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Title: April Fools - A farce in one act for three male characters
Author: Chapman, W. F.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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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    Transcriber's Note:

    Every effort has been made to replicate this text as faithfully as
    possible, including some inconsistencies of hyphenation.

      This is very strange. Can there he a mis--

    has been changed to

      This is very strange. Can there be a mis--

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                               ROORBACH'S
                                AMERICAN
                                EDITION
                            of ACTING PLAYS.

                              APRIL FOOLS.

                             PRICE 15 Cents

                                No. 26.

                            HAROLD ROORBACH.
                               PUBLISHER,
                               NEW YORK.


COPYRIGHT, 1889, BY HAROLD ROORBACH

Roorbach's full Descriptive Catalogue of Dramas, Comedies, Comediettas,
Farces, Tableaux-vivants, Guide-books, Novel Entertainments for Church,
School and Parlor Exhibitions, etc., containing complete and explicit
information, will be sent to any address on receipt of a stamp for
return postage. Address as above.



ROORBACH'S AMERICAN EDITION.

PRICE, 15 CENTS EACH.


 This series embraces the best of plays, suited to the present time. The
    reprints have been rigidly compared with the original acting copies,
    so that absolute purity of text and stage business is _warranted_.
    Each play is furnished with an introduction of the greatest value to
    the stage manager, containing the argument or synopsis of incidents,
    complete lists of properties and costumes, diagrams of the stage
    settings and practicable scene-plots, with the fullest stage
    directions. They are handsomely printed from new electrotype plates,
    in readable type, on fine paper. Their complete introductions,
    textual accuracy, and mechanical excellence render these books far
    superior in every respect to all editions of acting plays hitherto
    published.

 1. =ALL THAT GLITTERS IS NOT GOLD.= A comic drama in two acts. Six
    male, three female characters. Time, two hours.

 2. =A SCRAP OF PAPER.= A comic drama in three acts. Six male, six
    female characters. Time, two hours.

 3. =MY LORD IN LIVERY.= A farce in one act. Five male, three female
    characters. Time, fifty minutes.

 4. =CABMAN No. 93.= A farce in one act. Two male, two female
    characters. Time, forty minutes.

 5. =MILKY WHITE.= A domestic drama in two acts. Four male, two female
    characters. Time, one hour and three quarters.

 6. =PARTNERS FOR LIFE.= A comedy in three acts. Seven male, four female
    characters. Time, two hours.

 7. =WOODCOCK'S LITTLE GAME.= A comedy-farce in two acts. Four male,
    four female characters. Time, one hour.

 8. =HOW TO TAME YOUR MOTHER-IN-LAW.= A farce in one act. Four male, two
    female characters. Time, thirty-five minutes.

 9. =LADY AUDLEY'S SECRET.= A drama in two acts. Four male, three female
    characters. Time, one hour and a quarter.

 10. =NOT SO BAD AFTER ALL.= A comedy in three acts. Six male, five
    female characters. Time, one hour and forty minutes.

 11. =WHICH IS WHICH?= A comedietta in one act. Three male, three female
    characters. Time, fifty minutes.

 12. =ICI ON PARLE FRANÇAIS.= A farce in one act. Three male, four
    female characters. Time, forty-five minutes.

 13. =DAISY FARM.= A drama in four acts. Ten male, four female
    characters. Time, two hours and twenty minutes.

 14. =MARRIED LIFE.= A comedy in three acts. Five male, five female
    characters. Time, two hours.

 15. =A PRETTY PIECE OF BUSINESS.= A comedietta in one act. Two male,
    three female characters. Time, fifty minutes.

 16. =LEND ME FIVE SHILLINGS.= A farce in one act. Five male, two female
    characters. Time, one hour.

 17. =UNCLE TOM'S CABIN.--Original Version.= A drama in six acts.
    Fifteen male, seven female characters. Time, three hours.

 18. =UNCLE TOM'S CABIN.--New Version.= A drama in five acts. Seven
    male, five female characters. Time, two hours and a quarter.

 19. =LONDON ASSURANCE.= A comedy in five acts. Ten male, three female
    characters. Time, two hours and three quarters.

 20. =ATCHI!= A comedietta in one act. Three male, two female
    characters. Time, forty minutes.

 21. =WHO IS WHO?= A farce in one act. Three male, two female
    characters. Time, forty minutes.

 22. =THE WOVEN WEB.= A drama in four acts. Seven male, three female
    characters. Time, two hours and twenty minutes.

=> _Any of the above will be sent by mail, post-paid, to any address, on
receipt of the price._


HAROLD ROORBACH, Publisher, 9 Murray St., New York.



