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Title: The Deacon - An Original Comedy Drama in Five Acts
Author: Dale, Horace C.
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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    Transcriber's Note:

    Every effort has been made to replicate this text as faithfully as
    possible. Some changes have been made. They are listed at the end of
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                               THE DEACON

                 AN ORIGINAL COMEDY DRAMA IN FIVE ACTS

                                   BY

                             HORACE C. DALE

           AUTHOR'S EDITION, WITH THE CAST OF THE CHARACTERS,
       SYNOPSIS OF INCIDENTS, TIME OF REPRESENTATION, DESCRIPTION
                  OF THE COSTUMES, SCENE AND PROPERTY
              PLOTS, SIDES OF ENTRANCE AND EXIT, RELATIVE
                POSITIONS OF THE PERFORMERS, EXPLANATION
                  OF THE STAGE DIRECTIONS, AND ALL OF
                          THE STAGE BUSINESS.

        Copyright, 1892, by Horace C. Dale. All rights reserved.

                             [Illustration]

                                NEW YORK
                            HAROLD ROORBACH
                               PUBLISHER



[Illustration]

NOTE.--The acting rights of this play are expressly reserved by the
author. Theatrical Managers wishing to produce it should apply to the
author in care of the publisher. Amateur representation may be made
without such application and without charge.



THE DEACON.



CAST OF CHARACTERS.


                                                 _Grand Opera House,
                                                    Reading, Pa.,
                                              Dec. 16th and 17th, 1886._


                  {_Mrs. Thornton's brother-in-law,}
 DEACON THORNTON, {with a passion for lemonade     }       William Ward.
                  {with a stick in it_,            }

 GEORGE GRAEF, _Mrs. Thornton's nephew_,                   Geo. W. Endy.

 GEORGE DARRAH, _alias Matt Wheeler_,                      Jas. I. Foos.

 JAMES READ, _a friend of Darrah's_,                        H. C. Lewis.

 PEDRO, _an organ grinder_,                               Sam'l Bechtel.

 PARSON BROWNLOW,                                          W. H. Wilson.

 PETE, _Mrs. Thornton's servant_,                          H. W. Button.

 BILLY, _the Deacon's boy_,                             Sam'l Wolfskell.

 MRS. THORNTON,                                           Agnes Jameson.

 HELEN, _her daughter_,                                  Claribel Lewis.

 MISS AMELIA FAWCETT, _Mrs. Thornton's maiden sister_,   Minnie Riffert.

 MRS. DARRAH, _George Darrah's wife_,                     Ida Radcliffe.

 NELLIE, _her child_,                                     Lizzie Rivers.

 DAISY, _Mrs. Thornton's servant_,                      Annie C. Fisher.

         Violinist, Policeman, Villagers, etc., by the Company.


             TIME OF REPRESENTATION.--TWO HOURS AND A HALF.

              TIME, the present. LOCALITY, Eastville, Va.


NOTE.--Officer, in Act I, Pedro and Parson Brownlow can be doubled and
played by Read. Officer in Act IV, by Violinist.


SYNOPSIS OF INCIDENTS.

Act I. Scene, Eastville Hotel garden. The Robbery.--Pete delivers
an invitation.--"By golly, he's mad already."--Meeting of Graef and
Wheeler.--"I'm no coward; I'll either live down the stigma attached
to it, or die in the attempt."--A promised reward.--The Deacon's
arrival.--"I'm a gentleman, sir."--"Be sure to put a little stick in
it."--The Deacon gets hilarious.--Pete imposes upon Billy.--The Deacon
is sick.--"Oh, my head, my head!"--Triumph No. 1.--Curtain.

Act II. Scene, Mrs. Thornton's sitting-room. Pete promotes himself.--"I
spruced up to do de honors ob de 'casion."--Miss Amelia is anxious
about her dear little pet.--"Ze dog or ze money."--"Horrid men, but
dear doggy woggy."--The Deacon's reception.--The Deacon makes a
mistake.--"Everything lovely admires me."--"Were you and Bill married by
candle light?"--"Deacon, you are drunk!"--Miss Amelia prescribes for the
Deacon.--Triumph No. 2.--Curtain.

Act III. _Scene 1._ A street. Mother and child.--"Mamma, will we never
reach papa's house?"--The meeting of husband and wife.--"What, you
here!"--Accused of many bitter things.--Left in the streets.

_Scene 2._ George Graef's lodgings. Graef meditates.--The finding of
the diamonds.--Meeting of Graef and Mrs. Darrah.--"Minnie, is this
you?"--"Welcome little coz."--The photo.--"Yes, alas, too well!"

_Scene 3._ A street. Pete has a dream and persuades Billy to accompany
him on an expedition.

_Scene 4._ A wood. The treasure hunters.--"Oh, Lor', I'm dead!"--"Let's
go home and get the mules."--The treasure is found.--Caught by the
spirits.--Tableau. Curtain.

Act IV.--Scene, Mrs. Thornton's sitting-room. Daisy shows Pete what
she would do.--Miss Amelia's heart is in a flutter.--"I know I'll
refuse him."--Pete at his old tricks.--"Then kiss me."--Consternation.
--Pete continues his tricks.--"'Tis he, by Jerusalem!"--The Deacon
taken by surprise.--More consternation.--"I was insulted by a colored
woman."--Billy creates some excitement.--"Thank heaven, at last I enfold
thee!" Curtain.

Act V. Scene, Mrs. Thornton's sitting-room. The Deacon in clover.
An interruption.--"Hang the Parson!"--The interrupted marriage
ceremony.--"That man has a wife living."--"'Tis false!"--An
attack.--Pete to the rescue.--"No, it is a forgery."--The villain
foiled.--Arrest of George Darrah.--Reinstatement of Graef.--Refusal
of a hand.--The Deacon is obstinate.--"I can't help it, Minnie, I
mean it."--Mrs. Darrah and Nellie forgiven.--"Oh, Deacon, don't be so
silly."--The Deacon made happy. Curtain.


COSTUMES.

MRS. THORNTON.--Act II. Light tasteful morning dress, with head dress.
Act IV. House dress with apron. Act V. Elegant silk dress. Slightly
gray-mixed wig.

HELEN.--Act II. Street dress, with hat, gloves, etc. Act IV. House
dress and apron. Act V. Bridal dress with train, orange blossoms, veil,
gloves, etc.

MISS AMELIA.--Act II. Either a very plain or very flashy dress;
eyeglasses dangling from cord; regulation spinster curls, gray. Act IV.
Dress to suit taste. Act V. Elaborate get-up for the occasion.

MRS. DARRAH.--Acts III and V. Dark dress, bonnet, gloves, etc.

NELLIE.--Acts III and V. Dark dress to suit taste, hat, etc.

DAISY.--Act I. Tasteful maid's dress and hat. Act II. Same, minus hat.
Act IV, 1st entrance, same with dusting cap. 2nd, 3rd and 4th entrances,
same, with apron, minus cap.

DEACON.--Acts I, II and IV. Old-fashioned-cut pantaloons, dotted vest,
old-fashioned easy fitting coat; ditto shirt collar; broad brimmed,
light felt hat; square watch fob dangling from watch pocket; square
glass spectacles; white bald wig and white throat whiskers. Act V.
Old-fashioned dark cloth suit; rose on lapel of coat.

GEORGE GRAEF.--Acts I and III. Dark cutaway suit. Straw hat. Act V.
Prince Albert dress coat; light trousers. Dark dress wig and moustache.

GEO. DARRAH.--Acts I and III. Dark cutaway suit. Silk hat. Acts II and
V. Prince Albert dress coat and pants. Black dress wig and moustache
throughout.

BILLY.--Acts I, II and III. Long white stockings; light broad plaid
pants, cut short below the knees; pleated shirt waist; loose fitting
linen jacket; low-crowned, narrow-brimmed light hat. Act IV. Same with
night gown thrown over. Act V. Same, minus coat. Light flaxen fright
wig.

PETE.--Act I. Linen suit, straw hat. Act II. Black pants, white vest,
smoking jacket, low-cut patent leather shoes, white shirt, standing
collar, white tie and cuffs. Act III. Same as Act I, minus hat. Act IV,
1st entrance, same. 2nd entrance, see description; ditto, 3rd entrance;
4th entrance, same as 1st entrance. Curly negro wig throughout.

PARSON BROWNLOW.--Ministerial suit, coat buttoned up to chin, long black
curly wig, black side whiskers and moustache.

PEDRO.--Make-up to represent organ-grinder.

VILLAGERS.--Modern costumes, straw hats.

FIDO.--Red flannel jacket, small straw hat with ribbon streamers. Collar
with light chain attached.


PROPERTY PLOT.


Act I.

Newspaper. Note for PETE. Green umbrella and pocket-book containing
check for DEACON. White powder for WHEELER. Pitcher of lemonade, salver,
1 empty glass and one filled with soda water. Carpet bag. Placard with
"Pinch me" on it for BILLY. Police star. Violin.


Act II.

Books and flowers. Cigar for PETE. Dog dressed to represent monkey.
Small hand organ for PEDRO. Pin for PETE. Purse and money for MRS.
THORNTON.


Act III.

Bank-note and pocket-book for WHEELER. Books and papers. Candle lighted.
Pitcher of water and glasses. Small pasteboard box for PETE. Photo
for MRS. DARRAH. Lighted lantern, spade and flask for PETE and BILLY.
Leaves. Small wooden box containing iron pot, covered with tan bark to
represent mound. Iron chains. Gun loaded. Bass drum for thunder. "Flash
box" for lightning. 3 sheets for "spooks." Red fire.


Act IV.

Dust pan and brush, broom and bits of paper. Linen suit, spectacles, wig
and whiskers, similar to DEACON'S, for PETE. Dress and wig, similar to
AMELIA'S, for PETE. Flour and dough for DAISY. Bandages for BILLY.


Act V.

Large butcher knife for PETE. Prayer-book for PARSON. Small pasteboard
box. Charm and note for GRAEF. Handcuffs for Officer. Large piece of
molasses cake for BILLY.


SCENE PLOT.


Act I.

SCENE.--Landscape in 4 G. Wicket fence crossing from R. 3 E. to L. 3 E.
with practicable gate C. Set house R. 2 E. with practicable door and
steps. Table and two chairs down L. C. Rustic settee up L. Green baize.
Lights up. Time, morning.


Act II.

SCENE.--Fancy chamber boxed in 3 G., backed with Landscape in 4 G.
Double door C. in flat, open and hung with curtains. Door L. 2 E. Tables
down R. and L. C. Sofa up L. Large rocking chair R. near 2 E. Chairs
around sides. Medallion carpet. Lights up. Time, morning.


Act III.

SCENE 1.--Street in 1 G. Practicable door R. C. in flat.

SCENE 2.--Cottage interior in 3 G. Table R. C., with chair. Chairs
around sides. Door L. 2 E.

SCENE 3.--Street in 1 G.

SCENE 4.--Woods in 4 G. Mound L. 3 E. Green baize down throughout Act.
Lights low. Time, night.


Acts IV and V.

SCENE.--Same as Act II.


STAGE DIRECTIONS.

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; D.
R. C. in F., door right of centre in flat or back scene; D. C., door
centre; 1 E., first entrance; 2 E., second entrance; R. U. E., right
upper entrance; L. U. E., left upper entrance; 1, 2, 3, or 4 G., first,
second, third or fourth grooves; UP, toward the back of the stage; DOWN,
toward the audience.

    R.    R.C.    C.    L.C.    L.


[Illustration]


[Illustration]



THE DEACON.



ACT I.


     Scene:--_Garden. Eastville Hotel. Set house R. 2 E., with
     practicable door and steps. Wicket fence from R. 4 E. to L. 4 E.,
     with practicable gate C. Rustic table and two chairs down L. C.
     Rustic settees up R. C. and L. C. As curtain rises MATT WHEELER is
     discovered seated at table L., with newspaper in hand, reading_.

=Wheeler.= (_reading_) Last evening a bold and daring robbery was
committed at the residence of Mrs. Thornton. While she was serving her
guests with refreshments, some one entered her dressing-room and removed
from her jewel-case diamonds valued at a fabulous price, leaving in
exchange perfect specimens of worthless glass imitations. Suspicion
points strongly to George Graef, her nephew, as the guilty party. He was
seen to enter Davis's pawn shop late last night, after the guests had
left his aunt's residence, and pawn something. One of the diamonds was
recovered this morning from Davis's store, but he professed ignorance
as to the name of the man who left it. Young Graef, though he strongly
denies committing the theft, was compelled to leave his aunt's residence
this morning. He has been very dissipated of late, drinking and gambling
to excess, and it is thought that financial embarrassment tempted him
to commit the crime. (_lays paper on table_) Poor fellow! What an
inglorious ending for what _might_ have been a brilliant career. _Gilded
youth_, like the rest of common humanity, when it enters the arena
against the sparkling cup, witty companions and fascinating games of
chance, must finally succumb.

              Enter _PETE, L. U. E.; passes through gate_.

=Pete.= (_bowing_) Massa Wheeler, missus sends her best 'spects, an'
quests de delight ob yo'r pleasure to dinner, sah.

=Wheeler.= Requests the pleasure of my _company_, I suppose you mean.

=Pete.= Yes, sah, I 'spects dat's what she meant. (_aside_) One nebber
knows what dese wimmin folks mean by what dey says, no-how.

=Wheeler.= At what time do you dine?

=Pete.= (_looking at WHEELER a moment_) Sah?

=Wheeler.= At what time do you eat dinner?

=Pete.= When de rest git froo.

=Wheeler.= What time do the rest usually "get through?"

=Pete.= I dunno. (_laughs_) Guess when dey gits tired ob eatin'.

=Wheeler.= You impertinent black rascal! What do you mean by answering
me in that manner?

=Pete.= (_aside_) By golly, he's mad already! (_aloud_) Massa Wheeler,
yo' knows jest as well as I do dat I was not sassin' yo'. Yo' axes me
at what time I eats, an' I tole yo'. Yo' don't s'pose I eats wid de
_quality_ folks, does yo'?

=Wheeler.= I'd not be the least bit surprised if they were to allow you.
You have never been taught your true position, nor how to address a
gentleman.

=Pete.= I 'spects I knows how to 'dress dem when I meets 'em.

=Wheeler.= (_angrily_) What's that?

=Pete.= Massa Wheeler, it 'pears mighty queer dat yo' an' I can't talk
sociably for five minnits widout quarrelin'. I'se agwine to tell missus
dat de next time she wants a note sent to you, dat she will hab to seek
some oder 'vayance, for I won't take it, suah.

