Inheritors - Act III

SCENE: The same as Act II three hours later. PROFESSOR HOLDEN is seated at the table, books before him. He is a man in the fifties. At the moment his care-worn face is lighted by that lift of the spirit which sometimes rewards the scholar who has imaginative feeling. HARRY, a student clerk, comes hurrying in. Looks back.

HARRY: Here's Professor Holden, Mr Fejevary.

HOLDEN: Mr Fejevary is looking for me?


(He goes back, a moment later MR FEJEVARY enters. He has his hat, gloves, stick; seems tired and disturbed.)

HOLDEN: Was I mistaken? I thought our appointment was for five.

FEJEVARY: Quite right. But things have changed, so I wondered if I might have a little talk with you now.

HOLDEN: To be sure. (rising) Shall we go downstairs?

FEJEVARY: I don't know. Nice and quiet up here. (to HARRY, who is now passing through) Harry, the library is closed now, is it?

HARRY: Yes, it's locked.

FEJEVARY: And there's no one in here?

HARRY: No, I've been all through.

FEJEVARY: There's a committee downstairs. Oh, this is a terrible day. (putting his things on the table) We'd better stay up here. Harry, when my niece—when Miss Morton arrives—I want you to come and let me know. Ask her not to leave the building without seeing me.

HARRY: Yes, sir. (he goes out)

FEJEVARY: Well, (wearily) it's been a day. Not the day I was looking for.


FEJEVARY: You're very serene up here.

HOLDEN: Yes, I wanted to be—serene for a little while.

FEJEVARY: (looking at the books) Emerson. Whitman. (with a smile) Have they anything new to say on economics?

HOLDEN: Perhaps not; but I wanted to forget economics for a time. I came up here by myself to try and celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the founding of Morton College. (answering the other man's look) Yes, I confess I've been disappointed in the anniversary. As I left Memorial Hall after the exercises this morning, Emerson's words came into my mind—

'Give me truth,
For I am tired of surfaces
And die of inanition.'
Well, then I went home—(stops, troubled)

FEJEVARY: How is Mrs Holden?

HOLDEN: Better, thank you, but—not strong.

FEJEVARY: She needs the very best of care for a time, doesn't she?

HOLDEN: Yes. (silent a moment) Then, this is something more than the fortieth anniversary, you know. It's the first of the month.

FEJEVARY: And illness hasn't reduced the bills?

HOLDEN: (shaking his head) I didn't want this day to go like that; so I came up here to try and touch what used to be here.

FEJEVARY: But you speak despondently of us. And there's been such a fine note of optimism in the exercises. (speaks with the heartiness of one who would keep himself assured)

HOLDEN: I didn't seem to want a fine note of optimism. (with roughness) I wanted—a gleam from reality.

FEJEVARY: To me this is reality—the robust spirit created by all these young people.

HOLDEN: Do you think it is robust? (hand affectionately on the book before him) I've been reading Whitman.

FEJEVARY: This day has to be itself. Certain things go—others come; life is change.

HOLDEN: Perhaps it's myself I'm discouraged with. Do you remember the tenth anniversary of the founding of Morton College.

FEJEVARY: The tenth? Oh yes, that was when this library was opened.

HOLDEN: I shall never forget your father, Mr Fejevary, as he stood out there and said the few words which gave these books to the students. Not many books, but he seemed to baptize them in the very spirit from which books are born.

FEJEVARY: He died the following year.

HOLDEN: One felt death near. But that didn't seem the important thing. A student who had fought for liberty for mind. Of course his face would be sensitive. You must be very proud of your heritage.

FEJEVARY: Yes. (a little testily) Well, I have certainly worked for the college. I'm doing my best now to keep it a part of these times.

HOLDEN: (as if this has not reached him) It was later that same afternoon I talked with Silas Morton. We stood at this window and looked out over the valley to the lower hill that was his home. He told me how from that hill he had for years looked up to this one, and why there had to be a college here. I never felt America as that old farmer made me feel it.

FEJEVARY: (drawn by this, then shifting in irritation because he is drawn) I'm sorry to break in with practical things, but alas, I am a practical man—forced to be. I too have made a fight—though the fight to finance never appears an idealistic one. But I'm deep in that now, and I must have a little help; at least, I must not have—stumbling-blocks.

