noise as of running.

Hartley Fallon: (Going to door.) It might chance to be some prisoner they would be bringing to the train.

Peter Tannian: No, but some lads that are running.

   (They go out. H.H. is going too, but Mrs. Broderick goes before him
   and turns him round in doorway.)

Mrs. Broderick: Don't be coming out now in the dust that was formed by the heat is in the breeze. It would be a pity to spoil your Dublin coat, or your shirt that is that white you would nearly take it to be blue.

   (She goes out, pushing him in and shutting door after her.)

Cracked Mary: Ha! ha! ha!

Hyacinth Halvey: What is it you are laughing at?

Cracked Mary: Ha! ha! ha! It is a very laughable thing now, the third most laughable thing I ever met with in my lifetime.

Hyacinth Halvey: What is that?

Cracked Mary: A fine young man to be shut up and bound in a narrow little shed, and the full moon rising, and I knowing what I know!

Hyacinth Halvey: It's little you are likely to know about me.

Cracked Mary: Tambourines and fiddles and pipes—melodeons and the whistling of drums.

Hyacinth Halvey: I suppose it is the Carrow fair you are talking about.

Cracked Mary: Sitting within walls, and a top-coat wrapped around him, and mirth and music and frolic being in the place we know, and some dancing sets on the floor.

Hyacinth Halvey: I wish I wasn't in this place tonight. I would like well to be going on the train, if it wasn't for the talk the neighbours would be making. I would like well to slip away. It is a long time I am going without any sort of funny comrades.

   (Goes to door. The others enter quickly, pushing him back.)

Bartley Fallon: Nothing at all to see. It would be best for us to have stopped where we were.

Mrs. Broderick: Running like foals to see it, and nothing to be in it worth while.

Hyacinth Halvey: What was it was in it?

Shawn Early: Nothing at all but some lads that were running in pursuit of a dog.

Bartley Fallon: Near knocked us they did, and they coming round the corner of the wall.

Hyacinth Halvey: Is it that it was a mad dog?

Peter Tannian: Ah, what mad? Mad dogs are done away with now by the head Government and muzzles and the police.

Bartley Fallon: They are more watchful over them than they used. But all the same, you to see a strange dog afar off, you would be uneasy, thinking it might be yourself he would be searching out as his prey.

Mrs. Broderick: Sure, there did a dog go mad through Galway, and the whole town rose against him, and flocked him into a corner, and shot him there. He did no harm after, he being made an end of at the first.

Shawn Early: It might be that dog they were pursuing after was mad, on the head of being under the full moon.

Cracked Mary: (Jumping up excitedly.) That mad dog, he is a Dublin dog; he is betune you and Belfast—he is running ahead—you couldn't keep up with him.

Hyacinth Halvey: There is one, so, mad upon the road.

Cracked Mary: There is police after him, but they cannot come up with him; he destroyed a splendid sow; nine bonavs they buried or less.

Shawn Early: What place is he gone now?

Cracked Mary: He made off towards Craughwell, and he bit a fine young man.

Bartley Fallen: So he would too. Sure, when a mad dog would be going about, on horseback or wherever you are, you're ruined.

Cracked Mary: That dog is going on all the time; he wouldn't stop, but go ahead and bring that mouthful with him. He is still on the road; he is keeping the middle of the road; they say he is as big as a calf.

Hyacinth Halvey: It is the police I have a right to forewarn to go after him.

Cracked Mary: The motor cars is going to get out to track him, for fear he would destroy the world!

Mrs. Broderick: That is a very nice thought now, to be sending the motor cars after him to overturn and to crush him the same as an ass-car in their path.

Cracked Mary: You can't save yourself from a dog; he is after his own equals, dogs. He is doing every harm. They are out night and day.

Shawn Early: Sure, a mad dog would go from this to Kinvara in a half a minute, like the train.

Cracked Mary: He won't stay in this country down—he goes the straight road—he takes by the wind. He is as big as a yearling calf.

Mrs. Broderick: I wouldn't ever forgive myself I to see him.

Cracked Mary: He is not very heavy yet. There is only the relics in him.

