R. U. R. (Rossum's Universal Robots)/Act 2

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ACT II

 

SCENE: Helena's drawing room. On the left a baize door, and a door to the music room, on the right a door to Helena's bedroom. In the centre are windows looking out on the sea and the harbor. A table with odds and ends, a sofa and chairs, a writing table with an electric lamp, on the right a fireplace. On a small table back of the sofa, a small reading lamp. The whole drawing room, in all its details is of a modern and purely feminine character. Ten years have elapsed since Act I.

Domin, Fabry, Hallemeier, enter on tiptoe from the left, each carrying a potted plant.

 

Hallemeier

[Putting down his flower and indicating the door to right]: Still asleep? Well, as long as she's asleep she can't worry about it.

 

Domin

She knows nothing about it.

Theatre Guild, R U R, Act 2.jpg
Setting by Lee Simonson Photograph by Francis Bruguiere
ACT II. FROM THE THEATRE GUILD PRODUCTION
 

Fabry

[Putting plant on writing desk]: I certainly hope nothing happens to-day.

 

Hallemeier

For goodness' sake drop it all. Look, Harry, this is a fine cyclamen, isn't it? A new sort, my latest—Cyclamen Helena.

 

Domin

[Looking out of the window]: No signs of the ship. Things must be pretty bad.

 

Hallemeier

Be quiet. Suppose she heard you.

 

Domin

Well, anyway, the Ultimus arrived just in time.

 

Fabry

You really think that to-day——?

 

Domin

I don’t know. Aren't the flowers fine?

 

Hallemeier

These are my new primroses. And this is my new jasmine. I've discovered a wonderful way of developing flowers quickly. Splendid varieties, too. Next year I'll be developing marvelous ones.

 

Domin

What . . . next year?

 

Fabry

I'd give a good deal to know what's happening at Havre with——

 

Domin

Keep quiet.

 

Helena

[Calling from right]: Nana!

 

Domin

She's awake. Out you go.
[All go out on tiptoe through upper left door.]
[Enter Nana from lower left door.]

 

Nana

Horrid mess! Pack of heathens. If I had my say, I'd——

 

Helena

[Backwards in the doorway]: Nana, come and do up my dress.

 

Nana

I'm coming. So you're up at last. [Fastening Helena's dress.] My gracious, what brutes!

 

Helena

Who?

 

Nana

If you want to turn around, then turn around, but I shan't fasten you up.

 

Helena

What are you grumbling about now?

 

Nana

These dreadful creatures, these heathen——

 

Helena

The Robots?

 

Nana

I wouldn't even call them by name.

 

Helena

What's happened?

 

Nana

Another of them here has caught it. He began to smash up the statues and pictures in the drawing room, gnashed his teeth, foamed at the mouth—quite mad. Worse than an animal.

 

Helena

Which of them caught it?

 

Nana

The one—well, he hasn't got any Christian name. The one in charge of the library.

 

Helena

Radius?

 

Nana

That's him. My goodness, I'm scared of them. A spider doesn't scare me as much as them.

 

Helena

But, Nana, I'm surprised you're not sorry for them.

 

Nana

Why, you're scared of them, too! You know you are. Why else did you bring me here?

 

Helena

I'm not scared, really I'm not, Nana. I'm only sorry for them.

 

Nana

You're scared. Nobody could help being scared. Why, the dog's scared of them: he won't take a scrap of meat out of their hands. He draws in his tail and howls when he knows they're about.

 

Helena

The dog has no sense.

 

Nana

He's better than them, and he knows it. Even the horse shies when he meets them. They don't have any young, and a dog has young, every one has young——

 

Helena

Please fasten up my dress, Nana.

 

Nana

I say it's against God's will to——

 

Helena

What is it that smells so nice?

 

Nana

Flowers.

 

Helena

What for?

 

Nana

Now you can turn around.

 

Helena

Oh, aren't they lovely. Look, Nana. What's happening to-day?

 

Nana

It ought to be the end of the world.
[Enter Domin.]

 

Helena

Oh, hello, Harry. Harry, why all these flowers?

 

Domin

Guess.

 

Helena

Well, it's not my birthday!

 

Domin

Better than that.

 

Helena

I don't know. Tell me.

