Treatment: The Make-Believe Man

Act I
Scene one begins with two clerks sitting next to each other in an old building belonging to Joyce & Carboy, a manufacturing company. One is a practicing stenographer and a bit more timid than his friend, who is always looking for an adventure. They are working long hours into the April night and are exhausted when the topic of their vacation comes about. They both feel they need to get out of New York City for a while, and discuss plans. They bicker about the expenses and advantages of their potential vacation spots, and the argument ends with the adventurous one, Kinney, storming off and pointing out that X never has any fun because he doesn't let himself. Scene two starts when the story flashes forward a few months later to September, with both of them leaning on a boat railing in the cool air. Kinney is slightly disappointed as he expresses his disbelief that they ended up choosing New Bedford as a destination randomly out of a pillowcase. X is uninterested and changes the subject to the morning paper. He is interested in the mention of how the Earl of Ivy from Ireland and his sister Lady Moya had recently arrived in New York but eluded reporters. As they talk they observe the boarding passengers. Kinney loses interest and begins a different conversation with a college-aged man in a Harvard hat. As passengers continue to board, all of a sudden both X and the Harvard man are stricken by a beautiful woman getting on board. She goes below deck and the Harvard man does the same. X follows to catch another glimpse but doesn't, and returns above to read a book. When he looks up from it, he sees the lady again and is drawn to her. She starts asking him questions about building and landmarks and he recognizes that she has an Irish accent. Soon they are approached by the man she came with, Stumps. They engage in conversation until they see Kinney and the Harvard man approach in a heated conversation. Stumps, the lady, and Harvard man go below deck while Kinney grabs X excitedly and says, "Our adventures have begun!"

Act II
            Scene one begins in their cabin, Kinney tells X about a conversation he overheard between Stumps and Harvard man. Kinney explains, "'I tell you,' he said, 'every boat and railroad station is watched. You won't be safe till we get away from New York. You must go to your cabin, and STAY there.' And the other one answered: 'I am sick of hiding and dodging.'" X is unimpressed but Kinney is convinced they are criminals on the run. He says Harvard man is traveling under an alias, and that he wired the New Bedford police to have them arrested then the ship arrived. X is skeptical and does not want to be at all involved, partly because of the blonde woman, and partly because he knows Kinney always goes overboard. Scene two is that night; X is called upon by the purser. He enters the purser's room to find Stumps, Harvard man, whose name is Aldrich, and a guard. Aldrich accuses him of posing as the Earl of Ivy and that he has wired to have them arrested. Scene three, X is angry and finds Kinney to find out what happened. Kinney explains how he told Aldrich that X was the Earl and he was his secretary as a joke. They begin to think of ideas for escaping, none of them good enough. All of a sudden, a schooner smashes into the boat and chaos breaks lose. People are screaming and X hears water rushing in as the two run from their cabin. His first thought is to find the blonde woman, Moya, and the Earl. When they can't find them below, they rush to the upper deck. The scene is chaotic as there are mobs of people fighting each other to get to lifeboats. They spot a boat on the schooner no one has noticed and decide to go for it. X makes one last attempt to locate Moya in the crowd and does. At the last minute they also find her brother. X jumps into the water to grab the yawl and rows back to the boat, waiting for his friends to jump in. Still holding a grudge, Aldrich indignantly refuses to get in, but faced with drowning, finally jumps in. They row away into the night fog and the boat catastrophe grows distant.

            Scene one begins with the group hopelessly lost in the fog. They are silent except for far off whistles and horns and Aldrich's annoying protests to being in the boat. "What did I tell you?" he cried contemptuously; "they got away in this boat because they were afraid of ME, not because they were afraid of being drowned. If they've nothing to be afraid of, why are they so anxious to keep us drifting around all night in this fog? Why don't they help us stop one of those tugs?" Indeed, X and Kinney were both glad to be in the boat, knowing that once they reached land they'd be in danger of being arrested. Aldrich keeps making accusations and babbling, and finally X says that it would all be fine if they could just explain themselves to the Earl and Moya. Moya tells Aldrich to shut up and gladly accepts X's offer, and comes to sit in front of him to look deep into his eyes.

Just then, there is a "sudden radiance" from behind Moya as the sun bursts through the fog. It is suddenly light out and they see they are very near a small, sleepy village. They all forget their problems and cheer jubilantly. An old man sees them and calls for his wife to prepare for the haggard survivors. When they grow close, all of a sudden Aldrich offers the man ten dollars to fetch the village constable and it seems X and Kinney's hopes might be crushed after all.

X triumphantly sees the situation and assesses it as follows: "He is the village constable himself," I explained. I turned to the lovely lady. "Lady Moya," I said, "I want to introduce you to my father!" I pointed to the vine-covered cottage. "That's my home," I said. I pointed to the sleeping town. "That," I told her, "is the village of Fairport. Most of it belongs to father. You are all very welcome.