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Full Online Book HomePlaysDeacon Brodie; Or The Double Life - ACT III - TABLEAU V. KING'S EVIDENCE: SCENE I TO SCENE IV
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Deacon Brodie; Or The Double Life - ACT III - TABLEAU V. KING'S EVIDENCE: SCENE I TO SCENE IV Post by :SOS_LTD Category :Plays Author :Robert Louis Stevenson Date :April 2012 Read :3272

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Deacon Brodie; Or The Double Life - ACT III - TABLEAU V. KING'S EVIDENCE: SCENE I TO SCENE IV

The Stage represents a public place in Edinburgh.

SCENE I

JEAN, SMITH, AND MOORE

(They loiter in L., and stand looking about as for somebody not there. SMITH is hat in hand to JEAN; MOORE as usual.)

MOORE. Wot did I tell you? Is he 'ere, or ain't he? Now, then. Slink by name and Slink by nature, that's wot's the matter with him.

JEAN. He'll no be lang; he's regular enough, if that was a'.

MOORE. I'd regular him; I'd break his back.

SMITH. Badger, you brute, you hang on to the lessons of your dancing-master. None but the genteel deserves the fair; does they, Duchess?

MOORE. O rot! Did I insult the blowen? Wot's the matter with me is Slink Ainslie.

SMITH. All right, old Crossed-in-love. Give him forty winks, and he'll turn up as fresh as clean sawdust and as respectable as a new Bible.

MOORE. That's right enough; but I ain't agoing to stand here all day for him. I'm for a drop of something short, I am. You tell him I showed you that (SHOWING HIS DOUBLED FIST). That's wot's the matter with him. (HE LURCHES OUT, R.)


SCENE II

SMITH and JEAN, to whom HUNT, and afterwards MOORE

SMITH (CRITICALLY). No, Duchess, he has not good manners.

JEAN. Ay, he's an impident man.

SMITH. So he is, Jean; and for the matter of that he ain't the only one.

JEAN. Geordie, I want nae mair o' your nonsense, mind.

SMITH. There's our old particular the Deacon, now. Why is he ashamed of a lovely woman? That's not my idea of the Young Chevalier, Jean. If I had luck, we should be married, and retire to our estates in the country, shouldn't us? and go to church and be happy, like the nobility and gentry.

JEAN. Geordie Smith, div ye mean ye'd mairry me?

SMITH. Mean it? What else has ever been the 'umble petition of your honest but well-meaning friend, Roman, and fellow-countryman? I know the Deacon's your man, and I know he's a cut above G. S.; but he won't last, Jean, and I shall.

JEAN. Ay, I'm muckle ta'en up wi' him; wha could help it?

SMITH. Well, and my sort don't grow on apple-trees either.

JEAN. Ye're a fine, cracky, neebourly body, Geordie, if ye wad just let me be.

SMITH. I know I ain't a Scotchman born.

JEAN. I dinna think sae muckle the waur o' ye even for that; if ye would just let me be.

(HUNT (ENTERING BEHIND, ASIDE). Are they thick? Anyhow, it's a second chance.)

SMITH. But he won't last, Jean, and when he leaves you, you come to me. Is that your taste in pastry? That's the kind of harticle that I present.

HUNT (SURPRISING THEM AS IN TABLEAU I.). Why, you're the very parties I was looking for!

JEAN. Mercy me!

SMITH. Damn it, Jerry, this is unkind.

HUNT. (Now this is what I call a picter of good fortune.) Ain't it strange I should have dropped across you comfortable and promiscuous like this?

JEAN (STOLIDLY). I hope ye're middling weel, Mr. Hunt? (GOING.) Mr. Smith!

SMITH. Mrs. Watt, ma'am! (GOING.)

HUNT. Hold hard, George. Speaking as one lady's man to another, turn about's fair play. You've had your confab, and now I'm going to have mine. (Not that I've done with you; you stand by and wait.) Ladies first, George, ladies first; that's the size of it. (TO JEAN, ASIDE.) Now, Mrs. Watt, I take it you ain't a natural fool?

JEAN. And thank ye kindly, Mr. Hunt.

SMITH (INTERFERING). Jean . . . !

HUNT (KEEPING HIM OFF). Half a tick, George. (TO JEAN.) Mrs. Watt, I've a warrant in my pocket. One, two, three: will you peach?

JEAN. Whaten kind of a word'll that be?

SMITH. Mum it is, Jean!

