Midday. A room in a Moorish castle. A divan seat runs round the
dilapidated adobe walls, which are partly painted, partly faced
with white tiles patterned in green and yellow. The ceiling is
made up of little squares, painted in bright colors, with gilded
edges, and ornamented with gilt knobs. On the cement floor
are mattings, sheepskins, and leathern cushions with geometrical
patterns on them. There is a tiny Moorish table in the middle;
and at it a huge saddle, with saddle cloths of various colors,
showing that the room is used by foreigners accustomed to chairs.
Anyone sitting at the table in this seat would have the chief
entrance, a large horseshoe arch, on his left, and another saddle
seat between him and the arch; whilst, if susceptible to
draughts, he would probably catch cold from a little Moorish door
in the wall behind him to his right.
Two or three of Brassbound's men, overcome by the midday heat,
sprawl supine on the floor, with their reefer coats under their
heads, their knees uplifted, and their calves laid comfortably on
the divan. Those who wear shirts have them open at the throat for
greater coolness. Some have jerseys. All wear boots and belts,
and have guns ready to their hands. One of them, lying with his
head against the second saddle seat, wears what was once a
fashionable white English yachting suit. He is evidently a
pleasantly worthless young English gentleman gone to the
bad, but retaining sufficient self-respect to shave carefully and
brush his hair, which is wearing thin, and does not seem to have
been luxuriant even in its best days.
The silence is broken only by the snores of the young gentleman,
whose mouth has fallen open, until a few distant shots half waken
him. He shuts his mouth convulsively, and opens his eyes
sleepily. A door is violently kicked outside; and the voice of
Drinkwater is heard raising urgent alarm.
DRINKWATER. Wot ow! Wike ap there, will yr. Wike ap. (He rushes
in through the horseshoe arch, hot and excited, and runs round,
kicking the sleepers) Nah then. Git ap. Git ap, will yr, Kiddy
Redbrook. (He gives the young qentleman a rude shove.)
REDBOOK (sitting up). Stow that, will you. What's amiss?
DRINKWATER (disgusted). Wot's amiss! Didn't eah naow fawrin, I
DRINKWATER (sneering). Naow. Thort it sifer nort, didn't yr?
REDBROOK (with crisp intelligence). What! You're running away,
are you? (He springs up, crying) Look alive, Johnnies: there's
danger. Brandyfaced Jack's on the run. (They spring up hastily,
grasping their guns.)
DRINKWATER. Dineger! Yuss: should think there wors dineger. It's
howver, thow, as it mowstly his baw the tawm YOU'RE awike. (They
relapse into lassitude.) Waw wasn't you on the look-aht to give
us a end? Bin hattecked baw the Benny Seeras (Beni Siras), we ev,
an ed to rawd for it pretty strite, too, aw teoll yr. Mawtzow is
it: the bullet glawnst all rahnd is bloomin brisket. Brarsbahnd e
dropt the Shike's oss at six unnern fifty yawds. (Bustling them
about) Nah then: git the plice ready for the British
herristoracy, Lawd Ellam and Lidy Wineflete.
REDBOOK. Lady faint, eh?
DRINKWATER. Fynt! Not lawkly. Wornted to gow an talk, to the
Benny Seeras: blaow me if she didn't! huz wot we was frahtnd of.
Tyin up Mawtzow's wound, she is, like a bloomin orspittle nass.
(Sir Howard, with a copious pagri on his white hat, enters
through the horseshoe arch, followed by a couple of men
supporting the wounded Marzo, who, weeping and terrorstricken by
the prospect of death and of subsequent torments for which he is
conscious of having eminently qualified himself, has his coat off
and a bandage round his chest. One of his supporters is a
blackbearded, thickset, slow, middle-aged man with an air of
damaged respectability, named--as it afterwards appears--Johnson.
Lady Cicely walks beside Marzo. Redbrook, a little shamefaced,
crosses the room to the opposite wall as far away as possible
from the visitors. Drinkwater turns and receives them with
jocular ceremony.) Weolcome to Brarsbahnd Cawstl, Sr Ahrd an
lidy. This eah is the corfee and commercial room.
Sir Howard goes to the table and sits on the saddle, rather
exhausted. Lady Cicely comes to Drinkwater.
LADY CICELY. Where is Marzo's bed?
DRINKWATER. Is bed, lidy? Weoll: e ynt petickler, lidy. E ez is
chawce of henny flegstown agin thet wall.
They deposit Marzo on the flags against the wall close to the
little door. He groans. Johnson phlegmatically leaves him and
LADY CICELY. But you can't leave him there in that state.
DRINKWATER. Ow: e's hall rawt. (Strolling up callously to Marzo)
You're hall rawt, ynt yer, Mawtzow? (Marzo whimpers.) Corse y'aw.
LADY CICELY (to Sir Howard). Did you ever see such a helpless lot
of poor creatures? (She makes for the little door.)
DRINKWATER. Eah! (He runs to the door and places himself before
it.) Where mawt yr lidyship be gowin?
LADY CICELY. I'm going through every room in this castle to find
a proper place to put that man. And now I'll tell you where
YOU'RE going. You're going to get some water for Marzo, who is
very thirsty. And then, when I've chosen a room for him, you're
going to make a bed for him there.
DRINKWATER (sarcastically). Ow! Henny ather little suvvice? Mike
yrseolf at owm, y' knaow, lidy.
LADY CICELY (considerately). Don't go if you'd rather not, Mr.
Drinkwater. Perhaps you're too tired. (Turning to the archway)
I'll ask Captain Brassbound: he won't mind.
DRINKWATER (terrified, running after her and getting between her
and the arch). Naow, naow! Naow, lidy: doesn't you goes disturbin
the Kepn. Awll see to it.
LADY CICELY (gravely). I was sure you would, Mr. Drinkwater. You
have such a kind face. (She turns back and goes out through the
DRINKWATER (looking after her). Garn!
SIR HOWARD (to Drinkwater). Will you ask one of your friends to
show me to my room whilst you are getting the water?
DRINKWATER (insolently). Yr room! Ow: this ynt good enaf fr yr,
ynt it? (Ferociously) Oo a you orderin abaht, ih?
SIR HOWARD (rising quietly, and taking refuge between Redbrook
and Johnson, whom he addresses). Can you find me a more private
room than this?
JOHNSON (shaking his head). I've no orders. You must wait til the
capn comes, sir.
DRINKWATER (following Sir Howard). Yuss; an whawl you're witin,
yll tike your horders from me: see?