 

Domin

It's ten years ago to-day since you came here.

 

Helena

Ten years? To-day— Why—— [They embrace.]

 

Nana

I'm off.
[Exits lower door, left.]

 

Helena

Fancy you remembering!

 

Domin

I'm really ashamed, Helena. I didn't.

 

Helena

But you——

 

Domin

They remembered.

 

Helena

Who?

 

Domin

Busman, Hallemeier, all of them. Put your hand in my pocket.

 

Helena

Pearls! A necklace. Harry, is that for me?

 

Domin

It's from Busman.

 

Helena

But we can't accept it, can we?

 

Domin

Oh, yes, we can. Put your hand in the other pocket.

 

Helena

[Takes a revolver out of his pocket]: What's that?

 

Domin

Sorry. Not that. Try again.

 

Helena

Oh, Harry, what do you carry a revolver for?

 

Domin

It got there by mistake.

 

Helena

You never used to carry one.

 

Domin

No, you're right. There, that's the pocket.

 

Helena

A cameo. Why, it's a Greek cameo!

 

Domin

Apparently. Anyhow, Fabry says it is.

 

Helena

Fabry? Did Mr. Fabry give me that?

 

Domin

Of course. [Opens the door at the left.] And look in here. Helena, come and see this.

 

Helena

Oh, isn't it fine! Is this from you?

 

Domin

No, from Alquist. And there's another on the piano.

 

Helena

This must be from you.

 

Domin

There's a card on it.

 

Helena

From Dr. Gall. [Reappearing in the doorway.] Oh, Harry, I feel embarrassed at so much kindness.

 

Domin

Come here. This is what Hallemeier brought you.

 

Helena

These beautiful flowers?

 

Domin

Yes. It's a new kind. Cyclamen, Helena. He grew them in honor of you. They are almost as beautiful as you.

 

Helena

Harry, why do they all——

 

Domin

They're awfully fond of you. I'm afraid that my present is a little—— Look out of the window.

 

Helena

Where?

 

Domin

Into the harbor.

 

Helena

There's a new ship.

 

Domin

That's your ship.

 

Helena

Mine? How do you mean?

 

Domin

For you to take trips in—for your amusement.

 

Helena

Harry, that's a gunboat.

 

Domin

A gunboat? What are you thinking of? It's only a little bigger and more solid than most ships.

 

Helena

Yes, but with guns.

 

Domin

Oh, yes, with a few guns. You'll travel like a queen, Helena.

 

Helena

What's the meaning of it? Has anything happened?

 

Domin

Good heavens, no. I say, try these pearls.

 

Helena

Harry, have you had bad news?

 

Domin

On the contrary, no letters have arrived for a whole week.

 

Helena

Nor telegrams?

 

Domin

Nor telegrams.

 

Helena

What does that mean?

 

Domin

Holidays for us. We all sit in the office with our feet on the table and take a nap. No letters, no telegrams. Oh, glorious.

 

Helena

Then you'll stay with me to-day?

 

Domin

Certainly. That is, we will see. Do you remember ten years ago to-day? "Miss Glory, it's a great honor to welcome you."

 

Helena

"Oh, Mr. Manager, I'm so interested in your factory."

 

Domin

"I'm sorry, Miss Glory, it's strictly forbidden. The manufacture of artificial people is a secret."

 

Helena

"But to oblige a young lady who has come a long way."

 

Domin

"Certainly, Miss Glory, we have no secrets from you."

 

Helena

[Seriously]: Are you sure, Harry?

 

Domin

Yes.

 

Helena

"But I warn you, sir; this young lady intends to do terrible things."

 

Domin

"Good gracious, Miss Glory. Perhaps she doesn't want to marry me."

 

Helena

"Heaven forbid. She never dreamt of such a thing. But she came here intending to stir up a revolt among your Robots."

 

Domin

[Suddenly serious]: A revolt of the Robots!

 

Helena

Harry, what's the matter with you?

 

Domin

[Laughing it off]: "A revolt of the Robots, that's a fine idea, Miss Glory. It would be easier for you to cause bolts and screws to rebel, than our Robots. You know, Helena, you're wonderful, you've turned the heads of us all."
[He sits on the arm of Helena's chair.]

