St. Nicholas

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The Sausage Maker's Interlude

by Henri Ghéon, with adaptations

Large Machine, Devil, St Nicolas

A miracle play written by a Frenchman in the late 1940's and worthy of reconsideration for our own time. Although this is a tale adapted from some of the legends about St. Nicholas, and can be read at any time of the year, it is a perfect group reading or play to be produced during Advent in church groups looking for ways to reconsider that season and the great figure, Nicholas. It is also a delightful commentary on the technologies that possess us . . . or on the wars for which we need to turn the wheels in reverse. The play gives plenty of room for creative additions, editing, cutting, updating, corrections and interpretations.

When the teens in our parish produced this play, they made a huge mechanical monster full of levers, lights, noises (all recorded from household appliances) with a great lion's maw at one end. At the other end, under the lever-tail, yards of sausages emerged (nylon hosiery, stuffed and tied at intervals). It made an impression and its lessons have stayed with some of the stars in that production! We renamed the play: In the Nick of Time
        —Gertrud Mueller Nelson

Characters

Creon, the sausage maker
Celesta, his wife
Nicolas, their bishop
The Devil
Three Ragamuffins
A Gentleman, part of the crowd
A Lady, part of the crowd
The Property Man

Scene: A county fair at Myra. In the middle of the scene the booth of a sausage maker of the fair: that is to say, a counter draped in white muslin with a display of various pork products, also a bouquet of asters and dahlias. Above, a band of muslin with the words "Machine-made Sausage." Left and right, two curtains; on the left, a sign, "Free tables for our customers." Showing on the right, an enormous wheel, cogged, which turns at will. If you lift the curtain, the whole machine appears with a large tub beneath it.

Music of a fair: the curtain opens, showing the butcher and his wife behind their counter, the butcher standing, his wife sitting, both ruddy, fat, immovable.

Enter from the left, the Property Man.

Property Man: Everyone talks of war, so . . . let's take a turn around the fair. And however it seems to you . . . they're not so far apart! I've noticed, ladies and gentlemen, and you must have noticed yourselves . . . that because the world is the world, since the fall of Adam, at least, as soon as there's no longer war, we have a fair . . . as soon as there's no longer a fair, we have a war. A fair leads to war, and a war leads to a fair again . . . and when one has fought for profit and pleasures, one wants so much to make money and have a good time that one begins to fight all over again. And the further one goes, the further the other goes, and, with all our machines helping, the one follows the other so close you can no longer tell them apart.

A Voice [behind him]: So much the better!

Property Man: Just open a tabloid [he waves one]. Parties, society news, political chicanery . . . Is this war? Is it a fair? Really! What a stupid mess. Such is the law that has operated through the centuries, such is the dance of our destinies . . . such is the final end of Historical Materialism—and it is also a fact of history that man by his own efforts can't break the vicious circle.

The Voice: You think so?

Large Machine

Property Man[annoyed]: I'm sure of it, sir. To illustrate this idea, just consider Creon, the sausage maker, whose counter stands here in the open air at the fair ground of Myra. He's a man like all others, honest, even sensitive, who loves his trade, a trade which, everything considered, is honorable . . . . Look! He's smiling at you; he greets you. [Creon smiles, bows.] And his wife shows you even greater courtesy. [She does. PROPERTY MAN bows to her.] My compliments. [Continuing.] Now you shall see how the love of his trade, exaggerated and perverted by the devil, insinuates into this man the spirit of the fair; how the spirit of the fair quickly engenders the spirit of war and brings this specialist in blood puddings to such a dire extent only a miracle can save him. For, to show you the root of my thought, if it is indeed true that man can't get himself out of this mess alone . . . he is not alone . . . and this play will prove it. [Crossing and recrossing the stage and clapping his hands.] To the Fair! To the Fair! Three miles of it, fried fish, peppermint drops, shooting galleries, ponies, roller-coasters, human passions . . . gin, fortunetellers, menageries, panoramas . . . sea-monsters, human monsters, lemonade, wax figures, sirens, organs, cymbals, and cornets—and not forgetting the fairy tale for the children—[a roll of a big drum.] vying with each other in vigor and obstinacy, monotony and dissonance. Cattle market and flea market, old-iron market and ham market . . . fair of false appearances and fair of agitation . . . for three miles, everything is for sale, everything is to be bought, everything to try on and everything to get dirty, and the trampling of the city people and of the country folk raises such a thick dust that it blots out the sun. [At this moment "the crowd," a man and a woman begin to move back and forth across the proscenium. They pass each other, disappear, reappear in different hats and walking in a different manner, several times.] What a crowd! What a crowd! Good day, sir! Good day, madame!

