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The Magic hour

Material Information

Title:
The Magic hour a fantasy of the wilderness
Creator:
Rutherford, Forrest S
Cactus Club (Denver, Colo.)
Place of Publication:
Denver
Publisher:
Cactus Club
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
37 pages : music ;

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Drama -- Colorado ( lcsh )
Colorado ( fast )
Genre:
Drama. ( fast )
non-fiction ( marcgt )
Drama ( fast )

Notes

Statement of Responsibility:
written for the Cactus Club of Denver by Forrest S. Rutherford, and performed by the Club in its outdoor theater in the Rocky Mountains, 3 September, 1921.

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Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
05150434 ( OCLC )
ocm05150434
Classification:
PS3535.U84 M3 ( lcc )

Auraria Membership

Aggregations:
Literature Collections

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Full Text


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THE MAGIC HOUR


THE MAGIC HOUR
A FANTASY OF THE WILDERNESS
WRITTEN FOR THE CACTUS CLUB OF DENVER
BY FORREST S. RUTHERFORD
AND PERFORMED BY THE CLUB IN ITS
OUTDOOR THEATER
IN THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS
3 SEPTEMBER 1921
DENVER THE CACTUS CLUB
1922


COPYRIGHT 1922 BY
THE CACTUS CLUB


THE MAGIC HOUR


THE BACKGROUND
I A SALLE dreamed of the discovery of the mouth of the great Mis-
sissippi and the establishment there of a fortified post through
-Awhich France could control that vast territory known as the Great
West. His struggles to attain this goal were epic. From all accounts he
was one of the bravest men who ever trod this globe. Constantly encoun-
tering treachery, mutiny, financial disaster, attempts against his life,
calumny, ridicule and even serious challenge as to his sanity, his spirit
prevailed indomitable to the end.
Having attained his first great object, the discovery of the mouth of
the great river by land, he was in the midst of the attempt to establish
a route by sea when he was foully murdered by some of his followers.
Parkman says of him: As often happens with concentrated and ener-
getic natures, his purpose was to him a passion and an inspiration; and
he clung to it with a certain fanaticism of devotion. It was the offspring
of an ambition, vast and comprehensive, yet acting in the interest both
of France and civilization. . America owes him an enduring memory,
for in this masculine figure she sees the pioneer who guided her to the
possession of her richest heritage.
In this short fantasy it is endeavored to symbolize the spirit of opposi-
tion against which la Salle battled every step of the way in his mighty
task of opening the great wilderness, and the ultimate victory of the
spirit of the explorer. The names of the characters used: Tonty, his
never-failing friend, la Motte, Dautray, Accau, du Gay, Heins, the
brave but vain and lying Hennepin, Ribourde, etc., are all names of
those who accompanied la Salle on one or more of his journeys. In fancy
we see him in that hour when the Fates, decreeing the West shall be
opened to a new epoch, determine upon him as their instrument and,
exercising the arts of Magi, reveal to his mutinous followers some of the
basic truths of life. Three things men strive forFame, Gold and the
Development of the Spirit. The spirit alone is eternal.
The banners of Heaven's King advance,
The mystery of the cross shines forth.
[7]
F. S. R.


CAST
Rene Robert, Sieur de la Salle . . . Robert G. Bosworth
Henri de Tonty
La Motte .
Duplessis
Du Gay
Accau
Dautray
Heins .
First Fool .
Second Fool
Third Fool .
Fourth Fool
Father Hennepin
Father Ribourde
An Indian Warrior
Fame
Gold . . .
Spirit of Man .
Voices .
Voyageurs
..................Robert L. Stearns
................ James G. Rogers
................LeRoy Hinman
.............E. Clinton Jansen
. . . . . J. Foster Symes
.............Frank M. Vaughn
................John S. Barrows
.................. Charles T. Sidlo
.................. Burnham Hoyt
.............Stansbury Thompson
..................Robert Garrison
Recollet Friars
................Hugh McLean
..................George P. Steele
................E. I. Thompson
.............. W. W. Grant, Jr.
..............Roblin H. Davis
.............Forrest S. Rutherford
....................E. C. Stimson
Soldiers, Trappers, Indians
Incidental Music A. J. Rutherford and Dr. John H. Gower
Properties and Costumes by Arthur A. Fisher, Robert Garrison,
Burnham Hoyt, M. C. Jones
Site by permission of.........................G. L. Baird
THE CAMPFIRE COMMITTEE
James G. Rogers, Chairman
Fred W. Hart, Walter C. Mead, Forrest S. Rutherford, Joseph D.
Hitch, E. Clinton Jansen, W. W. Grant, Jr., Frank M.
Vaughn, Walker Van Riper


