Cooking his Goose

Characters:

Bob Lewney: Farm Labourer
Mary Lewney: Bob’s wife (a small body)
Tom Gelling: A cobbler
Kate: Gelling’s wife (a big woman)
Sergeant Kerruish
P. C. Bates

Mrs Lewney sitting by the fire darning socks.

MRS LEWNEY: It’s nawthin’ but darn darn darn all the time, an’ not a minute for meself; I don’t know how he’s getting’ the holes in. Ya might think the rats had been atin’ them. (Holds one up and shows hole). I declare I navar saw such a man, no navar.

Enter Mrs Gelling.

MRS GELLING: Is it darnin’ ye are again, misthress vogh?

MRS LEWNEY: It’s got to be done, yah.

MRS GELLING: Why don’t thou let the craythur do it himself. I’d show him; darnin’ socks indade.

MRS LEWNEY: Talk is chape, woman.

MRS GELLING: Chape, umph, it’s too sof’ ye are with him.

MRS LEWNEY: Aw your man is aisy to manage. Ye can take him undher your oxther and put him to bed.

MRS GELLING: Deed an’ he can be cussed when he likes.

MRS LEWNEY: All men are cussed, Gellin’s wife.

MRS GELLING: I wouldn’ thrus but what ye are spakin’ the truth.

MRS LEWNEY: An isn’ it always spakin’ the thruth I am?

MRS GELLING: When you can’t help it anyway. Any newses at ye?

MRS LEWNEY: Nawthin’. Any at you?

MRS GELLING: Not much, but as I was passin’ Ballaquayle just now, who do you think I seen?

MRS LEWNEY: How can I tell ye, woman?

MRS GELLING: Give a guess.

MRS LEWNEY: The new praycher maybe.

MRS GELLING (in disgust): New praycher, no!

MRS LEWNEY: Perhaps the schoolmaster’s new wife.

MRS LEWNEY: No, no, no. Wuss an’ wuss.

MRS LEWNEY (vexed): How can I guess, woman?

MRS GELLING: Well it was Sergeant Kerruish and the consthable.

MRS LEWNEY: I see nawthin’ in that.

MRS GELLING: No, I don’t suppose ye do, but ye may later.

MRS LEWNEY: What are ye manin’, woman?

MRS GELLING: They had their pocket books out makin’ notes.

MRS LEWNEY: Well, what’s in that?

MRS GELLING: Owl Ballaquayle was tellin’ them something.

MRS LEWNEY: Well, well, well, an’ what was he tellin’ them?

MRS GELLING: Hev patience, woman, an’ I’ll tell ye.

MRS LEWNEY: Patience, hmph. Patience is it? Ye are such a long time tellin’ the story that me patience is getting’ run out.

MRS GELLING (preparing to go): Well if you don’t want to hear it, I’ll be off. Ye’ve got no more patience than a –

MRS LEWNEY: Well what were they puttin’ down in their note books?

MRS GELLING: Aw, ye’re beginnin’ to take a lil bit of interes’ in it at las’.

MRS LEWNEY: For goodness sake, let’s hev it.

MRS GELLING: I heard Tom Gellin’s name mentioned.

MRS LEWNEY: Well, what about that? He’s your man, not mine.

MRS GELLING: I also heard Bob Lewney’s name mentioned.

MRS LEWNEY: Lawk save us, woman, what are ye talking about?

MRS GELLING: Aw, I thought that would be a lil bit of inthrestin’ news for ye.

MRS LEWNEY: An’ were they saying anythin’ bad again’ them, misthress vogh.

MRS GELLING: It’s not much I could hear, but I don’t think they were spakin’ of them as being exactly angels like.

MRS LEWNEY (in distress): Aw dear, aw dear. I hope Bob hev’n got himself into trouble of any kind.

MRS GELLING: I’m afraid he hev tho!

MRS LEWNEY: Ye’re not manin’ that, tho.

MRS GELLING: An’ what else would I be manin’?

MRS LEWNEY: An’ wat hev they been doin’ at all, at all?

MRS GELLING: The Ballaquayle one is missin’ a goose an’ Bob an’ Tom are undher suspicion of takin’ it.

