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SCENE 2





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The Land of Memory.

A thick fog, from which stands out, on the right, close to the footlights, the trunk of a large oak,

with a board nailed to it. A vague, milky, impenetrable light prevails. TYLTYL and MYTYL are at the foot of the oak.

TYLTYL

Here is the tree!

MYTYL

There's the board!

TYLTYL

I can't read it.... Wait, I will climb up on this root.... That's it.... It says, "Land of Memory."

MYTYL

Is this where it begins?

TYLTYL

Yes, there's an arrow.

MYTYL

Well, where are grandad and granny?

TYLTYL

Behind the fog.... We shall see.

MYTYL

I can see nothing at all!... I can't see my feet or my hands. (Whimpering) I'm cold!... I don't want to travel any more.... I want to go home.

TYLTYL

Come, don't keep on crying, just like Water.... You ought to be ashamed of yourself.... A great big little girl like you.... Look, the fog is lifting already.... We shall see what's behind it.

The mist begins to move; it grows thinner and lighter, disperses, evaporates. Soon, in a more and more transparent light, appears, under a leafy vault, a cheerful little peasant's cottage, covered with creepers. The door and windows are open. There are bee-hives under a shed, flower-pots on the window-sills, a cage with a sleeping blackbird. Beside the door is a bench, on which an old peasant and his wife, Tyltyl's grandfather and grandmother, are seated, both sound asleep.

TYLTYL

(suddenly recognising them) It's grandad and granny!

MYTYL

(clapping her hands) Yes! Yes!... So it is! So it is!

TYLTYL

(still a little distrustful) Take care!... We don't know yet if they can stir.... Let'skeep behind the tree.

GRANNY TYL opens her eyes, raises her head, stretches herself, gives a sigh and looks at GAFFER TYL, who also wakes slowly from his sleep.

GRANNY TYL

I have a notion that our grandchildren who are still alive are coming to see us today.

GAFFER TYL

They are certainly thinking of us, for I feel anyhow and I have pins and needles in my legs.

GRANNY TYL

I think they must be quite near, for I see tears of joy dancing before my eyes.

GAFFER TYL

No, no, they are a long way off.... I still feel weak.

GRANNY TYL

I tell you they are here; I am quite strong.

TYLTYL AND MYTYL

(rushing up from behind the oak) Here we are!... Here we are!... Gaffer! Granny!... It'swe!... It's we!

GAFFER TYL

There!... You see?... What did I tell you?... I was sure they would come today.

GRANNY TYL

Tyltyl!... Mytyl!... It's you!... It's she! (Trying to run to meet them) I can't run!... I've still got the rheumatics!

GAFFER TYL

(hobbling along as fast as he can) No more can I.... That's because of my wooden leg, which Istill wear instead of the one I broke when I fell off the bigoak.

The GRANDPARENTS and the CHILDREN exchange frantic embraces.

GRANNY TYL

How tall and strong you've grown, Tyltyl!

GAFFER TYL

(stroking Mytyl's hair) And Mytyl!... Just look at her.... What pretty hair, whatpretty eyes!

GRANNY TYL

Come and kiss me again!... Come on to my lap?

GAFFER TYL

And what about me?

GRANNY TYL

No, no.... Come to me first.... How are Daddy and Mummy Tyl?

TYLTYL

Quite well, granny.... They were asleep when we went out.

GRANNY TYL

(gazing at them and covering them with caresses) Lord, how pretty they are and how nice and clean!... Was itmummy who washed you?... And there are no holes in yourstockings!... I used to darn them once, you know.... Whydon't you come to see us oftener?... It makes us so happy!... It is months and months now that you've forgotten us and thatwe have seen nobody.

TYLTYL

We couldn't, granny; and today its only because of the Fairy.

GRANNY TYL

We are always here, waiting for a visit from those who are alive.... They come so seldom!... The last time you were here, let me see, when was it?... It was on All-hallows, when the church-bells were ringing.

TYLTYL

All-hallows?... We didn't go out that day, for we both had very bad colds.

GRANNY TYL

No; but you thought of us.

TYLTYL

Yes.

GRANNY TYL

Well, every time you think of us, we wake up and see you again.

TYLTYL

What, is it enough to ––

GRANNY TYL

But come, you know that.

TYLTYL

No, I didn't know.

GRANNY TYL

(to GAFFER TYL) It's astonishing, up there... They don't know yet.... Do theynever learn anything?

GAFFER TYL

It's as in our own time.... The Living are so stupid when they speak of the Others.

TYLTYL

Do you sleep all the time?

GAFFER TYL

Yes, we get plenty of sleep, while waiting for a thought of the Living to come and wake us.... Ah, it is good to sleep when life is done.... But it is pleasant also to wake up from time to time.

