Trifles, Part 2

by Susan Glaspel

(The women listen to the men’s steps on the farmhouse stairs, then look about the kitchen.)

Me
I’d hate to have men coming into my kitchen, snooping around and criticising. (Mrs. Hale arranges the pans under sink which the County Attorney had disrespectfully shoved out of place.)
Mrs Peters
Of course it’s no more than their duty.
Me
Duty’s all right, but I guess that deputy sheriff that came out to make the fire might have got a little of this dirt on here. (gives the roller towel a pull)
Me
Wish I’d thought of that sooner. Seems mean to talk about her for not having things slicked up when she had to come away in such a hurry.
Mrs Peters
(who has gone to a small table in the left rear corner of the room, and lifted one end of a towel that covers a pan) She had bread set!
Me
She was going to put this bread in there, I’ll do it. It’s a shame about her fruit. I wonder if it’s all gone. (gets up on the chair and looks) I think there’s some here that’s all right, Mrs Peters. Yes—here; this is cherries, too. I declare I believe that’s the only undamaged one. She’ll feel awful bad after all her hard work in the hot weather. I remember the afternoon I put up my cherries last summer. (She puts the bottle on the big kitchen table, center of the room. With a sigh, is about to sit down in the rocking-chair. Before she is seated realizes what chair it is; with a slow look at it, steps back. The chair which she has touched rocks back and forth.)
Mrs Peters
Well, I must get those things from the front room closet. You coming with me, Mrs Hale? You could help me carry them. (They go in the other room; reappear, MRS PETERS carrying a dress and skirt, MRS HALE following with a pair of shoes.)
Mrs Peters
My, it’s cold in there. (She puts the clothes on the big table, and hurries to the stove.)
Me
(examining the skirt) Wright was close. I think maybe that’s why she kept so much to herself. She didn’t even belong to the Ladies Aid. I suppose she felt she couldn’t do her part, and then you don’t enjoy things when you feel shabby. She used to wear pretty clothes and be lively, when she was Minnie Foster, one of the town girls singing in the choir. But that—oh, that was thirty years ago. This all you was to take in?
Mrs Peters
She said she wanted an apron. Funny thing to want, for there isn’t much to get you dirty in jail, goodness knows. But I suppose just to make her feel more natural. She said they was in the top drawer in this cupboard. Yes, here. And then her little shawl that always hung behind the door. (opens stair door and looks) Yes, here it is. (Quickly shuts door leading upstairs.)
Mrs Hale
(abruptly moving toward her) Mrs Peters?
Mrs Peters
Yes, Mrs Hale?
Me
Do you think she did it?
Mrs Peters
(in a frightened voice) Oh, I don’t know.
Me
Well, I don’t think she did. Asking for an apron and her little shawl. Worrying about her fruit.
Mrs Peters
(starts to speak, glances up, where footsteps are heard in the room above. In a low voice) Mr Peters says it looks bad for her. Mr Henderson is awful sarcastic in a speech and he’ll make fun of her sayin’ she didn’t wake up.
Me
Well, I guess John Wright didn’t wake when they was slipping that rope under his neck.
Mrs Peters
No, it’s strange. It must have been done awful crafty and still. They say it was such a—funny way to kill a man, rigging it all up like that.
Me
That’s just what Mr Hale said. There was a gun in the house. He says that’s what he can’t understand.
Mrs Peters
Mr Henderson said coming out that what was needed for the case was a motive; something to show anger, or—sudden feeling.
Me
Well, I don’t see any signs of anger around here, Table is half wiped, just to here.
Me
Wonder how they are finding things upstairs. I hope she had it a little more red-up up there. You know, it seems kind of sneaking. Locking her up in town and then coming out here and trying to get her own house to turn against her!
Mrs Peters
But Mrs Hale, the law is the law.
Me
I s’pose ’tis, better loosen up your coat, Mrs Peters.
Mrs Peters
She was piecing a quilt.
Me
It’s log cabin pattern. Pretty, isn’t it? I wonder if she was goin’ to quilt it or just knot it? (Footsteps have been heard coming down the stairs.)