Monday, February 5, 2007

Maeterlinck's Script, translated from the French by Laurence Alma Tadema

Maurice Maeterlinck’s The Blind, 1890 (translated from the French by Laurence Alma Tadema as The Sightless in 1895)

Persons.

THE PRIEST.
THREE THAT WERE BORN BLIND.
THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
THE FIFTH BLIND MAN.
THE SIXTH BLIND MAN.
THREE OLD BLIND WOMEN PRAYING.
THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
A YOUNG BLIND WOMAN.
A MAD BLIND WOMAN.

THE SIGHTLESS

A very ancient northern forest, eternal of aspect, beneath a sky profoundly starred. – In the midst, and towards the depths of night, a very old priest is seated wrapped in a wide black cloak. His head and the upper part of his body, slightly thrown back and mortally still, are leaning against the bole of an oak tree, huge and cavernous. His face is fearfully pale and of an inalterable waxen lividity; his violet lips are parted. His eyes, dumb and fixed, no longer gaze at the visible side of eternity, and seem bleeding beneath a multitude of immemorial sorrows and of tears. His hair, of a most solemn white, falls in stiff and scanty locks upon a face more illumined and more weary than all else that surrounds it in the intent silence of the gloomy forest. His hands, extremely lean, are rigidly clasped on his lap. – To the right, six old blind men are seated upon stones, the stumps of trees, and dead leaves. – To the left, separated from them by an uprooted tree and fragments of rock, six women, blind also, are seated facing the old men. Three of them are praying and wailing in hollow voice and without pause. Another is extremely old. The fifth, in an attitude of mute insanity, holds on her knees a little child asleep. The sixth is strangely young, and her hair inundates her whole being. The women, as well as the old men, are clothed in ample garments, somber and uniform. Most of them sit waiting with their elbows on their knees and their faces between their hands; and all seem to have lost the habit of useless gesture, and no longer turn their heads at the stifled and restless noises of the island. Great funereal trees, yews, weeping willows, cypresses, enwrap them in their faithful shadows. Not far from the priest, a cluster of long and sickly daffodils blossoms in the night. It is extraordinarily dark in spite of the moonlight that here and there strives to dispel for a while the gloom of the foliage.


FIRST BLIND MAN.
Is he not coming yet?

SECOND BLIND MAN.
You have waked me!

FIRST BLIND MAN.
I was asleep too.

THIRD BLIND MAN.
I was asleep too.

FIRST BLIND MAN.
Is he not coming yet?

SECOND BLIND MAN.
I hear nothing coming.

THIRD BLIND MAN.
It must be about time to go back to the asylum.

FIRST BLIND MAN.
We want to know where we are!

SECOND BLIND MAN.
It has grown cold since he left.

FIRST BLIND MAN.
We want to know where we are!

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
Does any one know where we are?

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
We were walking a very long time; we must be very far from the asylum.

FIRST BLIND MAN.
Ah! the women are opposite us?

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
We are sitting opposite you.

FIRST BLIND MAN.
Wait, I will come next to you. [He rises and gropes about.] Where are you? Speak! that I may hear where you are!

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
Here; we are sitting on stones.

FIRST BLIND MAN.
[He steps forward, stumbling against the fallen tree and the rocks.]
There is something between us . . .

SECOND BLIND MAN.
It is better to stay where one is!

THIRD BLIND MAN.
Where are you sitting? Do you want to come over to us?

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
We dare not stand up!

THIRD BLIND MAN.
Why did he separate us?

FIRST BLIND MAN.
I hear praying on the women’s side.

SECOND BLIND MAN.
Yes; the three old women are praying.

FIRST BLIND MAN.
This is not the time to pray!

SECOND BLIND MAN.
You can pray by-and-by in the dormitory!

[The three old women continue their prayers.]

THIRD BLIND MAN.
I should like to know next to whom I am sitting?

SECOND BLIND MAN.
I think I am next you.

[They grope about them with their hands.]

THIRD BLIND MAN.
We cannot touch each other.

FIRST BLIND MAN.
And yet we are not far apart. [He gropes about him, and with his stick hits the fifth blind man, who gives a dull moan.] The one who cannot hear is sitting next us.

SECOND BLIND MAN.
I don’t hear everybody; we were six just now.

FIRST BLIND MAN.
I am beginning to make things out. Let us question the women too; it is necessary that we should know how matters stand. I still hear the three old women praying; are they sitting together?

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
They are sitting beside me, on a rock.

FIRST BLIND MAN.
I am sitting on dead leaves!

THIRD BLIND MAN.
And the beauty, where is she?

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
She is near those that are praying.

SECOND BLIND MAN.
Where are the mad woman and her child?

THE YOUNG BLIND WOMAN.
He is asleep; don’t wake him!

FIRST BLIND MAN.
Oh! how far from us you are! I thought you were just opposite me!

THIRD BLIND MAN.
We know, more or less, all that we need know; let us talk a little, till the priest comes back.

