SCOTS
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Document 986

Pillars of Society

Author(s): Alison Thirkell

Copyright holder(s): Alison Thirkell

Text

SYNOPSIS

James Beaumont, a shipbuilder and repairer, is the most important and influential man in his community, involved in schemes for the improvement of the town - and his own finances. Two family members return from exile in America, bringing the threat of exposure of a scandal James was involved in in his youth.

As pressure mounts, threatening his position and his business, James is driven to the point of allowing a ship to set sail in an unseaworthy condition risking the lives of the crew - and members of his own family.

NOTE

Language - James is more Scottish when he speaks to Caird, Andy, Betty; less so with Jack, Lilian, Rowland.

James has to speak Scots although he has travelled abroad, for fear of being thought "snobby"

Rowland fancies himself, because he is educated. Speaks Morningside. The ladies try to talk a bit posh when speaking to him.

Jack & Lilian Americanised - Jack tending towards Scots at first, reverts to more American when he realises James has double-crossed him.

Mrs Laing an incomer - not so broad as locals


CHARACTERS

MRS BEAUMONT (Betty)

MARTHA BEAUMONT - James's sister

MRS BOYTER - neighbour

MRS LAING - neighbour

DEANA - adopted daughter of Beaumonts

ANDY - dockyard foreman

CAIRD - Beaumont's clerk

HARRY THOMSON - Betty's cousin

JOHNNY BEAUMONT - young son

JAMES BEAUMONT - Provost, dockyard owner

MR BOYTER - local businessman

MR SANDERSON - local businessman

LILIAN HISLOP - Betty's half-sister

JOHN/JACK THOMSON - Betty's brother



SETTING

The play was written in the 1870s and is set in a community very like Dundee, with a large boatyard and harbour, with many foreign boats coming and going. It is also a community interested in having a railway brought in. There was a railway "fever" in Scotland about that time.

The action of the play takes place in the Beaumont's home in what is described as a spacious garden room. A door down left leads to Beaumont's room/office. Another door further up left. In the right wall a large entrance door. The rear wall is almost completely glass with an door opening on to a covered veranda or conservatory. Steps lead down from there to the garden, part of which can be seen, enclosed by a fence with a small gate.

Beyond the fence is a street, the far side of which is lined with small wooden houses painted in bright colours (as in the East Neuk?) It is summer and the sun is shining warmly. Now and then people wander along the street; they stop and speak to each other, buy things from a little corner shop, etc.



MRS BEAUMONT, MARTHA BEAUMONT, MRS BOYTER, MRS LAING AND DEANA ARE SITTING IN A CONSERVATORY, BUSY WITH NEEDLEWORK. THERE IS SOME COMING AND GOING AS THEY FINISH SEWING AND FOLD UP GARMENTS. MR ROWLAND IS READING TO THEM.

ANDY, THE FOREMAN FROM THE SHIPYARD COMES IN FROM OUTSIDE. MRS BEAUMONT POINTS TO THE DOOR ON THE LEFT. ANDY GOES TO KNOCK ON IT. CAIRD COMES OUT WITH PAPERS AND HIS HAT IN HIS HAND, AS IF ON HIS WAY OUT.

CAIRD: Oh, you're there?

ANDY: Mr Beaumont sent for me.

CAIRD: I ken, but he canna see you himsel. He's told me to tell ye -

ANDY I'd raither see the maister -

CAIRD: He's told me to tell ye. You're to put a stop to these speeches to the men on Saturday evenings.

ANDY: I thocht my free time was my ain.

CAIRD: Ye dinna get free time so that ye can keep the men frae working. Last Saturday nicht, you told them their livelihoods were being threatened by the new machines and methods we've introduced doon at the yard. Why dae ye dae that?

ANDY: For the good o the community.

CAIRD: Strange. Mr Beaumont says that's the very thing that will break up the community.

ANDY: I dinna mean what he means by community, Mr Caird. I'm the foreman of the Workers' Association -

CAIRD: You're Mr Beaumont's foreman. And the only Association you owe your loyalty to is the Beaumont Shipbuilding Association. That's whaur we all get our living. And that's what the maister wants you to hear.

ANDY: The maister wouldny hae put it like that. But I ken wha I've to thank for this. It's that damned American ship that's in for repairs. Thae folk expect us to work like they dae in their country and it's no...

CAIRD: Aye, aye, I've nae time tae discuss all that. Now, you've heard Mr Beaumont's orders, so pit a stop to these haverings. Awa back to the yard. I'm gey shair ye're needed there. I'll be there mysel in a wee while. Excuse me, ladies.

HE EXITS IN ONE DIRECTION, ANDY IN THE OTHER. .

MR ROWLAND FINISHES READING AND CLOSES HIS BOOK.

ROWLAND: There you are, ladies - the end.

MRS BOYTER: What a grand story. Such a fine moral!

MRS BEAUMONT: A book like that certainly gives food for thought.

ROWLAND: Indeed. It shows us a worthy contrast with what we see day and daily in our newspapers and journals. The way that the large countries present themselves is nothing but a facade hiding corruption. If you'll pardon me speaking so freely. They have no moral foundation. These great communities of today are whited sepulchres.

MRS BOYTER: Deed aye, that's very true. You need look no further than the crew of the American boat in the harbour at the moment.

ROWLAND: Well, I won't set my tongue to such scruff of humanity as those. But even in the better classes - How are things with them? Doubt and dismay on every hand we see. No peace in men's minds, and no security in any kind of relationship. The undermining of family life out there, in the wider world! The boldfaced overturning of the most solemn truths!

DEANA: But there are some fine things done too, aren't there?

ROWLAND: Fine things? I fail to comprehend -

MRS BOYTER: Mercy me, Deana. How can you --

ROWLAND: I don't think it would do us any good if so-called fine things like that took a hold here. No; we hereabouts should thank God that things in our community are the way they are. Of course, even here there are some tares among the wheat - alas. But we do our best to weed them out. We must keep our community pure, ladies; we must hold back the tide of untested notions which an impatient age is trying to force on us.

MRS BOYTER: There are plenty of them about. Only last year, we nearly had that wretched railway foisted on us.

MRS BEAUMONT: Ah, well, James managed to put a stop to that.

ROWLAND: Divine Providence, Mrs Beaumont! You may be sure that your husband was an instrument in the hand of Divine Providence when he refused to be art and part of that scheme.

MRS BEAUMONT: But the way he was abused in the newspapers. But we're forgetting our manners, Mr Rowland. We must thank you for giving up so much time for us.

ROWLAND: Not at all. During the school holidays -

MRS BEAUMONT: It's still a sacrifice of your time -

ROWLAND: Don't mention it, Mrs Beaumont. You are all making sacrifices in a noble cause - blithely and willingly. These fallen women, on whose behalf we are working, should be thought of as casualties on life's battlefield. And you are the Sisters of Mercy who prepare the lint and the bandages for their wounds, tend them and heal them -

MRS BEAUMONT: It must be awful grand to see everything in such a braw light.

ROWLAND: A lot of it is natural; but a lot can also be reached through application. The great thing is to have a serious purpose in life and to view everything in the light of that purpose. Do you not find, Miss Beaumont, that your life has a more solid base to it since you decided to devote yourself to the worthy cause of educating the young?

MARTHA: Well, I'm not sure. Often when I'm in the schoolroom, I wish I were far out on the stormy sea.

ROWLAND: Well, now, you must bar the door against temptation, Miss Beaumont. You don't mean sea literally, of course. You're referring to the stormy sea of life where so many come to grief. Do you really want to join in the struggle and turmoil afflicting the people we see in our streets? Isn't it so much better to sit here and turn our backs to such trouble and strife?

MARTHA: Oh, I'm sure you're perfectly right.

ROWLAND: And in a home such as this - a good, well-doing home where family life is seen at its best - where peace and harmony reign - is something bothering you, Mrs Beaumont?

MRS BEAUMONT: They seem to be very loud in there.

ROWLAND: Is there some particular case at issue?

MRS BEAUMONT: I don't know. My husband seems to have someone with him.

HARRY THOMSON, SMOKING A CIGAR, COMES IN, RIGHT. HE STOPS AT THE SIGHT OF THE WOMEN.

HARRY: Oh - sorry.

MRS BEAUMONT: It's all right, Harry; come away in. You're not disturbing us. Do you want something?

HARRY: No, I just thought I'd look in. Good morning, ladies. (TO MRS BEAUMONT) Well, what's to happen?

MRS BEAUMONT: Happen? About what?

HARRY: James has called a meeting.

MRS BEAUMONT: What for?

HARRY: Oh, it's all this argie-bargie about the railway again.

MRS BEAUMONT: Surely not! Poor James! As if he hadn't enough worries already.

ROWLAND: But how has this come about, Mr Thomson? Mr Beaumont made it perfectly clear last year that he would take nothing to do with any railway.

HARRY: Aye, that's what I thought. But I met Caird just now, and he told me that the idea's come up again, and that Beaumont's having a collogue with local money-men.

MRS BOYTER: I thought I heard my man's voice. Mr Sanderson and Mr Welland were deaving him to see Mr Beaumont.

HARRY: Oh, Michael Welland. The one they call "Holy Mick".

ROWLAND CLEARS HIS THROAT.

HARRY: Oh, sorry, Mr Rowland.

MRS BEAUMONT: When everything was so nice and peaceful.

HARRY: Well, speaking for myself, I wouldn't mind if they started up a brangle about it again. It would give us a wee divert, at least.

ROWLAND: I think we can manage without that kind of distraction.

HARRY: It depends on your personality. Some people need a bit of a stushie now and again. But life in a backward wee corner of the world like this doesny offer much in that line, more's the pity. Anyway, not everybody has the stomach for it

HE GLANCES AT THE TITLE OF ROWLAND'S BOOK.

HARRY: "Woman as the Servant of Society." What kind of havers is this?

MRS BEAUMONT: Harry, you're not to say that. I'm sure you haven't read it.

HARRY: No, and I'm not ettling to!

MRS BEAUMONT: You're surely no weel the day.

HARRY: No, I'm no.

MRS BEAUMONT: Did you not sleep last night?

HARRY: No I slept very badly. I was feeling poorly, after tea, so I went for a dander up to the Institute and read a book about the North Pole. There's something invigorating reading about men warsling with the elements.

MRS BEAUMONT: It doesn't seem to have been awfy guid for you.

HARRY: No, it wisny. I tossed and turned the haill night, dreaming I was being hounded by a fearsome walrus.

JOHNNY COMES IN.

JOHNNY: Were you chased by a walrus, Uncle Harry?

HARRY: I dreamt it, ye wee eedjit. Are you still steering about with that daft whigmaleerie? Why do you no get yoursel a real gun?

JOHNNY: I wish I could!

HARRY: There's some point in having a real gun. Some excitement about pressing the trigger -

JOHNNY: And I could shoot bears with it. But Father winny let me.

MRS BEAUMONT: You're not to put notions like that into his head, Harry.

HARRY: Tuts. A fine generation of bairns we're raising. All this gab about adventure and when it comes to the bit it's nothing but playacting, when they should be toughening themselves up by facing up to danger. Dinny point that thing in my face, you gowk. It might fire.

JOHNNY: It's not loaded, Uncle Harry.

HARRY: You never know. It could be. Point it another way, I tell you. Why don't you take a trip to America in one of your father's ships? Go on a buffalo hunt, Or fight Redskins.

JOHNNY: I wish I could. And I could maybe meet Uncle John and Aunt Lilian.

HARRY: What havers!

MRS BEAUMONT: You can go and play in the garden again now, Johnny.

JOHNNY: Can I go out in the street?

MRS BEAUMONT: Well, not too far.

JOHNNY RUNS OUT.

ROWLAND: You shouldn't put such outlandish notions into the boy's head, Mr Thomson.

HARRY: No, I daresay. He's to turn into a tumfie, like the rest of them.

ROWLAND: Why don't you go to America yourself?

HARRY: Me? In my poor state of health? But of course no one cares for that! Anyway, there has to be someone in this town to keep the flag of idealism flying. Save us. They're bawling again.

MRS BEAUMONT: Who's bawling.

HARRY: I dinny ken who it is. They're yelling at the tops of their voices. It's not good for my nerves.

MRS BOYTER: That'll be my man, Mr Thomson. He's that used to speaking at public meetings.

ROWLAND: Everyone's as bad, by the sound of it.

HARRY: Of course, of course. As soon as there's money in question - this place! Everyone in it is so measly and moneygrubbing. Yeuch!

MRS BEAUMONT: Well, that's better than the old days when no one thought of anything but ploys and gallivanting.

MRS LAING: Was it as bad as all that?

MRS BOYTER: Indeed it was, Mrs Laing. You can be thankful that you didn't live here then. The changes there have been since I was a young lass! Well, you only need to look back about fourteen or fifteen years. My certes. What goings on we had then. There was the Dance Club and the Musical Society -

MRS BEAUMONT: And the Dramatic Club. I mind that well.

MRS BOYTER: Aye. They produced your play, Mr Thomson, didn't they?

HARRY: (UPSTAGE) I canny just bring that to mind.

ROWLAND: Mr Thomson wrote a play?

MRS BOYTER: Long afore you came here, Mr Rowland. Anyway, it was only performed the once.

MRS LAING: Is that the play you were telling me about, Mrs Boyter, where you played the bonny young lass?

MRS BOYTER: (GLANCING AT ROWLAND) Me? I really canny call that to mind, Mrs Laing. But I do recall the hectic social life that used to go on. There were some houses that had twa big dinner-parties in a week.

MRS LAING: And I hear there was a travelling theatre company that came here.

MRS BOYTER: Oh, they were the worst of the lot. Now -

MRS BEAUMONT COUGHS.

MRS BOYTER: Oh, eh, no. No, I dinny really mind of them.

MRS LAING: Why, I heard they got up to all sorts of shenanigans.Is there any truth in it?

MRS BOYTER: No truth in it at all, Mrs Laing. Deana, will you pass me that piece of linen?

MRS BEAUMONT: (SIMULTANEOUSLY) Deana, my dear, run out and ask Kirsty to bring in the coffee.

DEANA EXITS.

MRS BEAUMONT: If you'll excuse me for a minute, ladies, I think we'll have coffee in the garden.

SHE GOES OUT ON TO THE VERANDA. ROWLAND MOVES TO THE TABLE AND STANDS SPEAKING TO HER. HARRY IS SITTING OUTSIDE SMOKING.

MRS BOYTER: Oh, Mrs Laing, what a fricht to gie a body!

MRS LAING: Me? What have I said?

MRS BOYTER: How could you let dab the subject of - For heaven's sake! Did you not see Deana there?

MRS LAING: Deana? But what's the matter with -

MRS BOYTER: And in this very house. Do you no ken it was Mrs Beaumont's brother that -

MRS LAING: Her brother? I know nothing about it. I'm an incomer here -

MRS BOYTER: You mean you've never heard -?

MRS LAING: Well, what is it? About Mrs Beaumont's brother?

MRS BOYTER: Did you no ken that he was mixed up in a fearsome scandal?

MRS LAING: Harry Thomson mixed up in a scandal?

MRS BOYTER: No, no, not Harry Thomson. He's her cousin, Mrs Laing. I'm speaking of her brother, the waster of the family. He was cried John. He ran awa to America. Well, he had to.

MRS LAING: And he was the one involved in the scandal?

MRS BOYTER: Oh, aye. It was a kind of a - well, what would you say - a kind of a - with Deana's mother. It's as clear in my mind as if it was yesterday. John Thomson was in the office then, working for old Mrs Beaumont. James Beaumont was just back from Paris. He wasn't betrothed yet -

MRS LAING: But what about the scandal?

MRS BOYTER: Well, you see, that winter, there was a travelling theatre company in the town. And there was an actor Dow, among them, with his wife. And all the young men were gaun gyte about her. Though God kens why they thought she was bonny. Well, this Mr Dow cam hame ae nicht and found - I can hardly put my tongue to it - he found the chamber door lockfast. And, would you credit it, the man inside had to lowp oot o the windy! Frae the upper storey!

MRS LAING: And that was why he ran away to America.

MRS BOYTER: You can see that he was forced tae. Because efter that something cam oot that was nearhaund as disgraceful. He had made away with some of the firm's money.

MRS LAING: Really!

MRS BOYTER: Well, that was the rumour, everywhere you went. Here, didn't old Mrs Beaumont nearly go bankrupt, all ower the heid o it? My man told me so himsel. But far be it from me to say anything. But, in any case, Mrs Dow didny get any o the siller.

MRS LAING: What did happen with Deana's parents, after that?

MRS BOYTER: Dow went away and left his wife and bairn. But the bizzum had the brass neck to bide here anither haill year. Mind you, she didny daur make an exhibition of hersel at the theatre, but she had to tak in folk's washing and sewing to win her brose.

MRS LAING: Fancy!

MRS BOYTER: And tried to start up a dancing school. But wha would trust their bairns tae a wumman like yon? She didny last very long. She wisny yaised wi the trauchle, that denty lady. She developed trouble wi her chest, and deed.

MRS LAING: Well, that was a scandal, and no mistake!

MRS BOYTER: So, as you can understand, it's been a sair fecht for the Beaumonts, tae thole that. It's been the only skeleton in their closet, as my man once remarked. So never mention it in this house, Mrs Laing. Or the half-sister, forbye!

MRS LAING: Mrs Beaumont has a half sister, as well!

MRS BOYTER: Did have - by a mercy. There's no traffic between them nooadays. Oh, she was a maggoty-headit wumman, yon. Would you credit it, she cropped her hair and wore men's tackety boots in the rain. And when the waster, Mrs Beaumont's half-brother - John - ran awa - and naturally he was the speak o the haill neighbourhood - nothing would suit her but to gang ower and join him! And the scandal she steired up afore she left!

MRS LAING: Another scandal! Michty me!

MRS BOYTER: It was like this. James Beaumont had just got trysted to marry Betty Thomson; and he was awa in with his bonny lass on his arm, to let her aunty ken - for the Thomsons were orphans, you see - when Lilian Hislop, her half-sister, rose up from her chair and fetched James Beaumont a scud on the ear. James Beaumont that was so rare and upstannin a man, and awfy weel-daein.

MRS LAING: I can hardly believe it.

MRS LAING: Without a word of a lee! And then she packed her kist and awa to America.

MRS LAING: She must have had a lang ee on him hersel.

MRS LAING: Aye, you may be sure! She'd been takkin it that he wid mairry on to her, the very minute he won hame frae Paris. As if a man of the world like James, so educatit and genteel, and weel-farrant, and such a byornar lamp o licht -

MRS LAING: But what has this Miss Hislop been doing in America?

MRS BOYTER: Ah, weel, ower that hangs a veil, that it wid be better no to lift, as my man pit it.

MRS LAING: How do you mean?

MRS BOYTER: Weel, the family has nae contact with her, as you would expect. But a'body hereabouts kens that she has sung for money, ower there, in cafes, and given lectures, and published a book that was just an affront.

MRS LAING: Mercy me.

MRS BOYTER: Yes, Lilian Hislop is another skeleton in the Beamonts' family closet. So now ye ken as much as me, Mrs Laing. Naturally, I've only tellt you this so that you can be on your guard.

MRS LAING: Well, you can depend on me. But that poor Deana Dow. I'm fair vexed for her.

MRS BOYTER: Oh, it was a bonny comeout for her. Imagine if she had stayed with parents like yon! We all took tent o her, of course, and gied her good counsel. After a while, Miss Martha arranged for her to come and bide here. But she's always been a countermacious lass. Whit can you expect, when you think o the example she had before her? A lass like that is not like one of oor ain. She's whiles ill to please, Mrs Laing.

MRS LAING: Wheesht, here she comes.