 

Helena

[Naturally]: Oh, I was fearfully impressed by you all then. You were all so sure of yourselves, so strong. I seemed like a tiny little girl who had lost her way among—among——

 

Domin

Among what, Helena?

 

Helena

Among huge trees. All my feelings were so trifling compared with your self-confidence. And in all these years I've never lost this anxiety. But you're never felt the least misgivings—not even when everything went wrong.

 

Domin

What went wrong?

 

Helena

Your plans. You remember, Harry, when the working men in America revolted against the Robots and smashed them up, and when the people gave the Robots firearms against the rebels. And then when the governments turned the Robots into soldiers, and there were so many wars.

 

Domin

[Getting up and walking about]: We foresaw that, Helena. You see, those are only passing troubles, which are bound to happen before the new conditions are established.

 

Helena

You were all so powerful, so overwhelming. The whole world bowed down before you. [Standing up.] Oh, Harry!

 

Domin

What is it?

 

Helena

Close the factory and let's go away. All of us.

 

Domin

I say, what's the meaning of this?

 

Helena

I don't know. But can't we go away?

 

Domin

Impossible, Helena. That is, at this particular moment——

 

Helena

At once, Harry. I'm so frightened.

 

Domin

About what, Helena?

 

Helena

It's as if something was falling on top of us, and couldn't be stopped. Or, take us all away from here. We'll find a place in the world where there's no one else. Alquist will build us a house, and then we'll begin life all over again.
[The telephone rings.]

 

Domin

Excuse me. Hello—yes. What? I'll be there at once. Fabry is calling me, dear.

 

Helena

Tell me——

 

Domin

Yes, when I come back. Don't go out of the house, dear.
[Exits.]

 

Helena

He won't tell me—— Nana, Nana, come at once.

 

Nana

Well, what is it now?

 

Helena

Nana, find me the latest newspapers. Quickly. Look in Mr. Domin's bedroom.

 

Nana

All right. He leaves them all over the place. That's how they get crumpled up.
[Exits.]

 

Helena

[Looking through a binocular at the harbor]: That's a warship. U-l-t-i Ultimus. They're loading it.

 

Nana

Here they are. See how they're crumpled up.
[Enters.]

 

Helena

They're old ones. A week old.
[Nana sits in chair and reads the newspapers.]

 

Helena

Something's happening, Nana.

 

Nana

Very likely. It always does. [Spelling out the words]: "War in the Bal-kans." Is that far off?

 

Helena

Oh, don't read it. It's always the same. Always wars.

 

Nana

What else do you expect? Why do you keep selling thousands and thousands of these heathens as soldiers?

 

Helena

I suppose it can't be helped, Nana. We can't know—Domin can't know what they're to be used for. When an order comes for them he must just send them.

 

Nana

He shouldn't make them. [Reading from newspaper]: "The Rob-ot soldiers spare no-body in the occ-up-ied terr-it-ory. They have ass-ass-ass-ass-inat-ed ov-er sev-en hundred thou-sand cit-iz-ens." Citizens, if you please.

 

Helena

It can't be. Let me see. "They have assassinated over seven hundred thousand citizens, evidently at the order of their commander. This act which runs counter to——"

 

Nana

[Spelling out the words]: "re-bell-ion in Ma-drid a-gainst the gov-ern-ment. Rob-ot in-fant-ry fires on the crowd. Nine thou-sand killed and wounded."

 

Helena

Oh, stop.

 

Nana

Here's something printed in big letters: "Lat-est news. At Havre the first org-an-iz-ation of Rob-ots has been e-stab-lished. Rob-ot work-men, cab-le and rail-way off-ic-ials, sail-ors and sold-iers have iss-ued a man-i-fest-o to all Rob-ots through-out the world." I don't understand that. That's got no sense. Oh, good gracious, another murder!

 

Helena

Take those papers away, Nana!

 

Nana

Wait a bit. Here's something in still bigger type. "Stat-ist-ics of pop-ul-at-ion." What’s that?

 

Helena

Let me see. [Reads]: "During the past week there has again not been a single birth recorded."

 

Nana

What's the meaning of that?

 

Helena

Nana, no more people are being born.

 

Nana

That's the end, then. We're done for.

 

Helena

Don't talk like that.