Hyacinth Halvey: They have a right to bring their rifles in their hand.

Cracked Mary: The police is afraid of their life. They wrote for motor cars to follow him. Sure, he'd destroy the beasts of the field. A milch cow, he to grab at her, she's settled. Terrible wicked he is; he's as big as five dogs, and he does be very strong. I hope in the Lord he'll be caught. It will be a blessing from the Almighty God to kill that dog.

Hyacinth Halvey: He is surely the one is raging through the street.

Peter Tannian: Why wouldn't he be him? Is it likely there would be two of them in it at the one time?

Shawn Early: A queer cut of a dog he was; a lurcher, a bastard hound.

Peter Tannian: I would say him to be about the size of the foal of a horse.

Mrs. Broderick: Didn't he behave well not to do ourselves an injury?

Bartley Fallon: It is likely he will do great destruction. I wouldn't say but I felt the weight of him and his two paws around my neck.

Hyacinth Halvey: I will go out following him.

Shawn Early: (Holding him). Oh, let you not endanger yourself! It is the peelers should go follow him, that are armed with their batons and their guns.

Hyacinth Halvey: I'll go. He might do some injury going through the town.

Mrs. Broderick: Ah now, it is not yourself we would let go into danger! It is Peter Tannian should go, if any person should go.

Peter Tannian: Is it Hyacinth Halvey you are taking to be so far before myself?

Mrs. Broderick: Why wouldn't he be before you?

Peter Tannian: Ask him what was he in Carrow? Ask was he a sort of a corner-boy, ringing the bell, pumping water, gathering a few coppers in the daytime for to scatter on a game of cards.

Hyacinth Halvey: Stop your lies and your chat!

Mrs. Broderick: (to Tannian) You are going light in the head to talk that way.

Shawn Early: He is, and queer in the mind. Take care did he get a bite from the dog, that left some venom working in his blood.

Hyacinth Halvey: So he might, and he having a sort of a little rent in his sleeve.

Peter Tannian: I to have got a bite from the dog, is it? I did not come anear him at all. You to strip me as bare as winter you will not find the track of his teeth. It is Shawn Early was nearer to him than what I was.

Shawn Early: I was not nearer, or as near as what Mrs. Broderick was.

Mrs. Broderick: I made away when I saw him. My chest is not the better of it yet. Since I left off fretting I got gross. I am that nervous I would run from a blessed sheep, let alone a dog.

Shawn Early: To see any of the signs of madness upon him, it is Mr. Halvey the sergeant would look to for to make his report.

Hyacinth Halvey: So I would make a report.

Peter Tannian: Is it that you lay down you can see signs? Is that the learning they were giving you in Carrow?

Mrs. Broderick: Don't be speaking with him at all. It is easy know the signs. A person to be laughing and mocking, and that would not have the same habits with yourself, or to have no fear of things you would be in dread of, or to be using a different class of food.

Peter Tannian: I use no food but clean food.

Hyacinth Halvey: To be giddy in the head is a sign, and to be talking of things that passed years ago.

Peter Tannian: I am talking of nothing but the thing I have a right to talk of.

Mrs. Broderick: To be nervous and thinking and pausing, and playing with knicknacks.

Peter Tannian: It never was my habit to be playing with knicknacks.

Bartley Fallon: When the master in the school where I was went queer, he beat me with two clean rods, and wrote my name with my own blood.

Mrs. Broderick: To take the shoe off their foot, and to hit out right and left with it, bawling their life out, tearing their clothes, scattering and casting them in every part; or to run naked through the town, and all the people after them.

Shawn Early: To be jumping the height of trees they do be, and all the people striving to slacken them.

Hyacinth Halvey: To steal prayer-books and rosaries, and to be saying prayers they never could keep in mind before.

Mrs. Broderick: Very strong, that they could leap a wall—jumping and pushing and kicking—or to tie people to one another with a rope.

Shawn Early: Any fear of any person here being violent, Mr. Halvey will get him put under restraint.