                              APRIL FOOLS

                           A FARCE IN ONE ACT
                       FOR THREE MALE CHARACTERS

                                   BY
                             W. F. CHAPMAN

                  Copyright, 1890, by Harold Roorbach.

                             [Illustration]

                                NEW YORK
                            HAROLD ROORBACH
                               PUBLISHER



[Illustration]



APRIL FOOLS.



CAST OF CHARACTERS.


    MR. PETER DUNNBROWNE   _A gentleman with several marriageable
                               daughters._
    MR. JAMES SMITH        _Who wants to buy a horse._
    MR. JOSEPH SMITH       _An undertaker._

                TIME OF REPRESENTATION--THIRTY MINUTES.


ARGUMENT OF THE PLAY.

MR. PETER DUNNBROWNE, a gentleman with several unmarried daughters on
his hands, receives a note from MR. JOHN SMITH proposing for his
daughter Fanny. Presently MR. JAMES SMITH calls, he having received a
letter announcing that Mr. D's mare Fanny is for sale, and an amusing
dialogue at cross purposes ensues. This disposed of, MR. JOSEPH SMITH,
an undertaker, calls, he having been notified that Miss Fanny had
suddenly died, and another puzzle follows. Finally it is discovered that
the letters are all in the same handwriting, and that the receivers have
all been made the victims of an April joke.


COSTUMES.

DUNNBROWNE.--Everyday suit.

JAMES SMITH.--Very loud "horsey" dress. Carries hat and cane.

JOSEPH SMITH.--Shabby black suit, old black silk hat, black gloves,
rusty old cotton umbrella.


PROPERTIES.

Newspaper and several letters on table. Large black bordered letter for
JOSEPH SMITH. One letter each for JAMES SMITH and DUNNBROWNE to produce.
Bottle containing cold tea to represent wine, corkscrew and two glasses
for DUNNBROWNE to bring on.


SCENE.

[Illustration]

SCENE.--DUNNBROWNE'S parlor. Doors R. and L. Table C., with chairs R.
and L. of it.

N. B.--A set scene is not essential, and may be dispensed with if
preferred.


STAGE DIRECTIONS.

In observing, the player is supposed to face the audience. R. means
right; L., left; C., centre; R. C., right of centre; L. C., left of
centre; R. D., right door; L. D., left door; UP STAGE, towards the back;
DOWN STAGE, towards the audience.

[Illustration]



[Illustration]



APRIL FOOLS.


 =Scene.=--_DUNNBROWNE'S parlor._ =Entrances= _R. and L. Table, C.
    Chairs R. and L. of table. Newspaper and letters on the table._

=Dunnbrowne.= (_without_) Well, good morning, my dears, (_shows himself
in the doorway R._) Don't be away all the morning, and _do_ be merciful
in your purchases. (_enters R._) Happy is the man who is not troubled
with a trio of beautiful daughters, who are incessantly going out
shopping. My daughters seem to take a delight in spending my money. I
suppose they act upon the principle that, if a thing is worth doing at
all it is worth doing well, and as shopping is their chief and only
occupation, they strive, and I may add, succeed, to do it as well as any
young ladies in this mundane sphere possibly could. (_sits R._) I find
it of no use whatever to expostulate with them about what I consider
their extravagance in dress, for they argue that as they do all the
buying and I do all the paying, it is nothing but a right and proper
division of labor. Now let me see what trouble has come to me through
that prodigious engine of commerce, the post office, this morning.
(_opens a letter_) Another bill from Messrs. Newshape and Whitestraw,
the milliners! It is only two weeks since I paid them $25. (_looks at
the bill_)--$37.50 for millinery! Enough to provide me with hats for
twenty years. (_opens another letter_) More bills! This is Mrs.
Goodfit's bill for dressmaking: forty dollars. (_throws the bill on the
table_) Oh, this is going a little beyond all reason. The fact of the
matter is, I shall be ruined if this sort of thing is not stopped.
(_walks across the room two or three times--then pauses_) I wish some
kind, upright and steady young men of affluent means would come forward
and take one or two of my daughters off my hands. I'm sure they would
make excellent wives. (_sits R.,--takes another letter_) I am almost
afraid to open this one; but I may as well know the extent of my trouble
at once--suspense is useless--so here goes. (_opens the letter_) What's
this? (_reads it over rapidly in silence_) How opportune! This is
precisely what I have long been wishing for. (_reads_) "Dear sir,--For a
long period of time I have fondly and madly loved your daughter Fanny,
with a passion that would require the prolific brain of a poet to
describe, but I have never had the courage to declare my passion to
her." Well, that _is_ astonishing. If I had known of this before I
should have avoided paying some of her bills, for I would have had them
married long ago. (_reads_) "My object in writing you is to inform you
that I shall call upon you to-morrow morning, when I trust you will
favor me with an interview." An interview! I'll favor him with forty
interviews if he will only take one of my daughters off my hands.
(_reads_) "My means are amply sufficient to justify my taking a wife, so
I trust you will not throw cold water on my hopes, but make me eternally
happy by giving your consent to our union." Throw cold water on his
hopes! By no means. If _warm_ water will help to bring about the desired
effect he shall have gallons of it. (_reads_) "Hoping you will carefully
consider this matter and ultimately arrive at a favorable decision, I am
yours respectfully, John Smith." (_folding the letter_) John Smith,
umph! Now, the question that arises is, who _is_ this John Smith? John
Smiths are almost as numerous as flies around a sugar-bowl, but _I_
don't happen to be acquainted with any of them. However, I shall not be
any wiser by wondering who he is, so I shall wait patiently until he
calls. In the meantime I will take a walk around the garden, (_goes to
door R.--calls_) Jane, I am going into the garden. If anyone calls, show
him in here and let me know immediately. (_goes to the table_)
By-the-bye I must put these bills out of sight. If John Smith chances to
see them they might set him thinking of what he will have to pay when he
gets married, and be the means of making him alter his mind. (_puts the
letters in his pocket_)

