Contents I-I I-II
section of country highway. The road runs diagonally from the left,
forward, to the right, rear, and can be seen in the distance winding
toward the horizon like a pale ribbon between the low, rolling hills
with their freshly plowed fields clearly divided from each other,
checkerboard fashion, by the lines of stone walls and rough snake
The forward triangle cut off by
the road is a section of a field from the dark earth of which myriad
bright-green blades of fall-sown rye are sprouting. A straggling line of
piled rocks, too low to be called a wall, separates this field from the
To the rear of the road is a
ditch with a sloping, grassy bank on the far side. From the center of
this an old, gnarled apple tree, just budding into leaf, strains its
twisted branches heavenwards, black against the pallor of distance. A
snake-fence sidles from left to right along the top of the bank, passing
beneath the apple tree.
The hushed twilight of a
day in May is just beginning. The horizon hills are still rimmed by a
faint line of flame, and the sky above them glows with the crimson flush
of the sunset. This fades gradually as the action of the scene
At the rise of the
curtain, ROBERT MAYO is
discovered sitting on the fence. He is a tall, slender young man of
twenty-three. There is a touch of the poet about him expressed in his
high forehead and wide, dark eyes. His features are delicate and
refined, leaning to weakness in the mouth and chin. He is dressed in
grey corduroy trousers pushed into high laced boots, and a blue flannel
shirt with a bright colored tie. He is reading a book by the fading
sunset light. He shuts this, keeping a finger in to mark the place, and
turns his head toward the horizon, gazing out over the fields and hills.
His lips move as if he were reciting something to himself.
His brother ANDREW
comes along the road from the right, returning from his work in the
fields. He is twenty-seven years old, an opposite type to ROBERT—husky,
sun-bronzed, handsome in a large-featured, manly fashion—a son of the
soil, intelligent in a shrewd way, but with nothing of the intellectual
about him. He wears overalls, leather boots, a grey flannel shirt open
at the neck, and a soft, mud-stained hat pushed back on his head. He
stops to talk to ROBERT, leaning on the
hoe he carries.
ROBERT has not noticed his presence—in
a loud shout.) Hey there! (ROBERT turns
with a start. Seeing who it is, he smiles.) Gosh, you do take
the prize for day-dreaming! And I see you've toted one of the old
books along with you. Want to bust your eyesight reading in this
at the book in his hand with a rather shamefaced air.) I
wasn't reading—just then, Andy.
but you have been. Shucks, you never will get any sense, Rob. (He
crosses the ditch and sits on the fence near his brother.)
What is it this time—poetry, I'll bet. (He reaches for the
book.) Let me see.
it to him rather reluctantly.) Yes, it's poetry. Look out you
don't get it full of dirt.
at his hands.) That isn't dirt—it's good clean earth; but I'll
be careful of the old thing. I just wanted to take a peep at it. (He turns over the pages.)
Better look out for your eyesight, Andy.
If reading this stuff was the only way to get blind, I'd see
forever. (His eyes read something and he gives an exclamation
of disgust.) Hump! (With a provoking grin at his brother he
reads aloud in a doleful, sing-song voice.) "I have loved wind
and light and the bright sea. But holy and most sacred night, not
as I love and have loved thee." (He hands the book
back.) Here! Take it and bury it. Give me a good magazine any
a trace of irritation.) The Farm Journal?
anything sensible. I suppose it's that year in college gave you a
liking for that kind of stuff. I'm darn glad I stopped with High
School, or maybe I'd been crazy too. (He grins and slaps ROBERT
on the back affectionately.) Imagine me reading poetry and
plowing at the same time. The team'd run away, I'll bet.
Or picture me plowing. That'd be worse.
Pa was right never to sick you onto the farm. You surely were
never cut out for a farmer, that's a fact,—even if you'd never
been took sick. (With concern.) Say, how'd you feel now,
anyway? I've lost track of you. Seems as if I never did get a
chance to have a talk alone with you these days, 'count of the
work. But you're looking fine as silk.