HOLDEN: Am I a stumbling-block?

FEJEVARY: Candidly (with a smile) you are a little hard to finance. Here's the situation. The time for being a little college has passed. We must take our place as one of the important colleges—I make bold to say one of the important universities—of the Middle West. But we have to enlarge before we can grow. (answering HOLDEN's smile) Yes, it is ironic, but that's the way of it. It was a nice thing to open the anniversary with fifty thousand from the steel works—but fifty thousand dollars—nowadays—to an institution? (waves the fifty thousand aside) They'll do more later, I think, when they see us coming into our own. Meanwhile, as you know, there's this chance for an appropriation from the state. I find that the legislature, the members who count, are very friendly to Morton College. They like the spirit we have here. Well, now I come to you, and you are one of the big reasons for my wanting to put this over. Your salary makes me blush. It's all wrong that a man like you should have these petty worries, particularly with Mrs Holden so in need of the things a little money can do. Now this man Lewis is a reactionary. So, naturally, he doesn't approve of you.

HOLDEN: So naturally I am to go.

FEJEVARY: Go? Not at all. What have I just been saying?

HOLDEN: Be silent, then.

FEJEVARY: Not that either—not—not really. But—be a little more discreet. (seeing him harden) This is what I want to put up to you. Why not give things a chance to mature in your own mind? Candidly, I don't feel you know just what you do think; is it so awfully important to express—confusion?

HOLDEN: The only man who knows just what he thinks at the present moment is the man who hasn't done any new thinking in the past ten years.

FEJEVARY: (with a soothing gesture) You and I needn't quarrel about it. I understand you, but I find it a little hard to interpret you to a man like Lewis.

HOLDEN: Then why not let a man like Lewis go to thunder?

FEJEVARY: And let the college go to thunder? I'm not willing to do that. I've made a good many sacrifices for this college. Given more money than I could afford to give; given time and thought that I could have used for personal gain.

HOLDEN: That's true, I know.

FEJEVARY: I don't know just why I've done it. Sentiment, I suppose. I had a very strong feeling about my father, Professor Holden. And this friend Silas Morton. This college is the child of that friendship. Those are noble words in our manifesto: 'Morton College was born because there came to this valley a man who held his vision for mankind above his own advantage; and because that man found in this valley a man who wanted beauty for his fellow-men as he wanted no other thing.'

HOLDEN: (taking it up) 'Born of the fight for freedom and the aspiration to richer living, we believe that Morton College—rising as from the soil itself—may strengthen all those here and everywhere who fight for the life there is in freedom, and may, to the measure it can, loosen for America the beauty that breathes from knowledge.' (moved by the words he has spoken) Do you know, I would rather do that—really do that—than—grow big.

FEJEVARY: Yes. But you see, or rather, what you don't see is, you have to look at the world in which you find yourself. The only way to stay alive is to grow big. It's been hard, but I have tried to—carry on.

HOLDEN: And so have I tried to carry on. But it is very hard—carrying on a dream.

FEJEVARY: Well, I'm trying to make it easier.

HOLDEN: Make it easier by destroying the dream?

FEJEVARY: Not at all. What I want is scope for dreams.

HOLDEN: Are you sure we'd have the dreams after we've paid this price for the scope?

FEJEVARY: Now let's not get rhetorical with one another.

HOLDEN: Mr Fejevary, you have got to let me be as honest with you as you say you are being with me. You have got to let me say what I feel.

FEJEVARY: Certainly. That's why I wanted this talk with you.

HOLDEN: You say you have made sacrifices for Morton College. So have I.

FEJEVARY: How well I know that.

HOLDEN: You don't know all of it. I'm not sure you understand any of it.

FEJEVARY: (charmingly) Oh, I think you're hard on me.

HOLDEN: I spoke of the tenth anniversary. I was a young man then, just home from Athens, (pulled back into an old feeling) I don't know why I felt I had to go to Greece. I knew then that I was going to teach something within sociology, and I didn't want anything I felt about beauty to be left out of what I formulated about society. The Greeks—

FEJEVARY: (as HOLDEN has paused before what he sees) I remember you told me the Greeks were the passion of your student days.