JOHNSON (with slow severity, to Drinkwater). Look here: do you
see three genlmen talkin to one another here, civil and private,
DRINKWATER (chapfallen). No offence, Miste Jornsn--
JOHNSON (ominously). Ay; but there is offence. Where's your
manners, you guttersnipe? (Turning to Sir Howard) That's the
curse o this kind o life, sir: you got to associate with all
sorts. My father, sir, was Capn Johnson o Hull--owned his own
schooner, sir. We're mostly gentlemen here, sir, as you'll find,
except the poor ignorant foreigner and that there scum of the
submerged tenth. (Contemptuously looking at Drinkwater) HE ain't
nobody's son: he's only a offspring o coster folk or such.
DRINKWATER (bursting into tears). Clawss feelin! thet's wot it
is: clawss feelin! Wot are yer, arter all, bat a bloomin gang o
west cowst cazhls (casual ward paupers)? (Johnson is scandalized;
and there is a general thrill of indignation.) Better ev naow
fembly, an rawse aht of it, lawk me, than ev a specble one and
disgrice it, lawk you.
JOHNSON. Brandyfaced Jack: I name you for conduct and language
unbecoming to a gentleman. Those who agree will signify the same
in the usual manner.
ALL (vehemently). Aye.
DRINKWATER (wildly). Naow.
JOHNSON. Felix Drinkwater: are you goin out, or are you goin to
wait til you're chucked out? You can cry in the passage. If you
give any trouble, you'll have something to cry for.
They make a threatenng movement towards Drinkwater.
DRINKWATER (whimpering). You lee me alown: awm gowin. There's
n'maw true demmecrettick feelin eah than there is in the owl
bloomin M division of Noontn Corzwy coppers (Newington Causeway
As he slinks away in tears towards the arch, Brassbound enters.
Drinkwater promptly shelters himself on the captain's left hand,
the others retreating to the opposite side as Brassbound advances
to the middle of the room. Sir Howard retires behind them and
seats himself on the divan, much fatigued.
BRASSBOUND (to Drinkwater). What are you snivelling at?
DRINKWATER. You awsk the wust cowst herristorcracy. They fawnds
maw cornduck hanbecammin to a genlmn.
Brassbound is about to ask Johnson for an explanation, when Lady
Cicely returns through the little door, and comes between
Brassbound and Drinkwater.
LADY CICELY (to Drinkwater). Have you fetched the water?
DRINKWATER. Yuss: nah YOU begin orn me. (He weeps afresh.)
LADY CICELY (surprised). Oh! This won't do, Mr. Drinkwater. If
you cry, I can't let you nurse your friend.
DRINKWATER (frantic). Thet'll brike maw awt, wown't it nah? (With
a lamentable sob, he throws himself down on the divan, raging
like an angry child.)
LADY CICELY (after contemplating him in astonishment for a
moment). Captain Brassbound: are there any charwomen in the Atlas
BRASSB0UND. There are people here who will work if you pay them,
as there are elsewhere.
LADY CICELY. This castle is very romantic, Captain; but it hasn't
had a spring cleaning since the Prophet lived in it. There's only
one room I can put that wounded man into. It's the only one that
has a bed in it: the second room on the right out of that
BRASSBOUND (haughtily). That is my room, madam.
LADY CICELY (relieved). Oh, that's all right. It would have been
so awkward if I had had to ask one of your men to turn out. You
won't mind, I know. (All the men stare at her. Even Drinkwater
forgets his sorrows in his stupefaction.)
BRASSBOUND. Pray, madam, have you made any arrangements for my
LADY CICELY (reassuringly). Yes: you can have my room instead
wherever it may be: I'm sure you chose me a nice one. I must be
near my patient; and I don't mind roughing it. Now I must have
Marzo moved very carefully. Where is that truly gentlemanly Mr.
Johnson?--oh, there you are, Mr. Johnson. (She runs to Johnson,
past Brassbound, who has to step back hastily out of her way with
every expression frozen out of his face except one of extreme and
indignant dumbfoundedness). Will you ask your strong friend to
help you with Marzo: strong people are always so gentle.
JOHNSON. Let me introdooce Mr. Redbrook. Your ladyship may know
his father, the very Rev. Dean Redbrook. (He goes to Marzo.)
REDBROOK. Happy to oblige you, Lady Cicely.
LADY CICELY (shaking hands). Howdyedo? Of course I knew your
father--Dunham, wasn't it? Were you ever called--
REDBROOK. The kid? Yes.
LADY CICELY. But why--
REDBROOK (anticipating the rest of the question). Cards and
drink, Lady Sis. (He follows Johnson to the patient. Lady Cicely
goes too.) Now, Count Marzo. (Marzo groans as Johnson and
Redbrook raise him.)
LADY CICELY. Now they're NOT hurting you, Marzo. They couldn't be
LADY CICELY. I'll get you some water myself. Your friend Mr.
Drinkwater was too overcome--take care of the corner--that's it--
the second door on the right. (She goes out with Marzo and his
bearers through the little door.)
BRASSBOUND (still staring). Well, I AM damned!--
DRINKWATER (getting up). Weoll, blimey!
BRASSBOUND (turning irritably on him). What did you say?
DRINKWATER. Weoll, wot did yer sy yrseolf, kepn? Fust tawm aw
yever see y' afride of ennybody. (The others laugh.)
DRINKWATER (maliciously). She's took y' bed from hander yr for a
bloomin penny hawcemen. If y' ynt afride, let's eah yer speak ap
to er wen she cams bawck agin.
BRASSBOUND (to Sir Howard). I wish you to understand, Sir Howard,
that in this castle, it is I who give orders, and no one else.
Will you be good enough to let Lady Cicely Waynflete know that.
SIR HOWARD (sitting up on the divan and pulling himself
together). You will have ample opportunity for speaking to Lady
Cicely yourself when she returns. (Drinkwater chuckles: and the
BRASSBOUND. My manners are rough, Sir Howard. I have no wish to
frighten the lady.
SIR HOWARD. Captain Brassbound: if you can frighten Lady Cicely,
you will confer a great obligation on her family. If she had any
sense of danger, perhaps she would keep out of it.
BRASSBOUND. Well, sir, if she were ten Lady Cicelys, she must
consult me while she is here.
DRINKWATER. Thet's rawt, kepn. Let's eah you steblish yr
hawthority. (Brassbound turns impatiently on him: He retreats
remonstrating) Nah, nah, nah!
SIR HOWARD. If you feel at all nervous, Captain Brassbound, I
will mention the matter with pleasure.
BRASSBOUND. Nervous, sir! no. Nervousness is not in my line. You
will find me perfectly capable of saying what I want to say--with
considerable emphasis, if necessary. (Sir Howard assents with a
polite but incredulous nod.)
DRINKWATER. Eah, eah!