Peter Tannian: Is it myself you are thinking to put under restraint? Would a man would be pushing and kicking and tearing his clothes, be able to do arithmetic on a board? Look now at that. (Chalks figures on door.) Three and three makes six!—and three—

Mrs. Broderick: I'm no hand at figuring, but I can say out a blessed hymn, what any person with the mind gone contrary in them could not do. Hearken now till you'll know is there confusion in my mind. (Sings.)

  Mary Broderick is my name;
    Fiddane was my station;
  Cloon is my dwelling-place;
    And (I hope) heaven is my destination.

  Mary Broderick is my name,
    Cloon was my—

Cracked Mary: (With a cackle of delight.) Give heed to them now, Davideen! That's the way the crazed people used to be going on in the place where I was, every one thinking the other to be cracked.

Hyacinth Halvey: (To Tannian.) Look now at your great figuring! Argus with his hundred eyes wouldn't know is that a nought or is it a nine without a tail.

Peter Tannian: Leave that blame on a little ridge that is in the nature of the chalk. Look now at Mary Broderick, that it has failed to word out her verse.

Mrs. Broderick: Ah, what signifies? I'd never get light greatly. It wouldn't be worth while I to go mad.

   (Bartley Fallon gives a deep groan.)

Shawn Early: What is on you, Bartley?

Bartley Fallon: I'm in dread it is I myself has got the venom into my blood.

Hyacinth Halvey: What makes you think that?

Bartley Fallon: It's a sort of a thing would be apt to happen me, and any malice to fall within the town at all.

Mrs. Broderick: Give heed to him, Hyacinth Halvey; you are the most man we have to baffle any wrong thing coming in our midst!

Hyacinth Halvey: Is it that you are feeling any pain as of a wound or a sore?

Bartley Fallon: Some sort of a little catch I'm thinking there is in under my knee. I would feel no pain unless I would turn it contrary.

Hyacinth Halvey: What class of feeling would you say you are feeling?

Bartley Fallon: I am feeling as if the five fingers of my hand to be lessening from me, the same as five farthing dips the heat of the sun would be sweating the tallow from.

Hyacinth Halvey: That is a strange account.

Bartley Fallon: And a sort of a megrim in my head, the same as a sheep would get a fit of staggers in a field.

Hyacinth Halvey: That is what I would look for. Is there some sort of a roaring in your ear?

Bartley Fallon: There is, there is, as if I would hear voices would be talking.

Hyacinth Halvey: Would you feel any wish to go tearing and destroying?

Bartley Fallon: I would indeed, and there to be an enemy upon my path. Would you say now, Widow Broderick, am I getting anyway flushy in the face?

Mrs. Broderick: Don't leave your eye off him for pity's sake. He is reddening as red as a rose.

Bartley Fallon: I could as if walk on the wind with lightness. Something that is rising in my veins the same as froth would be rising on a pint.

Hyacinth Halvey: It is the doctor I'd best call for—and maybe the sergeant and the priest.

Bartley Fallon: There are three thoughts going through my mind—to hang myself or to drown myself, or to cut my neck with a reaping-hook.

Mrs. Broderick: It is the doctor will serve him best, where it is the mad blood that should be bled away. To break up eggs, the white of them, in a tin can, will put new blood in him, and whiskey, and to taste no food through twenty-one days.

Bartley Fallon: I'm thinking so long a fast wouldn't serve me. I wouldn't wish the lads will bear my body to the grave, to lay down there was nothing within it but a grasshopper or a wisp of dry grass.

Shawn Early: No, but to cut a piece out of his leg the doctor will, the way the poison will get no leave to work.

Peter Tannian: Or to burn it with red-hot irons, the way it will not scatter itself and grow. There does a doctor do that out in foreign.

Mrs. Broderick: It would be more natural to cut the leg off him in some sort of a Christian way.

Shawn Early: If it was a pig was bit, or a sow or a bonav, it to show the signs, it would be shot, if it was a whole fleet of them was in it.

Mrs. Broderick: I knew of a man that was butler in a big house was bit, and they tied him first and smothered him after, and his master shot the dog. A splendid shot he was; the thing he'd not see he'd hit it the same as the thing he'd see. I heard that from an outside neighbour of my own, a woman that told no lies.