HOLDEN: Not so much because they created beauty, but because they were able to let beauty flow into their lives—to create themselves in beauty. So as a romantic young man (smiles), it seemed if I could go where they had been—what I had felt might take form. Anyway, I had a wonderful time there. Oh, what wouldn't I give to have again that feeling of life's infinite possibilities!

FEJEVARY: (nodding) A youthful feeling.

HOLDEN: (softly) I like youth. Well, I was just back, visiting my sister here, at the time of the tenth anniversary. I had a chance then to go to Harvard as instructor. A good chance, for I would have been under a man who liked me. But that afternoon I heard your father speak about books. I talked with Silas Morton. I found myself telling him about Greece. No one had ever felt it as he felt it. It seemed to become of the very bone of him.

FEJEVARY: (affectionately) I know how he used to do.

HOLDEN: He put his hands on my shoulders. He said, 'Young man, don't go away. We need you here. Give us this great thing you've got!' And so I stayed, for I felt that here was soil in which I could grow, and that one's whole life was not too much to give to a place with roots like that. (a little bitterly) Forgive me if this seems rhetoric.

FEJEVARY: (a gesture of protest. Silent a moment) You make it—hard for me. (with exasperation) Don't you think I'd like to indulge myself in an exalted mood? And why don't I? I can't afford it—not now. Won't you have a little patience? And faith—faith that the thing we want will be there for us after we've worked our way through the woods. We are in the woods now. It's going to take our combined brains to get us out. I don't mean just Morton College.

HOLDEN: No—America. As to getting out, I think you are all wrong.

FEJEVARY: That's one of your sweeping statements, Holden. Nobody's all wrong. Even you aren't.

HOLDEN: And in what ways am I wrong—from the standpoint of your Senator Lewis?

FEJEVARY: He's not my Senator Lewis, he's the state's, and we have to take him as he is. Why, he objects, of course, to your radical activities. He spoke of your defence of conscientious objectors.

HOLDEN: (slowly) I think a man who is willing to go to prison for what he believes has stuff in him no college needs turn its back on.

FEJEVARY: Well, he doesn't agree with you—nor do I.

HOLDEN: (still quietly) And I think a society which permits things to go on which I can prove go on in our federal prisons had better stop and take a fresh look at itself. To stand for that and then talk of democracy and idealism—oh, it shows no mentality, for one thing.

FEJEVARY: (easily) I presume the prisons do need a cleaning up. As to Fred Jordan, you can't expect me to share your admiration. Our own Fred—my nephew Fred Morton, went to France and gave his life. There's some little courage, Holden, in doing that.

HOLDEN: I'm not trying to belittle it. But he had the whole spirit of his age with him—fortunate boy. The man who stands outside the idealism of this time—

FEJEVARY: Takes a good deal upon himself, I should say.

HOLDEN: There isn't any other such loneliness. You know in your heart it's a noble courage.

FEJEVARY: It lacks—humility. (HOLDEN laughs scoffingly) And I think you lack it. I'm asking you to co-operate with me for the good of Morton College.

HOLDEN: Why not do it the other way? You say enlarge that we may grow. That's false. It isn't of the nature of growth. Why not do it the way of Silas Morton and Walt Whitman—each man being his purest and intensest self. I was full of this fervour when you came in. I'm more and more disappointed in our students. They're empty—flippant. No sensitive moment opens them to beauty. No exaltation makes them—what they hadn't known they were. I concluded some of the fault must be mine. The only students I reach are the Hindus. Perhaps Madeline Morton—I don't quite make her out. I too must have gone into a dead stratum. But I can get back. Here alone this afternoon—(softly) I was back.

FEJEVARY: I think we'll have to let the Hindus go.

HOLDEN: (astonished) Go? Our best students?

FEJEVARY: This college is for Americans. I'm not going to have foreign revolutionists come here and block the things I've spent my life working for.

HOLDEN: I don't seem to know what you mean at all.

FEJEVARY: Why, that disgraceful performance this morning. I can settle Madeline all right, (looking at his watch) She should be here by now. But I'm convinced our case before the legislature will be stronger with the Hindus out of here.

HOLDEN: Well, I seem to have missed something—disgraceful performance—the Hindus, Madeline—(stops, bewildered)

FEJEVARY: You mean to say you don't know about the disturbance out here?

