Our Country’s Good

by

Timberlake Wertenbaker

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A convict in the penal colony. Duckling is romantically involved with Harry Brewer and even lives with him in his tent, though she resents him because of how controlling he is. Indeed, he doesn’t even let her fraternize with the other convicts or guards, thinking she’ll have sex with them. What’s more, Duckling resents Harry because he played a part in the hanging of Handy Baker, her other lover. Throughout the play, she is terse and cold to Harry, though she often becomes momentarily affectionate toward him and reminds him how much he likes having sex with her. In an attempt to make her happy, Harry encourages her to join Ralph’s play—something that pleases her. Not long thereafter, though, Harry falls ill, and though she pleads with him to stay alive by telling him that she loves him, he dies. Nevertheless, Duckling goes through with her role in the play, refusing to step down because of her grief.

Duckling Smith Quotes in Our Country’s Good

The Our Country’s Good quotes below are all either spoken by Duckling Smith or refer to Duckling Smith. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Punishment and Rehabilitation Theme Icon
).
Act One, Scene Four Quotes

Duckling’s gone silent on me again. I know it’s because of Handy Baker. I saw him as well as I see you. Duckling wants me, he said, even if you’ve hanged me. At least your poker’s danced its last shindy, I said. At least it’s young and straight, he said, she likes that. I went for him but he was gone. But he’s going to come back, I know it. I didn’t want to hang him, Ralph, I didn’t.

Page Number: 14
Explanation and Analysis:

Do you know I saved her life? She was sentenced to be hanged at Newgate for stealing two candlesticks but I got her name put on the transport lists. But when I remind her of that she says she wouldn’t have cared.

Related Symbols: Public Hangings
Page Number: 15
Explanation and Analysis:
Act One, Scene Seven Quotes

HARRY. […] I’m sorry, Duckling, please. Why can’t you? —can’t you just be with me? Don’t be angry. I’ll do anything for you, you know that. What do you want, Duckling?

DUCKLING. I don’t want to be watched all the time. I wake up in the middle of the night and you’re watching me. What do you think I’m going to do in my sleep, Harry? Watching, watching, watching. JUST STOP WATCHING ME.

HARRY. You want to leave me. All right, go and live in the women’s camp, sell yourself to a convict for a biscuit. Leave if you want to. You’re filthy, filthy, opening your legs to the first marine —

DUCKLING. Why are you so angry with your Duckling, Harry? Don’t you like it when I open my legs wide to you?

Related Characters: Midshipman Harry Brewer (speaker), Duckling Smith (speaker), Handy Baker
Page Number: 36
Explanation and Analysis:

DUCKLING. I need freedom sometimes, Harry.

HARRY. You have to earn your freedom with good behaviour.

DUCKLING. Why didn’t you let them hang me and take my corpse with you, Harry? You could have kept that in chains. I wish I was dead. At least when you’re dead, you’re free.

Related Characters: Midshipman Harry Brewer (speaker), Duckling Smith (speaker)
Page Number: 37
Explanation and Analysis:
Act Two, Scene One Quotes

MARY. Liz, we’ve come to rehearse the play.

WISEHAMMER. Rehearse the play?

DUCKLING. The Lieutenant has gone to talk to the Governor. Harry said we could come see you.

MARY. The Lieutenant has asked me to stand in his place so we don’t lose time. We’ll start with the first scene between Melinda and Brazen.

WISEHAMMER. How can I play Captain Brazen in chains?

MARY. This is the theatre. We will believe you.

Page Number: 69
Explanation and Analysis:
Act Two, Scene Eight Quotes

If you live, I will never again punish you with my silence. If you live, I will never again turn away from you. If you live, I will never again imagine another man when you make love to me. If you live, I will never tell you I want to leave you. If you live, I will speak to you. If you live, I will be tender with you. If you live, I will look after you. If you live, I will stay with you. If you live, I will be wet and open to your touch. If you live, I will answer all your questions. If you live, I will look at you. If you live, I will love you.

Related Characters: Duckling Smith (speaker), Midshipman Harry Brewer
Page Number: 93
Explanation and Analysis:
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Our Country’s Good PDF

Duckling Smith Character Timeline in Our Country’s Good

The timeline below shows where the character Duckling Smith appears in Our Country’s Good. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act One, Scene Four
Punishment and Rehabilitation Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Guilt, Regret, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...“come back,” explaining that he saw him holding a rope. He then starts talking about Duckling, the female convict with whom he lives. He tells Ralph that she has stopped talking... (full context)
Punishment and Rehabilitation Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Guilt, Regret, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Still talking about Duckling, Harry tells Ralph that she claims to not “feel anything” when she’s with him. He... (full context)
Act One, Scene Seven
Love, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
While rowing in the cove with Duckling, Harry tries to get her to talk by mentioning how much Sydney is beginning to... (full context)
Love, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Guilt, Regret, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Harry accuses Duckling of having another lover, like she did when she was involved with Handy Baker. He... (full context)
Theater, Liberation, and Unity Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Guilt, Regret, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Harry is taken aback by Duckling’s comment about wishing she were dead. To cheer her up, he suggests that she join... (full context)
Act One, Scene Eleven
Punishment and Rehabilitation Theme Icon
Theater, Liberation, and Unity Theme Icon
...The Recruiting Officer, Ralph gathers the convicts he’s casted, including Sideway, Wisehammer, Mary, Liz, Dabby, Duckling, and Ketch. As Ralph tries to begin, the prisoners insult Ketch because he’s the hangman.... (full context)
Act Two, Scene One
Punishment and Rehabilitation Theme Icon
Theater, Liberation, and Unity Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
...Arscott that the sailor who sold him the fake compass “betrayed” him, Sideway, Mary, and Duckling appear and tell the chained convicts that they’ve come to continue the rehearsal. “The Lieutenant... (full context)
Act Two, Scene Three
Love, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Guilt, Regret, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...Handy Baker’s ghost, speaking out both as himself and as Handy. When he calls for Duckling, Handy says, “She’s on the beach, Harry, waiting for her young Handy Baker.” Tormented, Harry... (full context)
Love, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Guilt, Regret, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
As he talks to the ghost of Thomas Barrett, Harry periodically calls out for Duckling, who eventually comes rushing to him. She tells him that she heard him all the... (full context)
Act Two, Scene Eight
Love, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Harry is gravely ill in his tent. It is night, and Duckling is by his side, trying desperately to rouse him. She tells him that she’ll stop... (full context)
Act Two, Scene Eleven
Theater, Liberation, and Unity Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Governance and Justice Theme Icon
...and Mary starts talking about how many people have come to see the play. Noticing Duckling—who is mourning the loss of Harry—Liz tells her that Dabby could fill in for her,... (full context)
Theater, Liberation, and Unity Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Guilt, Regret, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...actors before realizing that Caesar is missing. As Arscott goes looking for him, Ralph gives Duckling his condolences and tells her she doesn’t need to act in the play, but Duckling... (full context)