THE MAGIC HOUR
SCENE: The Camp of Voyageurs under the Command of
Sieur de la Salle in the Wilderness of America.
PERIOD: 1680, when the Great Comet was in the Zenith.
[Darkness. Silence, save the music of the woodsthe moaning
of the breeze through the giant timber, the murmurs from the
near-by streamsweird, elusive and haunting! As the breeze
dies away the hooting of an owl Whoo! Whoo! Whoo/ is
heard. Then suddenly the wild shriek of a jackal! Silence.]
VOICE OF THE NIGHT
THE Stage is set! In Times Eternal Hall
The Hours, his countless winged minions, still
To homage at the mighty trumpet call
And in obedience to th Eternal Will
Which guides ten million worlds the ages through,
The Days, the Months, the Cycles of the Years,
Now with the Centuries, pass in review!
And he who hath the gift of hearing, hears
Augmented now, the singing of the stars.
And he who sees with that divining sight
Which Man calls soul, and which forever bars
For him the backward trail to hell, this night
Shall penetrate the veil of mystery!
Shall glimpse the wondrous pageantry divine
The dreamed mystic page of History!
For now the etesian deathless hosts of Time
[9]


THE MAGIC HOUR
Are ordered for an epoch in the worlds!
Now from the couch of Magi, levantine,
The radiant, lustrous Magic Hour unfurls
The garment of her sleep and midst acclaim
Sweeps down the Aisle of Centuries again!
THE OWL HOOTS
Whoo!
Whoo! Whoo!
Whoo-o!
[Silence. The mournful Home Song sung by the Voyageurs
breaks gently on the night. The glow of a campfire is seen.
The blaze, mounting higher, discloses the camp of the famine-
stricken band of la Salle in a wooded glen. In front, a small
stream with several birch canoes drawn up on the bank. A few
steps from the stream, the campfire. Around this are grouped,
some standing, some seated, Duplessis, Accau, Dautray, Heins,
du Gay, and one or two others. At right, apart from the groups,
Father Hennepin kneels at prayer. Near center stands the
sinister figure of la Motte, arms folded, back to the fire, gazing
off into the hills expectantly. Farther up the glen, near the top
of the hill, a number of tepees, one or two of which are badly
tattered. Back in the glen, near center, a large, birch rustic
cross. Near this, a standard with the arms of Louis XIV, and
another with the French fleur-de-lis. In front of these a stack
of arms and halberds. Here and there the Voyageursa mot-
ley crew of soldiers and trappers in small groupsstarved,
disheveled, muddy, armor rusted, stockings torn or missing,
many feet wrapped with rags or skins. The once brilliant cos-
tumes are faded and torn. On the fringe of the camp one or
two sentinels are seen. Here and there, on the banks of the
stream, a few skulls and bleached bones of animals. The
aspect of the camp is one of oppressive loneliness and destitu-
tion.]


THE MAGIC HOUR
THE VOYAGEURS [Singing drearily.]
Voyageur! Voyageur!
Why the call to roaming1?
Sweeter word thou hast heard
Homing!
Through the Wild hear thy child
Weeping in the gloaming!
What its fate, if too late
Homing?
Voyageur! Voyageur!
Love awaits thy coming.
Take the rose ere it goes
Homing!
DU GAY
[Suddenly rising from the fireside.]
No more! The song of home doth drench my heart
With tears! Another tender strain would part
My true desire and loyalty to him
Who leads this weary, starving band! A whim
Perchance, but song hath eer a power that shall
Impress een sturdier hearts than of la Salle!
O Comrades! Look not on me with disdain
When I confess that courage doth not gain
Entry to my soul, facing such despair
Hope fleeing evervapor on the air!
Far, far into this wilderness weve come
Enduring hardships, dangers, that in sum
Take toll, the wealth of all Elysium
Could not pay!
I 11 ]


THE MAGIC HOUR
la motte [Coming down.\
Well spoken, Comrade! Thy words
Are but an echo of the thought that girds
Determination for the test! For now
We all are one in hand to strike the blow
Save his friend Tonty of the Iron Hand .
And Father Ribourde, greybeard of the band!
[The motley crew gathers round, snarling approval of la
Motte.]
DU GAY
The blow?
LA MOTTE
The blow to this vain enterprise!
DUPLESSIS
That leads to death!
ACCAU
The blow gainst tyrannies!
LA MOTTE
This night our well-devised scheme doth crux!
Let swift audacity now be the flux
To weld success to righteous mutiny!
HEINS
No chance of failure meets our scrutiny!
DU GAY
What? Mutiny against the great la Salle
Before whose will een Frontenaes doth pall
Like candlelight before the morning sun?
[12]