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
He told us to await him in silence.

THIRD BLIND MAN.
We are not in a church.

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
You don’t know where we are.

THIRD BLIND MAN.
I feel frightened when I am not talking.

SECOND BLIND MAN.
Do you know where the priest has gone?

THIRD BLIND MAN.
It seems to me that he is leaving us alone too long.

FIRST BLIND MAN.
He is growing too old. It appears that he has hardly been able to see for some time himself. He will not own it, for fear that another should come and take his place among us; but I suspect that he can hardly see any more. We ought to have another guide; he never listens to us now, and we are becoming too many for him. The three nuns and he are the only ones in the house that can see; and they are all older than we are! – I am sure that he has led us astray, and is trying to find the way again. Where can he have gone? – He has no right to leave us here . . .

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
He has gone very far; I think he said so to the women.

FIRST BLIND MAN.
Then he only speaks to the women now? – Do we not exist any more? – We shall have to complain in the end!

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
To whom will you carry your complaint?

FIRST BLIND MAN.
I don’t yet know; we shall see, we shall see. – But where can he have gone? – I am asking it of the women.

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
He was tired, having walked so long. I think he sat down a moment in our midst. He has been very sad and very weak for some days. He has been uneasy since the doctor died. He is lonely. He hardly ever speaks. I don’t know what can have happened. He insisted on going out to-day. He said he wanted to see the Island one last time, in the sun, before winter came. It appears that the winter will be very cold and very long, and that ice is already coming down from the north. He was anxious too; they say that the great storms of these last days have swelled the stream, and that all the dykes are giving way. He said too that the sea frightened him; it appears to be agitated for no reason, and the cliffs of the Island are not high enough. He wanted to see for himself; but he did not tell us what he saw. – I think he has gone now to fetch some bread and water for the mad woman. He said that he would perhaps have to go very far. We shall have to wait.

THE YOUNG BLIND WOMAN.
He took my hands on leaving; and his hands trembled as if he were afraid. Then he kissed me . . .

FIRST BLIND MAN.
Oh! oh!

THE YOUNG BLIND WOMAN.
I asked him what had happened. He told me that he did not know what was going to happen. He told me that the old men’s reign was coming to an end, perhaps . . .

FIRST BLIND MAN.
What did he mean by that?

THE YOUNG BLIND WOMAN.
I did not understand him. He told me that he was going towards the great lighthouse.

FIRST BLIND MAN.
Is there a lighthouse here?

THE YOUNG BLIND WOMAN
Yes, north of the Island. I think we are not far from it. He told me that he could see the light of the beacon falling here, upon the leaves. He never seemed to me sadder than to-day, and I think that for some days he had seen crying. I don’t know why, but I cried too, without seeing him. I did not hear him go. I did not question him further. I could hear that he was smiling too solemnly; I could hear that he was closing his eyes and wished for silence . . .

FIRST BLIND MAN.
He said nothing to us of all this!

THE YOUNG BLIND WOMAN.
You never listen to him when he speaks!

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
You all murmur when he speaks!

SECOND BLIND MAN.
He merely said “Good-night” on leaving.

THIRD BLIND MAN.
It must be very late.

FIRST BLIND MAN.
He said “Good-night” two or three times on leaving, as if he were going to sleep. I could hear that he was looking at me when he said, “Good-night; good-night.” – The voice changes when one looks at some one fixedly.

FIFTH BLIND MAN.
Have pity on those that cannot see!

FIRST BLIND MAN.
Who is talking in that senseless way?

SECOND BLIND MAN.
I think it is the one who cannot hear.

FIRST BLIND MAN.
Be quiet! – this is not the time to beg!

THIRD BLIND MAN.
Where was he going for the bread and water?

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
He went towards the sea.

THIRD BLIND MAN.
One does not walk towards the sea in that way at his age!

SECOND BLIND MAN.
Are we near the sea?

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
Yes; be quiet an instant; you will hear it.

[A murmur of the sea near at hand and very calm against the cliffs.]

SECOND BLIND MAN.
I only hear the three old women praying.

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
Listen well, you will hear it through their prayers.

SECOND BLIND MAN.
Yes; I hear something that is not far from us.

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
It was asleep; it seems as if it were waking.

FIRST BLIND MAN.
It was wrong of him to lead us here; I don’t like hearing that noise.

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
You know very well that the Island is not large, and that one can hear it as soon as ever one leaves the walls of the asylum.

SECOND BLIND MAN.
I never listened to it.

THIRD BLIND MAN.
It seems to me that it is next us to-today; I don’t like hearing it so close.

SECOND BLIND MAN.
Nor I; besides, we never asked to leave the asylum.

THIRD BLIND MAN.
We have never been as far as this; it was useless to bring us so far.

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
It was very fine this morning; he wanted us to enjoy the last days of sunshine, before shutting us up for the whole winter in the asylum . . .

FIRST BLIND MAN.
But I prefer staying in the asylum!

