Anna Christie
by Eugene O'Neill
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CHRIS—Ay don't lose—[Trying to be scornful and self-convincing.] Anna say she like you little bit but you don't hear her say she marry you, Ay bet. [At the sound of her name ANNA has turned round to them. Her face is composed and calm again, but it is the dead calm of despair.]

BURKE—[Scornfully.] No, and I wasn't hearing her say the sun is shining either.

CHRIS—[Doggedly.] Dat's all right. She don't say it, yust same.

ANNA—[Quietly—coming forward to them.] No, I didn't say it, Mat.

CHRIS—[Eagerly.] Dere! You hear!

BURKE—[Misunderstanding her—with a grin.] You're waiting till you do be asked, you mane? Well, I'm asking you now. And we'll be married this day, with the help of God!

ANNA—[Gently.] You heard what I said, Mat—after I kissed you?

BURKE—[Alarmed by something in her manner.] No—I disremember.

ANNA—I said good-bye. [Her voice trembling.] That kiss was for good-bye, Mat.

BURKE—[Terrified.] What d'you mane?

ANNA—I can't marry you, Mat—and we've said good-bye. That's all.

CHRIS—[Unable to hold back his exultation.] Ay know it! Ay know dat vas so!

BURKE—[Jumping to his feet—unable to believe his ears.] Anna! Is it making game of me you'd be? 'Tis a quare time to joke with me, and don't be doing it, for the love of God.

ANNA—[Looking him in the eyes—steadily.] D'you think I'd kid you now? No, I'm not joking, Mat. I mean what I said.

BURKE—Ye don't! Ye can't! 'Tis mad you are. I'm telling you!

ANNA—[Fixedly.] No I'm not.

BURKE—[Desperately.] But what's come over you so sudden? You was saying you loved me—

ANNA—I'll say that as often as you want me to. It's true.

BURKE—[Bewilderedly.] Then why—what, in the divil's name—Oh, God help me, I can't make head or tail to it at all!

ANNA—Because it's the best way out I can figure, Mat. [Her voice catching.] I been thinking it over and thinking it over day and night all week. Don't think it ain't hard on me, too, Mat.

BURKE—For the love of God, tell me then, what is it that's preventing you wedding me when the two of us has love? [Suddenly getting an idea and pointing at CHRIS—exasperatedly.] Is it giving heed to the like of that old fool ye are, and him hating me and filling your ears full of bloody lies against me?

CHRIS—[Getting to his feet—raging triumphantly before ANNA has a chance to get in a word.] Yes, Anna believe me, not you! She know her old fa'der don't lie like you.

ANNA—[Turning on her father angrily.] You sit down, d'you hear? Where do you come in butting in and making things worse? You're like a devil, you are! [Harshly.] Good Lord, and I was beginning to like you, beginning to forget all I've got held up against you!

CHRIS—[Crushed—feebly.] You ain't got nutting for hold against me, Anna.

ANNA—Ain't I yust! Well, lemme tell you—[She glances at BURKE and stops abruptly.] Say, Mat, I'm s'prised at you. You didn't think anything he'd said—

BURKE—[Glumly.] Sure, what else would it be?

ANNA—Think I've ever paid any attention to all his crazy bull? Gee, you must take me for a five-year-old kid.

BURKE—[Puzzled and beginning to be irritated at her too.] I don't know how to take you, with your saying this one minute and that the next.

ANNA—Well, he has nothing to do with it.

BURKE—Then what is it has? Tell me, and don't keep me waiting and sweating blood.

ANNA—[Resolutely] I can't tell you—and I won't. I got a good reason—and that's all you need to know. I can't marry you, that's all there is to it. [Distractedly.] So, for Gawd's sake, let's talk of something else.

BURKE—I'll not! [Then fearfully.] Is it married to someone else you are—in the West maybe?

ANNA—[Vehemently.] I should say not.

BURKE—[Regaining his courage.] To the divil with all other reasons then. They don't matter with me at all. [He gets to his feet confidently, assuming a masterful tone.] I'm thinking you're the like of them women can't make up their mind till they're drove to it. Well, then, I'll make up your mind for you bloody quick. [He takes her by the arms, grinning to soften his serious bullying.] We've had enough of talk! Let you be going into your room now and be dressing in your best and we'll be going ashore.

CHRIS—[Aroused—angrily.] No, py God, she don't do that! [Takes hold of her arm.]

ANNA—[Who has listened to BURKE in astonishment. She draws away from him, instinctively repelled by his tone, but not exactly sure if he is serious or not—a trace of resentment in her voice.] Say, where do you get that stuff?

BURKE—[Imperiously.] Never mind, now! Let you go get dressed, I'm saying, [Then turning to CHRIS.] We'll be seeing who'll win in the end—me or you.

CHRIS—[To ANNA—also in an authoritative tone.] You stay right here, Anna, you hear! [ANNA stands looking from one to the other of them as if she thought they had both gone crazy. Then the expression of her face freezes into the hardened sneer of her experience.]

BURKE—[Violently.] She'll not! She'll do what I say! You've had your hold on her long enough. It's my turn now.

ANNA—[With a hard laugh.] Your turn? Say, what am I, anyway?

BURKE—'Tis not what you are, 'tis what you're going to be this day—and that's wedded to me before night comes. Hurry up now with your dressing.

CHRIS—[Commandingly.] You don't do one tang he say, Anna! [ANNA laughs mockingly.]

BURKE—She will, so!

CHRIS—Ay tal you she don't! Ay'm her fa'der.

BURKE—She will in spite of you. She's taking my orders from this out, not yours.

ANNA—[Laughing again.] Orders is good!

BURKE—[Turning to her impatiently.] Hurry up now, and shake a leg. We've no time to be wasting. [Irritated as she doesn't move.] Do you hear what I'm telling you?

CHRIS—You stay dere, Anna!