THE MAGIC HOUR
LA MOTTE
Aye! Vain Delusion now its course hath run!
A thousand leagues weve followed him to learn
The lesson that a thousand follies earn! [Cries of
Our dreams of magic Empire in the West Aye!
Our dreams of Fame and Gold to crown our quest ^ye- 1
Are shattered now on this grim Certainty
His phantom river flows to phantom sea!
[Groans. ]
DAUTRAY
Aye! True! Yonder in that hills solitude
The stern la Salle himself, oppressed, doth brood
The Griffins loss!
ACCAU
And I the loss of food
My belly craves!
DUPLESSIS
Have done with words!the hour
Doth whisper, DO/ This night let Fate devour
Her Fate-defying fool!
[Murmurs of approval.]
DAUTRAY
Hark now! Dost hear?
[The war drums of an Indian dance are heard in the distance;
they continue in monotonous rhythm throughout the action.
They all listen in awesome fear.]
The savage drum-beat sounds a warning clear!
ACCAU
The Indian chiefs are stripping for the fray!
[13]


THE MAGIC HOUR
DAUTRAY
A thousand warriors dance their fear away!
ACCAU
Dost mind thee of the thousand scalps we saw?
HEINS
The Hill of Skulls, built by the Iroquois!
DAUTRAY
The chiefs sent warning to la Salle today!
HEINS
They stand, a heathen barrier to our way!
[The drum-beats rise in tensity and a few fiendish yelps are
faintly distinguished. The Voyageurs are visibly nervous.]
DUPLESSIS
Ah! Hear the fiends of Hell!
[A droning chorus is heard.]
DU GAY [Startled.]
The chant of Death!
LA MOTTE
Aye! Death it is! Let Vengeance now unsheathe
Her cunning blade and when la Salle hath met
It to the hilt, and paid her ancient debt
In blood, well flip again the Coin of Chance
And, Calumet aloft, join those who dance!
[Father Hennepin, vain and imperious, rises from praye
[ >4 ]


THE MAGIC HOUR
ACCAU [Pointing to Hennepin.]
Peace! From his prayers the hypocrite doth rise!
DUPLESSIS
To thoughts and deeds the devil would despise!
[All laugh sneeringly.]
LA MOTTE
Cease your murmurs, ye mangy dogs of Sin
He's one of us! What word, O Hennepin'?
[Hennepin turns to them with clerical dignity and comes center.]
HENNEPIN
What word? In this theres substance without stint
[His speech is
interrupted
with rough
laughter,
half ap-
proval, half
disdain.]
That in the sun bespeaks a Recollet,
Doth in the shadow seem a Jesuit!
[15]
The honest thought of Priest cannot be print1
A lesser one than I would say, Amen
To all la Salles commands and then
Go cringing, like a whipped dog, to his feet!
Not so great Hennepin, who on the meat
Of Valor too has dinedand who before
He is a priest, is first, a man! No more
Doth vain la Salle take counsel of the wise!
Small men alone such counsel would despise.
When I, with no small wisdom, did suggest
Acceptance of Defeat, he spread his chest
In anger, like a ruffled bantam-cock
That vainly struts before his feathered flock,
And roundly cursed me! Bah! Then when I sp<
The reverence due my cloth, he said, The clo;


THE MAGIC HOUR
We are all here?
LA MOTTE
DAUTRAY [Coming front.]
All-save four scoundrel knaves
Who, crazed by want of food, are easy slaves
To some weird savage legend that the glen
Wherein we camp has some strange power oer men!
LA MOTTE [With finality.]
What eer it be it shall not stay our hand.
Up! [rill rise.]
Now let Justice be invoked to stand
Blindfolded, whilst we heap her scale so high,
Her verdict shall ring out, La Salle must die!
La Salle must die!
ALL
[Voices are heard on the hill.]
HENNEPIN
Hisst.! Not so loud! He comes!
LA MOTTE [Alert.]
When I give sign,beware! On guard!
[They all grasp arms for action and face the direction of the
sounds.]
DU GAY [In awe.]
The drums
Beat like an omen on my heart!
[The war drums seem to rise to a climax as la Salle, followed by
Tonty, comes through the brush into viewthen die away as
the two stop, amazed, at the sight of the armed, defiant band!]
[16]


THE MAGIC HOUR
LA SALLE
Whats this*?
TONTY
Ah! My Captain, see! Its come!
LA salle [Commandingly.]
Whats amiss?
Why stand ye there in silence like the dead?
Answer me!!
LA MOTTE
[Stepping forth audaciously.']
Aye! No longer do we dread
Thy peacock voice! And now, wouldst know thy fate?
The peacock diesthen dies the peacocks mate!
Insolence!
TONTY [Drawing his sword.]
LA SALLE [Staying him.]
Hold! He shall be mine to pay.
Tis mutiny!
TONTY
LA SALLE
Aye! Name that fits the day
Which has so filled the cup of my Despair!
O Frontenac! Hast thou not men who dare
To dream, and daring, feed their dreams with food
Strong Manhood brings to bear Misfortunes [Murmurs
load? of hatred.]