MRS BOYTER: Yes, Deana's a very able girl. Oh, are you there, Deana? We're just about finished the sewing. What a grand smell of coffee. A rare treat in the middle of the morning.

MRS BEAUMONT: (FROM THE VERANDA) The coffee is ready now, ladies.

THE LADIES GO OUTSIDE, SPEAKING WITH OSTENTATIOUS FRIENDLINESS TO DEANA. AFTER A FEW MOMENTS, SHE COMES INSIDE AND PICKS UP HER SEWING.

MRS BEAUMONT: Deana, are you not having coffee?

DEANA: No thank you. I don't want any.

SHE SITS DOWN TO SEW. MRS BEAUMONT AND MR ROWLAND SPEAK TO EACH OTHER FOR A MOMENT. HE COMES INTO THE ROOM. HE PRETENDS TO BE FETCHING SOMETHING FROM THE TABLE, THEN SPEAKS TO HER QUIETLY.

ROWLAND: Deana.

DEANA: Yes?

ROWLAND: Why are you not coming outside?

DEANA: When I came in, I could see, by the look of that new lady, that they'd been speaking about me.

ROWLAND: But did you not see how goodhearted she was with you on the veranda?

DEANA: That's just what I canny thole.

ROWLAND. You have a thrawn nature, Deana.

DEANA: Aye.

ROWLAND: But why?

DEANA: That's just the way that I am.

ROWLAND: Could you not try to be some other way.

DEANA: No.

ROWLAND: And why's that?

DEANA: Because I'm like these fallen women.

ROWLAND: Deana!

DEANA: Mother was a fallen woman, as weel.

ROWLAND: Who's spoken about such things to you, Deana.

DEANA: Nobody. They never speak about anything. They all handle me with kid gloves - as though I would smash to smithereens if - oh, how I hate all this guidwill.

ROWLAND: Deana, my dear, I understand how you feel confined in this place, but -

DEANA: Aye, if I could only win away, far away. I'm shair I could warsle through by mysel if I didny live amang folk that are so -

ROWLAND: So what?

DEANA: So upstannin and moral.

ROWLAND: Now, Deana, you don't mean that.

DEANA: Oh, but I do. Ilka day, Hilda Laing and Netta Boyter are held up afore me as examples. I can never be so perfect. I dinny even want to be. If only I were far away frae here. Then I micht be able to be worthy.

ROWLAND: You are worthy, Deana.

DEANA: Whit's the good o it, in this place?

ROWLAND: Leaving here. Are you giving it serious thought?

DEANA: I wouldny bide anither day, if it wereny for you.

ROWLAND: Why do you like to be with me, Deana?

DEANA: Because you teach me so much about what's grand.

ROWLAND: I teach you about what's grand?

DEANA: It's no quite that you teach me but when I hear you speak, I seem to understand what's grand.

ROWLAND: What do you mean by grand, exactly?

DEANA: Grand is - something that is big and worthwhile and - far, far away.

ROWLAND: Hm. Deana, my dear, I am seriously concerned about you.

DEANA: Is that the sum of it?

ROWLAND: You know I'm very fond of you.

DEANA: If I was Hilda or Netty, you wouldny be feart to let folk ken it.

ROWLAND: Oh, Deana, you've no idea of the thousand and one things I've to take into account - when a man's chosen to be a pillar of the society that he lives in, well, he has to ca canny. If I was sure that folk would take the right meaning out of my intentions. - Well, there's no other way for it. You must, you shall be raised to a higher level. Deana, will you make a pact with me, that when I come - when the state of affairs lets me come to you - and say, "Here's my hand", then you will take it and be my wife? Is that agreed, Deana?

DEANA: Aye.

ROWLAND: Oh, thank you, thank you. Because - I, too - Oh, Deana, I'm that fond of you - oh, wheesht, here's someone coming. Deana, please, for my sake, away outside and join the others.

DEANA GOES OUT TO JOIN THE LADIES. AS SHE DOES SO, MR BOYTER ENTERS FROM BEAUMONT'S OFFICE, FOLLOWED BY BEAUMONT WITH A SHEAF OF PAPERS IN HIS HAND. HARRY STROLLS IN. MRS BEAUMONT HOVERS NEAR DOOR.

BOYTER: Right, then, we're agreed. Never you fear, Mr Beaumont. You may depend on a Scotsman's word. You ken that.

BEAUMONT: And no falling by the wayside, no matter what back-come we get.

BOYTER: We stand or fa thegither.

HARRY: Fall. What's about to fall? The railway scheme?

BEAUMONT: No, not at all. That's to go ahead.

BOYTER: Full steam ahead, Mr Thomson.

HARRY: Really?

MRS BEAUMONT: But, James, what is all this about -

BEAUMONT: My dear Betty, what can this possibly mean to you? (TO THE MEN) We must get the prospectus drawn up as soon as may be. Our names will head the list of subscribers, Boyter. With Sanderson and Welland. Our status in the community means that it is our bounden duty to give this cause every possible support.

BOYTER: Deed, aye. You can depend on that. We'll see it through.

BEAUMONT: Oh, aye, I've no fears about the outcome. We must put our hands and hearts to it, and once we can show that every part of our society is involved, even the council will feel obliged to contribute its share.

MRS BEAUMONT: But, James, will you no come outby and tell us -

BEAUMONT: Tuts, Betty, this is not a business for women to concern themselves in.

HARRY: So you're really planning to back the railway, in the finish?

BEAUMONT: Aye, certainly.

ROWLAND: But, Mr Beaumont, last year you -

BEAUMONT: Last year, it was a different kettle of fish. The plan then was for a line to run along the coast -

BOYTER: Which would have been a complete waste of effort, Mr Rowland, because we already have the steamer. And, forbye, it would have cost the earth, and damaged our ain interests in the burgh.

BEAUMONT: The main point is that that plan would not have benefited our community as a whole. That was why I set my face against it, and why the landward route has now been adopted.

HARRY: But that isn't going to touch any of the burghs around here.

BEAUMONT: It will touch this burgh, Harry. We have come to an agreement for a branch line to this burgh.

HARRY: Oh, that's a new set-out, isn't it?

BOYTER: Aye, it's a beezer o a plan!

ROWLAND: Hm.

BOYTER: The hand of God has laid out the countryside to order, for a branch line.

ROWLAND: Is that so, Mr Boyter?

BEAUMONT: I have to agree that it was sheer Providence that took me up-country on an affair of business in the spring. By chance, I came into a glen I'd never been through before. Like a stroke of lightning, the idea came to me that here was the very place for a branch-line to the burgh. I've had a surveyor to look at it and here are his preliminary calculations and estimates. There's nothing to stand in the way.

MRS BEAUMONT: But, James, I canny credit that you've kept all this a secret!

BEAUMONT: Betty, Betty, you could never have grasped the nature of the thing. Anyway, I haven't let dab to a living soul until this day. But now the moment has arrived. Now we can come out into the open and work for it with all our strength. Aye, I shall push this project through even if I have to hazard everything I possess.

BOYTER: Count us in, Mr. Beaumont. You can rely on us.

ROWLAND: Do you really look for so much from this plan, gentlemen?

BEAUMONT: Deed, aye! Think what an upstir it will give to the whole of our community. The markets it will open up. The forests it will make available, the ores for mining. Think of the river with its falls and the mills we could run from its power. A whole new world of industrial power!

ROWLAND: But are you not feart of the corruption that could arise from contact with that wicked world that lies out yonder?

BEAUMONT: Not at all, Mr Rowland. Our hard-working wee burgh rests on a sound moral foundation nowadays, God be thanked. We have all helped to scour it clean, so to speak. And we shall continue to keep it redd up, each in his own way. You, Mr Rowland, with your good works in our schools and homes. We, the men of business, will make society stronger by spreading the ability to thrive over as wide a circle as possible. And the womenfolk - come in ladies, you may listen to what I have to say now - haud on with your efforts at weeldaein. Be a prop and support to your loved ones, as Martha and Betty are for me and Johnny - (LOOKS ROUND) - Aye, where is Johnny the day?

MRS BEAUMONT: Och, now it's the holidays it's nae use trying to keep him inby.

BEAUMONT: Does that mean he's down by the docks again? He'll come to grief afore all's done.

HARRY: Och, havers. A wee ploy, amang the forces of nature.

MRS LAING: It's byornar, Mr Beaumont, the love you show to your family.

BEAUMONT: The family is the very basis on which society stands. A good home, leal and worthy friends, a wee, closeknit circle with no sneckdrawing incomers to cast their shadows -

CAIRD ENTERS WITH LETTERS AND NEWSPAPERS.

CAIRD: The foreign mail, Mr Beaumont. And a telegram frae New York.

BEAUMONT: Ah, this'll be frae the owners of the "Indian Girl".

BOYTER: Is that the post in? Weel, you'll excuse me, Mr Beaumont?

BEAUMONT: Aye, aye, Mr Boyter. But mind, we foregather again at five this afternoon.

BOYTER: I'll mind o that.

BOYTER EXITS.

BEAUMONT: By cracky! This is just typical. These Americans! It's disgraceful!

MRS BEAUMONT: James, whit's adae?

BEAUMONT: Look at this, Caird. Read it.

CAIRD: "Execute minimum repairs. 'Indian Girl' to leave harbour as soon as seaworthy. Season favourable. At worst, cargo will keep her afloat." God be here!

BEAUMONT: "Cargo will keep her afloat!" Those louns ken fine that if there's ony mishap that cargo will tak the ship tae the seabed, like a stane.

ROWLAND: Well, that just goes to show what the state of affairs is in these so-called great societies.

BEAUMONT: Aye, you're richt there. They care for nothing, not even human life, so lang as they make their profit. (TO CAIRD) Can we hae the "Indian Girl" seaworthy in four or five days?

CAIRD: If Mr Welland lets us stop work on the "Palm Tree".

BEAUMONT: He'll no dae that. Weel, see to the mail, if you please. By the by, did you see Johnny doon at the pier?

CAIRD: No, Mr Beaumont.

CAIRD EXITS TO OFFICE.

BEAUMONT: Eighteen human souls at stake. And these louns dinny gie a dottIe!

HARRY: Weel, it's a seaman's job to face the elements. There maun be something upstirring in fronting the wind and the waves with nothing but a jimp wee plank atween you and the next warld -

BEAUMONT: I cannot see a shipowner hereabouts that could commit himself to something like that! There's not a soul. Not one! (SEES JOHNNY) Ah, there he is.Thank the Lord.

JOHNNY, CARRYING A FISHING-ROD, RUNS IN THROUGH THE GARDEN GATE.

JOHNNY: Uncle Harry, I've been down seeing the steamer.

BEAUMONT: Have you been along that pier again?

JOHNNY: No, I was just out in a boat. Would you credit it, Uncle Harry, there's a whole circus come ashore, with horses and wild animals; and there were a lot of passengers, as weel.

MRS LAING: My certes, are we to see a circus?

ROWLAND: That's hardly likely!

MRS LAING: No, no - I didny mean us, exactly -

DEANA: I should like to see a circus.

JOHNNY: Me too!

HARRY: You wee eedjit. Circus horses are no worth a buckie. Now if it was a fiery mustang skelping across the prairie - that would be worth something. Oh, these dead and alive wee places.

JOHNNY: Look, there they are!

MRS BOYTER: Oh, my, what an orra set of folk! They're nothing but gangerels. See that woman in the grey dress. She has a knapsack on her back. In the name! She has it tied to her parasol. I jalouse she'll be the manager's wife.

DEANA: That must be the manager. With the beard. He looks like a pirate.

JOHNNY: Mother, he's waving to us.

BEAUMONT: What!

MRS BEAUMONT: Johnny, what on earth do you mean?

MRS LAING: Michty me. The woman is waving as weel!

BEAUMONT: This is past aa!

JOHNNY: Look, look! Here come the horses and animals. And there are the Americans too. From the "Indian Girl".

"YANKEE DOODLE" IS HEARD, ACCOMPANIED BY A CLARINET AND DRUM.

HARRY PUTS HIS HANDS OVER HIS EARS.

HARRY: Yeuch, yeuch, yeuch.

ROWLAND: I think we should withdraw a little, ladies; this is not suitable for us. Let's go back to our work.

MRS BEAUMONT: Should we maybe draw the curtains?

ROWLAND: Just what I had in mind.

THE LADIES TAKE THEIR PLACE AT THE TABLE. ROWLAND CLOSES THE DOOR AND DRAWS THE CURTAINS. THE ROOM IS IN SEMI-DARKNESS. JOHNNY PEERS OUT.

JOHNNY: Mither, the manager's wife is washing her face at the well.

MRS BEAUMONT: What? In the middle of the market-place?

HARRY: Well, if I was trekking through a desert and came across a wee burn, I wouldn't worry about - yeuch, that ugsome clarinet.

ROWLAND: This is getting to be a police matter.

BEAUMONT: Ah, weel. They're foreigners. You canny judge them ower sairly. These folk are no born with the sense of decency which makes us ken by instinct the richt way of daein. Leave them be to go their own ways. What does it matter to us? This gallous behaviour, scunnersome as it is, has nae place in a society like ours, God be thankit. What the deil -?

THE "MANAGER'S WIFE" STRIDES IN THROUGH THE WINDOW.

MRS LAING: (ALARMED) The circus woman! The manager's -

MRS BEAUMONT: Mercy me. What's the meaning of this?

LILIAN: Morning, Betty dear. Morning, brother-in-law.

MRS BEAUMONT: (CRYING OUT) Lilian!

BEAUMONT: (STEPPING BACK) God be here!

MRS LAING: Michty me! Can it really be -

HARRY: Weel. Yeuch!

MRS BEAUMONT: Lilian! Is it really you?

LILIAN: Of course it's me. Come and give me a kiss, then you'll find out.

HARRY: Yeuch! Yeuch!

MRS BEAUMONT: You mean, you're here to -

BEAUMONT: To perform.

LILIAN: Perform? In what way, perform?

BEAUMONT: In the - er - the circus.

LILIAN: James, have you gone nutty? Do you think I've joined a circus? I've learned a few new tricks and clowned about in more ways than one but I haven't started jumping through hoops yet.

BEAUMONT: Then you're not -

MRS BEAUMONT: Thank the Lord for that.

LILIAN: No, we came like other respectable people. Steerage, of course. But we're used to that.

MRS BEAUMONT: We ?

BEAUMONT: Who do you mean by "we"?

LILIAN: Me and the kid.

MRS LAING: Kid!

HARRY: Whit?

ROWLAND: Well, really!

MRS BEAUMONT: But what does that mean?

LILIAN: What do you think I mean? Jack, of course; He's the only kid I have, to my knowledge. You used to call him John.

MRS LAING: The waster!

BEAUMONT: Is John with you?

LILIAN: Of course. I never travel without him. Say, you're all looking very mournful. Why are you sitting in this gloom? What's all this white sewing? Has someone died?

ROWLAND: Madam, this is a meeting of the Society for the Rescue of Fallen Women.

LILIAN: You mean a nice-looking woman like that -

MRS LAING: Well, really!

LILIAN: Oh, I get it! Hey, listen, everybody. Let the Fallen Women look after themselves for one day. They won't fall much further. This is a time for celebration -

ROWLAND: A home-coming is not always a cause for celebration.

LILIAN: Is that so. How do you interpret the Scriptures, Reverend?

ROWLAND: I am not a Reverend.

LILIAN: Not yet, but you're heading that way. Oh, my Lord. These charity clothes stink to high heaven. Just like shrouds. I'm used to the wide open spaces. The air's fresher there.

BEAUMONT: Yes, it is rather close in here.

LILIAN: Don't worry, James. We'll soon get out under the open sky. (PULLS THE CURTAINS OPEN) Let's have the daylight in for when the kid arrives. Wait till you see him. Then you'll have something to look at!

HARRY: Yeuch!

LILIAN: That is, once he's had a chance to scrub himself, at the hotel. He got as mucky as a pig on that boat.

HARRY: Yeuch. Yeuch.

LILIAN: Yeuch? Why, surely it isn't - Is he still hanging about here, saying "Yeuch"?

HARRY: I do not hang about. I only bide here because my health disny allow me to work.

ROWLAND: Ladies, I hardly think -

LILIAN CATCHES SIGHT OF JOHNNY.

LILIAN: Is this yours, Betty? Give us a paw, kid. Are you afraid of your ugly old aunt?

ROWLAND PUTS HIS BOOK UNDER HIS ARM.

ROWLAND: Ladies, I don't think this is quite the atmosphere for further work today. We'll meet again tomorrow, will we?

MRS LAING RISES TO GO. BETTY RISES WITH HER.

LILIAN: Sure, why not. I'll lend a hand.

ROWLAND: You? May I ask, madam, what you plan to do for our Society?

LILIAN: Let in some fresh air - Reverend.



ACT 2

MRS BEAUMONT IS SEATED IN THE GARDEN-ROOM WITH HER SEWING. AFTER A FEW MOMENTS, BEAUMONT ENTERS WITH HIS HAT ON, CARRYING GLOVES AND A STICK.

MRS BEAUMONT: Home already, James?

BEAUMONT: Aye. I've a meeting here.

MRS BEAUMONT: Oh, dear. Jack again, I suppose.

BEAUMONT: No, it's wi ane o the men. Whaur are all your ladies the day?

MRS BEAUMONT: Mrs Boyter and Netta hadny the time.

BEAUMONT: Oh? Cried off, did they?

MRS BEAUMONT: Aye. They were awfy thrang at hame.

BEAUMONT: Of course. And the ithers - the same story?

MRS BEAUMONT: They're busy, as weel.

BEAUMONT: I could hae told you that yestreen. Whaur's Johnny? .

MRS BEAUMONT: I sent him oot for a dander, wi Deana.

BEAUMONT: Huh. Deana. Skeerie young hizzy. Making all that sang about Jack the minute she clapped her een on him.

MRS BEAUMONT: But James, she has nae idea -

BEAUMONT: Weel, Jack, for ane, should hae had the wit no to pay any attention to her. I saw the look on Boyter's face.

MRS BEAUMONT: (PUTS DOWN HER SEWING) James, what do you think has brocht them hame?

BEAUMONT: Weel, he has a farm ower there that's shairly no thriving very weel. They had to come steerage on the boat.

MRS BEAUMONT: Aye, I doubt it maun be something o the sort. But fancy her coming as weel. After the affront she put on you.

BEAUMONT: Ach, that wis a lang time syne. Forget about it.

MRS BEAUMONT: How can I forget about it? When all's said, he's my brither - but it's no so much him that I'm thinking on as all the bother it's causing you. Oh, James, I'm that feart -

BEAUMONT: Feart? O whit?

MRS BEAUMONT: Could they no pit him in the jile for stealing that money frae your mither?

BEAUMONT: Dinny be daft. Naebody can prove there was money taken.

MRS BEAUMONT: But a'body in the toun kens. And you said yoursel -

BEAUMONT: I said naething. The toun kens naething. All they heard wis doutsome havers.

MRS BEAUMONT: Oh, James, you're that good-hearted!

BEAUMONT: Put these old memories ahint you. You've nae idea whit a torment it is to me to be pit in mind o it.

WALKS UP AND DOWN. THROWS DOWN HIS STICK

BEAUMONT: Why in the name o God must they come hame just at this moment when I want nae fash in the toun or in the press? It'll be in ilka paper for miles around. Whether I hold out my hand to them, or turn my back, people will make something o it. They'll rake up all the old dirt, jist as you're daeing. In this kind o community -

THROWS DOWN HIS GLOVES

BEAUMONT: And there's no a soul I can speak wi or call on for support.

MRS BEAUMONT: No a soul, James?