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
He said too that we ought to know something of the little Island we live in. He himself has never been all over it; there is a mountain that no one has climbed, valleys which no one likes to go down to, and caves that have not been entered to this day. He said, in short, that one must not always sit waiting for the sun under the dormitory roof; he wanted to bring us to the sea-shore. He has gone there alone.

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
He is right; one must think of living.

FIRST BLIND MAN.
But there is nothing to see out of doors!

SECOND BLIND MAN.
Are we in the sun, now?

THIRD BLIND MAN.
Is the sun still shining?

SIXTH BLIND MAN.
I think not; it seems to me to be very late.

SECOND BLIND MAN.
What o’clock is it?

THE OTHERS.
I don’t know. – Nobody know.

SECOND BLIND MAN.
Is it still light? [To the sixth blind man.] Where are you? – Come, you who can see a little, come!

SIXTH BLIND MAN.
I think it is very dark; when the sun shines, I see a blue line under my eyelids; I saw one a long while ago; but now I can see nothing at all.

FIRST BLIND MAN.
As for me, I know that it is late when I am hungry, and I am hungry.

THIRD BLIND MAN.
But look up at the sky; you will see some thing, perhaps!

[They all lift their heads towards the sky, save the three that were born blind, who continue to look on the ground.]

SIXTH BLIND MAN.
I don’t know that we are under the sky.

FIRST BLIND MAN.
Our voices resound as if they were in a cave.

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
I rather think they resound so because it is evening.

THE YOUNG BLIND WOMAN.
It seems to me that I feel the moonlight on my hands.

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
I think there are stars; I hear them.

THE YOUNG BLIND WOMAN.
I too.

FIRST BLIND MAN.
I can hear no sound.

SECOND BLIND MAN.
I can only hear the sound of our breathing!

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
I think the women are right.

FIRST BLIND MAN.
I never hear the stars.

SECOND AND THIRD BLIND MEN.
Neither did I.

[A flight of night-birds alights suddenly amidst the foliage.]

SECOND BLIND MAN.
Listen! listen! – What is that above us? – Do you hear?

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
Something passed between the sky and us.

SIXTH BLIND MAN.
There is something moving above our heads; but we cannot reach it!

FIRST BLIND MAN.
I don’t know the nature of that sound. – I want to go back to the asylum.

SECOND BLIND MAN.
We want to know where we are!

SIXTH BLIND MAN.
I have tried to stand up; there are thorns, nothing but thorns about me; I dare not spread my hands out any more.

THIRD BLIND MAN.
We want to know where we are!

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
We cannot know it!

SIXTH BLIND MAN.
We must be very far from the house; I can no longer make out a single noise.

THIRD BLIND MAN.
For a long while, I have smelt the smell of dead leaves.

SIXTH BLIND MAN.
Did any one of us see the Island in past days, and could he tell us where we are?

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
We were all blind when we came here.

FIRST BLIND MAN.
We have never been able to see.

SECOND BLIND MAN.
Let us not be unnecessarily anxious; he will soon return; let us wait a little longer; but in future, we will not go out with him again.

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
We cannot go out alone!

FIRST BLIND MAN.
We will not go out at all, I prefer not going out.

SECOND BLIND MAN.
We had no wish to go out, nobody had asked to do so.

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
It was a holiday on the Island; we always go out on great holidays.

THIRD BLIND WOMAN.
He came and hit me on the shoulder when I was still asleep, saying: Get up, get up, it is time, the sun is shining! – Was there any sun? I was not aware of it. I have never seen the sun.

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
I saw the sun when I was very young.

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
I too; it was long ago; when I was a child; but I hardly remember it now.

THIRD BLIND MAN.
Why does he want us to go out every time the sun shines? Which of us is any the wiser? I never know whether I am walking out at midday or at midnight.

SECOND BLIND MAN.
I prefer going out at midday; I suspect great brightness then, and my eyes make great efforts to open.

THIRD BLIND MAN.
I prefer staying in the refectory by the coal-fire; there was a big fire there this morning . . .

SECOND BLIND MAN.
He could bring us out into the sun in the yard; there one has the shelter of the walls; one cannot get out, there is nothing to fear when the door is shut. – I always shut it. – Why did you touch my left elbow?

FIRST BLIND MAN.
I did not touch you; I cannot reach you.

SECOND BLIND MAN.
I tell you that somebody touched my elbow.

FIRST BLIND MAN.
It was none of us.

SECOND BLIND MAN.
I want to go away!

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
O God! O God! tell us where we are!

FIRST BLIND MAN.
We cannot wait here for ever!

[A very distant clock strikes twelve very slowly.]

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
Oh! how far we are from the asylum!

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
It is midnight!

SECOND BLIND MAN.
It is midday! – Does any one know? – Speak!

SIXTH BLIND MAN.
I don’t know. But I think we are in the shade.

FIRST BLIND MAN.
I can make nothing out; we slept too long.

SECOND BLIND MAN.
I am hungry.