THE MAGIC HOUR
Have I befooled me when I thought I heard
The Call of Destiny? That honeyed word
That swept across my heartstrings like the breath
Of God Himselfwas it the call of Death?
Has some grim Fate with fiendish witchery
Ordained la Salle to end in mockery [Groans and
And following that enchanting strain divine, sneers.]
Be changed by Circe art from man to swine?
So may it be!but while the scarlet streams
Flow turbulent within these veins, my dreams
Receive the total tribute of my soul!
LA MOTTE
Bold words mark but the fool at Failures goal!
LA SALLE [With great self-control.]
Before I rend thy treacherous heart in twain
With this my eager blade!list thou again:
The Goal is not in mans applause to live
It lies in having strength of heart to strive,
And if the Fates conspire, yea! een to fail,
But failing, not before those Fates to quail!
Tis constancy to Vision that doth prove
The kinship of a man to God above!
DUPLESSIS
VisionHa!
[Sarcastically.]
LA MOTTE
Feed thine eyes upon it now,
For Fate hath played the trump-card and doth grow
Impatient for the prize!
[ iB ]


THE MAGIC HOUR
DUPLESSIS
The very hours
Alert to catch it fore thy curtain lowers!
LA SALLE
Pray God my patience holds until my tongue
From all thy coward jackal hearts hath wrung
Some meed of shame! Ye claim ye come from
France!
Thy mission with la Salle but to enhance
The glory that is hers! This wilderness
Is now the outpost of her soul! Distress
Her if ye willnot I! Her vision tis
Not mine! And gazing, what France sees is this:
A vast domainthe Virgin of this world
Asleep since Times almighty hand hath hurled
The final planet from its blazing sun;
Will sleep, until a heros work is done!
And clasped within those lovely Virgin hands
The key to Empiregolden treasure-lands
A thousand trackless valleys flowered oer
With Natures choicest verdure. Mighty roar
Of countless cataracts reverberate
Through endless stretch of forest, where await
Such store of furs and peltries, that to move
The caravans of all Asia would prove
But pygmies fore the task! There to the West,
Great, fertile, grassy prairies now protest
The ranging of the redman hordes! There go
A million herds of deer and buffalo! *
Wild cattle graze in peaceful solitudes
And hear no sound save, now and then, the
broods
[As la Salle
makes each
point in
painting the
picture to the
Mutineers,
he is greeted
by savage,
mocking
jeers; one or
two fall
under the
spell of his
power, but
only momen-
tarily, as the
tide is
against him.
Finally, as
he passion-
ately states :
which
[19 3


THE MAGIC HOUR
Of screaming wild-fowl frightened from the
streams
By gentle, soft-eyed fawn! And there too gleams
The sunlight on a fabled snowy range
From which full many a laughing brook obtains
Its earliest impulse to the sea! And more!
For there through yet uncharted trails the door
To Mexicothe ancient Aztec mines
The lodestone of all dreams, which France de-
clines
To forfeit to Castile! And this the key
Which he must grasp who rules her destiny!
That stream flowingmajesticfrom the North,
Which, outlet once controlled, shall carry forth
More treasure-laden galleons from this land
Than fill a thousand emperors dreams! I stand
France de-.
clines to
forfeit to
Castile, an
angry roar
breaks forth
and they
surge toward
him, but are
stayed by la
Motte until
Duplessis
breaks in on
the speech.]
Ye standa madman!
DUPLESSIS
[Insolently interrupting him.]
tonty [Insane with fury.]
Thou lecherous cur!
If thou fiiust vomitwell make it blood!
[Rushes at Duplessis to run him through. Duplessis, sword in
hand, awaits him. A shot from one of the Voyageurs and
Tonty falls to the earth, his hand clutching his side, and lies
as dead.]
LA MOTTE [Viciously at the body.]
Purr
Now, thou kitten fore the fires of Hell! Rub
Gainst the Devils knees! Beelzebub
Awaits to chuckle at thy puny tricks!
[20]