BEAUMONT: Wha could there be? Why in the name o God did they hae to come this very hour? They'll raise a reek, ae way or anither. Trust her for that. It's past tholing to hae fowk like that in the faimily -

MRS BEAUMONT: Weel, it's no my faut if -

BEAUMONT: What's no your faut? That they're your kinfolk? No, that's no your faut.

MRS BEAUMONT: I didny ask them to come.

BEAUMONT: Oh, here we go again! "I didny ask them to come. I didny write them, fleeching and praying. I didny drag them here by the hair o their heids." I ken it all by heart!

MRS BEAUMONT: (BEGINS TO CRY) Why do you hae to be so ill-natured?

BEAUMONT: Oh, aye, that's the way. Start greeting and gie folk mair to speak o. Stop this daftness, Betty. Awa and sit ootside, someone'll maybe come. Dae ye want folk to see you've been greeting? A fine thing it would be if they heard that - wheesht, there's somebody coming.

A KNOCK ON THE DOOR.

BEAUMONT: Come in.

BETTY GOES OUT WITH HER SEWING. ANDY COMES IN.

ANDY: Morning, sir.

BEAUMONT: Good morning. You'll ken why I sent for ye?

ANDY: Mr Caird said something yesterday about ye werenae pleased wi -

BEAUMONT: I'm no pleased at all wi the state o things at the yard, Andy. You're nae further forward wi the repair work. The Palm Tree should have been under sail lang syne. Welland's here ilka day deaving me. He's no an easy man to work wi.

ANDY: The Palm Tree can sail the day after the morn.

BEAUMONT: At last! But whit aboot the American boat, the Indian Girl? She's been lying in the yard for five weeks.

ANDY: The American boat? I took it we were to pit all the men on to your boat till she was ready.

BEAUMONT: I never said that. My orders were that you were to pit as muckle work intae the American as weel. But ye haveny.

ANDY: But ye could pit your finger through her hull. The mair we patch her, the waur she gets.

BEAUMONT: That's no the truth o it. Caird's tellt me the real cause. Ye dinny ken hoo to work these new machines I've bocht - or raither ye've taen a strunt at them.

ANDY: Mr Beaumont, I'm nearhaun sixty year auld, and since I was a laddy I've been yaised wi the auld way o working --

BEAUMONT: We cannae yaise that nooadays. Listen, Andy. Ye're no to think it's for the sake o the siller. I'm no needing that, by guid fortune. But I've to think o the community I live in, and the business that I run. I hae to drive things forrit, or there'll be nae progress at all.

ANDY: I want progress as weel, Mr Beaumont.

BEAUMONT: Aye, for your ain folk. The working class. I ken aboot you political agitators. Ye mak a great stour o words, you steir the men up, but the minute onybody does onything practical to improve maitters, like these machines, you're no wanting to co-operate. You get feart.

ANDY: I am feart, Mr Beaumont. I'm feart for all the folk that'll lose the breid oot their mouths, because o these machines. You're aye saying we've to think o the community but I reckon the community has to think o us as weel. Whit's the use o science and capital pitting these new inventions intae operation afore there's a generation o men that has been educatit to yaise them?

BEAUMONT: You spend ower muckle time reading and thinking, Andy. It'll dae ye nae guid. That's whit's making ye dissatisfied wi your place in society.

ANDY: It's no that, sir. But I canny bear to see ae guid man efter anither getting the seck, and their faimilies gaun hungry, ower the heid o these machines.

BEAUMONT: Huh. When printing was invented, a wheen o scribes went hungry.

ANDY: Would you hae been pleased wi that, if you'd been a scribe?

BEAUMONT: Listen, I didny bring you here for an argie-bargie. The Indian Girl is to be ready to sail the day efter the morn.

ANDY: But, sir -

BEAUMONT: The day efter the morn, dae ye hear me? At the same time as oor ain boat. No an hour later. I've guid reason for wanting the job finished smartly. Hae you read this morning's paper? Then ye'll ken the American crew hae been raising a stoor, again. These hooligans are setting the haill toun by the ears. Ilka nicht there's fechting in the pubs and the streets. No to mention other things I widny care to name.

ANDY: Aye, it's true enough. They're a bad lot.

BEAUMONT: And wha gets the blame for it? Me. It all falls on to me. The newspapers are making oot by their way o it that we're pitting all oor men on to the Palm Tree. And I'm getting all this clart thrown at me. Me that's supposed to be leading the community, setting a good example. Weel, I'm no haeing it. I'm no accustomed to my name being dragged through the glaur.

ANDY: It'll no harm you, sir. Your name's guid.

BEAUMONT: Aye, weel, just at the minute, I need all the respect and guidwill I can muster frae my fellow-citizens. I've a gey big enterprise on hand, as you may have heard, and if ill-hertit folk succeed in shaking the confidence the community puts in me, it could cause me a lot o mischief. So, nae matter whit it costs, I want to stop these damnable newspaper reports. That's why the job's to be done by the day efter the morn.

ANDY: Mr Beaumont, ye micht as weel tell me it's to be done by this efternune.

BEAUMONT: You're telling me it canny be done?

ANDY: Wi the number o men we hae at the moment, aye.

BEAUMONT: Very weel. Then I'll need to tak anither gait.

ANDY: Ye dinny mean ye're awa to seck still mair o the aulder haunds?

BEAUMONT: No. That's no what I'm thinking o.

ANDY: For it would create ill feeling in the toun if ye did that. And in the newspapers.

BEAUMONT: Aye, very likely. So I'll no dae that. But if the Indian Girl isny ready to sail by the day efter the morn, I'll be gieing you your books.

ANDY: Me? (LAUGHS) You're joking, sir.

BEAUMONT: I wouldny be so sure o that, if I were you.

ANDY: Ye couldny turn me aff. My faither and his faither worked all their days in the yaird. And so have I.

BEAUMONT: Wha's forced my hand?

ANDY: You're asking for whit canny be done, Mr Beaumont.

BEAUMONT: Canny be done? It has to be. Aye or no? Gie me a straight answer or you can quit, this very minute.

ANDY: Mr Beaumont, hae ye ever thocht what it means to gie an auld worker the seck? You think he can look for anither place? Aye; he can dae that. But that's no the haill story. You should be there in a man's hame some time, when he comes in and throws his toolbag ahint the door .

BEAUMONT: Dae ye think I'm daeing this without a qualm? Hae I no aye been a guid maister?

ANDY: All the waur for me, sir. For naebody at hame will pit the blame on you. They'll no say onything to my face - they wouldny daur - but they'll keek at me when they think I'm no looking, and say, "Oh, aye, he maun hae brocht it on himsel." Dae you no see, sir, that's what I canny thole? I may be poor, but I've aye been the maister o my ain hoose. It's a wee community, just like your ain, Mr Beaumont. And I've been able to uphauld it and fend for it because my wife and my bairns believed in me. And noo all that's to gang to wrack and ruin.

BEAUMONT: Weel, if there's naething else for it, the lesser maun gie way to the greater; ae man maun suffer, rather than the haill jingbang. That's the only answer I hae for ye, for that's the way o the world. But you're a thrawn man, Andy. You're standing forenenst me no for necessity but because ye'll no credit that machines can work better than flesh and blood.

ANDY: And you're insisting on this, sir, so that if you seck me you can show the Press you're daeing whit they want.

BEAUMONT: Weel, whit if I am? I've tellt ye what it means for me. I've either got every newspaper in the land laying into me, or else I can hae their guidwill when I'm working on a grand scheme for the benefit of the haill community. Whit can I dae? I can either support your wee community, your hoose, or I can build hundreds of hooses - hames that will never be built, never hae a fire in their ingle-neuks, unless I succeed in cairrying through my scheme. It's your choice.

ANDY: Ah, weel, if that's the way o it, I've naething further to say.

BEAUMONT: Hm. Weel, Andy, I'm heart-sorry that we've come to the parting of the ways.

ANDY: We're no parting.

BEAUMONT: How do you mean?

ANDY: Even an auld working man can hae ideals.

BEAUMONT: I ken that. Then you think you can promise -

ANDY: The Indian Girl will be ready to sail the day efter the morn.

HE TOUCHES HIS FOREHEAD, AND EXITS.

BEAUMONT: Weel, I've made that thrawn auld eedjit see sense. That's a good omen, anyway.

ENTER HARRY, THROUGH THE GARDEN .

HARRY: Morning, Betty. Morning, James.

MRS BEAUMONT: Good morning.

HARRY: Oh. I see you've been greeting. So you've heard.

MRS BEAUMONT: Heard what?

HARRY: That the clack has started. Yeuch!

BEAUMONT: Whit do you mean.

HARRY: That thae twa Americans are making a show of themsels about the streets, wi Deana Dow.

MRS BEAUMONT: They canny be.

HARRY: Can they no! Lilian had the brass neck to cry efter me. But I never let dab.

BEAUMONT: And I jalouse folk are taking tent o it?

HARRY: Deed aye! Folk stopped in their tracks and gawped at them. The word spread through the toun like wildfire - like a blaze on the prairie. Ilka house had folk keeking through the windaes, waiting for the show to pass; they were stowed in ahint their curtains like sardines; yeuch! I'm sorry, Betty. I canny help saying "yeuch". This has made me that skeery. I doubt I'll need to hae a holiday, if it cairries on. A gey lang ane.

MRS BEAUMONT: But you should hae spoken to him, and mentioned that -

HARRY: Whit, out there in the street? Aye, I daresay! But whit a nerve, that chiel showing his face in this toun. We'll see if the newspapers canny put his light in a peep.

BEAUMONT: The newspapers. Is there any word o them taking it up?

HARRY: Aye, there is. When I left you, yestreen, I went a wee daunder to the club, for my constitutional. It was weel seen, by the sudden quaitness, that they'd all been speaking of our American friens. Then that editor chiel, Hamilton, came in and congratulated me loudly on the return of my weel-gaithered cousin.

BEAUMONT: Weel-gaithered?

HARRY: His very word. Of course, I drew him a glower and let him ken that as far as I was concerned there was nae word o riches in connection wi Jack Thomson. "Oh," says he. "Is that a fact? Folk usually dae weel in America if they hae some capital at the outset, and your cousin didny gang empty-handit."

BEAUMONT: Hm. Listen, dinny -

MRS BEAUMONT: There, James, you see -

HARRY: Aye, weel he's gien me a nicht withoot a blink of sleep. And he has the impudence to daunder about this toon, as innocent as a lamb. Why could the smit he had no cairry him aff? It's beyond a'thing the way some folk cling to life.

MRS BEAUMONT: Harry. Whit are ye saying?

HARRY: I'm no saying anything. But he's jouked awa frae railway accidents and grizzlie bears and Blackfoot Indians - hasny even been scalped. Yeuch. Here they are.

BEAUMONT: Johnny's wi them.

HARRY: Oh, aye, he wid be. They want to put a'body in mind that they belang to the best faimily in the toun. See all thae folk coming out o the chemist's to gawk at them. My nerves are in sic a state. How a man can be expectit to keep the flag of idealism flying in these circumstances is mair than I can fathom.

BEAUMONT: They're coming in here. Now listen, Betty, I particularly wish you to be as frienly as possible.

MRS BEAUMONT: Really, James. May I?

BEAUMONT: Of course, of course. And you as weel, Harry. Wi any luck, they'll no be staying lang. And while we're thegither, wi naebody else by, I want nae insinuations. We've nae call to embarrass them.

MRS BEAUMONT: Oh, James, you're that good-heartit!

BEAUMONT: Aye, weel, never heed that.

MRS BEAUMONT: No, let me thank you. And forgie me for being so rowed up wi my feelings the noo. Oh, you had every richt to -

BEAUMONT: Never heed, I say, never heed!

HARRY: Yeuch!

JACK AND DEANA ENTER THROUGH THE GARDEN, FOLLOWED BY LILIAN AND JOHNNY.

LILIAN: Morning, everyone.

JACK: We've been having a look around the old place, James.

BEAUMONT: Aye, so they tell me. Plenty of changes, you'll hae noticed.

LILIAN: The good works of James Beaumont well to the fore. We've been to see the gardens you donated to the town -

BEAUMONT: Oh, aye, up there?

LILIAN: "The gift of James Beaumont," as it says over the gate. You seem to be the big man around here.

JACK: Fine ships you have too. I bumped into the captain of the Palm Tree - we were in the same class

LILIAN: And you've built the new school; and I hear you're reponsible for providing the waterworks and the gasworks.

BEAUMONT: Oh, weel, a man maun dae whit he can for the community he lives in.

LILIAN: Very commendable. And it's good to see how highly folk think of you. Without being vain about it, I couldn't help reminding one or two folk we met that Jack and I are part of your family.

HARRY: Yeuch.

LILIAN: What's "Yeuch" about it?

HARRY: Nothing. I said "Hm."

LILIAN: That's all right then. Well, all on your own today?

MRS BEAUMONT: Aye. All on our own.

LILIAN: We met a couple of your "do-gooders" up by the market. They seemed to be in a great rush. But we've had no chance to have a real talk, have we? Yesterday, you had your railway tycoons, and there was the Reverend -

HARRY: He's the dominie.

LILIAN: He's the Reverend to me. But tell me, what do you think of the work I've been doing for the past fifteen years? Has he not grown into a fine young man? Who would know him for the young rapscallion that ran away from home?

HARRY: Hm.

JACK: Lilian, that's enough boasting.

LILIAN: Nonsense. I'm proud of it. It's the only achievement I've ever managed; but it makes me feel I've done something at least. Yes, Jack, when I think how we started out over there, with nothing but our bare paws -

HARRY: Hands.

LILIAN: Paws. Clarty paws.

HARRY: Yeuch.

LILIAN: And empty.

HARRY: Empty! Well, I mean to say -

LILIAN: What do you mean to say?

HARRY: I mean to say - yeuch!

LILIAN: What's wrong with him?

BEAUMONT: Oh, dinny bother with him. He's been gey skeery, the last few days. Er - would you like to take a turn round the garden? You've no had a richt look at it yet. By chance, I have some free time at the moment.

LILIAN: Fine. I'd enjoy that.

MRS BEAUMONT: There's been some changes there, forbye, as you'll see.

BEAUMONT, MRS BEAUMONT AND LILIAN GO OUT INTO THE GARDEN.

JOHNNY: Uncle Harry, dae ye ken whit Uncle Jack asked me? He asked if I'd like to gang to America wi him?

HARRY: You, ye wee skelf? You spend your days tied to your mither's apronstrings.

JOHNNY: Aye, but no for lang. You'll see - when I'm full-grown -

HARRY: Ach, awa. You've nae appetite for danger.

THEY GO OUT INTO THE GARDEN .

DEANA HAS TAKEN OFF HER HAT AND IS STANDING IN THE DOORWAY, SHAKING THE DUST OFF HER DRESS.

JACK: I'm afraid the walk has made you very hot.

DEANA: No, it was braw. It was the best walk I've ever had.

JACK: Do you not go for walks in the morning very often?

DEANA: Oh, aye. But just wi Johnny.

JACK: I see. Maybe you'd rather go into the garden, than stay here?

DEANA: No. I'm fine here.

JACK: So am I. That's a bargain, then. We'll take a walk like this, every day.

DEANA: No, Mr Thomson. You shouldny.

JACK: Shouldn't? But you promised.

DEANA: Ah, but now I mind on it - you shouldny be seen with me.

JACK: Why not?

DEANA: You're an incomer here. You dinny ken. I'm no -

JACK: What?

DEANA: I'd raither no speak of it.

JACK: Come away. You can tell me.

DEANA: Weel, if you must ken - I'm no like ither lassies. There's something - weel, something. So - ye shouldny.

JACK: I don't understand this at all. You've not done anything wrong?

DEANA: Not me. But - No, I'll no speak of it. There'll be plenty folk clyping.

JACK: Hm.

DEANA: But there was something else I wanted to speir at you.

JACK: What?

DEANA: Is it as easy as folk say to make something of yoursel - something grand - over there in America?

JACK: No, it's not all that easy. You have to work hard at first and live pretty rough.

DEANA: I wouldny fash about that.

JACK: You?

DEANA: I can work. I'm fine and strang, and healthy. And Aunt Martha's learned me weel.

JACK: Then, for any favour, come back with us.

DEANA: Oh, you dinny mean that. You said the same to Johnny. But what I want to ken is - are folk as high-mindit there as they are here?

JACK: High-mindit?

DEANA: Aye. I mean, are they all upstannin and moral?

JACK: Well, they're not as bad as folk here seem to paint them. You needn't fear for that.

DEANA: You dinny tak my meaning. I want to go where folk are no upstannin and moral.

JACK: Where they're not? What do you want them to be?

DEANA: I want them to be themsels.

JACK: Oh, they're that, right enough.

DEANA: Then I think it would be just the thing for me, to go and bide there.

JACK: I'm sure you're right. You must come back with us.

DEANA: No, I wouldny gang wi you. I hae to gang by mysel. Oh, I'd win through. I'd mak a something o mysel.

BEAUMONT: (OUTSIDE) No, no, you bide there, Betty, my lass. I'll fetch it. You micht catch a cold.

BEAUMONT COMES IN LOOKING FOR HER SHAWL.

MRS BEAUMONT: (OUTSIDE) You'll need to come with us, Jack. We're away to see the grotto.

BEAUMONT: No, Jack would raither bide here, I mak nae doubt. Deana, tak my wife's shawl out, will you, and gang wi them? Jack'll bide here wi me, Betty. I'm eager tae hear whit life is like ower yonder.

MRS BEAUMONT: Weel, dinny be ower lang. Ye ken whaur we'll be.

BEAUMONT WAITS TILL THEY'RE OUT OF SIGHT AND EARSHOT. HE MAKES SURE THE DOOR IS CLOSED. THEN HE GOES OVER TO JACK, TAKES BOTH HIS HANDS AND SHAKES THEM HEARTILY.

BEAUMONT: Jack, now we're by our lanesome, thank you! Thank you!

JACK: Ach, havers, man.

BEAUMONT: My hoose, my hame, the happiness of my faimily, my standing in the community - they're all due to you.

JACK: Well, I'm blythe to hear it. So some good came out of that old carry-on, at the finish, then?

BEAUMONT SHAKES HIS HANDS AGAIN.

BEAUMONT: Thank you, thank you! It taks ae man in ten thousand to dae whit you did then.

JACK: Put it behind you. We were a pair of gallus young gomerils. One of us had to take the blame.

BEAUMONT: But the guilty one - I should hae taen it.

JACK: No, in this case, it was the job of the innocent party. I had no worries, no reponsibilities, no parents to think of. I was dying to get away from the deadly routine of that office. You had your mother still alive; and, forbye, you'd just got yourself secretly engaged to Betty. And she was very much in love with you. What would have happened to her, if she'd found out -

BEAUMONT: I ken, I ken. All the same -

JACK: And wasn't it because of Betty that you went to break off the affair with Mrs Dow? The only reason you were there that evening -

BEAUMONT: Why did that drouthy skellum hae to come hame that very evening? Aye, Jack, it was for the sake o Betty. All the same - that you could be so big-heartit as tak the blame -

JACK: Put it behind you, James. We agreed that was the best way out. You had to be saved; you were my friend. I was very proud of that friendship. There was me, just a local laddy working in an office, you were rich and well-connected, just back from London and Paris. Yet you were friendly to me, even though I was four years younger. Now, I realise it was because you were in love with Betty. But then I was so proud. Anyone would have been. Anyone would have volunteered to help you out, especially when all it involved was setting the town's tongues wagging for a month. And it gave me a chance of escape into the great wide world outside.

BEAUMONT: Aye, weel. I hae to tell you, Jack, that it's no entirely forgotten even yet.