TYLTYL

So you are not really dead?

GAFFER TYL

What do you say?... What is he saying?... Now he's using words we don't understand.... Is it a new word, a new invention?

TYLTYL

The word "dead"?

GAFFER TYL

Yes, that was the word.... What does it mean?

TYLTYL

Why, it means that one's no longer alive.

GAFFER TYL

How silly they are, up there!

TYLTYL

Is it nice here?

GAFFER TYL

Oh, yes; not bad, not bad; and, if one could just have a smoke.

TYLTYL

Aren't you allowed to smoke?

GAFFER TYL

Yes, it's allowed; but I've broken my pipe.

GRANNY TYL

Yes, yes, all would be well, if only you would come and see us oftener.... Do you remember, Tyltyl?... The last time I baked you a lovely apple-tart.... You ate such a lot of it that you made yourself ill.

TYLTYL

But I haven't eaten any apple-tart since last year.... There were no apples this year.

GRANNY TYL

Don't talk nonsense.... Here, we have them always.

TYLTYL

That's different.

GRANNY TYL

What? That's different?... Why, nothing's different when we're able to kiss each other.

TYLTYL

(looking first at his GRANDMOTHER and then at his GRANDFATHER) You haven't changed, grandad, not a bit, not a bit.... Andgranny hasn't changed a bit either.... But you're betterlooking.

GAFFER TYL

Well, we feel all right.... We have stopped growing older.... But you, how tall you're growing!... Yes, you're shooting up finely.... Look, over there, on the door, is the mark of the last time... That was on All-hallows... Now then, stand up straight.

(TYLTYL stands up against the door) Four fingers taller!... That's immense! (MYTYL also stands up against the door) And Mytyl, four and a half!... Aha, ill weeds grow apace!...How they've grown, oh, how they've grown!

TYLTYL

(looking around him with delight) Nothing is changed, everything is in its old place!... Onlyeverything is prettier!... There is the clock with the bighand which I broke the point off.

GAFFER TYL

And here is the soup-tureen you chipped a corner off.

TYLTYL

And here is the hole which I made in the door, the day I found the gimlet.

GAFFER TYL

Yes, you've done some damage in your time!... And here is the plum-Tree in which you were so fond of climbing, when I wasn't looking.... It still has its fine red plums.

TYLTYL

But they are finer than ever!

MYTYL

And here is the old blackbird!... Does he still sing? The blackbird wakes and begins to sing at the top of his voice.

GRANNY TYL

You see.... As soon as one thinks of him.

TYLTYL

(observing with amazement that the blackbird is quite blue) But he's blue!... Why, that's the bird, the Blue Bird which Iam to take back to the Fairy.... And you never told us thatyou had him here!... Oh, he's blue, blue, blue as a blueglass marble! (Entreatingly) Grandad, granny, will you give him to me?

GAFFER TYL

Yes, perhaps, perhaps.... What do you think, granny?

GRANNY TYL

Certainly, certainly.... What use is he to us?... He does nothing but sleep.... We never hear him sing.

TYLTYL

I will put him in my cage.... I say, where is my cage?... Oh, I know, I left it behind the big tree? (He runs to the tree, fetches the cage and puts the blackbird into it) So, really, you've really given him to me?... How pleased the Fairy will be!... And Light too!

GAFFER TYL

Mind you, I won't answer for the bird.... I'm afraid that he will never get used again to the restless life up there and that he'll come back here by the first wind that blows this way.... However, we shall see.... Leave him there, for the present, and come and look at the cow.

TYLTYL

(noticing the hives) And how are the bees getting on?

GAFFER TYL

Oh, pretty well.... They are no longer alive, as you call it up there; but they work hard.

TYLTYL

(going up to the hives) Oh, yes!... I can smell the honey!... How heavy the hivesmust be!... All the flowers are so beautiful!... And mylittle dead sisters, are they here too?

MYTYL

And where are my three little brothers who were buried? At these words, seven little CHILDREN, of different sizes, like a set of Pan's pipes, come out of the cottage, one by one.

GRANNY TYL

Here they are, here they are!... As soon as you think of them, as soon as you speak of them, they are there, the darlings!

TYLTYL and MYTYL run to meet the CHILDREN. They hustle and hug one another and dance and whirl about and utter screams of joy.

TYLTYL

Hullo, Pierrot! (They clutch each other by the hair) Ah, so we're going to fight again, as in the old days.... And Robert!... I say, Jean, what's become of your top?... Madeleine and Pierrette and Pauline!... And here's Riquette!

MYTYL

Oh, Riquette, Riquette!... She's still crawling on all fours!

GRANNY TYL

Yes, she has stopped growing.

TYLTYL

(noticing the little DOG yelping around them) There's Kiki, whose tail I cut off with Pauline'sscissors.... He hasn't changed either.

