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Title: A Vision of Venus - Or, A Midsummer-Night's Nightmare
Author: Pleon, Harry
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Vision of Venus - Or, A Midsummer-Night's Nightmare" ***

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Antiquarian Booksellers.



A VISION OF VENUS;
OR, A MIDSUMMER-NIGHT'S NIGHTMARE.

A FARCICAL PIECE OF SINGULARITY, IN TWO ACTS, AND EIGHT TABLEAUX.

PARTLY SUGGESTED BY ANSTEY'S "TINTED VENUS."

BY HARRY PLEON.

_Produced at the Britannia Theatre, Hoxton, March 20, 1893._


[Illustration]


Dramatis Personæ,

                     { (A Hairdresser and        }
                     { Perfumer, who by some     }
ALPHONZO LATHEREM    { mystic power is beloved   }  Mr. Harry Pleon.
                     { and followed by           }
                     { Aphrodite)                }

INSPECTOR HANDSAW    { (Of the Criminal          }  Mr. Edward Leigh.
                     { Investigation Department) }

AUGUSTUS GILLFEATHER { (A jolly fellow, don't    }  Mr. Bruce Lindley.
                     { you know)                 }

FIRST ROBBER            . . .   . . .     . . .     Mr. F. Beaumont.

SECOND ROBBER           . . .   . . .     . . .     Mr. Barrett.

OLD MAN                 . . .   . . .     . . .     Mr. W. Abbott.

JANE FRILLINGS             (A Dressmaker)           Miss Ada Morgan.

VENUS                   (The Living Statue)         Miss Amy Lyster.


TIME OF REPRESENTATION.--One Hour and a Quarter.

1,025. Dicks' Standard Plays.



COSTUME.

ALPHONZO.--Fashionable light suit; white hat.

AUGUSTUS.--Black frock suit; tall silk hat; very high collar.

HANDSAW.--Inspector's clothes.

TWO ROBBERS.--Rough clothes.

OLD MAN.--Black coat; light trousers; white hat; stock; stick &c.

JANE.--Very neat walking dress.

VENUS.--Something after the mythological style.


SYNOPSIS.

ACT I.--Hendon Gardens.     ACT II.--The Hairdresser's.

TABLEAU I.--On the Drunk--Awake.----TABLEAU II.--On the
Ground--Asleep.----TABLEAU III.--The Dream; the Living
Statue.----TABLEAU IV.--Attempted Robbery of the Antique
Venus.----TABLEAU V.--Venus Claims the Hairdresser.----TABLEAU
VI.--Venus at the Barber's.----TABLEAU VII.--It Vanishes.----TABLEAU
VIII.--Wide Awake.


STAGE DIRECTIONS.

EXITS AND ENTRANCES.--R. means _Right;_ L. _Left;_ D. F. _Door in
Flat;_ R. D. _Right Door; _L. D. _Left Door;_ S. E. _Second Entrance;_
U. E. _Upper Entrance;_ M. D. _Middle Door;_ L. U. E. _Left Upper
Entrance;_ R. U. E. _Right Upper Entrance;_ L. S. E. _Left Second
Entrance;_ P. S. _Prompt Side;_ O. P. _Opposite Prompt._

RELATIVE POSITIONS.--R. means _Right;_ L. _Left;_ C. _Centre;_ R. C.
_Right of Centre;_ L.  C. _Left of Centre._

   R.    RC.    C.    LC.     L.

*** _The Reader is supposed to be on the Stage, facing the Audience._



A VISION OF VENUS.

ACT I.

SCENE I.--_Hendon Gardens.--House piece, L. 3 E. to L. 2 E., with
"Refreshments" worded over folding doors--the doors are made so as to
show the counter, &c., inside; semi-grottos (two), R. 2 E. to R. 3 E.;
two statues, R. C. and L. C. (up stage); the Living Statue in C.,
covered with long black cloth till wanted. Scene at back represents
gardens, after the style of the Welsh Harp, Hendon.--Lights half down
at commencement of the scene, which gradually gets darker and darker
towards the end of scene.--Music as curtain goes up. "Is this a
dream?"; and then waltz--piano._

_ALPHONZO and AUGUSTUS are discovered dancing with two Girls ("sups.")
Others are waltzing as curtain rises. After a while Alphonzo and
Augustus are left by themselves. Waltz still being played piano
through dialogue._

ALPH. Awfully jolly dance that, eh, old fellow? Those _walkas_ and
_polkas_ are just my style.

AUG. Pardon me, old chappie, you mean waltz, don't you know?

ALPH. Well, _waltz_ the difference? I wonder where those two girls
went? I don't want 'em hanging round me, as I am expecting my young
woman down here in a few minutes.

AUG. Indeed?

ALPH. No, in a cab! You see, I've been on with Jane--that's her
name--some time, and she's a nice girl, only she is mighty partickler.
She doesn't like me loving and courting other girls.

AUG. Very likely.

ALPH. Well, she'll be down here presently, so I must keep myself very
quiet, you know.

AUG. Ah, well, in the meanwhile we will have a little refreshment!
Come along, old chappie! Awfully jolly place this, don't you know!

[_Exit into refreshment-bar._

ALPH. (_Aside._) I wish I had some money. I've only got my fare home
and a pipe-cleaner. I suppose I must face it out. (_Aloud._) By the
way, what say you if we have a drink, eh?

AUG. Ah, a good idea! Awfully jolly, old fellow!

ALPH. (_Aside._) Yes, it will be if I have to pay. (_Aloud._) What
shall it be?

AUG. Champagne.

ALPH. Of course--of course! (_Aside._) My fare home looks sick. All
right!

AUG. Let's toss for it--heads I win tails you lose!

ALPH. All right. Kaffers win, tails Zulus. (_Aside._) I've only got a
trouser button to toss with. Never mind, here goes.

AUG. Now, then. (_They toss up. Alphonzo pretends to lose his coin;
begins looking for it._) Have you lost something, old boy?

ALPH. (_Still looking._) Yes; but it's of no consequence--only a
ten-pound note. Never mind, old boy, it will do for the parkkeeper.

AUG. Do you always toss with notes?