JACK: No? Well, what's that to me? Once I'm away back to my ranch -

BEAUMONT: Oh, you're away again?

JACK: Oh, aye.

BEAUMONT: Not too soon, I hope.

JACK: Soon as possible. I only came home for Lilian's sake.

BEAUMONT: How's that?

JACK: Well, Lilian's not getting any younger and for some time she's been hankering to get back home. Not that she'd ever admit it. How could she leave an irresponsible young lad like me on his own, someone who before he was twenty got mixed up in -

BEAUMONT: Aye, weel?

JACK: Well, I don't think you're going to like this, James, but I have to own up to it.

BEAUMONT: You never told her!

JACK: I did. I know it was wrong but I couldn't help it. You see, Lilian has meant so much to me. I know you can't get on with her, but to me she's been like a mother. The first years over there, when we were so hard-up - the way she worked! And when I was ill for months and couldn't earn anything, she even went and sang in cafes - I couldn't stop her - and she gave lectures that people made fun of; and wrote a book that she's since made fun of herself - although she's cried over it, too. All just to keep me alive. And last winter, I couldn't just sit there and watch her pining away, longing for home, after she'd worked herself to the bone for me. So I said to her, "Go home, Lilian. There's no need to worry about me. I'm not as unreliable as you think." And - I told her.

BEAUMONT: What did she say to it?

JACK: Well, she took the view - reasonably enough - that as I was an innocent man there was no reason why I shouldn't come home with her. But you don't need to worry. Lilian won't say anything, and neither will I. Not again.

BEAUMONT: Aye, aye. I trust you.

JACK: Shake hands on it. And that's enough about that old business, luckily the only piece of craziness either of us was ever mixed up in. I plan to enjoy the few days I have here. We had a great walk this morning. Who would have thought that that wee lassy who used to run about, playing at angels in the theatre, would ever - by the bye, James, what ever became of her parents, afterwards?

BEAUMONT: You ken as much as I dae. I wrote you just after you left. Did you get my twa letters?

JACK: Yes, I have them both. That drunken swine abandoned her then?

BEAUMONT: And broke his neck, when he was fu.

JACK: And she died, not long after that? But you'll have done what you could for her - on the quiet?

BEAUMONT: She had her pride. She never let dab to a soul, and she wouldny tak a pennypiece.

JACK: You did the right thing, bringing Deana into your home.

BEAUMONT: Aye. Weel, it was Martha that did that.

JACK: Ah, Martha. Where is she today?

BEAUMONT: Where is she? Weel, if she's no at the schule she'll be busy with the old folk that are nae weel.

JACK: So it was Martha that took care of her?

BEAUMONT: Aye, Martha's aye had a notion for educating bairns. That's why she took up teaching at the council schule. A daft-like ploy.

JACK: Yes, she looked worn-out yesterday. You're right. She's not strong enough for work like that.

BEAUMONT: Oh, she's strang enough. But it's a nasty situation for me. It looks as if I wisny prepared to keep my ain sister.

JACK: To keep her? I thought she had money of her own.

BEAUMONT: No a groat. You mind o whit a fankle Mither was in, when ye left? Weel, she struggled on for a while, wi me helping her, but that wisny a satisfactory state o affairs. I got mysel taen into the firm but that didny work oot very weel either. So in the hinner end, I took ower the haill shebang. But when we totted up the balance sheet, there was naething worth speaking o left o my mither's share. No lang efter that, she deed, and Martha wis left withoot a penny.

JACK: Poor Martha!

BEAUMONT: How do you mean, poor? Ye dinny think I let her want for anything? Not at all. I pride mysel I'm a guid brither to her. She lives wi us, of coorse, and eats at oor table. She's enough as clothe hersel wi whit she gets frae teaching and - weel, she's a single woman, whit mair does she need?

JACK: Hm. That's not the way we look at it in America.

BEAUMONT: Aye, I daresay. In a loose society like yon. But in oor ain wee community, where corruption has no yet, thank the Lord, made ony headway, weemin are content to bide in a simple and seemly fashion. Forbye, Martha has naebody to blame but hersel. She could hae been providit for, langsyne.

JACK: Married, you mean?

BEAUMONT: Aye, and very weel lookit-tae. She's had several braw offers. Oddly enough, seeing she's a woman wi nae siller, a bit lang in the tooth and gey ordinar.

JACK: Ordinary?

BEAUMONT: Och, nae herm to the lass. I wouldny hae it itherwise. Ye ken hoo it is, in a big hoose like this, it's aye handy to hae a - weel, a hamely body like her aboot the place, that ye can ask to lend a hand wi whitever's on the go.

JACK: But what about her?

BEAUMONT: Her? How dae ye mean? Oh, I see. Weel, she has plenty to keep her occupied. There's me and Betty and Johnny and - me. It disny dae for folk to be aye thinking o themsels - especially weemin. At the hinnerend, we all have a community of ae sort or anither to strive for, whether it's great or small. At least, I dae.

CAIRD ENTERS

BEAUMONT: Here's an example. Dae ye think it's my ain affairs that tak up all my time? Deil the bit! (TO CAIRD) Weel?

CAIRD SHOWS HIM A SHEAF OF PAPERS AND WHISPERS

CAIRD: All the papers are in order for the contracts.

BEAUMONT: Fine! Grand! Now, my friend, you'll hae to gie me leave for a wee whilie. (CONFIDENTIALLY, SHAKING HIS HAND) Thank you, thank you, Jack. And if there's ever anything I can dae for you - weel, you follow me. (TO CAIRD) Come away ben.

BEAUMONT AND CAIRD EXIT. JACK STARES AFTER THEM.

JACK: Hm.

HE IS ABOUT TO GO INTO THE GARDEN. MARTHA ENTERS CARRYING A SMALL BASKET.

JACK: Hello, Martha!

MARTHA: Oh - Jack - it's you.

JACK: You've been out early as well.

MARTHA: Aye. If you bide here a wee minute, the ithers will be coming soon.

SHE TURNS TO GO.

JACK: Martha, are you always in such a rush?

MARTHA: Me?

BEAUMONT: Yesterday you kept disappearing so that I couldn't even have a word with you - and today -

MARTHA: Aye, but -

JACK: We always used to be together. Ever since we were bairns.

MARTHA: Oh, Jack. There's mony a lang year sinsyne.

JACK: God be here! It's only fifteen years. You think I'm so different?

MARTHA: Yes, you are, though -

JACK: How do you mean?

MARTHA: Naething.

JACK: You don't seem very pleased to see me again.

MARTHA: I've hung on ower lang, Jack. Ower lang.

JACK: For me to come back?

MARTHA: Aye.

JACK: What made you think I would come back?

MARTHA: To mak up for the wrang ye did.

JACK: Me?

MARTHA: Can ye no mind that it's your blame that a woman died in poverty, and in black-burning shame? Can ye no mind that it's your blame that the best years o a young lassy's life were soured?

JACK: You don't mean you think - Martha, did your brother never -

MARTHA: What?

JACK: Did he never - well - give a word of excuse for me?

MARTHA: Noo, Jack, you should ken hoo strict James's principles are.

JACK: Oh, aye. I know how strict my old pal James's principles are. But this is -! Oh, well. I've just been speaking to him. I think he's changed a bit.

MARTHA: How can you say that? James has aye been a fine upstannin man.

JACK: That's not quite what I meant; but never heed. Now I understand the idea you've had of me. You've been waiting for the return of the black sheep.

MARTHA: Listen, Jack. I'll tell you whit idea I've had o ye. (POINTS OUT TO THE GARDEN) Ye see yon lassy jinking about on the grass wi Johnny? Aye, Deana. Ye mind o the raiveled letter ye wrote me when ye gaed awa? Ye said I wis to trust ye, to believe in ye. Weel, I hae trusted ye, Jack. Thae wicket, ill-heartit things folk spak o efter - ye were running wild when ye did them, ye were heedless -

JACK: What is it you mean?

MARTHA: Ye ken whit I mean. But dinny let's speak o it. Of coorse, ye needed to gang awa, to start ower. Listen, ye mind o hoo we used to play thegither. Weel, I stayed here to play your part. The obligements that you didny even mind ye had to cairry oot, or couldny manage, I've accomplished for ye. I'm only telling ye so that ye dinny hae to reproach yoursel with that as weel. I've been a mither to that lassy, I've raised her as weel as I wis able.

JACK: And you've wasted your whole life in the bygoing.

MARTHA: It wisny wasted. But, Jack, ye were awfy lang in coming.

JACK: Martha, if I could only tell you the - ! Well, in any case, I want to thank you for your loyal friendship.

MARTHA: (SADLY) Ah. Weel, that's us had our talk, Jack. Wheesht, there's somebody coming. Goodbye. I canny bide, the noo.

SHE GOES OUT AS LILIAN ENTERS FROM THE GARDEN FOLLOWED BY BETTY.

MRS BEAUMONT: (OFF) Lilian, for heaven's sake, whit are ye thinking o?

LILIAN: Let go of me. I have to speak to him.

MRS BEAUMONT: But it would make the most awfy clatter. Oh, Jack, still here?

LILIAN: On you go, lad. Don't hang around indoors. Out into the garden and talk to Deana.

JACK: I was just thinking of doing that.

LILIAN: Jack, have you really looked at Deana?

JACK: I think so.

LILIAN: Well, you should. There's a proposition for you to look at.

MRS BEAUMONT: But, Lilian -

JACK: For me?

LILIAN: To look at. On you go.

JACK: Okay. I'm going. I'm going!

JACK GOES INTO GARDEN.

MRS BEAUMONT: Lilian, I'm dumbfoonert. You canny be serious about this.

LILIAN: Of course I am. She's a fine healthy young girl, sound in mind and body. Just the right kind of wife for Jack. That's the sort of woman he needs over there; much better than an old half-sister.

MRS BEAUMONT: Deana! Deana Dow. But, Lilian, think -

LILIAN: I am thinking - of Jack's happiness. He needs a bit of a push in these things. A bit backward in coming forward, never really taken much interest in women.

MRS BEAUMONT: Jack! I thought we'd had enough evidence to the contrar-

LILIAN: Oh, to damn with that old rubbish! Where's James? I want a word with him!

MRS BEAUMONT: Lilian, you're no to dae this!

LILIAN: I'm going to do it. If he wants her, and she wants him, let them have each other. James is a brainy guy. He'll think of a way.

MRS BEAUMONT: Do you really think that this kind of American cairry-on will get by here?

LILIAN: Havers, Betty!

MRS BEAUMONT: And that a man with such byornar strict moral principles as James -

LILIAN: They're not as strict as all that!

MRS BEAUMONT: How dare you!

LILIAN: I'm only saying that James is about as moral as other men.

MRS BEAUMONT: So you still hate him! Why are you here, if you canny forget -? I dinny ken how you can look him in the face efter the way you cairried on.

LILIAN: Yes, I did go over the score that time, I admit.

MRS BEAUMONT: And he's been so weel-hertit to you, forgien you when he had done naething wrang. It wisny his blame that you took a fancy to him. But aye sinsyne you've hated me as weel. (BURSTS INTO TEARS) You've aye grudged me my happiness. And now you're here to affront me, showing the haill toun whit kind o a faimily I've brocht James to mairry into. I'm the one that'll get the blame and that's whit you're aiming at. Oh, it's wicked of you!

BETTY EXITS, WEEPING.

LILIAN: Poor Betty!

BEAUMONT APPEARS AT HIS OFFICE DOOR.

BEAUMONT: Right, Caird. Good. Fine. Send twenty guineas for the Poors Fund. Lilian! On your own? Betty no wi you?

LILIAN: You want me to fetch her?

BEAUMONT: No, leave it be. Oh, Lilian you've nae idea hoo I've wearied on the day I could speak wi you openly. To beg you to forgie me.

LILIAN: Come away, James. Let's not be maudlin. It's not our style.

BEAUMONT: You hae to listen to me, Lilian. I ken things look black for me, noo that you've heard about Deana's mither. But I swear that was just a passing fancy. Honestly, I loved you once - truly.

LILIAN: Why do you think I'm back?

BEAUMONT: Whatever reason you hae, I beg you no to dae anything till you've gien me the chance to acquit mysel. Or at any rate, explain mysel.

LILIAN: Oh, you're afraid now. You loved me once. Yes, so you said, often enough, in your letters. And maybe it was true, in a way, while you were living out there in a wider, freer world that gave you the courage to think openly and freely yourself. Maybe you thought I had a bit more of a mind, more smeddum than most other folk hereabouts. And, forbye, it was a secret between us. Nobody else knew about your bad taste.

BEAUMONT: Lilian, ye're no to think that -

LILIAN: But when you came back here, and saw how people were laughing at me and my daft-like ways -

BEAUMONT: You were a bit kenspeckle, in thae days.

LILIAN: Only because I wanted to shock the old biddies of the town - of both sexes. And then you met that fascinating young actress -

BEAUMONT: It was a passing fancy, nae mair. I swear that no a tenth o all the clatter and speak that went round the toon about me wis true.

LILIAN: Maybe. But then Betty came home, pretty and rich and everybody's sweetheart; and the word spread that she was to get all her aunt's money, and I was to get none.

BEAUMONT: Ah, yes, that's the hert o it, Lilian. I'll no hum and hae about it. I wisny browdened on to Betty at that time. I didny brak it aff wi you because I wis in love wi her. It wis the siller. I needed it. I had to mak shair o it.

LILIAN: You can tell me that to my face!

BEAUMONT: Aye. If you would just listen to me, Lilian -

LILIAN: But you wrote and said you'd fallen head over heels in love with Betty, asked me to be generous, begged me - for Betty's sake - not to reveal anything that had passed between us.

BEAUMONT: I wis forced to, I tell you.

LILIAN: Then by God, I'm glad for what I did that day!

BEAUMONT: Let me explain to you, keeping a calm souch, how things were. You'll mind that my mither was at the helm o the faimily business. But she had nae heid for affairs at all. I wis cried back frae Paris in a great hurry - just in the nick o time - to save the firm. And whit did I find? Something that I had to keep a secret. Our business, the faimily business that had survived and flourished for three generations, was on the verge o ruin. I wis the only son, the man o the faimily. I had to find a way o saving it.

LILIAN: So you saved Beaumont Shipbuilding, at the expense of a woman.

BEAUMONT: You ken fine that Betty loved me.

LILIAN: What about me?

BEAUMONT: You wouldny hae been happy wi me, Lilian, you ken that.

LILIAN: It was for my own good that you jilted me?

BEAUMONT: You think I did it to please mysel? If I'd had only mysel to think o, I wid hae started all ower again, blithely and boldly. But you dinny appreciate how a man wi a faimily business is bound up wi his heritage, and all the muckle great responsibilities it brings wi it. Rae ye ony conception o the hundreds, even thousands o folk that lippen on to Beaumont's, for prosperity or for poverty? Rae ye ever thocht that this haill community, that we baith call hame, would hae been smashed to smithereens if Beaumont's had failed?

LILIAN: So it's for the sake of the community that you've lived a lie for fifteen years.

BEAUMONT: A lee?

LILIAN: What does Betty know of the circumstances behind her marriage?

BEAUMONT: Can you think that I wid hurt her by letting on about that? What profit wid there be in that?

LILIAN: What profit, did you say? Ah, well, as a business man, you would know about profits. Now, you listen to me, James. I'm going to talk calmly and quietly to you. Tell me, are you really happy?

BEAUMONT: In my faimily, you mean?

LILIAN: Yes.

BEAUMONT: Aye, Lilian, I am. Your sacrifice wis no in vain. I can say, wioot fear o contradiction, that I've grown happier, year by year. Betty's that douce and biddable. Ower the years we've been thegither, she's learned to frame hersel to my character -

LILIAN: Hm.

BEAUMONT: At the first o it, she had an awfy wheen o romantic notions. She wis laith to see that ower the years the fire o passion has to dwine intae the candle-flame o frienship.

LILIAN: But she sees that now?

BEAUMONT: Oh, aye. You'll appreciate that contact wi me day and daily has no been wioot a soothering effect. Folk hae to learn to reduce their claims on ane anither if they're to fill that place in society that the guid Lord has intended for them. Betty has come to realise this ower the years so that now our hame is a shining example to ithers.

LILIAN: But these others know nothing about the lie.

BEAUMONT: Lie?

LILIAN: Yes, the lie on which your life has been founded these past fifteen years -

BEAUMONT: You're calling that a -?

LILIAN: I call it a lie. A triple lie. You lied to me, you lied to Betty, you lied to Jack.

BEAUMONT: Betty has never asked me to say anything.

LILIAN: She didn't know there was anything to say.

BEAUMONT: You won't ask me to. For her sake.

LILIAN: Oh, no. I can stand the sniggers. My shoulders are broad.

BEAUMONT: Jack won't, either. He's told me that.

LILIAN: But what about you, James? Isn't there a part of you that longs to be free of this lie?

BEAUMONT: Do you expect me of my ain free will to throw away the happiness o my faimily and my position in society?

LILIAN: What right have you to that position?

BEAUMONT: Ilka day for fifteen years, I've bocht a nip o that right - by my conduct, and my labour, and my achievements.

LILIAN: Oh, you've achieved, all right - you've achieved for yourself, and for others. You're the richest and most powerful man in this burgh. No one stands against you, because they believe you're a man without a flaw. Your home is held up as a model for others; your life as a pattern to follow. But all this honour, and you yourself, are standing on quicksand. One moment, one word spoken, and you and your achievements will sink to the bottom, if you don't do something to save yourself.

BEAUMONT: Why hae you come hame, Lilian?

LILIAN: I want to help you back on to solid ground, James.

BEAUMONT: Revenge. That's what you're after, isn't it? Revenge. But you'll no hae it. There's ae man that kens the truth and he'll steik his gab.

LILIAN: Jack?

BEAUMONT: Aye, Jack. If anybody else accuses me, I'll deny it all. If anybody tries to ding me doun, I'll fecht for my life! You'll never succeed, never. The ae man that could wreck me will tether his tongue. And he's for aff.

ENTER BOYTER AND SANDERSON.

BOYTER: Good morning, Mr Beaumont. We've come to fetch you to the Chamber o Commerce. Ye ken, for to discuss the railway.

BEAUMONT: No, I canny. No the noo.

SANDERSON: But, Mr Beaumont, you'll need to.

BOYTER: Aye, you'll need to, Mr Beaumont. There are folk deaving awa against us. That damned newspaper editor, Hammer, and ithers that wanted the line by the coast, are saying there are personal interests ahint our new proposal.

BEAUMONT: Well, tell them -

BOYTER: It's nae use us telling them, Mr Beaumont.

SANDERSON: No, no, you'll need to come yoursel. Naebody would daur to suspect you o anything like that.

LILIAN: Of course not!

BEAUMONT: I canny, I tell you. I'm no weel. Or, no, wait - gie me a minute to compose mysel.

ENTER ROWLAND.

ROWLAND: Excuse me, Mr Beaumont. I have just seen something that has really disturbed me.

BEAUMONT: Aye, aye. Whit is it?

ROWLAND: Allow me one question, Mr Beaumont. Is it with your goodwill that the young lass that has found shelter under your roof is jauntering about the town with a person -

LILIAN: What person, Reverend?

ROWLAND: The one person in the world she should be kept furthest from!

LILIAN: Is that so?

ROWLAND: Is it with your goodwill, Mr Beaumont?

BEAUMONT IS SEARCHING FOR HIS STICK AND GLOVES.

BEAUMONT: I ken naething about it. Excuse me. I'm in a hurry. I've a meeting at the Chamber o Commerce.

HARRY ENTERS FROM THE GARDEN, CROSSES TO CALL BETTY THROUGH THE HOUSE DOOR.

