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Title: The Cat and Fiddle Book - Eight Dramatised Nursery Rhymes for Nursery Performers
Author: Bell, Lady Florence, Richmond, Mrs. Herbert
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Internet Archive)



_The CAT AND FIDDLE BOOK_



  Other Books of Plays for Children
  by LADY BELL

  _Petit Théâtre des Enfants_      Twelfth Impression
  _Nursery Comedies_               Eighth      "
  _Théâtre de la Jeunesse_         Twelfth     "
  _Fairy-Tale Plays_               Fifth       "
  _The Mother Hubbard Book_



  _The_
  CAT AND FIDDLE BOOK

  _Eight dramatised Nursery Rhymes for Nursery Performers_

  _by_
  LADY BELL
  _and_
  MRS. HERBERT RICHMOND


  LONGMANS, GREEN AND CO.
  39 PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON, E.C.4
  NEW YORK, TORONTO
  BOMBAY, CALCUTTA AND MADRAS
  1922
  _Printed in Great Britain_



  _To_
  _MY TEN GRANDCHILDREN_


  Eight of whom

    PAULINE, GEORGE, KITTY, MARY, BRIDGET,
    VALENTINE, MARJORIE, AND FLORENCE

  have "created" many of the parts in these playlets, and two of whom,
  BILL and GEOFFREY, are still among the audience.

                                                                F.B.
                                                              May 1922


  _Made in Great Britain_



_The TABLE OF CONTENTS_


  BY LADY BELL

  The Cat and the Fiddle           _p._  9
  Lucy Locket                      _p._ 13
  Polly Put the Kettle On          _p._ 17
  Goosey-Gander                    _p._ 21
  Oranges and Lemons               _p._ 27
  Ride-a-Cock-horse                _p._ 32


  BY MRS. HERBERT RICHMOND

  Little Miss Muffet               _p._ 37
  Humpty Dumpty                    _p._ 42


¶ The Characters in list at the beginning of each play are always given
in the order of their appearance.



_SOME SUGGESTIONS FOR THE "PRODUCERS" OF THESE PLAYLETS_


In every case the tune of the nursery rhyme, the dramatized version of
which is about to be acted, should be played through twice on the piano
before the curtain is raised: the first time without singing; the second
time the audience, of which the majority presumably will be children,
should be asked to join in and sing it too, led by the performers
singing it behind the scenes. At the close of the piece, when the
curtain has fallen at the place indicated in the text it should (if
justified by applause) be raised again, discovering the performers
standing in a row. These should sing the rhyme through again to the
piano accompaniment, the audience joining in as before, after which the
curtain is finally lowered.

The scenery can in nearly every case be arranged by using folding
screens. In one or two pieces, such as _Goosey-Goosey-Gander_ and
_Ride-a-Cock-horse_, it would be improved by being a little more
elaborate. But even in these, if there is no artist in the family who
can paint a Banbury Cross or a farmyard in the background, a large label
can be hung up to show in what kind of surroundings the action is taking
place. As to costume, the period of none of the plays, fortunately, is
precisely known, and the performers therefore can be dressed up as they
choose. Where animals' heads are required, such as the COW, DOG, and CAT
in the _Cat and the Fiddle_, the GOOSE and DRAKE in _Goosey-Gander_, and
the COCK in _Ride-a-Cock-horse_, these will not be found very difficult
to make out of cardboard, not too stiff, bent to the shape required and
roughly painted.

In one or two of the plays there are speaking parts which can be taken
by quite little children, such as the DISH and SPOON in the _Cat and the
Fiddle_, the latter especially being within the grasp of the smallest
performer able to speak distinctly enough for the words to be
recognisable. The part of POLLY in _Polly Put the Kettle On_ can be
played by any intelligent child of five. In _Oranges and Lemons_,
_Humpty Dumpty_, and _Ride-a-Cock-horse_ there are possibilities of a
crowd in which any number of children available can "come on" and so
take a share in the performance.

The writer ventures to suggest that the preface of a book entitled
_Fairy-Tale Plays_ (Longman) contains detailed directions which may be
found helpful for rehearsing with children. The great thing for the
"Producers" to remember is not to cast a gloom over the proceedings by
being depressed or losing their tempers when the performers still don't
know their parts on the day of the performance, when their "business" at
that performance is exactly opposite to that inculcated at rehearsals,
and when they invent on "the night" an entirely new series of mistakes.
It does not matter if they do. The audience, which will probably largely
consist of the relations of the performers, will be just as pleased
whatever happens, and so will every child-lover who is looking on. So
will the actors, whose enjoyment is assured if they are acting and
dressing up. And the spectator who does not like seeing their enjoyment
does not deserve to have any himself, so we need not take him into
account.

Neither the writer nor the producers of these absurd little plays,
therefore, need have much fear of failure. They are spared the acute
preliminary--and subsequent--agonies of those who produce plays of a
larger size and a better quality than those contained in this little
book.

  _May 1922._                                          FLORENCE BELL



THE CAT AND THE FIDDLE


SCENE

_A room in Mrs. MOOCOWS Boarding House. A chair R.C., a settee, or
another chair, up stage R. At back L.C. two ordinary folding screens
about 2ft. 6in. apart, a curtain hung across the space between them.
A picture of a full moon painted on a large piece of cardboard must be
propped up behind the opening between the screens, so that when the
curtain is drawn back the moon is seen on the horizon_, i.e. _its lower
edge on the level of the ground._


CHARACTERS

_In order of their appearance_

  THE COW
  THE DOG
  THE CAT
  THE DISH
  THE SPOON


COW. Dog!

DOG. Yes?

COW. Do you like the cat?

DOG. No, I don't. Do you?

COW. Of course not.

DOG. Why _did_ you have her to lodge with you?

COW. I really don't know. I thought it would be nice to have someone who
was fond of music.

DOG. _I'm_ fond of it, but not of the cat's music.

COW. No, her music is a disappointment.

DOG. I don't care about that great lumpy fiddle of hers, either.

COW. And she _will_ accompany herself on it when she mews.

DOG. And then, she's so vain.

COW. Yes! She told me she could jump better than I could.

DOG. Oh, how absurd.

COW. She says I can't climb a tree.

DOG. And can you?

COW. I've never tried it--I don't want to. She says _you_ can't climb a
tree.

DOG. Well, what then? I can stand at the bottom of it and bark. Can she
do that?

COW. Of course not. And I told her that if I liked I could jump over the
moon.

DOG [_rather incredulous_]. Could you, Cow? Could you?

COW. If it were near the ground.

DOG. But is it ever near the ground?

COW. Certainly, when it is quite low down and looks all big and red.

DOG. Oh yes, to be sure.

COW. And then, the cat gives such a lot of trouble. She must have her
dinner on a dish every day, all mixed up with a spoon.

DOG. Such a fuss! Why can't she just have a bone on the drawing-room
carpet--nothing nicer than that.

COW. Or some grass in the field--so simple? The Dish and the Spoon don't
like having to come down from the dresser so often. They like being
quiet. [_Mewing heard._] Not much chance of being quiet with a cat who
practises all day.

    [_Enter CAT L., mewing. She is carrying a 'cello or a
    violin, preferably the former. She sits down on chair R.C. and
    pretends to tune her instrument, mewing the note and turning the
    pegs. If a grown-up who can play the tune on one of these
    instruments is not available for the part of the cat, the child
    who acts it can be taught, while mewing the tune through after
    tuning, to draw the bow across the open D string and A string on
    first beat, provided the instrument is not too precious for such
    handling._

COW. May I ask, Cat----

CAT. Don't interrupt, please, when I'm practising. I'm going to mew at a
concert to-night.                                            [_Goes on._

    [_The COW and the DOG join in, mooing and barking._

CAT [_at end of tune_]. What are you doing?

COW. We're joining in the chorus.

CAT. There isn't a chorus to that song.

DOG. There was that time.

CAT. Well, don't let it happen again. I shan't practise any more for the
present.

DOG. That's a comfort.

CAT. I want my dinner.

COW [_calls off_]. Dish! Spoon! Bring the Cat's dinner.