Lady Cicely returns with Johnson and Redbrook. She carries a jar.
LADY CICELY (stopping between the door and the arch). Now for the
water. Where is it?
REDBROOK. There's a well in the courtyard. I'll come and work the
LADY CICELY. So good of you, Mr. Redbrook. (She makes for the
horseshoe arch, followed by Redbrook.)
DRINKWATER. Nah, Kepn Brassbound: you got sathink to sy to the
lidy, ynt yr?
LADY CICELY (stopping). I'll come back to hear it presently,
Captain. And oh, while I remember it (coming forward between
Brassbound and Drinkwater), do please tell me Captain, if I
interfere with your arrangements in any way. It I disturb you the
least bit in the world, stop me at once. You have all the
responsibility; and your comfort and your authority must be the
first thing. You'll tell me, won't you?
BRASSBOUND (awkwardly, quite beaten). Pray do as you please,
LADY CICELY. Thank you. That's so like you, Captain. Thank you.
Now, Mr. Redbrook! Show me the way to the well. (She follows
Redbrook out through the arch.)
DRINKWATER. Yah! Yah! Shime! Beat baw a woman!
JOHNSON (coming forward on Brassbound's right). What's wrong now?
DRINKWATER (with an air of disappointment and disillusion).
Down't awsk me, Miste Jornsn. The kepn's naow clawss arter all.
BRASSBOUND (a little shamefacedly). What has she been fixing up
in there, Johnson?
JOHNSON. Well: Marzo's in your bed. Lady wants to make a kitchen
of the Sheikh's audience chamber, and to put me and the Kid handy
in his bedroom in case Marzo gets erysipelas and breaks out
violent. From what I can make out, she means to make herself
matron of this institution. I spose it's all right, isn't it?
DRINKWATER. Yuss, an horder huz abaht as if we was keb tahts! An
the kepn afride to talk bawck at er!
Lady Cicely returns with Redbrook. She carries the jar full of
LADY CICELY (putting down the jar, and coming between Brassbound
and Drinkwater as before). And now, Captain, before I go to poor
Marzo, what have you to say to me?
BRASSBOUND. I! Nothing.
DRINKWATER. Down't fank it, gavner. Be a men!
LADY CICELY (looking at Drinkwater, puzzled). Mr. Drinkwater said
BRASSBOUND (recovering himself). It was only this. That fellow
there (pointing to Drinkwater) is subject to fits of insolence.
If he is impertinent to your ladyship, or disobedient, you have
my authority to order him as many kicks as you think good for
him; and I will see that he gets them.
DRINKWATER (lifting up his voice in protest). Nah, nah--
LADY CICELY. Oh, I couldn't think of such a thing, Captain
Brassbound. I am sure it would hurt Mr. Drinkwater.
DRINKWATER (lachrymosely). Lidy's hinkyp'ble o sich bawbrous
LADY CICELY. But there's one thing I SHOULD like, if Mr.
Drinkwater won't mind my mentioning it. It's so important if he's
to attend on Marzo.
BRASSBOUND. What is that?
LADY CICELY. Well--you WON'T mind, Mr. Drinkwater, will you?
DRINKWATER (suspiciously). Wot is it?
LADY CICELY. There would be so much less danger of erysipelas if
you would be so good as to take a bath.
DRINKWATER (aghast). A bawth!
BRASSBOUND (in tones of command). Stand by, all hands. (They
stand by.) Take that man and wash him. (With a roar of laughter
they seize him.)
DRINKWATER (in an agony of protest). Naow, naow. Look eah--
BRASSBOUND (ruthlessly). In COLD water.
DRINKWATER (shrieking). Na-a-a-a-ow. Aw eawn't, aw toel yer.
Naow. Aw sy, look eah. Naow, naow, naow, naow, naow, NAOW!!!
He is dragged away through the arch in a whirlwind of laughter,
protests and tears.
LADY CICELY. I'm afraid he isn't used to it, poor fellow; but
REALLY it will do him good, Captain Brassbound. Now I must be off
to my patient. (She takes up her jar and goes out by the little
door, leaving Brassbound and Sir Howard alone together.)
SIR HOWARD (rising). And now, Captain Brass--
BRASSBOUND (cutting him short with a fierce contempt that
astonishes him). I will attend to you presently. (Calling)
Johnson. Send me Johnson there. And Osman. (He pulls off his coat
and throws it on the table, standing at his ease in his blue
SIR HOWARD (after a momentary flush of anger, with a controlled
force that compels Brassbound's attention in spite of himself).
You seem to be in a strong position with reference to these men
BRASSBOUND. I am in a strong position with reference to everyone
in this castle.
SIR HOWARD (politely but threateningly). I have just been
noticing that you think so. I do not agree with you. Her
Majesty's Government, Captain Brassbound, has a strong arm and a
long arm. If anything disagreeable happens to me or to my
sister-in-law, that arm will be stretched out. If that happens
you will not be in a strong position. Excuse my reminding you of
BRASSBOUND (grimly). Much good may it do you! (Johnson comes in
through the arch.) Where is Osman, the Sheikh's messenger? I want
JOHNSON. Coming, Captain. He had a prayer to finish.
Osman, a tall, skinny, whiteclad, elderly Moor, appears in the
BRASSBOUND. Osman Ali (Osman comes forward between Brassbound and
Johnson): you have seen this unbeliever (indicating Sir Howard)
come in with us?
OSMAN. Yea, and the shameless one with the naked face, who
flattered my countenance and offered me her hand.
JOHNSON. Yes; and you took it too, Johnny, didn't you?
BRASSBOUND. Take horse, then; and ride fast to your master the
Sheikh Sidi el Assif
OSMAN (proudly). Kinsman to the Prophet.
BRASSBOUND. Tell him what you have seen here. That is all.
Johnson: give him a dollar; and note the hour of his going, that
his master may know how fast he rides.
OSMAN. The believer's word shall prevail with Allah and his
servant Sidi el Assif.
BRASSBOUND. Off with you.
OSMAN. Make good thy master's word ere I go out from his
presence, O Johnson el Hull.
JOHNSON. He wants the dollar.
Brassbound gives Osman a coin.
OSMAN (bowing). Allah will make hell easy for the friend of Sidi
el Assif and his servant. (He goes out through the arch.)
BRASSBOUND (to Johnson). Keep the men out of this until the
Sheikh comes. I have business to talk over. When he does come, we
must keep together all: Sidi el Assif's natural instinct will be
to cut every Christian throat here.
JOHNSON. We look to you, Captain, to square him, since you
invited him over.
BRASSBOUND. You can depend on me; and you know it, I think.
JOHNSON (phlegmatically). Yes: we know it. (He is going out when
Sir Howard speaks.)
