JAMES AND JOHN – Monologue (Mrs. Betts)

A monologue from the play by Gilbert Cannan

NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from Representative One-Act Plays by British and Irish Authors. Ed. Barrett H. Clark. Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1921.


I remember now … often … when he told me…. How kind he was … and gentle…. He had been ill and worried for a long time,

and then one day he came home and sat without a word all through the evening…. It was raining then….

About ten o’clock … about ten o’clock … he came and kissed me, and told me to go to bed. Then he went out….

I don’t know where he went, but he came back wet to the bone, covered with mud, and his coat was all torn…. I was awake when he came back,

but he spoke no word to me…. He came to bed and lay trembling and cold…. I took his hand…. He shook and he was very cold….

He — he turned to me like a child and sobbed, sobbed…. Then, dear, he told me what he had done…. He told me that …

that he had tried — tried to do away with himself … and — and could not…. He never asked me to forgive him….

He told me how the directors had asked him to go away to avoid prosecution…. He said that he must bear his punishment….

He is not a bad man, John…. Men and women are such strange creatures … there is never any knowing what they will do …

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