ANNA—[At the end of her patience—blazing out at them passionately.] You can go to hell, both of you! [There is something in her tone that makes them forget their quarrel and turn to her in a stunned amazement. ANNA laughs wildly.] You're just like all the rest of them—you two! Gawd, you'd think I was a piece of furniture! I'll show you! Sit down now! [As they hesitate—furiously.] Sit down and let me talk for a minute. You're all wrong, see? Listen to me! I'm going to tell you something—and then I'm going to beat it. [To BURKE—with a harsh laugh.] I'm going to tell you a funny story, so pay attention. [Pointing to CHRIS.] I've been meaning to turn it loose on him every time he'd get my goat with his bull about keeping me safe inland. I wasn't going to tell you, but you've forced me into it. What's the dif? It's all wrong anyway, and you might as well get cured that way as any other. [With hard mocking.] Only don't forget what you said a minute ago about it not mattering to you what other reason I got so long as I wasn't married to no one else.

BURKE—[Manfully.] That's my word, and I'll stick to it!

ANNA—[Laughing bitterly.] What a chance! You make me laugh, honest! Want to bet you will? Wait 'n see! [She stands at the table rear, looking from one to the other of the two men with her hard, mocking smile. Then she begins, fighting to control her emotion and speak calmly.] First thing is, I want to tell you two guys something. You was going on's if one of you had got to own me. But nobody owns me, see?—'cepting myself. I'll do what I please and no man, I don't give a hoot who he is, can tell me what to do! I ain't asking either of you for a living. I can make it myself—one way or other. I'm my own boss. So put that in your pipe and smoke it! You and your orders!

BURKE—[Protestingly.] I wasn't meaning it that way at all and well you know it. You've no call to be raising this rumpus with me. [Pointing to CHRIS.] 'Tis him you've a right—

ANNA—I'm coming to him. But you—you did mean it that way, too. You sounded—yust like all the rest. [Hysterically.] But, damn it, shut up! Let me talk for a change!

BURKE—'Tis quare, rough talk, that—for a dacent girl the like of you!

ANNA—[With a hard laugh.] Decent? Who told you I was? [CHRIS is sitting with bowed shoulders, his head in his hands. She leans over in exasperation and shakes him violently by the shoulder.] Don't go to sleep, Old Man! Listen here, I'm talking to you now!

CHRIS—[Straightening up and looking about as if he were seeking a way to escape—with frightened foreboding in his voice.] Ay don't vant for hear it. You vas going out of head, Ay tank, Anna.

ANNA—[Violently.] Well, living with you is enough to drive anyone off their nut. Your bunk about the farm being so fine! Didn't I write you year after year how rotten it was and what a dirty slave them cousins made of me? What'd you care? Nothing! Not even enough to come out and see me! That crazy bull about wanting to keep me away from the sea don't go down with me! You yust didn't want to be bothered with me! You're like all the rest of 'em!

CHRIS—[Feebly.] Anna! It ain't so—

ANNA—[Not heeding his interruption—revengefully.] But one thing I never wrote you. It was one of them cousins that you think is such nice people—the youngest son—Paul—that started me wrong. [Loudly.] It wasn't none of my fault. I hated him worse 'n hell and he knew it. But he was big and strong—[Pointing to Burke]—like you!

BURKE—[Half springing to his feet—his fists clenched,] God blarst it! [He sinks slowly back in his chair again, the knuckles showing white on his clenched hands, his face tense with the effort to suppress his grief and rage.]

CHRIS—[In a cry of horrified pain.] Anna!

ANNA—[To him—seeming not to have heard their interruptions.] That was why I run away from the farm. That was what made me get a yob as nurse girl in St. Paul. [With a hard, mocking laugh.] And you think that was a nice yob for a girl, too, don't you? [Sarcastically.] With all them nice inland fellers yust looking for a chance to marry me, I s'pose. Marry me? What a chance! They wasn't looking for marrying. [As BURKE lets a groan of fury escape him—desperately.] I'm owning up to everything fair and square. I was caged in, I tell you—yust like in yail—taking care of other people's kids—listening to 'em bawling and crying day and night—when I wanted to be out—and I was lonesome—lonesome as hell! [With a sudden weariness in her voice.] So I give up finally. What was the use? [She stops and looks at the two men. Both are motionless and silent. CHRIS seems in a stupor of despair, his house of cards fallen about him. BURKE's face is livid with the rage that is eating him up, but he is too stunned and bewildered yet to find a vent for it. The condemnation she feels in their silence goads ANNA into a harsh, strident defiance.] You don't say nothing—either of you—but I know what you're thinking. You're like all the rest! [To CHRIS—furiously.] And who's to blame for it, me or you? If you'd even acted like a man—if you'd even been a regular father and had me with you—maybe things would be different!

CHRIS—[In agony.] Don't talk dat vay, Anna! Ay go crazy! Ay von't listen! [Puts his hands over his ears.]

ANNA—[Infuriated by his action—stridently.] You will too listen! [She leans over and pulls his hands from his ears—with hysterical rage.] You—keeping me safe inland—I wasn't no nurse girl the last two years—I lied when I wrote you—I was in a house, that's what!—yes, that kind of a house—the kind sailors like you and Mat goes to in port—and your nice inland men, too—and all men, God damn 'em! I hate 'em! Hate 'em! [She breaks into hysterical sobbing, throwing herself into the chair and hiding her face in her hands on the table. The two men have sprung to their feet.]

CHRIS—[Whimpering like a child.] Anna! Anna! It's lie! It's lie! [He stands wringing his hands together and begins to weep.]

BURKE—[His whole great body tense like a spring—dully and gropingly.] So that's what's in it!

ANNA—[Raising her head at the sound of his voice—with extreme mocking bitterness.] I s'pose you remember your promise, Mat? No other reason was to count with you so long as I wasn't married already. So I s'pose you want me to get dressed and go ashore, don't you? [She laughs.] Yes, you do!