SIR HOWARD. You know also, Mr. Johnson, I hope, that you can
depend on ME.
JOHNSON (turning). On YOU, sir?
SIR HOWARD. Yes: on me. If my throat is cut, the Sultan of
Morocco may send Sidi's head with a hundred thousand dollars
blood-money to the Colonial Office; but it will not be enough to
save his kingdom--any more than it would saw your life, if your
Captain here did the same thing.
JOHNSON (struck). Is that so, Captain?
BRASSBOUND. I know the gentleman's value--better perhaps than he
knows it himself. I shall not lose sight of it.
Johnson nods gravely, and is going out when Lady Cicely returns
softly by the little door and calls to him in a whisper. She has
taken off her travelling things and put on an apron. At her
chatelaine is a case of sewing materials.
LADY CICELY. Mr. Johnson. (He turns.) I've got Marzo to sleep.
Would you mind asking the gentlemen not to make a noise under his
window in the courtyard.
JOHNSON. Right, maam. (He goes out.)
Lady Cicely sits down at the tiny table, and begins stitching at
a sling bandage for Marzo's arm. Brassbound walks up and down on
her right, muttering to himself so ominously that Sir Howard
quietly gets out of his way by crossing to the other side and
sitting down on the second saddle seat.
SIR HOWARD. Are you yet able to attend to me for a moment,
BRASSBOUND (still walking about). What do you want?
SIR HOWARD. Well, I am afraid I want a little privacy, and, if
you will allow me to say so, a little civility. I am greatly
obliged to you for bringing us safely off to-day when we were
attacked. So far, you have carried out your contract. But since
we have been your guests here, your tone and that of the worst of
your men has changed--intentionally changed, I think.
BRASSBOUND (stopping abruptly and flinging the announcement at
him). You are not my guest: you are my prisoner.
SIR HOWARD. Prisoner!
Lady Cicely, after a single glance up, continues stitching,
apparently quite unconcerned.
BRASSBOUND. I warned you. You should have taken my warning.
SIR HOWARD (immediately taking the tone of cold disgust for moral
delinquency). Am I to understand, then, that you are a brigand?
Is this a matter of ransom?
BRASSBOUND (with unaccountable intensity). All the wealth of
England shall not ransom you.
SIR HOWARD. Then what do you expect to gain by this?
BRASSBOUND. Justice on a thief and a murderer.
Lady Cicely lays down her work and looks up anxiously.
SIR HOWARD (deeply outraged, rising with venerable dignity). Sir:
do you apply those terms to me?
BRASSBOUND. I do. (He turns to Lady Cicely, and adds, pointing
contemptuously to Sir Howard) Look at him. You would not take
this virtuously indignant gentleman for the uncle of a brigand,
Sir Howard starts. The shock is too much for him: he sits down
again, looking very old; and his hands tremble; but his eyes and
mouth are intrepid, resolute, and angry.
LADY CICELY. Uncle! What do you mean?
BRASSBOUND. Has he never told you about my mother? this fellow
who puts on ermine and scarlet and calls himself Justice.
SIR HOWARD (almost voiceless). You are the son of that woman!
BRASSBOUND (fiercely). "That woman!" (He makes a movement as if
to rush at Sir Howard.)
LADY CICELY (rising quickly and putting her hand on his arm).
Take care. You mustn't strike an old man.
BRASSBOUND (raging). He did not spare my mother--"that woman," he
calls her--because of her sex. I will not spare him because of
his age. (Lowering his tone to one of sullen vindictiveness) But
I am not going to strike him. (Lady Cicely releases him, and sits
down, much perplexed. Brassbound continues, with an evil glance
at Sir Howard) I shall do no more than justice.
SIR HOWARD (recovering his voice and vigor). Justice! I think you
mean vengeance, disguised as justice by your passions.
BRASSBOUND. To many and many a poor wretch in the dock YOU have
brought vengeance in that disguise--the vengeance of society,
disguised as justice by ITS passions. Now the justice you have
outraged meets you disguised as vengeance. How do you like it?
SIR HOWARD. I shall meet it, I trust, as becomes an innocent man
and an upright judge. What do you charge against me?
BRASSBOUND. I charge you with the death of my mother and the
theft of my inheritance.
SIR HOWARD. As to your inheritance, sir, it was yours whenever
you came forward to claim it. Three minutes ago I did not know of
your existence. I affirm that most solemnly. I never knew--never
dreamt--that my brother Miles left a son. As to your mother, her
case was a hard one--perhaps the hardest that has come within
even my experience. I mentioned it, as such, to Mr. Rankin, the
missionary, the evening we met you. As to her death, you know--
you MUST know--that she died in her native country, years after
our last meeting. Perhaps you were too young to know that she
could hardly have expected to live long.
BRASSBOUND. You mean that she drank.
SIR HOWARD. I did not say so. I do not think she was always
accountable for what she did.
BRASSBOUND. Yes: she was mad too; and whether drink drove her to
madness or madness drove her to drink matters little. The
question is, who drove her to both?
SIR HOWARD. I presume the dishonest agent who seized her estate
did. I repeat, it was a hard case--a frightful injustice. But it
could not be remedied.
BRASSBOUND. You told her so. When she would not take that false
answer you drove her from your doors. When she exposed you in the
street and threatened to take with her own hands the redress the
law denied her, you had her imprisoned, and forced her to write
you an apology and leave the country to regain her liberty and
save herself from a lunatic asylum. And when she was gone, and
dead, and forgotten, you found for yourself the remedy you could
not find for her. You recovered the estate easily enough then,
robber and rascal that you are. Did he tell the missionary that,
Lady Cicely, eh?
LADY CICELY (sympathetically). Poor woman! (To Sir Howard)
Couldn't you have helped her, Howard?
SIR HOWARD. No. This man may be ignorant enough to suppose that
when I was a struggling barrister I could do everything I did
when I was Attorney General. You know better. There is some
excuse for his mother. She was an uneducated Brazilian, knowing
nothing of English society, and driven mad by injustice.
BRASSBOUND. Your defence--
SIR HOWARD (interrupting him determinedly). I do not defend
myself. I call on you to obey the law.
BRASSBOUND. I intend to do so. The law of the Atlas Mountains is
administered by the Sheikh Sidi el Assif. He will be here within
an hour. He is a judge like yourself. You can talk law to him. He
will give you both the law and the prophets.
SIR HOWARD. Does he know what the power of England is?
BRASSBOUND. He knows that the Mahdi killed my master Gordon, and
that the Mahdi died in his bed and went to paradise.
SIR HOWARD. Then he knows also that England's vengeance was on
the Mahdi's track.