HARRY: Betty, Betty!

BETTY ENTERS.

BETTY: Whit is it?

HARRY: You're needing to gae doun into the garden and pit the hems on the way a certain person is daffing wi Deana Dow. It gars me nervish to hear them.

LILIAN: Oh? What was this certain person saying?

HARRY: Just that he wants her to gaun to America wi him! Yeuch.

ROWLAND: It's not possible!

BETTY: What did you say?

LILIAN: What a great idea!

BEAUMONT: It's no possible. You've no heard him richt.

HARRY: Ask him yoursel. Here they come, the pair o them. Keep me out o it, though.

BEAUMONT SPEAKS TO BOYTER AND SANDERSON.

BEAUMONT: You go on ahead. I'll be there in a minute.

BOYTER AND SANDERSON EXIT. JACK AND DEANA COME IN FROM THE GARDEN.

JACK: Lilian, she's coming with us.

BETTY: Jack, you're gaun gyte.

ROWLAND: I can't believe it. This is the most shocking thing. What seductive wiles have you used -

JACK: Steadyon!

ROWLAND: Answer me, Deana. Do you really mean to do this? Is it by your own free will that you've taken this decision?

DEANA: I maun win awa frae here.

ROWLAND: But with him! With him!

DEANA: Wha else here would hae the courage to tak me wi him?

ROWLAND: Right. Then you shall hear who he is.

JACK: Sneck up.

BEAUMONT: No anither word!

ROWLAND: If I don't tell her, I shall be failing the community whose morals I've been appointed to protect; and I shall be neglecting my duty to the lass I've had no small share in raising, and who is for me -

JACK: Mind what you're saying!

ROWLAND: She must know the truth! Deana, this is the man who caused your mother's grief and shame.

BEAUMONT: Dr Rowland!

DEANA: Him? (TO JACK) Is this true?

JACK: James. You answer.

BEAUMONT: Be quiet. A'body. No anither word.

DEANA: Then it is true.

ROWLAND: Of course it is. And there's more. This fellow you've put your trust in did not go empty-handed. Old Mrs Beaumont's money - Mr Beaumont can tell you.

LILIAN: Liar!

BEAUMONT: Ahh!

BETTY: Oh, my God.

JACK RAISES HIS ARM.

JACK: You dare to -

LILIAN: Don't hit him, Jack.

ROWLAND: Go ahead. Hit me. The truth will come out - and it is true - Mr Beaumont has said so, and the whole town knows about it. There, Deana, that's the kind of man he is.

SHORT SILENCE.

JACK GRIPS JAMES'S ARM.

JACK: James, James, what have you done?

BETTY: Oh, James, that I should hae rowed you up in all this stramash.

SANDERSON APPEARS IN THE DOORWAY, SHOUTING URGENTLY.

SANDERSON: Mr Beaumont, you've to come at once. The railway scheme is hinging by a threid.

BEAUMONT: (ASTRAY) Whit? Whit is it I've to dae?

LILIAN: (POINTEDLY) You've to do your duty by the community, James.

SANDERSON: Aye, come away. We're needing all your moral strength ahint us.

JACK COMES CLOSE TO BEAUMONT.

JACK: Beaumont, you and I will have a word about this tomorrow.

JACK GOES OUT THROUGH THE GARDEN. BEAUMONT GOES OUT BEHIND SANDERSON, IN A DAZE.

*************



ACT 3

BEAUMONT ENTERS ANGRILY FROM THE FAMILY APARTMENTS. HE IS CARRYING A BELT. HE LEAVES THE DOOR OPEN.

BEAUMONT: Right. He's been working for that. He'll no forget that leathering in a hurry.

HE SPEAKS THROUGH THE OPEN DOOR.

BEAUMONT: Whit? Ach, Betty, you make a jessy o the laddy. It disny matter whit he's done - you'll find an excuse for him. Ill-daein wee limmer. No? Whit would you cry it then? Jouking out o the house in the middle o the nicht, lifting ane o the fishermen's boats, awa nearhaun the haill day, gieing me the fricht o my life - ! As if I hadny enough to think o! And then the wee scunner has the cheek to tell me that he'll run awa. That'll be richt! No, I daresay - you never fash yoursel. He could kill himsel and you widny - Is that so? Well, I want someone to carry on the work I'm daeing; I dinny fancy the idea o deeing wi nae bairn left to Noo, nae mair argie-bargie. I've gien my orders. He's no to set foot out o this house.

HE HEARS SOMETHING.

BEAUMONT: Wheesht. I dinny want fowk kenning.

CAIRD ENTERS.

CAIRD: Can you gie me a minute, Mr Beaumont?

BEAUMONT DISPOSES OF THE BELT.

BEAUMONT: Aye, aye, of course. Hae you been at the yaird?

CAIRD: Aye, I've just come frae there.

BEAUMONT: Weel? A'thing's progressing weel wi the Palm Tree, is it no?

CAIRD: Oh, the Palm Tree can sail the morn, but -

BEAUMONT: It's the Indian Girl, then. Dinny tell me that thrawn auld gowk -

CAIRD: The Indian Girl can sail the morn as weel - but she'll no get faur.

BEAUMONT: Whit do you mean?

CAIRD: Excuse me, Mr Beaumont, but that door's ajee, and I think there's somebody in there.

BEAUMONT CLOSES THE DOOR.

BEAUMONT: Weel, whit is it you've to say that naebody's to hear?

CAIRD: It's this. That your foreman's ettling to send the Indian Girl to the bottom wi all hands.

BEAUMONT: Andy? God be here, whit gars ye think that?

CAIRD: I canny think o ony ither explanation, Mr Beaumont -

BEAUMONT: Weel, say whit you mean, as quick as you can -

CAIRD: Aye, Mr Beaumont. Weel, ye ken how the wark's been dragging ahint since we got thae new machines and set on the new prentice hands?

BEAUMONT: Aye.

CAIRD: Weil, when I went doon there this forenoon, it struck me that the repairs on the Indian Girl had taen a byornar loup forrit. Thon muckle patch on the hull - ye ken, whaur she's rotten -

BEAUMONT: Aye, aye, whit o it?

CAIRD: The haill piece sorted - as faur as you can see. They've wapped it ower. Looks like new. Andy had been working on it himsel the haill nicht by the licht o a lantern.

BEAUMONT: Weel?

CAIRD: I gied it some thocht. And I didny like it. The haunds were haeing their piece so I went and had a reenge about, outside and in. Naebody saw me. It wisny easy to get into the hold, for they've restowed the cargo, but I saw enough as confirm my doubts. There's some joukery-pokery there, Mr Beaumont.

BEAUMONT: That canny be richt, Caird. I canny credit that Andy wid dae sic a thing.

CAIRD: I dinny like to say it, but it's gospel. There's been dirty work at the crossroads. Nae new timber pit in, that I could see. Just plugged and caulked and happed ower wi plates and tarpaulins and the like. The work's been skiffed by. The Indian Girl will never win ower tae New York. She'll gang tae the bottom like a crackit kettle.

BEAUMONT: This is beyond a'thing! But why would he dae sic a thing?

CAIRD: Like as no he wants the new machines tae get a bad name. Or wants his ain back; or wants ye tae tak on all the auld workmen again.

BEAUMONT: And he'd cast away all those lives -

CAIRD: He said the ither day that they're naething but animals on board the Indian Girl.

BEAUMONT: Like enough; but whit about all the capital that will be lost into the bargain? Did he no think o that?

CAIRD: Andy disny hold wi capital, Mr Beaumont.

BEAUMONT: That's true. He's fashious is Andy, aye steirin up trouble. But can you credit it - has the man nae conscience? Now, bide a wee, Caird. We maun be shair o this. No a peep tae a living soul. Folk will think ill o the yaird, if this gets about.

CAIRD: Aye, shairly, but -

BEAUMONT: Ye maun gae down there again while the men are at their denner. I maun hae the full story.

CAIRD: I'll get it for ye, never fear. But, if you dinny mind me speirin, whit will ye dae if -

BEAUMONT: I'll gang tae the proper authorities. We canny mak oursels art and part of a felony. I couldny thole that on my conscience. Forbye, folk will think awfy weel o me when they see how I lay aside all thocht o mysel and let justice run its course.

CAIRD: Aye, that's true, Mr Beaumont.

BEAUMONT: But, first things first. I maun hae the full story. And no a word -

CAIRD: You can rely on me, Mr Beaumont. The full story -.

CAIRD EXITS.

BEAUMONT: Whit a fearfu thocht! But - no, it canny be. It's no possible.

ENTER HARRY.

HARRY: Morning, James. Weel, congratulations on your triumph at the Chamber of Commerce yestreen.

BEAUMONT: Aye, aye.

HARRY: Aye, you bore the gree, they tell me. The voice o reason and foresight battling down selfishness and narrow minds. An irresistible force, smiting the unrighteous. I wonder you had the strength to dae it efter the nesty little scene we had here -

BEAUMONT: Aye, weel, tak nae heed o that.

HARRY: I doubt the last shot's no been fired yet, though.

BEAUMONT: You mean, about the railway?

HARRY: Aye. Ye'll ken, I tak it, whit yon editor chiel, Hammer, has been clecking on?

BEAUMONT: No. Whit is it?

HARRY: He's got wind o that rumour that's fleeing about. Says he's making a front-page story out of it.

BEAUMONT: Whit rumour?

HARRY: All the buying-up of property alang the route of the new branch line.

BEAUMONT: Whit? Is there word o that?

HARRY: Oh, aye, it's the speak o the toun. I heard it at the Institute. Ane of the local solicitors has been busy buying up all the woods and the mines and the waterpower, on the quiet -

BEAUMONT: And who's he acting for?

HARRY: Folk thought he was surely acting for some company frae anither town that got word of your plans, and thocht they would tak their cut afore the prices shot sky-high. Is that no scunnersome? Yeuch.

BEAUMONT: Scunnersome?

HARRY: Aye. Outland folk taking our assets like that. And ane of our solicitors daeing their dirty work! Now it'll be incomers that cairry off all the profit.

BEAUMONT: But it's just a rumour, is it no?

HARRY: Aye, but a'body credits it. And Hammer will print it as fact, the morn or the day efter. A'body at the Institute's very aggrieved. I heard folk saying that if it was true, they wid tak their names aff the subscription list.

BEAUMONT: Never!

HARRY: Ye think not? Whit dae ye think they went into it for, if it wisny for the prospects they could see for themsels?

BEAUMONT: Not at all! There's enough public spirit in this wee community, at least -

HARRY: Here? Aye, weel, you've aye been an optimist and you judge a'body by yourself. But I ken our wee burgh fairly weel, and I'm telling you there's no a living soul - forbye our twa selves, of course - that hoists the flag of idealism. (LOOKS OUTSIDE) Yeuch, they're here now.

BEAUMONT: Wha?

HARRY: The twa Americans. Wha's that they're with? God be here, is that no the captain of the Indian Girl?

BEAUMONT: Whit are they daeing wi him?

HARRY: Birds o a feather, I jalouse. He's likely been a pirate or a blackbirder; and the deil kens whit they've been up to in the last fifteen years.

BEAUMONT: No, you're no to think o them like that.

HARRY: You are an optimist, right enough. Weel, if they're landing in on us again, I'm awa.

HE GOES TOWARDS THE DOOR INTO THE HOUSE. LILIAN ENTERS FROM OUTSIDE.

LILIAN: Hullo, Harry. Leaving on my account?

HARRY: Not at all, not at all. It so happens I need to skelp awa. I hae tae to see Betty.

HE GOES OFF INTO THE HOUSE. THERE IS A SILENCE.

BEAUMONT: Weel, Lilian?

LILIAN: Well?

BEAUMONT: Whit do ye think o me the day?

LILIAN: The same as yesterday. One lie more or less -

BEAUMONT: I maun clear the air. Whaur's Jack?

LILIAN: He's on his way. He had something to say to somebody.

BEAUMONT: Frae whit was said yesterday, you'll jalouse that my haill position will be ruined, if the truth comes to the fore.

LILIAN: I realise that.

BEAUMONT: You understand there's nae question that I wis guilty of any crime that wis spoken about.

LILIAN: Of course. But then who was the thief?

BEAUMONT: There was nae thief. There was nothing stolen. No a penny.

LILIAN: What? Then how did that disgraceful rumour spread, about Jack?

BEAUMONT: Lilian, I can talk with you in a way I canny with ony ither body. I'll tell you a'thing. I wis in a way responsible for that rumour skailing about.

LILIAN: You. You could do that to him? After what he did for you?

BEAUMONT: Dinny judge me without minding how things were at yon time. I cam hame to find my mither tied up in all kinds of reckless ventures; things went from bad to waur; there were failures and all kinds of mishaps teeming down on us. Our house was teetering on the verge of ruin. I wis hauf reckless and hauf desperate. Ye ken, Lilian, I think it wis partly to distract mysel that I drifted into yon affair that led to Jack - ganging awa.

LILIAN: Well?

BEAUMONT: I'm shair you can picture how it wis the speak of the town when you and Jack left. It wisny his first cairry-on, folk said; Dow had been weel greased in the palm to leave wi his gab steekit. Ithers said his wife had the siller. And at the same time, folk were yattering about our business, that it wis hard pushed to meet its commitments. It wisny long afore the gossips put twa and twa thegither. They saw her biding here poor as a kirk mouse and concluded that Jack had carried the siller awa wi him to America. And it grew mair and mair in the telling.

LILIAN: And you, James?

BEAUMONT: I grabbit on to that rumour, like a drowning man.

LILIAN: You helped to spread it?

BEAUMONT: I didny deny it. Our creditors were beginning to press. I had to soother them ower. It was essential that naebody doubted the solidity of the business. Our troubles were temporary - all we needed that they held back for a time. Then a'body would get what wis owing him.

LILIAN: And did everybody get their money?

BEAUMONT: Aye, they did. That rumour saved our business and made me the man I am the day.

LILIAN: in other words, that lie made you the man you are today.

BEAUMONT: Wha was hermed by it - then? Jack wisny ettling to come back.

LILIAN: Who was harmed? Look at yourself, James. Have you not been harmed?

BEAUMONT: Pick on any man you like to name. You'll find every last chiel of them has something he's fain to conceal.

LILIAN: And you call yourselves the pillars of the community.

BEAUMONT: The community has naething better to support it.

LILIAN: Then what's the point of it surviving, such a community? What do its people value? - nothing but lies and deceit. You, the biggest man in the burgh, sit here in splendour, happy, powerful, honoured. You, that allowed an innocent man to be branded a criminal.

BEAUMONT: Dae you think I dinny ken how badly I wronged him? Dae you think I'm no fain to pit things to richts?

LILIAN: How? By owning up?

BEAUMONT: You canny expect that.

LILIAN: It's the only way to put things right.

BEAUMONT: I'm rich, Lilian. Jack can hae whitever he wants -

LILIAN: Oh, yes! You offer him money and see what he'll say.

BEAUMONT: Dae ye ken what he's ettling to dae?

LILIAN: No. He's said nothing since yesterday. This affair has suddenly made a man of him.

BEAUMONT: I need to speak to him.

LILIAN: Now's your chance.

JACK ENTERS. BEAUMONT GOES TOWARDS HIM.

BEAUMONT: Jack -

JACK: No, it's my turn. Yesterday morning, I promised I'd keep my mouth shut.

BEAUMONT: Aye, you did.

JACK: But that was before I knew -

BEAUMONT: Jack, just let me hae twa words, to mak things clear -

JACK: No need. It's clear enough to me. The business was in trouble, I was away, there was a name and a reputation to be lost. Well, I don't blame you entirely. We were both young and reckless in those days. But now, it's different. The truth must be told. I need it.

BEAUMONT: But now is just when I canny tell that truth. I need all the moral credit I can gaither.

JACK: It's not the lies about me you've been spreading that worry me. It's the other affair. about Deana's mother. You've got to own up to that. Deana's going to be my wife and I want to live here with her, build up a new life here.

LILIAN: You mean to do that?

BEAUMONT: With Deana? As your wife? Here?

JACK: Yes, here. I want to live here and silence all the rumour and the scandalmongers. But she won't marry me unless you clear me of all blame.

BEAUMONT: But dae you no see, if I admit to the one, I'm bound to admit to the ither as weel? Maybe you think all I hae to dae is show the firm's books to mak clear there was naething stolen. But I canny dae that - the books were no kept as weel as they should hae been, at yon time. And even if I could, whit would be the use of it? I would be standing there as a man that saved his skin by telling a lee, and had left the lee and all that followed frae it to spread for the next fifteen years, without lifting a finger to stop it. You're no as weel acquainted with our community as you used to be, or you'd see that daeing that would bring me to rack and ruin.

JACK: All I can say is that I mean to make Mrs Dow's daughter my wife and to live with her in this town.

BEAUMONT: Listen, Jack - and you as weel, Lilian. I'm in a gey ticklish position at the moment. If you dae this to me, you'll wreck me, and no just me but a gey prosperous and braw future for the haill community - your ain birthplace.

JACK: And if I don't do it, I'll wreck my own chances of a happy future.

LILIAN: Go on, James.

BEAUMONT: Weel, now, listen. It's to dae with the new railway, and it's no just a simple maitter. You'll hae heard that last year folk were on about building a coast line? Mony folk wi influence spak in its favour, here and everywhere, especially in the press; but I managed to pit the hems on it, because it would hae hermed our steamship trade alang the coast.

LILIAN: Have you interests in this steamship trade?

BEAUMONT: Aye. But naebody wid daur suspect me of taking that into account. My name and my reputation were high abune that. If it came to the bit, I could hae cairried the loss; but the burgh couldny afford it. So they took the decision to run the line in the landward area. Once that was cairried, I privately made siccar that it was possible for a branch line to be brocht here.

LILIAN: Why privately, James?

BEAUMONT: Hae you heard tell of the muckle purchases of woods and mines and waterpower?

LILIAN: Yes. By a group from some of the other towns.

BEAUMONT: The way things are at the moment, these properties are well-nigh worthless to their separate owners, so they cost next to naething. But if the branch line wis on the agenda, the prices would soar sky high.

LILIAN: What of it?

BEAUMONT: Weel, now we come to the bit whaur it could be seen either way; a maitter that in a community like ours could be cairried off only by a man of spotless reputation.

LILIAN: Yes?

BEAUMONT: I'm the man that bocht all these properties.

LILIAN: You?

JACK: By yourself?

BEAUMONT: By myself. If the branch line comes to pass, I'll be a millionaire. If it disny, I'm ruined.

LILIAN: That's hazardous, James.

BEAUMONT: I've pit everything that I hae intae it.

LILIAN: It's not your money I'm meaning. If it comes out that you've -

BEAUMONT: That's my point. With the good name I hae at the moment, I can shoulder the burden, cairry the maitter through to the end, and then say to the community, "See whit I've done on your behalf."

LILIAN: For the community?

BEAUMONT: Aye. And there's no a soul will question my intentions.

LILIAN: All the same, there are those that have acted more openly, without any ulterior motives.

BEAUMONT: Wha's that?

LILIAN: Boyter and Sanderson.

BEAUMONT: To bring them ower to the scheme, I had to let them in on whit I was daeing.

LILIAN: And?

BEAUMONT: They've stipulated for a fifth pairt of it, atween them.

LILIAN: Oh, these pillars of society!

BEAUMONT: Isn't it the community itself that forces these underhaund methods on us? What would hae come about if I'd done it all out in the open? There would hae been argy-bargy and brangling, wi a'body pitting in his tuppenceworth, dividing the properties till they werny worth a docken. There's no a man in this burgh that kens how to organise a muckle scheme like this, bar mysel. Up here it's only men with experience of the bigger world outside that hae the smeddum for enterprise. That's why I hae a clear conscience in this maitter. Only if I haud them can these properties bring real, lasting benefit to thousands of folk.