    _Enter DISH and SPOON R._

DISH and SPOON. If you please, we wish to give notice.

COW. Notice! Why?

DISH. There is too much to do here. We don't like having to bring in so
many meals for the Cat.

SPOON. No, we don't.

CAT. What impertinence!

DOG. Well, then, I'll give notice too as a lodger. I don't like living
under the same roof as the Cat.

COW. Do you hear. Cat? You are breaking up my establishment. I must ask
you to leave this day week.

CAT. Certainly not. I've got my rooms by the year, remember.

DOG. Oh dear. Bow, wow, wow.

CAT. May I ask why you don't like me?

DOG. I don't like your ways. You wag your tail when you're angry instead
of wagging it when you're pleased.

CAT. It _is_ a silly doggish plan to wag it when you're pleased. How can
people know what you mean?

COW. And you're so vain.

CAT. What about you? You said you could jump over the moon.

COW. I said I could if I liked. But I don't like.

CAT. I'll bet you can't jump over the moon, whether you like it or not.

COW. I never bet.

CAT. Then we won't bet for money. But I'll bet you you can't jump over
the moon, and if you can, then I'll have lost my bet, and I'll go away
as you ask; but if you can't, then I'll stay here as long as I please.

DOG [_who has slyly pulled aside the curtain--aside to_ COW]. Say yes,
the moon's quite low.

COW [_to_ CAT]. All right, I'll take your bet.

DOG. And I'll be umpire.

CAT. Fair play, mind.

DOG. Dogs are always honest, they are not like cats.

CAT. And cats are always polite. They are not like dogs.

DOG. Now listen, Cat. If the Cow jumps so high that we can see the moon
beneath her, that shall be counted jumping over the moon.

CAT. All right, then, draw the curtain so that we can see the moon.

    [_DISH draws the curtain--moon seen on the horizon._

DOG. Now then. One, two, three.

    [_COW jumps. Moon seen under her as she jumps._

DOG. Ha, ha, ha! It makes me laugh to see such sport. Cow, you have won.
We saw the moon under you as you jumped.

DISH and SPOON. Yes, we did!

DOG [_to_ CAT]. You have lost your bet.

CAT. I'm very glad to go away from you all. I don't like those
lumpy-jumpy ways.

ALL. We're glad too, so we're all satisfied!

    [_Exit CAT, mewing and fiddling._

DISH. Come along, Spoon. I'll run away with you into the fields.

COW. Oh, what fun! we'll all elope together. Come on, Dog!

    [_They all dance round, and finally out. Length of dance ad
    lib., but they must go round twice at least. As they go from one
    side of the stage to the other, CAT comes in, in the contrary
    direction, meeting them. She carries her 'cello and stick in
    one hand, and in the other a small suit case. She tosses her
    head scornfully at the others and marches out._


CURTAIN


[Illustration: 1. THE CAT AND THE FIDDLE.

Hey diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle, the cow jump'd over the moon
the little dog laughed to see such sport, and the dish ran away with the
spoon.]



LUCY LOCKET


CHARACTERS

  MRS. LOCKET
  LUCY, her daughter
  KITTY FISHER, her niece

Produced at St. Mary's Hospital, Paddington, during the Christmas season
of 1921, with the following cast:

  _Mrs. Locket_: SYBIL THORNDIKE
  _Lucy Locket_: MARY CASSON
  _Kitty Fisher_: ANN CASSON


SCENE

_MRS. LOCKET'S Drawing Room. Small table L. with workbox, etc., on it.
R.C. armchair L. of table. L.C. higher chair. MRS. LOCKET on armchair,
sewing; LUCY on higher chair, swinging her legs._


MRS. L. Oh dear, I never thought I should have such a careless child.

LUCY. Why didn't you think so, mother?

MRS. L. Because I was so very tidy myself when I was a little girl--just
like your Cousin Kitty. Oh, why are you not like her!

LUCY. I do think Kitty is so boring.

MRS. L. My dear child! How wrong to say such a thing of your cousin.

LUCY. But, mother, you always say I'm to tell the truth. So as she is
boring, I must say so.

MRS. L. It's wrong to be bored by people who are good. Kitty is so tidy,
so careful about everything: so unlike you. You're so heedless I can't
even send you to the village shop for me.

LUCY. Oh, mother do let me go to the shop for you. I'm sure I could.

MRS. L. I do want two pennorth of pepper, but I can't trust you to get
it. I'm sure you would lose the pennies.

LUCY. No, no. I would hold them tightly in my hand. You see, I haven't a
pocket in this frock. That's one reason why I lose things.

MRS. L. That is true, and I have made you a nice little pocket to tie
on, in hopes it will make you more careful.

LUCY. Oh, mother, what a darling pocket, and what a pretty binding!

MRS. L. Yes, I've just sewn it on.   [_LUCY ties it on round her waist._

LUCY. Do give me the two pennies, and I'll put them into the pocket.

MRS. L. Take care that bow doesn't slip. You've tied it very loosely.
Oh, here is your cousin Kitty.

    _Enter KITTY_

KITTY. Good morning, Aunt Jane.

MRS. L. Good morning, my child, and how is my good little girl this
morning?

KITTY. Very well, thank you, aunt, and I feel very happy, too.

LUCY. So do I.                         [_Looking proudly at her pocket._

KITTY. Ah, but not for the same reason, I fear. I feel happy because I
am so very good. I'm so tidy and careful, and I never forget anything.

LUCY. How dull that must be!

MRS. L. Oh, my dear Lucy. Don't say that! Ask Kitty to tell you how she
does it, while I go and write my letters.                   [_Goes out._

LUCY. No, don't tell me anything about it, Kitty. Look at my new pocket.

KITTY. I hope you won't lose it. I never lose anything.

LUCY. Oh, then, you do miss a lot of excitement! When I'm going out I
have to rush about looking for my things, and it is so thrilling when I
see my shoe far back under the bed, or my handkerchief in the
coal-scuttle.

KITTY. Oh, Lucy, how much better it would be if your shoes were tidily
side by side! You shock me. I always put my things where they ought to
be, and then I find them again at once.

LUCY. Well, I wish you wouldn't, then, and put it into my mother's head.
She's always wanting me to do the same.

KITTY. You must try, Lucy. Try as hard as you can, and perhaps some day
you will grow up like me.

LUCY. I hope I shan't.                           [_Makes a face at her._

KITTY. Oh, how distressing! I never make a face.

LUCY. Now I'm going out to shop for mother.

    [_Jumps round room and goes out._

KITTY [_looking after her_]. Oh, poor girl, how I pity her! What is that
I see on the ground over there? [_Goes out and brings in LUCY'S
pocket._] Why, I believe this is Lucy's pocket! Dear, dear, how
careless of her! What a good thing I was there ready to pick it up.
[_Feels in bag._] Nothing in it. Ha! there's something. No, it's only
the binding round it. Dear, dear, she has lost the money too! I must go
and find my aunt and take it to her.

    [_Enter MRS. L., KITTY ostentatiously holding bag so that MRS. L.
    may see it._

MRS. L. What's that you have, Kitty?

KITTY [_holding it up_]. It's Lucy's pocket.

MRS. L. What! Lucy's pocket, that I made her this morning? What are you
doing with it, Kitty?

KITTY. I'm sorry to say, Aunt Jane, that Lucy dropped it, and as I
happened to be looking round me to see if I could be useful in any way I
saw it and picked it up.

MRS. L. And what about the pence that were in it?

KITTY. They are not there. I'm very sorry, as I know people ought to be
so careful of money. I always am.

    [_Loud boo-hooing heard outside. Enter LUCY._

LUCY. I've lost my pocket! I've lost my pocket!

MRS. L. Oh, you careless girl! you may well cry. Luckily for you, Kitty
Fisher found it.

LUCY. Oh, Kitty, did you? Oh, I am so glad. Give it to me quickly!

KITTY [_holding it back_]. Don't you think, Aunt Jane, I had better have
it? I am so careful of my things.

LUCY [_angry_]. No, you shan't. You shan't have my nice pocket.

