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Title:      The Iceman Cometh (1946)
Author:     Eugene O'Neill (1888-1953)
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Language:   English
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A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook

Title:      The Iceman Cometh (1946)
Author:     Eugene O'Neill (1888-1953)


HARRY HOPE, proprietor of a saloon and rooming house*

ED MOSHER, Hope's brother-in-law, one-time circus man*

PAT McGLOIN, one-time Police Lieutenant*

WILLIE OBAN, a Harvard Law School alumnus*

JOE MOTT, one-time proprietor of a Negro gambling house

PIET WETJOEN ("THE GENERAL"), one-time leader of a Boer commando*

CECIL LEWIS ("THE CAPTAIN"), one-time Captain of British infantry*

JAMES CAMERON ("JIMMY TOMORROW"), one-time Boer War correspondent*

HUGO KALMAR, one-time editor of Anarchist periodicals

LARRY SLADE, one-time Syndicalist-Anarchist*

ROCKY PIOGGI, night bartender*


MARGIE*--street walkers

CHUCK MORELLO, day bartender*

THEODORE HICKMAN (HICKEY), a hardware salesman



*Roomers at Harry Hope's.



Scene--Back room and a section of the bar at Harry Hope's--early
morning in summer, 1912.


Scene--Back room, around midnight of the same day.


Scene--Bar and a section of the back room--morning of the following


Scene--Same as Act One.  Back room and a section of the bar--around
1:30 A.M. of the next day.

Harry Hope's is a Raines-Law hotel of the period, a cheap ginmill
of the five-cent whiskey, last-resort variety situated on the
downtown West Side of New York.  The building, owned by Hope, is a
narrow five-story structure of the tenement type, the second floor
a flat occupied by the proprietor.  The renting of rooms on the
upper floors, under the Raines-Law loopholes, makes the
establishment legally a hotel and gives it the privilege of serving
liquor in the back room of the bar after closing hours and on
Sundays, provided a meal is served with the booze, thus making a
back room legally a hotel restaurant.  This food provision was
generally circumvented by putting a property sandwich in the middle
of each table, an old desiccated ruin of dust-laden bread and
mummified ham or cheese which only the drunkest yokel from the
sticks ever regarded as anything but a noisome table decoration.
But at Harry Hope's, Hope being a former minor Tammanyite and still
possessing friends, this food technicality is ignored as
irrelevant, except during the fleeting alarms of reform agitation.
Even Hope's back room is not a separate room, but simply the rear
of the barroom divided from the bar by drawing a dirty black
curtain across the room.

The Iceman Cometh


SCENE--The back room and a section of the bar of Harry Hope's
saloon on an early morning in summer, 1912.  The right wall of the
back room is a dirty black curtain which separates it from the bar.
At rear, this curtain is drawn back from the wall so the bartender
can get in and out.  The back room is crammed with round tables and
chairs placed so close together that it is a difficult squeeze to
pass between them.  In the middle of the rear wall is a door
opening on a hallway.  In the left corner, built out into the room,
is the toilet with a sign "This is it" on the door.  Against the
middle of the left wall is a nickel-in-the-slot phonograph.  Two
windows, so glazed with grime one cannot see through them, are in
the left wall, looking out on a backyard.  The walls and ceiling
once were white, but it was a long time ago, and they are now so
splotched, peeled, stained and dusty that their color can best be
described as dirty.  The floor, with iron spittoons placed here and
there, is covered with sawdust.  Lighting comes from single wall
brackets, two at left and two at rear.

There are three rows of tables, from front to back.  Three are in
the front line.  The one at left-front has four chairs; the one at
center-front, four; the one at right-front, five.  At rear of, and
half between, front tables one and two is a table of the second row
with five chairs.  A table, similarly placed at rear of front
tables two and three, also has five chairs.  The third row of
tables, four chairs to one and six to the other, is against the
rear wall on either side of the door.

At right of this dividing curtain is a section of the barroom, with
the end of the bar seen at rear, a door to the hall at left of it.
At front is a table with four chairs.  Light comes from the street
windows off right, the gray subdued light of early morning in a
narrow street.  In the back room, Larry Slade and Hugo Kalmar are
at the table at left-front, Hugo in a chair facing right, Larry at
rear of table facing front, with an empty chair between them.  A
fourth chair is at right of table, facing left.  Hugo is a small
man in his late fifties.  He has a head much too big for his body,
a high forehead, crinkly long black hair streaked with gray, a
square face with a pug nose, a walrus mustache, black eyes which
peer nearsightedly from behind thick-lensed spectacles, tiny hands
and feet.  He is dressed in threadbare black clothes and his white
shirt is frayed at collar and cuffs, but everything about him is
fastidiously clean.  Even his flowing Windsor tie is neatly tied.
There is a foreign atmosphere about him, the stamp of an alien
radical, a strong resemblance to the type Anarchist as portrayed,
bomb in hand, in newspaper cartoons.  He is asleep now, bent
forward in his chair, his arms folded on the table, his head
resting sideways on his arms.

Larry Slade is sixty.  He is tall, raw-boned, with coarse straight
white hair, worn long and raggedly cut.  He has a gaunt Irish face
with a big nose, high cheekbones, a lantern jaw with a week's
stubble of beard, a mystic's meditative pale-blue eyes with a gleam
of sharp sardonic humor in them.  As slovenly as Hugo is neat, his
clothes are dirty and much slept in.  His gray flannel shirt, open
at the neck, has the appearance of having never been washed.  From
the way he methodically scratches himself with his long-fingered,
hairy hands, he is lousy and reconciled to being so.  He is the
only occupant of the room who is not asleep.  He stares in front of
him, an expression of tired tolerance giving his face the quality
of a pitying but weary old priest's.

All four chairs at the middle table, front, are occupied.  Joe Mott
sits at left front of the table, facing front.  Behind him, facing
right-front, is Piet Wetjoen ("The General").  At center of the
table, rear, James Cameron ("Jimmy Tomorrow") sits facing front.
At right of table, opposite Joe, is Cecil Lewis ("The Captain").

Joe Mott is a Negro, about fifty years old, brown-skinned, stocky,
wearing a light suit that had once been flashily sporty but is now
about to fall apart.  His pointed tan buttoned shoes, faded pink
shirt and bright tie belong to the same vintage.  Still, he manages
to preserve an atmosphere of nattiness and there is nothing dirty
about his appearance.  His face is only mildly negroid in type.
The nose is thin and his lips are not noticeably thick.  His hair
is crinkly and he is beginning to get bald.  A scar from a knife
slash runs from his left cheekbone to jaw.  His face would be hard
and tough if it were not for its good nature and lazy humor.  He is
asleep, his nodding head supported by his left hand.

Piet Wetjoen, the Boer, is in his fifties, a huge man with a bald
head and a long grizzled beard.  He is slovenly dressed in a dirty
shapeless patched suit, spotted by food.  A Dutch farmer type, his
once great muscular strength has been debauched into flaccid
tallow.  But despite his blubbery mouth and sodden bloodshot blue
eyes, there is still a suggestion of old authority lurking in him
like a memory of the drowned.  He is hunched forward, both elbows
on the table, his hands on each side of his head for support.

James Cameron ("Jimmy Tomorrow") is about the same size and age as
Hugo, a small man.  Like Hugo, he wears threadbare black, and
everything about him is clean.  But the resemblance ceases there.
Jimmy has a face like an old well-bred, gentle bloodhound's, with
folds of flesh hanging from each side of his mouth, and big brown
friendly guileless eyes, more bloodshot than any bloodhound's ever
were.  He has mouse-colored thinning hair, a little bulbous nose,
buck teeth in a small rabbit mouth.  But his forehead is fine, his
eyes are intelligent and there once was a competent ability in him.
His speech is educated, with the ghost of a Scotch rhythm in it.
His manners are those of a gentleman.  There is a quality about him
of a prim, Victorian old maid, and at the same time of a likable,
affectionate boy who has never grown up.  He sleeps, chin on chest,
hands folded in his lap.

Cecil Lewis ("The Captain") is as obviously English as Yorkshire
pudding and just as obviously the former army officer.  He is going
on sixty.  His hair and military mustache are white, his eyes
bright blue, his complexion that of a turkey.  His lean figure is
still erect and square-shouldered.  He is stripped to the waist,
his coat, shirt, undershirt, collar and tie crushed up into a
pillow on the table in front of him, his head sideways on this
pillow, facing front, his arms dangling toward the floor.  On his
lower left shoulder is the big ragged scar of an old wound.

At the table at right, front, Harry Hope, the proprietor, sits in
the middle, facing front, with Pat McGloin on his right and Ed
Mosher on his left, the other two chairs being unoccupied.

Both McGloin and Mosher are big paunchy men.  McGloin has his old
occupation of policeman stamped all over him.  He is in his
fifties, sandy-haired, bullet-headed, jowly, with protruding ears
and little round eyes.  His face must once have been brutal and
greedy, but time and whiskey have melted it down into a good-
humored, parasite's characterlessness.  He wears old clothes and is
slovenly.  He is slumped sideways on his chair, his head drooping
jerkily toward one shoulder.

Ed Mosher is going on sixty.  He has a round kewpie's face--a
kewpie who is an unshaven habitual drunkard.  He looks like an
enlarged, elderly, bald edition of the village fat boy--a sly fat
boy, congenitally indolent, a practical joker, a born grafter and
con merchant.  But amusing and essentially harmless, even in his
most enterprising days, because always too lazy to carry
crookedness beyond petty swindling.  The influence of his old
circus career is apparent in his get-up.  His worn clothes are
flashy; he wears phony rings and a heavy brass watch-chain (not
connected to a watch).  Like McGloin, he is slovenly.  His head is
thrown back, his big mouth open.

Harry Hope is sixty, white-haired, so thin the description "bag of
bones" was made for him.  He has the face of an old family horse,
prone to tantrums, with balkiness always smoldering in its wall
eyes, waiting for any excuse to shy and pretend to take the bit in
its teeth.  Hope is one of those men whom everyone likes on sight,
a softhearted slob, without malice, feeling superior to no one, a
sinner among sinners, a born easy mark for every appeal.  He
attempts to hide his defenselessness behind a testy truculent
manner, but this has never fooled anyone.  He is a little deaf, but
not half as deaf as he sometimes pretends.  His sight is failing
but is not as bad as he complains it is.  He wears five-and-ten-
cent-store spectacles which are so out of alignment that one eye at
times peers half over one glass while the other eye looks half
under the other.  He has badly fitting store teeth, which click
like castanets when he begins to fume.  He is dressed in an old
coat from one suit and pants from another.

In a chair facing right at the table in the second line, between
the first two tables, front, sits Willie Oban, his head on his left
arm outstretched along the table edge.  He is in his late thirties,
of average height, thin.  His haggard, dissipated face has a small
nose, a pointed chin, blue eyes with colorless lashes and brows.
His blond hair, badly in need of a cut, clings in a limp part to
his skull.  His eyelids flutter continually as if any light were
too strong for his eyes.  The clothes he wears belong on a
scarecrow.  They seem constructed of an inferior grade of dirty
blotting paper.  His shoes are even more disreputable, wrecks of
imitation leather, one laced with twine, the other with a bit of
wire.  He has no socks, and his bare feet show through holes in the
soles, with his big toes sticking out of the uppers.  He keeps
muttering and twitching in his sleep.

As the curtain rises, Rocky, the night bartender, comes from the
bar through the curtain and stands looking over the back room.  He
is a Neapolitan-American in his late twenties, squat and muscular,
with a flat, swarthy face and beady eyes.  The sleeves of his
collarless shirt are rolled up on his thick, powerful arms and he
wears a soiled apron.  A tough guy but sentimental, in his way, and
good-natured.  He signals to Larry with a cautious "Sstt" and
motions him to see if Hope is asleep.  Larry rises from his chair
to look at Hope and nods to Rocky.  Rocky goes back in the bar but
immediately returns with a bottle of bar whiskey and a glass.  He
squeezes between the tables to Larry.

ROCKY--(in a low voice out of the side of his mouth)  Make it fast.
(Larry pours a drink and gulps it down.  Rocky takes the bottle and
puts it on the table where Willie Oban is.)  Don't want de Boss to
get wise when he's got one of his tightwad buns on.  (He chuckles
with an amused glance at Hope.)  Jees, ain't de old bastard a riot
when he starts dat bull about turnin' over a new leaf?  "Not a
damned drink on de house," he tells me, "and all dese bums got to
pay up deir room rent.  Beginnin' tomorrow," he says.  Jees, yuh'd
tink he meant it!  (He sits down in the chair at Larry's left.)

LARRY--(grinning)  I'll be glad to pay up--tomorrow.  And I know my
fellow inmates will promise the same.  They've all a touching
credulity concerning tomorrows.  (a half-drunken mockery in his
eyes)  It'll be a great day for them, tomorrow--the Feast of All
Fools, with brass bands playing!  Their ships will come in, loaded
to the gunwales with cancelled regrets and promises fulfilled and
clean slates and new leases!

ROCKY--(cynically)  Yeah, and a ton of hop!

LARRY--(leans toward him, a comical intensity in his low voice)
Don't mock the faith!  Have you no respect for religion, you
unregenerate Wop?  What's it matter if the truth is that their
favoring breeze has the stink of nickel whiskey on its breath, and
their sea is a growler of lager and ale, and their ships are long
since looted and scuttled and sunk on the bottom?  To hell with the
truth!  As the history of the world proves, the truth has no
bearing on anything.  It's irrelevant and immaterial, as the
lawyers say.  The lie of a pipe dream is what gives life to the
whole misbegotten mad lot of us, drunk or sober.  And that's enough
philosophic wisdom to give you for one drink of rot-gut.

ROCKY--(grins kiddingly)  De old Foolosopher, like Hickey calls
yuh, ain't yuh?  I s'pose you don't fall for no pipe dream?

LARRY--(a bit stiffly)  I don't, no.  Mine are all dead and buried
behind me.  What's before me is the comforting fact that death is a
fine long sleep, and I'm damned tired, and it can't come too soon
for me.

ROCKY--Yeah, just hangin' around hopin' you'll croak, ain't yuh?
Well, I'm bettin' you'll have a good long wait.  Jees, somebody'll
have to take an axe to croak you!

LARRY--(grins)  Yes, it's my bad luck to be cursed with an iron
constitution that even Harry's booze can't corrode.

ROCKY--De old anarchist wise guy dat knows all de answers!  Dat's
you, huh?

LARRY--(frowns)  Forget the anarchist part of it.  I'm through with
the Movement long since.  I saw men didn't want to be saved from
themselves, for that would mean they'd have to give up greed, and
they'll never pay that price for liberty.  So I said to the world,
God bless all here, and may the best man win and die of gluttony!
And I took a seat in the grandstand of philosophical detachment to
fall asleep observing the cannibals do their death dance.  (He
chuckles at his own fancy--reaches over and shakes Hugo's
shoulder.)  Ain't I telling him the truth, Comrade Hugo?

ROCKY--Aw, fer Chris' sake, don't get dat bughouse bum started!

HUGO--(raises his head and peers at Rocky blearily through his
thick spectacles--in a guttural declamatory tone)  Capitalist
swine!  Bourgeois stool pigeons!  Have the slaves no right to sleep
even?  (Then he grins at Rocky and his manner changes to a
giggling, wheedling playfulness, as though he were talking to a
child.)  Hello, leedle Rocky!  Leedle monkey-face!  Vere is your
leedle slave girls?  (with an abrupt change to a bullying tone)
Don't be a fool!  Loan me a dollar!  Damned bourgeois Wop!  The
great Malatesta is my good friend!  Buy me a trink!  (He seems to
run down, and is overcome by drowsiness.  His head sinks to the
table again and he is at once fast asleep.)

ROCKY--He's out again.  (more exasperated than angry)  He's lucky
no one don't take his cracks serious or he'd wake up every mornin'
in a hospital.

LARRY--(regarding Hugo with pity)  No.  No one takes him seriously.
That's his epitaph.  Not even the comrades any more.  If I've been
through with the Movement long since, it's been through with him,
and, thanks to whiskey, he's the only one doesn't know it.

ROCKY--I've let him get by wid too much.  He's goin' to pull dat
slave-girl stuff on me once too often.  (His manner changes to
defensive argument.)  Hell, yuh'd tink I wuz a pimp or somethin'.
Everybody knows me knows I ain't.  A pimp don't hold no job.  I'm a
bartender.  Dem tarts, Margie and Poil, dey're just a side line to
pick up some extra dough.  Strictly business, like dey was fighters
and I was deir manager, see?  I fix the cops for dem so's dey can
hustle widout gettin' pinched.  Hell, dey'd be on de Island most of
de time if it wasn't fer me.  And I don't beat dem up like a pimp
would.  I treat dem fine.  Dey like me.  We're pals, see?  What if
I do take deir dough?  Dey'd on'y trow it away.  Tarts can't hang
on to dough.  But I'm a bartender and I work hard for my livin' in
dis dump.  You know dat, Larry.

LARRY--(with inner sardonic amusement--flatteringly)  A shrewd
business man, who doesn't miss any opportunity to get on in the
world.  That's what I'd call you.

ROCKY--(pleased)  Sure ting.  Dat's me.  Grab another ball, Larry.
(Larry pours a drink from the bottle on Willie's table and gulps it
down.  Rocky glances around the room.)  Yuh'd never tink all dese
bums had a good bed upstairs to go to.  Scared if dey hit the hay
dey wouldn't be here when Hickey showed up, and dey'd miss a coupla
drinks.  Dat's what kept you up too, ain't it?

LARRY--It is.  But not so much the hope of booze, if you can
believe that.  I've got the blues and Hickey's a great one to make
a joke of everything and cheer you up.

ROCKY--Yeah, some kidder!  Remember how he woiks up dat gag about
his wife, when he's cockeyed, cryin' over her picture and den
springin' it on yuh all of a sudden dat he left her in de hay wid
de iceman?  (He laughs.)  I wonder what's happened to him.  Yuh
could set your watch by his periodicals before dis.  Always got
here a coupla days before Harry's birthday party, and now he's on'y
got till tonight to make it.  I hope he shows soon.  Dis dump is
like de morgue wid all dese bums passed out.  (Willie Oban jerks
and twitches in his sleep and begins to mumble.  They watch him.)

WILLIE--(blurts from his dream)  It's a lie!  (miserably)  Papa!

LARRY--Poor devil.  (then angry with himself)  But to hell with
pity!  It does no good.  I'm through with it!

ROCKY--Dreamin' about his old man.  From what de old-timers say, de
old gent sure made a pile of dough in de bucket-shop game before de
cops got him.  (He considers Willie frowningly.)  Jees, I've seen
him bad before but never dis bad.  Look at dat get-up.  Been
playin' de old reliever game.  Sold his suit and shoes at Solly's
two days ago.  Solly give him two bucks and a bum outfit.
Yesterday he sells de bum one back to Solly for four bits and gets
dese rags to put on.  Now he's through.  Dat's Solly's final
edition he wouldn't take back for nuttin'.  Willie sure is on de
bottom.  I ain't never seen no one so bad, except Hickey on de end
of a coupla his bats.

LARRY--(sardonically)  It's a great game, the pursuit of happiness.

ROCKY--Harry don't know what to do about him.  He called up his old
lady's lawyer like he always does when Willie gets licked.  Yuh
remember dey used to send down a private dick to give him the rush
to a cure, but de lawyer tells Harry nix, de old lady's off of
Willie for keeps dis time and he can go to hell.

LARRY--(watches Willie, who is shaking in his sleep like an old
dog)  There's the consolation that he hasn't far to go!  (As if
replying to this, Willie comes to a crisis of jerks and moans.
Larry adds in a comically intense, crazy whisper)  Be God, he's
knocking on the door right now!

WILLIE--(suddenly yells in his nightmare)  It's a Goddamned lie!
(He begins to sob.)  Oh, Papa!  Jesus!  (All the occupants of the
room stir on their chairs but none of them wakes up except Hope.)

ROCKY--(grabs his shoulder and shakes him)  Hey, you!  Nix!  Cut
out de noise!  (Willie opens his eyes to stare around him with a
bewildered horror.)

HOPE--(opens one eye to peer over his spectacles--drowsily)  Who's
that yelling?

ROCKY--Willie, Boss.  De Brooklyn boys is after him.

HOPE--(querulously)  Well, why don't you give the poor feller a
drink and keep him quiet?  Bejees, can't I get a wink of sleep in
my own back room?

ROCKY--(indignantly to Larry)  Listen to that blind-eyed, deef old
bastard, will yuh?  He give me strict orders not to let Willie hang
up no more drinks, no matter--

HOPE--(mechanically puts a hand to his ear in the gesture of
deafness)  What's that?  I can't hear you.  (then drowsily
irascible)  You're a cockeyed liar.  Never refused a drink to
anyone needed it bad in my life!  Told you to use your judgment.
Ought to know better.  You're too busy thinking up ways to cheat
me.  Oh, I ain't as blind as you think.  I can still see a cash
register, bejees!

ROCKY--(grins at him affectionately now--flatteringly)  Sure, Boss.
Swell chance of foolin' you!

HOPE--I'm wise to you and your sidekick, Chuck.  Bejees, you're
burglars, not barkeeps!  Blind-eyed, deef old bastard, am I?  Oh, I
heard you!  Heard you often when you didn't think.  You and Chuck
laughing behind my back, telling people you throw the money up in
the air and whatever sticks to the ceiling is my share!  A fine
couple of crooks!  You'd steal the pennies off your dead mother's

ROCKY--(winks at Larry)  Aw, Harry, me and Chuck was on'y kiddin'.

HOPE--(more drowsily)  I'll fire both of you.  Bejees, if you think
you can play me for an easy mark, you've come to the wrong house.
No one ever played Harry Hope for a sucker!

ROCKY--(to Larry)  No one but everybody.

HOPE--(his eyes shut again--mutters)  Least you could do--keep
things quiet--(He falls asleep.)

WILLIE--(pleadingly)  Give me a drink, Rocky.  Harry said it was
all right.  God, I need a drink.

ROCKY--Den grab it.  It's right under your nose.

WILLIE--(avidly)  Thanks.  (He takes the bottle with both twitching
hands and tilts it to his lips and gulps down the whiskey in big

ROCKY--(sharply)  When!  When!  (He grabs the bottle.)  I didn't
say, take a bath!  (showing the bottle to Larry--indignantly)
Jees, look!  He's killed a half pint or more!  (He turns on Willie
angrily, but Willie has closed his eyes and is sitting quietly,
shuddering, waiting for the effect.)

LARRY--(with a pitying glance)  Leave him be, the poor devil.  A
half pint of that dynamite in one swig will fix him for a while--if
it doesn't kill him.

ROCKY--(shrugs his shoulders and sits down again)  Aw right by me.
It ain't my booze.  (Behind him, in the chair at left of the middle
table, Joe Mott, the Negro, has been waking up.)

JOE--(his eyes blinking sleepily)  Whose booze?  Gimme some.  I
don't care whose.  Where's Hickey?  Ain't he come yet?  What time's
it, Rocky?

ROCKY--Gettin' near time to open up.  Time you begun to sweep up in
de bar.

JOE--(lazily)  Never mind de time.  If Hickey ain't come, it's time
Joe goes to sleep again.  I was dreamin' Hickey come in de door,
crackin' one of dem drummer's jokes, wavin' a big bankroll and we
was all goin' be drunk for two weeks.  Wake up and no luck.
(Suddenly his eyes open wide.)  Wait a minute, dough.  I got idea.
Say, Larry, how 'bout dat young guy, Parritt, came to look you up
last night and rented a room?  Where's he at?

LARRY--Up in his room, asleep.  No hope in him, anyway, Joe.  He's

JOE--Dat what he told you?  Me and Rocky knows different.  Had a
roll when he paid you his room rent, didn't he, Rocky?  I seen it.

ROCKY--Yeah.  He flashed it like he forgot and den tried to hide it

LARRY--(surprised and resentful)  He did, did he?

ROCKY--Yeah, I figgered he don't belong, but he said he was a
friend of yours.

LARRY--He's a liar.  I wouldn't know him if he hadn't told me who
he was.  His mother and I were friends years ago on the Coast.  (He
hesitates--then lowering his voice)  You've read in the papers
about that bombing on the Coast when several people got killed?
Well, the one woman they pinched, Rosa Parritt, is his mother.
They'll be coming up for trial soon, and there's no chance for
them.  She'll get life, I think.  I'm telling you this so you'll
know why if Don acts a bit queer, and not jump on him.  He must be
hard hit.  He's her only kid.

ROCKY--(nods--then thoughtfully)  Why ain't he out dere stickin' by

LARRY--(frowns)  Don't ask questions.  Maybe there's a good reason.

ROCKY--(stares at him--understandingly)  Sure.  I get it.  (then
wonderingly)  But den what kind of a sap is he to hang on to his
right name?

LARRY--(irritably)  I'm telling you I don't know anything and I
don't want to know.  To hell with the Movement and all connected
with it!  I'm out of it, and everything else, and damned glad to

ROCKY--(shrugs his shoulders--indifferently)  Well, don't tink I'm
interested in dis Parritt guy.  He's nuttin' to me.

JOE--Me neider.  If dere's one ting more'n anudder I cares nuttin'
about, it's de sucker game you and Hugo call de Movement.  (He
chuckles--reminiscently)  Reminds me of damn fool argument me and
Mose Porter has de udder night.  He's drunk and I'm drunker.  He
says, "Socialist and Anarchist, we ought to shoot dem dead.  Dey's
all no-good sons of bitches."  I says, "Hold on, you talk 's if
Anarchists and Socialists was de same."  "Dey is," he says.  "Dey's
both no-good bastards."  "No, dey ain't," I says.  "I'll explain
the difference.  De Anarchist he never works.  He drinks but he
never buys, and if he do ever get a nickel, he blows it in on
bombs, and he wouldn't give you nothin'.  So go ahead and shoot
him.  But de Socialist, sometimes, he's got a job, and if he gets
ten bucks, he's bound by his religion to split fifty-fifty wid you.
You say--how about my cut, Comrade?  And you gets de five.  So you
don't shoot no Socialists while I'm around.  Dat is, not if dey got
anything.  Of course, if dey's broke, den dey's no-good bastards,
too."  (He laughs, immensely tickled.)

LARRY--(grins with sardonic appreciation)  Be God, Joe, you've got
all the beauty of human nature and the practical wisdom of the
world in that little parable.

ROCKY--(winks at Joe)  Sure, Larry ain't de on'y wise guy in dis
dump, hey, Joe?  (At a sound from the hall he turns as Don Parritt
appears in the doorway.  Rocky speaks to Larry out of the side of
his mouth.)  Here's your guy.  (Parritt comes forward.  He is
eighteen, tall and broad-shouldered but thin, gangling and awkward.
His face is good-looking, with blond curly hair and large regular
features, but his personality is unpleasant.  There is a shifting
defiance and ingratiation in his light-blue eyes and an irritating
aggressiveness in his manner.  His clothes and shoes are new,
comparatively expensive, sporty in style.  He looks as though he
belonged in a pool room patronized by would-be sports.  He glances
around defensively, sees Larry and comes forward.)

PARRITT--Hello, Larry.  (He nods to Rocky and Joe.)  Hello.  (They
nod and size him up with expressionless eyes.)

LARRY--(without cordiality)  What's up?  I thought you'd be asleep.

PARRITT--Couldn't make it.  I got sick of lying awake.  Thought I
might as well see if you were around.

LARRY--(indicates the chair on the right of table)  Sit down and
join the bums then.  (Parritt sits down.  Larry adds meaningfully)
The rules of the house are that drinks may be served at all hours.

PARRITT--(forcing a smile)  I get you.  But, hell, I'm just about
broke.  (He catches Rocky's and Joe's contemptuous glances--
quickly)  Oh, I know you guys saw--You think I've got a roll.
Well, you're all wrong.  I'll show you.  (He takes a small wad of
dollar bills from his pocket.)  It's all ones.  And I've got to
live on it till I get a job.  (then with defensive truculence)  You
think I fixed up a phony, don't you?  Why the hell would I?  Where
would I get a real roll?  You don't get rich doing what I've been
doing.  Ask Larry.  You're lucky in the Movement if you have enough
to eat.  (Larry regards him puzzledly.)

ROCKY--(coldly)  What's de song and dance about?  We ain't said

PARRITT--(lamely--placating them now)  Why, I was just putting you
right.  But I don't want you to think I'm a tightwad.  I'll buy a
drink if you want one.

JOE--(cheering up)  If?  Man, when I don't want a drink, you call
de morgue, tell dem come take Joe's body away, 'cause he's sure
enuf dead.  Gimme de bottle quick, Rocky, before he changes his
mind!  (Rocky passes him the bottle and glass.  He pours a brimful
drink and tosses it down his throat, and hands the bottle and glass
to Larry.)

ROCKY--I'll take a cigar when I go in de bar.  What're you havin'?

PARRITT--Nothing.  I'm on the wagon.  What's the damage?  (He holds
out a dollar bill.)

ROCKY--Fifteen cents.  (He makes change from his pocket.)

PARRITT--Must be some booze!

LARRY--It's cyanide cut with carbolic acid to give it a mellow
flavor.  Here's luck!  (He drinks.)

ROCKY--Guess I'll get back in de bar and catch a coupla winks
before opening-up time.  (He squeezes through the tables and
disappears, right-rear, behind the curtain.  In the section of bar
at right, he comes forward and sits at the table and slumps back,
closing his eyes and yawning.)

JOE--(stares calculatingly at Parritt and then looks away--aloud to
himself, philosophically)  One-drink guy.  Dat well done run dry.
No hope till Harry's birthday party.  'Less Hickey shows up.  (He
turns to Larry.)  If Hickey comes, Larry, you wake me up if you has
to bat me wid a chair.  (He settles himself and immediately falls

PARRITT--Who's Hickey?

LARRY--A hardware drummer.  An old friend of Harry Hope's and all
the gang.  He's a grand guy.  He comes here twice a year regularly
on a periodical drunk and blows in all his money.

PARRITT--(with a disparaging glance around)  Must be hard up for a
place to hang out.

LARRY--It has its points for him.  He never runs into anyone he
knows in his business here.

PARRITT--(lowering his voice)  Yes, that's what I want, too.  I've
got to stay under cover, Larry, like I told you last night.

LARRY--You did a lot of hinting.  You didn't tell me anything.

PARRITT--You can guess, can't you?  (He changes the subject
abruptly.)  I've been in some dumps on the Coast, but this is the
limit.  What kind of joint is it, anyway?

LARRY--(with a sardonic grin)  What is it?  It's the No Chance
Saloon.  It's Bedrock Bar, The End of the Line Caf, The Bottom of
the Sea Rathskeller!  Don't you notice the beautiful calm in the
atmosphere?  That's because it's the last harbor.  No one here has
to worry about where they're going next, because there is no
farther they can go.  It's a great comfort to them.  Although even
here they keep up the appearances of life with a few harmless pipe
dreams about their yesterdays and tomorrows, as you'll see for
yourself if you're here long.

PARRITT--(stares at him curiously)  What's your pipe dream, Larry?

LARRY--(hiding resentment)  Oh, I'm the exception.  I haven't any
left, thank God.  (shortly)  Don't complain about this place.  You
couldn't find a better for lying low.

PARRITT--I'm glad of that, Larry.  I don't feel any too damned
good.  I was knocked off my base by that business on the Coast, and
since then it's been no fun dodging around the country, thinking
every guy you see might be a dick.

LARRY--(sympathetically now)  No, it wouldn't be.  But you're safe
here.  The cops ignore this dump.  They think it's as harmless as a
graveyard.  (He grins sardonically.)  And, be God, they're right.

PARRITT--It's been lonely as hell.  (impulsively)  Christ, Larry, I
was glad to find you.  I kept saying to myself, "If I can only find
Larry.  He's the one guy in the world who can understand--"  (He
hesitates, staring at Larry with a strange appeal.)

LARRY--(watching him puzzledly)  Understand what?

PARRITT--(hastily)  Why, all I've been through.  (looking away)
Oh, I know you're thinking, This guy has a hell of a nerve.  I
haven't seen him since he was a kid.  I'd forgotten he was alive.
But I've never forgotten you, Larry.  You were the only friend of
Mother's who ever paid attention to me, or knew I was alive.  All
the others were too busy with the Movement.  Even Mother.  And I
had no Old Man.  You used to take me on your knee and tell me
stories and crack jokes and make me laugh.  You'd ask me questions
and take what I said seriously.  I guess I got to feel in the years
you lived with us that you'd taken the place of my Old Man.
(embarrassedly)  But, hell, that sounds like a lot of mush.  I
suppose you don't remember a damned thing about it.

LARRY--(moved in spite of himself)  I remember well.  You were a
serious lonely little shaver.  (then resenting being moved, changes
the subject)  How is it they didn't pick you up when they got your
mother and the rest?

PARRITT--(in a lowered voice but eagerly, as if he wanted this
chance to tell about it)  I wasn't around, and as soon as I heard
the news I went under cover.  You've noticed my glad rags.  I was
staked to them--as a disguise, sort of.  I hung around pool rooms
and gambling joints and hooker shops, where they'd never look for a
Wobblie, pretending I was a sport.  Anyway, they'd grabbed everyone
important, so I suppose they didn't think of me until afterward.

LARRY--The papers say the cops got them all dead to rights, that
the Burns dicks knew every move before it was made, and someone
inside the Movement must have sold out and tipped them off.

PARRITT--(turns to look Larry in the eyes--slowly)  Yes, I guess
that must be true, Larry.  It hasn't come out who it was.  It may
never come out.  I suppose whoever it was made a bargain with the
Burns men to keep him out of it.  They won't need his evidence.

LARRY--(tensely)  By God, I hate to believe it of any of the crowd,
if I am through long since with any connection with them.  I know
they're damned fools, most of them, as stupidly greedy for power as
the worst capitalist they attack, but I'd swear there couldn't be a
yellow stool pigeon among them.

PARRITT--Sure.  I'd have sworn that, too, Larry.

LARRY--I hope his soul rots in hell, whoever it is!

PARRITT--Yes, so do I.

LARRY--(after a pause--shortly)  How did you locate me?  I hoped
I'd found a place of retirement here where no one in the Movement
would ever come to disturb my peace.

PARRITT--I found out through Mother.

LARRY--I asked her not to tell anyone.

PARRITT--She didn't tell me, but she'd kept all your letters and I
found where she'd hidden them in the flat.  I sneaked up there one
night after she was arrested.

LARRY--I'd never have thought she was a woman who'd keep letters.

PARRITT--No, I wouldn't, either.  There's nothing soft or
sentimental about Mother.

LARRY--I never answered her last letters.  I haven't written her in
a couple of years--or anyone else.  I've gotten beyond the desire
to communicate with the world--or, what's more to the point, let it
bother me any more with its greedy madness.

PARRITT--It's funny Mother kept in touch with you so long.  When
she's finished with anyone, she's finished.  She's always been
proud of that.  And you know how she feels about the Movement.
Like a revivalist preacher about religion.  Anyone who loses faith
in it is more than dead to her; he's a Judas who ought to be boiled
in oil.  Yet she seemed to forgive you.

LARRY--(sardonically)  She didn't, don't worry.  She wrote to
denounce me and try to bring the sinner to repentance and a belief
in the One True Faith again.

PARRITT--What made you leave the Movement, Larry?  Was it on
account of Mother?

LARRY--(starts)  Don't be a damned fool!  What the hell put that in
your head?

PARRITT--Why, nothing--except I remember what a fight you had with
her before you left.

LARRY--(resentfully)  Well, if you do, I don't.  That was eleven
years ago.  You were only seven.  If we did quarrel, it was because
I told her I'd become convinced the Movement was only a beautiful
pipe dream.

PARRITT--(with a strange smile)  I don't remember it that way.

LARRY--Then you can blame your imagination--and forget it.  (He
changes the subject abruptly.)  You asked me why I quit the
Movement.  I had a lot of good reasons.  One was myself, and
another was my comrades, and the last was the breed of swine called
men in general.  For myself, I was forced to admit, at the end of
thirty years' devotion to the Cause, that I was never made for it.
I was born condemned to be one of those who has to see all sides of
a question.  When you're damned like that, the questions multiply
for you until in the end it's all question and no answer.  As
history proves, to be a worldly success at anything, especially
revolution, you have to wear blinders like a horse and see only
straight in front of you.  You have to see, too, that this is all
black, and that is all white.  As for my comrades in the Great
Cause, I felt as Horace Walpole did about England, that he could
love it if it weren't for the people in it.  The material the ideal
free society must be constructed from is men themselves and you
can't build a marble temple out of a mixture of mud and manure.
When man's soul isn't a sow's ear, it will be time enough to dream
of silk purses.  (He chuckles sardonically--then irritably as if
suddenly provoked at himself for talking so much)  Well, that's why
I quit the Movement, if it leaves you any wiser.  At any rate, you
see it had nothing to do with your mother.

PARRITT--(smiles almost mockingly)  Oh, sure, I see.  But I'll bet
Mother has always thought it was on her account.  You know her,
Larry.  To hear her go on sometimes, you'd think she was the

LARRY--(stares at him, puzzled and repelled--sharply)  That's a
hell of a way for you to talk, after what happened to her!

PARRITT--(at once confused and guilty)  Don't get me wrong.  I
wasn't sneering, Larry.  Only kidding.  I've said the same thing to
her lots of times to kid her.  But you're right.  I know I
shouldn't now.  I keep forgetting she's in jail.  It doesn't seem
real.  I can't believe it about her.  She's always been so free.
I--But I don't want to think of it.  (Larry is moved to a puzzled
pity in spite of himself.  Parritt changes the subject.)  What have
you been doing all the years since you left--the Coast, Larry?

LARRY--(sardonically)  Nothing I could help doing.  If I don't
believe in the Movement, I don't believe in anything else either,
especially not the State.  I've refused to become a useful member
of its society.  I've been a philosophical drunken bum, and proud
of it.  (Abruptly his tone sharpens with resentful warning.)
Listen to me.  I hope you've deduced that I've my own reason for
answering the impertinent questions of a stranger, for that's all
you are to me.  I have a strong hunch you've come here expecting
something of me.  I'm warning you, at the start, so there'll be no
misunderstanding, that I've nothing left to give, and I want to be
left alone, and I'll thank you to keep your life to yourself.  I
feel you're looking for some answer to something.  I have no answer
to give anyone, not even myself.  Unless you can call what Heine
wrote in his poem to morphine an answer.  (He quotes a translation
of the dosing couplet sardonically.)

     "Lo, sleep is good; better is death; in sooth,
      The best of all were never to be born."

PARRITT--(shrinks a bit frightenedly)  That's the hell of an
answer.  (then with a forced grin of bravado)  Still, you never
know when it might come in handy.  (He looks away.  Larry stares at
him puzzledly, interested in spite of himself and at the same time
vaguely uneasy.)

LARRY--(forcing a casual tone)  I don't suppose you've had much
chance to hear news of your mother since she's been in jail?

PARRITT--No.  No chance.  (He hesitates--then blurts out)  Anyway,
I don't think she wants to hear from me.  We had a fight just
before that business happened.  She bawled me out because I was
going around with tarts.  That got my goat, coming from her.  I
told her, "You've always acted the free woman, you've never let
anything stop you from--"  (He checks himself--goes on hurriedly)
That made her sore.  She said she wouldn't give a damn what I did
except she'd begun to suspect I was too interested in outside
things and losing interest in the Movement.

LARRY--(stares at him)  And were you?

