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Beyond the Horizon

Beyond the Horizon
Title: Beyond the Horizon
Release Date: 2018-12-30
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 27 March 2019
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Copyright, 1921, by Eugene O’Neill

Caution: Professionals and amateurs are hereby warned that Beyond theHorizon, being fully protected under the copyright laws of the UnitedStates of America, the British Empire, including the Dominion of Canada,and all other countries of the copyright union, is subject to a royalty.All rights, including professional, amateur, motion picture, recitation,public reading, radio broadcasting, and the rights of translation intoforeign languages, are strictly reserved. In its present form this playis dedicated to the reading public only. All inquiries regarding thisplay should be addressed to Richard J. Madden Play Company, at 1501Broadway, New York, N. Y.

The non-professional acting rights of Beyond the Horizon arecontrolled exclusively by the Dramatists Play Service, Inc., 6 East 39thStreet, New York, N. Y., without whose permission in writing noperformance of it may be made.

Manufactured in the United States of America{11}


James Mayo, a farmer
Kate Mayo, his wife
Captain Dick Scott, of the bark Sunda, her brother
Andrew Mayo son of James Mayo
Robert Mayo son of James Mayo
Ruth Atkins
Mrs. Atkins, her widowed mother
Ben, a farm hand
Doctor Fawcett


SceneI: The Road. Sunset of a day in Spring.
Scene II: The Farm House. The same night.
(Three years later)
SceneI: The Farm House. Noon of a Summer day.
Scene II: The top of a hill on the farm overlooking the sea. The following day.
(Five years later)
SceneI: The Farm House. Dawn of a day in late Fall.
Scene II: The Road. Sunrise.





Scene One

A section of country highway. The road runs diagonally from the left,forward, to the right, rear, and can be seen in the distance windingtoward the horizon like a pale ribbon between the low, rolling hillswith their freshly plowed fields clearly divided from each other,checkerboard fashion, by the lines of stone walls and rough snakefences.

The forward triangle cut off by the road is a section of a field fromthe dark earth of which myriad bright-green blades of fall-sown rye aresprouting. A straggling line of piled rocks, too low to be called awall, separates this field from the road.

To the rear of the road is a ditch with a sloping, grassy bank on thefar side. From the center of this an old, gnarled apple tree, justbudding into leaf, strains its twisted branches heavenwards, blackagainst the pallor of distance. A snake-fence sidles from left to rightalong the top of the bank, passing beneath the apple tree.

The hushed twilight of a day in May is just beginning. The horizonhills are still rimmed by a faint line of flame, and the sky above themglows with the crimson flush of the sunset. This fades gradually as theaction of the scene progresses.

At the rise of the curtain, ROBERT MAYO is discovered sitting{16} on thefence. He is a tall, slender young man of twenty-three. There is a touchof the poet about him expressed in his high forehead and wide, darkeyes. His features are delicate and refined, leaning to weakness in themouth and chin. He is dressed in gray corduroy trousers pushed into highlaced boots, and a blue flannel shirt with a bright colored tie. He isreading a book by the fading sunset light. He shuts this, keeping afinger in to mark the place, and turns his head toward the horizon,gazing out over the fields and hills. His lips move as if he werereciting something to himself.

His brother ANDREW comes along the road from the right, returningfrom his work in the fields. He is twenty-seven years old, an oppositetype to ROBERThusky, sun-bronzed, handsome in a large-featured,manly fashion—a son of the soil, intelligent in a shrewd way, but withnothing of the intellectual about him. He wears overalls, leather boots,a gray flannel shirt open at the neck, and a soft, mud-stained hatpushed back on his head. He stops to talk to ROBERT, leaning on thehoe he carries.


ANDREW. (seeing ROBERT has not noticed his presence—in a loudshout) Hey there! (ROBERT turns with a start. Seeing who it is, hesmiles) Gosh, you do take the prize for daydreaming! And I see you’vetoted one of the old books along with you. (He crosses the ditch andsits on the fence near his brother) What is it this time—poetry, I’llbet. (He reaches for the book) Let me see.

ROBERT. (handing it to him rather reluctantly) Look out you don’t getit full of dirt.

ANDREW. (glancing at his hands) That isn’t dirt—i{17}t’s good cleanearth. (He turns over the pages. His eyes read something and he givesan exclamation of disgust) Hump! (With a provoking grin at his brotherhe reads aloud in a doleful, sing-song voice) “I have loved wind andlight and the bright sea. But holy and most sacred night, not as I loveand have loved thee.” (He hands the book back) Here! Take it and buryit. I suppose it’s that year in college gave you a liking for that kindof stuff. I’m darn glad I stopped at High School, or maybe I’d beencrazy too. (He grins and slaps ROBERT on the back affectionately)Imagine me reading poetry and plowing at the same time! The team’d runaway, I’ll bet.

ROBERT. (laughing) Or picture me plowing.

