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SCENE
3




A
SATURDAY NIGHT






The
scene is as it were on two floors. Below — ie. on stage level —
is the children's underground house and above is the upper world, viz. the wood,
river, little house &c. of Scene 1 of this act. The underground room should
be a shallow room to enable gallery &c. to see it, and the action above
ground takes place well down stage so that it is visible to front of stalls.
The height of underground room and the slope of ground above must be treated
with regard to the seeing capacity of the various parts of the house. As no
action will take place above ground, except well down stage, the back part need
not be strong, but the part actually above room must be strong to support people.




The
underground room is an irregular semi-circle with walls of earth and rock kept
in place by the roots of the trees in a fantastic manner. Each tree has a door
and it is seen that by entering and ascending you would emerge by the door in
the same tree above. There are no windows in the walls proper but the roof slopes
and in it is one small sky-light window. The room of course occupies the whole
breadth of the stage and in L.C. of it stands a hollow tree trunk, the continuation
of which above ground is the chimney. In this trunk is fireplace with a great
fire burning and in front of it suspended on a string are articles of boys'
clothing, such as stockings, shirt, &c. Through the room flows a tiny stream
not more than two feet wide. It comes out of back wall with a fall of two feet
and exits R. downstage. The effect is got by lighting. In back wall C. at such
a height as to be visible from all parts of the house, is a room about two feet
square and one foot deep which is at present closed by a little curtain but
is really Tippy's bedroom — a sort of doll's room. The room is lighted
by night-lights in saucers.




Curtain
rises and above are seen a dozen Redskins both men and women sitting in semi-circle
and listening through ground to what is going on below. Tiger Lily is conspicuous
among them. Down below Wendy and all the boys except Peter are sitting over
an imaginary tea. The table is a removable oblong board standing on a tree trunk
in the middle of the room and this tree trunk has certain peculiar properties
to be explained presently. Wendy wears romantic woodland garments of her own
devising and the boys are also quaintly dressed. She is sitting at L. end of
table. The seat at R. end is empty. There are rough armchairs. The boys sit
around on stools. Curly is on a sort of baby chair next to Wendy. The whole
meal is entirely make-believe, there being nothing whatever on the table, but
all pretend to eat imaginary food and to drink from imaginary cups. Wendy has
the airs of a mother presiding at imaginary tea-tray. All make believe very
realistically.




  WENDY:
Is your mug empty, Slightly darling?


  SLIGHTLY:
Not quite empty yet.


  NIBS:
Mummy, he hasn't even begun to drink his milk.


  WENDY:
Slightly, how very naughty of you. (Slightly takes great gulps and passes
up imaginary mug which Wendy fills. John holds up hand.)
Well?


  JOHN:
May I sit in Peter's chair as he's not here?


  WENDY:
In your father's chair, certainly not.


  JOHN:
*(bitterly): He's not really our father. He didn't even know how to be
a father till I showed him.


  WENDY:
John! (Tootles holds up hand.) Well dear?


  TOOTLES
(rising as if to make a speech): I don't suppose I could be father?


  WENDY:
No, Tootles.


  TOOTLES:
As I can't be father, I don't suppose Curly you would let me be baby.


  CURLY:
No I won't.


  TOOTLES:
As I can't be baby do you think I could be a twin?


  FIRST
TWIN
: Not you. It's awfully difficult to be a twin.


  TOOTLES:
As I can't be anything important, would any of you like to see me do a trick?


  BOYS:
No.


  TOOTLES
(sweetly but sadly): I hadn't really any hope. (Resumes seat.)


  SECOND
TWIN
: Alexander is coughing on the table.


  ALEX:
The twins began with cheese-cakes.


  NIBS:
Curly is taking both butter and honey.


  CURLY:
Nibs is speaking with his mouth full.


  WENDY:
Oh dear, oh dear, I'm sure I sometimes think that youngsters are to be envied.
Alexander, we are waiting for you. (Alex goes to her side.)


  ALEX
(simply):          Here
a little child I stand


Heaving
up my either hand


Cold
as paddocks though they be


Here
I lift them up to thee


For
a benison to fall


On
our meat and on us all. Amen.


  WENDY
(rising): Now you may clear away. Slightly bring me my work basket. (While
the others are clearing she goes to chair by fire where Slightly brings her
a great basket full of stockings. She lifts a pile.)
And every heel with
a hole in it!