BRASSBOUND. Ay, on the track of the railway from the Cape to
Cairo. Who are you, that a nation should go to war for you? If
you are missing, what will your newspapers say? A foolhardy
tourist. What will your learned friends at the bar say? That it
was time for you to make room for younger and better men. YOU a
national hero! You had better find a goldfield in the Atlas
Mountains. Then all the governments of Europe will rush to your
rescue. Until then, take care of yourself; for you are going to
see at last the hypocrisy in the sanctimonious speech of the
judge who is sentencing you, instead of the despair in the white
face of the wretch you are recommending to the mercy of your God.
SIR HOWARD (deeply and personally offended by this slight to his
profession, and for the first time throwing away his assumed
dignity and rising to approach Brassbound with his fists
clenched; so that Lady Cicely lifts one eye from her work to
assure herself that the table is between them). I have no more to
say to you, sir. I am not afraid of you, nor of any bandit with
whom you may be in league. As to your property, it is ready for
you as soon as you come to your senses and claim it as your
father's heir. Commit a crime, and you will become an outlaw, and
not only lose the property, but shut the doors of civilization
against yourself for ever.
BRASSBOUND. I will not sell my mother's revenge for ten
LADY CICELY (placidly). Besides, really, Howard, as the property
now costs 150 pounds a year to keep up instead of bringing in
anything, I am afraid it would not be of much use to him.
(Brassbound stands amazed at this revelation.)
SIR HOWARD (taken aback). I must say, Cicely, I think you might
have chosen a more suitable moment to mention that fact.
BRASSBOUND (with disgust). Agh! Trickster! Lawyer! Even the price
you offer for your life is to be paid in false coin. (Calling)
Hallo there! Johnson! Redbrook! Some of you there! (To Sir
Howard) You ask for a little privacy: you shall have it. I will
not endure the company of such a fellow--
SIR HOWARD (very angry, and full of the crustiest pluck). You
insult me, sir. You are a rascal. You are a rascal.
Johnson, Redbrook, and a few others come in through the arch.
BRASSBOUND. Take this man away.
JOHNSON. Where are we to put him?
BRASSBOUND. Put him where you please so long as you can find him
when he is wanted.
SIR HOWARD. You will be laid by the heels yet, my friend.
REDBROOK (with cheerful tact). Tut tut, Sir Howard: what's the use
of talking back? Come along: we'll make you comfortable.
Sir Howard goes out through the arch between Johnson and Redbrook,
muttering wrathfully. The rest, except Brassbound and Lady Cicely,
Brassbound walks up and down the room, nursing his indignation. In
doing so he unconsciously enters upon an unequal contest with Lady
Cicely, who sits quietly stitching. It soon becomes clear that a
tranquil woman can go on sewing longer than an angry man can go on
fuming. Further, it begins to dawn on Brassbound's wrath-blurred
perception that Lady Cicely has at some unnoticed stage in the
proceedings finished Marzo's bandage, and is now stitching a coat.
He stops; glances at his shirtsleeves; finally realizes the
BRASSBOUND. What are you doing there, madam?
LADY CICELY. Mending your coat, Captain Brassbound.
BRASSBOUND. I have no recollection of asking you to take that
LADY CICELY. No: I don't suppose you even knew it was torn. Some
men are BORN untidy. You cannot very well receive Sidi el--what's
his name?--with your sleeve half out.
BRASSBOUND (disconcerted). I--I don't know how it got torn.
LADY CICELY. You should not get virtuously indignant with people.
It bursts clothes more than anything else, Mr. Hallam.
BRASSBOUND (flushing, quickly). I beg you will not call me Mr.
Hallam. I hate the name.
LADY CICELY. Black Paquito is your pet name, isn't it?
BRASSBOUND (huffily). I am not usually called so to my face.
LADY CICELY (turning the coat a little). I'm so sorry. (She takes
another piece of thread and puts it into her needle, looking
placidly and reflectively upward meanwhile.) Do you know, You are
wonderfully like your uncle.
LADY CICELY. Eh?
BRASSBOUND. If I thought my veins contained a drop of his black
blood, I would drain them empty with my knife. I have no
relations. I had a mother: that was all.
LADY CICELY (unconvinced) I daresay you have your mother's
complexion. But didn't you notice Sir Howard's temper, his
doggedness, his high spirit: above all, his belief in ruling
people by force, as you rule your men; and in revenge and
punishment, just as you want to revenge your mother? Didn't you
recognize yourself in that?
BRASSBOUND (startled). Myself!--in that!
LADY CECILY (returning to the tailoring question as if her last
remark were of no consequence whatever). Did this sleeve catch you
at all under the arm? Perhaps I had better make it a little easier
BRASSBOUND (irritably). Let my coat alone. It will do very well as
it is. Put it down.
LADY CICIELY. Oh, don't ask me to sit doing nothing. It bores me
BRASSBOUND. In Heaven's name then, do what you like! Only don't
worry me with it.
LADY CICELY. I'm so sorry. All the Hallams are irritable.
BRASSBOUND (penning up his fury with difficulty). As I have
already said, that remark has no application to me.
LADY CICELY (resuming her stitching). That's so funny! They all
hate to be told that they are like one another.
BRASSBOUND (with the beginnings of despair in his voice). Why did
you come here? My trap was laid for him, not for you. Do you know
the danger you are in?
LADY CICELY. There's always a danger of something or other. Do you
think it's worth bothering about?
BRASSBOUND (scolding her). Do I THINK! Do you think my coat's
LADY CICELY (prosaically). Oh yes: it's not so far gone as that.
BRASSBOUND. Have you any feeling? Or are you a fool?
LADY CICELY. I'm afraid I'm a dreadful fool. But I can't help it.
I was made so, I suppose.
BRASSBOUND. Perhaps you don't realize that your friend my good
uncle will be pretty fortunate if he is allowed to live out his
life as a slave with a set of chains on him?
LADY CICELY. Oh, I don't know about that, Mr. H--I mean Captain
Brassbound. Men are always thinking that they are going to do
something grandly wicked to their enemies; but when it comes to
the point, really bad men are just as rare as really good ones.
BRASSBOUND. You forget that I am like my uncle, according to you.
Have you any doubt as to the reality of HIS badness?
LADY CICELY. Bless me! your uncle Howard is one of the most
harmless of men--much nicer than most professional people. Of
course he does dreadful things as a judge; but then if you take a
man and pay him 5,000 pounds a year to be wicked, and praise him
for it, and have policemen and courts and laws and juries to drive
him into it so that he can't help doing it, what can you expect?