    [_Goes to her and drags it away. They fight._

MRS. L. You are not to fight. That is very wrong.

KITTY. Very wrong. I forgot myself, I am afraid.

MRS. L. Where are the pence you had in the pocket, Lucy?

    [_LUCY boo-hoos again._

LUCY. Oh, mother, it must have come untied when I jumped about. I'm so
dreadfully sorry. I shall never be happy again.

KITTY. No, of course you can't feel happy as I do.

LUCY. Mother, do let me try once more; I really will be good.

MRS. L. Are you sure, Lucy? Will you really try?

LUCY. Yes, yes, I promise. I'll be like a little girl in a book, who
changes all of a sudden, and never does it again.

MRS. L. Very well, then, I'll trust you with it once more.

KITTY. I'm a little surprised at you, aunt.

LUCY. And you'll never tell me I'm to be as good as Kitty?

MRS. L. No, because you will be just as good without my telling you.

KITTY. Good-bye then, aunt, I don't care to stay here if I'm of no use
in setting an example to Lucy.

LUCY. I can do without your example, thank you.

KITTY. We shall see. But next time Lucy Locket loses her pocket Kitty
Fisher will not find it.

    [_They all sing "Lucy Locket," the curtain coming down on the
    last line._


[Illustration: 2. LUCY LOCKET.

Lucy Locket lost her pocket Kitty Fisher found it. Ne'er a penny was
there in it save the binding round it.]



POLLY PUT THE KETTLE ON


CHARACTERS

  MRS. SMILER
  MRS. BROWN
  MRS. JENNINGS
  POLLY
  MRS. CRABSTICK
  SUKEY


SCENE

_MRS. SMILER'S Cottage. A table C. half way up stage, four chairs round
it arranged almost in a semi-circle, so that there is no one with back
to audience. R. a stove on which to put kettle, etc. Dresser or table at
back with cups and saucers, etc., on it._


MRS. S. Polly! Polly!

POLLY [_outside_]. Yes, ma'am.        [_Enter POLLY. She is very small._

MRS. S. Now, Polly, this afternoon you must be my little maid.

POLLY. Yes, ma'am.

MRS. S. Do you think I can trust you?

POLLY. Yes, ma'am.

MRS. S. You see, Sukey hasn't come in yet, and some people are coming to
tea, so you must put the kettle on to boil, and make the tea when they
come.

POLLY. Yes, ma'am.

MRS. S. Do you think you can?

POLLY. Yes, ma'am.

MRS. S. Do you know how to make the tea?

POLLY. Yes, ma'am.

MRS. S. How do you make it?

POLLY. With water, ma'am.

MRS. S. Anything else?

POLLY. No, ma'am.

MRS. S. Oh, Polly! you are hopeless.

POLLY. Yes, ma'am.

MRS. S. What do you make the tea with, stupid?

POLLY. The kettle, ma'am.

MRS. S. And what else?

POLLY. The teapot, ma'am.

MRS. S. And what inside the teapot?

POLLY [_thinks a minute, then triumphantly_]. Water, ma'am.

MRS. S. Anything else?

POLLY. Tea, ma'am!

MRS. S. Of course. Now mind you don't forget, and have everything ready,
as the party will be here in a minute: and I'll go and put on my best
cap.                                                            [_Exit._

POLLY [_stands for a minute with the kettle in her hands, trying to
remember_]. Let me see ... Oh yes, the tea.

    [_She puts many spoonfuls of tea into the kettle, and then water,
    shakes the kettle to see if there's water in it, pours some water
    into the teapot; then, as she is standing with the kettle in her
    hand, MRS. S. comes in quickly with a gorgeous cap on._

MRS. S. I see them coming across the green! Quick, Polly, put the kettle
on, we'll all have tea. [_A knock at the door. MRS. S. goes and opens
it._] Good afternoon, Mrs. Brown, Mrs. Jennings, Mrs. Crabstick!

MRS. J. [_brightly_]. Good afternoon to you, I'm sure.

MRS. B. [_composed_]. Good afternoon, Mrs. Smiler.

MRS. C. [_coldly_]. Afternoon.

MRS. J. [_brightly_]. Good afternoon, Mrs. Smiler, and hoping you keep
well.

MRS. S. Yes, thank you. I have my worries, of course, like the rest of
us.

MRS. C. [_grimly_]. We all have. It's a weary world.

MRS. J. Oh, Mrs. Crabstick, cheer up, just when we've come to such a
nice tea-party.

MRS. C. I depend on my tea.

MRS. B. Oh, of course; so do I.

MRS. J. We all do.

MRS. S. Well, I hope you'll get it as you like it to-day.

MRS. C. One doesn't get what one's used to out of their own house, but
if you come out to tea one must make the best of it.

MRS. J. [_to_ MRS. S.]. And your little maid, Sukey, makes such good
tea.

MRS. S. Yes, she does, but to-day she's out. I'm afraid she must have
had a tumble off her bicycle.

MRS. C. Bicycle indeed! In my young days feet were good enough.

MRS. J. [_laughing_]. Quite true, Mrs. Crabstick. If we had been meant
to go on bicycles we should be born with wheels instead of legs.

MRS. B. Ah, it's a weary world.

MRS. S. Oh dear me, Mrs. Crabstick, don't be so gloomy. I've got another
little maid to take Sukey's place this afternoon. You'll get your tea
all the same. The kettle's boiling now. Polly, is everything ready?

POLLY. Yes, ma'am.

    [_She brings in the teapot, the guests sit round the table, MRS.
    S. at the head of it. Kettle on fire._

MRS. S. Now, I'll help you first, Mrs. Crabstick. I know
you depend so much on your tea.

    [_Pours out: water only comes out of the pot._

MRS. S. Oh!

MRS. J. There's only water in the teapot.

MRS. B. There's no tea in it.

MRS. S. Oh dear, what can have happened? Polly!

POLLY. Yes, ma'am.

MRS. S. There's no tea in the teapot.

POLLY. No, ma'am.

MRS. S. But I told you to put in some tea, and I gave you the tea-caddy.

POLLY. Yes, ma'am.

MRS. S. Then what did you do with the tea?

POLLY. Put it into the kettle, ma'am.

MRS. S. Into the kettle! Give me the kettle at once.

POLLY. Yes, ma'am.

    [_MRS. S. pours out; an inky fluid comes out of the spout.[A]_

  [A] For this brew plenty of blacking should be mixed with water;
      it should be shaken up the last thing to make sure that the
      blacking has not sunk to the bottom.

MRS. S. Oh! what a way of making tea!

MRS. C. You'll excuse me if I go away, Mrs. Smiler. I'm so afraid of
being taken worse if I stay here after what has happened.

THE OTHERS. And we really feel we had better do the same. Good
afternoon, Mrs. Smiler.

    [_They all get up and go towards the door. The door is thrown
    violently open and SUKEY rushes in._

MRS. S. Oh, Sukey! There you are at last.

ALL THE GUESTS [_looking at her_]. At last!

SUKEY. I'm so sorry, ma'am; I fell off my bicycle, and it's broken.

MRS. C. [_solemnly_]. What did I say!

SUKEY. I did so want to be here to make the tea.

MRS. S. You had better have been. Look!

    [_Pours out of the kettle some of the black liquid._

SUKEY. Oh dear! I'll get another. [_Opens cupboard, gets out another
kettle._] I'll soon make it boil.

    [_Puts water into kettle and puts it on the fire._

MRS. B. I don't think we'll wait for any more tea-makings, thank you.
Good afternoon.

ALL. Good afternoon.                                 [_They all go out._

MRS. S. Oh dear! Oh dear! My tea-party has not been a success. Sukey,
take it off again, they've all gone away.

    [_MRS. S., SUKEY, and POLLY all sing together_, "Sukey, take it
    off again, they've all gone away!"


QUICK CURTAIN


[Illustration: 3. POLLY PUT THE KETTLE ON.

Polly put the kettle on, Polly put the kettle on, Polly put the kettle
on, we'll all have tea. Sukey take it off again, Sukey take it off
again, Sukey take it off again, they've all gone away.]



