Infomotions, Inc.The Well of the Saints / Synge, J. M. (John Millington), 1871-1909



Author: Synge, J. M. (John Millington), 1871-1909
Title: The Well of the Saints
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): doul; martin doul; mary doul; timmy; molly byrne; martin; molly; mary; holy father; almighty god; god
Contributor(s): Morlock, Frank J. [Translator]
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Identifier: etext1241
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The Well of the Saints

by J. M. Synge

March, 1998  [Etext #1241]


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THE WELL OF THE SAINTS
A Comedy in Three Acts
By J. M. SYNGE




SCENE
Some lonely mountainous district in the east of Ireland one or
more centuries ago.


THE WELL OF THE SAINTS was first produced in the Abbey Theatre in
February, 1905, by the Irish National Theatre Society, under the
direction of W. G. Fay, and with the following cast.

Martin Doul  W. G. FAY
Mary Doul    EMMA VERNON
Timmy   GEORGE ROBERTS
Molly Byrne  SARA ALLGOOD
Bride   MAIRE NIC SHIUBHLAIGH
Mat Simon    P. MAC SHIUBHLAIGH
The Saint    F. J. FAY
OTHER GIRLS AND MEN




MARTIN DOUL, weather-beaten, blind beggar

MARY DOUL, his Wife, weather-beaten, ugly woman, blind also,
nearly fifty

TIMMY, a middle-aged, almost elderly, but vigorous smith

MOLLY BYRNE, fine-looking girl with fair hair

BRIDE, another handsome girl

MAT SIMON

THE SAINT, a wandering Friar

OTHER GIRLS AND MEN





THE WELL OF THE SAINTS

ACT I

[Roadside with big stones, etc., on the right; low loose wall at
back with gap near centre; at left, ruined doorway of church with
bushes beside it.  Martin Doul and Mary Doul grope in on left and
pass over to stones on right, where they sit.]

MARY DOUL.  What place are we now, Martin Doul?

MARTIN DOUL.  Passing the gap.

MARY DOUL  -- [raising her head.] -- The length of that!  Well,
the sun's getting warm this day if it's late autumn itself.

MARTIN DOUL -- [putting out his hands in sun.] -- What way
wouldn't it be warm and it getting high up in the south?  You
were that length plaiting your yellow hair you have the morning
lost on us, and the people are after passing to the fair of
Clash.

MARY DOUL.  It isn't going to the fair, the time they do be
driving their cattle and they with a litter of pigs maybe
squealing in their carts, they'd give us a thing at all.  (She
sits down.)  It's well you know that, but you must be talking.

MARTIN DOUL  -- [sitting down beside her and beginning to shred
rushes she gives him.] -- If I didn't talk I'd be destroyed in a
short while listening to the clack you do be making, for you've a
queer cracked voice, the Lord have mercy on you, if it's fine to
look on you are itself.

MARY DOUL.  Who wouldn't have a cracked voice sitting out all the
year in the rain falling?  It's a bad life for the voice, Martin
Doul, though I've heard tell there isn't anything like the wet
south wind does be blowing upon us for keeping a white beautiful
skin -- the like of my skin -- on your neck and on your brows,
and there isn't anything at all like a fine skin for putting
splendour on a woman.

MARTIN DOUL  -- [teasingly, but with good humour.] -- I do be
thinking odd times we don't know rightly what way you have your
splendour, or asking myself, maybe, if you have it at all, for
the time I was a young lad, and had fine sight, it was the ones
with sweet voices were the best in face.

MARY DOUL.  Let you not be making the like of that talk when
you've heard Timmy the smith, and Mat Simon, and Patch Ruadh, and
a power besides saying fine things of my face, and you know
rightly it was "the beautiful dark woman" they did call me in
Ballinatone.

MARTIN DOUL -- [as before.] -- If it was itself I heard Molly
Byrne saying at the fall of night it was little more than a
fright you were.

MARY DOUL -- [sharply.] -- She was jealous, God forgive her,
because Timmy the smith was after praising my hair.

MARTIN DOUL -- [with mock irony.] -- Jealous!

MARY DOUL.  Ay, jealous, Martin Doul; and if she wasn't itself,
the young and silly do be always making game of them that's dark,
and they'd think it a fine thing if they had us deceived, the way
we wouldn't know we were so fine-looking at all.

[She puts her hand to her face with a complacent gesture.]

MARTIN DOUL -- [a little plaintively.] -- I do be thinking in the
long nights it'd be a grand thing if we could see ourselves for
one hour, or a minute itself, the way we'd know surely we were
the finest man and the finest woman of the seven counties of the
east  (bitterly) and then the seeing rabble below might be
destroying their souls telling bad lies, and we'd never heed a
thing they'd say.

MARY DOUL.  If you weren't a big fool you wouldn't heed them this
hour, Martin Doul, for they're a bad lot those that have their
sight, and they do have great joy, the time they do be seeing a
grand thing, to let on they don't see it at all, and to be
telling fool's lies, the like of what Molly Byrne was telling to
yourself.

MARTIN DOUL.  If it's lies she does be telling she's a sweet,
beautiful voice you'd never tire to be hearing, if it was only
the pig she'd be calling, or crying out in the long grass, maybe
after her hens.  (Speaking pensively.)  It should be a fine,
soft, rounded woman, I'm thinking, would have a voice the like of
that.

MARY DOUL -- [sharply again, scandalized.] -- Let you not be
minding if it's flat or rounded she is; for she's a flighty,
foolish woman, you'll hear when you're off a long way, and she
making a great noise and laughing at the well.

MARTIN DOUL.  Isn't laughing a nice thing the time a woman's
young?

MARY DOUL -- [bitterly.] -- A nice thing is it?  A nice thing to
hear a woman making a loud braying laugh the like of that?  Ah,
she's a great one for drawing the men, and you'll hear Timmy
himself, the time he does be sitting in his forge, getting mighty
fussy if she'll come walking from Grianan, the way you'll hear
his breath going, and he wringing his hands.

MARTIN DOUL -- [slightly piqued.] -- I've heard him say a power
of times it's nothing at all she is when you see her at the side
of you, and yet I never heard any man's breath getting uneasy the
time he'd be looking on yourself.

MARY DOUL.  I'm not the like of the girls do be running round on
the roads, swinging their legs, and they with their necks out
looking on the men. . . .  Ah, there's a power of villainy
walking the world, Martin Doul, among them that do be gadding
around with their gaping eyes, and their sweet words, and they
with no sense in them at all.

MARTIN DOUL -- [sadly.] -- It's the truth, maybe, and yet I'm
told it's a grand thing to see a young girl walking the road.

MARY DOUL.  You'd be as bad as the rest of them if you had your
sight, and I did well, surely, not to marry a seeing man  it's
scores would have had me and welcome -- for the seeing is a queer
lot, and you'd never know the thing they'd do. [A moment's
pause.]

MARTIN DOUL -- [listening.] -- There's some one coming on the
road.

MARY DOUL.  Let you put the pith away out of their sight, or
they'll be picking it out with the spying eyes they have, and
saying it's rich we are, and not sparing us a thing at all.

[They bundle away the rushes.  Timmy the smith comes in on left.]

MARTIN DOUL -- [with a begging voice.] -- Leave a bit of silver
for blind Martin, your honour.  Leave a bit of silver, or a penny
copper itself, and we'll be praying the Lord to bless you and you
going the way.

TIMMY -- [stopping before them.] -- And you letting on a while
back you knew my step! [He sits down.]

MARTIN -- [with his natural voice.] -- I know it when Molly
Byrne's walking in front, or when she's two perches, maybe,
lagging behind; but it's few times I've heard you walking up the
like of that, as if you'd met a thing wasn't right and you coming
on the road.

TIMMY -- [hot and breathless, wiping his face.] -- You've good
ears, God bless you, if you're a liar itself; for I'm after
walking up in great haste from hearing wonders in the fair.

MARTIN DOUL -- [rather contemptuously.] -- You're always hearing
queer wonderful things, and the lot of them nothing at all; but
I'm thinking, this time, it's a strange thing surely you'd be
walking up before the turn of day, and not waiting below to look
on them lepping, or dancing, or playing shows on the green of
Clash.

TIMMY -- [huffed.] -- I was coming to tell you it's in this place
there'd be a bigger wonder done in a short while (Martin Doul
stops working) than was ever done on the green of Clash, or the
width of Leinster itself; but you're thinking, maybe, you're too
cute a little fellow to be minding me at all.

MARTIN DOUL -- [amused, but incredulous.] -- There'll be wonders
in this place, is it?

TIMMY.  Here at the crossing of the roads.

MARTIN DOUL.  I never heard tell of anything to happen in this
place since the night they killed the old fellow going home with
his gold, the Lord have mercy on him, and threw down his corpse
into the bog.  Let them not be doing the like of that this night,
for it's ourselves have a right to the crossing roads, and we
don't want any of your bad tricks, or your wonders either, for
it's wonder enough we are ourselves.

TIMMY.  If I'd a mind I'd be telling you of a real wonder this
day, and the way you'll be having a great joy, maybe, you're not
thinking on at all.

MARTIN DOUL -- [interested.] -- Are they putting up a still
behind in the rocks?  It'd be a grand thing if I'd sup handy the
way I wouldn't be destroying myself groping up across the bogs in
the rain falling.

TIMMY -- [still moodily.] -- It's not a still they're bringing,
or the like of it either.

MARY DOUL -- [persuasively, to Timmy.] -- Maybe they're hanging a
thief, above at the bit of a tree.  I'm told it's a great sight
to see a man hanging by his neck; but what joy would that be to
ourselves, and we not seeing it at all?

TIMMY -- [more pleasantly.] -- They're hanging no one this day,
Mary Doul, and yet, with the help of God, you'll see a power
hanged before you die.

MARY DOUL.  Well you've queer hum-bugging talk. . . .  What way
would I see a power hanged, and I a dark woman since the seventh
year of my age?

TIMMY.  Did ever you hear tell of a place across a bit of the
sea, where there is an island, and the grave of the four
beautiful saints?

