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Eugene O’Neill (1888–1953). Three Plays. 1922.

Act IV II. Anna Christie

The same. Two days later

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CHRIS—[Humbly.] Ay’m sorry, Anna.

ANNA—[Scornfully.] Sorry!

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

ANNA—[Suspiciously.] Fix what up?

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

ANNA—[Callously.] You’d win.

CHRIS—For dat Irish fallar?

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

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

ANNA—You guess!

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

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

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

ANNA—Who said I hated you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ANNA—[Astounded.] You’re—what?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ANNA—[Wildly.] Look out, I tell you!

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

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

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

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

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

ANNA—[Her lips trembling pitifully.] Thanks!

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

ANNA—I ain’t laughing at you, Mat.

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

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

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

ANNA—[Dully.] A lie? What?

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

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

BURKE—[Hoarsely.] God’s curse on you!

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

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

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

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

ANNA—What difference does it make to you?

BURKE—I’m asking you!

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

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

ANNA—[Stonily.] Yes.

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

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

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

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

BURKE—I have.

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

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

ANNA—And where’s she going to?

BURKE—Cape Town.

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

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

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

BURKE—The Londonderry.

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

BURKE—What’s up with you now?

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

BURKE—[Irritated.] Laughing at what?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BURKE—I’m thinking you were, surely.

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

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

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

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

ANNA—[With a cry of joy.] Mat!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ANNA—[Confused.] No. Why?

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

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

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

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

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

ANNA—[With a gasp of joy.] Mat!

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

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

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

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

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

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

BURKE—[Astounded.] Shipmates— Has himself——

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[The Curtain Falls]