MRS LEWNEY: Aw I do hope Bob hev’n gone an’ tuk it.

MRS GELLING: I wouldn’ thrus but what he hev tho.

MRS LEWNEY: Ye were ever full of suspicions an’ things.

MRS GELLING: Suspicions ye’re sayin’ is it? This is truth I’m tellin’ ye, woman, an’ I’m not carin’ whether ye belave it or not. A useless craythur is your own man anyway.

Bob Lewney enters suddenly.

BOB LEWNEY: Who’s a useless craythur, misthress?

MRS GELLING (taken aback): A-a-a Jem Fayle the miller.

BOB LEWNEY: Jem Fayle the miller! An’ what’s he been doin’? He’s a soggaragh soul enough. He wouldn’ hurt a fly would Jem.

MRS GELLING (confused): A-a-a people are sayin things agin him anyway.

BOB LEWNEY: Get off home with ye and don’t be spendin’ yer time gossipin’ in other people’s houses.

Exit Mrs Gelling in high dudgeon.

BOB LEWNEY: What’s that craythur been talking about? Me, I suppose.

Mrs Lewney gets up and giving pot on fire a stir, gets table spoon and tastes broth, puts salt in it.

MRS LEWNEY: No, cree, no, she’s not a bad surt.

BOB LEWNEY: I wouldn’ thrus but what she was, as the oul book says the poisin of wasps is undher her tongue. The way she handles Thom bogh is a show to the livin’. But it takes me to put straightenin’ on her. A man should be masther in his own house.

MRS LEWNEY (resumes darning): Well you’re masther enough.

BOB LEWNEY: Yes, and it’s masther I’ll be too.

MRS LEWNEY (noticing bulky coat): Yer chiss is stickin’ out terble, Bob. Hev you got anything under yer coat?

Bob Lewney unbuttons coat and pulls out goose.

BOB LEWNEY: What do you think of that, cree? Isn’ she a fine one. It’s a fine pot of broth there’ll be at us on Sunday.

MRS LEWNEY: An’ where did ye get it from, Bob?

BOB LEWNEY: What do ye want to know for? I’ve got it, isn’ that enough? The question ye ax. Ye might think I’d stole it or something.

MRS LEWNEY (wiping eyes with corner of apron, speaking with broken voice): Bob. Bob, ye’ll be getting tuk to prison yet an’ what’ll we do then at all?

BOB LEWNEY: There, cree, there, don’t take on like that.

MRS LEWNEY: But where did ye get it from, Bob?

BOB LEWNEY (haltingly): I got it from the Ballaquayle ones.

MRS LEWNEY (sobbing): There – now – I – know. Did – oul – Ballaquayle – give – it – to –ye?

BOB LEWNEY (annoyed): To be sure he did. Don’t be axin’ so many questions, woman.

MRS LEWNEY: The Ballaquayle ones is missin’ a goose an’ you an’ Tom Gellin’ is under suspicion.

BOB LEWNEY (in alarm): Who toul ye that?

MRS LEWNEY: Gellin’s wife.

BOB LEWNEY: Aw, that woman’s always spakin’ evil.

MRS LEWNEY: She saw the Sergeant and the policeman up there.

BOB LEWNEY (in great alarm): An’ did she hear what they were sayin’?

MRS LEWNEY: Nawthin’, only that you an’ Tom Gellin’ were suspected of takin’ the goose, an’ here’s the goose itself at ye. (Sobs). Oh, Bob. Bob. What’ll we do at all? It’s in the gaol we’ll all be put.

BOB LEWNEY (handing her the goose): Here, go an’ hide it and not so much of your blather.

MRS LEWNEY (takes goose and goes away with it): Shee bannee mee.

Exit Mrs Lewney.1

BOB LEWNEY (soliloquising): The women bates all, they don’t belave yer even when yer spake the thruth. Not to say I was spakin’ the thruth like, but howavar.

Enter Tom Gelling looking scared.

BOB LEWNEY: What’s the matter, Tom? Is it the buggane yer seen?

TOM GELLING: Ay, lah, bugganes enough; two bugganes.

