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274    THE CRISIS

the flames--as did the worshippers of Moloch, only they haven't the excuse of a religious rite.
JAKE: (Slouches out of his chair, in which he has been sitting brooding.)
Say, don't you get tired sitting around grieving because you're colored? I'd be ashamed to be--
DAN: Stop! Who's ashamed of his race? Ours the glorious inheritance; ours the price of achievement. Ashamed! I'm PROUD. And you, too, Chris, smouldering in youthful wrath, you, too, are proud to be numbered with the darker ones, soon to come into their inheritance.
MRS. O'NEILL: Aye, but you've got to fight to keep yer inheritance. Ye can't lay down when someone else has done the work, and expect it to go on. Ye've got to fight.
JAKE: If you're proud, show it. All of your people--well, look at us! Is there a greater race than ours? Have any people had more horrible persecutions--and yet--we're loyal always to the country where we live and serve.
MRS. O'NEILL: And us! Look at us!
DAN: (Half tears himself from the chair, the upper part of his body writhing, while the lower part is inert, dead.)
Oh, God! If I were but whole and strong! If I could only prove to a doubting world of what stuff my people are made!
JULIA: But why, Dan, it isn't our quarrel? What have we to do with their affairs? These white people, they hate us. Only today I was sneered at when I went to help with some of their relief work. Why should you, my Chris, go to help those who hate you?
(CHRIS clasps her in his arms, and they stand, defying the others.)
HARVEY: If you could have seen the babies and girls--and old women--if you could have--
(Covers his eyes with hand.)
CHRIS: Well, it's good for things to be evened up somewhere.
DAN: Hush, Chris! It is not for us to visit retribution. Nor to wish hatred on others. Let us rather remember the good that has come to us. Love of humanity is above the small considerations of time or place or race or sect. Can't you be big enough to feel pity for the little crucified French children--for the ravished Polish girls, even as their mothers must have felt sorrow, if they had known, for OUR burned and maimed little ones? Oh, Mothers of Europe, we be of one blood, you and I!
(There is a tense silence. JULIA turns from CHRIS, and drops her hand. He moves slowly to the window and looks out. The door opens quietly, and CORNELIA LEWIS comes in. She stands still a moment, as if sensing a difficult situation.)
CORNELIA: I've heard about it, Chris, your country calls you.
(CHRIS turns from the window and waves hopeless hands at DAN and LUCY.)
Yes, I understand; they do need you, don't they?
DAN (fiercely): No!
LUCY: Yes, we do, Chris, we do need you, but your country needs you more. And, above that, your race is calling you to carry on its good name, and with that, the voice of humanity is calling to us all--we can manage without you, Chris.
CHRIS: You? Poor little crippled Sister. Poor Dan--
DAN: Don't pity me, pity your poor, weak self.
CHRIS: (clenching his fist.)
Brother, you've called me two names today that no man ought to have to take--a slacker and a weakling!
DAN: True. Aren't you both?
(Leans back and looks at CHRIS speculatively.)
CHRIS: (Makes an angry lunge towards the chair, then flings his hands above his head in an impatient gesture.)
Oh, God!
(Turns back to window.)
JULIA: Chris, it's wicked for them to taunt you so--but Chris--it IS our country--our race--
(Outside the strains of music from a passing band are heard. The music comes faintly, gradually growing louder and louder until it reaches a crescendo. The tune is "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," played in stirring march time.)
DAN: (singing softly.)
"Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!"
CHRIS: (Turns from the window and straightens his shoulders.)
And mine!
CORNELIA: "As He died to make men holy, let us die to make them free!"
MRS. O'NEILL: An' ye'll make the sacrifice, me boy, an' ye'll be the happier.

275        DESERT-BOUND

[[image - several people inside a room, some looking out a window]]

JAKE: Sacrifice! No sacrifice for him, it's those who stay behind. Ah, if they would only call me, and call me soon!
LUCY: We'll get on, never fear. I'm proud! PROUD!
(Her voice breaks a little, but her head is thrown back.)
(As the music draws nearer, the group breaks up, and the whole roomful rushes to the window and looks out. CHRIS remains in the center of the floor, rigidly at attention, a rapt look on his face. DAN strains at his chair, as if he would rise, then sinks back, his hand feebly beating time to the music, which swells to a martial crash.)
CURTAIN.

[[image-2 swastika-like symbols]]

DESERT-BOUND.
By G. Douglas Johnson

THE rain is falling steadily,
Bringing the earth relief;
While dry-eyed I remain and calm,
Amid my desert-grief.
Break! Break! ye flood-gates of my tears,
All pent in agony;
Rain! Rain! upon my thirsty soul,
And flood it as the sea!
 
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