I feel great—never better.
bully. You've surely earned it. You certainly had enough sickness
in the old days to last you the rest of your life.
healthy animal like you, you brute, can hardly understand what I
went through—althrough you saw it. You remember—sick one day,
and well the next—always weak—never able to last through a
whole term at school 'til I was years behind everyone my age—not
able to get in any games—it was hell! These last few years of
comparative health have been heaven to me.
know; they must have been. (After a pause.) You should have
gone back to college last fall, like I know you wanted to. You're
fitted for that sort of thing—just as I ain't.
know why I didn't go back, Andy. Pa didn't like the idea, even if
he didn't say so; and I know he wanted the money to use improving
the farm. And besides, I had pretty much all I cared for in that
one year. I'm not keen on being a student, just because you see me
reading books all the time. What I want to do now is keep on
moving so that I won't take root in any one place.
the trip you're leaving on tomorrow will keep you moving all
right. (At this mention of the trip they both fall silent.
There is a pause. Finally ANDREW goes
on, awkwardly attempting to speak casually.) Uncle says you'll
be gone three years.
that, he figures.
That's a long time.
so long when you come to consider it. You know the Sunda
sails around the Horn for Yokohama first, and that's a long voyage
on a sailing ship; and if we go to any of the other places Uncle
Dick mentions—India, or Australia, or South Africa, or South
America—they'll be long voyages, too.
can have all those foreign parts for all of me. A trip to the port
once in a while, or maybe down to New York a couple of times a
year—that's all the travel I'm hankering after. (He looks
down the road to the right.) Here comes Pa. (The noise of a
team of horses coming slowly down the road is heard, and a man's
voice urging them on. A moment later JAMES
MAYO enters, driving the two weary
horses which have been unhitched from the plow. He is his son
ANDREW over again in body and face—an
ANDREW sixty-five years old, with a
short, square, white beard. He is dressed much the same as ANDREW.)
his horses when he sees his sons.) Whoa there! Hello boys!
What are you two doin' there roostin' on the fence like a pair of
Oh, just talking things over, Pa.
a sly wink.) Rob's trying to get me into reading poetry. He
thinks my education's been neglected.
That's good! You kin go out and sing it to the stock at nights to
put 'em to sleep. What's that he's got there—'nother book? Good
Lord, I thought you'd read every book there was in the world,
Robert; and here you go and finds 'nother one!
a smile.) There's still a few left, Pa.
learning a new poem about the "bright sea" so he'll be
all prepared to recite when he gets on the boat tomorrow.
bit rebukingly.) He'll have plenty of time to be thinkin'
'bout the water in the next years. No need to bother 'bout it yet.
I wasn't. That's just Andy's fooling.
the subject abruptly; turns to ANDREW.)
How are things lookin' up to the hill lot, Andy?
Fine as silk for this early in the year. Those oats seem to be
coming along great.
most done plowin' up the old medder—figger I ought to have it
all up by tomorrow noon; then you kin start in with the harrowin'.
I expect I'll be through up above by then. There ain't but a
little left to do.
the restive team.) Whoa there! You'll get your supper soon
enough, you hungry critters. (Turning again to ANDREW.)
It looks like a good year for us, son, with fair luck on the
weather—even if it's hard tucker gettin' things started.
a grin of satisfaction.) I can stand my share of the hard
work, I guess—and then some.
the way to talk, son. Work never done a man harm yet—leastways,
not work done out in the open. (ROBERT has
been trying to pretend an interest in their conversation, but he
can't help showing that it bores him. ANDREW
farming ain't poetry, is it, Rob? (ROBERT smiles
but remains silent.)
There's more satisfaction in the earth than ever was in any book;
and Robert'll find it out sooner or later. (A twinkle comes
into his eyes.) When he's grown up and got some sense.
I'm never going to grow up—if I can help it.
tell. Well, I'll be movin' along home. Don't you two stay gossipin'
too long. (He winks at ROBERT.)
