Contents I II
SCENEJOHNNY-THE-PRIESTS saloon near South Street, New York City. The stage is divided into two sections, showing a small back room on the right. On the left, forward, of the barroom, a large window looking out on the street. Beyond it, the main entrancea double swinging door. Farther back, another window. The bar runs from left to right nearly the whole length of the rear wall. In back of the bar, a small showcase displaying a few bottles of case goods, for which there is evidently little call. The remainder of the rear space in front of the large mirrors is occupied by half-barrels of cheap whiskey of the nickel-a-shot variety, from which the liquor is drawn by means of spigots. On the right is an open doorway leading to the back room. In the back room are four round wooden tables with five chairs grouped about each. In the rear, a family entrance opening on a side street.
It is late afternoon of a day in fall.
As the curtain rises, JOHNNY is discovered. JOHNNY-THE-PRIEST deserves his nickname. With his pale, thin, clean-shaven face, mild blue eyes and white hair, a cassock would seem more suited to him than the apron he wears. Neither his voice nor his general manner dispel this illusion which has made him a personage of the water front. They are soft and bland. But beneath all his mildness one senses the man behind the maskcynical, callous, hard as nails. He is lounging at ease behind the bar, a pair of spectacles on his nose, reading an evening paper.
Two longshoremen enter from the street, wearing their working aprons, the button of the union pinned conspicuously on the caps pulled sideways on their heads at an aggressive angle.
FIRST LONGSHOREMAN—(As they range themselves at the bar.) Gimme
a shock. Number Two. (He tosses a coin on the bar.)
SECOND LONGSHOREMANSame here.
(JOHNNY sets two glasses of barrel whiskey before them.)
luck! (The other nods. They gulp down their whiskey.)
SECOND LONGSHOREMAN—(Putting money on the bar.) Give us another.
FIRST LONGSHOREMANGimme a scoop this timelager and porter. Im dry.
SECOND LONGSHOREMANSame here.
(JOHNNY draws the lager and porter and sets the big, foaming schooners before them. They drink down half the contents and start to talk together hurriedly in low tones. The door on the left is swung open and LARRY enters. He is a boyish, red-cheeked, rather good-looking young fellow of twenty or so.)
LARRY—(Nodding to Johnnycheerily.) Hello, boss.
Larry. (With a glance at his watch.) Just on time. (Larry goes to the right behind the bar, takes off his coat, and puts on an apron.)
Let’s drink up and get back to it. (They finish their drinks and go out left. The Postman enters as they leave. He exchanges nods with Johnny and throws a letter on the bar.)
THE POSTMANAddressed care of you, Johnny. Know him?
JOHNNY—(Picks up the letter, adjusting his spectacles. LARRY comes and peers over his shoulders. JOHNNY reads very slowly.) Christopher Christopherson.
THE POSTMAN—(Helpfully.) Square-head name.
LARRYOld Christhats who.
JOHNNYOh, sure. I was forgetting Chris carried a hell of a name like that. Letters come here for him sometimes before, I remember now. Long time ago, though.
THE POSTMANItll get him all right then?
JOHNNYSure thing. He comes here whenever hes in port.
THE POSTMAN—(Turning to go.) Sailor, eh?
JOHNNY—(With a grin.) Captain of a coal barge.
THE POSTMAN—(Laughing.) Some job! Well, slong.
I’ll see he gets it. (The Postman goes out. JOHNNY scrutinizes the letter.) You got good eyes, Larry. Wheres it from?
LARRY—(After a glance.) St. Paul. Thatll be in Minnesota, Im thinkin. Looks like a womans writing, too, the old
JOHNNYHes got a daughter somewheres
out West, I think he told me once. (He puts the letter on the cash register.) Come to think of it, I aint
seen old Chris in a dog’s age. (Putting his overcoat on, he comes around the end of the bar.) Guess Ill be gettin home. See you to-morrow.
to ye, boss. (As JOHNNY goes toward the street door, it is pushed open and CHRISTOPHER CHRISTOPHERSON enters. He is a short, squat, broad-shouldered man of about fifty, with a round, weather-beaten, red face from which his light blue eyes peer short-sightedly, twinkling with a simple good humor. His large mouth, overhung by a thick, drooping, yellow mustache, is childishly self-willed and weak, of an obstinate kindliness. A thick neck is jammed like a post into the heavy trunk of his body. His arms with their big, hairy, freckled hands, and his stumpy legs terminating in large flat feet, are awkwardly short and muscular. He walks with a clumsy, rolling gait. His voice, when not raised in a hollow boom, is toned down to a sly, confidential half-whisper with something vaguely plaintive in its quality. He is dressed in a wrinkled, ill-fitting dark suit of shore clothes, and wears a faded cap of gray cloth over his mop of grizzled, blond hair. Just now his face beams with a too-blissful happiness, and he has evidently been drinking. He reaches his hand out to Johnny.