MARY DOUL.  I've heard people have walked round from the west and
they speaking of that.

TIMMY -- [impressively.] -- There's a green ferny well, I'm told,
behind of that place, and if you put a drop of the water out of
it on the eyes of a blind man, you'll make him see as well as any
person is walking the world.

MARTIN DOUL -- [with excitement.] -- Is that the truth, Timmy? 
I'm thinking you're telling a lie.

TIMMY -- [gruffly.] -- That's the truth, Martin Doul, and you may
believe it now, for you're after believing a power of things
weren't as likely at all.

MARY DOUL.  Maybe we could send us a young lad to bring us the
water.  I could wash a naggin bottle in the morning, and I'm
thinking Patch Ruadh would go for it, if we gave him a good
drink, and the bit of money we have hid in the thatch.

TIMMY.  It'd be no good to be sending a sinful man the like of
ourselves, for I'm told the holiness of the water does be getting
soiled with the villainy of your heart, the time you'd be
carrying it, and you looking round on the girls, maybe, or
drinking a small sup at a still.

MARTIN DOUL -- [with disappointment.] -- It'd be a long terrible
way to be walking ourselves, and I'm thinking that's a wonder
will bring small joy to us at all.

TIMMY -- [turning on him impatiently.] -- What is it you want
with your walking?  It's as deaf as blind you're growing if
you're not after hearing me say it's in this place the wonder
would be done.

MARTIN DOUL -- [with a flash of anger.] -- If it is can't you
open the big slobbering mouth you have and say what way it'll be
done, and not be making blather till the fall of night.

TIMMY -- [jumping up.] -- I'll be going on now (Mary Doul rises),
and not wasting time talking civil talk with the like of you.

MARY DOUL -- [standing up, disguising her impatience.] -- Let you
come here to me, Timmy, and not be minding him at all. (Timmy
stops, and she gropes up to him and takes him by the coat).] 
You're not huffy with myself, and let you tell me the whole story
and don't be fooling me more. . . .  Is it yourself has brought
us the water?

TIMMY.  It is not, surely.

MARY DOUL.  Then tell us your wonder, Timmy. . . .  What
person'll bring it at all?

TIMMY -- [relenting.] -- It's a fine holy man will bring it, a
saint of the Almighty God.

MARY DOUL -- [overawed.] -- A saint is it?

TIMMY.  Ay, a fine saint, who's going round through the churches
of Ireland, with a long cloak on him, and naked feet, for he's
brought a sup of the water slung at his side, and, with the like
of him, any little drop is enough to cure the dying, or to make
the blind see as clear as the gray hawks do be high up, on a
still day, sailing the sky.

MARTIN DOUL -- [feeling for his stick.] -- What place is he,
Timmy?  I'll be walking to him now.

TIMMY.  Let you stay quiet, Martin. He's straying around saying
prayers at the churches and high crosses, between this place and
the hills, and he with a great crowd go- ing behind -- for it's
fine prayers he does be saying, and fasting with it, till he's as
thin as one of the empty rushes you have there on your knee; then
he'll be coming after to this place to cure the two of you --
we're after telling him the way you are -- and to say his prayers
in the church.

MARTIN DOUL -- [turning suddenly to Mary Doul.] -- And we'll be
seeing ourselves this day.  Oh, glory be to God, is it true
surely?

MARY DOUL -- [very pleased, to Timmy.] -- Maybe I'd have time to
walk down and get the big shawl I have below, for I do look my
best, I've heard them say, when I'm dressed up with that thing on
my head.

TIMMY.  You'd have time surely.

MARTIN DOUL -- [listening.]  Whisht now. . . .  I hear people
again coming by the stream.

TIMMY -- [looking out left, puzzled.] -- It's the young girls I
left walking after the Saint. . . .  They're coming now (goes up
to entrance) carrying things in their hands, and they walking as
easy as you'd see a child walk who'd have a dozen eggs hid in her
bib.

MARTIN DOUL -- [listening.] -- That's Molly Byrne, I'm thinking.

[Molly Byrne and Bride come on left and cross to Martin Doul,
carrying water-can, Saint's bell, and cloak.]

MOLLY -- [volubly.] -- God bless you, Martin.  I've holy water
here, from the grave of the four saints of the west, will have
you cured in a short while and seeing like ourselves.

TIMMY -- [crosses to Molly, interrupting her.] -- He's heard
that.  God help you.  But where at all is the Saint, and what way
is he after trusting the holy water with the likes of you?

MOLLY BYRNE.  He was afeard to go a far way with the clouds is
coming beyond, so he's gone up now through the thick woods to say
a prayer at the crosses of Grianan, and he's coming on this road
to the church.

TIMMY -- [still astonished.] -- And he's after leaving the holy
water with the two of you?  It's a wonder, surely. [Comes down
left a little.]

MOLLY BYRNE.  The lads told him no person could carry them things
through the briars, and steep, slippy-feeling rocks he'll be
climbing above, so he looked round then, and gave the water, and
his big cloak, and his bell to the two of us, for young girls,
says he, are the cleanest holy people you'd see walking the
world. [Mary Doul goes near seat.]

MARY DOUL -- [sits down, laughing to herself.] -- Well, the
Saint's a simple fellow, and it's no lie.

MARTIN DOUL -- [leaning forward, holding out his hands.] -- Let
you give me the water in my hand, Molly Byrne, the way I'll know
you have it surely.

MOLLY BYRNE -- [giving it to him.] -- Wonders is queer things,
and maybe it'd cure you, and you holding it alone.

MARTIN DOUL -- [looking round.] -- It does not, Molly.  I'm not
seeing at all.  (He shakes the can.)  There's a small sup only.
Well, isn't it a great wonder the little trifling thing would
bring seeing to the blind, and be showing us the big women and
the young girls, and all the fine things is walking the world.

[He feels for Mary Doul and gives her the can.]

MARY DOUL -- [shaking it.] -- Well, glory be to God.

MARTIN DOUL -- [pointing to Bride.] -- And what is it herself
has, making sounds in her hand?

BRIDE -- [crossing to Martin Doul.] -- It's the Saint's bell;
you'll hear him ringing out the time he'll be going up some
place, to be saying his prayers.


[Martin Doul holds out his hand; she gives it to him.]

MARTIN DOUL -- [ringing it.] -- It's a sweet, beautiful sound.

MARY DOUL.  You'd know, I'm thinking, by the little silvery voice
of it, a fasting holy man was after carrying it a great way at
his side.

[Bride crosses a little right behind Martin Doul.]

MOLLY BYRNE -- [unfolding Saint's cloak.] -- Let you stand up
now, Martin Doul, till I put his big cloak on you.  (Martin Doul
rises, comes forward, centre a little.)  The way we'd see how
you'd look, and you a saint of the Almighty God.

MARTIN DOUL -- [standing up, a little diffidently.] -- I've heard
the priests a power of times making great talk and praises of the
beauty of the saints. [Molly Byrne slips cloak round him.]

TIMMY -- [uneasily.] -- You'd have a right to be leaving him
alone, Molly.  What would the Saint say if he seen you making
game with his cloak?

MOLLY BYRNE -- [recklessly.] -- How would he see us, and he
saying prayers in the wood?  (She turns Martin Doul round.) Isn't
that a fine holy-looking saint, Timmy the smith?  (Laughing
foolishly.)  There's a grand, handsome fellow, Mary Doul; and if
you seen him now you'd be as proud, I'm thinking, as the
archangels below, fell out with the Almighty God.

MARY DOUL -- [with quiet confidence going to Martin Doul and
feeling his cloak.] -- It's proud we'll be this day, surely.
[Martin Doul is still ringing.]

MOLLY BYRNE -- [to Martin Doul.] -- Would you think well to be
all your life walking round the like of that, Martin Doul, and
you bell-ringing with the saints of God?

MARY DOUL -- [turning on her, fiercely.] -- How would he be
bell-ringing with the saints of God and he wedded with myself?

MARTIN DOUL.  It's the truth she's saying, and if bell-ringing is
a fine life, yet I'm thinking, maybe, it's better I am wedded
with the beautiful dark woman of Ballinatone.

MOLLY BYRNE -- [scornfully.] -- You're thinking that, God help
you; but it's little you know of her at all.

MARTIN DOUL.  It's little surely, and I'm destroyed this day
waiting to look upon her face.

TIMMY -- [awkwardly.] -- It's well you know the way she is; for
the like of you do have great knowledge in the feeling of your
hands.

MARTIN DOUL -- [still feeling the cloak.] -- We do, maybe.  Yet
it's little I know of faces, or of fine beautiful cloaks, for
it's few cloaks I've had my hand to, and few faces (plaintively);
for the young girls is mighty shy, Timmy the smith and it isn't
much they heed me, though they do be saying I'm a handsome man.

MARY DOUL -- [mockingly, with good humour.] -- Isn't it a queer
thing the voice he puts on him, when you hear him talking of the
skinny-looking girls, and he married with a woman he's heard
called the wonder of the western world?

TIMMY -- [pityingly.] -- The two of you will see a great wonder
this day, and it's no lie.

MARTIN DOUL.  I've heard tell her yellow hair, and her white
skin, and her big eyes are a wonder, surely.

BRIDE -- [who has looked out left.] -- Here's the saint coming
from the selvage of the wood. . . .  Strip the cloak from him,
Molly, or he'll be seeing it now.

MOLLY BYRNE -- [hastily to Bride.] -- Take the bell and put
yourself by the stones. (To Martin Doul.)  Will you hold your
head up till I loosen the cloak?  (She pulls off the cloak and
throws it over her arm.  Then she pushes Martin Doul over and
stands him beside Mary Doul.)  Stand there now, quiet, and let
you not be saying a word.

[She and Bride stand a little on their left, demurely, with bell,
etc., in their hands.]

MARTIN DOUL -- [nervously arranging his clothes.] -- Will he mind
the way we are, and not tidied or washed cleanly at all?

