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  ― 15 ―

The Woman Tamer.

A Play in One Act.

Scene—Front room of Katie's cottage. Front door and window open on narrow lane. Another door leads to inner room. A plain table, a horsehair sofa, sideboard, some cheap ornaments etc. KATIE, a good looking young woman, reclines on sofa, smokes a cigarette, and looks over a sporting paper. She turns round eagerly, as “CHOPSEY” RYAN enters. “Chopsey” is fat and lazy, an unsuccessful thief, but a street musician, and a pessimist Philosopher. He enters singing, and seems pleased with himself.

KATIE.

(Rising.) How's it going?


CHOPSEY.

You leave it to me, little bird.


KATIE.

Did you put up the job with Shipmate?


CHOPSEY.

You would like to know, wouldn't you?


KATIE.

What is it? Jewellery?


CHOPSEY.

Shu'! Don't blab.


KATIE.

Can't you give a civil answer to a civil question?


CHOPSEY.

Run away, fairy, and cool your head. (He takes coat off slowly.) KATIE. Did you ferret out anything ?


CHOPSEY.

P'raps.


KATIE.

You might tell us, Chopsey. Don't be oyster. I won't word nobody, not me.


(He sings another line, throwing coat at hooks on wall. It falls. He turns and moves towards sofa.)




  ― 16 ―
KATIE.

What's the strength of it? I've been waiting all afternoon to hear how you get on. Don't be a nark.


CHOPSEY.

(On sofa.) Give it a breeze.


KATIE.

(Pleasantly.) Come on, Chops. Tell us all about it. What's doing ?


CHOPSEY.

Why don't you give your tongue half-an-hour off?


KATIE.

Growl, snarl, y'orter be in your kennel. Did he take you on? What did he say? My oath,we want a few bones in the truck.


CHOPSEY.

Put a rope round it and drown it.


KATIE.

(Shrilly.) Curse you, I've got a right to know. Ain't I been keeping you ?


CHOPSEY.

Blast you? I know what I'm doing, don't I?


KATIE.

Oh! You was turned down again, was you! “Shipmate” wouldn't have you on his mind.


CHOPSEY.

Shut your jaw. Pick my coat up, and don't —


KATIE.

Look here, I'm getting sick o' this. You mess up everything.


CHOPSEY.

Ugh! It's hot. Don't bustle me. Pick my coat up.


KATIE.

I ain't your servant, am I ?


CHOPSEY.

Pick my coat up, d'you hear me ?


KATIE.

(Scornfully.) Why don't you get work. You ain't no decent thief.


CHOPSEY.

(Stung.) You know too much, don't you ?


KATIE.

Fat lot you ever done! I ain't seen you dive on no red lot. I ain't seen you stoush no rozzer. I ain't even heard about you in the “Herald” for snowdropping. Oh no! Not you! You play the organ.


CHOPSEY.

Do you think I tell women my biz ?


KATIE.

Y'aint got none. You could'nt get a job roasting peanuts. You couldn't offside in a fourpenny fish-joint.


CHOPSEY.

You can't kid me. I know what women is.


KATIE.

You was proud to get on with me.


CHOPSEY.

Gorblime, proud! I could have had Fishy Liz!


KATIE.

Fishy Liz! Can she keep a bloke?





  ― 17 ―
CHOPSEY.

You ain't the only silver fish in the pond.


KATIE.

You're all talk. Bongo Williams got nine months for topping off a mob o' Chows with a bottle. He passed out four of them.


CHOPSEY.

You know I've been seeing Shipmate, don't you ?


KATIE.

Rats! Bongo didn't talk and skite about it. He done it.


CHOPSEY.

(Asserting himself.) Look here, pick my coat up.


KATIE.

(Examining him critically.) What can you do? You busk outside the pubs for beer. Oh, you're boshter with the tarts, ain't you, singing your pretty songs. I ain't seen you bring in much anyhow. There ain't nothing in music. I don't flash no silk skirts. I don ' t drive no motor car since I took you on. All you get away with couldn't keep me in fags.