GOOSEY-GANDER


CHARACTERS

  THE GANDER
  THE DRAKE
  THE BAILIFF
  FARMER GILES
  THE COUNTESS
  MELISSA

The GANDER and the DRAKE have a language of their own which they are
supposed to use when speaking to one another, but the parts are here
written in ordinary language to be understood by the audience. They
understand what the human beings say, but cannot join in conversation
with them.


SCENE I

_A road, paling at back, parallel to front of stage, with gate supposed
to be leading into farmyard. Enter GANDER R. Walks rapidly to the centre
of the stage, then suddenly stops as if bewildered, looks on ground in
every direction._


GANDER. Why, it's gone!                                [_Enter DRAKE L._

DRAKE. Good morning, Gander.

GANDER. Good morning's all very well, but where is it?

DRAKE. What? Where? Which?

GANDER. Really, Drake, you're the stupidest bird. You're nearly as
stupid as my wife, and I never saw such a goose as she is. Don't you see
what I'm looking for? Don't you see what's gone?

DRAKE. Oh, you don't mean--what! the puddle! Gone!

GANDER. Of course. Only yesterday morning there was a nice large hole
just in the middle of the road, and a large puddle in it.

DRAKE. So there was. So convenient and delightful.

GANDER. Yes, you were always sure of finding a puddle there, however dry
the rest of the road was.

DRAKE. But where has it gone to? Who can have taken it?

GANDER. Oh, I know quite well--it's that bailiff, of course. And I know
why he did it, too. It was just to spite me, as he knew that was my
favourite walk.

DRAKE. I've thought for a long time he had a grudge against you.

GANDER. Yes, ever since the day that I flapped two of his horrid little
children into the pond.

DRAKE. Serve them right. It will teach them to come rushing about the
farmyard as if it belonged to them.

GANDER. And they're so rude, too. Just imagine, the other day one of
them said to me, "Hallo, goosey-poosey"! I ask you, _is_ that the way to
speak to a gander?

DRAKE. Monstrous!

GANDER. I sometimes feel inclined to go up to the castle and complain to
the Countess.

DRAKE. Well, why don't you? It's not far across the fields.

GANDER. Oh yes, I know the way to the castle gates, but when I got
inside it I should be wandering upstairs and downstairs and in my lady's
chamber, and not know where I was. But still, something must be done
about that bailiff.

DRAKE. And the way he comes prancing along on his dapple-grey pony, as
if no one could ride a spirited animal but himself!

GANDER. Look, here he comes!

    [_The BAILIFF rides in on hobby horse and curvets and prances
    round on stage, and rides into middle where GANDER and DRAKE are
    standing._

BAILIFF. Now then, you birds! Get out of the way, can't you?

    [_He hits at them with his stick. The GANDER and DRAKE flap
    their wings, hiss and quack, and scurry out of the way. BAILIFF
    hitches his horse to the gate by the bridle and walks into the
    middle of the road, bends down, and looks at where the hole had
    been._

GANDER [_to_ DRAKE]. There now, you see. I told you he did it.

    [_FARMER GILES comes slowly out and leans over gate at back C._

BAILIFF [_still in road_]. Morning, Farmer Giles.

FARMER GILES [_pipe in mouth, nods sideways_]. Morning.

BAILIFF. I came to have a look at the road. I'm glad to see that the
hole's quite gone.

GANDER [_to_ DRAKE]. Listen to him, glorying in it!

FARMER GILES. Oh ay, they had a grand mending of it. They filled it and
rolled it, and they filled it and they rolled it, and they filled it and
they rolled it, and then, they filled it and they rolled it again.

BAILIFF. And they've made a good job of it, too.

GANDER [_to_ DRAKE]. Let's show him we don't like it.

    [_They stand in the middle of the road and flap and hiss and quack._

BAILIFF. Those birds are intolerable.

FARMER GILES [_smiling_]. I expect they're looking for their puddle,
poor things. They was always splashing about in it.

BAILIFF. Then they'll have to do without it, that's all. [_GANDER comes
up near him and flaps at him. BAILIFF unties hobby horse._] That's a
vicious gander of yours, Farmer Giles. He nearly drowned my children the
other day. It really isn't safe.

FARMER GILES. Ah, the little uns was teasing of him, I daresay. It'll do
them no harm to be learned how to behave in the farmyard.

BAILIFF [_mounting his horse_]. Well, he had better not do it again.

    [_Shakes his stick at GANDER. GANDER rushes at him. They fight.
    DRAKE and GANDER peck and flap. BAILIFF beats them with his
    stick. GANDER gets hold of his coat with his beak. BAILIFF beats
    him off. FARMER GILES looks on, smoking and smiling._

BAILIFF. My best coat! Look! this is intolerable. I shall go straight to
the castle and complain to her ladyship.               [_Gallops off R._

FARMER GILES [_to_ GANDER]. Look here, old boy, you must behave
yourself, mind, or you'll get into trouble.

    [_Goes back through gate and off L._

GANDER. Quick, we must follow that old wretch to the castle and hear
what he's saying. Come on, Drakey. How fast can you waddle?

DRAKE. Oh, a good pace. I can do a mile an hour easy.

GANDER. Capital. Come along then.                  [_They waddle out R._


CURTAIN


SCENE II

_The COUNTESS'S Boudoir. A table R. slanting to the audience with
ornamental mirror standing on it. A door at back, L.C. Door in R.H.
corner, back labelled_ "Secret staircase to dungeon." _The COUNTESS
sitting at the table looking at herself in the mirror. MELISSA, her
maid, standing, with a hat in her hand trimmed with flowers._


COUNTESS. Now, Melissa, give me my garden hat, please. I feel inclined
to go down to the farm.

MELISSA [_bringing the hat_]. Your ladyship is so fond of the farm.

COUNTESS. Indeed I am, and of the live stock there. I should like to
direct it all myself, but I don't think the bailiff would like it. He is
rather tiresome sometimes.

MELISSA. Still, my lady, he is a most honest man, and his accounts, as
your ladyship always says, are a marvel.

COUNTESS. Oh yes, in many ways he is excellent, I know, and yet he is
not popular with the poultry--no doubt of that.

MELISSA. That is true. He doesn't seem to get on with the gander.

COUNTESS. Such a pity. I like the gander myself--he is always very civil
to me.

MELISSA [_laughing_]. Really, my lady, he seems such a sensible bird,
sometimes you would really think he understood what you say.

    [_They both laugh. A knock at the door._

COUNTESS. Melissa!                                    [_Points to door._

    [_MELISSA opens the door. The BAILIFF is seen._

BAILIFF. May I enter, madam?

MELISSA. Come in, Master Bailiff.

    _Enter BAILIFF._

COUNTESS. Good day, Master Bailiff.

BAILIFF [_agitated_]. I hope I do not intrude on your ladyship, but I
come on a pressing matter----

COUNTESS. What is it?

BAILIFF. My coat, madam.

COUNTESS. WHAT!

BAILIFF. I beg your ladyship to look at it--there is a large tear in it.

COUNTESS. A somewhat unseemly sight--I should have thought you would
have begged me not to look at it.

BAILIFF. But it is your gander, my lady.

COUNTESS. What is my gander?

BAILIFF. My coat.

COUNTESS. Your coat is my gander, Bailiff? You are talking wildly.

BAILIFF. It is no wonder, madam. It was the Gander did it. [_Showing
tear on coat._] I have been attacked by that vicious bird----

COUNTESS. And wounded in the coat tails!

    [_COUNTESS and MELISSA laugh._

BAILIFF. It does not seem a laughing matter to me, your ladyship.
Something must be done.

COUNTESS. With a needle and thread. There, I quite agree with you.

BAILIFF. No, madam--with a big stick. Something must be done to make the
Gander behave better.

COUNTESS. I am sorry you don't like the Gander, Bailiff. I always find
him very pleasant.

BAILIFF. I regret that your ladyship is inclined to make such a
companion of him. He really seems to consider he is on an equality with
your ladyship.