ALPH. Yes; I attach more importance to notes than money in coin.

AUG. Why so?

ALPH. Why, you see if you put a five-pound note in your waistcoat
pocket, you _double_ it; and when you bring it out again you see it
_increases_.

AUG. Ah, awfully jolly! I'll remember that!

ALPH. (_Aside._) So will I. I read it in _Tit-Bits_.

AUG. But, joking on one side, I must pay for the drinks.

ALPH. No, no, old fellow; I really----

(_Putting his hand in his pocket._)

AUG. Now, once and for all you are not going to pay----

ALPH. (_Aside._) No, I'm not. (_Aloud._) But I insist!

AUG. Once for all you can't pay.

ALPH. (_Aside._) No, I'm ---- if I can. (_Aloud._) Well, if you insist
upon it, I suppose I must give in.

AUG. Now, there's a sensible fellow. You can pay next time, see?

ALPH. Oh, yes!

AUG. A little supper, eh, at the Café Royal?

ALPH. (_Aside._) Yes, two of eels and a ha'poth of bread. (_Aloud._)
Certainly, old boy.

AUG. We'll make a little party--two nice girls, eh? What do you think
of a little fricassée de poulet et pommes de terres frites?

ALPH. No, I don't think so; but I never go in for politics.

AUG. You funny fellow, you will have your little joke! But I'll go and
order these drinks. What shall it be--Moët?

ALPH. Yes, the more the merrier.

AUG. (_Going towards pavilion, calling._) Waiter--waiter!

[_Exit into refreshment-room._

ALPH. My word, what a dude he is! It's a wonder he ain't _subdude_
sometimes, don't you know. But it must be near my girl's time. (_Looks
at watch._) She ought to have been here now. I hope she don't meet
that girl I have been dancing with. I must be above those things
before her. What the eye don't see the ear can't see either. Hallo, I
do believe I see a female figure. No, it ain't her! I wish when she
comes, I had the courage to propose to her. I've got the ring and
everything ready. A nice ring--six carat. I must get a couple of
pen'oth of whiskers--I mean whiskey--and some four ale down me to back
me up like. That's a good idea. I'll just try a little drop now on
account.

[_Exit into refreshment-room._

_Enter HANDSAW, R. 1 E._

HAND. Well, up to the present I haven't seen any suspicious-looking
characters round here! I've been sent down here because there's been
some daring robberies of antique sculpture, and one among 'em is a
genuine antique of Venus, worth thousands of pounds; and it's been
hidden away in some public gardens and palmed on to the manager as
merely plaster, and took a trifle for it, so that when the coast was
clear they'd be able to come for it again, and take it abroad. A very
clever idea! But I'll find out where this figure is. It is in some
public gardens. (_Looks at figures._) I don't suppose it's among
those; but I'll wait a bit. Why, blow me, here's one covered up!
(_Looks under cloth of C. figure._) My eye, what a beauty! What, if
this should be the missing Venus. So soon! I'll hang about here
anyhow.

[_Strolls off, L. 1 E._

_Enter JANE, R. U. E._

JANE. I'm a little behind-hand to meet my Alphonzo. But better late
than never. I said I would meet him by the refreshment-room. (_Looks
in._) Why, there he is! I'll just go in and surprise him.

[_Exit into refreshment-room._

_Enter HANDSAW, R. 1 E._

HAND. At last! I felt certain I should capture my man or men to-night.
I just saw two fellows climbing over the wall yonder--one had a sack.
I am certain they're coming for this figure. I'll let 'em think the
coast is quite clear, and then when they've got the figure in the
sack--then I'll come on 'em like a ton of coal. I'll keep round about
here. This is glorious.

[_Goes off, R. 1 E._

_Enter ALPHONZO and JANE, from refreshment-room. Alphonzo drunk._

JANE. Well, I must say you're a nice young gentleman! After failing to
meet me at the mentioned spot, you get beastly intoxicated. (_Stamping
her foot._) It is really shameful!

ALPH. 'Squse me, Jane, I'm not intoxicated--I'm excited. (_Aside._) I
must propose to-night--I feel I must.

JANE. I think it's too bad of you, and I came here thinking I was
going to enjoy a dance.

ALPH. Ah, Jane, don't think of dancing--think of what I am about to
say!

JANE. (_Aside._) Oh, my, he's going to propose! (_Aloud._) What is it?

ALPH. (_Suddenly._) Jane, I have something burning within me----

JANE. (_Sighing._) Ah, me--ah, me!

ALPH. No, not an army--not the Salvation Army; but it is an
indescribable something that soars on high--a something that--that----
Do not interrupt me.

JANE. I didn't interrupt you.

ALPH. Well, why didn't you? Ah, Jane, did you but know--if you only
knew----

JANE. What?

ALPH. I don't know. Never mind, bring up all that is past and is to
come. I have something to say to you--something to ask you, which
means life or death to me.

JANE. (_Aside._) He's going to ask me to marry him. (_Aloud._) What is
it?

ALPH. Tell me--tell me----

JANE. Yes--yes.

ALPH. Has your mother sold the mangle?

JANE. (_Smacking his face._) You're a fool!

ALPH. Jane, you have touched me on a tender spot.

JANE. Where?

ALPH. An unseen place. You have called me a fool! I can stand being
called a thief, swindler, liar, or even murderer, but when a person
calls me a fool, they insult the mother I board with! Away, woman,
don't attempt to cajole me!

JANE. (_Crying._) I ain't--I don't want to cajole you!

ALPH. Why don't you come and _catch hold_ of me? Come and kiss me!

JANE. (_Crying._) I sha'n't, you nasty, ugly, dirty, drunken beast.

ALPH. When you speak loving words like those, I know you love me! Come
and kiss your little snowdrop!

JANE. (_Annoyed._) Kiss you? Not I. When I kiss anyone it will be a
fine, tall, handsome gentleman, someone who hasn't lost all idea of
chivalry!

ALPH. (_Taken back._) I didn't mean what you said. I mean I didn't say
what I mean!

JANE. I won't speak to you again. I will find a gentleman to take me
home. (_Aside._) Ah, here comes a gentleman from the Pavilion! I will
speak to him, and make little Alphonzo jealous. I'll serve him out for
getting drunk.