=Wheeler.= So Mrs. Thornton sent me a note, did she?

=Pete.= Ob course she did.

=Wheeler.= Where is it?

=Pete.= In my pocket.

=Wheeler.= Why did you not give it to me then, instead of attempting to
deliver her message verbally?

=Pete.= Kase yo' nebber axed me for it.

=Wheeler.= Give it to me this instant, you black imp. (_PETE gives note;
WHEELER hastily reads it_)

=Pete.= (_aside_) It's mighty plain what kind ob company he 'sociates
wid. 'Pears to me he's nebber learned how to 'dress gen'men, eider.
(_points to self_)

=Wheeler.= (_folding note_) Give my compliments to Mrs. Thornton and
tell her I shall be pleased to accept her kind invitation.

=Pete.= (_going_) Yes, sah. An' I'll gib her a message or two dat yo'
didn't send her.

=Wheeler.= (_angrily_) What's that? Off with you! I shall inform Mrs.
Thornton of your insolence as soon as I see her.

=Pete.= Don't worry yo'self. I'll see her 'fore yo' will. (_laughs and_
exit, _gate C. Goes L._)

=Wheeler.= (_angrily_) Confound that piece of ebony! He's enough to
irritate a saint. He's been petted by the whole household until he has
become worse than a spoiled child. Just wait--(_PETE re-appears softly
at gate C., and listens_) until Helen and I are married, and _I'm_ his
master. I'll teach that grinning jackanapes his true position. (_PETE
shakes his fist at WHEELER, and runs off L., smiling_) Why doesn't Daisy
come? I must regain possession of that charm and note, otherwise I may
have trouble in accounting for their presence wherever they may be. Hang
my carelessness!

     Enter _GRAEF, R. U. E.; passes through gate and goes down C._

=Wheeler.= (_advances and playfully slaps GRAEF on left shoulder_)
Graef, old boy, how are you? I was just thinking about you, and
regretting that you had got yourself into trouble.

=Graef.= To what do you refer?

=Wheeler.= (_lightly_) To that little affair at your aunt's house last
night.

=Graef.= Then you have heard about it?

=Wheeler.= Why, of course.

=Graef.= From whom?

=Wheeler.= I saw a little account of it in this morning's issue
(_pointing to paper on table_) of the _Sun_.

=Graef.= (_surprised_) What! Has it already appeared in print? (_picks
up paper and reads to himself while WHEELER is talking_)

=Wheeler.= Yes, but you need not mind that. All you have to do is to
leave town for a few years. Go to some place where you are unknown,
carve out a name and fortune for yourself, return here _wealthy_, and
this trivial offence of yours will be condoned, at least, if you are not
made a hero of.

=Graef.= (_excitedly, pointing to passage in article_) That's not true.
I was not "compelled to leave my aunt's residence." I left of my own
free will. I could not remain there after I knew she thought I had
committed the deed.

=Wheeler.= (_soothingly_) Of course not; never mind that article, it's
not of much importance. No one believes sensational newspaper reports,
anyhow.

=Graef.= But that does me a gross injustice.

=Wheeler.= Oh, pshaw, that's nothing. Let it go, and forget all about
it. What do you intend doing with yourself now?

=Graef.= I intend to remain here, turn over a new leaf, make a man of
myself, and live down this disgrace.

=Wheeler.= (_coolly_) Better not.

=Graef.= Why?

=Wheeler.= Because you will not find it a comfortable existence. Persons
who know you well, like myself, would pay no attention to the charge
preferred against you, but----

=Graef.= Well?

=Wheeler.= There are plenty of others who would, and your daily life
would be beset by the harassing knowledge of being surrounded by those
who doubted your honesty.

=Graef.= Let them doubt me if they will. The peace and tranquility that
innocence imparts to me will more than over-balance that.

=Wheeler.= Have it as you will. But if you were to follow the advice
of a friend, you would do as I suggested, leave this town and that
instantly.

=Graef.= (_suspiciously_) You appear anxious to have me go.

=Wheeler.= Oh, no; not anxious in the sense you mean. I only wish to
save you and your friends unnecessary pain. If you are short of funds,
say so and I will advance you any reasonable sum you may require.

=Graef.= (_coldly_) Thank you. I did not come here to beg assistance. I
merely stopped to tell you that under existing circumstances you will
have to select some other groomsman; I cannot officiate.

=Wheeler.= I'm sorry, but as to selecting another, that's out of the
question. It's too late. If you remain in town I presume you will be
present at our marriage.

=Graef.= No, that's impossible! (_going_)

=Wheeler.= It's too bad, old boy; but keep up your spirits. You had
better think over my suggestion.

=Graef.= (_at gate_) Once for all, Wheeler, I tell you, I'll never do
it. I'm no coward. Here in this town I was born and raised, and _here_
I'll remain and redeem my character. I'll either live down the stigma
attached to it, or die in the attempt.

                                         Exit _gate C., and goes off R._

=Wheeler.= (_with power_) Curse it! Foiled again! But go he must, or
I'll ruin him body and soul. I know his weaknesses, and I'll play upon
them until he accomplishes my purpose. (_bitterly_) Oh, to get even with
her father and relations has been my prayer for years. (_goes to table
L., and sits; picks up paper and pretends to read, but lays it aside as
soon as DAISY comes forward_)

         Enter _DAISY L. U. E.; opens gate C. and comes down_.

=Wheeler.= Ah, Daisy, is that you?

=Daisy.= Yes, sir.

=Wheeler.= I thought you had forgotten the message I sent you.

=Daisy.= No, sir, but I could not come any earlier, and I can only stay
a moment now. We are very busy at home preparing for the Deacon's
arrival. You know Mrs. Thornton expects him to-day.

=Wheeler.= Yes, I was aware of it. How does Mrs. Thornton stand her
loss?

=Daisy.= Oh, she feels terribly about it, sir. She has forbidden Miss
Helen, Pete and all of us ever to mention the subject to her. Just to
think that Mr. George should be guilty of such a thing! But then I don't
believe he did do it!

=Wheeler.= (_affecting surprise_) Don't you? Well, I wish I could think
so, too. You know he has been very wild of late.

=Daisy.= I know he has; but Mr. George would never do a mean thing like
that.

=Wheeler.= (_doubtingly_) I don't know.

=Daisy.= (_warmly_) Well, I do. But I must be going. What did you wish
to see me about, sir?

=Wheeler.= Did you find a watch charm or note anywhere in your house
this morning?

=Daisy.= No, sir.

=Wheeler.= I lost them somewhere last night, and I'm pretty sure it was
in your house. They are of no use to anybody but me. I prize the charm
solely because it was a present from my mother, and the note accompanied
it. Now if you find them and return them to me as soon as you possibly
can, I'll make you a present of a ten-dollar bill.

=Daisy.= Oh, thank you, sir. I'll try my best to find them. Is that all?
I must hurry back home again.

=Wheeler.= Yes, I believe so.

=Daisy.= Be careful when you see Mrs. Thornton and don't say anything to
her about her loss or Mr. George. Good morning, sir.

=Wheeler.= All right, I won't. Good morning. (Exit _DAISY, gate C.; goes
L. WHEELER walks to door steps R. 2 E.; stops and faces audience_) If
her search proves successful, that will be the easiest ten dollars she
ever earned. But suppose it proves fruitless! What then? I should be
placed in a very unpleasant position. (_thinks_) Ah, well, it's time to
worry when trouble overtakes one. I've often been more sorely pressed
than I shall be by this little affair, and come out all right; and I
guess I can do it again if the emergency arises. (_turns quickly and
starts to enter house_).

                          Enter READ, R. U. E.

=Read.= (_at gate outside_) Hist, Matt, are you alone?

=Wheeler.= Yes.

=Read.= Then get ready, for the Deacon is coming.

=Wheeler.= (_off steps, near gate_) Where is he?

=Read.= Coming up the street, (_pointing R._) about a square off. We
missed the early stage, so there was no one to meet him. I directed him
here for information as to Mrs. Thornton's residence.

=Wheeler.= Did you ride over with him in the stage?

=Read.= Yes, there was no one in the stage with us except the Deacon's
boy, Billy.

=Wheeler.= (_disappointed_) Has he a boy with him? That's bad.

=Read.= Yes, a dull, ignorant, country lout. But he'll not interfere
with your plans, for I sent him around the square, and some of the boys
will be sure to detain him and have some fun with him.

=Wheeler.= Did you have any trouble in getting the Deacon to try your
lemonade?

=Read.= (_laughing_) Not a particle. He complained about the heat
and the jostling of the stage making him feel sick and giddy; so I
pulled out my flask, told him I was subject to just such attacks while
travelling, and that I always went prepared for such emergencies, etc.
After I assured him that the flask contained nothing but weak lemonade
and a harmless ingredient to give it its peculiar color, he nearly
emptied it for me.

=Wheeler.= Did you mix your lemonade according to my directions?

=Read.= Yes, and if he is not jolly blind drunk inside of a half hour,
then I don't know my man. His tongue was beginning to wag when I left
him. But I must be off, for the Deacon is nearly here. (_starts to go,
but stops near L. U. E. as WHEELER speaks_)

=Wheeler.= Read, stop a moment. Try and find Walters, and send him here
inside of an hour, will you?

=Read.= You forget that Walters has not returned from----

=Wheeler.= Hush! Confound it, that's true. It takes him an eternity to
do the simplest thing. Never mind, I'll attend to it myself. Get off
with you now, quick. (Exit _READ, L. U. E. WHEELER goes down C._) I'll
let the precious booty remain in its hiding place until I start on my
wedding tour, then I'll take it along with me. It's safe where it is.
(_crosses to chair L. of table_) First I must make the Deacon gloriously
drunk. Then ascertain if it be true that he intends to give Helen a
wedding present of a check for ten thousand dollars; and, finally, send
him to his sister-in-law's in a drunken condition. That will be triumph
No. 1. (_sits in chair_)

     Enter _the DEACON R. U. E., with large umbrella hoisted,
     fanning himself with bandanna handkerchief. Comes to gate, opens it
     smiling, a picture of good humor; closes gate, shuts umbrella, and
     approaches WHEELER._

=Deacon.= (_at WHEELER'S side, clears throat_) Are you the landlord of
this hotel?

=Wheeler.= (_pleasantly_) Well, no, not exactly.

=Deacon.= (_blandly_) Of course not. Excuse me. I knew you weren't the
moment I sot eyes on you. What did I understand you to say you were?

=Wheeler.= I'm a gentleman, sir.

=Deacon.= Yes, of course you are. That's just what I thought you were.
I'm a gentleman, too. You wouldn't believe it, would you? (_laughs and
clears throat_) I'm a _country_ gentleman. I live over in Rockford
county. Perhaps you have heard tell of me. I'm Deacon Thornton.

=Wheeler.= (_in joyful surprise_) Indeed! (_rises and shakes DEACON'S
hand warmly_) Why, Deacon, I'm _delighted_ to make your acquaintance,
sir. (_DEACON smiles and appears pleased_) Heard of you, sir? Why,
you are known the state over as being the wealthiest and most
liberal-hearted gentleman in Rockford county. Is it possible I have the
honor of shaking hands with so noted a gentleman as Deacon Thornton?

=Deacon.= (_appears slightly intoxicated_) None other, I assure you.
Excuse me, but may I rest a few moments in that chair? (_points to chair
L. of table_) I'll feel more sociable like.

=Wheeler.= Why, certainly, sir. (_goes to chair, takes out handkerchief
and dusts it off. Helps seat the DEACON in it_) You seem to be tired,
sir.

=Deacon.= Yes, I am, and warm, too. (_fans himself with hat_) You see,
I've come over here to attend my niece's wedding. (_abruptly_) Say, do
you know where Mrs. Thornton lives?

=Wheeler.= Oh, yes, I'm well acquainted with the family. (_takes seat
R._)

=Deacon.= That's good. I'll get you to show me her house presently.
(_WHEELER manifests a desire, by half rising, to show him immediately_)
Not now, sit still. I'm not rested yet. You see, I've never met Mrs.
Thornton. She's my sister-in-law. My brother Bill and I had a fall-out
when we were young, and never made up afterward. She's Bill's widow.
Helen's her daughter, my niece. She's going to be married day after
to-morrow. (_the DEACON talks rapidly_) Whew, but it's hot!

=Wheeler.= Yes, it is warm. (_rising_) Excuse me, but I never thought of
it. Perhaps your long ride in the sun has made you thirsty, too. Let me
get you some lemonade. It will refresh you.

=Deacon.= Well, yes, you may, if you will. (_WHEELER starts for door L.
2 E._) Be sure (_with a wink_) to put a little stick in it. (_rubbing
hands_) It gives it _tone_, you know.

=Wheeler.= Oh, yes, I understand. (_Winking and nodding head. DEACON
fans himself with hat, smiling and seeming well pleased. WHEELER, when
he reaches steps, pauses, half turning toward audience, takes a white
paper parcel from breast pocket and holding it up exclaims, aside_) And
I'll put something else in that will soon make your head swim.

                                                    Exit _through door_.

 Enter _DAISY hastily, L. U. E.; passes through gate and goes down C._

=Daisy.= Oh, Mr. Wheeler, I forgot----(_perceives DEACON_) Oh!

=Deacon.= (_rising, appears a little unsteady. Gazes admiringly at
DAISY. Speaks to audience_) Blast my buttons! Ain't she a daisy?

=Daisy.= (_slightly advancing_) Did you speak to me, sir?

=Deacon.= (_confused_) No--yes,--that is--What's your name, my pretty
miss?

=Daisy.= Daisy Dean, sir.

=Deacon.= Are you married?

=Daisy.= No, sir.

=Deacon.= Wouldn't you like to be?

=Daisy.= (_demurely_) I--don't know, sir.

=Deacon.= (_to self_) I'll think the matter over. (_aloud, coaxingly_)
Won't you come and give me a kiss?

=Daisy.= (_looks at the DEACON a moment in amazement, then with
emphasis_) No, sir, I won't. (_turning quickly with toss of head, she
exits at gate, closes it, looks a moment at DEACON, who follows her
retreating form with open-mouthed astonishment, then quickly_ exits
_L. The DEACON gradually faces round to audience, with the look of
wonderment still suffusing countenance_)

=Deacon.= Well, it's plain she was not _particularly_ smitten with me.
(_resumes seat_)

     Enter _WHEELER, door 2 E. L., with pitcher, one empty glass,
     and another glass filled with soda-water. Goes to table and places
     pitcher and empty glass upon it._

=Wheeler.= (_filling glass_) Here we are, with a drink like the nectar
the gods used to brew. (_handing DEACON glass_) I can recommend it, for
I helped to make it.