'Specially you, Andy. Ruth and her Maw is comin' to supper, and
you'd best be hurryin' to wash up and put on your best
Sunday-go-to-mettin' clothes. (He laughs. ROBERT'S
face contracts as if he were wincing at some pain, but he
forces a smile. ANDREW grows
confused and casts a quick side glance at his brother.)
be along in a minute, Pa.
you, Robert, don't you stay moonin' at the sky longer'n is
needful. You'll get lots o' time for that the next three years
you're out on the sea. Remember this is your last night to home,
and you've got to make an early start tomorrow, (He hesitates,
then finishes earnestly) 'n' your Ma'll be wantin' to see all
she kin o' you the little time left.
not forgetting, Pa. I'll be home right away.
right. I'll tell your Maw you're acomin'. (He chucks to the
horses.) Giddap, old bones! Don't you want no supper tonight?
(The horses walk off, and he follows them. There is a pause.
ANDREW and ROBERT
sit silently, without looking at each other.)
a while.) Ma's going to miss you a lot, Rob.
I'll miss her.
Pa ain't feeling none too happy to have you go—though he's been
trying not to show it.
can see how he feels.
you can bet that I'm not giving any cheers about it. (He puts
one hand on the fence near ROBERT.)
one hand on top of ANDREW'S with a
gesture almost of shyness.) I know that too, Andy.
miss you as much as anybody, I guess. I know how lonesome the old
place was winter before last when you was away to college—and even
then you used to come home once in a while; but this time— (He stops suddenly.)
not think about it—'til afterward. We'll only spoil this last
night if we do.
good advice. (But after a pause, he returns to the subject
again.) You see, you and I ain't like most brothers—always
fighting and separated a lot of the time, while we've always been
together—just the two of us. It's different with us. That's why
it hits so hard, I guess.
feeling.) It's just as hard for me, Andy—believe that! I hate
to leave you and the old folks—but—I feel I've got to. There's
something calling me— (He points to the horizon)
calling to me from over there, beyond— and I feel as if—
no matter what happens— Oh, I can't just explain it to you,
need to, Rob. (Angry at himself.) You needn't try to
explain. It's all just as it ought to be. Hell! You want to go.
You feel you ought to, and you got to!— that's all
there is to it; and I wouldn't have you miss this chance for the
fine of you to feel that way, Andy.
I'd be a nice son-of-a-gun if I didn't, wouldn't I? When I know
how you need this sea trip to make a new man of you—in the body,
I mean—and give you your full health back.
trifle impatiently.) All of you seem to keep harping on my
health. You were so used to seeing me lying around the house in
the old days that you never will get over the notion that I'm a
chronic invalid, and have to be looked after like a baby all the
time, or wheeled round in a chair like Mrs. Atkins. You don't
realize how I've bucked up in the past few years. Why, I bet right
now I'm just as healthy as you are—I mean just as sound in wind
and limb; and if I was staying on at the farm, I'd prove it to
you. You're suffering from a fixed idea about my
delicateness—and so are Pa and Ma. Every time I've offered to
help, Pa has stared at me as if he thought I was contemplating
Nobody claimed the undertaker was taking your measurements. All I
was saying was the sea trip would be bound to do anybody good.
I had no other excuse for going on Uncle Dick's ship but just my
health, I'd stay right here and start in plowing.
be done. No use in your talking that way, Rob. Farming ain't your
nature. There's all the difference shown in just the way us two
feel about the farm. I like it, all of it, and you—well, you
like the home part of it, I expect; but as a place to work and
grow things, you hate it. Ain't that right?
I suppose it is. I've tried to take an interest but—well, you're
the Mayo branch of the family, and I take after Ma and Uncle Dick.
It's natural enough when you come to think of it. The Mayos have
been farmers from way back, while the Scotts have been mostly
sea-faring folks, with a school teacher thrown in now and then on
the woman's side—just as Ma was before her marriage.
do favor Ma. I remember she used always to have her nose in a book
when I was a kid; but she seems to have given it up of late years.
a trace of bitterness.) The farm has claimed her in spite of
herself. That's what I'm afraid it might do to me in time; and
that's why I feel I ought to get away. (Fearing he has hurt
ANDREW'S feelings.) You musn't
misunderstand me, Andy. For you it's a different thing. You're a
Mayo through and through. You're wedded to the soil. You're as
much a product of it as an ear of corn is, or a tree. Father is
the same. This farm is his life-work, and he's happy in knowing
that another Mayo, inspired by the same love, will take up the
work where he leaves off. I can understand your attitude, and
Pa's; and I think it's wonderful and sincere. But I—well, I'm
not made that way.
you ain't; but when it comes to understanding, I guess I realize
that you've got your own angle of looking at things.