THE OTHERS.
We are hungry and thirsty!

SECOND BLIND MAN.
Have we been here long?

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
It seems to me that I have been here centuries!

SIXTH BLIND MAN.
I am beginning to make out where we are . . .

THIRD BLIND MAN.
We ought to go towards where midnight struck.

[All the night-birds exult suddenly in the gloom.]

FIRST BLIND MAN.
Do you hear? – Do you hear?

SECOND BLIND MAN.
We are not alone!

THIRD BLIND MAN.
I have had my suspicions for a long time; we are being overheard. – Has he come back?

FIRST BLIND MAN.
I don’t know what it is; it is above us.

SECOND BLIND MAN.
Did the others hear nothing? – You are always silent!

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
We are still listening.

THE YOUNG BLIND WOMAN.
I hear wings about me!

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
O God! O God! tell us where we are!

THE SIXTH BLIND MAN.
I am beginning to make out where we are . . . The asylum is on the other side of the big river; we have crossed the old bridge. He has brought us to the north side of the Island. We are not far from the river, and perhaps we should hear it if we were to listen a moment . . . We shall have to go down to the edge of the water, if he does not come back . . . Night and day great ships pass there, and the sailors will see us standing on the banks. It may be that we are in the forest that surrounds the lighthouse; but I don’t know the way out of it . . . Is somebody willing to follow me?

FIRST BLIND MAN.
Let us keep seated! – Let us wait, let us wait; – we don’t know the direction of the big river, and there are bogs all round the asylum; let us wait, let us wait . . . He will come back; he is bound to come back!

SIXTH BLIND MAN.
Does any one know which way we came here? He explained it to us as we walked.

FIRST BLIND MAN.
I paid no attention.

SIXTH BLIND MAN.
Did any one listen to him?

THIRD BLIND MAN.
We must listen to him in future.

SIXTH BLIND MAN.
Was any one of us born on the Island?

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
You know quite well that we come from elsewhere.

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
We come from the other side of the sea.

FIRST BLIND MAN.
I thought I should have died crossing.

SECOND BLIND MAN.
I too; – we came together.

THIRD BLIND MAN.
We are all three of the same parish.

FIRST BLIND MAN.
They say that one can see it from here in clear weather; – towards the north. – It has no steeple.

THIRD BLIND MAN.
We landed by chance.

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
I come from another direction . . .

SECOND BLIND MAN.
From where do you come?

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
I no longer dare think of it . . . I can hardly call it to mind when I speak of it . . . It was too long ago . . . It was colder there than here . . .

THE YOUNG BLIND WOMAN.
And I, I come from very far . . .

FIRST BLIND MAN.
Where do you come from then?

THE YOUNG BLIND WOMAN.
I could not tell you. How should I be able to describe it? – It is too far from here; it is beyond the seas. I come from a big country . . . I could only explain it to you by signs, and we cannot see . . . I have wandered too long . . . But I have seen the sun and water and fire, and mountains, and faces and strange flowers . . . There are none like them on this Island; it is too dismal here and too cold . . . I have never know the scent again, since I lost my sight . . . But I saw my parents and my sisters . . . I was too young then to know where I was . . . I still played about on the sea-shore . . . Yet how well I remember having seen! . . . One day, I looked at the snow from the top of a mountain . . . I was just beginning to distinguish those that are to be unhappy . . .

FIRST BLIND MAN.
What do you mean?

THE YOUNG BLIND WOMAN.
I can still distinguish them by the sound of their voice at times . . . I have memories that are clearer when I am not thinking of them . . .

FIRST BLIND MAN.
I have no memories, I . . .

[A flight of big birds of passage passes clamoring above the foliage.]

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
There is something passing again beneath the sky!

SECOND BLIND MAN.
Why did you come here?

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
To whom are you speaking?

SECOND BLIND MAN.
To our young sister.

THE YOUNG BLIND WOMAN.
They had told me that he could cure me. He says that I shall see again some day; then I shall be able to leave the Island . . .

FIRST BLIND MAN.
We should all like to leave the Island!

SECOND BLIND MAN.
We shall stay here for ever!

THIRD BLIND MAN.
He is too old; he will never have time to cure us!

THE YOUNG BLIND WOMAN.
My eyelids are closed, but I feel that my eyes are alive . . .

FIRST BLIND MAN.
Mine are open . . .

SECOND BLIND MAN.
I sleep with my eyes open.

THIRD BLIND MAN.
Let us not speak of our eyes!

SECOND BLIND MAN.
You have not been here long?

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
One evening, during prayers, I heard on the women’s side a voice I did not know; and I could tell by your voice that you were young . . . I wanted to see you, having heard your voice . . .

FIRST BLIND MAN.
I never noticed it.

SECOND BLIND MAN.
He never lets us know anything!

SIXTH BLIND MAN.
They say that you are beautiful, like some woman come from afar?

THE YOUNG BLIND WOMAN.
I have never seen myself.