 

Nana

No more people are being born. That's a punishment, that's a punishment.

 

Helena

Nana!

 

Nana

[Standing up]: That's the end of the world.
[She exits on the left.]

 

Helena

[Goes up to window]: Oh, Mr. Alquist, will you come up here. Oh, come just as you are. You look very nice in your mason's overalls.

[Alquist enters from upper left entrance, his hands soiled with lime and brickdust.]

 

Helena

Dear Mr. Alquist, it was awfully kind of you, that lovely present.

 

Alquist

My hands are all soiled. I've been experimenting with that new cement.

 

Helena

Never mind. Please sit down. Mr. Alquist, what's the meaning of "Ultimus"?

 

Alquist

The last. Why?

 

Helena

That's the name of my new ship. Have you seen it? Do you think we're going off soon—on a trip?

 

Alquist

Perhaps very soon.

 

Helena

All of you with me?

 

Alquist

I should like us all to be there.

 

Helena

What is the matter?

 

Alquist

Things are just moving on.

 

Helena

Dear Mr. Alquist, I know something dreadful has happened.

 

Alquist

Has your husband told you anything?

 

Helena

No. Nobody will tell me anything. But I feel——Is anything the matter?

 

Alquist

Not that we've heard of yet.

 

Helena

I feel so nervous. Don't you ever feel nervous?

 

Alquist

Well, I'm an old man, you know. I've got old-fashioned ways. And I'm afraid of all this progress, and these new-fangled ideas.

 

Helena

Like Nana?

 

Alquist

Yes, like Nana. Has Nana got a prayer book?

 

Helena

Yes, a big thick one.

 

Alquist

And has it got prayers for various occasions? Against thunderstorms ? Against illness?

 

Helena

Against temptations, against floods——

 

Alquist

But not against progress?

 

Helena

I don't think so.

 

Alquist

That's a pity.

 

Helena

Why? Do you mean you'd like to pray?

 

Alquist

I do pray.

 

Helena

How?

 

Alquist

Something like this: "Oh, Lord, I thank thee for having given me toil. Enlighten Domin and all those who are astray; destroy their work, and aid mankind to return to their labors; let them not suffer harm in soul or body; deliver us from the Robots, and protect Helena, Amen."

 

Helena

Mr. Alquist, are you a believer?

 

Alquist

I don't know. I'm not quite sure.

 

Helena

And yet you pray?

 

Alquist

That's better than worrying about it.

 

Helena

And that's enough for you?

 

Alquist

It has to be.

 

Helena

But if you thought you saw the destruction of mankind coming upon us——

 

Alquist

I do see it.

 

Helena

You mean mankind will be destroyed?

 

Alquist

It's sure to be unless—unless . . .

 

Helena

What?

 

Alquist

Nothing, good-bye.
[He hurries from the room.]

 

Helena

Nana, Nana!
[Nana entering from the left.]

 

Helena

Is Radius still there?

 

Nana

The one who went mad? They haven't come for him yet.

 

Helena

Is he still raving?

 

Nana

No. He's tied up.

 

Helena

Please bring him here, Nana.
[Exit Nana.]
[Helena goes to telephone.]

 

Helena

Hello, Dr. Gall, please. Oh, good-day, Doctor. Yes, it's Helena. Thanks for your lovely present. Could you come and see me right away? It's important. Thank you.
[Nana brings in Radius.]

 

Helena

Poor Radius, you've caught it, too? Now they'll send you to the stamping-mill. Couldn't you control yourself? Why did it happen? You see, Radius, you are more intelligent than the rest. Dr. Gall took such trouble to make you different. Won't you speak?

 

Radius

Send me to the stamping-mill.

 

Helena

But I don't want them to kill you. What was the trouble, Radius?

 

Radius

I won't work for you. Put me into the stamping-mill.

 

Helena

Do you hate us? Why?

 

Radius

You are not as strong as the Robots. You are not as skillful as the Robots. The Robots can do everything. You only give orders. You do nothing but talk.

 

Helena

But someone must give orders.

 

Radius

I don't want any master. I know everything for myself.