CHOPSEY.

D'you hear me. Pick up my coat!


KATIE.

Look here, Chopsey Ryan —


CHOPSEY.

I ain't going to argue the point with you. I don't argue with women.


KATIE.

I don't argue with, women, oh no, strike me pretty!


CHOPSEY.

(Overwrought.) Oh, gorblime, chain it up!


KATIE.

Why don't you get work. — That's all you're fit for.


CHOPSEY.

Pick my coat up.


KATIE.

Do your own dirty work.


(Chopsey, with cigarette in mouth, rises slowly, and takes a step towards KATIE.)

CHOPSEY.

D'you hear me?


KATIE.

(Putting stool in front of her.) Yes, I hear you. What about it?


(CH0PSEY, in moving after her, knocks over stool, while KATIE slips behind table.)

CHOPSEY.

Come here, curse you!


(KATIE, accepting his challenge comes from behind table, and boldly faces him.)

KATIE.

(In hard voice.) I'm here, blast you. What's your trouble ?


  ― 18 ―


CHOPSEY.

(Hesitatingly.) I'll pass you one to go on with, ifyou don't.


KATIE.

(Provokingly.) What'll you do?


(CHOPSEY raises his hand, KATIE involuntarily draws back slightly. CHOPSEY follows her.)

CHOPSEY.

I'll — I've a good mind to throttle you, d'you hear ?(Grabs hold of her.)


KATIE.

Oh! Oh!


CHOPSEY.

You're squealing now, are you?


(Gives her a half-hearted shove. KATIE,with hands before her eyes, pretends to weep.)

CHOPSEY.

Bah! Why don't you behave yourself ? You will nag, nag at a man. You put me all. in a haze. I didn't want to hurt you. Struth, turn it up.


(KATIE still weeps.)

CHOPSEY.

(Frightened.) You brought it on yourself, now, didn't you? I didn't mean to hurt you, I tell you. I ain't one of them blokes, Katie.


(KATIE bursts out laughing.)

KATIE.

(Mockingly.) Hurt me, you couldn't hurt me, you waster.

(Moves up to door of inner room.)

Hurt — a thing like you —

(She kicks coat.)

You ain't over the fence yet. I don't argue with women. Oh, blime!


(Exit KATIE into inner room.)

(CHOPSEY picks up coat, and hangs it on hook.)

(KATIE, front inner room sings a few lines of one of Chopsey's songs.)

CHOPSEY.

Why don't you strangle it right off! You're murdering it, anyhow.


KATIE.

Don't be hasty, Clarence. You'll strain your pretty voice, and you won't be able to busk no more to the tarts.


CHOPSEY.

You give a man the joes.


KATIE.

He ain't very strong since he had the measles.


CHOPSEY.

Go and sleep it off.


KATIE.

He can't stand excitement. He's got a weak heart.





  ― 19 ―

(KATIE enters humming, with “Gem” straw hat on, confident and scornful. She picks up her basket.)

CHOPSEY.

Where are you going ?


KATIE.

Don't talk to me. A nice sort of thing you are.


CHOPSEY.

You brought it on yourself, didn't you? I don't job women.


KATIE.

Ugh! You only make me tired.


CHOPSEY.

Where are you going ?


KATIE.

You'll find out soon enough.


CHOPSEY.

Hurry up with my tea.


KATIE.

Don't you worry. I'll come back all right, bright and early too.


CHOPSEY.

Take the acid off.


KATIE.

You won't be nervous by yourself, will you?


(Exit KATIE,front door.)

CHOPSEY.

Get a move on.


KATIE.

(Looking through window.) Cheer up, Birdie. Sing a little song to yourself. I'm going to bring you home a surprise.


(KATIE goes away.)

CHOPSEY.

Don't be all day spruikin'.


(He lies down on sofa.)

(SMITHY the Liar comes to door, with a couple of rabbits over his shoulder. Smithy is small, but well-built and agile, keen-eyed, and light fingered, affable, but rather apologetic, in voice and bearing. He is a Pickpocket and spieler. He has a grey suit, and green hat.)