BURKE—[On the verge of his outbreak—stammeringly.] God stiffen you!

ANNA—[Trying to keep up her hard, bitter tone, but gradually letting a note of pitiful pleading creep in.] I s'pose if I tried to tell you I wasn't—that—no more you'd believe me, wouldn't you? Yes, you would! And if I told you that yust getting out in this barge, and being on the sea had changed me and made me feel different about things,'s if all I'd been through wasn't me and didn't count and was yust like it never happened—you'd laugh, wouldn't you? And you'd die laughing sure if I said that meeting you that funny way that night in the fog, and afterwards seeing that you was straight goods stuck on me, had got me to thinking for the first time, and I sized you up as a different kind of man—a sea man as different from the ones on land as water is from mud—and that was why I got stuck on you, too. I wanted to marry you and fool you, but I couldn't. Don't you see how I'd changed? I couldn't marry you with you believing a lie—and I was shamed to tell you the truth—till the both of you forced my hand, and I seen you was the same as all the rest. And now, give me a bawling out and beat it, like I can tell you're going to. [She stops, looking at BURKE. He is silent, his face averted, his features beginning to work with fury. She pleads passionately.] Will you believe it if I tell you that loving you has made me—clean? It's the straight goods, honest! [Then as he doesn't reply—bitterly.] Like hell you will! You're like all the rest!

BURKE—[Blazing out—turning on her in a perfect frenzy of rage—his voice trembling with passion.] The rest, is it? God's curse on you! Clane, is it? You slut, you, I'll be killing you now! [He picks up the chair on which he has been sitting and, swinging it high over his shoulder, springs toward her. CHRIS rushes forward with a cry of alarm, trying to ward off the blow from his daughter. ANNA looks up into BURKE'S eyes with the fearlessness of despair. BURKE checks himself, the chair held in the air.]

CHRIS—[Wildly.] Stop, you crazy fool! You vant for murder her!

ANNA—[Pushing her father away brusquely, her eyes still holding BURKE'S.] Keep out of this, you! [To BURKE—dully.] Well, ain't you got the nerve to do it? Go ahead! I'll be thankful to you, honest. I'm sick of the whole game.

BURKE—[Throwing the chair away into a corner of the room—helplessly.] I can't do it, God help me, and your two eyes looking at me. [Furiously.] Though I do be thinking I'd have a good right to smash your skull like a rotten egg. Was there iver a woman in the world had the rottenness in her that you have, and was there iver a man the like of me was made the fool of the world, and me thinking thoughts about you, and having great love for you, and dreaming dreams of the fine life we'd have when we'd be wedded! [His voice high pitched in a lamentation that is like a keen]. Yerra, God help me! I'm destroyed entirely and my heart is broken in bits! I'm asking God Himself, was it for this He'd have me roaming the earth since I was a lad only, to come to black shame in the end, where I'd be giving a power of love to a woman is the same as others you'd meet in any hooker-shanty in port, with red gowns on them and paint on their grinning mugs, would be sleeping with any man for a dollar or two!

ANNA—[In a scream.] Don't, Mat! For Gawd's sake! [Then raging and pounding on the table with her hands.] Get out of here! Leave me alone! Get out of here!

BURKE—[His anger rushing back on him.] I'll be going, surely! And I'll be drinking sloos of whiskey will wash that black kiss of yours off my lips; and I'll be getting dead rotten drunk so I'll not remember if 'twas iver born you was at all; and I'll be shipping away on some boat will take me to the other end of the world where I'll never see your face again! [He turns toward the door]

CHRIS—[Who has been standing in a stupor—suddenly grasping BURKE by the arm—stupidly] No, you don't go. Ay tank maybe it's better Anna marry you now.

BURKE—[Shaking CHRIS off—furiously] Lave go of me, ye old ape! Marry her, is it? I'd see her roasting in hell first! I'm shipping away out of this, I'm telling you! [Pointing to Anna—passionately] And my curse on you and the curse of Almighty God and all the Saints! You've destroyed me this day and may you lie awake in the long nights, tormented with thoughts of Mat Burke and the great wrong you've done him!

ANNA—[In anguish] Mat! [But he turns without another word and strides out of the doorway. ANNA looks after him wildly, starts to run after him, then hides her face in her outstretched arms, sobbing. CHRIS stands in a stupor, staring at the floor.]

CHRIS—[After a pause, dully.] Ay tank Ay go ashore, too.

ANNA—[Looking up, wildly.] Not after him! Let him go! Don't you dare—

CHRIS—[Somberly.] Ay go for gat drink.

ANNA—[With a harsh laugh.] So I'm driving you to drink, too, eh? I s'pose you want to get drunk so's you can forget—like him?

CHRIS—[Bursting out angrily.] Yes, Ay vant! You tank Ay like hear dem tangs. [Breaking down—weeping.] Ay tank you vasn't dat kind of gel, Anna.

ANNA—[Mockingly.] And I s'pose you want me to beat it, don't you? You don't want me here disgracing you, I s'pose?

CHRIS—No, you stay here! [Goes over and pats her on the shoulder, the tears running down his face.] Ain't your fault, Anna, Ay know dat. [She looks up at him, softened. He bursts into rage.] It's dat ole davil, sea, do this to me! [He shakes his fist at the door.] It's her dirty tricks! It vas all right on barge with yust you and me. Den she bring dat Irish fallar in fog, she make you like him, she make you fight with me all time! If dat Irish fallar don't never come, you don't never tal me dem tangs, Ay don't never know, and every tang's all right. [He shakes his fist again,] Dirty ole davil!

ANNA—[With spent weariness.] Oh, what's the use? Go on ashore and get drunk.

CHRIS—[Goes into room on left and gets his cap. He goes to the door, silent and stupid—then turns.] You vait here, Anna?

