Sunday, 18 December 2016

Anita's secret or Christmas in the Steerage (2)

Part 1     -     Part 2    -     Part 3     -     Part 4     -     Part 5


Music swells louder. Anita dances in from L., all sing as she dances around, waving her tambourine.
All (singing to tune of the "Opening Song").

We're sailing to America,
Away across the sea,

We're happy little immigrants,

Our hearts are light and free.

Then clap, clap, clap together,
(All skip around.)
Clap, clap away;

The steerage is a happy place—

Tomorrow's Christmas Day.
Anita (comes forward to C. surrounded by the others). Oh, I've just had the grandest time. It was so superb, magnificent, sublime! (Extends arms in ecstasy.) I have-a been at the leetla window watching the great, grand, magnificent ocean. It was all so blue and so green and so purple—and the sinking sun is all shining on the great-a, beeg waves, like-a sparkling diamonds. (Use elaborate gestures at all times.) And me, the poor, leetla Italian girl, gets to see all this great-a, grand-a ocean. It is superb, magnificent, sublime! Ah, I am so happy, I could sing and dance and kees everybody on the great-a, grand-a earth!

Meeny (at L.). Vot makes you so happy, Anita? Maybe I'd be happy yet also, if I didn't get seasick once in a while.

Anita. What makes me so happy, Meeny? It's the sun and the waves, and the sunlight shining like diamonds on the great-a, grand-a ocean. Are you not also happy, Biddy Mary?

Biddy Mary (standing by Anita). I am not. Sure, I niver do be having time to be seeing diamonds on the great big waves. I have to be hard at work, so I do, peeling the praties for our Christmas breakfast.

Anita. I watched the great-a red sun as he began to sink, sink, sink way down in the ocean. And the beeg-a waves got more beeg and more beeg and on top of them I saw long white lace fringe. The green silk waves were all-a trimmed with white lace fringe. And sometimes I think I see the leetla mermaid fairies dancing in the foam. Leetla green and white mermaids with the long long-a hair.

Tomasso (at R.). You make-a me seek, Anita. There is-a no such things as fairies.

Anita. But I love to think there is. It is a great, grand-a pleasure just to think there is. Is it not, Meeny?

Meeny (stolidly). Oh, sure.

Anita. And that is why we should all be so verra, verra happy. We can think such-a lovely things. The poor leetla children at-a home, pouf! They cannot think such things, because they have never seen such a great, beeg-a ship, or such a great, beeg-a ocean—

Sergius. Or a whale.

Paddy Mike. Or a sailor man.

Hulda. Or a nice little steerage bed built just like a shelf in the wall.

Tomasso. Or the great beeg-a engine that makes the ship go.

Meeny. Or the tons and tons of coal vay down deep by the cellar.

Sergius (mocking her). Way down deep by the cellar! Whoever heard of a cellar on board of a ship? You mean—down in the hatch.

Meeny. Hatch? Vot is dot hatch? Dis ain't a chicken, it's a boat. (All laugh.)

Klinker (takes Schwillie by the hand and goes to Anita). Anita, we want to ask you a question.

Anita. Well, and what is the question of the leetla Dutch twins?

Schwillie. Tonight is the night before Christmas.

Klinker. Und we want to know if the good Saint Nicholas is coming tonight.

Anita. I don't know. You see it would be a great beeg-a, long-a trip way out here on the ocean.

Klinker (half crying). But I want him to come. I've been a awful good boy, isn't I, Schwillie Willie Winkum?

Schwillie. Sure, you is. Und me also, ain't I, Klinker?

Anita. If you have both been verra, verra good I think that maybe the good Saint will come. (Looks around.) Have you all been verra, verra good?

Others. Yes, all of us.

Hans. We're always very, very good at Christmas time.

Ah Goo. Me velly, velly good.

Anita (points off R.). See, way up there on the upper deck, are the rich, grand-a ladies and gentlemen coming out from the great, beeg-a dining-room. If you go and stand under the hole maybe they'll throw you some oranges or candy. They're awful nice peoples on the upper deck.

Meeny. Let's all go right away quick. Maybe we'll get some oranges und candy.

Klinker. Oh, how I do love oranges und candy, don't I, Schwillie Willie Winkum?

Schwillie. Sure, und me also, don't I, Klinker?

To be continued


  1. What a sweet chapter..
    Think, Han, How Little thing can make us happy..

    Mona Lisa

    1. Clap, clap, clap away, Mona Lisa.
      That's happiness.


  2. I agree,'s the little things that can make us so happy.

    Hugs and blessings...Cat


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