Celesta: A little meat-pie for the gentleman? A little meat-pie for the lady?

Property Man: What a crowd! What a crowd! [In passing, the gentleman jostles him.] I ought to get out of the way. [He goes left and leans against a signpost.] All these people are good Christians, never doubt it; beginning with the sausage maker and his wife. But they need to be taken in hand . . . and, just now, Monsieur Nicolas, their bishop, who has a thousand reasons to worry about their pleasures, is obliged to be away at a theological meeting. If he is not there to watch over his flock, the devil will replace him.

Devil

The Devil [under the counter, sticking out his head]: You said it.

Property Man [going to him]: Ah, it's you then. I was right, wasn't I? [He shakes hands with him.] What are you doing under the counter?

Devil: I'm listening to you.

Property Man [going to seat himself]: I've finished. [Roll of a big drum, off stage. The two strollers reappear and go towards the butcher's counter. Celesta gets up; the butcher doesn't move.]

Celesta [obsequiously]: Good day, sir; good day, madame. A fine afternoon, sir; a fine afternoon, madame. It's good luck for the fair and brings out a crowd. Yes, indeed! Oh yes, indeed! It's a fine afternoon. [The two customers nod.]
The jellied chicken is just fresh, sir. The blood sausage is still warm, madame. A little salami? Five slices of sausage? With garlic or without garlic? Without garlic for Monsieur so as not to displease Madame . . . . Ah! Madame and Monsieur are not together! Pardon me! And what else? Some head cheese or spiced veal? Like that? An assortment, that's it . . . what one calls a garnished plate . . . with a little cucumber pickle, a little of the meat jelly? There you are, sir! Here you are, madame! Everything is fresh . . . everything's fresh in our shop. Besides everything is made in the right way. By a machine, sir! By a machine, madame. Yes, you see our big wheel. [She points to the wheel.] Explain it, Casimir, to this lady and gentleman while I do up their packages.

Creon [raising the curtain]: The pig goes in at one end, the finished products come out the other. There you are!

Gentleman: Marvelous!

Lady: Marvelous!

Devil [under the table]: That's progress.

Gentleman and Lady: That's progress.

Creon: There you are. [He drops the curtain.]

Property Man: How many pigs do you transform in a day, if you please?

Celesta: Twenty-four: two dozen.

Creon: One could put through three dozen, if one worked the machine hard.

Celesta: Oh, in theory, my dear.

Creon: In theory and in practice. If one wanted to do it, one could. And if one could, one should.

Gentleman: That's a magnificent idea!

Lady: Magnificent!

Celesta: Anything more, sir? Anything more, madame? That will be all for today, sir? That will be all for today, madame? A little string? You could eat here; all you need is to bring your drink. Six francs and eleven sous. Thank you, sir! Three francs less four sous . . . I thank you, madame. Yes, it's truly a lovely day. It's good luck for the fair and it brings out a crowd. You are very kind, sir! You are very kind, madame. Ah! the fair isn't over . . . Thank you . . . Thank you . . . Good evening! Good evening! [Gentleman goes out right; lady, left. A brief pause.]

Creon: [gloomily]. Celesta, how do we stand?

Celesta: I don't know, my dear.

Creon: How do we stand?

Celesta: Not quite at the end of our stock, but almost.

Creon: And after that?

Celesta: After that everything will be cleaned up before night, and we can go back to the village earlier.

Creon: Satisfied?

Celesta: Satisfied.

Creon: Hush! [To the Property Man .] You down there, what time is it?

Property Man: Half-past five by the sun-dial.

Creon: Thank you very much. [To his wife.] You hear? The side-shows are going full swing. In the memory of man there have never been so many people jamming the fair grounds, gaping at all the shows, their eyes and their minds full. But the stomach, madame, the stomach? No matter whether they come out of the freak houses or from seeing the bearded woman, the animated silhouettes, the famous comedy of the Two Bears, or the drama of the false doctor strangled by his lawyer, these people will come out with empty stomachs. They'll be hungry, terribly hungry. What shall we give this crowd to devour?

Celesta: Whatever we have left, my dear.

Creon: What have we left?

Celesta: I don't know, enough to complete the day's business.

