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Bernice

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Bernice

by Susan Glaspell

Genre: Comedy, Drama
Setting: America
Format of Original Source: Play
Recommended Adaptation Length:

Candidate for Adaptation? Promising

EXCERPT:

FATHER

I think it wasn’t that she–wanted it that way. You know, Margaret, I felt something–very wistful in Bernice. [MARGARET looks at him, nods.] In this calm now–I feel the wistfulness there was in her other calm.

MARGARET

Yes.

FATHER

As if she wanted to give us more. Oh–she gave more than any one else could have given. But not all she was. And she would like to have given us–all she was. She wanted to give–what couldn’t be given. [Pause.] You know what I mean, Margaret?

MARGARET

Yes, I do know.

FATHER

And so–wistfulness. I see it now. [After thinking.] I think Bernice feared she was not a very good wife for Craig. [MARGARET gives him a startled look.] Little things she’d say. I don’t know–perhaps I’m wrong. [After a move of MARGARET’S.] You were going to say something, Margaret.

MARGARET

No. I was just thinking of what you said.

FATHER

Craig didn’t dominate Bernice. I don’t know whose fault it was. I don’t know that it was anyone’s fault. Just the way things were. He–I say it in all kindness, he just didn’t–have it in him. [Slowly.] As I haven’t had certain things in me.

[ABBIE comes in.

ABBIE

People are coming. The Aldrichs–other neighbors.

FATHER

Oh–they are coming? [With pain.] Already? Oh. They are to wait in the south room–till a little later. I’ll speak to them.

[They go out; MARGARET has a moment alone. Then CRAIG comes in from outside.

CRAIG

People are beginning to come. I suppose they’ll come in here soon. I–I don’t want them to.

[LAURA enters with boxes of flowers.

Oh–Laura, please. Bernice loved flowers.

LAURA

Well–Craig.

CRAIG

Would you take them around the other way? Or keep them till later–or something. I don’t want them here!


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