=Deacon.= You will not object if I take off my coat, will you! It's so
warm. (_removing coat. WHEELER takes it and hangs it over back of his
chair. DEACON empties glass_)

=Wheeler.= Certainly not; make yourself at home. (_Refills DEACON'S
glass, and continues so to do as fast as the DEACON empties it. Sits
and sips soda-water while talking. Invest this scene with as much
naturalness and life as possible_)

=Deacon.= As I told you, my brother Bill and I never made up after
our first quarrel, but I'm not going to allow that to stand against
his widow and daughter. No, sir. (_emphatically_) I intend to do the
handsome thing by Helen. She's going to marry a Mr. Wheeler. Perhaps you
know him? (_WHEELER shakes head_) No? I'm sorry, for folks say he's a
mighty fine gentleman, and rich, too. (_abruptly_) Do you know Amelia?

=Wheeler.= Mrs. Thornton's sister?

=Deacon.= (_eagerly_) Yes, do you know her?

=Wheeler.= Oh, yes, very well.

=Deacon.= (_rubbing hands_) Fine woman, isn't she?

=Wheeler.= Indeed, she is. I don't know a lady whose _opinion_ I respect
more.

=Deacon.= (_slightly hilarious_) Oh, she's bright!----

=Wheeler.= And so amiable?----

=Deacon.= (_joyously_) Ain't she kind----

=Wheeler.= Yes, I think her the perfect pattern of a saint.

=Deacon.= Oh, she's angelic, my boy, she's angelic. I'll tell you
something, if you'll keep it a secret. I'm in love with Amelia.

=Wheeler.= I'm not surprised at that, for I can't see how any body can
help loving her.

=Deacon.= Yes, sir, I'm clean gone; and I'll marry her, too, see if I
don't.

=Wheeler.= I hope that you may, with all my heart.

=Deacon.= Say, I think that you are the nicest fellow I ever met--I
do, indeed,--and you have got--to be my--groomsman. Don't say no--for
I'll--not--listen--to--it--(_head falls on folded arms resting on table.
Maudlin drunk_)

=Wheeler.= The drug is taking effect. (_takes DEACON'S coat from chair,
searches pockets, finds large pocket-book, takes check from it and
examines it_) Here it is, drawn up and signed. (_starts to put it in
his own pocket_) No, I won't, for it will soon be mine at any rate.
(_Replaces it and doubles up coat and lays it on table L. of DEACON_)

=Wheeler.= (_calls_) Deacon, Deacon. (_DEACON rouses up with a start,
brushes coat off L. upon floor with arm_) I must leave you now to attend
to some business. I will send some one to direct you to Mrs. Thornton's.
(_goes R. near door, DEACON protesting_)

     Enter _POLICEMAN L. U. E.; passes through gate. WHEELER walks
     down R. motioning POLICEMAN to follow. Stands R. 1 E._

=Deacon.= No, don't go. Don't. All right--I'll--get ready--(_slowly
rises, looks for coat. Does not notice WHEELER and POLICEMAN_)
Never had so glorious a time--before--(_places hand on head_)
Oh,--my--head! Where's--my--coat? (_sees it on floor. Bis. of
attempting to pick it up; finally falls in a heap beside it.
Picks it up and examines it_) Blast it, some--boy--been--fooling--with
it--turned it inside out. (_turns coat_) I've--had--another--
sun--stroke--wish--I--was--home--in--bed--I'm--sick--

=Wheeler.= (_to officer. Talks through scene_) If you detain that man
here for two hours, and then take him to Mrs. Thornton's residence, I
will make it well worth your trouble. Will you do it? (_OFFICER bows
head_) Very well; now go and assist him. (_OFFICER goes to DEACON, who
has coat turned inside out and one sleeve on. OFFICER tries to take it
off, but the DEACON protests and finally has his own way_) A pretty
plight for one's father-in-law to be in! Perhaps if he knew me he would
reconsider the opinion he expressed about me a moment ago. (_smiles_)

     Enter BILLY L. U. E., _with large carpet-bag, half crying.
     Talks as he comes to gate. PETE follows him and beckons L. as
     though urging others to follow._

=Billy.= Now leave me alone. Dog-gone your ugly pictures! I didn't do
nuffin to amongst you. (_leans on gate. Faces R. C. PETE sneaks up and
pinches him. BILLY kicks and yells. Cries. OFFICER assisting DEACON to
feet, sees PETE_)

=Officer.= Leave that boy alone, you black rascal, or I'll arrest you.

=Pete.= Well, make him take in his sign, if he don't want de boys to hab
any fun wid him. You can't scare me, ole fiddle strings, I knows yo'.
(_OFFICER feints to start for him. PETE pulls off hat and runs off L. U.
E._)

=Deacon.= (_authoritatively_) Come here, Billy. (_BILLY opens gate and
goes down to DEACON, sniffling. DEACON looks steadily at him a moment_)

     Enter _three lads and lassies R. U. E., with VIOLINIST.
     WHEELER whistles to them softly as they reach gate and beckons for
     them to enter. They come in; VIOLINIST goes up L. , the rest R.
     WHEELER goes to them and makes a proposition, then exit door, R. 2
     E._

=Deacon.= Billy, you're drunk! Now don't deny it. Aren't you ashamed of
yourself, for disgracing me? Now go to that seat (_pointing up L._) and
stay there until I'm ready to leave. (_BILLY goes to settee up L. and
sits. Has large placard on back with the words "PINCH ME" printed on
it_)

_One of the lads goes to the VIOLINIST and speaks to him, then returns
R. VIOLINIST starts playing "I Won't Go Home Till Morning." Villagers
form set and commence dancing. OFFICER urges DEACON to become his
partner. DEACON consents. Take position. After a few steps the DEACON
evinces great gusto. Commences singing, seizes one of the lassies,
shoves her partner into his position. Laddie becomes angry, shows
fight. Strikes the DEACON, who pulls up sleeves and starts for his
assailant. General confusion. OFFICER arrests Laddie and starts toward
gate with him. DEACON comes C., singing and dancing. As curtain falls,
he suddenly clasps hands to head, exclaiming:_

=Deacon.= Oh, my head, my head!


                              QUICK DROP.



ACT II.


     =Scene.=--_MRS. THORNTON'S sitting-room. PETE is seated on
     rocking-chair R., with left leg dangling over arm; has lighted
     cigar in R. hand and occasionally draws it. Is rocking and softly
     singing "Gospel Train," as curtain rises._

      Enter _DAISY L. 2 E. PETE springs quickly to feet and hides
                           cigar under coat_.

=Pete.= Golly, but you scared me. I thought it was missus. (_resumes
former position, singing and smoking_)

=Daisy.= You can thank your lucky stars that you were mistaken. (_amazed
at PETE'S attire_) For goodness sake, what are you doing rigged out in
Mr. George's clothes?

=Pete.= Why, yo' know missus 'spects her brudder-in-law, de Deacon, dis
mawnin', an' some oder company fur dinner, an' as I'se de only male
pusson in dis house now, I spruced up to do de honors ob de 'casion.

=Daisy.= Honors of the occasion! Why, what do you mean?

=Pete.= When people hab parties an' 'ceptions don't dey always hab
somebody to do de 'ceivin'?

=Daisy.= Of course they do, but you are not such a great goose as to
suppose Mrs. Thornton will call upon a black booby like you to meet her
guests, are you?

=Pete.= (_rising hastily and assuming a threatening attitude_) Black
booby? Don't yo' say that again! (_contemptuously_) Niggahs always
better than poor white trash. I 'spose yo' think if yo' was a man missus
would call upon yo', but she'd nebber do dat while I was around, suah.
(_resumes seat_)

=Daisy.= (_soothingly_) There, there, Pete, I did not mean to hurt your
feelings, but you get on your "high horse" so often and make yourself so
ridiculous that one must say something to save you from being thrown and
badly injured.

=Pete.= Well, it's none ob yo'r bis'nis if dat hoss breaks my neck.

=Daisy.= Very well, then, Pete, we will drop the subject. Now, I want to
ask you something.

=Pete.= It am no use, fo' I'll not answer yo'.

=Daisy.= Yes, you will, for maybe there'll be some money in it for you.

=Pete.= (_eagerly_) What am it?

=Daisy.= Did you find a watch charm or a packet of letters anywhere in
the house this morning?

=Pete.= (_sulkily_) No, I didn't, and mighty little good would it do yo'
if I did. (_gently draws at cigar_)

=Daisy.= Mr. Wheeler lost a charm and some letters here last night, and
he told me this morning that he would give me ten dollars if I found and
returned them to him. Now, if you have found them I'll give you five
dollars for them.

=Pete.= (_straightening up in chair_) Let me see if I 'stand yo' right.
Mr. Wheeler lost a charm an' some letters?

=Daisy.= Yes.

=Pete.= An' he offered ten dollars to hab dem returned?

=Daisy.= Yes.

=Pete.= If I finds dem an' gibs dem to _yo'_ I'se to git five dollars?

=Daisy.= Yes.

=Pete.= An' if I gibs dem to _him_ I gits ten dollars!

=Daisy.= Oh, no; he did not say that. He only offered to give _me_ the
ten dollars. I offered you five for helping me find them.

=Pete.= (_looks at her a moment_) Oh, yes, I see. I'm sorry I can't help
yo'. I'm not such a booby as I look. No, I did not find dem letters.
(_pauses a moment_) But yo' needn't worry yo'self about looking for dem.
(_settles back in chair and gently draws cigar_)

=Daisy.= (_angrily_) You mean, horrid, black creature! I believe you
have found them and are going to try to get the whole ten dollars. Never
mind, I'll tell Mr. Wheeler not to give you a red cent.

=Pete.= (_indifferently_) I don't care if yo' do; yo'll be none de
better off anyhow.

=Miss Amelia.= (_off L._) Pete, Pete, where are you? (_PETE springs
quickly to feet, and hides cigar under coat with left hand. DAISY
crosses to R. of PETE_)

                       Enter MISS AMELIA L. 2 E.

=Miss A.= (_stops at L. C.; speaks authoritatively_) Pete, where is
Fido?

=Pete.= I 'clar to goodness, Miss 'Melia, I don't know.

=Miss A.= You do. You have done something to my dear little pet. I know
you have. (_notices smoke, elevates head, then looks at PETE_) Who has
been smoking in this room? (_removes her gaze from PETE, and looks
around room overhead. PETE catches DAISY by arm with right hand_)

=Pete.= (_aside_) Don't tell on me, an' I'll help yo' to find dem
letters. (_aloud_) I don't know, Miss 'Melia, guess it's de 'roma from
de gem'men's Herbana's ob last night you smell. I don't notice it, do
yo', Daisy? (_aside_) Say, no, quick, or I'm a gone goslin'. (_quickly
changes cigar to right hand, placing left fingers in mouth, and making a
wry face. Goes down R._)

=Miss A.= I wish, Daisy, you would have the rooms properly aired after
the horrid men leave. Now, Pete, I want you to go and bring Fido to me
this instant.

=Pete.= (_quickly changing from one foot to the other, shaking and
blowing his fingers, and keeping up his facial contortions_) I tole yo'
I didn't know whar he was. I ain't seen him since last night. (_aside_)
Blame de cigar.

=Miss A.= That's a falsehood, and you know it. (_notices PETE'S unrest_)
Why, what is the matter with you?

=Pete.= I stuck a pin clar froo my finger.

=Miss A.= You wicked boy, it serves you right for telling stories.

                   Enter _HELEN, L. 2 E., with FIDO._

=Helen.= Oh, Auntie, I found Fido down town in this terrible plight,
being dragged around by a nasty organ grinder. (_MISS A. springs forward
the instant she sees FIDO; tears the hat, jacket and collar off and
throws them on floor; gathers him in her arms_)

=Miss A.= Oh, you dear, abused darling! What a naughty wicked wretch of
a man he must have been to treat my poor doggy woggy so shamefully!

=Pete.= (_aside_) Horrid man, but dear doggy woggy!

=Helen.= The horrid wretch at first refused to let me have him, but a
policeman soon brought him to terms.

=Pete.= (_aside_) I hope dat police will break his neck! (_occasionally
shakes and looks at his fingers_)

=Helen.= He followed me into the house and insisted upon having either
the dog or the money he paid for him.

=Pete.= (_aside, grinning_) He needn't tackle dis child fo' de money,
fer he done spent it.

=Miss A.= (_angrily_) Pete, this is some of your work, and I'll see that
you are justly punished for it.

=Pete.= Miss 'Melia, I 'clar 'fore all de world, I nebber harmed a hair
ob dat dog. I 'spects Neff Jones done sold him, fo' I seed him only day
arter yesterday pintin' to him an' talkin' to some ob de boys. (_scuffle
heard off L. 2 E., and door pushed violently open_)

           Enter _PEDRO, L. 2 E., followed by MRS. THORNTON._

PEDRO. (_enraged_) I'll have ze dog or ze money! (_MISS A., HELEN and
DAISY scream and retreat up R., and form a column; MISS A. back, with
FIDO in her arms, HELEN next and DAISY front. PETE looks scared and
slowly edges toward R. 1 E._)

=Mrs. Thornton.= (_sternly_) Pete, what is the meaning of this
disgraceful scene?

=Pete.= I dunno. (_PEDRO advances angrily toward PETE, who retreats to
extremity of stage_)

=Pedro.= Zer ze boy zat sold me ze dog.

=Pete.= Yo' say dat ag'in an' I'll bust yo'r jaw for yo'.

=Pedro.= Ze money--ze two dollars--I gave ze.

=Pete.= (_advancing_) Lebe dis house at once, or I'll break yo'r head.
(_picks up chair_)

=Mrs. T.= Put down that chair this instant, Pete. How dare you?

=Pete.= (_reluctantly drops chair_) He mustn't tell lies on me, den, or
I'll do it, suah.

=Pedro.= Ze money, ze money.

=Mrs. T.= (_taking purse from pocket, hands PEDRO money_) Now, be off
with you. (Exit _PEDRO L. 2 E., muttering to himself indistinctly. PETE
starts quickly across stage but is halted at C._)

=Mrs. T.= Where are you going, Pete?

=Pete.= To show him out. (_aside_) Wid de toe ob my boot.

=Mrs. T.= Never mind, remain where you are. Some of the other servants
can attend to him. Now, I wish you to know that my stock of patience is
about exhausted. You have tried me the past few months beyond endurance.
If you don't turn over a new leaf and behave yourself like other people,
I shall be obliged to transfer you to the care of someone who _can_
manage you. (_HELEN removes hat and gloves and gives them to DAISY who
exits L. 2 E._)

=Pete.= I guess I knows to who yo's 'ferrin' to, but he can't manage me.
(_aside_) An' he better not try, neider.

