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Dr. Jonathan   By: (1871-1947)

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DR. JONATHAN

By Winston Churchill

A Play in Three Acts

PREFACE

This play was written during the war. But owing to the fact that several managers politely declined to produce it, it has not appeared on any stage. Now, perhaps, its theme is more timely, more likely to receive the attention it deserves, when the smoke of battle has somewhat cleared. Even when the struggle with Germany and her allies was in progress it was quite apparent to the discerning that the true issue of the conflict was one quite familiar to American thought, of self determination. On returning from abroad toward the end of 1917 I ventured into print with the statement that the great war had every aspect of a race with revolution. Subliminal desires, subliminal fears, when they break down the censor of law, are apt to inspire fanatical creeds, to wind about their victims the flaming flag of a false martyrdom. Today it is on the knees of the gods whether the insuppressible impulses for human freedom that come roaring up from the subliminal chaos, fanned by hunger and hate, are to thrash themselves out in anarchy and insanity, or to take an ordered, intelligent and conscious course. Of the Twentieth Century, industrial democracy is the watchword, even as political democracy was the watchword of the two centuries that preceded it. Economic power is at last realized to be political power. No man owns himself, no woman owns herself if the individual is not economically free. Perhaps the most encouraging omen of the day is the fact that many of our modern employers, and even our modern financiers and bankers seem to be recognizing this truth, to be growing aware of the danger to civilization of its continued suppression. Educators and sociologists may supply the theories; but by experiment, by trial and error, yes, and by prayer, the solution must be found in the practical domain of industry.

DR. JONATHAN

ACT I

SCENE: The library of ASHER PINDAR'S house in Foxon Falls, a New England village of some three thousand souls, over the destinies of which the Pindars for three generations have presided. It is a large, dignified room, built early in the nineteenth century, with white doors and gloss woodwork. At the rear of the stage, which is the front of the house, are three high windows with small, square panes of glass, and embrasures into which are fitted white inside shutters. These windows reach to within a foot or so of the floor; a person walking on the lawn or the sidewalk just beyond it may be seen through them. The trees bordering the Common are also seen through these windows, and through a gap in the foliage a glimpse of the terraced steeple of the Pindar Church, the architecture of which is of the same period as the house. Upper right, at the end of the wall, is a glass door looking out on the lawn. There is another door, lower right, and a door, lower left, leading into ASHER PINDAR'S study. A marble mantel, which holds a clock and certain ornaments, is just beyond this door. The wall spaces on the right and left are occupied by high bookcases filled with respectable volumes in calf and dark cloth bindings. Over the mantel is an oil painting of the Bierstadt school, cherished by ASHER as an inheritance from his father, a huge landscape with a self conscious sky, mountains, plains, rivers and waterfalls, and two small figures of Indians who seem to have been talking to a missionary. In the spaces between the windows are two steel engravings, "The Death of Wolfe on the Plains of Abraham" and "Washington Crossing the Delaware!" The furniture, with the exception of a few heirlooms, such as the stiff sofa, is mostly of the Richardson period of the '80s and '90s. On a table, middle rear, are neatly spread out several conservative magazines and periodicals, including a religious publication.

TIME: A bright morning in October, 1917,

GEORGE PINDAR, in the uniform of a first lieutenant of the army, enters by the doorway, upper right... Continue reading book >>




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