                                                               =Exit= L.

                        =Enter=, JAMES SMITH, R.

=Smith.= (_speaks at the entrance_) Very well. I'll find a seat if you
will find your master. (=Enters=--_looks around--sits, R._) I wonder
what sort of a fellow this Dunnbrowne is. I don't know anything about
_him_, but he knows something about _me_ or how would he be aware of the
fact that I am in want of a mare. I hope there is no blunder about the
affair. I don't see how there can be, though. The letter is addressed to
me all fair and square, and this is the address the letter is dated from
(_takes a letter from his pocket and reads_) "2, Belverley Terrace,
Hedgetown, March 31st. Mr. Smith. Dear sir,--A friend of mine informs me
that you are in want of a good mare, so I take the liberty of writing
you to say that I wish to dispose of my thoroughbred dark bay mare
Fanny. She has splendid action, and is in good condition. If you think
she may suit you, I shall be at home in the morning, and will be glad to
see you and give you any information respecting her soundness, &c. Yours
truly, Peter Dunnbrowne." Oh, it's all right. There cannot be any error
about that--of course not. I am rather fond of the name of Fanny. I had
a mare of that name some years ago, and she was a perfect stunner.
(_replaces the letter in his pocket_) I wonder what price he wants for
her. I am not particular to a few dollars if she's a good goer. (_takes
up the newspaper_) What is there fresh in the paper this morning? Ah,
another breach of promise case, I see. $500 damages. Poor fellow. Nobody
will catch me at that game. Marriage is out of my line altogether. I
always drive clear of the ladies. (_turns the paper over--reads_)

                           =Enter=, DUNN., L.

=Dunn.= (_aside_) So this is John Smith, my would-be son-in-law. He
appears to make himself quite at home. (_coming to the front, aloud_)
Good morning, sir. Mr. Smith, I presume. (_extending his hand. SMITH
hastily puts the newspaper down--rises and shakes hands_)

=Smith.= Good morning, Mr. Dunnbrowne, how do you do, sir; how _do_ you
do? Delighted to make your acquaintance, sir. Fine morning this, isn't
it? _Very_ fine morning indeed.

=Dunn.= (_aside_) He doesn't seem at all bashful.

=Smith.= I beg your pardon? Ah, I thought you were speaking. You _are_
well, I suppose?

=Dunn.= Ye--yes, I am quite well, thank you, Mr. Smith, how are you?

=Smith.= I'm _very_ well, sir, very well indeed; in fact I am never
troubled with any complaint excepting the complaints of my groom, and he
is always full of them--servants usually are.

=Dunn.= (_aside_) Groom! he keeps a horse, then. He must be pretty well
to do. (_aloud_) Take a seat, sir. (_they both sit, DUNN., L., SMITH,
R._)

=Smith.= Thanks. So you are desirous of disposing of Fanny, Mr.
Dunnbrowne?

=Dunn.= (_aside_) Disposing of her! (_aloud_) Well er--that is _one_ way
of putting it, but I scarcely like to----(_pause_)

=Smith.= Oh, I quite understand your feelings, sir. You have grown quite
fond of her, and now you find it rather hard to part with her; but
you'll soon get over that. I've parted with several in my time. Excuse
my asking, sir, but what are your reasons for parting with her? Do you
find her too expensive?