HOLDEN: I went right home after the address. Then came up here alone.

FEJEVARY: Upon my word, you do lead a serene life. While you've been sitting here in contemplation I've been to the police court—trying to get my niece out of jail. That's what comes of having radicals around.

HOLDEN: What happened?

FEJEVARY: One of our beloved Hindus made himself obnoxious on the campus. Giving out handbills about freedom for India—howling over deportation. Our American boys wouldn't stand for it. A policeman saw the fuss—came up and started to put the Hindu in his place. Then Madeline rushes in, and it ended in her pounding the policeman with her tennis racket.

HOLDEN: Madeline Morton did that!

FEJEVARY: (sharply) You seem pleased.

HOLDEN: I am—interested.

FEJEVARY: Well, I'm not interested. I'm disgusted. My niece mixing up in a free-for-all fight and getting taken to the police station! It's the first disgrace we've ever had in our family.

HOLDEN: (as one who has been given courage) Wasn't there another disgrace?

FEJEVARY: What do you mean?

HOLDEN: When your father fought his government and was banished from his country.

FEJEVARY: That was not a disgrace!

HOLDEN: (as if in surprise) Wasn't it?

FEJEVARY: See here, Holden, you can't talk to me like that.

HOLDEN: I don't admit you can talk to me as you please and that I can't talk to you. I'm a professor—not a servant.

FEJEVARY: Yes, and you're a damned difficult professor. I certainly have tried to—

HOLDEN: (smiling) Handle me?

FEJEVARY: I ask you this. Do you know any other institution where you could sit and talk with the executive head as you have here with me?

HOLDEN: I don't know. Perhaps not.

FEJEVARY: Then be reasonable. No one is entirely free. That's naïve. It's rather egotistical to want to be. We're held by our relations to others—by our obligations to the (vaguely)—the ultimate thing. Come now—you admit certain dissatisfactions with yourself, so—why not go with intensity into just the things you teach—and not touch quite so many other things?

HOLDEN: I couldn't teach anything if I didn't feel free to go wherever that thing took me. Thirty years ago I was asked to come to this college precisely because my science was not in isolation, because of my vivid feeling of us as a moment in a long sweep, because of my faith in the greater beauty our further living may unfold.

(HARRY enters.)

HARRY: Excuse me. Miss Morton is here now, Mr Fejevary.

FEJEVARY: (frowns, hesitates) Ask her to come up here in five minutes (After HARRY has gone) I think we've thrown a scare into Madeline. I thought as long as she'd been taken to jail it would be no worse for us to have her stay there awhile. She's been held since one o'clock. That ought to teach her reason.

HOLDEN: Is there a case against her?

FEJEVARY: No, I got it fixed up. Explained that it was just college girl foolishness—wouldn't happen again. One reason I wanted this talk with you first, if I do have any trouble with Madeline I want you to help me.

HOLDEN: Oh, I can't do that.

FEJEVARY: You aren't running out and clubbing the police. Tell her she'll have to think things over and express herself with a little more dignity.

HOLDEN: I ask to be excused from being present while you talk with her.

FEJEVARY: But why not stay in the library—in case I should need you. Just take your books over to the east alcove and go on with what you were doing when I came in.

HOLDEN: (with a faint smile) I fear I can hardly do that. As to Madeline—

FEJEVARY: You don't want to see the girl destroy herself, do you? I confess I've always worried about Madeline. If my sister had lived—But Madeline's mother died, you know, when she was a baby. Her father—well, you and I talked that over just the other day—there's no getting to him. Fred never worried me a bit—just the fine normal boy. But Madeline—(with an effort throwing it off) Oh, it'll be all right, I haven't a doubt. And it'll be all right between you and me, won't it? Caution over a hard strip of the road, then—bigger things ahead.

HOLDEN: (slowly, knowing what it may mean) I shall continue to do all I can toward getting Fred Jordan out of prison. It's a disgrace to America that two years after the war closes he should be kept there—much of the time in solitary confinement—because he couldn't believe in war. It's small—vengeful—it's the Russia of the Czars. I shall do what is in my power to fight the deportation of Gurkul Singh. And certainly I shall leave no stone unturned if you persist in your amazing idea of dismissing the other Hindus from college. For what—I ask you? Dismissed—for what? Because they love liberty enough to give their lives to it! The day you dismiss them, burn our high-sounding manifesto, Mr Fejevary, and admit that Morton College now sells her soul to the—committee on appropriations!