HUNT. WHEN you've done dancing, George! (TO JEAN.) It ain't a pretty expression, my dear, I own it. 'Will you blow the gaff?' is perhaps more tenderer.

JEAN. I think ye've a real strange way o' expressin yoursel'.

HUNT (TO JEAN). I can't waste time on you, my girl. It's now or never. Will you turn king's evidence?

JEAN. I think ye'll have made a mistake, like.

HUNT. Well, I'm ... ! (SEPARATING THEM.) (No, not yet; don't push me.) George's turn now. (TO GEORGE.) George, I've a warrant in my pocket.

SMITH. As per usual, Jerry?

HUNT. Now I want king's evidence.

SMITH. Ah! so you came a cropper with HER, Jerry. Pride had a fall.

HUNT. A free pardon and fifty shiners down.

SMITH. A free pardon, Jerry?

HUNT. Don't I tell you so?

SMITH. And fifty down? fifty?

HUNT. On the nail.

SMITH. So you came a cropper with her, and then you tried it on with me?

HUNT. I suppose you mean you're a born idiot?

SMITH. What I mean is, Jerry, that you've broke my heart. I used to look up to you like a party might to Julius Caesar. One more of boyhood's dreams gone pop. (ENTER MOORE, L.)

HUNT (TO BOTH). Come, then, I'll take the pair, and be damned to you. Free pardon to both, fifty down and the Deacon out of the way. I don't care for you commoners, it's the Deacon I want.

JEAN (LOOKING OFF STOLIDLY). I think the kirks are scalin'. There seems to be mair people in the streets.

HUNT. O that's the way, is it? Do you know that I can hang you, my woman, and your fancy man a well?

JEAN. I daur say ye would like fine, Mr. Hunt; and here's my service to you. (GOING.)

HUNT. George, don't you be a tomfool, anyway. Think of the blowen here, and have brains for two.

SMITH (GOING). Ah, Jerry, if you knew anything, how different you would talk! (THEY GO TOGETHER, R.)


SCENE III

HUNT, MOORE

HUNT. Half a tick, Badger. You're a man of parts, you are; you're solid, you're a true-born Englishman; you ain't a Jerry-go-Nimble like him. Do you know what your pal the Deacon's worth to you? Fifty golden Georges and a free pardon. No questions asked, and no receipts demanded. What do you say? Is it a deal?

MOORE (AS TO HIMSELF). Muck. (HE GOES OUT, R.)

SCENE IV

HUNT, TO WHOM AINSLIE

HUNT (LOOKING AFTER THEM RUEFULLY). And these were the very parties I was looking for! (Ah, Jerry, Jerry, if they knew this at the office!) Well, the market price of that 'ere two hundred is a trifle on the decline and fall. (LOOKING L.) Hullo! (SLAPPING HIS THIGH). Send me victorious! It's king's evidence on two legs. (ADVANCING WITH GREAT CORDIALITY TO MEET AINSLIE, WHO ENTERS L.) And so your name's Andrew Ainslie, is it? As I was saying, you're the very party I was looking for. Ain't it strange, now, that I should have dropped across you comfortable and promiscuous like this?

AINSLIE. I dinna ken wha ye are, an' I'm ill for my bed.

HUNT. Let your bed wait, Andrew. I want a little chat with you; just a quiet little sociable wheeze. Just about our friends, you know. About Badger Moore, and George the Dook, and Jemmy Rivers, and Deacon Brodie, Andrew. Particularly Deacon Brodie.

AINSLIE. They're nae friens o' mine's, mister. I ken naething an' naebody. An' noo I'll get to my bed, wulln't I?

HUNT. We're going to have our little talk out first. After that perhaps I'll let you go, and perhaps I won't. It all depends on how we get along together. Now, in a general way, Andrew, and speaking of a man as you find him, I'm all for peace and quietness myself. That's my usual game, Andrew, but when I do make a dust I'm considered by my friends to be rather a good hand at it. So don't you tread upon the worm.

AINSLIE. But I'm sayin' -

HUNT. You leave that to me, Andrew. You shall do your pitch presently. I'm first on the ground, and I lead off. With a question, Andrew. Did you ever hear in your life of such a natural curiosity as a Bow Street Runner?

AINSLIE. Aiblins ay an' aiblins no.

HUNT. 'Aiblins ay and aiblins no.' Very good indeed, Andrew. Now, I'll ask you another. Did you ever see a Bow Street Runner, Andrew? With the naked eye, so to speak?

AINSLIE. What's your wull?