ANNA—[Dully] Maybe—and maybe not. Maybe I'll get drunk, too. Maybe I'll—But what the hell do you care what I do? Go on and beat it. [CHRIS turns stupidly and goes out. ANNA sits at the table, staring straight in front of her.]

[The Curtain Falls]


SCENE—Same as Act Three, about nine o'clock of a foggy night two days later. The whistles of steamers in the harbor can be heard. The cabin is lighted by a small lamp on the table. A suitcase stands in the middle of the floor. ANNA is sitting in the rocking-chair. She wears a hat, is all dressed up as in Act One. Her face is pale, looks terribly tired and worn, as if the two days just past had been ones of suffering and sleepless nights. She stares before her despondently, her chin in her hands. There is a timid knock on the door in rear. ANNA jumps to her feet with a startled exclamation and looks toward the door with an expression of mingled hope and fear.

ANNA—[Faintly.] Come in. [Then summoning her courage—more resolutely.] Come in. [The door is opened and CHRIS appears in the doorway. He is in a very bleary, bedraggled condition, suffering from the after effects of his drunk. A tin pail full of foaming beer is in his hand. He comes forward, his eyes avoiding ANNA'S. He mutters stupidly.] It's foggy.

ANNA—[Looking him over with contempt.] So you come back at last, did you? You're a fine looking sight! [Then jeeringly.] I thought you'd beaten it for good on account of the disgrace I'd brought on you.

CHRIS—[Wincing-faintly.] Don't say dat, Anna, please! [He sits in a chair by the table, setting down the can of beer, holding his head in his hands]

ANNA—[Looks at him with a certain sympathy.] What's the trouble? Feeling sick?

CHRIS—[Dully.] Inside my head feel sick.

ANNA—Well, what d'you expect after being soused for two days? [Resentfully.] It serves you right. A fine thing—you leaving me alone on this barge all that time!

CHRIS—[Humbly.] Ay'm sorry, Anna.

ANNA—[Scornfully] Sorry!

CHRIS—But Ay'm not sick inside head vay you mean. Ay'm sick from tank too much about you, about me.

ANNA—And how about me? D'you suppose I ain't been thinking, too?

CHRIS—Ay'm sorry, Anna. [He sees her bag and gives a start] You pack your bag, Anna? You vas going—?

ANNA—[Forcibly.] Yes, I was going right back to what you think.


ANNA—I went ashore to get a train for New York. I'd been waiting and waiting 'till I was sick of it. Then I changed my mind and decided not to go to-day. But I'm going first thing to-morrow, so it'll all be the same in the end.

CHRIS—[Raising his head—pleadingly] No, you never do dat, Anna!

ANNA—[With a sneer.] Why not, I'd like to know?

CHRIS—You don't never gat to do—dat vay—no more, Ay tal you. Ay fix dat up all right.

ANNA—[Suspiciously.] Fix what up?

CHRIS—[Not seeming to have heard her question—sadly.] You vas vaiting, you say? You vasn't vaiting for me, Ay bet.

ANNA—[Callously.] You'd win.

CHRIS—For dat Irish fallar?

ANNA—[Defiantly.] Yes—if you want to know! [Then with a forlorn laugh.] If he did come back it'd only because he wanted to beat me up or kill me, I suppose. But even if he did, I'd rather have him come than not show up at all. I wouldn't care what he did.

CHRIS—Ay guess it's true you vas in love with him all right.

ANNA—You guess!

CHRIS—[Turning to her earnestly.] And Ay'm sorry for you like hell he don't come, Anna!

ANNA—[Softened.] Seems to me you've changed your tune a lot.

CHRIS—Ay've been tanking, and Ay guess it vas all my fault—all bad tangs dat happen to you. [Pleadingly.] You try for not hate me, Anna. Ay'm crazy ole fool, dat's all.

ANNA—Who said I hated you?

CHRIS—Ay'm sorry for everytang Ay do wrong for you, Anna. Ay vant for you be happy all rest of your life for make up! It make you happy marry dat Irish fallar, Ay vant it, too.

ANNA—[Dully.]—Well, there ain't no chance. But I'm glad you think different about it, anyway.

CHRIS—[Supplicatingly.] And you tank—maybe—you forgive me sometime?

ANNA—[With a wan smile.] I'll forgive you right now.

CHRIS—[Seizing her hand and kissing it—brokenly.] Anna lilla! Anna lilla!

ANNA—[Touched but a bit embarrassed.] Don't bawl about it. There ain't nothing to forgive, anyway. It ain't your fault, and it ain't mine, and it ain't his neither. We're all poor nuts, and things happen, and we yust get mixed in wrong, that's all.

CHRIS—[Eagerly.] You say right tang, Anna, py golly! It ain't nobody's fault! [Shaking his fist.] It's dat ole davil, sea!

ANNA—[With an exasperated laugh.] Gee, won't you ever can that stuff? [CHRIS relapses into injured silence. After a pause ANNA continues curiously.] You said a minute ago you'd fixed something up—about me. What was it?

CHRIS—[After a hesitating pause.] Ay'm shipping avay on sea again, Anna.

ANNA—[Astounded.] You're—what?

CHRIS—Ay sign on steamer sail to-morrow. Ay gat my ole yob—bo'sun. [ANNA stares at him. As he goes on, a bitter smile comes over her face.] Ay tank dat's best tang for you. Ay only bring you bad luck, Ay tank. Ay make your mo'der's life sorry. Ay don't vant make yours dat way, but Ay do yust same. Dat ole davil, sea, she make me Yonah man ain't no good for nobody. And Ay tank now it ain't no use fight with sea. No man dat live going to beat her, py yingo!

ANNA—[With a laugh of helpless bitterness.] So that's how you've fixed me, is it?

CHRIS—Yes, Ay tank if dat ole davil gat me back she leave you alone den.