MOLLY BYRNE.  He'll not see what way you are. . . .  He'd walk by
the finest woman in Ireland, I'm thinking, and not trouble to
raise his two eyes to look upon her face. . . . Whisht!

[The Saint comes left, with crowd.]

SAINT.  Are these the two poor people?

TIMMY -- [officiously.] -- They are, holy father; they do be
always sitting here at the crossing of the roads, asking a bit of
copper from them that do pass, or stripping rushes for lights,
and they not mournful at all, but talking out straight with a
full voice, and making game with them that likes it.

SAINT -- [to Martin Doul and Mary Doul.] -- It's a hard life
you've had not seeing sun or moon, or the holy priests itself
praying to the Lord, but it's the like of you who are brave in a
bad time will make a fine use of the gift of sight the Almighty
God will bring to you today.  (He takes his cloak and puts it
about him.)  It's on a bare starving rock that there's the grave
of the four beauties of God, the way it's little wonder, I'm
thinking, if it's with bare starving people the water should be
used.  (He takes the water and bell and slings them round his
shoulders.)  So it's to the like of yourselves I do be going, who
are wrinkled and poor, a thing rich men would hardly look at at
all, but would throw a coin to or a crust of bread.

MARTIN DOUL -- [moving uneasily.] -- When they look on herself,
who is a fine woman.

TIMMY -- [shaking him.] -- Whisht now, and be listening to the
Saint.

SAINT -- [looks at them a moment, continues.] -- If it's raggy
and dirty you are itself, I'm saying, the Almighty God isn't at
all like the rich men of Ireland; and, with the power of the
water I'm after bringing in a little curagh into Cashla Bay,
He'll have pity on you, and put sight into your eyes.

MARTIN DOUL -- [taking off his hat.] -- I'm ready now, holy
father.

SAINT -- [taking him by the hand.] -- I'll cure you first, and
then I'll come for your wife.  We'll go up now into the church,
for I must say a prayer to the Lord.  (To Mary Doul, as he moves
off.)  And let you be making your mind still and saying praises
in your heart, for it's a great wonderful thing when the power of
the Lord of the world is brought down upon your like.

PEOPLE -- [pressing after him.] -- Come now till we watch.

BRIDE.  Come, Timmy.

SAINT -- [waving them back.] -- Stay back where you are, for I'm
not wanting a big crowd making whispers in the church.  Stay back
there, I'm saying, and you'd do well to be thinking on the way
sin has brought blindness to the world, and to be saying a prayer
for your own sakes against false prophets and heathens, and the
words of women and smiths, and all knowledge that would soil the
soul or the body of a man.

[People shrink back.  He goes into church.  Mary Doul gropes
half-way towards the door and kneels near path. People form a
group at right.]

TIMMY.  Isn't it a fine, beautiful voice he has, and he a fine,
brave man if it wasn't for the fasting?

BRIDE.  Did you watch him moving his hands?

MOLLY BYRNE.  It'd be a fine thing if some one in this place
could pray the like of him, for I'm thinking the water from our
own blessed well would do rightly if a man knew the way to be
saying prayers, and then there'd be no call to be bringing water
from that wild place, where, I'm told, there are no decent
houses, or fine-looking people at all.

BRIDE -- [who is looking in at door from right.] -- Look at the
great trembling Martin has shaking him, and he on his knees.

TIMMY -- [anxiously.] -- God help him. . . What will he be doing
when he sees his wife this day?  I'm thinking it was bad work we
did when we let on she was fine-looking, and not a wrinkled,
wizened hag the way she is.

MAT SIMON.  Why would he be vexed, and we after giving him great
joy and pride, the time he was dark?

MOLLY BYRNE -- [sitting down in Mary Doul's seat and tidying her
hair.] -- If it's vexed he is itself, he'll have other things now
to think on as well as his wife; and what does any man care for a
wife, when it's two weeks or three, he is looking on her face?

MAT SIMON.  That's the truth now, Molly, and it's more joy dark
Martin got from the lies we told of that hag is kneeling by the
path than your own man will get from you, day or night, and he
living at your side.

MOLLY BYRNE -- [defiantly.] -- Let you not be talking, Mat Simon,
for it's not yourself will be my man, though you'd be crowing and
singing fine songs if you'd that hope in you at all.

TIMMY -- [shocked, to Molly Byrne.] -- Let you not be raising
your voice when the Saint's above at his prayers.

BRIDE -- [crying out.] -- Whisht. . . . Whisht. . . .  I'm
thinking he's cured.

MARTIN DOUL -- [crying out in the church.] -- Oh, glory be to
God. . . .

SAINT -- [solemnly.] Laus Patri sit et Filio cum Spiritu
Paraclito Qui Suae dono gratiae misertus est Hiberniae. . . .

MARTIN DOUL -- [ecstatically.] -- Oh, glory be to God, I see now
surely. . . .  I see the walls of the church, and the green bits
of ferns in them, and yourself, holy father, and the great width
of the sky.

[He runs out half-foolish with joy, and comes past Mary Doul as
she scrambles to her feet, drawing a little away from her as he
goes by.]

TIMMY -- [to the others.] -- He doesn't know her at all.

[The Saint comes out behind Martin Doul, and leads Mary Doul into
the church.  Martin Doul comes on to the People.  The men are
between him and the Girls; he verifies his position with his
stick.]

MARTIN DOUL -- [crying out joyfully.] -- That's Timmy, I know
Timmy by the black of his head. . . .  That's Mat Simon, I know
Mat by the length of his legs. . . .  That should be Patch Ruadh,
with the gamey eyes in him, and the fiery hair.  (He sees Molly
Byrne on Mary Doul's seat, and his voice changes completely.) 
Oh, it was no lie they told me, Mary Doul.  Oh, glory to God and
the seven saints I didn't die and not see you at all.  The
blessing of God on the water, and the feet carried it round
through the land. The blessing of God on this day, and them that
brought me the Saint, for it's grand hair you have (she lowers
her head a little confused), and soft skin, and eyes would make
the saints, if they were dark awhile and seeing again, fall down
out of the sky.  (He goes nearer to her.)  Hold up your head,
Mary, the way I'll see it's richer I am than the great kings of
the east.  Hold up your head, I'm saying, for it's soon you'll be
seeing me, and I not a bad one at all. [He touches her and she
starts up.]

MOLLY BYRNE.  Let you keep away from me, and not be soiling my
chin. [People laugh heartily.]

MARTIN DOUL -- [bewildered.] -- It's Molly's voice you have.

MOLLY BYRNE.  Why wouldn't I have my own voice?  Do you think I'm
a ghost?

MARTIN DOUL.  Which of you all is herself?  (He goes up to
Bride.)  Is it you is Mary Doul?  I'm thinking you're more the
like of what they said (peering at her.)  For you've yellow hair,
and white skin, and it's the smell of my own turf is rising from
your shawl. [He catches her shawl.]

BRIDE -- [pulling away her shawl.] -- I'm not your wife, and let
you get out of my way. [The People laugh again.]

MARTIN DOUL -- [with misgiving, to another Girl.] -- Is it
yourself it is?  You're not so fine-looking, but I'm thinking
you'd do, with the grand nose you have, and your nice hands and
your feet.

GIRL -- [scornfully.] -- I never seen any person that took me for
blind, and a seeing woman, I'm thinking, would never wed the like
of you.

[She turns away, and the People laugh once more, drawing back a
little and leaving him on their left.]

PEOPLE -- [jeeringly.] -- Try again, Martin, try again, and
you'll be finding her yet.

MARTIN DOUL -- [passionately.] -- Where is it you have her hidden
away?  Isn't it a black shame for a drove of pitiful beasts the
like of you to be making game of me, and putting a fool's head on
me the grand day of my life?  Ah, you're thinking you're a fine
lot, with your giggling, weeping eyes, a fine lot to be making
game of myself and the woman I've heard called the great wonder
of the west.

[During this speech, which he gives with his back towards the
church, Mary Doul has come out with her sight cured, and come
down towards the right with a silly simpering smile, till she is
a little behind Martin Doul.]

MARY DOUL -- [when he pauses.] -- Which of you is Martin Doul?

MARTIN DOUL -- [wheeling round.] -- It's her voice surely. [They
stare at each other blankly.]

MOLLY BYRNE -- [to Martin Doul.] -- Go up now and take her under
the chin and be speaking the way you spoke to myself.

MARTIN DOUL -- [in a low voice, with intensity.] -- If I speak
now, I'll speak hard to the two of you.

MOLLY BYRNE -- [to Mary Doul.] -- You're not saying a word, Mary. 
What is it you think of himself, with the fat legs on him, and
the little neck like a ram?

MARY DOUL.  I'm thinking it's a poor thing when the Lord God
gives you sight and puts the like of that man in your way.

MARTIN DOUL.  It's on your two knees you should be thanking the
Lord God you're not looking on yourself, for if it was yourself
you seen you'd be running round in a short while like the old
screeching mad-woman is running round in the glen.

MARY DOUL -- [beginning to realize herself.] -- If I'm not so
fine as some of them said, I have my hair, and big eyes, and my
white skin.

MARTIN DOUL -- [breaking out into a passionate cry.] -- Your
hair, and your big eyes, is it? . . .  I'm telling you there
isn't a wisp on any gray mare on the ridge of the world isn't
finer than the dirty twist on your head.  There isn't two eyes in
any starving sow isn't finer than the eyes you were calling blue
like the sea.

MARY DOUL -- [interrupting him.] -- It's the devil cured you this
day with your talking of sows; it's the devil cured you this day,
I'm saying, and drove you crazy with lies.

MARTIN DOUL.  Isn't it yourself is after playing lies on me, ten
years, in the day and in the night; but what is that to you now
the Lord God has given eyes to me, the way I see you an old
wizendy hag, was never fit to rear a child to me itself.

MARY DOUL.  I wouldn't rear a crumpled whelp the like of you. 
It's many a woman is married with finer than yourself should be
praising God if she's no child, and isn't loading the earth with
things would make the heavens lonesome above, and they scaring
the larks, and the crows, and the angels passing in the sky.