Yohnny! Have drink on me. Come on, Larry. Give us drink. Have one
yourself. (Putting his hand in his pocket.) Ay gat moneyplenty money.
JOHNNY—(Shakes Chris by the hand.) Speak of the devil. We was just talkin about you.
LARRY—(Coming to the end of the bar.)
Hello, Chris. Put it there. (They shake hands.)
CHRIS—(Beaming.) Give us drink.
JOHNNY—(With a grin.) You got a
half-snootful now. Whered you get it?
CHRIS—(Grinning.) Oder fallar on oder bargeIrish fallarhe gat bottle vhiskey and we drank it, yust us two. Dot vhiskey gat kick, by
yingo! Ay yust come ashore. Give us drink, Larry. Ay vas little drunk, not much. Yust
feel good. (He laughs and commences to sing in a nasal, high-pitched quaver.)
Yosephine, come board de ship. Long time Ay vait for you.|
De moon, she shi-i-i-ine. She looka yust like you.
Tchee-tchee, tchee-tchee, tchee-tchee, tchee-tchee.|
(To the accompaniment of this last he waves his hand as if he were conducting an orchestra.)|
JOHNNY—(With a laugh.) Same old Yosie, eh, Chris?
CHRISYou dont know good song when you hear him. Italian fallar on oder barge, he learn me
dat. Give us drink. (He throws change on the bar.)
LARRY—(With a professional air.) Whats your pleasure, gentlemen?
JOHNNYSmall beer, Larry.
LARRY—(As he gets their drinks.) Ill take a cigar on you.
CHRIS—(Lifting his glass.) Skoal!
CHRIS—(Immediately.) Have oder drink.
JOHNNYNo. Some other time. Got to go home now. So youve just landed? Where are you in from this time?
CHRISNorfolk. Ve make slow voyagedirty vedderyust
fog, fog, fog, all bloody time! (There is an insistent ring from the doorbell at the family entrance in the back room. Chris gives a starthurriedly.) Ay go open, Larry. Ay forgat. It vas Marthy.
She come with me. (He goes into the back room.)
LARRY—(With a chuckle.) Hes still got that same cow livin with him, the old fool!
JOHNNY—(With a grin.) A sport, Chris is. Well, Ill beat it home. Slong.
(He goes to the street door.)
LARRYSo long, boss.
JOHNNYOhdont forget to give him his letter.
(JOHNNY goes out. In the meantime, CHRIS has opened the family entrance door, admitting MARTHY. She might be forty or fifty. Her
jowly, mottled face, with its thick red nose, is streaked with interlacing purple veins. Her thick, gray hair is piled anyhow in a greasy mop on top of her round head. Her figure is flabby and fat; her breath comes in wheezy gasps; she speaks in a loud, mannish voice, punctuated by explosions of hoarse laughter. But there still twinkles in her blood-shot blue eyes a youthful lust for life which hard usage has failed to stifle, a sense of humor mocking, but good-tempered. She wears a mans cap, double-breasted mans jacket, and a grimy, calico skirt. Her bare feet are encased in a mans brogans several sizes too large for her, which gives her a shuffling, wobbly gait.)
MARTHY—(Grumblingly.) What yuh tryin to do, Dutchykeep me standin’
out there all day? (She comes forward and sits at the table in the right corner, front.)
CHRIS—(Mollifyingly.) Aym sorry,
Marthy. Ay talk to Yohnny. Ay forgat. What you goin take for drink?
MARTHY—(Appeased.) Gimme a scoop of lager an ale.
go bring him back. (He returns to the bar.) Lager and ale for Marthy, Larry. Vhiskey
for me. (He throws change on the bar.)
you are. (Then remembering, he takes the letter from in back of the bar.) Heres a letter for youfrom St. Paul, Minnesotaand a ladys writin’.
CHRIS—(Quicklytaking it.) Oh, den it come from my daughter, Anna. She live dere.
(He turns the letter over in his hands uncertainly.) Ay dont gat letter from Annamust be a year.
LARRY—(Jokingly.) Thats a fine fairy tale to be tellinyour daughter! Sure Ill bet its some bum.
CHRIS—(Soberly.) No. Dis
come from Anna. (Engrossed by the letter in his handuncertainly.) By golly, Ay tank Aym too drunk for read dis
letter from Anna. Ay tank Ay sat down for a minute. You bring drinks in
back room, Larry. (He goes into the room on right.)
MARTHY—(Angrily.) Wheres my larger an ale, yuh big stiff?
Larry bring him. (He sits down opposite her. Larry brings in the drinks and sets them on the table. He and Marthy exchange nods of recognition. Larry stands looking at Chris curiously. Marthy takes a long draught of her schooner and heaves a huge sigh of satisfaction, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand. Chris stares at the letter for a momentslowly opens it, and, squinting his eyes, commences to read laboriously, his lips moving as he spells out the words. As he reads his face lights up with an expression of mingled joy and bewilderment.)