=Dunn.= Well er--rather; and as I have three of them to keep
I----(_pause_)

=Smith.= I see--you thought you could possibly spare one of them. Well
now, what are her good points? Is she good at jumping walls or fences?

=Dunn.= (_aside_) Walls! Fences!

=Smith.= Can she clear a five-barred gate nicely?

=Dunn.= (_smiling_) Well, er--I really could not answer that question.
Jumping is an accomplishment that I----(_pause_)

=Smith.= Perhaps you never tried her at that sort of thing. You ought
to, sir, it's fine sport. The last I had was a perfect stunner at it.

=Dunn.= (_aside_) The last he had! He has been married before, then--a
widower, evidently.

=Smith.= She turned a little stubborn occasionally, though, and has
thrown me over her head two or three times.

=Dunn.= (_aside_) Bless me! what a powerful woman she must have been.

=Smith.= I cured her of that nasty trick after she had repeated it a
time or two, I did so. I gave her the lash pretty freely.

=Dunn.= (_aside_) Why, the man is nothing less than a wife-beater.

=Smith.= She soon found out who was master. There's nothing so effective
as the whip to cure stubbornness, sir, nothing at all.

=Dunn.= I suppose not; but don't you think that kind of treatment is
rather too harsh?

=Smith.= Oh, dear no; on the contrary, I think a little now and again
does them a power of good.

=Dunn.= (_aside_) What a hard hearted fellow he must be. He will have to
alter his opinions before he marries my daughter, that he will.
(_aloud_) I may tell you, Mr. Smith, that if I thought you would
ill-treat Fanny at all, I should not allow you to take her.

=Smith.= Don't be afraid of that, my dear sir. I should not ill-treat
her if it were not necessary. Does she shy at all when she is out?

=Dunn.= Shy! That is a peculiar question to ask about a----

=Smith.= Not at all, Mr. Dunnbrowne. I like to know what I am getting.
If I take her from you and find that she shies at anything I shall get
rid of her without delay. I shall indeed.

=Dunn.= (_aside_) Well, that _is_ cool. He has the impudence to tell me
that he would "get rid" of my daughter. I am beginning to dislike this
fellow.

=Smith.= You see, Mr. Dunnbrowne, I want one who will go ahead in the
face of everything--a regular fast one that's the sort.

=Dunn.= (_aside_) What peculiar taste some men have!

=Smith.= Is Fanny ever troubled with corns?

=Dunn.= Corns, sir, _corns_? No!

=Smith.= I am glad of that. I don't care to see them walking lame in the
slightest. It quite spoils their appearance. Is she quite sound in every
other respect?

=Dunn.= Well, yes, I never heard her complain. (_aside_) What odd
questions he asks!

=Smith.= She does not cough or wheeze, Mr. Dunnbrowne, does she? She is
not broken-winded at all, is she?

=Dunn.= Broken-winded! I don't understand you, Mr. Smith. Why do you ask
so many absurd questions about her? You are not obliged to have her if
you don't choose to.

=Smith.= I am perfectly aware of that, sir. I am simply asking fair
questions. As I said before, I want to know what I am getting. I don't
want to make a blind bargain. Can I see her now?

=Dunn.= Not at present--she is out.

=Smith.= Taking exercise, I suppose. Well now, Mr. Dunnbrowne, I'll tell
you what I will do. I will take her a month on trial.

=Dunn.= You'll what, sir? You--you'll take her a month on trial! What
the dickens do you mean? How _dare_ you propose such a thing to me, sir!
(_rises_)

=Smith.= Simply because I consider that it is the fairest way of dealing
in transactions of this sort. (_DUNN. walks across stage_) You have no
occasion to be vexed at my proposal. I give you my word that I will
treat her kindly and pay all expenses during the month, and if she does
not suit me I will return her. That is fair and square for both parties,
don't you think so?

=Dunn.= No, sir, I do _not_ think so. If you have a notion that I--the
parent of three blooming daughters--am willing to permit you to trifle
and play with the affections of the eldest of them in the manner you
have so basely proposed, I must ask you to dispel that notion at once
and forever, for you never labored under a greater mistake in your life,
never.

=Smith.= Now there is just a little bit of sentiment in that speech, and
I must admit that you delivered it in a fair dramatic style, Mr.
Dunnbrowne, but you see the general effect is marred by my not knowing
what you are driving at. What _do_ you mean?

=Dunn.= Mean, sir, mean? I _think_ I explained myself sufficiently.

=Smith.= Scarcely. You volunteer some remarks about your daughters. Now,
with all the respect that is due to those young ladies, I must ask you
to put your parental feelings aside for a short time, and proceed with
the business we have on hand. Ladies are out of my line altogether.
Between you and me, Mr. Dunnbrowne, I am not a marrying man.