I wonder if you do, really.
Sure I do. You've seen a bit of the world, enough to make the farm
seem small, and you've got the itch to see it all.
more than that, Andy.
of course. I know you're going to learn navigation, and all about
a ship, so's you can be an officer. That's natural, too. There's
fair pay in it, I expect, when you consider that you've always got
a home and grub thrown in; and if you're set on travelling, you
can go anywhere you're a mind to, without paying fare.
a smile that is half-sad.) It's more than that, Andy.
it is. There's always a chance of a good thing coming your way in
some of those foreign ports or other. I've heard there are great
opportunities for a young fellow with his eyes open in some of
those new countries that are just being opened up. And with your
education you ought to pick up the language quick. (Jovially.)
I'll bet that's what you've been turning over in your mind under
all your quietness! (He slaps his brother on the back with a
laugh.) Well, if you get to be a millionaire all of a sudden,
call 'round once in a while and I'll pass the plate to you. We
could use a lot of money right here on the farm without hurting it
to laugh.) I've never considered that practical side of it for
a minute, Andy. (As ANDREW looks
incredulous.) That's the truth.
you ought to.
I oughtn't. You're trying to wish an eye-for-business on me I
don't possess. (Pointing to the horizon—dreamily.)
Supposing I was to tell you that it's just Beauty that's calling
me, the beauty of the far off and unknown, the mystery and spell
of the East, which lures me in the books I've read, the need of
the freedom of great wide spaces, the joy of wandering on and
on—in quest of the secret which is hidden just over there,
beyond the horizon? Suppose I told you that was the one and only
reason for my going?
should say you were nutty.
I must be—because it's so.
don't believe it. You've got that idea out of your poetry books. A
good dose of sea-sickness will get that out of your system.
Don't, Andy. I'm serious.
you might as well stay right here, because we've got all you're
looking for right on this farm. There's wide space enough, Lord
knows; and you can have all the sea you want by walking a mile
down to the beach; and there's plenty of horizon to look at, and
beauty enough for anyone, except in the winter. (He grins.)
As for the mystery and spell, and other things you mentioned, I
haven't met 'em yet, but they're probably lying around somewheres.
I'll have you understand this is a first class farm with all the
fixings. (He laughs.)
in the laughter in spite of himself.) It's no use talking to
you, you chump!
but you'll see I'm right before you've gone far. You're not as big
a nut as you'd like to make out. You'd better not say anything to
Uncle Dick about spells and things when you're on the ship. He'll
likely chuck you overboard for a Jonah. (He jumps down from
fence.) I'd better run along. I've got to wash up some as long
as Ruth's Ma is coming over for supper.
bitterly.) And Ruth.
everywhere except at ROBERT—trying
to appear unconcerned.) Yes, Pa did say she was staying too.
Well, I better hustle, I guess, and— (He steps over the
ditch to the road while he is talking.)
appears to be fighting some strong inward emotion—impulsively.)
Wait a minute, Andy! (He jumps down from the fence.) There
is something I want to— (He stops abruptly, biting his
lips, his face coloring.)
him; half-defiantly.) Yes?
No— never mind— it doesn't matter, it was nothing.
a pause, during which he stares fixedly at ROBERT'S
averted face.) Maybe I can guess— what you were going to
say— but I guess you're right not to talk about it. (He
pulls ROBERT'S hand from his side
and grips it tensely; the two brothers stand looking into each
other's eyes for a minute.) We can't help those things, Rob. (He
turns away, suddenly releasing ROBERT'S
hand.) You'll be coming along shortly, won't you?
you later, then. (He walks off down the road to the left. ROBERT
stares after him for a moment; then climbs to the fence rail
again, and looks out over the hills, an expression of deep grief
on his face. After a moment or so, RUTH
enters hurriedly from the left. She is a healthy, blonde,
out-of-door girl of twenty, with a graceful, slender figure. Her
face, though inclined to roundness, is undeniably pretty, its
large eyes of a deep blue set off strikingly by the sun-bronzed
complexion. Her small, regular features are marked by a certain
strength—an underlying, stubborn fixity of purpose hidden in the
frankly-appealing charm of her fresh youthfulness. She wears a
simple white dress but no hat.)
him.) Hello, Rob!
the ditch and perches on the fence beside him.) I was looking
Andy just left here.
know. I met him on the road a second ago. He told me you were
here. (Tenderly playful.) I wasn't looking for Andy,
Smarty, if that's what you mean. I was looking for you.