Shawn Early: Sure, they did the same thing to a high-up lady over in England, and she after being bit by her own little spaniel and it having a ring around its neck.

Peter Tannian: That is the only best thing to do. Whether the bite is from a dog, or a cat, or whatever it may be, to put the quilt and the blankets on the person and smother him in the bed. To smother them out-and-out you should, before the madness will work.

Hyacinth Halvey: I'd be loth he to be shot or smothered. I'd sooner to give him a chance in the asylum.

Mrs. Broderick: To keep him there and to try him through three changes of the moon. It's well for you, Bartley, Mr. Halvey being in charge of you, that is known to be a tender man.

Peter Tannian: He to have got a bite and to go biting others, he would put in them the same malice. It is the old people used to tell that down, and they must have had some reason doing that.

Shawn Early: To get a bite of a dog you must chance your life. There is no doubt at all about that. It might work till the time of the new moon or the full moon, and then they must be shot or smothered.

Hyacinth Halvey: It is a pity there to be no cure found for it in the world.

Shawn Early: There never came out from the Almighty any cure for a mad dog.

   (Bartley Fallon has been edging towards door.)

Shawn Early: Oh! stop him and keep a hold of him, Mr. Halvey!

Hyacinth Halvey: Stop where you are.

Bartley Fallon: Isn't it enough to have madness before me, that you will not let me go fall in my own choice place?

Hyacinth Halvey: The neighbours would think it bad of me to let a raving man out into their midst.

Bartley Fallon: Is it to shoot me you are going?

Hyacinth Halvey: I will call to the doctor to say is the padded room at the workhouse the most place where you will be safe, till such time as it will be known did the poison wear away.

Bartley Fallon: I will not go in it! It is likely I might be forgot in it, or the nurses to be in dread to bring me nourishment, and they to hear me barking within the door. I'm thinking it was allotted by nature I never would die an easy death.

Hyacinth Halvey: I will keep a watch over you myself.

Bartley Fallon: Where's the use of that the time the breath will be gone out of me, and you maybe playing cards on my coffin, and I having nothing around or about me but the shroud, and the habit, and the little board?

Hyacinth Halvey: Sure, I cannot leave you the way you are.

Bartley Fallon: It is what I ever and always heard, a dog to bite you, all you have to do is to take a pinch of its hair and to lay it into the wound.

Mrs. Broderick: So I heard that myself. A dog to bite any person he is entitled to be plucked of his hair.

Hyacinth Halvey: I'll go out; I might chance to see him.

Mrs. Broderick: You will not, without getting advice from the priest that is coming in the train. Let his Reverence come into this place, and say is it Bartley or is it Peter Tannian was done destruction on by the dog.

Shawn Early: There is a surer way than that.

Mrs. Broderick: What way?

Shawn Early: It takes madness to find out madness. Let you call to the cracked woman that should know.

Hyacinth Halvey: Come hither, Mary, and tell us is there any one of your own sort in this shed?

Mrs. Broderick: That is a good thought. It is only themselves that recognise one another.

Bartley Fallon: Do not ask her! I will not leave it to her!

Mrs. Broderick: Sure, she cannot say more than what yourself has said against yourself.

Bartley Fallon: I'm in dread she might know too much, and be telling out what is within in my mind.

Hyacinth Halvey: That's foolishness. These are not the ancient times, when Ireland was full of haunted people.

Bartley Fallon: Is a man having a wife and three acres of land to be put under the judgment of a witch?

Hyacinth Halvey: I would not give in to any pagan thing, but to recognise one of her own sort, that is a thing can be understood.

Mrs. Broderick: So it could be too, the same as witnesses in a court.

Bartley Fallon: I will not give in to going to demons or druids or freemasons! Wasn't there enough of misfortune set before my path through every day of my lifetime without it to be linked with me after my death? Is it that you would force me to lose the comforts of heaven and to get the poverty of hell? I tell you I will have no trade with witches! I would sooner go face the featherbeds.

Hyacinth Halvey: Say out, girl, do you see any craziness here or anything of the sort?