PARRITT--(hesitates--then with intensity)  Sure I was!  I'm no
damned fool!  I couldn't go on believing forever that gang was
going to change the world by shooting off their loud traps on
soapboxes and sneaking around blowing up a lousy building or a
bridge!  I got wise it was all a crazy pipe dream!  (appealingly)
The same as you did, Larry.  That's why I came to you.  I knew
you'd understand.  What finished me was this last business of
someone selling out.  How can you believe anything after a thing
like that happens?  It knocks you cold!  You don't know what the
hell is what!  You're through!  (appealingly)  You know how I feel,
don't you, Larry?  (Larry stares at him, moved by sympathy and pity
in spite of himself, disturbed, and resentful at being disturbed,
and puzzled by something he feels about Parritt that isn't right.
But before he can reply, Hugo suddenly raises his head from his
arms in a half-awake alcoholic daze and speaks.)

HUGO--(quotes aloud to himself in a guttural declamatory style)
"The days grow hot, O Babylon!  'Tis cool beneath thy villow
trees!"  (Parritt turns startledly as Hugo peers muzzily without
recognition at him.  Hugo exclaims automatically in his tone of
denunciation)  Gottammed stool pigeon!

PARRITT--(shrinks away--stammers)  What?  Who do you mean?  (then
furiously)  You lousy bum, you can't call me that!  (He draws back
his fist.)

HUGO--(ignores this--recognizing him now, bursts into his childish
teasing giggle)  Hello, leedle Don!  Leedle monkey-face.  I did not
recognize you.  You have grown big boy.  How is your mother?  Where
you come from?  (He breaks into his wheedling, bullying tone.)
Don't be a fool!  Loan me a dollar!  Buy me a trink!  (As if this
exhausted him, he abruptly forgets it and plumps his head down on
his arms again and is asleep.)

PARRITT--(with eager relief)  Sure, I'll buy you a drink, Hugo.
I'm broke, but I can afford one for you.  I'm sorry I got sore.  I
ought to have remembered when you're soused you call everyone a
stool pigeon.  But it's no damned joke right at this time.  (He
turns to Larry, who is regarding him now fixedly with an uneasy
expression as if he suddenly were afraid of his own thoughts--
forcing a smile)  Gee, he's passed out again.  (He stiffens
defensively.)  What are you giving me the hard look for?  Oh, I
know.  You thought I was going to hit him?  What do you think I am?
I've always had a lot of respect for Hugo.  I've always stood up
for him when people in the Movement panned him for an old drunken
has-been.  He had the guts to serve ten years in the can in his own
country and get his eyes ruined in solitary.  I'd like to see some
of them here stick that.  Well, they'll get a chance now to show--
(hastily)  I don't mean--But let's forget that.  Tell me some more
about this dump.  Who are all these tanks?  Who's that guy trying
to catch pneumonia?  (He indicates Lewis.)

LARRY--(stares at him almost frightenedly--then looks away and
grasps eagerly this chance to change the subject.  He begins to
describe the sleepers with sardonic relish but at the same time
showing his affection for them.)  That's Captain Lewis, a onetime
hero of the British Army.  He strips to display that scar on his
back he got from a native spear whenever he's completely plastered.
The bewhiskered bloke opposite him is General Wetjoen, who led a
commando in the War.  The two of them met when they came here to
work in the Boer War spectacle at the St. Louis Fair and they've
been bosom pals ever since.  They dream the hours away in happy
dispute over the brave days in South Africa when they tried to
murder each other.  The little guy between them was in it, too, as
correspondent for some English paper.  His nickname here is Jimmy
Tomorrow.  He's the leader of our Tomorrow Movement.

PARRITT--What do they do for a living?

LARRY--As little as possible.  Once in a while one of them makes a
successful touch somewhere, and some of them get a few dollars a
month from connections at home who pay it on condition they never
come back.  For the rest, they live on free lunch and their old
friend, Harry Hope, who doesn't give a damn what anyone does or
doesn't do, as long as he likes you.

PARRITT--It must be a tough life.

LARRY--It's not.  Don't waste your pity.  They wouldn't thank you
for it.  They manage to get drunk, by hook or crook, and keep their
pipe dreams, and that's all they ask of life.  I've never known
more contented men.  It isn't often that men attain the true goal
of their heart's desire.  The same applies to Harry himself and his
two cronies at the far table.  He's so satisfied with life he's
never set foot out of this place since his wife died twenty years
ago.  He has no need of the outside world at all.  This place has a
fine trade from the Market people across the street and the
waterfront workers, so in spite of Harry's thirst and his generous
heart, he comes out even.  He never worries in hard times because
there's always old friends from the days when he was a jitney
Tammany politician, and a friendly brewery to tide him over.  Don't
ask me what his two pals work at because they don't.  Except at
being his lifetime guests.  The one facing this way is his brother-
in-law, Ed Mosher, who once worked for a circus in the ticket
wagon.  Pat McGloin, the other one, was a police lieutenant back in
the flush times of graft when everything went.  But he got too
greedy and when the usual reform investigation came he was caught
red-handed and thrown off the Force.  (He nods at Joe.)  Joe here
has a yesterday in the same flush period.  He ran a colored
gambling house then and was a hell of a sport, so they say.  Well,
that's our whole family circle of inmates, except the two barkeeps
and their girls, three ladies of the pavement that room on the
third floor.

PARRITT--(bitterly)  To hell with them!  I never want to see a
whore again!  (As Larry flashes him a puzzled glance, he adds
confusedly)  I mean, they always get you in dutch.  (While he is
speaking Willie Oban has opened his eyes.  He leans toward them,
drunk now from the effect of the huge drink he took, and speaks
with a mocking suavity.)

WILLIE--Why omit me from your Who's Who in Dypsomania, Larry?  An
unpardonable slight, especially as I am the only inmate of royal
blood.  (to Parritt--ramblingly)  Educated at Harvard, too.  You
must have noticed the atmosphere of culture here.  My humble
contribution.  Yes, Generous Stranger--I trust you're generous--I
was born in the purple, the son, but unfortunately not the heir, of
the late world-famous Bill Oban, King of the Bucket Shops.  A
revolution deposed him, conducted by the District Attorney.  He was
sent into exile.  In fact, not to mince matters, they locked him in
the can and threw away the key.  Alas, his was an adventurous
spirit that pined in confinement.  And so he died.  Forgive these
reminiscences.  Undoubtedly all this is well known to you.
Everyone in the world knows.

PARRITT--(uncomfortably)  Tough luck.  No, I never heard of him.

WILLIE--(blinks at him incredulously)  Never heard?  I thought
everyone in the world--Why, even at Harvard I discovered my father
was well known by reputation, although that was some time before
the District Attorney gave him so much unwelcome publicity.  Yes,
even as a freshman I was notorious.  I was accepted socially with
all the warm cordiality that Henry Wadsworth Longfellow would have
shown a drunken Negress dancing the can can at high noon on Brattle
Street.  Harvard was my father's idea.  He was an ambitious man.
Dictatorial, too.  Always knowing what was best for me.  But I did
make myself a brilliant student.  A dirty trick on my classmates,
inspired by revenge, I fear.  (He quotes)  "Dear college days, with
pleasure rife!  The grandest gladdest days of life!"  But, of
course, that is a Yale hymn, and they're given to rah-rah
exaggeration at New Haven.  I was a brilliant student at Law
School, too.  My father wanted a lawyer in the family.  He was a
calculating man.  A thorough knowledge of the law close at hand in
the house to help him find fresh ways to evade it.  But I
discovered the loophole of whiskey and escaped his jurisdiction.
(abruptly to Parritt)  Speaking of whiskey, sir, reminds me--and, I
hope, reminds you--that when meeting a Prince the customary
salutation is "What'll you have?"

PARRITT--(with defensive resentment)  Nix!  All you guys seem to
think I'm made of dough.  Where would I get the coin to blow

WILLIE--(sceptically)  Broke?  You haven't the thirsty look of the
impecunious.  I'd judge you to be a plutocrat, your pockets stuffed
with ill-gotten gains.  Two or three dollars, at least.  And don't
think we will question how you got it.  As Vespasian remarked, the
smell of all whiskey is sweet.

PARRITT--What do you mean, how I got it?  (to Larry, forcing a
laugh)  It's a laugh, calling me a plutocrat, isn't it, Larry, when
I've been in the Movement all my life.  (Larry gives him an uneasy
suspicious glance, then looks away, as if avoiding something he
does not wish to see.)

WILLIE--(disgustedly)  Ah, one of those, eh?  I believe you now,
all right!  Go away and blow yourself up, that's a good lad.  Hugo
is the only licensed preacher of that gospel here.  A dangerous
terrorist, Hugo!  He would as soon blow the collar off a schooner
of beer as look at you!  (to Larry)  Let us ignore this useless
youth, Larry.  Let us join in prayer that Hickey, the Great
Salesman, will soon arrive bringing the blessed bourgeois long
green!  Would that Hickey or Death would come!  Meanwhile, I will
sing a song.  A beautiful old New England folk ballad which I
picked up at Harvard amid the debris of education.  (He sings in a
boisterous baritone, rapping on the table with his knuckles at the
indicated spots in the song.)

     "Jack, oh, Jack, was a sailor lad
      And he came to a tavern for gin.
      He rapped and he rapped with a (rap, rap, rap)
      But never a soul seemed in."

(The drunks at the tables stir.  Rocky gets up from his chair in
the bar and starts back for the entrance to the back room.  Hope
cocks one irritable eye over his specs.  Joe Mott opens both of his
and grins.  Willie interposes some drunken whimsical exposition to
Larry.)  The origin of this beautiful ditty is veiled in mystery,
Larry.  There was a legend bruited about in Cambridge lavatories
that Waldo Emerson composed it during his uninformative period as a
minister, while he was trying to write a sermon.  But my own
opinion is, it goes back much further, and Jonathan Edwards was the
author of both words and music.  (He sings)

     "He rapped and rapped, and tapped and tapped
      Enough to wake the dead
      Till he heard a damsel (rap, rap, rap)
      On a window right over his head."

(The drunks are blinking their eyes now, grumbling and cursing.
Rocky appears from the bar at rear, right, yawning.)

HOPE--(with fuming irritation)  Rocky!  Bejees, can't you keep that
crazy bastard quiet?  (Rocky starts for Willie.)

WILLIE--And now the influence of a good woman enters our mariner's
life.  Well, perhaps "good" isn't the word.  But very, very kind.
(He sings)

     "Oh, come up," she cried, "my sailor lad,
      And you and I'll agree,
      And I'll show you the prettiest (rap, rap, rap)
      That ever you did see."

(He speaks.)  You see, Larry?  The lewd Puritan touch, obviously,
and it grows more marked as we go on.  (He sings)

     "Oh, he put his arm around her waist,
      He gazed in her bright blue eyes
      And then he--"

(But here Rocky shakes him roughly by the shoulder.)

ROCKY--Piano!  What d'yuh tink dis dump is, a dump?

HOPE--Give him the bum's rush upstairs!  Lock him in his room!

ROCKY--(yanks Willie by the arm)  Come on, Bum.

WILLIE--(dissolves into pitiable terror)  No!  Please, Rocky!  I'll
go crazy up in that room alone!  It's haunted!  I--(He calls to
Hope)  Please, Harry!  Let me stay here!  I'll be quiet!

HOPE--(immediately relents--indignantly)  What the hell you doing
to him, Rocky?  I didn't tell you to beat up the poor guy.  Leave
him alone, long as he's quiet.  (Rocky lets go of Willie
disgustedly and goes back to his chair in the bar.)

WILLIE--(huskily)  Thanks, Harry.  You're a good scout.  (He closes
his eyes and sinks back in his chair exhaustedly, twitching and
quivering again.)

HOPE--(addressing McGloin and Mosher, who are sleepily awake--
accusingly) Always the way.  Can't trust nobody.  Leave it to that
Dago to keep order and it's like bedlam in a cathouse, singing and
everything.  And you two big barflies are a hell of a help to me,
ain't you?  Eat and sleep and get drunk!  All you're good for,
bejees!  Well, you can take that "I'll-have-the-same" look off your
maps!  There ain't going to be no more drinks on the house till
hell freezes over!  (Neither of the two is impressed either by his
insults or his threats.  They grin hangover grins of tolerant
affection at him and wink at each other.  Harry fumes)  Yeah, grin!
Wink, bejees!  Fine pair of sons of bitches to have glued on me for
life!  (But he can't get a rise out of them and he subsides into a
fuming mumble.  Meanwhile, at the middle table, Captain Lewis and
General Wetjoen are as wide awake as heavy hangovers permit.  Jimmy
Tomorrow nods, his eyes blinking.  Lewis is gazing across the table
at Joe Mott, who is still chuckling to himself over Willie's song.
The expression on Lewis's face is that of one who can't believe his

LEWIS--(aloud to himself with a muzzy wonder)  Good God!  Have I
been drinking at the same table with a bloody Kaffir?

JOE--(grinning)  Hello, Captain.  You comin' up for air?  Kaffir?
Who's he?

WETJOEN--(blurrily)  Kaffir, dot's a nigger, Joe.  (Joe stiffens
and his eyes narrow.  Wetjoen goes on with heavy jocosity.)  Dot's
joke on him, Joe.  He don't know you.  He's still plind drunk, the
ploody Limey chentleman!  A great mistake I missed him at the
pattle of Modder River.  Vit mine rifle I shoot damn fool Limey
officers py the dozen, but him I miss.  De pity of it!  (He
chuckles and slaps Lewis on his bare shoulder.)  Hey, wake up,
Cecil, you ploody fool!  Don't you know your old friend, Joe?  He's
no damned Kaffir!  He's white, Joe is!

LEWIS--(light dawning--contritely)  My profound apologies, Joseph,
old chum.  Eyesight a trifle blurry, I'm afraid.  Whitest colored
man I ever knew.  Proud to call you my friend.  No hard feelings,
what?  (He holds out his hand.)

JOE--(at once grins good-naturedly and shakes his hand)  No
Captain, I know it's mistake.  Youse regular, if you is a Limey.
(then his face hardening)  But I don't stand for "nigger" from
nobody.  Never did.  In de old days, people calls me "nigger" wakes
up in de hospital.  I was de leader ob de Dirty Half-Dozen Gang.
All six of us colored boys, we was tough and I was de toughest.

WETJOEN--(inspired to boastful reminiscence)  Me, in old days in
Transvaal, I vas so tough and strong I grab axle of ox wagon mit
full load and lift like feather.

LEWIS--(smiling amiably)  As for you, my balmy Boer that walks like
a man, I say again it was a grave error in our foreign policy ever
to set you free, once we nabbed you and your commando with Cronje.
We should have taken you to the London zoo and incarcerated you in
the baboons' cage.  With a sign:  "Spectators may distinguish the
true baboon by his blue behind."

WETJOEN--(grins)  Gott!  To dink, ten better Limey officers, at
least, I shoot clean in the mittle of forehead at Spion Kopje, and
you I miss!  I neffer forgive myself!  (Jimmy Tomorrow blinks
benignantly from one to the other with a gentle drunken smile.)

JIMMY--(sentimentally)  Now, come, Cecil, Piet!  We must forget the
War.  Boer and Briton, each fought fairly and played the game till
the better man won and then we shook hands.  We are all brothers
within the Empire united beneath the flag on which the sun never
sets.  (Tears come to his eyes.  He quotes with great sentiment, if
with slight application)  "Ship me somewhere east of Suez--"

LARRY--(breaks in sardonically)  Be God, you're there already,
Jimmy.  Worst is best here, and East is West, and tomorrow is
yesterday.  What more do you want?

JIMMY--(with bleery benevolence, shaking his head in mild rebuke)
No, Larry, old friend, you can't deceive me.  You pretend a bitter,
cynic philosophy, but in your heart you are the kindest man among

LARRY--(disconcerted--irritably)  The hell you say!

PARRITT--(leans toward him--confidentially)  What a bunch of

JIMMY--(as if reminded of something--with a pathetic attempt at a
brisk, no-more-nonsense air)  Tomorrow, yes.  It's high time I
straightened out and got down to business again.  (He brushes his
sleeve fastidiously.)  I must have this suit cleaned and pressed.
I can't look like a tramp when I--

JOE--(who has been brooding--interrupts)  Yes, suh, white folks
always said I was white.  In de days when I was flush, Joe Mott's
de only colored man dey allows in de white gamblin' houses.
"You're all right, Joe, you're white," dey says.  (He chuckles.)
Wouldn't let me play craps, dough.  Dey know I could make dem dice
behave.  "Any odder game and any limit you like, Joe," dey says.
Man, de money I lost!  (He chuckles--then with an underlying
defensiveness)  Look at de Big Chief in dem days.  He knew I was
white.  I'd saved my dough so I could start my own gamblin' house.
Folks in de know tells me, see de man at de top, den you never has
trouble.  You git Harry Hope give you a letter to de Chief.  And
Harry does.  Don't you, Harry?

HOPE--(preoccupied with his own thoughts)  Eh?  Sure.  Big Bill was
a good friend of mine.  I had plenty of friends high up in those
days.  Still could have if I wanted to go out and see them.  Sure,
I gave you a letter.  I said you was white.  What the hell of it?

JOE--(to Captain Lewis who has relapsed into a sleepy daze and is
listening to him with an absurd strained attention without
comprehending a word)  Dere.  You see, Captain.  I went to see de
Chief, shakin' in my boots, and dere he is sittin' behind a big
desk, lookin' as big as a freight train.  He don't look up.  He
keeps me waitin' and waitin', and after 'bout an hour, seems like
to me, he says slow and quiet like dere wasn't no harm in him, "You
want to open a gamblin' joint, does you, Joe?"  But he don't give
me no time to answer.  He jumps up, lookin' as big as two freight
trains, and he pounds his fist like a ham on de desk, and he
shouts, "You black son of a bitch, Harry says you're white and you
better be white or dere's a little iron room up de river waitin'
for you!"  Den he sits down and says quiet again, "All right.  You
can open.  Git de hell outa here!"  So I opens, and he finds out
I'se white, sure 'nuff, 'cause I run wide open for years and pays
my sugar on de dot, and de cops and I is friends.  (He chuckles
with pride.)  Dem old days!  Many's de night I come in here.  Dis
was a first-class hangout for sports in dem days.  Good whiskey,
fifteen cents, two for two bits.  I t'rows down a fifty-dollar bill
like it was trash paper and says, "Drink it up, boys, I don't want
no change."  Ain't dat right, Harry?

HOPE--(caustically)  Yes, and bejees, if I ever seen you throw
fifty cents on the bar now, I'd know I had delirium tremens!
You've told that story ten million times and if I have to hear it
again, that'll give me D.T.s anyway!

JOE--(chuckling)  Gittin' drunk every day for twenty years ain't
give you de Brooklyn boys.  You needn't be scared of me!

LEWIS--(suddenly turns and beams on Hope)  Thank you, Harry, old
chum.  I will have a drink, now you mention it, seeing it's so near
your birthday.  (The others laugh.)

HOPE--(puts his hand to his ear--angrily)  What's that?  I can't
hear you.

LEWIS--(sadly)  No, I fancied you wouldn't.

HOPE--I don't have to hear, bejees!  Booze is the only thing you
ever talk about!

LEWIS--(sadly)  True.  Yet there was a time when my conversation
was more comprehensive.  But as I became burdened with years, it
seemed rather pointless to discuss my other subject.

HOPE--You can't joke with me!  How much room rent do you owe me,
tell me that?

LEWIS--Sorry.  Adding has always baffled me.  Subtraction is my

HOPE--(snarling)  Arrh!  Think you're funny!  Captain, bejees!
Showing off your wounds!  Put on your clothes, for Christ's sake!
This ain't no Turkish bath!  Lousy Limey army!  Took 'em years to
lick a gang of Dutch hayseeds!

WETJOEN--Dot's right, Harry.  Gif him hell!

HOPE--No lip out of you, neither, you Dutch spinach!  General,
hell!  Salvation Army, that's what you'd ought t'been General in!
Bragging what a shot you were, and, bejees, you missed him!  And he
missed you, that's just as bad!  And now the two of you bum on me!
(threateningly)  But you've broke the camel's back this time,
bejees!  You pay up tomorrow or out you go!

LEWIS--(earnestly)  My dear fellow, I give you my word of honor as
an officer and a gentleman, you shall be paid tomorrow.

WETJOEN--Ve swear it, Harry!  Tomorrow vidout fail!

McGLOIN--(a twinkle in his eye)  There you are, Harry.  Sure, what
could be fairer?

MOSHER--(with a wink at McGloin)  Yes, you can't ask more than
that, Harry.  A promise is a promise--as I've often discovered.

HOPE--(turns on them)  I mean the both of you, too!  An old
grafting flatfoot and a circus bunco steerer!  Fine company for me,
bejees!  Couple of con men living in my flat since Christ knows
when!  Getting fat as hogs, too!  And you ain't even got the
decency to get me upstairs where I got a good bed!  Let me sleep on
a chair like a bum!  Kept me down here waitin' for Hickey to show
up, hoping I'd blow you to more drinks!

McGLOIN--Ed and I did our damnedest to get you up, didn't we, Ed?

MOSHER--We did.  But you said you couldn't bear the flat because it
was one of those nights when memory brought poor old Bessie back to

HOPE--(his face instantly becoming long and sad and sentimental--
mournfully)  Yes, that's right, boys.  I remember now.  I could
almost see her in every room just as she used to be--and it's
twenty years since she--(His throat and eyes fill up.  A suitable
sentimental hush falls on the room.)

LARRY--(in a sardonic whisper to Parritt)  Isn't a pipe dream of
yesterday a touching thing?  By all accounts, Bessie nagged the
hell out of him.

JIMMY--(who has been dreaming, a look of prim resolution on his
face, speaks aloud to himself)  No more of this sitting around and
loafing.  Time I took hold of myself.  I must have my shoes soled
and heeled and shined first thing tomorrow morning.  A general
spruce-up.  I want to have a well-groomed appearance when I--(His
voice fades out as he stares in front of him.  No one pays any
attention to him except Larry and Parritt.)

LARRY--(as before, in a sardonic aside to Parritt)  The tomorrow
movement is a sad and beautiful thing, too!

McGLOIN--(with a huge sentimental sigh--and a calculating look at
Hope)  Poor old Bessie!  You don't find her like in these days.  A
sweeter woman never drew breath.

MOSHER--(in a similar calculating mood)  Good old Bess.  A man
couldn't want a better sister than she was to me.

HOPE--(mournfully)  Twenty years, and I've never set foot out of
this house since the day I buried her.  Didn't have the heart.
Once she'd gone, I didn't give a damn for anything.  I lost all my
ambition.  Without her, nothing seemed worth the trouble.  You
remember, Ed, you, too, Mac--the boys was going to nominate me for
Alderman.  It was all fixed.  Bessie wanted it and she was so
proud.  But when she was taken, I told them, "No, boys, I can't do
it.  I simply haven't the heart.  I'm through."  I would have won
the election easy, too.  (He says this a bit defiantly.)  Oh, I
know there was jealous wise guys said the boys was giving me the
nomination because they knew they couldn't win that year in this
ward.  But that's a damned lie!  I knew every man, woman and child
in the ward, almost.  Bessie made me make friends with everyone,
helped me remember all their names.  I'd have been elected easy.

McGLOIN--You would, Harry.  It was a sure thing.

MOSHER--A dead cinch, Harry.  Everyone knows that.

HOPE--Sure they do.  But after Bessie died, I didn't have the
heart.  Still, I know while she'd appreciate my grief, she wouldn't
want it to keep me cooped up in here all my life.  So I've made up
my mind I'll go out soon.  Take a walk around the ward, see all the
friends I used to know, get together with the boys and maybe tell
'em I'll let 'em deal me a hand in their game again.  Yes, bejees,
I'll do it.  My birthday, tomorrow, that'd be the right time to
turn over a new leaf.  Sixty.  That ain't too old.

McGLOIN--(flatteringly)  It's the prime of life, Harry.

MOSHER--Wonderful thing about you, Harry, you keep young as you
ever was.

JIMMY--(dreaming aloud again)  Get my things from the laundry.
They must still have them.  Clean collar and shirt.  If I wash the
ones I've got on any more, they'll fall apart.  Socks, too.  I want
to make a good appearance.  I met Dick Trumbull on the street a
year or two ago.  He said, "Jimmy, the publicity department's never
been the same since you got--resigned.  It's dead as hell."  I
said, "I know.  I've heard rumors the management were at their
wits' end and would be only too glad to have me run it for them
again.  I think all I'd have to do would be go and see them and
they'd offer me the position.  Don't you think so, Dick?"  He said,
"Sure, they would, Jimmy.  Only take my advice and wait a while
until business conditions are better.  Then you can strike them for
a bigger salary than you got before, do you see?"  I said, "Yes, I
do see, Dick, and many thanks for the tip."  Well, conditions must
be better by this time.  All I have to do is get fixed up with a
decent front tomorrow, and it's as good as done.

HOPE--(glances at Jimmy with a condescending affectionate pity--in
a hushed voice)  Poor Jimmy's off on his pipe dream again.  Bejees,
he takes the cake!  (This is too much for Larry.  He cannot
restrain a sardonic guffaw.  But no one pays any attention to him.)

LEWIS--(opens his eyes, which are drowsing again--dreamily to
Wetjoen)  I'm sorry we had to postpone our trip again this April,
Piet.  I hoped the blasted old estate would be settled up by then.
The damned lawyers can't hold up the settlement much longer.  We'll
make it next year, even if we have to work and earn our passage
money, eh?  You'll stay with me at the old place as long as you
like, then you can take the Union Castle from Southampton to Cape
Town.  (sentimentally, with real yearning)  England in April.  I
want you to see that, Piet.  The old veldt has its points, I'll
admit, but it isn't home--especially home in April.

WETJOEN--(blinks drowsily at him--dreamily)  Ja, Cecil, I know how
beautiful it must be, from all you tell me many times.  I vill
enjoy it.  But I shall enjoy more ven I am home, too.  The veldt,
ja!  You could put England on it, and it would look like a farmer's
small garden.  Py Gott, there is space to be free, the air like
vine is, you don't need booze to be drunk!  My relations vill so
surprised be.  They vill not know me, it is so many years.  Dey
vill be so glad I haf come home at last.

JOE--(dreamily)  I'll make my stake and get my new gamblin' house
open before you boys leave.  You got to come to de openin'.  I'll
treat you white.  If you're broke, I'll stake you to buck any game
you chooses.  If you wins, dat's velvet for you.  If you loses, it
don't count.  Can't treat you no whiter dan dat, can I?

HOPE--(again with condescending pity)  Bejees, Jimmy's started them
off smoking the same hop.  (But the three are finished, their eyes
closed again in sleep or a drowse.)

LARRY--(aloud to himself--in his comically tense, crazy whisper)
Be God, this bughouse will drive me stark, raving loony yet!

HOPE--(turns on him with fuming suspicion)  What?  What d'you say?

LARRY--(placatingly)  Nothing, Harry.  I had a crazy thought in my

HOPE--(irascibly)  Crazy is right!  Yah!  The old wise guy!  Wise,
hell!  A damned old fool Anarchist I-Won't-Worker!  I'm sick of you
and Hugo, too.  Bejees, you'll pay up tomorrow, or I'll start a
Harry Hope Revolution!  I'll tie a dispossess bomb to your tails
that'll blow you out in the street!  Bejees, I'll make your
Movement move!  (The witticism delights him and he bursts into a
shrill cackle.  At once McGloin and Mosher guffaw enthusiastically.)

MOSHER--(flatteringly)  Harry, you sure say the funniest things!
(He reaches on the table as if he expected a glass to be there--
then starts with well-acted surprise.)  Hell, where's my drink?
That Rocky is too damned fast cleaning tables.  Why, I'd only taken
one sip of it.

HOPE--(his smiling face congealing)  No, you don't!  (acidly)  Any
time you only take one sip of a drink, you'll have lockjaw and
paralysis!  Think you can kid me with those old circus con games?--
me, that's known you since you was knee-high, and, bejees, you was
a crook even then!

McGLOIN--(grinning)  It's not like you to be so hardhearted, Harry.
Sure, it's hot, parching work laughing at your jokes so early in
the morning on an empty stomach!

HOPE--Yah!  You, Mac!  Another crook!  Who asked you to laugh?  We
was talking about poor old Bessie, and you and her no-good brother
start to laugh!  A hell of a thing!  Talking mush about her, too!
"Good old Bess."  Bejees, she'd never forgive me if she knew I had
you two bums living in her flat, throwing ashes and cigar butts on
her carpet.  You know her opinion of you, Mac.  "That Pat McGloin
is the biggest drunken grafter that ever disgraced the police
force," she used to say to me.  "I hope they send him to Sing Sing
for life."

McGLOIN--(unperturbed)  She didn't mean it.  She was angry at me
because you used to get me drunk.  But Bess had a heart of gold
underneath her sharpness.  She knew I was innocent of all the

WILLIE--(jumps to his feet drunkenly and points a finger at
McGloin--imitating the manner of a cross-examiner--coldly)  One
moment, please.  Lieutenant McGloin!  Are you aware you are under
oath?  Do you realize what the penalty for perjury is?  (purringly)
Come now, Lieutenant, isn't it a fact that you're as guilty as
hell?  No, don't say, "How about your old man?"  I am asking the
questions.  The fact that he was a crooked old bucket-shop bastard
has no bearing on your case.  (with a change to maudlin joviality)
Gentlemen of the Jury, court will now recess while the D.A. sings
out a little ditty he learned at Harvard.  It was composed in a
wanton moment by the Dean of the Divinity School on a moonlight
night in July, 1776, while sobering up in a Turkish bath.  (He

     "Oh, come up," she cried, "my sailor lad,
      And you and I'll agree.
      And I'll show you the prettiest (rap, rap, rap on table)
      That ever you did see."

(Suddenly he catches Hope's eyes fixed on him condemningly, and
sees Rocky appearing from the bar.  He collapses back on his chair,
pleading miserably)  Please, Harry!  I'll be quiet!  Don't make
Rocky bounce me upstairs!  I'll go crazy alone!  (to McGloin)  I
apologize, Mac.  Don't get sore.  I was only kidding you.  (Rocky,
at a relenting glance from Hope, returns to the bar.)

McGLOIN--(good-naturedly)  Sure, kid all you like, Willie.  I'm
hardened to it.  (He pauses--seriously)  But I'm telling you some
day before long I'm going to make them reopen my case.  Everyone
knows there was no real evidence against me, and I took the fall
for the ones higher up.  I'll be found innocent this time and
reinstated.  (wistfully)  I'd like to have my old job on the Force
back.  The boys tell me there's fine pickings these days, and I'm
not getting rich here, sitting with a parched throat waiting for
Harry Hope to buy a drink.  (He glances reproachfully at Hope.)

WILLIE--Of course, you'll be reinstated, Mac.  All you need is a
brilliant young attorney to handle your case.  I'll be straightened
out and on the wagon in a day or two.  I've never practiced but I
was one of the most brilliant students in Law School, and your case
is just the opportunity I need to start.  (darkly)  Don't worry
about my not forcing the D.A. to reopen your case.  I went through
my father's papers before the cops destroyed them, and I remember a
lot of people, even if I can't prove--(coaxingly)  You will let me
take your case, won't you, Mac?

McGLOIN--(soothingly)  Sure I will and it'll make your reputation,
Willie.  (Mosher winks at Hope, shaking his head, and Hope answers
with identical pantomime, as though to say, "Poor dopes, they're
off again!")

LARRY--(aloud to himself more than to Parritt--with irritable
wonder)  Ah, be damned!  Haven't I heard their visions a thousand
times?  Why should they get under my skin now?  I've got the blues,
I guess.  I wish to hell Hickey'd turn up.

MOSHER--(calculatingly solicitous--whispering to Hope)  Poor Willie
needs a drink bad, Harry--and I think if we all joined him it'd
make him feel he was among friends and cheer him up.

HOPE--More circus con tricks!  (scathingly)  You talking of your
dear sister!  Bessie had you sized up.  She used to tell me, "I
don't know what you can see in that worthless, drunken, petty-
larceny brother of mine.  If I had my way," she'd say, "he'd get
booted out in the gutter on his fat behind."  Sometimes she didn't
say behind, either.

MOSHER--(grins genially)  Yes, dear old Bess had a quick temper,
but there was no real harm in her.  (He chuckles reminiscently.)
Remember the time she sent me down to the bar to change a ten-
dollar bill for her?

HOPE--(has to grin himself)  Bejees, do I!  She coulda bit a piece
out of a stove lid, after she found it out.  (He cackles

MOSHER--I was sure surprised when she gave me the ten spot.  Bess
usually had better sense, but she was in a hurry to go to church.
I didn't really mean to do it, but you know how habit gets you.
Besides, I still worked then, and the circus season was going to
begin soon, and I needed a little practice to keep my hand in.  Or,
you never can tell, the first rube that came to my wagon for a
ticket might have left with the right change and I'd be disgraced.
(He chuckles.)  I said, "I'm sorry, Bess, but I had to take it all
in dimes.  Here, hold out your hands and I'll count it out for you,
so you won't kick afterwards I short-changed you."  (He begins a
count which grows more rapid as he goes on.)  Ten, twenty, thirty,
forty, fifty, sixty, seventy, eighty, ninety, a dollar.  Ten,
twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, sixty--You're counting with me, Bess,
aren't you?--eighty, ninety, two dollars.  Ten, twenty--Those are
pretty shoes you got on, Bess--forty, fifty, seventy, eighty,
ninety, three dollars.  Ten, twenty, thirty--What's on at the
church tonight, Bess?--fifty, sixty, seventy, ninety, four dollars.
Ten, twenty, thirty, fifty, seventy, eighty, ninety--That's a swell
new hat, Bess, looks very becoming--six dollars.  (He chuckles.)
And so on.  I'm bum at it now for lack of practice, but in those
days I could have short-changed the Keeper of the Mint.

HOPE--(grinning)  Stung her for two dollars and a half, wasn't it,

MOSHER--Yes.  A fine percentage, if I do say so, when you're
dealing to someone who's sober and can count.  I'm sorry to say she
discovered my mistakes in arithmetic just after I beat it around
the corner.  She counted it over herself.  Bess somehow never had
the confidence in me a sister should.  (He sighs tenderly.)  Dear
old Bess.

HOPE--(indignant now)  You're a fine guy bragging how you short-
changed your own sister!  Bejees, if there was a war and you was in
it, they'd have to padlock the pockets of the dead!

MOSHER--(a bit hurt at this)  That's going pretty strong, Harry.  I
always gave a sucker some chance.  There wouldn't be no fun robbing
the dead.  (He becomes reminiscently melancholy.)  Gosh, thinking
of the old ticket wagon brings those days back.  The greatest life
on earth with the greatest show on earth!  The grandest crowd of
regular guys ever gathered under one tent!  I'd sure like to shake
their hands again!

HOPE--(acidly)  They'd have guns in theirs.  They'd shoot you on
sight.  You've touched every damned one of them.  Bejees, you've
even borrowed fish from the trained seals and peanuts from every
elephant that remembered you!  (This fancy tickles him and he gives
a cackling laugh.)

MOSHER--(overlooking this--dreamily)  You know, Harry, I've made up
my mind I'll see the boss in a couple of days and ask for my old
job.  I can get back my magic touch with change easy, and I can
throw him a line of bull that'll kid him I won't be so unreasonable
about sharing the profits next time.  (with insinuating complaint)
There's no percentage in hanging around this dive, taking care of
you and shooing away your snakes, when I don't even get an eye-
opener for my trouble.

HOPE--(implacably)  No!  (Mosher sighs and gives up and closes his
eyes.  The others, except Larry and Parritt, are all dozing again
now.  Hope goes on grumbling.)  Go to hell or the circus, for all I
care.  Good riddance, bejees!  I'm sick of you!  (then worriedly)
Say, Ed, what the hell you think's happened to Hickey?  I hope
he'll turn up.  Always got a million funny stories.  You and the
other bums have begun to give me the graveyard fantods.  I'd like a
good laugh with old Hickey.  (He chuckles at a memory.)  Remember
that gag he always pulls about his wife and the iceman?  He'd make
a cat laugh!  (Rocky appears from the bar.  He comes front, behind
Masher's chair, and begins pushing the black curtain along the rod
to the rear wall.)

ROCKY--Openin' time, Boss.  (He presses a button at rear which
switches off the lights.  The back room becomes drabber and dingier
than ever in the gray daylight that comes from the street windows,
off right, and what light can penetrate the grime of the two
backyard windows at left.  Rocky turns back to Hope--grumpily)  Why
don't you go up to bed, Boss?  Hickey'd never turn up dis time of
de mornin'!

HOPE--(starts and listens)  Someone's coming now.

ROCKY--(listens)  Aw, dat's on'y my two pigs.  It's about time dey
showed.  (He goes back toward the door at left of the bar.)

HOPE--(sourly disappointed)  You keep them dumb broads quiet.  I
don't want to go to bed.  I'm going to catch a couple more winks
here and I don't want no damn-fool laughing and screeching.  (He
settles himself in his chair, grumbling)  Never thought I'd see the
day when Harry Hope's would have tarts rooming in it.  What'd
Bessie think?  But I don't let 'em use my rooms for business.  And
they're good kids.  Good as anyone else.  They got to make a
living.  Pay their rent, too, which is more than I can say for--(He
cocks an eye over his specs at Mosher and grins with satisfaction.)
Bejees, Ed, I'll bet Bessie is doing somersaults in her grave!  (He
chuckles.  But Mosher's eyes are closed, his head nodding, and he
doesn't reply, so Hope closes his eyes.  Rocky has opened the
barroom door at rear and is standing in the hall beyond it, facing
right.  A girl's laugh is heard.)

ROCKY--(warningly) Nix!  Piano!  (He comes in, beckoning them to
follow.  He goes behind the bar and gets a whiskey bottle and
glasses and chairs.  Margie and Pearl follow him, casting a glance
around.  Everyone except Larry and Parritt is asleep or dozing.
Even Parritt has his eyes closed.  The two girls, neither much over
twenty, are typical dollar street walkers, dressed in the usual
tawdry get-up.  Pearl is obviously Italian with black hair and
eyes.  Margie has brown hair and hazel eyes, a slum New Yorker of
mixed blood.  Both are plump and have a certain prettiness that
shows even through their blobby make-up.  Each retains a vestige of
youthful freshness, although the game is beginning to get them and
give them hard, worn expressions.  Both are sentimental, feather-
brained, giggly, lazy, good-natured and reasonably contented with
life.  Their attitude toward Rocky is much that of two maternal,
affectionate sisters toward a bullying brother whom they like to
tease and spoil.  His attitude toward them is that of the owner of
two performing pets he has trained to do a profitable act under his
management.  He feels a proud proprietor's affection for them, and
is tolerantly lax in his discipline.)

MARGIE--(glancing around)  Jees, Poil, it's de Morgue wid all de
stiffs on deck.  (She catches Larry's eye and smiles affectionately.)
Hello, Old Wise Guy, ain't you died yet?

LARRY--(grinning)  Not yet, Margie.  But I'm waiting impatiently
for the end.  (Parritt opens his eyes to look at the two girls, but
as soon as they glance at him he closes them again and turns his
head away.)

MARGIE--(as she and Pearl come to the table at right, front,
followed by Rocky)  Who's de new guy?  Friend of yours, Larry?
(Automatically she smiles seductively at Parritt and addresses him
in a professional chant.)  Wanta have a good time, kid?

PEARL--Aw, he's passed out.  Hell wid him!