=Dunn.= Not a marrying man! Then what under the sun did you write me
that letter for respecting your love for my daughter, eh?

=Smith.= Write you? Why, I never heard your name before this morning.

=Dunn.= (_aside_) This is very strange. Can there be a mis--(_aloud_)
Your name _is_ Smith, is it not?

=Smith.= Yes, that is my name.

=Dunn.= Ah! (_takes a letter from his pocket and unfolds it_) Now tell
me, Mr. Smith, on your honor as a gentleman, did you or did you not
write that letter to me? (_giving the letter to SMITH_)

=Smith.= (_reads_) "Dear sir,--for a long period of time I have fondly
and madly loved your daughter Fanny with--" Oh, rubbish! On my honor as
a gentleman, Mr. Dunnbrowne, I never loved _any_ man's daughter, much
less wrote this letter; besides, it is signed John Smith and my name is
_James_. (_returns the letter_)

=Dunn.= (_aside_) I cannot understand this at all. (_aloud_) As you are
_not_ the Mr. Smith I took you for, and have _not_ come to see me about
my daughter, perhaps you will inform me what you _did_ come for.

=Smith.= What I came for? Well, that's not bad for you after listening
to all I have said. Have you forgotten that you wrote me saying you had
a mare to dispose of?

=Dunn.= Wrote you about a mare!

=Smith.= What a forgetful man you must be. (_takes letter from his
pocket--opens it and gives it to DUNN., who looks it over_) That is the
letter; perhaps it will recall the circumstance to mind.

=Dunn.= I have not written this, sir. (_keeps the letter in his hand_)

=Smith.= You have not? On your honor as a gentleman?

=Dunn.= On my honor as a gentleman.

=Smith.= That's curious. Have you not got a mare to dispose of?

=Dunn.= No; more than that I never possessed one or a horse either.

=Smith.= Then why did you not say so before? You answered my questions
about the mare Fanny and----

=Dunn.= Because I thought you were speaking of my daughter. You see I am
expecting a Mr. Smith here this morning--the writer of the letter I have
shown you--who is anxious to pay his addresses to my daughter Fanny. As
he is a perfect stranger to me, and as you answered to the name of
Smith, I naturally thought you were the gentleman I expected, hence the
confusion.

=Smith.= There is something very peculiar about this affair that
I----(_a knock is heard at the door, R. DUNN. puts SMITH'S letter on the
table--goes to the door and opens it. Short pause_)

=Dunn.= What name did you say? Oh, Smith. Ah, yes, it's all right, Jane,
show him in. (_turns to JAMES SMITH_) I must ask you to excuse me now,
Mr. Smith. The _other_ Mr. Smith has arrived. I hope you will hear
something about the mare before the day is over.

=Smith.= I hope so, Mr. Dunnbrowne. (_takes his hat and cane_)

                       =Enter=, JOSEPH SMITH, R.

=James S.= (_aside_) So this is the lover. Ah, poor fellow, (_aloud_)
Good morning, Mr. Dunnbrowne, good morning.

=Dunn.= Good morning, Mr. Smith. (=Exit=, JAMES S., R.) And good morning
to you, Mr. Smith, (_shakes hands with JOSEPH S., who is very pale and
looks very mournful_)

=Joseph S.= Good morning, Mr. Dunnbrowne.

=Dunn.= Take a seat, Mr. Smith.

=Smith.= Thank you, sir. (_sits, R., stands his umbrella between his
knees--puts his hat on the top of it and looks vacantly before him.
DUNN. sits L. of table_)

=Dunn.= (_surveying him--aside_) His appearance is not very
pre-possessing; but I must not judge him by his looks. (_aloud_) This is
a beautiful morning, is it not, Mr. Smith?

=Smith.= (_solemnly_) It is.

=Dunn.= (_aside_) He is not at all conversational. (_aloud_)
We--we--er--we have had, I may say, several beautiful mornings lately,
have we not, Mr. Smith?

=Smith.= (_mournfully_) We have.

=Dunn.= (_aside_) Umph! He must be very bashful and nervous. I'll get a
bottle of wine; perhaps it will help to bring him to the point.
(_rises--aloud_) I am going to my wine bin, Mr. Smith; you will excuse
me a moment, will you not?