=Mrs. T.= To whom do you think I was referring?

=Pete.= Why, to dat Mr. Wheeler.

=Helen.= Oh, mamma, I met Mr. Wheeler this morning, and he said Pete
grossly insulted him in delivering the note you sent him just after
breakfast.

=Pete.= Dat's a whopper! (_aside_) He'll not git dem letters now.

=Mrs. T.= Pete?

=Pete.= Well, it ain't true, so it ain't.

=Mrs. T.= What did you say to him?

=Pete.= I didn't say nuffin'.

=Mrs. T.= What did you do to him, then?

=Pete.= I didn't _do_ nuffin', neider. I'll tell yo' all about it,
missus. Massa Wheeler sassed me in de fust place, called me a black
niggah, an' said he' kill me, an' a lot ob bad things. An' den I tole
him he was no gemman to talk like dat to a poor orphan cullud boy; den
he flared up an' frothed at de mouf, an' shook his fist at me, an' said
right dar in public dat when he married Miss Helen, dat he'd teach me my
true position.

 =Miss T.= } How shocking!
 =Miss A.= }

=Mrs. T.= (_indignantly_) Did he really say that right out in public?

=Pete.= He did dat, sartin'. (_aside_) He's got hisself in a hornet's
nest now, fo' suah. Let him blow on me ag'in.

=Helen.= Mamma, I don't believe a word of it.

=Pete.= Yo' don't eh? Yo' jest ax any ob dose fellers what was 'round,
an' see if dey don't tell yo' de same thing, an' justify me in keepin'
up de 'spectability ob our family.

=Helen.= It's untrue, mamma. Pete made up every word of that story.

=Mrs. T.= Helen, I cannot believe it possible that Mr. Wheeler would be
guilty of such indiscretion.

=Pete.= Dat's de way. Nobody b'lieves a word I say. I, too, is gittin'
tired ob dis lack ob confidence. Some of dese mornin's yo' folks will
wake up an' find dis child in de promised land.

=Helen.= Mamma, it's preposterous to entertain for one moment Pete's
account of Mr. Wheeler's conduct.

=Mrs. T.= I shall interrogate Mr. Wheeler privately, and ascertain from
him the truth of the matter. To be guilty of such baseness, I cannot
believe it.

=Miss A.= It's just like the horrid men. They are not to be trusted.
Ugh! But I detest them.

                 Re-enter _DAISY, followed by WHEELER._

=Daisy.= Mr. Wheeler. (_WHEELER bows; ladies return salutation_)

=Pete.= (_aside_) Guess I'd better be leabin'!

=Wheeler.= Mrs. Thornton, it is with the most profound pleasure that I
accept the invitation you so graciously extended to me this morning.

=Pete.= (_aside_) Listen to dat. He's puttin' dem on, now.

=Wheeler.= I trust my tardiness has not inconvenienced you. A business
affair detained me.

=Mrs. T.= Not in the least. My brother-in-law, whom I desired you to
meet, has not arrived yet. I cannot imagine what detained him. We
expected him by the early stage, but he did not come. I fear he will
disappoint us, for the last stage was due here over two hours ago.
(_Door bell off L. 2 E._) That must be he now.

=Miss A.= Oh, dear, the Deacon must not see me in this condition. (_to
WHEELER_) Please excuse me, I'll take Fido out and give the dear little
pet something to eat. He must be nearly famished.

=Helen.= (_to WHEELER_) Please excuse me, too, I have some duties to
attend to.

=Wheeler.= (_bowing_) Certainly. (Exeunt _MISS A. and HELEN, L. 2 E.
Door bell rings_)

=Mrs. T.= Pete, answer the bell.

=Pete.= Yes, missus. (_going_)

=Mrs. T.= (_noticing PETE'S appearance_) Why, what is the meaning of
your being arrayed in that attire? (_WHEELER smiles_)

=Daisy.= (_laughing_) He imagined he was to play the host this morning
and receive your guests. So he dressed himself up accordingly.

=Pete.= Mind your own bis'nis. Missus wasn't a talkin' to yo'.

=Mrs. T.= (_warningly_) Pete!

=Pete.= Well, make Daisy keep quiet. She's always meddlin' wid my
affairs. Some day I'll make her wish she'd never been born.

=Mrs. T.= (_firmly_) Just as soon as you answer the bell, go to your
room, change your clothing, and make yourself tidy. I want you to wait
on the table at dinner.

=Pete.= Wait on de table? (_DAISY'S face wears an irritating smile_)

=Mrs. T.= That's what I said.

=Pete.= (_in expostulating tone_) But dat's Daisy's work.

=Mrs. T.= No matter whose work it is, I wish you to do it.

=Pete.= (_to DAISY_) Dis is yo'r doin's. I'll pour a pitcher ob ice
water down yo'r back, see if I don't. I'll git eben wid yo'. (_aside_) I
won't wait on de table.

=Mrs. T.= What's that?

=Pete.= (_quickly_) I said Daisy would hab to help.

=Mrs. T.= Go instantly and do as I told you. (_Exit PETE L. 2 E.,
grumbling; slams door after him. WHEELER, half smiling, crosses R. and
sits. MRS. T. sits on sofa. DAISY remains standing just R. of door L. 2
E._) I declare I don't know what to do with that boy. He's growing worse
and worse. Oh, Mr. Wheeler, before I forget it, I wish to have a few
minutes' talk with you after dinner about Pete's conduct toward you this
morning.

=Wheeler.= Very well, madam, it will give me great pleasure to comply
with your request.

=Mrs. T.= I do hope that was brother ringing. Do you know, I feel no
little anxiety about this meeting.

=Wheeler.= I think your daughter told me that you never had met your
brother-in-law?

=Mrs. T.= No; William, my late husband, and he were not good friends.
It was the Deacon's fault. In his younger days he was too fond of the
wine cup, and when William attempted to warn him of its evils, he became
angry, alienated himself from my husband, and refused from that day on
to have any intercourse with him whatever.

=Wheeler.= I think I have heard it mentioned somewhere that he is still
a little too fond of the cup at times.

=Mrs. T.= Yes, I am sorry to say that the habit contracted in youth
still clings to him. That is usually the case. But it is only on very
rare occasions that he imbibes too much. I believe he is conscientious
and tries to do what is right. I do hope and pray that he will not
consider this a _rare_ occasion, and may remain sober during his stay
with us.

=Wheeler.= It is to be _sincerely_ hoped so.

=Mrs. T.= This visit of his is due entirely to the exertions of my
sister Amelia. She met him last year while visiting a friend of hers
residing in his neighborhood. A sort of mutual attachment sprang up
between them. Where it will end goodness only knows. I fear Amelia is
very much in love with him.

=Wheeler.= Indeed!

=Mrs. T.= Yes, hence my anxiety that our meeting may prove a pleasant
one.

=Wheeler.= The Deacon is not a bachelor, is he?

=Mrs. T.= Oh, no. He lost his wife some thirty years ago.

=Wheeler.= Has he no children?

=Mrs. T.= Only one daughter. But never refer to her in his presence.
He has disowned her. She married against his wishes, and a miserable
life she has led. The Deacon is very self-willed, stubborn and
self-opinionated, and will listen to no reason when it clashes against
his set views.

=Wheeler.= But, surely if one were to represent to him that his daughter
was suffering and needy, he would not refuse to aid her.

=Mrs. T.= He would, as sure as you are living. Oh, Mr. Wheeler, I know
the nobility of your character, how anxious you are to aid suffering
humanity; but let me beseech you, as you value Helen's peace of mind and
mine, _never_ refer to the Deacon's daughter in his presence unless you
desire to bring on a storm.

=Wheeler.= But----

=Mrs. T.= Hush, I hear him coming. (_MRS. T. and WHEELER rise_)

     Enter _DEACON L. 2 E. Has a wearied look; still intoxicated;
     vest unbuttoned, coat mussed up and full of wrinkles, cravat under
     left ear; general condition "used up." He is followed by BILLY with
     carpet-bag, PETE expostulating and trying to take it from him.
     DAISY stands near door L. 2 E.; MRS. T. up C.; WHEELER R. 2 E.;
     PETE goes down L. with BILLY; appears disgusted_.

=Deacon.= (_embracing and kissing DAISY_) My dear, dear sister. I'm
rejoiced to meet you.

=Mrs. T.= (_advancing quickly_) Brother, brother, what are you doing?
That is my servant.

=Deacon.= (_releasing Daisy_) Ah, I made a mistake. My eyesight is bad.
Excuse me. (_embraces MRS. T._) Tillie, I'm _de_lighted, most supremely
blest to enfold--(_quickly_) to have the pleasure of folding--meeting
you and calling you _sister_. I'm most inexpressibly happy! (_releases
her_) Yet as I compare you two, (_looking first at DAISY and then at
MRS. T._) I can't refrain from saying that I think _your_ eye for beauty
far superior to my brother's. So she's your servant, is she? (_looking
at DAISY admiringly_) She's a beauty! (_to DAISY who stands smiling_)
Come, and let me kiss you again.

=Mrs. T.= (_expostulating_) Brother, brother! (_to DAISY_) Daisy, leave
the room. (Exit _DAISY L. 2 E., left hand over mouth, giggling_)

=Deacon.= (_in injured tone_) Why, what has the poor girl done?

=Mrs. T.= Brother, my servants are not accustomed to have such liberties
taken with them. Permit me to introduce you to Mr. Wheeler, Helen's
affianced.

=Deacon.= (_shaking hands with WHEELER_) I'm _de_lighted, sir, to know
you will soon have the honor of becoming _my_ nephew. It's quite a
distinction, sir, and I hope you justly appreciate it. (_WHEELER bows
and returns to former position_).

=Pete.= (_to audience, pointing to BILLY disgustedly_) He's got wimmin's
stockings on. (_takes pin from coat, bends it schoolboy fashion,
balances it on hand, places it on seat of chair; goes to BILLY and in
pantomime asks him to be seated_).

=Wheeler.= (_aside_) He does not recognize me. So far my plans are
working admirably.

=Deacon.= (_to MRS. T.; appears unsteady, speaks confidentially_)
Tillie, Helen's got taste. She has an eye for beauty. (_looks at
WHEELER_) He's a fine looking fellow. (_looks at MRS. T._) Excuse me,
but were you and Bill married by candle light?

=Mrs. T.= Why, no; certainly not.

=Deacon.= Did he have all his senses?

=Mrs. T.= (_slightly irritated_) Of course he did. Why do you ask?

=Deacon.= (_perplexed_) I can't understand it.

=Mrs. T.= Can't understand what?

=Deacon.= (_looks at MRS. T. a moment, then speaks with emphasis_) How
in the name of wonders he came to marry _you_ and pass by that sweet,
lovely being you sent out of the room.

=Billy.= (_takes PETE'S proffered seat, but instantly springs up_) Oh!

=Mrs. T.= Why, what is the matter, Pete?

=Pete.= (_examining chair_) I dunno. I'se jest tryin' to find out.
(_picks up pin; conceals bent part, displaying point_) Daisy nebber
half dusted de chairs. Jest see, she left a pin on dat chair, an' it
stuck Billy. She nebber does her work right. (_lays his hand on BILLY'S
shoulder and consoles him_)

                        Re-enter HELEN, L. 2 E.

=Mrs. T.= Brother, this is my daughter Helen.

=Deacon.= (_looks at HELEN_) She inherits her beauty from Bill. Helen,
my dear, I'm _de_lighted to see you are so pretty. You will kiss your
old uncle, won't you? I knew you would. Everything lovely admires _me_.

                     Re-enter MISS AMELIA, L. 2 E.

=Mrs. T.= And here is my sister Amelia. But you need no introduction to
her.

=Deacon.= Bless me, no. Miss Amelia, I'm delighted, filled with
joy unspeakable to behold you again. (_advances quickly with arms
outstretched as though to embrace her. MISS. A. dodges him and crosses
R., MRS. T. following her and expostulating. The DEACON stops suddenly,
reels and clasps hand to head_) Oh, my head, my head!

=Miss A.= (_sharply_) Deacon, you're drunk.

=Mrs. T.= (_startled; expostulating_) Sister!

=Miss A.= Don't "sister" (_imitating MRS. T._) me! I can manage him. I
never saw the man yet I was afraid of.

=Pete.= (_aside, quickly_) Dat's so; cross-eyed, bow-legged, big,
little, great or small, dey's all de same to her. He's nebber been
created.

=Deacon.= (L.) Miss Amelia, I protest, I sincerely, most emphatically
protest against the injustice of your charge. I've had another
sunstroke. (_places hand upon brow_) My head, my head! I'm--sick--
deathly--sick! (_advances a step C., unsteadily_)

=Pete.= (_aside_) Yes, he's got de spirits yell infantum!

=Miss A.= You're beastly drunk. A pretty figure you must have cut,
staggering along the streets, disgracing our whole family. (_DEACON in
front of sofa, raises his hand deprecatingly_) Now, don't deny it; I'm
ashamed of you.

            Re-enter _DAISY L. 2 E.; she stands near door._

=Miss A.= (_sharply_) Pete! (_PETE trembles and seems frightened_) Take
him to his room, give him a hot foot bath, apply mustard plasters to
both temples and back of his neck, drench him with strong soda water,
wrap him in woolen blankets----

=Deacon.= (_sinks to sofa with hopeless expression_) Oh, Lord, kill me
at once, and be done with it.

=Wheeler.= (_folds arms_) Triumph No. 2.

     _DEACON on sofa; MRS. T. up C.; MISS A. R. 3 E.; HELEN L. 2
     E.; DAISY L. 2 E.; WHEELER R. 2 E.; PETE and BILLY L. 1 E._


                              QUICK DROP.



ACT III.


     Scene 1.--_A street in 1st Grooves. Practicable door R., in
     flat. Soft music throughout scene. Time, night._

                Enter _MRS. DARRAH and NELLIE, L. 1 E._

=Nellie.= (_complainingly_) Oh, Mamma, shall we never find papa's home?

=Mrs. D.= (_sadly_) I hope so darling, but you must be patient.

=Nellie.= I will, dear mamma. But I think papa was real mean to run away
and leave us.

=Mrs. D.= Hush, my child, that is naughty. You must remember that no
matter what papa does, you are still his little daughter, and must love
him and be good.

=Nellie.= I am good, and I try to love him. But I can never love him as
I love you.

=Mrs. D.= (_embraces NELLIE_) Heaven bless you, my darling. You are the
only treasure left me.