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
We have never seen each other. We question each other, and we answer each other; we live together, we are always together, but we know not what we are! . . . It is all very well to touch each other with both hands; eyes know more than hands . . .

SIXTH BLIND MAN.
I see your shadows sometimes when you are in the sun . . .

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
We have never seen the house in which we live; it is all very well to touch the walls and the windows; we know nothing of where we live . . .

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
They say it is an old castle, very gloomy and very wretched, one never sees a light there, save in the tower where the priest’s room is.

FIRST BLIND MAN.
Those who cannot see need no light.

SIXTH BLIND MAN.
When I am keeping the flocks, round about the asylum, the sheep go home of themselves when, at evening, they see that light in the tower . . . They have never led me astray.

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
For years and years we have lived together and we have never beheld each other! One would say we were always alone! . . . One must see to love . . .

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
I sometimes dream that I can see . . .

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
I only see when I am dreaming . . .

FIFTH BLIND MAN.
I only dream, as a rule, at midnight.

SECOND BLIND MAN.
Of what can one dream when one’s hands are motionless?

[A squall shakes the forest, and the leaves fall in dismal showers.]

FIFTH BLIND MAN.
Who was it touched my hands?

FIRST BLIND MAN.
There is something falling round us.

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
It comes from above; I don’t know what it is . . .

FIFTH BLIND MAN.
Who was it touched my hands? – I was asleep; let me sleep!

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
Nobody touched your hands.

FIFTH BLIND MAN.
Who was it took my hands? Answer loud, I am rather hard of hearing . . .

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
We don’t ourselves know.

FIFTH BLIND MAN.
Have they come to warn us?

FIRST BLIND MAN.
It is of no use answering; he can hear nothing.

THIRD BLIND MAN.
It must be admitted that the deaf are very unfortunate!

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
I am tired of sitting down!

SIXTH BLIND MAN.
I am tired of being here!

SECOND BLIND MAN.
We seem to me so far from one another . . . Let us try to draw a little closer together; – it is beginning to be cold . . .

THIRD BLIND MAN.
I dare not stand up! It is better to stay where one is.

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
There is no knowing what there may be between us.

SIXTH BLIND MAN.
I think both my hands are bleeding; I wanted to stand up.

THIRD BLIND MAN.
I can hear that you are leaning towards me.

[The blind mad woman rubs her eyes violently, moaning, and persistently turning towards the motionless priest.]

FIRST BLIND MAN.
I hear another noise . . .

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
I think it is our poor sister rubbing her eyes.

SECOND BLIND MAN.
She never does anything else; I hear her every night.

THIRD BLIND MAN.
She is mad; she never says anything.

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
She has never spoken since she had her child. She seems always to be afraid . . .

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
Are you not afraid here then?

FIFTH BLIND MAN.
Who?

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
All the rest of us!

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
Yes, yes, we are afraid!

THE YOUNG BLIND WOMAN.
We have been afraid a long time!

FIRST BLIND MAN.
Why do you ask that?

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
I don’t know why I ask it! . . . There is something I cannot make out . . . It seems as if I heard a sudden sound of crying in our midst! . . .

FIRST BLIND MAN.
It does not do to be afraid; I think it is the mad woman . . .

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
There is something else besides . . . I am sure there is something else besides . . . It is not only that which frightens me . . .

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
She always cries when she is about to suckle her child.

FIRST BLIND MAN.
She is the only one that cries so!

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
They say that she can still see at times . . .

FIRST BLIND MAN.
One never hears the others cry . . .

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
One must see to weep . . .

THE YOUNG BLIND WOMAN.
I smell a scent of flowers round about us . . .

FIRST BLIND MAN.
I only smell the smell of the earth!

THE YOUNG BLIND WOMAN.
There are flowers, there are flowers near us!

SECOND BLIND MAN.
I only smell the smell of the earth!

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
I have just smelt flowers on the wind . . .

THIRD BLIND MAN.
I only smell the smell of earth!

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
I think the women are right.

SIXTH BLIND MAN.
Where are they? – I will go and pick them.

THE YOUNG BLIND WOMAN.
To your right, stand up.

[The sixth blind man rises slowly, and, knocking himself against trees and bushes, gropes his way towards the daffodils, which he treads down and crushes as he goes.]

THE YOUNG BLIND WOMAN.
I can hear that you are snapping green stems! Stop! Stop!

FIRST BLIND MAN.
Never mind about flowers, but think about getting back!

SIXTH BLIND MAN.
I dare not retrace my steps!

THE YOUNG BLIND WOMAN.
You must not come back! – Wait. – [She rises.] – Oh! how cold the earth is! It is going to freeze. – [She moves without hesitation towards the strange pale daffodils, but she is stopped by the fallen tree and the rocks, in the neighbourhood of the flowers.] – They are here! – I cannot reach them; they are on your side.

SIXTH BLIND MAN.
I think I am picking them.

[Groping about him, he picks what flowers are left, and offers them to her; the night-birds fly away.]