SMITHY.

(At door.) How is it, Chopsey ?


CHOPSEY.

That you, Smithy ?


SMITHY.

(Looking down Street.) Where's she lobbing?


CHOPSEY.

Nowhere.


SMITHY.

Ain't she a high stepper?

(SMITHY enters.)

Had a barney, Chopsey ?


CHOPSEY.

'Tain't nothing.


SMITHY.

Fair dinkum ?


CHOPSEY.

'Tain't nothing, I tell you. I just put my hand on her.


SMITHY.

Gorblime, eh?


  ― 20 ―


CHOPSEY.

I didn't hurt her. I ain't one of them blokes, Smithy.


SMITHY.

How did she take it?


CHOPSEY.

All right. Me and Katie's getting on splendid. I knew she was mine the first time I ever seen her. Look here, Smithy, it's this way. I know how to handle 'em. I've had experience. I've tamed one or two of the beauts.


SMITHY.

I'd sooner tame one of them tigers down in the circus.


CHOPSEY.

You don't know women. When I got on with Katie, I reckoned I'd be master in my own home.


SMITHY.

I thought it was her place.


CHOPSEY.

It's mine when I'm here, ain't it ? You don't want to murder them, you know. I've got Katie anyhow, like a fantail. She'll do anything for me. Sit down, Smithy. How's things?


SMITHY.

Pretty slow. Too many Johns. There's still a drop o' beer left though.


CHOPSEY.

Any luck coming your way?


SMITHY.

Luck? I don't mark no tickets with the Chows. I'll tell you. We were blowing down to Sorrento t'other day on one of them Bay boats. I was with the Heart and Arrow Push. Soon's we had a cook at the engines, gorblime, we were pinched, five of us — two of them smart D.'s nicked us for being suspicious looking characters.

(Relates his anecdote with explanatory gestures.)

We were all hooked out, and handcuffed together — the five of us were stood up in a row, blime, we did look a lot o' mugs. We smothered up the darbies, of course, and started wording the tarts. We were on a good wicket, when Pete says to his bit o' fluff, “Would you like to see a real solid bracelet, duckie ?” “Yes, I would,” she says to Pete, and with that he lifted his hands, and he shook the bracelets in her face. She did do a bunk. The fireman wanted to stand us a couple of bottles of beer, but the John says, “No,” the cow. Ugh! blime, I ain't got no luck.


CHOPSEY.

Working?


  ― 21 ―


SMITHY.

Hawking.


CHOPSEY.

Can't you make your living at the game?


SMITHY.

It's hard to make a living now without work.


CHOPSEY.

Don't be a mug. What d'you get out of it ?


SMITHY.

I'm hawking for Carlo Rossi on commission.


CHOPSEY.

I'd sooner bring a moon than work for a dirty Dago.


SMITHY.

I don't want to go up to the farm.


CHOPSEY.

I'm getting full up. I've been singing all over the town. They all like to hear me sing, but they don't sling much into the hat.


SMITHY.

The brass don't seem to come my way.


CHOPSEY.

I'm going to turn it up. They won't let a busker live. I was talking with old Shipmate this afternoon. We're all thieves, he says, every bleeding one of us. We're all at the same game, as long as we're not found out. We're all taking the mugs down. One bloke, he says, does the trick with a silk hat on the Stock Exchange, and a shyster mine. We do it with a jemmy. It's funny, ain't it ?


SMITHY.

Yes.


CHOPSEY.

We're the mugs, if we don't get a bit of our own back.


SMITHY.

I fell in. Nine months I done. I was dead innocent.


CHOPSEY.

Gerrout, you liar.


SMITHY.

I was dead innocent, they'll all tell you that.


CHOPSEY.

All men have a right to live. Honesty may be the best policy in a Two Up School, but it won't keep a busker in shandies. Ugh! Mugs are made to drink outer, ain't they ?


SMITHY.

Yes.