=Wheeler.= (_back of scene, near door_) You will attend to it, then?

=Mrs. D.= (_starts as though bewildered_) That voice! (_speaks to
herself. NELLIE walks to L. 1 E._)

=Wheeler.= (_within_) If you see to it in the morning that will answer.

=Mrs. D.= (_listens; takes a step nearer the door_) It is he, I cannot
be mistaken.

=Wheeler.= (_within_) All right, I must be off.

=Mrs. D.= He is coming out. Nellie, pet, (_NELLIE runs to her_) please
run down to the corner, (_points off R._) and see that no one comes this
way for a few moments. (Exit _NELLIE, R. 1 E., MRS. D. follows her until
she reaches L. C. behind door in flat where she remains standing_)

=Wheeler.= (_opening door slightly_) Good night. (_passes out and starts
toward L. 1 E._)

=Mrs. D.= (_slightly advancing_) George! Husband!

=Wheeler.= (_starts; turning quickly, recognizes MRS. D._) What! you
here?

=Mrs. D.= (_tremulously_) Yes, but why that frown? (_pleadingly_) Oh,
George, you are not sorry to see me, are you?

=Wheeler.= (_evasively_) What brought you here?

=Mrs. D.= The desire to find you--to be with my husband.

=Wheeler.= (_coldly_) Now that you have found him, what do you propose
doing?

=Mrs. D.= Staying with him and fulfilling my wifely vows.

=Wheeler.= (_vexed_) I thought we had parted never to meet again.

=Mrs. D.= (_astonished_) Why, George, what have I done to merit this
cruelty? What is the meaning of this? (_with pathos_) In Heaven's name,
speak! (_WHEELER hesitates_) Tell me, or my heart will break. (_places
hand affectionately upon WHEELER'S shoulder_)

=Wheeler.= (_removing her hand_) Upon your own head be the consequences
of your rash request. (_speaks vehemently_) You have destroyed every
vestige of manliness in my character; you have changed my nature and
caused me to become a gambler, a thief and a blackleg; with your artful
smile you cajoled me into marrying you; taught me to loathe myself, shun
society, and spurn my _true_ friends----

=Mrs. D.= George!

=Wheeler.= You drove me from home, by convincing me that I did not love
you, into scenes of revolting crime and iniquity; and now, after a lapse
of over two years--spent in the prostitution of the nobler traits of
my character, at the gaming table, in drinking revelries and in fast
society--just as the sun is beginning to shed its rays upon a pathway
leading to my reclamation, you--_you_, who have been the bane of my
life, cross it, and your fitful shadow hisses in my ear, "stop, or I'll
destroy you."

=Mrs. D.= George, let me beseech you to desist. What demon possesses you
thus to accuse me, who am innocent of ever having injured you by word,
thought or deed. Oh, George, I love you too dearly to believe that you
mean the bitter things you have just uttered.

=Wheeler.= But I do mean them. You alone are responsible for the hatred
I bear you.

=Mrs. D.= Hate me! I, who sacrificed home, friends, wealth, position and
parent for you! (_places hand upon shoulder_) Am I awake, or is this
some frightful hallucination? I cannot believe it. George, husband,
father of my child, in mercy's name recall your cruel words!

=Wheeler.= They are too true. I cannot.

=Mrs. D.= Then you no longer love me?

=Wheeler.= You force me to say it--I do not.

=Mrs. D.= Heaven help me then, and protect a discarded wife and
fatherless child.

=Wheeler.= Minnie, the sooner this harassing interview is over the
better it will be for both.

=Mrs. D.= Yes, no doubt of it. I came searching for my lost husband,
loving and trusting in him. I have found him, 'tis true, but false to
his marriage vows, and doubly false to the common ties of humanity.

=Wheeler.= Once more, Minnie, let me urge upon you to end this scene.
What are your plans for the future?

=Mrs. D.= I have none. The God of the fatherless must now direct my
steps. (_appears stupefied_)

=Wheeler.= Listen to me then. If you promise to leave this place and
never place foot in it again, I will deposit with McGrath, the banker, a
sum of money sufficient to support you and Nellie the remainder of your
lives.

=Mrs. D.= Then this is to be our last meeting as man and wife?

=Wheeler.= (_ill at ease_) It is----

=Mrs. D.= And thus you ignore your marriage vow to "love, honor and
protect" me?

=Wheeler.= If you are not satisfied, you have the courts to seek for
redress----

=Mrs. D.= In what manner?

=Wheeler.= By applying for a divorce.

=Mrs. D.= A divorce?

=Wheeler.= Yes.

=Mrs. D.= Then you _are_ in earnest?

=Wheeler.= Was never more so in my life. As a proof of it (_takes
pocket-book from pocket, and quickly selecting a couple of notes,
tenders them to MRS. D._) there is sufficient means to obtain shelter
for yourself this night, and to carry you back to your former home in
the morning.

=Mrs. D.= (_haughtily spurns it_) Keep your money! I'll never touch a
cent of your ill-gotten wealth. For two long years have I supported
myself and my child without assistance from you, and Heaven helping me,
I will continue to do so for the future.

=Wheeler.= Very well, let it be as you please. (_replaces money_) As you
have discarded my proffered help and refuse to allow me to aid you, it
is needless to prolong this interview. (_going_)

=Mrs. D.= (_pleadingly_) George, is there nothing I can do to regain
your affections?

=Wheeler.= Nothing.

=Mrs. D.= You disown me as your wife!

=Wheeler.= Merely wish to sever the bonds connecting us, and the sooner
you leave this place the better I'll be pleased.

=Mrs. D.= Your wishes shall be complied with. To-morrow will find me
once more in my humble cottage home awaiting the return of my reclaimed
husband.

=Wheeler.= Thank you. Good by. (Exit _WHEELER, hastily, L. 1 E. MRS. D.
does not notice his absence_)

=Mrs. D.= But, oh, what a life of wretchedness, misery and woe it will
be. (_notices that she is alone_) George, husband! (_goes to L. 1 E.,
quickly_) Gone! (_returns, stops near C., places hand upon brow_) Left
alone in the street, a discarded wife. It is more than I can bear.
Nellie--my child--come--(_falls fainting to stage_)

                  Re-enter _NELLIE, R. 1 E., running_.

=Nellie.= Here I am, mamma. Why, what is the matter? (_kneels, gently
shakes her, half crying_) Wake up! I believe she's dead. Mamma! Mamma!
speak--it's Nellie. (_whistling heard off L. 1 E._)

   Enter _PETE L. 1 E. Stops whistling the instant he sees mother and
                                child._

=Pete.= (_speaks as he advances_) Did yo' eber see de like! Git on to
dat, will yo'? Why, what's de trouble, little one?

=Nellie.= Oh, please, sir, help me. Some one has killed my mamma.
(_tries to lift MRS. D._)

=Pete.= Some one kilt yo'r mammy? Let me see. (_stoops; MRS. D. moans
and moves slightly_) She's not dead. She's--she's--toppled over. (_MRS.
D. half rises on elbow_)

=Mrs. D.= Where am I?

=Pete.= Why here, mum. Yo' needn't be afeared. I'll took care ob yo'.
Does yo' feel better, mum?

=Mrs. D.= How came I here?

=Pete.= 'Deed, mum, I don't know. P'raps de little one can tell yo'.

=Mrs. D.= Nellie, you here?

=Nellie.= Yes, mamma, you called me and I came. Are you sick, dear
mamma?

=Mrs. D.= (_places hand upon brow_) No--yes--It all comes back to me
now. Oh, why did I not die--better death than this agony! I suppose I
must have fainted.

=Pete.= Shall I fetch de doctor fo' yo', mum?

=Mrs. D.= No, I feel better already. (_attempts to rise. PETE assists
her to feet. She reels slightly and places hand to head_) Oh, my head!
(_to PETE_) Please take me somewhere, so that I may obtain shelter and
rest. I am a stranger here.

=Pete.= All right, mum. Dar's a fust rate hotel jest around de corner.
(_points off R. 1 E._)

=Mrs. D.= (_quickly_) No, no; not there. I desire some quiet lodging
where my child and myself will not be subjected to the gaze of the
curious.

=Pete.= Well, den, mum, I knows jest de place fo' yo'. It's on one ob de
back streets. Dis way, it's not very far.

                                                          (Exit L. 1 E.)

=Mrs. D.= (_slowly following_) Come, Nellie, dear, we shall soon be able
to tell our sorrows to One who will comfort us.

                                                        (Exeunt L. 1 E.)

                    _Flats are drawn off disclosing_

     =Scene 2.=--_A lodging room, plainly furnished. Door L. 2 E.;
     table R. C., with pitcher and water glasses, candle, books, papers,
     etc. Candle lighted. GRAEF discovered_.

=Graef.= (_seated, with right arm resting on table_) I suppose there is
nothing left for me to do, but lie low in this hiding place and await
further developments. It must be hard for a guilty party to have his
fellow men stigmatize him as a thief--but, oh, what are his feelings
to those of an innocent man's, particularly when one's own flesh and
blood prefer the charges. That was a bright idea of Pete's, bringing me
that note he found, for it will go a great way toward establishing my
innocence. Now, if he is only fortunate enough to obtain those diamonds,
and discover who it was that pawned one at Davis's shop, my innocence
will be proved, and the guilty party punished. I never gave Pete credit
for the acuteness he has displayed in this affair. (_knock_) That must
be he, now. Come in.

                          Enter PETE, L. 2 E.

=Pete.= Massa George, I found dem (_displaying box_) jest whar de note
said dey was--in de hollow ob dat big chestnut tree. (_hands box to
GEORGE_) But does yo' t'ink yo' ought to keep dem diamonds here? S'pose
de folks finds out yo' is hidin' here, an' gits out a search warrant,
an' comes here an' finds dem? Why, yo'd be a goner, suah.

=Graef.= Never fear, Pete, I'll take good care that they won't be
discovered. I can never thank you for what you have done for me.

=Pete.= Nebber mind de t'anks, Massa George. When yo's clared yo' name
ob all 'spicion, an' can look honest men in de face like de honest man
yo' is--den dat will be t'anks enough for me.

=Graef.= Did you find out who it was that pawned that diamond at
Davis's?

=Pete.= No, sar, but it 'pears to me dat we don't need dat ev'dence. We
can make out a cl'ar case widout dat.

=Graef.= (_musing_) Let me see. Helen's marriage takes place day after
to-morrow, does it not?

=Pete.= Yes, sar.

=Graef.= At ten o'clock?

=Pete.= Dat's de time a'pinted--if de groom does not come up wantin'.

=Graef.= Then you come to me here about eight o'clock in the morning.
I'll try to have all my plans arranged by that time. Now, you had better
leave me, for your absence may be observed.

=Pete.= By golly, Massa George, if I didn't done gone an' clar forgot
dat I left a lady an' her little gal standin' out dar on de landin'.
(_points L._)

=Graef.= A lady and child out there? Why, what do they want at this time
of night?

=Pete.= Shelter an' rest, dat's what dey said. I brought dem. Dey am
strangers. I found dem on de street, sick an' kinder faint-like. I
wanted dem to go to de hotel, but dey kicked an' said dey didn't want
folks starin' at 'em, so I brought 'em here to stay fo' de night. De
landlady is out, so I tole dem to wait out dar 'till I axes yo' if dey
might come in here an' stay until she comes home.

=Graef.= But, Pete, think of the risk I run.

=Pete.= (_quickly_) Oh, yo' needn't be 'fraid ob dem blowin'. Dey is
_quality_ folks.

=Graef.= (_laughing_) On your recommendation, Pete, they may be
admitted.

=Pete.= (_goes to the door and opens it_) Come in, mum.

Enter _MRS. D. and NELLIE._

=Pete.= Dis am Massa George. (_GEORGE bows_)

=Mrs. D.= Pardon me, sir, for presuming to intrude on your privacy, but
I am not well and could not stand upon ceremony.

=Graef.= Apologies are unnecessary, madam. I am only too happy to place
my humble room at your disposal. (_Places chair C. near table. MRS. D.
sits. PETE takes NELLIE'S hand and leads her up L. to chair. PETE stands
beside her. GRAEF goes to table, pours glass of water and returns to
MRS. D., offering it_) Permit me to offer you a glass of water, perhaps
it will do you good. I am sorry I have nothing more invigorating to
offer.

=Mrs. D.= Thank you, sir, you are very kind. (_drinks. In returning
glass looks up into GRAEF'S face, smiling faintly_) A cup of cold water
given in charity's name often becomes----

=Graef.= (_interrupting her, grasps her by shoulder and anxiously scans
her features_) Minnie, is this you?

=Mrs. D.= (_startled_) Yes, that is my name. But why do you ask?

=Graef.= (_eagerly_) Don't you know me?

=Mrs. D.= (_coldly, shrinking away from him_) No, sir, I think you are
mistaken in the person.

=Graef.= Why, I'm George Graef.

=Mrs. D.= (_joyously_) My cousin--the one who played with me in my
girlish days?

=Graef.= None other. (_they shake hands_) How happy I am to see you.

=Mrs. D.= Strange that I did not recognize you at first.

=Graef.= Stranger it is that I should be so blind; for you have changed
but little since I last saw you--some eight years ago.

=Pete.= By jiminy crickitees! She's some relation ob ours. I's so glad.
(_rubs hands gleefully_)

=Graef.= (_crosses to NELLIE_) And this is your little daughter?
Welcome, little coz. (_shakes hands; then retraces steps to MRS. D.'S
side_) But tell me, Minnie, what are you doing here? We had heard
nothing from you for over three years. (_PETE talks silently with
NELLIE, introducing any comicalities he deems necessary to amuse her,
so that they do not interfere with the dialogue. He completely absorbs
NELLIE'S attention_)

=Mrs. D.= I came here in search of my husband.

=Graef.= Your husband?

=Mrs. D.= Yes. You know father was bitterly opposed to our union, and
after George found out that he had disinherited me for marrying against
his wishes, he began to gamble and drink heavily. He swore to be
revenged upon every member of our family. Oh, what days and nights of
torture I was obliged to endure! Finally one evening over two years ago
he left me without a word of warning.

=Graef.= Why did you not inform us of his actions? We surely could have
been of assistance to you.

=Mrs. D.= I preferred bearing my sorrow and disgrace alone; besides I
needed no assistance, for the dowry settled upon me by my father when he
closed his doors upon me, was ample to support Nellie and myself.

=Graef.= Still, by our sympathy we might have alleviated your
sufferings, which must have been intense.

