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The Man On The Kerb

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The Man On The Kerb

by Alfred Sutro

Genre: Drama
Format of Original Source: Play
Recommended Adaptation Length:

Candidate for Adaptation? Not Reviewed


MARY. [Following him and laying a hand on his arm.] Hush, Joe–you’ll wake Minnie.

JOE. [Turning and staring haggardly at her.] I could have got clothes–a job, perhaps–we might have left this cellar. We could have gone out to-morrow and bought things–gone into shops–we might have had food, coal–

MARY. Don’t, Joe–what’s the use? And who knows–it may prove a blessing to us. You told the policeman where we lived?

JOE. A blessing! I’ll get up to-morrow, after having coughed out my lungs all night–and I’ll go into the streets and walk there from left to right and from right to left, standing at this corner and at that, peering into men’s faces, watching people go to their shops and their offices, people who are warm and comfortable–and so it will go on, till the end comes.

MARY. [Standing very close to him, almost in a whisper.] Why not now, Joe?

JOE. [With a startled glance at her.] The end?

MARY. There’s no room for us in this world–

JOE. If I’d taken that money–

MARY. It’s too late for that now. And I’m glad you didn’t–yes, I am–I’m glad. We’ll go before God clean-handed. And we’ll say to Him we didn’t steal, or do anything He didn’t want us too. And we’ll tell Him we’ve died because people wouldn’t allow us to live.

JOE. [With a shudder.] No. Not that–we’ll wait, Mary. Don’t speak of that.

MARY. [Wistfully.] You’ve thought of it too?

JOE. Thought of it! Don’t, Mary, don’t! It’s bad enough, in the night, when I lie there and think of to-morrow! Something will happen–it must.


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