ANNA—[Bitterly.] But, for Gawd's sake, don't you see, you're doing the same thing you've always done? Don't you see—? [But she sees the look of obsessed stubbornness on her father's face and gives it up helplessly.] But what's the use of talking. You ain't right, that's what. I'll never blame you for nothing no more. But how you could figure out that was fixing me—!

CHRIS—Dat ain't all. Ay gat dem fallars in steam-ship office to pay you all money coming to me every month vhile Ay'm avay.

ANNA—[With a hard laugh.] Thanks. But I guess I won't be hard up for no small change.

CHRIS—[Hurt—humbly.] It ain't much, Ay know, but it's plenty for keep you so you never gat go.

ANNA—[Shortly.] Shut up, will you? We'll talk about it later, see?

CHRIS—[After a pause—ingratiatingly.] You like Ay go ashore look for dat Irish fallar, Anna?

ANNA—[Angrily.] Not much! Think I want to drag him back?

CHRIS—[After a pause—uncomfortably.] Py golly, dat booze don't go veil. Give me fever, Ay tank, Ay feel hot like hell. [He takes off his coat and lets it drop on the floor. There is a loud thud.]

ANNA—[With a start.] What you got in your pocket, for Pete's sake—a ton of lead? [She reaches down, takes the coat and pulls out a revolver—looks from it to him in amazement.] A gun? What were you doing with this?

CHRIS—[Sheepishly.] Ay forgat. Ain't nutting. Ain't loaded, anyvay.

ANNA—[Breaking it open to make sure—then closing it again—looking at him suspiciously.] That ain't telling me why you got it?

CHRIS—[Sheepishly.] Ay'm ole fool. Ay gat it vhen Ay go ashore first. Ay tank den it's all fault of dat Irish fallar.

ANNA—[With a shudder.] Say, you're crazier than I thought. I never dreamt you'd go that far.

CHRIS—[Quickly.] Ay don't. Ay gat better sense right avay. Ay don't never buy bullets even. It ain't his fault, Ay know.

ANNA—[Still suspicious of him.] Well, I'll take care of this for a while, loaded or not. [She puts it in the drawer of table and closes the drawer.]

CHRIS—[Placatingly.] Throw it overboard if you vant. Ay don't care, [Then after a pause.] Py golly, Ay tank Ay go lie down. Ay feel sick. [ANNA takes a magazine from the table. CHRIS hesitates by her chair.] Ve talk again before Ay go, yes?

ANNA—[Dully.] Where's this ship going to?

CHRIS—Cape Town. Dat's in South Africa. She's British steamer called Londonderry. [He stands hesitatingly—finally blurts out.] Anna—you forgive me sure?

ANNA—[Wearily.] Sure I do. You ain't to blame. You're yust—what you are—like me.

CHRIS—[Pleadingly.] Den—you lat me kiss you again once?

ANNA—[Raising her face—forcing a wan smile.] Sure. No hard feelings.

CHRIS—[Kisses her—brokenly.] Anna lilla! Ay—[He fights for words to express himself, but finds none—miserably—with a sob.] Ay can't say it. Good-night, Anna.

ANNA—Good-night. [He picks up the can of beer and goes slowly into the room on left, his shoulders bowed, his head sunk forward dejectedly. He closes the door after him. ANNA turns over the pages of the magazine, trying desperately to banish her thoughts by looking at the pictures. This fails to distract her, and flinging the magazine back on the table, she springs to her feet and walks about the cabin distractedly, clenching and unclenching her hands. She speaks aloud to herself in a tense, trembling voice.] Gawd, I can't stand this much longer! What am I waiting for anyway?—like a damn fool! [She laughs helplessly, then checks herself abruptly, as she hears the sound of heavy footsteps on the deck outside. She appears to recognize these and her face lights up with joy. She gasps:] Mat! [A strange terror seems suddenly to seize her. She rushes to the table, takes the revolver out of drawer and crouches down in the corner, left, behind the cupboard. A moment later the door is flung open and MAT BURKE appears in the doorway. He is in bad shape—his clothes torn and dirty, covered with sawdust as if he had been grovelling or sleeping on barroom floors. There is a red bruise on his forehead over one of his eyes, another over one cheekbone, his knuckles are skinned and raw—plain evidence of the fighting he has been through on his "bat." His eyes are bloodshot and heavy-lidded, his face has a bloated look. But beyond these appearances—the results of heavy drinking—there is an expression in his eyes of wild mental turmoil, of impotent animal rage baffled by its own abject misery.]

BURKE—[Peers blinkingly about the cabin—hoarsely.] Let you not be hiding from me, whoever's here—though 'tis well you know I'd have a right to come back and murder you. [He stops to listen. Hearing no sound, he closes the door behind him and comes forward to the table. He throws himself into the rocking-chair—despondently.] There's no one here, I'm thinking, and 'tis a great fool I am to be coming. [With a sort of dumb, uncomprehending anguish.] Yerra, Mat Burke, 'tis a great jackass you've become and what's got into you at all, at all? She's gone out of this long ago, I'm telling you, and you'll never see her face again. [ANNA stands up, hesitating, struggling between joy and fear. BURKE'S eyes fall on ANNA'S bag. He leans over to examine it.] What's this? [Joyfully.] It's hers. She's not gone! But where is she? Ashore? [Darkly.] What would she be doing ashore on this rotten night? [His face suddenly convulsed with grief and rage.] 'Tis that, is it? Oh, God's curse on her! [Raging.] I'll wait 'till she comes and choke her dirty life out. [ANNA starts, her face grows hard. She steps into the room, the revolver in her right hand by her side.]

ANNA—[In a cold, hard tone.] What are you doing here?

BURKE—[Wheeling about with a terrified gasp] Glory be to God! [They remain motionless and silent for a moment, holding each other's eyes.]

ANNA—[In the same hard voice] Well, can't you talk?

BURKE—[Trying to fall into an easy, careless tone] You've a year's growth scared out of me, coming at me so sudden and me thinking I was alone.