COUNTESS. On an equality with me! You are impertinent, sir. No one is on
an equality with me in this castle. But I have a warm regard for the
Gander, and I consider that you have insulted us both by your
complaints. [_A noise at the door._] Melissa!

    [_MELISSA hastens to open the door. The GANDER and DRAKE are
    seen in the doorway. They both bow._

MELISSA. Oh!

COUNTESS. Come in, both of you.

BAILIFF. What, even here! Miserable birds, how dare you!

    [_GANDER and DRAKE hiss and squawk._

COUNTESS. You forget yourself, Bailiff. This is not your house. I beg
that you will apologise at once for your rudeness to us all. Down on
your knees at once and pray for forgiveness.

BAILIFF. I am willing to apologise to you, madam, but not to the Gander,
and I will not go on my knees, even to your ladyship.

COUNTESS. Do you hear that, Gander? There stands an old man----

BAILIFF. Old man, madam?

COUNTESS. Yes, old, compared to the Gander--who will not say his
prayers. Take him by the left leg and throw him downstairs.

    [_Fight. The BAILIFF hits the GANDER and DRAKE with his stick.
    They flap and peck. MELISSA opens the door of the secret
    staircase. The BAILIFF falls with his legs through the doorway.
    They drag him out and a great noise of tumbling is heard. Then
    they come in again._

COUNTESS. Thank you, Gander. Now we will go for a nice walk and you
shall choose it. You shall take me to your favourite place.

    [_The GANDER and DRAKE both shake their heads sadly._

COUNTESS. What is it? Something wrong? Dear me, I wish you could speak.
Lead the way then. Goosey Goosey Gander, whither shall we wander?

    [_Walk round with steps and out._


CURTAIN


[Illustration: 4. GOOSEY GANDER.

Goosey Goosey Gander, whither shall we wander? Upstairs and downstairs,
in my lady's chamber. There I saw an old man who wouldn't say his
prayers, take him by the left leg and throw him downstairs.]



ORANGES AND LEMONS


CHARACTERS

  MRS. CARR
  KITTY, _her daughter_
  SHOREDITCH BOY
  ST. MARTIN'S BOY
  OLD BAILEY BOY
  STEPNEY BOY
  BOW BOY
  NEIGHBOURS


SCENE

_A STREET. MRS. CARR, with a small basket in her hand in which are two
oranges and two lemons, is walking along the street to her house,
holding her little daughter KITTY by the hand. They are supposed to
have just arrived at her house door._


MRS. C. There now, here we are at home again, and I'll take these in and
make a nice pot of jam with them. I got them very cheap.

KITTY. How much were they?

MRS. C. Twopence each orange, and twopence and three farthings each
lemon.

    [_Handbells heard ringing._

KITTY. Mother, why are the bells ringing?

MRS. C. Because it is Bellringers' Day, when everyone who likes may ring
a bell in the streets if he calls out the name of his parish and puts a
penny into the parish poor box.

KITTY. Oh, I should like to do that. What's our parish?

MRS. C. St. Clement's.

KITTY. And I could ring my little bell that I got off the Christmas
tree.

MRS. C. But have you a penny for the poor box?

KITTY [_coaxingly_]. You give me one, mammy darling.

MRS. C. [_smiling_]. I'm afraid I haven't one to spare. I spent my
pennies on these.

KITTY [_looking at the oranges and lemons in basket_]. Do let me sell
them again and have some pennies!

MRS. C. What about the jam then?

KITTY. Oh, I'd much rather have the pennies for the poor box, so that I
could ring my bell too.

MRS. C. Well, you may try to sell them if you like.

Kitty. Oh, mammy darling, you _are_ kind. I'll run in and get my bell.

    [_Rushes in to get it. While she is inside MRS. CARR arranges
    the oranges and lemons in the basket, etc. KITTY comes out with
    the bell._

MRS. C. [_giving her the basket, smiling_]. I'm spoiling you, mind.

KITTY. It is nice to be spoilt. Now you go indoors, mother, and I'll be
a real person all by myself.

    [_MRS. C. smiles, kisses her, and goes in. KITTY, alone, walks up
    and down calling_ "St Clement's! St. Clement's! St. Clement's!"
    _Enter ST. MARTIN'S BOY, ringing his bell._

ST. M. St. Martin's! St. Martin's!

    [_Looks at KITTY'S basket._

KITTY [_sings to tune, ringing bell_]. Oranges and lemons, says the
Bells of St. Clement's!

ST. M. Jolly good they look.

KITTY. Buy one?

ST. M. Yes, if they're not too dear. How much are they?

KITTY. Two pennies for each orange, and two pennies and three farthings
for each lemon.

ST. M. All right, I'll have one of each. Now, twopence for
this, you say, and twopence three farthings for this. Can you
reckon up how much that is?

KITTY. No--_you_ must.

ST. M. Girls _are_ silly. That makes fourpence three-farthings. Now,
here's a sixpence, and you must give me five farthings change.

    [_Sings_] "You owe me five farthings, says the bells of
    St. Martin's."

KITTY. Oh dear, I've got no farthings, no change, no nothing.

ST. M. Then you'll have no sixpence as well, that's all. And I'll have
no oranges and lemons--and no nothing.

KITTY. Oh dear, what a pity!

    [_Enter SHOREDITCH BOY, ringing bell._

SHOREDITCH. Shoreditch! Shoreditch! Hallo, those look good. Look here,
little girl, sell me one. [_Feels in his pocket._] No, my pocket's
empty.

    [_Enter OLD BAILEY BOY, ringing bell._

OLD BAILEY. Old Bailey! Old Bailey! Jolly things you've got there, young
person.

KITTY. _Do_ buy one.

SHOREDITCH. _I_ want to buy one if someone will lend me the money.

OLD BAILEY. Here, I've got some money. How much do you want?

SHOREDITCH. Twopence.

OLD BAILEY. Here you are then.

SHOREDITCH. Hooray! [_Takes orange._] There, little girl.

    [_Gives her two pennies._

KITTY. Oh, that is nice!

OLD BAILEY [_to_ SHOREDITCH]. But when will you pay me?

    [_Sings_] "When will you pay me? says the bell of Old Bailey."

SHOREDITCH [_sings, smiling_]. "When I grow rich, says the bell of
Shoreditch."

OLD BAILEY. That's all very well, but it's a long time to wait. You put
back that orange and give me back the pennies.

    [_They begin fighting, their bells making a noise as they do so.
    Enter STEPNEY and BOW, ringing bells, STEPNEY in front._

STEPNEY. Stepney!

BOW. And Bow!

STEPNEY. Stepney!

BOW. And Bow!                         [_They look at the boys fighting._

BOW. What's all this about?

OLD BAILEY. I've lent this Shoreditch boy twopence, and he says he'll
pay me when he grows rich.

STEPNEY [_to SHOREDITCH, sings_]. "When will that be? says the bell of
Stepney."                      [_SHOREDITCH shakes his head and laughs._

BOW [_in a deep voice, sings_]. "I'm sure I don't know, says the big
bell of Bow."

OLD BAILEY. Don't know, indeed!

BOW. Well, don't quarrel on Bellringers' Day. Let's make a great noise
and disturb the neighbours, that's much more amusing. Come on now, let's
each shout something.

    [_Each one sings a line, ringing the bell on the first beat of
    the bar._

KITTY. Oranges and lemons, says the bell of St. Clement's.

ST. M. You owe me five farthings, says the bell of St. Martin's.

OLD BAILEY. When will you pay me? says the bell of Old Bailey.

SHOREDITCH. When I grow rich, says the bell of Shoreditch.

STEPNEY. When will that be? says the bell of Stepney.

BOW. I'm sure I don't know, says the big bell of Bow. Capital. Now, all
together, about the chopper.                      [_All sing very loud._

  Here comes a candle to light you to bed,
  And here comes a chopper to chop off your head.

NEIGHBOURS. Oh, what a noise!

BOW. It's Bellringers' Day, ma'am. We may make as much noise as we like.
Now then, all together.

    [_They stand in a row and sing the song straight through. Then
    they either march round in single file without singing, but
    ringing their bells, while the tune is played on the piano, or
    else dance. In either case the neighbours may join in._


CURTAIN


[Illustration: 5. ORANGES AND LEMONS.

