Tent below Emain, with shabby skins and benches. There is an opening at each side and at back, the latter closed. Old Woman comes in with food and fruits and arranges them on table. Conchubor comes in on right.

Conchubor (sharply). Has no one come with news for me?

Old Woman. I’ve seen no one at all, Conchubor.

Conchubor (watches her working for a moment, then makes sure opening at back is closed). Go up then to Emain, you’re not wanting here. (A noise heard left.) Who is that?

Old Woman (going left). It’s Lavarcham coming again. She’s a great wonder for jogging back and forward through the world, and I made certain she’d be off to meet them; but she’s coming alone, Conchubor, my dear child Deirdre isn’t with her at all.

Conchubor. Go up so and leave us.

Old Woman (pleadingly). I’d be well pleased to set my eyes on Deirdre if she’s coming this night, as we’re told.

Conchubor (impatiently). It’s not long till you’ll see her. But I’ve matters with Lavarcham, and let you go now, I’m saying.

He shows her out right, as Lavarcham comes in on the left.

Lavarcham (looking round her with suspicion). This is a queer place to find you, and it’s a queer place to be lodging Naisi and his brothers, and Deirdre with them, and the lot of us tired out with the long way we have been walking.

Conchubor. You’ve come along with them the whole journey?

Lavarcham. I have, then, though I’ve no call now to be wandering that length to a wedding or a burial, or the two together. (She sits down wearily.) It’s a poor thing the way me and you is getting old, Conchubor, and I’m thinking you yourself have no call to be loitering this place getting your death, maybe, in the cold of night.

Conchubor. I’m waiting only to know is Fergus stopped in the north.

Lavarcham (more sharply). He’s stopped, surely, and that’s a trick has me thinking you have it in mind to bring trouble this night on Emain and Ireland and the big world’s east beyond them. (She goes to him.) And yet you’d do well to be going to your dun, and not putting shame on her meeting the High King, and she seamed and sweaty and in great disorder from the dust of many roads. (Laughing derisively.) Ah, Conchubor, my lad, beauty goes quickly in the woods, and you’d let a great gasp, I tell you, if you set your eyes this night on Deirdre.

Conchubor (fiercely). It’s little I care if she’s white and worn, for it’s I did rear her from a child. I should have a good right to meet and see her always.

Lavarcham. A good right is it? Haven’t the blind a good right to be seeing, and the lame to be dancing, and the dummies singing tunes? It’s that right you have to be looking for gaiety on Deirdre’s lips. (Coaxingly.) Come on to your dun, I’m saying, and leave her quiet for one night itself.

Conchubor (with sudden anger). I’ll not go, when it’s long enough I am above in my dun stretching east and west without a comrade, and I more needy, maybe, than the thieves of Meath.… You think I’m old and wise, but I tell you the wise know the old must die, and they’ll leave no chance for a thing slipping from them they’ve set their blood to win.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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