MARTHY—(Her curiosity also aroused.) Whats that yuh gota letter, fur Gawds sake?
CHRIS—(Pauses for a moment, after finishing the letter, as if to let the news sink inthen suddenly pounds his fist on the table with happy excitement.) Py
yiminy! Yust tank, Anna say shes comin here right avay! She gat sick on yob in St. Paul, she say. Its short letter, dont tal me much moren
dat. (Beaming.) Py golly, dats good news all at one time for ole
fallar! (Then turning to Marthy, rather shamefacedly.) You know, Marthy, Ayve tole you Ay dont see my Anna since she vas little gel in Sveden five year ole.
MARTHYHow oldll she be now?
CHRISShe must belat me seeshe must be twenty year ole, py
LARRY—(Surprised.) Youve not seen her in fifteen years?
CHRIS—(Suddenly growing somberin a low tone.) No. Ven she vas little gel, Ay vas bosun on
vindjammer. Ay never gat home only few time dem year. Aym fool sailor
fallar. My vomanAnnas mothershe gat tired vait all time Sveden for me ven Ay dont never come. She come dis country, bring Anna, dey go out Minnesota, live with her cousins on farm. Den ven her moder die ven Ay vas on voyage, Ay tank its better dem cousins keep Anna. Ay tank its better Anna live on farm, den she dont know dat ole
davil, sea, she dont know fader like me.
LARRY—(With a wink at MARTHY.) This girl, now, ll be marryin a sailor herself, likely. Its in the blood.
CHRIS—(Suddenly springing to his feet and smashing his fist on the table in a rage.) No, py God! She dont do
MARTHY—(Grasping her schooner hastilyangrily.) Hey, look out, yuh nut! Wanta spill my suds for me?
LARRY—(Amazed.) Oho, whats up with you? Aint you a sailor yourself now, and always been?
CHRIS—(Slowly.) Dats yust vhy
Ay say it. (Forcing a smile.) Sailor vas all right fallar, but not for marry gel. No. Ay know dat. Annas moder, she know it, too.
LARRY—(As Chris remains sunk in gloomy reflection.) When is your daughter comin? Soon?
yiminy, Ay forgat. (Reads through the letter hurriedly.) She say she come right avay, dats all.
LARRYShell maybe be comin here to look for you, I spose.
(He returns to the bar, whistling. Left alone with MARTHY, who stares at him with a twinkle of malicious humor in her eyes, CHRIS suddenly becomes desperately ill-at-ease. He fidgets, then gets up hurriedly.)
gat speak with Larry. Ay be right back. (Mollifyingly.) Ay bring you oder drink.
MARTHY—(Emptying her glass.)
Sure. That’s me. (As he retreats with the glass she guffaws after him derisively.)
CHRIS—(To LARRY in an alarmed whisper.) Py
yingo, Ay gat gat Marthy shore off barge before Anna come! Anna raise hell if she find dat out. Marthy raise hell, too, for go, py golly!
LARRY—(With a chuckle.) Serve ye right, ye old divilhavin a woman at your age!
CHRIS—(Scratching his head in a quandary.) You tal me lie for tal
Marthy, Larry, sos she gat off barge quick.
LARRYShe knows your daughters comin. Tell her to get the hell out of it.
CHRISNo. Ay dont like make her feel bad.
an old mush! Keep your girl away from the barge, then. She’ll likely
want to stay ashore anyway. (Curiously.) What does she work at, your Anna?
CHRISShe stay on dem cousins farm till two year ago. Dan she gat yob
nurse gel in St. Paul. (Then shaking his head resolutely.) But Ay dont vant for her gat yob now. Ay vant for her stay with me.
LARRY—(Scornfully.) On a coal barge! Shell not like that, Im thinkin.
MARTHY—(Shouts from next room.) Dont I get that bucket o suds, Dutchy?
CHRIS—(Startledin apprehensive confusion.) Yes, Ay come, Marthy.
LARRY—(Drawing the lager and ale, hands it to CHRISlaughing.) Now youre in for it! Youd better tell her straight to get out!
CHRIS—(Shaking in his boots.) Py
golly. (He takes her drink in to MARTHY and sits down at the table. She sips it in silence. LARRY moves quietly close to the partition to listen, grinning with expectation. CHRIS seems on the verge of speaking, hesitates, gulps down his whiskey desperately as if seeking for courage. He attempts to whistle a few bars of Yosephine with careless bravado, but the whistle peters out futilely. MARTHY stares at him keenly, taking in his embarrassment with a malicious twinkle of amusement in her eye. CHRIS clears his throat.)
that? (Then, pretending to fly into a rage, her eyes enjoying CHRISS misery.) Im wise to whats in back of your nut, Dutchy. Yuh want to git rid o me, huh?now shes comin. Gimme the bums rush ashore, huh? Lemme tell
yuh, Dutchy, there aint a square-head workin on a boat man enough to git away with that. Dont start nothin yuh cant finish!