=Mrs. D.= They were--words fail to describe them. If I had been anything
but a loving faithful wife they would not have been so hard to bear.
(_weeps_)

=Graef.= (_consolingly_) There, never mind. I hope there are brighter
days in store for you. Are you aware that your father is in town?

=Mrs. D.= (_alarmed_) No. For mercy's sake don't let him see me. It
would kill me in my present condition to meet his gaze now, after the
fulfilment of his prophecy in regard to George.

=Graef.= I believe he never met your husband, did he?

=Mrs. D.= No, we were married away from home. But he _knew_ him by
reputation, and warned me against him. None of my relatives ever met
him. Where is my father?

=Graef.= At Auntie Thornton's. He came on to attend Helen's wedding. But
have no fear of seeing him, you are safe here.

=Mrs. D.= (_looking around room_) But, George, what are you doing here?
I thought you made Auntie's house your home.

=Graef.= (_confused_) Yes--I did once--but-- Some other time I'll tell
you my story. It would only distress you to hear it now. Tell me more
about your husband. Have you never met or heard anything about him since
he left you?

=Mrs. D.= Not until this evening.

=Graef.= (_surprised_) This evening! Why, what do you mean?

=Mrs. D.= That I both met him and heard him to-night!

=Graef.= Where did you meet him?

=Mrs. D.= On the street.

=Graef.= Impossible! For I know every creature in this town.

=Mrs. D.= Perhaps you do not know him by his right name. If you know
every creature in this town, tell me if you ever (_takes photograph from
pocket and hands it to GRAEF_) met a man who resembled that? He is my
husband.

=Graef.= (_takes photo; starts_) What! he your husband?

=Mrs. D.= He is. You know him then?

=Graef.= Yes, alas, too well!

=Pete.= Massa George, yo' sartinly will hab to 'scuse me now, fo' I must
be goin'. I hab a 'pintment wid Billy de Deacon's boy. I'se gwine to hab
more fun wid him to-night dan a bushel basket would hold. (_walks toward
the door, but stops when GEORGE speaks to him_)

=Graef.= Very well; don't forget _my_ appointment. But wait a moment.
(_walks across to him and hands him photo._) Do you know who that is?

=Pete.= (_laughs_) Yo' jest bet I does. But won't he look different
when he has his head shaved, eh? (_with a knowing wink._ Exits. _GRAEF
crosses over to MRS. D.'S side_)

=Mrs. D.= What did you mean a moment ago when you said you knew my
husband "too well?"

=Graef.= I cannot tell you now, the story is too long. How long do you
intend to remain with us?

=Mrs. D.= I return home in the morning.

=Graef.= (_quickly_) No, no; you must not. You _shall_ not.

=Mrs. D.= (_surprised_) Why not?

=Graef.= For several reasons. First you must hear _my_ story in the
morning. Then learn how well your husband is trying to keep his oath in
regard to injuring your relatives, and, lastly, you may be needed as a
witness against him. You are safe in this house and no one will know of
your presence.

=Mrs. D.= Why, what has he done?

=Graef.= You shall hear in the morning. Sufficient is it for you to know
he's the blackest-hearted villain that ever went unhung. Come, let us
find the landlady and see about lodgings for you. Come, Nellie.

                             _Close in to_

                  =Scene 3.=--_Street in 1st grooves._

Enter _PETE, L. 1 E., with lighted lantern, followed by BILLY carrying a
spade over left shoulder_.

=Pete.= Now, if yo's 'fraid, say so, an' I'll git one ob de boys to go
along.

=Billy.= I'm not a bit afeared. But it's so dark. Are you sure we'll get
any money?

=Pete.= Ob course. Didn't I tell yo' I dreamed last night whar dar was
more dan free hundred potsfull hid?

=Billy.= Yes, I know you did, but do you think the folks who own it will
let us have it?

=Pete.= We's not gwine to ax 'em. 'Spects dey's all dead, anyhow. Dar
won't be nuffin' to keep us from gittin' it, 'less de spirits put in dar
'pearance.

=Billy.= (_frightened, drops spade_) Spirits!

=Pete.= Yes, yo's not afraid ob dem, are yo'? I's often played wid dem
behind de kitchen door (_aside_) in mince-pie season.

=Billy.= Oh, no, I'm not afeared. (_trembles_)

=Pete.= What's yo' shakin' fo'?

=Billy.= I'm not very well.

=Pete.= Kind o' weak-like, eh?

=Billy.= (_doubtingly_) Yaas.

=Pete.= Want somet'ing to make yo' strong, does yo'? (_takes small flask
from breast pocket, drinks, then passes it to BILLY_) Try dat, it's
nervin'. (_aside_) Den if he sees somet'ing, dar'll be spirits widin an'
spirits widout. (_BILLY takes flask and drinks. PETE watches him, and as
the fluid disappears, grows uneasy_) Hole on, dar.

=Billy.= (_removing flask a moment, but tightening grasp_) That's what
I'm doing. (_hands flask back empty_)

=Pete.= Feel better, don't yo'?

=Billy.= Yaas.

=Pete.= I should t'ink so. (_places flask in pocket. Takes up lantern_)
Come on, now, we's no time to lose.

                                                           Exit, R. 1 E.

=Billy.= (_picking up spade_) I'm ready.

                                                           Exit, R. 1 E.

                    _Flats are drawn off disclosing_

                   =Scene 4.=--_Wood in 4th grooves._

               Enter _PETE R. U. E., followed by BILLY._

=Billy.= Aren't we most there? (_peal of thunder_) I'm afeared it's a
going to rain.

=Pete.= What ob dat? Can't we 'ford to git wet to be independent de rest
ob our lives? (_looks round; places lantern up C._)

=Billy.= Do you know where we are?

=Pete.= Ob course I do. We's mighty nigh de place.

=Billy.= You don't say so! Kin you see it? (_alarmed_)

=Pete.= (_looking off L. 2 E._) Yes, I do. (_flash of lightning,
followed by loud clap of thunder_)

=Billy.= (_jumps and screams_) Oh!

=Pete.= What's de matter? Am yo' hurt?

=Billy.= (_trembling violently and confused_) No--yes--Oh, Pete, let's
go home.

=Pete.= Look dar! Dar! What's dat? (_points off L. 3 E. Lightning and
loud peal of thunder_)

=Billy.= Whar? (_looks off L. 3 E. Drops spade, screams and starts
running off R. 3 E. PETE catches him by coat tails. BILLY struggles
violently to release himself_)

=Pete.= (_coaxingly_) Don't leab me, Billy. Nuffin, will hurt yo'.

=Billy.= (_frantic with fear_) Let go of me. Let go of me! (_turns
on PETE and strikes him several blows rapidly. PETE falls and BILLY
stumbles over him. Practice this scene well_)

=Billy.= Oh, Lord, I'm dead--dead----

=Pete.= (_springing to feet and assuming a pugilistic attitude. A
thunder clap brings BILLY to feet, thoroughly frightened. Faces PETE who
advances upon him enraged_) What did yo' do dat fo', eh? Say? What did
yo' do dat fo'? (_dances in front of BILLY_)

=Billy.= (_backing_) Was that you?

=Pete.= Ob co'rse it were, an' I'se gwine ter lick yo' for it, too.

=Billy.= I thought it were a spirit. What did you see?

=Pete.= Why, de mound whar de money is hid. Yo's a big coward, an' I's a
great mind to knock de stuffin' out ob yo'. (_advances upon BILLY with
fists up_)

=Billy.= Don't Petey, please don't. I didn't hurt you. I'll not get
scared again. Whar's the money? (_picks up spade_)

=Pete.= (_mollified, pointing to L. 3 E._) Thar! an' if yo' don't git to
diggin' fo' it, I'll lam yo' so bad dat de Deacon won't know yo' when
yo' git home. (_BILLY starts toward mound, manifesting great fear. When
near it, a clap of thunder causes him to drop the spade again and shake
violently. PETE grabs him by the arm. BILLY again picks up spade. PETE
pushes him forward, talking as he does so_)

=Pete.= We'll be richer dan missus an' all her relations. I jus' bet dat
dar's more money in dat pile dan all de Deacon's mules kin pull.

=Billy.= (_hanging back_) Let's go home and get the mules, then.

=Pete.= No, yo' don't. If we git mor'n we kin tote, we'll jest 'phone
fer help. So go to work. (_thunder and lightning to continue throughout
scene, at intervals. BILLY throws earth off L. 3 E._) Dat's good. Now,
go at it right, shubble fast. (_BILLY strikes iron pot_) Now, yo' struck
it, suah. Work quick. (_the second time spade strikes pot, a rattling of
chains overhead is heard_) Hurry up, Billy, I'll go an' see if anybody
is coming. (_BILLY reaches down for pot. PETE starts toward R. 3 E.
As he reaches C. a gun is fired from R. 3 E. and PETE, with a groan,
falls with head toward L. As gun is fired chains fall to stage off L. 3
E. BILLY lifts large iron pot from earth as sound of gun is heard. He
sees PETE fall and, throwing hat off, he picks up pot with both hands
kicks spade aside, and, half bent, starts for R. 3 E. on a run. When
near entrance, he is met by figure enveloped in a sheet. Screaming with
fright he retraces his steps and is met at L. 3 E. by another figure.
Starting up C. a third figure arrests him. Screaming, he stands a moment
bewildered. Figures close in around him. Rushing to side of PETE, he
drops pot and falls to knees, clasps hands, eyes roll, fright wig stands
on end, lips work convulsively as in prayer. Red lights from both
sides._)


                               SLOW DROP.



ACT IV.


     =Scene.=--_MRS. THORNTON'S sitting-room, same as Act II. As
     curtain rises DAISY is discovered C. with broom in left hand,
     pointing with right hand to small pile of bits of paper, dust,
     etc., on floor. Dust pan on floor. PETE down C._

=Daisy.= Hold the dust pan! Don't you hear what I say?

=Pete.= (_indifferently_) Ob co'rse, I do. I'se not deaf.

=Daisy.= (_stamping foot_) Then do what I tell you. (_PETE makes
grimaces at her_) Don't you intend to do it?

=Pete.= No, do it yo'self. Yo'r not my boss.

=Daisy.= (_seizing dust pan and brushing paper, etc., into it
vigorously_) It's well for you I'm not!

=Pete.= (_tantalizingly_) What does yo' t'ink yo'd do, if yo' were?

=Daisy.= (_dropping dust pan_) What would I do? I'll show you! (_rushes
at him with broom upraised. Drives him around stage, repeatedly striking
him on head with broom until he reaches C. again_) Now, I hope you are
satisfied. If I had my way I'd give you a sound thrashing and send
you to bed to keep poor Billy company. (_going_) Ain't you ashamed of
yourself for playing that horrid joke upon him last night! You know you
hid that iron pot yourself and made him believe that you dreamed there
was money buried there. Never mind, sir. Some day you'll meet your match
and get paid back for all of your badness.

                                                         Exit, _door L._

=Pete.= (_laughing_) I wonder if dat gal thinks she hurt my head. I'd
butt ag'in a stone wall wid it all day for fifty cents. Poor Billy! He's
not feelin' well to-day. He ran against a tree las' night, an' bruised
hisself mighty bad. So he stayed abed. But he didn't blow on me. He
knowed better. Said he fell from a tree an' hurted hisself. I's takin'
his place an' lookin' after de Deacon's interests. De Deacon is takin' a
nap. I was to call him at 2 sharp. He had a 'ticular 'pintment wid Miss
'Melia. It must be nigh about dat time now. (_starts to go_) No, I won't
call him, eider. I'll let de ole man sleep while he can. (_footsteps,
L._) Oh, Lor', here comes Miss 'Melia now.

                                                         Exit, _C. door_

      Enter _MISS AMELIA, L. 2 E.; goes down C. PETE re-appears at
                         door C. and listens_.

=Miss A.= I declare, my heart's all in a flutter. The Deacon has
requested a private interview. I know he is going to propose. I feel
it; I am sure of it; and, oh, dear, I know I'll refuse him. What shall
I do! (_PETE shakes finger at her in a knowing way and disappears_) The
dear man has eaten scarcely anything since he entered this house. He
sits at the table pretending to eat, but all the while he is looking at
me, and wondering if I love him. His eyes literally devour me with their
lustrous flame of love----

            Enter _DAISY, L. 2 E. MISS AMELIA is startled._

=Daisy.= Miss Amelia, Mrs. Thornton would like to see you a moment in
the dining-room.

=Miss A.= Tell her she must excuse me. I'm engaged for the next half
hour.

=Daisy.= Yes, ma'am. (_going_)

=Miss A.= Daisy.

=Daisy.= Ma'am?

=Miss A.= (_affectedly_) How am I looking to-day?

=Daisy.= Most charmingly.

=Miss A.= Do you really think so?

=Daisy.= Indeed I do. To see you now, no one would suppose you were a
day over thirty. (_aside_) Horrid thing! She's fifty if she's a day.

=Miss A.= I fear you are a flatterer. Now, you don't think I'm too old
to marry, do you?

=Daisy.= Why, no ma'am. Lots of people get married who are much older
than you. (_aside_) And big fools they are, too.

=Miss A.= That will do, Daisy. You are a nice, well-behaved girl. So
sensible.

=Daisy.= Thank you, ma'am. (_going_)

=Miss A.= Daisy, stop a moment. If you see the Deacon enter this room,
please be sure and see that we are not disturbed for the next half hour,
and I'll make you a present of that handsome silk dress of mine I saw
you admiring yesterday. (_goes R._)

=Daisy.= Oh, thank you. (_aside_) Handsome silk dress! It's as ugly as
sin and as old as the hills. I wouldn't be seen in such a delapidated
affair. Ugh!

                                               (Exit _hastily, L. 2 E._)

=Miss A.= I wonder what detains the Deacon. I'm sure it's after 2
o'clock. I do hope he'll come right to the point, for I know I can't
stand any long preamble. (_fidgety_) I do wish he would come. Hark!
I hear his footsteps now. (_Goes to sofa, sits R._) I'll pretend I'm
offended because he kept me waiting. Oh, dear, I know it's coming; I
feel frightfully nervous.

   Re-enter _PETE backward, dressed in DEACON'S suit, with spectacles
                                  on_.

=Miss A.= (_glances around as PETE enters_) It's he! (_bows head on
right arm of sofa and remains in that position; PETE advances slowly,
imitating the DEACON'S shuffling gait and clearing of throat. Takes seat
beside MISS AMELIA_)

=Pete.= Amelia, dearest! (_Coughs and makes wry face. Aside_) She's
skeered! (_aloud_) I guess yo' know fo' what I wanted to see yo'?
(_pause_) Yo' love me!