_Enter AUGUSTUS from refreshment-room._

AUG. Ah, here you are, Alphonzo, and this I presume is your young
lady, don't you know?

(_Bowing.--Business._)

ALPH. Yes, you do presume, don't you know! (_Aside._) This fellow will
cut me out if I don't take care.

AUG. (_To Jane._) May I take the liberty of asking you to take a
little refreshment?

JANE. Certainly!

(_Takes his arm._)

ALPH. Well, I shall get the needle in a minute. (_To Augustus._) Look
here, old man, I am----

AUG. Some other time, old chappie!

ALPH. But I paid her fare down here!

AUG. Well, I'll take care of her till I see you are a little more
sober, don't you know.

ALPH. No; I don't know.

AUG. (_To Jane._) There is going to be a little dancing in the
pavilion.

JANE. Oh, that will be lovely!

AUG. And may I have the pleasure of your hand?

ALPH. He'll have the pleasure of my foot!

AUG. As I was saying, may I have the pleasure of your hand in the
dance?

JANE. With pleasure.

(_Waltz played piano._)

AUG. Ah, they've started! Let us join the revelry.

ALPH. Go to the devilry! False girl, you have blighted my maiden
heart!

(_Jane laughs._)

AUG. (_Laughing._) Ah, that's truly funny, old chappie, don't you
know! Come along, Ma'mselle!

[_Exit Augustus and Jane into pavilion._

ALPH. Well, this is a pretty state of things! He walks off with my
girl and calls her a dam sell. What shall I do? And to think I got
this ring out of pawn to give her! I must regain her somehow! How
shall I do it? I know. I'll ask her to marry me. I must practise it a
bit. I have it. I'll practise with one of these figures. (_Looks at
them._) No; I don't like the look of them--they ain't got enough
cloth's on! Hallo, here's another! She's covered up. Let's see if
she's dressed a little more decent.

_He throws the covering by, discovering VENUS. Limelight. Stage fully
dark.--Picture.--She is discovered sitting on a chair--(trick
chair)--her arm extended. As limelight falls full on her, HANDSAW
appears, R. 1 E. Music--piano till end of Act._

HAND. (_Aside._) Hallo, another one! Then there's a gang of 'em here!
I may have to get assistance.

[_Withdraws._

ALPH. (_Who up to now has been contemplating the figure._) My eye,
ain't she a beauty! I'll practise with this one. Now, where's that
ring? I wonder if it will fit her?

_Puts ring on the figure's finger. As he is doing so, HANDSAW looks
on, R. 1 E._

HAND. I wish I could see his face. I can't get a glimpse.

[_Withdraws._

ALPH. Most lovely creature, here behold me at your very feet.
(_Falls._) Quite so. I love the very ground I walk on! Say you will
marry me, and you shall never know a moment's happiness?
(_Business.--Scream inside pavilion._) What's that? Someone been run
over? Never mind, as I said before----

(_Scream outside._)

_AUGUSTUS rushes in from refreshment-room._

AUG. Oh, old fellow, your sweetheart has just had----

ALPH. (_Excitedly._) Kittens? No, it cannot be!

AUG. Don't be a fool! She's just had a fit. Come and assist her!

ALPH. I'll be a husband to her; and I'll see if I can't _a sis_ter.

AUG. Come at once.

[_Rushes off into pavilion._

ALPH. I must get that ring off first. (_Business.--He tries to get
ring off--can't._) I can't get it off--it's stuck! What am I to do?
(_Scream inside._) There's Jane broke another button off her boots!

AUGUSTUS. (_Calling from inside._) Latherum, are you coming?

ALPH. I can't get it off! (_Very excited._) It won't come off!

(_Business--trying to get ring off._)

AUGUSTUS. (_Inside._) Are you coming? Her head's on fire!

ALPH. Fetch a fire-escape! Try a cabbage-leaf! What am I to do?

AUGUSTUS. (_Inside._) She's gone into hysterics.

ALPH. (_To figure, in desperation._) There you are, do you hear that?
She's gone into rheumatics. Will you give that ring up?

VENUS. (_Moving for the first time._) No!

ALPH. (_Terrified._) Great Scott, I could have sworn I heard it speak!
Am I bewitched? Am I dreaming? My head reels--I feel like a balloon
with the gas going out!

(_Falls nearly under a seat._)

VENUS. (_Pointing to Alphonzo._) Dream on! That ring gives me life!
Awakened out of my long, long trance, this ring has made thee mine! I
feel the love within me now I did for Adonis. I will follow thee
through the world. This ring has given me life, awakened me from my
trance. Venus is not dead or ne'er can die! Love rules the world. I
will rule--(_to Alphonzo_)--aye, rule thy future destiny! Dream
on--dream on!

(_Front cloth falls in._)

(_Music, forte.--Close in "Clouds" flats.--First grove.--This scene is
only to give time for a double made up like Alphonzo, to take his
place. The rest of this absurdity is supposed to be a
nightmare.--Gong.--Scene Opens._)


SCENE III.--_Same as Scene I.--Lights still down, no limelight.
Alphonzo (double) laying on ground in exactly the same position._

_ALPHONZO (real one) standing by the figure trying to get the ring
off._

ALPH. Curse the thing! I can't get it off nohow. (_Scream._) I must go
and do something for her, or I shall lose all my chances of ever
calling her my wife. I'll cover this figure up first. (_Throws cloth
over figure._) Now, I'll go in and see what can be done!

[_Exit into refreshment-room._

_Music.--Enter TWO ROBBERS, one with a sack. They enter very
cautiously, L. U. E. HANDSAW just peeps on, R. 1 E._

HAND. Hallo, two more! These are the two I saw get over the fence! Now
to watch their little game!

[_Withdraws._

FIRST R. Now, Jim, just you place the sack over the statue's head, and
then I'll get it across my shoulders.

_During this last dialogue, enter ALPHONZO, from pavilion._

ALPH. She's all right now! She was just waltzing round and she trod on
her ear and fell over! Now, I'll get that ring. Hallo, what are those
two fellows up to? If they discover that ring they may keep it!