HUNT. Artful bird! Now since we're getting on so cosy AND so free, I'll ask you another, Andrew. Should you like to see a Bow Street Runner? (PRODUCING STAFF.) 'Cos, if so, you've only got to cast your eyes on me. Do you queer the red weskit, Andrew? Pretty colour, ain't it? So nice and warm for the winter too. (AINSLIE DIVES, HUNT COLLARS HIM.) No, you don't. Not this time. Run away like that before we've finished our little conversation? You're a nice young man, you are. Suppose we introduce our wrists into these here darbies? Now we shall get along cosier and freer than ever. Want to lie down, do you? All right! anything to oblige.

AINSLIE (GROVELLING). It wasna me, it wasna me. It's bad companions; I've been lost wi' bad companions an' the drink. An' O mister, ye'll be a kind gentleman to a puir lad, an' me sae weak, an' fair rotten wi' the drink an' that. Ye've a bonnie kind heart, my dear, dear gentleman; ye wadna hang sitchan a thing as me. I'm no fit to hang. They ca' me the Cannleworm! An' I'll dae somethin' for ye, wulln't I? An' ye'll can hang the ithers?

HUNT. I thought I hadn't mistook my man. Now, you look here, Andrew Ainslie, you're a bad lot. I've evidence to hang you fifty times over. But the Deacon is my mark. Will you peach, or wont you? You blow the gaff, and I'll pull you through. You don't, and I'll scragg you as sure as my name's Jerry Hunt.

AINSLIE. I'll dae onything. It's the hanging fleys me. I'll dae onything, onything no to hang.

HUNT. Don't lie crawling there, but get up and answer me like a man. Ain't this Deacon Brodie the fine workman that's been doing all these tip-topping burglaries?

AINSLIE. It's him, mister; it's him. That's the man. Ye're in the very bit. Deacon Brodie. I'll can tak' ye to his vera door.

HUNT. How do you know?

AINSLIE. I gi'ed him a han' wi' them a'. It was him an' Badger Moore, and Geordie Smith; an' they gart me gang wi' them whether or no; I'm that weak, an' whiles I'm donner'd wi' the drink. But I ken a', an' I'll tell a'. And O kind gentleman, you'll speak to their lordships for me, an' I'll no be hangit. . . I'll no be hangit, wull I?

HUNT. But you shared, didn't you? I wonder what share they thought you worth. How much did you get for last night's performance down at Mother Clarke's?

AINSLIE. Just five pund, mister. Five pund. As sure's deith it wadna be a penny mair. No but I askit mair: I did that; I'll do deny it, mister. But Badger kickit me, an' Geordie, he said a bad sweir, an' made he'd cut the liver out o' me, an' catch fish wi't. It's been that way frae the first: an aith an' a bawbee was aye guid eneuch for puir Andra.

HUNT. Well, and why did they do it? I saw Jemmy dance a hornpipe on the table, and booze the company all round, when the Deacon was gone. What made you cross the fight, and play booty with your own man?

AINSLIE. Just to make him rob the Excise, mister. They're wicked, wicked men.

HUNT. And is he right for it?

AINSLIE. Ay is he.

HUNT. By jingo! When's it for?

AINSLIE. Dear, kind gentleman, I dinna rightly ken: the Deacon's that sair angered wi' me. I'm to get my orders frae Geordie the nicht.

HUNT. O, you're to get your orders from Geordie, are you? Now look here, Ainslie. You know me. I'm Hunt the Runner; I put Jemmy Rivers in the jug this morning; I've got you this evening. I mean to wind up with the Deacon. You understand? All right. Then just you listen. I'm going to take these here bracelets off, and send you home to that celebrated bed of yours. Only, as soon as you've seen the Dook you come straight round to me at Mr. Procurator-Fiscal's, and let me know the Dook's views. One word, mind, and ... cl'k! It's a bargain?

AINSLIE. Never you fear that. I'll tak' my bannet an' come straucht to ye. Eh God, I'm glad it's nae mair nor that to start wi'. An' may the Lord bless ye, dear, kind gentleman, for your kindness. May the Lord bless ye.

HUNT. You pad the hoof.

AINSLIE (GOING OUT). An' so I wull, wulln't I not? An' bless, bless ye while there's breath in my body, wulln't I not?

HUNT (SOLUS). You're a nice young man, Andrew Ainslie. Jemmy Rivers and the Deacon in two days! By jingo! (HE DANCES AN INSTANT GRAVELY, WHISTLING TO HIMSELF.) Jerry, that 'ere little two hundred of ours is as safe as the bank.

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