Act II

The same scene as before. Early morning. Sarah is washing her face in an old bucket; then plaits her hair. Michael is tidying himself also. Mary Byrne is asleep against the ditch.

Sarah (to Michael, with pleased excitement). Go over, now, to the bundle beyond, and you’ll find a kind of a red handkerchief to put upon your neck, and a green one for myself.

Michael (getting them). You’re after spending more money on the like of them. Well, it’s a power we’re losing this time, and we not gaining a thing at all. (With the handkerchief.) Is it them two?

Sarah. It is, Michael. (She takes one of them.) Let you tackle that one round under your chin; and let you not forget to take your hat from your head when we go up into the church. I asked Biddy Flynn below, that’s after marrying her second man, and she told me it’s the like of that they do.

Mary yawns, and turns over in her sleep.

Sarah (with anxiety). There she is waking up on us, and I thinking we’d have the job done before she’d know of it at all.

Michael. She’ll be crying out now, and making game of us, and saying it’s fools we are surely.

Sarah. I’ll send her to her sleep again, or get her out of it one way or another; for it’d be a bad case to have a divil’s scholar the like of her turning the priest against us maybe with her godless talk.

Mary (waking up, and looking at them with curiosity, blandly). That’s fine things you have on you, Sarah Casey; and it’s a great stir you’re making this day, washing your face. I’m that used to the hammer, I wouldn’t hear it at all; but washing is a rare thing, and you’re after waking me up, and I having a great sleep in the sun.

She looks around cautiously at the bundle in which she has hidden the bottles.

Sarah (coaxingly). Let you stretch out again for a sleep, Mary Byrne; for it’ll be a middling time yet before we go to the fair.

Mary (with suspicion). That’s a sweet tongue you have, Sarah Casey; but if sleep’s a grand thing, it’s a grand thing to be waking up a day the like of this, when there’s a warm sun in it, and a kind air, and you’ll hear the cuckoos singing and crying out on the top of the hills.

Sarah. If it’s that gay you are, you’d have a right to walk down and see would you get a few halfpence from the rich men do be driving early to the fair.

Mary. When rich men do be driving early it’s queer tempers they have, the Lord forgive them; the way it’s little but bad words and swearing out you’d get from them all.

Sarah (losing her temper and breaking out fiercely). Then if you’ll neither beg nor sleep, let you walk off from this place where you’re not wanted, and not have us waiting for you maybe at the turn of day.

Mary (rather uneasy, turning to Michael). God help our spirits, Michael; there she is again rousing cranky from the break of dawn. Oh! isn’t she a terror since the moon did change? (she gets up slowly) and I’d best be going forward to sell the gallon can.

She goes over and takes up the bundle.

Sarah (crying out angrily). Leave that down, Mary Byrne. Oh! aren’t you the scorn of women to think that you’d have that drouth and roguery on you that you’d go drinking the can and the dew not dried from the grass?

  By PanEris using Melati.

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