ANNA—You've got your nerve butting in here without knocking or nothing. What d'you want?

BURKE—[Airily] Oh, nothing much. I was wanting to have a last word with you, that's all. [He moves a step toward her.]

ANNA—[Sharply—raising the revolver in her hand.] Careful now! Don't try getting too close. I heard what you said you'd do to me.

BURKE—[Noticing the revolver for the first time.] Is it murdering me you'd be now, God forgive you? [Then with a contemptuous laugh.] Or is it thinking I'd be frightened by that old tin whistle? [He walks straight for her.]

ANNA—[Wildly.] Look out, I tell you!

BURKE—[Who has come so close that the revolver is almost touching his chest.] Let you shoot, then! [Then with sudden wild grief.] Let you shoot, I'm saying, and be done with it! Let you end me with a shot and I'll be thanking you, for it's a rotten dog's life I've lived the past two days since I've known what you are, 'til I'm after wishing I was never born at all!

ANNA—[Overcome—letting the revolver drop to the floor, as if her fingers had no strength to hold it—hysterically.] What d'you want coming here? Why don't you beat it? Go on! [She passes him and sinks down in the rocking-chair.]

BURKE—[Following her—mournfully.] 'Tis right you'd be asking why did I come. [Then angrily.] 'Tis because 'tis a great weak fool of the world I am, and me tormented with the wickedness you'd told of yourself, and drinking oceans of booze that'd make me forget. Forget? Divil a word I'd forget, and your face grinning always in front of my eyes, awake or asleep, 'til I do be thinking a madhouse is the proper place for me.

ANNA—[Glancing at his hands and—face—scornfully] You look like you ought to be put away some place. Wonder you wasn't pulled in. You been scrapping, too, ain't you?

BURKE—I have—with every scut would take off his coat to me! [Fiercely.] And each time I'd be hitting one a clout in the mug, it wasn't his face I'd be seeing at all, but yours, and me wanting to drive you a blow would knock you out of this world where I wouldn't be seeing or thinking more of you.

ANNA—[Her lips trembling pitifully] Thanks!

BURKE—[Walking up and down—distractedly.] That's right, make game of me! Oh, I'm a great coward surely, to be coming back to speak with you at all. You've a right to laugh at me.

ANNA—I ain't laughing at you, Mat.

BURKE—[Unheeding.] You to be what you are, and me to be Mat Burke, and me to be drove back to look at you again! 'Tis black shame is on me!

ANNA—[Resentfully.] Then get out. No one's holding you!

BURKE—[Bewilderedly] And me to listen to that talk from a woman like you and be frightened to close her mouth with a slap! Oh, God help me, I'm a yellow coward for all men to spit at! [Then furiously] But I'll not be getting out of this 'till I've had me word. [Raising his fist threateningly] And let you look out how you'd drive me! [Letting his fist fall helplessly] Don't be angry now! I'm raving like a real lunatic, I'm thinking, and the sorrow you put on me has my brains drownded in grief. [Suddenly bending down to her and grasping her arm intensely] Tell me it's a lie, I'm saying! That's what I'm after coming to hear you say.

ANNA—[Dully] A lie? What?

BURKE—[With passionate entreaty] All the badness you told me two days back. Sure it must be a lie! You was only making game of me, wasn't you? Tell me 'twas a lie, Anna, and I'll be saying prayers of thanks on my two knees to the Almighty God!

ANNA—[Terribly shaken—faintly.] I can't. Mat. [As he turns away—imploringly.] Oh, Mat, won't you see that no matter what I was I ain't that any more? Why, listen! I packed up my bag this afternoon and went ashore. I'd been waiting here all alone for two days, thinking maybe you'd come back—thinking maybe you'd think over all I'd said—and maybe—oh, I don't know what I was hoping! But I was afraid to even go out of the cabin for a second, honest—afraid you might come and not find me here. Then I gave up hope when you didn't show up and I went to the railroad station. I was going to New York. I was going back—

BURKE—[Hoarsely.] God's curse on you!

ANNA—Listen, Mat! You hadn't come, and I'd gave up hope. But—in the station—I couldn't go. I'd bought my ticket and everything. [She takes the ticket from her dress and tries to hold it before his eyes.] But I got to thinking about you—and I couldn't take the train—I couldn't! So I come back here—to wait some more. Oh, Mat, don't you see I've changed? Can't you forgive what's dead and gone—and forget it?

BURKE—[Turning on her—overcome by rage again.] Forget, is it? I'll not forget 'til my dying day, I'm telling you, and me tormented with thoughts. [In a frenzy.] Oh, I'm wishing I had wan of them fornenst me this minute and I'd beat him with my fists 'till he'd be a bloody corpse! I'm wishing the whole lot of them will roast in hell 'til the Judgment Day—and yourself along with them, for you're as bad as they are.

ANNA—[Shuddering.] Mat! [Then after a pause—in a voice of dead, stony calm.] Well, you've had your say. Now you better beat it.

BURKE—[Starts slowly for the door—hesitates—then after a pause.] And what'll you be doing?

ANNA—What difference does it make to you?

BURKE—I'm asking you!

ANNA—[In the same tone.] My bag's packed and I got my ticket. I'll go to New York to-morrow.

BURKE—[Helplessly.] You mean—you'll be doing the same again?

ANNA—[Stonily.] Yes.

BURKE—[In anguish.] You'll not! Don't torment me with that talk! 'Tis a she-divil you are sent to drive me mad entirely!

ANNA—[Her voice breaking.] Oh, for Gawd's sake, Mat, leave me alone! Go away! Don't you see I'm licked? Why d'you want to keep on kicking me?

BURKE—[Indignantly.] And don't you deserve the worst I'd say, God forgive you?

ANNA—All right. Maybe I do. But don't rub it in. Why ain't you done what you said you was going to? Why ain't you got that ship was going to take you to the other side of the earth where you'd never see me again?

BURKE—I have.