Creon: To complete it? Dear heart! There isn't a day's business one can boast of as being perfect. It's always possible to sell more than one sells and to put more in the cash drawer than one has put there. Why else all your flourishes and smiles and winks? [He mimics her.] And with this, sir . . . and with that, madame [Continuing.] If it isn't to sell and to put more and more into the till? Take that pencil that you wear behind your ear so jauntily and write this problem on your cuff: "If from eight o'clock in the morning to five-thirty in the evening we have furnished the public with the meat of so many pigs, how many should we have, to supply them from five-thirty to twelve-thirty?"

Celesta: That doesn't get us anywhere.

Creon: Write it.

Celesta: I won't write it. I'm a tradeswoman, true enough, and I do everything that's necessary to sell my goods. But when I've no longer anything to sell, I take note of it; and I go home. I'm no longer the beautiful butcher's wife, Celesta; I stop my winks and my welcoming gestures and my smiles. I've worked at my trade and received my just due: I don't want to think any more about it. I take a rest.

Creon: And I, I want to know exactly how much profit we fail to make this evening, how much the Machine would have been able to produce, which it will not produce. By whose fault? By my wife's . . . [a pause]. Shrug your shoulders. That's it. Or cry a bit, that's better still. I'll soon give you more reason to cry. I've made a vow and I shall hold to it. Because Madame the Sausage Maker has old-fashioned prejudices about business and thinks to attract the public with her smiles and a bunch of flowers . . . because she's jealous of my machine even to the point of accusing it of making the sausage taste bad. [To the Property Man .] Taste that, sir. [He tosses him a piece of sausage.] Does that taste of the metal?

Property Man: [tasting it]. It tastes of pepper.

Creon: Because Madame, my wife, while she was curling her hair for that elaborate coiffure, decided in her little brain that two dozen pigs would he enough to carry us through the fair instead of three . . . and God knows how I fought to get even the two dozen . . . here I am at half-past five, on a heavenly afternoon, a sausage maker without sausage, a pork-butcher without any pork, in the face of fifty thousand hungry people who ought to be my customers. Yes or no, did you hold me down to slaughtering only twenty-four pigs, madame?

Celesta: Without this infernal machine, that would have been more than you could prepare.

Creon: Bless my soul . . . you were not unaware that this machine existed and demanded an increase in the allowance of raw materials?

Celesta: We produced less formerly, and I never saw our customers complain of it.

Creon: One has as many customers as one deserves! The more one gives them to eat, the more they eat. The more you produce for them, the more they stuff into themselves.

Celesta: But why do you always need to see your business expand? We have neither poor relatives nor hungry children of our own. We indulge our every whim. White cuffs and a pair of ear rings to do credit to the shop, to the customers, to the proprietor and to the Corporation, are all the smart clothes and jewelry I want. And your luxuries are hook-and-line fishing and a bottle of good wine. What good will it do us to have a few more francs in the bank?

Creon: [carried away]. To nourish the machine, to make the machine turn, to make the machine live and turn, faster and faster, more and more: to have other machines, to make them turn and live. To produce  . . . to produce! To produce! That's the slogan. I am no longer a knife-grinding pork-butcher, who produces to earn: I earn now, to produce. I am a pork-butcher, I am a producer and a super-producer . . . a sausage maker twenty times greater than before, now that I make this sausage machine turn. I have found myself and I exceed myself. I have found an object in life . . . a heaven, an ideal, whatever you wish; for I am a man of vision. So, I shall produce as much as I can produce . . . . And my customers will have to buy and eat all that I super-produce. Appetite will come to them. There you are. [A pause.] In the meantime, the machine is lifeless. [Finally.] Celesta, how do we stand? The inventory immediately!

Celesta [resigned]: Fifteen yards of blood pudding.

Devil [under the counter, taking notes on a sheet of paper]: Fifteen yards of blood pudding.

Celesta: Five pig's knuckles, twenty-three small sausages.

Devil: Twenty-three small sausages.

Celesta: Half a ham . . . half a jowl, a head cheese already cut.

Devil: Already cut.

Celesta: Five big garlic sausages and three without garlic.

Devil: Without garlic.

Celesta: Twelve pickled pig's feet . . . a pound of lard  . . . five pounds of sausage meat.

Devil: Sausage meat. [A pause.]

Creon: Celesta!

Celesta: That's all, my dear.