=Miss A.= (_in muffled astonishment_) Oh, Deacon, how----

=Pete.= Now, don't say yo' don't, fo' I know yo' do. (_archly_) I've
seen yo' castin' eyes at me on de sly. (_aside_) What shall I say next!
Oh, yes. (_clears throat; aloud_) Yo' can have me, I's willin'. (_aside,
disgustedly_) She don't know how to lub. (_aloud_) Does yo' doubt my
love fo' yo'? Go ask the dear little stars if I don't whisper yo'r name
to them every mornin' an' at noon. (_pause_) Does yo' still doubt me?

=Miss A.= No--no--only----

=Pete.= (_aside_) She's gittin' up courage. (_aloud_) Only what,
dearest? (_gradually edges to side of MISS A._) Don't be afraid to
speak, I'll not hurt yo'. Don't yo' lub me just a little wee bit?

=Miss A.= No--yes--I mean that----

=Pete.= (_tenderly_) Yo' mean that yo' will marry me if I'll wait a
little while! Oh, but you are a darling! (_places arm around MISS
A.'S shoulder and attempts to raise her head. MISS A. makes faint
resistance_) Look up, Birdie, and give me one little kiss to seal the
bargain. Just one.

=Miss A.= You are irresistible! (_gently inclines head toward PETE with
face averted. Gushingly_) Do you really and truly love me?

=Pete.= With all my heart!

=Miss A.= Then kiss me. (_turning quickly as in act of kissing,
sees PETE, but does not recognize him. Falling in corner of sofa,
she screams. PETE jumps up and quickly exits D. C._) Help! help!
murder--help!

     Re-enter _DAISY, L. 2 E.; she has common apron on, sleeves
     rolled up, hands covered with dough and arms bearing flour marks;
     followed by MRS. THORNTON and HELEN, both wearing common aprons_.

=Daisy.= For goodness' sake, what is the matter?

=Miss A.= (_in hysterics_) Oh--oh--oh--I've been frightened nearly to
death. Oh, dear, oh!

=Mrs. T.= By whom?

=Miss A.= A tall colored man. He sat down on the sofa beside me. Oh,
dear, I shall die, I know I shall. (_MRS. T. and HELEN approach and try
to quiet her. DAISY goes to D. C. and peers behind curtain_)

=Miss A.= He was dressed in one of the Deacon's suits.

=Mrs. T.= In my brother's clothes? Impossible!

=Miss A.= He was, I tell you. He escaped out of the balcony window.
(_points to D. C._)

=Daisy.= Oh! (_screaming, runs to group. All appear frightened, and
scream_)

=Helen.= Did you see him?

=Daisy.= No--but--I thought I did.

=Helen.= Auntie, I believe you fell asleep and had a bad dream.

=Miss A.= Asleep! I've not closed my eyes this blessed day. I saw him as
plainly as I see you. The ugly wretch! Oh, oh!

=Mrs. T.= Daisy, go and find Pete and send him for a policeman. This
matter must be investigated.

=Daisy.= Yes, ma'am.

                                                         (Exit, L. 2 E.)

=Helen.= (_going to door, L., listening_) I think I hear uncle moving
about his room. He'll soon be down and will help us search the house.

=Miss A.= Oh, for goodness' sake, help me to get away before he comes.
(_MRS. T. and HELEN assist her to rise, and start with her toward L. 2
E._)

=Miss A.= No, no, not that way. I might meet him. Take me out along
the balcony way. I'd rather meet that horrid colored man again than
the Deacon in my present condition. Oh, dear, it was a terrible shock!
Terrible!

                                                         (Exeunt, D. C.)

   Re-enter _PETE, L. 2 E., disguised as MISS A.; wears a similar wig
                                 etc._

=Pete.= (_C., imitating MISS A.'S manner_) I declar', my heart's
flutterin' like all creation. I have a 'pintment wid de Deacon. I knows
he's gwine to ax me to marry him. Oh, dear, I shall faint! I knows I
shall, but I can't refuse him. (_takes seat on sofa_) Hark! I hear
footsteps. 'Tis he, by Jerusalem! I'll 'tend I'm mad wid him for not
comin' sooner. (_bows head on L. arm of sofa, conceals feet under dress,
pulls curls over side of face, and hides hands under chin_)

               Enter _DEACON, L. 2 E., smiling blandly_.

=Deacon.= How lovely she appears. Still waiting for me. While I have
been sleeping, she, like the grand noble creature that she is, has been
patiently waiting my coming, no doubt considering each moment an hour.
What a beautiful picture the sentiment of love in woman presents! (_goes
to sofa, sits R._) Have I kept you waiting long, my darling? It was not
my fault. Pete forgot to call me. You'll forgive me, my love, won't you?
(_edging nearer_)

=Pete.= (_in muffled tone of voice_) I--I--don't know.

=Deacon.= Oh, yes, you will. I know you will. Amelia,--you will let me
call you by your beautiful first name, won't you?--ever since my wife
died, I've been looking for another angel to take her place. I have at
last found her. Can't you guess who it is? (_pause_) I mean you. Oh,
Amelia, I love you--love you dearly, tenderly, most devotedly. Do you
doubt me?

=Pete.= No--no--only----

=Deacon.= Only what, my love? (_draws close to PETE'S side_) Don't
be afraid to tell me. Hereafter I expect to help you bear all your
trials and sorrows. What a blissful abode of love our home will be.
(_tenderly_) You surely love me a little, don't you?

=Pete.= No,--yes--I mean that----

=Deacon.= (_placing arm around PETE_) Oh, you precious darling! You mean
that in time you may be able to love and marry me. I'm the happiest man
on earth. (_tries to pull PETE gently toward him. PETE resists faintly_)
Nothing is now wanting to make my earthly lot a foretaste of the bliss
of Paradise, but one little kiss from your sweet lips, and the coveted
honor of leading you to the altar. You won't refuse me the boon of one
kiss, will you, dear? (_attempts to raise PETE'S head_)

=Pete.= (_yielding_) Yo' are puffec'ly irresistible! (_rests head upon
the DEACON'S shoulder; keeps face well averted_) Do yo' really and truly
love me?

=Deacon.= (_warmly_) As truly as the sun shines.

=Pete.= Then kiss me. (_quickly turning, he throws both arms around the
DEACON'S neck and gives him a loud kiss. Springing to feet, he exits
quickly D. C._)

=Deacon.= (_rises bewildered_) Ah--oh--what--what's this? The huzzy!
(_takes handkerchief from breast pocket and wipes lips_) Ugh! The
infern--(_calls loudly_) Pete! Pete! Daisy! Pete! Where in the mischief
are they? Why don't they come! Pete! Pete! Pete! (_walks excitedly R._)

         Re-enter _MRS. T., HELEN, MISS A., and DAISY, L. 2 E._

=Mrs. T.= Why, brother, what is the matter? Are you going mad?

=Deacon.= (_angrily_) No--yes--I am mad. Madam, what do you mean by
allowing your colored cook the freedom of this house?

=Mrs. T.= (_in amazement_) Why, brother, I have no colored cook.

=Deacon.= You have! Now, don't say again you haven't, for I know better.
If she ain't your cook, she fills some position in your house, which is
all the same.

=Helen.= Why, uncle, there's not a colored woman in this house.

=Miss A.= Deacon, I fear you have been indulging again, and you promised
me so faithfully never to touch another drop. Oh, dear, the depravity of
mankind is distressing!

=Deacon.= Heaven preserve me! Hold your tongues, every one of you.
Don't you suppose I know a colored woman when I see one! I've been most
infern--grossly insulted by one.

=Mrs. T.= Where?

=Deacon.= Why, in this room.

 =Mrs. T.= }
 =Helen.=  } In this room?
 =Miss A.= }

=Deacon.= Yes, in this room. Upon that very sofa. (_pointing to sofa_)
Only a moment ago there was a colored woman sitting there arrayed in one
of Miss Amelia's dresses.

=Miss A.= In one of my dresses!

=Deacon.= Yes, and she looked just like you.

=Miss A.= (_in horror, raises her hands_) Like me!

=Deacon.= Like you, until she turned her face toward me. She escaped out
that window. (_pointing to D. C._)

=Miss A.= (_to MRS. T._) Sister, I believe this house is haunted!

=Mrs. T.= There certainly is something going on that I cannot
understand. (_to DAISY_) Did you send Pete for that policeman?

=Daisy.= No, ma'am, I could not find him.

=Helen.= That's just like him. He's never around when he's wanted.

=Miss A.= Sister, something must be done, or I'll not sleep in this
house to-night.

=Mrs. T.= (_to DAISY_) Go and see if Pete is anywhere around now, and if
you find him send him for an officer at once.

=Daisy.= Yes, ma'am.

                                                         (Exit, L. 2 E.)

=Mrs. T.= Brother, are you sure you saw a colored woman?

=Deacon.= Didn't I tell you I did? Do you think I'm blind? Confound it!
(_wipes lips with handkerchief_) I saw her too plainly for comfort. I
wish I had her now. I'd wring her neck off. Blast her buttons!

=Miss A.= Deacon, I fear you are forgetting yourself.

=Mrs. T.= Brother! Brother!

=Deacon.= That's nothing, I feel like saying----

=Miss A.= (_quickly_) Don't! Please don't, Deacon.

    Re-enter _PETE hurriedly, L. 2 E.; appears short of breath. Fans
                          himself with hand._

=Pete.= What's de mattah? (_to DEACON_) I heard yo' callin'. I was
out in de orchard pickin' some apples an' I run myself out of bref. I
t'ought de house was a-fire.

=Deacon.= Why didn't you call me when I told you to?

=Pete.= I did. I called yo' ag'in an' ag'in, an' yo' said, all right. I
t'ought yo' wus awake. 'Spect yo' must agone to sleep ag'in.

                    (_MRS. T., and HELEN cross R._)

=Mrs. T.= Pete, did you see a colored man or woman pass out of that
window this afternoon?

=Pete.= (_in astonishment_) Why, no, missus. Dar was none passed out,
fo' I were jist over dar (_pointing_) in de orchard, right opposite de
window, an' nobody could pass out widout 'tractin' my 'tention. (_PETE
goes to D. C. and looks out. The DEACON crosses L. near MISS A._)

=Mrs. T.= It's very strange. I can't account for your vision, brother,
upon any other grounds, than that you were dreaming.

=Deacon.= (_angrily_) Then you think I didn't see a colored woman at
all----

=Miss A.= And that my eye-sight failed me, too----

=Deacon.= And I'm telling a falsehood----

=Miss A.= And that I'm not to be believed? Oh, sister, sister! (_clasps
hands. Noise heard off L., as of some one crying. PETE crosses up
L. C._)

                   Re-enter _DAISY, hurriedly, L. C._

=Daisy.= (_angrily_) Pete, you horrid wretch, what did you mean by
putting that cat in poor Billy's room. You know how mortally afraid he
is of them.

=Pete.= I didn't put no cat in his room.

=Daisy.= You did, for he saw you open his door, and he's scared almost
out of his wits.

    _The curtains at D. C. are pulled violently aside, and in rushes
                                BILLY._

=Billy.= (_screaming with fright_) Take him away! Take him away! (_goes
down C. Has left eye covered with cloth, left arm in sling, black patch
on right cheek and nose swollen. Has on night-shirt and long white
stockings. All the ladies scream. MRS. T. springs to support HELEN in
her arms; MISS AMELIA faints in the DEACON'S arms_)

        _MRS. THORNTON and HELEN R.; DEACON and MISS AMELIA L.;
                         DAISY and PETE up C._

=Deacon.= Thank Heaven! At last I enfold thee!


                               SLOW DROP.



ACT V.


     =Scene.=--_MRS. THORNTON'S sitting-room, same as Act IV. MISS
     AMELIA seated on sofa, the DEACON beside her; PETE looks in upon
     them from behind curtain C., grinning._

=Deacon.= In a short time, my love, Helen will be the happy bride of Mr.
Wheeler. Oh, that I could persuade you to become my blushing bride at
the same time. (_places arm around her, and looks at her fondly_)

=Miss A.= (_half-playfully_) I declare, Deacon, the more one sees of you
the more impressive your silliness becomes. The bare idea of a man of
your age desiring to marry, is simply ridiculous.

=Deacon.= Perhaps it is, my darling, but let me enjoy the happiness of
living over my youth again. I feel fifty years younger this morning than
I did last night before I obtained your consent to bless my declining
years with your sweet smile. But when we come to consider our age, and
the subject of marriage in connection with it, it certainly does appear
as though _both_ of us were silly geese.

=Miss A.= (_amazed and offended_) Sir!

=Deacon.= (_confused_) I beg your pardon. I did not mean to refer to
your age. I--I--meant my own. That was what I was thinking about.
(_tenderly_) As I look at you, you appear as fresh and bright as a lass
of sixteen.

=Miss A.= (_reassured, gushingly_) Oh, Deacon, I can't believe you mean
that.

=Deacon.= I do though.

=Pete.= (_at D. C._) Look out, de parson am coming! (_MISS A. and DEACON
start, then separate. PETE enters and goes R. At same instant_

                     Enter PARSON BROWNLOW, L. 2 E.

=Deacon.= (_rises, faces PETE, enraged_) How dare you enter my--our
presence unannounced! What do I care if the parson has come! (_MISS A.,
catching sight of PARSON B., who stands L. amazed, with uplifted hands,
tugs at the DEACON'S sleeve to attract his attention_) If a dozen of
them come, are they any better than any body else? If ever you enter my
presence again so abruptly, old as I am, I'll cane you within an inch of
your life.

=Miss A.= Deacon, Deacon, do be still. You are disgracing yourself and
mortifying me. Just look! There stands Parson Brownlow listening to
every word you say.

=Deacon.= Hang the Parson! I'll--(_sees the parson_) I beg your pardon,
sir, I was not aware of your presence. You must excuse my unseemly
passion. I have been greatly irritated by that black rascal standing
there. (_pointing to PETE_)

=Parson B.= What, Pete in trouble again! (_to PETE_) What have you been
doing now?

=Pete.= (_in injured tone_) I weren't doin' nuffin'. De Deacon dar was
a-spoonin', (_the DEACON frowns and starts for PETE, but is detained by
MISS A. catching him by the arm. PETE starts to run up R._) an' cause I
warned him of your approach to keep yo' from catchin' ob him, he got
mad.

=Miss A.= There, Pete, that's enough. (_to PARSON B._) It was a little
misunderstanding, that is all. (_DEACON manifests a desire to reach
PETE. To DEACON_) Deacon, do be still. I think I hear the bride and
groom coming.