FIRST R. Now, I'll take the cover off!

HANDSAW. (_Looking on, R. 1 E._) Now's my time!

FIRST R. Off with it!

(_They throw the covering from off Venus, and she has vanished. (Trick
chair.) Chord._)

ALPH., SUPERS., and HAND. (_Speaking all at the same time._) It's
gone!

_Enter EVERYONE.--Crowd from pavilion._

ALL. What's the matter?

_Enter VENUS, R. U. E. (Limelight.)_

VENUS. (_To Alphonzo._) Gentle youth, you brought me to life by the
touch of the ring. I am thine.

ALPH. (_In astonishment._) Eh?

(_Everyone aghast.--Picture._)

END OF ACT I.



ACT II.--THE DREAM.

SCENE I.--_Latherem's Hairdresser's Shop--Scene divided into two
parts--L. half Latherem's shop, with doors, R. and L.; window at back,
with curtain, shaving chairs, shampooing table, &c.; table, chairs,
&c. Screen at back. Fireplace, L., kettle on hob. R. half supposed to
be street; barber's pole outside shop door. Lights gradually up during
scene._

_As the scene opens, ALPHONSO rushes in from L. U. E.--outside shop._

ALPH. At last I've got home! How did I get here? I have a confused
idea of losing sight of Jane, losing sight of the ring--in fact, I've
a confused idea I've lost my senses. I wonder if I've lost my key! No,
here it is! (_Opens door._) Where's a light? Ah, here it is! (_On
table._) I'm sure I don't know whether I'm standing on my feet or my
feet. (_Lights candles. Stage lighter._) Before I do anything further,
I'll just lock the door, to keep early customers out! I must bring my
scattered thoughts too! (_Locks door._) I feel as though I want a
little cheering up! I'll just light the fire. (_During the next lines
of his speech, he busies himself lighting the fire, bringing out his
breakfast things from the cupboard, putting the kettle on to boil,
&c._) I can't get over me being such a lunatickle as to put that ring
on that statue's finger! And then again it seemed to speak to me! But
how could it be? But, anyhow, I've lost that ring! Perhaps I could get
another one made like it! I'll see! (_By this time he has made the
tea, and is sitting down by table getting his breakfast._) I wonder
what time it is? It must be near six o'clock! I shall have to open
just now. Ah, I feel a little better now! (_Goes on eating._) Perhaps
it was the drink! Somehow or other I fancied I saw that statue come
off her pedestal. I can't make it out at all.

(_Business of eating.--Slow music.--Limelight._)

_VENUS appears at back, R. U. E._

VENUS. Alphonzo, I am here! (_Outside shop._)

ALPH. Eh, I thought I heard my name! P'raps some early customer for a
shave! I'll just see. (_He unlocks door, and he looks out, sees Venus,
jumps in again very frightened; slams door, and locks it._) Great
Scott, can I believe my eyes? It's the statue alive?

VENUS. 'Tis he! Alphonzo, I come!

ALPH. (_With his back against door._) Not if I know it! What should I
do with a live dead statue. (_As he is saying this Venus goes to back
of shop, and reappears in shop by aid of the vampire. Alphonzo does
not see her for a moment._) I wonder if it's gone? I'll just take a
peep through the window. (_He crosses over, not seeing Venus. He gets
by fireplace, when he suddenly sees her. He is so startled he half
falls into fireplace, in doing so he grabs hold of the end of table
and his trousers catch fire (trick), sits on chair and it goes
out. Business._) Hair cut or shampoo? I must say something to show I'm
not frightened. It won't answer! Say something or I shall go off my
dot!

VENUS. You do not know me?

ALPH. No, mum; you've the advantage of me. Have you got a card?

VENUS. I am Venus! I have many names in the outer world! It is I who
rule the God of Love, I sway the hearts of all true lovers; in your
world I have caused you poor mortals to burn for me--aye, and with an
unconsuming, unquenchable fire!

ALPH. Lor', you're a bit of a hot 'un!

VENUS. Hot 'un! You speak in enigmas? You are fully aware why I come
hither?

ALPH. I don't. You are the statue out of them gardens, ain't you?

VENUS. I am no statue--I am Venus, I tell you! I have lain in a long,
long trance, how long I know not, in my own palace in the Isle of
Cyprus. How long I should have lain in that trance I know not had it
not been for thou, most lovely mortal!

ALPH. (_Aside._) She knows me.

VENUS. Yes; it was the touch of your kind mortal hand that has given
me power to animate this marble shell!

ALPH. (_Aside._) She says she's a shell. I wonder what kind of
shell--p'raps a whelk shell!

VENUS. 'Twas you who placed the magic ring on my fingers, do I speak
truly?

ALPH. (_Delighted._) Quite right, mum! (_Aside._) I wish I knew her
proper name. (_Aloud._) I'm sure it's very kind of you to take all the
trouble of walking here from those gardens to give it me. You shall go
back in a hansom.

VENUS. And you think it was just to give you back this paltry ring I
came? Think you it was for only this have I visited the face of the
earth, and followed you to your palace? You are too modest! What is
thy name?

ALPH. Latherum--Alphonzo Latherum, hairdresser--hair cutting three
pence, shaving a penny!

VENUS. Alphonzo, happiness is yours! You have awakened me from my
trance. Cast away all thy fears. You put the ring on my finger. I
accept your offering--I am thine, and you, my hero, are mine!

ALPH. You're making a big mistake. I did not mean anything when I put
that ring on your finger. The fact is I was a little boozed.

VENUS. Boozed! Is he a god?

ALPH. Not quite; though sometimes it is a spirit.

VENUS. Come, Alphonzo--come, join me in my aerial flight to the
regions far beyond these lowly worlds!

ALPH. You'll excuse--I can't, I've made other arrangements. I am
already engaged! I've got a girl!

VENUS. I remember a bright-eyed mortal in the gardens. Is she your
love?

ALPH. Yes.

VENUS. She must die! I myself will crush her!

ALPH. (_Aside._) I must drop Jane a postcard. (_Aloud._) What do you
want to crush her for?