GAFFER TYL

(sententiously) No, nothing changes here.

TYLTYL

And Pauline still has a pimple on her nose.

GRANNY TYL

Yes, it won't go away; there's nothing to be done for it.

TYLTYL

Oh, how well they look, how fat and glossy they are!... What jolly cheeks they have!... They look well fed.

GRANNY TYL

They have been much better since they ceased living.... There's nothing more to fear, nobody is ever ill, one has no anxiety. The clock inside the cottage strikes eight.

GRANNY TYL

(amazed) What's that?

GAFFER TYL

I don't know, I'm sure.... It must be the clock.

GRANNY TYL

It can't be.... It never strikes.

GAFFER TYL

Because we no longer think of the time.... Was any one

thinking of the time?

TYLTYL

Yes, I was.... What is the time?

GAFFER TYL

I'm sure I can't tell.... I've forgotten how.... It struck eight times, so I suppose it's what they call eight o'clock up there.

TYLTYL

Light expects me at a quarter to nine.... It's because of the Fairy.... It's extremely important.... I'm off!

GRANNY TYL

Don't leave us like that, just as supper's ready!... Quick, quick, let's lay the table outside.... I've got some capital cabbage-soup and a beautiful plum-tart They get out the table, dishes, plates, etc., and lay for supper outside the door, all helping.

TYLTYL

Well, as I've got the Blue Bird.... And then it's so long since I tasted cabbage-soup.... Ever since I've been travelling.... They don't have it at the hotels.

GRANNY TYL

There!... That didn't take long!... Sit down, children.... Don't let us lose time, if you're in a hurry.

They have lit the lamp and served the soup. The GRANDPARENTS and the CHILDREN sit down round the table, jostling and elbowing one another and laughing and screaming with pleasure.

TYLTYL

(eating like a glutton) How good it is!... Oh, how good it is!... I want some more!More!

(He brandishes his wooden spoon and noisily hits his plate with it)

GAFFER TYL

Come, come, a little more quiet.... You're just as illbehaved as ever; and you'll break your plate.

TYLTYL

(half-raising himself on his stool) I want more, more! (He seizes the tureen, drags it toward him and upsets it and the soup, which trickles over the table and down over their knees and scalds them. Yells and screams of pain)

GRANNY TYL

There!... I told you so!

GAFFER TYL

(giving TYLTYL a loud box on the ear) That's one for you!

TYLTYL

(staggered for a moment, next puts his hand to his cheek with an expression of rapture) Oh, that's just like the slaps you used to give me when youwere alive!... Grandad, how nice it was and how good it makesone feel!... I must give you a kiss!

GAFFER TYL

Very well; there's more where that came from, if you like them. The clock strikes half-past eight.

TYLTYL

(starting up) Half-past eight! (He flings down his spoon) Mytyl, we've only just got time!

GRANNY TYL

Oh, I say!... Just a few minutes more!... Your house isn't on fire!... We see you so seldom.

TYLTYL

No, we can't possibly.... Light is so kind.... And I promised her.... Come, Mytyl, come!

GAFFER TYL

Goodness gracious, how tiresome the Living are with all their business and excitement!

TYLTYL

(taking his cage and hurriedly kissing everybody all round)

Good-bye, grandad.... Good-bye, granny.... Good-bye, brothers and sisters, Pierrot, Robert, Pauline, Madeleine, Riquette and you, too, Kiki.... I feel we mustn't stay.... Don't cry, granny; we will come back often.

GRANNY TYL

Come back every day!

TYLTYL

Yes, yes; we will come back as often as we can.

GRANNY TYL

It's our only pleasure and it's such a treat for us when your thoughts visit us!

GAFFER TYL

We have no other amusements.

TYLTYL

Quick, quick!... My cage!... My bird!

GAFFER TYL

(handing him the cage) Here they are!... You know, I don't warrant him; and if he's

not the right colour ––

TYLTYL

Good-bye! Good-bye!

THE BROTHERS AND SISTERS TYL

Good-bye, Tyltyl!... Good-bye, Mytyl!... Remember the barleysugar!... Good-bye!... Come again!... Come again! They all wave their handkerchiefs while TYLTYL and MYTYL slowly move away. But already, during the last sentences, the fog of the beginning of the scene has been gradually reforming, so that, at the end, all has disappeared in the mist and, at the fall of the curtain, TYLTYL and MYTYL are again alone visible under the big oak.

TYLTYL

It's this way, Mytyl.

MYTYL

Where is Light?

TYLTYL

I don't know. (Looking at the bird in the cage) But the bird is no longer blue!... He has turned black!

MYTYL

Give me your hand, little brother.... I feel so frightened and so cold.

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