Act II

Village roadside, on left the door of a forge, with broken wheels, etc., lying about. A well near centre, with board above it, and room to pass behind it. Martin Doul is sitting near forge, cutting sticks.

Timmy (heard hammering inside forge, then calls). Let you make haste out there.… I’ll be putting up new fires at the turn of day, and you haven’t the half of them cut yet.

Martin Doul (gloomily). It’s destroyed I’ll be whacking your old thorns till the turn of day, and I with no food in my stomach would keep the life in a pig. (He turns towards the door.) Let you come out here and cut them yourself if you want them cut, for there’s an hour every day when a man has a right to his rest.

Timmy (coming out, with a hammer, impatiently). Do you want me to be driving you off again to be walking the roads? There you are now, and I giving you your food, and a corner to sleep, and money with it; and, to hear the talk of you, you’d think I was after beating you, or stealing your gold.

Martin Doul. You’d do it handy, maybe, if I’d gold to steal.

Timmy (throws down hammer; picks up some of the sticks already cut, and throws them into door). There’s no fear of your having gold—a lazy, basking fool the like of you.

Martin Doul. No fear, maybe, and I here with yourself, for it’s more I got a while since, and I sitting blinded in Grianan, than I get in this place, working hard, and destroying myself, the length of the day.

Timmy (stopping with amazement). Working hard? (He goes over to him.) I’ll teach you to work hard, Martin Doul. Strip off your coat now, and put a tuck in your sleeves, and cut the lot of them, while I’d rake the ashes from the forge, or I’ll not put up with you another hour itself.

Martin Doul (horrified). Would you have me getting my death sitting out in the black wintry air with no coat on me at all?

Timmy (with authority). Strip it off now, or walk down upon the road.

Martin Doul (bitterly). Oh, God help me! (He begins taking off his coat.) I’ve heard tell you stripped the sheet from your wife and you putting her down into the grave, and that there isn’t the like of you for plucking your living ducks, the short days, and leaving them running round in their skins, in the great rains and the cold. (He tucks up his sleeves.) Ah, I’ve heard a power of queer things of yourself, and there isn’t one of them I’ll not believe from this day, and be telling to the boys.

Timmy (pulling over a big stick). Let you cut that now, and give me rest from your talk, for I’m not heeding you at all.

Martin Doul (taking stick). That’s a hard, terrible stick, Timmy; and isn’t it a poor thing to be cutting strong timber the like of that, when it’s cold the bark is, and slippy with the frost of the air?

Timmy (gathering up another armful of sticks). What way wouldn’t it be cold, and it freezing since the moon was changed?

He goes into forge.

Martin Doul (querulously, as he cuts slowly). What way, indeed, Timmy? For it’s a raw, beastly day we do have each day, till I do be thinking it’s well for the blind don’t be seeing them gray clouds driving on the hill, and don’t be looking on people with their noses red, the like of your nose, and their eyes weeping and watering, the like of your eyes, God help you, Timmy the smith.

Timmy (seen blinking in doorway). Is it turning now you are against your sight?

  By PanEris using Melati.

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