(She
sits happily darning while the boys skip about as light as fairies putting away
imaginary dishes, folding up imaginary table-cloth, &c. They also lift the
table-board and stools out of the way. Then they get rid of the tree-trunk which
formed support of table by pushing it down. It collapses like a concertina or
opera hat but is very stiff and once it springs up sending two boys on top of
it, sprawling. At last they get it level with the ground and put a bolt in.
During this silent scene an incident takes place above. Peter enters from L.
carrying gun and game-bag and the Indians prostrate themselves before him.)




  PETER
(a little lordly in manner): The Great White Father is glad to see the
Piccaninny Warriors protecting his wigwam from the Pirates.


  SEVERAL
OF INDIANS
: Wah! It is good.


  TIGER
LILY
: These Tiger Lily's braves. Me Tiger Lily.


  PETER:
Yes, lady, the Great White Father knows that these are your braves.


  TIGER
LILY
: Me great lady — you great man.


  PETER:
Yes, I know.


  TIGER
LILY
(devoted to Peter): Sometimes Injin girl runs into wood,
Injin brave runs after her — Injin brave catch her. Then she Injin brave's
squaw. Is it not so? (To Indians.)


  INDIANS:
Ugh! Ugh!


  TIGER
LILY
: If Paleface runs after Injin girl — catch her — then
she Paleface's squaw.


  INDIANS:
Ugh! Ugh!


  TIGER
LILY
: Suppose Tiger Lily runs into wood — Peter Paleface catch
her — what then?


  PETER
(bewildered): Paleface can never catch Indian girls they run too fast.


  TIGER
LILY
: If Peter Paleface chases Tiger Lily she no run very fast —
she tumble in a heap — what then? (Peter puzzled. She addresses Indians.)
What then?


  AN
INDIAN
: She him's squaw.


  ALL:
Wah! Ugh! Ugh!


  PETER:
The Great Father of the Palefaces doesn't quite understand what you mean. Are
you wanting to be my mother, Tiger Lily?


  TIGER
LILY
: No mother!


  PETER:
Then I don't understand you. Goodnight Tiger Lily. Goodnight braves. (Tiger
Lily is disconsolate. Peter goes into tree.)


  PANTHER
(distressed because Tiger Lily is weeping): Tiger Lily's braves bring
Paleface back? (Lifting weapon.)


  TIGER
LILY
: No — no, hurt him. Him no understand — Tiger Lily explain
more clear next time.


  INDIAN:
Huh! (Meaning that something is happening beneath. All listen. Wendy has
started up.)


  WENDY:
Children, I hear your father's step! He likes you to meet him at the door.




(All
boys except John and Alex run to door and meet Peter entering below by his tree.
He has the manner of a cheery father returning from the day's toil.)




  ALL:
Dad, Dad!


  PETER:
You rogues! No, I won't let one of you into my pockets till I know whether you
have been good boys.


  SEVERAL:
We have. We have.


  PETER:
Then in you go! (Several get fruit from his pockets.)


  WENDY
(standing smiling at fire): Peter, you just spoil them, you know.


  PETER
(laying aside gun and bag and going to her): Ah, old lady.


  JOHN
(to Alex): It was me told him mothers are called old lady.


  PETER:
Got a thimble for me little woman? (Kisses her.)


  ALEX
(to John): It was me told him they are called little woman.


  FIRST
TWIN
: Father we want to dance.


  PETER:
Dance away, my little man.


  FIRST
TWIN
: But we want you to dance.


  PETER:
Me? My old bones would rattle.


  NIBS:
And Mummy too.


  WENDY
(scandalized): A pretty figure I should cut dancing! A mother of such
an armful dance!


  SLIGHTLY:
But on a Saturday night?


  WENDY
(hesitating): Of course, it is Saturday night, Peter?


  PETER:
People of our figure, Wendy?


  WENDY:
But it's only among our own progeny.


  PETER:
True, true! But mind you, you must all promise to go to bed immediately afterwards.


  ALL:
We promise.


  PETER:
Well, well, well.


  NIBS:
We'll sing, too.


  WENDY:
But what?


  NIBS:
"Of all the girls that are so smart" and mother, you'll be Sally.




(They
sing, either an original song or
Sally in our Alley, different ones singing
different verses with business of marching and dancing between verses. Above
the Indians join in the music *being from their tom-toms and Tiger Lily sings
a verse of
Sally in Indian. The children below listen and join in and
all ends in dance both above and below at end of which all exeunt into trees
except Peter and Wendy, while the Indians suddenly become solemn again. Wendy
and Peter still feeling themselves an aged couple have returned to fire, Peter
sitting in nook on L. of it.)