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CONNECTION BETWEEN VICE AND POVERTY
i AS SHOWN IN THE PLAYLET, "THE SELL OUT"
BY JANE WHITAKER. s .
The connection between vice and
poverty? Joseph. ""Medill Patterson
shows it to you in his one-act play,
"The Sell Out," in a cold, logical
manner, excusing nothing, senti
mentalizing over nothing, disclosing
human frailities, but inexorably
showing that the law of necessity al
lows no choice when the material to
be sacrificed is available.
The curtain lifts on a home in the
tenement district anywhere. It is
one room, barren of beauty. There
is a woodmen table, one bed, a dresser,
and a stove with nickled trimmings
still shiny, on which the instalments
are in arrears.
In this one room there live four
people, j&ary McLinda of the" glove
counter, the-material for the sale; her
sister Rdsiej emaciated with tuber
culosis, ohei.af.the. causes of -the sale;
Rosie's tubercular baby, and Mrs. Mc
Linda, the mother, of the girls.
A feeble "light . from a kerosene
lamp falls on Rosie's .face just as she
bends over in a paroxysm of cough
ing, followed .by' a hemorrhage.
Weakly, she calls the mother and
tells, her it is 12 o'clock and she will
be late if she doesn't hurry, for the
mother washes and irons by day -and
scrubs out lavatories by night.
The voices of the two women are
weighted into a dull monotone even
when they dfiscuss Mary, who, for
three nights has not come home until
12 o'clock; even when Rosie tells of
the stove man, who says he will only
wait until tomorrow for his $4 and
if he doesn't get it he will take the
stove away; even when she says that
the young doctor told her she could
be cured of the consumption if she
went to Colorado, and even when the
mother replies: "Yes, we'll start at
once, won't we?"
And then enters Mary Mary, the
Incarnation, of youth with its loveli
ness. She seems full of a vitality
that rebels at. the bitter brew of life.
There isn't a cheery greeting for
Mary. There are questions and re
proaches. Mary hasn't brought
home her $6 The stove man won't
be paid tomorrow. Mary bought a
pair of shoes and a new hat with
roses, the hat she is wearing.
Gh, the bitterness of youth that
knows no charity. How she de
nounces the way they live how she
beats her wings against the cage,,
vowing she is going to leave it. Why,
the fortune teller told her She would
go on a long journey.
And Rosie thinks perhaps Mary '
means to marry Peter.
"Marry Peter?" she says. "And
go on living like this? Have him
spend his time at the saloon and me
with a new kid every year and look
ing like a sack tied in the middle.
No, thanks. Sometimes, I think I
can't stand this. I think I'll just
There is a reason for Mary's re
bellion tonight. She has been to the
opera. With a girl, yes. But she is
cornered into admitting that a man
bought the seats that cost $5 each,
a man with whom she has had din
ner for three nights a man she met
"fitting gloves on him."
In answer to her mother's query if
she has anything to be ashamed of,
she retorts sullenly, "no;" but in an
swer to her mother's declaration that
she's on the road to Hell, the pretty,
petulant mouth curls, the eyes flash:
"Hell ! I'm getting my Hell, here !"
The lavatories are waiting to be
scrubbed and mother leaves, Quick
ly the hat Is. back ork Mary's head.
"He's waiting around the corner in
his automobile, Rosie. He's going
to take me for a ride. And he's got.
a fur coat for me, too."
Rosie pleads, but the girl's feet are
poised for flight .when .the mother,
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