The same Scene as in first Act, but gap in centre has been filled with briars, or branches of some sort. Mary Doul, blind again, gropes her way in on left, and sits as before. She has a few rushes with her. It is an early spring day.

Mary Doul (mournfully). Ah, God help me … God help me; the blackness wasn’t so black at all the other time as it is this time, and it’s destroyed I’ll be now, and hard set to get my living working alone, when it’s few are passing and the winds are cold. (She begins shredding rushes.) I’m thinking short days will be long days to me from this time, and I sitting here, not seeing a blink, or hearing a word, and no thought in my mind but long prayers that Martin Doul’ll get his reward in a short while for the villainy of his heart. It’s great jokes the people’ll be making now, I’m thinking, and they pass me by, pointing their fingers maybe, and asking what place is himself, the way it’s no quiet or decency I’ll have from this day till I’m an old woman with long white hair and it twisting from my brow. (She fumbles with her hair, and then seems to hear something. Listens for a moment.) There’s a queer, slouching step coming on the road.… God help me, he’s coming surely.

She stays perfectly quiet. Martin Doul gropes in on right, blind also.

Martin Doul (gloomily). The devil mend Mary Doul for putting lies on me, and letting on she was grand. The devil mend the old Saint for letting me see it was lies. (He sits down near her.) The devil mend Timmy the smith for killing me with hard work, and keeping me with an empty, windy stomach in me, in the day and in the night. Ten thousand devils mend the soul of Molly Byrne—(Mary Doul nods her head with approval)—and the bad, wicked souls is hidden in all the women of the world. (He rocks himself, with his hand over his face.) It’s lonesome I’ll be from this day, and if living people is a bad lot, yet Mary Doul, herself, and she a dirty, wrinkled-looking hag, was better maybe to be sitting along with than no one at all. I’ll be getting my death now, I’m thinking, sitting alone in the cold air, hearing the night coming, and the blackbirds flying round in the briars crying to themselves, the time you’ll hear one cart getting off a long way in the east, and another cart getting off a long way in the west, and a dog barking maybe, and a little wind turning the sticks. (He listens and sighs heavily.) I’ll be destroyed sitting alone and losing my senses this time the way I’m after losing my sight, for it’d make any person afeard to be sitting up hearing the sound of his breath—(he moves his feet on the stones)—and the noise of his feet, when it’s a power of queer things do be stirring, little sticks breaking, and the grass moving—(Mary Doul half sighs, and he turns on her in horror)—till you’d take your dying oath on sun and moon a thing was breathing on the stones. (He listens towards her for a moment, then starts up nervously, and gropes about for his stick.) I’ll be going now, I’m thinking, but I’m not sure what place my stick’s in, and I’m destroyed with terror and dread. (He touches her face as he is groping about and cries out.) There’s a thing with a cold, living face on it sitting up at my side. (He turns to run away, but misses his path and stumbles in against the wall.) My road is lost on me now! Oh, merciful God, set my foot on the path this day, and I’ll be saying prayers morning and night, and not straining my ear after young girls, or doing any bad thing till I die——

Mary Doul (indignantly). Let you not be telling lies to the Almighty God.

Martin Doul. Mary Doul, is it? (Recovering himself with immense relief.) Is it Mary Doul, I’m saying?

Mary Doul. There’s a sweet tone in your voice I’ve not heard for a space. You’re taking me for Molly Byrne, I’m thinking.

Martin Doul (coming towards her, wiping sweat from his face.) Well, sight’s a queer thing for upsetting a man. It’s a queer thing to think I’d live to this day to be fearing the like of you; but if it’s shaken I am for a short while, I’ll soon be coming to myself.

Mary Doul. You’ll be grand then, and it’s no lie.

Martin Doul (sitting down shyly, some way off). You’ve no call to be talking, for I’ve heard tell you’re as blind as myself.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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