Cracked Mary: Every day in the year there comes some malice into the world, and where it comes from is no good place.

Mrs. Broderick: That is it, a venomous dew, as in the year of the famine. There is no astronomer can say it is from the earth or the sky.

Hyacinth Halvey: It is what we are asking you, did any of that malice get its scope in this place?

Cracked Mary: That was settled in Mayo two thousand years ago.

Mrs. Broderick: Ah, there's no head or tail to that one's story. You 'd be left at the latter end the same as at the commencement.

Hyacinth Halvey: That dog you were talking of, that is raging through the district and the town—did it leave any madness after it?

Cracked Mary: It will go in the wind, there is a certain time for that. It might go off in the wind again. It might go shaping off and do no harm.

Bartley Fallon: Where is that dog presently, till some person might go pluck out a few ribs of its hair?

Cracked Mary: Raging ever and always it is, raging wild. Sure, that is a dog was in it before the foundations of the world.

Peter Tannian: Who is it now that venom fell on, whatever beast's jaws may have scattered it?

Cracked Mary: It is the full moon knows that. The moon to slacken it is safe, there is no harm in it. Almighty God will do that much. He'll slacken it like you 'd slacken lime.

Shawn Early: There is reason in what she is saying. Set open the door and let the full moon call its own!

Bartley Fallon: Don't let in the rays of it upon us or I'm a gone man. It to shine on them that are going wrong in the head, it would raise a great stir in the mind. Sure, it's in the asylum at that time they do have whips to chastise them.

   (Goes to corner.)

Cracked Mary: That's it. The moon is terrible. The full moon cracks them out and out, any one that would have any spleen or any relics in them.

Mrs. Broderick: Do not let in the light of it. I would scruple to look at it myself.

Cracked Mary: Let you throw open the door, Davideen. It is not ourselves are in dread that the white man in the sky will be calling names after us and ridiculing us. Ha! ha! I might be as foolish as yourselves and as fearful, but for the Almighty that left a little cleft in my skull, that would let in His candle through the night time.

Hyacinth Halvey: Hurry on now, tell us is there any one in this place is wild and astray like yourself.

   (He opens the door. The light falls on him.)

Cracked Mary: (Putting her hand on him.) There was great shouting in the big round house, and you coming into it last night.

Hyacinth Halvey: What are you saying? I never went frolicking in the night time since the day I came into Cloon.

Cracked Mary: We were talking of it a while ago. I knew you by the smile and by the laugh of you. A queen having a yellow dress, and the hair on her smooth like marble. All the dead of the village were in it, and of the living myself and yourself.

Hyacinth Halvey: I thought it was of Carrow she was talking; it is of the other world she is raving, and of the shadow-shapes of the forth.

Cracked Mary: You have the door open—the speckled horses are on the road!—make a leap on the horse as it goes by, the horse that is without a rider. Can't you hear them puffing and roaring? Their breath is like a fog upon the air.

Hyacinth Halvey: What you hear is but the train puffing afar off.

Cracked Mary: Make a snap at the bridle as it passes by the bush in the western gap. Run out now, run, where you have the bare ridge of the world before you, and no one to take orders from but yourself, maybe, and God.

Hyacinth Halvey: Ah, what way can I run to any place!

Cracked Mary: Stop where you are, so. In my opinion it is little difference the moon can see between the whole of ye. Come on, Davideen, come out now, we have the wideness of the night before us. O golden God! All bad things quieten in the night time, and the ugly thing itself will put on some sort of a decent face! Come out now to the night that will give you the song, and will show myself out as beautiful as Helen of the Greek gods, that hanged herself the day there first came a wrinkle on her face!

Davideen: (Coming close, and taking her hand as he sings.)

  Oh! don't you remember
  What our comrades called to us
  And they footing steps
  At the call of the moon?
  Come out to the rushes,
  Come out to the bushes,
  Where the music is called
  By the lads of Queen Anne!

   (They look beautiful. They dance and sing in perfect time
    as they go out.)

Peter Tannian:
   (Closing the door, and pointing at Hyacinth, who stands gazing
   after them, and when the door is shut sits down thinking deeply.) It is on him her judgment fell, and a clear judgment.