ANDREW. You should have gone back to college last fall, like I know youwanted to. You’re fitted for that sort of thing—just as I ain’t.

ROBERT. You know why I didn’t go back, Andy. Pa didn’t like the idea,even if he didn’t say so; and I know he wanted the money to useimproving the farm. And besides, I’m not keen on being a student, justbecause you see me reading books all the time. What I want to do now iskeep on moving so that I won’t take root in any one place.

ANDREW. Well, the trip you’re leaving on tomorrow will keep you movingall right. (At this mention of the trip they both fall silent. There isa pause. Finally ANDREW goes on, awkwardly, attempting to speakcasually) Uncle says you’ll be gone three years.

ROBERT. About that, he figures.

ANDREW. (moodily) That’s a long time.

ROBERT. Not so long when you come to consider it. You{18} know the Sundasails around the Horn for Yokohama first, and that’s a long voyage on asailing ship; and if we go to any of the other places Uncle Dickmentions—India, or Australia, or South Africa, or SouthAmerica—they’ll be long voyages, too.

ANDREW. You can have all those foreign parts for all of me. (After apause) Ma’s going to miss you a lot, Rob.

ROBERT. Yes—and I’ll miss her.

ANDREW. And Pa ain’t feeling none too happy to have you go—though he’sbeen trying not to show it.

ROBERT. I can see how he feels.

ANDREW. And you can bet that I’m not giving any cheers about it. (Heputs one hand on the fence near ROBERT).

ROBERT. (putting one hand on top of ANDREW’S with a gesture almost ofshyness) I know that, too, Andy.

ANDREW. I’ll miss you as much as anybody, I guess. You see, you and Iain’t like most brothers—always fighting and separated a lot of thetime, while we’ve always been together—just the two of us. It’sdifferent with us. That’s why it hits so hard, I guess.

ROBERT. (with feeling) It’s just as hard for me, Andy—believe that! Ihate to leave you and the old folks—but—I feel I’ve got to. There’ssomething calling me—— (He points to the horizon) Oh, I can’t justexplain it to you, Andy.

ANDREW. No need to, Rob. (Angry at himself) Hell! You want togo—that’s all there is to it; and I wouldn’t have you miss this chancefor the world.

ROBERT. It’s fine of you to feel that way, Andy.

ANDREW. Huh! I’d be a nice son-of-a-gun if I didn’t, wouldn’t I? When Iknow how you need this sea trip to{19} make a new man of you—in the body,I mean—and give you your full health back.

ROBERT. (a trifle impatiently) All of you seem to keep harping on myhealth. You were so used to seeing me lying around the house in the olddays that you never will get over the notion that I’m a chronic invalid.You don’t realize how I’ve bucked up in the past few years. If I had noother excuse for going on Uncle Dick’s ship but just my health, I’d stayright here and start in plowing.

ANDREW. Can’t be done. Farming ain’t your nature. There’s all thedifference shown in just the way us two feel about the farm. You—well,you like the home part of it, I expect; but as a place to work and growthings, you hate it. Ain’t that right?

ROBERT. Yes, I suppose it is. For you it’s different. You’re a Mayothrough and through. You’re wedded to the soil. You’re as much a productof it as an ear of corn is, or a tree. Father is the same. This farm ishis life-work, and he’s happy in knowing that another Mayo, inspired bythe same love, will take up the work where he leaves off. I canunderstand your attitude, and Pa’s; and I think it’s wonderful andsincere. But I—well, I’m not made that way.

ANDREW. No, you ain’t; but when it comes to understanding, I guess Irealize that you’ve got your own angle of looking at things.

ROBERT. (musingly) I wonder if you do, really.

ANDREW. (confidently) Sure I do. You’ve seen a bit of the world,enough to make the farm seem small, and you’ve got the itch to see itall.

ROBERT. It’s more than that, Andy.{20}

ANDREW. Oh, of course. I know you’re going to learn navigation, and allabout a ship, so’s you can be an officer. That’s natural, too. There’sfair pay in it, I expect, when you consider that you’ve always got ahome and grub thrown in; and if you’re set on traveling, you can goanywhere you’re a mind to without paying fare.

ROBERT. (with a smile that is half sad) It’s more than that, Andy.

ANDREW. Sure it is. There’s always a chance of a good thing coming yourway in some of those foreign ports or other. I’ve heard there are greatopportunities for a young fellow with his eyes open in some of those newcountries that are just being opened up. (Jovially) I’ll bet that’swhat you’ve been turning over in your mind under all your quietness!(He slaps his brother on the back with a laugh) Well, if you get to bea millionaire all of a sudden, call ’round once in a while and I’ll passthe plate to you. We could use a lot of money right here on the farmwithout hurting it any.

ROBERT. (forced to laugh) I’ve never considered that practical side ofit for a minute, Andy.

ANDREW. Well, you ought to.


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