HOPE--(cocks an eye over his specs at them--with drowsy irritation)
You dumb broads cut the loud talk.  (He shuts his eye again.)

ROCKY--(admonishing them good-naturedly)  Sit down before I knock
yuh down.  (Margie and Pearl sit at left, and rear, of table, Rocky
at right of it.  The girls pour drinks.  Rocky begins in a brisk,
business-like manner but in a lowered voice with an eye on Hope.)
Well, how'd you tramps do?

MARGIE--Pretty good.  Didn't we, Poil?

PEARL--Sure.  We nailed a coupla all-night guys.

MARGIE--On Sixth Avenoo.  Boobs from de sticks.

PEARL--Stinko, de bot' of 'em.

MARGIE--We thought we was in luck.  We steered dem to a real hotel.
We figgered dey was too stinko to bother us much and we could cop a
good sleep in beds that ain't got cobble stones in de mattress like
de ones in dis dump.

PEARL--But we was outa luck.  Dey didn't bother us much dat way,
but dey wouldn't go to sleep either, see?  Jees, I never hoid such
gabby guys.

MARGIE--Dey got onta politics, drinkin' outa de bottle.  Dey forgot
we was around.  "De Bull Moosers is de on'y reg'lar guys," one guy
says.  And de other guy says, "You're a God-damned liar!  And I'm a
Republican!"  Den dey'd laugh.

PEARL--Den dey'd get mad and make a bluff dey was goin' to scrap,
and den dey'd make up and cry and sing "School Days."  Jees,
imagine tryin' to sleep wid dat on de phonograph!

MARGIE--Maybe you tink we wasn't glad when de house dick come up
and told us all to git dressed and take de air!

PEARL--We told de guys we'd wait for dem 'round de corner.

MARGIE--So here we are.

ROCKY--(sententiously)  Yeah.  I see you.  But I don't see no dough

PEARL--(with a wink at Margie--teasingly)  Right on de job, ain't
he, Margie?

MARGIE--Yeah, our little business man!  Dat's him!

ROCKY--Come on!  Dig!  (They both pull up their skirts to get the
money from their stockings.  Rocky watches this move carefully.)

PEARL--(amused)  Pipe him keepin' cases, Margie.

MARGIE--(amused)  Scared we're holdin' out on him.

PEARL--Way he grabs, yuh'd tink it was him done de woik.  (She
holds out a little roll of bills to Rocky.)  Here y'are, Grafter!

MARGIE--(holding hers out)  We hope it chokes yuh.  (Rocky counts
the money quickly and shoves it in his pocket.)

ROCKY--(genially)  You dumb baby dolls gimme a pain.  What would
you do wid money if I wasn't around?  Give it all to some pimp.

PEARL--(teasingly)  Jees, what's the difference--?  (hastily)  Aw,
I don't mean dat, Rocky.

ROCKY--(his eyes growing hard--slowly)  A lotta difference, get me?

PEARL--Don't get sore.  Jees, can't yuh take a little kiddin'?

MARGIE--Sure, Rocky, Poil was on'y kiddin'.  (soothingly)  We know
yuh got a reg'lar job.  Dat's why we like yuh, see?  Yuh don't live
offa us.  Yuh're a bartender.

ROCKY--(genially again)  Sure, I'm a bartender.  Everyone knows me
knows dat.  And I treat you goils right, don't I?  Jees, I'm wise
yuh hold out on me, but I know it ain't much, so what the hell, I
let yuh get away wid it.  I tink yuh're a coupla good kids.  Yuh're
aces wid me, see?

PEARL--You're aces wid us, too.  Ain't he, Margie?

MARGIE--Sure, he's aces.  (Rocky beams complacently and takes the
glasses back to the bar.  Margie whispers)  Yuh sap, don't yuh know
enough not to kid him on dat?  Serve yuh right if he beat yuh up!

PEARL--(admiringly)  Jees, I'll bet he'd give yuh an awful beatin',
too, once he started.  Ginnies got awful tempers.

MARGIE--Anyway, we wouldn't keep no pimp, like we was reg'lar old
whores.  We ain't dat bad.

PEARL--No.  We're tarts, but dat's all.

ROCKY--(rinsing glasses behind the bar)  Cora got back around three
o'clock.  She woke up Chuck and dragged him outa de hay to go to a
chop suey joint.  (disgustedly)  Imagine him standin' for dat

MARGIE--(disgustedly)  I'll bet dey been sittin' around kiddin'
demselves wid dat old pipe dream about gettin' married and settlin'
down on a farm.  Jees, when Chuck's on de wagon, dey never lay off
dat dope!  Dey give yuh an earful every time yuh talk to 'em!

PEARL--Yeah.  Chuck wid a silly grin on his ugly map, de big boob,
and Cora gigglin' like she was in grammar school and some tough
guy'd just told her babies wasn't brung down de chimney by a boid!

MARGIE--And her on de turf long before me and you was!  And bot' of
'em arguin' all de time, Cora sayin' she's scared to marry him
because he'll go on drunks again.  Just as dough any drunk could
scare Cora!

PEARL--And him swearin', de big liar, he'll never go on no more
periodicals!  An' den her pretendin'--But it gives me a pain to
talk about it.  We ought to phone de booby hatch to send round de
wagon for 'em.

ROCKY--(comes back to the table--disgustedly)  Yeah, of all de pipe
dreams in dis dump, dey got de nuttiest!  And nuttin' stops dem.
Dey been dreamin' it for years, every time Chuck goes on de wagon.
I never could figger it.  What would gettin' married get dem?  But
de farm stuff is de sappiest part.  When bot' of 'em was dragged up
in dis ward and ain't never been nearer a farm dan Coney Island!
Jees, dey'd think dey'd gone deef if dey didn't hear de El rattle!
Dey'd get D.T.s if dey ever hoid a cricket choip!  I hoid crickets
once on my cousin's place in Joisey.  I couldn't sleep a wink.  Dey
give me de heebie-jeebies.  (with deeper disgust)  Jees, can yuh
picture a good bar-keep like Chuck diggin' spuds?  And imagine a
whore hustlin' de cows home!  For Christ sake!  Ain't dat a sweet

MARGIE--(rebukingly)  Yuh oughtn't to call Cora dat.  Rocky.  She's
a good kid.  She may be a tart, but--

ROCKY--(considerately)  Sure, dat's all I meant, a tart.

PEARL--(giggling)  But he's right about de damned cows, Margie.
Jees, I bet Cora don't know which end of de cow has de horns!  I'm
goin' to ask her.  (There is the noise of a door opening in the
hall and the sound of a man's and woman's arguing voices.)

ROCKY--Here's your chance.  Dat's dem two nuts now.  (Cora and
Chuck look in from the hallway and then come in.  Cora is a thin
peroxide blonde, a few years older than Pearl and Margie, dressed
in similar style, her round face showing more of the wear and tear
of her trade than theirs, but still with traces of a doll-like
prettiness.  Chuck is a tough, thick-necked, barrel-chested
Italian-American, with a fat, amiable, swarthy face.  He has on a
straw hat with a vivid band, a loud suit, tie and shirt, and yellow
shoes.  His eyes are clear and he looks healthy and strong as an

CORA--(gaily)  Hello, bums.  (She looks around.)  Jees, de Morgue
on a rainy Sunday night!  (She waves to Larry--affectionately)
Hello, Old Wise Guy!  Ain't you croaked yet?

LARRY--(grins)  Not yet, Cora.  It's damned tiring, this waiting
for the end.

CORA--Aw, gwan, you'll never die!  Yuh'll have to hire someone to
croak yuh wid an axe.

HOPE--(cocks one sleepy eye at her--irritably)  You dumb hookers,
cut the loud noise!  This ain't a cathouse!

CORA--(teasingly)  My, Harry!  Such language!

HOPE--(closes his eyes--to himself with a gratified chuckle)
Bejees, I'll bet Bessie's turning over in her grave!  (Cora sits
down between Margie and Pearl.  Chuck takes an empty chair from
Hope's table and puts it by hers and sits down.  At Larry's table,
Parritt is glaring resentfully toward the girls.)

PARRITT--If I'd known this dump was a hooker hangout, I'd never
have come here.

LARRY--(watching him)  You seem down on the ladies.

PARRITT--(vindictively)  I hate every bitch that ever lived!
They're all alike!  (catching himself guiltily)  You can understand
how I feel, can't you, when it was getting mixed up with a tart
that made me have that fight with Mother?  (then with a resentful
sneer)  But what the hell does it matter to you?  You're in the
grandstand.  You're through with life.

LARRY--(sharply)  I'm glad you remember it.  I don't want to know a
damned thing about your business.  (He closes his eyes and settles
on his chair as if preparing for sleep.  Parritt starts at him
sneeringly.  Then he looks away and his expression becomes furtive
and frightened.)

CORA--Who's de guy wid Larry?

ROCKY--A tightwad.  To hell wid him.

PEARL--Say, Cora, wise me up.  Which end of a cow is dehorns on?

CORA--(embarrassed)  Aw, don't bring dat up.  I'm sick of hearin'
about dat farm.

ROCKY--You got nuttin' on us!

CORA--(ignoring this)  Me and dis overgrown tramp has been
scrappin' about it.  He says Joisey's de best place, and I says
Long Island because we'll be near Coney.  And I tells him, How do I
know yuh're off of periodicals for life?  I don't give a damn how
drunk yuh get, the way we are, but I don't wanta be married to no

CHUCK--And I tells her I'm off de stuff for life.  Den she beefs we
won't be married a month before I'll trow it in her face she was a
tart.  "Jees, Baby," I tells her.  "Why should I?  What de hell yuh
tink I tink I'm marryin', a voigin?  Why should I kick as long as
yuh lay off it and don't do no cheatin' wid de iceman or nobody?"
(He gives her a rough hug.)  Dat's on de level, Baby.  (He kisses

CORA--(kissing him)  Aw, yuh big tramp!

ROCKY--(shakes his head with profound disgust)  Can yuh tie it?
I'll buy a drink.  I'll do anything.  (He gets up.)

CORA--No, dis round's on me.  I run into luck.  Dat's why I dragged
Chuck outa bed to celebrate.  It was a sailor.  I rolled him.  (She
giggles.)  Listen, it was a scream.  I've run into some nutty
souses, but dis guy was de nuttiest.  De booze dey dish out around
de Brooklyn Navy Yard must be as turrible bug-juice as Harry's.  My
dogs was givin' out when I seen dis guy holdin' up a lamppost, so I
hurried to get him before a cop did.  I says, "Hello, Handsome,
wanta have a good time?"  Jees, he was paralyzed!  One of dem
polite jags.  He tries to bow to me, imagine, and I had to prop him
up or he'd fell on his nose.  And what d'yuh tink he said?  "Lady,"
he says, "can yuh kindly tell me de nearest way to de Museum of
Natural History?"  (They all laugh.)  Can yuh imagine!  At two A.M.
As if I'd know where de dump was anyway.  But I says, "Sure ting,
Honey Boy, I'll be only too glad."  So I steered him into a side
street where it was dark and propped him against a wall and give
him a frisk.  (She giggles.)  And what d'yuh tink he does?  Jees, I
ain't lyin', he begins to laugh, de big sap!  He says, "Quit
ticklin' me."  While I was friskin' him for his roll!  I near died!
Den I toined him 'round and give him a push to start him.  "Just
keep goin'," I told him.  "It's a big white building on your right.
You can't miss it."  He must be swimmin' in de North River yet!
(They all laugh.)

CHUCK--Ain't Uncle Sam de sap to trust guys like dat wid dough!

CORA--(with a business-like air)  I picked twelve bucks offa him.
Come on, Rocky.  Set 'em up.  (Rocky goes back to the bar.  Cora
looks around the room.)  Say, Chuck's kiddin' about de iceman a
minute ago reminds me.  Where de hell's Hickey?

ROCKY--Dat's what we're all wonderin'.

CORA--He oughta be here.  Me and Chuck seen him.

ROCKY--(excited, comes back from the bar, forgetting the drinks)
You seen Hickey?  (He nudges Hope.)  Hey, Boss, come to!  Cora's
seen Hickey.  (Hope is instantly wide awake and everyone in the
place, except Hugo and Parritt, begins to rouse up hopefully, as if
a mysterious wireless message had gone round.)

HOPE--Where'd you see him, Cora?

CORA--Right on de next corner.  He was standin' dere.  We said,
"Welcome to our city.  De gang is expectin' yuh wid deir tongues
hangin' out a yard long."  And I kidded him, "How's de iceman,
Hickey?  How's he doin' at your house?"  He laughs and says,
"Fine."  And he says, "Tell de gang I'll be along in a minute.  I'm
just finishin' figurin' out de best way to save dem and bring dem

HOPE--(chuckles)  Bejees, he's thought up a new gag!  It's a wonder
he didn't borry a Salvation Army uniform and show up in that!  Go
out and get him, Rocky.  Tell him we're waitin' to be saved!
(Rocky goes out, grinning.)

CORA--Yeah, Harry, he was only kiddin'.  But he was funny, too,
somehow.  He was different, or somethin'.

CHUCK--Sure, he was sober, Baby.  Dat's what made him different.
We ain't never seen him when he wasn't on a drunk, or had de
willies gettin' over it.

CORA--Sure!  Gee, ain't I dumb?

HOPE--(with conviction)  The dumbest broad I ever seen!  (then
puzzledly)  Sober?  That's funny.  He's always lapped up a good
starter on his way here.  Well, bejees, he won't be sober long!
He'll be good and ripe for my birthday party tonight at twelve.
(He chuckles with excited anticipation--addressing all of them)
Listen!  He's fixed some new gag to pull on us.  We'll pretend to
let him kid us, see?  And we'll kid the pants off him.  (They all
say laughingly, "Sure, Harry," "Righto," "That's the stuff," "We'll
fix him," etc., etc., their faces excited with the same eager
anticipation.  Rocky appears in the doorway at the end of the bar
with Hickey, his arm around Hickey's shoulders.)

ROCKY--(with an affectionate grin)  Here's the old son of a bitch!
(They all stand up and greet him with affectionate acclaim, "Hello,
Hickey!" etc.  Even Hugo comes out of his coma to raise his head
and blink through his thick spectacles with a welcoming giggle.)

HICKEY--(jovially)  Hello, Gang!  (He stands a moment, beaming
around at all of them affectionately.  He is about fifty, a little
under medium height, with a stout, roly-poly figure.  His face is
round and smooth and big-boyish with bright blue eyes, a button
nose, a small, pursed mouth.  His head is bald except for a fringe
of hair around his temples and the back of his head.  His
expression is fixed in a salesman's winning smile of self-confident
affability and hearty good fellowship.  His eyes have the twinkle
of a humor which delights in kidding others but can also enjoy
equally a joke on himself.  He exudes a friendly, generous
personality that makes everyone like him on sight.  You get the
impression, too, that he must have real ability in his line.
There is an efficient, businesslike approach in his manner, and
his eyes can take you in shrewdly at a glance.  He has the
salesman's mannerisms of speech, an easy flow of glib, persuasive
convincingness.  His clothes are those of a successful drummer
whose territory consists of minor cities and small towns--not
flashy but conspicuously spic and span.  He immediately puts on an
entrance act, places a hand affectedly on his chest, throws back
his head, and sings in a falsetto tenor)  "It's always fair
weather, when good fellows get together!"  (changing to a comic
bass and another tune)  "And another little drink won't do us any
harm!"  (They all roar with laughter at this burlesque which his
personality makes really funny.  He waves his hand in a lordly
manner to Rocky.)  Do your duty, Brother Rocky.  Bring on the rat
poison!  (Rocky grins and goes behind the bar to get drinks amid an
approving cheer from the crowd.  Hickey comes forward to shake
hands with Hope--with affectionate heartiness)  How goes it,

HOPE--(enthusiastically)  Bejees, Hickey, you old bastard, it's
good to see you!  (Hickey shakes hands with Mosher and McGloin;
leans right to shake hands with Margie and Pearl; moves to the
middle table to shake hands with Lewis, Joe Mott, Wetjoen and
Jimmy; waves to Willie, Larry and Hugo.  He greets each by name
with the same affectionate heartiness and there is an interchange
of "How's the kid?"  "How's the old scout?"  "How's the boy?"
"How's everything?" etc., etc.  Rocky begins setting out drinks,
whiskey glasses with chasers, and a bottle for each table, starting
with Larry's table.  Hope says)  Sit down, Hickey.  Sit down.
(Hickey takes the chair, facing front, at the front of the table in
the second row which is half between Hope's table and the one where
Jimmy Tomorrow is.  Hope goes on with excited pleasure.)  Bejees,
Hickey, it seems natural to see your ugly, grinning map.  (with a
scornful nod to Cora)  This dumb broad was tryin' to tell us you'd
changed, but you ain't a damned bit.  Tell us about yourself.
How've you been doin'?  Bejees, you look like a million dollars.

ROCKY--(coming to Hickey's table, puts a bottle of whiskey, a glass
and a chaser on it--then hands Hickey a key)  Here's your key,
Hickey.  Same old room.

HICKEY--(shoves the key in his pocket)  Thanks, Rocky.  I'm going
up in a little while and grab a snooze.  Haven't been able to sleep
lately and I'm tired as hell.  A couple of hours good kip will fix

HOPE--(as Rocky puts drinks on his table)  First time I ever heard
you worry about sleep.  Bejees, you never would go to bed.  (He
raises his glass, and all the others except Parritt do likewise.)
Get a few slugs under your belt and you'll forget sleeping.  Here's
mud in your eye, Hickey.  (They all join in with the usual humorous

HICKEY--(heartily)  Drink hearty, boys and girls!  (They all drink,
but Hickey drinks only his chaser.)

HOPE--Bejees, is that a new stunt, drinking your chaser first?

HICKEY--No, I forgot to tell Rocky--You'll have to excuse me, boys
and girls, but I'm off the stuff.  For keeps.  (They stare at him
in amazed incredulity.)

HOPE--What the hell--(then with a wink at the others, kiddingly)
Sure!  Joined the Salvation Army, ain't you?  Been elected
President of the W.C.T.U.?  Take that bottle away from him, Rocky.
We don't want to tempt him into sin.  (He chuckles and the others

HICKEY--(earnestly)  No, honest, Harry.  I know it's hard to
believe but--(He pauses--then adds simply)  Cora was right, Harry.
I have changed.  I mean, about booze.  I don't need it any more.
(They all stare, hoping it's a gag, but impressed and disappointed
and made vaguely uneasy by the change they now sense in him.)

HOPE--(his kidding a bit forced)  Yeah, go ahead, kid the pants off
us!  Bejees, Cora said you was coming to save us!  Well, go on.
Get this joke off your chest!  Start the service!  Sing a God-
damned hymn if you like.  We'll all join in the chorus.  "No
drunkard can enter this beautiful home."  That's a good one.  (He
forces a cackle.)

HICKEY--(grinning)  Oh, hell, Governor!  You don't think I'd come
around here peddling some brand of temperance bunk, do you?  You
know me better than that!  Just because I'm through with the stuff
don't mean I'm going Prohibition.  Hell, I'm not that ungrateful!
It's given me too many good times.  I feel exactly the same as I
always did.  If anyone wants to get drunk, if that's the only way
they can be happy, and feel at peace with themselves, why the hell
shouldn't they?  They have my full and entire sympathy.  I know all
about that game from soup to nuts.  I'm the guy that wrote the
book.  The only reason I've quit is--Well, I finally had the guts
to face myself and throw overboard the damned lying pipe dream
that'd been making me miserable, and do what I had to do for the
happiness of all concerned--and then all at once I found I was at
peace with myself and I didn't need booze any more.  That's all
there was to it.  (He pauses.  They are staring at him, uneasy and
beginning to feel defensive.  Hickey looks round and grins
affectionately--apologetically)  But what the hell!  Don't let me
be a wet blanket, making fool speeches about myself.  Set 'em up
again, Rocky.  Here.  (He pulls a big roll from his pocket and
peels off a ten-dollar bill.  The faces of all brighten.)  Keep the
balls coming until this is killed.  Then ask for more.

ROCKY--Jees, a roll dat'd choke a hippopotamus!  Fill up, youse
guys.  (They all pour out drinks.)

HOPE--That sounds more like you, Hickey.  That water-wagon bull--
Cut out the act and have a drink, for Christ's sake.

HICKEY--It's no act, Governor.  But don't get me wrong.  That don't
mean I'm a teetotal grouch and can't be in the party.  Hell, why
d'you suppose I'm here except to have a party, same as I've always
done, and help celebrate your birthday tonight?  You've all been
good pals to me, the best friends I've ever had.  I've been
thinking about you ever since I left the house--all the time I was
walking over here--

HOPE--Walking?  Bejees, do you mean to say you walked?

HICKEY--I sure did.  All the way from the wilds of darkest Astoria.
Didn't mind it a bit, either.  I seemed to get here before I knew
it.  I'm a bit tired and sleepy but otherwise I feel great.
(kiddingly)  That ought to encourage you, Governor--show you a
little walk around the ward is nothing to be so scared about.  (He
winks at the others.  Hope stiffens resentfully for a second.
Hickey goes on.)  I didn't make such bad time either for a fat guy,
considering it's a hell of a ways, and I sat in the park a while
thinking.  It was going on twelve when I went in the bedroom to
tell Evelyn I was leaving.  Six hours, say.  No, less than that.
I'd been standing on the corner some time before Cora and Chuck
came along, thinking about all of you.  Of course, I was only
kidding Cora with that stuff about saving you.  (then seriously)
No, I wasn't either.  But I didn't mean booze.  I meant save you
from pipe dreams.  I know now, from my experience, they're the
things that really poison and ruin a guy's life and keep him from
finding any peace.  If you knew how free and contented I feel now.
I'm like a new man.  And the cure for them is so damned simple,
once you have the nerve.  Just the old dope of honesty is the best
policy--honesty with yourself, I mean.  Just stop lying about
yourself and kidding yourself about tomorrows.  (He is staring
ahead of him now as if he were talking aloud to himself as much as
to them.  Their eyes are fixed on him with uneasy resentment.  His
manner becomes apologetic again.)  Hell, this begins to sound like
a damned sermon on the way to lead the good life.  Forget that part
of it.  It's in my blood, I guess.  My old man used to whale
salvation into my heinie with a birch rod.  He was a preacher in
the sticks of Indiana, like I've told you.  I got my knack of sales
gab from him, too.  He was the boy who could sell those Hoosier
hayseeds building lots along the Golden Street!  (taking on a
salesman's persuasiveness)  Now listen, boys and girls, don't look
at me as if I was trying to sell you a goldbrick.  Nothing up my
sleeve, honest.  Let's take an example.  Any one of you.  Take you,
Governor.  That walk around the ward you never take--

HOPE--(defensively sharp)  What about it?

HICKEY--(grinning affectionately)  Why, you know as well as I do,
Harry.  Everything about it.

HOPE--(defiantly)  Bejees, I'm going to take it!

HICKEY--Sure, you're going to--this time.  Because I'm going to
help you.  I know it's the thing you've got to do before you'll
ever know what real peace means.  (He looks at Jimmy Tomorrow)
Same thing with you, Jimmy.  You've got to try and get your old job
back.  And no tomorrow about it!  (as Jimmy stiffens with a
pathetic attempt at dignity--placatingly)  No, don't tell me,
Jimmy.  I know all about tomorrow.  I'm the guy that wrote the

JIMMY--I don't understand you.  I admit I've foolishly delayed, but
as it happens, I'd just made up my mind that as soon as I could get
straightened out--

HICKEY--Fine!  That's the spirit!  And I'm going to help you.
You've been damned kind to me, Jimmy, and I want to prove how
grateful I am.  When it's all over and you don't have to nag at
yourself any more, you'll be grateful to me, too!  (He looks around
at the others.)  And all the rest of you, ladies included, are in
the same boat, one way or another.

LARRY--(who has been listening with sardonic appreciation--in his
comically intense, crazy whisper)  Be God, you've hit the nail on
the head, Hickey!  This dump is the Palace of Pipe Dreams!

HICKEY--(grins at him with affectionate kidding)  Well, well!  The
Old Grandstand Foolosopher speaks!  You think you're the big
exception, eh?  Life doesn't mean a damn to you any more, does it?
You're retired from the circus.  You're just waiting impatiently
for the end--the good old Long Sleep!  (He chuckles.)  Well, I
think a lot of you, Larry, you old bastard.  I'll try and make an
honest man of you, too!

LARRY--(stung)  What the devil are you hinting at, anyway?

HICKEY--You don't have to ask me, do you, a wise old guy like you?
Just ask yourself.  I'll bet you know.

PARRITT--(is watching Larry's face with a curious sneering
satisfaction)  He's got your number all right, Larry!  (He turns to
Hickey.)  That's the stuff, Hickey.  Show the old faker up!  He's
got no right to sneak out of everything.

HICKEY--(regards him with surprise at first, then with a puzzled
interest)  Hello.  A stranger in our midst.  I didn't notice you
before, Brother.

PARRITT--(embarrassed, his eyes shifting away)  My name's Parritt.
I'm an old friend of Larry's.  (His eyes come back to Hickey to
find him still sizing him up--defensively)  Well?  What are you
staring at?

HICKEY--(continuing to stare--puzzledly)  No offense, Brother.  I
was trying to figure--Haven't we met before some place?

PARRITT--(reassured)  No.  First time I've ever been East.

HICKEY--No, you're right.  I know that's not it.  In my game, to be
a shark at it, you teach yourself never to forget a name or a face.
But still I know damned well I recognized something about you.
We're members of the same lodge--in some way.

PARRITT--(uneasy again)  What are you talking about?  You're nuts.

HICKEY--(dryly)  Don't try to kid me, Little Boy.  I'm a good
salesman--so damned good the firm was glad to take me back after
every drunk--and what made me good was I could size up anyone.
(frowningly puzzled again)  But I don't see--(suddenly breezily
good-natured)  Never mind.  I can tell you're having trouble with
yourself and I'll be glad to do anything I can to help a friend of

LARRY--Mind your own business, Hickey.  He's nothing to you--or to
me, either.  (Hickey gives him a keen inquisitive glance.  Larry
looks away and goes on sarcastically.)  You're keeping us all in
suspense.  Tell us more about how you're going to save us.

HICKEY--(good-naturedly but seeming a little hurt)  Hell, don't get
sore, Larry.  Not at me.  We've always been good pals, haven't we?
I know I've always liked you a lot.

LARRY--(a bit shamefaced)  Well, so have I liked you.  Forget it,

HICKEY--(beaming)  Fine!  That's the spirit!  (looking around at
the others, who have forgotten their drinks)  What's the matter,
everybody?  What is this, a funeral?  Come on and drink up!  A
little action!  (They all drink.)  Have another.  Hell, this is a
celebration!  Forget it, if anything I've said sounds too serious.
I don't want to be a pain in the neck.  Any time you think I'm
talking out of turn, just tell me to go chase myself!  (He yawns
with growing drowsiness and his voice grows a bit muffled.)  No,
boys and girls, I'm not trying to put anything over on you.  It's
just that I know now from experience what a lying pipe dream can do
to you--and how damned relieved and contented with yourself you
feel when you're rid of it.  (He yawns again.)  God, I'm sleepy all
of a sudden.  That long walk is beginning to get me.  I better go
upstairs.  Hell of a trick to go dead on you like this.  (He starts
to get up but relaxes again.  His eyes blink as he tries to keep
them open.)  No, boys and girls, I've never known what real peace
was until now.  It's a grand feeling, like when you're sick and
suffering like hell and the Doc gives you a shot in the arm, and
the pain goes, and you drift off.  (His eyes close.)  You can let
go of yourself at last.  Let yourself sink down to the bottom of
the sea.  Rest in peace.  There's no farther you have to go.  Not a
single damned hope or dream left to nag you.  You'll all know what
I mean after you--(He pauses--mumbles)  Excuse--all in--got to grab
forty winks--Drink up, everybody--on me--(The sleep of complete
exhaustion overpowers him.  His chin sags to his chest.  They stare
at him with puzzled uneasy fascination.)

HOPE--(forcing a tone of irritation)  Bejees, that's a fine stunt,
to go to sleep on us!  (then fumingly to the crowd)  Well, what the
hell's the matter with you bums?  Why don't you drink up?  You're
always crying for booze, and now you've got it under your nose, you
sit like dummies!  (They start and gulp down their whiskies and
pour another.  Hope stares at Hickey.)  Bejees, I can't figure
Hickey.  I still say he's kidding us.  Kid his own grandmother,
Hickey would.  What d'you think, Jimmy?

JIMMY--(unconvincingly)  It must be another of his jokes, Harry,
although--Well, he does appear changed.  But he'll probably be his
natural self again tomorrow--(hastily)  I mean, when he wakes up.

LARRY--(staring at Hickey frowningly--more aloud to himself than to
them)  You'll make a mistake if you think he's only kidding.

PARRITT--(in a low confidential voice)  I don't like that guy,
Larry.  He's too damned nosy.  I'm going to steer clear of him.
(Larry gives him a suspicious glance, then looks hastily away.)

JIMMY--(with an attempt at open-minded reasonableness)  Still,
Harry, I have to admit there was some sense in his nonsense.  It is
time I got my job back--although I hardly need him to remind me.

HOPE--(with an air of frankness)  Yes, and I ought to take a walk
around the ward.  But I don't need no Hickey to tell me, seeing I
got it all set for my birthday tomorrow.

LARRY--(sardonically)  Ha!  (then in his comically intense, crazy
whisper)  Be God, it looks like he's going to make two sales of his
peace at least!  But you'd better make sure first it's the real
McCoy and not poison.

HOPE--(disturbed--angrily)  You bughouse I-Won't-Work harp, who
asked you to shove in an oar?  What the hell d'you mean, poison?
Just because he has your number--(He immediately feels ashamed of
this taunt and adds apologetically)  Bejees, Larry, you're always
croaking about something to do with death.  It gets my nanny.  Come
on, fellers, let's drink up.  (They drink.  Hope's eyes are fixed
on Hickey again.)  Stone cold sober and dead to the world!
Spilling that business about pipe dreams!  Bejees, I don't get it.
(He bursts out again in angry complaint)  He ain't like the old
Hickey!  He'll be a fine wet blanket to have around at my birthday
party!  I wish to hell he'd never turned up!

MOSHER--(who has been the least impressed by Hickey's talk and is
the first to recover and feel the effect of the drinks on top of
his hangover--genially)  Give him time, Harry, and he'll come out
of it.  I've watched many cases of almost fatal teetotalism, but
they all came out of it completely cured and as drunk as ever.  My
opinion is the poor sap is temporarily bughouse from overwork.
(musingly)  You can't be too careful about work.  It's the
deadliest habit known to science, a great physician once told me.
He practiced on street corners under a torchlight.  He was
positively the only doctor in the world who claimed that
rattlesnake oil, rubbed on the prat, would cure heart failure in
three days.  I remember well his saying to me, "You are naturally
delicate, Ed, but if you drink a pint of bad whiskey before
breakfast every evening, and never work if you can help it, you may
live to a ripe old age.  It's staying sober and working that cuts
men off in their prime."  (While he is talking, they turn to him
with eager grins.  They are longing to laugh, and as he finishes
they roar.  Even Parritt laughs.  Hickey sleeps on like a dead man,
but Hugo, who had passed into his customary coma again, head on
table, looks up through his thick spectacles and giggles

HUGO--(blinking around at them.  As the laughter dies he speaks in
his giggling, wheedling manner, as if he were playfully teasing
children.)  Laugh, leedle bourgeois monkey-faces!  Laugh like
fools, leedle stupid peoples!  (His tone suddenly changes to one of
guttural soapbox denunciation and he pounds on the table with a
small fist.)  I vill laugh, too!  But I vill laugh last!  I vill
laugh at you!  (He declaims his favorite quotation.)  "The days
grow hot, O Babylon!  'Tis cool beneath thy villow trees!"  (They
all hoot him down in a chorus of amused jeering.  Hugo is not
offended.  This is evidently their customary reaction.  He giggles
good-naturedly.  Hickey sleeps on.  They have all forgotten their
uneasiness about him now and ignore him.)

LEWIS--(tipsily)  Well, now that our little Robespierre has got the
daily bit of guillotining off his chest, tell me more about your
doctor friend, Ed.  He strikes me as the only bloody sensible
medico I ever heard of.  I think we should appoint him house
physician here without a moment's delay.  (They all laughingly

MOSHER--(warming to his subject, shakes his head sadly)  Too late!
The old Doc has passed on to his Maker.  A victim of overwork, too.
He didn't follow his own advice.  Kept his nose to the grindstone
and sold one bottle of snake oil too many.  Only eighty years old
when he was taken.  The saddest part was that he knew he was
doomed.  The last time we got paralyzed together he told me:  "This
game will get me yet, Ed.  You see before you a broken man, a
martyr to medical science.  If I had any nerves I'd have a nervous
breakdown.  You won't believe me, but this last year there was
actually one night I had so many patients, I didn't even have time
to get drunk.  The shock to my system brought on a stroke which, as
a doctor, I recognized was the beginning of the end."  Poor old
Doc!  When he said this he started crying.  "I hate to go before my
task is completed, Ed," he sobbed.  "I'd hoped I'd live to see the
day when, thanks to my miraculous cure, there wouldn't be a single
vacant cemetery lot left in this glorious country."  (There is a
roar of laughter.  He waits for it to die and then goes on sadly.)
I miss Doc.  He was a gentleman of the old school.  I'll bet he's
standing on a street corner in hell right now, making suckers of
the damned, telling them there's nothing like snake oil for a bad
burn.  (There is another roar of laughter.  This time it penetrates
Hickey's exhausted slumber.  He stirs on his chair, trying to wake
up, managing to raise his head a little and force his eyes half
open.  He speaks with a drowsy, affectionately encouraging smile.
At once the laughter stops abruptly and they turn to him

HICKEY--That's the spirit--don't let me be a wet blanket--all I
want is to see you happy--(He slips back into heavy sleep again.
They all stare at him, their faces again puzzled, resentful and



SCENE--The back room only.  The black curtain dividing it from the
bar is the right wall of the scene.  It is getting on toward
midnight of the same day.

The back room has been prepared for a festivity.  At center, front,
four of the circular tables are pushed together to form one long
table with an uneven line of chairs behind it, and chairs at each
end.  This improvised banquet table is covered with old table
cloths, borrowed from a neighboring beanery, and is laid with
glasses, plates and cutlery before each of the seventeen chairs.
Bottles of bar whiskey are placed at intervals within reach of any
sitter.  An old upright piano and stool have been moved in and
stand against the wall at left, front.  At right, front, is a table
without chairs.  The other tables and chairs that had been in the
room have been moved out, leaving a clear floor space at rear for
dancing.  The floor has been swept clean of sawdust and scrubbed.
Even the walls show evidence of having been washed, although the
result is only to heighten their splotchy leprous look.  The
electric light brackets are adorned with festoons of red ribbon.
In the middle of the separate table at right, front, is a birthday
cake with six candles.  Several packages, tied with ribbon, are
also on the table.  There are two necktie boxes, two cigar boxes, a
fifth containing a half dozen handkerchiefs, the sixth is a square
jeweler's watch box.

As the curtain rises, Cora, Chuck, Hugo, Larry, Margie, Pearl and
Rocky are discovered.  Chuck, Rocky and the three girls have
dressed up for the occasion.  Cora is arranging a bouquet of
flowers in a vase, the vase being a big schooner glass from the
bar, on top of the piano.  Chuck sits in a chair at the foot (left)
of the banquet table.  He has turned it so he can watch her.  Near
the middle of the row of chairs behind the table, Larry sits,
facing front, a drink of whiskey before him.  He is staring before
him in frowning, disturbed meditation.  Next to him, on his left,
Hugo is in his habitual position, passed out, arms on table, head
on arms, a full whiskey glass by his head.  By the separate table
at right, front, Margie and Pearl are arranging the cake and
presents, and Rocky stands by them.  All of them, with the
exception of Chuck and Rocky, have had plenty to drink and show it,
but no one, except Hugo, seems to be drunk.  They are trying to act
up in the spirit of the occasion but there is something forced
about their manner, an undercurrent of nervous irritation and

CORA--(standing back from the piano to regard the flower effect)
How's dat, Kid?

CHUCK--(grumpily)  What de hell do I know about flowers?

CORA--Yuh can see dey're pretty, can't yuh, yuh big dummy?

CHUCK--(mollifyingly)  Yeah, Baby, sure.  If yuh like 'em, dey're
aw right wid me.  (Cora goes back to give the schooner of flowers a
few more touches.)

MARGIE--(admiring the cake)  Some cake, huh, Poil?  Lookit!  Six
candles.  Each for ten years.

PEARL--When do we light de candles, Rocky?

ROCKY--(grumpily)  Ask dat bughouse Hickey.  He's elected himself
boss of dis boithday racket.  Just before Harry comes down, he
says.  Den Harry blows dem out wid one breath, for luck.  Hickey
was goin' to have sixty candles, but I says, Jees, if de old guy
took dat big a breath, he'd croak himself.

MARGIE--(challengingly)  Well, anyways, it's some cake, ain't it?

ROCKY--(without enthusiasm)  Sure, it's aw right by me.  But what
de hell is Harry goin' to do wid a cake?  If he ever et a hunk,
it'd croak him.

PEARL--Jees, yuh're a dope!  Ain't he, Margie?

MARGIE--A dope is right!

ROCKY--(stung)  You broads better watch your step or--

PEARL--(defiantly)  Or what?

MARGIE--Yeah!  Or what?  (They glare at him truculently.)

ROCKY--Say, what de hell's got into youse?  It'll be twelve o'clock
and Harry's boithday before long.  I ain't lookin' for no trouble.

PEARL--(ashamed)  Aw, we ain't neider, Rocky.  (For the moment this
argument subsides.)

CORA--(over her shoulder to Chuck--acidly)  A guy what can't see
flowers is pretty must be some dumbbell.

CHUCK--Yeah?  Well, if I was as dumb as you--(then mollifyingly)
Jees, yuh got your scrappin' pants on, ain't yuh?  (grins good-
naturedly)  Hell, Baby, what's eatin' yuh?  All I'm tinkin' is,
flowers is dat louse Hickey's stunt.  We never had no flowers for
Harry's boithday before.  What de hell can Harry do wid flowers?
He don't know a cauliflower from a geranium.

ROCKY--Yeah, Chuck, it's like I'm tellin' dese broads about de
cake.  Dat's Hickey's wrinkle, too.  (bitterly)  Jees, ever since
he woke up, yuh can't hold him.  He's taken on de party like it was
his boithday.

MARGIE--Well, he's payin' for everything, ain't he?

ROCKY--Aw, I don't mind de boithday stuff so much.  What gets my
goat is de way he's tryin' to run de whole dump and everyone in it.
He's buttin' in all over de place, tellin' everybody where dey get
off.  On'y he don't really tell yuh.  He just keeps hintin' around.

PEARL--Yeah.  He was hintin' to me and Margie.

MARGIE--Yeah, de lousy drummer.

ROCKY--He just gives yuh an earful of dat line of bull about yuh
got to be honest wid yourself and not kid yourself, and have de
guts to be what yuh are.  I got sore.  I told him dat's aw right
for de bums in his dump.  I hope he makes dem wake up.  I'm sick of
listenin' to dem hop demselves up.  But it don't go wid me, see?  I
don't kid myself wid no pipe dream.  (Pearl and Margie exchange a
derisive look.  He catches it and his eyes narrow.)  What are yuh
grinnin' at?

PEARL--(her face hard--scornfully)  Nuttin'.