I'm going away tomorrow?
your mother was anxious to have you come home and asked me to look
for you. I just wheeled Ma over to your house.
How is your mother?
shadow coming over her face.) She's about the same. She never
seems to get any better or any worse. Oh, Rob, I do wish she'd
pick up a little or— or try to make the best of things that
can't be helped.
she been nagging at you again?
her head, and then breaks forth rebelliously.) She never stops
nagging. No matter what I do for her she finds fault. She's
growing more irritable every day. Oh, Rob, you've no idea how hard
it is living there alone with her in that big lonely house. It's
enough to drive anyone mad. If only Pa was still living— (She
stops as if ashamed of her outburst.) I suppose I shouldn't
complain this way. I wouldn't to any one but you. (She sighs.)
Poor Ma, Lord knows it's hard enough for her—having to be
wheeled around in a chair ever since I was born. I suppose it's
natural to be cross when you're not able ever to walk a step. But
why should she be in a temper with me all the time? Oh, I'd like
to be going away some place—like you!
hard to stay—and equally hard to go, sometimes.
If I'm not the stupid body! I swore I wasn't going to speak about
your trip—until after you'd gone; and there I go, first thing!
didn't you want to speak of it?
I didn't want to spoil this last night you're here. Oh, Rob, I'm
going to—we're all going to miss you so awfully. Your mother is
going around looking as if she'd burst out crying any minute. You
ought to know how I feel. Andy and you and I—why it seems as if
we'd always been together.
a wry attempt at a smile.) You and Andy will still have each
other. It'll be harder for me without anyone.
you'll have new sights and new people to take your mind off; while
we'll be here with the old, familiar place to remind us every
minute of the day. It's a shame you're going—just at this time, in
spring, when everything is getting so nice. (With a sigh.)
I oughtn't to talk that way when I know going's the best thing for
you—on account of your health. The sea trip's bound to do you so
much good, everyone says.
a half-resentful grimace.) Don't tell me you think I'm
a hopeless invalid, too! I've heard enough of that talk from the
folks. Honestly, Ruth, I feel better than I ever did in my life.
I'm disgustingly healthy. I wouldn't even consider my health an
excuse for this trip.
Of course you're bound to find all sorts of opportunities to get
on, your father says.
I don't give a damn about that! I wouldn't take a voyage across
the road for the best opportunity in the world of the kind Pa
thinks of. I'd run away from it instead. (He smiles at his own
irritation.) Excuse me, Ruth, for getting worked up over it;
but Andy gave me an overdose of the practical considerations.
puzzled.) Well, then, if it isn't any of those reasons— (With
sudden intensity.) Oh, Rob, why do you want to go?
to her quickly, in surprise—slowly.) Why do you ask that,
her eyes before his searching glance.) Because— (Lamely.)
It seems such a shame.
could hardly back out now, even if I wanted to. And I'll be
forgotten before you know it.
You won't! I'll never forget— (She stops and turns away to
hide her confusion.)
Will you promise me that?
Of course. It's mean of you to think that any of us would forget
an attempt at lightness.) But you haven't told me your reason
for leaving yet? Aren't you going to?
I doubt if you'll understand. It's difficult to explain, even to
myself. It's more an instinctive longing that won't stand
dissection. Either you feel it, or you don't. The cause of it all
is in the blood and the bone, I guess, not in the brain, although
imagination plays a large part in it. I can remember being
conscious of it first when I was only a kid—you haven't
forgotten what a sickly specimen I was then, in those days, have
a shudder.) They're past. Let's not think about them.
have to, to understand. Well, in those days, when Ma was fixing
meals, she used to get me out of the way by pushing my chair to
the west window and telling me to look out and be quiet. That
wasn't hard. I guess I was always quiet.
