THE GREAT DIVIDE
A monologue from the play by William Vaughn Moody
|NOTE: The Great Divide was first published in 1906. It is now a public domain work and may be performed without royalties.
GHENT: Ruth, it's these fellows are fooling you! It's they
who keep your head set on the wages of sin, and all that rubbish.
What have we got to do with suffering and sacrifice? That may
be the law for some, and I've tried hard to see it as out law,
and I thought I had succeeded. But I haven't! Our law is joy,
and selfishness; the curve of your shoulder and the light on
your hair as you sit there says that as plain as preaching. --
Does it gall you the way we came together? You asked me that
night what brought me, and I told you whiskey, and sun, and the
devil. Well, I tell you now I'm thankful on my knees for all
three! Does it rankle in your mind that I took you when I could
get you, by main strength and fraud? I guess most good women
are taken that way, if they only knew it. Don't you want to be
paid for? I guess every wife is paid for in some good coin or
other. And as for you, I've paid for you not only with a trumpery
chain, but with the heart in my breast, do you hear? That's one
thing you can't throw back at me -- the man you've made of me,
the life and the meaning of life you've showed me the way to!
[Pause.] If you can't see it my way, give me another chance
to live it out in yours. [Long pause.] I know what you're
saying there to yourself, and I guess you're right. Wrong is
wrong, from the moment it happens till the crack of doom, and
all the angels in heaven, working overtime, can't make it less
or different by a hair. That seems to be the law. I've learned
it hard, but I guess I've learned it. I've seen it written in
mountain letters across the continent of this life. -- Done is
done, and lost is lost, and smashed to hell is smashed to hell.
We fuss and potter and patch up. You might as well try to batter
down the Rocky Mountains with a rabbit's heartbeat. [He goes
to the door, where he turns.] You've fought hard for me,
God bless you for it. -- But it's been a losing game with you
from the first! -- You belong here, and I belong out yonder --
beyond the Rockies, beyond -- the Great Divide!