THE YOUNG BLIND WOMAN.
It seems to me that I once saw these flowers . . . I have forgotten their name . . . But how ill they are, and how limp their stalks are! I hardly know them again . . . I think they are the flowers of the dead . . .

[She plaits the daffodils in her hair.]

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
I hear the sound of your hair.

THE YOUNG BLIND WOMAN.
Those are the flowers . . .

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
We shall not see you . . .

THE YOUNG BLIND WOMAN.
I shall not see myself . . . I am cold.

[At this moment, the wind rises in the forest and the sea roars suddenly and with violence against the neighbouring cliffs.]

FIRST BLIND MAN.
It is thundering!

SECOND BLIND MAN.
I think it is a storm rising.

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
I think it is the sea.

THIRD BLIND MAN.
The sea? – Is it the sea? – But it is at two steps from us! – It is beside us! I hear it all round me! – It must be something else!

THE YOUNG BLIND WOMAN.
I hear the sound of waves at my feet.

FIRST BLIND MAN.
I think it is the wind in the dead leaves.

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
I think the women are right.

THIRD BLIND MAN.
It will be coming here!

FIRST BLIND MAN.
Where does the wind come from?

SECOND BLIND MAN.
It comes from the sea.

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
It always comes from the sea; the sea hems up in on all sides. It cannot come from elsewhere . . .

FIRST BLIND MAN.
Let us not think of the sea any more!

SECOND BLIND MAN.
But we must think of it, as it is going to reach us!

FIRST BLIND MAN.
You don’t know that it is the sea.

SECOND BLIND MAN.
I hear its waves as if I were going to dip both hands in! We cannot stay here! They may be all around us!

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
Where do you want to go?

SECOND BLIND MAN.
No matter where! No matter where! I will not hear the sound of that water any more! Let us go! Let us go!

THIRD BLIND MAN.
It seems to me that I hear something else besides. – Listen!

[A sound of footsteps, swift and distant, is heard among the dead leaves.]

FIRST BLIND MAN.
There is something coming towards us!

SECOND BLIND MAN.
He is coming! He is coming! He is coming back!

THIRD BLIND MAN.
He is taking little steps, like a little child . . .

SECOND BLIND MAN.
Let us reproach him nothing to-day!

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
I think it is not the step of a man!

[A big dog enters the forest and passes before them. – Silence.]

FIRST BLIND MAN.
Who is there? – Who are you? – Have pity on us, we have been waiting so long! . . . [The dog stops , and returning, lays his front paws on the blind man’s knees.] Ah! ah! what have you put on my knees? What is it? . . . Is it an animal? I think it is a dog? . . . Oh! oh! it is the dog! it is the dog from the asylum! Come here! come here! He has come to deliver us! Come here! come here!

THE OTHERS.
Come here! come here!

FIRST BLIND MAN..
He has come to deliver us! He has followed our traces! He is licking my hands as if he had found me after hundreds of years! He is howling for joy! He will die of joy! Listen! listen!

THE OTHERS.
Come here! come here!

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
He has perhaps run on in front of somebody? . . .

FIRST BLIND MAN.
No, no, he is alone. – I hear nothing coming. – We need no other guide; there is none better. He will lead us wherever we want to go; he will obey us . . .

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
I dare not follow him.

THE YOUNG BLIND WOMAN.
Nor I.

FIRST BLIND MAN.
Why not? He sees better than we do.

SECOND BLIND MAN.
Let us not listen to the women!

THIRD BLIND MAN.
I think that something has changed in the sky; I breathe freely; the air is pure now . . .

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
It is the sea-breeze that is blowing round us.

SIXTH BLIND MAN.
It seems to me that it is going to get light; I think the sun is rising . . .

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
I think it is going to be cold . . .

FIRST BLIND MAN.
We shall find the way. He is dragging me along. He is drunk with joy! – I can no longer hold him back! . . . Follow me! follow me! We are going home! . . .

[He rises, dragged along by the dog, who leads him towards the motionless priest, and there stops.]

THE OTHERS.
Where are you? Where are you? – Where are you going? Take care!

FIRST BLIND MAN.
Wait! wait! Don’t follow me yet; I will come back . . . He is standing still. – What is it? – Ah! ah! I have touched something very cold!

SECOND BLIND MAN.
What are you saying? I can hardly hear your voice any more.

FIRST BLIND MAN.
I have touched . . . I think I am touching a face!

THIRD BLIND MAN.
What are you saying? – One can hardly understand you any more. What is the matter with you? – Where are you? – Are you already so far away from us?

FIRST BLIND MAN.
Oh! oh! oh! I don’t yet know what it is . . . – There is a dead man in our midst!

THE OTHERS.
A dead man in our midst? Where are you? where are you?

FIRST BLIND MAN.
There is a dead man among us, I tell you! Oh! oh! I have touched a dead face! – You are sitting next to a dead body! One of us must have died suddenly! But speak then, that I may know which are alive! Where are you? – Answer! answer all together!