FEJEVARY: Well, you force me to be as specific as you are. If you do these things, I can no longer fight for you.

HOLDEN: Very well then, I go.

FEJEVARY: Go where?

HOLDEN: I don't know—at the moment.

FEJEVARY: I fear you'll find it harder than you know. Meanwhile, what of your family?

HOLDEN: We will have to manage some way.

FEJEVARY: It is not easy for a woman whose health—in fact, whose life—is a matter of the best of care to 'manage some way'. (with real feeling) What is an intellectual position alongside that reality? You'd like, of course, to be just what you want to be—but isn't there something selfish in that satisfaction? I'm talking as a friend now—you must know that. You and I have a good many ties, Holden. I don't believe you know how much Mrs Fejevary thinks of Mrs Holden.

HOLDEN: She has been very, very good to her.

FEJEVARY: And will be. She cares for her. And our children have been growing up together—I love to watch it. Isn't that the reality? Doing for them as best we can, making sacrifices of—of every kind. Don't let some tenuous, remote thing destroy this flesh and blood thing.

HOLDEN: (as one fighting to keep his head above water) Honesty is not a tenuous, remote thing.

FEJEVARY: There's a kind of honesty in selfishness. We can't always have it. Oh, I used to—go through things. But I've struck a pace—one does—and goes ahead.

HOLDEN: Forgive me, but I don't think you've had certain temptations to—selfishness.

FEJEVARY: How do you know what I've had? You have no way of knowing what's in me—what other thing I might have been? You know my heritage; you think that's left nothing? But I find myself here in America. I love those dependent on me. My wife—who's used to a certain manner of living; my children—who are to become part of the America of their time. I've never said this to another human being—I've never looked at myself—but it's pretty arrogant to think you're the only man who has made a sacrifice to fit himself into the age in which he lives. I hear Madeline. This hasn't left me in very good form for talking with her. Please don't go away. Just—

(MADELINE comes in, right. She has her tennis racket. Nods to the two men. HOLDEN goes out, left.)

MADELINE: (looking after HOLDEN—feeling something going on. Then turning to her uncle, who is still looking after HOLDEN) You wanted to speak to me, Uncle Felix?

FEJEVARY: Of course I want to speak to you.

MADELINE: I feel just awfully sorry about—banging up my racket like this. The second time it came down on this club. Why do they carry those things? Perfectly fantastic, I'll say, going around with a club. But as long as you were asking me what I wanted for my birthday—

FEJEVARY: Madeline, I am not here to discuss your birthday.

MADELINE: I'm sorry—(smiles) to hear that.

FEJEVARY: You don't seem much chastened.

MADELINE: Chastened? Was that the idea? Well, if you think that keeping a person where she doesn't want to be chastens her! I never felt less 'chastened' than when I walked out of that slimy spot and looked across the street at your nice bank. I should think you'd hate to—(with friendly concern) Why, Uncle Felix, you look tired out.

FEJEVARY: I am tired out, Madeline. I've had a nerve-racking day.

MADELINE: Isn't that too bad? Those speeches were so boresome, and that old senator person—wasn't he a stuff? But can't you go home now and let auntie give you tea and—

FEJEVARY: (sharply) Madeline, have you no intelligence? Hasn't it occurred to you that your performance would worry me a little?

MADELINE: I suppose it was a nuisance. And on such a busy day. (changing) But if you're going to worry, Horace is the one you should worry about. (answering his look) Why, he got it all up. He made me ashamed!

FEJEVARY: And you're not at all ashamed of what you have done?

MADELINE: Ashamed? Why—no.

FEJEVARY: Then you'd better be! A girl who rushes in and assaults an officer!

MADELINE: (earnestly explaining it) But, Uncle Felix, I had to stop him. No one else did.

FEJEVARY: Madeline, I don't know whether you're trying to be naïve—

MADELINE: (angrily) Well, I'm not. I like that! I think I'll go home.

FEJEVARY: I think you will not! It's stupid of you not to know this is serious. You could be dismissed from school for what you did.

MADELINE: Well, I'm good and ready to be dismissed from any school that would dismiss for that!