VENUS. Because she is in my path! And shall any mortal maid stand
between you and I?

ALPH. But we are to be married shortly.

VENUS. Do as you will, I will ever be between you.

ALPH. Eh, that's a bit thick for me! (_Aside._) I must kick her a bit.
(_Aloud._) You see, there are a few little things you ain't aware of.
There is a great difference between you and I--ain't the same--and I'm
a respectable hairdresser; and what would people say if they saw me
talking to a goddess with only her nightdress on?

VENUS. You speak empty words. I know not what you mean. But this
little I can glean from your worldly talk, you wish to evade me. But
no, it shall never be. Let this suffice you, that I am here to fulfil
the troth you have plighted.

ALPH. I don't think so! I really must decline your generous offer with
thanks.

VENUS. Have a care. Being so young and handsome as thou art I pity
thee! Do nothing rash--pause ere you rouse the fearful ire of Venus!

ALPH. If it's all the same to you I'd rather not.

VENUS. I leave you, then. Use the time I give you well in thinking of
my words, till I come again.

ALPH. (_Aside._) I'll move to-morrow!

VENUS. For the present, farewell!

ALPH. (_Pleased._) Oh, she's going at last! (_Aloud._) Shall I call a
four wheeler?

(_Opens door._)

VENUS. Fool, I am not going to leave thy palace, I am going to take an
aerial flight! I shall leave my statue with you here, while my inmost
soul soars on high in Cyprus.

ALPH. (_Excited._) Oh, what shall I do? I sha'n't be able to move her.
Look here, Mrs. Venus, I----

VENUS. (_Backing up stage to window._) No more words! Farewell for the
present!

(_Gong, and flash of lightning. Venus is again transfixed in same
position as Scene I._)

ALPH. She's gone, and left her statue here behind her, and in exactly
the same way as she was in those cursed gardens! Ah, a good thought! I
might be able to get that ring. It can't hurt it if I broke its finger
off with the poker--it's only stone! I'll try. (_He picks up poker,
and just as he lifts it to strike Venus, flash of lightning and
gong.--Business.--He drops poker._) It's a frost! But I won't give in
till I do get it! If I could only get that ring off it would be all
right. Well, I'll just cover it over for the present. (_Puts
haircutting cloth over it._) No, a better idea. I'll put it behind
this screen. (_He manages to carry Venus into cupboard and puts table
before door._) There, she can't get out of there in a hurry!

_Enter HANDSAW, R. U. E._

HAND. This is the place. I think this fellow might give me some clue
as to the whereabouts of the missing statue. (_Enters shop and
shouting._) Shop!

ALPH. (_Frightened._) I'm not guilty.

HAND. Ah, did I frighten you? (_Aside._) Ah, that looks suspicious!
I'll get a clue here.

ALPH. Hair cut or shave?

HAND. Neither. You are Latherum, the barber, arn't you? I want to talk
to you.

ALPH. Suppose we take a walk.

HAND. No; I'll say what I've got to here. I always deal
straightforward.

ALPH. (_Aside._) I wonder who he is?

HAND. (_Hearing him._) I am Inspector Handsaw, of Scotland Yard; and I
am not a man to be kept in the dark.

ALPH. Let me light a candle.

HAND. You lost a ring in the gardens?

ALPH. How did you know?

HAND. I was there. And, look here, if you'll help me, it will be a
fine thing for you. I'll let you have a share of the reward.

ALPH. What reward?

HAND. Ah, you're a smart fellow; you don't mean to give yourself away!
When they first told me what you were, I didn't expect to find you
what you are. But now I see you are what you are, I'm not at all
surprised to know you are what you are.

ALPH. No, of course not; I fully agree with you. But, for Heaven's
sake, what are you talking about?

HAND. Why, about the stolen statue from the gardens.

ALPH. (_Aside._) I'm a corpse!

HAND. What I mean is this: I saw you by the figure just before it was
stolen; and you had your eye on the two thieves at the same time I had
my eye on 'em. Can't you give a guess where that figure is now?

ALPH. Not at all--not at all!

HAND. I have an idea it's very near at hand.

(_Goes toward screen._)

ALPH. (_Pulling him away._) Come away, the cupboard's been varnished.

HAND. The only thing I wish I could only put my hand on the thieves as
easily as I put my hand on you.

(_Business.--Puts his hand on Alphonzo._)

_Enter an OLD MAN, R. U. E. (super.). He enters shop._

MAN. A shave, please.

(_Sits in chair. Alphonzo don't know what he's doing, goes to shave
old man with fender, &c., and any silly business, ad lib._)

HAND. Well, I'll see you again.

ALPH. Not if I see you first.

HAND. (_Whispering._) Help me to get a clue as to where the figure is,
and I'll share the reward with you--that's fair enough. (_Going
towards door._) You understand?

ALPH. (_Aside._) Yes; I wish I didn't.

(_Old Man rises, after being shaved. As he rises, a long knocking is
heard at screen.--Lightning and gong._)

MAN. Mercy, what was that?

ALPH. I think we shall have rain. (_Aside, in great excitement._)
She's waking up! What am I to do?

VENUS. (_Inside._) Alphonzo, release me!

ALPH. (_Terrified, but still putting a bold face on the matter._) Good
morning, sir; hope you had a nice shave. (_Pushes him headlong out of
shop.--Business._) Beg pardon, you nearly slipped! (_Handsaw goes to
assist Old Man to rise, and Alphonzo bangs the door to and locks._)
Another two minutes like that and I'll get the fever. I wonder if
they're gone? (_He looks through keyhole._) Yes, they're going.

[_Old Man and Handsaw exit, R. U. E._

I breathe again!

_As he says this VENUS appears from behind screen._

It's no use. I can't get her out of the way.

VENUS. How could you dare to imprison me in that narrow tomb? I
thought I was buried beneath the soil. And had it been so I would have
caused this city to be in one vast ruin--an earthquake.

ALPH. (_Aside._) I won't hurry her! Look here, if you're as fond of me
as you say you are, you'd go back to your place in the gardens, where
you've been stolen from. The police are looking everywhere for you.