ANNA—[Startled.] What—then you're going—honest?

BURKE—I signed on to-day at noon, drunk as I was—and she's sailing to-morrow.

ANNA—And where's she going to?

BURKE—Cape Town.

ANNA—[The memory of having heard that name a little while before coming to her—with a start, confusedly.] Cape Town? Where's that. Far away?

BURKE—'Tis at the end of Africa. That's far for you.

ANNA—[Forcing a laugh.] You're keeping your word all right, ain't you? [After a slight pause—curiously.] What's the boat's name?

BURKE—The Londonderry.

ANNA—[It suddenly comes to her that this is the same ship her father is sailing on.] The Londonderry! It's the same—Oh, this is too much! [With wild, ironical laughter.] Ha-ha-ha!

BURKE—What's up with you now?

ANNA—Ha-ha-ha! It's funny, funny! I'll die laughing!

BURKE—[Irritated.] Laughing at what?

ANNA—It's a secret. You'll know soon enough. It's funny. [Controlling herself—after a pause—cynically.] What kind of a place is this Cape Town? Plenty of dames there, I suppose?

BURKE—To hell with them! That I may never see another woman to my dying hour!

ANNA—That's what you say now, but I'll bet by the time you get there you'll have forgot all about me and start in talking the same old bull you talked to me to the first one you meet.

BURKE—[Offended.] I'll not, then! God mend you, is it making me out to be the like of yourself you are, and you taking up with this one and that all the years of your life?

ANNA—[Angrily assertive.] Yes, that's yust what I do mean! You been doing the same thing all your life, picking up a new girl in every port. How're you any better than I was?

BURKE—[Thoroughly exasperated.] Is it no shame you have at all? I'm a fool to be wasting talk on you and you hardened in badness. I'll go out of this and lave you alone forever. [He starts for the door—then stops to turn on her furiously] And I suppose 'tis the same lies you told them all before that you told to me?

ANNA—[Indignantly.] That's a lie! I never did!

BURKE—[Miserably.] You'd be saying that, anyway.

ANNA—[Forcibly, with growing intensity.] Are you trying to accuse me—of being in love—really in love—with them?

BURKE—I'm thinking you were, surely.

ANNA—[Furiously, as if this were the last insult—advancing on him threateningly] You mutt, you! I've stood enough from you. Don't you dare. [With scornful bitterness.] Love 'em! Oh, my Gawd! You damn thick-head! Love 'em? [Savagely.] I hated 'em, I tell you! Hated 'em, hated 'em, hated 'em! And may Gawd strike me dead this minute and my mother, too, if she was alive, if I ain't telling you the honest truth!

BURKE—[Immensely pleased by her vehemence—a light beginning to break over his face—but still uncertain, torn between doubt and the desire to believe—helplessly.] If I could only be believing you now!

ANNA—[Distractedly.] Oh, what's the use? What's the use of me talking? What's the use of anything? [Pleadingly.] Oh, Mat, you mustn't think that for a second! You mustn't! Think all the other bad about me you want to, and I won't kick, 'cause you've a right to. But don't think that! [On the point of tears.] I couldn't bear it! It'd be yust too much to know you was going away where I'd never see you again—thinking that about me!

BURKE—[After an inward struggle—tensely—forcing out the words with difficulty.] If I was believing—that you'd never had love for any other man in the world but me—I could be forgetting the rest, maybe.

ANNA—[With a cry of joy.] Mat!

BURKE—[Slowly.] If 'tis truth you're after telling, I'd have a right, maybe, to believe you'd changed—and that I'd changed you myself 'til the thing you'd been all your life wouldn't be you any more at all.

ANNA—[Hanging on his words—breathlessly.] Oh, Mat! That's what I been trying to tell you all along!

BURKE—[Simply.] For I've a power of strength in me to lead men the way I want, and women, too, maybe, and I'm thinking I'd change you to a new woman entirely, so I'd never know, or you either, what kind of woman you'd been in the past at all.

ANNA—Yes, you could, Mat! I know you could!

BURKE—And I'm thinking 'twasn't your fault, maybe, but having that old ape for a father that left you to grow up alone, made you what you was. And if I could be believing 'tis only me you—

ANNA—[Distractedly.] You got to believe it. Mat! What can I do? I'll do anything, anything you want to prove I'm not lying!

BURKE—[Suddenly seems to have a solution. He feels in the pocket of his coat and grasps something—solemnly.] Would you be willing to swear an oath, now—a terrible, fearful oath would send your soul to the divils in hell if you was lying?

ANNA—[Eagerly.] Sure, I'll swear, Mat—on anything!

BURKE—[Takes a small, cheap old crucifix from his pocket and holds it up for her to see.] Will you swear on this?

ANNA—[Reaching out for it.] Yes. Sure I will. Give it to me.

BURKE—[Holding it away.] 'Tis a cross was given me by my mother, God rest her soul. [He makes the sign of the cross mechanically.] I was a lad only, and she told me to keep it by me if I'd be waking or sleeping and never lose it, and it'd bring me luck. She died soon after. But I'm after keeping it with me from that day to this, and I'm telling you there's great power in it, and 'tis great bad luck it's saved me from and me roaming the seas, and I having it tied round my neck when my last ship sunk, and it bringing me safe to land when the others went to their death. [Very earnestly.] And I'm warning you now, if you'd swear an oath on this, 'tis my old woman herself will be looking down from Hivin above, and praying Almighty God and the Saints to put a great curse on you if she'd hear you swearing a lie!

ANNA—[Awed by his manner—superstitiously] I wouldn't have the nerve—honest—if it was a lie. But it's the truth and I ain't scared to swear. Give it to me.

BURKE—[Handing it to her—almost frightenedly, as if he feared for her safety.] Be careful what you'd swear, I'm saying.

ANNA—[Holding the cross gingerly.] Well—what do you want me to swear? You say it.