THE MAGIC HOUR
la salle [From his soul.]
O Tonty! If so be the gods now fix
This hour as thine, la Salle shall claim it too!
On guard, ye hounds! On guard! la Salle doth woo
The Bride of Death! Come join the revelry
The rings on this!
[Flashing sword from scabbard.]
Who will his groomsman be?
[He rushes la Motte, their swords clash. The mutineers close in
on la Salle, whose sword falls to the ground, but he closes with
la Motte, clutching his throat. He hurls some of the mutineers
from him, but they finally overpower him and drag him away.
One raises the butt of his gun to crush in la Salles skull, but
his arm is seized by la Motte.\
LA MOTTE [Crazed with hatred.]
Hold! Thou impetuous dog! Bind quick his hands!
[They bind la Salles hands behind him. He struggles, but
finally overpowered, stands glaring defiantly at his captors.]
The tyrants done! And now la Motte commands!
But fore thy soul goes hurtling down to Hell,
Well grant thy favorite boona speech! Pray tell
Thy prefred fashion of demisea choice [Boisterous
Mayhap not gien to those who list! Rejoice laughter at
Thy soul in words! What? Silent? O thou fool! Motte s
For now thy choice disdained the judge doth rule fiendish
The savage law prevails. There oer the hills humor.]
The model for thy fate! That yelping fills
The night the while the savage dancers turn
In vengeance round their foe! Ye too shall burn!
DU GAY
No! No! Not that! It is a jest . !
[21]


THE MAGIC HOUR
LA MOTTE
Silence!
We drain the cupprate not of abstinence!
DUPLESSIS [To du Gay.]
A Jest? Aye! Laugh at that hes played on thee!
If Famines mirth, then Deaths a pleasantry!
LA MOTTE
Accau, Dautraymake ready there the stake.
And ye! [To others.]
The faggots pileenough to make
The crimson tongues lick gainst the jeweled dome
Of night as did the hungry flames of Rome
The while fat Nero played his farcial tunes!
For here, as there, beneath the cynic moons
Impassive face, a fiddling tyrant plays,
Self-charmed with fatuous dreams and turns no gaze
On all the ruin he hath wrought! He fell
Was in a soft way eased through to Hell;
Not so this tyrant here! So quick! the pyre!
[They rush to obey his orders, stripping lower branches from a
tree as stakeand collecting faggots and logs.]
A VOICE FROM THE WOODS
HiO.'HiO!
Who comes?
LA MOTTE
[Calling.]
A SENTINEL
An Indian messenger!
[22]
[From the woods.]


THE MAGIC HOUR
His mission!
LA MOTTE
Inquire
A SENTINEL
A dictum from the chiefs! He
Bears no calumet!
LA MOTTE
Bid him approach. We
Crave their friendship, say!
[A moment and from the woods, at the rear, appears the shining
body of an Indian warrior in full war regalia. He is accom-
panied by two of his kind. He takes his position on a small
hillock and addresses the Voyageurs.]
THE INDIAN [Right arm aloft.]
Frenchmen, hear the word
The mighty sachems send; the god has heard
Our song, has seen our dance, and of our blood
Has tasted and is pleased. Tonight he stood
Upon the hills and in a thunder voice
That shook the mighty timber sain, Rejoice,
My children! Thine enemies are weak
And have no stomach now for war. Go seek
Their leaders there and bid them turn the way
They came! This land is thinethey must not stay!
The river which they seek is filled with snakes
And wide-jawed reptiles. There a monster makes
His home. He breathes his poison on the stream
And makes it rage. There too, at night, the scream
Of Evil Spirits fills all hearts with fears.
Who journeys there, forever disappears!
[23]


THE MAGIC HOUR
Our God is kind! He would the Frenchmen save;
He now commands they shall turn back. He gave
His mighty wordand now the sachems pray
Thy leaders wise! The sachems must obey!
LA MOTTE
Thy god is great! We hear his mighty word!
Our Holy Man replies!
This tricks deferred
An eyelids flicker till hes gone.
[In lowered tone.]
[To Hennepin.\
Harangue
A mouthful to the dog. Thy symbol clang
Until hes drunk in every slimy pore
With words!
hennepin [Taking a high position.]
Warrior, ye open wide the door
To wisdom and our minds ye flood with light!
Return now to thy chiefs and say, This night
The Frenchmans God has signaled from the sky
A warning! From that flaming torch on high
That lights his childrens path, the warning spoke
An Evil Spirit in our midst! We woke
To Truth and found that Evil Spirit here!
[Points to la Salle.]
Our leadercursed with devilsfilled the air
With poison thoughts and so bewitched our eyes [Murmurs
With sorcery, we knew not Truth from lies! f hatred
That Devil Spirit led us here in vain from e
We cast him outthen journey back again! mutineers.]
INDIAN
Thy speech, O Holy Man, is wise and good!
[24]