BOB LEWNEY: Two bugganes, bless me sowl, Tom, what hev ye been drinking?

TOM GELLING: Nawthin’ stronger than tay.

BOB LEWNEY: Ye couldn’ see two bugganes on a cup of tay, man, it’s not natural. Yer been taking a nip.

TOM GELLING: Listen an’ shut yer gob. The two bugganes I saw hev got blue coats an helmets on.

BOB LEWNEY: Thou mus’ be colour blind man. I always hard the oul people say they had green coats an’ red helmets.

TOM GELLING: What boghnid is there at ye? I’m talkin’ about the police.

BOB LEWNEY: Aw the police eh? An’ dacent enough fallas is ours?

TOM GELLING: Yes, when ye don’t annoy them.

BOB LEWNEY: An’ what hev ye been doin’ to them then?

TOM GELLING: I’ve done nawthin’.

BOB LEWNEY: Well what are ye worryin’ about?

TOM GELLING: I hard the Sergeant telling the constable, an’ me stannin’ behin’ the hedge not thryin’ to listen, that they would take out a sarch warrant to sarch my house an’ yours.

BOB LEWNEY: An’ what are they goin’ to sarch for?

TOM GELLING: A goose that’s missin’ from Ballaquayle.

BOB LEWNEY: An’ who’s gone and tuk it, at all?

TOM GELLING: They suspect us, an’ I’ll swear I didn’ take it.

BOB LEWNEY: Ye don’t think I tuk it?

TOM GELLING: I’m not sayin’ ye did – an’ I’m not sayin’ ye didn’t, but I jus’ come to warn ye. Forewarned is forearmed, they’re sayin’.

BOB LEWNEY: Well, well, thank ye, Tom, but I hope ye don’t think I’ve tuk it.

TOM GELLING: I don’t think it would be the fust.

BOB LEWNEY: Well, I’m not denyin’ it, lah.

TOM GELLING: Well, if ye’ve got it, put it in a safe place.

Exit Tom Gelling.

BOB LEWNEY: Where’ll I put it, at all?

Enter Mrs Lewney.

BOB LEWNEY: Where hev ye been, misthress?

MRS LEWNEY: Out in the garden. Was that Tom Gellin’ I saw goin’ out?

BOB LEWNEY: Yes.

MRS LEWNEY: What was he after?

BOB LEWNEY: What hev ye done with the goose, woman?

MRS LEWNEY: I’m hopin’ nobody noticed the big chis on ye. I expec’ Gellin’s wife would, she’s got eyes like a weasel.

BOB LEWNEY: I wouldn’ thrus, but what hev ye done with the goose, woman?

MRS LEWNEY: Plucked it an claned it, what then?

BOB LEWNEY: I hope ye hev’n lef’ any fathers lyin’ about.

MRS LEWNEY: Not one, I buried everythin’ in the garden except what goes in the pot.

BOB LEWNEY: An’ where’s that?

MRS LEWNEY: Out in the back-kitchen.

BOB LEWNEY: It’ll hev to be shifted out of there.

MRS LEWNEY: Time enough, yah, let’s get a pick of dinner fust.

Footsteps heard in distance.

BOB LEWNEY (looks out of window): Here’s the police. Hide the goose quick.

MRS LEWNEY: Where’ll I put it?

BOB LEWNEY: Anywhere at all where they won’t fin’ it.

MRS LEWNEY: Oh I know. It’s a good job I’ve got the big pit on, the other one has sprung a lake.

BOB LEWNEY: That pot’ll houl enough to feed the whole parish.

MRS LEWNEY: An’ just enough room for the goose. They’ll navar think of lookin’ there for it already.

BOB LEWNEY: It’s smart you are at clanin’ poultry, woman.

MRS LEWNEY: An’ hevn’ I always been used to it?

BOB LEWNEY: To be sure ye hev.

Mrs Lewney gets goose and puts it in pot.

MRS LEWNEY: There now.

Knock at door.

BOB LEWNEY: Go and let them in, Mary.

Mrs Lewney lets in Police. Sergeant comes in and P.C. stays at the door.

SERGEANT (to P.C.): Don’t let anyone come in or go out, Oates.