Yes, you always were—and you suffering so much, too!
So I used to stare out over the fields to the hills, out there—(He
points to the horizon) and somehow after a time I'd forget any
pain I was in, and start dreaming. I knew the sea was over beyond
those hills,—the folks had told me—and I used to wonder what the
sea was like, and try to form a picture of it in my mind. (With
a smile.) There was all the mystery in the world to me then
about that—far-off sea—and there still is! It called to me then
just as it does now. (After a slight pause.) And other
times my eyes would follow this road, winding off into the
distance, toward the hills, as if it, too, was searching for the
sea. And I'd promise myself that when I grew up and was strong,
I'd follow that road, and it and I would find the sea together. (With
a smile.) You see, my making this trip is only keeping that
promise of long ago.
by his low, musical voice telling the dreams of his childhood.)
Yes, I see.
were the only happy moments of my life then, dreaming there at the
window. I liked to be all alone—those times. I got to know all the
different kinds of sunsets by heart—the clear ones and the cloudy
ones, and all the color schemes of their countless
variations—although I could hardly name more than three or four
colors correctly. And all those sunsets took place over there—(He
points) beyond the horizon. So gradually I came to believe
that all the wonders of the world happened on the other side of
those hills. There was the home of the good fairies who performed
beautiful miracles. (He smiles.) I believed in fairies
then, although I suppose I ought to have been ashamed of it from a
boy's standpoint. But you know how contemptuous of all religion
Pa's always been—even the mention of it in the house makes him
(Wearily.) It's just the opposite to our house.
bullied Ma into being ashamed of believing in anything and he'd
forbidden her to teach Andy or me. There wasn't much about our
home but the life on the farm. I didn't like that, so I had
to believe in fairies. (With a smile.) Perhaps I still do
believe in them. Anyway, in those days they were real enough, and
sometimes—I suppose the mental science folks would explain it by
self-hypnosis—I could actually hear them calling to me in soft
whispers to come out and play with them, dance with them down the
road in the dusk in a game of hide-and-seek to find out where the
sun was hiding himself. They sang their little songs to me, songs
that told of all the wonderful things they had in their home on
the other side of the hills; and they promised to show me all of
them, if I'd only come, come! But I couldn't come then, and I used
to cry sometimes and Ma would think I was in pain. (He breaks
off suddenly with a laugh.) That's why I'm going now, I
suppose. For I can still hear them calling, although I'm a man and
have seen the other side of many hills. But the horizon is as far
away and as luring as ever. (He turns to her—softly.) Do
you understand now, Ruth?
in a whisper.) Yes.
feel it then?
yes, I do! (Unconsciously she snuggles close against his side.
His arm steals about her as if he were not aware of the action.)
Oh, Rob, how could I help feeling it? You tell things so
realizing that his arm is around her, and that her head is resting
on his shoulder, gently takes his arm away. RUTH,
brought back to herself, is overcome with confusion.) So
now you know why I'm going. It's for that reason—that and one
another? Then you must tell me that, too.
at her searchingly. She drops her eyes before his gaze.) I
wonder if I ought to. I wonder if you'd really care to hear
it—if you knew. You'll promise not to be angry—whatever it is?
her face still averted.) Yes, I promise.
I love you. That's the other reason.
her face in her hands.) Oh, Rob!
must let me finish now I've begun. I wasn't going to tell you, but
I feel I have to. It can't matter to you now that I'm going so far
away, and for so long—perhaps forever. I've loved you all these
years, but the realization of it never came to me 'til I agreed to
go away with Uncle Dick. Then I thought of leaving you, and the
pain of that thought revealed the truth to me in a flash—that I
loved you, had loved you as long as I could remember. (He
gently pulls one of RUTH'S hands
away from her face.) You musn't mind my telling you this,
Ruth. I realize how impossible it all is—and I understand; for
the revelation of my own love seemed to open my eyes to the love
of others. I saw Andy's love for you—and I knew that you must
out stormily.) I don't! I don't love Andy! I don't! (ROBERT
stares at her in stupid astonishment. RUTH
weeps hysterically.) Whatever—put such a fool notion
into—into your head? (She suddenly throws her arms about his
neck and hides her head on his shoulder.) Oh, Rob! Don't go
away! Please! You mustn't, now! You can't! I won't let you! It'd
break my—my heart!
expression of stupid bewilderment giving way to one of
overwhelming joy. He presses her close to him—slowly and
tenderly.) Do you mean that—that you love me?