THE MAGIC HOUR
HENNEPIN
We send thee presents so its understood
The compacts made. Ten hatchets and a jug
Of brandy shall be thine!
INDIAN
Tis well. We hug
Thee to our hearts as brothers! Peace! I go.
[The Indians turn and disappear into the woods.]
la SALLE [Struggling at his bonds.]
Swine! Untie these hands, O thou sons of Cain,
And hand me back that glistening steel again.
Ill prove ye that the spirit of a man
S still tenant in this flesh! O France, how can
Ye smile so proudly there beyond the sea
In sight of this, thy sons base perfidy?
We ventured forth to bring thee Fame and Gold,
To bring thee only shamethine honor sold!
LA MOTTE
, [Striking him across the mouth.]
Enoughthou puling offspringjof a dog!
[To those piling faggots.]
Art ready?
ACCAU [Carrying a log to the tree.]
Stand asideIll place this log.
[To la Motte.]
Now then
[A shouting is heard on the hill.]
LA MOTTE
What now?
[25]


THE MAGIC HOUR
DAUTRAY [Up the hill a few steps.]
The vagrant fools have come!
They carry some weird vessel.
LA MOTTE
Pray God its rum!
[The four wandering Voyageurs who have been searching the
glen under the spell of the savage legend, now come into view,
carrying a huge earthen vessel of ancient, weird design, moss-
covered and age-old. On the vessel stand out inscriptions of
Aztec origin. Plainly disclosed is one design resembling a large
eye, to the right of which are circles which seem to denote lips
from which emanate shafts as of lightning, on the right of
which is a similar pair of lips with interlaced lines suggestive
of serpents. The wanderers are breathless with excitement as
they come center and set the vessel down, the others gazing
with wonder at the sight.]
la motte [Impatiently.\
What have ye there?
FIRST FOOL
We found it in a cave
As black as hell and awesome as the grave!
SECOND FOOL
A seeming sacred place carved in the rock
By ancient savage tribe!
THIRD FOOL
The cave did mock
Us as we bore the thing away!
[26]


THE MAGIC HOUR
FOURTH FOOL
Echoes
Like the wail of Furies clutched us in throes
Of terror!
FIRST FOOL
The vessel itself did seem
Impulsed to flee. We could not drop it!
SECOND FOOL
Deem
Me idiot if ye willI heard it moan,
Faster! Faster! Before the hour is gone!
LA MOTTE
Idiots? Ha! A word ten times too wise for thee!
Ye heard the Indians song! Gaze at that tree
Yell hear the Furies chant a diffrent lay!
[Angrily.]
[The Fools
gaze at tree
and la Salle
in astonish-
Bind him there! Be quick!
ment.]
[To those holding la Salle.]
LA SALLE
[Shaking himself free from their grasp.]
Hold! I go the way
Of Death alone!
[They raise their guns at him expecting a dash for liberty, but he
moves in silent dignity to the pyre, and stepping upon the log
Accau has placed, faces them in disdain. They bind him.]
Bring me the cross to kiss.
[Hennepin moves to him and starts to raise his cross.]
Not thou, thou Jesuit!
[ 27 ]


THE MAGIC HOUR
LA MOTTE
Send Father Ribourde this
Way.
[Father Ribourde, frail and grey-bearded, his hands bound be-
hind, appears between two guards from behind the tepees.
They untie his hands. La Motte motions toward la Salle.
Father Ribourde gazes for a moment, and then comprehending
the situation, goes feebly down to la Salle, kneeling in front of
him.']
Ora pro nobis
FATHER RIBOURDE
[His voice is heard in the solemn intonation.]
Libera, domine, animan servi tui ex omnibus
periculis inferni, et de laqueis poenarum, et
ex omnibus tribulationibus.
[There is a solemn silence. As he rises, he raises high the cross,
and with the words,]
Te absolvo,
[presents the cross to la Salles lips, makes the sign of the cross
in the ritual, and slowly turns away.]
LA MOTTE
Now then, the flame!
[Duplessis goes with torch to the fire to light it. As he leans over
Father Ribourde catches sight of the strange vessel.]
Whats that?
FATHER RIBOURDE
[Excitedly.]
What?
LA MOTTE
[Startled.]


THE MAGIC HOUR
FATHER RIBOURDE
That vessel there!
[.Rushes to it.]
See the name
Inscribedthe Aztec sign for Truth is good,
And thisAh! list! It reads: I am the food
Of Life Eternal! Eat ye now and live,
For Truth alone Eternal Life doth give!
Tis the Vessel of Truth!
FIRST FOOL [Peering into it.]
FOOD? The damned things
Empty!
LA MOTTE
Silence, fool! This for him who brings
[Drawing sword.]
Another interruption to this task!
Quick now, the flames, as hot as Hell could ask!
[Duplessis lights the torch. As he does this a wreath of greenish
smoke gently makes its way from the mouth of the vessel un-
noticed by the rest intent on his move. The torch lighted, he
starts to the pyre. The glen gleams for a moment with magical
iridescent lights and is suddenly plunged into darkness. From
the mouth of the Vessel of Truth shoots a blaze of greenish
light disclosing a sinful-looking hagtoothless, witchlike,
with long, matted grey hair hanging about her shoulders. Leer-
ing, she addresses the Voyageurs, sardonically wooing each of
them.]
FAME
Why crouch ye there, my lovers, in such fear?
Or does it mean my beauty overpowers
The sterner qualities of man so dear
[29]