P.C.: Right you are, Sir.

SERGEANT (looking at notebook): Now Lewney, from certain information received about an hour ago, you were seen loitering near Ballaquayle farmyard.

BOB LEWNEY: To be sure I was – er, that is to say, I hav’n been outside the house the whole mornin’ hev I now, Mary.

MRS LEWNEY: No-o-o.

SERGEANT: Now it’s my dooty to warn you that anything you say may be taken down in evidence against you.

BOB LEWNEY: Bless me sowl man, is that so?

SERGEANT: At eleven o’clock you were soon.

BOB LEWNEY: Who saw me now, I wondher?

SERGEANT: That’s none of your business. The witness is prepared to swear.

BOB LEWNEY: That’s a thing I navar do meself, do I now, Mary.

MRS LEWNEY: No.

BOB LEWNEY: I don’t belave in swearin’. Me mother reared me for a gentleman.

SERGEANT: I’ve suspected you for a long time.

BOB LEWNEY: I navar swore in me life.

SERGEANT: I don’t want any of your nonsense now. I’ve got a sarch warrant here.

Sergeant produces search warrant.

BOB LEWNEY (tries to seize it): Let’s have a look at it.

SERGEANT (pushing him away): You kape quiet. (Reads). Isle of Man Constabulary to wit –

BOB LEWNEY: Wit? Hm, they’ve got no more wit than a buck rabbit.

SERGEANT (reading): Information on oath has this day been laid before me that the following goods, to wit, a goose, has lately been feloniously stolen, taken, and carried away from the farm of Ballaquayle in the Parish of Conchan, and that the informer hath probable cause to suspect that the said goods are concealed in the house of Robert Lewney. You are hereby authorised and commanded, with proper assistance (nods to P.C.) to enter the house of the said Robert Lewney in the daytime.

BOB LEWNEY: Good night.

SERGEANT: And there diligently search for the said goods, and if the same be found upon search, that you bring the goods so found, together with the body of the said Robert Lewney, before the Court.

MRS LEWNEY (in great alarm): Goin’ to bring your body to the Court, Bob. Aw I do hope they’re not going to hang ye.

BOB LEWNEY: I suppose they’ll hang me whether they find the goose or not.

SERGEANT: Now then, where is that goose? You’ll save yourself a hape of trouble if you produce it.

BOB LEWNEY: I’m not a conjurer, I can’t produce it out of a hat.

SERGEANT: Silence. Where’s the goose.

BOB LEWNEY: Hsh, listen.

SERGEANT: What’s up now, I hear nawthin’.

BOB LEWNEY: I thought I hard the goose hissin’.

MRS LEWNEY: It was the broth goin’ over on the fire.

SERGEANT: Now are ye goin’ to tell me where that goose is?

BOB LEWNEY: Give it up, Sergeant. I couldn’t tell ye if ye gave me a pint of jough.

SERGEANT: Alright! (to P.C.) Stay here an’ kape them undher observation, Oates, while I make a sarch.

MRS LEWNEY (gets up and stirs broth): I’d like to make a few observations meself but I’ll keep me mouth shut.

SERGEANT: A wise obsarvance, Misthress. Now for the last time, Lewney, are ye goin’ to tell me where that goose is, or hev I got to turn yer house upside down looking for it?

BOB LEWNEY: Ye can plaze yerself, Sergeant.

SERGEANT: All right. I’ll hev a look round the kitchen fust. Oates, you go in the parlour and sarch.

P.C.: Very good, Sir.

SERGEANT: An’ sarch properly; sarch every nook and cranny.

P.C.: Right you are, Sir.

Exit P.C.

SERGEANT (to Mr & Mrs Lewney): An’ you two sit down an’ kape quiet.

BOB LEWNEY: We’ll kape as quiet as a couple of Sunday School childher.

Noise from the parlour, rummaging and shifting furniture.

MRS LEWNEY: Listen to the jeel yander policeman is doin’.

Sergeant in kitchen searching. Crash in parlour.