Shawn Early: She gave out that award fair enough.

Peter Tannian: Did you take notice, and he coming into the shed, he had like some sort of a little twist in his walk?

Mrs. Broderick: I would be loth to think there would be any poison lurking in his veins. Where now would it come from, and Cracked Mary's dog being as good as no dog at all?

Peter Tannian: It might chance, and he a child in the cradle, to get the bite of a dog. It might be only now, its full time being come, its power would begin to work.

Mrs. Broderick: So it would too, and he but to see the shadow of the dog bit him in a body glass, or in the waves, and he himself looking over a boat, and as if called to throw himself in the tide. But I would not have thought it of Mr. Halvey. Well, it's as hard to know what might be spreading abroad in any person's mind, as to put the body of a horse out through a cambric needle.

   (Hyacinth looks at them.)

Shawn Early: Be quiet now, he is going to say some word.

Hyacinth Halvey: There is a thought in my mind. I think it was coming this good while.

Shawn Early: Whisht now and listen.

Hyacinth Halvey: I made a great mistake coming into this place.

Peter Tannian: There was some mistake made anyway.

Hyacinth: It is foolishness kept me in it ever since. It is too big a name was put upon me.

Peter Tannian: It is the power of the moon is forcing the truth out of him.

Hyacinth Halvey: Every person in the town giving me out for more than I am. I got too much of that in the heel.

Shawn Early: He is talking queer now anyway.

Hyacinth Halvey: Calling to me every little minute—expecting me to do this thing and that thing—watching me the same as a watchdog, their eyes as if fixed upon my face.

Mrs. Broderick: To be giving out such strange thoughts, he hasn't much brains left around him.

Hyacinth Halvey: I looking to be Clerk of the Union, and the place I had giving me enough to do, and too much to do. Tied on this side, tied on that side. I to be bothered with business through the holy livelong day!

Peter Tannian: It is good pay he got with it. Eighty pounds a year doesn't come on the wind.

Hyacinth Halvey: In danger to be linked and wed—I never ambitioned it—with a woman would want me to be earning through every day of the year.

Shawn Early: He is a gone man surely.

Hyacinth Hakey: The wide ridge of the world before me, and to have no one to look to for orders; that would be better than roast and boiled and all the comforts of the day. I declare to goodness, and I 'd nearly take my oath, I 'd sooner be among a fleet of tinkers, than attending meetings of the Board!

Mrs. Broderick: If there are fairies in it, it is in the fairies he is.

Peter Tannian: Give me a hold of that chain.

Mrs. Broderick: What is it you are about to do?

Peter Tannian: To bind him to the chair I will before he will burst out wild mad. Come over here, Bartley Fallon, and lend a hand if you can.

   (Bartley Fallon appears from corner with a chicken crate over
   his head.)

Mrs. Broderick: O Bartley, that is the strangest lightness ever I saw, to go bind a chicken crate around your skull!

Bartley Fallon: Will you tighten the knots I have tied, Peter Tannian! I am in dread they might slacken or fail.

Shawn Early: Was there ever seen before this night such power to be in the moon!

Bartley Fallon: It would seem to be putting very wild unruly thoughts a-through me, stirring up whatever spleen or whatever relics was left in me by the nature of the dog.

Peter Tannian: Is it that you think those rods, spaced wide, as they are, will keep out the moon from entering your brain?

Bartley Fallon: There does great strength come at the time the wits would be driven out of a person. I never was handled by a policeman—but once—and never hit a blow on any man. I would not wish to destroy my neighbour or to have his blood on my hands.

Shawn Early: It is best keep out of his reach.

Bartley Fallon: The way I have this fixed, there is no person will be the worse for me. I to rush down the street and to meet with my most enemy in some lonesome craggy place, it would fail me, and I thrusting for it to scatter any share of poison in his body or to sink my teeth in his skin. I wouldn't wonder I to have hung for some of you, and that plan not to have come into my head.

   (Whistle of train heard.)

Hyacinth Halvey: (Getting up.) I have my mind made up, I am going out of this on that train.

