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Pariah, Or The Outcast
by [?]


MR. X., an archeologist
MR. Y., a traveller from America

Both middle-aged

[SCENE–Simple room in a country house; door and window at back, through which one sees a country landscape. In the middle of the room a large dining table; on one side of it books and writing materials and on the other side some antiques, a microscope, insect boxes, alcohol jars. To the left of scene a book-shelf, and all the other furnishings are those of a country gentleman. Mr. Y. enters in his shirt-sleeves, carrying an insect net and a botanical tin box. He goes directly to the book-shelf, takes down a book and reads stealthily from it. The after-service bell of a country church rings. The landscape and room are flooded with sunshine. Now and then one hears the clucking of hens outside. Mr. X. comes in also in shirt-sleeves. Mr. Y. starts nervously, returns the book to its place, and pretends to look for another book on the shelf.]

MR. X.
What oppressive heat! We’ll surely have a thunder-shower.

MR. Y.
Yes? What makes you think so?

MR. X.
The bells sound like it, the flies bite so, and the hens are cackling. I wanted to go fishing, but I couldn’t find a single worm. Don’t you feel rather nervous?

MR. Y.

I? Well, yes.

MR. X.
But you always look as if you expected a thunder-shower.

MR. Y.
Do I?

MR. X.
Well, as you are to start off on your travels again tomorrow, it’s not to be wondered at if you have the knapsack fever. What’s the news? Here’s the post.

[Takes up letters from the table.]
Oh, I have palpitation of the heart every time I open a letter. Nothing but debts, debts! Did you ever have any debts?

MR. Y.


MR. X.
Well, then, of course you can’t understand how it feels to have unpaid bills come in.

[He reads a letter.]
The rent owing–the landlord clamoring–and my wife in despair. And I, I sitting up to my elbows in gold.

[Opens an iron-mounted case, which stands on the table. They both sit down, one on each side of the case.]
Here is six thousand crowns’ worth of gold that I’ve dug up in two weeks. This bracelet alone would bring the three hundred and fifty crowns I need. And with all of it I should be able to make a brilliant career for myself. The first thing I should do would be to have drawings made and cuts of the figures for my treatises. After that I would print–and then clear out. Why do you suppose I don’t do this?

MR. Y.
It must be because you are afraid of being found out.

MR. X.
Perhaps that, too. But don’t you think that a man of my intelligence should be able to manage it so that it wouldn’t be found out? I always go alone to dig out there on the hills–without witnesses. Would it be remarkable to put a little something in one’s pockets?

MR. Y.
Yes, but disposing of it, they say, is the dangerous part.

MR. X.
Humph, I should of course have the whole thing smelted, and then I should have it cast into ducats–full weight, of course–

MR. Y.
Of course!

MR. X.
That goes without saying. If I wanted to make counterfeit money–well, it wouldn’t be necessary to dig the gold first.

It’s remarkable, nevertheless, that if some one were to do what I can’t bring myself to do, I should acquit him. But I should not be able to acquit myself. I should be able to put up a brilliant defense for the thief; prove that this gold was res nullius, or no one’s, and that it got into the earth before there were any land rights; that even now it belongs to no one but the first comer, as the owner had never accounted it part of his property, and so on.