=Smith.= Oh, certainly. (=Exit=, _DUNN., L.; suddenly--SMITH looks quite
cheerful_) Wine bin, eh! He does not appear to be greatly distressed
through his daughter's death. It may be that he has a large family and
does not feel her loss so keenly. Let me see now, does he say in his
letter when she died? (_takes a black bordered envelope from his pocket
and takes the letter from it--reads_) "2, Belverley Terrace, Hedgetown,
March 31st. Mr. Smith. Dear sir, I am grieved to inform you that my
eldest daughter died suddenly this afternoon. Will you kindly call here
in the morning to make the necessary preparations for her interment, and
oblige, yours truly, Peter Dunnbrowne." (_replaces the letter in
the envelope and puts it in his pocket_) So she died yesterday.
(_cheerfully_) Ah, well, _somebody_ must die or what would become of us
poor undertakers? If everybody took a notion to live on from this time
forward, the whole body of funeral furnishers would die of starvation. I
hear Mr. Dunnbrowne coming, so I must assume my customary mournful
expression. I always find that it pleases my customers. (_looks
mournful_)

  =Enter=, _DUNN. L., with bottle of wine and glasses--places them on
                 the table and begins to draw the cork_

=Dunn.= You will doubtless think it peculiar of me waiting upon myself,
Mr. Smith, when there are servants in the house, but the fact is I never
allow them to go to my wine bin, for I have discovered that they
sometimes imbibe a little on their own account, in consequence of which
I never allow the key to leave my possession. (_filling the glasses_)
Now, my dear sir, make yourself at home. (_putting a glass before
SMITH_) Taste that and tell me what you think of it.

=Smith.= (_aside_) It is not often I am treated in this manner.
(_aloud_) Thank you, Mr. Dunnbrowne. (_leans his umbrella against the
chair, and puts his hat and gloves under the seat--drinks_) This is
splendid, sir. It is really delicious.

=Dunn.= Ah, I thought you would say so. (_holds his glass up to the
light--drinks_) Is it not exhilarating?

=Smith.= It is. (_aside_) He thinks more of his wine than of his poor
daughter.

=Dunn.= (_aside_) The wine has not loosened his tongue very much yet. He
must have another glass. (_aloud_) Have another glass, Mr. Smith, it
will do you a power of good. (_re-fills SMITH'S glass_)

=Smith.= Thank you, sir. (_aside_) This is what I call good business;
but I must say that, in all my experience as an undertaker and funeral
furnisher, I never met a man who bore a daughter's death with greater
fortitude than this man does, never. (_drinks_)

=Dunn.= (_aside_) Well he _is_ a bashful fellow. Why does he not speak
out like a man? I would commence the subject myself, but he might run
away with the idea that I was anxious to get rid of my daughter, and I
should not like him to think that on any account. How quiet he sits! I
don't see any thing else for it but applying the lotion to his
refractory tongue until the desired effect is produced. (_aloud_) Come,
Mr. Smith, empty your glass and let me re-fill it for you.

=Smith.= With pleasure, Mr. Dunnbrowne. (_empties his glass. DUNN.
refills it--aside_) I am enjoying myself and no mistake. (_aloud_) Thank
you, Mr. Dunnbrowne, thank you. I'm sure you are very kind.

=Dunn.= Not at all, Mr. Smith. When business such as we have on hand is
to be transacted, we must make ourselves as sociable as possible.

=Smith.= (_aside_) Now that he has mentioned business I had better take
the hint and commence. (_turns towards DUNN., aloud_) The business that
has brought us together is not of a very cheerful character, I am sorry
to say.

=Dunn.= Do you think not, sir? For my part I do not see why it should
not be.

=Smith.= Well, er--it was of your feelings I was thinking, Mr.
Dunnbrowne, for I know that this event must be a sad and sudden blow to
you.

=Dunn.= Not at all, my dear sir, not at all. (_aside_) His letter a sad
blow to me? Pooh! I look upon it as a very pleasing blow. (_drinks and
crosses his knee_)

=Smith.= (_aside_) He speaks of a death as though it were an everyday
occurrence in his house.

=Dunn.= Such things will occur sooner or later in any family, sir. We
must expect them.

=Smith.= Ah, that is true. We never know whose turn is next, but it is a
great affliction when parent and daughter are parted in this way, Mr.
Dunnbrowne.

=Dunn.= (_cheerfully_) Oh dear no. I could not expect her to stay with
me always. Besides, we shall not be parted for ever; I can just drop in
and see her now and again, you know.

=Smith.= (_aside_) Drop in and see her! What does----Oh, I see, he must
have a family vault. (_aloud_) Her loss will be a source of immense
grief, sir, I am sure.

=Dunn.= (_in same tone_) Why should it be? All young persons are anxious
to commence that blissful state of life, for it is generally supposed
that they are better off--that is to say, they are much happier. Not
that my daughter has ever been unhappy here, but the change will be a
pleasing novelty to her, therefore I see no reason why I should be
grieved at all.