ROCKY--It better be nuttin'!  Don't let Hickey put no ideas in your
nuts if you wanta stay healthy!  (then angrily)  I wish de louse
never showed up!  I hope he don't come back from de delicatessen.
He's gettin' everyone nuts.  He's ridin' someone every minute.
He's got Harry and Jimmy Tomorrow run ragged, and de rest is hidin'
in deir rooms so dey won't have to listen to him.  Dey're all
actin' cagey wid de booze, too, like dey was scared if dey get too
drunk, dey might spill deir guts, or somethin'.  And everybody's
gettin' a prize grouch on.

CORA--Yeah, he's been hintin' round to me and Chuck, too.  Yuh'd
tink he suspected me and Chuck hadn't no real intention of gettin'
married.  Yuh'd tink he suspected Chuck wasn't goin' to lay off
periodicals--or maybe even didn't want to.

CHUCK--He didn't say it right out or I'da socked him one.  I told
him, "I'm on de wagon for keeps and Cora knows it."

CORA--I told him, "Sure, I know it.  And Chuck ain't never goin' to
trow it in my face dat I was a tart, neider.  And if yuh tink we're
just kiddin' ourselves, we'll show yuh!"

CHUCK--We're goin' to show him!

CORA--We got it all fixed.  We've decided Joisey is where we want
de farm, and we'll get married dere, too, because yuh don't need no
license.  We're goin' to get married tomorrow.  Ain't we, Honey?

CHUCK--You bet, Baby.

ROCKY--(disgusted)  Christ, Chuck, are yuh lettin' dat bughouse
louse Hickey kid yuh into--

CORA--(turns on him angrily)  Nobody's kiddin' him into it, nor me
neider!  And Hickey's right.  If dis big tramp's goin' to marry me,
he ought to do it, and not just shoot off his old bazoo about it.

ROCKY--(ignoring her)  Yuh can't be dat dumb, Chuck.

CORA--You keep outa dis!  And don't start beefin' about crickets on
de farm drivin' us nuts.  You and your crickets!  Yuh'd tink dey
was elephants!

MARGIE--(coming to Rocky's defense--sneeringly)  Don't notice dat
broad, Rocky.  Yuh heard her say "tomorrow," didn't yuh?  It's de
same old crap.

CORA--(glares at her)  Is dat so?

PEARL--(lines up with Margie--sneeringly)  Imagine Cora a bride!
Dat's a hot one!  Jees, Cora, if all de guys you've stayed wid was
side by side, yuh could walk on 'em from here to Texas!

CORA--(starts moving toward her threateningly)  Yuh can't talk like
dat to me, yuh fat Dago hooker!  I may be a tart, but I ain't a
cheap old whore like you!

PEARL--(furiously)  I'll show yuh who's a whore!  (They start to
fly at each other, but Chuck and Rocky grab them from behind.)

CHUCK--(forcing Cora onto a chair)  Sit down and cool off, Baby.

ROCKY--(doing the same to Pearl)  Nix on de rough stuff, Poil.

MARGIE--(glaring at Cora)  Why don't you leave Poil alone, Rocky?
She'll fix dat blonde's clock!  Or if she don't, I will!

ROCKY--Shut up, you!  (disgustedly)  Jees, what dames!  D'yuh wanta
gum Harry's party?

PEARL--(a bit shamefaced--sulkily)  Who wants to?  But nobody can't
call me a ----.

ROCKY--(exasperatedly)  Aw, bury it!  What are you, a voigin?
(Pearl stares at him, her face growing hard and bitter.  So does

PEARL--Yuh mean you tink I'm a whore, too, huh?

MARGIE--Yeah, and me?

ROCKY--Now don't start nuttin'!

PEARL--I suppose it'd tickle you if me and Margie did what dat
louse, Hickey, was hintin' and come right out and admitted we was

ROCKY--Aw right!  What of it?  It's de truth, ain't it?

CORA--(lining up with Pearl and Margie--indignantly)  Jees, Rocky,
dat's a fine hell of a ting to say to two goils dat's been as good
to yuh as Poil and Margie!  (to Pearl)  I didn't mean to call yuh
dat, Poil.  I was on'y mad.

PEARL--(accepts the apology gratefully)  Sure, I was mad, too,
Cora.  No hard feelin's.

ROCKY--(relieved)  Dere.  Dat fixes everything, don't it?

PEARL--(turns on him--hard and bitter)  Aw right, Rocky.  We're
whores.  You know what dat makes you, don't you?

ROCKY--(angrily)  Look out, now!

MARGIE--A lousy little pimp, dat's what!

ROCKY--I'll loin yuh!  (He gives her a slap on the side of the

PEARL--A dirty little Ginny pimp, dat's what!

ROCKY--(gives her a slap, too)  And dat'll loin you!  (But they
only stare at him with hard sneering eyes.)

MARGIE--He's provin' it to us, Poil.

PEARL--Yeah!  Hickey's convoited him.  He's give up his pipe dream!

ROCKY--(furious and at the same time bewildered by their defiance)
Lay off me or I'll beat de hell--

CHUCK--(growls)  Aw, lay off dem.  Harry's party ain't no time to
beat up your stable.

ROCKY--(turns to him)  Whose stable?  Who d'yuh tink yuh're talkin'
to?  I ain't never beat dem up!  What d'yuh tink I am?  I just give
dem a slap, like any guy would his wife, if she got too gabby.  Why
don't yuh tell dem to lay off me?  I don't want no trouble on
Harry's boithday party.

MARGIE--(a victorious gleam in her eye--tauntingly)  Aw right, den,
yuh poor little Ginny.  I'll lay off yuh till de party's over if
Poil will.

PEARL--(tauntingly)  Sure, I will.  For Harry's sake, not yours,
yuh little Wop!

ROCKY--(stung)  Say, listen, youse!  Don't get no wrong idea--(But
an interruption comes from Larry who bursts into a sardonic laugh.
They all jump startledly and look at him with unanimous hostility.
Rocky transfers his anger to him.)  Who de hell yuh laughin' at,
yuh half-dead old stew bum?

CORA--(sneeringly)  At himself, he ought to be!  Jees, Hickey's
sure got his number!

LARRY--(ignoring them, turns to Hugo and shakes him by the
shoulder--in his comically intense, crazy whisper)  Wake up,
Comrade!  Here's the Revolution starting on all sides of you and
you're sleeping through it!  Be God, it's not to Bakunin's ghost
you ought to pray in your dreams, but to the great Nihilist,
Hickey!  He's started a movement that'll blow up the world!

HUGO--(blinks at him through his thick spectacles--with guttural
denunciation)  You, Larry!  Renegade!  Traitor!  I vill have you
shot!  (He giggles.)  Don't be a fool!  Buy me a trink!  (He sees
the drink in front of him, and gulps it down.  He begins to sing
the Carmagnole in a guttural basso, pounding on the table with his
glass.)  "Dansons la Carmagnole!  Vive le son!  Vive le son!
Dansons la Carmagnole!  Vive le son des canons!"

ROCKY--Can dat noise!

HUGO--(ignores this--to Larry, in a low tone of hatred)  That
bourgeois svine, Hickey!  He laughs like good fellow, he makes
jokes, he dares make hints to me so I see what he dares to think.
He thinks I am finish, it is too late, and so I do not vish the Day
come because it vill not be my Day.  Oh, I see what he thinks!
He thinks lies even vorse, dat I--(He stops abruptly with a
guilty look, as if afraid he was letting something slip--then
revengefully)  I vill have him hanged the first one of all on de
first lamppost!  (He changes his mood abruptly and peers around at
Rocky and the others--giggling again)  Vhy you so serious, leedle
monkey-faces?  It's all great joke, no?  So ve get drunk, and ve
laugh like hell, and den ve die, and de pipe dream vanish!  (A
bitter mocking contempt creeps into his tone.)  But be of good
cheer, leedle stupid peoples!  "The days grow hot, O Babylon!"
Soon, leedle proletarians, ve vill have free picnic in the cool
shade, ve vill eat hot dogs and trink free beer beneath the villow
trees!  Like hogs, yes!  Like beautiful leedle hogs!  (He stops
startledly, as if confused and amazed at what he has heard himself
say.  He mutters with hatred)  Dot Gottamned liar, Hickey.  It is
he who makes me sneer.  I want to sleep.  (He lets his head fall
forward on his folded arms again and closes his eyes.  Larry gives
him a pitying look, then quickly drinks his drink.)

CORA--(uneasily)  Hickey ain't overlookin' no bets, is he?  He's
even give Hugo de woiks.

LARRY--I warned you this morning he wasn't kidding.

MARGIE--(sneering)  De old wise guy!

PEARL--Yeah, still pretendin' he's de one exception, like Hickey
told him.  He don't do no pipe dreamin'!  Oh, no!

LARRY--(sharply resentful)  I--!  (Then abruptly he is drunkenly
good-natured, and you feel this drunken manner is an evasive
exaggeration.)  All right, take it out on me, if it makes you more
content.  Sure, I love every hair of your heads, my great big
beautiful baby dolls, and there's nothing I wouldn't do for you!

PEARL--(stiffly)  De old Irish bunk, huh?  We ain't big.  And we
ain't your baby dolls!  (Suddenly she is mollified and smiles.)
But we admit we're beautiful.  Huh, Margie?

MARGIE--(smiling)  Sure ting!  But what would he do wid beautiful
dolls, even if he had de price, de old goat?  (She laughs
teasingly--then pats Larry on the shoulder affectionately.)  Aw,
yuh're aw right at dat, Larry, if yuh are full of bull!

PEARL--Sure.  Yuh're aces wid us.  We're noivous, dat's all.  Dat
lousy drummer--why can't he be like he's always been?  I never seen
a guy change so.  You pretend to be such a fox, Larry.  What d'yuh
tink's happened to him?

LARRY--I don't know.  With all his gab I notice he's kept that to
himself so far.  Maybe he's saving the great revelation for Harry's
party.  (then irritably)  To hell with him!  I don't want to know.
Let him mind his own business and I'll mind mine.

CHUCK--Yeah, dat's what I say.

CORA--Say, Larry, where's dat young friend of yours disappeared to?

LARRY--I don't care where he is, except I wish it was a thousand
miles away!  (Then, as he sees they are surprised at his vehemence,
he adds hastily)  He's a pest.

ROCKY--(breaks in with his own preoccupation)  I don't give a damn
what happened to Hickey, but I know what's gonna happen if he don't
watch his step.  I told him, "I'll take a lot from you, Hickey,
like everyone else in dis dump, because yuh've always been a grand
guy.  But dere's tings I don't take from you nor nobody, see?
Remember dat, or you'll wake up in a hospital--or maybe worse, wid
your wife and de iceman walkin' slow behind yuh."

CORA--Aw, yuh shouldn't make dat iceman crack, Rocky.  It's aw
right for him to kid about it but--I notice Hickey ain't pulled dat
old iceman gag dis time.  (excitedly)  D'yuh suppose dat he did
catch his wife cheatin'?  I don't mean wid no iceman, but wid some

ROCKY--Aw, dat's de bunk.  He ain't pulled dat gag or showed her
photo around because he ain't drunk.  And if he'd caught her
cheatin' he'd be drunk, wouldn't he?  He'd have beat her up and den
gone on de woist drunk he'd ever staged.  Like any other guy'd do.
(The girls nod, convinced by this reasoning.)

CHUCK--Sure!  Rocky's got de right dope, Baby.  He'd be paralyzed.
(While he is speaking, the Negro, Joe, comes in from the hallway.
There is a noticeable change in him.  He walks with a tough,
truculent swagger and his good-natured face is set in sullen

JOE--(to Rocky--defiantly)  I's stood tellin' people dis dump is
closed for de night all I's goin' to.  Let Harry hire a doorman,
pay him wages, if he wants one.

ROCKY--(scowling)  Yeah?  Harry's pretty damned good to you.

JOE--(shamefaced)  Sure he is.  I don't mean dat.  Anyways, it's
all right.  I told Schwartz, de cop, we's closed for de party.
He'll keep folks away.  (aggressively again)  I want a big drink,
dat's what!

CHUCK--Who's stoppin' yuh?  Yuh can have all yuh want on Hickey.

JOE--(has taken a glass from the table and has his hand on a bottle
when Hickey's name is mentioned.  He draws his hand back as if he
were going to refuse--then grabs it defiantly and pours a big
drink.)  All right, I's earned all de drinks on him I could drink
in a year for listenin' to his crazy bull.  And here's hopin' he
gets de lockjaw!  (He drinks and pours out another.)  I drinks on
him but I don't drink wid him.  No, suh, never no more!

ROCKY--Aw, bull!  Hickey's aw right.  What's he done to you?

JOE--(sullenly)  Dat's my business.  I ain't buttin' in yours, is
I?  (bitterly)  Sure, you think he's all right.  He's a white man,
ain't he?  (His tone becomes aggressive.)  Listen to me, you white
boys!  Don't you get it in your heads I's pretendin' to be what I
ain't, or dat I ain't proud to be what I is, get me?  Or you and
me's goin' to have trouble!  (He picks up his drink and walks left
as far away from them as he can get and slumps down on the piano

MARGIE--(in a low angry tone)  What a noive!  Just because we act
nice to him, he gets a swelled nut!  If dat ain't a coon all over!

CHUCK--Talkin' fight talk, huh?  I'll moider de nigger!  (He takes
a threatening step toward Joe, who is staring before him guiltily

JOE--(speaks up shamefacedly)  Listen, boys, I's sorry.  I didn't
mean dat.  You been good friends to me.  I's nuts, I guess.  Dat
Hickey, he gets my head all mixed up wit' craziness.  (Their faces
at once clear of resentment against him.)

CORA--Aw, dat's aw right, Joe.  De boys wasn't takin' yuh serious.
(then to the others, forcing a laugh)  Jees, what'd I say, Hickey
ain't overlookin' no bets.  Even Joe.  (She pauses--then adds
puzzledly)  De funny ting is, yuh can't stay sore at de bum when
he's around.  When he forgets de bughouse preachin', and quits
tellin' yuh where yuh get off, he's de same old Hickey.  Yuh can't
help likin' de louse.  And yuh got to admit he's got de right dope--
(She adds hastily)  I mean, on some of de bums here.

MARGIE--(with a sneering look at Rocky)  Yeah, he's coitinly got
one guy I know sized up right!  Huh, Poil?

PEARL--He coitinly has!

ROCKY--Cut it out, I told yuh!

LARRY--(is staring before him broodingly.  He speaks more aloud to
himself than to them.)  It's nothing to me what happened to him.
But I have a feeling he's dying to tell us, inside him, and yet
he's afraid.  He's like that damned kid.  It's strange the queer
way he seemed to recognize him.  If he's afraid, it explains why
he's off booze.  Like that damned kid again.  Afraid if he got
drunk, he'd tell--(While he is speaking, Hickey comes in the
doorway at rear.  He looks the same as in the previous act, except
that now his face beams with the excited expectation of a boy going
to a party.  His arms are piled with packages.)

HICKEY--(booms in imitation of a familiar Polo Grounds bleacherite
cry--with rising volume)  Well!  Well!!  Well!!!  (They all jump
startledly.  He comes forward, grinning.)  Here I am in the nick of
time.  Give me a hand with these bundles, somebody.  (Margie and
Pearl start taking them from his arms and putting them on the
table.  Now that he is present, all their attitudes show the
reaction Cora has expressed.  They can't help liking him and
forgiving him.)

MARGIE--Jees, Hickey, yuh scared me outa a year's growth, sneakin'
in like dat.

HICKEY--Sneaking?  Why, me and the taxi man made enough noise
getting my big surprise in the hall to wake the dead.  You were all
so busy drinking in words of wisdom from the Old Wise Guy here, you
couldn't hear anything else.  (He grins at Larry.)  From what I
heard, Larry, you're not so good when you start playing Sherlock
Holmes.  You've got me all wrong.  I'm not afraid of anything now--
not even myself.  You better stick to the part of Old Cemetery, the
Barker for the Big Sleep--that is, if you can still let yourself
get away with it!  (He chuckles and gives Larry a friendly slap on
the back.  Larry gives him a bitter angry look.)

CORA--(giggles)  Old Cemetery!  That's him, Hickey.  We'll have to
call him dat.

HICKEY--(watching Larry quizzically)  Beginning to do a lot of
puzzling about me, aren't you, Larry?  But that won't help you.
You've got to think of yourself.  I couldn't give you my peace.
You've got to find your own.  All I can do is help you, and the
rest of the gang, by showing you the way to find it.  (He has said
this with a simple persuasive earnestness.  He pauses, and for a
second they stare at him with fascinated resentful uneasiness.)

ROCKY--(breaks the spell)  Aw, hire a church!

HICKEY--(placatingly)  All right!  All right!  Don't get sore, boys
and girls.  I guess that did sound too much like a lousy preacher.
Let's forget it and get busy on the party.  (They look relieved.)

CHUCK--Is dose bundles grub, Hickey?  You bought enough already to
feed an army.

HICKEY--(with boyish excitement again)  Can't be too much!  I want
this to be the biggest birthday Harry's ever had.  You and Rocky go
in the hall and get the big surprise.  My arms are busted lugging
it.  (They catch his excitement.  Chuck and Rocky go out, grinning
expectantly.  The three girls gather around Hickey, full of
thrilled curiosity.)

PEARL--Jees, yuh got us all het up!  What is it, Hickey?

HICKEY--Wait and see.  I got it as a treat for the three of you
more than anyone.  I thought to myself, I'll bet this is what will
please those whores more than anything.  (They wince as if he had
slapped them, but before they have a chance to be angry, he goes on
affectionately.)  I said to myself, I don't care how much it costs,
they're worth it.  They're the best little scouts in the world, and
they've been damned kind to me when I was down and out!  Nothing is
too good for them.  (earnestly)  I mean every word of that, too--
and then some!  (then, as if he noticed the expression on their
faces for the first time)  What's the matter?  You look sore.
What--?  (Then he chuckles.)  Oh, I see.  But you know how I feel
about that.  You know I didn't say it to offend you.  So don't be
silly now.

MARGIE--(lets out a tense breath)  Aw right, Hickey.  Let it slide.

HICKEY--(jubilantly, as Chuck and Rocky enter carrying a big wicker
basket)  Look!  There it comes!  Unveil it, boys.  (They pull off a
covering burlap bag.  The basket is piled with quarts of

PEARL--(with childish excitement)  It's champagne!  Jees, Hickey,
if you ain't a sport!  (She gives him a hug, forgetting all
animosity, as do the other girls.)

MARGIE--I never been soused on champagne.  Let's get stinko, Poil.

PEARL--You betcha my life!  De bot' of us!  (A holiday spirit of
gay festivity has seized them all.  Even Joe Mott is standing up to
look at the wine with an admiring grin, and Hugo raises his head to
blink at it.)

JOE--You sure is hittin' de high spots, Hickey.  (boastfully)  Man,
when I runs my gamblin' house, I drinks dat old bubbly water in
steins!  (He stops guiltily and gives Hickey a look of defiance.)
I's goin' to drink it dat way again, too, soon's I make my stake!
And dat ain't no pipe dream, neider!  (He sits down where he was,
his back turned to them.)

ROCKY--What'll we drink it outa, Hickey?  Dere ain't no wine

HICKEY--(enthusiastically)  Joe has the right idea!  Schooners!
That's the spirit for Harry's birthday!  (Rocky and Chuck carry the
basket of wine into the bar.  The three girls go back and stand
around the entrance to the bar, chatting excitedly among themselves
and to Chuck and Rocky in the bar.)

HUGO--(with his silly giggle)  Ve vill trink vine beneath the
villow trees!

HICKEY--(grins at him)  That's the spirit, Brother--and let the
lousy slaves drink vinegar!  (Hugo blinks at him startledly, then
looks away.)

HUGO--(mutters)  Gottamned liar!  (He puts his head back on his
arms and closes his eyes, but this time his habitual pass-out has a
quality of hiding.)

LARRY--(gives Hugo a pitying glance--in a low tone of anger)  Leave
Hugo be!  He rotted ten years in prison for his faith!  He's earned
his dream!  Have you no decency or pity?

HICKEY--(quizzically)  Hello, what's this?  I thought you were in
the grandstand.  (then with a simple earnestness, taking a chair by
Larry, and putting a hand on his shoulder)  Listen, Larry, you're
getting me all wrong.  Hell, you ought to know me better.  I've
always been the best-natured slob in the world.  Of course, I have
pity.  But now I've seen the light, it isn't my old kind of pity--
the kind yours is.  It isn't the kind that lets itself off easy by
encouraging some poor guy to go on kidding himself with a lie--the
kind that leaves the poor slob worse off because it makes him feel
guiltier than ever--the kind that makes his lying hopes nag at him
and reproach him until he's a rotten skunk in his own eyes.  I know
all about that kind of pity.  I've had a bellyful of it in my time,
and it's all wrong!  (with a salesman's persuasiveness)  No, sir.
The kind of pity I feel now is after final results that will really
save the poor guy, and make him contented with what he is, and quit
battling himself, and find peace for the rest of his life.  Oh, I
know how you resent the way I have to show you up to yourself.  I
don't blame you.  I know from my own experience it's bitter
medicine, facing yourself in the mirror with the old false whiskers
off.  But you forget that, once you're cured.  You'll be grateful
to me when all at once you find you're able to admit, without
feeling ashamed, that all the grandstand foolosopher bunk and the
waiting for the Big Sleep stuff is a pipe dream.  You'll say to
yourself, I'm just an old man who is scared of life, but even more
scared of dying.  So I'm keeping drunk and hanging on to life at
any price, and what of it?  Then you'll know what real peace means,
Larry, because you won't be scared of either life or death any
more.  You simply won't give a damn!  Any more than I do!

LARRY--(has been staring into his eyes with a fascinated wondering
dread)  Be God, if I'm not beginning to think you've gone mad!
(with a rush of anger)  You're a liar!

HICKEY--(injuredly)  Now, listen, that's no way to talk to an old
pal who's trying to help you.  Hell, if you really wanted to die,
you'd just take a hop off your fire escape, wouldn't you?  And if
you really were in the grandstand, you wouldn't be pitying
everyone.  Oh, I know the truth is tough at first.  It was for me.
All I ask is for you to suspend judgment and give it a chance.
I'll absolutely guarantee--Hell, Larry, I'm no fool.  Do you
suppose I'd deliberately set out to get under everyone's skin and
put myself in dutch with all my old pals, if I wasn't certain, from
my own experience, that it means contentment in the end for all of
you?  (Larry again is staring at him fascinatedly.  Hickey grins.)
As for my being bughouse, you can't crawl out of it that way.
Hell, I'm too damned sane.  I can size up guys, and turn 'em inside
out, better than I ever could.  Even where they're strangers like
that Parritt kid.  He's licked, Larry.  I think there is only one
possible way out you can help him to take.  That is, if you have
the right kind of pity for him.

LARRY--(uneasily)  What do you mean?  (attempting indifference)
I'm not advising him, except to leave me out of his troubles.  He's
nothing to me.

HICKEY--(shakes his head)  You'll find he won't agree to that.
He'll keep after you until he makes you help him.  Because he has
to be punished, so he can forgive himself.  He's lost all his guts.
He can't manage it alone, and you're the only one he can turn to.

LARRY--For the love of God, mind your own business!  (with forced
scorn)  A lot you know about him!  He's hardly spoken to you!

HICKEY--No, that's right.  But I do know a lot about him just the
same.  I've had hell inside me.  I can spot it in others.
(frowning)  Maybe that's what gives me the feeling there's
something familiar about him, something between us.  (He shakes his
head.)  No, it's more than that.  I can't figure it.  Tell me about
him.  For instance, I don't imagine he's married, is he?


HICKEY--Hasn't he been mixed up with some woman?  I don't mean
trollops.  I mean the old real love stuff that crucifies you.

LARRY--(with a calculating relieved look at him--encouraging him
along this line)  Maybe you're right.  I wouldn't be surprised.

HICKEY--(grins at him quizzically)  I see.  You think I'm on the
wrong track and you're glad I am.  Because then I won't suspect
whatever he did about the Great Cause.  That's another lie you tell
yourself, Larry, that the good old Cause means nothing to you any
more.  (Larry is about to burst out in denial but Hickey goes on.)
But you're all wrong about Parritt.  That isn't what's got him
stopped.  It's what's behind that.  And it's a woman.  I recognize
the symptoms.

LARRY--(sneeringly)  And you're the boy who's never wrong!  Don't
be a damned fool.  His trouble is he was brought up a devout
believer in the Movement and now he's lost his faith.  It's a
shock, but he's young and he'll soon find another dream just as
good.  (He adds sardonically)  Or as bad.

HICKEY--All right.  I'll let it go at that, Larry.  He's nothing to
me except I'm glad he's here because he'll help me make you wake up
to yourself.  I don't even like the guy, or the feeling there's
anything between us.  But you'll find I'm right just the same, when
you get to the final showdown with him.

LARRY--There'll be no showdown!  I don't give a tinker's damn--

HICKEY--Sticking to the old grandstand, eh?  Well, I knew you'd be
the toughest to convince of all the gang, Larry.  And, along with
Harry and Jimmy Tomorrow, you're the one I want most to help.  (He
puts an arm around Larry's shoulder and gives him an affectionate
hug.)  I've always liked you a lot, you old bastard!  (He gets up
and his manner changes to his bustling party excitement--glancing
at his watch)  Well, well, not much time before twelve.  Let's get
busy, boys and girls.  (He looks over the table where the cake is.)
Cake all set.  Good.  And my presents, and yours, girls, and
Chuck's, and Rocky's.  Fine.  Harry'll certainly be touched by your
thought of him.  (He goes back to the girls.)  You go in the bar,
Pearl and Margie, and get the grub ready so it can be brought right
in.  There'll be some drinking and toasts first, of course.  My
idea is to use the wine for that, so get it all set.  I'll go
upstairs now and root everyone out.  Harry the last.  I'll come
back with him.  Somebody light the candles on the cake when you
hear us coming, and you start playing Harry's favorite tune, Cora.
Hustle now, everybody.  We want this to come off in style.  (He
bustles into the hall.  Margie and Pearl disappear in the bar.
Cora goes to the piano.  Joe gets off the stool sullenly to let her
sit down.)

CORA--I got to practice.  I ain't laid my mits on a box in Gawd
knows when.  (With the soft pedal down, she begins gropingly to
pick out "The Sunshine of Paradise Alley.")  Is dat right, Joe?
I've forgotten dat has-been tune.  (She picks out a few more
notes.)  Come on, Joe, hum de tune so I can follow.  (Joe begins to
hum and sing in a low voice and correct her.  He forgets his
sullenness and becomes his old self again.)

LARRY--(suddenly gives a laugh--in his comically intense, crazy
tone)  Be God, it's a second feast of Belshazzar, with Hickey to do
the writing on the wall!

CORA--Aw, shut up, Old Cemetery!  Always beefin'!  (Willie comes in
from the hall.  He is in a pitiable state, his face pasty, haggard
with sleeplessness and nerves, his eyes sick and haunted.  He is
sober.  Cora greets him over her shoulder kiddingly)  If it ain't
Prince Willie!  (then kindly)  Gee, kid, yuh look sick.  Git a
coupla shots in yuh.

WILLIE--(tensely)  No, thanks.  Not now.  I'm tapering off.  (He
sits down weakly on Larry's right.)

CORA--(astonished)  What d'yuh know?  He means it!

WILLIE--(leaning toward Larry confidentially--in a low shaken
voice)  It's been hell up in that damned room, Larry!  The things
I've imagined!  (He shudders.)  I thought I'd go crazy.  (with
pathetic boastful pride)  But I've got it beat now.  By tomorrow
morning I'll be on the wagon.  I'll get back my clothes the first
thing.  Hickey's loaning me the money.  I'm going to do what I've
always said--go to the D.A.'s office.  He was a good friend of my
Old Man's.  He was only assistant, then.  He was in on the graft,
but my Old Man never squealed on him.  So he certainly owes it to
me to give me a chance.  And he knows that I really was a brilliant
law student.  (self-reassuringly)  Oh, I know I can make good, now
I'm getting off the booze forever.  (moved)  I owe a lot to Hickey.
He's made me wake up to myself--see what a fool--It wasn't nice to
face but--(with bitter resentment)  It isn't what he says.  It's
what you feel behind--what he hints--Christ, you'd think all I
really wanted to do with my life was sit here and stay drunk.
(with hatred)  I'll show him!

LARRY--(masking pity behind a sardonic tone)  If you want my
advice, you'll put the nearest bottle to your mouth until you don't
give a damn for Hickey!

WILLIE--(stares at a bottle greedily, tempted for a moment--then
bitterly)  That's fine advice!  I thought you were my friend!  (He
gets up with a hurt glance at Larry, and moves away to take a chair
in back of the left end of the table, where he sits in dejected,
shaking misery, his chin on his chest.)

JOE--(to Cora)  No, like dis.  (He beats time with his finger and
sings in a low voice)  "She is the sunshine of Paradise Alley."
(She plays.)  Dat's more like it.  Try it again.  (She begins to
play through the chorus again.  Don Parritt enters from the hall.
There is a frightened look on his face.  He slinks in furtively, as
if he were escaping from someone.  He looks relieved when he sees
Larry and comes and slips into the chair on his right.  Larry
pretends not to notice his coming, but he instinctively shrinks
with repulsion.  Parritt leans toward him and speaks ingratiatingly
in a low secretive tone.)

PARRITT--Gee, I'm glad you're here, Larry.  That damned fool,
Hickey, knocked on my door.  I opened up because I thought it must
be you, and he came busting in and made me come downstairs.  I
don't know what for.  I don't belong in this birthday celebration.
I don't know this gang and I don't want to be mixed up with them.
All I came here for was to find you.

LARRY--(tensely)  I've warned you--

PARRITT--(goes on as if he hadn't heard)  Can't you make Hickey
mind his own business?  I don't like that guy, Larry.  The way he
acts, you'd think he had something on me.  Why, just now he pats me
on the shoulder, like he was sympathizing with me, and says, "I
know how it is, Son, but you can't hide from yourself, not even
here on the bottom of the sea.  You've got to face the truth and
then do what must be done for your own peace and the happiness of
all concerned."  What did he mean by that, Larry?

LARRY--How the hell would I know?

PARRITT--Then he grins and says, "Never mind, Larry's getting wise
to himself.  I think you can rely on his help in the end.  He'll
have to choose between living and dying, and he'll never choose to
die while there is a breath left in the old bastard!"  And then he
laughs like it was a joke on you.  (He pauses.  Larry is rigid on
his chair, staring before him.  Parritt asks him with a sudden
taunt in his voice)  Well, what do you say to that, Larry?

LARRY--I've nothing to say.  Except you're a bigger fool than he is
to listen to him.

PARRITT--(with a sneer)  Is that so?  He's no fool where you're
concerned.  He's got your number, all right!  (Larry's face
tightens but he keeps silent.  Parritt changes to a contrite,
appealing air.)  I don't mean that.  But you keep acting as if you
were sore at me, and that gets my goat.  You know what I want most
is to be friends with you, Larry.  I haven't a single friend left
in the world.  I hoped you--(bitterly)  And you could be, too,
without it hurting you.  You ought to, for Mother's sake.  She
really loved you.  You loved her, too, didn't you?

LARRY--(tensely)  Leave what's dead in its grave.

PARRITT--I suppose, because I was only a kid, you didn't think I
was wise about you and her.  Well, I was.  I've been wise, ever
since I can remember, to all the guys she's had, although she'd
tried to kid me along it wasn't so.  That was a silly stunt for a
free Anarchist woman, wasn't it, being ashamed of being free?

LARRY--Shut your damned trap!

PARRITT--(guiltily but with a strange undertone of satisfaction)
Yes, I know I shouldn't say that now.  I keep forgetting she isn't
free any more.  (He pauses.)  Do you know, Larry, you're the one of
them all she cared most about?  Anyone else who left the Movement
would have been dead to her, but she couldn't forget you.  She'd
always make excuses for you.  I used to try and get her goat about
you.  I'd say, "Larry's got brains and yet he thinks the Movement
is just a crazy pipe dream."  She'd blame it on booze getting you.
She'd kid herself that you'd give up booze and come back to the
Movement--tomorrow!  She'd say, "Larry can't kill in himself a
faith he's given his life to, not without killing himself."  (He
grins sneeringly.)  How about it, Larry?  Was she right?  (Larry
remains silent.  He goes on insistently.)  I suppose what she
really meant was, come back to her.  She was always getting the
Movement mixed up with herself.  But I'm sure she really must have
loved you, Larry.  As much as she could love anyone besides
herself.  But she wasn't faithful to you, even at that, was she?
That's why you finally walked out on her, isn't it?  I remember
that last fight you had with her.  I was listening.  I was on your
side, even if she was my mother, because I liked you so much; you'd
been so good to me--like a father.  I remember her putting on her
high-and-mighty free-woman stuff, saying you were still a slave to
bourgeois morality and jealousy and you thought a woman you loved
was a piece of private property you owned.  I remember that you got
mad and you told her, "I don't like living with a whore, if that's
what you mean!"

LARRY--(bursts out)  You lie!  I never called her that!

PARRITT--(goes on as if Larry hadn't spoken)  I think that's why
she still respects you, because it was you who left her.  You were
the only one to beat her to it.  She got sick of the others before
they did of her.  I don't think she ever cared much about them,
anyway.  She just had to keep on having lovers to prove to herself
how free she was.  (He pauses--then with a bitter repulsion)  It
made home a lousy place.  I felt like you did about it.  I'd get
feeling it was like living in a whorehouse--only worse, because she
didn't have to make her living--

LARRY--You bastard!  She's your mother!  Have you no shame?

PARRITT--(bitterly)  No!  She brought me up to believe that family-
respect stuff is all bourgeois, property-owning crap.  Why should I
be ashamed?

LARRY--(making a move to get up)  I've had enough!

PARRITT--(catches his arm--pleadingly)  No!  Don't leave me!
Please!  I promise I won't mention her again!  (Larry sinks back in
his chair.)  I only did it to make you understand better.  I know
this isn't the place to--Why didn't you come up to my room, like I
asked you?  I kept waiting.  We could talk everything over there.

LARRY--There's nothing to talk over!

PARRITT--But I've got to talk to you.  Or I'll talk to Hickey.  He
won't let me alone!  I feel he knows, anyway!  And I know he'd
understand, all right--in his way.  But I hate his guts!  I don't
want anything to do with him!  I'm scared of him, honest.  There's
something not human behind his damned grinning and kidding.

LARRY--(starts)  Ah!  You feel that, too?

PARRITT--(pleadingly)  But I can't go on like this.  I've got to
decide what I've got to do.  I've got to tell you, Larry!

LARRY--(again starts up)  I won't listen!

PARRITT--(again holds him by the arm)  All right!  I won't.  Don't
go!  (Larry lets himself be pulled down on his chair.  Parritt
examines his face and becomes insultingly scornful.)  Who do you
think you're kidding?  I know damned well you've guessed--

LARRY--I've guessed nothing!

PARRITT--But I want you to guess now!  I'm glad you have!  I know
now, since Hickey's been after me, that I meant you to guess right
from the start.  That's why I came to you.  (hurrying on with an
attempt at a plausible frank air that makes what he says seem
doubly false)  I want you to understand the reason.  You see, I
began studying American history.  I got admiring Washington and
Jefferson and Jackson and Lincoln.  I began to feel patriotic and
love this country.  I saw it was the best government in the world,
where everybody was equal and had a chance.  I saw that all the
ideas behind the Movement came from a lot of Russians like Bakunin
and Kropotkin and were meant for Europe, but we didn't need them
here in a democracy where we were free already.  I didn't want this
country to be destroyed for a damned foreign pipe dream.  After
all, I'm from old American pioneer stock.  I began to feel I was a
traitor for helping a lot of cranks and bums and free women plot to
overthrow our government.  And then I saw it was my duty to my

LARRY--(nauseated--turns on him)  You stinking rotten liar!  Do you
think you can fool me with such hypocrite's cant!  (then turning
away)  I don't give a damn what you did!  It's on your head--
whatever it was!  I don't want to know--and I won't know!

PARRITT--(as if Larry had never spoken--falteringly)  But I never
thought Mother would be caught.  Please believe that, Larry.  You
know I never would have--

LARRY--(his face haggard, drawing a deep breath and closing his
eyes--as if he were trying to hammer something into his own brain)
All I know is I'm sick of life!  I'm through!  I've forgotten
myself!  I'm drowned and contented on the bottom of a bottle.
Honor or dishonor, faith or treachery are nothing to me but the
opposites of the same stupidity which is ruler and king of life,
and in the end they rot into dust in the same grave.  All things
are the same meaningless joke to me, for they grin at me from the
one skull of death.  So go away.  You're wasting breath.  I've
forgotten your mother.

PARRITT--(jeers angrily)  The old foolosopher, eh?  (He spits out
contemptuously)  You lousy old faker!

LARRY--(so distracted he pleads weakly)  For the love of God, leave
me in peace the little time that's left to me!

PARRITT--Aw, don't pull that pitiful old-man junk on me!  You old
bastard, you'll never die as long as there's a free drink of
whiskey left!

LARRY--(stung--furiously)  Look out how you try to taunt me back
into life, I warn you!  I might remember the thing they call
justice there, and the punishment for--(He checks himself with an
effort--then with a real indifference that comes from exhaustion)
I'm old and tired.  To hell with you!  You're as mad as Hickey, and
as big a liar.  I'd never let myself believe a word you told me.

PARRITT--(threateningly)  The hell you won't!  Wait till Hickey
gets through with you!  (Pearl and Margie come in from the bar.  At
the sight of them, Parritt instantly subsides and becomes self-
conscious and defensive, scowling at them and then quickly looking

MARGIE--(eyes him jeeringly)  Why, hello, Tightwad Kid.  Come to
join de party?  Gee, don't he act bashful, Poil?

PEARL--Yeah.  Especially wid his dough.  (Parritt slinks to a chair
at the left end of the table, pretending he hasn't heard them.
Suddenly there is a noise of angry, cursing voices and a scuffle
from the hall.  Pearl yells)  Hey, Rocky!  Fight in de hall!
(Rocky and Chuck run from behind the bar curtain and rush into the
hall.  Rocky's voice is heard in irritated astonishment, "What de
hell?" and then the scuffle stops and Rocky appears holding Captain
Lewis by the arm, followed by Chuck with a similar hold on General
Wetjoen.  Although these two have been drinking they are both
sober, for them.  Their faces are sullenly angry, their clothes
disarranged from the tussle.)

ROCKY--(leading Lewis forward--astonished, amused and irritated)
Can yuh beat it?  I've heard youse two call each odder every name
yuh could think of but I never seen you--(indignantly) A swell time
to stage your first bout, on Harry's boithday party!  What started
de scrap?

LEWIS--(forcing a casual tone)  Nothing, old chap.  Our business,
you know.  That bloody ass, Hickey, made some insinuation about me,
and the boorish Boer had the impertinence to agree with him.

WETJOEN--Dot's a lie!  Hickey made joke about me, and this Limey
said yes, it was true!

ROCKY--Well, sit down, de bot' of yuh, and cut out de rough stuff.
(He and Chuck dump them down in adjoining chairs toward the left
end of the table, where, like two sulky boys, they turn their backs
on each other as far as possible in chairs which both face front.)

MARGIE--(laughs)  Jees, lookit de two bums!  Like a coupla kids!
Kiss and make up, for Gawd's sakes!

ROCKY--Yeah.  Harry's party begins in a minute and we don't want no
soreheads around.