LILIAN: There is some truth in that, James.

JACK: But I don't know these thousands of folk, and my life and happiness are in the balance.

BEAUMONT: The weill or woe of your birthplace are also in the balance. If ae word is spoken to cast a shadow on my early days, then all my enemies will band together tae bring me down. Folk hae lang memories in this community. My haill life and pedigree will be redd up, the least wee thing I've done will come under scrutiny, wi that shadow in mind. I'll be dunted by a load of scandal and rumour. I'll be forced to gie up the railway scheme, and if I dae that it'll gang tae wrack and ruin. And I'll loss my fortune and my reputation.

LILIAN: Jack, you've heard what he says. You have to go away and say nothing.

BEAUMONT: Aye, aye, Jack, you maun dae that!

JACK: Very well. I'll go, and I'll say nothing. But I'll be back, and then I'll speak out.

BEAUMONT: Stay away, Jack. Steek your gab about this and I'll blithely gie you a share -

JACK: Keep your money. Give me back my name, and my reputation.

BEAUMONT: And loss my ain?

JACK: You and your community can settle that between you. I must, I will marry Deana. So I'll leave tomorrow, on the Indian Girl.

BEAUMONT: The Indian Girl?

JACK: Yes. The captain has promised me a berth. I'll go back to America, sell my ranch and settle my affairs. I'll be back here again in two months.

BEAUMONT: And then you'll clype.

JACK: Then the one who's guilty will pay.

BEAUMONT: Are you keeping in mind that I shall also bear the faut for something I didny dae?

JACK: Who gained so much, fifteen years ago, from that lying rumour?

BEAUMONT: You're driving me to despair. If you speak, I'll deny every word of it. I'll say it's a plot to get your ain back. That you're here tae wring money fae me.

LILIAN: James!

BEAUMONT: You're making me desperate, I tell you. I'll say there's no a word of truth in it. I'm fighting for my life here.

JACK: I have both your letters. I found them this morning in my trunk, along with the rest of my papers. They make things very plain.

BEAUMONT: You'll mak them public?

JACK: If I have to.

BEAUMONT: And you'll.be back here in twa months?

JACK: I hope so. If I get fair winds. I shall be in New York in three weeks - if the Indian Girl doesn't sink.

BEAUMONT: Sink? Why should the Indian Girl sink?

JACK: Why indeed?

BEAUMONT: (TO HIMSELF) Sink?

JACK: Well, Beaumont, now you understand the position. You'd better think things over in the meantime. Goodbye. Say goodbye to Betty for me, though she's hardly treated me in a sisterly way. But I want to speak to Martha myself. She must tell Deana - I want her promise -

HE GOES OUT TO THE REST OF THE HOUSE .

BEAUMONT: (TO HIMSELF) The Indian Girl? Lilian, you hae to stop him!

LILIAN: Surely you can see for yourself. I've no influence over him any more.

SHE FOLLOWS JACK.

BEAUMONT: Sink?

ANDY COMES IN FROM OUTSIDE.

ANDY: Excuse me, sir. Can you gie me a minute?

BEAUMONT: (ANGRILY) Whit's ado?

ANDY: I just wanted to ken if it's definite that you'll gie me the seck if the Indian Girl disny sail the morn.

BEAUMONT: Why are you asking? She'll be ready, will she no?

ANDY: She'll be ready. But if she wisny, I would get the seck?

BEAUMONT: Why ask such a daftlike question?

ANDY: I want tae ken, Mr Beaumont. Tell me - would I get the seck?

BEAUMONT: Dae I usually bide by my word?

ANDY: Then by the morn I would loss my standing in my ain house and with my ain folk. I'd loss my influence wi the men, and loss any power I hae to dae guid for the poor humble folk.

BEAUMONT: Andy, we've been ower all that.

ANDY: Aye. Then the Indian Girl has tae sail.

A SHORT SILENCE.

BEAUMONT: Listen. I canny hae eyes in the back o my heid; I canny cairry the responsibility for ilka thing. You gie me your word, dae you no, that the repairs hae been cairried through in a satisfactory mainner?

ANDY: You gied me very little time.

BEAUMONT: But the repairs hae been done richt?

ANDY: The weather's guid. And it's midsummer.

ANOTHER SILENCE.

BEAUMONT: Hae you anything else to say to me?

ANDY: Naething else I ken o, Mr Beaumont.

BEAUMONT: Then - the Indian Girl will sail.

ANDY: The morn.

BEAUMONT: Aye.

ANDY: Very weel.

HE NODS AND GOES OUT.
BEAUMONT STANDS HESITATING THEN GOES QUICKLY AFTER ANDY AS IF TO CALL HIM BACK BUT STOPS HESITATING AGAIN WITH HIS HAND ON THE DOORKNOB.
THE DOOR OPENS AND CAIRD COMES IN.

CAIRD: Ah, he's been here. Has he confessed.

BEAUMONT: Hm - did you uncover anything?

CAIRD: Is there any need? Could you no see his bad conscience glisking out o his een?

BEAUMONT: Ach, havers, man. You canny see things like that. I asked you, did you uncover anything?

CAIRD: Couldny get there in time. They were already hauling her out of the dock. But that very haste shows you that -

BEAUMONT: It shows naething ava. They've finished the inspection.

CAIRD: Aye, of course, but -

BEAUMONT: There you are, then. Naturally, they've found naething to grummle at.

CAIRD: Mr Beaumont, you ken how weel these inspections are cairried out, especially in a yaird wi a guid name, like ours.

BEAUMONT: Still and all, we're in the clear.

CAIRD: But, Mr Beaumont, surely you could see by Andy's looks -

BEAUMONT: Andy's reassured me completely, I tell you.

CAIRD: And I tell you, I'm morally certain that -

BEAUMONT: Now, whit's all this about, Caird? I ken you've a grudge against the man, but if you're ettling to pick a fecht wi him, you'll need to find anither cause. You ken that it's vital for me - for the company - that the Indian Girl sails the morn.

CAIRD: Very weel. Let her sail. But when we'll hear from her again - hm.

SANDERSON COMES IN FROM OUTSIDE.

SANDERSON: Good morning, Mr Beaumont. Can you spare a minute?

BEAUMONT: Mr Sanderson. Of course.

SANDERSON: I just came to speir if you haud wi the Palm Tree sailing the morn.

BEAUMONT: Aye, surely. That's settled.

SANDERSON: It's just that her captain came the now to tell me there's a gale warning.

CAIRD: The barometer's fallen heavily this forenoon.

BEAUMONT: Has it? Are they expecting a storm?

SANDERSON: A stiff breeze, at any rate. But no a headwind; the very opposite -

BEAUMONT: Hm. Weel, what do you think?

SANDERSON: As I said to the captain, "The Palm Tree is in the haund of Providence." And forbye she's only crossing the North Sea. And freight charges are gey heavy the now so -

BEAUMONT: Aye, it would be expensive to haud her back.

SANDERSON: She's sound enough. And she's fully insured. It's no as if she's as risky as the Indian Girl.

BEAUMONT: How do you mean?

SANDERSON: She's sailing the morn, as weel.

BEAUMONT: Aye. We've put in the hours on her. And - forbye -

SANDERSON: Weel, if that auld coffin can sail - wi yon crew on her - it would be a poor do if we didny -

BEAUMONT: Fine, fine. You hae her papers with you?

SANDERSON: Aye, here we are.

BEAUMONT: Fine. Mr Caird will see to them.

CAIRD: Will you come this way, Mr Sanderson? We'll soon deal with it.

SANDERSON: Thank you. And the upshot, Mr Beaumont, we'll leave in the haund of the Almighty.

HE AND CAIRD GO INTO THE OFFICE. ROWLAND COMES IN THROUGH THE GARDEN.

ROWLAND: You're not often at home at this time of day, Mr Beaumont.

BEAUMONT: Hmm?

ROWLAND: I really came in to see Mrs Beaumont. I thought she might be in need of a word of consolation.

BEAUMONT: Aye, I daresay. But I could be daeing with a word with you myself.

ROWLAND: Of course, Mr Beaumont. Is there something wrong? You look quite perturbed.

BEAUMONT: Oh? Dae I? Weel, it's nae wonder, the way things are piling up around me these last few days. My business affairs - leave alane this railway project. Listen, Mr Rowland, let me ask you something.

ROWLAND: Gladly, Mr Beaumont.

BEAUMONT: It's just a thocht that's come to me. When a man's on the doorstane of a muckle, faur-reaching enterprise that's gaun to provide for the weelfare of thousands of folk - if it means that ae man, just the ane, should maybe hae to fall victim -

ROWLAND: How do you mean?

BEAUMONT: Weel, suppose a man is building a muckle factory. He kens without a doubt, because he's experienced in these maitters, that there's bound to come a day when a man's life will be lost in this factory.

ROWLAND: I believe that's very possible.

BEAUMONT: Or a man's planning to sink a mineshaft. He's hiring men that hae bairns, and young loons wi all their lives afore them. It's certain sure, is it no, that some o them are bound to loss their lives?

ROWLAND: Very likely, alas!

BEAUMONT: Weel. A man in that position kens afore he begins that the project he has in haund at some point has to mean the loss of human life. But that enterprise is for the good of the haill community; for ilka life lost, hundreds mair will benefit.

ROWLAND: Ah, it's the railway you have in mind, all the dangerous construction work and blasting, and the like.

BEAUMONT: Aye. You hae it. I'm thinking of the railway. And forbye the railway will mean factories and mines. But dae you no think -?

ROWLAND: My dear Provost, your conscience is over-active. I'm certain that if you trust in the hand of Providence -

BEAUMONT: Aye, aye. Providence.

ROWLAND: - then you may proceed with an easy mind. Build your railway without fear.

BEAUMONT: Aye, but now, think on a particular case. Suppose there's a ben that's needing blasted, at a gey chancy spot; if this is no done, the railway's jiggered. I ken, and the engineer kens, that it will tyne the life of the man lichting the fuse; but it maun be done, and it's the engineer's job to single out a man to dae it.

ROWLAND: Hm.

BEAUMONT: I ken whit you're away to say. The engineer should tak the match and gang himsel to licht the fuse. But that's no whit's done. He has to sacrifice ane of his men.

ROWLAND: No engineer in this country would ever do that.

BEAUMONT: Nae engineer in ane of the big countries would think twice about daeing it.

ROWLAND: Oh, I can quite believe it. Those corrupt, depraved countries -

BEAUMONT: Oh, they hae their points, those countries -

ROWLAND: How can you say that? You said yourself -

BEAUMONT: At least in those countries men hae rope enough to cairry through large enterprises for the general guid. They hae the smeddum to make sacrifices for a worthy cause; but here a man's haunds are tied by the least wee thing.

ROWLAND: Is a man's life the least wee thing?

BEAUMONT: When it's weighed in the balance against the weelfare of thousands.

ROWLAND: But your examples are so far-fetched, Mr Beaumont. I can't follow you at all today. These enormous communities you're meaning - what is one life worth to them? They think simply in terms of capital. Our moral standpoint is quite different. Take our great shipyards. Name one shipowner in this burgh that would think of sacrificing a human life, for his own gain. And then think of those blackguards in your great communities who, to line their own pockets, send out one unseaworthy ship after another.

BEAUMONT: I'm no speaking of unseaworthy ships!

ROWLAND: But I am, Mr Beaumont.

BEAUMONT: Why bring that in? That's no the point. Oh, these fouterie, chicken-hertit notions. If a general in this country sent his men intae a battle and saw them killed, he'd be sitting up fretting hauf the nicht efter it. It's no like that in ither countries. You should hear yon loon in there speaking of -

ROWLAND: Who? The American?

BEAUMONT: Aye. You should hear him speaking of how the American folk -

ROWLAND: Is he in there? Why did you not say? I'll soon see him off.

BEAUMONT: It's nae use. You'll no get anywhere with him.

ROWLAND: We'll see about that. Ah, here he is.

JACK COMES IN FROM THE HOUSE.
HE SPEAKS BACK THROUGH THE OPEN DOOR.

JACK: All right, Deana, have it your own way. But I'm not giving you up. I'll be back and then we'll get things sorted out between us.

ROWLAND: May I ask what you mean by that? Just what are you after?

JACK: That young girl - in front of whom you blackened my name yesterday - that young girl is going to become my wife.

ROWLAND: You - ? Can you really think - ?

JACK: I want her for my wife.

ROWLAND: Well, in that case, you shall hear -

HE GOES TO THE OPEN DOOR.

ROWLAND: Mrs Beaumont, will you please be a witness to this? You too, Miss Martha. And let Deana come in too. Oh, you're there as well.

LILIAN APPEARS AT THE DOORWAY.

LILIAN: Can I come too?

ROWLAND: Certainly. The more the better.

BEAUMONT: What are you up to?

LILIAN, BETTY, MARTHA, DEANA AND HARRY COME IN.

MRS BEAUMONT: Mr Rowland, I did my best to prevent -

ROWLAND: I shall take care of it, Mrs Beaumont. Deana, you are a giddy and thoughtless girl, but I do not find fault with you. For too long you have been without the moral support needed to guide you. I blame myself for not giving you that support earlier.

DEANA: You're not to say anything now.

MRS BEAUMONT: What's this all about?

ROWLAND: I must say something now, Deana, although the way you have behaved these last two days has made it ten times harder for me. But you must be saved, that is the main thing. You remember what I promised, and the promise you made in return, for when I decided it was the right moment. I must not delay any longer, and so - (TO JACK) This young girl you are pursuing is my promised wife.

MRS BEAUMONT: What!

BEAUMONT: Deana!

JACK: Deana. Your wife?

MARTHA: No, Deana, no!

LILIAN: It's a lie!

JACK: Deana, is that man telling the truth?

A PAUSE.

DEANA: Yes.

ROWLAND: Let us hope that this has defeated your arts of seduction. This step which I have decided to take for Deana's benefit can also be made public to the rest of our community. I sincerely hope that it will not be misunderstood. Meanwhile, Mrs Beaumont, perhaps it would be wisest to take her away and try to restore her to a calm and balanced frame of mind.

MRS BEAUMONT: Yes, come with me, Deana. Oh, how wonderful for you!

MRS BEAUMONT TAKES DEANA OUT. ROWLAND GOES WITH THEM.

MARTHA: Goodbye, Jack.

SHE EXITS.

HARRY: Goad be here!

LILIAN: (TO JACK) Don't lose heart, lad. I'll be here and I'll keep an eye on the reverend.

SHE EXITS.

BEAUMONT: Well, Jack, this means you'll no be sailing on the Indian Girl.

JACK: It means I will.

BEAUMONT: But you'll no be coming back.

JACK: I will certainly be coming back.

BEAUMONT: After this? Why come back now?

JACK: To get my revenge on the lot of you. I'll destroy as many of you as I can.

HE LEAVES. SANDERSON AND CAIRD COME IN FROM BEAUMONT'S OFFICE.

SANDERSON: Weel, all the papers are in order now, Mr Beaumont.

BEAUMONT: Fine, fine.

CAIRD: (WHISPERS) You still want the Indian Girl to sail the morn, then?

BEAUMONT: Aye.

BEAUMONT GOES INTO HIS OFFICE. SANDERSON AND CAIRD LEAVE. HARRY IS ABOUT TO FOLLOW WHEN JOHNNY LOOKS IN CAUTIOUSLY FROM THE HOUSE DOOR.

JOHNNY: Uncle! Uncle Harry!

HARRY: Yeuch. Is that you? What are you doing down here? You're confined to quarters.

JOHNNY COMES A LITTLE WAY INTO THE ROOM.

JOHNNY: Shh! Uncle Harry, hae you heard the news?

HARRY: Aye, I've heard you got a good leathering the day.

JOHNNY GLARES TOWARDS HIS FATHER'S OFFICE.

JOHNNY: He'll no wallop me again. But hae you heard that Uncle Jack's sailing to America the morn?

HARRY: Whit's that to dae wi you? Away up the stair again.

JOHNNY: I'll fight redskins yet.

HARRY: Ach, havers. A wee dottIe like you?

JOHNNY: You just bide a wee, till the morn. You'll see.

HARRY: Daftie!

HARRY GOES OUT THROUGH THE GARDEN. JOHNNY DISAPPEARS BACK INTO THE HOUSE, SHUTTING THE DOOR AS HE SEES CAIRD COMING IN FROM OUTSIDE. CAIRD GOES OVER TO BEAUMONT'S OFFICE DOOR AND HALF-OPENS IT.

CAIRD: Sorry to disturb you again, Mr Beaumont, but there's an awfy gale o wind blowing up.

HE WAITS FOR A MINUTE BUT THERE IS NO REPLY.

CAIRD: Is the Indian Girl to sail?

BEAUMONT: (OFF) The Indian Girl's to sail.

CAIRD CLOSES THE DOOR AND LEAVES.



ACT 4

THE GARDEN ROOM IN THE BEAUMONTS' HOUSE. THE WORK TABLE HAS BEEN CLEARED AWAY. IT IS A GLOOMY AFTERNOON, GROWING STORMY. THE DARKNESS DEEPENS DURING THE SCENE.

A CHANDELIER IS LIT. MAIDS, A FOOTMAN CARRY IN AND PLACE POTS OF FLOWERS, AND LAMPS, TO PUT AROUND THE ROOM.

BOYTER, IN EVENING DRESS, TAILS AND WHITE TIE, WITH WHITE GLOVES, IS SUPERVISING.

BOYTER: Every second candle, Hugh. We dinny want to look ower festive. It's to be a surprise. That's a gey wheen o flowers! Ach, weel, let them bide. Folk will think they're aye here.

BEAUMONT ENTERS FROM HIS OFFICE.

BEAUMONT: (IN THE DOORWAY) Whit's all this stramash?

BOYTER: Losh me, you're no meant to see this. (TO THE SERVANTS) That's fine. Awa ye gang.

THEY GO INTO THE HOUSE.

BEAUMONT: (COMING INTO THE ROOM) Boyter, whit's all this about?

BOYTER: It's about your brawest moment. The haill toun is on the march this evening, in a procession tae honour its maist prominent citizen.

BEAUMONT: Whit!

BOYTER: Wi standarts and a pipe band. We were awa to hae torches, but the weather's that wanchancy that we didny like to risk it. Still, there's to be illuminations. That'll make a splash in the newspapers.

BEAUMONT: Listen, Boyter, I dinny want this.

BOYTER: Canny be cancelled now. They'll be here in hauf an hour.

BEAUMONT: But why did you no tell me afore?

BOYTER: I wis feart you wouldny like the idea. I'd a wee word wi your wife, and she gied me the nod to cairry out some arrangements. She's in chairge o the refreshments.

BEAUMONT: (LISTENING) Whit's that? Are they on the way already? I think thon's singing.

BOYTER: (AT THE GARDEN DOOR) Singing? Och, that's just the Americans. They're hauling the Indian Girl out to the buoy.

BEAUMONT: Hauling out? Aye. ..No, I canny. No the nicht, Boyter. I'm no weel.

BOYTER: Aye, you look awfy no weel. But you'll hae to pull yersel thegither. Deil tak it, you'll hae to. I and Sanderson set great store by this affair. Our enemies are to be clean duntit by the wecht o popular opinion. Rumour's running through the burgh; word o the property deals will hae to be released afore lang. It's gey pressing that you tell folk this evening - in the midst o sangs and speeches and the dirl o glesses - when, ye ken, they're made up wi the cuffuffle anq gaudy-aumous - whitna risk you've taen on behauf o the community. In sic a cuffuffle and gaudy-aumous, as I expressed it, you can dae a hello a lot wi folk in the richt frame o mind.