=Smith.= (_aside_) How careless he appears to be about her death, and
speaks of the next world as a pleasing novelty. A----h! (_draws a long
deep sigh_)

=Dunn.= (_aside_) What nonsense to think that I shall be grieved because
my daughter leaves my roof to begin married life! He might be arranging
for a funeral instead of a wedding, judging from the mournful manner he
has of expressing himself, although I must say that it is quite in
keeping with his appearance. (_aloud_) Fanny has always been a good
daughter, Mr. Smith, and deserves to be made happy.

=Smith.= I can believe you, Mr. Dunnbrowne, and doubt not that she will
be happy for evermore.

=Dunn.= You will do your utmost to make her comfortable when you take
her, Mr. Smith, will you not?

=Smith.= You may rest assured that nothing shall be wanting on my part
as far as comfort is concerned.

=Dunn.= I am glad to hear you say so, sir. Remember that this is a great
undertaking, but I suppose you have carefully considered the matter
before coming here.

=Smith.= I have, Mr. Dunnbrowne. The responsibilities are very heavy in
a case like this, I know, but I think I am quite able to bear them. When
do you wish the ceremony to take place?

=Dunn.= You must suit yourself in that matter, Mr. Smith, I am not
particular.

=Smith.= Very well, sir. Let me see--to-day is Monday--I do not wish to
hurry you, suppose we say Thursday.

=Dunn.= Thursday! So soon! Do not be too hasty, Mr. Smith, let us take
proper time over this matter.

=Smith.= Well, then, shall we say Friday, or Saturday at the latest? We
_must_ get it over by Saturday. It would not do to delay it beyond this
week.

=Dunn.= (_aside_) Bless us, what a desperate hurry he is in! In his
letter he tells me has not proposed to Fanny, yet he wants to marry her
this week. (_aloud_) I am not sure that we could make all our
arrangements in so short a time, Mr. Smith.

=Smith.= I can easily manage my portion of the arrangements, Mr.
Dunnbrowne, and I think you can manage yours if you make an effort. We
will say Saturday and settle that point.

=Dunn.= Very well. (_aside_) I don't know what Fanny will say to this. I
wish she would come in.

=Smith.= Well now, Mr. Dunnbrowne, what church do you intend----

=Dunn.= Oh, I don't mind. Any will suit me.

=Smith.= St. Paul's is a very neat and quiet church.

=Dunn.= Very well. St. Paul's will suit me if it suits you. I suppose
the officiating clergyman there understands his business as well as any
other.

=Smith.= Oh, certainly. I am partial to St. Paul's because of the good
and dry quality of the ground--there is none of that wet clay about it.

=Dunn.= Well that is rather a good point, Mr. Smith. (_aside_) How
considerate he is! He thinks the ground will be drier to walk on up to
the church door. I should not have given that a thought myself.
(_aloud_) Allow me to fill your glass, sir. (_re-fills SMITH'S glass_)

=Smith.= Thank you, sir. (_drinks_) I think you did not say how many
carriages would be required, did you, Mr. Dunnbrowne?

=Dunn.= No, I did not. I leave that matter entirely in your hands, Mr.
Smith. I have no doubt that you understand what is required better than
I do, so I could not think of interfering with any arrangements you can
make.

=Smith.= Thank you, sir, you do me honor. I suppose you would like to
have the church bell tolled on the morning of the----

=Dunn.= (_stiffly_) Church bell tolled! Decidedly not, sir. What under
the sun should we have the bell tolled for?

=Smith.= It is very common in these cases, Mr. Dunnbrowne.

=Dunn.= (_with determination_) Well _I_ don't want to hear it, and
moreover I won't have it tolled.

=Smith.= I am sorry to cause you annoyance, Mr. Dunnbrowne, but I
thought you would like to follow the custom in such cases.

=Dunn.= And tolling a bell at a ceremony of this sort is customary, is
it? Well _I_ never heard of it before. (_aside_) My belief is that I
have given him more wine than is good for him.

=Smith.= (_surprised_) You surprise me, sir.

=Dunn.= (_carelessly_) As you have named the matter I don't mind having
the whole peal of bells ringing together. Engage the ringers
for me, will you, Mr. Smith, and tell them to ring as many
tripple-bob-majors--or whatever they call them--as they like next
Saturday.

=Smith.= (_aside_) The wine is getting into his head or he would never
think of engaging the ringers to ring for a funeral. (_aloud_) I will
engage the ringers if you wish, Mr. Dunnbrowne, but really I----

=Dunn.= Oh, I will pay all expenses, sir.

=Smith.= (_aside_) Argument is useless while he is under the influence
of that wine. I had better bring my business to an end, and take my
departure. (_aloud_) Will you kindly permit me to see your daughter?