VENUS. He is good, this police. If I see him I'll reward him.

ALPH. There's a good many "hims" in the police, and I tell you what it
is, if you don't give up that ring I'll have you locked up, by George
I will!

VENUS. I know no George, nor will it profit you to call on him. I will
go forth into the world and see the people of this city--and you must
take me!

ALPH. Not much.

VENUS. I will follow you everywhere, and should anyone ask who and
what I am, you must say I am now betrothed to Venus. Then among the
mortals you will be blameless.

ALPH. Blameless? What would Jane say?

VENUS. Ah, you have revealed your love's name! I have but to ask in
your streets, where does Jane, the lover of Alphonzo, live, lead me
there; and, having arrived at her dwelling, she shall die!

ALPH. But, look here, there's thousands of Janes in London.

VENUS. That being the case I shall kill them all!

ALPH. Why?

VENUS. Because, dissipated youth, you love them all!

ALPH. (_Aside._) If she could only see me shaving people, p'raps she'd
become disgusted, and leave me! I'll try it! (_Aloud._) If you only
saw me at my trade, a barbering, you'd see what a mistake you were
making.

VENUS. I will see you at your toil. Barb at once.

ALPH. Wait till I get a customer. I do my business in this shop.

VENUS. Then, I will wait and watch you.

ALPH. Do you want to ruin my trade?

VENUS. I will make no sign or movement; but I will see you at your
daily toil. I have said it! Obey me!

ALPH. (_Aside._) All right! I'll put her in a corner. No one would
think but she is one of my fixtures.

VENUS. Place me where I may behold thee at thy toil.

ALPH. All right! Get up in this corner, and I'll just pop this
haircutting cloth over you. (_He does so._) If she can once get it
into her marble head I'm a barber and keep a shop, I think she will
turn up her nose at me, and then she'll give me back that ring.

_Enter AUGUSTUS, R. U. E. Enters shop._

AUG. Good morning, old fellow! I feel a little chippie this morning.
(_Sits in chair._) I wish I didn't drink so much, don't you know! Last
night I had a fearful time after going to the Alhambra. (_Alphonzo
begins lathering him._) They've got a beautiful ballet there now.
There's a charming little girl there, who plays one of Venus's doves.
I was mashed on her in a minute, and I pride myself I mashed her
too--she's dead gone!

VENUS. Traitor!

(_Business.--Alphonzo so frightened, he pushes brush in Augustus's
mouth. Augustus is also very frightened._)

AUG. I could swear I saw that statue move! Look it's shaking its fists
at me!

VENUS. (_Shaking her fists at Augustus._) Villain!

(_Alphonzo much alarmed._)

AUG. There it is again! Oh, I've got 'em bad again!

ALPH. Yes; you've got the jim-jams. What, sir--I've cut your chin off?
Never mind, sir, don't charge any extra.

AUG. Your kindness only exceeds your beauty! You've done it on
purpose, because I cut you out with Jane.

VENUS. (_To herself, loud enough for Alphonzo to hear._) Ah, he knows
where she dwells! I will at once ask him!

ALPH. Oh, she'll ruin me! Good morning, sir! Here's your hat, sir.
(_Business.--In his hurry to get Augustus out he gives him a basin for
his hat; he puts it on; flour falls over him.--Business._)

AUG. What the devil----

ALPH. Yes; I think we shall have snow! Good morning, sir.

(_Business.--Bowing him to door, and pushes him outside shop._)

AUG. Awfully rude, don't you know!

[_Goes off, R. U. E._

ALPH. She's ruining my trade! Ah, I see it all! She's got wild--she's
disgusted at my shaving people! Hooray!

VENUS. Where is that wretched mortal who dared to slay my dove? Bring
him forth! Where is he who dares to slay the only thing on earth I
love since all are taken from me? Ah, where is Vulcan?

ALPH. I don't know! Have you tried the pub opposite!

VENUS. Your words are empty. Where are my children--Cupid, Æneas?
Where is Mars?

ALPH. I'll have a look in the time table. I fancy it's by Greenwich.

VENUS. Ah, where is the Cyprian youth Adonis, who was so famed for his
beauty? Where is he? Speak! Where is he?

ALPH. (_Annoyed._) How the devil do I know?

VENUS. Ah, I remember! the beautiful youth, alas--alas!

ALPH. (_Aside._) The beautiful youth, alas! She's off her nut!

VENUS. Was he not gored to death by a wild boar?

ALPH. How do I know? He might have been run over by a steam-roller for
all I know!

VENUS. Knew you my husband?

ALPH. No, I wish I did; I'd send him a wire.

VENUS. I am the wife of Vulcan, who was the son of Jupiter and Juno.

ALPH. How Juno?

VENUS. He was a god of fire, and presided over the workers of metal.
His workshop was under Mount Etna, where, assisted by the Cyclops, he
forged thunderbolts for Jove.

ALPH. (_Admiringly._) Quite a little _Weekly Budget_, ain't she!

VENUS. Now I have told you who I am. I must have slept now some
thousands and thousands of years.

ALPH. Had a tidy doss then?

VENUS. But thou hast awakened me, and I am thine for ever.

ALPH. (_Aside._) I'll take the first train for America to-morrow.

VENUS. But, where is that fearful youth who slew my doves? Bring him
forth!

ALPH. I can't bring him fourth or fifth. He was not talking about a
dove; he was talking about a ballet girl. And now, missus, to come to
the point, now you've seen me doing my daily business you've thought
better of it, ain't you?

VENUS. Better; aye, far better! They sit at your bidding, and you make
them sit in silence while you bend over their faces with yonder sharp
little instrument, and you threaten their bare throats! You are indeed
a king of mortals, and I love you even more! I would do anything for
thee!

ALPH. Well, first of all give me the ring.

VENUS. The sole symbol of my power--the charm that has called me from
my long sleep? Never.

ALPH. Well, I shall place the matter in the hands of a lawyer.
(_Aside._) If I could only get her to stay here a bit, I'd go and find
that inspector fellow and tell him all about it. (_Aloud._) Just stay
here a minute. I'll go and get you two pen'oth of eels. You must feel
hungry. (_He suddenly gets out by door, and when he is outside, he
locks it._) Now, my lady, you're safe for a little bit. I'll just see
if I can find that inspector.