FEJEVARY: (in a new manner—quietly, from feeling) Madeline, have you no love for this place?

MADELINE: (doggedly, after thinking) Yes, I have. (she sits down) And I don't know why I have.

FEJEVARY: Certainly it's not strange. If ever a girl had a background, Morton College is Madeline Fejevary Morton's background. (he too now seated by the table) Do you remember your Grandfather Morton?

MADELINE: Not very well. (a quality which seems sullenness) I couldn't bear to look at him. He shook so.

FEJEVARY: (turning away, real pain) Oh—how cruel!

MADELINE: (surprised, gently) Cruel? Me—cruel?

FEJEVARY: Not just you. The way it passes—(to himself) so fast it passes.

MADELINE: I'm sorry. (troubled) You see, he was too old then—

FEJEVARY: (his hand up to stop her) I wish I could bring him back for a moment, so you could see what he was before he (bitterly) shook so. He was a powerful man, who was as real as the earth. He was strangely of the earth, as if something went from it to him. (looking at her intently) Queer you should be the one to have no sentiment about him, for you and he—sometimes when I'm with you it's as if—he were near. He had no personal ambition, Madeline. He was ambitious for the earth and its people. I wonder if you can realize what it meant to my father—in a strange land, where he might so easily have been misunderstood, pushed down, to find a friend like that? It wasn't so much the material things—though Uncle Silas was always making them right—and as if—oh, hardly conscious what he was doing—so little it mattered. It was the way he got father, and by that very valuing kept alive what was there to value. Why, he literally laid this country at my father's feet—as if that was what this country was for, as if it made up for the hard early things—for the wrong things.

MADELINE: He must really have been a pretty nice old party. No doubt I would have hit it off with him all right. I don't seem to hit it off with the—speeches about him. Somehow I want to say, 'Oh, give us a rest.'

FEJEVARY: (offended) And that, I presume, is what you want to say to me.

MADELINE: No, no, I didn't mean you, Uncle. Though (hesitatingly) I was wondering how you could think you were talking on your side.

FEJEVARY: What do you mean—my side?

MADELINE: Oh, I don't—exactly. That's nice about him being—of the earth. Sometimes when I'm out for a tramp—way off by myself—yes, I know. And I wonder if that doesn't explain his feeling about the Indians. Father told me how grandfather took it to heart about the Indians.

FEJEVARY: He felt it as you'd feel it if it were your brother. So he must give his choicest land to the thing we might become. 'Then maybe I can lie under the same sod with the red boys and not be ashamed.'

(MADELINE nods, appreciatively.)

MADELINE: Yes, that's really—all right.

FEJEVARY: (irritated by what seems charily stated approval) 'All right!' Well, I am not willing to let this man's name pass from our time. And it seems rather bitter that Silas Morton's granddaughter should be the one to stand in my way.

MADELINE: Why, Uncle Felix, I'm not standing in your way. Of course I wouldn't do that. I—(rather bashfully) I love the Hill. I was thinking about it in jail. I got fuddled on direction in there, so I asked the woman who hung around which way was College Hill. 'Right through there', she said. A blank wall. I sat and looked through that wall—long time. (she looks front, again looking through that blank wall) It was all—kind of funny. Then later she came and told me you were out there, and I thought it was corking of you to come and tell them they couldn't put that over on College Hill. And I know Bakhshish will appreciate it too. I wonder where he went?

FEJEVARY: Went? I fancy he won't go much of anywhere to-night.

MADELINE: What do you mean?

FEJEVARY: Why, he's held for this hearing, of course.

MADELINE: You mean—you came and got just me—and left him there?

FEJEVARY: Certainly.

MADELINE: (rising) Then I'll have to go and get him!

FEJEVARY: Madeline, don't be so absurd. You don't get people out of jail by stopping in and calling for them.

MADELINE: But you got me.

FEJEVARY: Because of years of influence. At that, it wasn't simple. Things of this nature are pretty serious nowadays. It was only your ignorance got you out.

MADELINE: I do seem ignorant. While you were fixing it up for me, why didn't you arrange for him too?

FEJEVARY: Because I am not in the business of getting foreign revolutionists out of jail.

MADELINE: But he didn't do as much as I did.