CHRIS—(Miserably.) Ay dont start nutting, Marthy.
MARTHY—(Glares at him for a secondthen cannot control a burst of laughter.) Ho-ho! Yuhre a scream, Square-headan
honest-ter-Gawd knockout! Ho-ho! (She wheezes, panting for breath.)
CHRIS—(With childish pique.) Ay dont see nutting for laugh at.
MARTHYTake a slant in the mirror and yuhll
see. Ho-ho! (Recovering from her mirthchuckling, scornfully.) A square-head tryin to kid Marthy Owen at this late day!after me campin with barge men the last twenty years. Im wise to the game, up, down, and sideways. I aint been born and dragged up on the water front for nothin. Think Id make trouble, huh? Not me! Ill pack up me duds an beat it. Im quittin
yuh, get me? Im tellin yuh Im sick of stickin with
yuh, and Im leavin yuh flat, see? Theres plenty of other guys on other barges waitin’
for me. Always was, I always found. (She claps the astonished CHRIS on the back.) So cheer up, Dutchy! Ill be offen the barge before she comes. Youll be rid o me for goodand me o yougood riddance for both of us. Ho-ho!
CHRIS—(Seriously.) Ay don tank dat. You vas good gel, Marthy.
MARTHY—(Grinning.) Good girl? Aw, can the bull! Well, yuh treated me square,
yuhself. So its fifty-fifty. Nobodys sore at nobody. Were still good friens, huh?
(LARRY returns to bar.)
CHRIS—(Beaming now that he sees his troubles disappearing.) Yes, py golly.
MARTHYThats the talkin! In all my time I tried never to split with a guy with no hard feelins. But what was yuh so scared aboutthat Id kick up a row? That aint Marthys
way. (Scornfully.) Think Id break my heart to loose yuh? Commit suicide, huh? Ho-ho! Gawd!
The world’s full o’ men if that’s all I’d worry about! (Then with a grin, after emptying her glass.) Blow me to another scoop, huh? Ill drink your kids health for yuh.
Sure tang. Ay go gat him. (He takes the two glasses into the bar.) Oder drink. Same for both.
LARRY—(Getting the drinks and putting them on the bar.) Shes not such a bad lot, that one.
CHRIS—(Jovially.) Shes good gel, Ay tal you! Py golly, Ay calabrate now! Give me vhiskey
here at bar, too. (He puts down money. LARRY serves him.) You have drink, Larry.
LARRY—(Virtuously.) You know I never touch it.
CHRISYou dont know what you miss.
Skoal! (He drinksthen begins to sing loudly.)
Yosephine, come board de ship|
(He picks up the drinks for MARTHY and himself and walks unsteadily into the back room, singing.)|
De moon, she shi-i-i-ine. She looks yust like you.|
Tche-tchee, tchee-tchee, tchee-tchee,
MARTHY—(Grinning, hands to ears.) Gawd!
CHRIS—(Sitting down.) Aym good singer, yes? Ve drink, eh?
Skoal! Ay calabrate! (He drinks.) Ay calabrate cause Annas coming home. You know,
Marthy, Ay never write for her to come, cause Ay tank Aym no good for her. But all time Ay hope like hell some day she vant for see me and den she come. And dats vay it happen now, py
yiminy! (His face beaming.) What you tank she look like, Marthy? Ay bet you shes fine, good, strong gel, pooty like hell! Living on farm made her like
dat. And Ay bet you some day she marry good, steady land fallar here in East, have home all her own, have kitsand dan Aym ole grand-fader, py golly! And Ay go visit dem
every time Ay gat in port near! (Bursting with joy.) By yiminy
crickens, Ay calabrate dat! (Shouts.) Bring oder drink, Larry! (He smashes his fist on the table with a bang.)
LARRY—(Coming in from barirritably.) Easy there! Dont be breakin the table, you old goat!
CHRIS—(By way of reply, grins foolishly and begins to sing.) My Yosephine comes board de ship
MARTHY—(Touching CHRISS arm persuasively.) Youre soused to the ears, Dutchy.
Go out and put a feed into you. It’ll sober you up. (Then as CHRIS shakes his head obstinately.) Listen, yuh old nut! Yuh dont know what time your kids liable to show up. Yuh want to be sober when she comes, dont
CHRIS—(Arousedgets unsteadily to his feet.) Py golly, yes.
LARRYThats good sense for you. A good beef stewll fix you. Go round the corner.
CHRISAll right. Ay be back soon,
Marthy. (CHRIS goes through the bar and out the street door.)
LARRYHell come round all right with some grub in him.