MARTIN DOUL.  Go on now to be seeking a lonesome place where the
earth can hide you away; go on now, I'm saying, or you'll be
having men and women with their knees bled, and they screaming to
God for a holy water would darken their sight, for there's no man
but would liefer be blind a hundred years, or a thousand itself,
than to be looking on your like.

MARY DOUL -- [raising her stick.] -- Maybe if I hit you a strong
blow you'd be blind again, and having what you want.

[The Saint is seen in the church door with his head bent in
prayer.]

MARTIN DOUL -- [raising his stick and driving Mary Doul back
towards left.] -- Let you keep off from me now if you wouldn't
have me strike out the little handful of brains you have about on
the road.

[He is going to strike her, but Timmy catches him by the arm.]

TIMMY.  Have you no shame to be making a great row, and the Saint
above saying his prayers?

MARTIN DOUL.  What is it I care for the like of him?  (Struggling
to free himself).  Let me hit her one good one, for the love of
the Almighty God, and I'll be quiet after till I die.

TIMMY -- [shaking him.] -- Will you whisht, I'm saying.

SAINT -- [coming forward, centre.] -- Are their minds troubled
with joy, or is their sight uncertain, the way it does often be
the day a person is restored?

TIMMY.  It's too certain their sight is, holy father; and they're
after making a great fight, because they're a pair of pitiful
shows.

SAINT -- [coming between them.] -- May the Lord who has given you
sight send a little sense into your heads, the way it won't be on
your two selves you'll be looking -- on two pitiful sinners of
the earth -- but on the splendour of the Spirit of God, you'll
see an odd time shining out through the big hills, and steep
streams falling to the sea.  For if it's on the like of that you
do be thinking, you'll not be minding the faces of men, but
you'll be saying prayers and great praises, till you'll be living
the way the great saints do be living, with little but old sacks,
and skin covering their bones.  (To Timmy.)  Leave him go now,
you're seeing he's quiet again. (He frees Martin Doul.)  And let
you (he turns to Mary Doul) not be raising your voice, a bad
thing in a woman; but let the lot of you, who have seen the power
of the Lord, be thinking on it in the dark night, and be saying
to yourselves it's great pity and love He has for the poor,
starving people of Ireland.  (He gathers his cloak about him.)
And now the Lord send blessing to you all, for I am going on to
Annagolan, where there is a deaf woman, and to Laragh, where
there are two men without sense, and to Glenassil, where there
are children blind from their birth; and then I'm going to sleep
this night in the bed of the holy Kevin, and to be prais- ing
God, and asking great blessing on you all. [He bends his head.]

CURTAIN



ACT II

[Village roadside, on left the door of a forge, with broken
wheels, etc., lying about.  A well near centre, with board above
it, and room to pass behind it.  Martin Doul is sitting near
forge, cutting sticks.]

TIMMY -- [heard hammering inside forge, then calls.] -- Let you
make haste out there. . . .  I'll be putting up new fires at the
turn of day, and you haven't the half of them cut yet.

MARTIN DOUL -- [gloomily.] -- It's destroyed I'll be whacking
your old thorns till the turn of day, and I with no food in my
stomach would keep the life in a pig.  (He turns towards the
door.)  Let you come out here and cut them yourself if you want
them cut, for there's an hour every day when a man has a right to
his rest.

TIMMY -- [coming out, with a hammer, impatiently.] -- Do you want
me to be driving you off again to be walking the roads?  There
you are now, and I giving you your food, and a corner to sleep,
and money with it; and, to hear the talk of you, you'd think I
was after beating you, or stealing your gold.

MARTIN DOUL.  You'd do it handy, maybe, if I'd gold to steal.

TIMMY -- [throws down hammer; picks up some of the sticks already
cut, and throws them into door.)  There's no fear of your having
gold -- a lazy, basking fool the like of you.

MARTIN DOUL.  No fear, maybe, and I here with yourself, for it's
more I got a while since and I sitting blinded in Grianan, than I
get in this place working hard, and destroying myself, the length
of the day.

TIMMY -- [stopping with amazement.] -- Working hard?  (He goes
over to him.)  I'll teach you to work hard, Martin Doul.  Strip
off your coat now, and put a tuck in your sleeves, and cut the
lot of them, while I'd rake the ashes from the forge, or I'll not
put up with you another hour itself.

MARTIN DOUL -- [horrified.] -- Would you have me getting my death
sitting out in the black wintry air with no coat on me at all?

TIMMY -- [with authority.] -- Strip it off now, or walk down upon
the road.

MARTIN DOUL -- [bitterly.] -- Oh, God help me!  (He begins taking
off his coat.) I've heard tell you stripped the sheet from your
wife and you putting her down into the grave, and that there
isn't the like of you for plucking your living ducks, the short
days, and leaving them running round in their skins, in the great
rains and the cold.  (He tucks up his sleeves.)  Ah, I've heard a
power of queer things of yourself, and there isn't one of them
I'll not believe from this day, and be telling to the boys.

TIMMY -- [pulling over a big stick.] -- Let you cut that now, and
give me rest from your talk, for I'm not heeding you at all.

MARTIN DOUL -- [taking stick.] -- That's a hard, terrible stick,
Timmy; and isn't it a poor thing to be cutting strong timber the
like of that, when it's cold the bark is, and slippy with the
frost of the air?

TIMMY -- [gathering up another armful of sticks.] -- What way
wouldn't it be cold, and it freezing since the moon was changed?
[He goes into forge.]

MARTIN DOUL -- [querulously, as he cuts slowly.] -- What way,
indeed, Timmy?  For it's a raw, beastly day we do have each day,
till I do be thinking it's well for the blind don't be seeing
them gray clouds driving on the hill, and don't be looking on
people with their noses red, the like of your nose, and their
eyes weeping and watering, the like of your eyes, God help you,
Timmy the smith.

TIMMY -- [seen blinking in doorway.] -- Is it turning now you are
against your sight?

MARTIN DOUL -- [very miserably.] -- It's a hard thing for a man
to have his sight, and he living near to the like of you (he cuts
a stick and throws it away), or wed with a wife (cuts a stick);
and I do be thinking it should be a hard thing for the Almighty
God to be looking on the world, bad days, and on men the like of
yourself walking around on it, and they slipping each way in the
muck.

TIMMY -- [with pot-hooks which he taps on anvil.] -- You'd have a
right to be minding, Martin Doul, for it's a power the Saint
cured lose their sight after a while.  Mary Doul's dimming again,
I've heard them say; and I'm thinking the Lord, if he hears you
making that talk, will have little pity left for you at all.

MARTIN DOUL.  There's not a bit of fear of me losing my sight,
and if it's a dark day itself it's too well I see every wicked
wrinkle you have round by your eye.

TIMMY -- [looking at him sharply.] -- The day's not dark since
the clouds broke in the east.

MARTIN DOUL.  Let you not be tormenting yourself trying to make
me afeard. You told me a power of bad lies the time I was blind,
and it's right now for you to stop, and be taking your rest (Mary
Doul comes in unnoticed on right with a sack filled with green
stuff on her arm), for it's little ease or quiet any person would
get if the big fools of Ireland weren't weary at times. (He looks
up and sees Mary Doul.)  Oh, glory be to God, she's coming again.

[He begins to work busily with his back to her.]

TIMMY -- [amused, to Mary Doul, as she is going by without
looking at them.] -- Look on him now, Mary Doul.  You'd be a
great one for keeping him steady at his work, for he's after
idling and blathering to this hour from the dawn of day.

MARY DOUL -- [stiffly.] -- Of what is it you're speaking, Timmy
the smith?

TIMMY -- [laughing.] -- Of himself, surely. Look on him there,
and he with the shirt on him ripping from his back.  You'd have a
right to come round this night, I'm thinking, and put a stitch
into his clothes, for it's long enough you are not speaking one
to the other.

MARY DOUL.  Let the two of you not torment me at all.

[She goes out left, with her head in the air.]

MARTIN DOUL -- [stops work and looks after her.] -- Well, isn't
it a queer thing she can't keep herself two days without looking
on my face?

TIMMY -- [jeeringly.] -- Looking on your face is it?  And she
after going by with her head turned the way you'd see a priest
going where there'd be a drunken man in the side ditch talking
with a girl.  (Martin Doul gets up and goes to corner of forge,
and looks out left.)  Come back here and don't mind her at all. 
Come back here, I'm saying, you've no call to be spying behind
her since she went off, and left you, in place of breaking her
heart, trying to keep you in the decency of clothes and food.

MARTIN DOUL -- [crying out indignantly.] -- You know rightly,
Timmy, it was myself drove her away.

TIMMY.  That's a lie you're telling, yet it's little I care which
one of you was driving the other, and let you walk back here, I'm
saying, to your work.

MARTIN DOUL -- [turning round.] -- I'm coming, surely.

[He stops and looks out right, going a step or two towards
centre.]

TIMMY.  On what is it you're gaping, Martin Doul?

MARTIN DOUL.  There's a person walking above. . . .  It's Molly
Byrne, I'm thinking, coming down with her can.

TIMMY.  If she is itself let you not be idling this day, or
minding her at all, and let you hurry with them sticks, for I'll
want you in a short while to be blowing in the forge. [He throws
down pot-hooks.]

MARTIN DOUL -- [crying out.] -- Is it roasting me now you'd be? 
(Turns back and sees pot-hooks; he takes them up.)  Pot-hooks? 
Is it over them you've been inside sneezing and sweating since
the dawn of day?

TIMMY -- [resting himself on anvil, with satisfaction.] -- I'm
making a power of things you do have when you're settling with a
wife, Martin Doul; for I heard tell last night the Saint'll be
passing again in a short while, and I'd have him wed Molly with
myself. . . . He'd do it, I've heard them say, for not a penny at
all.

MARTIN DOUL -- [lays down hooks and looks at him steadily.] --
Molly'll be saying great praises now to the Almighty God and He
giving her a fine, stout, hardy man the like of you.