THE MAGIC HOUR
To womankindand as parched earth of showers
Must first drink deep to bring the rose a blush,
So ye must let this shower of beauty fall,
Till beauty-sated through thy veins doth rush
The blood of Passionanswering Passions call?
Dost thou remember how I came in dreams [To each in turn.]
And driving drab Contentment from thy bed
Possesst thy soul in rapturewhispering themes
Ineffable in grandeur, and you said:
Thou art my love, my mistress and my bride,
Staystay, my beauty, with me whilst I breathe,
March down the path of Glory by my side
And place upon my brow thy laurel wreath!
Thou art more fair than Virtues dearest bloom.
Thy song doth shame the nightbirds melody.
For thee Id barter my eternal doom
For thee relinquish immortality!
And so Ive come to keep the bartered tryst
To meet ye, lovers, in our amourous game!
What? Ye do not now remember? Then list!
Look! Closer! See! I am thy HARLOT! FAME!!
[Darkness! Fame vanishes, as her shrill, sardonic laughter rings
out on the night. Silence. The scene is lighted as before. Du-
plessis stands in terror. A ll stand or crouch as though frozen to
the spot.]
Jesu!
DUPLESSIS [Eyes staring.]
LA MOTTE
Come, ye falter! Thy torch is out!
[30]


THE MAGIC HOUR
DUPLESSIS [In ghastly whisper.]
I
Thought I heard a voice!
SECOND FOOL
And I!
THIRD FOOL
And I!
LA MOTTE
The godsa chicken-livered crew!
By
Of Fame!
DUPLESSIS
It spoke
LA MOTTE
Enough! Weve listened to the croak
Of fools too long! Again the torchthine ear
Did catch the wailings of the torrent near!
[Duplessis goes trembling to the fire again. Breathing deeply, he
lights the torch and rushes towards la Salle. The same magical
effect as before. Darkness! The torch is extinguished! A garish
light shoots from the vessel disclosing a huge, grotesque golden
Jester. His Jesters cap does not conceal a suggestion of
Mephistophelian horns. His eyes are wicked, he has a large,
bulbous nose and wields a golden jesters wand as he boister-
ously harangues the Voyageurs.\
GOLD
Ye came to seek me here and now ye find!
With greedy eyes now drink me to the dregs!


THE MAGIC HOUR
Fill up those cups of Avarice!be wined
On me! Then with thy bellies filled and legs
Awearied of their load, well blast the night
With lusty song and Bacchanalian mirth!
For I am the King of Jestersa wight
By Satan sired, by Hecate gien birth!
My name is GOLD!and though conceived in Hell
I play a jesters part on Earthits odd
But theres the JEST! I cast oer man a spell
And, leaving L behindMAN spells ME GOD!
[Laughs uproariously ]
So God I am! The monarch of a realm
As vast as Human Greed! On my gilt shores
The mighty tides of Selfishness oerwhelm
The hosts of Sacrifice which at the doors
Of my dominions rage! I can recount
Ten billion victories I since have won
In venging fathers failure on the Mount!
So down upon your knees to mehave done!
Now do I knight ye princes of my Court!
And serve ye well thy Gold in earthly things
Ye shall with all the earthly great consort
For I make kings of fools and fools of kings!
[Darkness. Gold vanishes, with a horrible, satirical roar of
laughter. A few awful groans are heard. The glen is lighted
as before. Duplessis has dropped his torch. He crouches, as a
terrified madman. ]
DUPLESSIS
Away, thou fiend! Away
[Gibbering and screaming, he leaps to his feet, hurls the un-
lighted torch from him, and dashes off into the woods.}
[ 32 ]


THE MAGIC HOUR
ACCAU
I heard it then!
[Many are crouched in terrorsome on knees praying.]
DAUTRAY
It spoke of Gold!
HENNEPIN
Were damned!
first fool [Jumping up in terror.]
Bewitchedthe glen!
The savage legends true!
LA MOTTE
Silence! Give me
The brand! [Seizes one at fire.]
Heres now the end to witchery!
[ Grasps blazing brand and rushes toward the pyre!]
[Darkness. A glowing white light envelops the rustic cross which
stands out against the velvet night with a mystic and holy
beauty! From the empyrean, ringing with great fervor, comes
a voice.]
THE SPIRIT OF MAN
Hear ye! I bear a message from afar!
Through Lifes dark Wilderness Ive struggled on
With Hope my compass, Faith my guiding star
To break the trail from black Oblivion!
Through swamps of Superstition foul and brack
I wallowed with the clammy brood of Fear
Till battling free from Slime I hurled them back
[33 3