FEJEVARY: It isn't what he did. It's what he is. We don't want him here.

MADELINE: Well, I guess I'm not for that!

FEJEVARY: May I ask why you have appointed yourself guardian of these strangers?

MADELINE: Perhaps because they are strangers.

FEJEVARY: Well, they're the wrong kind of strangers.

MADELINE: Is it true that the Hindu who was here last year is to be deported? Is America going to turn him over to the government he fought?

FEJEVARY: I have an idea they will all be deported. I'm not so sorry this thing happened. It will get them into the courts—and I don't think they have money to fight.

MADELINE: (giving it clean and straight) Gee, I think that's rotten!

FEJEVARY: Quite likely your inelegance will not affect it one way or the other.

MADELINE: (she has taken her seat again, is thinking it out) I'm twenty-one next Tuesday. Isn't it on my twenty-first birthday I get that money Grandfather Morton left me?

FEJEVARY: What are you driving at?

MADELINE: (simply) They can have my money.

FEJEVARY: Are you crazy? What are these people to you?

MADELINE: They're people from the other side of the world who came here believing in us, drawn from the far side of the world by things we say about ourselves. Well, I'm going to pretend—just for fun—that the things we say about ourselves are true. So if you'll—arrange so I can get it, Uncle Felix, as soon as it's mine.

FEJEVARY: And this is what you say to me at the close of my years of trusteeship! If you could know how I've nursed that little legacy along—until now it is—(breaking off in anger) I shall not permit you to destroy yourself!

MADELINE: (quietly) I don't see how you can keep me from 'destroying myself'.

FEJEVARY: (looking at her, seeing that this may be true. In genuine amazement, and hurt) Why—but it's incredible. Have I—has my house—been nothing to you all these years?

MADELINE: I've had my best times at your house. Things wouldn't have been—very gay for me—without you all—though Horace gets my goat!

FEJEVARY: And does your Aunt Isabel—'get your goat'?

MADELINE: I love auntie. (rather resentfully) You know that. What has that got to do with it?

FEJEVARY: So you are going to use Silas Morton's money to knife his college.

MADELINE: Oh, Uncle Felix, that's silly.

FEJEVARY: It's a long way from silly. You know a little about what I'm trying to do—this appropriation that would assure our future. If Silas Morton's granddaughter casts in her lot with revolutionists, Morton College will get no help from the state. Do you know enough about what you are doing to assume this responsibility?

MADELINE: I am not casting 'in my lot with revolutionists'. If it's true, as you say, that you have to have money in order to get justice—

FEJEVARY: I didn't say it!

MADELINE: Why, you did, Uncle Felix. You said so. And if it's true that these strangers in our country are going to be abused because they're poor,—what else could I do with my money and not feel like a skunk?

FEJEVARY: (trying a different tack, laughing) Oh, you're a romantic girl, Madeline—skunk and all. Rather nice, at that. But the thing is perfectly fantastic, from every standpoint. You speak as if you had millions. And if you did, it wouldn't matter, not really. You are going against the spirit of this country; with or without money, that can't be done. Take a man like Professor Holden. He's radical in his sympathies—but does he run out and club the police?

MADELINE: (in a smouldering way) I thought America was a democracy.

FEJEVARY: We have just fought a great war for democracy.

MADELINE: Well, is that any reason for not having it?

FEJEVARY: I should think you would have a little emotion about the war—about America—when you consider where your brother is.

MADELINE: Fred had—all kinds of reasons for going to France. He wanted a trip. (answering his exclamation) Why, he said so. Heavens, Fred didn't make speeches about himself. Wanted to see Paris—poor kid, he never did see Paris. Wanted to be with a lot of fellows—knock the Kaiser's block off—end war, get a French girl. It was all mixed up—the way things are. But Fred was a pretty decent sort. I'll say so. He had such kind, honest eyes. (this has somehow said itself; her own eyes close and what her shut eyes see makes feeling hot) One thing I do know! Fred never went over the top and out to back up the argument you're making now!

FEJEVARY: (stiffly) Very well, I will discontinue the argument I'm making now. I've been trying to save you from—pretty serious things. The regret of having stood in the way of Morton College—(his voice falling) the horror of having driven your father insane.