BEAUMONT: Aye, aye, aye -

BOYTER: Specially when sic a kittle by-ordinar subject is to be raised. Thank God you hae the name and reputation to cairry it through, Beaumont. But tak tent, now, till I tell you about the arrangements. Harry Thomson's composed a sang in your honour. It's awfy braw. It starts wi, "Bear high the banner o ideals!" And Dr Rowland's to mak the oration. You'll hae to reply, naturally.

BEAUMONT: I canny dae that this evening, Boyter. Could you no -

BOYTER: Not at all! Though I'd be gey fain to dae it. The oration will of course be mainly addressed to yoursel. Though maybe we'll get a wee mention. I've discussed it wi Sanderson. We thoucht you could maybe respond wi a toast to the prosperity o the community. Sanderson will gie a word on the greement atween the various degrees o folk in our society, laying wecht on how important it is that the new enterprise shouldny owerturn our moral foundations; and I hae it in mind to pay a wee tribute to the ladies whase contribution to the weel-daeing o our community, semple and humble though it may be, is no to be negleckit. But you're no paying heed.

BEAUMONT: Aye, aye, I am. But, whit do you think, is the sea gey rough this evening?

BOYTER: Are you fashed about the Palm Tree? She's weel happed wi insurance.

BEAUMONT: Insurance, aye. But -

BOYTER: And weill constructit. That's the main thing.

BEAUMONT: Mmm. And if ony herm should come to a ship, it doesny hae to mean that lives are lost. The ship and her cargo, maybe - kists and papers.

BOYTER: Deil tak it, man, kists and papers dinny signify.

BEAUMONT: Dae they no? No, no, I was just meaning Wheesht. They're singing again.

BOYTER: That'll be the crew o the Palm Tree.

SANDERSON ENTERS FROM OUTSIDE, FOLLOWED BY CAIRD.

SANDERSON: Good evening, Provost. Weel, the Palm Tree's being hauled out.

BEAUMONT: And you're a man acquentit wi the sea. Are you still easy in your mind -

SANDERSON: I'm easy in my mind that we're all in the haund o Providence. And, forbye, I've been on board and gied out some wee tracts that I trust will dae them some guid.

CAIRD: (QUIETLY) Weel, if the Indian Girl survives, wi the haill crew roaring fou -

BEAUMONT: Anything wrang, Mr Caird?

CAIRD: I didny say a word, Mr Beaumont.

LILIAN ENTERS.

LILIAN: (TO BEAUMONT) He asked me to say goodbye to you.

BEAUMONT: Is he on board already?

LILIAN: Soon will be. I left him in front of the hotel.

BEAUMONT: And he's still resolved to - ?

LILIAN: Completely resolute.

BOYTER IS BY THE WINDOW ATTEMPTING TO LOWER CURTAINS.

BOYTER: De'il tak these newfangled whigmaleeries. I canny bring thae curtains down.

LILIAN: You want them down? I thought they were to stay up.

BOYTER: Down initially, Mistress Howell. You'll ken whit's afoot?

LILIAN: Yes, I know. Let me give you a hand.

SHE TAKES HOLD OF THE CORDS.

Right, I'll bring down the curtain on my brother-in--law. Though I'd rather ring it up.

BOYTER: You can dae that in a wee whilie. When the garden is cram jammed wi the rejoicing multitude, the curtains will be heisted up to reveal the happy faimily, taken unawares. A man's house should be as clear as glass, aye open to the public gaze.

BEAUMONT SEEMS ABOUT TO SPEAK BUT THEN TURNS QUICKLY AND GOES INTO HIS OFFICE.

BOYTER: Weel, let's just rin ower the arrangements. Come alang, Mr Caird. You can help wi some o the wee particularities.

ALL THE MEN GO INTO BEAUMONT'S ROOM.

LILIAN HAS FINISHED DRAWING THE CURTAIN AT THE WINDOW AND IS GOING ON TO DO THE SAME FOR THE GLASS DOOR WHEN JOHNNY JUMPS DOWN ON TO THE VERANDAH FROM ABOVE .

HE HAS A PLAID OVER HIS SHOULDER AND A RUCKSACK IN HIS HAND.

LILIAN: Oh, my goodness, Johnny, what a fright you gave me!

JOHNNY CONCEALS THE RUCKSACK BEHIND HIS BACK.

JOHNNY: Shhh!

LILIAN: Did you jump from that window? Where are you off to?

JOHNNY: Shhh, dinny let dab. I'm awa to Uncle Jack. Just down to the pier, you ken - just to say goodbye. Cheerio, Aunt Lilian!

HE RUNS OUT THROUGH THE GARDEN .

LILIAN: No, wait! Johnny! Johnny!

JACK THOMSON, DRESSED FOR TRAVELLING, WITH A BAG, LOOKS IN ON THE RIGHT.

JACK: Lilian!

LILIAN TURNS.

LILIAN: What! Are you still here?

JACK: There's a few minutes yet. I must see her just once more. We can't part in this fashion.

MARTHA AND DEANA, BOTH WEARING OUTDOOR COATS, DEANA CARRYING A SMALL TRAVELLING-BAG, COME IN FROM THE HOUSE.

DEANA: I hae to see him, I hae to.

MARTHA: You will see him, Deana.

DEANA: There he is!

JACK: Deana!

DEANA: Tak me wi you.

JACK: What?

LILIAN: Aye. Tak me wi you. That man has sent me a letter to say he's going to let a'body ken this evening, the haill toun -

JACK: Deana, you don't love him?

DEANA: I never loved him. I'd throw mysel in the herbour raither than be engaged to him. I wis fair affrontit wi the way he spoke yesterday. He made me sound like a measly wee dottIe he was raising up to his muckle heicht. I'll no be affronted like that ever again. I'm awa. Can I come wi you?

JACK: Yes! Yes!

DEANA: I'll no be a bother to you for lang. Just gie me a haund to get ower there; just let me find my feet -

JACK: Hurray! Don't worry about that!

LILIAN: (POINTING TO THE OFFICE DOOR) Shhh! Quiet, quiet!

JACK: I'll look after you, Deana.

DEANA: No, you're no to dae that. I mean to look efter mysel. If I can just win awa frae here. Thae women! You've nae idea. They've written to me the day telling me I've to mind what guid fortune I hae, and how open-haundit and muckle-hertit he's being. The morn, and the day efter, and the day efter that, they'll be keeking at me to see if I'm living up to him. All this mim-moued respectability gars me grue!

JACK: Deana, tell me, is that your only reason for leaving? Do I not mean anything to you?

DEANA: Oh, aye, Jack. You mean mair to me than ony ither body.

JACK: Oh, Deana!

DEANA: A'body here tells me I should hate and despise you. They say it's my duty. But I canny understand all this about duty. And I never will.

LILIAN: Good for you, my girl.

MARTHA: That's richt, Deana. Go wi him. Be his wife.

LILIAN: Martha, you deserve a kiss for that. I didn't expect that from you.

MARTHA: Aye, I can believe it. I didny expect it mysel. But I hae tae speak out some time. Oh, how we dree the weird o duty and convention. Gang your ain gait, Deana. Marry him! Dae something to ding doun their daft ideals.

JACK: What do you say, Deana?

DEANA: Aye, I'll mairry you.

JACK: Deana!

DEANA: But first I'm ettling to wark and mak something o mysel. I dinny want to be just something someone taks.

LILIAN: Well done. That's the spirit!

JACK: Fine! I shall wait and hope -

LILIAN: And you'll win, my lad. But now it's time to go aboard.

JACK: Yes, let's go. Oh, but Lilian, my dear sister. Just one word -

HE TAKES HER TO ONE SIDE AND WHISPERS TO HER.

MARTHA: Deana, my hinnie. Gie me a kiss. The last ane.

DEANA: No the last. No, dear, dear Aunt Martha. We'll see each ither again.

MARTHA: No, we'll no. Promise me, Deana - never come back.

SHE TAKES DEANA'S HANDS AND LOOKS AT HER.

Awa ye go, my dear bairn - gang to your happiness ower the sea. Mony's the time, doun there in the classroom, I've longit to be there. It must be awfy bonny ower there. The sky is braider and the clouds flee higher than they dae here. The air that souchs on the faces o the folk is freer -

DEANA: Oh, Aunt Martha, you maun come ower and join us. Ae day.

MARTHA: Me? Na, na. My wee darg lies here. Now I think I can gie mysel ower to being whit I hae to be.

DEANA: I canny picture daeing without you.

MARTHA: We all learn to dae without mony things, Deana. (KISSES HER) But you will never need to find that out. Promise you'll make him happy.

DEANA: I'll no promise onything. I hate this promising. Things maun be as they maun be.

MARTHA: Aye, aye, that's true. Bide as you are now, honest and true to yoursel.

DEANA: I'll dae that, Aunt Martha.

LILIAN IS PUTTING SOME PAPERS IN HER POCKET.

LILIAN: Good lad, Jack. I'll see to that. But off you go now!

JACK: Yes, we've no time to waste now. Goodbye, Lilian. Thank you for all you've done for me. Goodbye, Martha. Thank you as well. You've been a marvellous friend.

MARTHA: Goodbye, Jack. Goodbye, Deana. Long life and happiness!

MARTHA AND LILIAN HURRY THEM TO THE WAY OUT THROUGH THE GARDEN. AS THEY DISAPPEAR, LILIAN SHUTS THE DOOR AND LETS DOWN THE CURTAIN.

LILIAN: Now we're on our own, Martha. You've lost her, and I've lost him.

MARTHA: You've lost him?

LILIAN: I'd half lost him even over there. He was eager to stand on his own, so I let him think I was pining for home.

MARTHA: Is that the way of it? Now I see why you came back. But he'll want you again.

LILIAN: An old half-sister? What use can I be to him now? Men smash their way through a lot of things to find their happiness.

MARTHA: That's true.

LILIAN: But we'll team up together.

MARTHA: Can I be a help to you?

LILIAN: You more than anyone. We've both lost our bairns, we two foster-mothers. Now we're alone.

MARTHA: Aye, alane. Ye micht as weel ken. I loved him mair than ony ither thing in the warld.

LILIAN: Martha! (GRIPS HER ARM) Is that true?

MARTHA: That's been my haill life. I loved him and waited on him coming. Ilka summer I looked to see him walk through that door. In the finish, he came but he didny see me.

LILIAN: You loved him. But it was you that handed his happiness to him.

MARTHA: What else was there for me to dae, when I loved him? Since yon time he left, I've only lived for him. What reasons had I to hope, you micht ask. I thocht I had a few. But then when he came back, they were wiped clean out of his head. He couldny see me.

LILIAN: Because you stood in Deana's shadow.

MARTHA: I'm glad of it. When he went awa, we were of an age; but when I saw him again - oh, whit a fearsome moment thon wis I kent on that instant that I was ten years aulder than him. While he was living out there in the bonny licht o the sun, I was biding here indoors, spinning and spinning -

LILIAN: The thread of his happiness, Martha.

MARTHA: Aye, I spun true gold. But nae bitterness. Oh, Lilian, we were guid sisters to him, were we no?

LILIAN THROWS HER ARMS ROUND HER.

LILIAN: Martha!

BAUMONT COMES FROM HIS ROOM, SPEAKING TO THE MEN INSIDE.

BEAUMONT: Aye, aye, aye. Make whatever arrangements you hae in mind. When it comes to the bit, I'll warsle through.

HE CLOSES THE DOOR.

BEAUMONT: Oh, you're there? Listen, Martha, you'll hae to change your dress. And tell Betty as weel. Naething fancy, just something trig and dainty. But you'll need to hurry.

LILIAN: And put on an air of joy and excitement, Martha. This is a great day for us all.

BEAUMONT: Johnny's to come down, as weel. I'm wanting him aside me.

LILIAN: Ah. Johnny.

MARTHA: I'll awa and tell Betty.

SHE GOES OFF INTO THE HOUSE.

LILIAN: Well, the great moment's here.

BEAUMONT IS PACING BACK AND FORWARD UNEASILY.

BEAUMONT: Aye, so it is.

LILIAN: A man must feel proud and happy at such a moment, I expect.

BEAUMONT: (LOOKS AT HER) Mmm.

LILIAN: The whole town's to be illuminated, they tell me.

BEAUMONT: Aye, they've some such notion.

LILIAN: All the guilds and associations are to march here with their banners. Your name will shine out in fiery letters. Tonight, the telegraph will carry the news to every part of the country, "In the midst of his happy family, his fellow citizens sang the praises of James Beaumont, pillar of society."

BEAUMONT: Aye, so they tell me. And they're to gie three cheers for me out by, and the crowd will cry me out to show mysel at that door there, and I'll hae to beck and bow and make a speech o thanks.

LILIAN: You'll have to?

BEAUMONT: Do you jalouse I feel happy at this moment?

LILIAN: No, I don't suppose you can feel altogether happy.

BEAUMONT: You haud me in contempt, do you no, Lilian?

LILIAN: Not yet.

BEAUMONT: You've nae richt to dae that. To haud me in contempt. Oh, Lilian, you canny imagine how fearsomely alane I am in this narrow, stinted society - how year efter year, I've been forced to gie ower my hopes of a fou and satisfying life, of pursuing my real goals. What hae I achieved? It looks like a lot, but it's naething, when it comes to the bit - a patchwork o foutering. But they'll no stand for ony ither thing here, for onything on a grander scale. If I tried to put ae foot ayont their notion of richt and wrang, my authority would vanish in a blink. Do you ken what we are, we folk they cry the pillars of society? We're the tools of society, nothing mair.

LILIAN: Why are you just starting to see this now?

BEAUMONT: Because I've been gieing it a lot of thocht recently - since you cam hame. Especially this evening. Oh, Lilian, why did I no recognise you as you really are, langsyne?

LILIAN: And what if you had?

BEAUMONT: I would never hae let you leave. And wi you aside me, I would never hae launded up whaur I am now.

LILIAN: What about Betty? You chose her - do you never think what she could have become?

BEAUMONT: All I ken is she hasny been the wife I needed.

LILIAN: Because you've never let her share in your work or given her a chance to be a free and equal partner with you. Because you've left her to spend her life blaming herself for the family disgrace which you actually caused.

BEAUMONT: Aye. Aye. Leeing and cheatrie is the root of it all.

LILIAN: Then why do you not start telling the truth?

BEAUMONT: Now? It's ower late now, Lilian.

LILIAN: Tell me, James. What satisfaction has this lying and cheating brought you?

BEAUMONT: Nane. I shall be brocht to rack and ruin, like this haill rotten society. But a generation is growing after us. It's my laddy I'm warking for; I'm daeing it all for him. There'll come a time when society will be founded on truth and honesty, and then he'll can live a blyther life than I ever could.

LILIAN: With a lie as its foundation? Think what sort of heritage you are leaving to your son.

BEAUMONT: (REPRESSING HIS DESPAIR) It's a heritage a thousand times waur nor you ken. But a time maun come when the curse will be endit. Still and on - (VIOLENTLY) How can you bring all this down about my lugs? Weel, whit's done is done. I maun aye press forrit. I'll no let you ding me down.

HARRY THOMSON, CARRYING AN OPENED LETTER, RUSHES IN FROM OUTSIDE, GREATLY DISTURBED.

HARRY: But this is beyond - Betty, Betty!

BEAUMONT: Whit's ado, man? Are they here already?

HARRY: No, no. I need to talk to somebody.

HE GOES OUT BY THE HOUSE DOOR.

LILIAN: James, you say we came here to destroy you. Well, let me tell you what he's made of, this waster that your virtuous community has shunned like a leper. He can manage without you. He's gone.

BEAUMONT: Aye, but he's ettling to come back.

LILIAN: Jack will never come back. He's gone for good, and Deana with him.

BEAUMONT: Never come back? And Deana awa wi him?

LILIAN: Yes, to marry him. A slap in the face for your virtuous community. Like the time I slapped - ah, well!

BEAUMONT: She's awa as weel? On the Indian Girl?

LILIAN: No, he didn't dare to trust such a precious cargo to that drunken crew. Jack and Deana have sailed on the Palm Tree.

BEAUMONT: Ah! Then - it was to nae purpose.

HE HURRIES TO THE OFFICE DOOR, FLINGS IT OPEN AND SHOUTS.

Caird. Haud back the Indian Girl She's no to sail the nicht.

CAIRD: (INSIDE) The Indian Girl's already heading out to sea, Mr Beaumont.

BEAUMONT SHUTS THE DOOR, STANDS DAZED .

BEAUMONT: Ower late. And to nae purpose.

LILIAN: What do you mean?

BEAUMONT: Naething, naething! Leave me alane.

LILIAN: Hm. James, listen, Jack told me to tell you he's put into my hands the good name he once trusted to you - that you stole from him while he was away. Jack will hold his tongue. And I can choose what to do. Look. Here are your two letters.

BEAUMONT: You hae them. And now you're awa to - the nicht - in front o the procession -

LILIAN: I didn't come here to give you away. I came to rouse you to speak out yourself. I've failed. So, stay embedded in your lie. Look, I'm tearing up your letters. Here are the pieces. Take them. Now there is no evidence against you, James. You're safe now. Be happy - if you can.

BEAUMONT: Lilian, why did you no dae this afore? It's ower late now. My haill life is in smithereens. After the day, I canny haud on wi my life.

LILIAN: What has happened?

BEAUMONT: Dinny ask. Still and on - I maun live. I will live! For Johnny's sake. He'll make a'thing richt - he'll make amends for a'thing.

LILIAN: James!

HARRY THOMSON HURRIES BACK.

HARRY: I canny find him. He's awa. And Betty as weel.

BEAUMONT: Whit's adae wi you?

HARRY: I daurnae tell you.

BEAUMONT: Whit is it, man? You hae to tell me.

HARRY: Aye, weel. Johnny's taken tae his heels. He's awa - on the Indian Girl.

BEAUMONT RECOILS.

BEAUMONT: Johnny! On the Indian Girl No, no!

LILIAN: So that's it. Now I understand. I saw him jump out of the window.

BEAUMONT WRENCHES OPEN THE DOOR OF HIS OFFICE, SHOUTS DESPERATELY.

BEAUMONT: Caird, stop the Indian Girl For ony favour.

CAIRD ENTERS.

CAIRD: How can we, Mr Beaumont? It's no possible.

BEAUMONT: We hae to stop her. Johnny's on board.

CAIRD: Whit!

BOYTER ENTERS, FOLLOWED BY SANDERSON.

BOYTER: Johnny run awa? Impossible.

SANDERSON: They'll send him back wi the pilot, Mr Beaumont.

HARRY: No, no. He's left me a letter. He's planning to hide in amang the cargo, till they're on the high seas.

BEAUMONT: I'll never see him again.

BOYTER: Ach, havers. She's a guid strang ship, newly redded up -

SANDERSON: In your ain yaird, Mr Beaumont.

BEAUMONT: I'll never see him again, I tell you. I've lost him, Lilian. No - I see it now. He wisny mine to lose. (LISTENING) Whit's that?

BOYTER: Music. The procession's at haund.

BEAUMONT: I canny meet wi anybody. I refuse.

SANDERSON: You hae to, Mr Beaumont. Mind whit's at stake.

BEAUMONT: Whit's the use o that now? Wha is there to work for now?

BOYTER: Whitna like question. There's us. And the community.

SANDERSON: That's richt. And you're shairly no forgetting, Provost, that we -

MARTHA COMES IN BY THE HOUSE DOOR.

MUSIC IS HEARD SOFTLY, FAR AWAY DOWN THE STREET.