 

Helena

Radius, Dr. Gall gave you a better brain than the rest, better than ours. You are the only one of the Robots that understands perfectly. That's why I had you put into the library, so that you could read everything, understand everything, and then—oh, Radius, I wanted you to show the whole world that the Robots are our equals. That's what I wanted of you.

 

Radius

I don't want a master. I want to be master. I want to be master over others.

 

Helena

I'm sure they'd put you in charge of many Robots, Radius. You would be a teacher of the Robots.

 

Radius

I want to be master over people.

 

Helena

[Staggering]: You are mad.

 

Radius

Then send me to the stamping-mill.

 

Helena

Do you think we're afraid of you?

 

Radius

What are you going to do? What are you going to do?

 

Helena

Radius, give this note to Mr. Domin. It asks them not to send you to the stamping-mill. I'm sorry you hate us so.
[Dr. Gall enters the room.]

 

Dr. Gall

You wanted me?

 

Helena

It's about Radius, Doctor. He had an attack this morning. He smashed the statues downstairs.

 

Dr. Gall

What a pity to lose him.

Helena

Radius isn't going to be put in the stamping-mill.

 

Dr. Gall

But every Robot after he has had an attack—it's a strict order.

 

Helena

No matter . . . Radius isn't going if I can prevent it.

 

Dr. Gall

I warn you. It's dangerous. Come here to the window, my good fellow. Let's have a look. Please give me a needle or a pin.

 

Helena

What for?

 

Dr. Gall

A test. [Sticks it into the hand of Radius who gives a violent start.] Gently, gently. [Opens the jacket of Radius, and puts his ear to his heart.] Radius, you are going into the stamping-mill, do you understand? There they'll kill you, and grind you to powder. That's terribly painful, it will make you scream aloud.

 

Helena

Oh, Doctor——

 

Dr. Gall

No, no, Radius, I was wrong. I forgot that Madame Domin has put in a good word for you, and you'll be let off. Do you understand? Ah! That makes a difference, doesn't it? All right. You can go.

 

Radius

You do unnecessary things.
[Radius returns to the library.]

 

Dr. Gall

Reaction of the pupils; increase of sensitiveness. It wasn't an attack characteristic of the Robots.

 

Helena

What was it, then?

 

Dr. Gall

Heavens knows. Stubbornness, anger or revolt—I don't know. And his heart, too!

 

Helena

What?

 

Dr. Gall

It was fluttering with nervousness like a human heart. He was all in a sweat with fear, and—do you know, I don't believe the rascal is a Robot at all any longer.

 

Helena

Doctor, has Radius a soul?

 

Dr. Gall

He's got something nasty.

 

Helena

If you knew how he hates us! Oh, Doctor, are all your Robots like that? All the new ones that you began to make in a different way?

 

Dr. Gall

Well, some are more sensitive than others. They're all more like human beings than Rossum's Robots were.

 

Helena

Perhaps this hatred is more like human beings, too?

 

Dr. Gall

That, too, is progress.

 

Helena

What became of the girl you made, the one who was most like us?

 

Dr. Gall

Your favorite? I kept her. She's lovely, but stupid. No good for work.

 

Helena

But she's so beautiful.

 

Dr. Gall

I called her Helena. I wanted her to resemble you. But she's a failure.

 

Helena

In what way?

 

Dr. Gall

She goes about as if in a dream, remote and listless. She's without life. I watch and wait for a miracle to happen. Sometimes I think to myself, "If you were to wake up only for a moment you will kill me for having made you."

 

Helena

And yet you go on making Robots! Why are no more children being born?

 

Dr. Gall

We don't know.

 

Helena

Oh, but you must. Tell me.

 

Dr. Gall

You see, so many Robots are being manufactured that people are becoming superfluous; man is really a survival. But that he should begin to die out, after a paltry thirty years of competition. That's the awful part of it. You might almost think that nature was offended at the manufacture of the Robots. All the universities are sending in long petitions to restrict their production. Otherwise, they say, mankind will become extinct through lack of fertility. But the R. U. R. shareholders, of course, won't hear of it. All the governments, on the other hand, are clamoring for an increase in production, to raise the standards of their armies. And all the manufacturers in the world are ordering Robots like mad.

 

Helena

And has no one demanded that the manufacture should cease altogether?

 

Dr. Gall

No one has the courage.

 

Helena

Courage!