=Dunn.= It would give me exceeding pleasure to do so, Mr. Smith, but she
is not in at present.

=Smith.= Not in! (_aside_) Who ever heard of a corpse going out for a
walk! The man is hopelessly intoxicated. It is a blessing that I have
not been prevailed upon to take more of that wine, or I should have been
as bad as he. (_aloud_) If you will allow me to see your daughter now,
Mr Dunnbrowne, I shall not have to come here again to take the
measurements.

=Dunn.= Take the what?

=Smith.= The measurements.

=Dunn.= The dressmaker will do that, sir.

=Smith.= (_aside_) That wine again. (_aloud_) Dressmakers do not usually
take the measurements for a coffin, sir.

=Dunn.= Coffin! What are you talking about, sir? Coffin! (_aside_) The
wine has made him more garrulous than I wished. (_aloud_) What should we
want a coffin here for, eh?

=Smith.= (_aside_) He is drunk beyond doubt. (_aloud_) To put your
daughter in, sir. It is absolutely necessary that you have one.

=Dunn.= (_angrily_) Have you come here to have a joke out of me, Mr.
Smith, or to make arrangements for marrying my daughter?

=Smith.= Neither, Mr. Dunnbrowne. I came to make arrangements for
burying her as requested in your note.

=Dunn.= (_mystified_) Burying my daughter! Requested in my note! What
does this mean? Explain yourself, Mr. Smith.

=Smith.= (_takes letter from his pocket and hands it to DUNN._) An
explanation is needless. There is your letter asking me to come here and
make arrangements for your daughter's interment.

=Dunn.= (_examining letter_) I never wrote this. There is a great
mistake somewhere. (_returns letter_)

=Smith.= Then is your daughter not dead?

=Dunn.= No; she is enjoying splendid health, I am glad to say. But am I
to understand that you are really an undertaker and that your name is
Smith?

=Smith.= Certainly! Who and what did you think I was?

=Dunn.= A gentleman who wished to _marry_ my daughter--not _bury_ her.
(_takes letter from his pocket_) See, I received this letter this
morning from a Mr. Smith, who wishes to be my son-in-law--(_gives the
letter to SMITH, who looks it over_)--and I was under the impression
that you were the author of it.

=Smith.= Then your impression was a very wrong one, for I never saw this
letter before. (_returns the letter_) I am already married, Mr.
Dunnbrowne, and I may say that I have been a father on four separate
occasions. But who can have sent this letter to me?

=Dunn.= And who has sent this letter to me? I cannot understand what----

=James S.= (_without, R._) All right, miss, I know the way in. (_rushes
in_) Excuse my abrupt entrance, Mr. Dunnbrowne, but I forgot to take my
letter away, and I want to trace the hand-writing if possible.

=Dunn.= (_gives JAMES S. his letter off the table_) There it is, Mr.
Smith. Apparently you are not the only one who is in a quandary about a
letter this morning. This gentleman is not a candidate for the office of
son-in-law, as I thought. He has come here in consequence of receiving a
letter which I know nothing about, though it has my name at the foot. By
a most peculiar coincidence, his name, like yours, is Smith.

=James S.= How singular.

=Joseph S.= Yes sir, my name is Smith, general undertaker and funeral
furnisher. At my establishment all orders are promptly attended to.
Kindly make a note of it, sir, you may require my services.

=James.= (_aside, piously_) May the time be far distant.

=Dunn.= Well, gentlemen, what are we to make of this dilemma?

=James.= That's the point. Ah! I smell a rat!

=Joseph.= A rat?

=Dunn.= Bless us! where is it? (_JOSEPH S. and DUNN. mount on chairs and
look round the room in an alarmed manner_)

=James.= Don't be alarmed--it was only a figure of speech. (_to JOSEPH_)
Permit me to look at your letter, sir. (_JOSEPH and DUNN. dismount from
the chairs. JOSEPH hands his letter to JAMES, who compares it with his
own_) The same, I'm certain. (_returns JOSEPH'S letter--turns to DUNN._)
Kindly allow me to see your letter, sir. (_DUNN. gives it--JAMES compares
it with his own_) Exactly the same, by Jupiter. (_returns the letter to
DUNN._) It is as I thought. All these letters have been written by one
hand.

=Dunn.= Is it possible? But what can have been the writer's object.

=James.= Why, don't you know what day it is?

=Joseph.= I see it all. It is the first of April.

=Dunn.= So it is; and we are nothing more nor less than a trio of "APRIL
FOOLS."

                                 DUNN.
    JAMES S.                                              JOSEPH S.


                               CURTAIN.



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