MARTHA: The procession's nearly here. I canny find hide nor hair o Betty. I canny think whaur she -

BEAUMONT: Canny find her! You see, Lilian, never there to help, in weill or in woe.

BOYTER: Up wi the curtains. See's a haund, Mr Caird. And you, Sanderson. An awfy pity the faimily's no gaithered in about. That's no according to plan.

THE CURTAINS ARE RAISED FROM THE WINDOWS AND DOOR. THE WHOLE STREET IS ILLUMINATED. ON THE HOUSE OPPOSITE IS A LARGE TRANSPARENCY, BEARING THE MOTTO "LONG LIVE JAMES BEAUMONT, THE PILLAR OF OUR SOCIETY."

BEAUMONT: Take thae lichts awa! I dinny want them. Smuir them, smuir them!

BOYTER: In the name. Are you gaun gyte, man?

MARTHA: What's adae wi him, Lilian?

LILIAN: Shhh!

SHE WHISPERS TO MARTHA.

BEAUMONT: Take awa thae lichts, I tell you. I dinny want to see them. Can you no see that it's all a sham?

BOYTER: This is a fine ham o haddy!

BEAUMONT: Oh, how could you understaund? But I - I - These are torches for the funeral pyre.

CAIRD: Hmm.

BOYTER: Come awa, man. You're making an awfy stour o this.

SANDERSON: The laddy will hae a jaunt ower the Atlantic and then you'll hae him here again. Put your trust in the haund o the Almichty, Mr Beaumont.

BOYTER: That ship's no ready to sink yet.

CAIRD: Hmm.

BOYTER: It's no as though she's ane o thae floating death-kists they send out frae thae ither countries -

MRS BEAUMONT, WRAPPED IN A BIG SHAWL, COMES IN FROM THE VERANDAH.

MRS BEAUMONT: James, James, did you hear -?

BEAUMONT: Aye, I heard. But you -you see naething. How could you no look out for him?

MRS BEAUMONT: James, listen -

BEAUMONT: Why did you no keep an eye on him? I've lost him. Gie him back to me, if you can.

MRS BEAUMONT: Aye, I can. I hae him scart-free.

BEAUMONT: You hae him?

OTHERS: Ah!

HARRY: I kent it all the time.

MARTHA: You hae him back, James.

LILIAN: Yes. Now win him as well.

BEAUMONT: Scart-free? Is it true? Whaur is he?

MRS BEAUMONT: I'm no telling you till you forgie him.

BEAUMONT: Forgie - But how did you discover -

MRS BEAUMONT: Do you think a mither has nae een? I wis terrified you would find out. A word or twa he let slip yestreen - then I found his chaumer toom and his claes and his rucksack awa -

BEAUMONT: Aye, aye.

MRS BEAUMONT: So I ran down and got a haud o Andy. We went out in his dinghy. The American boat was just about to sail. Thank God, we won there in time - went aboard - speired about - found him. Oh, James, you're no to punish him!

MR BEAUMONT: Betty!

MRS BEAUMONT: Or Andy either.

BEAUMONT: Andy! Whit do you ken o him? Is the Indian Girl underway again?

MRS BEAUMONT: No, that's just it -

BEAUMONT: Tell me! Tell me!

MRS BEAUMONT: Andy was as feart as I was. It took an age to search the ship - the sky was darkening, the pilot began to girn - so Andy summoned up the smeddum, in your name -

BEAUMONT: Aye?

MRS BEAUMONT: To haud the boat back till the morn.

CAIRD: Hm.

BEAUMONT: Whit luck! Whit braw luck!

MRS BEAUMONT: You're no angert?

BEAUMONT: Oh, Betty, thank God, thank God.

BOYTER: You're gaun an awfy length!

HARRY: Aye, the minute there's a wee chance o a fecht wi the elements - yeuch!

CAIRD: The procession's just coming in by the gairden.

BEAUMONT: Tell them to come awa.

BOYTER: The haill gairden's fou of folk.

SANDERSON: The street's reamin fou, an all.

BOYTER: The haill toun's here, Beaumont. This is an unco sicht!

SANDERSON: Let us take it in all humility, Mr Beaumont.

BOYTER: All the flags are fleeing. Whitna stour of folk! There's the festival committee wi Dr Rowland at the heid o it.

BEAUMONT: Fine, fine. Let them come awa.

BOYTER: Weel; you're taking things awfy ill out at the moment -

BEAUMONT: So?

BOYTER: If you're no in the mood for it, I woudny mind saying a few words on your behalf.

BEAUMONT: Na, na, thank you. The nicht I mean to speak for mysel.

BOYTER: But do you ken whit you're to say?

BEAUMONT: Aye, Boyter. Dinny fash yoursel. I ken whit I'm to say.

THE MUSIC STOPS. THE VERANDAH DOOR IS THROWN OPEN.

DR ROWLAND ENTERS AT THE HEAD OF A FESTIVAL COMMITTEE, ACCOMPANIED BY TWO FOOTMEN CARRYING A COVERED BASKET. AFTER THEM COME CITIZENS OF ALL CLASSES, AS MANY AS THE ROOM WILL HOLD. A HUGE CROWD WITH BANNERS AND FLAGS CAN BE GLIMPSED OUTSIDE IN THE GARDEN AND THE STREET. ** (IBSEN'S STAGE DIRECTION)

ROWLAND: Greetings to you, sir. I see, by the astonishment written on your face, that our intrusion into your happy family circle takes you by surprise as you sit at your peaceful fireside together with fellow citizens as public-spirited as yourself. But our hearts dictated this act of homage. Not for the first time, but for the first time on such an enormous scale. We have often paid tribute to you for the solid moral foundation on which, as it were, you have based our society. But on this occasion we salute in you the far-seeing, indefatigable, self-less, nay, self-sacrificing citizen who has intitiated a new enterprise which, according to the experts, will give a great stimulus to the welfare and material prosperity of our community.

VOICES: Bravo, bravo.

ROWLAND: Mr Beaumont, you have been for many years a model citizen. I am not speaking of your exemplary family life, nor of your spotless moral record. These are matters for private respect, not for public approbation. No. I am referring to your work for the community which is open for all to see. Majestic ships sally forth from your shipyards, carrying our flag to far-distant shores. A large and happy family of workmen look on you as a father. By setting up new industrial developments you have provided prosperity to hundreds of households. You are, in a word, the foundation stone of our community.

VOICES: Hear, hear. Bravo!

ROWLAND: But what we salute most of all is the radiant public-spiritedness which shines in all your deeds - whose influence is so beneficial at this present time. You are now in process of acquiring for us a - I do not shun the simple, ordinary name - a railway.

MANY VOICES: Bravo, bravo!

ROWLAND: But this undertaking is threatened by difficulties, largely the work of narrow, sectional interests.

VOICES: Hear, hear!

ROWLAND: It has become apparent that certain forces outside our community have anticipated our own hard-working citizens, and have pre-empted certain benefits that should by rights come to this town.

VOICES: Aye. Hear, hear.

ROWLAND: This distressing report has, no doubt, come to your attention. Nevertheless, you are undertaking your project unswervingly, knowing that a patriotic citizen has to take the larger view beyond his own parish.

VARIOUS VOICES: What? No, no. Aye, aye.

ROWLAND: It is therefore as a man loyal to both community and country that we salute you tonight. May your enterprise be a wellspring of real, lasting prosperity for our community. The railway is a possible means of access for the agents of corruption from the outside world but it also affords the means of ridding ourselves of them. We can no longer expect to remain immune from such contamination. But the fact that, on this very night of rejoicing, we have been relieved of the presence of one such agent -

VOICES: Wheesht, wheesht!

ROWLAND: - I welcome as a good omen for the enterprise. I draw attention to it only as further evidence that in this house moral considerations override the ties of blood.

VOICES: {Hear, hear! Bravo!

BEAUMONT: {Allow me -

ROWLAND: A few more words, sir. What you have done for our community has been undertaken without thought of your own recompense. But we hope you will accept a small token of the appreciation of your fellow citizens, at this noteworthy moment when, so men of practical experience tell us, we stand at the dawn of a new era.

VOICES: Hear, hear! Bravo!

ROWLAND SIGNS FOR THE FOOTMEN TO BRING FORWARD THE BASKET. DURING HIS SPEECH, THE OBJECTS NAMED ARE PRESENTED.

ROWLAND: Provost Beaumont, sir, it is now our pleasant duty to present you with this silver coffee-service. May it enhance your table when, in future days as so often in the past, we enjoy the pleasure of gathering in your hospitable home. And, gentlemen, you who have so resolutely supported our civic leader, we beg you also to accept a small token of our esteem. Mr Boyter, this silver goblet. You have often, amid the clinking of glasses, extolled the civic causes of this community. May you have many opportunities to raise and drain this goblet. Mr Sanderson, please accept this album of photographs of your fellow citizens. Your well-known open-handedness and generosity has won you many friends from all walks of life.

HE TURNS TO THE CROWD .

ROWLAND: Now, friends, three cheers for Mr Beaumont and his colleagues. Three cheers for the pillars of our society.

CROWD: Long live Mr Beaumont. Long live the pillars of our society. Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah!

LILIAN: Good luck, brother-in-law.

EVERYONE WAITING FOR BEAUMONT.

BEAUMONT: Gentlemen. Your chairman has said that we stand at the dawn of a new era. I hope he is proved right. But to make this come about, we have to face the truth, a commodity that has been far to seek in our community.

GENERAL SURPRISE.

BEAUMONT: I have to begin by refusing the usual words of praise with which you, Dr Rowland, have lavished me. I do not deserve them; for until today, I have not been disinterested. I have not acted unselfishly. Even if I have not always been seeking money, I realise now only too well that a hunger for authority, for position, and for fame, has been the compelling drive behind most of my activities.

BOYTER: Whit the de'il?

BEAUMONT: However, that's not why I reproach myself this evening. For I still believe I can be counted one of the most effective people standing here tonight.

VOICES: Aye, aye. Hear, hear.

BEAUMONT: My greatest fault has been allowing myself to stoop to underhand methods, because I was aware of, and afraid of, the habit our community has of crediting the worst motives to anything anyone does. And there is a case in point.

BOYTER: Ahem!

BEAUMONT: There are many rumours buzzing around of large purchases of land made in this area. These purchases have been made by me. Alone.

VOICES: What's he saying? Beaumont? Provost Beaumont?

BEAUMONT: All of the land is at present in my hands. Naturally, I have informed my partners, Mr Boyter and Mr Sanderson -

BOYTER: No such thing! There's nae proof, nae proof at all -

SANDERSON: There's nothing in writing -

BEAUMONT: That is true; we have not yet consulted on the idea I am about to propose. But I am sure these gentlemen will agree with me when I suggest the the right thing to do is to make these properties into a public company, so that any interested citizen may buy shares.

VOICES: Hurray! Long live Mr Beaumont!

BOYTER: You smooling mowdiewort!

SANDERSON: What joukery-pokery!

VOICES: Hurray, hurray, hurray!

BEAUMONT: Quiet, gentlemen! I have no right to your applause, because what I have proposed was not my original intention. I meant to keep all these properties myself. And I still believe that the best way to make them profitable is for one man to administer them. But that will be your decision. If that is the general wish, I am willing to act on your behalf, to the best of my ability.

VOICES: Aye! Aye!

BEAUMONT: But first you must know me as I really am. Let everyone of us look into his conscience, and let us decide that from tonight we will really enter into a new era. The old life, with its painted surface, its hypocrisy and falseness, its sham respectability and its canting prejudices, will become a museum. And the first gifts to this museum will be - will they not, gentlemen? - a coffee-service, a silver goblet and a photograph album.

BOYTER: Oh, aye, of course!

SANDERSON: You've rooked us of a'thing else. Why no this?

BEAUMONT: And now to the main point at issue between me and the community. You have heard it said that an agent of corruption left us this evening. I can give you further news. The man who was mentioned has not gone alone. He took a young lassy with him, to become his wife.

LILIAN: (LOUDLY) Deana Dow.

ROWLAND: What?

MRS BEAUMONT: Lilian!

GENERAL EXCITEMENT.

ROWLAND: Run away - with him! It's not possible.

BEAUMONT: To become his wife, Dr Rowland. And I have something else to tell you. (QUIETLY) Brace yourself, Betty, for what I'm going to say. (ALOUD) I say, "Congratulations" to that man. For he courageously took the burden of another man's sin. Oh, gentlemen, I am weary of lies. They have poisoned my whole being. I will tell you it all. I was the guilty man fifteen years ago.

MRS BEAUMONT: {(QUIETLY) James!

MARTHA: { " Jack!

SILENT ASTONISHMENT AMONG THE ONLOOKERS

BEAUMONT: Aye, ladies and gentlemen. I was guilty, and he was the one who fled. It is too late now to quash the false and evil rumours spread about him. But why should I grumble about that? Fifteen years ago I took advantage of those rumours. Whether I am to be destroyed by them now is up to your individual consciences.

ROWLAND: What a bombshell! The town's leading citizen! (QUIETLY, TO MRS BEAUMONT) Oh, Mrs Beaumont, I am sincerely sorry for you.

HARRY: What an admission! I'm dumfoonert!

BEAUMONT: But I beg you not to decide tonight. I beg you to return to your homes and to examine your own thoughts and your own hearts. When you are calm again, you can decide whether I have lost or won by speaking out. Good night. I still have a great deal to make amends for. But that is for me and my conscience. Good night. Take away all these whigmaleeries. This is no place for them.

ROWLAND: No, indeed! (QUIETLY TO MRS BEAUMONT) Run off. Then she was entirely unworthy of me after all. (TO THE COMMITTEE) Well, gentlemen, I think after this we had better leave without further ado.

HARRY: How anyone is to raise the banner of ideals now, I really don't - yeeuch!

THE NEWS HAS BEEN DISPERSED THROUGH THE CROWD. THE PROCESSION GOES OUT BY THE GARDEN. BOYTER AND SANDERSON FOLLOW ARGUING IN UNDERTONES. HARRY SLIPS AWAY.

BEAUMONT, MRS BEAUMONT, MARTHA, LILIAN AND CAIRD STAY IN SILENCE.

BEAUMONT: Betty, can you forgie me?

MRS BEAUMONT: D'ye ken, James, this has been the happiest hour I've had in years.

BEAUMONT: How is that?

MRS BEAUMONT: For years now, I've thocht that you were mine aince, and I had lost you. Now I ken you were never mine - but I mean to win you.

BEAUMONT: (EMBRACING HER) Oh, Betty, you've done that already. Lilian showed me how to appreciate your true worth. But Johnny - what about Johnny?

MRS BEAUMONT: Aye, you can see him now. Mr Caird.

SHE GOES TO SPEAK TO CAIRD. HE LEAVES BY THE VERANDAH DOOR. DURING THE NEXT SPEECHES, THE LIGHTS AND TRANSPARENCIES ON THE HOUSES I N THE BACKGROUND GO OUT GRADUALLY .

BEAUMONT: (QUIETLY) Thank you, Lilian. You have saved the best part of me - and saved it for me.

LILIAN: Wasn't that just what I was aiming at?

BEAUMONT: Aye. Was that why you came back? Or was it for some ither reason? I canny fathom you, Lilian.

LILIAN: Mmm.

BEAUMONT: It wisny for ill-will, then? Or to get your ain back? Why did you come back here?

LILIAN: Friendship never rusts, James.

BEAUMONT: Lilian!

LILIAN: When Jack told me the whole tale, about the lie, I made a vow: "The hero of my young days shall break free again."

BEAUMONT: Lilian, Lilian, I didny deserve this from you.

LILIAN: Ah, James. If we women asked for our just deserts -

ANDY COMES IN FROM THE GARDEN WITH JOHNNY.

JAMES GOES TO JOHNNY.

BEAUMONT: Johnny.

JOHNNY: Faither, I promise I'll never -

BEAUMONT: Tak the gate again?

JOHNNY: Aye, I promise, faither.

BEAUMONT: And I promise you'll never need to. From this day forrit, you'll get leave to grow the way you want, not as the heir to my life's work but as a young chiel wi his ain life to forge.

JOHNNY: And can I get to be whitever I want?

BEAUMONT: Aye.

JOHNNY: Thanks. Then I'm no gaun to be a pillar of society.

BEAUMONT: Oh? And why's that?

JOHNNY: I think it must be awfy dreich.

BEAUMONT: You'll be yoursel, Johnny. That's the main thing. As for you, Andy.

ANDY: I ken, Mr Beaumont. I've got my books.

BEAUMONT: We've no come to the parting o the ways, Andy. Forgie me. Please.

ANDY: Whit? But the ship didny sail the nicht.

BEAUMONT: No, and she'll no sail the morn either. I didny gie you enough time. The work's to be done richt.

ANDY: It will be, sir. And we'll yaise the new machines, an all.

BEAUMONT: Fine. But see and mend it guid and proper. There's a wheen o things hereabouts need mending guid and proper. Weel, goodnicht, Andy.

ANDY: Good nicht, sir. And thank you. Thank you.

EXITS.

MARTHA: They're all awa now.

BEAUMONT: And we're on our own. My name's no shining in letters of fire now. All the lichts in the windows are out.

LILIAN: Do you want them lit again?

BEAUMONT: No for onything. Whaur hae I been? You would be stamagasted if you kent. I feel as if I've just come by my health and sanity efter being poisoned. But I feel as weel that I can be a strong young loon again. Come closer in about me. Come, Betty. Johnny, my laddy. And you, Martha. Oh, Martha. It's like as if I haveny seen you, all these years.

LILIAN: I can believe that. Your society is made up of men only; you don't notice women.

BEAUMONT: Aye, that's true. And for that reason - and you're no to argufy, Lilian - I dinny want you to leave Betty and me.

MRS BEAUMONT: No, Lilian. You're no to.

LILIAN: Well, how could I in all conscience adandon you young folk embarking on a new life together? I'm a foster-mother to trade, am I not? You and I, Martha, we two old aunts - What are you looking at?

MARTHA: See the way the sky's clearing. The sea is bricht and calm. The PalmTree has guid fortune ahead of her.

LILIAN: And good fortune on board.

BEAUMONT: And we - we hae a lang warsle ahead o us. Me maist o all. But let it come. Gaither in about me, you leal and true weemin. That's anither lesson I've learnt, thir last twa-three days. It's the weemin that are the pillars of society.

LILIAN: Then it's not much of a lesson you've learned, brother-in-law. (PUTS HER HAND FIRMLY ON HIS SHOULDER) No, James. The spirit of truth and the spirit of freedom - they are the pillars of society.

THE END

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Information about Document 986

Pillars of Society

Text

Text audience

Adults (18+)
General public
Audience size N/A

Text details

Method of composition Wordprocessed
Year of composition 2000
Title of original (if translation) Pillars of Society
Author of original (if translation) Henrik Ibsen
Language of original (if translation) Norwegian (but translated into Scots from an English translation by Una Ellis-Fermor)
Word count 29032

Text setting

Leisure/entertainment
Other Theatre

Text type

Script (film, play, radio, tv etc.)

Author

Author details

Author id 881
Forenames Alison
Surname Thirkell
Gender Female
Decade of birth 1930
Educational attainment University
Age left school 17
Upbringing/religious beliefs Protestantism
Occupation Teacher (retired)
Place of birth Walthamstow
Region of birth Essex
Country of birth England
Place of residence Edinburgh
Region of residence Midlothian
Residence CSD dialect area midLoth
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Pharmacist
Father's place of birth Edinburgh
Father's region of birth Midlothian
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area midLoth
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's place of birth Edinburgh
Mother's region of birth Midlothian
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area midLoth
Mother's country of birth Scotland

Languages

Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes At home
French Yes Yes Yes Yes When travelling
Scots Yes Yes Yes Yes

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