MRS LEWNEY (crying and wiping eyes in apron): Oh what will I do now? There’s the big rosy basin of me mother’s smashed at that clumsy man. (Sobs). An’ she always said that if I bruk it seven years bad luck would be at me. Oh dear, oh dear, what’ll we do at all? I wouldn’ hev had smashed it for five pounds, I wouldn’.2

BOB LEWNEY: They’ll have to pay for all the damage they do, Mary.

MRS LEWNEY: Me poor mother, me poor mother. (sobs).

SERGEANT: Will yer houl yer noise, woman, an’ shut up?

BOB LEWNEY: If yer plaze, Sergeant, it’s me wife yer spaking to. (To wife) There cree, don’t worry, we’ll make them pay for it all.

MRS LEWNEY: But what about the seven years bad luck, Bob, they can’t pay for that.

SERGEANT: Fiddlesticks at thee seven years bad luck. I’m surprised that any sane woman would belave such things in the 20th century. (Goes to cupboard) What hev ye got in this cupboard?

Mrs Lewney goes hastily and stands with back to cupboard.

SERGEANT: Aw, I see. This is where the goose is planted, eh? Stand to one side, woman. Ye mustn’t hinder an officer in the execution of his dooty.

BOB LEWNEY: That’s right, Sergeant. Dooty is dooty.

Sergeant opens cupboard, searches. Occasional noises in parlour.

SERGEANT (taking out large cardboard box): What’s in this?

MRS LEWNEY (putting hand on lid): Oh, don’t look in that.

SERGEANT: Ah, the goose eh? Take yer han’ away, woman.

Mrs Lewney does so.

SERGEANT: Now then. (Opens box and takes out chemise and holds it up). Pah. (Puts it back again).

BOB LEWNEY (sarcastically): That’s the quarest lookin’ goose I avar seen, Sergeant.

SERGEANT (feeling contents in box): Ye’ll be seein’ quarer sights nor that, Lewney, before I’m finished with ye. (Puts box back. Takes out another). What have ye here? (Takes off lid, sees feathers, grasps them and pulls out feathered hat). Ah, here we are, I thought we’d find it here. (Discoveres hat, looks crestfallen). My song, a hat.

MRS LEWNEY: Oh, Bob, me new Sunda’ hat. (Snatches it away). Ye nasty man. How would you like it if my Bob went and sarched thro’ your wife’s belongings? Look at the beautiful father’s, how they’re crushed an’ spoilt at ye. Ye’ll have to pay for this, me man, an’ a fine penny it’ll cost ye too, I can tell you.

SERGEANT (ignoring her remarks): There doesn’ seem to be anythin’ more here worth looking at.3

BOB LEWNEY: Keep your pecker up, Sergeant. There’s no tellin’ what ye may find yet, man, ye’ve made a good start anyway.

SERGEANT: What’s in this chis’?

BOB LEWNEY: Look in it, man, look in it an’ find out.

MRS LEWNEY (rushes to chest an’ sits on it): Ye can’t look in here. It’s private property.

SERGEANT (rubbing his hands): Ah, the goose at las’.

BOB LEWNEY: Ye seem to have goose on the brain, Sergeant. But it’s far batther to hev it on the stummick.

SERGEANT: Get up woman, don’t obstruct an officer in the execution of his dooty.

BOB LEWNEY: Dooty is dooty.

SERGEANT: Ye’ll be gettin’ put in gaol along with your illustrious husban’ if ye’re not careful.

MRS LEWNEY: Jus’ listen to the boghnid there’s at the man, illustrated husban’ indeed.

BOB LEWNEY: Let the Sergeant have a look in the chis’, Mary.

MRS LEWNEY: I’ll not. I’ll not budge from where I’m sittin’, there now.

Bob Lewney goes up to Sergeant and whispers.

BOB LEWNEY (speaking aloud again): That’s the truth.

SERGEANT: Are ye sure it’s the truth ye’re telling me, man?

BOB LEWNEY: Ye know I wouldn’ tell a lie now, Sergeant.

SERGEANT: Not singly, ye usually tell them in batches.

BOB LEWNEY: It’s the rale truth, as sure as I’m standin’ here.

SERGEANT: Well, I’ll take your word for it, but if I find out that ye’re doin’ me –

BOB LEWNEY: Don’t worry, Sergeant, ye won’t fin’ out.