_Just as he is going, enter JANE, R. U. E._

Oh, it's all over!

JANE. You don't seem pleased to see me?

ALPH. Oh, yes, I am, dear! I never felt so pleased in all my life!

JANE. Well, you're a nice one! Why don't you ask me in?

ALPH. The fact is, I've got the brokers in.

JANE. It's false! I can see it in your face. You are deceiving me!
You've got someone in there you don't want me to see! But I will go
in.

ALPH. No, don't--you'll be crushed.

JANE. Alphonzo, much as I love you, I will leave you for ever unless
you let me see who is in your shop!

VENUS. (_Who is trying to get out by door._) Alphonzo, release me at
once!

ALPH. Oh!

JANE. Oh, you deceitful wretch, a woman's voice! I knew it! I'll take
poison!

ALPH. And rob the poor beetles?

(_Venus, seeing she can't get out by door, quietly walks through
vampire at back, and faces Alphonzo and Jane._)

VENUS. Ah, then this is your love?

JANE. (_Screaming._) Oh, a ghost!

(_Falls on her knees._)

VENUS. Away, maiden--he loves you not; he is mine--lest I crush thee!

ALPH. (_To Jane._) Here, get inside! (_Opens door, and Jane runs in
shop and gets behind screen._) Now, look here, missus, I won't have
any more of this. Hallo, give me that razor!

VENUS. Never! With this I will sweep my rival from my path! (_Suddenly
enters shop._) Where is she, I say? Ah, look! I've cut my hand! I
bleed!

ALPH. Ah, you've cut the finger with my ring on! (_Tries to get it
off._) Let me hold it!

VENUS. Never! You would seek flight! I will keep this! Oh, the loss of
this blood is freezing me! I am going, Alphonzo! Ah!

(_Gong.--Lightning. She is again transfixed._)

ALPH. There, right in the middle of my shop again! Oh, if I could only
get that ring! But I'm forgetting all about poor Jane! I'll go and
tell her all about it! (_Goes through door in shop, L._) Now, don't
give way like that, Jane! It will all come right in the end, and I----
Hallo! What are they doing? Keep still, dear! Come behind this screen.
Here's those same men coming into my shop I saw at the gardens. They
were after this self-same figure. Oh, if they'd only pinch it--if
they'd only sneak it!

_Enter the TWO ROBBERS in street, R., looking very cautiously
about.--Music till end of scene._

ALPH. (_Looking over screen._) Ah, here they come! I'll not disturb
'em.

FIRST R. All's safe! The shaver's out, and we've got it all to
ourselves.

SECOND R. Who'd have thought the barber bloke would have had the nous
about him to cop hold of this statue?

FIRST R. Won't he look sick when he discovers it gone?

ALPH. (_Aside._) Yes, won't I?

_Enter HANDSAW in street, R. Looks in through crack in door._

FIRST R. It's a good job he left the door open! Who'd have thought he
was smart enough to cop hold of that statue! Here it is, Jim! Now for
it!

HAND. Like a sleuth hound I've tracked 'em, and this barber after all
is one of 'em. He'll be transported!

JANE and ALPH. (_Overhearing._) Oh?

FIRST R. Hallo! Here's marks of blood on her hands, and here's a ring.
It's loose! I'll pull it off! There it is, Jim! We'll pawn it!

ALPH. It's off! Hooray!

(_Business.--First Robber holding up long cloak to cover Venus. When
he holds up cloak, it entirely hides her from view. Music, forte._)

HAND. Now's my time! (_Enters.--Aside._) Now I've got you!

FIRST R. Now we've got you!

(_Lightning.--Gong.--Cloak falls, Venus has disappeared--she goes
through vampire at back. Alphonzo falls over screen. Robbers and
Handsaw look on in wonder. Jane fainting. Tableau. Close in. Flats in
first grove._)


SCENE II.--_Front Scene.--Clouds._

_Enter HANDSAW, R._

HAND. Well, I can hardly believe my senses! There was the statue
before my very eyes; there were the thieves in the very act of
stealing the antique marble before my eyes; there was everything
before my eyes, and, blow me, if it didn't disappear before my eyes.
It's the most mysterious affair I ever came across. I--who have been
in the Criminal Investigation Department for over thirty years, and
reckoned the finest man for having innocent men and women hanged and
transported--done. I've been had by some illusion? What shall I do?
Shall I resign my position in the force, and go back to tripe
dressing? No--no! I'll have a case ere to-morrow or my name is not
Handsaw. Ah, what is that I see? A little boy eating bread and
dripping in the open street, before the gaze of the passers-by? Oh,
this _must_ be seen into! I should lose _all_ respect for myself as a
member of the force if I didn't lock some poor little innocent little
child up for doing nothing. It's a way we've got in the force. Now,
then, my bold and massive wretch of three years old, I'm down on you
like two ton of bricks!

[_Exit._

_Enter TWO ROBBERS, R._

FIRST R. What do you think of it, Bill--it vanished?

SECOND R. Wonderful! Never see anything like it since our tom cat had
chickens.

FIRST R. Go on, your tom cat have chickens! What do you take me for?
Your tom cat have chickens!

SECOND R. I'll bet you I'm right. Our tom cat had chickens!

FIRST R. When?

SECOND R. Why, one night out in the yard! The fowl-house was left
open, our tom cat rushed in and sneaked a couple of chickens--so
didn't he have chickens?

FIRST R. Go on, you fathead. I could have told you that.

SECOND R. Well, why didn't you? Here, I sha'n't go in for sneaking
statues again. I believe they are all pretty well alive. Didn't you
ever hear of _Peg million and Gill o' beer?_--him as makes a figure,
and it comes to life? Do you know, I think I was made for something
better than hard work?

FIRST R. You work? Why, you never robbed an honest man of a hard day's
work in your blooming natural! Look here, I'm going to chuck
statues--I'm going in for di'mons!

SECOND R. Well, I'll trump it.

