SISTER VITALIS. You must believe me, Mother. She'snot really a bad girl.MOTHERSUPERIOR. You don't call a girl bad who is dis·obedient, rebellious, and disorderly? I insist she is, Sister Vi·talis.SR. VITALIS. Those faults alone do not mean a badnature. She needs understand-ing-she needs discipline, of course--but she needs understanding first. I've watched her.for a long time. She seems unhappy-seems hurt, bewildered.I'm sure that something is worrying her, and that, perhaps, iswhy she unconsciouslygives us trouble. Sh~'s being rebellious'because she's bitter about somethin·g. But I assure you thatshe doesn't mean any harm, Mother.M. SUPERIOR.
(Sits, left center.)
You defend her ex·ceedingly well, Sister Vitalis.SR. VITALIS. It's because I understand her, Mother. If .you-if we--could only give her a chance to explain, I'm sure./:she wouldchange for the better. :',M. SUPERIOR. But after last night's incident, there canbe no chance for her now. You know what we've decided.SR. VITALIS. I know she can explain last night's incident,Mother. ,M. SUPERIOR. How does she propose to explain it?By lying shamelessly, I suppose. Do you thi~ that.
shallforgive her this time after she was caught talkmg WIth thatservant last night? She knows it's aga:inst the rules to talk to the men-servants-she knows it very well-but, no, shechoosesto disobey deliberately, because she feels like doi~g so.She must be punished and punished severely.: She should betaught a lesson-otherwise, the other girls wiU fol!ow ~erexample' and we might as well close the school. Shes ~Ulltyof disorderly conduct, and she must be punished! .:, SR. VITALIS. She's different from other glrl~., Weshould help her. She suffers much, I can see. But shes veryreserved-she doesn't talk much. . ' .. M. SUPER10R. Yes, indeed, she is different-so differentthat she's the worst girl in' the school. .SR. VITALIS. But surely, Mother, expulsion is too drastica punishment.M. SUPERIOR. She should have been expelled long ago butfor your own repeated pleadings, Sister.
(Goes to window.)
Besides,you remember last month when Elsa was caught withseveral love letters under her pillow. From whom? Ah, yes,from that basketball player in the boys' schoolnext door. Shewas expelled. Why should Yolanda be the exception? Preced·ents are always dangerous.SR. VITALIS. It's true, but in this
M. SUPERIOR. Sister, you've a very soft heart. It's notalways good. Harden that heart, Sister, harden it. And don'tworry, I've called Yolanda to my office to explain.
(A krwck is heard.
sits at desk.)
enters., She is rather tall for her age
thin,and nerv0U8. Her intense nature
revealed in the expressionof her IMe. Her most remarkable feature
her eyes, larueand with
haunting in their sG.dness. She is dressed all in white. Carries a bo(f1cor two.On seeing
SISTER VITALIS, YOLANDA
smiles timidly, but the smile dies on meeting the severe eyes of the
MOTHERSUPERIOR. SISTER VITALIS
M. SUPERIOR. Take a seat, .Yolanda. (YOLANDA
sitsnear the desk.
sits before her desk a,ndreads a letter. Once in a while she shake8 her head.)
YOLANDA. You wanted to see
Mother?. M. SUPERIOR. Yes, of course. Do you think I calledyou that you may stare at the ceiling? Just be patient tillI finish this. (YOLANDA
is obviouslyner.vous. The
WeIl,. Yolanda, I'm'surprised at your poor conduct lately. That's why I calledyou to my office. For the past month and a half I've beenreceiving nothing but bad reports from the Sisters. Poorscholarship, rebellion, disobedience,disorderly conduct, quarrelswith your classmaies-all sorts of complaints. You were neverlike this before, Yolanda. Since you came here to study fiveyears ago
you've always behaved weIl. Rather gloomy,it's true,