FEJEVARY: One more thing would do it. Just the other day I was talking with Professor Holden about your father. His idea of him relates back to the pioneer life—another price paid for this country. The lives back of him were too hard. Your great-grandmother Morton—the first white woman in this region—she dared too much, was too lonely, feared and bore too much. They did it, for the task gave them a courage for the task. But it—left a scar.

MADELINE: And father is that—(can hardly say it)—scar. (fighting the idea) But Grandfather Morton was not like that.

FEJEVARY: No; he had the vision of the future; he was robust with feeling for others. (gently) But Holden feels your father is the—dwarfed pioneer child. The way he concentrates on corn—excludes all else—as if unable to free himself from their old battle with the earth.

MADELINE: (almost crying) I think it's pretty terrible to—wish all that on poor father.

FEJEVARY: Well, my dear child, it's life has 'wished it on him'. It's just one other way of paying the price for his country. We needn't get it for nothing. I feel that all our chivalry should go to your father in his—heritage of loneliness.

MADELINE: Father couldn't always have been—dwarfed. Mother wouldn't have cared for him if he had always been—like that.

FEJEVARY: No, if he could have had love to live in. But no endurance for losing it. Too much had been endured just before life got to him.

MADELINE: Do you know, Uncle Felix—I'm afraid that's true? (he nods) Sometimes when I'm with father I feel those things near—the—the too much—the too hard,—feel them as you'd feel the cold. And now that it's different—easier—he can't come into the world that's been earned. Oh, I wish I could help him!

(As they sit there together, now for the first time really together, there is a shrill shout of derision from outside.)

MADELINE: What's that? (a whistled call) Horace! That's Horace's call. That's for his gang. Are they going to start something now that will get Atma in jail?

FEJEVARY: More likely he's trying to start something. (they are both listening intently) I don't think our boys will stand much more.

(A scoffing whoop. MADELINE springs to the window; he reaches it ahead and holds it.)

FEJEVARY: This window stays closed.

(She starts to go away, he takes hold of her.)

MADELINE: You think you can keep me in here?

FEJEVARY: Listen, Madeline—plain, straight truth. If you go out there and get in trouble a second time, I can't make it right for you.

MADELINE: You needn't!

FEJEVARY: You don't know what it means. These things are not child's play—not today. You could get twenty years in prison for things you'll say if you rush out there now. (she laughs) You laugh because you're ignorant. Do you know that in America today there are women in our prisons for saying no more than you've said here to me!

MADELINE: Then you ought to be ashamed of yourself!

FEJEVARY: I? Ashamed of myself?

MADELINE: Yes! Aren't you an American? (a whistle) Isn't that a policeman's whistle? Are they coming back? Are they hanging around here to—(pulling away from her uncle as he turns to look, she jumps up in the deep sill and throws open the window. Calling down) Here—Officer—You—Let that boy alone!

FEJEVARY: (going left, calling sharply) Holden. Professor Holden—here—quick!

VOICE: (coming up from below, outside) Who says so?

MADELINE: I say so!

VOICE: And who are you talking for?

MADELINE: I am talking for Morton College!

FEJEVARY: (returning—followed, reluctantly, by HOLDEN) Indeed you are not. Close that window or you'll be expelled from Morton College.

(Sounds of a growing crowd outside.)

VOICE: Didn't I see you at the station?

MADELINE: Sure you saw me at the station. And you'll see me there again, if you come bullying around here. You're not what this place is for! (her uncle comes up behind, right, and tries to close the window—she holds it out) My grandfather gave this hill to Morton College—a place where anybody—from any land—can come and say what he believes to be true! Why, you poor simp—this is America! Beat it from here! Atna! Don't let him take hold of you like that! He has no right to—Oh, let me down there!

(Springs down, would go off right, her uncle spreads out his arms to block that passage. She turns to go the other way.)

FEJEVARY: Holden! Bring her to her senses. Stand there. (HOLDEN has not moved from the place he entered, left, and so blocks the doorway) Don't let her pass.

(Shouts of derision outside.)

MADELINE: You think you can keep me in here—with that going on out there? (Moves nearer HOLDEN, stands there before him, taut, looking him straight in the eye. After a moment, slowly, as one compelled, he steps aside for her to pass. Sound of her running footsteps. The two men's eyes meet. A door slams.)