The Play, Act II, scene ii (continued)
BESS: I tells yo’ I means what I says. Porgy my man now…
CROWN: (Jeering at her.) I ain’t had a laugh in weeks.
BESS: Take yo’ hot han’ off me. I tells yo’ I stayin’ wid Porgy for keeps.
CROWN: Yo; is tellin’ me yo’ radder hab’ dat crawlin’ cripple dan Crown?
BESS: (Taking a propitiatory tone) It like dis, Crown—I de only ‘oman Porgy eber hab’. An’ I thinkin’ how it goin’ be if all deses odder nigger’ goes back to Catfish Row tonight, an’ I ain’t come home to um. He be like a little chil’ dat los’ its ma. (CROWN, still holding her, throws back his head and laughs. BESS begins to be fright- ened.) Yo’ can laugh, but I tells yo’ I change’!
CROWN: Yo’ change’ all right. Yo’ ain’t neber been so funny.
(The boat whistles. She tries to pull away. He stops laughing and holds her tighter with lowering look. Draws her nearer.)
BESS: Lemme go, Crown! Yo’ can get plenty odder women.
CROWN: What I wants wid odder women? I gots a ‘oman. An’ dats yo’. See?
BESS: (Trying flattery) Yo’ know how it always been wid’ yo’, Crown—yo’ ain’t neber want for a ‘oman. Look at dis chest, an’ look at
dese arm’ yo’ got! Dere’s plenty better- lookin’ gal dan me. Yo’ know how it always been wid yo’. Dese five year ‘now I been yo’ ‘oman—yo’ could kick me in de street, an’ den, when yo’ ready fo’ me back, yo’ could whistle fo’ me, an’ dere I was again a-lickin’ yo’ han’. What yo’ wants wid Bess? She get- tin’ ole now. (She sees that her flattery has failed and is terrified.) Dat boat goin’ wid- out me! Lemme go! Crown, I’ll come back fo’ see yo’. I swear to Gawd I’ll come on de Friday boat. Jus’ lemme go now. I can’t stop out here all night. I ‘fraid! Dere’s t’ings movin’ in de t’icket—rattlesnake, an’ such! Lemme go, I tells yo’! Take yo’ han’ off me!
(Holding her and looking steadily at her). No man ever take my ‘oman from me. It goin’ to be good joke on Crown of he lose um to one wid no leg’ an’ no gizzard. (Draws her closer.) So yo’ is change, is yo’? (Grips her more tightly. Looks straight into her eyes.) Why yo’ say now?
(Summoning the last of her resolution). I stayin’ wid Porgy fo’ good.
(His jaw shoots forward, and his huge shoul- der muscles bulge and set. Slowly his giant hands close round her throat. He brings his eyes still closer to hers. The boat whistles long and loud, but neither gives sign of hearing it. After a moment, CROWN laughs with satisfaction at what he sees in BESS’s eyes. His hands leave her throat and clasp her savagely by the shoulders. BESS throws back her head with a wild hysterical laugh.)
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