Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Anita's secret or Christmas in the Steerage (4)

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


Enter Tomasso from R., carrying violin.
Tomasso. Anita, if you don't hurry you'll not get any supper at all. It's most eight o'clock.

Anita. Oh, I don't care for supper, Tomasso. I could-a not eat. I'm too much excited to eat.

Tomasso. What make-a you so excited, Anita?

Anita. Why, tonight—(pauses as she remembers her promise) Oh, that I cannot tell; it's a secret.

Tomasso. What is the secret?

Anita. If I told-a you, Tomasso, then it would no longer be a secret.

Tomasso. You should-a not have the secrets from me, Anita. I am your cousin, also—I am the head of the family.

Anita. But I made the promise not to tell.

Tomasso. Who you make-a the promise to?

Anita. I promised Jack—(hesitates) I mean, I make-a de promise to someone.

Tomasso. To Jack! Who is this-a Jack, Anita?

Anita. That is part of the secret. Listen, Tomasso, tomorrow morning you shall know everything. Early in the morning shall I tell-a you my secret. That will be my Christmas present to you.

Tomasso. All right. I'll wait. Oh, see, Anita, the moon is coming up. (Points to L.) Just like-a big, round-a silver ball.

Anita. Let us stay here and watch the moon, Tomasso.

Tomasso. You'd better go and get your supper. Those leetla Dutch twins are eating everything on the table. I think they'd eat the table itself if it was-a not nailed to the deck. Hurry, Anita!

Anita. I go. (Crosses to door at R., then turns toward him). It's a awful good-a secret, Tomasso. (Laughs and runs out at R.)

Tomasso (looks off L.). Ah, the great, grand-a lady moon. She looks at me, I look at her. Maybe she'll like a leetla serenade.
(Simple violin solo by Tomasso, accompanied by hidden organ or piano. After he has been playing sometime, the other children come softly in from the R. and group around the stage. Note: If possible, get a boy for Tomasso's part who can play the violin; if not, introduce a song at this point. "Santa Lucia," found in most school collections, would prove effective either as a vocal solo or as a violin solo.)
Biddy Mary. Sure, that's beautiful. It takes me back again to dear ould Ireland where the River Shannon flows.

Hulda. What do you do in Ireland the night before Christmas, Biddy Mary?

Meeny. Do you have a Christmas tree like we do in Germany?

Biddy Mary. We do not. We don't have any tree at all, at all.

Paddy Mike. And we don't get many presents. But it's a fine time we have for all that. Instead of getting presents, we have the fun of giving presents—and that's the finest thing in all the world, so it is, to make the other fellow happy. Sure, I just love to give presents.

Klinker. You can give me some if you want to.

Schwillie. Und me also some.

Biddy Mary. But where would we be getting presents out here in the middle of the ocean? In dear ould Ireland sure it's a fine time we're after having on Christmas Day.

Paddy Mike. It is that. With the fiddles playing and the dancers dancing and the fine suppers upon the table.

Sergius. In Russia we always set a table in front of the window and put a fine linen cloth on it. (Produces white lace-edged cloth.) Here is the cloth, but we have no window.

Hulda. Here, use this box as a table. (Indicates a large box at rear C.) Now, let us put the cloth on, so! (Hulda and Sergius put cloth on the box.)

Biddy Mary. The night before Christmas we always put a big candle, all gay with ribbons, in the window to welcome the Christ child.

Paddy Mike. Here is the candle. (Places it on box at rear C.) Now I'll light it. (Lights candle.)

Tomasso. We do that also in Italy. And we put a leetla picture of the Christ child on the table. (Puts colored picture of Madonna and Child back of the candle.)

Biddy Mary. On Christmas Day it's the fine old tales we're after hearing in Ireland, all about the wonderful star that shone so bright that it turned night into day, and led the Wise Men all the way to where a little Babe in the manger lay.

Paddy Mike. And all the angels sang above of peace on earth, good will and love.

Biddy Mary.
The shepherds wandering on the hill,
Beheld the star and followed till
They saw the Child and heard the song,
The angels sang the whole night long.
Sergius. May the spirit of Christmas enter every heart tonight, making all the world one big, happy family, no rich, no poor, no high, no low, all brothers and sisters, all children of the Lord on high!

Meeny. Maybe good old Santa Claus will come after all. Vell, if he does I want to be ready for him. (Produces two very large red stockings, made for the occasion.) Come, Yakob and Hans and Mieze, let us hang up our stockings here under the burning candle. (They hang up the four pair of stockings.)

Neelda (places a wreath of holly on the table). Christ was born on the Christmas Day, wreathe the holly, twine the bay! Light and Life and Joy is He, the Babe, the Son, the Holy One of Mary!
Tomasso. Meeny and Yakob and Hans and leetla Mieze have hung up their stockings for the good-a Saint Nicholas, but in Italy we set out our shoes, so! And we always get them full of presents. (Places small pair of wooden shoes on table.)