     Enter _MRS. THORNTON and guests, if any, R. 2 E. They take
     places. =Mrs. T.= down L., guests up L. and R.; MISS AMELIA, DEACON
     and PARSON cross R.; PARSON stands R. of MISS A.; PETE goes up R.
     near curtain. Orchestra plays a wedding march. After a few bars
     enter HELEN D. C., arrayed in bridal robes, leaning on the left arm
     of WHEELER. Take positions directly in front of L. 2 E. door. PETE
     makes a low salaam as they enter, but shakes fist at WHEELER as he
     crosses to position. PARSON takes book from pocket, steps in front
     of contracting parties, and proceeds with ceremony as music ceases.
     PETE peeps out D. C._

=Parson.= (_reading from book_) We are gathered together here in the
presence of this company to join together this man and woman in the
holy bonds of matrimony. If any man can show just cause why they may
not lawfully be joined together, let him now speak, or else hereafter
forever hold his peace--(_during the delivery of this, PETE manifests
uneasiness and occasionally glances around at D. C. When GRAEF enters he
displays joy by rubbing hands gleefully_)

     Enter _GRAEF D. C.; goes down C. Speaks as he comes forward._

=Graef.= One moment, Parson. I forbid this marriage.

=Wheeler.= On what grounds?

=Graef.= Aunt--Helen--you are being imposed upon!

=Wheeler.= (_angrily_) What is the meaning of this interference, sir?

=Graef.= (_to HELEN_) That man has a wife living.

=Wheeler.= 'Tis false! As false as he who makes the accusation. (_to
HELEN, angrily_) You will not allow yourself to be influenced by the
base charge of a common thief, will you?

=Graef.= Helen, I ask no one to believe my simple word. I have proof
amply sufficient to convince you of the truthfulness of my assertion.
(_to WHEELER_) Do you deny my charge?

=Wheeler.= I do, and challenge you to produce your proof.

                        Enter MRS. DARRAH, D. C.

=Graef.= (_to WHEELER_) It is here. Do you know this lady?

=Wheeler.= (_surprised_) Minnie!

=Graef.= You know her then?

=Wheeler.= You here?

=Mrs. T.= (_to GRAEF_) Who is that woman?

=Graef.= Uncle's daughter, (_the DEACON'S back is turned toward MRS.
D._) and your would-be son-in-law's wife.

=Mrs. T.= (_to WHEELER_) Is this true?

=Wheeler.= I cannot deny it. (_bows head. MRS. T. catches HELEN by arm
and supports her to sofa as MRS. D. speaks. PARSON B. closes book and
crosses to R. of MISS AMELIA_)

=Mrs. D=. Alas, it is too true! But I remain such only until the courts
sever our relation. (_goes to sofa and helps comfort HELEN, after
casting a longing glance at the DEACON who still stands with back toward
her_)

=Wheeler.= (_hisses through clenched teeth, to GRAEF_) So I have _you_
to thank for this humiliation, have I?

=Graef.= Yes, and it is a pleasure I have been anticipating for the past
two days.

=Wheeler.= Then you prepared this plan for my exposure?

=Graef.= I did.

=Wheeler.= Have you the effrontery to tell me to my teeth that you
deliberately prepared my downfall?

=Graef.= (_coolly_) I have.

=Wheeler.= Then, you miserable cur, I'll be revenged. (_rushes at GRAEF
who retreats a little. PETE draws huge butcher knife and runs to GRAEF'S
side_)

=Pete.= Pull on him, Massa George, pull on him, I'se wid yo'! (_holding
knife aloft dramatically. At sight of knife MISS AMELIA has slight
attack of hysterics, throws both arms around the DEACON'S neck and
chokes him. The DEACON struggles to release himself. PARSON B. stoops
behind MISS A. and tries to make her dress shield him. =Wheeler= stops
suddenly_)

          Enter _OFFICER, L. 2 E.; approaches WHEELER softly_.

=Graef.= He's not worth the effort, Pete. Officer, arrest that man.

=Officer.= (_seizing WHEELER from behind_) George Darrah, I arrest
you for the crime of theft. (_WHEELER struggles. GRAEF helps OFFICER
handcuff him. The DEACON unloosens MISS A.'S arms, when her head falls
upon his right shoulder. The DEACON supports her drooping form by
placing his right arm around her waist. MRS. T. rises_)

=Wheeler.= What is the meaning of this indignity?

=Graef.= You will soon know. (_to MRS. T._) Aunt, there stands the
George Graef who stole your diamonds!

=Pete.= Say, Massa George, what do yo' think his picture will look like
now, arter it's took, eh? (_GRAEF smiles. PETE crosses to PARSON B.
and makes feint to stab him with knife. PARSON sinks almost to knees,
manifesting great fear. Aside_) He kin teach others how to die bravely,
but he skeers when deff comes nigh him.

=Mrs. T.= (_to GRAEF_) I don't understand you.

=Graef.= George Darrah, there, known to you as Mr. Wheeler, is the thief
you thought was myself. (_to WHEELER_) Do you require _proof_ to that
effect?

=Wheeler.= Yes, if you possess it.

=Graef.= (_taking watch charm from pocket_) Do you recognize that charm?

=Wheeler.= No, I never saw it before.

=Pete.= Dat's a whopper!

=Graef.= (_taking paper from pocket_) Perhaps you will deny also ever
having seen this note with your name attached to it. (_folds note so
that signature only is seen, and shows it to WHEELER_) Is that your
signature?

=Wheeler.= No, it's a forgery.

=Pete.= By crickitees! I'se not a circumstance to dat feller in lyin'.

=Graef.= Aunt, this charm and note were found by Pete just outside of
your dressing-room door the morning after the robbery. He, thinking they
might lead to a clue, brought them to me. From the contents of this note
I learned who committed the theft and where the diamonds were secreted.

=Wheeler.= Will you let me see that note?

=Graef.= With pleasure. (_walks to WHEELER, unfolds note and holds it up
for him to read, talking as he does so_) Pete visited the place where
the diamonds were hidden, and brought them to me. I will give them to
you in a moment. Are you through? (_to WHEELER. Takes small package from
pocket and hands it to MRS. T._) There they are.

=Wheeler.= Mrs. Thornton, that note is supposed to be written by me.
In it I am made to state the _hour_ I was to commit the robbery, and
the _place_ where I would hide the diamonds, so that my confederate
could find them. Now, do you think if _I_ planned the affair and had an
accomplice, I would be likely to write him a tell-tale note, and allow
it to fall into an interested party's hands to be used against me?

=Pete.= Did yo' eber hear de like?

=Mrs. T.= Well, hardly, but how do you account for the note explaining
where the diamonds were hidden?

=Wheeler.= That's plain enough to me. There stands the man (_looking at
GRAEF_) who _took_ the diamonds; there stands the man who _returned_
them, and _there_ is the man who wrote that note and trumped up this
charge to shield himself at my expense.

=Graef.= You infamous scoundrel! (_advances upon WHEELER_)

=Pete.= (_excitedly_) Pin him, Massa George. I'd nebber stand dat, suah!

=Mrs. T.= (_looks reproachfully at GRAEF_) Can it be possible!

=Graef.= Aunt, for heaven's sake, believe not that black-hearted
villain. In one moment I'll convince you of his guilt beyond question.
This morning, Davis the pawnbroker, came to my room of his own free
will, and told me that that man (_pointing to WHEELER_) was the one who
left one of your jewels at his shop, and that he was to pay Davis three
hundred dollars to keep that fact a secret. Is that sufficient for you?

=Pete.= (_aside_) Ob his own free will, did he? I guess I skeered ole
Davis nigh about to deff. I tole him we knew who gave him dat diamond
an' I was on my way to git an officer to 'rest him as a 'complice.

=Wheeler.= The lying scoundrel! I'll get even with him for that, and
with _you_ (_to GRAEF_) and you, (_to MRS. T._) and with all of you.

=Mrs. T.= Off with you. I no longer doubt your guilt. Officer, remove
him instantly from our presence. (exeunt _OFFICER and WHEELER, L. 2 E.
MRS. T. goes to GRAEF_) George, can you ever forgive me for my unjust
suspicions? I will do anything in my power to make retribution to you
for your sufferings.

=Graef.= Then extend to Minnie, there, your niece, a welcome worthy of
her. (_MRS. T. goes to sofa, grasps MRS. D.'S hand, takes seat beside
her and engages her in conversation. HELEN rises and approaches GRAEF_)
Innocence requires no retribution from those who suspect her.

=Helen.= Cousin, no one can ever be more grateful to you than I am for
the life of misery you have saved me from. What could have been that
_fiend's_ motive in trying to bring disgrace upon us all, baffles my
comprehension.

=Graef.= His desire to be revenged upon Minnie and all her relatives,
for the fancied insult he received in uncle's disinheriting her for
marrying contrary to his wishes, has been the motive that actuated him.
(_PARSON, MISS AMELIA and DEACON cross to GRAEF_)

=Parson.= (_shaking GRAEF'S hand_) Bless you, my son, bless you.

=Miss A.= George, you are a son worthy of your mother. I always said you
would yet make a man of yourself----

=Graef.= (_interrupting_) There, there! you are all showering your
thanks upon me and forgetting Pete, to whom most of the glory belongs.

=Pete.= Yo' just bet it does. I'se done my share ob keepin' up de
'spectability ob de family.

=Helen.= Yes, Pete, you have, and we are all very grateful to you for
it.

=Pete.= (_bowing_) T'ank yo'.

=Deacon.= (_advancing and extending hand_) George, my boy, you will at
least let me extend to you my hearty congratulations. You have acted
nobly.

=Graef.= (_refusing hand_) Excuse me uncle, but----

=Deacon.= Why! why! what's the matter? Refuse to shake hands with me?
Why--ah--I can't understand it.

=Graef.= Pardon me, uncle for my plainness of speech. But I'll never
shake hands with a father who has disowned his motherless child, until
he forgives her and acknowledges her as his own flesh and blood.

=Pete.= (_aside_) Dat's de noblest t'ing he ever said or done.

=Minnie.= (_rising_) George!

=Graef.= I can't help it, Minnie. I mean it. (_the DEACON turns back_)

=Pete.= Dat's right, Massa George, make him toe de scratch.

                          Enter NELLIE, D. C.

=Nellie.= Where's mamma? Oh, there you are! (_runs to her_)

=Graef.= (_approaches DEACON; lays hand upon his left shoulder_) Uncle,
your daughter and child await your forgiveness.

=Deacon.= (_doggedly_) I have no daughter!

=Pete.= Miss 'Melia, please come here a minnit. (_MISS A. goes to PETE,
who is down R._) Yo' tackle de Deacon, he'll refuse yo' nuffin'.

=Miss A.= Go long with you! (_returns to former position_)

=Parson.= Brother, the good book says, "Forgive, and we shall be
forgiven." (_MRS. D. and NELLIE approach DEACON and kneel at his L.
side_)

=Mrs. D.= Father, I ask your forgiveness, not for myself, but for this
innocent child's sake.

=Pete.= Now, go for him, Miss 'Melia, an' yo'll fotch him, suah.

=Deacon.= Rise, my child, for inhuman would be the man who could refuse
the pleadings of a kneeling child. You are forgiven. (_tenderly kisses
the brow of MRS. D. She and NELLIE rise_)

=Miss A.= Oh, Deacon, Deacon!

=Pete.= (_aside_) She's jealous!

=Miss A.= How noble you are.

=Pete.= (_elevating eyebrows and opening mouth_) Oh, dat's what she
means!

=Graef.= (_grasping the DEACON'S hand_) Now, uncle, I'll shake hands
with you and thank you, too, for the nobility of character you have
shown. Though there will be no marriage bells ringing in this house
to-day, yet I'm sure there will not be a happier gathering of loved ones
to be found in this wide, wide world.

=Pete.= But t'ink ob de good things we'll miss!

=Deacon.= (_gleefully_) Who says there will be no marriage-bells
sounding in this house to-day? Parson, step right down. (_motioning down
C. Enter BILLY, D. C., with huge piece of cake in hand, eating. His
disfigurements are slightly less than in Act 4. Stands up C._) Where are
you, Amelia, my love?

=Miss A.= Oh, Deacon, don't be so silly! (_holding back. All smile_)

=Deacon.= Come along, my love. Don't keep the Parson waiting, come
along. (_take positions down C. PETE runs to NELLIE and places her
beside MISS A., while he goes to DEACON'S side. MRS. T. and HELEN up L.;
GRAEF and MRS. D. up R.; BILLY up C., eating_)

=Pete.= Let de band play fo' we's all ready fo' de dance. (_PARSON opens
book and steps in front of MISS A. and the DEACON as the curtain falls_)


                                CURTAIN.


[Illustration]



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SYNOPSIS OF INCIDENTS.

ACT I. THE HOME OF THE LIGHT-HOUSE KEEPER.--An autumn afternoon.--The
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HAROLD ROORBACH, Publisher, 9 Murray St., New York.



    Transcriber's notes:

    The following is a list of changes made to the original.
    The first line is the original line, the second the corrected one.

    author. Threatrical Managers wishing to produce it should apply to
    author. Theatrical Managers wishing to produce it should apply to

    JAMES REED, _a friend of Darrah's_,      H. C. Lewis.
    JAMES READ, _a friend of Darrah's_,      H. C. Lewis.

    and played by Reed. Officer in Act IV, by Violinist.
    and played by Read. Officer in Act IV, by Violinist.

    life would be beset by the harrassing knowledge of being surrounded
    life would be beset by the harassing knowledge of being surrounded

    I'll let the precious booty remain in it's hiding place until I
    I'll let the precious booty remain in its hiding place until I

    =Daisy.= Oh, Mr. Wheeler, I forgot----(_percieves DEACON_) Oh!
    =Daisy.= Oh, Mr. Wheeler, I forgot----(_perceives DEACON_) Oh!

    (_dicks up pin; conceals bent part, displaying point_) Daisy nebber
    (_picks up pin; conceals bent part, displaying point_) Daisy nebber

    =Graef.= (_interrrupting her, grasps her by shoulder and anxiously_
    =Graef.= (_interrupting her, grasps her by shoulder and anxiously_

    =Miss A.= I fear your are a flatterer. Now, you don't think I'm
    =Miss A.= I fear you are a flatterer. Now, you don't think I'm

    =Miss A.= That will do, Daisy. You are are a nice, well-behaved
    =Miss A.= That will do, Daisy. You are a nice, well-behaved

    this morning than I did last night before I obtained you consent
    this morning than I did last night before I obtained your consent

    =Officer.= (_seizing WHEELER from behind_) George Darrah, I ar-
    =Officer.= (_seizing WHEELER from behind_) George Darrah, I arrest





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