Creon: Then listen to me. On my honor as a pork-butcher, a butcher twenty more times a butcher than before, thanks to this machine, when we shall have sold the last inch of blood pudding and the last slice of jowl bacon, if the fair isn't over, if a single customer remains unsatisfied, then the machine which no longer turns but which was created to turn, will be put in motion. [He lifts the curtain, gloating over the wheel.] It's hungry, I shalt feed it. And do you know with what? With whom? Lacking a hog, it shall eat the swineherd. You! Yes! You!

Celesta [ terrified]: My dear!

Creon: I have spoken. Be quiet. Here comes some customers.

[Again the lady and gentleman of the crowd come and go. While they pass, the devil with the sheet of paper in his hand and an empty market basket on his arm, comes out from beneath counter, and runs to the Property Man.]

Devil: Mr. Property Man, I'm expecting several relatives this evening. Would you do me the kindness of taking this little order to the butcher shop over there? You can join me at the bearded lady's, where I shall be taking tea with the human serpent. Here is the money to pay and something for your trouble.

Property Man: You are generous.

Devil: And you are accommodating. I'll see you later. [He disappears to left.]

Property Man: I have an odd trade . . . but my curiosity is keen. Will he put his wife in the machine? I wager he will, I wager he won't. I just don't know. [He approaches the counter.]

Celesta: Good day, sir . . . and what may I do for you?

Property Man: First I need . . . fifteen yards of blood pudding.

Celesta: Oh! [She recovers herself.] It's nothing . . . nothing at all. And what else, with that, sir?

Property Man: Five pig's knuckles, twenty-three small sausages.

Celesta: Oh! And what else?

Property Man: A half a ham.

Celesta [aghast]: That's everything.

Property Man: However, here is the order written out.

Celesta: That's everything . . . everything! [She stares at the list wildly.]

Property Man: Don't You feel well?

Celesta: Oh, it's nothing. [To the butcher, showing him the list.] Must we sell everything?

Creon: Everything.

Property Man: Brrr. This butcher has an evil eye.

Celesta: I feel faint.

Creon: Swoon if you like, but wait on the gentleman: I'm waiting for you. [He whistles, crosses his arms and takes his place ostentatiously before the curtain masking the machine. His wife slowly clears the counter as she fills the basket.]

Property Man: Truly. Monsieur Creon, do you really intend to . . . to . . . [He nods at the wife.]

Creon: To what?

Property Man: But she's a woman.

Creon: And why should you meddle? Even if you are a man.

Property Man: All right! All right! Here's a thousand francs; I'm getting out of here. [He goes off to the left, terrified.]

Creon [leaping to seize his wife]: It's between the two of us now. I have sworn!

Celesta [imploring]: Casimir!

Creon: Between the two of us.

Celesta: I'll scream. [She escapes him.]

Creon: I'll gag you.

Celesta: Help! [Music of the Fair. Enter the Third Ragamuffin from the left: he starts to laugh seeing the struggle.]

Third: Come look at this. [The other two boys come in, laughing.]

The Three: Hi! Hi! Oh, what a fair! Oh, what a fair!

[Creon chases his wife around counter, knife in hand.]

First: What are they doing?

Second: It's a show.

Third: What sort of a show?

Second: There's writing on the streamer, but I can't read it.

Third: Nor I.

First: Nor I.

Second: Oh, what a fair!

The Three: He'll catch her . . . He won't catch her.  . . . [They laugh.]

Creon [stopping]: What do you want, over there?

First: We don't know.

Second: We don't care.

Third: We're walking about.

Creon: Who are you?

The Three: Three children . . . who went to glean in the fields.

First: And instead of gleaning . . . 

Second: We've come to the fair.

First: We broke our piggy-bank.

Third: And spent all our money.

Creon: And what have you seen at the fair?

First: Horses that went round and round.

Second: Pigs that went round, and round.

Third: Bicycles that went round and round.

Creon: Very good, but you haven't seen the great wheel that goes round and round, the wheel that makes sausage?

The Three: The wheel that makes sausage? No . . . No . . . show us!

Creon: There it is.

First: How do we get in to see it?

Creon: Free! You're invited. [They cluster around him.] How old are you, my pretty pigeons?

First: I'm twelve.

Second: I'm ten.

Third: I'm eight.

Creon: Ah, yes, you are big for your age. [He pats the third on the back.]

First: I'm growing up.

Creon [feeling his arm]: Not too lean.

Second: Oh, we eat well.

Creon: [poking the second in the ribs] and tender.

Third: Would you like to buy us as if we were little pigs?
[They laugh.]

Creon: So you wish to see the great wheel?