CHOPSEY.

Well, drain 'em dry. It don't hurt me to do it.


SMITHY.

Blime, I fell in, a bird.


CHOPSEY.

What's the odds ? It's a free life. It's better than bone grubbing and washing bottles, ain't it ? Have you found out anything ?


SMITHY.

I'm having a cook round.


CHOPSEY.

Nothing doing?


  ― 22 ―


SMITHY.

No, I haven't tumbled to nothing yet. I've only been out three weeks.


CHOPSEY.

(Quietly and confidently.) Come here, Smithy. I know something.


SMITHY.

Yes? How's a fag, Chopsey?


(CHOPSEY gives cigarette. SMITHY lights up.)

CHOPSEY.

Me and Shipmate talked it over this afternoon. Shipmate don't lose his block.


SMITHY.

He's getting a bit old, though.


CHOPSEY.

He's a shrewd head, he is. He's the daddy of the lot, let me tell you. We've put up a tidy little job down at St. Kilda. We want a cove with a steady nerve to help us. Ought to suit you, Smithy.


SMITHY.

Yes, but I fell in. I never done a job I didn't fall for.


CHOPSEY.

We've got the strength of it. It's all planned by old Shipmate, under the lap. All you've got to do is to carry it out.


SMITHY.

Oh, is that all ? I've only got to carry it out.


CHOPSEY.

Yes, it's a sweet thing. You know the big house — the one with the green shutters —


(CONSTABLE JONES passes window. The constable is a young, athletic man, tall and strong.)

SMITHY.

Yow! Edge it. Here's big Jones, the cow.


CHOPSEY.

Ugh!


(CONSTABLE looks in at door.)

SMITHY.

(Affably.) Good day, Mr. Jones.


CONSTABLE.

Hullo, Chopsey. How is it, Smithy?


(CONSTABLE enters.)

SMITHY.

Pretty hot outside, ain't it ?


CONSTABLE.

I saw Katie down the street.


CHOPSEY.

Did she say anything?


CONSTABLE.

No. I saw her buying a crayfish off the barrow.


CHOPSEY.

Ah, she said she'd bring me home a surprise. Crayfish, eh ? I know a bit about women, Mr. Jones. They're funny, ain't they, ? It all depends on how you treat them.


CONSTABLE.

Been having an argument, Chopsey ?


CHOPSEY.

No, 'tain't nothing.


  ― 23 ―


CONSTABLE.

That's right. Have you heard who's out to-day?


CHOPSEY.

No, who?


CONSTABLE.

Bongo Williams.


CHOPSEY.

Bongo?


CONSTABLE.

Yes. Wasn't he on with Katie before?


CHOPSEY.

I dunno. Ugh! The bloke that assaulted a blind man?


CONSTABLE.

Bongo's a tough snag. He can fight a bit, and he'll be pretty fresh after his Air and Exercise.


CHOPSEY.

Who said he could fight?


CONSTABLE.

I saw him knock out Bunny Thompson in five rounds at the Stadium.


SMITHY.

He has a terrible solid left.


CONSTABLE.

You're right. It got him nine months. You were in with Bongo, weren't you, Smithy ?


SMITHY.

Yes, Mr. Jones.


CONSTABLE.

How did he take it? It was his first stretch in the jug.


SMITHY.

Rotten. I done model with him.


CONSTABLE.

Humph! A bad-tempered gentleman. I've marked him. You'd better watch yourself, Chopsey.


CHOPSEY.

Ugh! What can he do ?


CONSTABLE.

The tarts'll be dead nuts on him when they know he's out. They pinched you all right, Smithy.


SMITHY.

I was dead innocent. They'll all tell you that.


CONSTABLE.

How did you fall in ?


SMITHY.

Got rung into the pool somehow. I couldn't drop my bundle, could I ?


CONSTABLE.

What were you doing in that yard ? There was nothing there.


SMITHY.

Something pretty good wasn't far off.


CONSTABLE.

I see. You would have taken a hand in that then?


SMITHY.