[They answer in succession save the mad woman and the deaf man; the three women have ceased praying.]

FIRST BLIND MAN.
I can no longer distinguish your voices! . . . You are all speaking alike! . . . They are all trembling!

THIRD BLIND MAN.
There are two who did not answer . . . Where are they?

[He touches with his stick the fifth blind man.]

FIFTH BLIND MAN.
Oh! oh! I was asleep; let me sleep!

SIXTH BLIND MAN.
It is not he. – Is it the mad woman?

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
She is sitting next me; I can hear her live . . .

FIRST BLIND MAN.
I think . . . I think it is the priest! – He is standing! Come! come! come!

SECOND BLIND MAN.
He is standing?

THIRD BLIND MAN.
Then he is not dead!

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
Where is he?

SIXTH BLIND MAN.
Come and see! . . .

[They all rise, save the mad woman and the fifth blind man, and grope their way towards the dead.]

SECOND BLIND MAN.
Is he here? – Is it he?

THIRD BLIND MAN.
Yes! yes! I recognise him!

FIRST BLIND MAN.
O God! O God! what is to become of us!

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
Father! father! – Is it you? Father, what has happened? – What is the matter with you? – Answer us! – We are all gathered round you . . . Oh! oh! oh!

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
Bring some water; he is perhaps still alive . . .

SECOND BLIND MAN.
Let us try . . . He will perhaps be able to lead us back to the asylum . . .

THIRD BLIND MAN.
It is useless; I cannot hear his heart. – He is cold . . .

FIRST BLIND MAN.
He died without a word.

THIRD BLIND MAN.
He ought to have warned us.

SECOND BLIND MAN.
Oh! how old he was! . . . It is the first time I ever touched his face . . .

THIRD BLIND MAN (feeling the corpse).
He is taller than we are!

SECOND BLIND MAN.
His eyes are wide open; he died with clasped hands . . .

FIRST BLIND MAN.
He died, so, for no reason . . .

SECOND BLIND MAN.
He is not standing, he is sitting on a stone . . .

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
O God! O God! I did not know all . . . all! . . . He had been ill so long . . . He must have suffered to-day! Oh! oh! oh! – He never complained! . . . He only complained in pressing our hands . . . One does not always understand . . . One never understands! . . . Let us pray around him. Kneel down . . .

[The women kneel, moaning.]

FIRST BLIND MAN.
I dare not kneel down . . .

SECOND BLIND MAN.
One does not know what one is kneeling on here . . .

THIRD BLIND MAN.
Was he ill? . . . He never told us . . .

SECOND BLIND MAN.
I heard him whisper something as he went . . . I think he was speaking to our young sister; what did he say?

FIRST BLIND MAN.
She will not answer.

SECOND BLIND MAN.
You will not answer us any more? – But where are you then? – Speak!

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
You made him suffer too much; you have killed him . . . You would go no further; you wanted to sit down on the stones by the roadside to eat; you grumbled all day . . . I heard him sigh . . . He lost courage . . .

FIRST BLIND MAN.
Was he ill? did you know it?

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
We knew nothing . . . We had never seen him . . . When have we ever known of anything that passed before our poor dead eyes? . . . He never complained . . . Now it is too late . . . I have seen three die . . . but never so . . . Now it is our turn . . .

FIRST BLIND MAN.
It is not I that made him suffer. – I never said anything . . .

SECOND BLIND MAN.
Nor I; we followed him without a word . . .

THIRD BLIND MAN.
He died going to fetch water for the mad woman . . .

FIRST BLIND MAN.
What are we to do now? Where shall we go?

THIRD BLIND MAN.
Where is the dog?

FIRST BLIND MAN.
Here; he will not leave the dead.

THIRD BLIND MAN.
Drag him away! Drive him off! drive him off!

FIRST BLIND MAN.
He will not leave the dead!

SECOND BLIND MAN.
We cannot wait beside a dead man! . . . We cannot die thus in the dark!

THIRD BLIND MAN.
Let us keep together; let us not move away from one another; let us hold hands; let us all sit down on this stone . . . Where are the others? Come here! come! come!

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
Where are you?

THIRD BLIND MAN.
Here; I am here. Are we all together? – Come nearer to me. Where are your hands? – It is very cold.

THE YOUNG BLIND WOMAN.
Oh! how cold your hands are!

THIRD BLIND MAN.
What are you doing?

THE YOUNG BLIND WOMAN.
I was putting my hands to my eyes. I thought I was going to see all at once . . .

FIRST BLIND MAN.
Who is that crying?

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
It is the mad woman sobbing.

FIRST BLIND MAN.
Yet she does not know the truth?

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
I think we shall die here . . .

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
Some one will come perhaps . . .

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
Who else would be likely to come? . . .

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
I don’t know.

FIRST BLIND MAN.
I think the nuns will come out of the asylum . . .

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
There never go out of an evening.