Yes, yes—of course I do—what d'you s'pose? (She lifts up
her head and looks into his eyes with a tremulous smile.) You
stupid thing! (He kisses her.) I've loved you right along.
But you and Andy were always together!
you never seemed to want to go any place with me. You were always
reading an old book, and not paying any attention to me. I was too
proud to let you see I cared because I thought the year you had
away to college had made you stuck-up, and you thought yourself
too educated to waste any time on me.
her.) And I was thinking— (With a laugh.) What
fools we've both been!
by a sudden fear.) You won't go away on the trip, will you,
Rob? You'll tell them you can't go on account of me, won't you?
You can't go now! You can't!
Perhaps—you can come too.
Rob, don't be so foolish. You know I can't. Who'd take care of Ma?
She has no one in the world but me. I can't leave her—the way
she is. It'd be different if she was well and healthy like other
people. Don't you see I couldn't go—on her account?
I could go—and then send for you both—when I'd settled some
place out there.
never could. She'd never leave the farm for anything; and she
couldn't make a trip anywhere 'til she got better—if she ever
does. And oh, Rob, I wouldn't want to live in any of those
outlandish places you were going to. I couldn't stand it there, I
know I couldn't—not knowing anyone. It makes me afraid just to
think of it. I've never been away from here, hardly and—I'm just a
home body, I'm afraid. (She clings to him imploringly.)
Please don't go—not now. Tell them you've decided not to. They
won't mind. I know your mother and father'll be glad. They'll all
be. They don't want you to go so far away from them. Please, Rob!
We'll be so happy here together where it's natural and we know
things. Please tell me you won't go!
to face with a definite, final decision, betrays the conflict
going on within him.) But—Ruth—I—Uncle Dick—
won't mind when he knows it's for your happiness to stay. How
could he? (As ROBERT remains
silent she bursts into sobs again.) Oh, Rob! And you
said—you loved me!
by this appeal—an irrevocable decision in his voice.) I won't
go, Ruth. I promise you. There! Don't cry! (He presses
her to him, stroking her hair tenderly. After a pause he speaks
with happy hopefulness.) Perhaps after all Andy was
right—righter than he knew—when he said I could find all the
things I was seeking for here, at home on the farm. The mystery
and the wonder—our love should bring them home to us. I think love
must have been the secret—the secret that called to me from over
the world's rim—the secret beyond every horizon; and when I did
not come, it came to me. (He clasps RUTH
to him fiercely.) Oh, Ruth, you are right! Our love is
sweeter than any distant dream. It is the meaning of all life, the
whole world. The kingdom of heaven is within—us! (He
kisses her passionately and steps to the ground, lifting RUTH
in his arms and carrying her to the road where he puts her
a happy laugh.) My, but you're strong!
We'll go and tell them at once.
Oh, no, don't, Rob, not 'til after I've gone. Then you can tell
your folks and I'll tell Ma when I get her home. There'd be bound
to be such a scene with them all together.
her—gaily.) As you like—little Miss Common Sense!
go, then. (She takes his hand, and they start to go off left.
ROBERT suddenly stops and turns as
though for a last look at the hills and the dying sunset flush.)
upward and pointing.) See! The first star. (He bends down
and kisses her tenderly.) Our star!
a soft murmur.) Yes. Our very own star. (They stand for a
moment looking up at it, their arms around each other. Then RUTH
takes his hand again and starts to lead him away.) Come,
Rob, let's go. (His eyes are fixed again on the horizon as he
half turns to follow her. RUTH urges.)
We'll be late for supper, Rob.
his head impatiently, as though he were throwing off some
disturbing thought—with a laugh.) All right. We'll run then.
Come on! (They run off laughing as