FIRST R. No; you don't understand me. Suppose now I were to go into a
di'mond merchant's and asked him to show me some of his most valuable
di'monds, what would be the first thing he would show me?

SECOND R. The door.

FIRST R. No; you don't understand me.

SECOND R. But the bloke would.

FIRST R. Look here! I'll put it in another way. Suppose I was to go
into the Bank of England for five thousand quid, what would I come out
with?

SECOND R. A copper.

FIRST R. Oh, you don't catch my meaning!

SECOND R. No; and you don't catch their money!

FIRST R. Bah, you're next to a fool!

SECOND R. Yes, I'm not far off you!

FIRST R. Come on, let's see if we can do anything to make up for the
blooming mess we've made over this statue business--what shall we say
to the bloke that paid us to sneak this marble Venus?

SECOND R. Why, give him a bit of bogie--tell him we got the statue in
a shed, get the money off him, tell him we'll go and fetch the figure,
and--do a guy.

FIRST R. Good on you! Your head's some good I see.

SECOND R. Come along; we've got no time to lose.

[_Exeunt._


SCENE III.--_Same as Scene I, Act I.--Lights half down, lime on.
ALPHONZO on ground, in the same position as he fell in the former
scene._

_VENUS speaks, through music--"Is this a dream?"_

VENUS. (_Speaking to Alphonzo._) Ah, yours has been a troubled sleep,
     but now it's almost done!
Your seeming worry here to-night I'm sure has caused much fun.
Our humble aim has been to show to-night,
That happiness can only spring from right.
You young spark, though barbering your grade is,
Fancy you're Adonis when among the ladies.
Let this dream be a lesson--although in jest--
Be true to the one who loves you best.
Farewell, young spark, awake from seeming pain,
If this dream's a lesson taught, you have not dreamt in vain!
Awake--Awake--Awake!

(_Gong.--Flash.--Limelight off._)

_Enter JANE and AUGUSTUS from Pavilion._

JANE. Oh, where is Alphonzo? Perhaps he's killed himself through my
treating him so unkindly.

AUG. But, my dear young lady----

JANE. Don't "dear young lady me"! It's all through you. (_Trying to
find Alphonzo._) I wonder where he is? I left him here. Ah, here he
is! (_Sees him._) Ah, he is asleep. Wake up, Alphonzo! You'll catch a
cold. Wake up.

(_Shakes him._)

ALPH. (_Waking up._) A horse--a horse! A kingdom for a horse!

AUG. (_Calling._) Four-wheeler!

ALPH. (_Seizing him._) Liar and slave, I've set my life upon the cast,
and have sworn the hazard of the die! Six statues have I seen
to-day--alive--alive--alive, oh!

(_Throws Augustus down._)

JANE. Whatever is the matter, Alphonzo? You must be dreaming!

ALPH. (_Recovering himself._) Eh! Dreaming? (_Looks at the figure;
looks for ring. Finds it on ground._) Dreaming?--that's it! I've
dreamt it! Oh, I've had such a fearful dream--worse than the
jim-jams--but it's all right now! Here's the ring I bought, which I
thought I'd lost. (_Puts it on Jane's finger._) Now, will I be your
wife? I mean will you be my wife?

JANE. (_Shyly._) I don't know.

ALPH. Have me a week on trial! No, I don't mean that. You know what I
mean. Will you--eh, one, two, three?

(_They embrace._)

AUG. But what about me?

ALPH. Oh, you go to the devil!

AUG. Awfully rude, old chappie!

ALPH. Well, let's get back to town.

JANE. Well, wish your friends in front good night.

ALPH. Good-night, ladies; good-night, gentlemen. You have been and
seen my dream--I know you have, 'cause I heard you laughing! I thought
I was going to be imprisoned.

JANE. So you are! Ain't you asked me to marry you?

ALPH. Oh, yes; then we're both going to do time--we are going to be
transported for life.

(_Embrace.--Music, forte._)

CURTAIN.



ALSO BY THE SAME AUTHOR,

1,022. MULDOON'S PICNIC, A Transatlantic Comedy-Oddity, in Two Acts.

1,023. PECK'S BAD BOY, A Transatlantic Comedy, in Three Acts.

1,024. { ON THE BRAIN, A Nonsensical Piece of Absurdity, in One Act.
       { THE WAITER, A Farcical Sketch, in One Act.

*** The above are now included in DICKS' LIST OF "FREE-ACTING"
STANDARD PLAYS, which contains upwards of ONE THOUSAND already
published.

Price One Penny. Send for List.



Transcriber's Note

A copy of the images used in this transcription has been posted at:

     archive.org/details/PleonVisionOfVenus

In general, inconsistencies in spelling and grammar in the source text
have not been changed. For example, Alphonzo's last name is spelled
both "Latherem" and  "Latherum". No attempt has been made to make the
spelling consistent. On p. 7, a stage direction reads:

     Alphonzo don't know what he's doing, goes to shave old man with
     fender, &c., and any silly business, ad lib.

The grammar has been retained. Emendations were made to correct for
minor printing problems in the copy used in this transcription. For
example, on p. 4, the text reads:

     Jane. (_Cryi g_.) I ain't--I don't want to cajole you!

"_Cryi g_" was changed to "_Crying_". In cases such as this, the
obvious reading was given the benefit of the doubt without comment.

The following changes were made to the text:

- p. 2: TABLEA--Changed to "TABLEAU"

- p. 5: AUGUSTUS. (_Calling from inside_) Latherum, are you
coming?--Inserted a period after "inside" for consistency.

- p. 5: AUGUSTUS (_Inside._) She's gone into hysterics.--Inserted a
period after "AUGUSTUS" for consistency.

- p. 6: window at back, with curtain, shaving chairs, shampooing
table, &c.; table, chairs, &c., Screen at back.--Deleted the comma
after "chairs, &c."

- p. 7: ALPH. (_Frightened_). I'm not guilty.--Put period after
"(_Frightened_)" inside parenthesis for consistency.

- p. 7: I'll say what I've got to here. always deal
straightforward.--Inserted the word "I" before "always".

The title page states that the play was "partly suggested" by
F. Anstey's _Tinted Venus_, which is available through Project
Gutenberg at:




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