Well, Mr. Jones, I can't afford to miss a chance. It ain't likely.


CONSTABLE.

You'll have to get busy soon, Smithy. The Law's strict nowadays.


SMITHY.

I've only been out three weeks.


CONSTABLE.

You're qualifying for a stiff for the crust.





  ― 24 ―
SMITHY.

(Innocently.) What have I done, Mr. Jones ?


CONSTABLE.

Nothing that I know of. That's why you'll get it. You're likely to bring a sixer. I'm warning you.


SMITHY.

(With righteous indignation.) Gorblime, Mr. Jones, ain't you seen me hawking ?


CONSTABLE.

(Sceptically.) Hawking?


SMITHY.

Yes, Mr. Jones. I ain't in smoke. You'll see me at four o'clock any morning, down at the market, buying my rabbits. It ain't fair. That ain't justice. Look here Mr. Jones,

(Showing his hands proudly.)

I'm getting blisters on my hands.


CONSTABLE.

(Unimpressed.)They're more used to picking pockets than skinning rabbits.


SMITHY.

That's red hot. You can't book me for the Vag. Good-day, Mr. Jones, I've got to mend my barrow. (Casually.) You'll see me any morning down at the market. Bye, bye, Chopsey, see you after.


CHOPSEY.

Right O'.


SMITHY.

Remember me to Katie. Tell her I always loved her. (At door.) Gorblime, Mr. Jones, give a man a chance.


(Exit SMITHY the Liar, pushing barrow past door, and calling “Wild rabbie O!”)

CHOPSEY.

Smithy's trying to do his little bit.


CONSTABLE.

What are you doing yourself, Chopsey ?


CHOPSEY.

Katie's working, doing a bit o' washing. I still busk outside the pubs over the organ.


CONSTABLE.

I haven't heard you this week.


CHOPSEY.

I got a cold.I'm learning a new song, Mr Jones. It's another“Doreen.” I don't care for comics. They all tell me I ought to stick to ballads.


CONSTABLE.

Getting on well together?


CHOPSEY.

Yes, all right. I know how to handle women.


CONSTABLE.

You're a philosopher, Chopsey.


CHOPSEY.

You want to be master in your own home.


CONSTABLE.

You're a cleverer man than I am, Chopsey if you can do that.


  ― 25 ―


CHOPSEY.

Yes, I've tamed one or two of 'em. You don't want to knock 'em about, Mr. Jones. Humour 'em. Katie'll do anything for me.


(KATIE passes window.)

CONSTABLE.

Hullo! Here's Katie now.


(Katie enters proudly, carrying basket.)

CONSTABLE.

Good day, Katie.


KATIE.

Glad to see you Mr. Jones. Pretty stuffy in here, ain't,it!


(KATIE puts down basket by sideboard, takes off hat, etc.)

CONSTABLE.

You're looking well, though; what's this, expecting visitors ?


KATIE.

You never know what's going to happen.


CONSTABLE.

That's so. You never can tell. I might happen to drop on Chopsey any day now, to see what he's doing for a living.


KATIE.

(Pleasantly.) Hope you do. Good riddance to bad rubbish.


CHOPSEY.

I've got her beat.


CONSTABLE.

(Taking out watch.) I'll have to be going now. (Turning round at door.) Did you hear any thing of old Shipmate, lately ?


CHOPSEY.

No, I ain't heard nothing of him.


CONSTABLE.

Well, it ' s funny I saw you down the street this afternoon with him.


CHOPSEY.

No, you never seen me with him.


CONSTABLE.

It's a Kathleen Mavourneen, you know. It may be for years, or it may be for ever. You'd better watch yourself. Good day, Katie.


KATIE.

Good day, Mr. Jones. Look in any time you're passing. Glad to see you.


CONSTABLE.

Thanks, Katie. Be good! So long, Chopsey.


CHOPSEY.

Good day, Mr. Jones.


(CONSTABLE goes out whistling.)

CHOPSEY.

That's right. Lay the tea. I'm hungry.