(LARRY goes back to the bar and resumes his newspaper. MARTHY sips what is left of her schooner reflectively. There is the ring of the family entrance bell. LARRY comes to the door and opens it a triflethen, with a puzzled expression, pulls it wide. ANNA CHRISTOPHERSON enters. She is a tall, blond, fully-developed girl of twenty, handsome after a large, Viking-daughter fashion but now run down in health and plainly showing all the outward evidences of belonging to the worlds oldest profession. Her youthful face is already hard and cynical beneath its layer of make-up. Her clothes are the tawdry finery of peasant stock turned prostitute. She comes and sinks wearily in a chair by the table, left front.)
a whiskey—ginger ale on the side. (Then, as LARRY turns to go, forcing a winning smile at him.) And dont be stingy, baby.
LARRY—(Sarcastically.) Shall I serve it in a pail?
ANNA—(With a hard laugh.) That suits me down to the ground.
(LARRY goes into the bar. The two women size each other up with frank stares. LARRY comes back with the drink which he sets before ANNA and returns to the bar again. ANNA downs her drink at a gulp. Then, after a moment, as the alcohol begins to rouse her, she turns to MARTHY with a friendly smile.) Gee, I needed that bad, all right, all right!
MARTHY—(Nodding her head sympathetically.) Sureyuh look all in. Been on a bat?
ANNANotravellingday and a half on the train. Had to sit up all night in the dirty coach, too.
Gawd, I thought Id never get here!
MARTHY—(With a startlooking at her intently.) Whered yuh come from, huh?
ANNASt. Paulout in Minnesota.
MARTHY—(Staring at her in amazementslowly.) Soyuhre——
(She suddenly burst out into hoarse, ironical laughter.) Gawd!
the way from Minnesota, sure. (Flaring up.) What you laughing at? Me?
MARTHY—(Hastily.) No, honest, kid. I was thinkin of somethin else.
ANNA—(Mollifiedwith a smile.) Well, I wouldnt blame you, at that. Guess I do look rottenyust out of the hospital two weeks. Im going to have another ski. What dyou say? Have something on me?
MARTHYSure I will. Tanks.
(She calls.) Hey, Larry! Little service! (He comes in.)
ANNASame for me.
(LARRY takes their glasses and goes out.)
ANNAWhy dont you come sit over here, be sociable. Im a dead stranger in this burgand I aint spoke a word with no one since day before yesterday.
thing. (She shuffles over to ANNAS table and sits down opposite her. LARRY brings the drinks and ANNA pays him.)
Here’s how! (She drinks.)
luck! (She takes a gulp from her schooner.)
ANNA—(Taking a package of Sweet Caporal cigarettes from her bag.) Let you smoke in here, wont they?
Sure. (Then with evident anxiety.) Ony trow it away if yuh hear someone comin.
ANNA—(Lighting one and taking a deep inhale.) Gee, theyre fussy in this dump, aint
they? (She puffs, staring at the table top. MARTHY looks her over with a new penetrating interest, taking in every detail of her face. ANNA suddenly becomes conscious of this appraising stareresentfully.) Aint nothing wrong with me, is there? Youre looking hard enough.
MARTHY—(Irritated by the others tonescornfully.) Aint got to look much. I got your number the minute you stepped in the door.
ANNA—(Her eyes narrowing.) Aint
you smart! Well, I got yours, too, without no trouble. You’re me forty
years from now. That’s you! (She gives a hard little laugh.)
MARTHY—(Angrily.) Is that so? Well, Ill tell you straight, kiddo, that Marthy
Owen never—(She catches herself up shortwith a grin.) What are you and me scrappin over? Lets cut it out, huh? Me, I dont want no hard feelins
with no one. (Extending her hand.) Shake and forget it, huh?
ANNA—(Shakes her hand gladly.) Only too glad to. I aint looking for trouble. Lets have nother. What dyou say?
MARTHY—(Shaking her head.) Not for mine. Im full up. And youHad anythin to eat lately?
ANNANot since this morning on the train.
MARTHYThen yuh better go easy on it, hadnt
ANNA—(After a moments hesitation.) Guess youre right. I got to meet someone, too. But my nerves is on edge after that rotten trip.
MARTHYYuh said yuh was just outa the hospital?
weeks ago. (Leaning over to MARTHY confidentially.) The joint I was in out in St. Paul got raided. That was the start. The judge give all us girls thirty days. The others didnt seem to mind being in the cooler much. Some of em was used to it. But me, I couldnt stand it. It got my goat rightcouldnt eat or sleep or nothing. I never could stand being caged up nowheres. I got good and sick and they had to send me to the hospital. It was nice there. I was sorry to leave it, honest!
MARTHY—(After a slight pause.) Did yuh say yuh got to meet someone here?
ANNAYes. Oh, not what you mean. Its my Old Man I got to meet. Honest! Its funny, too. I aint seen him since I was a kiddont even know what he looks likeyust had a letter every now and then. This was always the only address he give me to write him back. Hes yanitor of some building here nowused to be a sailor.
ANNASure. And I was thinking maybe, seeing he aint
never done a thing for me in my life, he might be willing to stake me to
a room and eats till I get rested up. (Wearily.) Gee, I sure need
that rest! I’m knocked out. (Then resignedly.) But I aint
expecting much from him. Give you a kick when you’re down, that’s what
all men do. (With sudden passion.) Men, I hate ’em—all of ’em!