Sir Howard's all right when he's left to himself. We caught a
burglar one night at Waynflete when he was staying with us; and I
insisted on his locking the poor man up until the police came, in
a room with a window opening on the lawn. The man came back next
day and said he must return to a life of crime unless I gave him a
job in the garden; and I did. It was much more sensible than
giving him ten years penal servitude: Howard admitted it. So you
see he's not a bit bad really.
BRASSBOUND. He had a fellow feeling for a thief, knowing he was a
thief himself. Do you forget that he sent my mother to prison?
LADY CICELY (softly). Were you very fond of your poor mother, and
always very good to her?
BRASSBOUND (rather taken aback). I was not worse than other sons,
LADY CICELY (opening her eyes very widely). Oh! Was THAT all?
BRASSBOUND (exculpating himself, full of gloomy remembrances). You
don't understand. It was not always possible to be very tender
with my mother. She had unfortunatly a very violent temper; and
LADY CICELY. Yes: so you told Howard. (With genuine pity for him)
You must have had a very unhappy childhood.
BRASSBOUND (grimily). Hell. That was what my childhood was. Hell.
LADY CICELY. Do you think she would really have killed Howard, as
she threatened, if he hadn't sent her to prison?
BRASSBOUND (breaking out again, with a growing sense of being
morally trapped). What if she did? Why did he rob her? Why did he
not help her to get the estate, as he got it for himself
LADY CICELY. He says he couldn't, you know. But perhaps the real
reason was that he didn't like her. You know, don't you, that if
you don't like people you think of all the reasons for not helping
them, and if you like them you think of all the opposite reasons.
BRASSBOUND. But his duty as a brother!
LADY CICELY. Are you going to do your duty as a nephew?
BRASSBOUND. Don't quibble with me. I am going to do my duty as a
son; and you know it.
LADY CICELY. But I should have thought that the time for that was
in your mother's lifetime, when you could have been kind and
forbearing with her. Hurting your uncle won't do her any good, you
BRASSBOUND. It will teach other scoundrels to respect widows and
orphans. Do you forget that there is such a thing as justice?
LADY CICELY (gaily shaking out the finished coat). Oh, if you are
going to dress yourself in ermine and call yourself Justice, I
give you up. You are just your uncle over again; only he gets
œ5,000 a year for it, and you do it for nothing.
(She holds the coat up to see whether any further repairs are
BRASSBOUND (sulkily). You twist my words very cleverly. But no man
or woman has ever changed me.
LADY CICELY. Dear me! That must be very nice for the people you
deal with, because they can always depend on you; but isn't it
rather inconvenient for yourself when you change your mind?
BRASSBOUND. I never change my mind.
LADY CICELY (rising with the coat in her hands). Oh! Oh!! Nothing
will ever persuade me that you are as pigheaded as that.
BRASSBOUND (offended). Pigheaded!
LADY CICELY (with quick, caressing apology). No, no, no. I didn't
mean that. Firm! Unalterable! Resolute! Ironwilled! Stonewall
Jackson! That's the idea, isn't it?
BRASSBOUND (hopelessly). You are laughing at me.
LADY CICELY. No: trembling, I assure you. Now will you try this on
for me: I'm SO afraid I have made it too tight under the arm. (She
holds it behind him.)
BRASSBOUND (obeying mechanically). You take me for a fool I think.
(He misses the sleeve.)
LADY CICELY. No: all men look foolish when they are feeling for
BRASSBOUND. Agh! (He turns and snatches the coat from her; then
puts it on himself and buttons the lowest button.)
LADY CICELY (horrified). Stop. No. You must NEVER pull a coat at
the skirts, Captain Brassbound: it spoils the sit of it. Allow me.
(She pulls the lappels of his coat vigorously forward) Put back
your shoulders. (He frowns, but obeys.) That's better. (She
buttons the top button.) Now button the rest from the top down.
DOES it catch you at all under the arm?
BRASSBOUND (miserably--all resistance beaten out of him). No.
LADY CICELY. That's right. Now before I go back to poor Marzo, say
thank you to me for mending your jacket, like a nice polite
BRASSBOUND (sitting down at the table in great agitation). Damn
you! you have belittled my whole life to me. (He bows his head on
his hands, convulsed.)
LADY CICELY (quite understanding, and putting her hand kindly on
his shoulder). Oh no. I am sure you have done lots of kind things
and brave things, if you could only recollect them. With Gordon
for instance? Nobody can belittle that.
He looks up at her for a moment; then kisses her hand. She presses
his and turns away with her eyes so wet that she sees Drinkwater,
coming in through the arch just then, with a prismatic halo round
him. Even when she sees him clearly, she hardly recognizes him;
for he is ludicrously clean and smoothly brushed; and his hair,
formerly mud color, is now a lively red.
DRINKWATER. Look eah, kepn. (Brassbound springs up and recovers
himself quickly.) Eahs the bloomin Shike jest appeahd on the
orawzn wiv abaht fifty men. Thy'll be eah insawd o ten minnits,
LADY CICELY. The Sheikh!
BRASSBOUND. Sidi el Assif and fifty men! (To Lady Cicely) You were
too late: I gave you up my vengeance when it was no longer in my
hand. (To Drinkwater) Call all hands to stand by and shut the
gates. Then all here to me for orders; and bring the prisoner.
DRINKWATER. Rawt, kepn. (He runs out.)
LADY CICELY. Is there really any danger for Howard?
BRASSBOUND. Yes. Danger for all of us unless I keep to my bargain
with this fanatic.
LADY CICELY. What bargain?
BRASSBOUND. I pay him so much a head for every party I escort
through to the interior. In return he protects me and lets my
caravans alone. But I have sworn an oath to him to take only Jews
and true believers--no Christians, you understand.
LADY CICELY. Then why did you take us?
BRASSBOUND. I took my uncle on purpose--and sent word to Sidi that
he was here.
LADY CICELY. Well, that's a pretty kettle of fish, isn't it?
BRASSBOUND. I will do what I can to save him--and you. But I fear
my repentance has come too late, as repentance usually does.
LADY CICELY (cheerfully). Well, I must go and look after Marzo, at
all events. (She goes out through the little door. Johnson,
Redbrook and the rest come in through the arch, with Sir Howard,
still very crusty and determined. He keeps close to Johnson, who
comes to Brassbound's right, Redbrook taking the other side.)
BRASSBOUND. Where's Drinkwater?
JOHNSON. On the lookout. Look here, Capn: we don't half like this
job. The gentleman has been talking to us a bit; and we think that
he IS a gentleman, and talks straight sense.
REDBROOK. Righto, Brother Johnson. (To Brassbound) Won't do,
governor. Not good enough.
BRASSBOUND (fiercely). Mutiny, eh?