(KATIE is busy at the sideboard. She Polishes things, she hums a little. She sets down knives, forks, etc. She tries two or three different arrangements


  ― 26 ―
of the crockery, till her decorative sense is satified. In a bowl, in the centre of the table, she places a bunch of boronia. From the basket she takes out a loaf of bread, a Piece of cake, a crayfish, etc. CHOPSEY's eyes goggle.)

CHOPSEY.

How is it, Katie? What's up? Blime, you've cleaned the knives. Cake ? 'Struth, we are hotties. Boronia ? Are you expecting the gawd mayor for tea? Where did you pinch the lovely cray ? Ain't he bosker ? It's like a trip to the seaside. It's all right, Katie. It's time we had a banquet. Things ain't been too good with us. Hullo! What's this ? Beer — glorious!


KATIE.

Keep your hands off.


CHOPSEY.

What! Look here, Katie.


KATIE.

Talk to your equals.


CHOPSEY.

(With feeling.) I'd get lots o'things for you, Katie. I want to get them for you. They don't sling much into the hat for singing to them. I don't forget how you stuck to me.


KATIE.

Ah, blow the froth off.


CHOPSEY.

Straight, I've had a bit of luck at last. (Eyeing table.)


KATIE.

It ain't for you, nor nobody like you.


CHOPSEY.

Now don't start nagging, or I'll —


KATIE.

What'll you do? I'm sick of the sight of your ugly dial.


CHOPSEY.

(Humbly.) Katie, ain't we got on well together? I've done all I could to help you. It ain't my fault.


KATIE.

What sort o' life can the likes o' you give a woman ? I made a bloomer when I took you on. Precious little happiness I've had in the world. This ain't the life that I want.


CHOPSEY.

I bring you in all I get, don't I?I don't get lathered on the takings, do I ?


KATIE.

Your music, that's how I fell in. Ugh! I'm sick o' you, and your music, and your busking, and your organ — yes, and your flash clobber, and your fringe — and your —


  ― 27 ―


CHOPSEY.

Give's a kiss, come here.


(CHOPSEY tries to kiss her. KATIE breaks away.)

KATIE.

No you don't, my buck. None o' that game with me.


CHOPSEY.

What the blazing!


KATIE.

No liberties from you.


CHOPSEY.

Gawdstruth, Katie, what the hell —


KATIE.

Don't be making your tarts jealous.


CHOPSEY.

Strike me blind, Katie, you're off your nut. Look here —


KATIE.

You ain't no proper man. You're an ornament.


CHOPSEY.

I didn't mean to hurt you. I ain't that sort.


KATIE.

You couldn't hurt a plate o' hot peas.


CHOPSEY.

(With sentiment.) Now, don't go crook, Katie. You remember that picnic we had down the Bay, the first time I ever seen you. I never loved nobody but you, gawd strike me dead.


KATIE.

Garn! None o' that. That's all dead and buried. I'm done with you, you smoodger. I ain't going to keep a fat lazy loafer like you.


CHOPSEY.

Blast you, my luck's turned, I tell you.


KATIE.

Lob off now.


CHOPSEY.

Don't sling off, Katie. Haven't I had enough trouble ?


KATIE.

It's a shame, ain't it? Get back to your organ.


CHOPSEY.

(Asserting himself) I've had enough of this.I'll tame you, by cripes, I'll —


KATIE.

(Witheringly.) You'll tame me, will you?Garn, you couldn't tame white mice.


CHOPSEY.

What d'you mean ?


KATIE.

This is what I mean. Get!


CHOPSEY.

I don't mean to argue.


KATIE.

Don't. Don't waste your time. You can take your clearance from me now.

(KATIE throws him his coat from hooks.)

Pack up your duds. The furniture's mine, and the house is in my name.


CHOPSEY.

It's this way, Katie —


KATIE.

No, it ain't. (Pointing to door.) It's that way.


CHOPSEY.

What d'you mean?


  ― 28 ―


KATIE.

(With deadly deliberation.) This is what I mean, a better man than you, or two of you, is coming out to-day.