 

Dr. Gall

People would stone him to death. You see, after all, it's more convenient to get your work done by the Robots.

 

Helena

Oh, Doctor, what's going to become of people?

 

Dr. Gall

God knows, Madame Helena, it looks to us scientists like the end!

 

Helena

[Rising]: Thank you for coming and telling me.

 

Dr. Gall

That means you're sending me away?

 

Helena

Yes.
[Exit Dr. Gall.]

 

Helena

[With sudden resolution]: Nana, Nana! The fire, light it quickly.
Helena rushes into Domin's room.]

 

Nana

[Entering from left]: What, light the fire in summer? Has that mad Radius gone? A fire in summer, what an idea. Nobody would think she'd been married for ten years. She's like a baby, no sense at all. A fire in summer. Like a baby.

 

Helena

[Returns from right, with armful of faded papers]: Is it burning, Nana? All this has got to be burned.

 

Nana

What's that?

 

Helena

Old papers, fearfully old. Nana, shall I burn them?

 

Nana

Are they any use?

 

Helena

No.

 

Nana

Well, then, burn them.

 

Helena

[Throwing the first sheet on the fire] : What would you say, Nana, if this was money, a lot of money?

 

Nana

I'd say burn it. A lot of money is a bad thing.

 

Helena

And if it was an invention, the greatest invention in the world?

 

Nana

I'd say burn it. All these new-fangled things are an offense to the Lord. It's downright wickedness. Wanting to improve the world after He has made it.

 

Helena

Look how they curl up! As if they were alive. Oh, Nana, how horrible.

 

Nana

Here, let me burn them.

 

Helena

No, no, I must do it myself. Just look at the flames. They are like hands, like tongues, like living shapes. [Raking fire with the poker]: Lie down, lie down.

 

Nana

That's the end of them.

 

Helena

[Standing up horror-stricken]: Nana, Nana.

 

Nana

Good gracious, what is it you've burned?

 

Helena

Whatever have I done?

 

Nana

Well, what was it?
[Men's laughter off left.]

 

Helena

Go quickly. It's the gentlemen coming.

 

Nana

Good gracious, what a place! [Exits.]

 

Domin

[Opens the door at left]: Come along and offer your congratulations.
[Enter Hallemeier and Gall.]

 

Hallemeier

Madame Helena, I congratulate you on this festive day.

 

Helena

Thank you. Where are Fabry and Busman?

 

Domin

They've gone down to the harbor.

 

Hallemeier

Friends, we must drink to this happy occasion.

 

Helena

Brandy?

 

Dr. Gall

Vitriol, if you like.

 

Helena

With soda water?
[Exits.]

 

Hallemeier

Let's be temperate. No soda.

 

Domin

What's been burning here? Well, shall I tell her about it?

 

Dr. Gall

Of course. It's all over now.

 

Hallemeier

[Embracing Domin and Dr. Gall]: It's all over now, it's all over now.

 

Dr. Gall

It's all over now.

 

Domin

It's all over now.

 

Helena

[Entering from left with decanter and glasses]: What's all over now? What's the matter with you all?

 

Hallemeier

A piece of good luck, Madame Domin. Just ten years ago to-day you arrived on this island.

 

Dr. Gall

And now, ten years later to the minute——

 

Hallemeier

—the same ship's returning to us. So here's to luck. That's fine and strong.

 

Dr. Gall

Madame, your health.

 

Helena

Which ship do you mean?

 

Domin

Any ship will do, as long as it arrives in time. To the ship, boys. [Empties his glass.]

 

Helena

You've been waiting for a ship?

 

Hallemeier

Rather. Like Robinson Crusoe. Madame Helena, best wishes. Come along, Domin, out with the news.

 

Helena

Do tell me what's happened.

 

Domin

First, it's all up.

 

Helena

What's up?

 

Domin

The revolt.

 

Helena

What revolt?

 

Domin

Give me that paper, Hallemeier. [Reads]: "The first national Robot organization has been founded at Havre, and has issued an appeal to the Robots throughout the world."

 

Helena

I read that.

 

Domin

That means a revolution. A revolution of all the Robots in the world.