REDBROOK. Not at all, governor. Don't talk Tommy rot with Brother
Sidi only five minutes gallop off. Can't hand over an Englishman
to a nigger to have his throat cut
BRASSBOUND (unexpectedly acquiescing). Very good. You know, I
suppose, that if you break my bargain with Sidi, you'll have to
defend this place and fight for your lives in five minutes. That
can't be done without discipline: you know that too. I'll take my
part with the rest under whatever leader you are willing to obey.
So choose your captain and look sharp about it. (Murmurs of
surprise and discontent.)
VOICES. No, no. Brassbound must command.
BRASSBOUND. You're wasting your five minutes. Try Johnson.
JOHNSON. No. I haven't the head for it.
BRASSBOUND. Well, Redbrook.
REDBROOK. Not this Johnny, thank you. Haven't character enough.
BRASSBOUND. Well, there's Sir Howard Hallam for You! HE has
A VOICE. He's too old.
ALL. No, no. Brassbound, Brassbound.
JOHNSON. There's nobody but you, Captain.
REDRROOK. The mutiny's over, governor. You win, hands down.
BRASSBOUND (turning on them). Now listen, you, all of you. If I am
to command here, I am going to do what I like, not what you like.
I'll give this gentleman here to Sidi or to the devil if I choose.
I'll not be intimidated or talked back to. Is that understood?
REDBROOK (diplomatically). He's offered a present of five hundred
quid if he gets safe back to Mogador, governor. Excuse my
SIR HOWARD. Myself AND Lady Cicely.
BRASSBOUND. What! A judge compound a felony! You greenhorns, he is
more likely to send you all to penal servitude if you are fools
enough to give him the chance.
VOICES. So he would. Whew! (Murmurs of conviction.)
REDBROOK. Righto, governor. That's the ace of trumps.
BRASSBOUND (to Sir Howard). Now, have you any other card to play?
Any other bribe? Any other threat? Quick. Time presses.
SIR HOWARD. My life is in the hands of Providence. Do your worst.
BRASSBOUND. Or my best. I still have that choice.
DRINKWATER (running in). Look eah, kepn. Eah's anather lot cammin
from the sahth heast. Hunnerds of em, this tawm. The owl dezzit is
lawk a bloomin Awd Pawk demonstrition. Aw blieve it's the Kidy
from Kintorfy. (General alarm. All look to Brassbound.)
BRASSBOUND (eagerly). The Cadi! How far off?
DRINKWATER. Matter o two mawl.
BRASSBOUND. We're saved. Open the gates to the Sheikh.
DRINKWATER (appalled, almost in tears). Naow, naow. Lissn, kepn
(Pointing to Sir Howard): e'll give huz fawv unnerd red uns. (To
the others) Ynt yer spowk to im, Miste Jornsn--Miste Redbrook--
BRASSBOUND (cutting him short). Now then, do you understand plain
English? Johnson and Redbrook: take what men you want and open the
gates to the Sheikh. Let him come straight to me. Look alive, will
JOHNSON. Ay ay, sir.
REDBROOK. Righto, governor.
They hurry out, with a few others. Drinkwater stares after them,
dumbfounded by their obedience.
BRASSBOUND (taking out a pistol). You wanted to sell me to my
prisoner, did you, you dog.
DRINKWATER (falling on his knees with a yell). Naow! (Brassbound
turns on him as if to kick him. He scrambles away and takes refuge
behind Sir Howard.)
BRASSBOUND. Sir Howard Hallam: you have one chance left. The Cadi
of Kintafi stands superior to the Sheikh as the responsible
governor of the whole province. It is the Cadi who will be
sacrificed by the Sultan if England demands satisfaction for any
injury to you. If we can hold the Sheikh in parley until the Cadi
arrives, you may frighten the Cadi into forcing the Sheikh to
release you. The Cadi's coming is a lucky chance for YOU.
SIR HOWARD. If it were a real chance, you would not tell me of it.
Don't try to play cat and mouse with me, man.
DRINKWATER (aside to Sir Howard, as Brassbound turns
contemptuously away to the other side of the room). It ynt mach of
a chawnst, Sr Ahrd. But if there was a ganbowt in Mogador Awbr,
awd put a bit on it, aw would.
Johnson, Redbrook, and the others return, rather mistrustfully
ushering in Sidi el Assif, attended by Osman and a troop of Arabs.
Brassbound's men keep together on the archway side, backing their
captain. Sidi's followers cross the room behind the table and
assemble near Sir Howard, who stands his ground. Drinkwater runs
across to Brassbound and stands at his elbow as he turns to face
Sidi el Aasif, clad in spotless white, is a nobly handsome Arab,
hardly thirty, with fine eyes, bronzed complexion, and
instinctively dignified carriage. He places himself between the
two groups, with Osman in attendance at his right hand.
OSMAN (pointing out Sir Howard). This is the infidel Cadi. (Sir
Howard bows to Sidi, but, being an infidel, receives only the
haughtiest stare in acknowledgement.) This (pointing to
Brassbound) is Brassbound the Franguestani captain, the servant of
DRINKWATER (not to be outdone, points out the Sheikh and Osman to
Brassbound). This eah is the Commawnder of the Fythful an is
SIDI. Where is the woman?
OSMAN. The shameless one is not here.
BRASSBOUND. Sidi el Assif, kinsman of the Prophet: you are
REDBROOK (with much aplomb). There is no majesty and no might save
in Allah, the Glorious, the Great!
DRINKWATER. Eah, eah!
OSMAN (to Sidi). The servant of the captain makes his profession
of faith as a true believer.
SIDI. It is well.
BRASSBOUND (aside to Redbrook). Where did you pick that up?
REDRROOK (aside to Brassbound). Captain Burton's Arabian Nights--
copy in the library of the National Liberal Club.
LADY CICELY (calling without). Mr. Drinkwater. Come and help me
with Marzo. (The Sheikh pricks up his ears. His nostrils and eyes
OSMAN. The shameless one!
BRASSBOUND (to Drinkwater, seizing him by the collar and slinging
him towards the door). Off with you.
Drinkwater goes out through the little door.
OSMAN. Shall we hide her face before she enters?
Lady Cicely, who has resumed her travelling equipment, and has her
hat slung across her arm, comes through the little door supporting
Marzo, who is very white, but able to get about. Drinkwater has
his other arm. Redbrook hastens to relieve Lady Cicely of Marzo,
taking him into the group behind Brassbound. Lady Cicely comes
forward between Brassbound and the Sheikh, to whom she turns
LADY CICELY (proffering her hand). Sidi el Assif, isn't it? How
dye do? (He recoils, blushing somewhat.)
