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Page 142 text:
124 THE B1frT1sR Roor g
CLARA: I ain't a-goin', I tell yer! fS0bs.j
IVAN: But Why not? Ain't yer packed?
CLARA: I don 't care! I hain't agoin'!
MRS. XVEST: But think how much you would be pleasin' me.
CLARA: I have. Oh, I hate to think!
IVAN: But yer got that there new gingham dress.
MR. VVEST: But think, yer can learn to read and write.
IVAN: Yer could come home and read to me.
MRS. THOMPSON: But, my dear child. You can come back often and you
can soon become Well and strong.
IVAN: I'll take care of yer spotted calf so yer can go.
CLARA: But ma is sickly and pa can't afford ter hire anyone ter help
him. The crop will spoil. Someone's got ter make our clothin' and ma 's sight
is mighty poor.
MRS. VVEST: But I can get someone to run in an' help me.
CLARA: VVho'll yer get ter help yer?
MRS. IVEST: VVhy, there is a-um-um-
CLARA: No, ma, it won't do: no one will help yer and who'll pa get ter
MR.. WEs'1': XVhy, I'1l get Tom Jones.
CLARA: IVho'll feed him?
MR. VVEST: Why, yer ma, course.
CLARA: She a.in't Well, she should be in bed this here very minute: look
MRS. THOMPSON: Yes, but, dear, she will be able to come and live with
CLARA: Mrs. Thompson, yer mean good. but don 't yer see I ean't leaVe
MRS. THOMPSON: Yes, but think, Clara! The thought of you learning
to be someone, to have better things than these, to be cultured, will help your
MRS. VVEST: Yes, Clara, don't you see?
IVAN: Yes, and, Clara, if yer don't go. Illl not get to come ter see yer.
CLARA: I'm sorry, but I'm not goin'.
MR. WEs'r: Come, now, Mrs. Thompson here 's planned on yer goin '. So
hurry and get ready.
CLARA: No, pa, I'n1 not goin', ma needs me: you and Ivan needs me.
No, I'll stay home.
MRS. WEsT: It's true, but no. Go! Go now, or else l'll want yer ter
stay. It's jest 1ny old selfish body that cries out to you. Go! Fulfill my
dreams. Plans I wanted to do and had planned on carrying out, but I failed,
miserably failed. Go, it 's your chance. You must go!
CLARA: No, ma, I can't.
MRS. XVEST: Oh, Clara, please!
Page 141 text:
THE BITTER ROOT 123
MRS. VVEs'r: Yes, go On.
MR. IVEST: Yer know Dr. IIuston and me were talkin'?
MRS. XVEST: Yes. Yes.
MR. NVEs'r: IVell he was a tellin, me that if Clara didn 't stop work, she
couldnyt live more 'n a year on account O' her heart.
MRS. NVEs'r: Oh Sam! fSobs for long timej
MR. XVESF: IVell, now she is a leavin', he thinks maybe as how she will
live from two ter five years.
MRS. XVEST: But, Sam, I'1l not have my baby! I won't be with her all
the time she will live. I'll be way down in this God forsaken country when it
is time for her to be called to her eternal home. My baby! My baby! O God!
O God! Sam! Sam! Help me, O God! Help me! fWaIlus up and down the
stage in n -freneyj Sam. Sam, I can't stand it!
MR. IVEs'r: There, there, don't yer cry! COIIIG, let 's go out into the air.
fills they go out, CLARA comes -in. She is I1 ummizz-g to herself. Size dances
around the room, but .wurldevzly she stops and breathes lmrd. She sinlfs in fl
CLARA: lt jest seems like as if I could hardly breathe.
fIVAN comes z"n.j
IVAN: NVhat fer yer settin' there fer? Ol' lady Thompson will be here
fer yer pretty soon.
CLARA: I'll get her ter let yer ride in the car Over to DaVid's and yer
can walk back.
IVAN: IVill yer, honest? NO. I wOuldn't ride in her old car if I was
dyin' and had broke my arm.
CLARA: Please don 't be so mean.
IVAN ITU elzcmge the subjeetj : I'll tell the Sunday school teacher yer can tt
be her angel in the play and she can get some one else. But they won't be so
good as you. Are yer sorry fer to leave me?
CLARA: Yuh, I am KSObs.j
IVAN: Don't yer cry again. If yer won 't, I'll let yer have my new hound
dog. I'll go get it now. I'm goin' fGoes ou-tj
CLARA: I guess I better not go. But I want to go so bad. If I went, I
could learn how to do something and they could come and live with me and
Ivan could go to school and learn how ter do something, and we could keep
pa and ma when they got old. But I guess I better stay ter home cause I am
too dumb to learn how to do anything, and pa would never leave this ol' coun-
tryg so I better stay to home. '
KA noise 'is heard outside. MRS. THOMPSON, MRS. WEST, MR. WEST, and
IVAN all enteixj
MRS. THOMPSON: Oh, Clara, dear, are you ready?
MRS. WEST: Yer ain't fergit that there gingham, have you? K Looks at
CLARA and sobs.j
IVAN: Yer got that popcorn I gived yer, ain't yer?
CLARA: Stop! I ain't a-goin'!
Page 143 text:
THE BITTER ROOT 125
MRs. THoMPsON: Come, child, I'l1 be able to help you so much. I lost my
daughter when she was just a little baby. I need you.
CLARA: You say you need me? You lost your child, you are tryin' to
rob poor ma of me.
Mus. THOMPSON: No! No!
MRS. IVEST: It only fer yer own good, Clara, ainlt it, Mrs. Thompson?
Mics. THoMPsoN: Yes. of course.
IVAN: You can bet I'd go!
CLARA: I'm not a-goinl It wouldn't be playin' the game. and it ain't
only yer that needs me, but it 's me needin' you. Oh, ma, don 't send me away,
don 't make 1ne go! Ivan, who 'll work with you like I do? You don't want
me to go away do yer?
IVAN: Of course not, but-
CLARA: Ma, you want me to stay home and help yer and loVe yer. Yer
don 't want me ter go off where I ainlt a knowin' no one and where Ilin lone-
some. XO one will be there fer me to go ter and get comforted, and when yer
sick, whO'll clean the house 4? Who 'll give yer water and love yer? Who? I
ask you, who?
IVAN: I'll loVe he1'.
CLARA: Yes, dear, but sometimes it takes more than just love.
MRs. lVEs'1': Clara, we'll manage ter get along some how, yer best ter go.
CLARA: No. I don't want to. Pa, who 'll care fer the crops when yer get
sick like yer did last summer? Who 'll help yer? No, I best stay ter home.
MRs. THOMPSON! VVell, child, you know best, I suppose, but I do wish
you would go home with me. Are you sure you won't be sorry?
CLARA: I'm sure. KMR. and MRs. XVEST cryj
MRS. VVEsT: Oh, Clara. I'n1 so glad, and yet so sad!
IVAN: Yer can still be the Sunday school angel.
Mies. THOMPSON: NVell, child, I suppose you know best, but I do wish you
would come home with me.
CLARA: No, I canlt go with you. But I do want the rest of you to go to
the gate with her.
KTIIRU all leave except CLARA. She goes over aozvcl kneels by the trunkj
Dear God. I planned and did so want to go, but they needed me!
ZW' I X ff f
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