Oranges and lemons, says the bells of St. Clements. You owe me five
farthings, says the bells of St. Martins, When will you pay me? says the
bells of Old Bailey. When I grow rich, says the bells of Shoreditch.
When will that be? says the bells of Stepney, I'm sure I don't know,
says the big bell of Bow. Here comes a candle to light you to bed--and
here comes a chopper to chop off your head!]



RIDE A COCK-HORSE


SCENE I

_TIMMY and JIMMY in separate beds, feet to audience, as the curtain goes
up. TIM sits up cautiously._


TIM. Jim, are you asleep?

JIM [_sitting up and laughing_]. Yes, sound, are you?

TIM. Yes. I _do_ think it's so boring being in bed, don't you?

JIM. Horrid. I hate being asleep.

TIM. But it's so difficult to keep awake sometimes, even if one has a
book to look at.

JIM. I can't think why Nurse doesn't like us to bring our book to bed.
This is just the time to have it. It gives one nice dreams. [_He takes
up book from the ground by his bed._] Look, I've got mine.

TIM. It would be safer to wait till she's been.

JIM [_putting it under pillow_]. Perhaps it would.

TIM. I _do_ like it when Nurse looks in very softly and then says to
Mother outside, "They're sound asleep, ma'am," when we're awake all the
time!

JIM. Take care, here she comes.

    [_NURSE opens door with precaution, comes to beds, looks at both
    boys, who pretend to be sound asleep. She goes on tiptoe to door,
    opens it, says, "They're sound asleep, ma'am," and goes out
    quietly. The boys put out their heads, listen, and then sit up._

TIM. Now the book!

JIM. Read something very nice. Then we can think about it afterwards.
That will keep us awake.                                 [_They sit up._

TIM. Oh, this is the one I like--"Ride a cock-horse to Banbury Cross, To
see a fine lady upon a white horse: Rings on her fingers and bells on
her toes, She shall have music wherever she goes."

JIM. Oh yes, I love that one. Let's talk about it.

TIM. What do you think a cock-horse is?

JIM. I can't imagine. Do you think it's a horse with a cock's head?

TIM. Oh, I wonder if he'd be like our Chanticleer, all white with a
beautiful red comb.

JIM. Or perhaps he'd be like our Rooster, all black and speckly. I
wonder if he'd crow all the same, as our cocks do in the morning under
our windows.

TIM [_laughing_]. Oh dear, how funny Chanticleer would look with a
horse's body! or is it a cock's head and a horse's body?

JIM [_laughing_]. You couldn't ride him so easily.

TIM. I should think it's a great big cock and wings sticking out like
that [_stretching his arms_], and with a beautiful horse's back and a
long tail. Oh, I should like to ride him!

JIM. So should I.                        [_They begin to talk sleepily._

TIM. And what about the fine lady? What do you think Banbury Cross is
like?

JIM. Oh, there's the picture. Look, it's a great stone thing; and
there's the fine lady all in white, with a crown on.

TIM. I wish there was a picture of the cock-horse too.

JIM [_more sleepily_], I should like to ride on it--and--go to see the
fine lady.

TIM. Yes, we'd go to Banbury Cross and--see--her.

    [_Talking more and more sleepily. The book falls out of his hand
    on to the floor as they both go to sleep._


CURTAIN


SCENE II.--THE DREAM

_A market place. A ring of children dancing hand in hand round Banbury
Cross, which stands in the middle, half way up stage. Children sing_:

  "Ride a cock-horse to Banbury Cross
  To see a fine lady upon a white horse:
  Rings on her fingers and bells on her toes,
  She shall have music wherever she goes."

_At the end of the tune they leave off dancing after singing it
through._


FIRST CHILD. Oh, I'm _so_ out of breath.

SECOND CHILD. Let's rest a little.

THIRD CHILD. Yes, till the Procession comes.

    [_They all stand and sit at back._

FOURTH CHILD. Oh, look! there's someone coming.

    [_Enter JIMMY and TIMMY, riding cock-horses (hobby horses with
    cocks' heads). They gallop round Cross._

TIM. There, Rooster, we've just done it. You _are_ a good one to go.

JIM. So are you, Chanticleer.

FIRST CHILD. Oh, are you the beginning of the procession, please?

JIM. What procession?

CHILD. The fine lady that is coming on a white horse--the Queen of the
Revels.

TIM. What are revels?

CHILD. Games and dancing and all sorts of fun.

TIM. Oh, how nice!

CHILD. Isn't it!

    [_The children jump for joy and clap their hands._

JIM [_to_ TIM]. I _am_ glad we came.

TIM. So am I.

CHILDREN. Hooray! Hooray! Here she comes.

    [_Looking off R. Enter the fine lady on her white horse. The
    MASTER OF THE REVELS leads her. Two boys walk in front playing a
    tune on cazoos, etc. Escort of fairies, etc., if available. The
    Queen's horse stops at the foot of Banbury Cross--she hands a
    roll of paper to the MASTER, who receives it with a bow._

CROWD. Hooray! Hooray!

MASTER. Here is the list of the Revels--the first will be a race.

JIM [_to_ TIM]. That will be fun. I like seeing races.

MASTER. First race, Cock-horses--three times round Banbury Cross. How
many entries?

JIM [_to_ TIM]. Do you suppose that's us?

TIM. I don't see any others.

MASTER [_loud_]. Any entries?

JIM. Cock-horse Chanticleer, ridden by Jim.

TIM. Cock-horse Rooster, ridden by Tim.

MASTER. One, two, three, off!

    [_They ride round and round, crowd cheer, etc. They come in a
    dead heat._

MASTER. A dead heat--no prize.

JIM. No prize?

MASTER. No. Don't talk. Next revel, a dance.

    [_All dance, TIM and JIM and their steeds marking time._

MASTER. Next revel, crowing competition.

    [_One after another they crow, very badly. CHANT. crows,
    everyone claps. Then ROOSTER crows, they clap again._

CHILD. That's not fair--he's a professional.

ANOTHER CHILD. Never mind! Well done, Rooster.              [_All clap._

    [_Scene must be changed as quickly as possible, the crowing
    going on uninterruptedly from the time the curtain falls until
    after it goes up again._


[Illustration: 6. RIDE A COCK HORSE.

Ride a cockhorse to Ban-bury Cross, to see a fine lady up-on a white
horse, Rings on her fingers and bells on her toes, She will make music
wher-e-ver she goes.]


SCENE III

_Same as Scene I. TIM and JIM in bed asleep--crowing going on outside.
TIM sits up and rubs his eyes._


TIM. No, no, Rooster, leave off now. You've got the prize. [_He sits
up and rubs his eyes._] Jim, we must ride back now. [_Gradually more
wide-awake._] Why, that's Chanticleer crowing outside!

    [_JIM also sits up._

JIM. What's that crowing? Where am I?

TIM. I've been dreaming I was riding a cock-horse.

JIM. And I dreamt I saw the fine lady. Oh, I'm so sleepy.

    [_They both fall back on pillow and go to sleep again._

    _Enter NURSE._

NURSE. What, asleep still! Come, it's time to get up. And you've been
taking a book to bed, you naughty boys, and reading it instead of going
to sleep. That's why you're so tired this morning. What's it about? Why,
what absurd stuff!

  Ride a cock-horse to Banbury Cross,
  To see a fine lady upon a white horse:
  With rings on her fingers, and bells on her toes,
  She shall have music----


CURTAIN _falls as she reads_



LITTLE MISS MUFFET


  _NURSE and MISS MUFFET, reading at table._

MUFFET [_reading her lesson_]. C, A, T, cat; M, A, T, mat. I've done my
lessons very well to-day, haven't I?

NURSE. Yes, Miss Muffet dear, you've been a very good little girl. Now,
just read those two sentences and then we will go out.

MUFFET [_reading_]. THE CAT IS ON THE MAT. THE BAT IS ON THE MAT. Oh, I
don't like that story.

NURSE [_surprised_]. Why not?

