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The Sun
by [?]





[A Girl, sits crouched over her knees on a stile close to a river. A MAN with a silver badge stands beside her, clutching the worn top plank. THE GIRL’S level brows are drawn together; her eyes see her memories. THE MAN’s eyes see THE GIRL; he has a dark, twisted face. The bright sun shines; the quiet river flows; the Cuckoo is calling; the mayflower is in bloom along the hedge that ends in the stile on the towing-path.]

THE GIRL.God knows what ‘e’ll say, Jim.

THE MAN.Let ‘im. ‘E’s come too late, that’s all.

THE GIRL.He couldn’t come before. I’m frightened. ‘E was fond o’ me.

THE MAN.And aren’t I fond of you?

THE GIRL.I ought to ‘a waited, Jim; with ‘im in the fightin’.

THE MAN.[Passionately] And what about me? Aren’t I been in the fightin’–earned all I could get?

THE GIRL.[Touching him] Ah!

THE MAN.Did you–? [He cannot speak the words.]

THE GIRL.Not like you, Jim–not like you.

THE MAN.Have a spirit, then.

THE GIRL.I promised him.

THE MAN.One man’s luck’s another’s poison.

THE GIRL.I ought to ‘a waited. I never thought he’d come back from the fightin’.

THE MAN.[Grimly] Maybe ‘e’d better not ‘ave.

THE GIRL.[Looking back along the tow-path] What’ll he be like, I wonder?

THE MAN.[Gripping her shoulder] Daisy, don’t you never go back on me, or I should kill you, and ‘im too.

[THE GIRL looks at him, shivers, and puts her lips to his.]

THE GIRL.I never could.

THE MAN.Will you run for it? ‘E’d never find us!

[THE GIRL shakes her head.]

THE MAN [Dully] What’s the good o’ stayin’? The world’s wide.

THE GIRL.I’d rather have it off me mind, with him home.

THE MAN.[Clenching his hands] It’s temptin’ Providence.

THE GIRL.What’s the time, Jim?

THE MAN.[Glancing at the sun] ‘Alf past four.

THE GIRL.[Looking along the towing-path] He said four o’clock. Jim, you better go.

THE MAN.Not I. I’ve not got the wind up. I’ve seen as much of hell as he has, any day. What like is he?

THE GIRL.[Dully] I dunno, just. I’ve not seen him these three years. I dunno no more, since I’ve known you.

THE MAN.Big or little chap?

THE GIRL.‘Bout your size. Oh! Jim, go along!

THE MAN.No fear! What’s a blighter like that to old Fritz’s shells? We didn’t shift when they was comin’. If you’ll go, I’ll go; not else.

[Again she shakes her head.]

THE GIRL.Jim, do you love me true?

[For answer THE MAN takes her avidly in his arms.]

I ain’t ashamed–I ain’t ashamed. If ‘e could see me ‘eart.

THE MAN.Daisy! If I’d known you out there, I never could ‘a stuck it. They’d ‘a got me for a deserter. That’s how I love you!

THE GIRL.Jim, don’t lift your hand to ‘im! Promise!

THE MAN.That’s according.

THE GIRL.Promise!

THE MAN.If ‘e keeps quiet, I won’t. But I’m not accountable–not always, I tell you straight–not since I’ve been through that.