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The Straw
written by "O'Neill, Eugene, 1888-1953"
...you see? No half and half measures—no promises—no conditional engagements—can help us—help her. We love too much! (Fiercely, as if defying her.) But we'll win together. We can! We must! There are things your doctors cannot value—cannot know the strength of! (Exultantly.) You'll see! I'll make Eileen get well, I tell you! Happiness will cure! Love is stronger than—— (He suddenly breaks down before the pitying negation she cannot keep from her eyes. He sinks on a chair, shoulders bowed, face hidden in his hands, with a groan of despair.) Oh, why did you give me a hopeless hope? MISS GILPIN (putting her hand on his shoulder—with tender compassion—sadly). Isn't everything we know—just that—when you think of it? (Her face lighting up with a consoling revelation.) But there must be something behind it—some promise of fulfilment,—somehow—somewhere—in the spirit of hope itself. MURRAY (dully). Yes—but what do words mean to me now? (Then suddenly starting to his feet and flinging off her hand with disdainful strength—violently and almost insultingly.) What damned rot! I tell you we'll win! We must! Oh, I'm a fool to waste words on you! What can you know? Love isn't in the materia medica. Your predictions—all the verdicts of all the doctors—what do they matter to me? This is—beyond you! And we'll win in spite of you! (Scornfully.) How dare you use the word hopeless—as if it were the last! Come now, confess, damn it! There's always hope, isn't there? What do you know? Can you say you know anything? MISS GILPIN (taken aback by his violence for a moment, finally bursts into a laugh of helplessness which is close to tears). I? I know nothing—absolutely nothing! God bless you both! (She raises her handkerchief to her eyes and hurries out to the corridor without turning her head. Murray stands looking after her for a ...

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