TIMMY -- [uneasily.] -- And why wouldn't she, if she's a fine
woman itself?

MARTIN DOUL -- [looking up right.] -- Why wouldn't she, indeed,
Timmy? . . . . The Almighty God's made a fine match in the two of
you, for if you went marrying a woman was the like of yourself
you'd be having the fearfullest little children, I'm thinking,
was ever seen in the world.

TIMMY -- [seriously offended.] -- God forgive you! if you're an
ugly man to be looking at, I'm thinking your tongue's worse than
your view.

MARTIN DOUL -- [hurt also.] -- Isn't it destroyed with the cold I
am, and if I'm ugly itself I never seen anyone the like of you
for dreepiness this day, Timmy the smith, and I'm thinking now
herself's coming above you'd have a right to step up into your
old shanty, and give a rub to your face, and not be sitting there
with your bleary eyes, and your big nose, the like of an old
scarecrow stuck down upon the road.

TIMMY -- [looking up the road uneasily.] She's no call to mind
what way I look, and I after building a house with four rooms in
it above on the hill.  (He stands up.)  But it's a queer thing
the way yourself and Mary Doul are after setting every person in
this place, and up beyond to Rathvanna, talking of nothing, and
thinking of nothing, but the way they do be looking in the face. 
(Going towards forge.)  It's the devil's work you're after doing
with your talk of fine looks, and I'd do right, maybe, to step in
and wash the blackness from my eyes.

[He goes into forge.  Martin Doul rubs his face furtively with
the tail of his coat.  Molly Byrne comes on right with a
water-can, and begins to fill it at the well.]

MARTIN DOUL.  God save you, Molly Byrne.

MOLLY BYRNE -- [indifferently.] -- God save you.

MARTIN DOUL.  That's a dark, gloomy day, and the Lord have mercy
on us all.

MOLLY BYRNE.  Middling dark.

MARTIN DOUL.  It's a power of dirty days, and dark mornings, and
shabby-looking fellows (he makes a gesture over his shoulder) we
do have to be looking on when we have our sight, God help us, but
there's one fine thing we have, to be looking on a grand, white,
handsome girl, the like of you . . . . and every time I set my
eyes on you I do be blessing the saints, and the holy water, and
the power of the Lord Almighty in the heavens above.

MOLLY BYRNE.  I've heard the priests say it isn't looking on a
young girl would teach many to be saying their prayers. [Bailing
water into her can with a cup.]

MARTIN DOUL.  It isn't many have been the way I was, hearing your
voice speaking, and not seeing you at all.

MOLLY BYRNE.  That should have been a queer time for an old,
wicked, coaxing fool to be sitting there with your eyes shut, and
not seeing a sight of girl or woman passing the road.

MARTIN DOUL.  If it was a queer time itself it was great joy and
pride I had the time I'd hear your voice speaking and you passing
to Grianan (beginning to speak with plaintive intensity), for
it's of many a fine thing your voice would put a poor dark fellow
in mind, and the day I'd hear it it's of little else at all I
would be thinking.

MOLLY BYRNE.  I'll tell your wife if you talk to me the like of
that. . . .  You've heard, maybe, she's below picking nettles for
the widow O'Flinn, who took great pity on her when she seen the
two of you fighting, and yourself putting shame on her at the
crossing of the roads.

MARTIN DOUL -- [impatiently.] -- Is there no living person can
speak a score of words to me, or say "God speed you," itself,
without putting me in mind of the old woman, or that day either
at Grianan?

MOLLY BYRNE -- [maliciously.] -- I was thinking it should be a
fine thing to put you in mind of the day you called the grand day
of your life.

MARTIN DOUL.  Grand day, is it? (Plaintively again, throwing
aside his work, and leaning towards her.)  Or a bad black day
when I was roused up and found I was the like of the little
children do be listening to the stories of an old woman, and do
be dreaming after in the dark night that it's in grand houses of
gold they are, with speckled horses to ride, and do be waking
again, in a short while, and they destroyed with the cold, and
the thatch dripping, maybe, and the starved ass braying in the
yard?

MOLLY BYRNE -- [working indifferently.] -- You've great romancing
this day, Martin Doul.  Was it up at the still you were at the
fall of night?

MARTIN DOUL -- [stands up, comes towards her, but stands at far
(right) side of well.] -- It was not, Molly Byrne, but lying down
in a little rickety shed. . . .  Lying down across a sop of
straw, and I thinking I was seeing you walk, and hearing the
sound of your step on a dry road, and hearing you again, and you
laughing and making great talk in a high room with dry timber
lining the roof.  For it's a fine sound your voice has that time,
and it's better I am, I'm thinking, lying down, the way a blind
man does be lying, than to be sitting here in the gray light
taking hard words of Timmy the smith.

MOLLY BYRNE -- [looking at him with interest.] -- It's queer talk
you have if it's a little, old, shabby stump of a man you are
itself.

MARTIN DOUL.  I'm not so old as you do hear them say.

MOLLY BYRNE.  You're old, I'm thinking, to be talking that talk
with a girl.

MARTIN DOUL -- [despondingly.] -- It's not a lie you're telling,
maybe, for it's long years I'm after losing from the world,
feeling love and talking love, with the old woman, and I fooled
the whole while with the lies of Timmy the smith.

MOLLY BYRNE -- [half invitingly.] -- It's a fine way you're
wanting to pay Timmy the smith. . . .  And it's not his LIES
you're making love to this day, Martin Doul.

MARTIN DOUL.  It is not, Molly, and the Lord forgive us all.  (He
passes behind her and comes near her left.)  For I've heard tell
there are lands beyond in Cahir Iveraghig and the Reeks of Cork
with warm sun in them, and fine light in the sky.  (Bending
towards her.)  And light's a grand thing for a man ever was
blind, or a woman, with a fine neck, and a skin on her the like
of you, the way we'd have a right to go off this day till we'd
have a fine life passing abroad through them towns of the south,
and we telling stories, maybe, or singing songs at the fairs.

MOLLY BYRNE -- [turning round half amused, and looking him over
from head to foot.] -- Well, isn't it a queer thing when your own
wife's after leaving you because you're a pitiful show, you'd
talk the like of that to me?

MARTIN DOUL -- [drawing back a little, hurt, but indignant.] --
It's a queer thing, maybe, for all things is queer in the world. 
(In a low voice with peculiar emphasis.)  But there's one thing
I'm telling you, if she walked off away from me, it wasn't
because of seeing me, and I no more than I am, but because I was
looking on her with my two eyes, and she getting up, and eating
her food, and combing her hair, and lying down for her sleep.

MOLLY BYRNE -- [interested, off her guard.] -- Wouldn't any
married man you'd have be doing the like of that?

MARTIN DOUL -- [seizing the moment that he has her attention.] --
I'm thinking by the mercy of God it's few sees anything but them
is blind for a space (with excitement.) It's a few sees the old
woman rotting for the grave, and it's few sees the like of
yourself. (He bends over her.)  Though it's shining you are, like
a high lamp would drag in the ships out of the sea.

MOLLY BYRNE -- [shrinking away from him.] -- Keep off from me,
Martin Doul.

MARTIN DOUL -- [quickly, with low, furious intensity.] -- It's
the truth I'm telling you.  (He puts his hand on her shoulder and
shakes her.)  And you'd do right not to marry a man is after
looking out a long while on the bad days of the world; for what
way would the like of him have fit eyes to look on yourself, when
you rise up in the morning and come out of the little door you
have above in the lane, the time it'd be a fine thing if a man
would be seeing, and losing his sight, the way he'd have your two
eyes facing him, and he going the roads, and shining above him,
and he looking in the sky, and springing up from the earth, the
time he'd lower his head, in place of the muck that seeing men do
meet all roads spread on the world.

MOLLY BYRNE -- [who has listened half mesmerized, starting away.]
-- It's the like of that talk you'd hear from a man would be
losing his mind.

MARTIN DOUL -- [going after her, passing to her right.] -- It'd
be little wonder if a man near the like of you would be losing
his mind.  Put down your can now, and come along with myself, for
I'm seeing you this day, seeing you, maybe, the way no man has
seen you in the world.  (He takes her by the arm and tries to
pull her away softly to the right.)  Let you come on now, I'm
saying, to the lands of Iveragh and the Reeks of Cork, where you
won't set down the width of your two feet and not be crushing
fine flowers, and making sweet smells in the air.

MOLLY BYRNE -- [laying down the can; trying to free herself.] --
Leave me go, Martin Doul!  Leave me go, I'm saying!

MARTIN DOUL.  Let you not be fooling.  Come along now the little
path through the trees.

MOLLY BYRNE -- [crying out towards forge.] -- Timmy the smith.
(Timmy comes out of forge, and Martin Doul lets her go.  Molly
Byrne, excited and breathless, pointing to Martin Doul.)  Did
ever you hear that them that loses their sight loses their senses
along with it, Timmy the smith!

TIMMY -- [suspicious, but uncertain.] -- He's no sense, surely,
and he'll be having himself driven off this day from where he's
good sleeping, and feeding, and wages for his work.

MOLLY BYRNE -- [as before.] -- He's a bigger fool than that,
Timmy.  Look on him now, and tell me if that isn't a grand fellow
to think he's only to open his mouth to have a fine woman, the
like of me, running along by his heels.

[Martin Doul recoils towards centre, with his hand to his eyes;
Mary Doul is seen on left coming forward softly.]

TIMMY -- [with blank amazement.] -- Oh, the blind is wicked
people, and it's no lie. But he'll walk off this day and not be
troubling us more.

[Turns back left and picks up Martin Doul's coat and stick; some
things fall out of coat pocket, which he gathers up again.]