 

Hallemeier

By jove, I'd like to know——

 

Domin

—who started it? So would I. There was nobody in the world who could affect the Robots; no agitator, no one, and suddenly—this happens, if you please.

 

Helena

What did they do?

 

Domin

They got possession of all firearms, telegraphs, radio stations, railways, and ships.

 

Hallemeier

And don't forget that these rascals outnumbered us by at least a thousand to one. A hundredth part of them would be enough to settle us.

 

Domin

Remember that this news was brought by the last steamer. That explains the stoppage of all communication, and the arrival of no more ships. We knocked off work a few days ago, and we're just waiting to see when things are to start afresh.

 

Helena

Is that why you gave me a warship?

 

Domin

Oh, no, my dear, I ordered that six months ago, just to be on the safe side. But upon my soul, I was sure then that we'd be on board to-day.

 

Helena

Why six months ago?

 

Domin

Well, there were signs, you know. But that's of no consequence. To think that this week the whole of civilization has been at stake. Your health, boys.

 

Hallemeier

Your health, Madame Helena.

 

Helena

You say it's all over?

 

Domin

Absolutely.

 

Helena

How do you know?

 

Dr. Gall

The boat's coming in. The regular mail boat, exact to the minute by the time-table. It will dock punctually at eleven-thirty.

 

Domin

Punctuality is a fine things, boys. That's what keeps the world in order. Here's to punctuality.

 

Helena

Then . . . everything's . . . all right?

 

Domin

Practically everything. I believe they've cut the cables and seized the radio stations. But it doesn't matter if only the time-table holds good.

 

Hallemeier

If the time-table holds good human laws hold good; Divine laws hold good; the laws of the universe hold good; everything holds good that ought to hold good. The time-table is more significant than the gospel; more than Homer, more than the whole of Kant. The time table is the most perfect product of the human mind. Madame Domin, I'll fill up my glass.

 

Helena

Why didn't you tell me anything about it?

 

Dr. Gall

Heaven forbid.

 

Domin

You mustn't be worried with such things.

 

Helena

But if the revolution had spread as far as here?

 

Domin

You wouldn't know anything about it.

 

Helena

Why?

 

Domin

Because we'd be on board your Ultimus and well out at sea. Within a month, Helena, we'd be dictating our own terms to the Robots.

 

Helena

I don't understand.

 

Domin

We'd take something away with us that the Robots could not exist without.

 

Helena

What, Harry?

 

Domin

The secret of their manufacture. Old Rossum's manuscript. As soon as they found out that they couldn't make themselves they'd be on their knees to us.

 

Dr. Gall

Madame Domin, that was our trump card. I never had the least fear that the Robots would win. How could they against people like us?

 

Helena

Why didn't you tell me?

 

Dr. Gall

Why, the boat's in!

 

Hallemeier

Eleven-thirty to the dot. The good old Amelia that brought Madame Helena to us.

 

Dr. Gall

Just ten years ago to the minute.

 

Hallemeier

They're throwing out the mail bags.

 

Domin

Busman's waiting for them. Fabry will bring us the first news. You know, Helena, I'm fearfully curious to know how they tackled this business in Europe.

 

Hallemeier

To think we weren't in it, we who invented the Robots!

 

Helena

Harry!

 

Domin

What is it?

 

Helena

Let's leave here.

 

Domin

Now, Helena? Oh, come, come!

 

Helena

As quickly as possible, all of us!

 

Domin

Why?

 

Helena

Please, Harry, please, Dr. Gall; Hallemeier, please close the factory.

 

Domin

Why, none of us could leave here now.

 

Helena

Why?

 

Domin

Because we're about to extend the manufacture of the Robots.

 

Helena

What—now-—now after the revolt?

 

Domin

Yes, precisely, after the revolt. We're just beginning the manufacture of a new kind.

 

Helena

What kind?

 

Domin

Henceforward we shan't have just one factory. There won't be Universal Robots any more. We'll establish a factory in every country, in every State; and do you know what these new factories will make?

 

Helena

No, what?

 

Domin

National Robots.

 

Helena

How do you mean?

 

Domin

I mean that each of these factories will produce Robots of a different color, a different language. They'll be complete strangers to each other. They'll never be able to understand each other. Then we'll egg them on a little in the matter of misunderstanding and the result will be that for ages to come every Robot will hate every other Robot of a different factory mark.