SERGEANT: It’ll be heaven help ye if I do. Get up, Misthress, I won’t look in the chis’.

MRS LEWNEY (gets up with a sigh of relief): Thank goodness.

SERGEANT: Come now, Lewney, ye’ve got that goose, own up to it.

BOB LEWNEY: An’ why should I own up to something I hev’n got?

SERGEANT (making notes in book): What hev ye got on top of yandhar dresser?

MRS LEWNEY: Can’t ye see what’s on the dresser? There’s only crockery an’ things like that. We’d be likely to stick a goose up there for everybody to see.

SERGEANT: That’s a suspicious lookin’ parcel up yandhar. I’m think’ I’d batthar examine it.

Sergeant gets a chair to stand on.

MRS LEWNEY: Don’t look in that parcel.

SERGEANT: The goose at las’, eh? I thought we’d find it soon.

BOB LEWNEY: Ye’ve got it, Sergeant.

SERGEANT: Yes, I belave I have.

BOB LEWNEY: If ye havn’ ye’ll get it in a minute.

MRS LEWNEY: There’s nawthin’ there for you to see.

BOB LEWNEY: Lave him alone, Mary, he’s goin’ to get it now.

Sergeant reaches for parcel and knocks down old plate and smashes it.

SERGEANT: What’s that?

MRS LEWNEY (hysterically): What’s that indeed, me poor mother’s best majolica plate. An’ she thought such a lot of it, an’ the base has gone and smashed it. (Wipes eyes with apron). Whatever will I do at all, whatever will I do? Oh dear, oh dear. Ye big clumsy brute.

SERGEANT: Will ye houl yer noise, woman, an’ shut up. It’s makin’ me sick listenin’ to ye. Ye’ll get batthar plates than that in Douglas Market for 4d each.

BOB LEWNEY: She adry, Sergeant, she adry.4 It’s me wife yer spakin’ to an’ I’ll not see her insulted.

SERGEANT: Insulted be hanged. Less of yer blather, man. It’s helpin’ me ye should be an’ not tryin’ to hinder me.

BOB LEWNEY: Help ye, help ye indeed. Help ye to destroy me house. Divil the bit I’ll help ye.5

MRS LEWNEY: The imprance of the man is shockin’

SERGEANT (takes parcel and opens it): Now we’ll get it.

MRS LEWNEY: Bedad yiss, ye’ll hev it in a minute, man.

SERGEANT (opens parcel as he says): What the achoo – achoo, achoo – have ye – achoo, achoo – got – achoo, achoo –

BOB LEWNEY (enjoying the situation): The sergeant’s got it, Mary.

MRS LEWNEY: Sarve him right. It’ll larn him to go to pokin’ an’ pryin’ into places where he’s not wanted.

SERGEANT: What the – achoo, achoo – hev ye got in – achoo, achoo – the parcel – achoo?

BOB LEWNEY: It’s pepper to keep the moths from it.

SERGEANT: Dash on – on – achoo – you and your – achoo, achoo – pepper. (Puts parcel back). Achoo achoo.

Enter P.C.

P.C. (enters room): I’ve thoroughly sarched the parlour, Sergeant. There’s no goose in there. Not a sign of one.

SERGEANT: Did ye – achoo –

P.C.: No Sir, I don’t chew.

BOB LEWNEY: Batthar let him hev a look at yandhar parcel, Sergeant. He’ll be able to answer you in your own language then.

SERGEANT: Idiots – achoo, achoo – all of ye; jackasses – achoo, achoo – imbecility – achoo. I’ll have the law on yer for this, Lewney. Did ye have a good sarch, Oakes?

P.C.: I searched every hole an’ corner.

MRS LEWNEY: An’ I suppose ye’ve smashed nearly every thing in the room.

P.C.: I’m afraid there’s a few things gone wes’, Misthress.

MRS LEWNEY: I’ll make ye pay for everything, everything.

SERGEANT: Hev a look roun’ the back-kitchen, Oakes, achoo.

P.C.: Very good, Sir.

SERGEANT: Is there anything here I hev’n seen?