MUFFET. About the bat. It frightens me to read about a bat on the mat. I
don't like bats.

NURSE. Why, you silly little girl, they don't do you any harm.

MUFFET. They make me afraid. I can't bear bats--they're nearly as bad as
spiders.

NURSE. I never saw such a foolish little child. Spiders don't do you any
harm, either.

MUFFET. Oh, they're worse than bats. You won't let one come near me,
nursie, will you?

NURSE [_smiling_]. Of course not, my poppet. Now, it's time to go out.
Put your things on and we'll take the baby into the grounds.

    [_NURSE ties on MUFFET'S hat, and while she dresses her they talk._

MUFFET. Nursie, you know that you said if I were good at my lesson I
could choose my luncheon?

NURSE. I did, yes.

MUFFET. And _do_ let me take it out with me to have outside.

NURSE. Then you must have something that's easy to carry. What do you
say to some nice bread and butter?

MUFFET. No.

NURSE. Then what about a nice ginger-nut?

MUFFET. No.

NURSE. Or a nice scone?

MUFFET. No.

NURSE. Or a nice Albert biscuit?

MUFFET. No.

NURSE. Then what _do_ you want?

MUFFET. Something that begins with a K.

NURSE. With a K.? What can that be?

MUFFET [_triumphantly_]. Curds and whey!

NURSE. Oh, my dear child, what spelling! Curds begins with a C.

MUFFET [_decidedly_]. No, nursie, I've done my spelling for to-day.
You'll let me have it outside, won't you? Just for a treat.

NURSE. It won't be much of a treat if you spill it all on the path.

MUFFET. No, I don't want to give the path a treat, do I? Oh, I'll be so
careful, nursie, you'll see. _Do_ let me.

NURSE. Very well then, just for once you may. But mind, you mustn't
begin Curds with a K.

MUFFET. I'll begin it with a spoon, dear nursie--that's best. I'll go
and get it from the kitchen.

NURSE. And I'll go and fetch the darling baby. Bless his pretty heart
for a popsy wopsy toodelums.


SCENE II

_The grounds--a grassy hillock--some trees. Enter the SPIDER, prowling
mysteriously._

_The SPIDER should have eight legs, made of thick wire, bent and covered
with black. Two curving from his feet, two from his hands, two from his
head (fastened on to a round frame), two from his shoulders._


SPIDER. Ha, none of those horrid two-legged creatures about, I am glad
to say. I should be ashamed to have so few legs. Now, let me see. Where
shall I start my spinning? [_Sits on tuffet and looks round._] That
bough, I think, would be best ... it's just the right kind of day--not
too shiny, nor too damp. Just the sort of day for a fly not to see a
web. [_Looks round._] Perhaps I'd better look round and see if there's a
better place. Dear me, now there's a bluebottle gone swaggering past. If
I'd had the web ready he'd have blundered straight into it. Fat blue
thing! These winged creatures _are_ so stupid sometimes. Well, I mustn't
lose any more time.                                       [_Goes out R._

    [_Enter NURSE, pushing pram in which the baby is supposed to be;
    MUFFET following, carrying a bowl very carefully and a spoon._

NURSE. Now, Miss Muffet, you had better sit down and eat your curds and
whey or you'll be splashing it down your frock. Suppose you sit on that
tuffet and eat it while I walk the baby about.

MUFFET. Is that called a tuffet? What a nice name!

NURSE. Yes, it's called a tuffet because that's where people sit to eat
curds and whey.

MUFFET. Oh, I'll sit there then. [_Establishes herself carefully._] Now
I'll pretend I'm on a desert island, Nurse, and you go away.

NURSE [_smiling_]. Very well. I leave you to the savages. Good-bye.

MUFFET [_calls after her_]. Nurse!

NURSE. Well?

MUFFET. You won't really go away, will you? You'll only pretend?

NURSE. Of course.

MUFFET. And they won't be real savages?

NURSE. Certainly not.

MUFFET. I always think it's so much nicer to pretend.

    [_NURSE goes off R. MUFFET goes on eating her curds and whey.
    SPIDER comes in L. with coil of string. SPIDER, before seeing
    MUFFET, looks up at bough._

SPIDER. No, this is the best place, I'm sure.

    [_Sees MUFFET, who has nearly eaten her curds. She looks up and
    sees him, and cries out._

MUFFET. Oh! Oh! Oh! Nurse! Nurse! Here's an enormous spider!

SPIDER. You are very rude--that's worse than being enormous.

MUFFET [_looking frightened_]. I'm very sorry--I didn't mean to be rude.

SPIDER [_mollified_]. And I didn't mean to be enormous. But I was born
so.

MUFFET. Nurse! Nurse!                              [_She begins crying._

SPIDER. What's the matter, little Two-legs?

    [_Sits down by her on the tuffet. MISS MUFFET puts down the curds
    and whey and rushes in to meet NURSE coming in L. with baby._

NURSE. What is it, darling? What's the matter?

MUFFET. Oh, Nursie, it's a spider--the biggest you ever saw, and he came
and sat down beside me and frightened me away.

NURSE [_seeing_ SPIDER]. Oh! he _is_ a monster.

SPIDER. Really, the manners of these two-legged persons!

NURSE. I'll soon chase it away. Shoo! Shoo! I'll stamp upon him if I get
a chance. That will teach him to be a spider.

    [_SPIDER gets down off the tuffet and runs rapidly round the tree.
    NURSE pokes at it with her umbrella. Prolong chase ad libitum.
    Then SPIDER hides behind tree, looking out at intervals._

NURSE. There now, he's gone.

MUFFET. Oh dear, Nursie, I want to go home. I'm so frightened.

NURSE. Well, come along home then. [_Takes up bowl and pushes the
pram._] Poor little Miss Muffet!

MUFFET. I sat on a tuffet eating my curds and whey and there came that
big spider ...                     [_Buries her face against her nurse._

NURSE. And sat down beside her and frightened Miss Muffet away! Well,
never mind, darling, he's gone into his hole, and you will never see him
again.            [_They go out L. SPIDER puts his head round the tree._

SPIDER. Hole, indeed! [_Comes out._] No hole for me, but a nice big web
where I can see what is going on. Now, where shall I begin it? [_Looks
round._] Ah, there, I think! But I'll just have a dance first--it's a
great thing having so many legs for these new dances. [_Dances round. At
end of dance._] And now to work!              [_Throws rope over bough._


QUICK CURTAIN


[Illustration: 7. LITTLE MISS MUFFET.

Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet eating of curds and whey. There came
a big spider and sat down beside her, and frightened Miss Muffet a-way.]



HUMPTY DUMPTY


CHARACTERS

  MRS. DUMPTY
  KING'S MAN
  MRS. PRINGLE
  COLONEL
  SOLDIERS _ad lib._
  HUMPTY DUMPTY
  SERGEANT-MAJOR


SCENE

    _One side of a village street--a wall about two feet high up
    stage, parallel to the audience. This can be represented by
    anything that a child could stand on for a minute before jumping
    down. Behind it R.C. Mrs. Dumpty's house is seen--a little gate
    in the wall at back L.C. leading to house. There should be exits
    R., L., and C. at back through gate. MRS. DUMPTY and MRS.
    PRINGLE standing at gate._


MRS. P. Well, good morning, Mrs. Dumpty, I must be running off now.

MRS. D. Very kind of you to have come in, Mrs. Pringle. I am sorry
Humpty was out, I'd like you to have seen him.

MRS. P. Oh, I can do without seeing him every day, thank you. Is he as
fat as ever?

MRS. D. How you _do_ go on about his being fat, Mrs. Pringle. You don't
want me to starve the child, do you?

MRS. P. No, but there's a lot of difference between starving and
over-feeding. I'm sure my Billy don't get the half of what you give
Humpty, and just look at him!

MRS. D. Look at him, indeed! Humpty only gets the same as we get, and
has done ever since he's been born. I suppose your Billy gets nothing
but bread and milk.

MRS. P. He didn't have pork chops when he was six months old, if that's
what you mean, Mrs. Dumpty.

