Tidesby George Middleton
Format of Original Source: Play
Recommended Adaptation Length:
Candidate for Adaptation? Not Reviewed
WHITE (quietly, after a pause). I can’t be angry at you–even when you say such things. You’ve been too much a part of my life, and work, and I love you, Hilda. You know that, don’t you, dear? (He sits beside her and takes her hand.) I knew it would be difficult to make you understand. Only once have I lacked courage, and that was when I felt myself being drawn into this and they offered me the appointment. For then I saw I must tell you. You know I never have wanted to cause you pain. But when you asked me to let Wallace go, I thought you would understand my going, too.–Oh, perhaps our motives are different; he is young; war has caught his imagination; but, I, too, see a duty, a way to accomplish my ideals.
HILDA. Let’s leave ideals out of this now. It’s like bitter enemies praying to the same God as they kill each other.
WHITE. Yes. War is full of ironies. I see that: Wallace can’t. It’s so full of mixed motives, good and bad. Yes. I’ll grant all that. Only, America has gone in. The whole tide was against us, dear. It is sweeping over the world: a brown tide of khaki sweeping everything before it. All my life I’ve fought against the current. (Wearily) And now that I’ve gone in, too, my arms seem less tired. Yes; and except for the pain I’ve caused you, I’ve never in all my life felt so–so happy.
(Then she understands. She slowly turns to him, with tenderness in her eyes.)
HILDA. Oh, now, Will, I do understand. Now I see the real reason for what you’ve done.
WHITE (defensively). I’ve given the real reason.
HILDA (her heart going out to him). You poor tired man. My dear one. Forgive me if I made it difficult for you, if I said cruel words. I ought to have guessed; ought to have seen what life has done to you. (He looks up, not understanding her words). Those hands of yours first dug a living out of the ground. Then they built houses and grew strong because you were a workman–a man of the people. You saw injustice, and all your life you fought against those who had the power to inflict it: the press; the comfortable respectables, like my brother; and even those of your own group who opposed you–you fought them all
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