A monologue from the play by Josephine Preston Peabody

  • NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from Fortune and Men's Eyes. Josephine Preston Peabody. Boston: Small Towns, 1900.
  • MARY: Well, headsman?...
    You ask not why I came here, Clouded Brow,
    Will you not ask me why I stay? No word?
    O blind, come lead the blind! For I, I too
    Lack sight and every sense to linger here
    And make me an intruder, where I once
    Was welcome, oh most welcome, as I dreamed!
    Look on me, then. I do confess, I have
    Too often preened my feathers in the sun,
    And thought to rule a little, by my wit.
    I have been spendthrift with men's offerings
    To use them like a nosegay,--tear apart,
    Petal by petal, leaf by leaf, until
    I found the heart all bare, the curious heart
    I longed to see, for once, and cast away.
    And so, at first, with you.... Ah, now I think
    You're wise. There's nought so fair, so ... curious,
    So precious-rare to find, as honesty.
    'Twas all a child's play then; a counting-off
    Of petals. Now I know.... But ask me why
    I come unheralded, and in a mist
    Of circumstance and strangeness. Listen, love,--
    Well then, dead love, if you will have it so.
    I have been cunning cruel,--what you will:
    And yet the days of late have seemed too long
    Even for summer! Something called me here.
    And so I flung my pride away and came,--
    A very woman for my foolishness!--
    To say once more, -- to say ...
    I am come back; a foot-worn runaway,
    Like any braggart boy. Let me sit down
    And take Love's horn-book in my hands again,
    And learn from the beginning; -- by the rod,
    If you will scourge me, love! Come, come, forgive.
    I am not wont to sue: and yet to-day
    I am your suppliant, I am your servant,
    Your link-boy, yes, your minstrel: so, -- wilt hear?