MARTIN DOUL -- [turns around, sees Mary Doul, whispers to Molly
Byrne with imploring agony.] -- Let you not put shame on me,
Molly, before herself and the smith.  Let you not put shame on me
and I after saying fine words to you, and dreaming . . . dreams .
. . . in the night.  (He hesitates, and looks round the sky.)  Is
it a storm of thunder is coming, or the last end of the world? 
(He staggers towards Mary Doul, tripping slightly over tin can.) 
The heavens is closing, I'm thinking, with darkness and great
trouble passing in the sky.  (He reaches Mary Doul, and seizes
her left arm with both his hands -- with a frantic cry.)  Is it
darkness of thunder is coming, Mary Doul!  Do you see me clearly
with your eyes?

MARY DOUL -- [snatches her arm away, and hits him with empty sack
across the face.] -- I see you a sight too clearly, and let you
keep off from me now.

MOLLY BYRNE -- [clapping her hands.] -- That's right, Mary. 
That's the way to treat the like of him is after standing there
at my feet and asking me to go off with him, till I'd grow an old
wretched road-woman the like of yourself.

MARY DOUL -- [defiantly.] -- When the skin shrinks on your chin,
Molly Byrne, there won't be the like of you for a shrunk hag in
the four quarters of Ireland. . . .  It's a fine pair you'd be,
surely!

[Martin Doul is standing at back right centre, with his back to
the audience.]

TIMMY -- [coming over to Mary Doul.] -- Is it no shame you have
to let on she'd ever be the like of you?

MARY DOUL.  It's them that's fat and flabby do be wrinkled young,
and that whitish yellowy hair she has does be soon turning the
like of a handful of thin grass you'd see rotting, where the wet
lies, at the north of a sty. (Turning to go out on right.)  Ah,
it's a better thing to have a simple, seemly face, the like of my
face, for two-score years, or fifty itself, than to be setting
fools mad a short while, and then to be turning a thing would
drive off the little children from your feet.

[She goes out; Martin Doul has come forward again, mastering
himself, but uncertain.]

TIMMY.  Oh, God protect us, Molly, from the words of the blind. 
(He throws down Martin Doul's coat and stick.)  There's your old
rubbish now, Martin Doul, and let you take it up, for it's all
you have, and walk off through the world, for if ever I meet you
coming again, if it's seeing or blind you are itself, I'll bring
out the big hammer and hit you a welt with it will leave you easy
till the judgment day.

MARTIN DOUL -- [rousing himself with an effort.] -- What call
have you to talk the like of that with myself?

TIMMY -- [pointing to Molly Byrne.] -- It's well you know what
call I have.  It's well you know a decent girl, I'm thinking to
wed, has no right to have her heart scalded with hearing talk --
and queer, bad talk, I'm thinking -- from a raggy-looking fool
the like of you.

MARTIN DOUL -- [raising his voice.] -- It's making game of you
she is, for what seeing girl would marry with yourself?  Look on
him, Molly, look on him, I'm saying, for I'm seeing him still,
and let you raise your voice, for the time is come, and bid him
go up into his forge, and be sitting there by himself, sneezing
and sweating, and he beating pot-hooks till the judgment day. [He
seizes her arm again.]

MOLLY BYRNE.  Keep him off from me, Timmy!

TIMMY -- [pushing Martin Doul aside.] -- Would you have me strike
you, Martin Doul? Go along now after your wife, who's a fit match
for you, and leave Molly with myself.

MARTIN DOUL -- [despairingly.] -- Won't you raise your voice,
Molly, and lay hell's long curse on his tongue?

MOLLY BYRNE -- [on Timmy's left.] -- I'll be telling him it's
destroyed I am with the sight of you and the sound of your voice. 
Go off now after your wife, and if she beats you again, let you
go after the tinker girls is above running the hills, or down
among the sluts of the town, and you'll learn one day, maybe, the
way a man should speak with a well-reared, civil girl the like of
me.  (She takes Timmy by the arm.)  Come up now into the forge
till he'll be gone down a bit on the road, for it's near afeard I
am of the wild look he has come in his eyes.

[She goes into the forge.  Timmy stops in the doorway.]

TIMMY.  Let me not find you out here again, Martin Doul.  (He
bares his arm.) It's well you know Timmy the smith has great
strength in his arm, and it's a power of things it has broken a
sight harder than the old bone of your skull.

[He goes into the forge and pulls the door after him.]

MARTIN DOUL -- [stands a moment with his hand to his eyes.] --
And that's the last thing I'm to set my sight on in the life of
the world -- the villainy of a woman and the bloody strength of a
man.  Oh, God, pity a poor, blind fellow, the way I am this day
with no strength in me to do hurt to them at all. (He begins
groping about for a moment, then stops.)  Yet if I've no strength
in me I've a voice left for my prayers, and may God blight them
this day, and my own soul the same hour with them, the way I'll
see them after, Molly Byrne and Timmy the smith, the two of them
on a high bed, and they screeching in hell. . . .  It'll be a
grand thing that time to look on the two of them; and they
twisting and roaring out, and twisting and roaring again, one day
and the next day, and each day always and ever.  It's not blind
I'll be that time, and it won't be hell to me, I'm thinking, but
the like of heaven itself; and it's fine care I'll be taking the
Lord Almighty doesn't know. [He turns to grope out.]

CURTAIN



 ACT III

[The same Scene as in first Act, but gap in centre has been
filled with briars, or branches of some sort.  Mary Doul, blind
again, gropes her way in on left, and sits as before.  She has a
few rushes with her.  It is an early spring day.

MARY DOUL -- [mournfully.] -- Ah, God help me . . . God help me;
the blackness wasn't so black at all the other time as it is this
time, and it's destroyed I'll be now, and hard set to get my
living working alone, when it's few are passing and the winds are
cold. (She begins shredding rushes.)  I'm thinking short days
will be long days to me from this time, and I sitting here, not
seeing a blink, or hearing a word, and no thought in my mind but
long prayers that Martin Doul'll get his reward in a short while
for the villainy of his heart.  It's great jokes the people'll be
making now, I'm thinking, and they pass me by, pointing their
fingers maybe, and asking what place is himself, the way it's no
quiet or decency I'll have from this day till I'm an old woman
with long white hair and it twisting from my brow.  (She fumbles
with her hair, and then seems to hear something.  Listens for a
moment.)  There's a queer, slouching step coming on the road. . .
.  God help me, he's coming surely.

[She stays perfectly quiet.  Martin Doul gropes in on right,
blind also.]

MARTIN DOUL -- [gloomily.] -- The devil mend Mary Doul for
putting lies on me, and letting on she was grand.  The devil mend
the old Saint for letting me see it was lies.  (He sits down near
her.)  The devil mend Timmy the smith for killing me with hard
work, and keeping me with an empty, windy stomach in me, in the
day and in the night.  Ten thousand devils mend the soul of Molly
Byrne -- (Mary Doul nods her head with approval.) -- and the bad,
wicked souls is hidden in all the women of the world.  (He rocks
himself, with his hand over his face.)  It's lonesome I'll be
from this day, and if living people is a bad lot, yet Mary Doul,
herself, and she a dirty, wrinkled-looking hag, was better maybe
to be sitting along with than no one at all. I'll be getting my
death now, I'm thinking, sitting alone in the cold air, hearing
the night coming, and the blackbirds flying round in the briars
crying to themselves, the time you'll hear one cart getting off a
long way in the east, and another cart getting off a long way in
the west, and a dog barking maybe, and a little wind turning the
sticks.  (He listens and sighs heavily.)  I'll be destroyed
sitting alone and losing my senses this time the way I'm after
losing my sight, for it'd make any person afeard to be sitting up
hearing the sound of his breath -- (he moves his feet on the
stones) -- and the noise of his feet, when it's a power of queer
things do be stirring, little sticks breaking, and the grass
moving -- (Mary Doul half sighs, and he turns on her in horror)
-- till you'd take your dying oath on sun and moon a thing was
breathing on the stones.  (He listens towards her for a moment,
then starts up nervously, and gropes about for his stick.)  I'll
be going now, I'm thinking, but I'm not sure what place my
stick's in, and I'm destroyed with terror and dread.  (He touches
her face as he is groping about and cries out.)  There's a thing
with a cold, living face on it sitting up at my side. (He turns
to run away, but misses his path and stumbles in against the
wall.)  My road is lost on me now!  Oh, merciful God, set my foot
on the path this day, and I'll be saying prayers morning and
night, and not straining my ear after young girls, or doing any
bad thing till I die.

MARY DOUL -- [indignantly.] -- Let you not be telling lies to the
Almighty God.

MARTIN DOUL.  Mary Doul, is it? (Recovering himself with immense
relief.) Is it Mary Doul, I'm saying?

MARY DOUL.  There's a sweet tone in your voice I've not heard for
a space.  You're taking me for Molly Byrne, I'm thinking.

MARTIN DOUL -- [coming towards her, wiping sweat from his face.]
-- Well, sight's a queer thing for upsetting a man.  It's a queer
thing to think I'd live to this day to be fearing the like of
you; but if it's shaken I am for a short while, I'll soon be
coming to myself.

MARY DOUL.  You'll be grand then, and it's no lie.

MARTIN DOUL -- [sitting down shyly, some way off.] -- You've no
call to be talking, for I've heard tell you're as blind as
myself.

MARY DOUL.  If I am I'm bearing in mind I'm married to a little
dark stump of a fellow looks the fool of the world, and I'll be
bearing in mind from this day the great hullabuloo he's after
making from hearing a poor woman breathing quiet in her place.

MARTIN DOUL.  And you'll be bearing in mind, I'm thinking, what
you seen a while back when you looked down into a well, or a
clear pool, maybe, when there was no wind stirring and a good
light in the sky.

MARY DOUL.  I'm minding that surely, for if I'm not the way the
liars were saying below I seen a thing in them pools put joy and
blessing in my heart. [She puts her hand to her hair again.]

MARTIN DOUL -- [laughing ironically.] -- Well, they were saying
below I was losing my senses, but I never went any day the length
of that. . . .  God help you, Mary Doul, if you're not a wonder
for looks, you're the maddest female woman is walking the
counties of the east.

MARY DOUL -- [scornfully.]  You were saying all times you'd a
great ear for hearing the lies of the world.  A great ear, God
help you, and you think you're using it now.