THE YOUNG BLIND WOMAN.
They never go out at all.

SECOND BLIND MAN.
I think that the men from the big lighthouse will see us . . .

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
They never come down from their tower.

THIRD BLIND MAN.
They might see us . . .

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
They are always looking toward the sea.

THIRD BLIND MAN.
It is cold!

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
Listen to the dead leaves; I think it is freezing.

THE YOUNG BLIND WOMAN.
Oh! how hard the earth is!

THIRD BLIND MAN.
I hear to my left a noise that I cannot make out . . .

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
It is the sea moaning against the rocks.

THIRD BLIND MAN.
I thought it was the women.

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
I hear the ice breaking under the waves . . .

FIRST BLIND MAN.
Who is it that is shivering so? he is making us all shake on the stone!

SECOND BLIND MAN.
I can no longer open my hands.

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
I hear another noise that I cannot make out . . .

FIRST BLIND MAN.
Which of us is it that is shivering so? He is shaking the stone!

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
I think it is a woman.

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
I think the mad woman is shivering most.

THIRD BLIND MAN.
I cannot hear her child.

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
I think he is still sucking.

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
He is the only one that can see where we are!

FIRST BLIND MAN.
I hear the north wind.

SIXTH BLIND MAN.
I think there are no more stars; it is going to snow.

SECOND BLIND MAN.
Then we are lost!

THIRD BLIND MAN.
If one of us falls asleep he must be waked.

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
I am sleepy though.

[A squall makes the dead leaves whirl.]

THE YOUNG BLIND WOMAN.
Do you hear the dead leaves? I think some one is coming towards us!

SECOND BLIND MAN.
It is the wind; listen!

THIRD BLIND MAN.
No one will come now!

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
The great cold is coming . . .

THE YOUNG BLIND WOMAN.
I hear some one walking in the distance!

FIRST BLIND MAN.
I only hear the dead leaves!

THE YOUNG BLIND WOMAN.
I hear some one walking very far from us!

SECOND BLIND MAN.
I only hear the north wind.

THE YOUNG BLIND WOMAN.
I tell you that some one is coming towards us!

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
I hear a sound of very slow footsteps . . .

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
I think the women are right.

[It begins to snow in great flakes.]

FIRST BLIND MAN.
Oh! oh! what is falling so cold on my hands?

SIXTH BLIND MAN.
It is snowing!

FIRST BLIND MAN.
Let us draw up close to one another!

THE YOUNG BLIND WOMAN.
But listen to the sound of the footsteps!

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
For God’s sake! be still an instant!

THE YOUNG BLIND WOMAN.
They are drawing nearer! they are drawing nearer! listen then!

[Here the mad woman’s child begins to wail suddenly in the dark.]

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
The child is crying!

THE YOUNG BLIND WOMAN.
It sees! it sees! It must see something as it is crying! [She seizes the child in her arms and moves forward in the direction whence the sound of footsteps seems to come; the other women follow her anxiously and surround her.] I am going to meet it!

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
Take care!

THE YOUNG BLIND WOMAN.
Oh! how he is crying! – What is it? – Don’t cry. – Don’t be afraid; there is nothing to be afraid of; we are here all about you. – What do you see? – Fear nothing! – Don’t cry so! – What is it that you see? – Tell us, what is it that you see?

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
The sound of footsteps is drawing nearer; listen! listen!

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
I hear the rustling of a dress among the dead leaves.

SIXTH BLIND MAN.
Is it a woman?

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
Is it the sound of footsteps?

FIRST BLIND MAN.
It is perhaps the sea on the dead leaves?

THE YOUNG BLIND WOMAN.
No, no! they are footsteps! they are footsteps! they are footsteps!

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
We shall soon know; listen to the dead leaves.

THE YOUNG BLIND WOMAN.
I hear them, I hear them, almost beside us! listen! listen! – What is it that you see? What is it that you see?

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
Which way is he looking?

THE YOUNG BLIND WOMAN.
He always follows the sound of the footsteps! – Look! Look! When I turn him away he turns back to look . . . He sees! he sees! he sees! – He must see something strange! . . .

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN. [coming forward].
Lift him above us, that he may see.

THE YOUNG BLIND WOMAN.
Step aside! step aside! [She lifts the child above the group of sightless.] The footsteps have stopped right among us! . . .

THE OLDEST BLIND MAN.
They are here! They are here in our midst!

THE YOUNG BLIND WOMAN.
Who are you?

[Silence.]

THE OLDEST BLIND WOMAN.
Have pity on us!

[Silence. The child cries more desperately.]


THE END.

2 comments:

Molly said...

I saw "The Blind" on opening night, and I thought it was great. The imagery and physicality were really striking, and the whole concept of it is eerily resonant with society today. Congratualtions to cast and crew. I'd say you've hit on something really innovative and effective.

王菲Fay said...

I love it! Very creative!That's actually really cool.
謝謝你的文章分享,請你有空到我

參觀,Thanks