And I don’t expect he’ll turn out no better than the rest. (Then with sudden interest.) Say, do you hang out around this dump much?
MARTHYOh, off and on.
ANNAThen maybe you know himmy Old Manor at least seen him?
MARTHYIt aint old Chris, is it?
Christopherson, his full name is.
ANNA—(Excitedly.) Yes, thats him! Anna Christophersonthats my real nameonly out there I called myself Anna Christie. So you know him, eh?
MARTHY—(Evasively.) Seen him about for years.
ANNASay, whats he like, tell me, honest?
MARTHYOh, hes short and
ANNA—(Impatiently.) I dont care what he looks like. What kind is he?
MARTHY—(Earnestly.) Well, yuh can bet your life, kid, hes as good an old guy as ever walked on two feet. That goes!
ANNA—(Pleased.) Im glad to hear it. Then you thinks hell stake me to that rest cure Im after?
Surest thing you know. (Disgustedly.) But whered yuh get the idea he was a janitor?
ANNAHe wrote me he was himself.
MARTHYWell, he was lyin. He aint. Hes captain of a bargefive men under him.
ANNA—(Disgusted in her turn.) A barge? What kind of a barge?
coal barge! (With a harsh laugh.) If that aint a swell job to find your long lost Old Man working at! Gee, I knew somethingd be bound to turn out wrongalways does with me. That puts my idea of his giving me a rest on the bum.
MARTHYWhat dyuh mean?
ANNAI spose he lives on the boat, dont he?
MARTHYSure. What about it? Cant you live on it, too?
ANNA—(Scornfully.) Me? On a dirty coal barge! What dyou think I am?
MARTHY—(Resentfully.) What dyuh know about barges, huh? Bet yuh aint never seen one. Thats what comes of his bringing yuh up inlandaway from the old devil seawhere yuhd be safeGawd!
(The irony of it strikes her sense of humor and she laughs hoarsely.)
ANNA—(Angrily.) His bringing me up! Is that what he tells people! I like his nerve! He let them cousins of my Old Womans keep me on their farm and work me to death like a dog.
MARTHYWell, hes got queer notions on some things. Ive heard him say a farm was the best place for a kid.
ANNASure. Thats what hed always answer backand a lot of crazy stuff about staying away from the seastuff I couldnt make head or tail to. I thought he must be nutty.
is on that one point. (Casually.) So yuh didnt fall for life on the farm, huh?
should say not! The old man of the family, his wife, and four sons—I had
to slave for all of ’em. I was only a poor relation, and they treated me
worse than they dare treat a hired girl. (After a moments hesitationsomberly.) It was one of the sonsthe youngeststarted mewhen I was sixteen. After that, I hated em so Id killed em all if Id stayed. So I run awayto St. Paul.
MARTHY—(Who has been listening sympathetically.) Ive heard Old Chris talkin about your bein a nurse girl out there. Was that all a bluff yuh put up when yuh wrote him?
ANNANot on your life, it wasnt. It was true for two years. I didnt go wrong all at one jump. Being a nurse girl was yust
what finished me. Taking care of other people’s kids, always listening
to their bawling and crying, caged in, when you’re only a kid yourself
and want to go out and see things. At last I got the chance—to get into
that house. And you bet your life I took it! (Defiantly.) And I aint
sorry neither. (After a pausewith bitter hatred.) It was
all men’s fault—the whole business. It was men on the farm ordering and
beating me—and giving me the wrong start. Then when I was a nurse, it
was men again hanging around, bothering me, trying to see what they
could get. (She gives a hard laugh.) And now its men all the time. Gawd, I hate em all, every mothers son of em! Dont you?
dunno. Theres good ones and bad ones, kid. Youve just had a run of bad luck with em, thats all. Your Old Man, nowold Chrishes a good one.
ANNA—(Sceptically.) Hell have to show me.
MARTHYYuh kept right on writing him yuh was a nurse girl still, even after yuh was in the house, didnt
(Cynically.) Not that I think hed care a darn.
all wrong about him, kid. (Earnestly.) I know Old Chris well for a long time. Hes talked to me bout you lots otimes. He thinks the world o you, honest he does.
ANNAAw, quit the kiddin!
Only, he’s a simple old guy, see? He’s got nutty notions. But he means
well, honest. Listen to me, kid— (She is interrupted by the opening and shutting of the street door in the bar and by hearing Chriss voice.) Ssshh!
CHRIS—(Who has entered the bar. He seems considerably sobered up.) Py golly, Larry, dat grub taste good. Marthy in back?
LARRYSureand another tramp with her.
(CHRIS starts for the entrance to the back room.)
MARTHY—(To ANNA in a hurried, nervous whisper.) Thats him now. Hes comin in here. Brace up!
(Chris opens the door.)
MARTHY—(As if she were greeting him for the first time.)