MARTIN DOUL.  If it's not lies you're telling would you have me
think you're not a wrinkled poor woman is looking like three
scores, or two scores and a half!

MARY DOUL.  I would not, Martin. (She leans forward earnestly.) 
For when I seen myself in them pools, I seen my hair would be
gray or white, maybe, in a short while, and I seen with it that
I'd a face would be a great wonder when it'll have soft white
hair falling around it, the way when I'm an old woman there won't
be the like of me surely in the seven counties of the east.

MARTIN DOUL -- [with real admiration.] -- You're a cute thinking
woman, Mary Doul, and it's no lie.

MARY DOUL -- [triumphantly.] -- I am, surely, and I'm telling you
a beautiful white-haired woman is a grand thing to see, for I'm
told when Kitty Bawn was selling poteen below, the young men
itself would never tire to be looking in her face.

MARTIN DOUL -- [taking off his hat and feeling his head, speaking
with hesitation.] -- Did you think to look, Mary Doul, would
there be a whiteness the like of that coming upon me?

MARY DOUL -- [with extreme contempt.] -- On you, God help you! .
. .  In a short while you'll have a head on you as bald as an old
turnip you'd see rolling round in the muck.  You need never talk
again of your fine looks, Martin Doul, for the day of that talk's
gone for ever.

MARTIN DOUL.  That's a hard word to be saying, for I was thinking
if I'd a bit of comfort, the like of yourself, it's not far off
we'd be from the good days went before, and that'd be a wonder
surely.  But I'll never rest easy, thinking you're a gray,
beautiful woman, and myself a pitiful show.

MARY DOUL.  I can't help your looks, Martin Doul.  It wasn't
myself made you with your rat's eyes, and your big ears, and your
griseldy chin.

MARTIN DOUL -- [rubs his chin ruefully, then beams with delight.]
-- There's one thing you've forgot, if you're a cute thinking
woman itself.

MARY DOUL.  Your slouching feet, is it?  Or your hooky neck, or
your two knees is black with knocking one on the other?

MARTIN DOUL -- [with delighted scorn.] -- There's talking for a
cute woman.  There's talking, surely!

MARY DOUL -- [puzzled at joy of his voice.] -- If you'd anything
but lies to say you'd be talking to yourself.

MARTIN DOUL -- [bursting with excitement.] -- I've this to say,
Mary Doul.  I'll be letting my beard grow in a short while, a
beautiful, long, white, silken, streamy beard, you wouldn't see
the like of in the eastern world. . . .  Ah, a white beard's a
grand thing on an old man, a grand thing for making the quality
stop and be stretching out their hands with good silver or gold,
and a beard's a thing you'll never have, so you may be holding
your tongue.

MARY DOUL -- [laughing cheerfully.] -- Well, we're a great pair,
surely, and it's great times we'll have yet, maybe, and great
talking before we die.

MARTIN DOUL.  Great times from this day, with the help of the
Almighty God, for a priest itself would believe the lies of an
old man would have a fine white beard growing on his chin.

MARY DOUL.  There's the sound of one of them twittering yellow
birds do be coming in the spring-time from beyond the sea, and
there'll be a fine warmth now in the sun, and a sweetness in the
air, the way it'll be a grand thing to be sitting here quiet and
easy smelling the things growing up, and budding from the earth.

MARTIN DOUL.  I'm smelling the furze a while back sprouting on
the hill, and if you'd hold your tongue you'd hear the lambs of
Grianan, though it's near drowned their crying is with the full
river making noises in the glen.

MARY DOUL -- [listens.] -- The lambs is bleating, surely, and
there's cocks and laying hens making a fine stir a mile off on
the face of the hill.  (She starts.)

MARTIN DOUL.  What's that is sounding in the west? [A faint sound
of a bell is heard.]

MARY DOUL.  It's not the churches, for the wind's blowing from
the sea.

MARTIN DOUL -- [with dismay.] -- It's the old Saint, I'm
thinking, ringing his bell.

MARY DOUL.  The Lord protect us from the saints of God!  (They
listen.)  He's coming this road, surely.

MARTIN DOUL -- [tentatively.] -- Will we be running off, Mary
Doul?

MARY DOUL.  What place would we run?

MARTIN DOUL.  There's the little path going up through the
sloughs. . . .  If we reached the bank above, where the elders do
be growing, no person would see a sight of us, if it was a
hundred yeomen were passing itself; but I'm afeard after the time
we were with our sight we'll not find our way to it at all.

MARY DOUL -- [standing up.] -- You'd find the way, surely. 
You're a grand man the world knows at finding your way winter or
summer, if there was deep snow in it itself, or thick grass and
leaves, maybe, growing from the earth.

MARTIN DOUL -- [taking her hand.] -- Come a bit this way; it's
here it begins. (They grope about gap.)  There's a tree pulled
into the gap, or a strange thing happened, since I was passing it
before.

MARY DOUL.  Would we have a right to be crawling in below under
the sticks?

MARTIN DOUL.  It's hard set I am to know what would be right. 
And isn't it a poor thing to be blind when you can't run off
itself, and you fearing to see?

MARY DOUL -- [nearly in tears.] -- It's a poor thing, God help
us, and what good'll our gray hairs be itself, if we have our
sight, the way we'll see them falling each day, and turning dirty
in the rain?

[The bell sounds nearby.]

MARTIN DOUL -- [in despair.] -- He's coming now, and we won't get
off from him at all.

MARY DOUL.  Could we hide in the bit of a briar is growing at the
west butt of the church?

MARTIN DOUL.  We'll try that, surely. (He listens a moment.)  Let
you make haste; I hear them trampling in the wood. [They grope
over to church.]

MARY DOUL.  It's the words of the young girls making a great stir
in the trees. (They find the bush.)  Here's the briar on my left,
Martin; I'll go in first, I'm the big one, and I'm easy to see.

MARTIN DOUL -- [turning his head anxiously.] -- It's easy heard
you are; and will you be holding your tongue?

MARY DOUL -- [partly behind bush.] -- Come in now beside of me. 
(They kneel down, still clearly visible.)  Do you think they can
see us now, Martin Doul?

MARTIN DOUL.  I'm thinking they can't, but I'm hard set to know;
for the lot of them young girls, the devil save them, have sharp,
terrible eyes, would pick out a poor man, I'm thinking, and he
lying below hid in his grave.

MARY DOUL.  Let you not be whispering sin, Martin Doul, or maybe
it's the finger of God they'd see pointing to ourselves.

MARTIN DOUL.  It's yourself is speaking madness, Mary Doul;
haven't you heard the Saint say it's the wicked do be blind?

MARY DOUL.  If it is you'd have a right to speak a big, terrible
word would make the water not cure us at all.

MARTIN DOUL.  What way would I find a big, terrible word, and I
shook with the fear; and if I did itself, who'd know rightly if
it's good words or bad would save us this day from himself?

MARY DOUL.  They're coming.  I hear their feet on the stones.

[The Saint comes in on right, with Timmy and Molly Byrne in
holiday clothes, the others as before.]

TIMMY.  I've heard tell Martin Doul and Mary Doul were seen this
day about on the road, holy father, and we were thinking you'd
have pity on them and cure them again.

SAINT.  I would, maybe, but where are they at all?  I have little
time left when I have the two of you wed in the church.

MAT SIMON -- [at their seat.] -- There are the rushes they do
have lying round on the stones.  It's not far off they'll be,
surely.

MOLLY BYRNE -- [pointing with astonishment.] -- Look beyond,
Timmy. [They all look over and see Martin Doul.]

TIMMY.  Well, Martin's a lazy fellow to be lying in there at the
height of the day. (He goes over shouting.)  Let you get up out
of that.  You were near losing a great chance by your sleepiness
this day, Martin Doul. . . . The two of them's in it, God help us
all!

MARTIN DOUL -- [scrambling up with Mary Doul.] -- What is it you
want, Timmy, that you can't leave us in peace?

TIMMY.  The Saint's come to marry the two of us, and I'm after
speaking a word for yourselves, the way he'll be curing you now;
for if you're a foolish man itself, I do be pitying you, for I've
a kind heart, when I think of you sitting dark again, and you
after seeing a while and working for your bread. [Martin Doul
takes Mary Doul's hand and tries to grope his way off right; he
has lost his hat, and they are both covered with dust and grass
seeds.]

PEOPLE.  You're going wrong.  It's this way, Martin Doul.

[They push him over in front of the Saint, near centre.  Martin
Doul and Mary Doul stand with piteous hang-dog dejection.]

SAINT.  Let you not be afeard, for there's great pity with the
Lord.

MARTIN DOUL.  We aren't afeard, holy father.

SAINT.  It's many a time those that are cured with the well of
the four beauties of God lose their sight when a time is gone,
but those I cure a second time go on seeing till the hour of
death.  (He takes the cover from his can.) I've a few drops only
left of the water, but, with the help of God, It'll be enough for
the two of you, and let you kneel down now upon the road. [Martin
Doul wheels round with Mary Doul and tries to get away.

SAINT.  You can kneel down here, I'm saying, we'll not trouble
this time going to the church.

TIMMY -- [turning Martin Doul round, angrily.] -- Are you going
mad in your head, Martin Doul?  It's here you're to kneel.  Did
you not hear his reverence, and he speaking to you now?

SAINT.  Kneel down, I'm saying, the ground's dry at your feet.

MARTIN DOUL -- [with distress.] -- Let you go on your own way,
holy father.  We're not calling you at all.

SAINT.  I'm not saying a word of pen- ance, or fasting itself,
for I'm thinking the Lord has brought you great teaching in the
blindness of your eyes; so you've no call now to be fearing me,
but let you kneel down till I give you your sight.

MARTIN DOUL -- [more troubled.] -- We're not asking our sight,
holy father, and let you walk on your own way, and be fasting, or
praying, or doing anything that you will, but leave us here in
our peace, at the crossing of the roads, for it's best we are
this way, and we're not asking to see.