BOB LEWNEY: Oh, lots of things, you haven’t looked up the chimlee yet.

Clatter and rattling of buckets in back-kitchen.

MRS LEWNEY: What’s that silly ommerahan doin’ now? I didn’ know ye had such bleihs in the police station yandhar constable is as stupid as a motherless foal.

Crash heard in the back kitchen and sounds of imprecation from P.C. Oakes who enters limping and rubbing his shin.

P.C.: Oh, me leg is bruk, me shin’s cracked. This’ll mane the loss of a leg I suppose.

BOB LEWNEY: Kitty’ll navar marry ye an’ only one leg at ye.

SERGEANT: Don’t be actin’ like a baby, Oakes. Why I wouldn’ flinch if me whole leg was taken off. Square yourself up, man.

P. C. (straightens himself): Right you are, Sergeant.

SERGEANT: An’ now, Lewney, before we do any further damage to yer property you’d batthar own up you’ve got that goose.

MRS LEWNEY (staring into parlour horrified): Jus’ look at the parlour. Ye might think Jack Taggart’s bull had been in. They’ll hev us clane ruint, that’s what they will.

BOB LEWNEY: A nice lot of police you fallas are. Trespassin’ into an innocent household an’ doin’ jeel like this. An’ me an’ herself not used to such carryin’s on. Me that was reared for a gentleman and herself playin’ the organ in the Sunda’ School. Shame on ye, I say. Shame on ye.

SERGEANT: Are ye goin’ to fork over that goose?

BOB LEWNEY: How do I know where yer goose is? It’s lek ye’ve got it at home.

Sergeant and P.C. go round tapping walls and doors and loose floor boards.

P.C.: There doesn’ seem to be anythin’ here, Sergeant.

SERGEANT: Have a look up the chimlee, Oakes, there may be a shelf inside.

P.C. looks up chimney. Puts his hand to feel for ledge and drags down soot, blackening his face and hands.

MRS LEWNEY: There now, I expect ye’ve gone and spoilt the broth with yer silly capers. Fancy lookin’ up the chimlee for a goose.

BOB LEWNEY (laughing): My song, constable, you are a sight. Ye’re remindin’ me of the niggers that were up on Douglas Head when I was a stuggha before now. Ye hevin’ looked in the hen-house yet, Sergeant.

P.C.: Shall I look there, Sergeant?

SERGEANT: Yes, thoroughly examine every place an’ report to me as soon as possible. But get yer face an’ hand’s undher the pump first.

P.C.: Ay ay, Sir.

Exit P.C.

SERGEANT (looking in notebook): Let me see now, is there any other place I hevn’ seen?

BOB LEWNEY: I think you’ve seen every place now.

SERGEANT: We’ve sarched the kitchen, parlour, back-kitchen, an’ the Constable is sarching the hen house an’ the garden. We hevn’ sarched the bedroom yet.

BOB LEWNEY (aside to Mary): Oh, Mary. (Aloud). There’s nawthin’ in the bedroom, Sergeant – besides it’s a bit upset.

SERGEANT: It’ll be worse when I’m done with it.

BOB LEWNEY: Deed an’ I wouldn’ thrus’.

SERGEANT: Now show me the way.

BOB LEWNEY: I’d like to show ye to the door.

MRS LEWNEY: Ye’ll fin’ nawthin’ there, Sergeant. I wouldn’ go if I were you, Sergeant.

SERGEANT (rubbing his hands): Ah, you don’t want me to sarch there, eh? This is a more hopeful outlook.

BOB LEWNEY: I’m afraid there’ll be squalls ahead. Go an’ show the Sergeant the bedroom, Mary.

Mrs Lewney does so.

BOB LEWNEY: I wish they’d go. I’m gettin’ tired waitin for me dinner.

Enter Mrs Lewney. She goes and stirs broth.

MRS LEWNEY: I reckon’ the broth will be quite cooked when them fallas go.

BOB LEWNEY: I wish they were gone. I’m goin’ waste for a bit of somethin’ to ate.

Enter Sergeant and P.C. at same time.

SERGEANT: Well, Oakes, anythin’ to report?