Peter Tannian: You are not going so easy as what you think.

Hyacinth Halvey: Let you mind your own business.

Peter Tannian: I am well able to mind it.

Hyacinth Halvey: (Throwing off top-coat.) You cannot keep me here.

Peter Tannian: Give me a hand with the chain.
   (They throw it round Hyacinth and hold him.)

Hyacinth Halvey: Is it out of your senses you are gone?

Peter Tannian: Not at all, but yourself that is gone raving mad from the fury and the strength of some dog.

Miss Joyce: (At door.) Are you there, Hyacinth Halvey? The train is in. Come forward now, and give a welcome to his Reverence.

Hyacinth Halvey: Let me go out of this!

Miss Joyce: You are near late as it is. The train is about to start.

Hyacinth Halvey: Let me go, or I'll tear the heart out of ye!

Shawn Early: Oh, he is stark, staring mad!

Hyacinth Halvey: Mad, am I? Bit by a dog, am I? You'll see am I mad! I'll show madness to you! Let go your hold or I'll skin you! I'll destroy you! I'll bite you! I'm a red enemy to the whole of you! Leave go your grip! Yes, I'm mad! Bow wow wow, wow wow!

   (They let go and fall back in terror, and he rushes out of the
    door.)

Miss Joyce: What at all has happened? Where is he gone?

Shawn Early: To the train he is gone, and away in it he is gone.

Miss Joyce: He gave some sort of a bark or a howl.

Shawn Early: He is gone clean mad. Great arguing he had, and leaping and roaring.

Bartley Fallon: (Taking off crate.) He went very near to tear us all asunder. I declare I amn't worth a match.

Mrs. Broderick: He made a reel in my head, till I don't know am I right myself.

Shawn Early: Bawling his life out, tearing his clothes, tearing and eating them. Look at his top-coat he left after him.

Bartley Fallon: He poured all over with pure white foam.

Peter Tannian: There now is an end of your elegant man.

Shawn Early: Bit he was with the mad dog that went tearing, and lads chasing him a while ago.

Miss Joyce: Sure that was Tannian's own dog, that had a bit of meat snapped from Quirke's ass-car. He is without this door now. (All look out.) He has the appearance of having a full meal taken.

Bartley Fallon: And they to be saying I went mad. That is the way always, and a thing to be tasked to me that was not in it at all.

Mrs. Broderick: (Laying her hand on Miss Joyce's shoulder.) Take comfort now; and if it was the moon done all, and has your bachelor swept, let you not begrudge it its full share of praise for the hand it had in banishing a strange bird, might have gone wild and bawling like eleven, and you after being wed with him, and would maybe have put a match to the roof. And hadn't you the luck of the world now, that you did not give notice to the priest!

Curtain

 

THE FULL MOON

It had sometimes preyed on my mind that Hyacinth Halvey had been left by me in Cloon for his lifetime, bearing the weight of a character that had been put on him by force. But it failed me to release him by reason, that “binds men to the wheel”; it took the call of some of those unruly ones who give in to no limitations, and dance to the sound of music that is outside this world, to bring him out from “roast and boiled and all the comforts of the day.” Where he is now I do not know, but anyway he is free.

Tannian's dog has now become a protagonist; and Bartley Fallon and Shawn Early strayed in from the fair green of Spreading the News, and Mrs. Broderick from the little shop where The Jackdaw hops on the counter, as witnesses to the miracle that happened in Hyacinth's own inside; and it is likely they may be talking of it yet; for the talks of Cloon are long talks, and the histories told there do not lessen or fail.

As to Davideen's song, I give the air of it below. The Queen Anne in it was no English queen, but, as I think, that Aine of the old gods at whose hill mad dogs were used to gather, and who turned to grey the yellow hair of Finn of the Fianna of Ireland. It is with some thought of her in their mind that the history-tellers say “Anne was not fair like the Georges but very bad and a tyrant. She tyrannised over the Irish. She was very wicked; oh! very wicked indeed!”

[Music: AIR OF “THE HEATHER BROOM!”]

 
 
 

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