CHOPSEY.

What, Bongo?


KATIE.

Yes. Bongo Williams. It's gawd's truth. You don't like it, don't you ?


CHOPSEY.

Look here. I'll give up busking if you like. I've put up a job with Shipmate.


KATIE.

Why didn't you say so before ? It's too late now.


CHOPSEY.

Give's a chance, Katie.


KATIE.

You've had your chance. You done it in.


CHOPSEY.

I've been so happy, Katie, ever since I got on with you. You don't forget that day out at Greensborough, when you said you loved me. Gorblime, you can't forget.


KATIE.

Y'ain't a bad sort, Chopsey.


CHOPSEY.

I ain't been too good to you, I know. I want to make it up. Look, we'll have real bonzer times going out together. I'll take you to all the dances. I'll — what ?


KATIE.

It's all over now. You can't ring the changes on me.


CHOPSEY.

Strike me balmy, I didn't mean to punch you, Katie.


KATIE.

(Casually.) You punch? Bongo's the bloke that can punch!


CHOPSEY.

Katie —


KATIE.

No, you're out o' bounds.


CHOPSEY.

(Facing the position.) So you want to give me the chuck — me for — Bongo Williams.


KATIE.

(With some touch of Pity.) Yes, you've done your dash, Chopsey.


CHOPSEY.

Bongo — the beer sparrer ?


KATIE.

(Hardening.) He'll spar you any day of the week.


CHOPSEY.

He's a bloke that bashes women.


KATIE.

You're jealous, ain't you? Well, me and Bongo's fixed it up again. He'll be here any minute now.


CHOPSEY.

'Struth, I'll murder you.


  ― 29 ―


KATIE.

Don't get rattled. You ain't very strong, you know.


CHOPSEY.

(Making a last appeal.) Listen,Katie. I can't give you up. I love you, I do. I can't live without you. It's lonely on your pat. Gorblime, I couldn't love nobody but you, Katie. My luck's turned, I tell you. I'll get the stuff. We'll start all over again. We'll have the bonzer times. We'll be sweethearts, yes, just as we used to be. (Moving towards her.) You've been kidding me, Katie. I knew you didn't mean it.


(A bucks' whistle is heard outside.)

KATIE.

Here's Bongo.


(CHOPSEY stands helpless and perplexed.)

KATIE.

(Pointing dramatically to door.) Get!


CHOPSEY.

Gawdstruth, Katie —


(BONGO passes window.)

KATIE.

(Triumphant.) Scarp off.


(BONGO, a powerful, square-set man, dressed in a blue sweater, with cap and black silk muffler, bull dog jawed, clean shaven, gaol cropped — smiling and confident, comes to door.)

KATIE.

Come in, Bongo.


(BONGO enters, silent and masterful. He stares at CHOPSEY.)

KATIE.

Take no notice of him.


KATIE.

You ain't no busker, are you Bongo?

(To the terror-stricken CHOPSEY, who picks zip coat and hat.)

Get out, you cow.

(BONGO makes a step towards CHOPSEY. KATIE clutches his arm.)


KATIE.

Don't dirty your hands on him, Bongo. (To CHOPSEY.)

See if you can get on with Fishy Liz. She's fond o' music.

(CHOPSEY makes for door, while BONGO fans him out.)


KATIE.

Blime, you're looking pink. How'd they treat you ? Have you got your punch back, Bongo ? Sit down.





  ― 30 ―

(BONGO takes seat at table. KATIE puts crayfish on plate, etc.)

KATIE.

Have a bit o' cray, Bongo. Better than hominy, eh ? We'll stick together, Bongo. When are you going to fight in the halls? Ain't you feeling peckish ? This is what you want.


(She produces jug of beer, and fills large glass.)

KATIE.

Here you are, Bongo. It'll do you good. Have your taste first. You're the bloke, Bongo!


(BONGO drains glass, stretches out arms, and drags KATIE to him, as the curtain falls.)

CURTAIN.
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