MRS. D. Well, I was never one to grudge a baby a bit of anything it
cried for, and no one can say Humpty's not a fine boy now.

MRS. P. He may be a fine boy, but he is a very naughty one. He makes
more noise than all the rest of the boys put together. [_Noise heard
outside._] That sounds like him now.

MRS. D. It's just his high spirits, Mrs. Pringle. I like a boy to have a
bit of spirit.                       [_Enter HUMPTY with a great noise._

HUMPTY. Hallo, mother!

MRS. D. Don't you see Mrs. Pringle, dear?

HUMPTY. Yes, I wish I didn't. I don't like Mrs. Pringle.

MRS. D. Oh, Humpty, I'm surprised at you.

MRS. P. [_offended_]. I think I'd best be going, Mrs. Dumpty.

HUMPTY. Look out that you don't miss the procession, Mrs. Pringle.

MRS. D. What procession?

HUMPTY. Haven't you heard? All the King's horses and all the King's men
are coming along here on their way to the Coronation.

MRS. D. Well, that's very nice. I'll take you to the end of the road,
and we'll look at them.

HUMPTY. But we needn't go to the end of the road--they pass right along
here. I shall only have to get on the wall and I shall see beautifully.

MRS. D. You're not to get on without me holding on to you. I'm not going
to have you falling off and breaking all your bones.

MRS. P. I don't believe he's got bones to break. He is made of nothing
but fat and naughtiness.

HUMPTY [_boisterously_]. That's right, Mrs. Pringle. Stick up for me.

MRS. P. I'm not sticking up for you, you naughty boy--I'm only sorry for
your poor mother having such a son. So unlike my Billy!

MRS. D. Oh, it's only his playful way, Mrs. Pringle. Run along and wash
your face, Humpty, there's a good boy.

HUMPTY. I don't want to wash my face.

MRS. D. Well, I'm sure I don't know what the King will say if he sees
you with a face like that.

MRS. P. It's enough to make him abdicate.

HUMPTY. The King's not coming, you silly old things, it's his horses and
men.

MRS. D. You're a rude boy, and you're to go and wash your face at once.

HUMPTY. Well, I don't mind, just for once--it's nearly a week since I
last did, and it's Monday--that's the day my face goes to the wash.

                                                                [_Exit._

MRS. D. Hadn't you best stop and see the procession with us, Mrs.
Pringle? It would be a nice change for you instead of looking at your
Billy all day----

MRS. P. You're not very civil-spoken, Mrs. Dumpty, but I _do_ like to
see a procession when I can. But I'm hardly fit to be seen like this.
I'd best slip home and put on my new shawl.

MRS. D. Well, if you do that, I'll just pop on my Sunday bonnet--it
won't take a minute.

    [_MRS. P. exit L., MRS. D. C. at back. Exeunt. Enter HUMPTY._

HUMPTY. Hurrah--they've both gone--I'll get on the wall. [_Climbs up._]
I can see beautifully now. I expect the procession will soon be
coming----Yes, I can hear them. Oh, what fun!

    [_Enter MRS. D._

MRS. D. Oh, you naughty boy, didn't I tell you not to get on the wall
without me holding you?

HUMPTY. I'm all right--I shall see them beautifully from here.

MRS. D. Don't jump about like that--you'll fall off for a certainty.

HUMPTY. Oh, let me alone. Can't you hear them coming?

MRS. D. Take care, Humpty, take care. What did I say...!

    [_HUMPTY falls off--this must be done by jumping from the wall and
    rolling over. MRS. D. flies to pick him up. HUMPTY groans. Enter
    MRS. P._

MRS. P. Here I am, Mrs. Dumpty. Why, what's that down there?

MRS. D. It's Humpty. He's been and fallen off the wall, and I can't get
him up again.

MRS. P. Here, let me try. Give me your hand, Humpty.

MRS. D. No, it's no use, he is so heavy, you see.

MRS. P. Didn't I tell you he was too fat? My Billy would be up in a
minute.

MRS. D. Bother your Billy--if only someone would come and pick him up.

    [_Music heard. Enter the King's horses and men._

MRS. D. Oh, sirs--oh, sirs--do, pray, stop a minute.

    [_They walk right across the stage before they stop, so their backs
    are to her--and then turn right round so that they face her._

KING'S MAN. Halt! About turn! Yes, ma'am?

MRS. D. Oh, sir, you look so beautiful--but I'm sorry to tell you that
my son, while waiting to see you, has fallen off the wall--he's down
there.

KING'S MAN. Yes, ma'am! I see him. Is that all, ma'am? Good morning.
About turn!----                                 [_They turn away again._

MRS. D. Oh, sirs! Oh, sirs! don't go away--I want you to pick him up
again.

KING'S MAN. Well, ma'am, we may be late for the Coronation, but anything
to oblige. [_To soldiers._] About turn! [_They turn back._] First file,
take hold of the boy's arms! Second file, catch hold of his legs!
Now--all together, on to the wall--lift! [_They try to pick him up._]
I'm sorry, ma'am. We can't move him--he's rather stout, you see.

MRS. P. What did I say! If only it was my Billy now.

    [_More music heard._

KING'S MAN. Here's another regiment coming--perhaps they can do it.

    [_Enter more soldiers._

KING'S MAN. If you please, Colonel----

COLONEL. Halt! What is it, my man?

KING'S MAN. There's a young feller there fallen off the wall--we can't
get him up again, sir.

COLONEL. What! All you King's horses and all you King's men can't do a
simple thing like that! Preposterous! Ridiculous! [_He twirls his
moustache and is very warlike._] Sergeant-Major!

SERGEANT-MAJOR. Yes, Colonel!

COLONEL. Fall out the regiment, and replace that boy on the wall.

SERGEANT-MAJOR. Right turn! Dismiss! Now then, all together.

    [_Both regiments dash at HUMPTY and try to pick him up._

COLONEL. H'm--it's not so easy as I thought. A charge of cavalry might
do it. [_HUMPTY starts._] Or, upon my word, an explosion of dynamite
would be better. Sergeant-Major!

    [_HUMPTY trembles._

SERGEANT-MAJOR. Yes, Colonel.

COLONEL. Blow this boy off the ground with dynamite.

MRS. D. [_hurriedly_]. Oh, thank you so much--I won't trouble you to do
that.

COLONEL. No trouble at all, madam, I assure you. It won't take a moment.
Sergeant-Major!

MRS. P. Oh, how exciting!

MRS. D. Be quiet, Mrs. Pringle. _Pray_ don't trouble, Colonel--I think
he is very comfortable where he is, thank you.

COLONEL. Just as you wish, madam--but if we can't do anything for you I
think we had better be moving on. Sergeant-Major!

SERGEANT-MAJOR. Yes, Colonel.

COLONEL. Fall in the regiment.

SERGEANT-MAJOR. Regiment! Fall in!    [_They fall in and stand at ease._

COLONEL. Attention! Right turn. Quick march!                  [_Exeunt._

MRS. D. What a dreadful man!

MRS. P. Oh, did you think so? I thought him so pleasant.

MRS. D. Why, what's Humpty doing?

    [_HUMPTY rolls over and faces the audience._

HUMPTY. Phew! I felt rather anxious then--I thought I should have to get
up----

MRS. D. Get up! But can you get up, my poppet?        [_HUMPTY sits up._

HUMPTY. Of course I can, if I like--only it was such fun having them all
crowding round and pulling at me.

MRS. P. Well, I never! It would have served you quite right if they had
blown you up as they said.

MRS. D. How hard you are on the poor child, Mrs. Pringle.

MRS. P. My Billy would never have done such a thing.

HUMPTY. Of course he wouldn't--he's much too stupid.

MRS. P. Stupid! Not he--he's got too much sense to go falling off a wall
just when a procession was coming. I shall go home and tell him what you
did.

HUMPTY. And mind you tell him that all the King's horses and all the
King's men couldn't pick Humpty Dumpty up again--till he chose!

                                                             [_Gets up._


CURTAIN


[Illustration: 8. HUMPTY DUMPTY.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the
King's horses and all the King's men, could'nt pick Humpty Dumpty up
again.]





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