Why hello, Old Chris. (Then before he can speak, she shuffles hurriedly past him into the bar, beckoning him to follow her.) Come here. I wanta tell yuh somethin’.
(He goes out to her. She speaks hurriedly in a low voice.) Listen! Im goin to beat it down to the bargepack up me duds and blow. Thats her in thereyour Annajust comewaitin for
yuh. Treat her right, see? Shes been sick. Well, slong! (She goes into the back roomto ANNA.) Slong, kid. I gotta beat it now. See yuh later.
So long. (Martha goes quickly out of the family entrance.)
LARRY—(Looking at the stupefied CHRIS curiously.) Well, whats up now?
(He stands before the door to the back room in an agony of embarrassed emotionthen he forces himself to a bold decision, pushes open the door and walks in. He stands there, casts a shy glance at Anna, whose brilliant clothes, and, to him, high-toned appearance, awe him terribly. He looks about him with pitiful nervousness as if to avoid the appraising look with which she takes in his face, his clothes, etchis voice seeming to plead for her
ANNA—(Acutely embarrassed in her turn.) Hellofather. She told me it was you. I yust got here a little while ago.
CHRIS—(Goes slowly over to her chair.) Its goodfor see youafter all dem
years, Anna. (He bends down over her. After an embarrassed struggle they manage to kiss each other.)
ANNA—(A trace of genuine feeling in her voice.) Its good to see you, too.
CHRIS—(Grasps her arms and looks into her facethen overcome by a wave of fierce tenderness.) Anna lilla! Anna lilla!
(Takes her in his arms.)
ANNA—(Shrinks away from him, half-frightened.)
What’s that—Swedish? I don’t know it. (Then as if seeking relief from the tension in a voluble chatter.) Gee, I had an awful trip coming here. Im all in. I had to sit up in the dirty coach all nightcouldnt get no sleep, hardlyand then I had a hard job finding this place. I never been in New York before, you know, and
CHRIS—(Who has been staring down at her face admiringly, not hearing what she saysimpulsively.) You know you vas awful pooty gel, Anna? Ay bet all men see you fall in love with you, py
ANNA—(Repelledharshly.) Cut it! You talk same as they all do.
CHRIS—(Hurthumbly.) Aint no harm for your fader talk dat
ANNA—(Forcing a short laugh.) Nocourse not. Onlyits funny to see you and not remember nothing. Youre likea stranger.
CHRIS—(Sadly.) Ay spose. Ay never come home only few times ven you vas kit in
Sveden. You dont remember dat?
(Resentfully.) But why didnt you never come home them days? Why didnt you never come out West to see me?
CHRIS—(Slowly.) Ay tank, after your moder die, ven Ay vas avay
on voyage, it’s better for you you don’t never see me! (He sinks down in the chair opposite her dejectedlythen turns to hersadly.) Ay dont know, Anna, vhy Ay never come home Sveden in ole year. Ay vant come home end of every voyage. Ay vant see your moder, your two broder before dey vas drowned, you ven you vas bornbutAydont go. Ay sign on oder shipsgo South America, go Australia, go China, go every port all over world many timesbut Ay never go aboard ship sail for
Sveden. Ven Ay gat money for pay passage home as passenger den— (He bows his head guiltily.) Ay forgat and Ay spend all money. Ven
Ay tank again, it’s too late. (He sighs.) Ay dont know vhy but dats vay with most sailor
fallar, Anna. Dat ole davil sea make dem crazy fools with her dirty tricks. Its so.
ANNA—(Who has watched him keenly while he has been speakingwith a trace of scorn in her voice.) Then you think the seas to blame for everything, eh? Well, youre still workin on it, aint you, spite of all you used to write me about hating it. That dame was here told me you was captain of a coal bargeand you wrote me you was yanitor of a building!
CHRIS—(Embarrassed but lying glibly.) Oh, Ay work on land long time as yanitor. Yust short time ago Ay got dis yob cause Ay vas sick, need open air.
ANNA—(Sceptically.) Sick? You? Youd never think it.
CHRISAnd, Anna, dis aint real sailor
yob. Dis aint real boat on sea. Shes yust ole tublike piece of land with house on it dat float. Yob on her aint sea
yob. No. Ay dont gat yob on sea, Anna, if Ay die first. Ay swear
dat, ven your moder die. Ay keep my word, py yingo!
Well, I can’t see no difference. (Dismissing the subject.) Speaking of being sick, I been there myselfyust out of the hospital two weeks ago.
CHRIS—(Immediately all concern.) You, Anna? Py
golly! (Anxiously.) You feel better now, dough, dont you? You look little tired, dats all!
ANNA—(Wearily.) I am. Tired to death. I need a long rest and I dont see much chance of getting it.
CHRISWhat you mean, Anna?
ANNAWell, when I made up my mind to come to see you, I thought you was a yanitorthat youd have a place where, maybe, if you didnt mind having me, I could visit a while and rest uptill I felt able to get back on the job again.