BURKE—Swear I'm the only man in the world ivir you felt love for.

ANNA—[Looking into his eyes steadily] I swear it.

BURKE—And that you'll be forgetting from this day all the badness you've done and never do the like of it again.

ANNA—[Forcibly.] I swear it! I swear it by God!

BURKE—And may the blackest curse of God strike you if you're lying. Say it now!

ANNA—And may the blackest curse of God strike me if I'm lying!

BURKE—[With a stupendous sigh.] Oh, glory be to God, I'm after believing you now! [He takes the cross from her hand, his face beaming with joy, and puts it back in his pocket. He puts his arm about her waist and is about to kiss her when he stops, appalled by some terrible doubt.]

ANNA—[Alarmed.] What's the matter with you?

BURKE—[With sudden fierce questioning.] Is it Catholic ye are?

ANNA—[Confused.] No. Why?

BURKE—[Filled with a sort of bewildered foreboding.] Oh, God, help me! [With a dark glance of suspicion at her.] There's some divil's trickery in it, to be swearing an oath on a Catholic cross and you wan of the others.

ANNA—[Distractedly.] Oh, Mat, don't you believe me?

BURKE—[Miserably.] If it isn't a Catholic you are—

ANNA—I ain't nothing. What's the difference? Didn't you hear me swear?

BURKE—[Passionately.] Oh, I'd a right to stay away from you—but I couldn't! I was loving you in spite of it all and wanting to be with you, God forgive me, no matter what you are. I'd go mad if I'd not have you! I'd be killing the world—[He seizes her in his arms and kisses her fiercely.]

ANNA—[With a gasp of joy.] Mat!

BURKE—[Suddenly holding her away from him and staring into her eyes as if to probe into her soul—slowly.] If your oath is no proper oath at all, I'll have to be taking your naked word for it and have you anyway, I'm thinking—I'm needing you that bad!

ANNA—[Hurt—reproachfully.] Mat! I swore, didn't I?

BURKE—[Defiantly, as if challenging fate.] Oath or no oath, 'tis no matter. We'll be wedded in the morning, with the help of God. [Still more defiantly.] We'll be happy now, the two of us, in spite of the divil! [He crushes her to him and kisses her again. The door on the left is pushed open and CHRIS appears in the doorway. He stands blinking at them. At first the old expression of hatred of BURKE comes into his eyes instinctively. Then a look of resignation and relief takes its place. His face lights up with a sudden happy thought. He turns back into the bedroom—reappears immediately with the tin can of beer in his hand grinning.]

CHRIS—Me have drink on this, py golly! [They break away from each other with startled exclamations.]

BURKE—[Explosively.] God stiffen it! [He takes a step toward CHRIS threateningly.]

ANNA—[Happily—to her father.] That's the way to talk! [With a laugh.] And say, it's about time for you and Mat to kiss and make up. You're going to be shipmates on the Londonderry, did you know it?

BURKE—[Astounded.] Shipmates—Has himself—

CHRIS—[Equally astounded.] Ay vas bo'sun on her.

BURKE—The divil! [Then angrily.] You'd be going back to sea and leaving her alone, would you?

ANNA—[Quickly.] It's all right, Mat. That's where he belongs, and I want him to go. You got to go, too; we'll need the money. [With a laugh, as she gets the glasses.] And as for me being alone, that runs in the family, and I'll get used to it. [Pouring out their glasses.] I'll get a little house somewhere and I'll make a regular place for you two to come back to,—wait and see. And now you drink up and be friends.

BURKE—[Happily—but still a bit resentful against the old man.] Sure! [Clinking his glass against CHRIS'.] Here's luck to you! [He drinks.]

CHRIS—[Subdued—his face melancholy.] Skoal. [He drinks.]

BURKE—[To Anna, with a wink.] You'll not be lonesome long. I'll see to that, with the help of God. 'Tis himself here will be having a grandchild to ride on his foot, I'm telling you!

ANNA—[Turning away in embarrassment.] Quit the kidding, now. [She picks up her bag and goes into the room on left. As soon as she is gone BURKE relapses into an attitude of gloomy thought. CHRIS stares at his beer absent-mindedly. Finally BURKE turns on him.]

BURKE—Is it any religion at all you have, you and your Anna?

CHRIS—[Surprised.] Vhy yes. Ve vas Lutheran in ole country.

BURKE—[Horrified.] Luthers, is it? [Then with a grim resignation, slowly, aloud to himself.] Well, damned then surely. Yerra, what's the difference? 'Tis the will of God, anyway.

CHRIS—[Moodily preoccupied with his own thoughts—speaks with somber premonition as ANNA re-enters from the left.] It's funny. It's queer, yes—you and me shipping on same boat dat vay. It ain't right. Ay don't know—it's dat funny vay ole davil sea do her vorst dirty tricks, yes. It's so. [He gets up and goes back and, opening the door, stares out into the darkness.]

BURKE—[Nodding his head in gloomy acquiescence—with a great sigh.] I'm fearing maybe you have the right of it for once, divil take you.

ANNA—[Forcing a laugh.] Gee, Mat, you ain't agreeing with him, are you? [She comes forward and puts her arm about his shoulder—with a determined gaiety.] Aw say, what's the matter? Cut out the gloom. We're all fixed now, ain't we, me and you? [Pours out more beer into his glass and fills one for herself—slaps him on the back.] Come on! Here's to the sea, no matter what! Be a game sport and drink to that! Come on! [She gulps down her glass. Burke banishes his superstitious premonitions with a defiant jerk of his head, grins up at her, and drinks to her toast.]

CHRIS—[Looking out into the night—lost in his somber preoccupation—shakes his head and mutters.] Fog, fog, fog, all bloody time. You can't see vhere you vas going, no. Only dat ole davil, sea—she knows! [The two stare at him. From the harbor comes the muffled, mournful wail of steamers' whistles.]

[The Curtain Falls]


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