SAINT -- [to the People.] -- Is his mind gone that he's no wish
to be cured this day, or to be living or working, or looking on
the wonders of the world?

MARTIN DOUL.  It's wonders enough I seen in a short space for the
life of one man only.

SAINT -- [severely.] -- I never heard tell of any person wouldn't
have great joy to be looking on the earth, and the image of the
Lord thrown upon men.

MARTIN DOUL -- [raising his voice.] -- Them is great sights, holy
father. . . .  What was it I seen when I first opened my eyes but
your own bleeding feet, and they cut with the stones?  That was a
great sight, maybe, of the image of God. . . .  And what was it I
seen my last day but the villainy of hell looking out from the
eyes of the girl you're coming to marry -- the Lord forgive you
-- with Timmy the smith.  That was a great sight, maybe.  And
wasn't it great sights I seen on the roads when the north winds
would be driving, and the skies would be harsh, till you'd see
the horses and the asses, and the dogs itself, maybe, with their
heads hanging, and they closing their eyes --.

SAINT.  And did you never hear tell of the summer, and the fine
spring, and the places where the holy men of Ireland have built
up churches to the Lord?  No man isn't a madman, I'm thinking,
would be talking the like of that, and wishing to be closed up
and seeing no sight of the grand glittering seas, and the furze
that is opening above, and will soon have the hills shining as if
it was fine creels of gold they were, rising to the sky.

MARTIN DOUL.  Is it talking now you are of Knock and Ballavore? 
Ah, it's ourselves had finer sights than the like of them, I'm
telling you, when we were sitting a while back hearing the birds
and bees humming in every weed of the ditch, or when we'd be
smelling the sweet, beautiful smell does be rising in the warm
nights, when you do hear the swift flying things racing in the
air, till we'd be looking up in our own minds into a grand sky,
and seeing lakes, and big rivers, and fine hills for taking the
plough.

SAINT -- [to People.] -- There's little use talking with the like
of him.

MOLLY BYRNE.  It's lazy he is, holy father, and not wanting to
work; for a while before you had him cured he was always talking,
and wishing, and longing for his sight.

MARTIN DOUL -- [turning on her.] -- I was longing, surely for
sight; but I seen my fill in a short while with the look of my
wife, and the look of yourself, Molly Byrne, when you'd the queer
wicked grin in your eyes you do have the time you're making game
with a man.

MOLLY BYRNE.  Let you not mind him, holy father; for it's bad
things he was saying to me a while back -- bad things for a
married man, your reverence -- and you'd do right surely to leave
him in darkness, if it's that is best fitting the villainy of his
heart.

TIMMY -- [to Saint.] -- Would you cure Mary Doul, your reverence,
who is a quiet poor woman, never did hurt to any, or said a hard
word, saving only when she'd be vexed with himself, or with young
girls would be making game of her below?

SAINT -- [to Mary Doul.] -- If you have any sense, Mary, kneel
down at my feet, and I'll bring the sight again into your eyes.

MARTIN DOUL -- [more defiantly.] -- You will not, holy father. 
Would you have her looking on me, and saying hard words to me,
till the hour of death?

SAINT -- [severely.] -- If she's wanting her sight I wouldn't
have the like of you stop her at all.  (To Mary Doul.)  Kneel
down, I'm saying.

MARY DOUL -- [doubtfully.] -- Let us be as we are, holy father,
and then we'll be known again in a short while as the people is
happy and blind, and be having an easy time, with no trouble to
live, and we getting halfpence on the road.

MOLLY BYRNE.  Let you not be a raving fool, Mary Doul.  Kneel
down now, and let him give you your sight, and himself can be
sitting here if he likes it best, and taking halfpence on the
road.

TIMMY.  That's the truth, Mary; and if it's choosing a wilful
blindness you are, I'm thinking there isn't anyone in this place
will ever be giving you a hand's turn or a hap'orth of meal, or
be doing the little things you need to keep you at all living in
the world.

MAT SIMON.  If you had your sight, Mary, you could be walking up
for him and down with him, and be stitching his clothes, and
keeping a watch on him day and night the way no other woman would
come near him at all.

MARY DOUL -- [half persuaded.] -- That's the truth, maybe.

SAINT.  Kneel down now, I'm saying, for it's in haste I am to be
going on with the marriage and be walking my own way before the
fall of night.

THE PEOPLE.  Kneel down, Mary! Kneel down when you're bid by the
Saint!

MARY DOUL -- [looking uneasily towards Martin Doul.] -- Maybe
it's right they are, and I will if you wish it, holy father.

[She kneels down.  The Saint takes off his hat and gives it to
some one near him.  All the men take off their hats. He goes
forward a step to take Martin Doul's hand away from Mary Doul.]

SAINT -- [to Martin Doul.] -- Go aside now; we're not wanting you
here.

MARTIN DOUL -- [pushes him away roughly, and stands with his left
hand on Mary Doul's shoulder.] -- Keep off yourself, holy father,
and let you not be taking my rest from me in the darkness of my
wife. . . . What call has the like of you to be coming between
married people -- that you're not understanding at all -- and be
making a great mess with the holy water you have, and the length
of your prayers?  Go on now, I'm saying, and leave us here on the
road.

SAINT.  If it was a seeing man I heard talking to me the like of
that I'd put a black curse on him would weigh down his soul till
it'd be falling to hell; but you're a poor blind sinner, God
forgive you, and I don't mind you at all.  (He raises his can.) 
Go aside now till I give the blessing to your wife, and if you
won't go with your own will, there are those standing by will
make you, surely.

MARTIN DOUL -- [pulling Mary Doul.] -- Come along now, and don't
mind him at all.

SAINT -- [imperiously, to the People.] -- Let you take that man
and drive him down upon the road. [Some men seize Martin Doul.]

MARTIN DOUL -- [struggling and shouting.] -- Make them leave me
go, holy father! Make them leave me go, I'm saying, and you may
cure her this day, or do anything that you will.

SAINT -- [to People.] -- Let him be. . . . . Let him be if his
sense is come to him at all.

MARTIN DOUL -- [shakes himself loose, feels for Mary Doul,
sinking his voice to a plausible whine.] -- You may cure herself,
surely, holy father; I wouldn't stop you at all -- and it's great
joy she'll have looking on your face -- but let you cure myself
along with her, the way I'll see when it's lies she's telling,
and be looking out day and night upon the holy men of God.

[He kneels down a little before Mary Doul.]

SAINT -- [speaking half to the People.] -- Men who are dark a
long while and thinking over queer thoughts in their heads,
aren't the like of simple men, who do be working every day, and
praying, and living like ourselves; so if he has found a right
mind at the last minute itself, I'll cure him, if the Lord will,
and not be thinking of the hard, foolish words he's after saying
this day to us all.

MARTIN DOUL -- [listening eagerly.] -- I'm waiting now, holy
father.

SAINT -- [with can in his hand, close to Martin Doul.] -- With
the power of the water from the grave of the four beauties of
God, with the power of this water, I'm saying, that I put upon
your eyes --. [He raises can.]

MARTIN DOUL -- [with a sudden movement strikes the can from the
Saint's hand and sends it rocketing across stage.  He stands up;
People murmur loudly.] --  If I'm a poor dark sinner I've sharp
ears, God help me, and have left you with a big head on you and
it's well I heard the little splash of the water you had there in
the can.  Go on now, holy father, for if you're a fine Saint
itself, it's more sense is in a blind man, and more power maybe
than you're thinking at all.  Let you walk on now with your worn
feet, and your welted knees, and your fasting, holy ways a thin
pitiful arm.  (The Saint looks at him for a moment severely, then
turns away and picks up his can.  He pulls Mary Doul up.)  For if
it's a right some of you have to be working and sweating the like
of Timmy the smith, and a right some of you have to be fasting
and praying and talking holy talk the like of yourself, I'm
thinking it's a good right ourselves have to be sitting blind,
hearing a soft wind turning round the little leaves of the spring
and feeling the sun, and we not tormenting our souls with the
sight of the gray days, and the holy men, and the dirty feet is
trampling the world.

[He gropes towards his stone with Mary Doul.]

MAT SIMON.  It'd be an unlucky fearful thing, I'm thinking, to
have the like of that man living near us at all in the townland
of Grianan.  Wouldn't he bring down a curse upon us, holy father,
from the heavens of God?

SAINT -- [tying his girdle.] -- God has great mercy, but great
wrath for them that sin.

THE PEOPLE.  Go on now, Martin Doul.  Go on from this place.  Let
you not be bringing great storms or droughts on us maybe from the
power of the Lord. [Some of them throw things at him.]

MARTIN DOUL -- [turning round defiantly and picking up a stone.]
-- Keep off now, the yelping lot of you, or it's more than one
maybe will get a bloody head on him with the pitch of my stone. 
Keep off now, and let you not be afeard; for we're going on the
two of us to the towns of the south, where the people will have
kind voices maybe, and we won't know their bad looks or their
villainy at all.  (He takes Mary Doul's hand again.)  Come along
now and we'll be walking to the south, for we've seen too much of
everyone in this place, and it's small joy we'd have living near
them, or hearing the lies they do be telling from the gray of
dawn till the night.

MARY DOUL -- [despondingly.] -- That's the truth, surely; and
we'd have a right to be gone, if it's a long way itself, as I've
heard them say, where you do have to be walking with a slough of
wet on the one side and a slough of wet on the other, and you
going a stony path with a north wind blowing behind. [They go
out.]

TIMMY.  There's a power of deep rivers with floods in them where
you do have to be lepping the stones and you going to the south,
so I'm thinking the two of them will be drowned together in a
short while, surely.

SAINT.  They have chosen their lot, and the Lord have mercy on
their souls.  (He rings his bell.)  And let the two of you come
up now into the church, Molly Byrne and Timmy the smith, till I
make your marriage and put my blessing on you all.

[He turns to the church; procession forms, and the curtain comes
down, as they go slowly into the church.]





End of The Project Gutenberg Etext of The Well of the Saints, by Synge


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