LEWIS--(stiffly)  Very well.  In deference to the occasion, I
apologize, General Wetjoen--provided that you do also.

WETJOEN--(sulkily)  I apologize, Captain Lewis--because Harry is my
goot friend.

ROCKY--Aw, hell!  If yuh can't do better'n dat--!  (Mosher and
McGloin enter together from the hall.  Both have been drinking but
are not drunk.)

PEARL--Here's de star boarders.  (They advance, their heads
together, so interested in a discussion they are oblivious to

McGLOIN--I'm telling you, Ed, it's serious this time.  That
bastard, Hickey, has got Harry on the hip.  (As he talks, Margie,
Pearl, Rocky and Chuck prick up their ears and gather round.  Cora,
at the piano, keeps running through the tune, with soft pedal, and
singing the chorus half under her breath, with Joe still correcting
her mistakes.  At the table, Larry, Parritt, Willie, Wetjoen and
Lewis sit motionless, staring in front of them.  Hugo seems asleep
in his habitual position.)  And you know it isn't going to do us no
good if he gets him to take that walk tomorrow.

MOSHER--You're damned right.  Harry'll mosey around the ward,
dropping in on everyone who knew him when.  (indignantly)  And
they'll all give him a phony glad hand and a ton of good advice
about what a sucker he is to stand for us.

McGLOIN--He's sure to call on Bessie's relations to do a little
cryin' over dear Bessie.  And you know what that bitch and all her
family thought of me.

MOSHER--(with a flash of his usual humor--rebukingly)  Remember,
Lieutenant, you are speaking of my sister!  Dear Bessie wasn't a
bitch.  She was a God-damned bitch!  But if you think my loving
relatives will have time to discuss you, you don't know them.
They'll be too busy telling Harry what a drunken crook I am and
saying he ought to have me put in Sing Sing!

McGLOIN--(dejectedly)  Yes, once Bessie's relations get their hooks
in him, it'll be as tough for us as if she wasn't gone.

MOSHER--(dejectedly)  Yes, Harry has always been weak and easily
influenced, and now he's getting old he'll be an easy mark for
those grafters.  (then with forced reassurance)  Oh, hell, Mac,
we're saps to worry.  We've heard Harry pull that bluff about
taking a walk every birthday he's had for twenty years.

McGLOIN--(doubtfully)  But Hickey wasn't sicking him on those
times.  Just the opposite.  He was asking Harry what he wanted to
go out for when there was plenty of whiskey here.

MOSHER--(with a change to forced carelessness)  Well, after all, I
don't care whether he goes out or not.  I'm clearing out tomorrow
morning anyway.  I'm just sorry for you, Mac.

McGLOIN--(resentfully)  You needn't be, then.  Ain't I going
myself?  I was only feeling sorry for you.

MOSHER--Yes, my mind is made up.  Hickey may be a lousy,
interfering pest, now he's gone teetotal on us, but there's a lot
of truth in some of his bull.  Hanging around here getting
plastered with you, Mac, is pleasant, I won't deny, but the old
booze gets you in the end, if you keep lapping it up.  It's time I
quit for a while.  (with forced enthusiasm)  Besides, I feel the
call of the old carefree circus life in my blood again.  I'll see
the boss tomorrow.  It's late in the season but he'll be glad to
take me on.  And won't all the old gang be tickled to death when I
show up on the lot!

McGLOIN--Maybe--if they've got a rope handy!

MOSHER--(turns on him--angrily)  Listen!  I'm damned sick of that

McGLOIN--You are, are you?  Well, I'm sicker of your kidding me
about getting reinstated on the Force.  And whatever you'd like, I
can't spend my life sitting here with you, ruining my stomach with
rotgut.  I'm tapering off, and in the morning I'll be fresh as a
daisy.  I'll go and have a private chin with the Commissioner.
(with forced enthusiasm)  Man alive, from what the boys tell me,
there's sugar galore these days, and I'll soon be ridin' around in
a big red automobile--

MOSHER--(derisively--beckoning an imaginary Chinese)  Here, One
Lung Hop!  Put fresh peanut oil in the lamp and cook the Lieutenant
another dozen pills!  It's his gowed-up night!

McGLOIN--(stung--pulls back a fist threateningly)  One more crack
like that and I'll--!

MOSHER--(putting up his fists)  Yes?  Just start--!  (Chuck and
Rocky jump between them.)

ROCKY--Hey!  Are you guys nuts?  Jees, it's Harry's boithday party!
(They both look guilty.)  Sit down and behave.

MOSHER--(grumpily)  All right.  Only tell him to lay off me.  (He
lets Rocky push him in a chair, at the right end of the table,

McGLOIN--(grumpily)  Tell him to lay off me.  (He lets Chuck push
him into the chair on Mosher's left.  At this moment Hickey bursts
in from the hall, bustling and excited.)

HICKEY--Everything all set?  Fine!  (He glances at his watch.)
Half a minute to go.  Harry's starting down with Jimmy.  I had a
hard time getting them to move!  They'd rather stay hiding up
there, kidding each other along.  (He chuckles.)  Harry don't even
want to remember it's his birthday now!  (He hears a noise from the
stairs.)  Here they come!  (urgently)  Light the candles!  Get
ready to play, Cora!  Stand up, everybody!  Get that wine ready,
Chuck and Rocky!  (Margie and Pearl light the candles on the cake.
Cora gets her hands set over the piano keys, watching over her
shoulder.  Rocky and Chuck go in the bar.  Everybody at the table
stands up mechanically.  Hugo is the last, suddenly coming to and
scrambling to his feet.  Harry Hope and Jimmy Tomorrow appear in
the hall outside the door.  Hickey looks up from his watch.)  On
the dot!  It's twelve!  (like a cheer leader)  Come on now,
everybody, with a Happy Birthday, Harry!  (With his voice leading
they all shout "Happy Birthday, Harry!" in a spiritless chorus.
Hickey signals to Cora, who starts playing and singing in a whiskey
soprano "She's the Sunshine of Paradise Alley."  Hope and Jimmy
stand in the doorway.  Both have been drinking heavily.  In Hope
the effect is apparent only in a bristling, touchy, pugnacious
attitude.  It is entirely different from the usual irascible
beefing he delights in and which no one takes seriously.  Now he
really has a chip on his shoulder.  Jimmy, on the other hand, is
plainly drunk, but it has not had the desired effect, for beneath a
pathetic assumption of gentlemanly poise, he is obviously
frightened and shrinking back within himself.  Hickey grabs Hope's
hand and pumps it up and down.  For a moment Hope appears
unconscious of this handshake.  Then he jerks his hand away

HOPE--Cut out the glad hand, Hickey.  D'you think I'm a sucker?  I
know you, bejees, you sneaking, lying drummer!  (with rising anger,
to the others)  And all you bums!  What the hell you trying to do,
yelling and raising the roof?  Want the cops to close the joint and
get my license taken away?  (He yells at Cora who has stopped
singing but continues to play mechanically with many mistakes.)
Hey, you dumb tart, quit banging that box!  Bejees, the least you
could do is learn the tune!

CORA--(stops--deeply hurt)  Aw, Harry!  Jees, ain't I--(Her eyes
begin to fill.)

HOPE--(glaring at the other girls)  And you two hookers, screaming
at the top of your lungs!  What d'you think this is, a dollar
cathouse?  Bejees, that's where you belong!

PEARL--(miserably)  Aw, Harry--(She begins to cry.)

MARGIE--Jees, Harry, I never thought you'd say that--like yuh meant
it.  (She puts her arm around Pearl--on the verge of tears herself)
Aw, don't bawl, Poil.  He don't mean it.

HICKEY--(reproachfully)  Now, Harry!  Don't take it out on the gang
because you're upset about yourself.  Anyway, I've promised you
you'll come through all right, haven't I?  So quit worrying.  (He
slaps Hope on the back encouragingly.  Hope flashes him a glance of
hate.)  Be yourself, Governor.  You don't want to bawl out the old
gang just when they're congratulating you on your birthday, do you?
Hell, that's no way!

HOPE--(looking guilty and shamefaced now--forcing an unconvincing
attempt at his natural tone)  Bejees, they ain't as dumb as you.
They know I was only kidding them.  They know I appreciate their
congratulations.  Don't you, fellers?  (There is a listless chorus
of "Sure, Harry," "Yes," "Of course we do," etc.  He comes forward
to the two girls, with Jimmy and Hickey following him, and pats
them clumsily.)  Bejees, I like you broads.  You know I was only
kidding.  (Instantly they forgive him and smile affectionately.)

MARGIE--Sure we know, Harry.


HICKEY--(grinning)  Sure.  Harry's the greatest kidder in this dump
and that's saying something!  Look how he's kidded himself for
twenty years!  (As Hope gives him a bitter, angry glance, he digs
him in the ribs with his elbow playfully.)  Unless I'm wrong,
Governor, and I'm betting I'm not.  We'll soon know, eh?  Tomorrow
morning.  No, by God, it's THIS morning now!

JIMMY--(with a dazed dread)  THIS morning?

HICKEY--Yes, it's today at last, Jimmy.  (He pats him on the back.)
Don't be so scared!  I've promised I'll help you.

JIMMY--(trying to hide his dread behind an offended, drunken
dignity)  I don't understand you.  Kindly remember I'm fully
capable of settling my own affairs!

HICKEY--(earnestly)  Well, isn't that exactly what I want you to
do, settle with yourself once and for all?  (He speaks in his ear
in confidential warning.)  Only watch out on the booze, Jimmy.  You
know, not too much from now on.  You've had a lot already, and you
don't want to let yourself duck out of it by being too drunk to
move--not this time!  (Jimmy gives him a guilty, stricken look and
turns away and slumps into the chair on Mosher's right.)

HOPE--(to Margie--still guiltily)  Bejees, Margie, you know I
didn't mean it.  It's that lousy drummer riding me that's got my

MARGIE--I know.  (She puts a protecting arm around Hope and turns
him to face the table with the cake and presents.)  Come on.  You
ain't noticed your cake yet.  Ain't it grand?

HOPE--(trying to brighten up)  Say, that's pretty.  Ain't ever had
a cake since Bessie--Six candles.  Each for ten years, eh?  Bejees,
that's thoughtful of you.

PEARL--It was Hickey got it.

HOPE--(his tone forced)  Well, it was thoughtful of him.  He means
well, I guess.  (His eyes, fixed on the cake, harden angrily.)  To
hell with his cake.  (He starts to turn away.  Pearl grabs his

PEARL--Wait, Harry.  Yuh ain't seen de presents from Margie and me
and Cora and Chuck and Rocky.  And dere's a watch all engraved wid
your name and de date from Hickey.

HOPE--To hell with it!  Bejees, he can keep it!  (This time he does
turn away.)

PEARL--Jees, he ain't even goin' to look at our presents.

MARGIE--(bitterly)  Dis is all wrong.  We gotta put some life in
dis party or I'll go nuts!  Hey, Cora, what's de matter wid dat
box?  Can't yuh play for Harry?  Yuh don't have to stop just
because he kidded yuh!

HOPE--(rouses himself--with forced heartiness)  Yes, come on, Cora.
You was playing it fine.  (Cora begins to play halfheartedly.  Hope
suddenly becomes almost tearfully sentimental.)  It was Bessie's
favorite tune.  She was always singing it.  It brings her back.  I
wish--(He chokes up.)

HICKEY--(grins at him--amusedly)  Yes, we've all heard you tell us
you thought the world of her, Governor.

HOPE--(looks at him with frightened suspicion)  Well, so I did,
bejees!  Everyone knows I did!  (threateningly)  Bejees, if you say
I didn't--

HICKEY--(soothingly)  Now, Governor.  I didn't say anything.
You're the only one knows the truth about that.  (Hope stares at
him confusedly.  Cora continues to play.  For a moment there is a
pause, broken by Jimmy Tomorrow who speaks with muzzy, self-pitying
melancholy out of a sentimental dream.)

JIMMY--Marjorie's favorite song was "Loch Lomond."  She was
beautiful and she played the piano beautifully and she had a
beautiful voice.  (with gentle sorrow)  You were lucky, Harry.
Bessie died.  But there are more bitter sorrows than losing the
woman one loves by the hand of death--

HICKEY--(with an amused wink at Hope)  Now, listen, Jimmy, you
needn't go on.  We've all heard that story about how you came back
to Cape Town and found her in the hay with a staff officer.  We
know you like to believe that was what started you on the booze and
ruined your life.

JIMMY--(stammers)  I--I'm talking to Harry.  Will you kindly keep
out of--(with a pitiful defiance)  My life is not ruined!

HICKEY--(ignoring this--with a kidding grin)  But I'll bet when you
admit the truth to yourself, you'll confess you were pretty sick of
her hating you for getting drunk.  I'll bet you were really damned
relieved when she gave you such a good excuse.  (Jimmy stares at
him strickenly.  Hickey pats him on the back again--with sincere
sympathy)  I know how it is, Jimmy.  I--(He stops abruptly and for
a second he seems to lose his self-assurance and become confused.)

LARRY--(seizing on this with vindictive relish)  Ha!  So that's
what happened to you, is it?  Your iceman joke finally came home to
roost, did it?  (He grins tauntingly.)  You should have remembered
there's truth in the old superstition that you'd better look out
what you call because in the end it comes to you!

HICKEY--(himself again--grins to Larry kiddingly)  Is that a fact,
Larry?  Well, well!  Then you'd better watch out how you keep
calling for that old Big Sleep!  (Larry starts and for a second
looks superstitiously frightened.  Abruptly Hickey changes to his
jovial, bustling, master-of-ceremonies manner.)  But what are we
waiting for, boys and girls?  Let's start the party rolling!  (He
shouts to the bar)  Hey, Chuck and Rocky!  Bring on the big
surprise!  Governor, you sit at the head of the table here.  (He
makes Harry sit down on the chair at the end of the table, right.
To Margie and Pearl)  Come on, girls, sit down.  (They sit side by
side on Jimmy's right.  Hickey bustles down to the left end of
table.)  I'll sit here at the foot.  (He sits, with Cora on his
left and Joe on her left.  Rocky and Chuck appear from the bar,
each bearing a big tray laden with schooners of champagne which
they start shoving in front of each member of the party.)

ROCKY--(with forced cheeriness)  Real champagne, bums!  Cheer up!
What is dis, a funeral?  Jees, mixin' champagne wid Harry's redeye
will knock yuh paralyzed!  Ain't yuh never satisfied?  (He and
Chuck finish serving out the schooners, grab the last two
themselves and sit down in the two vacant chairs remaining near the
middle of the table.  As they do so, Hickey rises, a schooner in
his hand.)

HICKEY--(rapping on the table for order when there is nothing but a
dead silence)  Order!  Order, Ladies and Gents!  (He catches
Larry's eyes on the glass in his hand.)  Yes, Larry, I'm going to
drink with you this time.  To prove I'm not teetotal because I'm
afraid booze would make me spill my secrets, as you think.  (Larry
looks sheepish.  Hickey chuckles and goes on.)  No, I gave you the
simple truth about that.  I don't need booze or anything else any
more.  But I want to be sociable and propose a toast in honor of
our old friend, Harry, and drink it with you.  (His eyes fix on
Hugo, who is out again, his head on his plate--to Chuck, who is on
Hugo's left)  Wake up our demon bomb-tosser, Chuck.  We don't want
corpses at this feast.

CHUCK--(gives Hugo a shake)  Hey, Hugo, come up for air!  Don't yuh
see de champagne?  (Hugo blinks around and giggles foolishly.)

HUGO--Ve will eat birthday cake and trink champagne beneath the
villow tree!  (He grabs his schooner and takes a greedy gulp--then
sets it back on the table with a grimace of distaste--in a strange,
arrogantly disdainful tone, as if he were rebuking a butler)  Dis
vine is unfit to trink.  It has not properly been iced.

HICKEY--(amusedly)  Always a high-toned swell at heart, eh, Hugo?
God help us poor bums if you'd ever get to telling us where to get
off!  You'd have been drinking our blood beneath those willow
trees!  (He chuckles.  Hugo shrinks back in his chair, blinking at
him, but Hickey is now looking up the table at Hope.  He starts his
toast, and as he goes on he becomes more moved and obviously
sincere.)  Here's the toast, Ladies and Gents!  Here's to Harry
Hope, who's been a friend in need to every one of us!  Here's to
the old Governor, the best sport and the kindest, biggest-hearted
guy in the world!  Here's wishing you all the luck there is, Harry,
and long life and happiness!  Come on, everybody!  To Harry!
Bottoms up!  (They have all caught his sincerity with eager relief.
They raise their schooners with an enthusiastic chorus of "Here's
how, Harry!"  "Here's luck, Harry!" etc., and gulp half the wine
down, Hickey leading them in this.)

HOPE--(deeply moved--his voice husky)  Bejees, thanks, all of you.
Bejees, Hickey, you old son of a bitch, that's white of you!
Bejees, I know you meant it, too.

HICKEY--(moved)  Of course I meant it, Harry, old friend!  And I
mean it when I say I hope today will be the biggest day in your
life, and in the lives of everyone here, the beginning of a new
life of peace and contentment where no pipe dreams can ever nag at
you again.  Here's to that, Harry!  (He drains the remainder of his
drink, but this time he drinks alone.  In an instant the attitude
of everyone has reverted to uneasy, suspicious defensiveness.)

ROCKY--(growls)  Aw, forget dat bughouse line of bull for a minute,
can't yuh?

HICKEY--(sitting down--good-naturedly)  You're right, Rocky, I'm
talking too much.  It's Harry we want to hear from.  Come on,
Harry!  (He pounds his schooner on the table.)  Speech!  Speech!
(They try to recapture their momentary enthusiasm, rap their
schooners on the table, call "Speech," but there is a hollow ring
in it.  Hope gets to his feet reluctantly, with a forced smile, a
smoldering resentment beginning to show in his manner.)

HOPE--(lamely)  Bejees, I'm no good at speeches.  All I can say is
thanks to everybody again for remembering me on my birthday.
(bitterness coming out)  Only don't think because I'm sixty I'll be
a bigger damned fool easy mark than ever!  No, bejees!  Like Hickey
says, it's going to be a new day!  This dump has got to be run like
other dumps, so I can make some money and not just split even.
People has got to pay what they owe me!  I'm not running a damned
orphan asylum for bums and crooks!  Nor a God-damned hooker shanty,
either!  Nor an Old Men's Home for lousy Anarchist tramps that
ought to be in jail!  I'm sick of being played for a sucker!  (They
stare at him with stunned, bewildered hurt.  He goes on in a sort
of furious desperation, as if he hated himself for every word he
said, and yet couldn't stop.)  And don't think you're kidding me
right now, either!  I know damned well you're giving me the laugh
behind my back, thinking to yourselves, The old, lying, pipe-
dreaming faker, we've heard his bull about taking a walk around the
ward for years, he'll never make it!  He's yellow, he ain't got the
guts, he's scared he'll find out--(He glares around at them almost
with hatred.)  But I'll show you, bejees!  (He glares at Hickey.)
I'll show you, too, you son of a bitch of a frying-pan-peddling

HICKEY--(heartily encouraging)  That's the stuff, Harry!  Of course
you'll try to show me!  That's what I want you to do!  (Harry
glances at him with helpless dread--then drops his eyes and looks
furtively around the table.  All at once he becomes miserably

HOPE--(his voice catching)  Listen, all of you!  Bejees, forgive
me.  I lost my temper!  I ain't feeling well!  I got a hell of a
grouch on!  Bejees, you know you're all as welcome here as the
flowers in May!  (They look at him with eager forgiveness.  Rocky
is the first one who can voice it.)

ROCKY--Aw, sure, Boss, you're always aces wid us, see?

HICKEY--(rises to his feet again.  He addresses them now with the
simple, convincing sincerity of one making a confession of which he
is genuinely ashamed.)  Listen, everybody!  I know you are sick of
my gabbing, but I think this is the spot where I owe it to you to
do a little explaining and apologize for some of the rough stuff
I've had to pull on you.  I know how it must look to you.  As if I
was a damned busybody who was not only interfering in your private
business, but even sicking some of you on to nag at each other.
Well, I have to admit that's true, and I'm damned sorry about it.
But it simply had to be done!  You must believe that!  You know old
Hickey.  I was never one to start trouble.  But this time I had to--
for your own good!  I had to make you help me with each other.  I
saw I couldn't do what I was after alone.  Not in the time at my
disposal.  I knew when I came here I wouldn't be able to stay with
you long.  I'm slated to leave on a trip.  I saw I'd have to hustle
and use every means I could.  (with a joking boastfulness)  Why, if
I had enough time, I'd get a lot of sport out of selling my line of
salvation to each of you all by my lonesome.  Like it was fun in
the old days, when I traveled house to house, to convince some
dame, who was sicking the dog on me, her house wouldn't be properly
furnished unless she bought another wash boiler.  And I could do it
with you, all right.  I know every one of you, inside and out, by
heart.  I may have been drunk when I've been here before, but old
Hickey could never be so drunk he didn't have to see through
people.  I mean, everyone except himself.  And, finally, he had to
see through himself, too.  (He pauses.  They stare at him, bitter,
uneasy and fascinated.  His manner changes to deep earnestness.)
But here's the point to get.  I swear I'd never act like I have if
I wasn't absolutely sure it will be worth it to you in the end,
after you're rid of the damned guilt that makes you lie to
yourselves you're something you're not, and the remorse that nags
at you and makes you hide behind lousy pipe dreams about tomorrow.
You'll be in a today where there is no yesterday or tomorrow to
worry you.  You won't give a damn what you are any more.  I
wouldn't say this unless I knew, Brothers and Sisters.  This peace
is real!  It's a fact!  I know!  Because I've got it!  Here!  Now!
Right in front of you!  You see the difference in me!  You remember
how I used to be!  Even when I had two quarts of rotgut under my
belt and joked and sang "Sweet Adeline," I still felt like a guilty
skunk.  But you can all see that I don't give a damn about anything
now.  And I promise you, by the time this day is over, I'll have
every one of you feeling the same way!  (He pauses.  They stare at
him fascinatedly.  He adds with a grin)  I guess that'll be about
all from me, boys and girls--for the present.  So let's get on with
the party.  (He starts to sit down.)

LARRY--(sharply)  Wait!  (insistently--with a sneer)  I think it
would help us poor pipe-dreaming sinners along the sawdust trail to
salvation if you told us now what it was happened to you that
converted you to this great peace you've found.  (more and more
with a deliberate, provocative taunting)  I notice you didn't deny
it when I asked you about the iceman.  Did this great revelation of
the evil habit of dreaming about tomorrow come to you after you
found your wife was sick of you?  (While he is speaking the faces
of the gang have lighted up vindictively, as if all at once they
saw a chance to revenge themselves.  As he finishes, a chorus of
sneering taunts begins, punctuated by nasty, jeering laughter.)

HOPE--Bejees, you've hit it, Larry!  I've noticed he hasn't shown
her picture around this time!

MOSHER--He hasn't got it!  The iceman took it away from him!

MARGIE--Jees, look at him!  Who could blame her?

PEARL--She must be hard up to fall for an iceman!

CORA--Imagine a sap like him advisin' me and Chuck to git married!

CHUCK--Yeah!  He done so good wid it!

JIMMY--At least I can say Marjorie chose an officer and a

LEWIS--Come to look at you, Hickey, old chap, you've sprouted horns
like a bloody antelope!

WETJOEN--Pigger, py Gott!  Like a water buffalo's!

WILLIE--(sings to his Sailor Lad tune)

     "Come up," she cried, "my iceman lad,
      And you and I'll agree--"

(They all join in a jeering chorus, rapping with knuckles or
glasses on the table at the indicated spot in the lyric.)

     "And I'll show you the prettiest (rap, rap, rap)
      That ever you did see!"

(A roar of derisive, dirty laughter.  But Hickey has remained
unmoved by all this taunting.  He grins good-naturedly, as if he
enjoyed the joke at his expense, and joins in the laughter.)

HICKEY--Well, boys and girls, I'm glad to see you getting in good
spirits for Harry's party, even if the joke is on me.  I admit I
asked for it by always pulling that iceman gag in the old days.  So
laugh all you like.  (He pauses.  They do not laugh now.  They are
again staring at him with baffled uneasiness.  He goes on
thoughtfully.)  Well, this forces my hand, I guess, your bringing
up the subject of Evelyn.  I didn't want to tell you yet.  It's
hardly an appropriate time.  I meant to wait until the party was
over.  But you're getting the wrong idea about poor Evelyn, and
I've got to stop that.  (He pauses again.  There is a tense
stillness in the room.  He bows his head a little and says quietly)
I'm sorry to tell you my dearly beloved wife is dead.  (A gasp
comes from the stunned company.  They look away from him, shocked
and miserably ashamed of themselves, except Larry who continues to
stare at him.)

LARRY--(aloud to himself with a superstitious shrinking)  Be God, I
felt he'd brought the touch of death on him!  (Then suddenly he is
even more ashamed of himself than the others and stammers)  Forgive
me, Hickey!  I'd like to cut my dirty tongue out!  (This releases a
chorus of shamefaced mumbles from the crowd.  "Sorry, Hickey."
"I'm sorry, Hickey."  "We're sorry, Hickey.")

HICKEY--(looking around at them--in a kindly, reassuring tone)  Now
look here, everybody.  You mustn't let this be a wet blanket on
Harry's party.  You're still getting me all wrong.  There's no
reason--You see, I don't feel any grief.  (They gaze at him
startledly.  He goes on with convincing sincerity.)  I've got to
feel glad, for her sake.  Because she's at peace.  She's rid of me
at last.  Hell, I don't have to tell you--you all know what I was
like.  You can imagine what she went through, married to a no-good
cheater and drunk like I was.  And there was no way out of it for
her.  Because she loved me.  But now she is at peace like she
always longed to be.  So why should I feel sad?  She wouldn't want
me to feel sad.  Why, all that Evelyn ever wanted out of life was
to make me happy.  (He stops, looking around at them with a simple,
gentle frankness.  They stare at him in bewildered, incredulous



SCENE--Barroom of Harry Hope's, including a part of what had been
the back room in Acts One and Two.  In the right wall are two big
windows, with the swinging doors to the street between them.  The
bar itself is at rear.  Behind it is a mirror, covered with white
mosquito netting to keep off the flies, and a shelf on which are
barrels of cheap whiskey with spiggots and a small show case of
bottled goods.  At left of the bar is the doorway to the hall.
There is a table at left, front, of barroom proper, with four
chairs.  At right, front, is a small free-lunch counter, facing
left, with a space between it and the window for the dealer to
stand when he dishes out soup at the noon hour.  Over the mirror
behind the bar are framed photographs of Richard Croker and Big Tim
Sullivan, flanked by framed lithographs of John L. Sullivan and
Gentleman Jim Corbett in ring costume.

At left, in what had been the back room, with the dividing curtain
drawn, the banquet table of Act Two has been broken up, and the
tables are again in the crowded arrangement of Act One.  Of these,
we see one in the front row with five chairs at left of the barroom
table, another with five chairs at left-rear of it, a third back by
the rear wall with five chairs, and finally, at extreme left-front,
one with four chairs, partly on and partly off stage, left.

It is around the middle of the morning of Hope's birthday, a hot
summer day.  There is sunlight in the street outside, but it does
not hit the windows and the light in the back-room section is dim.

Joe Mott is moving around, a box of sawdust under his arm, strewing
it over the floor.  His manner is sullen, his face set in gloom.
He ignores everyone.  As the scene progresses, he finishes his
sawdusting job, goes behind the lunch counter and cuts loaves of
bread.  Rocky is behind the bar, wiping it, washing glasses, etc.
He wears his working clothes, sleeves rolled up.  He looks sleepy,
irritable and worried.  At the barroom table, front, Larry sits in
a chair, facing right-front.  He has no drink in front of him.  He
stares ahead, deep in harried thought.  On his right, in a chair
facing right, Hugo sits sprawled forward, arms and head on the
table as usual, a whiskey glass beside his limp hand.  At rear of
the front table at left of them, in a chair facing left, Parritt is
sitting.  He is staring in front of him in a tense, strained

As the curtain rises, Rocky finishes his work behind the bar.  He
comes forward and drops wearily in the chair at right of Larry's
table, facing left.

ROCKY--Nuttin' now till de noon rush from de Market.  I'm goin' to
rest my fanny.  (irritably)  If I ain't a sap to let Chuck kid me
into workin' his time so's he can take de mornin' off.  But I got
sick of arguin' wid 'im.  I says, "Aw right, git married!  What's
it to me?"  Hickey's got de bot' of dem bugs.  (bitterly)  Some
party last night, huh?  Jees, what a funeral!  It was jinxed from
de start, but his tellin' about his wife croakin' put de K.O. on

LARRY--Yes, it turned out it wasn't a birthday feast but a wake!

ROCKY--Him promisin' he'd cut out de bughouse bull about peace--and
den he went on talkin' and talkin' like he couldn't stop!  And all
de gang sneakin' upstairs, leavin' free booze and eats like dey was
poison!  It didn't do dem no good if dey thought dey'd shake him.
He's been hoppin' from room to room all night.  Yuh can't stop him.
He's got his Reform Wave goin' strong dis mornin'!  Did yuh notice
him drag Jimmy out de foist ting to get his laundry and his clothes
pressed so he wouldn't have no excuse?  And he give Willie de dough
to buy his stuff back from Solly's.  And all de rest been brushin'
and shavin' demselves wid de shakes--

LARRY--(defiantly)  He didn't come to my room!  He's afraid I might
ask him a few questions.

ROCKY--(scornfully)  Yeah?  It don't look to me he's scared of yuh.
I'd say you was scared of him.

LARRY--(stung)  You'd lie, then!

PARRITT--(jerks round to look at Larry--sneeringly)  Don't let him
kid you, Rocky.  He had his door locked.  I couldn't get in,

ROCKY--Yeah, who d'yuh tink yuh're kiddin', Larry?  He's showed you
up, aw right.  Like he says, if yuh was so anxious to croak, why
wouldn't yuh hop off your fire escape long ago?

LARRY--(defiantly)  Because it'd be a coward's quitting, that's

PARRITT--He's all quitter, Rocky.  He's a yellow old faker!

LARRY--(turns on him)  You lying punk!  Remember what I warned you--!

ROCKY--(scowls at Parritt)  Yeah, keep outta dis, you!  Where d'yuh
get a license to butt in?  Shall I give him de bum's rush, Larry?
If you don't want him around, nobody else don't.

LARRY--(forcing an indifferent tone)  No.  Let him stay.  I don't
mind him.  He's nothing to me.  (Rocky shrugs his shoulders and
yawns sleepily.)

PARRITT--You're right, I have nowhere to go now.  You're the only
one in the world I can turn to.

ROCKY--(drowsily)  Yuh're a soft old sap, Larry.  He's a no-good
louse like Hickey.  He don't belong.  (He yawns.)  I'm all in.  Not
a wink of sleep.  Can't keep my peepers open.  (His eyes close and
his head nods.  Parritt gives him a glance and then gets up and
slinks over to slide into the chair on Larry's left, between him
and Rocky.  Larry shrinks away, but determinedly ignores him.)

PARRITT--(bending toward him--in a low, ingratiating, apologetic
voice)  I'm sorry for riding you, Larry.  But you get my goat when
you act as if you didn't care a damn what happened to me, and keep
your door locked so I can't talk to you.  (then hopefully)  But
that was to keep Hickey out, wasn't it?  I don't blame you.  I'm
getting to hate him.  I'm getting more and more scared of him.
Especially since he told us his wife was dead.  It's that queer
feeling he gives me that I'm mixed up with him some way.  I don't
know why, but it started me thinking about Mother--as if she was
dead.  (with a strange undercurrent of something like satisfaction
in his pitying tone)  I suppose she might as well be.  Inside
herself, I mean.  It must kill her when she thinks of me--I know
she doesn't want to, but she can't help it.  After all, I'm her
only kid.  She used to spoil me and made a pet of me.  Once in a
great while, I mean.  When she remembered me.  As if she wanted to
make up for something.  As if she felt guilty.  So she must have
loved me a little, even if she never let it interfere with her
freedom.  (with a strange pathetic wistfulness)  Do you know,
Larry, I once had a sneaking suspicion that maybe, if the truth was
known, you were my father.

LARRY--(violently)  You damned fool!  Who put that insane idea in
your head?  You know it's a lie!  Anyone in the Coast crowd could
tell you I never laid eyes on your mother till after you were born.

PARRITT--Well, I'd hardly ask them, would I?  I know you're right,
though, because I asked her.  She brought me up to be frank and ask
her anything, and she'd always tell me the truth.  (abruptly)  But
I was talking about how she must feel now about me.  My getting
through with the Movement.  She'll never forgive that.  The
Movement is her life.  And it must be the final knockout for her if
she knows I was the one who sold--

LARRY--Shut up, damn you!

PARRITT--It'll kill her.  And I'm sure she knows it must have been
me.  (suddenly with desperate urgency)  But I never thought the
cops would get her!  You've got to believe that!  You've got to see
what my only reason was!  I'll admit what I told you last night was
a lie--that bunk about getting patriotic and my duty to my country.
But here's the true reason, Larry--the only reason!  It was just
for money!  I got stuck on a whore and wanted dough to blow in on
her and have a good time!  That's all I did it for!  Just money!
Honest!  (He has the terrible grotesque air, in confessing his
sordid baseness, of one who gives an excuse which exonerates him
from any real guilt.)

LARRY--(grabs him by the shoulder and shakes him)  God damn you,
shut up!  What the hell is it to me?  (Rocky starts awake.)

ROCKY--What's comin' off here?

LARRY--(controlling himself)  Nothing.  This gabby young punk was
talking my ear off, that's all.  He's a worse pest than Hickey.

ROCKY--(drowsily)  Yeah, Hickey--Say, listen, what d'yuh mean about
him bein' scared you'd ask him questions?  What questions?

LARRY--Well, I feel he's hiding something.  You notice he didn't
say what his wife died of.

ROCKY--(rebukingly)  Aw, lay off dat.  De poor guy--What are yuh
gettin' at, anyway?  Yuh don't tink it's just a gag of his?

LARRY--I don't.  I'm damned sure he's brought death here with him.
I feel the cold touch of it on him.

ROCKY--Aw, bunk!  You got croakin' on de brain, Old Cemetery.
(Suddenly Rocky's eyes widen.)  Say!  D'yuh mean yuh tink she
committed suicide, 'count of his cheatin' or someting?

LARRY--(grimly)  It wouldn't surprise me.  I'd be the last to blame

ROCKY--(scornfully)  But dat's crazy!  Jees, if she'd done dat, he
wouldn't tell us he was glad about it, would he?  He ain't dat big
a bastard.

PARRITT--(speaks up from his own preoccupation--strangely)  You
know better than that, Larry.  You know she'd never commit suicide.
She's like you.  She'll hang on to life even when there's nothing
left but--

LARRY--(stung--turns on him viciously)  And how about you?  Be God,
if you had any guts or decency--!  (He stops guiltily.)

PARRITT--(sneeringly)  I'd take that hop off your fire escape
you're too yellow to take, I suppose?

LARRY--(as if to himself)  No!  Who am I to judge?  I'm done with

PARRITT--(tauntingly)  Yes, I suppose you'd like that, wouldn't

ROCKY--(irritably mystified)  What de hell's all dis about?  (to
Parritt)  What d'you know about Hickey's wife?  How d'yuh know she

LARRY--(with forced belittling casualness)  He doesn't.  Hickey's
addled the little brains he's got.  Shove him back to his own
table, Rocky.  I'm sick of him.

ROCKY--(to Parritt, threateningly)  Yuh heard Larry?  I'd like an
excuse to give yuh a good punch in de snoot.  So move quick!

PARRITT--(gets up--to Larry)  If you think moving to another table
will get rid of me!  (He moves away--then adds with bitter
reproach)  Gee, Larry, that's a hell of a way to treat me, when
I've trusted you, and I need your help.  (He sits down in his old
place and sinks into a wounded, self-pitying brooding.)

ROCKY--(going back to his train of thought)  Jees, if she committed
suicide, yuh got to feel sorry for Hickey, huh?  Yuh can understand
how he'd go bughouse and not be responsible for all de crazy stunts
he's stagin' here.  (then puzzledly)  But how can yuh be sorry for
him when he says he's glad she croaked, and yuh can tell he means
it?  (with weary exasperation)  Aw, nuts!  I don't get nowhere
tryin' to figger his game.  (his face hardening)  But I know dis.
He better lay off me and my stable!  (He pauses--then sighs.)
Jees, Larry, what a night dem two pigs give me!  When de party went
dead, dey pinched a coupla bottles and brung dem up deir room and
got stinko.  I don't get a wink of sleep, see?  Just as I'd drop
off on a chair here, dey'd come down lookin' for trouble.  Or else
dey'd raise hell upstairs, laughin' and singin', so I'd get scared
dey'd get de joint pinched and go up to tell dem to can de noise.
And every time dey'd crawl my frame wid de same old argument.
Dey'd say, "So yuh agreed wid Hickey, do yuh, yuh dirty little
Ginny?  We're whores, are we?  Well, we agree wid Hickey about you,
see!  Yuh're nuttin' but a lousy pimp!"  Den I'd slap dem.  Not
beat 'em up, like a pimp would.  Just slap dem.  But it don't do no
good.  Dey'd keep at it over and over.  Jees, I get de earache just
thinkin' of it!  "Listen," dey'd say, "if we're whores we gotta
right to have a reg'lar pimp and not stand for no punk imitation!
We're sick of wearin' out our dogs poundin' sidewalks for a double-
crossin' bartender, when all de thanks we get is he looks down on
us.  We'll find a guy who really needs us to take care of him and
ain't ashamed of it.  Don't expect us to work tonight, 'cause we
won't, see?  Not if de streets was blocked wid sailors!  We're
goin' on strike and yuh can like it or lump it!"  (He shakes his
head.)  Whores goin' on strike!  Can yuh tie dat?  (going on with
his story)  Dey says, "We're takin' a holiday.  We're goin' to beat
it down to Coney Island and shoot the chutes and maybe we'll come
back and maybe we won't.  And you can go to hell!"  So dey put on
deir lids and beat it, de bot' of dem stinko.  (He sighs
dejectedly.  He seems grotesquely like a harried family man,
henpecked and browbeaten by a nagging wife.  Larry is deep in his
own bitter preoccupation and hasn't listened to him.  Chuck enters
from the hall at rear.  He has his straw hat with the gaudy band in
his hand and wears a Sunday-best blue suit with a high stiff
collar.  He looks sleepy, hot, uncomfortable and grouchy.)

CHUCK--(glumly)  Hey, Rocky.  Cora wants a sherry flip.  For her

ROCKY--(turns indignantly)  Sherry flip!  Christ, she don't need
nuttin' for her noive!  What's she tink dis is, de Waldorf?

CHUCK--Yeah, I told her, what would we use for sherry, and dere
wasn't no egg unless she laid one.  She says, "Is dere a law yuh
can't go out and buy de makings, yuh big tramp?"  (resentfully puts
his straw hat on his head at a defiant tilt)  To hell wid her!
She'll drink booze or nuttin'!  (He goes behind the bar to draw a
glass of whiskey from a barrel.)

ROCKY--(sarcastically)  Jees, a guy oughta give his bride anything
she wants on de weddin' day, I should tink!  (As Chuck comes from
behind the bar, Rocky surveys him derisively.)  Pipe de bridegroom,
Larry!  All dolled up for de killin'!  (Larry pays no attention.)

CHUCK--Aw, shut up!