Meeny. I like stockings much better than shoes already, because the stockings can stretch yet, und if they stretch real, real wide out maybe we can get a baby piano or a automobile in our stockings. Jah, stockings is mooch better als shoes.

Hulda. Here is my beautiful star. (Produces tinsel star.) That will remind us of the Star of Bethlehem that led the three Wise Men across the hills and plains of Judea unto the little manger where, surrounded by cattle and oxen, amid the straw, the Lord of Heaven was born on Christmas Eve.

Schwillie. Und all the angels sang, "Peace on earth, good will to men," didn't they, Klinker?

Klinker. Und all the shepherds heard them, and they followed the star and came to the manger to see the little Baby.

Meeny. Let us all sit down here in front of the candle and the star, and see if old Santa Claus has forgotten us already. It's almost time for him to be coming. (All sit down.)

All (sing).

Hulda. Oh, I do hope Santa Claus will come and visit us tonight. But of course he cannot go every place. Some children have to be left out.

Klinker. Yes, that's so; but I hope it ain't us. Don't you, Schwillie Willie Winkum?

Schwillie. Sure, I do. I wish old Santa would hurry up and come, 'cause the old Sandman is here already. I'm getting awful sleepy.

Klinker. Me—I'm getting awful sleepy, too. (Stretches and yawns.)

Tomasso. I wonder what has become of Anita? She said she had a wonderful secret that was-a verra, verra grand.

Meeny. A secret, Tomasso? (Goes to him.)

Tomasso (standing at C.). Yes, a great, beeg, grand-a secret.

Biddy Mary (goes to him and takes his L. arm). Oh, what is it, Tomasso?

Meeny (taking his R. arm). Yes, Tomasso, tell us vot it is already.

Biddy Mary (turning Tomasso around to face her). Sure, if there's anything on earth I do love, it's a secret.

Hulda (and the other girls, surrounding Tomasso). Yes, Tomasso, tell us the secret; we'll never tell anyone.

Meeny (pulling him around to face her). Sure we won't. Nice Tomasso, tell us vot it is yet.
Tomasso (hesitates). Well, I——

Biddy Mary (pulling him around to face her). Now, you tell me, Tomasso. I never tell any secrets at all, at all.

Tomasso. Well, I——

Meeny (pulls him around again). If you're going to tell it, I want to hear every word. I never want to miss noddings no times.

Biddy Mary (pulls him back). Neither do I.

Hulda. Neither do I.

Meeny. Neither do any of us.

Klinker. I don't want to miss nothing neither.

Schwillie. No, und I don't neither.

All. Now, what is the secret, Tomasso?

Tomasso (loudly). It is not my secret. It is Anita's secret.

All. Well, what is Anita's secret.

Tomasso. She wouldn't tell me.

All (turn away very much disappointed). Oh!

Tomasso. She's promised to tell us all in the morning. She said that would be her Christmas present to us—to tell us the secret. (All sit or recline around the stage. Lower the lights.)

Sergius. It seems so strange to spend Christmas Eve away out here in the middle of the ocean.

Klinker (almost asleep). Wake me up, Hulda, just as soon as Santa Claus comes.

Biddy Mary (at R.). Sure I think the Sandman has been after spillin' sand in all of our eyes. I'm that sleepy I can't say a word at all, at all.

Sano San. They're putting out all the lights. Here, Sergius, hang my little lantern in front of the candle.

Ah Goo. Allee samee hang mine. (Sano San and Ah Goo each give their lanterns to Sergius, who lights them and hangs them on the table. Note: Nails must be put in the table at R. and L. corners facing front for these lanterns.)

Sergius. I'm going to stretch out here and take a little nap. (Reclines on floor.) Be sure and wake me up, Hulda, just as soon as you hear the bells on his reindeer.

Tomasso (yawns). I wonder what has become of Anita?

Hulda (stretches). I believe I'm getting sleepy, too.

Others. So are all of us.

Biddy Mary. We're all noddin', nid, nid noddin', sure I think it's time we were all of us fast asleep.

All (sing sleepily).

(Transcriber's Note: Two musical errors, both in the last bar, the second G in the treble staff should be natural; and the second B in the bass staff should be a C. In the lyrics, the word "So" in bar 6 should probably be "To.")


  1. Such a sweet story...looking forward to the next chapter. Thank you Han.

    Hugs and blessings...Cat

  2. "Instead of getting presents, we have the fun of giving presents—and that's the finest thing in all the world, so it is, to make the other fellow happy."
    Wonderful story .

    Mona Lisa
    can't wait to tomorrow ..


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