THE MAGIC HOUR
And plunged into the Jungle-Ages near.
The savage hordes of Evil lurked about
Like famished wolves alert to gorge their prey,
While Lusts seductive voices whispered Doubt
And challenged me my mission to betray.
Impenetrable mazes hedged me in,
But Instinct battled Ignorance apace,
And Virtue wrenching victory from Sin
Trumpeted a great message to the Race!
Slowly up the slopes of Time Ive journeyed on
Toiling! Toiling through grim, abysmal gloom
To reach the Peaks of Vision where the Sun
Greets GOD!high oer Perditions awful doom!
So from the Heights of proud Achievement now
Above the age-old Jungles of Despair
Through Eyes of Understanding I bestow
On all who follow me, a Vision fair!
O Voyageurs! The Spirit calls, Ye shall
Follow Rene Robert, Sieur de la Salle!
[Darkness. Lighted again, the scene reveals la Motte standing,
the brand fallen from his handa look of fear and indecision
on his face. Others crouch as before. Du Gay leaps to his feet.]
DU GAY
My souls aflame! My fortunes with that man!
[Pointing to la Salle.]
And Mine!
DAUTRAY
ANOTHER
And Mine!
[34]


THE MAGIC HOUR
ANOTHER
And Mine!
[Cries of La Salle, La Salle! Great tumult reigns. Some fall
to fighting. Others rush to release la Salle. Hennepin falls to
his knees babbling to the heavens! Ribourde stands silently
pointing to the cross! La Motte seeing the tide suddenly turned
starts to rush away. Tority rises to his feet, wounded, but
sword in handand faces la Motte.]
TONTY
Ha! Ha! Beelzebub! It was a trick
The Indians taughtso laugh until thourt sick!
The kitten has nine lives! [Runs him through.]
Now thou hast none.
La Salle doth live for France! till Victorys won!
[A cry of approval breaks from all. La Salle free! His sword is
placed in his hand. They rally around him, shouting La
Salle, La Salle!in the center the French standard waving
above him as they all sing the Gloria.]
ALL [Singing.]
Gloria, Gloria,
Gloria in excelsis,
Gloria in excelsis,
Deo, Deo, Deo, Gloria!
Amen, Amen, Amen.
[A shot is heard.]
A SENTINEL
Savage treachery!
[Another shot is heard. La Salle turns, points with his sword in
the direction of the Indian dance where the drums are raising a
frightful din.]
[35]


THE MAGIC HOUR
LA SALLE
To arms! To arms!
[He rushes off up the kill, all following. The guns roar through
the forestyells and whoops of Indians. Over the hill, fire
and flames bathe the distant wood with the glow of battle.
Then in the distance a sound is heard again, proclaiming vic-
tory as the firelight dies.]
Gloria, Gloria,
Gloria in excelsis,
Gloria in excelsis,
Deo, Deo, Deo, Gloria!
Amen, Amen, Amen.
[Darkness. The silence of the wilderness.]
THE OWL HOOTS
Whoo!
Whoo! Whoo!
Whoo!
VOICE OF THE NIGHT
Cease thy cynic cry, O thou tuneless wight!
With hopeless dirge profane no more this night
For, save thy hoots and coward jackal call,
Th eternal harmony pervadeth all!
Art thou so envious of the winds that press
Like giant spirits through the wilderness
Striking from evry vibrant, towering tree
A tone of sweet and solemn majesty
Winning from evry bush and tendrilled vine
Some wistful, muted strain that shameth thine?
Dost think with thy poor moaning dismal call
To vie with mighty tone of waterfall
[36]


THE MAGIC HOUR
Which yonder, blending sonorous roar with breeze
Aye thunders forth divinest symphonies?
Men call thee wisebut Wisdom plays no part
Where vain discordant Envy cries athwart
Those ever swelling forest tones that roll
Forever calling Manhood to the Goal!
[37]


VOYAGEUR
Althea Jewell Rutherford
GLORIA
Dr. John H. Gower
rf =rf&(Hf ^=-t=-T £3--f.
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c c c 0 rm
b1£1 1 1 K L'"'1 1 Z5*
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-^%3~g|-l= ESty -"->j*4s -J^|
De o, De o, Glo-ri-a! A men, A men, A men.


One hundred seventy-five copies printed for the Cactus Club un-
der the direction of the Yale University Press, October, 1922.


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