CHRIS—(Eagerly.) But Ay gat place, Annanice place. You rest all you want, py
yiminy! You dont never have to vork as nurse gel no more. You stay with me, py golly!
ANNA—(Surprised and pleased by his eagernesswith a smile.) Then youre really glad to see mehonest?
CHRIS—(Pressing one of her hands in both of his.) Anna, Ay like see you like hell, Ay tal you! And dont you talk no more about gatting
yob. You stay with me. Ay dont see you for long time, you dont forgat
dat. (His voice trembles.) Aym gatting ole. Ay gat no one in vorld but you.
ANNA—(Touchedembarrassed by this unfamiliar emotion.) Thanks. It sounds good to hear someonetalk to me that way. Say, thoughif youre so lonelyits funnywhy aint you ever married again?
CHRIS—(Shaking his head emphaticallyafter a pause.) Ay love your moder too much for ever do
ANNA—(Impressedslowly.) I dont remember nothing about her. What was she like? Tell me.
CHRISAy tal you all about everytangand you tal me all tangs happen to you. But not here now. Dis aint good place for young gel, anyway. Only no good sailor fallar
come here for gat drunk. (He gets to his feet quickly and picks up her bag.) You come with me, Anna. You need lie down, gat rest.
ANNA—(Half rises to her feet, then sits down again.) Wherere you going?
CHRISCome. Ve gat on board.
On board your barge, you mean? (Dryly.) Nix for mine! (Then seeing his crestfallen lookforcing a smile.) Do you think thats a good place for a young girl like mea coal barge?
Yes, Ay tank. (He hesitatesthen continues more and more pleadingly.) You dont know how nice its on barge, Anna. Tug come and ve gat towed out on voyageyust water all round, and sun, and fresh air, and good grub for make you strong, healthy gel. You see many tangs you dont see before. You gat moonlight at night, maybe; see steamer pass; see schooner make sailsee everytang dats
pooty. You need take rest like dat. You work too hard for young gel already. You need vacation, yes!
ANNA—(Who has listened to him with a growing interestwith an uncertain laugh.) It sounds good to hear you tell it. Id sure like a trip on the water, all right. Its the barge idea has me stopped. Well, Ill go down with you and have a lookand maybe Ill take a chance. Gee, Id do anything once.
CHRIS—(Picks up her bag again.) Ve go, eh?
the rush? Wait a second. (Forgetting the situation for a moment, she relapses into the familiar form and flashes one of her winning trade smiles at him.) Gee, Im thirsty.
CHRIS—(Sets down her bag immediatelyhastily.) Aym sorry, Anna. What you tank you like for drink, eh?
I’ll take a— (Then suddenly remindedconfusedly.) I dont know. Whata they got here?
CHRIS—(With a grin.) Ay dont tank dey got much fancy drink for young gel in dis place, Anna. Yinger alesasprilla, maybe.
ANNA—(Forcing a laugh herself.) Make it sas, then.
CHRIS—(Coming up to herwith a wink.) Ay tal you, Anna, ve
calabrate, yesdis one time because ve meet after many year. (In a half whisper, embarrassedly.) Dey gat good port wine, Anna. Its good for you, Ay tanklittle bitfor give you appetite. It aint strong,
neider. One glass dont go to your head, Ay promise.
ANNA—(With a half hysterical laugh.) All right. Ill take port.
go gat him. (He goes out to the bar. As soon as the door closes, Anna starts to her feet.)
ANNA—(Picking up her baghalf-aloudstammeringly.) Gawd,
I can’t stand this! I better beat it. (Then she lets her bag drop, stumbles over to her chair again, and covering her face with her hands, begins to sob.)
LARRY—(Putting down his paper as CHRIS comes upwith a grin.) Well, whos the blond?
CHRIS—(Proudly.) Dat vas Anna, Larry.
LARRY—(In amazement.) Your daughter, Anna?
(CHRIS nods. LARRY lets a long, low whistle escape him and turns away embarrassedly.)
CHRISDont you tank she vas pooty gel, Larry?
LARRY—(Rising to the occasion.) Sure! A peach!
CHRISYou bet you! Give me drink for take backone port vine for Annashe calabrate dis one time with meand small beer for me.
LARRY—(As he gets the drinks.) Small beer for you, eh? Shes reformin you already.
You bet! (He take the drinks. As she hears him coming, ANNA hastily dries her eyes, tries to smile. CHRIS comes in and sets the drinks down on the tablestares at her for a second anxiouslypatting her hand.) You look tired, Anna. Vell,
Ay make you take good long rest now. (Picking up his beer.)
Come, you drink vine. It put new life in you. (She lifts her glasshe grins.) Skoal, Anna! You know dat Svedish word?
ANNA—(Downing her port at a gulp like a drink of whiskeyher lips trembling.) Skoal? Guess I know that word, all right, all right!
(The Curtain Falls)