ROCKY--One week on dat farm in Joisey, dat's what I give yuh!
Yuh'll come runnin' in here some night yellin' for a shot of booze
'cause de crickets is after yuh!  (disgustedly)  Jees, Chuck, dat
louse Hickey's coitinly made a prize coupla suckers outa youse.

CHUCK--(unguardedly)  Yeah.  I'd like to give him one sock in de
puss--just one!  (then angrily)  Aw, can dat!  What's he got to do
wid it?  Ain't we always said we was goin' to?  So we're goin' to,
see?  And don't give me no argument!  (He stares at Rocky
truculently.  But Rocky only shrugs his shoulders with weary
disgust and Chuck subsides into complaining gloom.)  If on'y Cora'd
cut out de beefin'.  She don't gimme a minute's rest all night.  De
same old stuff over and over!  Do I really want to marry her?  I
says, "Sure, Baby, why not?"  She says, "Yeah, but after a week
yuh'll be tinkin' what a sap you was.  Yuh'll make dat an excuse to
go off on a periodical, and den I'll be tied for life to a no-good
soak, and de foist ting I know yuh'll have me out hustlin' again,
your own wife!"  Den she'd bust out cryin', and I'd get sore.
"Yuh're a liar," I'd say.  "I ain't never taken your dough 'cept
when I was drunk and not workin'!"  "Yeah," she'd say, "and how
long will yuh stay sober now?  Don't tink yuh can kid me wid dat
water-wagon bull!  I've heard it too often."  Dat'd make me sore
and I'd say, "Don't call me a liar.  But I wish I was drunk right
now, because if I was, yuh wouldn't be keepin' me awake all night
beefin'.  If yuh opened your yap, I'd knock de stuffin' outa yuh!"
Den she'd yell, "Dat's a sweet way to talk to de goil yuh're goin'
to marry."  (He sighs explosively.)  Jees, she's got me hangin' on
de ropes!  (He glances with vengeful yearning at the drink of
whiskey in his hand.)  Jees, would I like to get a quart of dis
redeye under my belt!

ROCKY--Well, why de hell don't yuh?

CHUCK--(instantly suspicious and angry)  Sure!  You'd like dat,
wouldn't yuh?  I'm wise to you!  Yuh don't wanta see me get married
and settle down like a reg'lar guy!  Yuh'd like me to stay
paralyzed all de time, so's I'd be like you, a lousy pimp!

ROCKY--(springs to his feet, his face hardened viciously)  Listen!
I don't take dat even from you, see!

CHUCK--(puts his drink on the bar and clenches his fists)  Yeah?
Wanta make sometin' of it?  (jeeringly)  Don't make me laugh!  I
can lick ten of youse wid one mit!

ROCKY--(reaching for his hip pocket)  Not wid lead in your belly,
yuh won't!

JOE--(has stopped cutting when the quarrel started--expostulating)
Hey, you, Rocky and Chuck!  Cut it out!  You's ole friends!  Don't
let dat Hickey make you crazy!

CHUCK--(turns on him)  Keep outa our business, yuh black bastard!

ROCKY--(like Chuck, turns on Joe, as if their own quarrel was
forgotten and they became natural allies against an alien)  Stay
where yuh belong, yuh doity nigger!

JOE--(snarling with rage, springs from behind the lunch counter
with the bread knife in his hand)  You white sons of bitches!  I'll
rip your guts out!  (Chuck snatches a whiskey bottle from the bar
and raises it above his head to hurl at Joe.  Rocky jerks a short-
barreled, nickel-plated revolver from his hip pocket.  At this
moment Larry pounds on the table with his fist and bursts into a
sardonic laugh.)

LARRY--That's it!  Murder each other, you damned loons, with
Hickey's blessing!  Didn't I tell you he'd brought death with him?
(His interruption startles them.  They pause to stare at him, their
fighting fury suddenly dies out and they appear deflated and

ROCKY--(to Joe)  Aw right, you.  Leggo dat shiv and I'll put dis
gat away.  (Joe sullenly goes back behind the counter and slaps the
knife on top of it.  Rocky slips the revolver back in his pocket.
Chuck lowers the bottle to the bar.  Hugo, who has awakened and
raised his head when Larry pounded on the table, now giggles

HUGO--Hello, leedle peoples!  Neffer mind!  Soon you vill eat hot
dogs beneath the villow trees and trink free vine--(abruptly in a
haughty fastidious tone)  The champagne vas not properly iced.
(with guttural anger)  Gottamned liar, Hickey!  Does that prove I
vant to be aristocrat?  I love only the proletariat!  I vill lead
them!  I vill be like a Gott to them!  They vill be my slaves!  (He
stops in bewildered self-amazement--to Larry appealingly)  I am
very trunk, no, Larry?  I talk foolishness.  I am so trunk, Larry,
old friend, am I not, I don't know vhat I say?

LARRY--(pityingly)  You're raving drunk, Hugo.  I've never seen you
so paralyzed.  Lay your head down now and sleep it off.

HUGO--(gratefully)  Yes.  I should sleep.  I am too crazy trunk.
(He puts his head on his arms and closes his eyes.)

JOE--(behind the lunch counter--brooding superstitiously)  You's
right, Larry.  Bad luck come in de door when Hickey come.  I's an
ole gamblin' man and I knows bad luck when I feels it!  (then
defiantly)  But it's white man's bad luck.  He can't jinx me!  (He
comes from behind the counter and goes to the bar--addressing Rocky
stiffly)  De bread's cut and I's finished my job.  Do I get de
drink I's earned?  (Rocky gives him a hostile look but shoves a
bottle and glass at him.  Joe pours a brimful drink--sullenly)  I's
finished wid dis dump for keeps.  (He takes a key from his pocket
and slaps it on the bar.)  Here's de key to my room.  I ain't
comin' back.  I's goin' to my own folks where I belong.  I don't
stay where I's not wanted.  I's sick and tired of messin' round wid
white men.  (He gulps down his drink--then looking around defiantly
he deliberately throws his whiskey glass on the floor and smashes

ROCKY--Hey!  What de hell--!

JOE--(with a sneering dignity)  I's on'y savin' you de trouble,
White Boy.  Now you don't have to break it, soon's my back's
turned, so's no white man kick about drinkin' from de same glass.
(He walks stiffly to the street door--then turns for a parting
shot--boastfully)  I's tired of loafin' 'round wid a lot of bums.
I's a gamblin' man.  I's gonna get in a big crap game and win me a
big bankroll.  Den I'll get de okay to open up my old gamblin'
house for colored men.  Den maybe I comes back here sometime to see
de bums.  Maybe I throw a twenty-dollar bill on de bar and say,
"Drink it up," and listen when dey all pat me on de back and say,
"Joe, you sure is white."  But I'll say, "No, I'm black and my
dough is black man's dough, and you's proud to drink wid me or you
don't get no drink!"  Or maybe I just says, "You can all go to
hell.  I don't lower myself drinkin' wid no white trash!"  (He
opens the door to go out--then turns again.)  And dat ain't no pipe
dream!  I'll git de money for my stake today, somehow, somewheres!
If I has to borrow a gun and stick up some white man, I gets it!
You wait and see!  (He swaggers out through the swinging doors.)

CHUCK--(angrily)  Can yuh beat de noive of dat dinge!  Jees, if I
wasn't dressed up, I'd go out and mop up de street wid him!

ROCKY--Aw, let him go, de poor old dope!  Him and his gamblin'
house!  He'll be back tonight askin' Harry for his room and bummin'
me for a ball.  (vengefully)  Den I'll be de one to smash de glass.
I'll loin him his place!  (The swinging doors are pushed open and
Willie Oban enters from the street.  He is shaved and wears an
expensive, well-cut suit, good shoes and clean linen.  He is
absolutely sober, but his face is sick, and his nerves in a
shocking state of shakes.)

CHUCK--Another guy all dolled up!  Got your clothes from Solly's,
huh, Willie?  (derisively)  Now yuh can sell dem back to him again

WILLIE--(stiffly)  No, I--I'm through with that stuff.  Never
again.  (He comes to the bar.)

ROCKY--(sympathetically)  Yuh look sick, Willie.  Take a ball to
pick yuh up.  (He pushes a bottle toward him.)

WILLIE--(eyes the bottle yearningly but shakes his head--
determinedly)  No, thanks.  The only way to stop is to stop.  I'd
have no chance if I went to the D.A.'s office smelling of booze.

CHUCK--Yuh're really goin' dere?

WILLIE--(stiffly)  I said I was, didn't I?  I just came back here
to rest a few minutes, not because I needed any booze.  I'll show
that cheap drummer I don't have to have any Dutch courage--
(guiltily)  But he's been very kind and generous staking me.  He
can't help his insulting manner, I suppose.  (He turns away from
the bar.)  My legs are a bit shaky yet.  I better sit down a while.
(He goes back and sits at the left of the second table, facing
Parritt, who gives him a scowling, suspicious glance and then
ignores him.  Rocky looks at Chuck and taps his head disgustedly.
Captain Lewis appears in the doorway from the hall.)

CHUCK--(mutters)  Here's anudder one.  (Lewis looks spruce and
clean-shaven.  His ancient tweed suit has been brushed and his
frayed linen is clean.  His manner is full of a forced, jaunty
self-assurance.  But he is sick and beset by katzenjammer.)

LEWIS--Good morning, gentlemen all.  (He passes along the front of
bar to look out in the street.)  A jolly fine morning, too.  (He
turns back to the bar.)  An eye-opener?  I think not.  Not
required, Rocky, old chum.  Feel extremely fit, as a matter of
fact.  Though can't say I slept much, thanks to that interfering
ass, Hickey, and that stupid bounder of a Boer.  (His face
hardens.)  I've had about all I can take from that fellow.  It's my
own fault, of course, for allowing a brute of a Dutch farmer to
become familiar.  Well, it's come to a parting of the ways now, and
good riddance.  Which reminds me, here's my key.  (He puts it on
the bar.)  I shan't be coming back.  Sorry to be leaving good old
Harry and the rest of you, of course, but I can't continue to live
under the same roof with that fellow.  (He stops, stiffening into
hostility as Wetjoen enters from the hall, and pointedly turns his
back on him.  Wetjoen glares at him sneeringly.  He, too, has made
an effort to spruce up his appearance, and his bearing has a forced
swagger of conscious physical strength.  Behind this, he is sick
and feebly holding his booze-sodden body together.)

ROCKY--(to Lewis--disgustedly putting the key on the shelf in back
of the bar)  So Hickey's kidded the pants offa you, too?  Yuh tink
yuh're leavin' here, huh?

WETJOEN--(jeeringly)  Ja!  Dot's vhat he kids himself.

LEWIS--(ignores him--airily)  Yes, I'm leaving, Rocky.  But that
ass, Hickey, has nothing to do with it.  Been thinking things over.
Time I turned over a new leaf, and all that.

WETJOEN--He's going to get a job!  Dot's what he says!

ROCKY--What at, for Chris' sake?

LEWIS--(keeping his airy manner)  Oh, anything.  I mean, not manual
labor, naturally, but anything that calls for a bit of brains and
education.  However humble.  Beggars can't be choosers.  I'll see a
pal of mine at the Consulate.  He promised any time I felt an
energetic fit he'd get me a post with the Cunard--clark in the
office or something of the kind.

WETJOEN--Ja!  At Limey Consulate they promise anything to get rid
of him vhen he comes there tronk!  They're scared to call the
police and have him pinched because it vould scandal in the papers
make about a Limey officer and chentleman!

LEWIS--As a matter of fact, Rocky, I only wish a post temporarily.
Means to an end, you know.  Save up enough for a first-class
passage home, that's the bright idea.

WETJOEN--He's sailing back to home, sveet home!  Dot's biggest pipe
dream of all.  What leetle brain the poor Limey has left, dot isn't
in whiskey pickled, Hickey has made crazy!  (Lewis' fists clench,
but he manages to ignore this.)

CHUCK--(feels sorry for Lewis and turns on Wetjoen--sarcastically)
Hickey ain't made no sucker outa you, huh?  You're too foxy, huh?
But I'll bet you tink yuh're goin' out and land a job, too.

WETJOEN--(bristles)  I am, ja.  For me, it is easy.  Because I put
on no airs of chentleman.  I am not ashamed to vork vith my hands.
I vas a farmer before the war ven ploody Limey thieves steal my
country.  (boastfully)  Anyone I ask for job can see vith one look
I have the great strength to do work of ten ordinary mens.

LEWIS--(sneeringly)  Yes, Chuck, you remember he gave a
demonstration of his extraordinary muscles last night when he
helped to move the piano.

CHUCK--Yuh couldn't even hold up your corner.  It was your fault de
damned box almost fell down de stairs.

WETJOEN--My hands vas sweaty!  Could I help dot my hands slip?  I
could de whole veight of it lift!  In old days in Transvaal, I lift
loaded oxcart by the axle!  So vhy shouldn't I get job?  Dot
longshoreman boss, Dan, he tell me any time I like, he take me on.
And Benny from de Market he promise me same.

LEWIS--You remember, Rocky, it was one of those rare occasions when
the Boer that walks like a man--spelled with a double o, by the
way--was buying drinks and Dan and Benny were stony.  They'd bloody
well have promised him the moon.

ROCKY--Yeah, yuh big boob, dem boids was on'y kiddin' yuh.

WETJOEN--(angrily)  Dot's lie!  You vill see dis morning I get job!
I'll show dot bloody Limey chentleman, and dot liar, Hickey!  And I
need vork only leetle vhile to save money for my passage home.  I
need not much money because I am not ashamed to travel steerage.  I
don't put on first-cabin airs!  (tauntingly)  Und _I_ CAN go home
to my country!  Vhen I get there, they vill let ME come in!

LEWIS--(grows rigid--his voice trembling with repressed anger)
There was a rumor in South Africa, Rocky, that a certain Boer
officer--if you call the leaders of a rabble of farmers officers--
kept advising Cronje to retreat and not stand and fight--

WETJOEN--And I vas right!  I vas right!  He got surrounded at
Poardeberg!  He had to surrender!

LEWIS--(ignoring him)  Good strategy, no doubt, but a suspicion
grew afterwards into a conviction among the Boers that the
officer's caution was prompted by a desire to make his personal
escape.  His countrymen felt extremely savage about it, and his
family disowned him.  So I imagine there would be no welcoming
committee waiting on the dock, nor delighted relatives making the
veldt ring with their happy cries--

WETJOEN--(with guilty rage)  All lies!  You Gottamned Limey--
(trying to control himself and copy Lewis' manner)  I also haf
heard rumors of a Limey officer who, after the war, lost all his
money gambling vhen he vas tronk.  But they found out it vas
regiment money, too, he lost--

LEWIS--(loses his control and starts for him)  You bloody Dutch

ROCKY--(leans over the bar and stops Lewis with a straight-arm
swipe on the chest)  Cut it out!  (At the same moment Chuck grabs
Wetjoen and yanks him back.)

WETJOEN--(struggling)  Let him come!  I saw them come before--at
Modder River, Magersfontein, Spion Kopje--waving their silly
swords, so afraid they couldn't show off how brave they vas!--and I
kill them vith my rifle so easy!  (vindictively)  Listen to me, you
Cecil!  Often vhen I am tronk and kidding you I say I am sorry I
missed you, but now, py Gott, I am sober, and I don't joke, and I
say it!

LARRY--(gives a sardonic guffaw--with his comically crazy, intense
whisper)  Be God, you can't say Hickey hasn't the miraculous touch
to raise the dead, when he can start the Boer War raging again!
(This interruption acts like a cold douche on Lewis and Wetjoen.
They subside, and Rocky and Chuck let go of them.  Lewis turns his
back on the Boer.)

LEWIS--(attempting a return of his jaunty manner, as if nothing had
happened)  Well, time I was on my merry way to see my chap at the
Consulate.  The early bird catches the job, what?  Good-bye and
good luck, Rocky, and everyone.  (He starts for the street door.)

WETJOEN--Py Gott, if dot Limey can go, I can go!  (He hurries after
Lewis.  But Lewis, his hand about to push the swinging doors open,
hesitates, as though struck by a sudden paralysis of the will, and
Wetjoen has to jerk back to avoid bumping into him.  For a second
they stand there, one behind the other, staring over the swinging
doors into the street.)

ROCKY--Well, why don't yuh beat it?

LEWIS--(guiltily casual)  Eh?  Oh, just happened to think.  Hardly
the decent thing to pop off without saying good-bye to old Harry.
One of the best, Harry.  And good old Jimmy, too.  They ought to be
down any moment.  (He pretends to notice Wetjoen for the first time
and steps away from the door--apologizing as to a stranger)  Sorry.
I seem to be blocking your way out.

WETJOEN--(stiffly)  No.  I vait to say good-bye to Harry and Jimmy,
too.  (He goes to right of door behind the lunch counter and looks
through the window, his back to the room.  Lewis takes up a similar
stand at the window on the left of door.)

CHUCK--Jees, can yuh beat dem simps!  (He picks up Cora's drink at
the end of the bar.)  Hell, I'd forgot Cora.  She'll be trowin' a
fit.  (He goes into the hall with the drink.)

ROCKY--(looks after him disgustedly)  Dat's right, wait on her and
spoil her, yuh poor sap!  (He shakes his head and begins to wipe
the bar mechanically.)

WILLIE--(is regarding Parritt across the table from him with an
eager, calculating eye.  He leans over and speaks in a low
confidential tone.)  Look here, Parritt.  I'd like to have a talk
with you.

PARRITT--(starts--scowling defensively)  What about?

WILLIE--(his manner becoming his idea of a crafty criminal
lawyer's)  About the trouble you're in.  Oh, I know.  You don't
admit it.  You're quite right.  That's my advice.  Deny everything.
Keep your mouth shut.  Make no statements whatever without first
consulting your attorney.

PARRITT--Say!  What the hell--?

WILLIE--But you can trust me.  I'm a lawyer, and it's just occurred
to me you and I ought to co-operate.  Of course I'm going to see
the D.A. this morning about a job on his staff.  But that may take
time.  There may not be an immediate opening.  Meanwhile it would
be a good idea for me to take a case or two, on my own, and prove
my brilliant record in law school was no flash in the pan.  So why
not retain me as your attorney?

PARRITT--You're crazy!  What do I want with a lawyer?

WILLIE--That's right.  Don't admit anything.  But you can trust me,
so let's not beat about the bush.  You got in trouble out on the
Coast, eh?  And now you're hiding out.  Any fool can spot that.
(lowering his voice still more)  You feel safe here, and maybe you
are, for a while.  But remember, they get you in the end.  I know
from my father's experience.  No one could have felt safer than he
did.  When anyone mentioned the law to him, he nearly died
laughing.  But--

PARRITT--You crazy mutt!  (turning to Larry with a strained laugh)
Did you get that, Larry?  This damned fool thinks the cops are
after me!

LARRY--(bursts out with his true reaction before he thinks to
ignore him)  I wish to God they were!  And so should you, if you
had the honor of a louse!  (Parritt stares into his eyes guiltily
for a second.  Then he smiles sneeringly.)

PARRITT--And you're the guy who kids himself he's through with the
Movement!  You old lying faker, you're still in love with it!
(Larry ignores him again now.)

WILLIE--(disappointedly)  Then you're not in trouble, Parritt?  I
was hoping--But never mind.  No offense meant.  Forget it.

PARRITT--(condescendingly--his eyes on Larry)  Sure.  That's all
right, Willie.  I'm not sore at you.  It's that damned old faker
that gets my goat.  (He slips out of his chair and goes quietly
over to sit in the chair beside Larry he had occupied before--in a
low, insinuating, intimate tone)  I think I understand, Larry.
It's really Mother you still love--isn't it?--in spite of the dirty
deal she gave you.  But hell, what did you expect?  She was never
true to anyone but herself and the Movement.  But I understand how
you can't help still feeling--because I still love her, too.
(pleading in a strained, desperate tone)  You know I do, don't you?
You must!  So you see I couldn't have expected they'd catch her!
You've got to believe me that I sold them out just to get a few
lousy dollars to blow in on a whore.  No other reason, honest!
There couldn't possibly be any other reason!  (Again he has a
strange air of exonerating himself from guilt by this shameless

LARRY--(trying not to listen, has listened with increasing tension)
For the love of Christ will you leave me in peace!  I've told you
you can't make me judge you!  But if you don't keep still, you'll
be saying something soon that will make you vomit your own soul
like a drink of nickel rotgut that won't stay down!  (He pushes
back his chair and springs to his feet.)  To hell with you!  (He
goes to the bar.)

PARRITT--(jumps up and starts to follow him--desperately)  Don't
go, Larry!  You've got to help me!  (But Larry is at the bar, back
turned, and Rocky is scowling at him.  He stops, shrinking back
into himself helplessly, and turns away.  He goes to the table
where he had been before, and this time he takes the chair at rear
facing directly front.  He puts his elbows on the table, holding
his head in his hands as if he had a splitting headache.)

LARRY--Set 'em up, Rocky.  I swore I'd have no more drinks on
Hickey, if I died of drought, but I've changed my mind!  Be God, he
owes it to me, and I'd get blind to the world now if it was the
Iceman of Death himself treating!  (He stops, startledly, a
superstitious awe coming into his face.)  What made me say that, I
wonder.  (with a sardonic laugh)  Well, be God, it fits, for Death
was the Iceman Hickey called to his home!

ROCKY--Aw, forget dat iceman gag!  De poor dame is dead.  (pushing
a bottle and glass at Larry)  Gwan and get paralyzed!  I'll be glad
to see one bum in dis dump act natural.  (Larry downs a drink and
pours another.)

(Ed Mosher appears in the doorway from the hall.  The same change
which is apparent in the manner and appearance of the others shows
in him.  He is sick, his nerves are shattered, his eyes are
apprehensive, but he, too, puts on an exaggeratedly self-confident
bearing.  He saunters to the bar between Larry and the street

MOSHER--Morning, Rocky.  Hello, Larry.  Glad to see Brother Hickey
hasn't corrupted you to temperance.  I wouldn't mind a shot myself.
(As Rocky shoves a bottle toward him he shakes his head.)  But I
remember the only breath-killer in this dump is coffee beans.  The
boss would never fall for that.  No man can run a circus
successfully who believes guys chew coffee beans because they like
them.  (He pushes the bottle away.)  No, much as I need one after
the hell of a night I've had--(He scowls.)  That drummer son of a
drummer!  I had to lock him out.  But I could hear him through the
wall doing his spiel to someone all night long.  Still at it with
Jimmy and Harry when I came down just now.  But the hardest to take
was that flannel-mouth, flatfoot Mick trying to tell me where I got
off!  I had to lock him out, too.  (As he says this, McGloin comes
in the doorway from the hall.  The change in his appearance and
manner is identical with that of Mosher and the others.)

McGLOIN--He's a liar, Rocky!  It was me locked him out!  (Mosher
starts to flare up--then ignores him.  They turn their backs on
each other.  McGloin starts into the back-room section.)

WILLIE--Come and sit here, Mac.  You're just the man I want to see.
If I'm to take your case, we ought to have a talk before we leave.

McGLOIN--(contemptuously)  We'll have no talk.  You damned fool, do
you think I'd have your father's son for my lawyer?  They'd take
one look at you and bounce us both out on our necks!  (Willie
winces and shrinks down in his chair.  McGloin goes to the first
table beyond him and sits with his back to the bar.)  I don't need
a lawyer, anyway.  To hell with the law!  All I've got to do is see
the right ones and get them to pass the word.  They will, too.
They know I was framed.  And once they've passed the word, it's as
good as done, law or no law.

MOSHER--God, I'm glad I'm leaving this madhouse!  (He pulls his key
from his pocket and slaps it on the bar.)  Here's my key, Rocky.

McGLOIN--(pulls his from his pocket)  And here's mine.  (He tosses
it to Rocky.)  I'd rather sleep in the gutter than pass another
night under the same roof with that loon, Hickey, and a lying
circus grifter!  (He adds darkly)  And if that hat fits anyone
here, let him put it on!  (Mosher turns toward him furiously but
Rocky leans over the bar and grabs his arm.)

ROCKY--Nix!  Take it easy!  (Mosher subsides.  Rocky tosses the
keys on the shelf--disgustedly)  You boids gimme a pain.  It'd
soive you right if I wouldn't give de keys back to yuh tonight.
(They both turn on him resentfully, but there is an interruption as
Cora appears in the doorway from the hall with Chuck behind her.
She is drunk, dressed in her gaudy best, her face plastered with
rouge and mascara, her hair a bit disheveled, her hat on anyhow.)

CORA--(comes a few steps inside the bar--with a strained bright
giggle)  Hello, everybody!  Here we go!  Hickey just told us, ain't
it time we beat it, if we're really goin'.  So we're showin' de
bastard, ain't we, Honey?  He's comin' right down wid Harry and
Jimmy.  Jees, dem two look like dey was goin' to de electric chair!
(with frightened anger)  If I had to listen to any more of Hickey's
bunk, I'd brain him.  (She puts her hand on Chuck's arm.)  Come on,
Honey.  Let's get started before he comes down.

CHUCK--(sullenly)  Sure, anyting yuh say, Baby.

CORA--(turns on him truculently)  Yeah?  Well, I say we stop at de
foist reg'lar dump and yuh gotta blow me to a sherry flip--or four
or five, if I want 'em!--or all bets is off!

CHUCK--Aw, yuh got a fine bun on now!

CORA--Cheap skate!  I know what's eatin' you, Tightwad!  Well, use
my dough, den, if yuh're so stingy.  Yuh'll grab it all, anyway,
right after de ceremony.  I know you!  (She hikes her skirt up and
reaches inside the top of her stocking.)  Here, yuh big tramp!

CHUCK--(knocks her hand away--angrily)  Keep your lousy dough!  And
don't show off your legs to dese bums when yuh're goin' to be
married, if yuh don't want a sock in de puss!

CORA--(pleased--meekly)  Aw right, Honey.  (looking around with a
foolish laugh)  Say, why don't all you barflies come to de weddin'?
(But they are all sunk in their own apprehensions and ignore her.
She hesitates, miserably uncertain.)  Well, we're goin', guys.
(There is no comment.  Her eyes fasten on Rocky--desperately)  Say,
Rocky, yuh gone deef?  I said me and Chuck was goin' now.

ROCKY--(wiping the bar--with elaborate indifference)  Well, good-
bye.  Give my love to Joisey.

CORA--(tearfully indignant)  Ain't yuh goin' to wish us happiness,
yuh doity little Ginny?

ROCKY--Sure.  Here's hopin' yuh don't moider each odder before next

CHUCK--(angrily)  Aw, Baby, what d'we care for dat pimp?  (Rocky
turns on him threateningly, but Chuck hears someone upstairs in the
hall and grabs Cora's arm.)  Here's Hickey comin'!  Let's get outa
here!  (They hurry into the hall.  The street door is heard
slamming behind them.)

ROCKY--(gloomily pronounces an obituary)  One regular guy and one
all-right tart gone to hell!  (fiercely)  Dat louse Hickey oughta
be croaked!  (There is a muttered growl of assent from most of the
gathering.  Then Harry Hope enters from the hall, followed by Jimmy
Tomorrow, with Hickey on his heels.  Hope and Jimmy are both
putting up a front of self-assurance, but Cora's description of
them was apt.  There is a desperate bluff in their manner as they
walk in, which suggests the last march of the condemned.  Hope is
dressed in an old black Sunday suit, black tie, shoes, socks, which
give him the appearance of being in mourning.  Jimmy's clothes are
pressed, his shoes shined, his white linen immaculate.  He has a
hangover and his gently appealing dog's eyes have a boiled look.
Hickey's face is a bit drawn from lack of sleep and his voice is
hoarse from continual talking, but his bustling energy appears
nervously intensified, and his beaming expression is one of
triumphant accomplishment.)

HICKEY--Well, here we are!  We've got this far, at least!  (He pats
Jimmy on the back.)  Good work, Jimmy.  I told you you weren't half
as sick as you pretended.  No excuse whatever for postponing--

JIMMY--I'll thank you to keep your hands off me!  I merely
mentioned I would feel more fit tomorrow.  But it might as well be
today, I suppose.

HICKEY--Finish it now, so it'll be dead forever, and you can be
free!  (He passes him to clap Hope encouragingly on the shoulder.)
Cheer up, Harry.  You found your rheumatism didn't bother you
coming downstairs, didn't you?  I told you it wouldn't.  (He winks
around at the others.  With the exception of Hugo and Parritt, all
their eyes are fixed on him with bitter animosity.  He gives Hope a
playful nudge in the ribs.)  You're the damnedest one for alibis,
Governor!  As bad as Jimmy!

HOPE--(putting on his deaf manner)  Eh?  I can't hear--(defiantly)
You're a liar!  I've had rheumatism on and off for twenty years.
Ever since Bessie died.  Everybody knows that.

HICKEY--Yes, we know it's the kind of rheumatism you turn on and
off!  We're on to you, you old faker!  (He claps him on the
shoulder again, chuckling.)

HOPE--(looks humiliated and guilty--by way of escape he glares
around at the others.)  Bejees, what are all you bums hanging round
staring at me for?  Think you was watching a circus!  Why don't you
get the hell out of here and 'tend to your own business, like
Hickey's told you?  (They look at him reproachfully, their eyes
hurt.  They fidget as if trying to move.)

HICKEY--Yes, Harry, I certainly thought they'd have had the guts to
be gone by this time.  (He grins.)  Or maybe I did have my doubts.
(Abruptly he becomes sincerely sympathetic and earnest.)  Because I
know exactly what you're up against, boys.  I know how damned
yellow a man can be when it comes to making himself face the truth.
I've been through the mill, and I had to face a worse bastard in
myself than any of you will have to in yourselves.  I know you
become such a coward you'll grab at any lousy excuse to get out of
killing your pipe dreams.  And yet, as I've told you over and over,
it's exactly those damned tomorrow dreams which keep you from
making peace with yourself.  So you've got to kill them like I did
mine.  (He pauses.  They glare at him with fear and hatred.  They
seem about to curse him, to spring at him.  But they remain silent
and motionless.  His manner changes and he becomes kindly
bullying.)  Come on, boys!  Get moving!  Who'll start the ball
rolling?  You, Captain, and you, General.  You're nearest the door.
And besides, you're old war heroes!  You ought to lead the forlorn
hope!  Come on, now, show us a little of that good old battle of
Modder River spirit we've heard so much about!  You can't hang
around all day looking as if you were scared the street outside
would bite you!

LEWIS--(turns with humiliated rage--with an attempt at jaunty
casualness)  Right you are, Mister Bloody Nosey Parker!  Time I
pushed off.  Was only waiting to say good-bye to you, Harry, old

HOPE--(dejectedly)  Good-bye, Captain.  Hope you have luck.

LEWIS--Oh, I'm bound to, Old Chap, and the same to you.  (He pushes
the swinging doors open and makes a brave exit, turning to his
right and marching off outside the window at right of door.)

WETJOEN--Py Gott, if dot Limey can, I can!  (He pushes the door
open and lumbers through it like a bull charging an obstacle.  He
turns left and disappears off rear, outside the farthest window.)

HICKEY--(exhortingly)  Next?  Come on, Ed.  It's a fine summer's
day and the call of the old circus lot must be in your blood!
(Mosher glares at him, then goes to the door.  McGloin jumps up
from his chair and starts moving toward the door.  Hickey claps him
on the back as he passes.)  That's the stuff, Mac.

MOSHER--Good-bye, Harry.  (He goes out, turning right outside.)

McGLOIN--(glowering after him)  If that crooked grifter has the
guts--(He goes out, turning left outside.  Hickey glances at Willie
who, before he can speak, jumps from his chair.)

WILLIE--Good-bye, Harry, and thanks for all your kindness.

HICKEY--(claps him on the back)  That's the way, Willie!  The
D.A.'s a busy man.  He can't wait all day for you, you know.
(Willie hurries to the door.)

HOPE--(dully)  Good luck, Willie.  (Willie goes out and turns right
outside.  While he is doing so, Jimmy, in a sick panic, sneaks to
the bar and furtively reaches for Larry's glass of whiskey.)

HICKEY--And now it's your turn, Jimmy, old pal.  (He sees what
Jimmy is at and grabs his arm just as he is about to down the
drink.)  Now, now, Jimmy!  You can't do that to yourself.  One
drink on top of your hangover and an empty stomach and you'll be
oreyeyed.  Then you'll tell yourself you wouldn't stand a chance if
you went up soused to get your old job back.

JIMMY--(pleads objectly)  Tomorrow!  I will tomorrow!  I'll be in
good shape tomorrow!  (abruptly getting control of himself--with
shaken firmness)  All right.  I'm going.  Take your hands off me.

HICKEY--That's the ticket!  You'll thank me when it's all over.

JIMMY--(in a burst of futile fury)  You dirty swine!  (He tries to
throw the drink in Hickey's face, but his aim is poor and it lands
on Hickey's coat.  Jimmy turns and dashes through the door,
disappearing outside the window at right of door.)

HICKEY--(brushing the whiskey off his coat--humorously)  All set
for an alcohol rub!  But no hard feelings.  I know how he feels.  I
wrote the book.  I've seen the day when if anyone forced me to face
the truth about my pipe dreams, I'd have shot them dead.  (He turns
to Hope--encouragingly)  Well, Governor, Jimmy made the grade.
It's up to you.  If he's got the guts to go through with the test,
then certainly you--

LARRY--(bursts out)  Leave Harry alone, damn you!

HICKEY--(grins at him)  I'd make up my mind about myself if I was
you, Larry, and not bother over Harry.  He'll come through all
right.  I've promised him that.  He doesn't need anyone's bum pity.
Do you, Governor?

HOPE--(with a pathetic attempt at his old fuming assertiveness)
No, bejees!  Keep your nose out of this, Larry.  What's Hickey got
to do with it?  I've always been going to take this walk, ain't I?
Bejees, you bums want to keep me locked up in here 's if I was in
jail!  I've stood it long enough!  I'm free, white and twenty-one,
and I'll do as I damned please, bejees!  You keep your nose out,
too, Hickey!  You'd think you was boss of this dump, not me.  Sure,
I'm all right!  Why shouldn't I be?  What the hell's to be scared
of, just taking a stroll around my own ward?  (As he talks he has
been moving toward the door.  Now he reaches it.)  What's the
weather like outside, Rocky?

ROCKY--Fine day, Boss.

HOPE--What's that?  Can't hear you.  Don't look fine to me.  Looks
's if it'd pour down cats and dogs any minute.  My rheumatism--(He
catches himself.)  No, must be my eyes.  Half blind, bejees.  Makes
things look black.  I see now it's a fine day.  Too damned hot for
a walk, though, if you ask me.  Well, do me good to sweat the booze
out of me.  But I'll have to watch out for the damned automobiles.
Wasn't none of them around the last time, twenty years ago.  From
what I've seen of 'em through the window, they'd run over you as
soon as look at you.  Not that I'm scared of 'em.  I can take care
of myself.  (He puts a reluctant hand on the swinging door.)  Well,
so long--(He stops and looks back--with frightened irascibility)
Bejees, where are you, Hickey?  It's time we got started.

HICKEY--(grins and shakes his head)  No, Harry.  Can't be done.
You've got to keep a date with yourself alone.

HOPE--(with forced fuming)  Hell of a guy, you are!  Thought you'd
be willing to help me across the street, knowing I'm half blind.
Half deaf, too.  Can't bear those damned automobiles.  Hell with
you!  Bejees, I've never needed no one's help and I don't now!
(egging himself on)  I'll take a good long walk now I've started.
See all my old friends.  Bejees, they must have given me up for
dead.  Twenty years is a long time.  But they know it was grief
over Bessie's death that made me--(He puts his hand on the door.)
Well, the sooner I get started--(Then he drops his hand--with
sentimental melancholy)  You know, Hickey, that's what gets me.
Can't help thinking the last time I went out was to Bessie's
funeral.  After she'd gone, I didn't feel life was worth living.
Swore I'd never go out again.  (pathetically)  Somehow, I can't
feel it's right for me to go, Hickey, even now.  It's like I was
doing wrong to her memory.

HICKEY--Now, Governor, you can't let yourself get away with that
one any more!

HOPE--(cupping his hand to his ear)  What's that?  Can't hear you.
(sentimentally again but with desperation)  I remember now clear as
day the last time before she--It was a fine Sunday morning.  We
went out to church together.  (His voice breaks on a sob.)

HICKEY--(amused)  It's a great act, Governor.  But I know better,
and so do you.  You never did want to go to church or any place
else with her.  She was always on your neck, making you have
ambition and go out and do things, when all you wanted was to get
drunk in peace.

HOPE--(falteringly)  Can't hear a word you're saying.  You're a
God-damned liar, anyway!  (then in a sudden fury, his voice
trembling with hatred)  Bejees, you son of a bitch, if there was a
mad dog outside I'd go and shake hands with it rather than stay
here with you!  (The momentum of his fit of rage does it.  He
pushes the door open and strides blindly out into the street and as
blindly past the window behind the free-lunch counter.)

ROCKY--(in amazement)  Jees, he made it!  I'd a give yuh fifty to
one he'd never--(He goes to the end of the bar to look through the
window--disgustedly)  Aw, he's stopped.  I'll bet yuh he's comin'

HICKEY--Of course, he's coming back.  So are all the others.  By
tonight they'll all be here again.  You dumbbell, that's the whole

ROCKY--(excitedly)  No, he ain't neider!  He's gone to de coib.
He's lookin' up and down.  Scared stiff of automobiles.  Jees, dey
ain't more'n two an hour comes down dis street, de old boob!  (He
watches excitedly, as if it were a race he had a bet on, oblivious
to what happens in the bar.)

LARRY--(turns on Hickey with bitter defiance)  And now it's my
turn, I suppose?  What is it I'm to do to achieve this blessed
peace of yours?

HICKEY--(grins at him)  Why, we've discussed all that, Larry.  Just
stop lying to yourself--

LARRY--You think when I say I'm finished with life, and tired of
watching the stupid greed of the human circus, and I'll welcome
closing my eyes in the long sleep of death--you think that's a
coward's lie?

HICKEY--(chuckling)  Well, what do you think, Larry?

LARRY--(with increasing bitter intensity, more as if he were
fighting with himself than with Hickey)  I'm afraid to live, am I?--
and even more afraid to die!  So I sit here, with my pride drowned
on the bottom of a bottle, keeping drunk so I won't see myself
shaking in my britches with fright, or hear myself whining and
praying: Beloved Christ, let me live a little longer at any price!
If it's only for a few days more, or a few hours even, have mercy,
Almighty God, and let me still clutch greedily to my yellow heart
this sweet treasure, this jewel beyond price, the dirty, stinking
bit of withered old flesh which is my beautiful little life!  (He
laughs with a sneering, vindictive self-loathing, staring inward at
himself with contempt and hatred.  Then abruptly he makes Hickey
again the antagonist.)  You think you'll make me admit that to

HICKEY--(chuckling)  But you just did admit it, didn't you?

PARRITT--(lifts his head from his hands to glare at Larry--
jeeringly)  That's the stuff, Hickey!  Show the old yellow faker
up!  He can't play dead on me like this!  He's got to help me!

HICKEY--Yes, Larry, you've got to settle with him.  I'm leaving you
entirely in his hands.  He'll do as good a job as I could at making
you give up that old grandstand bluff.

LARRY--(angrily)  I'll see the two of you in hell first!