P.C. (brushing his clothes with his hands): Nothin’, Sir.

SERGEANT: Did ye sarch the garden?

P.C.: Not a f’ather there, Sir. (Bob looks at Mary). I’m afraid our information hasn’ come from a reliable source, Sir.

SERGEANT: I’m afraid so, Oakes. I’m afraid so.

BOB LEWNEY: Might I be so boul’ as to ax who informed ye, Sergeant?

SERGEANT: It’s agin the regulations, Lewney.

BOB LEWNEY: I know who it was all the same. Oul’ Jack-by-the-Hedge.

P.C.: Good guess.

SERGEANT: Oakes!

P.C.: Sorry, Sir. It came out unknowst to me.

SERGEANT: You be careful, me man.

P.C. salutes.

BOB LEWNEY: Ye’d be employin’ yer time batther kapin’ yer eyes on that oul’ sleech. I wouldn’ thrus’ but what ye’ll fin’ the goose there if you hurry up. Jus’ wait till I get hold of him.

SERGEANT: You lave him alone. (Proudly). The Majesty of the Law will attend to him. Consider yourself lucky ye’ve got off this time, Lewney, but be careful or ye’ll be gettin’ nabbed yet. (Prepares to go). Come on, Oakes.

BOB LEWNEY: What dhriss is there on thee, man? Won’t ye stop and have a pick of dinner?

Mrs Lewney gives him a warning look.

SERGEANT: No thanks. Come on, Oakes.

BOB LEWNEY: Good morning, Sergeant. Good morning, Constable. And tell the inspecthor he’ll be gettin’ my lil’ bill for damages.

Exit Sergeant and P.C.

MRS LEWNEY: You were axin’ for trouble with a vengeance. Suppose if the Sergeant would have stayed for dinner.

BOB LEWNEY: I knew he wouldn’t do that, yah. It’s agin’ the rules.

Enter Gelling and wife.

BOB LEWNEY: Hallo, Tom. Come and have a bit of dinner with us.

GELLING: What hev ye got, lah? It’s smellin’ good.

BOB LEWNEY: Broth, boy, and the rale McCoy at that.

MRS GELLING: How did ye get on with the police?

MRS LEWNEY: Aw me place is clane ruint at them. It’s wuss nor a spring clanin’.

MRS GELLING: They didn’ fin’ anythin’ then?

MRS LEWNEY: How could they fin’ anythin’ when there was nawthin’ to fin’?

GELLING: I wonder who it was stole Ballaquayle’s goose?

BOB LEWNEY: I suppose it’ll be one of them mysteries that’ll navar be solved.

GELLING: Iss like not.

BOB LEWNEY: Well, Mary, let’s have dinner. (She sets table and pours out broth). Well, let’s sit down.

They seat themselves.

GELLING: Uncommon fine broth, Bob.

BOB LEWNEY: Mm, yes.

GELLING: There’s eyes of fat on it – ye might think there was a goose in it.

BOB LEWNEY: Mm, yes.

MRS LEWNEY: Well if we didn’ cook Ballaquayle’s goose, we cooked the Sergeant’s goose anyway.

End.

Notes:

  1. This stage direction is missing in the original manuscript.
  2. There is no “it” in this sentence in the original manuscript. It has been added here in order to give sense to the sentence.
  3. This sentence ends with “it” in the original manuscript. This has been assumed to be a mistake.
  4. “She adry” is unclear in the original handwritten manuscript.
  5. “Bit” is unclear in the original handwritten manuscript.

SERGEANT: Now then, where is that goose? You’ll save yourself a hape of trouble if you produce it.

Ballaquayle’s goose has been stolen and Bob Lewney is the main suspect. Will the police discover it, or are the Sergeant and P.C. too inept, or Lewney and his wife too clever?

J. J. Kneen wrote this one act comic play in 1927 and it was first performed to the Liverpool Manx Society alongside his longer work, Yn Blaa Sooree, in September of the same year. There are few records of its having been performed since then.

The greatest Manx linguist of his generation and one of the most important scholars of Manx subjects, J. J. Kneen was also the most prolific playwright that the Isle of Man has ever known.