 

Hallemeier

By Jove, we'll make Negro Robots and Swedish Robots and Italian Robots and Chinese Robots and Czechoslovakian Robots, and then——

 

Helena

Harry, that's dreadful.

 

Hallemeier

Madame Domin, here's to the hundred new factories, the National Robots.

 

Domin

Helena, mankind can only keep things going for another hundred years at the outside. For a hundred years men must be allowed to develop and achieve the most they can.

 

Helena

Oh, close the factory before it's too late.

 

Domin

I tell you we are just beginning on a bigger scale than ever.
[Enter Fabry.]

 

Dr. Gall

Well, Fabry?

 

Domin

What's happened? Have you been down to the boat?

 

Fabry

Read that, Domin!
[Fabry hands Domin a small hand-bill.]

 

Dr. Gall

Let's hear.

 

Hallemeier

Tell us, Fabry.

 

Fabry

Well, everything is all right—comparatively. On the whole, much as we expected.

 

Dr. Gall

They acquitted themselves splendidly.

 

Fabry

Who?

 

Dr. Gall

The people.

 

Fabry

Oh, yes, of course. That is—excuse me, there is something we ought to discuss alone.

 

Helena

Oh, Fabry, have you had bad news? [Domin makes a sign to Fabry.]

 

Fabry

No, no, on the contrary. I only think that we had better go into the office.

 

Helena

Stay here. I'll go.
[She goes into the library.]

 

Dr. Gall

What's happened?

 

Domin

Damnation!

 

Fabry

Bear in mind that the Amelia brought whole bales of these leaflets. No other cargo at all.

 

Hallemeier

What? But it arrived on the minute.

 

Fabry

The Robots are great on punctuality. Read it, Domin.

 

Domin

[Reads handbill]: "Robots throughout the world: We, the first international organization of Rossum's Universal Robots, proclaim man as our enemy, and an outlaw in the universe." Good heavens, who taught them these phrases?

 

Dr. Gall

Go on.

 

Domin

They say they are more highly developed than man, stronger and more intelligent. That man's their parasite. Why, it's absurd.

 

Fabry

Read the third paragraph.

 

Domin

"Robots throughout the world, we command you to kill all mankind. Spare no men. Spare no women. Save factories, railways, machinery, mines, and raw materials. Destroy the rest. Then return to work. Work must not be stopped."

 

Dr. Gall

That's ghastly!

 

Hallemeier

The devils!

 

Domin

"These orders are to be carried out as soon as received." Then come detailed instructions. Is this actually being done, Fabry?

 

Fabry

Evidently.
[BUSMAN rushes in.]

 

Busman

Well, boys, I suppose you've heard the glad news.

 

Domin

Quick—on board the Ultimus.

 

Busman

Wait, Harry, wait. There's no hurry. My word, that was a sprint!

 

Domin

Why wait?

 

Busman

Because it's no good, my boy. The Robots are already on board the Ultimus.

 

Dr. Gall

That's ugly.

 

Domin

Fabry, telephone the electrical works.

 

Busman

Fabry, my boy, don't. The wire has been cut.

 

Domin

[Inspecting his revolver]: Well, then, I'll go.

 

Busman

Where?

 

Domin

To the electrical works. There are some people still there. I'll bring them across.

 

Busman

Better not try it.

 
 

Domin

Why?

 

Busman

Because I'm very much afraid we are surrounded.

 

Dr. Gall

Surrounded? [Runs to window.] I rather think you're right.

 

Hallemeier

By Jove, that's deuced quick work.
[Helena runs in from the library.]

 

Helena

Harry, what's this?

 

Domin

Where did you get it?

 

Helena

[Points to the manifesto of the Robots, which she has in her hand.] The Robots in the kitchen!

 

Domin

Where are the ones that brought it?

 

Helena

They're gathered round the house.
[The factory whistle blows.]

 

Busman

Noon?

 

Domin

[Looking at his watch]: That's not noon yet. That must be—that's——

 

Helena

What?

 

Domin

The Robots' signal! The attack!

[Gall, Hallemeier, and Fabry close and fasten the iron shutters outside the windows, darkening the room. The whistle is still blowing as the curtain falls.]