The Three: Yes . . . yes . . . yes . . . sir.

Celesta: What are you going to do, Casimir?

Creon [aside, furiously]: They or you. Choose!

Celesta: I can't choose myself . . . I'm too cowardly.
[She sinks down on the counter, her face hidden in her hands.]

Creon [to the children, beckoning them back of the counter]: Come in, my sweet pigeons, don't be afraid.

The Three: Oh what a fair!. What a show! [They disappear with the butcher, behind the curtain which masks the wheel. A silence, then three cries.]
Stop! Stop! Stop!
[And the wheel is seen to begin to turn. Re-enter the Property Man .]

Property Man: What's that?

Creon [sticking his head out]: The pig squealing.

Property Man [discovering Celesta]: Ah, you're not dead .

Celesta: I wish that I were, my friend.

Property Man: So the proprietor found a pig.

Celesta: I . . . I suppose so.

Property Man: The wheel's turning.

Celesta: Yes . . . the wheel's turning.

The Devil [under the table]: Hi! Hi! Hi! Well played! Four souls at one stroke.

Property Man: Well! You've come back there, then? You like it under that counter.

Saint Nicholas

[At this moment Monsieur Nicolas, the bishop, enters from the left in his travelling cloak and his broad, flat Episcopal hat, tied under his chin with tasseled cords.]

Bishop Nicolas: Not for long.
[At his words, The Devil withdraws terrified under the table; the Property Man turns around, and while the bishop crosses toward Celesta, the butcher reappears and cries.]

Creon: It's done.
[He wipes his hands on his apron and stops, perceiving the bishop.]
Oh, the Bishop!

Celesta: The Bishop?

Bishop Nicolas: Yes, Master Sausage Maker, yes, Mistress Sausage Maker. Your Bishop. Will you allow him to sit down?
[The Property Man brings in a stool, and he sits down left of the counter. Uneasy gestures. Silence. Music of the fair.]
Hem! They're having a good time in my absence, perhaps too much of a good time? Night is gradually falling and night brings its own temptations. You go off to Nicea to straighten things out with the other Bishops and while you are gone, the people lose their values. Yes, yes. Poor Moses had the same experience. They forget everything you ever taught them and set up their own ways. Seems I just came back in the nick of time.*

[Music. Pause.] They're beginning to come out of the side-shows, and what side-shows! Now they'll eat and drink more than they should. You will make a fortune, my good sausage maker. But one should moderate his appetite, even appetite for lawful profit. I'm going to look over your customers. [The butcher, annoyed, crosses his arms. At this moment enter from either side the two people of the crowd.] But wait, here some of them are.

Gentleman [startled]: The Bishop.

Lady [likewise]: The Bishop! [Both turn on their heels and go out.]

Bishop Nicolas: I frightened them away. [The two people reappear with different hats. Same byplay.]

Gentleman: The Bishop!

Lady: The Bishop! [They back out hastily.]

Bishop Nicolas: I certainly must be an ogre. Oh, well, if they don't dare eat in front of their bishop, at least their bishop will eat, but in moderation. I've been to the Bishop's Council—in Nicea. So I've walked a long way and I'm hungry. What have you to offer, my good sausage maker? I should very much like a little sausage meat spread on bread; I still have a slice from my lunch. [He extends it toward Creon.]

Creon: If you wish—according to your taste.

Bishop Nicolas: Your sausage meat is fresh?

Creon: It comes right out of the machine.

Celesta: Casimir! Casimir!

Creon: Be still!

Bishop Nicolas: Oh I'd forgotten; you use a machine. [He gets up and lifts the curtain.]

Creon: You can examine it, Good Bishop.**

Bishop Nicolas: Explain it a little.

Creon: The pig enters at one end; the sausage comes out the other. Simple as that!

Bishop Nicolas: Could you put in anything else but pig?

Creon: Whatever one wishes . . . Mule for mule sausage; a lion for sausage of Lyons ! It doesn't matter what you put in.

Bishop Nicolas: Yes, what matters is what you draw out . . . and this beautiful machine, can it go backwards as well? If you turn the wheel backwards, . . . in reverse . . . the animal, would come out of the front, alive?***

Creon [terrified]: I . . . I . . . I . . . I . . . I don't know . . . 

Bishop Nicolas: One could always try it! Technology and science has made such progress in this century! In the same fashion that it draws death from life by making war, couldn't it finally draw life from death? A much wiser use of the machine I'd think. Allow me to turn this handle backwards. [The butcher and his wife fall on their knees.]