ROCKY--(calls excitedly from the end of the bar)  Jees, Harry's
startin' across de street!  He's goin' to fool yuh, Hickey, yuh
bastard!  (He pauses, watching--then worriedly)  What de hell's he
stoppin' for?  Right in de middle of de street!  Yuh'd tink he was
paralyzed or somethin'!  (disgustedly)  Aw, he's quittin'!  He's
turned back!  Jees, look at de old bastard travel!  Here he comes!
(Hope passes the window outside the free-lunch counter in a
shambling, panic-stricken run.  He comes lurching blindly through
the swinging doors and stumbles to the bar at Larry's right.)

HOPE--Bejees, give me a drink quick!  Scared me out of a year's
growth!  Bejees, that guy ought to be pinched!  Bejees, it ain't
safe to walk in the streets!  Bejees, that ends me!  Never again!
Give me that bottle!  (He slops a glass full and drains it and
pours another--to Rocky, who is regarding him with scorn--
appealingly)  You seen it, didn't you, Rocky?

ROCKY--Seen what?

HOPE--That automobile, you dumb Wop!  Feller driving it must be
drunk or crazy.  He'd run right over me if I hadn't jumped.
(ingratiatingly)  Come on, Larry, have a drink.  Everybody have a
drink.  Have a cigar, Rocky.  I know you hardly ever touch it.

ROCKY--(resentfully)  Well, dis is de time I do touch it!  (pouring
a drink)  I'm goin' to get stinko, see!  And if yuh don't like it,
yuh know what yuh can do!  I gotta good mind to chuck my job,
anyways.  (disgustedly)  Jees, Harry, I thought yuh had some guts!
I was bettin' yuh'd make it and show dat four-flusher up.  (He nods
at Hickey--then snorts)  Automobile, hell!  Who d'yuh tink yuh're
kiddin'?  Dey wasn' no automobile!  Yuh just quit cold!

HOPE--(feebly)  Guess I ought to know!  Bejees, it almost killed

HICKEY--(comes to the bar between him and Larry, and puts a hand on
his shoulder--kindly)  Now, now, Governor.  Don't be foolish.
You've faced the test and come through.  You're rid of all that
nagging dream stuff now.  You know you can't believe it any more.

HOPE--(appeals pleadingly to Larry)  Larry, you saw it, didn't you?
Drink up!  Have another!  Have all you want!  Bejees, we'll go on a
grand old souse together!  You saw that automobile, didn't you?

LARRY--(compassionately, avoiding his eyes)  Sure, I saw it, Harry.
You had a narrow escape.  Be God, I thought you were a goner!

HICKEY--(turns on him with a flash of sincere indignation)  What
the hell's the matter with you, Larry?  You know what I told you
about the wrong kind of pity.  Leave Harry alone!  You'd think I
was trying to harm him, the fool way you act!  My oldest friend!
What kind of a louse do you think I am?  There isn't anything I
wouldn't do for Harry, and he knows it!  All I've wanted to do is
fix it so he'll be finally at peace with himself for the rest of
his days!  And if you'll only wait until the final returns are in,
you'll find that's exactly what I've accomplished!  (He turns to
Hope and pats his shoulder--coaxingly)  Come now, Governor.  What's
the use of being stubborn, now when it's all over and dead?  Give
up that ghost automobile.

HOPE--(beginning to collapse within himself--dully)  Yes, what's
the use--now?  All a lie!  No automobile.  But, bejees, something
ran over me!  Must have been myself, I guess.  (He forces a feeble
smile--then wearily)  Guess I'll sit down.  Feel all in.  Like a
corpse, bejees.  (He picks a bottle and glass from the bar and
walks to the first table and slumps down in the chair, facing left-
front.  His shaking hand misjudges the distance and he sets the
bottle on the table with a jar that rouses Hugo, who lifts his head
from his arms and blinks at him through his thick spectacles.  Hope
speaks to him in a flat, dead voice.)  Hello, Hugo.  Coming up for
air?  Stay passed out, that's the right dope.  There ain't any cool
willow trees--except you grow your own in a bottle.  (He pours a
drink and gulps it down.)

HUGO--(with his silly giggle)  Hello, Harry, stupid proletarian
monkey-face!  I vill trink champagne beneath the villow--(with a
change to aristocratic fastidiousness)  But the slaves must ice it
properly!  (with guttural rage)  Gottamned Hickey!  Peddler pimp
for nouveau-riche capitalism!  Vhen I lead the jackass mob to the
sack of Babylon, I vill make them hang him to a lamppost the first

HOPE--(spiritlessly)  Good work.  I'll help pull on the rope.  Have
a drink, Hugo.

HUGO--(frightenedly)  No, thank you.  I am too trunk now.  I hear
myself say crazy things.  Do not listen, please.  Larry vill tell
you I haf never been so crazy trunk.  I must sleep it off.  (He
starts to put his head on his arms but stops and stares at Hope
with growing uneasiness.)  Vhat's matter, Harry?  You look funny.
You look dead.  Vhat's happened?  I don't know you.  Listen, I feel
I am dying, too.  Because I am so crazy trunk!  It is very
necessary I sleep.  But I can't sleep here vith you.  You look
dead.  (He scrambles to his feet in a confused panic, turns his
back on Hope and settles into the chair at the next table which
faces left.  He thrusts his head down on his arms like an ostrich
hiding its head in the sand.  He does not notice Parritt, nor
Parritt him.)

LARRY--(to Hickey with bitter condemnation)  Another one who's
begun to enjoy your peace!

HICKEY--Oh, I know it's tough on him right now, the same as it is
on Harry.  But that's only the first shock.  I promise you they'll
both come through all right.

LARRY--And you believe that!  I see you do!  You mad fool!

HICKEY--Of course, I believe it!  I tell you I know from my own

HOPE--(spiritlessly)  Close that big clam of yours, Hickey.
Bejees, you're a worse gabber than that nagging bitch, Bessie, was.
(He drinks his drink mechanically and pours another.)

ROCKY--(in amazement)  Jees, did yuh hear dat?

HOPE--(dully)  What's wrong with this booze?  There's no kick in

ROCKY--(worriedly)  Jees, Larry, Hugo had it right.  He does look
like he'd croaked.

HICKEY--(annoyed)  Don't be a damned fool!  Give him time.  He's
coming along all right.  (He calls to Hope with a first trace of
underlying uneasiness.)  You're all right, aren't you, Harry?

HOPE--(dully)  I want to pass out like Hugo.

LARRY--(turns to Hickey--with bitter anger)  It's the peace of
death you've brought him.

HICKEY--(for the first time loses his temper)  That's a lie!  (But
he controls this instantly and grins.)  Well, well, you did manage
to get a rise out of me that time.  I think such a hell of a lot of
Harry--(impatiently)  You know that's damned foolishness.  Look at
me.  I've been through it.  Do I look dead?  Just leave Harry alone
and wait until the shock wears off and you'll see.  He'll be a new
man.  Like I am.  (He calls to Hope coaxingly)  How's it coming,
Governor?  Beginning to feel free, aren't you?  Relieved and not
guilty any more?

HOPE--(grumbles spiritlessly)  Bejees, you must have been monkeying
with the booze, too, you interfering bastard!  There's no life in
it now.  I want to get drunk and pass out.  Let's all pass out.
Who the hell cares?

HICKEY--(lowering his voice--worriedly to Larry)  I admit I didn't
think he'd be hit so hard.  He's always been a happy-go-lucky slob.
Like I was.  Of course, it hit me hard, too.  But only for a
minute.  Then I felt as if a ton of guilt had been lifted off my
mind.  I saw what had happened was the only possible way for the
peace of all concerned.

LARRY--(sharply)  What was it happened?  Tell us that!  And don't
try to get out of it!  I want a straight answer!  (vindictively)  I
think it was something you drove someone else to do!

HICKEY--(puzzled)  Someone else?

LARRY--(accusingly)  What did your wife die of?  You've kept that a
deep secret, I notice--for some reason!

HICKEY--(reproachfully)  You're not very considerate, Larry.  But,
if you insist on knowing now, there's no reason you shouldn't.  It
was a bullet through the head that killed Evelyn.  (There is a
second's tense silence.)

HOPE--(dully)  Who the hell cares?  To hell with her and that
nagging old hag, Bessie.

ROCKY--Christ.  You had de right dope, Larry.

LARRY--(revengefully)  You drove your poor wife to suicide?  I knew
it!  Be God, I don't blame her!  I'd almost do as much myself to be
rid of you!  It's what you'd like to drive us all to--(Abruptly he
is ashamed of himself and pitying.)  I'm sorry, Hickey.  I'm a
rotten louse to throw that in your face.

HICKEY--(quietly)  Oh, that's all right, Larry.  But don't jump at
conclusions.  I didn't say poor Evelyn committed suicide.  It's the
last thing she'd ever have done, as long as I was alive for her to
take care of and forgive.  If you'd known her at all, you'd never
get such a crazy suspicion.  (He pauses--then slowly)  No, I'm
sorry to have to tell you my poor wife was killed.  (Larry stares
at him with growing horror and shrinks back along the bar away from
him.  Parritt jerks his head up from his hands and looks around
frightenedly, not at Hickey, but at Larry.  Rocky's round eyes are
popping.  Hope stares dully at the table top.  Hugo, his head
hidden in his arms, gives no sign of life.)

LARRY--(shakenly)  Then she--was murdered.

PARRITT--(springs to his feet--stammers defensively)  You're a
liar, Larry!  You must be crazy to say that to me!  You know she's
still alive!  (But no one pays any attention to him.)

ROCKY--(blurts out)  Moidered?  Who done it?

LARRY--(his eyes fixed with fascinated horror on Hickey--
frightenedly)  Don't ask questions, you dumb Wop!  It's none of our
damned business!  Leave Hickey alone!

HICKEY--(smiles at him with affectionate amusement)  Still the old
grandstand bluff, Larry?  Or is it some more bum pity?  (He turns
to Rocky--matter-of-factly)  The police don't know who killed her
yet, Rocky.  But I expect they will before very long.  (As if that
finished the subject, he comes forward to Hope and sits beside him,
with an arm around his shoulder--affectionately coaxing)  Coming
along fine now, aren't you, Governor?  Getting over the first
shock?  Beginning to feel free from guilt and lying hopes and at
peace with yourself?

HOPE--(with a dull callousness)  Somebody croaked your Evelyn, eh?
Bejees, my bets are on the iceman!  But who the hell cares?  Let's
get drunk and pass out.  (He tosses down his drink with a lifeless,
automatic movement--complainingly)  Bejees, what did you do to the
booze, Hickey?  There's no damned life left in it.

PARRITT--(stammers, his eyes on Larry, whose eyes in turn remain
fixed on Hickey)  Don't look like that, Larry!  You've got to
believe what I told you!  It had nothing to do with her!  It was
just to get a few lousy dollars!

HUGO--(suddenly raises his head from his arms and, looking straight
in front of him, pounds on the table frightenedly with his small
fists)  Don't be a fool!  Buy me a trink!  But no more vine!  It is
not properly iced!  (with guttural rage)  Gottamned stupid
proletarian slaves!  Buy me a trink or I vill have you shot!  (He
collapses into abject begging.)  Please, for Gott's sake!  I am not
trunk enough!  I cannot sleep!  Life is a crazy monkey-face!
Always there is blood beneath the villow trees!  I hate it and I am
afraid!  (He hides his face on his arms, sobbing muffledly.)
Please, I am crazy trunk!  I say crazy things!  For Gott's sake, do
not listen to me!  (But no one pays any attention to him.  Larry
stands shrunk back against the bar.  Rocky is leaning over it.
They stare at Hickey.  Parritt stands looking pleadingly at Larry.)

HICKEY--(gazes with worried kindliness at Hope)  You're beginning
to worry me, Governor.  Something's holding you up somewhere.  I
don't see why--You've faced the truth about yourself.  You've done
what you had to do to kill your nagging pipe dreams.  Oh, I know it
knocks you cold.  But only for a minute.  Then you see it was the
only possible way to peace.  And you feel happy.  Like I did.
That's what worries me about you, Governor.  It's time you began to
feel happy--



SCENE--Same as Act One--the back room with the curtain separating
it from the section of the barroom with its single table at right
of curtain, front.  It is around half past one in the morning of
the following day.

The tables in the back room have a new arrangement.  The one at
left, front, before the window to the yard, is in the same
position.  So is the one at the right, rear, of it in the second
row.  But this table now has only one chair.  This chair is at
right of it, facing directly front.  The two tables on either side
of the door at rear are unchanged.  But the table which was at
center, front, has been pushed toward right so that it and the
table at right, rear, of it in the second row, and the last table
at right in the front row, are now jammed so closely together that
they form one group.

Larry, Hugo and Parritt are at the table at left, front.  Larry is
at left of it, beside the window, facing front.  Hugo sits at rear,
facing front, his head on his arms in his habitual position, but he
is not asleep.  On Hugo's left is Parritt, his chair facing left,
front.  At right of table, an empty chair, facing left.  Larry's
chin is on his chest, his eyes fixed on the floor.  He will not
look at Parritt, who keeps staring at him with a sneering, pleading

Two bottles of whiskey are on each table, whiskey and chaser
glasses, a pitcher of water.

The one chair by the table at right, rear, of them is vacant.

At the first table at right of center, Cora sits at left, front, of
it, facing front.  Around the rear of this table are four empty
chairs.  Opposite Cora, in a sixth chair, is Captain Lewis, also
facing front.  On his left, McGloin is facing front in a chair
before the middle table of his group.  At right, rear, of him, also
at this table, General Wetjoen sits facing front.  In back of this
table are three empty chairs.

At right, rear, of Wetjoen, but beside the last table of the group,
sits Willie.  On Willie's left, at rear of table, is Hope.  On
Hope's left, at right, rear, of table, is Mosher.  Finally, at
right of table is Jimmy Tomorrow.  All of the four sit facing

There is an atmosphere of oppressive stagnation in the room, and a
quality of insensibility about all the people in this group at
right.  They are like wax figures, set stiffly on their chairs,
carrying out mechanically the motions of getting drunk but sunk in
a numb stupor which is impervious to stimulation.

In the bar section, Joe is sprawled in the chair at right of table,
facing left.  His head rolls forward in a sodden slumber.  Rocky is
standing behind his chair, regarding him with dull hostility.
Rocky's face is set in an expression of tired, callous toughness.
He looks now like a minor Wop gangster.

ROCKY--(shakes Joe by the shoulder)  Come on, yuh damned nigger!
Beat it in de back room!  It's after hours.  (But Joe remains
inert.  Rocky gives up.)  Aw, to hell wid it.  Let de dump get
pinched.  I'm through wid dis lousy job, anyway!  (He hears someone
at rear and calls)  Who's dat?  (Chuck appears from rear.  He has
been drinking heavily, but there is no lift to his jag; his manner
is grouchy and sullen.  He has evidently been brawling.  His
knuckles are raw and there is a mouse under one eye.  He has lost
his straw hat, his tie is awry, and his blue suit is dirty.  Rocky
eyes him indifferently.)  Been scrappin', huh?  Started off on your
periodical, ain't yuh?  (For a second there is a gleam of
satisfaction in his eyes.)

CHUCK--Yeah, ain't yuh glad?  (truculently)  What's it to yuh?

ROCKY--Not a damn ting.  But dis is someting to me.  I'm out on my
feet holdin' down your job.  Yuh said if I'd take your day, yuh'd
relieve me at six, and here it's half past one A.M.  Well, yuh're
takin' over now, get me, no matter how plastered yuh are!

CHUCK--Plastered, hell!  I wisht I was.  I've lapped up a gallon,
but it don't hit me right.  And to hell wid de job.  I'm goin' to
tell Harry I'm quittin'.

ROCKY--Yeah?  Well, I'm quittin', too.

CHUCK--I've played sucker for dat crummy blonde long enough,
lettin' her kid me into woikin'.  From now on I take it easy.

ROCKY--I'm glad yuh're gettin' some sense.

CHUCK--And I hope yuh're gettin' some.  What a prize sap you been,
tendin' bar when yuh got two good hustlers in your stable!

ROCKY--Yeah, but I ain't no sap now.  I'll loin dem, when dey get
back from Coney.  (sneeringly)  Jees, dat Cora sure played you for
a dope, feedin' yuh dat marriage-on-de-farm hop!

CHUCK--(dully)  Yeah.  Hickey got it right.  A lousy pipe dream.
It was her pulling sherry flips on me woke me up.  All de way
walkin' to de ferry, every ginmill we come to she'd drag me in to
blow her.  I got tinkin', Christ, what won't she want when she gets
de ring on her finger and I'm hooked?  So I tells her at de ferry,
"Kiddo, yuh can go to Joisey, or to hell, but count me out."

ROCKY--She says it was her told you to go to hell, because yuh'd
started hittin' de booze.

CHUCK--(ignoring this)  I got tinkin', too, Jees, won't I look
sweet wid a wife dat if yuh put all de guys she's stayed wid side
by side, dey'd reach to Chicago.  (He sighs gloomily.)  Dat kind of
dame, yuh can't trust 'em.  De minute your back is toined, dey're
cheatin' wid de iceman or someone.  Hickey done me a favor, makin'
me wake up.  (He pauses--then adds pathetically)  On'y it was fun,
kinda, me and Cora kiddin' ourselves--(Suddenly his face hardens
with hatred.)  Where is dat son of a bitch, Hickey?  I want one
good sock at day guy--just one!--and de next buttin' in he'll do
will be in de morgue!  I'll take a chance on goin' to de Chair--!

ROCKY--(starts--in a low warning voice)  Piano!  Keep away from
him, Chuck!  He ain't here now, anyway.  He went out to phone, he
said.  He wouldn't call from here.  I got a hunch he's beat it.
But if he does come back, yuh don't know him, if anyone asks yuh,
get me?  (As Chuck looks at him with dull surprise he lowers his
voice to a whisper.)  De Chair, maybe dat's where he's goin'.  I
don't know nuttin', see, but it looks like he croaked his wife.

CHUCK--(with a flash of interest)  Yuh mean she really was cheatin'
on him?  Den I don't blame de guy--

ROCKY--Who's blamin' him?  When a dame asks for it--But I don't
know nuttin' about it, see?

CHUCK--Is any of de gang wise?

ROCKY--Larry is.  And de boss ought to be.  I tried to wise de rest
of dem up to stay clear of him, but dey're all so licked, I don't
know if dey got it.  (He pauses--vindictively)  I don't give a damn
what he done to his wife, but if he gets de Hot Seat I won't go
into no mournin'!

CHUCK--Me, neider!

ROCKY--Not after his trowin' it in my face I'm a pimp.  What if I
am?  Why de hell not?  And what he's done to Harry.  Jees, de poor
old slob is so licked he can't even get drunk.  And all de gang.
Dey're all licked.  I couldn't help feelin' sorry for de poor bums
when dey showed up tonight, one by one, lookin' like pooches wid
deir tails between deir legs, dat everyone'd been kickin' till dey
was too punch-drunk to feel it no more.  Jimmy Tomorrow was de
last.  Schwartz, de copper, brung him in.  Seen him sittin' on de
dock on West Street, lookin' at de water and cryin'!  Schwartz
thought he was drunk and I let him tink it.  But he was cold sober.
He was tryin' to jump in and didn't have de noive, I figgered it.
Noive!  Jees, dere ain't enough guts left in de whole gang to
battle a mosquito!

CHUCK--Aw, to hell wid 'em!  Who cares?  Gimme a drink.  (Rocky
pushes the bottle toward him apathetically.)  I see you been
hittin' de redeye, too.

ROCKY--Yeah.  But it don't do no good.  I can't get drunk right.
(Chuck drinks.  Joe mumbles in his sleep.  Chuck regards him
resentfully.)  Dis doity dinge was able to get his snootful and
pass out.  Jees, even Hickey can't faze a nigger!  Yuh'd tink he
was fazed if yuh'd seen him come in.  Stinko, and he pulled a gat
and said he'd plug Hickey for insultin' him.  Den he dropped it and
begun to cry and said he wasn't a gamblin' man or a tough guy no
more; he was yellow.  He'd borrowed de gat to stick up someone, and
den didn't have de guts.  He got drunk panhandlin' drinks in nigger
joints, I s'pose.  I guess dey felt sorry for him.

CHUCK--He ain't got no business in de bar after hours.  Why don't
yuh chuck him out?

ROCKY--(apathetically)  Aw, to hell wid it.  Who cares?

CHUCK--(lapsing into the same mood)  Yeah.  I don't.

JOE--(suddenly lunges to his feet dazedly--mumbles in humbled
apology)  Scuse me, White Boys.  Scuse me for livin'.  I don't want
to be where I's not wanted.  (He makes his way swayingly to the
opening in the curtain at rear and tacks down to the middle table
of the three at right, front.  He feels his way around it to the
table at its left and gets to the chair in back of Captain Lewis.)

CHUCK--(gets up--in a callous, brutal tone)  My pig's in de back
room, ain't she?  I wanna collect de dough I wouldn't take dis
mornin', like a sucker, before she blows it.  (He goes rear.)

ROCKY--(getting up)  I'm comin', too.  I'm trough woikin'.  I ain't
no lousy bartender.  (Chuck comes through the curtain and looks for
Cora as Joe flops down in the chair in back of Captain Lewis.)

JOE--(taps Lewis on the shoulder--servilely apologetic)  If you
objects to my sittin' here, Captain, just tell me and I pulls my

LEWIS--No apology required, old chap.  Anybody could tell you I
should feel honored a bloody Kaffir would lower himself to sit
beside me.  (Joe stares at him with sodden perplexity--then closes
his eyes.  Chuck comes forward to take the chair behind Cora's, as
Rocky enters the back room and starts over toward Larry's table.)

CHUCK--(his voice hard)  I'm waitin', Baby.  Dig!

CORA--(with apathetic obedience)  Sure.  I been expectin' yuh.  I
got it all ready.  Here.  (She passes a small roll of bills she has
in her hand over her shoulder, without looking at him.  He takes
it, glances at it suspiciously, then shoves it in his pocket
without a word of acknowledgment.  Cora speaks with a tired wonder
at herself rather than resentment toward him.)  Jees, imagine me
kiddin' myself I wanted to marry a drunken pimp.

CHUCK--Dat's nuttin', Baby.  Imagine de sap I'da been, when I can
get your dough just as easy widout it!

ROCKY--(takes the chair on Parritt's left, facing Larry--dully)
Hello, Old Cemetery.  (Larry doesn't seem to hear.  To Parritt)
Hello, Tightwad.  You still around?

PARRITT--(keeps his eyes on Larry--in a jeeringly challenging tone)
Ask Larry!  He knows I'm here, all right, although he's pretending
not to!  He'd like to forget I'm alive!  He's trying to kid himself
with that grandstand philosopher stuff!  But he knows he can't get
away with it now!  He kept himself locked in his room until a while
ago, alone with a bottle of booze, but he couldn't make it work!
He couldn't even get drunk!  He had to come out!  There must have
been something there he was even more scared to face than he is
Hickey and me!  I guess he got looking at the fire escape and
thinking how handy it was, if he was really sick of life and only
had the nerve to die!  (He pauses sneeringly.  Larry's face has
tautened, but he pretends he doesn't hear.  Rocky pays no
attention.  His head has sunk forward, and he stares at the table
top, sunk in the same stupor as the other occupants of the room.
Parritt goes on, his tone becoming more insistent.)  He's been
thinking of me, too, Rocky.  Trying to figure a way to get out of
helping me!  He doesn't want to be bothered understanding.  But he
does understand all right!  He used to love her, too.  So he thinks
I ought to take a hop off the fire escape!  (He pauses.  Larry's
hands on the table have clinched into fists, as his nails dig into
his palms, but he remains silent.  Parritt breaks and starts
pleading.)  For God's sake, Larry, can't you say something?
Hickey's got me all balled up.  Thinking of what he must have done
has got me so I don't know any more what I did or why.  I can't go
on like this!  I've got to know what I ought to do--

LARRY--(in a stifled tone)  God damn you!  Are you trying to make
me your executioner?

PARRITT--(starts frightenedly)  Execution?  Then you do think--?

LARRY--I don't think anything!

PARRITT--(with forced jeering)  I suppose you think I ought to die
because I sold out a lot of loud-mouthed fakers, who were cheating
suckers with a phony pipe dream, and put them where they ought to
be, in jail?  (He forces a laugh.)  Don't make me laugh!  I ought
to get a medal!  What a damned old sap you are!  You must still
believe in the Movement!  (He nudges Rocky with his elbow.)
Hickey's right about him, isn't he, Rocky?  An old no-good drunken
tramp, as dumb as he is, ought to take a hop off the fire escape!

ROCKY--(dully)  Sure.  Why don't he?  Or you?  Or me?  What de
hell's de difference?  Who cares?  (There is a faint stir from all
the crowd, as if this sentiment struck a responsive chord in their
numbed minds.  They mumble almost in chorus as one voice, like
sleepers talking out of a dully irritating dream, "The hell with
it!"  "Who cares?"  Then the sodden silence descends again on the
room.  Rocky looks from Parritt to Larry puzzledly.  He mutters)
What am I doin' here wid youse two?  I remember I had someting on
my mind to tell yuh.  What--?  Oh, I got it now.  (He looks from
one to the other of their oblivious faces with a strange, sly,
calculating look--ingratiatingly)  I was tinking how you was bot'
reg'lar guys.  I tinks, ain't two guys like dem saps to be hangin'
round like a coupla stew bums and wastin' demselves.  Not dat I
blame yuh for not woikin'.  On'y suckers woik.  But dere's no
percentage in bein' broke when yuh can grab good jack for yourself
and make someone else woik for yuh, is dere?  I mean, like I do.
So I tinks, Dey're my pals and I ought to wise up two good guys
like dem to play my system, and not be lousy barflies, no good to
demselves or nobody else.  (He addresses Parritt now--persuasively)
What yuh tink, Parritt?  Ain't I right?  Sure, I am.  So don't be a
sucker, see?  Yuh ain't a bad-lookin' guy.  Yuh could easy make
some gal who's a good hustler, an' start a stable.  I'd help yuh
and wise yuh up to de inside dope on de game.  (He pauses
inquiringly.  Parritt gives no sign of having heard him.  Rocky
asks impatiently)  Well, what about it?  What if dey do call yuh a
pimp?  What de hell do you care--any more'n I do.

PARRITT--(without looking at him--vindictively)  I'm through with
whores.  I wish they were all in jail--or dead!

ROCKY--(ignores this--disappointedly)  So yuh won't touch it, huh?
Aw right, stay a bum!  (He turns to Larry.)  Jees, Larry, he's sure
one dumb boob, ain't he?  Dead from de neck up!  He don't know a
good ting when he sees it.  (oily, even persuasive again)  But how
about you, Larry?  You ain't dumb.  So why not, huh?  Sure, yuh're
old, but dat don't matter.  All de hustlers tink yuh're aces.  Dey
fall for yuh like yuh was deir uncle or old man or someting.  Dey'd
like takin' care of yuh.  And de cops 'round here, dey like yuh,
too.  It'd be a pipe for yuh, 'specially wid me to help yuh and
wise yuh up.  Yuh wouldn't have to worry where de next drink's
comin' from, or wear doity clothes.  (hopefully)  Well, don't it
look good to yuh?

LARRY--(glances at him--for a moment he is stirred to sardonic
pity)  No, it doesn't look good, Rocky.  I mean, the peace Hickey's
brought you.  It isn't contented enough, if you have to make
everyone else a pimp, too.

ROCKY--(stares at him stupidly--then pushes his chair back and gets
up, grumbling)  I'm a sap to waste time on yuh.  A stew bum is a
stew bum and yuh can't change him.  (He turns away--then turns back
for an afterthought.)  Like I was sayin' to Chuck, yuh better keep
away from Hickey.  If anyone asks yuh, yuh don't know nuttin', get
me?  Yuh never even hoid he had a wife.  (His face hardens.)  Jees,
we all ought to git drunk and stage a celebration when dat bastard
goes to de Chair.

LARRY--(vindictively)  Be God, I'll celebrate with you and drink
long life to him in hell!  (then guiltily and pityingly)  No!  The
poor mad devil--(then with angry self-contempt)  Ah, pity again!
The wrong kind!  He'll welcome the Chair!

PARRITT--(contemptuously)  Yes, what are you so damned scared of
death for?  I don't want your lousy pity.

ROCKY--Christ, I hope he don't come back, Larry.  We don't know
nuttin' now.  We're on'y guessin', see?  But if de bastard keeps on

LARRY--(grimly)  He'll come back.  He'll keep on talking.  He's got
to.  He's lost his confidence that the peace he's sold us is the
real McCoy, and it's made him uneasy about his own.  He'll have to
prove to us--(As he is speaking Hickey appears silently in the
doorway at rear.  He has lost his beaming salesman's grin.  His
manner is no longer self-assured.  His expression is uneasy,
baffled and resentful.  It has the stubborn set of an obsessed
determination.  His eyes are on Larry as he comes in.  As he
speaks, there is a start from all the crowd, a shrinking away from

HICKEY--(angrily)  That's a damned lie, Larry!  I haven't lost
confidence a damned bit!  Why should I?  (boastfully)  By God,
whenever I made up my mind to sell someone something I knew they
ought to want, I've sold 'em!  (He suddenly looks confused--
haltingly)  I mean--It isn't kind of you, Larry, to make that kind
of crack when I've been doing my best to help--

ROCKY--(moving away from him toward right--sharply)  Keep away from
me!  I don't know nuttin' about yuh, see?  (His tone is threatening
but his manner as he turns his back and ducks quickly across to the
bar entrance is that of one in flight.  In the bar he comes forward
and slumps in a chair at the table, facing front.)

HICKEY--(comes to the table at right, rear, of Larry's table and
sits in the one chair there, facing front.  He looks over the crowd
at right, hopefully and then disappointedly.  He speaks with a
strained attempt at his old affectionate jollying manner.)  Well,
well!  How are you coming along, everybody?  Sorry I had to leave
you for a while, but there was something I had to get finally
settled.  It's all fixed now.

HOPE--(in the voice of one reiterating mechanically a hopeless
complaint)  When are you going to do something about this booze,
Hickey?  Bejees, we all know you did something to take the life out
of it.  It's like drinking dishwater!  We can't pass out!  And you
promised us peace.  (His group all join in in a dull, complaining
chorus, "We can't pass out!  You promised us peace!")

HICKEY--(bursts into resentful exasperation)  For God's sake,
Harry, are you still harping on that damned nonsense!  You've kept
it up all afternoon and night!  And you've got everybody else
singing the same crazy tune!  I've had about all I can stand--
That's why I phoned--(He controls himself.)  Excuse me, boys and
girls.  I don't mean that.  I'm just worried about you, when you
play dead on me like this.  I was hoping by the time I got back
you'd be like you ought to be!  I thought you were deliberately
holding back, while I was around, because you didn't want to give
me the satisfaction of showing me I'd had the right dope.  And I
did have!  I know from my own experience.  (exasperatedly)  But
I've explained that a million times!  And you've all done what you
needed to do!  By rights you should be contented now, without a
single damned hope or lying dream left to torment you!  But here
you are, acting like a lot of stiffs cheating the undertaker!  (He
looks around accusingly.)  I can't figure it--unless it's just your
damned pigheaded stubbornness!  (He breaks--miserably)  Hell, you
oughtn't to act this way with me!  You're my old pals, the only
friends I've got.  You know the one thing I want is to see you all
happy before I go--(rousing himself to his old brisk, master-of-
ceremonies manner)  And there's damned little time left now.  I've
made a date for two o'clock.  We've got to get busy right away and
find out what's wrong.  (There is a sodden silence.  He goes on
exasperatedly.)  Can't you appreciate what you've got, for God's
sake?  Don't you know you're free now to be yourselves, without
having to feel remorse or guilt, or lie to yourselves about
reforming tomorrow?  Can't you see there is no tomorrow now?
You're rid of it forever!  You've killed it!  You don't have to
care a damn about anything any more!  You've finally got the game
of life licked, don't you see that?  (angrily exhorting)  Then why
the hell don't you get pie-eyed and celebrate?  Why don't you laugh
and sing "Sweet Adeline"?  (with bitterly hurt accusation)  The
only reason I can think of is, you're putting on this rotten half-
dead act just to get back at me!  Because you hate my guts!  (He
breaks again.)  God, don't do that, gang!  It makes me feel like
hell to think you hate me.  It makes me feel you suspect I must
have hated you.  But that's a lie!  Oh, I know I used to hate
everyone in the world who wasn't as rotten a bastard as I was!  But
that was when I was still living in hell--before I faced the truth
and saw the one possible way to free poor Evelyn and give her the
peace she'd always dreamed about.  (He pauses.  Everyone in the
group stirs with awakening dread and they all begin to grow tense
on their chairs.)

CHUCK.--(without looking at Hickey--with dull, resentful
viciousness)  Aw, put a bag over it!  To hell wid Evelyn!  What if
she was cheatin'?  And who cares what yuh did to her?  Dat's your
funeral.  We don't give a damn, see?  (There is a dull, resentful
chorus of assent, "We don't give a damn."  Chuck adds dully)  All
we want outa you is keep de hell away from us and give us a rest.
(a muttered chorus of assent)

HICKEY--(as if he hadn't heard this--an obsessed look on his face)
The one possible way to make up to her for all I'd made her go
through, and get her rid of me so I couldn't make her suffer any
more, and she wouldn't have to forgive me again!  I saw I couldn't
do it by killing myself, like I wanted to for a long time.  That
would have been the last straw for her.  She'd have died of a
broken heart to think I could do that to her.  She'd have blamed
herself for it, too.  Or I couldn't just run away from her.  She'd
have died of grief and humiliation if I'd done that to her.  She'd
have thought I'd stopped loving her.  (He adds with a strange
impressive simplicity)  You see, Evelyn loved me.  And I loved her.
That was the trouble.  It would have been easy to find a way out if
she hadn't loved me so much.  Or if I hadn't loved her.  But as it
was, there was only one possible way.  (He pauses--then adds
simply)  I had to kill her.  (There is a second's dead silence as
he finishes--then a tense indrawn breath like a gasp from the
crowd, and a general shrinking movement.)

LARRY--(bursts out)  You mad fool, can't you keep your mouth shut!
We may hate you for what you've done here this time, but we
remember the old times, too, when you brought kindness and laughter
with you instead of death!  We don't want to know things that will
make us help send you to the Chair!

PARRITT--(with angry scorn)  Ah, shut up, you yellow faker!  Can't
you face anything?  Wouldn't I deserve the Chair, too, if I'd--It's
worse if you kill someone and they have to go on living.  I'd be
glad of the Chair!  It'd wipe it out!  It'd square me with myself!

HICKEY--(disturbed--with a movement of repulsion)  I wish you'd get
rid of that bastard, Larry.  I can't have him pretending there's
something in common between him and me.  It's what's in your heart
that counts.  There was love in my heart, not hate.

PARRITT--(glares at him in angry terror)  You're a liar!  I don't
hate her!  I couldn't!  And it had nothing to do with her, anyway!
You ask Larry!

LARRY--(grabs his shoulder and shakes him furiously)  God damn you,
stop shoving your rotten soul in my lap!  (Parritt subsides, hiding
his face in his hands and shuddering.)

HICKEY--(goes on quietly now)  Don't worry about the Chair, Larry.
I know it's still hard for you not to be terrified by death, but
when you've made peace with yourself, like I have, you won't give a
damn.  (He addresses the group at right again--earnestly)  Listen,
everybody.  I've made up my mind the only way I can clear things up
for you, so you'll realize how contented and carefree you ought to
feel, now I've made you get rid of your pipe dreams, is to show you
what a pipe dream did to me and Evelyn.  I'm certain if I tell you
about it from the beginning, you'll appreciate what I've done for
you and why I did it, and how damned grateful you ought to be--
instead of hating me.  (He begins eagerly in a strange running
narrative manner.)  You see, even when we were kids, Evelyn and me--

HOPE--(bursts out, pounding with his glass on the table)  No!  Who
the hell cares?  We don't want to hear it.  All we want is to pass
out and get drunk and a little peace!  (They are all, except Larry
and Parritt, seized by the same fit and pound with their glasses,
even Hugo, and Rocky in the bar, and shout in chorus, "Who the hell
cares?  We want to pass out!")

HICKEY--(with an expression of wounded hurt)  All right, if that's
the way you feel.  I don't want to cram it down your throats.  I
don't need to tell anyone.  I don't feel guilty.  I'm only worried
about you.

HOPE--What did you do to this booze?  That's what we'd like to
hear.  Bejees, you done something.  There's no life or kick in it
now.  (He appeals mechanically to Jimmy Tomorrow.)  Ain't that
right, Jimmy?

JIMMY--(More than any of them, his face has a wax-figure blankness
that makes it look embalmed.  He answers in a precise, completely
lifeless voice, but his reply is not to Harry's question, and he
does not look at him or anyone else.)  Yes.  Quite right.  It was
all a stupid lie--my nonsense about tomorrow.  Naturally, they
would never give me my position back.  I would never dream of
asking them.  It would be hopeless.  I didn't resign.  I was fired
for drunkenness.  And that was years ago.  I'm much worse now.  And
it was absurd of me to excuse my drunkenness by pretending it was
my wife's adultery that ruined my life.  As Hickey guessed, I was a
drunkard before that.  Long before.  I discovered early in life
that living frightened me when I was sober.  I have forgotten why I
married Marjorie.  I can't even remember now if she was pretty.
She was a blonde, I think, but I couldn't swear to it.  I had some
idea of wanting a home, perhaps.  But, of course, I much preferred
the nearest pub.  Why Marjorie married me, God knows.  It's
impossible to believe she loved me.  She soon found I much
preferred drinking all night with my pals to being in bed with her.
So, naturally, she was unfaithful.  I didn't blame her.  I really
didn't care.  I was glad to be free--even grateful to her, I think,
for giving me such a good tragic excuse to drink as much as I
damned well pleased.  (He stops like a mechanical doll that has run
down.  No one gives any sign of having heard him.  There is a heavy
silence.  Then Rocky, at the table in the bar, turns grouchily as
he hears a noise behind him.  Two men come quietly forward.  One,
Moran, is middle-aged.  The other, Lieb, is in his twenties.  They
look ordinary in every way, without anything distinctive to
indicate what they do for a living.)

ROCKY--(grumpily)  In de back room if yuh wanta drink.  (Moran
makes a peremptory sign to be quiet.  All of a sudden Rocky senses
they are detectives and springs up to face them, his expression
freezing into a wary blankness.  Moran pulls back his coat to show
his badge.)

MORAN--(in a low voice)  Guy named Hickman in the back room?

ROCKY--Tink I know de names of all de guys--?

MORAN--Listen, you!  This is murder.  And don't be a sap.  It was
Hickman himself phoned in and said we'd find him here around two.

ROCKY--(dully)  So dat's who he phoned to.  (He shrugs his
shoulders.)  Aw right, if he asked for it.  He's de fat guy sittin'
alone.  (He slumps down in his chair again.)  And if yuh want a
confession all yuh got to do is listen.  He'll be tellin' all about
it soon.  Yuh can't stop de bastard talkin'.  (Moran gives him a
curious look, then whispers to Lieb, who disappears rear and a
moment later appears in the hall doorway of the back room.  He
spots Hickey and slides into a chair at the left of the doorway,
cutting off escape by the hall.  Moran goes back and stands in the
opening in the curtain leading to the back room.  He sees Hickey
and stands watching him and listening.)