OSMAN (scandalized). Woman; touch not the kinsman of the Prophet.
LADY CICELY. Oh, I see. I'm being presented at court. Very good.
(She makes a presentation curtsey.)
REDBROOK. Sidi el Assif: this is one of the mighty women Sheikhs
of Franguestan. She goes unveiled among Kings; and only princes
may touch her hand.
LADY CICELY. Allah upon thee, Sidi el Assif! Be a good little
Sheikh, and shake hands.
SIDI (timidly touching her hand). Now this is a wonderful thing,
and worthy to be chronicled with the story of Solomon and the
Queen of Sheba. Is it not so, Osman Ali?
OSMAN. Allah upon thee, master! it is so.
SIDI. Brassbound Ali: the oath of a just man fulfils itself
without many words. The infidel Cadi, thy captive, falls to my
BRASSBOUND (firmly). It cannot be, Sidi el Assif. (Sidi's brows
contract gravely.) The price of his blood will be required of our
lord the Sultan. I will take him to Morocco and deliver him up
SIDI (impressively). Brassbound: I am in mine own house and amid
mine own people. I am the Sultan here. Consider what you say; for
when my word goes forth for life or death, it may not be recalled.
BRASSBOUND. Sidi el Assif: I will buy the man from you at what
price you choose to name; and if I do not pay faithfully, you
shall take my head for his.
SIDI. It is well. You shall keep the man, and give me the woman in
SIR HOWARD AND BRASSBOUND (with the same impulse). No, no.
LADY CICELY (eagerly). Yes, yes. Certainly, Mr. Sidi. Certainly.
Sidi smiles gravely.
SIR HOWARD. Impossible.
BRASSBOUND. You don't know what you're doing.
LADY CICELY. Oh, don't I? I've not crossed Africa and stayed with
six cannibal chiefs for nothing. (To the Sheikh) It's all right,
Mr. Sidi: I shall be delighted.
SIR HOWARD. You are mad. Do you suppose this man will treat you as
a European gentleman would?
LADY CICELY. No: he'll treat me like one of Nature's gentlemen:
look at his perfectly splendid face! (Addressing Osman as if he
were her oldest and most attached retainer.) Osman: be sure you
choose me a good horse; and get a nice strong camel for my
Osman, after a moment of stupefaction, hurries out. Lady Cicely
puts on her hat and pins it to her hair, the Sheikh gazing at her
during the process with timid admiration.
DRINKWATER (chuckling). She'll mawch em all to church next Sunder
lawk a bloomin lot o' cherrity kids: you see if she doesn't.
LADY CICELY (busily). Goodbye, Howard: don't be anxious about me;
and above all, don't bring a parcel of men with guns to rescue me.
I shall be all right now that I am getting away from the escort.
Captain Brassbound: I rely on you to see that Sir Howard gets safe
to Mogador. (Whispering) Take your hand off that pistol. (He takes
his hand out of his pocket, reluctantly.) Goodbye.
A tumult without. They all turn apprehensively to the arch. Osman
OSMAN. The Cadi, the Cadi. He is in anger. His men are upon us.
The Cadi, a vigorous, fatfeatured, choleric, whitehaired and
bearded elder, rushes in, cudgel in hand, with an overwhelming
retinue, and silences Osman with a sounding thwack. In a moment
the back of the room is crowded with his followers. The Sheikh
retreats a little towards his men; and the Cadi comes impetuously
forward between him and Lady Cicely.
THE CADI. Now woe upon thee, Sidi el Assif, thou child of
SIDI (sternly). Am I a dog, Muley Othman, that thou speakest thus
THE CADI. Wilt thou destroy thy country, and give us all into the
hands of them that set the sea on fire but yesterday with their
ships of war? Where are the Franguestani captives?
LADY CICELY. Here we are, Cadi. How dye do?
THE CADI. Allah upon thee, thou moon at the full! Where is thy
kinsman, the Cadi of Franguestan? I am his friend, his servant. I
come on behalf of my master the Sultan to do him honor, and to
cast down his enemies.
SIR HOWARD. You are very good, I am sure.
SIDI (graver than ever). Muley Othman--
TAE CADI (fumbling in his breast). Peace, peace, thou
inconsiderate one. (He takes out a letter.)
THE CADI. Oh thou dog, thou, thou accursed Brassbound, son of a
wanton: it is thou hast led Sidi el Assif into this wrongdoing.
Read this writing that thou hast brought upon me from the
commander of the warship.
BRASSBOUND. Warship! (He takes the letter and opens it, his men
whispering to one another very low-spiritedly meanwhile.)
REDBROOK. Warship! Whew!
JOHNSON. Gunboat, praps.
DRINKWATER. Lawk bloomin Worterleoo buses, they are, on this
Brassbound folds up the letter, looking glum.
SIR HOWARD (sharply). Well, sir, are we not to have the benefit of
that letter? Your men are waiting to hear it, I think.
BRASSBOUND. It is not a British ship. (Sir Howard's face falls.)
LADY CICELY. What is it, then?
RASSBOUND. An American cruiser. The Santiago.
THE CADI (tearing his beard). Woe! alas! it is where they set the
sea on fire.
SIDI. Peace, Muley Othman: Allah is still above us.
JOHNSON. Would you mind readin it to us, capn?
BRASSBOUND (grimly). Oh, I'll read it to you. "Mogador Harbor. 26
Sept. 1899. Captain Hamlin Kearney, of the cruiser Santiago,
presents the compliments of the United States to the Cadi Muley
Othman el Kintafi, and announces that he is coming to look for the
two British travellers Sir Howard Hallam and Lady Cicely
Waynflete, in the Cadi's jurisdiction. As the search will be
conducted with machine guns, the prompt return of the travellers
to Mogador Harbor will save much trouble to all parties."
THE CADI. As I live, O Cadi, and thou, moon of loveliness, ye
shall be led back to Mogador with honor. And thou, accursed
Brassbound, shall go thither a prisoner in chains, thou and thy
people. (Brassbound and his men make a movement to defend
themselves.) Seize them.
LADY CICELY. Oh, please don't fight. (Brassbound, seeing that his
men are hopelessly outnumbered, makes no resistance. They are made
prisoners by the Cadi's followers.)
SIDI (attempting to draw his scimitar). The woman is mine: I will
not forego her. (He is seized and overpowered after a Homeric
SIR HOWARD (drily). I told you you were not in a strong position,
Captain Brassbound. (Looking implacably at him.) You are laid by
the heels, my friend, as I said you would be.
LADY CICELY. But I assure you--
BRASSBOUND (interrupting her). What have you to assure him of? You
persuaded me to spare him. Look at his face. Will you be able to
persuade him to spare me?