Fifty Contemporary One-Act Plays Part 301

Fifty Contemporary One-Act Plays -

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HINDES. Miss Segal, I have loved you, and still do. But I refuse to be the altar upon which you shall sacrifice yourself.

f.a.n.n.y. But a moment ago you dissuaded me from death. Will you now drive me back to it?

HINDES. Your sister will be able to find happiness without Berman.

f.a.n.n.y. But if she loves him?--

HINDES. Then she'll suffer, just as we do.

f.a.n.n.y. No! Olga must not suffer! Do you hear! I'll not have it!

HINDES. That is very nice of you.

f.a.n.n.y [_through her tears_]. Hindes, I no longer know you.

HINDES [_turns toward the door_]. Good night.

f.a.n.n.y [_is overcome by sobbing_].

HINDES [_limps to the door, then stops. Looks downwards, then raises his eyes toward f.a.n.n.y_]. Miss Segal, why is it that during all the time that I have boarded with you I have made no declaration of love, that I have never proposed marriage?

f.a.n.n.y [_weeps_].

HINDES. I'll tell you. Wasn't it because I knew that you didn't love me, and because I wanted your love, not merely your respect?

f.a.n.n.y [_firmly_]. No. You didn't do it simply because you knew that I would refuse you.

HINDES. And suppose I expected "Yes" from you?

f.a.n.n.y. Then you would have proposed.

HINDES. And married you without your love?

f.a.n.n.y. Yes.

HINDES. But then I didn't know that you loved another.

f.a.n.n.y [_brokenly_]. The other no longer exists for me.

HINDES [_looks again at the floor. Silence_].

f.a.n.n.y. Hindes!


f.a.n.n.y. Come nearer to me.

HINDES. I am lame.

f.a.n.n.y. Put all your bundles aside.

HINDES [_hesitates for a moment, then puts down his books and packages_].

f.a.n.n.y [_as if in embarra.s.sment_]. Everything.... Everything....

HINDES [_bluntly_]. Don't be ashamed. Say just what you mean: Lay aside the crutch, too.

[_He lays aside the crutch._]

f.a.n.n.y [_arises, takes his hand_]. Hindes, you know my att.i.tude toward you. You know how highly I esteem you, how happy I've always been to possess in you a good, true friend.... [_Nestles her head against him, coyly._] Embrace me, and give me a kiss, a hot, pa.s.sionate kiss. Put into it your whole love, make it express your whole true soul.

[_Brokenly, and in tears._] I tell you, our life will be--happy. We souls, forgotten by happiness, will yet find it--in our own way--as best we can. [_Less tearfully._] You'll see how it'll soon be. Lizzie will come home and she'll play us a march of jubilation, a march of joy....

[_Brokenly._] She owes it to me!... I'll dance, I tell you; I'll dance for two. You'll see. And I'll sing. I'll turn things upside down.

Hindes, kiss me, hotly, hotly.

HINDES [_pa.s.sionately, through tears_]. You.... You....

[_He gives her a long kiss, as if entranced._]

[_Slow Curtain._]




What is wanting in this list the reader will only too soon discover for himself. I do not, however, wish to offer a faltering apology for the incompleteness of the work. In truth, it needs none. Nevertheless, a brief word of explanation may not be amiss.

The duties of the bibliographer are more or less mechanical. He merely collects his data from the most available sources or from arcana known only to a few, arranges his material alphabetically and sends his copy to the printer.

The present list is an exception to the general practice. It will be noted that the bibliographer has broken his traces, forsaken his accustomed field and intruded, in some measure, upon the province of the critic. From the great ma.s.s of plays accessible in English I have sought to select only those which I hold best adapted to the little theater as it is to-day const.i.tuted. On the whole, they are plays which have encountered a certain measure of success or that I felt to be worthy of production. Rigid care has been taken to exclude such dramatic pieces which are fittingly described as "side-splitting farces." The latter contribute nothing to the art theater. Box and c.o.x, I doubt not, may be excruciatingly funny, but few would care to hear that Sam Hume, for instance, was about to produce it. Not that genuine laughter hasn't its place in the modern theater; but we cannot laugh to-day at the archaic drolleries of yesterday. We cannot abandon ourselves to papier-mache characterization in the theater. And this is what the art theater accomplished in its brief stay with us.

F. S.

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