HICKEY--(suddenly bursts out)  I've got to tell you!  Your being
the way you are now gets my goat!  It's all wrong!  It puts things
in my mind--about myself.  It makes me think, if I got balled up
about you, how do I know I wasn't balled up about myself?  And
that's plain damned foolishness.  When you know the story of me and
Evelyn, you'll see there wasn't any other possible way out of it,
for her sake.  Only I've got to start way back at the beginning or
you won't understand.  (He starts his story, his tone again
becoming musingly reminiscent.)  You see, even as a kid I was
always restless.  I had to keep on the go.  You've heard the old
saying, "Ministers' sons are sons of guns."  Well, that was me, and
then some.  Home was like a jail.  I didn't fall for the religious
bunk.  Listening to my old man whooping up hell fire and scaring
those Hoosier suckers into shelling out their dough only handed me
a laugh, although I had to hand it to him, the way he sold them
nothing for something.  I guess I take after him, and that's what
made me a good salesman.  Well, anyway, as I said, home was like
jail, and so was school, and so was that damned hick town.  The
only place I liked was the pool rooms, where I could smoke Sweet
Caporals, and mop up a couple of beers, thinking I was a hell-on-
wheels sport.  We had one hooker shop in town, and, of course, I
liked that, too.  Not that I hardly ever had entrance money.  My
old man was a tight old bastard.  But I liked to sit around in the
parlor and joke with the girls, and they liked me because I could
kid 'em along and make 'em laugh.  Well, you know what a small town
is.  Everyone got wise to me.  They all said I was a no-good tramp.
I didn't give a damn what they said.  I hated everybody in the
place.  That is, except Evelyn.  I loved Evelyn.  Even as a kid.
And Evelyn loved me.  (He pauses.  No one moves or gives any sign
except by the dread in their eyes that they have heard him.  Except
Parritt, who takes his hands from his face to look at Larry

PARRITT--I loved Mother, Larry!  No matter what she did!  I still
do!  Even though I know she wishes now I was dead!  You believe
that, don't you?  Christ, why can't you say something?

HICKEY--(too absorbed in his story now to notice this--goes on in a
tone of fond, sentimental reminiscence)  Yes, sir, as far back as I
can remember, Evelyn and I loved each other.  She always stuck up
for me.  She wouldn't believe the gossip--or she'd pretend she
didn't.  No one could convince her I was no good.  Evelyn was
stubborn as all hell once she'd made up her mind.  Even when I'd
admit things and ask her forgiveness, she'd make excuses for me and
defend me against myself.  She'd kiss me and say she knew I didn't
mean it and I wouldn't do it again.  So I'd promise I wouldn't.
I'd have to promise, she was so sweet and good, though I knew
darned well--(A touch of strange bitterness comes into his voice
for a moment.)  No, sir, you couldn't stop Evelyn.  Nothing on
earth could shake her faith in me.  Even I couldn't.  She was a
sucker for a pipe dream.  (then quickly)  Well, naturally, her
family forbid her seeing me.  They were one of the town's best,
rich for that hick burg, owned the trolley line and lumber company.
Strict Methodists, too.  They hated my guts.  But they couldn't
stop Evelyn.  She'd sneak notes to me and meet me on the sly.  I
was getting more restless.  The town was getting more like a jail.
I made up my mind to beat it.  I knew exactly what I wanted to be
by that time.  I'd met a lot of drummers around the hotel and liked
'em.  They were always telling jokes.  They were sports.  They kept
moving.  I liked their life.  And I knew I could kid people and
sell things.  The hitch was how to get the railroad fare to the Big
Town.  I told Mollie Arlington my trouble.  She was the madame of
the cathouse.  She liked me.  She laughed and said, "Hell, I'll
stake you, Kid!  I'll bet on you.  With that grin of yours and that
line of bull, you ought to be able to sell skunks for good
ratters!"  (He chuckles.)  Mollie was all right.  She gave me
confidence in myself.  I paid her back, the first money I earned.
Wrote her a kidding letter, I remember, saying I was peddling baby
carriages and she and the girls had better take advantage of our
bargain offer.  (He chuckles.)  But that's ahead of my story.  The
night before I left town, I had a date with Evelyn.  I got all
worked up, she was so pretty and sweet and good.  I told her
straight, "You better forget me, Evelyn, for your own sake.  I'm no
good and never will be.  I'm not worthy to wipe your shoes."  I
broke down and cried.  She just said, looking white and scared,
"Why, Teddy?  Don't you still love me?"  I said, "Love you?  God,
Evelyn, I love you more than anything in the world.  And I always
will!"  She said, "Then nothing else matters, Teddy, because
nothing but death could stop my loving you.  So I'll wait, and when
you're ready you send for me and we'll be married.  I know I can
make you happy, Teddy, and once you're happy you won't want to do
any of the bad things you've done any more."  And I said, "Of
course, I won't, Evelyn!"  I meant it, too.  I believed it.  I
loved her so much she could make me believe anything.  (He sighs.
There is a suspended, waiting silence.  Even the two detectives are
drawn into it.  Then Hope breaks into dully exasperated, brutally
callous protest.)

HOPE--Get it over, you long-winded bastard!  You married her, and
you caught her cheating with the iceman, and you croaked her, and
who the hell cares?  What's she to us?  All we want is to pass out
in peace, bejees!  (A chorus of dull, resentful protest from all
the group.  They mumble, like sleepers who curse a person who keeps
awakening them, "What's it to us?  We want to pass out in peace!"
Hope drinks and they mechanically follow his example.  He pours
another and they do the same.  He complains with a stupid, nagging
insistence)  No life in the booze!  No kick!  Dishwater.  Bejees,
I'll never pass out!

HICKEY--(goes on as if there had been no interruption)  So I beat
it to the Big Town.  I got a job easy, and it was a cinch for me to
make good.  I had the knack.  It was like a game, sizing people up
quick, spotting what their pet pipe dreams were, and then kidding
'em along that line, pretending you believed what they wanted to
believe about themselves.  Then they liked you, they trusted you,
they wanted to buy something to show their gratitude.  It was fun.
But still, all the while I felt guilty, as if I had no right to be
having such a good time away from Evelyn.  In each letter I'd tell
her how I missed her, but I'd keep warning her, too.  I'd tell her
all my faults, how I liked my booze every once in a while, and so
on.  But there was no shaking Evelyn's belief in me, or her dreams
about the future.  After each letter of hers, I'd be as full of
faith as she was.  So as soon as I got enough saved to start us
off, I sent for her and we got married.  Christ, wasn't I happy for
a while!  And wasn't she happy!  I don't care what anyone says,
I'll bet there never was two people who loved each other more than
me and Evelyn.  Not only then but always after, in spite of
everything I did--(He pauses--then sadly)  Well, it's all there, at
the start, everything that happened afterwards.  I never could
learn to handle temptation.  I'd want to reform and mean it.  I'd
promise Evelyn, and I'd promise myself, and I'd believe it.  I'd
tell her, it's the last time.  And she'd say, "I know it's the last
time, Teddy.  You'll never do it again."  That's what made it so
hard.  That's what made me feel such a rotten skunk--her always
forgiving me.  My playing around with women, for instance.  It was
only a harmless good time to me.  Didn't mean anything.  But I'd
know what it meant to Evelyn.  So I'd say to myself, never again.
But you know how it is, traveling around.  The damned hotel rooms.
I'd get seeing things in the wall paper.  I'd get bored as hell.
Lonely and homesick.  But at the same time sick of home.  I'd feel
free and I'd want to celebrate a little.  I never drank on the job,
so it had to be dames.  Any tart.  What I'd want was some tramp I
could be myself with without being ashamed--someone I could tell a
dirty joke to and she'd laugh.

CORA--(with a dull, weary bitterness)  Jees, all de lousy jokes
I've had to listen to and pretend was funny!

HICKEY--(goes on obliviously)  Sometimes I'd try some joke I
thought was a corker on Evelyn.  She'd always make herself laugh.
But I could tell she thought it was dirty, not funny.  And Evelyn
always knew about the tarts I'd been with when I came home from a
trip.  She'd kiss me and look in my eyes, and she'd know.  I'd see
in her eyes how she was trying not to know, and then telling
herself even if it was true, he couldn't help it, they tempt him,
and he's lonely, he hasn't got me, it's only his body, anyway, he
doesn't love them, I'm the only one he loves.  She was right, too.
I never loved anyone else.  Couldn't if I wanted to.  (He pauses.)
She forgave me even when it all had to come out in the open.  You
know how it is when you keep taking chances.  You may be lucky for
a long time, but you get nicked in the end.  I picked up a nail
from some tart in Altoona.

CORA--(dully, without resentment)  Yeah.  And she picked it up from
some guy.  It's all in de game.  What de hell of it?

HICKEY--I had to do a lot of lying and stalling when I got home.
It didn't do any good.  The quack I went to got all my dough and
then told me I was cured and I took his word.  But I wasn't, and
poor Evelyn--But she did her best to make me believe she fell for
my lie about how traveling men get things from drinking cups on
trains.  Anyway, she forgave me.  The same way she forgave me every
time I'd turn up after a periodical drunk.  You all know what I'd
be like at the end of one.  You've seen me.  Like something lying
in the gutter that no alley cat would lower itself to drag in--
something they threw out of the D.T. ward in Bellevue along with
the garbage, something that ought to be dead and isn't!  (His face
is convulsed with self-loathing.)  Evelyn wouldn't have heard from
me in a month or more.  She'd have been waiting there alone, with
the neighbors shaking their heads and feeling sorry for her out
loud.  That was before she got me to move to the outskirts, where
there weren't any next-door neighbors.  And then the door would
open and in I'd stumble--looking like what I've said--into her
home, where she kept everything so spotless and clean.  And I'd
sworn it would never happen again, and now I'd have to start
swearing again this was the last time.  I could see disgust having
a battle in her eyes with love.  Love always won.  She'd make
herself kiss me, as if nothing had happened, as if I'd just come
home from a business trip.  She'd never complain or bawl me out.
(He bursts out in a tone of anguish that has anger and hatred
beneath it)  Christ, can you imagine what a guilty skunk she made
me feel!  If she'd only admitted once she didn't believe any more
in her pipe dream that some day I'd behave!  But she never would.
Evelyn was stubborn as hell.  Once she'd set her heart on anything,
you couldn't shake her faith that it had to come true--tomorrow!
It was the same old story, over and over, for years and years.  It
kept piling up, inside her and inside me.  God, can you picture all
I made her suffer, and all the guilt she made me feel, and how I
hated myself!  If she only hadn't been so damned good--if she'd
been the same kind of wife I was a husband.  God, I used to pray
sometimes she'd--I'd even say to her, "Go on, why don't you,
Evelyn?  It'd serve me right.  I wouldn't mind.  I'd forgive you."
Of course, I'd pretend I was kidding--the same way I used to joke
here about her being in the hay with the iceman.  She'd have been
so hurt if I'd said it seriously.  She'd have thought I'd stopped
loving her.  (He pauses--then looking around at them)  I suppose
you think I'm a liar, that no woman could have stood all she stood
and still loved me so much--that it isn't human for any woman to be
so pitying and forgiving.  Well, I'm not lying, and if you'd ever
seen her, you'd realize I wasn't.  It was written all over her
face, sweetness and love and pity and forgiveness.  (He reaches
mechanically for the inside pocket of his coat.)  Wait!  I'll show
you.  I always carry her picture.  (Suddenly he looks startled.  He
stares before him, his hand falling back--quietly)  No, I'm
forgetting I tore it up--afterwards.  I didn't need it any more.
(He pauses.  The silence is like that in the room of a dying man
where people hold their breath, waiting for him to die.)

CORA--(with a muffled sob)  Jees, Hickey!  Jees!  (She shivers and
puts her hands over her face.)

PARRITT--(to Larry in a low insistent tone)  I burnt up Mother's
picture, Larry.  Her eyes followed me all the time.  They seemed to
be wishing I was dead!

HICKEY--It kept piling up, like I've said.  I got so I thought of
it all the time.  I hated myself more and more, thinking of all the
wrong I'd done to the sweetest woman in the world who loved me so
much.  I got so I'd curse myself for a lousy bastard every time I
saw myself in the mirror.  I felt such pity for her it drove me
crazy.  You wouldn't believe a guy like me, that's knocked around
so much, could feel such pity.  It got so every night I'd wind up
hiding my face in her lap, bawling and begging her forgiveness.
And, of course, she'd always comfort me and say, "Never mind,
Teddy, I know you won't ever again."  Christ, I loved her so, but I
began to hate that pipe dream!  I began to be afraid I was going
bughouse, because sometimes I couldn't forgive her for forgiving
me.  I even caught myself hating her for making me hate myself so
much.  There's a limit to the guilt you can feel and the
forgiveness and the pity you can take!  You have to begin blaming
someone else, too.  I got so sometimes when she'd kiss me it was
like she did it on purpose to humiliate me, as if she'd spit in my
face!  But all the time I saw how crazy and rotten of me that was,
and it made me hate myself all the more.  You'd never believe I
could hate so much, a good-natured, happy-go-lucky slob like me.
And as the time got nearer to when I was due to come here for my
drunk around Harry's birthday, I got nearly crazy.  I kept swearing
to her every night that this time I really wouldn't, until I'd made
it a real final test to myself--and to her.  And she kept
encouraging me and saying, "I can see you really mean it now,
Teddy.  I know you'll conquer it this time, and we'll be so happy,
dear."  When she'd say that and kiss me, I'd believe it, too.  Then
she'd go to bed, and I'd stay up alone because I couldn't sleep and
I didn't want to disturb her, tossing and rolling around.  I'd get
so damned lonely.  I'd get thinking how peaceful it was here,
sitting around with the old gang, getting drunk and forgetting
love, joking and laughing and singing and swapping lies.  And
finally I knew I'd have to come.  And I knew if I came this time,
it was the finish.  I'd never have the guts to go back and be
forgiven again, and that would break Evelyn's heart because to her
it would mean I didn't love her any more.  (He pauses.)  That last
night I'd driven myself crazy trying to figure some way out for
her.  I went in the bedroom.  I was going to tell her it was the
end.  But I couldn't do that to her.  She was sound asleep.  I
thought, God, if she'd only never wake up, she'd never know!  And
then it came to me--the only possible way out, for her sake.  I
remembered I'd given her a gun for protection while I was away and
it was in the bureau drawer.  She'd never feel any pain, never wake
up from her dream.  So I--

HOPE--(tries to ward this off by pounding with his glass on the
table--with brutal, callous exasperation)  Give us a rest, for the
love of Christ!  Who the hell cares?  We want to pass out in peace!
(They all, except Parritt and Larry, pound with their glasses and
grumble in chorus:  "Who the hell cares?  We want to pass out in
peace!"  Moran, the detective, moves quietly from the entrance in
the curtain across the back of the room to the table where his
companion, Lieb, is sitting.  Rocky notices his leaving and gets up
from the table in the rear and goes back to stand and watch in the
entrance.  Moran exchanges a glance with Lieb, motioning him to get
up.  The latter does so.  No one notices them.  The clamor of
banging glasses dies out as abruptly as it started.  Hickey hasn't
appeared to hear it.)

HICKEY--(simply)  So I killed her.  (There is a moment of dead
silence.  Even the detectives are caught in it and stand

PARRITT--(suddenly gives up and relaxes limply in his chair--in a
low voice in which there is a strange exhausted relief)  I may as
well confess, Larry.  There's no use lying any more.  You know,
anyway.  I didn't give a damn about the money.  It was because I
hated her.

HICKEY--(obliviously)  And then I saw I'd always known that was the
only possible way to give her peace and free her from the misery of
loving me.  I saw it meant peace for me, too, knowing she was at
peace.  I felt as though a ton of guilt was lifted off my mind.
I remember I stood by the bed and suddenly I had to laugh.  I
couldn't help it, and I knew Evelyn would forgive me.  I remember
I heard myself speaking to her, as if it was something I'd always
wanted to say:  "Well, you know what you can do with your pipe
dream now, you damned bitch!"  (He stops with a horrified start, as
if shocked out of a nightmare, as if he couldn't believe he heard
what he had just said.  He stammers)  No!  I never--!

PARRITT--(to Larry--sneeringly)  Yes, that's it!  Her and the
damned old Movement pipe dream!  Eh, Larry?

HICKEY--(bursts into frantic denial)  No!  That's a lie!  I never
said--!  Good God, I couldn't have said that!  If I did, I'd gone
insane!  Why, I loved Evelyn better than anything in life!  (He
appeals brokenly to the crowd.)  Boys, you're all my old pals!
You've known old Hickey for years!  You know I'd never--(His eyes
fix on Hope.)  You've known me longer than anyone, Harry.  You know
I must have been insane, don't you, Governor?

HOPE--(at first with the same defensive callousness--without
looking at him)  Who the hell cares?  (Then suddenly he looks at
Hickey and there is an extraordinary change in his expression.  His
face lights up, as if he were grasping at some dawning hope in his
mind.  He speaks with a groping eagerness.)  Insane?  You mean--you
went really insane?  (At the tone of his voice, all the group at
the tables by him start and stare at him as if they caught his
thought.  Then they all look at Hickey eagerly, too.)

HICKEY--Yes!  Or I couldn't have laughed!  I couldn't have said
that to her!  (Moran walks up behind him on one side, while the
second detective, Lieb, closes in on him from the other.)

MORAN--(taps Hickey on the shoulder)  That's enough, Hickman.  You
know who we are.  You're under arrest.  (He nods to Lieb, who slips
a pair of handcuffs on Hickey's wrists.  Hickey stares at them with
stupid incomprehension.  Moran takes his arm.)  Come along and
spill your guts where we can get it on paper.

HICKEY--No, wait, Officer!  You owe me a break!  I phoned and made
it easy for you, didn't I?  Just a few minutes!  (to Hope--
pleadingly)  You know I couldn't say that to Evelyn, don't you,

HOPE--(eagerly)  And you've been crazy ever since?  Everything
you've said and done here--

HICKEY--(for a moment forgets his own obsession and his face takes
on its familiar expression of affectionate amusement and he
chuckles.)  Now, Governor!  Up to your old tricks, eh?  I see what
you're driving at, but I can't let you get away with--(Then, as
Hope's expression turns to resentful callousness again and he looks
away, he adds hastily with pleading desperation)  Yes, Harry, of
course, I've been out of my mind ever since!  All the time I've
been here!  You saw I was insane, didn't you?

MORAN--(with cynical disgust)  Can it!  I've had enough of your
act.  Save it for the jury.  (addressing the crowd, sharply)
Listen, you guys.  Don't fall for his lies.  He's starting to get
foxy now and thinks he'll plead insanity.  But he can't get away
with it.  (The crowd at the grouped tables are grasping at hope
now.  They glare at him resentfully.)

HOPE--(begins to bristle in his old-time manner)  Bejees, you dumb
dick, you've got a crust trying to tell us about Hickey!  We've
known him for years, and every one of us noticed he was nutty the
minute he showed up here!  Bejees, if you'd heard all the crazy
bull he was pulling about bringing us peace--like a bughouse
preacher escaped from an asylum!  If you'd seen all the damned-fool
things he made us do!  We only did them because--(He hesitates--
then defiantly)  Because we hoped he'd come out of it if we kidded
him along and humored him.  (He looks around at the others.)  Ain't
that right, fellers?  (They burst into a chorus of eager assent:
"Yes, Harry!"  "That's it, Harry!"  "That's why!"  "We knew he was
crazy!"  "Just to humor him!")

MORAN--A fine bunch of rats!  Covering up for a dirty, cold-blooded

HOPE--(stung into recovering all his old fuming truculence)  Is
that so?  Bejees, you know the old story, when Saint Patrick drove
the snakes out of Ireland they swam to New York and joined the
police force!  Ha!  (He cackles insultingly.)  Bejees, we can
believe it now when we look at you, can't we, fellers?  (They all
growl assent, glowering defiantly at Moran.  Moran glares at them,
looking as if he'd like to forget his prisoner and start cleaning
out the place.  Hope goes on pugnaciously.)  You stand up for your
rights, bejees, Hickey!  Don't let this smart-aleck dick get funny
with you.  If he pulls any rubber-hose tricks, you let me know!
I've still got friends at the Hall!  Bejees, I'll have him back in
uniform pounding a beat where the only graft he'll get will be
stealing tin cans from the goats!

MORAN--(furiously)  Listen, you cockeyed old bum, for a plugged
nickel I'd--(controlling himself, turns to Hickey, who is oblivious
to all this, and yanks his arm)  Come on, you!

HICKEY--(with a strange mad earnestness)  Oh, I want to go,
Officer.  I can hardly wait now.  I should have phoned you from the
house right afterwards.  It was a waste of time coming here.  I've
got to explain to Evelyn.  But I know she's forgiven me.  She knows
I was insane.  You've got me all wrong, Officer.  I want to go to
the Chair.


HICKEY--(exasperatedly)  God, you're a dumb dick!  Do you suppose I
give a damn about life now?  Why, you bone-head, I haven't got a
single damned lying hope or pipe dream left!

MORAN--(jerks him around to face the door to the hall)  Get a move

HICKEY--(as they start walking toward rear--insistently)  All I
want you to see is I was out of my mind afterwards, when I laughed
at her!  I was a raving rotten lunatic or I couldn't have said--
Why, Evelyn was the only thing on God's earth I ever loved!  I'd
have killed myself before I'd ever have hurt her!  (They disappear
in the hall.  Hickey's voice keeps on protesting.  )

HOPE--(calls after him)  Don't worry, Hickey!  They can't give you
the Chair!  We'll testify you was crazy!  Won't we, fellers?  (They
all assent.  Two or three echo Hope's "Don't worry, Hickey."  Then
from the hall comes the slam of the street door.  Hope's face
falls--with genuine sorrow)  He's gone.  Poor crazy son of a bitch!
(All the group around him are sad and sympathetic, too.  Hope
reaches for his drink.)  Bejees, I need a drink.  (They grab their
glasses.  Hope says hopefully)  Bejees, maybe it'll have the old
kick, now he's gone.  (He drinks and they follow suit.)

ROCKY--(comes forward from where he has stood in the bar entrance--
hopefully)  Yeah, Boss, maybe we can get drunk now.  (He sits in
the chair by Chuck and pours a drink and tosses it down.  Then they
all sit still, waiting for the effect, as if this drink were a
crucial test, so absorbed in hopeful expectancy that they remain
oblivious to what happens at Larry's table.)

LARRY--(his eyes full of pain and pity--in a whisper, aloud to
himself)  May the Chair bring him peace at last, the poor tortured

PARRITT--(leans toward him--in a strange low insistent voice)  Yes,
but he isn't the only one who needs peace, Larry.  I can't feel
sorry for him.  He's lucky.  He's through, now.  It's all decided
for him.  I wish it was decided for me.  I've never been any good
at deciding things.  Even about selling out, it was the tart the
detective agency got after me who put it in my mind.  You remember
what Mother's like, Larry.  She makes all the decisions.  She's
always decided what I must do.  She doesn't like anyone to be free
but herself.  (He pauses, as if waiting for comment, but Larry
ignores him.)  I suppose you think I ought to have made those dicks
take me away with Hickey.  But how could I prove it, Larry?  They'd
think I was nutty.  Because she's still alive.  You're the only one
who can understand how guilty I am.  Because you know her and what
I've done to her.  You know I'm really much guiltier than he is.
You know what I did is a much worse murder.  Because she is dead
and yet she has to live.  For a while.  But she can't live long in
jail.  She loves freedom too much.  And I can't kid myself like
Hickey, that she's at peace.  As long as she lives, she'll never be
able to forget what I've done to her even in her sleep.  She'll
never have a second's peace.  (He pauses--then bursts out)  Jesus,
Larry, can't you say something?  (Larry is at the breaking point.
Parritt goes on.)  And I'm not putting up any bluff, either, that I
was crazy afterwards when I laughed to myself and thought, "You
know what you can do with your freedom pipe dream now, don't you,
you damned old bitch!"

LARRY--(snaps and turns on him, his face convulsed with
detestation.  His quivering voice has a condemning command in it.)
Go!  Get the hell out of life, God damn you, before I choke it out
of you!  Go up--!

PARRITT--(His manner is at once transformed.  He seems suddenly at
peace with himself.  He speaks simply and gratefully.)  Thanks,
Larry.  I just wanted to be sure.  I can see now it's the only
possible way I can ever get free from her.  I guess I've really
known that all my life.  (He pauses--then with a derisive smile)
It ought to comfort Mother a little, too.  It'll give her the
chance to play the great incorruptible Mother of the Revolution,
whose only child is the Proletariat.  She'll be able to say:
"Justice is done!  So may all traitors die!"  She'll be able to
say:  "I am glad he's dead!  Long live the Revolution!"  (He adds
with a final implacable jeer)  You know her, Larry!  Always a ham!

LARRY--(pleads distractedly)  Go, for the love of Christ, you mad
tortured bastard, for your own sake!  (Hugo is roused by this.  He
lifts his head and peers uncomprehendingly at Larry.  Neither Larry
nor Parritt notices him.)

PARRITT--(stares at Larry.  His face begins to crumble as if he
were going to break down and sob.  He turns his head away, but
reaches out fumblingly and pats Larry's arm and stammers)  Jesus,
Larry, thanks.  That's kind.  I knew you were the only one who
could understand my side of it.  (He gets to his feet and turns
toward the door.)

HUGO--(looks at Parritt and bursts into his silly giggle)  Hello,
leedle Don, leedle monkey-face!  Don't be a fool!  Buy me a trink!

PARRITT--(puts on an act of dramatic bravado--forcing a grin)
Sure, I will, Hugo!  Tomorrow!  Beneath the willow trees!  (He
walks to the door with a careless swagger and disappears in the
hall.  From now on, Larry waits, listening for the sound he knows
is coming from the backyard outside the window, but trying not to
listen, in an agony of horror and cracking nerve.)

HUGO--(stares after Parritt stupidly)  Stupid fool!  Hickey make
you crazy, too.  (He turns to the oblivious Larry--with a timid
eagerness)  I'm glad, Larry, they take that crazy Hickey avay to
asylum.  He makes me have bad dreams.  He makes me tell lies about
myself.  He makes me want to spit on all I have ever dreamed.  Yes,
I am glad they take him to asylum.  I don't feel I am dying now.
He vas selling death to me, that crazy salesman.  I think I have a
trink now, Larry.  (He pours a drink and gulps it down.)

HOPE--(jubilantly)  Bejees, fellers, I'm feeling the old kick, or
I'm a liar!  It's putting life back in me!  Bejees, if all I've
lapped up begins to hit me, I'll be paralyzed before I know it!  It
was Hickey kept it from--Bejees, I know that sounds crazy, but he
was crazy, and he'd got all of us as bughouse as he was.  Bejees,
it does queer things to you, having to listen day and night to a
lunatic's pipe dreams--pretending you believe them, to kid him
along and doing any crazy thing he wants to humor him.  It's
dangerous, too.  Look at me pretending to start for a walk just to
keep him quiet.  I knew damned well it wasn't the right day for it.
The sun was broiling and the streets full of automobiles.  Bejees,
I could feel myself getting sunstroke, and an automobile damn near
ran over me.  (He appeals to Rocky, afraid of the result, but
daring it.)  Ask Rocky.  He was watching.  Didn't it, Rocky?

ROCKY--(a bit tipsily)  What's dat, Boss?  Jees, all de booze I've
mopped up is beginning to get to me.  (earnestly)  De automobile,
Boss?  Sure, I seen it!  Just missed yuh!  I thought yuh was a
goner.  (He pauses--then looks around at the others, and assumes
the old kidding tone of the inmates, but hesitantly, as if still a
little afraid.)  On de woid of a honest bartender!  (He tries a
wink at the others.  They all respond with smiles that are still a
little forced and uneasy.)

HOPE--(flashes him a suspicious glance.  Then he understands--with
his natural testy manner)  You're a bartender, all right.  No one
can say different.  (Rocky looks grateful.)  But, bejees, don't
pull that honest junk!  You and Chuck ought to have cards in the
Burglars' Union!  (This time there is an eager laugh from the
group.  Hope is delighted.)  Bejees, it's good to hear someone
laugh again!  All the time that bas--poor old Hickey was here, I
didn't have the heart--Bejees, I'm getting drunk and glad of it!
(He cackles and reaches for the bottle.)  Come on, fellers.  It's
on the house.  (They pour drinks.  They begin rapidly to get drunk
now.  Hope becomes sentimental.)  Poor old Hickey!  We mustn't hold
him responsible for anything he's done.  We'll forget that and only
remember him the way we've always known him before--the kindest,
biggest-hearted guy ever wore shoe leather.  (They all chorus
hearty sentimental assent:  "That's right, Harry!"  "That's all!"
"Finest fellow!"  "Best scout!" etc.  Hope goes on.)  Good luck to
him in Matteawan!  Come on, bottoms up!  (They all drink.  At the
table by the window Larry's hands grip the edge of the table.
Unconsciously his head is inclined toward the window as he

LARRY--(cannot hold back an anguished exclamation)  Christ!  Why
don't he--!

HUGO--(beginning to be drunk again--peers at him)  Vhy don't he
what?  Don't be a fool!  Hickey's gone.  He vas crazy.  Have a
trink.  (then as he receives no reply--with vague uneasiness)
What's matter vith you, Larry?  You look funny.  What you listen to
out in backyard, Larry?  (Cora begins to talk in the group at

CORA--(tipsily)  Well, I thank Gawd now me and Chuck did all we
could to humor de poor nut.  Jees, imagine us goin' off like we
really meant to git married, when we ain't even picked out a farm

CHUCK--(eagerly)  Sure ting, Baby.  We kidded him we was serious.

JIMMY--(confidently--with a gentle, drunken unction)  I may as well
say I detected his condition almost at once.  All that talk of his
about tomorrow, for example.  He had the fixed idea of the insane.
It only makes them worse to cross them.

WILLIE--(eagerly)  Same with me, Jimmy.  Only I spent the day in
the park.  I wasn't such a damned fool as to--

LEWIS--(getting jauntily drunk)  Picture my predicament if I HAD
gone to the Consulate.  The pal of mine there is a humorous
blighter.  He would have got me a job out of pure spite.  So I
strolled about and finally came to roost in the park.  (He grins
with affectionate kidding at Wetjoen.)  And lo and behold, who was
on the neighboring bench but my old battlefield companion, the Boer
that walks like a man--who, if the British Government had taken my
advice, would have been removed from his fetid kraal on the veldt
straight to the baboon's cage at the London Zoo, and little
children would now be asking their nurses:  "Tell me, Nana, is that
the Boer General, the one with the blue behind?"  (They all laugh
uproariously.  Lewis leans over and slaps Wetjoen affectionately on
the knee.)  No offense meant, Piet, old chap.

WETJOEN--(beaming at him)  No offense taken, you tamned Limey!
(Wetjoen goes on--grinningly)  About a job, I felt the same as you,
Cecil.  (At the table by the window Hugo speaks to Larry again.)

HUGO--(with uneasy insistence)  What's matter, Larry?  You look
scared.  What you listen for out there?  (But Larry doesn't hear,
and Joe begins talking in the group at right.)

JOE--(with drunken self-assurance)  No, suh, I wasn't fool enough
to git in no crap game.  Not while Hickey's around.  Crazy people
puts a jinx on you.  (McGloin is now heard.  He is leaning across
in front of Wetjoen to talk to Ed Mosher on Hope's left.)

McGLOIN--(with drunken earnestness)  I know you saw how it was, Ed.
There was no good trying to explain to a crazy guy, but it ain't
the right time.  You know how getting reinstated is.

MOSHER--(decidedly)  Sure, Mac.  The same way with the circus.  The
boys tell me the rubes are wasting all their money buying food and
times never was so hard.  And I never was one to cheat for chicken

HOPE--(looks around him in an ecstasy of bleery sentimental
content)  Bejees, I'm cockeyed!  Bejees, you're all cockeyed!
Bejees, we're all all right!  Let's have another!  (They pour out
drinks.  At the table by the window Larry has unconsciously shut
his eyes as he listens.  Hugo is peering at him frightenedly now.)

HUGO--(reiterates stupidly)  What's matter, Larry?  Why you keep
eyes shut?  You look dead.  What you listen for in backyard?
(Then, as Larry doesn't open his eyes or answer, he gets up hastily
and moves away from the table, mumbling with frightened anger)
Crazy fool!  You vas crazy like Hickey!  You give me bad dreams,
too.  (He shrinks quickly past the table where Hickey had sat to
the rear of the group at right.)

ROCKY--(greets him with boisterous affection)  Hello, dere, Hugo!
Welcome to de party!

HOPE--Yes, bejees, Hugo!  Sit down!  Have a drink!  Have ten
drinks, bejees!

HUGO--(forgetting Larry and bad dreams, gives his familiar giggle)
Hello, leedle Harry!  Hello, nice, leedle, funny monkey-faces!
(warming up, changes abruptly to his usual declamatory denunciation)
Gottamned stupid bourgeois!  Soon comes the Day of Judgment!  (They
make derisive noises and tell him to sit down.  He changes again,
giggling good-naturedly, and sits at rear of the middle table.)
Give me ten trinks, Harry.  Don't be a fool.  (They laugh.  Rocky
shoves a glass and bottle at him.  The sound of Margie's and Pearl's
voices is heard from the hall, drunkenly shrill.  All of the group
turn toward the door as the two appear. They are drunk and look
blowsy and disheveled.  Their manner as they enter hardens into a
brazen defensive truculence.)

MARGIE--(stridently)  Gangway for two good whores!

PEARL--Yeah!  And we want a drink quick!

MARGIE--(glaring at Rocky)  Shake de lead outa your pants, Pimp!  A
little soivice!

ROCKY--(his black bullet eyes sentimental, his round Wop face
grinning welcome)  Well, look who's here!  (He goes to them
unsteadily, opening his arms.)  Hello, dere, Sweethearts!  Jees, I
was beginnin' to worry about yuh, honest!  (He tries to embrace
them.  They push his arms away, regarding him with amazed

PEARL--What kind of a gag is dis?

HOPE--(calls to them effusively)  Come on and join the party, you
broads!  Bejees, I'm glad to see you!  (The girls exchange a
bewildered glance, taking in the party and the changed atmosphere.)

MARGIE--Jees, what's come off here?

PEARL--Where's dat louse, Hickey?

ROCKY--De cops got him.  He'd gone crazy and croaked his wife.
(The girls exclaim, "Jees!"  But there is more relief than horror
in it.  Rocky goes on.)  He'll get Matteawan.  He ain't
responsible.  What he's pulled don't mean nuttin'.  So forget dat
whore stuff.  I'll knock de block off anyone calls you whores!
I'll fill de bastard full of lead!  Yuh're tarts, and what de hell
of it?  Yuh're as good as anyone!  So forget it, see?  (They let
him get his arms around them now.  He gives them a hug.  All the
truculence leaves their faces.  They smile and exchange maternally
amused glances.)

MARGIE--(with a wink)  Our little bartender, ain't he, Poil?

PEARL--Yeah, and a cute little Ginny at dat!  (They laugh.)

MARGIE--And is he stinko!

PEARL--Stinko is right.  But he ain't got nuttin' on us.  Jees,
Rocky, did we have a big time at Coney!

HOPE--Bejees, sit down, you dumb broads!  Welcome home!  Have a
drink!  Have ten drinks, bejees!  (They take the empty chairs on
Chuck's left, warmly welcomed by all.  Rocky stands in back of
them, a hand on each of their shoulders, grinning with proud
proprietorship.  Hope beams over and under his crooked spectacles
with the air of a host whose party is a huge success, and rambles
on happily.)  Bejees, this is all right!  We'll make this my
birthday party, and forget the other.  We'll get paralyzed!  But
who's missing?  Where's the Old Wise Guy?  Where's Larry?

ROCKY--Over by de window, Boss.  Jees, he's got his eyes shut.  De
old bastard's asleep.  (They turn to look.  Rocky dismisses him.)
Aw, to hell wid him.  Let's have a drink.  (They turn away and
forget him.)

LARRY--(torturedly arguing to himself in a shaken whisper)  It's
the only way out for him!  For the peace of all concerned, as
Hickey said!  (snapping)  God damn his yellow soul, if he doesn't
soon, I'll go up and throw him off!--like a dog with its guts
ripped out you'd put out of misery!  (He half rises from his chair
just as from outside the window comes the sound of something
hurtling down, followed by a muffled, crunching thud.  Larry gasps
and drops back on his chair, shuddering, hiding his face in his
hands.  The group at right hear it but are too preoccupied with
drinks to pay much attention.)

HOPE--(wonderingly)  What the hell was that?

ROCKY--Aw, nuttin'.  Someting fell off de fire escape.  A mattress,
I'll bet.  Some of dese bums been sleepin' on de fire escapes.

HOPE--(his interest diverted by this excuse to beef--testily)
They've got to cut it out!  Bejees, this ain't a fresh-air cure.
Mattresses cost money.

MOSHER--Now don't start crabbing at the party, Harry.  Let's drink
up.  (Hope forgets it and grabs his glass, and they all drink.)

LARRY--(in a whisper of horrified pity)  Poor devil!  (A long-
forgotten faith returns to him for a moment and he mumbles)  God
rest his soul in peace.  (He opens his eyes--with a bitter self-
derision)  Ah, the damned pity--the wrong kind, as Hickey said!  Be
God, there's no hope!  I'll never be a success in the grandstand--
or anywhere else!  Life is too much for me!  I'll be a weak fool
looking with pity at the two sides of everything till the day I
die!  (with an intense bitter sincerity)  May that day come soon!
(He pauses startledly, surprised at himself--then with a sardonic
grin)  Be God, I'm the only real convert to death Hickey made here.
From the bottom of my coward's heart I mean that now!

HOPE--(calls effusively)  Hey there, Larry!  Come over and get
paralyzed!  What the hell you doing, sitting there?  (Then as Larry
doesn't reply he immediately forgets him and turns to the party.
They are all very drunk now, just a few drinks ahead of the
passing-out stage, and hilariously happy about it.)  Bejees, let's
sing!  Let's celebrate!  It's my birthday party!  Bejees, I'm
oreyeyed!  I want to sing!  (He starts the chorus of "She's the
Sunshine of Paradise Alley," and instantly they all burst into
song.  But not the same song.  Each starts the chorus of his or her
choice.  Jimmy Tomorrow's is "A Wee Dock and Doris"; Ed Mosher's,
"Break the News to Mother"; Willie Oban's, the Sailor Lad ditty he
sang in Act One; General Wetjoen's, "Waiting at the Church";
McGloin's, "Tammany"; Captain Lewis's, "The Old Kent Road"; Joe's,
"All I Got Was Sympathy"; Pearl's and Margie's, "Everybody's Doing
It"; Rocky's, "You Great Big Beautiful Doll"; Chuck's, "The Curse
of an Aching Heart"; Cora's, "The Oceana Roll"; while Hugo jumps to
his feet and, pounding on the table with his fist, bellows in his
guttural basso the French Revolutionary "Carmagnole."  A weird
cacophony results from this mixture and they stop singing to roar
with laughter.  All but Hugo, who keeps on with drunken fervor.)

HUGO--Dansons la Carmagnole!
      Vive le son!  Vive le son!
      Dansons la Carmagnole!
      Vive le son des canons!

(They all turn on him and howl him down with amused derision.  He
stops singing to denounce them in his most fiery style.)
Capitalist svine!  Stupid bourgeois monkeys!  (He declaims)  "The
days grow hot, O Babylon!"  (They all take it up and shout in
enthusiastic jeering chorus)  "'Tis cool beneath thy willow trees!"
(They pound their glasses on the table, roaring with laughter, and
Hugo giggles with them.  In his chair by the window, Larry stares
in front of him, oblivious to their racket.)



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