Creon: No . . . No . . . No . . . Oh Bishop . . . My Lord!

Celesta: Oh Bishop!

Bishop Nicolas: What's the matter?

Creon: I'd rather tell you right away. That over there in the tub . . . that sausage which you wished to spread on your bread . . . it is . . . it is . . . 

The Property Man: Made of what?

The Crowd [re-entering ]. What is it made of?

Creon [ to the Bishop ]. Wait . . . before you turn it . . . I beg you!

Bishop Nicolas [laughing—ho-ho-ho!]: Well . . . Well! Don't be afraid, Master Creon! Technology hasn't yet reached the point of such prodigies . . . But by the Grace of God one might rectify things in a moment. That which has become sausage-meat in this tub may, God willing, come out of it, filled with life. [He blesses the tub.]
Rise up, dear children! Your souls are returned to you! Your innocence has made you whole! [The Three Ragamuffins stand up in the tub, rubbing their eyes and laughing.]

The Crowd: Lord! Lord! Lord !

The Ragamuffins: Oh what a fair! What a fair!

The First: Where are we?

The Second: Where have we been? I had dreams!

The Third: Have we been asleep? I had a nightmare!

The First: Look! That's our bishop!

The Bishop: Who are you?

The Three: Three children who went to glean in the fields . . . 

The Bishop: And who ditched your chores in stead and came to play around at the fair. I know. I know.

The Three [ashamed]: Yes . . . Yes . . . Yes.

The First: We're not old enough to know better.

The Second: We're just kids.

The Third: And since we were having fun . . . 

The First[seeing the Devil, who is trying to slip out]: Bishop! . . . There's the one who misled us!

Bishop Nicolas: I know him! Very well. That's the Devil, my friends.

The Crowd: Horrible; Horrible! [They surround him.]

Property Man [to the Devil]: Well, aren't you all over the place, you scoundrel!
[Outcries. The Bishop, silences the crowd.]

Bishop Nicolas: And as for you, my foolish sausage maker!
For your penance, I command you to seize that wretch firmly, toss it into the maw of your machine, along with all your sins, and start the wheels turning! Believe me, what comes out won't be fit to eat and your machine will be wrecked. So much the better. I forbid you to buy another. That's the price of your redemption. Do you accept it?

Creon: Oh! Indeed I do . . . Wait old fellow, wait! [He seizes the Devil.]

Devil: Stop, in the name of science, machines, and all technology . . . 

The Others: Kill him! Kill him! Kill him!
[Creon carries the Devil behind the curtains; abominable cries! The wheel turns.]

The Three Ragamuffins and The Others: The wheel turns, the wheel turns. Bravo! Bravo!
[Shouts of applause.]

Bishop: Ring down the curtain, Mr. Property Man.

Property Man: But it's your moment to preach to your flock, Bishop!

Bishop: Not at the theater, my friend.

Property Man: Very well, I'll do it.
[To the audience.]

Ladies and Gentlemen, since Saint Nicolas asks me to . . . a brief word to close. In the beginning, humankind was created in God's image; then humankind created the machine. Thus satisfied with human creation, people became complacent, and forgot the Creator. The Machine, for its part, not to be left behind turns against humans . . . starts by enslaving them and finally devours them. With nothing animating it any more, it runs down, and there's nothing left on earth, neither people, nor machines, nothing mechanical, nor anything humane. Such is our future. Oh all you who live in this mechanical age, from fair to war . . . and from war to fair, all is under the law of money and greed, supply and demand, domination and consuming . . . Don't you think it would he better to put things back in their places?
[The music of the fair blares up stridently.]
Or shall we go back to the fair?

The Others: No! No! No!

Property Man: Curtain.

Large Machine, Devil, St Nicolas

Adaptations by Gertrud Mueller Nelson. Changes include these, with the original shown below:
* "sin. I just came back in time."
** "My Lord"
*** "won't it go backwards also? If you put the chopped product in the end from which it emerges, don't you think that in reverse the animal, whatever he was, would come out of the entrance, living perhaps?"


From St. Anne and the Gouty Rector and Other Plays by Henri Ghéon and Henri Brochet, translated by Olive & Marcus Goldman, Longman, Green and Co., Inc., New York and Toronto, 1950, pp 57-74.

Illustrations: Machine, Guy Parsons, © Image Club; Devil and Saint Nicholas, details from vintage Austrian postcards, St. Nicholas Center Collection.

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